Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Don't Hate Linux or Microsoft

Here's a very interesting video called "Why Linux (Still) Sucks (And What We Can Do to Fix It)". Having recently settled on Ubuntu as my non-Windows test platform for my multi-platform software development (both for my job and as a hobby), I tried installing several other distributions (distros). I was not impressed with most of them in terms of usability, installability, the level of knowledge and research necessary to get them working. So this video comes at a good time. Technically, it is good. But I have a few quibbles with the presenter on some fundamental principles:
  1. The fact that Apple and Microsoft would not make these mistakes is because PEOPLE VOTE WITH THEIR DOLLARS. Sure, if Linux is free, it doesn't set very high expectations. The fact that it is good as it is, speaks well of the quality of the developers that are working on it, but they are not responsible to their customers. It is still a hobbyist-enthusiast-haxxor's platform.
  2. The fact that video card manufacturers have stopped supplying Linux drivers for their hardware doesn't make them "bad people". They have limited resources in a very competitive market. It is very expensive to design and build cutting edge video systems. They have to focus their limited resources where they can get enough return on investment to not get left in the dust and go out of business. It's a matter of survival.
  3. I'm glad he does mention funding. People just have to eat. Proprietary software isn't evil.
I might like to design video cards, or drivers, operating systems or weather software for free and the pure enjoyment of it in my spare time, but I have to feed my family. Even if I think the government can feed me and my family, somebody has to produce the goods and services for basic human survival. The free market and a currency system is how we establish the exchange rate, and place value on those goods and services, including video drivers, operating systems and computer hardware.

Free software is an anomaly, made possible by the amazingly high level of prosperity and standard of living that capitalism and the free market provides. If we did not have this level of prosperity, nobody would have the leisure time to produce software for free. We'd all be busy digging in the dirt for food, avoiding being eaten by wild animals, fighting disease, and trading food for shoes or something.

The best way to get open-source software to "work" is to work with human nature. Presently, it works against it. Human nature is motivated by profit. One of my progressive friends said "the free market is motivated by greed". Maybe so. But if you work against human nature, you will fail. If you work with it, you will succeed, to the benefit of all, regardless of motivation. That's what Thomas Jefferson was referring to when he wrote "the laws of nature and of nature's God" in the Declaration of Independence.

Richard Stallman might not like it, but it is a fundamental, non-negotiable fact of life, like gravity and the speed of light, or the value of PI - whether you prefer Barack Obama or Glenn Beck.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Volcano in Iceland

I bet you were wondering how I was going to turn this into something political. Do you think humans could ever do anything on this scale? Do you think we could control it? Stop it? Affect it significantly? I didn't think so.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Uphold and Defend in 2010!

If we want better government, then we need to vote for candidates who will swear to uphold the Constitution -- and then do it! Many of our elected officials simply have no idea what that entails. Still others believe that the Constitution is fundamentally flawed -- their oath of office is a lie.

The Constitution is neither lengthy nor mysterious. It is approximately 20 pages -- including all 27 amendments. You can read and understand it in a single evening. If you have questions, read the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers to get a better grasp of what the founders were trying to accomplish. Contrary to "progressive" propaganda, it isn't difficult, and you don't need a Harvard law degree to do it.

I have made a checklist of things that we need in our elected officials, regardless of party affiliation. We need:
  • Candidates who will remember that the Constitution is the official specification for the US Government.
  • Candidates who will remember that the Constitution is the binding contract between We the People and the US Government.
  • Candidates who understand that if elements of the Constitution have become obsolete, you amend it, you don't re-interpret it.
  • Candidates who will remember that any regime that distorts or disregards the Constitution is untrustworthy and dangerous.
  • Candidates who will remember that, if it isn't in the enumerated powers, it isn't authorized.
  • Candidates who will remember that the founders never intended the "general welfare" clause as some sort of blank check to buy votes.
  • Candidates who believe in the Bill of Rights -- all ten of them, including the second and the tenth -- and the enduring reasons why each one is still vitally important.
  • Candidates who can't be bought with bribes from the party bosses to send your tax dollars to their state or district to advance the party agenda.
  • Candidates who will remember that your money -- your property -- represents hours from your life that it took to earn it, and they had better spend your life sparingly and wisely, because it isn't theirs to take, and it isn't theirs to waste!
In order to restore trust in government, and truly promote the general welfare, we need to become constitutionally literate, and we must repopulate both parties with candidates who are constitutionally literate -- and then get them elected.

Poor Obama, He Inherited a Big Nasty Deficit from GWB!

This is from an email circulating on the Internet:
The Washington Post babbled again today about Obama inheriting a huge deficit from Bush. Amazingly enough, a lot of people swallow this nonsense. So once more, a short civics lesson.

Budgets do not come from the White House.They come from Congress, and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democratic Party. They controlled the budget process for FY 2008 and FY 2009, as well as FY 2010 and FY 2011. In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases. For FY 2009, though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the FY 2009 budgets.

And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete FY 2009.

Let's remember what the deficits looked like during that period:

If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the FY 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets.That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets. If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.

In a nutshell,what Obama is saying is I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th.

Oath of Office

In the midst of all of the impertinent campaign rhetoric, and all of the irrelevant campaign promises, there is really only one question that all candidates must answer to everyone's satisfaction: "If elected, you will be required to take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. What do you think that means?"

The Constitution is not some obsolete relic from a bygone era. The Constitution is the current, official specification for the US Government. It is the binding contract between the US Government and We the People. Any regime that distorts or disregards the Constitution is untrustworthy and dangerous. If their oath of office is a lie, how can we trust them with our liberty?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Isn't That Special?

Check this out. The "Crash the Tea Party" website states
WHO WE ARE: A nationwide network of Democrats, Independents and Republicans who are all sick and tired of that loose affiliation of racists, homophobes, and morons; who constitute the fake grass roots movement which calls itself "The Tea Party."
Wow. In one paragraph, they manage to pull together practically every fictitious talking point ever leveled at us. I won't bother to debunk it; It's been done to death, e.g., here, if you care to read it.

All I can say is, "He don't know us very well, do he?" In the same breath that they say we are racist, homophobic, ignorant rubes, they say that they intend to show up at our tea parties, posing as those things. If we were those things, why would they need to create an illusion? If they show up as racist, homophobic, ignorant rubes, I think they would stand out like a sore thumb. I would say that most of us are better educated on the Constitution and the founding principles that it embodies than they are.

The "progressives" are showing their true colors, and it isn't very "progressive" is it?

I would urge all tea partiers to attend these events with their cell phones, iPods, cameras and video recorders, and capture every racist, homophobic, ignorant sign or yeller of racial slurs, and get positive ID. If they truly are tea partiers, educate them. If they are "progressives", expose them.