Saturday, 31 July 2010

In Passing

No time like the present

Curious about why the seeming out-of-the-blue ethics charges against 20-term Democrat Congressman Charlie Rangel, and now 10-term Democrat Congresswoman Maxine Walters are popping up now?  Don’t be: It’s all about the timing

House Democrats hear the rumbling of a potential Republican takeover come next term.  The last thing they want is a lead up to the presidential election with a Republican House majority loudly airing the Democrats’ dirty laundry.  So...

Have an investigation while they’re still in chage, give the culprits a slap on the wrist, claim that “the process” worked, and then scream like stuck pigs about double jeopardy should the Republicans try for a more-thorough look in 2011.

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Friday, 30 July 2010

In Passing

Today’s Emily Litella moment

Protecting The Agenda Dept
Time publishes a contrarian piece that contends the President’s characterizations of the Gulf spill may have been “exaggerated:”
...So far — while it's important to acknowledge that the long-term potential danger is simply unknowable for an underwater event that took place just three months ago — it does not seem to be inflicting severe environmental damage.  “The impacts have been much, much less than everyone feared,” says geochemist Jacqueline Michel, a federal contractor who is coordinating shoreline assessments in Louisiana.
...and folks wonder why a paid-up member of the DSM dissed the Prez:
WTF?  Where does some punkass fish wrapper rag like Time get off daring to even suggest that the ascended Messiah was wrong?
Well, maybe this has something to do with it:
The Coast Guard has gathered evidence it failed to follow its own firefighting policy during the Deepwater Horizon disaster and is investigating whether the chaotic spraying of tons of salt water by private boats contributed to sinking the ill-fated oil rig, according to interviews and documents.

Coast Guard officials told the Center for Public Integrity that the service does not have the expertise to fight an oil rig fire and that its response to the April 20 explosion may have broken the service’s own rules by failing to ensure a firefighting expert supervised the half-dozen private boats that answered the Deepwater Horizon’s distress call to fight the blaze.
...The question of what caused the platform to collapse into the Gulf two days later remains unanswered and could prove vital to ongoing legal proceedings and congressional investigations.

That is because the riser pipe from which the majority of BP’s oil spewed did not start leaking until after the rig sank.  Experts and some lawsuits have openly tied the sinking of the drilling vessel to the severity of the leak.
But then, if it turns out there wasn’t a disaster, then government-agency bungling couldn’t have contributed to one... right?


UPDATE (100802):  Tam spots another conveniently-timed Time piece.

link via Insty.

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Thursday, 29 July 2010

In Passing

Hey Captain, don’t leave yet, the show’s just starting!

The Ruling Class   Dept
A change of government in the U.K., and oh, look what comes out!
A cackling Phil Booth, No2ID National Coordinator, writes to tell us that six months after he first pestered the Identity & Passport Service about its quotes from ID card-toting happy campers in its publicity material, it has confessed - um yes, all but one of those quoted worked for the government. - The Register
But wait, there’s more!
The Department for Transport (DfT) has “unwittingly” misled the public over the benefits of speed cameras for the last four years. That was the shock admission yesterday by a DfT spokeswoman, when finally cornered by the Department’s own research.
Of course, our government would never do stuff like that.  (snicker!)


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Monday, 26 July 2010

In Passing

Today’s Captain Renault moment

“I’m Shocked, Shocked!”  Dept
The Australian:
The US government secretly advised Scottish ministers it would be “far preferable to free the Lockerbie bomber than jail him in Lybia.

Correspondence obtained by The Sunday Times reveals the Obama administration considered compassionate release more palatable than locking up Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in a Lybian prison.
The document, acquired by a well-placed US source, threatens to undermine US President Barack Obama's claim last week that all Americans were “surprised, disappointed and angry” to learn of Megrahi
’s release.
Gee, d’ya think?


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Friday, 23 July 2010


Running Windows? Shut off shortcut icons.

Trend Micro’s ConterMeasures:

On the 16th of July Microsoft released Security Advisory 2286198 confirming an as yet unpatched vulnerability in Windows Shell that exposes all users of all current versions of Microsoft Windows to very real risk of attack and infection.

According to Microsoft “The vulnerability exists because Windows incorrectly parses shortcuts in such a way that malicious code may be executed when the icon of a specially crafted shortcut is displayed.”  So what does that mean in plain language?

It means that if any user of Microsoft Windows opens a folder containing a shortcut which has been designed to exploit this vulnerability, they will be infected.  No opening of files required, simple browsing is enough.

