Sunday, January 30, 2005

Brave Voters.

In Baghdad, insurgents rounded up four voters who had left a polling station. Insurgents identified them by their ink-stained fingers, and killed them by throwing grenades at them, Iraqi police said.
I know CNN has been told to run "only good news" about the election. But do you think they could mention the 44 dead somewhere in their coverage? Our good buddies at CNN were so excited about the election they hid the story about 44 killed trying to vote. Where is this story listed? Look at the 5th story down. Under the Big Headline, "Praise for Iraq Elections". Good for them.

300,000 troops on the streets to protect the voters and they STILL KILLED 44 people. Well at least we found those WMDs and took away the threat to America--NOT.

Maybe something good WILL come out of this 200 Billion dollar 13XX US lives, over 100,000 Iraq lives trip into the mid-east. And maybe this WAS the best way to spend our money and the lives of our soldiers. I don't think so. More on this topic later.

Truthful war movies are inherently anti-war.

I just saw an amazing movie called "When Trumpets Fade" HIGHLY recommended. It is a case when fiction can get to the heart of what it must have felt like to be in a war. A War where people were getting blown up ever day and the leaders just kept sending them into the meat grinder.

It's a World War II epic that takes place in 1944 during the America push into Germany right before the Battle of the Bulge.

Not only was it an very interesting movie, but I've read some things from soldiers who were actually there who said that this movie, more than any other recent film, captured the madness of war (especially one is which the leaders didn't understand the situation and kept doing the same thing over and over again). And this was our "good" war! It will be interesting to see what the movies might tell us about what really went on in this current war.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

How do you render a right-wing radio host impotent?

So I just read a brilliant article about Gavin Newsom. It gave me all sorts of reasons to admire this guy. Check it out. Then today I hear some jerkwad on KNEW 910 AM in San Francisco rant about how Gavin is rarely in town and that San Francisco shouldn't be spending 100 million to deal with it's "bum" problem.

I wanted to do something to stop this nutball from spreading his insidious views. But frankly I don't know what to do. Has ANYTHING ever worked to discredit or shut these nuts up? I really don't know what will work. Scandals don't work. Rush had his drug scandal, he's still spewing. O'Reilly had his sexual harassment scandal, he's still spewing. Savage/wiener told a gay caller he hopes he gets AIDS and dies and he is still spewing. Is there anything that would cause their listeners to turn away from them? It turns out that host, Jeff Katz, has been driven off the air in Sacramento. He urged listeners to use their cars to hit illegal immigrants trying to cross into the U.S. from Mexico. But now he is on the air in San Francisco! Why do right-wing incompetents fail up?

I used to think that Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Savage/Wiener and their ilk (I love that word! ilk, ilk, ilk) could just be ignored because surely sane people wouldn't believe it. But now I realize that their listeners adopt the arguments, code words and ideology from the hosts. It is much easier than critical thinking. Convenient too!

How do they weasel their way into people's minds and drive out all good thoughts with selfish, fearful thoughts? Here is one way. Say some listeners are inclined to believe a certain view, such as "people should be responsible for themselves." A fine view, very "rugged individualist". Concurrently they might also have the view that we should try and help our fellow man when they are in trouble. Now every day they hear someone in "authority" saying, "People who help others are suckers. It's not our responsibility. Those people should pull themselves up from their bootstraps. They are not connected to us. By not taking care of themselves we no longer have to help them. In any fashion whatsoever.

Now if you hear this enough times and there is no counter balance saying, "We are not all perfect and capable of caring for ourselves. As human beings it is the right thing to do to try and help our fellow man." That voice of empathy and humanity gets drowned out. Stink tanks and right-wing talk show hosts spend thousands of hours coming up with clever ways to support ideas that on their face are morally repugnant. Think of the most heinous acts humans can commit. Now think of how a right wing talk show host or a stink tank will try and justify, excuse and finally encourage that idea. Most recently they did it with torture.

According to the Taguba report, we Americans drown, beat, sodomized with sticks, raped, unleashed dogs on and crushed to death humans beings. In the race to erase these images radio hosts compared the acts to frat hazing and said "Saddam did worse". Instead of ramping up any moral outrage they felt it necessary to tone down recast, minimize and cover up the atrocities. And in the case of Michael Savage, he thought it was great, he said it didn't go far enough!

The constant repetition of these corrupt thoughts has taken a toll on the minds and then the hearts of the American people.
I find it interesting in the same segment in which he agreed with a caller that bums should be rounded up and given jobs cleaning toilets (good jobs which are being taken by illegal furreners!). He talked about teaching his children values. I often hope that this is all an act to rile people up (it's called "churning the audience" in radio) and he doesn't believe the things he says, but maybe that is my own bias that I tend to believe the best in most people. Maybe if I listen to these hosts enough my mind will be corrupted from that view.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Maybe I'll be the 100th Monkey blogger saying NO! To Alberto Gonzales for AG

I agree that we should block Alberto "Weaseling W. out of trouble since 1994" Gonzolez's appointment to AG.

