Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lieberman website was not hacked, it crashed.

Lieberman is a wanker for many other reasons than this. But people do love to blame the faceless, nameless hacker before they exhaust their own likely culpability for an incident so whether it is purely political or the IT blame-game, it's typical.

Media Matters - Media that reported Lieberman's hacking charge against Lamont supporters have yet to report FBI found "no evidence of (an) attack"
Summary: Despite having reported the allegation by Sen. Joe Lieberman's campaign that supporters of Ned Lamont had "hacked" Lieberman's campaign website, ABC, CNN, and CBS have yet to report that an FBI investigation reportedly found "no evidence of (an) attack." The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, reported on April 9 that an October 2006 FBI email indicated that the FBI had found Lieberman's website "crashed because Lieberman officials continually exceeded a configured limit of 100 e-mails per hour the night before the primary."

Friday, April 18, 2008

More opportunity to take progressive action

Moveon.org has a petition to media outlets to avoid a repeat of the recent ABC "news" "debate" which involved spending most of the time on inane "gotcha" kinds of topics and nothing on substantive issues. It was a horrid debate and was resoundly chided by most all critics.

"Debate moderators abuse the public trust every time they ask trivial questions about gaffes and 'gotchas' that only political insiders care about. Enough with the distractions--ABC and other networks must focus on issues that affect people's daily lives."

sign the petition to ABC and other media outlets and pass it on to friends who are also fed up

Also, John Conyers has a petition that you can use to notify your representatives in the senate to urge them to support the House version of the FISA bill that does not have immunity provisions for telecoms in it:

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a strong and balanced FISA bill, legislation that protects America’s national security while defending civil liberties – without granting retroactive immunity to phone companies. Retroactive immunity would abet the Bush-Cheney Administration’s efforts to avoid accountability for its actions.

Urge the Senate to support the House’s strong and balanced FISA bill – forward an email to your Senators now!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Progressive democratic outrage

I was incensed when the democratic senate passed the horrid FISA bill. It's good that congress is actually standing up for what is good though and holding a tough line. I just wish the senate would get on board and at least do something, even if it will be vetoed.

And this frustration can be seen in what I wrote for the democratic petition to impeach Bush and Cheney for torture:

Progressives like me around the country are tired of the do-nothing democratic congress continuing to let these atrocities go unchallenged and unpunished. What does an administration have to do these days to be held accountable? Torture? I guess they get a pass on that. Spying on Americans? Guess not that either. Holding citizens and others without Habeas Corpus protections or any due process? Nope on that account as well. We can only hope that Bush will get caught in some prostitution or sex scandal so that he might have some chance of being impeached I guess.

Get it together Democrats! Take a stand to protect what this country stands for--as embodied in our constitution. Stop being the party of the spineless trash-talkers and do something active protect the constitution and our freedoms before they are gone forever.

Join me and sign the petition. Reminds me of a funny but sad bumper sticker I saw that said, "Will somebody blow this guy so we can impeach him?" with a picture of George W. Bush.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Climate denier high school textbook clumsily defended by publisher Houghton Mifflin

Think Progress » Blog Archive » Houghton Mifflin offers misleading defense for climate-denier high school textbook.
Houghton Mifflin issued this statement in response to the growing controversy: 
The authors do not provide a history of global warming; rather they use the issue to illustrate “entrepreneurial politics.” As part of this illustration, the book cites a wide range of sources, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore. Late last year, we released the 11th edition of “American Government,” which included some revisions to the “entrepreneurial politics” section. These revisions reflect current developments in environmental policy research.
Also, follow the link for a point-by-point debunking of the Houghton statement. Ugly anti-science. These guys are pitting climate change "skeptics" (aka deniers) on par with the consensus of scientific opinion on the matter. Typical ploy where a denier tries to make equivalent a small sect of skeptical voices against the tide of a scientific consensus on an issue as if there is equal weight.

Bill Kristol: consistently wrong

This is a great quote that sums up Kristol:
William “The Bloody” Kristol who apparently thinks that enthusiastic consistency makes up for being 100% wrong on about everything he says.
And two other favorites are:

"Oh, Bill Kristol, are you ever right? -- John Stewart

"the first to be wrong about WMD in Iraq in 1997" -- John Stewart

Crooks and Liars » FOXNews Sunday: Bill Kristol Says Iraq is “Good” for McCain; Williams Says Kristol “Strains Credibility”

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

10 home security tips

A pretty good list to keep in mind for securing your house.

I would also avoid keeping curtains open with a direct view into what kind of expensive stuff you have waiting inside. I've seen many a house these days with nice LCD or plasma TVs in the living room visible from the front door...

One of the best home security tips is to get to know your neighbors so you can watch out for each other.

