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Box o' the Moment

  • Athlon 64 3000+ (400 MHz front side bus)
  • Gigabyte 7VT600 1394 MB
  • 2 Gb DDR 400 MHz PC-3200
  • MSI nVidia FX-5600XT AGP 8X
  • 300 Gb ATA-133 disk, 120 Gb Serial ATA disk, 160 Gb ATA-100 disk
  • Lite-On 8x DVD Burner
  • Toshiba 16X DVD ROM
  • Hercules Fortissimo III 7.1 Sound
  • Mozilla Firefox browser, 1.0.3

F*E*T*I*S*H

  • 17" LCD Display
  • Decent digital camera
  • iPod
  • DVD Burner
  • nVidia FX based video card

Heavy Rotation

  • Put On The Bright Light, Interpol
  • American Idiot, Green Day
  • Hail To The Thief, Radiohead
  • Automatic For The People, REM
  • Shake Hands With Shorty, North Mississippi All-Stars
  • Kind Of Blue, Miles Davis
  • London Calling, The Clash
  • It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Public Enemy

Shrine of the Martyrs

  • "Life is hard. After all, it kills you." - Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003)
  • "I never wanted to be a star, I just wanted to get work." - Gregory Hines (1945-2003)
  • "Enjoy every sandwich" - Warren Zevon (1947-2003)
  • "There is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell" - Johnny Cash (1932-2003)
  • "I have never been convinced there's anything inherently wrong in having fun" - George Plimpton (1927-2003)
  • "It's very hard for me, not to tell everybody everything" - Spalding Gray (1941-2004)

Support World AIDS Day

SAVE THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE!

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Steely Dan: Confessions

Words and Mood - updated 2004.05.10

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.
...
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

- from September 1, 1939, by W.H. Auden

 

Thursday, May 15, 2003

 

The box o' the moment lost its juice, but gained a bouncing new 350 watt power supply.

Nothing fancy just yet, but I'd love to have one of those heavy duty machined and finned aluminum numbers. Maybe by the fall.

Damn, but it sucks to be in the grip of a never ending update jones... almost...



 

How to "support" something while (deliberately) not even trying



The Bush administration's office of newspeak has been in high gear of late, one recent example being Bush's amazing position on the assault weapons ban.

A photo caption in the story says it all.

Unlike his push for tax cuts, President Bush has had no recent public comments about an assault weapons ban that the White House says he supports.


From the "I support it but won't lift a finger or even talk about it" department.

But there's more...

The White House gave no indication that Bush is prepared to wage a public campaign for the legislation if House Republican leaders refuse to bring it up for a vote before the ban expires next year.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said Tuesday that there are not enough votes to extend the ban, and he predicted it would expire.

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said the president's position "is clear."

"The president said in the 2000 campaign that he supported the assault weapons ban because he thought it was reasonable," Fleischer said. "He stated then that he would support the reauthorization of it, and he states that again today."

But Bush's position has been relayed only through remarks by his press secretary and other spokesmen, and through communications between White House aides and congressional committees and interest groups.

The president has not mentioned it in public and has not issued written statements in his name.


Yup... it's clear that the issue reduces Bush to a jellyfish unable to do anything against the ban (costing him soccer mom votes) or for it (causing him an incessant NRA high colonic). Gee thanks, Ari!

That level of support stands in marked contrast to his campaign promoting his tax-cut plan and his frequent statements supporting judicial nominees whose nominations are stalled in the Senate.

Asked if Bush would mount such a public campaign to extend the gun ban, Fleischer would say only that the White House would announce plans if such events or statements were scheduled.


Ari will inform you all if the non-support support turns into real support support; everybody got that?



 






Wednesday, May 14, 2003

 

The Austin Tea Party... I just love the sound of that.

One of the chief GOP complainers about the Texas legislature Dem walkout, Tom Craddick, gets hoist on his own hypocritical petard:

For a person who made history this year as the first Republican speaker of the Texas House of Representatives in 132 years, Tom Craddick has flunked his first history test.

After using heavy-handed tactics to ram through a redistricting plan designed to benefit Republicans and punish Democrats, Craddick should not have been surprised to learn Monday that 53 Democrats suddenly disappeared, preventing the 150-member House from obtaining the 100 members needed to conduct business.

With lots of work to do and only three weeks remaining in the 78th Legislature, House business was brought to a sudden stop.

As noted philosopher George Santayana once said, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Craddick has no one to blame but himself. He helped write history when he was one of 30 members of the Texas House who disappeared during the 1971 legislative session.

Craddick and his "Dirty Thirty" colleagues were protesting the heavy-handed actions of then House Speaker Gus Mutscher and his cronies who were involved in the Sharpstown bribery-conspiracy scandal.

Mutscher, who called the "Dirty Thirty" irresponsible, eventually was ousted from power and found guilty of accepting a bribe.

At his Jan. 14 swearing-in ceremony as speaker, Craddick went out of his way to promise that the historic bipartisan tradition in the House would continue "all the way through the session."

Craddick not only failed to remember history, his brazen attempt to punish Democrats by forcing through a new congressional redistricting map also failed to keep his promise to uphold the House's bipartisan tradition.

What Craddick has done is put his friendship with U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay over the lessons of history and his own promises to run a bipartisan House.

DeLay asked that the Texas Legislature reopen congressional redistricting, an issue punted to a judicial panel by the 77th Texas Legislature.

Both Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst expressed no enthusiasm for another bite of the redistricting apple at the beginning of the session. Dewhurst called the idea "almost as attractive as contagious flu."