I'll add my small electronic voice to the protest against this man.

This is part of Bush's "capital" spending program. He knows that now is the time to push his most loyal but biggest failures into position.

Who have we become as a nation when the prime legal architect for the policy of torture is up for the job of top legal authority? How does this jibe with the right-wing Christian's view of America as a "Christian" nation? Why aren't they screaming about this? I'm just guessing, but I think Jesus would have come out as anti-torture.

Is this what the Son worshippers really believe in?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Protect us Obi-Wan Ka Bushie!

So, rumors flying about a dirty bomb in the Boston area. Of course yesterday I was going on about how Bush was talking about needing more human intelligence (the jokes write themselves folks!) yet actual referred to signal intelligence when he was talking about it. Here is most of my post at Atrios where I yet again thank the unknown folks who don't care that we have an a president who doesn't know the difference between HUMINT and SIGINT.

Felix Deutsch Wow, good catch. That kind of intelligence is SIGINT. That's the kind the NSA normally captures. The kind that they are right now scanning the internet and filtering your calls for. We aren't supposed to know it. We are supposed to think that there is "too much information" and they can't scan it all from all the various sources. Bullshit.

You think those billions goes into making toaster ovens? You know what Google does for the Internet, right? How you can find all sorts of stuff that you couldn't before? The NSA can do that for your phone conversations.

Do you think that Google has a lock on all the good Computer Scientists and Math geeks? NSA employs more Ph.D. in math than any other organization in the world.

Working with Cisco and with the major telcos they can easily route data, filter, sort and analyse voice data from all over the US and most of the Europe. Getting into Iraq allowed us to tap into the Middle East networks that we didn't already have from Israel. One of the reasons that we haven't been attacked in the US isn't because of color coded alerts or stupid frisking on planes,it is because the NSA unleashed a few sound dogs on the lines of suspected terrorists.

These computer Geeks and Math geeks are mothers and fathers with family in New York and Virginia and D.C. They are protecting their family.
I tip my hat to them (this conversation will be read by their computer but ignored as non-important.)

What pisses a bunch of them off is that the "chatter" that they find is used by HLS for fake alerts. The real "chatter" they find goes to pick people up, not to make some political point. The low hanging fruit has been snagged, the problem is that the smarter terrorists have figured out that the phones, and computers are all bugged. Contact is now handed off, in person, whispered to each other in saunas in various locations. If you are smart you can avoid some, but not all, detection. The other thing they do is to talk in code. They will never say, "We are going to attack a chemical plant near a major city or blow up a dirty bomb using hospitial low-level radioactive waste. Once you have established code words like "the birthday cake", it will all seem like they are getting ready for a party.

Of course our stupid president is right about getting more human intelligence, but having pissed off millions in the Muslim world (see how it would have paid off if we were nice occassionally?) there aren't a lot of people who are ready, willing and able to go underground. But they are trying it, they have a few in place, brave people. I consider them truer Americans that a bunch of right wing nutball radio announcers who sit on their ass and say, "Support the troops!". They might end up as a star on a wall somewhere with out a name, but I thank them for trying to keep me safe.

Ironically the intelligent agencies (and there are a bunch of them) can get some people in the the cells by telling the terrorists, "I hate the President!" and the terrorists will believe them!
spocko | Email | Homepage | 01.19.05 - 12:01 am | #

Thursday, January 13, 2005

No ASSHOLE, there wasn't a lot of talk about that!

"There's a lot of talk about how some in the world don't appreciate America," Bush said. "I can assure you that those that our military has helped appreciate America." LINK

No ASSHOLE, there wasn't a lot of talk about that. That's some bullshit spin Karl Rove put into your mouth so you can make a political point over the rotting bodies of the tsunami victims. Because it's all about you and what you do or didn't do, isn't it George? Now that you have been stung by rightly deserved criticism of your tone-deaf response to a massive disaster (in your effort to not appear like Clinton) you are trying to ring some jingoistic patriotism out of your failure. I loath your fake indignation. Who is saying the world doesn't appreciate America? Please name a single person who isn't a right wing shill who would say that.

Karl you devious piece of shit. You know very well what the talk was about. It was about your boy's slow response and your initial stingy offer and then your equally stingy offer that hung out there until you realized that your deluded Christian base really kind of cares about this stuff and you can't piss them off. So you figured you would turn this into a perfect opportunity to get some good PR for Rummy this week after 9 more soldiers get blown up.

