Thursday, March 30, 2006

I'm sure any regular readers (if you exist) have noticed I'm suffering from a bad case of outrage burnout at the news. I'm still blogging, but I've started writing about mostly salmon and mammoths.

This doesn't mean I'm not paying attention to the news (that's a differerent burnout); I just can't concentrate on a single issue long enought to say anything intelligent without being overcome by disgust and a sense of futiity. I wonder how much of this is a product of my environment. Living on the West Coast, I'm hours behind the majority of bloggers. News blogging is very time sensitive. By the time I get my coffee break at work, it's after noon on the East Coast and most of the news day is over. I'm rarely the first to comment on something. I'm also a very small blog. Even when I am the first to comment on something, I never get credit for it. So news blogging provides no personal validation; it's something I do only for the fun of it. Lately, news is just not fun. I've even been thinking about giving up blogging.

I was already feeling pretty burned out before our lovely Miss Parker died a few weeks ago and mourning around the house hasn't helped. But now it's over. The Clever Wife rather dramatically yanked herself out of her funk on Tuesday and has thrown herself into her soap business. The business is supposed to provide for our retirement. She realized she was neglecting it and decided it was time to dust off "the plan" and get back to work.

I had my own shock just a little while ago. Coturnix wrote and asked what was up with the Carnival of Bad History. I have competely neglected the CoBH. I haven't even glanced at the mail in almost a month. Two weeks ago, with no help from me, Ahistoricality posted CoBH #5. While I grovel and beg for Ahistoricality's forgiveness, I want all of you to go over and check out the carnival. Give Ahistoricality the traffic bump that he/she/it deserves for volunteering. Egad, I feel like such a jerk... If it's any consolation, I also failed to notice my own blogiversary last week.

Alright, no more moping. I'm back to blogging. I have a creationist to roast. I promised the gang over a Farm Runoff a history of Nazi flying saucers in Antarctica. I have mammoths to write about. The leaders of the free world need to be mocked. As gad is my witness, I will never go blogless again!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Another Republican liar
Many other bloggers have covered this, including the heros of the story, but this kind of misbehavior needs to be exposed as widely as possible.

Howard Kaloogian is a conservative Republican currently polling third-place in the special election to replace convicted Republican felon Duke Cunningham and is unhappy with the news coverage of affairs in Iraq. On his campaign website, he posted a picture of a peaceful Middle Eastern street with the caption:
We took this photo of dowtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.

Many of the bloggers who have been closely following the special election for Cunningham's seat noticed the picture and thought it didn't ring true. For one thing, none of the signs are in Arabic. Late last night, Will Bunch of Attytood, DailyKos diarist anthonyLA, and kpete at Democratic Underground all began to look into it. Commenters began to identify the many things wrong with the picture: the taxis are the wrong color; the young couple in western clothes and holding hands in public seems unlikely; all of those signs. Finally, someone identified the language on the signs as Turkish and the pieces began to fall together. By 9:30 this morning, Jem6X at Kos had identified the street and located another picture of it. It's a street in the Istanbul suburb of Bakirkoy. That's Istanbul, Turkey, mamy miles away from Baghdad.

The story has now moved out of the blogosphere and into the professional press with the trade journal Editor & Publisher covering it and giving full credit to the bloggers. Kaloogian shows that he understands responsibility and has manfully stepped forward to do what all Republicans do in a case like this:blame it on his staff.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A modest suggestion
Mustang Bobby posted this heartfelt plea from Katrina Vanden Heuvel.
Here's a modest proposal for improving national political discussion: Stop equating our opponents with famous dictators, their chief executioners, police apparatus or ideologies. I'm all for learning from history, but times are hard enough in American politics -- with war, threats to national security, the greatest divide between rich and poor in our history and deep cultural divisions. Present differences deserve to be described in contemporary terms.

I have a better idea, let's retire the tired old dictators and organizations and expand our historical literacy by insulting each other with an all new set of dictators and organizations. We can award points for obscurity of references. Say good bye to Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Chamberlain, Goebbels, Beria, Communists, Fascists, and Nazis and hello to Hoxa, Domitian, Rankovic, Emperor Bokassa, Abdul-Hamid II, Stroessner, the Arrow Cross, Kempetai, and Maximalists.

