Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

We’re actually having an OTP this week.
The last two Thursdays have been festival days (Yamim Tovim), and that means no blogging, and thus no comment moderation to aprove trackbacks.
At any rate, you all know how it works.
Link to this post, and send a trackback, and your links will show up at the end of the post.
Also, I’m hosting the New Blog Showcase on 8 May.
in order to qualify, blogs must be three months old or newer.
If you want to participate, please send all submissions to arush06 [at] earthlink [dot] net.
You can also use the multi-carnival submission form to submit posts.
I hope to be able to include lots of new blogs in the post, and all blogs included will be linked and trackbacked by me.
All I require is that you return the favor.
Everybody enjoy, and feel free to take as much advantage of the free exposure as you want.

As seen at:
The New Blog Showcase,
Linkfest Haven,
TMH’s Bacon Bits,
Quietly Making Noise,
and AmandaPosted on Kind Tags Leave a response on Open Trackback Post, And Call For New Blog Showcase Submissions

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Associated Press

Apr 23, 2006 10:56 AM (ET)

apnews.myway.com//article/20060423/D8H5PBIO0.html

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) – Del Mar College students now have to use
computers outside the school’s system if they want to visit the
popular Web
site MySpace.com.

The community college has blocked the site in response to complaints
about
sluggish Internet speed on campus computers.

An investigation found that heavy traffic at MySpace.com was eating up
too
much bandwidth, said August Alfonso, the school’s chief of information
and
technology. Forty percent of daily Internet traffic at the college
involved
the site, he said.

“This was more about us being able to offer Web-based instruction, and
MySpace.com was slowing everything down,” President Carlos Garcia
said.

MySpace.com – a social networking hub with more 72 million members –
allow
users to post searchable profiles that can include photos of
themselves and
such details as where they live and what music they like.

Paul Martinez, 20, is a frequent visitor to MySpace.com and finds the
site
to be addictive. Restricting access to the site could be a good idea,
he said.

“The library is pretty much full with people on MySpace, and with them
banning it you won’t have anything to distract you,” he said.

Some though, disagree with Del Mar College’s decision.

“We pay for school and the resources that are used,” said Zeke Santos,
20.
“It’s our choice, we’re the ones paying for our classes. If we pass or
fail, it’s up to us.”

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Story last modified Fri Apr 21 05:30:35 PDT 2006

More spam is now relayed from Asia than any other continent, according to the latest research from security company Sophos.

And all the while I thought Europe was responsible.

Asia accounts for 42.8 percent of the spam received by Sophos’ global spam monitoring network, with North America in second place with 25.6 percent, the
company said on Thursday.

Two years ago, North America was responsible for more than half of the world’s spam, Sophos said. Now North and South America combined don’t come close
to Asia’s percentage, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at the security provider.
Cluley added that Europe is also becoming a major relayer of spam and now transmits almost as much as North America, with 25 percent. “I won’t be surprised
if Europe overtakes North America next month,” he said.

On a country-by-country basis, the U.S. still relays most spam, with 23.1 percent. China and Hong Kong come second with 21.9 percent of global spam, while
South Korea is third at 9.8 percent.

China has many computers running older versions of Microsoft Windows, which contributes to the levels of spam, as machines running older versions of the operating
system are more easily exploited by spammers.
South Korea is a particularly tempting target for spammers, as a result of its advanced technology infrastructure and the economic rewards of setting up
networks of zombie computers, or Botnets Sophos said.

“South Korea has a fantastic Internet structure with immensely fast connections, and so it is a goldmine for spammers wanting to create botnets,” Cluley
said.

A ZDNet UK research report released this week found that despite advances made in security technology, there has been little or no reduction in the time IT professionals are spending trying to protect
their business systems from issues such as spam and viruses.
This is why the leaches responsible for clogging up the ‘net with spam really need to be taken out and shot once convicted.
They’re doing nothing but causing lots of problems for everyone.
“The top 10 viruses in the past 10 months are really old, which suggests the human race isn’t winning the war against viruses and spam,” Cluley said. “Some
people just simply aren’t bothered, and they are the ones bombarding the rest of us.”

However, Cluley said that Microsoft has made some big differences with XP Service Pack 2. The security-themed update to Windows has made it harder for hackers
to break into Windows systems, because a rudimentary firewall and automatic updates are enabled by default, he said.
in other words, Microsoft is holding the hand of every clueless consumer who doesn’t have enough sense to protect their shiny new computer from the bastards responsible for making our lives difficult.
There needs to be some sort of penalty for that kind of stupidity.
Antivirus company McAfee agreed that security vendors and cybercriminals were locked into a stalemate.

“It’s almost like a game of chess,” said Greg Day, security analyst at McAfee. “Spammers try to put our customers in check. We put pieces on the board to
block them, then they make their next move,” he added.

McAfee and Sophos agreed that spam was unlikely to disappear, and called for Internet service providers, businesses and home users to run antispam software.
I can’t believe people still have to be told to do something that simple.
Haven’t people figured out that they have to take an active role in protecting themselves from the junk email they’re complaining about flooding their inboxes?

ISPs have traditionally been reluctant to block any kind of content, although most of the major players now have some form of antivirus protection for their
customers.

