April 19th, 2006

Chris Keeley

A man from Longmont, Colorado was fined $50 when the cops caught him using a gizmo that supposedly c

Man fined $50 for using device to change traffic signals

A man from Longmont, Colorado was fined $50 when the cops caught him using a gizmo that supposedly changes traffic lights from red to green. he says he paid $100 on eBay for it. He had been using it for two years, and says the thing "paid for itself" by saving him time spent waiting for signal lights to change.
The device, called an Opticon, is similar to what firefighters use to change lights when they respond to emergencies. It emits an infrared pulse that receivers on the traffic lights pick up.

Niccum was cited after city traffic engineers who noticed repeated traffic light disruptions at certain intersections spotted a white Ford pickup passing by whenever the patterns were disrupted.

(Buy your own "traffic control preemptive device" here for just $299.99.) Link (Thanks, Kelly!)

 Trevor says: "I work at a city in Southern California and I asked our Traffic Engineers about 'personal use' of the infrared preemptive devices. Not only did they say you would get in trouble (duh!), but they also said it wouldn't work because for most cities, when you use the preemptive device it changes all the lights to RED. Which makes more sense because it's safer for the emergency vehicle, they already have the right-of-way and with all the lights switched to red they don't have to worry about anybody turning in front of them..."

Jon says:

Just thought I'd contribute a little factual information. I'm a traffic engineer that enjoys designing traffic signals for a living. The use of signal "preemption" equipment is VERY common in Northwest states, (like Oregon where I live) and is installed at 80% or more of existing signalized intersections. The right to preempt signals is normally assigned to fire/paramedic vehicles, though some cities/counties also allow ambulances and/or police this capability. In every case I'm familiar with, the preempting vehicle receives a GREEN light and all other movements are shown a RED light. Why, because the green light is needed to move blocking vehicles out of the way!

The most common technology uses an infrared light, mounted to a vehicle, that pulses at a fast rate (15,000 Hz +/-). If the equipment is less than 10 years old it likely has the ability to ID the vehicle by reading a digital signature in the infrared beam. It is virtually impossible for a unauthorized person to take advantage of this system. Further, most modern signal systems are able to log preemption activity, making it easy to find an offender.

One last thing, it is a federal offense to tamper with traffic signal preemption. SAFETEA-LU made illegal use of a 'traffic signal preemption transmitter' (MIRTS et al). The original bill, HR 1122 introduced in the 109th Congress in March 2005 was incorporated into SAFETEA-LU shortly thereafter and passed with the rest as Public Law No: 109-059 on 8/10/2005.

Chris Keeley

Israeli policy to cut off the support for the Hamas, and it’s important to know that Israel is oblig

Israel Holds Hamas-Led PA Directly Responsible for Tel Aviv Attack as Occupied Territories Starved of International Aid
Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

The Israeli government has announced it holds the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority directly responsible for Monday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, millions of dollars of aid to the PA have been cut off worsening the humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Territories. We speak with Oxfam, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi and economic researcher Shir Hever in Jerusalem.

The Israeli government has announced it holds the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority directly responsible for Monday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Nine people were killed in the blast, making it the deadliest Palestinian strike against Israel in two years. The group Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the bombing and Hamas said the attack was justified. Israel called Hamas's justifications "clear declarations of war." Collapse )
Chris Keeley

officers raided a villa in an Athens suburb owned by the Papadimitriou family

Illegal Antiquities Cache Prompts Greek Inquiry
ATHENS, April 18 — The Greek authorities said on Tuesday that they were investigating a suspected conspiracy to smuggle antiquities hidden on a remote island to major museums and other buyers abroad.

The inquiry, described by the Greek culture minister, George Voulgarakis, as "one of the most complex cases in recent history," springs from a raid last week in an Athens suburb and another on Skhoinousa, a tiny Greek island, where the police discovered a vast cache of ancient artifacts, some more than 3,000 years old.Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Salutes Vietnam's Dissenters in Uniform

'Sir! No Sir!' Salutes Vietnam's Dissenters in Uniform
Displaced Films

G.I. dissenters in David Zeiger's documentary "Sir! No Sir!" The film recounts the opposition to the Vietnam War that existed within the ranks of the United States Army at the time, and how it found expression.

Chris Keeley

Olson took steps to open an office out of her home in Vienna, Va., for Meteoric, which was based in

A Bright Career Unravels in Iraq
The Pentagon says an officer known for her integrity used her post for personal gain.
By T. Christian Miller
Times Staff Writer

April 19, 2006

WASHINGTON — When Jay Garner arrived as the first U.S. administrator in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, he chose a highly decorated Air Force colonel named Kimberly D. Olson as his right arm because he considered her among the best America had to offer.Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Tony Judt, "A Lobby, Not a Conspiracy"--NYTimes 4/19/06

April 19, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

 A Lobby, Not a Conspiracy


IN its March 23rd issue the London Review of Books, a respected British
journal, published an essay titled "The Israel Lobby."
<http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html> The authors are two
distinguished American academics (Stephen Walt of Harvard and John
Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago) who posted a longer (83-page)
version of their text
<http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011> on the
Web site of Harvard's Kennedy School.

As they must have anticipated, the essay has run into a firestorm of
vituperation and refutation. Critics have charged that their scholarship
is shoddy and that their claims are, in the words of the columnist
Christopher Hitchens, "slightly but unmistakably smelly." The smell in
question, of course, is that of anti-Semitism.
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