Bush is as much a good neighbor as Francisco Solano López, as generous as Hetty Green, and as smart as Ferdinand I (not that one, the other one).

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mammoth: the movie
They knew I'd been feeling blue, so the Sci Fi Channel made a movie just to cheer me up.

On a hot summer afternoon in the sleepy town of Blackwater, Louisiana locals exiting a retro-fitted theater excitedly watch as a meteor streaks across the sky and crashes through the roof of the local Natural History Museum. No one realizes that the meteor is actually a spaceship containing a shape-shifting life form. In order to adapt to Earth's atmosphere, the life form latches on to the first organism it comes in contact with - a partially frozen Woolly Mammoth found in the historic exhibit for which the town is famous. As a series of uncanny disasters unfold, the town quickly finds itself overrun by the alien-possessed mammoth. Local authorities and Government Investigators join forces with Frank Abernathy (Vincent Ventresca), the Museum Curator, and his father Simon (Tom Skerritt), a B-Movie enthusiast to bring down the mighty mammoth, thus saving the town (and the world) in a wild adventure that blends the 50's alien-invasion flick, and the 70's revenge-of-nature opus into a marauding monster mash!

Mammoth will run April 22 at 9 p.m. I'll be there.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

That answers that
This looks like a big "no" to me.
When asked last week whether Republicans had any broad visions to pursue this year, Boehner said, "Before the week is out, you will have a pretty good idea of what they are." But on Thursday night, after House members approved a $92 billion measure to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and ongoing hurricane relief, lawmakers left town for a week-long break with no agenda ready.

We already know what the big Republican themes for the year are: immigrant bashing, fear-mongering the terrorist threat, civil rights are unnecessary, Democrats are traitors, and only we can keep you safe.

Vote for fear, hatred, and cowardice in '06.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Thank you
Before too much time got by I wanted to thank all of you who have taken time to think nice thoughts, say a few words in the comments, or write regarding the loss of our cat, Miss Parker. Your kindness means a lot to me and my Clever Wife. The other cat--well, Mehitabel doesn't pay attention to e-mail. She's a bit of a Luddite. Thanks again to all of you.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It's not even a good metaphor
You've probably already seen this comment by the organizer of New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade, supposedly defending his decision to keep gay groups out of the parade, even those with a clear Irish identity.
John Dunleavy, the parade chairman, touched off a new controversy by comparing Irish gay activists to neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. In an interview yesterday in The Irish Times, Mr. Dunleavy was quoted as saying, "If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, do you allow neo-Nazis into their parade? If African-Americans are marching in Harlem, do they have to let the Ku Klux Klan into their parade?"

Of course, the statement is vile, disgusting, and an embarassment to New York and her Irish population. Dunleavy is a jerk who deserves the strongest condemnation. He's also completely incoherent. Reread his statement. What does it even mean? Does Dunleavy mean to say that gay organizations are hate groups dedicated to the extermination if the Irish nation?

Our job is almost too easy when they're not only hate filled bigots, but just plain stupid as well.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The rite of spring
Last fall I pointed out that I don't date the beginning of the holiday season by the appearance of Christmas decorations, the announcements of holiday sales, or a special feeling in the air. No, I date it by the first Fox News segment about the war on Christmas and the suffering of the poor, persecuted Christians who make up the vast majority of our population.

I use the same type of test for the start of Spring. Spring is not announced by the first crocus pushing up through the cold soil, the buds on trees, or the return of migratory birds. No, I date the beginning of Spring by the first announcement of some fundamentalist saying he's found Noah's Ark and is raising funds for an expedition to Mt. Ararat.

Trifecta, posting at Kos, was the first to notice, via the medium of Paul Harvey's folksy voice.* I didn't even know Paul Harvey was still alive. He was offering his annoying wisdom when I was a kid in the early sixties. How old is he? Wasn't he on the Ark?
Flipping through the am dial this morning, I caught 1 minute of Paul Harvey. After hawking the Bose wave radio, he announced an "important" bit of news of "biblical proportions."