“It’s an issue we’ve been working on,” Day said. “Every person has to protect their own space. But there’s a lot of common sense in moving a security level
up into the cloud,” or in the space surrounding users and ISPs, Day added.

McAfee and Sophos also applauded the recent arrests of spammers, but said that more needed to be done in terms of international law enforcement cooperation.

“When the prosecutions hit the streets, there was a visible downtrend in spam. But these aren’t global laws. It’s a step in the right direction, but there’s
definitely scope to work on this,” Day said.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By Patrik Jonsson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
ATLANTA – To critics of the administration’s immigration policies, the Department of Homeland Security sent out a strong message this week: Current laws
can discourage illegal immigrants and those who hire them.

On Wednesday, federal immigration officials stormed light manufacturing facilities in Atlanta and 41 other US locales, arresting more than 1,100 suspected
illegal immigrants as well as people believed to have hired them.

Impacts of immigration reform

On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a refocusing of resources that would target employers “harboring aliens for illegal
advantages.” The initiative is an attempt to go after such employers with the same intensity applied to other criminal organizations.

“[Wednesday’s arrests] are symbolically very important and may suggest either a testing of this particular variation of immigration policy or it may indicate
a movement in a more punitive direction to try to prevent or limit the inflow of undocumented workers,” says Dan Cornfield, a Vanderbilt University sociologist
and editor of the “Work and Occupations” journal. “It’s a message that the US, right now, won’t condone that type of employer behavior.”

The massive raids on Wednesday netted 1,187 arrests, more than all illegal immigrants arrested last year.

In 2005, officials arrested 150 suspected illegal immigrants, mostly at North Carolina military installations. Just over 100 people have been arrested this
year in smaller stings, one at a Missouri construction site, the other at a New Jersey car wash.

Arrests timed to announcement

Wednesday’s arrests were apparently timed to an announcement by Mr. Chertoff and the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Julie Myers, in Washington
on Thursday.

Secretary Chertoff said the effort is aimed at those who are “exploiting illegal aliens” and “who adopt as a business model the systematic violation of
immigration laws.” The federal government will “make sure we come down as hard as possible.”

The hiring of undocumented immigrants was the focus of legislation passed by the House of Representatives last year, including increased penalties for those
who break the law and a national system for electronically verifying worker status.

The federal government is making other, quieter efforts to respond to the public outcry over the surge in illegal immigration during the decade.

Atlanta recently saw the arrival of 70 extra federal agents to clear a backlog of naturalization requests, some going back 10 years. It’s all part of a
quiet movement on the federal government to heed public outcry, some say.

“There’s little doubt that something is going to happen, because the public is demanding it now,” says Maritza Pichon, executive director of the Latin American
Association in Atlanta.

Though there are some “bad actors” who exploit workers and the law, most businesses that hire illegals are complying with federal law, industry groups say.
The problem is that many illegals carry fraudulent documentation. New rules will tighten up requirements on employers.

Stricter enforcement “is an effort to create an environment that allows broader reforms to move forward,” says Craig Regelbrugge, co-chair of the Agriculture
Coalition for Immigration Reform in Washington.

But “I’d rather see resources short-term going into [battling] organized human smuggling and exploitation as opposed to putting all of America’s dairy farms
out of business that have an immigrant workforce and that have met their responsibilities under the law,” he says.

Parallels with prohibition

“This situation is not much different than the prohibition era,” he adds. “You have well intended and poorly conceived laws that spawn organized criminal
activity and make lawbreakers out of otherwise contributing and law-abiding people.”

Others see it as a piecemeal attempt by a White House and Congress who have been negligent in addressing a problem that has developed in front of Americans’
eyes over the past 10 years.

“In a world where illegals can register kids for school, where state police stop them on speeding violations and don’t tell federal authorities, the reality
is it’s very difficult for the federal government to do this alone,” says Peter Morici, a labor economist at the University of Maryland in College Park.
“Politicians are very happy to hammer on employers, but they’re not willing to take actions within their grasp” to pass comprehensive reform, he says.

The arrests Wednesday, which spanned nine states, netted hundreds of rank-and-file workers as well as seven current and former executives of IFCO Systems,
a manufacturer of crates and pallets. The executives were charged with harboring and transporting and encouraging illegal workers to reside in the US.
Because it was called a “criminal investigation,” Ms. Pichon says there are few signs that such investigations are likely to target undocumented day laborers.

What’s problematic for politicians is that Americans are torn over whether to uproot what are usually solid, hardworking families or demand a law-abiding
society, immigration experts say.

But few observers believe this week’s action represents more than a drop in the bucket in the battle to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

“If you’re talking about people coming into the US, the stream of immigrants, both legal and illegal, will continue, because these the need for economic
and social improvement overrides any fears” of arrest, says Rudy Rodriguez, a professor at the University of North Texas in Denton.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

April 13, 2006

THERE WAS ANTIQUITIES DEALER Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos, coming off like an angel on the National Geographic Channel’s special TV program on the Gospel of
Judas. “I think I was chosen by Judas to rehabilitate him,” says Tchacos, who bought the 1,700-year-old papyrus. “Judas was asking me to do something for
him.”

Tchacos was doing something for herself as well. She had paid $300,000 for the papyrus and — despite concerns that it might have been looted and thus had
illegally entered the shadowy world of private antiquities dealing — resold it to her lawyer for $1.5 million plus half the proceeds from any future use.
National Geographic didn’t tell that part of Tchacos’ story.

