Artificial sperm and the end of men??   
Publication of a research paper on creating sperm cells from embryonic stem cells has created the usual media furore, complete with mostly uncritical hype about what this technology can actually achieve and a failure to ask scientists the really hard questions. Not being a pro-lifer I have no problem with the use of embryonic stem cells in basic research. However, the idea that sperm cells produced from embryonic stem cells in a laboratory could be used in fertility treatment is a dangerous and unethical technological fantasy. Like the idea of “therapeutic cloning”, what seems simple in theory will in practice prove practically impossible, precisely because it is so unnatural.

Much of the media discussion has focused on the idea that this might lead to 'men becoming redundant'. As with cloning, and the fears of armies of cloned soldiers, the point is not to take such scenarios literally, but to look beneath the surface at what the fears are really about. The scientific drive to abstract the whole of the human reproductive life cycle from its context of actual human bodies is just an example of the deep dynamic of science in our society. Since the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, the function of science has been to control nature and to impose order upon its random messiness, eventually to improve upon it, and ultimately to replace the need for it. What reproductive and biotechnology are now bringing home to us is that nature includes us. Thus, for the last 25 years we have seen the emergence of transhumanist/posthumanist movements, which look forward to the evolution through technology (including bio-, nano- and information technology) of posthuman beings (entities?). Feminists have been arguing since the 1970s that reproductive technology is an attempt to control and appropriate women's fertility, which aims ultimately to end the reliance on the female body for production of children, through artificial wombs. Now, it seems it is men's turn to feel this anxiety.

Of course, the capitalist-scientific drive to dominate nature is very male, (nature is gendered as female in nearly all cultures), and is one of the key features of patriarchy in our societies. What is interesting is that, by its own logic, it must also move to dispense with men's bodies, testes, penises.

There are feminist theories that argue that a major part of men's tendency to try to dominate women comes from a psychological insecurity which arises from the fact that men do not carry and give birth to children, which is, after all, a central part of human life. In that process, men feel like lightweights, and I think this latest research presses exactly on that nerve. That may be why, although the idea that men will become redundant is very unlikely, there has been so much interest in this bit of research.

David King
A fuller version of this blog can be found at www.hgalert.org/artiifcial_sperm_blog.htm
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          Security Officer - Lake Utopia Paper Mill - Lake Utopia, NB   
Ability to multitask and efficiently operate a computer. Industrial Security, Limited (ISL) provides security services to companies in locations across the...
From J.D. Irving - Tue, 27 Jun 2017 02:21:15 GMT - View all Lake Utopia, NB jobs
          The Star Wars Bounty Hunters for MSH   

Here are the MSH stats for the bounty hunters from Star Wars.
These were originally hosted by Ty States and I resurrected them from his old site.


BOBA FETT

A- GD (10)
S- EX (20)
E- IN (40)
R- GD (10)
I- RM (30)
P- RM (30)
H- 100
K- 70
R- EX
P- (-50) Equipment: Battle Armor
personally modified Mandalorian battle armor that covers his head, torso, and arms with no Agility penalties.
* Body Armor: RM (30) Material Strength and EX (20) protection from Physical and Energy attacks.
* Wrist Lasers: RM (30) Energy damage with PR (1 area) range.
* Rocket Dart Launcher: Can pierce IN (40) Material Strength or less. Tip is coated with poison (Poison, Knock-Out, etc.) of RM (30) intensity. FB (1/2 area range).
* Turbo-projected Grappling Hook: 20 meter (1/2 area) lanyard (RM (30) Material Strength) with magnetic grappling "hook" (RM (30) Magnetism). FB (1/2 area) range.
* Flame Projector: RM (30) Fire Energy damage in 1 meter cone. FB (5 meter (5.45 yards) (1/8 of an area)
* Concussion Grenade Launcher: IN (40) Blunt damage to all in one area. Has firing range of AM. Magazine carries 20 grenades.
* Jet Pack: For every charge used, he can move at FB Airspeed (30 MPH / 0.5 MPM) either 3 areas horizontally, or 2 areas vertically. His jet pack only has enough fuel for 20 charges.
* Sensor Pod: AM (50) Tracking ability.
* Infra-red / Motion Sensor: Integrated infra-red and motion sensors in helmet gives EX (20) intensity and range Infra-red vision in darkness. It also allows him to detect motion in front of him and to his sides with EX (20) intensity and range.
* Macro binoculars: Enables him to see objects at up to IN (12 area) range. Scope-linked into blaster rifle, allowing him to fire it at +2CS to his Agility (in addition to Marksmanship).
* Sound Sensors: Makes out sound at up to EX (20) range. It can tell where the sound is coming from with AM (50) ability. This only works in quiet areas.
* Internal Comlink: Can be linked to Slave I's control system (with beckon call) to have it operate under remote control (come to his location, fire weapons, etc.), or it can be tuned into other standard frequencies. It also has an external speaker.
* Broadband Antenna: Can intercept and decode most communications made on standard frequencies. As a result, Boba Fett can patch into shipboard communications.
* Winch: This is capable of lifting TY (221 pounds) weight (Boba Fett and his equipment only).
* Sealed Enviro Filter: Filter system can block out harmful molecules, or in case of insufficient or deadly atmospheres, the suit can seal drawing upon a two hour (1,200 turn) supply of air.
Blaster Rifle: Range: AM, Price: (Gun) GD (1,000 credits), (Power Pack) FB (25 credits)
Damage: IN (40) Stunning or Energized Force
Rate: 1, Shots: 100 per power pack
Material: GD (See Macro binoculars in suit description for bonus to hit.)
Comlink: This is a personal communication device. It has a SH-X (150) range. It can broadcast over countless different frequencies. It can pick up normal Standard Clear Frequencies (SCF's) (non-restricted bands). It can monitor one specific frequency and SFC's simultaneously. It costs FB (25 credits).
Wookie Scalps: Several dangle from his belt. His Popularity with Rebels, Wookies, and the like drops by -10.


Slave I:


This is Boba Fett's personal ship. It has the following:
* CONTROL: TY (6).
* SPEED: (Atmosphere) UN (40 areas) A.S. / (Space) SH Z (200 areas) A.S. / (Hyperdrive) CL 5000/1 (5,000/1) (100 x light speed)
* BODY: RM (30) vs. Physical and Energy.
* PROTECTION: RM (30) vs. Physical and Energy. * Shields: GD (10) vs. Physical and Energy.
* Sensors: Passive: AM (50) range /// Scan: UN (100) range ///Search: SH X (150) range /// Focus: TY(06)
* Sensor Mask: -2CS to detect Slave I at ranges of MN(75) or greater.
* Sensor Jamming: -3CS to sensors to identify Slave I as a ship instead of an ion storm, -2CS to detect the ship's vapor trail.
* 2 Twin-mounted Blaster Cannons: Fire Arc: Turret, Fire Control: +1CS to Agility for firing; Range: SH X (74 areas), Damage: RM (30) Energized Force.
* Concussion Missile Tube Launcher: Fire Arc: Front, Fire Control: +2CS to Agility for firing; Range: AM (17 areas), Damage: EX (20) Blunt to all in 1 area.
* Ion Cannon: Fire Arc: Front, Fire Control: +1CS to Agility for firing; Range: MN (37 areas), Damage: RM (30) disruption of electrical and mechanical devices.
* Tractor Beam Projector: Fire Arc: Turret, Fire Control: +2CS to Agility for firing; Range: UN (50 areas), Damage: RM (30) Tractor beam.
* Two Proton Torpedo Launchers: Firing Arc: Turret, Fire Control: +1CS to Agility for firing; Range: SH X (74 areas), Damage: None; attaches homing beacon or S-thread tracker which is mounted on dummy proton torpedoes and which magnetically attach to a target ship's hull. They have short ranges of 15-20 light years, utilizing the same technology as subspace radio's. The S-thread trackers send frequencies on HoloNet reciever bands, allowing him to track a ship to the side of the galaxy provided the ship passed HoloNet S-threads.
* Craft: Kuat Systems Engineering's Firespray Class: Firespray-31.
* Type: Sublight Patrol and Attack Craft.
* Length: 21.5 meters.
* Crew: 1.
* Passengers: 6 (prisoners).
* Cargo Capacity: IN (40) weight (40 metric tons). (It is currently converted into a high security holding area with force cages and restraints to hold the prisoners).
* Consumables: 1 month (30 days = 414,000 turns).
* Type: Space.
* Cost: N/A.
Talents: Marksman, Thrown Weapons, Languages, Astrogation, Pilot, Jet Pack Operation, Leadership, Crime, Repair-Tinkering, Computers, Demolition, Electronics, Detective-Espionage, Weapons Specialist: Mandalorian battle armor weapons.
Contacts: None. (As per employer. When job is over, it is doubtful that the employer or those in his/her/its employment will remain contacts.)
By WLB (WMLEBG@webtv.net)

BOSSK

F- RM (30)
A- TY (6)S- EX (20)
E- IN (40)
R- EX (20)
I- RM (30)
P- GD (10)
H- 96
K- 60
R- GD
P- 0 Powers: Claws EX (20) edged damage
Armor- Natural Hide TY (6) vs. Blunt damage
Equipment: Blaster Rifle RM (30) force damage
Grenade Launcher IN (40) force damage
Flamethrower RM (30) energy damage
Binders RM (30) material strength
Talents: W.P. Blaster Rifle, Martial Arts A, B, Pilot, Engineering, Detective/Espionage, Computers, Electronics.

4-LOM

Bounty Hunter/Droid F- TY (6)
A- RM (30)
S- EX (20)
E- RM (30)
R- RM (30)
I- RM (30)
P- TY (6)
H- 86
K- 66
R- GD
P- 0
Powers: Analytical Mind- +2CS to Intuition rolls on guessing the next move of their bounties.
Body Armor GD (10)
Equipment:
Blaster Pistol- EX (20) Force damage
Stun Gas Blower- RM (30) intensity
Talents: Medicine, Law, Pilot, Buisness/Finance, Engineering, Criminology, Detective/Espionage, Computers, Electronics, Languages.
By "MAD TITAN"

DENGAR

F- EX (20)
A- EX (20)
S- GD (10)
E- RM (30)
R- EX (20)
I- RM (30)
P- TY (6)
H- 80
K- 56
R- GD
P- 0 Equipment: Blaster Rifle- RM (30) Force damage
Concussion Grenades- IN (40) Force damage
Vibroblade- RM (30) Edged Energy damage
Talents: Guns, W.P. Blaster Rifle, Marksman, Martial Arts A, B, E, Acrobatics, Pilot, Crimonology, Detective/Espionage.
By "MAD TITAN"

IG-88

F- TY (6)
A- TY (6)
S- EX (20)
E- AM (50)
R- IN (40)
I- MN (75)
P- GD (10)
H- 82
K- 125
R- GD
P- 0 Equipment: Blaster Rifle- RM (30) Force damage
Talents: Guns, Marksman, Weapons Master, Pilot, Engineering, Criminology, Detective/Espionage, Computers, Electronics.


SHIP IG-2000


CTRL: AM
SPEED: SH-Z (Hyper-Space CL. 5000)
BODY: AM
PROT: RM Weapons: Forward Laser Cannons- AM (50) Energy damage
Ion Cannon- IN (40) Shields do not effect this weapon.
2 Tractor Beams- MN (75) strength
By "MAD TITAN"

          Cisco CCIE Security 400-251 CCIE Security training material Update (nigel reyez)   
Passtcert Cisco CCIE Security 400-251 CCIE Security training material can help IT personnel to achieve this purpose.
          Realize the Qualitative Benefits of Attending a Summer Camp (Alice M lee)   
A camp helps kids grow by offering a supervised, optimistic milieu that has security as a key commitment.
          Comment on IoT & Wearables: Workplace by Michael Archer   
From this article, it is comprehended that digital security is one aspect which has typically been overlooked. Proper and strict rules must be incorporated to protect IoT and wearables related to this.
          The Bush Victory Party   

George W. Bush's last victory party, which took place four years ago in Austin, Texas, never quite got underway. There was some annoying business about a withdrawn concession phone call and a steady downpour of rain. This year's party, held inside the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., was in one respect an improvement. There was no rain.

The evening began in the Reagan Building's giant, sloping atrium. The GOP herded its youngish volunteers into a mosh pit, jammed between the stage and the TV cameras. Vodka tonics were consumed, and the twentysomethings seemed poised for giddy celebration. Just after 12:30 a.m., Fox News awarded Ohio to Bush, bringing the president's electoral tally, by the network's count, to 266. Four more years! Alaska followed 20 minutes later, nudging Bush to 269. Four more years! At that point, a portly man wearing a blue suit and pin-striped shirt removed his "W Is Still President" lapel pin, held it aloft like a cigarette lighter, and began to lurch toward the stage.

But as soon as the crowd began to rock, Bush's glorious night ground to a halt. More than three hours passed without Fox awarding Bush a single electoral vote. Some of the other networks refused to give him Ohio. It wasn't that the remaining states were breaking for Kerry; they simply weren't breaking at all. The country band playing at the victory celebration exhausted its playlist and began glancing up nervously at the TV monitors. A producer with a ponytail and "W" hat waddled onstage and told them to keep playing. Reporters in the press row reached for their cell phones: The news from Boston was that John Edwards would take the stage and extend the election.

Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, dashed to the podium and, in a speech that lasted for the exact duration of Edwards', declared that Kerry couldn't possibly unearth 100,000 more votes in Ohio. The crowd whooped, but malaise was setting in. Wouldn't the president just get over here and declare victory already? Better yet, wouldn't Kerry just give up?

The heavy eyes were a marked shift from the evening's start, which was brimming with cautious optimism. As Bush swept the early states, Jeremy Bouma, a member of something called the Center for Christian Statesmanship, told me the expected surge in Democratic turnout would be offset by new evangelical voters. "My prayer going into this was that the evangelical vote was the X Factor," he said. Rosario Marin, a former U.S. treasurer, thought that Bush had succeeded in increasing his support among Hispanic voters. She was telling me why Latinos did not, in fact, oppose to the Iraq war when Gillespie announced that ABC had called Florida for Bush.

Aaaaaaaaah! she screamed, into my right ear."Oh, sorry." Then: Aaaaaaaaaah! "Oh, sorry." Aaaaaaaaaaaah! I told her she should go ahead and scream. After she caught her breath, Marin said: "I'm so happy. I'm so excited. My heart is pumping. I've got to call my husband." And then she was gone.

Bush never appeared at his 2000 victory party. Around 3 a.m. Wednesday, a question arose as to whether, in fact, he would appear at this one. CNN's John King reported that Bush had stormed into Karl Rove's office and asked the guru to let him declare victory. The reporters in the press room that weren't asleep let out a whoop. King later reported that Rove told the networks that if they would just call New Mexico for Bush, the president would make his way to the Reagan Building. The message was clear: I know you're tired. So give me the damn state.

At 5:05 a.m., an end—sort of. CNN reported that Bush wouldn't appear in person Wednesday morning; Andy Card, his chief of staff, would speak in his place. Card arrived in a room with a few dozen listless Republicans and said nothing memorable. Mario H. Lopez, one of the listless, declared, "I don't know how I cannot describe this night as historic." Then he glanced at someone's watch and said, "I think we're gonna get some breakfast and then get ready to go to work."  ... 3:17 a.m.

Party Monster: Welcome to George W. Bush's "victory" party in Washington, D.C. Sorta. Us news reporters have been herded into a giant white tent, yards away from the actual party, and contact with revelers looks unlikely. This is what the mob outside Studio 54 must have looked like, if only you upped the dweeb factor.

As the Washington Post's "Reliable Source" column notedthis morning: "Reporters wishing to cover the president's election night party will have to pay $300 for the privilege of a 3-by-2-foot work space and a padded seat in a tent nearby to watch the proceedings on television. … Small groups of media will be escorted into the atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building to look around—but they won't be allowed to talk to participants." For a White House that hates the press, handcuffing reporters on Victory Night seems appropriate.

Last-minute indicators of victory: The handful of people I saw shuffling out of the White House grounds looked grim. Someone who identified himself as a Homeland Security apparatchik looked ebullient. On Fox News, Bill Kristol and Mort Kondracke are wearing prepared smiles. ... 4:05 p.m.

Recriminations Watch—Hispanic-Vote Edition: In the category of what my friend Noam Scheiber calls "possibly meaningless anecdotal evidence," my relatives in Northern New Mexico report an inordinate number of Bush signs in the poor Hispanic colonias—communities that figured to go overwhelmingly to Kerry. The same relatives report that Hispanic men profess to have a cultural affinity with Bush, who they see as a tough, macho sort of guy. Again, meaningless, but it underscores a point: That's about the only thing Bush has going for him with the Hispanic community. The Bushies, who heralded their leader's minority-outreach miracles as Texas governor, have done a shoddy job of courting Hispanics since entering the White House.

A few months back, Antonio Gonzalez of the William C. Velasquez Institute told me that Kerry staffers had whiffed at the Democratic Convention. They featured too few Hispanic speakers; and the preoccupation with Iraq drew attention away from domestic issues affecting the poor. All Karl Rove had to do, Gonzalez said, was goad his keynote speakers into mumbling a few "qué pasas" and the Hispanic vote might tilt slightly to Bush. Well, it didn't happen and it hasn't happened. Most surveys show Bush polling around 30 percent to 35 percent of the Hispanic vote, about what he did in 2000. Even GOP apparatchiks, wishing for miracles, don't put Bush much above 40 percent.

If Bush loses tight races in Florida and New Mexico (and, God forbid, Nevada and Colorado), an early recrimination theory might be that Bush spent too little time chasing Hispanic voters. Then again, perhaps he didn't have a chance. The sour economy disproportionately affects Hispanic and black communities; so does the Iraq War, which draws foot soldiers from the poorest segments of the population. Though both candidates ran Spanish-language ads in the Southwest, the campaigns seemed, at times, to forget about Hispanic voters entirely. Remember the fixation on the gringo Spanish spoken (haltingly) by Al Gore and Bush in 2000? Did Bush and Kerry ignore Hispanic voters, or has the media processed them as stable members of the electorate?

Even if Bush should lose, the GOP would be wise to thank him for ratcheting up their Hispanic numbers to Ronald Reagan levels—and up from depths plumbed by the Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush campaigns. But for a man who wonEl Paso County in his 1998 gubernatorial race, 35 percent doesn't seem like much of a miracle. ... 1:11 p.m.

Tom DeLay's Poetic Justice: Tom DeLay's push to rejigger Texas' congressional districts, an effort that caused such a kerfuffle last year, has faded under the onslaught of Swift Boat Veterans, the Osama tape, and Al Qaqaa. But DeLay's gambit has been no less effective. Five Texas Democrats face re-election Tuesday in GOP-friendly districts, and even the most optimistic Dems predict that only one or two of them (probably Martin Frost or Chet Edwards) can survive. There's a better-than-even shot that allfive Democrats will lose, giving the House GOP majority an enormous boost.

But it's not all sad news. With an influx of new Republicans comes an infusion of unwitting comic genius. Most of this can be seen in the personage of Ted Poe. Poe, a former Houston felony court judge, kicked off his national political career in August by boldly proclaiming, "Now is not the time to be a French Republican."

On the bench in Houston, Poe styled himself as a remorseless, Wild West, hangin' judge in the tradition of Roy Bean. His brainchild was something he called "Poetic Justice." With "Poetic Justice," Poe sentenced criminals to public humiliations to teach them a lesson. Shoplifters who found themselves in front of Poe, for instance, had to stand outside the stores they pinched from carrying signs identifying themselves as criminals.

When a man robbed legendary Lone Ranger star Clayton Moore, Poe made the perp shovel manure 20 hours a month at the Houston police department's horse pens. The sentence was to last for 10 years.

The Club for Growth's Stephen Moore reports that Poe made convicted car thieves hand over their own cars to their victims. Convicted murderers were forced to visit their victims' grave sites; others felons had to hang their victims' pictures in their cells and, upon release, carry them in their wallets. According to the Houston Press, Poe slapped one homicidal drunken driver with the following the rap:

… boot camp; erecting and maintaining a cross and Star of David at the accident site; carrying pictures of the victims in his wallet for ten years; observing the autopsy of a drunk-driving victim; placing flowers on the graves of the two victims on their birthdays for the next ten years; and carrying a sign outside a bar that reads, "I killed two people while driving drunk."

This article describes the ambiance of Poe's Houston office: "a poster of Alcatraz, a painting of a scene from the battle of Gettysburg and a sign proclaiming, 'I really don't care how you did it up north.' "

As the Houston Chronicle reports, victims' relatives have charged that Poe would often fail to follow through on the harsh sentences—a revelation which comes as something of a relief. Slate eagerly awaits the punishments Poe metes out on congressional Democrats. ... 11:12 a.m.

A Snowball's Chance: If the election drifts into Mountain Time Tuesday, will John Kerry regret stiffing New Mexico? That's one theory being floated on Joe Monahan's superb New Mexico political blog tonight. George W. Bush visited the state Monday, Dick Cheney over the weekend. So, New Mexicans will wake up Tuesday to read triumphant Bush headlines like this and this, while they'll see news pictures of Kerry overnighting in Wisconsin.

Bill Richardson pulls all the puppet-strings in New Mexico, but there's mounting evidence that Kerry may be in trouble. The polls have looked limp. And there's a theory that Al Gore's slim margin in 2000—366 votes, all found days after the election—may be attributable to one thing: snow.

On Election Day 2000, a freak snowstorm blanketed "Little Texas," the swath of southeastern New Mexico known for its cultural and political kinship with its neighbor. Conservative voters in three counties stayed home in droves. With Gore running strong in northern New Mexico and narrowly winning Albuquerque, the snowed-in voters may have cost Bush the state.

Tuesday's weather report: This site says "rain and snow showers will linger" near the region. Kerry may need every flake and drop.  … 12:01 a.m.

Monday, Nov. 1 2004

The ESPN Primary: "Mr. President, I am wondering how you feel about taxpayers having to have a financial burden placed on them for building new stadiums and new facilities for existing teams?" So went The Candidates: Election 2004,ESPN's special last night that valiantly tried to make Tuesday's contest into a referendum on professional sports. Jim Gray, the thinking man's Ahmad Rashad, the guy who hones his interview technique on coaches trying to sneak off the court before halftime ("So, uh, how do you prepare for the second half?"), landed interviews with both candidates. With its modus operandi inching ever closer to that of Sabado Gigante, it's groovy to see ESPN put on its serious face once in a while—for the shtick to give way to grave pronouncements about THE WORLD BEYOND SPORTS. Except that Gray never acknowledged that such a thing existed.

In response to a question about ticket prices, Bush replied, "I was always concerned when I was with the Rangers that our ticket prices would become so high that the family would be priced out of baseball." Perhaps this is why Bush helped build the Ballpark at Arlington, one of the most expensive venues in baseball and one of its most soulless. For his part, Kerry repeated his I-stand-with-the-working-man pabulum, suggesting that fathers were looting their children's college funds to sit at club level.

Asked to name his favorite athlete, Kerry, of course, straddled, ticking off a fair slice of the Boston Bruins' first line and, for swing-state mojo, a handful of Detroit Red Wings. Bush got another chance to coo about his clutch performance during the 2001 World Series. And that's about as deep as our man Gray got. There are some reasonably interesting questions to ask about sports, such as why it remains one of the viciously anti-gay segments of public life, a black mark that is ignored when it isn't celebrated.

But why get huffy when you can ask both candidates, as Gray did, what should be done about Pete Rose, who after his selfless act of contrition last winter finds himself no closer to baseball's Hall of Fame? This is the kind of spitball that will get you hooted off most respectable sports radio shows, but the candidates tried their level best. Bush said Rose had never really apologized to baseball. Kerry straddled, then agreed. You could see the nervous flicker in both men's eyes—Bush: Christian values!; Kerry: Cincinnati values!—as they tried outflank one another on Charlie Hustle's quagmire.  ... 10:02 p.m.


          One Nation Under Bush   

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.—"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."

I know the Bush-Cheney campaign occasionally requires the people who attend its events to sign loyalty oaths, but this was the first time I have ever seen an audience actually stand and utter one. Maybe they've replaced the written oath with a verbal one.

This may be the first and only time the "Bush Pledge" has been taken at an event I've attended (or any event for that matter), but I'm not the best witness. One of the unfortunate drawbacks of traveling with a presidential candidate is that you arrive at a political rally when he does, which means you arrive right before he speaks. Neither President Bush nor John Kerry spends a lot of time waiting backstage while the warm-up acts address the crowd. Those speakers are timed to end when the candidate arrives (although, given that Kerry is habitually late, I wonder if they tell the introductory speakers to go long), so the traveling press typically misses their remarks.

Because I've been traveling "outside the bubble" of the campaign planes for the past week, I arrived at a Thursday rally for Laura Bush before it began, and I sat with the local press. For only the second time, I witnessed a Bush campaign event in full. It wasn't a particularly notable experience, except for the fact that it opened with that weird pledge of fealty, reminiscent of the cultlike cheer that Wal-Mart forces its employees to perform. There were a few good lines, such as this one from Florida state Sen. Mike Haridopolos: "Our president likes to sign the front of your check. His opponent likes to sign the back of your check." But the second-most memorable event was a remarkably mendacious speech given by U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, a Republican from Florida's 16th District.

Foley had the gall to condemn Kerry for his "reckless disregard for the facts" in a speech in which the least of his errors came when he sloppily claimed that John Edwards has served in the U.S. Senate for four years, rather than six. The main target of Foley's attack was Kerry's criticism of the president for allowing the al-Qaqaa weapons dump to be looted, presumably by terrorists, during a war that was designed precisely to prevent such an event from occurring. "The senator from Massachusetts immediately grabbed onto that without doing any checking, any fact-checking. He didn't even call Dan Rather," Foley said. But "NBC News followed up saying, oh-ho, not so fast. We don't have all the facts yet. Yet he went on national TV and announced, with reckless disregard for the facts, that somehow during George Bush's administration, these weapons were stolen." Foley's right in one sense, that we still don't have all the facts. But here's a fact that emerged after Foley's speech: Former weapons inspector David Kay said on CNN after viewing the footage of the site filmed by ABC News, "There was HMX, RDX in there. The seal was broken. And quite frankly, to me the most frightening thing is not only was the seal broken, lock broken, but the soldiers left after opening it up. I mean, to rephrase the so-called Pottery Barn rule. If you open an arms bunker, you own it. You have to provide security."

Foley continued, "Well, folks, one thing it does prove: There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before we went there." Well, um, there were weapons. The explosives weren't biological, chemical, or nuclear. And they were locked up by the international weapons inspectors derided by the administration, and they were "liberated" by the president's war. But instead of concluding that the war was a mistake, or at least that it should have been conducted differently, Foley declared, "The other thing it proves is that Saddam Hussein was the most important weapon of mass destruction to remove, and this president took him down." If we invaded North Korea and that country's nuclear weapons ended up in the hands of al-Qaida, would that prove that the invasion was a success?

But if you don't believe the Iraq invasion was justified, you can still vote for President Bush because he hugs little girls and, most important of all, he threw a baseball. After telling the audience of his personal experience of Sept. 11, Foley revisited the story of Bush throwing out the first pitch of the World Series in 2001, which received a hilariously somber treatment in a video narrated by Fred Thompson at the Republican convention. Like any tall tale, the story has become more and more embroidered with time. In Foley's version, the president boldly strode to the mound "without a bulletproof vest." But the entire point of the convention video was that throwing the ball from the mound was so difficult because Bush's arms were restricted by a bulletproof vest.

I'm not sure which is crazier, thinking that al-Qaqaa proves that the Iraq war was justified, or that President Bush stood on the mound at Yankee Stadium less than two months after 9/11 without wearing a flak jacket. Based on his speech, Mark Foley is either delusional or he has a serious problem telling the truth. But you can't blame him. He's probably angling for a job in a second Bush administration.


          Candy Store Worked Caught Fucking The Owners Son By Security Camera   
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          How-to Guides>> Cross-Post: Practitioner Guidelines on Conducting Knowledge Audits   
These guidelines were compiled by the participants in the Kuala Lumpur Knowledge Management Roundtable, May 3 2017, hosted by Securities Commission Malaysia. 1. BEFORE THE KNOWLEDGE AUDIT a)Framing: Examine the organisation’s structure, and the distinct functions of each department. Get hold of the department business process workflows. Have preliminary conversations with management to sound them out informally on the idea, identify the pain points and business issues they are concerned about. Make informal observations of the current culture, business processes, and knowledge types being used in the business. Make sure you understand the culture of the organisation, the business environment and ecosystem, as well as current organisational change initiatives under way. Consider the best model of audit, and audit methods to use for that culture and situation. Identify key potential influencers, supporters, partners, naysayers. Speak with potential allies first (e.g. HODs of friendly departments) and socialize them on the knowledge audit concept, seeking their feedback on how it could be made most useful to them. Be clear on the objective of the audit, i.e. what we want to achieve, the potential ROI of the audit, the main issues to address, how it connects to and supports business objectives, who are our stakeholders, who are our sponsors, who are our target audiences and respondents. Consider what label you are going to use for the knowledge audit, appropriate to the organisational culture – (e.g. KM assessment, KM evaluation, knowledge audit, KM audit, knowledge mapping, KM needs analysis, KM planning exercise, etc.). Make sure you have sufficient resources to conduct the audit, scale the audit to your resources. If it is a discovery audit, be sure you have sufficient resources to pursue additional lines of enquiry if new issues come up during the audit. Determine the audit type, and the appropriate audit methods considering your objectives, your capabilities and resources and your organisation culture. Get formal support and buy-in for the audit scoping from senior management – be clear about the level of resources, participation and time required, from them, and from their people. Be clear about the need and benefits of a knowledge audit, the intended goals, desired outcomes, and guiding principles, and be clear about the importance of their role in implementing the recommendations when the audit is complete. Connect the audit to your understanding of the business strategy to show how KM assists the business strategy. Share examples of how similar organisations have used knowledge audits to produce business benefits. Ask them for a clear mandate and for their assistance in nominating the right participants in the audit. If it is a discovery audit, let them know that the activities may change based on issues discovered as the audit progresses. b)Planning: Define what outcomes you want from each step in the knowledge audit process, and identify risks to the outcomes, and mitigation strategies for those risks. Identify constraints that could impact the project plan – e.g. other organisational initiatives, annual cycles of events, holiday periods etc. If you are using an external consultant, identify potential candidates, and scope their work and role in the project. Define the requirements and deliverables. Make sure you have the resources and budget required. Identify the roles and resources required from your own team, and ensure they have the time and capacity to perform their roles. Identify the right respondents for your knowledge audit (based on audit type, and audit goals) – e.g. subject matter experts, department representatives, representatives of different types of staff (functions, levels, years of service). Come up with a detailed project plan and timeline, with major deliverables, completion criteria, all the way from initial communications and preparation to the implementation of audit recommendations. c)Preparing: Identify the major focus areas to explore for surveys, interviews, focus groups. Design the data collection instruments and the workshops, as relevant. Invite the right level of staff – preferably 2-5 years of experience doing the job. Make sure their managers are informed of the invitations, or that the invitations are routed via their managers. If you can, get the main (senior) project sponsor to send out the invitations. Develop a communications package for all the knowledge audit respondents on their required involvement, any preparation, assurances of confidentiality (if relevant), what will be done with their inputs, etc. Communicate to all stakeholders and participants what the audit’s purpose is, what their involvement will be, and what the desired outcomes are. Provide briefing documents for each stakeholder/participant type and each major activity they are involved in – e.g. senior leadership, heads of department, subject matter experts, etc. Run briefing and awareness sessions for stakeholders and participants, on the plan. Prepare the logistics, materials and tools for the audit data collection activities. Consider the venues, and method of collecting data – e.g. recording, transcription, mapping tools, post-its and flip charts. For workshops think about well-lighted rooms, with plenty of wall-space, refreshments, and away from work emails and distractions. For interviews, think about the value of having interviews at the workplace where work artefacts can be pointed out or observed. Learn as much as you can about the participants’ job roles, major functions and work processes in advance of the audit commencement. 2. DURING THE KNOWLEDGE AUDIT Be open to using a variety of methods for collective sensemaking and data gathering: e.g. World Café, anecdote circles. Make sure the people who turn up are properly qualified to give you the data you need – if less experienced or more junior people turn up, go back to their bosses and your original mandate to ask for the right people. Be prepared to keep communicating the purpose, activities and desired outcomes, and to remind participants at every stage in the activity. They will not remember the big picture from one point in the project to the next. Provide handholding and coaching where required on things like mapping activities. For workshops, think of having a main facilitator to drive the whole workshop, and co-facilitators to coach and guide individuals or groups within the workshop activities. Have an experienced facilitator who knows how to deal with cases where participants give push-back and do not want to cooperate. Consider whether you might need an external facilitator/ consultant. Anticipate potential push-back (your initial sensing in the Framing phase will help) and prepare your responses. Document the issues raised by participants during the exercise. Maintain and open mind, and document issues they raise even if you disagree with them or think them unimportant. Use, video, audio, photos, note-taking, maps, mind-maps, transcriptions, etc. Be prepared to go back to them for clarifications on any feedback that is unclear. If creating knowledge asset maps, make sure the business activity and knowledge asset descriptions are documented clearly and as completely as possible. Make sure you validate their contributions back with them once it has been documented. Anticipate potential confusions or errors – e.g. assuming that business activities in a knowledge map are the same as process flows. Try to provide for something of value in the audit activities that they can take back with them and use immediately – e.g. facilitating them towards an awareness of things they can address immediately before waiting for the audit close. This creates buy-in and will support the change management effort later when the post-audit implementation plan is ready. Try to include some elements of fun in workshop activities, as well as food and a pleasant environment. Be clear about what will be documented, how confidentiality will be handled, and make sure you maintain their trust by demonstrating your knowledge of their roles and work areas, and by sticking to the guiding principles and assurances given at the start. Be prepared to deal with sensitivities and doubts about how their input will be used, and what it is for, e.g. if participants do not like to acknowledge risks or gaps, explain the purpose, and adjust the terminology as necessary. Maintain a balance between being knowledgeable about their work (to identify pain points, focus areas and prepare probing questions, and to establish trust and common ground) and being naïve about their work so that you can ask naïve questions. Naïve questions often provide rich insights. Provide regular updates on the progress of the exercise. Be prepared to adjust your audit plan, to add or change audit activities and/or audit methods, to investigate new issues, based on the findings and observations during the audit. 3. AFTER THE KNOWLEDGE AUDIT Analyse the data and prepare the audit report with observations and recommendations. Summarise the key messages and validate if necessary with key respondents. Substantiate findings with verbatim examples and participant inputs in their own words, anonymised if necessary. In your report, focus on the original audit objectives. However, make sure you document and maintain any findings or data discovered in the audit that may be of relevance in the future. Be prepared to produce supplementary reports in the future based on this data to address specific issues that may arise. Review the report with your own internal team first to make sure their insights into the audit process and findings are considered. Be clear about what you want to use the report to achieve. Determine the most important actions to be taken as a result of the audit, focusing on the most important risks, gaps and opportunities, seek senior management endorsement, and develop a detailed implementation plan, with a means of tracking and measuring progress and impact against the plan. Define tangible benefits that you can identify as positive outcomes from the audit. If possible, embed the action plan into the organisation’s annual strategic plan and workplans. Determine the best ways to present and communicate the knowledge audit findings promptly (a) to the participants (b) to the sponsor and stakeholders© to the people responsible for follow up actions and (d) to the organisation at large. Prepare a communications package for each audience and purpose. Consider a range of formats to communicate key points: written report, presentation slides, infographics, video summaries, promotional collateral such as calendars, mousepads, etc. If you have created knowledge maps, make sure you revisit them, refresh them and repurpose them continuously e.g. to track risks, opportunities and gaps addressed, identify and track new activities, as input to taxonomy, as inputs to departments on department level KM activities, etc. Don’t be afraid to keep going back to your data and redeploying it for new purposes. Let people see that it can be a constant reference tool. Do change management. Be prepared to provide continuous support and networking on the follow up activities. Provide tools and automation as necessary, with reasonable maintenance and support costs. For the inputs in this post, our thanks to participants from: •CyberSecurity Malaysia •INCEIF •JKR •MTDC •PETRONAS •Securities Commission Malaysia •Straits Knowledge and Ghazali Mohamed Fadzil. Do please feel free to comment if you would like to add or modify any guidelines.
          Blog>> Practitioner Guidelines for Knowledge Audits   
These guidelines were compiled by the participants in the Kuala Lumpur Knowledge Management Roundtable, May 3 2017, hosted by Securities Commission Malaysia. 1. BEFORE THE KNOWLEDGE AUDIT a)Framing: Examine the organisation’s structure, and the distinct functions of each department. Get hold of the department business process workflows. Have preliminary conversations with management to sound them out informally on the idea, identify the pain points and business issues they are concerned about. Make informal observations of the current culture, business processes, and knowledge types being used in the business. Make sure you understand the culture of the organisation, the business environment and ecosystem, as well as current organisational change initiatives under way. Consider the best model of audit, and audit methods to use for that culture and situation. Identify key potential influencers, supporters, partners, naysayers. Speak with potential allies first (e.g. HODs of friendly departments) and socialize them on the knowledge audit concept, seeking their feedback on how it could be made most useful to them. Be clear on the objective of the audit, i.e. what we want to achieve, the potential ROI of the audit, the main issues to address, how it connects to and supports business objectives, who are our stakeholders, who are our sponsors, who are our target audiences and respondents. Consider what label you are going to use for the knowledge audit, appropriate to the organisational culture – (e.g. KM assessment, KM evaluation, knowledge audit, KM audit, knowledge mapping, KM needs analysis, KM planning exercise, etc.). Make sure you have sufficient resources to conduct the audit, scale the audit to your resources. If it is a discovery audit, be sure you have sufficient resources to pursue additional lines of enquiry if new issues come up during the audit. Determine the audit type, and the appropriate audit methods considering your objectives, your capabilities and resources and your organisation culture. Get formal support and buy-in for the audit scoping from senior management – be clear about the level of resources, participation and time required, from them, and from their people. Be clear about the need and benefits of a knowledge audit, the intended goals, desired outcomes, and guiding principles, and be clear about the importance of their role in implementing the recommendations when the audit is complete. Connect the audit to your understanding of the business strategy to show how KM assists the business strategy. Share examples of how similar organisations have used knowledge audits to produce business benefits. Ask them for a clear mandate and for their assistance in nominating the right participants in the audit. If it is a discovery audit, let them know that the activities may change based on issues discovered as the audit progresses. b)Planning: Define what outcomes you want from each step in the knowledge audit process, and identify risks to the outcomes, and mitigation strategies for those risks. Identify constraints that could impact the project plan – e.g. other organisational initiatives, annual cycles of events, holiday periods etc. If you are using an external consultant, identify potential candidates, and scope their work and role in the project. Define the requirements and deliverables. Make sure you have the resources and budget required. Identify the roles and resources required from your own team, and ensure they have the time and capacity to perform their roles. Identify the right respondents for your knowledge audit (based on audit type, and audit goals) – e.g. subject matter experts, department representatives, representatives of different types of staff (functions, levels, years of service). Come up with a detailed project plan and timeline, with major deliverables, completion criteria, all the way from initial communications and preparation to the implementation of audit recommendations. c)Preparing: Identify the major focus areas to explore for surveys, interviews, focus groups. Design the data collection instruments and the workshops, as relevant. Invite the right level of staff – preferably 2-5 years of experience doing the job. Make sure their managers are informed of the invitations, or that the invitations are routed via their managers. If you can, get the main (senior) project sponsor to send out the invitations. Develop a communications package for all the knowledge audit respondents on their required involvement, any preparation, assurances of confidentiality (if relevant), what will be done with their inputs, etc. Communicate to all stakeholders and participants what the audit’s purpose is, what their involvement will be, and what the desired outcomes are. Provide briefing documents for each stakeholder/participant type and each major activity they are involved in – e.g. senior leadership, heads of department, subject matter experts, etc. Run briefing and awareness sessions for stakeholders and participants, on the plan. Prepare the logistics, materials and tools for the audit data collection activities. Consider the venues, and method of collecting data – e.g. recording, transcription, mapping tools, post-its and flip charts. For workshops think about well-lighted rooms, with plenty of wall-space, refreshments, and away from work emails and distractions. For interviews, think about the value of having interviews at the workplace where work artefacts can be pointed out or observed. Learn as much as you can about the participants’ job roles, major functions and work processes in advance of the audit commencement. 2. DURING THE KNOWLEDGE AUDIT Be open to using a variety of methods for collective sensemaking and data gathering: e.g. World Café, anecdote circles. Make sure the people who turn up are properly qualified to give you the data you need – if less experienced or more junior people turn up, go back to their bosses and your original mandate to ask for the right people. Be prepared to keep communicating the purpose, activities and desired outcomes, and to remind participants at every stage in the activity. They will not remember the big picture from one point in the project to the next. Provide handholding and coaching where required on things like mapping activities. For workshops, think of having a main facilitator to drive the whole workshop, and co-facilitators to coach and guide individuals or groups within the workshop activities. Have an experienced facilitator who knows how to deal with cases where participants give push-back and do not want to cooperate. Consider whether you might need an external facilitator/ consultant. Anticipate potential push-back (your initial sensing in the Framing phase will help) and prepare your responses. Document the issues raised by participants during the exercise. Maintain and open mind, and document issues they raise even if you disagree with them or think them unimportant. Use, video, audio, photos, note-taking, maps, mind-maps, transcriptions, etc. Be prepared to go back to them for clarifications on any feedback that is unclear. If creating knowledge asset maps, make sure the business activity and knowledge asset descriptions are documented clearly and as completely as possible. Make sure you validate their contributions back with them once it has been documented. Anticipate potential confusions or errors – e.g. assuming that business activities in a knowledge map are the same as process flows. Try to provide for something of value in the audit activities that they can take back with them and use immediately – e.g. facilitating them towards an awareness of things they can address immediately before waiting for the audit close. This creates buy-in and will support the change management effort later when the post-audit implementation plan is ready. Try to include some elements of fun in workshop activities, as well as food and a pleasant environment. Be clear about what will be documented, how confidentiality will be handled, and make sure you maintain their trust by demonstrating your knowledge of their roles and work areas, and by sticking to the guiding principles and assurances given at the start. Be prepared to deal with sensitivities and doubts about how their input will be used, and what it is for, e.g. if participants do not like to acknowledge risks or gaps, explain the purpose, and adjust the terminology as necessary. Maintain a balance between being knowledgeable about their work (to identify pain points, focus areas and prepare probing questions, and to establish trust and common ground) and being naïve about their work so that you can ask naïve questions. Naïve questions often provide rich insights. Provide regular updates on the progress of the exercise. Be prepared to adjust your audit plan, to add or change audit activities and/or audit methods, to investigate new issues, based on the findings and observations during the audit. 3. AFTER THE KNOWLEDGE AUDIT Analyse the data and prepare the audit report with observations and recommendations. Summarise the key messages and validate if necessary with key respondents. Substantiate findings with verbatim examples and participant inputs in their own words, anonymised if necessary. In your report, focus on the original audit objectives. However, make sure you document and maintain any findings or data discovered in the audit that may be of relevance in the future. Be prepared to produce supplementary reports in the future based on this data to address specific issues that may arise. Review the report with your own internal team first to make sure their insights into the audit process and findings are considered. Be clear about what you want to use the report to achieve. Determine the most important actions to be taken as a result of the audit, focusing on the most important risks, gaps and opportunities, seek senior management endorsement, and develop a detailed implementation plan, with a means of tracking and measuring progress and impact against the plan. Define tangible benefits that you can identify as positive outcomes from the audit. If possible, embed the action plan into the organisation’s annual strategic plan and workplans. Determine the best ways to present and communicate the knowledge audit findings promptly (a) to the participants (b) to the sponsor and stakeholders© to the people responsible for follow up actions and (d) to the organisation at large. Prepare a communications package for each audience and purpose. Consider a range of formats to communicate key points: written report, presentation slides, infographics, video summaries, promotional collateral such as calendars, mousepads, etc. If you have created knowledge maps, make sure you revisit them, refresh them and repurpose them continuously e.g. to track risks, opportunities and gaps addressed, identify and track new activities, as input to taxonomy, as inputs to departments on department level KM activities, etc. Don’t be afraid to keep going back to your data and redeploying it for new purposes. Let people see that it can be a constant reference tool. Do change management. Be prepared to provide continuous support and networking on the follow up activities. Provide tools and automation as necessary, with reasonable maintenance and support costs. For the inputs in this post, our thanks to participants from: •CyberSecurity Malaysia •INCEIF •JKR •MTDC •PETRONAS •Securities Commission Malaysia •Straits Knowledge and Ghazali Mohamed Fadzil. Do please feel free to comment if you would like to add or modify any guidelines.
          Kerry vs. His Script   

WATERLOO, Iowa—Since the final presidential debate, John Kerry has traveled around the country delivering a series of speeches that his campaign calls his "closing argument." The topics vary, but the theme is always the same, the "Fresh Start for America": Friday in Milwaukee, a "fresh start" for jobs; Monday in Tampa, a "fresh start" for health care; Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., a "fresh start" for fiscal responsibility and Social Security. The speeches are supposed to convince Americans of Kerry's fitness for the presidency, but a side effect has been to demonstrate how inept he is at delivering prepared remarks.

The campaign gives reporters the text of each of Kerry's speeches "as prepared for delivery," apparently to show how much Kerry diverges from them. During his stump speeches and town halls, Kerry makes the occasional Bush-style error, such as the time I saw him tell a blind man in St. Louis that he would "look you in the eye." Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio, Kerry tried to thank teachers for spending money out of their own pockets on students, but instead it came out as a thank-you to Mary Kay Letourneau as he said, "And they're putting out for our kids." His pronunciation of "idear" grates on my ears far more than Bush's "nucular." But the authentic Kerryism emerges only when he gives a formal address.

Kerry proves incapable of reading simple declarative sentences. He inserts dependent clauses and prepositional phrases until every sentence is a watery mess. Kerry couldn't read a Dick and Jane book to schoolchildren without transforming its sentences into complex run-ons worthy of David Foster Wallace. Kerry's speechwriters routinely insert the line "We can bring back that mighty dream," near the conclusion of his speeches, presumably as an echo of Ted Kennedy's Shrum-penned "the dream will never die" speech from the 1980 Democratic convention. Kerry saps the line of its power. Here's his version from Monday's speech in Tampa: "We can bring back the mighty dream of this country, that's what's at stake in these next two weeks."

Kerry flubs his punch lines, sprinkles in irrelevant anecdotes, and talks himself into holes that he has trouble improvising his way out of. He steps on his applause lines by uttering them prematurely, and then when they roll up on his TelePrompTer later, he's forced to pirouette and throat-clear until he figures out how not to repeat himself. He piles adjective upon adjective until it's like listening to a speech delivered by Roget.

Kerry's health-care speech Monday in Tampa was a classic of the form. The written text contained a little more than 2,500 words. By the time he was finished, Kerry had spoken nearly 5,300 words—not including his introductory remarks and thank-yous to local politicians—more than doubling the verbiage. Pity his speechwriters when you read the highlights below. It's not their fault.

Kerry's Script: Most of all, I will always level with the American people. 

Actual Kerry: Most of all, my fellow Americans, I pledge to you that I will always level with the American people, because it's only by leveling and telling the truth that you build the legitimacy and gain the consent of the people who ultimately we are accountable to. I will level with the American people.

Kerry's Script: I will work with Republicans and Democrats on this health care plan, and we will pass it.

Actual Kerry: I will work with Republicans and Democrats across the aisle, openly, not with an ideological, driven, fixed, rigid concept, but much like Franklin Roosevelt said, I don't care whether a good idea is a Republican idea or a Democrat idea. I just care whether or not it's gonna work for Americans and help make our country stronger. And we will pass this bill. I'll tell you a little bit about it in a minute, and I'll tell you why we'll pass it, because it's different from anything we've ever done before, despite what the Republicans want to try to tell you.

Kerry's Script: These worries are real, and they're happening all across America.

Actual Kerry: These worries are real. They're not made up. These stories aren't something that's part of a Democrat plan or a Republican plan. These are American stories. These are the stories of American citizens. And it's not just individual citizens who are feeling the pressure of health care costs. It's businesses across America. It's CEOs all across America. This is an American problem.

Kerry's Script: That's wrong, and we have to change it.

Actual Kerry: Well, that's wrong, my friends. We shouldn't be just hoping and praying. We need leadership that acts and responds and leads and makes things happen.     

Kerry's Script: That's wrong, and we have to change it.

Actual Kerry: Well, that's wrong. We had a chance to change it in the Congress of the United States. They chose otherwise. And I'll talk about that in a minute.

Kerry's Script: It's wrong to make it illegal for Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies for lower prices.

Actual Kerry: But not satisfied to hold onto the drug company's profit there, they went further. Medicare belongs to you. Medicare is paid by the taxpayer. Medicare is a taxpayer-funded program to keep seniors out of poverty. And we want to lower the cost to seniors, right? It's common sense. But when given the opportunity to do that, this president made it illegal for Medicare to do what the VA does, which is go out and bulk purchase drugs so we could lower the taxpayers' bill and lower the cost to seniors. It is wrong to make it illegal to lower the cost of tax and lower the cost to seniors. 

Kerry's Script: And if there was any doubt before, his response to the shortage of flu vaccines put it to rest.

Actual Kerry: Now, if you had any doubts at all about anything that I've just said to you, anybody who's listening can go to johnkerry.com or you can go to other independent sources and you can track down the truth of what I've just said. But if you had any doubts about it at all, his response to the shortage of the flu vaccine ought to put them all to rest.

Kerry's Script: I believe we need a fresh start on health care in America. I believe we need a President who will fight for the great middle class and those struggling to join it. And with your help, I will be that kind of President.

Actual Kerry: I believe so deeply—and as I go around, Bob and Bill and I were talking about this coming over here from other places—that the hope that we're seeing in the eyes of our fellow Americans, folks like you who have come here today who know what's at stake in this race. This isn't about Democrat and Republican or ideology. This is about solving problems, real problems that make our country strong and help build community and take care of other human beings. I believe we need a fresh start on health care in America. I believe we need a President who's going to fight for the great middle class and those who really are struggling, even below minimum wage now. And they won't even raise it. With your help, ladies and gentlemen, I intend to be that kind of President who stands up and fights for the people who need the help.

Kerry's Script: Families will be able to choose from dozens of different private insurance plans.

Actual Kerry: Now George Bush is trying to scare America. And he's running around telling everybody—I saw this ad the other night. I said, "What is that about? That's not my plan. That may be some 20 years ago they pulled out of the old thing." But here's what they do, they are trying to tell you that there is some big government deal. Ladies and gentlemen, we choose. I happen to choose Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I could choose Kaiser. I could choose Pilgrim. I could choose Phelan. I could choose any number of different choices. That's what we get. And we look through all the different choices and make our choice. You ought to have that same choice. The government doesn't tell what you to do. The government doesn't run it. It gives you the choice.

Kerry's Script: Ladies and Gentlemen, here's the Bush Health Care Plan: Don't get a flu shot, don't import less-expensive drugs, don't negotiate for lower prices, and most of all, don't get sick.

Actual Kerry: So, Ladies and Gentlemen, if you had doubts about it at all, here's the Bush Health Care Plan: Don't get a flu shot, don't import less-expensive drugs from Canada, don't negotiate for lower prices on prescription drugs. And don't get sick. Just pray, stand up and hope, wait—whatever. We are all left wondering and hoping. That's it.


          Kerry Speaks French   

ORLANDO—Let's see: Your opponent is characterizing you as an effete internationalist willing to "turn America's national security decisions over to international bodies or leaders of other countries." In particular, he suggests, in all seriousness, that you want to call up Jacques Chirac for permission before deploying the military. At the Republican National Convention, you were portrayed as a beret-wearing poodle named "Fifi Kerry." How should you defend yourself against these slanders?

By speaking French on the stump, of course. Click here to hear John Kerry's foray into the language of Paris during a Monday rally here. I wasn't watching Kerry on stage when he made his remarks, but from the context he appears to have seen someone from Haiti and decided to acknowledge the person in his or her native tongue.

What does Kerry say? My knowledge of French is limited to the lyrics to "Lady Marmalade," so I consulted my friend John Wilkerson, a Washington journalist and French speaker. He translates the first part as, "You're Haitian? OK," but says the rest sounded like gibberish. "I think at that point he was just a character on Saturday Night Live," Wilkerson says.

Readers? Can anyone make it out? Post your explanations, serious or otherwise, in the Fray. Slug them "Kerry's French translation."

Scotland's Sunday Herald called Kerry's French fluency a "campaign secret" yesterday. Looks like the secret is out. Here's some suggested spin for the Kerry campaign: He wasn't speaking French. He was speaking Freedom.

Update, 10/19/04: According to the New York Times, Agence France-Presse, and bazillions of readers, Kerry said, "Je vais aider les Haitiens," which means, "I will help the Haitians." Sticklers say Kerry mispronounced both "Haiti" and "Haitians," which caused several people to think he said, "I will help the states." Canadians said they had the easiest time understanding Kerry, since they're used to listening to American-accented French.

Assessments of Kerry's accent ranged from "impeccable" to "good" to "mediocre" to "abominable" to "better than Bush's Texas-twinged Spanglish." One correspondent wrote, "It sounds more like, 'I'm going to help the Chechens!' "

My favorite fanciful translation: "I have a plan to learn French."


          Unanswered Questions   

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—There are lots of questions going into the third and final presidential debate of the 2004 campaign: Will President Bush find his inside voice? After two debate victories, will the overconfident, coasting "Bad Kerry" return? Will Bush wire himself with an earpiece so he can listen to the baseball playoffs? What bad Red Sox joke will Kerry make? Most important, wouldn't the nation be better off if this were another foreign-policy debate?

If you've paid any attention at all to the presidential campaign for the past seven months, you know the basic differences between Bush and Kerry on taxes, health care, education, abortion, same-sex marriage, Social Security, outsourcing, or whatever your favorite domestic issue is. There are no unanswered questions for the two men that I can think of. Instead, Wednesday night's debate will be a shallow exercise in political point-scoring, with each candidate trying to highlight the embarrassing parts of his opponent's record.

Normally, I'd think such an event would be both great fun and worthwhile. But on foreign policy, the central issue of this election, there's still a great deal of confusion as to where each candidate stands, despite a presidential debate and a half, and a vice presidential debate, on the subject. Do you know, for example, what John Kerry's position is on how the nation should deal with state sponsors of terrorism? Does he agree with Bush that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves? What's his opinion of the Bush Doctrine? Would he amend it? If so, how? Does he think the nation should adhere to a foreign-policy doctrine, or should we just take an ad hoc approach to terrorism and other global problems?

None of those questions were addressed in the first three debates. The campaign's focus on unilateralism vs. internationalism has obscured the more fundamental foreign-policy difference between Bush and Kerry: their views on the role of states, and state sponsors, in the war on terror. Matt Bai's New York Times Magazine piece on John Kerry's view of the war on terror elucidates this difference between the two men more clearly than any article yet written on Kerry's foreign policy, including manful attempts by the Atlantic and TheNew Yorker.

Bush's war on terror assumes that states are the main actors in international affairs. After 9/11, Bush expressed skepticism that a mere "network" could have pulled off such a feat. Bush, Bai writes, does not believe that terrorists "can ultimately survive and operate independently of states." The Bush National Security Strategy calls terrorists "clients" of rogue states. The Bush war on terror is remarkably state-centric. After the fall of Afghanistan, the administration immediately began looking for the next state to topple.

Kerry focuses on nonstate actors, international networks that operate outside of state control. "Kerry's view, on the other hand, suggests that it is the very premise of civilized states ... that is under attack," Bai writes. Kerry's internationalism stems from his view of the war on terror, rather than vice versa: "And no one state, acting alone, can possibly have much impact on the threat, because terrorists will always be able to move around, shelter their money and connect in cyberspace; there are no capitals for a superpower like the United States to bomb, no ambassadors to recall, no economies to sanction."

The clear implication of Bai's article is not, as the Bush campaign would have it, that Kerry wants only to reduce terrorism to a "nuisance" while Bush wants to eliminate it. It's that Bush would seek to topple more regimes in his second term, while Kerry wouldn't. Perhaps everyone already knew that. But don't you want to know more about it? I've already proposed several questions for Kerry. Here are some for Bush: Mr. President, you say John Kerry has a "fundamental misunderstanding" of the war on terror when he says it is only a war against al-Qaida. Does this mean that you are likely to try to change other regimes by force in the Middle East in your second term—those that harbor, say, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad? You say those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves. What countries in the world are harboring terrorists, and how do you plan to punish them for their guilt? When you mock Sen. Kerry for saying the war on terror is in large part a "law enforcement operation," are you saying that breaking up terrorist cells is insufficient for victory in the war? What is sufficient for victory? Other than Iraq and Afghanistan, where do you see the next battleground in the war on terror?

If you want to know about the candidates' health-care plans, you can read about them on their Web sites and in newspaper articles. We're a nation at war. Don't you wish the two candidates had to answer some more questions about who exactly we're at war with?


          The $84 Question   

ST. LOUIS—Mike McCurry may have set a new standard in expectations-lowering when he predicted before Friday's debate that his candidate would actually lose in his face-off with President Bush. About a half-hour before Bush and John Kerry walked on stage at Washington University, McCurry made this prediction to a group of reporters in the media filing center: "I guarantee you the story will be"—putting on his best "Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!" announcer voice—"'Bush bounced back from a dismal performance and sets up the exciting showdown in Arizona ...' "

It sounded good, and in a sense it's true. Bush did bounce back. This wasn't "the Old Testament version of Bush," as McCurry called the bumbling caricature who showed up for the first debate. But it wasn't the return of the charmer of 2000, either. The consensus on the Bush press bus—I'll be traveling with the president between this debate and the finale Wednesday in Tempe—on the way back to our hotel was that Kerry had bested the president once again. Or perhaps it was a tie, but most reporters thought that a draw favors Kerry, because he's got the momentum, and he just has to convince people that he's not a vacillating weakling to get their votes.

Here's my predicted storyline: Before last week's debate, the speculation was whether Bush could knock Kerry out of the race with a decisive win. Heading into next week's debate, my guess is that the speculation will be about whether Kerry can put Bush away and end the campaign before the final three-week stretch begins. In particular, there will be a lot of focus on how the debate favors Kerry because the subject will be domestic policy.

But based on this debate, Bush may have the upper hand next week. Kerry had his foreign-policy answers nailed. He dominated the early portions that dealt with Iraq. But when the questions turned homeward it was Kerry, not Bush, who was on the defensive. A little of the meandering, incoherent Kerry returned, particularly in his answers to the questions on tort reform, stem-cell research, and federal funding for abortions. (But at least Kerry didn't bring up the Dred Scott decision. President Bush: Against chattel slavery.) Kerry may also just be easier to caricature, despite what the polls say, on domestic issues. Surely people are more apt to believe that Kerry will tax them to death than to believe the "global test" nonsense being peddled by the Bush campaign.

Though that wasn't the Bush spin Friday night. The Bush surrogates came into Spin Alley ready to sell the idea that Kerry failed to distance himself during the debate from the "global test" they call the "Kerry doctrine." Unfortunately, their decision highlighted one of the central flaws in Spin Alley: The spinners don't watch the end of the debates. By the time the candidates get to their closing remarks, the campaign staffers and surrogates have positioned themselves near the assembled press, and they're readying themselves for questions and TV appearances. So, maybe Bush campaign communications director Nicolle Devenish didn't hear Kerry say in his closing statement, "I will never cede the authority of our country or our security to any other nation. I'll never give a veto over American security to any other entity—not a nation, not a country, not an institution." Despite Kerry's clear renunciation of a foreign "permission slip," here was Devenish's spin as soon as the debate ended: "What was striking to me was that Kerry didn't even try to retract the global test. He has now accepted the Kerry doctrine as his own." Bush deputy campaign manager Mark Wallace said something similarly erroneous: "He affirmed the global test today, that would say there has to be permission from the world before you can take action." Actually, Kerry did the exact opposite.

Still, Devenish was the only Bush spinner I spoke to after the debate who didn't try to defend the president's strange assertion about the Duelfer report, that it shows that sanctions weren't working in Iraq. "I have to confess to being a campaign official and not an NSC spokesgal," she said. By contrast, here was Dan Bartlett: "Charlie Duelfer said both in the report and in his testimony that sanctions were unraveling, that the gaming of the system that Saddam Hussein was doing was doing just that. He was trying to game it by bribing people." But Saddam was trying to bribe people to get the sanctions lifted, and he wanted them lifted because they worked, because they prevented him from reconstituting his weapons programs. Here's Wallace: Saddam "was making a concerted effort to avoid sanctions," and "he had the means and the ability to reconstitute his WMD program." But, wait—the sanctions were precisely what were keeping Saddam from doing that. He had "the means and the ability" only if the sanctions had been lifted, and a Bush veto in the United Nations could have kept the sanctions in effect permanently. Ed Gillespie and Ken Mehlman cited the oil-for-food program as evidence that the sanctions didn't work. But again, Saddam's bribes were an attempt to get out of the sanctions that had stripped him of his chemical weapons, his biological weapons, and his nuclear program.

The defensible position for Bush would have been to argue that we had no way of knowing whether sanctions were working before we invaded. But instead he's resorted to this preposterous idea that because Saddam was trying to evade the sanctions, somehow that was evidence that the sanctions weren't working. Somehow the fact that Saddam has no weapons and no stockpiles was evidence that sanctions weren't working.

After Vice President Cheney's frequent difficulties with the truth on Tuesday, President Bush's veracity was under increased scrutiny in this debate. But that didn't stop his campaign from peddling another "global test" lie, nor did it stop Bush from misconstruing Kerry's health-care plan and willfully distorting the conclusions of the Duelfer report. (Let's call Bush's unwillingness to admit a mistake a self-deception, rather than a deception foisted upon the public.) If President Bush weren't running such a truth-stretching campaign, his strangest untruth of the night, denying that he received $84 in income from a timber company, wouldn't be a big deal. After all, it's only $84. Then again, maybe the president voted for the truth about the $84 before he decided against it.


          Cheney Drops the Ball   

CLEVELAND—Does Dick Cheney know that he told voters watching the vice presidential debate to go to GeorgeSoros.com? In response to a series of attacks from John Edwards on Cheney's tenure as CEO of Halliburton, the vice president said that Kerry and Edwards "know the charges are false. They know that if you go, for example, to factcheck.com, an independent Web site sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, you can get the specific details with respect to Halliburton." One problem with Cheney's rebuttal: He misspoke. He meant to say "factcheck.org," rather than ".com." According to the Wall Street Journal, the company that owns factcheck.com, Name Administration Inc., took advantage of Cheney's error to redirect traffic to a page titled, "Why we must not re-elect President Bush: a personal message from George Soros."*

But maybe Cheney was lucky to have misspoken, because there was a larger problem with his response: It isn't true. Well, it is true that factcheck.org provides "specific details with respect to Halliburton," but those details have nothing to do with the charges Edwards made. The Democratic running mate said that Halliburton, while Cheney was CEO, "did business with sworn enemies of the United States, paid millions of dollars in fines for providing false financial information, it's under investigation for bribing foreign officials." All factcheck.org rebuts is a different charge, that Cheney collected $2 million from Halliburton "as vice president." It turns out that Cheney collected a good chunk of that money as vice president-elect, including nearly $1.5 million on Jan. 18, 2001, two days before his inauguration.

After the debate, Bush campaign communications director Nicole Devenish repeats Cheney's statement and directs reporters to factcheck.org for the details. I've already been to factcheck.org, I tell her, and it says nothing about what Edwards said, about trading with the enemy, about bribing foreign officials, about providing false financial information. She tells me to go to debatefacts.com, the Bush-Cheney rapid-response Web site. The answers are all there.

