Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tricycle and Scooter's Bastard Love Child

Ok, I have seen this... contraption chained to a bicycle stand for the last week or so in downtown Chicago.

What the hell is it?! It's like a scooter and a tricycle crashed into each other and this is the result. The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of mobility.

It's driving me insane. It's seems constructed well. But if it's for an adult, the sheer biological mechanics involved in using it boggle the mind. And if it's for a toddler, the handle bars seem a little out of reach. I suppose a small Chimpanzee would fit comfortably (what, with the longer arms and all), but I'm sure I would have noticed one ambling by the corner of Canal and Washington.

One thing is for sure, that seat looks real uncomfortable.

UPDATE: Someone here at work has commented that perhaps it's a transportation device for "Little People " proportions. Maybe so, but just from the dimensions involved I'm thinking 10-12" legs and 20-28" arms. Is that normal for "People of Challenged Verticality"?


Todd Schriber is US Rep Rehberg's press aide (he has since been fired). He contacted (of all places) to try to solicit a hacker to change his GPA. What follows is a truly classic piece of social engineering. It includes a reference to the Avian Network Protocol (RFC 1149), pictures of squirrels, and has the best movie-style hacker-babble I've ever seen.
Shouldn't need anything else. Have had a chance to set up a couple of IDS/IPS evasion bots, perimeter scanning came up clean. Small SQL injection issue merged with XSS shows that the backend database may be either 768-bit encrypted or a simple 3DES matter, but a little more time should take care of that issue. Once the tables are writable to sa, should be ready to jump in and jump out with no problem. One of their systems caught an early sniff, but was shut down with a smurf.

For the non-technical: trust me, the above makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Which makes it funny, because good old Todd swallows it hook, line, and sinker.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford, Senselessly Eaten By Wolves

Gerald Ford, I hardly knew ye.

Seriously. I was in second grade or something when he was president. All I know about him, I learned from SNL. (sorry I can't find a video - so here's a completely unrelated SNL skit)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Technology Tuesday

The elusive Methuselah gene? Perhaps not, but glimpses into preventing senility.

Nothing scares me more than the thought of losing my ability to reason. Hopefully by the time it becomes an issue, it won't be an issue any longer.

Mating Habits Of The Sex-Crazed Korean Business Weasel

When I think of cities famous for prostitution (hey, it happens more often then you would think), I'd say Amsterdam pops to mind first. Then perhaps Bangkok. But Seoul, Korea?
The South Korean government is handing out gifts for office workers who promise not to visit brothels this holiday season.

"If you promise yourself to make it a healthy night out at the end of the year, and if you recommend this to others, we are giving lots of prizes," the Ministry of Gender Equality said in an Internet posting.

It this a real problem? Are there hordes of drunken businessmen descending on the brothels like the Visigoths sacking Rome? I'm fairly well read, and I try to keep up on world news and whatnot, so you would think I would have at least heard about rampaging packs of sex crazed Koreans before now.

But, perhaps it's not quite as the Ministry of Gender Equality would have you believe. Obviously some do not agree.
Many South Koreans were bewildered by the plan, saying it was a waste of money and gave the impression that South Korean men cannot keep away from brothels.

"Do they really think men buy sex every time they have a dinner party?" wrote one Korean on a comment page of the South Korea's largest daily Chosun Ilbo.

Hell, do they buy sex anytime? Well,
in general, I mean. I'm sure there are some, otherwise there wouldn't be any prostitutes at all in Seoul. But I imagine the men of Korea are much like all men around the world. Using my state-of-the-art making shit up because it sounds right, I would say: some buy, most do not.

The cynic in me says this is an end-of-year budget thing. To justify getting at least the same budget as last year, an agency or department has to show it spent all of the previous year's budget. Maybe staples were cheaper than anticipated this year.

I've been to many a work-related dinner before. And some of them have even had Koreans in them. Not once was going and finding a prostitute even raised as an option for an after dinner activity (and there was plenty of the drinking). However, the thought does creep in that I, in fact, am not Korean. What if there's some subtle body language I'm not picking up? I'll just have to pay closer attention next time.

And bring extra cash.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hey, A Guy Can Change His Mind, Can't He?

Well, not when you've been so vociferous about the righteousness of your cause.
DURHAM - Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong dismissed the rape charges in the case against three former Duke University lacrosse players today after the accuser told detectives she wasn’t certain about a critical detail of the alleged attack. Other charges remain.

Nifong dropped the charge of first-degree forcible rape against David Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md.; Collin Finnerty, 20, of Garden City, N.Y.; and Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J. All maintain their innocence.

The three are still charged with first-degree sexual offense and first-degree kidnapping.

Nifong is trying to downplay the news by releasing it on a holiday weekend. He has the hope that perhaps some bigger news may happen before this hits the national stage. You know, kind of wash this out in the noise of some larger newsworthy event. But this moron forgot about the Intnernet, and just how pissed off people are about his, at times criminal, approach to this case.

I'm sure he saw this The Case. You know, the one that gets him re-elected. And guess what, it did. And when the "evidence" stopped telling the story he wanted it to, well, he began to rely on dirty tricks and getting public opinion firmly behind him and against these perfidious man-childs. Except it's all falling apart on him.

This is the beginning of the end.

I expect eventually all charges will be dropped (how many times has the "victim" changed her story?) and these young men can finally get on with their seriously interrupted lives. I'm kind of split on whether he will lose his job, lawyerin' hat, and prosecuted criminally. However, I do expect him to be named in quite a few civil suits. Along with the University, the accuser, and the city of Durham itself.

Nifong can't complain. He is, after all, in this only for justice.

Oh, Well Then...

I guess that makes it OK.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Its Alive! ...Or Not

This is a pretty interesting article about robotics, intelligence and inherent rights.
Robots and machines are now classed as inanimate objects without rights or duties but if artificial intelligence becomes ubiquitous, the report argues, there may be calls for humans’ rights to be extended to them.

It seems they think around 2056 we will have seen the birth of self aware synthetic intelligence. While their report raises some tricky ethical and moral questions, I have to wonder just how optimistic they are being with their estimates. Remember, we were supposed to have conquered this realm by now.

I suppose I cannot fault them for their predictions (and looking past those predictions to the impact on society). There is a school of thought that intelligence is emergent. That is, interactions between simple mechanisms become more and more complex as the scale increases. At some threshold of scale, the level of complex behavior appears to self organize and produce resultant interactions that cannot be predicted by extrapolating the behavior of its fundamental parts. Typically, this is called Strong Emergence (it's hard to see how Weak Emergence could give rise to intelligence). And as we can all testify, our computers, phones, entertainment systems are becoming more and more complex every day. So there is something to be said for this becoming a possibility due to the seemingly geometric increases we see happening.

Materialists (in the most broad sense) say our brains are purely algorithmic in nature and the mind is simply an artifact of an extremely complex machine. Forget free will. There is no such thing here. Everything is ruled by stimulus/response. Even our innermost thoughts. Hell, even this little essay has been determined by past experience and external stimulus. And every word could have been accurately predicted given a complete mathematical model of my brain.

This is called Biological Naturalism. At its core, it's a rejection of the duality of the mind and body. Given a sufficiently complex model a simulation will in essence no longer be a model but an independent, self-aware consciousness. Of course, the creation of this kind of system would make accurate weather modeling (still out of our grasp) seem simple by comparison. In essence we would be building a brain.

There's another idea in the materialist camp. That the form is much more complex than we can ever hope to understand. That intelligence is intrinsically wedded to quantum mechanics. Roger Penrose goes on about this in some of his writings. With a clever application of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem and the halting problem (knowing when a series of equations is infinite or unsolvable), he posits that while consciousness ultimately arises due to structure, it is beyond what we will ever be able to deduce due to the fact that we can never have a complete and consistant model. The ability to understand, much less create, self-awareness will forever be out of reach thanks to Gödel. This idea is very controversial and I'm not touching it with a ten-foot pole. Plus the math is way beyond me (and I'm talking many light-years beyond).

