Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Things are going swimmingly in New York. I'll report more on it later. In the meantime, here are some of the things I've been following while away:

Bruce Schneier reports on the REAL ID act ready for passage in Congress. Note his links to previous essays on why this isn't necessary and how it doesn't make us more secure, but in fact, increases insecurity. Here's a choice quote from the latest post:

The REAL ID Act requires driver's licenses to include a "common
machine-readable technology." This will, of course, make identity theft easier.
Assume that this information will be collected by bars and other businesses, and
that it will be resold to companies like ChoicePoint and Acxiom. It actually
doesn't matter how well the states and federal government protect the data on
driver's licenses, as there will be parallel commercial databases with the same

Your Passion is Blue

You are a total dream in the bedroom.
Sex is a fine art for you - and you're a total Picasso in your pleasure making.
You like to build things up slowly, savoring each moment.
And you'd never think of skipping foreplay or afterplay... they're part of the package.

The Times On Line, who reported that the Bush Administration had targeted Iraq and was pushing the WMD issue early (as reported in a memo from the Blair government), now reports that the recent capture and arrest by the Pakistan of a Libyan allegedly associated with Al Qaida and broadly promoted by the Bush administration may have been a case of mistaken identities. All those damn terrorists look alike anyhow.

Susie Bright has an eye opening report on what teens are saying about sex these days. Some of it is not really new, but what caught my eye is this:

When young people first have sex, and begin to experience the world of intimacy
with another, they have these "A-ha!" experiences where they develop a new, more
grown-up sense of introspection, insight into others, responsibility for another
person, and so on. You cut the cord in a new way with your parents, you begin to
love someone else in a way that you didn't know outside your family before. You
develop your own new family, that is chosen.
When this experience is delayed,
en masse, what does that do to everyone's consciousness? What is it like having
a giant generation of 20-something "virgins"?

There is a widely reported Firefox flaw. Neil's World was where I first read about it. People are in an uproar over this. It should be acknowledged and widely reported, but didn't everyone believe that as the browser became more popular, more flaws would be found? Isn't the real point how quickly the team responds and addresses the problem? After all, Microsoft has been woefully slow to respond to similar issues, leaving millions of it's users (known as customers in the real, less arrogant world) vulnerable.

Speaking of Firefox, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but there is a USB version known as Portable Firefox. I'm thinking of getting a copy of that to load on a USB drive along with Portable Thunderbird, so that I can control my usage at work - not that I don't trust my colleagues (hehe).

There's also a new Flash Blocker in the works for Firefox, though it's still in the testing stages.

In another widely reported story, Boing Boing brought to my attention the case of one of the RIAA thugs complaining that iPods require DRM. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. What a fucking idiot! The RIAA complains that music files don't have any DRM, then Apple delivers and now one of the RIAA's former leaders complains she doesn't like how it was implemented. She even mentions stripping away the DRM in order to make certain tunes from Windows Media Player play on the iPod which would break the DMCA rules she lobbied for. Do as I say, not as I do.

My friend at Messiahbomb reports on his blog about the next big thing in plastic surgery - the fashionable S/M trend: anus bleaching.

Finally, a couple of words of my own on the stink being raised in Washington about the mayor of Spokane. The latest article, in the link, seems to deal with the issue better than the first article I read. On Friday, the Seattle Times reported on this story with an article that basically reveled in 2 issues: A) that the mayor was accused of molesting 2 boys when he was a cop and that the accusations came from convicted felons and B) that the mayor used gay chat rooms. They also were concerned over the charges of entrapment leveled against the Spokesman-Review newspaper.

I'm glad that the Seattle Times spent so much space discussing the entrapment issue as well as the molestation charges. They are serious discussions people should be having. The molestation charges will have to be dealt with by a jury in a court. The entrapment issue is ugly. It is inappropriate for the Spokesman-Review to use a surrogate in a chat room to entrap a mayor - just as it is inappropriate law enforcement to do the same.

The new allegation in the latest story, however, is one that is completely appropriate to report. It indicates that the mayor may have indeed offered a position to someone in hopes of turning that into sexual favors. That is a damning allegation.

What troubles me further, however, are 2 other issues related to how this has been reported. First, there has been an undue amount of coverage as to the fact that the mayor spent time in gay chat rooms. Hello, folks! Gay chat rooms are legal and there's nothing wrong with them. Granted, if the mayor used city computers, then that is inappropriate - just as it would be if he used straight chat rooms for the same sorts of things. However, there seems to be a focus on the fact that he's gay and that these are gay chat rooms that is troubling me. It's almost as if it adds to the titillation and scandal factor. Why is that so different from straight chat rooms?

Yes, I understand that this is a Republican who hypocritically denounced homosexuality, who promoted traditional family values (actually, this is technically not hypocritical as gay folks have been promoting the same traditional values via their search for recognition of their marriages by the law, but it is the way that this man used photos of his wife and such that seemingly portrayed heterosexuals as the only ones with traditional values that makes it hypocrisy), who fought against equal rights amendments for homosexuals, and who was a vaguely closeted gay man. That's all fine if the articles spend a lot of time discussing his hypocrisy, but it seems to me that the hypocrisy is supposed to be understood and therefore, hardly needs mentioning. Instead, they spend a lot of time focusing on his experiences in gay chat rooms, divorcing the topic and leaving a "wink wink nudge nudge say no more say no more" in it's place. That leaves me wondering what the Seattle Times and the Spokesman-Review are really after when reporting on this story. Like I said above, the new article handles this better than the one I read before first leaving town on my trip. I look forward to catching up on the articles in between as well as the ones to come. Hopefully, the reporting will be more forthcoming. Are the Times and the Spokesman-Review just reporting for the titillation factor or are they after a real (possibly ugly) story of a politician using his position for sexual gains?

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