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Patriotism and Patriot Day

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Photo of an ordinary honey bun and the "Patriotic honey buns" box it came out of

These are honey buns. Patriotic honey buns, if the box is to be believed. The obvious question here is, what is so patriotic about them? The answer is nothing, aside from the box featuring a flag, some stars, and the word “patriotic.” Even the individual wrappers don’t have anything special on them.

A less obvious but still relevant question would be, why do honey buns need to be patriotic? They are basically chewy bread products soaked with a sugary glaze. How would patriotism improve them? This is just one man’s opinion, but I believe that we should just let honey buns be honey buns.

I wanted to share this picture anyway, but considering the timing, I’d like to use it to lead into another point.

In the United States, September 11th of each year is a memorial to those who died in the terrorist attacks on that day in 2001. Usually I just hear it called by the date, like how Independence Day is commonly just called the Fourth of July, but it actually does have a name: According to the relevant Wikipedia article, the full name is “Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance,” but for short it’s just called Patriot Day.

I certainly don’t think there’s anything unusual, much less wrong, about having feelings of patriotism stirred up by the memory of an attack on the United States. Still, if it’s meant to be a memorial, I don’t see how patriotism improves it all that much. I’d rather just let the memorial be a memorial. There’s nothing wrong with love of country, but I don’t think it deserves top billing in the name of the day.

SOPA: It’s Time to Start Worrying

November 30, 2011 Comments off

You’ve probably heard of SOPA, or the Stop Online Privavy Act. It’s basically the House’s answer to the Senate’s Protect-IP act, only worse. I could go on to explain how the act more-or-less empowers big media companies to do just about anything except stop piracy, but others have done that already.

I’m ashamed to admit that when it comes to net neutrality, I’ve often fallen into the old “It could never happen to me” trap: Government-approved censorship at the behest of ISPs or media companies just seemed so obviously wrong that there’s no way a bill supporting it would actually pass. But ever since SOPA was introduced, some pretty big names–and unlikely allies–are raising their voices in opposition.

I first got wind of this when Firefox pointed me to Mozilla’s FIGHT SOPA page. Later on, I was reading a Tumblr blog and I saw a reblogged post about how Tumblr is asking its users to get involved. (I’d post a link, but Tumblr appears to be down right now. I think it’s a coincidence.) A little further reading revealed that Mozilla was one of several companies that joined to oppose SOPA by sending a joint letter to Congress. Those companies are AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo!, and Zynga.

That makes it clear to me that this isn’t just bothering paranoid conspiracy theorists and professional activists. It’s a real problem, and we should all be concerned about it.

I think it’s time I do some writing, too.

Update 12/07/2011: Here’s that Tumblr post I menteioned.

In unrelated news: That Mozilla blog post has a “Responses” section that linked back to this post. It has the wrong title, though, because I edited it after posting. Oh, well.

Categories: Net Neutrality, politics