Except they're not. "The Facts" page at the Bush-Cheney debate site doesn't get Edwards' claims correctly either: "Edwards' Claim: The Department Of Defense's Contracting Process In Iraq Is Rife With Cronyism And Secrecy," it says. Did Edwards claim that? I thought he said Cheney traded with the enemy, bribed foreign officials, and provided false financial information. On those charges, the Bush-Cheney campaign has no answers, at least not tonight.

The exchange on "factcheck.com" was the debate writ small in many ways: Edwards would make a charge, and Cheney would have no answer for it. In debate, that's called a "dropped argument." Cheney left arguments all over the floor. Three times, when offered a chance to respond to something Edwards had said, Cheney declined, leaving Edwards' critique to stand on its own. Edwards went through a long list of votes that Cheney made as a congressman: against Head Start, against banning plastic weapons that can pass through metal detectors, against Meals on Wheels, against the Department of Education, against Martin Luther King Day, against the release of Nelson Mandela. What else was he against, longer recess? Cheney declined to defend or explain a single one of his votes. On gay marriage, Edwards said the constitutional amendment proposed by the president was unnecessary, divisive, and an attempt to distract the country from important issues such as health care, jobs, and Iraq. Cheney declined to refute any of Edwards' points, and instead thanked him for his kind words about his family. On homeland security, Edwards said the administration has failed to create a unified terrorist watch list, and it foolishly screens the passengers on airplanes but not their cargo. We need to be not just "strong and aggressive" but also "smart," he said. Cheney's response: to decline a chance to respond, which is the same as ceding the point.

When Cheney did have an answer, it was often a misleading one, just like factcheck.com. On one occasion, Cheney said the Kerry-Edwards tax plan would raise taxes on 900,000 small businesses, and he said that was a bad idea because small businesses create 7 out of 10 jobs in America. But the two statements have nothing to do with each other. Those 900,000 small businesses—double the real number that would be affected, according to CNN—don't create 70 percent of the nation's jobs. On another occasion, Cheney criticized Kerry for supporting defense cuts that Cheney supported as secretary of defense during the first Bush administration. Other statements were simply false, rather than merely deceptive or misleading. For example, Cheney said he had never asserted a connection between 9/11 and Iraq. That's not true. Cheney said he had never met Edwards before. That's not true.

Edwards didn't have a perfect debate. Cheney defended himself and the administration capably during the opening questions about Iraq and the war on terror, and I was disappointed when Edwards failed to give an answer to Cheney's criticism that he and Kerry have no plan to deal with state sponsors of terror. And Edwards got mauled when Cheney said Edwards, by saying that 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq were American, was saying that the deaths of Iraqi soldiers fighting with the U.S. "shouldn't count."

We're halfway through the debates, and I think that each side still has one big question that it hasn't answered. Kerry and Edwards haven't given an adequate explanation of how they would approach states that sponsor terrorism and harbor terrorism. If Iraq was the wrong country to focus on, what was the right country? Just Afghanistan? Or do they support a broader Bob Graham-style war against Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations? If regime change isn't the right policy for dealing with state sponsors of terror, what is? Would a Kerry-Edwards administration wage a "war on terror," or just a war on al-Qaida?

The question for Bush and Cheney is the same, but from the opposite side. Where does their war stop? When does it end? How do we measure victory? Most important, what is their answer to a question that Edwards posed and Cheney ignored: "There are 60 countries who have members of al-Qaida in them. How many of those countries are we going to invade?"

Correction, Oct. 7, 2004: The article originally claimed that George Soros bought the factcheck.com URL after Cheney referred to it and redirected its traffic to GeorgeSoros.com. In fact, the company that already owned the URL, Name Administration Inc., redirected the traffic to the Soros page. (Return to corrected sentence.)


          The Post-Debate Debate   

ORLANDO—Sen. John Kerry, you just walloped President Bush in the first 2004 debate. What are you going to do now? Go to Disney World, apparently: The Kerry campaign and his traveling press spent Friday night at the Swan & Dolphin Hotel at Walt Disney World, possibly the only place more unreal than the presidential campaign bubble. There couldn't be a more appropriate place for Kerry to stay the night after the debate, because right now, Democrats think they're in the happiest place on earth.

As the press bus arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport Friday morning, a reporter jokingly pronounced a crowd of Kerry supporters to be "30 percent more excited" than they would have been before Thursday's debate. But he underestimated the enthusiasm among Democrats for Kerry's performance. In 90 minutes, Kerry erased the nagging complaints within his party about the effectiveness of his campaign, and he crushed any incipient Dean nostalgia.

On the stump, Kerry has discovered a new applause line, simply uttering the word "debate." At the University of South Florida in Tampa on Friday, Kerry walked out to the loudest and longest ovation I've seen in more than a year on the campaign. Kerry's still a 40-minute rambler at his campaign events—he should consider traveling with a podium equipped with green, yellow, and red lights that tell him when to stop—but he didn't have to do anything more than ask the crowd, "So, did you watch that debate last night?" to get the rumbling foot-stomping and cheering started again. In Orlando later that night, Kerry uses his new line—"Did you watch that little debate last night?"—as his opener, and again its gets the crowd roaring.

Kerry has even taken to ridiculing the president for his underwhelming showing. On Friday night, he mockingly impersonated Bush as a stammering Porky Pig. (Not Elmer Fudd, as the New York Times claims. Get your cartoon references right, Gray Lady!) The next day, Kerry was at it again, poking fun of Bush's repetition of the phrase "hard work" at the debate: "He confuses staying in place, just kind of saying, 'It's tough, it's hard work, you gotta make a decision,' "—laughter—"he considers that, and confuses that, with leadership."

Those Democrats who aren't already buoyed by the debate will take heart in Saturday's Newsweek poll, which shows the race in a statistical tie: Kerry at 47 percent and Bush at 45 percent, with a 4-point margin of error. Kerry adviser Joel Johnson dismissed the poll's significance during a conference call with reporters, saying, "It's probably a poll that we took issue with in the past," such as when Newsweek showed the president leading by 11 points coming out of the Republican convention.

In the wake of all these good signs for Kerry, the Bush campaign is busy trying to Gore him, to kill the Democratic buzz by turning Kerry's debate victory into a defeat. A White House pool report Saturday from the Baltimore Sun's David Greene reported that Bush communications director Nicolle Devenish said, "Nobody is going to look back on November 3 and remember that first debate for anything other than a night when Kerry made four serious strategic mistakes." Here's how Greene summarized the mistakes: "1) Kerry spoke of a 'global test.' 2) Kerry called the war in Iraq a mistake then later said Americans were not dying for a mistake. 3) Kerry spoke of the troops deserving better after saying in an interview before the debate that his vote on funding was made in protest. 4) Kerry offered what Nicolle called a 'new insult' for allies when he said the coalition is not 'genuine.' "

Thursday night after the debate, the Bush surrogates emphasized Devenish's second point, to reinforce its caricature of the Democratic nominee as a habitual flip-flopper. By Friday and Saturday, however, the Bush campaign had seized upon Kerry's mention—a virtual aside—of a "global test" for pre-emptive war as their chance to reverse the perception that Kerry won the debate. (Based on Devenish's comments, they've also dropped their initial nobody-won spin in which they sounded like Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda: "We didn't lose Vietnam! It was a tie!")

On Friday afternoon, the Bush campaign e-mailed excerpts of remarks the president made in Allentown, Pa., including this quote: "Senator Kerry last night said that America has to pass some sort of global test before we can use American troops to defend ourselves. He wants our national security decisions subject to the approval of a foreign government. Listen, I'll continue to work with our allies and the international community, but I will never submit America's national security to an international test. The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to a veto by countries like France." Scott McClellan piled on, as distilled by another White House pool report, saying that Kerry's comment "showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the war on terrorism," and that the remark "shows something that is very disturbing."

By Saturday, Bush himself had taken to calling the "global test" the "Kerry doctrine," which would "give foreign governments veto power over our own national security decisions." In the afternoon, the Kerry campaign dispatched Richard Holbrooke to rebut "Bush's misleading rhetoric on the stump" in a conference call. Nearly every question was about what Kerry meant during the debate by "global test," and about the Bush's campaign's rhetoric of a "global permission slip" and the "Kerry doctrine." Holbrooke read Kerry's debate statement in full: "No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

Holbrooke said the "Bush attack" was "another flagrant misrepresentation by the administration of what Sen. Kerry said," and added, "Who in their right mind would not wish to be sure that the use of force preemptively, or for that matter, any use of force, gets support and understanding from the rest of the world and from the American people and is fully justified?" He called it "longstanding American doctrine" and "a standard position, all presidents have taken it since at least 1945." Sounding irritated about the repeated mentions of the "Kerry doctrine" by reporters, Holbrooke said, "Don't call it a Kerry doctrine. That would suggest that John Kerry has enunciated something new, and he didn't."

An hour later, at 2:30 p.m., Kerry adviser Joel Johnson and Democratic National Committee adviser Howard Wolfson held a conference call to "discuss the results" of the presidential debate. The first question, from a Knight Ridder reporter, was about "this alleged Kerry doctrine." Would the campaign make any "paid media response"? No, Johnson said, we're going to focus on the economy in our TV ads, as planned. "We don't feel like this one is one we're going to have to respond in any way" in paid media.

The Republicans are "trying to take away the medal from the Olympic gymnast after the contest is over," Wolfson said. ABC's Dan Harris asked, "Aren't you opening yourself up to the charge that you've failed to learn the lessons of August?" referring to the Swift Boat ads and the Kerry campaign's belated response. "We're focusing on the failed economy," Johnson said. But you should know, "He'll never give a veto to any other country, period." Harris replied, "But boy, it really sounds like you're letting that charge hang out there." Johnson: "Well, we'll take that under advisement."

Shortly after that conference call ended, the Bush campaign e-mailed its script for a new TV ad, called—surprise—"Global Test." The ad says in part, "The Kerry doctrine: A global test. So we must seek permission from foreign governments before protecting America? A global test? So America will be forced to wait while threats gather? President Bush believes decisions about protecting America should be made in the Oval Office, not foreign capitals." Within a couple of hours, the Kerry campaign had changed its mind about whether to release its own ad. Their script begins, "George Bush lost the debate.  Now he's lying about it." The Kerry ad also tries to change the subject, to a New York Times story that comes out Sunday. That day's conference call is billed as, "What President Bush Really Knew About Iraq's WMD Programs Before the War."

During his conference call, Joel Johnson complained, "The Bush campaign is trying to concoct arguments that the president couldn't make the other night in the debate." That's exactly right. The mystery is why Johnson didn't think his campaign would have to do the same for Kerry.


          Sheriff's Office attempting to identify man in connection with Eldersburg thefts   

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office is looking for help in identifying a man who is allegedly connected to a series of vehicle thefts in Eldersburg.

The man can be seen on security footage, which was submitted by Eldersburg resident Paul Chen. Still photographs from the footage show a man wearing...


          Scenes From Spin Alley   

MIAMI—Karl Rove must have known things didn't go well when the New York Post asked him whether this was the worst debate of President Bush's life. No, Rove insisted. This was one of the president's best debates, and one of John Kerry's worst. "Really?" asked the reporter, Vince Morris. "You can say that with a straight face?"

As soon as the first presidential debate ended, the reporters and campaign surrogates in attendance hustled into "spin alley," where Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Dan Bartlett, Tad Devine, Joe Lockhart, Mike McCurry, and other eminences of spin practice their craft. (There were other, lesser luminaries, such as Kerry's Swift boat crewmate Del Sandusky, who seemed to have trouble finding reporters to talk to.) The whole affair is a little bit ridiculous, as the participants are less honest than NFL coaches during halftime interviews, but you do get a sense of two things: The questions asked by reporters indicate who the press thinks won the debate, and the answers are a good gauge of how the two campaigns will try to frame the post-debate debate over how each candidate did.

On the first indicator, Bush was the clear loser. One of the first questions asked of Rove was whether the president's frequent pausing was a problem. Rove disputed that Bush paused because he wasn't sure what to say. "Paused for effect, is what I think," he said. Over and over again, Bush surrogates were asked about the president's demeanor. (Question for Paul Krugman: Are you still angry about the media's focus on style over substance?) Wasn't the president defensive? a reporter asked Matthew Dowd. Didn't he look confused? a reporter asked Ken Mehlman. "I think he spoke with passion," Mehlman said. Another reporter asked Bartlett, didn't the president look irritated? Tired? "I think he showed a range of emotions," Bartlett said.

The Kerry people were triumphant, and they grew more so as the night wore on. Immediately after the debate ended, Tad Devine was confident, saying that Kerry gave the "impression" that he could be president. "I think that's new to a lot of people" who have been inundated with negative TV ads, Devine said. (Devine also said the Kerry campaign, beginning Friday, would shift to the domestic agenda in its TV advertisements. Kerry will continue to talk about Iraq, but there won't be many ads about it.) Later in the evening, however, Devine's quiet confidence was replaced by gloating. He waved the numbers from the CBS and ABC overnight polls, which he had written down on a notepad, showing that wide margins of voters thought Kerry won. "Blowout is the word that comes to mind," Devine said. "Tonight they saw the 44th president of the United States. His name is John Kerry."

But didn't the overnight polls look good for Al Gore at first? "I think Gore hurt himself against Gore. And I'll sigh to that effect," Devine said. So, you're not worried that the Bush campaign will come up with some misstatements or mistakes by Kerry and use them to change voters' minds? "I missed all the sighs tonight from John Kerry," Devine cackled. If Kerry is within a couple of points by the middle of next week, he said, then the campaign will consider it a victory. Matthew Dowd, on the other hand, predicted only that Bush's lead would solidify in the polls. "It won't expand," he said.

Each campaign thought it had a moment from the debate that it could use to bludgeon the other side. The Bush campaign said Kerry increased the contradictions in his Iraq position by saying that Bush made a mistake when he invaded Iraq but also saying that American soldiers were not dying for a mistake. Kerry's position on the war showed "an escalation of vacillation to a more sinister place, one where he manipulates his positions based on political calculations," Bush campaign communications director Nicolle Devenish said. "It's really a strong skill to say something that's so disconnected from what you said yesterday. And I will call it a skill." The Kerry campaign thinks Bush made a huge mistake by talking about taxes after Kerry proposed a number of ways to improve homeland security. Both Joe Lockhart and Mike McCurry said Bush showed he thinks tax cuts are more important than homeland security, and that the comment was Bush's worst moment.

I asked Dan Bartlett if he thought it was bad that President Bush kept having to look down at the podium and read his remarks. No, Bush was "taking notes," Bartlett said, and he had to do that because "Sen. Kerry was throwing the kitchen sink at him." President Bush may not be "articulate," he said, but he won the debate with his "conviction and core beliefs." Using a phrase the Bush surrogates deployed frequently, Bartlett said Bush spoke "from the heart." I asked the same question of Mike McCurry. His answer: "There's some things you just don't have to spin."


          Daydreaming About Dean   

MIAMI—Can we change horses in midstream? Democrats wanted Republicans and independent voters to be asking themselves that question at this stage in the presidential campaign, but with little more than a month to go before Election Day, some Democrats are asking it of themselves. It's the seven-month itch: The long general-election campaign has led the voters who settled down with Mr. Stability to wonder what would have happened if they had pursued their crushes on riskier but more exciting candidates. What if dreamy John Edwards were the nominee instead of John Kerry? Would he be better able to explain his votes for war and against the $87 billion to fund the war? Would his campaign have been leaner and more effective than Kerry's multitudes? Or what about Democrats' first love, Howard Dean? Remember him? Would his straightforward opposition to the war in Iraq look more prescient now than it did during the Iowa caucuses, which were held shortly after Saddam Hussein was captured?

The most surprising Democrat to engage in this daydreaming is one who never dated Dean in the first place: Peter Beinart, editor of the New Republic. Writing in Time, Beinart says, "[T]here's reason to believe [Democratic primary voters] guessed wrong—that Dean would be doing better against Bush than Kerry is." Deaniacs can be forgiven for being a little bit piqued at the timing of Beinart's conversion. After all, most Dean supporters thought Beinart's magazine did its best to torpedo the Dean candidacy for much of 2003, including an online "Diary of a Dean-o-Phobe." But TNR also ran glowing profiles of Dean and his campaign manager, Joe Trippi, and it never married Kerry, either. Although the magazine ultimately endorsed Joe Lieberman, its endorsement issue contained an article praising every other major Democratic contender—Dean, Edwards, Dick Gephardt—except John Kerry. So, it's understandable why Beinart would be one of the first to fantasize about divorce.

Beinart argues that Dean's clarity on the war, his straight-talking authenticity, and his lack of a Senate voting record would have forced President Bush to focus on the issue of Iraq, rather than the character of John Kerry. Not everyone who worked for Howard Dean during the primaries agrees that the Vermont governor would have been a stronger nominee—in fact, some say just the opposite or even burst into laughter at the notion—but one senior Dean adviser that I talked to Wednesday agrees strongly. "If Howard Dean were the nominee right now, nobody would be wondering where he stands on Iraq, nobody would be accusing us of not fighting back, and we wouldn't be fighting to hold on to our base," said the adviser, who asked that his name not be used. Kerry's "thoughtful and nuanced positions" might be an admirable quality in a president, but they're difficult to defend during a campaign.

A Dean general-election campaign would have contrasted Dean's record with Bush's in three ways: Dean being against the war versus Bush being for it; Dean's record of balancing the Vermont budget while providing health care versus Bush's largest deficits in history with no health care; and a new wrinkle that was only hinted at during the primaries, Dean's mysterious, infrequently mentioned "tax reform" vs. Bush's irresponsible tax cuts. Yes, Dean would have repealed the entire Bush tax cut, the senior adviser said, but he would have proposed replacing it with some Dean tax cuts, including the elimination of payroll taxes on the first $20,000 of income. The message: Bush cuts taxes from the top down, but Dean cuts them from the bottom up. Why didn't Dean introduce this during the primaries, when his tax-hiking ways made some Democrats think he would be an electoral disaster, the second coming of Walter Mondale, in the fall? He wanted to wait until after the Feb. 3 primaries because "he didn't want people to think he was pandering," the adviser said.

The Dean adviser did go out of his way to insist that he was not criticizing the Kerry campaign. The Republicans "might have destroyed Howard Dean," too, he said, but "I just think Howard would have matched up differently and better." The Dean adviser praised Kerry's maligned convention, which made voters believe that Kerry was a viable commander in chief who was as good as Bush or better on the issues of terrorism and homeland security. "They were in perfect position after the convention to win this thing," he said, quickly adding that he's not saying they've lost it. But then he added, "They basically are hoping that Bush shits the bed in the debates."

Of course, it's pretty obvious that the Republicans would have run a different campaign against Howard Dean than they did against John Kerry. But that doesn't mean it would have been any less effective. And if Dean couldn't beat Kerry, what exactly would have made him so formidable against President Bush? Would Dean's support for civil unions in Vermont have made gay marriage a much bigger issue in the fall? Was there something in his past that we didn't learn about? Would the aggressive campaign he would have waged in the spring and summer—leaping instantly on every bit of bad news from Iraq, from Abu Ghraib to Fallujah—have backfired? Would Dean have been able to build a campaign that brought together his divided Vermont and D.C. factions? It's impossible to know, though divining that impossibility is exactly what Democratic primary voters charged themselves with this time around.

Falling in love with Dean all over again ignores what made Democrats fall out of love with him in the first place. An incomplete list: his infuriating stubbornness and refusal to admit mistakes; his lousy white-background TV ad in Iowa; and his shift from a straight-talking, budget-balancing, health-care-providing Vermont governor to the shrieking leader of a cult movement. In Iowa, Dean's poor showing was exacerbated by the fact that he was the second choice of no one. He and Kerry found out that in American democracy, it's better to have a large number of people barely tolerate you than to have a smaller number like you a lot. By the weekend, it will be clear whether Kerry managed to rally a nose-holding majority to his side at Thursday's debate. If not, expect to hear a lot more conversations like this over the next 33 days.


          Great Expectations   

PHILADELPHIA—On the Kerry plane Thursday, reporters asked Mike McCurry why the campaign agreed to make the foreign-policy debate first, as the Bush campaign wanted, instead of third, as the Commission on Presidential Debates had scheduled it. "You know, we have to take anything like that and turn it into an opportunity," McCurry said. So, you see it as an opportunity? Not quite: "I'm supposed to lower expectations, not raise them."

Maybe McCurry should tell the candidate. I counted six times this week that Kerry raised his debate expectations by disparaging President Bush's intelligence or knowledge, seven if you count a comment made by Sen. Joe Biden during a Friday rally here. During his Monday night appearance on David Letterman, Kerry said that during the debates, "George Bush is gonna sit on Dick Cheney's lap," an apparent reference to the widespread Democratic belief that the vice president is the ventriloquist/puppeteer and Bush is the dummy. (At least, I hope that was the reference.) On Tuesday's Live With Regis & Kelly, Kerry said of the just-concluded debate negotiations, "The big hang-up was George Bush wanted a lifeline where he could call," an allusion to Regis Philbin's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? game show. That night in Orlando, Kerry said that President Bush says he would have gone to war "even if he knew there was no connection of al-Qaida and Sept. 11 and Iraq—which we knew, but even if he knew that." In Columbus on Thursday, Kerry mocked Bush's claim that the CIA was "just guessing" about Iraq in its National Intelligence Estimate by implying that the president didn't understand the nature of the report and hadn't looked at it: "It's called an analysis. And the president ought to read it, and he ought to study it, and he ought to respond to it." On Friday on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania *, Biden compared the two candidates for president by saying, "John Kerry understands and has actually read history." Earlier that morning, during Kerry's war-on-terror speech at Temple University, Kerry noted that the president agreed to testify before the 9/11 commission "only with Vice President Cheney at his side," and he ridiculed Republican claims that a new president wouldn't be able to get more allies involved in Iraq and the war on terror by saying, "I have news for President Bush: Just because you can't do something doesn't mean it can't be done."

Good lines all—well, except the sitting-in-Cheney's lap one. But was this the week to trot out the Bush-is-an-idiot-controlled-by-Cheney meme? I thought the campaigns were supposed to talk up their opponents before the debates, not deride them. Kerry is Cicero and Bush is Rocky Marciano, the man who has never lost.

Other than this minor misstep in the expectations game, however, Kerry set himself up well this week for Thursday's debate, which will be the most decisive event in the presidential campaign so far. The foreign-policy debate deserves to go first, because this is a foreign-policy election. At Kerry's town halls, even the ones that are supposed to be about health care or Social Security or the economy, the majority of voters ask him questions about Iraq. Here's one way to think about next week's face-off: Bush and Kerry are running for leader of the free world, not just president of the United States, and both candidates want to cast themselves as a global Abraham Lincoln while defining their opponent as an international version of John C. Calhoun.

Bush lays claim to the mantle of Lincoln the Emancipator: Like the 16th president, Bush believes that individual liberty trumps state sovereignty (the international version of states' rights). Sure, Saddam Hussein was sovereign, but he was a tyrant and a menace to his people, Bush says, so America's invasion was a just one. Kofi Annan says Bush's invasion of Iraq was a violation of international law, but Bush appeals to a higher law that says that some laws and some rulers are illegitimate. Bush laid out his Lincolnesque doctrine of liberty over sovereignty in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention: "Our nation's founding commitment is still our deepest commitment: In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of freedom." Bush wants to paint Kerry as a global Calhoun, a man who prefers French sovereignty to Iraqi freedom.

Kerry, on the other hand, casts himself as Lincoln the preserver of the Union (while at the same time questioning Bush's competence and highlighting the disparity between the president's "fantasy world" ideals and the "world of reality" on the ground). I don't want to overstate this, because the Republican caricature of Kerry as a one-worlder who would let France exert a veto over American security is inaccurate. But Kerry clearly believes in the international structures and institutions that have been created since World War II, and he sees Bush, shall we say, nullifying them. In this version of the story, it's Bush who is Calhoun, the man who would elevate the shortsighted rights of his state over the compact that every state has entered to promote the greater good.

This analogy, like all historical analogies, is flawed in many ways. It may be particularly unfair to Kerry, who on the stump talks about relying on allies out of pragmatism rather than idealism. But it gets at the factor that I think will determine the winner of next week's debate: Which candidate will be able to present himself as the internationalist and his opponent as the isolationist? Bush says Kerry would turn his back on the people of the world who suffer under tyranny. Kerry says Bush has already turned his back on the world and has replaced dictatorship in Iraq with chaos, not the freedom he claims.

It will be an uphill battle for Kerry. So far, he's been successful at pointing out the flaws in Bush's policies, but he hasn't convinced enough people that President Kerry's policies would be any better. And Bush's bounce out of the Republican convention showed how attractive the president's principles, if not his policies, are.

In July, voters seemed to have decided that they'd like to get rid of Bush. But when they turned their attention to his potential replacement, they were disappointed by what they discovered. The Republican convention exploited that disappointment, and now there are more undecided voters than ever—because voters found out they don't like either guy.

Bush lost the incumbent's referendum, then Kerry lost the one on the challenger. Now we don't know what we want. That's why Thursday will be so critical. For Kerry to win, he needs to argue successfully that liberty and the international order, like strength and wisdom, are not opposing values.

Correction, Sept. 27, 2004: This article originally said that Biden spoke at the University of Philadelphia. He spoke at the University of Pennsylvania. (Return to corrected sentence.)


          Ill Communication   

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.—"It's actually getting better," John Kerry says, but his voice cracks like an adolescent on "better," making the Democratic nominee for president of the United States sound like Peter Brady in the episode where his voice changes. The timing provokes good-natured laughter from the crowd. "Do you want some Tylenol?" a woman had called out, just moments before. Kerry's sick, and he's losing his voice. At times, he sounds like he can hardly get his words out. 

He gamely soldiers through the town hall, his only event on Wednesday's schedule, but not long after it's over, his campaign announces that he's taking most of Thursday off. John Edwards is called in from the bullpen to attend two events Kerry had scheduled in Iowa, one in Davenport and one in Cedar Rapids, and Kerry cancels an event he had planned to hold in Columbus, Ohio. The press is getting ready to shift from its "Kerry is staggering" storyline to a "Kerry is surging" one, and the last thing his increasingly competent campaign needs is for the candidate to show up with laryngitis at the first presidential debate next week in Miami.

The Sept. 30 face-off is so important that Kerry plans to be "down," as campaign lingo has it, all next week, practicing and preparing for his showdown with President Bush. But before disappearing, Kerry tried out some new rhetoric late Tuesday night in Orlando and then Wednesday here. Perhaps the funniest line Kerry trots out is one about Bush's promise of middle-class "tax relief." "He gave you relief," Kerry says, "kind of like the sort of relief you get when someone comes into your home and relieves you of your TV set. You know, we've been relieved of 1.6 million jobs. Half a million kids have been relieved of child care." He concludes, "And I think it's time we relieve George Bush of his responsibilities." The crowd inside the TD Waterhouse Center—the home of the Orlando Predators, winners of Arena Bowl XIV, according to a banner in the rafters—goes nuts.

But the line that Kerry wants to emphasize, and that he returns to the next day, is one of the president's. Kerry introduces this ersatz Bushism in Orlando by saying, "This is the president of the United States today, standing in New York City, where he was answering questions about Iraq and about his speech to the United Nations." Kerry pulls out a piece of paper to read and says, "Quote, 'The CIA laid out, ah'"—pause here for laughter and a huge, screaming ovation—"I just want you to know, I'm quotin'," Kerry says. "'The CIA laid out, a—several scenarios and said, life could be lousy, life could be OK, life could be better. And they were just guessing"—pause, and more laughter—"as to what the conditions might be like.'" Kerry then asks, "Ladies and gentleman, does that make you feel safer? Does that give you confidence in this president, knows what he's talking about? The CIA was 'just guessing.' This president ought to be turning that CIA over, upside down, if that's all they were doing."

Kerry returns to this theme Wednesday. He drops the "tax relief" line—in fact, the best one-liner comes from the crowd, from a man who shouts of President Bush after hearing Kerry's riff on Social Security, "We ought to privatize him!"—but he goes back to "just guessing." Kerry alters the meaning of Bush's statement slightly, but the gist is the same: "Yesterday, George Bush said he was just guessing on the intelligence estimates about conditions in Iraq. Now, George Bush's guesswork on privatizing Social Security is gonna cost $2 trillion. The president should stop guessing about Iraq, about Social Security."

Was this "guesswork" line going to be Thursday's message, too? Would Kerry have succeeded at connecting Bush's own words to the Kerry campaign's new "fantasy" vs. "reality" critique? (On Wednesday, Kerry says, "Yesterday, I was in Orlando, next to Fantasyland. The difference between me and George Bush is I drove by it. He lives in it.") The world may never know. Instead, in Columbus, Ohio, where Kerry spent the night, reporters joked about their stories for Thursday's empty day: "Today, John Kerry nurses a cold in the battleground state of Ohio…"


          Kerry Answers Questions!   

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—John Kerry emitted an exasperated sigh. The last time he held a press conference, on Aug. 9, he confused everyone by saying he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq even if he had known that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction. Now, six weeks later, the press still doesn't understand his position on the war. At least, they keep asking about it.

Kerry took 11 questions Tuesday. Ten were about Iraq, and eight of those 10 were requests for Kerry to clarify his position. Question No. 1: President Bush says you think the world would be better off if Saddam Hussein were still in power. Is that right? No. 3: Are you responsible for the fact that many people are confused about your position on the war? No. 4: Can you explain your support for the congressional resolution on the use of force? No. 5: How do you square the fact that you believe the world is better off with Saddam out of power with your statement to David Letterman that you wouldn't have gone to war with Iraq? No. 6: You didn't answer the earlier question. Are you responsible for the fact that people can't figure out your position? No. 8, the one that led to the frustrated noise: The president appealed to the United Nations today. How is what you're suggesting any different from what the president is doing? No. 9: If presidents deserve to be able to go to the United Nations with the leverage of congressional authority to use force, why did you vote against the 1991 war with Iraq?

Maybe Kerry wished he was back on Live with Regis & Kelly that morning, when the questions had been easier: You're very handsome, Senator. How do you stay in shape? Do you have a routine? Don't you think that Tom Cruise could play John Edwards in the movie? Who would play you? (Kerry's answer: "I don't have any idea." Kelly Ripa interjected, "Harrison Ford.")

But this time during the press conference, unlike the one in August, Kerry's doesn't let himself get sucked into the Green Eggs & Iraq (Do you like it on a train? Would you like it on a plane?) discussion that the Bush campaign loves to goad him into. Instead, he sticks to his change vs. more-of-the-same script: "The president wants to shift the topic, and I'm not going to let him shift the topic," Kerry says. "This is about President Bush, and his decisions, and his choices, and his unwillingness as I said in my speech yesterday to live in a world of reality." Kerry uses that phrase, "world of reality," four times. In all, he uses the world "reality" or "realities" (as in, the "realities on the ground") 10 times. "The president keeps wanting to debate fiction, or hypotheticals, rather than debate the reality of what's on the ground," Kerry says. "The president has not denied one of the facts that I laid out yesterday" in a speech in New York.

The reason so many people are confused about his position, Kerry says, is because they interpret his vote, incorrectly, as "a vote to go to war." "It wasn't a vote to go that day. It was a vote to go through a process," to give the president leverage at the United Nations and to get the inspectors back into Iraq. Kerry emphasizes on several occasions that he's been consistent on this point. "I said so all along," he says, sounding irritated. "Every one of you throughout this knows I have said there's a right way to do this and a wrong way to do this, and the president every step of the way has chosen the wrong way."

Kerry's right on this one. From the beginning, he's been consistent, if complicated, on the meaning of his 2002 vote. The Boston Globe's Kerry book quotes his mouthful from the Senate floor: "The vote that I will give to the president is for one reason and one reason only, to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction if we cannot accomplish that objective through new, tough weapons inspections in joint conference with our allies." Kerry added of President Bush, "I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days—to work with the United Nations Security Council ... and to 'act with our allies at our side' if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force.' " Four days later, Kerry said, "What's happened is every single member of the United States Senate moved to take it to the U.N. with a willingness to enforce through the United Nations if that is the will of the international community. ... There is no justification whatsoever for sending Americans for the first time in American history as the belligerent, as the initiator of it, as a matter of first instance, without a showing of an imminent threat to our country." Walter Shapiro's chronicle of the early stages of the 2004 campaign, One-Car Caravan, confirms this point. Shapiro hears Kerry say in October 2002, "My vote was cast in a way that made it very clear, Mr. President, I'm voting for you to do what you said you're going to do, which is to go through the U.N. and do this through an international process. If you go unilaterally, without having exhausted these remedies, I'm not supporting you. And if you decide that this is just a matter of straight pre-emptive doctrine for regime-change purposes without regard to the imminence of the threat, I'm not going to support you."

Disagree with Kerry's reasoning if you want, call him ambivalent or even unclear, but you can't say that he's been inconsistent or that he flip-flopped. Kerry is wrong, however, that his 2002 vote doesn't contradict his 1991 vote. The first time around, Kerry expressly criticized the justification he would use 12 years later, calling it "dangerous" and "flawed." In 1991, Kerry said, taking the quote again from the Globe book, "This is not a vote about sending a message. It is a vote about war." Kerry could explain his change of heart fairly easily (for example, 9/11 changed everything, didn't it?), but instead he takes the Bushian stance of denying the "world of reality." During a long, confusing, and unconvincing explanation of how the rationale for his 1991 vote is consistent with the rationale for his 2002 vote, Kerry eventually stops himself and remembers his script: "That's not the debate. That's the debate the president wants to have now. The debate now is whether or not you have a plan to win, and whether or not you are facing the realities on the ground in Iraq." Back on message.

Kerry has emerged with a message that makes sense before. His problem is his inability to just pick one and stick with it. If he can hang on to this one for nine days, he might get out of the first debate alive.


          Cheney's Burden   

CORNWALL, PA.—Dick Cheney delivers a lecture, not a stump speech. He squats on a stool, buttons his too-tight jacket, and speaks for 10 minutes without drawing applause. During his entire discourse, which lasts nearly half an hour, the audience claps six times. Only once does Cheney pause ostentatiously, as politicians do, to signal to his listeners that a particular utterance merits their enthusiasm. George W. Bush, John Edwards, and John Kerry all say that this election is the most important in history, but only Cheney dares to make you believe it.

Theoretically, Monday's town hall is about manufacturing, small businesses, and the economy. That's what all the introductory speakers talk about. But Cheney doesn't say a word on the subject. He talks terrorism, he talks Afghanistan, and he talks Iraq. After World War II, Cheney says, a bipartisan consensus created the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and other institutions, and those structures served the United States well for more than 40 years, until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Now, the nation stands at "another of those moments in history," when policies and institutions will be crafted to deal with the national security issues of the next 30 to 50 years. And that, he says, is what this election is about: not four years but four decades.

He makes the most compelling case possible for continuing with a flawed policy. Before 9/11, he says, the terrorists learned two lessons from how the United States responded to their multiple strikes: "They could strike the United States with relative impunity," and, "If they hit us hard enough, they could change our policy," as happened after the 1983 attack in Beirut and again in Mogadishu. That's why, Cheney insists, the nation must stay the course in Iraq. The strategy of terrorists is to use violence to force a change in U.S. policy. If that happens, "that's a victory for the terrorists."

Kerry hasn't argued for a complete withdrawal from Iraq, of course, though Cheney certainly implies it. What really differentiates Cheney's position from Kerry's is how the two men approach the burden of proof for war: The Bush administration has shifted it from war to peace.

That's what Cheney is saying, that the administration's current Iraq policies are the proper default position. Any change in policy—not just a complete withdrawal, but any "change"—must be weighed against the fear of emboldening al-Qaida. And at its heart, that's what the debate over going to war with Iraq has been about for two years. Those, like Kerry, who wanted to give the inspectors more time, or who wanted to bring more allies aboard before invading, believed that the burden of proof was on war, that an attacking nation must provide evidence of the justness of its decision. The administration argued the opposite, that Iraq needed to prove to the world that it didn't deserve to be invaded. The job of the inspectors, in this view, wasn't to find weapons of mass destruction but to prove a virtual impossibility, that Iraq didn't possess WMD. That was the lesson of 9/11, the administration said. We couldn't wait to find out whether Iraq had WMD. If we did, it might be too late.

Based on his speech in New York on Monday, Kerry doesn't agree with that lesson. He says he voted for the war to give the president leverage in the United Nations. That way the inspectors could verify whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But Kerry misunderstands the administration's position. They didn't want to prove the case for war. The only way to dissuade them would be if someone had proven the case for peace.

Kerry did agree with one thing Cheney said: This debate isn't just about Iraq. Bush's policies are a "warning," Kerry said. If Bush is re-elected, "he will repeat, somewhere else, the same reckless mistakes."

The question in front of voters in November: Do you think, for the next 30 to 50 years, that the nation needs to prove its case when it goes to war? Or do you think the world has changed so much that we should have to prove the case for peace?


          Kerry in Black and White   

CINCINNATI—John Kerry is so concerned about the plight of American manufacturers that he's taken to doing short advertisements during his campaign events. "Go to a Web site," Kerry exhorted his audience Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C. "It could be johnkerry.com, or go some other place. Go to truth.com, if there is one. And find out what's really happening." So I went to truth.com, and I found out what was happening: "Truth Hardware designs and manufactures a complete line of hinges, locks, operators, and even remote controlled power window systems used on wood, vinyl, metal and fiberglass windows, skylights, and patio doors."

I'm hesitant to criticize Kerry for his extemporizing, because his Kerrymeandering (a word invented by my colleague Will Saletan) makes the repetition of campaigning more endurable. More important, overdisciplined Robopols who never say anything interesting are one of the many reasons to hate politics. And this Kerrymeander was merely amusing, not harmful, though a good rule of 21st-century campaigning should be, don't refer to Web sites that you haven't visited. Kerry even had the good fortune to refer to the Web site of a company that manufactures its products in Owatonna, Minn.—a swing state!

But Monday's impromptu comments were more damaging. In addition to making a joke in West Virginia about taking a shotgun with him to the presidential debates, Kerry decided it would be a good idea in Pennsylvania to talk about how he has difficulty deciding what to eat at restaurants. "You know when they give you the menu, I'm always struggling, what do you want?" he said. A cook at a local restaurant, though, solves Kerry's dilemma by serving "whatever he's cooked up that day. I think that's the way it ought to work for confused people like me who can't make up our minds what we're going to eat." Kerry has yet to mourn the fact that fewer and fewer gynecologists are able to "practice their love" with American women, but his handlers have so much confidence in him that on Tuesday they banned the national press pool from observing his satellite interviews with local TV stations.

Still, even Kerry wasn't as off-message as one of the local politicians who introduced him at the Greensboro town hall. Sure, Republicans say Kerry is a flip-flopper, the politician said, but so-called "flip-flopping" is a sign of skepticism, of being open to learning new things. "We call it thinking," he said to huge applause from the crowd. The guy must not have gotten the memo: Kerry no longer wants to be the thoughtful candidate of nuance. Like President Bush, he's discovered the virtues of moral clarity.

Bush describes the world in terms of black and white, good vs. evil. Kerry now describes the world in terms of right vs. wrong. "As the president likes to say, there's nothing complicated about this," Kerry says every time he begins his new "W. stands for wrong" speech. Kerry no longer brags about being complicated, as he did in his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention. He's now as simple as Bush. As Kerry said in Greensboro, "John Edwards and I believe, deep to the core of our being, that there's an easy distinction between what's right and what's wrong."

You won't be shocked to learn which side of the line Kerry thinks Bush falls on. Bush on the war: wrong. Bush on government spending: wrong. Bush on Medicare: wrong. Bush on Social Security: wrong. Bush on outsourcing: wrong. Bush on the environment: wrong. (Kerry also referred to mankind's "spiritual, God-given responsibilities" to be stewards of the Earth.) And in Greensboro, Kerry added a new element to his "That's W., wrong choice, wrong direction," refrain. Each time, he concluded with, "And we want to make it right." Kerry did get a little overzealous about his new theme when he referred to the treasury secretary as "John W. Snow—John Snow, excuse me." After some laughter from the audience, Kerry added, "Well, he's wrong, too."

Kerry has also begun to criticize Bush for breaking promises, for not being as unwavering as he pretends to be. In West Virginia on Monday, Kerry said Bush promised in 2000 to spend more money on clean coal technology, but the money never came. In North Carolina on Tuesday, Kerry mentioned the administration's overconfident estimates of war on the cheap: "He promised that this war would cost $1 billion, and that oil from Iraq would pay for it."

The audience liked the new black-and-white, with-us-or-against-us Kerry. He was doing so well that during the question-and-answer session he felt liberated to engage in some more improvisation. A woman stood up and announced, "I'm so excited to see you. I think you're hot." Referring to his 27-year-old daughter, Vanessa, who was in the audience, Kerry said, "My daughter just buried her head. That is not the way she thinks about her father. But at my age, that sounds good." While he was talking, Vanessa Kerry looked down and stuck her fingers in her ears.


          Kerry's Deathbed Conversion   

CLEVELAND—Everything you need to know about Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential run—and therefore, everything a Democrat needs to know about taking the White House from an incumbent—is supposed to have been scrawled on a wipeboard in Little Rock 12 years ago by James Carville. "It's the economy, stupid," the phrase that has become holy writ, was only one-third of Carville's message. The other two tenets of the Clinton war room were "Change vs. more of the same" and "Don't forget health care." John Kerry has been running on two of those three planks, the economy and health care. But one day after talking with President Clinton on his deathbed—Kerry's, not Clinton's—the candidate has finally embraced the third: change.

Kerry offered a taste of his new message Monday morning at one of his "front porch" campaign stops in Canonsburg, Penn., but he waited until the afternoon in Racine, W.V., to unveil his new stump speech in full. The new message: Go vote for Bush if you want four more years of falling wages, of Social Security surpluses being transferred to wealthy Americans in the form of tax cuts, of underfunded schools and lost jobs. But if you want a new direction, he said, vote for Kerry and Edwards.

It's a simple and obvious message, but Kerry hasn't used it before. There were other new, even more Clintonesque wrinkles, too. Kerry talked about the same issues—jobs, health care, Social Security, education—that he's talked about in the past, but he had a new context for them: how Bush's policies were taking money out of taxpayers' pockets. The deficit, the Medicare prescription drug plan that forbids bulk-price negotiation and the importation of drugs from Canada, and the "$200 billion and counting" Iraq war all "cost you money," Kerry said, by increasing the cost of government. Kerry even pushed his health-care plan as a selfish device to put more money in voters' wallets (rather than an altruistic plan to cover the uninsured), in the form of lower health-insurance premiums ($1,000, he says). He also talked about a Clinton favorite, putting 100,000 new cops on the street during the 1990s, and he said he wanted to cut taxes for corporations by 5 percent to lower the cost of doing business in the United States. Talking about corporate tax cuts on Labor Day—if that's not a New Democrat, I don't know what is.

In West Virginia and later Cleveland, Kerry framed most of the new message around a mantra: "W stands for wrong. Wrong choices, wrong judgment, wrong priorities, wrong direction for our country." If you like those wrong choices, the lost jobs, "raiding Social Security," rising health-care costs, and "a go-it-alone foreign policy that abandons America," then vote for George W. Bush, Kerry said. If not, vote for me. The cost of the Iraq war is coming out of your pocket, he said, and it's taking away from money that could be used for homeland security. "That's W.; that's wrong," he said. With each issue Kerry raised—from Iraq to rising Medicare premiums to Social Security to jobs—he concluded his criticism of the president's policy by repeating, "That's W.; that's wrong."

It's not a perfect speech, nor is it delivered all that well. Kerry will never win an oratory contest with Bush, and he is fond of bizarre extemporizing. For example, he said, after being given a shotgun by a union leader to emphasize his support for hunting, "I'm thankful for the gift, but I can't take it to the debate with me." Still, even with Kerry's shaggy delivery, the speech—and more important, the message, if he sticks with it—should be good enough to get his campaign out of its latest sinkhole.

Sometimes, Kerry even improvises well. During the event in Canonsburg, Kerry was heckled by a small but noisy group of Bush supporters. But he managed to pull something out of Clinton's bag of tricks. When Kerry began talking about how the average family's tax burden has risen during the past four years, a man shouted, "Yeah, you're average, Kerry!" In response, Kerry adopted the tactic that Clinton used at the Democratic Convention in Boston: He embraced his affluence. "Just to answer that guy, 'cause he's right," Kerry said. "I'm privileged," just like President Bush. As a result, "My tax burden went down," Kerry said. "And I don't think that's right. I think your tax burden ought to go down."

Before today, Kerry's public image was starting to resemble that of a different Democratic candidate of recent vintage: the Republican caricature of Al Gore, a self-promoting braggart with a weakness for resume-inflating exaggerations. When Kerry was so angered by a Washington Post headline last week that he decided to speak directly after Bush's acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, he appeared to be imitating Gore's unfortunate tendency to let his campaign strategy be driven by the whims of the political media. Some Democrats feared that, by shaking up his campaign over the weekend and bringing in John Sasso and Michael Whouley, Kerry was overreacting in Gore-like fashion to some bad August press. On Monday, anyway, those fears seem overstated. The revamped Kerry campaign looks more like the Democrat who beat a president named Bush than the Democrat who lost to one.


          Running Scared   

NEW YORK—One of the most striking things about watching the Republican National Convention from inside Madison Square Garden has been the lack of enthusiasm among the delegates on the floor. When they formally, and unanimously, nominated George W. Bush as their party's presidential nominee Wednesday at the conclusion of the roll call of the states, the delegates failed to muster much applause for their action. "We can do better than that," complained Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele from the podium. "Come on now, bring it on for the president." The delegates dutifully applauded some more, but they still weren't very loud, and Steele still seemed disappointed.

But by the end of Wednesday night, the delegates were fired up. What got them going? Speeches by Zell Miller and Dick Cheney arguing that John Kerry can't be trusted on matters of national security, that he's weak, indecisive, and open to influence from foreign leaders. "Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending," Miller scoffed, and the delegates booed. During Cheney's speech, delegates joyously mocked Kerry by chanting "flip flop, flip flop," and they booed the idea that Kerry even aspired to be the country's commander in chief. The knock on Democrats this year is supposed to be that they hate the other guy more than they love their own. Based on this convention, it sure looks like the same is true of Republicans.

Tonight confirmed what I suspected before the Democratic convention began: In violation of the normal rules of politics, this year's election is a referendum on the challenger rather than a referendum on the incumbent. There's a general sense that a change in presidents would be a good thing, but the country is taking that decision more seriously than it would in peacetime, and voters aren't certain, despite their disapproval of President Bush, that a President Kerry would be an improvement.

That's why this was the night the Republicans did their convention right. During the first two days of this convention, the prime-time speakers gave eloquent speeches, but they didn't hammer Kerry enough, with the exception of Rudy Giuliani's effective pummeling of Kerry's reputation for inconsistency. Tonight, Miller and Cheney more than made up for the oversight. My guess is that Republicans won't be able to convince voters that Bush has been a wonderful president, but they just might be able to convince voters that Kerry would be a terrible one.

There is the question, though, of whether anything that happens at this convention will make much of a difference in the race. As a rule, political conventions are aimed at the great mass of undecided voters who typically determine the outcome of elections, and this convention has been no different. But what's interesting about the Republicans' decision to follow those rules and hold a convention that appeals to swing voters is that Karl Rove has already announced that 2004 is a year that the normal rules don't apply.

This is supposed to be a "base" election, not a "swing" one. Rove believes that there are more votes to be found among the conservatives who didn't turn out to vote in 2000 than among the minuscule pool of undecided voters. In search of those stay-at-home voters, President Bush and Vice President Cheney almost exclusively visit heavily Republican areas in swing states.

Democrats fear that the Bush-Cheney campaign may be able to pull off a national version of what Ralph Reed did for Saxby Chambliss in Georgia two years ago, when Reed turned out droves of new evangelical voters who made the difference against Max Cleland. The race in Missouri provides a good example of what Republicans are trying to do. Earlier this year I spoke to Lloyd Smith, who is advising the Bush-Cheney campaign in the Show-Me State this year. Smith said the Bush-Cheney campaign will win the state by going to precincts that had as few as 500 or 600 voters in them four years ago and finding another 100 voters in each one to vote for the president.

In 2000, those stay-at-home voters didn't like George W. Bush enough (or hate Al Gore enough) to be motivated to get out to the polls and vote. Based on Bush's record, my guess is that they don't like him any more now. Love of Bush won't win the Republicans the presidency. Fear of Kerry might.


          Playing to Strength   

NEW YORK—Inside Madison Square Garden, Tuesday's schedule promised another day of moderation, with Laura Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger following Monday's tag-team of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. But outside the hall, among the protesters, Tuesday is the day marked off for the hard-core left, for the anarchists and communists and the man at Union Square who is calling for American soldiers to rise up in mutiny and frag their commanding officers. Except at this convention, even the anarchists are moderates.

At Union Square, where Tuesday's "day of action" begins at 4 p.m., a small crowd gathers to block off the entrance to the park in defiance of police orders. "Ladies and gentlemen, you have to remove yourselves from the entrance," says a cop in front of a phalanx of shield-bearing officers. The crowd, which had been chanting, "Go arrest Bush! Go arrest Bush!" decides to adjust its message. The new chant: "The police deserve a raise! The police deserve a raise!" Who says anarchists aren't politically savvy? When trying to win over an audience, abandon the red-meat rhetoric and instead reach out to independent swing cops.

The protesters and convention speakers have a lot in common, in fact, including a preference for empty slogans and false choices. But more important, they both believe that showing resolve is the most important political act. The protesters believe that if enough of them are willing to lie down in the streets and get arrested—and if they do it over and over and over again—the American people will be persuaded to consider their point of view. The convention speakers agree that doing something over and over and over again, being unwavering and unchangeable, is the best way to pull Americans to your side.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Tuesday speaker with the most, er, movie-star appeal, says that "perseverance" is the quality he admires most about President Bush: "He's a man of inner strength. He is a leader who doesn't flinch, doesn't waver, and does not back down." Sure, the president led the country into an unpopular war, Schwarzenegger says, but that's a good thing! "The president didn't go into Iraq because the polls told him it was popular. In fact, the polls said just the opposite. But leadership isn't about polls. It's about making decisions you think are right and then standing behind those decisions." Schwarzenegger echoes what Monday night's final speaker, Rudy Giuliani, said: "There are many qualities that make a great leader but having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader."

Now, that can't possibly be right. Surely Giuliani and Schwarzenegger believe that having the correct beliefs is more important than sticking by your beliefs, no matter how wrong you are. Sticking by your beliefs is probably the most overrated leadership trait. All great politicians are flip-floppers, including President Bush.

The biggest fib the president says on the stump is, "When I say something, I mean it." Did he mean it when he said that no matter what the whip count, he would ask for a second vote at the Security Council before going to war with Iraq? Did he mean it when he was against a Department of Homeland Security? Did he mean it when he opposed the creation of a 9/11 commission? Did he mean it when he opposed McCain-Feingold? Did he mean it when he said troops shouldn't be used for nation-building? Did he mean it when he said he planned to use his presidency to strengthen international alliances? Does he mean it when he says, "It's the people's money, not the government's money"? If so, then why does he spend so much of it?

Up to now, the Kerry campaign has elected not to use this inconsistent record to undermine the Republican claim that President Bush is a man of great resolve. Instead, they've decided to buttress the idea. The president is stubborn, unyielding, Kerry says. He's not flexible enough.

Kerry's approach plays into liberals' fantasies about themselves. Liberals think they're smarter, more thoughtful, more nuanced than conservatives. They think they're more aware of the complexities and ambiguities in life. They're not inconsistent; they're Emersonian. Kerry tried to take advantage of this at the Democratic Convention when he said that he understands that some things are complicated. Bush's response has been to say, as he does often, "There is nothing complicated about supporting our troops."

Howard Dean got it right when he said that people don't like President Bush because they agree with his policies. They like him because they think he's a strong leader. Unless Democrats can undermine that belief, they don't have a chance of regaining the presidency. The Kerry campaign may finally be learning this. When Bush said that he now believes the nation actually can win the war on terror (despite saying otherwise previously), the Kerry campaign e-mailed a press release with the headline, "Bush: Against Winning the War on Terror Before He Was for It." Maybe they've learned that Kerry can't blunt Bush's strength on national security without making at least some people think the president is a flip-flopping "politician." You don't beat your opponent by listening to his message, nodding, and saying, I agree.


          Cyber Security Engineer   

          Looking Backward   

MANKATO, Minn.—After watching President Bush speak for only a couple of hours on the 2004 stump, it's easy to see the main tenets of his re-election campaign: My opponent is un-American, or at least less American than me and you. My opponent, much like Al Gore, doesn't know who he is. My opponent is a tax-hiking, big-government liberal. Worse, he wants to ask other countries for permission for America to defend itself against its enemies. Last, and most important, my wife is better than his wife.

What you don't hear from President Bush's stump speech, or from his surrogates, is what he plans to do were he given another four years as president. The problem is particularly glaring on matters of foreign policy. There are glimmers of a domestic agenda in the president's two campaign events Wednesday: He wants to reform America's high schools, increase math and science education, and increase the use of the Internet in schools. He wants more ethanol subsidies. He wants to make health care more available and affordable. He wants less regulation. He likes community colleges. He wants workers to be able to acquire flex time and comp time in lieu of overtime pay.

Bush also gives his audiences a rehash of the greatest hits from his 2000 campaign mantras. He likes tort reform and dislikes "frivolous lawsuits." (A favorite line of Bush crowds: "You cannot be pro-patient and pro-doctor and pro-trial lawyer at the same time. You have to choose. My opponent made his choice, and he put him on the ticket.") He wants private Social Security accounts for younger workers. He likes marriage and the family, which always gets him a big cheer, because what it really means is he's against gay marriage. He's for a "culture of life," "judges who faithfully interpret the law instead of legislating from the bench," and a "culture of responsibility." Not to mention the responsibility society and the ownership society. He's still against the soft bigotry of low expectations. And of course, he wants everyone to love their neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself.

Bush doesn't talk much about the future. He talks about the past. The biggest portions of Bush's speech are spent mounting a vigorous defense of his presidency. When Bush's campaign foundered in New Hampshire four years ago, he retooled his strategy in response to John McCain and began billing himself as a "reformer with results." He's not using that slogan yet, but the rhetoric is similar. "It's not enough to advocate reform," he says. "You have to be able to get it done." The closing section of his speech ends with the mantra, "Results matter." On education, health care, the economy, farms, and security, Bush concludes by saying, "Results matter." Of his Medicare prescription drug benefit, Bush says, "Leaders in both political parties had promised prescription drug coverage for years. We got the job done."

Bush spends the longest amount of time defending his policies after Sept. 11. He takes credit for the creation of the Homeland Security Department (one of those things that Bush voted against before he voted for it), and he takes pride in the Patriot Act. Afghanistan has gone from being the "home base of al-Qaida" to being a "rising democracy." Pakistan, once a "safe transit point for terrorists," is now an ally. Saudi Arabia, he says, "is taking the fight to al-Qaida." Libya has given up its quest for weapons of mass destruction.

Most of all, Bush defends the war in Iraq. He repeats the litany of reasons for going to war: Saddam was defying the will of the United Nations, he harbored terrorists, he funded suicide bombers, he used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. "In other words, we saw a threat," Bush says. "Members of the United States Congress from both political parties, including my opponent, looked at the intelligence and came to the same conclusion."

What Bush doesn't acknowledge is what went wrong: The WMD were never found. We weren't welcomed as liberators. Oil revenues haven't paid for the war. It wasn't a cakewalk. What went wrong? Why? Given four more years, what does Bush plan to do about it? He hasn't told us yet, other than suggesting "more of the same."

"Every incumbent who asks for your vote has got to answer one central question, and that's 'Why?'" Bush says. "Why should the American people give me the high privilege of serving as your president for four more years?" The answer Bush gives to that question is his record. He says he deserves re-election because of what he has already done. At Wednesday's first event, in Davenport, Iowa, U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle embodies this attitude when he introduces Bush to the crowd. "There is no one I would have wanted to be at the helm of this country these last four years than you," Nussle says.

Bush and Nussle are asking the wrong question. The real question an incumbent faces is, what now? What's next? So far, Bush isn't telling. A president's record matters, but the reason it matters is because it has predictive value. Bush's defenders say he is a transformational figure, that he's willing to take on big problems and challenges. Wouldn't you like to know what Bush believes those big problems and challenges would be in foreign policy over the next four years? Are there gathering threats that, like Iraq, he thinks need to be tackled "before they materialize"? The president says that is the lesson of Sept. 11, that the nation must confront its security problems pre-emptively. Where else does he plan to apply that lesson? Does he plan to tell us?

After the 2002 midterm elections, when Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill objected to another round of tax cuts for the rich, Vice President Cheney told O'Neill to discard his worries. We won the midterm elections, Cheney said. "This is our due." As much as liberals dislike President Bush's record over the past four years, it's the prospect of another four years that terrifies them. What they want to know—what keeps them awake at night—is what President Bush hasn't answered yet: What are you going to do next? This time, what will be your due?


          I'm a War Vice President   

BOSTON—I admit it. I don't get it. John Edwards is a perfectly fine public speaker, and compared to the likes of Bob Graham, he's Cicero, but I've never understood the press corps' crush on him. Of all the Democratic presidential candidates with whom I shared a small one-on-one encounter—even a handshake and a quick question—I found Edwards the least personally charming. Wesley Clark was a stiff shouter in speeches, but he had a likable way of engaging in locker-room razzing with the media. Howard Dean, the candidate whose stump persona (at least until he began messianic chanting) most closely resembled the one he put forth to the press, had a regular-guy air. Even John Kerry was hands-on, a guy who would put his arm around you to bring you into his circle. The awkward forcedness of the moment was part of its A-for-effort appeal.

Edwards, on the other hand, was guarded, bland, and impenetrable when I sat down for a 30-minute interview with him last September in a supporter's home in Sioux City, Iowa. He had nothing to say beyond the confines of his scripted talking points, even on the subject of his home state of North Carolina's recent pilfering of Roy Williams from my beloved Kansas Jayhawks (beyond conceding, "I wanted Roy baaaaad"). He showed no interest in small talk or idle conversation, just question, response, stop. Question, response, stop. The candidate Edwards most resembled was Dick Gephardt, who was similarly suspicious during my 10-minute encounter with him, but at least Gephardt displayed a deep knowledge of policy. And I didn't mind because, hey, you don't expect to be charmed by Dick Gephardt.

But Edwards' great strength as a candidate is supposed to be his ability to melt people with his winning smile. I was initially impressed by his public charm, particularly the first time I saw him deliver his revamped "Two Americas" stump speech in January. But that quickly wore thin, too. His delivery appears artful at first, but with repetition I saw it as rote and mechanical, so practiced that it's a little bit creepy. I find him as inscrutable as I did in that Iowa living room 10 months ago. As the campaign continued and Edwards kept drawing rave reviews, even from Republicans, I started asking myself: What's wrong with me?

With those doubts in mind, like everyone else I waited for Edwards' moment to arrive Wednesday night with anticipation. I wanted to see him deliver a new speech, a piece of oratory worthy of a presidential nominating convention. Edwards delivered that speech, a captivating declaration of the ways a Kerry-Edwards administration would wage the war on terror. Edwards was sure and forceful, and he outlined a powerful alternative to the Bush administration's war. Unfortunately, he took until the fifth page of the transcript of his seven-page speech to get to that play-within-the-play, and the minispeech was finished by the middle of the sixth page. The speech I wanted to see was bookended by disappointment.

The opening wasn't awful, but it wasn't particularly good, either. I was touched to hear Edwards mention his son Wade, who died in a car accident eight years ago and whom he writes about with grace in his book Four Trials. I don't recall hearing Edwards ever say the word "Wade" in public before. I once saw him tell a voter that he had four children, and then he named only three: Cate, Emma Claire, and Jack.

After that moving—perhaps only to me—moment, Edwards transitioned into the John-Kerry-served-in-Vietnam portion of his address. Maybe it's nitpicky, but some of the assertions he made, and has made before, aren't exactly accurate. He said that Kerry's decision to beach his Swift boat while under fire was made "in a split-second," which isn't right. It was a decision Kerry had talked about and hashed out with his crew in advance. That doesn't make it less brave or less brilliant, but the story ought to be told the right way.

Likewise, Edwards implied that Kerry knew that captaining a Swift boat was a dangerous duty when he volunteered for it, which isn't true. When Kerry asked for Swift duty, he wasn't asking for a combat job. It was only later that the Swifts' role in the war changed. Again, that fact doesn't detract from John Kerry's valor. In fact, it makes Kerry more understandable, more human. It shows how Kerry, an opponent of the Vietnam War before he enlisted, ended up unhappily—but with distinction—participating in it. Without that element of his story, Kerry becomes a thoughtful and serious young man, skeptical about Vietnam, who enthusiastically asks to be allowed to ship out and kill people he thinks of as innocents. I prefer the story of a man who got put in a situation he didn't ask for but did his duty anyway.

After Kerry-in-Vietnam, Edwards shifted into son-of-a-mill-worker mode, followed by Two Americas. He was, however, more substantive than usual, listing off specific policies a Kerry administration would seek to enact: tax credits for health care, child care, and college tuition, paid for by an increase in taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. I think rolling back the high end of the tax cuts is a good idea, but if a lot of Americans thought they were in the top 1 percent four years ago, how many think they are in the top 2 percent? He should have given us a salary figure.

But whatever flaws marred the portions of the speech about domestic policy, they were erased by the masterful section on foreign policy and the war on terrorism. About 20 minutes into his speech, Edwards painted the images of Sept. 11—"the towers falling, the Pentagon in flames, and the smoldering field in Pennsylvania"—and he mourned the nearly 3,000 who died. Unlike many of the speakers during the convention's first three days, Edwards didn't refer to 9/11 as a lost opportunity or a nostalgic period of national unity. He noted it as a tragedy that plunged the nation into war.

Edwards criticized the Bush administration for dragging its feet on intelligence reform, and he promised better homeland security, safer ports, and more money for first responders—firefighters, cops, and emergency medical technicians. He also promised more dead terrorists. "And we will have one clear unmistakable message for al-Qaida and the rest of these terrorists," he said. "You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you." And on the subject of Iraq, Edwards declared that America would win. He promised more special forces, a modernized military, stronger alliances, and he even said the magic words I didn't expect to hear: "a democratic Iraq."

Not long after that, he went back to heart-tugging and platitudes, and I was again wondering why I don't get it. But one moment moved me, though you had to have watched Edwards closely for the last year to catch it: He adapted the conclusion of Four Trials, the book in which he talks most freely about Wade, for the speech. The last lines of the book are nearly the same as the ones Edwards said, near the very end of the speech, when he talked about the lessons he has learned during his sometimes tragic life. One lesson, Edwards said, is that "there will always be heartache and struggle—you can't make it go away. But the other is that people of good and strong will can make a difference. One is a sad lesson and the other's inspiring. We are Americans and we choose to be inspired."

I saw it as a second mention of his son, this one a more private one, to pay tribute to the one member of the family who couldn't share this night with his dad.


          The Pretender   

ATLANTA—One of John Edwards' most effective bits on the trail was his description of how he overcame the soft bigotry of low expectations in the courtroom. On the stump, Edwards would paint himself as a lawyer who was a country rube facing impossible odds against high-priced, pinstriped corporate attorneys. They would look at him and sniff, who is this guy? What's he doing here? We're going to cream him. He doesn't belong with us. But despite being underestimated, "I beat 'em," Edwards would shout. "And I beat 'em again. And I beat 'em again."

Pretty much the opposite happened during the presidential campaign. Edwards came into the race highly regarded by the pundits and insiders who evaluate political talent. As early as 2001, the New York Times'William Safire pronounced that Edwards was "the most likely challenger to Al Gore" for the 2004 Democratic nomination. We like this guy, journalists told their readers over and over. He belongs here. That judgment never wavered, despite the fact that as Edwards campaigned in the primaries and caucuses, he lost 'em. And he lost 'em again. And he lost 'em again.

