Sunday, November 25, 2007

Whom We Elect

As I look at the lackluster, third-string run of candidates running for President, I am certain that 2008 will be yet another year of voting for the Lesser of Two Evils... and probably not lesser by much. However, in the spirit of boundless optimism (which is sorely needed right about now), I realized that there are some pretty constant qualities in the candidates who actually win.

Americans elect Presidents with the following qualities:

1. Charisma - We want our President to be a nice guy who seems like someone you'd like to have dinner with. We want someone who is charming, but not to the point of seeming fake. A good President is an orator who can make you feel good, and be able to tell you a story that might bring tears to your eyes. A good President makes you want to take charge and fix problems rather than wait for someone else to do it.

2. Likable - All the smarts in the world aren't going to win you the Oval Office if you're a jerk, or if you act like you're smarter than everyone (even if you are, which is actually a good thing). We don't want a soft or weak President, but we do want a President who can be nice. We want someone who laughs spontaneously, speaks off the cuff, make jokes and is occasionally willing to make fun of himself or herself, and yet can get up and make an inspiring speech. We do not want a President who is vindictive, easy to anger or just plain grouchy.

3. At least one "everyman" feature - Bush likes to work on his ranch, Clinton liked fast food, Carter used to be a farmer, Reagan played cowboys in the movies, even Nixon had his dog Checkers. We want a President who has as least some aspects that he or she shares with the common man that has nothing to do with politics. It's easy to tell when someone is faking this, and that kind of patronizing is worse than arrogance. We want someone who takes his job seriously but does not take himself too seriously. We want someone who does not act like he or she is above everyone else, even if it's true.

4. Optimistic - The U.S. President must be optimistic about America and must believe that it is the greatest country on Earth, despite its problems and flaws. The U.S. President must be willing to say about any problem, "This can be fixed and here's how we are going to do it." The U.S. President must be able to make us feel optimistic about the future, by convincing us how we can, and must, improve our country.

5. Prior executive experience - This is absolutely an imperative in my mind. We have had many Governors and Generals as President and very few Senators. There's a reason for that. The Presidency is not an entry-level executive position and anyone who hasn't run a state, a large company, a military branch, or something equivalent, has no business even running for the Oval Office. Vice-presidents count, obviously.

Look at every election for the past few decades and the winner always had more of these qualities than the loser. Fortunately, for the sake of the country, Hillary Clinton has _none_ of these qualities. Plus her speaking voice causes intestinal cramps, or at least it does for me. Four years of that shrill, nasal whining and we might just turn into France. And even _France_ isn't France these days.

p.s. I actually think Ron Paul is a very principled person... in fact the only consistently principled person on the Republican side. I don't agree with everything he stands for, especially his call to immediately withdraw from Iraq, but on the other hand, he's the only candidate who actually seems to stand for what he believes and to believe in what he stands for, and makes decisions based on conservative and libertarian principles and not based on which lobbyist he has last spoken with or what he thinks his current audience wants to hear. Given the way the major candidates and the media is shutting him out, it seems they recognize it too. I'd say the same for Kucinich on the Democrat side, except that he's completely wrong about almost everything. Of course, neither one of them stand a chance.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Are you ready for parenthood?

I have four lovely children who are a real treasure in my life and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Well, maybe some peace, quiet and sanity. Wait, that's what I traded for them in the first place. No, I really wouldn't trade them for anything. It's been the toughest job I've ever loved, and every day brings me a new wonder from these four little people (well, not so little) who have elbowed their way into my life and heart.

I've been a parent for more than 13 years and it might be a good idea to share some of my accumulated experience to you younger folks who are new to parenting, or haven't even started yet. After all, if you don't listen to your elders, you can never benefit from their experience, and they're going to keep blabbing on any way, so you might as well listen in case something useful comes out.

Today it occurred to me that some of you might be wondering whether it's time to stop being arrested adolescents, stop living solely for your own benefit, and have something to do with your spare time other than gaze lovingly at each other over dinner out. Three times a week. At places that don't have children's menus.

