Musings of a Philosophical Scrivener...
Idle ramblings of an intermittently philosophical nature... Apologies to Martin Gardner, whose The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener is one of the best books you've (probably) never read.

An Idle Thought...
What a misfortune, and injustice, for the University of Tennessee College of Law that [Glenn "InstaPundit"] Reynolds should now be their best-known faculty member.
--Brian Leiter, Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Texas, Austin

About Me (the condensed version)
A member of the tail end of the boomers; a middle aged recovering lawyer turned professional computer geek. Native of St. Louis, Missouri, transplanted to Memphis, Tennessee. Avid reader, amateur philosopher, St. Louis Cardinals fan, one of the last Renaissance men.

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A bit about me (The uncondensed version) Memorial to a dear friend
Frederick W. Benteen
The Web of Leonards
The St. Louis Cardinals
The Memphis Redbirds
BlogMemphis (The Commercial Appeal's listing of Memphis blogs)
The Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything
« ? Verbosity # »

Listed on Blogwise

And in case you're interested, here's how many other 'net denizens need a life, or at least more compelling reading:

A blog worth reading:

Bloggus Caesari (Julius Caesar's Warblog)

Two blogs worth reading that I'll plug because the blogger is another Linux geek and a fellow Cardinals fan besides:

Frankly, I'd Rather Not

Other links of interest (to me, at least), in no particular order:

The Daily Howler
Bill Maher Blog
The Progressive
The O'Franken Factor
Majority Report Radio
The Gadflyer
Daily Kos
Steve Gilliard's Blog
Whiskey Bar
Just a Bump in the Beltway
The Village Gate (formerly The Right Christians)
Juan Cole *Informed Comment*
Christopher Orlet
The Online Gadfly
The Crisis Papers
Ted Rall Online
The Smirking Chimp
Talking Points Memo
Molly Ivins
This Modern World, By Tom Tomorrow
Tom the Dancing Bug, by Reuben Bolling
Bob the Angry Flower
Conservatively Incorrect, by Rack Jite
Media Whores Online
Butterflies and Wheels
The Leiter Reports
Nathan Newman
Brief Intelligence
Half the Sins of Mankind
The Swing State Project
Glorfindel of Gondolin
Turquoise Waffle Irons in the Back Yard
Missouri Liberal
different strings
Shock and Awe
Gotham City 13
Pen-Elayne on the Web
Empty Days
Censored Story of the Day
Roger's Profanisaurus
Rhonda & Jane present: 525 Reasons to Dump Bush
The Bush Scorecard of Evil
Sherman P. Wright's Moderate Weblog
Quaker in a Basement
World Phamous
NLSO Subic Bay (Navy unit alumni blog.)
Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
Bracing against the wind
Rants Vitriol and Spleen – JRI
Apostate's Weekly
Redbird Nation
Go Cardinals
The Cardinals' Birdhouse
The Birdhouse Minor League Report
The Cardinals Fan Site
St. Louis Cardinals Ultimate Fan Site
RedBird Central
Get Up, Baby!
Royalties and Cardinalate (an all-MO baseball blog)
Pro Sports Daily: St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals news
Rob Neyer's column
The Hardball Times
The Baseball Widow
Management by Baseball
The Nashville Files (RTB member in waiting?)
Madeleine Begun Kane's Notables Weblog
The Select Group of Toys
Pesky the Rat
I, Cringely
The Gripe Line Weblog, by Ed Foster
The Register
Evil Empire
Watching Microsoft Like a Hawk
Three Years of Hell to Become the Devil
Public Defender Dude
Punishment Theory
Savage Cruel Bigots
Treason Online
Hell for Halliburton
Hollywood Lost and Found
Popdex Citations

Rocky Top Brigade:

RTB Lounge
NationStates Region

A Little More to the Right
A Moveable Beast
A Smoky Mountain Journal
Beyond the Whispers
Big Stupid Tommy
Bjorn, Again
Bully Pulpit
Busy Mom
Celtic Grove
Classless Warfare Jane
Conservative Zone
Dagley Dagley Daily
Damn Art Diary
Damn Foreigner
Democratic Veteran
Doc B
Doug McDaniel
Drawing Dead
Elephant Rants
Filthy Hippy Speak
Frank Cagle
Free Speech News
Granny Rant
Growth Spurt
Guy Montag
Hypotheses Non Fingo
In a Mays
Inn of the Last Home
Jaded Journal
Johnson City Stories
Lay Lines
Lean Left
Les Jones
Loco Parentis
Long Pauses
Mike Hollihan
Mike Reed
Mind Warp
Missives Anonymous
Mr. Lawson
My Quiet Life
Newton's Kumquat
No Quarters
One Hand Clapping
Pathetic Earthlings
Philosophical Scrivener
Queen Medb's Castle
Rebel Yell
Rex Hammock
Rich Hailey
Road Warrior
Sick of Bush
South Knox Bubba
Southern Reporter
Straight White Guy
Team Rock
The Golden Calf
Up For Anything
Voluntarily in China
Wandering Hillbilly
William Burton
InstaPundit (link removed, because I think Reynolds is an idiot, and he doesn't need the linkage. If you really want to waste your time reading his drivel, you know where to find him.)
Adam Groves (MIA)
Fat Ass Politics (MIA)
Oz's Lion (MIA)
Rapmaster (MIA)
Rush Limbaughtomy (MIA)
Secret City Scene (MIA)
Twelfth Parsec (MIA)
Uncommon Sense (KIA)
Underground Man (MIA)
Xyon's Rambles (MIA)

Memphis Blogs not in the Rocky Top Brigade

Signifying Nothing
m e m p h i s . c o o l (Jon W. Sparks's personal blog)
Sparks on Memphis (Jon W. Sparks's CA blog)
Peggy Phillip
Tread lightly on the things of earth
Rachel and the City
Well, I think I'm funny
Voice of Golden Eagle
when you're 21, you're no fun

The League of Liberals:

Democratic Veteran
The Spy Game
Cosmic Iguana
People's Republic of Seabrook
Philosophical Scrivener
The Mahablog
WTF is it NOW?
blunted on reality
Happy Furry Puppy Story Time
All Facts and Opinions
Dubya's Daily Diary
ARMACT Action Alerts
Cup O' Joe
Grateful Dread on the Web
The Poison Kitchen
Indigo Ocean
The Felonious Elephant
Sick of Bush
Arms and the Man
Rick's Cafe Americain
A-Changin' Times(ACT)
Estimated Prophet
Gotham City 13
Officially Unofficial
The Gunther Concept
The Mudshark
Screaming Points
Ink from the Squid
Left Is Right
Byte Back
The Huck Upchuck
The Sesquipedalian
DeanLand - Dean Landsman's Weblog
Turquoise Waffle Irons in the Back Yard
Wilson's Blogmanac
Ayn Clouter
Anarchy Xero

The Liberal Coalition

01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004

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Monday, June 30, 2003

Oh joy of joys....
Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 is available. Of course, you may then have to patch your patch....

The Red Ink Moment
When will Microsoft ruin its own ecosystem? Sooner than it realizes, opines Robin Bloor in IT Director.

They're coming to take your music away... or worse
From The RIAA plays Whack-A-Mole [looks like this blog is updated every week or two, so this link should be good a little while, at least]:

The RIAA Plays Whack-a-Mole
By: Stephen O'Grady
Topic: Digital Rights Management
Released: 6/26/2003 4:57:00 PM

It really shouldn’t be a surprise, the news this week. Having exhausted all the potential alternatives – save a thorough reexamination of business model and specific value offering to customers – the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced this week that it intends to begin suing individual file swappers, AKA its members' customers.

This move is the product of a gradual escalation of legal hostilities, beginning with the Napster suit and culminating in yesterday’s threats that target everyday, ordinary people who download and swap files. RIAA plans to begin targeting ordinary users of P2P services, not just those offering up content on a massive scale, like the students prosecuted a few months back. Basically, it’s ordinary folks who use Kazaa, Limewire, or other like alternatives who are at risk here.

Before we look at the specifics on the announcement, RedMonk would like to be clear on one point. We in no way contend that artists should not be paid for their efforts, nor that file sharing is implicitly benign. Let us repeat that – ARTISTS SHOULD BE PAID FOR THEIR WORKS. But we also believe that the business model for music, and the pricing of it in particular, needs a major overhaul. As it happens, so did the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The following is verbatim from a ruling on May 10, 2000,

“The FTC estimates that U.S. consumers may have paid as much as $480 million more than they should have for CDs and other music because of these policies over the last three years.”

The FTC concluded that the Big 5 record companies - Universal Music and Video Distribution, Sony Corp. of America, Time-Warner Inc., EMI Music Distribution and Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) – all of which are RIAA members, colluded to keep CD prices artificially high. How ironic then, that these selfsame firms are now lecturing the consuming public about “stealing.” These “moral” crusaders for artists’ rights aren’t right all the time either – RIAA was forced to apologize in May for sending inaccurate legal notifications to organizations such as Penn State’s astronomy and astrophysics department.

But is suing the end consumer really the the end game for piracy, as some in the media and the RIAA would have us believe? In her BusinessWeek commentary piece, entitled “Play Taps for Music Pirates,” Jane Black compares the ongoing strife to the war in Vietnam, but concludes:

“In this war, however, the RIAA will win. Spreading fear may not be good PR, but it gets the job done far more efficiently than suing faceless software companies.”

We won't argue with that assertion particularly since some on Capitol Hill seem to believe that the best route to deter piracy is the destruction of users’ PC’s. Whether or not such an idea is technically feasible it does make fear uncertainty and doubt all the more palpable. We believe the impact on P2P networks could be significant but sounding the death knell for file trading is certainly premature.

After all, haven’t we heard such a call before? When Napster was sued nearly out of existence, many of these record companies patted themselves on the back and concluded that the status quo could now be maintained. Well, unfortunately for them, demand was still there and therefore so was the supply to meet it, via alternative networks like Kazaa and Gnutella-based tools like Limewire. When the RIAA tried to sue these new players, Judge Stephen Wilson decided the defendants could not be held liable for content traded on their networks. Which brings us to today, when RIAA announced it will sue the only other people in the chain– consumers themselves.

But what’s really missing in all of this, as the Los Angeles Times notes, is a positive message, an alternative solution aimed at addressing consumer desires. Rather than understanding the motivations that drive consumers to download music - $20 discs with 2 good songs, for one – it’s their way or the highway. The highway, of course, being multi-thousand dollar fines.

It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. The demand for fairly priced content has not been vaporized along with the services that fed it. It’s still there, and more importantly people are willing to pay, as evidenced by the news that Apple’s iTunes music store had reached 5 million paid downloads. People will find a way, one way or another, to get the music they want. When they shut down Napster, the RIAA lost out on a massive opportunity to address a huge, centralized community of music enthusiasts. Instead their lawsuits spawned multiple decentralized networks which are harder to attack. If RIAA succeeds in shutting down these networks by suing individual file sharers, they might ultimately be killing not piracy – as many have predicted – but their own efforts to shut it down. The demand is still there, and the likely replacement candidates for Kazaa and the like will be some combination of Freenet-style anonymous networks and Waste-style encrypted private networks. All we can say is, if those become popular – good luck trying to shut them down.

So why is RedMonk concerned with this story, being an analyst firm that specializes in enterprise software? Well, besides our personal interests in the issue as consumers, we believe that enterprise software vendors like IBM and Microsoft are going to have a lot to say in this arena going forward as they roll out products with Digital Rights Management capabilities. These products have the potential to immensely change the world we live in, for better or worse. And if these firms are looking for guidance in how to tackle the most controversial consumer technology issue in a generation, we’d rather they take a page from the Apple playbook than the RIAA. The RIAA’s lawsuit-oriented strategy is like a game of Whack-a-Mole, except that the only ones who win here are the lawyers.

