The Big Think

December 29, 2003

Sanka-bad

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 3:20 pm

This is why I recently gave up caffeine (temporarily, at least).

I.T.

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:37 am

Inquirer: Why the IT industry is shifting away from Microsoft.
The fact is, if you are negotiating with Microsoft, and you pull out a SuSE or Redhat box, prices drop 25 per cent from the best deal you could negotiate. Pull out a detailed ROI (return on investment) study, and another 25 per cent drops off, miraculously. Want more? Tell Microsoft the pilot phase of the trials went exceedingly well, and the Java Desktop from Sun is looking really spectacular on the Gnome desktop custom built for your enterprise, while training costs are almost nil. It isn’t hard to put the boot in to Microsoft again and again these days — being a Microsoft rep must be a tough job. And whatever it does, people are still jumping ship.

Foot-in-Mouth?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:20 am

“I still have this old fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, prejudge jury trials.”
Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean

Much has been made the past few days about Howard Dean’s comment above. I heard it proclaimed as “stupid quote of the year” on an Austin radio station tonight. I’ve heard various news anchors say how they can’t believe he could say something like this. Dean is receiving lots of coverage for “hastily backpedaling” today when he said “As an American, I want to make sure he gets the death penalty he deserves”

Now I’ve rarely voted for Dean’s party, and I don’t think he would make a good chief executive, but I take issue with the idea that his comment is somehow unbecoming a candidate for office. Let’s look at it another way, don’t you want to know that the highest ranking official in the free world wants to have an unbiased and fair trial system? Does anyone feel comfortable with the opposite of what Dean is asserting- that there should somehow be a biased, predetermined kangaroo court in cases like these? I know the American system of jurisprudence has some pretty big holes in it, but I think those holes are still above the waterline. Tort reform can still save our ship of state. But where will we be if it’s okay to pre-judge a man before the trial occurs? Don’t we remember “innocent until proven guilty?” Don’t you want our courts to determine guilt or innocence based on the evidence, or is it enough that a great many Americans “feel” that Osama is guilty?

Don’t misunderstand me, I think Osama is guilty, our government thinks so, too. They say they have the evidence to prove it and will show it once he’s caught. I believe this justifies Bush’s confidence in saying he’s guilty. Otherwise, why proclaim him Public Enemy #1? In situations like this, when the full power of the mighty American military machine is engaged in a war, it is absolutely appropriate for the chief executive to project determination and confidence in his beliefs. Otherwise, why bother? It’s called “prosecuting” a war, not “suggesting” one. He’s not sending the pointy end of the spear there so they’ll agree to come over for tea.

If Bin Laden has claimed responsibility for 9/11 that makes it an easy decision: try him here or there, in civil, military or international court, and then send him packing. With prejudice. But try him first. In our system of laws, if a man hasn’t copped to the crime, you don’t find him guilty before the trial. That system of “justice” is the kind of Saddamy we’ve been fighting this past year to rid the world of (or at least a fair-sized chunk of the fertile crescent). It’s why Milosovic is in the Hague instead of hanging from a lamp post. It’s why we’ll have to endure the 24/7 Saddam Hussein Trial Channel for the next several years. And it’s why the civilized world can lay claim to that title.

I’ll probably end up voting for the other guy, but I wholeheartedly agree with Dean’s words (slightly paraphrased):

Osama is very likely to be found guilty, and I want to make sure he gets the death penalty he deserves, but we should do our best not to prejudge jury trials. But maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

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