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Month: February 2011

Wednesday miscellany

My deadlines are going better than I thought. Still blogging. (But don’t be surprised if I miss a few days. The hardest part hasn’t hit yet. I’m working up my nerve to be Brilliant. You can only imagine what an effort that requires.) Hm. We knew “our representatives” were corrupt, hypocritical, and a lot of other things. But crazy? I mean, crazier than you’d have to be to want to run other people’s lives in the first place. LOL! Here’s the tale of a man who foreclosed on Wells Fargo. Seriously. The sheriff was going to auction off the local…

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“Decentralizing the Internet So Big Brother Can’t Find You”

… That’s the title of a New York Times article about a proposal by Columbia law professor Eben Moglen to “rebuild the Internet” (without government this time) for greater privacy and individual control. Moglen has created the Freedom Box Foundation to help develop this ideas. I’d love to hear comment from you tech-oriented readers on how (or whether) you think this would work and how it might change the Netiverse. —– I’ve got three article deadlines this week, followed by a very special project. So blogging might be “lite” for the next few weeks. To keep the silence from getting…

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Just released: Rearden comes home

Oh, those teasing folks from the Atlas Shrugged movie team. They’ve just released a 3:40 minute scene from the movie. Fans of the book know this one well. Henry Rearden comes home after the proudest day of his life to be greeted by his family. Not my favorite scene, and played a little flatly perhaps. But great atmosphere and totally true to the book. I like this Hank Rearden (played by New Zealander Grant Bowler). I never pictured Rearden with Bowler’s touch of gentleness and sad humor. But it works. IMHO, it enhances the Rearden that Rand created — a…

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Monday miscellany

“Confessions of a Spendaholic.” How to curb compulsive spending. (And that’s not just for people who have closets full of shoes they never wear. Even thrift-store impulses can bite you. Ask me how I know.) Turns out that drug-dog and bomb-dog handlers are unconsciously signaling the animals to produce false positives. That’s aside from the ones who do it deliberately. ADDED: Radley Balko has more on this study and others that show how cop-canine interaction is used to hurt the innocent. “Dogs must be banned from all public places!” (Never fear: spoken with tongue firmly in cheek.) Still, the Brits…

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Shunning TSA thugs

This is great and gutsy. YOU GO, boss! And hats off to a few cops, too. (Tip o’ hat to S.) —– UPDATE 2/24: Some blogs are calling this story a hoax. The OP has followed up and finds at least circumstantial evidence that the cafe refusing service to TSA agents exists. No solid proof, though. One good thing, though. As Joel points out, the story has spawned one of the best comment threads ever. And yeah, Joel. I’ll bet that first commenter wishes he’d never opened his mouth.

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Anonymous, HBGary, and the Feds

It was wickedly funny when Anonymous hacked the computer system of HBGary after the CEO of subsidiary HBGary Federal, Aaron Barr, boasted that he “pwned” Anonymous and was going to expose their identities. Barr, it appears, was a publicity-seeking, fed-contract-seeking fool who got a grand comeuppance, and parent company HBGary was exposed as being the most laughably insecure “security” company on the planet. (So far.) But since Anonymous put its captured HBGary documents online, the story has gotten thicker and stranger, and the links revealed between the various Gary companies, the feds, and other powerful DC organizations are downright sinister.…

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Firefly returns

It’s going to be on basic cable. No new episodes, unfortunately. Merely the originals plus unspecified “extras.” Still, there’s nothing “mere” about Firefly. And Nathan Fillion — Capt. Mal — bless his heart, says among other things: It was my favorite job ever. What wasn’t great about it? I got to wear a low-slung holster. I got to ride horses. I got to have a spaceship. I got to act mean and curmudgeonly. [Creator Joss Whedon] is really good at kicking characters in the nuts so the other characters would have laughs at my expense and that was great too.…

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“Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?”

Speaking of writers who can be wonderful to read even when you don’t agree with their every utterance Matt Taibi has a new piece in Rolling Stone, “Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?” While I think a better question is “Why is the federal government in bed with Wall Street and why are they performing abnormal acts on millions of unconsenting adults?” it’s still a good read. Taibi is right up there with Glenn Greenwald, Robert Scheer, Sam Smith, and Nat Hentoff among writers I admire for their integrity, reasoning power, humanity, or writing skill, even though conventional wisdom says…

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That sound you hear is …

… the jerking of knees. Friends of mine have two very bright teenagers — the kind of kids every parent would love — honor roll students, top athletes, well-spoken, and pretty straight shooters, as well. Their mom told me this story this morning. One boy, a freshman in high school, mentioned in his English class that he was reading Atlas Shrugged. The teacher promptly flew into a frenzy. The book is trash, she insisted. Boring, poorly writtten, an utter waste of anyone’s time. Now you know that a lot can be said both for and against Atlas Shrugged — sometimes…

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Celebrate the cynic!

I ran across this blog post the other day: “Kill your inner cynic.” It in turn was inspired by an article in Men’s Health. Both make the same point: that successful people are never cynics and if we want to succeed, we should find some way to stamp out our inner cynic and greet life filled with belief and hope. Now, that’s all nice and rosy. And I’ll admit that both authors have a point. To a point. But let me put in a good word for the cynics of the world. Mark Zimmerman, author of the Men’s Health piece,…

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