In the fine tradition of pork-ladening bills, the House passed a $28.9 billion anti-terrorism package, most of which is allocated for Pentagon and intelligence anti-terrorism activities. A House-Senate compromise of the bill includes:
• $1 billion for Pell grants for low-income students
• $205 million to bail out Amtrak
• $200 million to fight AIDS abroad
• $100 million for Western wildfires and floods
• $6 million for geological surveys in South Dakota
• $10 million Texas farmers disputing Mexico over water rights
• funds to pressure the Agriculture Department to compensate the owners of chickens who died from the flu in West Virgnia
"The world's largest Ponzi scheme is run, not by a corporation, but by the U.S. government. The Social Security program takes one-eighth of the income of the current generation of workers and promises them a secure retirement — to be paid for by fleecing the next generation of workers. Eventually, as with any Ponzi scheme, the number of new suckers coming into the system is not enough to pay the benefits owed to retirees. This is projected to happen in the next 10 to 15 years, causing Social Security to go bankrupt — and no one in Washington is doing a darn thing about it. But they are all really upset about WorldCom." —Robert Tracinski
. . .Congress is gearing up for its August recess.
"The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men." —Samuel Adams
It was a little eerie flying in to LaGuardia, passing Manhattan with the Twin Towers absent from the skyline. . .
In case you didn't get to it via the links in yesterday's post, check out this Palladium and Trustworthy Computing Platform Alliance (TCPA) FAQ. It contains some awesome real-world examples that are sure to scare the bejesus out of you. . .
Earlier this year, Bill Gates announced a new initiative within Microsoft toward "Trustworthy Computing." At the heart of this new initiative is Microsoft's "Palladium" security system for Windows.
Of course, when Microsoft talks about security and trust, they are obviously making a one-sided argument. Such a system could quite easily be used to circumvent consumers' fair use rights. And under this scheme, Microsoft becomes your gatekeeper to the Internet.
David Coursey raises a good question in his article: "Why should we trust Microsoft anyway? If PCs need a universal security architecture to protect critical business information, should Microsoft be its sole creator? Is there a public interest that makes this too big for any one company or even country to dominate? (No, Microsoft is not yet a country, although buying one and becoming an offshore corporation always looms as a possibility, I suppose.)"
It gets scarier: Microsoft wants the major chipmakers to play along and hard-wire Palladium technology into their next-gen processors. If that occurs, what happens to non-Microsoft OS PC users?
Luckily, we have some time. Palladium isn't scheduled to reach consumers until 2005 or later. But now you have to make a decision on who will control our identities and our information: ourselves, or a company that has long shown it cannot be trusted?
It saddens me to know that some think that things are so hopeless that the only answer is to take their own life. Especially two in the computer geek world who were so successful at what they did.
First, Rodney O. Lain took his own life back in June. I knew Rodney on a quasi-professional basis. We read each other's online stuff (though Rodney certainly has produced quite more than I to date) and chatted via email. We had made a vague promise to at least hook up at Macworld Expo in New York long enough to say "hi" face to face. Now I'll never get that chance.
Now I learn that 25-year-old Gene Kan took his life at the end of June. Kan was highly instrumental in the development of the open source Gnutella peer-to-peer file sharing network. Though I didn't know him, Kan was something of a personal hero for me, as he was one of many who testified before Congress last year, standing up to the recording industry that is still scrambling to put the file-sharing genie back in the bottle. I liked Kan's analogy: "The toothpaste is already out of the tube." Kan argued for the entertainment industries to embrace and extend file-sharing technologies to broaden their income base, rather than try to strangle those technologies.
Both men had long battles with depression. Both men were on medication for said depression. Both apparently stopped taking their medication before they killed themselves.
Please, if you're reading this and are suffering from depression, GET SOME HELP! Find someone to talk to. Hell, email me, I'll talk with you! Get some medication, if need be, and DON'T STOP TAKING IT. There is NOTHING that is so wrong with your life worth killing yourself over. You may think that no one loves you, but your Creator loves you, more than you could possibly know: "Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet unto the nations." - Jeremiah 1:5, and ""But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8
God knows you, loves you, and wants you to be with Him. It's oh so easy to place your faith in Him: "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart, man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth, he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, 'Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.'" - Romans 10:9-11
Drop me a line if you would like to chat more on this.
I've been online for the better part of a decade now, and I've had numerous email addresses in that time. Today, I would say that fully a quarter to a third of all email I receive is spam.
One of the cool things about a site like MP3.com is that you get to discover completely unknown artists who are just trying to get a break or simply share their music. Twenty-one year-old Justin Nevins is one of those.
I picked up his 4-song EP (which doesn't seem to be available on MP3.com any more) last year and have his stuff on constant rotation on my iPod. He has a new song out called "Little Boy" that's great. I really enjoy the simple acoustic guitar/singer's voice combo.
"There is quite a difference between a general reference to God and an official state-supported religion, but it is a distinction apparently lost upon the judicial miscreants of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In a 2-1 decision Wednesday, the court somehow managed to rule that use of the pro forma phrase 'one nation, under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance is tantamount to the establishment of an official state-sponsored religion, and, therefore, a violation of the First Amendment. ...Hogwash. ...While the decision can easily be interpreted as well meaning, the fact is that it is not. Sure, the Founding Fathers believed in God, and the government they created is based on moral principles derived from that belief. But the bipartisan reaction on Capitol Hill and overwhelming non-religious outcries from the general public prove that the court will be burning the midnight oil on this one, because it seems some people are trying to remake this great nation, 'under God,' into an America in their own image." --Washington Times
"We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped." --Calvin Coolidge, speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 5, 1926