Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Hello, today I'm making the move to my new blog official. Please update all your links to my new location: See you there!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I'm in the process of starting a new job. I may not be posting as much.. Also I'm moving to a new blog host and I've been setting up the new home with all my free time. It's not ready yet and I'll let you know when it is.. just be prepared...

Monday, August 14, 2006

the UK Plot - total BS?

Thought I was done for the day until I read this post. Hmn.. seems to now be some substance to my claim about the BWH maniplating the UK terror plot. Even though Rubin (who writes the Bling blog) isn't convinced, I am.

You know, I can care less that I said it was bullshit or that others knew it was before me, etc. What really makes me mad is that the MSM is NOT DOING ITS JOB and they are doing our country a disservice. Dick Cranium quoted in the piece from his blog said "the media really needs to step back and take a look at how they were once again played" and he's totally right.

This country is falling all apart around us and the media is by and large simply watching it happen.

Choosing where to get our Oil

I’m always amazed with the amount of choice we have as consumers in America. There are like 50 types of toothpaste, 10 different types of milk, dozens of types of cars, stereos, etc. This is a good thing, although it’s a bit excessive. One of the least obvious benefits of choice is that we can boycott companies and products by being careful about our purchases. I have a whole list of places I won’t shop and products I won’t buy.

This is a very good thing. This is where my conservative side shows up in spades. The free market is a wonderful tool for the consumer to influence the company (and also the price of products) and the economy and in some cases politics.

So, it should come as a surprise to all of you that there is no way for us to decide as consumers where our oil comes from. If you think about it, we get our gasoline from a number of different places. It comes from the Middle East, Russia, South America, Canada, Alaska, etc. But when we pull up the pump we have no way of telling who we are supporting other than the company selling the gas (and there are a few on our household list that we won’t go to).

But imagine for a moment that you could boycott all oil from the Middle East or perhaps Alaska. Would you pay 1 or 2 cents more per gallon to get your oil from Canada or South America? I would. Why is it that we can have 50 different types of toothpaste, but we can’t choose where our oil comes from?

Sit Ins

Now.. assuming you've listened to or read the Kucinich speech, you would have heard him call for more action from us, the people of this country:
It is time for truth, a time for clarity. A time for action. A time for teach-ins, for meet-ups, for marches, for rallies about the war to begin at college campuses, at churches at labor halls, at libraries. Time to gather in civic centers, in town halls, to discuss the truth about this war, and to plan civic action to end it.

It is time for the American people to exercise their First Amendment rights to stand up, to speak out. Time to redirect the policies of this country. Time to learn and practice peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution. Time to believe in our capacity to evolve beyond war. To believe, and act upon the belief that war is not inevitable, that peace is inevitable - - if we are ready to commit to the daily work of peace building everywhere.

You know what? He's right. Instead of just blogging about how mad we are, we need to start acting on it. We need to stage some sit-ins like they did in the 60's. I'm willing to get arrested doing one just so I can get some publicity out of it and have that publicity inspire others to do the same. We can actually grow this movement from one of complaining into one of action. We can end the American occupation of Iraq.

So, I'm going to put together some friends and come up with a plan for our own old fashioned sit in. Are any of you with me?

Dennis Kucinich

On Friday, while on my way up to the suburbs for the weekend I was listening as usual to Air America (I can only get it in the car so I listen to it all the time while I drive) and to my favorite host, Randi Rhodes. She spent an hour with Dennis Kucinich who I should admit I'd only knew little about up till now. For those of you who don't know who he is, he's a congressman from Ohio and he ran for president a few years back as an independent. I'll let you guess his political slant.

Anyway, she started off the segment with a recording from one of his speeches on the hill. You can hear it here and/or read the transcript, though I really recommend you listen to the speech in his voice. Wow! We need to have more people like this guy in congress. Though he's in the minority, he is fighting the establishment every step of the way.

I urge you to donate to his campaign so he can continue to fight for the few us in America that have brains.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

House Cleaning Day

I saw this sticker on a car yesterday and I've just ordered a bunch for my friends and family.

Handicapped Parking

About 8-9 years ago in South Philly, everyone (and I really mean everyone) had a handicapped license plate on their car. In addition, the city was kind enough to put up some signs in front of the peoples houses that limited parking to those residents only. It was amazing. You would look down any street and see 6-7 of these parking spots. The state eventually cracked down on the handicapped plates. From what I can remember, the only thing you needed to get a plate and the signs was a doctors note stating you could not walk more than 100 yards without needing to take a break. Honest!

Ok.. so now today there are no longer license plates but you need these little placards that hang on your rear view mirror. It was my belief that to get these placards you actually needed to be handicapped.

I'm not sure that's true. I'm out in the suburbs today and in front of every store in every strip mall out here there are at least 4 and usually 6-8 spaces right out front for handicapped only. You can tell the spaces by those little blue signs with the white stencil of the wheelchair.

First of all, I have never seen a handicapped person drive a car and I've barely seen one of them as a passenger. There may be lots of handicapped people in the area, but I don't think they get out in their cars as much as we do. I'm not sure they need all the spaces that are allotted to them.

But anyway, I'm not mad about that. What I'm angry about is the massive abuse of these spots. See, I sit in the car while my girlfriend runs into stores. I've done it most of the day today and a bunch last night. I usually park near the front of the stores so I have a perfect view of the handicapped spaces.

In the 1-2 hours that I was watching the spaces I saw (yes I counted) 5 cars pull into and out of these spots. Do you know how many of the cars were driven by or occupied handicapped or disabled people? Zero. You knew that didn't you? I was amazed. One car had these two young girls in it. They could barely drive.. I thought as they pulled up "Ok, they are just ignorant idiots and they are either making a mistake or don't care or know about the $300 fine". They pulled into the space on an angle (taking up 1.5 spots) reached down to the floor and up came a placard. They hopped out of the car and jogged into the store.

I saw this 4 more times. These people weren't even fat, or old, or anything.. Can I ask you something? What the fuck man? And more importantly, where can I get one?

Friday, August 11, 2006

BillMon at the Whiskey Bar

BillMon, the sole writer at Whiskey Bar is awesome.. anyway, here is a post he wrote about the UK deal that I found pretty perfect.

My favorite part is in the Update at the end :
The risk is that the guys in the Clash of Civilization Bureau are creating more terrorism problems than the boys and girls in the Law Enforcement Department will be able to keep an eye on.

It makes the perfect point that to stop terroism, we need to fight it as a law enforcement probelm. Bombing people does nothing, NOTHING but make the probelem worse!!!

The UK Plot - more comments

So.. now it seems that people are going to cut back on their air travel.. not becasue of fear of terror, but for avoidance of severe inconvenience. I agree. If they ban carry on bags and laptops "Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan, said the situation 'eliminates the days of carry-on baggage.'" I can see that people are going to cut back on casual flying.

So, I suppose that we can now call our government terrorists. Why? Well, their regulations and enforcement are going to be the main reason that people stop flying. Sure you can say that their policies are the result of the new threat level and sure you can say the threat level has been raised due to the UK plot and sure you can blame th UK plot on the people involved and sure you can say that the people involved did what they did for some reason, and on and on.. since you can basicly go back forever, it only makes sense to me to assign blame to the people one step back from the problem and that is the TSA and our government.

But anyway, I'm just trying to make a point here.. Not unlike when I wondered what a terrorist is exactly. I mean, the blame for this should be shared by all of us. Our country is a target for these people becasue of our policies and our meddling in the Middle East. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we can head to some solution. Calling these radicals 'terrorists' and grouping them all together as this great evil enemy is no way to create a lasting peace in the world. If we could only agree that these are simply other humans who have differing opinions than ours, we could perhaps see why they have resorted to the techniques they have.

Have you ever been in an argument that escilated to the point of becomming irrational? Can you see how this can be translated to groups of people? The solution is not to come to blows, the solution is to step back, take a time out for a while and then approach each other peacefully to work out a compromise. Like a good friend of mine suggested the other day, we should seriously think about a full pullout of the Middle East. No oil, no troops, nothing.. a full disengagement from that region for 10-20 years..

