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March 2005 Archives

March 2, 2005

It just keeps getting deeper...

Captain Ed over at Captain's Quarters points out that Senator "white nigger" Byrd has tried to paint the Bush administration as Nazis, because they want to change the Senate committee rule on cloture.

What's that? Simple. The minority party can block, indefinitely, a committee approval or disapproval of a presidential candidate by keeping that nominee approval in committee. How? By talking. And talking. And more talking. And, by not sending the nominee for an approval vote to the full Senate. In other words, they can shove the nomination in a hole, and ignore it, unless 60 out of 100 senators approve a move to a full vote on the nominee. That's a cloture. And how many times has one party (or the other) had that kind of super-majority in the Senate? And that's the problem...

Continue reading "It just keeps getting deeper..." »

March 4, 2005

Go here. Read this. Then go watch the movie

I'll make it simple on y'all.

Some war stories will never make the nightly news...

400 American soldiers carry out their mission from a bombed-out pleasure palace once owned by Saddam Hussein. This is their story.

Like I said: Go here. Read this. Then go watch the movie: Gunner Palace.

Tip o' the hat to John of Argghhh! for the heads-up.

March 5, 2005

Happy (punny) Birthday

Well, it's Andrew Cory's birthday as I write this, so drop on over to the thread at Dean's World and wish him happy birthday.

His preferred present would be y'all linking to his blog, Punning Pundit, so why not do that too?

So Happy Birthday, Andrew, and yer on the bloglist here, too, even if you are a squishy, "reality-based" lib'rul. :) Hope you like the wrapping paper I picked out.

March 11, 2005

New info about Gunners Palace

If you don't know what Gunners Palace is yet, drop on by Mudville and read this. After you're done, read a review by Andrew Watkins, a D.C. resident and "military guy."

Everyone, and I mean everyone should see this movie. As everyone has been saying: it's not pro-war, nor is it anti-war. It's about the young men in the 2-3 Field Artillery.

You can get more information about the movie, and even sign up for the movie's newsletter, at www.gunnerpalace.com.

It is, alas, not showing in Ohio yet, but here's the latest list of theaters:

Continue reading "New info about Gunners Palace" »

March 24, 2005

It's official...

Ok. I've had it. Literally.

I spent nearly a month (mid-Janurary thru mid-February) hacking my way through the last bout of flu, and I lost my voice for two weeks in the bargain.

Now I have it AGAIN, and I am not amused.

I can now officially announce that having the flu sucks.

Goodnight, and thanks for watching!

March 25, 2005

The new guy

Can't sleep from the anti-flu narcotics in my system (funny, they're supposed to help you sleep), so I'll mention a new guy on the block, who was nice enough leave a kind comment about my blog. :) Besides, Greyhawk has been mentioning him, and he looked interesting.

Why not run on over and visit 365 and a Wake Up, run by a California Army National Guard officer currently in Iraq, who goes by the call thunder6. He writes some good stuff.

Greyhawk recommends this post about checkpoints and journalists. A good choice.

Me, I like his description of ice in desert:

Today a thunderstorm rumbled through Baghdad and showered the FOB with gumball size hail. A couple of the troops armored up and waded into the storm, reveling in the raw display of nature痴 power. The fat frozen raindrops scuttled off the armor plates like miniature billiards, sheathing the troops in the open with what looked like icy halos. It was as surreal an experience as any I had experienced here in Iraq. So much for the desert being as dry as a bone. Iraq has turned out to be a lot different from my expectations, and the differences run far deeper then the climate.

If that doesn't do it for you, try his (rather short) explanation why anyone smart would ever want to be a soldier. His answer:

I spoke from experience, and I spoke from the heart. I told him about the misery of feeling my feet rot in the swamps of Florida during ranger school. I told him about getting stuck in knee deep mud during a blinding deluge in Germany. I talked about having to pull my frozen finger off the trigger while riding through the Balkan winter. I talked about the string of missed birthdays, holidays and weddings I never had the opportunity to celebrate. And I told him about living in the sun stoked furnace that was Kuwait in the summer. I purged all the collective misery of my decade in the service. Having finished my impromptu confession I paused for a long moment, letting SPC Frances absorb the full weight of my response.

