on God’s vote

by lestro

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and again after Hurricane Katrina, the right-wing evangelical fundamentalist establishment leaders said – both times – that each one was the result of God’s wrath  because of the acceptance of homosexuals as human beings.

Then they attacked the center and left for “blaming America first” for the September 11 attacks, when non-Republicans the country over said, “whoa, whoa, whoa.  Why did they attack us?  They say it’s because of our foreign policy? hmm. maybe we should look at that…” (by the way, the President immediately and quietly met a handful of Al Qaida’s demands, like, say, pulling troops out of Saudi Arabia…)

They won a presidential election doing that.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, most people realized that it could not be blamed on Democrats (though I am sure they tried to find a way…), but it didn’t stop the right wing from blaming the gays and the loose morals of the left.

They lost the Senate and the House doing that.

But really, if God does control the weather (and why wouldn’t he, really? After all, if he is omnipotent enough to answer that prayer about a winning season for the Red Sox or help you find your car keys, certainly he’s omnipotent enough to wing a few storms around), I don’t think he is voting Republican this year.

Twice this year, hurricanes have completely disrupted major McCain events, but the weather has completely favored Obama events.

Think about it. Back in July, on Obama’s World Tour, while he was speaking on a gorgeous day in Berlin, John McCain had to cancel his big photo op and front page grab on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico because a hurricane rolled through.

Now, after Obama held an outdoor rally in front of 84,000 people on a beautiful summer night in Denver, all the talk is about Hurricane Gustav and its potential Category 5 impact on the Louisiana coast almost three years to the day that Katrina laid bare once and for all the incompetence of the Bush Administration.

I mean, I may not be one to believe that an all-powerful being gets His jollies punishing those He is supposed to love and favor.

But if I did, I would certainly not find it surprising at all that the God who teaches “love thy neighbor” (and built his name on forgiveness and opposes adultery and divorce and talks about “thou shalt not kill” and the “meek” inheriting the earth and all that) would be trying to slow the run of a warmongering lifelong military man who sings ‘bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb iran’ and divorced the seriously injured wife that waited for him while he was a POW for a woman he calls a cunt.

Because as near as I can tell from the Bible, He hates those things.

John McCain is a dirty old man!

by twit

I have a theory that the choice of Governor Sarah Palin as the GOP nominee for vice president is a sign that John McCain has quite a fantasy developing about how his presidency would unfold.

Vogue cover - Sarah Palin

He is an elder statesman, living the relaxed life of a Bush-style president, and who wouldn’t want a vice president who is easy on the eyes…  Really, who would want to look at Joe Lieberman every day? br-r-r-r-r.

Then the New York Times reports this:

She’s going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years, and most doctors think that he’ll be around at least that long,” said Charlie Black, one of Mr. McCain’s top advisers, making light of concerns about Mr. McCain’s health, which Mr. McCain’s doctors reported as excellent in May.

9 out of 10 doctors agree that John McCain is a dirty old man!

Then Ken Layne reminds me that Palin is a former beauty queen, and John McCain does have a distinct thing for beauty queens…

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Palin vs. Wooten: Chronology of a Scandal

by twit

A bitter custody dispute, starring the sister of Governor Sarah Palin, Molly McCann, and her three attorneys, versus the currently unrepresented Michael Wooten?  An erupting scandal involving allegations of political power being leveraged by Governor Palin for an advantage in that custody case?  The Alaska Department of Public Safety makes recordings of all of its incoming calls?  Could this be a bonafide scandal?

Apparently, it was a ‘little known fact’ that calls to the Alaska DPS are recorded.

This calls for a timeline…

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Bubba-licious

by lestro

Yesterday was an amazing day in the history of the United States of America. Yesterday we witnessed something that was almost beyond words, a stirring, amazing scene that reminds us of the possibilities and hope of this country; Something that defies history and flies in the face of common wisdom; Something momentous and generation defining; Something many of us never thought we’d see in our lifetime.

Yeah, the Democrats nominated a black guy as their candidate, but that doesn’t surprise me one bit, as it has been the only rational option for more than a year now.