In truth, Edwards was never a serious contender for the Democratic nomination. Despite the media's best efforts to gin up a two-man race between Edwards and John Kerry after Howard Dean's departure, that contest never materialized. There was never compelling evidence that voters considered Edwards as Kerry's strongest competitor. As I wrote a month ago, this was a race between the front-runner, Kerry, and a bunch of people in third place. Nobody ever staked a valid claim for second.

From Iowa until Wisconsin, the final primary before Dean dropped out of the race, Democrats had held primaries or caucuses in 17 states. Edwards placed a distant fourth in eight—nearly half—of them. His second-place finish in Wisconsin was his sixth time as first-runner-up, but before that, he had been tied with Dean, who finished second five times in the first 17 states. Dean was also a much more consistent vote-getter than Edwards. He finished third in seven of the first 17 states, while Edwards did that only three times. And after winning Vermont Tuesday, Dean has now racked up as many primary victories as Edwards (and, to be fair, Wesley Clark). I'm not saying that Dean was the real No. 2 of this race. I'm just saying that Edwards wasn't either. The whole Edwards-Kerry Super Tuesday face-off was a bunch of hooey. The presidential race was over at the end of the first week of February.

Was it too fast? I'm not sure. It's true that the vote-casting stage was exceedingly short. Iowa conducted its first-in-the-nation caucuses a little more than six weeks ago, on Jan. 19. But the so-called "invisible primary" that leads up to Iowa was exceptionally long. And it got a lot of national news coverage. Dean landed on the covers of Time and Newsweek in early August 2003, nearly a full year before the Democratic national convention. When I spent a few days with Dick Gephardt's Iowa campaign this past October, 19 national reporters were there with me. So, yes, this campaign cycle was very, very short, but the prelude was also very, very long.

Over the next few days, Edwards' flaws will be dissected. Most of them are well-known. He seemed young, even though he was 50. He never passed the threshold I'm-strong-on-national-security test. Voters liked him personally, but they wanted to hear more specifics on the issues. His above-the-fray campaign strategy worked OK during the multicandidate stage of the race, but in a head-to-head battle with Kerry he proved unwilling to be tough. (I always thought that Edwards' declaration that he wasn't the candidate who was best at attacking other Democrats actually hurt him, despite the applause, because it created the perception that he wouldn't be willing to wage a forceful campaign against President Bush.)

By themselves, none of those reasons fully explain why Edwards didn't win. In the end, he lost because there really are two Americas. There's the one that votes for John Edwards, and then there's the one for everybody else.


          Republican Campaign Preview   

ST. LOUIS—Dick Gephardt's congressional district is Busch country, if not Bush country, so if you're going to hold a Republican presidential campaign rally in a Democratic stronghold, this one's as appropriate as any. Mary Matalin, who's on board the Bush-Cheney '04 team as a campaign adviser, is in town with a phalanx of Missouri Republicans. I'd say she's in town to distract media attention from the Democratic primary in the largest of the Feb. 3 states, except there's pretty much no Democratic campaign to speak of in Missouri. As a result, Missourians appear more interested in the Democratic primary for governor, between incumbent Gov. Bob Holden and State Auditor Claire McCaskill, than in presidential politics.

The Bush rally does, however, provide some insight into the general-election campaign message that the Bush-Cheney campaign is trying out. If the Democratic primaries and caucuses over the next four or five weeks are a referendum on John Kerry's electability, it's worth knowing what he's expected to be electable against. Monday's rally is the second Republican event I've attended this campaign—the other was in Nashua, N.H., where John McCain stumped for the president—and the president's re-election argument, as advanced by his surrogates, couldn't be clearer. The Republicans want the threshold question of this election to be: On Sept. 11 and Sept. 12, 2001, would you rather have had George W. Bush as president or his Democratic opponent?

Both Bush rallies that I've attended emphasize the idea that the president merits re-election as a reward for past performance, as much as—or even more than—any promise of future results. "On Sept. 11, when this nation faced in many respects the greatest threat to our security, President Bush stood forward, led this nation with clarity and with strength, which has earned him the admiration and appreciation of the overwhelming majority of Americans, and I believe has earned him another term as president of the United States of America," McCain said in Nashua. The speakers at Monday's event strike similar notes. "This is a man who has restored peace to the American homeland, after we suffered the worst attack we have suffered here since Pearl Harbor," U.S. Sen. Jim Talent says. U.S. Sen. Kit Bond puts it this way: "I'm most concerned about the war on terror. When Sept. 11, 2001, hit us, George Bush knew what to do."

Al Gore tried to run on the Clinton record of peace and prosperity. The Bush campaign looks like it will run on arguable prosperity and war. Kerry's line that the war on terrorism is as much a law-enforcement and intelligence-gathering operation as it is a military one is derided. "There's only one person gonna be running for president in November of this year who believes that the war against terrorism is a war, against a transnational army that attacked and every day threatens the people of the United States, not a law enforcement action against a few stray criminals," Talent says. Matalin concurs. "This is not a law enforcement effort, as has been said. This is a war. This is a global war. This is a war between barbarism and civilization."

Local boy John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act receive a heaping of praise. "John Ashcroft and the Bush administration have been successful," Bond says. "According to the FBI director, at least 100 planned terrorist attacks, underway for the United States, were disrupted because they used the Patriot Act. Thanks heavens we have the Patriot Act and we have somebody like John Ashcroft ..." I think Bond's concluding phrase is "who's going to use it," but I can't hear him over the crowd's applause. This is Bizarro World when compared to the Democratic campaign trail, where Ashcroft is deemed a supervillain second only to Karl Rove.

"The polls show that one of our colleagues in the United States Senate is leading in the Democratic primary here," continues Bond, referring to Kerry. "He wants to get rid of the Patriot Act. He voted for it, now he doesn't like it." The effectiveness of that line is undercut by Bond's demagogic follow-up: "Personally, I like being free of terrorist attacks." The crowd laughs appreciatively. Later, Matalin says that John Ashcroft is more than a mere terrorist-fighting, cell-breaking, plot-disrupting attorney general. "John Ashcroft is a hero."

Argument No. 3 is that the missing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq are irrelevant. Partly, because as McCain said back in New Hampshire, "Saddam Hussein acquired weapons of mass destruction, he used weapons of mass destruction against his own people and his enemies, and there is no expert that I know that doesn't believe that if Saddam Hussein was still in power he would be attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction."

But the humanitarian benefits of the Iraq war are emphasized more than the threat posed by Saddam. In Nashua, McCain cited a mass grave of 3,000 "men, women, and children," and added, "My friends, when those 8- and 9-year-old boys were let out of prison in Baghdad, our effort and our sacrifice was justified." Matalin compares Bush's hope for a democratic Iraq to the hopes of Islamic radicals. "There are forces that want to go backwards, that are for oppression, repressing women, there is no freedom, versus going forward into the modern world," she says.

After the event is over, I tell Matalin that the Republican pitch sounds backward-looking. OK, people liked President Bush after 9/11. But that's not an agenda. What's the president's plan going forward? "This is a generational commitment to get this job done," she says. "It took 60 years of a policy of hypocrisy, turning the other way when there was oppression and tyranny in that region, to create this kind of terrorism against America. So, getting a whole region to bring in the hallmarks of a modern state, private property, human rights, rights for women, a judicial system, market principles, it takes more than a campaign cycle. So, he reversed a 60-year policy that wasn't working in the region, and he is putting in place, which is going to take more than one term or two terms, collective security arrangements for the 21st century."

That's a mouthful. And it sets up what I think will be the most intriguing question of the general election. Which candidate will succeed in portraying himself as the internationalist in the race? The Democratic contenders push cooperation, alliances, and multilateral institutions, but they also use nationalist rhetoric to tar Bush for spending money abroad rather than spending it at home (say, "opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in the United States," a Kerry line). Taking off on some of that nationalist rhetoric, the Bush surrogates describe Democrats as isolationists who want the United States to abandon its leadership role in the world. The Democrats respond by describing President Bush as a unilateralist who abandoned the nation's role as a global leader. Who will succeed in defining himself as a broad-minded internationalist and his opponent as a narrow-minded nationalist? Our next president.


          Connected Asset Security Engineer - Caterpillar - Mossville, IL   
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          General Electric   

PETERBOROUGH, N.H.—The metaphorical moment of my first 24 hours on the Clark trail took place late Tuesday, when a college student handed her résumé to a Clark aide and asked for a job. The objective emblazoned across the top of the page stated that she wanted a position with the Kerry campaign, except the word "Kerry" was scratched out and "Clark" was hand-written below it in ink. If that's not proof of Clark's newfound No. 2 status in New Hampshire, Howard Dean's campaign produced still more evidence when it authorized volunteers to distribute anti-Clark flyers at a Clark town-hall meeting Wednesday here in Peterborough.

On one side, the flyer reads "WESLEY CLARK: PRO-WAR," followed by a list of the general's much-discussed statements in support of the congressional Iraq war resolution. It's the stuff that gave Clark grief when he entered the race in the fall: He advised Katrina Swett, campaigning at the time *, to vote for the resolution, and he told reporters this past September that "on balance, I probably would have voted for it." On the other side, the flyer reads "WESLEY CLARK: REAL DEMOCRAT?" followed by Clark's much-discussed statements in praise of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Bush Cabinet, plus evidence of his pro-Republican voting record in presidential elections (until 1992).

Clark strategist Chris Lehane paints this as hypocrisy on Dean's part. After calling on Terry McAuliffe to put a stop to intra-party bickering, the former Vermont governor aims his guns at his fellow Democrats when the tactic serves his interests. Fair enough, but who cares? More important is Clark campaign's sense of pride that it has arrived as a serious Dean rival. No campaign has ever been happier to have a target on its back.

Just as a press release at the Oct. 9 Phoenix debate showed that the Dean campaign considered Dick Gephardt its main obstacle of the moment, these flyers, however mild, demonstrate that Clark has become a big enough irritant to merit a swat of his own. "The Howard Dean campaign is starting to get a little nervous," Mo Elleithee, the campaign's New Hampshire communications director, crows at a conference call slapped together to gleefully respond to Dean's "negative attack flyers." "They're hearing our footsteps."

The Clark campaign insists that it was never engaged in any negative campaigning, and it's true that Clark has refrained from explicitly attacking Dean or any of his opponents at the three events I've attended so far. But there's no disputing that a healthy anti-Dean undercurrent runs through Clark's events. "You want to find the candidate you like, and you want to find the candidate who can win," says the man who introduces Clark in Peterborough. President Bush will run for re-election on national security and tax cuts, and Wesley Clark, he says, unlike Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean, can win on both.

Clark himself is even vaguer, but it's clear to whom he is referring when he opens each stump speech with a declaration that the party must rise above its anger in this election. "I'm not running to bash Bush," he says. "I'm running to replace him." The rest of the speech focuses on his patriotism, his faith, and his policies, but I wonder if this is another quiet shot at Dean. During Vietnam, "Every man in America understood that he had a military obligation," so it's no big deal that Clark served his country, Clark insists. (Did Dean understand his obligation?) And then, at a quick press conference after the town hall, a reporter asks Clark to respond directly to the flyers. Sounding more than ever like the man who just attacked him, Clark replies, "I guess that's what professional politicians do."

Correction, Jan. 9, 2004: In the original version of this article Chris Suellentrop referred to Katrina Swett as "Representative," when in fact she was merely campaigning for Congress at the time. Return to the corrected sentence.


          They Don't Like Him When He's Angry   

MANCHESTER, N.H.—Howard Dean tried, he really did. With the press huddled in the assistant principal's office at Manchester's Central High School, he's responding to charges from John Kerry that he's a "flimflam artist" who will say and do anything—"pander" to the NRA, stand with Newt Gingrich, flip-flop on NAFTA, Social Security, and the Confederate flag—to get elected. Dean's trying to play the front-runner, to not let his temper or his mouth get the better of him.

"We're not going to get down in the mud with Sen. Kerry," he says, then rolls off a Wesley Clark-worthy chestnut: "I want to say that I think this campaign has to be about the future, not the past." As the current president's father might have put it, Message: I'm above the fray. "I think what Sen. Kerry is doing is not helping the Democrats," Dean continues. "Our target has to be not each other, but our target has to be replacing George Bush as president of the United States. So, I would call on Sen. Kerry to try to lift his campaign a little bit higher." I, Howard Dean, have a positive, optimistic vision for America.

This is probably smart politics on Dean's part, but it's awfully disappointing. Just a little more than an hour earlier, he had turned to Jodi Wilgoren of the New York Times and said, "We're going to have a press avail later and blast Kerry." Dean's New Hampshire state director, Karen Hicks, looked surprised. Make sure we have the local press, too, Dean tells her.

What's he going to say? No one but Dean appears to know. Dorie Clark, the New Hampshire communications director, has no idea what I'm talking about when I ask her. Matthew Gardner, the campaign's New Hampshire press secretary, responds with a similar reaction when I tell him Dean said he was going to "blast Kerry." "He did?" Gardner says. "You're getting good insight into our speechwriting process." Later, when Wilgoren asks Gardner about it, he says, "We don't know if it's gonna happen yet."

But at 9:45 a.m., the assembled reporters are shuttled into the assistant principal's office. The press waits in the front section, around the administrative assistant's desk, while Dean and his team huddle in the next room. As the door closes, I see Dean seated at a chair in the center of the room, with his aides standing around him. I feel like Kay at the end of The Godfather, except the door that shut in her face didn't have a Garfield poster on it. Actually, Dean is closer to Sonny, and I think his aides are urging him not to go to war.

One of the best things about covering Dean is that he says things like, "I probably shouldn't say this," and then actually says things that he probably shouldn't. Most politicians use "I probably shouldn't say this" like they use "frankly," to preface either bland statements or red-meat panders in order to make them sound more straight-talking than they are. Sure, Dean employs that tactic, too (he's a master of the straight-talking pander), but he also lets his mouth get the better of him at times. For example, at Thursday night's town-hall meeting in Nashua, Dean said that President Bush "pooh-poohed" the foreign-policy notion of "constructive engagement" only "because he didn't think of it first. Which is probably not a surprise. I probably shouldn't have said that."

But when Dean comes out from behind the Garfield door, he's mouthing these second-rate platitudes. "I'm not going to attack Sen. Kerry in this press conference, other than to ask him to try to keep his focus on the task at hand, which is making sure that George Bush does not have a second term as president." He repeats the forward-not-backward bromide: "This is about the future, not the past." The reporters try to poke something interesting out of him, but he'll have none of it. "All I'm willing to do is to tell you what my positions are today, that's what's important." Give-'em-hell-Howard has gone from fire-and-brimstone to kumbaya.

But just before the availability ends, we get a flash of the old Dean, when he responds to a question about Kerry's criticism of his impending decision to turn down public financing for the campaign. Minutes after criticizing Kerry for personal attacks, Dean decides it's fair game to bring up Kerry's wife. It sounds like an implicit shot at Kerry's manhood for needing his wife's ketchup money in order to compete in New Hampshire:

"I would argue that Sen. Kerry has a very narrow place to stand on this issue, because if we opt out, we will raise money in small donations, which is exactly how campaign finance reform is supposed to work. He clearly does not have that financing capability. If he opts out, he will have a large check from himself, or his wife, to run the campaign. That's very different from what I'm talking about."

"OK, that's it," says one of Dean's aides. Dean talks for a little while longer, then says "Thank you very much," and walks out.


          Flag on the Field   

BOSTON—Who wants to bet that Howard Dean wishes he had said last week thathe wanted to reach out to people who have silhouettes of naked women on their mudflaps? Or people who sport, "American by birth, Southern by the grace of God" bumper stickers? Or people who display pictures of Calvin urinating on Chevy or Ford logos on their back of their trucks?

But no, he had to say, "I still want to be the candidate for guys withConfederate flags in their pickup trucks" in an interview with the Des Moines Register.  I happen to think this is a bogus issue. Recovering their appeal to white working-class voters is something of an obsession among Democratic Party politicians, and the Dean campaign rightly points out that the Confederate-flag comment is something that their candidate says all the time, and that he never received any criticism for it in the past. During tonight's debate in Boston, the campaign issued a press release pointing to C-SPAN footage from the February 2003 winter meeting of the Democratic National Committee that was attended by every candidate except John Kerry. There, Dean said, "White folks in the South who drive pick-up trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back ought to be voting with us because their kids don't have health insurance, either, and their kids need better schools, too." The campaign says he was received with a standing ovation, "even bringing Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe to his feet," and they say you can see it on C-SPAN here, right before the 2:09:00 mark.

That said, Dean handled tonight's kerfuffle over the Confederate flag poorly, and he did so in a way that raises a worrisome question about his candidacy. Why is he so obstinate about admitting that he was wrong? Earlier in the campaign, when Dean was confronted with changes in his positions on trade, on Social Security, and on Medicare, his first instinct was to deny that he had held the earlier position. Surely it would have been far easier to just say, hey, I made a mistake.

Something similar happens tonight. Dean could easily have pointed out that he phrased his comment slightly differently this time, and he could see how it was misinterpreted. It is, after all, somewhat different to say that you want to "be the candidate" for those who wave the Confederate flag than to say that you want to bring those voters into your party. The latter suggests at least some effort to change hearts and minds, while the former implies that you just want to be their standard-bearer. Sure, he calls the Confederate flag a "loathsome symbol," a "racist symbol," and he says the party shouldn't embrace it. But on the matter of admitting that he made a teeny, tiny error, Dean won't budge.

In a way he created his own mess tonight. Had he simply answered the question he was asked by an audience member—"Could you explain to me how you plan on being sensitive to needs and issues regarding slavery and African-Americans, after making a comment of that nature?"—he might have gotten off more easily. But instead of explaining what he wants to do for African-Americans, Dean decides to talk about white people. "There are 102,000 kids in South Carolina right now with no health insurance. Most of those kids are white. The legislature cut $70 million out of the school system. Most of the kids in the public school system are white. We have had white Southern working people voting Republican for 30 years, and they've got nothing to show for it." This is all fine and good, and I'm generally against targeting political appeals to specific ethnic groups, but it was shockingly tone deaf for Dean to respond this way. The question was, how will you be sensitive to the needs of black people? Dean's response was, by working to help white people.

Al Sharpton jumps on Dean and says, "You are not a bigot, but you appear to be too arrogant to say 'I'm wrong,' and go on." (After the debate, Dean mistakenly attributes this comment to John Edwards.) Then, John Edwards stands up to confront Dean and delivers one of the best shots of the evening: "Because let me tell you the last thing we need in the South is somebody like you coming down and telling us what we need to do." By the time Edwards is done, you can feel his poll numbers among Southerners with chips on their shoulders start to spike. Luckily for Dean, at this point Carol Moseley Braun decides to bail him out, by endorsing his explanation that the party should bring whites and blacks together. She says, "Yes, this is an important conversation. But it has to be done in a way that does not play into the real racists and the real right wing."

Here was the night's marijuana-use scorecard, for those who didn't hear all of it: Kerry, yes; Kucinich, no; Sharpton, no; Edwards, yes; Lieberman, no; Clark, no; Braun, no comment; Dean, yes.

This may be my own pangs of guilt for calling him "irrelevant" after the Detroit debate last week, but other than the fact that he was dressed like Wesley Clark's Mini-Me (in an identical black turtleneck and blazer), I thought Dennis Kucinich had a pretty good night. I agree with him on almost nothing, but this was the first debate in which he did more than switch from angry ranting to moon-eyed idealism and back again. He was even a little inspiring when he told the young people in the audience to trust their hearts and their "inner knowingness."

Still, Kucinich couldn't top Wesley Clark for the best moment of the evening. In the spin room after the debate, Matt LaBash of the Weekly Standard asks the general what he thought when he noticed the two candidates were wearing the same outfit. Clark pauses, as if he's unsure of how to take this, then says, "I thought Dennis Kucinich had excellent taste."


          See Dick Run   

SIOUX CITY, Iowa—Dean season! Gephardt season! Dean season! Gephardt season! If any lingering debate remained over which presidential candidate is currently enjoying his media moment, my two days with Dick Gephardt settled it. The 20 national reporters who follow Gephardt for all or part of his campaign swing from Des Moines to Sioux City are the latest sign that not only have the leaves turned in late October, but so have the media.

I came along to witness firsthand the evidence for something I wrote earlier this month after the Phoenix debate, that Gephardt's hard-nosed and well-organized Iowa campaign presents, at the moment, the biggest obstacle to President Dean (or, to be fairer, Democratic Nominee Dean). But I missed the media conspiracy memo that told everyone else to show up, too. During Gephardt's weekend swing in Iowa two days before, only three national reporters trailed the candidate. But now, David Brooks is here. So are Mara Liasson of NPR and Carl Cameron of Fox News. Throw in reporters from ABC, MSNBC, Knight Ridder, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, and the New York Times. (Counting Brooks, on Wednesday there are two New York Times writers following Gephardt.) Just for the sake of overkill, there are reporters from the British press and from Japanese television along for the ride. At one event in Pocahontas, Iowa—a town with an absolutely gigantic statue of the Indian princess outside her teepee welcoming visitors from the highway—the number of journalists nearly matches the number of prospective caucus-goers.

The Gephardt campaign pushes its slow-and-steady-wins-the-race angle (or is it a plea for votes from Maryland Terrapins alums?) by emblazoning "Fear the Turtle!" on the front of the press itinerary, complete with a little clip-art turtle on every page. The packet includes the latest Iowa poll results, which show Gephardt and Dean in a statistical tie for the lead, with Kerry and Edwards lagging behind. For good measure, the campaign throws in last week's favorable press clippings, including Des Moines Register wise man David Yepsen's assertion that Gephardt is the Iowa front-runner and that Dean has "plateaued" in the state. Also enclosed is a much-discussed Washington Post report—distributed, in truncated form, to voters at campaign events—that Gephardt is the candidate "many prominent Republicans fear the most." Not included is a delicious metaphor for Gephardt supporters to latch onto: While hurtling from campaign stop to campaign stop in Iowa over the past few months, the Dean van has been pulled over multiple times for speeding.

At his first stop, a senior center in Des Moines (the first of three consecutive senior centers visited by the campaign), Gephardt is supposed to deliver a "health policy address," but it turns out to be a rehash of old Howard Dean quotes about Medicare. (Later, while being ribbed by reporters about the false advertising, Gephardt's Iowa press secretary, Bill Burton, protests that he never called it a "major" policy address.) The newest wrinkle: Gephardt wants to paint the 1997 balanced budget accord—generally thought to be one of President Clinton's major accomplishments, and one supported by Dean—as a "deep, devastating cut" in Medicare.

While Gephardt speaks in front of a sign that reads "Protect Social Security" and "Protect Medicare" over and over, like computer-desktop wallpaper, I wonder: Does he really want to play this game? Dredging up old quotes and votes about Gephardt's onetime conservatism is what helped to derail his '88 campaign. He voted against the establishment of the Department of Education. He voted for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. He voted to means-test Social Security and to eliminate cost-of-living adjustments from the program. He voted for Reagan's 1981 tax cuts. He opposed an increase in the minimum wage. Does a man with a legislative record this long and varied really want to ostentatiously declare, "There are life-and-death consequences to every position taken and every vote cast"? If that's so, how many times was Dick Gephardt on the side of death?

For now, however, it's a more recent House vote that's preventing Gephardt from running away with the Iowa race. At nearly every campaign event I attend, Gephardt is forced to deliver, in effect, two separate stump speeches. The first is the one he would like the campaign to be about: universal health care, jobs, and the immorality of rapacious multinational corporations. Gephardt's not anticapitalist: "Capitalism is the best system," he says in Pocahontas. "But capitalism has to have rules, so the capitalists don't destroy the very system" they benefit from.

He describes his visits to Mexico, China, and India, where workers live in the cardboard boxes used to ship the products they make. "I smelled where they live," he says. They live without electricity, without running water, with raw sewage running down the streets and next to "drainage ditches filled with human waste." "They live in worse conditions than farm animals in Iowa," he continues. "This is nothing short of human exploitation, that's what it is, for the profit of some special interests in the world." I'm not sure I agree with Gephardt's proposed solutions—though I'm intrigued by his notion of a variable international minimum wage—but there's no denying that he's a powerful critic of global capitalism's excesses.

Then, once Gephardt has finished and the applause has subsided, almost invariably a voter raises his hand to ask: What about Iraq? Was this war about oil? How can we recover the world's respect? How can we pay for all your programs with a war on?

At this point, Gephardt is forced to unveil stump speech No. 2. Sept. 11 changed everything, he says. Government's highest obligation is to protect American lives. In a Gephardt administration, the highest priority would be to prevent a nuclear device—"dirty or clean"—from going off in New York, Los Angeles, or Des Moines. That's why he decided Saddam Hussein needed to be removed. He supported the war because he believed the estimates of the CIA and the warnings of former Clinton administration officials, not because he listened to President Bush ("I would never do that").

Slowly, Gephardt's defense of his vote for the congressional war resolution transitions into a critique of the president. Though in an interview he insisted that the president was smart, on the stump he's not shy about insinuating that the president (whom he often refers to as "Dubya") is stupid. "He's incompetent," "He frightens me," "He's hard to help," I told him America founded the United Nations because "I wasn't sure he knew the history," and "If you'd been meeting with him every week since 9/11, you'd be running for president," too. Because Bush refused to negotiate with Kim Jong Il, North Korea is now "weeks away" from producing nuclear bombs. Bush abandoned the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, saying, "It's not our problem." He's arrogant. He doesn't play well with others. By the end, people are satisfied enough with Gephardt's explanation, and maybe even a little terrified, but you get the sense that they're not enthused by it.

But Gephardt isn't counting on enthusiasm. He has a couple edges on Dean, in addition to his obvious union support. For one, a surprising number of Iowa Democrats just don't like the former Vermont governor. The opposition to Gephardt tends to be substantive, based on his support for the war or his failure as Democratic leader to enact a more Democratic agenda. But the opposition to Dean is stylistic, or maybe even cultural. In socially conservative Iowa, sometimes you hear it whispered: Where's Dean's wife? Before Gephardt arrives at an event in the town of Ida Grove, I overhear a woman grumble about Judith Steinberg's refusal to campaign for her husband. "I can't get used to that," she tells her companion. "It's supposed to be a family thing."

By the same token, Gephardt never fails to mention the "church loans" and "church scholarships" that allowed him to attend Northwestern and then Michigan law school. He also refers to his son, Matt, who survived prostate cancer as an infant, as a "gift of God." I don't think I've ever heard Howard Dean say the word "God" in reference to anything.

Just before the last stop in Sioux City, I'm granted a 10-minute ride-along interview with Gephardt. I've got a number of questions, but the one I really want an answer to is this: If balanced budgets and free trade—two things that don't get a lot of emphasis in the Gephardt platform—weren't the secrets of the Clinton economy, what were? Higher taxes for the rich? Gephardt explains that the '97 budget accord wasn't needed to balance the budget, and then he tries to explain why Bush's steel tariffs—which Gephardt supported, and which made the United States lose manufacturing jobs—aren't analogous to the retaliatory tariffs Gephardt wants to be able to impose on foreign products or factories that don't comply with minimal labor and environmental standards. Soon enough, we're so sidetracked that I've forgotten entirely what we were talking about.

But afterward, when I'm once again following Gephardt in my rental car, I'm left with my question: Clinton balanced the budget and promoted free trade, and the economy boomed. President Bush ran up enormous deficits and put new restrictions on trade, and the economy sputtered. Isn't Dick Gephardt's plan closer to President Bush's?


          WOW - Your Chinese Zodiac Animal And What It Says About Your Personality.   
Did you know you can find out some interesting facts about your personality, based on the traits of the various animal signs in the Chinese Zodiac?

You can determine your Chinese Zodiac animal according to your year of birth; however, do note that the Chinese Zodiac is based on the beginning of the year in the Chinese calendar, not the regular calendar year. The beginning of the year in the Chinese calendar varies from year-to-year and often falls in late January if not early February.

If you are born sometime in the early January or in the new year just before the start of the Chinese New Year in February, you might want to read about the personality traits associated with the previous year’s Zodiac to see if it more likely fits you.

Below are the 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs and
their personality traits and/or meanings:

YEAR OF THE RAT
(1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020)
Individuals born in the Year of the Rat are charming and generally companionably and at ease in social situations. As a matter of fact, they are notably popular individuals and exude prowess in business; though, they are also known to be critical and quick-tempered. Rats have an exceptional grasp of information and ideas and additionally have vivid imaginations and unique intellectual abilities. Thus, they often see a lot of opportunities that others may miss. They are opportunists but may take on way too many commitments to fault. Nonetheless, they highly value relationships, and they are very generous and passionate in love as they are in businesses.
YEAR OF THE OX
(1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021)
Ox people are very much a representation of the expression ‘strong as an ox’ because of their uncanny ability to face and manage most types of circumstances. They deal with their responsibilities methodically and earn much respect for their confidence and great capabilities. On the negative side, they are sometimes prone to being chauvinists and are very demanding people, determined to defend their own interests to the extremes. Their admirable sense of duty to sometimes result to a less passionate or exciting personal life although very much stable. Nonetheless, ox people are classified as consistently faithful to their families and partners.
YEAR OF THE TIGER
(1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022)
People born in the Year of the Tiger are deep sensitive and in-tune with their emotions, thus making them awesome lovers or partners. They seek balance between their domineering and strongly competitive nature and their immense need for love, which both drive them towards seeking independence from love; hence, they both bring passion and open candour into any relationship while also expecting the same in return. They have amazing confidence, though they can be quite shaken or depressed by criticisms at times. They can also be inherently restless. Tigers are best known for their ability to bounce back from negative occurrences, and they are dignified and courageous in facing any challenges, making them great leaders.
YEAR OF THE RABBIT/ HARE
(1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023)
Rabbit people are generally well-liked because they are affectionate, pleasant, and polite-mannered. They feel more comfortable staying out of disputes, controversies, or mini-quarrels. They very much love enjoyable pursuits that, although unintentional, they tend to forget about their loved ones’ needs without them realizing it. They become so distracted with fun. Despite their inclination toward good times, they are also quiet and conservative as well as intellectual. Some people may regard their overly sentimental traits as shallow but they can be very loving. They often seek security in all their relationships.
YEAR OF THE DRAGON
(1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024)
People born in the Year of the Dragon possess an almost charismatic aura and they are always brimming with energy. They are very talented in their pursuits because they are highly intelligent. Occasionally, they may seem loud and boisterous and they often follow their own course, not believing that rules should hold them. Their perfectionism makes them appear very demanding of others, just as they are to themselves. Nonetheless, dragons are generally inclined towards success and they enjoy challenging situations that give them the opportunity to use their innate talents and energies. Although committed relationships are not very important to them, kindred spirits sharing their life’s adventures are most valuable to them.
YEAR OF THE SNAKE
(1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025)
Snake people are profound thinkers. They possess great wisdom and are often willing to work imperceptibly to achieve their goals discreetly without anyone realizing it. They also have a very charming and romantic side to them and they seek elegance in their relationships as well. They are prone to jealousy though. They also tend to be secretive and are most of the time seen as loners. Thus, they are less popular compared to their peers socially-speaking. Nonetheless, this may be ideal to the Snake as snakes often appreciate and prefer solitude.
YEAR OF THE HORSE
(1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026)
The popular expression ‘works like a horse’ hold true to Horse people because they exert great efforts in their line of work. They will readily commit to success and hard work unless they perceive the job as beneath them. Horses may be challenged by their own emotions because they are prone to explode in their tempers and become impulsive especially in love. They are also not regarded as good team players since they prefer independent work. Their independence may lend themselves characteristic of Egotism but their strong intellect and excellent verbal skills aid them in social situations. They can be quite popular.
YEAR OF THE RAM
(1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027)
Ram people are often likable and charming, and socially gracious although quite reserved. They are also kind, sensitive, and sympathetic individuals. Ram persons especially love art, nature, and culture, and they are also often having an artistic or creative nature. On the negative side, they are inclined feel discomfort physically and will often complain about it, plus, they are also prone to pessimism. The Ram often find themselves on the opposite ends of being assertively self-confident and being prone to timidity, but in relationships, as long as there is security, they feel most fulfilled.
YEAR OF THE MONKEY
(1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028)
People who are born in the Year of the Monkey have intelligent and energetic natures, and they possess magnetic personalities that draw in crowds. Monkeys generally appear to have very appealing personalities and somewhat an eccentric side to them while also possessing the likely gift of chatter. They are quick-witted and have an easy talent for turning every situation into a humorous one. On the down side, some people see this as suspect, hence the Monkey personality is seen as untrustworthy because of their typical brunt practical jokes. Monkeys also are high-energy and tend to be restless, and may find it difficult to choose careers. Nonetheless, they tend to succeed in environments that thrive on change including dynamic relationships.
YEAR OF THE ROOSTER
(1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029)
The Rooster sign is known for having a great sense of industry and diligence when it comes to work, and they also have a natural ease in expressing their opinions. They see their opinions, and their right to share it, as strongly important even to the extent that they have difficulties sharing their spotlight. They often display an attention-grabbing garb and style, and are generally successful at gaining attention they so eagerly love. Despite their sometimes-frustrating meticulous standards, they have many friends and they can be very loyal and genuine in their relationships. They also tend to achieve great success in their chosen careers because of their high standards.
YEAR OF THE DOG
(1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030)
Dog people are noteworthy for their loyalty and honesty in any relationship. They also focus their interest in a specialty subject, giving their whole heart and soul into it, be it a hobby or a career. They stick strongly to their principles of fairness and justice, and they also have great creative problem-solving skills. Dog individuals are challenged most by their need to criticize and their innate nature of having “sharp tongues.” As friends and lovers, they can be very trustworthy, but with special someone’s, they can be quite unforgiving because they tend to hold grudges till they feel they have been appeased. They have a profound need for a good, long-lasting relationship, making them loyal for life especially when feel they have found their perfect mate.
YEAR OF THE PIG
(1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031)
People born in the Year of the Pig make wonderful companions for they are tolerant, kind, sincere, and intellectually strong, which helps them perform well in rich conversations. They also use their intellect to go after challenging goals and ultimately achieve them. They strongly hold social harmony as highly important to, lending them well in overlooking people’s faults and seeing only the best in people. Pigs are noted, too, for their sense of humour and wit, but their greatest vulnerability lies in their seeming naiveté in expecting the same good traits in others. Their inclination to feel rage when people do not afford them the same kindness they are giving is one of their greatness weaknesses. Pigs are also inclined to physical/material indulgences, but they deeply cherish family or home life.


          Leftists coddle criminals, seek disarming of public   
... now aggressively targeting murderous gangs. Elitist leftist politicians don't want law-abiding citizens to own guns, but are themselves protected by armed security details. Malloy is shielded by state troopers at exorbitant expense to ...
          My opinion of my first Gartner event in my 23+ year long career   
I’m sitting here in the beautiful Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington D.C., nice and comfortable as I look out over the cool little “town” they built inside this gargantuan building. While I enjoy the artificial scenery, I am also thinking about the week I just spent at the Gartner Security and Risk …

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          Software Development Engineer 3 (CARD2191) - Fortinet - Ontario   
Our products and subscription services provide broad, integrated and high-performance protection against dynamic security threats while simplifying the IT...
From Fortinet - Thu, 25 May 2017 23:49:25 GMT - View all Ontario jobs
          An Information Security Place Podcast – 01-22-14   
Jim, Dan, and Michael have a lot of catching up to do. We talk about a lot of stuff because a lot of stuff has been happening. From RSA, NSA, QSAs… security is busy! Show notes below! Show Notes: InfoSec News Update – 123456 is the new best of the worst – Link RSA Conf …

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          Giving Grammy security advice   
So Grammy got a computer. No, not my Grammy. Just some random Grammy out there got a computer. How do I know? Because someone who set up her computer wanted their family to know that Grammy got a computer and now could get emails. So that person sent out an email to “Mom” and a …

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          An Information Security Place Podcast – The HouSecCon 2013 Episode   
Quick show this time. Jim, Dan, and Michael are all at HouSecCon 2013 in Houston, TX on October 18. They found a quiet room away from all the conference noise and recorded a fast podcast. Jim and Dan talk about their talks, and Michael talks about the fun and stress of being the HouSecCon organizer. …

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          An Information Security Place Podcast – 09-06-13   
We’re in rare form today. A lot of fun sprinkled with the occasional good nugget of information security news and discussion. Show Notes: InfoSec News Update – New OSX Metasploit Module or Time is not on your Side! – Link If your session belongs to a user with Administrative Privileges (the user is in the …

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          Security Analyst - DOSarrest - Canada   
Compensation: Commensurate with experience Job Description: DOSarrest has 2 immediate openings for a security analyst/engineer for a fast paced, 24/7...
From DOSarrest - Sat, 17 Jun 2017 07:36:25 GMT - View all Canada jobs
          An Information Security Place Podcast – 8-20-13   
We’re back to work. Show Notes: InfoSec News Update – Scan the Entire Internet in less than 45 minutes!! – Article Link and tool link Zuckerberg’s Profile Hacked – Link FDA Issues Guidelines on Wireless Medical Devices – Link OWASP Top 10 Update – Link Malware Sandboxing Not Working – Link Sparty: MS Sharepoint and …

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          New talk – The Solution vs The Silver Bullet   
I have developed a new presentation that I gave for the first time yesterday at the Texas Technology Summit in Houston. The title and synopsis are below. Title: The Solution vs The Silver Bullet (or InfoSec Industry != InfoSec Practice) Synopsis: The information security industry and information security practice are two concepts that should not …

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          Car bomb, gunfire and hostage-taking rock Mogadishu restaurant   
A suicide bombing and gun attack on a popular restaurant of the Somali capital Mogadishu early on Thursday killed at least 17 people, including foreigners. The Al Shabab Islamist militant group claimed responsibility - saying one of its fighters rammed a car packed with explosives onto the gates of a posh hotel. A photograph uploaded to social media by Abdulaziz Billow Ali showed the area affected by the explosion engulfed in flames, while loud gunfire can be heard in subsequent videos. The explosion caused a huge inferno inside the famous Pizza House Restaurant. Sporadic gunfire can still be heard #Mogadishu #Somalia. pic.twitter.com/gtilI4hQGS- Abdulaziz Billow Ali (@AbdulBillowAli) June 14, 2017 Al Shabab claimed the attack in #Mogadishu. pic.twitter.com/9nscf9fWhF- Ruslan Trad (@ruslantrad) June 14, 2017 Gunmen then stormed the neighbouring restaurant and held dozens of people hostage inside. Special forces released at least 50 hostages, according to the state news media, but many were wounded in the attack, which dragged on late into the night. One witness said the gunmen were dressed like soldiers. They also cut off electricity to impede the siege by security forces. Its almost midnight in #Mogadishu and heavy exchange of gunfire can still be heard at Pizza House. Gunmen still holed up inside. #Somalia pic.twitter.com/heb2uwl8AA- Abdulaziz Billow Ali (@AbdulBillowAli) June 14, 2017 Its already past dusk & gvt forces are still engaging gunmen in heavy gunfire. Smoke has engulfed z sky near the scene of z blast #Somalia pic.twitter.com/BJRCB9kzP1- Abdulaziz Billow Ali (@AbdulBillowAli) June 15, 2017 Stepping up attacks Al-Shabab last year became the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa, with more than 4,200 people killed in 2016, according to the Washington-based Africa Center for Strategic Studies. The group has carried out a campaign of suicide bombings in its bid to topple the Somali government and impose its strict interpretation of Islam. It often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu, including hotels, military checkpoints and areas near the presidential palace. It has vowed to step up attacks after the recently elected government launched a new military offensive against it. They have also been behind attacks in neighbouring Kenya, including the Westgate Mall siege in Nairobi in 2013. Deadly attacks on hotels popular with foreigners have become one of their trademarks.
          *GRAPHIC* Footage shows civilian bleeding after getting shot by terrorists in Tehran   
Gunmen have stormed Iran's parliament and the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini in two seemingly coordinated attacks in Tehran. Four attackers armed with automatic rifles and pistols made their way into the parliament, shooting indiscriminately. The gunfire reportedly left seven people dead, including a security guard, and several others injured. Shooting continues at the legislative chamber with security forces exchanging fire with the armed men. Reports say one assailant was killed and another arrested. The legislature is under lockdown as the attackers have taken a number of people hostage. In another incident, four attackers burst into the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini with firearms, killing one person. One attacker blew explosives, but another one was gunned down before detonating hand generates. Iran's intelligence ministry has blamed the twin attacks on terror group, saying it has busted a terrorist cell in Tehran.
          Gunmen storm Mali tourist resort   
At least two people have been killed in an attack by gunmen on a luxury tourist resort in Mali. Security forces aided by UN soldiers were called to the scene eventually rescuing 36 guests. One of the dead is said to have been a Gabonese citizen. Gunman stormed Le Campement Kangaba to the east of the capital Bamako. It's a resort popular with westerners. According to Mali's Security Minister Salif Traore, one of the assailants was able to escape after being injured. The incident is being treated as a terror attack. "At first we thought that they were armed bandits, but we know the methods used by armed bandits, and they don't hold their ground, so we are now thinking that this is a terrorist attack and that's why the anti-terrorism prosecutor is already at the scene with his staff." Jihadists are suspected in a fatal assault on a luxury resort in Mali's capital https://t.co/vowLl5zt6C- Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 18, 2017 Earlier this month the US embassy in Bamako warned of possible attacks on Western targets. Mali has been fighting a jihadist insurgency for several years. In November 2015 at least 20 people were killed when gunmen took hostages at a hotel in the capital.
          Russian Woman Flashing Hairy Pussy In front Security Boy   
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          India and the Balance of Power   

India is arriving on the world stage as the first large, economically powerful, culturally vibrant, multiethnic, multireligious democracy outside of the geographic West. As it rises, India has the potential to become a leading member of the "political West" and to play a key role in the great political struggles of the next decades. Whether it will, and how soon, depends above all on the readiness of the Western powers to engage India on its own terms.

THREE STRATEGIC CIRCLES

India's grand strategy divides the world into three concentric circles. In the first, which encompasses the immediate neighborhood, India has sought primacy and a veto over the actions of outside powers. In the second, which encompasses the so-called extended neighborhood stretching across Asia and the Indian Ocean littoral, India has sought to balance the influence of other powers and prevent them from undercutting its interests. In the third, which includes the entire global stage, India has tried to take its place as one of the great powers, a key player in international peace and security.

Three things have historically prevented India from realizing these grand strategic goals. First, the partition of the South Asian subcontinent along religious lines (first into India and Pakistan, in 1947, then into India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, in 1971) left India with a persistent conflict with Pakistan and an internal Hindu-Muslim divide. It also physically separated India from historically linked states such as Afghanistan, Iran, and the nations of Southeast Asia. The creation of an avowedly Islamic state in Pakistan caused especially profound problems for India's engagement with the Middle East. Such tensions intertwined with regional and global great-power rivalries to severely constrict India's room for maneuver in all three concentric circles.

The second obstacle was the Indian socialist system, which caused a steady relative economic decline and a consequent loss of influence in the years after independence. The state-socialist model led India to shun commercial engagement with the outside world. As a result, India was disconnected from its natural markets and culturally akin areas in the extended neighborhood.

Finally, the Cold War, the onset of which quickly followed India's independence, pushed India into the arms of the Soviet Union in response to Washington's support for Pakistan and China -- and thus put the country on the losing side of the great political contest of the second half of the twentieth century. Despite being the largest democracy in the world, India ended up siding with the opposite camp on most global issues.

The last decade of the twentieth century liberated India from at least two of these constraints; state socialism gave way to economic liberalization and openness to globalization, and the Cold War ended. Suddenly, New Delhi was free to reinvent its foreign policy -- positioning itself to face the rise of China, shifting its strategic approach to its other neighbors, and beginning to work closely with the world's existing great powers.

VARIETIES OF INFLUENCE

India's recent embrace of openness and globalization has had an especially dramatic effect on the country's role in the region. As the nations of the subcontinent jettison their old socialist agendas, India is well positioned to promote economic integration. Although the pace has been relatively slow, the process has begun to gain traction. The planned implementation of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement this summer signals the coming reintegration of the subcontinent's markets, which constituted a single economic space until 1947.

At the same time, optimism on the economic front must be tempered by an awareness of the problematic political developments in India's smaller neighbors. The struggle for democracy and social justice in Nepal, interminable political violence and the rise of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh, and the simmering civil war in Sri Lanka underscore the potential dangers of failing states on the subcontinent. There are also the uncertain futures of Pakistan and Afghanistan: defeating religious extremism and creating modern and moderate states in both countries is of paramount importance to India. A successful Indian strategy for promoting peace and prosperity within the region would require preventing internal conflicts from undermining regional security, as well as resolving India's own conflicts with its neighbors.

In the past, great-power rivalries, as well as India's own tensions with Pakistan and China, have complicated New Delhi's effort to maintain order in the region. Today, all of the great powers, including the United States and China, support the Indian objective of promoting regional economic integration. The Bush administration has also started to defer to Indian leadership on regional security issues. Given the new convergence of U.S. and Indian interests in promoting democracy and countering extremism and terrorism, New Delhi no longer suspects Washington of trying to undercut its influence in the region. As a result, it is more prepared than ever to work with the United States and other Western powers to pursue regional goals.

Meanwhile, the external environment has never been as conducive as it is today to the resolution of the Indo-Pakistani conflict over Kashmir. The conflict has become less and less relevant to India's relations with the great powers, which has meant a corresponding willingness on New Delhi's part to work toward a solution. Of particular importance has been the steady evolution of the U.S. position on Kashmir since the late 1990s. The support extended by President Bill Clinton to India in its limited war with Pakistan in 1999 removed the perception that Washington would inevitably align with Islamabad in regional conflicts. But India remained distrustful of the Clinton administration's hyperactive, prescriptive approach to Kashmir. It has been more comfortable with the low-key methods of the Bush administration, which has avoided injecting itself directly into the conflict. The Bush administration has also publicly held Pakistan responsible for cross-border terrorism and has extracted the first-ever assurances from Pakistan to put an end to the attacks. New Delhi does not entirely believe these promises, but it has nonetheless come to trust Washington as a source of positive of influence on Islamabad.

These developments have opened the way for a peace process between the two governments. With the growing awareness that the normalization of relations with Pakistan would end a debilitating conflict and help India's regional and global standing, New Delhi has begun to negotiate seriously for the first time in decades. Although the pace of talks has not satisfied Pakistan, the two sides have agreed on a range of confidence-building measures. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rejected the idea of giving up territory, but he has often called for innovative solutions that would improve living conditions and for common institutions that would connect Kashmiris across the Line of Control. Singh has made clear that the Indian leadership is ready to risk political capital on finding a diplomatic solution to Kashmir.

India's recent effort to resolve its long-standing border dispute with China has been just as bold. New Delhi decided in 2003 to seek a settlement with Beijing on a political basis, rather than on the basis of legal or historical claims. As a result, during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to New Delhi in April 2005, India and China agreed on a set of principles to guide the final settlement. The two governments are now exploring the contours of mutually satisfactory territorial compromises.

India's search for practical solutions to the disputes over Kashmir and its border with China suggests that the country has finally begun to overcome the obsession with territoriality that has consumed it since its formation. Ironically, the nuclearization of India and Pakistan in 1998 may have helped in this regard: although nuclearization initially sharpened New Delhi's conflicts with both Islamabad and Beijing, it also allowed India to approach its territorial problems with greater self-assurance and pragmatism.

INDIA UNBOUND

Progress on the resolution of either of these conflicts, especially the one over Kashmir, would liberate India's political and diplomatic energies so that the country could play a larger role in the world. It would also finally release India's armed forces from the constraining mission of territorial defense, allowing them to get more involved in peace and stability operations around the Indian Ocean. Even with all the tensions on the subcontinent, the armies of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have been among the biggest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. The normalization of Indo-Pakistani relations would further free up some of the best armed forces in the world for the promotion of the collective good in the greater Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Even as the Kashmir and China questions have remained unsettled, India's profile in its extended neighborhood has grown considerably since the early 1990s. India's outward economic orientation has allowed it to reestablish trade and investment linkages with much of its near abroad. New Delhi is negotiating a slew of free- and preferential-trade agreements with individual countries as well as multilateral bodies including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the Southern African Development Community. Just as China has become the motor of economic growth in East Asia, a rising India could become the engine of economic integration in the Indian Ocean region.

After decades of being marginalized from regional institutions in different parts of Asia, India is also now a preferred political partner for ASEAN, the East Asian Summit, the GCC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the African Union. Moreover, it has emerged as a major aid donor; having been an aid recipient for so long, India is now actively leveraging its own external assistance to promote trade as well as political objectives. For example, India has given $650 million in aid to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. Meanwhile, the search for oil has encouraged Indian energy companies to tail their Western and Chinese counterparts throughout the world, from Central Asia and Siberia and to western Africa and Venezuela.

On the security side, India has been actively engaged in defense diplomacy. Thanks to the strength of its armed forces, India is well positioned to assist in stabilizing the Indian Ocean region. It helps that there has been a convergence of U.S. and Indian political interests: countering terrorism, pacifying Islamic radicalism, promoting democracy, and ensuring the security of sea-lanes, to name a few. The Indian navy in particular has been at the cutting edge of India's engagement with the region -- as was evident from its ability to deploy quickly to areas hit by the tsunami at the end of 2004. The Indian navy today is also ready to participate in multinational military operations.

AXES AND ALLIES

The end of the Cold War freed India to pursue engagement with all the great powers -- but especially the United States. At the start of the 1990s, finding that its relations with the United States, China, Japan, and Europe were all underdeveloped, India moved quickly to repair the situation. Discarding old socialist shibboleths, it began to search for markets for its products and capital to fuel its long-constrained domestic growth. Economic partnerships were easy to construct, and increasing trade flows provided a new basis for stability in India's relations with other major powers. India's emergence as an outsourcing destination and its new prowess in information technology also give it a niche in the world economy -- along with the confidence that it can benefit from economic globalization.

Barely 15 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, India's omnidirectional engagement with the great powers has paid off handsomely. Never before has India had such expansive relations with all the major powers at the same time -- a result not only of India's increasing weight in the global economy and its growing power potential, but also of New Delhi's savvy and persistent diplomacy.

The evolution of Sino-Indian ties since the 1990s has been especially important and intriguing. Many see violent conflict between the two rising Asian powers as inevitable. But thanks to New Delhi's policy of actively engaging China since the late 1980s, the tensions that characterized relations between them from the late 1950s through the 1970s have become receding memories. Bilateral trade has boomed, growing from less than $200 million in the early 1990s to nearly $20 billion in 2005. In fact, China is set to overtake the European Union and the United States as India's largest trading partner within a few years. The 3,500-kilometer Sino-Indian border, over which the two countries fought a war in 1962, is now tranquil. And during Wen's visit to India in April 2005, India and China announced a "strategic partnership" -- even though just seven years earlier New Delhi had cited concerns over China as a reason for performing nuclear tests, prompting a vicious reaction from Beijing.

India has also cooperated with China in order to neutralize it in conflicts with Pakistan and other smaller neighbors. In the past, China tended to be a free rider on regional security issues, proclaiming noninterference in the internal affairs of other nations while opportunistically befriending regimes in pursuit of its long-term strategic interests. This allowed India's subcontinental neighbors to play the China card against New Delhi when they wanted to resist India's attempts to nudge them toward conflict resolution. But now, Beijing has increasingly avoided taking sides in India's disputes, even as its economic and security profile in the region has grown.

China is not the only Asian power that India is aiming to engage and befriend. Japan has also emerged as an important partner for India, especially since Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has transformed Japanese politics in the last few years. During a visit to New Delhi just a couple of weeks after Wen's in April 2005, Koizumi announced Japan's own "strategic partnership" with India. (This came despite Japan's harsh reaction to India's nuclear test in 1998, which prompted Japanese sanctions and an effort by Tokyo to censure India in the United Nations and other multilateral forums.) Amid growing fears of a rising China and the incipient U.S.-Indian alliance, Japan has elevated India to a key player in its long-term plans for Asian security.

Recognizing the need to diversify its Asian economic portfolio, Tokyo has also, for political reasons, begun to direct some of its foreign investment to India (which has overtaken China as the largest recipient of Japanese development assistance). Since the start of the Bush administration, Japan has also shown increasing interest in expanding military cooperation with India, especially in the maritime domain. India, too, has recognized that it shares with Japan an interest in energy security and in maintaining a stable balance of power in Asia. Japan actively supported India's participation in the inaugural East Asian Summit, in December 2005, despite China's reluctance to include New Delhi. Neither India nor Japan wants to base their political relationship exclusively on a potential threat from China, but both know that deepening their own security cooperation will open up new strategic options and that greater coordination between Asian democracies could limit China's impact.

India's relations with Europe have been limited by the fact that New Delhi is fairly unimpressed with Europe's role in global politics. It senses that Europe and India have traded places in terms of their attitudes toward the United States: while Europe seethes with resentment of U.S. policies, India is giving up on habitually being the first, and most trenchant, critic of Washington. As pessimism overtakes Europe, growing Indian optimism allows New Delhi to support unpopular U.S. policies. Indians consistently give both the United States and the Bush administration very favorable marks; according to a recent Pew Global Attitudes poll, for example, the percentage of Indians with a positive view of the United States rose from 54 percent in 2002 to 71 percent in 2005. And whereas a declining Europe has tended to be skeptical of India's rise, the Bush administration has been fully sympathetic to India's great-power aspirations.

Still, India does have growing economic and political ties with some European powers. Although many smaller European countries have been critical of the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal, the continent's two nuclear powers, France and the United Kingdom, have been supportive. Paris, in particular, bet long ago (well before Washington did, in fact) that a rising India would provide a good market for high-tech goods; with this in mind, it shielded New Delhi from the ire of the G-8 (the group of eight highly industrialized nations) after India tested nuclear weapons in May 1998. In the last several years, the United Kingdom has also started to seize economic opportunities in India and has been generally accommodating of New Delhi's regional and global aspirations.

In the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse, India also worked to maintain a relationship with Russia. The two states resolved residual issues relating to their old semi-barter rupee-ruble trading arrangements, recast their 1971 peace and friendship treaty, and maintained military cooperation. When President Vladimir Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin, in 2000, India's waiting game paid off. A newly assertive Moscow was determined to revive and expand its strategic cooperation with India. New Delhi's only problems with Moscow today are the weakening bilateral trade relationship and the risk of Russia's doing too much to strengthen China's military capabilities.

CHARM OFFENSIVE

At the end of the Cold War, the prospect of India's building a new political relationship with the United States seemed remote. Washington had long favored Pakistan and China in the region, India had in turn aligned itself with the Soviet Union, and a number of global issues seemed to pit the two countries against each other. Yet after the Cold War, India set about wooing the United States. For most of the Clinton administration, this sweet-talking fell on deaf ears, in part because Clinton officials were so focused on the Kashmir dispute and nonproliferation. Clinton, driven by the unshakable assumption that Kashmir was one of the world's most dangerous "nuclear flashpoints" and so needed to be defused, emphasized "preventive diplomacy" and was determined to "cap, roll back, and eventually eliminate" India's nuclear capabilities. Of course, Clinton's approach ran headlong into India's core national security concerns -- territorial integrity and preserving its nuclear option. Pressed by Washington to circumscribe its strategic capabilities, New Delhi reacted by testing nuclear weapons.

But even as it faced U.S. sanctions, New Delhi also began to proclaim that India was a natural ally of the United States. Although the Clinton administration was not interested in an alliance, the nuclear tests forced the United States to engage India seriously for the first time in five decades. That engagement did not resolve the nuclear differences, but it did bring Clinton to India in March 2000 -- the first American presidential visit to India in 22 years. Clinton's personal charm, his genuine empathy for India, and his unexpected support of India in the 1999 war with Pakistan succeeded in improving the atmospherics of the relations and in putting New Delhi on Washington's radar screen in a new way.

It took Bush, however, to transform the strategic context of U.S.-Indian relations. Convinced that India's influence will stretch far beyond its immediate neighborhood, Bush has reconceived the framework of U.S. engagement with New Delhi. He has removed many of the sanctions, opened the door for high-tech cooperation, lent political support to India's own war on terrorism, ended the historical U.S. tilt toward Pakistan on Kashmir, and repositioned the United States in the Sino-Indian equation by drawing closer to New Delhi.

India has responded to these sweeping changes by backing the Bush administration on missile defense, the International Criminal Court, and finding alternative approaches to confronting global warming. It lent active support to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan by protecting U.S. assets in transit through the Strait of Malacca in 2002, agreed to work with the United States on multinational military operations outside of the UN framework, and, in 2005 and 2006, voted twice with Washington against Iran -- an erstwhile Indian ally -- at the International Atomic Energy Agency. India also came close to sending a division of troops to Iraq in the summer of 2003 before pulling back at the last moment. Every one of these actions marked a big departure in Indian foreign policy. And although disappointed by India's decision to stay out of Iraq, the Bush administration recognized that India was in the midst of a historic transformation of its foreign policy -- and kept faith that India's own strategic interests would continue to lead it toward deeper political cooperation with Washington. New Delhi's persistence in reaching out to Washington since 1991 has been driven by the belief that only by fundamentally changing its relationship with the world's sole superpower could it achieve its larger strategic objectives: improving its global position and gaining leverage in its relations with other great powers.

But India's ability to engage everyone at the same time might soon come to an end. As U.S.-Chinese tensions grow and Washington looks for ways to manage China's influence, questions about India's attitude toward the new power politics will arise: Can India choose to remain "nonaligned" between the United States and China, or does India's current grand strategy show a clear bias toward the United States?

The nuclear pact unveiled by Bush and Singh in July 2005 -- and consolidated when Bush went to New Delhi in March 2006 -- was an effort by Washington to influence the ultimate answer to that question. Bush offered to modify U.S. nonproliferation laws (subject to approval by Congress, of course) and revise the global nuclear order to facilitate full cooperation with India on civilian nuclear energy. New Delhi, in return, has promised to separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, place its civilian nuclear plants under international safeguards, and abide by a range of nonproliferation obligations. India's interest in such a deal has been apparent for a long time. Having failed to test weapons before the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was drafted, in 1968, India was trapped in an uncomfortable position vis-à-vis the nuclear order: it was not willing to give up the nuclear option, but it could not be formally accommodated by the nonproliferation regime as a nuclear weapons state.

India's motives for wanting a change in the nuclear regime are thus obvious. But for the Bush administration, the deal is less about nuclear issues than it is about creating the basis for a true alliance between the United States and India -- about encouraging India to work in the United States' favor as the global balance of power shifts. Ironically, it was the lack of a history of mutual trust and cooperation -- stemming in part from past nuclear disputes -- that convinced the Bush administration that a nuclear deal was necessary.

AN IMPOSSIBLE ALLY?

Many critics argue that the Bush administration's hopes for an alliance are misplaced. They insist that the traditionally nonaligned India will never be a true ally of the United States. But such critics misunderstand India's nonalignment, as well as the nature of its realpolitik over the past 60 years. Contrary to a belief that is especially pervasive in India itself, New Delhi has not had difficulty entering into alliances when its interests so demanded. Its relationship with the Soviet Union, built around a 1971 peace and friendship treaty, had many features of an alliance (notwithstanding India's claim that such ties were consistent with nonalignment); the compact was in many ways a classic response to the alignment of Washington, Beijing, and Islamabad. India has also had treaty-based security relationships with two of its smaller neighbors, Bhutan and Nepal, that date back to 1949-50 -- protectorate arrangements that were a reaction to China's entry into Tibet.

In fact, there is no contradiction between India's alleged preference for "moralpolitik" (in opposition to pure power politics, or Machtpolitik) and the Bush administration's expectation of an alliance with India. New Delhi is increasingly replacing the idea of "autonomy," so dear to Indian traditionalists, with the notion of India's becoming a "responsible power." (Autonomy is thought appropriate for weak states trying to protect themselves from great-power competition but not for a rising force such as India.) As India starts to recognize that its political choices have global consequences, it will become less averse to choosing sides on specific issues. Alliance formation and balancing are tools in the kits of all great powers -- and so they are likely to be in India's as well.

That India is capable of forming alliances does not, however, mean that it will necessarily form a long-term one with the United States. Whether it does will depend on the extent of the countries' shared interests and their political capacity to act on them together. The Bush administration expects that such shared interests -- for example, in balancing China and countering radical Islam in the Middle East -- will provide the basis for long-term strategic cooperation. This outcome is broadly credible, but it is by no means inevitable, especially given the United States' seeming inability to build partnerships based on equality.

When it comes to facing a rising China, India's tendency to engage in regional balancing with Beijing has not come to an end with the proclamation of a strategic partnership between the two nations. Indeed, preventing China from gaining excessive influence in India's immediate neighborhood and competing with Beijing in Southeast Asia are still among the more enduring elements of India's foreign policy. Despite Western concerns about the military regime in Myanmar, New Delhi has vigorously worked to prevent Yangon from falling completely under Beijing's influence, and India's military ties with the Southeast Asian nations are expanding rapidly. In 2005, when Pakistan pushed for giving China observer status in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, India acted quickly to bring Japan, South Korea, and the United States in as well. Given India's deep-seated reluctance to play second fiddle to China in Asia and the Indian Ocean region -- and the relative comfort of working with a distant superpower -- there is a structural reason for New Delhi to favor greater security cooperation with Washington.

In the Middle East, too, India has a common interest with the United States in preventing the rise of radical Islam, which poses an existential threat to India. Given its large Muslim population -- at nearly 150 million, the third largest in the world -- and the ongoing tensions stemming from the subcontinent's partition, India has in the past acted on its own to avert the spread of radical Islam. When Washington aligned with conservative Islamic forces in the Middle East during the Cold War, India's preference was for secular nationalist forces in the region. When the United States acted ambivalently toward the Taliban in the mid-1990s, India worked with Russia, Iran, and the Central Asian states to counter the Taliban by supporting the Northern Alliance. Now, although some in India are concerned that alignment with the United States might make India a prime target for Islamist extremists, there is no way India can compromise with radical Islam, which threatens its very unity.

But shared interests do not automatically produce alliances. The inequality of power between the two countries, the absence of a habit of political cooperation between them, and the remaining bureaucratic resistance to deeper engagement in both capitals will continue to limit the pace and the scope of strategic cooperation between India and the United States. Still, there is no denying that India will have more in common with the United States than with the other great powers for the foreseeable future.

While New Delhi has acknowledged that U.S. support is necessary for India's rise to be successful, Washington has recognized India's potentially critical role in managing emerging challenges to global order and security. As a major beneficiary of accelerating globalization, India could play a crucial role in ensuring that other developing countries manage their transitions as successfully as it has, that is, by taking advantage of opportunities while working to reduce the pain of disruption. Given the pace of its expansion and the scale of its economy, India will also become an important force in ensuring that the unfolding global redistribution of economic power occurs in an orderly fashion. Meanwhile, India could become a key player in the effort to modernize the politics of the Middle East. If nothing else, India's success in ensuring the rights and the integration of its own Muslim minority and in reaching peace with Pakistan would have a powerful demonstration effect.

To secure a long-term partnership with India, Washington must build on the argument of "Indian exceptionalism" that it has advanced in defense of the recent nuclear pact, devising a range of India-specific policies to deepen cooperation. India is unlikely, however, to become a mere subsidiary partner of the United States, ready to sign on to every U.S. adventure and misadventure around the world. It will never become another U.S. ally in the mold of the United Kingdom or Japan. But nor will it be an Asian France, seeking tactical independence within the framework of a formal alliance.

Given the magnitude of the global security challenges today, the United States needs more than meek allies. It should instead be looking to win capable and compatible partners. A rising India may be difficult at times, but it will act broadly to defend and promote the many interests it shares with Washington. Assisting India's rise, then, is in the United States' own long-term interest.


          Ottawa battens down for Canada Day as ISIS threats again   

While heavy rain is expected to dampen Canada's 150th birthday celebrations Saturday on Parliament Hill, high-level security experts in both police and intelligence agencies are hoping the only explosions heard will be emanating from the thunder clouds overhead.
          Warrant sought for shooter   
Thursday, 01 March 2012
May Titthara and David Boyle
The Phnom Penh Post

The Ministry of Interior has sought a warrant for the suspect who shot three people at a protest outside a shoe factory last week amid more allegations from government and police officials that the perpetrator was Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said yesterday that a complaint had been filed seeking an arrest warrant for the suspect.

