Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Greatest Love of All


O Captain! My Captain! - Walt Whitman: "O Captain! My Captain!

By Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up - for you the flag is flung - for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths - for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Our First GOP President


Account of Lincoln's Assassination (Memory): American Treasures of the Library of Congress
Legal Technology - Busting the Cookie-Buster: "

Busting the Cookie-Buster

By Anick Jesdanun
The Associated Press
April 8, 2005

The company behind those floating ads that dance across Web pages has developed a way to restore the data profiles that many privacy-conscious users try to delete from their computers.

Most users don't know what they are doing when they run antispyware programs that delete the profiles, known as cookies, said Mookie Tenembaum, founder of United Virtualities Inc.

By deleting cookies, he said, users thwart efforts by Web sites to prevent the same ads from appearing over and over. Tenembaum said visitors are also forced to repeatedly enter usernames and passwords, which are sometimes stored in the profiles.

United Virtualities calls the product Persistent Identification Element. It taps a separate profile system that's found in Macromedia Inc.'s Flash and that's not generally affected by antispyware programs.

Using the product, when a Web site discovers a cookie missing, it can look for a backup in Flash and restore the cookie.

Richard M. Smith, a privacy and security consultant in Cambridge, Mass., was critical of United Virtualities.

'Companies should respect people's choices,' he said, 'If a consumer makes the effort of getting antispyware software, they don't want this stuff.'

Macromedia responded by issuing instructions for turning the profile system off.

Tenembaum acknowledged that his product might displease what he described as the handfu . . ."

: "Law Library Subscriptions: Paper or Electronic?



Lucy Rieger
New Jersey Law Journal
04-12-2005


Complications. Choices. Decisions. More work. Technology in the library has an undesired side effect that has impacted every law library, large and small. Technology has added significantly to the workload of librarians, attorneys, administrators and academics making library subscription decisions.

What was a simple renewal has become an agonizing process. The fate of a publication is usually decided at renewal time. It starts with a single sheet of paper -- an invoice for the upcoming term. First you confirm that you had the item in the collection last year. Then you review the cost -- is it still reasonable and affordable? Next you verify the users are still with the firm and need the product. You renew or cancel the invoice and are done. That was then. . . ."

Monday, April 11, 2005

Comment on the tax case and implications


City comment

Edited by Neil Collins (Filed: 08/04/2005)

Eurocrats may wish Mr Poiares Maduro had never opened this Pandora's box
Losses made abroad do count

The case brought by Marks & Spencer to the European Court is the stuff of nightmares for the eurocrats. Whatever the Advocate General, Miguel Poiares Maduro, opined it was going to cause trouble and his recommendation that the court find for M&S has opened a box which many would have preferred to see stay closed.

M&S had every right to bring the case, arguing that it was entitled to offset the losses from its failed expedition to France against the profits from its business in Britain, a little matter of ?30m clawed back from the Treasury and a much-needed morale booster for the company. Had Mr Poiares Maduro sided with the UK government, it would have been a setback for those urging 'ever closer union' and it would have played badly with his friends in Luxembourg.

As it is, he is steering the European Court of Justice towards finding for M&S, and while this doesn't bind the court, it tends to agree with its A-G's opinions. This would suit the agenda of the integrationists just fine. As Mr Poiares puts it, fiscal sovereignty among EU members has its limits, and in his eyes, setting your own tax rules is a sovereign claim too far. The problem with this communautaire argument is that it opens the door to what europhiles might describe as unfair tax competition. If a company can aggregate its EU income for tax purposes, it's likely to choose to do so in a country where the rates are low, even if he appears to limit their right to go 'loss-shopping' in high tax countries.

The net result would be a massive transfer of wealth from national exchequers to corporate coffers. There's much to be said for such an outcome - it would do wonders for European company competitiveness, and force governments to tax consumers rather than producers - but it could destroy delicately balanced budget calculations. The Germans are already flapping that tens of billions of euros of their revenue is at stake, and even our own dear Gordon cannot be viewing the prospect with equanimity. Against such opposition, the court is in a real quandary. It will be fascinating to see how it resolves things without causing a fiscal euro-earthquake.
Great emails I have read author issues report

Spitzer's Office Recovers $2.38 Billion in 2004


From Reuters

New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer on Thursday said his office last year recovered for consumers, investors and his state a record $2.38 billion from investigations and settlements related to mutual funds, tobacco and other matters.

