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4 December 2001

Segway HT
Well, now we know what "IT" is. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself. While not real useful in a spread-out metroplex like D/FW, I can see the benefits for a crowded urban environment like NYC. I'd love to have one, but maybe in a year or two when they come down off that $3k price . . .

iBooks for Maine students
The State of Maine announced the conditional award of a contract for 38,600 iBooks from Apple for $43 million:

"Under the plan approved by the Legislature for the Maine Learning Technology Endowment, all seventh grade students and teachers will begin using portable, wireless computers in the Fall of 2002, and all eighth grade students and teachers will be equipped the following year." Thanks, Ric!

New Marine adage
A friend sent this via email, a supposedly new adage circulating amongst the Marine Corps:

"It's God's responsibility to forgive Bin Laden. It's our responsibility to arrange the meeting."

True or not, I like it!

For you summer soldiers and sunshine patriots...

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated." —Thomas Paine (emphasis added)

UN peacekeepers in Afghanistan? Errr, maybe not. . .

"We should remember that the image of the United Nations as a benevolent peacemaker is a myth, as evidenced by the sad history of its military actions over the past 30 years. In almost every instance its so-called 'peacekeeping missions' have done nothing but intensify regional conflicts. Kosovo and Somalia are poignant examples of UN policy gone bad, creating lasting resentment and instability rather than peace." —Rep. Ron Paul, on the Nobel Peace Prize award to the UN and Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Where indeed?

"Why must we constantly repeat that we are not at war with Islam? We never declared war on Islam. It was Islamic fanatics who, killing 4,000 Americans in the name of God, declared war on us. Why then are we the ones required to continually demonstrate our religious tolerance and respect for others? Shouldn't that be the responsibility of the Islamic world, of those in whose name this crime was perpetrated? Imagine if 19 murderous Christian fundamentalists hijacked four airplanes over Saudi Arabia and, in the name of God, crashed them into the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, destroying the holy Kaaba and killing thousands of innocent Muslim pilgrims. Could anyone doubt that the entire Christian world — clergy and theologians, leaders and lay folk — would rise as one to denounce the act and declare it a sacrilege?

"And yet after September 11, where were the Muslim theologians and clergy, the imans and mullahs, rising around the world to declare that Sept. 11 was a crime against Islam? Where were the fatwas against Osama bin Laden? The voices of high religious authority have been scandalously still." —Charles Krauthammer


"Are you a Western leader of the Judeo-Christian or Agnostic-Atheist persuasion? Want to issue a public statement on how much you respect and value Islam as a peaceful religion of moderation and tolerance? Take a number, pal. The line's longer than the waiting list at a Quebec hospital.

"...This is the most sensitive war in history. ...As usual, our Tolerance Police are very intolerant of insufficient tolerance....We madmen on the right dislike this identity-politics business. So I accept there are all kinds of Muslims. ...But the fact — the fact — is that, since September 11th, the remarks by the Queen, the Pope, the President and almost every other pasty face have earned no similarly warm, unqualified response from Muslim 'community leaders.'

"...At the UN, the President told the world that expressions of sympathy weren't enough; it was time for other countries to get on side. Yet, back home, he's happy to hold photo-ops with fellow Americans you can't squeeze anything but the vaguest expression of sympathy out of. He schedules visits with groups that are either covertly hostile, deeply ambivalent or deafeningly silent. This unreciprocated abasement is unworthy.

"Islam wouldn't be the fastest-growing religion in the United States, Britain and Canada if Muslims were thought to be 'the enemy.' Conversely, Christianity is the fastest-shrinking religion in the Sudan, where they really are thought to be the enemy. In Pakistan the other week, six children and nine adults were gunned down as they worshipped in a Christian church.

"If the West's Muslim 'community leaders,' for whatever reason, are reluctant to speak truth to evil, that is a matter between them and God. Their opposition to the war is their right as free citizens. I don't even care particularly about prosecuting the Taliban's Anglo-American volunteers: To Hell with them. All I ask is an end to the deeply unedifying spectacle of Western politicians fawning on an anti-war constituency by jumping through increasingly obnoxious tolerance hoops. It suggests we have something to feel guilty about. We don't." —Mark Steyn (emphasis added)


Love it or leave it

"Since the 1960s, anti-Americanism has flourished on college campuses, in Hollywood and among the chattering class. Anti-Americanism is the conviction that our history is one long chronicle of crimes against humanity — slavery, segregation, dispossession of the Indians, exploitation of labor and suppression of dissent. It is blind to America's greatness — to our unparalleled contributions to the advancement of human liberty, the development of representative government and the march of progress.

