Thursday, December 8, 2011

Geek Numbers - 24 hr Net Traffic Analysis For EPH

The traffic generated by this post over the past 24 hours has provided enough data to see some interesting trends. Mobile OS numbers, for example, where Android has snatched the lead from the iPhone. By the numbers...

Pageviews by Browsers

Internet Explorer 775 (36%)
Firefox 609 (28%)
Safari 318 (14%)
Chrome 243 (11%)
Mobile Safari 89 (4%)
Mobile 63 (2%)
Opera 19 (<1%)
NS8 3 (<1%)
Minefield 1 (<1%)
NetFront 1 (<1%)

Pageviews by Operating Systems

Windows 66%
Macintosh 20%
Android 4%
iPhone 2%
iPad 2%
Linux 1%
iPod 11 <1%
BlackBerry <1%
LG 1 <1%
Nokia 1 <1%

Pageviews by Country

United States 1,886
Canada 55
Russia 49
Germany 18
United Kingdom 16
Philippines 8
Mexico 6
France 5
Ukraine 5
Brazil 4
Netherlands 4
France 3
Japan 3
Switzerland 2
United Arab Emirates 2
17 countries 1 each

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More On CarrierIQ - Android Users Covered, Others SOL

More details have come out about CarrierIQ, a hidden app on smart phones that tracks user data, since our original story. The short of it is Android users now have more than a dozen options to detect and remove CarrierIQ from their mobile devices. Other mobile device users, including Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Apple users, iPhone, iPad, etc., are out of luck. Mostly. Apple users cannot remove CarrierIQ, but they can block it. Maybe.

This isn't an Android rocks, Apple sucks post. The iPhone is lovely little piece of technology, if no longer cutting edge. However, the CarrierIQ issue highlights the disadvanteges of completely closed operating systems like iOS compred to open operating systems like Android. In just a week developers have added more than a dozen new apps to the Android Market that detect and remove CarrierIQ while iOS users are still waiting for Apple to do something, anything.

From BetaNews...
Android users can detect Carrier IQ, everyone else is out of luck

Android users have a multitude of options in order to detect whether Carrier IQ exists on their smartphones, with at least a dozen applications available through the Android Market.
BetaNews tested out two of the available options -- BitDefender's Carrier IQ Finder and Lookout Labs' Carrier IQ Detector. The tests were performed on a Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket running Android 2.3.6 on AT&T's network, and both found Carrier IQ present but didn't indicate whether or not it was active.
We also spotted a few apps that claim to freeze the process that runs Carrier IQ's hidden application. These include Trey Holland's Bloat/CIQ Freezer Free and RDMSoft's Carrier IQ Process Killer. Without more extensive tests, we can't independently verify these actually work as advertised, but customer reviews are generally positive.
These various apps may or may not be 100% effective at detecting CarrierIQ. We haven't had a chance to test them. But the instructions we posted last week are 100% effective, at least for Android users.

While iOS users are waiting for a fix that may nver come, they can at least disable CarrierIQ, though it appears they have to do it every time they boot their mobile devices. Details from LifeHacker...

Carrier IQ has made quite a stir with its ability to track everything you do on your Android phone, and it turns out that it comes preinstalled on the iPhone as well
Luckily, there's an easy way to turn it off. Just head to Settings > General > About > Diagnostics and Usage, and tap "Don't Send". That's it! We've also updated our original post on Carrier IQ to include this new information. If you're curious about the more technical bits of this discovery, hit the link below.

CarrierIQ may or may not be as bad as some of the more sensational stories have claimed, but either way, who wants it? Blackberry and Windows Mobile users, you're still SOL...

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Official Republican Party Platform for 2012 - Send In The Clowns

Primary bedrock principles of the Republican Party:

If Obama is for it, we're against it, even if it was our idea to begin with.
If Obama is against it, we're for it, no matter how hard or for how long we fought against it before.

Specific policy positions of the Republican Party:

Raising taxes on the middle class isn't raising taxes. St. Grover said so.
Close our embassy in Iran!
Teachers are only in it for the money.
The media has a well known liberal bias.
Reality has a well known liberal bias.
Ignorance is bliss. We're the party of bliss on tap.
Democracy means making sure only the "right" kind of people vote.
9-9-9! (English translation: No, no, no!)
The 1% rule! All hail the 1%!
Poor people should work harder so rich people can get richer.
Make damn sure everyone over 21 votes on November 12!
Brown people aren't people. Corporations are people.
Amend "show your papers" laws to prevent more accidental snaring of rich white people.
There is no such thing as sexual harassment.
Validate the birth certificate!
Forced blowjob required for employment? No big deal. Voluntary blowjob between consenting adults? VERY big deal!
We love freedom! Keep government OUT of our personal lives! Except for women, in which case government should be all up in that vagina.
Gay people aren't people. Corporations are people.
Force poor children to work as janitors. Poor people never work, so it's the only way to
teach poor kids how to make money, except for selling drugs, as all poor people do.
No, really, make poor kids work!
Logic: Corporations are people, people have the right to free speech, money is speech,
therefore money is people, too.
Ignorance, hate and intolerance are family values.
More is really less. The middle class is paying more in taxes under Obama.
Jesus loves us, be He hates the rest of you filthy heathen fuckers, and especially poor people.
Poor people aren't people. Corporations are people.
From now on the "family values" party shall be led by a corrupt soft porn author and three
time adulterer forced to resign from Congress in disgrace and a viagra popping, 3rd world
sex toruist, drug addicted lying gasbag.
Global warming is a scam cooked up by greedy scientists to take advantage of poor oil
companies, but gay marriage is a dire threat to our very existence as a society.
Pizza is a vegetable.
As fat as we wanna be!
It's more important to believe in something than it is to know anything.
Science is the work of the devil.
Education is the work of the devil.
Reality has a well known liberal bias.
We love soldiers! Except for gay soldiers!
Let the uninsured just fucking die, already.
Every media outlet on the face of the Earth lies, except Fox. They always tell the truth. As far as you know.
As stupid as we wanna be!
A librul media conspiracy forced Herman Cain to keep a secret female "friend" he gave money to for 13 years and never told his wife about.
Donald Trump would so make a good president!
Sarah Palin isn't a con artist corrupt clown!
Herman Cain isn't a con artist corrupt clown!
Newt Gingrich isn't a con artist corrupt clown!
Donald Trump isn't a con artist corrupt clown!
Rick Perry is so not an idiot!
Chris Christie isn't a grossly obese bully.
Rick Santorum is, um, frothy.
We love Mitt Romney! We love both of them!
Okay, so we don't love Mitt Romney, but WTF are you gonna do?
God is old, fat and white, just like us!
Who gives a crap about Uz-beki-beki-stan?
Democrats want to destroy our way of life!
Liberals want to destroy our way of life!
Muslims want to destroy our way of life!
Gays want to destroy our way of life!
The media wants to destroy our way of life!
Reality wants to destroy our way of life!
It's class warfare when the poor fight back.
Ask yourself every day, "Who would Jesus foreclose on?"

Nothing in this platform is intended to be a factual statement.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Don't Panic! - What Android Users Need To Know About CarrierIQ

12/08 UPDATE: More on this story here...

