Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

I wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe New Year and to thank everyone for visiting and commenting on my blog.

See you next year!

Robin

SONY - I screwed with your computer and got caught, here's a free CD

MSNBC
Sony BMG reaches deal in spyware flap
Proposed settlement would compensate consumers with free music

NEW YORK - A proposed settlement of lawsuits against Sony BMG Music Entertainment would let some consumers receive free music downloads to compensate them for Sony surreptitiously including spyware on millions of CDs, lawyers said Thursday.

Lawyers said the deal requires the world's second-largest music label to stop manufacturing compact discs with MediaMaz software or with extended copy protection or XCP software that could leave computers vulnerable to hackers.
According to terms of the settlement, Sony BMG will let consumers who bought the CDs will be able to choose from …

Door number 1: A cash payment of $7.50 and a promotional code to download one additional album.

Door number 2: Download three additional albums from a list of more than 200 titles.
Or

what's behind door number 3: which is the time and money that you lost trying to get the MediaMax software out of your computer and any damage or compromises to your system caused by this software.


Software intended to limit copies
Sony began including MediaMax on some of its discs in August 2003 and introduced XCP last January. Both software programs limited the number of copies of a disc that a user can make.
Beginning in November, more than 20 lawsuits were filed after a computer security research specialist a month earlier traced a hidden software program on his computer to an XCP disc he had purchased and installed, the settlement papers said.
According to the court papers, the software program made the user's computer more susceptible to unwanted intrusion from third parties and effectively disabled any firewall and anti-spyware protection programs previously installed on a computer.

The Texas Attorney General’s November 21, 2005, lawsuit also alleges that a phantom file is installed to conceal the XCP files from the user, thus making it difficult for the user to remove the files from his or her computer. Because of alleged violations of the Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act of 2005, the Attorney General is seeking civil penalties of $100,000 for each violation of the law, attorneys’ fees and investigative costs.


Sony said it had provided customers with a one click "uninstall" application that lets them removed the MediaMax from their computers from the 20 million CDs containing the Malware. [And everything should be okay now, let's just forget the whole thing.]

The point is that a company should not be allowed to place any software in a computer without the express knowledge and permission of the owner.

I hope this will set a precedent for consumers in the courts when companies who think that they have a right to violate and trespass into somebody else's property and compromise their systems.

Unfortunately for Sony, they did not learn their lesson from Betamax. To tight of control over a product or license can actually work against you.

In this particular case, I think the courts are letting Sony off easy, however the consumers may not be so kind.

Friday, December 30, 2005

States are subject to federal enforcement actions if they do not comply with requirement.

Statesman Journal
Oregon set to meet voting-law deadline on statewide database to be running by beginning of 2006

The 2002 Help America Vote Act affects the conduct of elections normally handled by state and local governments.

STATEWIDE DATABASES for voter registration.
MINIMUM STANDARDS for voter identification, tying in with databases for driver's licenses and Social Security numbers. Beginning Jan. 1, new Oregon voter-registration cards will require driver's-license numbers and the final four digits of Social Security numbers; other identification may be accepted.

The federal law emerged from problems with the presidential election in Florida in 2000.

"The requirement came from concerns about irregularities in voter checklists," said Deb Markowitz, Vermont's secretary of state and the president-elect of the association.

"It was an inability to identify or purge duplicates, or to prevent somebody from registering and voting in more than one place."
I hope that this will help stop illegals from being able to vote however I am concerned about the privacy of our vote.
will they now [more then they can already] more easily be able to link the voter to who and what they voted for.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

58 year old woman kill crossing street-- blame the drivers

The Oregonian

Beaverton pedestrian dies in predawn accident
BEAVERTON — A 58-year-old Beaverton woman was killed early Wednesday when she was struck by three cars as she tried to cross Northwest Walker Road at 180th Avenue.

Police investigators think Peilian Wu was crossing Walker Road to make her way to a bus stop about 150 feet from the intersection to head to work in Portland, said Officer Paul Wandell, Beaverton police spokesman.

The accident happened at 7:06 a.m., which was about 11 minutes before dawn Wednesday, Wandell said. Sunrise in Portland on Wednesday was at 7: 50 a.m.

Here is where I am going to give kudo's to the Oregonian.

Normally when you hear about these types of stories, normally only all that you hear is that a pedestrian was ran over by these big bad cars and no details of what happened.

For once, it is reported who was really at fault.

1. it was 7:06 am, 11 minutes before dawn (eg dark out side)
2. It was raining (which made it even darker and hard to see)
3. She was in an undesignated (unmarked) crosswalk
4. The speed limit was 45 MPH

I am sorry that this person died, however this is another great example that BOTH motorist and pedestrians must use common sense when it comes to traffic issues.

Too many times pedestrians and bicyclists just stepped out into traffic without looking and then complain that it is a driver's fault for their stupidity.

liability insurance will be mandatory...... for your dog???

Statesman Journal

VIENNA, Austria --Ouch! Viennese city authorities are putting the bite on the Austrian capital city's new dog owners starting next week.

From Jan. 1, liability insurance will be mandatory for Vienna's dog owners for pets born after that date under new city laws.


Okay, You can bet that the folks in Salem are drooling over this idea.
They are probably thinking….."hummmm, we passed a law for kids to wear helmets without voter approval, we could do the same to raise more money, er, I mean to protect children. (ca-ching)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Unusual illegal immigration class action suit could cost employers under federal anti-racketeering law

Yakima Herald

A Chicago lawyer who has described Yakima as "overrun with Mexicans" and "smothered by endless taco joints" will argue an unusual immigration case against executives of Zirkle Fruit Co. in a trial set to start in two weeks.

Howard Foster, who pioneered the use of a racketeering statute in immigration cases, will try to show in federal court here that Zirkle management purposely hired thousands of undocumented workers in order to depress wages and keep down costs. As many as 20,000 legal workers in the Yakima Valley were injured as a result, he argues.
If Foster wins at trial, the jury would decide in a second phase if legal workers — who have class-action status in the case — are entitled to damages and how much.
Those damages would be tripled under the federal racketeering statute. Each class member would receive a check for back pay based on hours worked from November 1999 to the present. I definitely recommend going to the web site checking out the rest of the story it is quite interesting.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

An important advisory from odot

ODOT
Residentes de Oregon deben tener cuidado con 'coches inundados'

Más de la mitad de un millón de vehículos pueden haber sido arruinados por inundaciones de los huracanes Katrina y Rita por la Costa del Golfo, según estimaciones por la Asociación Nacional de Comerciantes de Automóvil. El huracán Wilma puede aumentar esos números.

Eso puede ser millares de millas lejos, pero aún residentes de Oregón en el mercado para un coche usado, debe tener cuidado, advierte el DMV de Oregón.


Now for the rest of us... a Google translation

Residents of Oregon must have well-taken care of with ' Resident cars inundados' of Oregon must have well-taken care of with ' cars inundados'. More than half of a million vehicles they can be ruined by floods of the hurricanes Katrina and Rita by the Coast of the Gulf, according to estimations by the National Association of Retailers of Automobile. The Wilma hurricane can increase those numbers. That can far be thousands of miles, but still resident of Oregon in the market for a used car, it must be careful, it notices the DMV of Oregon.


I thought it was really nice for odot to share this warning with us... it is just too bad that I had to go to Google and translated it to find out what it was.

[see snapshot]





Steal gasoline... lose your license

KVAL
Changes in Oregon's traffic laws

do I stop and wait for the pedestrian cross one lane or all lanes of traffic?
confused? So were the people that wrote the changes in the law last year.

Under the old 2004 law, motorist are required to stop before turning and wait until the pedestrian crosses both the drivers Lane and the adjacent lane before moving on.

