Friday, July 29, 2005

Don't shed a tear for Judy Miller

Arianna reminds us that Miller was not just a run-of-the-mill, Jeff Gannon-level shill.
Foer cites military and New York Times sources as saying that Miller’s assignment was so sensitive that Don Rumsfeld himself signed off on it. Once embedded, Miller acted as much more than a reporter. Kurtz quotes one military officer as saying that the MET Alpha unit became a “Judith Miller team.” Another officer said that Miller “came in with a plan. She was leading them… She ended up almost hijacking the mission.” A third officer, a senior staffer of the 75th Exploitation Task Force, of which MET Alpha was a part, put it this way: “It’s impossible to exaggerate the impact she had on the mission of this unit, and not for the better.”

What did Miller do to create such an impression? According to Kurtz, she wasn’t afraid to throw her weight around, threatening to write critical stories and complain to her friends in very high places if things didn’t go her way. “Judith,” said an Army officer, “was always issuing threats of either going to the New York Times or to the secretary of defense. There was nothing veiled about that threat.”

In one specific instance, she used her friendship with Major General David Petraeus to force a lower ranking officer to reverse an order she was unhappy about. (Can we stop for a moment and take the full measure of how unbelievable this whole thing is?)


A poem for Friday

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Taibbi on the 2004 Ohio "irregularities"

I was inclined to dismiss as a waste of time any discussion of what happened in Ohio. The story wasn't going anywhere. Even if there was evidence of wrongdoing, how could it possibly be more incontrovertible than the evidence in Florida? And given that nothing happened when Bush stole the election in front of the entire world in Florida, why bother making a fuss now in Ohio—especially since John Kerry was clearly many millions of votes less of a victim than Al Gore?

Well, I don't think that way anymore. After attending this panel, and speaking to the congressmen involved in the preparation of the Conyers report (in particular Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a former Ohio secretary of state) I'm convinced that Ohio was a far more brazen and frightening subversion of democracy than Florida.

Here's the thing about Ohio. Until you really look at it, you won't understand its significance, which is this: the techniques used in this particular theft have the capacity to alter elections not by dozens or hundreds or even thousands of votes, but by tens of thousands.

And if we ignore this now, we're putting proven methods for easily ripping off major elections in the hands of the same party that had no qualms whatsoever about lying its way into a war in Iraq. In the hands of a merely corrupt political party, a bad election or two would be no big deal. But these clowns we have in power now imagine themselves to be revolutionaries, and their psychology is a lot like that of the leadership of Enron, pre-meltdown—with each passing day that they get away with it, they become more convinced by a delusion of righteousness.

Obviously people who have followed this story before know the basic facts already, but for those who ignored Ohio until now, here's a very brief greatest hits of Ohio irregularities:

• As was the case in Florida, the secretary of state (Kenneth Blackwell, in Ohio), who is in charge of elections, was also the co-chair of the state's Bush-Cheney campaign.

• In a technique reminiscent of the semantic gymnastics of pre-Civil Rights Act election officials, Blackwell replaced the word "jurisdiction" with "precinct" in an electoral directive that would ultimately result in perhaps tens of thousands of provisional ballots—votes cast mainly by low-income residents—being disallowed.

• Blackwell initially rejected thousands of voter registrations because they were printed on paper that was, according to him, the wrong weight.

• In conservative, Bush-friendly Miami County, voter turnout was an Uzbekistan-esque 98.55 percent.

• In Warren county, election officials locked down the administration building and prevented reporters from observing the ballot counting, citing a "terrorist threat" (described as being a "10" on a scale of 1 to 10) that had been reported to them by the FBI. The FBI made no such report. Recounts conducted during this lockdown resulted in increased votes for Bush.

• In Franklin County, 4,258 votes were cast for Bush in a precinct where there were only 800 registered voters.

And so on. There are dozens more such glitches, which taken together suggest that the exit polls in Ohio, showing Kerry the victor, were probably accurate. But this is just a primer. More facts next week, plus an interview with Sherrod Brown—and a guide to what to do next.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005


DWORD to your moms, I came to drop bombs;
I've got more rhymes that San Jose's got dotcoms.
I rep the Farm like 50 reps Queens,
With more power than multitape Turing Machines.
Blowin' up the rap scene faster than factorial functions,
I'm dope like PNP transistors and I'll saturate your junctions.
By the time you've rhymed one line, I've already busted ten;
You rap in exponential time and I'm big-O of log(n).