Nor did National Geographic inform viewers that it paid $1 million for the right to publicize the papyrus, and that a portion of the proceeds from the show
and two related books would go to the lawyer and, through him, to Tchacos, whose past includes a suspended sentence for possession of looted antiquities.

The Gospel of Judas tells a riveting story that many people find new. It says that Jesus asked Judas to betray him, thus setting the Passion into motion.
But the gospel’s provenance shows that some things don’t change in a couple of millenniums — except for inflation. Thirty pieces of silver then, or $1.5
million now: It’s still about money.

There are laws against trafficking in antiquities whose legal ownership cannot be documented. So Tchacos’ lawyer, Mario Jean Roberty, could not sell the
actual papyrus. Instead, he came up with the thoroughly modern concept of selling the content instead, and he found a taker in National Geographic.

Ordinarily, the discovery of something like the Judas gospel would be announced in a scholarly publication as a probable addition to the Gnostic Gospels
— early Christian writings that were rejected by the church hierarchy. Instead, National Geographic gave it a public splash that rang more of commercial
zing than scholarly thoughtfulness, with a glitzy TV special, two books and an exhibit timed for the week before Easter.

The papyrus was breathlessly described as possibly turning Christianity on its head. And the codex is an exciting archeological find. But the concept of
Judas playing out a role that he perceives as Jesus’ desire isn’t particularly new, as anyone who ever watched “Jesus Christ Superstar” can attest.

The National Geographic Society’s involvement did help restore the papyrus and bring it to public light — and back to Egypt. But the society’s willingness
to cut deals over a find whose legality is unclear, without being forthright about its role, its associates or the money involved, adds a legitimate sheen
to the shady world of illegal antiquities dealing and helps sustain that unsavory market.

I would also like to add that this find isn’t going to turn Christianity on its head.
The Gnostic Gospels didn’t do it, and neither did the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Gospel of Judas was written far too late to do that, and those who believe that this new gospel will be the undoing of Christianity forget that Christianity is based largely on faith.
In other words, the main tenets of Christianity, (that Jesus died for the sins of mankind, rose from the dead, and is now in heaven, interceding on behalf of those who accept him as their personal savior), are entirely based on the faith of his followers, which is based on what is written in the New Testament.
None of these tenets can be proven or disproven.
Whether or not Judas was commissioned specifically by Jesus to set his Passion in motion is completely irrelevant.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Girls were the cause of the interruption, but Will Smith gets the blame.
Will Smith made a stop at the Western Wall to pray, bringing his security detail with him.
The interruption came when several girls began pushing against the mehitzah (the barrier separating men and women during prayer in Orthodox and very traditional Conservative synagogues).
Smith and his wife placed notes in the cracks of the Wall in accordance with tradition, and Smith also tried to smooth over the interruption by shaking the Bar Matzvah’s hand and posing for a picture.
While I’ll agree that the tefillah was interrupted in a way it never should have been, I disagree with the labelling of Smith and his entourage as the cause.
Clearly, Smith conducted himself as he should, while the girls pressing against the barrier did not.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Long-banished radio bad boys Opie & Anthony are returning to the air
to save
the company that fired them nearly four years ago, sources say.

The toxic twosome, canned by CBS’s WNEW-FM after contestants on one of
their
shows were caught making love inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, are
expected
to return “within weeks” to the sister station Howard Stern
abandoned –
“Free FM” (92.3), formerly K-Rock, according to the sources.

That means curtains for Stern successor David Lee Roth, who’s been
fighting
with CBS over his show’s format after lousy initial ratings.

Opie & Anthony – a k a Gregg Hughes, 41, and Anthony Cumia, 43 – were
No. 1
with men in “afternoon drive” until the St. Pat’s scandal drove them
to
unregulated XM Satellite Radio 18 months ago.

Stern, a longtime enemy of “O&A,” debuted on rival Sirius Satellite
Radio in
January.

XM is expected to continue to air O&A while syndicating them –
carrying both
a sanitized, “FCC-compatible” version for Roth’s seven CBS stations as
well
as a shorter, free-wheeling version for anything-goes XM. The
unprecedented
arrangement means radio’s highest-rated rebels will finally go head to
head
with Stern.

Ironically, Opie & Anthony will expand their potential audience
massively by
adding conventional stations in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and
elsewhere
while Stern’s current satellite-radio audience is only about a tenth
of what
it was on more than three dozen “terrestrial” stations.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fi-fcc20apr20,1,2083645.st
ory?coll=la-headlines-frontpage
Documents are sought from Clear Channel, CBS, Entercom and Citadel,
sources
say. The agency’s step comes after settlement talks stall.

By Charles Duhigg
LA Times Staff Writer

April 20, 2006

The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday launched formal
investigations into pay-for-play practices at four of the nation’s
largest
radio corporations, the biggest federal inquiry into radio bribery
since
the congressional payola hearings of 1960.

Two FCC officials with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed that
the
agency had requested documents from Clear Channel Communications Inc.,
CBS
Radio Inc., Entercom Communications Corp. and Citadel Broadcasting
Corp.
over allegations that radio programmers had received cash, checks,
clothing
and other gifts in exchange for playing certain songs without
revealing the
deals to listeners, a violation of federal rules.