What I am talking about is the even more amazing, more groundbreaking, more alert-the-media surprise moment of history: Bubba passed the torch. And sounded like he meant it.

Wednesday night saw an emotional and stirring Democratic Convention that featured Hillary Clinton herself moving for the acceptance by acclamation the nomination of Barack Obama (a move that sent Pelosi scrambling to the podium so fast you’d think they offered free botox to the first one at the mic, launched the O’Jay’s “Love Train” from the speakers (love that Philly Soul!) and set off a massive, hand-holding celebration that put her words from the night before into reality), John Kerry reminding the Democrats why he lost, vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden giving an emotional telling of his amazing life’s story, a plea to the middle class and openly attacking the Republicans, followed by a surprise appearance by the candidate himself, who ad libbed a few shout-outs to the other speakers.

But the night belonged to Bubba. The former president and Democratic Top Dog took the stage to Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop,” (his campaign theme that not only carried him to the White House, but convinced the band to get back together) garnered a hero’s welcome that had him asking the jubilant and adoring crowd to settle so they wouldn’t take all his time and then delivered the kind of talk that made his name: a brilliant, soaring bit of oratory that not only framed the entire election, but answered almost every question the Clintons raised but Hillary failed to answer the night before.

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Hillary’s Perfect Metaphor

by lestro

Last night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver (you know, the one where the Dems are going to nominate Barack Obama as the first African American to ever top a major party ticket) Hillary Clinton was given a hero’s welcome unlike anything I have ever seen for a vanquished contender.

And while there were thoughts that Hillary might pull a Reagan and upstage the candidate (valid thoughts, given the whole placing her name into nomination and the fact that about 20 percent of her supporters still won’t support the candidate), Clinton gave a rousing speech that while lackluster in its support, contained all the right words about party unity.

From the very beginning of her speech, Hillary made it clear that she supports Barack Obama (though again today, she made it very clear to her delegates that she won’t advocate that they cast their votes for him) and her support is nice, but after that, the speech became an almost perfect Clintonian metaphor.

The speech was everything we’d expect in a Clinton speech: it was rousing, it was personal, it was emotional and it revved up the crowd. It really was a great speech that showed why she is a Top Dog in the party and why she deserved a primetime spot.

But the speech was also all about Hillary and her accomplishments, with an afterthought of support for her one-time opponent.

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Dennis Kucinich is the sexiest man alive

by twit

and the crowd goes wild:

“Wake Up America” DNC 2008

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a model for a space colony

by twit

via engadget via slashdot

This is what a beginning of the end would look like…

by twit

From the Hindustan Times, by way of Drudge:

What started from one village two weeks ago has now spread to 350 and has so far claimed 160 lives. Thousands more are bed-ridden. On an average, 15 to 20 people have been dying every day; Saturday saw the highest toll in a day: 24.

350 villages in two weeks.

The district’s health department is somewhat confused about the nature of the disease that has struck. At the beginning, the diagnosis was viral fever. Then doctors concluded that it was falciparum malaria. But after two weeks, they have ruled out both but still don’t have an exact answer.

because they are moving as slowly as possible, of course:

Specialists from the Infectious Disease and Surveillance Programme, New Delhi, have collected the blood samples of a few patients. The team will make its findings known in a few days.

In the meantime, if it is contagious, a local quarantine is now impossible:

the fear of the unknown has resulted in a mass exodus of villagers.

Stephen King taught us that…

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McCain was once a poor hobo

by twit

He even had to take a flight on a regular plane

John McCain’s diet of humble pie in the summer of 2007 might have been the best thing that happened to his campaign.

And he had to carry his own bags!

Republicans lugged money, fame and promise into their race for the presidential nomination. One of them carried his own bags, tooled around New Hampshire with a few volunteers, flew commercial and won.

He’s come so far from such humble beginnings:

Just over a year ago, McCain was laying off more than 50 campaign workers, cutting pay and seeing his poll numbers mired in single digits in some of the big early states.