But that won't happen. The 'terrorists' will 'cripple' the airlines and we will end up bailing them out again. Yup. Think $10-20 Billion to the airlines (public companies mind you) to make up for lost sales.. Yea.. that fits in perfectly with the capitalist, free market model.. yup..

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Yea, I'm sure

Foam in Wissahickon not harmful, drug company says

The UK Terror Plot

In regards to the UK terrorist plot I have the following opinion.

First off, let me say that if this thing was real and happened the way it appears to have happened (i.e. there were real people, really about to hop on planes and really ready to blow them out of the sky) I have 100% thanks and approval of the British authorities.

Now. It’s pretty sad that I’ve become so skeptical of our current government. I mean I can’t believe that the first thing that came into my mind was that this was a non-event that was trumped up to a) raise our terror alert level and b) scare the American voters who in 3 months are going to vote on congress. The first thing I thought was that this was not unlike the goofballs in Florida a few months ago that we arrested.

It’s also a sad fact that we as citizens can’t be sure of the threat level of a terrorist plot until it actually happens. Because of that (and I understand why that is) we have to trust our government when they tell us we just dodged a bullet.

But I find it strange that one of the first things out of Chertoffs mouth today was al Qaeda, even though he was saying that it is too soon to tell if it was them or not. I find it odd that the plot was going to be carried out on planes again. It seems to me that the terrorists have so many easier ways to attack us and achieve the results that they would have achieved with this attack. It seems odd that this happened so close to an election. And most of all, it seemed odd to me that the story even came out at all. I mean, how does it help us as citizens to even know about this plot? Why is this such a huge story? I know it’s sensational and I know its somewhat important, but until anything is proven, isn’t this all conjecture?

I can’t really get my mind around what is bothering me about all this today. And I know if I had more time I’d be able to articulate this all better, but I wanted to post something before the day was out so there you go. We’ll see if I’m inspired to write more at a later time…

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wayne Coyne gives a Graduation Speech

You know. I don't think I can think more of Wayne Coyne. You all should know him as the lead singer and mastermind behind the Flaming Lips. He's a wacky dude, but a total genious as well. If you haven't seen the great documentary about the Lips and Wayne "The Fearless Freaks" you should rent it post haste.

Anyway, Wayne apparently had been asked this year to give the graduation speech at his former high school in Oklahoma. He couldn't make the event but did make a 12 minute video to be played in his place. If you watch the video (in 2 parts from YouTube) I think you'll get a wonderful picture of what kind of guy he is.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Fake Photos in real news organizations

Well. First we have the Reuters scandal, and now there are allegations of a staged dead guy by renowned photojournalist Tyler Hicks in the New York Times.

I'm actually pretty amazed that this is first time that doctored photos are being found in the MSM. I mean, photoshop has been around forever now and we all know that for years we've had fake celebrity photos.. why it took so long for this to get mainstream is a mystery to me..

Who can we trust anymore? Do we need to source our daily newspapers now? We need a news organization that does TV, Print and Internet as objective as possible, one that is more than trustworthy..

UPDATE : here is a great site covering all the Reuters Photo infractions.. I am having trouble loading all the images, but I think it's the crazy Comcast caching not working as planned so your results may vary...

Joe Francis and Girls Gone Wild

I first saw this article posted on Bling and thought that it was up there just to point out what a moron Joe Francis is. After reading the article I had come to the conclusion that this is one evil fucking dude! Let's not even get into how sad it is that 17 and 18 year old girls get naked and exploited by him, lets talk more about how he is a serial rapist with obvious anger issues who thinks he's above the law. Lets also talk about how even the police let him get away with shit. Ugh.. read the article and see if you agree with me.. This guy needs to be removed from society.. Why do we worry about gay marriage when people like this person exist in the world?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Greg Brady was high

That's the story about this scene as reported at Tv Squad in this post. In the post the author says that it's very subtle, but man.. it's clear as day to me. Greg is almost giggling at the beginning and totally in space near the end.. all in all I find it quite entertaining.

What a Surprise! Comcast Issues again!!!!

I don’t know what the hell Comcast is doing but they have all but lost me as a customer. Let me tell you what I’m talking about. I have Comcast Internet at home. I chose them because they are cheap and when their service works, they are pretty fast as well. I also chose them because I didn’t want to be locked into a DSL contract (the same reason I won’t switch to DirecTV).

I work at home and I work in the software business so you can imagine that during working hours I need solid internet access. When Comcast decides to not work, that doesn’t happen and often it takes a week or more to get things settled down again.

I don’t know what their problem is actually. I don’t know why their service is so bad. I have some ideas though. My best guess is all this talk of “speed boost”. They have some kind of technology that allows downloads to be super fast. I don’t know if they do it with caching or with some hardware trick or some combination of both, but the end result is that nothing works reliably anymore.

When I browse, there is a significant delay as I go to new pages and then everything spits down in a rush. For some, I can see how this would appear to be fast, but for me it’s worse than it used to be. My upload speeds have decreased as well. Things just don’t seem to flow correctly. I’m loosing random packets all over the place.

But all that would be fine if the modem would stay connected.

This is my 4th modem. I went through number 2 and 3 about a month ago when I had (literally) 10 Comcast guys here over a 10 day stretch trying to get my connection back up. It turned out (as I had told them from day 1) to be a problem at the head end (ie. Their fault) and not in my home.

Whatever, the modem is having trouble connecting today. It has been bad the past week for me here with this connection. Today it’s been the worst ever. I’ve had a 75 minute outage, a 45 minute outage and a 20 minute outage (along with a bunch of 1-2 minute deals). Clearly something is wrong.

I called Comcast customer service (again) which is based I think in Canada to complain. The person there was able to establish that not only was my modem not connected (as I had told them) but all of the others on my block were having the same issue. Hmn.. sounds like a problem in the line no? I thought so, and so did she but you know what? There was nothing she could do about it. All she could do was schedule a service call for me… on Friday!! Apparently if 4 others on my block called in and complained and also scheduled service calls a “red flag” would go up and a line tech would be called in to diagnose the problem… which is who should be here right now.

But no, Comcast is going to force 5 people to stay home from work to meet with a Comcast home rep (me on Friday and the 4 others, probably next week) who is going to look at their setup and say “looks ok from here, this needs to be checked outside on the line” before a Line Tech will be summoned to fix the problem.
And we wonder why they are so backed up with service calls? Probably because of this stupid policy. Probably because they are so into adding extra features like “speed demon” (or whatever it’s called) to their service before they even get their current system all shored up.

And they still send me flyers in the mail trying to get me to switch to their VOIP service. Ha Ha Ha.. Yea. So when my net goes down I won’t be able to call them.. good idea Comcast..

Thursday, August 03, 2006

There should be a law against News agencies Lying

I mean really. Apparently FOX news (which half of my parents swear by.. along with half the nation) is still reporting that the..well, see for yourself:

This really is remarkable, even by Fox News standards. Four days after the Israeli government admitted to, and apologized for, mistakenly bombing a civilian apartment building in the Lebanese town of Qana and killing 60 innocents in the process, American right-wingers continue to scramble, trying to create a parallel universe explanation where fungible facts show it wasn't Israel's fault at all. In fact, Israel's the victim of a massive Qana hoax. Naturally, Fox News' high-profile hosts and guests are leading the delusional charge.

From "Fox News Continues to Suggest Israel Did Not Bomb Qana".

This, to me, is blatant disinformation being sold as news.. how can we expect the citizens of this nation to stay informed while the MSM allows lies to be told to them in the form of news? Shouldn't someone be doing something about this?

The 9/11 Norad Tapes

Thanks to an amazing article in Vanity Fair you can not only learn the story of 9/11 from NORADS perspective, you can actually hear the tapes (broken up into tiny relevant segments) by clicking on simple 'play' buttons next to the text. This is how an online article should be done.

I read a lot of this stuff in the 9/11 report, but being able to actually hear the tapes is even better. Also, as I told you yesterday, the 9/11 report (thanks to the DOD) didn't have the full story about these tapes so this article is a breath of fresh air.

Check it's worth it!