CarrierIQ, a hidden root app that secretly logs user activity on 150 million mobile devices, is a serious privacy and security threat. But it's a threat Android users can easily eliminate. The short version is CIQ tracks pretty much all user activity - location, searches, even individual kestrokes - then secretly sends the data bact to CarrierIQ servers. Very creepy. But don't panic.

Apple fanatics have reacted with smug glee to the news of a serious privacy issue that doesn't affect iPhone users, saying CIQ is a much more serious security issue than the iPhone's hidden logging and tracking app, exposed earlier this year. Maybe so, but not so fast, Mac fans. While you can only ask Apple to correct security threats, bugs and other issues, then wait, hope they do and hope they get it right sooner or later, Android users have total control of their own devices and can easily eliminate security threats like CIQ on their own. So there.

The first thing to know is CIQ is not on all Android devices, as breathless tech media panic articles have claimed, nor is it on all AT&T devices. For example, it's not on my Nexus S running Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) on the AT&T network. Before you wrap your head in tin foil and hide under your desk, check to see if CIQ is actually installed on your Android device.

While CIQ won't show up under running applications, most root level system processes don't, if it is installed on your device it will show up in the list of all applications as "IQRD". If you don't see it, it's not there. For those who want to be extra sure, use a 2nd party management app, Norton Mobile Utilities, for example, where you can see every process, including system processes, running on your phone. If there's no "IQRD" running, there's nothing to worry about. CarrierIQ is not installed on your Android device.

If you do find "IQRD," there's still no reason to panic. You can fix this all on your own. One of the most brilliant features of Android devices is because the Android OS is based on open source technology, unlike the entirely closed, proprietary iPhone OS, for example, users have a great deal of control over how their device works, even to the point of being able to load custom Android operating systems.

There are currently 2 ways to remove CIQ from Android devices. Neither is 1 step simple, but both are well within reach for most users. The details may vary slightly from device to device, but the basics are the same for all Android devices.

First, you'll need to "root" your phone, which basically gives you the equivalent of "administrator" permissions on your Android device. This will allow you to access and control all of the processes on your device, including system and root level processes. You can find instructions for rooting your phone here...

After you've rooted your phone, method 1 for removing CarrierIQ is to download and install "Logging Test App v7" from Android developer Trevor Eckhart, the guy who first discovered CarrierIQ. You'll also need "Logging TestApp Pro" - 99 cents at the Android store - which will automatically install the drivers required to unlock the advanced debugging, cleanup and removal features for the Android OS.

Now, open Logging Test App v7. Hit the "menu" button. Select "CIQ" and hit "Remove CIQ".

That's it. Problem solved. You're good to go. No more CarrierIQ. Now, wasn't that easy?

The second method is recommended for advanced users only, as it is much more complicated and involves replacing your entire Android operating system.

Not only can Android users control pretty much everything in the Google Android OS, unlike iPhone users, because Android is based on open source software, you can actually replace the entire operating system with one of the many customized operating systems available for Android, all of them free. These modifications, or mods, are known are called ROM's.

I've played around with a few ROM mods for Android. The one I like best is Cyanogen(mod). Not only does it completely eliminate all hidden root apps, including CIQ, it gives the users some very groovy functions not found in the Google Android OS. For example, you get a very good DSP graphic equalizer for music playback, secure "Incognito Mode" Web browsing, true "Touch to Focus" for your camera and all sorts of options for skins and themes to customize the look and feel up your Android device.

A few caveats. Because Cyanogen(mod), like most other OS ROM's, is highly customized and optimized, it could possibly push your device harder than the original Google OS. This may slow down low powered devices and may decrease battery life. To avoid these issues, make sure you check the list of supported devices for the ROM you choose before installation. Another thing to keep in mind is installing a custom ROM is very likely to void your warranty, though most warranties are only 90 days, anyway.

Before you take the plunge and replace your OS, I suggest you thoroughly read through the instructions. You're changing firmware. Take it step by step and make sure you backup everything before you even think about altering your OS. Cyanogen(mod) maintains a very helpful Wiki with detailed backup and installation instructions and answers to any questions you may have. Other ROM providers provide similar information.

The bottom line is, as usual, the best way to deal with new, super evil technology threats is, in the immortal words of  Douglas Adams, don't panic.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

A dozen major Division 1 football programs have been investigated and/or punished just in the past few months for scandals involving prostitutes, illegal gifts and cash from boosters. There are literally hundreds of complaints of sexual misconduct brought against Division I athletes, coaches and staff every year, and hundreds more criminal complaints of other types.

UT is probably better than most big time programs in dealing with these issues, but I personally know of three recent cases where women complaining of being assaulted, raped, not harassed, 2 by UT football players, 1 by a UT basketball player, that were "settled" with cash payments to the women from boosters. I know of another recent case where a female UT athlete transferred when her complaints weren't taken seriously. In all of these cases the athletic department looked the other way.

I'm a sports fan, but the problem is endemic to our culture of glorifying sports, nowhere more inappropriate than in higher education. The massive amounts of television money - a BILION dollars in the case of Penn State football - and fervid boosterism has turned college football into a religion. And, as we've seen with the Catholic Church, True Believers will all too often act to protect their beloved institution, not the innocent victims of heinous crimes.

It's easy to blame JoPa and the "leaders" at Penn State who did nothing as little boys were anally raped for 14 years. And they deserve it. It's not quite as easy to acknowledge our own role in this farce. This is a much bigger problem than Penn State. As long as we, as a society, elevate college sports to a religion, we, as a society will continue to see these terrible tragedies and we, as a society, will bear some of the blame.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Anatomy of Stupidity - Why Nothing Ever Dies In the Wingnut Blogosphere

Nothing ever dies in the wingnutosphere, no matter how stupid or absurd. Case in point: Mark Schatzker, a humor columnist for the Toronto Globe & Mail, wrote a satirical piece about Occupy Toronto. The piece, which included bogus  "quotes" from non-existent OWS protestors, including a particularly outlandish "quote" from a guy named "Jeremy," was clearly labeled as satire, with "Satire" appearing in bold face at the top of the article.
“It’s weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it's time to go, they're still there. I guess that's why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That's the power of greed.” – Jeremy, 38
Pretty darn obvious it's a joke, right? Not to the wingnutosphere and the denizens of Lower Wingnuttia.

The wingnut blogoshphere jumped on the fake quote in the piece as if it was real. The bogus quote quickly spread through Lower Wingnuttia from wingnut inbox to wingnut inbox, eventually landing in the inbox of wingnut GOP candidate Rick Perry, who repeated the quote as if it wasn't total BS...

Don’t believe everything you read, particularly when it’s satire.
Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry learned this the hard way, after he poked fun of the Occupy Wall Street movement by citing an outlandish quote he received from his son from an Occupy Toronto protester named “Jeremy.” While speaking in Concord, N.H. on Friday, Mr. Perry chuckled after paraphrasing what “Jeremy” said:
The trouble is “Jeremy” isn’t real. He’s the creation of Globe and Mail contributor Mark Schatzker, who wrote this humorous piece, clearly labelled “satire,” published on Oct. 22.
Mr. Schatzker says he first discovered that bloggers critical of the Occupy movement were taking his characters’ words at face value about a week ago. But with Mr. Perry joining them, his spoof piece has taken a life of its own.

