Just some thoughts

Monday, September 26, 2005

This says it all

Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte talk about Katrina.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

This is not acceptable

Operation Edean is a great blog about the experience of the survivors of Katrina. The particular post that is linked to (in this post's title) makes me particularly mad.
Filed in:

The Govt. Has Been Using Mercenaries in New Orleans

There is an article in The Nation which claims that the federal government has been using mercenaries during the aftermath of Katrina.

With President Bush using the Katrina disaster to try to repeal Posse Comitatus (the ban on using US troops in domestic law enforcement) and Blackwater and other security firms clearly initiating a push to install their paramilitaries on US soil, the war is coming home in yet another ominous way. As one Blackwater mercenary said, "This is a trend. You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations."

There are also foreign mercenary firms in New Orleans:

Blackwater is not alone. As business leaders and government officials talk openly of changing the demographics of what was one of the most culturally vibrant of America's cities, mercenaries from companies like DynCorp, Intercon, American Security Group, Blackhawk, Wackenhut and an Israeli company called Instinctive Shooting International (ISI) are fanning out to guard private businesses and homes, as well as government projects and institutions.

This is very bad.

Bush-Nazi banking scandal!?

Take the bellow as you will, but the last four links are quite compelling.

Prescot Bush was involved with financing the Nazi war machine...

You can read this on the wikipedia:

W.A. Harriman employed brother E.R. Harriman through a company gifted him by his father the railroad baron E.H. Harriman, W.A. Harriman & Co, where other notable employees were George Herbert Walker, and Prescott Bush, who were likewise employed alongside E.R. Harriman, at Union Banking Corporation (UBC), a company which was closed in 1943 by the U.S. Government for Trading with the Enemy.

Just take a look at these links:

NH Gazette Article -- Oct. 10, 2003

A copy of previous article with this statement prepended:

Please spread this story as widely as possible, the author is currently being harrassed by mainstream press outlets, the IRS, and the banking industry. They are trying to shut him up we must get the word out!

The following links document the NH Gazette reporter's (John Buchanan) research:

Edelman wants in the blogosphere

I just received this email from technorati.com:

Welcome to the Technorati newsletter! We would like to tell you about
some of the interesting things the team at Technorati has been up to
over the past month.

* Technorati Blog Finder *

Have you ever wanted to explore blogs on a particular topic but you
were unsure where to start? Technorati's Blog Finder helps you find
blogs in the topic areas you care about including related topics.

How would you like Technorati users to discover your blog? Login to
your account today and tag your blog with up to 20 topics.


* Blogger PR survey *

Bloggers interact with companies and their products daily and often
blog about their most or least favorite product or feature. Many
companies and public relations agencies are interested in engaging
active users with more information about their products including
free products for review and blogs created by product teams to share
their insights and developments.

Technorati has partnered with leading public relations firm Edelman
to survey the blogosphere for opinions on public relations, corporate
communications, and best practices for companies wanting more active
involvement with the blogging community.

You can contribute to the conversation by answering a 17-question
survey about your opinions about blogging and PR. Technorati and
Edelman will collect this information and include the results in a
public white paper next month on blogging and PR. Please take a few
minutes to answer these questions and shape the future of corporate


Survey respondents have the opportunity to receive an advanced copy
of the completed white paper.

Thank you for using Technorati!

Niall Kennedy
Community Manager

The PR firm Edelman wants to partner with technorati.com to be able to penetrate the blogosphere. Here's what NoingNoing has to say about this. I'm not certain I take the same view. If we can force Edelman to engage us in candid discussion, then I think we've made a great stride forward. In fact that's exactly what I said when I filled out the poll.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Iraqis in Basra Attack British Soldiers

I don't know much about this story. It seems that two British soldiers were arrested by police in Basra. The British military then raided the prison to free its soldiers. This caused a riot in Basra where British APCs were set on fire.

The act of raiding a government prison is asinine.

The current purpose that "the west" claims to have in Iraq is to spread democracy. Therefore, we are trying to "build" a new democratic government. This government is not nurtured by being attacked. I don't understand the thought process that ultimately approved the raid. I certainly hope they approached the local government before the raid was ordered.

Accelerating Change

Lemonodor of lisp fame attended the Accelerating Change 2005 confrence. He had some interesting comments about it.

The ideas at the center of this confrence have always interested me. Vernor Vinge's essay "The Technological Singularity" is quite interesting. It's an eye opener, if nothing else. Here's a rather thorough wikipedia article discussing it. These ideas are really at the core of why this blog is at phasechange.blogspot.com.

Fun stuff.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Go here to get your impeach Bush ribbon!

Here's a quote from the Impeach Bush Coalition (IBC):

To show your support and join the IBC, all you have to do is ask to be a part of the coalition. But don't forget to spread the word! Email us at prideof55@myway.com

Manhatan Movie Posters

Someone put cartoon speach bubbles on a number of movie posters across manhatan. They waited a few days and then came back to photograph the new graphiti. The result was quite interesting.

Billboard Liberation Front

I am quite sure that very cool things will come from this site

The phone message on the shirt

Here's a bigger shot of the message slip on the shirt.

I just bought a cool shirt

I bought it from here.

Monday, September 19, 2005

This is an amazing image

This is an absolutely amazing image. The site it came from frequently has very great pictures.

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Diebold and Voting fraud

It seems that the US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a branch of the Homeland Security Department) issued a security advisory about Diebold voting systems on September 1, 2004.

Here is a direct quote from (http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/bulletins/SB04-252.html)

A vulnerability exists due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could a local or remote authenticated malicious user modify votes.

