Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Another prediction: no traffic jams due to flying cars

This month in 1992, Business Week declared that the computer industry was "on the skids." Thankfully, most investors heeded their advice and never invested in MSFT, CSCO, and INTC during the nineties.

With IBM projected to lose $5 billion in 1992, Business Week describes the computer business as 'an industry on the skids.' The magazine cited layoffs at most established computer companies, such as IBM, as well as newer firms like Sun Microsystems Inc., as evidence that the industry was saturated.

News Flash: Iranian President may be divinely inspired

The invaluable LGF links to this report that Iranian president Ahmadinejad believes himself to have divine backing. Most recently, he claimed that 'light surrounded him' during his speech at the UN:

"I am not exaggerating when I say they did not blink; it's not an exaggeration, because I was looking," he says. "They were astonished as if a hand held them there and made them sit. It had opened their eyes and ears for the message of the Islamic Republic."

...Since the presidential elections in Iran, many bizarre stories and rumors have circulated about Ahmadinejad. Many of them are related to his devotion to the 12th Imam, also known as Imam Mahdi, who according to Muslims has disappeared and will return at the end of time to lead an era of Islamic justice...

In other news, Ahmadinejad, "lashed out at countries that question Iran's nuclear activities and said they have no right to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear technology."

I've got a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that this ain't gonna end well.

Fighting back against Junk Faxes

The Washington Post features some exquisite (and sometimes comical) steps fax owners can take to fight back against junk-mail faxers. If it were only this easy to repel email spam.

When Tyler receives a junk fax, she takes a piece of black paper, puts it in her fax machine and dials the "fax replies to" number or the transmission fax number on the junk fax. Before transmitting, she tapes the ends of the paper together to make a loop. "Your very dark fax will be sent on an endless loop until someone at the other end realizes what's happening and interrupts the transmission," she says...

Trés cool CSS Directory

Looking for some cool CSS templates? A new, free directory provides an easy-to-use collection of style-sheets. The directory consists of work from multiple designers and is indexed for searching. It's useful not only as a quick design center but also as a learning tool for advanced CSS concepts.

Senator Blabbermouth

Betsy Newmark calls out several Democrat bigwigs who can't seem to keep classified info from the press. She notes Harry Reid blabbing on TV about a topic of some importance:

He had been informed just that day that Osama bin Laden was killed in the giant Pakistan earthquake last month... Might it not be possible that we would want to keep that information secret for a whole host of reasons? We could have sources or methods of gathering information that we're protecting.

And let's not forget one Sandy Berger, he of the Top Secret documents stuffed in his pants. Who, if memory serves, pled guilty to ripping off and destroying classified material. In return, he was granted a penalty consisting of, I think, four laps in the pool and ten situps.

I suspect any normal person convicted of this same offense would be serving time in a federal correctional facility. In cell block D. With a couple o' cell-mates named Bubba and Bobby Jo. And would be busy constructing a shiv with some matches, a razor, and an old toothbrush.

Building a firewall with IPtables

Linux has supported a couple generations of packet filtering at the kernel level. The latest, netfilter, provides an extensible framework for building sophisticated firewalls with just about any Linux distro you can imagine. The iptables user-mode application gives an administrator the ability to create, destroy and modify filtering rules right from the command-line. InformIT has an excellent tutorial that explains how netfilter works and how you can use IPtables to take advantage of its sophisticated filtering architecture.

Joe Lieberman

His article in yesterday's Journal is a must-read.

Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do. And it is important to make it clear to the American people that the plan has not remained stubbornly still but has changed over the years. Mistakes, some of them big, were made after Saddam was removed, and no one who supports the war should hesitate to admit that; but we have learned from those mistakes and, in characteristic American fashion, from what has worked and not worked on the ground. The administration's recent use of the banner "clear, hold and build" accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week...

Make sure you read the last two paragraphs. And forward it on to a couple o' dozen of your closest friends.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Gollum - the Wikipedia Browser

If you think Wikipedia is just about the coolest thing to hit the Internet since Tim Berners-Lee invented HTTP, then you'll get a charge out of Gollum. Imagine if your web pages could have appropriate Wikipedia terms hyperlinked, such that when a user clicks on the link, a special popup Wikipedia browser for that term is displayed. Bingo. Bango. Bongo. That's what Gollum is. Check it out and prepare to be amazed. Or at least, pleasantly surprised at the utility of Javascript and Wikipedia joining forces.

Cool. Google. Maps.

Cool Google MapsThere are some pretty neat Google Maps on the aptly named Cool Google Maps blog. Guess there really is something to this whole "branding" thing.

The New York Sun viciously fisks Frank Rich

The New York Sun fisks the misanthropic Frank Rich using everything but brass knuckles and two-by-fours. Gather the whole family around and watch Rich's pathetic disinformation campaign get disassembled, piece by piece, until nothing is left except for part of a foundation and the basement sink. The fact that Rich is still employed becomes more startling by the day. That Rich calls out a so-called "lie" with a thoroughly bogus diatribe -- a veritable litany of omissions and purposeful misinterpretations -- is so ironic that it's, well, off the legendary irony-meter. If there were any justice in the world, Rich would collect his weekly paycheck in cold hard cash: a single Hillary Clinton three-dollar bill. Just read the whole thing and cover the childrens' eyes when Rich gets repeatedly floored.

Unpatched IE Flaw Worse than Originally Thought

IThub's Security site has a pretty good description of the latest IE security hole. This vulnerability rates the rare -- but highly coveted -- "Extremely Critical" award from Secunia. We'll hold the trophy for the ceremony to be held early next year. Since it's currently unpatched on even a locked-down XP SP2 box, you may want to think about downloading Firefox or Opera (if you haven't done so already).

IPTV is breakin' out

The whole concept of IPTV is set to just bust out in 2006. The telcos, cable companies, set-top makers, and everyone in between are all flooring the accelerator to deliver higher quality A/V streams over the Internet. At stake: the television of the future. Check out one of the first directories of IPTV Shows. And don't say I didn't warn you that this whole space is going to be boomin'.

Healthcare in Canada: Did you hear that Thud?

The regional experiment in socialized medicine, a little country we like to call Canada, has been held up as an example for decades here in the States. But... there's a teensy, weensy little problem:

In a recent poll, more than 80 percent of Canadians rate the system “in crisis.” People wait for practically any diagnostic test, surgical procedure, or specialist consult... With just one family doctor to service [Norwood, Ont.], the physician takes only 50 new patients a year. As a result, the town holds an annual lottery with the 50 winners getting an appointment with him...

NATO versus Terror

London Bus BombFormer prime minister of Spain José María Aznar was featured in the Journal Op-Ed section* yesterday advocating for an aggressive change in focus for NATO. The highlight-reel quotes:

...terror has struck many of us: the US, Spain, Turkey, the UK, Russian, to name just the countries which are members of, or related to, NATO. [It must] accept that we hsare a new existential threat in the form of Islamist terror... [which] is global and multifaceted [and] requires a collective effort...

Jihadism has replaced communism, as communism replaced Nazism, as a mortal danger, so NATO must put defense against [religious] terrorism at the center of its strategy... NATO must transform itself into an Alliance for Freedom, willing and able to collectively secure our liberties and democracies before it is too late.

