Archive for October, 2002

More IE Flaws; MSFT Trades Charges with Security Vendor

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2002

Ho hum; another day, another revelation of crippling security flaws in Internet Explorer. This particular story is fun because of the back and forth it contains between the consultants who discovered the problem, and the MSFT flack who calls them irresponsible for telling people about it. “The most effective way to ensure the safety of the greatest number of Microsoft customers is to discuss security vulnerabilities only after users can be offered remediation,” says Microsoft spokesperson Rick Miller. Actually, I’d think the most effective way to ensure those users’ safety would be for them to switch to OS X or Linux.

Bid on Elvis’ Hair

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2002

It seems that Elvis Presley’s personal hair stylist of 20 years collected the King’s clippings, then recently gave them to a friend. Said friend is now auctioning the hair (along with “letters of authenticity from hair-collecting experts”). The starting bid is set at $10,000; no word on whether we can expect future auctions of the King’s toenail clippings, earwax, or navel lint, but a fan can always hope.

Fox News Solicits Expert Insights on D.C. Sniper from Berkowitz

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2002

Lending support to Michael Moore’s thesis that our news-as-entertainment industry is feeding into the cycle of gun violence, Fox News has solicited the thoughts of convicted “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz on the D.C. sniper, and is running Berkowitz’ analysis of the sniper’s possible thinking and motivations. I wonder, seriously, how many TV producers are currently working on incorporating the serial-killer angle into a reality-show format.

The Telemarketer Counter Script

Monday, October 21st, 2002

I love this. From Hiro, a must-have tool for those tired of working at a disadvantage in dealing with pushy telemarketers: the anti-telemarketing counterscript.

Parrish: U.S. Could Lose War to Iraq

Monday, October 21st, 2002

Working for Change’s Geov Parrish presents an interesting explanation for the Bush administration’s sudden backing away from its plans for a single-handed invasion of Iraq: the Pentagon’s conclusion that the U.S. would probably lose the war.

Another MSFT “Testimonial” Pulled

Saturday, October 19th, 2002

As part of its ongoing mission to remake itself as a leader in “trustworthy computing,” Microsoft has removed yet another mock testimonial from its web site; in this one a 12-year-old gushes about how Encarta helped him write a report on A Tale of Two Cities. See the Register for a funny review and an archived screenshot.

Dubya on the Campaign Trail

Saturday, October 19th, 2002

The C-Student-in-Chief is on a whirlwind tour of tight Senate races, looking to turn that pesky 1-seat Republican minority into a majority. One key matchup is Missouri, where the GOP would love to erase the stigma of John Ashcroft’s defeat by a dead man two years ago. Another is Minnesota, where Republican challenger Norm Coleman is trying to make a name for himself as something more than the person who was defeated in the governor’s race by a professional wrestler. Mindful of his domestic baggage, Bush used today’s radio address to sympathize with the common man (“the economy is not as good as we’d like it to be”) while promising vigorous new steps to protect workers’ 401(k) savings, just as soon as he gets a Senate he can work with.

Congress Goes Home Pissy

Saturday, October 19th, 2002

Congressional leaders, sensing that voters may be looking to punish someone for various failures at home and abroad, ended their session yesterday with a round of finger-pointing. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle gave an angry speech blaming dubya; House majority leader Dick Armey responded by comparing the Senate’s record unfavorably to that of al Queda, which he said has been able to re-organize itself because “it doesn’t have a Senator Daschle.”

Child Abuse by Movie

Saturday, October 19th, 2002

James Scott Bell describes seeing a 6-year-old girl brutalized (cypherpunk98/cypherpunk login required) by her parents, who had dragged her along when they went to see the movie “Red Dragon.” Having seen a fair amount of this lately myself, I’m in complete agreement with him about how disturbing it is. These parents are doing this to their kids in public; who knows what they’re doing to them in private.

Man Violates Parole with Beer-Keg Baby

Friday, October 18th, 2002

Canadians, Part II: Chynne Harley Kahnapace of Regina, Canada, has pleaded guilty to a parole violation involving pushing a baby stroller containing a keg of beer. Oh, Canada.

