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Yet Another Star Wars Episode II Review

It seems that the reviewers hated it. I loved it. There were lots of light saber activity, lots of plans-within-plans feints-within-feints, and still enough time to develop a torrid love affair. For the Star Wars IV-VI fans, this movie answered a lot of the “how in the heck could a millennium-long republic turn into this?” questions, and I thought the answers were great. The most powerful scene in the movie was young Boba Fett holding his father’s mask.

There were some errors in this movie, of course. Yoda’s fight was far too short. And it does seem that the aforementioned love affair skipped a couple of steps. (Amidala let herself go a little too quickly?) And at times it did seem the plot was held together with duct tape.

However, Lucas managed to pull off Attack of the Clones pretty well. Go see it in the theater. Don’t wait for video, unless you have one of those 61″ plasma screens. (And not even then.)

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Graduation weekend

Graduation weekend is here and I’m not ready. I don’t have my robes (I get to pick them up in a couple of hours, though), my house isn’t clean, and I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. However, once this weekend is over, I’ll be John D. Johnson, Ph.D., and none of this will matter.

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Massinova is back in service! So throw your Massinova menu extra back onto the menubar (if you’re lucky enough to use Mac OS X) and get those funky toons crankin’ out again!

(Am I the last person to know this?)

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Micro$oft

Boy, the Microsoft issue certainly has me in a dilemma here. While I detest the strange fates in the universe that enable a technically inferior operating system to become dominant enough that one company can leverage so much “power” over other companies, I am ashamed at the circus of governments involved in this antitrust suit. Our government makes huge exclusive contracts to use Microsoft software, and then they lament Microsoft’s dominance. The DoJ and states are in effect telling Microsoft, “This is how you should run your business for the greatest social good.”

Except the states and DoJ don’t know the greatest social good. They have a vision of social good, but it may or may not be the best social good. The government has no business determining what is the best “social good.” (Hear that, Nader?) The moment we give government the power to determine what is “socially good,” then “social good” becomes whatever the politicians want it. Which is, inevitably, favors for the politically connected.

Which bring me to an important point:

Amount Microsoft Spent on Lobbying

Year Amt. Spent
1997 $2,120,000
1998 $3,740,000
1999 $4,860,000
2000 $6,360,000

Source: OpenSecrets.org

Way to wake the sleeping 800 pound gorilla.

Look, with all of the weight that Microsoft was throwing around in its “predatory” licensing practices, there was one thing Bill Gates could never do to anyone. That was send a gun after another company and force them into a contract.

The government can do that. It has, and it will continue to do so. It starts with things like the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), uniform software transaction code (which is, in fact, introduced in the state legislatures), the recent bill introduced by the dishonorable Fritz Hollings, and who know what else buried in the various “emergency assistance” bills. Now Microsoft is starting to play that game, too.

We still have a choice in type of computer to buy and operating system to install. There are consumer opinion sites, personal recommendations, and so forth. If you think people should not buy Microsoft, then you have several effective means of delivering your message.

As our reliance on technology grows, innovative software development becomes more important. We need to, as citizens and consumers, take responsibility for the direction of software development. It’s too important a job to rely on the government.

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Terrorists win war on drugs

The recent ad campaign by the Office of Drug Control Policy (the “drug czar” John Walters) blatantly states that drug money goes to terrorists. Using guilt by association, they claim that if you use illegal drugs, you are as guilty as the terrorists.

The reason that trade of illegal drugs is so lucrative (by some estimates, a 17,000% profit) is precisely because the laws create a great void in commerce, filled by a black market. Thus, our government can do something that will quickly deflate profits from the illegal drug trade: end the drug war. Does that mean that the blood is really on the hands of our policy-makers?

The argument has been made that most money spent on illegal drugs goes to domestic growers of pot.

Even in Iran, where freedom is only a dream of an oppressed movement, efforts to curtail supply of illegal drugs fall well short of their goal. The same goes for our own jails.

John Walters has long advocated drug policy as a criminal matter rather than a public health issue. Thinking of drugs as a health issue makes people too sympathetic to drug users and dealers, so the theory goes.

And, by the way, in a free republic, why do we need a czar? The terrorists want less freedom, and it seems the drug war has given them their magic bullet to bring freedom down.

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ICC gets thumbs-down

Thank goodness. The US is announcing its withdrawal from a treaty authorizing individuals to be tried in an international court (ICC stands for international criminal court). Clinton, in his love for a one-world government, signed the treaty after it was introduced in 1998. However, both the Democrats and Republicans had a rare moment of lucidity and vehemently opposed it. Now Colin Powell says the official announcement of withdrawal to the Secretary-General can come as early as today.

Watch the one-world government types squirm. They don’t get their theater of grand-standing or their launchpad for a global government.

So, why am I so down on the ICC, you ask. Point-by-point:

  • It will be run by the UN, which is either incapable or unwilling to execute its mission of preventing wars.
  • It has a good chance of becoming a theater of anti-freedom grandstanding. Ariel Sharon will probably be the first person drug before the court, even though there are others for which the term “war criminal” is more fitting.
  • National sovereignty is a more useful concept than the one-worlders would have you believe. Governments become corrupt. Power corrupts. A one-world government will be corrupt before it forms. (Note to self: time to take the 10th Amendment razor to our own national government.) Problem is, opposition to a corrupt one-world government will be weaker than if we simply had a gaggle of national governments.
  • Look what happened to the commission on human rights. Four of its members are known for slavery, forced abortions, religious persecution, forced conversions, mutilation, and other gross abuses. Now imagine if these countries had the power to arrest, detain, try, convict, and execute individuals from other countries.

The Bush administration has done another good thing. Keep it up, and I might have to use more than one hand to count the number of good things Bush has done.

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After 23 long years in school, I graduate for good in two weeks! Third time’s a charm …