I'm going to touch on simulation in this case. Barring any major breakthroughs in nueroscience, our understanding of chaos, and fast analog, multi-state computers (or quantum computers), simulations will most likely be pale imitations of homo sapiens sapiens.

But, if a simulation is convincing enough to pass a Turing Test, we start moving out of the shallows of epistemology and into the deep scary waters of existentialism. Here, we question the validity of robotic rights. Would the concept even apply for pure simulations? Or would we be using these simulated beings as a mirror, trying to put limits and restrictions on our seemingly inherent brutality and callousness?

These are questions that will most likely never be answered. Nor should they, really. It is the searching --the blind groping --that make it worthwhile. It's what we trip over and discover, in our own ineffable, blundering way, while trying to answer the unanswerable. What we discover there --those are the real treasures of humanity.

However, there are greater, more pressing questions that we should begin to ask ourselves before it becomes moot. How will we relate to a created intelligence? What common ground can we have, given the wildly different environments?

And even more fundamental: Would we even be able to recognize the existence of an intelligence that would be so completely different from our own?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Technology Tuesday

I admit, I got kind of excited when I heard the iPhone had been announced. But then it turned out to be this piece of shit.

Now, Cisco (who own Linksys) has the trademark (at least in the US market) iPhone, meaning Apple can't use probably the most obvious name for the iPod/Phone hybrid that has analysts creaming in their pants. Depending on whether they are an Apple fan or an Apple hater, people are stunned or tickled pink, respectively.

So, either Apple girds their loins for a legal battle, or they change the name. So what will it be, now?

iPod Phone?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Allow Me To Geek Out For A Moment

My day job is in Information Security. Normally, I don't talk so much about that here. I get more than enough of that topic during work and with my off-hours research.

That being said, I would like to address an article that was linked to in one of the myriad of security related mailing lists I belong to. The article in question is by Greg Meckbach in IT Business titled There are only two IT network security issues.

Just from the title alone I could see I was going to have issues with this article. Some of the points are valid, such as the fact that physical security is not the domain of Information Security. Except he talks about IT managers not specifically Information Security (which is an entirely different beast). What follows is a post I sent to the security mailing list I got the link from. I have changed it somewhat, due to the fact that I am grammar impaired and I have had more time to think on this topic. However, the primary point I was trying to make is unaltered.

I agree with some of what Mr. Meckbach said, but a couple statements he made struck me as wrong (or perhaps mislabelled).
If a criminal could steal something as a result of hacking into a network, that again is a management problem. It's the manager's job to make sure sensitive information is not stored on accessible drives.

Wouldn't this fall under the category of "spying", which he specifically names as one of the two concerns?

Anyway, what does he recommend "management" do? (and which management? Operations, IT, HR?) Reduce the distribution of sensitive business information to sneaker-net? Create a secondary network which would require multiple NICs and custom config to guarantee one network cannot see another (even then, comprise a dual homed host and even that's useless), or require users to have a separate workstation for each isolated network?
The fifth issue - compliance with securities regulations - is supposedly one of the security problems with instant messaging, because some IM programs do not have an archiving capability, which would allow investigators to check every record of an employee's correspondence.

While this may be a problem, it's not a security problem. Letting employees communicate, without monitoring that communication, is the business manager's problem, not the IT manager's problem.
Mr Meckbach seems to be confusing IT management with Information Security. Yes, the decision to archive and monitor IM may ultimately be an executive-level decision, but the implementation is most definitely the communications group's responsibility (which would fall under IT). The actual risk assessment and use of mitigating controls in an attempt to pro-actively prevent or limit the type of information transmitted using IM, without a doubt, is an IS concern.

For any business that is concerned about these things, risk assessment is a major part of the security framework. And a company's Information Security team plays a large part in risk assessment and mitigation. IS's primary function is to allow the business to conduct it's day-to-day operations with as little risk as necessary. IS involves more than just securing a network and attached hosts.

Information Security is about information. While the majority of IS does involve technological systems and solutions, it also involves things like standards and practices, security policies, compliance, and risk assessment. I have seen the attitude expressed in this article before, but usually it comes from people that don't seem to understand the security is not an end unto itself. It is the means in which a company can conduct its business with relative safety.

While I do believe a line to be has to be drawn somewhere (unless we want to drown in unnecessary work), Mr. Meckbach seems to have a too strict a definition of what IS should encompass.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Like Shiny Objects As Well

Perhaps it's a some reflection of my innate barbarity. Maybe a revelation of how decadent our society has become.

I don't know... and I don't care!

I. Love. This. Show.

It's high-speed chases followed by absolutely brutal crashes tonight.

This is almost as good as the "Ho Ho Ho!" Christmas episodes of COPS with the all prostitute casts. There's back to back "Ho Ho Ho!" episodes this Sat (Dec 16, 2006). A whole hour of drug-using hookers! Whee!

From episode #1923 (Ho Ho Ho!) that will be on this Dec 16, 2006 (emphasis mine):
Officer Ryan Cook of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detains a male and female in an area known for drug activity and prostitution. During questioning the female admits to being a former prostitute and a drug user. When the officer discovers drug paraphernalia in her purse, she’s placed under arrest. The male individual insists that after meeting the lady earlier in the evening, she asked for a ride home. He claims that he had no knowledge that she was a transsexual prostitute and thanks Officer Cook for his help.

I swear, this is the true Golden Age of television.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Technology Tuesday

Well, at least we in the US aren't the only ones who overreact due to shoddy science.
David Dean, 43, a councillor in Merton, South London, and the managing director of a publishing company, describes himself as a human antenna. “The moment I go into people’s houses I know whether they have wi-fi because my head starts to buzz. I had to leave my last job because I couldn’t stand up for more than ten minutes in the office and my boss would not remove the wi-fi. My heart raced, I had double vision and really bad headaches. It felt as though my head was in an arm lock. Twice I have been into homes where the children were screaming monsters. After I suggested to the parents that they turn off the network for two days, the kids were transformed.”

Oh, and how about the guy with the lobbying group trying to stir up fear about the so-called effect of WiFi radio signals. Please disregard the fact that he "runs a company selling electromagnetic radiation detectors and blockers."

But wait, you say, what about evidence from the other side?
Dr Michael Clark, of the HPA, says published research on mobile phones and masts does not add up to an indictment of wi-fi. “All the expert reviews done here and abroad indicate that there is unlikely to be a health risk from wireless networks,” he says. “The few studies on mobile phone masts that have appeared in peer-reviewed journals claiming to observe health effects are not at all conclusive. The real problem is deciding what level of precaution is appropriate.

“When we have conducted measurements in schools, typical exposures from wi-fi are around 20 millionths of the international guideline levels of exposure to radiation. As a comparison, a child on a mobile phone receives up to 50 per cent of guideline levels. So a year sitting in a classroom near a wireless network is roughly equivalent to 20 minutes on a mobile. If wi-fi should be taken out of schools, then the mobile phone network should be shut down, too — and FM radio and TV, as the strength of their signals is similar to that from wi-fi in classrooms.”

Sorry Dr. Clark, anecdotal evidence always trumps facts and figures. Especially when we need to do it for the children.


I Hate The KKK As Well

That's not too far of a stretch, after all, I've already said I hate Nazis.

David Duke, the ex-Grand Wizard himself, is in Iran spewing hateful garbage from his pie hole.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's conference questioning the Holocaust came to an end Tuesday, but not before hearing former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke say that gas chambers were not used to kill Jews.

"The Zionists have used the Holocaust as a weapon to deny the rights of the Palestinians and cover up the crimes of Israel," Duke told a gathering of nearly 70 "researchers" in Tehran at Ahmadinejad's invitation.

What the fuck did he think those chambers were used for? Seriously, what else could they be used for? Rooms that seal hermetically. Pipes with fittings and valves for connecting to compresses gas tanks. Pipes that terminated in above hermetically sealed room. Of course, they were just there for... well, for killing millions of Jews!