If you have a subscription, well, do I really need to say it? Spritz yourself with the cologne of wisdom and read the whole thing.

* Subscription required

Monday, November 28, 2005

The War that Never Was

The Telegraph features a chilling description of the war that never was: a nuclear holocaust centered in Eastern Europe between the Cold War superpowers.

The nightmare of nuclear war in Europe - a spectre that haunted the world for half a century - stood revealed yesterday in terrible detail.

In a historic break with the past, Poland's newly elected government threw open its top secret Warsaw Pact military archives - including a 1979 map revealing the Soviet bloc's vision of a seven-day atomic holocaust between Nato and Warsaw Pact forces...

Hat tip: Below the Beltway

Ten Things that make Ubuntu Linux Great for Neophytes

If you've been waiting for a really, really easy distro to experiment with Linux, Ubuntu might just hit the mark. The LinuxHelp blog describes ten reasons why Ubuntu may go where no Linux desktop has gone before: your home.

Revenge of the 1980's Video Games

Loverboy. Corey Hart. Farrah Fawcett-Majors. Arcade games. Is there anything more emblematic of the eighties than arcade classics like Pac-man? 1980-Games is featuring a wide range of these games, free. And many run directly off the site. Just watch out for Billy Idol.

Great (free) Windows Apps

Here's a great overview of some top-tier Windows apps, most of which are free and anything but the resource hogs to which we've become accustomed. This list is good. Real good. It's like getting free popcorn and sodas at the movies.

Just in Time for Xmas

It's perfect for kids of all ages: the Playmobil Security Checkpoint! Air Marshals optional. Batteries sold separately. (Hat tip: Below the Beltway).

PGP for VoIP

It had to happen sometime: the mysterious 'they' are working on PGP encryption for voice-over-IP (VoIP). Skype -- possibly VoIP's competitor -- has always had integrated encryption. It's time some solid crypto made its way into VoIP. Don't vonage without it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Theme day: a sour taste for the Democratic Party

It must be "theme day" here at the world headquarters of Doug Ross @ Journal, because we've found a recurring theme in several missives penned by prominent pundits:

The Pew Political Center's research is digested by Maggie Gallagher; some odd statistics come to the fore (commentary courtesy of EIB):

68% of Pro-Government Conservatives say they 'often can't make ends meet.' Yet 76% of them agree that 'most people can get ahead with hard work,' compared to 14% of Disadvantaged Democrats," who don't believe that. Does that not sum it up? Fourteen percent of disadvantaged Democrats -- only 14% of them -- believe that you can get ahead with hard work. That means what? That 86% of disadvantaged Democrats think work is worthless, that hard work is pointless.

The Washington Post, obviously not a mouthpiece for the right, reports bi-partisan polling finds that Democratic criticism of the war is hurting morale (smart-aleck remarks beginning with the word 'duh' omitted):

Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt "a lot," according to a poll taken by RT Strategies. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale.

The American Spectator features Ben Stein's latest, which hopes for a day when the Democrats' Neville Chamberlain brigade will be in the distinct minority. It's a nice thought, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

I see a frightening pattern here: the Democrats wanted us out of Vietnam, and never mind the genocide that followed. The Democrats want us out of Iraq and never mind that the Baathists will fill the vacuum and all Iraq will be screaming in pain except the murderers, who will exult — especially Osama bin Laden. Can it be that the Democrats really want to surrender to the same man who killed 3,000 civilians on 9/11 and laughed about it? Are we so weak that in only four years, after a war smaller in casualties than many unknown battles of the Civil War, we are already eager to surrender to the man who murdered women and children and made terrified couples hold hands and leap to their deaths from the World Trade Center? If so, there really is little hope for us as a people. My prayer is that careful reflection will convince the Democrats that while we are all unhappy about the war, war is hell, and surrender is far worse. Maybe the Copperheads in the Democrat party, like those who wanted appeasement of the slave owners one hundred and forty years ago, will be a minority, and those who want to keep up the fight for human decency will prevail even as the Neville Chamberlains speak of peace at any price.

Her fifteen minutes may be up.

Best Linux Desktop for Small Business?

The reviewers at ZDNet UK evaluated a range of Linux distros, looking for ease of deployment and management for desktops within a small business. The candidates: Redhat Desktop 4, Mandriva Linux 2006, Novell Linux Desktop 9, SUSE Linux 10, and... the winner, Ubuntu Linux 5.10. Bundled with the increasingly capable OpenOffice, Evolution (Exchange-compatible client), and GAIM (Instant messaging), Ubuntu is completely free.

Over at O'ReillyNet, Andy Oran calls attention to "another desperate attempt to discredit Masschusetts' OpenDocument adoption." OpenDocument is an open-standard file format (for office documents) that promises to bring better interoperability to the world of electronic docs.

And, in a related, server-side development, PHP 5.10 has just been released. The net-net? A litany of performance, date/time computation, and security improvements.

Patently Absurd

TotallyAbsurd has a great collection of outrageous patents. Check out the description and rationale for knee skates. Or the actuary's best friend, the Life Expectancy Watch.

Fun with Javascript and the Canvas tag

The Mozilla/Firefox, Safari and Opera browsers support a new tag called Canvas, which can be used to draw bitmaps. Abraham Joffe showcases a first-person shooting game implemented using the Canvas tag. It's enlightening that, even with its limited capabilities, the Canvas tag can provide this kind of capability.

No pain, no gain

The educators at DieselCrew explain the art of deadlifting in an easy-to-follow guide (hat tip: Bernie).

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What eBay shoulda been called

This old article indicates that eBay stands for "Echo Bay, California". And would have been the name of the auction site... had it been available.

No news is good news when it comes to the economy

The stock market hit a half-decade high on Friday, despite a litany of hurricanes earlier in the year and a massive terrorist attack in 2001. Tigerhawk notes:

...the tradition at the New York Times of linking short term swings in the financial markets -- at least when they are negative -- to the policies of the Bush administration. On April 16, 2005, for example, the Times ran a front page story with the headline "Stocks plunge to lowest point since election," suggesting that it was the election that had something to do with the "plunge." We eagerly await the front page story with this headline: "Stocks soar to highest point since before September 11, 2001". We're fairly sure, however, that we won't see it in the Times.

It's all about the children (in Iran)

You've got to see these children's cartoons from Iran to believe 'em.

Al Qaeda and Iraq: what the Clinton administration said

Historical revisionism aside, Powerline links to Victor Davis Hanson's latest, which spells out the Clinton administration's viewpoint on Al Qaeda and Iraqi cooperation. Note: odds are, you won't see this in the the New York Times or CNN.

Victor Davis Hanson reviews some of the evidence linking Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda. He also cites the Clinton Justice Department's 1998 indictment against bin Laden, which stated:

al-Qaida reached an understanding with the Government of Iraq that al-Qaida would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qaida would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

The evidence pointed in the same direction in 2002, when Clinton-appointee George Tenet told the Senate:

We have solid reporting of senior-level contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida going back a decade.

