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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Techie Tuesday: Taser X26

Posted by Hello

Now I like less-than-lethal force weapons as much as the next guy. Yet I find the marketing of this futuristic-looking taser a bit odd as they employ a Matrix like flash animation to push their product. It's worth taking a look at. Of all the film's fans, I never thought that there were people who identified with Agent Smith. Besides isn't the Matrix, like, so last hour?

Now for the testimonials:

"The X was awesome. I have taken many previous dart hits from the M26, and the hit I took today from the X was a very different experience. I was totally decapacitated instantly from the X, but I was more aware of my surroundings during the application and there was no mental haze or contractions after the application. The new shaped "bunker buster" pulse is incredible. Max is genius!" - —Training Officer Michael Coplen, Minneapolis, MN

While designed for human nervous systems, there are reports of subduing pit bulls, a diseased cat, and a moose without using deadly force.


I'm a Winner!!!

Good for up to 1,600 calories a day... Posted by Hello

I was just notified that I won MadKane's "Leave No Stomach Behind" contest to rename the Food Stamps Program.

The top suggestions are being sent to Resident Bush for consideration.

So in celebration, I fired up Photoshop to help out with the new design of the upcoming food card...

Monday, June 28, 2004

Iraq is back in da' house.

Two days before the planned 'official' handover of sovereignty to an un-elected Iraqi government, Paul Bremer signed over the country to the Iraq Interim Government in a ceremony at what looks like, for all intent and purposes, an airport departure lounge. He then caught the first flight out of the country to return home for a much needed vacation.

Here's my picks for some of the more unique views on the subject:

BoingBoing: News of early Iraq Power handover broken by a blog Notes that BBC correspondent Stuart Hughes was the first to break news on his blog.

Naked Furniture: Aw, I had slumber parties like this when I was wee Notes the 'giggly' reaction by Bush & Co. to the news.

Big Picnic: Monday, June 28, 2004: The Day of the News Notes iraqi reaction and comments on Bremer's last-minute orders and regulations.

The incomparable Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show, had the best-esque report from any fake-news channel.

Sunday in the City

Yesterday was beautiful weather day. Grabbed the bike and headed over to catch the tail-end of the 34th Annual San Francisco Pride Paraded. My original plan was to see Fahrenheit 9/11 at the Sony Metreon. The show was sold out for all it showings, the only film out of their 15 screens.

So I hooked up with friends and went to the post Pride Parade Celebration to gawk at the beautiful people and to hear Chaka Khan sing her heart out. She still feels for you...

Did I mention that the weather was fantastic. It was pointed out that for all the past Pride Parades that the weather has been exceptional, especially for San Francisco's summer climate.

Now if God hates these people, wouldn't he make it rain, send earthquakes, or something? I'm just saying...

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Mr. Smith goes to blog roll me!

The fine folks at smithantics have added me to their blog roll which I unabashedly appreciate.

If want to see some liberal antics this is a worthwhile gander.

Another Blog Conference: This time with blogger scholarships...

BlogOn 2004: The Business of Social Media will be held in Berkeley on July 22 & 23. Consider this a public service announcement since it's minutes from my place and I'm not sure whether it's worth it or not.

Though they are offering scholarships for students and economically-disadvantaged bloggers, which practically describes most of the bloggers I read.

Here is a few selected descriptions from their site:
BlogOn is the first conference to examine in-depth the business of social media. It is not just for the professional blogger, but for forward-thinking investors, smart marketing executives and media company professionals who understand it is time to understand and harness this gathering disruptive phenomenon. BlogOn is for executives who want to see a sharper Big Picture for social media and to identify their options and opportunities.

And the money quote:
You'll leave BlogOn understanding why blogging and social media technology have already become The Next Big Thing, fundamentally changing the way the world communicates and learns.

Here's the lack of money quote:
A limited number of scholarships will be available for students and economically-disadvantaged bloggers. To apply, please write a 1-page application that includes:

* your name, email, phone number, address, blog URL
* why you believe in blogging
* why you should be given a scholarship
* how you will help make BlogOn a success

Who knows it might be interesting and we could go out for beers or something...

Blog on, brother, blog on.

What Will Bill Gates Call His New Blog Contest.

I learned from the beautifully designed site, and the even more beautifully designed geekgirl (alas she's married)who's any thing but ordinary that Bill Gates is considering starting his very own blog.

What will he call it? Most of the names that first come to mind are all ready taken. Such as:

Bill's Blog

Bill Gates' Secret Blog

The Evil Empire.

So fire up those creative juices and start submitting your suggestions via the comments.

Contest Rules: The blog name must not be in use or that there is high probability the Bill Gates would win the lawsuit on a trademark or cyber-squatting dispute (which pretty much opens the door to any blog name, oh well).

Contest ends June 30th, 11:59 p.m., PST. Members of Microsoft Corp or their dependents are free to enter, if so inclined (or have the inside scoop). Residents of Luxemburg, Tuvalo, or The Vatican City are also encouraged to enter this contest.

The winning entry will be sent to Bill Gates in an effort to gain notoriety.

Grand Prize: One slightly used Rage Against the Machine CD (seems appropriate) or $10 to your favorite charity. There will be no second our third place prizes since they are only monuments to defeat.

Super Prize: In the event Mr. Gates uses the name of any entry submitted, that person will win a citizenship to the Lunar Republic .

Friday, June 25, 2004

Not a good move for a politician!

After killing puppies what's next? Posted by Hello

In a truly amazing politically adroit manoeuvre, Governor Gropenfurher® wants to terminate Californian's pets
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to repeal a state law that requires animal shelters to hold stray dogs and cats for up to six days before killing them.

Instead, there would be a three-day requirement for strays. Other animals, including birds, hamsters, potbellied pigs, rabbits, snakes and turtles, could be killed immediately.

Schwarzenegger has told the state Legislature that the changes could save local governments that operate shelters up to $14 million.

An estimated 600,000 dogs and cats are put to death each year in California, including 34,000 in Los Angeles alone.

The waiting period has caused overcrowding and forced some shelters to kill off animals simply to make room for new ones, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance.

"Because of space limitations, the shelters are being forced to euthanize animals who are otherwise highly adoptable immediately after the holding time," Palmer said.

Despite Schwarzenegger's huge popularity, some political observers think the proposal will meet stiff resistance.

"There is no organized constituency of cats and dogs, but certainly the pet owners of America will find this reprehensible," said Barbara O'Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento.

"Cats and dogs are like mom and apple pie," she said. "Don't mess with the pets. Most people prefer them to other people."

The 1998 law is named for former state Sen. Tom Hayden, who said the governor's proposal "will inflict heartbreak on a lot of owners and people in the animal adoption world."

This is taking the "No New Taxes" ideaology way too far. It would be smarter to promote raising pet licensing fees to cover any shortfalls. But nooo...

Update:Puppy prevents Canadian killing spree

Final Update: Governor reverses stand on shelters, reinstates waiting period

Calling Ed McMahon...

