Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back To Basics

That's where I'm headed...
... because if there's any point to blogging, I'm certainly not seeing it today.



We all do it...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why I Am No Longer A Democrat, Part 10,003


Harry Reid's manifest religious bigotry. Reid is letting his Mormon constituency (or perhaps his own religion) influence him to the detriment of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in the matter of the "mosque" (it's not really; it's a community center) "at Ground Zero" (it's not really; some say it would not even be visible from there).

Enough is enough. The Constitution supersedes the whims of religious bigots.

My suggestion: primary the bastard, if there's still time. We couldn't do worse; we might do better.

DeLay To Skate Free



DeLay Will Not Face Federal Charges

Ryan J. Reilly | August 16, 2010, 10:11AM

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will not face federal charges related to his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Politico reported.

The Justice Department notified DeLay's lead attorney, McGuireWoods Chairman Richard Cullen, about the decision last week, the lawyer said.

"The federal investigation of Tom DeLay is over and there will be no charges," Cullen told Politico. "This is the so-called Abramoff investigation run by the Public Integrity section of DOJ. There have been a series of convictions and guilty pleas since 2005."

... [Cullen glorifies DeLay's cooperation and response to DoJ - ed.]

Reached by TPMMuckraker, Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to comment.

One commenter on TPM's post lambasted implants... Bush DoJ appointees masquerading as career employees... for this outrageous miscarriage of justice. There may well be more than a few of those, but let's face it: it's Obama's DoJ now, and if this happened, it's because he wanted it to happen. What kind of deal has Obama cut with the GOP this time?

If you lived in Texas at the time of DeLay's malfeasance, you would know why I am horrified. DeLay basically eliminated any shred of representation in elected federal officials from Texas: gerrymandering of a sort not seen since the Nineteenth Century squashed an emerging Democratic majority flat into the ground. The variety of illegal means he used to accomplish this was breathtaking. And now he's going to get away scot-free.

How would you feel if this had been done to your vote? Obama groupies, how do you justify this one? Yeah, right, sure: as a "professional leftist," I just hate Obama and should STFU. May the good Dog DAMN anybody who says that (*cough* Gibbs *cough*) or that I am a "fucking retard" (*cough* Emanuel *cough*).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday The Thirteenth, Part 19027


Stella is off work today, so this morning we are killing bugs and then dragging me in to the doc for another session of boot abuse. I regret I do not have any cat pics; please view the one of Lily last Tuesday.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Celebrate! Celebrate!


Judge Walker has lifted the stay of his ruling that California's Prop. h8 is unconstitutional. In California at least, gay couples can marry. Not surprisingly, "Couples have been lining up in San Francisco and West Hollywood." For what it's worth, friends, you have my blessings and heartiest good wishes.

UPDATE: the stay is lifted as of the 18th. It ain't over 'til it's over...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lily Awakens After Dreaming In Color


How could she not, after sleeping on those pillows...

Relativity, Uh, Relativism, Uh, Whatever


Ignorance is ugly. Perhaps you thought you had seen all the ignorance the Schlafly family had to offer in the past decade. If so, you neglected to consider that Phyllis has a son, Andy, who competes on par with her in the ignorance department. Megan Carpenter of TPM (who cannot spell "theorem" and apparently doesn't distinguish "theorem" from "theory"):

Conservapedia: E=mc2 Is A Liberal Conspiracy

Megan Carpentier | August 9, 2010, 5:01PM

To many conservatives, almost everything is a secret liberal plot: from fluoride in the water to medicare reimbursements for end-of-life planning with your doctor to efforts to teach evolution in schools. But Conservapedia founder and Eagle Forum University instructor Andy Schlafly -- Phyllis Schlafly's son -- has found one more liberal plot: the theory of relativity.

If you're behind on your physics, the Theory of Relativity was Albert Einstein's formulation in the early 20th century that gave rise to the famous theorum that E=mc2, otherwise stated as energy is equal to mass times the square of the speed of light. Why does Andy Schlafly hate the theory of relativity? We're pretty sure it's because he's decided it doesn't square with the Bible.

