December 17, 2007

Napoleon, Washington, and Putin

Posted by TMLutas

I had hopes for Vladimir Putin. If he would just keep his word and retire after two terms, the frequency of power changes would eventually clean up the russian political swamp. That was the big chance. But after reading about Russia's upcoming switcheroo with Putin just playing musical chairs and running the country from his new role as Prime Minister that's gone.

Napoleon said.., but no, let Richard Brookheiser say it better:

When Napoleon was on St. Helena, one of the remarks he made in his table talk was "They wanted me to be another Washington." Then he went on to explain, in Napoleonic fashion, how this was not possible in his circumstances. Ambition always finds reasons.

Ambition always finds reasons except when you refuse to look for them. Dictators always have trouble with Washington.

Putin seems to have the same trouble Napoleon did with Washington. May he have the same end too.

December 13, 2007

Letter to the Paper LIX

Posted by TMLutas is hosting a war debate on the moral justness of the Iraq War. The first installment is the pro-war opening prompted me to write the following:

There is a real need for Catholics to agree on the facts of the Iraq war. When did it start, end, what are the stakes, these are all things that are in contention and create unnecessary acrimony. The stakes are often minimized and when it happens, of course the cost looks much more unreasonable.

We are currently running the very dangerous end game of a multi-century decline of the Islamic civilization (this decline predates US independence). Go read Bernard Lewis for the details. There is a real need that there is a way out for the muslims but a pernicious interlocking web of pathologies has prevented a fix for centuries and it's just getting worse.

At the same time we are on the verge of a revolution in military affairs where smaller and smaller groups can create larger and larger amounts of trouble, the ultimate expression being the "superempowered individual" a real life embodiment of every James Bond villian you've ever seen. Osama Bin Laden is just an early model. It goes downhill from him.

We are still at war with N. Korea. We were still at war with Iraq. These sorts of extended cease fires have happened all the time in the history of diplomatic affairs and the Vatican has certainly encountered them before. To deny these diplomatic facts is to ignore an important point of reality. You cannot ignore reality and hope to arrive at a proper moral judgment as to the justness of a war.

The overflights of Iraqi airspace were not police runs. The US military never conceived of them as police actions and its police arms (military police/shore patrol) did not manage them. Our establishment of independent Kurdistan cannot be viewed as a police action. Such an action follows no accepted police model. To call it policing is an abuse of language and has no place in the proper discussion of the justice of war.

It seems now (though history has not yet finalized its say) that Saddam's 2003 nuclear program was a chimera designed to counter a real nuclear weapons program in Iran. To kill someone who tries and succeeds to deceive you into thinking they are armed and an immediate mortal threat to your life is usually not considered immoral. The state equivalent seems to have happened here.

Our best understanding at this point is that this invasion stopped two illegal nuclear weapons programs, Iran's and Libya's. Creating a demonstration effect to improve safety throughout the region was always part of the point of the war. We succeeded at that and those good effects should be put in the balance as to whether or not the war did more good than bad.

I have a feeling I'm going to be writing more in the rest of the debate series.

December 08, 2007

OpenGroupware VM

Posted by TMLutas

I'm updating my previous foray into opengroupware as it's maturing as a product and I'm going to want to be able to open up a vm bottle with this as I please in the future. Since I have access to a VMware licensed server right now, I figure I'll do it in that environment but eventually, I'll probably replicate this using Xen.

