Wednesday, August 31, 2005

iTunes and BlueTooth: the Potential for a Major Boo-Boo

InternetNews reports that Cingular will be offering iTunes on a Motorola Phone:

Apple is set to announce a Cingular mobile phone loaded with special iTunes software, Ovum analyst Roger Entner confirmed...

Motorola and Apple initially announced the phone partnership in July 2004. The plan is to let people transfer songs from the iTunes jukebox on the PC or Mac to Motorola handsets via a USB or Bluetooth connection, as well as to buy songs directly over the air from the iTunes Music Store...

Why did I highlight the word BlueTooth?

  • Weaknesses in the BlueTooth pairing process: recently discovered flaws in the BT protocol may result in sniffing or hijacking of your "private" BT traffic. When we combine these vulnerabilities and powerful hacking tools like the BlueSniper rifle... well, you get the picture.

  • Thieves are already using BT phones to find enabled laptops in parked cars, which they then break into and steal. There's no reason that thieves couldn't sniff out highly desirable iTunes phones.

  • Advertisers are already spamming unsolicited content to BT phones at a distance of 100 meters (with longer distances possible).

  • Bruce Schneier notes:

    Sure, it's annoying, but worse, there are serious security risks. Don't believe this:

    Furthermore, there is no risk of downloading viruses or other malware to the phone, says O'Regan: "We don't send applications or executable code." The system uses the phone's native download interface so they should be able to see the kind of file they are downloading before accepting it, he adds.

    This company might not send executable code, but someone else certainly could. And what percentage of people who use Bluetooth phones can recognize "the kind of file they are downloading"?

    We've already seen two ways to steal data from Bluetooth devices. And we know that more and more sensitive data is being stored on these small devices, increasing the risk. This is almost certainly another avenue for attack.

    Unless these phones are shipped with (a) BlueTooth disabled by default; and (b) the ability to patch BT-firmware, I think I'd take a rain-check. As President Reagan used to say, "Trust, but verify."

    I'd want to be sure about BT support in any phone, especially a leading-edge, iTunes-enabled one.

    Monday, August 29, 2005

    Soldiers' Angels, Beslan Coverage, and a Car

    Gates of Fire : An Epic Novel of the Battle of ThermopylaeLatest family news: we adopted a soldier through Soldiers' Angels. While families who adopt soldiers should not expect a note back, our adoptee -- a Marine serving in Afghanistan -- wrote a very nice reply to our introductory letter. A care package will go out after Labor Day, based upon our interpretation of what's allowed by the Post Office and DOD. I would encourage anyone reading this to consider adopting a soldier. Their sacrifices make possible all the freedoms we enjoy.

    AutoRantic Virtual Moonbat

    A few miscellaneous notes:


    You would think that the trial of an accused terrorist -- captured after a vicious, senseless attack on a school -- would merit some news coverage by the mainstream media. Of course, you'd be dead wrong. The MSM, best as I can tell, is completely ignoring the Beslan terror trial and, most egregiously, the heartwrenching testimony of the child-victims.

    Once again, it's up to the blogosphere to cover important world events -- don't look to "real journalists" like Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd, for goodness sake. After all, they've got better things to do. Like claim Al Gore won in 2000, and suggest that we train the Iraqis to defend themselves, respectively. I'm pretty sure that you could replace either columnist with our friend, the AutoRantic Virtual Moonbat (pictured at right), and you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

    Back to Beslan. GatewayPundit has been covering the trial. Caution: the following testimony ain't pleasant.

    "On the second day, we were all very thirsty. Women told us, the boys, to pee into plastic bottles so that the children could then drink our pee," the boy said, bursting into tears. "I peed into a bottle, and small children -- even babies -- drank it."

    "Listen, Kulayev, listen," Judge Tamerlan Aguzarov angrily ordered the defendant, who showed no emotion as he sat in a steel cage with bulletproof glass behind the testifying children.

    As the boy tried to stop sobbing, the courtroom spectators, mostly women wearing black clothes and black headscarves, swore at Kulayev. "Give this terrorist to us! We will tear the bastard apart!" the women shouted...

    A 10-year-old boy testified Thursday, August 25th in the trial of the one lone terrorist to be captured alive after the siege in Beslan. One of the female terrorists ... told us that if she found a phone on anyone, that person would be killed and three more people near him or her would be killed too.

    Yes, the bottom-feeders and mouth-breathers that represent the majority of the MSM have better things to do. Who could expect them to cover the trial of the sole surviving accused terrorist in a brutal schoolhouse attack that killed hundreds, including scores of children? The Video Music Awards were on, for Pete's sake... they can't be expected to ignore all those celebrities!

    Mitsubishi Lancer ES (MSN)


    I went out and got my daughter a car. It's a heck of a lot nicer than the '71 Chevelle Wagon (Caprice Classic) that was my first ride. It's a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer ES -- not the wickedly powerful Evolution -- and was highly rated in terms of both reliability and safety. As an aside, I did the majority of my research on MSN's Auto Site. It is pretty darn comprehensive and is, quite literally, a bible of auto purchasing for both new and used vehicles.

    I'd been given some advice from some other recent purchasers of cars for younger drivers. Paramount tip: don't buy a new car. Those who'd done it were... shall we say... disappointed in the ding, scratch, and dent factor. Especially with the high school parking lots these days, which are less parking-lot and more minor-league demolition derby. This particular car has a bit of wear and tear on it (a couple of scratches on the sides and a small gravel ding on the hood), but is otherwise a pretty fine-looking unit. Here's hoping all who ride in it do so in good health.

    Sunday, August 28, 2005

    Hitchens Unleashed

    The pages of the Weekly Standard are graced by Christopher Hitchens, who provides wonderful perspective on the "Bush... lied... WMD" literalists.

    Childishness is one thing... But puerility in adults is quite another thing, and considerably less charming. "You said there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam had friends in al Qaeda. . . . Blah, blah, pants on fire."

    I have had many opportunities to tire of this mantra. It takes ten seconds to intone the said mantra. It would take me, on my most eloquent C-SPAN day, at the very least five minutes to say that Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad; that Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, Saddam's senior physicist, was able to lead American soldiers to nuclear centrifuge parts and a blueprint for a complete centrifuge (the crown jewel of nuclear physics) buried on the orders of Qusay Hussein; that Saddam's agents were in Damascus as late as February 2003, negotiating to purchase missiles off the shelf from North Korea; or that Rolf Ekeus, the great Swedish socialist who founded the inspection process in Iraq after 1991, has told me for the record that he was offered a $2 million bribe in a face-to-face meeting with Tariq Aziz.

    And these eye-catching examples would by no means exhaust my repertoire, or empty my quiver... the only real strategy of deception has come from those who believe, or pretend, that Saddam Hussein was no problem...

    ...a positive accounting [of the war] would include:

    (1) The overthrow of Talibanism and Baathism, and the exposure of many highly suggestive links between the two elements of this Hitler-Stalin pact. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who moved from Afghanistan to Iraq before the coalition intervention, has even gone to the trouble of naming his organization al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

    (2) The subsequent capitulation of Qaddafi's Libya in point of weapons of mass destruction--a capitulation that was offered not to Kofi Annan or the E.U. but to Blair and Bush.

