My Archives: September 2004

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Cartoons: Russmo's On School Vouchers; Walt Handelsman's "Handy"; Steve Sacks' "Scenic Overlook"; Stuart Carlson's "Smokin' Out Cat Stevens"; and, Paul Conrad's "Amending the Bill of Rights".

As long as I am on the theme of people persecuted by the State... [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:06 PM EST [Link]

Thanks to Pat T. for alerting me to this item: Testimony of Larken Rose Offered to Grand Jury (on 8/3/04) Regarding IRS/DOJ Investigation. As Claire Wolfe explained in a blog entry of 06/19/2004 [more]

Posted by mac @ 04:30 AM EST [Link]

A science moment from Gordon P. New evidence lends some support to Thomas Gold's controversial hypothesis that "fossil" oil and gas might have had a non-biological origin, as well as his hypothesis that there might be a thriving microbial biosphere deep underground using non-biogenic methane as its principle
energy-sorce, and whose total biomass may equal or even exceed that of "surface" life. (Underground microbial ecosystems have indeed been discovered -- albeit in less extreme environments than proposed by Gold -- and are now archly known as "SLiMEs:" Subterranean Lithotrophic Microbial Ecologies.) For the article, click here.

Posted by mac @ 03:30 AM EST [Link]

A new entry has been made on DVBlog.

Posted by mac @ 02:22 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Gordon P., our resident Mr. Science, provides some fact-based whimsy that springboards from an article entitled "Mars, Once Warm and Wet, Left Some Clues." [more]

Posted by mac @ 04:28 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, September 25, 2004

This article by George J. Paulos is one of the best I've read on the subject of inflation.

Posted by mac @ 03:16 PM EST [Link]

Humor break: David Horsey's "Pinned Down"; Stuart Carlson's "Unwavering Leader"; Chuck Asay's "I am Just a Kid"; and, Tony Auth's "Vroom, Vroom." Interview with Jon Stewart on the upcoming Presidential election here.

Posted by mac @ 02:07 PM EST [Link]

Gordon P. offers an account of a truly _bizarre_ instance of FedGov surveillance. What is frightening about this instance is just how _incredibly_ much the FedGov knew about a private individual who had committed no crime (indeed, this individual apparently came to the FedGov's attention because he was the _victim_ of a crime!), and just how _blatant_ the FedGov was about violating this individual's Constitutional Rights. It was, however, somewhat refreshing to read an account of a local sheriff who _did_ understand that the FedGov was violating this individual's rights, and insisted that the FedGov agents comply with the constitution and with federal law while in his jurisdiction, rather than doing whatever they darned well pleased... I hope Gordon is correct in his assessment that this case is "bizarre" and not becoming commonplace.

Posted by mac @ 12:01 PM EST [Link]

Friday, September 24, 2004

Yesterday, Brad and I spent a long afternoon as communication volunteers at the International Plowing Match -- an event resembling a state fair sprawled over about 1 sq. mile of countryside -- that is going on in our neck of the globe. [more]

Posted by mac @ 09:26 AM EST [Link]

Humor break: Tom Toles' "Never Say You're Sorry"; and the Wonkette's hilarious commentary on Tina Brown's Thursday column in the Washington Post. The Economist (Sept. 11-17, p.29) offers two quotes from the "Linguistic in Chief" on the election trail: 1) "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country." 2) "I went to the Congress last September and proposed supplemental funding, which is money for armour and body parts and ammunition and fuel."

Posted by mac @ 06:53 AM EST [Link]

Gordon writes, The Feds have released libertarian Anthony Hargis -- who operated a free banking system based on gold, which did not report to the government -- after 6 mos in jail, but only because they could not find anything they could hold him for, and because they have already seized every asset that he owned, and all of the funds his clients had invested with him. Furthermore, the IRS has seized his offices, email, and snail-mail addresses, and are using them in a "sting operation" to try and ensnare Hargis' clients, whom they are assuming guilty of tax-evasion unless they can prove themselves innocent. For details, see Claire Wolfe's blog.

Posted by mac @ 05:18 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A nice article on The Hayekian Triumph of the Blogosphere: "If Nobel Prize winning economist F.A. Hayek had been watching last week as bloggers spontaneously responded to fraudulent documents aired by the program "60 Minutes", he would've grinned in humble satisfaction. Hayek's work centered on the effectiveness of spontaneous, decentralized organization." It partners well with this piece from The Guardian (UK) entitled "Blogging on: The web is being used to hold old media to account." I like being part of the community.