It's the marketing, stupid!
Linux: so what's in it for me?

That's the key question, and until Linux evangelists start answering Joe and Jane Sixpack on that issue, don't expect Linux to make a major breakthrough with the home user, says Bruce Tober.

From the article:

Although they wouldn't speak on the record, several industry figures at Linux User, noted the geekie image continues to be pervasive in the Linux world - even at a time when a majority of visitors to Linux events are suits. They told me it's not necessary for all exhibitors to be wearing suits and ties, but to be dressed in more than "just jeans and silly t-shirts" as was the case at one of the largest exhibit stands at the expo.

They said, that's not likely to happen, until and unless the techies recognise the fact that the vision of Linux as their exclusive property and domain is neither true, nor a "good thing" any longer, one told me. "They need to remind themselves of what happened with the Net," another said. "It went from the exclusive domain of the techies, academics and military to a universal world and we all benefited from that. We can likewise, all benefit from Linux becoming a universal phenomenon," he said.

More U.S. bullying....
Not a crime against nature, like the war, but still.... Open source prepares to kiss EU patent ass goodbye

From the article:

But whatever the rights and wrongs of the US' shift to an open patent regime though, it exists and US business has got used to it and so it wants it applied everywhere else in the world. In 1994, at a World Trade Organisation meeting, the US threatened to walk out unless others considered changing their patent laws.

Pretty good "FAQ"...
from The Daily Kos: Let's talk about the war

More on SCO v. IBM:
Of course, the Free Software Foundation has to have its say. Basically, they're pointing out that "Linux" isn't the totality of the Free Software universe. About what you'd expect.

Thought for the Day:
MANAGEMENTSPEAK: We need to establish uniform practices across the enterprise.
TRANSLATION: We see what you're doing, and we want you to stop it.
--Bob Lewis, InfoWorld "Survival Guide" column

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Blogger is gagging on a long post I've tried to make....
So I can't reprint this most excellent essay like I want to do. So just go here, and read this in its entirety.

This one belongs in the dictionary or encyclopedia.....
under the heading, "Career limiting move".

What I find interesting though is snopes's assertion that the summer associate is/was still gainfully employed after that incident. However, I'm sure that appropriate grovelling might just be sufficient to preserve his standing for the summer. What I'm curious about is whether he got/will get an offer of permanent employment at "Skarps".

I'm guessing not. And if he gets to be famous enough, his little brain fart may seriously hurt his chances for employment elsewhere.

Thought for the Day:
When I signed Larry Doby, the first Negro player in the American League, we received 20,000 letters, most of them in violent and sometimes obscene protest. Over a period of time, I answered all. In each answer, I included a paragraph congratulating them on being wise enough to have chosen parents so obviously to their liking. If everyone knew their precious secret, I told them, I was sure everyone would conform to the majority. Until that happy day, I wrote, I was sure they would agree that any man should be judged on his personal merit and allowed to exploit his talents to the fullest, wheether he happened to be black, green, or blue with pink dots.

I am afraid irony is lost on these people, but that's not the point I want to make here. A year later, I was a collector for what is now called the Combined Jewish Appeal. This time I got something close to 5,000 violent and sometimes obscene letters. In answering, something very interesting happened. The names began to have a familiar ring. I became curious enough to check our files and I found they were to an astonishing degree--about 95 percent--the same people. A year after that I converted to Catholicism. about 2,000 anti-Catholics were concerned enough about my soul to write me violent and again often obscene letters. All but a handful of them were already in our anti-Negro and anti-Semitic files.

So I am one man who has documentary proof that prejudice is indivisible. The jackal, after all, doesn't care what kind of animal he sinks his teeth into.
--Bill Veeck

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Thought for the Day:
"What they love [about SUVs] is the sheer wastefulness of these things. They send a message that says 'I don't care about any body else, I'm using as much space, as much steel, and as much damn fuel as I want. It's a free country and you can't stop me!' And it turns out Americans love saying that!"
--Tom Magliozzi [NPR's "Car Talk"]

Friday, June 27, 2003

Bonus Thought for the Day:
There are two things we cannot find: weapons of mass destruction and jobs."
-- Rev. Jesse Jackson, the 32nd annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition conference

Someone's head should roll over this one....
From the Nashville Tennessean: apparently a "reality" type show about life in the morgue managed to show the nude body of a female murder victim on the show... without having the decency to clear it with her grieving family first. Talk about first class stupid....

Ok. Show's over. Nothing more to see. Get on home....
Back in February, The Register brought to our attention that a 24 y.o. college girl was begging on the Internet for the money for breast augmentation surgery. We can now put this story to bed, completely, since Michele has had the "decency" to post her "before and after" photos on her website.

NSC official resigns, goes to work for Kerry
From the WaPo. Hope Beers finds himself back in the NSC--in a Democratic administration.


"The first day, I came in fresh and eager," [Beers] said. "On the last day, I came home tired and burned out. And it only took seven months."

Part of that stemmed from his frustration with the culture of the White House. He was loath to discuss it. His wife, Bonnie, a school administrator, was not: "It's a very closed, small, controlled group. This is an administration that determines what it thinks and then sets about to prove it. There's almost a religious kind of certainty. There's no curiosity about opposing points of view. It's very scary. There's kind of a ghost agenda."

SCO v. IBM: fascinating reading
A position paper on behalf of the Open Source Initiative by Eric S. Raymond. LinuxJournal speculates [no, not speculates.... the document itself states that it's a draft amicus brief] that this will become a brief amicus curiae in the trial. Looks quite interesting to me, on first skim. I'll have to give it a detailed reading and get back on it.....

Windows Refund Day II
From Linux Journal. I'm surprised that I missed mention of Windows Refund Day II, which was last January 23. The concept is simple; the Microsoft Windows End User License Agreement (EULA) has a clause that says, if you don't accept our license, return your software back to the seller for a refund. When you've bought boxed software from a store or online vendor that's probably not an issue (never been an issue for me yet because I've never refused to accept a license for boxed software, but I suppose there's a first time for everything). However, this EULA also applies to the operating system that's pre-installed on your computer. But what if you wipe the computer clean and use it as a Linux box (or free BSD, or even, heaven forfend, wipe that POS Windows XP Home for that slightly less POS Windows XP Pro?)? Shoudn't you be able to return that "pre-installed" OS for a refund, since you aren't agreeing to the EULA for it? That's what Windows Refund Day is all about. More at for inquiring minds.

Thought for the Day:
Gene Siskel used to lament the "dumbing down" of movies. The situation has gotten worse since the critic's death. It's not as much fun being a film reviewer as it was a mere 10 years ago. I used to enjoy the occasional mindless flash-and-bang motion pictures Hollywood had to offer--until it seemed like every other movie fit into that category. If you eat a steady diet of junk food, you will eventually grow obese and die of malnutrition or heart disease, whichever catches up with you faster. Ingest junk cinema, and your appreciation for quality entertainment will suffer the same fate.

I'm not saying that every movie should be an art film, especially since some of the most lauded art films are terminally boring. But there needs to be a mix. Unfortunately, Hollywood is out of the risk-taking business. So we see a steady stream of "safe" motion pictures, which consist of sequels, remakes, and easily packaged products that can be sold to the teenage market. Yes, we're back to the 12-to-18 males again. Why? Because they have cash and like to spend it, and one of their favorite purchases is the movie ticket/soda/tub of popcorn package. Go to a multiplex on a Friday or Saturday night, and what will you find? Countless numbers of teenage boys. Of course, there are teenage girls, as well, but many of them are on dates with the aforementioned boys.
--James Berardinelli

Thursday, June 26, 2003

More SCO Lawsuit news:
From Linux Journal, a writer signs the NDA and takes a look at SCO's "evidence". he's not impressed; the question is, should you be?

Ready for Prime Time?
Or as it's usually put, is Linux ready for the desktop? Well, there's an interesting article at Linux Journal which takes a historical analysis. The author notes:

This past weekend I finally got around to setting up Wine on my wife's Debian machine. She now can play some of her old Windows games, and we're even ordering a few new ones (Everett Kaser Software is the first Windows gaming site I've seen that advertises its games can be run on emulation. I can't get Honeycomb Hotel to work yet, but Sherlock runs just fine, but I digress). Also during the course of the weekend, we hear that now is shipping machines with SuSE 8.2 installed, starting at $300. In the course of looking up Ximian Connector, I discover that Ximian has come out with Ximian Desktop 2, an "Enterprise Linux Desktop." CodeWeavers shipped Crossover Office 2.0.0 back in April. Commercial Linuxes are shipping for the AMD-64 (Opteron/Hammer) platform; the release date for 64-bit Windows hasn't even been announced yet. Surely, Linux is ready for the desktop now. Right?

No. You still can't walk into Big Box Computers and walk out with a machine pre-loaded with Linux. When that will happen is anyone's guess. But as far as I can tell, it's not an issue of Linux not being ready for the desktop--it's a question of whether the desktop is ready for Linux.

Let me explain. Wal-Mart can cut a deal to get a few hundred PCs with SuSE on them, store them in a warehouse somewhere and ship them onesie-twosie to the oddball cust, err, enlightened individuals who want them. They're not going to ship ten PCs to every Wal-Mart in the country, sacrifice the shelf space, endure the customer confusion when somebody picks one up and takes it home expecting the latest offering from Microsoft to be pre-loaded--you see where I'm going. The big box computer-only stores could afford to devote that kind of space, time and effort, but to really do it justice, they'd need to find Linux-savvy salescritters--who are rather like the Golden Wrapper inside a Willy Wonka Chocolate Bar. They do exist, and I've had the pleasure of working with one or two, but they're awfully hard to find. Again, this would be a nationwide roll-out of a Big Project with no guaranteed return. This makes accountants of publicly traded companies nervous.

On the other hand, if we look at the technology life cycle, Linux is close to being ready for commodity desktops. In 1993, it was an experiment; only mad scientists used it and kids like Nathan Laredo, who brought in the first Linux PC I ever saw and set it up on the second desk in my office at Georgia Tech. Being his sysadmin and boss, I issued him an IP address and never really thought much about it or him. Shows what I knew. Nathan ended up writing a number of multimedia drivers for Linux; I've written a grand total of one. But back to Linux, it skipped the military phase and went straight for industry. Titanic was CGIed on Red Hat 4.2.

Since then, the Beowulf Cluster was invented. Now with TransGaming's WineX, and such games as Diablo II and Neverwinter Nights being released natively for Linux (not to mention the ever-popular Tux Racer, written specifically for Linux), the penguin has entered the arena. The next and final phase of the life cycle is commodity. The PC has long since been here, and the cell phone recently entered that phase. Linux, I believe, is next. As we used to say at that Very Large Airplane Company, stand by to be amazed.

Extra Bonus Thought of the Day:
From Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV):

We have heard a lot about revisionist history from the White House of late in answer to those who question whether there was a real threat from Iraq. But, it is the President who appears to me to be intent on revising history. There is an abundance of clear and unmistakable evidence that the Administration sought to portray Iraq as a direct and deadly threat to the American people. But there is a great difference between the hand-picked intelligence that was presented by the Administration to Congress and the American people when compared against what we have actually discovered in Iraq. This Congress and the people who sent us here are entitled to an explanation from the Administration.

Bonus Thought of the Day:
From today's BartCop:

They keep calling Hillary a radical feminist, which means what? She has a job? Hey, Laura Bush had a job too, but she quit it to stay home and raise her husband.
-- Will Durst

Ted Rall comic/commentary...
on the "Well, not finding WMDs doesn't matter" defense: Ted Rall Online

Up against the wall, file swapper!
RIAA to sue thousands of file swappers.

The Penguinista campaign strategy:
It's the desktop, stupid!!