To illustrate other PR responses to tone-deaf ego maniacs, here's a link to a great scene from Action! the brilliant (but canceled) series about movie producing. Listen to what Connie says to Peter Dragon at the end of the piece.

Outrage Fatigue

There is a great scene in an old Cheers episode where Norm is given the job as company ax man because he gets all choked up about firing the people and this makes the people feel okay because they are being fired by "someone who cares". After doing it for awhile he just can't do it any more. He tries to get his emotion revved up for the current sacking, but he just can't, the waterworks are dry. That's how I feel today.

I just heard some pundits talking about how Alberto Gonzalez will probably be confirmed and he wondered where was the outrage about his pending confirmation. I'm sorry guys, with so many things to be outraged about I'm worn down.

It's partly because it feels like nothing you do with the outrage has any effect. You protest, "It's a focus group" you write letters and even if they get published there is no effect on the big issues. I know that the work is cumulative, but it is so tiring.

I'm wondering if the only thing that will effect change for these power-hungry America-destroying bastards will be getting hauled into court on some criminal charges. Of course they are so damn slippery that in anticipation of that they simply CHANGE THE LAW so that they can keep doing what they are doing (I'm looking at you Tom Delay!)

There doesn't seem to be anything this White House does that is bad enough, or outrageous enough to piss off their own supporters. I just don't get it:

  • Bush couldn't protect us on 9/11 (no strong father here)
  • Bush has record deficit's (incompetent provider father)
  • Bush got the WMD's wrong and our sons and daughters are being destroyed as makeshift bombs rip through their unarmored vehicles (bad warrior father)
  • Bush give tax breaks to companies for not hiring people in the US (outsourcing jobs father)
  • Bush slaughters innocents just outside the womb in Iraq instead of admitting a mistake (non-life protecting father).

And on the home front he can't even deliver on his pledges to be the strict father, yet I guess they get credit for trying.

  • Abortion, still legal
  • Homosexuals, still not stoned to death
  • Sex, still used to sell more and more crap
  • Taxes, still having to pay them (even though they have made strides for the over $300,000 set.

Yes, there has been no spectactular attack in the US since 9/11, but anthrax happened and the people who did that haven't been caught either. I'd give him credit for no spectactular attacks if I knew he could show his policies have stopped attacks or he could show us some convictions.

Enough outrage from the Left, where is the Outrage from the Right? You wanted a strict Father figure in charge, but he can't even do that right!

What kind of Dad doesn't jump up and act when he finds out his children are in danger?
What kind of Dad borrows so much money he can't pay it off, so he passes the debt down to you?
Would your Father send you to war without giving you the means to protect yourself?
Would your Dad let his sons and daughters continue to die rather than admit a mistake? Is his need to be 'right' greater than the lives of his children?

People always say, "Bush seems like someone who you could have a beer with". Besides the ironic fact that he supposedly has given up alcohol, typically having a beer with someone lasts a few hours at most; would anyone say, "I want him as my father?" If he treated me as a son like he treated the country as a child, I don't think so.

My father has protected me, provided for me, taught me, and loved me. He didn't leave me in debt, he doesn't lie to me and is strong enough to admit a mistake rather than allow me to die because of his pride. My father is 100 times the man George W. Bush is or will ever be.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Gonzales Testimony v. Gonzales Record

Gonzales claimed he could not recall details of his role in the production of the so-called Justice Department "torture memo" of August 2002 saying, "I don't recall today whether I was in agreement with all the analysis, but I don't have a disagreement with the conclusions then reached by the [Justice] department."

He actually chaired the meetings on this memo, which included detailed descriptions of interrogation techniques such as "waterboarding," which involves strapping a detainee to a board, raising the feet above the head, wrapping the face and nose in a wet towel, and dripping water onto the head to produce an unbearable sensation of drowning. He raised no objections and gave CIA interrogators the legal blessings they sought.

Editorial cartoon Tom Meyer, SF Chronicle

Thursday, January 06, 2005

When Spyware becomes Stealware. 180 Search Assistant and its ilk must be stopped

Imagine calling directory service. "I'd like the number for Kaiser's Breast Cancer support group." Instead of giving you the number you want at Kaiser, the operator directs you to Yes, They're Fake!

I just spent the better part of the day removing a program that I did not want and did not install. This program hijacked my browser and threw up web pages in front of the web pages I was searching for. The unwanted web pages obstructed my chosen pages and interfered with me filling out forms for items I wanted to purchase from the chosen pages.

It stole my time and revenue from the sites I was searching for when it hijacked my browser.

