Category Archives: The World

[BlogEntry] Michael Jackson appears "pale"

It's so bizarre to me to hear (as much as I try to avoid news about this crap) reporters talk about Michael Jackson looking pale, unhealthy, thin, tired, etc. He's a fucking freak that hasn't looked normal or healthy in twenty years! It's like saying a skeleton looks stressed. Pale?!?! He's been snowy white since the mid-90's, hasn't he??? It's as plain as the lack of a nose on his face.

Why can't we tell the truth about anything?! You want to be politically correct about certain things, fine. (Not really, but for the sake of this post, we'll say "fine.") But do we have to tiptoe around the obvious fact that this wacko has transformed himself into something no previous human being has ever looked like?! I think his face is too scary for children.

I don't know if he's innocent or guilty. Frankly, I don't care (except for the fact that there may be innocent victims, if he truly is guilty). But what has happened to this world when no one can come out and say "Would you look at what that sick motherfucker has done to his own body. Didn't he used to be black? Holy shit, did he mean to have his nose and cheeks removed, or was this just a terrible mistake???" Aren't judgements about whether he's looking well-rested a little out of place when looking at the trainwreck that he is?

[I had avoided cursing on my blog up until this post. Shit.]

[BlogEntry] Is the Lycos anti-spam screensaver a DDoS?

I was very interested to hear about Lycos' anti-spam screensaver, particularly because I'd already written something very similar a year before.

I never released mine for two reasons. The first was the question of legality. I certainly didn't want to go to jail over spam. And the way the world works, it's easier to prosecute the good guy trying to right a wrong than it is to go after the real criminals. My approach had a reasonable defense, I thought, since we were simply following the links the spammers sent to us. Still, I had no interest in being the trophy in precedent-setting cybercrime judicial proceedings.

The second reason was less cynical and cowardly. I learned about "joe jobs." A joe job is when a spammer sends spam "on behalf" of an innocent third party to bring the wrath of anti-spammers down on them. Spammers have no shortage of dirty tricks and no scruples to get in their way when using them. I was concerned that control of this weapon could potentially get into the wrong hands and be aimed at innocent web sites. Given a high level of participation, even the largest sites in the world would be vulnerable.

Given all of that, I chose not to unleash my weapon on the world. It seems that it was a wise decision, because Lycos has pulled the plug, at least for now.

It's pretty amazing what an ugly little war this whole spam thing has become. The thing is, we're never going to reform the spammers; they are incorrigible. We either have to fix email technology or remove the incentive to send spam.

I still wonder who the morons are that continue to make spam profitable. If the customers would simply dry up, so would the spam. I mean, really, penis enlargement, software from questionable sources, potentially dangerous drugs, and Nigerians who want to give you millions of dollars because of your supposed relationship to someone you've never heard of. Can any of these things REALLY be good for your body, your computer, or your bank account? Who are you idiots?! If you've ever bought anything from a spam, I'd really like to hear from you.

[BlogEntry] Spam comes in fours

I've noticed that a certain sequence of spam has been coming in a group of four, always in the same order, always at the same time, for the past month or two.

