Sunday, July 30, 2006

Rumsfeld's Bunker

In the roundtable segment on today's ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Fareed Zakaria had this to say about U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:

If I were a Democrat, I would make up a campaign commercial almost entirely of Donald Rumsfeld's press conferences, because the man is looking — I mean, it's not just that he looks like a bad Secretary of [Defense], he seems literally in a parallel universe, and slightly deranged as a result. If you listen to what he said last week about Iraq, he is living in a different world, not a different country.
The disconnect between the entire Bush administration and the reality of the world we live in is becoming steadily more apparent.

The This Week web site also has an additional video segment as the roundtable conversation continued in the green room. Click on the link for "Video ⇒ The Green Room: Rummy's Bunker."

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Credit union scam

I got a spam today containing the popular scam about the credit union "satisfaction survey," where they ask you a few questions (Are you familiar with the services your credit union provides, how satisfied are you with your credit union, what is your PIN on your ATM card, where do you keep your valuable jewelry, when are you next going on vacation — that sort of thing) with the promise of a $50 reward as a thank-you for participating in the survey. I hope that you already know this, but just in case, think about what you're being asked to divulge, and ask yourself if the offer really sounds too good to be true. Fifty bucks for answering fewer than a dozen survey questions? Are you kidding?

What distresses me most, though, is that I got a copy of this scam back on July 2 [a.k.a. 2006-07-02] and reported it to the abuse desk of the ISP where the phony web site is hosted. Almost a month later, I get another spam with the exact same phony web site, and I find that the ISP has not yet shut down the scammers. I'd call that "accessory to wire fraud," personally, but I'm not a lawyer. All I can tell you for certain is that is not a responsible netizen, leaving a criminally fraudulent web site operating 27 days after being notified. At least — the host of the redirected phony web site in early July — gets some credit, because the site on Evrocom now redirects to a different server in Québec, Evrocom gets a special public raspberry [plllllt!!] for letting the spammers and the scammers have free rein on their systems.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Credit card scam

No, I'm not talking about the spam in your e-mail inbox. This scam is (apparently) 100% legal. One of my credit cards was bought out by a different bank last year. In the transition, I didn't notice that they inserted an opt-out "rewards program" with a fee of $29/year. By "opt-out," I mean that if you do nothing, you are signed up. The "rewards program" offers such things as an electronic Sudoku puzzle, a radio-controlled toy car, and a flashlight that never needs batteries. All are "free" — plus $9.97 shipping and handling. Never mind that the flashlight is $13, the radio-controlled car is maybe $10 to $20, and the Sudoku game I've seen for $9.95. We're not exactly talking eye-popping values here.

I want to underscore that I never signed anything, never verbally agreed to anything, never asked for this "rewards program," and didn't even know I was "enrolled" until I got the bill. All I did was not cancel a program I didn't even know I was enrolled in. Luckily, I did check the charges on my statement, and the customer service rep agreed to take the $29 off my account. But it still demonstrates that the price of easy credit is eternal vigilance.

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Ellis Act Eviction Protest

California's Ellis Act allows a landlord to "go out of business" (out of the rental housing business) and thereby evict all of the tenants of a building. It is clearly necessary to allow some mechanism for a landlord to go out of business — the state can't compel you to continue operating a business at a loss — but the Ellis Act is often abused by real estate speculators. With no intention of operating the business, they buy a functioning rental property, evict the tenants, and then sell off the apartments as condos (subject to strict limitations) or as TIC units (with far fewer limits). In the corporate world, "raiders" will buy a company and sell off the parts of its business for more than the intact company is worth. The same principle applies with Ellis Act evictions, except that ordinary people are kicked out of their homes in the process.

I attended a protest yesterday, focusing specifically on one Ellis Act case, but also addressing the broader issue of squeezing more low- and middle-income renters out of the city of San Francisco.

1530 McAllister Street is a 7-unit apartment building. The current tenants include an 89-year-old (a tenant for 30 years), a 68-year-old (over 25 years in the building), a family with two young children, and another family with a child who just turned 3 weeks old yesterday. None of the tenants has given the landlord any just cause to evict, except for the Ellis Act. Several of the tenants will probably have to relocate outside the city, because affordable housing in San Francisco is difficult to find — even by our city's alarmingly loose definition of "affordable."