“It’s just hilarious. It’s thrilling in a way, just because it’s just so incredibly out of context that a guy from Texas running for the president of the United States is quoting a satirical piece that appeared in a city section of a Canadian paper,” he says.
Despite being informed that the quotes are entirely bogus, and ridiculed for being a gullible idiot, Perry is *still* spouting this bogus quote as if it were something other than made up happy horse poop. Here's video of Perry repeating the bogus quote just yesterday...

The gob smacking stupidity and gullibility of Perry and the wingnutosphere so ticked the fancy of Schatzker that he has since penned a follow-up piece where "Jeremy" responds to Perry and the wingnuts, also clearly labeled as "*SATIRE*" not just in bold face, but this time in ALL CAPS and with asterisks, to boot, so even idiots like Perry might realize it's a fake. Again, from the Globe & Mail...
Texas governor Rick Perry made headlines when he recently cited a quote from "Jeremy", a supposed 38-year-old protester at Occupy Toronto.

The reason for the controversy? "Jeremy" exists only in the mind of writer Mark Schatzker, who contributes a weekly satire column for The Globe and Mail. But we won't let that stand in the way of a good tale. So here is Jeremy, back by popular demand, reflecting on his new found infamy.
The sad part is there are many tea bagging wingnuts stupid enough and gullible enough to fall for this hilarious happy horse poop, which is why Perry is *still* spouting this nonsense. The bogus quote is still being passed around Lower Wingnuttia. Gullible idiots are still becoming outraged by... nothing whatsoever. These morons so want this ridiculous BS to be true that they've convinced themselves it has to be true, to hell with reality. Of course, it doesn't take much to convince a moron of something.

This is why once something hits the wingnutosphere, no matter how stupid or obviously false, no matter how well labeled as satire or fiction, no matter how absurd or impossible, it never dies. Tea baggers and wingnuts don't bother to update their asinine beliefs when readily available contradictory facts are presented to them, as do most upright ambulators. But it's not really their fault. They can't update the story. They're just too effing stupid.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Double Dumb - Victoria Jackson OWS Video Makes Victoria Jackson Look Like An Imbecile.

Victoria Jackson Visits Occupy Wall Street, Hilarity Ensues...

When Victoria Jackson was a playing ditzy, bubble-headed, completely clueless blond dimbo on SNL, few people knew she wasn't acting. More recently it's become painfully obvious that she really is a dumb blond. These days Jackson is a darling of tea baggers everywhere and something of a spokesperson for the Christo-fascist ignorant buffoon wing of the tea bagger movement, which is to say the majority of tea baggers.

Jackson's latest devolution into idiocy came today, when, for reasons only an imbecile could imagine, she posted a video of her weekend visit to Occupy Wall Street. If her intention was to make someone look like a dunderheaded babbling imbecile, mission accomplished. Thing is, that someone is Victoria Jackson.

The 15 minute video, posted under the auspices of the Koch brothers funded fake grass roots tea bagger organization, is a running gag reel of idiocy. The more Jackson spouts ignorant tea bagger nonsense about Obama the racist, marxist, foerign, anti-American anti-Christ, the more she spouts nonsense tea bagger paranoid BS about Van Jones and the Black Panthers - scary black people! - the more reasoned and factual the responses to her babbling boobery.

Again and again Jackson tries to formulate "gotcha" questions that not only backfire on her, but backfire so completely as to be utterly humiliating. The protesters she engages refuse to take the partisan bait and answer her rabid moran idiocy with facts, patiently explained, as if talking to a not very bright small child, which, in her case, is an overly generous assessment.

The only real question this video brings up is why in the world would Victoria Jackson post a video that so completely makes a giant hairy ass of... Victoria Jackson? The inescapable answer is she, like so many tea baggers, is simply not smart enough to know she's simply not smart enough. The only possibility is she's blissfully unaware of just how blissfully unaware she truly is.

Watch it for yourself. It's comédie vérité that's at least as funny as anything she ever did on SNL, if unintentionally so.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Reality of Jefferson and Bogus Quotes...

Lately I've seen a lot of progressives passing around a Jefferson quote about the banking system on social media to back up the OWS protests. Because I support the OWS protests and know something of Jefferson, this bothers me a bit. First off, the quote is bogus. It was fabricated in 1937 by conservative Republicans out to kill the New Deal. There is no record of Jefferson ever saying any such thing. In fact, as to the issuance of currency, Jefferson said exactly the opposite. Jefferson made clear his support for federal control of currency in a letter to John Wayles Eppes in June of 1813...
"The States should be applied to, to transfer the right of issuing circulating paper to Congress exclusively, in perpetuum, if possible, but during the war at least, with a saving of charter rights."
Even quoting Jefferson accurately is meaningless, as Jefferson was a walking contradiction. Jefferson didn't agree with Jefferson. Nor can he be dragged him out of his time and effectively used as a weapon in an ideological fight today. In addition to losing all context, most of his ideas simply do not stand up. In fact, most of them didn't survive even in his own day.

Today few people know much of the true Jefferson. Instead, the know the legend, most of which is simply not true. Jefferson has become something of a cottage industry in the world of historians, and especially historians who write for public consumption. The vast majority of biographies and histories out there either glorify Jefferson for current partisan gain or demonize him for the same reason. There's no question that Jefferson was a brilliant man in many ways, but there's also no question that he was a deeply, deeply flawed man in at least as many ways. He comes down to us as a true hero of the Revolution and a giant among the Founding Fathers not because he merits such hagiographic praise, but because his reputation was carefully rehabilitated by rabid partisans, much as the GOP has turned the disastrous presidency of St. Ronnie of Drool into a legend and as they're trying to do now with Shrub.

Jefferson was a walking bag of mostly water and self contradictions, which is why one can find a Jefferson quote to back up - or oppose - virtually any ideology or political position. Jefferson didn't even agree with Jefferson. For example, while it is true that Jefferson criticized Hamilton's banking system, he did so as a partisan, not out of ideology. Jefferson was more than happy to use the very system he had opposed to finance the Louisiana Purchase.

The Louisiana Purchase provides another window into Jefferson's hypocrisy. Not only did he use the very system he had opposed for his own ends, the Louisiana Purchase was very probably the single most extra-constitutional, imperial power grab by any American president. Strange coming from a man who espoused the proto-libertarian idea of a nation of self governing enlightened individuals with no central authority where power was "diffused." This is what we might today call a flip-flop, and one characteristic of Jefferson.

Quoting Jefferson on economics, finance or banking? By his own admission, Jefferson was an economic illiterate. He couldn't even manage his own finances. Because of his lifelong profligate spending, Jefferson's family had to watch while everything he had inherited and everything he had ever owned - including his beloved Monticello - was auctioned off by the sheriff to pay his massive debts. And it still wasn't enough. Jefferson's debt wouldn't be paid off until many years after his death, and then by his progeny. Jefferson knew he was an abysmal financial failure. It was a source of anguish for him. He didn't live to see the embarrassing end. He died just before the auction.

As a president, Jefferson was ineffective, to put it mildly. The successes of his first term, often cited as one of the most successful first terms ever, were thanks to a series of events and policies that had nothing to do with Jefferson and were in fact a direct product of the Adams and Washington administrations Jefferson had so strongly opposed. His first term success was more than offset by the abject failures of his disastrous second term, which were entirely Jefferson's doing. Through both terms Jefferson clung tightly to overriding executive power, anathema to his own beliefs.

