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Friday, October 21, 2005

Is It Wrong 


That I kinda have the hots for the governor of Michigan?

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What's that governor? Come closer? You have an executive order you'd like me to follow? Oh. Ohhhh...


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This Makes Me Happy 


Outside the Travis County Courthouse. He's wearing a cowboy hat!
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Yey!

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Slammer 


This pig, like so many others, is getting his comeuppance.
And here's his mug shot, courtesy of The Smoking Gun.
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So take that. Jerk


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In the (Dot) Matrix 


Good old Bonnie. Always at the edge of the Electronic Frontier.

She finds this little bit of disquieting information:
A research team led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently broke the code behind tiny tracking dots that some color laser printers secretly hide in every document.

The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. However, the nature of the private information encoded in each document was not previously known.

"We've found that the dots from at least one line of printers encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the serial number of the printer," said EFF Staff Technologist Seth David Schoen.

"Underground democracy movements that produce political or religious pamphlets and flyers, like the Russian samizdat of the 1980s, will always need the anonymity of simple paper documents, but this technology makes it easier for governments to find dissenters," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "Even worse, it shows how the government and private industry make backroom deals to weaken our privacy by compromising everyday equipment like printers. The logical next question is: what other deals have been or are being made to ensure that our technology rats on us?"

I mean, Double-you Tee Eff? It comes from places you'd never even expect! Who'd expect this? Gosh d-d-dang it! What if Thomas Paine had had a Xerox? It's the insidiousness of this that angers me, the complicity of these companies to participate in something so undemocratic; their shortsightedness, not understanding (or not caring) how it compromises everyone for a long while to come. Bah, forget it. And don't print this out.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Part of the Problem 


Boy have I been actively avoiding any articles having to do with the Avian flu. I don't want to know very much about it, where it is, how it works. In this regard, I'm definitely not part of the solution. Which only leaves one option.

Yes, I'm part of the problem.

Call me old fashioned, but I'm the kind of guy who'd rather be surprised by a sudden and violent plague. What good will it do us to fret and worry about the next catastrophe if there's nothing we can do about it, anyway? No, I'd rather obsess over the petty, political wranglings of petty, political people. At least I have a grasp on this, being a person. And petty. These things seem within our control, as people, even if they're ultimately uncontrollable, steered, as it were, by the momentums of history. At least we can laugh at our own folly.

A disease the fells birds like some biblical curse, that ain't folly. That's the bitter retribution of Mother Nature. Or god. Either way, ain't much we can do about it.

Yes, it'd be nice if our government was more concerned and prepared. I'm sure there's some vaccine they can develop and give to us all, but let's be realistic: our jig is almost up. When the Big Thing comes, it's gonna come, and no amount of American ingenuity will be able to stop it.

So I'll continue to concern myself with the Giants loss and Plamegate and the overuse of CGI in studio films these days.

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If Only People Cared 


There's a new Downing Street memo, it seems, that, when paired with the other two, paints a picture of the grand designs BushCo and their partners at WorldDom Unlimited has for the greater middle east and the rest of the globe.
George Bush told the Prime Minister two months before the invasion of Iraq that Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea may also be dealt with over weapons of mass destruction, a top secret Downing Street memo shows.

The US President told Tony Blair, in a secret telephone conversation in January 2003 that he "wanted to go beyond Iraq".

The revelation that Mr Bush told the Prime Minister Iraq should be seen as a first step comes in the American edition of Lawless World, a book by the leading international lawyer Philippe Sands QC, who is also a professor of law at University College London and senior barrister at Matrix chambers, which he shares with Cherie Blair.

"The conversation seems to indicate that Iraq was not seen as an isolated issue but as a first step in relation to a broader project," he said. "What is interesting is the mention of Saudi Arabia, which to the best of my knowledge had not at that time been identified particularly as a country with WMD. An alternative view is that the mention of Saudi Arabia indicates that the true objectives were not related exclusively to WMD."

