Tina K. Russell

July 19, 2009

Amazon.com’s memory hole

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 5:05 pm

In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of the books from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.

An Amazon spokesman, Drew Herdener, said in an e-mail message that the books were added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have rights to them, using a self-service function. “When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers’ devices, and refunded customers,” he said.

Amazon effectively acknowledged that the deletions were a bad idea. “We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances,” Mr. Herdener said.

via Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle Devices – NYTimes.com.

Two thoughts:

  1. I had no idea that my skepticism of the Kindle would be vindicated so soon. I never liked the idea, in theory, that Amazon.com can remove, remotely, any feature or purchase from your device without your knowledge or consent. I didn’t like the theory, and now it’s in the realm of practice. (Yes, they won’t do it again, they say… sure. Let’s see how they hold up the next time they’re assaulted by a gaggle of lawyers carrying pitchforks and legal briefs.)
  2. Wait… the bogus publisher placed pirate versions of Orwell’s books onto the Kindle store using a self-service feature? Amazon.com allows you to add books to the store on the honor system? That’s insane. And, incidentally, be on the lookout for the ultra-bestseller Twilight, now from Tina Russell Publishing, LLC, available on the Kindle Store in about fifteen minutes.

October 25, 2008

Progress in the weakest sense

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 12:50 am

Freedom is on the march, huh? Nice to know that Afghanistan is such a staunch ally in the fight for freedom and justice. By that I mean… okay, they’re an enormous letdown.

No Death Sentence for Afghan Journalist – NYTimes.com
KABUL, Afghanistan — An appeals court sentenced a young Afghan journalist to 20 years in prison for blasphemy on Tuesday, overturning a death sentence ordered by a provincial court but raising further concerns of judicial propriety in the case.

The defendant, Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh, 23, was a journalism student in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and worked for a daily newspaper there. He was arrested last October and accused of printing and distributing an article from the Internet about Islam and women’s rights, on which he had written some comments about the Prophet Muhammad’s failings on that issue.

While insults to Muhammad are anathema in Afghanistan, the decisions by both the lower court and the appeals court shocked many of Mr. Kambakhsh’s supporters and outraged international journalism organizations, which suggested that neither of the trials had been fair. The defendant’s brother, also a journalist, said the proceedings had been prompted by his own critical writings about local militia and political leaders.

That’s right! Twenty years for criticizing the Prophet Muhammad. Or, twenty years for having a brother who criticized local media and politicians. I’m not sure which is worse.

It should be noted here that Muhammad was a man who invited criticism and stood up for women’s rights. I’ll get letters, but it’s true.

Mr. Kambakhsh’s defense lawyer said he would appeal to the Supreme Court, and he called on President Hamid Karzai for help.

“We request the president of Afghanistan to intervene and to not let the corruption in the judicial system violate the rights of Afghan citizens,” said the lawyer, Mohammad Afzal Nuristani.

’Cause if they don’t, support for Afghanistan among Americans will become timid, at best.

September 25, 2008

Bülent Ersoy update

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 1:34 am

Thank your lucky stars, and your country’s laws or founding documents, if you have freedom of speech. Not having it kind of sucks; just ask Bülent Ersoy, now on trial for criticizing Turkey’s mandatory military service, and its excursions in Iraq to the south.

Transsexual Turkish singer defends self in court – International Herald Tribune
Singer Bulent Ersoy has acknowledged saying on television that if she had children she would not want them to join the army to battle Kurdish rebels who are fighting for self-rule.

“I spoke in the name of humanity. Even if I were to face execution, I would say the same thing,” the state-run Anatolia news agency quoted Ersoy as telling the court in Istanbul.

In Turkey, defendants are not expected to enter a plea before a panel of judges hears testimony at a trial and returns a verdict.

Ersoy questioned the fairness of a law making it a crime to criticize Turkey’s mandatory 15-month military service for all men over 20. If found guilty, she could face two years in prison.

Ersoy, 56, who sings traditional Turkish music and dresses in flamboyant gowns, served in the military before her 1981 sex-change operation, her lawyer Muhittin Yuzuak told the court Wednesday.

Turkey wants to join the European Union, to become its first Muslim nation. Turkey will have to clean up this atrocious behavior to join the European club, and EU countries should do all they can to encourage them to do so, and welcome them as a potential member of the European Union.