In the entry, "Counterexamples to Relativity," the authors (including Schlafly) write:

The theory of relativity is a mathematical system that allows no exceptions. It is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world.[1]
To what does that reference lead? Why, a note by Schlafly:

With some Amazon gift certificates I received for my birthday, I just purchased Steven Weinberg's Cosmology, a comprehensive text on the subject, containing no illustrations and few diagrams, but bristling with partial differential equations. Is Schlafly saying I wasted my money? Maybe so... maybe all I really needed was a copy of his family Bible, annotated by his own self. What a concept! How does the saying go... beware the (wo)man who has read only one book.

Rachel Maddow On City Budget Cuts


This is enough to make you throw up, preferably on a GOP Congress member. Don't watch it while you're eating lunch...

My only question: why did they choose a still in which Rachel looks as if she's about to sneeze?

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Hassles Never Cease


Stella went to bed early, so I decided to try a night-time blogging session on my own computer. I switched the wires around... not easy, because I have to balance while I reach the cables and plugs behind my table... opened the DSL-type connection (yes, in Ubuntu Linux, one of the types of connection you can create is explicitly called "DSL" and is designed specifically for a direct DSL connection to a provider). I started the connection, which was originally created by the AT&T guy as a sort of apology for my broken LAN, and... it took me straight to an AT&T error page for a bad password. That in turn took me to the page that told me I can't use a non-IE, non-Safari browser. Grrrrr...

I looked at the connection config and recognized that the password stored in the config was wrong. (Yes, if you're an administrator, you can set up to see such things in Linux.) So I glanced around for the tiny piece of paper on which my friend George had written the password to which my account was forcibly (and needlessly, as it turned out) changed during the exasperating phone session with AT&T, and... it wasn't there. I'm neither crazy nor stupid; I remembered just where I'd left it.

Eventually I gave up and woke Stella, and told her I couldn't find the most important piece of paper in the house. She knew immediately what I meant. "Oh... I put it in the drawer." Which drawer? "The one on the left." I began to realize the gal was really still asleep. Eventually the paper was located and the password corrected.

Here's my question: Why did the AT&T tech who was here today change the password after he had successfully established a connection? I suppose I should be asking the late Enron: "WHY? Why? why? why? why?..."

It is still the case that only one of us can have a connection at a time. This is no problem with AT&T, whose lawyers doubtless have told them that since I don't have qualifying hardware and/or software, they are not obligated to get me connected. Again... GRRRRRR!

I Am Furious - Yellow (Doggerelist)


The AT&T service tech today was excellent. He arrived, explored the problem despite all obstacles, eventually managed to locate the problem as a lack of DHCP service on my local network (something that usually comes from the router on this system) and a failure to login on the AT&T network (newer modems do this; mine is too old, but the router will do it if properly set up), created a new DSL connection under Linux (not even part of his skill set until today), connected successfully to AT&T... and hit a brick wall attempting to enter a required profile for me on the SBC site. The "error"? SBC insists that your browser must be either IE 6.0+ or Safari (some version). It doesn't matter if your browser has identical functionality; SBC scans the modem ID string and is strict about your using one of those two browsers to set up its service.

SBC is in effect telling me that my Ubuntu Linux system, which worked for four months without incident of any sort, may not be used on their system in an ordinary manner. I guess I have cooties, or at least Linux does.

The very clever tech created a new standalone DSL connection on my computer which can be connected to AT&T via an explicit login to their network. Separately, we arranged a functionally identical connection from Stella's Windows Vista computer. She needs it worse than I do, so our default will be to connect hers and  leave mine lonely.

So I am blogging from Stella's machine. I have until she gets home (and takes me to the boot doctor) to finish all my web work.

I told the poor gentleman that I would give him rave reviews on the survey for his work, but that I did not consider the problem fixed. A week ago, I had a working net connection. Today, I have nothing... because of an AT&T policy against the arguably second most popular browser in the nation.

As noted... I am furious.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Trouble In Bayou City


As you can probably gather from my cell phone posts, my internet connection from home is dead as... whatever... a doornail, a dodo, an AT&T internet connection. After endless struggles with the equipment and then with AT&T telephone support, I am scheduled for onsite repair on... get this... Monday morning. Meanwhile, I am posting this from the public library at the corner. That sort of thing was easy back when my feet worked properly. But don't get me started; I might tell you about the first of the AT&T support persons I was subjected to...

