horses and saddles sold cheap and other metaphors

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Veterans of America you are being shortchanged.
What is the price of the sacrifices you have made for this the greatest nation on the face of this earth. President Bush believes that the price is nothing. As a matter of fact his 2005 proposed budget shortchanges our patriots in the most despicable manner possible.

Free was the key, says Web founder
Tim Berners-Lee, who received a €1 million ($1.2 million) cash prize for creating the World Wide Web, says he would never have succeeded if he had charged money for his inventions.

"Building the Web, I didn't do it all myself," he said. "The really exciting thing about it is that it was done by lots and lots of people, connected with this tremendous spirit."

which marks an appropriate time for a myth buster:

Myth: Al Gore claimed he invented the Internet.
Vice-President Gore never made that claim, but he did say that he helped create the internet that most of us use today. Which is true, like it or not. Liberals throughout history are usually the first to invent, explore and use new technology.
Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf, the acknowledged Fathers of the Internet, wrote,

"The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective. As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship."

As anyone one can see, and those involved acknowledge the internet was developed from a few different technologies by more then one person. Its a shame that some people hate Al Gore so much they refuse to give him his share of the credit.

There's the old saying that folks should study history just so they won't repeat the same mistakes. The current administration is full of people who were part of a shady history that have learned nothing from their mistakes. As a matter of fact they seemed intent on repeating them with a new crazed dedication.

Rumsfeld, Bechtel and Iraq
Well, the Democratic Party seems too nice or inept to do anything with it, but as the Washington Post points out, the good folks at the National Security Archive are continuing to document the long history of Republican Party coddling of Saddam Hussein, and their hypocritical winking at his use of weapons of mass destruction in the 1980s.

The Archive incidentally shows that the Bechtel Corporation actively connived to subvert 1988 Congressional sanctions on Iraq for using weapons of mass destruction by seeking non-US subcontractors. Bechtel was awarded an Iraq reconstruction contract by US AID last spring worth at least $640 million. Yup, some American corporations have long been deeply concerned about the dangers of weapons of mass destruction and the moral evil of genocide.

It turns out that Don Rumsfeld actually went to Iraq twice, once in 1983, and again in 1984. The work Rumsfeld did in 1983 of beginning a rapprochement between Reagan and Saddam was detracted from by a strong State Department condemnation of Iraqi use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Bush seems to have a problem with the truth

HMOs and the Three Faces of Bush
“When it comes to empowering Americans to hold their HMOs accountable, George Bush isn’t just two-faced – he’s three-faced: first, he opposed Texas’s Patient’s Bill of Rights; then he took credit for it during the 2000 election; then he asked the Supreme Court to kill it. George Bush is out of touch and out of credibility on this and so many other issues that are important to the American people,”

and speaking of social-darwinism:
Medicare lottery offers drug coverage prize
The Bush administration will give “50,000 lucky individuals” chosen in a lottery up to a 16-month jump on Medicare prescription drug coverage, paying for costly medications for cancer and other illnesses this year.

then Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has the nerve to say, “Only a cynical pessimist can look at a doughnut and complain about the hole.”
Yep Tommy that gaping hole holds 500,000 to 600,000 people that get to die if they can't make it to 2006 when supposedly they'll be eligable for coverage by whatever crony drug company gave the most to the GOP that year. That's if the cancer victims and their families can figure out which card to use. Tommy boy pessimism is to have negative expectations; I don't have negative expectations with regard to your who-lives-who-dies lottery, I have a firm grasp of reality. BushCo is sentencing some people to death or bankruptcy, thats not an attitude, thats reality. Pardon the hell out of me if I can't see the glass as one tenth full.

Could laptops run on spinach?
Spinach power is not just for Popeye, it could work for computers too. US researchers have made electrical cells that are powered by plant proteins.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

If Bush and the right are serious about their new found interests in human rights they better get busy. That $125 billion they spent on finding WMD that don't exists could have been spent more wisely.
...There are more than 34 million orphans in the region today and some 11 million of them are orphaned by AIDS. Eight out of every 10 children in the world whose parents have died of AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa. During the last decade, the proportion of children who are orphaned as a result of AIDS rose from 3.5% to 32% and will continue to increase exponentially as the disease spreads unchecked.
....Women as peacemakers: from victims to re-builders of society
While the plight of women in war often gets close media attention, what is often overlooked is the vital role played by them in negotiating peace and rebuilding societies.
This May, governments will consider a breakthrough treaty on persons with disabilities, which, if approved, would create a legally binding framework for the protection and promotion of their rights. It will go far beyond the traditional concept of access to the physical environment to a broader implication of equal access to social opportunities, health, education, employment and effective political, economic and social development. And in a dramatic global leap, governments that sign on will be legally bound to treat persons with disabilities not just as victims or a minority, but as subjects of the law with enforceable rights.
“Overfishing cannot continue,” warned Nitin Desai, Secretary General of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, which took place in Johannesburg. “The depletion of fisheries poses a major threat to the food supply of millions of people.” The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation calls for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which many experts believe may hold the key to conserving and boosting fish stocks. Yet, according to the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) World Conservation Monitoring Centre, in Cambridge, UK, less than one per cent of the world’s oceans and seas are currently in MPAs.

10 Stories the world needs to know more about

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Crimes of Others Wrecked Enron, Ex-Chief Says
....To date, numerous executives who worked for or advised Enron have pleaded guilty to crimes or been charged with wrongdoing. Virtually the entire senior management has faced legal proceedings: its treasurer, chief financial officer, primary outside accountant, corporate secretary and even a division head have all pleaded guilty to crimes. Others, including Jeffrey K. Skilling, another former chief executive, and Richard A. Causey, the former chief accounting officer, have been charged with fraud....

Jefferson and Madison proposed an 11th Amendment to the Constitution that would "ban monopolies in commerce," making it illegal for corporations to own other corporations, banning them from giving money to politicians or trying to influence elections in any way, restricting corporations to a single business purpose, limiting the lifetime of a corporation to something roughly similar to that of productive humans (20 to 40 years back then), and requiring that the first purpose for which all corporations were created be "to serve the public good."

The amendment didn't pass because many argued it was unnecessary: Virtually all states already had such laws on the books from the founding of this nation until the Age of the Robber Barons.

Wisconsin, for example, had a law that stated: "No corporation doing business in this state shall pay or contribute, or offer consent or agree to pay or contribute, directly or indirectly, any money, property, free service of its officers or employees or thing of value to any political party, organization, committee or individual for any political purpose whatsoever, or for the purpose of influencing legislation of any kind, or to promote or defeat the candidacy of any person for nomination, appointment or election to any political office." The penalty for any corporate official violating that law and getting cozy with politicians on behalf of a corporation was five years in prison and a substantial fine.

Like Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, these laws prevented corporations from harming humans, while still allowing people to create their robots (corporations) and use them to make money. Everybody won. Prior to 1886, corporations were referred to in US law as "artificial persons," similar to the way Star Trek portrays the human-looking robot named Data.

Its not just that Conservatives have a deep seeded comtempt for the Constitution, they seem to have a comtempt for self regulation guided by ethics. If its not spelled out in the law, they are able to claim they've done nothing wrong. If it is put into law, they can cry about the supposed repressiveness of government regulation. That would be the regulation that protects both investors and consumers, which in turn creates an economy based on real prosperity and trust. Its not a game, whoever has the most stuff when they die does not win.

My Ecosystem Details