children left behind: agog edition

by twit

An emotional John Rempel, 22, of Leamington held his hands to his face as he described Tuesday how he lost $150,000 when he got caught up in a Nigerian Internet scam. Photograph by: Nick Brancaccio, The Windsor Star

So many people were involved in this, it is jaw-droppping

A Leamington man has fallen prey to international scam artists who strung him along for more than a year with the promise of millions in cash, but ultimately bilked him and his family of $150,000.

… His troubles began in July 2007. He said he got an e-mail from someone claiming to be a lawyer with a client named David Rempel who died in a 2005 bomb attack in London, England, and left behind $12.8 million.

… The lawyer said his client had no family but wanted to leave the money to a Rempel. It was his lucky day.

of course!  the guy had a will that directed an attorney to randomly send emails to people with the same last name, and reward the first responder with the money!  those crazy rich people and the things they do…

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Hail Kiwi

by The Kiwi

birthday-kiwi

“in a move without modern precedent”

by twit

feel that?

With its benchmark lending rate effectively at zero, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday, in a move without modern precedent, publicly laid out an aggressive agenda for the nation’s otherwise secretive central bank and suggested that he’s hardly out of ammunition to fight the global financial crisis.

that’s a new era being born…

In a lengthy speech to the London School of Economics, Bernanke also gave explicit support to efforts by Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to create the largest short-term economic stimulus plan the nation’s ever seen.

Speak slowly!

by twit

Sarah Palin is trying to listen!

From the Editor’s Blog of the Anchorage Daily News on January 12, 2009:

Gov. Palin’s press office claims that she has pointed out errors in Daily News coverage that we have refused to correct. The only such complaints of which I’m aware are below, in an email from Gov. Palin to the publisher and me.

I posted a portion of these two emails last week in a naïve effort to explain that the newspaper never took seriously the conspiracy theory that the governor did not give birth to her son Trig, but that recently we had made an effort to document his birth in pursuit of a story about why the Trig rumors, while baseless, are apparently so widespread and persistent.

The earlier post sent a number of adn.com readers off the deep end, including some websites and bloggers who denounced the paper for our “anti-Palin story.” I had to chalk that up to a reading comprehension problem, since no story was ever published.

Some readers seemed wildly offended that we would dare to ask questions about Trig’s birth, even if our assumption was that the answers might finally put the conspiracy theory to rest.

and from CNN on January 13, 2009:

“Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie annoy me…  I’ll tell you, yesterday the Anchorage Daily News, they called again to ask — double-, triple-, quadruple-check — who is Trig’s real mom,” she said, in an interview to be published in [Esquire] magazine’s March issue.

“And I said, Come on, are you kidding me? We’re gonna answer this? Do you not believe me or my doctor? And they said, No, it’s been quite cryptic the way that my son’s birth has been discussed. And I thought, Okay, more indication of continued problems in the world of journalism.”

don’t worry, Sarah, your number one fan is out there trying to fix journalism:

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“U.S. military leaders recognize that they need to make adjustments.”

by twit

why does it sound like we just got to Afghanistan?

The men of the 3rd Batallion, 8th Marine Regiment, based at Camp Lejeune, are discovering in their first two months in Afghanistan that the tactics they learned in nearly six years of combat in Iraq are of little value here — and may even inhibit their ability to fight their Taliban foes.

Their MRAP mine-resistant vehicles, which cost $1 million each, were specially developed to combat the terrible effects of roadside bombs, the single biggest killer of Americans in Iraq. But Iraq is a country of highways and paved roads, and the heavily armored vehicles are cumbersome on Afghanistan’s unpaved roads and rough terrain where roadside bombs are much less of a threat.

… to reach the populace, American forces must find unmapped caravan routes that run through treacherous terrain, routes not designed for their modern military vehicles.

American forces have been in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001 …  and the military is just beginning to notice that the terrain is different?

U.S. military leaders recognize that they need to make adjustments.

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Joe the travesty

by twit

hey Joe, what did you learn today?

partial transcript via Think Progress:

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t think journalists should be anywhere allowed war. I mean, you guys report where our troops are at. You report what’s happening day to day. You make a big deal out of it. I think it’s asinine. You know, I liked back in World War I and World War II when you’d go to the theater and you’d see your troops on, you know, the screen and everyone would be real excited and happy for’em. Now everyone’s got an opinion and wants to downer–and down soldiers. You know, American soldiers or Israeli soldiers.

I think media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting. You know, war is hell. And if you’re gonna sit there and say, “Well look at this atrocity,” well you don’t know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it.

and confidential to Joe: we support our troops here.

Memo to Eric Schmidt

by twit

It really is quite simple…

I wish I had a brilliant idea, but I don’t.

ERIC SCHMIDT, Google’s CEO, on how the search giant could help rescue the struggling newspaper industry

just make an option on Google to search “newspapers only.”