Spitzer, a 2006 Democratic gubernatorial candidate in New York, said recoveries increased 37% from $1.74 billion in 2003. The totals include amounts ordered to be paid, and amounts that may be paid in future years.

Spitzer has in recent years become a key figure in changing long-standing practices in such areas as mutual fund trading and insurance.

Last year's recoveries included $1.32 billion in restitution to the public, up 146% from 2003. More than $1 billion of that sum resulted from probes conducted with the Securities and Exchange Commission of brokerages and other financial firms.

State and local governments last year obtained $802 million in tobacco-related recoveries, including $410 million to be paid to the state and $392 million to be paid to local governments. The state also recovered $265 million from other settlements.

Big Win for the Taxpayer. Finally!


ECJ finds UK tax rules incompatible with EC law - 7 April 2005: "ECJ finds UK tax rules incompatible with EC law

A European Court of Justice (ECJ) opinion handed down this morning (7 April) has found that UK tax law is incompatible with European Community law.

Advocate General Poiares Maduro gave his opinion in the case of Marks & Spencer v Halsey, finding that the retailer should be allowed to offset losses made in Europe through its UK operation.

The Inland Revenue -- through tax inspector David Halsey -- had argued that its group relief scheme, enabling a parent company to offset the losses made by subsidiaries, did not apply where those subsidiaries were based abroad. In the ECJ hearing the Revenue was supported by representations from Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

But the Advocate General said that this rule is incompatible with European legislation. His opinion will now guide the decision of ECJ judges, whose judgment is awaited.

Marks & Spencer's (M&S) case is the first major European victory in a series of tax cases referred to the ECJ by UK courts. Dorsey & Whitney partner Simon Whitehead, instructing Graham Aaronson QC of Pump Court Tax Chambers, acted for M&S and the firm is also leading the Loss Relief Group Litigation currently proceeding through the High Court.

Richard Plender QC of 20 Essex Street was instructed by the Inland Revenue."

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Another Government 'Solution' to a Real Problem


Trading gift certificates for guns

By andrew whitney
April 7, 2005



In the wake [that's like a funeral wake, I suppose, not a boat's wake] of several highly publicized incidents involving gun-related deaths, the Philadelphia Police Department has announced a gun buyback program scheduled to run through the end of the month.
Police spokesman Cpl. Jim Pauley said that the goal is to reduce the number of gun crimes by reducing the number of guns available to potential offenders.

To that end, throughout April, Philadelphia's police precincts will be accepting firearms of all shapes and sizes with a "no questions asked" policy, Pauley said.

While the program will be implemented citywide, the impact of guns has been apparent at Penn in recent months due in part to a Feb. 18 shootout involving four men outside the Bridge: Cinema de Lux movie theater at 40th and Walnut streets.

There have also been several gunpoint ...
===========
It's like Homer Simpson is thinking up public policy not the Keystone Kops.

McMillan on Options


$SPX has failed repeatedly at 1190 -- including the nasty downturn last Friday. Moreover, the 50-day moving average is just above that level, while the 20-day moving average has now dropped below it. As for other indices, $OEX and $DJX are probably a little less bullish than $SPX. For example, the 50-day moving average of $OEX is at 570, while the 50-day moving average of $DXJ is at 10,650. Thus, these averages have more to go before they attain that level.

Why do we view the 50-day moving average as important? Because many institutions adopt a bearish stance (or less bullish stance) when the averages are below their 50-day moving average, while they adopt a more bullish stance when above the 50-day average. Statistics bear this out, as it has been shown that merely going to cash when the market ($SPX) crosses its 50-day moving average from above to below, and going back into stocks when it crosses the 50-day moving average from below to above, outperforms buy and hold by a huge, huge factor. Any institutions practicing that methodology are "out" of the market right now, but would get back in on a close above the 50-day average. As for $SPX, the 50-day moving average is at approximately 1194.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Free Access for a while,


Good morning Law Libbers,

In honor of National Library Week, please enjoy free access to Legal Dockets Online beginning today, and ending on April 17.

http://www.LegalDockets.com

LOGIN: nlw
PASSWORD: free


Have a nice weekend,
The Annotated New York Times

Tracks blog entrie refering to the NYTimes articles. Like a Shepards for party-line news.

No, You Can't Make This Stuff Up, Warden


Telegraph | Expat | Prisoners told to open bank letters:
Prisoners told to open bank letters

By Paul Stokes
(Filed: 08/04/2005)

Inmates were asked to open correspondence giving details of people's bank accounts while they were involved in paper recycling work at a high security jail.

