Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mac Security, because it matters!

As you might be able to tell from my links/ads on the left, I use a Mac.

That doesn't have any bearing on my political views, just my day to day typical workflow. I like the Mac platform, not the least because of its UNIX underpinnings and glossy finish.

I also like to use Safari primarily, and I use Firefox for all things Google and other sites that don't pay well with Safari...

And anyone - Mac or Windows - who uses Firefox 2.0 needs to know about the flaw in the browser's built-in password manager.

After reading that, I'm even more thankful to Hubert for giving me 1Password in the MacHeist. It's a very cool app that integrates into all my browsers and provides an extra layer of security for all my web passwords. It even securely stores my various "Identities" - a feature that comes in handy for when my fiance and I want to enter every contest under the sun, and register for all the nifty new Web 2.0 sites coming online.

If you use a Mac, and you use the internet, you have to check out 1Password. There's even a great video there explaining its usage!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The odd thing about PredatorGate (Mark Foley(R-FL)).....

This has been sitting my head for awhile .... figured I should go on and put it out there... I'm not carving anything new out of this story, and I'm only claiming to possibly check a trickle of the GOP spin machine.

Enjoy (please).

Obviously, if I were to say something like "I told you so," without having access to hard evidence, people from all sides would correctly call me a whack-nut job. Including me.

However, in a different place with a different context I think I wrote:


I have no love for Tucker Carlson.

In fact, I really want to write, "Tucker Carlson is Pedophile and child molester (based on the 9/11 commission report)" and disclaim that statement by calling it a "docudrama."

Obviously, that's just an overly mean slur directed at a kinda mean (if really, really harmless) talking head. Tucker's a decent reporter, I guess, but not so good an anchor. Just search youtube for Jon Stewart on Crossfire and you'll see what I mean. (Jon's reaction is quite good!)

I was curious to see what anchor-ly indignation Tucker (bite that lip, Tuck!) might express about Mark Foley, but it wouldn't be interesting unless Mike Papantonio is involved:

"Go to the Internet, read what this Pedophile freak was saying to this child." - you won't believe the lame defense offered by the Rev. Mike Watkins, shill for Republican Jesus.

You can listen to Mike, alongside Robert Kennedy, Jr., on their weekend show, Ring of Fire. Their new book is available here:

Now, on to the Bush Administration's response to PredatorGate: it's a very similar to their response to PlameGate, and we all know how that turned out, don't we?

"I have no knowledge of who leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent, and I'll fire anyone involved" translates into:

"I am the one who authorized the leaks, and since I declassified the information it isn't a big deal. I'm not firing anybody who isn't threatened with jail time."

That's a high moral standard, don't you think?

We can see where Reps. Reynolds and Hastert got their playbook for dealing with Mark Foley -- do nothing until it becomes public and the FBI investigates. Answer no questions after your public statements, lie about that - repeatedly - and if possible, make your public statements about sexual molestation only while surrounded by children.

But we need to understand a few key concepts in this whole thing:

  • There is a cover up. At some level, an elected official made decision to merely verbally warn Foley after they gained knowledge of the explicit messages to under aged kids.
  • There are more than one page involved. They were underage when initially inappropriately contacted by Foley.
  • Foley's contributions to the GOP were at such times they are likely bribes to buy silence regarding his behavior, and this is currently under investigation.
And there's one final point that must not ever be forgotten: the scandal surrounding Mark Foley (R-FL) erupted at exactly the right moment to steal the headlines from the recently passed bill that gutted the U.S. Constitution.

That's right. Because our media establishment in this country cares more for sensational titles, and the GOP loves talking about homosexuals, because they cannot admit that Habeus Corpus is fundamental to our country's sense of character.

What did my Grandfather fight for in World War II if not the basic freedoms guaranteed us by the Constitution and its first ten amendments?

If you're confused, and I know how easy it can be, watch Keith Olberman describe exactly what happened with the Military Commisisons Act of 2006. And mourn with me as Keith lays Habeus Corpus to rest.

Stephen Colbert gives away the gameplan:

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Al Franken v. Kinky Friedman

What do Al Franken and Kinky Friedman have in common?

They are two of the best comedians I've had the pleasure of laughing at (or with). They are universally acclaimed for at least a portion of their comedic careers.

What separates Al Franken from Kinky Friedman?

Al has spent a lot of time expressing himself on a personal and political level, prior to his announcing he might announce he'll run for office. He also a movie coming out that we in Texas can go see! And a radio show we can all hear!