The shooter was not police, he was a civil person,” he said, adding that the ministry would go ahead and arrest the suspect if the court decided to issue a warrant, before declining to provide further details.

The shootings took place outside the Kaoway Sports Ltd factory in Svay Rieng’s Bavet town on Monday.


A police officer who was an eyewitness at the scene of the shooting and asked not be named, said Chhouk Bandith became enraged after a worker threw a stone at his head while he tried to find a solution to the protest.

“So he took the gun from his waist to shoot three times into the sky to protect himself [and] get out of the crowd, but I don’t why the bullets hit the workers,” he said.

A senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said the perpetrator was Chhouk Bandith, but declined to comment further.

Both of Chhouk Bandith’s phones have remained switched off since he told the Post on Tuesday that he was aware of rumours that he had shot the three workers, which he categorically denied.

But Keo Kong, Bavet municipal police chief, said his part of the investigation had now concluded and in his opinion, Chhouk Bandith was not the perpetrator.

“National police have got everything, but from my point of view, I don’t think that Mr Chhouk Bandith did it,” he said.

Eyewitness reports of the incident suggest a man dressed in a khaki police-style uniform flanked by a bodyguard and another man dressed in police clothing stepped out of a Lexus, fired into the crowd and ran to a nearby black Toyota Camry, which he fled in.

Rights groups and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party have attacked authorities for taking so long to arrest a suspect in a shooting that took place in front of police officers in a crowd of some 6,000 protesters.

They have also asked that security camera footage recorded during the incident, which has reportedly been viewed by MOI officials, be released to reassure the public the real perpetrator was being pursued.

Mathieu Pellerin, a monitoring consultant for the rights group Licadho, said testimony from eyewitnesses and the victims’ injuries suggested the shootings were intentional, but he stressed the most important thing was that a suspect be arrested and an impartial trial conducted.

“What matters is the evidence is brought forward to the court, and if the evidence is showing that there was attempted murder, then that person, however important they may be, should be charged with attempted murder,” he said.

The shooting put three women in hospital: 18-year-old Keo Neth, 23-year-old Nuth Sakhorn and 21-year-old Buot Chinda – who was left in critical condition after a bullet pierced her chest.

Buot Chinda’s older brother, Sam Sinat, said yesterday his sister continued to receive medical treatment, and labelled authorities “hopeless” for failing to arrest a perpetrator.

“I want the authorities to arrest the perpetrator and send them to jail to provide justice for the victim,” he said.

The Kaoway Sports factory supplies sportswear giant PUMA, which has previously said it was investigating the case.

          Case 004 investigation rolls on   
Thursday, 01 March 2012
Bridget Di Certo
The Phnom Penh Post

Reserve international Co-Investigating Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet’s investigation into government-opposed Case 004 will continue after the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Pre-Trial Chamber judges yesterday failed to agree on key issues that could have stopped it in its tracks.

The controversial case, which Prime Minister Hun Sen has said “will not be allowed”, involves the alleged crimes of three former Khmer Rouge cadre, including one current commune chief in Oddar Meanchey’s Anglong Veng district, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold.

Case 004 investigations cover a range of crime sites including former security centres and execution sites in Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Takeo provinces.


The three suspects are allegedly being investigated for their responsibility in the deaths of tens of thousands of individuals through executions, starvation, disease and genocidal massacres.

The UN-nominated Kasper-Ansermet has been at loggerheads with his Cambodian counterpart since he assumed office upon his predecessor’s resignation.

Cambodian Co-Investigating Judge You Bunleng has refused to recognise Kasper-Ansermet as his legitimate counterpart until the government’s Supreme Council of the Magistracy “approves” him, and has stonewalled all attempts by Kasper-Ansermet to perform judicial duties.

Kasper-Ansermet took two proposals to You Bunleng in December. One was to resume investigations in Case 003, which was closed by his predecessor and You Bunleng. The second was to continue investigations in Case 004.

The two international judges in the Chamber, Rowan Downing and Chang-Ho Chung, fully accept Laurent Kasper-Ansermet’s power to act, while the three Cambodian judges in the Chamber, like You Bunleng, refuse to acknowledge his authority.

          Thailand Pushes Xayaburi Dam   
Xayaburi work goes on (photo credit: Suthep Kritsanavarin)

Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Written by Our Correspondent
Asian Sentinel


Despite reservations from Mekong Basin countries, construction continues

Over the opposition of environmental groups and the governments of other countries in the Mekong Basin, the Thai government is pushing ahead with the construction of the controversial Xayaburi Dam, environmentalists say.

Although the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments have expressed concerns about the dam and work was supposed to stop until further study has been completed, preliminary construction on the giant dam deep inside Laos, is continuing, according to International Rivers, which opposes the structure.


Large numbers of workers have been on the job for two years to build access roads and facilities for the project, said Pianporn Deetes, Thailand Campaign Coordinator for International Rivers. Ch. Karnchang, Thailand’s largest construction company, has the contract to build the dam for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, better known as EGAT, which has contracted to 95 percent of the energy from the dam.

“It doesn’t mean the dam can’t be stopped,” Deets told Asia Sentinel in a telephone interview. “We believe there are many channels that we can try to cancel the PPA (power purchase agreement).”

Thailand appears to be defying an agreement in early December by the Mekong River Commission Council, comprising water and environment ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, to seek international support to produce a more complete study of the dam, which is intended to produce 1,280 megawatts of power for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

The Mekong supports the largest freshwater fishery in the world. The downstream governments are concerned that the Xayaburi and 10 other dams planned for the Mekong, which feeds a river basin populated by 60 million people, will do irreparable damage to the river’s habitat.

Environmentalists say anywhere between 23 and 100 fish species could be adversely affected.

The dam, 810 meters wide and 32 meters high, is opposed by 263 NGOs from 51 countries. Thousands of people in the region have urged that it be cancelled. Its primary objective is to generate, along with electricity, foreign exchange earnings for financing socio-economic development in Laos, a landlocked and obscure country of 6.8 million mostly poverty-stricken people. Laos is seeking to develop its way into prosperity through extensive investment in dams, mines and plantations, hoping for jobs, rising incomes and revenues to end poverty.

Wracked by incessant bombing and the dropping of tens of millions of antipersonnel mines by the Americans during the Vietnam War, Laos remains one of the world's poorest countries, ranking 135th in the world. Nearly 41 percent of the population are under the age of 14. It is one of the few remaining one-party Communist countries left on the planet. Subsistence agriculture accounts for as much as 30 percent of gross domestic product, according to the CIA Factbook, and provides 80 percent of total employment.

Ten dams are already in operation across the country, generating 669 megawatts of power. Another eight are expected to be operational by this year, generating an additional 2,531 megawatts. Nineteen more are planned and 42 more are the subject of feasibility studies, almost all of them financed and developed by foreign interests expecting to turn a profit from electricity generation. Thailand is to import up to 7,000 megawatts by 2015. Vietnam will take another 3,000 megawatts by 2015 possibly rising to 5,000 megawatts by 2020 in accordance with an understanding reached in December 2006, according to a 2010 study titled Development in LAO PDR: the Food Security Paradox, produced for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and written by researcher David Fullbrook.

In 2010, the Mekong River Commission commissioned a strategic environmental assessment that recommended all decisions on Mekong mainstream dams be deferred for a period of at least 10 years while further studies can be conducted.

“We are afraid the fish migration could be destroyed,” Deets said. “There are 60 million people in the basin who depend for their livelihood on the river.”

The Thai government, she said in a prepared statement, “has ignored the agreements made last year among the four regional governments and the concerns expressed by Cambodia and Vietnam. With more than eight provinces in Thailand at risk from the Xayaburi Dam’s transboundary impacts, the state has also disregarded its duty to protect its own people from harm. It’s irresponsible to push forward with this dam, when the project’s impacts on Thailand have yet to be adequately studied.”

“The Mekong River Commission governments have not yet reached agreement on the Xayaburi Dam nor have they closed the prior consultation process,” the press release quoted Lam Thi Thu Suu, Director of the Centre for Social Research and Development in Vietnam, as saying. “By committing to purchase power from the dam and moving forward with the project’s implementation, EGAT and Ch. Karnchang are violating the trust and goodwill of Thailand’s neighbors. No construction on the Xayaburi Dam should proceed while further study is underway.”

Four Thai banks have already provided financial support for the dam including the state-owned Krung Thai Bank. When the Commission asked about the steps they took to examine the project’s environmental and social impacts, however, the banks were not able to provide detailed information.

“It’s astonishing to think that the financiers of this project have not taken the dam’s significant environmental and social impacts more seriously. Even a five minute search on the internet would reveal numerous media reports that highlight the concerns of the Thai people,” Deets said. “The recklessness of EGAT’s and the Thai companies’ pursuit of the project is likely to become a catastrophe for our country’s reputation. We call on the Thai government to immediately cancel the power purchase agreement and for Thai banks to withdraw financing from the Xayaburi Dam.”

An independent study has already concluded that the Xayaburi Dam’s electricity is not needed to meet Thailand’s demand for energy in the coming decades.

          Sotheby's trying to resolve Cambodia relic dispute   

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Associated Press

Sotheby's is working to help return an ancient statue to Cambodia after the government claimed it had been illegally removed from the country decades ago.

The auction house said Wednesday it took the 1,000-year-old relic off the auction block a day before a sale scheduled for March 24, 2011, after Cambodia sent a letter asking Sotheby's to do so and arrange for its return.

The 5-foot-tall sandstone sculpture of a mythical warrior in an elaborate headdress had been estimated to sell for up to $3 million.

Sotheby's identified the seller as a European collector who purchased the work from a London dealer in 1975, almost two decades before a 1993 Cambodia law prohibited the removal of cultural artifacts without government permission.


The auction house said it informed Cambodia about the statue in writing 4 1/2 months before the sale, in November 2010.

Jane Levine, senior vice president and worldwide compliance director for Sotheby's, said the government did not respond until March 23, 2011, a day before the auction, when the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO contacted the auction house on Cambodia's behalf.

Cambodia "did not allege that the statue constituted stolen property, did not identify any basis to contest the owner's title to the property and did not allege that it would be unlawful for Sotheby's to sell the statue or that Cambodia owned the statue," said Levine.

The Associated Press was not immediately able to obtain the letter.

The story was first reported in New York Times on Wednesday.

The Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that it was working closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan and the Cambodian government "to look into the matter and determine the proper course of action."

Spokeswoman Danielle Bennett declined on Wednesday to answer further questions, citing the ongoing investigation.

After the seller and Sotheby's voluntarily withdrew the statue from the sale, the auction house said it asked Cambodia to come up with a solution agreeable to both parties.

In May, Cambodia endorsed a plan to seek a buyer to purchase the statue and donate it to Cambodia. It subsequently identified a Hungarian antiquities collector as a potential buyer, with whom Sotheby's has been in talks, the auction house said.

"We are also very interested in hearing from anyone else who would be interested in participating in such a sale process," added Levine, a former Manhattan federal prosecutor who was appointed to President Barack Obama's Cultural Property Advisory Committee last year. "Sotheby's would like to find a solution that is fair to both Cambodia and to the owner who bought the sculpture in good faith almost 40 years ago."

Cambodian diplomatic officials in the United States were not immediately available for comment Wednesday. Anne LeMaistre, a Phnom Penh-based UNESCO representative who is involved in the talks, told The Times "buying back such items can seem distasteful, but sadly it is not unusual when the country's aim is return of the property."

The work is one of a pair of statues from a temple in Koh Ker, north of the famous Angkor Wat complex of temples.

Archeologists have matched the footless statue to a pedestal and feet at a Cambodian archaeological site. The other statue has been at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif., since 1980, and also has been matched to its base at the site.

Many ancient artifacts were looted and damaged in the 1970s when the Khmer Rouge ruled the country.

Eric Bourdonneau, the archaeologist who matched both statues to their pedestals, told the Times the relics were looted in the early 1970s.

Levine said Sotheby's was aware before accepting the statue for sale that it had come from Koh Ker. But she said it did not know when and how it was removed "as the circumstances of that are to date unknown."

She said the statue was purchased in "good faith" and exported long before the 1993 Cambodian law was passed, "and Cambodia has not claimed otherwise."

Levine said a law dating to the 1920s may have provided certain export restrictions but did not nationalize ownership of Cambodian relics, and therefore could not retroactively "redefine clearly established legal title rights."

          Company Cleaner Fucked In Hallways And Directors Office After Working Hours Not Knowing About Security Cams   
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          Comment on A few words on Labour by John   
Corbyn put free university tuition before everything, including ending the benefits freeze, scrapping the benefits cap and putting real money into Sure Start, to make up for savage Tory cuts since 2010. Corbyn and his supporters have been revealed as self serving hypocrites. The fight goes on ... After all, Jeremy would not expect anyone opposed to his not committing Labour to reverse more than £2bn of the £9bn Social Security cuts, over which IDS resigned, to do any less, would he? Or has he now become a fuly fledged Red Tory?
          J&K: 4 LeT militants killed in gun battle   
FourLashker-e-Tayiba militants were killed in a fierce gun battle between a group of ultras and the security forces in a forest area in Rajouri distri...
          Account Registrations Enable 'Password Reset Man In The Middle' Attacks   
"Attackers that have set up a malicious site can use users' account registration process to successfully perform a password reset process on a number of popular websites and messaging mobile applications, researchers have demonstrated." Orome1 quotes Help Net Security:The Password Reset Man in the Middle attack exploits the similarity of the registration and password reset processes. To launch such an attack, the attacker only needs to control a website. To entice victims to make an account on t ...
          DSA-3898 expat   
security update
          Security Camera Tapes Busty Milf Giving Handjob To Colleague at Office Amateur CFNM   
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          barista - Store# 02553, 119TH ST & HWY 69 - Starbucks - Overland Park, KS   
Follows Starbucks operational policies and procedures, including those for cash handling and safety and security, to ensure the safety of all partners during...
From Starbucks - Mon, 15 May 2017 07:10:57 GMT - View all Overland Park, KS jobs
          avast Internet Security 7.0   
Free 30-day trial version of avast Internet Security, which protects you against all kinds of viruses and spyware.
          Norton Mobile Security Lite for Android   
Norton Mobile Security Lite protects your Android mobile device against loss, theft and malware.
          caseiro 15   
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          Human Resources Administator   
MD-Laurel, Security Vault Works provides turnkey construction and installation services to financial institutions, large retailers, bank equipment manufacturers, and US Government agencies. Currently, we service local and national customers – coast to coast – from 10 Branch offices in 9 U.S. states. See our website at www.svwinc.com for more information about our Company and our projects. Our Corporate offic
          Directors - Governor in Council Appointments - Canada   
Experience in the areas of international business/exports (experience in the areas of international business/export in the aerospace security, infrastructure,...
From Governor in Council Appointments - Fri, 21 Apr 2017 23:10:24 GMT - View all Canada jobs
          US announces tougher airline security rules - but no laptop ban for now   
“We are raising the bar globally” for security standards, said one senior official.
          Dad Punished His Daughter Ruka Kanae For Misbehavior By Letting Members Of His Security Staff Deal With Her   
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          50 Things You Never Knew Blogging Could Do for You by @SarahArrow #repost   
The following is a repost from here.

8 years ago I was a broke, depressed security guard who just lost his job.

Today I am an island hopping, pro blogging, Amazon eBook best selling world traveler.

Blogging opened me up to a world I never knew existed.

It can do the same for you if you dive into this fun, freeing and fulfilling venture.

Enjoy this list and be open to any ideas that flow into your mind as you read it.
  1. Draws you out of your shell. Blogging turned me into social butterfly from a shy guy who hid in the corner. The medium forces you to meet and greet people daily. Either you stay shy and fail or open up and prosper.
Read the rest of the list here.




          WBBM's 4:30PM News To Go for 5/28/2017   

Airlines serving the U-S will have new security rules to follow. More from CBS News.  Activists say they're watching closely -- following the indictment of three Chicago police officers for covering up parts of Laquan McDonald's death. Governor Rauner threatens to cancel dozens of lawmakers' holiday vacations if they don't pass a budget by Friday. And the wheel-spinning in Springfield has lottery players running to beat a deadline.


          Microsoft Windows XP Spotted Aboard the U.K.’s Newest War Ship   
Running old versions of Windows poses security risks.
          Here’s How Homeland Security Plans to Avoid a Laptop Ban   
A positive outcome for U.S. carriers.
          Quantum Computing: Its Emergence and Implications on Information Security   

Mark Pecen is the Chairman, ETSITC Cyber Working Group for Quantum Safe Cryptography (QSC) (France), Chief Operating Officer, ISARA Corporation, and Board member, Institute for Quantum Computing (Canada). He is currently the CEO of Approach Infinity, Inc. and a member of the Safeguard advisory board. Leading governments around the globe, along with major corporations, including…

The post Quantum Computing: Its Emergence and Implications on Information Security appeared first on Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. - Experience Growth..


          Commentary: Postmarket Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices   

Over the last 18 months, an alarming number of medical device companies’ challenges with data security have been exposed. In 2015, Hospira’s LifeCare PCA3 and PCA5 devices were found to have security vulnerabilities that prompted a recall. In 2016, St. Jude’s Merlin@home™ remote cardiac monitoring devices were found to require security updates after research firm…

The post Commentary: Postmarket Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices appeared first on Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. - Experience Growth..


          Matanajwa "Gara-gara KPK"   
 Topik Matanajwa malam ini (11/12/13) yaitu “Gara-gara KPK”. Dalam tayangan iini dipaparkan fakta-fakta apa yang dialami KPK selama ini, bagaimana proses penangkapan tersangka yang begitu berbelit-belit, proses penyadapan, cara penyadapannya (seperti menaruh alat sadap pada uang, alat sadap pada pembantu rumah tangga tersangka). Sampai bagaimana para tersangka yang meggunakan jasa dukun/paranormal. Bahkan pernah dalam satu persidangan, tiga orang jaksa yang dihadirkan KPK tidak bisa berbicara saat proses persidangan tersebut berlangsung. Pada waktu itu, mantan Ketua KPK sampai harus meminta bantuan paranormal juga untuk menanggulangi masalah tersebut. Kemudian ada juga yang menyuruh dukun untuk meyantet mantan Ketua KPK. Bahkan menurut security KPK, ada yang datang ke gedung KPK dan menabur garam di lantainya, konon katanya dengan melakukan hal itu maka tersangka bisa terbebas dari jeratan kasusnya. Banyak kelakuan aneh para tersangka, kelakuan aneh itu juga mereka lakukan saat proses penyidikan, ada yang berbicaranya harus melihat ke samping kanan, atau cara duduknya diatur sesuai perintah “you know lah”, dan banyak hal aneh lainnya. Juga ada petugas KPK yang sengaja ditabrak hingga patah kakinya. Menurut Bambang Widjayanto, selama dia menjabat sebagai Wakil Ketua KPK, praktis aktivitasnya hanya di Kantor dan di rumah. Dia bahkan tidak pernah lagi menghadiri acara-acara sosial seperti kondangan bahkan kondangan ke tempat keluarga dekatnya sendiri. Alasannya, karena dalam acara itu pasti ada acara foto-foto bersama, ditakutkan dengan kecanggihan teknologi sekarang yaitu teknik cropping, takutnya fotonya nanti akan di crop dan dijadikan alat utuk menjerumuskannya. Begitu banyak rintangan menjadi petugas KPK, bahkan nyawa seakan berada diujung tanduk. Identitas para penyidik KPK pun dilindungi, karena harga kepalanya sangat tinggi. Para koruptor sekarang semakin pintar dengan menggunakan sistem operandi yang semakin canggih bahkan memakai jasa akuntan dan tenaga profesional, bekerja cepat utuk menghilangkan barang-barang bukti. Sehingga para penyidik KPK pun bekerja dengan kecepatan waktu, kadang tidak pulang hingga berhari-hari untuk mengumpulkan barang bukti.

Catatan Matanajwa:

1.       Kelangsungan KPK patut disyukuri, berkali-kali digembosi tapi tetap tegak berdiri
2.       Aksi sadapnya mengecutkan nyali, tersangkanya berujung jeruji besi
3.       Anggarannya pernah dipersulit, personilnya dikriminalisasi dan diotak-atik
4.       Semakin keras KPK dikerdilkan, semakin lantang rakyat menyelamatkan
5.       Inilah organisasi yang mengukir wibawa, karena kerja nyata dan bukan citra
6.       Kita perlu terus menjaga, agar KPK tidak dicemari kepentingan peguasa
7.       Bekerja lurus karena bukti, tidak didorong benci atau politik pribadi
8.       KPK selalu bisa tergelicir salah, setiap itu pula rakyat datang memberi arah
9.       Menjadi institusi yang tak boleh kalah, lebih wajib dibela bukan dibuat lemah.


          Teenagers Caught Fucking In Daddys Workshop And Taped By His Security Cam   
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          Chris Cornell: The Muses Choose Broken Vessels   

Jesus Christ Pose

The Alternative Rock explosion of the early 90s was fueled by a wave of great singers. After a lost decade of metallic shriekers and New Wave gurglers-- which some call the 80s-- there was suddenly an embarrassment of strong voices revitalizing rock music, especially hard rock music. 

Most of these had cut their teeth on punk and hardcore and subsequently learned to trim back the fat and excess that torpedoed their 70s forebears. They also learned to step around the wretched excesses that ran the 80s metal explosion into the ground; cookie-cutter sameness, image over substance, half-written songs, cliche piled on cliche.

Alternative rock would itself get watered down and xeroxed into oblivion, especially as careerists figured out a way to counterfeit the formula (I'm looking at you, Candlebox and Seven Mary Three) and record companies signed up every pseudo-grunge band they could find (and strong-armed other acts to hop on the bandwagon). 

By the end of the 90s it all devolved into an obnoxious fratboy rock (I'm looking at you, Limp Bizkit and Creed) that reached its inevitable apotheosis at the disastrous Woodstock '99 (held on a decommissioned military base). 

But before that all went down some of the most vital and exciting rock music of all time was produced.

Alternative Rock, or more accurately GenX Rock, has taken its place in the classic rock canon. Tracks by Nirvana, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are snuggled in tightly between all the Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Pink Floyd cuts overplayed on FM radio. But five of the most remarkable vocalists of that era- Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Jeff Buckley, Scott Weiland and now Chris Cornell--- are lost to us.

And the 9-ton Tyrannosaurus lurking in the back of the concert hall is that modern plague, clinical depression. It's a subject I'm all too familiar with. It's the witches' curse on Generation X.

Chris Cornell was an enigmatic figure among the Grunge pantheon. If Kurt Cobain was the snotty punk, Eddie Vedder the self-serious poet, Layne Staley the tortured howler and Scott Weiland the Joker in the pack, Cornell was an entirely unique presence, as was Soundgarden. Tall, lean but ripped, possessing an odd, androgynous beauty and an enviable black mane, he came across as aloof, Olympian. His piercing, multi-octave voice felt like a weapon,  more like an incarnation of Apollo the Destroyer than Ozzy Osbourne.

Similarly, Soundgarden was perhaps the most effective translator of the power of early Black Sabbath yet, but were brainy, difficult, challenging. 

They were unmistakably Heavy Metal-- in the original, Blue Cheer definition of the term --but didn't shriek the usual ditties about dick size and date rape. It was pretty clear they had no time for that kind of nonsense (See "Big Dumb Sex"). It was clear they took as much inspiration from King Crimson and Black Flag as from Zeppelin and Sabbath. 

Their first major single was an epic environmentalist jeremiad that goofed on Metal's "kill-your-mother-music" reputation by screaming "you're going to kill your mother" in the refrain. The mother here being Mother Earth, of course.

Predictably, Chris Cornell's corpse was literally not cold yet before the modern ambulance chasers of the Internet were declaring it was obviously an Illuminati sacrifice. One hilarious YouTard video went on about how there was no other explanation for Cornell's death, that he'd have no reason to kill himself. 

Obviously someone who never actually listened to a single stitch of Soundgarden.

Like Ian Curtis-- who hung himself 37 years almost to the day before-- many of Cornell's lyrics read like suicide notes. After all, this is a man who kicked off one of his biggest hits with the couplet "Nothing seems to kill me/ No matter how hard I try." Two of his other big hits "Black Hole Sun" and "Fell on Black Days" are practically master classes in the art of expressing the utter hopelessness ("'Neath the black the sky looks dead") that can overtake you when a depressive episode strikes. 

The same goes for Soundgarden's breakout hit, "Outshined," practically a hymn about searching for a crack of sunlight while waiting a dire episode out. "The Day I Tried to Live" is even more astonishing, a documentary retelling of those mornings when depression- aggression turned inwards- becomes aggression turned on the world outside.

Cornell was very candid about his struggles with depression. In an interview with Rolling Stone he discussed the inspiration for "Fell on Black Days":
This reissue includes several versions of "Fell on Black Days," which is pretty dark. What inspired it? 

Well, I had this idea, and I had it for a long time. I'd noticed already in my life where there would be periods where I would feel suddenly, "Things aren't going so well, and I don't feel that great about my life." Not based on any particular thing. I'd sort of noticed that people have this tendency to look up one day and realize that things have changed. There wasn't a catastrophe. There wasn't a relationship split up. Nobody got in a car wreck. Nobody's parents died or anything. The outlook had changed, while everything appears circumstantially the same. That was the song I wanted to write about. 
No matter how happy you are, you can wake up one day without any specific thing occurring to bring you into a darker place, and you'll just be in a darker place anyway. To me, that was always a terrifying thought, because that's something that – as far as I know – we don't necessarily have control over. So that was the song I wanted to write. 
It wasn't just for the gloom-metal gimmick of Soundgarden that Cornell laid bare his struggles. They crept into tracks he recorded with Audioslave- the supergroup made up of Cornell and the musicians of Rage Against the Machine, including their biggest hit "Like a Stone."

Cornell was also candid about his history with clinical depression, which he traced back to a somewhat hardscrabble upbringing. 
Cornell abstained from drug use for a time following an adverse reaction to the hallucinogenic PCP, but the frightening, dissociative experience, coupled with the trauma of his parent’s divorce, plunged him into a severe depression. “I went from being a daily drug user at 13 to having bad drug experiences and quitting drugs by the time I was 14 and then not having any friends until the time I was 16. There was about two years where I was more or less agoraphobic and didn’t deal with anybody, didn’t talk to anybody, didn’t have any friends at all.”
And clearly showing that he also struggled with suicidal ideation, Cornell foreshadowed his own end in an interview with Guitar.com, saying, “You’ll think somebody has run-of-the-mill depression, and then the next thing you know, they’re hanging from a rope." 

Writer Kate Paulk wrote about the black dog of depression recently and offered up an apt metaphor lifted from pop culture:
Let’s start by clearing up one thing. Sadness, grieving in response to a loss… that is not depression. It’s sadness. Grief. It passes with time, and even at its worst there are moments of joy and hope. Depression is not like that. Everything is poisoned. 
J. K. Rowling is describing depression when she describes the Dementors and their impact. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. 
This is precisely what depression does. There is an absence of hope, an inability to believe that there can ever be anything positive in your life again. That isn’t sadness or grief, and it isn’t necessarily expressed by tears.
Cornell was also a substance abuser and dove headlong into an opioid addiction after Soundgarden split in 1997. It may well have come from a chronic pain issue, closely related to chronic depression: 
People with depression show abnormalities in the body’s release of its own, endogenous, opioid chemicals. Depression tends to exacerbate pain—it makes chronic pain last longer and hurts the recovery process after surgery. 
“Depressed people are in a state of alarm,” said Mark Sullivan, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington. “They’re fearful, or frozen in place. There’s a heightened sense of threat.” That increased threat sensitivity might also be what heightens sensations of pain. 
Opioids certainly aren't very effective painkillers in the long term but they are very effective anesthetics when you're struggling with chronic depression. 
Opioids treat pain, but depression and pain are often comorbid, and some antidepressants relieve neuropathic pain even in the absence of depression. Depression involves dysfunction in monoamine systems, the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and hippocampal neurogenesis, but could it also be rooted in a deficit of endorphins, or even an endopharmacological withdrawal state? 
Before the modern antidepressant era, depression was often treated with opiates—with a sometimes heavy price of addiction.  
The real hell of opioids is that they rewire your brain, causing the natural processes that regulate depression and euphoria to atrophy. Depression can skyrocket when you stop taking them, since your brain basically forgot how to produce sufficient amounts of the neurotransmitters that manage your moods.
u-agonists relieve depression-like behavior acutely, but tolerance develops, and depression is worse on withdrawal from long-term administration. Delta-agonists appear to improve mood, while kappa-agonists worsen it. There is evidence that opioid dysfunction accounts for lack of pleasure in depression, while problems with dopamine impair motivation. Opioid systems, then, participate in many mood-related functions. They are examples of evolutionary repurposing of neurotransmitters that originally evolved for one purpose to meet a variety of other needs.


Cornell's family is understandably shocked by his death. His widow blames an elevated dose of the tranquilizer Ativan for the somewhat disturbing performance he put on in Detroit and his resulting suicide. 
Cornell died on the evening May 17th, 2017, shortly after performing a concert with Soundgarden in Detroit, MI. His death was met with shock by many; his representative described it as "sudden and unexpected," adding that the singer's family will be "working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause." 
Hours after his death was reported, the Wayne County Medical Examiner's office ruled Chris' death a suicide by hanging. According to Us Weekly, a family friend had found Cornell on the bathroom floor of his MGM Grand hotel room. ABC News also reported that two Detroit papers claimed that Cornell was found with "a band around his neck," though Detroit Police spokesman Michael Woody could not confirm that information. 
Cornell's wife, Vicky, released a statement on his death on Friday, May 19th, 2017, in which she cast doubts that his suicide was intentional. In fact, on the day of his death, Vicky claimed they had "discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do." "When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him," she said. 
"What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details," she continued. "I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life."
I think the fact that Cornell ad-libbed verses from "In My Time of Dying" over a rendition of "Slaves and Bulldozers" during the closing encore in Detroit  gives a fairly compelling signal that he had resolved himself to a course of action that night. Despite an incredibly shaky performance he seemed in good spirits to some, all too common with depressives resolved to suicide. But others noticed he seemed irritable and unfocused, forgetting the lyrics. He complimented the Detroit audience and then said, "I feel sorry for the next city."

An extra Ativan or two is unlikely to induce suicide. But long-term use of it (it's recommended that lorezepam-- a member of the highly-problematic benzodiazepene family-- be used only a short term basis) might. And it's very possible he took an extra dose of the drug to gird his loins for a decision he had already made:
Suicidality: Benzodiazepines may sometimes unmask suicidal ideation in depressed patients, possibly through disinhibition or fear reduction. The concern is that benzodiazepines may inadvertently become facilitators of suicidal behavior. Therefore, lorazepam should not be prescribed in high doses or as the sole treatment in depression, but only with an appropriate antidepressant.
Depression and suicidal ideation go hand in glove. And there are all kinds of psychiatric drugs that tell you upfront that suicidal ideation is a major side effect. How that doesn't keep them off the market is a mystery to me. 

The other problem is that people who obsess on suicide usually don't talk about it with people close to them since they realize that confessing to it will very likely act to derail what they have been planning. And again, professionals will tell you that very often when a depressive has resolved themselves to suicide they can often seem very cheerful and upbeat, since they believe that their suffering will soon end. 

So the question becomes if a rich, celebrated and handsome rock star can't find a reason to stay alive, what hope is there for the rest of us? Well, it's a lot more complicated than that. Aside from his struggles with clinical depression, Cornell was also beset by tragedy, losing people closest to him to early death. 

The first of these was his roommate Andrew Wood, the flamboyant singer for legendary Seattle band Mother Love Bone who died of a heroin overdose in 1990. Cornell was so shaken by Wood's death that he formed a defacto supergroup with members of MLB and recorded the now-legendary Temple of the Dog album as a tribute, which produced the grunge anthem "Hunger Strike" (featuring a duet between Cornell and future Pearl Jam star Eddie Vedder).

Temple of the Dog in fact led to the formation of Pearl Jam, facilitated by the introduction of Vedder to the Seattle scenesters by drummer Jack Irons, a member of the original Red Hot Chili Peppers who also played with Pearl Jam and Joe Strummer, among an army of others. Strangely enough, Irons has his own struggles with depression. As did Joe Strummer, for that matter. 

The Muses choose broken vessels. It's a Secret Sun truism. 

Cornell was so shaken by Wood's death that it would haunt Soundgarden songs as well.
The song you workshopped the most was "Like Suicide." In the liner notes, you say it kind of became a metaphor for how you were feeling at the time about late Mother Love Bone frontman Andy Wood. 
Yeah, the lyrics were actually this simple moment that happened to me. I don't know that I ever directly related it to Andy, though there are a lot of songs that people probably don't know where there were references to him or how I was feeling about what happened with him. I just think that that was something that happened to me that was a traumatic thing and that I had a difficult time resolving it. I still never really have. I still live with it, and that's one of the moments where maybe in some ways it could have shown up, but I'm not really sure specifically where.
Another body blow was the 1994 death of Kurt Cobain, another friend who died in time to cast a pall of existential darkness over Soundgarden's epochal Superunknown album, released a month before Cobain's death. So even as Soundgarden were enjoying their moment, death and tragedy revisited Cornell. (Cobain had his own issues, exacerbated by years of opioid abuse, but there are those of us who don't buy the suicide angle in this particular case).

It had to hurt, especially since Cobain had told Cornell that Soundgarden has inspired him to form Nirvana in the first place. 

Superunknown was an instant classic, easily one of the top 10 Hard Rock albums ever recorded, hammering you with one killer track after another. Along with Stone Temple Pilots' Purple album, Pearl Jam's Vitalogy and several others it established 1994 as the watershed for Alernative Rock, despite Cobain's death and Nirvana's dissolution. 

Soundgarden's 1996 follow-up Down on the Upside, failed to capitalize on its predecessor's momentum, and seem to showcase a band uncertain of direction and sense of purpose. No one was really surprised when Soundgarden broke up the following year. Oddly enough the breakup seemed to go down almost exactly three years after Kurt Cobain's death. 



But Tragedy wasn't finished with Cornell yet. Shortly after Soundgarden broke up Cornell would lose another soulmate.
He lost two friends within the space of a few years. Cobain died in 1994 and, three years later, singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley, practically a brother to Cornell, drowned while swimming in a tributary of the Mississippi in Tennessee.

"Kurt was fairly quiet and introverted most of the time. Jeff was the opposite. He was very much full of life and had a lot to say. He was somebody in love with experiencing everything. Within a very short time, he had all these famous old rock stars coming to his shows. Which put a a lot of pressure on him. People talked about his concerts the way they used to talk about Hendrix: they'd sit there, wide-eyed, telling you stories about him. He definitely had an aura. It's impossible to say what it is exactly a guy like that has, that is so attractive to other people. But he had more of it than anyone I had ever met."
Of course, this brings all this squarely into the Secret Sun wheelhouse. Cornell would be haunted by Buckley's death, writing the aching "Wave Goodbye" (in which he seems to channel Buckley's ghost) for his first solo album and acting as a de facto executor-slash-curator for Buckley's posthumous releases.



This tells us a lot, since the 20th anniversary of Jeff Buckley's death is coming up fast and furious. Cornell showed he was clearly still haunted by Buckley's passing when he brought the late singer's old landline phone onstage with him during his 2011 acoustic solo tour.
KALAMAZOO — I've had several people ask about the red phone that was on stage during Chris Cornell's 130-minute set at the Kalamazoo State Theatre last week. Cornell never addressed it during the show and it never rang, so I didn't think much of it. After another reader asked Monday, I looked into it. 
According to a representative with the New York-based Press Here Publicity, which handled promotion for Cornell's solo tour, the phone belonged to singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley.
As Secret Sun readers will remember, the last song Jeff Buckley sang before his death was "Whole Lotta Love", a blues standard that Led Zeppelin turned into what one critic called "a themonuclear rape."

And it would be "In My Time of Dying," another old blues standard that Led Zeppelin turned into a jackhammering stomper that acted as Cornell's own self-elegy. This, along with the timing of Ian Curtis's own death by hanging in 1980 seems a bit too synchronized for Cornell's death to be some kind of mad whim because he took too much Ativan.  As painful as it might be to admit, it seems as if this was probably a very long time coming. After all, this is the man who wrote "Pretty Noose."

So it seems apparent that it wasn't the Illuminati but in fact the demon possession of depression that took Chris Cornell away from his family. With many of his closest friends gone and the glory days of the 90s more and more a fading memory in a world itself gripped by chronic depression, I can't say I'm surprised by the suicide ruling.  

The life of the rock star in 2017 is a galaxy away from the golden age of the rock star in 1977. It's become a grueling job in the age of streaming and piracy, since you need to make all your money on the road now. Spending your life traveling from one brutalist concrete box to another when you're fifty-two is surely a lot less appealing than when you're twenty-two.

If there's any good to come of this tragedy it's to understand that depression isn't some kind of scarlet letter, it's an inevitable result of what one scientist called "the greatest blind experiment in history," the bombardment of our brains and bodies with every manner of stimulus and stress imaginable, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and then some.

Having spend my teenage years in the white-hot cauldron of hardcore punk I can tell you that that kind of hyperstimulation had -- how do I put this? --less than a salutary effect on a lot of people I knew. Seeing that same formula translated into the mainstream culture goes a long way in explaining why depression has become the great mass epidemic of our time. Now it's claimed another trophy and we're all the poorer for it.

But as the Greeks and Romans once said, vita brevis ars longa

French philosophers once said that the invention of motion pictures had conquered death, that people would now live on forever once they were recorded. I guess the same goes for recorded music as well. So I think it's safe to say that after three decades of music, Chris Cornell has earned his place among the immortals. Let's hope someone learns something from his story.


          The Cold War Kabuki   



Well, you all know what the big story was this past week. I wasn't going to post on it but enough people have asked and it seems germane to the ongoing Reality Show we're all unwitting (and unwilling) extras in. In case you've been on media blackout or a vision quest, here's a brief thumbnail sketch:
The United States launched a military strike Thursday on a Syrian government airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians earlier in the week. 
On President Donald Trump's orders, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase that was home to the warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks, US officials said.
As it happens, the airstrikes apparently didn't even seem to have the desired deterrent effect. The air base was up and running soon after the strikes:
Syrian warplanes took off from the air base hit by US cruise missiles yesterday to carry out bombing raids on rebel-held areas, in a defiant show of strength. 
Just hours after the al-Shayrat airfield was bombed with 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from warships in the Mediterranean, aircraft struck targets in the eastern Homs countryside, according to a monitoring group. 
The airstrikes were carried out on Khan Sheikhoun - the same town Bashar al-Assad’s regime is accused of attacking with chemicals - and seven other towns around eastern Homs, some of which controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
This rebound seemed to catch the War Party off guard, since CNN reported on the same story but appeared to ascribe the airstrikes to phantom warplanes. I mean, it couldn't be the Syrians or the Russians, right?:
(CNN) New airstrikes targeted a town in Syria that was hit by a chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, less than a day after the US bombarded a Syrian air base to "send a message" to the Assad regime. 
It wasn't immediately clear who conducted the strikes on Khan Sheikhoun, which was hit on Friday and Saturday, though only Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have been bombing that area of rebel-held Idlib province.
CNN, who've been hammering Trump around the clock since he humiliated their network head in a post-election tantrum, suddenly changed their tune when he started raining bombs on Syria. Sam Kriss reports:
The media was kind to Trump’s attack on Syria. Every pompous outlet that has spent the last five months screaming incessantly about the threat to democracy, the inevitable deaths and the terror of wars, had nothing but applause as soon as the wars and the deaths actually got going. 
 A fleshy and dangerous idiot, a vulgarian, an imbecile – until those first perfect screaming shots of Tomahawk missiles being fired were broadcast – that’s our guy, you show them Donny! This is when, as Fareed Zakaria put it on CNN, Trump ‘became the president.’
The same mainstream media, which has become a hornet's hive of conspiracy theorizing since the election, was quick to shoot down any conspiracy theories about the Syria Bombshow.
A volley of US cruise missiles had barely been launched into Syria before the internet filled up with fact-free theories about the real reason for the international crisis.
A popular one on the right-most fringes: the US government actually carried out the chemical weapons massacre in Syria last week - a "false flag" to trick President Donald Trump into retaliating, thus entangling himself in a foreign war. 
A slightly more convoluted strain on the left: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia by provoking the missile strike.
Alt-left conspiracy theorists prefer the idea that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia.
Ron Paul, whose son Rand is now a rising star in the Senate, was perhaps the most prominent public figure to cast shade on the Syria op:
“Before this episode of possible gas exposure and who did what, things were going along reasonably well for the conditions,” the former Texas congressman stated. “Trump said let the Syrians decide who should run their country, and peace talks were making out, and Al Qaeda and ISIS were on the run.” 
“It looks like, maybe, somebody didn’t like that so there had to be an episode, and the blame now is we can’t let that happen because it looks like it might benefit Assad.”
For his part, Doctor Bones speculates that the real mark for a possible elaborate sting wasn't Assad or Putin, but in fact another player altogether. The timing seems hard to argue with:
A gas attack launched by the fleeing Syrian rebels, a side quickly losing it’s CIA-sponsorship and well aware it’s continued health depends on American funds, sure has a shit-ton more to gain from wide swathes of civilians dying on camera. Even better if they die particularly gruesomely and in a way the rebels claim they couldn’t be responsible for despite being photographed with all the tech to do so. 
How does Trump’s seemingly pointless explosion-show play into this? The answer: perfectly...
Consider also that the Chinese President was in Mar-a-Largo when the strike was underway, that Trump not only told him it was going to happen but actually ate dinner with him as it went on and the event spirals into even greater significance. A show of force full of technical prowess in a contested warzone while the Russians stood back and watched sends a powerful message to a foreign leader currently dining in enemy territory.
Is this just swivel-eyed speculation? Is there any reason to believe this wasn't all some improbable coincidence, that Xi Jinping was indeed dining with Trump while the Bombshow began? Because if it's not a coincidence then it's one hell of a psyop; running a mindfuck on your most dangerous frenemy during a state visit. What's this all about then? Joseph Farrell reports:
While there have been a spate of articles recently about growing Russo-Chinese defense and security ties, matching their growing financial and economic ties, this one left me stunned, for there was a statement within it that caught my eye, and Mr. B's as well, and I'm sure the reader saw it as well. As one can imagine, this one fueled my "high octane speculation" mode to the nth degree. Here's the statement, and a bit of surrounding context:
Russia and China are tired of Washington's "defensive" military installations in their backyards — and they're already taking action. 
According to the Atlantic Council and other responsible thinkers, the Untied States reserves the right to park its missile shields anywhere it wants, whether it be in Europe, East Asia, or the dark side of the Moon.  
I guess we should have seen all this coming, no? Shortly before the Bombshow, Trump's top Praetorian removed Trump's assumed consigliere from the NSC:
President Trump on Wednesday removed controversial White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon from the National Security Council, part of a sweeping staff reshuffling that elevated military, intelligence and Cabinet officials to greater roles on the council and left Bannon less directly involved in shaping the administration’s day-to-day national security policy. 
The restructuring reflects the growing influence of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general who took over the post after retired general Michael Flynn was ousted in February and who is increasingly asserting himself over the flow of national security information in the White House. 
Do yourself a favor and set a news alert for "McMaster." That's a name you're going to be hearing more of in the days ahead. Or you won't. Which is probably the more troubling scenario.

And with Bannon off the NSC there's apparently an effort to shuffle him off to some fat-salaried thinktank glue factory.  The not-news of Bannon's interest in The Fourth Coming was dragged out yet again, this time by The New York Times. But the article planted a helpful hint of why Bannon is on the elbow list and might be giving us a grim preview of the year ahead:
Bannon’s Views Can Be Traced to a Book That Warns, ‘Winter Is Coming’

WASHINGTON — Stephen K. Bannon has read the book three times. He still keeps a copy of it — one that’s creased and copiously underlined — in a library with the rest of his favorites at his father’s house in Richmond, Va. 
The book, “The Fourth Turning,” a 1997 work by two amateur historians, Neil Howe and William Strauss, lays out a theory that American history unfurls in predictable, 80-year cycles of prosperity and catastrophe. And it foresees catastrophe right around the corner. 
It also leads to unavoidable questions about war and whether Mr. Bannon, who has recommended the book to countless friends and made a film about it in 2010, is resigned to catastrophic global conflict. He says he is not. 
And he remains unconvinced that the United States can effectively intervene in overseas conflicts like the one unfolding in Syria. As one of the voices in the administration who expressed skepticism about a military strike in response to the Assad regime’s chemical attack on its own citizens, Mr. Bannon insists he is no warmonger.
Well, there you have it.

Is the Syria proxy war threatening to heat up again, or is this all just another dance in the Cold War Kabuki? Have actions like the Bombshow  become like sacrificial actions in ongoing magical actions? Or is the real war is for your mind and is playing out in thousands of manufactured headlines, blizzards of 30 second videos with deceptive text crawls and the endless babbling of overpaid talking heads?

I feel stupid even asking the question.

Just in case you're worried that this is all leading to nukes raining down on American cities,  the cognitive warriors seem to be trying to defuse any expectations of impending Armageddon: 
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster says that while the U.S. would push for regime change in Syria, “We’re not the ones who are going to effect that change.” 
“What we’re saying is, other countries have to ask themselves some hard questions,” McMaster said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." “Russia should ask themselves, ‘What are we doing here?’ Why are we supporting this murderous regime that is committing mass murder of its own population and using the most heinous weapons available?’”
Translation: No way in Hell we have the readiness needed for a hot war with a military superpower.

And since the mindfuck is the mother's milk of Cog-War, the careful inoculation of mixed messages into the mediafeed becomes just as vital a weapon as a cruise missile. Scratch that- much, much more so.
Trump Administration Is Contradicting Itself On Regime Change In Syria 
The Trump administration appears divided on whether the U.S. is pursuing a policy of regime change in Syria, days after the first direct American military attack against the Syrian government. 
Thursday’s strike “was related solely to the most recent horrific use of chemical weapons,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. The goal of the attack was to send a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad and its ally Russia that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate the use of chemical weapons, he continued. “Other than that, there is no change to our military posture.”
But United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said there can be no peace in Syria with Assad in power. “There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “Regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.​”​
Though Haley stopped short of indicating the U.S. would take military action to overthrow the Syrian dictator, her comments reflect a sharp change from the administration’s previous position.
The difference here, of course, is that Tillerson sets and executes policy and Haley sits in a glorified debating society and blows smoke and fairy dust for a bunch of bored bureaucrats wishing they had their real government jobs back, the ones they enjoyed before being pushed upstairs to their present posts. The media only pays attention when bombs are falling.

It's all black magic, make no mistake about it. There are different terms and epithets for it all now,  but when you strip all the twenty-dollar words and the credentials and the technology away the intent and the effect is no different than a witch doctor's curse. 

William S. Burroughs understood this, since his uncle Ivy Lee was the creator of one of these modern strains of black magic, so-called "public relations." Burroughs considered his uncle a bonafide "evil genius." And Lee was a piker compared to the algorithm-fired masters of the dark arts striding the globe today.

Here's a story that probably won't pop up on your Facebook feed. Anyone paying attention to the Russia hacking story probably knows how incredibly weak the hacking evidence actually is,* but now Wikileaks is teasing out the Seth Rich mystery again.
‘Guccifer 2.0’ Chat With Nude Model Sparks New Conspiracy Theories About Murder of DNC’s Seth Rich 
New chat logs between alleged Democratic National Committee hacker Guccifer 2.0 and a Playboy centerfold model surfaced today via Wikileaks on Twitter, throwing more fuel on the conspiracy theories surrounding murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. The Twitter conversation, conducted via direct messages, purports to reveal Rich as the primary leaker of the DNC e-mails that proved highly disruptive during the 2016 presidential election. 
In direct messages dated August 25, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 mentioned having a whistleblower at the DNC, and said he was looking for a “person of trust who can be a guarantee in case anything happens.”
When Young suggested trusting Julian Assange, Guccifer 2.0 called him “unsafe” and that he “may be connected with Russians” despite being his hero. 
“I’d like to find a journalist who can do an investigation and teel [sic] the real story of his life and death,” he said, and revealed that the whistleblower he was referring to was none other than a person named “Seth.” 
“I suppose u know who I’m talking about,” he said, adding that he felt sorry about the murdered DNC staffer’s parents and that he wished for journalists to uncover the truth of his murder.
  
Seth Rich, a 27-year-old mid-level DNC staffer, was shot and killed in the early morning of July 2016 in Washington DC, while he was walking home from a bar and talking with his girlfriend on his mobile phone. Rich’s killers left his watch and wallet untouched on his body. 
This wasn't floated by Alex Jones or David Icke, it popped up on Heat Street, which is owned by the Dow Jones Company and Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp. This story looks like it's going to grow some legs yet.

So are you sick of the Cog-War and the Cold War Kabuki yet? Tired of your social media hijacked by proxy warriors fighting battles for cliques within the Intelligence community? Burnt out on the whole Reality Show Presidency and its discontents altogether?

Start looking into ashrams in Sri Lanka, then. This machine is just getting warmed up. 




*Maybe some bright young spark should see if maybe the hacking an inside job by intel people who correctly judged a Trump White House would be easier to dominate than a bloated, top-heavy Clinton one. Just throwing that out there for giggles and grins.


          Spy vs Spy: Stuck in the Funhouse   

Funhouses are only fun when you can leave them. When the distorting mirror images become your new, day-to-day reality construct, then it's not so much fun anymore. 

I dreaded the 2016 Election because I had a very strong feeling that no matter who won we'd be plunged into a dystopian paradigm in which major power blocs would erupt into all-out warfare. And I sensed that neither Trump nor Clinton possessed the political skills or the communicative powers to keep the carnage fully out of our view. Or our path.


And I was right.


Trump's only been in office for a little over two months and I'm exhausted already. I'm certainly not alone in this. It all feels like a TV sitcom in its seventh season, well after the writers ran out of story ideas. The shark has been good and jumped. And the ratings (the approval ratings, in this case) are plunging too.


What is truly demoralizing though is the utter transparency of the secret war playing out, the seemingly endless spy vs spy thrust and counter-thrust, and the obvious deceptions. Even more so is the Animal Farm-like metamorphosis of the Democratic Party into a full-blown, funhouse mirror of McCarthy-era Republicans, but with Glenn Beck-worthy conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure.


I don't know about you but all of a sudden the world seems especially cold, hard, gray, harsh. Masks are coming off, velvet gloves tossed into wastebins. It doesn't seem to matter who wins the scorpion fight, you're still stuck with a scorpion.  

We can't call out the play-by-play because it's largely being acted out behind closed doors. But we can look at the collateral damage and make certain speculations. There's no doubt that it would all be just as bad-- probably worse-- if Hillary won. Even so, this all feels especially grating.

You've probably seen this story:
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Friday apologized to the owner of a Washington pizzeria that became the subject of a conspiracy theory about human trafficking last year. 
Pizza shop Comet Ping Pong was thrust into the spotlight last year after a gunman allegedly fired a shot inside the restaurant. The suspect said he was investigating the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, were operating a child sex trafficking ring out of the restaurant. 
The theory, which became known as Pizzagate, had circulated among far-right conspiracy theory websites and social media accounts. 
“In our commentary about what had become known as Pizzagate, I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him,” Jones, who runs Infowars, said in a video. James Alefantis is the owner of Comet Ping Pong. 
Jones said his website relied on reporters who are no longer employed by Infowars and that video reports about Pizzagate were removed from the website. He also invited Alefantis onto the show to discuss the incident.
It was preceded by this story:
FBI’S RUSSIA PROBE EXPANDS TO INCLUDE ‘PIZZAGATE’ THREATS 
According to McClatchy News, the FBI’s Russian-influence probe agents are exploring whether far-right news operations, including the pro-Donald Trump sites Breitbart News and Infowars, “took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives.”  Trump’s ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son, a member of the Trump transition team, were among those who boosted the so-called “PizzaGate” pedophile conspiracy theory.
I doubt this will quell the fervor among the Pizzagaters on sites like 4chan and Voat. Given the suspicion many on the fringes regard Jones with it may in fact give the flagging movement a fresh jolt. Jones' apology may also have to do with the drive to purge YouTube of "extremist" content and the controversy over the use of advertising on videos corporate clients find objectionable. A World without Sin, as our Gordon might put it. 


Washington Post headline, pre-election.

So much for theories that the FBI was ready to make mass arrests of prominent Washington figures related to Pizzagate.  Has any "mass arrest" Internet story ever panned out?  

Maybe it has:
Donald Trump became president on Jan. 20. And in one short month, there were more than 1,500 arrests for sex crimes ranging from trafficking to pedophilia.  
Big deal? You bet. In all of 2014, there were fewer than 400 sex trafficking-related arrests, according to FBI crime statistics. Liz Crokin at TownHall.com has put together a great piece on the push by the Trump administration to crack down on sex crimes. And she notes that while "this should be one of the biggest stories in the national news... the mainstream media has barely, if at all, covered any of these mass pedophile arrests. This begs the question – why?
This may have nothing to do with Trump-- in fact, it's likely it doesn't-- since these kinds of actions are planned out months in advance. The arrests continue, in case you were wondering, with major busts going down on a near-weekly basis. Someone's cleaning house. 

For what it's worth, I always reckoned that Pizzagate was in fact cover/distraction for a more hidden struggle, one that would take place under the radar*. As I noted back in November:

No one is saying as much but this very much feels connected to a deeper, more covert war. 
Why would I say such a thing? Because at the same time the Pizzagate story went dark we've seen major strikes taken against international pedophilia, which actually is a global conspiracy, with its own networks, secret codes and moles within established centers of power such as schools, police departments and governments.  
With such combustible accusations-- and such potential for a scandal that could quickly spread out of control (ie., involve political figures you're not trying to destroy)-- you'd naturally expect the action to go dark and the fall guys to be placed pretty far down the foodchain. (Remember that a prior investigation bagged one of the most powerful people in Washington at one time, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert).†


"EVER WONDER WHAT IT'D BE LIKE TO DIE IN A PLANE CRASH?" 



It may be sheer coincidence, but James Alefantis' former partner suffered a major heart attack this week
Media Matters for America founder David Brock was rushed to a hospital on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. 
According to a press release from MMA, the founder of the liberal media watchdog and analysis website was rushed to the hospital early Tuesday afternoon and received treatment.
Sure, it may be coincidence. But I couldn't help but remember this story, published soon after the election
Dems to David Brock: Stop Helping, You Are Killing Us 
Democrats know they need someone to lead them out of the wilderness. But, they say, that someone is not David Brock.

As David Brock attempts to position himself as a leader in rebuilding ademoralized Democratic Party in the age of Trump, many leading Democratic organizers and operatives are wishing the man would simply disappear.
 
"Disappear." Huh. 
Many in the party—Clinton loyalists, Obama veterans, and Bernie supporters alike—talk about the man not as a sought-after ally in the fight against Trumpism, but as a nuisance and a hanger-on, overseeing a colossal waste of cash. And former employees say that he has hurt the cause.
It's worth remembering that Breitbart.com Andrew Breitbart died of a heart attack at the age of 43. A year before he'd posted a cryptic tweet that some have since linked to the Pizzagate imbroglio.  Just before his death he hyped some revelation about Barack Obama's past. 

A coroner in the office handling Breitbart's body subsequently died of arsenic poisoning. The day Breitbart's autopsy results were revealed, in fact.

COME BACK ROY COHN, ALL IS FORGIVEN


We also saw James Comey revive Russiagate, which had been flatlining after Vault 7. Any illusions among Trump fans that the FBI was secretly on their side were ground into powder, between this revelation and the Pizzagate conspiracy investigations. 

One can't help but wonder if the New Praetorians (I've noticed that the Praetorian meme has been picked up by more prominent commentators, but you heard it here first) are losing their last shred of patience with Donald Trump's shenanigans and are planning imminent regime change: 
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is investigating whether Donald Trump’s associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, Director James Comey said Monday in an extraordinary public confirmation of a probe the president has refused to acknowledge, dismissed as fake news and blamed on Democrats. 
In a bruising five-hour session, the FBI director also knocked down Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped his New York skyscraper, an assertion that has distracted White House officials and frustrated fellow Republicans who acknowledge they’ve seen no evidence to support it.
How surreal is the world in which you know live in? So much so that mainstream political site The Hill is comparing the action in Washington to a Stanley Kubrick film, one which has become notorious for the conspiracy theories that have been projected onto it (and is well familiar to Synchronauts):
On the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Shining, Stephen King must be wondering if Washington is working on its own sequel. For the last couple months, Washington has been on edge, like we are all trapped in Overlook Hotel with every day bringing a new “jump scare,” often preceded by a telltale tweet. Indeed, a Twitter whistle has replaced suspenseful music to put the entire city on the edge of their seats. 
In this Shining sequel, however, people are sharply divided on who is the deranged ax-wielding villain in this lodge, the president or the press. Ironically, with the recent disclosure that some of the Trump campaign may indeed have been subject to surveillance, the president is looking more like Danny Torrence, a character dismissed for constantly muttering “redrum, redrum” until someone finally looked in a mirror at the reverse image to see the true message.
Yeah, I'm not really feeling that metaphor there, but whatever. It's been that kind of year.

Now the Internet is burning up with theories that disgraced National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has "turned" and is going to testify against the Trump Administration, or at least figures attached to it. 


It's hard to imagine a three-star general can be stupid enough to be guilty of things Flynn's been accused of but that may speak to a culture of impunity in Washington, in which your misdeeds are only punished if you get on the wrong side of the wrong people.

LIKE A BAD CYBERPUNK NOVEL


One wonders if the secret war has spread outside Washington. Car service giant Uber seems to be having a major run of rotten luck lately: 
Uber Technologies Inc. is suspending its self-driving car program after one of its autonomous vehicles was involved in a high-impact crash in Tempe, Arizona, the latest incident for a company reeling from multiple crises. 
In a photo posted on Twitter, one of Uber’s Volvo self-driving SUVs is pictured on its side next to another car with dents and smashed windows. An Uber spokeswoman confirmed the incident, and the veracity of the photo, and added that the ride-hailing company is suspending its autonomous tests in Arizona until it completes its investigation and pausing its Pittsburgh operations.

The incident also comes as Uber, and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, are currently under scrutiny because of a series of scandals. The ride-hailing company has been accused of operating a sexist workplace. This month, the New York Times reported that Uber used a tool called Greyball to help drivers evade government regulators and enforcement officials. Kalanick said he needed "leadership help" after Bloomberg published a video showing him arguing with an Uber driver.
So who did Kalanick piss off? 

Coincidentally- there's that word again- the crash comes soon after Wikileaks revealed that CIA hackers had the ability to override the computer systems in automobiles. From Mashable:

WikiLeaks has published a trove of files it says are linked to the CIA's hacking operations — which apparently includes efforts to hack into cars.  
The first in a series called "Vault 7," "Year Zero" supposedly comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.  
"Year Zero" details the CIA's malware arsenal and "zero day" exploits against Apple iPhones, Google's Android operating system, Microsoft Windows and even Samsung TVs.  
 According to a document from 2014, the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. 
Oh, that's reassuring. Speaking of control systems, apparently pimps are controlling prostitutes with RFID chips:
It turns out this 20-something woman was being pimped out by her boyfriend, forced to sell herself for sex and hand him the money. 
 “It was a small glass capsule with a little almost like a circuit board inside of it,” he said. “It's an RFID chip. It's used to tag cats and dogs. And someone had tagged her like an animal, like she was somebody's pet that they owned.” 
This is human trafficking. It’s a marginal issue here in the U.S. for most of us. Part of that is because the average person isn’t sure what human trafficking – or modern day slavery – actually means.
Technology is our friend, right? And now this: 
Turkish Hackers Threaten To Wipe Millions Of iPhones; Demand Ransom From Apple 
Today, courtesy of CIO, we learn that a group of hackers referring to themselves as the "Turkish Crime Family", has been in direct contact with Apple and is demanding a $150,000 ransom by April 7th or they will proceed to wipe as many as 600 million apple devices for which they allegedly have passwords. 
The group said via email that it has had a database of about 519 million iCloud credentials for some time, but did not attempt to sell it until now. The interest for such accounts on the black market has been low due to security measures Apple has put in place in recent years, it said.

Since announcing its plan to wipe devices associated with iCloud accounts, the group claimed that other hackers have stepped forward and shared additional account credentials with them, putting the current number it holds at over 627 million.

According to the hackers, over 220 million of these credentials have been verified to work and provide access to iCloud accounts that don't have security measures like two-factor authentication turned on.
 
Of course, if credible, with an ask of just $150k, this is the most modest group of hackers we've ever come across.
Given the war that's erupted between the increasingly aggressive Turkish government and the EU, money may clearly not be the object here. Turkish PM Erdogan is clearly set on reconstructing the old Ottoman Empire and shivving Apple might just be part of the march.

Besides, Turkey is taking that recent coup attempt-- which is almost universally blamed on the CIA-- very personally.


Speaking of the EU, we've seen stories that Trump advisor Steve Bannon wants to dissolve the union. Which may be why Trump-adversary John McCain announced his unalloyed support for it- and the "New World Order" (his words, not mine):
The world "cries out for American and European leadership" through the EU and Nato, US senator John McCain said on Friday (24 March). 
In a "new world order under enormous strain" and in "the titanic struggle with forces of radicalism … we can't stand by and lament, we've got to be involved," said McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate who is now chairman of the armed services committee in the US Senate. 
Speaking at the Brussels Forum, a conference organised by the German Marshall Fund, a transatlantic think tank, he said that the EU and the US needed to develop "more cooperation, more connectivity". 
"I trust the EU," he said, defending an opposite view from that of US president Donald Trump, who said in January that the UK "was so smart in getting out" of the EU and that Nato was "obsolete". 
He said that the EU was "one of the most important alliances" for the US and that the EU and Nato were "the best two sums in history", which have maintained peace for the last 70 years. "We need to rely on Nato and have a Nato that adjusts to new challenges," he said.
Would McCain speak this way to a domestic audience? Of course not. Or maybe he would- I can't tell which way is up anymore. But either way it's good to know where he really stands.

Like McCain, China continues to sound a similar note of support for globalization, on which its very economic survival so desperately depends:
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli told a gathering of Asian leaders that the world must commit to multilateral free trade under the World Trade Organization and needs to reform global economic governance. 
“The river of globalization and free trade will always move forward with unstoppable momentum to the vast ocean of the global economy,” Zhang said. China will remain a strong force in the world economy and for peace and stability, he said, adding that countries must respect one another’s core interests and refrain from undermining regional stability. 
I suppose this is why China is off the target list for our new Cold (?) Warriors.

I've resisted posting on all this because it's all so depressing. I've actually written a few pieces on this chicanery that I ended up roundfiling. But I suppose I just wanted to go on the record about all this skullduggery, for posterity's sake.



UPDATE: Sex trafficking arrests and trials continue to proliferate. Most recent bust, an international ring in Minnesota. There is way too much activity going down in too short a time for this to be spontaneous.


* Which is exactly why I refrained from commenting on it here for the most part, instead noting that it had become a kind of memetic virus in much the same way that the Franklin/Boy's Town scandal had in the 90s. (Note that prior to the election-- and Pizzagate-- Trump nemesis the Washington Post was all over the issue of sex trafficking in the nation's capital). 

† The ongoing legal and police actions coinciding with the moves to shut down the Pizzagate fringes on the Web seem like the exact kind of action one would expect if there were a serious operation at work. Shutting down the Internet chatter makes perfect sense in this context because it can only complicate cases made by prosecutors. 
          The Present Can Only Be Viewed from the Past   


2017 might seem like the hangover after a particularly-nasty meth, glue and Thunderbird bender, but it's actually a year of major anniversaries. We're coming up on the 70th Anniversary of Kenneth Arnold and Roswell (as well as the National Security Act), the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper and the Summer of Love and the centennial of the Russian Revolution. But there are a lot more observances, all kinds of 'ennials to observe. 

