A Founding Father on property

“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” –John Adams
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: the prescience exhibited by the Founding Fathers never ceases to amaze me.

Blinded with the Bush-hatred

Jeff calls it:

The conclusion is as heart-breaking as it is unavoidable: There are people out there —- reporters, pundits, Senators and Congressmen —- who hate the President and the Republican Party so deeply and with such passion that they would rather see the United States defeated and Iraq collapsed into a failed state than support what they see as George W. Bush’s war.
I don’t quite share Jeff’s pessimism regarding tonight’s speech, unless that pessimism means the expectation that the President will simply remind the American people that he has said all along that this war wouldn’t be finished overnight, that it was a long-haul project, that we should remember there are still people out there who want to hurt and kill us, but right now we are winning. The President has been consistent with regard to the prosecution of the war against terror in general, and in Iraq specifically. There is no timetable for withdrawal, because we have not yet achieved total victory. Which is something the left, and increasingly the Democratic Party specifically, cannot allow.

Are they reading the same Constitution as the rest of us?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m too simple-minded to get it. Perhaps because I didn’t go to law school, spend years on a judicial bench, and have half a dozen clerks doing all of my research for me, I just don’t understand the intricacies and nuances of the Constitution of the United States of America. Or maybe there simply aren’t the intricacies and nuances the Supreme Court would have us believe there are.
Amendment I of the Bill of Rights says, in part: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
Now, I challenge any legal scholar on the planet to explain how a monument to the Ten Commandments, or the posting of the Ten Commandments on the wall of a courtroom, is Congress establishing a state religion. Or even a state government establishing a state religion. Religious aspects aside, the Ten Commandments are an important legal document, important to the legal history of Western civilization. Again, with religious aspects aside, the Ten Commandments contain some pretty healthy codes of conduct for everyone, believers and non-believers. What’s wrong with suggesting that people do not steal from one another?
Amendment V of the Bill of Rights states, in part: “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Kelo vs. New London is not about “public use.” Public use is a road, a school. Public use is not a new shopping mall, new condos, new office space. I have to disagree with Jeff on this decision; both sides of the Court are not right in their opinions. Simply because there is precedent leading up to the decision in Kelo doesn’t make the decision proper. It simply means that all of the precedent is itself unconstitutional. If the Court has, in the past, rejected the “narrow interpretation of the public use requirement,” then the Court was wrong. The Court was negligent in its duty to uphold the Constitution, and it was negligent in Kelo. If the town of New London can’t come up with enough tax revenue without confiscating people’s legally-purchased private property, then perhaps the town should dissolve its charter and let the county take over basic services.

Tiger snuggles up to OfficeJet

Thanks to a tip from a MacInTouch reader, my PowerBook, running Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.1, is successfully printing to my HP OfficeJet d145 again. It was quite simple.
First, in the Hewlett-Packard folder that would be installed in your Applications folder, run the HP Uninstaller application. When it’s done, restart your Mac.
Next, make sure you have the latest HP driver software for your OfficeJet, in my case the d145 on Mac OS X. After mounting the disk image, quit all other running applications. Or just run the HP All-in-One Installer, as it is going to ask to do this for you. Let the installer run as normal, and run through the Setup Assistant stuff at the end. The Setup Assistant saw my OfficeJet sitting on its assigned IP on the internal network.
After that was done, I launched TextEdit, typed in a line, made several copies of said line, and sent it to the printer. Voila! Happy days are here again in the Phisch Bowl™. Your mileage may vary, but this is what worked for me. I have not tested any other functions, such as faxing or scanning, from the HP Director software, since I didn’t really use those functions before.