It would make Google searches much more useful for people who want original information produced by professional journalists.

As an added bonus, sites like The Huffington Post wouldn’t profit as much from re-printing entire newspaper articles without permission.  An ability to avoid a bottom-feeder like HuffPo would really be nice, considering how much that site clogs up the top of search results…

And for those who want to wade through hundreds of useless indirect sources, there’s always the traditional Google search option.

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Madoff determined to strike in the US

by twit

An Op-Ed in the New York Times on January 3, 2009 says that on Nov. 7, 2005, the SEC received a seventeen page document laying it all out about Madoff, including this:

In the “Highly Likely” scenario, wrote Mr. Markopolos, “Madoff Securities is the world’s largest Ponzi Scheme.”

and 2005 wasn’t the first time:

Harry Markopolos sent his report to the S.E.C. on Nov. 7, 2005 — more than three years before Mr. Madoff was finally exposed — but he had been trying to explain the fraud to them since 1999.

I am curious about whether Mr. Markopolos tried to contact anybody else.

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Twitter gets hacked

by twit

via Wonkette, care of Towleroad:

Sanchez

and that’s not all…

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an awful strong Southern accent

by twit

For a New Yorker, Terry McAuliffe sure does have an awful strong southern accent

at least at the beginning of the video announcing his campaign for governor of Virginia…

From the Associated Press on January 4, 2009:

“A native of upstate New York, McAuliffe has lived in Virginia for about 17 years. He lives in the Washington, D.C., suburb of McLean.”

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postcards from the internets

by twit

It’s very cold tonight, so we played with bubbles.  If you blow them upwards enough they have time to freeze on the way down.

and here is a link to a picture of a popping frozen bubble and other frozen bubbles.

via neatorama

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The Year Anything Was Possible

by lestro

To me, 2008 was The Year Anything Was Possible. I remember the moment it dawned on me. I had been thinking it all year long, but at about 8:27 p.m. (pacific) or so Oct. 29, I realized without a doubt that in 2008 the rules were being re-written and Anything Really Was Possible.

It had been a year of Believing and Hoping and doing the math over and over, but that night, I knew.

By the end of 2007 it seemed as though there was real potential on so many fronts. And as 2008 dawned, the depression and gray cloud that had hung over the US since the USSC handed Bush the White House finally began to peel back.

The end was finally in sight. His time was over. There really was light at the end of this tunnel. We only had to make it through 12 more months, 12 months in which we would see his influence wane as the next presidency began to take shape right before our eyes. On January 1, that still seemed like either Hillary Clinton (most likely) or Rudy Giuliani (equally as likely, really).

But just three days later, the rest of the country caught up to what many of us saw: a new candidate, who not only talked about change but actually, himself, seemed to represent the very shift this country needed – away from the bickering, away from the personal politics, away from the Boomers.

When, on January 3, Barack Obama, a half-black intellectual with a funny name shocked just about every pundit in the country by thrashing both Hillary and John Edwards in the Iowa Caucuses, the buzz began to build: this guy is different.  This guy could actually do it. Was it really possible?

On the Republican side, John McCain, the one-time Maverick who stood up to the establishment in 2000 and gave George W. Bush all he could handle in the primary (before Bush’s people [allegedly] started planting ugly rumors in South Carolina about Mac’s adopted orphan daughter and knocked the real war hero and bipartisan right off the map) was lagging. But thanks to Rudy’s ridiculous and ultimately suicidal decision to entirely forgo the first two contests, there was no clear leader, allowing smiley unknown Arkansas Conservative Mike Huckabee to sneak in and eke out a victory amongst the corn. Anything was Possible.

A few days later, Hillary came roaring back in New Hampshire, a state that was leaning heavily in Obama’s favor until he picked up the victory in Iowa – Anything Was Possible – and Johnny Mac once again found his name at the top of the pile and the buzz began to once again build behind the former war hero who at one time spoke his mind but had since become a Bush apologist. After being all but left for the wolves in late 2007, Mac was once again the guy to beat, especially after Rudy – whose decision to skip NH and IA meant no one had heard a peep from him in the media for weeks – finally folded like an off-suit 7-2 after Florida. Anything was Possible.

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It is no longer illegal to be gay in America

by twit

via Slog, there is a flickr stream from the Courage Campaign, in protest of the attempts to nullify the marriages of thousands of gay and lesbian couples in California.  For example:

100_4241 by courage.campaign.

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Theme music for an asteroid impact

by twit

oh Discovery Channel, the things you say:

video via The Viral Video Chart

“Ho Ho Ho! Death to the surveillance state!”

by twit

The Associated Press reports on December 23, 2008:

A YouTube video posted Monday shows four people dressed as Kris Kringle, white beards and red hats included, covering three speed and red light enforcement cameras in Tempe.

and in related news, via Slashdot:

High school students in Maryland are using speed cameras to get back at their perceived enemies, and even teachers. The students duplicate the victim’s license plate on glossy paper using a laser printer, tape it over their own plate, then speed past a newly installed speed camera. The victim gets a $40 ticket in the mail days later, without any humans ever having been involved in the ticketing process.