He had no money and those were the good old days:

Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who has known the Arizona senator for 25 years, said the crisis was oddly liberating.

“All he could do was go up to New Hampshire and be John McCain,” he said. “It was a streak of good fortune that he ran out of money and went up there and was himself. That’s what people love – that he is himself, not some sort of synthetic character trying to figure out who he is.”

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The end of the Iraq War

by twit

is now scheduled for 2011:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday that an agreement had been reached in negotiations on a security pact with the United States to end any foreign military presence in Iraq by the end of 2011.

“There is an agreement actually reached, reached between the two parties on a fixed date which is the end of 2011 to end any foreign presence on Iraqi soil,” Maliki said in a speech to tribal leaders in the Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

(update: The BBC has more on the story)

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Robin Leach defends McCain’s memory lapse

by twit

filed under “not helping

In an early morning phone call Friday from his fabulous crib in Las Vegas, Leach told The Times that he isn’t really surprised at McCain’s odd memory lapse given the complex lives that the super-rich lead.

“He probably was confused as to which homes are in his name, his wife’s name, or corporate names,” Leach explained in his familiar, deep British baritone. “In his attempt to be honest, he put his foot in his mouth.”

Indeed, McCain’s four homes and at least four other residential properties are held in the name of his wife, Cindy, and her dependent children through a series of partnerships and trusts. Their combined value is nearly $14 million.

Leach said McCain “tends to answer questions very rapidly without thinking of the correct answers. … I would call it honest confusion.”

with emphasis added and thanks to TPM for the link

aaaaiiiiiiigggghhhh!!!!!!!!

by twit

UPDATE: Just Kidding!  This twit is thrilled to have been so wrong in her ominous prediction of doom.

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Vaguely horrifying Obama campaign gear: a round up

by twit

From DemocraticStuff.com, nothin’ but class:

Democratic Stuff.com - Hunters for Obama Photo Button - 2 1/4"

and this is just wrong:

Democratic Stuff.com - Horse Lovers for Obama Photo Button - 2 1/4"

and this is vaguely disturbing:

Democratic Stuff.com - Crotch Rockets for Obama Photo Button - 2 1/4"

um…

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“All I know is, there is water where it didn’t used to be”

by twit

Which is apparently why the United States is losing a very Cold War…

From the International Herald Tribune on August 18, 2008:

Admiral Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard, who toured Alaska’s Arctic shores two weeks ago with the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, said that whatever mix of natural and human factors is causing the ice retreats, the Arctic is clearly opening to commerce – and potential conflict and hazards – like never before.

“All I know is, there is water where it didn’t used to be, and I’m responsible for dealing with that,” Allen said. Given the 8 or 10 years it would take to build even one icebreaker, he added, “I think we’re at a crisis point on making a decision.”

Really? A crisis point in the Arctic? However could this have happened?

As early as 2001, the navy issued reports saying that it had limited ability to operate ships and planes reliably in the Arctic. But with two costly wars under way, the region has remained an icy backwater and a low priority, with navy budgets for polar analysis declining.

oh. So what does this mean?

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McCain is such a funny guy

by twit and by lestro

He must be joking

On almost every issue, the two presidential candidates have staked out opposing positions. Their contrasting views on wealth surfaced during their back-to-back appearances in Southern California on Saturday night when each was asked to define “rich.”

Obama didn’t hesitate. “I would argue that if you are making more than $250,000, then you are in the top 3, 4 percent of this country,” he said. “You are doing well.”

McCain took a far more discursive approach to answering the question but ultimately settled on a dramatically higher figure: “I think if you’re just talking about income, how about $5 million?

The Arizona Republican quickly added that he was “sure that comment will be distorted,” and his campaign said Sunday that he was joking.

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But can they strap it to a shark’s head?

by lestro

So the most interesting part of the laser truck story was that Boeing has apparently already fired theirs. I followed the link and son of a bitch it’s true. But beyond the killing power is an even more powerful weapon for governments the world over:

Boeing announced today the first ever test firing of a real-life ray gun that could become US special forces’ way to carry out covert strikes with “plausible deniability.”