Posted by mac @ 09:54 AM EST [Link]

Have other political activists been getting weird emails aplenty in the last two weeks? I have been receiving an unusually high number of invitations to join Islamic unrest, to buy firearms over the Internet, to acquire fake ID, to launder money... I used to get one or two every few months; now they are daily. Is it a sting? A scam? An harassment gambit? Just teenagers having fun? This morning's sample: "Welcome to Here you can buy stolen passports, counterfeit dollars and all other things you are in want of. If you need, we would provide you with the info about the bank account of a person who you are interested in. Also there are credit cards dumps of US and Europe residents. Your faithfully,panther aka Graph." I trash them immediately and never open a link nor hit reply... I ever did, wonder if a notation would go down in "my file." You know the files they store in the cabinet labeled "Here Be Stupid Clueless People."

Posted by mac @ 09:23 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Cartoons: Drew Sheneman's not so funny "The Other Bush Twins"; Scott Bieser's "Ironic Curtain"; Steve Sack's comment on Cheney's comment re: voting for Kerry will cause terrorism "Bush-Cheney or Die"; and, Clay Bennet's similar commentary "Campfire Stories."

Posted by mac @ 09:50 PM EST [Link]

A nice collection of Bushisms.

I think my husband is prescient. When the CBS-false-memo flap first broke, Brad commented, "I wonder if the Republicans set up Dan Rather. It would be a brilliant way to deflect attention from Bush's non-service record...Do an expose on him that proves to be faked." And, now, this just in.... [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:21 AM EST [Link]

Gordon writes, Once one gets past its inflammatory title ["The Great Health Hoax"], this article by Robert Matthews provides a good explanation of why medical study after medical study claiming results that are "highly statistically significant" fail to deliver comparable results once they are put into general practice: The medical community's continued reliance on so-called "statistical significance tests" that do not in fact measure anything "significant." [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:02 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The irrepressible Wonkette reports this exchange from a recently aired segment of the contest show Double Jeopardy. The question was on Botswana for $1200. Alex Trebeck: THE INHABITANTS OF BOTSWANA CALLED THE SAN ARE ALSO KNOWN BY THIS NAME THAT COULD APPLY TO CHENEY & ASHCROFT. Contestant: Uh, what are Dick? (Awkward studio laughter.) Alex: "No. . . What are Bush men?" As Wonkette comments, "We're not sure the contestant got the answer wrong. . ."

Cartoons! Cartoons! Walt Handelman's comment on what passes for News "Polling"; Ben Sargent's allusion to Bush reading "My Pet Goat" to schoolchildren as planes crashed into the twin towers "Fears and Delusions"; and Tom Toles' "Democracy for Sale."

After blogging about the threat posed by the therapeutic state, I stumbled across an article by Ron Paul entitled "The Therapeutic Nanny State" on the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health -- the governmental body that issued a report calling for the mandatory mental health screening of American schoolchildren. This is terrible. I could get to *like* a politician.

Posted by mac @ 11:45 AM EST [Link]

Gordon P. provides a much-needed warning about the economic future. [more]

Posted by mac @ 02:19 AM EST [Link]

As our privacy and other rights erode, at least we can go down laughing. The British satire site Social Scrutiny has a page of spoof ID form applications that you are required to fill out and return. For those to whom British humor does not appeal -- and, yes, it is an acquired taste -- you might enjoy the satire site Enduring Vision -- at least, some of its news satires are good for a chuckle. For example, its take on Cheney's recent warning re: voting for Kerry will lead to more terrorist attacks. EV comments, "Cheney also suggested that a combination of the events could occur, making for even more devastating times.'A terrorist could fly a plane directly into a puppy, or a puppy could fly a plane into a woman right before she was raped,' he suggested, drawing shocked gasps from the audience. 'That's right, folks: all this and more is coming your way if John Kerry is elected'." BTW, I found EV through a link on another site, Flush the Web "the web place where you will find the worst website's that the net has to offer." And, yes, I have been surfing the web in the wee hours as a way to evade writing deadlines.

