rjray.org  home · politics  Powered by Blosxom

This work licensed under a Creative Commons License:

+ raelity bytes
+ paul e. [LJ]
+ Rain Graves
+ gnat [use Perl;]

Syndication feeds:
# RSS 1.0 format
# Atom 0.3 format

My other sites:
- Silicon Valley Scale Modelers
- Book page for Programming Web Services With Perl

Other journals I read:
= DJ Adams
= rebecca blood
= Tim Bray
= Margaret Cho
= Warren Ellis
= Neil Gaiman
= Rafael Garcia-Suarez
= John Gorenfeld
= Lawrence Lessig
= Michael McCracken
= Jeff Vogel
= Norm Walsh
= Wil Wheaton

My journal at use.perl.org:
· Restless
· RPC-XML-0.57.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· RPC-XML-0.56.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· RPC-XML-0.55.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· Forgive Me, Bretheren Monks
· Extry Extry: Winer Leaves the RSS Advisory Board
· RPC::XML 0.54 Uploaded
· The Books of Perl
· Good Intentions Don't Equal Good Results
· Errata Tracking Page for PWSWP
· Image::Size 2.992 Uploaded
· Props to Portland PM
· Lightning Talks
· OSCON, Tuesday
· OSCON Plans Now Set

» Blogs that link here

Powered by Technorati

We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. — Will Rogers

"Hacking Democracy" Now Downloadable 2006.11.07.10:10

Full version of Hacking Democracy downloadable from Google.

If you don't get HBO, this is your chance to check it out and draw your own conclusions.

# [/politics]

Please Please Please 2006.11.07.09:07

For all our sakes, get out and vote tomorrow. I don't care who you vote for (well, that's not true, I do care– but it isn't my business so I'm not asking or offering my own suggestions), just do it.

I don't share the optimism that so many liberals seem to be riding on. I think there are plenty of ways this can go wrong (from my perspective of "right" and "wrong"). But it would be nice to have an actual reasonable turn-out for a midterm.

# [/politics]

May I Leave the Country? Pretty Please? 2006.11.05.09:35

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSA) has proposed that all airlines, cruise lines-even fishing boats-be required to obtain clearance for each passenger they propose taking into or out of the United States.

This proposal would trump passports– whether you have one or not, you would still have to get a definitive "yes" from HSA to leave or re-enter. A non-answer would count as "no" until/unless clarified.

The article's author trips over Godwin's Law at the end, but there have been plenty of (other) regimes over the last 100 years that forbade their citizens from leaving without prior permission. And we don't want to be on that list with any of them.

May I please get a job overseas and get out of here, preferably before I have to rely on "permission" to move about freely?

# [/politics]

A House of Worship is Not a Fortress 2006.11.04.00:01

Women acting as human shields aid escape of Palestinian militants

Okay, here's a little shift in perception for you. After establishing myself as mondo-Liberal (note the capital "L"), here's an opinion you'll probably consider to be inconsistent: the Israelis in this case should have levelled that mosque long before the women had arrived to act as shields.

I am no longer at all interested in or involved with any form of organized religion. I haven't since, hmmmm, around 1992 or so when I walked out in the middle of a Sunday-evening service when the preacher was using the pulpit to push a political, rather than spiritual, agenda. But I will say this: if you want to claim that your faith is basically peaceful notwithstanding a perceived need to fight for your own freedom, then you don't get to use your houses of worship as fortresses. If and when you do, you have defiled it and it is no longer sacred. I don't care if you are Christians holed up in a church, Jews in a synagogue or Muslims in a mosque. These 70+ gunmen were hiding in a mosque, counting on the reluctance of the IDF to seriously attack it out of concern over public perception. And to make it all the worse, they used, and I mean used, women as human shields to escape. And odds are pretty good that most of the stories we read in the media will focus more on the deaths of the two women, than on the fact that there were over 70 armed people using a house of worship as a bunker.

I'm not real fan of Israel these days. There was a time when I felt that they were just doing what they had to in order to survive as a nation and as a people. I think they've been over-stepping those bounds for a long time, now. But I have to side with them in this case, because the only thing about this situation that is more cowardly and base than hiding behind the walls of a mosque (what were the rest of the local Muslim populace supposed to use for worship, while they were doing this?), the only thing lower and more deserving of scorn, was putting out an appeal to women to come and risk being shot so that the "brave" fighting "men" of Hamas could skulk away.

