Author's posts

Feb 27

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Expert details White House e-mail risks

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer

8 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – A computer expert who worked at the White House provided the first inside look at its e-mail system Tuesday, calling it a “primitive” setup that created a high risk that data would be lost.

Steven McDevitt’s written statements, placed on the public record at a congressional hearing, asserted that a study by White House technical staff in October 2005 turned up an estimated 1,000 days on which e-mail was missing.

Two federal laws require electronic messages to be preserved.

Feb 26

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Obama shows that dismissing slimy right-wing attacks is not difficult

Glenn Geenwald, Salon.com

Monday February 25, 2008 10:08 EST

“A party that presided over a war in which our troops did not get the body armor they needed, or were sending troops over who were untrained because of poor planning, or are not fulfilling the veterans’ benefits that these troops need when they come home, or are undermining our Constitution with warrantless wiretaps that are unnecessary?

“That is a debate I am very happy to have. We’ll see what the American people think is the true definition of patriotism.”  (Barack Obama, emphasis Greenwald’s -ek)

Most Democrats have yet to learn that lesson. Obama’s response here strongly suggests that he has. Although there is still a significant chance that Democrats will ultimately give the President most if not all of what he wants on the FISA bill, perhaps their ongoing refusal to capitulate quickly even in the face of all-out GOP fear-mongering — along with Obama’s refusal to do the same with regard to these patriotism attacks — will demonstrate that (regardless of their “real beliefs” on war and surveillance) such capitulation is not only unnecessary but completely contrary to their own political interests.

Remember that this particular controversy has happened once already- zenbowl was doing Breaking! at dK on 10/4/07.

Maybe I was the only one who noticed.

This round of events was touched off by Nedra Pickler’s horrible piece of trash on the Associated Press wire, Obama may face grilling on patriotism, which I drew to your attention to Saturday in Weekend News Digest (story #8) when it was 4 hours old.  See how plugged in you are?

Feb 24

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Iraq bomber targeting Shiites kills 40

By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writer

37 minutes ago

BAGHDAD – A suicide bomber struck Shiite pilgrims as they were resting Sunday during a days-long walk to a Shiite shrine, killing at least 40 people and wounding 60.

The attack in Iskandariyah, south of Baghdad, was the second of the day against pilgrims traveling to the holy city of Karbala. The pilgrimage marks Arbaeen, the 40th day following the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, one of two revered Shiite figures buried there.

The suicide bomber detonated at a tent where pilgrims stop to eat and drink, police said.

Feb 23

Weekend News Digest- Updated

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

1 Turkey bombs Kurdish rebels in Iraq

By SELCAN HACAOGLU, Associated Press Writer

27 minutes ago

CUKURCA, Turkey – Turkish warplanes, helicopters and artillery bombed suspected hideouts of Kurdish rebels in remote, mountainous terrain of northern Iraq Saturday.

The Turkish military said at least 35 Kurdish rebels and two Turkish soldiers died in fighting Saturday. A total of seven soldiers and at least 79 rebels have been killed in Iraq since Turkey launched a ground incursion late Thursday, according to the military. The rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, claimed it had killed 15 Turkish troops.

The incursion is the first confirmed Turkish military ground operation in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. Iraq’s government criticized the offensive on Saturday, saying military force will not solve the Kurdish problem.

Feb 23

John Weaver Is Not Jane Doe

by dday, Hullabaloo (digby’s place)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

(reprinted with permission- ek hornbeck)

Apparently, the talking point that the broadcast media all settled on today is that the McCain/Vicki Iseman story is irresponsible because it’s based entirely on unnamed sources.

Um, people?

The only on-the-record source the New York Times used in their John McCain story says he gave his quote to the paper in December and immediately shared it with the Arizona senator’s top strategists.

John Weaver, formerly McCain’s top strategist, tells Politico that after hearing repeatedly from Times reporters working on the story, he asked for written questions and then provided an e-mail response.

“They asked about the Union Station meeting and so I answered their questions,” Weaver says. “I forwarded it to Steve, Charlie and Mark within minutes of sending it to the Times.”

Steve Schmidt, Charlie Black and Mark Salter are all top advisers to McCain.

Weaver very simply said that Iseman was involved in the campaign and that could hurt McCain’s image as a straight-talking reformer. This doesn’t presume an intimate relationship, it presumes a relationship with a lobbyist. And this is a big problem.

