Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Via Wired News and the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The FBI has quietly built a sophisticated, point-and-click surveillance system that performs instant wiretaps on almost any communications device, according to nearly a thousand pages of restricted documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The surveillance system...connects FBI wiretapping rooms to switches controlled by traditional land-line operators, internet-telephony providers and cellular companies. It is far more intricately woven into the nation's telecom infrastructure than observers suspected.

Details of the system and its full capabilities were redacted from the documents acquired by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Together, the surveillance systems let FBI agents play back recordings even as they are being captured (like TiVo), create master wiretap files, send digital recordings to translators, track the rough location of targets in real time using cell-tower information, and even stream intercepts outward to mobile surveillance vans.

FBI wiretapping rooms in field offices and undercover locations around the country are connected through a private, encrypted backbone that is separated from the internet. Sprint runs it on the government's behalf.

The network allows an FBI agent in New York, for example, to remotely set up a wiretap on a cell phone based in Sacramento, California, and immediately learn the phone's location, then begin receiving conversations, text messages and voicemail pass codes in New York. With a few keystrokes, the agent can route the recordings to language specialists for translation.

The numbers dialed are automatically sent to FBI analysts trained to interpret phone-call patterns, and are transferred nightly, by external storage devices, to the bureau's Telephone Application Database, where they're subjected to a type of data mining called link analysis.


Yes, that's right.

Other sem-celebrity dancers include people you may not have heard of:

* Floyd Mayweather Jr

* Wayne Newton

• "Scary Spice"

• Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves.

• Actress Jennie Garth ("Beverly Hills, 90210")

• Marie Osmond

• Model Albert Reed

• Actress Jane Seymour ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman")

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Chinese brothers who tunnelled their way out of a coal mine collapse after being trapped for nearly six days survived by eating coal and drinking urine, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Brothers Meng Xianchen and Meng Xianyou were trapped while working at an illegal mine in Beijing's Fangshan District late on Saturday, August 18, the latest in a series of disasters to strike the world's deadliest coal mining industry.

Two days later, rescue efforts were called off and relatives began burning "ghost money" at the entrance of the mine for the dearly departed.

"At first there was no feeling, but then I was so hungry I couldn't crawl any more," Xianchen told the Beijing News. "I got so hungry, I ate a piece of coal, and I thought it quite fragrant.

"Actually, coal is bitter and unsmooth but you can chew up pieces the size of a finger. In the mine, we picked up two discarded water bottles, and drank our urine. You can only take small sips, and when you've finished, you just want to cry."


From CNET News blogger Leslie Katz

For all your back to school needs:

Bulletproof Backpacks

Some people will call the invention an overreaction, while others will view it as a wise protective gadget. It's sad--and sobering--to think that a bulletproof backpack could prove a practical back-to-school purchase, but it's not so far-fetched an idea in these days of campus violence.

MJ Safety Solutions, a Massachusetts company run by three dads, has developed what it says is the first full-size, lightweight ballistic protection backpack that's affordable and practical for kids. The $175 My Child's Pack contains a 20-ounce bulletproof panel that the creators say can ward off 97 percent of bullets. The packs can be used to offer upper torso coverage on the back or as a shield for frontal protection of the head and upper body.

A video ad on YouTube shows the bags undergoing tests at the shooting range--to the tune of Neil Young's "Four Dead in Ohio."


Monday, August 27, 2007


From the New York Times
"Investigators have determined that the broken equipment found in the basement of the vacant skyscraper was in fact part of a defective sprinkler system, not part of the standpipe, as originally believed. The finding means that an entire part of the standpipe was evidently missing, for reasons that are not clear.

It was previously announced that firefighters had been unable to get water above the fifth floor because of a shut valve and that parts of the standpipe system had cracks and other defects.

The Fire Department failed to visually inspect standpipes in the building every 15 days as required by city rules for buildings being demolished and had not done any inspections at the Deutsche Bank building since November 2006."

God love the FDNY, but someone seriously dropped the ball with regard to the Deutsche Bank building.


