Saturday, January 29, 2005

Ever hear of e-books?

Imagine a whole book that fits in the palm of your hand. No, imagine fifteen books that fit in the palm of your hand.

With an e-book reader or a Personal Data Assistant (PDA) you can carry several books around wherever you go. Fits easily in a purse, jacket pocket, or even the back pocket of your jeans. I read mine in line at the grocery store, at the post office, or wherever I find myself waiting for something. For portable entertainment, you can't beat an e-book.

Storage and purchasing of e-books is also much simpler than going to the bookstore. No traffic, waiting in line, dealing with crowds at the mall. And your PC becomes your own personal library. Read and re-read books at your leisure.

And for until very recently, the Big Publishers in New York, London, and elsewhere, have decided what books get published. What's 'good' enough to be published. They, not you, have decided what books made it to market. Why let them continue feeding you only what they decide you're going to read?

Buy E-books and tell the Big Pubs that you’ll decide.

E-book authors know their fans. They participate in e-mail lists and generally answer their own personal e-mail. They host contests for their readers and do giveaways on a regular basis. We e-book writers are a friendly crowd.

All you have to do to get to know them is join one or more of the yahoo groups.

A good place to start looking for e-books is fictionwise.

Once you get an e-book reader for your PC installed, you can either buy a book through fictionwise straight off, or you can get your feet wet by looking for free books first. If you're into science fiction or fantasy, I recommend you check out Baen Books. They have a free library there of many popular mainstream science fiction and fantasy titles, including novels by David Weber, Mercedes Lackey, and many others.

Listen to Alternative?
So read alternative.
E-books—an alternative to the big name publishers.

Like “Outlaw Country?"
Read like an outlaw.
Support the “Outlaw Press."

Like Independent Film?
Support the Indie Press.
Buy an E-book.

One of the other great things about e-books is that no trees are harmed for the publication of (most) e-books, though thousands of electrons are greatly inconvienced.

Corporate Personhood?

WorkingForChange-BuzzFlash interview: Thom Hartmann

This is a subject I've actually considered in some depth over the last few years. It came up in conversation with a friend over Tabacco companies using the "Free Speech" argument for advertising purposes.

His contention--one I've certainly come to agree with--is that advertising is NOT free speech, at least not the free speech the Founders envisioned when they wrote the Constitution. This interview specifically addresses this point, as well as many others.

People need to follow the links included in this article and work against the corporate takeover of America. We can't allow Big Business to turn us all into good little button-pushing monkeys without a fight.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Representation by Lottery

I received an e-mail recently from a fellow civil liberties advocate that actually brought to the forefront of my mind a discussion my wife and I have had from time to time. One, oddly enough, that we happen to agree upon despite our somewhat different political views. She's a bit more conservative than I am in some ways, closer to a big "L" Libertarian than a progressive like myself.

Anyway, our discussion goes like this. The United States is coming under the sway of a pseudo-aristocracy made up of--can you guess?--lawyers. Almost all of our elected officials in all three branches of government, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial, are lawyers.

The vast majority of them come from families with political or monetary influence. And this is becoming more prevalent as time passes. It's hard to avoid. Deals are made, campaigns are financed, and people are recognized more from where they come from than for what they personally represent.

So here's a proposal to change all that. It would never happen, of course, since the Powers That Be (hereafter referred to as the PTB) would never allow it to happen, but it's certainly amusing to consider.

What if members of the House of Representatives weren't chosen by election, but, instead, were chosen by lottery? Only active voters of legitimate age would be eligible, but they might come from any walk of life. They might be white, black, hispanic, asian, wealthy, poor, straight, gay, Christian, Pagan, agnostic, atheist, or whatever. There would be no campaigning and no deceit on their part to gain the seat. They'd be truly representative of the American People.

Sure, you might end up with a couple dummies, or crooks, but, hell, we get those already. Anyone who's actually paying attention would know that. The lottery would occur ever so many years and be staggered slightly, so there'd wouldn't be a complete turnover each time. Say 1/3 of the body would be replaced every four years. They'd receive the compensation due them based upon the position as it stands now. Think of how many lives it could change for the better.

I don't have the exact details of how it might work, but I'm sure something could be figured out.

I'd love to hear a critique of the idea, either positive or negative.

Call me a kook if you want to, but I'm hard pressed to see a downside.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The biggest hoax?

Quote of the day (thank you

From Senator James Inhofe, a (surprise-surprise) Republican from Oklahoma.

"Global warming is 'the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state."

This yahoo is actually the Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

It's funny. At work today I was actually thinking something remarkably similar. Except my version went something like this. "Revealed religion is the biggest con perpetrated against the human race, with Marxism coming in a close second."

I like my quote better.

Confirm this!

I notice that Condi Rice got hauled across the fire pit in the confirmation hearings. They straight out called her a liar. Just in not so many words. Didn't stop the nomination, of course. I'm pretty sure nothing short of a mob with torches and pitchforks would've done so.

Oh...wait...that would never work. Ummm. Maybe nothing could have stopped the nomination. Score one for the Pod People. You know the ones I mean--the very people who'd be shrieking like their privates were on fire if a Democratic administration had pulled a fraction of the crap that this Republican administration has pulled.

You know what I'm saying. Of course, the counter argument to this is whether the Democrats would be howling like mad if a Democratic administration had done the same thing. I wish I knew. But this is why I'm a Centrist. I think anyone's who's loyal to party politics over their own consciences should be tarred and feathered and rode out of the country on a rail. To great fanfare. Then again, those who don't seem to have a conscience could be forgiven, I suppose. Where would the world be without sociopaths?

Don't answer that.