"Anti-Americanism invariably attributes sinister motives to our government. It assumes that in any international conflict, America is always wrong. It views Berchtesgaden and the Reagan White House, Saddam Hussein and the elder George Bush, Al Qaeda and the CIA as moral equivalents. Anti-Americanism sneers at our heritage. It perceives patriotism as the province of demagogues and dupes. It thinks the pledge of allegiance is passe and the national anthem militaristic. Anti-Americanism exalts hyphens and disparages unity. It holds that those who live here have no obligation to learn our language and history, celebrate America's achievements or support its sovereignty. All of this is a far cry from legitimate disagreements over policy." —Don Feder

Why haven't Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, et al, departed the country yet? I guess like most politicians, celebrities can't keep their campaign promises either!

3 December 2001

Chris's Incredibly Massive Birthday Update!
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me.....hey, my wife's still older than I am. ;-p

Xbox, schmexbox
Salon.com has an incredibly in-depth article on the console gaming market, especially the introduction of the Xbox by Microsoft, why it's not as revolutionary as Microsoft claims, and how you can better spend your bucks on a console system. (Hint, Sony still rules.)

Newer York
While I don't consider myself a Green, I do believe we should recycle and try to work with our planet more than we do. After all, it's the only one God gave us. Even so, this sounds pretty incredible, and I would love to see it. (Though one has to wonder about if from a security angle, in light of September 11th.)

Join the NetGuard! Enlist Today!
The Feds are exploring the possibility of the creation of a national, volunteer technology force called the National Emergency Technology Guard (NetGuard). The NetGuard would be tasked with technological relief in the event of natural disasters or terrorist attacks such as the September 11th attack.

"Its role would be to repair downed communications systems, restore computer operations and create new systems to aid support and recovery efforts. These volunteers would receive training periodically, as do members of the National Guard, and would have a clear chain of command to coordinate efforts. In addition, NetGuard would be responsible for maintaining a strategic reserve of equipment — like cellphones, switches, computers and satellite dishes — that could be deployed on short notice."

Bush a dictator?
There has been a lot of discussion in the media as of late on the Bush administration's orders for detaining those suspected of being linked to terrorists, as well as the forming of military tribunals to prosecute terrorists. While I think there is a lot going on within our federal government that restricts our civil liberties, or has great potential to restrict those liberties, the two above aspects are not among them. These people are not citizens, nor legal resident aliens, and those that would face a military tribunal are either soldiers or spies. They may not be part of a government organization or military force as we normally define them, but they are at war with us all the same.

The President is not doing anything that hasn't been done before, and it has been upheld by law. FDR provides an excellent example of the sort of powers the President can take in war time, and we are at war, like it or not. And like it or not, it is not Congress's job to prosecute a war, it is the responsibility of the Executive branch to do so. So tell your Senators and Reps to just shut up and let the man do his job.

Airport safety pipe dream
Once again, Ann Coulter hits the proverbial nail on the head.

Library Privacy
Be careful what you check out from the library. You never know when a librarian may break the law and your right to privacy...in the name of justice and public safety, of course.

Yes, Virginia, There Really Is a Tourist Guy
Peter, aka The Tourist Guy, has come forward. Yes, that's really him on top of the World Trade Center in 1997. Yes, he was the one who doctored the photo by inserting the plane. Apparently they don't know about the concepts of taste and respect in Hungary.

The latest in war-wear
One of my favorite authors, Stephen Hunter, has written a piece for the Washington Post on a subject he knows a lot about — guns. Rifles, primarily, and the how the weapons of choice between U.S. military personnel and Taliban/al-Qaeda forces also reflect fundamental differences between the West and radical Islamics.

You call this a settlement?
Can someone explain to me why a condition of Microsoft's settlement with the government rewards them for their bad behavior? Like Steve Jobs, I am "baffled that a settlement imposed against Microsoft for breaking the law should allow, even encourage, them to unfairly make inroads into education, one of the few markets left where they don't have monopoly power."

Microsoft plans to donate refurbished computers, hardware, Microsoft software, and other resources to the poorest schools in the nation, totalling about $1 billion. A more worthy punishment, advanced by Carl-Eric Boberg, is that "Microsoft should purchase one billion dollars worth of Apple products and donate them to schools. This way, Microsoft would be punished for its monopolistic tendencies and would be able to do so without increasing its monopoly." Heck, let's make them buy some Linux-based and Sun products too, while they're at it . . . Thanks, Ric!

Antivirus Vendors Helping Gov't Spy?
Be careful of future updates to your antivirus program, as the vendor may be in cahoots with the federal government. The FBI is supposedly developing an email virus that would be used to implant keystroke logging spyware on a computer system as part of new FBI wiretapping freedoms. While an AP article states that "at least one antivirus software company, McAfee Corp., contacted the FBI," Network Associates, the parent company of McAfee, denies any contact with the FBI.

The problem is that antivirus program vendors could purposely code their apps to avoid the FBI's email virus and or Trojan horse keystroke program. Colunnist Brett Glass notes: "Network Associates has shown that it is willing to compromise its integrity by selling intentionally faulty products. For this reason, it is no longer appropriate or wise for those concerned about the security of their networks, systems or confidential data to use them."

November news
November's news bits are now in the archives.



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