Nor was Jefferson in any real sense a "Founding Father." His one and only accomplishment of note in the revolutionary era was the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, at the time considered an unimportant task and so assigned to the least experienced, least influential, most junior member of a Virginia delegation to the Continental Congress that included revolutionary luminaries like Patrick Henry and George Washington himself. Most of Jefferson's peculiar ideas never made it into the final draft. When our country really was constituted, he was in France and had nothing whatsoever to with the drafting or adoption of the Constitution. In fact he opposed the whole idea of a constitutional federal republic. He favored continuing under the Articles of Confederation, which had already proven hopelessly unworkable.

Jefferson was also entirely untrustworthy. As Washington's Secretary of State he did nothing but try in every way possible to undermine Washington's administration. He actively opposed the president he was ostensibly serving on every possible point. And he did it behind Washington's back, mostly through surrogates. He demonstrated this same type of disloyalty when he turned on his close friend John Adams.
In his long correspondence with Adams, a close friend who Jefferson had cynically libeled to gain the presidency, Jefferson admitted he had been wrong about, well, pretty much everything. Jefferson had hired a hatchet man to shower Adams with vicious personal attacks on his honor using the basest of lies and calumny. Later, Jefferson reaped what he had sown. The very same hatchet man he'd hired to slander Adams later, seeing Jefferson's rank hypocrisy for what it was, was the original source of the Sally Hemming scandal. The difference was everything Jefferson paid to be said about Adams was a lie. The Sally Hemming story was true.

Is this really the guy we want to hold up as representative of anything progressive? If anyone should be quoting Jefferson, it's the GOP or tea baggers. For all of his hogwash about abhorring politics, Jefferson was the original win at all costs, take no prisoners partisan in an age when "party," as in any political party, was a dirty word. He also favored state's rights, which even in his time meant slavery, and mistrusted government in general, a distinctive hallmark of modern conservatism.

For those that are interested in a more balanced view of the true Thomas Jefferson, one not colored by ideology, one that doesn't try to stuff him into a modern box, one of the best of the biographies accessible to the casual reader is 'American Sphinx - The Character of Thomas Jefferson' by Joseph Ellis. Read it. In the meantime, I'd advise caution using Jefferson quotes to support or oppose anything. They're likely to come back and bite you on the ass, just as they did Jefferson.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Open Letter To Occupy Austin...

I offer up these observations and comments not as criticism of Occupy Austin leaders or participants, but as a strategic and tactical analysis and suggestions from a veteran of the successful culture wars of the '60's and '70's. I hope they are taken in that spirit. A quick look around the rest of my blog should be enough to see I'm an ally, not an adversary. I am unable to directly participate in the Occupy protests for reasons that are irrelevant to my point. For all I know, all of these ideas have been discussed and are either in the pipeline or have been considered and rejected for good reasons of which I am unaware. As always, I welcome comments, observations, agreements, disagreements and communication in general.

Austin is blessed with a plethora of bright, dedicated, experienced warriors for the American Dream. This is an invaluable resource Occupy Austin should tap. As someone who was active in street protests during the Civil Rights, Women's rights and Vietnam era, I'm a bit confused by some of the Occupy protests. Occupy Wall Street makes perfect sense. It's about time we stand up and protest greed and inequity and the corrupting influence of corporate money on our political system. To protest at the epicenter of American greed - Wall Street - makes perfect sense. I strongly support the Occupy Wall Street protests, I'm glad they're spreading and I encourage everyone to get involved.

Here in Austin, however, the Occupy movement has manifested itself as Occupy City Hall. What, exactly, did the Austin city government have to do with the Wall Street caused financial meltdown? Who are the "Masters of the Universe" that work at City Hall? In what way is City Hall the epicenter of American greed? How can one "occupy" a public space specifically and officially designated "as a gathering place for public discourse and community collaboration... for any public purpose or free speech assembly."

Am I missing something? This seems a bit like holding a sit-in to protest a lack of access to some specific site at a public park open to all. It's like protesting arbitrary rules and requirements by carefully abiding by the arbitrary rules and requirements. Protest? Not in any sense of the word as I know it and have experienced it. The most successful protests are all about harnessing civil disobedience in service of a just cause, not cramming the cause into an authority delineated box of civil obedience.

I stopped by Occupy City Hall yesterday (Friday) afternoon. I was heartened to see so many young people take to the streets - or, as in this case, the officially designated free speech assembly area, complete with porta-potties. But I couldn't help noticing that about half of the signs were held by our cast of regular local activists using Occupy to flog their pet local issues. Not that these activists or their pet local issues aren't worthy of attention. But they have little to do with the primary issue.

The other thing I noticed was it was more of a party than a protest. In typical Austin fashion, there was music, dancing, drumming and more than a bit of sweet smelling smoke wafting over the crowd, with APD watching benevolently from the sidelines. I enjoy all of these things as much as the next aging hippie, but once again none of this has anything to do with the point. In fact it takes focus away from the point and plays into the mostly false media narrative that it's just a bunch of dope smoking hippie kids playing bongos and having fun. There's nothing wrong with playing bongos and having fun. Unless it becomes your primary identifying characteristic.

I poked around a bit and found out a few things. The Occupy protests are ostensibly headless, grass roots uprisings, but there's always leadership, even in a headless movement. Most of the main organizers of Occupy City Hall are college kids. Nothing wrong with that. Again, I think it's great that young people - who traditionally participate in our political system at far lower levels than any other demographic - are getting involved. However, it's always a good idea to seek out advice from the experienced.

So, as an experienced warrior in the culture wars of the '60's and '70's - wars we won, BTW - I offer up some unsolicited advice to the Occupy Austin folks. First, choose your targets carefully. Here in Austin, were I organizing Occupy protests against greed, inequity and corporate influence, I'd advise targeting for occupation, say, the McCombs School of Business at UT. Not only are college campuses a great place to protest - lots of exposure and in general tolerant to expressions of free speech - but here in Texas the McCombs school is the primary training grounds for the very "Masters of the Universe" OWS is protesting.

How about occupying The Domain? Not only is The Domain a tangible symbol of greed and excess, it received many millions of dollars in public money to the benefit the wealthy few. The "Masters of the Universe" may not be centered at The Domain, but their wives are. Send them a message and it's a sure bet they'll take that message home. Some of them, maybe many of them,  will even embrace the message. Hit 'em where they live.

How about marching on the Chamber of Commerce? Here's a target not only worthy as the local home of "Masters" and "Master" wannabes, it's rich in Austin-centric symbolism. The Chamber is headquartered at the ugly office tower that now sits on the land once occupied by the legendary Armadillo. I can think of dozens of other worthy local targets. Every major bank has a presence here. Why not occupy Bank of America or Chase? The big banksters really are responsible for much of the current mess.

A small, short march, like the one on BofA on Friday, is a good start, but it's not enough. As statistics guru Nate Silver points out, the Occupy Wall Street protests got basically zip in major media coverage until the cops got involved.
...the protests in Manhattan, now in their third week, and in other parts of the country, have found two ways to draw attention to their cause. First, keep at it. And second, wait for confrontations with the police.