The only thing shocking to me about this is that people at such high levels of government within the UK and the US should be shocked. Are they that naive?

That aside, this memo, if taken to heart -- which, given BushCo's tendency to, you know, bomb the fuck out of people, it will most likely be -- should cause some angst in countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan; countries which, though dastardly, have been our allies, lending us their airspace and oil. Though the people at the very, very top always make out ok no matter what country they hail from, the governments under tham have cause for alarm, and this could very well prompt diplomatic indignation or worse. Just who did BushCo think was going to have our back? Only England, that tiny island in the North Atlantic that can barely handle Europe, never mind the rest of the world?

It just goes to show the dangerous arrogance this country has been ruled by these last five years. The good new is that as the bricks and mortar start falling, the real structure beneath comes to light. And it's not built on very sturdy ground.

Jesus, my poetry needs work...

(Found through DU.)

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Monday, October 17, 2005

What Are They Planning...? 


The US and the UK have long held a special relationship. Tony Blair bowed to it, hollow-eyed and vacant, when he helped invade Iraq. Sure, there are occasional differences on matters of the environment and affairs closer to Europe, but for the most part, it's been follow the leader.

Now it appears Blair is looking to birth a new generation of nuclear weapons in direct defiance of a longstanding policy of nonproliferation -- just like his stable jockeys here across the pond.
Tony Blair is facing a political backlash over his decision to order a new generation of nuclear weapons to replace the ageing Trident fleet at a cost of billions of pounds.

Rebel Labour MPs will meet tomorrow to coordinate their fight against his plans, which seem set to provoke one of the biggest shows of opposition to Mr Blair from inside his own party since the start of the Iraq war.

Opposition to an updated version of Trident goes far beyond MPs who object to nuclear weapons on principle. It includes senior figures in the military, who question whether this is the best way to spend a tight military budget.

With so much time and energy already invested in the End Game in Central Asia and the Middle East, and palpable trepidation about a rising China, it can only lead a paranoid observer like myself to wonder What Are They Planning?

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Funny Awesomeness 


Most of us have seen the Walken '08 web site (and many of us were fooled by it...) but, for the love of all things holy, why couldn't I have thought of this?!

(Through Eschaton.)


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Gutsy 


For a lot of reasons, I think Clint Eastwood kicks ass. (Mostly, all you have to do is watch Unforgiven to figure this out...) He's been involved in some of the best of American cinema, and as a director he's shown a restraint and meticulous care for the craft of filmmaking that a lot of modern movies lack.

Still, something tells me the guy is a Republican: his Dirty Harry movies, along with Charles Bronson's vigilante flicks, spoke to what was the beginning of the conservative rebirth here, a discontent with the government's inepititude, but also a fatigue for liberal sensitivity, defense attorneys, stagnant economies and a favortism toward the "underprivileged" at the cost of society's safety as a whole.

That said, he never puts his politics -- so far as I can tell -- into his movies. In fact, now it seems he's bending over backward to be as fair as possible.
Next fall, Clint Eastwood will simultaneously release two movies telling the story of the battle of Iwo Jima – one will be from the American perspective, and the other told from the Japanese perspective, TIME’s Richard Schickel reports in TIME’s What’s Next special issue (on newsstands Monday, Oct. 17).

Beginning next February, Clint Eastwood will start shooting the companion movie to Flags of Our Fathers, tentatively called Lamps Before the Wind. Typically, Eastwood is not able to articulate fully his rationale for this ambitious enterprise: “I don’t know—sometimes you get a feeling about something. You have a premonition that you can get something decent out of it,” he says. “You just have to trust your gut.”

And, yes. I am tired of WWII movies, triumphs of the human spirit and rah rah Americanism. I hope this will add a different flavor. At the very least it's ambitious as all hell, akin to the risks Steven Soderbergh is taking lately in hopes of reshaping the movie industry. (Of course, it doesn't hurt that Eastwood and the studios have two shots at pocketing change from this...)


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