Saturday, November 26, 2005
I was reading the newspaper and my dear mother looked over at me and seeing the steam escaping from my ears, smiled and said, "I've never seen a person have so much fun reading the newspaper." She said that without any irony and her peculiar optimism is yet another reason I miss her so much.
This morning a piece in the National section caught my attention .50-caliber gun controversy. It seems just another in the line of holiday fare promoting the coolest toys for those certain someones. The story of the owner, Ronnie Barrett, founder of the first and largest company making this weapon (which boast the capacity to hit targets over a mile away with armor piercing bullets) is a heart-warming tale of "rags to riches." Barret is shown dressed in a pink outfit holding the gun in question. Some worry that terrorists and other nefarious actors might take advantage of how easy it is to purchase the gun. But Barrett pooh-poohs the danger because the weapons are "too expensive" to be used by criminals. We're safe he tells us because it's only attorneys and movie stars who buy the damn things.
I don't like guns, but I'm really not uncomfortable around people who do. Second amendment--is that the one?--arguments seem over wrought to me. Lots of guns are okay, but I draw the line about the kinds of guns which are legitimate to have and to hold much closer to sporting guns than to WMD than many gun advocates do. But all guns seem terribly expensive to me. It never occured to me that we're safe from criminals because they can't afford them. Yes, we're told, "crime doesn't pay," but because money is one of the major motivations for crime, we all know sometimes it does pay and pay very well indeed.
While I was looking for that link over at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Web site, I noticed a Web-exclusive column Worry Watch. I wonder why they don't print it? I suspect the editors are concerned too many heads might explode. Of course with my morbid curiosity in tow I had to see what it was about. Today's entry is actually somewhat useful in that it provides the list of all the Sony Music titles which contained the malware that customers unwittingly installed on their computers. It turns out anti-virus software companies are encouraging customers not to install the Sony patch because it opens an even larger security hole than the nearly impossible to remove malware Sony started out with.
In other news, Rupert Murdoch maybe eyeing Clusty.com for purchase. That news is rather sad because Clusty is the search engine I use the most. When my Internet Service Provider did a recent software update it broke Internet Explorer on my computer, which I was running with a Google toolbar. I tinkered around, but eventually simply installed the Firefox browser. That was cool enough and Google has a toolbar to use with Firefox, but I couldn't seem to install it. That's how I came to use Clusty.com's toolbar. It's a local Pittsburgh company. I had used it before because it seemed better at finding more current pages than Google, and found the clustering feature useful. Rupert Murdoch--Say it ain't so!
Those little peeps are at my friend Nathan's feet. Yesterday he went to check on the village poultry project that's just got underway. I couldn't be more pleased to see the picture.
I'm very nearly through reading George Ayittey's Africa In Chaos. Today I discovered that I have to get and read Ayittey's latest book Africa Unchained. Over on the blogroll you may have noticed Timbuktu Chronicles one of the smartest blogs I've discovered. Emeka Okafor is a New York based consultant and entrepreneur. I wonder if he's related to the pro-basketball player Chukwuemeka Noubuisi Okafor? Timbuktu Chronicles posts are always very encouraging to me. It was only today that I found out about another blog Okafor writes called Africa Unchained. "A platform for analysing and contributing to the issues and solutions raised by George Ayittey's latest book 'Africa Unchained'."
Africa In Chaos take an "internalist stance" that is, Ayittey argues that the causes for problems in Africa are primarily internal. Last year going to meetings of the African Students Organization at Pitt, I heard this stance argued. I must admit it seemed a little strange to me. Clearly the colonial legacy disadvantages African countries, so I was never able to swallow the internalist position whole. Still I listened with interest and great appreciation for the earnestness of the ASO members from many different countries advancing it. A very good capsulated version of Ayittey's views can be found in an interview by Bill Moyers from a Wide Angle episode.
There are solutions and young people like Nathan are working hard to make them happen. Our support, creativity, and involvement can make a difference too.