Some wingnut welfare recipients are calling this the words of a “disgruntled staffer.” Some Republican hack on The Situation Room was asked directly “Do you mean John Weaver?” and she said “It hasn’t been disclosed.” Well, you know, yes it has.

And the floodgates ought to open once you recognize that McCain’s campaign and professional life are crawling with lobbyists:

McCain’s campaign staff had more lobbyists on it than any other back in June. And, after the staff massacre in July, the person he hired to be his new campaign manager (resurrecting his position from the failed 2000 campaign)? Uber-lobbyist Rick Davis. Who is Rick Davis? Try this on for starters:

“So now that very same Rick Davis will be taking over as campaign manager. Who is he? Fittingly for the most lobbyist-infested campaign in the race (on either side), Davis is yet another lobbyist. Davis founded Davis, Manafort & Freedman, Inc., through which he served clients ranging from Nigerian dictator Gen. Sani Abacha to “mafia-like” Argentine legislator Alberto Pierri. Davis has had a long association with McCain – one tangled up in webs of special influence. In 1999, while Davis was working for McCain, two of his firm’s clients, COMSAT and SBC, “had major (and controversial) mergers pending before the Federal Communications Commission in 1999, and both mergers were approved.” The FCC was under the legislative oversight authority of McCain’s Commerce Committee, yet McCain refused to recuse himself from the proceedings.

Davis was also a central figure in McCain’s Reform Institute scandal, an under-reported affair in which the “Maverick” Senator used a nonprofit, tax-exempt “reform” organization to trade political favors for corporate cash.”

He had plenty of lobbyists on his campaign back in 2000, too. This is the real problem here, a huge dent to the Straight Talk Express’ image. This is why Mitt Romney’s throwing up repeatedly today.

I agree that the focus ought to be on the fact that someone who claimed he’s completely free and clear of the culture of corruption you’d expect from a guy who’s spent 24 years in Washington is getting caught.

(The Update Below the Fold- ek)

Feb 22

The Stars Hollow Gazette

So it’s going to be an ugly day here in Stars Hollow tomorrow.  Snow, snow, snow, and then some more snow for good measure.

Good thing too, because it will cover up the mud.

Today is kind of a Dave & Craig retro day for me where I get to contemplate the wreck my life has become since the holidays and how really hopelessly behind on all my important projects I am.

On the other hand not every good idea went undone so there are accomplishments to point to too.  I’m going to decide to be grateful for the break- a snow day if you will.  I shall sleep late and play and get wet and chilled and then dry off and drink hot beverages and play bored games with my friends and family.

If I get ambitious I might try to clean up some of the clutter, but that seems a foolish goal.

Feb 21

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well, just a personal reminiscence from a couple of hours ago.

I do try to pay attention to ‘once in a lifetime’ or maybe every few year events.  I’m a big fan of the America’s Cup for instance and never fail to watch the coverage.  I am also a big sucker for astronomy and as a matter of fact my homebrewing friend has keys to an observatory with a real live jive telescope.

They even have a dome.

Of course you can’t heat an observatory (warps the optics, creates heat waves out the observation slit, and who wants to pay the bill even if you were willing to be that environmentally incorrect?) and it’s inconvenient to hook up sometimes, so most of my observations are by eye.

If you know where to look there’s a lot to see.

It’s hard to miss something obvious like a lunar eclipse unless you’re busy blogging.  Even the pollution from the driveway lights can’t hide it.  Planets like Saturn and bright stars like Regulus are pretty visible too if you know where they are (planets are noticeably non-blinking and look… rounder than stars).

Meteors are a little tougher to convince yourself you’re seeing.  They’re mostly not streaky at all.  Instead they look like stars, maybe just a little redder.  What you notice is that they seem to wander, and at first you’re saying- nah, just my eyes.  You need to frame them against a fixed object (like the side of a house or a tree branch, although real stars will do) and then you find that they really dart around quite a bit.

The tell tale is that they’ll get fuzzy every once in a while, like really fizzling bad fireworks.

Not much else to see, so once you have it’s always the same.  That can be a disappointment like so much astronomy, NASA pictures really are much better than real life in part because they capture hours worth of photons and your eyes are instantaneous.

Still, saw me a shot down spy satellite tonight.  No telling when that will happen again.

Feb 21

McCain / Iseman Open Thread

C’mon.  You know you want to.