I thought I'd dig into a few anniversaries germane to The Secret Sun and the topics we look at here. Readers are encouraged to weigh in with their own (observations that can be counted in multiples of five and ten, that is) in the comments.

December will see the fifth anniversary of the 2012 apocalypse/ascension/ absurdity (depending on your point of view). Needless to say, most of us are still here and the skies didn't open and Nibiru didn't come crashing into the moon. So there goes another apocalypse. 

I can't help but wonder about the 2012 meme, though. As I wrote a couple years back, it certainly seems like something changed that year, that the bottom fell out somewhere but no one seemed to notice it at the time. 

I mean, Donald Trump is sitting in the White House, isn't he? If even you're a Trump supporter you have to admit this would have seemed impossible five years ago.

Maybe the Apocalypse works on a different timeline than it does in the movies. Maybe we're living in one only we can't see the forest fire for the burning trees. History can only be written from a distance.

2007 was the year Our Gods Wear Spandex was published and the year I began actively blogging on this site, so Happy Ten Year Anniversary to me. It's also the year that a newly-elected Senator - with a weird, oblique connection to the Council of Nine - announced his candidacy for President.


This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Heaven's Gate suicides, an event I've gone into some detail on this blog. Whatever the media might have you believe the Gate were a bonafide modern Gnostic sect, were serious and rigorous about their work and were deeply troubled by the emergence of the techno-surveillance state they saw emerging at the time. 

This week also marks the 20th anniversary of the last of the Order of the Solar Temple "suicides" ( rendered in quotes since many investigators suspect foul play by outside parties with the OST mass deaths). I wrote in some detail about the OST and their influence on pop culture here (the X-Files writers seemed especially fascinated with the OST and their unique status and history and the lingering questions over their deaths).

Postmortem reports claimed that the OST committed ritual suicide in order to spiritually ascend to Sirius, where they believe their souls originated from. If this is true this is another troubling link to the "Walk-Ins from Sirius" theme from Ruth Montgomery's seminal Aliens Among Us, which has also been linked to the Heaven's Gate suicides.

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the Phoenix Lights flap, a controversial UFO sighting that caused a major media meltdown and has been the focus of a growing mythology ever since. What is particularly interesting about the Phoenix episode- however you view it-- is that it took place right down the highway from the Heaven's Gate compound in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. 

It may have been seen as the final sign that their ride was here, seeing as how the web-savvy cult was monitoring all kinds of infostreams for omens and portents. 

Next week also marks the 20th anniversary of the Outer Limits episode "Double Helix," which plays out like an idealized fantasy world version of Marshall Applewhite's most cherished beliefs. 

Seeing as how the suicides were discovered before its airing it plays like an elegy, a bizarre epitaph for the cult, its leader and their beliefs. How the hell that happened is anyone's guess.

Speaking of double helixes, 1997 saw the announcement that the first major cloning had been done, of "Dolly" the sheep. The news was broken in Roslin, Scotland, of all places (Dan Brown fans take note). More ominously it was also the year IBM's Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in chess. 

Coincidentally or not, Steve Jobs returned to Apple a few months later and changed the world as we knew it. One of his last projects was designing the Apple HQ, which looks like a friggin' flying saucer.

Why do all those events feel so closely entwined? We can't say we weren't warned.



1987 is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Whitley Strieber's seminal autobiography Communion, which brought the concept of alien abduction out of the fringes and into book store in America and other parts of the world. 

It's hard to explain to younger people what a phenomenon this book was, the controversy it engendered, and the effect it had on the culture. Strieber was a well-known author of best-selling horror novels, a couple of which had been adapted into movies (Wolfen and The Hunger) but never enjoyed a success like Communion, which stayed on the New York Times best-sellers list for months and sold millions worldwide.

Daytime talkshows were suddenly fora for abductees, whether real or imagined, as were popular tabloid TV shows like Unsolved Mysteries. The craze made celebrities out of Strieber, abduction researchers like Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs and later, Harvard psychologist John Mack. 

Oldline UFO researchers stewed on the sidelines, having traditionally regarded abduction reports with suspicion, if not contempt. Communion would lead to other projects, the Travis Walton biopic Fire in the Sky, The X-Files (which became an even greater phenomenon than Strieber's book), and the Steven Spielberg maxi-series Taken (which would be the SciFi Channel's most-watched series at the time of its airing).



1987 was also the year New Age seeped into the mainstream and has been insidiously rewriting its host body like a computer virus ever since. Pop culture was the medium yet again- a miniseries based on Shirley MacLaine's "spiritual authobiography" Out On a Limb was aired on ABC and planted the seeds for the Me Generation's catch-as-catch-can Theosophy 2.0. 

1987 saw "Ramtha" go wide with the publication of JZ Knight's autobiography, A State of Mind. Channeling soon became a multimiilion dollar industry, with hundreds of mini-Ramtha's popping out of the woodwork dispensing greeting card homilies for a spiritually-indiscriminate polity.

All you needed to do was squint, loll your head around meaningfully, adopt a weird quasi-British accent and learn to spout pseudo-profoundities and you were in clover.

Again, the New Age craze is hard to explain today, though in large part because the New Age is so ubiquitous today it's woven into the cultural fabric of most Western- and many non-Western- cultures. 

Yoga studios can be found in every sizable American town. Acupuncture and other "alternative" modalities are often covered by health insurance programs. Health food stores are slowly displacing conventional supermarkets and many more traditional houses of worship offer New Age programs (meditation, yoga, self-actualization) to their congregants.

1987 also saw the Harmonic Convergence (aka the "New Age Woodstock"), meant to act as the movement's big hop over the cultural fence. But its organizers (which included the original 2012 guru, Jose Arguelles) deeply misjudged the true nature of the movement and how it actually existed in the ideational biosphere. 

This wasn't a revolution, it was a slow-moving insurrection, one that subverted culture from within, all the while denying its very existence (the hallmark of a true New Ager is that they deny actually being a New Ager). Big, showy events weren't going to do the work. Tenacious, relentless but quieter actions were going to insinuate New Age into the mainstream.



1987 saw the Iran-Contra Affair- in which arms were sold to Iran in exchange for American hostages held by Iran-controlled radicals and the profits then diverted to anti-Sandinista militants in Nicaragua- become the major news story, dominating the headlines and Sunday talk shows for the entire year and into the next. 

Iran-Contra is also arguably the impetus for the true mainstreaming of conspiracy theory (just in time for the dawning of the Internet Era). Conspiracy research wasn't a fringe hobby then, it was front page news all across the world. It's just that the virus escaped from the lab and filtered down into places the mainstream media would have rather it hadn't.

But the real groundwork for the rise of conspiracy culture would be laid ten years earlier when the first fully-functional home computer, the Commodore PET was debuted at a trade show. 

Conspiracy theory may have thrived on talk radio (and short wave and ham radio, not to mention mail order) but it would explode on the Internet, even in the crudest venues of the BBS dial-in days.

At the same time the Commodore was unveiled, a new President from Plains, Georgia took office who swore to tear the lid off government corruption (and significantly, UFO secrecy) in Washington. 

Things, predictably, wouldn't work out so well for him.

1977 saw the commoditization of the modern Hollywood blockbuster-- already having birthed itself in 1975 with Steven Spielberg's Jaws. 

George Lucas' spiritual SF epic Star Wars and Spielberg's UFO fantasia Close Encounters of the Third Kind changed the rules forever (you can throw in Saturday Night Fever if you like, as it spawned the rise of the blockbuster soundtrack as well) and, as many would argue, planted the seeds for the eventual creation empoverishment of the Hollywood they created.

In today's market, doubles and triples are no longer be enough, you need to either write a movie off as a tax loss or score a grand slam blockbuster, complete with merchandising and ancillary rights.

But Star Wars and Close Encounters were such monsters because they filled a genuine void in the culture, a need for miracle and transcendence in a rapidly-secularlizing culture. In their wake the movies would become the dream theater of the masses, in the same way the great cathedrals were to the peasants of the Middle Ages.

Both films struck at the right time- NASA tested its first space shuttle at the beginning of the year, promising a new era in space exploration. One that has yet to come to pass, 40 years later. Even so the mood was right at the time.

On the other end of the ritual spectrum 1977 also saw the arrest of David Berkowitz, whom the media named as the sole "Son of Sam" killer despite the fact that witnesses had cogently and explicitly described other shooters not matching his description. 

Berkowitz himself would later claim he was a member of a sect of the Process Church of the Final Judgement, he was not the only shooter and that the killings were human sacrifices. And as fate would have it two of the men he claimed as his accomplices would die under mysterious circumstances not long after Berkowitz was arrested. 

And their father was named Sam.

Also in the summer of 1977, Elvis Presley died after a long struggle with obesity and prescription drug abuse. 

It was poetic in a Greek tragedy kind of fashion since '77 not only saw the precipitous rise of Disco as an all-consuming craze (Donna Summer had the first hit with a totally-synthesized record, "I Feel Love," that year) but also the breakthrough of punk rock and first-wave New Wave (the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Elvis Costello and Talking Heads all released their debuts), which took the basic, four to the floor rock 'n' roll Presley cut his teeth on and wed it to postmodernism, Dada and other weird, Continental theories that old-timers like the King would never have anything to do with.

Not that most of America even noticed. The Eagles' Hotel California, Pink Floyd's Animals and Fleetwood Mac's Rumors were albums most of the public were actually buying. Punk bombed bad in its first assault on American record stores and most of the first wave bands would soon break up or radically water down their styles in a bid to make it to the US Top 40. 

New Wave, which began as a marketing ploy to ease punk into the American market, would become the musical equivalent of New Age, a contagion that would insinuate itself into the host and rewrite the matrix from within. 

40 years later New Wave concepts are so dominant (irony and sarcasm not the least among them) in pop they're no longer recognized as distinct or unique. But that process began in earnest over 35 years ago, when MTV began beaming art school weirdos from England into a growing number of American living rooms. 

In short order even Jethro Tull and Bob Dylan- the onetime crunchiest of the crunchy- were recording with drum machines and sequencers.

There's more to come. 




          Frank Lloyd Wright: American Architect   
 By the dawn of the 20thcentury, architect Frank Lloyd Wright had discovered something I didn’t learn until the 21st century — that kleptocapitalism must finally and necessarily destroy the standards of every profession with which it comes into contact.
In his 1900 speech to the Architectural League of America in Chicago, titled The Architect, Wright “…reminded his colleagues that in this country commerce had triumphed over art,” wrote Robert C. Twombly in his book Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life and His Architecture. “The lust for money had reduced the architect to a servant of the business community.”
Wright charged that the American architect “…panders to silly women his silly artistic sweets,” trading experimentation and individuality for financial security. Wright called typical turn-of-the-century Chicago homes for the well-to-do “fantastic abortions” and said they “lied about everything.”
“(The architect) now modeled commercial buildings after Greek temples and luxury homes after Louis XIV palaces, all because the businessman and his wife ‘knew what they wanted,’” Twombly wrote. “No longer an independent spirit, the architect had become a salesman, peddling prepackaged ‘styles’ from the files of huge ‘plan-factories.’
“At the height of the industrial revolution in America, Wright was painfully aware that the new corporate elite had usurped the status of the professional, reducing him to an employee at its beck and call.”
In 21st century capitalism-gone-wild America, that sad state of professional degradation applies not just to architects but to physicians, professors, military officers, police officers, attorneys, journalists, you name it.
For pity’s sake, judges have been caught framing innocent American children because they’ve been bribed by private prison corporations to provide warm bodies in order to increase the corporation’s lucrative taxpayer subsidy.
---
Wright employed stylistic innovations to achieve an inobvious family privacy in his prairie houses. The windows were easy to see out of but, because of overhanging features, difficult to see into. Shielded by broad eaves, windows could stay open even in rain. Exterior doorways were hidden in recesses, behind walls or around corners.
“A house that has character stands a good chance of growing more valuable as it grows older, while a house in the prevailing mode, whatever that mode may be, is soon out of fashion, stale and unprofitable,” Wright said.
The McMansions that now litter our landscape, with their bludging, tumorous protrusions, are an example of the latter.
Twombly noted that with five children by 1901, Wright, in his home designs, “…took greater pains to provide for group solidarity than for individual interests. Whether it was a symbolic inglenook, a formal entryway, a playroom for his children or his many exquisite dining and living rooms, his most elaborate efforts were areas of group activity.”
“Wright understood the family to be a tightly knit group within a larger community from which it withdrew occasionally (but did not reject) for its own sustenance. More concerned at this stage of his life with family unity than personal freedom, he assumed the former made the latter possible.”
Twombly suggests that Wright’s turn-of-the-century prairie houses offered a combination of innovation and protection that appealed to their forward-looking but finally insecure upper middle class owners.
“As independent businessmen likely to own their own moderate-sized manufacturing concerns, and as conservative Protestant Republicans, they frowned on eccentric social behavior, liberal causes and protest literature,” he wrote. “In a period of ‘progressive’ reform, they clung to 19th century values and like others in the rapidly growing metropolis felt themselves engulfed by sweeping changes not entirely to their liking…
“Wright’s designs satisfied needs and wishes murkily understood but deeply felt by large numbers of city dwellers and satisfied them more fully, in fact, than conventional styles. The prairie house appealed to an apprehensive upper middle class by emphasizing in literal and symbolic ways the security, privacy, shelter, family mutuality and other values people found increasingly important in a period of urban dislocation and conflict.
“Rapid industrialization and urbanization in late 19th century America created a disorienting situation. Armies of working class immigrants from Europe and from American farms and small towns helped escalate social tensions and instabilities in the cities. Newcomers of all classes, having lost their roots, found their places of residence determined not by family tradition or landholding but by unpredictable and insecure market situations. Vast impersonal corporations assumed control over the lives of laboring people, over white collar workers and executives, and over self-employed businessmen and professionals whose livelihoods depended upon the whims of an incomprehensible and seemingly capricious economic system. The depression of the 1890s, the most devastating in American history to that point, exacerbated the general uneasiness as even more people began to sense their helplessness.
“Few individuals could count on uninterrupted upward mobility, permanent employment or a secure future for their children. Even the upper middle class, especially people like Wright’s clients who did not possess inherited wealth, faced the specter of possible downward mobility and the loss of everything.”
---
As an inspiration for Ayn Rand’s architect hero Howard Roark in The Fountainhead, Frank Lloyd Wright had, in a sense, helped her write her fiction by overdramatizing his career.
In a 1914 Architectural Record article, Wright presented “…his first proclamation of the ‘persecuted genius’ legend, an interpretation of his life as a continuous battle against overwhelming odds, as a struggle for principle despite social ostracism, personal indifference, financial hardship, public ridicule and personal rejection,” Twombly wrote.
“Publicly begun by Wright in 1914 and perpetuated by his closest admirers until the present day, the ‘persecuted genius’ legend became a major component of his self-image.”
In fact, Wright had notable professional support and public acclaim at the beginning of his career.
“Even Hollywood paid its respects,” Twombly noted. “Warner Brothers asked him to design sets for The Fountainhead (1949), based on Ayn Rand’s novel by the same name, but when Wright demanded $250,000 for the job — he did not want it — negotiations ended.”
---
Wright died in 1959, just before his 92nd birthday, a venerable, outspoken sage whom some called a crackpot. But we’d have recognized many of his concerns easily enough.
“Continued growth of the military establishment and the mushrooming of governmental bureaucracy and of corporate hegemony made him despair for the future of democracy,” Twombly noted. “Fearing that centralized authority manipulating a mass society would crush individual liberties, he interpreted American foreign policy as a cover to advance overseas corporate interests and attacked internal anticommunism as a ‘smoke screen’ for political consolidation to further selfish partisan gain.”

Too bad we didn’t listen to the architect. We might have built something better than the shabby, ramshackle structure this country has become.


          Lucille Ball: Only One Place to Go   
Lucille Ball’s step-grandparents once sent her to bed without dinner for looking at herself in a mirror. Think about that.
Apparently because he ate the wrong dish of ice cream, Lucy’s father died of typhoid fever in 1915, when she was 3 years old — an event that shuffled her from relative to relative for years and forever marked her psyche.
“There was a touch of Cinderella in all this, except that there was no handsome prince to ride up and rescue the waif,” wrote Stefan Kanfer in Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball. “All the ingredients for misery were now in place: self-doubt, obsessive-compulsive behavior, insecurity — the sort of psychological afflictions that attend a deprived childhood. As we will see, one way or another she carried these difficulties intact, from her early years to her old age. Yet in her nervous accommodations with the past she came to regard this as the Making of Lucille Ball.”
Lucy concluded that followers had happy young lives, while leaders suffered early trauma.
---
At 13, Lucy went to New York and landed a chorus line job in the Schubert musical Stepping Stones, only to be sent back home when the producers discovered her age. At 15, she was dating a 21-year-old armed bootlegger, and to get her away from him, her mother DeDe scraped together the money to send Lucy to the prestigious Minton-Anderson School of Drama in New York for a semester’s humiliation.
“In another period, the school might have carried her for a second term, until she acquired some polish and timing,” Kanfer wrote. “But it was Lucille’s misfortune to be there at the same moment another young actress was making her mark. Bette Davis arrived as a powerhouse with more gifts than the rest of the pupils combined.”
The bitterness of that rejection remained with Lucy. “All I learned in drama school was how to be frightened,” she said.
---
After her grandfather was bankrupted and lost everything because of a shooting accident, Lucy tackled New York again, working in musicals, never for long.
“She began to patrol short-order joints, seeking a ‘one-doughnut man’ — an individual who sat at a counter, ordered doughnuts and coffee, downed the cup, and left a nickel tip after eating only one doughnut,” Kanfer noted. “ ‘I’d do a fast slide onto his stool,’ she said, yell for a cup of coffee, pay for it with his nickel and eat the other doughnut.’ Her finances hit rock bottom the day she reached into her purse and found four cents, one short of the subway fare. ‘So I panhandled for a penny. One well-dressed older gentleman stopped to listen, then offered me a $10 bill. ‘Listen, mister,’ I told him with a withering look, ‘all I want is one penny.’
“Thoughts of suicide entered her head. ‘I thought, ‘I’ll get killed faster in central Park because cars go faster there. But I want to get hit by a big car — with a handsome man in it.’ Then I had a flash of sanity. I said to myself, ‘If I’m thinking this way, maybe I don’t want to die.’ So I regrouped my forces.’”
And found work as a model, posing for, among other things, a topless photograph that would dog her for decades.
---
Around the time Lucy was shooting the MGM film Du Barry Was a Lady with Red Skelton in the fall of 1942, she had some dental work done.
“A few days after a dentist put in some temporary fillings she heard music inside her convertible,” Kanfer wrote. “She swiveled the dial on the car radio, then realized that the sound was not issuing from the loudspeaker. It was coming from inside her mouth: the fillings were picking up a broadcast from a local station.’
“I even recognized the tune,” Lucy recalled. “My mouth was humming and thumping with the drumbeat, and I thought I was losing my mind. I thought, ‘What the hell is this?’ Then it started to subside.”
“Some days later, an odd rhythm sounded in her molars again,” Kanfer noted. “No music this time — it seemed to be Morse code.” She said the signal was strongest near a particular house. She reported the incident to MGM security officers, who told the authorities, who reportedly discovered an underground radio station run by a Japanese gardener.
“Lucy dined out on the story for months,” Kanfer noted. “She related the incident to Ethel Merman — the stage Du Barry — and Merman passed it along to Cole Porter. It became part of the plot for his next Broadway show, Something for the Boys.”
But was the fantastic story true? The debunker site Snopes says that remains undetermined.
“It would be odd for Lucy to have invented a story about picking up radio signals via her fillings; she was too honest and had plenty of genuine anecdotes of her own to tell,” Snopes said. “Still, the tale is pretty implausible, and documentation about the discovery and arrest of Japanese spies in California in 1942 is curiously lacking. (It’s also unlikely that ‘Japanese spies’ would have been transmitting in Morse code, that the signals would have been received through dental work, or that Lucy could have recognized whatever she was picking up on her fillings as such if they were).”
---
“During the last months of 1948, as the (radio) scripts (for My Favorite Husband) went in for revisions, Lucy began working on a new film with Bob Hope, Sorrowful Jones, based on yet another Damon Runyon tale,” Kanfer wrote. “Filming during the day and rehearsing at night frazzled her nerves and upset her judgment. As one deadline approached, the story line was still in trouble. ‘(writers) Bob (Carroll) and Madelyn (Pugh) and I worked practically all night,’ (Jess) Oppenheimer wrote. ‘We were confident that we had saved the script. We weren’t too proud of the very last line, but the rest of it was good, and we had all day to work on that one last line.’
“At daybreak Lucy and Don Sharpe arrived. She sank into an overstuffed chair and went through the script, laughing at regular intervals as she turned the pages. According to Oppenheimer, ‘I thought we were home free, until she came to that last line. Well, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were identical twins compared to the transformation Lucy served up.’ She rose, threw the script across the room and yelled, ‘I won’t do this shit!’
“Oppenheimer waited for her to finish. Then he responded: ‘I thought we had a team effort going here. We’re happy to stay up all night or all week, and break our butts to make the script right for you. But not if you’re going to ignore a major rewrite which you loved, and crucify us over one little line, which can easily be fixed. We need quite a bit more respect than that. He took Lucy’s hand and shook it. ‘I can’t say it’s been a pleasant experience working for you, but at least it’s over.’”
Oppenheimer left the building and got halfway down the block before agent and show packager Don Sharpe caught up with him and told him that Lucy was crying and hysterical, and wanted to apologize.
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Lucy and Desi created I Love Lucy as a means of keeping their marriage intact, and that’s the one area in which the hit sitcom finally failed.
Desi’s skirt-chasing had been an issue from the first, and the problem was particularly acute when, before the TV show, he’d been on the road with his band.
“One evening Lucy spent an entire phone call accusing her husband of disloyalty, and he yelled at her for being over-suspicious,” Kanfer wrote. “She slammed down the phone. It rang in her room and she picked up the receiver, ready to resume her argument. The voice was not Desi’s; it was the operator’s. She had eavesdropped on the conversation. ‘Why haven’t you called him back?’ she demanded. ‘I know he’s in his room feeling miserable, waiting for you to call him. He didn’t mean any of the things he said and I’m sure you didn’t either, so why don’t you just call him back and make up with him? He’s just a baby.’ Lucy laughed, and did as asked. For that evening, at least, the conversation was filled with apologies and pledges of commitment.”
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When I Love Lucy began, the wealthiest person on the set was the cameraman.
Well, the director of photography, anyway. German native Karl Freund had filmed Dracula and Murders in the Rue Morgue, and won an Oscar for The Good Earth. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz knew him from Du Barry Was a Lady, and knew he’d invented a popular light meter, and that he certainly didn’t need to do a sitcom. Yet that’s what Desi wanted him to do.
Kanfer noted that Desi wanted to stage the show as a play, filmed in front of a live audience of 300 with three cameras that were to be synchronized on one sound track. The film could therefore be easily edited from master shot to medium shot to close-up.
That couldn’t be done, Freund told him. Those shots would all have to be lit differently for decent quality.
“Well, I know that nobody has done it up to now, but I figured that if there was anybody in the world who could do it, it would be Karl Freund,” Desi replied.
Intrigued by the project, “Papa” Freund ultimately signed on for union scale. “Papa was loaded anyway,” Desi said. “He could buy and sell Lucy and me three or four times. The money he had made out of the light meter alone, plus a lot of acreage in orange trees he owned in the San Fernando Valley, made him a man of considerable means. The challenge was what got him, and that’s what I was counting on.”
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At 24, Lucille Ball had signed a Communist Party membership card to please her socialist grandfather, Fred Hunt. Unknowingly, she had also signed on for a nightmare.
The I Love Lucy show aired during the McCarthy era, and in 1953 ruthless right wingers were determined to use the “scandal” to destroy the show and its star. It took all of Desi Arnaz’s PR wiles to quell the storm. He joked that “The only thing red about Lucy is her hair, and even that isn’t legitimate.”
Kanfer wrote, “Lucy and Desi made no more public statements, going about their business as if nothing had happened, resentful of fair-weather friends and acquaintances who made themselves scarce, and grateful to the handful who went out of their way to express their support. First to pay a call was comedian Lou Costello. Lucy thought of him as an acquaintance more than a pal; she had only been on his radio show a few times. But there he was sitting in the garden, and when Lucy asked him why he was in evidence, Costello replied: ‘You just go about your business. I’m just hanging out here for the day. I thought you might need a friend about now.’ Jack Oakie, Lucy’s costar in the old days, showed up; so did Lionel Barrymore, crippled by arthritis, who visited in a wheelchair.”
A force more powerful than even the House Un-American Activities Committee finally vaporized the storm clouds entirely, and that was the Nielsen and Trendex overnight ratings. I Love Lucy was still the number one show, and a Los Angeles Times headline cheered: “Everybody Still Loves Lucy.” President Eisenhower invited the couple to the White House, and all was well.
But not with Lucy, not entirely. “She could never quite relax after her experience with the congressmen and the fallout that came from their investigation,” Kanfer wrote. “A signature on an old piece of paper had been enough to justify her most pathological fears: one’s livelihood and social position could indeed vanish overnight, and in the end (not) money nor love nor public relations would be powerful enough to keep the jackals away.”
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Vivian Vance played sidekick to Lucille Ball all through I Love Lucyand partway through The Lucy Show, then departed, demanding a salary increase she knew would be rejected.
“I was sure she felt I was deserting her,” Vance wrote. “She had a tremendous fear of rejection, and unless she thought it through, it could seem that I was rejecting her, giving her up after 14 years of closeness and clowning, for a husband and a home I wanted to share with him.”
Lucy had other priorities. “Marriage, motherhood, leisure — all were subordinated to the main concern of putting on a good show and turning a profit for the Desilu stockholders,” wrote Kanfer. “Though she determined to get along without her feminine foil, Vivian’s departure did make an enormous difference, not only in the scripts but in Lucy’s outlook. In her view, she had been dropped twice, by her husband and by her closest professional friend.”
“’On the set, she could be a holy terror,’ said one of the technicians who watched Lucy in action. She summarily fired a New York Method actor who mumbled his lines; intimidated directors and cameramen; and sought confrontations, even when the star was as big as she was.
“When she gave Danny Kaye instructions on how to do humor, he snapped, ‘Just who the hell do you think you are?’ Lucy shot back, ‘You’re full of shit, that’s who I am.’ She was not smiling.
“Joan Blondell, who had known Lucy since their starlet days in the 1930s, had become a first-class film and stage comedienne in middle age. Lucy booked her on the show, then expressed dissatisfaction with the way Blondell read her lines. After one take, her friend Herb Kenwith reported, the director yelled ‘Cut!’ and “Lucille pulled an imaginary chain … as if flushing an old-fashioned toilet.’ Blondell turned away but caught the tail end of the gesture. ‘What does that mean?’ she demanded. Lucille said, ‘It means that stunk!’ Joan looked her right in the eye and said, ‘Fuck you, Lucille Ball!’ The studio audience was stunned. You didn’t hear words like that in those days.’ Kaye and Lucy were to make up their differences. Blondell never came back.”
In 1970, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, then the world’s most famous couple, appeared on Lucy’s CBS sitcom Here’s Lucy. Lucy and Liz exchanged increasingly large bunches of roses, but all was not so rosy after Lucy insisted on giving the famous Welsh actor line readings.
Amused, Burton noted that Lucy referred to Liz as “…for the most part as Mrs. Burton or Miss Taylor and occasionally Elizabeth but (she) corrects it to the more formal immediately.” Liz, meanwhile, formally referred to Lucy as “Miss Cunt.”
Lucy overheard her mother warning a director that her daughter was in fact the bitch everyone said she was. Lucy replied, “I am not! Only when I’m working.” Her mother replied, “But that is when people see you.”
Lucy’s state of mind may be deduced from this line, which she was fond of repeating: “When you’re Number One, there’s only one place you can go.”
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Here’s a fact I found fascinating, in part because it has been buried beneath the lavish and well-deserved praise Lucy earned for her genius as a comic actor. As president of Desilu, Lucy personally green-lighted both the Mission: Impossible and Star Trek TV series. Without her, those two mini-media empires would likely never have existed.

          Helen Gahagan Douglas: She Who Must Be Waylaid   
“Helen Gahagan Douglas … had not the slightest interest in politics until the late 1930s. Her conversion was as dramatic as a first-act curtain in the theater.”
  Eleanor Roosevelt

Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, a former movie star and opera singer, was a principled beacon of liberal light following the death of FDR.
She had once played She Who Must Be Obeyed, and when she ran for Senate in California, Congressman Richard Nixon regarded her as She Who Must Be Waylaid.
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Helen Gahagan Douglas
“While sitting in a Viennese coffeehouse with an English music critic who was a friend of several colleagues, the two discussed her new contract,” wrote Sally Denton in The Pink Lady: The Many Lives of Helen Gahagan Douglas. “Suddenly, the man leaned in conspiratorially and whispered, ‘Of course, Miss Gahagan, you are pure Aryan?’
“Helen felt sick to her stomach as the man attempted to recruit her to the Nazi cause. ‘Aryans such as we,’ he told her, ‘(have) a duty to defend the superior race against Jews.’ At first she couldn’t speak. Until that moment the perspective of Jews in the world was a purely abstract notion. Now, as the Englishman spouted the familiar rantings of Hitler and Goebbels while asking her to enlist the support of fellow Nazi sympathizers in America, she felt forever changed. Her ‘Irish blood at the boiling point,’ she tore up the contract and left for home.”
It didn’t help the English critic’s case that her husband, the film actor Melvyn Douglas, was a Jew.
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But it was the Dust Bowl that really blew Helen Gahagan Douglas into politics.
Once upon a time, specifically in California during the Dust Bowl 1930s, those much-despised “illegal aliens” were American citizens who’d fled West.
“Confined to filthy camps, thousands of starving families were ‘herded about like animals,’ living without toilet or showers, while local officials and growers fought to keep the federal government from supplying the migrants with food and medical supplies, fearing that they would form permanent communities, join unions and, most significant, interfere with the cheap Mexican laborers they were shuttling across the border and paying slave wages,” wrote Denton.
 “Importing labor was far cheaper than establishing schools and health-care clinics for American migrant workers, so the growers used every method possible, including force, to get the migrants to move on.
“Helen and Melvyn had attended dinner parties at which the subject of the ‘Okies’ was raised and they were frequently appalled at the lack of compassion shown by many of their peers. They ‘listened with astonishment to people making comfortable statements about how the situation was exaggerated or that the migrants should stop being so lazy and dirty.’”
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Guided by Eleanor Roosevelt, she became more involved in politics even as she became less involved in her marriage. After Melvyn started a serious affair with a co-star, they separated, but would never divorce.
“I suppose it is commonplace that most long-time couples divide areas of emotional response, even as they share responsibilities and material goods,” Melvyn said years later. “Certainly our friends, the Roosevelts, had done something like that.”
Rising in politics, Helen had few illusions about it. “I was raised in a household of dominating men, and I learned early that men guard their authority over women jealously,” Helen said. “As for politics, they sincerely believe public life to be a male bailiwick. They reason that men have been running the country for the past two hundred years and are meant to do so for centuries to come. In short, men would never share power with women willingly. If we wanted it, we would have to take it.”
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Fighting a conservative tide to keep the liberal Henry Wallace vice president in 1944, Douglas gave an eloquent speech at the Democratic National Convention.
“The Democratic party is the true conservative party,” she said. “We have conserved hope and ambition in the hearts of our people. We are the conservative party. We have conserved the skills of their hands. We have husbanded our natural resources. We have saved millions of homes and farms from foreclosure and conserved the family stake in democracy.
“We have rescued banks and trust companies, insured crops and people's savings. We have built schools. We have checked the flooding rivers and turned them into power.
“We have begun a program to free men and women from the constant nagging fear of unemployment, sickness, accident—and the dread of insecure old age. We have turned a once isolated, flood-ravished, poverty-stricken valley, the home of four and a half million people, into what is now a productive, happy place to live—the Tennessee River Valley. We have replanted the forest, re-fertilized the soil. Ours is the conservative party.
“We have guarded children, protected them by labor laws, planned school-lunch programs, provided clinics. Ours is the conservative party. Ours is the party that has created laws which have given dignity and protection to the working men and women of this country. Ours is the party that has made the individual aware of the need for his participation in a true democracy. We are the conservative party.
“We have conserved the people's faith in a people's government—democracy.”
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Elected to Congress in 1944, Douglas was often compared to her glamorous right-wing counterpart there, Clare Booth Luce, the playwright and wife of Time Inc. founder Henry Luce.
“Driving cross-country with her secretary Evie Chavoor, and a friend, Jarmila Marton, having decided to make the move to Washington by automobile, the women tuned the radio to a morning news broadcast,” Denton wrote. “They listened with amusement to the announcement that Helen had defeated Luce as one of the 10 best-dressed women in public life.
“The rookie congresswoman had broken a cap on her front tooth, leaving a gap and stump when she opened her mouth to smile. Evie ‘turned around and looked at Helen, and there she was in the back seat with her terrible sloppy pants on … huddled in a blanket, her hair all streaming down.’ The women howled with laughter, wishing a photographer could see her in such a state.”
Douglas understood, though, that the trivial focus on women’s looks was a means of undermining their power. “Congresswomen’s ideas should rate above their clothes and looks,” she said. “Why this emphasis on the sexes anyway, in a serious thing like government?”
“I never felt I left the stage,” Douglas said, and her clipped, powerful, theatrically trained voice was a great asset in politics.
But there was nothing phony about her, nothing fake. She was a proponent of what philosophers call “virtue ethics,” giving a fair summary of it in this quote: “Character isn’t inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action. If one lets fear or hate or anger take possession of the mind, they become self-forged chains.”
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The liberal and idealistic Douglas was waylaid by the rising, conniving and unprincipled Nixon, sounding an ugly theme that has echoed in American politics right into the 21stcentury.
Nixon’s dirty tactics — among them smearing Douglas as a Communist and sponsoring calls to ask voters if they were aware that her movie star husband was “a Jew” — earned him the apt, lifelong nickname Tricky Dick. But Douglas was also hampered by her own lofty idealism and California’s Chinatown-like civic corruption. And the times were against her, the 1950 election coinciding with both the rise of McCarthyism and the height of the Korean war.
“There was the United States fighting communism and I was the person who said we should limit the power of the military and try to disarm the world and get along with Russia,” Douglas said.
“The worst moment, a sight I couldn’t shake, was when children picked up rocks and threw them at my car, at me. I knew that in order to survive I would have to accept the rocks and the Nixon campaign, shrug them off and move on. I wondered if I would be able to do it.”
She was, finding herself exhausted but strangely calm after Nixon’s huge victory. “I was so pleased that I had escaped the terrible burden of hating Richard Nixon that I was almost elated,” she said.
Nixon, in later years, at least feigned regret over his behavior in the campaign. “Years later, asked by British publisher David Astor to explain his campaign tactics, Nixon reportedly ‘cast down his eyes with a look of modest contrition’ and explained, ‘I want you to remember that I was a very young man,’” wrote Anthony Summers in The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon. “In 1950, (Nixon) was 37 and a veteran of four years in the House of Representatives.”
Douglas summed it up simply: “There’s not much to say about the 1950 campaign, except that a man ran for Senate who wanted to get there, and didn’t care how he did it.”
After Nixon revealed his true character to the world in Watergate, and was driven from office in shame, Douglas had the last laugh. But she didn’t laugh. She mourned.
“If the national security is involved, anything goes,” she said in 1973. “There are no rules. There are people so lacking in roots about what is proper and improper that they don’t know there’s anything wrong in breaking into the headquarters of the opposition party.”
After Nixon’s resignation, a bumper sticker started appearing on vehicles throughout California: “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Helen Gahagan Douglas.”
Her secretary Nan Stevens said, “People rather expected that she would be gloating over Richard Nixon finally being found out, but she was only said. She thought it terrible for the country and for America’s reputation abroad. I know that makes her sound almost too good to be true, but she was good. I’m not saying Helen didn’t have feet of clay. But you had to look awfully hard to find her tiny clay feet.”
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Douglas and her husband often led separate lives. She had an affair with, among others, Lyndon Baines Johnson, but became estranged from with him during his presidency over her support for disarmament and opposition to the escalating Vietnam War.
But Douglas and Melvyn were always good friends, and he made an impassioned radio speech for her during her doomed Senate campaign. “It is easier — as a matter of fact it is the easiest thing in the world — to call people of good will dirty names, to call them Communists,” he said.

Melvyn was at her side when she died of cancer in 1980, and he wrote, “She was entranced always by the light. In every house we ever occupied, she wanted the windows to be wider. She always thought no room could have too many windows … She was always saying, ‘Look at the light! Isn’t it beautiful? Shewas the light. And she was beautiful.’”

          Neil Simon: A Life in Stages   
Neil Simon — a boy made pathologically self-reliant by his parents’ shaky-as-a-quake marriage — quoted Heraclitus to describe his journey.
“If character is fate, as the Greeks tell us, then it was my character to become a playwright, not my destiny,” Simon observed in his memoir Rewrites. “Destiny seems to be preordained by the gods. Fate comes to those who continue on the path they started on when all other possible roads were closed to them. Fate is both your liability and your hope.
“For a man who wants to be his own master, to depend on no one else, to make life conform to his own visions rather than to follow the blueprints of others, playwriting is the perfect occupation. To sit in a room alone for six or seven or ten hours, sharing the time with characters that you created, is sheer heaven. And if not heaven, it’s at least an escape from hell.
“After ten years of writing with my brother or with other staff writers, together in one room, screaming for my own voice to be heard, or whispering it to another writer with a voice more commanding than my own, the day I typed the title page of that first play in the unlikely environs of Coldwater Canyon I knew I had found not only the one thing I was certain would make me happy but I also knew I was about to enter the only world in which I could possibly exist.”
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Simon wrote his first play about his only and older brother, Danny, and his second play about his first wife, the vital and compassionate dancer Joan Baim. She became Corie Bratter in Barefoot in the Park. “I learned early on, from all the plays I had seen or read, that every play must be about an event,” Simon wrote. “The first time that ‘something’ has ever happened. The first time the ghost of his father appears to Hamlet. The first time that Blanche DuBois comes to New Orleans to live with her sister, Stella; the first time Blanche meets Stanley Kowalski. The event doesn’t always have to be major as far as the audience is concerned, but it has to be a major event in the lives of the leading characters. In the case of Barefoot, it was the very first day of the newlywed couple, Paul and Corie Bratter, in their new Greenwich Village apartment.
“I have always tried to put up stumbling blocks for my characters, something they’re not prepared for, something that will interfere with their plans: obstacles, hurdles, conflicts that not only make their lives more difficult, but which afford me the opportunity to put them in a humorous situation.
“In the case of Barefoot, I made it an empty apartment The furniture had not yet arrived, the telephone had not been installed. Granted not the problems Medea faced, but comedy is another ball game.”
The Village apartment was the very one he and Joan had lived in, right down to the hole in the skylight, when they had married in 1953. Ten years after that, in 1963, he made her famous, at one remove, in a Broadway comedy that ran for 1,530 performances. And 10 years after that, in 1973, Joan died of bone cancer at age 41.
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Simon, who never attended college, always had a touching respect for higher education. In Boston for tryouts of The Odd Couple, he recalled that, “Cambridge was just across the river, and I went immediately to the Harvard bookstore and bought half a dozen spiral notebooks with narrow lined pages. I have filled notebooks with my plays from every college and university I ever visited, from Harvard to Yale, Duke, UCLA, Stanford, Loyola, Georgetown all the way to Oxford in England and Trinity in Dublin. In a sense, I think this made me feel I had finally earned a college degree, majoring in Drama and Hotel Rooms.”
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Simon learned something from Jack Lemmon, whose range as an actor impressed him. “He is equally as funny in one of the greatest farces ever made, Some Like It Hot, as he is moving in Days of Wine and Roses, or as touching as he is in Glengarry Glen Ross,” Simon recalled. “The other important quality Jack has in something an actor can neither learn, be directed to do, nor buy for all the money in the world: you can’t help but like him.
“He is also appreciative and complimentary to the written word, and if he doesn’t like it, he will play it full out anyway and let you pick up that it doesn’t work. He once said in an interview, ‘Neil writes in definite rhythms and as in music, you can’t skip any of the notes. If his prepositions and conjunctions, such as but, if, and, or and it are left out, the music is wrong.’
“When I heard this, I was taken aback for a moment,” Simon said. “I was unaware that this was true.”
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Simon’s Willy Loman-like father had no understanding of books, plays or even fatherhood, really. He thought that the actors might have helped Neil write his first Broadway hit, Come Blow Your Horn. Irving Simon liked the father played by Lou Jacobi, telling Neil he knew so many men like that. He never recognized the character as himself.
But Irving Simon had his pride, and refused to eat in his sons’ homes, afraid he might somehow impoverish them. One day he asked Neil not to bring his beloved granddaughter Ellen along to their meeting in Central Park.
“I sat on the bench where we always met, and as I saw him approaching, I could see he walked gingerly, not with the usual sprightly gait I was accustomed to,” Neil recalled. “He looked pounds thinner and when he reached me, he sat and looked away, tears in his eyes. I sat quietly, waiting for him to gather himself. He asked how Joan and Ellen were and was I feeling well, all questions meant to delay what he really had to say. His lips were trembling as he started to speak, and the stifled sob was even more distressing than if he had just let the tears flow.
“ ‘What is it, Dad? Tell me. Are you all right?’
“Every time he tried to speak; he fumbled, he took out a handkerchief to blow his nose and hide his face when anyone passed within earshot. ‘I don’t know how to say this. I’ve never taken anything from you or Danny. You know that. Am I lying?’
“ ‘No, Dad. You never let us give you anything. What is it? Money? Just tell me. I’ll give you whatever you need.’
“He covered his eyes with his hands and this time the sobs came uncontrollably. He told me what he needed and swore it was only a loan. He would pay me back one day. ‘As God is my judge.’ I told him I would send him a check in the morning.
“I knew he was never a strong man, never a fighter, or even a self-sufficient man, despite the fact that he always worked hard. He depended on the love and sympathy of his sisters, his nieces and his nephews, who I think knew his faults but loved him. I knew and saw both sides.
“We hugged and he got up to leave; he was hardly able to look at me as he went. For a man who wouldn’t even share a Sunday breakfast with me, this had to be the hardest day of his life. I never told my mother what happened but I think somehow she knew. I grew up seeing the torment of broken families, broken lives and broken hearts. I always looked for the pain when I wrote about it.
“Writing about it in a play or on this page doesn’t lessen the pain, but it allows you to look at it from a distance, objectively instead of subjectively, and you begin to see a common truth that connects us all.”
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One might think that being the most popular playwright in America, with hit after hit on stage and screen, would make one feel secure. And one would, of course, be wrong.
“I’d had an enormous run from 1961 through 1968, and I felt, if not quite on top of the world, at least that I was living on one of the higher floors,” Simon recalled.
“But the thought was always there that they could take it away as fast as it came, a symptom all too familiar to almost everyone I knew or read about in show business who rose quickly to the top. In my insecurity I wondered when I would be accepted as having ‘arrived.’ And I constantly thought maybe one more play would do it. It never happens, of course. No shadowy figure appears in the middle of the night to deliver a letter that says, ‘You’ve arrived.’ Success is not something you can hold in your hand. Joan was something I could hold. And Ellen and Nancy — I could hold them.”
Simon met one source of his insecurities outside Sardi’s one rainy night. “For as many people out there who applaud your work, there’re an equal number who dismiss it out of hand. I once met Pauline Kael, the former film critic for the New Yorker, who was held in very high esteem — except by anyone I ever spoke to. There was no denying she was a brilliant writer who seemed to prefer Polish or Czech films made on a budget of twelve dollars with stories somewhat on the lines of ‘How a Greek sailor wakes up on a beach one morning with a woman’s brown shoe in his pocket. The rest of the picture traces his search.’ Fortunately the picture invariably ends before you ever find out.
“That was Art. I didn’t write Art.
“We met one evening as we were leaving Sardi’s restaurant, where the New York Film Critics Awards were being handed out,” Simon said. “Ms. Kael and I were both standing under a canopy as the rain pelted New York, and I had very little sympathy for the fact that her new shoes were getting wet, since she had stepped on my own feet every time I had something to show the public.
“As we both waited silently for a cab, we glanced at each other, knowing someone had to say something first. She made a halfhearted attempt at a smile, and said, ‘I haven’t been awfully nice to you over the years, have I?’ I made a full-hearted attempt not to smile, and said, ‘No, you haven’t.’ She said, ‘Well, it’s hard not to knock you. You keep coming around too often.’ Then she got in her cab and quite surprisingly flew up into the night sky, as I thought I heard a cackle in the distance.”
Critics and playwrights can be both natural allies and natural enemies.
Maybe the trouble was something as simple as Kael’s nagging awareness that nobody needed her to explain to them that Simon’s films and plays were enjoyable.
Of course, there’s also the possibility that she thought she was paying Simon a compliment.
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Simon generally didn’t want comedians in his comedies. He wanted accomplished dramatic actors, so that the laughter would ring true.
“What George C. Scott did for Plaza Suite, Mike (Nichols) and I thought Peter (Falk) could do for Prisoner (of Second Avenue),” Simon observed.
“To play his long-suffering wife, our first and only choice was Lee Grant. An actress out of the Actors Studio, she was equally at home with Chekhov or with Sidney Kingsley, the latter having brought her to prominence in his dramatic hit Detective Story. None of this prevented her from being hilariously funny as the script sometimes needed her to be. Once again the basic rule of comedy was proven. Never try to make comedy funny. Honesty will do nicely, thank you.”
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Simon turned 40 in 1967, and became aware of a change creeping up on him through his writing. “I don’t think one just decides to write more serious plays,” he observed. “Life dictates where your pen will move. It starts taking on your own inner fears, your responsibilities, your new, mature awareness that life isn’t just about you, about your own needs and your own self-importance. You suddenly become aware that the old people you know weren’t always old. It was not their occupation in life, as we supposed. They were once the way you are now, and inevitably you will eventually be like them, with others thinking you were always old. You will have to make the same journey, taking on the same pains, the same aches and anxieties, the same sorrows, the same losses. Your insight into the world becomes much larger, more objective and unavoidably clearer. I still wanted to write comedy, but I wanted to add darker chords, where happiness can turn on a dime to anguish, as fast as a phone call can disrupt a peaceful night’s sleep at two in the morning with desperate or calamitous news. I wanted to write about the unpredictable, the sudden surprises, the things we always thought happened to someone else, not to us. I wanted to write for a single person in a single seat in the theater, man of woman, young or old, and have them quietly say to themselves, ‘He’s writing about me.’”

          Jean-Paul Sartre: Visionary of Violence   
Jean-Paul Sartre

Existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote about learning to love music in the child’s dark refuge of the silent cinema during the 20th century’s second decade.
“Above all, I liked the incurable muteness of my heroes,” he wrote in his memoir The Words. “But no, they weren’t mute, since they knew how to make themselves understood.
“We communicated by means of music; it was the sound of their inner life. Persecuted innocence did better than merely show or speak of suffering: it permeated me with its pain by means of the melody that issued from it.
“I would read the conversation, but I heard the hope and bitterness; I would perceive by ear the proud grief that remains silent.
“I was compromised; the young widow who wept on the screen was not I, and yet she and I had only one soul: Chopin’s funeral march; no more was needed for her tears to wet my eyes. I felt I was a prophet without being able to foresee anything: even before the traitor betrayed, his crime entered me; when all seemed peaceful in the castle, sinister chords exposed the murderer’s presence.
“How happy were those cowboys, those musketeers, those detectives: their future was there, in that premonitory music, and governed the present. An unbroken song blended with their lives, led them on to victory or death by moving toward its own end. They were expected: by the girl in danger, by the general, by the traitor lurking in the forest, by the friend who was tied up near a powder-keg and who sadly watched the flame run along the fuse.
“The course of that flame, the virgin’s desperate struggle against her abductor, the hero’s gallop across the plain, the interlacing of all those images, of all those speeds, and, beneath it all, the demonic movement of the “Race to the Abyss,” an orchestral selection taken from The Damnation of Faust and adapted for the piano, all of this was one and the same: it was Destiny.
“The hero dismounted, put out the fuse, the traitor sprang at him, a duel with knives began: but the accidents of the duel likewise partook of the rigor of the musical development; they were fake accidents which ill concealed the universal order. What joy when the last knife stork coincided with the last chord! I was utterly content, I had found the world in which I wanted to live, I touched the absolute. What an uneasy feeling when the lights went on: I had been wracked with love for the characters and they had disappeared, carrying their world with them. I had felt their victory in my bones; yet it was theirs and not mine. In the street I found myself superfluous.”
---
“Assured of living in the best of all possible worlds, I made it my business to purge it of its monsters,” wrote Sartre, recalling his childhood fantasies in The Words.
“As cop and lyncher, I sacrificed a gang of bandits every evening. I killed without pleasure or anger, in order to save young ladies from death. Those frail creatures were indispensable to me; they called out for me. Obviously they could not have counted on my help since they did not know me. But I thrust them into such great perils that nobody could have rescued them unless he were I.
“When the janissaries brandished their curved scimitars, a moan went through the desert and the rocks said in the sand: ‘Someone’s missing here. It’s Sartre.’ At that very moment I pushed aside the screen. I struck out with my sabre and sent heads flying. I was being born in a river of blood. Oh, blessed steel. I was where I belonged…
“I would hurry to bed, reel off my prayers and slip between the sheets. I was eager to get back to my mad recklessness. I grew older in the darkness, I became a lonely adult, without father or mother, without home or hearth, almost without a name.
“I would walk on a flaming roof, carrying in my arms an unconscious woman. The crowd was screaming below me.  At that moment, I would utter the fateful words: ‘Continued in the next installment.’
“‘What did you say?’ my mother would ask. I would answer cautiously: ‘I’m leaving myself in suspense.’ And the fact is that I would fall asleep, amidst those perils, in a state of thrilling insecurity.”
---
As Sartre matured, his fantasies of violence were replaced by an analysis of the realities of violence.
In the 1940s, the conquered French were tortured by their German occupiers. By the 1950s, the freed French were torturing the Arab natives in colonized Algeria. That irony was not lost on philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
“Sartre wrote a sensational review, published in L’Express, of Henri Alleg’s book The Question, an account of being tortured by paratroopers in Algiers,” wrote Ronald Aronson in his book Camus & Sartre.
“Beginning with the memory of the Germans torturing the French at Gestapo headquarters in 1943, Sartre recalled that the French had declared it to be impossible that ‘one day men should be made to scream by those acting in our name. There is no such word as impossible: in 1958, in Algiers, people are tortured regularly and systematically… Appalled, the French are discovering this terrible truth: that if nothing can protect a nation against itself, neither its traditions nor its loyalties nor its laws, and if 15 years are enough to transform victims into executioners, then its behavior is no more than a matter of opportunity and occasion. Anybody, at any time, may equally find himself victim or executioner.’”
The French government inadvertently underlined the truth of Sartre’s words by immediately trying to censor them.
“His powerful denunciation caused L’Express to be confiscated by the authorities on March 6, 1959, and during the next several weeks the article became famous by being published in a pamphlet, confiscated, then appearing in a scroll that could only be read with a magnifying glass, and finally being published in Switzerland,” Aronson noted.
Writing in 1961, Sartre eloquently examined the full extent of what the tortured felt prepared to do once they turned torturer.
“Violence in the colonies does not only have for its aim the keeping of these enslaved men at arm’s length; it seeks to dehumanize them,” Sartre wrote. “Everything will be done to wipe out their traditions, to substitute our language for theirs and to destroy their culture without giving them ours. Sheer physical fatigue will stupefy them. Starved and ill, if they have any spirit left, fear will finish the job; guns are leveled at the peasant; civilians come to take over his land and force him by dint of flogging to till the land for them. If he shows fight, the soldiers fire and he’s a dead man; if he gives in, he degrades himself and he is no longer a man at all; shame and fear will split up his character and make his inmost self fall to pieces.”
Before Bush and Cheney’s regime, I too thought it impossible that men should be made to scream by those who were acting in the name of my nation. During and since Bush and Cheney’s regime, I too discovered that nothing can protect a nation against itself, least of all rebranding it a “homeland” to justify the use of torture.
Sartre wrote, “We are living at the moment when the match is put to the fuse.” And I know just how he felt.

          SIU researchers appear in special feature issue of “Journal of Ecology”   
Plant biologist David Gibson wants to be part of the solution. The problem he has his eye on is the probability of an impending global food security crisis.
          One in 10 could be behind with their mortgage   
The high level of debt carried by Home Owners in Toronto is exceeding their capacity to safe for their rainy day fund.   One singular event, a car accident or if one wage earner is laid off can have serious consequences.

We may qualify at the posted rates and take a mortgage at the variable rates; additional expenses make it harder to save for retirement or that annual vacation.

Who says so?   CD Howe Institute.  December of 2015

 The portion of mortgage indebted households with a primary mortgage debt-to-disposable income ratio in excess of 500 percent has climbed from 3 percent in 1999 to 11 percent in 2012.December 9, 2015 – The federal government should pay close attention to several pockets of risk in the Canadian housing market, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute report. In “Mortgaged to the Hilt: Risks From The Distribution of Household Mortgage Debt,” authors Craig Alexander and Paul Jacobson expose pockets of vulnerability by going beyond national averages and focusing on the distribution of house mortgage debt by income, age and region, all of which matter most when assessing risk.
“Household mortgage debt has risen dramatically and traditional economy-wide averages understate the degree of financial risk for those that carried mortgages because they typically divide the value of mortgages across the income of households with and without mortgages”, remarks Alexander.
Using the data from the Survey of Financial Security, the authors find that the ratio of the value of mortgages on primary dwellings have jumped from 144 percent of after-tax income in 1999 to 204 percent in 2012.  However, this also understates the degree of financial risk for a significant minority of households.
The author’s analysis suggests that a significant minority of Canadians having taken on a high degree of financial risk. The portion of mortgage indebted households with a primary mortgage debt-to-disposable income ratio in excess of 500 percent has climbed from 3 percent in 1999 to 11 percent in 2012. Their analysis of the distribution of mortgage debt is as follows:
  1. Income: The increase in highly mortgage-indebted households has been in all income groups, but more so in lower-income quintiles.
  1. Age: The increase in financial risk is also evident across all age groups, but more so for younger Canadians who have entered the market most recently.
  1. Region: As one might expect, there has been greater concentration of mortgage debt in the provinces with the strongest housing booms.
Additionally, the authors find that roughly 1-in-5 of mortgage indebted households have less than $5,000 in financial assets to draw upon in response to a loss of income or to higher debt service costs. 1-in-10 mortgage-indebted households have less than $1,500 in financial assets to address any shock. This represents an inadequate financial buffer, as average mortgage payments are more than $1,000 a month, before taxes and operating costs.
The federal government may want to consider further policy actions to lean against the shift towards significantly higher mortgage burdens. However, such policy measures should not be unduly heavy handed and should be targeted to address the distributional nature of the risks.
For example, potential targeted measures would be to tighten underwriting requirements by lifting required credit scores, capping total debt-service ratios at lower levels, lifting qualifying interest rates when doing income testing, or varying the minimum downpayment by the size of mortgage to target higher-priced markets. Such measures would build on the regulatory tightening already done to date without posing a material threat to Canadian real estate markets. https://www.cdhowe.org/sites/default/files/attachments/research_papers/mixed/Commentary_441_0.pdf    Click here for the full report

Getting the correct Mortgage Advice; living with your means and eliminating HIGH Interest rate credit card debt all count towards securing your long term comfort.  I recommend a debt check up with http://RenewyourMortgage.ca

Because the best mortgage is NO mortgage at all.

David Pylyp

TXT 647 218 2414 or Email
          12V Remote Control Motorcycle Security Vibration Sensor Alarm System Free Shipping   
12V Remote Control Motorcycle Security Vibration Sensor Alarm System FREE SHIPPING $16.59 https://tripleclicks.com/16043703/detail.php?item=477304 You save 17% off the regular price of $19.99 Motorcycle Remot...
          Over 90,000 Meals Provided in a Year!   
The statistics tell a sad story of food insecurity in our community. In 2015, the Food Bank provided 683 family members (185 of them first-time visitors) with groceries for three meals a day for a week – at least once, but often monthly – an aggregate of 4,215 served through personal food shopping. Visitors shop […]
          Microsoft Windows 10 Fall Creators Update To Feature Built-In AI Powered Malware Protection   
Microsoft Windows 10 Fall Creators Update To Feature Built-In AI Powered Malware Protection Recent ransomware scares such as the WannaCry outbreak have collectively put a spotlight on PC security. It has even prompted Microsoft to release patches for unsupported operating systems, including Windows XP and Windows Vista. However, it is Windows 10 that receives the lion's share of Microsoft's security efforts, and we will see that
          Broken Genome Tracks Girl Scouts; Live!!   

Recorded in front of a live audience and benefitting Part Hall and KBCZ 90.1 FM, Boulder Creek, CA, we covered broken internet, vegetarianism permanently reshaping the human genome, Amazon buying Whole Foods, new browser tech, Meditation changing your DNA, court protecting your online social rights, and much more geek news of the week including questions form our live audience.


          An Overview of Children’s Disability   

Disability Lawyers in Buffalo Explain Qualifying for Benefits for Your Child According to our disability attorney in Buffalo, the Social Security Administration will want detailed information about your child’s health...

The post An Overview of Children’s Disability appeared first on Pashler and Devereaux.


          Disabled Veterans and Disability Benefits   

There is a difference between the application process for Social Security disability and veterans’ disability. The requirements for SSDI are also different from those for veterans’ disability. For example, a...

The post Disabled Veterans and Disability Benefits appeared first on Pashler and Devereaux.


          Multiple Sclerosis and Social Security Disability   

Thousands of people are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the United States every year. Individuals who have received a diagnosis of MS may qualify for medical and income benefits through...

The post Multiple Sclerosis and Social Security Disability appeared first on Pashler and Devereaux.


          The Role of the Advocate   

Claimants have many questions regarding their Social Security Disability case including who approves the claim and what role an advocate plays in the process. The process is time-consuming and involves...

The post The Role of the Advocate appeared first on Pashler and Devereaux.


          Chronic Pain as a Disabling Condition   

To qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD), the Social Security Administration (SSA) must find that a claimant has a severe, medically determinable physical or mental impairment. By its very nature,...

The post Chronic Pain as a Disabling Condition appeared first on Pashler and Devereaux.


          Receiving VA Benefits and SSD Benefits at the Same Time   

Individuals may receive both Veterans Administration (VA) compensation benefits and Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits simultaneously, and many veterans apply for both at the same time. Unlike other types of...

The post Receiving VA Benefits and SSD Benefits at the Same Time appeared first on Pashler and Devereaux.


          Favor Thoughtful Adherence Over Blind Adherence   

Far be it from me to put words in Phil's mouth, but I hope that folks recognize that his post about favoring composition over inheritance is not specifically about that one best practice (the comments seem to indicate this is being missed).  It's pretty clear to me that the thrust of that post is around a philosophical approach that he thinks the ALT.NET community should make.

Two things stand out from Phil's post in this respect: 1) don't appeal to authority, and 2) don't organize yourself around a set of technical principles (best practices), but rather organize yourself around the non-technical values of independent thinking and desire to improve.  I hope that everyone can agree that these latter two values are good ones that should indeed be encouraged.

That said, should a community like ALT.NET eschew forming a more formal consensus on technical best practices?  I tend to think not.  While independent, critical thinking is valuable, it is not the summit of perfection.  The summit of perfection, in the realm of ideas at least, is conformance with truth (what actually is versus what I think is), and independent thinking at odds with what is true is not only not valuable in itself, it can be downright detrimental. 

For instance, what if you independently and critically think that security and privacy are not important aspects of the online banking application you are tasked with building?  Is that kind of independent, critical thinking valuable in itself?  Or will it potentially lead to great harm?  Independent, critical thinking is valuable only in as much as it deepens one's understanding of and conformance to truth.

So I think that there is value in a community such as ALT.NET expending the effort to define principles through critical thinking and argumentation that it will hold up as ideals, i.e., things that seemed to be most in accord with the truth as we know it.  This is where things like patterns and best practices come into play; it is the shared, accumulated wisdom of the technical community.

Now what about the broader idea of eschewing appealing to authority?  Far be it from me to claim to be an authority in logic, but it seems to me that all appeals to authority are not invalid (the wikipedia article Phil links to discusses this to some degree but does not go far enough, in my estimation).  The valid reasons for appealing to authority are discussed at the bottom of that article: 1) not enough time and 2) concern at one's ability to make the other understand the reasoning underlying the truth being expressed.

In terms of logic, it is not a fallacy to appeal to an authority on a topic that is accepted by all those involved in an argument.  We're talking about presuppositions here, and without them, we'd never get anywhere in our search for truth.  If you always have to argue from first principles (if you even acknowledge those), you simply get stuck in a quagmire.  In terms of the topic at hand, if folks accept (as they generally do) that the GoF et al are authorities on the subject of OOD, then it is valid, logically speaking, to appeal to their authority to establish the principle that you should favor composition over inheritance.

The thing to watch out for in appeals to authority is 1) thinking that the authority is incapable of being wrong and 2) ensuring that the parties involved accept the authority.  With the latter, you simply cannot argue (or at least the argument won't carry weight) from authority if the authority is not accepted.  With the former, unless it is a presupposition shared by those involved that the authority is indeed infallible, you should keep in mind that even if you buy into the authority's credentials, it is still possible that the authority can be wrong.

So I would nuance what Phil says and say that if the ALT.NET community agrees that GoF is an authority, it is valid to appeal to them, while remaining open to criticism of the concepts involved (even those backed by an authority).  The authority adds logical weight; it does not impose absolute authority.

We just don't have time to argue everything from first principles.  Others who are generally acknowledged to be qualified have already taken the time to research, think about, and propose some good patterns and practices, and unless there is good reason to object, there is no need to rehash those.  Instead, I'd suggest that the community focus on spreading knowledge of these patterns and practices all the while refining them, functioning essentially as a group in the way that Phil recommends individuals function--thinking critically and always working to improve.  Doing this will help ensure that the community does not fall into a quagmire of unnecessary argumentation, and it will ensure that the patterns and practices that they agree upon can be continuously refined and enhanced as new technologies emerge and greater wisdom is gained over time. 

Further, it gives the group a purpose that has meaning.  After all, if the group's message is only "think for yourself and be all that you can be," there isn't much of substance to say after that.  On the other hand, because it is a technical community that espouses that philosophy, it should take that philosophy on itself (as a group, not just the individuals in it).  I would suggest this includes establishing greater consensus on best practices and patterns and then spreading the word about them to others.  Be better together. :)

You see, it is not about setting down an infallible manifesto and excluding those who disagree, which is I think more than anything what Phil is concerned about.  However, it also isn't about best practices just being true for you but not for me (best practices relativism?).  Put another way, I suggest ALT.NET should favor thoughtful adherence to best patterns and practices, not blind adherence.