Harvey informed his audience that the Government of Turkey has banned exploration on the North Eastern side of Mount Ararat, and now there are satellite photos showing a massive object there buried under the ice. These are US Air Force photographs btw, and Paul Harvey has personally viewed them. It's all a big cover-up of course. You see, Paul also told us that the new and old testament mention Noah's flood, and Noah's flood is a "scientifically proven" fact.

I suppose the Noachian flood is a "scientifically proven" fact if your science is creationism or it's pretentious bastard child, Intelligent Design. I'm not going to mock old Paul too much, I want to get to page two and the rest of the story.

A quick check at Google news let me know that this Spring's Ark-eologist (yes, they really do call themselves that), one Porcher Taylor, an associate professor in paralegal studies at the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies in Virginia.
High on Mt. Ararat in eastern Turkey, there is a baffling mountainside "anomaly," a feature that one researcher claims may be something of biblical proportions.


Whatever it is, the anomaly of interest rests at 15,300 feet (4,663 meters) on the northwest corner of Mt. Ararat, and is nearly submerged in glacial ice. It would be easy to call it merely a strange rock formation.

Easy, because it is one.
But at least one man wonders if it could be the remains of Noah's Ark, a vessel said to have been built to save people and selected animals from the Great Flood, the 40 days and 40 nights of deluge as detailed in the Book of Genesis.


Taylor has been a national security analyst for more than 30 years, also serving as a senior associate for five years at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

I couldn't find out if he specialized in Iraqi weapons programs. In any case, this does not make me feel more secure.
"I've got new found optimism ... as far as my continuing push to have the intelligence community declassify some of the more definitive-type imagery," Taylor told He points to a "new and significant development," a high-resolution image taken by DigitalGlobe's impressive QuickBird satellite and shown here publicly for the first time.


Taylor said his goal is straightforward: Combining this imagery to make the Ararat anomaly transparent to the public, as well as to the discerning, dispassionate eyes of scientists, imagery analysts, and other experts.

Wouldn't making one side of a mountain transparent present a navigational hazard to aircraft?
"I had no preconceived notions or agendas when I began this in 1993 as to what I was looking for," Taylor said.

Taylor is being humble to the point of disingenuous here. He didn't just wake up one day in 1993 and say to himself, "I think I'll file a Freedom of Information request for classified pictures of the West side of Mt. Ararat's peak and see what it looks like." The Ararat Anomaly was fist noticed by spy plane flights operating near the southern border of the Soviet Union in 1949. Rumors of this and other "boat shaped objects" on Ararat were eagerly passed around fundamentalist and conspiracy all through the Cold War. In a 1996 article, Taylor tells how he first heard of the Anomaly while at West Point in 1973.
Over the course of the next two decades, the 1973 "CIA boat report" faded into the deep recesses of my mind until February 1993 when a prime-time special about Noah's Ark aired on television. What caught my attention in that show was a claim that the CIA had classified satellite photos of some "object" on Mt. Ararat that might possibly be the remains of Noah's Ark - a claim that tallied perfectly with the report that had ricocheted around West Point's halls 20 Years earlier. That very night, I resolved to try to clear the air, definitely, with respect to that 1973 "boat report."

By "no preconceived notions or agendas" means that with the Ark foremost in his mind, he sought out pictures of that one location to check out its Arkishness for himself.

Soon after his 1993 resolution, Taylor was able to make friends with former CIA director George A. Carver, and with his help lobbied the agency to release pictures of the Anomaly. He succeeded in getting the pictures in March 1995. As FOIA requests go, two years is not an unusual wait. Some researchers wait ten years or more just be told no. It appears that every couple years, Taylor gets a new batch of pictures and holds a little press circus. Googling around I found almost identical stories to this week's coverage dated 1995, 2000, and 2002. These stories excite the faithful, but do little to convince the skeptical.