Unless... [under the new law] if a pedestrian is proceeding under a pedestrian control device, the motorist can now turn once the pedestrian has reached a six-foot buffer between where the vehicle is going to turn and where the pedestrian is at.
that makes a little bit more sense than the previous law where you have to wait for somebody to completely clear the intersection and then by that time the light has already changed and only one car managed to get through the light.
Really smart guys.


Other changes for 2006 ODOT

House Bill 2361 clarifies Oregon law by giving DMV authority to automatically revoke a drivers license after a third conviction under the influence of intoxicants. Did Kulongoski also want to includes the medications in the definition of intoxicants?

Senate Bill 568 allows courts to suspend a drivers license for up to 30 days for motorists convicted of driving more than 30 miles an hour faster than the speed limit or by going 100 miles an hour or faster.

House Bill 2811 expands the Oregon law prohibiting placement of a television screen within view of a driver to include all image devices, such as DVD and CD players. clocks also? The law exempts vehicle navigation systems.
it does not mention any exception for computers placed within a view of operators of emergency vehicles

Senate Bill 487 [generously] allows Oregon residents returning from active deployment outside the United States up to 90 days after discharge to renew their expired driver's license or vehicle registration.

Senate Bill 2937 allows courts to suspend a drivers license for up to six months upon conviction of theft of gasoline. so they refused to do anything about cars theft, but you can lose your license for stealing the gas in the car.
You got to love Oregon. Humm, I wonder if that also includes from lawn mowers


Senate Bill 640 will require DMV to compare an applicant's photo to customers photos already on file using facial recognition software, prior to issuing a license or ID card.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Springfield police help give Christmas to fire victims

KVAL News

SPRINGFIELD -
One Springfield family was in danger of having no Christmas at all, after a fire at their apartment cost them nearly all that they have. But, with the help of the local community, the family says that this is a Christmas they'll never forget.

"It wasn't just somebody that just needed a Christmas, it was somebody that had lost everything in a fire," said Sgt. Mike McCarthy of the Springfield Police, "and they needed everything from personal items to Christmas presents."

The police adopted the Beth and Bryan Acree, their four kids, and Bryan's three children that spend weekends here in town.
"So we got the whole department on board," Sgt. McCarthy says. "We had officers, records, dispatch; everybody volunteered, and chipped in and went out and bought something."

"Today is an exceptional day," Beth Acree says. "We got a lot more than we ever expected we would, and it's turned out be a really great Christmas."

Beth Acree had a whole list of people she wanted to thank: "The Springfield Police Department; Red Cross; Siuslaw Valley Christian Center of Florence, Oregon; St. Mary's Church; Salvation Army; UTMB of Galveston Texas; and to our family, Louis and Evelyn Acree, and Virgil and Sam Rose, thank you for everything you've done for us and our seven children. we're very grateful and appreciate it."

You know this is really great to see with all the negativity about Christmas going on.
This is really what the spirit of Christmas is all about, helping others in need.

Merry Christmas and a great appreciation to all those who lent a helping hand to this family in need.

Does the music industry have the right to look in your computer without a warrant or your knowledge?

Registerguard

The RIAA thinks so and one woman is fighting back

Patricia Santangelo of White Plains New York was in church with their kids on Easter Sunday when she says the music recording industry peaked in to her computer and decided to take her to court for downloading music.

Santangelo who claims she has never downloaded a single song on her computer is being sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the coalition of music companies that is pressing the lawsuit has sued over 16,000 people and demanded thousands of dollars to settle the cases.

Santangelo, unlike 3700 other defendants who have already settled with RIAA, said she is willing to fight on principle even though it has already created an enormous financial strain for her.
"I'm out $24,000 and we have not even gone to trial." Said Santangelo

What I would like to know is how any company can go into your computer and look around without your knowledge and more importantly without a warrant.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas Everyone

Friday, December 23, 2005

Emissions - A state panel adopts California's stricter standards

The Oregonian

Oregon is on its way to becoming the 10th state to adopt California's tough vehicle emissions rules with a vote Thursday by the state's Environmental Quality Commission.
The unanimous vote puts automakers on notice that new cars and light trucks sold in Oregon must meet new standards for controlling greenhouse gases and air pollutants, beginning with the 2009 model year. It also clears the way for the state of Washington, which committed to adopting California's tailpipe rules if Oregon did.
A survey of 244 Oregon voters conducted in October found 67 percent supported stricter emissions standards for new cars sold in Oregon. The survey was conducted by independent pollster Michael Riley for the Clean Cars for Oregon Coalition, which includes business leaders, health care activists, conservation groups and representatives from Oregon's faith community.

Ted "the sky is falling" Kulongoski, is showing his ignorance once again. As Lars has pointed out many times including having interviews on air with representatives from DEQ that Kulongoski's efforts to create California standards for admissions is unnecessary.

I am sure that it is safe to say that we all love clean air... and cars have gotten a lot better over the years... and they continue to get better... but there's also this point that the economy in Oregon is in the toilet.

Of course this goes along with the same mentality as President Bush's speech yesterday, "the economy is improving. There are more jobs. Things are getting better." Tell that to GM and Ford, and Freightliner who just laid off a bunch of employees. I think those employees would have a different opinion about the economy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

United States tired of playing... Mexico throws temper tantrum

The Seattle Times
"Mexico is not going to bear, it is not going to permit, and it will not allow a stupid thing like this wall," Derbez said.


MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government, angered by a U.S. proposal to extend a wall along the border to keep out migrants, pledged Tuesday to block the plan and organize an international campaign against it.

Facing a growing tide of anti-immigrant sentiment north of the border, the Mexican government has taken out ads urging Mexican workers to denounce rights violations in the United States. It also is hiring an American public-relations firm to improve its image and counter growing U.S. concerns about immigration.

Mexican President Vicente Fox denounced the U.S. measures, passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, as "shameful" and his foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, echoed his complaints on Tuesday.

"Mexico is not going to bear, it is not going to permit, and it will not allow a stupid thing like this wall," Derbez said. is this a threat? Is this a declaration of war?

"What has to be done is to raise a storm of criticism, as is already happening, against this," he said, promising to turn the international community against the plan.

Many Mexicans, especially those who have spent time working in the U.S., feel the proposal is a slap in the face to those who work hard and contribute to the U.S. economy. oh, so then being here illegally is not a slap in the face of our justice system and their lack of respect for our laws.

"When people heard this, it worried everybody, because this will affect everybody in some way, and their families," Robledo said. "They were incredulous. How could they do this, propose something like this?" simple... you broke the law and were tired of it and were putting a new lock on the door.

Robledo, whose son and mother are U.S. citizens, predicted the measure "would unleash conflict within the United States" as small businesses fail for lack of workers. in this instance, he does make a good point, however, it is no excuse for companies to hire people who do not have a right to be here and to encourage people to break the law. I.e. two wrongs do not make a right.

Additional comments on this issue, Daniel's Political Musings


If President Fox is really concerned about the immigration here, than the first thing that he could do to promote better relations between the two countries is to first encourage his people to go through the process that has been set up to come here legally and to remind them that they are ambassadors of Mexico and to act accordingly. Instead he is encouraging his people to risk their lives and come here illegally. That doesn't say much for a government that is willing to unnecessarily put their peoples live unnecessarily at risk.

If Fox is so concerned, why doesn't he focus on making his own country a more prosperous place to live. Why is he encouraging his people to leave?

What they do not realize or understand, is that the illegal immigration problem has gotten out of control and we are forced into taking extreme measures to regain control of our borders and if putting up a fence is one of those measures, then so be it.

By Fox threatening international pressure and publicly making comments such as "Mexico is not going to bear, it is not going to permit, and it will not allow a stupid thing like this wall." Is a threat that we should not take lightly.

