Tag Archives: news

Government subsidised pay television?

The mind reels.

McCain seeks funds to speed digital-TV shift.

So … television is an essential service, and the government is providing funding so that I can have my MTV? Am I really understanding this correctly?

I realize that a billion dollars is loose change to these guys, but to have my tax money used to pay for impoverished families to watch Big Brother (or whatever The Show is right now) simply boggles my mind.

If you haven’t read Farenheit 451 yet, please go do so now, ok?


Tom Ridge – “Appropriate action was taken”

More about Cat Stevens

Any remaining shred of trust that Tom Ridge is looking out for our best interests vanished this morning. Rather than abjectly appologizing to Mr. Yusef Islam for the unseemly treatment he received, and admitting that his organization acted like overzealous trained monkeys, he makes a public statement supporting the action, and saying that “appropriate action was taken.”

If this action was appropriate, why are they so reticent to tell their reasons? Why the refusal to say what exactly it is that makes him a danger to have on our soil? Are we afraid that people will start singing “Peace Train” and realize that our government is engaged in activities that are going the wrong way down the tracks?

While I have no trouble understanding a clueless uneducated trained monkey TSA “officer” at the airport making this decision by the books (it’s evident that the TSA “officers” aren’t the sharpest noodles in the cabinet) for Tom Ridge to stand behind this decision, and then have the audacity to joke about Cat Stevens being his favorite artist, removes any illusion that this organization is about anything other than publicity and warm fuzzies. Naturally, if they block Cat Stevens from entering the country because he has an islamic name, then *surely* they are keeping out the *really* dangerous people, right?

Sorry, Tom, I just don’t buy it any more. I mean, I didn’t buy it before, but at least I thought that *you* were serious about it. Now I realize that it’s all just a big publicity stunt, and not even you take it seriously.

Oh, and I found amusing the use of the word “Kafkaesque” in reference to the TSA’s actions. I mean, come on folks, what are the chances that any of these folks have read Kafka, or would have an inkling of what he was saying if they did?

Ooh, baby, it’s a wild world

You just can’t make stuff up fast enough to stay ahead of reality.

CNN.com – U.S. diverts plane because Cat Stevens on board – Sep 22, 2004

Yes, that’s Cat Stevens, singer of “Morning has Broken,” “Moonshadow,” “Another Saturday Night” and “Peace Train,” not to mention “Wild World”

If you wanna leave take good care
hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
but remember there’s a lot of bad,
and beware, beware,
oh baby baby it’s a wild world,
it’s hard to get by just upon a smile.

Turns out that he was actually intentionally put on the list – it’s not only because he took the name Yusuf Islam. Apparently he’s guilty by association, and supports Muslim charities. Which apparently makes him a dangerous terrorist.

Oh Very Young, what will you leave us this time
You’re only dancin’ on this earth for a short while
And though your dreams may toss and turn you now
They will vanish away like your dad’s best jeans
Denim blue, faded up to the sky
And though you want them to last forever
You know they never will
(You know they never will)
And the patches make the goodbye harder still.

Kofi Annan: ‘Iraq war was illegal’

I still find rather strange any claim that war is illegal. Certainly every war is illegal from *someone’s* perspective? This is why every war is called a “rebellion” or “invasion” or “uprising” by one side of the conflict. It just happens that the winners get to decide what to call it in the history books.

I suppose that if one believed that the UN actually served a purpose in line with its charter, this claim would make sense.


I was supposed to be leaving on Sunday for a week of training in West Palm Beach Florida. Turns out that Hurricane Francis anhiliated the facility in which I was to be doing the training. So, I’m out the $100 for changing air tickets, as well as indefinitely delaying the expected income from the training. But Sarah really didn’t want me to go anyway, so I suppose it balances out.

Oh. I need to remember to cancel the text book shipment. Oy. Almost forgot.

Apparently the No Fly List works

I don’t think I’ve been so pleased about a news item in months. Apparently, Senator Ted Kennedy ended up in the no-fly database and was barred from his flights. The reason that this delights me so much is that maybe, just maybe, this will be a hint to the government that this silly no-fly list is a monumentally bad idea. It’s all very well for them to say that a few mistakes are worth the benefit, as long as those mistakes don’t keep *them* off of planes. Perhaps they’ll see now that this is a dangerous precedent, easily fooled, and easily exploited.

So perhaps we’re a step closer to sane travel laws. Or at least a shuffle. I shouldn’t be too optimistic.

100 year old lease deemed invalid

100 years ago, british settlers leased 1 million hectares from the Maasai people, for a period of 100 years. The lease ran out last weekened, and the Kenya government says that their claims are invalid, and that it won’t recognize the colonial-era lease.

I wasn’t even aware of this lease, as I’m sure most people weren’t. But it it seems that the Maasai people thought that it was something that would be honored when the time came.

I wonder how many other bargains like this were made in the name of future generations. In most of Africa, the Europeans just took whatever they wanted. The Maasai are one of those rare cases where the white folks actually were unable to suppress the local population, and so made some kind of financial deal with them instead. I wonder where I can get a copy of the text of the original lease.