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Not U-2?

They still have those things? They can still fly? Well, yes, and yes, but it's not the Soviets and the Chinese they are spying on now:

America under surveillance
Granted new power to spy inside the U.S., the Bush administration may be doing more than eavesdropping on phone calls -- it could be watching suspects' every move.
By Tim Shorrock
[Salon]

Aug. 9, 2007 | In the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 1, 2005, a U-2 surveillance aircraft known as the Dragon Lady lifted off the runway at Beale Air Force Base in California, the home of the U.S. Air Force 9th Reconnaissance Wing and one of the most important outposts in the U.S. intelligence world. Originally built in secret by Lockheed Corp. for the Central Intelligence Agency, the U-2 has provided some of the most sensitive intelligence available to the U.S. government, including thousands of photographs of Soviet and Chinese military bases, North Korean nuclear sites, and war zones from Afghanistan to Iraq.

But the aircraft that took off that September morning wasn't headed overseas to spy on America's enemies. Instead, for the next six hours it flew directly over the U.S. Gulf Coast, capturing hundreds of high-resolution images as Hurricane Katrina, one of the largest storms of the past century, slammed into New Orleans and the surrounding region.

The U-2 photos were matched against satellite imagery captured during and after the disaster by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Relatively unknown to the public, the NGA was first organized in 1996 from the imagery and mapping divisions of the CIA, the Department of Defense and the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency that builds and maintains the nation's fleet of spy satellites. In 2003, the NGA was formally inaugurated as a combat support agency of the Pentagon. It is responsible for supplying overhead imagery and mapping tools to the military, the CIA and other intelligence agencies -- including the National Security Agency, whose wide- reaching, extrajudicial spying inside the United States under the Bush administration has been a heated political issue since first coming to light in the media nearly two years ago.

The NGA's role in Hurricane Katrina has received little attention outside of a few military and space industry publications. But the agency's close working relationship with the NSA -- whose powers to spy domestically were just expanded with new legislation from Congress -- raises the distinct possibility that the U.S. government could be doing far more than secretly listening in on phone calls as it targets and tracks individuals inside the United States. With the additional capabilities of the NGA and the use of other cutting-edge technologies, the government could also conceivably be following the movements of those individuals minute by minute, watching a person depart from a mosque in, say, Lodi, Calif., or drive a car from Chicago to Detroit.

     ...

Found via Charles2, on whose thread I suggested we all raise our middle fingers skyward on sunny days as a salute to those who keep us safe from privacy.

Steve
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Fox News Hacks Wikipedia

Specifically, they hacked Al Franken's entry. Here's Matt Stoller:

There's a new tool out there that lets you search the destination IP addresses for people editing wikipedia entries. Arthur Bergman found that folks at Fox News's IP address were editing Al Franken's entry. Apparently, Fox News propagandists deleted Franken's statement that Fox News's legal case against Franken was ""literally laughed out of court" and that "wholly (holy) without merit" is a good characterization of Fox News itself." The Fox News users also added a 'liberal' adjective when characterizing the NPR show 'Fresh Air'.

There are two takeaways here. One, though I'm sure that bloggers and the internet generically will somehow be blamed for vitriol and this very episode, let's remember that unethical stuff done on the internet can be done by journalists or propagandists at media organs like Fox News as easily as it can be done by bloggers. We got a lot of shit for 'hacking' Lieberman's web site the day of the primary, simply because we write for a web-only audience. That's beyond stupid. And two, Fox is an advocacy organization that works against Democrats and seeks undermines legitimate news outlets.

     ...

I just checked Franken's entry. The quote about Fox News has been restored. "Liberal" is now applied to Franken's political views, which I find unobjectionable.

This is of course not the first time a corporation or politician has modified a Wikipedia entry. Some are repeat offenders; it's not a whim, it's a staff assignment. But it's the first time I can think of that an alleged news organization has attempted to vandalize a wiki about a political candidate, apparently to prevent the public from learning what the candidate said about the alleged news organization. One expects misinformation and disinformation from Fox, but actual removal of information is a new low. At least one branch of the Fox multimegacorp uses the broadcast airwaves: should someone be investigating possible violations of the terms of their license?

(H/T ellroon.)

Steve
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Gonzo May Become 'Death Czar' -- UPDATED

UPDATE: Paul Kiel of TPMMuckraker.com writes at length about the firing of U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton for "insubordination" when Charlton sought a few minutes of Gonzales's time to persuade Gonzales that his order to seek the death penalty in a case in which the evidence was adequate to conviction but not (in Charlton's opinion) adequate to the death penalty... and was denied an opportunity to speak to Gonzales about the matter.

Meanwhile, the Senate weighs in against immediate implementation of the Justice Department rules giving Gonzales more authority to speed up executions.

Gonzales, like his boss, like so many other officials in this administration, likes killing people. It's their preferred solution to just about any problem. Think about that. Whatever your feelings on the death penalty, do you believe it should be the first resort in all cases? Gonzales does. Bush does. No man (and in Bush's case, "no woman")... no problem. Think about where that attitude leads. It isn't just politics as usual when the AG has the power to intervene in not only federal but also state proceedings in matters of life and death.

(Original post follows.)


Just when you think the administration can't get any more authoritarian...

Via Huffington Post, from LA Times:

Gonzales could get say in states' executions
Proposed rules would let the attorney general sign off on 'fast tracking' death penalty appeals.
By Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 14, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is putting the final touches on regulations that could give Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales important new sway over death penalty cases in California and other states, including the power to shorten the time that death row inmates have to appeal convictions to federal courts.

The rules implement a little-noticed provision in last year's reauthorization of the Patriot Act that gives the attorney general the power to decide whether individual states are providing adequate counsel for defendants in death penalty cases. The authority has been held by federal judges.

Under the rules now being prepared, if a state requested it and Gonzales agreed, prosecutors could use "fast track" procedures that could shave years off the time that a death row inmate has to appeal to the federal courts after conviction in a state court.

The move to shorten the appeals process and effectively speed up executions comes at a time of growing national concern about the fairness of the death penalty, underscored by the use of DNA testing to establish the innocence of more than a dozen death row inmates in recent years.

     ...

Regular readers know I oppose the death penalty under all circumstances. But what has that to do with this? Should the nation's Attorney General be able to interfere directly with a state's implementation of the appeals process for Death Row inmates? Where's the justice in that?