The Last Disciple

Hank Hanegraaff, of the “Bible Answer Man” radio show, and author Sigmund Brouwer have teamed up to write The Last Disciple, a novel about first-century Christians, and the people they come in to contact with, undergoing the Great Tribulation under the reign of Nero.
Hanegraaff and Brouwer operate from a different view of biblical translation and interpretation than Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins do in the Left Behind series. As they state in the Afterword, they seek not to divide the Church over this issue, but rather encourage debate and study of the book of Revelation. Simply put, Hanegraaff and Brouwer believe that many of the prophecies the apostle John was witness to, and transcribed in to what we know as Revelation, have already been fulfilled, as they were written to the early Christian church. You can read more on their take at the book’s Web site.
The Last Disciple features several characters, including the wicked Nero, but follows mostly the path of Gallus Sergius Vitas, one of Nero’s inner circle. Vitas, a former military commander and from a Roman founding family, has grown tired of Nero’s persecution of Christians. He doesn’t care for the Christians because they are followers of Christ who refuse to bow to Nero, but rather he is tired of bloodshed in general, having seen too much of it when he was fighting in Britannia, and lost his wife and son, natives of the isle. In the course of his trying to subtly subvert Nero, Vitas discovers an old friend has accepted Christ, and Vitas falls in love with a former slave, also a Christian.
In the mean time, Vitas’s brother Damien, in an attempt to recapture the honor he has cost the family name, becomes a fearsome slave hunter. Damien is hired by another of Nero’s inner circle, this time to find the writer of Revelation, the letter Nero fears and hates. Damien is hired to hunt down John, the last disciple of Christ.
Hanegraaff and Brouwer craft a good read, taking you through the workings and machinations of Nero’s inner circle, the duplicitous politics, the last moments of a Christian on the arena floor, and the feelings of a man who walked and talked with the Creator and Savior of the universe.

Fiber + phone = July 7

It is confirmed: a Verizon technician will be out on the afternoon of Thursday, the 7th of July, to install the required components for high-speed, fiber optic, broadband usage. We are going with the 15Mbps down/2Mbps up package, and we are cutting the cord with the regional ILEC, switching our local phone coverage to Verizon as well. We get to keep the same number, and will save a few bucks.
I know some people will wonder why we’re even keeping local, wired phone service, and the answer is simple: TiVo/DirecTV. It’s the only way to currently get service updates, etc., sent to the box. That, and our families still seem to call us at home, rather than on our mobiles, where a lot of the time, the calls would be free for either one or both parties. Go figure.

DropDMG 2.6.1

Michael announces the release of DropDMG 2.6.1. This update of the easy-to-use disk image creation tool adds support for bzip2-compressed disk images, for those of you in to that sort of thing. The usual assortment of bug fixes and tweaks abound. Go. Download. Register. Help an independent software developer out by buying his worthy product.
The usual disclaimer: I have no vested interest in C-Command and its products other than I like seeing my friends happy and sane, and when you reward their hard work, that’s what they are.

When editing goes wrong

One of the local semi-independent stations is showing Ronin this evening. Now, being one of my favorite action movies, because it is a thinking-man’s action movie and not a mindless blood and gore fest, I figured I would keep it on while I languished away the hours working on my wife’s XP box. (Bad, XP, bad!) Those of you who haven’t seen the movie can skip the rest, because I’m going to talk about a specific plot point, and it contains kinda-sorta spoiler info.
I realize there’s a lot of editing that has to go in to a film like this, to put it on non-cable television during “family hours” on the weekend. In addition to filtering out the curse words, and especially bloody scenes, the broadcasters have to be concerned with a time factor as well, mostly so they can get enough advertising in to cover the cost of showing the movie. I can appreciate all of this.
But then they go and cut what I consider a central tenant of the movie. Maybe it’s because I am a fan of this film, and have seen it a few times. Maybe persons who have never seen it before won’t miss the scene because they don’t know to miss it.
The scene I’m referring to is at Jean-Pierre’s, where Vincent (Jean Reno) takes Sam (Robert De Niro) after the latter has been shot. While recovering, Sam watches as Jean-Pierre paints miniature samurai warriors for a diorama he has created. His hobby, as he explains to Sam. We see Jean-Pierre put the latest dry figure on to the diorama, and we cut to the next scene.
They completely cut out the rest of the scene with Jean-Pierre, who explains to Sam about the 47 Ronin, and what ronin were: masterless samurai. The 47 Ronin were despondent over failing their master, who was killed by a rival warlord. So, in time, they gave their lives in an attempt to kill the rival. The term ronin in the case of the movie is supposed to refer to agents who have left the fold of their respective agency, like Sam. I always thought this scene was rather important, as it goes a long way toward explaining the title of the film, even if not directly. It’s a shame it was cut for the television broadcast.