The bottom line, this has became more than just a view illegal Mexicans coming across the border looking for work, it has gone way beyond that and the sheer numbers speak for themselves.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fox described the proposal to put up security fences with lighting and cameras on the border as disgraceful

New York Times

Mexican workers in the United States sent home a record $20 billion to relatives and friends this year.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Angered by a bill in the U.S. Congress aimed at cracking down on undocumented workers, Mexican President Vicente Fox urged Americans on Sunday not to forget that many of their ancestors emigrated to the United States.
The legislation, which foresees building a high-tech fence on parts of the U.S.-Mexican border to stop illegal immigrants, neared passage in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
The legislation, which has divided Republicans, would also make it harder for U.S. employers to hire illegal aliens and make it a felony to live in the United States illegally.
"It's a very bad sign, which does not speak well of a country that is proud of being democratic, proud of being a country of immigrants,'' Fox said in a speech to relatives of Mexican migrants. were also a country of laws

Mexican workers in the United States sent home a record $20 billion to relatives and friends this year.
Last week, Fox described the proposal to put up security fences with lighting and cameras on the border as disgraceful, and Mexican officials have likened it to the construction of the Berlin Wall.
"Walls belong in the last century. They were knocked down by people in the search of liberty and democracy,'' Fox said on Sunday.

When you have people that are you illegally entering your yard in your home without permission, you put up a fence and locked the door to try and control the situation.
With almost 1.2 million people that were arrested last year and an estimated 11 million undocumented aliens living and working in the United States, definitely shows that there is a problem that is out of control and needs to be dealt with.
President Fox has forgotten that it is not the fact that we do not want immigrants here, it is that we do not want ILLEGAL immigrants here.
I am sure that others feel the same way that I do, if Fox helped to get the situation at the borders under control, I would be glad to support President Bush's guest worker policy, but why should President Fox wished to change anything when they are bringing in an estimated $20 billion into the Mexican economy each year.
It sounds like, Fox is more concerned about the money than he really is about is people, otherwise, he would be more focused on making his own homeland better for his people to reduce the number of immigrants leaving his country.

House OKs Bill to Tighten Immigration Laws and requiring employers to verify the legal status of their workers...

Washington Post


WASHINGTON -- The House acted Friday to stem the tide of illegal immigration by taking steps to tighten border controls and stop unlawful immigrants from getting jobs. But lawmakers left for next year the tougher issue of what to do with the 11 million undocumented people already in the country.

The House legislation, billed as a border protection, anti-terrorism and illegal immigration control act, includes such measures as enlisting military and local law enforcement help in stopping illegal entrants and requiring employers to verify the legal status of their workers. I thought that is what the INS I-9 was supposed to do that, so they're advocating to start enforcing the laws that are already on the books? It authorizes the building of a fence along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Bush praised the House for approving the bill. "America is a nation built on the rule of law, and this bill will help us protect our borders and crack down on illegal entry into the United States," he said in a statement. "I urge the Senate to take action on immigration reform so that I can sign a good bill into law."

Nobody is advocating the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants, said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., sponsor of a guest worker measure. Without a temporary worker program, he said, "We simply won't enforce the law, and that's the dirty little secret here." that's interesting, a representative advocating to break the law... interesting

While many agree with Flake, there are wide differences on the details of a guest worker program. Some lawmakers would require those in the country illegally to leave before applying for such a program, arguing that counterproposals allowing those already here to seek legal status is equivalent to amnesty.

The bill makes unlawful presence in the United States, currently a civil offense, a felony. An amendment to reduce the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor was defeated, with many Democrats voting against the proposal in protest over subjecting people who have overstayed their visas to any criminal charges.

The most sweeping provision of the House bill would require all employers in the country, more than 7 million, to submit Social Security numbers and other information to a national data base to verify the legal status of workers.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Animal Waste Specialist? Licensed by the State of Oregon? For Doing What???

KVAL
Picking up dog doo!!!!

Eugene -
Most dog owners would say cleaning up their pooches poop isn't their favorite job, so one local woman has made it hers.
Amy Siddon started "Scoop Da Doo" dog waste removal service about a month ago. The recent University of Oregon graduate is a dog lover who wanted to start her own business doing something outside and helping people.
The service costs $10 to $15 a week depending on how many dogs you have, how big your yard is and how often you want a pick up.

Siddon is certified by the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists and is licensed by the State of Oregon. For more information call Scoop da Doo at (541) 913-7056.

When I heard about this on the news the other night, I thought it was really great that somebody came up with the initiative to start a new business but then it came to a shock to me that they had to be licensed by the State of Oregon.

Well, the licenses fitting of the job. You can fill in the blanks on that comment.

"…businesses paying the program fees so that the city's $100,000 cost to run the program…The cose is mostly for workers to compile data"

Register Guard
Gas stations may face toxics law

Eugene's 20 or so gas stations may be forced to report to and pay into the city's toxics-reporting program, which allows the public to review hazardous-chemical use and discharge by local companies.

The city has required manufacturers to report use of hazardous substances since voters passed the toxics law in 1996. Now, the city council may add gas stations, gas distributors and small manufacturers to the list, said Glen Potter, program manager.
The council earlier this year considered expanding the number of firms reporting and paying into the program and asked the toxics board to make suggestions.

Initially, the council had considered expanding the number of businesses paying the program fees so that the city's $100,000 cost to run the program would be more evenly spread among big and small companies, Potter said. The cost is mostly for workers to compile data.

Businesses must report if they meet the following conditions: they operate within the city; employ the equivalent of 10 or more full-time employees; work in manufacturing; and use 2,640 pounds or more of hazardous substances in a calendar year.

Companies pay about $30.50 per worker up to an annual limit of $2,000 set by the state legislature.

Well, I WAS thinking of opening a new business in Eugene… think that I'll follow everybody else's example and look at Springfield instead.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Is Mexico Crying for Help?


Robin's Commentary -- Should the US "liberate" the Mexican people as we are currently doing for Iran?


The US is trying to figure out a way to get the illegal immigration problem under control by changing our laws, talks of putting up a new fence on the border, etc. maybe we should stop for a minute and ask ourselves if we are approaching this problem the right way?

We have been playing defense with this issue of illegal immigration for so long that perhaps it's time to take an offensive approach to it.

When you have millions of people that are willing to risk their lives and leave their homeland every year only to come to this country they are obviously trying to send a message.

The message being sent by 400,000 Mexican people who are fleeing Mexico annually is that they are obviously screaming for help. However, their message has fallen on deaf ears from the United States because if it was any other country with a similar situation, then you could rest assured that the world police (the US) would be sticking its nose into that country's business to help its people.

So why aren't we? The answer... money and control.

Mexico supplies 1/5 of the world's oil reserves in addition to being a source of low cost labor for North American companies who build plants there. [1]

One of the arguments... is that the immigrants venture to the United States seeking work. However, according to a recent survey... most undocumented workers from Mexico had jobs before they entered the United States. Based on a survey conducted from July 12, 2004 to January 28, 2005 of 4836 Mexican immigrants in Dallas; Raleigh, North Carolina; Los Angeles; New York; Chicago; Atlanta; and Fresno, California.

Undocumented Mexican immigrants usually have been portrayed as desperate jobseekers without options in their own country. However, those surveyed who had been in the United States for two years, only 5% said that they were unemployed before venturing north.
The lure of higher wages appears to be the big incentive. [2]

Therefore, it seems that most are employed although not making large wages but employed nevertheless. With the country being so rich in resources, why leave that to come to America?

Perhaps it is a lifestyle that the Mexican people endure.

Mexico is the 14th largest country in the world, and a land of many cultures. It is a nation of young people: mostly 70% of Mexicans are under 30. [3] with a compulsory military service required for males 18 years of age with a service obligation for 12 months. [4]

It has been stated that corruption in Mexico is like a cancer that has affected almost all the body. With high pollution in its main cities, crime and drugs and the inefficiency and corruption of the police, many of whom are involved in the felonies.[3]

I don't know the answer... but I do offer up this suggestion...

