Tomorrow I go to two Thanksgiving dinners. I’m already 40 pounds over my ideal weight, though if I lost just 20 I’d be a lot better off. I’m right around 200 lbs. I was actually down to 160 in early 2004 and my weight has slowly crept up as I stopped exercising on a regular basis. Other than that I’m in good health though if I don’t start taking off the pounds again I will have problems in the future.
Anyway, here is my favorite movie clip about Thanksgiving:
People have notoriously short political memories and if it does not affect them they forget about it.
Showing an image becomes a political act when someone else doesn’t want you to see that image. Should we show pictures of the flag draped coffins of our fallen soldiers returning home? Both sides know that images such as those have power. One could show them, say yes war is brutal, and we must not forget those who make the ultimate sacrifice for us. One could show them, and say say our soldiers are dying for oil. It matters not to the dead how they got that way or why the pictures are shown. Does context matter?
No. Free speech is guaranteed by the US Constitution. It makes no judgment on why an image is shown, only that we can. If the military disallows the taking of such images for security reasons, that is understandable. Not having the enemy know how many of our soldiers killed is a valid reason. If the politicians don’t allow it for political reasons then support for a war isn’t that strong and may not be justifiable.
It is not a black & white issue. Pictures are powerful. Words are powerful. We live in a relatively free country. The only way to keep it that way is for us to know the real reasons what our soldiers are dying for and not to flinch from showing the fallen. Because if the cause is just we will mourn them and honor their memories. If it is not, our anger should not be contained.
To keep up on the Python universe I follow Planet Python which is a blog aggregator and to keep up on my two favorite Python products Django and Plone I follow Django Community and Planet Plone respectively.
I sort of fell into Python through Zope when I started working at my current job as a web administrator. Python has a fairly gently learning curve and you can become productive for simple programming tasks fairly quickly. Zope on the other hand has a very steep learning curve. I’ve probably mentioned this before in previous posts, but I was tasked to upgrade the website and after looking at dozens of PHP based content management systems I decided upon Plone. Due to legacy Zope applications the current website is a hybrid of Zope and Plone. I’ve seen Plone evolve from version 2.0 to 2.1 to 2.5 to 3.0 to version 3.1. I think with version 3.x Plone has finally come of age as a content management system and would pit it against high end commercial CMSes. What I really like about Plone is its security, workflow, and it’s shallow learning curve for end users.
Plone is open source and is used by a number of high profile sites, Oxfam America,Discover Magazine and University of Louisville come to mind. Plone also has a steep learning curve and it’s a little frustrating when you have relearn how to customize it from version to version. There wasn’t as much of a change from 2.x to 2.5, but the change to 3.x was pretty big. When I did a test migration from a 2.5 site to a 3.0 site it broke all of my template customizations. I relearned how to redo the customizations and I like the 3.x way better.
You do have to keep up Plone developments and one of the best ways is to read Planet Plone which is a blog aggregator of Plone/Zope/Python blogs. I have yet to attend a Plone conference but I have attended three Pycons 2006, 2007, and 2008 and I plan to attend 2009.
I have devoted some attention to Django which is a very nice web framework and I’ve used it to replace a number of outdated Zope applications. I’ll go into more detail about it in a future post. I see it as having a different workspace than Plone does. Anyway, back to Planet Plone. I found a few posts from it that I wanted to share to show how useful it is to follow.
I’m not going to give a complete list of social web tools that I’m using, but I have this blog, a Livejournal account, Facebook, Twitter, and for IM I use Trillian to aggregate ICQ, AOL IM, and Yahoo! Messenger. Not to mention LinkedIn, and a few other websites I subscribe to.
There are a number of Twitter applications so I don’t have to use the website, but I thought wouldn’t it be great if I could use Trillian to manage my Twitter posts. So far no luck, but Pidgin (formerly Gaim), does have a plugin for Twitter. I’ve used Pidgin under Ubuntu. I took a look at Pidgin and it supports far more chat protocols than Trillian does. So I’ll be switching to it in short order, though I need to do a little more research. Besides supporting Twitter it also supports IRC. Something that I ought to be using more.