    (3) The consequent unmasking of the A.Q. Khan network for the illicit transfer of nuclear technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.

    (4) The agreement by the United Nations that its own reform is necessary and overdue, and the unmasking of a quasi-criminal network within its elite.

    (5) The craven admission by President Chirac and Chancellor Schröder, when confronted with irrefutable evidence of cheating and concealment, respecting solemn treaties, on the part of Iran, that not even this will alter their commitment to neutralism. (One had already suspected as much in the Iraqi case.)

    (6) The ability to certify Iraq as actually disarmed, rather than accept the word of a psychopathic autocrat.

    (7) The immense gains made by the largest stateless minority in the region--the Kurds--and the spread of this example to other states.

    (8) The related encouragement of democratic and civil society movements in Egypt, Syria, and most notably Lebanon, which has regained a version of its autonomy...

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

    Weekly Standard: A War to Be Proud Of

    Friday, August 26, 2005

    What have we done to deserve such heroes?

    Danger Close, Second Edition by Michael YonFirst person war-blogging the likes of which has never been seen. Ever. Michael Yon, former special forces operator, is an author and blogger operating on the front-lines in Mosul:

    ...the Deuce Four has killed well over 150 terrorists in this neighborhood in the past 10 months. But almost none of those made the news, and those that did had a few key details missing.

    Like the time when some ISF were driving and got blasted by an IED, causing numerous casualties and preventing them from recovering the vehicle. The terrorists came out and did their rifle-pumping-in-the-air thing, shooting AKs, dancing around like monkeys. Videos went 'round the world, making it appear the terrorists were running Mosul, which was pretty much what was being reported at the time.

    But that wasn't the whole story. In the Yarmuk neighborhood, only terrorists openly carry AK-47s. The lawyers call this Hostile Intent. The soldiers call this Dead Man Walking.

    Deuce Four is an overwhelmingly aggressive and effective unit, and they believe the best defense is a dead enemy. They are constantly thinking up innovative, unique, and effective ways to kill or capture the enemy; proactive not reactive. They planned an operation with snipers, making it appear that an ISF vehicle had been attacked, complete with explosives and flash-bang grenades to simulate the IED. The simulated casualty evacuation of sand dummies completed the ruse.

    The Deuce Four soldiers left quickly with the "casualties," "abandoning" the burning truck in the traffic circle. The enemy took the bait. Terrorists came out and started with the AK-rifle-monkey-pump, shooting into the truck, their own video crews capturing the moment of glory. That's when the American snipers opened fire and killed everybody with a weapon. Until now, only insiders knew about the AK-monkey-pumpers smack-down...

    Michael Yon: Just go read it. Now. Do it. You know you want to. And, after reading the blog, go visit Soldiers' Angels and adopt a soldier.

    Democrats + Mainstream Media = Demedia

    Burning Down My Masters' House: My Life at the New York Times (Hardcover) by Jayson BlairThe distinguished Jack Kelly just nails the New York Times to the wall. The gist: a pro-active attempt by the Army to improve its body-armor -- before any terrorists had had a chance to exploit it -- was mercilessly spun as a negative story by the Times' Michael Moss.

    Drink deeply from the sweet chalice of wisdom and read the whole thing.

    ...[the old] vests weighed 24 lbs each. The interceptor ensemble — which can stop an AK-47 bullet fired from just 10 feet away — weighs just 16 lbs. But the best isn't perfect. There are some special types of ammunition that can penetrate the boronic carbide plates. Last year Army leaders became aware of improvements that could be made to the SAPI plates that would protect against most (though not all) of these special types of ammunition.

    There is little evidence insurgents in Iraq are using the special types of ammunition that can defeat the "Interceptor." But the Army wanted to be proactive, to defeat a potential threat before it emerged...

    ...Here's how the story was presented by Moss in the New York Times Aug. 14th: "For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks of insurgents.

    "The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system."

    Spoehr told Moss all the things he told me, but there is not a single positive quote in his story.

    "You would get the impression that our soldiers were in harm's way or at risk," Spoehr said. "That is not true."

    Ah, the Old York Times. Just as relevant as Dan Rather's Air National Guard coverage. And, just as timely.

    Jack Kelly: Unspinning the NY Times' military mendacity

    Hubbert's Peak

    Hubbert's Peak : The Impending World Oil Shortage (Paperback) by Kenneth S. DeffeyesEver heard of "Peak Oil?" or "Hubbert's Peak"? Wikipedia's definition:

    The Hubbert peak theory, also known as peak oil, is an influential theory concerning the long-term rate of conventional oil (and other fossil fuel) extraction and depletion. The Hubbert peak theory is named for American geophysicist M. King Hubbert, who created a model of known reserves and proposed the theory. In 1956, Hubbert predicted that oil production in the continental United States would peak in the early 1970s. U.S. oil production did indeed peak in 1970, and has been decreasing since then.

    So... is Saudi Arabia really experiencing 'peak oil'? Some experts believe that's the case:

    Speculation over the actual size of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves is reaching fever pitch as a major bank says the kingdom's - and the world's - biggest field, Gharwar, is in irreversible decline.

    The Bank of Montreal's analyst Don Coxe, working from their Chicago office, is the first mainstream number-cruncher to say that Gharwar's days are fated.

    Coxe uses the phrase "Hubbert's Peak" to describe the situation. This refers to the seminal geologist M King Hubbert, who predicted the unavoidable decline of oilfields back in the 1950s.

    "The combination of the news that there's no new Saudi Light coming on stream for the next seven years plus the 27% projected decline from existing fields means Hubbert's Peak has arrived in Saudi Arabia," says Coxe, referring to data compiled by the International Energy Association's (IEA) August 2004 monthly report...

    ...Since [1990], despite pumping around 9mbpd, Saudi Aramco says the size of its reserves have not only remained the same but increased slightly from 258gb to 259gb thanks to better extraction techniques.

    However, Simmons believes Gharwar, responsible for about 5mbpd of Saudi output, may have been damaged by poor management.

    Pumping large amounts of oil at the maximum rate can damage the geological structure of the field, usually referred to as "rate sensitivity". Basically the hole falls in on itself, making large amounts of oil within it un-extractable...

    In other words - by their own admission - Saudi Arabia will have added only 800,000bpd of supply in the next seven years. That is the best-case scenario...

    Thursday, August 25, 2005

    Doing what Democrats do best: Losing Elections

    Click here for AmazonHugh Hewitt:

    No matter how many elections they lose, or how many elections the Iraqis and the Afghans hold, or how many al Qaeda are captured or killed, the left will always be against the war and for retreat.

    The good news is that the American electorate isn't stupid, and that new media exists where it didn't in 1969.

    I'm just wondering if, and not when, the Democratic party will get the message. Will it take scores of dead civilians inside America? Take, for example, the reported Islamic Jihad plot, which was broken up by the FBI:

    The Palestinian Islamic Jihad planned an attack inside the United States, but it might have been thwarted by federal law enforcement, an FBI agent testified Tuesday afternoon...