Personal Utility Meters

I believe that people benefit when they have good information at hand. I think they make better decisions. On the other hand, if they have little information, they can't be expected to make good decisions.

With that said, I'd like to talk about something that's been bothering me for a couple of years now. There are 3 utilities that virtually all of us use in our homes: gas, electric and water. For all 3 of these resources we pay our utility company on a monthly basis for the amount we use. On our bill is the usage and that usage is measured via a meter that is usually hidden in our basement or outside of our house somewhere.

We all agree that using less of these resources is a good thing. It's good for the environment and more importantly, it's good for our wallets. I would argue that having monthly reports on past usage of these resources is an almost useless practice. For one, we have no way to be sure that these reports are correct. We simply trust that the meter is correct and to verify it matches the bill, we'd need to manually look at the meter and keep a tab. Secondly these reports reflect old data, we can't predict with much accuracy how our usage will be in the future from this data (particularly for electric and gas since they fluctuate depending on the temperature). Lastly, the reporting is in aggregate and so we have no idea how much impact certain things have on the usage.

Let me give you an example that is probably all too common right about now. Lets take a moment and look at air conditioner usage. We have central air and we've got a timer that runs the air conditioner depending on the time and interior temperature. We have no real way of computing the cost/benefit of our temperature/time decisions since we have no idea how much it costs to run. We know from our bills that it costs a lot to run the air conditioner, but we don't know how much. We also don't know how much more it costs when it's hotter outside. Same goes for any electric appliance in your home. Do you know how much it costs to run your dishwasher?

Without this knowledge, how can we be better consumers? We really have no way to measure our impact. If you knew that running your dishwasher cost you $5 would you run it without a full load every day? Or would you wait until it was full? If it cost you an extra $100 a year to run your bathroom faucet continually when you brushed your teeth would you do that? Maybe you would or maybe you wouldn’t. The point is that with god information you could make better decisions. And in today’s world, there is no excuse for us not to have this information.

So. I propose that the solution is simple. Some company creates a line of meters (for gas, electric and water) that goes between the utility meter and our homes. These meters do the same thing as the utility meters but they have the ability to report the data in a number of ways.

For instance, in my home I am pretty wired up so I would like to see these devices connect into my home network and from there I’d like to see some software that would gather this data so I can flip on my pc when I get home and see real-time usage amounts and track historical data. Maybe the software could also connect to a temperature sensor inside and outside of my house so I can see how the temperature influences usage. I can also know in advance what my bills are going to be.

These meters should be available today and should be part of every new home that gets built. I can’t see them being too expensive and all I can see is the beneficial uses over them. If we had this information, we could all do our part in curbing our usage. How bad would that be?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

2pm is the magic time

Yesterday I ranted on Comcast and how bad their service was. It all started at 2pm yesterday.. sure enough, today at 1:58, boom.. first short outage.. now, 2:01 next one.. seems someone there at the home office is doing something doesn't it? I hope today isn't as bad as yesterday...

Bill Maher on Mel Gibson

I'm not usually a Bill Maher fan, but I will say that his short piece on Mel was pretty perfect..

The 9/11 Report

I've been reading the 9/11 report for about a month now.. It's been fairly interesting. They unearthed a ton of details and overall my main observation (I'm about 3/4 through it) is that no matter who is in power D or R, there still is an unimaginable amount of bureaucratic crap to wade through to get anything done at all. At every level and at every branch of govenrnment there is a mentality of "here's the best thing we can do and not really be held accountable for"... Of all that I've read so far, that's been my main observation.

So, it comes as no surprise that Will from Attytood alerted me to the following story in the Washington Post that talks about how the commissioners of the 9/11 panel were and still are skeptical of the story that NORAD, and the Pentagon gave them during their investigation...
"We to this day don't know why NORAD [the North American Aerospace Command] told us what they told us," said Thomas H. Kean, the former New Jersey Republican governor who led the commission. "It was just so far from the truth. . . . It's one of those loose ends that never got tied."

from : 9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon

Studio 60 bootlegged

This isnt' going to last long at all. The show I most want to see in September is on You Tube.. It's the pilot and I don't know how it got there but it's there in 5 parts.. check it out if you can...

-- oh.. by the way.. I've seen the first 5 minutes.. and it's good!

-- ok.. now I've seen 10 and it's really good!!

-- 15 minutes in.. I can't stop watching..

-- there were some funny moments up to this point.. but the first Laugh Out Loud one was at about 7:45 into part 4.. This show is going to be a hit...

-- ok.. final update.. seen the whole show and there is a slight dislike for Chandler, but I think that will pass.. I love Josh/Bradley and their chemistry together is quite good.. the show is well written.. very well written and the subject is totally interseting.. I love the show and I can't wait until it airs..

by the way.. thanks NBC for leaking it!

It's even easier than we thought to hack a Diebold machine

According to a press release from the Open Voting Foundation the Diebold TS voting system is insanely easy to hack. Becasue they have the press release on their top page, I'm not sure that it will be a valid link too far into the future so I'm going to repost it here (at the bottom).

For a nice video review of this technique you can see Marty Kaplans vlog on the Huffington Post.


Contact: Alan Dechert
Reference: PICTURES
(Click on thumbnail. Click again on lower half of picture for high resolution)

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- “This may be the worst security flaw we have seen in touch screen voting machines,” says Open Voting Foundation president, Alan Dechert. Upon examining the inner workings of one of the most popular paperless touch screen voting machines used in public elections in the United States, it has been determined that with the flip of a single switch inside, the machine can behave in a completely different manner compared to the tested and certified version.

“Diebold has made the testing and certification process practically irrelevant,” according to Dechert. “If you have access to these machines and you want to rig an election, anything is possible with the Diebold TS -- and it could be done without leaving a trace. All you need is a screwdriver.” This model does not produce a voter verified paper trail so there is no way to check if the voter’s choices are accurately reflected in the tabulation.

Open Voting Foundation is releasing 22 high-resolution close up pictures of the system. This picture, in particular, shows a “BOOT AREA CONFIGURATION” chart painted on the system board.

The most serious issue is the ability to choose between "EPROM" and "FLASH" boot configurations. Both of these memory sources are present. All of the switches in question (JP2, JP3, JP8, SW2 and SW4) are physically present on the board. It is clear that this system can ship with live boot profiles in two locations, and switching back and forth could change literally everything regarding how the machine works and counts votes. This could be done before or after the so-called "Logic And Accuracy Tests".

A third possible profile could be field-added in minutes and selected in the "external flash" memory location, the interface for which is present on the motherboard.

This is not a minor variation from the previously documented attack point on the newer Diebold TSx. To its credit, the TSx can only contain one boot profile at a time. Diebold has ensured that it is extremely difficult to confirm what code is in a TSx (or TS) at any one time but it is at least theoretically possible to do so. But in the TS, a completely legal and certified set of files can be instantly overridden and illegal uncertified code be made dominant in the system, and then this situation can be reversed leaving the legal code dominant again in a matter of minutes.

“These findings underscore the need for open testing and certification. There is no way such a security vulnerability should be allowed. These systems should be recalled”

OPEN VOTING FOUNDATION is a nonprofit non stock California corporation dedicated to demonstrating the need for and benefits of voting technology that can be publicly scrutinized.

So Police Insanity isn't just a US thing...

Apparently crazy pig police are in the UK as well..

Children arrested, DNA tested, interrogated and locked up... for playing in a tree

Those evil children! When will they learn??

The NSA Wiretapping case progresses

This case is getting really interesting now. As you know the NSA was exposed doing secret wiretapping of US citizens a while back. The federal case that it has started is starting to get mighty deep indeed with all kinds of implications. It's all outlined quite well here in an ars story. Essentially the judge in the case (good for him) has denied the DoJs invocation of state secrets and forced them to reveal their documents to a proxy (I wonder what secrets they have.. that they have been spying on non-Muslims perhaps?) They are of course appealing the judges ruling.

