Jun 23

Gee. I’m so excited.

We are pleased to inform you that your request to transfer xxx-xxx-xxxx from your current carrier to Vonage was accepted on June 23, 2006. The process of moving your number to Vonage is almost complete.

Your expected transfer date is June 29, 2006.

That’d be great… if the transfer date wasn’t 18 days after I initiated the move. What amazing speed we have here in the internet age. What with all these numbers being virtual and just entries in a freakin table and all. Uh-maze-eeeng.

That said, Vonage voice quality is way better than what I was using. Can’t complain there.

Which is why you must support net neutrality. Because without it, your broadband provider will drop packets from 3rd party vendors such as Vonage in order to force you to accept their monopolistic, overpriced, substandard quality offerings. Yeah, I’m talking to you, cable companies.

Jun 23

Fashion trend o’ the summer

Currently sweeping the nation… Daisy Dukes. Even shorter, actually. Kind of a half-ass cheek version. What is this, round 5 with these things? And don’t even get me going on the stripper shoes, either.

Celeb sightings from the past 2 days:

Post short shortsAguilera short shorts

Not that I’m complaining about the shorts, of course. Just remarking. Wedgepadrilles… now those I hate. Also, someone give Posh a sammich or three.

And, OK, they’re not Daisy Dukes in that the denim isn’t shredded… but what they are is short shorts made out of denim. And denim hot pants didn’t have quite the same ring. Half moon shorts is too long too. So you’re getting Daisy Dukes, and you’re going to like it!

And dudes seem to be wearing… dude things. Dudes don’t really change, just the length of the shorts, the amount of hair on the head, and the angle of the baseball cap. To illustrate, here’s one for the ladies:

KFed
Continue reading

Jun 23

Things I “discovered” last night

Acid reflux that bypasses the throat and mouth and goes straight to the sinuses and nose? Totally freakin hurts.

The hard part was trying to figure out how to get the baking soda up my nose to counteract the acid. Just when you need a funnel at 4 am, they all up and disappear. Bitches.

Jun 22

Warrentless wiretapping… inet snooping… now bank records

Turns out, not only was the Bush administration illegally wiretapping citizens without a subpoena, not only are they tracking all internet traffic, but they are also receiving bank transaction information without a subpoena.

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

Data provided by the program helped identify Uzair Paracha, a Brooklyn man who was convicted on terrorism-related charges in 2005, officials said.

The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database.

Given that these are the same jackasses that linked Saddam, Jose Padilla, Keanu Reeves, the deceased Hume Cronin, and the imaginary Bob Terwilliger to al Qaeda, does anyone actually believe this operation is limited in scope at all? The same guys who take pleasure in ratfucking anyone who disagrees with them, the same organizations that put yours truly on the no-fly list (jigga wha?)… yeah, I’m sure it’s a very limited program.

The program, however, is a significant departure from typical practice in how the government acquires Americans’ financial records. Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records from the cooperative, known as Swift.

That these are ongoing without subpoenas just goes to (further) show the disregard these authoritarians have for the Rule of Law. If there’s a consensual sexual relationship involved and they’re out of power, then they’re all for the Rule of Law, but when they’re in power and the issue effects our civil liberties… who needs it?

Simply put, the State cannot demonstrate probable cause for a warrant when they are asking for millions of records. Without a specific, and narrowly-defined, goal no judge should approve this request. Which no judge did, it turns out, because they used administrative subpoenas. Secret administrative subpoenas that were not reviewed by either judge nor grand jury.

If there is a valid reason to look at business records, then the government should have no problem obtaining a warrant. A public, even FISA, warrant. Their refusal to try or inability to obtain them says a lot about the program. That the government asks for and expects this information without a subpoena is horrible. That a corporation (Belgian or otherwise) would give them up without requiring a subpoena is tragic. Compare this to librarians nationwide who have been sticking to the Rule of Law and requiring a court order to reveal private information (and, of course, being attacked for it, of course). Librarians are now the front line defenders of our civil liberties. Amazing, isn’t it?