I am squishing yur konstitushunHugo Chavez holds new tiny red Constitution that allows him to be Leader For Life

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tiger Vs. The Purple Dinosaur

Doing Battle with The Purple Dinosaur of Doom!!!!!
Where Did Purple Dinosaur Go?????
Oh No, He's Getting Away!!!!!
Tiger Achieves Victory Over The Purple Dinosaur!!!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Brzezinski Offers Support for Obama

New York Times:

Right on the heels of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s assertion that she could handle the political ramifications of a terrorist attack better than her Democratic rivals, a major foreign policy figure associated with Democrats endorsed her archrival, Senator Barack Obama.

In an interview with Al Hunt that will air on Bloomberg’s “Political Capital” at 11 p.m. tonight, Zbigniew Brzezinski said that Mr. Obama is “clearly more effective and has the upper hand.” The national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter continued, “There is a need for a fundamental rethinking of how we conduct world affairs, and Obama seems to me to have both the guts and the intelligence to address that issue and to change the nature of America’s relationship with the world.'’

He called Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy “very conventional.”

“I don’t think the country needs to go back to what we had eight years ago,” Mr. Brzezinski said.


As you may know, there is a big airshow going on in Russia right now. People have come from all over the world to gawk at the latest in airplane technology, as well as the old favorites. It's like any collection of geeks and their hobby, except this involves multimillion dollar hardware, some of which are advanced weapons.

On hand for view was a stealth bomber, which is, sadly, not actually invisible.

Apparently an "unidentified Russian, wearing sunglasses and surrounded by bodyguards," went up to the group of Americans guarding the bomber and asked if he could buy the stealth bomber, that according to Komsomolskaya Pravda.

One of the Americans told the guy it would cost at least $500 million.

"That is no problem. It is such a cool machine," the Russian was quoted as saying by Pravda, which said its reporter overheard the conversation.

It is a cool machine, it's true. Remember when we were at war with the Russians? I guess this is what is meant by the world is flat. Planes, too.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Senator Warner Urges Withdrawal

Senator John Warner
of Virginia

Senator John Warner, of Virginia, and former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has called on President Bush to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq by Christmas, beginning in September.

Warner said Thursday that a pullout was needed to spur Iraqi leaders to action.

"In my humble judgment, that would get everyone's attention that is not being paid at this time," said Warner.


"The head of one of the leading insurers in non-standard, high-risk personal auto insurance apologized on Thursday for some substandard behavior - spying in church on people who had the sued the company.

Progressive Corp Chief Executive Glenn Renwick apologized for the use of private detectives, who went undercover to join an Atlanta church group in order to discredit a couple suing the insurer.

"What the investigators and Progressive people did was wrong - period," Renwick, head of the third-largest U.S. auto insurer, said in a statement. "I personally want to apologize to anyone who was affected by this."

The statement was issued a day after the story appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The newspaper reported that a pair of detectives hired by Progressive became members of the Southside Christian Fellowship Church in August 2005 in order to get damaging information on two church members involved in a 2004 traffic accident.

The detectives talked their way into a private support group where members discussed abortions, sexual orientation and drug addiction, and taped the sessions, the newspaper said."


"A member of a Japanese right-wing group was arrested Thursday after he sent his severed little finger to the ruling party's headquarters in protest at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's failure to visit a Tokyo war shrine.

The 54-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of making threats after he sent his finger to the Liberal Democratic Party headquarters in Tokyo, said a police official in Okayama Prefecture, western Japan.

The envelope also contained a letter of protest and a disk showing images of the man cutting off his finger, the official said.

"I thought they would ignore me if I just sent the letter, so I put my little finger in as well," Kyodo news agency quoted the man as telling police."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


"Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome. This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar, but ended the civil chaos that was threatening anarchy in ancient Rome – thus marking the start of the ancient Roman Empire that gave peace and prosperity to the known world."
-Philip Atkinson
The Family Security Foundation, Inc.

Um, dude - they killed Caeser.