In tests earlier this month at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Boeing’s Advanced Tactical Laser — a modified C-130H aircraft — “fired its high-energy chemical laser through its beam control system. The beam control system acquired a ground target and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by ATL’s battle management system.”

Cool. The future is now.

According to the developers, the accuracy of this weapon is little short of supernatural. They claim that the pinpoint precision can make it lethal or non-lethal at will. For example, they say it can either destroy a vehicle completely, or just damage the tires to immobilize it. The illustration shows a theoretical 26-second engagement in which the beam deftly destroys “32 tires, 11 Antennae, 3 Missile Launchers, 11 EO devices, 4 Mortars, 5 Machine Guns” — while avoiding harming a truckload of refugees and the soldiers guarding them.

Wow.

But aside from the killing power – which though impressive doesn’t have all the neat smoke and fire that really gives the brass a hard-on – the laser might also give the higher-ups something even more important – “plausible deniability.”

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The Mobile Laser Cannon

by twit

Coming soon to a warzone near you

Hel_td_beam

Image from Boeing via Danger Room

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Johnny Mac would NEVER cheat

by lestro

So some big talk in the blogosphere today has been about the questions asked of Mac and Barry at the Saddleback Church forum on Saturday. The NY Times says it’s “lighting up” the blogosphere.

Liberals (those bastards) are worried that McCain had the unfair advantage of hearing some of the questions ahead of time because he was in his motorcade on the way over.

Possible, but who cares?

The man is 145 and an idiot.

Give him ALL of the questions ahead of time and any debate will still end with Barry standing over McCain like Ali staring down at Sonny Liston.

The part that got me though was this:

The McCain campaign heatedly denied that Mr. McCain had done anything wrong.

“The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” Nicolle Wallace, a spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, told The Times.

The McCain campaign also sent a statement to Saddleback, which Mr. Ross made available to The Times.

As if military service means someone can’t lie.

As if John McCain wasn’t one of the Keating Five.

As if he isn’t violating his own campaign finance reform laws.

Johnny Mac would NEVER cheat.

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morning cartoon

by lestro

brilliant and I don’t know why.

Because it’s not like it’s important that the voting machines actually work

by lestro

So there still seems to be a few bugs in the software of the new electronic voting machines and no one seems to care:

Flaws in voting machines used by millions of people will not be fixed in time for the presidential election because of a government backlog in testing the machines’ hardware and software, officials say…

As a result, machine manufacturers and state election officials say states and local jurisdictions are forgoing important software modifications meant to address security and performance concerns. In some cases, election officials in need of new equipment have no choice but to buy machines that lack the current innovations and upgrades…

Officials don’t seem to be worried, since it’s not like any of the places that are having problems are, say, incredibly important swing states with big electoral college numbers or anything.

In Ohio, for example…

Dammit.

In Ohio, for example, which requires federal certification, election officials found that in this year’s presidential primary the touch-screen machines used in 43 counties, or by more than three million voters, dropped at least 1,000 votes as memory cards sent data to the central server in each county. The discrepancy was caught and corrected before final tallies were calculated, but election officials say the risk is too high. The newer software being provided by manufacturers fixes the problem, but it has not been certified, and so the state cannot use it.

Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in Ohio, plans to use a type of optical scan machine that lacks safeguards to prevent election officials from tampering with the ballots and affecting tallies, said the Ohio secretary of state, Jennifer L. Brunner. Those safeguards do exist on a later model, she said, but it remains uncertified.

Right. Because it’s not like there were any problems with vote counting in Ohio in 2004 or anything.

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush’s victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency.

A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.

But the problem this year is contained, right? We learned our lesson from that whole debacle, right?

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McCain vs. Rocky II

by twit

“Baracky II”

via the Viral Video Chart

The Big “I”

by lestro

Impeachment is once again back in the news and once again not on the table for the Democratic leadership, although it sounds like Nancy Pelosi might be willing to talk, even if it is now almost too late:

Pressed on ABC’s “The View” about whether she had unilaterally disarmed, the author of “Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters” said she believed the proceedings would be too divisive and be a distraction from advancing the policy agenda of the new Democratic majority.

