That Tears It. That Absolutely Tears It Once And For All

All of the damned things should be outlawed, now!!

If The Geniuses At CERN Can’t Fend Off A Bunch Of Hobbyists, What Internet-Linked Computer Is Safe?

Greeks — no, that’s not a typo; it’s not supposed to be “Geeks” — have partially cracked into a control network of the large hadron collider and mocked the defenses of the system as childish. Report here. They seem to have stopped short of taking full control of their target only because their motive is to prove that CERN’s layered firewalls are permeable.

This raises the question of why in the world the computers of CERN are connected to the outside world. The same holds for the control systems of utilities and dozens of other currently vulnerable computer networks. Why are they accessible over the phone lines??

Preliminary Report On What The Crack Investigative Reporters From The New York Times Have Found In Alaska

The fearless journalists reveal the whole sordid truth. Read it all.

A Strategist For Democratic Candidates Cautions The Media

Mark Penn is a former advisor to both Clintons. Sidelined at present, he discussed the current state of the campaign with CBS News. Noteworthy quote:

I think here the media is (sic) on very dangerous ground. I think that when you see them going through every single expense report that Governor Palin ever filed, if they don’t do that for all four of the candidates, they’re on very dangerous ground. I think the media so far has (sic) been the biggest loser in this race. And they continue to have growing credibility problems.

And I think that that’s a real problem growing out of this election. The media now, all of the media — not just Fox News, that was perceived as highly partisan — but all of the media is (sic) now being viewed as partisan in one way or another. And that is an unfortunate development.

There is nothing unfortunate about it. It’s always fortunate when the truth comes out, and doubly so when rascals are exposed. Too, Penn is less than truthful when he implies that other news outlets besides Fox are not considered biased. He does not mention that ABC edited/censored Palin to her detriment, a fact which, if generally known, could only hurt the network.

But Penn is correct to warn the propaganda organs to treat all four candidates equally (a caution that will fall on deaf ears). Perhaps he assumes the quartet can stand meticulous scrutiny? He could be assuming more than he should….

Meanwhile the media are spilling their Starbucks cafe au lait all over their too-long trousers. Here’s a quote from a right-wing law professor whose analysis merits your consideration, whatever your view of Palin, and however you drink your joe:

One battalion in the Army of Sarahs that is gathering are the parents of special needs children, and this is a large group. Add to it all the people whose lives have been touched by such children and their families and you have the sort of hidden force in politics that can shape outcomes.

…people hear the attacks on Palin and understand them –rightly– to be attacks on themselves and their families. The dismissal they hear from studio talking heads are (sic) directed not just at Sarah Palin’s life experiences, but at theirs. The contempt American media elites feel for their viewers has never been so sharply on display.

To the extent that is true, what confronts us is a cultural divide. The media gatekeepers do not understand what is often called “small town USA,” or “middle America.” The “progressive” perception is that a large rural and suburban segment of the population is undereducated, unsophisticated and, most significantly, unfit to participate fully in politics because it is responsible for repressing minorities and females. The “flyover country” libel sums it up.


…there is resentment that after a year-and-a-half there is not one interview of Obama –who wants the top job not the understudy role– remotely as tough (as the ABC interview of Palin), with sustained lines of questions on sensitive issues of foreign affairs peppered with probing interruptions. Not one. Obama has always been allowed to filibuster, and every interviewer has retreated from attacks that have put Obama on the defensive.

Palin is interesting…but not nearly as fascinating as the full ramifications of this contention: if Obama loses this election, he will be able to blame the news media — which are almost to a man pulling for him.

If These Comments From The Center Are On Target, Obama Is In Trouble

Take the observations at the links with a grain of salt. But take them. First, on the campaign:

A senior Democratic strategist, who has played a prominent role in two presidential campaigns, told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘”These guys are on the verge of blowing the greatest gimme in the history of American politics.” Yes…hubris coupled with poor execution is not a recipe for success.

Second, on the ABC interview of Palin:

I watched ABC News Anchorman Charlie Gibson interview Governor Palin last night and was horrified by his blatant disdain for her and by the Grand Inquisitorial nature of the interview. He was not there to draw her out but to trap, shame and expose her as an unqualified fraud. … He literally looked down at her as he peered through his half-lowered glasses.

Context: the authors of the commentaries linked to above are not dyed-in-the-wool conservatives or Republicans. They espouse a number of “progressive” causes, and both would vote for candidates of either party, depending on the issues and qualifications of the contenders.

You-Know-Who Is Making Waves, And Some Of Them Are Destructive

“Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for vice president, departed Sunday from party doctrine on abortion rights, declaring that as a Catholic, he believes life begins at conception.”

That quote comes from an article in the NY Times. It’s going to cause problems for the Democrats, though many of those getting upset about Biden’s statement won’t realize that he’s not offering aid to opponents of abortion. He’s not going to get into a fight with his party — no vice president can or would do that. Too, people forget that what Palin thinks about abortion hardly matters at all, and would matter only somewhat more if she became president.