Via Corrente I learned that:

Medicare Lottery Will Give Drug Coverage to 50,000; Others Must Wait Until 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) - Medicare is planning a lottery later this year for people with cancer, multiple sclerosis and several other diseases. For the 50,000 winners, the government will start helping pay for their medicine, but more than 450,000 others must wait until 2006.
"There'll be a lottery to be chosen as one of 50,000 lucky individuals," Thompson said.
Medicare will accept applications for the lottery from July 6 to Sept. 30, and will randomly select 25,000 cancer patients and 25,000 people with the other illnesses.
People who apply by Aug. 16 will be eligible for an early draw, with coverage beginning Sept. 1.

Reading this I immediately thought of Stephen King’s (writing as Richard Bachman) book, “The Running Man”. The book, not that piece-of-trash-movie-vehicle for Arnold, paints a bleak picture of a future where the poor participate in privatized healthcare by becoming contestants on game-shows.

“We’ll get a doctor. Try not to worry so much. Listen-“ She began to babble frantically to distract him; he had turned around and was watching the Free-Vee again. Half-time was over, and the game was on again. This wasn’t one of the big ones, of course, just a cheap daytime come-on called Treadmill to Bucks. They accepted only chronic heart, liver, or lung patients, sometimes throwing in a crip for comic relief. Every minute the contestant could stay on the treadmill (keeping up a steady flow of chatter with the emcee), he won ten dollars. Every two minutes the emcee asked a Bonus Question in the contestant’s category (the current pal, a heart-murmur from Hackensack, was an American history buff) which was worth fifty dollars. If the contestant, dizzy, out of breath, heart doing fantastic rubber acrobatics in his chest, missed the question, fifty dollars was deducted from his winnings and the treadmill was speeded up.(Source)

So, just in time for the elections some lucky duckies will get much needed medicines. At least they weren’t asked to draw straws. With the direction healthcare is going in this country and when it comes to prolonging life (unless you are wealthy or can afford insurance), you have no right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness…

Thursday, June 24, 2004

"Quick, Implement Immunity Plan B"

Well that didn't take long. In my previous post I mused if there might be a memo on the immunity issue and the first thing I read this morning is, lo and behold, we have implemented a full blown policy.

U.S. Immunity in Iraq Will Go Beyond June 30
The Bush administration has decided to take the unusual step of bestowing on its own troops and personnel immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts for killing Iraqis or destroying local property after the occupation ends and political power is transferred to an interim Iraqi government, U.S. officials said.

The administration plans to accomplish that step -- which would bypass the most contentious remaining issue before the transfer of power -- by extending an order that has been in place during the year-long occupation of Iraq. Order 17 gives all foreign personnel in the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority immunity from "local criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction and from any form of arrest or detention other than by persons acting on behalf of their parent states."

U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer is expected to extend Order 17 as one of his last acts before shutting down the occupation next week, U.S. officials said. The order is expected to last an additional six or seven months, until the first national elections are held.

The United States would draw legal authority from Iraq's Transitional Administrative Law and the recent U.N. resolution recognizing the new government and approving a multinational force, but some U.S. officials and countries in the multinational force still want greater reassurances on immunity, U.S. officials said.

I do believe this might be the first time the Administration had a contingency plan in place where Iraq is concerned. It has been said that self-preservation focuses the mind.

However I think they've fatally weakened the argument of Full Sovereignty and sown the seeds for future grief.

The issue of immunity for U.S. troops is among the most contentious in the Islamic world, where it has galvanized public opinion against the United States in the past. A similar grant of immunity to U.S. troops in Iran during the Johnson administration in the 1960s led to the rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who used the issue to charge that the shah had sold out the Iranian people.

"Our honor has been trampled underfoot; the dignity of Iran has been destroyed," Khomeini said in a famous 1964 speech that led to his detention and then expulsion from Iran. The measure "reduced the Iranian people to a level lower than that of an American dog."

Ironically, Khomeini went into exile in Iraq, where he spent 12 years in Najaf -- the Shiite holy city that is now home to Sistani and his followers and where Iraqis still remember the flap that led the shah to deport a cleric who later led Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Time for a plea bargain?

US Withdraws UN Resolution Seeking Criminal Court Exemption
The United States has abandoned efforts to renew the exemption for U.S. peacekeepers' from international prosecution for war crimes. The current exemption expires at the end of this month. (Emphasis added)

Could the timing of the expiration of the current exemption have anything to do with the Administration's insistence that sovereignty be turned over by the end of this month? Will a memo surface detailing the legal protections from prosecution of War Crimes provided that we are in Iraq at the behest of a sovereign government thereby limiting the Administration's culpability.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham emerged from a closed door Security Council meeting to say he was withdrawing the request for a continued U.S. exemption at the International Criminal Court.

"We believe our draft and its predecessors fairly meet the concerns of all," he said. "Not all council members agree, however, and the United States has decided not to proceed further with consideration and action on the draft at this time in order to avoid a prolonged and divisive debate." (Emphasis added)

Sounds like they already had a divisive debate.

There is more background in the linked article. Demagogue
who inspired an earlier post of mine, boils it down to 2 words: Abu Graib.

Caveat Emptor

Are you tired our getting extra fees at the video store because you didn’t rewind your DVDs? Thanks to good ol’ American ingenuity we now have this labor saving device. It is also compatible with music and video CDs. Be the first on your block to own this unique device and be the envy of all your friends. Not sold in stores, but can be purchased here.

Disclaimer: ScaramoucheBlog™ and its subsidiaries are not affiliated with the manufacture or distribution of this product. This is just a public service announcement.

(Via Gizmodo)

First it was the Pope...

Mormon gets medal
LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation's highest civil honor — by President Bush during ceremonies Wednesday at the White House.

That date is also President Hinckley's 94th birthday.

Bush is really pulling out all the stops in giving awards to leaders of major religious groups.

Among others receiving this prestigious award is the High Priest of Golf , Arnold Palmer.

(Thanks to IsThatLegal for the list)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Torture: 9 Steps of Denial

While doing research for an article I am writing, I came across this excerpt from John Conroy’s book, “Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People,” written back in 2,000, that deals with acts of torture coming to light and the varied reactions that accompany it.

In an examination of British reaction to the revelations of torture used on the Northern Irish, in 1971, he found a predictable route of denial which can be charted in thematic, if not chronological, stages. I have extracted nine stages that he describes as they are very relevant to the defensive posturing of our current Administration. In updating the author’s work I have made editorial changes, but I believe that they are in keeping with the spirit of the original piece.

• The first stage of response is absolute and complete denial, accompanied by attacks on those who exposed the treatment.

• The second stage is to minimize the abuse. To refer to it not as torture but as "interrogation in depth."

• The third stage is to disparage the victims as "thugs and murderers,"

• The fourth stage is to justify the treatment on the grounds that it was effective or appropriate under the circumstances.

• The fifth stage of a torturing society's defense is to charge that those who take up the cause of those tortured are aiding the enemies of the state.

• The sixth stage is the defense that the torture is no longer occurring, and anyone who raises the issue is therefore "raking up the past."

• The seventh stage of a torturing bureaucracy is to put the blame on a few bad apples.

