Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Engine Steams Ahead in the Zimmerman Railroad

First the judge ruled that evidence for Trayvon Martin's less than angelic behavior cannot be presented in opening statements. At least for now.

A judge on Tuesday ruled that Zimmerman’s lawyers won’t be allowed to present in opening statements Trayvon’s tough-talking text messages and social media posts, nor any discussion of his marijuana use — part of a defense strategy to shred the character of the Miami Gardens teen slain last year in Sanford.

Judge won’t delay Zimmerman trial, limits evidence of Trayvon's past

Now it looks like the prosecution actually withheld evidence from the defense.

A court employee who retrieved photos and deleted text messages from Trayvon Martin's cellphone has been placed on administrative leave after an attorney testified that prosecutors didn't properly turn over the evidence to the defense, an attorney said Wednesday.

Former prosecutor Wesley White said he was ethically obligated to reveal that Fourth Judicial Circuit Information Technology Director Ben Kruidbos retrieved the data that weren't turned over.

Lawyer: Zimmerman prosecutor withheld evidence

I am not a lawyer, much less one practicing in Florida, so it is hard to predict for sure what the impact will be on the trial. However, this is clearly prosecutorial misconduct and, at the the least, a grand jury should be convened to investigate. If any intentional deception is disciverd then someone must be indicted.

The system only works because people believe it works. If the system does not correct its own errors then that belief is challenged. Too many such derelictions and the system will collapse. A justice system cannot survive without a tacit acknowledgment of legitimacy from the public.

Right now, it is looking more and more like there is a fix in the works and Florida wants Zimmerman on a railroad to a cell and the people in charge are unafraid to do illegal things to make that happen.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Free Market Medicine?

Three years ago my doctor switched to a so-called concierge service and no longer accepted insurance payments. I admit I was a bit skeptical but, so far, it has worked out well for me. Franky l am glad to see this trend in medical care. I think the evidence clearly indicates is that the HMO/PPO model has inflated prices for basic medical care beyond what a free market would charge.

South Portland doctor stops accepting insurance, posts prices online

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Dr. Michael Ciampi took a step this spring that many of his fellow physicians would describe as radical.

The family physician stopped accepting all forms of health insurance. In early 2013, Ciampi sent a letter to his patients informing them that he would no longer accept any kind of health coverage, both private and government-sponsored. Given that he was now asking patients to pay for his services out of pocket, he posted his prices on the practice’s website.

The change took effect April 1.

Read the rest here.

Monday, May 27, 2013

And The Truth will set You -- uh, well.

According to the Daily Herald of the Batavia, Illinois, the local school board proposes to discipline a teacher named John Dryden.

His offense? He told his students the truth about their rights under the US Constitution.

Dryden, a social studies teacher, told some of his students April 18 that they had a 5th Amendment right to not incriminate themselves by answering questions on the survey, which had each student's name printed on it.

The survey, reportedly had questions regarding alcohol and drug use and each survey was traceable to the student who filled it out. This led to Dryden telling his students that they have the right to not incriminate themselves. What he said is absolutely true. The fact the school district is even considering disciplining him for it make me wonder what are the teaching kids these days? It certainly isn't respect for the truth.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Government Revenue Agent Strikes in Sweden.

This image and the surrounding incidents is iconic of the fundamental uselessness of government. The Stockholm Police Department didn't even try to stop the rioters from torching the cars but the next day a "meter maid" shows up to ticket them.

Related article: Parking Tickets Issued on Wrecks while Stockholm Burns

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Will They have Atheists in Heaven?

Pope Francis suggests that it is possible.

But the pope, in a morning Mass on Wednesday, suggested that belief and faith weren’t the biggest factors. He said, CNN reported: "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ — all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone. 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone. We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist.' But do good: We will meet one another there."

This is sure to spark a wildfire of outrage. The idea that good works can earn salvation really pisses off some Christians. Grace is presented as necessary and sufficient for salvation. In less extreme sects that grace comes as the result of a choice the individual makes to be saved. In its more extreme forms -- Calvinism for example -- the saved were selected at the creation of the world and how each lives his life doesn't matter. At neither extreme, nor in the middle can grace be earned by action. It is a gift from the Christian God and character or conduct have nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation of the soul.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Making Sudafed from Meth?

Organic chemistry was not my best subject so I don't know for sure the following will work. Also "The Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry" sounds more tongue-in-cheek than serious. However, if true, it does represent a unique reaction to the silliness of drugged war.

A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From N-Methylamphetamine (PDF)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lesbian Couple Cannot Cohabiate in Texas.

Interesting intersection between a "morality clause" in a divorce and a state's refusal to accept gay marriages. I get that the divorce agreement prohibits any romantic partner from staying overnight unless it's a spouse. However, Texas law forbids lesbians from getting married. Kind of hard to claim this does not discriminate against gay pairings.

A judge has ruled that a North Texas lesbian couple can't cohabitate — live together — because of a morality clause in one of the women's divorce papers.

Read the rest here

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Create a chroot sftp account with logging

System: CentOS 5/6

Prerequisites: openssh >5.2

chroot sftp user home directory is /usr/sftp/i-sftp

  1. make sure the entire chroot path is owned by root
    ls -ld /usr
    ls -ld /usr/sftp
    ls -ld /usr/sftp/i-sftp

  2. Add to /etc/ssh/sshd_config
    Match User i-sftp
        ChrootDirectory %h
        ForceCommand internal-sftp -l INFO
        GSSAPIAuthentication no
        PasswordAuthentication no (yes if using password auth)
        PubkeyAuthentication yes (no if keys not allowed)
        AllowTcpForwarding no
        Banner none

  3. For key-based authentication add a .ssh directory and create the authorized_keys file. This must also be owned by root:root
    sudo mkdir -m 0555 /usr/sftp/i-sftp/.ssh
    sudo touch /usr/sftp/i-sftp/.ssh/authorized_keys
    sudo chmod 0444 /usr/sftp/i-sftp/.ssh/authorized_keys

  4. Add the necessary public keys to the authorized_keys file

  5. Create a directory for the log socket
    sudo mkdir -m 0755 /usr/sftp/i-sftp/dev

  6. Add to /etc/rsyslog.conf
    $AddUnixListenSocket /usr/sftp/i-sftp/dev/log
    if $programname == 'sshd' then /var/log/sshd.log
    if $programname == 'sshd' then ~
    if $programname == 'internal-sftp' then /var/log/sshd.log
    if $programname == 'internal-sftp' then ~

  7. restart rsyslog
    sudo service rsyslog restart

Now all sshd and internal-sftp messages will go to /var/log/sshd.log

Don't forget to add sshd.log to logrotate.