Ho-Ho-Ho-Horrors!  State and local governments might actually have to provide adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity for a hearing!  Just like the 14th amendment says!

The New York Times gets punk’d

by twit

It has been quite a long week for the New York Times.

On December 19, 2008, The Nation takes a big swing at the New York Times coverage of the Georgia/Ossetia conflict, suggesting that “the Times engaged in the sort of media malpractice that it promised its readers wouldn’t happen again after its disastrous coverage of the lead-up to the Iraq War.”  Then, the Standards Editor for the New York Times responds with a “defense” that ultimately seems to support the point the Nation was making.

On December 21, 2008, the New York Times publishes the article “White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire,” which plays into the delusional meme of George W. Bush simply being a well-meant fool.  Overall, it was a long and dull piece that still manages to be a nice reminder about how lucky this country is that Bush didn’t get his way on Social Security privatization.

But then, the article gets some of the spice it was missing when White House Press Secretary Dana Perino issued a snarly response and stated, “We make no apology for understanding the concept of regulatory balance.”

Today, however, brings this tiding of good cheer:

The New York Times admitted Monday it published a fake letter purportedly from the mayor of Paris criticizing Caroline Kennedy’s Senate bid as “appalling” and “not very democratic.”

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Gay penguin celebrities and their kids

by twit

via Neatorama, the recently notorious gay penguins in China have turned out to be great parents:

A pair of gay penguins thrown out of their zoo colony for repeatedly stealing eggs have been given some of their own to look after following a protest by animal rights groups.

… ‘We decided to give them two eggs from another couple whose hatching ability had been poor and they’ve turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo,’ said one of the keepers.

‘It’s very encouraging and if this works out well we will try to arrange for them to become real parents themselves with artificial insemination.’

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Dap for Santa

by twit

via Wonkette:

Merry Terrormorrisms!

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This is a cute hippo

by twit

via Wired:

especially when it is going to bed in its pink sleeping bag.

It is true that hippos are ferocious and dangerous creatures, but this hippo has never ever been aggressive! (says the journalist stuffing apple slices into the hippo’s “happy” grin as fast as she can…)

Barack Obama, the battered wife

by twit

Obama recently responded to the outrage over Rick Warren with the statement that “what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable.”   This reminds me of the millions of abused spouses and children who try to do this, with the hope that if they are just nicer to their abusive family member, maybe the abuse will stop.

This is why it hurts so badly for Obama to have chosen Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation.  We know it won’t stop the abuse.  We know that it will only empower and enable the abusers.

A commentary at CNN describes some of the positions held by Rick Warren:

He adamantly opposes a woman’s legal right to abortion and dismisses common-ground efforts to reduce the need for abortion by comparing them to accommodating the Holocaust. He is disrespectful of progressive people of faith, suggesting that they are tools of the Democratic Party or more Marxist than Christian.

… Warren, in an interview with Beliefnet.com, has since equated allowing loving same-sex couples to get married with redefining marriage to permit incest and pedophilia.

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while we are waiting…

by twit

The Blue Ribbon Glee Club performs “Waiting Room” by Fugazi:

circuitously via Your Daily Awesome

Iraqi journalist hurls “a farewell kiss” at George W. Bush

by twit

and Bush manages to duck both of them:

via Breitbart:

An Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes and an insult at George W. Bush, without hitting him, as the US president was shaking hands with the Iraqi premier at his Baghdad office on Sunday.

As the two leaders met in Nuri al-Maliki’s private office, a journalist sitting in the third row jumped up, shouting: “It is the farewell kiss, you dog,” and threw his shoes one after the other towards Bush.

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How to play music like a war crime

by twit

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine … protesting against Guantanamo Bay at the Reading festival. Photograph: Chiaki Nozu/Filmmagic.com/Getty Images  (The Guardian)

via Slashdot, from the AP:

At least Vance, who says he was jailed for reporting illegal arms sales, was used to rock music. For many detainees who grew up in Afghanistan – where music was prohibited under Taliban rule – interrogations by U.S. forces marked their first exposure to the pounding rhythms, played at top volume.

The experience was overwhelming for many. Binyam Mohammed, now a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, said men held with him at the CIA’s “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan wound up screaming and smashing their heads against walls, unable to endure more.

