Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Internet Censorship in China

The Censorship Battles between Google and China continues as the BBC writes in China condemns decision by Google to lift censorship.

Read in this regard
Internet Censorship in China
by the Los Angeles Chinese Learning Center, which writes:
"Foreign visitors in China frequently complain to me that they could not access certain websites during their stay in China. Indeed, certain news websites, websites related to certain religious organizations (most of them are illegal in China), as well as some pornographic websites are inaccessible from China. Surprisingly enough, our website, the website of Los Angeles Chinese Learning Center at http://chinese-school.netfirms.com is also blocked by the Chinese government. (Through our recent efforts, the site has been unblocked by the Chinese government. Currently, we are offering the service to unblock your website from China)

In a well researched paper titled 'Documentation of Internet Filtering Worldwide' by Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman from Harvard Law School tested approximately two hundred thousand websites by dial-up link and through proxy servers in China. From May 2002 through November 2002, 19,032 websites rendered inaccessible. These sites contained information about news, politics, health, commerce, and entertainment. Please visit http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/filtering/china/ for details."
If I ran Google search, I would - just to give the Chinese a taste of their own medicine - block all pages that have anything to do with China - for let us say a month, just to teach them a lesson. Some people do not learn any other way.

Congress Does Something Right : The USA : Moving Toward a Modern System of Healthcare, Lilke All the Other Civilized Nations of the World

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Robert Pear write at the New York Times in Obama Signs Health Care Overhaul Bill, With a Flourish:
"With the strokes of 20 pens, President Obama signed his landmark health care overhaul — the most expansive social legislation enacted in decades — into law on Tuesday, saying it enshrines “the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.”"
We are not great fans of Congress and have great doubts about the legislative qualifications of many of its members, but for once, Congress finally did something right in passing legislation to reform America's antiquated and grossly unequal health care system, finally moving in a direction that all of the world's other civilized nations have long ago taken -- thereby picking up the baton of responsibility in taking care of the health of American citizens, rather than treating its own people like enemies of the State.

It is the job of the government to take care of its people - ALL OF ITS PEOPLE - domestically as also in terms of international national security. A nation spending trillions on weapons of war for the defense of its shores - defense spending which we support - can not ignore the plight of those who call those shores their home.

We are political centrists, but the Republicans should be greatly ashamed of their behaviour as regards the health care bill. "All for me" and nothing for the other guys is contrary to the kind of good old American "team play" taught everywhere else. Shame on all the selfish people who voted and campaigned against a law designed to insert some equality into the health care of American citizens. The wealthy need not be depressed or despondent. They will surely get better health care than the poor -- now as before -- but at least the poor will have a right to a minimum of basic health care.

Those who talk about "financing" health care should be happy that society does not take - let's say - 50% of the net worth of any man whose life is saved by antibiotics or any other kind of modern medical miracle which a wealthy patient had no hand in creating or inventing. WHO financed THOSE miracles? Everyone, that's who, and surely least of all, the person benefitting from them. Society as a whole is greatly involved at every step of the health care process, from birth to death, including the building and maintenance of numerous and varied facilities available for medical care and the training of medical and support personnel who staff those facilities, many of whom graduate from universities financed by thousands of donors and alumni. The "system" provides health care and there is no reason for the system to favor any particular group. Who is subsidized by the health care system? - EVERYONE.

Op-Ed Columnist Maureen Dowd in Hail the Conquering Professor writes at the NYTimes.com
"One minute they were legislative losers, squabbling and scrambling for the off-ramps. The next they were history-makers, sharing chest bumps and goose bumps at the White House. How had the lofty president and the wily speaker suddenly steered them off Jimmy Carter Highway and onto F.D.R. Drive?

One gleeful and relieved White House aide called the bill-signing ceremony in the East Room, packed with Democratic lawmakers snapping pictures and acting like obstreperous children, “an Old Spice moment.”

“You could see it in their faces,” he said. “It was kind of like that Old Spice ad where the guy smacked himself on the cheeks and said, ‘Wow, that feels good!’ It was like they smacked themselves on the cheeks and said, ‘You are a member of Congress and now you can start doing things. Wow, that feels good!’ ”

David Axelrod agreed: “It was incredibly moving to be in that room today. This was such an emotional high that I actually saw congressmen hugging senators. People are so used to low expectations around here that the idea that you could do something big and meaningful is exhilarating.”"

Videos, YouTube and Copyrights : Google and Viacom square off

In Viacom vs. Google, legal shenanigans abound | Media Maverick - CNET News
"Since March 2007, when Viacom first accused Google in a $1 billion lawsuit of profiting off thousands of unauthorized copyrighted clips that once appeared on YouTube, most of the conflict had smoldered out of public view.

Once the case documents were unsealed on Thursday, all the spite roared into the open. Google attacked Viacom for chopping up e-mails from YouTube's founders in an obvious attempt to invent sinister-sounding messages. In Viacom's motion for summary judgment, the parent company of Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures railed against Google and YouTube for developing 'serial amnesia' during depositions and also for failing 'to preserve and produce' key documents--a no-no in civil proceedings."
Read the whole article by Greg Sandoval here.

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