I recently read a cogent article on the absurdities of American health care. It is well worth reading if you want to understand just how badly you are being ripped off. The American health care system is just nuts. In what version of reality does it make sense to have insurance paying for normal doctor's visits? Does my car insurance pay for my tune ups? In what version of reality does it make sense to have your employer give you your health insurance? A situation in which what health insurance you get, how much service it provides and how much it costs you is decided by your employer is clearly barking mad.
With the current attempt to get rid of overtime pay for many workers along with the quickly vanishing American vacation (both links thanks to Slashdot) I wonder how long until there is some sort of grass roots revolt. Then again, as recent events from the vote in the 2000 presidential election to the WMD that aren't there in Iraq to the Tax Cut for the Rich tell us that the American people are willing to take a lot of abuse. That is unfortunate because it means that when the inevitable backlash occurs it will be enormous which usually means violent. A well run democracy is one in where there is a constant feedback loop between the people and the government. But in a country where barely half the voting population bothered to vote in the last presidential election how much of a feedback loop can one hope for? Many have abdicated their freedom and then wonder at its absence.
I recently joined as an associate member of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and was shocked to discover that the total number of associate members is well under 2000. The FSF is the protector of the GNU Public License (GPL) and the steward of the GNU Project that organizes and helps to deliver GNU software. I suspect one would have to look long and hard to find anyone in the computer industry, hardware or software, who is not producing software with or using software developed using GNU or GPL'd projects. Even Microsoft ships GNU software. So show your gratitude and help protect your own future by joining the FSF. And while you are at it get your company to join too.
I tend to update the site sporadically so to make it easier for those who care to keep track of my latest ramblings I have set up an RSS feed for my page. Much thanks to Mark Nottingham and his most excellent page on RSS. Using RSS you can subscribe to my page and your RSS reader will notify you whenever I create an update. Read Mark's page for more information about RSS.
For what it's worth I use Amphetadesk as my RSS reader. Picking a reader was a pain because there aren't that many out there for Linux and most of them have sucky UI. I'm also paranoid and cheap so I didn't want to use a web based RSS reader service. My favorite reader from a UI perspective was NewsMonster. But it sucked up huge memory (usually around 80 megs) and made Mozilla 1.3.1 crash at random times. So I then tried Amphetadesk which is missing some really important features (like the ability to mark a feed as read) but it is cool enough in other ways that it is usable. I will check out NewsMonster again when I upgrade to Mozilla 1.4 to see if it has become more stable and less of a memory hog.