In the early days of the protests, which began on Sept. 17, coverage was all but nonexistent in the mainstream news media.
Coverage spiked after an incident on Sept. 24, however, when three protesters were hit with pepper spray by the police despite, apparently, posing no imminent threat.
It (coverage) then shot up again after mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 1.
The number rose again on Thursday, Oct. 6... This followed further clashes between protesters and police officers on Oct. 5, when there were 28 arrests and police were videotaped using batons and pepper spray.

Make them respond. The whole point of a protest is to elicit a response. The lesson is make the cops get involved and you get a response that generates more exposure. Be dedicated to nonviolence, but raise hell. Instead of a couple of dozen people chanting and holding signs for an hour, mobilize the many Occupy supporters and actually occupy the target of the day for the entire day. Make them drag you out. I guarantee you, you'll get exposure. With exposure comes growth. With growth comes power. With power comes change.

I offer up these suggestions because I believe the Occupy moment can be a true turning point in our political discourse. I believe it can and should be the start of something big. This is the kind of thing that comes along once in a generation, if then. I believe it would border on criminal to waste such an extraordinary opportunity. Fight. Fight for the right. But know that as in any battle, it's strategy and tactics that carry the day. And logistics. Never forget logistics.

Let's keep the focus on the bad players, not on us, not on a bazillion different unrelated issues. If we are united, we can do anything. We changed the world in the '60's and '70's. We can do it again. Well done, Occupy Austin. Beginnings are important. Now it's time to move on to the next logical step.

If you wish to contact me directly, the easiest way is through my Facebook page...

Or you can email me at...

john (dot) avignone (at) gmail (dot) com

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stupid Squared - Hank, Jr. Quits... After Being Fired - Spouts Stupid About "1st Ammendment"

Oh, fer chrissakes... As if anyone had any doubts that Hank Williams, Jr. is a drunken bumbling imbecile, today he released a statement telling his toothless fans he was quitting Monday Night Football because ESPN violated is 1st Amendment rights. This isn't just stupid, this is stupid squared.

First off, how pathetically STUPID must one be before one thinks one can quit when one's stupid goober ass has already been FIRED. Early this morning ESPN released the following statement...

“We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr. We appreciate his contributions over the past years,” read a network statement, released Thursday morning. “The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue.”
Later this afternoon, Hank, Jr. responded...

“After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision,” Williams said in a statement. “You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE. It’s been a great run.”
Your decision? You were tossed out on your fat stupid ass, Hank. Putting aside how thoroughly asinine whiny Hank looks trying to quit when he's already been fired, no, Hank, your "First Amendment Freedom of Speech" was most certainly not "stepped on." Or in any other way impeded. You see, you ignorant Neanderthal buffoon, the 1st does NOT say you are immune to criticism when you say something stupid. The 1st does NOT say you can't be fired for being a drunken obnoxious stupid asshole publicly farting nonsense. The 1st does NOT say ESPN - or any other private entity of any kind, anywhere - can't control content on their own damn PRIVATE network.

What the 1st does say about free speech is, "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." This has been broadly interpreted to mean no government entities of any kind can abridge freedom of speech or a free press. FYI, Hank, you moran, ESPN is not, repeat, you stupid motherbleeper, NOT "Congress." Or any other branch of the government. Ergo, you stupid motherbleeper, the asinine nonsense you and your goiter infested, cousin humping, booger eating fans believe aside, this entire episode has precisely NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the First Amendment or the right of freedom of speech.

Nothing, nada, niente, nunca, zip, zero, zed, zatch, nix, nil, goose eggs, bupkes... Not one damn thing. As CBS Sports columnist Mike Freeman put it...
OK, one thing, Hank.

The First Amendment protects speech from government intrusion. As a private entity, ESPN can fire Williams if it desires. Williams has the right to be an idiot and ESPN has a right to fire him.

What's the confusion here?
Hey, what can you expect from a guy named Randall who used his dad's name to become a “Hank Williams impersonator," a guy tagged by his dad as "Bocepus" after a ventriloquist's dummy? And how surprising to find he's a big fan of the Snowbilly Grifter and Batshit Bachmann! Why, who'da thunk it!?

The truly sad thing here isn't how bleeping stupid, ignorant and nuts Hank, Jr. is. The truly sad thing here is how many ignorant goobers out there "think" Hank's right. Stupid, stupid, stupid... So, you're, "OUT OF HERE," are you, Hank, Jr.? Well, don't let the door hit your fat stupid ass on the way out.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Missing The Point - Media Fails Big Time On Perry's N****rhead Problem

Two recent stories we've written about, the revelation that Rick Perry's favorite getaway is known as "Niggerhead," and the drunken offensive ranting of Hank Williams, Jr. on Fox & Friends, provide excellent examples of how the mass media simply does not "get" it. First, the Perry story.

The Washington Post published a story over the weekend that revealed Rick Perry's favorite getaway, a hunting camp in rural Texas leased first by Perry's father, then by Perry is known as "Niggerhead." The Perry campaign pushed back hard on the story, claiming Perry had the rock at the camp's gated entrance bearing the offenisve moniker painted over decades ago. A few people support Perry's claim. More say the rock was not painted over until much later and that the offensive slur is still visible today under a thin coat of white paint. Cue the predictable, "He said, she said," false equivalency meme that the mainstream media plays so well.

Since the original story major media stories have focused almost exlcusively on the competing claims about the rock. This is called missing the point. It's clever of Perry's advisors to try to frame the argument this way, but the reality is it doesn't matter when the rock was painted. There's one fact all parties agree on, and that's that the camp had always been known as "Niggerhead" and is still known by that name today. It's also a fact that Perry knows this damn good and well.

The important story here isn't about who painted some damn rock or when. The real story here is Rick Perry knew about the offensive name all along and still felt no compuctions about using the property not just as his personal getaway, but to entertain important politicians and GOP money men over a period of several decades. The real story here is Perry and his supporters see no problem with this. Had Pery seen a problem he would have disassociated himself long ago. He did not. That's the very definition of racial insnesitivity.

Is Rick Perry a racist? I don't know and I don't care. Again, that's not the issue. He may not be a racist, he certainly isn't in the KKK sense of the word, but the best one can say about Perry is he's racially insensitive and completely clueless. Nor does it matter that the map is dotted with racially charged place names, though almost exclusively in the Old South. That it happens does not make it accpetable. In every case everyone knows these offensive names are simply not approriate, yet they persist. That racially charged names still exist doesn't in any way exonerate Perry. Rather, it's an indictment of us all. What kind of country would allow this kind of intentional demonization based solely on race? Our country.

The coverge of this story also highlights a pernicious and omnipresent flaw in the way major news organizations report these kinds of stories. Rather than cover the core issue - in this case the persistance of insitutional racism in America due in part to the exactly the type of insensitivity Perry displays - the media has focused on the conflicting, and meaningless, claims. "Perry says, but on the other hand other say..." This is not balance. This is at best journalistic laziness and at worst wildly irresponsible and cowardly reporting. Instead of reporting on a major GOP presedential hopeful's three decade long knowing association with such an indefensible racially charged place, the major media is reporting this story as just another partisan pissing contest.