As Peter Pollack, the author of the ARS article says quite eloquently :

It's hard to refrain from pointing out that the precarious course the DoJ now finds itself following could probably have been avoided if the NSA had only utilized traditional court oversight in its monitoring program. While many citizens probably agree that there are times when the government needs to conduct investigations into suspicious activity, it is the blanket avoidance of such oversight which raised privacy concerns in so many quarters and prompted the AT&T suit in the first place.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Free Speech Distributed Blog Network

It's been a while since I've posted one of my brilliant ideas. So my lucky friends, I share with you my newest one. I think that we (the concerned net geeks that we are) develop an opensource tool that will create a global decentralized blogging network. Think something like the Gnutella p2p network or Bittorrent but instead of allowing the easy trading of media, we support text. Text that is broken up into individual letters, sentences or words... broken up in a way that it wouldn't be illegal to have the content on your pc in it's broken up form.

Why would this be useful? First off, take a look on the bottom left of my blog. Under the ad for Pat Murphy you will see an ad for This organization is set up as a protest to the suppression of free speech:

Chat rooms monitored. Blogs deleted. Websites blocked. Search engines restricted. People imprisoned for simply posting and sharing information.

The Internet is a new frontier in the struggle for human rights. Governments with the help of some of the biggest IT companies in the world are cracking down on freedom of expression.

Amnesty International, with the support of The Observer UK newspaper, is launching a campaign to show that online or offline the human voice and human rights are impossible to repress.

And it's more than other countries. It's not inconceivable that in the future our own government will take down blogs or sites they find offensive or illegal.

I don't want my blog to ever be lost. And I don't want anyone else's. If we had a way to host the blogs via a distributed method, that would never happen. The words will always have a home. By setting up this new system, people in other nations can not only read worldwide blogs freely, but they can also write freely as well. Think about how wonderful that would be.

This idea is not only technically feasible, but it is also not very difficult. We should get to work right away!

Comcast Sucks

My internet connection (provided by Comcast) is down again. I had serious problems a month of so ago and now, starting at 2:09PM I've got intermittant connection issues with frequent 100% packet loss.

Of course I've spoken to the comcast rep and of course I've had to do the usual routine with them ("How many lights are on the modem?", "have you cleared your cookies?", etc. etc.).. No matter what amount of detail I provide to them (like the actual times for the outages, or the signal levels at the modem, etc.) they still insist that it's probably an issue at my end and they need to send a helpful fix-it guy to me ("earliest appointment is Friday at 5pm.. is that ok?")...


The sad thing is that I know it's either a line issue or something at the head end and if others in my loop were using (or attempting to use) thier net connection right now and had been monitoring it like I do, they could corroborate my complaint and we can get a line tech out here pronto.. you know that to get a line tech to even become aware of an issue a house tech has to come and visit your home first..


So, whatever.. I'm writing this out now so it will be on the public record. If you've got Comcast internet and live in South Philly, and you had major (there were 25 minor outages between 2 and 4pm so far) outages at 2:09PM, 2:45PM, 3:06PM, 3:39PM then you weren't alone..

Since I finished writing this post I've been unable to post it because now the net is practically completely gone.. serious outages happening every few minutes..


I've attached this graphic to show you what I'm talking about. I use a great tool called PingPlotter to ping a location every 10 seconds (I use google) and the tool plots the ping times. Times with full 100% packet loss are shown as red lines. (click on it to see it in full size)

Mel.. what happened to you my boy? The Cult of religion really messed you up!

Poor Mel.. He used to be such a nice guy. He has talent and he used it so well when he made Braveheart. And then he went loony.. Religion got him.. Just like all the other cults, his religion took over his brain and devoured all semblance of sanity.

So of course it was totally expected that at some point he would crack and his religiously fueled bigotry would become exposed. Thanks to Brendon I was led to this wonderful piece in the New York Daily News that outlines just how far off the deep end poor mel has gone:
"Fucking Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," Mee's report quotes him as saying.

"Are you a Jew?" Gibson asked the deputy, according to the report.

Monday, July 31, 2006

We have 10 years and I don't think we'll make it. Do you?

I saw a piece on 60 Minutes on Sunday. You can find the transcript here. It was a story about how the BWH is systematically weakening the message from leading scientists and institutions about Global Warming. It was primarily focused around Dr. James Hansen.

It's funny that I saw that piece when I did. About 3 days ago I came across an article about how NASA had just changed it's mission statement in a way that virtually eliminates the mandate NASA and Dr. Hansen have to study Global Warming.

This isn't shocking at all to me. It's pretty much in line with all the other things the BWH has done to further their causes over the greater good of our country and it's inhabitants.

One thing Dr. Hansen said in the piece (and presumably to anyone else he could talk to) is this:

"We have to, in the next 10 years, get off this exponential curve and begin to decrease the rate of growth of CO2 emissions," Hansen explains. "And then flatten it out. And before we get to the middle of the century, we've got to be on a declining curve.

"If that doesn't happen in 10 years, then I donÂ’t think we can keep global warming under one degree Celsius and that means weÂ’re going to, that thereÂ’s a great danger of passing some of these tipping points. If the ice sheets begin to disintegrate, what can you do about it? You can'’t tie a rope around the ice sheet. You can'’t build a wall around the ice sheets. It will be a situation that is out of our control."

I have to honestly tell you that I firmly believe that we will not achieve the goal that Dr. Hansen has laid out here (and also mentioned in "An Inconvenient Truth"). I completely believe that we will not as a nation, as a species, act fast enough to turn the tide on Global Warming. When people ask me why I don't want to have kids, this general belief that the world is pretty much fucked beyond hope is one of my main reasons.

I ask you this. What reason would all the scientists in the world have to create this issue and promote the message that we are almost to the point of no return? What reason could the Bush White House have to dilute that message?

Lebanon and Israel

Here is my opinion on the Lebanon/Israel situation: We should let Israel do whatever they want to do. If they need military or diplomatic help we should give it to them if we can. We should, however, strongly urge Israel to stop killing civilians else it would threaten our alliance with them.

Let me back up for a bit to support this thought. Let me give you an example. Say for instance that we weren’t allies with Mexico and that there was a group within the United States border that was based primarily along our southern border with them. Say this group was really against Mexico for whatever reason. Let’s for example say the group is a future version of the Minutemen and they decide that to fight against Mexican aggression (real or imagined) they are going to go over the border and kidnap the Mexican army members.

From the perspective of Mexico, the Minutemen would be an American terrorist organization that are infringing on Mexican sovereignty with acts of aggression. Mexico, by most accounts (if they were objective) would have every right to declare war on America if they wanted to. Obviously it is the American Governments job to control it’s citizens and not let them form militias that could, by their actions, threaten whatever détente we may have with our border nations.

Now, let’s take that example and apply it to Lebanon. There is a group within its borders, composed and supported by its own citizens that have acted aggressively against a bordering nation. From the perspective of Israel they are being attacked by people within the borders of Lebanon, and they should therefore have every right to declare and wage war against Lebanon.

The way they are waging war should be considered morally reprehensible by our nation. We claim to be a religiously moral nation and we should therefore act like we are. One of our allies is killing civilians knowingly in their war with another nation. The reason (from what I can gather) we are allies with any nation is that we agree with them morally and politically and consider them friends. A friend would not let another friend do something they considered morally wrong without complaining to them or trying to get them to stop.

So this is simple to me and it should be to you as well. We should let Israel fight its war against Lebanon, and at the same time we should denounce their killing of civilians. I know that the main problem you are going to point out is that Hezbollah is comprised of citizens and that is a case that legal scholars will have to argue (and should have been arguing all the way back to Hiroshima). Whose fault is this? It is clearly Lebanon’s. Think back to the Minutemen. Should Mexico kill them? Would it be morally correct? As far as war makes sense (and to me it really doesn’t), they have every right to kill and fight the people that fight them. But they should allow some time for the American government to sort it out themselves.

This can and should happen in S. Lebanon. Israel should map off a section of the country that they deem to be the taken over by Hezbollah, they should declare war on Lebanon and give it’s government time to meet it’s demands (say, remove all Hezbollah solders from the area). They should wait a fair amount of time to allow the govt. to comply. And then they should roll in their tanks and army if they don’t comply. Perhaps they should allow foreign aid workers to come in and clear out the civilians as well.

