Welcome to Aurora Leigh

Cool! It’s rare that I catch a brand-new blogger on their first day. Well, it appears to be Aurora Leigh’s second day, technically, but close enough. And she’s off to a fine start:
“You may have noticed that we’re the only Great Power around. There’s China for a regional power, though that shouldn’t bring a smile to any libertarian’s face, but mostly there’s just us. No European nation has meaningful capability to project force beyond its borders, and a number of them could defend those borders against a pack of well-armed Campfire girls. Russia has, um, issues. That leaves us to be the world’s policeman and I’m sorry you don’t like the sound of that but it’s a hell of a lot better than turning to the world and announcing that there is no sheriff in town, which is what you’re proposing.”
Somebody get this woman a seat at the big kids’ table, and some links, quick…

Iraqi Compliance: An Oxymoron

If I got to be Secretary General of the U.N. for a day….
Secretary General Bear: And now, we call Dr. Hans Blix to report on the progress of weapons inspections in Iraq.
Dr. Blix: Thank you, Secretary General. If I may begin…
Secretary General Bear: Dr. Blix, please answer the following question either “yes” or “no”. Has Iraq complied fully and immediately with all provisions of Resolution 1441, which, as you may recall, was drafted “to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council” ?
Dr. Blix: Respectfully, Secretary General, the situation is more complex than can be addressed —
Secretary General Bear: Yes, or no, Dr. Blix?
Dr. Blix: I fail to see the need for —
Secretary General Bear: Yes, or no?
Dr. Blix: Very well; no, however —-
Secretary General Bear: Thank you for your report, Dr. Blix, you may step down.
Dr. Blix: But significant progress has been demon–
Secretary General Bear: You may step down, Dr. Blix.
Dr. Blix: Signs of greater openness are emerg—
Secretary General Bear: Shut up, Dr. Blix.
-=-=-=-=-
I’m not holding my breath to see this scene played out, of course. But let’s recap, on a more point-by-point basis, where Iraq stands as per its obligations under Resolution 1441. I’ll do this Fisking-style: the full text of the “meaty” part of the resolution will be included below, with my comments interspersed. Onward:
The Security Council…1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq

Reminder: Iraq is already in material breach

One bit of information to keep in mind when you’re listening to all the debates about whether Iraq is in “material breach” of U.N. resolutions yet or not.
It’s already been declared in material breach, by Resolution 1441:
The Security Council…
1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq

Graphs on Internet Health

If you’re wondering just how bad an effect that worm you’re hearing about has had, check out this page from Matrix, which shows all sorts of interesting graphs on the overall ‘health’ of the Internet.
As, ironically, that page itself may be hard to reach, you’ll see below a sample graph which shows ‘reachability’ of Internet sites over the past seven days. You can clearly see the spike downwards early this morning; good news is, it seems like the worst is over and we’re trending upwards back to normal levels.
I can’t vouch for the accuracy of any of this data, of course, but it seems to correlate logically with the descriptions of the worm attack.
Update: Here’s the Carnegie Mellon CERT report on the attack, which has more detailed / technical information than you’ll find in news reports. Dave Winer also has good coverage (link courtesy InstaGuy), and points to Slashdot, natch.

Goldberg Sr. On National Sovereignty

Papa Goldberg (sire o’ Jonah) points out in a letter to his spawn that the Left agrees with me on the amoral nature of worshiping “sovereignty” as a holy concept — or at least, they’re supposed to:
It’s peculiar to listen to lefties make “sovereignty” a sacrosanct issue, so that it is sinful to attack the “sovereign” state of Iraq. Without going into the merits of it, historically the Left has been against the concept of sovereignty. This is what broke up the Second International at the outset of WWI…
Probably a tad unfair to lump the whole left in with the Second International, but hey, why quibble?

A PMI-Certified Bear?