According to Wired Magazine, PZMyers, the brilliant science blogger Pharyngula, is being sued for libel by a guy named Stuart Pivar because of critical remarks he made about a book Pivar wrote called "Lifecode: From egg to embryo by self-organization."

Wired quotes a press release on Lifecode as describing it as

"... an alternative theory of evolution which contends that the embryo is formed by self-organization, as are crystals, rather than by a genetic code subject to natural selection. Accompanying illustrations depict hypothetical construction blueprints for the various body forms. Biological Self-organization has long been a contending alternate theory for the code of life; recent proponents include evolutionary biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Brian Goodwin."

I'm not qualified to judge if that's nonsense or has some validity, though anything that presents alternatives to evolution raises all kinds of red flags.

Here's what Myers wrote Pharyngula on that got Pivar peeved.

"The doodles in this book bear absolutely no relationship to anything that goes on in real organisms, but after staring at them for a while, I realized what this book is actually about.

This book is a description of the development and evolution of balloon animals."

I am qualified to judge the merits of his legal case. I haven't read the whole brief, but it sounds like Pivar doesn't have a leg to stand on. (Maybe he could grow one, like a crystal.) I would go so far as to call him an idiot and a moron, but he might sue me.

Or he might not be so dumb. Wired suggests, plausibly, that the whole thing is a publicity stunt. (Pivar is apparently rich or something). If true, this would be a great abuse of the legal system - not to mention a threat to bloggers of whatever political belief or ideology.


The FBI is asking the public for help in identifying two men who were seen behaving unusually aboard several Washington state ferries. The Seattle Post Intelligencer is not publishing the photos because neither man is considered a suspect nor has either been charged with a crime.


Who are Liz and FLo?

(A) Jenna's bridesmaids

(B) Two of the four identical quads

(C) The designated names of the next two hurricanes

(D) Malaysian dogs who catch pirates



"The keepers of a vast archive of Nazi documents on the Holocaust have transferred copies of millions of files to museums in Israel and the US.

The electronic transfer is part of an agreement to open up the Bad Arolsen archive, overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The files, kept in Germany, were found in concentration camps and other Nazi prisons at the end of World War II.

The ICRC says the archive has now transferred many documents from the archive to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in the US and to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Centre in Israel.

The 47 million files stored in the spa town of Bad Arolsen hold meticulously recorded information on forced labourers, concentration camp victims and political prisoners. They take up 26km (16 miles) of shelving.

Historians believe many more details about the Nazis' murder and brutal exploitation of millions of Jews, Roma (Gypsies) and other victims will be revealed.

So far, 12 million documents have been digitised for electronic transfer, the ICRC says.

In grey, bureaucratic language the Nazis kept records on the smallest details - from the number of lice on a prisoner's head to the exact moment of their execution."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rove on Meet the Press

For the David Gregory - Karl Rove interview, click here, and scroll down: The Bobblespeak Translations


Friday, August 17, 2007


"Notes taken by Director Robert S. Mueller III of the F.B.I. say that Attorney General John Ashcroft was “barely articulate,” “feeble” and “clearly stressed” shortly after a hospital-room meeting in March 2004 in which two top White House aides tried to persuade him to sign an extension for eavesdropping on Americans without warrants.

Mr. Mueller’s notes, based on a visit to Mr. Ashcroft’s room and released Thursday by the House Judiciary Committee, provide a fuller picture of the events surrounding a March 10, 2004, confrontation over the surveillance program. They go beyond the account that Mr. Mueller gave the committee in July and reinforce an account by James B. Comey, the former deputy attorney general who testified in May.

In providing corroboration for Mr. Comey’s version of events, Mr. Mueller’s typewritten entries served to rebut the suggestion of some Bush administration officials who have privately dismissed Mr. Comey’s account of the hospital standoff as an overwrought and one-sided description.

Mr. Mueller said in the notes that he had gone to the hospital after receiving a call from Mr. Comey, arriving at 7:40 p.m. and departing at 8:20. His notes said Mr. Comey had told him that Mr. Ashcroft, who had undergone gall bladder surgery the previous day, was in “no condition” to receive visitors.