It would seem like it would be economically benefit for both countries to work together to make Mexico a better living place for its citizens.

If the government is abusive to its people then perhaps we should follow suit like we did with Saddam Hussain and arrest the president and take over the country to liberate the people of Mexico.

If we can help make Mexico a better place for the Mexican people, in my opinion, that would reduce the need for them to risk their lives, risk their children's lives to leave their homes and cross the border.

At some point, the Mexican people need to stop running and need to stand up and take their country back. They need to take responsibility for their own homeland and in the sheer numbers in which they are leaving, is more than enough to accomplish this.

I am not advocating violence... there are other methods and perhaps that is exactly what they are doing now, by hurting Mexico with a declining population.

As with Iran, we should help Mexico and their people to make life better for them in their own country, so that they would not have a reason to come to this country and the illegal immigrants here could go back home to a better place.



Sources
[1] virtual Mexico
[2] the Miami Herald
[3]Semper Reformanda
[4] Mexico military 2005-flags, maps, economy
Disclaimer: the accuracy of the information presented here is dependent solely on the accuracy of the information presented on the referring web sites above and therefore should not be considered as being 100% accurate.
This article is only presented as an opinion and your comments and opposing views are welcome.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

RF ID PayPass credit cards... a good idea?


Robin's Commentary Part 2

what's in your wallet?

you may not like the answer.

one of the newest items to rollout is using an RF ID embedded chip inside of your credit card for a process called PayPass in which you no longer have to swipe your credit card or debit card through the card reader itself, instead you only have to "Tap" the card to the reader.



Although it sounds wonderfully convenient because you would no longer be bothered with the hassle of signing receipts and entering pin numbers because they will no longer be required.

MasterCard (Chase) is one of the companies that had started to use this technology.

To understand why I'm concerned about this... let me address how I understand the technology.

The technology is called "BLINK", which works with the same principle as the RF ID tags that are in merchandise in stores. It has an antenna in which it receives its power from and when activated it emits an encoded signal which the reader picks up.

The company claims that the cards have a range of about 4 inches and can be read through your wallet... however, just like any type of radio signal, there are two factors which have a major influence on the range of the device.

#1) the signal strength of the transmitter.
#2) the sensitivity of the receiver.

A signature is not required when using a blink card because Chase feels that the encryption and other security features built into the blank make the card secure without the need for a signature. of course, unlike a debit card which requires a pin number for security, the blink card only requires the card to touch the reader. This in no way identifies who the rightful owner of the card is.

Another problem with the card depends on the location of the terminal (reader) itself. In some cases, if two or more terminals were close together, not only did both terminals read the card, but the read range of each terminal increases to as much as 30 feet.[NPR]

Even if the terminal is operating within the proper range of 4 inches, some people are worried that they could accidentally walk too close to a terminal and end up paying for someone else's purchase.

One of the security concerns is somebody with a RF ID sniffer device could capture your credit card information without coming in physical contact with the card and duplicating that information onto another card (or emitter) without you even knowing it.

The credit card is designed so that it can not permeate metal, meaning that if you put it within a metal sleeve that readers can not read the card and thus gives you some control over the card.


To permanently disabled the RF ID, there are devices that will do this. However, without doing further research and with the risk of damaging the card at this point I do not recommend experimenting with one of these devices like Tagzapper

To sum up... the technology may make it more convenient to purchase items, I just want to have the choice of whether or not I wish to use this type of technology or not.

information sources:
Kim Zetter, reporter for wired news -- guest on NPR radio
How Stuff Work - How Blink Technology Works

McDonald's asked to remove Christmas greeting

WRAL

Religious McDonald's Sign Draws Attention In Raleigh
Woman Asks Restaurant To Remove Sign, 'Jesus Is The Reason For The Season'
The sign at McDonald's on the corner of Falls of Neuse and Spring Forest Road reads: "Merry Christmas, Jesus is the Reason for the Season." It is a holiday message that Amanda Alpert thinks comes on a little too strongly.

"It offends me because it specifically talks about Jesus, Merry Christmas. It doesn't give credit to anyone else," Alpert said.
"I care because I'm Jewish, and the reason for the season is upsetting to me," Alpert said.


McDonald's managers say the sign has been good for business. They say church groups have stopped by to eat, and some people who usually don't eat food from McDonald's have stopped by because of the sign. The store's owner did not return WRAL's calls.

All I have to say is... grow up!


Friday, December 16, 2005

I just got my ATM card number exchanged for RFID card


Robin's Commentary


You know the story... give us your credit card and we will automatically withdraw your regular monthly payments and make it really convenient for you as a consumer... unless you get that letter in the mail from your credit card company stating "congratulations, you have a new card" and along with a new card number which means that you now have to contact all of those companies and notify them that you have a new card number within a 90 day period, otherwise, they will get notification of a closed account.

So, I called my bank and ask them if I really have to accept the new card number. Their reply was, "no, you have the right to cancel your account" did you feel the warmth? and she proceeded to remind me of the do whatever we want to consumer agreement that you signed to get the account in the first place.

Well in truth, on this particular card there isn't anybody that does an automatic withdrawal... it is just the idea of the impending work without even asking if I wanted it.

Anyway, the reason for the card change was because of the new RF ID technology otherwise known as "Paypass", which involves only "tapping" the scanner instead of scanning your card through a reader.

Coincidentally, because of our car being stolen, I have been researching transponders to add a lockout system on our cars to prevent future loss and although the technology is quite amazing, it is not infallible. For these brand new RF ID cards, there are already devices to capture and duplicate the signal. No surprise there, because that's how technology normally works.

However, what bothers me is the range that these cards have to be at in order to create a transaction.

Depending on the system or frequency, also determines the range.

Low-frequency 125-148 kHz normally used for pet and animal identification and car key locks have a normal range of 3 feet.

High frequency 13.56 MHz is the frequency used for the "smart cards" and they have a range of 3 feet as well. [source]

Key Bank in a news release claims that it the signal is only good for up to 4 inches and is only activated when the card comes in range of a high frequency radio waves admitted by the receiver. the signal can be read through a wallet -- so you could just tap the wallet without ever taking the card out -- but the consumer must be in front of the machine. of course they did not mention how the system knows which card you wish to use it you are tapping your wallet
[source]

So my question and concerned is, what is to prevent you from just laying your wallet or purse down near a scanner and then the next thing you know you just bought something?

There are also devices out there called RF ID sniffers in which the frequency can be captured and then encoded into another card.

Finally, I just do not want my wallet to be broadcasting.

My bank told me on the following that I should embrace new technology, my response was, I used to repair robots... that does not mean that I want one for my home.

In short, be prepared to start changing a lot of credit card numbers because this is technology that everybody is going to start adopting and if there are any entrepreneurs out there that wish to make a dollar for people like me who are concerned about signal theft, metal credit card holders that you could put your card in to isolate the signal might not be a bad idea.

The cashless system is on the horizon... whether we like it or not.

Smoking foes try to stop parents from lighting up

the Washington Times

Anti-smoking activists who are driving cigarettes from public places across the country are now targeting private homes -- especially those with children.
Their efforts so far have contributed to regulations in three states -- Maine, Oklahoma and Vermont -- forbidding foster parents from smoking around children. Parental smoking also has become a critical point in some child-custody cases, including ones in Virginia and Maryland.

In a highly publicized Virginia case, a judge barred Caroline County resident Tamara Silvius from smoking around her children as a condition for child visitation.
Mrs. Silvius, a waitress at a truck stop in Doswell, Va., calls herself "highly disappointed" with the court's ruling.

The smoking-at-home issue also sparked debate about whether such rulings will lead courts to become involved in such matters as parents' making poor TV programming choices for their children.
The nonprofit group Action on Smoking and Health is among the most outspoken on stopping parents from smoking around children.

"Children are the most vulnerable and the most defenseless victims of tobacco smoke," Executive Director John F. Banzhaf III said. "They should be entitled to the same protection as adults."

