Diversified google sniper services firms have done 50 penny stock egghead better than the market as a whole since 1967. President Obama visited an arts and recreation
campus in a low-income Washington neighborhood Monday to tout the importance of fatherhood, and announced a new effort to bring together children, famous dads and nonprofit groups to promote the father-child relationship.Young people low in Vitamin
D may be more prone to allergies,
according to a new study. It is bad â€“ enabling federal prosecutors’ harassment of Aaron Swartz. But America’s copyright
regime is an even greater
threatIs the Computer Fraud and Abuse
Act the “worst law in technology”, as Columbia Law School’s Tim Wu calls the statute? I think there are worse laws for the technology industry and its customers, but the CFAA is more than bad enough â€“ a vague, outdated and Draconian law, abused by the government in several high-profile cases â€“ to have spurred calls for repeal.As Wu and many others (including me) have pointed out over the years, the vagueness of
the CFAA has given prosecutors a tool that should worry everyone. This is because the government contends that the statute’s ban on “unauthorized access” to someone else’s computer is
a felony, period, with potential penalties you’d associate with
serious violent crime.The
late Aaron Swartz has been the highest-profile target of overreaching federal prosecutors relying in large part
on the CFAA, in a case where he downloaded hundreds of thousands of academic papers from an organization
that didn’t want him prosecuted and ultimately decided to make the
material freely available. There’s little question that his suicide was spurred, in
part, by the government’s escalating threats, made possible thanks to prosecutors’ ability to use the CFAA as sledgehammer.But he wasn’t the first. The Bush administration relied on the CFAA to prosecute the easy-to-dislike Lori Drew, who was among several people who created a bogus MySpace account of a fictitious teenaged boy who wooed and rejected the daughter of Drew’s neighbor in suburban St Louis. The girl killed herself. When Missouri prosecutors said they had no relevant state law to prosecute Drew and her admittedly heartless helpers in this scheme, a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles hauled Drew there to face charges under the CFAA.The case boiled down to Drew’s misstatements in her MySpace profile. (Shamefully, MySpace supported
The jury convicted Drew of one charge, but the judge in the case wisely overturned it, pointing out that the government would have made everyone who’s ever violated a “terms of service” agreement, no matter
how minor the violation, at risk for criminal charges.The threat of this law is not just from government prosecution.
It’s been stretched widely in civil cases, as well.
Wu says the way to fix this intolerable situation is to persuade President Obama to fix it:”The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is
egregiously over-broad in a way that has clearly imposed on the rights and liberties of Americans.
With just one speech, the president can set things right.”But
no, he can’t. At least, not in a way we could trust.First,
presidential dispensation is useful, but it’s not remotely permanent.
White House occupants change.
A more authoritarian chief executive than Obama won’t be bound by what he does.Presidents also change, or their positions do. That’s the second big problem with Wu’s suggestion: wishful thinking.
Obama’s record on civil liberties and executive power is
abysmal â€“ worse than George W Bush’s in many ways, and better in only a few (such as gay rights).Obama’s
Justice Department has made clear it believes the CFAA gives it the power to go after anyone. That includes you and me, assuming you’ve ever violated a terms of service in any way, as you undoubtedly have done.Banana republics have lots of
designed to be widely broken, providing leverage for prosecution of people either not liked
by the government or who do otherwise legal things that annoy the leaders.
So, even though you and I are exceedingly unlikely to become targets of
the CFAA, we could be â€“ and that’s why the law is intolerable as it stands.Wu
doubts, fairly, that this Congress in particular can be persuaded to act on almost anything.
to say that lawmakers are terrified in general of doing anything that might cause them to be accused of being soft on crime.
But like it or not, this is ultimately
for Congress, which writes the laws.The lawmakers’ tendency to favor
vagueness has some merit â€“ it gives the people who carry out enforcement and make regulations the ability to adjust to changing circumstances â€“ but in cases like this, where the abuse by the executive branch is blatant, Congress should take the risk of doing its job. Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, has proposed an “Aaron’s Law” that would help redress the current imbalance. Reforming CFAA is also an issue
for the press â€“ or would
be, if we had more journalists who took seriously their duty to hold power accountable. Journalists in aggregate have two problems with this law: a superficial understanding, at best, and
an ongoing deference to government positions on criminal justice and security. Even when journalists are directly threatened by overreaching, as they are in the WikiLeaks case, they still demonstrate a reluctance to take a stand.If
enough news organizations put the Obama civil liberties record under the spotlight it deserves, perhaps the American people would care more about what they’re losing. Or maybe, we’re willing to live in
a more banana-like republic all the time; but I hope not.I said earlier that the CFAA, bad as it is, isn’t the worst law relating to technology.