Would-Be Streaker Knocks Self Cold at Flames Game

Friday, October 18th, 2002

While we’re talking about Canadians, how about this: A fan at a Flames/Bruins hockey game apparently wanted to scamper naked around the rink — but in climbing over the glass he tripped and knocked himself unconscious instead.

See? We haven’t abandoned Afghanistan!

Friday, October 18th, 2002

The US army has been alleviating the harsh aftereffects of war, engaging in altruistic nation-building… by handing out weapons to local “warlords.” I can only hope that we display similarly keen insight into our nation-building in Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, and France.

Woman Bites Husband to Death?

Friday, October 18th, 2002

Denied sex, 45-year-old Modesto, Calif., resident Kelli Pratt allegedly held her husband down and bit him repeatedly. Now he’s dead, she’s in jail, and police are awaiting the outcome of toxicology tests to determine if they should file murder charges. Wacky.

Dennis Cleary’s Family Baggage

Friday, October 18th, 2002

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out CNN’s coverage of the Dennis Cleary campaign story. Cleary is a Republican running for re-election in the Connecticut state legislature, which is nothing special, but his family has taken out newspaper ads accusing him of being self-serving and corrupt, and encouraging people to vote for his Democratic rival. Ah, election season. I really miss this stuff when it’s not around.

The Homeland Security Store

Friday, October 18th, 2002

From Hiro comes a link to the CNN story on Safer America, a high-touch retail outlet where you can buy designer gas masks, hazmat booties, and parachutes for jumping out of high-rises. Sort of a Sharper Image for the paranoid.

North Korean Nukes a Problem for Dubya Policy

Thursday, October 17th, 2002

From The Scotsman comes an interesting analysis of the history of the United States’ actions with respect to North Korea’s nuclear arms program. With the admission by the North Koreans this week that they’ve been blowing off the agreement they’d previously entered into not to be naughty in this particular way, it puts dubya on the spot. Aren’t actual North Korean nukes (along with the missiles to deliver them) a more urgent problem than hypothetical future Iraqi nukes? Unless, of course, the fact that Iraq is sitting on 20% of the world’s petroleum supply is part of the equation.

‘Performa’ Condom Makes a Splash

Thursday, October 17th, 2002

The mad scientists at Durex have come up with a sure-fire winner: a condom laced with Benzocaine that anesthetizes the tip of the wearer’s penis, prolonging sex. Though hitherto available only via the company’s web site, the chic sheaths are reportedly outselling the firm’s other offerings 5-to-1.

Eve Hibbits Cleared of Charges

Thursday, October 17th, 2002

Eve Hibbits, the mother of three who was charged with felony child endangerment and jailed for eight days last August when her kids were seen with sunburned faces at an Ohio county fair, has been cleared of all charges. As someone who thought the original charges and jail term were pretty excessive, I guess I’m happy to see that, though the reality is that I have a hard time caring much either way. Still, I’m linking to the story because I think her mugshot is funny (and scary).

Bushes Face Trouble in Florida

Thursday, October 17th, 2002

Our current ruling dynasty is having a rough week of it down in Florida. Governor Jeb’s re-election campaign is struggling, with a new poll showing him in a stastical dead heat with little-known Democratic challenger Bill McBride. Mindful of the importance of keeping Florida’s notoriously malleable electoral college votes under Republican control, big brother is flying down today to give a whip-‘em-up campaign speech on education, but he’ll be competing for column inches with First Niece Noelle, who was sentenced today to 10 days in jail for impersonating a crack ho.

Get Your War On Shines Again

Wednesday, October 16th, 2002

Not really news, but the mention of Operation Enduring Freedom reminded me that I hadn’t linked yet to the truly excellent latest installment of Get Your War On. I was actually confused for a minute while reading this one; like Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day, I was saying to myself, “whoops; someone accidentally re-ran the first-ever strip here.” Then it hit me what he was doing. Awesome stuff.