Some Monday Thoughts and Link Drops

KestrelI always remember the Great Backyard Bird Count is in February, so I looked around and it is coming up.  Fill your bird feeders, make up a batch of suet, slather a peanut butter/seed mix onto your favorite tree's rough bark and get ready for the Great Backyard Bird Count from February 18th – 21st

This notification is way overdue since it was published last Tuesday.  Please visit the current Carnival of Homeschooling at The Informed Parent.

I like to Stumble and I've run into some interesting websites. Thirty Books Everyone Should Read Before They’re Thirty has some great books listed.  If you haven't read some of those books – I haven't – you might find them here in the Public Domain.s.

Now I move on to the less upbeat that bothers me a bit.

The situation in Egypt is alarming and I wish the people well in their quest for freedom.  Their bravery and determination is inspiring.  Part of that determination was communicating to the rest of the world even as Mubarak shut down the internet there for a bit.  The dispensed advice garnered my attention when many of the same advice givers are behind a bill (sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader) sitting in the Homeland Security Committee that proposes shutting down our internet here in the US if it's deemed necessary. Last year, the bill would have passed except there was a fight over WHO, not whether, gets to shut 'er down.

From The Hill regarding SB 3480 Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act .  A "placeholder" bill is S 21 (pdf), which seems to have resulted from the embarrassing Wikileaks disclosures and assures us the quest for information control is not complete.
Egypt's Web blockade raises concerns about 'kill switch' for Internet

The news of Egypt's crackdown on Web access is raising new concerns over a comprehensive cybersecurity bill that critics claim gives the president a "kill switch" for the Internet.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has recently indicated she plan to re-introduce the bipartisan legislation she crafted last year with Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), which passed the Senate Homeland Security Committee last year only to get mired in a standoff with Senate Commerce Committee members over which panel should have oversight of civilian cybersecurity.
Civil rights advocates such as the ACLU also raised concerns about the bill, which they claim gives the president the ability to shut down the Web in the event of a catastrophic cyber-attack.
Specifically, observers are concerned the new version of the bill will reportedly not allow for judicial review when the administration shuts down a network under attack.
Those concerns have been heightened by the Egyptian government's move this week to cut off communications amid ongoing protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Both the U.S. government and Web firms like Facebook have criticized the move.
"Those in Congress who have proposed an 'Internet Kill Switch' for the U.S. should realize the danger of their proposal now that Egyptian President Mubarak has flipped such a switch to stifle dissent in Egypt," said Berin Szoka, president of the libertarian think tank TechFreedom.
"This incident also demonstrates a more subtle point: Maintaining the rule of law in times of crisis demands judicial review for the president's decision to designate something a 'critical  asset' subject to government diktat in the name of protecting 'cybersecurity.' "

Here's another link.  I just discovered Quotables and I do love quotes.  Don't know who Jon Evans is, but this makes sense:

The scariest truth that Wikileaks has confirmed is that most of the world’s decisionmakers, like most Wall Street ‘wizards’, are petty, bureaucratic, dogmatic, myopic, and hostile to any innovation, largely because they’re not very intelligent. Not that smarts are everything, but it’s hard to tackle complex problems when you don’t fully understand them. -Jon Evans

Here's another one:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.  — C. S. Lewis

God help us when we have the unfortunate combination of robber barons and 'do-gooders' in one form of various styles in the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches.


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