God, I can't stand these kind of people. They have the same mentality as the cerebrally challenged 9/11 conspiracy kooks. It's really the same kind of paranoia operating here. Rather than imagining the government is this puppet master manipulating events for money and power, it's a world-wide cabal of Zionists (although these two groups of hidden masters seem to overlap at times). Rather than legitimizing the Jewish grievance against a pogrom on a scale never seen before in history, they seek to take it away and thus the primary rationale for Israel existing.

Now, I'm not going to get into the whole "is Israel legitimate" thing, because that's not really the issue. Well, OK, it is for this "conference", but only tangentially. The real issue here is these... meat sacks trying to erase the record of the systematic genocide perpetrated by the Nazis during the course of WWII.

I'm surprised and, at the same time, not surprised at David Duke's appearance at this carnival of ignorance. I am slightly surprised he's in Iran because for all his nauseating personal philosophy, he was a state legislator and I would expect some semblance of patriotism. But it appears his hatred has a stronger appetite. He's been a busy little beaver these last few years. After looking over that list of "tour dates" linked, the fact that he showed up in Iran is really no surprise.

You know, I've said I hate Nazis, and I hate the KKK, but really it's simpler than that.

I hate ignorance.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Night Football

Don't fuck up, Rex.

UPDATE (After 1st half): So far, so good, Rex. But the defense better step up, they're letting the Rams get way too much yardage (and points).

UPDATE2 (7 mins left): Hester is incredible. Sixth return for a TD this season. A new NFL record and he's a rookie. The Bears have slammed the door. It's now 42-20 and I really don't think the Rams can come back (unless it turns into turnover city).

Grossman did a great job and I hope this isn't a fluke (please don't let this be fluke).

Half Of Texas Prepares To Move To Oklahoma

I guess I shouldn't be surprised about this. Coming as it does from a state with drive-in liquor stores.
A bill filed for the 2007 legislative session would permit legally blind hunters to use laser sights, or lighted pointing instruments.

"This opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that's great," said Republican Rep. Edmund Kuempel, the bill's sponsor.


Isn't the key part of laser sight the word "sight" (Yes, yes, I know. I read the article and they specifically mention being accompanied by a spotter.) I have this image of of bullet ridden houses, cars, and generally destroyed foliage.

It makes me shudder.

Admittedly, with suppressed laughter. Because I don't live in Texas.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Holy Shit!

Some freaky stuff happened in downtown Chicago. Total chaos.

I work across the street from that building and I am telling you it was total pandemoneum. I'll write more tomorrow and have a low quality camera picture or two.

UPDATE: OK, the phone pics did not turn out well. Maybe I should carry my Canon for when stuff like this happens.

Now all the reports I have read report this guy bringing a gun, knife and hammer as weapons. Now, the knife I can understand as a kind of backup for when you run out of bullets. But, a hammer?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

How Can They Be So Heartless?

So your prison sentence is "too hard"? Well, you fat fuck, you should have thought about that before you help beat a homeless man to death.

Cry me a river, you slope browed, fecal brained asshat.
One of the teenagers responsible for beating a Holly Hill homeless man to death asked a judge to reduce his 22-year prison sentence Monday. Warren Messner and three other teens pled guilty to killing the man because they were bored, but Messner said prison is too hard.
Bored? When you're bored you play video games. You go to a movie. You read a book. When you're a bored, sadistic sociopath I guess you kill people.

This piece of shit is learning that society will hold you responsible for your actions. Period. Society doesn't care if he fell in with a bad crowd. No one held a gun to his head and forced him to take another person's life.

Mom doesn't quite seem to get it.
Messner's parents broke down at the denial. His mother said it's unfair, that her son fell in with a bad crowd and prison is killing him.

"He's not getting the mental health, the schooling. He's not getting anything, anything but locked in a cell all day long," Lori Messner said.
If it does kill him, she'll be the only one to shed a tear. Some people seem to be under the impression that the primary goal of a prison is rehabilitation. Bullshit. For centuries the reason for prison is that same as it is now. It is, in fact, to punish criminals.

Yes, there are rehabilitation programs in prisons. But you have to earn them. They are not a right, nor are they the primary mission of prisons. The mission of a prison is twofold. One is to deprive the convicted of freedom. The second, which happily coincides with the first, is to remove the convicted from society as whole. This boy has been excised from the public like the cancer he is.

Fair has nothing to do with it. If things were fair, that human being he helped execute would be alive today.

A Father's Death

I have been following this story since the family was first reported missing Thanksgiving weekend.
When they were rescued, Kim's family told authorities that he struck out on Saturday to find help, wearing tennis shoes, pants and a heavy coat, but no hat. His family said he had some outdoor experience, and authorities said he was carrying two lighters.

He had a specific plan: He would leave early Saturday morning, go back the way the family came, and if he couldn't find anyone, he would return in a few hours. Just before 8 a.m. Saturday, his family said, he left to carry it out.

I will admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out the mother and two daughters were alive and actually in good condition after 9 days. Both James' and Kati's cool heads managed to get Kati and her daughters through a harrowing ordeal virtually unscathed.

James however did not. He traveled an extraordinary amount of distance in mountainous terrain, attempting to locate help. I'm sure after being stranded for 9 days, he felt there was no choice. When he was found, he had a note clenched in his hand asking for help for his wife and children. He died trying to save those he loved.

The saddest part of his death, however, is what was most likely going through his mind at the end. He never knew that his family had been rescued and were all well. He died thinking he had failed his family.

But never once did he fail them. His actions, along with his wife's, during the entire ordeal ensured the survival of Kati and the children.

While he may have died despairing, he will not be remembered that way. He will be remembered as a man with a fierce love for his family and a determination to do whatever it took to save them.

He was a son, and a husband, and a father.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Technology Tuesday

Dear Santa,

I've been a... relatively good boy all year.

Please send me:

One of these.

And one of these.

Oh, and one of these, as well.

And I better get them, fat man. Or do you want Mrs. Claus to hear about the after-Christmas party at Scores, Chicago. Or the special present you gave to Brandi-with-an-"i"?

Monday, December 04, 2006

November Chippies

The November Chippy Awards

It's time for the November Chippy Awards. It the award presented to those whom I'd most like to feed feet first into a wood chipper. While all nominees are worthy of mulching, only one can be awarded the Golden Bag of Sawdust and go directly to the head of the line.

Again, thanks must go forth to my research team consisting of Anne. Her tireless efforts make these awards possible.

As usual, we start with the Honorable Mentions. While not deserving of the wood chipper treatment, they are but a hair's breadth away from turning into a lawn bag of meat and bone chips.

  • For the 1,002nd Use Of Duct Tape Award, we have this loving mother. She gets to have her child bearing organs scooped out using a rusty spoon.
  • For the Most Cynical Taking Advantage Of A Charity, this family is sure to turn any stomach. They win the dubious prize of having their home demolished and being relocated to a cardboard box in Crack Alley.
  • For the Not Exactly How Tom Sawyer Would Have Avoided Chores Award, there's this little maladjusted firebug. She gets to whitewash all the fences in the state of Indiana.
  • For the Start 'Em Young Award, here's this aunt, who's a credit to any family of drug dealers. She gets an accupuncture treatment utilizing used hypodermic needles.

Now on to the non-winning nominees. This does not mean that they won't get added to the compost pile. They just have to wait their turn.

For Most Heinous Use Of A Child As A Percussion Instrument.
"She beat that little boy with a belt and a pipe ... and she left him to die and then she hid the body. There is no doubt she is a child killer," Currie said.

King wept as she testified Thursday that Ahmad's death was an accident. She told jurors she lost control while spanking him. When she realized he was dead, King said she panicked, hid his body and told police he had been abducted.

For The Most Disgusting Use Of The Internet.
A man who was sexually abusing a young girl in his home was arrested after he transmitted images of the assault via the Internet to an undercover detective, police said Thursday.

The girl, a preschooler, was rescued two hours later in what Toronto police's child exploitation unit said was its first case of observing a live assault.

For recognition of Toronto's Child Exploitation Section, and specifically Detective Krawczyck, he shall be permitted to push the button when this waste of protoplasm is fed into the hopper.

