My Archives: September 2005

Friday, September 30, 2005

As a libertarian with an aversion to all things governmental, I'm in something of a quandry about how to respond when a state does something sensible. It's like pulling teeth for me to praise a government agency for anything, but I have to credit Massachusetts for a good decision in adopting an Open Document Format (ODF) as a standard for all their files. Businesses and individuals should do likewise.

This is for solid business reasons. [more]

Posted by brad @ 10:12 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hat tip to Kirsten who posted this item on the BB: "The Federal Communications Commission thinks you have the right to use software on your computer only if the FBI approves. No, really. In an obscure 'policy' document released around 9 p.m. ET last Friday, the FCC announced this remarkable decision. According to the three-page document, to preserve the openness that characterizes today's Internet, 'consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement." Read the last seven words again. The FCC didn't offer much in the way of clarification. But the clearest reading of the pronouncement is that some unelected bureaucrats at the commission have decreeed that Americans don't have the right to use software such as Skype or PGPfone if it doesn't support mandatory backdoors for wiretapping. (That interpretation was confirmed by an FCC spokesman on Monday, who asked not to be identified by name. Also, the announcement came at the same time as the FCC posted its wiretapping rules for Internet telephony.)"

BTW, you are invited to join the BB and enjoy the free-wheeling discussion.

Posted by mac @ 06:37 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

From Gordon P. with a hat tip to Claire Wolfe, this item: A former USDA Inspector testifies that in 1991, he was ordered by his USDA superior =NOT= to report cases of "Mad Cow Disease:" Claire Wolfe notes that cases of blatant malfeasance like this one seem to woosh right past the psyches of advocates of ever- increasing Gov't control on both the ideological Left and Right, both of whom seem to willfully ignore the demonstrated fact that Gov't officials at all levels are corrupt, controlled by special interests, and do NOT have the interest of the individual at heart...

Posted by mac @ 04:32 AM EST [Link]

Thanks to Thomas Knapp and Rational Review News for this one: Bush plea for cash to rebuild Iraq raises $600. Observer [UK]: "An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600 (337), The Observer has learnt. Yet since the appeal was launched earlier this month, donations to rebuild New Orleans have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars. The public's reluctance to contribute much more than the cost of two iPods to the administration's attempt to offer citizens 'a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq' has been seized on by critics as evidence of growing ambivalence over that country."

Meanwhile, back in the USA, Michael Brown has been rehired by FEMA. "CBS News' Bob Schieffer just announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has rehired ex-FEMA chief Michael Brown -- as a consultant to evaluate the agency's response to the disaster! From
CBS's Katrina blog: 'Sept. 26, 2005 /6:44 p.m. (CBS) -- CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a
consultant to evaluate it's [sic] response following Hurricane Katrina.'"

Posted by mac @ 03:15 AM EST [Link]

Friday, September 23, 2005

You owe this to yourself. Donahue absolutely creams O'Reilly on the Iraq War. Here's the entire transcript.

Posted by mac @ 06:07 PM EST [Link]

Saturday I posted some black humor about how various government agencies would handle Katrina. Our friend Charles C. sent this:

DoD - The Secretary of Defense vows to find out who sent the hurricane and stop them from any possible future atrocities. Troops prepare to invade the Atlantic Ocean. Asks for lots more money.

which prompted me to reply in email with this:

President - First, flies away from the affected area. When danger has passed, returns for photo ops with emergency workers and carefully selected victims. Praises cronies (may give medals). Asks Congress for more money.

