March 12, 2006

The Question is Who?

The Democrats are working to shuffle their caucus schedule for 2008 in the name of "diversity."

Yeah right.

Diversity is a smokescreen. This is pure back-room politics. They want to reduce the importance of certain states early in the process i.e. Iowa and New Hampshire to protect someone they don't think is going to do well in those states. The current party chairman certainly knows the effect a loss in one of those early bellwether states can have on a candidacy.

The question is, who is behind the maneuvering and who are they trying to protect?

UPDATE: Could this be the answer?

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:23 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

PIN System Security Breach

I love my ATM card. Between direct deposit and ATM transactions I probably don't go into a bank more than once or twice a year. This represents a significant savings in time spent standing in line. Ad in online banking and bill paying and I typically write only about 6-10 checks a year. I love the convenience. I love the opportunities to not have to deal with people. At the supermarket you'll find me in the self check-out lane paying with my ATM card. At the gas station - ATM.

That makes this story especially frightening. It seems someone hacked into a not terribly secure retail ATM system and got a bunch of PIN numbers.
it seems that this retailer and many others keep pin numbers a little longer than they should. Ideally they should be erased at the key pad when the transaction is complete. Some remove them from their networks a little later in their process. Which wouldn't be that big a problem except the digital keys to unlock the PINs were kept on the same network. One hack gets a crook everything he needs to empty many bank accounts.

According to the story, Bank ATMs are safe and probably most retailers. But which ones?

I may have to re-think my entire financial management system.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:50 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 09, 2006

Another Victory that Shouldn't be Won

Lots of bloggers are delighted to report that the House Administration Committee has approved the Online Freedom of Speech Act. They are all the more excited because a pair of big name bloggers from both sides of the political divide joined forces to fight to make this happen. Well, to quote one of those bloggers, "Screw Them."

We don't need an "Online Freedom of Speech Act." We already have one. It's called the First Amendment. What we need are politicians who respect the Constitution and judges who will uphold the Constitution. We do not need politicians holding debates and passing laws deciding who gets freedom of speech and who doesn't.

I don't often quote Ayn Rand mostly because it has been so long since I read her works and I don't have them handy to make sure I get it exactly right, but one of the concepts she wrote about was the sanction of the victim. If you think that congress passing legislation giving bloggers special free speech exemptions is a good thing, then you have accepted that their regulation of speech is right in the first place. You have given your sanction to their abrogation of the First Amendment.

I have the right to free speech. This is not some privilege that the government in its largess has deemed to grant me. It is my right, and the First Amendment is supposed to protect that right from government. I don't want government passing special free speech exemptions. I want them to keep their damn hands of Freedom of Speech altogether.

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:16 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

The Stirring Words of an Egyptian Extremist

I left the following comment on a blog post earlier this evening:

Egypt has its own Bill Whittle. Bravo Sir.
This is not praise I would give lightly and if this sample doesn't convince you that it is warranted go read the whole thing.
So here I am, an arab muslim egyptian male, and I am well aware of all the history and the injustices and all the other excuses we all know and are ready to spout on a second's notice, and yet I can't seem to care about those people anymore. For me, as far as I am concerned, they want me dead. Not me personally, but if I die for being in the wrong place on the wrong time, they wouldn't really care. And you know something? I am not really ready to die. I don't wanna die. I want to live. I have places to see, parties to go to, girls to sleep with and children to screw up raising. And if it's between me- or you for that matter- and 100 of those Koran thumbing allahu akbar shouting misogynistic racist jihadist assholes, it is no contest: I choose us. They've got to go. It really is that simple.
HT: The Will To Exist.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:51 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

March 07, 2006

Tuesday's Adventures With The Law

Part One: In which a dog has a little adventure.

I got home tonight to discover that a visitor to the house in the afternoon had left the fence gate open and one of our dogs had decided to take advantage and do a little exploring of the neighborhood. He was picked up by a nice gentleman from Animal Patrol. He didn't resist much. In fact he reportedly jumped in the guys lap. He was taken to the Animal Shelter and put in Doggie jail. Bail was set at $15. I had the cash so I sprung him and brought him home.

