One more time, I know its a drumbeat, and you’ve seen it elsewhere, but I will use uncharacteristic brevity.
Torture, the suspension of Habeas Corpus, and the other things in the passed legislation, is wrong, even for our worst enemies. I don’t care about ticking time bombs. I don’t care about supposed threats to all Civilization. Its wrong, it drags us to the level of petty dictatorship.
Sure, if someone I loved was held by terrorists, I would do anything to make them safe. But I would expect that what I would do would be illegal, and I would go to jail afterwards, proudly. I do NOT want torture and the other things in this bill to be approved policy. I want America to be a better nation than that, even to terrorists who want me dead and could have very easily killed my brother, who lost a co worker who arrived early for work at the WTC.
Making Light has a good list of people who feel the same way that I do. And many of them are far more talented than I, and can and do explain much more eloquently just what is wrong with our country.

A Man for All Seasons Quote for our Times

Thinking about the recent stuff with the heinous bills passed in the House and Senate brings in mind this exchange from the wonderful A Man For All Seasons.
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

I really need to buy this movie on DVD.

Books Read 2006 to date

46. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling
45. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
44. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
43. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
42. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling
41. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
40. Conventions of War, Dread Empire’s Fall #2, Walter Jon Williams
39. The Hallowed Hunt, Lois M Bujold
38. The World Turned Upside Down, David Drake, Eric Flint, Jim Baen
37. Throne of Jade, Naomi Novik
36. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
35. Dies the Fire, S.M. Stirling
34. One Lamp, Gordon Van Gelder
33. Blood and Iron, Elizabeth Bear
32. The Stonehenge Gate, Jack Williamson
31. Kushiel’s Scion, Jacqueline Carey
30. The Hedge Knight, George R.R. Martin
29. Ilium, Dan Simmons
28. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
27. Elemental, Steven Savile and Alethea Kontis
26. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik
25. The Clan Corporate, Charles Stross
24. Melusine, Sarah Monette
23. The Golden Age, John C. Wright
22. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
21. The Fabric of the Cosmos, Brian Greene
20. The Hostage of Zir, L. Sprague De Camp
19. Lord of the Fire Lands, Dave Duncan
18. Zulu Heart, Steven Barnes
17. The Knight, Gene Wolfe
16. A Civil Campaign, Lois M Bujold
15. Lords and Ladies, Terry Pratchett
14. Spin, Robert Charles Wilson
13. DeadHouse Gates, Steven Erikson
12. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
11. Singularity Sky, Charles Stross
10. Atlas of the Medieval World, by Rosamond McKitterick
9. America Discovered, an Historical Atlas of North American Exploration, Derek Hayes
8. National Geographic’s Mapping the World, an Illustrated History of Cartography, Ralph E Ehrenberg
7. Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana, Jess Nevins
6. Prague, The Crown of Bohemia 1347-1437, Barbara Drake Boehm and Jiri Fajt
5. The Paths of the Dead, Part I of III of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Steven Brust
4. Lost Burgundy, Mary Gentle
3. Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman
2. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
1. A History of God, Karen Armstrong

Paul Weimer is Shrill
But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — for ever.’

Continue reading Paul Weimer is Shrill

Animated Spaceballs – Comcast cabler gets ‘Spaceballs’
Via SfSignal, news that there is going to be an animated series based on the Mel Brooks Star Wars parody Spaceballs.
Brooks will do two of the voices of the characters he played in the movie, President Skroob, and, yes, Yogurt.
While I liked the movie, I am disappointed and disheartened that, once again, this is more proof that remakes, rehashes and retreads seem to rule the day in popular media. Does anyone know of Juvenal complaining of the same thing, two millenia ago?

More evidence of the Science Fiction Present

The latest example of us living in the Science Fiction Present:
The forthcoming second generation Ipod Shuffle.


* iPod Shuffle holds 240 songs on 1 GB of storage
* Download songs from the iTunes Store, import songs from your CDs, and sync them to your Shuffle
* Thumb-friendly, circular control pad makes navigation a breeze
* Battery indicator light features three levels–green (full), amber (low), and red (empty)
* Measures 1.62 x 1.07 x 0.41 inches (WxHxD) and weighs 0.55 ounces
Those measurements make the Shuffle, as seen in the picture, smaller than a matchbox.

Writing may be oldest in Western Hemisphere

Writing May Be Oldest in Western Hemisphere – New York Times
Or, the NPR story:
A stone slab bearing 3,000-year-old writing previously unknown to scholars has been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and archaeologists say it is an example of the oldest script ever discovered in the Western Hemisphere.
Sixty-two distinct signs are inscribed on the stone slab, which was discovered in the state of Veracruz in Mexico.
The Mexican discoverers and their colleagues from the United States reported yesterday that the order and pattern of carved symbols appeared to be that of a true writing system and that it had characteristics strikingly similar to imagery of the Olmec civilization, considered the earliest in the Americas.
Of course, given the small sample of this 3000 year old writing, we don’t know what it says or means…yet, anyway.