I'm not a smoker myself, never have however both my parents smoked like a chimney.
I was not too crazy about them smoking... my mother died from lung failure caused from smoking, but that does not mean that I want the government to come in and tell them whether or not they can smoke. As far as secondhand smoke... I would HOPE that the parents would use a little common sense if their child has asthma.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Out-of-State Students Sue Over Tuition

LA times
· Plaintiffs are challenging California practices that require them to pay higher college costs than some illegal immigrants.
Contending that they are illegally charged higher tuition and fees than undocumented immigrants, a group of out-of-state students and parents filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday against California's public university and community college systems.

The suit, filed in Yolo County Superior Court, challenges practices based on 2001 state legislation that allows certain undocumented immigrants to pay the same charges for college as other California students. California is one of at least nine states that permit some undocumented immigrants to pay in-state fees, an issue that has drawn fire from advocates of tougher policies against illegal immigration.

The suit contends that 60,000 out-of-state students at University of California, California State University and public community college campuses have illegally been required in recent years to pay higher, nonresident charges. For example, out-of-state undergraduates at UC campuses are paying an average of $24,589 to attend this year, versus the $6,769 charged students who qualify for in-state fees.

"We think this could be a major, precedent-setting case," said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington-based group that lobbies for tighter immigration restrictions. Providing in-state fees for undocumented immigrants "is something that rewards illegal immigration [and] encourages more people to violate the immigration law," Mehlman added.

"My job isn't to patrol the border. My job is to build healthy communities," said Marshall "Mark" Drummond, chancellor of California Community Colleges. "Regardless of the merits of these folks coming here in the first place, the point is to me that they're here, they're residents of communities, they are successful graduates of California high schools, and I personally welcome them to study and learn in our community colleges and contribute back to their communities."

To qualify for the lower in-state charges, students must have attended three years of high school in California, graduated from a California school and gained admission to one of the state's universities or colleges.


Threats prevent Christmas cross in Pioneer Square

Lars Larson Show

I have some sad news for you today. The Christmas Cross in Pioneer Square won’t be going up on Monday morning.
We’ve been fighting this battle for the last couple of weeks…ever since we got the permit to put up the Cross…and the Portland area Christian Churches agreed to sponsor it. Today…the threats to damage or destroy the cross have become promises.
So called progressive groups like Indymedia…have published threats and promises…that if a symbol of Christianity is erected in the square…it will be vandalized…damaged…or destroyed.
Let me tell you why this makes it impossible for us to put up the Cross
First…this Cross means something very important to me…and to millions in Oregon and Washington. I won’t put it up…only to be destroyed or vandalized. Aimed at any other group you would see this labeled a “hate crime”…but it seems Christians are fair game. Second…we know that when those protests happen…there’s a near certainty that someone will be hurt…perhaps even killed. That can’t happen.
Third…our flagship radio station…KXL…has taken the heat…offered to pay liability insurance for the five days we planned to put up the cross. But the kind of anti Christian acts that have been promised could generate millions in lawsuits and that can’t happen.

I think it is really a sad day that when people are more concerned and threaten such violence... it is just pitiful.

We are constantly asked as a society to honor diversity, and to celebrate other cultures, but what we wish to celebrate a culture... our culture... Christmas, the birth of Christ which has been in our culture for generations to become something so disgusting to other people, so intolerant.

These groups are telling us that we cannot celebrate our heritage... but yet they insist on celebrating there's. Where is the fairness?

I encourage you to check out the link above and read comments from people who are opposed to the cross going up... I think it would turn your stomach.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Illegals bill drops felony provision

the Washington Times

The House Judiciary Committee chairman yesterday backed off his provision to make illegal aliens felons and instead proposed a misdemeanor charge for unlawful presence, angering some Republicans who wanted the higher penalty.

The House is expected to vote today on a border enforcement and employee work verification bill, which calls for more U.S. Border Patrol agents, mandatory database checks of employees' eligibility to work, expanding expedited removal of illegal aliens and allowing sheriffs along the border to help enforce immigration law.

Initially the bill made felons out of the estimated 11 million illegal aliens, thus making them ineligible for legalization. But yesterday the bill's chief sponsor, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican and Judiciary Committee chairman, said he will amend the bill today to make it a misdemeanor. what you mean "would have made felons" I was under the impression that if you broke federal law, that automatically made you a felon
His spokesman, Jeff Lungren, said the felony requirement actually would have delayed deportation of those now here illegally, while the lesser charge speeds it up.

you know, I just do not get it.

Is It Fair to the Children of Illegal Immigrants

the Miami Herald

An immigrant rights group urged Florida's U.S. senators to back changes to make legal the status of thousands of high school students.

Anahi Otiniano, a young Peruvian, doesn't remember precisely how her parents illegally brought her into the United States 18 years ago when she was 5.

But whenever she thinks about it, she bursts into tears.

Her American dream, she said Wednesday, has turned into an immigrant nightmare.

Otiniano was among three foreign-born young adults who called on Florida's two senators to back a measure that would grant legal residency to undocumented high school graduates, allowing them to pay in-state college tuition or join the military and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.

Many like Otiniano grew up in the United States thinking they are Americans, though in reality they are among the millions of undocumented migrants living on the margins of legal society. Most were brought here by their parents, who sneaked into the country or overstayed their visas looking for work or fleeing political persecution.
Otiniano said she was 5 years old when her parents left Peru by plane to Mexico and then made their way to the U.S. border, undetected by immigration authorities.

The family eventually made its way to Miami. Otiniano said her father at one point obtained temporary residence but allowed it to lapse and reverted to being an undocumented migrant.

She grew up here thinking she was like the other students at Hialeah Senior High.
Her immigration status finally became an issue when she couldn't enroll in college.
''I asked my parents for the papers I needed, and at first they were evasive, but eventually told me I had no papers,'' Otiniano said.

my heart goes out to this person for being the victim for their parents not being responsible enough to follow the law... in fact, wouldn't this be one form of child abuse

Case in point... her parents broke federal immigration laws and endangered their child by bringing their child across the border illegally and now the child is forced to face the consequences and trauma from her parent's actions. The child services division has been known to remove a child from a household where one or both parents are criminals, what makes this situation any different?

Not that I'm suggesting that children services start removing children from their families, but I do think it is very unfair to throw a child into this particular situation against their will.

Student loans -- Feds can take Social Security

CNN
A person's benefits can pay off old student loans

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the government can seize a person's Social Security benefits to pay old student loans.
Retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote the decision that went against a disabled man, James Lockhart, who contends he needs all of his $874 monthly check to pay for food and medication.
His government benefits had been cut by 15 percent to cover debts he incurred for college in the 1980s.
The Bush administration had maintained that the case was important because outstanding student loans total about $33 billion, which includes about $7 billion in delinquent debt. Of the delinquent loans, about half are over 10 years old, government lawyers have said.
Justices were called on to clarify federal laws that sent conflicting messages about the collection of loans that are more than a decade old.

Being a student of course, I have a dog in this one... I was surprised to hear how many "older" students commenting that they weren't worried about the student loans because they won't live long enough to pay them off... while, the truth of the matter is that they're not taking into consideration is that they will still owe money even through retirement, so important planning is crucial when excepting these loans.

I am being faced with that same decision, next fall I will be graduating with my associates degree and over $20,000 in debt, if I continue on to my bachelors it is estimated another four years at least of schooling with an additional estimated $80,000 more of a debt.

I will probably be 56 years old by the time I gradually with a bachelors degree, so it makes it for very tough decision whether or not to continue.

I'm not too keen on the fact that the courts ruled that money can be taken from Social Security, but on the other hand, you did sign a commissary note when you borrowed the money which makes you responsible for the loan, however, I also think that the court should be flexible on the ability to repay as well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Right now, undocumented students are forced to pay out-of-state tuition."