    “I can tell you there was a plot to commit terrorist acts in the United States,” he said. “It was interdicted, I believe.”

    Moffitt asked when that happened.

    “It’s classified,” Myers said, drawing chuckles from defendants’ relatives and supporters in the courtroom gallery.

    Chuckles. Yes, it's just another lighthearted day in court for the alleged brethren of Al-Qaeda.

    And... shhhhhhhhhhhhh... no one tell the Left, these are groups similar to the ones funded by Saddam Hussein (Abu Nidal, Ansar al Islam, Arab Liberation Front, Hamas, Kurdistan Workers Party, MEK, Palestine Liberation Front, etc.) prior to the Iraq War.

    But, no, according to the Left, we should never have invaded Iraq. We should have simply located the country of Al-Qaeda-istan and invaded. And, then, we should have arrested anyone carrying a laminated "Al-Qaeda Member" card. And all of our troubles would have been over.

    If you're wondering why the current Democratic leadership -- consisting of Boxer, Dean, Feinstein, Kennedy, Biden, Schumer, etc. -- can't be allowed anywhere near the levers of government power, I think we have our answer.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005


    Giap: The Victor in VietnamThere's a guy I know named Mike. Mike believes himself a patriot, yet won't hesitate to spout a Moore-ism or Hollywood canard ("WMDs!", "War-for-Oil!", "Halliburton!") at the drop of a hat. Mike thinks, for example, that the Associated Press is credible, that the mainstream media is distinct from the Democratic National Committee, and -- apparently -- that Santa Claus really does live in a toy factory near the North Pole.

    Bryan Preston, posting at Michelle Malkin's blog, provides one of the best history lessons regarding the nature of "Infowar" and why the rhetoric of the hard Left is not only the antithesis of patriotism... but essentially borders on the original definition of sedition.

    Mike, exactly what would be worth fighting for?

    1) To defeat Communism, which killed approximately 100,000,000 and threatened to "bury" the West?
    2) To defeat Nazism, which killed tens of millions and threatened to slaughter and enslave the West?
    3) To defeat the current brand of religious fascism, which is currently waging war in Indonesia, Lebanon, Chechneya, Yugoslavia, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, the Phillipines, etc. etc. and has promised to kill 4,000,000 Americans?

    Mike, how many innocents have to die before you think it's worth getting involved? And, if a vision of democratizing the crossroads of terror represented by Iraq isn't the right strategy... what is the Left's grand plan for defeating religious fascism? I'm still waiting for an answer.

    In the meantime, immerse yourself in the spa of wisdom and read both articles:

    ...General Vo Nguyen Giap... commanded the North Vietnamese army from the 1950s through the 1970s. In that time he defeated in succession France (at that time a world power), the United States (a superpower) and China (a rising regional power)...

    How did Giap do it? In short, he discovered how to make his own troops expendable proxies, while he waged the actual war in the mind of his opponent... [against the US], he played to the US anti-war movement, using it as a psychological nuclear weapon to devastate our will to fight... It can happen again today. We premised this war... on our moral superiority over the enemy... our war premise had the effect of leaving us vulnerable to any flimsy charge either the caliphascist enemy or the anti-American agitators in the West could throw at us, and they have managed... quite a lot...: Abu Ghraib, false allegations of mistreatment at Gitmo, old charges of US crimes in the MidEast, our support for Israel... Once our moral superiority is punctured, our rationale for war loses much of its steam. And absent a coherent and consistent counter message from our own leadership, the enemy's narrative begins to take hold: We're bogged down in a fruitless war in Iraq, we should never have invaded in the first place, our leaders are liars, etc...

    John at Powerline polishes the message in splendid fashion:

    ...The sins of the news media in reporting on Iraq are mainly sins of omission. Not only do news outlets generally fail to report the progress that is being made, and often fail to put military operations into any kind of tactical or strategic perspective, they assiduously avoid talking about the overarching strategic reason for our involvement there: the Bush administration's conviction that the only way to solve the problem of Islamic terrorism, long term, is to help liberate the Arab countries so that their peoples' energies will be channelled into the peaceful pursuits of free enterprise and democracy, rather than into bizarre ideologies and terrorism...

    One wonders how past wars could have been fought if news reporting had consisted almost entirely of a recitation of casualties. The D-Day invasion was one of the greatest organizational feats ever achieved by human beings, and one of the most successful. But what if the only news Americans had gotten about the invasion was that 2,500 allied soldiers died that day, with no discussion of whether the invasion was a success or a failure, and no acknowledgement of the huge strategic stakes that were involved? Or what if such news coverage had continued, day by day, through the entire Battle of Normandy, with Americans having no idea whether the battle was being won or lost, but knowing only that 54,000 Allied troops had been killed by the Germans?

    ...We are conducting an experiment never before seen, as far as I know, in the history of the human race. We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined--to put the most charitable face on it--to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war.

    ...Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

    That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present. Somehow, though, when there was no political hay to be made, I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's home town. In fact, I'll offer a free six-pack to the first person who can find evidence that any liberal expressed concern--any concern--about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996.

    ...What is the President's responsibility? To expend our most precious resources only when necessary, in service of the national interest. We would all prefer that our soldiers never be required to fight. Everyone--most of all, every politician--much prefers peace to war. But when our enemies fly airplanes into our skyscrapers; attack the nerve center of our armed forces; bomb our embassies; scheme to blow up our commercial airliners; try to assassinate our former President; do their best to shoot down our military aircraft; murder our citizens; assassinate our diplomats overseas; and attack our naval vessels--well, then, the time has come to fight. And when the time comes to fight, our military personnel are ready. They don't ask to be preserved from all danger. They know their job is dangerous; they knew that when they signed up. They are prepared to face the risk, on our behalf. All they ask is to be allowed to win.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    Miscellania: Moonbats on the Right, Able Danger, and Krugman

    Click here for AmazonFrom Wizbang Blog:

    ...there are moonbats on the right too. The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that on the right side, we call out our (few) crazies... The Democrats make them party chairmen.

    On the topic of Able Danger, two new members of the team have materialized -- and are backing the story of Lt. Col Shaffer.

    ...we now have three witnesses saying pretty much the same thing. Contrary to popular belief over the past few days, Shaffer hasn't changed history on the Atta ID. And contrary to the skeptics' take, Rep. Weldon just keeps putting up instead of shutting up...

    Last Friday, DNC propagandist and Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman spewed the exhausted canard that Gore won the 2000 election. For his troubles, Richard Baehr at American Thinker fisked Krugman into submission, using everything but tactical nuclear weapons. Krugman responded to be the beating with a milquetoast aplogia, which was half-hearted at best. Baehr wasn't satisfied; he blistered Krugman again in a manner reminiscent of Genghis Kahn:

    Paul Krugman, tries to respond today to withering attacks on his column from last Friday in which he declared that a full statewide manual recount would have given Al Gore the victory in Florida in 2000. Somebody at the New York Times may have gotten concerned about how far from the truth Krugman was straying....

    ...Krugman's admission that the US Supreme Court DID NOT change the result in Florida is important. He now admits that the recount that had been ordered by the very Gore friendly Florida Supreme Court would have shown Bush to be the winner, had it not been interrupted by the US Supreme Court. There are quite a few partisans on the left who still have not "received" this message. If they won't believe Paul Krugman, who will they believe?