I'm talking procreation here. Cooperating with the Good Lord in the only real act of creation that still goes on, that of a new soul... or more specifically, giving it a place to live in a wrinkled little pink thing that looks like Winston Churchill and won't stop crying for anything, at least until the grandparents show up, just to make you look like an idiot.

In other words, are you ready to have kids?

Well, here I've created a handy checklist. You need to ask yourself, "Am I ready and willing to do all of these things?" If you are hesitant, for any reason, you should think twice about loosing your progeny upon this crazy world.

Anyhow, these activities represent things that will undoubtedly happen to you at some time or another, so it's better to be prepared than to be caught by surprise. These are all things, or approximations of things, that have actually happened to me, so I know what of I speak. Please note, some of these get a little gross. We are talking about children here. They are hard-wired by billions of years of evolution to do some really disgusting things, often in a surprisingly large radius. You have been warned.

Rick's List of Things You Should Be Willing to Do If You Want to Be A Parent
  1. Let's get it out of the way first. Take a poop on the floor. Go ahead. Drop trou, squat down and lay a nice big one on the carpet. You are not allowed to look for a nice uncluttered piece of linoleum, just go right there in the center of the room, preferably in a high-traffic area. You think that's bad? Now step in it and walk around. (I told you this would be tough.)
  2. Take ten objects that you treasure, regardless of their value, in monetary or sentimental terms. Arrange them in a nice row in front of you. Selecting at random, do the following: Drop one in a bucket of water. Smash one into pieces, not small enough to just throw away, but too small to easily fix with glue. Throw a third in the trash. You are not allowed alternate choices.
  3. Drop a bowl of food on the floor.
  4. Take three alarm clocks. Set them all to some time between midnight and 6 a.m., preferably different times every day. Put them in another room, so you'll have to get up to turn them off. Do this for a month straight. Take turns if you want. It's fun.
  5. On one occasion when you wake up in the middle of the night for an alarm, take a bag of flour or something else that weighs several pounds. Set the kitchen timer for 45 minutes. Walk around the house carrying the bag of flour for the whole time. You may talk to it, or sing to it. You may not use foul language. You may not give up early and make biscuits.
  6. Stand up in the middle of church, or some other place where some decorum is observed, and start screaming for several seconds. Walk out with an embarrassed look on your face. For bonus points, throw up first.
  7. Drop a bowl of food on the floor.
  8. Just once, drop everything you are doing at some random time, preferably when it causes real inconvenience. Rush to the emergency room. Wait around for four hours, and then watch someone get stitches. Up close. Help hold the patient down if necessary.
  9. Take some crayons and draw a nice picture. On the wall. If you mess up, just move a few feet and start over. If you're having trouble, books offer lots more room for practice.
  10. Buy three story books. Read each of them out loud once a night for a year. Try not to get bored.
  11. This one involves a friend, or your spouse, although he or she might not be a friend afterwards. Ask your friend, at some time in the next couple days, when you aren't looking, or perhaps aren't even awake, do one of the following: a.) Dump a box of wooden blocks over your head. b.) Run up out of the blue and kick you in a very tender or sensitive region. c.) Give you an uppercut to the jaw., or d.) Throw up on you.
  12. Turn on all the lights in your house. Leave them on for an entire month. You can only turn off lights in a room you are currently in. If you leave the room, you must turn them back on.
  13. At least once, when you park your car in a public place, walk off without closing one of the doors.
  14. Drop a bowl of food on the floor.
  15. Ask your spouse to announce suddenly one day, ten minutes before he or she needs to go somewhere important, that he or she has either no clean underwear, pants or shoes. And I mean "not clean" as in "not currently wearable, period". Improvise if necessary.
  16. Drink a very large glass of water. Watch TV for a couple hours straight. Don't miss a second of what's on, even the commercials. You know what I mean.
  17. If you have a computer, smear jelly on your hands. Then use it. Make sure to touch the monitor repeatedly. Don't clean the gunk out of the mouse.
  18. Punch or kick a hole in the wall. Then patch it. Try to make it not noticeable when you are finished. Pretty hard, huh?
  19. Another time in the parking lot, throw your car door open with excessive force. Give yourself bonus points if you are parked next to a Mercedes. Write a nice note apologizing to the owner and leave your contact information.
  20. Drop a bowl of food on the floor.
  21. Dump a large bucket of water on the floor. Or perhaps on a piece of furniture. Give it a few minutes to soak in before cleaning it up. Don't forget, things get moldy if they aren't thoroughly dried.
  22. Buy a video tape or DVD of a TV show or movie. It doesn't matter which one. Play it a couple times a day for three months straight. Keep it turned up loud. Don't switch to a different one. Shows with annoying, nasal-talking puppets give bonus points, but you are by no means required to choose them.
  23. Pick a day and start throwing Hot Wheels around the room for several minutes. Do not attempt to avoid walls, windows or siblings.
  24. If you live in an apartment or other high-density housing, turn up the TV unreasonably loud. Late at night. Then leave for an hour. While this isn't quite as annoying to neighbors as an extended bout of colic, it can be quite effective.
  25. Drop a bowl of food on the floor.
OK. After looking over this list, if you aren't ready and willing to do each one of these things, sometimes more than once, then you just aren't ready for parenthood. Once you become a parent, they will be done for you. Repeatedly. You might prevent some occurrences, but you won't prevent them all.