          Brozzme DB Prefix   
Easily change your WordPress DB prefix, save time, increase security.
           Ottawa battens down for Canada Day as ISIS threatens attack    
While heavy rain is expected to dampen Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations Saturday on Parliament Hill, high-level security experts in both police and intelligence agencies are hoping the only explosions heard will be emanating from the thunder clouds overhead.
          Minnesota Court of Appeals hears attempt to revive teacher tenure lawsuit   
Suit was dismissed, but parents want case against teacher job security argued in court.
          Security Camera Tapes Busty Milf Giving Handjob To Colleague at Office Amateur CFNM   
Watch Security Camera Tapes Busty Milf Giving Handjob To Colleague at Office Amateur CFNM at XXXPorn.rs - best free online XXXPorn videos for you to enjoy.
          Busty Business Milf Works Overtime And Made Security Guard To Love Night Shift Again   
Watch Busty Business Milf Works Overtime And Made Security Guard To Love Night Shift Again at XXXPorn.rs - best free online XXXPorn videos for you to enjoy.
          Will food dominate 21 century geopolitics? (radio)   
One billion people in the world are going hungry–more than any other time in history. Yet food security remains a pretty low concern in most industrialized countries. That may not last long according to renowned environmentalist, Lestor Brown, who says that climate change, population growth, rising consumption of meat and dairy, and water issues could […]
          DHS calls for new airline security measures   

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday called for new airline security measures, including increased screening, for flights into the U.S. from around the world. Source link

link: DHS calls for new airline security measures


          Waitress Caught Fucking A Costumer By Security Cam   
Watch Waitress Caught Fucking A Costumer By Security Cam at XXXPorn.rs - best free online XXXPorn videos for you to enjoy.
          Windows 7 IIS 7 unable to receive incoming HTTP traffic   

 I was trying to load a test html page from a LAN server that is running Windows 7. I could load the page from the server, but not from machines within the LAN. It took a while to figure out, but it turned ot to be the firewall in Windows 7. Here is what I had to do:

Windows Firewall with Advanced Security ---> Inbound Rules ---> Enable World Wide receive incoming HTTP trafficWeb Services (HTTP Traffic-In)


          CyberSecurity Engineer - Black Box Network Services - Lawrence, PA   
Configuration and monitoring of detection technologies:. Experience in configuration of Symantec Endpoint Protection and Endpoint Encryption....
From Black Box Network Services - Wed, 07 Jun 2017 20:18:04 GMT - View all Lawrence, PA jobs
          Senior Information Security Analyst - General Dynamics Information Technology - Schofield, HI   
Requires understanding of firewall theory and configuration. Performs all procedures necessary to ensure the safety of information systems assets and to protect...
From General Dynamics Information Technology - Mon, 26 Jun 2017 19:52:39 GMT - View all Schofield, HI jobs
          Is The U.S. Close To Achieving ‘Energy Dominance’?   
If you hadn’t heard, the Trump Administration has declared this week to be “Energy Week”, a week during which the President and his senior officials are focusing on the theme of “U.S. Energy Dominance.” Not “energy independence” or “energy security”, both themes past presidential administrations have focused upon – “energy dominance.” So, what does it all mean, and can the United States actually achieve it? Good questions. Here are some answers. First, when President Trump…
          Kaspersky Internet Security for Android -1 Year Of Rs 365 At Just Rs 74 – Amazon   

Amazon Here Came Up With A Good Deal Where They Are Selling Kaspersky Internet Security for Android – 1 Device, 1 Year Of Rs 365 At Just Rs 74.This Is Flat 80% Off.Hurry Up & Grab This Deal. How To Buy Kaspersky Internet Security for Android From Amazon ? Visit Deal Page Here  Now Click On add […]

The post Kaspersky Internet Security for Android -1 Year Of Rs 365 At Just Rs 74 – Amazon appeared first on SUBH 4 U


          US airline security: No expansion of laptop ban   
US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Wednesday unveiled enhanced security measures for foreign flights arriving in the United States in what officials said was a move to prevent an expansion in-cabin ban on laptops and other large electronic devices.
          Pit Crew (Pump Attendant) - Yearnings Outsourcing Cooperative - Taguig   
*QUALIFICATIONS* * Male * At least College level * With or without experience * With excellent customer service *Benefits: * * Job Security * Government...
From Indeed - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:04:03 GMT - View all Taguig jobs
          SThree Careers: Vulnerability Analsyt   
£45000 - £57500 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: SThree Careers: An award winning financial company are seeking a Vulnerability Analyst to join their site in Chatham. If you have an understanding of vulnerability remediation and security controls, then you may be the Vulnerability Analyst that weve been looking for. Chatham
          Инструкция пострадавшим от Trojan.Encoder.12544   

28 июня 2017 года

Троянец Trojan.Encoder.12544 распространяется с помощью уязвимости в протоколе SMB v1 - MS17-010 (CVE-2017-0144, CVE-2017-0145, CVE-2017-0146, CVE-2017-0148), которая была реализована через эксплойт NSA "ETERNAL_BLUE", использует 139 и 445 TCP-порты для распространения. Это уязвимость класса Remote code execution, что означает возможность заражения компьютера удалeнно.

  1. Чтобы восстановить возможность входа в операционную систему, необходимо восстановить MBR (в том числе стандартными средствами консоли восстановления Windows, запуском утилиты bootrec.exe /FixMbr).

    Также для этого можно использовать Dr.Web LiveDisk — создайте загрузочный диск или флешку, выполните загрузку с этого съемного устройства, запустите сканер Dr.Web, выполните проверку пострадавшего диска, найденное Обезвредить.

  2. После этого: отключите ПК от ЛВС, выполните запуск системы, установите патч MS17-010 https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx.

    На компьютеры с устаревшими ОС Windows XP и Windows 2003 необходимо установить патчи безопасности вручную, скачав их по прямым ссылкам:

    Windows XP SP3:
    download.windowsupdate.com/d/csa/csa/secu/2017/02/windowsxp-kb4012598-x86-custom-rus_84397f9eeea668b975c0c2cf9aaf0e2312f50077.exe
    Windows Server 2003 x86:
    download.windowsupdate.com/c/csa/csa/secu/2017/02/windowsserver2003-kb4012598-x86-custom-rus_62e38676306f9df089edaeec8924a6fdb68ec294.exe
    Windows Server 2003 x64:
    download.windowsupdate.com/c/csa/csa/secu/2017/02/windowsserver2003-kb4012598-x64-custom-rus_6efd5e111cbfe2f9e10651354c0118517cee4c5e.exe
  3. Далее установите антивирус Dr.Web, подключите Интернет, выполните обновление вирусных баз, запустите контрольную полную проверку.

Мастер скачивания по серийному номеру Демо для дома Демо для бизнеса

Троянец заменяет MBR (главная загрузочная запись диска) и создает, а затем и выполняет задание в планировщике системы на перезагрузку системы, после которой загрузка ОС уже невозможна из-за подмены загрузочного сектора диска. Сразу после создания задания на перезагрузку запускается процесс шифрования файлов. Для каждого диска генерируется свой ключ AES, который существует в памяти до завершения шифрования диска. Он шифруется на открытом ключе RSA и удаляется. После перезагрузки, при успешной подмене MBR, также шифруется главная файловая таблица MFT, в которой хранится информация о содержимом диска. Восстановление содержимого после завершения требует знания закрытого ключа, таким образом, без знания ключа данные восстановить невозможно.

В настоящий момент расшифровки файлов нет, ведется анализ и поиск решений, мы сообщим вам об окончательных результатах.

В случае возникновения затруднений просим вас обращаться в службу технической поддержки «Доктор Веб».


          Reflections of Re-Entry   
OK, I have bashed the UAE for some things such as internet censorship, Sharia Law, telecommunications monopoly, banking and labor abuses and being a "Plastic Banana" country. The place sucked me dry after awhile. Now it is time to reflect on my thoughts of my own country after being away for over 3 years.

First of all, the US is very expensive. Food and ordinary items that used to cost 2X+ what I remember. What used to be an in and out at a grocery store for $50 now cost more than $100. Not only that, there are bills in my mailbox everyday from people and organizations that want money. Setting up a new household over here costs an exhorbitant amount of money considering deposits, leases, auto registration, utilities, taxes, etc. Everyone has their hands out and wherever I leak, someone has a bucket.

Second, there are retail outlets everywhere for anything one could want or hope for, acres (or hectares) of strip malls that sell everything from hamburgers to massages to bankruptcy lawyers. It is quite overwhelming but convenient, maybe too convenient. After the financial bubble burst, there are a lot of broke folks here and the last thing they need are more temptations.

Crime in the US is an assumed risk but I consider that as the price to pay for a free society. It was safe in the UAE but I am one of the last ones that seem to refuse to trade security for freedom.

That being said, driving in the murderous motoring maelstrom on the UAE roads just might entail more risks than the US crime rate would. 

Although the US is not perfect, it is still home to me and theoretically I have a say in the operation of my governmental representatives. In Abu Dhabi, I was a guest that could thrown out on my head just for flipping the "bird" to someone. That type of  stress in addition to the "saving face" culture where nobody can seem to lose wore me down to where everyday seemed an excercise in frustration. I can finally call someone an ASSHOLE and not be arrested for committing a crime against the State..

Anyway, no place is perfect. I enjoyed living in Abu Dhabi for awhile but it was not "home".I knew I had to come back to America someday. I was only a guest that could be evicted at anytime for any reason.

I am now settled in Las Vegas, Nevada, arguably one of the most exciting cities in the world and diametrically opposite of the faux venues in the UAE. Gambling, alcohol and debauchery are openly encouraged in "Sin City." and folks seem just as happy here as they are in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I guess that is because gambling, alcohol and prostitution are equally available in both places but those activities are not advertised as much in the UAE..

Even though I am living back in the US for now, I will continue this blog as people are curious and interested in working in the sandpit. I will continue to give advice to those wannabes. I have lived there and have lots of hints and advice.

I am building a new blog, lasvegasdispatches.com. to chronicle the good and the bad of the world's "Sin City". It will be up and running in a couple of weeks.

Thanks to the friends I met overseas. I appreciate you as the adventurers you all are. It takes big balls to do what we did and kudos to those who still live and thrive over in the Sandpit. I am glad I did it but I wouldn't do it again. Best Regards to my buddies and readers I left behind and I hope our paths will cross again. I will never forget you all!

Seeya,
Ace




  






          Damn Banks II   
I received a comment on my last post from Anonymous who seems to be an insider at one time. It was very informative and brought up some good points that I had to answer. The comment was long and my responses were at least just as long so I decided to make a new post. Maybe we all can learn something and clear up some misunderstandings, if any.

Anonymous is in yellow text, mine in white.


Anonymous said...

    LOL! SOME of what you said is true, some are "spiced" if you will.

    BTW, that building that you said came from somewhere... It isnt OWNED by NBAD. That building is owned by a member of a royal family. 3 floors are rented by NBAD.

You maybe have me there! I looked for a stock photo of a big building with the NBAD logo on it for the first photo. Its kind of a blogging thing. Here is the real HQ, the NBAD tower.

NBAD Tower



    There is no link with immigration, or with the traffic dept. If you want I will tell you the exact process (I had sadly asked that many ppl be bared from flying myself)

When a person properly quits their job, they have to surrender their passport to their employer/sponsor and will only get it back (on the day of travel) after all paperwork, including clearance letters from the banks et al, are submitted. If an expat cannot provide these, they do not get their passport back until all debts are paid. They can't leave as they have they have no passport, job or home at this point. I have heard jail is a desperate option.

What this does is creates the runner/absconder phenominon. Things go bad here with some folks for various reasons and they are deep enough in debt they cannot come up with the cash to settle local debts. So instead of having the option of leaving and paying the debt from abroad, they get desperate and just escape. I see enough dusty cars with flat tires in airport parking lots to know this is quite common. I think most people want to pay their debts but these rules force some into a corner. Seems the banks stand to lose more the way things are than trying to work with their customers before it becomes a legal problem.

Curiously, as I said in a previous post the banks seem uninterested in retrieving these automotive orphans to mitigate losses.

Banks Seem Unconcerned About Recovering These Assets, They Are Everywhere

 
    Also, there are reasons why banks here cant allow people to pay for debt from abroad. Mainly because you cant enforce it in any way. If a bank scares you into thinking that it can "get" you when ur back home, they are usually mistaken. Few are the countries in which a bank here can get a bad debt holder to pay. Truth.

I think that is changing. I recently got a small personal loan and was asked for family addresses back in the US and my Social Security Number so I could be easily located.Debt collector firms wordwide purchase bad debts from banks all the time and take on the risk of recovering the debt. VISA and Mastercard are also global companies with aggressive collection methods and could damage my credit rating back in the US.

    There are however non official ways to continue to pay for asset backed loans (Like a car or house) but we wont get into those. I will say that I had set a few such schemes up for customers and they did not cause me any issues till the day I left. But not all customers are like that. With 20% of the country being labor, and another 30% being low level employees (with low incomes) you simply cant take chances with everyone. It it really is a chance.

    The banking system here is based on caution. In the UAE it's the exact opposite. Yes, a healthy way to be would to have a nice balance, but you have to understand the contact, this region is not a stable one. the UAE may be stable, but it's surrounded by shit and bad stuff.

    Also, with 90% of the country's population foreigners, the control you have over securing your loan is close to nil. Truth is if you take out 500K worth of loans and leave within a week, the bank will have no warning and little recourse.

I think any of the banks here would go after someone owing that amount of money. They would be crazy not to.

    As for banks not being all they can be to consumers, it depends both on the bank and the consumer.

    If you have a salary of 55K, a 1.6 million mortgage, a car loan, a personal loan, and credit cards, the banks are the best you'll ever deal with.

    If you make 55K and send 45 back home on the same day, most banks wont care about you.

I truly understand about the demographics here and the difficulties they bring.

    Also, not all banks here have the same focus. NBAD has, and is, and probably always will be a corporate bank. Its main job (originally, and still) is to be the banker of the Govt of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as well as govt owned companies, semi govt companies, and large corporations.

    Do they have consumer banking solutions? yes. Are they good? Maybe. Are they the best? No.

    For a consumer, a more consumer focused bank like RAK bank might be a better option. RAK Bank is one of the few UAE banks that does NOT have a corporate banking section. Only consumer (you) and SME (Your small business)

    As for consumer rates (You mention a credit card at 35%) yes, it is highway robbery. But things are getting better. A few months back the central bank limited what a bank can offer and charge in terms of base banking and lending. CC were not included. Maybe in the revision next year. (Last year a certificate of liability costed 400, today its no more than 100 by law)

I have VISA and MC CC's with US banks that charge 10-12%. I agree 35% is very excessive for the same here. I took that aformentioned small personal loan (unsecured) for a very reasonable single digit rate. The credit cards are a cash cow and are aggressively marketed by commissioned salespeople. The rules seem lax and a lot of naive newcomers succomb the the lure of easy and high credit limits.

    The lack of a central lending database = ppl can get into debt easily and with multiple banks without the banks knowing. But this isnt the banks fault. The lack of the data base is the system's fault, but no one forces all these morons to sign those loan agreements.

 You are right on this. Theoretically, a person can get multiple credit accounts from several institutions without being qualified for the aggregate of the limits. This would not happen in countries with an independent credit bureau because that person could be tracke and info shared between financial institutions. In the US, every citizen has a credit score which sets limits on the amount that can be borrowed.

    It simply isnt anyone else's fault if you cant manage your finances.

I agree with you on that, but it seems a lot of people get into trouble in the UAE and that trouble can cause very serious legal consequences. In my opinion, the banks are like drug pushers making easy credit available to most. Hell, I bought a 99,000AED car on 100% credit after just 90 days on the job. Was that dumb...yes! Would I do it again...no! That car is sold now and I currently free of debt, at least in the UAE. I know many that are way over their heads in credit balances and will have to be in the UAE many more years than they want.

But ultimately it was my decision as I rose to the bait and took the hook.The banks are enablers but it is ultimately the individual that is responsible to refuse the offer.

    But yeah, you added alot of "baharat" (Spices) to the story Ace.

I didn't intend on singling out NBAD. They have treated me quite well except for the online banking troubles. My post tended to drift toward the overall financial system in the UAE as seen by a retail customer.

You are/were obviously a bank employee. I appreciate the insight and if there is something I failed to understand, let me know and maybe I won't sprinkle as much "baharat" on my future posts about the rules here.


UPDATE:
I just received an email today, 19 November, from the bank addressing my initial question I asked on 29 October, see below.

Email from Ace to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, 29 October:

I am now blocked from my online account. I need this fixed as I have bills to pay. Your phone message says 24/7 service for the online accounts and I was informed I could not be helped after 11:00 PM as the technical service was closed.

Ever since the website has changed, there have been problems.

Ace

The "prompt" reply 3 weeks later, 19 November:

Dear Ace,
              
Thank you for your recent email.

You are kindly requested to reply the following to help us process this faster:
                         
1. NBAD Account number:
2. PO Box number:       
3. Branch you received the password from:
4. Mobile/Telephone number:
5. NbadOnline User ID: 
6. time to be contacted :        
                                           
For any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us again on toll free 800 XXXX  from outside UAE) between 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM on all UAE working days (from Saturday to Thursday) or send us a reply email.
                                             
Thank you for using nbadOnline.
                                        
Regards,                                 
                                        
Back Office Person
Internet Banking Unit
National Bank of Abu Dhabi

I had better luck with the telephone help-line and the problem was solved 2 1/2 weeks ago through them.  Apparently the email guys are not only unaware that the problem was fixed a long time ago by a 1 1/2 hour call to the help-line, they are just getting around to looking at the problem 3 weeks after my initial email complaint. Unbelievable!!!!

I expect things to work once they are set up. Here  internet , banking , electricity and cable TV services are very fragile and I have experienced many unexpected shutdowns. I cringe when I have to enter the labyrinth of what is called "customer service" in Abu Dhabi. It has always meant a time consuming and frustrating experience trying to correct a situation that was not of my making.  













          Damn Banks   
Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have become huge world financial centers in the past 40 years. With the oil export and tourism income there is plenty of cash flow that attracts international banks as well as made home grown institutions very wealthy. For the most part these banks are some of the safest and most innovative in the world. One can even instantly pay a parking meter or almost any bill from a cell phone text message.

However, the banking business must be the lowest risk enterprise in the UAE. I am sure they take care of each other and big corporate clients in the "Good Old Boy " club but the ordinary retail guys seem to get it in the neck. 35 % interest on credit cards and an unholy alliance with immigrations assures a healthy profit and jail time for anyone attempting to leave the country with debt.

You will take it and like it! (Apologies to Gunny Ermey!)


Many innocents are lured with fast and easy credit when first arriving here and get into a big bind. It is tempting with the apparent affluent lifestyle of fancy cars and designer shops.  People should pay their debts but should be able to do so from another country if they choose. That option is not available here.

But Solar Powered ATMs Are


I recently had problems with my bank, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD). This firm sent out a notice a few months ago that they were upgrading their website and I would have to make some adjustments such as losing my templates I used to transfer money and pay bills. From my past experiences with the national telephone, internet and cable TV companies, I had a strong feeling this website upgrade was not going to end well. It didn't.

We Like You!!


Two days after the "upgrade" I tried to log on and got errors and denied access. I called the help desk and was assured the problem would be handled and I would be called back with the magic solution. No call back for 2 days. I called again and my password was reset....failure again. I made my 3rd call and was told I can't be helped because the technical center was now closed despite the on-hold recording proudly announcing online help was available 24/7. The same recording told me to press 4 for online support and after suffering through more minutes of raucous advertisements it told me to press 6 for the special online help desk. So I did.

Mind you, I have a lot of bills to pay back in the US and I have to refill that bucket every month ontime or suffer some very expensive consequences. That urgency was lost on my bank. I finally got the site working after another lengthy phone call only to find it takes many more levels of security, passwords, questions, token codes and I had to redo all my payment templates. Very clunky and not an improvement. I do not mind security, but this could have been made sleeker and more user friendly. I suspect I will cringe everytime I have to do online banking again. I just expect something else to go wrong.

This Big Building Didn't Just Spring Out Of The Ground By Itself


Overall, NBAD is not a bad bank but they screwed this up. Remember, the rules are different here and things are definitely tilted in the banks' favor. You will not win, ever. The vast majority of my friends and co-workers have horror stories about their dealings with UAE banks.

My recommendations:

DO NOT get a local credit card, even if it says Visa or Mastercard on it, the rules are different. Read the fine print. Keep cards and debt in your home country.

DO NOT buy a new car. Get a good used one, they are cheap and plentiful.

DO NOT go into any kind of debt here. The banks are ruthless and if things go tits-up for you, you could get prison time. Its the law. You will severely limit your "options".

DO NOT  keep more in your local UAE account than you need to live on month to month. Send the excess back home. The banks will take what is in your account on the slightest pretense such as a traffic violation. Geez, they even want ~$40USD to give you a clearance letter saying you do not owe them any money.

I am not picking on the UAE banks specifically, they just have their own rules that are bad for us consumers. The banking industry in the USA has caused far more damage to the global economy and hurt more people than a UAE bank could ever do. Shame on them and their greedy ways. They screwed up a good thing, may they rot in hell!




















          Annual Leave 2011 Epilogue   
So I was in Florida and enjoyed visiting my mother and some old high school friends that still live in the area. The weather was on-and-off with a mix of rain and sunshine,It was good smelling the the fresh Gulf of Mexico air and not having to deal with the desert dust. I felt more relaxed than I had in a long time and the days flew by all too quickly. On my final day, I was having some beers with friends and it became time for me to leave for my 9PM flight to Las Vegas. I drove home and packed my things and headed for the airport. I checked in at 7:55PM, checked the rental car in and headed toward the security gauntlet.

Gulf of Mexico




Best Beaches in Florida if not the World


This is where my nightmare started. I went through the x ray and metal detectors but at the end of the line I was confronted by a TSA agent holding a factory sealed package I had bought at a pharmacy earlier. He said there were unknown liquids in there and he would not let me go without a further screening. I was unaware of the liquids and asked what I could do to mitigate the problem. He said he had to throw away the item. I said that since I had spent $40USD for it that I wasn't too keen on that idea. A discussion ensued and the agent's supervisor had to become involved. We all finally came to an agreement that I had to put the liquids into a clear baggie and I was finally free to go. As I walked from the security area, another TSA agent gleefully announced to me that my flight had already left. Bitch!

Security Theater


That left me in a pickle as there was not a flight until the next night which would necessitate razor sharp planning to get to Chicago for my Abu Dhabi flight the next day and I was still stuck in Florida. There are a few things wrong with this. First, I checked in on time with Vision Airlines (who by the way lost my bags on the inbound trip), second, TSA delayed me way too long in the security line. It was a small airport and I was the only passenger in the queue. Thirdly, when a passenger checks in and is known to be delayed in security, the flight is held, this did not happen. I have been in the airline business for over 12 years...I know.. 5 minutes earlier and I would have made the flight. They pushed away from the gate anyway.


The 9/11 guys ended up winning anyway because every US citizen is treated as a felon when attempting to board a flight as a result. Now there are backscatter units that see through clothes and exposes the victim to radiation that would rival Hiroshima doses.

Land of the Free?
.The particular airport I departed Florida from recently had some bad publicity by making a 95 year old woman in a wheelchair take off her adult diapers before she could board her flight. I am all for security and stuff but it has gone too far. If any passenger starts acting hinckey during a flight, they will get their ass whipped by the other passengers. If that fails, there are firearms onboard carried by certain authorized personnel. No one is going to get away with another 9/11 stunt again.

So the next night I boarded my redeye to Las Vegas. All liquids were bagged per orders so I got on the flight. I landed in Vegas around 2 AM and proceeded to drive the 2 1/2 hours through an inky black desert night to St. George where I had to leave for Chicago via Salt Lake City to catch my flight to Abu Dhabi.

I got to St. George just in time to collect some of my stuff I left there and get to the airport. I was already tired from the transcon flight to Vegas and the drive so I slept on the way to Salt Lake City. St. George has a brand spanking new airport.

KDXZ  


US, Utah and St. George flags

I had a 4 hour layover there before my sector to Chicago so I got a few beers. Salt Lake City is a very passenger friendly airport. Time to go to Chicago and I slept most of the way after this sumptuous breakfast.

MMMM...Three or Four Peanuts and a Can of Beer!

 Another grueling 4 hour wait for my 14 hour flight to Abu Dhabi but the Chicago terminal was nice. I fed and watered for the long time enroute and was happy to get a business class seat. The flight went quite quick and I was lucky to meet one of my bosses in duty-free upon arrival in Abu Dhabi, he gave me a lift to my flat.

All in all I spent almost 48 hours in transit that last day. I DO not want to do that any time again soon. I had a good time and felt very relaxed back home and was thrilled to see family and friends.

Saying that, things are bad back there economically. A lot of my friends are in danger of losing assets and savings. The government doesn't seem to care and is doing nothing for the average citizen. I know things are relative and the US is still quite wealthy compared to most parts of the world but stuff seems to be winding down back home. Maybe it is the inevitable ebb and flow of nations and cultures but it is still sad. We have no one to blame but ourselves, however. We had a good thing and we screwed it up.
          Our smart phones are crippled by service provider prisons   
I just watched a good talk by Alec Muffet about how our smart phones are amazing computers, but that we are being kept prisoners inside walled gardens by our mobile providers and prevented from having full internet connectivity. You and Your Phone are Huge Threats to the Net #security #privacy #tor #dns  “This is the … Continue reading Our smart phones are crippled by service provider prisons
          Hacking 'most serious threat to US', says security expert   
Ex-Department of Homeland Security chief: Hacking 'most serious threat'
          Transitional Housing Assistance Program Grants for Victimized Women   
Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking i.e. women now can get adequate relief through the Government's Office on Violence Against Women (OVM) having twofold motive: to curtail violence against women and execute justice for and invigorate services to these victimized women.





OVM accomplishes this intention through developing and assisting the capacity and capability of tribal, local, state and non-profit organizations concerned in addressing violence against women.





To attain this objective, OVM initiated Transitional Housing Assistance Program Grant for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking, or Sexual Assault Program also known as Transitional Housing Assistance Program.





This program is based on holistic and victim-centered approach aiming at providing transitional housing services to help victims have their permanent housing.





Transitional Housing Assistance Program has grants at its anvil that assist programs delineated with the purpose to sustain victims of abuses as said above and requiring transitional housing, short-term housing assistance and other associated support services to flee the situation of assault and also for whom crisis intervention services or emergency shelter services are inadequate or unapproachable.





It is crucial that efficacious transitional housing programs have the provision of comprehensive flexible and optional services that enable victims to choose best possible course of action addressing their needs.





The grants are used for those programs, which provide transitional housing not withstanding also the funds for expenses involved in for existing transitional or newly developed housing.





Grants involved for short-term housing assistance includes rental payments, utilities payment and assistance for other expenses such as security deposits and also costs related in relocating to transitional housing.





Grant programs include individualized services such as support groups, counseling, safety planning, practical services like employment services, licensed childcare, telephones, transportation vouchers as well as advocacy services and making references to other agencies to enable victims flee violence for locating and securing permanent housing.





Transitional Housing Assistance Program grants may be accorded to States, Indian Tribes, government units, and other organizations.





In the program also includes grants for non-profit organizations providing services for the abused and victimized women.





Besides grants also target at the culturally specific and community-based organizations having a proven record of their compelling efforts and energetic work pertaining to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.





If any woman is a victim of any abuse or any kind of violence and need above mentioned services can contact Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) 800 K Street, N.W., Suite 920 in Washington or through telephone at 202-307-6026.


John Goldman is one of the foremost advisors in matters relating to Government Grants and Financial Aid. To learn more about government grants and how to apply for them visit the Government Grant USA website

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Article Source: www.articlesnatch.com


          Using Google Photos for unlimited IP security camera off-site storage   
I recently upgraded my home internet from a measly 2Mbit upload to a more respectable 40Mbps on the Australian National Broadband Network. I’ve been thinking of good uses for this newfound upstream bandwidth and one idea was to off-site my IP security camera footage. I’ve previously used cloud surveillance storage services like CameraFTP but the retention […]
          How One Man Allegedly Got 10,000 Texans to Pay Off Fake Payday Loans   
From Texas Standard : Officials say about 10,000 Texans paid up to $50 million in debts they didn’t owe . The Federal Trade Commission says one Kansas man, Joel Tucker, got his hands on some very valuable data like social security numbers and banking information. But FTC attorney Michael Tankersley says they don’t know how Tucker allegedly got this info. Tucker himself has not commented on the charges.
          High or Low: Keeping Track with National Average Credit Score   
High or Low: Keeping Track with National Average Credit Score
Credit is said to be a system of buying and selling without prompt installment or security. Credit might be as credit cards or advances.

Any person who wishes to prepare a credit card or advance application should maintain the standards and controls put forward by the loan specialist. An essential component for any credit application to be affirmed is your credit score.

A credit score is the determinant variable of loaning organizations regardless of whether you will be allowed credit. You exist credit status, and also your past credit standing compensates for a credit score.

Each country has a standard credit score to follow to decide the nation's financial condition. The United States has a national average credit score someplace from 580 to 650. You will in all probability be conceded with credit demands if you have a high credit score.

Since the credit score is exceedingly critical for you to get credits and also balance the national average credit score, there are things you should do.

Look for assistance from experts. 


Try not to be overpowered by deep interests or other alluring credit offers by loaning organizations. It is best to counsel an expert before you close a concurrence with a definite idea.

Financial experts will help you appropriately handle your accounts. He is mindful in demonstrating to you the status of your accounts. He may likewise be your wellspring of support on matters about getting credits. He will in all likelihood exhort you on the upsides and downsides of getting loans and the many necessities lending organizations require before they think of a choice.

Try not to neglect your due date. 


When you pay your bills on time or before its due date, you are setting up high credit standing. Another preferred standpoint when you are paying early is that you are additionally making your balances low.

Late installments of the bill won't just give loaning foundations terrible impressions of you however it can likewise be horrible to keeping up a high credit score. A strategic distance to maintain from late installments, it is best to monitor due dates. Invite yourself that it is "pay time," seven days before your credit's expected date.
In order for any event to be implemented properly, do not forget to make a shirt with a design that fits the event. Therefore, the success of an event can support either before or after the event takes place. If you want to create a t-shirt with a design in accordance with the wishes of you, please click the information here


Keep your interest low. 


Credit benefits build up how great or terrible your credit score is and also the national average credit score. With little credit benefits, you are probably going to keep up excellent credit standing.

It is prescribed that you thought on a survey among loaning organizations on the loan interest they give. After doing your survey, pick which ones can give you low interest yet will at present offer you great nature of administration.

Solidify.

To experience consolidation is typically fundamental to people who encounter inconvenience paying off unliquidated obligations to their loan specialists. Consolidation is prescribed for such individuals to unburden them of a lot of paying weight.


Assess and re-assess. 


Be your particular accountant. Try not to give financial problems a chance to heap up, rather than to sit tight for credit reports to be sent at the foot of your entryway, make your own. Like this, you are refreshed concerning your credit reports.

Self-assessment of your credit report will help you gauge how much credit scores despite everything you have. These days if you wish to have independent counsels on your credit reports, you can only go on the web and discover one.

Keeping yourself on the right credit score track won't just help you keep up a decent credit standing, it will likewise help your country keep up a decent average credit score. Having so will balance out the economy.
          Picking a Credit Card In the UK   

Credit card companies are everywhere throughout the world


Credit cards that you get in the UK are the same from whatever other credit cards. The credit card companies offer different motivators to get clients like 0% APR for a particular day and age, no yearly expenses, and you may even have the capacity to apply for the credit cards on the web. Many credit card companies situated in the UK don't give their cards to customers in different nations because of security reasons. In any case, if you live in the UK, then many companies are sure to give you a chance to round out an application to get their particular credit card.

Many companies urge you to apply on the web. They overpower you with advertisements, promising a 60-second endorsement.

Credit card use in the UK can bring about money related issues similarly as it does everywhere throughout the world. Individuals in the UK owe several billions of pounds in credit card obligation at a financing cost of more than 16%, and this figure continues getting ever more elevated. Obligations more than 2500 pounds are regular to 10% of the general population in the UK and consolidated with high loan fees, this figure is close difficult to get the chance to descend.

There are a few advantages to having a credit card that a considerable number of UK shoppers find engaging. A portion of the credit card companies offers cash back with purchases, air miles, travel protection, and protection for your purchases. A credit card looks great to many UK shoppers, particularly when you include the markdown vouchers.

When you choose to apply for a credit card, you ought to research the more major part of your decisions to locate the one that is best for you. When you get it, you should be cautious in utilizing it, or you could end up in money related wreckage. On the off chance that you use your credit card carefully, then you will find that it will make your life less demanding, regardless of what nation you live as are credit cards. A portion of the credit card companies just offers cards to a particular nation or locale that they are in. On the off chance that you live in the UK, then you may require some data about credit cards that are accessible to you.
          Multiculturalism at work   

Charing Cross Road, a heaving mass of punters, tourists and ambling drunkards flows past Samuel's workplace at its usual frenetic, clogged pace, until one of its number dislodges himself. An ambling drunkard. He sports baggy pants, a loose striped jacket and a whiskery, unkempt beard. He shouts at Samuel to the rustle of a plastic Waterstone's bag. "Fuck… eh, you….you… what are you doing?" "What!" Samuel stays back, keeps cool. The abuse runs in thick streams, words can barely be made out. Curious shoppers stare wildly over their issues of Zoo and The Economist. The man is black; Samuel is black too. "Fou!" Is it French? Red-eyed, mouth agape, the man keeps screaming, grabs his bag and plunges back into the crowd. Punters dive back into their torrents of headlines, semi-nudes and Harry Potter blurbs at the Borders storefront. Samuel resumes his lax position at the reception, wistfully contemplating the crowds.

Charing Cross Road is the pulse of multicultural London, an artery of pleasure, strife and boredom, snaking from the imperial grandeur of Trafalgar Square to the heart of Oxford Street. Its pedestrian flow makes a garish display; multicultural, festive and sweaty. Almost half of the UK's ethnic minorities live in the capital, clustered in villages: Jews up Golders Green, Cypriots in Haringey, Arabs at Edgware Road and hip white things in Islington. Charing Cross road is where they meet, shop and scuffle: but it is also a place where cultures are put to work. If the now bitterly contested British model of multiculturalism is falling ill, Charing Cross Road is a good place to take its blood pressure.

The security guard

"We don't get too much abuse. We are trained to handle this," Samuel says laconically. No security guard clichés apply to his five foot eight inch frame: no bouncy muscles, towering torso or chiselled face, and only a small corporate insignia on his plain T-shirt indicates he might be at work. Except, that is, for one distinct marker of those guarding the shopfronts and clubs of central London's incongruous geography these days, a marker by now too clichéd to even be noticed by most Londoners: Samuel is black.

"I have been working as a security guard for three years," he says. "You get a lot of junkies in this area. Sometimes you have to be aggressive." Samuel smiles, pushing out his chest a little. "You have to know how to act depending on the person. It's like science – action and reaction." He chuckles ever so slightly.

Samuel comes from Nigeria, as do many others in his profession. His eyes flick back and forth, scanning the throng of people. "You can't stand like this for too long, talking – somebody might just go in, take a pack of CDs and leave," he says. Samuel excuses himself, adding his name and a furtive handshake as an afterthought. Less than five minutes' talk in all.

The private security sector is expanding, and guards now adorn even the humblest of supermarket checkouts and dingiest of clubs. A "visual deterrent" to crime, security companies claim. And this visual deterrence is increasingly performed by bored-looking black Britons and Africans. The good news may be that black minorities, still two and a half times more likely to be unemployed than white Britons, are now entrusted with security matters, inching a bit higher up London's pecking order. The bad news is that an ethnic furrow is drilled into London's asphalt, channelling black men into badly paid, vulnerable frontline positions.

Politicians, pundits and even the police have often praised the multicultural British model of integration, not without good reason. Nobody will launch into patriotic sing-a-longs or wave a Union Jack in the face of the hookah-smoking, Morris dancing, Qur'an-chanting and sauerkraut-eating masses. But this is all multiculturalism by night. Multiculturalism also works – works hard – up Charing Cross Road, down dingy backstreets, at the back of fusty pubs, deep in the cellars of milk-white Kensington hotels, under the sterile bulbs of NHS surgeries.

It may be insolent to heave another load of real-world grit onto multiculturalism's back at this time of trials by government, racism and terror. But dreary work is the flipside to London's multicultural project. Black bouncers, Asian shopkeepers, African parking attendants, Polish bartenders, Spanish chambermaids, Irish builders, African nurses, Indian doctors – they all come to London and find their place, as if by serendipity, from £4.85 an hour and counting. Europe's financial capital is insatiable, spongy, absorbent. But do people pick jobs according to ability and preference, or is the grid already laid out for them; colourful, deceptive and non-negotiable as a London tube map?

The parking attendant

Like security guards, parking attendants are too busy for a chat. Brisk, outsourced, undaunted, they roam the capital's grimy single yellow lines armed with just an oversized machine to crunch number-plates and a council vest against cold winds and the evil eye. And they are virtually unstoppable, furtive figures.

"I am too busy, don't have time," says my first interview target, a stern black parking attendant. He walks off briskly, escaping the lunging white hack. Luck comes in the voluminous shape of a fast-paced black woman negotiating a Camden sidestreet. Her vest is deceptively branded with a comforting council-green dye that blends with a minuscule NCP insignia – the private, nationwide parking venture that won Camden Council's lucrative enforcement contract in 2001.

Is this one of London's toughest jobs? "No, it's not that hard!" she chuckles, scanning a white van's pay-and-display ticket. She treads along briskly. "Really, it's OK," she assures me. "In the beginning it's harder, but you get used to it. The abuse comes daily, of course. It's not the job for you if you can't handle abuse. But if you know you are doing the right thing, it's OK. You just walk away when they start shouting."

She is matter-of-fact, stout and cheerful, her hair sculpted into a bun. I tag along, barely keeping up. Is she running away from her stalker? What's her name? "You can call me this!" she chuckles again, pointing to her shoulder cuff. It says 1571. "I am not allowed to say my name. Here I am a number – my name doesn't matter." 1571 looks busier and busier. The radio crackles. Where is she from? "Nigeria." Why do so many Africans do this job? "Oh, I don't know," 1571 says, curtly or just briskly. We reach the end of the block, another grey Camden thoroughfare beckons beyond, with a neat stack of pay-and-displays. She is speeding – wait … too late. 1571 chuckles, says goodbye. A colleague approaches – could be her cousin: hair neatly wrapped, fast-paced, African features. Then a male colleague – black, African traits. One, two, three, all heading down the same street, an avalanche of attendants … And my failed source, pacing briskly as ever. But now he smiles. "So, you found somebody?" His accent, too, is African.

No job evokes such hostility as parking enforcement, more so since public-private partnerships and new profit-making incentives began unleashing a ticketing bonanza on the capital's streets. But London's parking business has been doubly outsourced: to private ventures and flak-catching Africans, who have relentlessly populated the payrolls. At the public-private faultline they teeter, armed with silly hats and plastic machinery, come rain or shine or saliva-spattering owners of four-by-fours.

Enforcing London's rules and patrolling private property are tough tasks, but somebody's got to do them. Not to worry: multiculturalism assigns the posts. Please tick the ethnic monitoring form and wait in line. If you tick "black", the chance is you will soon find your place within London's hard-working, visually deterring foot soldier community.

Who's doing what – A rough guide to working Britain

4.3 per cent of Pakistanis work as shopkeepers, wholesale and retail dealers, compared to 0.5 per cent of white Britons

4.2 per cent of Indians work as medical practitioners, compared to 0.5 per cent white Britons

16 per cent of Bangladeshis work as chefs, compared to 0.7 per cent white Britons

11.3 per cent of Bangladeshis work as retail assistants, compared to 6.3 of all Asians and 4.5 of whites

2 per cent of Asians work as cashiers or checkout operators, compared to 1.1 per cent of whites

9.4 per cent of Pakistanis are chauffeurs or cab drivers, compared to 0.5 per cent whites and 0.9 per cent of blacks

8.5 per cent of black Africans are nurses, compared to 1.7 per cent whites, few South Asians and 11.2 per cent of "other Asians"

3.6 per cent of black Africans work as security guards, compared to 0.5 per cent of whites

Approximations based on data from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, December 2004 – February 2005. Ethnic minority data is unreliable due to sample size.

The shopkeeper

Aftab huddles behind a desk cluttered with weekly glossies, breath mints, KP nuts and 2p sweets, the radio filling his shop with muted noise. "Violence is not the solution," he sighs, referring both to the still recent 7 July London bombs and Iraq. On a shelf by the open door, a four-year-old copy of The Economist peeks out next to a gaudy selection of lads' mags. "The day the world changed", its front page trumpets, to the dust and fumes of Manhattan. "It reminds me of when it all started," Aftab says softly.

His cornershop is set in the shadow of thronging, roaring Camden Town station. Aftab comes from Pakistan, or rather, Kashmir. "Ever since Pakistan was created out of the British Empire in 1947 by [Muhammad Ali] Jinnah, it has failed to reconcile the different nations within its borders. It's an artificial creation. Actually, there are only two countries in the world created on the basis of religion: Israel and Pakistan," he says, bemused. "Their borders are a colonial legacy."

Since coming to Britain in 1997, Aftab has become the hub of a local community made up of itinerant builders, international students, crackheads, Bangladeshi shopkeepers and working-class families. He knows everybody. "My brother was running the shop when I got here, then he fell ill. I started coming to the shop, reading four-five papers a day: that's how I got to know all the people around here." He has braved shoplifters, stinkbombs and random yobbery, and recently appeared on the BBC after launching a petition against drug-related crime.

Aftab holds a Masters in Sociology from the University of Karachi. "When I came here they told me that if you have a Third World qualification, you need to get a diploma in this country," he says. "The Job Centre is just there to give you your £52 a week in benefit, and then you're off. They don't help you find jobs. I was registered there for two years, and scanned job offers all the time. At one point I said, 'please, just give me anything!' I told them I could study for a diploma to complete my qualifications, but they weren't interested. Then I started to get more involved here." He still wants to study a Masters of Science in Human Rights.

Has he felt discriminated against? "No, it's the same for everyone." He smiles. I ask him why he thinks so many Asians have set up shop. He looks unsure, and eventually produces a bit of sociology. "When migrants first started arriving here, many were uneducated and set up shops and have continued since then. But their children often prefer to go looking for employers. With Sainsbury's and Tesco opening local stores, the cornershop is becoming a thing of the past."

In this "nation of shopkeepers", shopkeeping has been subcontracted to that old imperial safeguard of the nation's values, British Asia. Small-scale entrepreneurs of Indian or Pakistani extraction have absorbed the retail function, running cornerstores as well as staffing supermarkets, high street stores and bank counters. They are not alone, of course: Turkish Cypriots have carved a clothes-and-food niche out of north London. But Asian shopkeepers are the only group with full-spectrum dominance, from Haringey to Hampstead. However their market share is increasingly threatened by supermarkets that wedge their slick Express, Local, Metro and Central chains into minuscule urban spaces. Does that leave you, or your kids, unemployed? Please tick the "Asian" box, and be patient: the chance is you will be handling supermarket tills, sorting ballpoint pens in a stationers, or stacking crates before you know it.

The supermarket assistant

Feronda pauses from stacking tins and dons a sincere, expectant grin worthy of the glossiest of Corporate Social Responsibility reviews. He is happy with his job as a Sainsbury's customer assistant. "I'm from Sri Lanka. I'm a refugee. Only I and one more are from Sri Lanka in this shop – most of the other people here are Pakistani." Actually, all the other customer assistants seem to be Brits of Pakistani background. Even the security guard is Asian. Why does Feronda think this is so? "Oh, this I don't know," he says, tugging his grin along, keen to move on to the next question. "I like it here, I want to stay – I especially enjoy being on the shop floor. Before I worked for four years as a car mechanic up the road," – he waves past pea cans, north – "doing night shifts. That was very hard." Now he works 3-11pm, five days a week, at £6 an hour. "Let's see… about £850 a month for a 39-hour week," he says. He looks thrilled, grateful. Before coming to the UK he studied computers, but struggles to translate his education into British levels. "I didn't apply for any other jobs – just this," he says. But is there anything he doesn't like about the job? "No, no," he says, with the sparkling grin making a lingering plea for mercy. The largely white Chalk Farm clientele scavenges for breakfast bagels and tender-stem broccoli. Feronda's colleagues shuffle past, aisle-wide looks in their eyes.

Whether British supermarkets' workforces are as diverse as their stock of curries, mozzarella and stodgy German bread is hard to ascertain – their statistics slip from your hands like salmon. Fourteen percent of Sainsbury's employees and three to four percent of its managers come from ethnic minorities: more detailed figures are not available from either Sainsbury's or Tesco, despite their equal opportunities policies.

Sainsbury's prohibits discrimination and strives to "move beyond simple legal compliance," according to Cheryl Kuczynski, a spokeswoman. "We actively look to employ colleagues who reflect the diversity of our customers," she says. Tesco, the behemoth of the British food market, says targets have been set to get so-called "ethnic groups" into managerial positions. Flexible work during Ramadan and Diwali and briefings in languages like Hindi, Urdu, and Bangladeshi are two selling points. All according to its Corporate Social Responsibility review.

Katie Jenkins, Tesco's employment spokeswoman, says that diversity "creates a great atmosphere in stores" and makes everybody contribute with different skills and knowledge. "Retail is a fast-paced environment, so we look for people who can adapt well to change, people who are very customer-focused. The stores reflect the demographics of the local area. It is about recruiting local people into local jobs."

In lush white Hampstead, amid the cobblestones, blonde beer, Unitarian churches, window displays of pains au céréales and fragrant Jojoba oils, lurks an unbecoming Tesco Express. Inside, Jayvishal is morosely stacking boxes of vegetables. "I can't do an interview if it's going to take time," he warns. I try an optimistic note. What does he like most about his job?" "I don't like it at all," he says, his slightly pained face sloping down into an unlikely smile. "It's hard work, very hard work. Packing all the time."

Jayvishal is from India. "There are not many Indians here – mainly Sri Lankans and some Europeans," he says. By European he must mean British Asian: all the shop's staff look Asian. How did he find this £6-an-hour job? "Oh, through the Job Centre, and then I had some friends over here," Jayvishal answers, somewhat cryptically. "I have been in the UK since 2003, and couldn't find a job for a while. It was very hard. Legally, international students are only allowed to work 20 hours a week, but during vacations I do overtime. It is difficult economically – I have to pay rent, transport and everything, and only earn £500 a month."

Jayvishal is studying a Masters in Business and Finance at London's Metropolitan University. While not in India he lives in Queensbury, zone four, on the Jubilee line that branches through a parallel part – or galaxy, perhaps – of north London. Skills and knowledge he has: a local he is not. The manager, a short-set, trim-bearded man of South Asian features presses up against us, fingering the stack of plastic boxes. Time to retreat. "And when you're finished…" – the orders fade, giving way to wine bars and American ice cream parlours slanting down the north London hillside.

Hampstead is at the extreme end of the spectrum. But a random Monday afternoon headcount at seventeen West End supermarkets, where workers are least likely to be drawn from a residential pool, confirms the ethnic pattern, albeit with minor variations. One hundred customer assistants were of Asian background, fifty-eight were black, nineteen white, and four "other Asians". The eleven security guards on duty were all black but for one.

The bar tender

It would be a mistake to think that low-paid jobs are the reserve of the Queen's post-colonial subjects. Some minorities have fared quite well: ethnic Indians, for one, are now approaching the employment chances of white Britons. Meanwhile, London's pint-pullers earn even less than its shelf-fillers, and a terrifying ninety-seven percent of pub workers nationwide are white. Why?

Perhaps Al Murray's comedy act the Pub Landlord hinted at the answer when saying that there should be no things foreign in a proper English pub, with the natural exception of peanuts. Peanuts are more nondescript than exotic, a bit like the "white other" box on the ethnic monitoring forms. And so it is that Europeans, Australians and their fellow Antipodeans have been swallowed by the fusty land of minimum wages, ruddy-faced regulars and sticky floors.

Behind the bar, a twenty-something lad moves packets of crisps about. Covent Garden's cobbled streets unfold outside. "Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning all the time," he says, in spotless English. "There's lots of cleaning in this pub." He doesn't look glum at all saying it. The pub is one of a constellation of glinting properties on the online London map of the Spirit Group, one of the UK's biggest pub businesses with over two thousand venues to its name. Boleslaw has worked here since May, and shares the pleasure with a girl from Sweden, another from France, an Irish boss and two other Poles – a friend and the assistant manager. He got his job through the previous manager, also Irish. "That's a traditional English pub for you!" he says.

This is not the first time I come across the Ladder. The Ladder is a peculiar upstairs-downstairs way of ordering the capital's economy. The lower steps of many a London workplace are, predictably enough, dominated by the poor relatives of the world economy: Poles, Colombians and Nigerians abound. But climb one step up, and surprisingly often you will find employees from closer to home: Irish managing continental Europeans, perhaps, or Spaniards managing Colombians. On the top of the Ladder, perch the white English top managers and boardroom staff. The Commission for Racial Equality's (CRE) chairman Trevor Phillips has called it "snow-capping", or white on black: only 1.4 percent of executive management comes from ethnic minorities.

"It's a very hard job and not paid very well. The minimum: £4.85," Boleslaw continues. No big deal. This is his third bout of pub work in London. "At least this is a very nice area, with lots of theatres around." Nice areas make customer flows impressive, and it's hectic, lager-churning madness. "After a while you get used to it – even if it's packed you can listen to the music and chat up a girl. But you work till late and don't have time for yourself. You wake up at nine or ten next morning and start work at 12. It's like a full circle." He smiles. "If you get some days off, you just chill upstairs," he adds, pointing heavenward. Boleslaw and his colleagues sleep upstairs: it's a live-in pub.

Despite paying rent to his landlord-bosses, Boleslaw can save "a few hundreds" each month, he says. He is a graphic designer and photographer, a graduate of Poland's Academy of Fine Arts, and has worked for advertising agencies back home. "It's a dodgy job market in Poland, simple as that," he says, unapologetically. "The UK market is more stable. You can do bar work for a while, then start looking around for what you really want to do."

A man with entourage orders pints of Tetley and pork scratchings. A colleague shows up, and Boleslaw breaks into Polish for a few sentences, cackling until the colleague disappears into the sunshine.

What do his fellow Poles do in the capital these days? "Any job you can get," he says. "Normally, guys who are tough enough go work on building sites, but others go into these jobs. The guy who just left, for example, is a doctor." A doctor? "Yeah – it's easy to find them working in pubs. We got lawyers, we got doctors, graphic designers, actors, the lot. This country has got the most educated bar staff ever," he says cheerily, pouring pints of Guinness for a couple of Koreans. He has only applied for one graphic design job so far, and saves his pounds with determination. "I felt I had too good qualifications. They looked at my portfolio and said 'you're too good, you better go somewhere else'. When the time comes, I'll do it."

Years back, London's fleet of theme pubs, Irish pubs, local pubs and all the other concept and brand name pubs shop-fronting for Japanese investment banks were manned by cheery mates from Down Under. The Anglo-Saxon reaches of empire supplemented London's homegrown working class with much-needed building and boozing skills. Aussies and Kiwis provided the pint-pulling crowd. South Africans joined the Irish on the building sites. The Working Holiday Visa kept the children of the Commonwealth snuggled on old England's beer belly for years.

But in 2000, New Labour sowed the seeds of a revised migration strategy, which has blossomed into today's demand-based, quotas-and-points approach. Working Holiday rules for Commonwealth countries changed in 2003, and Antipodeans have moved into administration, computer work and public services with the easing of job-type restrictions. Poles are entering the pub-and-scaffolding race, quickly filling their predecessors' place. Some 98,500 Poles had applied for Britain's worker registration scheme in May 2005, over half of all new east European hopefuls arriving in the wake of 2004's EU expansion. Eighty percent of them earned up to £5 an hour.

The arrival of Poles is changing the demographic makeup of other parts of London's service economy, too. José Vigo, employment adviser, senses a growing fashion for east European employees at his West End Job Centre, which specialises in low-paid hotel and catering vacancies "that have not been taken through the domestic labour market".

Southern Europeans and Latin Americans, often over-skilled but with poor English, have peopled the lower reaches of London's job market for years, where a dank stereotype of the Latin service worker has grown. A recent Job Centre language survey confirms the lingering Mediterranean makeup of London's catering and hotel trades: Spanish clocked in as first language, followed by Portuguese, French and Italian – but with upstart Polish wedged in at third place.

Statistics are scant and unreliable and the turnover ferocious, but Vigo confirms that employers now head for eastern Europe rather than scavenging the Iberian soils for catering and hotel staff. "There they get better levels of English and people willing to do that kind of job."

The service sector is likely to continue haunting southern European visitors, however. "London is still one of the most popular places in Europe for young Spaniards," says Manuela Martínez, adviser for EU employment network Eures in southern Spain. "People want to master English and make their CVs look better. But if their level of English is low, they will work in places where they don't deal with the public, in 'backstage' jobs. They end up spending a year in London and bring back three or four words related to the hotel trade. Then, naturally, they only tell people about the good things that happened, and the process starts snowballing."

The backstage jobs of London's fickle service economy have a convenient feature: as Portuguese hotel workers, Spanish chambermaids and Latin American kitchen porters mingle in their trade, they speak Spanish instead of English. And the less English they speak, the more likely they will languish in their underpaid niches. London keeps luring job-hunters into its wide nets, its finance-fuelled economy selects and cherrypicks the candidates, and multiculturalism keeps them apart, blissful in their ghettoes.

The state's story

Government departments are blissful in their ghettoes, too, and keep chucking the ball out of their own ponds. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) does not target specific ethnic groups, says Ben Lloyd, a spokesman, who suggests I try the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), which deals with safeguarding employees' rights. And what does the DTI think? A spokesperson mentions Tony Blair's 2003 cross-departmental Ethnic Minorities Employment Task Force, but little more: the DWP is wrong – "we don't deal with getting people into jobs."

Academia is also suffering from a "paucity of research" on ethnic recruitment according to Dr Sophia Skyers, senior research fellow on the London labour market with the public interest company Office for Public Management (OPM). She explains ethnic niching in relation to London's expanding knowledge economy. "We are seeing a polarisation of the labour force into, on the one hand, high-paid jobs in professional and financial services and, on the other hand, retail, protective services and other personal services like healthcare," she says. "What we get is a pattern of occupational segregation – a lot of people are forced into particular employment groups, often because of discrimination in other sectors. The stereotype goes with the job, and sticks to the people who get these jobs."

Professor Michael Hardt, co-author of the watershed tome Empire about how power has been redistributed in a globalised world, agrees that multiculturalism plays an economic role in the new economy. "Britain's multicultural model can facilitate an ethnic division of labour, a model that has perhaps a longer history in the Americas," he says. "Racialized hierarchies and exploitation do not always function along the old or assumed models of exclusion. But it's worth insisting that recognizing that cultural diversity can be part of a new scheme of exploitation does not mean we should be against cultural diversity as such. What we need to strive for is equality and freedom within this multicultural society."

Trevor Phillips has criticised multiculturalism for keeping people apart, labelling it "a typically British way of dealing with difference". But now the stakes are higher. While London Mayor Ken Livingstone praised multiculturalism in the wake of the 2005 London bombings, Tony Blair announced a crackdown on Britain's permissive liberal consensus to a chorus of tabloid approval. But even multiculturalism's defenders often have little clue of what it really is, or does. Multiculturalism is not only a heap of colours, it is a machine with cogs that whirr. It not only fuses, but keeps apart. It doesn't so much discriminate as direct a choreography of cultures. Much like a latter-day, benign sort of empire, where all races and cultures play a minor part in the symphony of power.

On the ring road again

Your no-frills flight descends among thick nighttime clouds and your bags emerge from the bowels of Stansted airport. Now it's business the British way. Bearded Muslims, lavish Iberian girls and red-nosed Brits clutching Su Doku books mingle in the halls and tow their luggage into the rainy night, stared on by billboards vying for their London fare. Outside, hordes of many-accented hustlers flog £5 one-ways for cheap airbus upstarts. Beyond the Pink Elephant car park waits the National Express. A stream of people crosses the wet asphalt, oblivious to the hustlers' calls. This is how multicultural London commutes, in and out of London, twenty-four hours a day, every fifteen minutes.

Chris descends from his bus and lights a quick fag before his next drive. "The job is not as stressful as it looks," he says. "It's easy, and the pay's quite good. £22,000 a year because I do night shifts." He cuts a stoic figure, tall and bulky, his shaved head pinched by an earring. His colleagues, like him, are overwhelmingly white, bald, and big, emblems of the well-fed English working class. They ferry multiculturalism in and out of the capital. What do the people boarding his coach to the throbbing financial hub of Europe do, then? "Well," Chris puffs on his fag, thinks. "We carry a lot of students, some come over on a gap year, a small portion are on business and the bulk of them are tourists and sightseers."

What about the workers? Where are they? Who notices the shelf-stacker in the business student, the pint-puller in the graduate, the cornershop owner among the businessmen, the sandwich wrappers, cappuccino steamers and doormen among the tourists? Not Chris, not Ken, not Tony, nor Middle England or the City elite. The City: white as a scrubbed cathedral wall, home of offshore dollars and high-value bonds, generator of the service economy and its guards, attendants, retailers, cleaners, drivers. And Chris, where does he live? "I live in Haverhill, outside Cambridge," he says, stubs out his fag, and sets the motor purring towards the M25.


          Yes, you can get a live lobster through TSA security   
TSA agents stopped an unusual passenger this week at the Boston airport: a 20-pound lobster, alive in a checked bag.

          PWR: March 13th   

PWR: March 13th

PWR: March 13th by justthewayyouare1 on Polyvore.com

This is one of the cutest songs Ive ever heard.Also not loving this set And again sorry for the horrible story Im not much of a write ------ today's event; saturday march 13; maybelle sinclaire and clay wellington are hosting their engagement party. dress up and bring your boy toys, but don't forget this night is about our favorite eagle bay couple. I walked into the room all by myself, I need a man. I saw a lot of familiar faces and some new ones. I went up to May and Clay and gave them a congrats and a present. (A picture frame..I know boring). I walked around not really knowing who to talk to, so I pulled out my old fashion camera. (My cameras are my security blanket). I was walking to the big open clear window when I bumped into someone. "Sorry" *while I was bout to look up a taller body turned around* *it was him the guy I saw running that one morning* After we started talk the more we found out how a like we were. (ex. he loves the outdoors) The party was coming to the end, so we decided to exchange numbers. ............Maybe this is the start of something good. And if anyone whats to get together and do something just text me :) PLEASE JOIN THIS GROUP THERE ARE A LOT OF SPOTS OPEN THAT NEED TO BE FILLED.


          Gender in education   

Does gender effect education in boys. Their is some arguement that boys struggle more than girls in education. However, I think that if is someone is having trouble in school it is not related to their gender but it is because they are having difficulty in school or that the school that they are attending needs to be innovated. According to the issue, Is There a Crisis in the Education of Boys, “Sara Mead, a senior policy analyst at Education Sector in Washington, D.C., assembles long-term data from the federally sponsored National Assessment of Educational Progress to show that the “crisis” emphasis is unwarranted and detracts from broader social justice issues” (Noll, 2009, 15th ed., pp. 286-287). If boys are seen struggling more than girls in schools it is not because of their gender. For them to succeed academically they need to make sure the boys are placed in classrooms where they can focus and make a change in their academics if they are behind. The 2000 Annual Report of School Safety shows that the innovation of a safe school is important and states that “The Safe School environment and Safe School policies elements help provide a friendly, emotionally secure environment. Technology and security devices provide an array of services to students, families, and faculty, in a safe secure environment” (Riley & Reno, 2000). With safe schools and the right innovations in schools students will have the opportunity to be in an environment that is success friendly. Gender is not the reason students do not succeed in school it is a personal work ethic and being in a school friendly environment will encourage students to succeed.

          Christian Faithful Presence in the Culture   
For the past month, I’ve been exploring a proper Christian engagement with popular cultural art. If Art is to be “Missional,” then artists must take seriously that the kingdom their work can act like yeast that is mixed into the culture (Matthew 13:33). In my last post, I quoted Al Wolters saying that the gospel is a leavening influence in human life wherever it is lived, which “makes possible renewal of each creational area from within, not without.”

James Davison Hunter, in his influential book, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World, calls this “Faithful Presence.”

Christians are called to be “fully present and committed in their spheres of social influence, whatever they may be: their families, neighborhoods, voluntary activities, and places of work…to create conditions in the structures of social life we inhabit that are conducive to the flourishing of all.” (p. 247)

This “flourishing” is the Shalom that I spoke of earlier, the way things are meant to be – “the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight” (as Plantinga says in his book).

Hunter says,
“Faithful presence in our spheres of influence does not imply passive conformity to the established structures. Rather, within the dialectic between affirmation and antithesis, faithful presence means a constructive resistance that seeks new patterns of social organizations that challenge, undermine, and otherwise diminish oppression, injustice, enmity, and corruption and, in turn, encourage harmony, faithfulness and abundance, wholeness, beauty, joy, security, and well-being.” (pp. 247-8.)
What Hunter is advocating is for Christians, through their vocations, to act in subversive ways in order to bring God’s kingdom to bear upon the fallen world, “for he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-13).


NEXT: “Faithful Presence” as Subversive Art  within the Empire of Oppression
          Zero Tolerance Policy   
Are zero tolerance policies effective? No, I do not think that a zero tolerance policy can lead to safe schools. I think that a zero tolerance policy lacks flexibility and many times the students are accused for things that they should not be accused for. I agree with Alfie Kohn when he argues that “not only are zero-tolerance policies ineffective, they are also harmful-creating fear rather than a sense of security and trust and replacing programs that are effective in treating the root causes of youth violence” (Abbeduto & Symons, 2008, 5th ed., pp. 362-363). A zero tolerance policy causes a strict emphasis at the wrong root of the problem and causes the students to be in fear of things that would be considered innocent and not pertain to school violence. The policy does not focus on the main causes of youth violence because it is focusing on little things that are not causing the violence that is seen in schools today. Violence in school is not something that can be detected by monitoring the student’s every move. It would be more effective to focus on the main signals that come across as violent. According to Diversity of Learners and Settings, “There are good reasons to dwell on rampage school shootings even though they are rare. They are an unprecedented kind of adolescent violence. We do not understand why they happen and have barely begun to consider their long-term consequences” (Newman K., 2004, 444). Schools are among the safest places for children to be and with a zero tolerance policy many innocent students are blamed for things that should not be the focus of school violence.
          Common sense and home security   
Many people think that they need to go out and purchase the home security system, but they cannot keep their common sense together to figure out the home security. Many people do not really need to pay for the expensive systems unless they are very well to do and if they have something that needs [...] Related posts:
  1. Home security tips
  2. Garage Security
  3. Types of home security

          Keep your doors secure   
In order to keep your home safe and protected you will need to take certain measures. You will want to make sure that you are securing your doors and keeping them locked up safe so that you are not putting yourself in any risk for a bad situation to happen. The last thing that you [...] Related posts:
  1. Garage Security
  2. Incorporating sleek steel doors in the kitchen
  3. Happening Hinges: How to Choose the Right Hinge for Your Project

          Home security system   
The best way for you to secure your home is to have a good home security system. This is going to be your best shot at keeping your home protected when you are there and when you are away from the property. If you have ever felt alone or scared in your home then you [...] Related posts:
  1. Brinks home security
  2. Alarm home security system
  3. Types of home security

          Mali resort under attack by gunmen; at least 2 dead   

Mali resort under attack by gunmen; at least 2 dead A security official says suspected jihadists in Mali's capital have attacked a resort. Check out this story on scsun-news.com: https://usat.ly/2sEsaGR Fire can be seen by the swimming pool of the Campement Kangaba, a tourist resort near Bamako, Mali, on June 18, 2017, after gunmen attacked the resort hotel.


          EXCLUSIVE: It's Issa Rae's Time to Take a Bow, or at Least a Nap   

Despite her brand of awkwardness and insecurity, a sleep-deprived Issa Rae is pretty confident these days. Well, mostly.


