Friday, April 11, 2003

One more lap complete, with random thoughts included

I've now completed my 36th lap around the sun, and I'm setting off on number 37. Boy, are my legs getting tired!

Random thoughts:

No transportation device that relies on battery power alone will ever succeed commercially, with the possible exception of cheap kids' scooters. The biggest convenience of gasoline power is that you can fill it up in a minute or two. As long as a battery takes hour to charge, it's doomed. If my Segway runs out of juice going down the street, I don't want to plug it in and wait two hours to get moving again. Same with my car - an electric car is silly for the same reason.

The Red Sox bullpen scares me. I'm not nearly as worried about the starting rotation. Jeremy Giambi should be able to hit, but he suffers from Ozzie Canseco syndrome - not a bad player, but lives in the shadow of a brother who's a dominant player.

I love my house, but I wouldn't mind one with a little more yard space and a garage. However, DSL capability is a must, I'd say. Because cable companies (Comcast) are server-hostile.

All in all, my Palm Tungsten is the neatest PDA I've ever owned. But I haven't re-flashed my Zaurus with OpenZaurus 3.2 yet - so my opinion could change. By the way, Zaurus SL-5500 units are now going for $199 at TigerDirect. Worth looking into if you're looking for a good PDA cheap.

One week ago, David just mastered real forward crawling. Now, if you put him down anywhere he takes off. He's also tryign to pull himself up on anything that looks useful to him - so we're doing a little more childproofing.

And now, a little dose of politics:

My friend Jimmy P has a bit of an interesting rant on liberalism versus conservativism. But I beg to differ somewhat. Maybe to some it's about entitlement. Then again, I'm not really liberal in the "capital L" sense. But here, in a short version, is how I see it.

Liberalism is inherently accepting of change. Conservativism is not. Liberals believe that all people are inherently equal, and a fair playing field should exist so all people have the chance to succeed or fail. Conservatives believe that what you have, you have, and that anyone can overcome anything, including institutions that are against you. Conservatives trust authority and business to make decisions that are in our best interests. Liberals tend to trust governments (as long as the government is also liberal), and distrust other authorities and businesses. Conservatives trust the market. Liberals don't. Conservatives (in most countries) belive that religion has an official place in people's lives. Liberals generally don't - even if they are personally religious.

Me? I'm a very liberal conservative - or maybe that's a very conservative liberal? I think government is a necessary evil, because too many people don't have anything but their own interest at heart. The role of government, though, should be minimal, and generally confined to things that are best accomplished on a national scale (defense, road-building, infrastructure, possibly health care). Government should be the referee in disputes between individuals, but otherwise leave them alone to make decisions and choices on their own. Even if they're bad choices.

Government should provide minimal levels of care to citizens, with the goal of making sure everyone has the chance to get on the playing field. Shelters should be available in the short-term for people who have been hurt by the system, and treatment should be available for people who've made bad choices and need to get their bodies and/or minds back into shape. But nobody should be allowed to use these long-term. The capitalist system has winners and losers. Government should get the losers back into the game, but if they fail repeatedly, or don't want to play, then we shouldn't take care of them. As disturbing as the thought is of someone homeless living under a bridge, it's reality. Government should help people get in the game. They shouldn't carry people who only want to watch.

Finally, government should not be in the morality business. Laws should be confined to preventing harm to other, non-consenting human beings. All behavior between consenting adults should be allowed, and actions/decisions that do not affect others should be allowed. Government has no place in determining drug policy, or abortion rights, or what sexual behaviors are acceptable. Morality is between an individual, the people in their life, and any religious beliefs they may hold. As far as privacy rights and civil liberties go, the PATRIOT act is ridiculous, PATRIOT II is more so, and the efforts to remove the sunset clauses on PATRIOT are un-American.

I guess that makes me somewhat of a left-leaning libertarian. What a coincidence! I am one!

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