You have been warned.

Simpsonized

You can go to this site upload a photo and become Simpsonized. I have to say that I am fairly impressed by how the process works. It works better for some faces than others, but it always manages to be somewhere in the ballpark. There are some non-trivial analysis algorithms going on and I have to say it's one of the neatest things I've seen online in a while.

Of course, I had to Simpsonize all of us, and here we are:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Random Thought

Having had worked at AOL for 15 agonizing months, I was familiarized with some of the casual dress styles among the younger set. In particular I noticed the increasing preponderance of facial hardware, which has actually been popular for quite a few years. I was reminded of this last night seeing a striking young lady (well, another one besides Provazolezec) at the movie theater with a minute little nose stud affixed to the side of her schnozz.

Here's a note to the practitioners of piercing from someone who is older than you and whose opinion probably is of no value to you, but it will be expressed anyhow: You look ridiculous. What form of self-hatred could possibly inspire you to puncture your face and inflict it with what must surely be painful metal objects that make you look more like some kind of toolshop appliance than a human being? Trust me, to almost everyone over 30 (and probably a lot of people under 30) it's like a walking IQ test, each item dropping to the total by 10 or 20 points. If the piercing is inside your mouth, that's 50 points off the top. I'd love to see what would happen if someone fired up a big electromagnet nearby. It reminds me of a scene from "Heartbreak Ridge" where Clint Eastwood expresses his opinion of earrings in the military... ouch!

What I find even more hilarious is those women who want to join the bandwagon with those relatively conservative little metal nose studs that are often affixed by neodymium magnets. You should certainly be commended for your restraint from self-mutilation, but I hate to break it to you ladies, instead of a nose stud, you in fact look like you have a huge blackhead on the side of your face. A blackhead that may occasionally sparkle, but the overall effect is a need for Clearasil and a good scrubbing, which is probably not the intended effect.

Now I realize that the flows and eddies of adolescent hormonal changes lead many of us to engage in various "non-standard" or even "shocking" styles of self-expression in an attempt to establish an identity among the throngs of humanity, the rest of us see these piercings for what they are, lock-step conformity and complete silliness, and we laugh at you from behind your backs. I don't say this to mock you, just to tip you off to the truth. You look like idiots. Is it worth all the redness, swelling and infections?

p.s. Tattoos send pretty much the same message, that is "I'm too stupid or too lazy to come up with a unique way to express myself, so I will just put graffiti on my body."

p.p.s. We saw "The Simpsons Movie", it was great.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Junkie's Eye View

flickr.com rocks. They now allow free accounts up to 100MB of uploads a month. It used to be 20MB. I hope they can work out that censorship problem with Germany and other countries that have a lot of folks up in arms. Although to fair, I think it's the governments of those countries and not Flickr that's the real problem.

