The Null Device
The Age reports that President Bush's inauguration, one of the most lavish in a long time, seems more like a coronation than the swearing in of the President of a republic:
At the first inauguration of a president, in 1789, George Washington wanted to wear a suit covered in gold leaf with a special cape, and ride to the ceremony on a white horse escorted by an honour guard on white horses. Like a coronation.
He was talked out of this, and instead wore a brown suit with gold buttons and rode to Federal Hall, in New York, on a brown horse.
The president in the new republic was not a king. Still, this inauguration, like most of the others before it, feels, to an Australian, more like a coronation than the swearing in of an elected president.
Though isn't Sun Myung Moon the current Congressionally-crowned king?
Aside: isn't there a strain of fringe Christian Fundamentalism which holds that, for America to fulfil its destiny as God's chosen nation, it must have a king? There's a facsimile of a flyer in Donna Kossy's book Kooks which is curiously suggestive of such a belief.
In the Digital Rights Millennium, region-coding is not just for DVDs anymore; region-coded printer cartridges and other gadgets which only work in their intended target market: (via bOING bOING)
U.S. multinational companies want Europeans to continue to buy their goods in Europe, however, rather than seeking out bargains in the U.S. The companies make more money if Europeans pay in euros for their goods at current exchange rates.
H-P has quietly begun implementing "region coding" for its highly lucrative print cartridges for some of its newest printers sold in Europe. Try putting a printer cartridge bought in the U.S. into a new H-P printer configured to use cartridges purchased in Europe and it won't work. Software in the printer determines the origin of the ink cartridge and whether it will accept it. The company introduced region-coding on several printers in the summer so it won't have to keep altering prices to keep pace with currency movements, says Kim Holm, vice president for H-P's supplies business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. H-P eventually plans to introduce the concept across its entire line of inkjet printers, he adds.
Hewlett-Packard currently appears to be one of the most enthusiastic advocates of "rights management" and similar forms of policeware to keep no-good thieving customers in line. If, as the 21st century unfolds, we find all our data in a digital black iron prison, where every movement is micromanaged by the stern rules of profit-motivated corporate overlords, enforced by their digital prison guards in every machine, we can thank Ms. Fiorina for helping to bring this about.
Respected investigative reporter Seymour Hersh claims that US special forces are in Iran, covertly selecting targets for air strikes, and that Iran is likely to be the next country "liberated" from its regime.
Given how well the liberation of Iraq has gone, it's a worry. Though perhaps in domestic political terms, it's a better strategy to go and knock over a fresh evil regime and leave the festering pit of brutal misery that Iraq has become to quietly fall out of media coverage. Meanwhile, North Korea is still in the too-hard basket, despite the fact that, if there ever was one candidate for an "evil regime" to knock over (both on humanitarian grounds and under the doctrine of preemptive self-defence; after all, isn't Kim Jong Il uncomfortably close to being able to hit California with nuclear missiles?), that would probably be it.
Anyway, how much do you want to bet that, when the
Somalization liberation of Iran comes around, John Howard's Australia and Tony Blair's Britain will be jostling for first in line to volunteer troops?
Anyway, I'll probably end up picking them up, for the handful of songs not on the Where'd You Learn To Kiss That Way retrospective released by Shinkansen some years back (now also out-of-print), and also for the liner notes which they are said to have.