I saw a graffito [singular of graffiti] in Berkeley about 15 years ago that said, "Affordable housing is a right; a landlord's profit is not." It shouldn't surprise you to learn that various specifically Maoist slogans appeared alongside. A landlord does have a right to make a profit, but that right must be balanced against the tenants' right to home security. Indeed, there are many jurisdictions — most of them well to the right of Chairman Mao — in which a tenant's right to his or her home is recognized on a comparable basis to a homeowner's right. Home ownership is a part of "the American dream," but for about three quarters of the citizens of San Francisco, buying a home falls into the category of "when I win the Lotto."

The specifics of 1530 McAllister also highlight the abusive, speculative nature of many Ellis Act evictions. One of the buyers of the property, Elba Borgen, has already "gone out of business" four separate times, kicking out responsible tenants each time in order to turn a fast profit from converting the building into TICs. It takes a special kind of chutzpah to make your living by repeatedly going out of business. Real estate experts estimate that an empty building is worth 20% more than an occupied building, just by virtue of being rid of those pesky tenants.

Yesterday's protest featured about two dozen people, including union members, seniors, students, and even a couple of people who got off the bus to join the rally. No one thought to bring a megaphone, but we shouted our slogans, sang a few songs, and waved our signs at passing traffic, a good many of whom honked in support of our cause. There was some media coverage, even apart from The Third Path: KTVU channel 2, The San Francisco Examiner, The Bay Times, and The San Francisco Sentinel all had reporters present. The biggest media draw was San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, in whose district 1530 McAllister is located. Other players included Joe O'Donoghue, head of the Residential Builders Association, Raquel Fox from the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, perennial activist Tommy Avicolli-Mecca, the San Francisco Tenants Union. The only disturbance in the protest was a drunk homeless man who kept shouting non sequiturs, apparently in the hope that someone would bribe him to leave. Also in attendance was a woman who was Ellis Act evicted last year by Elba Borgen, the very same real estate speculator.

The core of the message is that any tenant in California could be driven from your home, no matter your circumstances, if a real estate speculator is greedy enough, heartless enough, and amoral enough to set his or her sights on your building. We need to do something to curtail Ellis Act abuses.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

McCain on the Daily Show again

Senator John McCain (R–AZ) was the guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart again tonight, discussing the war in Iraq, the Bush administration, immigration, and other topical issues. Here is what they had to say:


Jon Stewart: I want to ask you this — it's a serious question: President Bush has been very clear that, through his leadership he has made the world safer. I believe he said that exact sentence. My question to you is simply this: how much safer can the world afford to have him make us?

John McCain: Before I call in my two attorneys.... That was a previous show, when the Straight Talk Express was going some place — anyway, before I respond to that, did I hear, did you hear, that our political futures are together?

Stewart: McCain–Stewart? That's true.

McCain: I can't lose.

Stewart: Yes, you can.

McCain: Well, we've sewn up the vegetarian, libertarian ...

Stewart: Don't dodge the question. Come back, come back.

McCain: ... fascist, (What?!) Yeah, the fascist.

Stewart: How do you get my demographics? (Surveillance.) George W. Bush (Here we go!) — is he — you know these guys. Dick Cheney said about a year ago the insurgency is in its last throes, and then about a month or two ago he was given a chance to take that back and he said [imitates The Penguin from Batman] "I stick by it." So, he sticks by it. Is he, I mean, is he an idiot? Why would he say, "I stick by it"?

McCain: Should I tell you when I stop beating my wife?

Stewart: No, no! Help me appreciate what I'm not seeing in the subtleties, the nuance of their leadership.

McCain: A lot of mistakes have been made in Iraq. (Do they know that?) I think so. (You do think so? They just won't publicly say it.) I think they know that things are very tough. They're very tough, very difficult, mistakes have been made, but I think the stakes are still such that we need to win, and I know — we had a debate in the Senate a few weeks ago, to decide whether to withdraw and set a time for withdrawal, or to see if we can't carry this thing off. It's a near thing. It's very tough. I know this is a comedy show, but ...

Stewart: No, no, no, I'm happy to talk about it. (It's a tough slog.) When they say stay the course, what does that mean?

McCain: It means a government that functions, it means economic improvement, it means an Iraqi military and police that can take over the responsibility — I know it's tough, it's frustrating ...