Alan Berlow wrote an article in The Atlantic in 2003 about Gonzales's treatment of clemency requests by condemned prisoners to be ruled upon by Bush. Here is the summary paragraph at the head of that article (emphasis mine):

As the legal counsel to Texas Governor George W. Bush, Alberto R. Gonzales—now the White House counsel, and widely regarded as a likely future Supreme Court nominee—prepared fifty-seven confidential death-penalty memoranda for Bush's review. Never before discussed publicly, the memoranda suggest that Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise Bush of some of the most salient issues in the cases at hand.

Clemency is a last-ditch effort in a case in which an inmate's appeals process has been exhausted... and Alberto Gonzales was willing to cheat in what he submitted to then-Governor Bush to assure that Bush denied clemency.

This is not one of my occasional appeals (pardon the unavoidable pun) for a moratorium on the death penalty; I am sure I shall write one of those soon enough. For the moment, I ask only that this most serious of judicial processes... the one that condemns a person to death and, through appeals, validates the legal propriety of the due process leading to that condemnation... not be tampered with by an Executive branch official known for his history of malfeasance regarding condemned persons. In my opinion, the "hanging judges" of the Wild West could do no worse than Alberto Gonzales.

Steve
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Shot Fired At KPFT

I missed this one yesterday. Via 'stina, we found a Chron article about a shot fired through a window at Houston's Pacifica radio station KPFT:

A bullet blasted through a Plexiglas window at KPFT radio early this morning, missing a woman's head by about 18 inches, said general manager Duane Bradley.

The bullet was fired while another staff member was talking to three people at the station's front door, about 12 feet from the smashed window, Bradley said. The station is located in the 400 block of Lovett.

No one was injured in the shooting, Bradley said.

Bradley said the sometimes-controversial station airs blues, folk and other types of music as well as "alternative" programming about gay and lesbian issues and a program geared toward Texas prison inmates and their families.

But he said programming logs indicated no hot-button topics in the hours before the bullet struck the station's window at about 1 a.m. today.

     ...

Bradley said Mary Thomas, the programmer who came close to being hit by the bullet, was not engaged in any controversial on-air activity at the time.

     ...

So it has come to this again. That is really bad news. Back in my college days, KPFT was literally dynamited off the air... twice... presumably by people who disapproved of its content. The station's antenna, not located with the studio, was hit; I've heard it is now located in a place not quite so accessible as it was then. Arlo Guthrie came to sing at the fundraiser to replace the antenna; I remember hearing him sing, to the tune of a familiar spiritual, "You get bombed... I get bombed... All God's chillun' get bombed." Yeah, Arlo had a crazy sense of humor; so do I.

Will someone explain to me how Pacifica's programming is "sometimes-controversial" according to the local rag, but Limbaugh and the local equivalents on other stations are never remarked upon as controversial? Advocacy of peace is controversial; advocacy of war and murder is not? Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now!" is controversial compared to, say, Michael Savage? C'mon, gimme a break!

People who bomb or shoot at their neighbors and their neighbors' property are indeed noncontroversial in my book: they are noncontroversially criminals.

Steve
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Believe It When You See It -- UPDATED

UPDATE: Best headline I've seen is from Spiegel:

BUSH LOSES BRAIN

Hmm. You can't lose what you never had...

(Original post follows.)


Rove going? Yeah, right. NYT:

     ...

In an interview published this morning in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Rove said, “I just think it’s time,” adding, “There’s always something that can keep you here, and as much as I’d like to be here, I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family.”

Mr. Rove said he had first considered leaving a year ago but stayed after his party lost the crucial midterm elections last fall, which put Congress in Democratic hands, and as Mr. Bush’s problems mounted in Iraq and in his pursuit of a new immigration policy.

He said his hand was forced now when the White House chief of staff, Joshua B. Bolten, recently told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day he would expect them to stay through the rest of Mr. Bush’s term.

     ...

He's going to "do this for the sake of [his] family"? Thanks; I needed a good laugh this morning.

I don't have a lot to say about this that isn't obvious:

  • As long as Rove is on this Earth, we'd better keep a close watch on him. I don't believe his resignation is credible; he's just getting out of sight. And... d'ya think AT&T could spare one of those wiretaps for his home phone?
  • He "stayed after his party lost the crucial midterm elections"? Will no one refer to his part in that loss?
  • Now that he's no longer even arguably part of the Executive branch, how will that "executive privilege" shtick apply? Can we haul him before the Judiciary committees now?
  • What deserts a sinking ship? and in this case, is the question an insult to rats?

Oh, and there's this:

He said he intended to write a book, which had been encouraged by “the boss,” and eventually to teach.

May he and his students all wear wide horizontal stripes.

Don't expect any sympathy from me for Rove or anyone involved with him. Rove can go to hell.

Steve
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Baghdad Berto

Jeralyn reminds us that Alberto Gonzales is in Baghdad, supposedly helping the Iraqi government [sic] in building a legal system for the country.

In turn, let me remind everyone that few Americans would miss Gonzo if he decided to stay there. Even Mr. Bush might find some aspects of such an absquatulation convenient.

That is all.

Steve
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The Look Of Texas Politics



Last night, Stella and I were invited to join a group of friends for pizza and a movie at the home of one of the friends. A good time was had by all. The organizer of the gathering was kind enough to give me permission to post this picture of the back of her car. Look well: the face of Texas politics is changing, and you'll be seeing more of this. If you know anyone who thinks Texas is a monolithically "red" state, please point them to this post.

All the candidate stickers are from campaigns by local Democrats from "my" side of the party, the kind of candidates who give me some hope in these awful times. Here's what is noteworthy: the last time around, one of them actually won. As to the other stickers, I believe "War is not the answer," "We are all family / We all have value," and "Eat your Veggies" are self-explanatory... as is "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS / IMPEACH BUSH-CHENEY."

(Thanks, D!)

Steve
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Saturday Signs

Once again it isn't really a sign; it's a slip inserted into a package containing a wire-frame webbed laundry hamper. A warning was most definitely needed, but the last line break could lead to a parsing of the text that had disastrous consequences:



Happily, I did NOT "face while opening" ...