Lacking on-the-ground confirmation, Taylor's pictures leave a lot to be desired as proof. First, the latest pictures don't look much like a boat. They look like a rock ridge. Second, they don't match the Biblical description very well. In the photos, Taylor identifies a long shape gracefully tapering from the middle. Genesis describes a box. The very word "ark" means a storage chest. One of Taylor's associates has estimated that face of the anomaly measures 1,015 feet (309 meters) across. The Ark should be about 450 feet (150 meters) long.

The identification Agri Dagh (Mt. Ararat) as the resting place of the Ark is a modern association. Genesis says the Ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, that is the mountains in a region called Ararat, not on a single mountain named Ararat. Ararat, or Urartu, was an ancient name for the remote mountainous plateaus North and Northeast of Babylon. In classical times, the writers who mentioned the Noah story usually claimed that the Ark was in Gordyan hills, the southern part of Urartu, roughly modern Iraqi Kurdistan.

Many local villages claimed that their local mountain was the landing place of the Ark of Noah. Pilgrim trade was very valuable in the Middle Ages. Movable artifacts, like saint's bones and pieces of the one true cross, were regularly stolen and counterfeited by rival towns. When the location of holy sites was in question, dozens of villages would claim to be the real location of this or that miracle. The towns around Agri Dagh didn't get in on this trade by calling their mountain Noah's mountain until just before the crusades, in the tenth or eleventh century.

This is without even beginning to question the scientific and historical likelihood of a world-wide flood depositing one small boat containing the seed of all terrestrial on a mountaintop. Nevertheless, despite the likelihood that it's not a boat, it's the wrong mountain, and the legend is a just-so story, millions are going to read the coverage of Taylor's pictures and, like Paul Harvey, think "they" have proven the truth of Genesis. Tens of thousands will be ready to cough up their hard-earned money for the first con artist who shows up at their church with a nice slide show announcing his expedition.**

It happens every year with the regularity of the seasons changing from winter into spring.

* Am I the only one who thinks Paul Harvey sounds like the late Jim Backus' Mr. Magoo voice? Imagine this in your mind's ear, "...and now you know...the rest of the story. Oh, Magoo! You've done it again, heh heh." I'm surprised one of them didn't sue the other for artistic plagiarism.

** This is not to suggest that Mr. Taylor is himself that con artist. He seems very sincere and content to stick with the lecture circuit here in the states.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

New spin
John Aravosis suggests we may be seeing a new talking point or eupemism du jour being introduced. I disagree.
Just got an email from an observant reader who noticed that conservative pundit Bill Kristol is starting to use, repeatedly, a new talking point that must have come from the White House. Mark my (or my reader's) words, let's see if anyone repeats this phrase this week:

"The war against radical Islam (ists, ism, etc)"

Kind of sad how Bush thinks his problem in Iraq is that he hasn't found the right word to name the battle.

The only positive thing I have ever been able to allow Bush is that he has not turned this into a war against a people (e.g. Arabs, Islam, brown folk). To a certain extent, I'm giving him more credit than he deserves. I think he always hopes to pry a few voters out of any group, so he wars against adjectives, not people.

Closer to his home base, he can't suggest the existence of such a thing as bad religion. In his five years in Washington, he has never uttered the word fundamentalism (-ist, -ite, etc.). We are able to make jokes about "faith based" this and that because Bush says publicly all religion is good. I don't pretend to know what he really thinks about this. I suspect his real beliefs are a mixture of political opportunism and self-delusion. As far as it affects us, what he really believes doesn't matter.

Because of the necessity of placating the radical religious right, I can't believe the White House is going to embrace this phrase. Bad radical Islam implies the existance of bad radical Christianity, bad radical Judaism, bad radical Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and so on down the line. If they embrace this line, it is a MAJOR change of message and one should be ruthlessly exposed/exploited by our side.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A death in the family
Yesterday was supposed to be a busy day for me. I had three projects I needed to complete at work, so I went in a little early, well caffeined and sugared, and threw myself into it.

By noon I had finished project one, had put a good dent into project two, and a symbolic start on project three. I microwaved my little lunch and, while I ate it, I checked out the news. I immediately found a couple of good blogging topics. I pasted some URLs and quotable lines into a text file and began banging out some opening sentences. I wouldn't have enough time to write posts at work; I planned to just capture enough of my thoughts to be able to pick it back up at home. I would e-mail the notes home.

