Archive for October 10th, 2007

Eli’s Obsession With The Google

I generally don’t post these unless I’m on the first page of search results, but I just have to ask…

Why was someone searching for Henry waxman photos of nostrils? And wouldn’t a Google image search make more sense?

October 10th, 2007 at 10:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

Composite Spam Haiku

I’ve been getting a lot more of that funky comment spam, which I guess I should start flagging as spam so maybe my filters start picking it up, but right now I’m just too fascinated. Here’s a compilation of the ones I’ve received so far today (ironically, one of them was on a post about spam):

dartle frigidness anticovenanting outcase rosily prethoracic caiquejee altimetrical

sherry regelate samsara amazilia neutrality glycidol averruncator plagiochila

paction chepster humanely mettle tireless marriage hurr daimonistic

apologizer mangonel unjoyousness phacoanaphylaxis cumflutter unlousy unanalytical necessitously

strawen recorrect storiological pharyngoesophageal ciceronianize prophototropism cusparine theraphosoid

diplopodic buddhaship wizardlike coralligenous ridgetree reintrusion convectional resinovitreous

exinguinal hamirostrate branchiopulmonate lou strewer brachycatalectic tchi carvyl

Perhaps I’m the only one who finds these entertaining, but if you can’t amuse yourself, who can you amuse?

1 comment October 10th, 2007 at 10:11pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Spamoptikon

Fred Fielding Is A Sphincter.

Have you ever just… lost track of a treasured possession? You know you must still have it, because you haven’t thrown it out, but it’s hidden in a disorganized jumble somewhere because you when you were moving, you never thought to pull it out and give it special treatment, and now it could be anywhere.

One of my most treasured lost possessions is The Book Of Strange Facts And Useless Information, which I’ve had since I was a kid, and which has probably done more to shape my personality than any other book ever written. And one of its great little tidbits is a poem called “In Praise Of The Sphincter Ani,” which marvels at the sphincter’s many dexterous and clever capabilities, like the ability to selectively pass gas without passing any liquids or solids (I’ve looked for it online, and the only reference I can find is to me lamenting my inability to find it online).

Which brings me to Fred Fielding, the human stonewall who refuses to give House or Senate committees any documents or under-oath-and-on-the-record interviews with various denizens of the White House (or, increasingly, former denizens).

And yet, when it comes to keeping information under wraps to aid intelligence-gathering on al Qaeda (Remember them? Our sworn enemies? The Most Evil Scary Band Of Evil Scary People Ever?), well… not so much:

A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition. It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.

Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company’s Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.

The founder of the company, the SITE Intelligence Group, says this premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda to a security breach and destroyed a years-long surveillance operation that the company has used to intercept and pass along secret messages, videos and advance warnings of suicide bombings from the terrorist group’s communications network.

“Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless,” said Rita Katz, the firm’s 44-year-old founder, who has garnered wide attention by publicizing statements and videos from extremist chat rooms and Web sites, while attracting controversy over the secrecy of SITE’s methodology.


Katz said she decided to offer an advance copy of the bin Laden video to the White House without charge so officials there could prepare for its eventual release.

She spoke first with White House counsel Fred F. Fielding, whom she had previously met, and then with Joel Bagnal, deputy assistant to the president for homeland security. Both expressed interest in obtaining a copy, and Bagnal suggested that she send a copy to Michael Leiter, who holds the No. 2 job at the National Counterterrorism Center.

Administration and intelligence officials would not comment on whether they had obtained the video separately. Katz said Fielding and Bagnal made it clear to her that the White House did not possess a copy at the time she offered hers.

Around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, Katz sent both Leiter and Fielding an e-mail with a link to a private SITE Web page containing the video and an English transcript. “Please understand the necessity for secrecy,” Katz wrote in her e-mail. “We ask you not to distribute . . . [as] it could harm our investigations.”


Exactly what happened next is unclear. But within minutes of Katz’s e-mail to the White House, government-registered computers began downloading the video from SITE’s server, according to a log of file transfers. The records show dozens of downloads over the next three hours from computers with addresses registered to defense and intelligence agencies.

By midafternoon, several television news networks reported obtaining copies of the transcript. A copy posted around 3 p.m. on Fox News’s Web site referred to SITE and included page markers identical to those used by the group. “This confirms that the U.S. government was responsible for the leak of this document,” Katz wrote in an e-mail to Leiter at 5 p.m.

Al-Qaeda supporters, now alerted to the intrusion into their secret network, put up new obstacles that prevented SITE from gaining the kind of access it had obtained in the past, according to Katz.

Smooth move, Ex-Lax. So, either the man who is so adamant about protecting the administration’s criminal behavior doesn’t give a rat’s ass about protecting anti-al Qaeda intelligence sources, or the #2 guy at the National Counterterrorism is yet another Brownie – a Bush crony appointee who is so completely unqualified for his position that he can’t even be discreet with information in his supposed field of expertise.

And for what? What on earth did this buy the Bushies? If anything, it reduced the amount of time that they had to prepare for the video going public. They really are epically stupid.

1 comment October 10th, 2007 at 07:45pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

Why Does Accountability Hate America?

