URLs du Jour


  • People (including me) have deemed Senator McCain's recent Internet-regulating legislation to be (unfortunately typically) insufficiently respectful of free speech. Much of this interpretation was spurred by Declan McCullagh's CNET article from a few days back.

    Now that I and everyone else have chicken-littled this story, it's probably time to toss in some skepticism. Instapundit was contacted by Senator McCain's office claiming that, honest, the bill only relates to child pornography, and does not target individual bloggers. And Kip Esquire, in a comment to this arguably alarmist article at The Liberty Papers says:

    No apologist for McCain am I, but Declan McCullagh has a proven track record of distorting the provisions of legislative proposals.

    McCain specifically referred to child pornography, which enjoys zero First Amendment protection. McCullagh suddenly substitutes the term "obscenity," which is an entirely different legal term of art and which enjoys some First Amendment protection, including the right of possession. ("Obscenity," incidentally, is not just "naughty pictures," but hard-core XXX material.)

    So McCain gets a thumbs down, but so does McCullagh for yet more sloppy journalism.

    There's probably enough to be dismayed about, liberty-wise, about John McCain without distorting things.

  • Is Jimmy Carter an intellectual coward? Find out from Betsy Newmark, in her article entitled "Jimmy Carter is an intellectual coward".

  • Drew Cline's Friday Book Corner features picks from New Hampshire's own P. J. O'Rourke; it's always good to know what someone far smarter and funnier than you is reading. P. J. is, by the way, the author of one of the all time great quotes:
    Giving money and power to Government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
    Drew says P. J.'s new book, On the Wealth of Nations, is "generally available", but—hmph!—Amazon hasn't coughed mine up yet.

  • eWeek is reporting that a so-called zero-day exploit for Windows Vista OS is going up for auction on the underground, garnering bids of $50,000. The idea is that (allegedly) the code will allow attackers to compromise brand-new Vista-based computers shortly after they come online. (Some exploits require the owner to make an innocent mistake; others just come in over the ethernet port and make themselves at home. It's not clear what variety this exploit is.)

    Prices for other goodies designed to make our lives miserable are also quoted in the article. A security expert is quoted as saying (wistfully?): "I think the malware industry is making more money than the anti-malware industry." Aiee! Anyone want to borrow my Fedora Linux CDs?

  • And you should, every so often, pretend you're a college sophomore in a late-night bull session, and ask: "Hey, what if we're all just living inside a big computer simulation?" A guy named Nick Bostrom, a Deep Thinker at Oxford, believes that's not only possible, it's actually likely. Joel Achenbach's article explains.

    If you're asking yourself: wait, didn't I see a Star Trek episode about that? Yes, you did. Or at least, you and I had that experience in our simulation.

Shameless Post-Event Self-Promotion

The proprietors of Granite Grok, Doug and Skip, graciously invited me to take part in their Saturday radio show. So Mrs. Salad and I drove up to beautiful Gilford, NH and the studios of WEMJ, 1490 on your AM dial. Also present: Pat Hynes of Ankle Biting Pundits. GG's post about the broadcast is here; a podcast will be available for those not within AM radio range of Gilford.

The WEMJ engineer gave Mrs. Salad a tour of the facilities while Doug, Skip, Pat and I yakked. The guys were very solicitous of this radio newbie. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience; if you're invited, I encourage you to accept.

The subject of John McCain came up, since Doug and Skip had noticed the less-than-complimentary things I've said about him. Pat is, as you may know, the President of New Media Strategics, and Senator McCain is one of his clients. So I gulped a bit, and reckoned as how I thought the McCain-Feingold legislation was pretty much a deal-killer for me ever voting for John McCain.

I braced myself for some ankle-biting at that point, but Pat declined; he's not that big a fan of McCain-Feingold either, it turns out.

Afterwards, we drove east a bit to Danbury, NH for dinner at the "Alphorn Bistro", part of the Inn at Danbury, winner of New Hampshire magazine's "Best German Restaurant" award. Concurrence here, it was very good; if you're in the area, and in the mood, check it out.