Meanwhile, three electricians were nosing around in the hall near the door to my workspace. We're planning on adding some extra equipment to my space, so they will need change the wiring to give me enough power and network connections. The electricians were looking at the walls to decide where to punch certain conduits.

After ten minutes, I was wistfully looking at the remains of my lunch wishing that there had been more and thinking that I had better get back to work. And then one of the electricians had a heart attack and dropped dead outside my door. At first, the other electricians thought he had just fallen, but in seconds they realized that something was seriously wrong. They both knew CPR and began working to keep him going till the paramedics would arrive. Their boss rushed over and people began to overflow into my office.

The paramedics arrived and more people moved into my space. The two stunned electricians stood by my desk repeating their story to the paramedics, a policeman, and various people higher on the corporate foodchain than us. I gave my desk over to the interviews and tried to find something to keep me busy and out of the way in the back of the room. I opened the window to let some air in. I showed people the beverage stash. Some of us--the middle-aged guys--nervously noted that he was only fifty-three. Mostly, I just stood by and watched.

The paramedics worked for over an hour, but they never had a chance. He was gone before anyone knew what had happened. Poof. Just like that.

Eventually, the crowd got so thick that they asked me to leave. I stepped outside and sat on a bench. It was supposed to be a nasty day, but it wasn't. The sun was out and I watched a hummingbird go about it's business on a flowering shrub. Some time passed. They took my co-worker away. One by one, the emergency vehicles packed up their gear and left. The company people made sure that the other electricians had rides home and talked about counseling. Then they left.

I returned to my office and straightened up a bit. I finished project number two and decided project three could wait a few days. I called my clever wife and asked to come pick me up. On the way home, I told her the story. I didn't really know him, I told her, he was just someone I nodded to in the hall. I don't even know his last name. I'm not broken up over any great personal loss, I went on, it's just the unexpected intrusion of mortality. There's this new piece of information stuck in my mind and I don't know what to do with it. I really do talk that way.

She said, let's go home and take a nap. And we did. Sometimes, the best treatment for a busy brain is to turn it off for a while.

When I woke up, a small thunderstorm was rolling by. When that happens, our big cat, Miss Parker, goes into hiding, but the little cat, Mehitabel, waits to see what we do. I told her everything was okay and that I was going to the store dinner supplies. That seemed to be all she needed to hear. She went to sleep.

I made spaghetti for dinner. The three main requirements for comfort food are warm, starchy, and cheesy. If you prepare your spaghetti right, it easily covers all three. We had fettuccini with roasted garlic marinara and handfuls of fresh grated parmesan. Comfort food.

After dinner Miss Parker came out of hiding. I want to the computer and thought about writing. Miss Parker offered to help by sitting in front of the monitor. I didn't have enough attention span for blogging. She helped me play a few games of video solitaire and then wandered off.

Sitting alone at the computer, I suddenly felt very guilty that I hadn't written to Carl Buell to express my condolences over the death of his great dog, Tito. That probably sounds creepy to some people. A human being dropped dead in front of me and my strongest reaction was to worry about the death of an old dog on the other side of the continent. But it's not any kind of equivalence in the deaths that affected me.

When someone dies, one of the clichéd reaction that you will inevitably hear is that it is supposed to remind us of what is important in life. And it does. To some people that means pay attention to your family or slow down and watch the hummingbirds. To me, it means don't be a jerk; be human and be humane. When I went to the store, I found myself taking time to smile at the clerks and thank them. During the drive, I slowed to let people change lanes and make turns. I barely know Carl. We've read each other's blogs and exchanged a few e-mails. But that's enough of a link that I care about his pain. He didn't just lose an animal, a piece of property that is somehow limited in value by not being human. He lost a long-time companion, a warm living thing that had shared a large portion of his history. That hurts. I suddenly felt guilty for not saying I'm sorry for his hurt.

I thought all of this out last night, but still couldn't organize my mind to write. I played a few more games of video solitaire and washed dishes. I drifted back and forth between the office and the kitchen as the evening turned into night.

