Saturday, June 21, 2008

Submitted Without Comment

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A Community Service Announcment

image courtesy of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust, UK

If it's too good to be true . . . . it probably is.

For the record, the pattern of the fraud goes like this: criminal posts to Craigslists in several locations advertising some large ticket item, typically a laptop, and for some amount that's about 1/2 of what the item costs regularly. Respondents will then get an email that sweetens the pot a bit more while mentioning that, "he's a US resident in Britain, but needs to sell the [item] as soon as possible, and to an American because of [pseudo-legal reasons]." The next email posits the target that they'll use UK shipper TNT ( who will do intermediary escrow for person-to-person sales involving shipping. (link)

TNT, by the way, is a real, legitimate business with a great reputation in Europe, and I think it's the Dutch state postal service as well.

Where the fraud occurs is when the criminal then sends 'proof' of receipt of the [item] and then instructs the buyer to send the payment via Western Union. TNT doesn't use Western Union. Kiss your money buh bye!

It's a shame this human piece of filth (or his gang of filth) still walk around alive and unmolested, or at the very least without several fellow convicts threatening their health and liberty.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Dammit, Dammit, Dammit

Full list of capitulators here.

If you have not yet called your Representative and two Senators, please do so now. We have the slimmest possibility of a successful filibuster in the Senate...the slim prospect swells a little with every call to the Senate supporting it.

Greenwald's excellent rundown is well worth the read.

Wired has a fantastic article up as well as links to historical articles on the danger of this bill.

And, as always, Firedoglake is on top of it.

Telecom Immunity - Retroactive Immunity - is such a travesty. I was listening to the call-ins on the SPAN after the vote. Only one caller, out of about 10, Democrat and Republican, supported this vote. Of course, in his heavy southern accent, he pleaded with all of the ignorant callers to "remember 9/11 and the terrists!"

This Country does not support the destruction of our Constitution; the Congress members who underestimate the public's knowledge of what they are doing will be sorry in the fall.

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She's writing.

After everything: after the Sieges, after the Reunion, after the walls between Wheel and Wood have come down; after Tree-Dancer, there is only the Song-Keeper.

Step through the tree-line. Enter her world.

She's waiting for you.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

My New Crush

My first exposure to CBS reporter Lara Logan came about six months before I deployed. Amidst a sea of accomplices, this lone, unassuming war correspondent stood up, eyes flashing, to cable-news gasbag Howie Kurtz and put the media narrative on Iraq back in its place--on the Fiction shelf.

Now, some two years later, Ms. Logan has gone onto the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and delivered another hard right to the chin of America's cable news institutions. Plus, she offers tips on how to endear yourself to soldiers (insert author's swoon here).

Lara Logan, ladies and gentleman. Smart. Competent. Passionate. Professional. And SMOKING FUCKING HOT. Lonely progressive wonks everywhere, compose yourselves.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fear (of the Media) & Loathing (of the Government)

First, the loathing: Wikileaks has a shocking little governmental document - the US Special Forces Counter-Insurgency Manual. (via Jonathan Schwarz) It's chock full of the worst we've learned in Central America and other nations about suppressing the citizenry in favor of the 'Democratically Elected Governments' we support. Many of the lessons seem to have influenced our strategies and actions domestically post-911 and in occupied Iraq.

Iran-Contra: the mistake that keeps on giving, and in harmony with every wrong thing learned from Vietnam. It's just one more reason for me to despise Ed Muskie.

And now the fear - Politico has an article up that aims to scare the crap out of Democrats and the record numbers of independents supporting Obama. (via Pandagon) "Obama could pull a Gore 2000!" Nevermind that it's bloody unlikely right now.

Even though it's unlikely presntly, in a way, I'd like to see Politico's prediction have some real result in November. Because maybe it’d finally kill the goddamn Electoral College and drive states to reform Constitution in significant ways to reflect that we’re in the 21st Century. And with an EC reform or outright removal, the primary system is likely to get some much-needed reform as well.

2000 had batches of pundits and talking heads talking up the Electoral College and how it makes it possible to have a popular vote winner and EC vote winner, before that fateful Tuesday in November. The polling informed the Media and campaigns of how tight it could be in the days prior. And shenanigans and voter confusion simply made it even more uncertain.

But we’re months out now. Split electoral decisions right now are nothing but fear-mongering and the Media’s desire to create a perception of a tight race for news headlines.

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Two new links

New stuff on the left hand side:

Dennis Perrin - You want an angry, contrary liberal? You got him and then some. Pragmatic, really living the difficult Nickeled-and-Dimed life, and funny as hell.

Rising Hegemon - just because I still love Dr. Atta J. Turk and he's even better about keeping his location secret than Darth Cheney.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oh, People, Where Art Thou?

Personally, I was selling some stuff on eBay.

Much of th' rest of the progressive blogosphere hasn't been terribly engaging for me for the last couple of weeks. Last week, I was keepin' an eye on the local water table. Doing just fine, thankyewnotverymuch, Mr Bush and you boobs at FEMA, but really, we never had too many problems compared to the rest of Iowa. And certainly nothing like China, which is still smarting from that earthquake to boot.

I mean, really, the most engaging thing politically to me has been that He-Of-The-Voice got hitched. Barry White may have been an aphrodisiac to millions of couples (and groups) around the world, James Earl Jones may have been the stuff of GenX nightmares as small children, but I grew up thinking the best bad-ass voice in TV was George Takei.

Occasionally I've pushed some technical stuff at our 6 readers - my favorite Internet browser just pushed out a new version today. Unfortunately, my favorite add-on for Firefox, Google's Browser Sync, hasn't been updated so it works with Firefox v.3.

My eBaying has also been technical. I've been getting rid of a huge freaking mistake of a notebook computer plus some other hardware, and will be buying a MacBook after all the cash clears the various banks. Why? I like OSX; I can install WinXP in BootCamp (or Parallels); a MacBook doesn't have a pile of godforsaken drivers cluttering memory; and I hate Vista.

I've hated Microsoft operating systems before, Windows Millenium was a big steaming pile of code, but Vista is evil. Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 evil. I think we forgot how bad Win95 was - it took a full revision version (Windows 98), a complete redesign of the Intel processor architecture (Pentium), a geometric adoption of supporting hardware standards, and finally the creation of the Win32 kernel in Windows 2000 before Windows as we know it became not a hell, but something worth apathy or bland acceptance in the part of the average computer user.

Vista has been mostly stable since release, moreso than Windows 95 ever even dreamed, but the system is an absolute pig for resources, and that's an insult to pigs because even they don't eat nearly as much. It was like an SUV that got 2.5 miles to the gallon while having a performance of a 2 cylinder Yugo. I still have not personally seen a new notebook computer that boots into Vista faster than a crawl.

The notebook manufactures are partially to blame however - the laptop I just sold had 32 applications loading on startup to run all the doodads as well as the 'helper' apps designed to assist the less technically able. Even my wife's newish Acer, which I reloaded with XP, has a long drag of startup apps that are needed to make some things run right. Otherwise, you can't make the screen go to a projector or turn the WiFi on and off.

The simple message to computer manufacturers: make it run fast, from the switch, don't get in the user's way excessively and make everything you bundle in the computer work consistently with minimal hassle. For a while, just prior to Vista, we had that with XP, and it was glorious.

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