Part of the reason for this is due to the fact that whenever race enters the political debate, the media demurs. Even now, even here in supposedly post racial 21st century America, we still can't address issues of race. If the media is to be believed, we're simply not ready to have an open and honest dialogue about race in America. The sad fact is racism is alive and well in America, and if you don't believe that the odds are you're an older, undereducated, white, Southern, evangelical Christian, conservative Republican, aka a Tea Party member. The major media seems more concerned about not offending these ignorant, bigoted fools than they are in failry and honestly reporting a story.

Monday, October 3, 2011

As Perry Flames Out, Christie Waits In The Wings

Desperate for someone, anyone other than the sad collection of nutballs, weirdos and longshots currently pursuing the GOP nomination, wingnuts, aka the GOP base, embraced Rick Perry the minute he announced, catapulting him into the lead in major polls. Then came two horrendous debate performances, embarrassing excerpts from Perry's embarrassing book and a steady series of gaffes and self inflicted wounds. Perry's numbers went into free fall. Now comes N****rgate...
Paint Creek, Tex. — In the early years of his political career, Rick Perry began hosting fellow lawmakers, friends and supporters at his family’s secluded West Texas hunting camp, a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance.

“Niggerhead," it read.
Perry is done. Finished. He's toast. He might as well have "Niggerhead" tattooed over his brow in 2nd coming type. In the end it doesn't matter if or when someone painted some damn rock. The fact is Perry's favorite retreat has always been and still is universally known as "Niggerhead," and Perry damn well knows it. This is what's known in technical circles as an unrecoverable error. There's only one fix for the GOP: Uninstall Perry, then reboot. Again.

With Perry's spectacular flameout, hard on the heels of Batshit Bachmann's flameout which followed Donald Trump's flame out which followed Tim Pawlenty's flameout, idiot rightards are now desperately pleading with Chris Christie to run, a guy who thinks they're effing crazy. And stupid. And bigoted. And he's right.

Most pundits agree that if Christie enters the race he'll vault to the top of the field on day 1. Thing is, once the wingnuts, notoriously low information voters, start to get a whiff of the real Chris Christie, they'll be horrified.

Well, get ready, wingnuts, 'cause if Chris Christie does enter the race, you're going to hear a whole bunch of Christie quotes that will light your thinning hair on fire. See, Christie may well be an asshole, an image he embraces and very possibly his most attractive attribute to the lunatics running the GOP asylum these days, but he's not stupid or crazy.

For example, Christie believes global warming is real. He also supports gun control, a woman's right to choose, equality for gays, a clear path to citizenship for undocumented workers and, worst of all, he believes Muslim Americans are every bit as American as anybody else and that the idea that Sharia law is a threat is based on ignorance and bigotry and it's just plain crazy to think otherwise.

Hint: He's talking about you, GOP base. You're the "crazies."

On top of that, he doesn't think Barack Obama is a Kenyan Mau Mau socialist sleeper agent out to destroy our way of life. He thinks Obama is a good guy, a real American trying to do the best for his country.

Oh's no's, it's the apocalypse!

Should Christie run, it's going to be interesting to watch as the wingnuts ever so slowly begin to realize the truth, and by interesting I mean it's going to be a bleeping hoot. My opinion is because Christie isn't crazy or stupid he's aware of all of this and so he will not enter the race. But there's an awful lot of money chasing after Christie these days. As we've seen over and over again, money does strange things to people. He may decide that fracturing the GOP and losing to Obama might not be such a bad thing after all, if it comes with multi hundreds of millions in cash.

I'm disappointed by the Perry flameout. Barack Obama v Rick Perry would play out like the Green Bay Packers v your local high school. But the prospect of wingnut heads exploding once they realize their latest saviour is, from their POV, even more flawed than the nutballs and idiots running now is appealing.

The bottom line is Christie can't beat Obama, especially given that his support among Christo-fascist tea bagging douchebags is likely to be soft, to say the last. But maybe a swift kick in their collective stupid ass from one of their own will help jar loose some of the insane wingnut bullshit and relegate the tea bagging, John Birch, know nothing, crazy, racist stupid a**holes back to passing around mimeographed kook.sheets by from crazy hand to crazy hand, as they so richly deserve.

In the meantime, Bloomberg notes some of Christie's greatest hits...

“Being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime.”

Christie has said the U.S. government should secure the border and create a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal immigrants -- something many Republicans oppose and consider amnesty for lawbreakers.

Christie also supports the federal ban on assault weapons.

He opposes gay marriage yet supports New Jersey’s civil union law. “I think if someone is born that way, it’s very difficult to say then that that’s a sin.”

The New Jersey governor in August defended his pick of a Muslim for a state judgeship, saying critics of Sohail Mohammed, who represented suspects after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, were “ignorant” and “crazies.”

“This Shariah law business is crap,” Christie said. “It’s just crazy, and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”

Get the popcorn ready, 'cause this is gonna be fun to watch...

Are you ready for some STUPID? ESPN Sacks Wingnut Moran Hank, Jr. For Invoking Godwin

How jaw droppingly stupid was Hank Williams, Jr. on Fox & Friends this morning? So stupid that the normally wingnut friendly crew at F&F felt the need to disavow Williams on the spot. His bumbling, stumbling interview was so offensive ESPN has axed Williams from the opening of tonight's Monday Night Football broadcast.

Commenting on House Speaker John Boehner playing golf with President Barack Obama, Williams told F&F...
“Come on, come on, it would be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu, ok?” he said. “Not hardly. In the country this shape is in, the shape this country’s in, I mean, no, I don’t think so.”

That prompted Brian Kilmmeade to reply, “I don’t understand that analogy, actually.”

Williams continued: “Well, I’m glad you don’t, brother, because a lot of people do. You know, they’re the enemy. They’re the enemy.”

“Who’s the enemy?” Kilmmeade asked.

Williams yelled: “Obama! And Biden! Are you kidding? The Three Stooges.”

“That’s only two,” Steve Doocy chimed in.
Later Gretchen Carlson told viewers...
“I just want to say that we disavow any of those comments or analogies that he’s made, at least I’m going to say that, disavow the analogy between Hitler and the president.”
ESPN responded this afternoon by dropping William's iconic "Are You Ready for Some Football" opening sequence from tonight's Monday Night Football. They released the following statement...
"While Hank Williams, Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight's telecast."
Yes, obviously Hank Williams, Jr. is an idiot, but the real problem here is he felt comfortable expressing his whack job wingnut ignorant moran opinion on Fox. And he's not alone. Many Fox viewers share Williams' views, as well as his obvious cognitive difficulties. Fox has cultivated these imbeciles. They can disavow all they wish, but Williams was only expressing the views Fox has encouraged. Fox owns these stupid assholes. It's a bit late to try to run away from the crazy now.

You can see the video of Hank's interview here...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New FB Meme Goes Viral - Be afraid! Be very afraid!

I'm sure you've seen it by now. It's all over Facebook like a rash on the ass of the Intertubes. Facebook is tracking your every move, even when you're logged out!

Um, in a word, no. It's just another bogus FB scare. No, FB cannot see every site you visit, even when you're offline. It doesn't work that way. Even if it did, with 750,000,000 users, how the heck could they possibly even view such data, even if they were collecting it, which they're not, and why would they care what any given individual was doing?