Confronted with a $10 billion budget shortfall, school finance and insurance reform, it is irresponsible to consider redistricting again without a court order.

When denied a quorum to continue legislative business in the House, Craddick has no one to blame but himself for his failure to learn from history he helped write.


Either the guy has the world's worst memory, or he's as brazen a hypocrite as they come.





Tuesday, May 13, 2003

 

*chuckle!*

Honestly, who's running Bush's economic policy now -- Bill Bennett?



 

Hail to the Thief


The title of Radiohead's sixth album 'Hail To The Thief' is also an anti-George W. Bush slogan used by protesters at the end of the controversial election campaign that put him into the White House. The phrase 'Hail To The Thief' was coined by protesters at the end of the 2000 US Presidential election, when controversy famously surrounded Bush's rise to office. The battle between Bush and Democrat candidate Al Gore came to a bitter end, with the result in the key state of Florida dogged by recounts, amid allegations of unfairness in the voting process.

On the day of his inauguration Bush was greeted in Washington by thousands of protesters with banners, some of who shouted, 'Hail to the thief, our commander in chief'. The phrase has now become well used in anti-Bush circles. A website, www.hail-to-the-thief.org, that casts a cynical eye over US policy is active and goes under the banner 'Hail to the Thief! Love your country. Never trust its government.' A number of books and articles have also been written, perhaps most famously 'Mediaocracy 2000 -Hail to the Thief' by Danny Schechter, which looks at the role of the media in the election.


Having listened to *AHEM* "sneak previews" of the new album, I heartily recommend it.

Release date: June 10th.



 

Tech Outrage o' the Year

So far, anyhow...

Microsoft: flaw left millions at risk



Friday, May 9, 2003 Posted: 9:20 AM EDT (1320 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Microsoft acknowledged a security flaw in its popular Internet Passport service that left 200 million consumer accounts vulnerable to hackers and thieves -- an admission that could expose the company to a hefty fine from U.S. regulators.

Microsoft said it fixed the problem early Thursday after a Pakistani computer researcher disclosed details of it on the Internet. Product Manager Adam Sohn said the company locked out all accounts it believed had been altered using
the flaw. He declined to say how many people were affected but said it was a small number.


Aint Bill a nice guy? They "acknowledge" something that's an open, dirty little secret... but ONLY after a researcher embarrasses his greenback encrusted derriere about it.

Can't tell you how many people were affected (they might have to kill you if they did), but "trust me... it was small; honest and for truly!".

Several security experts said they had successfully tested the procedure overnight. Sohn said the flaw had apparently existed since at least September 2002, but Microsoft investigators have found no evidence anyone
tried to use the technique to seize a Passport account before last month.


In other news, Billy believes that the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and his invisible friend from the 3rd grade have endorsed Windows as the greatest software in the history of mankind.

Passport promises consumers a single, convenient method for identifying themselves across different Web sites and encourages purchases online of
movies, music, travel and banking services.


Damned convenient for hackers, too. Heck, not just for them, but for anybody from toddler age on up who can type semi coherently (more on that below).

Closely tied to Microsoft's flagship Windows XP software, Passport also controls access for Windows users to the free Hotmail service and instant-messaging accounts.


Try running XP without Passport and the .Net framework. I refuse to put it on my box, but that doesn't stop system update from trying to ram it down your throat at every opportunity.

But hey, it gets better...

'Shouldn't have been so simple'

The Pakistani researcher, Muhammad Faisal Rauf Danka, determined that by typing a specific Web address that included the phrase "emailpwdreset," he could seize any Passport account. He said he sent 10 e-mails to Microsoft explaining his findings but never received a response. Sohn said the company was investigating how it might have missed those reports.

Danka said he discovered the flaw after unknown hackers repeatedly hijacked Passport accounts belonging to him and a friend. He said he found the problem on Microsoft Web's site that controls Passport accounts about four minutes after he began searching in earnest.

"It was so simple to do it. It shouldn't have been so simple," Danka told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Karachi.

"Anyone could have done this."


Don'tcha just love it? It doesn't even require a real hack!!! Just a criminally negligent (IMHO) backdoor in a system THAT PURPORTS TO BE GOOD ENOUGH TO HOLD ALL OF YOUR PASSWORDS AND ACCOUNT INFORMATION. FOR EVERYTHING YOU ACCESS ON THE WEB.

Passport is basically all that's left of M$'s "hailstorm" initiative of a couple of years back. Based on this, all I can say is in pace requiescat.



 

Das Blog is up and running.

With the Bush gang and der kulturkampfers attempting to run things, it's a target rich environment, to be sure.

And now, for the boring (but necessary) stuff:




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Das Blog Public Key


From time to time, Das Blog may take advantage of public key encryption technology, and this corner of the web would like to urge its readers to do the same. This doesn't mean that you'll need to keep a decoder ring handy so you'll be able to decrypt the weekly message from Little Orphan Annie.

What it does mean is that A) items on Das Blog may be accompanied by a digital signature, so that anyone can verify they were written and signed by the producer of this blog, and B) using the public key allows the reader to send confidential correspondence to the previously given email address (dh100h@netscape.net) and remain confident that no busybodies (this means you, John Ashcroft) can peek inside for their own personal amusement.

Das Blog uses GnuPG for its digital security needs, a fine piece of open source software. Use of the package along with the following public key is a subject too large to be adequately covered here, so the reader is urged to consult the GnuPG documentation at their site, as well as tutorials available elsewhere on the web.

Das Blog's public key follows:

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