Bring the noise

Here we go again:

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whose outspoken libertarian views and folksy style made him a cult hero during two previous presidential campaigns, will announce on Tuesday that he’s going to try a third time.

The fact that Ron Paul was absolutely right about everything he warned Republicans during the last primary should make him the automatic nominee. Naturally, this means that the Republican leadership is going to do everything they can to stop him so that they can throw up a sacrificial RINO like Romney to secure a second ObamaHillary’s first term.

Anyhow, Rep. Paul just guaranteed that the Republican debates will be a lot more interesting. I can’t wait to hear Romney stumbling over his defenses of invading Libya, raising the debt ceiling, and letting the banks off with foot massages since hand slaps would be too harsh.

Mocking the mocker

Mr. PZ Myers unwisely elected to mock Texas governor Rick Perry’s prayer request for some much-needed rain in the face of a drought:

Texans, you have my sympathy. But don’t worry! You have a dynamic governor and a responsive legislature that will do everything it can to aid drought-stricken farmers and parched cities. They will provide the Republican solution.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK PERRY, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal way of life.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my Office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 21st day of April, 2011.

Isn’t that helpful?

Based on the empirical evidence, the only answer one can provide is, apparently, yes.

Mother Nature gave the hundreds of firefighters battling the Possum Kingdom Complex fire an Easter Sunday blessing in the form of rain. On a day that Governor Rick Perry had declared a “Day of Prayer for Rain,” 2 to 3 inches of rain fell over Possum Kingdom Lake. Along with heavy rain and pea-sized hail, the storm brought with it a Tornado Warning in Palo Pinto County that later expired without incident. The much needed rain was a welcome sight to the hundreds of firefighters working to contain the fire.

And yet some dare to say that God doesn’t have a sense of humor. One of the things I most appreciate about God is the apparent enjoyment He takes in mocking His mockers.

Android is less evil than Apple

Talk about damning with faint praise…. Anyhow, being an Android user myself, I was concerned about reports that Google was doing the same thing as Apple in collecting location data on Android users. After looking into the matter, however, the behavior of the two companies appears to be rather different. The reason for my concern was that I had always kept the two options for location tracking, wireless and GPS, turned off, and it seemed astonishing that Google would be so stupid as to attempt to give its users a false sense of location security while secretly tracking them against their clear wishes as determined by their chosen settings. However, numerous people looking into the matter have determined that off really is off.

If you want to find out whether your Android phone is collecting location information tap Menu, Location & Security. You will see the screenshot shown above, which has two options for how your phone collects location information, either via wireless networks or by using GPS satellites. If you do not want your location information tracked, clear both check boxes.

Be aware that if you turn off location tracking, apps like Google Maps that show your location will not work. If you decide to turn location tracking back on, you will see the screen as shown below, telling you that you are allowing Google’s location service to collect anonymous location data, and that collection will occur even when no applications are running.

In other words, the real “problem” with Android is that people who have either never looked at their location settings or ignored at least one, and usually two, pop-up warning that their location will be tracked, don’t realize that they have opted in to location tracking. That’s not an actual problem; although it would be preferable if the default option was always set to off, the total cluelessness of many, if not most users, make it understandable why Google would have the default option set to on. The point is that it’s not nefarious and unlike Apple, Google has provided a way to completely turn off location tracking.

That being said, it is obnoxious that Google ties Android to a Gmail account and it would be vastly preferable if it did not do so. But it’s still to be preferred to the sheltered life in Apple’s technofascistic walled garden.

WND column

The Problem with Evil

The fact of the existence of evil troubles many individuals, religious and irreligious alike. Numerous strategies have evolved for dealing with it, from denying it like the Buddhists, enduring it like the Stoics, combating it like the Christians or redefining it like the Marxists. But regardless of the method one chooses, there is observably something to which all of these people from the panoply of religious and philosophical creeds are responding.