• The eighth stage in a society's rationalization of its policy of torture is the common torturer's defense, … someone else does or has done much worse things…they were not as evil because they were not designed to induce terror, but rather to induce a state of mental disorientation so that the victim's will to resist was lost.

• The ninth stage is the rationalization of a torturing nation: the victims will get over it.

Techie Tuesday: In the Crapper ...

A cure for stage fright? Posted by Hello

According to the Presurfer this is:

Best public toilet ever: London'’s "“Loo with a view"”
Visitors to Britain will find a new stop on London’s site-seeing route this spring: a usable public toilet enclosed in one-way mirrored glass situated on a sidewalk near the River Thames. The contemporary art exhibit, which allows the user to see out while passers-by cannot peep in, toys with the concepts of privacy and voyeurism.

My contributions to the subject:

Best pissing your money away: Toto's Neorest 600
For $5,000 this high tech throne uses sensors to determine how much to raise or lower the seat and how much water the flush needs. It will clean and dry you when you're done.

Best toilet mod: The Johnny Glow
It'’s eco-friendly, it's sure to be a hit at raves, and, well, it'’s hard to describe…

Monday, June 21, 2004

Quote of the Day...

“Democracy is not Nescafe. You can’t just add water.“ --Richard Perle in an IHT interview in April 12, 2003.

No, as Elmer Fudd would say, “Just add al-Yawer”

Dueling Quotes

"Because I can."

--Martina Navratilova on why she's still playing tennis at her age.

"Just because I could,"

--Bill Clinton on why he had an affair with Monica.

"We are taking on Iraq because we can.”
--Senior U.S. official on why we’ve targeted Iraq and notAxis-of-Evil members, North Korea or Iran.

Your Papers, Please...

In 8th grade I wrote a paper on the Boston Massacre and the event s leading up to it. What struck me then was that one of the key irritants to the people of Boston was the British stopping people for their identification.

Well today the Supreme court ruled keeping name private can be crime
The Supreme Court has again given police greater power to stop and question suspects, ruling Monday that a Nevada cowboy could not refuse to give his name to officers who tried to question him along a roadside.

The case was the fifth victory for law enforcement this term in cases involving search and seizure by law enforcement.

The narrow 5-4 ruling was seen as a defeat for privacy advocates.(more)

So what happens when your name is Nemo...

Update: Via BoingBoing: "By bizarre coincidence, the same five justices who ruled against our right to privacy are the same five who appointed popular and electoral loser Bush to be president." Who would'va 'thunk???

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Investment Advice I Never Heard Before.

Bank Says Emphasize Sex, Sleep -- Not Money
LONDON (Reuters) - A major investment bank is advising clients to have sex, get more sleep and stop equating happiness with money -- turning the industry image of hard-nosed dealmakers on its head.

German-owned Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein offers the advice in a note to clients by its strategist James Montier.

"I thought it was time that I reminded people there was more to life than watching screens every day," he told Reuters.

The note recommends clients have sex, ideally with someone they love, reflect on the good things in life, give their bodies enough sleep and exercise regularly.

But they shouldn't get too carried away.

"I still need a little bit of money just to keep me happy," said Montier.

Prayer of the Day

From a group that prays for Bush to be defeated, Pray for Reason had this prayer that touched my heart:
Please help us save ourselves from religious people of all stripes who believe they know what is in the mind of God and have the authority to dictate same to us, and who believe that a God worth worshipping would employ us as tools of death and destruction, greed and bigotry in order to "save" us.

Grant us the wisdom to see that such a vengeful and vindictive God would not be a pleasant entity with whom to spend eternity.

Remind us again of the loving words of Jesus.

If you're too busy to help, then please send someone who can, wise superior beings from outer space, highly evolved lab baboons,... as you deem best. And please bring about the downfall of both the Bush adminstration and Al Qaeda.

Amen, indeed...

(Via Bifurcated Rivets)

Shoot the Messanger

From Band of Monkies I found this story:
In a sign that no matter is too small to affect international diplomacy, the US State Department has issued an edict banning its longtime standard typeface from all official correspondence and replacing it with a "more modern" font.

In an internal memorandum distributed on Wednesday, the department declared "Courier New 12" - the font and size decreed for US diplomatic documents for years - to be obsolete and unacceptable after February 1.

So for the new era Time New Roman will the new official font though they could has chosen one of these found here. The Gilligan's Island font would have conveyed the State Department new appoach to diplomacy, though the Warhammer series might be more appropiate to the times. (Via BoingBoing)

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Fortress Mentatlity

Israel wants to build a moat, yes you heard right, a moat along the Gaza strip border with Egypt.

Whatever opinion you hold on the Israel vs. Palestinian conflict, please put that on standby for a moment and help me figure out what are they going do with all that material the remove digging the moat. It seems the plan is to dig a 2 1/2 mile long trench 400 feet wide by 80 feet deep. By my calculations that's over 4 million cubic feet of earth (sand?) and I gotta' ask where are they going to put it? What possible uses could this land fill serve? Can a buck be made? Questions always questions. I call it thinking outside the (sand) box. But, then again, the devil is in the details...

For full disclosure: I must confess that I've been building by hand a small dog park, appropriately called "Dog Shit Park", in back of the live/work complex where I live. So lately I think in terms of shovelfuls, energy expenditures, and final results.

But who are they going to get to pick them?

NASA to grow Brit strawberries on Mars or a seriously deranged agricultural subsidy.

Maybe the more pertinent question is who'll get to eat them?

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Blog Rolled by some Kinky Couch

Special thanks to Naked Furniture for blog rolling me. I love the name of this site as makes me think of that last visit to Ikea (before I was banned from the store).

So to all the visitors from there: please hang up your clothes as we don't allow them to clutter the floor in this house...

eBay item: President Ronald Reagan - CASKET

In a truly American entrepreneurial manner, these folks are offering the same exact casket that President Ronald Reagan is reposing in.

Since the Gipper can't offer his praise, let me be the one to say, "Kudos for using his death for profit."

They started the auction on June 7th. By more than a week, they beat out the Club for Growth for bringing into play the marketing power of the decesed Reagan.

(Thanks to Weird Link)

Stop the Presses...

Bush Manages a Complete Sentence

Today on national television, President George W. Bush managed to utter a complete sentence that was grammatically correct and contained only words found in the English language.

In between the usual half-sentences and partial thoughts which flow from the President's lips like a victim of Tourette's Syndrome with a speech impediment, Bush managed to say "The economic stimulus plan we put in place is working."

While not actually true, the sentence is a complete English sentence and is also grammatically correct, a marked departure from the President's usual speaking style.

The President appears to only use this new speaking style when repeating sentences that his handlers have written for him. When talking off-the-cuff to visiting President Karzai of Afghanistan, Bush said "You want to keep taking questions, or you want to go eat lunch?"

Although Karzai wanted to keep taking questions, Bush wisely cut off questioning before someone asked him something difficult. "Lunch awaits us," said Bush.

"Lunch awaits us, indeed," said Karzai.