At about eleven, I was headed back to the kitchen when I heard a thump and some scratching. I figured Miss Parker had knocked something over and went to see if it needed cleaning up. She was lying on her side making a few spastic twitches with her legs. I dropped to the floor and picked her up. She was completely limp and the twitches stopped even as I held her. I pulled her tongue of her mouth and blew a little air into her. She didn't respond. I tried again and then ran to my wife holding Miss Parker. She took one look and announced that we had to get her to the hospital. She grabbed her keys and I ran barefoot into the night with my cat in my arms.

The all-night pet emergency room is a couple miles from our house. I alternated shouting directions and trying to make Miss Parker breathe. My wife dropped me in front of the door and went to park. I rang the buzzer and was met by a young vet who grabbed the cat and ran into the back of the hospital with her. The receptionist gave me a form to fill out and I went to the door to let my wife in. I started to fill out the entry form and the vet returned. It was too late. She had some kind of massive heart attack.

He tried to revive her, but he never had a chance. She was gone before anyone knew what had happened. Poof. Just like that.

This morning I got up and sat with Mehitabel for a while. She's not sure what's going on. I made coffee for my wife after she got up. We each had a cup and then took Miss Parker out to the same place where my two old Alaskan cats are buried. We buried her with her dinner bowl and talked about planting a nice shrub there for all three of the cats.

Later, I went to the store and smiled at the clerks.

Miss Parker, January 1998 - March 2006

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The squid man grows older
The science bloggers over at Science Blogs are all posting their squidy best to celebrate the birthday of PZ Myers, the scourge of creationists everywhere.

Happy birthday, old man. Mmmmm, house sized calmari.
Tell me about your book
Tbogg is writing a book. That should be no surprise to us. I think most of us bloggers are writing a book. Some, like Mustang Bobby, have actually written a lot of the book. Some, like Kos and David Neiwert, have real publishers and contracts and books that they can show us. Most of the rest of us are "writing a book." That is, we have a vaguely book-like idea somewhere in the back of our mind and, when we need to explain to our older relatves why we waste so much time on this blogging thing, we say we're "writing a book."

Mine has mammoths in it. What's your's about?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ann's kind of humor
I can't wait to find out what the joke was.
Three Birmingham college students could face federal charges in connection with a string of Alabama church fires that is described in court papers as a joke that "got out of hand," authorities said Wednesday.


All nine fires occurred in rural counties southwest of Birmingham -- five in Bibb County on February 3, and four in Greene, Sumter and Pickens counties on February 7.


According to court papers released Wednesday, Cloyd told a witness that he and Moseley "had done something stupid."

"Cloyd stated to the witness that Moseley did it as a joke and it got out of hand," an affidavit in the case states. "Cloyd stated that they set a church on fire."

Moseley and Debusk admitted involvement in the fires, as well, the affidavit states. Debusk said he was at the scene of the fires in Bibb County, where the three had been deer hunting the first weekend of February, and kicked in the door of two churches that later were set ablaze.

Since we've had so many conservative bloggers assure us that Southerners have a few drinks, go hunting and shoot each other in the face all the time, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that a few kids out hunting could accidentally burn down five churches. This stuff must happen to everyone. Still, as a Northerner, I'd like to have it explained to me.

Now I can see how a couple rowdy and well lubricated kids could accidentally set fire to a building and maybe even think it was funny for a few minutes. But what kind of joke holds up through burning five churches in three different towns. These guys must have a sense of humor like Ann "the judge poisoner" Coulter.
A few minutes ago archy received its sixty-thousandth visitor. Someone in Edmonton, Alberta clicked through to check out some cockroach blogging. Whoever you were, thanks for dropping by and tell your friends about us.
Trial By Fire:
The Holocaust History Project Won't Be Silenced

This appears to be an escalation to violence from the far right.
In the early hours of March 6, 2006, a fire broke out at a warehouse complex near San Antonio International Airport, causing extensive damage to the offices of The Holocaust History Project (THHP), an organization that has been, for the last ten years, in the forefront of confronting Holocaust denial online, in addition to providing educational materials to students throughout the world. Arson investigators now have confirmed that the fire was intentionally set and are continuing their investigation.