For the This Shit Just Wants To Make Me Cry Award.
Detectives investigating the death of an 8-year-old boy say his mother probably tortured him for more than a year in a dark dungeon of a bedroom before he swallowed household cleaner last week and died.

Richmond detectives arrested Teresa Moses, 23, on suspicion of murder, torture and child endangerment Friday night after staff at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center called police about the death.

Welts and bruises in various stages of healing covered Raijon Daniels' body. The injuries, officials said, told a long story of abuse: rope marks on his limbs, chemical burns, bed sores.

Normally, this diseased, amoral fuck would win hands down. Since it was a photo-finish this month, I'll give her the rare Silver Bag Of Sawdust. She gets to be chopped and shredded immediately after November's winner. But first she gets fed a cocktail of Lysol and Sno-Bowl.

The winner of The Golden Bag Of Sawdust.

The members of the 101st Airborne responsible for the rape and killings of an Iraqi family. Yes, the same people who are supposed to protect the weak and fight for freedom. To me, this makes it a doubly hideous betrayal of trust.
The group is accused of raping the girl and burning her body to conceal their crimes, then killing the girl's father, mother and six-year-old sister. After entering his plea Wednesday, Barker gave the court a vivid account of the events.

Barker said he and the others were drinking and playing cards while they manned a traffic checkpoint.

Green brought up the idea of raping the girl and killing her family, he said.

They raped a 14 year old girl in front of her family. These fucks killed a 6 year old. I can't begin to imagine the sheer terror this family endured before they were killed.

Just turning them into mulch is not enough. For this month's winner, more is necessary. They need to be knee-capped with a gun and have the wounds bandaged in raw sewage. Only until the wounds fester and gangrene is beginning to overcome their bodies will they be fed (slowly) into the wood chipper.

Friday, December 01, 2006

No Buy List

This is pretty goddamn tasteless.

Well played BenQ. Way to pimp your shit using a national tragedy. Your total lack of shame has added you to the list of Companies From Whom I Will Not Buy A Single Product.

And what the hell is up with the pre-teen Japanese Michael Jackson thing going on there?

How do you think they would react if some company had an ad campaign that featured a mushroom cloud over Hiroshima?

(Hat tip: Engadget)

Winter Wonderland

While the snow is cool, and yes I do have a truck, I seem to have overlooked a very real possibility. It involves snowplows. Specifically, it involves the slope-browed, microcephalic snowplow operators that have the contract with my apartment complex. Oh, yes, they did a fine job plowing this morning. But for one thing. They plowed such that the majority of people are now locked into their parking spots. I have a 1 1/2 foot berm of snow directly behind my bumper. And no shovel.

Actually, I should count myself lucky. Someone's bumper got ripped off by a plow in the night (that happened to me 2 yrs ago). I think these guys were drinking or something.

Anyhow, snow aside, I have yet another emergency. Sometime during the night my pilot light went out on my furnace. It is now 55 degrees in my apt and it has been over an hour since I called the paging service. To say I am... miffed... would be an extreme understatement.

When it doesn't rain it... well, it snows in this case.

UPDATE: I have been asked about the November Chippy Awards. These will be posted over the weekend. I did not have enough free time to get to them in time for today.

UPDATE 2: I have heat. Only took them 1 1/2 hours to get here and light the pilot. I would have done it myself, but it appears we mere renters can't be trusted with keys to our own utility closets.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just What The Hell Is Going On Here?

This is starting to turn into a bad Robert Ludlum novel.
Gaidar, Russia's first post-Soviet premier under Boris Yeltsin, fell ill at breakfast last Friday in Dublin, Ireland, just a day after former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko died from radiation poisoning.

"I went up to him. He was lying on the floor unconscious. There was blood coming from his nose, he was vomiting blood. This went on for more than half an hour," his daughter Maria said.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Order Now To Beat The Christmas Rush

I am sure everyone has heard about the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning. Apparently, he was poisoned with Polonium-210. He ended up dying a relatively painful death as a result.

Everyone agrees that there is no way this could have happened by accident. From the Wikipedia article regarding the poisoning:
Polonium-210 - 210Po - is exceedingly rare in nature, and must be artificially manufactured using radioactive bombardment in, for example, a specialised nuclear reactor. British and US government sources have both indicated the use of 210Po as a poison has never been documented before, and this is probably the first time anyone has been tested for the presence of polonium-210 in their body. Andrea Sella, lecturer in chemistry at University College London, has pointed out that: "This is not the sort of thing that amateurs could have cooked up in a bathtub. You would have to go to a nuclear lab."
The number one suspect is, of course, Russia. Litvinenko had been recently investigating the very suspiscious murder of Anna Politkovskaya, in whose death Russia (in particular Putin's administration) is also suspected to be involved. In addition, he was a very outspoken critic of Putin. The current, most popular theory is that Putin, or one of his cronies, ordered his death. The difficulty in obtaining and/or creating 210Po is cited as part of the reasoning behind this theory. It is claimed that of all the parties interested in his death (as far as I know, Russia is the only one interested), only Russia has the means and motive for this murder. And really, how hard is it to find opportunity in a large metropolitan city like London?

While I am convinced Russia is ultimately responsible, the means part of this equation may need to be reevaluated.
The radioactive material that killed a former Russian spy in Britain can be bought on the Internet for $69.

Polonium-210, which experts say is many times more deadly than cyanide, can be bought legally through United Nuclear Scientific Supplies, a mail-order company that sells through the Web. Chemical companies sell the Polonium-210 legally for industrial use such as removing static electricity from machinery. United Nuclear claims that the material is "currently the only legal Alpha source available without a license."
I'm heading over to their site and see what other cool shit I can order.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Technology Tuesday

If you want to geek out, engineer style, read this article about a very cool nail. Yes, a nail.
Sutt’s bosses at Bostitch must be happy too. The company is selling every HurriQuake nail it produces and has been doubling production capacity every month. Although the nail is currently available only in the Gulf region (it adds about $15 to the cost of an average 2,000-square-foot house), the company is adding new production lines to meet nationwide demand. Meanwhile, the nail is getting rave reviews from building-technology experts.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Peace? Not Part Of My Christmas

Tis the season to be power mad asshole.
A homeowners' association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs.

He said some residents believed the wreath was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.

Symbol of Satan? How idiotic are these residents? I mean, this symbol is almost as ubiquitous as the yellow smiley face. I suppose, if you squint your eyes, drop some acid, and drink a bottle of mezcal (eating the worm as well), you can kinda-sorta see an upside down cross. I bet these people probably saw the face of the devil in the debris cloud of the World Trade Towers on 9/11 and hear the backward masking on Judas Priest albums.

The resident says anti-war sentiments (and presumably the Church of Satan) were the furthest thing from her mind when she hung it up. In addition, the association committee refused to require her to remove the wreath saying, quite reasonably, that it's a legitimate seasonal symbol.

he dictatorial asshat of an association president fired them.

I think the wreath makes perfect sense. You know, the whole Peace on Earth thing? But Führer Kearns of the Loma Linda HA seems to have missed that connection to Christmas.

Looks like Kearns has also overlooked the Goodwill To Men part, as well.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Coolest Movie You Never Saw

Right now I'm watching Six String Samurai, a post-apocalyptic-rock 'n' roll-samurai movie. I have to say it is the weirdest, quirkiest movie I have seen in a long time (and yes, that includes Lost Skeleton of Cadavra). I can't believe I've never seen this before.

Let's see if I can do the plot justice.

Basically, in 1957 the USSR dropped the bomb(s?) on the US and took over. The Free City of Las Vegas exists in the middle of the Wasteland and is ruled by the King (yes, Elvis). 40 years have passed and the King is dead. So aspirants are travelling to LV to claim the throne. One of them is the samurai sword wielding, kung-fu mastering, six-string toting Buddy Holly-esque man named Buddy. On the way he encounters the Kid, who tags along against his wishes; bounty hunting bowlers; mutants in a pickup truck with a catapult that shoots super-balls and vinyl records in the slowest car chase I've ever seen; the Windmill People and their god (appropriately named the Windmill God); a cannibal suburbanite family; and Death with his posse. Oh, and the soundtrack is done by the Red Elvises, a Russian band whose genre can best be described as Slavic-Rockabilly-Surf music.