Though it's looked to me like things are getting more end user friendly with each succeeding release of Mandrake. I'm in a difficult position to tell. I'm not a die-hard, command line only geek (I should be, but mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, my being forced to spend the workday in the Winblows environment pretty well keeps me from thinking in those terms when I get home), but I'm not afraid of using the command line; heaven forfend, I've rolled my own kernel in the past and will do so again in the future, and probably will get around to installing an application from source sometime just to prove that I can. So it's difficult for me to look at my Linux environment with the wide eyed, completely terrified, "Oh, no, what kind of mess have I gotten myself into now?" attitude of the typical newbie. And that's really where I think Linux evangelists need to put themselves from time to time....

The Gates Manifesto?
From La Reg: Microsoft Declares War on Spam.

"Ah," I hear you say, "but is there a catch?" Of course there's a catch: old Dollar Bill Gates has never done anything that didn't benefit himself in some way. From the article:

One man's spam is another man's processed meat

Here we get to the nub of Microsoft's concerns. Microsoft is in large part motivated in curbing spam because it feels the nuisance reduced the effectiveness of "legitimate commercial email".

It's nice to know that....
in the midst of global turmoil, some of us are still doing well.

I've had the pleasure of having, for the past several years now, an intermittent and entirely one way correspondence with Mrs. Maryam Abacha (or Dr. Mrs. Mariam Abacha, according to her latest letter), who would like to cut me in on a little business dealing:

Dear Sir/Ma,

I am Dr. Mrs. Mariam Abacha (GCFR), wife to late Nigerian Head of state, General Sani Abacha, who died On 8th June 1998 in active service. I am contacting you in confidence, and as a means of developing a cordial business relationship. I currently have within my reach, the sum of thirty three million united states Dollars, US$33,000,000.00,which I and my family intends to use for investment purposes specifically in your country.

The pleasing thing about this latest letter from my dear friend Mariam is that she's apparently still doing well. The first time she wrote me a few years ago she only had about $16 million or so to invest here in the States. Apparently either business has been good in Lagos, or she's managed to hire a first class investment advisor, because I see she's managed to go to graduate school and little more than double her available investment capital since her first letter.

Thought for the Day:
There are many in this old world of ours who hold that things break about even for all of us. I have observed for example that we all get the same amount of ice. The rich get it in the summertime and the poor get it in the winter.
--Bat Masterson

[Yes, that Bat Masterson. A real individual, whose life story charts an interesting path from gunfighter to U.S. Marshal to New York sportswriter.]

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Microsoft to SCO: "We respect intellectual property rights...."
Microsoft to Pixion: "except for yours."

MS Web conferencing company sued for Web conferencing infringement.

$2,500 and you can spend the day with Jose....
after he gets out of prison, that is....

Jose Canseco is selling (or renting) his time: a $2,500 payment lets you spend the afternoon with Jose at his south Florida house. Guests aged 17 and younger, only.

Decisions, decisions....
From Ed Foster's GripeLog mailing of this week:

Many readers have commented that Microsoft's volume licensing terms have made open source software all the more attractive to corporate customers. "Two years ago, one frequent complaint about open source software was 'there's no customer support,'" wrote another reader. "However, two years ago, I realized I was getting no customer support from Microsoft either. My choices: (a) low-cost, open source solutions with 'no customer support' -- which isn't really accurate -- or (b) high-priced, Microsoft products with no customer support -- but with increasingly extortionary license terms. Tough choice, huh?"

Gotta love those bozos in the black robes, otherwise you'd want to take them out with automatic weapons fire....
From Michael Kinsley's analysis of the Supreme Court's decision in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases:

The Supreme Court took these Michigan cases to end a quarter century of uncertainty about affirmative action. What it has produced is utter logical confusion.

Which I suppose raises the question: Why fscking bother?

From today's "Buzzword of the Day" mailing:

ONE THROAT TO CHOKE: The corporate purchasing philosophy of buying or contracting everything (particularly technology solutions) from a single vendor. That way if anything goes wrong there's only one throat to choke.
Nominated by Samara Romagnola

John Walston

To see the full Buzzword Compliant Dictionary,
just click here.

Every Silver Lining Has A Dark Cloud Department:
Linux's new popularity may hurt Apple more than Microsoft.

From the article:

Is the new Mac the fastest personal computer ever? Maybe, but that was Sun's line, too. I'd love to do my work on a shiny new G5, but $248 is a lot closer to a free-lancer's purchasing power these days. Unless Jobs unveils a better, faster economy at his next keynote, my next desktop computer will come from Wal-Mart.

The latest political fad?
Card decks.

Just got a spam for "The Deck of Hillary". To quote from the mailing: As the Pentagon proved with its deck of Most Wanted Iraqis, there's no better way to "out" the enemy than to depict it on a deck of cards.

Supposedly, You'll be amused and shocked by the Deck of Hillary--from her wild statements about Bill's lady friends, to her lies about being a duck hunter and Marine recruit, to her profanities about the police and Secret Service.

Some people really need to get a life....

Thought for the Day:
What's the difference between Democrats and Republicans? Democrats blow, and Republicans suck.
--Lewis Black

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Linus speaks!!!
Torvalds Speaks Out on SCO, Linux.

Good interview by Linus on a number of subjects, not just the SCO suit.

Extra Bonus Thought for the Day:
This one from Monday's (?--that's the date on the masthead) BartCop.

Bush gave a speech Monday in Elizabeth, N.J., where he did not make a single reference to WMD. Instead, Bush chose to distract Americans from his Nixonian erasing of his justification for war by criticizing his critics as ''revisionist historians.'' Meanwhile, Bush's fellow Republicans in Congress were suppressing history by fighting any formal investigation into the possible cooking of intelligence to exaggerate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Their job, for the time being is being made a piece of cake by a Democratic Party that cannot spell the term ''opposition party'' if you spotted them all the o's and p's.
-- Derrick Z. Jackson, What are Americans dying for now?

Cutting edge marketing
Wonder how many B-school marketing classes will be discussing this come fall semester: Acclaim uses branded pigeons at Wimbledon.

The Penguin on the Desktop: comes up with more music to my ears:

An IDC market survey made available last week, suggests that Linux is acceptable to only 15 percent of global desktop PC users, but that's interesting because Linux PCs only account for a few percent of PC sales, so its acceptance looks to be on the increase. Given all of this, our expectation is that the Linux desktop will 'cross the chasm' this year, and start to proliferate next year. It is beginning to look unstoppable.

That's bureaucracy for you....
In Leominster, MA, a woman (or rather her estate) was "fined" by the local housing authority for not giving 30 days notice before she died (thereby vacating her apartment).

Thought for the Day:
Captain Garth: How much can you decipher?
Commander Rochefort: Fifteen per--.
Captain Garth:
Really decipher?
Commander Rochefort: Ten percent.
Captain Garth: That's one word in ten, for Pete's sake, Joe! You're guessing!
Commander Rochefort: We like to call it "analysis."

Monday, June 23, 2003

Headlines from "Ironic Times":
Probably infringing copyright, but too good not to share today:

In Reversal, Plan for Self-Rule Has Been Put on Hold

Wealthy interests will continue to run U.S. until further notice.

Iraq: Priceless Artifacts, Thought Missing, Found
But now reported lost again.

Outsiders Gear Up for Third Party Challenge in 2004

Republicans, Monarchists too alike, say leaders of upstart "Democratic Party."

Another Missile Defense Test Ends With Target Missile Unscathed
Air Force calls it successful test of target missile.

House Votes to End Estate Tax
But primogeniture rider defeated.

One-Third of Adults, 18-34, Call in Sick to Extend Weekend Holidays
One-third never miss work, one-third can't find jobs.

Top Fortune 500 Companies Will Work Together to Fight Obesity Epidemic
Pledge to produce more fad diet products.

100-Year-Old Hatfield-McCoy Feud Ends With Signing of Truce
However, new feud erupts over ownership of pen.

Scientist Extremely Elated to Discover Flawed Gene Related to Bipolar Disorder

But deeply depressed that it may be years before a treatment can be developed.

AMA Seeks Stronger Tobacco Warning
Suggests, "Smoking Will Kill You, You Dumb, F*cking Sonuvabitch."

Gays Who Accept Jesus Christ as Their Savior Can Become Straight, Say Southern Baptists

Southern Baptists who accept Judy Garland as their savior can become gay, say homosexuals.

A recent editorial, which read, "Tony Blair is a pathological liar who has consistently and deliberately distorted the truth, plagiarized from others and misled the public," was mistaken. It should have read, "Jayson Blair is a pathological liar, (etc.)...." Also, in the same issue, an article which read, "Jayson Blair is a lying, deceitful prevaricator without scruple or conscience," should have read, "Tony Blair is a lying, deceitful prevaricator, (etc.)..." We apologize for the confusion.

Super Clear 36-inch TV Costs $11,000

Picture said to be superior to life itself.

New Car Warns of Impending Crash
Futuristic Honda Inspire detects danger, helpfully screams, "We're all gonna die!"

Hillary Clinton Memoir Soars to Top of Best-Seller List

Everyone wants to read her account of the moment she learned her health plan was doomed.

More lawsuit news....
This time, not SCO v. IBM, but Oracle v. PeopleSoft. La Reg observes that no matter what, Linux wins. As Robin Miller goes on to observe:

The upshot of all this confusion is that virtually every major business software vendor that isn't owned by Microsoft is embracing Linux. Not just 'using' Linux or paying lip service, but actually building their products on Linux and actively promoting Linux as the best, most flexible, lowest-cost, and most secure server platform for businesses ranging from 'mom and pop' retailers to multinational giants.

Music to my ears, and the best news I've heard in weeks. Go Tux! Kick Gates's ass bloody!!!!

New security enforcement tool: The FTC
Guess settles with FTC over cybersecurity snafu. Of course, the good news about this, from my perspective, is that one of the other times the FTC got involved in cybersecurity issues was when they smacked down Microsoft for insecurities in their Passport service. And that was before the latest Passport security fiasco (which leaves us Microsoft haters hoping that the FTC hits them up for a violation of their consent decree... which comes along with treble damages, IIRC....

Security by obscurity Department:
La Reg points out this boner, which is probably the most boneheaded security vulnerability since Microsoft set up their Passport service so that anyone, not just the account owner, could change the password to a Passport account: Come up and see me sometime.

Thought for the Day:
Lord Melchett: Ah well, the whisper on the underground grapevine, ma'm, is that Lord Blackadder is spending all his time with a young boy in his service.
Queen Elizabeth I: Oh. Do you think he would spend more time with me if I was a boy?
Melchett: Surely not madam.
Nursey: You almost were a boy, my little cherrypit.
Queen: What?
Nursey: Yeah. Out you popped, out of your mummies tumkin and everybody shouting: "It's a boy, it's a boy!". And somebody said "But it hasn't got a winkle!". And then I said "A boy without a winkle? God be praised, it is a miracle. A boy without a winkle!" And then Sir Thomas More pointed out that a boy without a winkle is a girl. Anyway, I was really disappointed.
Melchett: Oh yes, well you see, he was a very perceptive man, Sir Thomas More.
--"Blackadder II"

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Saw "Hulk" today...
And I have to say, simply worth every penny. Some of the critics seemed to have nits to pick with the CGI animation, but I thought it was surprisingly effective, especially the expressiveness that they put into the Hulk's face and eyes (I note that James Berardinelli agreed with me on that). All in all, probably worth full price (definitely worth what I paid for the matinee). Excellent job, and I look forward to the inevitable sequel.