It was just the latest in a series of attacks with the apparent intent to silence THHP. For the past 18 months, the THHP website has been under an unprecedented Distributed Denial of Service attack. This cyber attack began on September 11, 2004, and is being carried out by a specially modified version of the MyDoom computer worm, programmed to target the THHP web server.

The police haven't arrested anyone yet, so it's still possible that this had nothing to do with the work of The Holocaust History Project. But considering the history involved, I would be surprised if that was the case. The enemies of their work have been using cyberattacks to try and shut down THHP's servers for eighteen months; this looks like pursuit of the same goal by more violent means.

Ironically, the servers aren't at that address, so their work will continue uninterrupted. The warehouse complex where the fire was set is only the mailing address of THHP. However, the businesses in the complex suffered serious damage.

I'll post updates on this as I get them. If you want to thumb your nose at the Holocaust deniers (and who doesn't) I recommend publicizing this outrage and sending a small donation to THHP. I'm also keeping an eye out for any kind of fund to help the businesses who were caught in the crossfire.

Orac has more information.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Your tax dollars at work
Remember how, when Bush was first running for president, he would claim that his would be the CEO presidency. He promised he would fill his administration with experts who would look after our tax dollars. His administration would be answerable to the people over how their dollars were spent just like a CEO is answerable to the stockholders, just like his good buddy "Kenny-Boy" Lay.
President Bush added a side trip to his Texas ranch to vote in Tuesday's Republican primary after aides apparently forgot to order an absentee ballot.

Bush hasn't missed a GOP contest since he started voting in Crawford in March 2002. An administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, indicated Saturday that White House staff had slipped up on the paperwork for requesting a mail-in ballot this time.

How much does it cost to send Air force one an a trip? We need to consider fuel, staff, security, disruption to the local airports and traffic, local officials and police who are pulled away from their normal work just to tend to the visiting head of state. I'll bet it's a lot more that the thirty-nine cents that it would have cost a staffer to mail in a request for an absentee ballot. I suppose that staffer is now going to become the director of communications for NASA.

And does "since he started voting ... in March 2002" really mean what it implies?
Now, on to the important awards
Did you watch the Oscars last night? Did you think the right movies won? The Oscars are a passive sport; we don't get to vote, we just get to watch the results. But there are are some awards that you do get to vote for. I'm not talking about American Idol (though that's important too); I'm talking about the Koufax Awards, Left Blogistan's own night of a dozen stars.

Voting for the Koufaxes is now open over at Wampum. Archy is up for Most Deserving of Wider Recognition. Many of my best blogging buddies and daily reads are also up for this award and we all deserve greater recognition. The happiest solution would be if this award produced a twenty-way tie every year. That's not very likely. So, if there can only be one, I humbly ask that you let it be archy.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

He should have more respect for his roots
...or tubers in this case.
A state lawmaker wants to peel Idaho's standard license plate of the legend "Famous Potatoes" in a battle over whether the lowly spud should symbolize a state whose major export is high technology.

Republican Sen. Hal Bunderson said the slogan no longer has resonance for a state whose population and commerce have undergone a seismic shift in the 46 years since the motto was first stamped on Idaho's license plates.

Tinkering with this kind of thing is usually a bad idea. First, it just encourages smart asses--like me--to suggest rude slogans. Famous Neo-Nazis? Whitest State in the Union? Not as Bad as You've Heard? Not as Liberal as Utah? Secondly, after they brush off all of the smart ass suggestions, they'll choose something written a committee at the Department of Tourism. We Have Nice Mountains?

I'm sure you can come up with better suggestions.
Tangled Bank #48
The latest Tangled Bank is up over at Aetiology. I submitted my salmon question because i like to hang out twith the science folk. It makes me feel smarter that I really am. They prove their superior smartness by actually answer their questions instead of just asking them. I'm still reading my way through the submissions, but so far the highlight for me is a historical piece on my favorite disease: leprosy. What, you don't have a favorite disease? I thought everyone did.