The first book I read by Thomas Szasz was The Myth of Mental Illness which -- true to its title -- raised the question "Is there such a thing as mental illness?" [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:38 AM EST [Link]

Monday, September 20, 2004

For those who were wondering, we weren't the only web site that was down most of today. A fire in Baltimore knocked webservers representing 188,000 host names off the net for over eight hours.

This is something to consider if you're dependent on the Internet. We've had enough experience with service outages to plan for the contingency. is hosted on a completely different service (and remained functioning all day), and we maintain dial-up accounts with two different ISPs (neither of which was affected). So we could still access the web, and had backup accounts to send and receive email. Any email sent to our addresses should eventually be delivered -- when a server is down, typically it's retried a few hours and then a day later -- but if email that you have sent to us bounces, or you fail to get a reply, you may want to send it again.


Posted by brad @ 09:46 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, September 19, 2004

I guess Microsoft is determined to hold the title of World's Buggiest Software. It appears that the much-ballyhooed Windows XP Service Pack 2, when installed on systems that connect both to a local area network and directly to the Internet (e.g, via dial-up or ISDN connection), disables the firewall and enables file sharing over the Internet. Yes, that's right, all of your computer's files become accessible on the Internet. If you're using a hardware firewall you're probably safe from this exposure. Follow the link for instructions to fix this.

Also, an exploit is now circulating from the recent Microsoft JPEG Flaw which seemingly affects every Microsoft product since Windows 3.1. (Well, not all: I don't see Word 6 or Office 97 on the list.) Not all products have been patched yet, so follow the link for interim measures and to locate available patches.


Posted by brad @ 10:54 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Well...a little later than I expected...but here is the first link to the separate DV blog that I mentioned in an earlier post on this main forum. I will be maintaining the separate blog on a regular basis both as a way to deal with a problem I cannot lay to rest due to recurring harassment and as a first step toward possibly writing a book on the subject. An archive of the DVBlog is also available.

Posted by mac @ 02:42 PM EST [Link]

Heads up, web surfers: CERT has just released a security advisory for the Mozilla and Firefox web browsers, and the Thunderbird email client. Multiple vulnerabilities

... could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the user running the affected application. ... [and] could also allow a remote attacker to crash an affected application.

The Mozilla organization has already relased patched versions of these products. No exploits are yet reported, but that's just a matter of time -- you should update your browser as soon as you can. (As an interim measure, the vulnerability allows an attacker to execute code with the user's privilege -- not system-wide privilege -- so you could create a new user account just for your web browsing.)

I guess it just goes to show...just because Microsoft owns a 95% market share for software bugs, doesn't mean they own them all.


Posted by brad @ 11:39 AM EST [Link]

Friday, September 17, 2004

Much is being made of the mass-circulated photo of a little girl crying because a Kerry-supporter has ripped a Bush/Cheney sign out of her hands. Phil Parlock is the father upon whose shoulders the little girl is perched and he has quite a history of actively supporting/stumping for the Republicans. And, according to a poster on the Democratic Underground, he had a similar incident happen in 2000 with Bush/Cheney signs and his son. The DU poster writes, "Sorry I can't actually link to this [news item], since I pulled it from a Lexis-Nexis search. If anyone wants to delve into the Charleston, WV, Daily Mail archives, have at it." The cite he offers is "Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia) October 28, 2000, Saturday, SECTION: News; Pg. P1A, LENGTH: 861 words, HEADLINE: Signs for Bush taken at rally, father, son say, BYLINE: SAM TRANUM... [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:46 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Cartoons: Tom Toles' "Word Association"; and, Tom Toles' "Wrong Choice".

PajamaGate is 60 Minutes' imprudent response to the fact that bloggers were the ones to break the news that the memos it aired on Bush's non-service may well be frauds.

Posted by mac @ 01:33 PM EST [Link]

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Cartoons: Ted Rall's "Who Knew?"; Stuart Carlson's "What's Important" and "It's Your Choice"; Chuck Asay's "Politicians Don't Create Jobs"; and, Drew Sheneman's "If You Know What's Good For You".