Stewart: Here's what I don't get: the President has said previously we would never give another country a veto over our security. But when he says things like, "When Iraq stands up, we'll stand down," doesn't that give all of our power over to a government that (a) doesn't even really seem to like us a whole lot, and (b) its country doesn't seem to like it a whole lot? I mean, isn't he giving away, by saying, "Oh, when they stand up, we'll stand down" — shouldn't he say, "You're standing up on this day, and we're standing down"?

McCain: I think what he's saying is that we have to have Iraqi military and police that are capable of enforcing the law and order and suppressing this insurgency. It's an insurgency now. Insurgencies are very tough, and it also is a rise in sectarian violence, but if we fail, if we fail (I get that part.) — you get that part. That part of it is what's concerning me.

Stewart: But the idea is still, democracy, as it flowers, will then create a safe haven for, I guess, Jesus to come back — I don't really know what his plan is. I don't know what he's thinking, quite frankly. But my thought is —

McCain: I don't always, but I don't think it's that.

Stewart: Thank you. That actually, I gotta tell ya, that makes me feel a little better. But it does strike me as, you know, they don't have the credibility any more that their judgment in the situation is correct, so I keep wondering, why do they keep saying to us, "And this keeps showing why you need to keep us in power" and consolidating all the government's power into an Executive Branch that's made nothing but mistakes?

McCain: I think the President has stated on several occasions, some pretty good speeches, the fact that we have made mistakes, that, if we had it to do over again, we'd do a lot of things differently, and I think he has tried to emphasize this is very tough, very, very tough (You believe he has learned somewhat?) — I think he has learned, I do, and again, what's at stake here is really incredible.

Stewart: Listen, I know it breaks your heart. I know you're very sad about it and very tenacious, and I do respect that, and I know you're trying to be delicate and obviously loyalty means a great deal to you. Thank God, obviously, I don't have that issue, so I can say, "These guys seem like fucking idiots to me!" We're gonna come back and talk a little bit more about other things....

[commercial break]

Stewart: We're talking with Senator John McCain (His running mate) — my running mate.

McCain: I think Secretary of Education would be a nice post, don't you? Think of the things the children would learn.

Stewart: You know what? That's what YouTube is for. (Tubes, tubes!) Tubes. Senator [Ted] Stevens (R–AK) — he is in charge of the Commerce Committee. Obviously net neutrality is a big issue in front of the Senate. He is regulating the Internet, and he was very explicit that the Internet is not a dump truck, but in fact a series of tubes.

McCain: And I saw also this program, how long it took to get through those tubes.

Stewart: It's tough. Especially when you're passing, let's say (they're clogged) — horses or things like that. (Naked dolls and poker chips, like you had.) When you listen to your colleagues, your esteemed colleagues, and I know that the talk on the Senate is Robert's Rules of Order and everybody says, "my distinguished colleague from..." (the distinguished gentleman or gentlewoman from..., yes) Do you ever think to yourself, where are these people from? You know, privately, can you pull Senator Stevens aside and go, "It's not really literally tubes"?

McCain: I wouldn't want to disillusion him.

Stewart: That may be the greatest answer I've heard on this. Are you reaching a frustration point in Washington? Have you gotten to the point where — have you lost your will to....

McCain: No, there's a great deal that we can do and must do, and one of 'em is this immigration reform. I know that you've discussed it in the past. By the way, our reporter in Beirut, the fly-fishing jacket was very nice. (You notice, it's the same one many of our other reporters wear.) Well, you know, it gets a little warm with those real flak jackets on, but anyway.... (You know how hot it gets in Beirut this time of year.) We've gotta fix immigration, it's broken, our borders are broken, but we have to fix it in a comprehensive fashion.

Stewart: Do you trust in the Congressional body's ability to do any work at this point, or is it so polluted and toxic right now that there needs to be some kind of filtering and cleaning before anything's really going to get done?

McCain: First of all, I appreciate the President's leadership on this issue. He's right, and that's because we agree, obviously. (So that's one. Okay.) But no, the President's been excellent on this issue. We need to sit down and talk it out, Republicans and Democrats, we need to raise the level of debate, we've gotta stop accusing each other of being disloyal — I'm serious. (No, I appreciate that.) We've gotta have a respectful debate and dialogue on this issue.