Anyhow I uploaded some pictures over the weekend. I included some of the best scenic photos Provazolezec and I have taken over the years, plus some pix of fun art projects we have done with the kids.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Provazolezec

Provazolezec. Is it the latest concept in Web 2.0?

Provazolezec. Is it a great new cheese, firm, with a tangy flavor?

Provazolezec. Is it the latest anti-depressant from Bristol-Meyers Squibb?

Provazolezec. Is it a new fragrance from Prince Matchabelli?

It's all this and more.

2009 update: Provazolezec's blog has evaporated into the digital ether, but she can be found on Facebook under the name Guinivere MacFooz (of the Clan MacFooz).

Friday, June 01, 2007

My letter to President Bush

Mr. President:

As a lifelong conservative and someone who voted for you twice, and as someone who has spent countless hours defending many of your policies, I am writing to express my utter disgust with your handling of the border situation and this impending legislation. People have been complaining about this problem since long before you came to office, yet even after 9/11, your Administration has done precious little to address this problem, which in my opinion is affecting this country as much or more than terrorism and radical Islam.

Now that this nightmarish legislation is being discussed, something which I, and millions of others believe will not help the problem, you have taken to calling us names and questioning our motives for disagreeing with you. This is invariably a sign of someone "defending the indefensible". The fact of the matter is that I, and I imagine the vast majority of Americans, believe the best we can hope for is that this so-called reform won't make the problem worse than it already is, and we can point to many examples of legislation with a similar track record. How can we trust your Administration to abide by the loophole-filled measures in this elephantine piece of legislative detritus when you have not showed much interest in enforcing the laws that are currently being broken by tens of millions? Why should we believe you will enforce the complicated bureaucratic laws, when you won't enforce the simple, concrete ones?

I honestly regret having voted for you in 2004, knowing what I know now. It is a sad day when I wished I had, as the Republican/Democrat political monopoly likes to call it, "thrown away my vote" on a third party candidate and in effect voted for Senator Kerry. I honestly believed that you always had (and still do have) the country's best interests in mind when you invaded Iraq, and in other aspects of your foreign policy, despite my misgivings about how the war has gone since then. I honestly believed you always had the country's best interests in mind for everything, but on the issue of immigration, I feel that not only are you not interested in supporting the Rule of Law, you are expressing utter contempt for the will of the people, as well as the Rule of Law. I don't believe you aren't even pretending you are on our side any more. I believe that you are placing the wants of businesses and other monied interests against the simple, unequivocal desires of the very people who worked hardest to get you elected. We know most of our Senators and Congressmen are beholden to special interests, and care most about their own careers instead of the people they represent. We would hope that at least our President would be above that.

While I continue to support this great country, our military and all freedom-loving Americans, and I support you as its elected President, even if I don't support your policies, I no longer believe you are representing, or even trying to represent, me. If you were, you would push first for clear, simple legislation that enforces existing laws, with real, concrete benchmarks. If you had done that, we would believe that you and Congress are being forthright about trying to solve _our_ problems, rather than your own political ones. That your political opponents won't agree to something simple and straightforward shows that they are also not being forthright. I'd long ago given up the idea that Congress, especially the Senate, cares about me as a hard-working, law-abiding, but not rich citizen. It saddens me to consider that you and your Administration no longer care either.

Our government, despite passing obscene amounts of legislation in the past few decades, has accomplished little but to erode the Rule of Law, waste trillions of our (not its) dollars, and undermine the trust of everyone but the most rabid, knee-jerk partisans, and I believe, Mr. President, that you are guilty of all these things as well. I want to trust and respect you, because I believe in your heart you are a very moral man, but many of your actions, especially in the past couple years have sent a much different message.