Steve
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Pearl Jamming

I'm not going to make a big speech about net neutrality; if you don't understand why it is essential to internet freedom by now, you never will. But the blatant censorship of political content by AT&T, an incident which is, by AT&T's own admission, not the first case in which they've censored a band, is an object lesson: we can expect much more of this if we allow telcos and telecoms to treat content in a discriminatory fashion.

First, Bush administration flunkies tampered with scientific reports before publication. Now, employees within AT&T... call them censors; there's no other accurate word for it... are revising performances, presumably to the Bush administration's liking, if not actually to their specifications.

Pearl Jam has decided not to submit quietly. Good for them. Good for us, too.

Remember that late Sixties movie, The President's Analyst? Remember who the bad guys were? Right... The Phone Company. Who is better positioned to spy on your telephone conversations, email, etc. on behalf of elements of The Government than The Phone Company. Now, some part of The Phone Company has decided to enforce a sort of Bushist political correctness on the artists you view and hear.

Draw your own conclusions about what is going on. Are you happy with what you've concluded?

Steve
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Do You Feel A Draft?

Remember this?



Well, read and listen to this:

In an interview with NPR, the White House’s “war czar” Gen. Doug Lute said that “it makes sense to certainly consider” a military draft. “I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table, but ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation’s security by one means or another.”

Young man, bend over, here it comes again. And not in a good way. And not for a good reason. Your life will be tossed away as casually as Bush pours out cold coffee after breakfast. Actually, Bush has someone to pour out that coffee for him; just as surely, he has someone to waste your life, so that he never has to think about it.

Military service is an honorable occupation. It is also a professional skill set, requiring all the training, practice and experience the word "professional" implies. However noble you may think the idea of having every able-bodied citizen participate in the nation's defense, however much the idea of shared sacrifice appeals to you, a military draft will throw a spanner in the works of our all-volunteer professional armed forces. Believe me, they don't need more burdens than Messrs. Bush and Cheney have already placed upon them.

And for what? Are terrorists coming over the borders in hordes? Look quickly; are they under your beds? Is a massive invasion of the U.S. occurring, one that would justify sucking up an entire generation of our young people, providing them scant training and inadequate equipment, and sending them out to die? Even if such an invasion of the U.S. were imminent, could draftees stop it? The spirit might be willing, but the flesh could be very weak indeed.

No, this is not about saving the homeland. This is about covering Bush's and Cheney's asses... and satisfying Bush's deeply perverted need to inflict suffering and death... and satisfying Cheney's craving for power and money.

And of course if there is a draft at some point, the preznit's and veep's children will be spared induction. The notion that a draft, under current circumstances, would result in a fairer distribution of the burden of service is simply not credible in the real world. Right now, poor kids sign up; rich kids stay home. Under a draft, poor kids would be conscripted... and rich kids, with access to good lawyers and good connections, would stay home. Like Cheney, they would have "other priorities." Like Mitt's kids, they would serve the nation by serving their favorite GOP candidates.

If this comes before Congress, I urge you to do everything in your power to convince them to put a stop to it. Just as no reasonable person expects Bush and Cheney to use warrantless spying powers responsibly now that Congress has so foolishly given away that store, if a draft is put in place, these evil men will continue pursuing ill-advised, dangerous, discretionary wars... until America runs out of young people to draft. It's up to you to stop the madness.

Steve
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Nature, Red In Tooth And Claw

... and horn, and hoof, and scales.

This has to be one of the most amazing wildlife videos of all time, amateur though it may be.

Steve
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Harry Potter And The Chinese Fanfic

Just what this is doing in the New York Times, I have no idea... but the eight examples are quite amusing.

Steve
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More Commentary On FISA Changes

While I wait for my client to revise some assignments, I've been reading... big surprise, eh? Here are some things I found today, as well as some I missed earlier, about the "Protect America Act":

  • Warrantless Surrender, said the Washington Post in an editorial a few days ago. That's putting it mildly, but getting any reaction of this sort from the WaPo should tell us how really, really dangerous this law is.

  • John Dean discusses the dangers to civil liberties in considerable detail, as well as the political perils to the Democratic Party:

    If the Democrats fail to stand up to the bullying of this weak president, and ignore his demands for more unaccountability, they might as well start looking for another line of work. Not only are their fellow rank and file Democrats going to turn on them in 2008, but the overwhelming numbers of independents who assisted them in regaining power are going to desert them in droves.

    At bottom, Democrats truly only need to add one fix to this dangerous law: meaningful accountability. They must do so, or face the consequences.

    He's certainly got that right.

  • Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! interviews Glenn Greenwald and Marjorie Kohn about the PAA. Essential viewing. (If you are an avoider of Real Player, as I admit I am, you can find a YouTube version here.)

  • Marty Lederman of Balkinization uses information made available to Orin Kerr by an anonymous "White House official" about the meanings of the terms "directed at" and "targeting" in the PAA and other intelligence-related laws, including FISA itself. Lederman has concerns that the use of a new term may be an attempt to include people not previously authorized for surveillance, particularly individuals in the U.S. who are simply engaged in ordinary communication with people who live in other countries.

  • Glenn Greenwald, in Salon, has several posts on the subject, including texts from interviews with Sen. Chris Dodd, both the one at Yearly Kos and some of Greenwald's own follow-ups. Start here (written near the time the House passed PAA) and work your way forward.

  • The new law is about to get its first legal challenge, by lawyers for Guantanamo detainees and the Center for Constitutional Rights, among others. I don't have much hope about the outcomes, but there's no time like the present to begin challenging this almost certainly unconstitutional law.

Here's hoping your portfolio is surviving. I haven't even had the nerve to look. Most of my investments are of the so-called "socially responsible" kind; there's no historical consistency on whether they do worse or better in a market crisis than your typical investments, but at this moment, I just don't want to know. I know people who will house and feed me if necessary.

And now I need to install some source code version control software called (no kidding; I couldn't make this up if I tried) Subversion. So if anyone asks you what Steve Bates is up to today, you can accurately answer, "Subversion." Do you think anyone will be surprised?

Steve
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Friday Bad Habits Blogging

It is very important to teach your cats bad habits. Where else will they acquire them, if not from you?



Off topic... as I had hoped, I do indeed have a bit of work to do. Blogging should continue, possibly at a reduced pace.

Steve
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Mad Cracks Me Up

... with this one.