The Daily Barometer
SALEM -- The rally wasn't set to begin for another 10 minutes, but when a television camera began to roll, the students gathered at the Capitol steps opted to put on a show.
"We're hoping we will not be ignored," said Oregon State senior Kevin Grant, making sure his voice could be heard over shouts of support from the crowd.
"Freeze our tuition!" a student yelled. Another, looking toward the Capitol, said: "Can you hear us?" OSU's tuition has increased by 53 percent over the last four years.
Universities across the state will see a 12 percent tuition increase over the next two years.
Students have also put "tuition equity" on their agenda -- a policy that would allow undocumented immigrants who meet certain conditions to pay in-state tuition.
"We want to break barriers to higher education," said Jael Anker-Lagos, co-chair of the Students of Color Coalition at the University of Oregon. "Right now, undocumented students are forced to pay out-of-state tuition." and that is wrong... why?
Your undocumented... this means your illegal... it means you're not supposed to be here... and you want in-state tuition? Gimme a break.

The issue at hand in which we are waiting more information further news that was announced Tuesday about students filing a class-action suit for states offering in-state tuition to illegal immigrants and not others.

Federal law passed in 1996 prohibits illegal aliens from receiving in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher education. Specifically, Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (Title 8, Chapter 14, Sec. 1623) states: "an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State ... for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident." (source)




Feds expected to boost rates by a quarter-point

Fox News

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is expected to hike interest rates another quarter point today. But after 18 months in which the Fed has been pushing rates higher to keep inflation under control, the central bank appears to be getting close to the end of its rate increase campaign.

However, there is a divergence of opinion among economists on just when the rate increases will cease. One group thinks the Fed will stop after two more rate increases, while analysts who are more worried about inflation think the central bank could raise rates perhaps four more times.

"The Fed is looking at an economy right now that is growing strongly with upside risks to inflation," said Lyle Gramley, a former Fed board member and currently senior economic adviser at Schwab Washington Research Group, a financial advisory firm.

"... is growing strongly with upside risks inflation"

How often have we heard these words uttered from Alan Greenspan? "The economy is strongly recovering"

Tell that to General Motors and Ford... Kodak... Sony... and all the other companies that had to do massive layoffs and/or went out of business because they could not afford to keep operating in the consumer could not afford to keep buying products.

The federal government treats the interest rates like it is a totally separate entity from everything else. Every time that the interest rate goes up, it causes a cascading effect in the economy.

  • state and local governments suffer because of increased on operating expenses and lower tax base thus forcing them to raise taxes and fees to compensate

  • overall operating expenses on businesses are increased, forcing businesses to reduce operating costs and lay off employees as well increasing the price of goods and services

  • the price of fuel increases make it more expensive to get goods to market and the cost is passed on to the consumer

  • resulting in massive layoffs, businesses closing

  • consumers being tighter on the dollar purchase less which forces more layoffs and business closures

  • state and local governments again feeling the pinch from lack of revenue, raise taxes and fees again to compensate (citing the example when Oregon was the top in unemployment in the nation)


  • So could somebody please explain to me how making things more expensive is actually a good thing.

    Judge Clears Way for Border Fence Construction, Environmental Groups Opposed

    Fox News
    SAN DIEGO — A federal judge on Monday lifted the final legal barrier to completing a border fence meant to thwart illegal immigrants in the southwestern corner of the U.S.
    The project comprises 14 miles of additional fencing in San Diego. In September, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff waived all laws and legal challenges to building the final 3 1/2-mile leg through coastal wetlands to the Pacific Ocean.
    The Sierra Club and other environmental groups had argued that Chertoff lacked the authority to do what he did.
    The proposal calls for adding two fences to an existing barrier made of Navy landing mats. A maintenance road would be built between the primary and secondary fences, along with lights, sensors and cameras.

    how much do you want to bet that they will do just like the Oregon prisons... spend millions of dollars for the prisons but forget to allocate money to run them.


    Monday, December 12, 2005

    girls are nurses... boys are technician

    KATU
    Portland school officials float same-sex school idea

    PORTLAND, Ore. - A proposal discussed at a meeting Tuesday night would dramatically change Portland's schools.
    The idea is to separate the boys from the girls, putting them each at different schools, something private schools have been doing for years.
    Harriet Tubman in northeast Portland is one of the schools that could become an all girls public school under the plan. The boys would be sent to Jefferson.
    The way it would work is that girls from grades 7 through 12 would be sent to Harriet Tubman, where their education would be focused on health occupations.
    Boys who are the same age would go to Jefferson, where the curriculum would focus either on leadership, arts or technology.
    what would be the point of separating the boys and girls and in particular focusing on the old adage of "girls would focus on health occupation" and "boys on leadership, arts or technology".
    What are we trying to do return to the 50s? This is so Ozzie and Harriet. So what's next? Poodle skirts!
    I vote no, I do not think it's a good idea... what do you think?

    Immigration Protesters Go after Employers

    The Seattle Times

    LAKE FOREST, Calif. — The white van eases into a liquor-store parking lot and is swarmed by 30 Hispanic day laborers who begin intense job negotiations with the driver. Within seconds, another wave of people descend on the van. Mostly white and middle aged, they snap pictures as they cite federal labor laws.
    "If you hire illegal workers, we'll put your picture on the Internet," warns Robin Hvidston, a property manager who became an immigration activist after being alarmed by the number of Hispanics she saw in her Orange County community.
    Their method: Take photos of construction bosses and anyone else picking up day laborers, then post the photos on Web sites (such as www.wehirealiens.com and www.operationshameonyou.org), sometimes including home addresses and license-plate numbers. They also give their footage to immigration officials.

    Their objective is twofold: to shame businesses into not hiring illegal immigrants and to force the government to enforce immigration law.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials evaluate the groups' phone tips and footage, but often their reports are not verifiable enough to prompt an investigation, said Bill Riley, ICE's chief of work site enforcement.

    "Nobody gets work on the days they come," said Fernando Gomez, a day laborer.
    Gomez, 30, from Michoacán, Mexico, said he and most day laborers he knows came to the U.S. illegally.
    "But someday we will be legal," he said. "We just want to work. We didn't come to do anything bad to anybody."

    I think this is a wonderful idea... hit them where it hurts…. In the pocket book.

    Just like putting the photos of Johns that solicit prostitution, employers who solicit and hire illegal immigrants should be published and we should no longer do business with them.

    Tough Immigration Bill up for Vote

    The Seattle Times

    WASHINGTON — Driven by the rising anger of constituents, House Republicans are pushing ahead with tough legislation to tighten control of U.S. borders and clamp down on the hiring of illegal immigrants —without offering new avenues for such immigrants to find lawful employment. why should that be our priority, especially when we have high unemployment in the United States anyways?

    President Bush and Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman have implored House leaders not to take up what they call an "enforcement-only" bill, arguing that such a punitive measure could jeopardize years of Republican outreach to Latinos greed... they are only concerned about how many votes that they can get and they don't care how they get them. Believe it or not, there was actually a time when politicians ACTUALLY were concerned about the welfare of the American people

    Under the bill, employers would be mandated to confirm the authenticity of employees' Social Security numbers against a national database of legitimate numbers. All illegal immigrants apprehended at the border would have to be detained, and deportation processes would be streamlined.

    Latino political organizations are incensed by the bill. Cecilia Muñoz, vice president for policy at the National Council of La Raza, says the measure would overwhelm the nation's jails and law-enforcement agencies without effectively stemming the flow of illegal immigrants.

    The business lobby is not happy, either. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has expressed disappointment that there is no temporary-worker program and called the bill's mandate on employer verification impractical and unrealistic.

    I still fail to understand why we're more concerned about Latinos and Hispanics over any other group.

