Apple releases software to run Windows™

If I had written an entry with this headline on April 1, everyone would have assumed it was a big ol’ joke for the geekerati. I may have even had people call me nuts for even suggesting such a thing. But no, it’s not a joke, it is in fact exactly what Apple has gone and done: new software from my favorite company will allow you to run Windows XP™ on an Intel-based Mac, like the diminutive Mac mini. The software is named Boot Camp and is available as a public beta.

Of course, as Apple notes on the Boot Camp website:

Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means it’ll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world. So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes.

And never let it be said that Apple doesn’t enjoy taking a good swipe at long-time partner Microsoft. The Boot Camp website also snarks:

Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries.

Man, you have to love Apple.

Without Delay.

Tom Delay quits. And good riddance to the man who, among other things, asked the FAA to track a plane with Texas state Democratic legislatures when they protested his redistricting plan, and faces money-laundering charges. It apparently took him “months of prayer and contemplation” to make this decision.

My biggest concern? Who do the Democrats rally against now?

Response from Senator Boxer on Senator Feingold’s censure resolution.

Below is the email I received from Senator Boxer’s office in response to my email encouraging her to support Senator Feingold’s resolution of censure of Mr. Bush.

Thank you for contacting me regarding Senator Russell Feingold’s (D-WI) resolution to censure President Bush. I want to you know that I appreciate hearing from you, and I am a co-sponsor of this resolution.

On March 13, 2006, Senator Feingold introduced Senate Resolution 398, which would admonish President Bush for his unlawful authorization of the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program, his failure to keep Congress fully informed of this program as required by law, and his efforts to mislead the American people about the legality of the program and the legal authorities relied upon by his administration to conduct it.

The Feingold Resolution has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee at the request of Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Senator Feingold has called for the Committee to hold hearings, debate, and then vote on the resolution. I share Senator Feingold’s strong objections to the administration’s warrantless domestic wiretapping program, and I intend to vote for Senator Feingold’s resolution should it come before the Senate.

Again, thank you for writing me.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Response from Senator Boxer on illegal wiretapping.

Below is the email I received from Senator Boxer’s office in response to my email encouraging the continued investigation of the illegal wiretapping programs authorized by Mr. Bush.

Thank you for contacting me regarding recent reports of domestic spying. I appreciate the opportunity to review your comments on this important issue.

On December 16, 2005, the New York Times reported that President Bush had repeatedly authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on American citizens and others without the necessary approvals from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts. Until this program, which began in 2002, no widespread wiretapping had been conducted within U.S. borders without a court warrant.

I have worked very hard to help provide our law enforcement and intelligence communities with the tools they need to effectively combat terrorism; at the same time, I have fought to protect the civil liberties and privacy protections that define our nation. It is unacceptable that the Bush Administration has sanctioned programs that so blatantly violate this balance.

Many of my colleagues – both Republicans and Democrats – share my shock and disappointment that President Bush went outside the law and subverted the system of checks and balances that is so vital to our democracy. The Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees are currently holding hearings on this matter.

Rest assured, I will do all I can to make sure that this matter is fully explored and resolved. The American people should not have to choose to between their security and their liberty.

Again, thank you for writing to me. Please do not hesitate to contact me about this or any other issue of concern to you.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

A new year, a new effort.

Yes, it’s been a while. My journey of political discovery has been, at times, painful. George W. Bush has continued to grasp on the title of “Worst. President. Ever.” and shows no signs of wanting to let it go.

A lot’s happened since I last wrote here, too much to catch up. But, I expect to be around a bit more often, as 2006 is an important Congressional race, and will define the remainder of Mr. Bush’s term in office, and quite likely determine what happens in 2008.

One item I’ll note is I wrote into my two senators (Boxer and Feinstein). Twice, in fact. The first time was to express my support for continued investigation of the illegal wiretapping programs Mr. Bush has admitted to authorizing; the second was in support of Senator Feingold‘s censure resolution against Mr. Bush for this illegal wiretapping.

I know it’s not much, but I found myself feeling somewhat thrilled by my actions. I don’t expect much to come of these email messages (and in fact only Senator Boxer has responded to either of my messages), but if I can add my voice to a chorus of others, perhaps our elected officials will hear us and take action.