My new boot actually does help. I can't walk any faster, but I can walk more easily. Never mind the top of the boot resembles a black china pie-plate, in size and appearance. Wish me luck; the boot seems really to help.

Today is my birthday. Dog has blessed me with a sharp stick in the eye the companionship of good friends on the birthday, someone to help me both with the technology problems and with retaining my patience at the exasperation I feel, and of course I am blessed with Stella, who took me and our friends George and Barbara (you've seen them on the threads here) out to eat at Star Pizza, and then bookshopping at Barnes & Noble. (I got only one book, Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals, in part because I've accumulated so many unread books recently.

Stella and the kitties bid you hello. Sorry I don't have pictures this week; if I had them, I wouldn't be able to post them. Apologies for my nonparticipation in political blogging; I don't have time enough before the library closes to do my usual surfing.

If you reply to this post, please understand that it may be Monday before I see the reply. Thanks for your patience.

ATT repair crew to come Mon 8-12 to fix DSL. May be silent til then.

This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Net conn still dead.
Prob is local.
Maybe days b4 it works.

This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

Hard net conn fail, no DNS after 3 full shutdowns-restarts. Back when I'm able.-SB

This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

California Prop. H8 Overturned By Federal Court


bmaz of Firedoglake has the details. Yes, of course, the bigots are already filing appeals. But still... this is excellent news, even if it comes far too late.

Surprise! You're A Porn Star... In The Airport


Boing-boing, via BadTux:

US agencies have long defended the use of body scanning devices at airports with the promise that all images will be discarded as soon as security staff have viewed them. Last summer, the TSA claimed "scanned images cannot be stored or recorded." Declan McCullagh at CNET:
Now it turns out that some police agencies are storing the controversial images after all. The U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse.
This follows an earlier disclosure (PDF) by the TSA that it requires all airport body scanners it purchases to be able to store and transmit images for "testing, training, and evaluation purposes." The agency says, however, that those capabilities are not normally activated when the devices are installed at airports.
 I'll agree with one thing in that last para: most people are "not normally activated" by pictures of weary travelers and their children. Face it: taking those pics is evil; saving those pics is sick. Throw the bastards in their own jail.

And the Blogger post editor keeps getting worse...
... and worse...
... and worse...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Obama Administration: Expand FBI National Security Letters


Adam Serwer of prospect.org:

Administration Wants To Expand Reach Of National Security Letters.

Civil libertarians have been trying to add more restrictions to the FBI's National Security Letters since their use exploded after the attacks of September 11th. NSLs, which allow the government to obtain private records from commercial and financial institutions without a warrant as long as they deem them "relevant" to an investigation -- with a gag order that stops companies from mentioning they've received them for good measure. Internal Justice Department reports have found NSLs are subject to widespread abuse. Last year, Sen. Russ Feingold along with some Democrats in the House tried to rein in NSLs by requiring that the FBI show the information is somehow relevant to terrorism or espionage, but they were stymied by members of their own party.
Today, The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration wants Congress to expand the type of data that can be gained through the use of National Security Letters:
The administration wants to add just four words -- "electronic communication transactional records" -- to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user's browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the "content" of e-mail or other Internet communication.
Brush up on your encryption skills, if you think it will help. I don't. Soon enough, if not already, Bush's Obama's FBI will know anything it wants... with no restrictions and no warrants... about anything you put on the Internet. I, for one, plan on leaving the Internet. I'll find other things to do, things no more liked by the FBI, but perhaps a bit less visible. I've just about had it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mr. Clean Is Watching YOU


Jonathan Turley has details. No shit: boxes of Mr. Clean now contain GPS tracking devices, allegedly to follow prizewinners in some contest they sponsor. How likely is that? Turley:

The company says that the minute you take one of the boxes from the shelf, surveillance teams will begin tracking you. The head of the promotion promises that “they may get to your house as soon as you do.” That is comforting.
Indeed it is. You don't even have to wait for consequences: they follow you home.

For the information of Unilever's prize trackers: if you track one of your packages to my home, you'll find me waiting for you. Armed. Ready to award you a little prize of your very own. I have zero tolerance for premeditated invasion of my privacy.

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