The FCC requests, known formally as “letters of inquiry,” are the
first
step in investigations that could result in sanctions ranging from
financial penalties to the revocation of stations’ licenses.

An FCC spokeswoman declined to comment. Representatives of the four
radio
companies could not be reached for comment.

In the past, radio executives at firms including Clear Channel, the
nation’s largest station owner, have said that company policies
prohibit
accepting gifts for airplay and that internal probes have not revealed
widespread wrongdoing.

The four broadcasters have been negotiating with the FCC for weeks to
forestall a federal inquiry by offering to discontinue certain
practices
and pay limited fines. But those talks stalled last month over the
issue of
how much the broadcasters should pay.

Clear Channel proposed a fine of about $1 million, according to people
with
knowledge of the negotiations. Some commissioners were pushing for as
much
as $10 million, those sources said.

“We were in the process of trying to reach settlements, but when talks
were
inconclusive, we decided we needed more information,” said an FCC
official
who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was
continuing. “We will continue to speak with the parties and to hold
those
who have violated commission rules accountable.”

The FCC requires that radio listeners be informed anytime there is an
exchange of items of value for airplay of specific songs.

The FCC’s action comes amid New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer’s
pay-for-play probe, launched in 2004, which has alleged wrongdoing by
both
music and radio companies. In February, Spitzer sued Entercom,
alleging
that high-ranking executives had implemented scams to trade cash for
airplay of songs by such artists as Avril Lavigne, Liz Phair and
Jessica
Simpson.

Entercom has denied the allegations.

The other three radio companies are also under investigation by
Spitzer,
who has shared his evidence with the FCC.

Radio programmers at stations around the country say that fear of
regulatory scrutiny has scared them into airing fewer new songs.
Instead,
many stations are sticking to less diverse playlists.

Bryan Tramont, who served as chief of staff to former FCC Chairman
Michael
K. Powell and is now an attorney in private practice, said the inquiry
appeared to be more than a fishing expedition.

“The FCC would only launch a formal investigation if they had
information
leading them to believe possible violations have occurred,” he said.

Other FCC insiders said this new stage of investigation could put
broadcasters more at risk of previously undiscovered evidence of
wrongdoing
being found. The investigation could give the FCC access to millions
of
previously unexamined documents. It could also expand to include
stations
and radio executives across the nation.

“Until now, we’ve been limited to the evidence Spitzer gave us, but a
formal investigation will compel the radio companies to answer certain
questions, which are usually pretty exhaustive,” said another current
FCC
official familiar with the inquiry. “It will all be on the record now,
and
once we start demanding documents, we can keep on going until we’re
convinced we’ve found everything.”

Spitzer has been critical of the FCC’s negotiations with radio
companies,
saying that if the federal government allowed stations to settle it
would
undercut his efforts to force tougher sanctions and rules on the
industry.

“Unfortunately the FCC, contrary to good public policy, has not
pursued an
investigation of the underlying facts,” Spitzer said in April. His
representative could not be reached for comment.

The last time the FCC took action on pay-for-play allegations was in
2000,
when it fined two stations in Texas and Michigan $4,000 each for not
disclosing payments received from A&M Records in exchange for playing
songs
by Bryan Adams.

But the investigation launched Wednesday was evidence of the FCC’s
vigilance, said federal officials.

“The chairman has always taken these allegations seriously,” said one
FCC
official, referring to FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin. “We’re not
worried
about criticisms.”

The FCC’s new investigation is the largest federal radio bribery
inquiry
since Congress opened hearings on pay-for-play in 1960. Those
inquiries
resulted in the first federal “payola” laws and killed the career of
famed
disc jockey Alan Freed, who pleaded guilty to two counts of commercial
bribery and was fined $300.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By Caroline E. Mayer
Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 19, 2006; D02

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/18/AR2006041801
607_pf.html

Debt collectors are asking the Federal Communications Commission for
permission to use automated dialers to call a debtor’s cellphone about
overdue bills.

ACA International, the trade association that represents collectors,
said
federal rules formerly permitted collection agencies to call
cellphones
using a computerized system that stores and dials numbers. But a
change in
FCC rules in 2003 barred collectors from using such technology to call
cellphones. They may use dialers to call land lines, but they must
dial
cellphones manually.

Earlier this month, the FCC said it would review the request and
sought
public comments which are due next month. Its review comes as
complaints
about debt collectors continue to mount.

The Federal Trade Commission last week issued its annual report on the
collection industry, showing consumer complaints rising to a high of
66,627
in 2005, up 13.5 percent from 58,698 in 2004. More complaints were
filed
about debt collection than any other industry. They accounted for 19.1
percent of all complaints filed with the FTC in 2005, up from 17
percent of
all complaints in 2004.

The FTC said that, given the millions of collection calls made to
consumers
each year, the number of complaints it received is a “small percentage
of
the overall number of consumer contacts.” However, it said it thought
the
number of consumers who complain is only a “relatively small
percentage of
the total number of consumers who actually encounter problems with
debt
collectors.”

The debt-collection association argues that the FCC ban on cellphone
calls
was inadvertent, part of the commission’s attempt to curtail abusive
telemarketing calls by auto-dialers that randomly or sequentially
called
cellphones.