Along with tens of thousands of other people, I've become a fan of the CBFTW blog... [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:28 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Starting tomorrow I will be separating out my "personal exploration" from the political commentary of McBlog and placing the former into its own file on this site, which will be accessed by clicking on a link to the right-hand side of the front page. I will update that file on a regular basis and include a link within McBlog to any new material. My reasoning: I don't wish the personal commentary to overshadow the political. A new development is likely to make "the personal" more prominent and more valuable to those who are in an abusive relationship or are still suffering from the emotional aftermath of one. George Rolph, whom I look to as the sanest voice I've heard on the issue of domestic violence, has contributed his perspective on my initial blog entry about my experiences. He has provided the same sort of feedback that I imagine he offers to people who seek him out in person for counselling. (BTW, George and I disagree on a few points -- e.g. I do not stress forgiveness, as he does -- but I have learned more from our disagreements than I have from years of reading feminist theory on the subject.) I will post his response tomorrow, after sorting through it myself.

McBlog is currently peaking at over 8,000 unique hits a day and I hope the separation of material makes it easier for those who come here for the personal rather than the political -- or vice versa -- to navigate.

Best to all,

Posted by mac @ 12:46 PM EST [Link]

Saturday, September 11, 2004

This item from BreakTheChain: "Jessie Jackson has added former Chicago democratic congressman Mel Reynolds to Rainbow / PUSH Coalition's payroll. Reynolds was among the 176 criminals excused in President Clinton's last-minute forgiveness spree. Reynolds received a commutation of his six-and-a- half-year federal sentence for 15 convictions of wire fraud, bank fraud and lies to the Federal Election Commission. He is more notorious; however, for concurrently serving five years for sleeping with an underage campaign volunteer. This is a first in American politics: An ex-congressman who had sex with a subordinate, won clemency from a president who had sex with a subordinate then was hired by a clergyman who had sex with a subordinate. His new job? .....Youth counselor." URLs to related news items on site. [more]

Posted by mac @ 01:14 AM EST [Link]

A reader has commented - and correctly so - that I have defined only half of the problem of domestic violence. Yesterday, I defined what I mean when I use the term "victim." He asks me what I mean by the term "abuser." The definition of an abuser may seem obvious but, then, many people might have thought the same of the term "victim." [more]

Posted by mac @ 01:03 AM EST [Link]

Friday, September 10, 2004

A friend from my life in Los Angeles - which sometimes seems to be more than a life ago - wrote to me about my last entry on "Victimization." He commented, "One of my favorite film directors is Akira Kurosowa. When he was near the end of his life, somebody asked him what his films were about. He replied, why are we so mean to one another? The next obvious question to ask is; given the prevailing cruelty, what can be done about it?" That's a simple and elegant statement of the questions I'm determined to answer for myself. [more]

Posted by mac @ 06:33 AM EST [Link]

Cartoons! Tony Auth's "Wrong Choice in November"; two from Ben Sargent -- "The Mogul" and "Property of the Republican Party"; Walt Handelsman's "Pat Down"; Nick Anderson's the Same Ring"; and, Tom Toles' "Government and Religion.

An encouraging aspect of today's political scene -- and, trust me, I search for reasons to feel motivated to continue slugging away for personal freedom -- is how many good websites and writers are springing up and available for the price of seeking them out. Today, I highlight two of them. [more]

Posted by mac @ 03:29 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Today's humor: Diebold to Buy Federal Election Commission.

Ah, Diebold. Perhaps we may see some coverage of -- and action against -- the Diebold voting tamperers -- er, tabulators -- after all. Black Box Voting reports that the California Attorney General and Alameda County have joined the private citizens' false claims lawsuit against Diebold. This made it to Reuters and CNN. (I guess it's not newsworthy unless it comes from a government agency; and it's so much easier to read government press releases than to engage in that tiresome investigative journalism.) Apparently this will just be a civil suit and not a criminal investigation. Someone has decided to be nice to Diebold, since a criminal conviction would probably ruin the market for their voting machines.

Thanks to our friend Pat T. for bringing this to my attention: Microsoft is going to start selling computer keyboards with built-in fingerprint readers. [more]

Posted by brad @ 10:04 AM EST [Link]

News Flash from the Swift Drink Veterans for Kerry: Bush served in Vietnam after all. [more]

Posted by mac @ 08:03 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

I have been reading about the hotly anticipated new book by the slash-and-burn gossip maven Kitty Kelley, whose work always seems to cause a media storm and to reach the NYT's top ten. The book, which is coming out on September 14th with an initial press run of 1/2 million copies, is entitled "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty." [more]

Posted by mac @ 02:20 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, September 5, 2004

Well...he's heavy handed about it but Ward Sutton gives an anti-Bush cartoon summary of the four-day Republican National Convention: Day One untitled; Day Two untitled; Day Three, "Dick Cheney's America"; Day Four, "Bor-r-r-r-r-ing!" Along the same theme, Mark Fiore's "Republican Games". For written and more indepth anti-commentary, see The New Republic's RNC blog.