At least one,
by my reckoning, is worse: the increasingly harsh copyright regime that has already turned countless millions of Americans into lawbreakers and deterred countless innovators.Copyright in America started life in the US constitution as a way to promote innovation by giving creators of works strong rights for limited periods. It has metastasized into a system that has perverts the founders’ intent and given giant corporations overwhelming â€“ and increasing â€“ power over not just entertainment but everything that contains information, including software, which is now part of almost everything.In a rare defeat for the Copyright Cartel, the supreme court has upheld the “first sale doctrine” â€“ the principle that once you buy a book or CD, you can resell it â€“ in a closely watched case.
The court’s rationale was that Congress didn’t mean to create a different standard for works bought overseas as opposed to ones bought in the US.
But the same court also just refused to hear an appeal of a Minnesota woman who’s been ordered to pay more than $220,000 for downloading two-dozen songs â€“ a testament to Congress’ gift to Hollywood and its allies in the form of absurdly stiff penalties for minor infringement.In
the end, people who want change in bad laws have to work for it.
This is doubly hard given Congress’ pay-to-play system of legal bribery, where dollars translate into votes. Maybe that will have to change first, as the “United Re:Public” coalition says, but we need to get started or get used to a system that puts everyone at risk.
We could begin
by calling our legislators and insist they get behind “Aaron’s Law”.US constitution and civil libertiesIntellectual propertyInternetCensorshipUS supreme courtUS CongressAaron SwartzDan Gillmorguardian.co.uk
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fate, family life and renewal are brilliantly explored in this story of a life lived in wartime BritainKate Atkinson’s new novel is a marvel, a great big confidence trick â€“ but one that invites the reader to take part in the deception.
In fact, it is impossible to ignore it. Every time you attempt to lose yourself in the story of Ursula Todd, a child born in affluent and comparatively happy circumstances on 11 February 1910, it simply stops. If this sounds like the quick route to a short book, don’t worry: the narrative starts again â€“ and again and again â€“ but each time it takes a different course, its details sometimes radically, sometimes marginally altered, its outcome utterly unpredictable. Atkinson’s general rule is that things seem to get better with repetition, but this, her self-undermining novel seems to warn us, is a comfort that is by no means guaranteed, either.She begins as she means to go on, and at the very beginning.
(In fact, even this is not quite true: a brief prologue shows us Ursula in a Munich coffee shop in 1930, assassinating Hitler with her father’s old service revolver.) At the start of the novel “proper”, Sylvie Todd is
giving birth to her third child, her situation given a fairytale atmosphere by the encroaching snow which also, alas, cuts her off from outside help in the form
of Dr Fellowes or Mrs Haddock, the midwife. Ursula
is stillborn, with the
cord wrapped around her neck, her life unsaved
for want of a pair of surgical scissors. Fortunately, though, she is allowed
another go at the business of coming into being;
in take two, Dr Fellowes makes it, cuts the cord and proceeds to his reward of a cold collation and some homemade piccalilli (it might be too fanciful to notice that even the piccalilli
childhood is to be punctuated with such near-misses: the treacherous undertow of the Cornish sea, icy tiles during a rooftop escapade, the wildfire spread of Spanish flu. Each disaster is confirmed by variations on the phrase “darkness fell”, and
each new beginning heralded by the tabula rasa that snow brings. Ursula carries within her a vague, dimly apprehended sense
of other, semi-lived lives, inexpressible except as impetuous actions â€“ such as when she pushes a housemaid down the stairs to save her from a more terrible ending. That misdemeanour lands her in the office of
a psychiatrist who introduces her, in kindly fashion, to the concept of reincarnation and to the roughly opposing theory of amor fati, particularly as espoused by Nietzsche: the acceptance, or even embrace, of one’s fate, and the rejection of the idea that anything could, or should, have unfolded differently.Amor
fati is tough to take,
of course, if you are a drowning child, or a battered wife, or a shell-shocked young man, or a terrified mother calling for your baby in the rubble of the blitz, all of whom and more besides make up the lives captured, however fleetingly, in Life After Life.