    If you've ever wondered about the definitions of "MSM/DNC" or "Demedia", Krugman pretty much provides the answer. He's such a transparent shill you can't see him on a sunny day.

    Monday, August 22, 2005

    An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan

    From a friend -- retired Air Force -- I received the following open letter who had received it from the author's wife. Buddy is a retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel and their daughter Tara is enlisted in the Marines and about to get deployed overseas. Slake your thirst with the nectar of wisdom and read the whole thing.

    Ms. Sheehan,

    By your actions over the past two weeks it is clear that you missed an important aspect of Civics 101: With rights come responsibilities. You certainly have the right to voice your opinion against the war in Iraq and the President’s policies. You even have the right to camp outside the President’s home in Crawford and demand he meet with you. Your status as a mother who has lost a child in the war also gives your words and actions a credibility and a larger audience than otherwise would be the case. Now that your supporters have given you a broad forum from which to be heard, making you a national figure, it's time you considered your responsibilities to all of us. I have a daughter set to deploy to Fallujah in two weeks and I have a serious concern with how your irresponsible and short sighted actions might impact on her. She is, after all, a volunteer, like your son, and she is going in harm’s way because she believes it is her responsibility to protect your rights and freedoms.

    Well meaning people like you always seem to forget the law of unintended consequences and in your vanity and arrogant self-righteousness never bother to think through what it is you are trying to do versus what you may actually accomplish. I am here to inform you, Ma’am, that you will not change the policy of our government by sitting outside Crawford making a spectacle of yourself in the name of your rights to free speech; what you will do is provide more propaganda for our enemies and cost the lives of even more brave and selfless American warriors. How long do you think it will be before you become a star on Al Jazeera? For all I know, it may have already happened. One thing is certain, though, and that is that your actions and words will further embolden a ruthless and evil enemy and more American blood will be shed and some of it will be on your hands. I pray that my daughter will not be one of them. If she is, then I will hold you and those like you partly responsible. Yes, my daughter's fate will depend mostly on her own courageous decision to serve, but only the most naive among us can deny the impact our own words and actions here in America have in a world grown smaller by the revolution in communications technology.

    I am sure you believe that you are serving some great cause by putting our servicemen and women in more danger and that you can, by your irresponsible exercise of free speech, help end a policy you disagree with. Your emotion may be compelling but the reality is that you will not set in motion any process that will change or undo what has been done. The war will go on because to end it now would dishonor the sacrifice of all of our fellow countrymen who have died in the cause of fighting terrorism. Rational Americans will not allow that. Too much is at stake. Unfortunately, shallow and irrational ones, such as yourself, will continue to put the lives of our sons and daughters in danger by aiding and abetting an enemy who sees propagandizing in the mass media as its main weapon in a war it could otherwise not win standing on its own wretched and evil justification of radical Islam, or by force of arms. You, Ma’am, have joined forces with an evil you neither understand nor apparently have tried to comprehend. You direct your anger toward our country while the enemy plots to kill and maim the innocent. You make a mockery of responsible free speech while thousands of young men and women fight desperately to preserve your safety. Instead of honoring your son’s sacrifice you are inspired to comfort an evil enemy.

    You clearly do not understand the challenge we face as a nation and have not tried to put it in historical perspective. It is a sad fact that it is those of your thinking that have led us to where we are today. Decades of appeasement to these haters of everything we hold dear has cost thousands of American lives from Beirut to New York and in dozens of other forgotten places. Remember Lockerbie? The Achille Lauro? The USS Cole? We as a people were dragged into this war, much like December 7th, 1941, and we must fight and win it wherever the enemy hides and against whomever would support him. Make no mistake about Iraq. It is both a legitimate and crucial campaign in this much larger, global war of radical Islam’s making. These people hate us for who we are, not what we have done. We did not bring this on ourselves, as many would have us believe, by our policies and actions abroad. We brought this on ourselves in 1775 when the Founding Fathers embarked on a course of freedom, tolerance, and liberal democratic and social ideals. These haters of all we hold dear strive to destroy forever a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” that Abraham Lincoln hoped would never “Perish from the earth”. They would replace it with an oppressive world theocracy unlike anything modern history has ever seen for its ruthless disregard for personal freedom and liberty. If more appeasement is your answer for an alternative policy, spare us. We have suffered enough from cowardice and inaction.

    An historical analogy screams to be let out here. It is one of two men, both named Chamberlain. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a school teacher turned soldier in the American Civil War, found himself in the crosshairs of history on a warm July day in 1863 on a small hill in Pennsylvania. Commanding the 20th Maine Regiment on the extreme Union left at Gettysburg he was in a most perilous position. Should he fail to hold against a strong Confederate attack, the Union could be lost. You see, he was serving in an increasingly unpopular war at home against a resurgent enemy, and for a President fighting for his political life. Colonel Chamberlain, stoic but determined, refused to yield. His small regiment held against an onslaught of Confederate attacks, an action many historians believe turned the tide of the war. He was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The other half of this analogy focuses on Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain in the years preceding World War II. His story is widely known. Through his policy of appeasement and a lack of moral courage, he handed Adolf Hitler much of Europe. Which side of history have you chosen, Ma’am?

    Your son died in the service of freedom and my daughter will go in harm’s way to protect and preserve it. Honor their sacrifice, Ma’am, by exercising it responsibly.
    I will pray with you and I will grieve with you but I will not stand by silent while you needlessly and arrogantly endanger the life of my daughter and her comrades in arms. Please bless us with your silence and go home.

    Brantley Smith
    Proud father of a United States Marine
    email: (withheld for the spam-bots)

    Sunday, August 21, 2005

    Book Review: The Sea Shall Embrace Them

    The Sea Shall Embrace Them: The Tragic Story of the Steamship Arctic (Hardcover)Fateful tale of cowardice and courage at sea

    The fateful voyage of the Titanic was not the first time a luxury liner went to the bottom taking the cream of society with it. Decades before, the steamship Arctic, the pride of the Collins line, had suffered a catastrophic collision that resulted in 400 souls lost. The behavior of the crew was hardly the model of civility, though. The fact that only 22 passengers survived the ordeal, along with 65 crewmen, hints at the panic-stricken, near-mutinous conditions aboard the Arctic prior to its demise. Not a woman or child survived.

    Collins, backed by private and -- controversially -- US Government funds, had created the first credible competitor to Cunard's line of packet ships. When the Crimean war forced Cunard to convert his ships to British naval use, the Collins line had a chance to establish itself as the predominant Transatlantic packet service. But the final voyage of the Arctic helped seal Collins' fate: its foolhardy rush through heavy fog, intended to maintain speed records, resulted in a massive collision with a French, iron-hulled fishing vessel: the Vesta.

    While the damages to the Arctic initially appeared slight, all too soon its wooden hull (with no watertight compartments) was discovered to have been holed in three distinct areas. And because the Vesta had left a jagged portion of its bow sticking in the steamship's hull, the traditional methods of patching at sea were rendered impossible. As the ship foundered, panic-stricken crew-members and passengers fought for the all-too-limited number of seats on the lifeboats.