The ACA says collectors don’t dial randomly, but rather selectively
call
consumers who owe money. “We’re not buying lists of consumers just to
call
them for the fun of it; we’re not looking for cellphone numbers we
don’t
have,” said Rozanne M. Andersen, the ACA’s general counsel. Andersen
added
that creditors and collectors have the cellphone numbers because
consumers
provided them when they applied for credit.

Not being able to call cellphones with auto-dialers will be “extremely
detrimental to the industry and consumers,” she said. According to the
FCC,
6 percent of U.S. households now rely exclusively on wireless service,
up
from 1.2 percent in 2001. “We have generations of people moving
exclusively
to cellphones, and there is no practical way for creditors and debt
collectors to communicate with them,” she said. The ACA says creditors
could lose billions of dollars annually if the rule is not changed.

The National Consumer Law Center, a public-interest consumer advocacy
group, has already filed an objection to the ACA’s petition, saying
consumers will be “hard pressed to see the benefit” because the
automatically placed calls will use up high-cost daytime minutes. The
NCLC
added that a consumer giving a cellphone number when applying for
credit
shouldn’t be considered as giving permission to a debt collector to
call
that number later.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

We actually have some work-related, non-Jaws-help-quotation news.
Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out.
The client sent a URL for me to try, but the syntax is bad.
They had spaces throughout the whole thing.
I tried replacing the spaces with %20, (you can’t have spaces in URLs), but that didn’t work either.
I learned that you can’t have spaces in URLs way back in my “intro to Windows” (it was actually Introduction to Computers), in my freshman year of college.
If this was passed to the go-between by the actual programmers, then we’re in big trouble.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

In honor of everyone’s favorite day of the year, Terry and I decided to
grab his camcorder and catch up with some of the foot soldiers in the Fair Tax campaign.
Of course, April 17th was D-Day since April 15th fell on a Saturday, so we ventured
to the main U.S. Post Office for Birmingham, Alabama, camcorder in hand. If you
are one of the prudent souls who actually plans ahead in their preparation, watching
your fellow denizen is quite comical on Tax Day. A post office branch is no less
similar to that of a colony of ants as they scurry about battling their fellow procrastinators.

We hoped to catch some perspectives from fellow volunteers to illustrate
the appeal of the Fair Tax, and to illustrate how everyone who reads this BlogBurst
can see how easy it is to get involved as we all attempt to have this proposition
move forward in Congress. Further, this just goes to show what each of the BlogBurst
participants know, but, hopefully, it will move forward in showing how inefficient
our current system truly is. Regardless of whether these individuals procrastinated,
this is needless wasted time and energy that could be better spent.

Click the link below to view the video. It will open in a separate window.

target=”_blank”> width=”136″ border=”0″ />

The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The
Right Track Blog
and Jonathan of target=”_blank”>Publius Rendezvous. If you would like
to join us, please e-mail Terry
or Jonathan.
You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By Joanna Glasner
Wired News

02:00 AM Apr, 18, 2006

www.wired.com/news/technology/wireless/1,70620-0.html

An ambitious plan to build a national cell-phone directory looks
increasingly like a wrong number.

While no one has officially killed the 2-year-old project to create a
“wireless 411″ service, the effort, originally expected to roll out
last
year, is not moving forward. There’s still no planned launch date and
apparently little public demand for the service.

“It’s not dead, but it’s not alive,” said Patrick Cox, CEO of Qsent,
the
company hired to manage the 411 data by a working group that includes
most
of the largest U.S. cell-phone carriers. “We’re sort of in this
holding
pattern.”

Initially touted as a service for wireless customers who wanted to
give
friends, family and colleagues a way to find their numbers, the 411
project
drew fire early on from consumer- and privacy-rights advocates, who
worried
that an improperly managed service could expose numbers to
telemarketers
and shatter mobile users’ expectations of privacy.

“Because these devices are so personal, people want to control who
gets
ahold of their numbers,” said Keith Mallinson, wireless analyst at
research
firm Yankee Group.

According to Cox, directory planners have taken measures to address
all
privacy concerns: Only people who choose to participate would be
listed,
data could be removed at any time and numbers would be available only
through an operator, never online or in print.

Even so, carriers aren’t eager to roll out wireless 411.
Representatives
from Cingular and Sprint — two of the project’s original backers,
along
with T-Mobile USA and Alltell — said no plans have been announced to
move
forward with the service.

Even with protections in place, privacy concerns remain pertinent as
more
people depend on wireless phones for their primary communications
devices.

Today, Yankee Group estimates that about 10 percent of all U.S. phone
users, and more than 20 percent of young adults, have no land line.
Those
who have both a land line and a cell phone, meanwhile, make a growing
share
of their calls wirelessly.

Qsent’s Cox argues that a directory is even more relevant with this
“wireless substitution” on the rise.

“It’s the largest network of its kind in the world without a
directory,” he
said of the mobile-phone system. “It doesn’t allow people to connect.”

A survey commissioned around the inception of the 411 project revealed
public support for a directory. Research firm Pierz Group found that
53
percent of mobile users surveyed would want their numbers in a
directory,
provided strict privacy protections were in place.

Still, Yankee Group’s Mallinson said he’s not aware of any successful
mobile directory efforts outside the United States. And while it is
possible, for a fee, to list a wireless number in most traditional
phone
directories, few people do so.