They can't, they aren't and they don't. Yes, they track trends, as does everyone. Yes, FB does use tracking cookies, as do the majority of sites you visit. Yes, tracking cookies present some real privacy concerns. But this latest scare stems from a basic misunderstanding of what cookies are and how they work. One thing they don't and can't do is phone home with a log of your activity when you visit an unrelated site.

I'm a big online privacy guy. I'm not fond of tracking cookies. But FB isn't doing anything most everyone else is and they're not doing anything like what's been described. These hububs are often a product of hype from professional privacy advocates who have a vested interest in scaring the poop out of people. There's no way for the average user to know what threats are real and what are hype. The worst part of these scares is they tend to foster a boy who cried wolf reaction after a while, which makes it harder to get people to take the real threats seriously.

Facebook is very clear about privacy. From the Help Center...

We do not share or sell the information we see when you visit a website with a Facebook social plugin to third parties and we do not use it to deliver ads to you. In addition, we will delete the data (i.e. data we receive when you see social plugins) associated with users in 90 days.
Were they violating their own privacy policy you can be damn sure they'd be ass deep in lawsuits, and for good reason. But paranoia runs deep. So deep Facebook felt the need to issue an official response...
“Facebook does not track users across the web,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “Instead, we use cookies on social plugins to personalize content (e.g. Show you what your friends liked), to help maintain and improve what we do (e.g. Measure click-through rate), or for safety and security (e.g. Keeping underage kids from trying to signup with a different age). No information we receive when you see a social plugins is used to target ads, we delete or anonymize this information within 90 days, and we never sell your information.

Specific to logged out cookies, they are used for safety and protection, including identifying spammers and phishers, detecting when somebody unauthorized is trying to access your account, helping you get back into your account if you get hacked, disabling registration for a under-age users who try to re-register with a different birthdate, powering account security features such as 2nd factor login approvals and notification, and identifying shared computers to discourage the use of ‘keep me logged in’.”
Even so, FB isn't taking any chances. They've now changed their offline tracking cookie behavior to eliminate any cause for paranoia...

I’m an engineer who works on these systems. I want to make it clear that there was no security or privacy breachFacebook did not store or use any information it should not have. Like every site on the internet that personalizes content and tries to provide a secure experience for users, we place cookies on the computer of the user. Three of these cookies on some users’ computers included unique identifiers when the user had logged out of Facebook. However, we did not store these identifiers for logged out users. Therefore, we could not have used this information for tracking or any other purpose. In addition, we fixed the cookies so that they won’t include unique information in the future when people log out.

As the Hitchhiker's Guide says on the cover in big friendly letters, don't panic. Instead, use a little common sense. Don't spread the latest dire warning of Bad Behavior by Them to everyone you know. If you're not a skilled network engineer, the odds are approximately eleventy bazillion to 1 against you discovering some new threat. You don't need to butter the latest scare story across the entire digital universe. Resist the temptation. Instead, wait for the facts. If it's a real threat, real warnings will come from really qualified people and groups backed up by real data.

Be responsible, folks. Don't spread FUD, especially when there's no way for you to know if the threat is real or not.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Climate Denier Boobs - A deepening desire... to be STUPID & Stubborn

The scientific world, and the rest of the world not infested by ignorant racist tea bagging buffoons, long ago reached consensus on global warming. It's happening and humans are a major cause. But in the US the anti-science, anti-knowledge, anti-everything tea bagging imbeciles that drive today's GOP see it differently from every other sentient creature anywhere.

To these proud standard bearers for the Créme de la Dumb, it's all just a liberal plot. It's a scam, a fraud, a sham! It's greedy scientists out to bilk those poor oil companies out of millions so they can fund their lavish secret lab celebrity lifestyles. Yes, they really are THAT effing stupid. From the AP...

Tucked between treatises on algae and prehistoric turquoise beads, the study on page 460 of a long-ago issue of the U.S. journal Science drew little attention.

But the headline on the 1975 report was bold: “Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” And this article that coined the term may have marked the last time a mention of “global warming” didn’t set off an instant outcry of angry denial.
Columbia University geoscientist Wally Broecker calculated how much carbon dioxide would accumulate in the atmosphere in the coming 35 years, and how temperatures consequently would rise. His numbers have proven almost dead-on correct. Meanwhile, other powerful evidence poured in over those decades, showing the “greenhouse effect” is real and is happening. And yet resistance to the idea among many in the U.S. appears to have hardened.

What’s going on?

“The desire to disbelieve deepens as the scale of the threat grows,” concludes economist-ethicist Clive Hamilton.

He and others who track what they call “denialism” find that its nature is changing in America, last redoubt of climate naysayers. It has taken on a more partisan, ideological tone.
“The opposition by the Republicans has gotten stronger and stronger."
The basic physics of anthropogenic — manmade — global warming has been clear for more than a century, since researchers proved that carbon dioxide traps heat. Others later showed CO2 was building up in the atmosphere from the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels. Weather stations then filled in the rest: Temperatures were rising.
By 1988, NASA climatologist James Hansen could appear before a U.S. Senate committee and warn that global warming had begun, a dramatic announcement later confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a new, U.N.-sponsored network of hundreds of international scientists.
But when Hansen was called back to testify in 1989, the White House of President George H.W. Bush edited this government scientist’s remarks to water down his conclusions, and Hansen declined to appear.
“I’m not really surprised at the political reaction,” the Swedish climatologist told The Associated Press. “I am surprised at the way some of the scientific findings have been rejected in an unscientific manner.”
In fact, a document emerged years later showing that the (oil and coal) industry coalition’s own scientific team had quietly advised it that the basic science of global warming was indisputable.
by 2000, the CO2 built up in the atmosphere to 369 parts per million — just 4 ppm less than Broecker predicted — compared with 280 ppm before the industrial revolution.
Global temperatures rose as well, by 0.6 degrees C (1.1 degrees F) in the 20th century. And the mercury just kept rising. The decade 2000-2009 was the warmest on record, and 2010 and 2005 were the warmest years on record.

Satellite and other monitoring, meanwhile, found nights were warming faster than days, and winters more than summers, and the upper atmosphere was cooling while the lower atmosphere warmed — all clear signals greenhouse warming was at work, not some other factor.
In the face of years of scientific findings and growing impacts, the doubters persist. They ignore long-term trends and seize on insignificant year-to-year blips in data to claim all is well. They focus on minor mistakes in thousands of pages of peer-reviewed studies to claim all is wrong. And they carom from one explanation to another for today’s warming Earth: jet contrails, sunspots, cosmic rays, natural cycles.

“Ninety-eight percent of the world’s climate scientists say it’s for real, and yet you still have deniers,” observed former U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, a New York Republican who chaired the House’s science committee.
In an interview, he said he found a “transformation” from the 1990s and its industry-financed campaign, to an America where climate denial “has now become a marker of cultural identity in the ‘angry’ parts of the United States.”

“Climate denial has been incorporated in the broader movement of right-wing populism,” he said, a movement that has “a visceral loathing of environmentalism.”