Thought for the Day:
All religions, including Buddhism, stem from our narcissistic wish to believe that the universe was created for our benefit, as a stage for our spiritual quests. In contrast, science tells us that we are incidental, accidental. Far from being the raison d'ętre of the universe, we appeared through sheer happenstance, and we could vanish in the same way. This is not a comforting viewpoint, but science, unlike religion, seeks truth regardless of how it makes us feel. Buddhism raises radical questions about our inner and outer reality, but it is finally not radical enough to accommodate science's disturbing
perspective. The remaining question is whether any form of spirituality can.
--John Horgan

Friday, June 20, 2003

The winner? According to Robert X. "The Real Bob" Cringely, it's Microsoft.

There is no God and no justice.....

Another view here, courtesy of MS-BS.

Thought for the Day:
I am beginning to get worried about the men and women of the U.S. government. Oh, I know they're big boys and can handle themselves in a fight. I'm just afraid that handling themselves in a fight is about the only thing they can do. They can't seem to find people. The most obvious example is Osama bin Laden, for whom we launched the most massive manhunt in the history of manhunts. Hell, we tore apart an entire country looking for him, but he slipped through our fingers. And now it seems as if we've stopped looking. The best guess is that he's up there in Weirdville, the rugged (I believe that's the traditional adjective) country on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, a place that doesn't even have a government. We can't bomb it, because we currently love Pakistan. And our general policy is that we never invade a territory until we've whomped the bejeezus out of it from the air. So, have a nice life, Osama, and good luck with that kidney.
--Jon Carroll [SF Chronicle]

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Excellent article by Ed Foster....
in his GripeLog blog: Is IT just a commodity?

An excerpt; some words to think about:

Notice there is no Moore's Law for software. In fact, software prices generally have been going up over the years, particularly if you count the maintenance contracts that IT customers are usually obliged to buy. And the upgrades software customers get for their money usually have little or no new functionality - even old bugs are often not fixed. Nonetheless, as the IT critics have noted, software companies have mastered the art of forcing customers to upgrade anyway in order to maintain their investment, stay current with other software and hardware, etc.

Think back ten years ago, when the Internet boom was just getting started, to some of the software companies that dominated various niches at the time: Microsoft, Oracle, Computer Associates, and Intuit. While all four have killed, acquired, or marginalized many a competitor since, I don't think any of us would say they did so through truly innovative technology. And I'd be hard pressed to name any other company that has treated its customers worse over the last decade than those four, and yet they're all still going strong.

The software business used to be an exciting one to cover, because there always really were technological breakthroughs on the horizon. Now, as we are witnessing with SCO's bizarre legal action against IBM and Oracle's attempt to acquire and kill off PeopleSoft, the news coming out of the software industry is about lawsuits, accounting practices, anti-piracy measures, corporate raids, etc. The SCO case is particularly symbolic of what's wrong with IT in raising legal threats against Linux, the most important source of software innovation in the last decade.

So is IT a commodity? Hardware and network bandwidth have indeed pretty much become commodity markets, but software hasn't. The irony in that is that while the hardware and networking vendors keep providing more performance for less money, the big software companies are doing just the opposite. For the value they're delivering, comodity pricing is all that's justified, but they continue to get big bucks for their bloatware.

But let's try to be optimistic. Perhaps there really are some innovations coming that will change the software paradigm. After all, Open Source and web services at least have that potential, assuming that the Microsofts and Oracles don't succeed in controlling them as well. Otherwise, those who say information technology has lost its importance will be proved right, and the only college students interested in the IT business will be those studying law or accounting.

Thank God for Scott McNealy
How did I miss this? McNealy had some choice putdowns of Micro$loth in his JavaOne keynote.

Per the note on MS-BS:

Scott, we love 'ya and give you credit for having balls big enough to blast MS even though your SUN stock is in the crapper.

SCO lawsuit:
What happened to show and tell time? As this eWeek op-ed points out SCO's been big on accusations, and short on documentation....

Micro$oft v. Linux: If you can't beat 'em...
use predatory pricing. From

More 419 Fun and Games....
British PC maker takes Nigerian 419 scammer for £171.

I say, "Great job!!!"

Orrin Hatch's psychiatrist....
should up Hatch's meds, pronto. According to LaReg today Hatch is in favor of allowing copyright owners the right to "remotely destroy computers that contain pirated material".

From the article:

"I'm all for destroying their machines," Hatch said during a Committee hearing Tuesday. "'If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize' the seriousness of their actions," the [Associated Press] quotes him as saying.

Whatta prick.

This day in history....
Curt Flood lost the battle, but the war would ultimately be won during Dave McNally's and Andy Messersmith's arbitration cases just three years later... From the National Baseball Hall of Fame's "Inside Pitch" newsletter:

** Supreme Court Rules Against Flood
In a Pyrrhic victory for baseball owners, on June 19, 1972 the Supreme Court ruled against Curt Flood's lawsuit seeking free agency. When Flood, a lifetime .293 hitter, three-time All-Star, and winner of seven Gold Gloves, was traded from St. Louis to Philadelphia in 1969, he refused to go. "After twelve years in the Major Leagues," he wrote Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, "I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes." Advised by Players Association leader Marvin Miller that he would lose his lawsuit and significant income, Flood abandoned his career to pursue his attack on the "reserve clause" which bound a player to one team. "A well-paid slave is a slave nonetheless," wrote Flood in The Way It Is, published in 1971. The 5-3 decision acknowledged that a 1922 Supreme Court ruling granting baseball immunity from anti-trust laws was an "anomaly" but said only Congress could remedy it. Flood's career was over, but in bargaining during the lawsuit's progress, owners agreed to an arbitration system. In 1975, to the horror of owners who had trumpeted the demise of baseball without the reserve clause, an arbitrator nullified that clause and paved the way for the widespread free agency advocated by Flood.

For a nice little history of the reserve clause, go here.

Thought for the Day:
Next time you're thinking that your kid is a brat....
And the child [Jesus] returned unto the house of Joseph: and Joseph was grieved and commanded his mother, saying: "Let him not forth without the door, for all they die that provoke him to wrath."
--The tribulations of being God's stepfather
[From the NT apocrypha, "The Infancy Gospel of Thomas"]

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Today's Dr. Science Gold Star Question:
Something I've always wondered....

If vampires can't see their reflections in mirrors, how do they comb their hair so nicely? Most vampires I've seen have a high degree of tonsorial splendor.
-- Mike Boyd from Cary, NC

Yet another SCO lawsuit update:
According to cNet, SCO's also (in addition to "revoking" IBM's license for AIX) upped its damage claim to $3 billion now. Wonder how much it's going to take for IBM to buy them out.

Thought for the Day:
When it comes to fighting vampires and performing exorcisms, the Roman Catholic Church has the heavy artillery. Your other religions are good for everyday theological tasks, like steering their members into heaven, but when the undead lunge up out of their graves, you want a priest on the case. As a product of Catholic schools, I take a certain pride in this pre-eminence.
--Roger Ebert [on the movie "John Carpenter's Vampires"]

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Sock it to O'Reilly....
I don't normally pay much attention to the big celebrity bloggers (the few blogs I do read are listed to the left there), but I just happened to stumble across this by Glenn Reynolds: Bill O'Reilly: Internet Whiner. Worth reading, IMHO. Even if Glenn Reynolds is a UT Law Prof....

The bomb drops in the SCO/IBM lawsuit
Also from the NYT: SCO has "revoked" IBM's Unix license. Or so says SCO. IBM is saying differently, of course.

I hope this is the beginning of the end of SCO. And it probably is; there's little chance that SCO can maintain a lawsuit as long as IBM will be able to keep it going. Not to mention that we've yet to see ATT's entrance into the fray yet....

From the New York Times:
Linus is going to be leaving Transmeta and working on Linux full time. And good for him. It's great when one can actually make a living by doing what he wants.

The State of Linux in Europe:
From things are looking up for ol' Tux across the pond.

Internet dating on your cell phone...
Just what we always wanted. in the palm of your hand....

More SCO lawsuit news....
This from InfoWorld's Robert X. "Not The Real Bob" Cringely(TM) (I received this in the RX"NTRB"C(TM) email newsletter; it's probably somewhere on the website but I'm too lazy to hunt down the link, so there!):

AT&T Eyeing SCO

Without even knowing it, SCO may have started a war of attrition with much larger enemies that have deeper pockets. Within the halls at AT&T, folks were chattering just last week that AT&T still has reserved rights on Unix. Naturally, the company is paying close attention to the various legal claims that SCO is making and may join the battle soon. My spy said the word around AT&T is that this will all be resolved shortly. But one has to wonder how long SCO could survive if it had opponents in multiple courtrooms - those being, of course, IBM and AT&T.

I'm quickly getting the feeling that Darl McBride (head honcho of SCO, for those of you not keeping close watch on the situation) has bitten off more than he can chew; I can't say that I'd be eager to face the schools and schools of legal piranhas that IBM and ATT could sic on me.... I have to wonder if Darl's stupid, merely ignorant, or downright suicidal... appears to be up again....
and the commenting service appears to be working. Glory be!

Thought for the Day:
No silicon heaven? Where would all the calculators go?
--Kryten [TV series "Red Dwarf"]

Monday, June 16, 2003

Homework, dammit, HOMEWORK!!!!!!
My new cell phone service includes a couple free months of "Wireless Web" service, which I'll probably keep once the freebie promotional period wears off, as some of the services there (news, weather, sports scores) strike me as worth the $4.00/ month charges.

Exploring the "Wireless Web" services, I came across the wireless version of Decided to kill a little free time this afternoon exploring their offerings on the "wired web" (i.e., their primary website). Don't know about other cities, but their entries on St. Louis restaraunts need some serious updating... Most egregious: a couple restaurants (one in Soulard, one downtown) are given Ballwin addresses (especially hilarious: the downtown restaurant listed as being in Ballwin is praised for its view of the downtown skyline. Sheesh! Anyone who knows St. Louis well knows you can barely see downtown Manchester from Ballwin, forget about seeing downtown St. Louis!) If I had the writer of this guide here I'd go over him/her with a tire iron and a cinderblock in order to beat the geography lesson into him/her....

Conyers House Floor Speech: 6/10/2003:
Like some of the other speeches I've reprinted in toto here, this deserves wide dissemination. Mr. Conyers is the Representative from the 14th Congressional District, Michigan. This speech has not yet made Mr. Conyers's web page; the text can be found at The Smirking Chimp.

'Bush administration deceptions about Iraq threaten democracy'
By US Rep John Conyers

Speech in the House of Representatives, June 10, 2003

Mr. Speaker, my service in this House has often shown me the profound tension between government secrecy and democratic decision-making. Rarely however, has that tension been as starkly posed as in the current revelations of divergence between President Bush's assertions based on "secret information" about the alleged threat to America posed by Iran and the actual assessment of that threat by America's intelligence professionals.

I have seen the American people apparently deceived into supporting invasion of sovereign nation, in violation of UN charter and international law, on the basis of what now appear to be false assurances. The power of the Congress to declare war was usurped. The consent of the governed was obtained by manipulation rather than candid persuasion.

Instead of conducting a sustained all-out war against the genuine terrorists behind 9/11, President Bush chose to terrorize the American people. The President, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld painted lurid nightmares of al Qaeda's attacking U.S. cities with insidious anthrax or clouds of deadly nerve gas. All of this was portrayed as coming courtesy of Saddam Hussein, unless we destroyed the Iraq regime. They also wielded the ultimate threat that Iraq would imminently endanger America and our closest allies with nuclear weapons. Members of Congress who voiced deep distrust of those claims were privately briefed with even more vivid descriptions of the deadly threats that Saddam posed to American security.

In public speech after speech, the President and his supporting players assured America's anxious citizens that attacking Iraq was absolutely necessary to prevent the imminent threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction from harming them and their loved ones.