Mr. Mueller said Mr. Comey had asked him to intervene with Mr. Ashcroft’s F.B.I. security detail to limit visitors.

'Comey asked me to meet briefly with the AG to see his condition,” he wrote. “He also asked that I inform the detail that no visitors, other than family, were to be allowed to see the AG without my consent (I so informed the detail).' "

Link to full story in the New York Times, Notes Detail Pressure on Ashcroft Over Spying

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cliff with Snow


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Next Up: The Housing Meltdown: What Does Naomi Campbell Think?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


"A little known school of scholars in southwest India discovered one of the founding principles of modern mathematics hundreds of years before Newton according to new research. Dr George Gheverghese Joseph from The University of Manchester says the 'Kerala School' identified the 'infinite series'- one of the basic components of calculus - in about 1350.

The discovery is currently - and wrongly - attributed in books to Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz at the end of the seventeenth centuries.

The team from the Universities of Manchester and Exeter reveal the Kerala School also discovered what amounted to the Pi series and used it to calculate Pi correct to 9, 10 and later 17 decimal places.

And there is strong circumstantial evidence that the Indians passed on their discoveries to mathematically knowledgeable Jesuit missionaries who visited India during the fifteenth century.

That knowledge, they argue, may have eventually been passed on to Newton himself."

Say it ain't so, Isaac!


The wave has crashed for "John From Cincinnati." A day after its first-season finale, HBO on Monday canceled the dark surfing drama.


Best lead-in ever and they blew it.

Worst part is I never to got blog about how it might have been the worst tv show I have ever seen.



A fence built to prevent rabbits from entering the Australian outback
has unintentionally allowed scientists to study the effects of land use on regional climates.

The rabbit-proof fence — or bunny fence — in Western Australia was completed in 1907 and stretches about 2,000 miles. It acts as a boundary separating native vegetation from farmland. Within the fence area, scientists have observed a strange phenomenon: above the native vegetation, the sky is rich in rain-producing clouds. But the sky on the farmland side is clear.



“I have an employment record that I think would be attractive to any employer. I’ve worked in an industrial kitchen in a hospital; I’ve waited tables; I’ve worked in convenience stores and have been robbed at the point of a gun twice; I’ve pumped gas; I’ve babysat; I’ve cut lawns; I’ve delivered newspapers.”




"In Cape Coral, a town near Fort Myers on Florida's sun-drenched Gulf Coast, almost every other house on some of its streets has a for-sale sign outside.

With a bloated inventory of unsold homes and a growing number of homeowners forced by mortgage delinquencies to sell -- thanks to the subprime crisis and ensuing credit crunch -- southwest Florida's once warm clime for property has turned stone-cold.

Linda Setterlund, 61, owns a pristine three-bedroom, two-bath, Cape Coral house that has been on the market for about a year.

At a reduced asking price of $183,900, she said the house had been priced to match what she and her husband owed on it, after moving in three years ago with a 30-year fixed mortgage.

Setterlund said she and her husband had decided to leave the area to join family in Tennessee, but their decision was also prompted by growing real estate taxes and skyrocketing homeowner insurance rates after an active 2005 hurricane season.

"They're saying that we're heading for a recession but I think we're past that," said Setterlund, referring to the housing glut and its effect across much of south Florida.

"I think we're headed more into a depression."


Monday, August 13, 2007

It's Hot


MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. citizen Jose Padilla was the "star recruit" for a Florida terrorism support cell that sent the former dirty bomb suspect to an al Qaeda camp to learn how to kill, a prosecutor told jurors in closing arguments on Monday.

"Training with al Qaeda was a crime because al Qaeda trained people to kill," he said.

Wiretapped phone conversations between Padilla and Hassoun demonstrate that Padilla was patient and secretive, Frazier said.

"This is why he was a star recruit," he said.