(Via Pigdog Journal

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Blog Rolled by Eccentrics and Kings

I noticed the other day that I've been blog rolled by sites that I was not all that familiar with before. I rectified that and must say they're worth the time...

So welcome to everyone from Eccentricity and King of Zembla.

No wonder a clown is their spokesperson...

Via I found this story which really pisses me off (since I don't eat their crap I really can't boycott them). This time it's not about coffee when McDonald's Sued
The family of one of three McDonalds employees killed in a deadly Camden County crash is reportedly suing the corporation.

The suit comes after McDonald's allegedly refused to pay life-insurance benefits to the family of Cynthia Molino, one of three workers killed in the 2002 crash.

Frank Nastasi is charged with ramming his car into this restaurant in May of 2002.

Molino had worked for McDonald's for two years but the federal lawsuit alleges that the company denied death benefits because she had just been promoted to manager and had not yet completed her 90-day probationary period.

Molino's family says the restaurant should pay the death benefits due to a regular employee, given Molino's 2 years of service.

Welcome to the brave new world of McManufacturing jobs...

Techie Tuesday: The iPirate Radio

I'm on a Mexican Posted by Hello

Those crafty modders over at Endgadet give us step-by-step instrucions on how to Make your own Pirate Radio Station with an iPod
First, to become your own pirate broadcast station you’ll need to increase the range and signal of your iTrip mini. Turns out, there is an antennae built inside the iTrip mini. All you need to do is remove the top sticker-like protection which hides the antennae and then using tweezers or your fingernail, pull the antennae out. We’ve found a 20% to 30% increase of range on average. This likely voids the warranty, so there, we said it.

Next up, if you’re using the iTrip mini, then you know that you can install all the stations on the dial to broadcast on. At first we we’re really sure we’d ever use them, but now we have good reason. So make sure you’ve installed all the stations, on the go you might need them to switch to. Remember, the iTrip is a FM broadcasting device, intended to broadcast 10 to 30 feet to a FM radio.

Next, choose your broadcast, it can be any song or a spoken word MP3, don’t worry we have a few suggestions. A lot depends on the situation you’re in. (Much more)

They also offer some clever uses:
-Supply your own sound track to TV's at the Gym;
-Playback silence to blaring radio station of the car next to you;
-Add the iTalk module and hide it in the bathroom to embarrass your friends (OK, I made the last one up).

Gaming the Election

Via South Knox Bubba here is a NY Times Op Ed that cuts to the heart of the Black Box voting issue:
Gambling on Voting
If election officials want to convince voters that electronic voting can be trusted, they should be willing to make it at least as secure as slot machines. To appreciate how poor the oversight on voting systems is, it's useful to look at the way Nevada systematically ensures that electronic gambling machines in Las Vegas operate honestly and accurately. Electronic voting, by comparison, is rife with lax procedures, security risks and conflicts of interest.

On a trip last week to the Nevada Gaming Control Board laboratory, in a state office building off the Las Vegas Strip, we found testing and enforcement mechanisms that go far beyond what is required for electronic voting. Among the ways gamblers are more protected than voters:

1. The state has access to all gambling software. The Gaming Control Board has copies on file of every piece of gambling device software currently being used, and an archive going back years. It is illegal for casinos to use software not on file. Electronic voting machine makers, by contrast, say their software is a trade secret, and have resisted sharing it with the states that buy their machines.

2. The software on gambling machines is constantly being spot-checked. Board inspectors show up unannounced at casinos with devices that let them compare the computer chip in a slot machine to the one on file. If there is a discrepancy, the machine is shut down, and investigated. This sort of spot-checking is not required for electronic voting. A surreptitious software change on a voting machine would be far less likely to be detected.

3. There are meticulous, constantly updated standards for gambling machines. When we arrived at the Gaming Control Board lab, a man was firing a stun gun at a slot machine. The machine must work when subjected to a 20,000-volt shock, one of an array of rules intended to cover anything that can possibly go wrong. Nevada adopted new standards in May 2003, but to keep pace with fast-changing technology, it is adding new ones this month.

Voting machine standards are out of date and inadequate. Machines are still tested with standards from 2002 that have gaping security holes. Nevertheless, election officials have rushed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy them.

4. Manufacturers are intensively scrutinized before they are licensed to sell gambling software or hardware. A company that wants to make slot machines must submit to a background check of six months or more, similar to the kind done on casino operators. It must register its employees with the Gaming Control Board, which investigates their backgrounds and criminal records.

When it comes to voting machine manufacturers, all a company needs to do to enter the field is persuade an election official to buy its equipment. There is no way for voters to know that the software on their machines was not written by programmers with fraud convictions, or close ties to political parties or candidates.

5. The lab that certifies gambling equipment has an arms-length relationship with the manufacturers it polices, and is open to inquiries from the public. The Nevada Gaming Control Board lab is a state agency, whose employees are paid by the taxpayers. The fees the lab takes in go to the state's general fund. It invites members of the public who have questions about its work to call or e-mail.

The federal labs that certify voting equipment are profit-making companies. They are chosen and paid by voting machine companies, a glaring conflict of interest. The voters and their elected representatives have no way of knowing how the testing is done, or that the manufacturers are not applying undue pressure to have flawed equipment approved. Wyle Laboratories, one of the largest testers of voting machines, does not answer questions about its voting machine work.

6. When there is a dispute about a machine, a gambler has a right to an immediate investigation. When a gambler believes a slot machine has cheated him, the casino is required to contact the Gaming Control Board, which has investigators on call around the clock. Investigators can open up machines to inspect their internal workings, and their records of recent gambling outcomes. If voters believe a voting machine has manipulated their votes, in most cases their only recourse is to call a board of elections number, which may well be busy, to lodge a complaint that may or may not be investigated.

Election officials say their electronic voting systems are the very best. But the truth is, gamblers are getting the best technology, and voters are being given systems that are cheap and untrustworthy by comparison. There are many questions yet to be resolved about electronic voting, but one thing is clear: a vote for president should be at least as secure as a 25-cent bet in Las Vegas.

At least he didn't go AWOL

Via Yahoo news come this story: Soldier Who Robbed Bank Receives Help

Seven hours from his Army post and thousands of miles from the Iraq war he left behind, Master Sgt. Kenneth Schweitzer confessed to walking into an Iowa bank, firing shots into the ceiling and walking out with a bag of cash.

He drove straight to a police station and turned himself in, saying he didn't need the money, he just wanted to live in an 8-by-8 foot cell, authorities said.

The case has baffled police and acquaintances of Schweitzer, a 38-year-old father and decorated soldier who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division. He told police his war experience was not related to the robbery, but some say there must be a connection...

This reminds me of a story I read about a young Italian man who just got out of jail for holding up a tobacco shop on the day of his wedding.

He explained that while he was at the church he panicked and didn't know how get out of it, with the families being there and all. So he robs a store instead.

I guess all is fair in love and war...

Monday, June 14, 2004

Comment on the new comments!

Well I've finally joined the happy Haloscan family. So now all the spammers & trolls will have their chance until I go for the upgrade.