In addition, President Bush was determined to convince the public that Saddam was personally behind, or at least intimately involved in 9/11. He and Vice President Cheney repeated that mantra incessantly. No wonder that about half of the country still believes that Saddam was involved, although our intelligence community has emphasized that there is no credible evidence that is true.

The manipulation was massive and malicious. The motive was simple. The Administration wanted to attack Iraq for a variety of ideological and geopolitical reasons. But the President knew that the American people would not willingly risk shedding the blood of thousands of Americans and Iraqis without the immediate threat of deadly attack on the United States. As Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz recently admitted to an interviewer in an unguarded moment, when the threat of weapons of mass destruction was chosen as the banner to lead a march to war, it was chosen for "bureaucratic reasons," not because the danger was imminent or paramount.

The President and his Cabinet were well aware that these claims either rested on flimsy projections or came from sources that most of our Intelligence Community disdained. The President and his Cabinet knew that in some cases those discredited sources' assertions were flatly contradicted by the professional assessments of the intelligence Community experts at CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department, and were only supported by a rogue special office established under Secretary Rumsfeld precisely to "find" or reinterpret intelligence in order to support the Administration's determination to invade Iraq.

When war came, our own military field commanders were surprised by the fierce, often deadly, resistance that our troops faced from Saddam's "militia." We, and our British allies, were surprised when the Iraqi people in Basra and elsewhere did not rise up to welcome our troops with open arms. Most of all, our military commanders, the Congress and the American people all were surprised when no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were found. Now, as each day passes, and no WMD has been found, that surprise has turned to suspicion, to concern and finally to outrage at the deception practiced by the Bush Administration.

In response, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, and their spokespersons have offered one excuse after another. As reporters and whistle-blowers have exposed the flaws in each excuse, the White House has scrambled to create another, with the confusing speed of a kaleidoscope's changing patterns. Law students are taught to plead in the alternative: "I never borrowed your pot." "Besides, it wasn't cracked when I returned it." "Anyway, it was not cracked when I borrowed it in the first place." The Bush Administration has learned that lesson well:

The Bush White House assures us that weapons of mass destruction will inevitably be found.

At the same time, the Bush White House argues that they never really said Iraq had such weapons in 2002, only that they had programs to develop those weapons.

Finally, the Bush White House argues that it doesn't matter whether Iraq did or did not have such weapons posing a threat to the United States, because Saddam was a repressive ruler and its good that the world is rid of him.

They cannot succeed with this shell game because they cannot outrun the truth. There are too many previous contradictory statements, too many reports leaked by outraged veteran intelligence analysts, and too great a record of established facts. The Administration's arrogantly crafted script is unraveling. President Bush and his courtiers now have learned the wisdom of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, who warned:

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

Now, the Administration's final refuge is that the public thinks the war was justified even if no weapons are found. Obviously, those poll results reflect the American people's relief that our military's losses, and the loss of Iraqi civilians, regrettable as they are, have not been even greater. They reflect understandable revulsion at the horrors of Saddam's regime. Nevertheless, continued ethnic conflict and violence, ambushes of American soldiers, political disarray, malnutrition and disease mount daily in the aftermath of this "easy war." Also, the Bush White House is forced to acknowledge the re-emergence of al Qaeda's terrorist threat. So the American people have begun to focus on how badly it appears that they, and their congressional representatives, may have been misled by a president anxious to stampede America into war.

In any event, regardless of the final tally on the war in Iraq, there is a growing awareness that this disturbing presidential conduct raises issues that transcend any particular hostilities in which America might engage. It raises the most profound constitutional questions. How can the separation of powers and checks and balances designed to protect our Republic continue to do, if the Executive can work its will through falsehood, deception and concealment?

Equally pressing is a determination of the appropriate remedy, should the Administration's assurances to Congress and to the electorate prove to have been as knowingly false [*E1208] as now seems to be the case. In the days ahead, I shall consult with my colleagues, with legal scholars, political scientists and historians, in order to weigh the appropriate actions necessary to prevent this or any future Administration from usurping the power of Congress and the power of the people to decide public policy on the basis of accurate knowledge.

An accurately informed public is the essence of our democracy. It is most essential on the ultimate question of peace or war. To deceive the Congress and the public about the facts underlying that momentous decision is to transgress one of the president's supreme constitutional responsibilities. I believe the House Committee on the Judiciary should consider whether this situation has reached that dimension.

That question is especially acute at this time because President Bush's disturbing doctrine of "preventive war" means he plans to persuade the Congress and the electorate that additional "preventive wars" are necessary. Will that advocacy be based on deception and false statements, too? The prospect is frightening.

Finally, I note the provocative analysis on this point recently offered by former Counsel to the President John Dean, who has carefully analyzed the nature and context of the President's many assertions about the threats allegedly posed by Iraq and the constitutional implications should they prove false upon further examination. It deserves wide dissemination.

Interesting news....
From today's Daily Kos:

They will find no WMD in Iraq
Spook On The Spot

Quoted portion from:,9171,1101030623-458730,00.html

After weeks of pressure to explain what it knew about the alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq before launching the war there, the Bush Administration has placed the issue in CIA Director George Tenet's lap. Administration officials have been subtly pointing the finger in his direction, saying all their knowledge of Iraq's weapons programs came from Tenet's agency. That apparently didn't apply to a British intelligence report, cited by President Bush in his State of the Union speech, that claimed Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from an unnamed nation later identified as Niger. The report has since been discredited, having been based on forged documents. The CIA had, in fact, looked into the report in February 2002 and found it dubious. At first the White House claimed that the CIA, if it had had any reservations about the intelligence, had not communicated them. Then, after other U.S. officials revealed that the CIA had sent a cable to the White House in March 2002 that cast doubt on the Niger report, Bush aides insisted the warning was too vague to raise red flags.

Now Bush has put Tenet in the hot seat, placing him in charge of the hunt for the wmd. Tenet announced last week that he was bringing in former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay as his adviser in the search. Sources tell Time that Kay will be in overall charge of the operation of 1,300 soldiers and civilians, which was previously overseen by the Pentagon, and will report directly to Tenet.

[NB: The following concluding paragraph of the TIME article wasn't quoted by Gilliard:

All this responsibility may or may not be what Tenet is seeking. On July 11 he will become the third longest-serving CIA director, and sources tell Time he had been mulling retirement before the weapons controversy. The new assignment offers him a chance to go out either as a hero--or a scapegoat. "The spin is that somebody's got to be in charge so that it's being done in an organized fashion," says an intelligence official. "The more cynical view is that they have handed the whole bag of s___ to him."]

Given the prominance that the WMD hunt has played in Bush Administration dogma, the shifting of repsonsibility from the DOD to the CIA means there will be no active WMD program found in Iraq. Rumsfeld is shifting responsivbility away from his Team B aides at DOD and dumping the mess in Tenet and Kay's lap. Neither man is particularly respected or liked by Rumsfeld and this political move clearly indicates he's trying to distance himself and the military from the issue.

If Tenet were smart, he would resign and go after Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush. They clearly expect him to fail, blame him for the failure and then install a puppet who does things their way. This is a naked political move by Rumsfeld and Cheney to cover themselves and place the blame on the CIA, an organization mistrusted by both left and right.

If there was the slightest chance that a usable WMD stockpile would be found, is there any chance Rumsfeld would let George Tenet take the credit for finding it.

He may get lucky, he may find the WMD, but this kind of move indicates that DOD wants to get rid of the issue and let it blow up for Tenet, which is unlikely.

I may be wrong, we may find usable stockpiles of WMD. Pamela Anderson may go back to being a brunette and dress modestly in public. I wouldn't bet much on either.

Steve Gilliard

What a concept!!!
From Jim Cullen of The Progressive Populist : Let's hold Bush to his promise; either he creates 5.5 million new jobs by the end of next year, or he's out of a job himself.....

Hmmmmmmm..... seems to be down. Since the commenting function is based out of that website, I've disabled it for now (load times for this august page were getting excessive as the browser kept waiting for the request to to time out). We'll keep an eye on it and restore when it's back up, or figure out a new commenting system....

Thought for the Day:
My theology, briefly, is that the universe was dictated but not signed.
--Christopher Morley

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Thought for the Day:
Though you may read reports claiming that "Microsoft was asked to develop a new operating system for IBM's PCs," the truth is that Microsoft never engaged in any measurable development, not even after SCP had placed the DOS code in their hands. Therefore, when Microsoft licensed 86-DOS to IBM, that operating system basically did not work. Starting with their first major product, Microsoft was proving itself to be better at marketing than at development, i.e., at hard-selling dysfunctional products to soft-headed willing buyers.
--Diane Gartner

Saturday, June 14, 2003

A trip on the Wayback Machine might be in order
The thought struck me this afternoon.... Way back after Gulf War I, I recall Colin Powell, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, defending Bush the Elder's decision not to remove Saddam from power, saying (in effect), "Don't be ridiculous; there's no Jeffersonian democrat waiting in the wings to take over the reins of power once Saddam is removed."

It's a shame that now Secretary Powell didn't remember his wise advice back then. Or maybe he did but wasn't able to get the Moron in Chief and his handlers to buy it (quite possible, actually). Oh well....

The Daily Howler is doing....
as usual, an incomparable job in exposing the hypocrisy of the press. This week, the target is Margaret Carlson and her treatment of the Clintons and Gore. What's so interesting about today's installment is the blatant contradiction Bob Somerby notes between Carlson's motivation to go into journalism--her suppsed desire to fight for the weak and question the strong, inspired by the travails of her brain-damaged older brother--and her fawning admiration of George W. Bush, in spite of her noticing that Bush's own policies favor the strong and keep the weak and underpriveliged in their place. Contrast her tone in the quotes:

Carlson learned to fight for the weak-and to question the strong. "I learned that when no one is looking, those who think of themselves as the best people can behave like the worst," she says. "It wasn't the pale kid with asthma who taunted my brother, it was the tall, good-looking one with the Schwinn three-speed." And Carlson claims that this early experience made her into a journalist.


"It's not hard to dislike Bush's policies, which favor the strong over the weak," she writes. "But it is hard to dislike Bush."

How can she be so blind as not to notice that George W. Bush is the "tall, good-looking one with the Schwinn three-speed" that is taunting people like her brother, deliberately and with seeming malice aforethought promoting ruinous policies which promote the welfare of the rich at the expense of everyone else?

Bob says it best:

But fifty years later, there she was on that plane, glossing over a public policy which, by her own assessment, "favors the strong over the weak." She scarfs down the lobster, eats at Kay Graham's, and mentions Bush's policies in passing. And when others show concern for the weak, she rolls here eyes and wails in protest. Mrs. Clinton talks health care after midnight in India; Carlson instantly falls asleep, notebook clattering to the floor. Somehow, though, Joe Klein stayed awake-and in his subsequent Newseek piece, he described the reactions of India's weak to that American First Lady's attentions. They were "a third Untouchables, another third Muslims; rag-pickers, street vendors, the most desperate of the poor," Klein said. Klein recorded their reaction. "You've come into our courtyard and filled our hearts with joy and we will never forget you," one woman said.

To Carlson, this is boring. That's why, for us, an intriguing contradiction jumps out from these pages:

Page 1: I learned quickly to dislike those who slight the weak or different or unlucky.

Page 102: It's not hard to dislike Bush's policies, which favor the strong over the weak. It is hard to dislike Bush.

Whatever became of that pigtailed terror who battled on behalf of the weak? We suspect that the bright-eyed crusader-like many press colleagues-may have secretly made "Margaret's choice."

I think Bob's being more charitable than I would; I would call "Margaret's choice" a "sell-out". Though Margaret herself would probably rather think of it as "buying in".