* The Application Form *

The main evidence against Padilla is what the government calls an al Qaeda application form bearing his fingerprints, birthdate and similar background. It was recovered in Afghanistan and says the author speaks English, Spanish and Arabic, graduated from high school and trained as a carpenter, as Padilla did.

It used a name prosecutors contend was Padilla's alias, and lists as his sponsor a man whose name was in Padilla's address book when he was arrested.

Padilla's defense is expected to argue his fingerprints could have got on the form when investigators handed it to him to examine after his arrest.

The government has presented only indirect evidence Padilla ever went to Afghanistan. In other secretly recorded phone calls, another alleged recruit tells Hassoun that Padilla has gone to Afghanistan via Yemen and has entered "the land of Osama."


In other words, they have a piece of paper with someone else's name on it.

Ironclad, gentelmen.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cat Blogging Returns



The Republican Party has, sadly, become a kind of cult where it seems only mendacity and venality can thrive.

Latest case in point is the now notorious threatening "audit letter" the GOP is sending out to unsuspecting voters.

Some TPM commenters note the point that caught my eye too - that the letter demands "dues" - from letter recipients.

The letter threatens an "audit", demands dues, and links such threats to lack of support for the President.

The use of term "dues" is fraudulent on it's face -- the kind of cheap and sleazy trick one would suspect of the lowest spammer or direct marketer.

If the RNC isn't prosecuted for this, it will only because of, and not in spite of, the political nature of the mailing.

This is straight out of the playbook of fascist regimes, Soviet, Bolshevik, Italian Fascist, Nazi -- although I'm sure to say out loud is to violate DC protocol enough to give Cokie Roberts and David Broder the vapors.

We know the Bush administration has become a Cult of Personality, promoted by loyalists educated at places like Regent University, who swear an oath to him, and view the federal government as an instrument to promote the Bush Cult. This letter encapsulates that ideology: loyalty to Bush is loyalty to America, and Americans must be continually examined for deviation from that absolute fealty. In 1984, all citizens were expected to put in time devoted to promoting the party -- failure to do so would lead to suspicions of a lack of patriotism; perhaps of even helping the unseen enemy.

It's clear, yet again, that the party of been taken over by sniggering, junior league Nixonian ratfuckers (their term, not mine) who genuinely seem to have no morality whatsoever.

All societies produce their share of such people - the trick is to keep them, if not imprisoned, away from civilized, decent folk trying to lead their lives in peace.

Societal failure is to grant to control of the levers of power in the hopes that giving them what they wants will quiet them down and make them go away. That way, lies madness and chaos.


Analysts See ‘Simply Incredible’
Shrinking of Floating Ice in the Arctic

"The area of floating ice in the Arctic has shrunk more this summer than in any other summer since satellite tracking began in 1979, and it has reached that record point a month before the annual ice pullback typically peaks, experts said yesterday.

William L. Chapman, who monitors the region at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and posted a Web report on the ice retreat yesterday, said that only an abrupt change in conditions could prevent far more melting before the 24-hour sun of the boreal summer set in September.

"The melting rate during June and July this year was simply incredible,” Mr. Chapman said. “And then you’ve got this exposed black ocean soaking up sunlight and you wonder what, if anything, could cause it to reverse course."

Mark Serreze, a sea-ice expert at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., said his center’s estimates differed somewhat from those of the Illinois team, and by the ice center’s reckoning the retreat had not surpassed the satellite-era record set in 2005. But it was close even by the center’s calculations, he said, adding that it is almost certain that by September, there will be more open water in the Arctic than has been seen for a long time. Ice experts at NASA and the University of Washington echoed his assessment.

Dr. Serreze said that a high-pressure system parked over the Arctic appeared to have caused a “triple whammy” — keeping away clouds, causing winds to carry warm air north and pushing sea ice away from Siberia, exposing huge areas of open water."

- New York Times, August 10, 2007


Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Speaking a Culture of Truth, this editorial is an instant classic in annals of the practice of Journalism in the 21st Century, where apparently truth has no meaning:


Atlanta Journal-Constitution
'Objective truth' passes the test for letters to editor
By Angela Tuck, Public Editor
August 4, 2007

"Here's a question that has come up a few times in recent months: "Why does the AJC allow letter writers to make statements that aren't factual?"