          Security Guard - QC – Scarlet Security Services Ltd - Pond Inlet, NU   
We provide a vast portfolio of risk management solutions to a variety of partners and clients, some of whom are located in remote areas....
From Indeed - Fri, 26 May 2017 19:33:00 GMT - View all Pond Inlet, NU jobs
          Microsoft Adding Artificial Intelligence Based Advanced Antivirus To Windows 10   

Microsoft is making every effort to make its Windows operating system more secure and advanced than ever before by beefing up its security practices and hardening it against hackers and cyber attacks in its next release With the launch of i...
          70-534 – Maintaining the Azure Cloud   

70-534 – Maintaining the Azure Cloud As explained in the previous post around the Azure Datacentres, Microsoft’s Azure offerings have to be reliable, have high performance and be incredibly resilient. Therefore maintaining the Azure Datacentres can be quite a complex procedure. Microsoft has to have a plan in place for the two possible scenarios of maintenance, planned and the unplanned. Planned maintenance happens on a schedule, while unplanned maintenance occurs in response to an unexpected event, normally due to a hardware failure. Azure Planned Maintenance Microsoft routinely schedule maintenance of their hosting hardware. Whether these are a firmware update or applying a security patch to the underlying hypervisor. While most of these will not effect the virtual machines you have running on this infrastructure, there are some circumstances which may cause your VMs to shutdown and restart. Obviously Microsoft providing a multi-tenanted environment, it would be near impossible to schedule the downtime of all...

The post 70-534 – Maintaining the Azure Cloud appeared first on SmiKar Software.


          Religious Program Specialist - U.S. Navy - United States   
Work under the oversight of Navy Chaplains. Provide physical security for Chaplains during field exercises and in combat environments....
From U.S. Navy - Fri, 31 Mar 2017 05:29:28 GMT - View all United States jobs
          Frontbridge Technologies Acquired by Microsoft   
Microsoft Corp. announced that they will be acquiring Frontbridge Technologies, formerly Big Fish, a leader in email security.
          Comment on New MSN Hotmail Account Security Features by Microsoft by Nancy Lane   
This is plain crazy. The codes that I keep receiving are not accepted, you have a very old address on there which isn't valid any more. Get off my email account. I am going to gmail immediately.
          6 Reasons You Should Consider A Career In Nursing   
An increasing number of people, both women and men, are choosing nursing as a career – and for good reason. For one thing, nursing offers really great job security. While many have seen their pay cut and benefits eliminated due to the of economic crisis following the great recession, nurses have a career that remains […]
          PSPS: The Work Cycle of Theming   


Deliverance, DVNG, pagetypes, themesets, compiled themesets, debugability...so many words, so many details.  Let's step back and look at how an ecosystem (gag) of theming might work.

This proposal describes a system where themers make themeset packages and share them at themeset sites.  Site managers can then browse, install, and update these themeset packages with a friendly user interface.

Big Goals

We want to make it easy for a themer to:

  • Make a theme
  • Share the theme with others

We want to make it easy for a site manager to:

  • Find and use themes

It's easy to get mired in tons of details:

  • Who is this "themer"?
  • What is and isn't a "sitetheme"?
  • What are the benefits of this approach to sitetheming?

For now, let's focus just on how we could reinvent the process of making themes, providing something substantially easier from end-to-end.

How It Could Work

Let's break the world of theming into 3 parts:

  • Make.  The work to produce and package a "theme".

  • Distribute.  Put the theme in an organized place where people can find it.  This place is specifically designed to maximize convenience.
  • Use.  Find available themes, use them, and get updates.

What are some crazy things we could do to really change the game on"easy"?  How might we make this a significantly competitive part of our story?

Make

Deliverance helps themers avoid learning a framework's architecture and APIs.  What if they could develop and test a theme without installing any unusual software?

For example, imagine the first, simplest way to develop a theme:

1) Create an HTML file for the theme, some CSS and images, and make sure they look alright.  This just HTML as files, so "alright" means"Open File" in a browser.

2) Next, make the Deliverance "themeset" file and some sample content pages.

3) Run "zip" to package it all up.

4) Use "curl" to POST the zip file to a web service URL.  This webservice returns a packaged, compiled themeset as a zip file.

5) Unpack the resulting zip file and view the sample content, themed as appropriate under the themeset rules.

We could foolproof this step by providing a zip file that had a sample themeset, ready to go.  You just run a "run.sh" or "run.bat" in the zip file's unpacked directory.  We could even include the curl and wget binaries for Windows.

This approach is a nice, small-step for the not-yet-committed.  How could we, though, make this process more productive for people that regularly theme?

We could write a Firefox extension that put a GUI on the operations and options, hiding the upload/download as background tasks.  This extension could start small: point at a themeset, a button to view the results, and links to the themed sample content.

Over time, the extension could do more: show log messages about rule matches, provide a GUI to edit and validate the themeset file, make thumbnails, and upload to distribution servers.

Finally, those who are committed to Deliverance could use easy_installto grab the Deliverance themeset "compiler" itself, and not rely on a web service.  This would be a command-line tool that used lxml/libxml2 to generate the compiled themeset and package it up for distribution.We could also include a Paste-based local HTTP server that did theming on-the-fly.

Distribute

A "compiled themeset" is a very, very simple package that can apply one or more look-and-feels to content based on some criteria.  It uses technology that is completely safe to distribute: no programming language, APIs, access to the filesystem, access to the web application, etc.

Because they are safe and commodity, it makes sense to share them and pass them around.  We can have sites that provide hosting of themes,using a somewhat-smart themset server providing the following:

1) List packages.

2) Compile themesets.  This serves the purpose above, allowing themers to make themes without local software.  It also, though, provides some security check: rather than trust the themer's compiled result, make it on the server.

3) Host versioned URLs to static theme resources.  Google recentlyannounced that they would provide stable URLs for important JavaScript resources.  Themeset servers could do the same for the images and CSS that go with a particular version of a theme.

With this, using a theme becomes even easier, as the static resources point to a stable, versioned URL that sets very long expires headers. In fact, we could leverage a free CDN such as Coral, without themers really having to understand it.  (And if the site manager didn't like it, they could run local versions.)

By doing so by default, we make such things easy.

It would be tempting to have themeset servers that are just dumb static-file sites.  However, we should preserve the idea that the themeset server generates the compiled themeset, rather than trusting the theme makers.  Note that, rather than a full web application, you could still use Subversion with hooks that execute scripts.

In the workflow for a consulting project, you really don't think of putting the artifacts on a public site.  Thus, it should be easy and normal to run a private themeset server for a consulting project. (Alternatively, produce the themes and just put them in the buildout for the project, if the customer will never want to select new themes.)

Why zip files that aren't eggs?  Foremost, a themeset package isn't "executable".  The process of installing a themeset shouldn't accidentally run some Python code.  We could leverage eggs, but that inherits quite a few contracts that might be stifling for the goal of"easy".

Use

We now have lots of themeset packages available at various public and private themeset servers.  How can we radically improve how site managers leverage all this?

First and foremost, make sure this part of the equation is dirt-simpleand reliable.  We can do so by moving most of the software complexity to the "Make" step: a compiled themeset is just an XSLT file plus some static resources and packaging artifacts.  All the work for parsing the theme(s) and the rules was already done in the compilation process.

Next, we provide a web GUI for configuration.  This allows operations such as:

  • Browse themeset servers to find and install new/updated themeset packages
  • List the currently installed themeset packages
  • Change the active themeset to a different one
  • Remove an installed themeset

Where should this GUI be located?  It's natural for Plone to put thisin the 'site setup" as a configlet.  There are reasons, though, thatthis might not be the only place to consider:

  • Deliverance is about corporate identity across multiple sites and multiple systems.  It makes sense to centrally manage your themes from outside a particular Plone site.  (OTOH, the people doing this might not want a GUI.)
  • It is possible to have themeset configuration on a subsite basis.

There are tons of opportunities here for fresh thinking about theme configuration, and most will prove easy to implement.  We should be open to new ideas on this aspect.

Summary

Making, distributing, and using "themes" is an important cycle to look at for Plone's strategic planning.  Doing a superlative job at this part would make a deep impact on Plone's initial perception.  Doing this job in a strategic way, where we think more about how Plone fits into the larger world for themers, integrators, and site managers, is worth discussion.


          Comment on Senate Dear Appropriator campaign by the numbers by Sue Sherif   
Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) sent me a letter on 5/31 claiming that he signed the Dear Appropriator letter, but I do not see his name on the list. I may be confused because the wording is a bit strange: "This budget request from the White House is a first step and a general blueprint for where our country should be headed: increased funding for our national defense and homeland security, and cuts to agencies that have stifled economic growth over the last eight years. However, some of the specific cuts in this initial budget disproportionately target rural economies across our country, including in Alaska, and some don’t align with the commitments made by members of the Trump administration during their confirmation process and hearings. This is why I signed the letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to support robust funding for the IMLS Office of Museum Services for FY18." Did he end up supporting LSTA funding? Can someone in the Washington Office clarify?
          European Transmission Network Signs MoU to Develop Cyber Security   
The collaboration results from a series of hacking and security training programs.
          US demands more security on international flights to US   
The Homeland Security Department is set to announce new security for international flights bound to the United States.
             
Miss L and I are back from our trip through Alaska and Canada, but I will have to write about that stuff later on. Instead this is about something that happened on Monday night, right after we got home. As a warning, although not graphic this post is a bit morbid.

I took our dog Echo out for his late night walk around 11 pm, only to find the cross-street half a block down barricaded by police cars and yellow crime scene tape. It was a little hard to see with the police lights blinding me with the alternating red+blue lights, but I could make out the shadowy outlines of people on the other side of the street, craning their necks around so they could figure out what was going on.

I couldn't get through at all, so I decided to walk around the block the other way, discovering the far end of the same street was taped off as well. At the end of the block sat a large vehicle that looked a lot like an armored car, but was really a crime lab on wheels. I saw police officers going in and out of it, carrying equipment, taking photographs and marking several spots on the black pavement with yellow triangle markers. I flagged down an officer and asked what was happening and was told, "Someone was shot and killed. That's all we know so far."

Not knowing if the shooter was still out and about I decided to cut Echo's walk short and head on home.

The next morning I took Echo out again around 9 am. Normally at this time of the day the street is bustling with people walking dogs, getting their kids off to school or heading in to their jobs. But that morning I found the street deserted, like everyone was avoiding the area. I walked through a touch apprehensive myself, knowing that death had landed so close just the night before.

My morbid curiousity got the better of me, so I started looking around a little. I found some small pieces of paper in the gutter, sticky and stained red with blood and still wet from the morning dew. Labeled at the top as an "Incident Report Form", there wasn't much on it aside from the name of the person who called in the shooting to the police.


sbloody papers



I walked back across the street and looked down at the area where the yellow triangle evidence markers were. The pavement here was lightly stained with a deep, dirty red color; I could only think it was where the victim bled out.


sidewalk



These two little pieces made everything all too real for me. All the odd little things that happen in our little Baltimore neighborhood---people sleeping in cars, freaks stumbling through the neighborhood drunk, drivers blasting down the narrow roads at twice the speed limit late at night----all suddenly fit into a pattern of danger for me. I've been mugged in D.C., I've seen people loaded into body bags from a distance along Route 1 in Alexandria, Va. and I've even been caught between two rival gangs taking pot shots at each other in Staunton, Va. But this really got to me----I guess because it happened so close to where both my wife and I live and sleep.

Today our apartment community held a meeting of sorts. We found out from a detective that this was not a random incident; the victim was apparently targeted. I'm not sure how or why, the police would not say. Although the victim was living in one of the apartments, he was either subletting or sharing an apartment illegally. This helped a bit, knowing that this wasn't just some random thugs rolling through shooting residents.

There was a lot of talk of adding security cameras, increasing the lighting and even starting a neighborhood watch. I hope some or all of these things take off; I really do like where I live and, in general, feel pretty safe. I hope I continue to feel that way.

Hopefully I'll have happier posts up soon.

Excelsior

          Surname Saturday - Huffman   

Today, I am coming out of the "genealogy closet". This is not easy for me. Today's blog post is the most personal thing I have ever written publicly. After years of working so hard on the Napolitano and Dewey families, I have met so many wonderful cousins and I hope this does not change anything for them. I was adopted. I was raised by a Napolitano and a Dewey and love them with all my heart and soul and they are the only parents I have ever known from the time I was a month old. All I am morally and ethically comes from them. My "adopted" family IS my family. But, I always felt different, because I was very different. My cousins all had dark eyes, dark hair and I was the tallest member of my family since the age of 11. I did not look like anyone with my blue eyes and blonde hair. I never quite fit in. There were always so many questions. But the biggest questions were who was I, where did I come from, why was I given up, what was I (ethnically) and did I have brothers and sisters somewhere. I was raised with such strong Italian roots I always wondered if I really was. Pictured here is The Chicago Foundling Home where I began my life. It is gone now, replaced by a parking lot for The United Center. About 3 years ago, I wrote for my non-identifying information which adoptees are entitled to by law. The information I received told me my birth father was 100% Italian and my birth mother was German and Irish and German and Dutch. She was 22 years old, a waitress and unmarried. Last year I took not one but 2 DNA tests after I learned the surname of my mother, Huffman. What I did not know was her first name. Last Saturday I received my original birth certificate. I now know her name. It did not take me long to find her as well as answers to some of my questions. She died in 2010. Her husband died in 2000. Her sisters also died so it is doubtful I will ever learn the true identity of my bio-father. Someone living may know, perhaps her best friend if she is living. But it is doubtful. Still, I have hope.

She came from a very small town in downstate Illinois called Rossville. My original birth certificate was very blurry but her name, place of birth, and age were very clear. Shirley Huffman, age 22, born in Rossville, Illinois. It was not hard to piece together parts of her life. Within a few hours, I learned some of her story. The birth certificate told me the first part. She had a child before I was born. She left the small town of Rossville and her 4 year old son and went over 100 miles to Chicago, when she was 3 months pregnant with me. She lived the next 6 months of her life in The Chicago Foundling Home (pictured above) until I was born. It must have been so difficult for her to leave the safety and security of her family, home and small town for a treacherous neighborhood in Chicago, all alone and pregnant. No home, just a bed in a room with other beds of other expectant mothers. I cannot imagine how hard it was for her to leave her young 4 year old son for 6 months. I can only assume after I was born she went back to Rossville. Back to her parents William Marion and Mary Elizabeth (Smith) Huffman and her 4 year old son. It took great courage to have and keep a child at the age of 18 back in 1954, and I can only assume that a second child (me) was too much to bear financially and socially. Her parents must have been quite unhappy about me. After reading the birth certificate, the first place I looked was the 1940 census where I found her living with her father, mother, 2 sisters Lorene and Betty and younger brother William. She was the only Shirley Huffman in Rossville in 1940 and her birth date matched perfect. Other searches revealed she married (Robert) Daniel Allison in 1963. What I found after that, I never expected. Shirley had diabetes. This disease caused her to go temporarily blind and destroyed her kidneys. Her grandson (who would have been my nephew) gave up a career in football to donate his kidney to her. This story was made into a movie by Showtime and starred Debbie Reynolds as Shirlee (Huffman) Allison. When I learned this I knew somewhere there would be a picture of her in a newspaper article. At last! I could see what I have wondered my entire life...what she looked like and did I look like her? The only picture I found pictured her wearing sunglasses so I could not see her eyes but what I did see revealed I do look like her. I did not expect the tears that followed. Next I rushed off to the library to rent the DVD of the movie. Watching the movie was so surreal not to mention emotional. I was quite surprised by some of the thoughts going through my head when I watched it. I probably noticed things in that movie that no one else would.

I learned this small town had a Historical and Genealogical Society that was only open a few hours on Tuesday and Saturday. So, a few days after I learned her name, I drove to Rossville. Once I finally arrived there, I found myself quite nervous and it occurred to me I had no idea how to handle this delicate situation. Shirlee was no longer alive but her son is and he still lives there. I did not want him to find out about me through gossip in the small town. I did not want to mention her name. I tried to get what I came for - the yearbooks. I wanted pictures and that was my only way of getting them. I tried but the woman who was working at the historical society had a book I needed that she would not let me look at. She was very nice, but I imagine she had the privacy rights of living people to consider. I had no choice but to reveal her name. After that she was able to pull the appropriate yearbooks and these revealed several pictures and more information. She was quite active in school and was in sports, a cheerleader, in choir and on student council. Each activity meant another picture. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind as I turned the pages of each book. I was told of a town genealogy book that was done and found the entry for her family. I was not able to focus properly. In just a few days, I was overwhelmed with so much information. I could have probably gotten so much more but I had a hard time processing everything. I will have to return for what I missed. I have written my (presumed half) brother and wait to see if he responds. When I was finished at the historical society, I went to the cemetery to pay my respects. Her parents and grandparents are buried there also. It was a very hot, sunny day but as I arrived I noticed a few clouds. I did not have the location of her grave so every time I got out of my car huge raindrops fell then stopped. Finally I saw her grave from my car and when I did it was raining (not hard, just those large rain drops) but the sun never stopped shining. As I got out of my car the rain stopped and as I stood in front of her grave, I saw a small portion of a rainbow in the sky. Overcome with emotion I never knew was there, I cried for a long time. After, I felt a peace I have never known before. This is the beginning of my journey to discover who I am and where I came from.
           Babe Fucked On A Night Club Parking lot By A Security Worker   
Watch Babe Fucked On A Night Club Parking lot By A Security Worker at XXXPorn.rs - best free online XXXPorn videos for you to enjoy.
          Extended support for XP Home and Media center   
I want to make a note of this here… Microsoft has announced that XP Home and Media center editions will get extended support on par with that of XP Pro. Essentially this means security updates for these versions of the OS should be available until 2014. Previously support for XP Home was to have ended [...]
          Chauffeur Classe 1 / Class 1 Driver - STYRO RAIL - La Pêche, QC   
Hold a valid class 1 and 3 permit. The driver is entirely responsible of his vehicle, of loading and the driving security of himself as well as those around him... $17 - $21 an hour
From Indeed - Fri, 09 Jun 2017 16:16:45 GMT - View all La Pêche, QC jobs
          Janitorial Worker - Peoplenow - Carson, CA   
Develop guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. Monitor building security and safety by performing such... $14 an hour
From Indeed - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:34:06 GMT - View all Carson, CA jobs
          Risk is More Than Just a Board Game: A Guide to Performance Bonds   
Although other forms of security are possible to secure performance of a construction contract, corporate surety performance bonds remain the construction contract guarantee of choice for owners in both public and private projects. The performance...
By: Faegre Baker Daniels
          WHAT Are Taylor's Newly Revealed Tracks From 1989 About? - SPECIAL EDITION - Taylor Talk: The Taylor Swift Podcast - THE Swifty is listening to: Backseat Freestyle by Kendrick Lamar   

SPECIAL EDITION - Taylor Swift reveals new song titles from 1989 in Rolling Stone, so we do a special edition episode of Taylor Talk! Listen as Adam, Diane, Sami, and guest host Eric (@spielerman) delve into Rolling Stone’s interview with Taylor Swift, “The Reinvention of Taylor Swift.” This article contains a wealth of information, so it was difficult to talk about everything, but we did touch on Taylor’s dating life (or lack thereof), her tight security, her decision to go pop, and most importantly… THE NEW SONG TITLES FROM 1989!! As we theorize about what each song could be about, feel free to share your opinions with us. We’ll find out on October 27th who was right ;) Enjoy the show!

Highlights from Episode Scones of Taylor Talk: The Taylor Swift Podcast

Main Discussion: Taylor Swift's in Rolling Stone

- Although this article mentions how tight Taylor Swift's security team needs to be to keep her safe, the article is about how much Taylor Swift is loving life. 

- Eric wonders if Taylor got her country pop/metaphor from a... fortune cookie?

- Taylor claims that her 1989 album is not "boy-centric," and yet nearly all of the track titles she released are about boys!

- Finish the sentence: "I Wish You Would"... what?

- It seems like at least three songs on the album could be about Harry Styles (*braces self from angry Directioners)

- Who needs an NDA when you have Taylor Swift hypnotizing you not to talk?

- Which pop super star does Taylor Swift have "Bad Blood" with? We address the likelihood of each option suggested by Billboard. 

- Fun Fact: Taylor Swift listens to Kendrick Lamar's "Backseat Freestyle" when she's being swarmed by paparazzi.


          Hotel Security Fucked Sexy Milf By The Pool   
Watch Hotel Security Fucked Sexy Milf By The Pool at XXXPorn.rs - best free online XXXPorn videos for you to enjoy.
          Security Advisory 2017-03: Security Update for all OTRS Versions   
  June 06, 2017 — Please read carefully and check if the version of your OTRS system is affected by this vulnerability. Please send information regarding vulnerabilities in OTRS to: security@otrs.org PGP Key pub 2048R/9C227C6B 2011-03-21 [expires at: 2017-08-20] uid OTRS Security Team <security@otrs.org> GPG Fingerprint E330 4608 DA6E 34B7 1551 C244 7F9E 44E9 9C22
          Security Advisory 2017-02: Security Update for all OTRS Versions   
  June 06, 2017 — Please read carefully and check if the version of your OTRS system is affected by this vulnerability. Please send information regarding vulnerabilities in OTRS to: security@otrs.org PGP Key pub 2048R/9C227C6B 2011-03-21 [expires at: 2017-08-20] uid OTRS Security Team <security@otrs.org> GPG Fingerprint E330 4608 DA6E 34B7 1551 C244 7F9E 44E9 9C22
          Release Notes: OTRS 5s Patch Level 20   
June 06, 2017 — OTRS, the world’s leading provider of open source Help Desk and ITIL® V3 compliant IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions, today announces the 20th patch level release of OTRS 5s. Release Details Release name: OTRS 5s Patch Level 20 Release date: June 06, 2017 Release type: patch level Security Issues Advisory 17-2 Advisory
          May 2017   
IT Security Was “WannaCry” Avoidable? A Wake-Up Call for IT Security Departments In May, the media reported one of the biggest ransomware cyber-attacks in history. The European Union’s law enforcement agency Europol wrote on Twitter that the ransomware “wannacry” was an attack at an “unprecedented level”, which infected countless private and corporate computers running on
          Don't Leave Your Girl At Home - Episode 119 - Taylor Talk: The Taylor Swift Podcast    

Episode 119 - Wanna see you pick up your phone and play this "Girl At Home" song analysis episode of Taylor Talk: The Taylor Swift Podcast! In Episode 119, your hosts -- Adam, Maya, Diane, Sami, and Steve -- break down the perhaps forgotten Taylor Swift song, "Girl At Home." None of the hosts listen to this song too frequently, but we do recognize how this song communicates Taylor's upstanding morals and her unwavering ability to forgive. Let us know what you think of the song. Happy listening!

Also, we just launched the RED Tour Lithograph contest! Check out TaylorTalk.org/Contest for more information on how to enter. For bonus entries, type in the code word hidden in Episode 119 of Taylor Talk: The Taylor Swift Podcast. 

Highlights from Episode 119 of Taylor Talk: The Taylor Swift Podcast:

Main Discussion - "Girl At Home" Song Analysis:

- We discuss the disconnect between the up-beat lyrics and the serious subject matter.

- Who is this song about? Harry Styles? Zac Efron? Or someone we don't know?

- "Should've Said No" theory: This song could be related & told from the other woman's point of view.

- "It would be a fine proposition, if I hadn't once been just like her." What do you think she means here?

- This song may be about a touchy topic, but it speaks to Taylor's forgiveness and good morals. 

- Sami wants to see a Taylor Swift music video without *gasp* Taylor! She wants to see a soundtrack for the story.

Other Topics:

- Why don't people understand Taylor's hair flip from her "All Too Well" Grammy performance?

- Find out how to win a RED Tour Lithograph at TaylorTalk.org/Contest. Listen to the whole episode for a code word to increase your chances of winning!

- Taylor was nominated for FIVE ACMS. Hooray! Check out all the nominees at acmawards.com/nominees. Voting for EnterTAYner of the Year begins on March 24th on VoteACM.com. Stay tuned for reminders!

- Sami from @TSwiftOnTour gives us a RED Tour update for the first two London O2 shows. 

- That awkward moment when a fan bypasses security to join Taylor on stage. 

- We think Ed Sheeran's new kitten, Graham, and Meredith should be best buddies/have kittens.

- What are Swifties listening to? "Play It Again" by Luke Bryan.


          March 2017   
Tech-Talk IP Security Reputation Check with the Information Floater There are many threats on the web, one of which is opening emails with links to unknown websites. Phishing-mails often lead to malware, ransomware or other malicious software that infects your system and threatens your data security.   Abuse teams, cyber security teams or mail server
          OTRS 5s – The New Features Simplify Your Workflows   
Description: The OTRS 5s brings functions that will make your daily work with OTRS even easier! Our developers have added a number of innovative technologies to the OTRS software for more extensive customer communication possibilities, predefined templates for processes and web services, a better overview of appointments, and a sophisticated bundle of security features. This
          Security Advisory 2017-01: Security Update for OTRS Business Solution™   
  January 24, 2017 — Please read carefully and check if the version of your OTRS system is affected by this vulnerability. Please send information regarding vulnerabilities in OTRS to: security@otrs.org PGP Key pub 2048R/9C227C6B 2011-03-21 [expires at: 2017-08-20] uid OTRS Security Team <security@otrs.org> GPG Fingerprint E330 4608 DA6E 34B7 1551 C244 7F9E 44E9 9C22
          Security Advisory 2016-02: Security Update for OTRS   
  November 01, 2016 — Please read carefully and check if the version of your OTRS system is affected by this vulnerability. Please send information regarding vulnerabilities in OTRS to: security@otrs.org PGP Key pub 2048R/9C227C6B 2011-03-21 [expires at: 2017-08-20] uid OTRS Security Team <security@otrs.org> GPG Fingerprint E330 4608 DA6E 34B7 1551 C244 7F9E 44E9 9C22
          Release Notes: OTRS 5s Patch Level 14   
November 01, 2016 — OTRS, the world’s leading provider of open source Help Desk and ITIL® V3 compliant IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions, today announces the stable release of OTRS 5s. Release Details Release name: OTRS 5s Patch Level 14 Release date: November 01, 2016 Release type: patch level Security Issues Advisory 15-3 Please note,
          Security Cam Tapes Door Humper Girl At Work   
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          Projektleiter IT-Security (m/w) - NorCom Information Technology - Sindh   
Ihre Aufgaben › Sie sind verantwortlich für die Entwicklung, Implementierung und Evaluation von Sicherheitskonzepten und Sicherheitsrichtlinien für die IT
From NorCom Information Technology - Thu, 01 Jun 2017 10:18:04 GMT - View all Sindh jobs
          Wembley Stadium SIA Response - EXP Security - Wembley Stadium   
We are seeking articulate, smart and confident individuals with good customer service skills who can communicate with the general public in a confident manner... £13 an hour
From Indeed - Wed, 17 May 2017 14:52:35 GMT - View all Wembley Stadium jobs
          Security Guard - QC – Scarlet Security Services Ltd - Pond Inlet, NU   
Previous experience as a security guard is considered an asset. QC – Scarlet Security Services Ltd., a division of the Scarlet Group of Companies, is seeking...
From Indeed - Fri, 26 May 2017 19:33:00 GMT - View all Pond Inlet, NU jobs
          September 2016   
OTRS 5s – Obviously This’s Really Smart – We are proud to present two new OTRS 5s features! SecurityToolbox solid and sophisticated – features boosting your organization’s security & EasyConnect A state of the art features – based on WebRTC standard The SecurityToolbox is a Swiss army knife among the Features of the OTRS 5s:
          How the Student Loan Industry Is Helping Trump Destroy American Democracy   
Student loan servicers are engaged in economic terrorism, and DeVos is only making it worse.

Most of the discussion about student debt in the United States has centered on its excessiveness, the negative impact it has on home-buying for the next generation, various refinancing schemes, and (for the grossly uninformed) how borrowers simply need to “pay what they owe.” However, the untold story of student loan debt in the United States is that it is being used as a form of economic terrorism designed not only to redistribute wealth from everyday Americans to the elite, but to undermine and degrade American democracy as a whole.

Up until her confirmation as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos had financial ties to a large student loan servicer in contract negotiations with the Department of Education. PRWatch reported in January that one of the firms DeVos divested from, LMF WF Portfolio, helped finance a $147 million loan to a student debt collection agency called Performant, which had more than 346 complaints brought against it with the Better Business Bureau. The student loan industry is said to be worth $1.3 trillion in total debt owed according to Forbes. While some might chalk this up to successful business management, it’s important to evaluate just exactly how the student loan industry works.

Contrary to what most students believe, many loans supposedly from the U.S. Department of Education are actually owned by big private banks. This acquisition of federal student loans by big banks was first introduced by the Federal Reserve in November of 2008, in which student loans, along with other forms of debt, are bundled and re-sold to banks as asset-backed securities (ABS). A few months later, with the blessing of former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, this program was dramatically expanded to include more than $1 trillion in collateralized debt. This means that for many borrowers, they're being jerked around by private loans deliberately dressed up in U.S. Department of Education attire.

Student Loan Servicers Are Engaging in Economic Terrorism

In a lecture delivered at Carleton University in Ottawa 2011, famed MIT professor and linguist Noam Chomsky argued that the American student debt system fosters fear and insecurity among people who, burdened by financial stress, anxious for their jobs or stuck in low-paying jobs, are afraid to question or challenge the system.

"When you trap people in a system of debt, they can't afford the time to think," Chomsky said.

One indebted borrower, Denise, whose fiancee, Kevin, spoke to AlterNet on condition of anonymity, is living proof of the dilemma Chomsky presented.

"I’ve wanted to marry Denise for years now," Kevin said. "But after seeing what she’s been put through with these student loan companies, I honestly don't want to risk having a bunch of crooks stealing my paycheck or my tax refund."

According to Kevin, the student debt Denise acquired for four years of higher education totaled approximately $35,000. Under the management of student loan servicer Navient (which broke off from Sallie Mae), her student loan debt quickly swelled to more than $75,000 in less than 10 years following her graduation from the University of Arizona. According to Kevin, loan fees and high interest rates quickly snowballed as a penalty for Denise not having enough money. (Multiple requests to reach Navient executives by phone or email were not returned.)

“The monthly payment they demanded was three times what Denise paid for her rent. She would send what she could afford, but it would end up being a fraction of the penalty fee they’d add to her loan balance for not having enough money to pay. They would then charge her interest on the penalty fee as though it were money she actually received for school," Kevin said.

Kevin’s account of what happened to Denise could be happening to millions of other distressed borrowers. A March 20 report from Bloomberg detailed how Secretary DeVos is now green-lighting punishing new fees on student borrowers even if they agree to make good on their outstanding debt. In a memo to the student loan industry, DeVos’ agency is allowing companies to charge struggling borrowers as much as 16 percent more of a debtor’s total loan balance in additional fees.

“It’s a con game that caused Denise so much stress that it began affecting her health and even made her fantasize about taking her own life as a means of getting out from crippling debt,” Kevin said. “These companies use the authority of the government to extort money from people who took out loans they thought were from the government and not just some crooked bank.”

In some instances, the tax refunds Denise counted on each year would be confiscated as penalty for not having enough money to pay her loans. According to Kevin, Denise earned a social sciences degree with the specific intent of pursuing a career that involved helping people and supporting positive change in society.

“Instead of doing that good work, she was forced to cling to whatever low-wage position she could find,” Kevin continued. “Even after I used my savings to help pay off the remainder of her student debt, the loan servicer, Navient, kept refusing to credit her account for the payment and continues to damage her credit.”

“It has taken such a huge toll on us,” he added. "I guess now we’ll have to gather more money to file a lawsuit to get them to acknowledge that they received payment in full. In the meantime, they can still take her tax refunds even though she doesn’t owe them money anymore.”

“This should be criminal. They’re just awful, awful human beings,” Kevin said.

Ironically, the Federal Student Loan Program was intended to make higher education affordable for students and families who lack the ability to pursue higher education without funding support. With the insertion of predatory banks and student loan shark servicer companies like Navient, Strada Education Network (formerly known as USA Funds), and others, the soul of the Federal Student Loan Program has shifted from that of opportunity and advancement to profit and subjugation.

Recently, Secretary DeVos announced that the Public Service Loan Forgiveness agreements the Department of Education made with borrowers who agreed to work in the public service field for at least 10 years might not be honored. The New York Times reported in March that students who signed up when the program began in 2007 may now be on the hook for those loans after all. A recent legal filing from the Department of Education argues that FedLoan Servicing's approval letters for the loan forgiveness program are non-binding and can be rescinded at any time.

This means borrowers, who chose professions in public service that are routinely paid less than those with jobs in other sectors, could now not only have forgone a much higher salary for over a decade, but could also find themselves on the hook for loans that the Department of Education agreed to forgive in exchange for their service.

Denise is not alone—the New York Fed reported earlier this year that 44 percent of student loan borrowers are underemployed. This means seemingly benign decisions when it comes to student loan policy ensure that a vast net of stress, fear, and insecurity is cast upon an entire generation. The lasting impact will, by default, stifle and root out any inclinations of challenge to the current political and economic system. In this way, the student loan industry is suppressing resistance to societal change by poor Americans, ensuring that whatever steps are taken in the name of neoliberalism to tighten the corporate grip on American society will be met with little to no resistance.

Who Has the Moral High Ground?

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes a provision requiring already cash-strapped student loan borrowers to pay higher monthly fees on income-based repayment plans. While there is no evidence showing how an increase in payment requirements is needed for an already grossly lucrative industry, the Trump budget prioritized steep cuts to Medicaid, Food Stamps, Social Security and Disability Insurance, while also raising monthly payments for student loan borrowers. The combination of these two policies is a crushing blow for underemployed student debtors.

The Republican Party often campaigns on being the morally superior party based on its stance on issues like abortion and contraception. However, the student loan industry’s pillaging of the next generation of Americans has been met with deafening silence by the GOP. One would think that a majority in the House, the Senate and control of the White House would motivate the GOP to address an issue that affects 44 million Americans, but instead, Republicans choose to look the other way.

Democrats aren't entirely blameless in the student loan debacle. While a recent effort to address the greed and usurious practices of the student loan industry was championed by progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), other neoliberal Democrats like Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) have joined the GOP's morality farce by teaming up with the private sector to ransack public schools and gut teacher’s unions in the name of “school choice” and “teacher accountability.”

If Republicans and Democrats alike hope to hold on to any credibility when it comes to ethics, they must take steps to address the student loan industry in favor of the hardworking Americans who put them in office, not their corporate masters.

 

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          Administrator, Staff Justice of the Peace, Deputy Registrar - Manitoba Government - Virden, MB   
Must have a satisfactory Criminal Record Check, Child Abuse Registry Check, Adult Abuse Registry Check and Internal Security Check.... $44,067 - $56,229 a year
From Manitoba Government - Wed, 28 Jun 2017 00:07:07 GMT - View all Virden, MB jobs
          Why It Makes No Sense to Separate the White Working Class from the Black Working Class    
The media consistently radicalizes the white working class as noble; meanwhile the money is going to the top 1%.

This article appears in the Summer 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here

“After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves.”  —Barack Obama, Farewell Address, Chicago, January 2017

After three losses to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, a trifecta last accomplished by Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, there was much hand-wringing among Democrats about the loss of the South and the vanishing loyalty of Southern whites. William Galston and Elaine Kamarck at the Progressive Policy Institute argued that the electoral math made the South the true presidential battleground; that Democrats could not win by being more liberal or hoping to motivate black and poor voters to increase their voter participation. Thomas Edsall and Mary Edsall similarly warned in the pages of The Atlantic that the South was key, and it was lost because the liberal orthodoxy was too tied to race, and out of touch with white working-class voters.

“Liberal” candidates like Tom Harkin, Dick Gephardt, and Michael Dukakis were out. Their message was deemed too Northern, elite, and alien to the needed Southern white voter. In was a candidate who could rebrand the Democratic Party and break liberal orthodoxy, proving the party could be tough on crime and defense, and reinvent welfare and the social state. This turned out to be Bill Clinton. Now, the defeat of Hillary Clinton has once again caused Democrats to argue about what is needed to win the white vote.

Countless articles have focused on what Democrats have done wrong. And much of the theme remains the same as in 1989—that there is a noble white worker who has been betrayed. Here is how the Edsalls portrayed one such voter back in 1989:

“You could classify me as a working-class Democrat, a card-carrying union member,” says Dan Donahue, a Chicago carpenter who became active in the campaign of a Republican state senator in 1988. “I’m not a card-carrying Republican—yet. We have four or five generations of welfare mothers. And they [Democrats] say the answer to that is we need more programs. Come on. It’s well and good we should have compassion for these people, but your compassion goes only so far. I don’t mind helping, but somebody has got to help themselves, you’ve got to pull. When you try to pick somebody up, they have to help. Unfortunately, most of the people who need help in this situation are black and most of the people who are doing the helping are white. We [white Cook County voters] are tired of paying for the Chicago Housing Authority, and for public housing and public transportation that we don’t use. They [taxpayers] hate it [the school-board tax] because they are paying for black schools that aren’t even educating kids, and the money is just going into the Board of Education and the teachers’ union.”

As President Barack Obama warned in his farewell address, this depiction of whites as hard-working, noble, and beset (compared with whom?) is nowhere to start a dialogue about an economy in which the real problem is that all economic gains have gone to the top 1 percent. The language presumes that there are not black workers who lost out to trade deals that sent thousands of auto-parts jobs from Flint, Michigan, to Mexico or shut steel mills in Baltimore, Maryland. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, echoed Obama on the risks of reinforcing Trump’s cynical manipulation of race and the white working class:

Anyone who talks about dividing people in the country as a solution is a threat to the country, to democracy, the economy, and to working people, and we take every one of those seriously.

Oddly, much of the hand-wringing comes after victories by Presidents Clinton and Obama, each of whom demonstrated both the complexity of the white vote and the fact that the black vote matters. A core challenge is that many voters misunderstand basic economics, leading them to vote against the interests of working America as a whole. Many Americans still hold the view articulated by the Edsalls’ late-1980s white voter that government is not the solution. And their misunderstanding has been reinforced by actions of recent presidents.

One of those was Bill Clinton. The pursuit of white voters by Clinton led to attacks on the Social Security Act, first on the premise that budget discipline was more important, and second on the assumption that Social Security’s aid to the poor was too generous and too much of a handout to black women. Clinton supported partial privatization of Social Security pensions. Even Obama, pursuing deficit cuts, flirted with cuts in the cost-of-living formula.

The Social Security Act, let’s recall, was intended to protect the income of working-class American families. Yes, it was an entitlement, and proudly so. Social Security was first denied to most black Americans, but then extended. Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was a core part of Social Security. Clinton’s view that single mothers should be written out of the act—for that is what the end of “welfare as we know it” meant—was not viewed as an attack on working people. But it was. Black women, who have historically had the largest labor force participation rate among all racial groups, and who work more hours than any racial group among women, were stigmatized as being made lazy because they finally had access to that part of the Social Security Act which had initially been denied them when it was passed.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the feeble successor to AFDC, removed a class of workers from Social Security protection. Because of the “Nannygate” scandal surrounding Clinton’s attorney general nominee, protections for domestic workers within the Social Security Act were watered down. Despite the ravaging effect of the Reagan-era downturn on unemployment insurance, the Clinton administration offered little to repair a state-based system that had gone bankrupt and then refinanced itself by cutting access to benefits and benefit levels.

THE HARD REALITY OF TODAY'S level of inequality is this: For an increasing share of the population—black and white—the market no longer works to serve basic needs like housing, health insurance, child care, or college education. As the share of income held by the middle 60 percent declines, the top 10 percent’s share continues to grow, and within that, the top 1 percent.

The effect of heavy concentrations of money in fewer hands means that market-based allocations of resources are dictated by a smaller set of decision-makers. Businesspeople react to where the money is, whether they are home-builders, college presidents, or day-care providers. In the market, price is used as the rationing device, and prices follow where the money is.

When the middle class dominated the economy, it meant that prices for key personal investments followed increases in the incomes of the middle class. The government stepped in with housing, health, and education policies to subsidize those in the bottom 20 percent whose incomes were not keeping pace, and who would be rationed out of housing, health, and education by a market outcome. Worsening income inequality meant rising demands on government programs to ensure fair access to health and education, as prices rose faster than low income. Through the 1990s, the effect of discrimination made blacks synonymous with the bottom 20 percent, as they were overrepresented in the bottom income group.

What has happened to more whites now is that the market has moved past them as well. Pricing for child care and college education, essentials for their children, are outstripping their income growth; instead, prices are tied to the growth in income for the top 1 percent in the case of college tuition. And whites in the bottom 20 percent of income, who hold considerably more wealth than blacks in any part of the income distribution, can no longer self-insure themselves against the bumps in the economy.

As it took almost 40 years to get to this point, in the near term no recipe of policy fixes will sufficiently remedy the effects. Democrats need to focus on reversing those long-term trends, but also must have something to offer workers now. But every year that Trump is in office, that goal becomes more difficult.

Union representation, a key element in reversing those trends, continues to fall. More states are likely to adopt “right to work” laws. It will be increasingly difficult to rebuild workers’ voice in deciding how corporate output will be divided between wages and profits. That is the greatest source of the rising inequality. The hollowing out of the middle is not the result of automation. Rather, it reflects the relative advantage of those workers more closely tied to management, who squeeze down the income share for the middle and below.

What Reagan achieved in the 1980s was the illusion that by letting the floor fall, the middle could be protected. Unfortunately, too many white workers still have a view of the economy fed by the Reagan framework of government’s role. The unabated concentration of income will make after-tax methods of redistribution more vital so that Americans can have access to housing, education, and health. The Affordable Care Act, a market-based approach to health access, is one example where the fix is inadequate to rising income inequality, and made worse because it naïvely assumed that states would expand public access to address the gap in affordability.

UNDER TRUMP, RACE WILL complicate the effort to devise palliatives to rising inequality until more effective remedies can take effect. His dismantling of anti--discrimination offices within the federal government will create new downward pressures on an already stressed black working class. And the decline in union membership is more dangerous to black workers, who have higher union density than white workers and who rely far more than whites on union bargaining power to get higher wages. Further, black union density is more heavily reliant on public-sector bargaining than is true for whites, and public-sector unions are a target of Trump, who will abet the attack on public-sector unions taking place at the state level.

Under Trump, the gap between the experience of black and white workers will grow. Trump has already changed the political discourse. He has revived a strain of Southern populism that allows for asserting white privilege.

For Democrats, the problem with language that emphasizes the white working class as a separate problem from rising inequality of income and wealth is that it will racialize the debate rather than emphasizing the common assault on all who are not rich. It evokes the negative part of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Hillary Clinton had a hard time convincing young black workers that welfare reform and mass incarceration weren’t key to the Clinton legacy. The lack of black enthusiasm for Clinton is as much a part of the story of 2016 as the enthusiasm of white voters for Trump.

Further, progressive forces in the Democratic Party have been too uncritical of Bernie Sanders’s inability to lay the proper foundation with the party’s African American base ahead of the primary season. It was curious during the 2016 primary season to see Republicans all hopped up about the “SEC primary” (so-called because the Southern states involved have flagship universities in the Southeastern Conference), but no mention among the Democrats of the SWAC primary (the Southwestern Athletic Conference, a complementary athletic conference of public historically black universities).

So, while in the fall of 2015 Republicans fawned over attending games between the University of Alabama and Auburn, not a peep was heard on the need for Democrats to be at a game between Alabama State and Alabama A&M. Black voters often determine the victor in the Southern Democratic primaries, but spending time in Iowa and New Hampshire would be a likely outcome of a party worried about white working voters.

Democrats need to spend more time developing a frame to combat inequality. They need to do a better job of explaining that income inequality is a threat to economic growth. They need to be spending time helping Americans take the blinders off and see that workers, of all races, are being given the shaft by a system where corporate greed has become an elite “entitlement.” They need to pull the Band-Aid off a false sense there is some white privilege that can spare some workers the wrath of America’s war on working people. They must fess up to their quiet, and sometimes vocal, support of an agenda that attacked America’s workers. They need to stop believing the problem confronting American workers is that they are uneducated or unskilled. They need to stop defining the white working class as the less-educated. Those are the perennial excuses meted out to black workers. Young black workers reacted angrily in 2016 to a perception that their pain was being ignored. They didn’t vote for Trump, but Clinton lost as much because they didn’t vote for her either as Trump won because white voters voted for him.

The Democrats won’t solve their electability issues repeating the debate about white voters that they had in the late 1980s. They need to focus on the urgency of the effect of income inequality on American democracy. They need to sound the alarm. And they need to wake up and see who they are in bed with. The power elite of the party think they have freed themselves of a dependency on union support. But the Wall Street vision of the economy is poison for workers of all races and for Democrats.

When the Republican Party of the 19th century cut its deal to end Reconstruction and concentrate on winning the white vote, it launched the Gilded Age and the unremittent growth of inequality that collapsed in the Great Depression. It was accompanied by a Southern populism that entrenched a harsh racial code. Trump’s victory puts us within reach of repeating that mistake in history. Democrats need to be wary, and shrewd. How they handle this could entrench the dystopia of more Trumps—or create a new multiracial coalition of class uplift.

 

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          Security Advisory 2016-01: Security Update for OTRS FAQ package   
  July 01, 2016 — Please read carefully and check if the version of your OTRS system is affected by this vulnerability. Please send information regarding vulnerabilities in OTRS to: security@otrs.org PGP Key pub 2048R/9C227C6B 2011-03-21 [expires at: 2017-08-20] uid OTRS Security Team <security@otrs.org> GPG Fingerprint E330 4608 DA6E 34B7 1551 C244 7F9E 44E9 9C22
          Summertime Security/Door Service Position - Baja Bar and Grill at Fox Chapel Yacht Club - Pittsburgh, PA   
Have previous and current knowledge of US State Photo I.D’s and being able to card and identify any false id’s....
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          Forum Topic: Massive New Ransomware Attack Hits 64 Countries -    


Users in our security forum discuss the latest, massive ransomware attack that first surfaced in a Ukrainian tax accountancy firm, but has since exploded into more than 64 counties -- and countless homes and businesses -- worldwide. The attack was made possible, in part, by the NSA's hoarding of exploits, notes whistleblower Edward Snowden. »twitter.com/Snowden/stat ··· 94679808





          STMicroelectronics And Security Platform Inc. To Combine Security Expertise For Safe, Trusted, And Easy-to-Use IoT Devices   

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          heartbreaking experience   
I just had to deal with something I could never have imagined. I stopped by a local club to look things over. There is a band playing there tonight, and I do security for a lot of the local events. I had a beer, looked things over left a note for the band, and was walking out the door. The owner of the club asked me to stay for a minute, because she had gotten a phone call that there might be trouble. I was not supposed to be working yet but I stayed because the bartenders fience is a friend of mine, and I was trying to watch out for her. When the trouble did happen, my friend (the bartender's other half) came through the door and tackeled a costomer of the bar. Apparently the bartender had been cheating on my friend with this other guy (but I did not know this until later). I pulled my firend off this other guy, and he came up swinging. I slammed him to the ground, and held him until the other guy had left. I made my friend promise to get up amd leave nicely before I let him up. As soon as he got up he grabbed a cue stick and started swinging. I took that away from him and put him on the floor again (I hit another friend in the head with the cue stick as I took it....I feel horrible about that), and had to choke him out before he stopped fighting When my friend came to, I bought him a drink, and he appologised, and said he held no hard feelings. I would like to believe that, but I feel like I have lost a friend. Had I known the whole story ahead of time, I would have let them take it out back, and not interfered. I might have thumped the cheating little turd myself had I known what was going on. Someone called the cops, but when they tried to talk to me, I told them that I was in the bathroom the whole time, and saw nothing (the least I could do). This is the kind of stuff I was trying to get away from when I quit being a bouncer. I hate being in the middle of this kind of problems. Now I am ready to quit doing security too
          US to seek more security on international flights   
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          How the Trump administration plans on implementing its limited #Travel ban   
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          Keeping up with the Jones   
The only real economic recovery after 9.11 was due to a real estate boom. The real estate boom was due to the creation of sub-prime mortgages. The sub-prime mortgage boom was due to the creation of high yielding debt securities. The debt security boom was created and sold by investment banks. The investment bank boom was the result of our economic recovery after 9.11.

Since 9.11 America lost its air-line industry, automotive industry, banking industry (and most recently) economy. Americans lost sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives.

The rise and fall of the Dow Jones since 9.11 took 7 years. The war of 9.11 was lost after the first few hours.

Presidential canidates shadow an American tragedy.

          Examining ASP.NET 2.0's Site Navigation - Part 5   
A Multipart Series on ASP.NET 2.0's Site Navigation
This article is one in a series of articles on ASP.NET 2.0's site navigation functionality.

  • Part 1 - shows how to create a simple site map using the default XML-based site map provider and how to display a TreeView and SiteMapPath (breadcrumb) based on the site map data.
  • Part 2 - explores programmatically accessing site map data through the SiteMap class; includes a thorough discussion of the SiteMapPath (breadcrumb) control.
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  • Part 5 - see how to customize the markup displayed by the navigation controls, and how to create your own custom navigation UI.
  • (Subscribe to this Article Series! )

    The site navigation features in ASP.NET 2.0 make it easy to define a site map and implement common navigation UI elements, such as a breadcrumb, treeview, and menu. Due to its use of the provide model, you can dictate how to serialize the site map. ASP.NET 2.0 ships with a default implementation that serializes site map information to an XML-formatted file (Web.sitemap, by default), but as we saw in Part 4 this logic can be customized to garner site map information directly from the file system or through a SQL Server database table. Site navigation can even be configured to use security trimming, which will remove those nodes in the site map for which the currently logged on user does not have authorization to view.

    The site map provider model and security trimming features are used to customize the set of site map nodes used by the navigation Web controls, and afford a great deal of customization. However, there are times where we may want to customize the rendered output of the navigation control based on the site map data. For example, maybe in our Menu control we want to display an icon next to each menu item depending on some classification defined for the menu item's corresponding site map node. Alternatively, the markup rendered by ASP.NET's built-in navigation controls may not suit our needs. Rather than displaying a TreeView or Menu, we may want to show the site navigation information in a bulleted list. Such functionality is possible by directly working with the SiteMap class.

    In this article we'll look at how to accomplish a hodgepodge of customizations when rendering the navigation UI controls. Read on to learn more!

              Examining ASP.NET 2.0's Site Navigation - Part 3   
    A Multipart Series on ASP.NET 2.0's Site Navigation
    This article is one in a series of articles on ASP.NET 2.0's site navigation functionality.

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  • Part 2 - explores programmatically accessing site map data through the SiteMap class; includes a thorough discussion of the SiteMapPath (breadcrumb) control.
  • Part 3 - examines how to use base the site map's contents on the currently logged in user and the authorization rules defined for the pages in the site map.
  • (Subscribe to this Article Series! )

    In addition to this article series on ASP.NET 2.0's site navigation, I am also currently authoring an article series on ASP.NET 2.0's membership, roles, and profile. The membership system in ASP.NET provides a programmatic API for creating and managing user accounts, whereas the roles piece enables a developer to define a set of roles and to associate users with roles. A website that provides user accounts typically has certain sections of the site that are accessible only to certain users, only to authenticated users, or to users that belong to a particular role.

    For example, a website might have a set of pages that allow a trusted user to edit the content of the website, or manage the existing users. Rather than simply trying to hide this page and hope no one accidentally stumbles across it, or hard coding authorization rights to only allow in a single user, a more robust and secure approach is to define an Administrator role that is then assigned to a select handful of trusted users. These administrative web pages can then be configured to allow access only to those users in the Administrator role. Similarly, the website may contain a set of pages that only authenticated users can access.

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    Thankfully, ASP.NET 2.0's site navigation provides a feature called security trimming. When obtaining site map information with security trimming enabled, only those site map nodes that the currently logged on user has authorization to visit are available. That means the site's TreeView or Menu will contain just those sections accessible by the currently logged in user. Read on to learn how to configure site navigation to support security trimming!
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              Comment on 101 Gun Show Tips by Jim   
    I am for unloaded secure guns at a show. Two years ago I was at a show in Raleigh and some Yahoo brought in a defective 12 gage in a case loaded. When security was checking it it went off injuring 3 people. Rules are not derived to be against you personally, but there are are lot of unintelligent careless folks who have guns. Jim
              WLAN Security: 802.1x vs. VPNs    
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    Werecat Love by Janice Seagraves
    Morgan Brookhaven isn’t expecting romance when she accompanies her friend for a week of skiing, but when she meets Jared all bets are off. Ski instructor Jared Catterick has secrets that he doesn’t mind sharing with a special lady, and he hopes Morgan is the one.

    Riviera Rendezvous by Gemma Juliana
    Amalie flees when she runs into danger on the cruise ship she calls home, but soon realizes she can’t afford a ticket to fly home. Xandros is more than the shipping agent everybody thinks he is, and he’s had his sights on Amalie for months. So when she suddenly becomes a stranded damsel in distress, he is quick to suggest a solution.

    Something Moor by Denyse Bridger 
    An unexpected trip to Ireland takes Caragh McCarthy back to her ancestral home, and the past collides with the present when car trouble strands her on the moors of Country Tyrone. When Kelan O’Shea comes to her rescue, a 300 year old injustice might yet be set right, and a promised future can be fulfilled.

    I’ll Be Seeing You by Paris Brandon
    Jack Howland, part of an elite group of special OSS agents, can’t resist the pull of the moon or widowed USO hostess, Lulu Lane. Separated after a night of passion, their paths cross again after the war, but will Jack’s dangerous secret send her screaming into the night, or back into his arms?
    Capri Nights by Cara Marsi

    A San Francisco sous chef discovers she might have bitten off more than she can chew when a scrumptious Italian man stirs up a recipe for romance on the delicious Isle of Capri.




    Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Multiple award-winning author of the best-selling Gaslight Chronicles, she has released almost sixty novels and stories, which blend fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense, history and romance. She lives in southeast Michigan and when not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.
    TwitterFacebook ✯ Website

    Marianne Stephens writes romance and nonfiction. She has self-pubbed/published books with Naughty Literati and Romance Books '4' Us. 
    Naughty LiteratiRomance Book 4 UsMarianne Stephens

    Jean Hart Stewart Love California, even though I’m a transplant. Love writing and all it entails, crazy characters demanding to be let loose on the page, long hours of research, every bit of it. I raised two children and spent about twenty years in real estate before I summoned the courage to quit and do what I always wanted to do, WRITE! While he was alive my husband was my first-stop editor and biggest fan. Now that my children are accustomed to my writing sexy novels they’re equally supportive. 
    I’m currently finishing my 21st book, tentatively named Double Love and have four books coming out this year. I think I’m blessed as well as lucky. Do write me with any questions. I love to hear from readers!
    BlogWebsite

    Janice Seagraves grew up with a deep love of science fiction and adventure stories. Always the consummate artist, she traded in her paint brush for a desktop to write breathless life-affirming novels that celebrate enduring love.
    FacebookWebsite

    Gemma Juliana loves playing matchmaker to her characters, and takes great joy in creating love stories where two hearts end up beating as one. She has traveled the world, and adds the extra spice of international settings to her stories. Gemma lives with her true love in a cozy Texas cottage along with their teen son and a crafty dog who rules them all. Her muse is nourished with the finest creativity fuels–chocolate and coffee. Gemma loves hearing from readers around the world. Stop by her website to sign up for her newsletter and see what she’s written, what’s coming soon, and to receive special offers.
    TwitterFacebook ✯ Website

    As an award-winning, best-selling author, Denysé Bridger writes about a multitude of things, always with a touch of romance, passion, and fantasy. Her heroes tend to be alpha men who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the heroine’s heart and trust, while her heroines are strong,
    emotionally courageous women who put their hearts on the line for the men they love. Passionate, honorable characters drive Denysé’s stories, in whatever genre you find them in.
    Mobile Friendly websiteTwitterFacebookBlogWebsite

    A member of Romance Writers of America, and published since 2009, Paris Brandon writes contemporary, paranormal, erotic and historical romance, throwing in a little mystery and suspense for good measure. When not dreaming up stories featuring heroes who aren’t intimidated by strong heroines, she loves rummaging around antique stores for vintage clothes and jewelry. She lives in the mid-west with her husband of many years, and is currently enjoying all of the period dramas on Netflix, and wondering where she can find a hat that makes her look as stylish as Miss Phryne Fisher.
    PinterestTwitterFacebookAmazonWebsite

    An award-winning and eclectic author, Cara Marsi is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She loves a good love story, and believes that everyone deserves a second chance at love. Sexy, sweet, thrilling, or magical, Cara’s stories are first and foremost about the love. Treat yourself today, with a taste of romance. When not traveling or dreaming of traveling, Cara and her husband live on the East Coast of the United States in a house ruled by two spoiled cats who compete for attention.
    TwitterFacebookPinterestWebsite

    AmazonKoboB&NiTunesGooglePlay Goodreads
    Genre: Hot to Sweet Romance

    Follow Your Cowboy Heart by Janice Seagraves
    Max struggles daily to hide his psychic gift with animals. Being a hired hand at a local dairy probably wasn't his best idea, but his mom needs the money he brings in. And there's the dairy owner's sexy daughter he can't stop thinking about. Will he ever have anything other than himself to offer her?

    Cowboys Only by Nicole Morgan
    After running off an adorable brunette, Terry realizes he may have just run off the very woman he never knew he was looking for.

    The Shadows in Our Past by Denyse Bridger
    Enroute home to Gold Ridge, Colorado after their honeymoon, David and Hannah Logan are attacked by a pair of bandits who plunge them back into a past they shared, but never truly came to terms with together... It’s been almost a year since the nightmare of violence and assault tore Hannah from David’s side and left him bereft and angry. When she returned to him, determined to rebuild what they’d lost, the light of love had come with her. Now, a new torment threatens to destroy everything, and Hannah’s biggest enemy might just be David himself…

    Love, Texas Style by Gemma Juliana
    Amy Waterstone must return to the family ranch in Glen Creek, Texas because her father had a serious accident. Then she learns her father compromised the ranch by taking a loan he can’t repay from Chase Storm, the cowboy next door. He’s the one man she never wants to see again. Chase has waited seven years for Amy to come home, and for a chance to redeem himself in her eyes. They’re both older, but are they any wiser?

    Bear Country by Michele Zurlo
    Tasked with scattering the ashes of her beloved aunt at the source of the Big Bear River high in the mountains, Mallory must swallow her pride and ask Gavin, a laconic, sexy ranch hand, to guide her.

    Whiskey’s Sweet Revenge by Krista Ames
    A cocky cowboy. A petite woman vet. A beautiful horse. Garrett doesn’t need a woman in his life. Miranda doesn’t like cocky cowboys. When a horse goes missing, will they learn to work together or kill each other in the process?

    Pleasuring Pandora by Tina Donahue
    This luscious cowboy’s been on her radar for years, but he’s never noticed her. A speeding ticket changes everything, leading to a sultry weekend and no-holds-barred romance—Texas style.




    Janice Seagraves grew up with a deep love of science fiction and adventure stories. Always the consummate artist, she traded in her paint brush for a desktop to write breathless life-affirming novels that celebrate enduring love.
    Facebook ✯ Website

    Nicole Morgan is a USA Today and International best-selling author who has written romance in various genres of romance. She is a proud member of Writerspace, a Romance Books ‘4’ Us Gold Author, as well as being a Sweet and Sexy Diva. Additionally, you will find Nicole writing under the names of Taylor Brooks and Nicki Day. 
    When she isn't busy writing, Nicole also mentors authors, offers administrative services and is the founder of Romance Collections. Find out more about Nicole and her books by visiting her website, or any of her social networks.
    InstagramTwitterFacebookAmazonWebsiteBlogPinterestTumblrServices by Nic

    As an award-winning, best-selling author, Denysé Bridger writes about a multitude of things, always with a touch of romance, passion, and fantasy. Her heroes tend to be alpha men who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the heroine’s heart and trust, while her heroines are strong, 
    emotionally courageous women who put their hearts on the line for the men they love. Passionate, honorable characters drive Denysé’s stories, in whatever genre you find them in.
    Mobile Friendly website ✯ Twitter ✯ Facebook ✯ Blog ✯ Website

    Gemma Juliana loves playing matchmaker to her characters, and takes great joy in creating love stories where two hearts end up beating as one. She has traveled the world, and adds the extra spice of international settings to her stories. Gemma lives with her true love in a cozy Texas cottage along with their teen son and a crafty dog who rules them all. Her muse is nourished with the finest creativity fuels–chocolate and coffee. Gemma loves hearing from readers around the
    world. Stop by her website to sign up for her newsletter and see what she’s written, what’s coming soon, and to receive special offers.
    Twitter ✯ Facebook ✯ Website

    I’m Michele Zurlo, author of the Doms of the FBI and the SAFE Security series and many other stories. I write contemporary and paranormal, BDSM and mainstream—whatever it takes to give my characters the happy endings they deserve. I’m not half as interesting as my characters. My childhood dreams tended to stretch no further than the next book in my to-be-read pile, and I aspired to be a librarian so I could read all day. I ended up teaching middle school, so that fulfilled part of my dream. Some words of wisdom from an inspiring lady had me tapping out stories on my first laptop, so in the evenings, romantic tales flow from my fingertips. I’m pretty impulsive when it comes to big decisions, especially when it’s something I’ve never done before. Writing is just one in a long line of impulsive decisions that turned out to showcase my great instincts. 
    BlogTwitterFacebookNewsletterWebsite

    Krista Ames was born and raised in Indiana. She now resides in Northern Michigan with the love of her life and their 4 children. 
    She is a full time stay-at-home mom and pursues her writing career when she's not chasing kids, cooking or doing laundry.
    GoodreadsTwitterFacebookAmazonWebsite ✯ Pinterest

    Tina Donahue is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. She's won Readers' Choice Awards, RWA awards - Holt Medallion and NEC, and won a Book of the Year award. She’s featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.
    GoodreadsTwitterFacebookTriberrWebsite

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              CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT PART TIME - PenAir - Boston, MA   
    Advises leads of any passenger or flight safety issues. Are you able to obtain airport security clearance? Accurately collects fares and excess baggage charges...
    From PenAir - Thu, 13 Apr 2017 01:18:17 GMT - View all Boston, MA jobs
              Monitronics offers benefits to AAA, AARP members   
    Spencer Ives
    08/24/2016

    In the past couple of weeks, Monitronics has announced new benefits for active members of AARP and AAA, offering benefits both to members signing up for services with Monitronics as well as members who are current customers.

    "These partnerships are set up uniquely utilizing various co-marketing strategies to make their respective member aware of the value and benefits that Monitronics can provide,"  Frank Guido, Monitronics' CMO, told Security Systems News in an email interview.

    "These initiatives were started many months ago, but has been a strategic focus to fuel growth opportunities with high quality, well recognized partners," Guido said. "We are targeting channels that are synergistic to our business and the potential partner’s business.  We are selectively targeting similarly partnerships that provide win-win-win opportunities for customers first, our partner and Monitronics.

    The company announced its partnership with AAA on Aug. 23, which named Monitronics as “the AAA-branded provider for professionally installed residential security monitoring in the organization's Ohio valley and Mid-Atlantic regions, which covers 11 states, including OH, KY, KS, IN, VA, WV, MD, DE, CT, PA, NJ, plus Washington DC.”

    "AAA Alliance is a large regional club for AAA with a member base of over 5.5 [million] members. These members also have excellent attributes and are similar to our base," Guido said.

    Brian St. Leger, managing director, discount partnerships and business for AAA Club Alliance, said in a prepared statement, "We are excited to partner with Monitronics to provide a valuable service at an exclusive discounted rate to our members.

    "We know our members are active, traveling and out enjoying the world and this will help bring them peace of mind while they're away from their home," St. Leger said in the announcement.

    AAA members signing up with the company will get discounts on a specialized AAA package, while members who are already customers will be offered discounts on additional equipment.

    AARP members who sign up with Monitronics will receive equipment and free activation “as well as $5 off their monthly monitoring fee,” the company said in an Aug. 11 announcement.  Existing customers who are also AARP members will be offered discounts when they add on equipment in the future.

    "AARP has a 38M member base and is highly respected brand. Their member base has many positive attributes and similarities to our customer base," Guido said. "Monitronics felt that it could provide AARP members with the best value proposition and service for security and automation. This was affirmed by AARP in the selection of Monitronics in their extensive RFP process."

