Cheap-ass, Good Wines: 2002 Viu Manent merlot reserve

wine, tasting notes
wine close-up

Background: Michelle and I purchased this 2002 Chilean Merlot made by Viu Manent (Colchagua, Chilé) from Vino! in Oakland for $8.95. A sign in Vino! said that Wine Enthusiast gives it an 89 point score (the closest I could find was this Wine Spectator tasting which gave the 1998 an 85.).

Our tasting notes: Very strong berry... currant, grape (duh) and a well-developed oak toast. It has a well-rounded initial taste that bleeds into a complex aftertaste of tar and a hint of chocolate. It could just be the weather, but there's even a taste of ozone! The tannins are melow but could benefit from a couple more years in the bottle. There's an indication that the taste will become even more complex and broad over a few more years of storage as the fruit starts to take a backseat.

Verdict: A couple years from peak, but not bad this young.

EFF Awarded $125k in Damages for OPG v. Diebold.

elections, vendors, copyright, chilling effects

Link: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cmusings/2004/10/16#a834

(via Derek here)

Diebold will pay $125,000 to the EFF.  Apparently, this will cover the costs of the case. And we all got some tasty precedent along the way.

From the EFF release:

Diebold is the first company to be held liable for violating section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which makes it unlawful to use DMCA takedown threats when the copyright holder knows that infringement has not actually occurred. The section also stipulates that anyone who issues such frivolous threats must pay damages, including costs and attorneys' fees, to those harmed by the misrepresentations.

[...]

"The risk of substantial damages and fees should make companies pause before sending unfounded copyright threats," said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer. "Plus ISPs can fight back against these false claims without taking a financial hit." "As a nonprofit ISP it's great to have legal recourse when a company threatens us or our clients with frivolous lawsuits," added OPG Executive Director Will Doherty.

As you may recall, I was C&D'd by Diebold's legal counsel. I asked the UC legal and policy folks if they had thought of trying to recover damages for my C&D, and they said that the amount of effort involved would be more expensive than the amount they could possibly receive by seeking damages. That makes a lot of sense. In a sense, that's too bad... but the balance in the grey area of fair use probably shouldn't be some brightline where everyone a firm sends a C&D to could extract some damage amount from the firm without additional showing in court, right?

Gratz: Sony C&Ds Retropod

chilling effects

Joe's got the skinny on the Sony C&D of Retropod... and how Sony would likely loose if they pursued this under trademark law.

Jon Stewart Rips Through the Spin on Crossfire

politics

(just saw this via Aaron here)

[Jon] Stewart on Crossfire

One of the most incredible sights of this political season:

Jon Stewart goes on Crossfire, one of our vapid political "debate" shows and asks them, plainly, to stop hurting America, to leave the side of the politicians and the corporations and start working for the people.

GAO on past election incidents...

system, elections, reform, news

Link: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d041041r.pdf

The Government Accountability Office (formerly the General Accounting Office) has released a new report today: "Department of Justice's Activities to Address Past Election-Related Voting Irregularities." In short, the DOJ's Voting Section is screwed and they're just worrying about this now:

In conclusion, lack of specifics about allegations and actions limits
DOJ's ability to have accurate and clear information to share with the public or Congress about the types of allegations received and actions taken. Predictions of another close presidential election in November 2004 combined with possible voter confusion over new requirements in the Help America Vote Act-such as the
implementation of provisional voting in states that had not previously used provisional voting-and possible questions regarding voting equipment could result in the Voting Section again receiving a very large number of telephone calls. This could
result in the need to use contractors to record voter allegations because much of the Voting Section staff will be monitoring election sites on election day. It is important that the information collected be as complete, accurate, and specific as possible regarding specific allegations. If the Voting Section collects more precise information about voter allegations, it is in a better position to assure the public that it has addressed allegations of voting irregularities. Moreover, if it documents actions taken more precisely, it is better able to reassure the public and Congress of its commitment to enforce federal voting rights statutes.

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