Ok, on to the steps
1. download CentOS 5 as a DVD .iso file.
2. create vmware image, mark it using Redhat 5
3. tell the vm machine to use the .iso file you downloaded in step one as its CD-ROM drive
4. install centOS (KDE desktop, server, and server GUI options)
5. boot and log in as root
6. load vmware tools:
6a. yum install gcc kernel-devel
6b. uname -r
6c. rpm -q kernel-devel
6d. the two versions should match, if not, make them:
yum upgrade -y kernel kernel-devel
6e. login and from the VM menu, select Install VMware tools
6f. mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/
6g. install the rpm
6h. If you're getting a lot of VFS errors, just reboot otherwise unmount the image
6j. logout and log back in
At this point you should be able to start xwindows and should no longer have the "vmwaretools not installed" error message annoying you. If not, try looking here.
7. yum install postgresql-server
8. figure out what version of OpenGroupware you want to install
9. cd to /etc/yum.repos.d
10. vi ogo.repos
11. add three repo entries editing the strings for the OGO version you want:
11a. [ogo-releases] release builds
11b. [sope-releases]
name=Sope 4.4 Release
11c. [thirdparty-releases]
name=Third Party Support Packages for OpenGroupware
12. rpm --import
13. yum install ogo-meta
14. chkconfig --level 2345 postgresql on
15. service postgresql start
Warning: this section fixes a temporary problem with Apache 2.2. If you are using a different Apache version, you should skip this section
16. lynx
17. download modified
18. gunzip
19. copy out the old one "just in case" and move your new one to /usr/lib/httpd/modules
-- end skippable section --
20. service httpd restart
21. In /var/lib/pgsql/data/postgresql.conf set 'tcpip_socket = true'
22. In /var/lib/pgsql/data/pg_hba.conf appand the following lines and comment out
all other lines:
host all all trust
local all all trust
23. su - root
su - postgres
createdb OGo
createuser -A -D OGo
pushd /usr/local/lib/
psql -h localhost OGo OGo
24. Inside the psql terminal
\i Resources/pg-build-schema.psql
25. exit (get back to root)
26. yum install libobjc (CentOS5 apparently doesn't have it and the next command won't work without it)
27. Defaults write NSGlobalDomain LSConnectionDictionary '{databaseName = OGo; hostName = localhost; password = ""; port = 5432; userName = OGo}'
28. Defaults write NSGlobalDomain LSAdaptor PostgreSQL
29. service ogo-nhsd start
30. service ogo-webui start
31. service ogo-xmlrpcd start
32. service ogo-zidestore start
33. map the image port 20000 to the host adaptor port you want to use
You should be done

December 07, 2007

Report Your Horny Kids?

Posted by TMLutas

The recently passed HR 3791 would mandate that public, open networks register and report an "involved individual" who had viewed child pornography. While reducing child exploitation is a laudable goal, this bill is a badly written attempt at fixing the problem.

IANAL is shorthand for "I am not a lawyer", and I'm not so take this with the appropriate amount of salt. That being said HR3791 seems to require the closure of all home based wireless networks, especially in urban areas where you can be a public provider without even realizing it. Put up an open wifi access point in your college dorm? That would be crazy talk.

What's even worse is when parents have that stereotypical 'gotcha' moment and they catch their kids experimenting with porn. As written currently, there's no well crafted exception for your own kids so the House of Representatives apparently expects parents to report their hormone addled children when they operate an unlocked wireless access point.

I don't think so.

Certain kinds of stupid should not be dealt with by the law but rather by the family. 15 year olds caught by dad (or worse, mom!) looking at inappropriate, even illegal pictures is one of them. It has been traditionally, and should remain, a family prerogative.

By not including a sensible carve out for matters that should be fixed 'in house' so to speak, Rep. Nick Lampson of Texas (D) has managed to uphold his party's reputation as anti-family while crafting a child protection bill. Even in the storied annals of legislative incompetence, this is impressive. Hopefully the Senate will be wiser than the House.

HT: Instapundit

December 05, 2007

Cheney Comes on Board

Posted by TMLutas

My April 25th note certainly generated a lot of interest, an early prediction of a win in Iraq. Now it seems that Vice President Cheney agrees that Iraq's provinces are well on their way to self-governance and the job will be done by the end of the Bush administration, which means that the dynamic of "the majority of Iraq is already handed over" will be in full swing for the election cycle.

It's nice when an "out there" prediction gets the VP seal of approval but you heard it here first.

Now I didn't get things entirely right. I thought at the time that the US would finesse the kurdish provinces to help keep the Turks out. The US did not. I also didn't predict that other criteria would overtake the province handovers to awaken a significant portion of the american people to the reality of Iraqi progress. But the province handovers are happening and will change the US domestic political dynamic and give enough cover to avoid betraying free Iraq.

A product of BruceR and Jantar Mantar Communications, and affiliated contributors. Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's half-informed viewpoint on the world.

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