“There was loud music, (Eminem’s) ‘Slim Shady’ and Dr. Dre for 20 days. I heard this nonstop over and over,” he told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith. “The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night for the months before I left. Plenty lost their minds.”

and that’s not all…

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One free ticket to hell

by twit

if you believe in that kind of thing…

While there are many posts on the Fail Blog where innocent people do not get injured in hilarious ways, such as this Price Fail:

fail owned pwned pictures

then there is this Dance Fail:

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No, you cannot grope Hillary Clinton

by twit

even if she is a cardboard cut-out…


Incoming Obama administration director of speechwriting Jon Favreau (L) and a friend pose with a cardboard cutout of incoming Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a party.

(Obtained by The Washington Post)

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Our faithful Bush Administration

by twit

is keeping us safe by declaring “mission accomplished,” while standing in front of a backdrop far more brutal than a Palin Thanksgiving special.

via the Associated Press world news Dec 4, 12:11 pm (ET):

AP IMPACT: Pakistan police losing terrorism fight
BADABER, Pakistan (AP) – Brothers Mushtaq and Ishaq Ali left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had – beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd. They went straight to the local Urdu-language newspaper to announce their resignation. They…

Rice satisfied with Pakistan’s anti-terror stance
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday she is satisfied with Pakistan’s commitment with its readiness to pursue any lead in the attacks in India that have sharply raised tensions between the two nuclear powers. Pakistan’s young civilian government, she said…

just 47 “joyous” days left of the Bush Administration…

… according to the Daily Show on December 3, 2008.

a last hurrah for the cowboy mafia

by twit

as if we didn’t see it coming

Who wanted to hear from dismal economists warning that the whole thing was, in effect, a giant Ponzi scheme?

so do we really have to give away $100 billion to the folks sitting at the top of the pyramid?

The federal government theoretically will be repaid what it’s loaned except for $100 billion in losses incurred from buying some assets above market value.

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Hugo Chavez declares war on Alaska

by twit

by again offering donations of oil to rural parts of the state:

With heating oil prices approaching $10 a gallon in rural Alaska and reports of neighbors stealing fuel from neighbors to warm their homes, a Venezuela-owned oil company plans to supply free fuel to villages again this winter.  [...]

Citgo has provided roughly 15,000 Alaska village households 100 gallons of heating oil each for the past two winters. If the company donates the same amount this year, some families will save as much as $1,000 on their fuel bills. It’s part of a program providing assistance to low-income communities in 23 states.

which means war!

The fact that the heating assistance is coming from Chavez led some eligible Alaska communities — such as St. Paul — to reject Citgo’s gift in the past.

It would have been unpatriotic to participate, said Steve Senisch, a local councilman who voted against the gift in 2007.

He predicted the council will vote the same way this time.

well, maybe less war this year…
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these should be everywhere

by twit

thank you, Consumerist.

“Turkeys die as Governor Palin takes questions from the media”

by twit

MSNBC promises that they have “blurred out the goriest parts,” but do keep an eye on the MSNBC sub-headlines during the video…  via Wonkette:

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Cheney charged with organized criminal activity

by twit

update! From the AP on November 19, 2008:

A Texas judge has set a Friday arraignment for Vice President Dick Cheney, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and others named in indictments accusing them of responsibility for prisoner abuse in a federal detention center.

So says the AP on November 18, 2008:

Cheney is charged with engaging in an organized criminal activity related to the vice president’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds financial interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees because of his link to the prison companies.

Gonzalez, too!

The indictment accuses Gonzales of using his position while in office to stop an investigation in 2006 into abuses at one of the privately-run prisons.

and this is cute:

Regarding the indictments targeting the public officials, [District Attorney] Guerra said, “the grand jury is the one that made those decisions, not me.”

but before we get too excited:

The indictment returned Monday has not yet been signed by the presiding judge, and no action can be taken until that happens.

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Peace Through Music

by twit

with thanks to Weberence:

and Playing For Change.

a definition of an “Eisenstadt”

by twit

Specifically, when you make things up out of thin air, and it turns out to be true… see what you want to see…

For example, the idea that Palin didn’t know that Africa was a continent:

was a hoax apparently true based in some reality, but smeared with an Eisenstadt.  According to the New York Times on November 13, 2008:

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.

What is so funny is that before the rumor was exposed as a hoax, Palin’s campaign staff confirmed that it was true there was a basis for the rumor.  ABC News reports on November 14, 2008:

Longtime Palin staffer Meg Stapleton told ABC News’ Kate Snow that Palin had fumbled over an Africa comment, but that it was a misspeak not worthy of the press coverage it received.

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Palin vs. Wooten: Palin wins another round

by twit

moz-screenshot-34

cue Wicked Witch of the West cackle and music:

The Alaska state trooper who was the subject of harsh allegations by Gov. Sarah Palin was taken off patrols recently for his own safety, after her comments allegedly prompted a series of threatening phone calls, KIMO-TV in Anchorage reported Friday. [...]

Wooten is now working a desk job, KIMO reported. The troopers’ union has expressed concern because the new position means he can no longer earn overtime pay.

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