Don't call it the stomach flu

Back in college, everyone drank way too much alcohol, leading to the inevitable purging in front of the porcelain god. When it was bad enough that we couldn’t make it into work that day, we used the standard excuse: “I had some kind of stomach flu”. This was code for “I had way too much to drink last night, and I am still paying for it” and everyone knew it.

Had any of us experienced the real “stomach flu”, we might not have been so cavalier in throwing the phrase around. This week, I had the dubious pleasure of catching the real “stomach flu”, and after spending four-plus hours in the Emergency Room flat on my back with an I.V. sticking out of my arm, I’ve gained a whole new level of respect for this “stomach flu”.

In fact, “stomach flu” doesn’t really begin to explain the extent to which this nasty bug can wreck havoc on your system. When even plain water gets forcefully expelled, and the yellowish bile that is your stomach acid is all that’s coming out and you’re still trying to vomit up more, you need stronger language, scientific language, language with lots of syllables. Gastroenteritis is the right language here. What did gastroenteritis feel like? Kind of like Mother Nature had grabbed me by the balls, flipped me upside down, and shook me until I’d released all the contents of my stomach, shook me some more until vital bodily fluids had likewise been expelled, and then kept shaking me, simply because, apparently, she liked the sound I made.

It all began Monday night. Since my girlfriend’s plane was delayed a day, I picked her up on Monday afternoon instead of Sunday evening, and we grabbed an early dinner at an Indian restaurant a few blocks from her house. Immediately after I finished eating, I felt a knot in the top of my stomach, just below the breastbone. I knew something was wrong, but it felt like I’d just eaten too much, or too fast. I figured I’d be spending too much time in the toilet that night.

We got home, and the feeling didn’t get any worse, but it didn’t go away either. We went through our activities, finally going to sleep about midnight. I awoke about 3AM with a desperate urge to evacuate my bowels, and then, a few minutes later, started to vomit.

I still had no idea what I was in for.

I spent all of Tuesday vomiting. Everything I tried to eat or drink eventually found its way back up, including Pepto Bismol and plain water. It had gotten so bad that even with nothing on my stomach, I was vomiting, meaning I was bringing up stomach bile.

As you might imagine, that’s neither a pretty sight nor a good thing for your body to be doing.

About 9PM I started thinking that I might want to go to the E.R. since I wasn’t keeping food or liquid down, and my body would start dehydrating. About 10PM I called my health insurance’s nurse hotline, described my symptoms and answered a bunch of questions, and was told “based on what you’ve told me, you should go to an emergency room”.

In all honestly, that’s not what I was expecting to hear.

So about 10:30PM, Ying drove me to the E.R. which is conveniently located about five minutes from my house. A 30 minute wait and I was in to see a doctor. A few forms, and the charging of my co-pay (nothing happened until they had my credit card in hand…) and suddenly I was getting poked in my arm and hooked into an I.V. drip.

They say there’s a first time for everything, and this was one of those times. Never had I been connected to an I.V. drip, and never did I think it would happen. I associate that with sick people, and I just don’t get that kind of sick.

When it was all over, I’d had three liters of fluid pumped into me (the body gets chilled when this is happening, since the fluid is not warmed), had my blood drawn for testing, and received a third needle in my rear to calm the nausea I was feeling. And, at 3:30AM  I walked out of the E.R., with a couple of prescriptions to fill. (Ying found a 24 hour Walgreens to fill the prescription.)

I returned home, took the prescription, and passed out in bed. I awoke several hours later, and Ying, who was an angel of mercy during this, went out and grabbed the few staples I was allowed to eat, including bread and apple juice. I lived on this diet for another day, and by the end of the third day I finally felt like I was at about 90%.

(Ying really was great throughout this, by-the-way. She stayed with me the first day, took me to the E.R., spent the next day with me, did some grocery shopping and even managed to do some cleaning around the house. I’m very lucky to have her.)

By Friday I was eating normal food (though very cautiously), and Saturday night I had my first large meal in almost a week. I’m still not back to “normal”, however, as I still cringe at the slightest stomach rumble or twinge. It’ll take a while before eating isn’t given a second thought.

Canon Err 99 shooting car fire

On my way home today I noticed a van engulfed in white smoke. My first thought, of course, photo-op! Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me, so I sped home, grabbed my camera bag and dashed off to take a few shots. By the time I got back, whatever fire there was was put out, and the van was soaked with foam and water. Not wanting to leave empty-handed, I took a few shots of what was left (and of the firefighters):

CRW_1083 CRW_1086 CRW_1089 CRW_1097

While shooting, I encountered an error with my Canon 10D. Several times, the camera locked up, with none of the buttons or controls working, and the top LCD displaying “Error 99”. I was able to resolve it by removing and reattaching the lens, but I ended up losing several shots.