Verizon Wireless, meanwhile, sees the interminable delay in the 411
project
as vindication for the company’s early and continued opposition to the
project.

“It’s a really bad idea,” said Verizon spokesman Jeff Nelson. “The
zone of
privacy that’s unique to wireless would just be torn up.”

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

State-controlled Al Gomhuria calls Monday’s suicide bombing ’sacrificial,
martyrdom attack,’ warns more attacks to follow
YNET – Associated Press 18 Aprill 2006
www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3241041,00.html

An Egyptian state-controlled newspaper praised Monday’s suicide attack in
Tel Aviv, which killed nine people and wounded dozens, calling it an act of
sacrifice and martyrdom.

Egypt has always taken pains to condemn the violence by both sides in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is exceptional for one of the country’s
three biggest newspapers, whose editor is effectively appointed by President
Hosni Mubarak, to endorse a Palestinian attack on Israeli civilians.

“It is not required of the Palestinian people that they raise their hands in
surrender, accept the daily Israeli attacks and watch waves of settlers
occupy their land and build settlements,” Wrote Al Gomhuria in an editorial
of its Tuesday edition.

“It is not required of the Palestinian people that they clap Israel and its
allies while they mobilize the whole world to besiege the

heroic (Palestinian) people … Because they have chosen Hamas,” The
editorial said, referring to the United States and European Union’s cutting
off funds to the Palestinian Authority because its Hamas government refuses
to renounce violence. “For all that, the sacrificial and martyrdom attack
occurred in the heart of Tel Aviv, and there will be more later,” The daily
warned. In the Islamic faith, a martyr goes to heaven.

A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Cairo declined to comment on the
editorial because he had not yet read it. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
condemned the attack. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and numerous Western
governments denounced the attack, but the Hamas government defended it as a
legitimate response to Israeli “aggression.”

The Islamic Jihad terror group, a rival of Hamas, claimed responsibility for
the bombing. Its members celebrated the attack by handing out pastries in
the streets of Gaza.

Israel said it held Hamas responsible for the attack – even though Islamic
Jihad had claimed responsibility

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Al-Zahhar to Arabs: If You Don’t Help Us, Who Will?
17/04/2006

Palestine Media Center – PMC [Official arm of the PA]
www.palestine-pmc.com/details.asp?cat=1&id=1119

Iran and Russia have bailed out the Palestinian government, cash-stripped by
an Israeli, US and EU financial siege, while the Palestinian Foreign
Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahhar was touring Arab countries in on a fund-raising
mission.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Tehran on Sunday that
Iran allocated $100 million to help the Palestinian people.

Mottaki made the announcement while addressing the closing ceremony of the
“Third International Conference on Qods and Support for the Rights of
Palestinian People.”

However, Mottaki did not say how or when the Iranian “gift” would reach the
Palestinians.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Muslim countries on
Friday that they had a duty to support Palestinians.

“The Islamic world cannot remain indifferent and silent to tyranny,” the
all-powerful cleric said at the start of the conference in Tehran.

Addressing the Palestinians he said: “Your martyrs are our martyrs. Your
pain is our pain. Islamic nations have the duty to help you in every
possible way, and help you along this blessed path.”

Separately the Syrian First Vice-President Farouk al-Shara said in Tehran on
the same day that the Syrian government is to open several banking accounts
to collect material aid for the Palestinian government and people.

The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ordered opening of several banking
accounts for the Palestinians in order to prevent a human catastrophe in the
Israeli-occupied lands, al-Shara said.

Earlier last week Russia also said Moscow will grant the Palestinian
National Authority (PNA) urgent financial aid.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the pledge to Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas in a telephone call.

A Russian foreign ministry statement said: “Mahmoud Abbas stated his high
appreciation of Russia’s intent, confirmed by Sergei Lavrov, to grant the
Palestinian Authority an urgent financial aid in the nearest future.”

Lavrov said on Tuesday that withholding aid to the Palestinians was a
mistake.

However, “Hamas should… recognize Israel and sit down at the negotiating
table. But for that it’s necessary to work with them,” Lavrov added.

Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin said after receiving the
credentials of a new Palestinian ambassador in Moscow: “Russia is ready to
further render assistance to the leadership of Palestine, Palestinian
Government and Palestinian administration headed by Mahmoud Abbas.”

Meanwhile Palestinian Foreign Minister Al-Zahhar on Saturday urged Arab
states to honor and immediately carry out their financial pledges to the
Palestinian government.

Al-Zahhar was expected in Saudi Arabia from Egypt on Monday, on the second
leg of a fund-raising Arab tour that will take him to Jordan on Wednesday.

“We are not only looking to follow up on Arab aid, we would like to increase
it because the Israeli occupation bans us from accessing the 60 million
dollars per month,” he told 22 representatives of Arab states at the Arab
League’s Cairo headquarters.

Al-Zahhar held talks in Cairo on Saturday with Arab League Secretary-General
Amr Mousa. He told the Arab representatives: “If you don’t help us, who will
help?”

Arab leaders meeting in the Sudanese capital Khartoum in late March pledged
to pay more than 50 million US dollars to the PNA per month.

