Policy Laundering: how the US Trade Rep is trading away America’s right to unlock its devices

Some of America’s worst copyright laws were passed through a profoundly undemocratic process called “policy laundering.” This is what happens when an administration can’t get Congress to pass a bad copyright law, so the US Trade Representative instead signs the US up to international treaties requiring America to pass the unpopular law. The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act is one of the policy-laundered laws that has done enormous harm to the country.

Now the USTR is busy again, signing America up to treaties that undermine attempts by Congress to make phone unlocking and jailbreaking legal. America’s official representative is going to other countries and telling them, “If you want to do business with America, you must ban jailbreaking and phone unlocking, and in return, we promise to keep those activities on the banned list, too.”

In other words, America’s trade reps are cramming a massively unpopular, harmful policy down the throats of its trading partners, while simultaneously locking America into the same policy, undermining Congress at the same time.

Click to read more, including a call to action.

Stop Being Offended Today: The Cure For Everything That Irritates You

From DumbLittleMan:

There is an epidemic spreading across the world.
And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re all carriers of the disease.
It’s called Offend-initis, a skin condition whereby the thickness of our skin melts away to the point where everything offends us.
Symptoms may include: hurt feelings, indignation, irritability, disappointment, grumpiness and an all-around allergic reaction to anyone who says or does something we don’t like.
Fortunately, there is a cure.

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Connor’s Day

Internet Pulls Together 1,200 Cars For Terminally Ill BoyFrom Jalopnik:

A little over a week ago, a post appeared on a British Subaru forum: A father had just found out his son was terminally ill with cancer and he wanted to give him one last thrill with a small car show on September 8th.

That small request went viral after we posted it and, instead of a small car meetup, more than 1,000 cars showed up to give him the best day of his life. There were new Ferraris, vintage Lamborghinis, and a lot of Subarus, including cars from the company.

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Report: US Health Care System Wastes $750B A Year

NPR

 

The U.S. health care system squanders $750 billion a year — roughly 30 cents of every medical dollar — through unneeded care, byzantine paperwork, fraud and other waste, the influential Institute of Medicine said Thursday in a report that ties directly into the presidential campaign.

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are accusing each other of trying to slash Medicare and put seniors at risk. But the counter-intuitive finding from the report is that deep cuts are possible without rationing, and a leaner system may even produce better quality.

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Voting matters

Nice opinion piece by one of the titans of the tech world:

Yes, I’ve started writing about politics again, and the cynics are weighing in also, as usual. Don’t you know it’s all theater, and there’s no difference between the candidates. The world is run by a few rich people, and they don’t care what we think.

I’ve never really addressed this, and thought now was a good time to do so.

My answer is this — bullshit. That’s not the way it works. You wish it worked that well, but it’s actually chaotic, nonsensical, Dilbertesque, crazy, dysfunctional, self-destructive, suicidal, nutso, etc. Can you think of any more adjectives for we, as a species, net-net, have lost our minds? Go ahead and add them.

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