Steve
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Bush And The Dead Dog



Steve
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Many Things, Mostly FISA

Here are some things I read...

  • Michael Bérubé returns from blog silence to offer a stock speech for congressional Democrats to use when confronted with demands from White House supporters to compromise constitutionally mandated civil liberties.
  • Marty Lederman points out that some parts of the "Protect America Act of 2007" (the FISA modifications) allow the AG to extend the powers beyond six months, to at least a year. (CORRECTION thanks to Bryan of Why Now: the extension by the AG can be a year itself, so that consequences of the law can extend 18 months in all. This means it could still be in place after the next presidency begins.)
  • Mike Huckabee (R-Almost Reasonable) says the GOP must stop acting like the party of the wealthy. Um, Mike, who's gonna make 'em? You and, um, what army?
  • Rovemort and the Sorcerer's Stonewall... 'nuff said.
  • Jeralyn reminds us that this is not the first effort by a presidential administration to spy on us. Last time, it wasn't a Republican. But last time, conservatives put a stop to it. Where are those self-proclaimed "conservatives" now? Right... in Bush's back pocket. Hypocrites!
  • Avedon examines the relationship of trust and power regarding AG AG, Hillary and the DLC, etc.

Steve
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Norton Futilities Redux -- UPDATED

UPDATE: Mr. Powledge has written me another extended email, which I will not republish, because this is primarily a political blog, and I have other uses for the real estate. But I have to say he makes good arguments, with particulars, that Symantec is trying seriously to address the issues I raised. I do not wish to effectively advertise a product with which I am at present dissatisfied, but if anyone wishes to see the additional information Powledge provides, I'll be happy to forward the email.

(Original post follows.)


A truly amazing thing happened: someone purporting to be a VP for product management at Symantec (and I have no real reason to doubt his identity) wrote me an email in response to my earlier post regarding Symantec Norton Antivirus. Here is his email, followed by my reply:

Mr. Bates,

I saw your post regarding your experience with Norton AntiVirus 2006. I’m sorry you had a problem with the software. We have significantly reduced the performance impact of the latest version of the software – Norton AntiVirus 2007. If you would like, I’d be happy to send you a copy of the software at my expense. In any event, if you have time, I’d like to speak with you about your decision to switch to another software provider. My phone number is below. If you would rather not take the time, no problem, I understand.

By the way, I was the Norton Utilities product manager back in the 90’s. So, the “Norton” spirit is still alive and well at Symantec.

Best Regards,
-Tom

----------------------------------------

Tom Powledge
VP, Product Management
Symantec Corporation
Office: (310) xxx-xxxx
Mobile: (818) xxx-xxxx

Here's my reply:

Dear Mr. Powledge:

With due respect, and with thanks for your concern (better late than never), by way of my significant other (who appears as Stella on the blog), I have direct experience with Norton AntiVirus 2007. If there is a substantial performance improvement, I cannot find it: while her computer is newer and faster than mine (having been purchased for use in video editing), subjectively, Norton A/V 2007 appears to impose about the same relative performance penalty as Norton A/V 2006 did on my computer.

There is also the matter of service:

  • Five years ago, upgrading the then current NAV on my old Win 98 machine wrought havoc on the system. NAV's fault? I don't know; perhaps not. But it took a lot of tinkering to get the computer back to a usable condition. If I recall correctly, your web site helpfully advised me to reinstall everything.

  • Three years ago, there was a problem on a Win XP machine, something to do with logging into a Symantec account that didn't even exist when I purchased NAV for that machine.

  • Two years ago, after I had gone through the entire online renewal process on that machine, after my credit card was charged and I was provided whatever was required to download the new version, the download was repeatedly refused. Finding a phone number to contact Symantec was not as straightforward as looking on your web site. When I finally found the number, your representative was indeed helpful, manually tweaking the account from her end so that I could receive the download and upgrade the product.

  • Once I made the decision to uninstall NAV from my laptop, I visited the page of instructions on the Symantec web site. One early step was to acquire the product key from my account. I managed to open NAV, click the link to open my account, remember my password (!), and request the product key. Several times in a row, a server error prevented my getting the key. Finally, I dug through my notes in Outlook, and found the key. It's a good thing I keep good records... but wouldn't it be better if your company did the same? As it turned out, the key is necessary only if one wishes to reinstall the product. How likely do you think that is?

Then there's the noisiness. NAV placed not one but two icons in the notification bar, and that's after I managed to reverse its attempt to place a huge icon in the taskbar itself. NAV popped a notification for every damned little thing, and there didn't appear to be a way to turn that off.

Finally, once a week, come hell or high water (and as a Houstonian, I know all about both), NAV ran its full system scan; I suppose I could have disabled it, but I got the impression it was a bad idea to do so. Oh, and in the latest renewal, NAV reset my rescheduling of the weekly scan, forcing it back to the middle of Friday evening... great, perhaps, for regular offices, but very inconvenient for a contractor like me, whose hours are anything but regular. It's hubris to reset people's selected options.

I am sorry, but it should not have to be that way.

My latest purchased desktop machine came with a 10-day trial version of a competitor's A/V, NOD32, preinstalled. I was pleased with its relatively quiet, noninvasive, trouble-free operation, and purchased a year's license. A few days ago, my laptop notified me that my NAV was up for renewal. I almost got up and danced with glee. The laptop now runs NOD32... even on that two-year-old, not particularly high-end machine, there is a noticeable performance improvement... and your product is now history in my shop. I will not say I'll never use it again... things change over time, and someday, NOD32 may go the way of NAV... but for now, I've moved on.

You mentioned you were the Norton Utilities project manager in the 90's. Thank you for your work on that product; several of my clients used it to good effect in their operations. I wish I felt as good about NAV in the past few years as I did about the Utilities back then.

Best regards,
Steve

Steve
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FISA: How It Might Have Happened

Jane Hamsher explains, following the substance of Matt Stoller's post at OpenLeft. Well worth a read. The short version: it was a full-blown procedural fuckup by the Democratic leadership. For the likes of that, we lose our constitutional rights for at least six months, and IMNSHO probably forever. Why wait for the movie when you can see the stage play: When Harry and Nancy Met George.

Damn it, Congress guyz 'n' galz, it's your fucking JOB to stop things like that.

