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Friday, July 28, 2006

"That Capitalist Rag"

At work, I scan the Wall Street Journal every day: the front page, and the second and fourth sections, Marketplace and Personal Journal (or some such - it changes during the week). But I'm usually reluctant when I go to the op-ed pages, where I, more often than not, find some apologist for the current administration. My co-worker and friend Mike, who semi-retired in the past month or so, would pass the paper along to me, with some cutting comment, such as "Here's that crypto-fascist rag!" Occasionally, though, I find something actually useful. Here's an example of each.

In Monday's edition, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, announced that Muthannā is the "first province to assume complete responsibility for its law enforcement and security, independent of multinational forces." That's great. Really, it is, although it had been under the authority of non-U.S. troops. But look at the map of Iraq. As the Wikipedia says, "Iraq is divided into 18 governorates or provinces (muhafazah)", which are:
Baghdād (بغداد)
Salāh ad-Dīn (صلاح الدين)
Diyālā (ديالى)
Wāsit (واسط)
Maysān (ميسان)
Al-Basrah (البصرة)
Dhī Qār (ذي قار)
Al-Muthannā (المثنى)
Al-Qādisiyyah (القادسية)
Bābil (بابل)
Al-Karbalā' (كربلاء)
An-Najaf (النجف)
Al-Anbar (الأنبار)
Nīnawā (نينوى)
Dahūk (دهوك)
Arbīl (أربيل)
Kirkuk (التاميم)
As-Sulaymāniyyah (السليمانية)
All during the war, I've been reading about how X, (X being something positive) has happened in 8 or 12 or 14 of 18 provinces. Almost invariably, however, those 4 "other" provinces include Anbar, that large western province (#13), where the U.S. is moving troops from, it was announced this week, and Baghdād (#1), which has over 1/5 of the country's population, and where additional U.S. forces are moving to. I'm afraid I'm not convinced that success in one relatively stable southern province will mean peace is just around the corner. Of course, this guy would likely disagree; naturally, I read about him in the WSJ this week.

The other piece was by Suze Orman in last weekend's edition, about identity theft. There is pending legislation called the Financial Data Protection Act of 2006, H.R.3997. I'm always impressed how Congress comes up with such comforting names of legislation - USA PATIOT Act, anyone? Her point is about Section 6 of the bill:
(a) Preemption of State Information Security Laws- This Act supersedes any provision of a statute, regulation, or rule of a State or political subdivision of a State, with respect to those entities covered by the regulations issued pursuant to this Act, that expressly--
(1) requires information security practices and treatment of data in electronic form containing personal information similar to any of those required under section 2; and
(2) requires notification to individuals of a breach of security resulting in unauthorized acquisition of data in electronic form containing personal information.

Orman, talking about this preemption, notes that there are already strong laws in CA, FL, IL, NJ, NY, and UT, which means 130 million out of 300 million Americans. State reforms enable you to to activate a credit freeze, but this is a hassle to the business community. As for the federal law: "Only victims who produce a police report after their personal information is stolen would be able to put a credit freeze on their accounts. This approach is the equivalent of only selling locks to people who have already been burglarized." This sounds "bug my Congressman"-worthy.
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My friend Sarah e-mailed this piece about stolen elections. Generally, I'm not thrilled with unsigned pieces, but I trust her, and what it says is consistent with I've read before.

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