    Shaw has done impressive work chronicling a non-fictional story that reads like fiction. But there's a reason Shaw didn't write this work as a novel: there are so many bizarre coincidences and events involved that only a strict recitation of the known facts could have resulted in a believable story. The demise of the Arctic is a chilling tale and one with every bit the controversy, mystery, heroism and cowardice of its much better known counterpart.

    High fuel prices got you down?

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    MSM MIA Part 723: AQ gas attack on Parliament foiled

    Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueToo occupied by the all-important (yet prurient!) Natalie Holloway and BTK Killer stories, the mainstream media misses still another important story: Al Qaeda was planning, among other things, a chemical weapons attack against UK's Parliament.

    Media in Australia, Canada, India and the UK have covered the story, but so far... nothing in the US media. Maybe the MSM is still working on a breaking news report concerning Abraham Lincoln and the Ford Theater.

    SCOTLAND YARD believes it has thwarted an Al-Qaeda gas attack aimed at ministers and MPs in parliament. The plot, hatched last year, is understood to have been discovered in coded e-mails on computers seized from terror suspects in Britain and Pakistan.

    Police and MI5 then identified an Al-Qaeda cell that had carried out extensive research and video-recorded reconnaissance missions in preparation for the attack...

    Times Online: Police foil gas attack on Commons

    Thursday, August 18, 2005

    Light blogging: Phishing, Seven Phases, and Working Out

    Click here for AmazonThe small, hardy band of subscribers to this blog may have noticed the extremely light blogging of late. Truth be told: vacation time is here. The family -- that is, the entire extended family, sans my brother and his wife, who are visiting Japan -- are on an island off South Carolina. Hot-spots and broadband connections here on the isle are about as common as hit movies starring Mickey Rourke.

    Thus, I've had to resort to my old school AT&T Worldnet dialup connection. Speeds average around 50 kilobits per second, which is actually pretty good for dialup. I feel like I've time-warped back to 1995 when I used GNN (Global Network Navigator), only now I have a much better browser (Firefox, if you must know).

    Even with limited bandwidth, a couple of articles caught my eye over the past few days:

    On Phishing: From the Stanford School of Engineering comes an article entitled, "Stanford security experts unveil defenses against ‘phishing’ attacks." I eagerly devoured the article, hoping for some sort of unique solution for the phishing scourge. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to find the proposed defenses were standard fare: another "boil-the-ocean" approach:

    [The Stanford research group] has developed an extension to popular Web browsers that completely overhauls the security of passwords with only the slightest change in the daily Web-surfing experience—one or two keystrokes before entering a password activates their software...

    Guys, it's a neat idea, but requiring everyone in the world to 'fix their browser' to defeat phishing is about as practical as requiring all web surfers to change their home page to -- and just as likely to happen.

    How about a solution that can be implemented strictly on a financial institution's servers, like the anti-phishing captcha I wrote about a while back?

    The aims of Al Qaeda - the seven phases of the base: Bill Roggio's Fourth Rail analyzes a fascinating article in Spiegel Online by Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein. The article describes the seven phases of Al Qaeda's plans, which extend out for decades. The source of the articles was Saif al-Adel, an AQ military leader, who is reportedly operating in Iran (hmmm).

    Greatly abbreviated, the seven phases are:

    The First Phase Known as "the awakening" -- this has already been carried out and was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby "awakening" Muslims...

    The Second Phase "Opening Eyes" is... the period we are now in and should last until 2006. Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the "Islamic community." Hussein believes this is a phase in which al-Qaida wants an organization to develop into a movement...

    The Third Phase... "Arising and Standing Up"... should last from 2007 to 2010. "There will be a focus on Syria," prophesies Hussein, based on what his sources told him. The fighting cadres are supposedly already prepared and some are in Iraq. Attacks on Turkey and -- even more explosive -- in Israel are predicted... countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, are also in danger.

    The Fourth Phase [2010-2013]... will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments... At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.

    The Fifth Phase... will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.

    The Sixth Phase... from 2016 onwards... will a period of "total confrontation." As soon as the caliphate has been declared the "Islamic army" it will instigate the "fight between the believers and the non-believers" which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.

    The Seventh Phase... [the] final stage is described as "definitive victory."... the rest of the world will be so beaten down by the "one-and-a-half million Muslims," the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn't last longer than two years.

    Roggio concludes with some ominously frank assessments:

    [if the US] ...loses its political will and pursues a policy of isolation from the Muslim world, an inevitable showdown with al Qaeda would ensue. Open confrontation with the West, as well as the possibility of a nuclear armed Caliphate, would bring the full military might of the Western World... The current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Southeast and Central Asia and within the borders of Western nations would be tame in comparison to what would come...

    The West would basically have two options: (1) blitzkrieg 21st Century style - the full mobilization of its military and an accompanying sweep of the Islamic crescent, without regards for Politically Correct warfare; (2) nuclear war. Both campaigns would be designed to fully eliminate the Islamist threat, and the Muslim infrastructure, which allowed for the rise of al Qaeda's ideology.

    Anoint yourself in the sacred oil of wisdom and read the whole thing.

    Vacation workouts: my Dad rented some bikes for us while we're on the island. A couple of times a day I've been blasting down the beach, ten to twelve miles round-trip. It usually takes about 40 minutes. Not a great pace, but wet sand and a stiff wind make it -- ahem -- quite challenging. Good workout. And one I can't get back home.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    350 Simultaneous Bombs

    Ahmed RashidThe latest Cryptogram newsletter from Bruce Schneier is -- as usual -- filled chock-full with interesting security news and insights. For good or bad, though, Schneier comes off a tad on the liberal side with various anti-war missives such as this:

    An absolutely fascinating interview with Robert Pape, a University of Chicago professor who has studied every suicide terrorist attack since 1980. "The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland."

    James Taranto, in today's edition of the invaluable 'Best of the Web' notes:

    A series of bombs exploded nearly simultaneously in dozens of cities across Bangladesh Wednesday, striking regional capitals as well as the national capital, Dhaka," CNN reports: "According to police, at least 115 people were injured with 350 bombs detonating. Bangladeshi media reported at least one fatality."

    Three hundred fifty bombs? Wow, someone's really mad about the Bangladeshi occupation of Iraq!

    And no word from Pape regarding the nearly 3,000 fatalities on 9/11 and whether the terrorists had claimed Manhattan in the name of Jihad (as they have London, for instance).

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    Walking the Cat Back: Able Danger, Sandy Berger and Jamie Gorelick

    Dereliction of Duty: Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America's National Security by Robert 'Buzz' PattersonThose who have done even an iota of research know that the Clinton administration's approach to national security was, at best, bumbling. Buzz Patterson, a guardian of the "nuclear football" for President Clinton, even wrote the best-selling book entitled, "Dereliction of Duty." It spelled out some egregious security gaffes. China and the Loral-ICBM debacle. Vernon Jordan and the golf game that interrupted a major military attack. And the time when Clinton lost the nuclear launch codes (yep, you heard that right - the only time they've been irretrievably lost).