Part Two: In which I'm a complete idiot.

About two hours later the doorbell rang. I guessed it was one of the neighborhood kids who I had seen while dog hunting, wanting to be sure we had found him. It was the police. They were looking for me. The officer wanted to know what my car was doing parked in the yard across the street. Apparently after getting home with the dog and getting myself and the excited canine out of the car I had neglected to set the parking break. I also managed to leave the transmission in neutral too.

There is a very slight incline so the car rolled backwards across the street and a couple of feet onto the neighbor's lawn. Once the officer confirmed that the break wasn't set he allowed me to move it back into the driveway and went to the neighbors door. He wanted the neighbor to inspect any damage for which I would without question be liable. The neighbor waved off the whole thing saying if he had recognized the car he would have just come to the house.

Man do I feel stoooooopid.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:58 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

March 05, 2006

A Sign of Hope

When the Cartoon Jihad was in full fury, I was critical of the vast population of "moderate Muslims" who were silent in the face of the violence and hatred put forth in the name of their faith. I wrote,

Time and time again the terrorists have acted in the name of Islam. And every time the vast peaceful, nobel majority did and said nothing. By their silence and their inactivity they paint themselves with the broad brush of radical Islam. It is as though a billion voices were calling for death to those who insult Islam. It is as though a billion hands were flicking the BIC that set the Danish Embassy ablaze.
The bombing of the Al Askari shrine and the sectarian violence in Iraq that followed seems to have provided something of a wake-up call.

Sectarian violence In Iraq quickly gave way to sectarian cooperation. And in the Muslim nation of Bahrain tens of thousands turned out to protest sectarianism and terrorism.

It is a start. And it is a sign of hope.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:26 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 04, 2006

Al-Qaeda's Advice to Hamas

Proving the old saying that you are known by the company you keep, Ayman al-Zawahri, the number two man in al-Qaeda has released another audio message, much of which was addressed to his newly elected friends in Hamas.

"Reaching power is not a goal by itself ... and no Palestinian has the right to give away a grain of the soil," said al-Zawahri.
"The seculars in the Palestinian Authority have sold out Palestine for crumbs. ...Giving them legitimacy is against Islam."
Zawahri also claimed that the cartoons of Muhammad were part of a U.S. lead crusade. Who ever is leading this crusade - and I assume he means George Bush - is certainly doing a poor job. I mean they couldn't convince a single major U.S. media outlet to publish the cartoons. If the best we could manage was a Danish newspaper, we're not too good at leading crusades.

More seriously Zawahri repeated calls for more attacks against the United States.

"The strikes on New York, Washington, Madrid and London are the best examples," he said.
"We have to prevent the crusader West from stealing the Muslims' oil which is being drained in the biggest robbery in history."
I think it's time to find this guy and put a serious hole in his cranium. If we don't do it soon, there'll be al-Qaeda podcasts showing up on iTunes.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:03 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 03, 2006

Don't Go Making Promises

Don't Go Making Promises you have absolutely no way in hell of keeping and certainly absolutely no authority to make in the first place. It's bad form.

Which brings us to Jimmy Carter making foreign policy promises at the United Nations and the subject of today's Podcast.

Promises Promises.

Subscribe to the Hold The Mayo Podcast via the iTunes Music Store, or RSS feed.

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:45 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

March 02, 2006

All You Zombies

This a post for Ted. He's either going to love it or hate what it could do to his wallet.

A co-worker sent me a link to this site where you can buy posters for old horror films.

The art in some of these is something to behold, particularlr the older schlockier movies. Here are a few of my favorites, starting with one Ted is sure to want. (There are more in the extended entry.)

Pb27-2 more...

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:53 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

March 01, 2006

February Reagan Quote

Here's the February quote from the Reagan Ranch 2006 calendar.

Drugs are menacing our society. They're killing our children. From the beginning of our administration, we've taken strong steps to do something about this horror. Tonight I can report to you that we've made much progress.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:50 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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