...If bin Laden could accept American assistance when he fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, it's difficult to see why he couldn't cooperate with Iraq in attacking U.S. interests... But the evidence doesn't matter to the administration's left-wing critics to whom the "no connection" theme is an article of faith.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Network Neutrality: Why it's a Big Deal

End of the Line : The Rise and Fall of AT&TImagine if the power company got to decide which devices would work with the plugs in your house. For example, say you could no longer recharge your iPod because Apple refused to pay the power company a "compatibility tariff". In other words, consider a world in which the power company literally decides which device and appliance manufacturers survive. Silly, right?

Maybe not. The nation's telecommunications laws are being rewritten and some telcos -- who generally control the "last mile" of Internet infrastructure -- want to dictate which Internet sites get preferential treatment and which go to the back of the bus.

Here's one scenario: the telcos upsell a "super high-quality" video streaming capability to Blockbuster for delivery of their content. Because Blockbuster ponied up, they get their packets delivered with QoS (quality-of-service) while Netflix suffices with "best effort" packet delivery. In other words, in addition to the "last mile" charges the telcos already hit consumers with, they could upsell preferential packet treatment to service operators.

Battle Lines are Drawn

On one side of the battle are technology companies, who argue that letting network operators favor certain types of services, while interfering with others, opens the door to all sorts of unsavory possibilities.

Remember: bandwidth is a limited resource. Every prioritized packet pushes aside another, "less important" packet. In addition to streaming video and audio, the telcos could theoretically have approved search engines (that return results faster), web-mail services, mapping systems, and the like. Thus, if you're a service operator of any kind, it's conceivable that -- in order to have acceptable performance -- you may have to pay the telco for the privilege.

"Enshrining a rule that broadly permits network operators to discriminate in favor of certain kinds of services and to potentially interfere with others would place broadband operators in control of online activity," Vinton G. Cerf, a founding father of the Internet...

What's most worrisome is that -- while the nation's telecommunications laws are being revamped -- language prohibiting preferential treatment of network traffic has been removed.

On Nov. 2, another draft of the [telecommunication law changes] bill came out, with language specifically addressing the Internet video services that are proliferating as connection speeds increase and the phone companies get into the digital television business. In this draft, the prohibition on blocking or impeding content was gone.

The Potential for Abuse

The new FCC chairman is said to favor the concept of network neutrality, but not establishing its tenets as law. According to the Washington Post, that opens the system to all sorts of potential abuse:

...What if Internet service providers decide to provide lots of bandwidth to customers who buy their other services, such as cellular or voice-over-Internet telephony -- but less if the customer uses rival providers of those services?

I'm thinking of even worse possibilities: imagine Google, Yahoo and MSN run dirt-slow because they won't pay the "performance tariff"? And only, say, the telco's search-engine works acceptably.

Over time, one unsettling telco strategy might be: pick a vertical offering (say, video) and continually raise tariffs for acceptable performance... while building a competitive offering that simply performs better. In other words, the telcos -- and not the merits of the service providers -- would control who wins and who loses.

Maybe I'm just paranoid and these malevolent scenarios are all bunkum. The bottom line is that content providers deserve a level playing field when it comes to IP traffic.

If the telcos want a piece of the video, or search-engine, or web-mail business, they should invest in it and compete on a level playing field. Otherwise, they should do what they do best: slinging bits without regard to who owns them.

A better strategy for the telcos: put the consumer in charge

If the telcos put control of prioritization in the hands of consumers -- with a tiered pricing structure -- they can't lose. Consider a base Internet package that costs $29 a month with no QoS. If I want IPTV with QoS for superior quality, I pay a surcharge. And if I want higher quality voice-over-IP, I pay another surcharge.

In other words, the telcos need to put the consumer in control. A foreign concept for the telcos, to be sure, but one that -- for a change -- might be a winning one.

Washington Post: Renewed Warning of Bandwidth Hoarding

Update: In its battle with the telcos, Google may be lining up with Time Warner for VoIP. ZDnet has the scoop.

How to write unmaintainable code

Looking for job security in the burgeoning world of Information Technology? Worried that someone else will take over your application and improve it dramatically, making you look like a loser?

Well, stop worrying and order the How to Write Unmaintainable Code guide by Roedy Green... today! Just follow the detailed instructions in this easy-to-use guide and virtually guarantee yourself a lifetime of software maintenance opportunities!

Act now and we'll throw in this free Code Obfuscator that renders software virtually unreadable! Hurry, operators (and constructors) are standing by:

Buy a copy of a baby naming book and you'll never be at a loss for variable names. Fred is a wonderful name, and easy to type. If you're looking for easy-to-type variable names, try adsf or aoeu if you type with a DSK keyboard.

If you must use descriptive variable and function names, misspell them. By misspelling in some function and variable names, and spelling it correctly in others (such as SetPintleOpening SetPintalClosing) we effectively negate the use of grep or IDE search techniques. It works amazingly well. Add an international flavor by spelling tory or tori in different theatres/theaters.

Use acronyms to keep the code terse. Real men never define acronyms; they understand them genetically

Randomly capitalize the first letter of a syllable in the middle of a word. For example ComputeRasterHistoGram()

How To Write Unmaintainable Code

Secret Cheat Code in the new Lexus IS

From the sound of things, there may be an "easter egg" in the new Lexus IS. The IS electronic-traction-control system (called VDIM) can not be disabled using any sort of obvious switch. However:

1. (VDIM ON) As stated above, I set the parking brake and started the car. Pumped the brakes twice, set and reset the parking brake twice. I pumped the brakes twice more and the TRAC-OFF light came on the dash.

2. (VDIM OFF) From a stop, I turned right. I started slow but went to full throttle before I was fully into the turn. The RPMs went way up when it shifted to second and I felt I could hear the rear wheels losing traction, but it was not a "squeel".

3. (VDIM OFF) I found an emtpy parking lot. Stopped the car and turned the wheel all the way left. Went right to full throttle. The back end slid out and I did doughnuts. The wheels didnt "squeel", but the RPMs where up and the rear-end had 0 traction.

Autospies: Secret Cheat Code in the new Lexus IS

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Mediacrats: Proudly Undermining America Since 1968!

There are times when you read the first few lines of an op-ed column and you just know it's gonna be good . That applies to Richard Cohen's latest, which begins with a kiss and a promise of things to come:

"[T]he unhinged right wing has now invented the myth that Democratic members of Congress have called President Bush 'a liar' about Iraq. An extensive computer search by myself and a Post researcher can come up with no such accusation. That's prudent. After all, it's not clear if Bush lied about Iraq or was merely the 'useful idiot' of those who did. . .

That's the spirit! Terming the President an idiot during war-time certainly strikes me as supportive of the commander-in-chief and, by extension, the troops. But the central thesis of Cohen's rambling jaunt -- that no Democratic leaders called the President Bush a 'liar' -- is fascinating.

Let's use a brand-spanking new tool called "Google", which I've heard can help us research the assertions of off-the-deep-end mediacrats like Mapes, Cohen, Teepen, Pitts, and company.

Here's Ted Kennedy: "There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud."

Here's Harry Reid (D-NV): "We all know the Vice President's office was the nerve center of an operation designed to sell the war and discredit those who challenged it... The manipulation of intelligence to sell the war in Iraq... the Vice President is behind that."

