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Mis-Speaker of the House?
I've been trying to ignore the election campaign as much as possible. I definitely don't want to take this blog very far into politics except where politics and digital technology cross. However, every once in a while something comes along that is either below the major media radar or is deliberately ignored and should be noted, if only so that I'll remember it later. Boing Boing
points out that in Lloyd Groves column in the Daily News
reports that on "Fox News Sunday," the speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (Ill. - Rep) insinuated that billionaire financier George Soros, who's funding an independent media campaign to dislodge President Bush, is getting his bucks from illegal drug sources. The way Hastert insinuated it was typical of the modern American political discourse: "I'm saying I don't know where groups - could be people who support this type of thing. I'm saying we don't know." Never say anything straight out, imply your opponent is evil, you can always state "I didn't really say that
". Soros is demanding an apology (pdf
). We'll see if Hastert tries to weasle out of it. I don't mean any disrespect to weasles by comparing a politician to a weasle.
Blacking out the Supreme Court
It's seems that much of what passes for secrecy in DC is really CYA. The Memory Hole
has a particularly egregious example. The Justice Dept. blacked out a quote from the Supreme Court about the dangers of using national security to supress dissent using national security as a concern. If that's not recusion in action, I don't know what is. The censored quote:
"The danger to political dissent is acute where the Government attempts to act under so vague a concept as the power to protect 'domestic security.' Given the difficulty of defining the domestic security interest, the danger of abuse in acting to protect that interest becomes apparent."
The quote is from an ACLU
filing in its case against the Patriot Act. The quotation is from a Supreme Court decisio. Seen on Boing Boing.
This past winter I implemented a version of Lispkit LISP
in Java. Lispkit is based on the book Functional Programming by P. Henderson. In it, he describes how to implement a purely functional version of LISP. It's a pretty stripped down version, no frills, but very servicable for learning. I decided to try and implement it in Java mainly to brush up on my Java skills. Java isn't an ideal language for doing this sort of things. Actually, this is the second time I built a version of Lispkit. The first time was a version in Pascal about 15 years ago for a column my wife and I wrote for AI Expert called AI Apprentice. That version is still floating arount the web. The Java version is available to anyone who wants it. Just email me.
is reporting that a Canadian programmer has written a program to timeshift broadcasts on his XM radio by copying the broadcast to his PC. This has the XM folks and the RIAA's panties all in a bunch. Basically, this software is a tape recorder. The RIAA is worried that someone is using music in a way that they don't control. XM is worried because they were planning on a similar product, probably with DRM, but this guy beat them to it. This shows where these greedy folks want to go - the permission culture. They don't want you doing anything without their permission. This guy did nothing illegal, but he violated their ownership fantasy. Their fantasy is that they own the music not you and whatever you do must only be done with their permission. Digital time shifting hits them in the face because of its digital nature, but converting analog output to digital does the same thing. How long before the RIAA tries to ban any device that contains an A-D converter? With their friends in congress hard at work on the INDUCE act and trying to legislate DRM in all computing devices, it makes me wonder who the real pirates are. These folks are trying to rob us of the fair use of our digital material. That sounds like piracy to me.
There's an interview with George Lakoff
at UC Berkeley News
. Lakoff is a professor of cognitive linguistics at Berkeley. He's the author of Moral Politics and Women, Fire and Dangerous Things. One of Lakoff's main points in his work is that how we speak and think is conditioned by the metaphors we use (up means more, anger is heat etc.) Lately, he's has been exploring the use of framing in political discourse. Choosing the frame means that you get to decide how the debate proceeds.
This is more in the nature of a rant than anything worthwhile. Periodically, on /. or via e-mail jokes you read screeds by tech support staff about what a hopeless collection of losers those in need of their help are. You've surely heard about the woman who called to say that the cup holder on her computer was broken. The punch line being that she thought her CD drive was for holding her coffee. I'm sure this urban legend was a big laugh among the folks answering the phone before their jobs moved to Bangalore. Of course, legends of clueless tech support personnel abound among the folks on this end of the phone also.
Know your rights
has an article about a pdf
available from cryptome.org
called Know Your Rights.
It's mainliy aimed at folks going to the Republican bash in NYC, but it's got good advice for anytime. It contains valuable information about dealing with police search requests and being stopped. There's also a ton of good information at The Just Law Collective.
I think we've let our rights atrophy in this country (US of A) by not exercising them. Of course, beyond a vague notion of some rights like freedom of speech and religion, most of us, me included, don't know what our rights are and what the constitution guarantees.
The real first post
Does the world need another blog? The answer to that is probably a resounding "Hell, no..." But here we go anyway. This blog like many others is simply the result of an itch that needs scratching. I'm fascinated by the way the digital world is evolving socially, technically, spiritually and so on. This blog is an attempt to sort out my thoughts about it as I experience it. I can't say I'll limit my comments to that area but it's what has been on my mind of late. I invite comments, if anyone reads this. I may not ever admit that I'm wrong, but I'll take note of it even if I don't.
- This site's layout sucks. I'm new to blogging but not programming. I don't know much PHP, but I'll try to spiff it up a bit.
- The blog mail function doesn't seem work. I'll sort that out.
- The blog's title "Before Completion" comes from the title of Hexagram 64 of James Legge's translation of Richard Wilhelm's and Cary F. Baynes translation of the I Ching. Hexagram 64 describes a time when the transition from disorder to order is
not yet completed. Sounds about right. As the I Ching points out, when the development of events reaches an end, a new cycle begins.
- Today's music to blog to: Big Al Johnson Champagne and Reefer The album is Take Your Drunken Ass Home. Low down dirty blues. Nice title.
- Thanks to Bev, Pam and David and the four legged members of the family.
Well, this is it. First Post. Just testing, more to come soon!
Welcome to Nucleus v3.0
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