Alaska Report

Arkansas Times

New York Times (registration required)

Did John McCain have an affair with a lobbyist and use his power for her client?

by Peter Cohan, Blogging Stocks

Posted Feb 20th 2008 7:59PM

McCain/Lobbyist Story In The New York Times Finally Drops

Marc Armbinder, The Atlantic.com

McCain linked to attractive female lobbyist

Capitol Hill Blue

For McCain, self-confidence on ethics poses its own risk

By Jim Rutenberg, Marilyn W. Thompson, David D. Kirkpatrick and Stephen Labaton, International Herald Tribune

Published: February 21, 2008

Google News Breaking Updates (you get it as soon as the bots find it)

Feb 20

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Pakistan’s Musharraf urged to quit after poll rout

by Sami Zubeiri, AFP

2 hours, 15 minutes ago

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf faced mounting calls to quit Tuesday as opposition parties moved towards a coalition government in the wake of a sweeping election victory over his allies.

The widower of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto said he had no interest in working with Musharraf’s defeated backers, but said he would join forces with other groups opposed to the key figure in US anti-terror efforts.

“We will form a government of national consensus which will take along every democratic force,” Asif Ali Zardari told a news conference a day after the parliamentary elections.

Feb 19

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well you can certainly rest assured that I’m in no danger of falling into this trap-

Say What You Will (Requiem for a TV News Career)

Chez Pazienza, Huffington Post

Posted February 18, 2008 | 07:22 PM (EST)

During my last couple of years as a television news producer, I watched the networks try to recover from a six year failure to bring truth to power (the political party in power being irrelevant incidentally; the job of the press is to maintain an adversarial relationship with the government at all times) and what’s worse, to pretend that they had a backbone all along.

I watched my bosses literally stand in the middle of the newsroom and ask, “What can we do to not lead with Iraq?” — the reason being that Iraq, although an important story, wasn’t always a surefire ratings draw.

I was asked to complete self-evaluations which pressed me to describe the ways in which I’d “increased shareholder value.” (For the record, if you’re a rank-and-file member of a newsroom, you should never under any circumstances even hear the word “shareholders,” let alone be reminded that you’re beholden to them.)

I watched the media in general do anything within reason to scare the hell out of the American public — to convince people that they were about to be infected by the bird flu, poisoned by the food supply, or eaten by sharks.

I marveled at our elevation of the death of Anna Nicole Smith to near-mythic status and our willingness to let the airwaves be taken hostage by every permutation of opportunistic degenerate from a crying judge to a Hollywood hanger-on with an emo haircut.

I watched qualified, passionate people worked nearly to death while mindless talking heads were coddled.

I listened to Lou Dobbs play the loud-mouthed fascist demagogue, Nancy Grace fake ratings-baiting indignation, and Glenn Beck essentially do nightly stand-up — and that’s not even taking into account the 24/7 Vaudeville act over at Fox News.

I watched The Daily Show laugh not at our mistakes but at our intentional absurdity.

I’m nobody important.

Feb 17

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 80 die in bombing at Afghan dog fight

By ALLAUDDIN KHAN, Associated Press Writer

2 hours, 21 minutes ago

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – A suicide bombing at an outdoor dog fighting competition killed 80 people and wounded scores on Sunday, an Afghan governor said. It appeared to be the deadliest terror attack in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

A prominent militia commander who stood up against the Taliban was killed in the attack and officials said he may have been the target.

Several hundred people, including Afghan militia leaders, had gathered to watch the competition on the western edge of the southern city of Kandahar. Witnesses reported gunfire from bodyguards after the blast but it was not immediately clear how many of the casualties might have been caused by bullets.

Feb 16

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 In Kosovo, it’s ‘Independence Eve’

By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer

18 minutes ago

PRISTINA, Serbia – Tiny Kosovo – poor, mostly Muslim but feverishly pro-Western – braced itself Saturday for a historic declaration of independence from Serbia, a decade after a war that killed 10,000 people and years of limbo under U.N. rule.

The province’s bold bid for statehood, expected Sunday, and its quest for international recognition set up an ominous showdown with Serbia and Russia. Moscow contends the move will set a dangerous precedent for secessionist groups worldwide.

Revelers took to the streets in giddy anticipation. Prime Minister Hashim Thaci – a former leader of the guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army – marked the eve of the new nation’s birth by visiting a village where Serbian troops massacred ethnic Albanians in 1998.

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