Kinky didn't really distinguish himself from his humor (more edgy/satirical than Franken's) before running for Governor of Texas. He relied on friends from all sides of the fence - including the Dixie Chicks - to get him on the ballot.

That's kind of cost Kinky a few steps in the race for governor, particularly because he dismisses people who look back on what he's said and ask what he means by his words. There are some remarks, particularly those made more than ten years ago, which are clearly "Colbert" in nature, and then there those made recently, which I posted about here. They're a little more, huh?

Now, I should repeat myself in that I held the somewhat honorary title of Elections chair (or something similar) for a county Green Party here in Texas. All the candidates were former Republican office holders (mayors, precinct chairs), except for one my age who was a freelance journalist. He refused to run a campaign, but the others did, they were all retired and looking out for their grandchildren as well as their own skin.

The main theme, or party platform: Cut out the corporations and take responsibility. This was in 2002, when we knew how well Clinton cozied up to the Big Corporations with his job-shuffling NAFTA and other supply-side incentives, and we knew how the Republicans were handling "the Golden Rule."

As John W. Dean said, a Goldwater conservative is considered liberal these days.

What's even more funny, when I was in college, in 2000 my more conservative friends (one of whom went on to clerk for Judge Priscilla Owen) were all supporting Bradley in the Primary. I was pulling for McCain, up until he relapsed and played lapdog for Rove. Bradley held a little more dignity.

So it should come as no surprise that I really like the idea of a true independent holding a major office. Indeed, Kinky seems bent on changing things to eliminate corporate interest as much as possible, supplanting it with people interest. And he drinks and smokes. And is friend of Willie Nelson, elderly drug offender. My kind of guy.

(Strayhorn is the Republicans' Lieberman. Well, no, Lieberman is the Republicans' James Carville on almost every vote lately. Strayhorn is to the Republicans what Lieberman is to Democrats of whatever they're venal politicians.)

Anyways, about that movie, Al Franken: God Spoke

In Texas, we can watch it at these places and times:

Houston: 10/27 - Angelika Film Center

Austin: 10/6 - Landmark Dobie

Dallas - 9/29 - Angelika Film Center

That's when the run starts, check your town for show times. I highly recommend checking out the website -- lots of great info, links to Al's books (want to know just how full of BS Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly are? Read Franken and laugh!), and a blog more entertaining than this one, with gems such as:

You can kind of see how the whole thing plays out just by looking at the splash screen that YouTube provides. There’s Al on the left, smiling. Then there’s this oofy guy on the right who looks like a thumb wearing a tie.

I don't know of any more short vids on Kinky - I'm watching the Governor's debate soon, I promise a report. You can listen to Kinky being interviewed by Alex Jones over on youtube, courtesy of the GCN Radio Network. It's about six parts long, and If Greg Palast recommends Mr. Jones, I'll give him a listen. Honestly, it's a great interview.

Anyways, here's a classic from Kinky's friend (and energy guy) Willie Nelson.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Did James Carville create a voluntary Watergate in 2004?

M.J. Rosenberg of TPMCafe has unearthed a stunner buried -- and not talked up in MSM -- in Bob Woodward's new book: (h/t crooksandliars)

On page 344, Woodward describes the doings at the White House in the early morning hours of Wednesday, the day after the '04 election.

Apparently, Kerry had decided not to concede. There were 250,000 outstanding ballots in Ohio.

So Kerry decides to fight. In fact, he considers going to Ohio to camp out with his voters until there is a recount. This is the last thing the White House needs, especially after Florida 2000.

So what happened?

James Carville gets on the phone with his wife, Mary Matalin, who is at the White House with Bush.

"Carville told her he had some inside news. The Kerry campaign was going to challenge the provisional ballots in Ohio -- perhaps up to 250,000 of them. 'I don't agree with it, Carville said. I'm just telling you that's what they're talking about.'

"Matalin went to Cheney to report...You better tell the President Cheney told her."

Matalin does, advising Bush that "somebody in authority needed to get in touch with J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio who would be in charge of any challenge to the provisional votes." An SOS goes out to Blackwell.

The rest is history.

When you connect this information with that contained in Robert Kennedy Jr.'s investigative report in Rolling Stone the picture becomes very dark indeed. Go read that report, if you haven't, and learn all the details over at the The Free Press.

What is absolutely unsettling is that Blackwell's actions are very likely tantamount to Election Fraud. He was chided or blocked by judges on constitutional grounds on several things, but many things he did went either unpunished, or the reprimand came after the damage was done.