Here's Dick Durbin (D-IL): "I seconded the motion Sen. Harry Reid made last week. Republicans in Congress have refused, despite repeated promises, to investigate the Bush administration's misuse of pre-war intelligence, so Senate Democrats are standing up and demanding the truth."

Here's Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): "The American people still want to know - now more than ever - why the United States went to war, whether they were misled, and whether our intelligence was misused."

And here's Bob Edgar (D-PA, ret) claiming he has proof Bush lied (great proof, too!).

And, as an added bonus, here's Ted Kennedy: "The Bush administration misrepresented and distorted the intelligence to justify a war that America should never have fought."

Richard Cohen -- typical of the mediacrats, whose institutions are fading faster than my holiday tan -- is as intellectually bankrupt as they come. Not only has the entire Democratic leadership pounced on the "Bush lied" meme, they've done so proudly. That Cohen is too bull-headed or biased to see it is typical... but not surprising.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Party of Retreat

Unfit for CommandThe unequalled John O'Neill takes his stand against the surrender crew. Slake your thirst at the chalice of wisdom and read the whole thing.

The Democratic Party (notwithstanding its cynical expressions of concern for the same troops it periodically seeks to label as engaged in widespread crime) is regarded with intense distrust by many active duty and retired military personnel.They have been Kerried once too often. It was once the majority party that stopped the Nazis, Fascists, and North Koreans and that in words of a far different Kennedy summoned us “to fight any battle” for freedom.

Sadly, the party of Henry Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt has become the party of retreat — from the Iranian Hostage Crisis to the retreat from Mogadishu; to opposition to the 1991 Gulf War; to the failure to avenge the 1993 World Trade Center bombing or the USS Cole bombing or the murder of our own troops and embassy personnel around the world. Indeed, this past Thursday night, the nation watched the bizarre spectacle of a Democratic Party speaking in favor of immediate withdrawal but too afraid to even cast a vote recording for posterity these convictions. And the drift from American values to the party of Mr. Kerry and Michael Moore has been matched by its shrinking base.

In fact, it got so warm in the Capitol Building that people were standing behind Democrats just to catch the breeze from all the backpedaling.

Paul at Powerline adds:

...most elected Democrats fall into one of two categories -- those who don't wish to wage an agressive war against Islamofascist terrorists but vote for war anyway, and those who don't wish to wage such a war and who vote their conscience. The patriotism of the second group should not be questioned. But what are we to make of those who voted for a war they didn't believe in for the purpose of promoting their political career, and then, when the going gets tough, refuse to take responsibility for their vote?

What, indeed?

NY Sun, John O'Neill Op-Ed: Summer Soldiers

Monday, November 21, 2005

That Crazy, Whacky Mainstream Media (Part 480)

South Park Conservatives : The Revolt Against Liberal Media BiasLast week, when Michael Moore released an exclusive statement backing terrorism complaining about George W. Bush, he turned to -- who else? -- CNN:

[CNN's Anderson] Cooper hyped how “just moments ago Michael Moore released this statement exclusively to CNN.” With the text on screen, Cooper relayed the comment from the far-left filmmaker: “'Unfortunately, the President doesn't understand that it is mainstream middle America who has turned against him and his immoral war..." [ed: as evidenced by Bush's election victory just last year.]

Free Bonus Flashback! Just as a reminder whose side Moore is on, here's a blast from the not-so-distant past:

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not 'insurgents' or 'terrorists' or 'The Enemy.' They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win.

-- Michael Moore, April 14, 2004

Yes, I remember our patriots -- the Founding Fathers -- packing wagons with kegs of gunpowder, rolling them next to a church, and blowing the innocent worshippers to bits. Oh, and the beheadings! Every youngster's Revolutionary War textbook describes George Washington lopping off the head of an unfortunate Tory. After all, Zarqawi is only following the original G Dub's playbook, doncha know.

*Sigh* You would think the Mediacrats -- or at least their shareholders -- would have gotten the message by now:


FNC GRETA 1,849,000
FNC SHEP 1,538,000
FNC BRIT 1,456,000
CNN KING 947,000
CNN COOPER 732,000
CNN ZAHN 698,000
CNN DOBBS 658,000
MNSBC RITA 469,000

Hmmm. I'm not real good at number-countin' and such, but it appears to me the #2 show on Fox, by itself, is beating every show on MSNBC put together. And the #1 show on Fox is very nearly beating all of CNN put together. I guess it's still a little too complex for the rocket-scientists running the networks to figure out, though.

With apologies to Norman Cousins, it seems to me the motto of the mainstream media is: if two wrongs don't make a right, try three or four.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dove to Hawk to Dove

On 9/10/2001, most Democrats were doves. But by September 12 of that year, with the collapse of the twin towers, most had transformed themselves into hawks. A purple hailstorm of rage pulsed the landscape from coast to coast.

After the fall of Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein was recognized as the predominant threat to regional stability. His "candystore for terrorists" and decades-long cat-and-mouse with weapons inspectors sealed his fate.

After a lightning-strike military operation, sons Uday and Qusay were dead and their father -- the modern amalgam of Hitler and Pol Pot -- was in prison. By 2005, despite an influx of terror drones slipped in from Syria and Iran and a cacaphony of IEDs, anyone could read the writing on the wall. Iraq was on the path to Democracy.

And the entire region was on its way to one of history's most dramatic transformations. Gusts of Democracy swept through Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Further political pressure mounted on the outliers still affiliated with the world's deadliest terror groups.

The Democratic party could read the tea leaves. Taking full political advantage, they joined in a chorus of their favorite devotional hymns, "We Were Mesmerized into War" and "We need an Exit Strategy." Let's not ask how W (maligned for years by the Left as laughably ignorant) hynotized the liberal elite. Instead, let's ask how gullible the Left thinks we -- the American public -- are. It would seem the answer is: laughably so.

And for our wishy-washy legislators on both sides of the aisle, Mark Steyn has a pretty good idea:

What does Rockefeller believe, really? I know what Bush believes: He thought Saddam should go in 2002 and today he's glad he's gone, as am I. I know what, say, Michael Moore believes: He wanted to leave Saddam in power in 2002, and today he thinks the "insurgents" are the Iraqi version of America's Minutemen.

But what do Rockefeller and Reid and Kerry believe deep down? That voting for the war seemed the politically expedient thing to do in 2002 but that they've since done the math and figured that pandering to the crowd is where the big bucks are? If Bush is the new Hitler, these small hollow men are the equivalent of those grubby little Nazis whose whining defense was, "I was only obeying orders. I didn't really mean all that strutting tough-guy stuff." And, before they huff, "How dare you question my patriotism?", well, yes, I am questioning your patriotism -- because you're failing to meet the challenge of the times. Thanks to you, Iraq is a quagmire -- not in the Sunni Triangle, where U.S. armed forces are confident and effective, but on the home front, where soft-spined national legislators have turned the war into one almighty Linguini Triangle.

And on Powerline, Vietnam veteran Charles Kindt eviscerates the surrender mentality so prevalent in today's political discourse.

It's galling, is it not, when someone like Murtha, who, as did I, served in Vietnam when the Democrats did, IN FACT, make us cut and run, can now espouse the identical spineless, pant-wetting, humiliating, hollow and death-dealing tactic as then? What did Murtha say about the abandonment of the South Vietnamese?