Then she added this qualifier: “If somebody had a crime that the president had committed, that would be a different story.”

That assertion only threw fuel on the impeachment fire as advocates of removing Mr. Bush cited the 35 articles of impeachment compiled by Representative Dennis Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, as well as accusations in a new book by author Ron Suskind of White House orders to falsify intelligence, an accusation that has been denied.

Kucinich, you crazy little bastard, God love ya!

But as the story points out, the Democratic leadership absolutely does not want any part of an impeachment battle:

Despite whatever resonance pursuing the president might have in progressive Democratic circles, it is not the message Democrats want to carry into an election where they need to appeal to swing voters to increase their Congressional majorities and win the White House.

They would rather devote their final weeks to pushing economic relief and health care, even if they thought Mr. Bush and the conduct of the war merited impeachment hearings.

And leading Democrats argue anyway that Mr. Bush has already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.

“He has been impeached by current history,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “He is going down as the worst president ever. The facts are in.”

To me, that is not enough. I think there needs to be a bitchslap in the historical record to let future generations know that what this president and this administration did were wrong and unamerican and violate almost everything we are supposed to believe in.

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Once again, Arab insurgents distract a superpower from the obvious threat… The other superpower

by lestro

In the future, when alien anthropologists or hyper-intelligent insect archaeologists are trying to piece together the end of what we call ‘human civilization,’ they will undoubtedly come to one conclusion:

It was the fault of the Arabs. But not in the way that one might expect.

After 50 years of posturing and bluffing and threats of mutual assured destruction, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union finally seemed to burn itself out in the late 80s. The Soviet Union broke apart and the Doomsday Clock finally turned back a few ticks as everyone was now almost all on the same side.

World War III, at least as we expected it, had been averted.

But the new threat of Islamofacism stepped in to fill the gap, an ideology of destruction and hate, premised on a bastardization of a religion and a total lack of respect for nation states, their leadership and their territorial boundaries.

Eventually, all eyes turned to this rising force as the new potential enemy for World War III. At first, they attacked, we ignored. They attacked again, we swatted at them like flies. They attacked again and we continued to pooh-pooh and downplay the threat to our national security. Then, on September 11, 2001, the little bastards went too far and suddenly everyone – including, finally, the Bush Administration – was paying attention.

Finally we had a new enemy. Finally we could crank our war machine back up. The World War that we had spent 50 years preparing for was finally on our doorstep.

It didn’t matter that it wasn’t the war we expected or that they didn’t play by the rules, we took it to them.

Fer us or agin us. And agin us gets bombed.

If World War III was going to play out, it was obviously going to be between the Civilized World and the Fundamentalist Islamic World.

Made sense at the time.

But history, says the cliché, is written by the victors. And that means much of the story often gets left out. And as recent events in Georgia have shown us, just because we counted out the Soviets and that version of WWIII doesn’t mean they did.

We took our eye off the Russians in favor of the Arabs and it may end up costing us. Just like it did them.

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hallelujah, it’s raining brains

by twit

Good news, everybody! Scientists have figured out how to build living brains:

Because the brain is living tissue, it must be housed in a special temperature-controlled unit — it communicates with its “body” via a Bluetooth radio link.

… From the very start, the neurons get busy. “Within about 24 hours, they start sending out feelers to each other and making connections,” said Warwick. “Within a week we get some spontaneous firings and brain-like activity” similar to what happens in a normal rat — or human — brain, he added.

These built-from-scratch brains are independent:

The robot has no additional control from a human or computer.

and unique, too.

“It’s quite funny — you get differences between the brains,” said Warwick. “This one is a bit boisterous and active, while we know another is not going to do what we want it to.”