Looking for a spot of serious reading? -- I recommend Claire Wolfe's latest article Silence is Health: Who needs government censorship when we muzzle ourselves so effectively?"

Happy Labour Day Weekend! My best to you and your family.

Posted by mac @ 08:20 PM EST [Link]

Saturday, September 4, 2004

Remember Diebold, the company whose CEO promised to "help Ohio deliver its electoral votes" to Bush? Perhaps we're learning how. Black Box Voting has discovered a backdoor in the Diebold vote tabulators:

Manipulation technique found in the Diebold central tabulator -- 1,000 of these systems are in place, and they count up to two million votes at a time.

By entering a 2-digit code in a hidden location, a second set of votes is created. This set of votes can be changed, so that it no longer matches the correct votes. The voting system will then read the totals from the bogus vote set. It takes only seconds to change the votes, and to date not a single location in the U.S. has implemented security measures to fully mitigate the risks.

...The GEMS central tabulator program is incorrectly designed and highly vulnerable to fraud. Election results can be changed in a matter of seconds. Part of the program we examined appears to be designed with election tampering in mind. [Emphasis added.]

What more needs to be said?


P.S. This more needs to be said: I've just searched Google News and Yahoo News for "Diebold tabulator." Although Black Box Voting released this nine days ago, among the "major" (print & TV) media, only the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune have picked up this story. (CNN did mention it in their Daily Blog Roundup, but that's hardly front page coverage.) I learned about it from The Inquirer, a computer news site in the UK.

Posted by brad @ 01:46 PM EST [Link]

Strike the Root offers an interesting article which describes the biased news coverage from Iraq, and stressing how important it is for all of us to cultivate alternative news sources. And while the suggestions of Internet sources are excellent, I am embarassed to admit that I have been neglecting a superb channel for alternative news: shortwave radio.

Prior to the Internet, shortwave radio was the means to receive foreign news and opinion. Although it is not as "democratic" as the Internet -- anyone can start a web page, but transmitters and studios cost money -- radio also has the advantage of being harder to control and track than the Internet. (It takes serious equipment to jam a shortwave broadcast, and it's rather difficult for someone outside your house to determine what station you're listening to.) Plus, the Internet can be censored surreptitiously -- remember the denial-of-service attack on Al-Jazeera? -- but radio jamming is pretty obvious.

So I intend to resurrect my old shortwave listening habits. It's a well established hobby with many organizations and magazines -- just Google the phrase "shortwave listening". I'll try to post reception reports of interesting English-language news broadcasts from time to time.

A year or so ago I was asked for advice when buying a shortwave radio. I've lost that posting, but I'll try to reconstruct it here. [more]

Posted by brad @ 04:35 AM EST [Link]

Friday, September 3, 2004

It is difficult to know why the Bad Gas site is so fascinating. Perhaps my response is akin to the natural tendency of people to slow down on the freeway and glance at a car wreck off to the side. Perhaps it is due to the novelty of finding -- in the midst of our ultra PC world -- a site determined to offend everyone and to do so with no remorse. I posted Bad Gas to the Bulletin Board because of an article I stumbled across on "Doing the Lynddie" -- and Lynddie English has been a topic of discussion there. What's the Lynddie?, you ask. -- "Across the globe, camera-toting mischief-makers are snapping shots of themselves mimicking the finger-pointing pose of alleged Iraqi prison scandal perpetrator Lynndie England." Bad Gas was mentioned as having a faux-Lynddie archive. And, indeed, it does.

Brad and I finally saw "Fahrenheit 911' on Tuesday night. [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:38 PM EST [Link]

Thursday, September 2, 2004

For those who are interested in my experiences with Linux, and perhaps contemplating a switch to that operating system, I have more personal experiences to relate about Mandrake 10, SuSE 9, Xandros 2, and an HP OfficeJet. Those not interested can feel free to skip all that follows. [more]

Posted by brad @ 09:06 AM EST [Link]

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