THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 236 December 16 - 22, 2002
Highlights this week:
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 4,000 - 7,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so.
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December 16, 2002
I'm doing this Sunday night. See last week's mail and view.
My radio continues to buzz over the Trent Lott affair; I have nothing to add to last week's commentary.
Subject: New MS Worm, TCP 445, IraqiWorm
We had at least two inches of rain today. We had leaks we hadn't expected. By the time I finished fighting the rain I was as wet as if I'd fallen in the pool in my oilskins. Oh well.
Two morals to the story. One, when they say it's time to clean the gutters out, they mean ME, not just the neighbors. Second, a small Husky puppy doesn't mind rain if it's not cold, but she's a lot less help at cleaning out gutters and getting rid of trash than she thinks she is...
We kept drying Sable off, but I guess it's true, wet wolf fur will keep you warm because she certainly showed no signs of distress even when soaking wet. And she sure likes going out in the rain to help me work.
|This week:||Tuesday, December
This day is being devoured by locusts.
I have sent a mailing. If you subscribe and did not get it, see badmail.
Subject: Elcomsoft not guilty.
TAKE THAT DMCA! Jury nullification at work, clearly.
I am dancing as fast as I can.
December 19, 2002
First, our thanks to Robert Bruce Thompson for his worm warning: a new critical vulnerability in Windows XP. I sent a copy to all subscribers.
More on this later: I just looked out and saw that the humming bird feeders are empty and there's an oriole trying to get breakfast. This time of year it's important to keep the feeders filled because there aren't too many flowers and last night was the coldest night of the year for Southern California. I'm out of sugar. I found enough to fill the oriole feeder, but I have to go out and get more.
There were several returns from the mailing. See badmail. Please, if you are a subscriber and you didn't get the mailing, check badmail.
I do not remove names that are OVER QUOTA and I am about to stop posting those on badmail.
December 20, 2002
We are inevitably moving toward war, and Trent Lott has resigned as Senate leader. Given that he was becoming a distraction that was inevitable: this was not the time to start a political war over who shall control the agenda of debate.
That political war will happen, but other things come first.
Lott made a silly remark in a context of congratulations to an old man from a different century. No one was offended at the time or for a day or so afterwards; eventually the professionals got in the act, and told everyone they ought to have been offended, and lo! everyone was.
It's probably just as well: we really don't need to start a national debate on just what might have happened had the Dixiecrat movement been more successful. But it's ironic that Eisenhower and the GOP were instrumental in breaking State's Rights as an issue.
As late as 1960 professors of Political Science could and did say that the Democrats were the only truly National Party in the US. The Republicans were excluded from the Old South and thus weren't a national party at all, merely a regional one. Of course the professorate had a preference... In any event, I see no reason to change the views I expressed last week. And perhaps we can stop talking about Trent Lott and get on to important matters.
One of those is the Internet: An Australian Court holds that Americans can be sued in Australia under Australian Law for views expressed in the United States and published on the Internet. Australian libel law is stricter (and possibly saner) that US libel law. I say possibly saner because US law does permit one to say some pretty outrageous things, skirting right up to the edge of reckless disregard for the truth -- indeed, crossing that line with the right legal weaseling -- and I have long thought that a bit much. On the other hand, the English and I presume Australian restrictions are too severe: surely I ought to be able to say that the Mayor of Los Angeles seems like a politician and the governor of California is ruthless in his money raising without being afraid that my house will be attached in a libel suit. And of course both those statements, while true enough, would be expensive to "prove" in court.
I doubt much will come of this. One thing Empires are good at is protection of Imperial citizens in their homes, and the notion of an Australian court trying to enforce jurisdiction on a US Citizen at home is pretty weird. The case has been good for some whines by obscure US columnists and bloggers -- please, whatever you call me, don't call me a blogger! -- hoping for attention, but not a lot else. Still, it seems more interesting than Trent Lott.
I thought we would be in Baghdad by July 4, 2002. I am pretty sure we'll be there -- or a client force with CIA officers attached will be there -- by this July 4. I'd think the war will begin by Valentine's Day...
While we are on things more interesting than Trent Lott, note that the Clinton/Reno assault on the CIA, allowing the post-Waco FBI to dismantle the Agency and take over counter-intelligence, looks to be the major cause for our not preventing the 911 disaster. The recent Congressional hearings developed the information nicely : Bureau agents knew much but by Presidential directive (not public law) couldn't act on information provided by the Agency, and thus couldn't do much.
That mess has to be straightened out. The Homeland Security Act has within it some means for doing that, but it probably won't. And the notion that Justice Department lawyers are responsible for counter intelligence is, well, frightening. There was a lot of talk of closing the overseas Stations in favor of Bureau liaison officers: just the wrong people for the job. And all the analysis was supposed to be done at Justice, by people who never did that -- law enforcement is NOT counter intelligence -- but who could be trusted to know who the boss was.
Thank you President Clinton.
When you destroy an institution, you generally cause the best people to get out; the result is to leave behind the mediocre and incompetent. The story is easily told.
And now we have the crackerjack airport security system.
One wonders if we will once again get serious about counter intelligence? Or has too much damage been done?
I've run behind on mail. I will try to get more up later today.
Well, the vulnerability applies to ANY Windows user from 98 on up if they use Winamp, which is distributed with Netscape and also a free download elsewhere. Fortunately, a fix is available free:
-- John Bartley, K7AAY, telcom admin, USBC/DO, Portland OR - Views are mine.
On the INS matter, see mail.
December 21. 2002
And this is a sad anniversary month. When a boy I was sure I would live to see the first man on the moon. I had not realized I might also see the last one.
Roland invites you to think about the priorities demonstrated by this: http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/West/
December 22, 2002
Some serious discussion over in mail. More when I get back from errands.
Are we all feeling more secure now that the new Federal Employees are On The Job?
Those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety, said Ben Franklin: and we are getting what we deserve, I think. The question is why?
What we are doing is not sane or rational, and it's not hard to see that it is neither sane nor rational: so why do we keep on doing it?
For many comments on all this, see mail.
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