However, only Algeria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have so far paid their
contributions.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I promised you all the back story to yesterday’s nasty little shock, and now seems as good a time as any to tell it.
I’ve been sitting on it for the last week or so, because it was just too traumatic to really go out there and tell the world about.
But I figure I should go ahead and put it out there as a warning, because this site’s going to probably get a lot more offensive to some people.
I was robbed and assaulted last Sunday night, (for those of you who are Jewish, the Sunday before Pesach, and for those of you who are Christian, Palm Sunday).
This time, it was at the apartment.
I got a knock on the door at about 11:30 at night, and, being half asleep, was more annoyed at being disturbed than at the fact that there was someone at the door I went out to the livingroom and asked who it was, and a man’s voice asked for me by name.
I opened the door to see what he wanted.
When I did so, the man stepped just inside, and asked what was up.
Someone else walked past, and that definitely bothered me, but in the sense of “Hey, I didn’t give you permission to just waltz on in,” not in the sense that something was about to go down.
I told the man I didn’t know who he was, and I wanted to know who he was looking for.
He told me he was looking for me, and that we were “real close friends”.
I told him again I didn’t know who he was, and that he needed to make sure he had the right address.
I assumed he was just drunk, because other people have come by looking for people while drunk, although never me, and they only knocked on the door before they realized they were at the wrong place.
The man pulled out a piece of paper, saying he needed to check the address.
He had said he was looking for apartment “letter-of-my-building”, and I told him that this entire building was that letter, and he needed a specific number.
He looked at his piece of paper, and said he had the wrong address.
He and his “friend” walked out, and I went to shut the door, but as I did so, the man grabbed me and threw me to the ground.
He put his hand over my mouth so I couldn’t scream for help.
I thought he was either going to rape me or kill me.
He asked if I had any money, and removed his hand just enough for me to say yes or no.
I told him I didn’t have any, and he told me to be quiet, and got up, and took the TV off the stand, and took the DVD player, wires included, with him.
As soon as I got the door shut and locked, I dialed 911.
The police came, took a statement, and did a report.
I also had them call my friend Andrew to come over because I was totally freaked out, and because I needed someone to catalog what was missing.
It also turned out that my cell phone “walked” out, along with my keys and all my identification, and bank card.
The police, and everyone else, think this robbery is connected to the other one I was involved in, the one where an ex-coworker stole $320 from me.
They think she might have been the other person in the place, since she didn’t speak at all, most likely because she knew I would recognize her voice.
I agree wholeheartedly.
Now, I’m trying to deal with it, and that’s where the blog will get very politically incorrect, not like I made an effort to be pulitically correct in the first place.
As a result of this, I’m feeling several emotions, in no particular order: Fear, anger, and a certain degree of powerlessness because of not being able to make any identification.
And, to top it all off, I think the man is here at work.
I can smell the cologne he was wearing, along with the cigarette smoke smell that hung around him.
I think he’s made it a point to cross my path several times today, because he knows I can’t identify him.
Friday, that freaked me out really badly, and I went home and drank a lot.
Today, it really pisses me off.
I really hope the cops manage to get these bastards.
They took my bank card, and tried to use it fourteen different times in one day, several of which were major attempted purchases at 711 type stores, and some attempts to get gas, (which, if my bank account is any indication, they got), and some ATM attempts, even though they didn’t have a pin.
Someone had to have seen them, or gotten video, or something.
I just can’t believe that anyone could get away with something like this.
And if they do, I hope they die a really horrible death or something like that.
I mean, I hope that happens anyway, but I at least want them to know they’ve been caught and will have the book thrown at them.
I think this is one of the lowest crimes one could commit, alomst down there with rape and child molestation and domestic violence, and I firmly believe that they should be punished.
Not by going to jail where they have cable, I mean a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison, where they can become prison bitches.
Quite frankly, I’d like to have a hand in their punishment, and death if possible.
I don’t think they have any rights left.
And, in case anyone’s wondering, I’d say the same thing if they did it to someone else.
It’s very clear they used my blindness against me.
Not just took advantage of it, but actively used it as a weapon against me.
It’s really enough to drive a person to the very far right when it comes to oppinions on criminal justice, and I’ll post some articles on that later.
Right now I’m just trying to work through all of this, and I think this is one of the better ways to do it, because this is going to color my life for a while in one way or another.
I think this has been the most difficult post to write.
It’s taken me almost two hours to do it.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

A Welfare State With Illegal Immigration Offers Businesses a Better Deal Than Slavery
by Darnell MaGavock at Indpendent Conservative

Let me start by saying I don’t endorse either slavery or illegal immigration. But looking at things from the economic standpoint of a company that hires illegals today versus the use of slave labor in the 18th and 19th centuries, illegal immigration offers companies a better deal than any slave owner ever had. The reason is the modern day welfare state that is known as America.

During American slavery, the slave owner was responsible for the total care of the slave. Although slave masters did this “on the cheap” they had to provide housing, food, clothing and medical care for the slave and their entire family. This resulted in the institution of slavery being more of a loss than gain over time. The only other option was to grant freedom to slaves who were a great expense, but that involved the strain of possibly breaking a family. Separating families often resulted in the other slaves trying harder to escape to be with loved ones. Non-profitable slaves were not sellable, because nobody else wanted the burden. This was the slave master’s dilemma, that people like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin figured out. They realized that slavery was not financially good over time – because the “free labor” was not really “free”, given the need to provide full care to the slave labor force. This was in addition to the expense of buying a slave in the first place.