June 19, 2008

Protect the Poor, Innocent, Bamboo-Eating Minorities

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 6:34 pm

Letters – Standards of Free Speech, in the U.S. and Abroad – Letter – NYTimes.com
To the Editor:

Don’t fall into the trap that we in Canada have fallen into: that only free speech that doesn’t offend can be considered free speech. This is only a euphemism for censorship.

For those of us in Canada, it is too late. Once censorship has been given the cloak of official acceptability, it’s almost impossible to root out, because the advocacy groups that support it, and that now have the backing of the law, will do everything they can to hold on to their newfound powers.

We have opened a door that we can no longer shut. The United States still has a chance to save itself. Don’t throw it away. Roy Weston

Burnaby, British Columbia

June 12, 2008

I’m liberal on most things, but one issue I’ve always been fairly libertarian on is free speech. Once we decide that we need to outlaw certain kinds of speech as “hate speech,” we need to appoint people to decide what kinds of speech is acceptable, and I will always be against that. We do, of course, have judges to decide when “speech” becomes action, such as in cases of libel, inciting violence, or the classic “fire” in a crowded theater. But, that very limited scope of authority–of deciding exactly when you are acting rather than merely speaking–is what prevents judges from being able to overreach and decide what people can say or think.

Besides that, I absolutely loathe the argument that minorities need to be protected from public humiliation, or somesuch. Yes, I hate it when dumb, anti-transsexual, hateful, thoughtless garbage turns up in my Google News feed (which you can find to your right), but I never, ever want people standing up and declaring themselves to be my sole protection from idiots with keyboards. I don’t want people saying, oh, poor little Tina, she’s a woman, or she’s transsexual, we need to protect her from all those mean people out there who are saying bad things. Outlawing tasteless, thoughtless speech in the name of protecting minorities is essentially saying they are children who cannot stand up for themselves, and if you say that, I will personally plant Jennifer Granholm’s high-heeled shoe onto your behind. I’m a big girl, I can look out for myself.

I should say… those nasty words hurt, of course, but I’d much rather you stand up for me (and it does mean a lot!) by saying different, better things, and changing the dialogue from one that demeans people’s differences to one that celebrates all kinds of people. But… we can’t deal with lingering hate and resentment if people clam up and are afraid to talk because they don’t want to branded a bigot, or worse, carted off to jail to “protect minorities” from simple ignorance. The completely stupid and clueless things that were said about Thomas Beattie, the famous “pregnant man” (a concept more or less unremarkable in the trans community), were annoying, but I knew that people had to get the dumb stuff out of their systems (a pregnant man, how novel!) before we could move on into a new, more enlightened era. Similarly, I know that if somebody wants to put out the I Hate Tina Russell Gazette, where they declare me to be some vicious, he-she man-beast, it’s their right and my time would be better spent appealing to people’s intelligence, kindness, and sincerity–counteracting the hate–than define myself by attempting to shut the detractors down. (In fact, if I spent my time trying to shut my detractors down, I would forever be known as the woman who totally denies being a vicious, he-she man-beast.)

February 29, 2008

The Blog of War

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Tina Russell @ 12:48 pm

Air Force Blocks Access to Many Blogs | Danger Room from Wired.com

I’m rather annoyed by the military treating its own soldiers like children, as in this case, when the Air Force decreed that its officers cannot visit sites with “blog” in the URL. They’re also missing out on an incredibly valuable PR tool by not letting soldiers pen blogs for the public.

I hear the same argument about Wikipedia and about the Internet in general, about how it’s unreliable and you can’t trust it, blah blah blah. We ought to give our students, our soldiers, our citizens the measure of respect they deserve and assume they’ll dig deeper and find the facts, and not just trust anything they find on the Internet. But besides that, blogs and the Internet are a valuable tool for terrorists, but they’re just as valuable for the good guys as well. Using modern technology, soldiers can share important and interesting data and highlight things that are a little strange, a little out of place… the kind of data that can help uncover terrorist plots before they happen.

Obviously, nobody ever gave military top brass too many points for adapting to modern times; just look at Iraq, where we had a perfect plan for fighting a different war. But we can’t keep our soldiers handicapped in the information age while the terrorists are adapting easily and swiftly. Besides that, it just makes me angry to see the military treating our soldiers like babies.

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