Steve
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Norton Futilities

Well, not quite. It took me three or four hours to uninstall Symantec Norton Antivirus 2006 from my laptop, and replace it with NOD32. Granted, the problem was neither with the much criticized Norton Uninstaller, which happened to work fine, nor the NOD32 install CD, which also worked fine. So what was the problem?

What afflicts every human, beast and machine in the southern part of the nation these days? Right... HEAT. After about an hour's worth of downloading, uninstalling, etc., the laptop, which has a propensity to overheat anyway, reached a point at which the DVD-RW drive practically shook the table every time a read was attempted. A further attempt not only made ferocious noises; it crashed Windows. There was nothing for it but to put aside the effort, allow the machine to cool off thoroughly, set it back on the improvised stand that assists adequate heat dissipation (I used it all the time a year ago) and resume when it cooled off. If you did any lawn work today, you can sympathize with my poor laptop... sometimes, you just gotta stop and cool off.

NOD32 works as well as I had hoped in removing the performance penalty imposed by Symantec A/V. It is almost as if I had bought a new laptop: apps merely plod methodically, as opposed to moving at a snail's pace.

Off-topic: I may have a small amount... no, a tiny amount... of paid work in a couple of days. No certainties yet, but it could happen.

(The post title? Old-timers will remember Norton Utilities for MS-DOS. There's a modern descendant for Windows, but I try hard not to use such things any more than I absolutely have to.)

Steve
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Birthday Wishes... And Peace

... to blogger NTodd (that's his current peace blog; see also Dohiyi Mir), professional oboist and decades-long colleague JJ (sorry; she doesn't blog because she is too busy making music), and of course, me. Birthday wishes to any other peace-loving person who shares the day with us.

It's about time for another plunge into the dark waters of the history of this day, the day on which the first atomic bomb was inflicted in war on the entire population of a city, military personnel and civilians alike. For a summary of the important stuff, see my post from 2003, which emphasizes among other things Thomas Merton's deeply moving essay/poem, Original Child Bomb (as far as I can tell, it is not available online).

The atomic bombs deployed on Hiroshima 62 years ago today and on Nagasaki a few days later were the subject of one of the few disputes my late father and I regularly engaged in about W.W. II: he was convinced they were necessary, and that I would not have been born if they had not been dropped; I, not surprisingly, disagreed. In any case, the deeds were done, and the era of nuclear warfare, in all its fascinating, horrible and arguably immoral glory, was begun. I will conclude this post with this year's annual peace declaration from the Hiroshima Peace Site, but first I have a few words to offer (when do I ever not)...

I do not condone Japanese actions in W.W. II. The U.S. was the target of a devastating and completely unjustified attack at Pearl Harbor, and had every right to respond with a declaration of war... and to wage that war. I do not question that fact in the slightest. Whatever else I may say, whatever else I may advocate for or against, I understand that the U.S. had no choice but to respond to the Axis powers with everything available to us.

But that is not the issue here. The issue is the introduction of actual nuclear warfare into the world, the eventual destruction of no fewer than 90,000 human beings in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki. (Wikipedia has more details if you are interested.)

To date, America is the only nation to use nuclear weapons against an enemy population. I spent a portion of my youth working for one of the leading American researchers on the long-term consequences of the two atomic bombs, and I can assure you those consequences were worse than you can imagine, even if you yourself have been in combat in conventional warfare, horrible though that may be. Nukes are, indisputably, the one true weapon of mass destruction. There is nothing else like them. Period. Not poison gas, not biological weapons, not MOABs, nothing. Only nukes can obliterate tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of souls at one time.

Mr. Bush is itching to use nuclear weapons. If you doubt that for a moment, please read this. And this. Weapons development proceeds apace, absent anything resembling an arms race. Bush wants to nuke Iran, even if it is avoidable, even if Iran could be helpful in stabilizing the region. Bush, for whatever reason... religion? politics? a desire to be perceived in the same light as Harry Truman? simple fucking nut-case insanity? wants to use nukes on people, for the first time since 1945.

For my birthday, I'd like at least one thing: I'd like someone to stop Mr. Bush from using nuclear weapons, "tactical" or otherwise, in a combat situation, against a human population, military or civilian. I've seen the data firsthand; I know what nukes do to people.

Of course, I'd like Bush to cease and desist from pursuing endless war, avoidable war, imperial war. But if no other restraint can be managed, let us at least stop him from ordering the use of "small" nukes... remember, today's small nukes are at least the equivalent of those used in W.W. II against Hiroshima and Nagasaki... against a nation that neither has attacked us directly nor deployed nuclear weapons (which to all appearances it does not have yet, and would not need if the U.S. were not threatening it) against us.

If I can have only that, I'm willing to give up the two books I know I'm getting for my birthday. Please?

I promised you the 2007 Hiroshima peace declaration. Here it is:

Peace Declaration
August 6, 2007

That fateful summer, 8:15. The roar of a B-29 breaks the morning calm. A parachute opens in the blue sky. Then suddenly, a flash, an enormous blast -- silence -- hell on Earth.

The eyes of young girls watching the parachute were melted. Their faces became giant charred blisters. The skin of people seeking help dangled from their fingernails. Their hair stood on end. Their clothes were ripped to shreds. People trapped in houses toppled by the blast were burned alive. Others died when their eyeballs and internal organs burst from their bodies - Hiroshima was a hell where those who somehow survived envied the dead.

Within the year, 140,000 had died. Many who escaped death initially are still suffering from leukemia, thyroid cancer, and a vast array of other afflictions.

But there was more. Sneered at for their keloid scars, discriminated against in employment and marriage, unable to find understanding for profound emotional wounds, survivors suffered and struggled day after day, questioning the meaning of life.

And yet, the message born of that agony is a beam of light now shining the way for the human family. To ensure that “no one else ever suffers as we did,” the hibakusha have continuously spoken of experiences they would rather forget, and we must never forget their accomplishments in preventing a third use of nuclear weapons.

Despite their best efforts, vast arsenals of nuclear weapons remain in high states of readiness - deployed or easily available. Proliferation is gaining momentum, and the human family still faces the peril of extinction. This is because a handful of old-fashioned leaders, clinging to an early 20th century worldview in thrall to the rule of brute strength, are rejecting global democracy, turning their backs on the reality of the atomic bombings and the message of the hibakusha.