Status:  U
Received: from ornery....9-18-167.dsl.rcfril.ameritech.netpakistans.comfreepro ([])
	by (EarthLink SMTP Server) with SMTP id 1cukwM7kh3Nl3qa0
	for <[my email address]>; Wed, 17 Nov 2004 02:46:55 -0500 (EST)
Received: from mainframes ([]
        by [] with SMTP id 17C431A0
	for [my email address]; Wed, 17 Nov 2004 01:46:49 -0600
Message-ID: <309E1D0CF65B$76766EB3$>
From: "Cuthbert Hamilton" 
To: "Frederick Kyler" <[my email address]>
Subject: =?utf-8?B?TG9va2luZyBmb3IgY2hlYXAgaGlnaC1xdWFsaXR5IHNvZnR3YXJlPyAgYnJlYXN0cyBGcmVuY2g=?=
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 01:46:49 -0600
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;
X-Priority: 3
Status:  U
Received: from ornery....9-18-167.dsl.rcfril.ameritech.netpakistans.comfreepro ([])
	by (EarthLink SMTP Server) with SMTP id 1cukwP7kh3Nl3qa0
	for <[my email address]>; Wed, 17 Nov 2004 02:46:57 -0500 (EST)
Received: from Reid ([]
        by [] with SMTP id 791E640E
	for [my email address]; Wed, 17 Nov 2004 01:46:57 -0600
Message-ID: <397D0FD7A134$6486BED0$>
From: "Xenia Stafford" 
To: "Chris Roscoe" <[my email address]>
Subject: =?utf-8?B?W251aXNhbmNlc10gODIlLW9mZiBWaWNvZGluLiAgYnJlYWtwb2ludHMgd2FsdHppbmc=?=
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 01:46:57 -0600
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;
X-Priority: 3
Status:  U
Received: from ornery....9-18-167.dsl.rcfril.ameritech.netpakistans.comfreepro ([])
	by (EarthLink SMTP Server) with SMTP id 1cukwR7kh3Nl3qa0
	for <[my email address]>; Wed, 17 Nov 2004 02:47:00 -0500 (EST)
Received: from Bakersfield ([]
        by [] with SMTP id 6BDFDD70
	for [my email address]; Wed, 17 Nov 2004 01:47:00 -0600
Message-ID: <28714202EF19$0D08D25F$>
From: "Len Major" 
To: "Leone Clay" <[my email address]>
Subject: =?utf-8?B?cGljdHVyZXM=?=
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 01:47:00 -0600
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;
X-Priority: 3
Status:  U
Received: from ornery....9-18-167.dsl.rcfril.ameritech.netpakistans.comfreepro ([])
	by (EarthLink SMTP Server) with SMTP id 1cukwV7kh3Nl3qa0
	for <[my email address]>; Wed, 17 Nov 2004 02:47:04 -0500 (EST)
Received: from circumlocutions ([]
        by [] with SMTP id 5FC2FF0E
	for [my email address]; Wed, 17 Nov 2004 01:47:03 -0600
Message-ID: <5C8BFAAD4B5F$2E30D526$>
From: "Ted Kipling" 
To: "Haleigh Logan" <[my email address]>
Subject: =?utf-8?B?TG9ycmksIFlvdSBjYW5ub3QgZG8gd3JvbmcgYW5kIGZlZWwgcmlnaHQuIEl0IGlzIGltcG9zc2libGUh?=
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 01:47:03 -0600
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;

I find it interesting, because it provides just a tad of insight into what goes on on the other end of the spam storm.

[BlogEntry] Every American has a purple heart

Red-state folks, blue-state folks, green-state folks, it's time to move on.

Take a look at this map. In a winner-take-all election, it's very misleading to look at pure red or blue states. The overall election was 51% to 48%, not 100% to 0%. If you were to color the entire country in a single color by who won the election, it would be solid red, but that would be very misleading, no? That does not tell the whole story. Nor does coloring entire states, or even counties, a single color. In reality, it's all shades of purple. This is a great example of lies, damned lies, and statistics.

If you want to see an even more enlightening perspective, take a look at these weird maps which show states distorted to reflect relative size of their population.

My point is that everyone including the media should stop obsessing over the number of red states or red counties and remember that it's really all shades of gray. Even we, ourselves, are individually divided. Every voter is red on some aspects and blue on others. Each of us has a purple heart. There are Republicans who believe in abortion and Democrats who don't. There are conservatives who think it's okay for gays to marry and liberals who agree with tax cuts. Each party is made up of a variety of factions which pick and choose the planks of the party platform that are meaningful to them.