The fuss over abortion is largely symbolic, in other words. Why? Because abortion is a decided issue. There is no reversing that. If Roe vs. Wade were overturned, abortion would be a matter for the states to regulate, and they would. Women would be able to get abortions in many, if not most, areas. Yes, it’s a concern; no, it’s not as important as either side in the dispute insists. Each camp is exaggerating the importance of solidarity and renewed commitment. The battle is over.

Biden said what he did — and this is the important thing to remember — because Palin is in the race. He wanted to play to Democrats for whom disapproval of abortion is a shibboleth, and somehow do that without threatening their opponents. Risky business, but he felt he had to chance it rather than lose voters to McCain. The implications of Palin’s presence are considerable.

This is one of those implications:

I see one after another of the mainstream media outlets which have made important contributions to the factual underpinnings of the counter-terrorism effort dropping off that beat. Editors in the print media are shifting terrorism experts on their staffs towards investigations of political candidates. At least three such reporters at three major papers are now chasing Sarah Palin stories (I haven’t had time to chase down everybody in “the business”). The move away from terrorism investigations started over a year ago as the print media entered into a long-term decline in ad revenues, but the trend has been accelerated in this election year. It is an unfortunate coincidence that true experts, with some of the best contacts and intel in the private CT community, are being moved out of their chosen fields just as we approach the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. It’s especially disconcerting to see this trend at the very moment when President Bush is committing more counterinsurgency resources to capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and/or Ayman al-Zawahiri before he leaves office, a strategic decision with serious ramifications for relations between the U.S. and Pakistan and other nations in South Asia.

A number of veteran reporters in the mainstream media have broken important stories using sources and methods that the intelligence community could not or chose not to exploit. The broad CT community would suffer a serious loss if these bona fide experts leave the field for any length of time. In the meantime, nonprofit organizations and dedicated blogs have the opportunity and capability to inform the public.


This is bad news. Of course it was obvious that Palin would shake things up a bit, and one could predict that her critics on the left would disparage her, mock her, misrepresent her, and so on. It was also easy to see they would exaggerate her importance with respect to abortion legislation and the Darwin vs. God fuss in education. The PenPo, however, did not anticipate a misallocation of journalistic resources.

Instead this newsletter braced for a deluge of extraordinarily filthy accusations about Palin’s sexual prowess, preferences and history, virtually all of it from the “progressive” cadres, rather than from the press. That prediction remains in effect: attacks on her will grow more explicit — the left has barely rolled out its pornographic artillery. These people can be literally nauseating. (Will Whoopi retread her smutty standup “comedy” routine attacking Bush, this time trying to debase Palin? Surely Palin’s admirers must hope so.)

On Standards And Ethics In Journalism, And The Absence Thereof. Yet Again….

More madcap media manipulation: The WaPo is caught covering up its “editing.”

The Post Gets a Rewrite (But Doesn’t Tell Its Readers):

On Friday, the Washington Post ran this story about Gov. Sarah Palin’s speech before a brigade of soldiers bound for Iraq — at least, that link is to the story that is on the Post’s web page. But this is not the story as it originally appeared. As Bill Kristol notes here, the second paragraph of the story was rewritten — and an entire sentence replaced — to fix a gross error that dramatically distorted what Palin had said. Most egregiously, there is no indication on the web-version of the story that it was corrected, not even a note at the end of the piece. Whatever one thinks of the Post’s reporting here, it should at least acknowledge that it changed the story’s text to fix an error. If we bloggers are expected to disclose substantive revisions to our blog posts, shouldn’t the MSM be held to the same standard?

The Penguin Post As Prognosticator: The Issue Was Never In Doubt

Recall the prediction made in Number 30 of the PenPo, regarding the inevitable reaction to an account of a meeting between a family and the GOP candidates. Well, Obama partisans made a huge mistake in saying anything at all about this event, and those who did speak out did so true to form. From The Huffington Post:

I heard it on Hannity first.

Then the very next day, just yesterday, I heard it on Rush.

Yeah, I listen and watch all sorts of things to see what the opposition is doing. But this latest stunt was one of their worst.

It’s the story of Chloe, a Down Syndrome child, whose parents had an encounter with McCain and Palin on a campaign stop. But that’s just the wind up. The pitch is personal, meant to move, as well as use an event to capitalize on a special need’s (sic) child and the sympathy it (sic) engenders to bring in votes for McCain-Palin.

Republicans are nothing if not cynical, opportunistic and always willing to play an angle, no matter how repugnant.

… After Rush got through, the National Review was only too willing to push the propaganda along.

Having been around radio for well over fifteen years, doing interviews across the country, having my own show (and then losing it), while I try to get back on the air, I know this stuff. When Hannity has a caller on, then that same caller suddenly and miraculously appears on Rush’s show, which evolves into a big PR event, it’s not by accident. Manufacturing these events is what the right-wing does best.

Using a Down Syndrome child to help their candidate get votes is just their latest low.

How you view this event — that is, the assumptions you make about it and the ethics of this family — depends entirely on your political stance. What a pity that is.

Just A Few Links Today

An old unsolved puzzle: Strolling rocks

Watch this and pass the URL on: Cell phone recycling

Why was he arrested? Gotcha!

Enough to set your teeth on edge: Open…

Education questioned: Moderation in all things

Philosophy, anyone? Cogito ergo Google

Quotes: Nothing original