Today’s employer of illegal immigrants does not have any of the hassles experienced by slave owners. The employer of illegals offers them a very small salary and no benefits. Which means such an employer never runs the risk of going cash-flow-negative on labor costs. They can adjust wages at will, because they will always find an illegal that is willing to accept the rate. This is the reason Cesar Chavez once disliked illegal immigration. If one set of illegals tried to “strike” for better wages, the company would simply replace them with new illegals that were willing to accept the pay rate offered to them.

So the employer of illegals has no direct issues with having to fund housing, medical or the expense of educating the children of illegal immigrants. These are expenses that American taxpayers have been funding. Government (funded by taxpayers) helps illegals secure home loans and encourages banks to give them out. Government (funded by taxpayers) is picking up the medical expenses of illegals. Government (funded by taxpayers) is educating the children of illegal aliens.

You may have seen the CNN Special “Immigrant Nation: Divided Nation”. If you did, you saw profiles of illegals that live in my county of Gwinnett Georgia. The show often tried to make granting amnesty to illegals look like a good thing, but like the slave master’s dilemma, even the tax paying illegals do not come close to covering the expenses involved in caring for them.

Excerpts from, Transcript of CNN Special Report – Immigrant Nation: Divided Nation


HINOJOSA: Ten years ago when I first came to Georgia, I asked people if there was a Latino neighborhood, or barrio. I got a lot of strange looks.

Now I’m here in the heart of just one of the many Latino barrios in Georgia. I can get some of the best tacos outside of Mexico right here 24 hours a day. The home of Martin Luther King, the state that gave us the civil rights movement, is now home to half a million Latinos, a 300 percent increase in a decade.

HINOJOSA: Estimates vary, but somewhere between 7 and 20 million people are living in this country illegally, one of the largest populations of undocumented immigrants in the world. Most of them come across this border. According to the U.S. government, over 1 million were caught last year alone.

This latest wave of immigrants has spread far beyond the southwest and the West Coast. Latino immigrant communities are now fixtures across the nation, especially in the south, in places like Gwinnett County, Georgia.

HINOJOSA: Rosa first came to Georgia two years ago, all alone.

Last year, unable to bear the separation any longer, Rosa paid a smuggler $5,000 to wade her children across the river at night, but they were caught at a checkpoint and immediately deported. Rosa faced a difficult decision.

ROSA (through translator): I told my daughter, you have two options. I either stay in Mexico with you, or I will leave for the States for another year in preparation to bring the two of you. Then my daughter told me to return to the States so I could bring them eventually.

HERCHEK: I’m afraid that America could become a third world country. We’re importing poverty by millions every year.

HINOJOSA (on camera): The numbers say it all. Ten years ago, these schools served very few Spanish-speaking students. In 2003, one out of 10 students listed Spanish as their primary language, $26 million will be spent in Gwinnett County in English language services.

HINOJOSA: Federal law says people are entitled to emergency medical care, whether or not they’re in this country legally. In one year Georgia paid $58 million in emergency Medicaid reimbursement for undocumented immigrants.

The smugglers will be paid almost $6,000 by Rosa if they were successful, would show border agents false papers for the children. They didn’t make it.

Despite their fake papers, Junior and Rosita were detained. The smugglers were arrested. The children were returned to Mexico and reunited with their grandmother. Despite the set back, Rosa vows to try again.

ROSA (through translator): I will keep trying to bring them. The sooner the better. If in 15 days I find someone to bring them here, then we will try again with them.

Unlike slavery, with illegal immigration the burden of expenses is carried by the entire nation. So instead of individual plantation owners having to endure the expenses of supposedly cheap labor, it is a burden carried by taxpaying Americans.

It is my family that endures pain, while waiting behind illegals for medical care. It is my tax dollars that pay for education of illegals, that by school rules have 6 years to learn English and many drop out before ever finishing school. So they take up much space and expense, while not even learning much during the process. While school time is spent on illegals, it diverts resources and teaching time away from children in a legal family. And I’m not even going to get into the issues with gangs. (That would require its own post.)

The issues I see here in Gwinnett County, Georgia will only get worse with anything that encourages illegal immigration or makes them feel they will be rewarded. And the issues will get worse for America. The nation will not be able to sustain the expense of this dilemma for much longer. It is causing the nation to engage in a race to the bottom and then we all lose.

America’s borders need to be secured and the only means made for immigration should be via the current legalization process. What employers of illegals see as a “resource” is really a great expense. Immigration requires regulation to prevent this nation’s collapse.

__________________________________________


This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It is syndicated by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we’re going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration in our country, join the Blogburst! Send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Well, this is just plain magical.
I just checked my bank account, and, after straightening out some problems
with access, found out that I was dinged about six times, to the tune of
over one hundred dollars, for the joy ride the two heathen children of Satan
took last week after stopping by my place, (more on that later).
When I went by the bank last week, I didn’t file a dispute, because as far
as the branch manager knew, no funds were obtained, so there was no need.
Now, I have to go back to the bank, file the dispute, sign an affidavit, and
take it down to the police station.
O God, please let it be Your will that one or both of the dirty little
children of whores choked on their Easter ham, and that they died very slow,
painful deaths as a result.