Five minutes ago, I heard that Bush is flying off to the safety of Colorado to watch Hurricane Rita from there. While perfectly in character, I wondered: wasn't he aware that Washington D.C. is out of the hurricane's path? Then I was reminded that Cindy Sheehan is in D.C. this weekend with an anti-war protest. Now it all makes sense. Brave Sir Robin!  —brad

Posted by brad @ 04:45 PM EST [Link]

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I keep hearing about how the demand for gasoline is "inelastic" and thus subject to price gouging. I can appreciate the argument, since much of my family lives in rural areas where there is no public transportation -- the automobile is a necessity. Yet even there, the price signals of the free market work, and human ingenuity creates elasticity, as a recent chat with my father indicated. [more]

Posted by brad @ 08:54 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hey all! I'm getting back into the blogging saddle. Here's the cartoon of Condi using the 'N' word which has stirred up a storm of protest against the 'offending' student newspaper, The Alligator (University of Florida). The President of the University is demanding an apology.

Posted by mac @ 03:19 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Not sure yet what to make of this: Gordon P. sends this disturbing item from Claire Wolfe's blog. It seems the makers of the new "Blu-Ray" system -- one of two contenders for high definition, high capacity video discs -- want to monitor your player through an Internet connection, and be able to remotely disable it. [more]

Posted by brad @ 08:17 PM EST [Link]

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I blame the late night pizza and resulting indigestion. That's why I woke up this morning thinking about how various government departments would have handled Katrina. (Warning: black humor.) [more]

Posted by brad @ 07:29 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Humor du jour: Will Durst interprets the Bush administration response to Katrina "What they said / what they meant". And a thank-you to our friends the Millers for sending us this more cynical bit from Bill Maher's HBO show of September 9th: [more]

Posted by brad @ 02:38 PM EST [Link]

Winner, Empty Rhetoric of the Year Award: Generalissimo El Busho has announced that he takes "full responsibility" for federal failures to respond to Katrina. What exactly does this mean? Will he resign? Will he take a pay cut? Will he pay some of the victims compensation from his personal fortune? Will he be impeached? Will he have to pay any price whatsoever?

Of course not. These are just empty words that his spin doctors told him to say. In actual fact, he is taking no responsibility at all.  —brad

Posted by brad @ 01:00 PM EST [Link]

Saturday, September 10, 2005

These guys can't do anything right. FEMA's online assistance site requires Internet Explorer. So if you use Linux or a Mac -- or have replaced the buggy IE with Firefox or Opera -- you're out of luck, as far as FEMA is concerned. C'mon guys, it's not that hard to build a browser-indpendent web site.

(Hat tip to Kirsten and the Claire Files.)


Posted by brad @ 06:53 AM EST [Link]

Friday, September 9, 2005

I saw this request on the Internet Storm Center Tuesday:

The Red Cross needs volunteers with system administration, network engineering and information security (infosec) expertise to assist in the design and implementation of a network of Internet kiosks. These kiosks will be deployed to all of the Red Cross shelters to be used be people displaced by the hurricane and flooding to report that they are alive and to try to contact others.

The Red Cross will be requiring a great deal of help to stand up the infrastructure as well as to actively safeguard it from eventual infection attempts from bots, worms, viruses, spyware and other sorts of malware.

Before I begin to ramble, here's the link where you can volunteer your services. They're particularly looking for Windows XP experts and Cisco experts. [more]

Posted by brad @ 10:59 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

The Watchful Investor now has a link to the U.S. National Debt Clock. By my calculation, it will pass 8 trillion in 30 days. I'm the kind of person who likes to watch the odometer roll over to an even 100,000, so perhaps I'll visit the site again on October 7th to watch the trillions digit change.  —brad

Posted by brad @ 12:47 PM EST [Link]

The scum of the Internet are learning new tricks. According to the Internet Storm Center, in the last few days hundreds of domain names containing "katrina" have been registered. Many of these are believed to be phony "charities," hoping to dupe you into donating money (or better still, providing your credit card details).

Some of these domain names may be legitimate. But some are certainly fraudulent. My advice: don't contribute to a newly-formed charity with "katrina" in the domain name. Contribute instead to an established disaster relief charity. And check them out first at the Better Business Bureau, Charity Watch, or Charity Navigator.


Posted by brad @ 09:49 AM EST [Link]

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