Once it's printed in the newspaper, it's highly possible that someone will adopt the statement as fact, said Barbara Latimer, a reader from Rockdale County. Perhaps the newspaper should run a small disclaimer with the letter for clarity's sake, she said.

Editorial page editor Cynthia Tucker once believed all letters should be factually accurate, but now she's more likely to let readers have their say and let others decide whether the letter writer is indeed stating facts.

"I believe there is such a thing as an objective truth, but a lot of readers have an objective truth that differs from mine," she said.

"We live in such a politically polarized age that not everybody agrees on the facts. My letters policy tends to be a bit looser than those of some other editorial page editors. I believe as long as they are willing to sign their names to it, and it's not violent or libelous, we should print them."

Tucker says the AJC has printed many letters from readers insisting that PeachCare has run out of money because so many illegal immigrants are on the rolls. "That's not true, but if we don't print those letters, those readers will believe we're biased," she said.

Readers who still believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that they were taking to Syria are allowed to express that view even though it is clearly not true."


Oh well. It's only a newspaper.

George Packer Condemns Both Sides

"The same people who believed the first story refused to believe the second, and vice versa. In a sense, they believed or refused to believe each story before it was published—even before it had occurred. What mattered was whether the story supported or undermined their view of the war."
- George Packer, referring to Scott Beauchamp and O'Hanlon/Pollack

I generally like George Packer, but it isn't a question of "believing" one or the other. Like many who get sucked into the beltway vortex, he reduces to politics to a kind of catechism, easily ridiculed as dogmatic by journalists and pundits who imagine themselves inhabiting a higher realm of reason.

Packer et al will say "a pox on both your unthinking houses, liberals and wingnuts, why don't you wait until the facts are in before coming to a conclusion??"

But the facts are always rolling in from a place like Iraq. No wonder pundits write that they are paralyzed by indecision about what to do in Iraq. There's always going to be a reason to put off leaving, to find some slender reed of hope.

Which is another way of supporting the Bush policy wholesale. But that would be partisan.


Ninth Circuit Rules "Vote-Swapping" Legal

Back in 2000, those crazy kids on the internet had the idea to create a web site where people in safe states could swap their vote for Al Gore with a person in a swing state who wanted to vote for Ralph Nader.

Of course, it was all based on the honor system, and there was nothing to stop voters in safe states from voting for Nader anyway (to "send a message" or something) but I guess it was one more arrow in the quiver in a desperate attempt to prevent Naderites from handing this country over to George W. Bush and his coterie of Regents Death Eaters.

Yes, it's illegal to pay someone to vote a certain way (is that true Ed Rollins?) but this hardly qualified. But the busybodies who are so very concerned about the fairness of U.S. elections decided it was illegal, and the outraged California Secretary of State, Bill Jones, (yes these guys have real power) yammered about prosecutions so the websites shut down. Next stop: President Stupid.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, (just in time!) sensibly, that the website's efforts to unite voters interested in "vote-swapping" is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Court writes:

"Both the websites' vote-swapping mechanisms and the communication and vote swaps that they enabled were... constitutionally protected. At their core, they amounted to efforts by politically engaged people to support their preferred candidates and to avoid election results that they feared would contravene the preferences of a majority of voters in closely contested states. Whether or not one agrees with these voters' tactics, such efforts, when conducted honestly and without money changing hands, are at the heart of the liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment."


The Internet and blogging has gotten even more popular since 2000, so I've heard. This has great schoolyard potential. It used to kids would trade baseball cards or Pokemon or whatever. Now maybe you can trade one Kucinich vote in New York for an Edwards in Iowa, or something.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bobblespeak Beat The Onion on McCain Snark


I see from Ana Marie's link (another acid-tongued liveblogger) that The Onion made a funny about John McCain riding Greyhound.