Thought for the Day:
Devout Christians have the most reason to be alarmed at this: a church that engages in murder, slander, deceit, compulsion, and intimidation could not plausibly be inspired by the Holy Spirit. Like Jesus himself, true Christians did not write down their beliefs to argue or prove them, but simply had faith, accepting their deaths without a fight. Thus, if there is any true Holy Spirit, it was more likely inspiring the first believers, none of whose literature survives, and those souls who turned the other cheek to the "orthodoxy's" bullying and machinations rather than fight back. And so true Christianity could well have died a silent death. But even if you turn aside from that awful possibility, you are faced with the original problem: Christian literature, and history, holds almost no analogy with any other literature or history we could care to name. From Homer to Tacitus, there is by comparison virtually no such background or context of ideological conflict affecting the texts--affecting not only the doctoring or editing of their content, but their very selection and preservation. Christianity's own history, and above all the nature of Jesus, was the very target of contention here. I cannot think of any comparable problem in ancient history that is as seriously challenged by such biasing of the source material.
--Richard Carrier

Friday, June 13, 2003

More SCO lawsuit
"The Real Bob" Cringely at PBS is finding more and more kinks in this case. The latest: Both Linux and System V Unix have stolen BSD code....

Some Friday morning filk...
The Pirates of Penguinance

Science marches on.....
This is an actual patent, straight from the USPTO Web database. As I've said many times before, I can't make this shit up, I'm not creative enough.

Semen taste-enhancement dietary supplement

Thought for the Day:
You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.
--Al Capone

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Scary conspiracy theory set out...
at It centers around the recent purchase of Linux antivirus developer GeCAD Software and its concurrent discontinuation of its Linux AV product. From the article:

At that point [i.e., after Microsoft paid off SCO for a Unix license], and mysteriously, MS bought the Romanian AV product. While the official story from MS on the Romanian buy goes something like, "It is time for Microsoft to take over responsibility for security against viruses and hackers", it so happens loss of the Romanian AV product is a significant setback for the Linux market. Take away the principal developer of competitive AV software for Linux, and you help deal a body blow to an OS often cited for relative security. In the battle for hearts and minds, this hits home with IT heads who must count the ways Linux really matters over MS. Their chief selling gripe with their Dilbert CEOs lately has been focused on MS insecurity.

Now, MS strategy becomes clearer-- if MS cannot make Windows truly secure, it can help make Linux seem insecure. And who knows? Perhaps some of those Romanian trolls may go to work for MS and develop a new rash of virii against Linux. They already have made a career defending it, so they know the ways... Perhaps the first sign of their new calling will be when Linux suffers an "unstoppable virus", and strangely, even the Romanian AV product is powerless against it.

WorldCom: poster child for corporate mismanagement and worse: reports that WorldCom's corporate culture of secrecy made pretty damned sure that management could try and pull off whatever corporate shenanigans they want without worrying about whistleblowers.

One employee claimed that when he had gone to Buddy Yates, WorldCom's then director of general accounting, for an explanation of a large discrepancy, Yates said, "Show those numbers to the damn auditors and I'll throw you out the f*****g window."

Hmmmmm. I think I could be persuaded to reconsider my objections to capital punishment... if and only if corporate corruption is made a capital offense.

This does not strike me....
as good news. Apparently, the U.S. broadcast industry has managed to "persuade" digital video recorder (DVR) maker ReplayTV to drop their automatic "skip commercials" feature from their newer line of DVRs. At least you're still allowed to fast forward through commercials. For now. But remember, some broadcasters have ventured the opinion that watching a taped program and fast forwarding through the commercials is theft. When they can get the technology to be able to make that case against you, look out! Fast forwarding through commercials probably will be a crime.

More good news for more open, less proprietary systems....
Sun has managed to get Dell and HP to get on the Java bandwagon, and get them to ship the Sun Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in lieu of the brain-damaged Microsoft JVM.

Now, to get more developers thinking "Java" rather than ".NET".....

Domain hijacking...
From SecurityFocus by way of La Reg. Cybersquatting and spam have always been a problem, but things are starting to get NASTY.... You have been warned.

Thought for the day:
Complaints have poured in about Monday's "Charlie Rose", in which Rose booked both Margaret Carlson and Chris Matthews to discuss the new Clinton book. This is not unlike booking Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham to discuss the wonders of Islam.
--Bob Somerby []

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Do it yourself computer corner:
The "iMike": a complete Wintel computer inside a 17" monitor case. Pretty damn neat looking, I think...

Thought for the day:
Pro-rated at 500 at-bats a year that means that for two years out of the fourteen I played I never even touched the ball.
--Norm Cash [on his career 1081 strikeouts]

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Too, too cool for words....
Backyard Artillery.

Be the first on your block to own a fully legal Gatling gun. Granted, this version only fires rubber bands. A steal at only $395....

Actually, some of the guns which shoot plastic BBs (underneath the remote controlled BB shooting tank) are calling my name even as we speak. With a birthday coming up that might be something to ask for....

Another salvo in the Total Cost of Ownership wars:
Merrill Lynch says: "Linux will save us millions!"

The really great news in this study? Namely the fact that, while the licensing costs of Linux are (obviously) much lower (how much cheaper can you get than "free", after all?), the real savings is in the cost of administration: "It's the people that cost the most," accordiing to Merrill Lynch VP Mark Snodgrass.

The other really good news is that this, unlike the Micro$oft funded studies purporting to find the TCO advantage with Windows rather than Linux, is that Merrill Lynch wasn't going into this as a partisan for either side: "We are not trying to promote Linux," Snodgrass said. "We are just trying to reduce the cost of ownership."

What does Merrill Lynch say about the Microsoft funded studies claiming it's cheaper to go Microsoft?

Not everyone agrees that Linux saves money, however. Last year, market researcher IDC released a report, heralded by Microsoft, that indicated that the five-year cost of ownership for four out of five applications would be lower if Microsoft software was used. The sole Linux winner was Web server software, according to the report.

Snodgrass said he wasn't familiar with the study, but his own data indicated that running virtual Linux servers saves a lot of money compared with running those same services under Windows.

"We've done our numbers, and we are a bank, so we know our numbers," he said.

Other companies apparently have crunched the numbers and come to the same conclusion.

The free market at work:
Competition from Linux is responsible for Microsoft starting to lower prices on SQL Server 2000, Developer's Edition. So saith eWeek, at any rate.

Good. About fscking time.

Winblows Product Activation woes Down Under...
According to, glitches in WPA in Australia shut down Microsoft's CRM systems, rendering untold numbers of MS customers unable to activate their recently purchased copies of XP and Windows Server 2003.

My favorite part of the article:

However, representatives of Microsoft Australia today refused to comment on the weekend outage. The company today said it was still unable to verify that an outage had taken place.

There are serious questions as to how Microsoft Australia could be unaware that of the status of that service.

Declaring Independence:
I'm deciding to print this in full here, like I did Sen. Byrd's recent speech, on the grounds that it is a document that should receive wide dissemination. Apologies for any rights infringements. Source: The Smirking Chimp

'Declaring Independence'
By Jim Jeffords

The following speech by Sen. Jim Jeffords was delivered at the National Press Club on June 5, 2003 to commemorate the second anniversary of his decision to leave the Republican Party and become the Senate's only Independent.

Two years ago, I was big news. I got to know many of you for the first time. I was followed in airports and recognized on the street. Network news people, who until then couldn't identify me as a senator in a police line-up, were now calling my home number. Subsequent events put me back in my place: 9/11, two wars, the space shuttle disaster and a worsening economy took back the nation's attention -- as they should have done.

Yet the reasons for my switch, while apparent to me then, have become painfully clear to me now. The events of the past two years have only heightened my concern over the president's veer to the right, and the poisoning of our democratic process of government.

The promises of candidate Bush, who pledged to bring a new tone to Washington and packaged himself as a compassionate conservative, are unmet. On issue after issue the Bush administration is not what it claims to be. Since coming into office, the president has dragged the Republican Party into short-sighted positions that maximize short-term gain while neglecting the long-term needs of families and the nation.

Pundits asked after last November's election: will the president over-reach with his Republican majorities in the House and Senate? Well, President Bush hasn't just over-reached, he has set a new standard for extreme partisan politics that on many occasions has been supported by the Republican-controlled Congress.

In place of thoughtful policy we now have superficial and cynical sound-bites. Instead of confronting pressing national problems, our president lands airplanes while Rome burns.

While our troops search for WMD in Iraq, we have found our own WMD right here in Washington -- at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. They are President Bush's weapons of mass distortion, or better, distraction. The Bush administration says one thing and does another to take the focus off the present realities.

Does he think we don't notice?

In Iraq, we have seen the inexcusable results of what happens when the Bush administration says one thing and does another. Last fall, the president said U.N. weapons inspectors would be allowed to do their job, but in reality, he didn't give them the time they needed. I am pleased to see calls for Congressional investigations to determine whether the president manipulated intelligence information to build support for the war. Why the hurry to invade a country and use military force in such an unprecedented manner? Where was the imminent threat to the United States? And where are the weapons of mass destruction?

As he prepared to invade Iraq and win the support of other nations, the president promised the world that the United States had a plan in place to rebuild that nation. But it quickly became apparent that there was no plan. While our military guarded the oilfields, we showed no compassion for the Iraqi people as we allowed their national treasures to be looted. All we see now is growing unrest with the U.S. presence in Iraq. Every day we see more lawlessness, more upheaval and more U.S. soldiers being killed. Is it any surprise that a recent Pell Research Center survey of 16,000 people from 20 nations shows a dramatic rise in distrust and skepticism toward the United States?

Does he think we don't notice?

His polls and famous advisors tell him to talk about compassion and job growth, and how he is helping Main Street. But that is all it is, talk.

In reality he adopts hard-right proposals that favor those who need help least and neglect those who need help the most. In reality we are now in the longest period of continued job loss since the Great Depression. Since the beginning of this Bush administration, 2.7 million private sector jobs have been lost and the number of unemployed Americans has increased by over 45 percent. In the first three months of this year alone, America has lost another half-million jobs. President Bush has said his tax plan is a "jobs growth package." But the only thing guaranteed to grow is the federal budget deficit.

He says one thing and does another. Does he think we don't notice?

We will be paying for his tax cuts with borrowed funds, money borrowed from our children and grandchildren who will be forced to foot the bill. And, according to reports, the Bush administration intends to ask for more tax cuts next year. The effect of these tax cuts will be enduring -- and enormously damaging. These tax cuts will widen the gap between rich and poor. These tax cuts help those who need it least and do nothing for those who need it most. These tax cuts provide a $90,000 tax cut for millionaires, while millions of parents with incomes under $26,000 will see no benefit from the increased child credit. This is compassion? Again, he says one thing and does another.

Does he think we don't notice?

President Bush is rashly piling up debt our nation can't afford even as he knows the really big bills are about to come due. The Congressional Budget Office forecasts a $300 billion deficit this fiscal year -- an all-time record. Some economists believe the deficit could approach $500 billion dollars in the near future. That's edging close to a troublingly high percentage of the economy. But the real problem is not this year or next. Rather, it's the long-term cost, combined with the budgetary hit coming just around the corner, when the baby boomers start to retire and put new huge demands on Social Security and Medicare.

The administration highlighted this problem in its own budget documents, describing the real fiscal danger as the 18 trillion dollar shortfall -- yes, trillion with a "T" -- projected in those two programs.

At the same time, it was recently disclosed the Bush administration shelved a report commissioned by its own Treasury Department that shows the United States currently faces future budget deficits totaling at least $44 trillion.

The Bush tax cut will threaten the country's long-term well-being by starving the federal government of revenue for essential services, such as homeland security, transportation infrastructure, education and health care. Our States are bearing the brunt of our dismal economic conditions, and these cuts will brutalize them.