The problem is not with Hezbollah. They are inside the border of a sovereign nation and so they are part of that nation. If they attack, Lebanon attacks. And if a country attacks another, that country has every right to defend themselves.

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

I came across this list here. I'm not sure who the original author is..

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

I screamed out in pain when I read this...

What is wrong with our nation when people are offended by a photo of a mother breastfeeding her child? On the cover of a parenting magazine none the less!!!!!

It is stuff like this that make me really, truly fear for the future of the human race:

One mother who didn't like the cover explains she was concerned about her 13-year-old son seeing it.

"I shredded it," said Gayle Ash, of Belton, Texas, in a telephone interview. "A breast is a breast -- it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."

or perhaps we should most worry about the child of this mother :

"Gross, I am sick of seeing a baby attached to a boob," wrote Lauren, a mother of a 4-month-old.

Why we need to stop the War on Drugs

In my mind it goes like this: the war on drugs includes disinformation campains that makes it sound like all drug use is unhealthy while users of drugs see that this isnt' true.. the messages then get ignored by virtually everyone. In addition, the war makes drug education virturally non-existant in schools (except for "just say no" lessons)... The war on drugs also makes drugs hard to aquire for young people who will find a way to get fucked up no matter how. This all leads to :

Children then almost die becasue they start inhaling and eating moth-balls.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


This film is difficult. Lets just say that right from the get-go. You should come prepared knowing the geography of the Middle East, some idea about mergers, some knowlege of the various groups that make up the Middle East and a really good ability to concentrate. If you've got all that, you will love this film. If you don't, you may get a bit turned off. It plays like a Tom Clancy book, there are multiple stroy lines that are all related, but you really don't know how and why. It jumps around from one to the other a buch so you have to be paying attention.

The more I think about it, the more I understand why it didn't do that well here in America. It's not spoon fed, it's not an action film and it doesn't have a nice and tidy plot that ends well.. oh and it also gives you what I believe is the best cinematic depiction of how terrorists can be born.

If you are ready for a challenge and a film that is beautifully shot that makes you think and can prompt discussions with others, you should rent this.

Oh My God

I click on the ads that appear from google (at the top of the page) once annd a while for fun and for profit. In either case, I just came across this one. Can you believe what that is? Can these snake oil proprieters be any more devious and deceptive? Prey on us please.. we're ignorant fucks and all we know about "Stem Cells" is that we've heard it in the news.. this product must be what they all are talking about.. We should buy some right away!

And the sad thing is that they will sell 10,000,000 of those bottles..

A remarkable new product called StemEnhance� has just come on the market that can help your body to help itself! If you watch the news, you've seen reports on the benefits of stem cells, however... Unlike the very controversial use of human embryonic stem cells, StemEnhance� is a botanical extract that contains no stem cells. StemEnhance� supports the natural release of adult stem cells from your own bone marrow.

Life on Mars

"Life on Mars" is an amazing David Bowie song. It is an even better television program on BBC America. I just saw the pilot and it was just wonderful. I can't really say why. Perhaps it was the acting? The story? I really don't know.. All I can say is that I loved it and I want more. In some ways if reminds me of the Sopranos episodes this season where Tony was in a coma, in some ways it reminds me of The Matrix and in some ways Quantum Leap.

The pilot is showing again tonight at 9PM on BBCA and those of you who can get BBCA should make an effort to check it out. The pilot is really important since it sets the story up. If you plan on checking out the show at all, I reccomend that you don't miss the pilot.

95 Theses of Geek Activism

I thought this was pretty cool. Check it out.

Who Wants To Be A Superhero?

A month or so ago when we saw the first preview of this new show on SciFi Channel, I looked over at my gilfriend and said something like "ok... now the game show concept has been streached waaay too thin". She disagreed and made me tivo it anyway.

Yesterday we sat down to watch the episode. She got up in about 3 minutes and walked away, I instead kept going and was totally surprised. I liked this show and I'll tell you why.

First off, the concept is that people are competing to have a comic book made about the superhero that they portray by the legendary Stan Lee. To start the show, we saw hundreds of completely insane fanatics and general lunatics pitch Mr. Lee to be part of the initial selectees to compete. That had me in stiches for a good 20 minutes at least.

Once part of the initial group we got to know them and see them a bit. Wathcing these people show up to compete in these home made costumes was simply priceless. These are people who, for the most part, really want to be superheros. This all reminds me of the extremely short lived but amazing TV show "The Tick" (live action version).

The format of the show is a lot like the Apprentice. Mr. Lee (who hosts from his home via video teleconference) is the best rich guy, legendary, host I've seen so far. Unlike Trump, or Cuban or any of the other "top of their game" people, Stan Lee really has a serious interest in this competition. He really is focused on the people, but also is totally not an egomaniac. I love watching him.

The contestants have competitions to follow and are elimated weekly based on their performance. I've only seen one cometition, but (and this is where it gets strange) the competition really feels like something you would put an actual super-hero through.

The show had me lauging so hard that I had to pause the Tivo at one point and that is when one of the heros "Major Victory" was doing his competition. If there ever was a character that needed a whole show made after him, it was this guy. He is simply hysterical in his mannerisms and actions. He reminds me of this superhero dude that I used to love on Cartoon Network named Johnny Bravo but without the Elvis.

Whatever. The show is entertaining and actually has heart. I'm not sure if it is meant to be funny, but my goodness did I laugh a lot while watching it. So.. what can I say? Give it a look and see if you agree.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Take ISPs out of the Equation

You know.. I never thought about this in this way before, but ISPs really don't need to exist any more. The Internet is simply a network or networks and the only reason ISPs came into being was that it was hard to connect to this network. They were little mom and pop organizations with phone banks. They would split the cost of their dedicated line to the net across all those accounts. Eventually they grew into what they are today, effectively they connect what's called "the last mile" from their connection to the net to our homes.

What if, as it is expanded on here each city or county were to finance their own public works project to create their own fiber network to each and every home? Give each person a static IP address and just take the ISPs out of the equation? This would level the playing field and allow everyone to do whatever they pleased with their net connection.

It is the future.. Eventually we all will no longer have cable lines and phone lines and DSL lines.. there will eventually be one single connection per household to the internet and it will be super high speed so it can carry phone, data, tv, etc.. Why not remove all that regulation and all that needless overhead of the ISPs?

I proposed (personally) to mayor Rendell a long time ago that the city build a fiber network, connect it directly to the Internet Node in NJ and give access away for free. My thought was that we build a ring and allow schools and companies to connect to it. I'd never thought of doing the whole deal to each household.. at the time it would have been prohibitively expensive.. I think we can do it now and I think we should!

Editing Films

You know, I gave up my Blockbuster membership the day I rented a film from them and relaized that it had scenes cut from it (I had seen the film previously). I was amazed that they didn't even let me know that they had edited the film. Further research proved that they, as a policy, would edit films to remove content they found offensive. They still do and that's why (I believe) their onlie DVD rental service can't get any traction.

I was always amazed that the MPAA would let them get away with the editing. Apparently, the times are changing and there are judges in this country who agree that it's better to do the right thing and follow logic instead of catering to the crazy right wing thought police. This is a good thing.

I'm so Proud to be a Democrat

Ahh.. take a look at this. It's soo good to know that some Democratic legislators in my own state are now working to ban stem cell research. You know, it really makes me feel good about my party.. we're so organized, we can get so much done because we are united in our public causes..

What the fuck man? Actually I understand what I will call the "Crashing the Gates Principle" which states that a democrat who has some radical right wing beliefs is better to have in a seat than a republican of any kind (think Casey). But still I feel like if we could just organize a bit better like those wonderful R's we could accomplish some productive things..

Unity 08 man!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Yea.. apparently it's illegal now to photograph the police

I don't even know what to say about this article. What the fuck man? I hate most cops, but the Philly police on the whole do a pretty good job and usually act pretty well, but I have to say I hope this kid gets a good lawyer and sues the city for a lot of cash! Ugh.. this stuff makes me ill.