The designers of this "stealware" program are clearly aware of its unwanted nature, yet are coy on their web page about its origins and intentions. Their programmers stay one step ahead of the spyware and adware removal programs by using fake uninstall routines. They constantly change the names of the files and programs to evade easy matching algorithms. They attach to host programs and keep reinstalling themselves after they have been uninstalled. A big thank you goes to Matthew Doucette for an extensive page on removing this beast of a program Uninstall 180 Search Assistant. The creators are not 17 year old hackers, but a collection of thieves who raked in 20 million in sales last year.

Ed has been griping about misleading EULAs for years. Here is a case of a program that throws a brick through your computer monitor and says,

“You asked for it when you went to that website!" or "You know that program that you downloaded to show smilies? You said yes to that and didn't read the part where we install a browser hijacker, so technically you gave consent. Sucker! Oh and we paid money to join a group called COAST, (Coalition of Anti Spyware Technology) so we must not be Spyware, right? 180solutions and Zango are Spywear"

Yes there can be technical remedies to stop this, but they have not caught up with the latest programming tricks of these people. They are using the spammer and virus maker tricks to stay ahead of adware and spyware removal programs. But unlike spammers and virus makers they try to be a legit business. Therefore they can be found, sued and forced to cease and desist for blocking interstate commerce. It's one thing when a 17 year old in Sweden makes me spend 8 hours cleaning my computer. I can't find him, he has no assets and he isn't going to legitimate businesses and saying, "If you include my virus with your software it will siphon money from your competitors and we'll split the take."

I'd say this calls for a lawsuit, and I know that by the time it has been filed they will have morphed into something else (they already have several times). Maybe they need to be shut down quicker. Perhaps filing a criminal complaint is in order?

If a restraining order is filed with the FTC there already is precedent FTC gets injunction against ‘pop-up spam scam’ and it is pretty relevant. I'm not sure how these things work, but I think that someone who has lost revenue because of the hijacked browsers needs to be the one to file suit. As a user I could be part of the suit, but I don't think I have any clout in terms of the FTC paying attention and acting on a request. The FTC doesn't care about the poor computer users wasting billions of hours, but stop someone from making money?! Look out!

I'm guessing that within the IT community this problem will grow within their user base until someone can create a strong enough case for pointy haired bosses to say, "What? I'm losing money because of these jokers? I'm calling our lawyers! This is an outrage! "

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Spocko talks to God. Just like the President!

Spocko: Dear Mr. God. Did you really tell George W. Bush to attack Iraq?

God: Hell no! I don't make junk, but seriously I thought I made enough smart people so they wouldn't put one of my lesser models in charge! Christ.

Christ: Yeah, Dad?

God: Go down and talk to those people.

Christ: Do I have to? The last time I did that they KILLED ME!

God: I know, I saw that stupid movie. Which reminds me, I'm going to put another boil on Mel Gibson's ass. Alright, you can stay. Then ask your mother to go talk to them again.

Mary: I tried! Recently too! I was on a YOUdamn cheese sandwitch for 10 years and NO ONE PAID A LICK of attention to me. I was trying to remind them, "Blessed are the Peace makers," but somehow it got translated from Angelic to English as "Blessed are the Cheese makers." So no wonder no one got the point. I knew I shouldn't have tried Angelic to English converters, the translations to Portuguese are much better. American's are so stupid these days. TV's made them dumber than sheep herders! Hey let's send The Holy Spirit, he's not doing anything important these days, he can go haunt that goofball they put in charge.

Christ: Bush?

Mary: No. Dick Cheney. Jesus, pay attention Christ or no manna for dinner for you.

Christ: Ah Mom.

Mary: Don't you "Ah Mom" me, or I won't let you help the Red Sox anymore.

Monday, January 03, 2005

The End. Endings Can Give Meaning

The year was 2004. What did it all mean? Who knows? All I can say is good riddens! Steven Winn, the SF Chronicle Arts and Culture Critic, wrote an excellent piece in the January 1, 2005 Datebook section about endings.

I'm so often frustrated by endings in SF books. They often over reach and go for immortality or vast destruction "and with that, they saw the heat death of the Universe." or "By stealing the rotational energy from the earth to power the Sphere it created the massive earthquakes that destroyed it."
Bah. Steven touches on how art and specificly endings in art can both gratify or frustrate.

But longing is a big part of endings. We all want to be carried away, touched and changed, even as we doubt that's how things may actually turn out.

In a lovely poem about failing to record the end of a movie on her VCR, Mona Van Duyn laments: " 'I can't bear it! I have to see how it comes out!'/ For what is story if not relief from pain/ of the inconclusive, from dread of the meaningless?" The poem ends with a wishful vow to follow "past vacancies of darkness" and in doing so, "to find the end of the story."

A tip o' the hat to Charlie Stross, the writer of the Atrocity Archives (and my new favorite author), who just struggled with ending his new book, Glasshouse. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out!