Archive for August, 2006

Later, fruitcake.

August 9th, 2006

She lost the primary.

Denny’s taking it pretty well.

Time for a “People That Make Me Look Normal” category.

UPDATE: Heh.

As McKinney walked outside her campaign headquarters after losing her reelection bid to Hank Johnson, a boom microphone carried by a photographer struck members of McKinney’s entourage. In the confusion, McKinney staffers struck an 11Alive photographer and knocked his camera equipment to the ground.

Disturbing

August 8th, 2006

… and disgusting.

Gunner reports that our spineless congress critters have stooped to new lows. Voting on bills that they won’t even let themselves read and debate.

Nearly all members of the House of Representatives opted out of a chance to read this year’s classified intelligence bill, and then voted on secret provisions they knew almost nothing about.

The bill, which passed by 327 to 96 in April, authorized the Bush administration’s plans for fighting the war on terrorism.

Previously I presumed it was sheer laziness that the didn’t read the bills that they voted on, but this shows that they actually do it deliberately to protect themselves from prosecution.

Disgusting.

UPDATE: It looks like it was HR 5020 and Roll Call 108 will tell you how everybody voted.

Ron Paul voted for it. Looks like I better do some digging here. Nevermind that bit. I was reading the roll call wrong and Abject corrected me.

Granholm on Gas Prices

August 8th, 2006

Here’s the Google Video of one of Granholm’s TV commercials as part of her bid to remain governor of Michigan.

Let me transcribe it:

On the day of the terrorist attacks, 9/11, when some gas stations tried to gouge their customers, I stopped them. I took them to court, and I made them pay their customers back. As governor I’ve sent new inspectors across the state to end price gouging. While others would protect oil companies, I’ve told the president to cap their outrageous profits. I’ll stand up, and I’ll fight back against anyone who threatens your paycheck, and I’ll put you first.

Do I even need to fisk this? Hell, why not. I’ve got the time and energy.

First, gas prices aren’t as a big of a deal as actually having a job. That’s paramount in Michigan right now. The tech sector seems to be bouncing back quite nicely but a slew of manufacturing jobs have gone away in recent years. I can’t blame Granholm for this as it started well before took office, but as we sit right now Michigan is still hemorrhaging jobs.

Second, nice work evoking 9/11 in your bid for governor.

Third, price “gouging” doesn’t exist unless there’s a monopoly. Anything else is the result of free market forces. If you anticipate a “run” on your goods you raise prices. Not only to maximize profits but to make sure that only those that really need your goods get them. When the price of gas remains at their regular prices during a run those that really need it may not be able to purchase any.

Fourth, she invokes the we’re-not-Bush mantra of the Democratic party to capitalize on Bush’s low approval ratings. I can’t say that’s a bad idea, but it doesn’t really add anything to the platform.

Fifth, she brings up the “outrageous” oil company profits. Last I checked Exxon, the leader in actual profits by dollars, was running around a 9% profit margin. That isn’t outrageous. A quick search on Google leads me to this page on plastics where I find:

Gross profit margins, quarter over quarter, increased a nominal 0.1 percentage points. Margins year-to-date were 0.4 percent short of the 26.4 percent achieved in 2005.

Emphasis mine. Who’s calling for capping the outrageous profit margins of the commodity plastic market?!

I demand answers, damnit! Why do they hate the working class? Big Plastic is to blame, not the market!

Finally, in a state where we want to encourage economic growth do you want a governor that might cap your profits if you make too much money? That doesn’t seem like a business friendly position at all.

Quite frankly this campaign ad does nothing but tell me I should not be voting for her. No rebuttal from another candidate is necessary. It speaks for itself.

Question Everything

August 6th, 2006

Well, Reuters is getting their ass handed to them as of late with regards to their photography in the Middle East.

Michelle Malkin has a good round-up showing what the blog world is finding. Lots of “Photoshopping” of the images to make the situation look different than it actually is.

Looks like they’re making up stories rather than just reporting the news.

Tech Trivia

August 6th, 2006

^H

If you know what that means you’re probably a geek. If you don’t know what that means, and you want a really long winded explanation of a bunch of geeky things check below the fold.
» Read more: Tech Trivia

Only crazy people believe in the New World Order, right?

August 6th, 2006

“World’s Worst Internet Law” ratified by Senate

The US Senate ratified the Convention on Cybercrime last night, paving the way for greater international cooperation on cybersecurity issues. The Convention was drafted back in 2000, went through several rounds of public comment, and was opened for signature on November 23, 2001. Because it’s a treaty, the Senate must authorize it before it goes into force, and they did that last night, five years after the US first signed the agreement.

What’s it mean?

According to the EFF, “The treaty requires that the U.S. government help enforce other countries’ ‘cybercrime’ laws—even if the act being prosecuted is not illegal in the United States. That means that countries that have laws limiting free speech on the Net could oblige the F.B.I. to uncover the identities of anonymous U.S. critics, or monitor their communications on behalf of foreign governments. American ISPs would be obliged to obey other jurisdictions’ requests to log their users’ behavior without due process, or compensation.”