I once read in a comment over a Political Animal where a poster compared Haloscan to Halliburton.

The reason this came to mind is I saw in my referring logs someone checking out my Frist pissed himself post from a Halliburton server.

Whoever you are, remember you can change the system from inside...

Sunday, June 13, 2004

George W. Reagan

Purloined from this week's Democraticunderground's Top Ten Conservative Idiots list:
And so at long last, George W. Bush has found a flag-draped coffin he doesn't mind standing next to. In fact, Our Great Leader was practically clambering into Reagan's casket last week in a vain effort to get some of that Gipper Goodness to rub off on him. Team Bush replaced their campaign website's home page with a tribute to the ex-president, and when I say "tribute," I of course mean a desperate attempt to confuse people into believing that Little George is the second coming of Saint Ronnie. Fat chance. Somehow I don't think we're going to be seeing Bush referred to in the history books as "The Great Communicator." (Note: the Bush campaign has taken down their tribute, but you can see it here.) Meanwhile, the Misadministration were out in force spreading the word. Colin Powell said "I think there's a similarity," between Bush and Reagan, Martin Anderson (chief domestic adviser in the Reagan White House) said "everything Bush talks about was something Ronald Reagan had tried to do," (what, Reagan wanted to invade Iraq? I thought he was selling Saddam weapons) and don't be surprised if all we hear from now till November is exhortations to "win one for the Gipper" by voting for Bush. Not that the Republicans would ever consider playing politics with Reagan's death, of course. But for all these wonderful comparisons, perhaps we should heed the words of someone who knew Ronald Reagan better than most - his son, Ron Jr. What's Ron's opinion? "My father crapped bigger ones than George Bush." Case closed.

Internalizing Torture

I haven't written much lately on this Administration's endorsement of the use of torture. Many of the greater lights in the firmament of the blogoverse have been drawn to gravity of the spate of recently revealed memos. Others have been blinded this week by the last flash of a dying star, make that a b-rated star.

For a good primer on which I speak visit Sisyphus Shrugged's Torture Link Dump.

I find it rather disingenuous that a respected blogger, who is tuned into the right side of the dial, like Eugene Volokh would say:

If I had to think about torture, I would. If I were paid for it, or if I were given a position of official responsibility which requited me to think about it, or if I was teaching a class or writing an article that would be incomplete without it, then I'd buckle down and do it. But none of these applies here. (I do in some measure have to think about this as a citizen, but fortunately that can be a much shallower and briefer thought process than it would take to develop an opinion that I would be comfortable sharing with others, an opinion that will be as thoughtful and defensible as I hope the readers of the blog have generally come to expect from it.)

I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can choose the topics I focus on. The downside of being an amateur (in the best sense of the word, I hope) is that you don't get the perks of a pro. The upside is that you can do what you love (the root "ama-" in "amateur"). I don't love talking about torture, not one little bit.

For me it smacks of the Barbara Bush quote, "Why would I waste my beautiful mind on that."

To be fair, I can understand the reaction to avoid an obvious unpleasant subject. But for chrissake this evil shit is being done in our name with the excuse it will make us more secure.

It's wrong, wrong, and again wrong, this will make us reviled in the world which we are, for better or worse, still a part of...

Something to see in St. Petersburg

The Mad Monk's Monster Mangina Posted by Hello

According to a Yahoo News article, Rasputin's penis is now on display in a museum in St' Petersburg.

The one-time confidant of the last Russian Czars, Rasputin, held unwarranted sway over the Romanovs and was considered to have misled them with disastrous results.

Political rivals (some call them patriots) finally dealt with Rasputin by feeding him cyanide laced cakes, shooting him, bludgeoning him over the head, tying him up and throwing him in the river.

There is a lesson to be learned here... Hey, I'm talking to you Chalabi...

Quote of the Day...

"…I disagree with you on the roman empire [sic] thing. Well, at least the roman empire [sic] was coherent and understandable. What kind of message is delivered here apart from 'me-strong-you-weak-I-crush-you' in the name of democracy????"
–Claire (writing to Raed in the Middle)

Christopher Allbritton's Heart of Darkness

The day I started this blog, Christopher was on route to Iraq to work as a freelance journalist. He also started a blog called Back to Iraq which is a source you'll want bookmark.

Today I read this powerful piece:
Heart of Darkness

Three weeks isn’t much time in most places. Just a couple weekends of meeting with friends, maybe having a beer or seeing a movie. Three weeks of working at a job that maybe you like, maybe you don’t. In my case, I’ve been in Baghdad Since May 19, so let’s call it three weeks. It’s a nice round number.

In that time, in no particular order I witnessed a car bombing next to my hotel, started work for TIME Magazine, watched an interim government unveiled, interviewed a vice president, been mortared more times than I can count, missed two other car bombs by a few minutes, pined for New York and tentatively fell in love with Baghdad.

She’s a city that has seen better days, frankly. As mentioned, the electricity is bad. The gas lines are long — up to 5 km in some places — and U.S. soldiers still break up black market petrol rings even though that’s often the only way for Iraqis to get petrol.

Baghdad is also an incredibly stressful place to live and work, especially as a westerner, as I’ve mentioned. We’re targets, and when you look very western, like I do, you’re constantly aware of eyes on you and the hostility. At restaurants, the waiters sullenly clear your table, sometimes being none too careful about keeping chai or food from spilling on you. The kindness I encountered last year is absent; a western face brings a sullen welcome, calibrated to the bare minimum.

Violence, too, is never distant. A few days, there was an IED attack against an American humvee near the Interior Ministry. It killed one American soldier and wounded three others. We were on our way to the Oil Ministry and we detoured to the site of the attack. As I rushed up to the cordon, I yelled out to the soldiers that I was press. They responded by waving me away. I tried to ask one soldier a few questions about what had happened. Traffic streamed around us and cars horns beat out a cacophonic concert.

“Can’t talk to you, sir, go away,” he said.

“Well, where was the attack?” I pressed.

“I said go away,” he growled.

“Can I speak to your commanding officer? Who is he?”

“He said get the fuck out of here!” a second soldier screamed and both soldiers pointed their weapons at me. There are few things more threatening than seeing scared and pissed-off American soldiers pointing weapons at you. The Iraqis know this feeling well. I quickly retreated and returned to the car, shaken at the Americans’ hostility.

This feeling of trusting no one has gotten to me; it’s palpable and the constant vigilance is exhausting. My mood is black and I can feel a depression that is never far away. Not writing for the blog is a source of guilt, too, but TIME has kept me so busy with stories that don’t bring me in touch with average Iraqis much. I’ve been moving between the CPA and the former members of the Governing Council.

I also can’t seem to get excited over stories of abused Iraqis. There are so many and they have a numbing quality. Also, the hostility I encounter from Iraqis makes me — shamefully — less empathetic to their complaints. But nor do I feel much sympathy for Americans who point guns at me. The tragic part of this is that there is no way to blame anyone in this situation. The Iraqis will naturally hate an occupying army. And soldiers will naturally grow to hate a people they think they came to liberate but who continue trying to kill them.(Go read the rest)

No SUVs s'il vous plait...

