Archive for December, 2005

Dec 21 2005

War Powers

Published by under General

Just read a transcript of a briefing given by Attorney General Gonzales and a General Michael Hayden who seems to be the head of the “sigint” organization NSA which monitors all sorts of communications around the world and is the organization that implements the seemingly illegal wire tapping authorized by our President. The transcript was released by the White House press office and makes depressing reading. Their first argument is that the 9/11 related legislation that endorsed the “use of force” includes this activity by implication. More egregious to me is the following claim put forth by Gonzales:

I might also add that we also believe the President has
the inherent authority under the Constitution, as
Commander-in-Chief, to engage in this kind of activity.

Sounds like that should be Emperor in Chief! If this were to be true, it sounds to me like a justification that could be used for any action the President decided to take. Congress has not declared war against anybody yet our President apparently thinks he can act as if they had. He uses the word war all the time as justification for his acts. He seems to be going off the deep end. Let’s hope we can get through the next two years without more illegal activities.

A much more comprehensive discussion of this issue is provided by Bruce Schneier (a well know computer security expert).

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Dec 16 2005

Personal Computers for 30 Years

Published by under General,retro

Ars Technica has good survey article on the history of the personal computer. It includes an old photo of the original Eniac. Take a look.

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Dec 11 2005

Handmaid’s Tale

Published by under Books

by Margaret Atwood

A short but intriguing book and well worth a read. It is written as autobiographical notes on the life of a “handmaiden” in a post apocalyptic, fragmented USA. An ecological, military, political disaster and coup has led a major part of what was the USA to be under the control of a extremely conservative Christian group (Note this book was written in the mid 1980’s). Men run the country and women’s roles in society are extremely circumscribed and strictly limited to the domestic sphere.

Due to toxins and radiation in the environment human reproduction has become problematic and the birth rate is well below the replacement rate. As a result, a corp of “handmaiden” has been created. Handmaidens are not wives and have no role or responsibility besides procreation with their well placed sponsor/owner whose wife has not produced children. To use a current favorite word, this book describes a feminine dystopia. Women has no rights and handmaiden least of all.

Dissidents get some hope by the potential for escape from Gilead, as the country is called, and by a mysterious underground movement which may or may not have rescued the narrator at the end of the book.

Some context is provided by specific references to feminist rhetoric of the 1970’s and to the mostly Christian based back to family values movement of the period.

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Dec 09 2005

pez player

Published by under retro

In case you need something retro this christmas season, the pez styled mp3 player and data storage device might be just what you need. Not for me, but surely is retro….

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