We can focus on what makes us different or focus on what we have in common. We are all Americans. Let's stop bickering, feeling disenfranchised or arrogant, victimized or invincible, and sorry for ourselves. We are not a divided nation. This is a nation of Americans strengthened by our diversity of views and blessed with the capacity and freedom to express them. This is what makes us great. These are our checks and balances. Threatening to leave because your candidate didn't win is absurd and utterly and completely misses the point of what this country is based on. We live in an ongoing debate and laboratory of continuous improvement. To abandon the experiment now is just bad science.

The pendulum swings.
Americans cast their votes.
Either way, we win.

[BlogEntry] To my surprise, I'm coming to appreciate the man for whom I voted

I have to confess that my support for President Bush is not nearly as enthusiastic as it might have appeared during the campaign. I'm no blind follower. It's almost exclusively motivated by the threat of terrorism and the fact that he recognizes that danger more clearly than John Kerry does. Other than that, I've viewed him as just another politician, and I've probably even bought some of the scandalous propaganda about him. I just considered it to be secondary to keeping America safe from terrorists.

However, the two times that I've truly sat down and listened intently to him when he wasn't campaigning, when he was just speaking from his core, I've been surprised to find myself impressed by what I found inside the man.

The first time was when he was on Larry King a few months ago. I wrote about it here. Admittedly, this was part of the campaign, but he was simply sitting and talking with Larry and his wife. He was very genuine, very honorable, and very sharp. No spin, no politics. Just straight talk.

The second time was tonight, when I watched the TiVoed press conference he held earlier today with the White House Press Corp. Again, I wasn't really expecting to be impressed, but I was. I'm finding myself feeling a renewed sense of hope, even though this wasn't a feel-good, touchy-feely kind of press conference. I just recognize that we have a pretty good leader at the helm.

Despite the trouble he has assembling English sentences at times, I found him to be a refreshingly real, determined, and sincere man with a mission to improve this country to the best of his ability. I got a sense that I was seeing a great man come into his own. I think all of us may be very surprised by what great things he may do for this country in the next four years. In fact, it occurred to me that we may see a dramatic shift in the what we come to expect from our politicians after Bush's second term. We may hold them to more honest, bullshit-free standards than we've come to expect from Washington, D.C. over the years. You would never hear George W. Bush say "It all depends on what your definition of 'is' is."

I know that if you're a liberal, a skeptic, a cynic, or someone who simply relishes in hating George W. Bush, you'll have a very hard time hearing or buying what I'm saying, but I'm telling you, if you can drop your defenses for a moment and try to put aside all the propaganda you've been fed and swallowed about him, you'll find a decent, honorable man who knows how to get things done and is committed to leaving this nation and this world in better shape than he found it.

It's so easy, when you're feeling unhappy about the result, to twist every sentence to something negative like "sure, leaving it in better shape for himself and his oil cronies." Well, try to let that cynicism go for a moment, and you may actually find that you can see a real person with good intentions shine through. Don't buy into all the lies.

I wasn't always a red-state guy. I was born in Brooklyn. I used to be about as liberal as they come. I can easily put myself in your shoes. But, I'm telling you, what you've been told about this guy isn't true. It's a smear campaign. Just listen and watch him, and you'll see it. He's not a smooth-talking politician. He's a good man trying to do good work, knowing that half the country and a lot of the world doesn't like or understand him. That's a pretty tough job.

Look at it this way. If Kerry had been elected, you would have thought that any Bush supporter who couldn't see what a wonderful man he was was either blind, stupid, or just bitter. You would tell them to stop whining and recognize the man for who he is. Well, try to rise above your negative filters, the same way you would have expected people who voted for Bush to do if Kerry had won.

This is still the same great country it has always been. You may actually find that you come to respect and appreciate the man that you have invested so much time and energy in hating.

I feel confident that you can trust Bush not to trample everything you hold dear. I just don't believe that's what he's about. And even if you do expect him to do that, why not wait until you actually have some evidence, before just buying into the smear campaign that's been waged against him. If you really examine the facts, I don't think you'll find anything that warrants the accusations and lies. If you really do, I'll be right there with you shouting about it, but so far, I just haven't seen anything real.

All we are saying is give Bush a chance.