    Patterson, of course, was viciously attacked by the Left, who questioned his honesty and integrity. Problem for them, however, is that anyone with a "Yankee White" security clearance, which Patterson had, can't be called a liar. And, furthermore, his allegations are so serious that the Clintons surely would have sued Patterson had his statements been false. But, insofar as I know, they haven't.

    The latest chapter in this tragic saga came earlier this week. News broke that a highly classified data-mining team, code-named "Able Danger," had identified Mohammed Atta and several other of the 9/11 terrorists... in 1999.

    Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA), speaking to CNN, described why the "Able Danger" team was rebuffed when they attempted to have the FBI take Atta's cell out.

    ...we now know... lawyers within the administration, we don't know whether they were DOD lawyers or White House lawyers, lawyers within the [Clinton] administration told the Special Forces folks three times, you cannot share this information with the FBI. They even put stickies over top of the faces of Mohammed Atta saying they're here legally... That stopped it dead in its tracks.

    Several enterprising bloggers have "walked the cat back" and wondered aloud regarding Sandy Berger's bizarre theft and destruction of classified documents. Jawa answers the critical question: which lawyer in the administration might have prevented the FBI takedown?

    One name comes immediately to mind because he was the point man for the military -- and a trained lawyer.

    Sandy Berger.

    Bill at From the Swamp then asks the next question in the logical progression: what in the world was in those documents that Sandy Berger was caught stuffing down his pants? Remember, in April of this year, Sandy Berger -- Clinton's National Security Advisor -- pled guilty to illegally removing and retaining classified documents.

    Dr. Sanity notes another interesting coincidence:

    Berger's sentencing after he pleaded guilty was postponed from this July to September. Isn't it interesting that this new information is coming out in August?

    Coincidence? Perhaps. But Captain Ed hammers the 9/11 Commission's Report along a related line:

    ...American [military intelligence never] gets mentioned... in the analysis of how the US failed to detect the 9/11 plot... In retrospect, that gaping hole in analysis seems highly odd, almost as if the 9/11 Commission never bothered to ask the Pentagon about its intelligence missions -- or [, if it did,] simply disregarded evidence...

    Disregarded? The Commission was presented with the findings of the "Able Danger" team and completely ignored them. Was it stupidity, election-year politics, or something more insidious?

    Could it have been related to the outrageous conflict-of-interest lying within the commission itself?

    ...Why didn't the Commission press harder for military intelligence...? It would emphasize that the... biggest problem was the enforced separation between law enforcement and intelligence operations upon which the Clinton Department of Justice insisted. The hatchet person for that policy sat on the Commission itself: Jamie S. Gorelick.

    How could members of the 9/11 Commission adequately... investigate themselves? The answer, of course, is they could -- and did -- not.

    Congress needs to flush and refill the bowl. The American people must demand a complete and thorough reinvestigation of 9/11 as soon as possible. And this time, hopefully we can remove the spectre of partisan, election-year gamesmanship that occurred the last time.

    And one final postscript: Sandy Berger would have been Secretary of State in a *cough* Kerry administration.

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Forging Email Headers

    Picture credit: Amazon
    Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueIn a previous post, I described some methods for detecting and fighting phishers. Phishers, if you're unfamiliar with the term, is a crook who sends spam messages purporting to be from a reputable financial institution or company. The message exhorts the recipient (I mean, victim) to logon to the web site to update their personal information, check their account, or otherwise provide user-name and password. However, the site pointed by the email is bogus (a "false storefront") and any information you enter is sent to the crook, who can then use it for his own malicious purposes.

    In any event, here's the from-address and subject of the latest phishing email I received:

    From: Paypal Security
    Subject: New Security Requirements

    Note the ploy: the mail implies that PayPal has instituted some new security requirements for account-holders... and now I'll probably be required to logon and update my account. If you've been following along, this should raise more suspicion than your teenage daughter asking for the car keys at two in the morning. The hair should be standing up on the back of your neck.

    Using the "show original message" or the "view headers" option, let's take a look at the actual email headers:

    Received: from ([])
    by (mtiwmxc17) with SMTP
    id <20050806123026017008lj1oe>; Sat, 6 Aug 2005 12:30:28 +0000
    X-Originating-IP: []
    Received: from ( []) by (Postfix) with SMTP id 387NB1CC614 for ; Sat, 06 Aug 2005 05:26:53 -0800
    Received: (qmail 77110 invoked by uid 54); Sat, 06 Aug 2005 05:26:53 -0800
    From: "Paypal Security"
    Reply-To: "Paypal Security"
    Subject: New Security Requirements
    Date: Sat, 06 Aug 2005 05:26:53 -0800
    X-MaxCode-Template: email-transaction-counterparty
    X-XPT-XSL-Name: /en_US/transaction/seller/TransactionCounterparty.xsl
    MIME-Version: 1.0
    Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

    This is a pretty good scam message. Note the bolded header fields "Received" and "Message-ID". They've been spoofed in some way to resemble a real PayPal message. It almost looks legit.

    But note the area I've highlighted in red. Our email server (in this case, the server) actually got the email from a * server. That just doesn't smell right. Why would we get an email from PayPal routed through Norway?

    Furthermore, as we look down the source of the email, the hyperlink directing us to authenticate (login) looks like this:

    Note the domain name: You can ignore the sub-domain name of paypal. The domain name is all that counts. And it doesn't look like anything you want to visit in the near future.

    Bottom line: don't ever logon at the behest of an email. Visit the site by typing in the URL yourself.

    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it"

    Picture credit: Trump University
    Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueTrump is a blogger. Yes, Donald Trump -- real-estate magnate, entrepeneur, television star, and marketer supreme -- has joined the world of the pajamahaddin:

    ...former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski was convicted for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company. It was his second go-round in court--the first one ended in a mistrial... these people give business a bad name. They've served to associate it with scandal, untrustworthiness, greed, and bad taste. But, as I prove everyday, it doesn't have to be that way at all.

    Brash and outspoken? Sure. But as Dizzy Dean once said, "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." That operative phrase applies not just to the great, right-handed St. Louis Cardinal, but to the Trumpinator as well.

    Trump: Corporate Corruption

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    "There were no matches for your search"

    Picture credit: New York Times
    Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueThis morning, a quick search of the New York Times' web-site reveals the following number of articles for the accompanying topics:

     124 Texas Air National Guard
      33 John Roberts confirmation
      31 Al Qaqaa
      16 John Bolton confirmation
       0 Air America funding scandal

    To net it all out, these much-publicized non-scandals -- including the Air National Guard stories and the Al Qaqaa weapons dump -- were mentioned a grand total of 204 times. While the scandal surrounding "Air America" and "Gloria Wise" still rates exactly 0 mentions:

      There were no matches for your search +"air america" +"gloria wise" / since 1996 .

    I think we can state it this way:

      The Texas Air National Guard and Al Qaqaa: still not scandals.
      Air Enron: a stinking, rising scandal

    From all appearances, this catastrophically unsuccessful liberal talk-radio venture, reportedly funding itself at the expense of Alzheimer patients and inner-city youth, doesn't jibe with the editorial world-view of the Times.