So as a part of the Seemingly Endless Job Search, I’ve concluded that it might be useful for me to obtain formal certification as a project manager from the Project Management Institute.
In my jobhunt, I have encountered a small minority of openings that are looking exclusively for PMI-certified managers, so obviously it would help with those, and it seems a nice extra boost to have on one’s resume in general.
Now, the issue is how best to do it. The requirements, as I understand it, are threefold: one, to have 4,500 hours of project management experience; two, to have 35 hours of formal project management education, and three, to pass the certification exam.
I’ve no problem with the first part; I hesitate to count how many (real, not billed) hours of experience I’ve had in my career, but it’s sure is heck a lot more than 4,500. And the exam shouldn’t be a problem: got a study guide today at Borders, and thus far, it seems pretty straightforward based on my consulting experience and my old firm’s standard practices.
The middle part, though, requires some investigation: I doubt I can show 35 hours of training, so I’ll have to go find some.
So: Any suggestions? I’m particularly interested in either online coursework or courses given in Southern California, obviously. And oh, yeah: it would be nice if it was cheap, too.
I’d also welcome feedback/thoughts from anyone who has obtained PMI certification: was it worth it? Any suggestions for how to go through the process?
Anyway, will keep y’all posted on how I decide to proceed; I’m sure you are waiting with baited breath…

Virgina Heinlein Has Passed

Virginia Heinlein, Robert Heinlein’s wife of many years, died this past Sunday at the age of 86. Calpundit has a fine piece on her life with Robert, and Jane Galt also says a few words.
My father raised me on Heinlein’s work, and the vast majority of my political philosophy (Release 1.0 of it, at least) came from his ideas, and ideals. His death in 1988 was probably the first and only passing of a public figure that I truly and deeply mourned.
If there is indeed an afterlife, I hope Robert and Ginny are happily reunited there. I owe them both a great debt that cannot be repaid, although that won’t stop me from trying.

Hey Kevin, Stop By TTLB!

Wow: Today is the day that Kevin Mitnick is legally permitted to have full access to the online world again.
I remember I was at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference in Chicago back in ’94, and the big excitement was that some of the law-enforcement folks at the conference thought an attendee was Mitnick and called in a raid.
He wasn’t (a fact recognized fairly quickly by the cops; the guy was released reasonably swiftly) but boy, was he popular for the rest of the conference…
Update: Another story from ComputerWorld, which points to KevinMitnick.com … geez, busy little Future Enterpriser, ain’t he?

New Game – Fun With Slate Ads

Have you ever noticed how stunningly inappropriate some of the advertisements which appear on the pages of Slate can be?
If they are using any kind of logic to present ads appropriate to the readership of a given piece, then it has to be the worst such system ever created, as the advertisements seem to be utterly random. But this can lead to amusement: in a moment of boredom, I decided to make it a game. (And you can play along at home, too!)
What’s the most inappropriate pairing of a Slate piece and its accompanying advertisement that can be found?
With little effort, I managed to get a spot for Joe Klein’s Clinton biography The Natural to pop up under Christopher Hitchens’ latest column, which seemed a good start, given Hitchens loathing for the former President.
I then succeeded, with a little more clicking, in pairing an advertisement for theeducationplan.com (tagline: “Every Cent Counts Towards Your Child’s Education”) with Dahlia Lithwick and Emily Bazelon’s sobering discussion of the pain of miscarriage.
Which pretty much seemed inappropriate enough, so I’ll retire from the game for now. Your turn…

We’re from the Government, and we’re here to spam you.

Tired of Nigerian spam? Bored with Viagra advertisements?
Never fear: now your elected representatives can spam you:
Constituent Managment System
Developed by Constituents Direct, CMS is a powerful e-mail relationship management (ERM) tool that immediately connects you to your constituents. If you do not have your own e-mail database, use our proprietary database of over 60 million e-mail addresses. Use our CMS to spread your message quickly and efficiently and build lasting relationships with your constituents. Use our CMS to WIN campaigns.

Charming.