One of the most disturbing effects of the economic downturn is the lack of state and federal funding for our educational system -- where states are laying off teachers, cutting school days and eliminating early childhood programs -- most of which have only just started. The president's advisors tell him to endlessly repeat "No Child Left Behind."

But in the 17 months since that policy became law, we've seen something very different. Too many children are being left behind. President Bush says the new law will lead to stronger schools. I say it is all part of a quiet plan to starve our public schools so this country can move to vouchers and private school choice.

As the president pushes tax cut after tax cut, his administration still can not find the funding to fulfill the federal government's commitment to special education -- where we still fall $12 billion short on a commitment we made to the states more than 25 years ago, to help them finance this federal constitutional mandate. According to school boards across the nation, the number one thing the federal government can do to support education is fully fund special ed.

While pretending to have compassion for our schoolchildren, the approach of No Child Left Behind is heartless. It chronically under-funds our schools, it sets unattainable goals for our teachers and it steals from schoolchildren the quality education they deserve. Once again, the Bush administration says one thing and does another.

Does he think we don't notice?

A recent report in The New York Times noted that combined budget deficits for 50 states are estimated to be between $52 billion and $82 billion, and the schools are taking the worst hit. In Oregon, 84 school districts closed their schools ahead of schedule -- some by as much as a month -- because the money ran out. This comes at a time when schools are faced with mounting pressure to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind or face penalties.

Now we see that states are cutting back on testing standards to avoid sanctions. In the president's home state of Texas, the State Board of Education voted to reduce the number of questions that students must answer correctly to pass the standard test, to 20 out of 36, from 24, for third-grade reading. And Texas is not alone. Michigan's standards had been among the nation's highest, which caused problems last year when 1,513 schools there were labeled under the law as needing improvement, more than in any other state.

So Michigan officials lowered the percentage of students who must pass statewide tests to certify a school as making adequate progress. That reduced the number of schools "in need of improvement" to 216. In other words, we are dumbing down our standards so the Bush administration can say we have strengthened our schools.

Saying one thing, doing another.

In my home state of Vermont, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a resolution last week expressing its concerns over the policies and mandates of No Child Left Behind. They noted that the law could cost Vermont up to three times more to implement than the federal government provides -- and maybe more -- "thereby placing a major burden on the state's strained financial resources...."

If this wasn't all bad enough, we learned last week that the U.S. Department of Education plans to spend a half-million dollars -- yes, a half-million dollars! -- on a public relations campaign aimed at quieting the critics of No Child Left Behind. During three decades in Congress, I have never heard of such an ad campaign. Yet as schools are cutting early education programs for lack of money, the president has no problem with assembling an eight-person "communications" team to try and make a bad plan look good.

Saying one thing, doing another.

In an age now driven by scientific and technological advances, American students are falling behind. This is inexcusable. But despite warnings that have spanned three decades, we have done nothing to respond. "Before It's Too Late: A Report to the Nation from the National Commission on Mathematics & Science Teaching for the 21st Century," released in 2000, highlighted that problem. Recent reports of the performance of our country's students from both the Third International Mathematics and Science Study and the National Assessment of Educational Progress echo a dismal message of lackluster performance.

In December of 2000 I met with President-elect Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas to discuss education. He assured me that education would be his top priority. But his actions speak louder than his words and that promise clearly fell to the wayside long ago.

The president says one thing, but does another.

Perhaps this is most apparent when it comes to the environment. With a straight face he talks about protecting resources for our children -- even as he abandons the federal protection of land and air and water as fast as he can.

Does he think we don't notice?

The Bush administration continues to protect special interests and ignore public support for strong environmental protections and conservation measures. Candidate Bush said in September of 2000:

"With the help of Congress, environmental groups and industry we will require all power plants to meet clean air standards in order to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide within a reasonable period of time." Those were heartening words for many of us.

Unfortunately, just two months into his term, President Bush backed away from that statement, and abandoned his commitment to seek reductions in carbon dioxide which is the leading cause of global warming and climate change. And there has been no working together on anything.

Saying one thing, and doing another.

From the beginning, this administration has relaxed environmental laws through deregulation and lack of enforcement, and put forward legislative proposals long on public relations and short on substance. What Americans really need now is relief from air pollution, and swift and serious action to avert global warming. We have a right to breathe air that is not contaminated by pollution. At a minimum, we have a right to full and vigorous implementation of laws already on the books, such as the Clean Air Act.

The devastation caused by dirty air is staggering. As many as 60,000 premature deaths each year are linked to air pollution, according to an American Cancer Society study and researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

I was proud to work with the first President Bush on the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, when I was a Republican. I was proud to be chosen by the first President Bush as one of the lead Senate negotiators on that bill. He called our work, "a new chapter in our environmental history, and a new era for clean air." That was an example of what we could do -- together -- when we made a shared commitment to our environmental future. Now this President Bush insists on moving us backward, undoing his father's legacy and weakening our nation's environmental laws.

This Bush administration has put forward a plan mislabeled "Clear Skies." This bill weakens or eliminates current clean air programs, accelerates global warming, and saves only one-third of the lives that could be saved by the Clean Power Act. Worse, the administration bill takes 20 years before its reduction targets are achieved.

Does he think we won't notice?

Well, we do notice. We do care. And it does matter.

Some people might not have agreed with my decision to leave the GOP two years ago, but at least I did it for the reasons I said I did. I was honest about what brought me to that decision.

What makes the actions of the Bush administration so troublesome is the lack of honesty.

It amounts, in the end, to a pattern of deception and distortion; ultimately that does not respect the wisdom of the American people.

Thank you.

Jim Jeffords represents the state of Vermont in the U.S. Senate as an Independent.

The Tux juggernaut marches on....
Randy Nieland mentions this in the latest Lockergnome Tech Specialist newsletter (at least the latest one I received, yesterday sometime, which has not seemed to make its way to the Lockergnome website yet), and here's the official press release from SuSE: SuSE is rolling out an Enterprise Linux Desktop--an offering which, in combination with their Enterprise Linux Server product, provides IT shops with a unified, streamlined way to migrate off Windows and onto Linux for the entire enterprise.

Nieland spends part of his commentary stating his often expressed opinion that Linux isn't ready for the desktop yet. With all due respect, after over a year of using Mandrake Linux in several incarnations (8.1, 8.1, 9.0 RC1, 9.0 and now 9.1) as my main OS at home I respectfully disagree. With the right desktop environment and a little courage, it seems to me that even the non-techie user can easily adjust to Linux as a desktop OS. What we need to do is somehow get past the herd instinct in the non-techie crowd--a herd instinct which seems to make sheep look like independent thinkers.

Defenestrate yourself: just say "NO!" to Windows.


Some excellent suggestions...
by Richard Forno in this morning's La Reg, for Microsoft to get past the "Trust us, we know what we're doing" model of security administration (especially important because experience richly demonstrates that Microsoft doesn't know what they're doing when it comes to security administration), and replacing the "Law of Unintended (But Accept It Anyway) Consequences" with a more robust model.

Interesting Juxtapositions Department:
My impeachable sources tell me that today is the birthday of both F. Lee Bailey and Maurice Sendak.

Thought for the Day:
Arthur Dent: You know, it's at times like this, when I'm stuck in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, about to die of asphyxiation in deep space, that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young.
Ford Prefect: Why? What did she tell you?
Arthur Dent: I don't know. I didn't listen.
--"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Monday, June 09, 2003

European Commission expands MS antitrust probe.
Apparently, the Commission is inquiring whether Microsoft's bundling of Windows Media Player with Windows is an abuse of their monopoly of desktop operating systems. The specific issue being investigated is whether content providers are more inclined to provide media content in Windows Media Player format and forego other formats (like QuickTime or Real) if they know that everyone (or at least everyone with Windows) has Windows Media Player....

Go Europe!!! Smack Micro$oft down!!!


The SCO lawsuit...
keeps getting murkier. La Reg reports this morning that SCO paralegals have unearthed a "second amendment" to the asset sales agreement between SCO and Novell that apparently says that SCO does own the copyrights, though apparently Novell's still got the patent rights.

Pardon me while I barf:
Time for Microsoft Linux? Noted Microsoft Shill David Coursey thinks so....

Thought for the Day:
I hate Disneyland. It primes our kids for Las Vegas.
--Tom Waits

Sunday, June 08, 2003

As to why I wasn't here yesterday....
Besides just generally goofing off, I took the opportunity to see The Matrix Reloaded yesterday. As a whole (I don't have much time to give a detailed review), it was quite good, keeping in mind that I never really got into the original The Matrix for the deep philosophical issues; to me it was an entertaining, action filled, sci-fi flick (that's not denying that the philosophical issues are there if you go looking for them, just that I wasn't looking for them). It does seem to me that in the sequel they did try to beat the viewer over the head with one of the philosophical issues, namely free will (referring to Neo's conversation with the Oracle, and to Morpheus, Neo and Trinity's interview with the Merovingian).

Definitely worth the $5 I paid for it (I always go to matinees during the weekend; I've not paid full admission to a movie in years); don't know if it would have been worth $8-12. Probably.....

Thought for the Night:
Again, making up for neglecting this august blog yesterday.

You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.
--Albert Einstein [explaining radio transmissions]

Thought for the Day:
Extra long today, since I neglected this yesterday....

The Onion AV Club: I was reading your web site [], and you referred to George W. Bush as a fascist. But you don't vote. Why not vote against someone you think is a fascist?
George Carlin: Well, because it wouldn't make any difference. When fascism comes to this country, it won't be wearing jackboots; it'll be wearing sneakers with lights in them, and it'll have a smiley face and a Michael Jordan T-shirt on. They learned the mistake of overt control. They've learned how to be much subtler. No, I don't think my vote would mean anything, and at the same time, it would make me very untrue to myself to participate in what I really think is a charade.
O: Well, you more or less hate society anyway, don't you?
GC: Um, I'm very disrespectful of it, and I'm contemptuous of it, but I don't think hate is in me, although we use that word the same way we use love: "Oh, boy, I love ice cream and I hate the Dodgers." But it is a distaste, a contempt, a dissatisfaction, a disillusionment, and a lot of qualities and feelings that come together and appear as anger on stage. I don't experience them as anger, I experience them as a deep distaste. I'm splitting semantic hairs here, but that's what they're for.
O: A lot of people like you seem to be running for president under the Reform Party.
GC: [Laughs.] I know. Well, you see, there's another thing: The Reform Party should be a serious reform party. This culture won't allow that, and most likely the Democrats and the Republicans are feeding that clown aspect of the Perot paranoia, whatever quality about Jesse Ventura they don't like, Pat Buchanan... They just demonize people. This culture is set up to end the debate before it even begins. The boundaries of debate are decided long before Nightline goes on the air by who they've selected to sit there. You don't see the fringe people-they put on Perot and put on Jesse Ventura largely, they think, to expose them as clowns. It's just funny to watch the gyrations and the
machinations and the gymnastics that this culture goes through to bullshit itself. It's fun. To me, it's all entertainment. I'm here for the show. Philosophers say, "Why are we here?" I'll tell you why: I'm here for the show. I love it, and they entertain me to no end.
--The Onion AV Club Interview with George Carlin

Friday, June 06, 2003

Still more SCO lawsuit news:
Very interesting analysis by "The Real Bob" Cringely over at Go read the whole thing, but as more and more details emerge, the likelihood is that Dvorak's report of Linux's imminent death is grealy exaggerated:

Remember, SCO is suing IBM for stealing bits of Unix and putting those bits inside Linux. How IBM is supposed to have done that remains a mystery, because the only version of Linux that includes any IBM authorship claim is for the S/390 mainframes, and even that wasn't written by IBM. According to folks who did the work, it was done under contract to IBM by SuSE Linux AG, the German Linux vendor. IBM provided the hardware and some access to IBM mainframe engineers, but 98 percent of the work was done by SuSE. At Linuxworld 2000, IBM didn't even help with the install or configuration of Linux on the S/390 they loaned SuSE for the show.

