Tag Archives: news

Gas over $3

Gas prices have risen more than 60 cents over the last 48 hours. I filled my tank at $2.42, paying $42 to fill it, two evenings ago. Yesterday evening, the price was $3.09 for the cheap stuff.

I simply don’t believe that their costs have risen that much in that period. The gas industry uses every disaster, natural and otherwise, as an excuse to raise the price, without ever lowering it when conditions improve. I fear that we’ll never again cross the $2 mark, and we may never again cross the $3 mark. In which case I might have to trade my Jeep in on something more economical. 🙁

And, speaking of non-renewable resources, it appears that this is my 1000th post. Yeah, I know the ID number is more than 1000. Not sure where those other numbers went. But this is the 1000th. Woot.

cd ~rbowen

Most of you already know about this, but …

I just got done filling out my “intent to vacate” form. Finally. I’ll be moving to MY HOUSE some time during the 6th-8th of August. The timing of the actual vacancy date of MY HOUSE could hardly be worse. It will actually be vacant August 1st, which falls directly between coming back from ApacheCon and leaving for OSCon. But, I’m really glad that it’s finally happening. It seems that I’ve been waiting forever, and, I suppose I have, for carefully selected definitions of “forever.”

So, for the record, each and every one of you are invited to MY HOUSE on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of August, either to help with moving, or just to hang out and enjoy MY HOUSE. I actually get back from portland at about 10am on the 6th, and, although there might be a brief nap in there somewhere, I intend to start moving stuff almost immediately.

Anyone who wants to move stuff while I’m gone in Portland is welcome to a set of keys. 😀

I can’t move before leaving for OSCon, because my servers really need to stay up while I’m gone. No, not so you can read my blog. My mail server is here on my DSL line, and if it were to go down, I would not be able to get and/or send email while I was gone. I suppose I could do it via $employer, but all of my mailing list subscriptions would start bouncing, and that’s never any fun. So I sincerely hope that the DSL switchover goes more smoothly than it did when I moved to this apartment.

Ta ta for now

Paul Winchell has died at the age of 82. Winchell was the voice of Tigger, although before that gig he was already a very successful ventriliquist on radio and TV. I remember hearing somewhere that when he was cast as Tigger, folks said it wouldn’t work, because he would always be associated with Jerry Mahoney (his dummy). Now, decades later, whenever you hear his voice, you immediately know it’s Tigger.

Tigger has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. Thanks, Paul. As you said once, Tiggers *don’t* like saying goodbye. Ta ta for now, good friend.

More about REAL ID

Several additional things about the REAL ID act which strike me as worthy of comment.

First is the strange fact that the media doesn’t seem to be mentioning it at all. I wasn’t able to find a story on it on any of the major US news outlets’ websites. This is *enormous* news, and it seems that it is being intentionally ignored. Come on, folks, forget journalistic integrity, where’s you nose for a good controversy? If I had any doubts before that our media is told what to say by the government, the last ones have vanished. Blogs, it appears, are the only real news outlet that we have left.

Next, if you’re looking for a good explanation of what has happened, and why it matters, I think that Bruce Schneier’s blog is one of the best. The great thing about this ID card, as Bruce very clearly explains, is how easy it makes identity theft. Since all your personal information is conveniently encoded in a machine-readable format on the card itself, it’s a one-stop-shop for identity theft. And that doesn’t even take into effect what happens when the unpatched Windows 2000 server running the database is hacked. Or, maybe it will be an ultra-hardened SE Linux or Sun server. It doesn’t matter. It will be such a high-profile target, it’s just a matter of time.

And, from the EPIC page, via Bruce’s writeup, came this delight:

Only two groups–Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License and Numbers USA–support the controversial national ID plan.

Yeah, that’s Numbers USA, the folks whose website is powered by some of the best code I ever wrote. It makes me uncomfortable to think about it. I realize that I was more than a little unkind the last time I mentioned them. Roy is a really nice guy, has the best of intentions, and explains his goals so rationally, it’s hard to disagree with him. I just think that their focus on their single issue renders them absolutely devoid of peripheral vision.

Papers please!

The national ID card bill passed unanimously. Three years from now, everyone will have to have a national ID card in order to fly, take the train, open a bank account, or use a public restroom.

Those who are keeping score may recall that this was specifically one of the things that Mr Adams (That’s John, our second president) thought was a sufficiently bad idea that he encouraged the little squabble we like to call the Revolutionary War.

Apparently any illusion that I had that we have the right to travel freely is completely false. This is a great disappointment to me, since it seems that this has always been fundamental to the American way of life.

Woodrow Wilson and WWIII

Last night on IRC I expressed my feeling that it was President Wilson and his policies which led to the UN, and our apparent delusion that it’s enforcing peace in the world by the expedient of wearing cute blue helmets and driving white LandRovers.

And, by the way, he appears to have been the one who came up with the notion (and the terminology) that going to war makes the world “safer for democracy.”

Someone responded, to paraphrase, that the choice was either the UN or WWIII.

It occurred to me this morning, in the shower (all the best inspiration comes in the shower, like that idea about waterproof notepads to keep in the shower to write down the ideas that come in the shower!) that, if that was indeed the choice, we must have selected “C) All of the above.”

It certainly seems to me that this *is* World War III, and we’ve been engaged in it since somewhere near the end of the Cold War, and perhaps as long as since 1945. We, the United States, are the primary aggressors in this war. Our enemy is … well, it depends on your perspective. If you take the Shiny Happy John Ashcroft Is Your Friend view of the world, then the enemy is Evil, Terrorism, and the forces of Anarchy and Darkness. If you take a less enlightened, perhaps more cynical view, the enemy is economic downturns and People Not Like Us. While I’m sure that reality is somewhere between the two poles, I’m feeling particularly cynical of late.

The Cold War, for all of its evil, postponed this alarming “Pax Americana” at least a few years. Although it seemed like a good idea at first, having the US be the world’s conscience is becoming more and more troubling as we seem to have lost our own conscience somewhere back around … um … well, the Wilson administration.

What’s good for the goose

Ok, I’m genuinely confused about the double standards we (the USA) impose upon the rest of the world. Why is it ok for us to generate electricity from nuclear power, but not ok for other countries? Surely, global cooperation on safe, clean, efficient nuclear power production (or some other alternate non-oil power source) would be a good thing, right? Forcing every nation to arrive at basic principles themselves, and then forbidding them to do so when they try, is just juvenile.

(These remarks inspired by CNN’s rather’s condecending reporting that President Khatami believes his nation has a right to research nuclear power. Well, yeah, of course they do.)