Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Will I Watch Bush's Speech?

I don't think so. That would be too much like listening to your ex-wife's husband talk about renovating your house when you know he had to lie to get the job and your house.

No. It's my baby girl's eleventh birtday today. We'll celebrate that and watch "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" on DVD. It's the same theme as the de factotem's speech but the CGI is waaaaaay better.

As he does every year, my son tossed her out the door into the yard this morning. The good news: she didn't see her shadow on the way back in to kick his head around the living room as she does every year. The difference: her feet are much bigger this year. So, winter will be shorter. He will be too.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Just Say No To Desktops

The ultimate act of government control in this century will be to outlaw the personal computer. I can think of some more technically efficient approaches (outlaw compilers and scripting editors), but they are more complicated. No, the 'take no prisoners' simple approach is to outlaw the personal computer. What is left is the thin system, of course, that enables delivery of services and content, but absolutely removes the ability to build anything useful locally and without oversight.

Why do this Draconian thing?

Simple. Anything profitable and digital quickly gets burgled and its creator gets buggered in today's "I want it, I want it now, and I want it for free" entitled generation, and computer geeks young and old, smart and not so smart have stepped up to the challenge around the world. The virus writers are simply immature show offs or curmudgeon terrorists compared to the devils of the freeware open source open content generations. These burglars are the real pros who have dedicated their skills to relieving the rich and powerful of their means of holding onto wealth and power: distribution.

From Napster to BitTorrent to MythTV, the systems to liberate content from the shackles of the pay-to-play and monthly cable bills grow in strength and intensity and no one seems to be able to stop them.

I have. Outlaw the personal computer. That will put it on a par with Schedule A drugs. We all know how successful that war has been.

Just Say No to Personal Computing.


Monday, January 31, 2005

Farhenheit 911

Last weekend, the wife rented Farhenheit 911, Michael Moore's documentary of the involvement of the Bush family with the Saudi royal family and the effects of the entanglement on American foreign relations. He goes on to document the war in Iraq in the beginning and the web of half-truths and deceit surrounding that. She rented it because my soon to be sixteen year old son is very interested in this, and as an American kid approaching draft age, that's a healthy interest.

He made the astute comment that this was a one-sided presentation. True, I said, but if even a fourth of it is true, it is scary nonetheless.

Post-election, most have settled down into the typical American cynicism about our government's actions, and given yesterday's Iraqi-election-under-the-umbrella, one can begin to forget that this is a country that did nothing to justify being invaded by a foreign army. Iraq is now as Secretary Powell said, something we broke so we own the problem. I don't see a quick exit strategy and my judgement is that before this is over, there will be theocratic rule in Iraq, or we will be occupying that country for the next two decades.

What is bothering me is the blase attitude toward this the hard right is creating in America. Fear is still squelching any honest appraisal of the decisions of the neocons driven by their brownshirt standins, the Christian Coalition of the Willing to Be Fooled. With initiatives to force school systems to teach the barely masked religious dreck "intelligent design" in American science classes, a full press on getting rid of abortion rights, and resolute refusal to look at the growing surveillance systems as anything more than a necessary surrender of personal liberties, these take-no-prisoners forces of darkness are fast putting out the light of freedom and democratic thought just as their leader stands at his bully pulpit proclaiming the right and necessity of the Americans to do anything to anyone anywhere anytime to advance American interests.

The exception to this media blitz designed to keep us frightened and quiescent is black radio. If you listen to the black college stations, among the cool grooves you will hear commentary from black leaders and they are vocal about their opposition to these policies. When you count the numbers of poor white and black soldiers and look at the numbers of affluent Americans who are notable by their absence in the US military forces at this time, you understand their opposition. The price for opposition is the administration has sent the IRS attack dogs to get rid of the NAACP's non-profit tax status. That ought to make them heel, yeah? Not bloody likely.

This is VietNam again; a war fought by the poorest of the American economic classes. The difference is that during VietNam, the American middle class and upper class kids in college took to the streets to oppose the war. Talking to some over the weekend, they have that same dumb attitude that Britney Spears expressed so glowingly in Moore's film. It scares the hell out of me. Unfortunately, the war will have to take out more of their classmates, they will have to go to more funerals, and then maybe they will get it. The kids of the rich in America don't fight this kind of war, but here in the American South, their classmates do. Willingly. For now. Some returning from duty are coming back with changed attitudes about that decision. Now they know.

The world is still watching and America is becoming ever more isolated. The world hoped the American electorate would do the right thing in the last election and when they failed to do that, their admiration and affection for the American people diminished. Perhaps a few more of us should rent Michael Moore's film and watch it, if not for the first time, then with a few of those who stand on the sidelines. I'm not sure if it does more than make us mad, but at least we don't sleep as soundly, and frankly, we shouldn't. Bad things are happening, and even if Moore is one sided, everything I read and hear and see says he isn't completely wrong.

Those of you who think Bush will be a lame duck, think again. He has the lack of will of the American public in his back pocket, and supreme command of the American military in his front. He has both houses of Congress. In two years, you get a chance to change that. You might want to.

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