Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Friday, April 18, 2003day link 

 Big government
picture
Raymond Powers shows this graph of the budget deficit under different U.S. presidents. It always strikes me as weird that those guys tend to do close to the opposite of what is the stated program of their parties. Republican presidents grow big government like there's no tomorrow, borrowing ridiculous amounts of money, and raised taxes through the root to pay for it. And it is a democrat that actually balances the budget. And hardly anybody notices. People still tend to believe that Republicans stand for smaller government, even though it is as blatantly a lie as it can get.
[ | 2003-04-18 22:28 | 10 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History
Article by Thom Hartman at Common Dreams. Mentioned at Blog Baby. Last three paragraphs here:
"Today, as we face financial and political crises, it's useful to remember that the ravages of the Great Depression hit Germany and the United States alike. Through the 1930s, however, Hitler and Roosevelt chose very different courses to bring their nations back to power and prosperity.

Germany's response was to use government to empower corporations and reward the society's richest individuals, privatize much of the commons, stifle dissent, strip people of constitutional rights, and create an illusion of prosperity through continual and ever-expanding war. America passed minimum wage laws to raise the middle class, enforced anti-trust laws to diminish the power of corporations, increased taxes on corporations and the wealthiest individuals, created Social Security, and became the employer of last resort through programs to build national infrastructure, promote the arts, and replant forests.

To the extent that our Constitution is still intact, the choice is again ours."

[ | 2003-04-18 22:36 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Free speech and the wireless spectrum
From Smart Mobs and Boing Boing we hear that Cory Doctorow has submitted comments to the FCC on "Why WiFi is crucial to the First Amendment". He argues that free speech is being limited when available free wireless bandwidth is being limited.
"I submitted comments to the FCC today on EFF's behalf, asking it to allocate unused TV frequencies to unlicensed use under the same terms as the 2.4GHz spectrum that WiFi runs in. The cool part was, I got to advocate the position that since the FCC is in the business of regulating who gets to speak, and since WiFi shows that with less regulation, more people get to speak, that the FCC has a First Amendment duty to open up more spectrum for WiFi-like uses. The First Amendment calls on government to eschew regulation of who may speak and how they may speak. Historically, the FCC and FRC's regulatory efforts have balanced the restriction of access to spectrum--which is a proxy for speech, since it is an effective medium of expressive communication--with the need to preserve orderliness in the airwaves so that harmful interference is minimized. The paradigm for this governance held that if anyone were allowed to speak in any way, the resulting chaos of harmful interference would result in a world where no one was heard.

The 2.4GHz experiment, which applied an entirely different paradigm--lightly regulating device characteristics, requiring devices to accept all interference, and allowing anyone to operate a compliant device--challenged technologists to create devices that could function in this very different spectrum environment, coping with contention and interference with technology rather than regulation.

The results have been stellar. The 2.4GHz band has spawned unprecedented innovation in devices and protocols, packing 802.11b, 802.11g, Bluetooth, baby-monitors, X10 cameras, and a host of other communications technologies into a narrow slice of spectrum that was once dismissed as a 'junk band'."

[ | 2003-04-18 22:48 | 2 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 S&M Aerobics
picture Aerobics classes in New York run by a dominatrix. here and here. Hey, why not, I bet those guys get into great shape, and aerobics is a bit like BDSM anyway.
"If you don't keep up, you get punished," she warned her students at a recent class, which she oversaw with a nonstop string of insults and orders. "I don't want to hear any whimpering. You're here to suffer.

"I expect complete obedience, or I'll give you a good spanking," she said. "Do what I tell you to do. I don't care if it hurts..."

Clad in face masks, dog collars, rubber suits and other sartorial S&M paraphernalia, Mistress Victoria's students run through the exercise regimen, knowing any slacking off will bring her wrath down upon

[ | 2003-04-18 22:55 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

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