No doubt, if we did as they loudly advocate, and Iraq returned to what they now see as "the good old days," they would be the first to scream "Bush Lost The War!" Seems to me that they were among the first, and the most strident, to criticize George H.W. Bush for not pressing the advantage during the first Gulf War, and remove Sadaam.

Simply because Murtha, or any others of us, served in the military, does not make any of us somehow prescient or wonderfully wise about all things military. However, even the most brain-dead leftist should be able to read a one paragraph historical account of what actually happens when you "cut and run," and come away with a vague sense of the consequences.

Then again, integrity, honesty and character are not items that can be used to describe today's left.

The party of FDR, Truman, and JFK has disappeared from the face of the Earth, perhaps never to be seen again. The current Democratic leadership, willing to transmogrify itself from Dove to Hawk and back to Dove again, are inexorably bound to a course of political expediency, no matter the cost to the United States.

Then again, when your grassroots support is minimal compared to the succor offered by George Soros and posse, it's really no surprise at all. There are about 23 million reasons why the party is addicted to Soros. But who knows where the financier's true loyalties lie? Unfortunately, that's a question that also must be asked of the Democratic leadership, who are now beholden to the treasures of a rogue currency trader and his ilk.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

An Enchanting Toad of a Man

Death at ChappaquiddickTed Kennedy: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

Clearly this Democrat "leadership" is willing to turn our national-security interests into political fodder by accusing the President of the United States of lying us into a war. Problem is, the President had no political motive for Operation Iraqi Freedom -- only a legitimate desire to fulfill the highest obligation of his office: that of defending our liberty against all threats.

Ted, Dick and Harry, on the other hand, have plenty of political motivation for their perfidy -- and they've placed America's uniformed Patriots in the crossfire.

Ted Kennedy is an enchanting toad of a man, who -- had he not existed -- could scarcely be imagined.

Mark Alexander: Call them what they are
Hat tip: Helen Hayes and S.N. Behrman

Mediacratic Transparent Ploy #732

Rather Dumb: A Top Tabloid Reporter Tells CBS How to Do News In keeping with the tradition of the Rathergate memos and Al Qaqaa, Lorie Byrd at PoliPundit notes the brouhaha stirred up by the usual Mediacratic suspects:

...Here is my theory about the strategy behind the Dems making so many statements in support of a pullout this week. They have heard President Bush say that after the country is stable and when more Iraqis are trained, we will begin reducing the number of troops. They know there will be another election next month and that Saddam’s trial is upcoming. They know there are more and more Iraqi troops and police being trained every day. They know that it is likely the number of U.S. troops will be gradually decreased possibly beginning as soon as early next year. The Democrats want to be able to take credit for being the force that moved the President to start bringing troops home from Iraq...


There may be a sucker born every minute, but not a sucker gullible enough to buy into the Mediacrats' unceasing litany of fabrications.

Rathergate. Al Qaqaa. Christmas in Cambodia. The CIA man and the magic hat. Joe Wilson's bifurcated stories.

Ahhhhhhhhh *sigh*. Doesn't that feel better?

The National Embarrassment Known in Some Circles As "Stansfield Turner"

The Real Jimmy Carter: How Our Worst Ex-President Undermines American Foreign Policy, Coddles Dictators and Created the Party of Clinton and KerryThe national embarrassment known in some circles as "Stansfield Turner" resurfaced a couple of days ago. In a manner analogous to a plastic mole in the local carney's Whack-a-Mole game, Turner pops up from time to time, sprays some vitriole, and ducks back into a hidey-hole.

As Jimmy Carter's CIA Director (and doesn't that say just about everything you need to know?), Turner dismantled a huge portion of the organization. Not surprising, since he's also advocated dismantling the entire Agency.

Powerline observes:

It's interesting, isn't it, that for the last six months, the newspapers have breathlessly repeated the claim that the identification of a single non-covert desk employee of the CIA, Valerie Plame, somehow did great damage to American security interests. Well, if the neutralizing of a single "agent" is so newsworthy as to dominate the papers and the evening news for months, how about firing one-quarter of all the CIA agents -- the really covert ones, I mean -- in the world? Wouldn't that compromise our security to an almost unimaginable extent? How much publicity should that act of folly generate, in comparison to the meaningless Plame farce? And how much did it receive? That comparison speaks volumes about the agenda that drives mainstream journalism.

It behooves you, it goes without saying, to read the whole thing.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Who, Indeed?

There's times when I just read a blog-snippet and nearly snort coffee out of my nose.

The national print media:

Five newspapers owned by Tribune Co., including the company’s two flagship papers in Chicago and Los Angeles, said Wednesday they will cut jobs amid declining circulation and revenue.


What will become of liberal utopia?

Who will look after the children?

The children . . . .


Rally Pics from Stupid Random Thoughts

Thursday, November 17, 2005

GOP Turncoats, part II

Andrew McCarthy's Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory is a must read.

...Last week’s 49-42 margin demonstrated that the votes were there to win. Nevertheless, the chamber has now reversed itself. By a vote of 84-14, the senators resolved Tuesday that the ultimate decision about who is properly considered an “enemy combatant,” should rest with federal judges, not our military commanders who actually confront the enemy in the life-and-death of the battlefield.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Senator Lindsey Graham chose to make common cause with Senate Democrats, led by Senator Carl Levin, who favor treating the people trying to annihilate us as if they were ordinary criminal defendants...

It takes all the mental gymnastics of a Sesame Street re-run to see how this will turn out. Each enemy combatant will challenge -- in the civilian court system -- various errors and omissions related to the military trials. This vote serves only to hamstring our fighting forces, who must now worry about law-enforcement procedure in addition to their day jobs.

And the terrorists are very likely cheering this unwelcome development.

Go ye and read of it, for it is good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

An Embarrassing Paucity of Ideas

The invaluable James Taranto notes this stellar repartee between Tim Russert and Howard Dean on Sunday's Meet the Press:

Russert: What is the Democratic position on Iraq? Should we withdraw troops now? What do the Democrats stand for?

Dean: Tim, first of all, we don't control the House, the Senate or the White House. We have plenty of time to show Americans what our agenda is and we will long before the '06 elections.

Russert: But there's no Democratic plan on Social Security. There's no Democratic plan on the deficit problem. There's no specifics. They say, "Well, we want a strong Social Security. We want to reduce the deficit. We want health care for everyone," but there's no plan how to pay for it.

Dean: Right now it's not our job to give out specifics.

Yes. That's. The Chairman. Of the Democratic Party.

Sometimes I think it's the gryoscopic energy of FDR, JFK, and Harry Truman spinning in their graves that keeps the Earth aligned on its axis *.

* Hat tip: Mass Backwards. Submitted to The Political Teen's Open Trackbacks.

Those crazy, whacky 'experts'

Headline: Weather experts see mild winter
Arkansas Democrat Gazette - November 15, 2005
Old Man Winter is expected to be kind to Arkansans this year, officials with the National Weather Service said Monday...

Headline: Storms, high wind batter state ahead of cold front
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - November 16, 2005
Tornado warnings were issued during the afternoon for the northeast, east and southeast Arkansas counties of Greene, St. Francis...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

World's second largest oil field running dry?

Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World EconomyI have no idea as to its reliability, but AMEinfo (a Middle East Finance and Econonmy website) is reporting that Kuwait's biggest oil-field is beginning to run out of oil. If true, the world's second largest field, may be a discomiting reminder of Hubbert's "Peak Oil".

The peak output of the Burgan oil field will now be around 1.7 million barrels per day, and not the two million barrels per day forecast for the rest of the field's 30 to 40 years of life, Chairman Farouk Al Zanki told Bloomberg. He said that engineers had tried to maintain 1.9 million barrels per day but that 1.7 million is the optimum rate... is surely a landmark moment when the world's second largest oil field begins to run dry. For Burgan has been pumping oil for almost 60 years and accounts for more than half of Kuwait's proven oil reserves. This is also not what forecasters are currently assuming.

That 'ruh roh' sound you just heard is the collective exhale from a hundred thousand Hummer owners.

In the meantime, the Alaska drilling initiative known as ANWR remains in limbo due to some GOP turncoats. Courtesy Hugh Hewitt, four GOP Representatives who are reported anti-ANWR and pro-Saudi-dependence... and who are vulnerable in next year's election cycle: Gerlach, Reichert, Shays, and Simmons.

If you assume ANWR is the size of a football field, then the area affected by drilling is a postage stamp-sized region. Charles Krauthammer observes:

For decades we've been dithering over drilling in a tiny part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Look, I too love the caribou. They are sweet, picturesque and reputedly harmless. But dire predictions about the devastation that Prudhoe Bay oil development would visit upon the caribou proved false. They have thrived... Let's get serious. We live at the edge of oil shortages and in perpetual vulnerability to oil blackmail. We have soldiers dying in the oil fields of the Middle East, yet we leave untouched the largest untapped oil field in North America so that Lower-48ers can enjoy an image of pristine Arctic purity. This is an indulgence bordering on decadence... The same logic applies to refineries. We have not built a new one since 1976. Gasoline doesn't grow on trees. The U.S. refining industry operates at 96 percent capacity. That is unsustainable...

With these simple steps, we could within a decade finally escape the oil noose. But don't hold your breath. The Senate just loved its little oil-executive inquisition. The House Wednesday night stripped out the ANWR drilling provision. And there is not a single national politician who dares propose raising gas taxes by even a penny. We are criminally unserious about energy independence and we will pay the price.

For lack of a better word: indeed.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Just In Time for the Holidays: New Toys!

Toys from AmazonThe National Geographic reports that a new patent has been granted for an Anti-gravity device. And, since it employs a perpetual motion machine, it's gotta be good! I have no idea what our beloved Patent Office has been doing of late, and from all appearances, neither do they.

Filed in the 'Fun with Linux' folder: GadgetTrail has published a do-it-yourself Caller ID Spoofing package. Of course, the standard disclaimer applies:

Spoofing Caller ID using a NuFone account certainly violates their Terms of Service and will probably get your account suspended or terminated. There may also be other legal issues with spoofing Caller ID, but I’m not a lawyer.

I'll be on the lookout for more new toys during this extended pre-holiday season!

Rockefeller & Wallace

How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann CoulterThis weekend, Jay Rockefeller -- a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during the march to war -- appeared on an interview show with Chris Wallace. His attempts to hold the "Bush lied" party line were, as you might expect, laughable.

WALLACE: ...You didn't get the Presidential Daily Brief or the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief. You got the National Intelligence Estimate. But the Silberman Commission, a Presidential commission that looked into this, did get copies of those briefs, and they say that they were, if anything, even more alarmist, even less nuanced than the intelligence you saw, and yet you, not the President, said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat...

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: I don't know, because I never get to see, nor does Pat, the Presidential Daily Brief...

WALLACE: But you voted, sir, and aren't you responsible for your vote?


WALLACE: You're not?

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No. I'm responsible for my vote, but I'd appreciate it if you'd get serious about this subject...

John at Powerline captions this exchange perfectly: "A pathetic performance by Rockefeller, but the fact is that the Dems' theory makes no sense, and can't withstand scrutiny by any well-informed observer."

Not Ready for Prime Time

Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) Explained

The inimitable Dr. Sanity (linkage courtesy Instapundit) describes the disorder known as BDS. Net net: there's a not-so-fine-line between genius and insanity. And that line is the vast gulf between the Realists and the Mediacrats.

The number of things that Bush has been blamed for in this world since 9/11 (even acts of God like Tsunamis, hurricanes and other natural disasters) is the stuff of major comedy. You name the horrible event, and he is identified as the etiologic agent.

He is blamed when he does something (anything) and he is blamed when he does nothing. He is blamed for things that ocurred even before he was President, as well as everything that has happened since. He is blamed for things he says; and for things he doesn't say.***

This psychological defense mechanism is referred to as "displacement".

The purpose of displacement is to avoid having to cope with the actual reality. Instead, by using displacement, an individual is able to still experience his or her anger, but it is directed at a less threatening target than the real cause. In this way, the individual does not have to be responsible for the consequences of his/her anger and feels more safe--even though that is not the case.

This explains the remarkable and sometimes lunatic appeasement of [religious extremists] by so many governments and around the world, while they trash the US and particularly Bush. It explains why there is more emphasis on protecting the "rights" of terrorists, rather than holding them accountable for their actions (their actions, by the way, are also Bush's fault, according to those in the throes of BDS). Our soldiers in Iraq are being killed because of Bush--not because of terrorist intent and behavior. Terrorist activity itself is blamed on Bush no matter where it occurs.

It isn't even a stretch of the imagination for some to blame 9/11 on Bush. This is the insane "logic" of most psychological defense mechanisms. They temporarily spare you from the painful reality around you and give you the illusion that you are still in control.

This is exactly the illusion/delusion circulating in the minds of many of the Bush Haters. They want desperately to forget that there is a tidal wave of terror reverberating around the world and to pretend that everything is America's and Bush's fault. If that is true, then they will still be in control of events.

In my finest imitation of Glenn Reynolds: Heh. Indeed.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Tech Tidbits: November's Fifteen-yard Penalties

Check out the comments on this item!The Register reports that the first Sony Trojan has been spotted. Sony's insidious DRM technology, uncovered and reported by Sysinternals guru Mark Russinovich, employs classic rootkit techniques to disguise itself and -- as a free bonus -- ruin your PC if you try to remove it.

Sony-BMG's rootkit DRM technology masks files whose filenames start with "$sys$". A newly-discovered variant of of the Breplibot Trojan takes advantage of this to drop the file "$sys$drv.exe" in the Windows system directory.

The line at the courthouse for filing class-action lawsuits probably looks like the queue for Epcot's new "Escape from Paris" ride.

Whoever said "any publicity is good publicity" is busy formulating a new phrase after Sony's debacle.

I received an email, which purports to be from Equifax, offering some credit-reporting services. Actually, I think it's legit, but since it violates all of my personal rules for email marketing, I marked it as spam in my filter. Here are a few of the yellow flags I threw:

  • Impersonating a valid domain name: okay, you're a financial institution. What's the first thing you do when you send email? How about use your real domain name as the from email address? Instead, these geniuses are using as the reply domain. Since rule #1 of the anti-phishing guide is to avoid domain names that don't exactly match that of the institution, I'm throwing a yellow flag.