Please reconsider your position on the immigration legislation. I would have thought this could be a home run opportunity for you, since the Right Thing to do is both simple and obvious. You have expressed the idea that your re-election gave you political capital to engage in real reform, despite the obvious political costs that any meaningful, effective reform would entail, but I feel that this capital has been wholly squandered. The price has been paid, but nothing has been reformed.

Please reconsider your support of this legislation.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

On the Folly of Meta-Laws

Those rarefied few of you who might read these all-to-sporadic missives of mine (even if only on the way to see if I'm really bashing the Catholic Church in my other blog), which if I'm lucky, might include my wife, and maybe a co-worker or two who are polite enough to humor me, were witness to an intentionally vague posting of mine a couple weeks ago in which I mentioned the onerous Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Setting aside the trite and faddish nature of the name of this notorious piece of legislation, caused by an affliction that affected nearly everyone in marketing, politics, or any other public communication capacity around the year 1999 of utilizing, in nearly every kind of nomenclature, a reference to the fact that it would soon be a large, round number of years since the date that Dionysus Exiguus (know as "Dennis the Short"), a sixth-century Scythian monk, mistakenly identified as the year of the Birth of Christ, a fad that had nearly died out by time the new millennium actually began, thanks to the fact that Dennis, like everyone else outside of India at the time, and perhaps not even there, would have reacted with incredulity at the mere mention of such an absurd notion of a Year Zero, on 1 January 2001, by which time the novelty of the whole thing had faded and the country, beleaguered by a long, tedious and ultimately absurd election drama, became distracted by the ripe opportunity of a new chief executive to hate, this legislative monstrosity represents a perfect example of the absurd extremes to which Congress, beholden and responsive to only the most monied of its members' supporters, could stray, unreigned by common sense, simple consideration of the logical consequences, or just about anything else but the bidding of its corporate masters, or in an occasional fit of quadrennial panic, the perception, but not the well-being, of the public.

Consider gun control laws. It is already illegal in every jurisdiction to murder someone, with or without a firearm, but thanks to ineffective law enforcement, the breakdown of any sense in the public of civility, or civil responsibility, the short-sightedness of an increasingly intellectually benumbed population and the general moral decay that been the primary precipitate of post-Enlightenment Modernism, murders had increased to an epidemic proportion. Having completely failed in efforts to prevent or deter these awful crimes, the legislators, in their infinite pragmatism, and not insignificant otiosity concluded that since the laws were being broken with impunity, domestic order would most certainly be restored with the simple application of additional bureaucracy. So gun control laws were passed, and an activity which is inherently harmless, the owning of a firearm, was made illegal, in the apparent hopes that the failure of a potentially capital punishment to deter murderous behaviour would be rectified by the additional paperwork and the threat of much less serious punishment. Of course, to be fair, gun control laws did have a significant impact of reducing the potential for gun violence in all but the people who would actually commit such crimes in the first place. In other words, only people who want to obey the law, will.

Emboldened by the easy, but false logic of these feckless accomplishments, and completely undeterred by the truth of the almost complete failure of these laws to accomplish their goals, the U.S. Congress set about to address the complete lack of enforcement against digital piracy of music, books, and increasingly, movies. Media companies, having realized that their monopoly of 19th century distribution methods for their products was rendered completely null and void by the radical transformation wrought by the advent of the Internet, turned to various encryption technologies in order to prevent the violation of their copyrights, not to mention in order to maintain an artificially and grotesquely inflated price on the distribution of content, which has now become essentially free compared to the days when physical media was required to move around sounds and images. Under the auspices of the name "Digital Rights Management", companies have shackled their products with technological means to prevent digital redistribution by customers. Of course, the irony is that no matter how securely, no matter how byzantine and baroque the means used to protect your rights, if the end product is viewable by human eyes or hearable by human ears, then it can be copied. The end result of these increasingly misguided undertakings was to penalize paying customers, who were often saddled with products that did not work as they should because they were designed, under every conceivable circumstance except one, not to work at all.