As is happens, they owe The Bobblespeak Translations a coke -- he beat them to it by a month.

August 6, 2007

DES MOINES, IA—"Citing a series of unanticipated disruptions to the Greyhound bus service, a red-faced and breathless Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) arrived 50 minutes after the start of the Republican presidential debates Sunday.

According to the beleaguered candidate, a series of departure delays, missed transfers, and a flat tire outside Oxford, OH forced him to arrive at the outskirts of Iowa's capital five minutes before the debate was about to begin."

The Bobblespeak Translations
July 8, 2007

Gregory: McCain is running the suckiest campaign ever

Purdum: he's not trying to pander to people anymore - he still supports the war

Gregory: he has no more money

Purudm: last year he had a private jet and last week he was seen in Row 29 of a coach

Gregory: on a commercial airline? Wow

Purdum: no Greyhound dood



President Sarkozy and companions were headed for open water in a boat on Lake Winnipesaukee when he spotted Associated Press photographer Jim Cole and freelancer Vince DeWitt aboard Cole's boat, which was outside a buoy barrier monitored by the New Hampshire Marine Patrol.

Before Sarkozy spotted him, Cole had driven his boat up to the patrol boat, identified himself and received permission to be there.

"He was happy and smiling and he waved at the security people as he was coming out," Cole said of the president. "And then he noticed us taking pictures and his happy demeanor diminished immediately."

Coming alongside Cole's boat, Sarkozy, clad only in swim trunks, jumped aboard and began shouting at them.

"The president was very agitated, speaking French at a loud volume very rapidly," DeWitt said.

Both men said they repeatedly stated they did not speak French. Cole said that he asked whether any of the other passengers on Sarkozy's boat spoke English, but that no one answered or intervened.

Sarkozy picked up DeWitt's camera but then put it down. A woman then spoke up in English and relayed Sarkozy's request to be left alone, DeWitt said. The woman did not identify herself.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cat Blogging Returns



Saturday, August 04, 2007


Democrats who voted for the FISA bill:

* Evan Bayh
* Tom Carper
* Bob Casey
* Kent Conrad
* Dianne Feinstein
* Daniel Inouye
* Amy Klobuchar
* Mary Landrieu
* Blanche Lincoln
* Claire McCaskill
* Barbara Mikulski
* Bill Nelson
* Ben Nelson
* Mark Pryor
* Ken Salazar
* Jim Webb

Naturally Lieberman voted in favor, while I believe Chuck Hagel voted NO. (Was that so hard?)

I was liveblogging and caught Pryor and Landrieu's votes last night.

Not surpirsed by Salazar, and Webb - well he's still better than George Allen.

Others like McCaskill, Casey, Carper, Casey, Nelson (both) and Hillary's buddy, Evan Bayh, are a little disappointing.

Most surprising are people like Mikulski, Inouye, Klobuchar, and Feinstein. These are people from safe seats, who should know bettter.

Just out of curiosity - did they even read the bill?


Friday, August 03, 2007





Apparently Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chris Dodd have all called Barack Obama "naive."

But where did that meme start?

Here's what that rat-bastard author of The Bobblespeak Translations wrote as he was liveblogging the event over at that commie website Eschaton:

Q: will u meet with the leaders of the Scary Bad Countries

Obama: damm right i would why not Reagan met with teh Commies

Q: Hillary answer the Scary Man question

Hillary: unlike naive Obama i will not promise to meet with these doods i mean why meet with Castro for god's sake

Edwards: what she said
- 8:09 p.m.

The Bobblespeak Translations:
Come for the Humor, Stay for the Insights!


17 kidz doods



"when do u c them?"
"all teh time"


FISA Judge Struck Down Bush Spying


Lately we've all been wondering: what's the rush to change the federal wiretapping and surveillance laws all of a sudden?

Bush has, of course, been going around demanding that Congress change the FISA statute, and Congress seems pretty willing to do it.

It turns out that a FISA Court judge ruled earlier this year that yet another one of Bush's warrantless spying programs violated the law.