However, here in the 21st century the time has come when these problems can actually be solved through the power of the people. Former colonies have become independent. Democratic governments have taken root. Learning the lessons of history, people have created international rules prohibiting attacks on non-combatants and the use of inhumane weapons. They have worked hard to make the United Nations an instrument for the resolution of international disputes. And now city governments, entities that have always walked with and shared in the tragedy and pain of their citizens, are rising up. In the light of human wisdom, they are leveraging the voices of their citizens to lift international politics.

Because “Cities suffer most from war,” Mayors for Peace, with 1,698 city members around the world, is actively campaigning to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020.

In Hiroshima, we are continuing our effort to communicate the A-bomb experience by holding A-bomb exhibitions in 101 cities in the US and facilitating establishment of Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Courses in universities around the world. American mayors have taken the lead in our Cities Are Not Targets project. Mayors in the Czech Republic are opposing the deployment of a missile defense system. The mayor of Guernica-Lumo is calling for a resurgence of morality in international politics. The mayor of Ypres is providing an international secretariat for Mayors for Peace, while other Belgian mayors are contributing funds, and many more mayors around the world are working with their citizens on pioneering initiatives. In October this year, at the World Congress of United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of our planet’s population, cities will express the will of humanity as we call for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The government of Japan, the world’s only A-bombed nation, is duty-bound to humbly learn the philosophy of the hibakusha along with the facts of the atomic bombings and to spread this knowledge through the world. At the same time, to abide by international law and fulfill its good-faith obligation to press for nuclear weapons abolition, the Japanese government should take pride in and protect, as is, the Peace Constitution, while clearly saying “No,” to obsolete and mistaken US policies. We further demand, on behalf of the hibakusha whose average age now exceeds 74, improved and appropriate assistance, to be extended also to those living overseas or exposed in “black rain areas.”

Sixty-two years after the atomic bombing, we offer today our heartfelt prayers for the peaceful repose of all its victims and of Iccho Itoh, the mayor of Nagasaki shot down on his way toward nuclear weapons abolition. Let us pledge here and now to take all actions required to bequeath to future generations a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Tadatoshi Akiba
Mayor
The City of Hiroshima

Steve
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Sheila Tells It Like It Is -- UPDATED

And thanks to the miracle of the intertubes, or at least YouTube, we can watch her do it:



Despite Rep. Jackson-Lee's straightforward description of the consequences, the House got down on its knees and gave Bush exactly the blow job he wanted regarding FISA. Not only that, the vote was 227 to 183, meaning a large number of Democrats voted for it. (The Senate has already passed its version of it.)

Two questions:

  • Do I have any representation left in Washington?
  • Now that Bush has received a BJ, can we impeach him now?

So... what's different now? After all, Bush was already spying on all of us last week, last year, all the way back to 2001, from what we've been told. Well, I doubt I have to spell it out for anyone reading this blog, but here it is: once this bill is reconciled and signed into law, BUSH CAN SPY ON AMERICAN CITIZENS IN THE U.S. ... WITHOUT A WARRANT... LEGALLY. According to conventional wisdom, Democrats saw passage as inevitable, and rolled with it, so as not to be politically bullied over it... not that there's even an election this year... but that's what "they" are saying.

It's late. I'm wakeful, tired and wired. Maybe things will look better in the morning, but it's hard to see how they could. The Democratic leadership keeps building us up, giving us hope that they are really trying to save America from the egregious excesses of the Bushists. Then... inevitably, it seems... they do shit like this. Many of us, including me, have had, in our past, lovers who behaved like this, so at least we recognize the buildup followed by the betrayal, the letdown, the overarching disappointment. That's just what we need: a dysfunctional relationship with our political party. Can someone convince me that this is somehow different?

Fans of Lilian Jackson Braun may remember when Qwilleran, Riker and crew decided to start a newspaper in Moose County ("400 miles north of everywhere"). Someone says (approximately), "We have to call it something!" And so the newspaper becomes the Moose County Something. If you visit this site and find its name changed to the Yellow Doggerel Something, you may assume that this vote had something to do with it. I did not bust my tail to send Democrats to Washington to give away the store... repeatedly.

And damn, I hate the notion of being spied upon, with no judicial oversight, when I am talking to or emailing with another American citizen. We're talking about our fundamental civil liberties here: THIS ISSUE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SETTLED ON THE BASIS OF A POLITICAL CALCULATION ALONE.


UPDATE: Nancy Pelosi... remember her, Speaker Pelosi, who could have steered S. 1927 onto the trash heap in the House... wants a do-over. Feh.

Steve
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Saturday Signs - Halfling Edition



This is at Hobbit Cafe on Richmond. Trust me, you don't want to miss any meal there, second breakfast or otherwise. Not to worry, portions aren't half-sized. (Neither are prices.) Warning: dining there immediately after seeing the Harry Potter film may result in wizard confusion. (More on the film later.)

Steve
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Craddick Unbelievably Rude

Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Hunger) has always been relentlessly partisan (understand, that is NOT a tradition in the Texas Lege) and a rude fellow, but this beats all:

Craddick Snubs Speaker Laney By Denying Ceremony For Bust Unveiling

We all know that Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland) is less than ethical. Now, it seems he can’t even be polite.

Sources tell Capitol Annex that House Speaker Tom Craddick has refused to allow any ceremony for the unveiling of the bust of former House Speaker Pete Laney in the annex of the Texas Capitol.

Former Texas House Speakers including Gib Lewis and Billy Clayton have been honored by having their likenesses sculpted as bronze busts and placed in the capitol annex near the Capitol Cafeteria.

And, each of the past several speakers was invited to small unveiling ceremonies when their busts were dedicated.

Craddick has, however, refused to allow any honor for his predecessor.

According to Capitol Annex’s sources, Rep. Toby Goolsby (R-Dallas) approached Speaker Craddick about a ceremony for Laney. Craddick reportedly replied with only the word, “no.” Goolsby reportedly persisted and Craddick consented that the bust could be placed by the others but forbid any ceremony and allegedly forbid anyone who knew about the placement of the bust from letting anyone know about its arrival or inciting anything to be done to mark the occasion.

     ...