On a personal note, my first DVD device was the DVD drive that came with the IBM Thinkpad laptop I purchased in 2000. Realizing that I now had the ability to play DVD's I went out and picked up DVD copy of "The Matrix", a movie that had been recently released on DVD. I found however, that the movie would not play on my computer, and that I had in fact paid some 24 dollars for a round piece of aluminized plastic that could serve me no purpose other than as, perhaps, a coaster. I later found out that that particular DVD had known problems with particular players, including those used in IBM laptops, and of course, this is due, in part to the inclusion of encryption technology in the DVD-specification. It wasn't until I purchased another DVD player (actually it was my wife who surprised me with it for Christmas) that I was able to actually use a product that I had months before bought and paid for fully. This is, of course, only one example of the numerous ways in which I was deprived of the rights and value which were most assuredly legally and morally mine to be had because of Digital Rights Management.

The ironic thing is that DRM has always been quickly and relatively easily "cracked" by those people with the means to do so. As the certain circles of the general public gained more and more skill in circumventing these methods of protection, the media companies engaged in more and more destructive behavior, rendering their products less useful and less valuable, infringing on the Fair Use rights of paying customers while having little or no effect on piracy, particularly the well-organized and highly lucrative piracy operations based largely in the Far East. Having failed completely in the totally contradictory goal of creating a product that can be distributed, but cannot be distributed, they turned their efforts to the resource always available to those corporations of significant financial wherewithal, the purchase of appropriate legislation from those most costly courtesans of the legal system, the U.S. Congress. Since the means to copy a protected CD, DVD, or software amounts to what is essentially a trade secret, which cannot by definition be protected by copyright or patent law, since you cannot copyright a process, and a patent requires those details of the process to be made public, the media conglomerates tried the gun control method. It is a common and well-known tactic that if a business cannot compete fairly, legislation can always be procured to protect what the market would take away. By carefully crafting legislation that would, in effect, enforce by law what they could not enforce by well-intentioned but woefully flawed technological schemes, and counting on the Congressional sponsors, too distracted by their burgeoning re-election warchests, to actually read and consider the ramifications of what they were about to pass, the media companies simply made it illegal to attempt to circumvent copy-protection. Now just like owning a gun. circumventing copy protection is a completely harmless activity. It isn't until you commit a crime: murder, in the case of a gun, or distributing a copyrighted movie or music to someone who is not legally entitled to receive it, does the activity lead to harm.

As always, in the rush to address a legitimate problem with an illegitimate solution, unintended consequences are often the main, if not the only, result. In this case, our esteemed representatives have carved away a huge piece of the rights of consumers under copyright law, that of Fair Use. It is no longer legal for someone to attempt to backup copy-protected media, despite the fact that there are many legally and morally justifiable reasons for doing so. Physical media are not impervious to damage, new technologies are constantly being developed which require the perfectly legal copying and conversion of a digital product in order to use it, and mere matters of convenience make it necessary for the rights already established by over two hundred years of copyright law precedence to be protected, and not whittled away by companies too lazy or stupid to effectively react to changes in the market for their products.

It is as if horse-and-buggy manufacturers in the early 20th century bribed lawmakers to require everyone purchasing a one of the new horseless carriages to still maintain a stable, and periodically purchase riding crops. In fact, one is reminded and actual instance of this behavior: that of the dairy corporations in the early 20th century which, in a move that would feel right at home in a list of the business practices of Microsoft, convinced lawmakers to require margarine manufacturers to dye their product pink because, in the economic climate surrounding two World Wars and a Depression and given margarine's superior price-to-quality ratio with butter, there was no way they could compete without an unfair advantage.

Now we come to 2007, and the media companies having foisted upon us yet another format war for the next generation of content distribution have once again placed all their eggs in the basket of DRM, which having failed in its every single application in the past 30-some years to prevent illicit distribution, was quickly defeated once again, surprising no one, but, it would seem, the people who created it. It turns that there is an encryption key needed to decode the contents of an HD-DVD, and having figured out this key, people began to publish this information on-line. In fact, the HD-DVD specification allows for this key to changed as needed, so while the key that was made public could be used to decrypt HD-DVD that had already been released, new releases would utilize a different key. Of course, the new key is already public before the HD-DVDs that will use it have been released, but I'm sure all the time and energy being invested into this hopeless attempt to stuff the genie back into the bottle makes someone feel good.