That building should have been (and still could be) razed to the ground. And if I read about some weird separatist Christian sect using a church to hide weapons and/or armed persons in, I'll say the same. Ditto for temples. It's bad-enough when religion is used to justify violence in the first place, but when it's also used to protect cowardice, that's beyond the pale.

# [/politics]

"Oh my gosh, do you know what this means?" 2006.11.03.08:23

I'm fifteen minutes from the end of the HBO documentary, Hacking Democracy. And I'm having a reaction I have not yet had to any political issue before: I'm weeping.

Most of you who know me know that I am an unashamedly big-"L" liberal. And my reactions to the elections since 2000 have been pretty much all negative. I've responded with anger, disbelief, outrage and no small amount of profanity. But before tonight, I hadn't outright wept before.

In Tallahassee, Florida, on December 13th of 2005, several people from the Florida Election Commission and the organization Black Box Voting, are taking part in an exercise they're calling "The Hursti Hack". Finnish security expert Harri Hursti has claimed that the Diebold tally machines (the machines that scan the optical-recognition ballots) can be hacked in an effectively "hands-off" manner by attacking the memory cards that the machines use. Diebold officials had denied Hursti's originally written report. The report included the revelation that the memory cards contained not only data files for vote tallies, but an executable program. By hacking this program on a sample memory card, Hursti believed he could alter the votes as they were being tallied, obviating the need for trying to hack the central tabulation machines. After all, if the memory cards themselves have altered the data, your work is done for the day.

They set it up like this: Hursti is kept out of the room. He has no input in which of the scores of tally machines will actually be chosen for use. One is chosen by drawing it's number from a bowl. A test ballot is used, that has just one yes-or-no question: Can the votes on this Diebold system be hacked using the memory card? Hursti and Dr. Hugh Thompson, another security expert who had come to the conclusion that the Diebold machines could not be trusted, will vote "yes". Six others, including Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho, will vote "no". After the machine is selected and placed on the table, Sancho fetches the memory card from Hursti in the other room. It is plugged in, the machine switched on, and the boot-up print-out spools from the box. We watch as all eight ballots are fed into the machine, followed by the special marker-sheet that instructs the machine to stop accepting new ballots and print the tape with the vote tally.

Final tally: seven votes "yes", a single vote "no".

Susan Pynchon, Director of the group Florida Fair Elections Coalition, utters the sentence that titles this post:

Oh my gosh, do you know what this means?

I do, Susan. I know what it means. It means the only reason I don't feel like I wasted my time voting in 2004, is because the state of California had already booted the Diebold machines out of the precincts, and offered a back-handed smack to Diebold in the process. OK, it was just one model, and Diebold got out of the suit with a laughable $2.6M settlement. But since it's already past, I'll have to settle for what reassurance I can scrounge together.

But this also means that I won't be the least bit surprised if I wake up November 8th to hear that a "surprising Republican voter turnout" is credited with them retaining control of both houses of congress.

I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.

– Waldon O'Dell, then-CEO of Diebold, in an August 13, 2003 fund-raising letter to Ohio Republicans

# [/politics]

Oh, THAT Liberal Media 2006.10.28.00:50
# [/politics]

Establishment Clause? What Establishment Clause? 2006.09.30.23:14
# [/politics/religion]

Keith Olbermann on Bush: "The Textbook Definition... of Cowardice" 2006.09.27.03:07

Keith Oblbermann's comments on the Clinton/Wallace interview, and the portrayal of Clinton as "crazed" by the Bush Glee Club that is Fox News:


(Link via Google Video)

We needed someone saying these things 4 1/2 years ago.

# [/politics]

Hollywood Prognostication 2006.08.27.07:17

The Siege is not exactly an Oscar-calibre film. But watching it (more or less, in the background as I write code) this evening, it strikes me how prescient it seems to be; the setting of NYC, encroachment on civil liberties, unlawful surveillance of citizens, torture and murder of suspects by military persons. It was released in 1998, almost obviously as a response to the 1995 World Trade Center attack. But the relevance and resemblance to the present-day, to the way things have gone since 2001, is almost uncanny. (All except the "happy" ending, where all the terrorists are caught and the bad army man is jailed for the murder of a prisoner. I don't really expect to see anything like that any time soon.)

I could do without the over-the-top dialoque, particularly the really bad lines Denzel Washington was given. And I don't necessarily see the president putting a major city under martial law, or said military presence leading to the rounding up of people en masse and locking them up in makeshift detention facilities. But with so much of the rest of it having come around, I do worry. I don't see it, but four years ago I wouldn't have seen our military engaged in torture, and memos from the administration's own legal team justifying it.