More trouble for Rove

From the "taste of your own medicine" department.


Dog Judo

Title says it all, really...
thanks, Dano...

VLC800 Digital Modelling Cowbell - The last cowbell you'll ever buy

Reproduces classic tones, like:
Oregon Trail Model 82
When A.C. Durband assumed control of Mason Cowbells in 1880, he completely redesigned the popular Oregon Trail model. The resulting Oregon Trail Model 82 had a distinctly different tone than its predecessor. While many prefer the warmer tone of the Model 75, the Model 82 has a rich vintage sound all its own, with a pronounced peak in the upper-mids that helps it cut through the densest mix on-stage oor in the studio.

yeah, it's a hoax

Monday, July 25, 2005

Fun with payola memos

This one from Feb. 13, 2004: "Gave a jessica trip to wkse to secure Jessica spins and switchfoot." That would be Jessica Simpson, for whom Sony laid on big bucks in the last couple of years to turn her into something she's clearly not: a star.


Friday, July 22, 2005

"Where'd my soul-numbing ultraviolent racism go?"

'Cuz you know, there you are, eyes bloodshot and fingers sore and synapses raw and butt prematurely widening, cranking along on your 117th hour of the insanely popular GTASA, and you're bustin' heads and makin' drug deals and swipin' cars and gang-bangin' and stuff is blowin' up all around.

And there's tons of guns and bazookas and knives and disposable slutty chicks and viciously corrupt cops and piles of blatant racism and drive-by shootings and pipe beatings and low-rider cars with massive silly chrome rims, and you can veritably feel the imminent heroin overdoses and taste the toxic prison food these thug characters will soon enjoy, and it's just all manner of bitchin' badass video-game glory of sufficient quality to numb your teenage soul to the point where you become so callous and lost and malicious you're ready to join the Young Republicans when WHOA, what the hell is this?

Suddenly that downloadable patch you installed last night kicks in and there's, like, a lame and badly animated sex scene, right there, right between the graphic bloody part where you bazooka'd the police helicopter and the part where the gang-banger gets his lame ass beaten with a large handgun, and suddenly you're like, what the hell? Who stuck this lame badly animated sex in here? Where'd my soul-numbing ultraviolent racism go? I am outraged.


thanks, Dano... Sheesh!

A simple primer on the Plame case.

Ex-CIA officer Larry Johnson sets the record straight - no BS, no spin.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

WWII as online videogame

Hitler[AoE]: u guys are fockin gay
Hitler[AoE]: ur never getting in my city
*Hitler[AoE] has been eliminated.*
benny~tow: OMG u noob you killed yourself
Eisenhower: ROFLOLOLOL
Stalin: OMG LMAO!
Hitler[AoE]: WTF i didnt click there omg this game blows
*Hitler[AoE] has left the game*


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Taibbi to press (on Rove) - "What took you so long?"

A persistent feature of the Rove profile is the reporter's close proximity to Rove in a casual, intimate setting (i.e., Elisabeth Bumiller astride the "bombastic, deceptively cherub-faced" Rove on the campaign plane as he "playfully withholds news of recent polls from the president"). Rove made sure to invite every reporter in Washington for a one-day private tour of his world of dirty jokes, harried cell-phone calls and ad-hoc strategizing. And every hack that took the tour came away with stars in his eyes, primed to make Rove into the larger-than-life villain role he had been fitted for.

The result of all this was to obscure the basic fact about Rove, which is that he's not a genius at all. He is a pig, and the only thing that distinguishes him is the degree of his brazenness and cruelty. It doesn't take a genius to send out fliers calling your opponent the "fag candidate." It doesn't take a genius to insinuate that your opponent's wife is a drug addict. There's nothing cunning or clever about saying your opponent came home from a war too fucked in the head to govern (particularly when your own candidate was too much of a coward to fight in the same war), or about whispering that that same candidate may have an illegitimate black child. And there's nothing clever about calling the followers of the opposition party traitorous and un-American, and claiming that they all want to coddle and appease the murderers of our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Get reverb from the internets!

Alex writes: "Some incredibly generous Germans have set up a mike and speaker inside a huge concrete tank that used to be filled with water for steam trains. Thru the website you send a sample, it gets played out into the tank - and the result sent back to you in stereo!

from the always-interesting MusicThing

This drinking game is ongoing

so I can't comment on it...


thanks, Dano!

