Morning Links

A few cool resources I need links too. Gpart is a partition recovery program for when your primary partition table goes fubar. Filesystem support include everthing from ext2 and fat12 to QNX and BeOS. Anyone every buys used harddrives comes away amazed at the number of drives that simply have the partition table deleted.

If you want your data permanently deleted (i.e. almost NSA certified) check out Autoclave. Its a Linux boot floppy that allows you to choose the level of your hd wipe. Level 5 is 25 passes, some random, some patterned. Very, very perminate.

And what is possible the most enlightened usage of the internet I have seen in a long time check out The Map of Springfield. Yes, you can actually see a detailed map of the town the Simpson’s live in; complete with stores, buildings, and popular tourist attractions.

Leaning Left

Two articles caught my attention today. This article from the Christian Science Monitor talks about College professors political leanings and how they might not be as unbiased as one would hope. And again this year the Pew Research Center finds that liberals and moderates dominate News outlets, especially on the national level.

Both of these articles should come as no suprise to anyone who has lived in this country and/or attended higher education anytime recently. Although I know a couple of students who considered my College was too conservative; the vast majority of the students I knew thought Drury was dominated by liberal politics and professours. I personally know a student who was banned from using a well known conservative author as a reference because, “those views are not valid.”

Bush’isms

I have been getting inquiries into my opinion of President Bush and, more specifically, why I am probably not going to be voting for him. I have a article I am currently writing that will delve into more details concerning my current political leanings but for now here is the short list. Things that Bush has done that bother me:

  1. No Child Left Behind – Because its unconstitutional.
  2. Medicare Reform Act – Because its the largest entitlement program in 30 years.
  3. Legal Status for Illegal immigrants – Because you don’t reward illegal behavior.
  4. McCain-Feingold – Because it made it illegal for me to express negative views about a candidate during certain parts of an election.
  5. Patriot Act I – Because it trampled on the rights that it was suppost to protect.
  6. Patriot Act II – See above.. only worse.
  7. Ashcroft rewards Microsoft for being a monopoly – Because Teddy Roosevelt is rolling over in his grave.
  8. American citizens as enemy combatants – Because the constitution is suppost to protect ALL citizens of the US. Regardless of our crimes.
  9. Deficit spending – Because Republicans used to be considered fiscally responsible.

Things that Bush has done that don’t bother me:

  1. The War in Iraq – Everyone thought they had WMD. Think 9/11 with mustard gas.
  2. Tax cuts – I don’t have a problem with tax cuts, just with excessive spending.
  3. The economy – Anyone who gives Bush a hard time about the economy is either an ignorant fool or trying to score political points. The economy is the one thing Bush handled VERY well.
  4. World displeasure with the US – Its not the job of the President to do what is best for the world; just for the USA. When was the last time France acted in the best interest of the US?

The Catholic Vote

Jason pointed me to this article drafted by Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs Diocese. The synopsis of the letter is that Catholics should not vote for politicians who oppose abortion and gay marriage, going so far as to they may not receive Holy Communion.

This triggered a response by Democratic members of Congress calling the letter “deeply hurtful” and “miring the Church in partisan politics.” The general consensus by Democratic members of Congress is that the letter is hypocritical in as much as it fails to mention other Catholic positions like the War in Iraq and the death penalty.

Now totally ignoring the gay marriage issue (because I have discussed it before), I think the point that is being made about abortion, as opposed to the death penalty or Iraq, is that to the Catholic Church abortion involves the murder of about 1.2 million children a year. Thats an estimated 35 million children sense the roe vs. wade decision. The death penalty, with a couple hundred murders a year, pales in comparison. In Iraq the US has lost about 750 soldiers in the last year. Thats about as many people killed as are aborted every five hours.

From the vantage point of the Catholic Church, abortion amounts to an institutionalized holocaust. I believe its reasonable for the church to allow disagreement on most issues while drawing a line against this particular issue. If abortion is considered by the Catholic Church to be the single most pressing issue in the world today (which it does) then its not hypocritical to expect Catholics to support candidates that uphold life.

Over the course of the last thirty years the Democratic party has steadily been loosing the Catholic vote to the Republicans. This is in spite of a long tradition of civic responsibility to the poor and social justice. Why? The long and the short answer is Abortion. You would be amazed at the number of times the Priest at my old church advocated social programs that assist the livelihood of the poor– and then tell you to vote for the pro-life candidate. Its hard to talk about civic responsibility while ignoring the murder of a million-two children every year.

Say What

Candidate Map is a collection of quotations and comments from the current list of Presidential Candidates. Click an issue and then click a candidate and get a view of their opinion on a given subject. Be sure to check out Gary Nolan the Libertarian Candidate.

No One Else…

For anyone who does not already know Six Apart has changed the license for Movable Type. Movable Type is the software that I run for Vault, Mike’s Blog, Virtual Memory, and The Rockwire. My problem (and this is my error and not anyone Else’s) is that I honestly didn’t stop to think about Movable Type being non-free.

Non-Free software has bit me in the ass before, and I should be more diligent in making sure that I don’t use it. Slowly I am gonna begin migrating this blog over to something else, something GPL, something that will not bit me in the ass for using (and donating too.)

This is a good time to point out a certain misconception about the Gnu Public License. Its a popular myth to believe that the GPL is viral in nature. This is fundamentally untrue. The GPL simply states that if you use GPL’ed code you must A) make your changes and/or improvements GPL’ed too, or B) not distribute it until the GPL code is removed. This is no different than any other license in punishment for violation. If you use Microsoft code without permission, or in violation of their license, you will be forced to remove the offending code and probably sued.

Fundamentally the purpose of the GPL is to allow developers to create software without worrying that their software will be fixed/improved without getting to use those fixes/improvements themselves. Its a “I’ll share if everyone who changes my software shares too…” license. It also guarantees that no-one will forcibly change the rights you have to the software. For a great explanation of why this is so valuable check out this blog post talking about the Movable Type situation.

Keep a close eye on your rights… no one else will.

KWin Tutorial

Here is a tutorial on how to make native KWin Window decorations for KDE (ya know.. the border part of all computer windows.) It looks like a great beginner app howto for making KDE C++ apps.