Stewart: I believe we will see that happen — when there's peace in the Middle East. All right.

McCain: There's 500 years per inch. [referring to a sketch earlier in the show about the "road map for peace"]

Stewart: I appreciate your coming by. Senator John McCain!
I also have the transcript of their April 5, 2006, interview, and the transcript of their April 24, 2007 interview.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Colbert Report NAACP interview

Stephen Colbert had a brief satellite interview on Thursday's Colbert Réport with Julian Bond, the chairman of the NAACP, talking about President Bush's address to the NAACP national convention, his first NAACP speech in 5½ years as President.

Julian Bond has an impressive record, going back to his student activist organizing days in the early 1960's. In 1965, he was elected to the Georgia state legislature, but was unseated because he was opposed to the Viet Nam War. He then ran again for the seat he himself had vacated, won the second election, and again was not allowed to serve, so he ran yet again, won the third election, and won a unanimous verdict of the U.S. Supreme Court that he could not be blocked from taking office because of his opposition to a particular government policy.

Here's a portion of the interview:


Julian Bond: Well, first of all, let me say we're glad he came. He has been President all these years, we've invited him every year, he's not come, he's always said that he had scheduling conflicts, and sure enough, he has been scheduling conflicts.

Stephen Colbert: Pinpoint — [Bush's NAACP] speech was obviously an unqualified success...

Bond: Well, it was not quite an unqualified success. Make no mistake: we're happy he came, we're glad to see him, we received him respectfully, but we wanted him to talk more about our issues. It was as if you go to a carpenters convention, you want to talk about carpentry, you don't want to talk about plumbing. We wanted to hear about judicial appointments, we wanted to hear about affirmative action, and we wanted to hear about the war.

Colbert: But what does that have to do with plumbing? (Not much.) At what point in the speech did you say to yourself, "Yes, now I'm a Republican."?

Bond: President began by saying, "I guess you [the NAACP audience] are saying, 'What took you so long?'" I thought, gee, that's endearing, a little self-deprecating humor, we sort of like people who can laugh at themselves, but I frankly was disappointed in the rest of the speech.

Colbert: I believe the part of the speech you liked was his first sentence. (Yes, that's exactly right.) And you were disappointed by the rest of the it, you say? (Yes.) So you liked about the same percentage of the speech as the same percentage of black people support the President?

Bond: Exactly, so I think I was faced with the hard reality of low expectations.

I liked the clip of Bush's NAACP speech The Daily Show used: Bush looked genuinely surprised that the NAACP expressed such enthusiastic distrust for the Republican leadership. Julian Bond was too young when he was nominated as Vice President in 1968, but he would be head, shoulders, torso, knees, and ankles above what we have in the White House now.Technorati tags: , , , , ,

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

John Dean on the Daily Show

John Dean, who was White House Counsel to Richard Nixon — in essence, he was Nixon's Harriet Miers — has written a second book harshly critical of the Bush Administration and the alleged conservatives who have fueled the political machine that brought us here. His first book, aptly and directly titled Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush, made the case that the secrecy and hidden agendas of the Bush-43 White House go far beyond anything Nixon did, both in their brazenness and in the seriousness of their ramifications. Dean has now written a second book, spawned by a conversation he had with conservative icon Barry Goldwater before his death, entitled Conservatives without Conscience. Tuesday, Dean was the featured guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; here is a transcript of their conversation.


Jon Stewart: Nice to see you. How are you?

John Dean: Terrific, Jon.

Stewart: The book is called Conservatives without Conscience, on the heels of your other book, Worse than Watergate; I ask you this: what are you driving at? What is your subtle implication here? What is the purpose of Conservatives without Conscience?

Dean: This actually emanated from a conversation back in 1994 with the late Senator Goldwater, where he and I were trying to figure out where in the hell conservatives are going, and he passed away before he had a chance to really be involved in the total project, but I didn't drop it, and I think I found the answers, and that book reports them.

Stewart: Do you consider yourself, if you were to classify yourself in that manner, a "Goldwater conservative"?

Dean: I do. On most issues, I still find myself a Goldwater conservative, which now puts me somewhere left of center.

Stewart: So a "Goldwater conservative" is now a liberal to some extent. This book, though, is almost a scientific approach to where, in some respects, conservatism is going. Talk about that aspect of it.