I'm not saying Texas politics has a history of exceedingly polite people, but until now, it has had a history of bipartisan comity even in the midst of bloody political battles. Something has definitely changed since the arrival of Bush, DeLay and Craddick. This is over the top.

I like the idea of honoring Texas House Speakers with busts rather than Governors. For one thing, in Texas, the Speaker of the House has about as much power as the Governor, perhaps more. For another, the Speaker is arguably a representative of our Representatives, a sort of first-among-equals in the people's house of the Lege. That Craddick would do this to the Democrat who held that office before him, Craddick, who has depended on Democrats for his own continued tenure as Speaker, is just plain rude... even for Craddick.

Perhaps a ceremony could be held after the bust is in place. Is Craddick going to ban people from even looking at the bust? or from even going into the Capitol Annex? At this point, after his behavior near the end of last session, I wouldn't put it past him.

Remember... half of "Craddick" is "dick."

Steve
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Call Congress Today Re: FISA

Via TPMMuckraker, DNI Mike McConnell is now offering a sort of post-facto review by the FISA court, though the details are sketchy. (What a surprise.)

Perhaps as significantly, I received word in an ACLU mailer that the House may take up the matter TODAY. You may want to call your member of Congress and register your disapproval of extending any more unchecked warrantless surveillance powers to the president or any part of the Executive branch. That link is from an ACLU email to a secure ACLU page; I'm not sure if it will work from here. If it does, and if you call your congresscritter, you may, if you wish, register the fact of your phone call with the ACLU; they're keeping count.

Steve
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Post-Potter Depression

As mentioned below, I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night, and now I'm depressed. By how it came out? no, and certainly not by Ms. Rowling's stellar display of skill in handling the conclusion. In my not-so-humble opinion, the book is everything it was supposed to be, and more. It is arguably the finest of the seven books... your mileage may vary, but I'm happy to argue in its favor.

So why am I depressed? Because it's over, it's done, and I have no more of it to read.

I'm providing separate comment links for those unafraid of spoilers and those who, like me, prefer to learn from the author how everything comes out. In that interest, I've disabled trackbacks for this post, and temporarily removed the recent-comments widget. Anyone who puts spoilers in the no-spoilers thread will be cursed.

Steve
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NO SPOILERS:    SPOILERS:   

Diebold Virus Vulnerability - UPDATED

UPDATE: Houston's voting machines, by Hart InterCivic, are also vulnerable, according to the same study described below:

The tests, administered by the University of California at Davis, found that absent tighter procedures, hackers could alter vote totals, violate the privacy of individual voters and delete audit trails.

... but...

     ...

"The laboratory experiment, as conducted by the UC-Davis researchers, seems almost impossible to replicate outside that laboratory environment.

"Thus, voters in Harris County should be aware, but not be concerned by the results," said Hector DeLeon, a spokesman for Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman, whose office administers elections.

     ...

Right. Republican Beverly Kaufman, who once made a testimonial video for Hart InterCivic's eSlate, can kiss my vote-dialing finger. One of the study's authors had something to say about that:

     ...

It's true, in order to devise the attacks, researchers had unfettered access, said UC-Davis computer science professor Matt Bishop, who led the study.

But he said it didn't take long to devise attacks; some took five minutes, others took a few days.

"Relying on security through obscurity is a terrible thing to do," Bishop said. "(Attackers) can get the info, the only question is how hard do they have to work to get it. Any defense that relies on ignorance underestimates how ingenious attackers can be and overestimates how fallible people are."

     ...

Exactly. Hackers of voting equipment are liable to be highly motivated, probably well-paid (directly or indirectly), and placed to have access to the equipment for as long as they feel they need. It is obscenely hypocritical of Kaufman to pretend otherwise.

(Original post follows.)


PC World:

Diebold Election Systems Inc. voting machines are not secure enough to guarantee a trustworthy election, and an attacker with access to a single machine could disrupt or change the outcome of an election using viruses, according to a review of Diebold's source code.

"The software contains serious design flaws that have led directly to specific vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit to affect election outcomes," read the University of California at Berkeley report, commissioned by the California Secretary of State as part of a two-month "top-to-bottom" review of electronic voting systems certified for use in California.

The assessment of Diebold's source code revealed an attacker needs only limited access to compromise an election.

"An attack could plausibly be accomplished by a single skilled individual with temporary access to a single voting machine. The damage could be extensive -- malicious code could spread to every voting machine in polling places and to county election servers," it said.

     ...

The source-code review identified four main weaknesses in Diebold's software, including: vulnerabilities that allow an attacker to install malware on the machines, a failure to guarantee the secrecy of ballots, a lack of controls to prevent election workers from tampering with ballots and results, and susceptibility to viruses that could allow attackers to an influence an election.

     ...

Incompetency or malicious intent? We retort; you deride.

Steve
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Friday Eternal Vigilance Blogging

Tabitha keeps watch over Stella's apartment, actually, mostly over Samantha, who was on a tear that sent Tabitha seeking a higher vantage point:



I suppose this is the kitty version of TIA, Tabitha Information Awareness. Remember... Tabitha is watching you!


Speaking of homeland security, Trent is flinging a Lott of crap at Washington, DC residents, calling on Congress to pass the preznit's requested changes to the FISA law (you can probably guess most of the proposed changes, but the one allowing Gonzo to monitor programs instead of the FISA court is the most outrageous), or else DC residents should get out of town for their own safety. Someone please put a cork in that guy.


I finished the Harry Potter book. Ms. Rowling did not disappoint; on, no, far from it...

Steve
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Rove And Fielding

Dan Froomkin has a good summary of Rove's nonappearance and Fielding's unprecedentedly broad argument for Rove's immunity from testimony. Clearly, Bill Clinton, in his day, had obligations to Congress to provide his aides to give testimony to congressional committees, but Bush has no such obligation. IOKIYAR.


(Expect slow posting; I'm still busy Potter-ing. That said, cats and signs will appear as usual Friday and Saturday.)

Steve
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Dissent = Assault -- UPDATED

UPDATE: This is old news, from October 2006. See end of post.


Via Mccs1977, in turn via Cliff Schechter, who in turn heard it from Matthew Rothschild on Thom Hartmann's radio show (sorry; I can't find an actual transcript, and while I tend to trust Rothschild and Hartmann, I treat this as unconfirmed):

A man walked up to Dick Cheney, calmly told him he thought his Iraq policy was reprehensible, and walked away. A few minutes later he was arrested by the Secret Service, in front of his 8-year-old son, for "assault".

