Let Gravel Speak!

I recently watched and blogged about MSNBC’s Democratic Primary Debates in South Carolina, and while I am a supporter of Dennis Kucinich, I was highly impressed by former Senator Mike Gravel’s passionate, blunt and truthful commentary on the so-called “front-runner” candidates and on their calculated half-hearted stands on the Iraq War. Even more impressive is Senator Gravel’s ideas on the issues and his initiative for more participatory democracy. We need to see more truth speakers like Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Senator Mike Gravel, and Republican Congressman Ron Paul who talk about what we need to hear and not what they think we want to hear. We need more voices like this if we are to have a real debate about ideas instead of the usual nonsense.

That is why I am angry (although not surprised in the least) to learn that “in a pre-emptive statement issued on March 16, CNN, WMUR TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader declared their intention to exclude Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel from their tri-sponsored debate on June 3rd.” Not only do the corporate media act to anoint certain candidates as worthy of attention and thereby illicitly influence the vote of the public, but also they often exclude the non-anointed candidates from debates that might actually improve a candidate’s standing and allow the public a better chance to become informed. The media should not have this power to control the viability of candidates and influence voters. Continue reading →

Finger of Death

It seems that when it comes to work computers I have the finger of death. Over the last several years, I have experienced more than my share of Windows failures where through my work machine gets stuck in a perpetual state of blue screen of death. Two years ago, this happened twice within a few months and although it was really annoying at the time, the end result was that I was blessed with a much better computer. My boss cubed at the time decided that I should get a Linux based machine since I was doing some Linux related work in addition to my normal development, and since my boss was no longer needing his powerful dual processor Opteron after moving into his management position, I inherited his machine.

My Opteron is undoubtedly sweet. I have it running the excellent Kubuntu distribution of the Linux operating system and on top of that I have VMWare Workstation installed. Thanks to the power of virtual computing, I usually run 2-3 virtual computers on top of the Opteron with one of them being my main Windows development machine and the others being Linux machines on which I conduct research and experiments with new server software for my company.

For about two years now, this setup ran pretty smoothly. Then, a few weeks ago, my Windows virtual machine started occasionally showing problems. Sometimes it would inexplicably slow down unbearably. Other times it would simply lock up. Usually rebooting fixed these issues. It was still a bit disconcerting.

Last Friday though things finally came to a head. My computer started to slow down. I decided to reboot and at some point Windows got into a fit where it kept complaining about system files that needed to be replaced. No matter what I did, more of these windows started shooting up asking me whether I should replace file such and such. Quite swiftly, the system came to a halt. Continue reading →

MSNBC Presidential Debates

On Thursday evening, MSNBC hosted a Presidential debate between the eight Democratic candidates for President. After watching several such debates back during the election season of 2004, I was prepared for another display of the corporate media’s bias and how certain candidates get selected for media exposure and hype before the public even gets a real chance to know who is running for the Presidency and how the candidates stand on the issues.

So far my candidate Congressman Dennis Kucinich has received better treatment from the press this time around. I have seen quite a few interviews with him recently and all of them have been rather good in terms of giving him a chance to talk about policy instead of campaign fund raising and polls. Indeed, many interviewers have even drawn attention to the fact that Kucinich is the only one of the Democratic Presidential candidates who was in office at the time of the illegal invasion of Iraq and had the judgment and political courage to oppose the Iraq War before it started, to vote against it, and to continually fight it.

I was glad to see that tonight’s debate allowed Kucinich to shine better than in the previous campaign cycle. He got to talk several times about two of his strongest points: his consistent opposition to the Iraq War and his plan for Universal Health Care that will eliminate the enormous waste and bureaucracy created by the health care insurance industry by removing them from the equation.

Still, it wasn’t really a fair debate between the candidates and the evening showed some of the biases that you get when the corporate media has the ability to anoint certain candidates and choose who answers what questions and how many.

Being the analytic sort, I decided to perform an experiment and keep track of some data while watching the debates. Continue reading →