Dean: Jon, I found — I went down a lot of alleys where I didn't find anything, but I did find a body of academic material that really has never been shared with the general public, the voters, and what have you. It's studies that started after World War II about authoritarian personalities. Why did the people of Italy and Germany follow Mussolini and Hitler? That's where it started — could it ever happen here? Well, the unfortunate —

Stewart: If it does, you will call me?

Dean: I'm trying to give you —

Stewart: I have a bag packed, but I just want to have a couple of days.

Dean: Unfortunately, it could happen here, and it hasn't happened here — we don't typically talk about authoritarianism in democracy — but indeed there is an authoritarian strain that has gotten into the conservative movement. It's sort of a reversion —

Stewart: Isn't the point of those — and I was a psychology major in college, so I've had at least two hours of training in this — wasn't the point of all those experiments where they showed that people would give an electric jolt to strangers just because a guy in a white coat told them to, wasn't the idea based on that we are all closer to falling under the spell of authority than we think, even regular people? Is it fair to say it's a conservative trait, or is it fair to say it's in some ways a human trait?

Dean: In dealing with that, in the Milgram experiments, where he brought people in off the street, and indeed found that he could get them to administer high voltage — what they thought was high voltage, and it wasn't. I deal with that to show how people can set their conscience aside. In other words, how do people go into the CIA every day and carry out some of the orders for torture? How do people go into NSA and turn that incredible apparatus against Americans? This is a typical Milgram situation. I actually go beyond that to find the nature of the authoritarian personality that will follow a leader who is an authoritarian.

Stewart: Do you believe that the conservative movement has been overtaken by — I mean, authoritarianism is another word, I guess, for fascism — or do you think it's a weird confluence of events: an attack on American soil, a government that is unchecked by an oppositional party, in some respects —

Dean: First of all, it's proto-fascism. We're not there yet.

Stewart: We'll get there! You just gotta believe, John! You just gotta believe.

Dean: I'm hoping not, so that's why I try —

Stewart: I think I have faith in the resiliency of this country, that these guys are not the worst we've seen, or maybe even if they are, we're a reasonable enough place that the damage that they do will be repaired.

Dean: I think when people know and understand what's going on — and that's the reason someone like myself does this, is to try to take people where they can't, where they haven't been, and I found this body of material that I really felt needed to be shared. It was an epiphany for me, it answered questions I could not answer. I'm somebody who's been connected in varying degrees of proximity with the conservative movement, really almost since its inception in the modern movement. I didn't understand where it was going and wanted the answers, and I believe I found them.

Stewart: Do you believe it's a conscious effort on their part? You say "without conscience"; that almost suggests that they are willfully ignoring the humanity of people. I sense that with this government, it's not that, it's more, "We have convinced ourselves of the certainty and rightness of this position, and we will not deviate from that, even if everything within our five senses tells us that everything we've done is wrong." But my point is, it's not evil in the sense of "without conscience," it's ignorant in the sense of "I did that?" — that kind of thing.

Dean: Absence of conscience doesn't necessarily mean evil, it means the ability to set aside what's right and wrong. When a Vice President goes to the Congress to lobby for torture, when the President threatens to veto a bill —

Stewart: Now, Cheney I'll go with as evil. I'll go with him as evil. Let me ask you this: on the left, couldn't they argue that, if you look at the 20th century, the two largest authoritarian issues were communism, which was considered the authoritarianism of the left, and Stalinism, and fascism on the right — isn't it a strain in both ideologies?

Dean: No question. You can have it in — where we've never had it is here in America. What's troubling is that conservatives — not all conservatives, by any stretch of the imagination —

Stewart: Just the guys on the cover.

Dean: The guys on the cover and a few inside.

Stewart: Well, it's a really very interesting, and much more scientific, I think, than your other books have been, and I appreciate your coming on and talking about the whole thing. John Dean, Conservatives without Conscience.
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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Flag Desecration

Last week, the United States Senate missed by only one vote passing a proposed Constitutional amendment to authorize Congress to outlaw "physical desecration" of the United States flag. Many people have referred to this as the "flag-burning" amendment, but in fact it does not even mention burning. It would be left to Congress to determine what acts constitute "desecration" of the flag.