[BlogEntry] If Kerry wins…

I hope all you Kerry supporters remember this campaign. Remember all the easy criticism and second-guessing of every move Bush made. Remember all the "I have a plan"'s from Kerry and Edwards. Remember all the promises about health care, about jobs, about security, about hunting down terrorists, about the price of oil, about not equivocating with the U.N. and the rest of the world on U.S. security.

If elected, he will have no more power than George W. Bush did. He is not a wizard with a magic wand. He is subject to the same laws of physics, economics, and world opinion that Bush has been. He is going to have as hard a time delivering on any of them as Bush has, and I think Bush has done admirably. (And, by the way, Bill and Hillary promised to tackle health care in 1992.)

The so-called "rush to war" that took well over a year, and really over a decade of Saddam Hussein's flouting terms of his surrender, was influenced by bad intelligence, including lies from France and Russia due to their scamming the oil-for-food program. Had Kerry been in office, he would have been subject to those same inputs and conditions. Do you think he is clairvoyant, or simply unresponsive to threats based on the information available to him?

If Kerry delivers on all his magical plans, then he'll be the greatest president ever, and we'll all owe you a debt of gratitude for electing him.

If he doesn't, he's just another damned politician. And in 2008, I hope you remember all the expedient condemnations he made about Bush's every move and all the easy promises he made to get your vote. Don't be surprised when his opponent sings the same tune that Kerry sang four years earlier.

Either way, it's time that the American people develop a longer memory for these things. And stop being so gullible. Politicians say what you want to hear, and you actually believe them. It's because of this that our politicians talk to us this way. Grow up, America!

[BlogEntry] Bill Maher takes a beating

I'm surprised Bill Maher allowed them to air this week's installment of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. Former CIA Director James Woolsey made Bill and his two anti-Bush guests look like the emotional, uninformed, knee-jerk liberals they are.

Mr. Woolsey was quite frank in his criticism of President Bush's administration where fitting, but he also, with his Bob Newhart-esque demeanor, shoved all their rhetoric, propaganda, and hype back down their throats. He made it clear that it was not a mistake, a lie, or inappropriate to link Saddam Hussein with Al Qaeda.

It was a pleasure to watch them squirm as he shot down the mantra they've been chanting for months. Too bad none of it sunk into their thick skulls. They'll continue to believe what they want to, because they aren't interested in the truth. Never let facts get in the way of a good smear campaign, right, Bill?

And just to really drive home the point that Bill Maher is the most irrational, hyperactive whiner on cable television, Dr. Bernadine Healy of the National Red Cross [apologies for not getting her title] made Bill look silly and childish with his nonsensical arguments and inaccurate views on vaccinations and medicine. It was like watching a teacher gently correct the rantings of a tantruming student.

Bill can be tough to take for any period of time. He is so righteous, so judgemental, so intolerant, and so wrong that it's hard to watch. This episode was much better, though.

Great show, Bill! You keep this up, and I'll be a regular viewer.

Maybe you should consider renaming the show to "'Yeah, But…' with Bill Maher."

[BlogEntry] The (Lack of) Power of the Presidency

It never ceases to amaze me how much gets blamed on Presidents, versus what's really in their power.

Kerry, who himself would be President, and who surely knows what a President is and is not capable of, loves to blame Bush for healthcare and jobs, neither of which is under any President's control.

Aside from the fact that inputs into these complex systems take months and often years to propagate through, Presidents are not the ones who write laws. Kerry has been in the Senate for twenty years; he's had more opportunity to affect healthcare and jobs than Bush has. Why doesn't he blame himself for these problems? Because it's not politically expedient.

Does anyone remember Clinton's first term, when he and Hillary were going to fix the American healthcare system? That went on for at least a couple of years. Great job, guys. I'm so glad you solved that problem, so that it wouldn't be a campaign issue twelve years later. This is an example of a horribly complex, nth-order system that it is simply stupid to blame on Bush, as if he's the reason that millions of people do not have coverage. And anyone who votes for Kerry because they think he's going to get them healthcare is a sucker.

