Cockroaches are totally going to take out weather men everywhere.
To my "Christian Brethren" at Longview Baptist Temple:
I applaud you in that you're out in the community going door-to-door, trying to win people to Jesus. I also applaud you that you're encouraging people to get to church via a free ride on your buses rather than spend money on their own gas. However, send a representative to my door before 10 am on a Saturday morning again and I will not be giving you any brotherly love but rather some of that Old-Time Religion like that described in Isaiah 66:15-16.
But seriously, people like to sleep on Saturday mornings. Do you honestly think that going door-to-door this early is going to engender open-minded responses to a church already viewed with suspicion?
As much as I hate increased regulation insofar as computing is concerned, I think it's high time that firms and governmental agencies who collect sensitive personal and financial data should be held strictly liable for the loss or compromise of that data. It seems obvious that the companies and agencies involved aren't going to deal with it any other way.
For instance, within the last 5 years, the Commerce Department alone has lost over 1100 laptops. This doesn't count that wonderfully aggregious loss on the part of the Veteran Affairs Department in May, nor does it account for laptops acknowledged to have contained sensitive files lost by the Agriculture, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, and Transportation Departments. And this is just the government which, while worse than the private sector in terms of oversight, is probably accounting for less than half of the data leaks.
Look, this isn't rocket science. Institute a policy where sensitive data can't leave the office unencrypted and include auditing and enforcement. Set up a secure server and a VPN for those who regularly need to get sensitive data from abroad... but whatever you do, quit letting employees put spreadsheets of thousands of incredibly sensitive records on their laptops and dragging them home.
Now, it should be noted that I'd also question the oversight and viability of any organization where the average is over 230 laptops are either stolen or lost every year. By the Commerce Department's estimates, there were roughly 30,000 laptops in use by the department over the last 5 years. By the numbers, just over 1 out of every 30 laptops appropriated to the Commerce Department was either lost or stolen. Hopefully other departments and organizations have slightly better mechanisms in place... but just in case the government and private industry haven't got the security of the customer first in their mind (*gasp* such a supposition), let's make them liable for these breaches of security.
Shiver me timbers! It do be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Get ta celebratin or we'll make ye walk the plank!
An increasing number of idiots are coming out of the wood-work to make fools out of themselves over the issue of Pope Benedict's remarks last week. Even amongst other Christians, individuals such as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Coptic Pope in Egypt are failing to point out that Benedict XVI was not espousing the statement by Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus that vilifies Islam and Mohammed, but rather he was analyzing it and using it as a context within which to start a discussion.
To make matters increasingly disgusting, the Coptic Pope is trying to use this idiotic debacle as an example to demonstrate some form of religious one-upmanship where his denomination is better at reaching out to Muslims than is Roman Catholicism. Even more bizarre perhaps is the response of militant Muslims.
As a response to allegedly having their religion referred to as "evil and inhuman" (the Byzantine Emperor's historic words), a number of hateful and threatening statements have emerged. From the Mujahideen Shura Council (a segment of al-Qaida's Iraqi branch): “We tell the worshipper of the cross (the pope) that you and the West will be defeated, as is the case in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya.” There are also a number of reports of militants attempting to show the pope how wrong he is by killing nuns in Somalia, burning churches in the West Bank, chanting "death to the Pope" in Kashmir, and the issuing of this statement on an al-Qaida bulletin board: "We shall break the cross and spill the wine ... God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome ... (May) God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen."
Now, it should be noted that these are extremists who aren't exceptionally noted for their historic tendency towards rational response. That said, the ironic idiocy of militants taking umbrage at allegedly being referred to as members of a violent religion and responding to this perceived offense by engaging in violence is starting to drive me insane. Obviously, there are intelligent and rational members of both Christian and Muslim communities... they're the ones who are waiting for the controversy to blow over before resuming the dialogue that was happily taking place before the media and the militants showed up.
Did you know that the internet is a giant series of tubes? Did you also know that many members of the House of Representatives wants to ban online gambling unless it's on horse-racing or interstate lottery drawings?
And just in case you were wondering about that legislation that Senator Stevens was commenting on... there's actually a good explanation of the Net Neutrality buried in there with the Chuck Norris jokes.
And for those of you unfamiliar with Ted Stevens.... Jon Stewart asks "Just who the %#@$ is Ted Stevens?"