( "Cell Phone Picture Called Obstruction Of Justice")

As Philadelphia wonders why we have a violence problem...

I submit to you this article as piece of evidence that the problem may in fact be more serious than we think.

Let me explain. Allegidly this man ran out of his house and grabbed a 3 year old by the throught after having water sprayed accidentally on his car. He then went back into the house and came out with an unlicienced firearm which he threatened the childs mother with. The police "charged him with aggravated assault, firearms violations, possession of an instrument of crime, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person."

You'd think Bradley might have been in some trouble of his own, but, on Tuesday, Common Pleas Judge John O'Grady threw out charges of weapons violations and aggravated assault against a toddler, and reduced the remaining charges Bradley faced to misdemeanors.

Now, I wonder what happened here. Hard to say w/o being in on the trial. Could it have been an incompetant DA? I was on a jury once and the DA was fresh out of school and clueless so that is a possibility. Or was the judge influenced in some way? (The man charged was in law enforcement as a Philadelphia School District Cop). Maybe he was innocent.. which I really can't say since I wasn't there.

But something is wrong here and I can't figure out what it is.. can you all help?

America should stop meddling in the Middle East

We should stop meddling in the Middle East. We have nothing to gain and everything to loose. The only thing we should do in the Middle East is what we should be doing around the world: directly supporting our allies and diplomatically supporting countries that are trying to form democracies.

In the case of our allies, support means that if they need our help and ask for it, we give them exactly what they ask for if we can. In the case of fledgling democracies that means we support them publicly and provide them aid as they need it.

It seems to me that our foreign policy as it applies to the Middle East is a lot more than I’ve outlined and it seems to me that that is the reason we have all of our problems. I’m not asking America to be an isolationist nation, I’m asking America to be a nation that deals fairly with the rest of the world and uses its resources in positive ways.

I don’t believe that if we were a nation that was content with ourselves we would have such a problem with Osama Bin Laden. From what I can gather, one of the main catalysts for his fatwa against us was that we had military bases in Saudi Arabia. Why do we have those bases there? Why do we need this heavy military presence in the Middle East? Could it be that we are colonialists and expansionists? Could it be that we don’t want to pay the market rate for Oil?

Now, another part of Osama’s hatred for us is our support of Israel. In that case, I’m sorry, at this point in time they are our ally and we should publicly support them as we would any ally. But they don’t need the help of our military. Israel has the worlds #2 military; they can take care of themselves. And we should let them. It seems to me that we try to influence their policy way too much. Why? Why do we meddle? What makes our nation so smart? Isn’t it obvious that we cause more problems than we solve when we meddle in other nations affairs?

And I really don’t think I’m talking pie in the sky here. I’m just asking us to think more about treating other nations as if they were on the same level as we are and not as bratty little children that we need to baby-sit. We aren’t the adults who know better. Historically in this context I know that much is true.

Now I’ve said before that we should try and influence Israel to move out of the Middle East entirely and I still believe it, but if they want to stay, we should support them in any way they want. If we don’t agree with things they are doing, we have every right to privately try and talk them out of actions, but publicly our stance should be “They are our ally. If they want to attack Lebanon they are fully supported by us”.

If we are allies with multiple nations that are at war what should we do? We should try our best to broker peace or we should choose sides. This stuff is simple although everyone will say: “This stuff is complex beyond all recognition”. You know what? It’s not and I’ll tell you why:

In this context, there are two types of people. There are the leaders of all these nations and factions and then there are the citizens of all these nations. The citizens by and large will go along with whatever their leaders position is. The leaders (of which there are relatively few) are the ones that have differing opinions and it is those differences that cause all the problems in the world that we have today.

Those differences may be huge and they may be based in all kinds of history, but they are still ultimately differing opinions of singe human beings and they are motivated by simple needs and wants. And that, to me, means that it can all be understood. Do you think that if Osama Bin Laden were to sit down with Tony Blair that they would immediately want to kill each other? I don’t think so. I think if they were truly honest and able to really communicate with each other, they would at the worst end up in a situation where they would agree to disagree.

Yea yea, the world isn’t that simple.. I’m telling you all right now that it is. Even you religious people would agree with me if you really understood your faiths. Human life and social interaction while it can get very complex is ultimately simple. We all interact the same ways with each other. We all want and need and feel in relatively the same ways.

So, our country should strive to be more of an entity who if it were a person would be more like a priest and less like a general. How can anyone disagree?

Sirius should buy XM and the Govt. should let them

I still am baffled that Sirius stock is now less than $4 per share, but I'm cool with it since I'm in it for the long haul and at $4 a share I can buy a lot of stock for a little money.. in the future I know that it will pay off..

Even though XM has been taking a serious tumble and is just in a downward spiral from all perspectives, they still have some advantages over Sirius in terms of programming (I have both so I know) on their music channels and on some of their talk channels as well.

But Sirius is ultimately going to win the battle and if XM goes bankrupt or is bought by anyone other than Sirius, then everyone will suffer in the long term. Here is what I mean...

XM and Sirius are (at the heart) two streams of entertainment programming. Sure they have a number of channels, but they are kind of like having the HBO family of channels and comparing it to the Showtime family of channels. There is no theoretical reason why we can't have them both available on the same receivers. I've talked before about how fighting for these receivers is killing the business on the whole. In a perfect world, all receivers in all cars would be able to get terrestrial radio and all channels from all satellite providers.

If XM gets bought by CBS (as postulated in a great piece here), the chances of that happening remain the same as they are now.. low. If XM is absorbed by Sirius then the chances will be very high that competition in the future will occur.

What the govt. should do in this case is encourage Sirius to buy XM with the one caveat that they should open source their transmission technology to the market and allow other providers to play content on their radios. Remember, the ultimate goal here is for there to be one receiver in the cars that is capable of receiving content from multiple providers. Kind of like Cable TV has multiple channels.. essentially everyone is free to compete by starting their own channel.

The more we have these receiver battles, the less we move forward to acceptance of satellite radio. In my world, competition is a good thing from the perspective of the market and the consumer, but if the companies refuse to compete on an equal playing field (like XM and Sirius are doing) then everyone looses. By Sirius buying XM in this way, we get a situation where the field is finally flattened out and made fair.

In the short term this will work really well because the new Sirius will now have 12M subscribers. Car companies will then install the receivers by default and then the choice of weather we want satellite or not will then lie in the hands of the consumer. This could never happen if we have competing standards and that would be the case if this XM/Sirius battle continues along its present trajectory.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rolling Stone talks about Iran

Rolling stone is really rolling. First the voting fraud article and now this one about how the thought of invading Iran has been percolating in the US government. It's a killer spy story and actually makes our neocon friends seem like such assholes (which is always a good thing).. Case in point :

The revelation shocked Franklin and other members of Feith's office. If true, the allegations meant that they had just launched a war to put into power an agent of their mortal enemy, Iran. Their man—the dissident leader who sat behind the first lady in the president's box during the State of the Union address in which Bush prepared the country for war—appeared to have been working for Iran all along.

They are talking about how Ahmed Chalabi who was one of the cheif people pusing for our invasion of Iraq was being suspected of actually working for Iran.. This stuff is just amazing!

T-Mobile Again

So T-Mobile is in the news again. This time for pulling their ads from some shows (notably "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") at the request of those lunatics at the American Family Association. You may remember that T-Mobile is on my boycot list. Well, now I've got 2 reasons to hate them.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

On running "The Bush"

This just in.. an interview with the man who runs "The Bush".. I'm still giggling!

It's about fucking time

Arlen Specter (who I will gladly vote for if he runs again) is preparing a bill to hold the president accountable for his signing statements. It's about time that Congress stepped up to thier responsibility to be a check on the presidents power. The concept of checks and balances was conceived so no branch of the government could gain too much power and our president, by using these signing statments has been using a loophole to do just that.

Congress has allowed the BWH to do this on over 750 bills and it's been quite amazing to me that they have allowed themselves to be neutered like that. It's a good thing for America that they have been trying to distance themselves from him lately. The sad thing, and the thing that I'm most upset about was that it took a Republican to get this bill off the ground. While I understand that the Republicans controll both houses and that a Democratic bill may have faced severe oppression, I don't get why nobody tried. Actually I do know why. The Democrats are a bunch of confused pussies. Too bad I'm one of them.