Kerry also loves his nonsense about "this President being the only President since the Depression to lose jobs." First of all, jobs don't come from the President; they come from nasty, evil corporations. Second of all, Bush took office in the midst of a major economic downturn and then 9/11 only added to the severe situation. It's very convenient for Kerry to blame Bush, but that's completely unfair. No President, not even the great John Kerry, could have done a thing to prevent those companies from laying off workers. On top of that, we had all the corporate scandals (Enron, Worldcom, etc.), which did even more damage to the economy.

I might also add that these problems, the dot-com bomb, the 9/11 attacks, and the corporate corruption, all grew and festered on Bill Clinton's watch; Bush was just foolish enough to take the reins. If you want to blame a President, blame Clinton. Bush's first term was really the hangover from eight years of Clinton irresponsibility. To be fair, though, I don't think you can even blame Clinton for the dot-com bubble or the corporate corruption. His failure to recognize the growing threat of Al Qaeda for what it was, I do think he bears responsibility for. And that same lack regarding terrorism is exactly what I expect from John Kerry.

The reality, though, is that economies are bigger than any President, and they outlast any President's administration. Presidents don't hire people. Presidents don't write laws. Presidents are basically people who point in a direction and say "I'm taking the country that way." It's usually years before we can see the progress of his journey.

It really bugs me that politics and politicians can't talk honestly about this. They use the public's ignorance to sling mud at the emotional level and place blame that educated people understand is unfounded. Why can't we raise politics to a level where we can talk about real issues and solve real problems? Why is it all about posturing and cheap accusations? It's probably because that's what the American public responds to, unfortunately.

This is why less government is better. Corporations, for the most part, are honest, because the bottom line is what matters. It's not about tricking people into believing your rhetoric. Business is about offering a product that people want at a fair price. Politics is about fooling people into putting you into a job where they can no longer really see what you're up to. Corporations really try to innovate and solve problems, while politicians, for the most part, simply try to get elected.

To me, Kerry is exactly that kind of a politician. He is interested in getting elected, because it's the next thing he'd like on his resume. He's already envisioning the decor of his Presidential library. I think George W. Bush actually sees himself as part of an epic struggle for Good to triumph over Evil. Whether that makes him a megalomaniac or not is another story. But at least he's got a vision and a mission bigger than himself and his own glorification.

[BlogEntry] Kudos to Frontline and PBS for…

…crafting a two-hour commercial for the Kerry campaign that goes down like a documentary. It was so effective that I actually feel like Kerry being elected isn't the end of the world. I can only imagine how swing voters will feel after watching it.

After the first hour, I thought, "well, Kerry and Bush were very different in their youth; Bush will make up ground in the second half." However, Frontline had plenty more "materiel" for the second hour. And it's so subtle that you barely notice it's happening.

Depending on how many people actually watch it, I honestly believe this program may have changed the outcome of the election. Very impressive, public television.

We haven't suffered a terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11/01. All the gosh, we're sorry's and I guess we were wrong's aren't going to mean much when we get hit again. Kerry's failure to recognize and reluctance to act on the absolute realities of terrorism scares the hell out of me.

Bush tried to get allies lined up, but they weren't interested. If Kerry can't get the world to buy in, he's not going to act. That puts us in grave danger. Kerry's overanalyzing and inaction are terribly dangerous when we face suicide bombers, beheaders, and other madmen. Most of the rest of the world is not going to back us. They'd rather sit back and stay "safe" while we become the primary target.

One thing that documentary did show me is that Kerry's Vietnam experience makes him unfit to command. We don't have the luxury to be anti-war in the world of Muslim terrorism. Kerry's mindset after Vietnam makes him a liability. The fact that Vietnam is what he points to in describing himself indicates just how entrenched his thinking is in post-Vietnam waffling and misgivings. We simply can't afford that. The very future of America is at stake. Remember 9/11.