Funny is one way to describe it…

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McCain 2008: “He’ll make Cheney look like Ghandi”

by twit

Thank you, Sensico.  This video is a powerful statement about John McCain and his vision for America:

America’s Old Man continues to let his imagination run wild

by lestro

According to the Caucus, at an event in Pennsy, Johnny Mac had this to say about his plan to go to as many small towns as possible :

“I’m going to tell them I think they are the heartland of America, that the values they hold dear are the strength and character of America,” Mr. McCain said.

“They’re the reason why the people in Georgia today are looking to America . . . a beacon of hope and liberty.”

Of course, that is NOT what the Georgians themselves are saying, just what Mac thinks they are saying (or at least what his top foreign policy adviser, a lobbyist who also works for Georgia, is telling him)…

Bitterly criticizing the United States and other Western countries for letting his country down, President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia said Russia had flagrantly defied the peace accord and effectively severed the country in two…

Mr. Saakashvili said Russian forces had all but established an economic blockade of Tbilisi and criticized Western countries, including the United States, suggesting that they had appeased Russia and let Georgia down.

“Today, the West’s very will is tested,” Mr. Saakashvili said in a telephone call with journalists. “The main thing is if the West fails now, then it will have tremendous consequences for the world for years to come.”

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“Strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”

by lestro

Apparently, the US and UK have decided to cancel scheduled war games with the Russians in light of their recent attacks on Georgia:

A senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity Tuesday, said that the August 15-23 exercises involving Russian, French, British and US warships in the Sea of Japan “have been scrapped.” The exercises were to involve an onshore component in the Russian port of Vladivostok.

“In the wake of this conflict, there is no way that we can proceed with this joint exercise at this time,” the official said.

I believe Russia’s response was something to the effect of “That’s okay with us, we don’t need the games anymore as we found a real war to practice in…”

Besides, the only good War Games are the ones that involve Matthew Broderick and the WOPR that just wants to play a nice game of chess.

However, given that Russia and the West are once again viewing each other suspiciously through figurative and literal gun sights, maybe we should not have canceled. It does always help to get a close-up view of what your enemy is up to…

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How do you say “Gulf of Tonkin” in Cyrillic?

by lestro

So it looks like Russia launched the first salvo in this war about a month ago.

Weeks before bombs started falling on Georgia, a security researcher in suburban Massachusetts was watching an attack against the country in cyberspace…

Jose Nazario of Arbor Networks in Lexington noticed a stream of data directed at Georgian government sites containing the message: “win+love+in+Rusia.”

Other Internet experts in the United States said the attacks against Georgia’s Internet infrastructure began as early as July 20, with coordinated barrages of millions of requests — known as distributed denial of service, or D.D.O.S., attacks — that overloaded and effectively shut down Georgian servers…

This, combined with reports that South Ossetians have been ethnically cleansing Georgians, leads me to believe that the Russians were hoping to provoke a response that would allow them to move their already-prepared-and-waiting military into their neighbor.

It also explains how they got in there so quickly.

But be prepared, this is what the future of war looks like:

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She knows your anger, she knows your dreams

by lestro

She’s been everything you want to be.

A full six months after she lost in the primary process and a full two months since she conceded the nomination, Hillary Clinton is not quite ready to give up the ghost of her failed presidential bid.

And her supporters are planning to disrupt the Democratic National Convention:

Frustrated supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) are planning multiple rallies at the Democratic convention in Denver, coupled with television and print advertisements.

The disenchanted Democrats want to express their disappointment with the party’s presidential primary process.

These are Democrats. Trying to kneecap the Democratic candidate:

The Denver Post recently reported that Clinton backers will hold signs that read, “Denounce Nobama’s Coronation.”

some of the Denver Group’s goals are contrary to the Democratic Party’s. Its goals include: an open convention; Clinton’s name placed in nomination with no symbolic roll call vote; speeches allowed by supporters of Clinton on behalf of her candidacy; a genuine roll call vote with Clinton as a legitimate candidate; and “no coronation.”