The letters, which were marked 'return to sender', were being prepared for recycling under a contract between Durham prison and a private firm.

At least one burglar gained access to a NatWest customer's information.

Durham, with a capacity for 746 prisoners, originally took on work compiling a database of mail returned from households where the person was not known. Those involved were asked to note down the name of the company sending the mail and it was decided last week to re-use the waste.

Prisoners were asked to open envelopes to remove plastic address windows before the paper was recycled.

Officers supervising the work alerted Jennifer Mooney, the acting governor, after an inmate approached them about the bank details.
A source at the prison, which houses men and women up to category A, said: 'When the letters were torn open, a multitude of cheques and letters containing bank details were found.

'This sort of information would be right up the street of some of the people we have in here.'

The Home Office said the work had been discontinued for security reasons."
Legal Dockets Online Blog - Electronic Filing and Document Retrieval News

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Doctor Howard Hertz


This tool provides you with information on how well the hospitals in your area care for all their adult patients with certain medical conditions. This information will help you compare the quality of care hospitals provide. Hospital Compare was created through the efforts of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and organizations that represent hospitals, doctors, employers, accrediting organizations, other Federal agencies and the public.



http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov
IBM Ease of Use - Textures: "Textures

These unique textures were created by Kazunori Miyata of the Centre for Advanced Graphics at the IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory. We've categorized them under various headings to make it easier for you to find a particular texture, but you might like to just browse. You'll be surprised at the richness and variety of the collection.

more details about IBM's texture library"

Monday, April 04, 2005

Germany's minimal wages idea targets UK


Telegraphl

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (Filed: 04/04/2005)

A website that gets unemployed Germans bidding against each other to work for the lowest wages is set to spark fresh controversy with plans for an August launch in Britain.

Trade unions have accused jobdumping.de of promoting "slave labour" with reverse auctions that see workers compete against each other in a downward bidding spiral for odd tasks and short-term contracts.

German unemployment has reached 5.2m, the highest since the Great Depression. However, jobdumping.de founder Fabian Loew believes his model will work even better in a low unemployment country such as Britain.

"After Thatcher and Blair, the British are open to new ideas and have a much more flexible attitude to work," he said. "So I think it could be a big success over there."

Jobdumping.de invites employers with openings for waiters or construction yard workers to offer a maximum fee and wait for a crush of eager workers to knock down the price.

It's a nightmare come true for defenders of Europe's cosseted social model, already consumed by angst over a "race to the bottom" with low-wage economies in eastern Europe and Asia.

The lowest bid has been €3.16 an hour (£2.17) for a three-hour job cleaning out a basement, although the worker made an extra €50 reselling old furniture he took away. The highest wage has been €1,600 for a six-week job as a doctor's receptionist.

The Hans Böckler Stiftung, the trade union institute, warns that the scheme violates a raft of labour conventions regulating pay. It claims that the minimum rate allowable in Berlin is €6.93 in hotels and cafes, and €6.05 for other forms of temporary work. Germany has no statutory minimum wage.

Mr Loew said that his jobdumping.de had created 1,300 jobs since its launch in November and was now receiving 30,000 visits a day. His fee starts at 3.9pc, tapering down to 0.8pc.

Mr Loew, 31, said his purpose is to shake Germany out of lethargy. "Our streets are packed with people looking for work," he said. "It's time we changed our whole attitude to wages instead of just whingeing about everything.''

Most of the job auctions on jobdumping.de involve people offering to work at a minimum price. Last weekend's mix included a "reliable baby-sitter" in Berlin for €4 an hour; a chauffeur for €8, a German language teacher for €10; a "dog therapist" for €10; a financial adviser for €16 and a machine repair-man in Wolfsburg for €28. "Female models" run at around €50 an hour, though the work is unspecified.

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright staement

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Facts You Can Use



Murder Rate and Firearms

According to the FBI, as reported in the May 25, 1998, edition of U.S. News & World Report, the murder rate in the U.S. dropped 20 percent--from 24,526 to 19,645--from 1993 to 1996. There was an additional nine percent drop in 1997.