10 Quick Security Tips @ Burglary Prevention Council

Monday, April 7, 2008

2008 ISSA Northwest Regional Security Conference - April 23rd

Sign up for the cheap and excellent 2008 ISSA Northwest Regional Security Conference. It is going to be on April 23rd in the same location, the Olympia Red Lion hotel. You don't have to be an ISSA member to attend -- you just have to pay a tiny bit more. And did I mention there will be a hosted social hour afterward where you can get your mingle & drink on?

There will be an exciting and interesting keynote. Details will be published within the next 24 hours.

This is my 4th year on the conference planning committee, but my 1st year actually participating in the conference itself. I don't know if the website has been updated yet, but I'll be on the panel discussion "Aligning Security with Business Strategy", which should be interesting. The other participants are consultants and one government CIO so there should be some diverse opinions. I'm going to be writing up my thoughts shortly.

I will also be publishing my criteria for how to select the most optimal speakers for a conference in case anyone else is planning to take part in a similar endeavor.

Hope to see you down at the conference!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dangers of publishing too much information about you online.

I am often surprised at how much information bloggers put about their daily activities online. I myself prefer to publish information about what I've done _after_ I get back to avoid blabbing to the world when I will be gone. And, I don't have my calendar publically-available either. Do you? How much do you leak out about yourself online?

Death by Google Calendar: How I Identified you to rob you

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Copy Protection Sucks

Okay, I've got an Xbox Media Center setup and have found that some new DVDs, namely Rendition (2007), simply will not play in my XBMC. And, it causes VLC to crash. Windows media player hangs after the previews.

But, it will play just fine in Cowon's excellent JetAudio software.

Turns out it's because of some ill-conceived new copy protection that appears designed to thwart software-based DVD players (and presumably rippers).

However, the company is only ironically _forcing_ people to rip the DVD just to play it because the copy protection won't allow software-based players (and possibly many hardware-based ones as well) to play the DVD at all.

DVDFab Decryptor + DVDShrink + Auto Gordian Knot to the rescue.

Comparing Obama vs. Clinton

There are significant differences. Here are some key ones that made me a supporter (and precinct delegate) of Obama:

On civil liberties. I was incensed that Clinton not only missed the vote on the FISA reauthorization bill that passed the senate, but that she made no attempt to lead against it at all beforehand. Obama, OTOH, did not vote but spoke out against it.

LCV ranks Obama higher on the environment I do wish that he would be more aggressive in some positions, such as pushing for doubling fuel economy standards far sooner than within 18 years as he has pledged. But I know this has been a big issue for the big auto lobbyists, which is why fuel standards haven't changed since the 90s so this is probably a starting point at least for negotiations.

Barack Obama vs. Hillary Clinton Records on Transparency, Lobbyists, and Ethics For every item considered, Obama either Ties Clinton or comes out on top. Some highlights:

  • Released his tax returns. Clinton has not.

  • Released the names of all campaign contribution bundlers -- regardless of funding level

  • Disclosed congressional earmarks

  • Co-sponsored campaign finance reform legislation

  • Takes no washington lobbyist contributions

Obama's healthcare plan will likely end up insuring more people, even though Clinton's takes a heavy-handed approach of mandatory participation (which I only support if it is a single-payer system). Also see Jonathan Alter's excellent and compelling piece on how Obama's plan is the right one for the times.

Obama on foreign policy. He has made clear that he would meet without preconditions with foreign leaders because he believes, as I do, that talking to your friends and adversaries is how you resolve conflict. Shunning foreign powers or holding out for our conditions, as with North Korea, didn't even last as an approach in the Bush Administration. And for good reason. It's not good policy but that's what Clinton will continue.

Clinton also voted for the Iran amendment that categorized the Iranian guard as a terrorist organization, which also goes against the notion of diplomacy. This vote was opposed by Obama and others.

Clinton voted for the Iraq war and has never apologized for it, although in a later debate came close by admitting it was a mistake.

Obama on technology innovation. Clinton didn't even seem to know that Obama had actually already gotten legislation passed that enabled searching online congressional records when she talked about how great that would be in a speech. And Obama is explicitly pro-net-neutrality. I wish he had put forth a more aggressive (than his pledged $15 billion/year) Manhattan-project-like initiative for alternative energy / energy independence but he is a big supporter of this.

Obama is also explicitly against consolidation of media ownership, which has corrupted the news and information available to Americans.

Other vote differences:
Clinton-Obama differences clear in senate votes
Great blog entry comparing each on various positions

Campaign tactics: Obama has run a very smart campaign. He has not made the mistakes of John Kerry and immediately and strongly addresses false information and false criticisms from the media and opponents.
Clinton must have some really poor advisors since she has resorted to some tactics that are hurting the Democratic party by bolstering the Republican candidate's resume over Obama's.