The one conviction that has come from any of this, and one the article refers to repeatedly is of Uzair Paracha. The same Paracha who was tortured with food and sleep deprivation. The same Paracha who has repeatedly said he issued a false confession under duress. The same Paracha who was denied the ability to call witnesses to the stand in his defense because the government would not let them out of Guantanimo. The same Paracha whose father is being held without charges in Guantanimo because the government says he was laundering money.

The American citizen Uzair Paracha.

That is the result of our current cruel, arbitrary, cruel, and lawless government. Doesn’t it just make you feel proud?

Money quote:

Current and former U.S. officials say the effort has only been marginally successful against al-Qaida, which long ago began transferring money through other means, including the highly informal banking system common in Islamic countries.

There’s an old saying about how you can tell more about a person by how they treat people when they’re on the way up. I think we can all agree that the current administration deserves every bad thing that happens to them for the rest of their lives.

Bonus points for making analysts worried that this disclosure may undermine the integrity of SWIFT, and thus severely impacting the financial markets. Nice job, GOoPers!

Double extra bonus points for the administration trying to can the story before it went to print. “National security” my ass.

Update: SWIFT’s feeble CYA press release

Jun 22

Signs of the apocalypse

“Toilet paper” is now referred to as “Bathroom tissue” in the aisles of my local supermarket.

I wasn’t aware that there was a push for the use of nonpejorative nomenclature with regards to pulped tree residue that you use to wipe your ass. You know, for the restoration of absorptive pride of Dorsal Cleanliness Engineers worldwide.

Is this an example of that “bowel correctness” language I keep hearing about?

Jun 22

Actual Conversation

EXT. – SIDEWALK IN FRONT OF LIBRARY – MORNING

Sounds of traffic. A cab honks at a slow pedestrian in the crosswalk. In the background, an orca-fat woman with attached kid strolls across the frame. She is wearing flip flops and sweatpants cut into capris. The child clings to her front like a witch who collided with a tree while doing 60 mph. The woman’s hair is long, greasy, stringy shrew brown. Teeth yellowed. Skin blemished.

BUTTERNUT looks back at woman

BUTTERNUT

That’s the worst thing I’ve seen all month.

GRUMPY
Have you seen my colon?

SCENE.

Jun 22

You might want to rethink that analogy there, duhbya

Bush Compares Iraq War to Hungary’s Uprising

Fifty years after Hungarian partisans waged a bloody but unsuccessful uprising against Communist rule, President Bush came to this eastern European capital today to lay a bouquet at the Eternal Flame monument, but also to draw a comparison to the current war in Iraq.

“The sacrifice of the Hungarian people inspires all who love liberty,” Mr. Bush said in a speech at Buda Castle on Gellert Hill, overlooking the Danube and the city below. He continued: “America honors your courage. We’ve learned from your example, and we resolve that when people stand up for their freedom, America will stand with them.”

On a day when lawmakers in Washington were engaged in an intense debate over whether to withdraw troops from Iraq, Mr. Bush thanked the Hungarians for “playing a vital role” in the Iraq war, neglecting to mention that Hungary withdrew its own troops more than a year ago. The president also recounted his visit last week to Baghdad, telling Hungarians that they would “recognize this spirit” of democracy there.

“The lesson of the Hungarian experience is clear,” Mr. Bush said. “Liberty can be delayed, but it cannot be denied.”

… because in this analogy, we are the Russians to the Iraqi Hungarians.

It’s an awkward analogy, anyway, since the better fit for the US role is the Nazi invaders in 1944 rather than the Russian Brute Squads of 1956.

Check out the nice zinger by Hungarian President Lazlo Solyom.

“It is my firm belief that our common responsibilities, duty now is to fight terrorism,” he said, speaking through an interpreter. “This fight against terrorism can be successful only if every step and measure taken are in line with international law.”

Ouch, babe. Ouch. I’m sure Bush has no idea what you are talking about, though. “International” has more than 3 syllables.

Jun 22

What rhymes with poke?

Team USA

There was no glory for the United States at this year’s World Cup, only frustration and failure.