You with me?

In terms of outright strangeness, I'd have to say only the City of Lost Children is a better movie. Yes, that's a good thing.

Vacation Flying

Well, I got back ok, but my luggage didn't.

Actually, travelling was fairly painless this year (excepting the whole luggage thing). I left early on Wednesday and returned on early Saturday. The traffic in the airports was fairly normal. It was about what I've experienced when travelling for business during the week. Plus, having Platinum status on my tickets meant I could go through the expedited security line and board the plane first.

The Raleigh (RDU) airport was disappointing. They could not get the plane ready on time. They fired it up late, so boarding was delayed by 35 mins. Then we had to have the wings de-iced. All in all we took off about 45 mins late. This was of a concern, since I had only allowed 50 mins when I switched planes in DC. I got to DC with 10 mins to spare and made my final leg. I think the delay in Raleigh was why my luggage did not arrive in Chicago when I did. They just did not have the time to transfer it to the second flight.

American Airlines was pretty responsive and I was able to fill out a report in a minimum of time. My luggage is supposed to be delivered sometime today, so we'll see. Fortunately, the only thing I *need* is my electric toothbrush. I bought a regular toothbrush, so no fuzzy-teeth today...

All in all, flying over Thanksgiving was not as painful as some of the doomsayers in my life were prophesying.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Something Obvious, Something Alarming

Well, I'd file this one under "duh".
Only one in four Americans believe President Bush is a better president than his father, George H. W. Bush, a new CNN poll has found.

Six in 10 said the elder Bush, who served one term from 1989-1993, did a better job in office, according to a poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. Twelve percent said both were equally good or bad, and 2 percent offered no opinion.

I'd have to agree with that. Bush the elder had a better grasp on domestic issues and international relations. The main reason I believe he was not re-elected was because of how the first Iraq war ended. I think a lot of Americans felt let down by the fact we did not pursue Saddam into Baghdad.

However, this gives me a "Wha?" moment.
More than a majority of the people polled said congressional Democrats were better able than Bush to handle the situation in Iraq, foreign affairs and also taxes, the economy, and the federal deficit -- three signature GOP issues.

I think this may be whistling in the dark. I'd like to think they are better able to deal with these issues. But right now Pelosi seems more interesting in pissing matches and displays of pique and power. She's turning the House into a grade school playground.

I'd like to give them a chance. Many of them appear to be more moderate than is usually associated with the party lately. I truly think this upcoming congress has the opportunity to do some truly bi-partisan work. Especially in the realm of budget reform and lobby influence.

Unfortunately, I think the rejection of Murtha, who had been hand picked by Pelosi to be the majority leader, and the showdown that appears to be coming regarding the Intelligence Committee, portend events to come over the next two years. I fear the Democrats will revert to form and begin internecine fighting and implode.


And it will most likely cost them the House and possibly the Senate. If it's bad enough, the Executive Branch as well.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I read about this over the weekend, had time to think about it, and now I'm ready to comment on Rep. Rangel and his desire to re-instate the draft.

It's stupid.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it the Democrats that brought this issue up during the 2004 elections? That the Republicans were going to bring back the draft and that was a reason not to elect them?

We have a volunteer force. And it seems to work well. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, we have the most effective military force in the world. Perhaps there are specific divisions or units that perform in a more exemplary manner (I'm thinking of the Gurkhas and the SAS). Perhaps there are forces with a greater number of units (hello, Chinese army). But I don't think there's an army right now that can stand against the US if we decide to bring the hammer down.

Granted, we don't seem to be much of an occupying force, but the Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Army are not policemen. That's the role they are thrust into at the moment. But when it comes to war, we have no peer.

Part of that is training, part of that is the weaponry. But the majority of it the mindset of our soldiers. Volunteers do it because they want to. They take pride in how well they wage war. The efficiency and the efficacy. I am not saying that our armed services are filled with a cadre of bloodthirsty animals. Far from it, but the men and women who serve to protect our interests and our lives take pride in the fact that when fighting is necessary, they do it well and are matchless in it's execution.

Conscription will reduce our ability to do that. There will be people trained as soldiers who do not want to be soldiers. People who will resent the fact that they have to serve. And even more than before, the poor and disadvantaged will get the pointy end of the stick.

Rangel seems to think that by having mandatory conscription all social stratas will be represented in our armed forces. Specifically, it will ensure that those in power will have children or grand-children who would be put in harms way when it hits the fan. He believes that this will curb our governments more hawkish tendencies.

I find it hard to believe that a politician on the national stage can be this hopelessly naive. Does he seriously think that people in positions of influence and power will not do everything they can to ensure that the people they care about are either waived from service, or guaranteed to serve state-side?

I do agree that we need an increase in manpower. Our military is being stretched ever thinner around the globe. Yes, something does need to be done. But I think better recruiting enticements, such as more money for education or increasing the pay for the various enlisted grade (my brother told me it was criminal how little his men were being paid when he was in the 82nd), would do more to swell the ranks of an enthusiastic volunteer force. It allow the US to maintain its exemplar position of military might. Relying on conscription would do nothing but weaken the overall effectiveness of the armed forces and create even greater class division than is already present.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Is She Stupid, Or Just Dumb?

Harper Collins' Regan explains why she published OJ's book.
Publishing maverick Judith Regan issued a statement Thursday night, calling her most-famous author a "killer" and acknowledging that she set up O.J. Simpson in a bid to get a confession out of him on behalf of battered women everywhere — herself among them.

Regan, Harper Collins' enfant terrible, is being widely vilified for publishing what is being touted as a "fictional" confession to the real murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

The fictional confession is given in Simpson's forthcoming new book, "If I Did It."

Regan now says that she was physically abused by her husband and other men. She says the interview she did with Simpson was an attempt at personal justice and "closure" in her own life.


She did it to make a buck. She knew the masses would eat this book up like popcorn. And while you and I will swear never to buy/read this book, there are probably 20 people who will.

Now that people are jumping up and down on her with both feet, does she back-peddle. No, I was trying to get a confession. Really! Listen Marla Maples, leave murder investigation to the professionals. Go back to publishing crap books and fellating the New York Times for good book reviews.

Whether it is a cynical ploy to make money, or you actually beleive the twaddle you're spouting, you look like an idiot. Look? She is an idiot.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ironically, I Hate Nazis

People like this make me sick
Prosecutors said the attack was racially motivated in part because the victim is Hispanic and Tuck espoused white-supremacist beliefs.

Authorities said Tuck shouted racial insults as he punched, kicked and stomped the teen for four to five hours and sodomized him with the plastic pole of a patio umbrella. Tuck and another teen later stood him against a fence and poured bleach all over him, according to investigators.

I've been reading this case off and on for a couple weeks. Now, I'm pretty much against tarring every crime with the "hate" brush, but I'd have to say this one definitely fits. Of course, the defense tried to claim that it was not a hate crime. Ignore the fact that he was wearing Nazi symbols on his clothes (hell, on his boots). Ignore the fact, according to some reports, he was shouting racial epithets while stomping.

Well, at least this Nazi shit will suffer some poetic justice. I'm sure he'll be sodomized more than once where he's going.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Color Me Shocked

But... but... he promised!
New traces of plutonium and enriched uranium — potential material for atomic warheads — have been found in a nuclear waste facility in Iran, a revelation that came Tuesday as the Iranian president boasted his country's nuclear fuel program will soon be completed.

The International Atomic Energy Agency report detailing the discovery also faulted Tehran for not cooperating with the U.N. watchdog's attempts to investigate other suspicious aspects of Iran's nuclear program.

I understand. I do. Iran's economy is so bad, Ahmadinejad is doing the Chicago Tapdance more to distract his own people than anything. He's pulling a quasi-Hitler here. Hell, he's even including antisemitism as a bonus. It's funny, while every rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth lefty is calling Bush the modern day equivalent of Hitler, we have one, bold as life, sitting in the Middle East. We can get into the irony of Iran (of the ancient Persian Empire) being the home of Aryans, later.

