web server back up

earth.parts-unknown.org is now back up. I have not restored user accounts, but will do so as needed. The home directories and web sites are all still there, but the logins have not been set up. Other features may also be missing, which I’ll hopefully figure out and correct as needed.

Web server down again

An old, tiny disk drive which held the root file system on my web server (earth.cybernude.org) started producing errors, and crashing the system. So I replaced the disk drive. Unfortunately, this means I have to reinstall FreeBSD, something I really don’t have time for, right now.

And of course the fact that I really don’t have time for this means it is being truly troublesome. The FreeBSD version 6.1 installation is, I swear, the worst I’ve seen. Superficially, it appears like the old one. But it won’t recognize that you might have, say, /usr and /usr/local in separate partitions. And it insists that the root partition be huge, but won’t tell you how large it really needs to be (hint: 32GB wasn’t large enough for me, and no, I’m not installing X). So of course, you really have no idea how huge. And it really doesn’t seem to want to install the boot loader.

So several hours later, I’m trying to install it for about the fifth time. Those who know me, know I’m thinking lethal thoughts.

Hot all over

“Although one summer’s extremes cannot be taken per se as evidence of global warming, [Climate historian Philip Eden] said the frequency with which records have been broken – and broken again – during the past two decades is entirely consistent with the progressive warming trend in the Earth’s climate.”

Republican-lites continue takeover of Democratic Party

Two stories in the Los Angeles Times today underscore my reasons for joining the California Peace and Freedom Party. With a stated mission of “moving the party towards the center” (the Kerry-Edwards platform in 2004 was already barely distinguishable from that of the Republicans), the Democratic Leadership Council unveiled a plan that would do some good, with “proposals to make college tuition and home-buying more accessible, expand the availability of healthcare, and provide greater retirement security — all leavened with a smidgen of Bush-bashing.” Senator Hillary Clinton, often spoken of as a contender for the 2008 presidential nomination, “said a Democratic-run Congress would investigate no-bid contracts, ‘the role oil companies are playing in Iraq,’ and supply problems that have plagued U.S. combat troops.”

The truly amazing part of all this is the assumption of a continued role in Iraq. “A member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Clarence Davis, delivered a diatribe against Republican ‘fascists’ and Bush that lighted up the small hotel ballroom in which he spoke. The Democratic Party, Davis said, has allowed ‘self-serving, draft-dodging idiots to claim America … and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.'” This is clearly not about scaling back American imperialism; it isn’t even about Bush’s hypocrisy in evading service in Vietnam. It is about a continued appeal to militarism, as former President and possible future First Husband Bill Clinton appeared at a campaign rally for Senator Joe Lieberman, arguing “that Democrats should not abandon their leaders over the war issue. Lieberman’s unyielding support for the war in Iraq has turned Connecticut’s Aug. 8 primary into a startlingly fierce contest, pitting a three-term U.S. senator and vice presidential nominee against a political neophyte, Ned Lamont, who advocates setting a deadline to withdraw troops. . . . ‘No Democrat is responsible for the mistakes that have been made since the fall of Saddam Hussein,’ [Bill Clinton] said. ‘We’re not responsible for the fact that that a lot of those kids still don’t have body armor … and there’s billions of dollars that have been given out in no-bid contracts and millions that are just missing. We’re not responsible for that. So I say, we can fight later in the future about what do we do next, and honorable people can disagree.'” The war, therefore, is okay; it is Bush’s handling of the war that is under challenge. The lies that persuaded the American people to support the war are okay; but Democrats will fuss over Halliburton.

Another Gulf of Tonkin?

I saw a bumpersticker today, proudly proclaiming that the driver’s son was in the Army. Next to it was a sticker depicting the Statue of Liberty, holding a combat rifle high aloft, in place of the torch. How sad, I thought, that this person’s concept of liberty meant depriving others of it, for that is indeed the consistent history of this imperialistic country.

I’ve been reading David Halberstam’s The Powers That Be, and I read about how the CIA had provoked the Gulf of Tonkin incident with PT-boat attacks on North Vietnamese installations. And my thoughts returned to the current conflagration in the Middle East, with Israel warning Lebanese civilians to evacuate their homes, amid speculation of a massive ground invasion. And I remembered the reports I’ve seen repeatedly of military action already occurring in Iran, with U.S. forces probing for targets.

Will it be another Gulf of Tonkin? Will U.S. Special Forces provoke a retaliation that the Bush Administration will paint as an unprovoked attack? With midterm elections coming up, and the Republicans looking to possibly lose control of the House of Representatives, will there be an “October Surprise,” designed to fortify the Republican position?

I can’t rule it out. After all, we initiated a war with Iraq on false pretenses. Already overstretched on two fronts, Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush Administration should be smarter than to take on Iran. But the Bush Administration should have been smarter about a few things. It wasn’t, and the most dangerous country in the world has been ruled by the most reckless group of people in decades for over five years now.

If two wars aren’t enough to shore up the Republican position, perhaps a third will be the charm.

Rumblings of another war

As Israel attacks the Gaza Strip and Lebanon (both in retaliation for the capture of its soldiers), I am wondering about the implications of a war between Israel with an already-overstretched American backing on the one side, and Syria and Iran on the other. Who else will be drawn in? Can Israel be overextended on two fronts? Will this conflict offer a convenient means for neoconservatives to divert attention from the bloodletting in Iraq while pursuing a military involvement on a wider scale in the Middle East?

Even as I ask these questions, there is only one certainty in my mind: I am missing many more.

Bush and Chavez both interfering in Nicaragua election

Nicaragua’s presidential election is “four months away.”

Visiting [Nicaragua] last week to assess the preelection climate, former President Jimmy Carter said foreign interference in the [presidential] campaign is a serious issue.

“The Carter Center strongly opposes foreign intervention in Nicaragua’s electoral process,” Carter said in a statement. “Almost all of the Nicaraguans with whom we spoke expressed concern about foreign governments endorsing, vetoing or funding specific candidates.”

Two antagonists, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and United States President Bush, have sought to influence the vote as they compete for Latin American governments.

Novak says Rove a source in Plamegate

According to CNN, Conservative columnist Robert Novak, who exposed Valerie Plame as a CIA operative in a White House-directed effort to discredit her husband, has written that White House political advisor Karl Rove was one of his sources; he confirmed Plame’s identity. Plame’s husband, Joe Wilson, had discredited White House claims in support of a war on Iraq, that Saddam Hussein had sought weapons-grade uranium in Niger. None of Novak’s sources, he says, have been indicted.

Speculation that Rove might be indicted intensified following a series of TruthOut stories and blog postings claiming he had been. Rove’s lawyer has denied the allegations. TruthOut has stood by its story.