Archive for November, 2004

2004.11.30

Secular State

There are many reasons that maintaining a secular state is important and why voting purely based on religious impulses is a mistake.

First, if a government advocates a specific religion, then any other religion within the boundaries of the state is instantly a minority. If the numerical majority is not of the official religion then the situation can be worse. Either way oppression ensues, percieved or real.

Second, even if the official religion of a state is very tolerant, the first point is valid.

Third, religion is not by nature tolerant. “Our way is the right/correct/only way to salvation/nirvana/utopia/off the karmic wheel, and yours is not.” The first point is even more valid, and becomes more real than perception.

“If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”

– John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

This would be a good lesson in much of the world; America is no exception. I am very much for religion and believe it is integral to the human soul. I also believe that my religion is just as authentic as anyone elses. I would not force mine upon another person, just as I would not want anyone to force theirs on me.

5 Comments | Catergorized: rights  thoughts

2004.11.28

Open Source

In answer to Jason Clark’s November Challenge which I’m finally getting to, here are a few open source applications I use that I’d like to thank and encourage others to use.

First off, the obvious: Blosxom. Blosxom, created by Rael Dornfest, is a small Perl script that runs this website and several others for myself and friends: OOKEE.com, The People’s Republic of Bookee (home of Odd, AKA gTodd), Mookee’s Main Page, I Am Defiant (home of Jon E.), Vexed: Piss Off (home of NHK), Gracie, and a few others like Arena of the Superpowers and The Unofficial Blosxom Users Site.

Blosxom, however, is pretty rudimentary without the multitude of plugins available (also available here), all free to customize and personalize your site. So a big thank you! to Rael and all of the plugin writers. You guys have done much for the world, each in your own ways.

Blosxom is brilliant for its simplicity and its potential power. Once you understand the basics and start working with it you realize that there’s little you can’t do with it, and if you can’t figure out how to do something really tricky, ask on the Mailing List and almost always get an answer from the very helpful people there.

Tied into that I’d like to thank everyone that’s worked on BSD as that is what Apple’s MacOS X is based on and is what I’m using for desktop and server. I’d also like to thank the makers of Apache, the webserver I’m using to host all of those websites, and then some.

There really aren’t many applications I use on a daily basis that aren’t paid applications, but there are many websites I visit on a nearly daily basis and am grateful for their work. Slashdot for keeping me informed of the geek world, bOING bOING for their insight and interesting links, Robbie Taylor’s Today in Alternate History for its constant interesting reading, Arts and Letters Daily for differing perspectives, and Google because I use their services almost daily. Probably the best set of websites I could provide are in the linkblog on the right side of this homepage.

I could make huge lists but will leave it at that. Who would you like to thank?

Comments Off on Open Source | Catergorized: technology

2004.11.26

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thank you to my parents and my family for shaping the life I have. I wouldn’t be the man I am without you.

Thank you to my real life friends, past and present. Without you life would be far less fun and interesting.

Thank you to my various online friends. Though we’ve never met I value your thoughts, interactions and challenges. And, of course, for keeping me on my toes.

Thank you to Ann for loving me despite all my flaws. It means more than you may know.

Thanks.

Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving! | Catergorized: family  friends  life

2004.11.26

Catdog

Jon E. had an interesting question: How does Catdog, the Nickelodeon character, poop?

Are those really hairballs Cat is spitting out?

Comments Off on Catdog | Catergorized: thoughts

2004.11.19

Captain Sean Sims

I got the call from my Mom on Monday and still I don’t know what to say or think or feel. My brother’s wife’s brother was killed in action in Fallujah on Sunday. All my thoughts go out to his families. I am also mourning your loss.

Captain Sean Patrick Sims. 19732004. Thank you, and Rest in Peace.

2 Comments | Catergorized: family  life

2004.11.18

Reason to Upgrade

Not only did I get to travel in the ass end of the airplane, but somehow I was wedged in between two very “large” men. The fellow on my left was courteous enough to lean away and give me some relief from his bulk, but the guy on the right… Well, I knew there would be trouble when I could smell his breath when he was awake and facing forward. After he fell asleep his head lolled towards me and he breathed through his gaping mouth. The smell got worse. Much worse. Prodding didn’t help him realize he should turn his head away. The over head airvents couldn’t blow air out fast enough to make much of a difference. It’s sad but most people would think me the rude one if I stuffed a sock in his mouth. Instead I improvised a gas mask with a pillow and watched the movie, crammed between two voluminous men, and waited for the horror to end.