The only problem here is that Israel is not Czechoslovakia. While the rest of the world may replay history, bemoaning the fact that Iran is about to become a nuclear power, Israel will not sit on its ass and let things happen. They will do the same thing they did to Iraq. Any facility they suspect of weapons development will be pounded into dust. They can afford to do no less. Ahmadinejad has stated before his fervent wish to see Israel "wiped from the map".
Iranian nuclear officials say 54,000 centrifuges would produce enough enriched uranium to fuel a 1,000-megawatt reactor, such as the one being built by Russia that is near completion at the southern city of Bushehr. Experts have estimated Iran would need only 1,500 centrifuges to produce a nuclear weapon.

Tehran insists it is only seeking to generate low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel and not the highly enriched variety needed for weapons. It also denies it is building a heavy water research reactor at Arak in order to obtain plutonium for nuclear arms, asserting it only wants to produce radioactive isotopes for medical research and treatment.

I find it hard to believe that any society that still publicly flogs female fornicators needs, or even wants, cutting edge materials for medical research. They are a beligerant, aggressive culture. They have been mostly passive-aggressive, as evidenced by their clandestine arming of Hezbollah. But now they are on the verge of creating weapons that will allow them to act confidently and in a more overt manner.

I hope the UN has learned its lesson from North Korea. Harsh sanctions are needed to stop any weapons research. But thanks to blocking efforts from Russia and China, they will most likely emerge as watered-down and ineffectual.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Technology Tuesday

I've got to get one of these!

Gets rid of all those damn Jehovah's Witnesses, that's for sure.


Mullet not included.


Want to make sure that CD of those naked pictures you took while drunk is destroyed? This should take care of your needs.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Boot To The Head. Steel Toed.

Driver Charged With Killing Mom, 2 Kid
Trujillo is accused of driving a pickup through a red light in downtown Denver on Friday night at high speed,killing Becca Bingham, 39, and her two children, 4-year-old Macie and 2-year-old Garrison. Frank Bingham, 41, survived.

The collision knocked off the license plate, helping police track down the suspect.
Knocked the license plate off the truck. Unbelievable. In other stories I've read, witnesses claim the truck had to have been travelling in excess of 50 mph. And he never slowed down.

His passenger was charged as an accessory. I imagine because he did not report the incident when he had the chance.

Now, I don't know how sentences are handed down for these types of infarctions, but they better damn well be the max allowed and be consecutive (instead of the concurrent shit I see sometimes)

I would have saved this ass for the November Chippies, but believe me when I say that I have more than enough candidates for this month already. And most of them are worse than this.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Perhaps It Is Accurate(For Really Large Values Of Zero)

Another e-voting machine issue:
Randy Wooten figured he'd get at least one vote in his bid for mayor of this town of 80 people even if it was just his own.

He didn't. Now he has to decide whether to file a formal protest.

I don't think these things are ready for prime time. And I'm not sure they will ever be ready as long as they rely on the PNATTMBTC* school of security.

There have been reports of the software being updated by technicians without any notification to the election board. A group in Norway has managed to break into a machine in less than 30 seconds. There is no third-party auditing of these devices. This last is important because there have been some cases reported of the machines locking up (did it take my votes?) and pre-selecting candidates.

The first two are easily solved through well implemented procedures by the election boards with these devices. The second by updating and hardening the housing these systems use. But the last one will only happen with government regulation, I fear. Security professionals (myself included) have long held that a security system that relies on obscurity is as bad as no security at all (not always, there are cases where obscurity is definite asset --this is not one of them). Diebold has claimed that its source code is proprietary and contains trade secrets, so no one gets to look at it. This is bad for any groups or governments that use their system, and they are pretty much the only major player.

Granted the article I linked to didn't actually come out and say it was a Diebold machine, but it's a fairly likely it was.

With a combination of Nondisclosure Agreements and the use of reputable code-auditing firms, this should be a non-issue. For some reason Diebold will not do it. So far all auditing and quality-control remains in house. This is a bad idea. It is very difficult to catch subtle mistakes that you yourself made.

I know of at least one open source project that is trying to get off the ground, but a lot of times these projects whither away due to lack of interest, lack of funds and lack of developers. I can only hope it's not the case here.

As much as I am against the "regulate everything and let God sort it out" mindset that seems to pervade the US government, I think in this particular case it is earnestly needed.

* - Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I just saw the Spider-Man:III trailer.

I knew about Sandman, but, but, but...

The Venom Symbiote!!! (<- the three exclamation points are for super excited goodness) That was my favorite story arc back when I was collecting.

I feel like I'm in full-on high school geek out mode! (dear lord, I'm hyperventilating)

Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fußball!

I have to say the soccer team didn't think this one through very well.
Sensitivity training has been ordered for a high school soccer team that broadcast part of a Nazi speech over the public address system before a game.

The North Carolina High School Association on Wednesday also placed the boy's soccer team at Forestview High School on probation for a year. An assistant coach and a player were suspended for one game.
Sensitivity training is no joke. If it's anything like the mandatory "Diversity Training" found in large multi-national companies (oh, like the one I'm in, maybe?), these kids will want to stab themselves in the eyes repeatedly before it's over.

At this point in their lives sensitivity training is a waste of time. These kids have pretty much codified their value systems by now. Including things like bigotry, which is what this sensitivity training is supposed to combat. These types of values --morality, ethics, tolerance; call it what you will --need to be introduced at a much younger age. And if it's not reinforced by the parents, or worse yet, negated by them, this type of exercise is pretty much useless.

However, I do wonder if this was truly a "Nazi" thing. Perhaps they Googled their team motto On To Victory and this speech by Goebbels came up. The Germans of the time (especially Hitler) were electrifying speakers. These kids may have been attracted to the sheer energy of the speech, looking at it as a way to charge up the team. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt; given the state of education these days, I'd give long odds to any of them actually understanding German.


What they did was stupid and ill considered. Whether malice was intended or not, they have been punished for their actions. Which is as it should be. Whether or not the sensitivity training takes hold, we can be assured they have learned at least one lesson: people will hold you accountable for your actions regardless of motive.

On To Victory is kind of a lame, kitschy slogan. But it is better than their first choice:

Arbeit Macht Frei.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Doing monthly global vulnerability reports for work. May not get to post anything more toaday. Maybe tonight.

But I wouldn't hold your breath.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Technology Tuesday - It's Rantin' Time!

Best Buy, quite simply, sucks ass. They have now managed to alienate potential customers who were willing to spend hundreds of dollars. I stopped buying from them about 4 years ago, and I warn others away from there. Why?
  • The sales staff is so uneducated about the products they shill, they make shit up. I have witnessed sales drones spewing bullshit about what MHz/GHz ratings mean for processors, BS about memory size, and moronic statements regarding wireless security. Which leads me to my next sales person related issue:

  • For the millionth time! I. DO. NOT. WANT. YOUR. WORTHLESS. SERVICE. PLAN!

  • The online store "pick up" sales has never worked for me. I tried three separate times to purchase items online for pick-up, only to arrive at the store to have some apathetic little shit tell me "We don't have any." Even though the website said specifically they were in stock at that location. (And heaven forbid you tell them to reverse the charge on your card -- they act like you've asked them to undertake the Trials of Hercules)

  • Geek Squad, oh how I loathe thee. I hate these smug fuckers with a passion. I have had occasion to meet Geek Squad workers from time to time. The depth of their technical knowledge is minuscule yet underwhelming. And the funny thing is, they don't realize that being on the "Squad" is the IT equivalent of working at McDonald's.
The list does go on, but those are my biggest complaints.

They are the number one reason I buy most of my electronics from Amazon these days. I can research the products online, order them, and have them delivered to my door in two days. And so far, not one hassle returning defective products or getting an exchange or refund.

And now, legions of gamers have a reason to join me in my hatred of the blue store with the yellow tag.