So he needs to Congress to change the law to let him keep doing it. It's not clear exactly what the problem is, but indications are that it involves, unsurprisingly, spying on non-Americans having contact with people inside the United States.

But hey, at least he didn't just keep doing it and blow Congress off. So that's progress, sort of.

The Washington Post reports that the ruling prevented the NSA from monitoring telephone calls and e-mails originating outside the United States as the pass through the U.S.

I'm willing to bet this story was linked the Bush-friendly Washington Post in an effort to light a fire under Congress and create support for amending the law among the general public and pro-Bush bloggers.

Indeed, House Minority Leader John Boehner, mentioned the decision on Fox News, according the Post.

Reuters sums up the differences between Bush and the Democrats by saying Bush wants to spy on non-Americans based outside the U.S., even if they are communicating with someone inside the United States, without a warrant and without involving the FISA court.

Democrats feel, presumably, that vests too much power with Bush and his people, who do not exactly have a spotless track record.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007



Something has been bugging me since Alberto Gonzalez testified last week. We all know that Gonzalez may have committed perjury when he denied that there were objections to the President's surveillance plan. He admitted there had been objections, but to other activities. These are the activities that Bush has not confirmed even exist. What other surveillance actions was Gonzalez talking about?

Among others, Spencer Ackerman and Paul Kiel have already done great work regarding what they dub "Project X."

Simply, Project X may have been a highly intrusive, possibly illegal, surveillance program that raised such strong questions about its illegality that John Ashcroft, James Comey, and many others threatened to resign en masse unless it was changed.

Assuming it existed and we aren't just talking about the well-known FISA violations.

After the threat of resignations it was apparently, allegedly, changed to make it legal.

I will blog more on this, but for now I have two questions, concededly big questions.

(1) What was Project X?

(2) Is it still going on?

Update: I and others have long speculated that the project involved some form of large-scale sifting through massive amounts of data accessible electronically, including phone calls, e-mails, and internet traffic. In others words, data mining. Such a project would not be amenable, at least on an ongoing basis, to FISA court approval, nor would it necessarily violate, at least in the mind of someone like Alberto Gonzalez or John Yoo, the Fourth Amendment. Computers, either here or overseas, utilizing Echelon or other such technology, could search for designated patterns or keywords, raising a flag.

What then? Do they get a warrant? What if both parties are overseas? What if one is? Many more such questions could be asked.

I for one do not believe it likely that Total Information Awareness was completely shut down. For one thing, it goes against everything we know about the Bush administration.

Whatever its status, it is interesting that they remain resolutely secret about the details of a program they claim no longer exists.


Tom Tancredo. So Very, Very Wrong


"If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina," the GOP presidential candidate said. "That is the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they would otherwise do. If I am wrong fine, tell me,"

- Tom Tancredo

Tom, you are so wrong. So very, very, fucking wrong.


Is Mitt Romeny Too Weird to Be President? Part V

"Did you notice in Lebanon, what Hezbollah did? Lebanon became a democracy some time ago and while their government was getting underway, Hezbollah went into southern Lebanon and provided health clinics to some of the people there, and schools. And they built their support there by having done so. That kind of diplomacy is something that would help America become stronger around the world and help people understand that our interest is an interest towards modernity and goodness and freedom for all people in the world. And so, I want to see America carry out that kind of health diplomacy..."

- Mitt Romney, this week

That's right.
Under President Romney, America is going to model it's foreign policy after Hezbollah.



Submarines accompanying a Russian naval mission aimed at boosting Moscow's claim to Arctic territory are shortly expected to dive below the North Pole.

The two Mir submarines plan to dive to the ocean floor, 4,200m (14,000ft) below the pole, to carry out tests and plant a capsule with a Russian flag.

A Russian official said the "risky and heroic" mission was comparable to "putting a flag on the Moon".

Melting polar ice has led to competing claims over access to Arctic resources.

Russia's claim to a vast swathe of territory in the Arctic, thought to contain oil, gas and mineral reserves, has been challenged by other powers, including the US.