3 Comments | Catergorized: grrr  thoughts

2004.11.18

Back From NYC

I’m back from NYC. Actually I’ve been back since late Sunday night, but Monday was a scramble to help with a surfing article and yesterday was spent catching up at work.

There are a few things I want to write about… look for them in the coming days.

1 Comment | Catergorized: life

2004.11.11

New York City

I’ll be in NYC on vacation until next Monday so it’s possible I won’t be online much, if at all. I’m not bringing the laptop or the Palm (which is almost dead anyways). About the only electronic gizmo I’m bringing is my cell phone. It’ll be an experiment in deprivation!

I am bringing two books with me; don’t think of an elephant! by George Lakoff, and The United States of Europe by T.R. Reid. I’m also bringing loads of blank paper; maybe I’ll rewrite Cambodia Cruz that way since I haven’t made much headway doing it on the computer.

See you when I get back!

Comments Off on New York City | Catergorized: life

2004.11.10

Election Wrapup

I was chatting for a bit with Zapski tonight. He sent me a few links that are interesting. Much of the sentiment I completely agree with, but some of the specifics I have problems with.

This first one is an inflammatory rant from a group calling itself the New Democrat Outreach Program. In my more bitter moods I very much agree with it. In kinder terms it says that the Red States have just fscked themselves by ignoring real issues and voting their fears. It says that the Blue States, which are better off than the Red States (generally speaking) will continue to prosper regardless of the GOP domination in DC. It says they feel sorry for the Red States because ultimately they are the ones that will suffer for voting GOP. Read the specifics here.

The second link from Zapski, called Behind the Beauty, Cracks Appear, (by Eric Meyer, whose book on CSS I’ve used quite a bit!) basically congratulates Republicans for endorsing homosexuals to a life a promiscuity which the Religious Right fears probably even more then Gay Marriage. After all, why should homosexuals bother with loving, commited relationships when they aren’t allowed to have one?

Finally, here’s a rather sad attempt to make the best of what’s happened, by framing the liberal platform (accessible health care for all, equal rights, decent education) in a conservative framework to at least try and get these values out to most Americans (the “gun-totin’ pro-lifer who wants his kids to get a good education” crowd). I have to say I disagree with this assessment; it is not good enough to capitulate. Liberal values are just as important to the so-called conservatives; they just have to be shown why.

These links led me on to other sites.

Zhubin has a nice assessment, if a bit depressing, of the realities of the election. It was a knock down fight, and the Left took a wallop from a Right hook. I don’t agree with the conclusion

The bottom line is that we told America, “Listen, you need to get rid of this president. He has no economic strategy, massive deficits, incompetent war planning, borderline-criminal fudging of facts, and a fundamentalist ideology. Let’s replace him with this guy.”

And America said, “No.” Fair enough.

but over all I get a positive feeling that Zhubin is not giving up as so many liberals seem to be doing. It’s time to make some changes in the Democratic party, and I agree.

Finally, I found this chart which, while very funny, is probably also very wrong. This link has a ton of information; very good reading. Conservative and fair. I don’t agree with much of what Steve Sailer writes, but there is still much common ground.

The election is over. Bush won, and will remain in power even if there is proven evidence of vote manipulation. I am very disappointed with the election, but I am feeling very positive about how I, and others, can make the changes necessary to benefit all Americans, Red and Blue and every other color. Reality sets in. Let’s deal with it.

3 Comments | Catergorized: political  thoughts

2004.11.09

Framing Politics

I’d read about these guys before and meant to post something about it but always got distracted. This article shows how Frank Luntz and George Lakoff advocate a linguistic approach to winning the minds and hearts of Americans in the coming years. The Republicans have been at it very successfully for years; can the Democrats catch up?

Here is some more information: Lakoff interviews one and two, with a link to his Rockridge Institute, and here is Luntz’s Center for American Progress. Has anyone read anything by these guys?

Comments Off on Framing Politics | Catergorized: political  thoughts
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