As the silence stretched like a teardrop waiting to fall I broke the silence and told him that I would do it all over again. His face contorted into a mask of disbelief, his jaw drooping slightly from the strain of following this verbal about-face. His lips shaped the word 展hy?� but there was no breath to give it voice.

Before answering him I told him about how part of my heart chipped off when I looked into a mass grave in Bosnia. How for days after my dreams were clouded with an image of the very earth opening a yawning pit to engulf the dead, only to choke on their numbers and leave them on the surface half swallowed. I talked about countries where famine and disease left people whose bodies left shadows that gave the illusion you were looking at a photographic negative of a skeleton. About places where the only rule of law was the brutal and unswerving laws of physics and ballistics and the only peace one could hope for was the grave. And the story that did not need telling, the story of our ongoing struggle with insurgents who revel in the misery and deaths they cause our forces and the Iraqis.

As I finished I noticed my mouth was dry and I had to take a long draw of water before continuing. When I slaked my thirst I told SPC Frances to close his eyes and I would tell him why. As he closed his eyes I told him to imagine his young wife, his beautiful infant daughter and the future he wanted for them. He paused a moment and a smile slowly creased his face. As he looked up I caught his eyes and told him a simple truth. I told him that the thin line that separates the two realities isn稚 a line on a map or the signature block on a document filled with hollow proclamations. The dividing line between the two kingdoms is a long line of soldiers. And that is why I知 proud to call myself a soldier. Its not about a lack of options, or the size of my paycheck. Its about what kind of world I want to leave for my children if I am lucky enough to be a father.

The man can write...

UPDATE: Almost forgot. Check out his photo section, too. Great stuff.

March 26, 2005

"Mac attack" gains new meaning

This will probably fire up some of the True Believers out there:

"Macintosh Hacker Attacks Are on the Rise - Symantec

Reuters
Tuesday, March 22, 2005; 8:16 PM

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hacker attacks on Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh OS X operating system, thought by many who use the Mac to be virtually immune to attack, are on the rise, according to a report from anti-virus software vendor Symantec Corp."

While Symantec didn't release details of how they came to that conclusion, it should come as little surprise. As Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds said in the article

All these platforms have vulnerabilities - it's a fact of life ... The truth of the matter is that Mac is only a couple percentage points of (computer) shipments so it's not an interesting target.

Apparently the anti-virus company believes that strong sales for the new mini-Mac, which seems to be targeted to Windows users considering their next computer, could make things worse by increasing the number of Macs operated by "less-savvy users." They expect "the number of vulnerabilities can be expected to increase, as will malicious activity that targets them."


Now, before anyone blows a gasket, let's review a couple points. First technically-aware users will agree that the Free-BDS based OS X base is significantly more secure than today's Windows XP base. Which is a shame, really, since the Windows NT base was originally a very secure and powerful OS. Alas, Microsoft made it more "user friendly" in such a ways that damaged security.

Second, "more secure" doesn't mean "invulnerable," even though more than a few Mac-heads have a bad habit of saying things like "now that I own a Mac, I don't have to worry about trojans, viruses, or anything!" Um, no. You just have a lot less to worry about.

Third, while Symantec said it had documented 37 "high-vulnerabilities" in the past year in OS X, they have "almost always" been acknowleged and patched by Apple.

Finally, let's recall that selling anti-virus and other prophylactic applications is how Symantec makes money. Does this mean they're lying? Hardly. But I'm sure they wouldn't mind the extra income. :)

Bottom line: OS X still has a substantial lead over Windows XP in security, but it isn't invulnerable. No operating system is. And it is fairly easy to establish good habits while using XP to avoid 99% of the hacker/virus threat out there. Using Mozilla/Firefox is an excellent start. Just remember that no hardware or software solution is worry-free.

Me, I'd love to see the mini-Macs take off, if for no other reason to watch Redmond sphincters collectively tighten. They might even restore real security to their flagship operating system.

Heck, I wish I had the money to get a mini, but not right now. It would be great to plop it down next to my Athlon WinXP machine and my Thunderbird Win2000 system to see how it compares. The Apple networking is supposed to work very well with Windows nets these days.

About March 2005

This page contains all entries posted to The Gantry Launchpad in March 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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