RizWords – News of Note
Episode 21 – download now

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We opened up with more on the Imus thing, he was fired from MSNBC, as I discussed earlier this week.

Lots of Vonage news today:

Next Vonage court date: April 24

Mark your calendar for April 24. That’s the day Vonage and Verizon are due back in court to talk about the restraining order Verizon got that would keep Vonage from signing up new customers. Vonage got an appellate judge to temporarily hold off the order until a fuller argument can be heard; that’s what will happen on the 24th. The judge basically has three options: lift the stay and stop Vonage from accepting customers, throw out the underlying injunction, or take some time to think about it. On a side note, the two sides are going back to the trial court later today (Thursday) to hear arguments about whether Vonage should have to post $189 million in addition to the $66 million bond already posted to cover the damages that the jury awarded. Verizon, it would appear, is trying to cut off Vonage’s financial oxygen any way it can.

[article from Exchange Online]

Breaking news: Vonage CEO steps down

Word has come down that Vonage CEO Michael Snyder is stepping down. Specific reasons were not given, though the company has been beleaguered pretty much from the day it went public last year. Chairman Jeffrey Citron will take the reigns while a permanent CEO is found. In phone call with analysts this morning, Citron said that Vonage would turn its attention to cutting its marketing expense, which stands at $275 per new customer acquired. That’s actually $31 better than it had been in the previous quarter.

[Vonage’s press release]

What are the Verizon VoIP patents, anyway?

Here’s a good question: what exactly are the patents that are causing all of Vonage’s problems? Network World pored through the patent database and court transcripts and figured it out. One patent is about how VoIP systems do packet translation, changing domain names into PSTN phone numbers and back. A second is about supporting features like Caller ID and call waiting for VoIP customers. The third is about how calls can be moved from the Internet to a wireless network on a customer’s premises.

[article from Network World]

In police brutality and abuse news:

Cory Doctorow: A Sikh US Gulf War veteran was pepper-sprayed and beaten by a Joliet, IL cop, who screamed racial slurs at him while he whacked the vet with his baton. The Sikh man had left his junker van in his driveway, the cop asked him to put it in his garage. The vet said that his van was inoperable, and his driveway was his personal property. The cop called him a fucking Arab, a fucking immigrant, and told him to go back to his fucking country.
Mr. Nag then came outside to answer the officer’s questions regarding the van. The Joliet police officer then demanded that Mr. Nag park the van inside his garage and not on the driveway, to which Mr. Nag responded to the officer that it was not possible and that regardless, the van is parked on his private property and he has a right to park it on his driveway.

At this moment, the officer pulled out his pepper spray and attacked Mr. Nag. As Mr. Nag screamed in agony, the officer removed his baton and violently struck Mr. Nag numerous times until he fell to the ground. While the assault ensued, the officer was reported by both Mr. and Mrs. Nag as saying, “You f****** Arab! You f***** immigrant, go back to you f****** country before I kill you!”

And similarly, from Miami:

MIAMI, Fla. (WSVN) — The former brother-in-law of Mayor Carlos Alvarez said that Miami-Dade police officers mistook him for someone else on Sunday when they brutally beat him up.

Harry Castro, 47, a nurse practitioner, says as he was driving his white Mercedes around midnight on the Turnpike in Cutler Ridge after leaving work, Miami-Dade Police officers pulled him over and brutally assaulted him. “They kicked me, they elbowed me, they forearmed me,” said Castro. “I was in the fetal position trying to cover myself, what is my crime, what did I do, what is my crime, what did I do.

Article ImageCastro has bruises and welts on his arms, eyes and the inside of his mouth as proof of the beating. He also said the beating has left him psychologically scarred. “I’ve had nightmares. I was scheduled today to see my therapist about this. I do not want to take the Turnpike. I’m fearful of cars that come around me that are Metro-Dade Police or any police.”

Castro said that this was clearly a case of mistaken identity and retaliation. Castro says Miami-Dade police thought his car matched the vehicle of another person who had pointed a gun at an undercover police officer. “When the undercover officer came in front of the cruiser on the driver side, he said he’s not the guy.”

Castro was married to Mayor Alvarez’s sister for 16 years, but Mayor Alvarez has said that he will not interfere with the investigation. “If any officers are found to have acted inappropriately, I am confident that the matter will be handled accordingly. As with any police investigation, there will be no interferenc

e from my office.”

Miami-Dade Police have said that “Florida State Statute prohibits them from discussing open Internal Affairs cases until that investigation is concluded.”

In conclusion, Castro said that some police officers arrived some time later, consoling him and promising to find the officers responsible for his alleged beating.