In spite of the marketing geared towards technology and purchasing gifts, have we forgotten the real reason why we celebrate? This video shows the real reason why we celebrate Christmas (except in technological terms).
Guest Post by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)
This week the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission issued their annual report to Congress. The report, which details all aspects of the relationship between the United States and China, contained disturbing but not unsuspected revelations that the Chinese government is behind the numerous computer hacking incidents involving many U.S. government and military sites.
Specifically, the report highlights an incident from April 2010, when for 18 minutes nearly 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic was redirected through computer servers in China. Emails and Internet traffic to and from such vital government sites as the U.S. Senate, the Department of Commerce, NASA, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Departments of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force as well as commercial sites such as Dell, Yahoo, Microsoft and IBM were hijacked and manipulated by China Telecom, a state-controlled Internet carrier.
This report follows recent testimony by the General Accounting Office (GAO) that the U.S. information technology infrastructure is vulnerable to attack. It has been estimated that the Pentagon’s computer system gets 360 million unauthorized scans or attacks a day. Cybersecurity is without a doubt a homeland security threat and our government must take the appropriate steps to protect our vulnerable systems. This week Defense Secretary Gates announced that the Department of Defense and National Security Agency will be working together more closely to address the growing cybersecurity threats faced by the federal government.
In addition, folks must realize just how important it is for individual Americans to take cybersecurity seriously, not just as a matter of personal safety, but as a matter of our country’s security as well. Those who take it upon themselves to implement relatively simple security measures are not only protecting themselves and their families, but are in effect contributing to our national efforts to secure critical infrastructures like telecommunications, energy, manufacturing, water, health care, transportation, and emergency and financial services. Weaknesses in your personal computer systems can affect the entire country. In fact, 90 percent of the nation’s critical information infrastructure is operated by the private sector.
While technology has brought tremendous improvement to our quality of life, these advances have also brought significant vulnerability. These recent attacks on government networks have served to increase awareness that cybersecurity is not just about protecting computers, but also has implications for our national security and economic well-being. Just as the federal government heavily relies upon computers to carry out their business, so do our local hospitals, firefighters and police, just to name a few. Computers are vital to the safety of the American people and as Co-Chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus and Chairman of the House Republican High Tech Working Group, I will continue working with the Administration and the leadership in Congress to see that our nation’s information networks are protected from future cyber attacks.
Please accept my apologies for being so quiet lately. Right now, I am without a laptop for the first time in my adult life. My computer’s video card stopped working, and thus, the end had arrived sooner than originally thought. It might alarm you that I would be computer-less, but I was able to take a technology-free vacation for the most part. It was the first time in a long time where I was able to enjoy a vacation, and got to see some cool stuff. The previous post shows a sign I saw in Burton, Ohio, and the rest of the trip was spent between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes in upstate New York enjoying some great wines and good cuisine. (I need to make a shameless plug for my new favorite winery, Bagley’s Poplar Ridge… visit and see why.)
On a positive note, I should have a new computer by the weekend. If you have any suggestions, leave it in the comments section.
In the meantime, I leave you with my new favorite political ad of the year. Move over, Basil Marceaux! Jimmy “Rent is too damn high” McMillan will prove the point. Personally, I think this guy is hilarious.
H/T to Yankee Phil
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back online shortly.
~Crystal Clear Conservative
Pardon my language, but this ticks me off. Philadelphia is requiring bloggers to pay $300 for a business license. In a time, when local governments are scraping for money, they have found a way to generate money for their coffers by imposing such outrageous fees. Are they afraid of bloggers exposing the real truth about what is happening at town hall?
This is another case of the nanny state at work. Just another regulation imposed and the liberty of speech is being suppressed daily.
The good people of Taneytown, Maryland are ticked. Why, you ask? Let’s take a road trip shall we. Taneytown is a small town located off of Maryland Route 140 and 194. It’s a two stoplight kind of town, where you could walk around at 2 in the morning without being harmed or fearful of your life being at stake. For full disclosure, I spent 22 years of my life in this town. Currently, the town is in the midst of a streetscape project, where they are tearing up the main thoroughfares (Maryland Route 140…otherwise known as East Baltimore Street to the locals, and Maryland Route 194…otherwise known as Frederick or York Streets to the locals) for water pipes, etc. This project has made life hell for those living in this town, and some even view it as a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Meanwhile, people have been expressing their outrage about this project. There’s a group on Facebook showing their disdain, and one particular YouTube user has taken the message to a wider audience proving how bad the traveled thoroughfares are.