Done in by their own mistakes, the Americans lost to Ghana 2-1 Thursday in a game they had to win to advance past the tournament’s first round.

So much for the #5 team in the world. Nice job, guys. Way to play horribly and stifle growth of the sport in this country. Jeez, what an embarassment. 1998 all over again… played with no desire, no spark, no heart. The stealth team came in cocky and got waxed. Where’s the scrappy underdog menality?

Jun 22

Latest NRA conspiracy: the UN is going to take your guns!

The stupid! It burns! I love that phrase so much, I’m going to keep using it until I burn a hole through the interweb thingy.

Americans mistakenly worried the United Nations is plotting to take away their guns on July 4 — U.S. Independence Day — are flooding the world body with angry letters and postcards, the chairman of a U.N. conference on the illegal small arms trade said on Wednesday.

“I myself have received over 100,000 letters from the U.S. public, criticizing me personally, saying, ‘You are having this conference on the 4th of July, you are not going to get our guns on that day,”‘ said Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka’s U.N. ambassador.

“That is a total misconception as far as we are concerned,” Kariyawasam told reporters ahead of the two-week meeting opening on Monday.

For one, July 4 is a holiday at U.N. headquarters and the world body’s staff will be watching a fireworks display from the U.N. lawn rather than attending any meetings, he said.

For another, the U.N. conference will look only at illegal arms and “does not in any way address legal possession,” a matter left to national governments to regulate rather than the United Nations, he added.

The campaign is largely the work of the U.S. National Rifle Association, whose executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, warns on an NRA Web site of a July 4 plot “to finalize a U.N. treaty that would strip all citizens of all nations of their right to self-protection.”

Ladies and gents, welcome to the second most powerful lobbying group in America (OK, maybe third. It depends on where you come down on AIPAC). That’s right, they are led by a complete crackpot who believes that the United Nations is going to create a treaty that is going to take away the guns of all people everywhere. Worldwide.

… by flying in on their black chariots with their magic anti-gun ray, firing at humans wherever they may hide, and taking their guns by dissolving them right there in front of the gun owners!!!!!1!11!!1 Will no one think of the children?!?

Jun 22

InstaAsshole

Passhole aggresshole, much? Instacracker sez:

And as an aside, I see some blog-commenters are speculating that Kos is gay. Why that should matter, I don’t know, but I remember — back when the blogosphere was younger and people were nicer — commiserating with Kos over his wife’s miscarriage (my wife and I had several) and assuring him that it didn’t preclude successful pregnancies later on, which I believe his wife has since had. So try to keep things at something better than a seventh-grade level.

Nice job, mentioning that which does not matter while also perpetuating the “attack” on kos while also bringing up the painful and largely private miscarriage story (that he reveals his own family’s miscarriages is his own business). This is the coward’s formulation of reaching for “gentleman” status while also furthering the smear and being as low as the mouthbreathers who think that calling someone gay is an attack. It should come as no surprise, really; Professor Unworthy’s methodology is closely akin to Bush’s constant “some say…” straw man formulations.

Reynolds, who is indeedy one of the stupidest fucking people on the planet (somewhere in the third orbital behind Feith, Goldstein, and the Nuge) must be a crossdresser wannabe of the Rococco period since he’s doing his damndest to be Marie Antoinette. Someone check for a fake beauty mark.

(link to Tristram Shandy, since InstaFucktard gets no linkage love)

Jun 22

Net Neutrality: the time is now

Crunch Time

It’s time to hit the phones, everyone. I am told that the Senate Commerce Committee will be doing bill mark-up today, and that the net neutrality vote will be pushed off until probably Tuesday.

And that we are one vote short at the moment for killing the Stevens bill in the Committee.

Yep, that’s right: one vote.

Call your senators. I even called Mortal Enemy Cantwell[fn1] to tell her to support Senate bill S.2917.

That’s what you say when you call, btw. Say “I am for S. 2917, WITHOUT AMENDMENT.” That is the Snowe/Dorgan net neutrality bill. Go internet!

[fn1] for her cloture vote on scAlito. Grr.