On Friday both and (I'd love to know the story behind that URL) led with this story: Ban SUVs? Paris might just do it
Bulky sport utility vehicles might be banned from clogging up the streets of Paris after a top official in the capital’s left-wing government described them as a polluting “caricature of a car” unsuited to city life.

An anti-SUV resolution passed by the city council could lead to a ban on the popular vehicles in about 18 months if it is included in an overall project to improve traffic flow in the city, Deputy Mayor Denis Baupin said Wednesday.

“You have to wonder why people want to drive around in SUVs,” Baupin, a Green Party member, said on Europe 1 radio. “We have no interest in having SUVs in the city. They’re dangerous to others and take up too much space.” (more)

I find this intriguing because when I lived in Paris my girlfriend at that time had a small turquoise Renault Dauphine in pristine condition. This tiny car was straight out of a Jacques Tati film like Mr. Hulot's Holiday. It was well suited to the narrow twisty Parisian back streets. It was a French classic that brought smiles and waves from even the most taciturn Frenchman as many remember it as their first vehicle or the parent's car.

This made it a safe car as it was noticed by other drivers and given more space than usually allotted to other drivers. I know this for a fact since sometimes for a cheap and exhilarating rush I would take it out for a spin on the chaotic Charles de Gaulle-Etoile around the Arc de Triomphe. I just can't imagine trying that in a car 4 times the size.

Just as I believe in using the right tool for the job, your ride should be appropriate for the terrain.

Once in a little village, in the Italian Alps, I saw a huge black Cadillac, replete with Texas plates and 4 foot-wide ornamental bull horns (I kid you not) on the front grill, trapped while attempting to navigate a tapering cobble-stoned lane designed for horse and cart traffic. Needless to say I found this very amusing and uncharacteristically did not offer to help. After all I didn't want to ruin their European experience...

Another Blog Roll in the Basket

I noticed the other day that Big Picnic has blog rolled me. There you'll find a hearty feast of delicious posts, humorous events, and progressive opinions. So grab your plates and napkins and go there. As you can tell, this is one of my favorite sites.

So, welcome all Picnic'ers and ants too!

Friday, June 11, 2004

Milestoned on a Friday Night

In the last hour I just had my 1,000th visitor. This blog is only a tad bit older than 3 weeks which in blog years equates to weaning time and soon housebreaking.

Thanks y'all and come back soon...

5 things I learned watching TV this week...

1) One of the first things a president does upon assuming office is plan for his funeral (weird, but kinda’ makes sense).

2) Presidential funeral coverage will drown out all other new stories especially bad news from Iraq.

3) John Ashcroft is still a douche-bag.

4) Watching aerial footage of a hearse does not carry the same drama as OJ’s slow speed chase because the guy in the car is dead already.

5) George Herbert Walker will celebrate his 80th birthday by jumping out of airplane which might mean next week’s lessons will be the same as this week’s.

A Moving Personal Remembrance

Former Reagan costar sets the record straight about Reagan the man...

Thanks to for the link.

It Takes Courage to Leak

Frist pissed himself... Posted by Hello

Another great catch from Catch.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist visited Iraq last weekend where he was promplty told the real news that the media does not report. His reaction was swift...

Real news during the Ronnie-Rama blackout...

Via dangerousmeta I found this little noticed story about Biggest U.S. Military Exercise since the Cold War

While the U.S. military introduces the U.S. Forces’ Global Posture Realignment (GPR) program based on its cross-regional strategy, the biggest naval exercise since the end of the Cold War has been staged, involving seven aircraft carriers.


China, in particular, is reacting sensitively, saying this exercise is preparing for a “double banks” war between China and Taiwan.

For the exercise, four aircraft carriers from the Atlantic squadron, and three from the Pacific squadron will be deployed from the 12 total aircraft carriers the U.S. military has. The exercise will last for three months from June 5 until August with over 50,000 soldiers taking part.

In the East Pacific area, all seven aircraft carriers will gather to perform a joint drill from mid-July to August.


Also, the newly established U.S. Navy‘s “21st century 10-30-30 strategy” will be applied to the exercise for the first time. In April, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld presented the 10-30-30 strategy as one in which “the services would deploy to a world hot spot within 10 days, defeat an enemy in 30 days, and be ready to fight again in another 30 days.

(emphasis mine)

I wonder if they're getting ready for an October Suprise.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Funny-money or conservative-cash...

Thanks to smithantics I found this article about putting Reagan on the 10 dollar bill. For me here’s (pardon the pun)the money quote:
One person opposed to removing Hamilton from the $10 bill is Ron Chernow, author of an acclaimed biography of the revolutionary war hero and founding father.

He told USA Today that he believed even Reagan would have objected to the snub of Hamilton.

"Hamilton was the prophet of the capitalist system that Ronald Reagan so admired," he was quoted as saying.

Hamilton was also killed in a duel by his rival Aaron Burr who Hamilton had barraged with negative political attacks. Burr demanded an apology and Hamilton refused, hence the challenge.

I think there are lessons to be learned here…

Republican Rhetoric - Where's the Compassion?

Via Bark Bark Woof Woof I came across these Salon exclusive excerpts of a new book that I shall hasten to buy or, at least, try to check out from the Library.

Here are some slections from Take Them at Their Words: Shocking, Amusing and Baffling Quotations From the GOP and Their Friends, 1994-2004:
"Ideally, it would have been nice to have a few phalanxes of policemen with machine guns and mow them down."-- Talk-radio host Bob Grant of New York's WABC, commenting on the Gay Pride Parade, Boston Globe, 4/29/95

"[Gun-control activist Sarah Brady, wife of former White House press secretary Jim Brady] ought to be put down. A humane shot at a veterinarian's would be an easy way to do it. I wish she would just keep wheeling her husband around, wiping the saliva off his mouth once in a while -- and leave the rest of us damn well alone."-- Talk-radio host Bob Mohan, New York Times, 1/1/95

"And finally, and most importantly, the next time we go to war, don't give a specific reason for the war that the left can seize upon and later flog us with it ad nauseam, just do it. Remember, the first rule of Fight Club is that you don't talk about Fight Club."-- Dennis Miller, "Hannity & Colmes," Fox News, 6/27/03

"We're going to keep on building the party [the Texas GOP] until we're hunting Democrats with dogs."-- Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, Mother Jones, August 1995

"I don't understand how poor people think."-- George W. Bush, New York Times, 8/26/03

"You know if there was any piece of legislation I would pass it would be to blow up colleges of education. I know that's not politically correct ..."-- Reid Lyon, National Institute of Child Health and Development,, 11/19/02

"God said, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'"-- Ann Coulter, "Hannity & Colmes," Fox News, 6/20/01

"I thought [Jesus Christ] was a free enterpriser ... He was a carpenter's son and I thought he was doing well. He was able to change water into wine; now that to me is the classic definition of a guy in the entrepreneurial spirit."-- Gov. Tommy Thompson, R-Wis., responding to a reporter who asked him if Jesus was a socialist, Madison (Wis.) Capital Times, 7/10/96

And they want to say Liberal Rhetoric is hate-speech. Well, I'm speecheless...