(Scenes from East Baltimore Street…Maryland Route 140 Westbound)
(Scenes from York Street (Maryland Route 194 Southbound), headed towards the intersection of East Baltimore Street)
(Scenes from Chevro Drive, turning onto East Baltimore Street)
Who knows if this social media effort will work? It does prove a point…don’t get mad, put it on YouTube and start a revolution.
A colleague of mine sent me a link to a recent Reason.tv interview that discusses how a California-based non-profit is utilizing applications on both the iPad and iPhone to expand liberty. The application that the non-profit is promoting will connect users to all three branches of government, while allowing them to report potholes in their area at the local level to protesting federal taxes.
This is a novel idea and is another way to reach out and mobilize the grassroots to become active on a cause. While many would argue that this is not as effective as many typical activities, such as canvassing or phone calls, this offers a new innovation to reach out to tech-savvy citizens who want to be active in the democratic process.
If there is an app to help those petition the government, then we are one step closer towards expanding liberty.
If you think Twitter can not reach another level of crazy, they are now starting to reach out the next generation of tweet addiction through Twoddler. According to CNET, Fisher Price has created a new toy that will allow a child to press buttons with family members’ pictures on it that will post a reply message to the child’s Twitter account. Personally, I would rather communicate with my child than relying on Twitter to communicate whether he/she is cranky and needs a nap. A parent should pay attention to their child’s needs, rather than relying on a service of 140 characters or less.
Is it me or has this hit a new level of insanity? Can we just let kids be kids? Children can utilize technology without impacting their social skills towards addiction or even imposing the mantra of acronyms into their learning. It’s bad enough that children are growing up faster each day through the various influences in the media and on the internet. Twoddler is actually taking away from a child’s creativity by drawing them towards a technology addicted lifestyle. I guess this is the sign of the times and further distancing simplicity outside of childhood.
This is a question that some Senators and the American people should consider, especially since health care reform legislation is being debated in the U.S. Senate. Recently, we are fortunate to be in a country that has led with medical advancements, whether it is utilizing adult stem cells to find cures for diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, or experimental drugs that give hope to those with terminal illnesses. Could this be compromised with ObamaCare?
One can see from the recent reviews by the U.S. Preventative Task Force that there will be some rationing included in ObamaCare. The recent reviews regarding preventative measures for womens health definitely points to the fact that medical advancements might be impacted. The recent recommendations by this task force to push mammograms from age 40 to 50, and pap smears from age 18 to 21, are just a few examples of routine screenings that might be affected by ObamaCare. (Note: Thankfully, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, stepped in and said that these routine health care measures would continue to stay the same.)
However, as we can see in countries with universal health care/public options, medical innovations have been impacted. What new innovations have we seen from Canada or the U.K. recently? Hmmm…nothing.
Can anyone say iPhone? Yesterday, at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple unveiled several new updates to their current offerings, like the MacBook Pro, MacBooks, and the iPhone. The most anticipating news was all the features that the new iPhone would offer. With two times the speed, in addition to the video recording and editing capabilities, the new iPhone looks to become one of the most innovative offerings in its three year history. Additionally, the iPhone 3GS will offer a great feature, if you happen to misplace your phone, by allowing you to utilize MobileMe to ping and erase your phone data (if needed).
Other additional features include: cut, copy and paste, voice control, internet tethering, Nike + iPod, and a 3.0 megapixel camera. Additionally, there will be a cheaper option if you don’t want to pay $199 for the 16 GB or $299 for the 32 GB phone. The 8GB model will be selling for $99. Of course, Apple is still utilizing AT&T, and will be for quite a while.
If you are going to renew your license at the DMV in Virginia (or Arkansas, Indiana, and Nevada), don’t smile when your picture is being taken. Why, you ask? Well, the reason is that the DMV uses a specific software that is designed to detect identity theft, and if you smile, it creates more difficulties to distinguish your image. The DMV now requires a neutral look with no smile. Virginia is the most stringent, where they want you to think of the DMV experience as being one with your ex or a confrontation with your nemesis (in a professional format). Gee, I don’t think I have smiled once at the DMV, since it is like a confrontation with my nemesis or comparable to torture.
**H/T to CNet News