Censorship: it's as American as, well, censorship.
"A music-industry speaker at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Stockholm waxed enthusiastic about child porn, because it serves as the perfect excuse for network censorship, and once you've got a child-porn filter, you can censor anything:'Child pornography is great,' the speaker at the podium declared enthusiastically. 'It is great because politicians understand child pornography. By playing that card, we can get them to act, and start blocking sites. And once they have done that, we can get them to start blocking file sharing sites.'
The venue was a seminar organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm on May 27, 2007, under the title 'Sweden -- A Safe Haven for Pirates?'. The speaker was Johan Schlüter from the Danish Anti-Piracy Group, a lobby organization for the music and film industry associations, like IFPI and others...
'One day we will have a giant filter that we develop in close cooperation with IFPI* and MPA. We continuously monitor the child porn on the net, to show the politicians that filtering works. Child porn is an issue they understand,' Johan Schlüter said with a grin, his whole being radiating pride and enthusiasm from the podium."
* IFPI = International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. From their website:
"IFPI represents the recording industry worldwide, with a membership comprising some 1400 record companies in 66 countries and affiliated industry associations in 45 countries. IFPI's mission is to promote the value of recorded music, safeguard the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate."
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Markopolos was a quant -- a numbers guy in the securities industry -- who figured out after five minutes analysis (5 minutes!) in 1999 that Bernard Madoff was a fraud, either doing a type of trading that is illegal or, more likely, running a Ponzi scheme. Markpolos's boss at the investment firm where he worked wanted him to reverse engineer Madoff's trading strategy so they could duplicate it. They were losing clients to Madoff and wanted to be able to compete with him.
From Amazon/Publisher's Weekly:
"Markopolos, the whistleblower who filed five unheeded complaints against Ponzi king Bernie Madoff over nine years, has produced an astonishing true-life whodunit set amidst the personalities, plots, and international intrigue of Wall Street. Having collected damning information on money manager Madoff -- the respected co-founder of NASDAQ who ran the largest financial scam in history -- since 1999, Markopolos's work as a chartered financial analyst and certified fraud examiner, aided by an industry journalist and two colleagues from his days as a derivatives portfolio manager, lays bare the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a tragically inept regulating agency that 'didn't give a rat's ass about protecting investors,' and seemed to consider Madoff 'just another guy cutting some corners.' Realizing he had not one but two powerful opponents -- 'Madoff and this non-functioning agency' -- Markopolos refused to give up, despite fearing for his life and his family; accordingly, he transmits his team's determination and fascination in contagious detail. The hows and whys of Madoff's eventual arrest, Markopolos's subsequent appearances before Congress, and the carnival of press coverage makes a satisfying conclusion to this strange epic; Markopolos also includes complete documentation of his formal submissions to the SEC, plus his recommendations for much-needed reform at the agency."
Part of my fascination with this story stems from my professional history. I was an auditor for three years and by sheer chance ended up specializing in the securities industry. After that I spent seven years at a regional financial services firm. This was back in the 1980s and things have changed since then, but enough has remained the same that I recognized the industry I was acquainted with. Plus, after I had finished the book, I realized that a number of my tax clients probably had invested for years in one of the funds that had >$1 billion *invested* with Madoff; the head of that fund committed suicide two weeks after Madoff was arrested.
If you have any interest in the world of finance and/or fraud and/or government regulation -- or you just like a good thriller -- you should read this book.
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This video brought back memories. Back in about 1987, when #1 Son was 2-1/2, he loved Labyrinth. He must have watched it 50 or 100 times. Srsly.
He would put on a pair of tall black dress winter boots with 1" heels that I had then (the boots were knee-high on me; on him they came up to his crotch) and carry some kind of stick to be a scepter/wand, just like The Goblin King. He would stand in front of the TV and [attempt to] sing along with "the baby song", all the while wiggling his butt and dancing back and forth in an imitation of TGK. I especially liked it when he would yell "Quiet!" at the goblins, right along with David Bowie.
Smokey sent this YouTube video to #1. We are waiting to hear if he remembers anything of those days.
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Speaking of sons, #2 Son is, even as I type, hosting the No-Hater Rolling Dance Super Bike Mega Party 2010.0. Perhaps you remember the N-HRDSBMP2K9? Apparently that one was such a success that he is repeating it.
As you can see in the photos in the linked post, one Saturday night in last October he and about 20 others rode their bikes together through light rain and partied and danced (under bridges, where it was dry) until the wee hours. This time? As of some time last week there were already 248 people signed up to attend.
He got a parade permit from the City of Minneapolis, just in case.
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On the knitting front, my multicolored striped top-down raglan now has a yoke, two sleeves, and a few -- say, 3 -- inches of body. I will definitely have it ready to wear by next winter. I hope to be able to wear it if necessary when we go camping near Glacier National Park in June.
Currently, I also have the second sock of two different pairs OTN and am having great fun making log cabin felted potholders for the Friends of the Polk County Libraries to sell this summer. I also have committed to at least one hat for a Relay for Life in fund raiser in June. Progress on all projects is being documented photographically. Stay tuned.