Solidarity, my gaming brothers and sisters!

Monday, November 06, 2006

A New Bill Whittle Post! A New Bill Whittle Post!

Bill Whittle, whose posting frequency can best be described as glacial, has a new post titled Seeing The Unseen Part 1.

The United States of America does not have any political control over any other sovereign nation on the face of the Earth. We have influence, but influence is to control as a rich uncle is to a prison warden. That’s all you need to know. The entire idea of American Empire and U.S. Imperialism is dead on its face after that. No control means no empire. Period.

But we do have a large footprint in the rest of the world, and have military bases all across the globe. Is that a form of empire?

Look, the whole point of having an empire is to take the wealth out of the colonies and return them to enrich the home country. The US not only does not pull in the resources of other nations…it does exactly the reverse. We pump billions and billions of dollars annually into those nations that host our facilities, and the minute any one of those nations decides we are no longer welcome, we pack our bags, leave and turn those billion-dollar institutions over to the host country. (Look up Subic Bay and Clark AFB in the Philippines for some recent examples)

This is not “imperial behavior.” It is, in fact, the precise opposite of imperial behavior. I guess somehow STOP U.S. ANTI-IMPERIALISM just doesn’t have the same snap somehow for the North Korean-backed International A.N.S.W.E.R. crowd. Color me shocked.

It's long, as are all of Whittle's posts. But they are deeper and more insightful than anything I could ever hope to write (and I try at times).

Boobie News

I normally don't stay abreast of this field. (God, I crack me up sometimes). It appears that silicone implants are poised to be let back into the market. Now, I'm not someone who appreciates fakes, or even gigantor size fun-bags, so I would usually take this type of news with my typical disinterest. But this statement just jumped out at me.
"I would be interested in the new cohesive silicone implants," she said. "I have read that these are the best and most real-feeling. They will not 'bleed' if they rupture. The consistency is like a gummi bear."
Perhaps I've been dating the wrong women, but I don't seem to recall any of the breasts I've had access to feeling like giant flesh colored gummi bears.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Hemp Fandango

The verdict is in.
Saddam, 69, initially refused to stand when brought in to hear the verdict from Kurdish chief judge Raouf Abdul Rahman, at a quickfire, 45-minute hearing. When he did, shakily, with clear emotion, he yelled the defiant Arab battle cry "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Greatest) and "Long live Iraq" as the judgment was read.
You know, I'm more than willing to lend Iraq my wood-chipper.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Come, kneel before Zod!

What a whiny little baby.
Kanye apparently was so disappointed at not winning for Best Video that he crashed the stage Thursday in Copenhagen when the award was being presented to Justice and Simian for "We Are Your Friends."

In a tirade riddled with expletives, Kanye said he should have won the prize for his video "Touch The Sky," because it "cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it. I was jumping across canyons."

"If I don't win, the awards show loses credibility," Kanye said.
I am in... awe of the sheer size of his balls. I haven't seen a temper tantrum like this since kindergarten. The arrogance. The inflated ego. The unmatched...pissy-ness.

He gives supposed reasons for why he should win, but never once does he say it should win because it's actually, you know, a good song. Just because he's attracted by bright lights and shiny objects doesn't mean that others don't have deeper, slightly more meaningful criteria.

I've always wondered about people's sense of entitlement. Not just in the entertainment world, but in general. You have to work and claw for want you want just like everyone else. The world owes you shit.

So get off your high horse and go back to regular hip-hop star activities. You know, snorting blow and paying for high priced whores until you squander your money and become just another aging has-been.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Greatest Rock Songs Of... Well, Right Now

I'm going to take a break from my usual rants, and give you all what I'm sure has been bubbling beneath your consciousness. What, exactly, does Phil think are the top 5 Rock Songs of Right Now? (hey, my listening habits change...)

Well, I'm glad you asked. Because I just so happen to have that list handy (thanks to my iPod Top Played list). So I give to you, with no further ado, The Greatest Rock Songs of Right Now.

Number 5:

Song: Supermassive Black Hole
Artist: Muse
Album: Black Holes and Revelations
Why: Heavy, heavy beat with loud fuzzy guitars, some great vocals, and really odd lyrics. How can you not like a song with the line "Glaciers melting in the dead of night and the superstars sucked into the supermassive" Brilliant!

Number 4:

Song: Black
Artist: Sevendust
Album: Sevendust
Why: WALL OF FUCKING GUITARS!! Plus, really cool, gravelly vocals. But mostly,

Number 3:

Song: Rush Hour Soul
Artisit: Supergrass
Album: Life On Other Planets
Why: Very unique sounding guitar lead. Great vocals. Good solid listen

Number 2:

Song: Jupiter
Artist: Presidents of the United States of America
Album: Freaked Out and Small
Why: How many songs do you know about the planet Jupiter? I thought so.

and finally, the Greatest Rock Song of Right Now:

Song: Deserted
Artist: Blind Melon
Album: Blind Melon
Why: This is the best song, by one of the best rock bands. The tortured vocals pulled from the depths of Shanon Hoon's soul. The frenetic, kinetic energy of Stevens' and Thorn's guitar work. The asymmetric syncopation of Glenn Graham. I could go on and on. This song is just perfect.

Hey, that was kinda fun. I may do this again sometime....

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

They Always Get Their Man... Unless He Runs

When did cops become such over-sensitive crybabies?
Police Chief Paul Goward was tired of looking around his department and seeing blubber hanging over the belts of some of his officers. So he sent out a memo exhorting the "jelly bellies" to shape up.

In the end, the department lost 190 pounds -- all of them belonging to Goward. He was forced out as chief because some of his officers took offense at the memo.

The October 11 memo bruised feelings on the 80-member force, drew at least one anonymous letter of complaint from officers about the chief's management style and made his department the butt of jokes about fat cops and doughnuts.
Boo Hoo! The mean ol' police chief called them jelly bellies and hurt morale. Perhaps we shouldn't be too harsh. They are the police after all, and we do owe them our gratitude for the job they do. They just need some support.

Like a truss.

What a bunch of babies. Is it really that hard to cut down from 5000 calories? Or perhaps lift more than 12 fl oz. at a time?

It sounds like Winter Haven, FL is the place to commit crime. All you'd have to do to get away is walk at a fast pace. Or climb a flight of stairs.

(hat tip to Anne for pointing this one out)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Guess They're Called Defeatocrats For A Reason

The Democrats will do anything to not gain power this election.
While stumping for local Democrats in California, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., addressed students at Pasadena City College and made a comment about education and the war in Iraq that lent itself to much controversy.

"You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," he said.
Gah! Guys, the Republicans handed you both houses. All you had to do was keep your heads down and your yaps shut.

For damage control, an immediate apology was called for. But remember, this is the Dems we're talking about. Specifically, the historically non-apologizing John Kerry.
Shortly before noon Tuesday, Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, responded, insisting in a statement that he had not belittled the intelligence of soldiers serving in Iraq, but rather that of "the president who got us stuck there."
Re-read his original quote. I'll wait.

To continue... What the hell? With squinted eyes and stoppered ears, there is no way in hell I could twist that statement around to be anything other than a slap at our enlisted men and women. His explanation is disingenuous at best. Oh sure, I heard all the reports about the original verbiage that was released to the press in the form of speech notes.
Kerry's office released his prepared remarks, which said, "Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."
Paint me cynical, but I find that hard to believe --what, with no way to verify the validity of the notes. And I still can't see how you can possibly mis-speak what is allegedly in his notes enough to utter the words he actually spoke. I mean, the main fucking point was to slam President Bush. How could you forget to even mention that salient piece of information?

With one fell swoop, Kerry has wiped the slate clean for the beleaguered GOP. As one congress-critter put it, "I guess Kerry wasn't content blowing 2004, now he wants to blow 2006, too."

Now, I don't like the Republicans too much. But I hate the Dems more. What we really need are non-affiliated independents elected to the House and Senate. You know, people who would actually represent us for a change. Not big business, as one party does. And not be a party of morally corrupt defeatists, as the other is.

But I know better.

