Category Archives: Political

Minnesotans United for All Families

Last week we had a tea/party/fundraiser for Minnesotans United for All Families.

That’s the organization that’s trying to defeat the Minnesota constitutional amendment that forbids gay marriage. There are a lot of “nots” in there, which makes it tricky to explain. The bottom line is that we want our married daughters to be able to move here without putting themselves or their children in some sort of legal jeopardy.

The Strike

Copyright symbol

I took the site offline yesterday in solidarity with the Electronic Frontiers Foundation and other organizations to protest impending US congressional action on “copyright protection” bills.

As a published author I’m happy to have the government enforce copyright laws so that I get paid for my work. But the current proposals are heavy-handed attempts by the entertainment industry to stack the deck in their favor. I’m tired of this. I want copyright protections to make sense both socially and technologically. I want due process when someone’s web site is threatened with closure.

Election Eve Schenanigans

We were out about town the night before elections and found this:

Smatters: Church electioneering

The location is both a church and a designated polling place for the next-day election.

A row of parked cars indicated a meeting in progress. When we wandered past later, the meeting had broken up. Cooler and wiser heads must have prevailed, since the sign had disappeared.

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Yet another reason to shun HP products

About ten years ago I discovered that I couldn’t use more than one HP product on my computer at a time. I had an HP printer and I’d bought an HP scanner. But the driver software couldn’t co-exist on the same computer. At least, HP declared they couldn’t, and they didn’t care.

They still don’t care about customers, except as a revenue stream. This is again clearly highlighted by their plan to send spam to newer HP printers (Computerworld). They’ve outfitted the new printers with Internet connections, presumably to provide automatic support and updates. They’re also planning to use the link to automatically print advertisements on these printers.

As noted in Slashdot, they send the ads, collect the income, and we pay for the paper and ink.

Continue reading Yet another reason to shun HP products

Saving the News

There’s an article in Atlantic about the decline in the news industry and the rise of Google, news and all. The article, like most Big Media coverage of the topic, focus on the risk to Big Media news operations, like offices in Kabul or investigative pieces on government waste and coverups.

When I look at Google News, what I most often see are 1,200 copies of locally-published articles that are in fact Associated Press stories. These are classic “straight news” reports: announcements by officials describing crimes, legislation, accidents, celebrity activities, and so on. It is in fact rare for Google News, or any other news source, to produce the sort of in-depth reporting that might vie for a Pulitzer.

Yes, the traditional funding sources of such things are drying up. Yes, they play an essential role in self-government. But somehow we’ll find a way to pay for these things. Maybe Google will trip over a new business model as they blunder about, or maybe someone else will.

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The Peak of Woods: a Foretaste of the Oil Peak?

Slashdot pointed me at a fascinating article on the deforestation of the planet: Peak Wood: Nature Does Impose Limits | Miller-McCune Online.

I hadn’t appreciated the role of forests in causing relocation of native American settlements on the US east coast. Or the role of wood fires in making traditional Christian teachings of Hell sound like nonsense (where would they get enough trees to keep everyone in Hell burning forever?).

My daughter in law, with her recent graduate degree in environmental policy, may already be aware of this sad story. The rest of us should read it, too.

Continue reading The Peak of Woods: a Foretaste of the Oil Peak?

Sarah and Rand (Paul)

Fox News quoted its darling, Sarah Palin, who claims that Rand Paul is getting the same treatment she did. That’s nonsense. Rand Paul is being criticized for honestly voicing the logical implications of libertarian beliefs. Sarah Palin was criticized for her lack of any accomplishment beyond a mean sort of glibness.

At least Paul understands what he believes, whether the rest of us agree with him or not.