You don't need ID at the TSA checkpoint

I've been to a number of airports since 9/11 and every one has a different policy about weather I need ID, weather I need to remove my shoes, weather I need to remove my jacket, etc. It's quite frustrating and it shows me that there is a problem with the process they have set up. If all these checkpoints are run by a federal agency and are following federal rules, why are they all different? My only guesses is that the rules are vague and left to interpretation, or that the employees are badly managed.

In either case, I refer you to this story where a man was almost arrested for simply asking a non-TSA, non-Airline employee who he worked for before he showed ID. While he was being a bit of a dick, I can totally see his argument and I can totally see (though not agree with) how the Gestapo/ss officers escalated the incident to the point of almost arrest. I would probably at that point refused to show ID and took the chance to be arrested since the people involved would have eventually gotten fired. The man in this case has been trying unsuccessfully to pursue this matter and I think that had he been arrested, he'd have had a better opportunity..

That is just one story, I've heard (and you have too) of dozens of other cases where there were problems at the TSA checkpoint. Another story that I find interesting is the one of John Gilmore (co-founder of the EFF and a really serious guy when it comes to all this terrorist stuff). Now, his story is a bit different. He was trying to prove a point and trying to get some cause for a legal challenge so he was being difficult for a reason. His case lost on appeal and the opinion is a good read because it teaches you that you don't in fact need to show ID at the TSA checkpoint if you are ok with them doing a more invasive search.

This was proven just recently when he challened some DHS higher ups to travel with no ID. He got one taker.

I'm no fan of just showing ID whenever it's asked of me. I don't like the government sticking their noses into my business every 2 seconds. Though I understand that showing ID is a good idea since it (in theory) allows the govt. to check you against terrorist databases, etc. I think that if you search my bags and my person thouroughly, you will achieve the same thing while actually preserving my reasonable right to travel anonymously.

I for one intend to travel and not show ID more often. We need to exercise our rights more. We need to stand up against these Stalinist tactics "Show us your Papers!!". Fuck that shit. This is America you fuckers.

Monday, July 24, 2006


It says in this article that Fios is costing Verizon $1400 a home to install. I kid you not, I would pay them $1500 right now if they would run it to my home. I would also sign up for their TV and phone services as well. I don't get why they aren't doing this any faster. There is a demand. I am not the only one.

The sex book for Teens

Have a great book that teaches teens that communication is important? Good luck getting anyone to notice.

The RIAA is EVIL and we can help the people they are hurting!

There is a great article on NewsForge about the RIAA and how they prey on defenseless people and use the technical ignorance of judges to extort settlements and perhaps set precidents that will help them in the future. This must be combatted in some way.

I've argued this case to friends and in writing before. There is really no way to link an actual person to files that appear on file trading services. In addition, I argue that just becasue you have files available on a file trading service, you aren't doing anything illegal, if anything it would be the folks downloading them.

From the article, after the RIAA gets a persons name from an ISP that was tied to an IP address (often dynamically) and often shared via wireless routers:

Once the RIAA has a name, the RIAA brings a case against the individual identified. As Beckerman points out, at this point, the evidence is inconclusive. "At most, they can say that someone who might somehow be associated with that IP address might have made some files available. But they certainly don't know that the defendant did. All they know is that the defendant wrote out a check to the Internet provider."

However, this vagueness does not stop the proceedings. The RIAA's preference, Beckerman says, is "to extort a [cash] settlement." If an individual resists, the RIAA brings a federal suit against him, which few individuals can afford to defend against unless they can find a lawyer willing to work for free or for a nominal fee. "You'll notice that you'll never see a big law firm in that category," he says. "The big law firms are like any big corporation -- they need to make a profit. They would be interested in representing the RIAA, not the poor people who the RIAA are pursuing."

This is sad and we should be aware that this is happening. We should at the least donate some money to the EFF and the Free Software Foundation (who has a legal fund up) :

Brown also mentioned that people can donate money to the cause through the FSF Web site, or by sending checks earmarked "RIAA Lawsuits" to the FSF.

Something Interesing happened on 9/11

Benjamin Franklin in 1773 (on 9/11) in a letter to Josiah Quincy wrote:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Eagles Greatest Moments

My girlfriend is a huge Eagles fan and is going crazy as the season approaches. I was browsing my usual haunts when I came across this site which has cataloged a bunch of the best Eagles moments from YouTube. It's pretty good and even though I peg the Eagles to go 8-8 this year, the videos are hard not to watch. I've actually seen most of those games..

Friday, July 21, 2006

George Bush Resume

Someone emailed me this.. I don't know the original source. If someone does, please let me know:

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20520



I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.


I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.


I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a


I ran for U.S. Congress and lost. I began my career in the oil business
in Midland, Texas, in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money. With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry, including Enron CEO Ken Lay, I was elected governor of Texas.


I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.

I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.

I set the record for the most executions by any gov ernor in American history.

With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.


I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.

I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.

I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.

I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market.

In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues every month.

I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, had a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President. I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.

My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay (now deceased), presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. History, Enron.

My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.

I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution.

More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history.

I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.

I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.

I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any President in U.S. history.

I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.

I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.

I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.

I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law. I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. "prisoners of war" detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election).

I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.

I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.

I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.

I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.

I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, preemptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S.
citizens, and the world community.

I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families-in-wartime.

In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.

I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.

I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster" a WMD.

I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden [sic] to justice.


All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.

All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.

I am a member of the Republican Party.

Jan Ullrich

I love Jan Ullrich, lets get that out of the way right off. And let me also say that a private organization should have the right to fire anyone for any reason. With that said, I still think its shameful that T-Mobile has dropped Jan from their team even though his name has only been linked to the Puerta doping investigation. They are essentially forcing him to prove his innocence which is just fucked up in my book. Even if he is proven guilty in the future, that doesn't change the fact that right now he still should be treated with respect by his team and the public. Well, that's the last time I buy T-Mobile cell service...

Tigers Swing

So Nike did something cool, and they did an ok job of it, but not as good as I'd have liked. They put Tiger Woods in front of a set of super slo motion cameras and recorded his golf swing. After that, they created this cool web site where you can click on one of 5 angles to see the swing from that perspective. The cameras and the angles (and even the preview buttons) are in sync. That's all the cool part. The crappy part (and I'm amazed by this clearly stylistic decision) is that they made everything so dark that you can hardly tell what the hell is going on. Am I missing something?

Here is the site.

Also, my girlfriend (who alerted me to this in the first place) notes that there is a slighty brigher version (but poorly compressed) on google video here.

Floyd! and the Incredible Tour de France

I haven't written about the Tour lately but rest assured I've been watching it. Every stage, every day now since July 1. I have to say in some ways it has been better than last years Tour, in some ways worse, but in all ways it has been entertaining.

We started off in the flats watching the incredible (but outspoken) Robby McEwen sprint like a maniac and solidfy his Green Jersey. We took a turn into the Pyrenees where we saw a few of the Yellow contenders strut their stuff, back to the flats for a few and now into the Alps where the race is beginning to make clear who the real contenders are. It's been a pretty crazy race with the Yellow Jersey changing hands 7 times so far. This is a big difference than the Lance days where once he got it, the race was essentially over.

Anyway, if you look back at my top ten list prediction you will see that of the riders who started, I had essentially picked George Hincapie first and Loyd Landis second. George has been a bust particulary (I feel) becasue his team wasn't behind him from the start and possibly becasue of his crash earlier this year. But Floyd has been another story. He's been pretty amazing to watch.

Floyd doesn't have much of a team to support him. I know this because I can't name any of them except one. Usually by now you are so used to seeing riders at the front that you can name even the most obscure ones. I haven't seen many Phonak riders this tour. And where they have been most needed (in the mountains and fighting the breaks in the flats) they haven't been able to step up. But that hasn't stopped Floyd Landis from holding the Yellow jersey after the Pyrenees and then again taking back in the first Alps stage.