Where, then, did IBM get those Unix parts it is supposed to have stolen? They certainly didn't come from IBM's version of Unix, AIX, which bears little internal similarity to any other Unix. I think the parts may have come from SCO, itself.

Here is where institutional memory ought to come into play but doesn't seem to be. Remember that the motto of the combined Caldera and SCO was "Unifying Unix with Linux for Business." It is very possible that SCO's Linux team added UnixWare and OpenServer code to Linux. They then sent their Linux developers to SuSE when United Linux was formed. Soon after that, CEO Ransom Love departed. Now the SCO management is scouring the UnixWare, OpenServer and Linux code bases and says that they are finding cut-and-pasted code. Chances are that their former employees put it there.

"Open Unix 8 is the first step in implementing the vision of the pending new company," said Ransom Love, president and CEO of Caldera Systems in a company press release way back when. "It combines the heritage of Unix with the momentum of Linux, and will be our premiere product for data intensive applications like database, email and supply chain management. The incorporation of the Linux application engine into the UnixWare kernel essentially redefines the direction of the product, and motivates a new brand identity -- Open Unix."


So SCO/Caldera spent two years "unifying" Unix and Linux and is now outraged to find some of their intellectual property in Linux. Well duh! That's exactly what they said they were going to do.

But does it even matter? As I noted last week, Novell retained the Unix patents and copyrights when it sold whatever it sold to SCO back in 1995. The best SCO can claim, given that Novell won't pursue a copyright or patent claim against IBM, is that IBM is in violation of its Unix license agreement.

WHAT license agreement?

That SCO/Novell deal from 1995 gets murkier and murkier when you add in the claims of The Open Group, a consortium that acquired the Unix trademark from Novell at the same time SCO wasn't acquiring the Unix copyrights or patents. "IBM's ability to call AIX a Unix system is due to its license from The Open Group," says the group's marketing vice-president Graham Bird. "This license requires IBM (and all other licensees) to warrant that it's certified products conform with the Single Unix Specification. So, SCO cannot yank IBM's right to call their certified products Unix, I'm delighted to say."

If SCO doesn't own the copyrights or patents, and it doesn't even have a sublicensing agreement with the organization that owns the trademark, what rights could they possibly intend to deny IBM as of June 13th?"

Today in History Department:
Of course, we're talking the 59th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy (aka, D-Day or Operation Overlord). But, interestingly enough, today is the birthday of the Dalai Lama, too...

Thought for the Day:
W. V. O. Quine has been one of the most ruthless of recent appliers of this principle [Ockham's razor]. I recall an exchange in print (a festschrift, around 1980) where someone quoted Shakespeare's "There are more things on heaven and earth, than are dreamed of in your philosophy" at Quine. Quine responded something like, "Possibly, but my concern is that there not be more things in my philosophy than are in heaven and earth.
--David Lyndes

Thursday, June 05, 2003

More SCO lawsuit news:
CNet news. com has a couple good articles. One gives us a look at the contract terms surrounding the Unix transfer, and it includes a specific exclusion of patent and copyright rights in the product. Also included is an analysis by a copyright lawyer, which looks promising. If anything, I'd say John Dvorak's recent analysis that this suit may kill off Linux is just a bit off the mark.

The second article tells us that LinuxTag, the German Linux users group, has hit SCO with a restraining order in Germany. A small victory there. The more interesting tidbit comes at the very end of the article, which tells us that David Boies, SCO's lawyer (he was lead counsel in the MS antitrust trial), has taken the SCO suit on a contingent fee arrangement. One wonders what that means... Not the literal meaning, of course (Boies doesn't get paid unless he wins at trial or settles), but what were Boies's motives in doing it on a contingent fee basis? Most likely, he thinks there's good settlement prospects; Boies isn't an IP lawyer, he's a litigator, and he can't really be that confident of a favorable verdict after trial, I would think. Most likely, he's counting on a reasonably quick settlement.

But I could be wrong.....

First security patch released for Windows 2003 Server...
Less than two months after release.... Microsoft is putting a positive spin on the situation, however.

And not the positive spin I'd have put on it... that at least they weren't releasing bugfixes prior to release like they did with XP......

Thought for the Day:
If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.
--Doug Larson

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

In about a week, I can die fulfilled....
It came today!!! It came today!!!!! After years of waiting, and looking around:

In 1951, in a moment of madness, I became owner and operator of a collection of old rags and tags known to baseball historians as the St. Louis Browns.

The Browns, according to reputable anthropologists, rank in the annals of baseball a step or two ahead of Cro-Magnon man. One thing should be made clear. A typical
Brownie was more than four feet tall. Except, of course, for Eddie Gaedel, who was 3'7" and weighed 65 lbs. Eddie gave the Browns their only distinction. He was, by golly, the best darn midget who ever played big league ball. He was also the only one.
--Bill Veeck,
Veeck as in Wreck

Better Late Than Never Department:
The National Baseball Hall of Fame dropped the ball [pun intended] today, when they didn't send this notice out yesterday. In their "Inside Pitch" newsletter which was mailed this morning, they note that yesterday is the 115th anniversary of the publication of Ernest Lawrence Thayer's immortal poem, "Casey at the Bat". The HoF's commentary on the historic date:

** Mighty Casey 115 Years Later
In May of 1888, a 24 year-old Harvard graduate wrote one of the most famous works of baseball literature in history. The poem, "Casey at the Bat," written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, was published in the San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888, instantly becoming an American classic. 2003 marks the 115th anniversary of "Casey at the Bat" and although it is over a century old, the timeless tale remains a favorite to this day.

The hometown Mudville nine, down by two runs with two outs in the final inning of play, need to get their best player at bat and victory will be theirs. However, the mighty Casey is three batters down in the order and preceded by two less apt hitters, Flynn and Blake. Amazingly, the two reach base with hits leaving the game to be decided by the local town hero. With the crowd cheering, Casey steps to the plate and...STRIKES OUT!

The surprise ending made "Casey at the Bat" one of the most beloved sports poems in history and became the cornerstone for many other works, some of which reside at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. A copy of the score of composer William Schubert's 1975 musical, "Casey," as well as numerous books and paintings about the poem are in the Hall of Fame's extensive collections. The statue pictured here, which stands more than six feet tall, guards the entrance to the Hall of Fame Library, overlooking Cooper Park. Visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and discover the enduring might of Casey.

What the Hall of Fame didn't bother noting is that "Casey" is probably the most parodied poem in all of American literature (which makes it an excellent candidate for the title of most parodied poem in all literature). Martin Gardner, in his wonderful The Annotated Casey at the Bat (which I recommend most highly if you ever run across it) prints excerpts from a number of these parodies. The one I want to hunt down sometime: the Mad magazine parody of "Casey", written in the style of Edgar Allen's Poe's, "The Raven". If my memory serves me correcter, Gardner printed an excerpt of this in his Annotated Casey which was one of the funniest things I've ever read.

Thought for the Day:
This from a recent "Movie Answer Man" column by Roger Ebert.

Q. Some groups have launched a protest against Disney for using Ellen DeGeneres as the voice-over talent for Dory, the blue fish in "Finding Nemo." Since she is a lesbian, they feel she is not a "suitable role model" for families attending the film. What do you think? --Susan Lake, Urbana, Ill.
A. I think their protest is silly, immoral and dangerous. Silly, because the voice of an animated fish is not a role model for sexuality. Immoral, because they wish to deny employment to DeGeneres because of her sexual identity. Dangerous, because this is another example of a slash-and-burn mentality that works through hate and intimidation. My feeling is that moderate Americans are getting weary of these tactics.
--Roger Ebert

I hope that Ebert's feeling about moderate Americans is right.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

The Truth Will Out Department:
SCO CEO says buyout could end Linux fight.

A Good Rule of Thumb:

Whenever anyone says "It's not the money, it's the principle of the matter"--it's the money.

While Gates sings the same tired old song:
Microsoft to buyers: Open your wallets.

Or as Scott McNeally put it: Microsoft's motto is: If you've got a wallet, we've got a Hoover.

Music to My Ears Department:
From La Reg: We've seen the future, Indian Prez tells Gates - and you're not in it.

I only hope the Indian President has some sway over the software choices the Indian government makes....

Rose Colored Glasses Department:
Ex-Army Secretary: Pentagon won't admit Iraq realities

Then again, the administration lied to us about the WMDs, just to get people fired up for the invasion. Of course they lied about how long and how long the occupation will last, and how many occupation troops will be needed...

Which makes me wonder... has DoD submitted a design for an Iraq occupation service medal and ribbon yet?

Proof that there is a God?
Some 419 scammers scam themselves right into jail... (but not before relieving a Swiss university professor of the manifest temptations of too great wealth).

Great Dates in History Department:
My usually unreliable sources inform me that today is the 74th birthday of Chuck Barris("The Dating Game", "The Newlywed Game", "The Gong Show", "The $1.98 Beauty Show", author of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and The Game Show King). Happy birthday, Chuck!!!

"This does not compute" Department:
According to Robert X. "Not The Real Bob" Cringely in InfoWorld:

The ole spam two-step

I'm not the only one displaying fancy footwork these days. The latest hoofer is Network Associates, which is using the controversy around spam -- including proposals to the Senate from Microsoft and Symantec -- as a way to spread the message about its software solution. I'll give you one guess as to which dance move it is using. That's right: spam. The company last week spammed users to inform them of SpamKiller. Vicious circle.

I hope, at least, that Network Associates's (grammatical digression: is "Associates" here singular or plural? I'm going with singular because it's only one company) spam is a bit more literate than the latest anti-spamware spams I've been getting: "Subject: Leonard, seek of spam?"

Thought for the day:
It's like I've always said, there's nothing an agnostic can't do if he really doesn't know whether he believes in anything or not.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Alternatives to Micro$oft Department: Good News!
IBM, Linux and small business are apparently living quite happily with each other. Y'know, Big Blue, after the screwing Microsoft has given you you ought to try to hurt them in the pocketbook!

Though I have to confess that rooting for IBM strikes me as being about as foreign as rooting for the Yankees. :-)

I don't like the looks of this:
Something to keep one's eyes on: Court upholds DMCA "good faith" web site shutdown rights

SCO Lawsuit: The issues just keep getting murkier
From La Reg: Lindows claiming SCO immunity via Caldera deal

Thought for the Day:
Napoleon Solo: Illya, are you free?
Illya Kuryakin: No man is free who must work for a living. But I am available.
--The Man From U.N.C.L.E., "The Bow Wow Affair"

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Thought for the Day:
Percy, Duke of Northumberland: You know, they do say that the Infanta's eyes are more beautiful than the famous Stone of Galveston.
Prince Edmund, the Black Adder: Mm! ... What?
Percy: The famous Stone of Galveston, My Lord.
Edmund: And what's that, exactly?
Percy: Well, it's a famous blue stone, and it comes (points dramatically) from Galveston.
Edmund: I see. And what about it?
Percy: Well, My Lord, the Infanta's eyes are bluer than it, for a start.
Edmund: I see. And have you ever seen this stone?
Percy: (nods) No, not as such, My Lord, but I know a couple of people who have, and they say it's very very blue indeed.
Edmund: And have these people seen the Infanta's eyes?
Percy: No, I shouldn't think so, My Lord.
Edmund: And neither have you, presumably.
Percy: No, My Lord.
Edmund: So, what you're telling me, Percy, is that something you have never seen is slightly less blue than something else you have never seen.
Percy: (finally begins to grasp) Yes, My Lord.
Edmund: Percy, in the end, you are about as much use to me as an hole in the head...
--"The Black Adder"