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Politics and Philosphy

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DHS - No fourth amendment for you

As CNET and others are reporting the Department of Homeland security has now publically issued a proclaimation that they have the right to seize laptops of people crossing the border into or out of the united states.

A pair of DHS policies from last month say that customs agents can routinely--as a matter of course--seize, make copies of, and "analyze the information transported by any individual attempting to enter, re-enter, depart, pass through, or reside in the United States." (See policy No. 1 and No.

The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments - Banned Book

I am facinated by banned books, mostly because they serve as a dip stick into the crazy morass of evolving societal values.  Catcher in the Rye seems tame these days, but was banned in its time.  The AD&D rule books were also banned in some communities (and probably served as the spark of this morbid facination).

So when boing boing ran a post about the Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments as part of its ongoing charting of the history of the war on fun, and indicated that it was banned. I had to find a copy.

Budget Hero

Think you have all the answers? Want to fix the federal government's spending policy? Up all night worrying about national debt as a percentage of GDP?

Boy do I have a game for you.  Budget Hero is a flash game which allows you to modify the spending of the US Government program by program.  Its an interesting balancing act, as you try to balance spending on national security vs healthcare and social security, just to keep the country afloat.

A Call for Open Source Voting Machines

The idea of closed software for voting machines is a scary concept. Like crypto software you want to make sure as many people as possible are looking at the guts of your software and poking holes in it. Otherwise the possibility of manipulation, and unintentional mistakes altering the vote, are high.

Polls and Presidential Elections

If 70 % of america disapproves of the job which congress is currently doing (real clear politics) why would the parties put forth congressmen and women as their presidential candidates? The numbers havent been good for a while, it would seem to me with poor poll ratings like this, maybe its time to start rummaging through the governor bin or perhaps a few top CEO. Hmm...

Shaping Reality

I have written in the past how Google could theoretically shape a persons perceptions by tweaking the algorithm for search results to promote one point of view over the other. A similar possibility exists in wikipedia. Wiki's editors are human, and have their own thoughts and opinions about the topics they edit.

Trust us we're from the government, we're here to help you.

Slashdot linked to this article wired magazine article where the FBI delayed their own investigation in an attempt to bolster support for a Patriot act power to issue National Security Letters (NSL).

During an investigation into the 2005 London Bombings the FBI ordered a field agent to return documentation obtained via subpoena, so they could instead demand the documentation through an NSL.

A Chicken in Every Pot, A Car in Every Garage, A Home for Every Family

Herbert Hoover won his 1928 election bid by promising a "Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage".
By the end of the Hoover presidency, the American economy was in ruins.

Barack Obama has been criticizing John McCain for ignoring the plight of of the American Family during the subprime loan crisis. While McCain has been urging government restraint in bailing out people, he has been pushing for greater transparency and stricter controls in lending agreements.

Red Computer Blue Computer Part Two

OK I am still getting a chuckle out of the mac user communities reaction when prominent republicans come out as mac users. As the latest example, Karl Rove, who apparently is known as Darth Tyrannus revealed that he is an avid mac/iphone user.

The headline of the blog cult of mac sums it up. Karl Rove Loves his iPhone and MacBook Air. EWWW!.

The Good Guys

Do you know the name Johan Santana? Barry Bonds? Derek Jeter? Do your kids know these names? I don't follow baseball but even I know them. How about Heath Ledger? You couldn't touch a remote, or visit a news site without being inundated with his name over the last few weeks.

How about Michael Murphy, Paul R. Smith, Jason L Dunham? No not ringing a bell? Gary Gordon? Randall Shughart? These are the last 5 men to win the medal of honor.

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