Why did Woodward not place this tidbit on the front page of the Washington Post when he learned it? Are his profits more important than his loyalty to the U.S.?

Why hasn't someone sued/jailed Carville for election tampering?

The only thing that distinguishes this from Watergate is that Carville, a trusted Democratic aide, willingly betrayed his superiors, giving away their confidential plans. He very likely killed them, at least politically.

Who of our elected officials will stand up and demand to be counted?

Who of our elected officials will stand up and demand accountability?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Spread the good word.

I don't know exactly why i should feel the compulsion to post this, but there are apparently people who Fox News really translates to Faux News.

So, some quick updates.

Air America is not Bankrupt. Since Think Progress has the guts to retract a story, maybe Fox News does too? Well, kind of. Fox News itself has run the same story as think Progress, but the anchor who wrote about the story - now and also back in June and before that - Bill O'Reilly hasn't posted an update to his part of the site. Oh yea, don't forget that Bill is also on Al Qeada's hit list, even though his own network denies it.

That isn't surprising. If you'd like to know whether or not Air America is alive and well, you can check their actual website. Or, alternatively, if you live in the Dallas Area, tune into 910 AM; Austin: 1600 AM; San Antonio: 103.1 FM . Oh, and expect a ton of positivity.

Alternatively, you can tune in on-line and listen to shows in syndication and/or offered simultaneously to other shows.

Sunday on the Texas Progressive Radio Network features sermons of Peace and understanding, inspired by the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

Hear something on Fox News? Ignore it for your health -- it's more deadly than fresh spinach.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hey Travel Agents: get a wiki!

If there's one piece of advice I could give the loval Tourism bureaus, it'd be to get on the web, and to start a travel and tourism wiki.

I'm serious about this. It seems like Houston and San Antonio really want to promote themselves to each other. When I turn on the TV here, I see an ad cavorting me to visit San Antonio. When I visit my family in San Antonio, I see ads for the mall an exit on I-10 away from my home. Gosh, they're thinking of me!

If you don't know what a wiki is or how it can benefit you, here is atravel and tourism wiki newsletter that has a wealth of great information on how a wiki can beneifit the CVB as well as any bunsiesses and tourists.

A Wiki is a collectively-edited website. Here are few ways a wiki can help you:

  • Create an internal, encrypted wiki for use by employees. The content can be easily updated and modified, and control could be placed over who could edit the wiki.

  • Add your business or geographic area to relevant public wikis. It's a great way to promote your business, and to have individuals other than you point out their favorite things and events in one centrral place!

  • Observe proper behavior on a wiki if you're a professional involved in a promoted business or industry. Don't be anonymous - promote your business when you contribute! Also don't remove competitiors, but do correct factual mistakes (observe the golden rule).

  • For a good example of a geographic wiki, check out RoaringForkWiki for ideas about how to structure your wiki. That newsletter above also has other resources for creating your own personal wiki easily and painlessly.

Alright, CVBs out there: got a wiki? Post it in the comments below. show me what you got, why I should leave my house for you.

Tripping through the blogosphere....

I've been up to no good lately, at least according to some folks. I'll post more on a particular feud over one comment a little later, when i can get my thoughts in order.

Around the Conservative media and blogosphere, there seems to be an uproar over a "lack of Unity" behind our President. This is of course a smear campaign against anyone who has trouble with unlimited warrant less spying, unlimited arrest and detention of any person without no evidence or criminal charges, and let's not forget the little trifling matter of outing covert agents, and then suppressing an investigation into the damage caused by such a a leak.

Be warned, that if you make any public statement questioning the validity of these acts, you will be labelled "un-American." If you're an elected Democrat, you will be called an "islamofascist" even if you're a christian minister and/or a U.S. Military reservist or retiree.

It's refreshing to know that not all conservatives are steamrolling towards the extreme right. A few cases in point:

CrooksandLiars has a post on a new book coming out, written by Sen. John Danforth, formerly a contender to be Bush's Vice-Presidential Candidate, an exclusive from Raw Story:

The former Missouri senator shortlisted to be then-Governor Bush's running mate in the 2000 presidential election -- said to have been second choice only to Vice President Cheney -- will come out vehemently against administration and Congressional Republican policy in a book to be published next week., according to an advance copy obtained by RAW STORY.