Now, to be honest, there are lots of people who will use this information to commit piracy, but the information itself is as harmless as a gun locked up in a firebox in the back of your closet. There is no harm, only the potential for harm if additional, illegal and immoral positive actions are committed. What we have in effect is Congress once again making a perfectly harmless and legitimate activity illegal, in the hopes of preventing some truly illegal activity (illegal in that actual harm occurs) from occurring. Of course, it has never worked in the past, and will never work in the future. The only effect of this kind of legislation is that it is now possible, in a country that prides itself as a bastion of free speech and free association to be harassed and possibly subject to criminal or civil punitive measures for publishing a list of numbers, for instance these:

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Since of course consistency is as much practiced by our lawmakers as is common sense, logic and reason in general (i.e., almost not at all), legislators seem perfectly content to engage in such ludicrous activity despite the gaping inconsistencies this introduces. But if we were for a moment to consider what it really being legislated here, and extend it to all other analogous situations using the same reasoning, it should therefore be made illegal to publish books about lock-picking, surveillance, shady accounting practices, how to purchase, or even how to make firearms... perhaps even how best to get elected to Congress. After all, if owning a gun is now considered tantamount to committing a violent crime with it, shouldn't knowing how to acquire one, legally or illegally be also? Shouldn't it in fact be illegal in those jurisdictions that practice gun control to even communicate how the forge your own firearm, or mix gunpowder? Once again, we are faced with a rule, which in its face might, without any consideration, appear to be of no negative consequence and even beneficial to society, which is in fact, if one follows its specious reasoning to its perfectly reasonable conclusion, to be of such outrageous absurdity that it should summarily be thrown out of consideration.

That conclusion is this: The logic behind gun control and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is that if we prevent people from acquiring the means to commit crime, then we can more easily and effectively prevent them from committing that crime. To follow this logic no large distance to its ultimate conclusion means that Congress, if it is going to attempt to instill any amount of consistency in the body of Law whatsoever, must immediately and unconditionally require that all citizens surrender the whole of their intellect and will to the benevolent custody of Mother State, for it is only mindless animals who are completely incapable of committing crimes.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Baiting the Corporate Tyranny

I would ask all my readers, by which I mean me and maybe my wife and a coworker or two, to humor me in a little experiment. If you are technically inclined and haven't been living in a cave for the past couple weeks, you will be aware of the discovery and publication of a piece of data, the dissemination of which has been viewed very dimly by a particular corporate entity. This data consists of a number. It is a fairly large number, but it is only a number. As we speak, Cease and Desist letters are being issued to sites that are publishing this number, what it means, and how to use it. I won't explain it here, since it is trivial to find, but I will publish the number. I just want to see what happens.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Regardless of whether I am approached or not, the fact of the matter is that corporations are issuing Cease and Desist letters for the publication of a 32-digit hex number, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, one of the many abominations wreaked upon this republic by a Congress able, and more importantly, willing to make every citizen at every time a federal criminal. In other words, merely publishing this information, which has spread across the 'net like wildfire in past week, is causing people to be subjected to legal action, and under the dysfunctional legal system that has metastasized from the elegant and just one established by our Founding Fathers, the mere threat of legal action can guarantee the threatened party financial and legal hardships beyond the wherewithal of the average citizen to withstand, if immediate compliance is not rendered forthwith.

So, tell me, Americans. Do you even recognize this country any more? I am not sure I do. Is there any politician, any governmental entity, any political candidate is not wholly bought and paid for by the powerful and the rich? Are corporations (already legally "people"), in fact, the only "citizens" with any voice in this great nation? 2008 will prove to be a watershed year, and the way things are going, it doesn't look like it's going to be a good one.