This is absurd. Hillary Clinton is no longer a legitamate candidate. It is important to note how this call for a revival of the Clinton candidacy is not about the policies offered by the candidates or their goals for this country. The difference between the goals and policies of the candidates are minimal. This is all about Hillary.

The big talk this year was that Obama was creating a Cult of Personality around him. It’s easy to see why. And Democrats have a way of doing that. It’s how they’ve won. Think Kennedy and Clinton.

The Republicans, on the other hand, build a movement and find someone to represent it, like an oligarch puppet. Think Reagan and Bush.

However, for all the talk of Obama as some sort of godhead, it’s not true. In fact, in many ways, it was just the opposite in this year’s primary battle.

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Russia is so much better at war

by twit

No wonder Kissinger looks so grumpy in this photo:

U.S. President George W. Bush with first lady Laura Bush, left, and daughter, Barbara, right, cheer on the United States' swimmers on Sunday, August 10, 2008, in the games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, China. (Michael Goulding/Orange County Register/MC

Michael Goulding/Orange County Register/MCT via McClatchy

From The Guardian on August 10, 2008:

Moscow appears to have calculated that the west, tied up in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and dependent on Russia for oil and gas, will do nothing to support Georgia beyond expressing impotent concern.

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The Iraq War lurches into the ‘win’ column

by twit

We’re pulling out of Iraq.

Via McClatchy on August 7, 2008:

BAGHDAD — The United States and Iraq are nearing completion of negotiations on a security agreement that would pull American troops out of Iraqi cities by next July and foresees all U.S. combat troops gone from Iraq by 2011, according to two Iraqi officials who are familiar with the negotiations.

… The U.S. agreement to set a specific date for the end of American operations in Iraqi cities and the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces marks a major turnaround for the Bush administration, which until last month had refused to discuss a timetable for withdrawal.

However, Iraqi officials were insistent that a date of some sort needed to be set.

… Under the agreement, the United States would pull its troops from Iraqi cities and onto American bases in Iraq by June 30, 2009, according to the Iraqi officials familiar with the negotiations.

We’ve won.

The Urban Nomad Shelter

by twit

the Urban Nomad Shelter makes sleeping outdoors more aesthetically pleasing:

urbanshelter.jpg

from Electroland

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McCain vs. Illegal Campaign Contributions

by twit

This is special. Done in by a 1993 Chevy Cavalier.

It sure smells illegal:

WASHINGTON — Alice Rocchio is an office manager at the New York headquarters of the Hess Corp., drives a 1993 Chevy Cavalier and lives in an apartment in Queens, N.Y., with her husband, Pasquale, an Amtrak foreman.

Despite what appears to be a middle-class lifestyle, the couple has written $61,600 in checks to John McCain’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee, most of it within days of McCain’s decision to endorse offshore oil drilling.

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it’s coming back around again

by lestro

Kick in the township rebellion!

Days after Rage Against the Machine‘s Lollapalooza set threatened to become a riot, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune‘s website has reported [viaRolling Stone‘s Rock & Roll Daily] that the band will play Minneapolis’ Target Center on September 3.

Making this show more than just another tour date is the fact that it’s happening during the Republican National Convention, which will take place in the Twin Cities from September 1-4.

So here’s what we’ve got: a “revolutionary” band whose most recent show at a mostly peaceful music festival incited the crowd to violence, causing many injuries to concertgoers in the process, playing a show in the same city and at the same time as a huge event celebrating the political party most opposed to that band’s message. (Not to mention the fact that the last time Rage played a party convention, things didn’t go so well.)

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heckuva job, Secret Service

by twit

What Secret Service? All it takes to get close to a candidate for President is a laser printer and a fancy camera lens?

BEREA, Ohio (AP) – A man who wore press credentials and took photographs from a platform interrupted Barack Obama’s town-hall meeting Tuesday by shouting complaints that the Democratic presidential candidate had not called for the audience to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

… The man, who carried a large, professional-style telephoto lens, was among photographers and videographers on the main press platform at one end of the gym.

He wore what appeared to be the regular daily news media credential the campaign issues local news media members who cover the Illinois senator at a single events.

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