You know those crazy folks (like me!) that break off into an occasional screed about the world coming under control of an international totalitarian regime run by the world’s elite being created bit by bit right in front of our faces? Still think we’re crazy?

It’s happening. Bit by bit. Piece by piece. Two by two, hands of bl– Sorry, Firefly withdrawl.

Of course, over here we learn that there are some safeguards:

One clause in the treaty allows a country to refuse to cooperate in an investigation if its “essential interests” are threatened by the request: Shave says that would allow the U.S. to bow out of a probe targeting free speech or other actions protected by the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, political offenses are specifically excluded from some types of mutual assistance requests available under the treaty.

Forgive me if I don’t think that the phrase “essential interest” means “protect your citizen’s Constitutionally protected rights” in the eyes of the DOJ or any other branch of the United States government.

The Constitution seems to hinder their “essential interests” from what I’m seeing lately.

So, who’s on board with this treaty?

Thirty-four European nations, plus Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States have signed onto the treaty, but only five have thus-far ratified it: Albania, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary and Lithuania.

Great. Five formerly Communist countries are peachy-keen with the plan. That doesn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies.

Did somebody forget to invite Cuba to the party?

I figure we’ll see this abused sometime in the next 3-5 years. Just a hunch. By then we’ll have forgotten about it being ratified, all arguments against it will have been forgotten, and the masses will presume that this is just the way things have always worked.

Why? It is very simple.

I think I’ve got my fingers on the pulse of the segment of society concerned with what our government does. I haven’t heard a peep of this from any regular citizen. It exists solely because goverments want it to exist — not the people themselves.

When governments enact legislation or engage in treaties with other government that are not desired by the populace they will only ever result in one thing: More government control and intrusion. Especially when they’re expressly dealing with the ever extending long arm reach of the police agencies we’re lorded over by.

Further, if American citizens were not pushing for this law, do you really think that the other countries that have signed onto this treaty have ground-swell movements pushing for this at their own national level? I would highly doubt that.

If a US Senator didn’t support this treaty would it hurt their re-election campaign? I find that doubtful.

That, right there, makes me wonder just who our electorate, and the governments of 39 other countries, are getting ideas from.

This is news?

August 6th, 2006

Computer hackers get lesson on cloning passport, cash card tags

High-tech passports touted as advances in national security can be spied on remotely and their identifying radio signals cloned, computers hackers were shown at a conference.

Radio frequency identification technology, referred to as RFID, used in cash cards and passports, can be copied, blocked or imitated, said Melanie Rieback, a privacy researcher at Vrije University in the Netherlands.

The RIAA, the MPAA and multiple national governments just can’t get this through their skulls, can they?

If you can read it, you can copy it!

Rieback demonstrated a device she and colleagues at Vrije built to hijack the RFID signals that manufacturers have touted as unreadable by anything other than proprietary scanners.

Emphasis mine.

Go figure. They were dead wrong.

It looks like two independent teams did this and presented them both at the Las Vegas conference. Bruce Schneier has posted his comments related to a German hacker accomplishing the same thing. It took him two weeks.

What this means is that the electronic portion of the passport cannot be trusted at all. So, everybody will have to open up the passports to verify that the data matches that is on the paper portion of it. I don’t see the gain here, only problems. It’ll cost more to make the new passports, your information can be stolen with a portable reader, and it adds a layer of complexity to the job of our security guards that, in my opinion, aren’t up the tasks already assigned to them.

Hell, the TSA shut down an airport when they found a cookie in somebody’s carry-on luggage.

Recent Conflict Timeline

August 2nd, 2006

Here’s a YouTube hosted video that gives a quick overview of the year 2000-now with regards to Israel, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

It seems to lean pro-Israeli, and there’s no outright lies there, but there might be some ommisions that Hamas or Hezbollah would find pertinent.

I’m not aware of any, however, and I’m hoping that Abject Disappointment will take a gander at this and fill in any gaps if they exist.

Inside Joke

August 2nd, 2006

Anybody that read Rob Smith’s blog before he passed on will probably get a chuckled out of this.

Dax Montana has got himself a little kitten. He named it Acidman!

Street Fighting

August 2nd, 2006

Bane dug up a link to a quick tutorial on street fighting by Bas Rutten.

UPDATE: Link removed. Somebody switched out the video with a porn I guess.

Via a commenter on the original post at Bane’s here’s a Google Video copy.

Who is Bas Rutten?

… a Dutch mixed martial arts fighter and color commentator. He was a three time King of Pancrase, former Ultimate Fighting Championship Heavyweight Champion, and is a certified MTBN Thai Boxing instructor, Pancrase instructor, a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Kyokushin and a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Not somebody you want to piss off.

Give it a watch, see if you can pick up anything in there. I’ve probably drilled 80% of the control moves thousands of times in my life.

They work.