The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.
One of my Senators here in California, Dianne Feinstein, not only voted in favor of this odious bit of political showboating, she signed on as principal Democratic co-sponsor. She signed on because Senator Dianne Feinstein hates our freedom.
Mr. President, I rise as the main Democratic sponsor of this amendment. I have given this a lot of thought for a long time. I believe what we have before us is language that is essentially content neutral. It is on conduct — not speech. ... [T]here is no idea or thought expressed by the burning of the American flag that cannot be expressed equally well in another manner. While I might disagree with those who protest, I defend their right to do so. ... As President Woodrow Wilson, who proclaimed the first Flag Day in 1916, said:
This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. ... Though silent, it speaks to us — speaks to us of the past, of the men and women who went before us, and of the records they wrote upon it.
Utter hogwash! The First Amendment guarantees "freedom of speech, [and] of the press," but it protects all forms of expression, most especially political expression. There can be no shadow of a doubt that desecration of the flag is political expression, every bit as much as standing in the public square speaking on the issues of the day. There can also be no doubt that — precisely because of its offensiveness — burning the flag makes a point that cannot be expressed in any other way. The quote from President Wilson is a good one, but not for the purpose Senator Feinstein used it. The flag is an emblem which has no other character than that which we give it. Are we going to give the flag the character of freedom, of open and vigorous debate and dissent, or are we going to give it the character of enforced conformity, of marching in lock-step with all the others who are patriotic not out of choice or free will but out of fear of the government?

I love my country, and I love our flag, but I have the perspective to see that the flag is no more than a symbol. Some of my friends talk about how their fathers and grandfathers fought and sometimes died for the flag; if indeed they did, then they fought in vain. The flag is only a piece of cloth; it is precious only because it represents liberty. If we slash away at our liberties, then what point is there in having a symbol for them? Those who fight and die for our liberties deserve our respect; those who fight and die for a mere piece of cloth deserve our scorn.

Beyond that, of course, is the simple question, What makes this an urgent issue? [Or, if you prefer, Where's the fire?] There were a whopping four reported incidents of flag desecration in 2005. Last week in Brooklyn, New York, vandals burned the flags flying on several homes along one street, but that was a crime of vandalism and arson. Your right to freedom of political expression does not extend to burning someone else's flag, any more than it extends to spray-painting your slogan on someone else's wall. We don't need a flag "protection" amendment to prosecute such miscreants.

There are also one or two things the Congress might have turned its attention to — urgently pressing issues like boys kissing, pork-barrel "Homeland Security" projects, proclaiming National Broccoli and Cauliflower Appreciation Day, the war in Iraq, out-of-control deficit spending, even worse out-of-control trade deficits, stealing from the poor to give to the rich, global warming, FEMA, first-responder preparedness, and literally thousands of other issues that have far more impact on the lives of ordinary Americans.

Make no mistake: the only reason this issue was raised was to provide politicians an opportunity to desecrate the flag in the most vile and despicable possible fashion: by lowering the flag to the status of a mere prop in the gutter of political demagoguery. The 66 Senators who voted for the amendment desecrated not only the flag, they desecrated the Constitution.

Look at it this way — suppose we rephrase the proposed amendment just a little bit:
You will treat this symbol of freedom with respect and reverence, or else we will throw your ass in jail!
My wording strips away the veneer of respectability, but it is not one iota more hypocritical than the Congress' wording.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Montenegro's Country Code

The people of Montenegro, one of the republics of the former Yugoslavia, voted on 2006-05-21 to separate from Serbia, the only other Yugoslav republic remaining, to become fully independent. Montenegro has already joined the United Nations as the 192nd member state, but, for the moment, it still shares telephone country code +381 and Internet country code .YU with Serbia. The new telephone country code for Montenegro will probably be +382 or +383, one of the unused codes left over from the break-up of Yugoslavia's old +38 code. However, the Internet (and ISO currency) code is a bit more interesting.

Montenegro in Montenegrin is "Crna Gora"; however, .CR, .CN, .CA, .CG, and .CO are all already in use. Similarly for "Montenegro," .MO, .MN, .MT, .MG, and .MR are already in use. That just leaves one possibility: .ME! I suggest to the government of Montenegro that they lay claim to .ME, which will also open up a whole new possibility for "vanity" domain names, such as or

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