    It makes me wonder if the old "follow the money" rule applies here

    "A bad policySaturday's protest and subsequent name-calling illustrate the great divide when it comes to illegal immigration for the state"

    Toodburn Independent

    The Woodburn Independent wrote a very nice article which I recommend describing the "Carousel of Information" event held recently in the Woodburn .

    "…They don't deserve it, haven't earned it and they denigrate the efforts of those who have done it the right way. This "hand it out by the bucket-full" mentality is wearing thin with many Oregonians and offers a full-tilt example of what has gone wrong with this country's immigration policies."

    "The fact that several state agencies were in attendance Saturday, offering to help get people signed up for programs and assistance, continues to send a convoluted message -- "you're breaking the law, but we'll take care of as many of your needs as we can."



    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    "You stole our land and we want it back"


    This is a phrase that illegal aliens have started chanting. Claiming that the United States had illegally taken over their territory such as Texas, California and Oregon and they want it back citing the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
    I will admit that I am not a historian and that this was the first that I ever heard of this treaty, so I decided to do a little research and thanks to the Montery County Historical Society, I found a copy of the treaty which you can view at this link.

    " The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican War, was signed on February 2, 1848, by Nicholas P. Trist for the United States and by a special commission representing the collapsed government of Mexico. Trist disregarded a recall to Washington, and negotiated the treaty in violation of most of his instructions. The U.S. Senate reluctantly approved the treaty.
    Under the treaty, Mexico ceded to the United States Upper California and New Mexico (including Arizona) and recognized U.S. claims over Texas, with the Rio Grande as its southern boundary. The United States in turn paid Mexico $15,000,000, assumed the claims of American citizens against Mexico, recognized prior land grants in the Southwest, and offered citizenship to any Mexicans residing in the area."

    Again, I'm not a historian or legal expert and I will be looking into this in more detail after finals week, but from the jest of what I'm getting from this is that the United States and Mexico were at war and Mexico lost.

    "they want it back", even for the sake of argument if these territories were returned, they would be returned to the Mexican government, not the people.

    So I would take that under consideration before I make such a claim especially since the major reasons cited for being here is because of the lack of opportunities and tyranny from their homeland.

    Is Eugene ready for this type of REVENUE enforcement?



    Robin's Commentary

    If history repeats itself, when the voters vote down another tax for public safety, as in the past, they will find other ways of raising money. Usually through citations.

    This may come in the form of officers pulling over more people for minor violations or they may try a new tactic by using technology known as photo radar and red light cameras. It's

    although not so new to law enforcement, red light cameras and photo radars are started to show up in more and more cities throughout the United States such as Portland and Medford


    As any street cop will be the first to tell you, the majority of the felons that are captured from traffic stops for a minor traffic infringements such as a burned-out taillight etc..

    Photo radar of the other hand is an automated system whose only job is to send you a ticket in the mail in which you have to prove your innocence.

    One of the big questions that is asked is, is this law enforcement or revenue enhancement?. Moreover, how much are we paying for the systems?

    Well here's the thing that will surprise you... not that much.

    It is revenue enhancement, who profits from it and how does it work?

    A private company known as Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. Of Scottsdale, Arizona partners with the local cities by providing the necessary equipment, support and monitoring needed for the systems.
    (Information from their web site) (link)
    City Provided Services
    The city oversees all aspects of the photo detection and enforcement technology through this contract. The city controls the site selection process for both fixed and mobile detection systems. The city pays monthly rental fees for both fixed and mobile detection systems. Fees are also paid for each successfully prosecuted speed and red light citation.
    Contractor Provided Services
    The contractor pays all costs for vehicle and equipment purchase, installation and maintenance. Van operators are hired and trained by Redflex .
    Redflex is responsible for the following:
    · process and mail all citations
    · provide an expert witness to testify in Court on all contested citations and appeals
    · perform process service via a third party subcontractor (Arizona Photo Safety) when defendants ignore the first mailed copy of a citation.
    In FY 2003-04, the City paid Redflex approximately $1.4 million for all of the above services. Redflex is not required to report their net profit to the city under the current contract. that's interesting

    Photo radar itself is a mobile unit that is in mounted inside of a van placed on random streets. It includes a camera that is connected to a radar gun, which automatically triggers when a vehicle approaches above a set setting.

    Currently, photo radar has the following restrictions under Oregon revised statute (ORS) 810.438-439 specifies how photo radar can be used by the authorized cities. It can be used in any one location for no more than four hours a day, can not be used on controlled access highways, and the city must post signs notifying drivers of potential photo enforcement on major routes entering the city.

    The photo radar units must be operated out of marked police vehicles by trained police officers.

    Law enforcement? Revenue enhancement? Definite moneymaker? Absolutely!

    Law enforcement -- can we all just get along?

    Register-Guard

    Police hope a new property crimes task force will bring some of Lane County's most prolific thieves to justice.
    The team is the brainchild of Lane County Sheriff Russ Burger, who pitched the idea to state and city police earlier this year to address the area's high property crime rate, which for years has outpaced that of the state and the rest of the country. gosh, you don't think publicly advertising that you will no longer be responding to burglar alarms and prosecuting?
    The other agencies, including Eugene, Springfield and state police, the Lane County District Attorney's Office and county parole and probation, were eager to join in. Of course, were asking for a new tax that we want the voters to pass
    The team's secret weapon? Communication. Communication??? That's it??? "It's hard to get agencies together to talk about cases," sheriff's Lt. Randy Smith said. "The goal is really to share information and to apprehend the most prolific burglars and to return as much stolen property as you can."
    "These burglars and thieves don't just target one jurisdictional area," Sheriff Burger added. "They cross boundaries." really??? Those dirty bastards

    "When someone writes a search warrant for meth, they're probably going to find stolen property," Smith said. "And when someone writes a search warrant for stolen property, they're probably going to find meth." Yah, you think… but I'll bet you that they will not find any Theraflu.

    "The team's secret weapon? Communication."
    Gee, you know what is odd... I thought that they were working together. Intra-agency communication enhanced by technology, computers in their cars, video cameras and radios.
    I did not realize that they were all running independent clubs.

    Therefore, the big Woopdi Doo of this story is that the different agencies are going to start talking to each other… Humm…. is it just me, or does this sound pretty lame.

    Remember folks, these are the same people that are asking for $49 million and a sales tax.

    I will give kudos to Lane County Sheriff Russ Burger for trying to help and should encourage others to come forward with ideas as well.

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    immigration -- roundtable discussion idea

    with another event such as the one this weekend in Woodburn and with people refusing to talk to Daniel along with poor media reporting, I was thinking that wouldn't it be great to have a roundtable discussion on Lars's show

    Lars of course could moderate the discussion with the panel to include representatives from the State of Oregon, one or two bloggers such as Daniel from Daniel is right , representatives from PCUN, MEChA and a couple of illegal aliens and/or other supporters of these events to present their views.

    it would also be great if some of our representatives would have the GUTS to call in and discuss this issue as well.

    Personally I would be very interested in hearing why we should support and defend people who blatantly break the law and why our government is not enforcing the law.


    What do you think of this idea?

    and Lars, if you decide to do something like this... it would be great if you could put it in your archives so people like myself who work or have school can listen to it later.

    so people, what do you think? it would be a lot of work for the KXL staff to put it together and make it happen, but do you think that overall it would be a good idea and that we should encourage them to at least consider the idea?

    if you like the idea, send Lars Larson a note at talk@larslarson.com

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Bilingual proficiency and/or multicultural experience is preferred.

    a common phrase heard on the minimum qualifications of job openings

    as I am within several terms of graduating with my associates degree in networking, I have already started my job search and it is very frustrating to look at the minimum qualifications and find that I am qualified in most areas accept one... I do not speak another language.

    this job that I'm referring to is on Lane Community College's web site for part-time information technology technician (lab aide)link
    and I only present it as an example, because for right now, they are saying "bilingual proficiency... preferred." Soon, it may change to required.