    But "dumpster-diving" to dig up John Roberts' adoption records is fair game for the geniuses at the times.

    Do the math. The Times can't just be called biased anymore. Try biased and completely irrelevant. But here's something you can do. You can send a message to the Times' editors by clicking this link - repeatedly:

    Search the Times for the Air Scamerica scandal

    As the Times' webmasters analyze their logs, they'll get a sense of what most visitors are doing. And it won't be reading the Times' content.

    Then again, nobody's saying the Times is relevant these days.

    Oh, and as an aside, Air Scamerica has reportedly been late with its payroll checks. But, no, that hasn't rated a mention in the Times either.

    The Times is about as relevant as a 1930's Almanac. It meant something long ago - but it won't help you navigate the world in this day and age.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Google and Privacy: You Get What You Pay For

    Picture credit: Amazon
    Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueIn humankind's quest for email nirvana, Brooke points me to this article on Google and privacy. Apparently, Eric Schmidt -- Google's CEO -- is in a snit because CNET writer Elinor Mills googled him and posted the results. SFgate picks up the story:

    ...In her story, Mills included a link to Schmidt's home address, his net worth of $1.5 billion and noted that he has attended the Burning Man art festival and is an amateur pilot. Mills said she spent 30 minutes on Google to obtain the information...

    ...The crux of Mills' story was about the vast amounts of information Google collects that is unavailable to the public. For example, Google software scans user e-mails to learn what kind of advertising might appeal to the user.

    Mills wrote in her story that "hackers, zealous government investigators, or even a Google insider who falls short of the company's ethics standards could abuse that information."

    My reaction is... uhmmm... big deal. As my Dad always says: there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. With Gmail, you get exactly what you pay for.

    Consider: I'd wager most, if not all, of the email you send and receive is in clear-text. If you don't know what PGP or GPG is, that probably means you. And, since it's in the clear, your email could potentially be viewed by others. Bottom line? Email you send and receive is transiting the Internet with any means of protecting it from prying eyes.

    Another consideration: if you use a wireless 802.11b connection (or use WEP at all) to connect to your broadband connection, you're at risk of having your connection monitored and/or hijacked.

    And, if you have spyware or adware on your machine (which seems to be endemic among consumer PCs), only the software's developer knows whether your emails, contacts, cached web pages and browsing behavior are read, summarized and dispatched to company headquarters for analysis.

    The bottom line is that Google is among the least of our concerns. Is it true that Google collects a lot of data on us by spidering the web? Yes - but it's not their fault. It's collecting information from external web sites and aggregating it. Find the sites in question and request that they be changed to remove your information (or modify them yourself, if possible). For example, if you don't want your phone-number on Google, get an unlisted number.

    And if you use Gmail, remember one thing: it's free for a reason.

    Blaming Google for the vast amount of personal data on the web is like blaming McDonald's for an expanding waistline. Keep away from the junk if you don't want the uncomfortable results.

    SFGate: Search engine leader snubs tech news outlet

    p.s., BTW, Brooke summited Mt. Rainier last week and has a writeup on his blog with plenty of great pictures.

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    "Get Used to the Minority"

    Picture credit: Keppler on Campus
    Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueHere's a telling snippet of an interview with Mort Kondracke, along with a spot-on analysis, courtesy RadioBlogger.

    MM: You would think if America has a 7/7 of its own coming up in any time of the near future, that we could face [UK-style immigration restrictions]?

    MK: Absolutely. I mean, there...what's unfortunate is that it's going to be an immigration crackdown, you know, and we're not admitting enough H-1B Visa applicants as it is now to fill the kind of professional jobs that we need to. You know, it's going to be close the border, all that kind of stuff. And it's going to be excessively punitive on people who have nothing to do with terrorism.

    CPL: But Mort, I know we're running out of time, but I guess our question is, in my view, why do these sort of proposals have to wait for another attack? I mean, where is any kind of Democrat out front on this, analogous to Tony Blair, who is essentially a Democrat in England?

    MK: Well, Tony Blair wasn't doing it until his country got hit, and you know, it concentrates the mind.

    ...I was absolutely floored when Mort said very matter-of-factly that the Democrats would be Johnny on the spot once we got hit again. And that attitude, which apparently is a plank in their national platform, the wait-for-disaster-and-get-political-mileage-out-of-it plank, is exactly why this party cannot be trusted anywhere near the levers of power for the foreseeable future. Is Bush or the Republican party perfect? Of course not. But they are trying to move the country towards a new paradigm where national security is more important than we've had to think about pre-9/11.

    The Democrats have no answers. They have no solutions. They do not have the country's defense as their first priority. Their first priority is to lay in the weeds like a snake and strike after its prey has already been bit by something else? What kind of leadership is that?

    Run away from Iraq. Neuter the Patriot Act. Investigate the kids of Court appointees whose ideology you don't share. Stall our representative to the U.N. Premeditate a political response if a national crisis occurs after a terrorist attack.

    Get used to the minority, Democrats. You simply are too dangerous to be trusted at the present time.

    AutoRantic Virtual Moonbat

    The terrifying aspect to this analysis is its stunning accuracy. In only a few, short sentences, RadioBlogger has captured the essence of today's Democratic party. Where is a Roosevelt, a Truman or a John Kennedy?

    Where is a leader capable of bringing something to the table except obstructionism, a tape-recorder playing "the Best of Michael Moore", and shrill rants capped off by, "Yeeeeaaaaarrrrggggghh!"?

    The current leadership of the party is best represented by its current spokesman, the AutoRantic Virtual Moonbat, pictured at right. While it presents no new ideas of its own, it can dispense pithy diatribes that tar the current administration while offering no solutions to the long-term threats facing the country.

    Consider: the war against fundamentalist extremism. Social security. The tax system. Education. And so forth. Other than obstructionism, where do the Democrats stand?

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

    Sunday, August 07, 2005

    The Unbiased Media Gets Down to Business

    Picture credit: USA Today
    Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueI opened up the paper this morning and witnessed a veritable cornucopia of wholesome, unbiased reporting. First article:

    The headline reads, "Sept. 11 group criticizes White House"; but buried in the heart of the article is the real story:

    ...Thomas H. Kean... said he was surprised and disappointed that the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, the FBI and several other executive-branch agencies had failed to respond to requests made two months ago for updated information on the government's anti-terrorism programs.

    The requests came not from the disbanded commission, which was created by Congress and had subpoena powers, but from its shadow group, which the members call the 9/11 Public Discourse Project...

    The real headline should therefore read: "Unofficial shadow group ignored by all." Which really isn't news, is it?

    Another headline reads: "March supports 'right to vote'".

    ...Civil rights groups fear conservatives will try to modify two key provisions of the [Voting Rights Act]...

    Activists also used the rally to protest Georgia's recently passed voter identification law, which critics call the most restrictive in the country. NAACP President Gordon on Saturday called the law "the most outrageous, oppressive, discriminatory" law he'd ever seen...

    What isn't mentioned? The just-released report from the American Center for Voting Rights entitled, "Vote Fraud, Intimidation & Suppression In The 2004 Presidential Election."