It’s equally tough if you are a novelist, and put in the powerful but invidious position of controlling what befalls your characters. Are their futures really written in their past? Can you tell what’s going to happen to them simply from the way you started them off? Even sustaining your creative engagement could prove tricky: perhaps
that’s why one catastrophe is tagged with the exhausted words “Darkness, and so on” and why yet another recitation of Ursula’s birth is reduced to a
mere five lines.The
reader is similarly implicated in this continual manipulation of narrative tension and the suspension of disbelief. We want a story, but what kind of story do we want: something truthful or something soothing, something that ties up loose ends or something that casts us on to a tide of uncertainty, not only about what might happen, but about what already has? In Atkinson’s model, we can have all of the above, but where does that leave
us, with multiple tall tales clamouring for our attention?Sometimes, it appears we are being offered a straight choice between happy and unhappy endings. On the one hand, there is Fox Corner, the Todd family home in what is
still, although perhaps not for long, a wonderfully bucolic England. There are gin slings and tennis on the lawn and bees buzzing their “summer afternoon lullaby”; there is the reliable accumulation of children â€“ Ursula is the third of five â€“ and servants that are either touchingly steadfast or humorously difficult; there are beloved family dogs and treasured dolls and troublesome aunts whose bad behaviour can just about be absorbed.Outside in the lane, however, lurks
an evil-minded stranger, his story the more powerful for never being brought into the light; and sometimes
intruders arrive under the cloak of friendship.
When Ursula is molested, and then raped, by a pal of one of her brothers, her
exile from Fox Corner begins; her subsequent pregnancy and illegal abortion give way to a lonely London life, solitary drinking and then, most awfully, to a violent husband who
shuts her up in a mean little house in Wealdstone, far from her family.Ursula’s marriage to the vile Derek Oliphant â€“ himself a constructor of false personal history â€“ would never have happened if she had managed to evade her teenage abuser.
In the next iteration, she does; and she is liberated once more, to plunge on to lives made perhaps even
more divergent by
the schism of the second world war. And the reader is perplexed once more: what to make of a character so chameleon-like that we can watch her excavating bomb sites on
one page, stranded in a dystopian, war-torn Berlin on another and (in what admittedly requires the biggest leap of faith) being entertained by the FÃ¼hrer at Berchtesgaden on yet another?This description of Atkinson’s looping, metamorphosing narrative inevitably makes it sound tricksy, almost whimsical. Structurally, it is, but its ceaseless renewals are populated with pleasures that extend beyond the what-next variety. She captures well, for example, the traumatic shifts in British society â€“ and does so precisely because she cuts directly from one war to the next, only later going back to fill in, partially, what happened in between.
She demonstrates an extraordinary gift for capturing peril:
the sections in which influenza tears through Fox Corner are truly menacing, and the
descriptions of Ursula’s work in a bombed-out London are masterpieces of the macabre (“‘Be careful here, Mr Emslie,’ she said over her shoulder, ‘there’s a baby, try to avoid it.’”).The texture of
life is beautifully conveyed,
particularly in its domestic details, which often verge on the queasily visceral. An ineptly poached egg is “a sickly jellyfish deposited on toast to die”; shortly after Sylvie’s confinement, Mrs Glover, the crosspatch cook, “took a bowl of kidneys soaking in milk from the pantry and commenced removing the fatty white membrane, like a caul”. On another occasion, she thumps slices of veal
with a tenderiser, imagining “they’re the heads of the Boche”.
But alongside these minutiae
is set the author’s fascination with the intricacies
of large families, and in particular with sibling relationships.The
so-called family saga is, of course, where Atkinson’s career as a novelist began, with the Whitbread-winning Behind the Scenes at the Museum, itself a story that refused to proceed in linear fashion,
invoking the spirit of Tristram Shandy in its digressive portrayal
of the life of Ruby Lennox. Neither book, of course, can really be contained by such a constricting label, just as Atkinson’s four Jackson Brodie novels refuse to fit neatly into the genre marked crime. Behind the Scenes and Life After Life both co-opt the family â€“ its evolution over time, its exponentially multiplying characters and storylines,
its silences and gaps in communication â€“ and use it to show how fiction works and what it might mean to us. But what makes Atkinson an exceptional writer â€“ and this is her most ambitious and most gripping work to date â€“ is that she does so with an emotional delicacy and understanding that transcend experiment or playfulness.
Life After Life gives us a heroine whose fictional underpinning is permanently exposed, whose artificial status is never in
doubt; and yet one who feels painfully, horribly real to us. How do you square that circle? You’d have to ask Kate Atkinson, but I doubt she would give you a straight answer.FictionAlex Clarkguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media
Limited or its affiliated companies.
| Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds A slew of data about the
housing market will be the focus of economic news in this holiday-shortened week.
NEW YORK –
Capital One Financial Corp. awarded its CEO, Richard Fairbank, a compensation package worth nearly $14.9 million in 2010, more than double what he received in 2009, according to an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing Wednesday. Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss will have wrist surgery next
week that will sideline him for three months, likely ending his season, the National Hockey League
team said on