Although Microsoft have stated that “This vulnerability is most likely to be exploited through removable drives” users should be on their guard against all shortcut files whose authenticity they cannot guarantee.  This same vulnerability could be exploited though contaminated file shares or something as simple as a malicious compressed archive such as a zip file.
Or a malicious shortcut on a web page, or even an Office document(!).[1]

At this time there is no patch to fix this available. Microsoft does have a workaround here; applying it makes Windows display a generic icon rather than the application’s special one.

This exploit was first discovered in a trojan targeting Siemens SCADA control systems, but has now been spotted in the wild.

[1] LATER:  More detail, from SANS Internet Storm Center:
The exploit is triggered every time a folder containing a malicious LNK files is opened (for example, with Windows Explorer).  It does not matter where this folder is – it does not have to be on a USB device, but in order to execute to malicious binary, the attacker has to specify its location correctly.

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Thursday, 22 July 2010


Clipfile - July 22, 2010

“Our American culture was built on the idea that we can - and should - tell the political class to piss off.” - Daniel La Ponsie

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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

In Passing

Not far enough

Rush Limbaugh:

I think most people on the left live in a world where merit is irrelevant.  Theirs is a world in which connections, networking, kissing ass and obedient sameness are rewarded.
Hey Rush, it’s not just the “people on the left.”

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M.I.A. at the Indianapolis 500

Frank W. James has a put up great rant on the state of the IZOD Indy Car Series.  Too many good quotes to pull; just go read ’em both:

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Monday, 19 July 2010

In Passing

Can I call ’em, or what?

Standard Progressive tricks  Dept
Here, June 17th:
There’s mounting evidence that the current mess is a direct consequence of your lousy ideas.  The opposition will try to say this.  They must be countered.  To defend the agenda, create a distraction: Start a noisy fuss about “leadership,” and hope they’ll be sucked in.  Throw your leader under the bus.
Gabriel Malor, Ace of Spades HQ, today:

It seems the Times has decided to throw the President to the wolves in the hopes that a better candidate will come along by 2012.  How else to explain yesterday’s bombshell ObamaCare articles stating outright that the President’s signature program is a tax and that it will restrict doctor choice?  And then today’s articles, including the GM, Chrysler article I posted about this morning...
Blame your patsy;  protect the Agenda.

Told ya so!

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The Press

Government “help” and journalistic integrity

Not thinking it through... Dept

Lee Bollinger (president, Columbia University) thinks we need a government subsidy for journalists:
The institutions of the press we have inherited are the result of a mixed system of public and private cooperation.  Trusting the market alone to provide all the news coverage we need would mean venturing into the unknown—a risky proposition with a vital public institution hanging in the balance.
There are examples of other institutions in the U.S. where state support does not translate into official control.  The most compelling are our public universities and our federal programs for dispensing billions of dollars annually for research.
Funny he should pick that as an example:
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s public television network has turned over to state lawmakers material from its yet-to-be-aired documentary on Alcoa Inc.

WRAL-TV reports UNC-TV lawyers decided not to fight a subpoena from a Senate judiciary committee because it is a public agency and may not fall under North Carolina’s 1999 press shield law protecting reporters from revealing information that hasn’t been printed or broadcast.
[State Senator Fletcher] Hartsell [chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee II] on Thursday order[ed] UNC-TV General Manager Tom Howe and legislative reporter Eszter Vajda to provide a copy of “all footage (including all interviews, B-roll and camera masters) in your possession regarding the Alcoa Corporation’s activities in Stanly County.”
UNC-TV’s appearance before the Senate judiciary’s committee Tuesday essentially transformed public television and radio reporters into investigative agents for the state.  That should send cold shivers up the spine of every citizen who believes that reporters should be governmental watchdogs, not potential lapdogs.
Reporters as agents of the state, huh?  I imagine there are some out there who would see that as a feature, not a bug.

Oh, and Alcoa has now filed a state FOIA request for the unaired material.

LATER:  Computer flakiness interrupted me while I was preparing this for posting last Thursday.  Now that I’ve gotten back to it, it turns out events took an interesting turn. Leroy Towns:
At some point, the story’s reporter pieced together a new story and took it to the legislature for viewing.  What’s unclear here is whether the reporter’s actions were sanctioned by UNC-TV, or whether she did it on her own without permission of the station.  No credible media outlet I am aware of would sanction a reporter doing that.
Even so (Towns continues):
A court might well rule that UNC-TV is a state agency and thus subject to open records laws.  But a media outlet that fails to put up a stiff fight gives up its claim to be “news media.”

On Alcoa/North Carolina:
Coverage at Isaac Hunter’s Tavern (blog by WUNC reporter Laura Leslie):
Leroy Towns:  Public TV, radio need independence
Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors Objects to Subpoena

On Bollinger:

HT:  Pete Kaliner of Charlotte’s WBT, who was talking about this last Wednesday.

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