    Without even mentioning the Democrats' infamous corpse, felon, multi-state and non-existent person voting blocs, the report's summary reads:

    ...While Democrats routinely accuse Republicans of voter intimidation and suppression, neither party has a clean record on the issue. Instead, the evidence shows that Democrats waged aggressive intimidation and suppression campaigns against Republican voters and volunteers in 2004... a careful review of the facts shows that in 2004, paid Democrat operatives were far more involved in voter intimidation and suppression efforts than their Republican counterparts... Examples include:

    * NAACP National Voter Fund worker in Ohio paid crack cocaine in exchange for a large number of fraudulent voter registration cards in names of Dick Tracy, Mary Poppins and other fictional characters.

    * Former ACORN worker said there was “a lot of fraud committed” by group in Florida, as ACORN workers submitted thousands of fraudulent registrations in a dozen states across the country, resulting in a statewide investigation of the group in Florida and multiple indictments and convictions of ACORN/Project Vote workers for voter registration fraud in several states.

    * Misleading telephone calls made by Democrat operatives targeting Republican voters in Ohio with the wrong date for the election and faulty polling place information.

    * Intimidating and deceiving mailings and telephone calls paid for by the DNC threatening Republican volunteers in Florida with legal action.

    * Union-coordinated intimidation and violence campaign targeting Republican campaign offices and volunteers resulting in a broken arm for a GOP volunteer in Florida.

    * Paid Democrat operatives charged with slashing tires of 25 Republican get-out-the-vote vans in Milwaukee on the morning of Election Day.

    * Joint task force in Wisconsin found “clear evidence of fraud in the Nov. 2 election in Milwaukee,” including more than 200 felon voters, more than 100 double voters and thousands more ballots cast than voters recorded as having voted in the city.

    Read the Executive Summary to get a quick insight into the real voter intimidation practices that no one seems to be protesting or reporting.

    Here's one last example of pure, unbiased coverage. The headline reads, "Does Bush Loyalty Cloud His Judgment?". Subtitled 'President's actions raising some doubts', what example of Bush's unflinching loyalty does the author's analysis raise? Karl Rove? Donald Rumsfeld? Paul Wolfowitz? Uhmmm, no, none of the above. Someone far, far more important:

    Former [baseball] commissioner Fay Vincent wasn't surprised when President Bush supported embattled Baltimore Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro after Palmerio tested positive for steroids by saying the star first baseman was a trusted friend.

    Isn't the unbiased media great? They'd never take a cheap shot at a sitting president over his casual remark about a troubled baseball player, would they?

    Average Circulation of U.S. Daily Newspapers (Editor and Publisher Yearbook data)

    The mainstream media's thinly disguised, Bush-bashing agenda is so obvious and so transparent, it's almost humorous.

    If it were any more tilted, most op-ed columns would have the bylines of Moore, Fonda, and Streisand, while the wire-service reports would be culled straight from the pages of Al Jazeera.

    Come to think of it, that's pretty much equivalent to what's happening now. Consider the likes of Richard Cohen, Tom Teepen, and Maureen Dowd... combined with wire-service reports from the all-star squad of Reuters (or "Al Reuters," I think is the term they prefer), the AP, and the BBC.

    And the editors and publishers still wonder why newspaper subscription rates are sinking faster than the Titanic after it slammed into the iceberg.

    Saturday, August 06, 2005

    PayPal - Unintentionally Helping Phishers

    Picture credit: Stern
    Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueIn their zeal to market through email, financial institutions like PayPal sometimes make some really goofy mistakes. Sure, PayPal recognizes that phishing is a huge problem. But they just can't seem to resist outbound email marketing that criminals view the same way a dog looks at a sizzling piece of steak.

    Consider the email that I just received from PayPal. No, seriously, this is a real one. I checked the message headers and the source of the message. The subject:

    Spot spoof, protect your identity and more...

    It included this unintentionally hilarious request:

    Protect yourself with tools
    Guard yourself against "spoof" emails with the SafetyBar, and against fraudulent websites with the eBay Toolbar...

    How long you figure until the first phishing email exhorting the victim to download a less helpful version of the "SafetyBar"? I'm guessing it's already started and the first evil trojans disguised as eBay Toolbars are already installed.

    Asking PayPal users to download executables onto their machines is like handing Michael Moore your credit-card at Morton's. You're likely to get a lot more than you bargained for.

    And it's ludicrous that PayPal continues to promote this kind of practice, which is certain to be exploited by phishers. Plain and simple - don't download anything you don't need. And never download something at the behest of an email.

    The internet is dangerous enough. We don't need PayPal making it worse.

    The Times: Left Behind

    Picture credit:
    Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueIn reading two of Michelle Malkin's recent articles this morning, I came to a stunning epiphany. The New York Times is a parody newspaper. I can find no other explanation of its recent behavior. I assert that its investigation of John Roberts' adopted children while simultaneously and studiously ignoring the Air Enron scandal reinforce the fact that the Times is pure satire.

    It's like a sophisticated version of The Onion, only without the chuckles.

    Consider: the Times reportedly resorted to what Malkin terms, "journalistic dumpster diving," in order to unearth the sealed adoption records of John Roberts' two children.

    And: after a week of rising stink, the Air Enron scandal has reached the Eliot Spitzer level. And, so far as I can tell, nary a word has been printed in the Times about the furtive Al Franken and the missing Boys & Girls Club funds.

    Folks, you just can't make this stuff up. This can't be anything but a brilliant parody. And, let me be first the congratulate the Times' on its new daily parody edition. It's gold, Jerry, pure gold.

    Update: Looking for the Reader's Digest version of MSM/DNC self-parody? Look no further than Sister Toldjah's excellent recap.

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Air Enron

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    Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueThe massively unsuccessful Air America network is embroiled in a major scandal that you probably haven't heard about. The heart of the scandal: hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans made to the liberal talkshow network by a Bronx-based Boys & Girls Club.

    In early 2004, the directors of the nascent Air America network were scouring the nation for potential contributors... One of the network's directors, Evan Montvel Cohen, appears to have partially solved the problem by arranging loans from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club that eventually totaled at least $480,000, and possibly more...

    Oddly enough, the mainstream media (oops, I meant the MSM/DNC) hasn't found any time to explore this scandal. Michelle Malkin points out:

    Number of NY Times articles mentioning Air America since March 2004: 59
    Number of NY Times articles mentioning the Air Enron scandal: 0

    Chalk up another one for the utterly unbiased Gray Lady.

    The ramifications for the Boys & Girls Club, however, have been catastrophic. New York City has suspended about $10 million in funding because of "inappropriate transactions and falsified documents."

    The calculus (or, rather, the plain arithmetic) behind the scandal is simple: taxpayer funds appear to be siphoned from the Boys & Girls Club to help pay the likes of Al Franken. Now, I know that some of these geniuses have socialist tendencies but... wow. Taxpayer funding for a private enterprise like Air Enron?

    Meanwhile, the kids who could have used the funding are left in sweltering apartments in the City. And the millionaire Franken continues to enjoy the perquisites of immense wealth. Nope. I don't see any scandal there.

    Arizona Republic: A scandal below the radar