John Danforth, who retired in 1995 after four terms in the Senate, briefly served as Bush's ambassador to the United Nations but resigned after Condoleezza Rice was tapped to be Secretary of State. According to CNN, he was second on the list of Bush's potential vice presidential choices in 2000.

In Faith and Politics, to be released Tuesday, Danforth blasts the alignment of the Republican Party with the Christian right, lays out his most aggressive pro-gay stance to date and attacks the handling of the Terri Schiavo case.
See, this is what's called "thinking" for yourself, and respecting the rights of every American Citizen to do as they wish (isn't that point of Capitalism and Democracy?). It's also about principles such as small, limited government and self-determination:

Danforth calls the Terri Schiavo case -- where Congress intervened to attempt to keep a severely brain-damaged woman from being taken off life support -- "Big Brotherism."

"That the federal government could intervene in the Schiavo case was a threat to all the families that had seen their loved ones suffer through terminal illness," he writes.

It was a threat to people who were terrified that their own lives might someday be artificially extended in nightmarish circumstances. It was a threat to some of our most heartfelt values. It was Big Brotherism in the extreme, an exercise of the raw and awesome power of the federal government.
"They intervened not in the name of principle, but at the expense of principle," Danforth avers. "They abandoned principle by deciding a medical question without any firsthand knowledge of what they were doing."
So, let's add The Reverend John Danforth, an ordained Episcopal Priest, to the ranks of Colin Powell, John Dean, and other conservative who have the moral fortitude to stand up and say that they will not go blindly down this dark path.

You can pre-order Danforth's Faith and Politics

While there, why not pick up Conservatives Without Conscience by John W. Dean, White house Counsel to Richard Nixon, and self-described Barry Goldwater conservative. You might also like any of the books by or about Colin Powell.

For a more immediate fix, Crooksandliars has video of Joe Scarborough placing Principles above Partisanship or Sen. Lindsey Graham explaining the importance of the Geneva Conventions. Scarborough is a former Republican congressman from Florida, and Sen. Graham is a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Austin City Limit Blues

Choose from over 1 million tracks for only 99¢ a song at iTunes

The Austin City Limits Festival is starting today. The festival will run all weekend.

I won't be there , though. I've got to stay here in Houston, and sleep and recuperate from travelling so much. I was in San Antonio last night, and Austin early this morning. Here in Houston yesterday and today, so you can imagine how i feel right now, road warrior that I am.

Last year I attended the ACL Festival (I lived in Austin). It was a great time: I bought five tickets on the second wave of ticket release, and my brother flew in from Florida to go with me, my fiance, one of my best friends, and my roommate. All the usual drama that occurs whenever my brother and I have gotten together this century occurred, and I almost kicked him out of my house.

Apple iTunes
(I really enjoyed Keane's performance.)

My fiance talked me out of being the brat little brother, and the weekend overall was incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed the Festival experience, except for the ever-present dust storm and the heat.

And one other thing almost threatened to ruin it for me.

It was my first ACL Festival, and I wasn't prepared for the commercialism of it all. I wrote an angry comment to the organizers or whoever got those things, i said they ought to change the name from "Austin City Limits" to "Austin City Suburbs," though perhaps "exurbs" would have been better.

For all the weirdness that is Austin, this great screwed-up state's Capitol, the festival in 2005 was overtly normal. To be fair the food booths were ppredominantlylocal, and non-chain. And not surprisingly, they weren't as overpriced as food booths tend to be.

Local coffee shop like Ruta Maya featured? Naw, Starbucks.
Local Texas Wine industry showcased Naw, Blackstone.
Local Micro brews proudly serving up true to roots Texas beer? Nopers, just the big boys.

How prominent was the booth selling lemonade to raise money for childhood cancer?
It was hidden near the kiddie area, almost behind a stage. Super-expensive mega brew beer was placed about twenty times more prominently and conveniently.

Now, of course it's relevant to ask if the problem was primarily funds (could struggling locals even afford to bid on a sponsorship?), and it could have been purely logistical -- what small company can handle the sheer load of a festival? I don't know. Because it's ACL, I have to give them a little leniency. AND a little nudge towards the bbetter path once in awhile.

If you want to hear the Festival from 2005, a selection of performances is available on iTunes:

Franz Ferdinand - Austin City Limits Festival

Lyle Lovett played last year . . . He's always a highlight for me, whether it's at the ACL or at the Austin New Years Eve bash. If you gotta have an anthem in Texas, this is mine:

Lyle Lovett - Live in Texas - That's Right (You're Not from Texas) [Live]