I am a computer programer. The term "backdoor" indicates a ***deliberate*** security hole. The term "undocumented" stands for itself.

These two sites have a lot of information on Diebold and programmer Clint Curtis:

We *must* do something about this! Deomocracy's foundation is the vote.
Filed in:

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The future of the web

This is an incredible 30 minute talk by TOR. He goes over many things ranging from the symbiosis between "alpha-geeks" and entrepreneurs, to data providers possibly becoming the next "intel inside."

All in all, TOR continues his amazing streak of fascinating insights into technology trends.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Government policy does effect our lives! -- Apathy Kills

Here's an email I just read on the IP mailing list. I thought it should be posted.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Ted Dolotta
Date: September 6, 2005 2:54:39 PM EDT
To: IP List
Subject: FW: On New Orleans

A friend just sent me this. It's worth reading.

Ted Dolotta
Why New Orleans Is in Deep Water

By Molly Ivins
Creators Syndicate
Thursday 01 September 2005

Austin, Texas - Like many of you who love New Orleans, I find
taking short mental walks there today, turning a familiar corner,
a favorite scene, square or vista. And worrying about the beloved
and the city, and how they are now.

To use a fine Southern word, it's tacky to start playing the blame
game before the dead are even counted. It is not too soon, however,
to make
a point that needs to be hammered home again and again, and that is that
government policies have real consequences in people's lives.

This is not "just politics" or blaming for political advantage.
is about the real consequences of what governments do and do not do
their responsibilities. And about who winds up paying the price for

This is a column for everyone in the path of Hurricane Katrina who
ever said, "I'm sorry, I'm just not interested in politics," or,
nothing I can do about it," or, "Eh, they're all crooks anyway."

Nothing to do with me, nothing to do with my life, nothing I
can do
about any of it. Look around you this morning. I suppose the National
Association would argue, "Government policies don't kill people,
kill people." Actually, hurricanes plus government policies kill people.

One of the main reasons New Orleans is so vulnerable to
hurricanes is
the gradual disappearance of the wetlands on the Gulf Coast that once
as a natural buffer between the city and storms coming in from the
The disappearance of those wetlands does not have the name of a
party or a particular administration attached to it. No one wants to
"The Democrats did it," or, "It's all Reagan's fault." Many
environmentalists will tell you more than a century's interference
with the
natural flow of the Mississippi is the root cause of the problem,
off the movement of alluvial soil to the river's delta.

But in addition to long-range consequences of long-term
policies like
letting the Corps of Engineers try to build a better river than God,
are real short-term consequences, as well. It is a fact that the Clinton
administration set some tough policies on wetlands, and it is a fact
the Bush administration repealed those policies - ordering federal
to stop protecting as many as 20 million acres of wetlands.

Last year, four environmental groups cooperated on a joint report
showing the Bush administration's policies had allowed developers to
thousands of acres of wetlands.

Does this mean we should blame President Bush for the fact that
Orleans is underwater? No, but it means we can blame Bush when a
Category 3
or Category 2 hurricane puts New Orleans under. At this point, it is a
matter of making a bad situation worse, of failing to observe the First
Rule of Holes (when you're in one, stop digging).

Had a storm the size of Katrina just had the grace to hold off
for a
while, it's quite likely no one would even remember what the Bush
administration did two months ago. The national press corps has the
attention span of a gnat, and trying to get anyone in Washington to
remember longer than a year ago is like asking them what happened in
Turkey, in A.D. 325.

Just plain political bad luck that, in June, Bush took his
little ax
and chopped $71.2 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corps of
Engineers, a 44 percent reduction. As was reported in New Orleans
CityBusiness at the time, that meant "major hurricane and flood projects
will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to
ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been
shelved for

The commander of the corps' New Orleans district also immediately
instituted a hiring freeze and canceled the annual corps picnic.

Our friends at the Center for American Progress note the Office of
Technology Assessment used to produce forward-thinking plans such as
"Floods: A National Policy Concern" and "A Framework for Flood Hazards
Management." Unfortunately, the office was targeted by Newt Gingrich and
the Republican right, and gutted years ago.

In fact, there is now a governmentwide movement away from basing
policy on science, expertise and professionalism, and in favor of
based on ideology. If you're wondering what the ideological position on
flood management might be, look at the pictures of New Orleans - it
to consist of gutting the programs that do anything.

Unfortunately, the war in Iraq is directly related to the
left by the hurricane. About 35 percent of Louisiana's National Guard is
now serving in Iraq, where four out of every 10 soldiers are guardsmen.
Recruiting for the Guard is also down significantly because people are
afraid of being sent to Iraq if they join, leaving the Guard even more

The Louisiana National Guard also notes that dozens of its high-
vehicles, Humvees, refuelers and generators have also been sent
abroad. (I
hate to be picky, but why do they need high-water vehicles in Iraq?)

This, in turn, goes back to the original policy decision to go
Iraq without enough soldiers and the subsequent failure to admit that
mistake and to rectify it by instituting a draft.

The levees of New Orleans, two of which are now broken and
the city, were also victims of Iraq war spending. Walter Maestri,
management chief for Jefferson Parish, said on June 8, 2004, "It appears
that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle
security and the war in Iraq."

This, friends, is why we need to pay attention to government
not political personalities, and to know whereon we vote. It is about
our lives.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Google Groups : comp.lang.lisp

Here is an excellent discussion about many aspects of corporate programming. It ranges from the virtues of lisp, erlang, and prolog versus c/c++. The typical development cycle for a project, particularly the maintenance portion. And also, the politics between developers and management.

All, in all, fairly interesting.