October Chippy Awards

The October Chippy Awards

Yes, it is time for the Chippies. A monthly event where a person or persons is awarded the dubious distinction of being someone I would most like to insert feet first into a wood chipper. To qualify, a person has to show that they have absolutely no redeeming value to society. Typically, this will be due to actions towards children leading to injury and/or death. However, I reserve the right to add whomever I damn well please.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of my crack research team (consisting of the indefatigable Anne), I have managed to compile a list of nominees. While all are worthy of the Golden Bag of Sawdust, only one can jump directly to the head of the line.

First up are the honorable mentions:
  • For The Sacred Steward Of The Law award, I give Judge Glenn A. Staege a boot to the head.
  • In the Honor Thy Parents category, this waste of space gets the always popular Axe-To-Penis award.
  • For Best Recreation Of A Van Halen Video, here's this slattern. She gets the Never Allowed Within 100 Feet Of A Minor award.
Now, on to the runners-up. While they do not get the Golden Bag of Sawdust, these walking meat-sacks can rest assured they are still on the list to be turned into garden mulch. Slowly.

For Best Enactment Of Barbaric Practices, we have this sack of uselessness.
An immigrant from Africa has gone on trial on charges alleging he circumcised his 2-year-old daughter with a pair of scissors to avoid bringing shame on his family.
Before heading to the chipper, he will also be forcibly circumcised using a dull, rusty penknife.

For Best Reason To License Parenthood, here's someone who never heard of putting an unwanted child up for adoption.
A 14-year-old girl accused of suffocating her newborn daughter and leaving the infant's body in a trash can was charged with murder.

The teenager was also charged Friday with concealment of a homicide, said Thomas Mountford, deputy police chief of the Sauk Village Police Department.
Now, for the moment you've all been waiting for, the First Monthly Chippy Award.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you October's recipient of the Golden Bag of Sawdust. It's a husband and wife tag-team in a performance more than worthy of a Chippy.
During the seven-week trial, witnesses portrayed Lisa Holland, 33, as a cruel mother who abused Ricky by hitting him with a wooden spoon, duct-taping him to the refrigerator and making him wear a harness on the school bus.

Her husband testified that on July 1, 2005, he came home from an errand and found Ricky dead in bed, with vomit and traces of blood around his mouth, and his wife screaming she "didn't mean to do it."

He said that a week earlier, he had returned from military training in Virginia to find the boy with a cut on his head, listless and unable to walk. He said he didn't take him to a doctor because he didn't want a confrontation with his wife and thought his son would get better.

"I didn't want her to start pushing me around in front of the kids," Tim Holland said.

The prosecution said Ricky likely suffered a brain injury a week or more before he died, and his parents let him die a slow death.
I will note that my glee at finding the first winner of the coveted Chippy, is tempered by the fact that this is one of the saddest fucking things I have read. Not only did this child's adoptive parents murder him in a slow, agonizing manner, he was originally placed in their care because his biologicals neglected him.

Both of these slope-browed, fecal-brained assholes deserve to be beat with sledge hammers and frying pans. Nothing vital, however. I wouldn't want them to be unconscious when I press the button on the wood chipper.

My only regret is that they couldn't be resurrected to be run through the chipper again.

More Humor Impaired

I have to say this is a bit of an overreaction.
Borat beware: Accept an invitation by a top Kazakh official to find out what the country is really like and you could be in for a nasty surprise.

"I'd kill this impostor on the spot," said Eltai Muptekeyev, who makes his living in Almaty by posing for photos with a blindfolded falcon clinging to a thick leather glove on his hand.

Lighten up, Francis. Look for the funny. People are just too God-damn sensitive these days. Perhaps people in the US are thick-skinned, or we are more willing to laugh at our foibles. I do know, that if a movie came out lampooning the US, we'd be the first in line. And probably laugh the hardest. Regardless who made the movie.

These people seem to get it.
Aigul Abysheva, a third-year linguistics student at Almaty State University, said she at first was "disgusted" by Borat's jokes, especially by his "chain of importance" — where dogs and horses are higher than women.

"But then I realized he was making fun of ignorant people, no matter where they come from," she said. "The real target of Borat's movie is a couch potato who believes that Kazakhs drink horse urine."

Kazakhstan's deputy foreign minister, Rakhat Aliyev, recently extended an invitation to Borat to find out the truth about Kazakhstan.

"He can discover a lot of things. Women drive cars, wine is made of grapes and Jews are free to go to synagogues."

He also said his compatriots were overreacting.

"We must have a sense of humor and respect other people's freedom of creativity," Aliyev said in a recent interview with Kazakhstan Today.

Every thing I've seen or read about this movie (going this weekend to see it) fails to describe it as mean-spirited. Thoroughly enjoying his Ali G character, I like to think that Sascha Baron Cohen is slyly poking fun and teasing our Kazakh neighbors.

You know, kind of how friends do with each other.

Monday, October 30, 2006

St. Louis Beats Detroit... Again.

I'm sure St. Louis is not all that happy for winning this contest.
St. Louis reclaimed the title of America's most dangerous city, which it last held in 2002, based on crime statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and compiled by publisher Morgan Quitno Press.

Detroit was the second most dangerous city, while Flint, Michigan, and Compton, California, were third and fourth, respectively. Camden, New Jersey, most dangerous in last year's rankings, fell to fifth.

If It Walks Like A Duck...

Here's a nice little list.

Quacklist is a central repository of information about products, treatments, and doctors that not only skirt the edge of fraud, but willingly dance over the dark-side.

It includes ludicrous claims of so-called homeopathic therapies, unsubstantiated science, snake-oil, and fraudulent doctors.

It even has a small section on my favorite: informercials!

(via Bodyhack)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Set Aside The Wine And Deal With This Problem

Read this article.
In scattered violence Saturday, 46 people were taken into custody, most of them in the suburbs around Paris, and two police officers were slightly injured. The most serious violence was the bus attack in Marseille, which shocked France with its brutality.

Three or four young people burst onto the bus and tossed in a bottle of flammable liquid before fleeing, police said, citing witnesses' accounts. A fire started, seriously injuring a 26-year-old woman who suffered second- and third-degree burns on her arms, legs and face.

And this one as well.
On a routine call, three unwitting police officers fell into a trap. A car darted out to block their path, and dozens of hooded youths surged out of the darkness to attack them with stones, bats and tear gas before fleeing. One officer was hospitalized.

The recent ambush was emblematic of what some officers say has become a near-perpetual and increasingly violent conflict between police and gangs in tough, largely immigrant French neighborhoods that were the scene of a three-week paroxysm of rioting last year.

One small police union claims officers are facing a "permanent intifada." Police injuries have risen in the year since the wave of violence.

National police reported 2,458 cases of violence against officers in the first six months of the year, on pace to top the 4,246 cases recorded for all of 2005 and the 3,842 in 2004. Firefighters and rescue workers have also been targeted — and some now receive police escorts in such areas.

France has a serious problem here. They have been unable to put a stop to this violence for some time now. And with the anniversary of the first riots approaching, their society is poised to consume itself from within.

They are averaging 100 cars a night being set on fire. One. Hundred. Cars. How can they let this go on? At this point I think they need to seriously consider martial law. They have to crack down on this hard and hand down serious penalties. Up to and including deportation for non-citizens.

While there is absolutely no excuse for these savages, the French government does share culpability. I think religion is a secondary consideration in this case. This, I believe, has more to do with the general attitude of the French and their government toward immigrants. Immigrants get crap jobs, if any at all. They are shunted into government subsidized housing that increasingly resemble the European ghettos of old. In order to preserve their precious culture, the French are more concerned with absorption rather than assimilation. They have sown the seeds of resentment and frustration. Now it's harvest time.

This is where Europe, and France in particular, differ from the US. Our society was created to foster integration and assimilation. Are we perfect? No, not at all. We frequently fall short of the ideals we put on paper when we stood up and demanded our independence over 200 years ago.

Then again, we don't have gangs of Muslim thugs roaming the streets attacking cops, destroying property, and burning cars.