    Saturday, December 03, 2005

    Daniel and the Cheezer reports

    Woodburn Protest Against Matricular Consular Card

    both Daniel and The Cheezer report from another gathering today in Woodburn where there is another gathering for illegals to receive their Matricular Consular Card so that they may return to Mexico.
    which does not make any sense to me why they would get the cards in the United States to return to Mexico, it would seem like they would have to get the cards while they were in Mexico, to return to Mexico.

    be sure to watch for Daniel statements on channels 2, 6, OPB, The Oregonian

    for more information and photos, click on the following links.

    Daniel's political musings

    The Cheezer

    protesters were commenting with signs stating "no human being is illegal, we are all immigrants"

    that is not the point, it is still a violation of law
    another sign read "immigrants pay taxes"

    if you're an illegal immigrant, how do you pay taxes? do you have a Social Security number? and since ALL employees have to prove that they have the legal right to work in the United States and the employers have to keep on file the I-9 immigration form, that except for buying goods and services, how do you pay taxes?

    Kudos go out to Daniel and The Cheezer for their great reporting

    Republican national committee chairman opposed to raising anti-immigrant sentiments

    GOP officials urge caution on immigrants.
    Washington Post
    CARLSBAD, Calif., Dec. 1 -- Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman urged his party Thursday to oppose rising anti-immigrant sentiments in the debate over border security and illegal immigration, suggesting that the GOP risks being on the wrong side of history and electoral politics alike if it embraces an exclusionary message.would they think that when Spanish is the primary language of the United States?

    Appearing before the Republican Governors Association, Mehlman waded into an issue that political analysts say threatens to rip apart the Republican coalition and inflict long-term damage to the party's hopes of expanding its appeal to Latinos and other minorities. [buzzword alert]

    "Throughout our history, there's always been Americans who believe that coming to these shores with a right reserved only for them and their ancestors, but not for others."Mehlman said.

    With Latinos now the fastest-growing [non-legal]segment of the population, Republicans can ill afford to offend them with immigration policies that are seen as punitive. GOP strategist Mike Murphy, who participated in a panel discussion after Mailman's speech, noted that in California, a politician now can win 70 percent of the white vote and is still lose an election because of the state's growing diversity.
    "... SEEN AS PUNITIVE "
    Is it punitive to embrace people who came here illegally versus the people that come here legally?
    Don't they realize the harm that they are doing to the legal immigrants?

    "... as opposed raising anti-immigrant sentiments..." like it or not, we are not doing anybody any good by ignoring this issue. We have already demonstrated to the world that our immigration and federal laws have no meaning instead we embrace people who break the law.

    If you are not going to lock the house, then why bother with a key? I would not want to offend the growing number burglars because locking the door interferes with their trade. This is exactly what is happening with homeland security in my opinion.

    Illegal immigration has impacted every person in the United States. Jobs are becoming harder to obtain if you do not speak Spanish and if you do your rewarded by the State of Oregon with a 5% bonus.

    More companies and educational institutions are requiring their employees to learn Spanish. What message does that send out?

    "…Can ill afford to offend them with immigration policies that seem PUNITIVE."
    Is it PUNITIVE to the immigrant who went through all the channels to be here legally? If you ask me, it cheapens their efforts and makes their lives tougher. If we turn our backs to illegal immigration, then why have an immigration policy?

    "He issued a strong call for tougher enforcement of immigration laws but extolled the contributions of immigrants and denounce those who have sought to close the country to foreigners."
    That is not true... we have policies in place for immigrants to come here LEGALLY, however there is a large number that choose not to follow procedure which means they have no respect for the citizens of the United States, the legal immigrants and the laws of this country.
    Tell me again why we should embrace that type a diversity?

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    Finals Week

    in preparation for finals week, I now know why they call it dead week. I am beat and burned out.

    after next week when I'm done with my last final, I should be able to get back to a regular blogging schedule, so stay tuned :-)


    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    “THE CHRISTMAS CROSS AT PIONEER SQUARE”

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    December 1, 2005
    “THE CHRISTMAS CROSS AT PIONEER SQUARE”

    Everyone is invited to join us as we begin a new tradition at Pioneer Square, “The Christmas Cross” sponsored by The Portland Area Christian Churches and the Lars Larson Show of radio station 750 KXL. When asked about the display Larson said, “we’re putting the Cross in the Square to remind people of the real reason for the season. Letting local government re-define the ‘Christmas Tree’ as a ‘Holiday Tree’ is an insult not only to Christians everywhere, but to other religions as well. You shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer in order to say ‘Merry Christmas.’”

    The Cross will be on display in the Square from the morning of December 19th and available for viewing through Christmas Eve, December 24th 2005. The Lars Larson Show can be heard Monday through Friday from 11am to 2pm in Portland on Newsradio 750 KXL and throughout Oregon, Southwest Washington and parts of Idaho on 17 affiliate stations via the Radio Northwest Network.

    Is this the end of Christmas as we know it?



    You know the old saying, "give them an inch and they will take a mile"? This is what is happening with Christmas.

    I was born in the 50s and all through my childhood within a couple weeks of Christmas the only thing on television was what I considered "boring" Christmas shows. where are the cartoons? The have all been preempted for Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, a Charlie Brown Christmas and how the Grinch stole Christmas. I remember Burl Ives playing a snowman on television and singing "have a happy jolly Christmas".

    At the time I considered the shows rather annoying and I would think to myself...
    "There will always be Christmas."
    "who would ever want to destroy Christmas?"
    "it could never happen!"

    Right after Thanksgiving, the stores will start decorating for Christmas sales, [that dates me, because now they start right after Halloween] the Salvation Army had their bell ringers in front of the store and everywhere you went, people were wishing you a Merry Christmas.

    "BAH HUMBUG" I would think to myself.

    Christmas is about family. I lost my family at an early age in my life. "Merry Christmas", "Yea, whatever. go suck an egg", I would think to myself as I politely returned the greeting.

    Then I noticed a couple years ago, nobody was wishing me a "Merry Christmas" anymore.

    People had stopped decorating for Christmas in their homes and at your place of businesses. One of the prettiest times of the year when the streets were lit up with all the colorful lights and decorations. oh yes, and I always looked forward to the eggnog. [Alcohol free of course]

    Suddenly, almost without warning it happened.

    The Christmas tree started to become something evil and had to be compromised and called a "holiday tree" so that its presence could be tolerated. Ordinances were springing up within the cities such as Eugene Oregon not allowing the Christmas tree on public property. And forget about decorations.

    Like Presidents' Day, Veterans' Day, Labor Day and all the other federally sanctioned days, Christmas which is the time to celebrate the birth of Christ and for families to come together, was actually being threatened with extinction.

    Just like Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is dying.

    Comments such as, " do you think baby Jesus was born under a canopy of Douglas firs?... he was born in the desert,... and probably looked a lot like Osama bin Laden..." says Jack Bogdanski in his blog.

    He may be right... but does it really matter?

    The spirit of Christmas as we are reminded by the shows that I grew up with, was a spirit of family and helping others. A time of "Joy to the world and peace on earth".

    It doesn't matter if you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Asian or whatever. It is a holiday to be celebrated by all.

    Even if you do not believe in God and are not a Christian, enjoy the extra couple days off and holiday pay that you're receiving and let the people that believe have their day just like you would want to have your day celebrated, whether it be Hanukkah, Ramadan or the summer solstice.

    If the celebration of Christmas offends you so much, then go crawl back into your hole and leave the rest of us alone.

    Yes, I did not really understand the true meaning of Christmas, and maybe I still do not.

    Just like Ebenezer Scrooge having the three ghosts having to show him what Christmas really is, perhaps the holiday tree is really one of the ghost of Christmas future.

    Merry Christmas!


    [images from Rudolph the red nose reindeer provided by Tv Party and is copyrighted by their respective owners.]