The murder rate in 1993 was 9.5 per 100,000; in 1996 it went down to 7.4 per 100,000. (Source: May 25, 1998, edition of U.S. News & World Report)

Although exact figures are not known, firearm ownership increased since 1994, while, as shown above, the murder rate decreased during that period. This conclusively shows firearms do not lead to higher murder rates. (Source: May 25, 1998, edition of U.S. News & World Report)

In 1995, there were a total of 22,552 homicides (which would include murders, but exclude the 343 "legal interventions") in the U.S. Of these, 15,551, or 69 percent, involved the use of a firearm. The percentage of firearms-related homicide decreased from 71 percent in 1994. (Source: National Safety . . .

Read on more.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Proposed



blog names:
MobsterBlog
You Had to Have Been There
One Step Beyond
One Step Balonde - blonde jokes

The Humane Holocaust



By George Neumayr
[The American Spectator]
Published 4/1/2005 12:09:44 AM


The initial event that disabled Terri Schiavo didn't end up killing her. But in her obituary notice, what will the cause of death read? Will it read: murder? It should. The heart attack that disabled her didn't doom her; a husband without a heart did.

Under judge-made law, euthanasia has become America's most astonishing form of premeditated murder, a cold-blooded crime in which husbands can kill their wives and even turn them into accomplices to it through the telepathy of "their wishes." To wonder if we're on the slippery slope sounds like an obtuse moral compliment at this point. The truth is we're at the bottom of the slope and have been for quite some time, standing dumbly as the bodies of innocent humans pile up around us. As we sift through them -- puzzling over how they got so numerous -- we're reduced to mumbling sophistries about compassion and consent.

This is the "humane holocaust" of which Malcolm Muggeridge wrote, a culture that kills the weak, from deaf unborn children to mute disabled women, and calls it mercy. Those responsible for this humane holocaust look into the mirror and see Gandhi, but it is Hitler who glances back. If someone had taken the passages of Mein Kampf that speak of euthanizing "unfortunates" and inserted them into the columns from newspapers and magazines cheering Schiavo's death, would anyone have known the difference?

In the humane holocaust, murdering undesirable unborn babies at the beginning of life, the elderly at the end of it, and the disabled in between, forms the final solution in the quest for the perfect, burden-free society. In the humane holocaust, one generation's crimes become another generation's compassion.

Could a liberal humanism which sanctions a million-plus abortions a year and presses for a widening culture of euthanasia be Hitlerite? No, many in our society would scoff. But read the words of Leo Alexander, a doctor who assisted the chief American counsel at the Nuremberg Tribunal, about the beginnings of Nazi society and he is describing our own:


Whatever proportion these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitudes of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually, the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted, and finally all non-Germans. But it is important to realize that the infinitely small wedged-in lever from which the entire trend of mind received its impetus was the attitude towards the non-rehabilitative sick.


Then as now, doctors, judges, and politicians threw the stone that turned the slope into an avalanche. And that stone was the utilitarian rejection of an inviolable right to life for the innocent -- a right to life that no innocent human can lose because it is based not on their utility but their humanity, a humanity which no chronic illness, disability, or weakness can eradicate.

With Hitler the advocates of the humane holocaust say that the value of a human being derives not from his humanity but from his activity, and hence inactive humans possess no value worth preserving. With Hitler the advocates of the humane holocaust accord power to the strong but none to the weak: Michael Schiavo could kill Terri Schiavo simply because he was stronger than her. With Hitler the advocates of the humane holocaust conceal mercilessness in the language of mercy.

Evil is always done under the appearance of goodness. But evil renamed is still evil. And injustice to which our society has manipulated the aged and disabled into consenting is still unjust. If a man consents to slavery, does slavery cease to be wrong? If patients don't mind violations against the Hippocratic Oath, are doctors free to flout it? The engineers of the humane holocaust uses this lie of consent as moral absolution of evil, but if it can't collect the lie from its victims (as in the case of abortion where no killed child gives consent) it keeps churning anyways.

Terri Schiavo is its latest victim. May she find in God the real compassion the vile imposter gods among us denied her.

George Neumayr is executive editor of The American Spectator.

Johnnie Cochran



Marsha Clark telephones a law office and says: "I want to speak to Mr. Cochran, the lawyer."

The receptionist replies: "I’m sorry but he died last week."

The next day she phones again and asks the same question. The receptionist replies "I told you yesterday, he died last week."

The next day she calls again and asks to speak to Johnnie Cochran.

By this time the receptionist is getting a little annoyed and says "I keep telling you that he died last week. Why do you keep calling?"

Clark says, "Because I just love hearing it."


An old joke reworked.