(Still, don't watch it expecting any break-out performances.)

# [/politics]

Why I Don't Think the Liquid-Bomb Plot is a Worry 2006.08.20.02:44
# [/politics]

The Threat That Wasn't 2006.08.17.05:35

Since I have a strong interest in things London, I've been following the arrest of the so-called bombing plot conspirators. It's looked fishy from the very start, and the following editorial from Craig Murray doesn't help:

None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time.

I'm not saying they didn't want to blow up planes, just that they probably weren't going to. At least, not anytime soon. What I am strongly implying is that the timing of this was politically-driven.

# [/politics]

Hero for the Day: Jan 5, 2006 2006.01.05.22:14
# [/politics/religion]

One Nation, Under Surveillance 2005.12.18.00:04

I am sometimes easily given to fretting and worry. I value those who can provide me with reassurance. Which is why I am so, so relieved by all the Conservative pundits and supporters who have repeatedly over the past 4 years assured us all that our government is not out to monitor what we're reading or spy on American citizens without warrants.

Well, at least no one has yet stooped to the level of arresting protesters. So our Democracy must still be intact.

# [/politics]

Diplomacy of the American Taliban 2005.10.05.08:03

Karen Hughes, our illustrious Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, is telling opposition leaders in Egypt that "one nation under God" is part of our Constitution:

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: I had one person at one lunch raise the issue of the President mentioning God in his speeches. And I asked whether he was aware that previous American presidents have also cited God, and that our Constitution cites "one nation under God." He said "well, never mind" and went on to something else. So he sort of was trying to equate that with the terrorists' (inaudible). So I explained that I didn't really think that was something you could equate. And he sort of dropped it and moved on. He was one of the opposition leaders in Egypt.

Um, actually, no. Really, check for yourself.

Maybe you think I'm being harsh, but I expect someone at that level to get that one right. Yeah, I had to check it myself, but I also don't go around telling people that "under God" is codified in our most important national document. If I were going to, I'd check first just to be sure.

# [/politics]

Catching Up With Katrina News 2005.09.06.01:05

Just too drained to have posted anything over the weekend. Luckily, jwz collected some real gems in his LiveJournal. Take special note of points titled, "Photo Op," "Daley 'shocked' as feds reject aid," and "Teenager 'loots' a rescue bus."

More recently, we have a cold look at Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff's reading habits.

Barbara Bush chimes in with her views on the state and status of the refugees who've found themselves in Houston (emphasis added by me):

A post at Daily Kos summarizes some of the best examples of FEMA's shoddiness:

(No, that last one isn't really an Onion headline, it just reads like one.)

Lastly, one thoughtful suggestion on how Bush could personally help out: President Bush: Sell the Ranch.

Nero pickin'
Remember, disaster elsewhere is great for real estate prices
# [/politics]

Who Am I:
Randy J. Ray
Software Engineer


Buy my book!

Programming Web Services with Perl

I've also contributed three chapters to:

Computer Science & Perl Programming

Category quick-links:


24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep
Oct Nov Dec

Reading and Re-reading
· The Annotated Thursday: G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Would Be Thursday, G.K. Chesterton, Martin Gardner
· The Feeling Good Handbook, David D. Burns
· Organizing From the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern
· XML Schema, Eric Van Der Vlist
· BEEP: The Definitive Guide, Marshall T. Rose

High in the queue
· Silk, Caitlin R. Kiernan
· Coldheart Canyon, Clive Barker
· Idoru, William Gibson
· Shared Source CLI Essentials, David Stutz, Ted Neward, Geoff Shilling

Recently finished
· Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century, Warren Ellis, et al

Recommended favorites
· The Cowboy Wally Show, Kyle Baker
· Lost Souls, Poppy Z. Brite
· The Alienist, Caleb Carr
· Quarantine, Greg Egan
· The Authority: Relentless, Warren Ellis et al.
· Planetary: All Over the World and Other..., Warren Ellis et al.
· American Gods, Neil Gaiman
· Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
· Neuromancer, William Gibson
· A Philosophical Investigation, Philip Kerr
· Say You Want a Revolution (The Invisibles, Book 1), Grant Morrison et al
· You Are Worthless: Depressing Nuggets of..., Oswald T. Pratt and Scott Dickers
· Cryptonomicon, Neil Stephenson
· Rising Stars : Born In Fire (Vol. 1), J. Michael Straczynski

Powered by Blosxom [Valid RSS] Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS! creativecommons.org