  • Impersonating a valid domain name #2: Run your mouse over the link that these neurosurgeons want you to click on. It's Once again, it doesn't match up with the institution's real domain name.

  • No security on the link: the URL above is plaintext, not SSL. Another yellow flag.

  • Sorry, Equifax. Figure out how to spam me with emails that actually look legit and I might take a gander.

    Throw another flag at Sony, this time for their DRM uninstaller. On his blog, Mark Russinovich notes that Sony's uninstall process is eerily hostile:

    # There is no way for customers to find the patch from Sony BMG’s main web page
    # The patch decloaks in an unsafe manner that can crash Windows, despite my warning to the First 4 Internet developers
    # Access to the uninstaller is gated by two forms and an ActiveX control
    # The uninstaller is locked to a single computer, preventing deployment in a corporation

    I've got a bunch of 'ous' words I want to use. Outrageous. Egregious. Ridiculous. Ludicrous. The sky is turning dark purple for Sony, as a hailstorm of lawsuits and civil actions is ready to cut loose.

    Throw a five-yard illegal formation flag at eBay. They've emblazoned their site with really cool Java Technology icons (subtitled, "Powered by Sun"). But techno-geeks note (courtesy of Netcraft) that Microsoft's IIS is running on a bunch of their boxes. Better yet, lots of their URLs indicate that they're still running ISAPI extensions to power critical functions:

    Plus, according to Netcraft, the main eBay sites are still running Windows and IIS. C'mon, eBay, I want to see the logos of the technologies that really run the site! Anyone have a spare copy of Photoshop? I have a really neat 'Powered by ISAPI' logo in mind...

    How much is your blog worth?

    My blog is worth $19,194.36.
    How much is your blog worth?

    Saturday, November 12, 2005

    The Mediacrats: "We're Gullible Pawns"

    In light of the mediacrats' ludicrous assertions that President Bush "lied" to Congress, Major E writes to the PowerLine bloggers:

    I served as a WMD analyst working directly with the national WMD experts at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory during the run-up to the Iraq War.

    Based on that experience, I can assure you that the intelligence community told the Bush Administration that Saddam did indeed have active WMD programs. If people disagree with Bush's policy and want to argue that we would be better off if Saddam's tyranny still ruled the day and that the votes of the 10 million Iraqi Shia, Sunni, and Kurds who accepted a constitution for a new, democratic Iraq do not really mean that much after all then, fine, let's debate that. But the "lies and deception" smear campaign against the President is completely without merit.

    Read between the lines: the mediacrats are telling the world that they're gullible pawns, which should disqualify them from, say, a mayorship in a mid-sized city. And, it goes without saying: if they're that easily hypnotized, they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the helm of international diplomacy. They're likely to get 'confused'.

    (submitted to Wizbang's Carnival of Trackbacks)

    Headline: "Palestinians Stunned by Suicide Blast"

    Interesting quote -- in the aftermath of the Jordanian suicide bombing -- from a resident of Amman:

    "Oh my God, oh my God! Is it possible that Arabs are killing Arabs, Muslims killing Muslims?"

    Guess their subscription to the Baghdad newspaper lapsed.

    MassBackwards expounds on his theory:

    No doubt, this was the work of some disgruntled Baptists, or perhaps a gang of down-on-their-luck Episcopalians, or maybe some royally p*ssed off Lutherans, or a radical Amish fringe group, or...

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Message to the Administration: Play Offense

    I've been meaning to mention Stephen Hayes' recent Weekly Standard article. It is chock full of insights regarding the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report (you know, the one that said 'Iraq is... expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs'), Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, and a cast of thousands.

    Hayes alludes to a set of documents in Qatar, listed in a database called 'HARMONY', which were produced by Hussein's Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS). The titles are fascinating:

    Money Transfers from Iraq to Afghanistan

    Secret Meeting with Taliban Group Member and Iraqi Government (Nov. 2000)

    Iraqi Effort to Cooperate with Saudi Opposition Groups and Individuals

    Order from Saddam to present $25,000 to Palestinian Suicide Bombers' Families

    IIS Reports from Embassy in Paris: Plan to Influence French Stance in UN Security Council

    IIS Report on How French Campaigns are Financed

    Improvised Explosive Devices Plan

    Ricin research and improvement

    There are thousands of similar documents. Many have already been authenticated and most are unclassified. That's worth repeating: Most are unclassified.

    Of course, nothing is more important than winning on the ground in Iraq. Demonstrating that we are killing terrorists and making steady progress on the political front will do much to blunt the criticism of the war. But if the White House refuses to challenge its critics, and refuses to explain in detail why Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, and refuses to discuss the flawed intelligence on Iraqi WMD, and refuses to use its tremendous power to remind Americans that Saddam Hussein was, in fact, a threat, then it risks losing the support of those Americans who continue to believe that the Iraq war, despite all of its many costs in blood and money, was worth it.

    Indeed. Why doesn't the Bush administrationn refer critics to the Butler Report, produced for the British Government in July of 2004. It stated -- with utmost clarity -- that Hussein's agents were indeed in Niger, prior to the war, seeking uranium:

    The report indicated that there was enough intelligence to make a “well-founded” judgment that Saddam Hussein was seeking, perhaps as late as 2002, to obtain uranium illegally from Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo (6.4 para. 499). In particular, referring to a 1999 visit of Iraqi officials to Niger, the report states (6.4 para. 503): “The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible.”

    And the administration could easily point to the litany of fabrications emanating from the dubious Joe Wilson: sum up: the Senate Intelligence Committee's report shows that: 1) Wilson lied in the New York Times about what he told the CIA after he returned from Niger. In fact, far from debunking the concern that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium from Niger, Wilson reported that Niger's former Prime Minister told him that Iraq had made just such an overture in 1999. 2) Wilson lied when he leaked a report to the Washington Post about documents he had not even seen. 3) Wilson lied when he said that his wife Valerie "had nothing to do with" his being chosen to go to Niger.

    I'm just a tiny voice in the wilderness. But my message is the same as that of the blogosphere's big guns: the administration needs to play offense. Especially when the facts are ignored, omitted or buried by the Mediacrats, day after day.

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Election Results

    The voters in Virginia and New Jersey elected two Democratic Governors to replace two other Democratic Governors in their states. This, true to form for the Mediacrats, was positioned as a stunning rebuke for the GOP. Here's Al-Reuters, revelling in victory (the headline "Democrats sweep Virginia, New Jersey races" is endemic, celebrating a grand 'sweep' consisting of exactly two states):

    Democrats swept tough and sometimes nasty governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey on Tuesday, dealing a setback to Republicans and President George W. Bush ahead of critical congressional elections next year...

    ...The outcome in conservative, Republican-leaning Virginia was a particularly bad blow for Bush, who stopped there on election eve for a get-out-the-vote rally with Kilgore.

    Meanwhile, back in the little town I like to call Reality-ville, however, PoliPundit astutely notes that:

    ...the results in Virginia and New Jersey aren’t very indicative of what will happen in 2006. Democrats won both these states in 2001 - when President Bush was at the height of his popularity - but Republicans still won the 2002 midterms...