War for Cheap Gas...

If you want to get gasoline for 5 cents a gallon be prepared to drive on an Iraqi road.
Before the war, forecasters predicted that by invading Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein, America would benefit from increased exports of oil from Iraq, which has the world's second largest petroleum reserves.

That would mean cheap gas for American motorists and a boost for the oil-dependent American economy.

More than a year after the invasion, that logic has been flipped on its head. Now the average price for gasoline in the United States is running $2.05 a gallon - 50 cents more than the pre-invasion price.

Instead, the only people getting cheap gas as a result of the invasion are the Iraqis


Cheap used cars shipped from Europe and Asia are flooding into Iraq. A 10-year-old BMW in good condition costs just $5,000. Since gas is so cheap, anyone with a car can become a taxi driver. Drivers jam the streets, offering rides for as little as 250 dinars - about 17 cents.

Iraq has no sales tax, no registration, no license plates and no auto insurance. Some would argue there are no rules of the road. Cars barrel the wrong way on the highway. They swoop into surprise U-turns. They ignore traffic signals.

Analysts say the U.S. gas subsidies can't last forever - and Iraqis may be in for an unpleasant shock when they end. In the meantime, however, the American taxpayer continues to foot a huge bill.


Iraqi drivers protest that the price difference between a gallon of gas in the United States and Iraq is fair, because the average Iraqi earns around $1,000 per year, a thirtieth of the average U.S. wage.

"If the price of gas goes up, we'll see lots of anger in the street," said cab driver Hashim, at a grimy filling station on Saadoun Street in central Baghdad.


"The United States controls all Iraqi resources now," said Jenan Jabro, 50, tanking up his black Opel. "So what if they have to pay a little bit for gasoline? That's nothing compared to what they get in return."

It almost sounds like a SUV paradise. I wonder if the parking garages are Hummer friendly?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

It's along way to the top if you wanna' Rock 'n Roll...

And it's longer way to the black-top!

Down under in Australia the Melbourne City Council is considering renaming a street after the band ACDC where they made their music video for It's a Long Way to the Top.

I loved that song in high school and it's probably responsible for me doing the garage band thing back then. But that's another story.

I don't remember the site where I got the link. Sorry, credit is due!

Techie Tuesday: Flycatcher Mark II

Feed me Seymour... Posted by Hello

Via Endgadget. I could have use this sweet little number from
Girls stuff during the last camping trip.

Introducing the mechanical Venus Fly Trap. Using chemical free bait, the Flycatcher Mark II gets rid of flies, wasps and mosquitoes safely and quickly. Hot Summer days mean Barbeques, outdoor parties… and flies. So how do you get rid of the little buggers? With this top little gizmo, that's how. Place the bait inside the Flycatcher's mouth, turn it on, and watch as it attracts all the insects.

Of course, the poor deluded insects don't know that the mouth contains sensors that detect their presence. Then, as they walk in looking for the bait, BAM! Down come the Catcher's jaws, swatting the fly dead. No fuss, no muss. (Well possibly a bit of muss, but you get a free brush to clean that out with.)

There's more, but you get the idea...

Monday, June 07, 2004

The Obligatory Reagan Post

Much ink has been spilled, many keyboards have been pounded (much to the detriment of their R-keys) in eulogizing or reproaching Ronald Reagan. Not to tread over the same ground as everyone else, I’ll limit my screed to my personal recollections of his presidency (just, please, don’t get me started on his governorship). The best blog-a-round post on Reagan is over at the Mahablog.

Reagan once was asked if he felt upstaged by Gorbachev, “Good lord no, I once co-starred with Errol Flynn,” he replied. Reagan films are hard to watch but Desperate Journey from ‘42 and Santa Fe Trail from ’40 weren't so bad because Errol Flynn got top billing.

I remember a little noted campaign quote where he was asked about his advanced age and the risk it might pose, “I will take a senility test,” he quipped, “after I’m elected.” I guess that was the first campaign promise he broke.

I remember in the early years of his administration he cut back on college grants to give the all-volunteer-military recruitment effort incentives such as college grants… Now due to my own personal reaganomics, I went as far as contacting the Air Force ROTC thinking money for school, help with getting a pilot’s license, and maybe, maybe after an ungodly amount of flight-hours, applying to NASA... Instead I went to Europe for the next few years.

I remember being an expatriate during the majority of the Reagan years and, during my travels, people my age asking why the Americans want to turn their homes into a theater of nuclear war by placing intermediate range nuclear missiles in their backyard. I’d tell them that it was Reagan not Americans. I tried to give some background on the Reagan Revolution, thus I became an informal apologist for US foreign policy. Sad to say, even today few Americans follow foreign policy and are incapable of even conceiving that people might not like us owing to that same policy. American foreign policy is frontpage news everywhere else in the world but not in the United States.

I remember coming home once every year or so and seeing what were once considered 'bums and winos' now replaced by a new class called the 'homeless,' and on each return visit their numbers had grown. Domestic policy and cuts in social care turned many mental health patients and families with children onto the streets. I call them the victims of Reagan’s Cold War victory. And if a year of living on the street didn’t make you into a person that needed mental healthcare, I don’t know what would…

I remember a Playboy Magazine interview with the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, the November 1987 issue with Jessica Hahn on the cover. To paraphrase his perception of Reagan,
“He is like Frankenstein… No, we don’t hate him, he is not a monster like in the film, rather he is a monster made up of all these different pieces and interests, it’s the people behind Reagan we hate…”
People like Ed Meese, James Watts, and Jim Baker - need I go on?

There is more that I recall than can be imparted here. But, I know you’re wondering:

Do I hate Reagan? No, emphatically no. It’s more like hate the sin, not the sinner… Besides I don’t do hate – it takes too much dedication! I’m sure I would have enjoyed having a beer with Reagan (maybe he could dish out the dirt on Errol and Olivia). I believe, apart from politics, Ron and me could have had a wonderful conversation which I doubt could happen with our current Frankenstein.

Ok, you’re wondering:

Do I hate Bush? No, although I’m not sure I would have like to have a beer with him because, first, he gave up drinking and, second, he strikes me as a mean drunk…

But I wouldn’t mind taking him mountain biking

More Blog Rolling while I was on the river

Special thanks to The Presurfer and nosey online who have added me to their blog rolls.

Go visit them because they're so darn wonderful...

Take me to the river...

While the rest of the world remembers this last Saturday as the day Ronald Regan passed on, I'll recall floating down a river with a group of good friends...

It's wonderful to get away from the TV, the computer, the cel phone, well, the last one isn't exactly true - the shrill squeal of cel phones ringing have invaded the wilderness.

The only consolation is some of those canoes tipped over silencing those personalized ringtones forever...

Friday, June 04, 2004

Gone on a canoe trip for the weekend... Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 03, 2004

And the nomination for next Chief Spy is...

Knows how to get actionable intelliegence... Posted by Hello

Today everybody spent their energies on trying to discern the cause of Tenet's resignation.