But 2 days ago Floyd just appeared to die on the course. Some say he bonked, some say he simply had a bad day, I say he was dehydrated (which is just inexcusable coaching). But nonetheless, the guy lost almost 9 minutes to the 2nd place rider and lost the Yellow jersey.

Let me tell you what that means. With only one mountain stage, one flat stage and a time trial left in the race, anything more than a 6 minute gap from the yellow means that you have no chance of winning. In the non time trial stages you are generally marked by the other riders and if you start to try to get away from them, they will chase you down. Everyone is always watching and marking the progress of their closest opponants. On a flat stage making up any time at all is close to impossible. On a time trial you are riding alone and of the top contenders, there really isn't more than maybe 2 minutes seperating them all. On a mountain stage the only way to do it is to find more energy than the others AND pull off an attack that they can't counter.

Yesterday, Floyd somehow did the impossible.

Before most of the mountains, he took off from the main group and attacked. At first it looked like they were just amazed that he had the energy. Then it seemed like they thought "well, maybe he'll gain a minute or two if he rides this inspired over the final mountains". Then he was out of their sight. He went on to pass all of the 15 or so riders ahead of the main pack. Passing each amazed one he just kept going. He was drinking a ton of water. Every time you saw him he was either pouring it over himself or drinking something. That, to me, was the clue to his dehydration issue from the day before.

Floyd won the stage. Read the full story here. It was simply incredible. Here was a guy who was by all accounts, finished. Here was a guy who said "you know what? fuck it, I'm not giving up". And he sure didn't. He is now 30 seconds off the leader of the race. Today I think he'll still be 30 down. In the time trial (his specialty) he will take the jersey and call it his own. You should all watch the TT on Saturday and see. It will be simply awesome!

Those nasty Stem Cells

My friend Albert beat me to this, but I wanted to post it too. This cartoon (by Daily News Cartoonist Signe) just sums up the BWH perfectly.. and keeps my anger nice and fresh... Fuckers!

(love the kid on the right with the hole)

While on the subject of stem cells, see here for some more about how fucking stupid taht veto was.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I'm not the only one who feels this way, but the Big Lebowski is definitely one of my favorite films of all time. I mean I fucking love that film man! Ok.. so a friend sent me this link which is a bit annoying to watch, but also quite interesting too.. that's not why I'm posting now. You Tube when you watch a video tries to show you other related stuff.. and that's where I found this clip. If you are a fan of the film you will laugh outloud because the acting in the scene is hysterical (especially near the end).. the fact that it was dubbed over the Ninga Turtles makes it even funnier.. There are others there too..

FBI plans new Net-tapping push

I want to write a big post about this but I don't know what my opinion is right now. First off I think I want others in the blog world to be more aware of this issue. Secondly I hope to form an opinion on this. On the one hand, what makes building tapping ablility into network gear any different than what is mandated for phone switches? To have the ability to tap isn't the same as tapping everything.. but on the other hand, why let the govt have more potential to abuse its power and infringe on our rights? Also it's all kind of moot to me becasue if I wanted secure communication I think I could achieve it (or come close to it) with just a little effort and if I want secret communication over the net I could do that too with a little more work.. Easy Encryption for everyone is my big belief and this article should at least give us more cause to fight for that.


It was about 10 years ago that I saw my first Cirque du Soleil show. I was on a business trip to Las Vegas and on an expense account and bored so I asked my concierge what I should see. She arranged for me a ticket to see the show in the hotel I was staying at. That show was "Mystere". I of course had no idea what to expect. I was thinking "a circus?, that sounds lame...". So it came as a complete surprise to me how simply amazing the experience was. Mystere was simply one of the best theatre experiences I'd ever had.

The next time I was back I ended up seeing Mystere again with some family and friends. It was just as wonderful the second time. Then they opened a new show "O". I had high expectations for the show and I was far from dissapointed. I was simply blown away at how much better it was than Mystere. Now since then I've seen each one a few more times and of all the people I've been with, the concensus is that half of them love Mystere more and the other half loved O more. In all cases, they were amazed.

So a few years ago, I ended up going to see Circe in New York. They had a travelling tent show and I went to check it out. I was impressed, but not really blown away. I guess what was amazing to me was more than just the show. Perhaps the stage made a differnce (it sure did in O).

Then they came to philly and I've seen the previous 2 shows here. Again, I was impressed but not too much.

Yesterday I went to see the third appearance in Philly of Circe. "Quidam" was the show. Of the 4 tent shows I've seen, this one was the best one. It wasn't up to the LV standards, but it sure came close. This time for the first time we sprung for the Tapis Rouge tickets. These are obcenely priced tickets that include a coctail party with overflowing champainge glasses, a decadant intermission spread, and (the reason I bought these ticets) center seats for the show. The tent shows are in the round and unless you are aligned in the center, you are not getting the full effect since they really align along the center line. If you can afford it, buy these tickets.

So my review is that if you've never seen Cire, Quidam is a great intro. If you have seen other tent shows, this one is better. If you've seen O or Mystere (there are others now in LV.. none as good), this will be a nice refresher.

Oh.. and it's amazing how much they make this travelling show appear to be in a fixed location. The seats are comphy, there is air conditioning, full bathrooms, a serious amount of technical stuff as well.. I'm always impressed that they put all this into a truck at the end of the show..

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

TV from the Moon

Being that I have a strong TV background I found this article quite interesting. It outlines in detail how the video of Armstrong walking on the moon was received and processed before it got back to the USA (at the time, the moon was only in view clearly by a station in Australia). Apparently the images from the moon were quite sharp, but they were improperly converted on the Earth so what was seen by the US TV audience was very degraded and compressed. I was about 10 months old at the time, so I didn't see anything...

Oh.. For all you conspiracy people here's an interesting tidbit : according to this presentation, the original tapes (the high quality Slow Scan tapes which are apparently super sharp) were placed in the National Archives. These tapes are now missing and the only machines available to play them back are about to be decommissioned:

In 1970, the tapes were placed in the US National Archives in Accession #69A4099. By 1984, all but two of the over 700 boxes of Apollo era magnetic tapes placed in the Accession, were removed and returned to the GSFC for permanent retention. These tapes are now missing.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Eraser

The new Thom Yorke album is pretty fucking good.. Go get it!

The Sharpest Object Ever Made

This is pretty cool (to me at least):

Forget the phrase, "sharp as a tack." Now, thanks to new University of Alberta research the popular expression might become, "sharp as a single atom tip formed by chemically assisted spatially controlled field evaporation." Maybe it doesn't roll off the tongue as easily, but considering the researchers have created the sharpest object ever made, it would be accurate.

The stem-cell debate (and why pro-lifers are morons)

I should have a weekly post "What I read in The Week this week" which would give you the highlights of what I read in a magazine that in itself attempts to fit all the news from that week into tiny readable nuggets. It seems like I always get inspired to post stuff from there. Well, anyway, today I want to make you aware of a great article on about stem-cell research. Actually it makes the argument that the anti-abortion idiots are against stem cells for other than moral reasons or they are simply idiots. Here is a taste :

...If you believe that embryos a few days after conception have the same human rights as you or me, killing innocent embryos is obviously intolerable. But do opponents of stem-cell research really believe that? Stem cells test that belief, and sharpen the basic right-to-life question, in a way abortion never has.

Here's why: Stem cells used in medical research generally come from fertility clinics, which produce more embryos than they can use. This isn't an accident—it is essential to their mission of helping people to have babies. Often these are "test tube babies": the product of an egg fertilized in the lab and then implanted in a womb to develop until birth...In any particular case, fertility clinics try to produce more embryos than they intend to implant. Then—like the Yale admissions office (only more accurately)—they pick and choose among the candidates, looking for qualities that make for a better human being. If you don't get into Yale, you have to attend a different college. If the fertility clinic rejects you, you get flushed away—or maybe frozen until the day you can be discarded without controversy...In short, if embryos are human beings with full human rights, fertility clinics are death camps—with a side order of cold-blooded eugenics. No one who truly believes in the humanity of embryos could possibly think otherwise.