When he asked what would happen to his child, the Secret Service said, "He can be sent to Child Services." Luckily, the boy found his mother and was safe.

But the citizen who practiced his free speech spent a few hours in jail before he was released.

I would tend to disbelieve this anecdote, except for the administration's documented commitment to suppressing dissent at every opportunity. I ask those of you who are old enough to remember: is this worse than the Sixties? You decide.


UPDATE: Confirmed (NYT, Denver Post) thanks to hipparchia of Over the Cliff, Onto the Rocks, in the comments to this post. The only problem: it's old news, having happened in October 2006. You know, if I would just learn to use Teh Google... (YDD hides face in hands)

Steve
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Potter Break

That is not to be confused with "potty break," which, contrary to some people's opinion, I also take occasionally. No, I've finally found the time to plunge into the final Harry Potter book, and it has drawn me in as I had hoped. I'm just under halfway through. If I don't blog quite as often over the next day or two, you'll know why.

Steve
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Laser Printers: Watch Their Smoke

OK, so it isn't smoke, but your laser printer may emit enough toner particles to harm your respiratory and cardiovascular health:

Emissions from office laser printers can be as unhealthy as cigarette smoke, according to an Australian professor who is now calling for regulations to limit printer emissions.

Office workers breathing easy since smoking was banned in public places in the U.S. and U.K. can start worrying again, according to research from the Queensland University of Technology's Air Quality and Health Program, led by physics professor Lidia Morawska.

The average printer releases toner particles that can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems and cardiovascular trouble, according to Morawska's team, part of the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, and specialists in atmospheric particles.

The team tested 62 laser printer models--all relatively new--and found that 17 of them were "high emitters" of toner particles. Despite using similar technology, office photocopiers do not emit particles, the team found.

The particles have not had a full chemical analysis, but some are potential carcinogens, according to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald. Several of the high emitters were Hewlett-Packard LaserJet models, such as the 1320 and 4250, although eight HP LaserJet 4050 series printers were shown to have no emissions, according to reports.

     ...

This will be solved by a warning label attached to the printer, right? "WARNING: the Surgeon General has determined that printing can be hazardous to your health..." as if any of us working in an office with a laser printer have a choice. Why, they might as well attach a label to my apartment about the hazards of paint fumes.

I know there's a lot of political stuff going on this morning... Obama is giving a speech of some kind to prove he is Tough on Terror™GOP, and every Bushist from Gonzo to the DNI to Dick Cheney is busy parsing descriptions of the NSA warrantless wiretapping program(s)... but I need to go breathe some printer-free, paint-free air for a bit. Later!

Steve
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Bill Bates 1/7/1920-8/1/1995

My late father, in one of his early roles...



Other roles: child laborer to help support his family during the great depression, first in his family to attend college (much later, first to attend graduate school), editor of the college newspaper, college athlete in four sports, gunnery officer (Lieutenant SG, USN) on a troop transport ship in W.W. II, oil tool supply worker, railroad worker, schoolteacher (secondary school science), school counselor, loving husband, loving parent, lifelong Democrat, unapologetic liberal. Also, amateur artist, photographer, and master of snark and of adult humor, when he chose to be. His greatest failure was as a fisherman; even in that activity, he clearly enjoyed the undisturbed solitude. Oh, and Dad couldn't sing worth beans, not that he didn't enjoy the attempt.

Twelve years after his death, I still miss him... a lot.

Steve
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Selected Links To Recent Posts

 
Click any permalink below to go to the original article on a previous page. Click a comment link below to add a comment to the original article. Your comment will be noticed, by the YDD at least: HaloScan has a page allowing me to view recent comments, no matter which post they refer to.

Chemical Dreams

... I'll have them tonight if I stay in this paint-fume-filled apartment.

Want a political nightmare instead? Read this, about Florida's wonderful voting machines. Don't expect my usual rant on the subject, though.

After today's trip to a different library with a different WiFi system, I spent a couple of hours trying to connect, succeeding in obtaining a wireless connection but failing ever to get DNS. So I came back home and breathed some more poison, and by now I have about the intelligence of a flower in a box...



... though actually I believe some of those flowers are brighter... and I'm about ready to give up my quest for representative democracy and substitute rule by horses (aside: this picture is dedicated to our most frequent anonymous commenter)...



... hoping that someday, some rainbow...



... will eventually lead our nation to something golden...



... say, would you hold this shovel for a moment, please?

(Apologies to the bandwidth-limited among you.)

Steve
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Blending Poisons

Steve
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Sam The Ultimate LOLcat

Steve
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Personal Miscellany

Steve
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Data Mining And Ashcroft's Visitors

Steve
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Saturday Signs

Steve
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Voter Suppression - NOW

Steve
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Friday Happy Family Blogging

Steve
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It's All About The URL

Steve
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HaloScan Problems

Steve
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It's Official: GOPers Hate Children

Steve
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In Praise Of Partisans

Steve
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Cheese Bombs? -- DOGGEREL!

Steve
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Contempt, Contempt, Contempt

Steve
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Wanted: Better Liars

Steve
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Politicizing The Peace Corps

Steve
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House Judiciary Considers Contempt Charges - UPDATED

Steve
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Advice From Mitt - Advice TO Mitt

Steve
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Colon Polyps

Steve
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Saturday Signs

Steve
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Friday Cat Instructional Blogging

Steve
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Fat OR Happy

Steve
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Chili Chill

Steve
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Former Cheney Aide Convicted

Steve
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Update Your Firefox To Fix IE Bug - UPDATED

Steve
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Mad About Filibusters

Steve
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Reid Raises The Stakes

Steve
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The F-Word

Steve
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Game On

Steve
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John Dean On How Bad It May Be -- UPDATED

Steve
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Unanticipated Blog Outage

Steve
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Moyers On Impeachment

Steve
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Yes!

Steve
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'Bottom Up Reconciliation' In Iraq

Steve
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Dead Certainty

Steve
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Saturday Signs - The End Is Near

Steve
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Bastille Day

Steve
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Public Support For Congress Abysmal

Steve
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Lady Bird, One Last Time

Steve
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Single-Payer FAQ

Steve
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