Tomorrow everyone will spend their energies on predicting who will be the next Director of the CIA.

My suggestion would be to go with the former Midlle Eastern Proconsul, General Zini. Not because he opposed the attack on Iraq (debacle in the desert), but rather he knows the region and has worked with their leaders for years.

side note: Tenet said he was looking forward to working in the private sector. Of course he is. His first year's salary and signing bonus alone will be more than he earned all the years combined as chief spook.

Republican Survivor - Episode #1

Today I watched the first ep and voted someone off the island. I tell you next week who exactly it was...

I heartily suggest you go sign up and watch the teaser.

Blog Rolled by athletic looking women with guns...

Susan atSuburban Guerrilla lined me up on her blog roll. Special thanks to all the visitors from there. Remember Girls, please leave your guns at the door...

He's kidding, right?

Eric Alterman has his snark up in today's Altercation. Not only does he a have list of Tenet's foibles and/or possible reasons for resignation but he wonders aloud treasonous thoughts

Is Bush an Al Qaida Plant? I’m not one to jump to conclusions but the circumstantial evidence is hard to ignore. Take a look:

1. He’s destroying the military, by overstretching its resources and cannabalizing its trainers.

2. He’s consorting with spies for the Axis of Evil.

3. He may be revealing the identities of CIA agents (or at least tacitly encouraging those who do).

4. He’s coddling “terrorists” in Iraq.

5. He’s pursuing a policy deliberately designed to stir up hatred in the Arab world.

6. He’s helping bin Laden recruit more terrorists and Al Qaida to fully reconstitute itself.

7. He’s setting captured terrorists free.

8. He seems to think up a new reason to fight someone else almost every two weeks. (complete thesis)

9. He’s sucking up to France.

10. Oh, and he’s trying to undermine all those silly western freedoms that the Al-Qaida folks find so annoying.

Go read the original version. It has links and things that make it funny in a wonkish way.(Somehow I think Mr. Alterman is gonna' get in trouble for this...)

Google Scaramouche...

and ScaramoucheBlog will show up on the first page.

How long will it take to get to be the I'm Feeling Lucky search hit?

Oh my God...

George Tenet resigns for personal reasons.

I am watching Bush on CNN say he accepted Tenet's resignation, that he had done a great job, and was a strong leader in the war on terror.

I wonder if this has much to do with the Plame Affaire or the Chalabi espionage case.

Update: Lean Left follows up ont his specutlation:
There is also the possibility that Tenet has simply had enough. The Administration's refusal to deal with the Plame affair quickly, the neo-cons constant attempts to shift blame, and the fact that the neo-cons apparently allowed an Iranian spy access to the most sensitive of information and allowed the country to be led around by the nose by that same spy are all good reasons for a decent man to want to leave the service of this Administration. The intense defense of Chalabi by neo-cons out of the government may finally have been too much to take, especially if that defense was mirrored in any way inside the Administration.

This story will definitely ignite the blogosphere. If you don't believe me just click on any of the links on my blog roll...

Update II: corrente is running with the idea that Tenet was pushed out and... Maybe Chalabi was doing the pushing...

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I've been tossed a bone and blog rolled too.

Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof has added me to his blog roll. So to all the visitors from there let me offer this treat:
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. " - Groucho Marx

If you watch just one movie this summer...

Via Presurfer.

One of the finest examples of internet video today!

You must see this. It takes a while to load. So, be patient...

Thick as a Brick...

More news from the Trophy Room. It seems that Bush has a brick from the bombed out house of Taliban leader Mohammad Omar. I wonder if he's planning to use it as the cornerstone for the next Washington Memorial Monument...

Billmon Goes Medieval on the Army's Stop-Loss Policy

Bartending Billmon at the Whiskey Bar pours it on

There have been numerous past civilizations in which military service became a lifelong, hereditary obligation, passed down from father to son - usually in exchange for land grants or other economic benefits. Some of our soldiers must be wondering whether the United States is evolving in that same direction:

Army widens 'stop-loss' program

The Army will prevent soldiers in units set to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan from leaving the service at the end of their terms, a top general said Wednesday.

The announcement, an expansion of an Army program called "stop-loss," means that thousands of soldiers who had expected to retire or otherwise leave the military will have to stay on for the duration of their deployment to those combat zones.

Since we've reached the point where just about every active duty unit in the Army is either in Iraq or Afghanistan, or will soon return there, it seems like it's become something of an Orwellian euphemism to speak of a "volunteer army."

When the Pentagon starts extending stop loss orders to the first-born sons and daughters of service people, I guess we'll know we've reached the next stage of feudalism.

All I have to add is this quote:

In democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.
-Mogens Jallberg

Revenge of the Intern.

If you've ever been the victim of malicious gossip you'll love this article, "The Education of Alexandra Polier"

Alexandra Polier was falsely implicated in the John Kerry intern sexcapade rumor. So how does she get even? By doing real journalism and chasing down the originators of the story. She fought back...

"I had assumed that the story, like much of the initial reporting, was part of a Republican dirty-tricks campaign to break Kerry’s momentum. The attacks on Bill Clinton had worked (but of course, those had been true). So why not take Kerry down the same way? By the time Drudge broke the story, Kerry had won twelve of fourteen states, conceding only South Carolina to John Edwards and Oklahoma to Wesley Clark. As the press started to report the rumor, Kerry also seemed to be under the impression that he was a victim of the right. Speaking in Nevada at a Democratic function on February 14, he declared, “I promise you that when the Republican smear machine trots out the same old attacks in this election, this is one Democrat who will fight back. I fought for my country my entire life and I’m not about to back down now.”

She fought back too and I enjoyed the way she showed up many of the highly-paid reporters who trafficed this crap. That is the best revenge. Go out and do better. That's one class act. This is a refined dish served up cold...

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Techie Tuesday- the stealth camera

Careful, airport security may take it away.. Posted by Hello

Via ThinkGeek for $100. Hmmm, maybe for a July Xmas...

007 Digital Camera
• Quick Shot: Flip the top, click the button and close the case. No switching ON required
• High Resolution Digital Still Camera: Internal memory holds up to 150 pictures @ 640 x 480, up to 310 pictures @ 320 x 240
• Surveillance Mode: Record images at preset time intervals; perfect for covert observation for up to 19 days
• Amazing ST Micro technology allows for high quality image capture with incredibly small file sizes. Check out this sample pic!
• Video Clip Recording with Sound: Make undercover recordings of up to 30 seconds duration
• Data Storage and Transfer: Move important data between computers utilizing your JB1 camera as a portable hard disc drive (8MB total storage)
• Zippo-Style metal case
• Movie recording with sound - at 30fps up to 30 secs.
• James Bond 19 day surveillance mode
• 12 Minutes sound recording
• LiteSync for discreet and perfect pictures with fluorescent lighting
• USB Plug-n-Play for easy use
• PC & Mac Compatible
• Uses 1 "AAA" battery (included)
• Dimensions: 2.25" x 1.5" x .5"
• Manufacturer Warranty: 5 years