Friday, July 15, 2005

More DRM lame-osity

This one has something for everyone (other than the consumer):

1. Microsoft can force entice people to buy Longhorn in order to view content.
2. Display companies get to force entice people to upgrade their displays.
3. Content providers get to keep their illusions about how their content is being "protected."

and of course..
4. Landfills get bigger.
5. P2P networks get more users as consumers get fed up with this whole ridiculous system.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

A little Gumball 3000 nuttiness

It's a big download (69MB), but well worth it.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Katie Holmes has transformed into a freakin' Stepford Wife, complete with a scientology handler new best friend.
Anyone who has seen photos from the couple's June tour of European capitals in support of their summer movies will recognize the tall, cold-eyed Jessica Rodriguez, a third wheel at all of Holmes's recent public appearances. Rodriguez, 29, was described to me as Holmes's "Scientologist chaperone," and it was clear that she would be on hand during our interview despite my protests. Polite and restrained but alert to troublesome questions, Rodriguez chimes in only to offer an amen following one of Holmes's rhapsodies. ("You adore him," Rodriguez says after the actress explains that she can't keep her hands off Cruise.) But she rises from her chair when Holmes is asked how she feels about the widespread disbelief in her new union.

"The truth is, we don't read that stuff because it's just rude," Rodriguez says—referring to rumors that Cruise made a financial arrangement with Holmes (after auditioning a field of other young starlets, including Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba and Kate Bosworth). When I suggest that the televised hyperbolizing of their happiness may have undercut its credibility, Rodriguez asks, "Have you ever been in love? You just want to share it with the world."


Audioblogging OK!...?

Well, it sounds like it's ok with SOME labels, but I didn't see any friendly quotes from any major label people or RIAA reps.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

90% of DVR owners skip commercials

Time for a new business model, folks...

Monday, July 11, 2005

McClellan goes off the rails

QUESTION: Scott, can I ask you this: Did Karl Rove commit a crime?

MCCLELLAN: Again, David, this is a question relating to a ongoing investigation, and you have my response related to the investigation. And I don't think you should read anything into it other than: We're going to continue not to comment on it while it's ongoing.

QUESTION: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003, when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliot Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this"?

QUESTION: Do you stand by that statement?

MCCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that, as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation, we're not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time as well.

QUESTION: Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you've decided not to talk.

You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?

MCCLELLAN: I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation...

QUESTION: (inaudible) when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate?

MCCLELLAN: If you'll let me finish.

QUESTION: No, you're not finishing. You're not saying anything.

You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn't he?

MCCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

QUESTION: Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

MCCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

QUESTION: You're in a bad spot here, Scott...



Sunday, July 10, 2005

Get these while you can

HDCP stripper for protected HD content:


Friday, July 08, 2005

Inside the XBox 360

I have to admit, this stuff all sounds pretty sweet. Sweet enough to make me consider switching to Microsoft.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"What kind of country goes to war whispering 'yes' into a telephone?"

Taibbi's back:
It seems fairly obvious that, in the course of the last few years, roughly 25-30 percent of the country has been influenced by the steady issue of news about increased violence and instability in Iraq. Apparently, a large percentage of Americans who supported the war two years ago have since become freaked out by the fact that, surprise, surprise, people are dying.

Which invites the question: If these people can't handle a few bad headlines, what exactly was their level of commitment to begin with? Pre-war polls, confined to the standard Coke-Pepsi either-or formula, didn't tell us much about that.

Maybe if the polls back then had been conducted differently, we might have had different results. Imagine a March 2003 poll that posed the following questions:

Would you yank your son out of college and send him to die for this bullshit?

Would you yourself be willing to give your life for this cause? If yes, grab your shit; there's a bus outside.

Those should be the only kinds of polls we allow, when it comes to questions of war. I mean, who the hell are these people who changed their minds once the news started to turn sour? There are only two explanations: They're either unbelievable cowards, or they didn't think it through. In either case, if there were any justice, they would all be rounded up and dumped buck naked on the streets of Fallujah.


World's most hilarious, embarassing, and obnoxious ringtones

All at once! Find your name!


Friday, July 01, 2005

Human Pachinko

Saw this everywhere today, but in case you haven't tried it... Use your mouse when she gets stuck.

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