Searches for “Canon 10D Error 99” on Google showed that several others were seeing this problem, and some tracked it back to Sigma lenses (I own one) and others to deleting photos in-camera (which I’d done while shooting). I’ll probably contact Canon about this next week. The camera is long out of warranty, however. Is this the excuse I need to buy a new Canon 5D?

Let the FUD-flinging begin!

Tonight, George W. Bush announces his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. Tonight also marks the start of FUD-flinging season.

What a coinkidink!

Professional FUD-flingers, such as Mr. Bush, Karl Rove, and many in the Republican party and in the media, will converge on Washington, the birthplace of FUD-flinging, in an all-out attempt to declarify and obfuscate the history and politcal leanings of Mr. Bush’s nominee, all the while attempting to convince everyone that this is the biggest story around, and not, say, the Karl-Rove-leakeda-covert-agent’s-identity story, you know, for example.

Let’s see how the media covers the action….

Supreme Court: extreme measures to win support.

• very great or intense; extreme

verb [ trans. ]
• pay special attention to (someone) in an attempt to win their support or favor

• go to great lengths to win (favorable attention)

– New Oxford English Dictionary

What, you’ve never heard these definitions before? It’s what George W. Bush has been doing for most of his political career, and what you can expect him to do when selecting a candidate to replace the retiring Sandra Day O’Conner on the United States Supreme Court.

His “base”, those generally wealthy, generally White, generally conservative, generally Christian individuals to whom he generally caters, want someone on the Court who will, among other things, remove the rights of a woman to control her own body, support the imprisonment of American citizens with no access to a lawyer, and agree to continued invasions of personal privacy.

George W. Bush is indebted to this base: they were instrumental in getting him elected, after that long period of courting them, and now they want payback, and you can bet that will come in the form of a candidate who will support their conservative agenda.

This, of course, will be devastating to this country, as the Court already is rather conservative, with O’Conner being the so-called “swing vote”. Replacing O’Conner with a conservative will tip the precarious balance of a supposedly non-partisan deliberative body far enough to the right that it might take decades to reverse the decisions the new Court puts forth, assuming we continue to have the opportunity to do that.

Now is the time to make your voices heard. The choices Bush makes for the Supreme Court (and there will be another, you can be sure of that) will affect our lives for a generation or more, and might forever change the course of this country. Do we want to return to a time where women had to undergo dangerous back alley “medical procedures”? Do we want to live in a country where being a citizen has no meaning, and the right to privacy doesn’t exist?

Stand up. Fight any Bush nominations who make judicial decisions based ideological believes rather than Constitutional convictions.

Equal rights under the law?

I know it’s been a long time since I posted last, and this is just a drop-in, but I felt it was important enough to make this available. Here’s a sample of some of the 1000+ Federal privileges denied to same-sex couples because they cannot get married:

  • The right to make decisions on a partner’s behalf in a medical emergency. Specifically, the states generally provide that spouses automatically assume this right in an emergency. If an individual is unmarried, the legal “next of kin” automatically assumes this right. This means, for example, that a gay man with a life partner of many years may be forced to accept the financial and medical decisions of a sibling or parent with whom he may have a distant or even hostile relationship.
  • The right to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work to care for a seriously ill partner or parent of a partner. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 permits individuals to take such leave to care for ill spouses, children and parents but not a partner or a partner’s parents.
  • The right to petition for same-sex partners to immigrate.
  • The right to assume parenting rights and responsibilities when children are brought into a family through birth, adoption, surrogacy or other means. For example, in most states, there is no law providing a noncustodial, non-biological or non-adoptive parent’s right to visit a child – or responsibility to provide financial support for that child – in the event of a breakup.
  • The right to share equitably all jointly held property and debt in the event of a breakup, since there are no laws that cover the dissolution of domestic partnerships.
  • Family-related Social security benefits, income and estate tax benefits, disability benefits, family-related military and veterans benefits and other important benefits.
  • The right to inherit property from a partner in the absence of a will.
  • The right to purchase continued health coverage for a domestic partner after the loss of a job.

Think about these the next time you think same-sex marriage is “morally wrong”.