An in-depth study of a decade of Gallup polling finds statistical backing for that analysis.
Even Wally Broecker’s jest — that deniers could blame God — may not be an option for long.
Last May the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, arm of an institution that once persecuted Galileo for his scientific findings, pronounced on manmade global warming: It’s happening.
It's time for the US to stop allowing the biggest idiots to run the show. Let them wear their tin foil hats and spout absurd nonsense. Let them believe whatever asinine fantasy bullshit they wish. Just don't let them drive the damn bus. Global warming is real, it's really happening and we really need to do something about it, period, end of story, move the bleep on, and everyone, everyone in the world agrees, except rightarded tea bagging ignorant Republidolts. We don't have the time to coddle the half witted ignorant stupid assholes any more. Get with the program or get the bleep out of the way. Reality is coming through and it ain't gonna pause for your stupidity.

The Hy-Brazil is sinking scene from Erik the Viking wasn't specifically about global warming denial, but it easily could have been...

Romney Bashes His Own Alma Mater - Stupid Things For Stupid People

 Mitt Romney and his magic underwear have learned a thing or two about public speaking. Specifically, Mitt demonstrates the maxim that one should always speak to one's audience. If one's audience is stupid, like the tea bagging idiots that comprise GOP primary voters, say stupid s**t. They'll love it! Case in point...

Romney likes to make fun of Obama by taking shots at Harvard. A standard line in his stump speech slams Obama for taking advice from the “Harvard faculty lounge.”

That would be the same Harvard from which Mitt got 2 degrees, 1 more than Obama. The same Harvard attended by 3 of his kids.

"But wait," the wingnuts whine, "No fair! That's not the same as taking advice from the “Harvard faculty lounge!"

In point of fact 5 of Romney's senior advisers are Harvard grads and 3 of them are Harvard faculty. Meghan O’Sullivan, who advises Romney of foreign policy, teaches international affairs at Harvard. Romney economic advisor Greg Mankiw is a high profile professor of economics at Harvard. William Martel, now a professor at Tufts University, is a Harvard post doctoral fellow. The Boston Globe points out...
Not only is Harvard a major player in Massachusetts, the state Romney led for four years as governor, but it also is the school from which he received the business and law degrees that helped propel him toward his highly lucrative venture capital career.
But Romney’s Harvard connection does not end with his own resume.
Like him, sons Tagg, Matt, and Josh all went to Brigham Young University as undergraduates. Then they also followed in their father’s footsteps by attending Harvard Business School.
Furthermore, a large number of the advisers who help Romney speak about foreign policy - the subject of his speech yesterday - are also Harvard alums or teachers.

Among them are former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey (Harvard undergrad), Meghan O’Sullivan (Kennedy School teacher), William Martel (Harvard post-doctoral fellow), and Dan Senor (Harvard Business School graduate).
This is to hypocrisy what black holes are to gravity. So, why does Romney keep using this obviously bogus attack? He knows the tea bagging ignorant morans who eat up this asinine ad hominem, aka GOP primary voters, are far too effing stupid to realize the stunning hypocrisy. Those few who can see the hypocrisy don't care as long as it belittles the black Kenyan socialist guy.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gibson Redux - As Their Lies Unravel Gibson Pleads Case To Court of Lower Wingnuttia

1960 Les Paul Standard
Note: The last time I wrote about this story I was accused of being a Gibson hater. Apparently the denizens of Lower Wingnuttia think me some kind of secret sleeper cell Fender sympathizer. Not true! I have nothing against Fenders, but I've never owned one.

I'm a Gibson guy from way back. I've had several Gibsons over the years, all made by hand by the family owned legendary Gibson of Kalamazoo, not today's mass produced South American giant corporate conglomerate owned Gibson of Nashville. My first decent acoustic guitar was a J-50. Had a 335, then a Super 400. I even owned a '59 tobacco sunbrust Les Paul Standard much like the '60 Standard pictured above.

So, take your silly charges of Gibson prejudice back to the confines of the Lower Winguttia hall of stupid shit ignorant tea baggers believe, where you won't be forced to endure the ringing laughter of the upright walkers. Now, here's more on the story...

Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is stirring up more faux outrage in the tea bagger/wingnut branch of the GOP. A while back we wrote about Gibson using the wingnutosphere to broadcast claims that Homeland Security (be afraid!) was conducting raids with heavily armed jack-booted thugs for absolutely no good reason except to harass the upright, honest bosses at Gibson. Ahem. Laura Clawson at DailyKos has more on the story...
The wild claims to martyrdom coming from Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz are being challenged by an unusual coalition of environmental groups, U.S. hardwood industry groups and unions. On a Tuesday conference call and elsewhere, they have made a number of key rebuttals to Juszkiewicz's claims.
One of the key claims by Juszkiewicz is Gibson was specifically targeted for some unspecified political reason. Twice, no less! He's also claimed that enforcement efforts are really just an organized plot by the Obama administration to drive jobs out of the good old USA! Yes, sadly, there are people stupid enough and gullible enough to believe such absurd happy horse poo.

You'll no doubt be surprised to learn that these claims are every bit as absurd as they sound to any sane, reasonable person in possession of 2 brain cells to rub together. In fact, an affadavit filed by the Environmental Investigation Agency shows that at the time government investigators intercepted a suspicious shipment of hardwood and initiated an investigation, they had no idea Gibson was in any way involved or that there was any connection to an earlier case.
The affidavit indicates that the government did not realize that Gibson was the recipient of the ebony shipment in question when it was first held in Dallas due to irregular paperwork and suspicion of a Lacey Act violation; only upon investigation they found the parties in this shipment to be the same as those involved in the Madagascar ebony case already in process.
EAI spokesperson Andrea Johnson explained that while the 2009 case against Gibson centered on illegally acquired ebony from India and the latest case involved the illegal import of ebony from Malaysia, in both cases the importer was the same company. Gibson continued to buy from this company even though they knew full well they were under investigation for making illegal purchases from the company.

As to Juszkiewicz's bizarro universe claim of a conspiracy to eliminate US jobs, Jameson French, CEO of Northland Forest Products and the former chairman of the Hardwood Federation, told The Hill...
"...illegal loggers evade environmental and trade laws and sell their products more cheaply than law-abiding companies can.

French said he is “flabbergasted by the misinformation that’s been put out there” by Gibson. In particular, he said that rather than costing jobs, the Lacey Act has “saved a lot of American jobs” by protecting American wood companies from illegal competition.
Also on Tuesday's conference call was Mark Barford, executive director of the National Hardwood Lumber Association. Again, from DailyKos...
Mark Barford, the executive director of the National Hardwood Lumber Association said bluntly that the Lacey Act "is our jobs act ... we need the protections of the Lacey Act, we need a fair playing field." There is a significant economic effect: Illegal logging can cost the U.S. $1 billion per year.
Gibson already faces stiff civil penalties in the 2009 case with criminal charges to be filed soon. The latest potential violation is still under investigation with criminal charges expected. It's no wonder Juszkiewicz would prefer to take his case to the tea bagger wingnutosphere. He obviously can't make a case in court. Besides, mega-corporate CEO types like Juszkiewicz know those ignorant knee jerk tea baggers are stupid enough to believe anything, as long as it's anti-Obama.

Yes, tea baggers, that's what they really think of you when they think of you at all. Welcome to reality. Enjoy your visit, no matter how brief.