    Uhm, yeah. Maybe the mediacrats forgot about that part.

    In what may have truly been the day's most pivotal decision, Ohio voters pulverized State Issues 2, 3, 4, or 5 (or, as I like to call them, the Ohio-Voter-Fraud Acts of '05):

    ...[in] Ohio, voters rejected a package of Democrat attempts to subvert the election process.

    The group calling itself “Reform Ohio Now” was essentially a Liberal Stalking Horse, attempting to radically alter the process in Ohio, following the 2004 election. Four issues were set before the voters, ostensibly to improve the process, but in fact they would have taken much from the public, and put it into the hands of a few elitists...

    Issue 2 was a measure to expand absentee voting, which sounds good on its face, but this would allow voting by mail. That’s right, not only no photo ID or confirmation that the voter was eligible to vote, but no confirmation at all that the voter even existed... 63% of Ohioans decided they didn’t want to help people commit voter fraud.

    Issue 3 would have lowered limits on political donations not only from individuals, but also from PACs (which exist specifically to fund campaigns), “donor action committees”, or even from local, state, or national political parties. Essentially, this would have prevented competitive campaigning by anyone but the rich and the pre-financed, creating an absurd advantage for incumbents. This went down in flames as well.

    Issue 4 would have removed redistricting power from elected officials, and put it instead into the hands of a five-member appointed commission. This is plainly contrary to the spirit of all existing constitutions, both Ohio’s and that of the United States. It also raises the obvious question of who and what would influence men who were not accountable for their decisions... A full 70% of Ohio voters decided they wanted elected officials to be making those choices.

    And finally, Issue 5 would have further usurped power from elected officials, turning over the administration of elections to that same appointed commission, answerable only to their personal agenda. I don’t know about you, but the idea that the rules, boundaries, procedures, and review of elections being controlled by a few unelected men who don’t answer to anybody, just screams ‘Politburo’ to me. And 70% of Ohio’s voters thought the same.

    How this could have been ignored by the national media is nearly as vexing a question as whether Michael Moore has three chins or four.

    Update: similar sentiments over at NewsBusters.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    The Unseen

    MS Word 2003The New York Times warns us that Microsoft Word documents can expose far more than the author(s) ever intended (hat tip: my brother).

    IT hardly ranks in the annals of "gotcha!" but right-wing blogs were buzzing for at least a few days last week when an unsigned Microsoft Word document was circulated by the Democratic National Committee... The stern criticisms of Judge Alito rubbed some commentators the wrong way (Chris Matthews of MSNBC called it "disgusting" last Monday). But whatever the memo's rhetorical pitch, right-leaning bloggers revealed that it contained a much more universal, if unintended, message: It pays to mind your metadata.

    Technically, metadata is sort of the DNA of documents created with modern word-processing software. By default, it is automatically saved into the deep structure of a file, hidden from view, with information that can hint at authorship, times and dates of revisions (along with names of editors) and other tidbits that, while perhaps useful to those creating the document, might be better left unseen by the wider world...

    The culprit is, of course, the "track changes" option that remembers the modifications to each document (as well as the name of the person who made the edits).

    There have been a variety of bizarre gaffes related to this product "feature", the most notorious of which may have been the SCO lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone. A routine inspection of the document showed that Bank of America had also been a target.

    If you haven't used it before, the change-tracking feature is best illustrated by an example:

    [Kristin] Let's offer them $1.75Mill [John] How about 1.5M - and we go up to 1.75 if needed. [Kristin] Okay

    We are prepared to offer you shares and cash worth $1.5 million if the deal is closed by December 1, 2005.

    I guess we know these folks are really prepared to go up to $1.75 million.

    Here's a simple set of steps you can take to protect yourself if you're forwarding Word documents around. When you're ready to distribute a document outside your organization:

    1) Open up a blank document in Word.
    2) Use the menu choice 'Edit -> Select all' on the original document and then 'Edit -> Copy' to copy it to the clipboard
    3) Paste it into the blank document and save it as the doc to be forwarded.

    This way, there ain't no history goin' along for the ride.

    It's kind of a shame that the Word team didn't disable this feature by default. Or, for that matter, the Outlook developers didn't use automation to determine whether change-tracking was on in an attachment. That way they could at least issue a warning to the sender.

    And, last time I checked, both teams were working for the same company.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    News of the World

    Four hundred and fifty police officers swarmed twenty-three locations in Australia a day ago, disrupting what a spokeperson called, "the final states of a large-scale terrorist attack." Among the sixteen persons arrested: a radical cleric named Abu Bakr, an understudy of Osama Bin Laden. The crew had stockpiled chemicals and materials in preparation for what could have been a massive attack similar to that of London or Madrid. The police commissioner in New South Wales, Ken Maroney, noted that the attack would have been "catastrophic."

    It's the dawn of day twelve in the French "intifida," pitting "disaffected" youths in multiple cities against the government. Commentator Steven Plaut suggests that perhaps the French could follow their instructions for Israel: trade land for peace and recognize the legitimacy of demands emanating from the pesky troublemakers.

    The rioting appears to have spread to other countries in Europe, including Germany and Belgium. Sun-Times columnist Mark Steyn notes:

    Ever since 9/11, I've been gloomily predicting the European powder keg's about to go up. ''By 2010 we'll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on the news every night,'' I wrote in Canada's Western Standard back in February.

    Silly me. The Eurabian civil war appears to have started some years ahead of my optimistic schedule...

    Read the whole thing.

    As Drudge would say: developing.

    Sunday, November 06, 2005

    PHP Framework

    Advanced PHP ProgrammingThe announcement of a forthcoming PHP framework reminds me of leading a foot-race by a huge margin, then stopping and turning around to see who's catching up.

    Recent news coverage of Ruby on Rails -- a framework for creating web applications with a minimum of fuss -- has Zend and others in the PHP community reacting with what seems to be, at first blush, raw panic.

    Okay, maybe it isn't panic. But why else contribute another entry to the Vaporware Hall of Fame as Zend did in late October?

    While Ruby on Rails places a web developer into a tight MVC framework, the beauty of PHP hinges on its very lack of a framework. Or, in fact, flexbility to utilize many frameworks.

    MVC has a well-known set of benefits and -- importantly -- drawbacks, not the least of which is design complexity and a requirement for significant up-front planning. Debugging most MVC-based systems can be difficult. And, in general, the MVC concepts run counter to the iterative approach inherent in many of the most successful web-based applications.

    Further, PHP already has a set of MVC frameworks from which to choose if MVC really sets a developer's mind at ease.

    The ease of PHP is still, after all these years, stunning. Consider the following code snippet that reads a tab-delimited text file and prints the third column of fields to a web page:

       $arrayRecords = file("/temp/foo/somefile.txt");
       for ($i = 0; $i < sizeof($arrayRecords); $i++) {
          $arrayFields = explode("\t", $arrayRecords[$i]);
          echo($arrayFields[2] . "<br>");

    My contention is that PHP shouldn't fix a problem that doesn't exist. More than twenty million domains run PHP because of its inherent simplicity and flexibility. Forcing-feeding another framework into the mix may run counter to much of what made PHP so popular.