Blog Posts

A difference.

George W. Bush, former president. War criminal it has even been asserted at times. While individual tellings may differ in detail and specific focus, the point of these assertions usually revolve around a global network of secret prisons set up by Bush's national security apparatus - and the unfortunate actions that took place in them.

Irresponsible speculation in Carrier IQ "spyware" case.

Last Wednesday, I highlighted recent hubub around a piece of mobile phone metrics collection "spyware" called Carrier IQ. Since then, there have been some significant happenings. Largely because, after the EFF's involvement and Carrier IQ's decision to cease legal threats, researcher Trevor Eckhart provided more explicit documentation [note: the site has been crashing occasionally due to extraordinarily heavy traffic] of how the Carrier IQ software has been implemented on his HTC Evo 3d (Sprint). With Video.

What the software appears to be doing in this case looks pretty bad. And it is, no doubt.

A Reason to be Grateful.

Truth be told, I haven't been feeling the Thanksgiving spirit. Looking outward, it is difficult to see past the smoldering economic rubble that fills the lives of so many of those dear to me from my own tenuous outpost on the edge. With no plausible course of action on the horizon to bring appropriately wide-scale relief, let alone begin the rejuvenation and rebuilding that our system and society so desperately need, the call to dig deeper and muster up some tritism to serve as my offering on the alter of national habit has mostly just served to highlight a situation so grave for so many people that reveling in an annual orgy of gluttonous overconsumption simply feels a microcosm for so many of our current ills.

I'm grateful for Black Friday and cramming more victuals down my gullet in one sitting than many households (including my own) should responsibly make last for an entire week in the current economy! Yay.

So it was, under a dark cloud, that I wandered the internets ... sampling the fluff-headed bullshit offered up by the pretty people, self-centered fluff from those who's biggest concern in life is sports, and obligatory self-absolving highlights of whatever local groups spent their day providing a once-annual decent meal to ever growing ranks of the poors. Not much of a silver lining in sight. At Fire Dog Lake, Dakine manages to one-up my malaise by missing the point entirely.

Clearly the time had come to move past Thanksgiving 2011.

Well, he did it.

Obama has made himself judge, jury and executioner of an American citizen. Zero due process. Zero judicial review.

The only reaction I can think of is a moment of silence. Not for al-Awlaki. But in memory of what used to be our constitution and the due-process of law.

*sigh*

Say what you will, but at times like these I take solace in Ron Paul.

A layman's take on academic freedom vs. academic excellence at UC Berkley.

One of the more inexplicable facts of modern life from the layman's perspective is that one John Yoo continues to hold a job. The simple fact of being employed isn't really that inexplicable ... of course a man of his background would be expected to find themselves parked at some think-tank somewhere getting paid handsomely simply for being a generally horrible person (as we all know, the primary purpose of think tanks is to quietly pay off people for acting so horribly in public life they have rendered themselves unemployable in polite society). The surprising bit is that he is employed by an institution that claims a mission of turning students into highly qualified, well trained legal professionals. And his job, apparently, involves teaching these students that his cocked-up legal opinions and the thought processes underlying them - repudiated by every other legal mind asked to place their own professional career and reputation on the line - may be ethically employed by the next generation of American lawyers.

Such is academic excellence at the legal department, University of California, Berkley (Boalt Hall). Co-overseen by David Caron and Christopher Edley Jr.

Recently, Mr. Edley found himself confronted at a public forum. His responses were, and continue to be, a bit eyebrow-raising. Subsequent discussions regarding Obama and his decision to ignore serious Bush-era lawbreaking has been fascinating. But equally fascinating is the snapshot of how the head of a reasonably prestigious legal program views issues of law, responsibility, accountability and the role of educational institutions in society.

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Pondering Centrism and the 2012 Election.

I'm not much of a centrist fan. Don't get me wrong, I hope the best for 'em on a personal level. But it's just that ... I don't know. Increasingly it feels like even the Tea Party folks have a more rational plan of action to improve the nation than so-called-centrist Democrats ... who have apparently gone all-in with an "avalanche of clichéd platitudes while doing whatever corporations ask in exchange for mega-donations so we can WIN WIN WIN!" approach to government and policy. The act of owning the White House is clearly all that matters and it is increasingly clear this is all that has mattered from day one.

Thinking back on recent years, it is hard not to observe Bush's crew was also almost exclusively focused on winning a second term. At the time, Republicans swore everyone had to play along or the alternative unleashed by Democrats would be far worse. Much as blind-loyal Democrats are swearing now. In retrospect, these Bush apologists were, of course (and unsurprisingly), wrong. Partisans are notorious for happily selling their country down the river in exchange for illusionary power over their "rivals." Now just look at the shambles Democrats have created in our nation by doing it.

Home From War.

Two of Couer d'Alene's finest came home from war. And will be laid to rest (video of memorial service).

 

Technology, Education, Opportunity and the H1B.

When president Obama recently gave a speech announcing a new high-tech training program, education was highlighted as a part of the solution to the current employment disaster. The basic idea is pretty simple; emphasize so-called STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) educational subjects because related fields are where future jobs are likely to be.

The context of education is somewhat terrible for discussing employment. In truth, neither S, T, E nor M represent an actual job that people get paid to do. Such details make up the content of academic coursework but when education is discussed as a job-creation engine, the jobs themselves remain an abstract out there somewhere in damn-yo-smartville. An academic position as research fellow is quite different than getting paid to grind script in a cubicle - yet both could be characterized as STEM jobs. For employment discussions, STEM education has often been roughly equated to yielding "jobs in tech". While far from a complete list these jobs include: design, engineering, coding, manufacturing, system/db administration and customer support.

The time investment required for education seems to work against using it as an acute response to unemployment. However, that still leaves the very important question of how technology and education provide for long-term opportunity and job stability. This answer lies in the actual level of opportunity tech jobs represent and just how stable they will continue to be. Are these jobs (or any well-paid jobs for that matter) viable long-term in a globalized economy?

The History Of Hate In Idaho

When I discovered Couer d'Alene Idaho, the only thing I knew about the area was that it looked breathtakingly beautiful in a travel brochure ... and equally beautiful when I visited. Literally, that's it; that and I could get to a major airport in around 30 minutes (which was my sole professional criteria at the time). Another visit and I had a home and was preparing to move a household and office from Las Vegas.

It would take a somewhat tense conversation with a friend in San Francisco, who was decidedly uninterested in visiting, before I would learn of the darker reputation that the Aryan Nations had bestowed on my new locale. Since that time, I have learned bits and pieces of the story and watched the final chapters as the Aryan Nations compound in Hayden was seized and destroyed. Kept abreast of rumors that the core moved north and west to the Priest River area (incidentally, the exact area where the Spokane bomber was located). And generally just picked up local gossip. But I had never gotten a complete story of the history. Until now.

America's Awesome Government.

Sometimes we end up living in a little universe. It isn't surprising. In reality, there is no size the universe has to be ... so we set our own arbitrary boundaries. This from that; these from those; stuff from here most certainly goes in there. Sometimes in the course of compressing and compacting the big is reduced to amazingly small.

So it is with our American Government; often narrowly defined by the sorry crop of insecurity driven and egoists - this spawn of the monied and elite - that the current system belches forth to stand as modern servants of the American public trust. And if the sum-total of the political class were really the whole of it we would be a sorry people indeed.

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