Those wild-eyed hippies at the ACLU ask:

Why is the president of the United States trying to get the telecommunications companies off the hook for their illegal activity? He is supposed to be upholding laws, not encouraging companies to break them. Businesses that break the law should be held accountable. We expect these companies to keep our personal information private, and if they break the law, there should be consequences – not a re-write of the rule book.

It’s very simple, really. Denying the telecoms immunity for breaking the law at the president’s behest would have an unacceptable chilling effect on potential accomplices down the road. I mean, who’s going to want to help him out if they have to worry about going to jail or paying crippling fines? He’d never be able to get anything done!

Sure, Dubya took care of Scooter Libby, but can a president commute a civil suit, or pardon a corporation? Apparently not, or it would have already happened.

Remember: Accountability = Death. If we don’t allow the president and his henchman to act with total impunity, the terrorists will have won.

October 10th, 2007 at 06:26pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism

Cursed Are The Peacemakers

Still think “General Betray Us” (I prefer “Puppetraeus” myself, but I’m outvoted) is an honorable straight shooter?

Over the weekend, General Petraeus increased the belligerent rhetoric against Iran, claiming that Iran could be the biggest long term threat to Iraqi security. Iran, he explained, is getting weapons into Iraq, sending military and political officials into the country, and coordinating with militia groups.

…But leaving aside the hypocrisy, on the *very same day,* news came out that Iran had helped broker a peace deal between the two major Shia militias, the Badr Corps of SIIC (formerly SCIRI) and Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of SIIC, who is reportedly undergoing treatment for cancer in Iran, met with Sadr, a frequent rival for Shia following and control in Baghdad and oil-rich Basra province, to bury the hatchet. The plan reportedly has three primary elements: stopping the fighting between Iraqis, urging media to engender a spirit of friendship and forgiveness, and establishing commissions in each of Iraq’s 18 provinces to oversee the peace initiative. The agreement was “in the spirit of” Ramadan, the Muslim holy month in which gestures of forgiveness and mercy are often made.


So when Petraeus says (quoting the CNN article, not the General directly) that, “sectarian fighting among militias fueled by Iran could be the biggest long-term challenge for Iraq,” well, exactly what sectarian fighting among militias is he referring to? Why are these statement always so vague, so imprecise? *Which* militias? *Where* is Iran fueling fighting? I’m open to being convinced, but the dichotomy of Petraeus accusing Iran of fueling sectarian infighting at precisely the same time two major militia groups are agreeing to a peace accord in Iran doesn’t bode well for his case.

So, basically, Iran is trying to advance peace in Iraq while the US is fomenting instability. Tell me again who’s the good guys and who’s the bad guys?

Admittedly, Iran is only working on intra-Shia peace, but that’s still a helluva lot more than we’re doing.

October 10th, 2007 at 11:47am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iran,Iraq,Republicans,Wankers,War

Yet Still More Getty Villa Architectureblogging

I’m just a sucker for architecture.

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I just really like the austerity of black & white.

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But sometimes color is nice too.

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Especially when you’ve got a nice deep blue sky.

1 comment October 10th, 2007 at 11:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Well, it looks like the Weekly World News website isn’t being updated at all, so I must resort to more… old-fashioned methods. Here is a follow-up story about a poll they ran in 2003…

After thousands of votes were cast and WWN staff members spent weeks counting the ballots, the five presidents to be cloned were announced on March 2, 2003.

“I’m pleased to announce,” said a noticeably excited Dr. Blauprecht, “that the five presidents who will be cloned are John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Millard Fillmore, who beat out Jefferson by a mere three votes.”

Thanks to Dr. Blauprecht’s cloning method, which he learned from his colleague, the revolutionary Dr. Werner Trondheim of Vienna, the clones age at five times the rate of normal humans. Since the cloning began as soon as the winners were announced, JFK II, Abe II, FDR II, Ronnie II, and Millard Fillmore II are now 12 clone years old.


Interviews with their classmates show that each boy has adopted a role true to his presidential personality. JFK II and Ronnie II are the most popular boys in school, already dating girls. “They’re sooo cute! Jack II is awesome at football, and Ron II gets the best parts in all the plays,” says one enamored classmate.

FDR II is the class “nerd.” He’s captain of the debate team and active in the chess club, the model UN, and boys intramural cricket. Fillmore, on the other hand, is barely noticeable. He generally sits in the back of the classroom, doodling in his notebook. “I’m afraid Millard II gets picked on a bit,” says Fitzpatrick. “He’s earned the nickname ‘Know-Nothing,’ and all the kids keep saying he killed the Whig party. On the bright side, they’ve really had to bone up on their history to get some good jabs in!”

But the real oddball of the bunch is Abraham Lincoln II, who not only dresses in black every day, but also wears eyeliner and paints his fingernails black. “Abe II is always talking about some band no one has ever heard of,” says a classmate rolling his eyes. “He thinks he’s all punk rock, but really he’s pretty lame.”


October 10th, 2007 at 07:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

Would Not Buy Again.

This just tickles me, I don’t know why.

From xkcd.

1 comment October 10th, 2007 at 12:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics

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