    How much overlap exists between these organizations' memberships and Monitronics' current customer base? "While there may be some overlap, these organization are vast and provide different avenues to reach new subscribers," Guido said.


              Five Questions: Frank Guido   
    05/24/2016
    Paul Ragusa

    Frank Guido, who recently joined Monitronics as chief marketing officer, has more than 25 years of leadership experience in branding, agency management, digital marketing, advertising, and sales and operations at a number of Fortune 500 companies, including most recently with Windstream and Alltel. Security Systems News recently asked Guido five questions.

    Are you married and do you have children? I just celebrated my 30th anniversary and we have three children—two daughters and a son. One daughter is an aspiring lawyer, one is an art teacher and my son is a senior at Wake Forest. We also have three dogs and three cats, which keep us busy.

    What’s something your coworkers might not know about you?

    Probably my diverse taste in music, as I mentioned what is on my playlist to a couple of folks here and they seemed pretty surprised. I have everything from Radiohead to Waylon Jennings to Drake to Blink, so I listen to a wide variety of music. My kids, who are now adults, keep me in tune on what is really the music I should be listening to, and I tend to agree with them.

    Where are you from originally and where are you based now? Any preferences?

    I grew up in Chicago, went to school at Michigan State, so Chicago is home, but I am loving Dallas. After living in North Carolina, Arkansas and Virginia—south of the Mason Dixon—it would be hard to go back to Chicago with those winters. Dallas is a big city with some vibrancy, and lots of things to do and traffic is not nearly as bad as what I have experienced in Chicago. Plus, it is a big sports town, and the Bears are coming to play the Cowboys in September, and I already have tickets lined up for that.

    What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies?

    I was once an avid runner and I have completed seven marathons. I have calculated that I have run over 30,000 miles. I don’t run anymore, but I love to cycle now, as it is a little easier on the knees. I am originally from Chicago, and I follow all of the Chicago sports teams. It is interesting when people ask me if I am a Cubs or Sox fan, because I grew up a Sox fan but always liked the Cubs, so it is not a love-hate relationship. And this year it is nice to be a fan of both teams because they are both leading their divisions. I moved to Dallas back in November, and was able to catch the Chicago Blackhawks when they came to town to play the Stars, which was really fun to see.

    Do you have a favorite author? I really like Erik Larson, a nonfiction author who has written a number of good books, including Dead Wake, which is about the sinking of the Lusitania, and Devil in the White City, which is one of my all-time favorites. It takes place in Chicago in 1892 when they were awarded the World’s Fair, but they weren’t supposed to get it. So the city had to scramble with architects to really put a façade on the city lakefront property, which was largely marshland back then. So that story parallels with a serial killer that is on the loose in Chicago during this time period when so many people were traveling to the city for the fair. It is just a great read.


              Monitronics partners with telecom for lead generation   
    Frank Guido: Moni may partner with other telecoms
    03/09/2016
    Spencer Ives

    DALLAS—Monitronics has entered a lead generation partnership with telecom company Consolidated Communications, according to Monitronics’ CMO Frank Guido.

    Guido said the partnership benefits both parties. “We get to grow our customers while Consolidated can now launch these security and automation solutions to their entire base of residential—as well as business—clients,” he told Security Systems News.

    Headquartered in Mattoon, Ill., Consolidated’s footprint includes 11 states, stretching from the Midwest region to the Northeast. It has about 1 million customers, Guido said.

    Consolidated will promote Monitronics through its marketing. Monitronics will provide monitoring and servicing; the installation will be handled by one of Monitronics’ partners.

    Accounts gained from this partnership would be mostly residential, he said, and comparable to the rest of Monitronics’ current customer base. Guido declined to say how many accounts this could bring into Monitronics.

    Guido believes that new customers could be more loyal because of the link with their telecom services, he said.

    The partnership represents a “natural fit” to provide customers with a complete solution, Guido said. “Security certainly adds another element or dimension to providing a full package for [Consolidated Communications’] customers.”

    Would Monitronics consider partnerships with other telecoms? “I think that’s a distinct possibility, and … there’s interest from others already being expressed.” 


              Coworkers Caught Fucking On A Stairway Of A Company Building During Working Hours By Security Cam They Didnt Know About   
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              Palo Alto Security Engineer (TS Clearance)   

              These Bollard Security Posts Will Destroy Anything But A Bus!   

    These Bollard Security Posts Will Destroy Anything But A Bus! As we can see from the video, this things lower and allow the buses to go trough, then raise to keep unauthorized vehicles from entering. We don’t know what this drivers were thinking, either they don’t see the post or they think they can follow quickly behind the bus, […]

    The post These Bollard Security Posts Will Destroy Anything But A Bus! appeared first on American Muscle Club.


              Brozzme DB Prefix   
    Easily change your WordPress DB prefix, save time, increase security.
              US demands more security on international flights to US   
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Homeland Security Department is demanding that airlines around the world step up security measures for international flights bound for the United States or face the possibility of a total electronics ban for planes....
              Boy Caught In Shoplifting Gets Punished By Big Ass Security Agent Anna Moriyama   
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              Staying Ahead of the Curve   
    Tenable.io Malicious Code Prevention Report

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    Use Tenable.io to quickly address systems that are at risk

    Once inside your network, malware can disable security controls, gain access to privileged accounts, replicate to other systems, or maintain persistence for long periods of time. If these risks are not addressed quickly, they can result in long term, devastating consequences for any organization. Using the Malicious Code Prevention Report from Tenable.io™ provides you with the visibility needed to quickly address systems that are at risk.

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    Malware also targets the hosts file to insert redirects to malicious sites or block security solutions from obtaining patches and security updates. For organizations utilizing the hosts file, the Malware Scan template provides you with the ability to add whitelist entries that would otherwise be flagged as abnormal by existing security solutions within your environment.

    Malware Scan template

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              Comment on How do you write a book? by edireland   
    Hi Ed...I tried to keep my stories under control once. After they stormed the castle, killed the guards and threw me in the dungeon to think about the horrible fate I had selected for them, I thought better of it. Instead, what I do now is keep side notes on what the ruffians are doing so that their story keeps its continuity. My lads and lassies are a boisterous bunch and run off in all directions. Like you, I have stories and they need to get out. Without my notes, I'm afraid anarchy would take control and my books would make War and Peace seem like a short story. So for me, my notes become my police and allow the story to be told in whatever length it needs to be. Some are short and sweet while others are bordering on a half-million words. In my world, the only control I have over my muse is to just let the little beastie have its way and use my notes as my security line.
              Global Trends in Militarization Needs Global Explanations   


    In my opinion, James Fearon misses an opportunity to link theories together in a productive way. Of the global decline of military spending (% GDP) and mobilization (soldiers per 1,000 citizens) in the postwar era:
    On the domestic side of things, there is pretty good evidence that the spread of democracy has been a significant factor. Not worth getting into the details here, but if you look at the data country by country you find that on average, when countries transition to democracy their military spending and army sizes go down, quite substantially.* In fact they tend to go down when they transition from very autocratic to only somewhat autocratic (that is, to “anocracies”, or semi-democracies using the Polity data). The effect of a democratic transition on arms levels in the state in which the transition occurs looks to be larger than the effect of transitions in neighbors on a state’s own military spending, although this is hard to be sure about statistically due to endogeneity issues. I would guess that most of the democracy effect is a domestic matter—for instance, autocracies want bigger militaries to help put down domestic opposition or to pay off cronies, or democracies want smaller militaries to lower coup threats—but some of it might also be an international effect. That is, if democracies want smaller militaries then this could reduce the demand for big armies in their neighbors.
    Fearon is reporting a trend, not advancing a well-formulated argument, but I still think this is fairly weak. Here are some other things we know about violence in the postwar era:

    -- Interstate violence is at the lowest point in the capitalist era. Given that, it makes perfect sense for military burdens to be at a low point as well. We do not know for certain why the world is so peaceful, but quite a lot of IR theory suggests that American hegemony (which Fearon does not mention) and nuclear weapons (which he does) may have something to do with it. Regarding the former, the American security umbrella covers other democracies and (sometimes) extends to countries transitioning to democracy -- the pacification and democratization of Europe since 1945 is obviously the most pronounced example -- so that could help explain the domestic patterns without telling a ad hoc story about democracies being worried about coup threats (which strikes me as being ahistorical and is in contradiction to the best evidence). Regarding the latter, technology should push down military cost burdens and personnel needed as more and more security mechanisms become computerized and/or automated, at least during times of peace. Nukes are part of that but so are drones, missile technology, cyber capabilities, etc. Given the decline of international conflict and the lower marginal costs of defense why wouldn't we expect the military burden to decrease?

    -- As for the fact that the drop in military burden has happened most in democracies I'd note several things. First, it appears from Fearon's description that many democracies were quite heavily armed in the middle of the 20th century. In Fearon's graph at the link above this is quickly seen by the number of people per 1,000 that were in the military in 1945-1950 in "the West". Given that, I don't think a regime-type explanation works very well. Second, democracies are richer, and richer countries should (on average) spend less on their militaries as a percentage of GDP. That is, there is a almost certainly diminishing returns to spending on security: the 10 trillionth dollar spent on national defense will not get you as much security as the 10 millionth. Among consolidated democracies only the U.S. and Israel spend more than 3% of their GDP on their militaries, and I think there is general agreement that much of the American spending is due to rent-seeking, bureaucratic politics, and its ongoing hegemonic project rather than its regime type.

    -- Almost all conflict which does occur in the international system is intra-state. Intra-state violence tends to happen more in non-democracies than in democracies. Countries in a state of conflict should dedicate more of their resources towards the military than countries in a state of peace. Therefore, because they are more peaceful, democracies should spend fewer resources on the military. The only wrinkle in this involves transitions to democracy, which often involve conflict. The way I read Fearon he's saying that after transitioning to democracy the military burden decreases; I'm not sure if his data could tell us what's happening during democratic transitions, but it would be interesting to know.

    I'm nit-picking a bit here, albeit for a reason. Fearon found some interesting trends, reported them, and then thought-aloud about what might be causing them. There's nothing wrong with that. But the quick-reflex pivot to explanations based on local factors such as regime type is, for me, unsatisfying. Once one takes that step it makes it difficult to think about broader systems, and makes committing an ecological fallacy much more likely. If we're seeing a systemic trend -- lower military burdens everywhere -- then we should seek to make systemic arguments which can account for the trends. Too frequently we try to explain global phenomena by reference to local factors.
              Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose   
    Dan Drezner is kicking Britain -- and the American foreign policy commentariat -- while they're down. The essay is mostly good, although regular readers of this blog probably won't find much of it new, but I must disagree with part of his conclusion:
    There is no denying that the relative power of the United States is less now than it was a decade ago.
    I think that is deniable. A decade ago the U.S. had alienated many of its allies, the United Nations, and all of the BRICs by invading Iraq with a "coalition of the willing" led by a president which half of the country believe did not actually win the 2000 election. Some suggested that American democracy was at risk at home, while its foreign partnerships -- especially NATO -- were similarly endangered. A decade ago the U.S. was still recoiling from the 9/11 attacks and was braced for a very dangerous future. A decade ago the European Union was resurgent, Iran was less isolated (and more recalcitrant), and China was building up its "Beijing Consensus". All of the talk in IR/FP circles was about decoupling, anti-American balancing, the end of legitimacy of American economic leadership via multilateral institutions like the IMF, WTO, and World Bank, and the end of security leadership via the UN and NATO. For all of George W. Bush's posturing, the U.S. faced some very severe challenges, and handled almost all of them pretty poorly.

    Some of these persist, but Drezner is correct to note that at this point all of the potential challengers to U.S. primacy have faltered, while the U.S. is picking itself back up. We're talking about "relative" power, remember, so let's just ask who is on the other side of the U.S. in this equation. The E.U.? The BRICs?

    Sean Starrs has a very interesting paper out on "early view" in International Studies Quarterly making the case that American economic superiority hasn't slipped at all since the crisis. Here's the abstract:
    This paper argues that a fundamental failing in the debate on the decline of American economic power is not taking globalization seriously. With the rise of transnational corporations (TNCs), transnational modular production networks, and the globalization of corporate ownership, we can no longer give the same relevance to national accounts such as balance of trade and GDP in the twenty-first century as we did in the mid-twentieth. Rather, we must summon data on the TNCs themselves to encompass their transnational operations. This will reveal, for example, that despite the declining global share of United States GDP from 40% in 1960 to below a quarter from 2008 onward, American corporations continue to dominate sector after sector. In fact, in certain advanced sectors such as aerospace and software—even in financial services—American dominance has increased since 2008. There are no serious contenders, including China. By looking at the wrong data, many have failed to see that American economic power has not declined—it has globalized.
    This paper is interesting in two ways. First, it recasts the discussion away from monadic attributes -- GDP share, say -- towards global categories -- market share of American multinational corporations. Second, it suggests that the old "relative power" discussions, which tend to be cast in dyadic terms, is also inappropriate. Instead we need to think globally. If China increases its GDP share relative to the U.S. but does so by importing American technology, adding a small amount of value, then exporting a finished product, the statistics will show a big GDP boost from exports but can we really say China has gained on the U.S. in any meaningful way? As Susan Strange once wrote, becoming a blue collar worker in service to American white collar management does not make you more powerful than the Americans. The old dependency theorists understood this quite well even if they got some other things wrong. Add to this Benjamin Cohen's recent work (with Tabitha Benney) showing that the US dollar has not slipped in importance in the monetary system (recent events have demonstrated this), and my dissertation (recently defended) showing that American prominence in global banking has increased since the crisis, and the overall picture looks clear: relative to recent history, the U.S.'s power position has not changed and has in some ways improved.

    At the same time, China's immaturity has made many of its neighbors nervous. Japan, Korea, and Australia have increased security and economic ties with the U.S. which had slipped a bit a decade ago. The Transpacific Partnership will likely extend these gains. China's inability to encourage others to bandwagon with it is evidence that it has not gained much, if any, leverage on the United States. China's increasing reliance on the world's baddies -- which are increasingly under threat -- as sources of raw materials and markets for trade and FDI is not an indication that it is moving it into a position at the core of the global system. The inability of China to make ASEAN+3 a meaningful institution -- or develop any other -- is another weak spot, as is its recent growth slowdown, financial instability, and the fact that it faces 250-500 domestic protests per day.

    Or perhaps I could put it another way. If, in 2003, I had told you that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would be a disaster, the U.S. would propagate the worst global financial crisis since the 1930s, the Middle East would be in utter turmoil, the biggest development in American politics is the rise of right- and left-wing protest movements, China would grow at 10%/year over the course of the decade and that the net result of all of this is that the U.S. has become more prominent in the global economic and security systems... you'd probably think I was insane.

    But that's what's happened.
              Tree Don't Care What A Little Bird Sings   


    I have not read much of Robert Fogel's work, not much at all, but I may need to read more of it. A Fine Theorem, one of the more under-appreciated blogs, has a summary of Fogel's Without Consent or Contract. Here's part of it:
    ... the paradox rests on the widely held assumption that technological efficiency is inherently good. It is this beguiling assumption that is false and, when applied to [American] slavery, insidious.”  

    Roughly, it was political change alone, not economic change, which could have led to the end of slavery in America. The plantation system was, in fact, a fairly efficient system in the economic sense, and was not in danger of petering out on its own accord.
    Here's the rest.

    There are multiple views of the politics of technology. (Technology is, at its core, information aggregation.) One says that technology is liberating. Another says that technology is enslaving. Another says that technology is fueled by the state for purposes of control. (Oddly, skeptics of markets often make the first point of that point without understanding that the second point is the corollary.) Technology can destabilize the political equilibrium (but does that only apply if it goes in one direction? I doubt it). It's worth googling a bit for the views of Farrell, Drezner, and Lynch on this. It's worth noting that modern authoritarian regimes try to get to the technological frontier as rapidly as possible but they tend to have a tough time managing it. Francis Spufford's Red Plenty is on sale at Amazon right now, if you don't mind probably giving some of your metadata to the NSA.

    Sarah Jaffe (on Twitter) asked for a political economy of the surveillance state. (Here's a short take, not very good.) I haven't got the time or background knowledge to build a real model, but if I was going to I'd start with Tilly and Scott and Weber at the foundation and ask what purpose this really serves. Knowledge is power, is it not? Power is needed for protection (in the Tillian sense), is it not? After that I'd go to Orwell like everyone already is, but not the dystopian cliches. Remember in 1984 that Winston Smith was pretty much the only one in society bothered by Big Brother. (Probably not, if you've read your Timur Kuran, but as far as Smith could tell he nearly enough was.) Everybody else just got on with it. The proles sang their songs and read their magazines. Sure, Julia was a bit inconvenienced by the whole thing, but it's not like she really had principles.

    Now think about Havel. Now think about samizdat. Is information so easily controllable? Can the state not oppress on the basis of allegation, innuendo, or missing data? Can the citizenry not resist simply by living? Does the state need all information to "keep the locals in line" or just a vague threat -- the vaguer the better? Corey Robin addresses this and gives a precis of his book on the politics of fear. Stalin didn't have Bukharin's metadata... just the ability to credibly say "we know where your kids are". That hasn't changed. Yglesias is right: the biggest thing to fear from the surveillance state isn't the state, per se. But that's a micro story, and micro stories can dictate macro policies.

    The U.S. public is not concerned about this. To the extent they are it's for partisan reasons, not out of principle. Note that this is not new. Note that, so far, it appears that these programs are legal at least in broad terms. Intellectuals are more concerned that the median pollee, as they should be, since they are much more likely to be targeted than a randomly-selected person. (If I was Glenn Greenwald I'd go back to snail mail and pay phones for a good long while.) But so? Democratic politics does not guarantee puppies and roses. As we debate whether or not this is constitutional we should remember that James Buchanon's insights do not only apply to economic policy. We should also remember that politicians and celebrities have been subject to heavier levels of scrutiny than this for as long as there has been human society.

    Data, even metadata, can be used for ill. (Or good, as the case may be, since the 21st century version of Paul Revere is probably someone Healy wouldn't meet for a beer at Ye Olde Tavern. Possibly this isn't what Healy's driving at.) But let's not get carried away. The U.S. government is sophisticated in many ways, but this program has only $20mn in funding. Let's say they spend $5mn of that on high-powered computers (that's probably less than what the supercomputer I ran a bunch of my dissertation on cost), and the rest on twenty-somethings making $200k/year each (as Snowden apparently did). That's 75 guys trying to make sense of the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day. Good luck with that. (No I don't believe only $20mn was funneled into this. Not for a moment do I believe that. But I'm not sure how much $20bn could really do absent some good old fashioned police work.)

    So after you've read the Spufford (or even before) you might want to read some of the discussion at Crooked Timber on the book. See especially this wonderclass by Shalizi which has as much to say about social science theory and methods as it does about historical political systems or the contemporary political economy of the surveillance state or novels. The key question is Shalizi's first one: what is being optimized?

    Then recall that Hayek's slippery slope is a logical fallacy to which the historical record is not kind. Should we be less concerned? Probably depends on how concerned you were in the first place... anonymity is a myth.

    Remember too that the government oppresses and kills and makes terrible decisions when it doesn't have good intelligence. Given that, is the expected utility of (American or other) society better or worse with PRISM or without it? Apparently this program stopped one or more attacks at the London Olympics. What would the cost of those attacks have been? Was preventing them worth $20mn dollars plus some false positives? (The TSA spends $6.5 billion a year and probably gets almost nothing for it.) Could PRISM have stopped Nidal Hasan had it been better-implemented? If it could have, would it be worth it? We are quite literally behind the veil of ignorance at the moment (just a bit less in the wake of Snowden's leaks), but if we take engaged citzenry to be a desirable normative end in itself we need to put our Bayesian caps on now and start updating our priors.

    What tail event has a greater probability: that this program is abused in such a way that it devastates liberal society, or that it prevents a significant attack the fallout from which would devastate the same society?

    In the end the biggest repercussions of NSA spying might be felt in the US-EU trade negotiations.

    Nevertheless, I oppose PRISM and related programs very strongly. I do so because I am not risk-averse.

    I believe this is the most Cowen-esque thing I've ever written. I also believe that every link in this post is worth clicking on.
                 
    We're now heading towards the end of June and our move is getting that much closer!!
    Our trip back to Hungary for Erika's uncle's funeral was as to be expected, emotional with many family members coming together for the 1st time in many years.
    We've both told our bosses that we intend to leave work at the end of August and travel over to Hungary mid September, starting our new jobs in October. We've been fortunate to have both been granted career breaks so if things don't work out then we can come back to our old jobs, along with renting our house out in England rather than selling up we have as much security as possible.
    Erika and I are planning on riding over to Hungary for the Hungarian Bike Week in July but instead of spending the week at the show we'll be spending most of our time sourcing materials for our new house. Then in August I'm going back with Erika's brother Joe who's kindly given up a week of his annual leave to travel to Sirok and get as much of the renovations done as possible so that we can start to rent our house out over there. The more money we can get coming in, the sooner we can stop working altogether.
    And back home we have so much work to do on our house here before we can rent it out, along with working as much overtime as i can get and Erika starting a new position things are pretty stressful. Our emotions have been all over the place recently.
              Карма_елеонора: Программа паразит, что это такое и как от неё избавиться?   

    Это цитата сообщения Владимир_Шильников Оригинальное сообщение
    img4 (640x480, 37Kb)Сегодня мы поговорим о вредоносном ПО. Речь пойдёт о так называемых программах паразитах. Это не совсем вирусы, или совсем не вирусы. Что по сути такое программ паразит? Это обычная программа, которую мы устанавливаем против своей воли. Другими словами, из-за своей невнимательности.

    Вы обратили внимание, что, когда вы устанавливаете какую-нибудь программу из торрент сайтов, то, зачастую, во время установки, появляются предложения с галочками, которые нам предлагают что-то установить.

    Нужно всегда читать, что вам предлагают установить. Я, обычно, данные галочки убираю. Например, каждый раз, при обновлении Adobe Flashe Player, на странице сайта обновления, нам предлагают установить программу McAfee Security Scan Plus.

    установка Adobe flashe

    Это своего рода брандмауэр. Вещь, конечно, полезная. Но зачем он мне нужен, если у меня файрволл встроен в антивирус? Меня сейчас устраивает файрволл ESET Smart Security. Два файрволла не любят друг друга. Сейчас, как видите из скриншота, с данного сайта предлагается ещё установить и True Key™ by Intel Security.

    Это программа хранения паролей. Что интересно, подобными программами иногда становятся уважаемые программы или софты уважаемых компаний.

    Так, свои программы паразиты довольно часто распространяет компания Яндекс, очень уважаемая в России, в основном благодаря своей поисковой системе. Яндекс не брезгует подсовывать в различные программы свой Менеджер Браузеров. Который, мало кому нужен.

    элементы яндекса

    Также, Яндекс постоянно предлагает установить свой браузер и сделать его браузером по умолчанию. Компания Яндекс в свой поисковик могла бы добавить какой-нибудь элемент распознания, установлен ли её браузер на компьютере, или нет? А то, эти предложения об установке того, что уже установлено, раздражают.

    Также, Яндекс браузер любит встраиваться в загрузку компьютера, и его оттуда трудно удалить. Не брезгует программами паразитами и компания Майл, также уважаемая в России. Она уже многих достала своими Майл Спутниками и прочее. Тоже можно сказать и про браузер Амиго. Я его из принципа устанавливать не буду.

    Этим же занимаются и социальные сети, вроде ВКонтакте, Одноклассники и др. К чему все это говорится, а к тому, что, если подобные гиганты, вроде Яндекса, распространяют свои программы паразиты, что говорить о маленьких, никому не известных программ и фирм.

    Как не допустить заражение компьютера подобным паразитом

    1. Первым делом, скачивайте программы с известных сайтов. Но, и оттуда можно подхватить подобную гадость.

    2. Во время загрузки на компьютер программ с помощью Торрента, обратите внимание на так называемую «Тихую установку» в самом Торренте. Рядом с нужным файлом будет стоять файл под названием «Тихая установка».

    В чем её суть? Не успели вы ещё закачать программу с торрент сайта, а к вам уже установились различные Майл Агенты, ВК, bing bar, Менеджер Браузеров и прочее. Если в торренте стоит «Тихая установка», то, не зная, что это такое, лучше не закачивайте с этого Торрент сайта нужную вам программу. Или, по крайней мере, уберите галочку «Тихая установка».

    тихая установка

    3. Следите за галочками во время установки очередного софта. Если программа на английском языке, и вы не понимаете, что написано рядом с галочкой, или переведите данное выражение, или просто подстрахуйтесь и уберите непонятную вам галочку.

    4. Самый простой способ – установите программу Unchecky. Она бесплатна. Unchecky следит за всеми программами, которые вы устанавливаете, и оповещает вас, что такая-то программа пытается установиться вместе с устанавливаемой. Также, данный софт убирает лишние, неуказанные галочки.

    Установите программу 2IPStartGuart. Суть её в том, что, ели какая-то программа пытается забраться к вам в автозагрузку, вы увидите следующее сообщение:

    сообщение о новой автозагрузки

    Разумеется, нажимаем «Запретить». Не стоит давать программе устанавливаться в автозагрузку.

    Как удалить программы паразиты

    Удалить подобные программы часто бывает довольно трудно. Первым делом, советуем использовать специальный софт для деинсталляции. К примеру, программу Revo Uninstaller. Вам вполне подойдёт и бесплатный вариант. О ней также есть статья «Как удалить программу».

    Открываете данную программу, и просматриваете через Revo, какие новые программы забрались к вам в систему. Через Revo Uninstaller эту нежелательную программу и удаляем.

    Если в Revo программу пришельца не видно, то просматриваем программы через панель управления. Далее, удаляем все программы, которые вы установили за сегодняшнее число. Программы часто меняют названия, поэтому, нужно удалить все, установленные в этот день.

    После удаления очередной программы, не забывайте чистить реестр. Лучше других чистит Reg Organizer. Но, она платная. Можно попробовать обычный бесплатный CCleaner. Очень хорошая программа.

    Далее, можно почистить компьютер утилитой AdwCleaner. Довольно хорошо чистить компьютер. После чистки данной утилитой, опять чистим реестр и тщательно проверяем операционную систему тем антивирусом, который у вас установлен.

    Если у вас нет никакого антивируса, предлагаю удалить вредителя с помощью Dr.Web CureIt. Очень хорошая утилита удаления, отлично удаляет разные вредоносные программы. Вполне возможно, что Dr.Web CureIt лучше, чем тот антивирус, который у вас установлен. Скачивать данную утилиту нужно непосредственно в день удаления. Так как вам нужны будут новые базы данных для антивируса.

    http://info-kibersant.ru/programma-parazit.html

    Серия сообщений "ЦИТАТЫ из дневника Шильникова-6":
    ЦИТАТЫ из дневника Шильникова-6
    Часть 1 - Как сохранить документ, если завис Microsoft Word.
    Часть 2 - Как ускорить работу компьютера?
    ...
    Часть 31 - Ошибки Windows исправляем и защищаем систему.
    Часть 32 - Textify 1.5.1 - программа для копирования некопируемого текста.
    Часть 33 - Программа паразит, что это такое и как от неё избавиться?


              INFOSEC 101: Breaking Down Scary Terms and What They Mean   

    I am not a hacker. But I understand the information security world. It’s a scary place, unfortunately, to people who have no exposure to it. Yesterday, WordPress 3.0.4 was released as a critical release… and it was. Matt explained the reason for the release in this way: Version 3.0.4 of WordPress…is a very important update …

    The post INFOSEC 101: Breaking Down Scary Terms and What They Mean appeared first on Technosailor.com.


              U.S. Supreme Court Interpretation Permits Thousands of “Church Plans” – Including Many for Hospitals and Health Systems – to Remain Exempt from ERISA   
    On June 5, 2017, the United States Supreme Court unanimously adopted a “broad” interpretation of the exemption allowed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) for “church plans.”   The decision effectively permits thousands of retirement plans adopted by church-affiliated organizations – including numerous hospitals, schools and social-service organizations – to remain exempt from most … Continue reading U.S. Supreme Court Interpretation Permits Thousands of “Church Plans” – Including Many for Hospitals and Health Systems – to Remain Exempt from ERISA
              Pervert Security Guard Blackmail Business Milf Lady To Fuck   
    Watch Pervert Security Guard Blackmail Business Milf Lady To Fuck at XXXPorn.rs - best free online XXXPorn videos for you to enjoy.
              ITS Security Specialist - BlueShore Financial - British Columbia   
    Our values unite our organization and are our guiding compass. Be Richly Valued....
    From BlueShore Financial - Thu, 20 Apr 2017 03:28:34 GMT - View all British Columbia jobs
              Suzuki GSF600 Bandit Streetfighter 2003   
    Suzuki GSF 600 SK3 Bandit 2003 STREETFIGHTER Manufacturer: Suzuki Model: GSF600SK3 Bandit Type: Sports Touring Mileage: 13000miles Date of 1st Registration: 24 February 2003 New tyres (front one has less than 4 miles) MOT: FEB 2011 Road tax: May 2010. Extra Features: Alpha Dot security system, Nearly new tyres Viper exhaust can Rear hugger, Renthal bars with small mirrors, Tank pad, "terminator" type headlamp, aftermarket indicators, Few scratches on the underseat fairing Colour: silver HPI CLEAR, Veryfied with VOSA mileage as follows: 10th February 2007 - mileage 8985miles 15th February 2008 - mileage 10672miles 11th February 2009 - mileage 12156miles 22nd February 2010 - mileage 12969miles
              2004 Yamaha R1   
    Date of Manufacture: Nov 2004 Engine Capacity (cc): 998 cc Date of 1st Registration: 17 Sep 2004 Power: 180 Bhp Colour: Red Factory, Aftermarket Warranty Gears: Six-speed manual Drive Type: Chain Start Type: Electric start Customised Features: Tail-Lights, Turn Signals Extra Features: Immobiliser, Security Alarm, Oggy Knobs, Trackstand pick-ups, RadGuard 3 ignition keys (including the RED duplication key+stamped number tag) Alarm with two remotes Original Tool Kit (complete) Original Owners Manual Yamaha Service + Parts Catalogue (assembly) manuals Spare levers (1 clutch and 1 brake. I carried these things just in case) Always garaged I used the bike for (highway) commuting + some w/e rides Never crashed Bagster tank bag (black) Rad Guard (radiator guard) Oggi Knobs Track Stand pick-up knobs New front + Rear tires (Nov 2009) New pads and fluids all round (Nov 2009)
              Nightlife Security - Part Time - The Miami Beach EDITION (1700145P)   
    Here’s To Your Journey with EDITION EDITION is one of Marriott International’s 30 renowned hotel brands. As the world’s leading Hospitality Company, we offer unmatched opportunities for associates to grow and succeed. We believe a great career is a journey of discovery and exploration. The The Miami Beach EDITION located at 2901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, 33139 is currently hiring a Nightlife Security - Part Time. Nightlife Security - Part Time Responsibilities include: Patrol all areas... DOE
              Akademy Qt5 QtQuick course and Nokia N9 fun   

    KDE Project:

    I went to the day long course on Monday given by KDAB, about QtQuick for Qt5, and it was excellent. I had used Qt4 and QML for a Symbian phone project earlier this year, and the combination worked very well.

    The course started with the basics, and in most repects Qt5 QML is pretty similar to the Qt4 version. I learned a few things about the parts of QML that I hadn't tried like state machines and transitions. It got interesting at the end when Kevin Ottens explained how you could include OpenGL fragment and vertex shaders in QML. This Pimp my video: shader effects and multimedia blog on Qt Labs show some sample code and a video of what it looks like running on a phone. My personal OpenGL foo isn't up to writing my own shaders, but there is a pretty complete library of canned effects, such as drop shadows, that comes with Qt5.

    At lunch time, Quim Gil announced that all the registered attendees would receive Nokia N9 phones, and when we got them it felt like Christmas had come early this year for me. It really is a very fine phone. The UI is polished with plenty of apps, and the industrial design is slick. I tried the SIM from my ancient dumb Nokia phone and unfortunately it was too big to fit. I will have to get the data transferred to another card, or someone told me that it was possible to cut down an old large SIM to make it smaller. I am certainly looking forward to try it out as a phone.

    Today I've been getting the N9 working as a development device. It is quite straightforward and you just need to activate 'developer mode' via an option on the Security settings panel. Then you configure Qt Creator with SSH keys to connect via the N9's USB cable (or WLAN works too) and you're done. I got a Hello World app working, and then tried to port the large Symbian app to the N9. The port was a bit more trouble than I was expecting due to a problem with upper case characters in the app name, and other problems related to doing development under Mac OS X. I had developed the Symbian app under Linux and Windows, and I think it would be best to give up on Mac OS X for the N9 and use Linux instead.

    I ssh'd onto the N9 and fished around a bit to see what was there. It has perfectly standard Debian packaging, and when you build an app in Qt Creator a .deb is transferred to /tmp and installed from there. The root partition has 2GB free to install apps which should be plenty and there was another partition with 7GB free for pictures, documents, maps and so on.

    I did some work on the QSparql library that is used for interfacing Qt apps with the Tracker Nepomuk store, and it was nice to see that the lib came with the phone. But it didn't come with the driver for accessing SPARQL endpoints though, and I couldn't find that driver with an 'apt-cache search' query. I might have to build and install it myself.

    I noticed that none of the apps that were pre-installed used QML, and they used the obsolete MeegoTouch libs instead. I asked about installing Qt5 on the N9 at the QtQuick course and apparently it is quite straightforward.

    I can confirm what other people have said about the N9, and how great the UI and phyisical design is, with a very nice development environment. I also thought Qt/QML on Symbian works really well. So I feel puzzled by Stephen Elop's unsuccessful Windows Phone 7 strategy. If WP7 isn't taking off now, I can't see how WP8 based on the Windows NT kernel is going to be any more successful. I can't imagine why anyone would want to buy a WP7 device when Microsoft announced the other week that there would be no forward path for existing WP7 phones to run WP8.

    I saw Aaron Seigo and Sebastian Kugler give a couple of great presentations about Plasma Active at the Akademy conference last weekend. The highlight was Aaron laying into so called 'Tech Pundits' who said that Plasma Active can't possibly compete with Android. Aaron pointed out that actually Android had Plasma Active had nothing much in common, and the clueless pundits were doing something like criticizing an Italian meal at a restaurant for not being a French meal. An activity based tablet is made of very different stuff to the conventional 'Bucketful of Apps' approach used by Android and iOS. By not competing with that approach head on, and having a very lean operation they can construct a viable business even with relatively small sales.

    If the Nepomuk store in Plasma Active can be used as a basis for the activity based app integration then so could the similar (although less powerful) Tracker store in the N9. That is another powerful capability of the N9 that has yet to be exploited by 3rd party apps. The N9 Tracker app data integration is much more powerful than the Windows Phone 7 hubs and active tiles. Perhaps some kind of nice notification center is perhaps the main N9 feature that could be improved as far as I can see.

    Oh well, I just hope that Nokia will be able to sort themselves out, and recover from the train wreck that they appear to be at present. And thanks again guys for the N9.


              Screen Locking in Fedora Gnome 3   

    KDE Project:

    I wanted to try out Fedora 15 with Gnome 3 running under VirtualBox on my iMac before I went to the Berlin Summit. I've already tried using Unity-2d on Ubuntu, and I thought I if I had some real experience with Gnome 3 as well, I could have a bit more of an informed discussion with our Gnome friends and others at the Summit.

    Sadly it didn't go all that well. Installing the basic distro went fine, but I couldn't manage to install VirtualBox Guest tools so that 3D graphics acceleration would work. The tools built fine, but the 'vboxadd' kernel module was never installed and there was no clue why in the build log. Then while I made a first attempt at writing this blog, Virtual Box crashed my machine and I lost everything. So it looks like I'll stick with VMWare for a bit yet even though it doesn't have 3D acceralation for Linux.

    I discovered that Gnome 3 locks the screen, when it goes dim, by default just like I found Kubuntu and Mandriva did recently. I had a look at where that option is defined and it was under 'Screen'. So Screen locking was under 'Screen' and I managed to guess where it was first time. Score some points for Gnome usuability vs KDE there! Even so I still don't think it is a 'Screen' thing it is a 'Security' thing. Interestingly Ubuntu doesn't lock the screen by default. Does that mean Fedora and KDE are aimed at banks, while Ubuntu is more aimed at the rest of us?

    In contrast, I had spent a lot of time going round the KDE options and failing to find it how to turn off screen locking. Thanks to dipesh's comments on my recent blog about virtual machines and multi booting USB sticks he pointed out that it was under 'Power Saving', and I managed to turn it off on my Mandriva install. There were also options under power saving to disable the various notifications that had annoyed me so much like the power cable being removed. Excess notifications are a real pain and it is very important to be disiplined about when to output them in my opinion. It feels like some programmer has mastered the art of sending notifications, and they want to show that skill off to the world.

    Another app that outputs heroic numbers of notifications is Quassel when it starts up. I get a bazillion notifications about every channel it has managed to join, that I really, really don't care about. I think developers need to ask the question 'if the user was given notification XXX how would they behave differently, compared to how they would have behaved if they never received it in the first place?'. For instance, I can't imagine what I would do differently if I am told the power cord is disconnected, when it was me who just pulled it out. Maybe it would be useful if you had a computer where the power cord kept randomly falling out of its socket. Or with Quassel, do I sit watching the notfications for the twenty different IRC channels that I join waiting for '#kde-devel' so I can go in immediately. In fact I can't do anything with my computer because it is jammed up with showing me notfications.

    Unlike Kubuntu, Mandriva was able to suspend my laptop when the lid was shut even when the power cord was connected.

    The default behaviour on both Kubuntu and Mandriva with my HP 2133 netbook when I opened the lid, was to wake up with lots of notifications that I wasn't interested in, force me to enter my password in a screen lock dialog that I didn't want, and then immediately go back to sleep. This was actually the last straw I had with Kubuntu, and I was really surprised that Mandriva 2011 was exactly the same.

    I had a look at my Mac System Preferences and couldn't find any way to lock the screen. The closest equivalent was in the 'Security' group that allowed you to system to log you out after x minutes of inactivity. That option certainly isn't on by default. Macs go to sleep when you close the lid, and wake up when you open the lid without a lot of fuss or bother.

    Anyhow I look forward to seeing everyone in Berlin..


              Cabinet Meeting an Embarrassing Spectacle, Puts President Trump's Deep Personal Insecurities on Full Display   
    From Day 1 of his candidacy, I, and many others, have argued that Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit for the Office of the Presidency.  It seems like very day since then , Donald Trump, now President Trump, finds new ways to prove that assertion correct.  Yesterday was no exception.

    On Monday, President Trump held his first cabinet meeting.  He began with a completely false personal assessment of the first nearly five months of his Presidency, which included this whopper of a lie:
    "Never has there been a president....with few exceptions...who's passed more legislation, who's done more things than I have."
    I can only assume that President Trump doesn't know what the term "legislation" actually means. He apparently thinks it includes the numerous executive orders he's issued, most of which are nothing more than press releases.



    But then the cabinet meeting got even more bizarre.   After the President's opening, he prompted each cabinet member to give obviously prepared speeches on how great President Trump is and how fortunate they are to work for such a great man.  The New York Times reports on the spectacle:

    “The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” Mike Pence said, starting things off.
    “I am privileged to be here — deeply honored — and I want to thank you for your commitment to the American workers,” said Alexander Acosta, the secretary of labor.
    Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, had just returned from Mississippi and had a message to deliver. “They love you there,” he offered, grinning across the antique table at Mr. Trump.
    Reince Priebus, the chief of staff whose job insecurity has been the subject of endless speculation, outdid them all, telling the president — and the assembled news cameras — “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.”
    So it went on Monday in the Cabinet Room of the White House, as Mr. Trump transformed a routine meeting of senior members of his government into a mood-boosting, ego-stroking display of support for himself and his agenda. While the president never explicitly asked to be praised, Mr. Pence set the worshipful tone, and Mr. Trump made it clear he liked what he heard.
    It is disconcerting that President Trump feels such personal insecurity that he needs to have his ego publicly stroked, especially by members of the cabinet who supposed to be giving him honest advice, not simply being "yes" men and women.

    The cabinet is made up of many successful generals, business men and women and government officials.  It is appalling that almost all of them were willing to set aside their pride and integrity, to grovel at the feet of President Trump, kissing his ring.

    There were a few exceptions, the most notable being General Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense, who deviated from the scripted praise of Trump to say it is an "honor to represent the men and women of the Department of Defense, and we are grateful for the sacrifices our people are making in order to strengthen our military so our diplomats always negotiate from a position of strength."   
    Trump, who sat next to Mattis, was clearly not pleased.
              Turkish President's Bodyguards Beat Peaceful Protesters in Washington, DC   
    The Wall Street Journal reports;
    WASHINGTON—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security team was accused Wednesday of taking part in an unprovoked attack on protesters in the U.S. capital, marring a Washington visit for the second year in a row. 
    District of Columbia police have joined the Secret Service and State Department in an investigation of what Police Chief Peter Newsham said appeared to be an unprovoked and “brutal attack on peaceful protesters” that sent nine people to the hospital on Tuesday. One police officer and two members of the Secret Service were also injured in the clashes, according to the police and a U.S. official. 


    The attacks were captured on video and shared widely on social media, drawing denunciations from the State Department, U.S. lawmakers, the city’s mayor, and the police chief. 
    “This is the United States of America,” U.S. Sen. John McCain, (R., Ariz.), said on Twitter. “We do not do this here. There is no excuse for this thuggish behavior.”
    According to protesters and video showing the attacks, a few dozen demonstrators marched to the Turkish ambassador’s residence, where Mr. Erdogan was speaking, to protest his first official visit to Washington to meet President Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday. 
    The demonstrators included a mix of people opposed to Mr. Erdogan’s crackdown on opposition lawmakers, journalists, diplomats and military officers. They were met by a group of Erdogan supporters, District of Columbia police and members of the Turkish president’s security detail. 
    ... 
    The Turkish Embassy cast the demonstrators as terrorist sympathizers of Kurdish separatists known as the PKK who were “aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled” to support Mr. Erdogan. The Erdogan supporters “responded in self-defense,” leaving one seriously injured, the Embassy said. 
    “The violence and injuries were the result of this unpermitted, provocative demonstration,” the Embassy said. “We hope that, in the future, appropriate measure will be taken to ensure that similar provocative actions causing harm and violence do not occur.”
    Former President Barack Obama refused to meet with Erdogan who has jailed journalists and suppressed civil liberties in a crackdown on political opponents following a coup attempt.  President Trump, however, has praised the Turkey strongman who since has assumed dictatorial powers. President Trump offered no criticism of the beatings of peaceful protesters.  The State Department, however, told reporters that it was communicating corn about the incident to the Turkish government "in the strongest possible terms" and that {v]iolence is never an appropriate response to free speech."


              More Flynn Foreign Payments Revealed; Trump-Friendly National Enquirer Labels Flynn a "Russian Spy"   
    A few weeks ago it was revealed that General Michael T. Flynn, who advised President Trump on foreign policy, and briefly served as National Security Adviser in the Trump administration, was acting as an agent of of a foreign government, namely Turkey.  Flynn's company received $530,000 for 90 days of work to investigate and undermine a political opponent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who engaged in a political crackdown after surviving a military coup.

    That's $5,889 a day that Flynn's firm was being paid by Turkish interests, all the while traveling around
    General Michael T. Flynn
    the country with the Donald Trump campaign.  It's a good gig if you can get it.

    But it turns out, there were more payments. Recently, Flynn amended federal disclosure documents to show payments from Russian outfits, i.e. Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Kapersky Government Security Solutions, Inc, each of which paid him $11,250.  Flynn was also paid $45,000 by RT, the state Russian news agency, for a speech he gave in 2015, another payment he failed to disclose.

    Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, indicated the payments might result in a referral to the General Accounting Office, which might ask for a return of all the money.  As Rep. Chaffetz notes, former military officers simply are not allowed to take these type of payments.  It is not a stretch to think there might be criminal liability involved with the payments, which might further explain why Flynn is requesting immunity for his testimony.

    An interested and related development comes from of all places, the National Enquirer.  Last week's edition of the supermarket tabloid had blazened across the front page the headline:  "TRUMP CATCHES RUSSIAN'S WHITE HOUSE SPY!"    Here is a summary:

    Add caption

    Here is the start of the article inside the paper:




    National Enquirer's CEO David Pecker is a good friend of President Trump.   Pecker's publication has enthusiastically supported his campaign for President.  During various points in the campaign, the National Enquirer published scandalous (and unverified) stories about Trump's opponents which Trump then used on the campaign stump.  These National Enquirer stories includes the bizarre piece claiming that Sen. Ted Cruz's father was involved in the plot to assassinate President Kennedy.  Despite the absurd stories that regularly appear in the magazine, President Trump has on several occasions said the Enquirer is a credible source of information..

    While the Enquirer has zero credibility as a news source, the story calling Flynn a Russian spy is noteworthy for this reason:   The story almost certainly didn't go to print with Trump's direct or indirect blessing.  The story represents the beginning of the new spin that Trump wasn't personally complicit with Russian meddling in the campaign, that he was instead a victim from unscrupulous Russian agents like Flynn.

    General Flynn take a look at the Trump bus.  You're going to soon find yourself underneath it.
              VP Pence Shows Pres. Trump How Conservatives Can Successfully Handle The Liberal Media   
    The Indianapolis Star reports:
    WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence joked Saturday night that the most embarrassing part of the recent news that he used a personal email account while Indiana’s governor is that millions of Americans learned he was one of the few people in the country to still have an AOL account. 
    Vice President Mike Pence
    “My wife said it was good for my image,” Pence said at the Gridiron Club dinner, a white-tie dinner of speeches, skits and songs put on by Washington's oldest journalism organization. “She said now America knows I’m not stuck in the ‘50s. I’m just stuck in the ‘90s.” 
    Pence also read some of the comments made on Twitter after IndyStar broke the story Thursday that raised questions about the security and government transparency of the AOL account, which was hacked last summer.  
    Among the social media slams: “Your grandma is hipper than Mike Pence.” Another said: “This is the most I’ve heard about American Online since I last saw the free disks on a counter at Blockbuster. #MakeAOLGreatAgain.” 
    Pence was the headline speaker at the dinner, which takes a humorous look at the political scene.  He wore a black tie to the white-tie event, which he said he thought he could get away with until House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asked him to refill her coffee.  
    ... 
    Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who represented the Republicans, said she’s impressed that Pence never needs a teleprompter. “Maybe that’s because every speech begins with, `Let me explain what the president meant to say,’” Ernst said. “And thank you for that. 
    The Mike Pence I remember from law school was an outspoken, unapologetic conservative. But he also had an engaging personality and a wonderful sense of humor that won over even die-hard liberals at that school.  I am not sure where Pence's personality and sense of humor went during his four years as Governor (I blame his advisers who didn't know how to use Pence's greatest assets), but they appear to have returned as Vice President.  It is good that they did.  He will need those tools given the train wreck that the Trump presidency appears to be.

    Pence's performance at the Gridiron shows how conservatives should handle the media.  No doubt most journalists have a liberal-bent and want to see conservative politicians fail.  But journalists also have many other things that influence their writing, even more so than political philosophy.  Pence appears to understand that and knows that winning them over as a "nice guy" goes a long way to developing more positive news coverage.


              Moonlight Risk Agent (Overnight Security) - W Dallas - Victory (170016YO)   
    Here’s To Your Journey with W Hotels W Hotels is one of Marriott International’s 30 renowned hotel brands. As the world’s leading Hospitality Company, we offer unmatched opportunities for associates to grow and succeed. We believe a great career is a journey of discovery and exploration. The W Dallas - Victory located at 2440 Victory Park Ln, Dallas, TX, 75219 is currently hiring a Moonlight Risk Agent (Overnight Security). Moonlight Risk Agent (Overnight Security) Responsibilities include:... DOE
              Attorney General Jeff Sessions Met Twice With Russian Ambassador in 2016 While Member of Trump Campaign Team   
    In what appears to be a direct contradiction to his confirmation testimony, it is now being reported that Attorney Genera Jeff Sessions twice met with a Russian ambassador in 2016, while a member of the Trump campaign. The Washington Post reports:
    Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) spoke twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Justice Department officials said, encounters he did not disclose when asked about possible contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and representatives of Moscow during Sessions’s confirmation hearing to become attorney
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
    general.
    One of the meetings was a private conversation between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator’s office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race.
    The previously undisclosed discussions could fuel new congressional calls for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia’s alleged role in the 2016 presidential election. As attorney general, Sessions oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, which have been leading investigations into Russian meddling and any links to Trump’s associates. He has so far resisted calls to recuse himself.   
    When Sessions spoke with Kislyak in July and September, the senator was a senior member of the influential Armed Services Committee as well as one of Trump’s top foreign policy advisers. Sessions played a prominent role supporting Trump on the stump after formally joining the campaign in February 2016.
    At his Jan. 10 Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) what he would do if he learned of any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of the 2016 campaign.“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
    ...
    In January, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Sessions for answers to written questions. “Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?” Leahy wrote. 
    Sessions responded with one word:  "No."
    It is difficult to conclude that Sessions' testimony was anything but untruthful.  To complicate matters, it appears Sessions' himself could be a focus of an investigation into Trump's Russian ties.   These developments will only increase the push for the appointment of a special prosecutor to probe the Trump campaigns' interaction with Russian officials leading up to the 2016 election.
              Megelli 125 Motard   
    125cc Learner Legal, Still Under Warranty, Black with Red Frame, Only 500 miles since new, electric start, digital speedo and rev counter, twin under seat exhaust, looks and sounds like a bigger bike. Alphadot security protected. 80-90mpg
              HONDA cbr 600   
    THIS BIKE IS IN GREAT CONDITION FOR ITS YEAR I AND HAS BEEN WELL LOOKED AFTER ITS ONLY GOT A FEW SCRAPS AND BUMPS(SEE PICS) BOTH TYERS ARE FINE THEY WERE NEW LAST YEAR AND IT WAS SERVICED LAST YEAR ITS GOT A CROME EXHAUST ON IT WITCH SOUNDS AWSOME (ORIGINAL SUPLIED) IT ALSO HAS SMALL INDICATORS ON THE BACK and a colour coded rear hugger THIS BIKE IS AN IMPORT THE SPEEDO IS IN KPH BUT IT HAS A MPH STICKER THE CLOCK SAYS 41000 WITCH IS 25 MILES i am told it 115 bhp not 105 like the uk modles and is very fast for a 600 THIS BIKE RUNS SWEET AS A NUT AND NEVER MISSES A BEAT IT HANDLES FANTASTIC... AS DO ALL CBR'S!! Engine Size: 598 cc Power: 115 Bhp Mileage: 25000 Customised Features: Bodywork/Fairing, Handlebars/Clip Ons, Headlights, Mirrors, Rear lights/Indicators, Windshield Performance Upgrades: Special Exhaust/Slip on Extra Features: Immobiliser, Security Alarm
              2005 BMW C1 125 cc Scooter   
    As you can see from the picture this is a very good example of a C1, its in all round great condition, has only done 4650 miles it was used by them for community work, the bike comes with full print out service history, milage is very low, the bike drives like new and is in all round good condition. It comes with a detachable top box, sun roof also detachable, ABS brakes, Bodywork/Fairing, Handlebars/Clip Ons, Headlights, Mirrors, Rear lights/Indicators, Windshield, Anti-Lock Brakes, Case/Topcase, Immobiliser, Rolling bars/Frame sliders, Security Alarm. Engine perfect, Body work great, Paint work great. Total price is £1.250 and free shipping anywhere in UK. For more details and photos contact me at taylor.peter86@yahoo.co.uk
              Suzuki Burgman 650 Scooter 2007   
    2007 Scooter Suzuki Burgman AN650 White - Registered 1st September 2007. 7350 Miles with FULL Service History. Lovely Pearlescent White Paintwork. In excellent condition. Fitted with Datatag Security System and remote control alarm/immobiliser. Genuine Suzuki Variable Temperature Heated Grips. Taxed until 31st December 2009, MOT not due until 31st August 2010. Super Smooth Ride and seamless gear changes with option of either fully Auto or Manual overide gear changes, also has power button to enhance performance throughout the power range. Please note: This is NOT a Burgman Executive, so therefore does NOT come with ABS, Power folding mirrors or electrically adjustable screen. Huge underseat lockable storage, easily holds 2 helmets and more. 60 and more MPG is easily achieved. Digital dash with Trip Computer, Gear Indicator, Outside temp and clock and switches from MPH to KPH as required if you take it to Europe. Total price for is £1.750 and free shipping anywhere in UK. For more details and photos contact me at karenpburr@yahoo.co.uk
              2007 Aprilia RSV R 1000   
    Model Year: 2007 / One Owner / 998 cc / 12 Months Warranty remaining / Immobiliser, Seat cover/Solo seat, Security Alarm/Harris performance levers/Immaculate, as new condition/ I have for sale my 2007 Aprilia RSV R (Registered April 08) in immaculate, as new condition. I have absolutely pampered this bike and always kept it in a dry warm garage. It has never seen rain or track use, never been dropped, scratched, marked or even ridden in real anger! It has only done 2400 miles and looks as it did from new. It was my sunny Sunday toy and it shows. It still has a year’s Warranty left and the option to extend the warranty by another 2 years if required! It has had all servicing done and had new tyres fitted about 3 months ago. The tyres are in fantastic condition and will not need changing for a good while. It had the big service done first which cost over £300 and is good for at least another 4000 miles or 12 months worth of riding. The service was carried out by a fully licensed Aprilia dealer and obviously I have the receipts. It also comes with around 5 month’s road tax. All original bits for the aftermarket parts are brand new and never used.HPI clear.Never dropped, raced or ridden in the wet. Very careful, (slightly obsessive) lady owner. Here is a brief outline of the incredible technical specs of this bike: · Engine - 998 cc V-twin, 4-stroke, liquid cooled · Power - 141.13 hp @ 10000 rpm · Torque - 101 N·m (75 ft·lbf) @ 8000 rpm · Top Speed - 168mph · Brakes - Dual front disk, Brembo radial calliper · Forks - Full nitride coated Ohlins · Seat Height - 825mm (32.5 inches) · Fuel Capacity - 21 Litres
              Wangye 125 scooter for sale   
    Wangye WY125T-3 scooter for sale. Colour black, very good condition, only used to commute. 2 years old and less than 3000 km. Brand new topbox to fit one helmet and security lock sold with it.
              Anleitung: Look2Me Virus Entfernen   
    - Wie entfernt man das **`Look2Me`** Virus aus Windows? - Das Virus manipuliert die Suchergebnisse im Browser, sowie die Browser-Startseite. Es wird Werbung in Webseiten eingeblendet: Coupons, Downloads, Pop-Ups etc. - Microsoft Security Essentials bzw. Windows Defender nennen das Virus so: `AdWare.Win32.Look2Me`
              Answer by VirusWatcher for
    • Wie entfernt man das Look2Me Virus aus Windows?

      • Das Virus manipuliert die Suchergebnisse im Browser, sowie die Browser-Startseite. Es wird Werbung in Webseiten eingeblendet: Coupons, Downloads, Pop-Ups etc.

      • Microsoft Security Essentials bzw. Windows Defender nennen das Virus so: AdWare.Win32.Look2Me

       
    Schritt 1: ------- - Bevor man weiter macht: Öffne die **Systemsteuerung** und **deinstalliere dort alle verdächtigen Programme**, insbesondere, wenn sie in letzter Zeit installiert wurden (Du kannst sehen wann ein Programm installiert wurde). - Die unerwünschten Programme könnten heißen: "**LyricsSay**", "**Conduit**", "**1ClickDownload**", "**Superfish**", "**Yontoo**", "**FBPhotoZoom**", "Incredibar", "Rolimno", "Globososo","SpecialSavings", "AVG Toolbar","BrowseToSave", "BrowserDefender", "TidyNetwork", "WebCake" oder ähnliches. **Deinstalliere sie.** - Tipp: [Systemsteuerung bei Windows 8 öffnen](http://techfrage.de/question/9/windows-8-systemsteuerung-offnen-verschiedene-methoden/) - Falls nichts verdächtiges dabei ist, dann direkt weiter mit **Schritt 2**. ![](/upfiles/1381608713623206.png) Schritt 2: ------- Ich liste einige sehr gute Programme auf, mit denen du Toolbars, Trojaner und Spyware entfernen kannst. Installiere und führe **alle** vorgeschlagenen Programme nacheinander aus: - Benutze **[Malwarebytes Anti Malware](http://www.chip.de/downloads/Malwarebytes-Anti-Malware_27322637.html)** - Scanne dein System **vollständig** damit und entferne alles was gefunden wurde. ![Malwarebytes Screenshot](/upfiles/1381163364237435.png) - Installiere **[AdwCleaner](http://www.chip.de/downloads/AdwCleaner_58118522.html)**, das Programm ist ein guter Adware-Checker und Uninstaller. Bevor du AdwCleaner startest, **schließe** alle Browser und Programme. Klicke dann auf **"Suchen"**, so wird dein System durchsucht und anschließend bekommst du eine Liste mit gefundenen Programmen angezeigt. Danach klickst du auf den **"Löschen"** Button. Schließlich muss man das System neu starten. ![AdwCleaner Screenshot](/upfiles/1383569845431572.png) - **[Junkware Removal Tool](http://www.chip.de/downloads/Junkware-Removal-Tool_61676499.html)** ausführen. Das Programm kann schon mal bis zu 15 Minuten brauchen, bis es fertig ist. Also gedulden. ![Junkware Removal Tool Screenshot](/upfiles/13811712332829783.png) - Installiere **[Avast Browser Cleanup](http://www.chip.de/downloads/Avast-Browser-Cleanup_60753592.html)** - Starte das Programm. Wähle jeden Browser aus, den du bereinigen möchtest. Es werden automatisch Toolbars erkannt und gelöscht. ![Avast Browser Cleanup](/upfiles/13708981599679205.png) - Installiere den **[ESET Online Scanner ](http://.eset.com/special/eos/esetsmartinstaller_deu.exe)** und scanne dein System. Das kann durchaus paar Stunden dauern, aber es lohnt sich! ![ESET Online Scanner Screenshot](/upfiles/13812590817794075.png) Schritt 3: ---------- - Setze deine Browser zurück, damit auch wirklich keine Reste übrig bleiben. Achtung, dabei werden alle Browser-Einstellungen auf den ursprünglichen Zustand resettet und Lesezeichen gelöscht. Mache eine Sicherung (Backup) von deinen Lesezeichen, wenn du sie später brauchst. Sicherung machen für **[Internet Explorer](http://techfrage.de/question/3476/internet-explorer-lesezeichen-exportieren-oder-importieren/)**, **[Chrome](http://techfrage.de/question/3474/google-chrome-lesezeichen-exportieren-backup/)**, **[Firefox](http://techfrage.de/question/3472/firefox-lesezeichen-exportieren-backup/)** - Anleitung: **[Internet Explorer zurücksetzen](http://techfrage.de/question/3465/anleitung-internet-explorer-zurucksetzen/)** - Anleitung: **[Firefox zurücksetzen](http://techfrage.de/question/3209/firefox-zurucksetzen-und-alle-plugins-addons-und-toolbars-deinstallieren/)** - Anleitung: **[Google Chrome Browser zurücksetzen](http://techfrage.de/question/3470/anleitung-google-chrome-browser-zurucksetzen-reset/)** Optionaler Extra-Schritt, wenn nichts entfernt wurde: ---------------------------------- - Manchmal wurden die Werbe-Viren so programmiert, dass sie die eigene Deinstallation verhindern. Dann brauchen wir den **[Rkiller](http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/rkill/dl/10/)**. Dieses Tool stoppt alle bösartigen Dienste, danach können sie entfernt werden. - Also, falls das Schadprogramm bis jetzt nicht deinstalliert wurde, dann starte den **Rkiller** und führe die **Schritte 1 bis 3** erneut aus. Beachte dabei, dass vor dem Start von jedem Bereinigungsprogramm, der Rkiller nochmal gestartet werden sollte. - Lasse den Rkiller immer komplett durchlaufen bis die Meldung "**Rkill Finished**" erscheint. ![Rkill ist fertig](/upfiles/13837482908101791.png) Schritt 4: ----------- - Sollten Probleme auftreten, dann Poste [hier](http://techfrage.de/questions/ask/) eine neue Frage oder hinterlasse einen Kommentar Schritt 5: ------------ - Hinterlasse einen Google Plus, Facebook Like oder abonniere unseren **[Newsletter](http://eepurl.com/Gh2z9)** und erhalte regelmäßige Tipps und Tricks rund um Computer, Smartphones und Internet. Tipp: ------------ Wenn du das nächste Mal ein Programm installierst, achte darauf, dass es aus einer vertrauenswürdigen Quelle kommt. Außerdem sollte man während der Installation sehr vorsichtig sein, weil viele "kostenlose" Programme versuchen noch andere unerwünschte Tools zu installieren.
              使用Spring Cloud Security OAuth2搭建授权服务   

    Spring Cloud Security OAuth2 是 Spring 对 OAuth2 的开源实现,优点是能与Spring Cloud技术线无缝集成,如果全部使用默认配置,开发者只需要添加注解就能完成 OAuth2 授权服务的搭建。

    1. 添加依赖

    授权服务是基于Spring Security的,因此需要在项目中引入两个依赖:

    <dependency>
            <groupId>org.springframework.cloud</groupId>
            <artifactId>spring-cloud-starter-security</artifactId>
    </dependency>

    <dependency>
             <groupId>org.springframework.cloud</groupId>
             <artifactId>spring-cloud-starter-oauth2</artifactId>
     </dependency>


    前者为 Security,后者为Security的OAuth2扩展。

    2. 添加注解和配置

    在启动类中添加@EnableAuthorizationServer注解:

    @SpringBootApplication
    @EnableAuthorizationServer
    public class AlanOAuthApplication {
        public static void main(String[] args) {
            SpringApplication.run(AlanOAuthApplication.class, args);
        }
    }


    完成这些我们的授权服务最基本的骨架就已经搭建完成了。但是要想跑通整个流程,我们必须分配 client_idclient_secret才行。Spring Security OAuth2的配置方法是编写@Configuration类继承AuthorizationServerConfigurerAdapter,然后重写void configure(ClientDetailsServiceConfigurer clients)方法,如:

    @Override
        public void configure(ClientDetailsServiceConfigurer clients) throws Exception {
            clients.inMemory() // 使用in-memory存储
                    .withClient("client") // client_id
                    .secret("secret") // client_secret
                    .authorizedGrantTypes("authorization_code") // 该client允许的授权类型
                    .scopes("app"); // 允许的授权范围
        }


    3. 授权流程

    访问授权页面:

    localhost:8080/oauth/authorize?client_id=client&response_type=code&redirect_uri=http://www.baidu.com


    此时浏览器会让你输入用户名密码,这是因为 Spring Security 在默认情况下会对所有URL添加Basic Auth认证。默认的用户名为user, 密码是随机生成的,在控制台日志中可以看到。

    oauth2

    画风虽然很简陋,但是基本功能都具备了。点击Authorize后,浏览器就会重定向到百度,并带上code参数:

    这里写图片描述

    拿到code以后,就可以调用

    POST/GET http://client:secret@localhost:8080/oauth/token
    • 1

    来换取access_token了:

    curl -X POST -H "Cache-Control: no-cache" -H "Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded" -d 'grant_type=authorization_code&code=Li4NZo&redirect_uri=http://www.baidu.com' "http://client:secret@localhost:8080/oauth/token"

    返回如下:

    {
      "access_token": "32a1ca28-bc7a-4147-88a1-c95abcc30556",
      "token_type": "bearer",
      "expires_in": 2591999,
      "scope": "app"
    }

    到此我们最最基本的授权服务就搭建完成了。然而,这仅仅是个demo,如果要在生产环境中使用,还需要做更多的工作。

    4. 使用MySQL存储access_token和client信息

    把授权服务器中的数据存储到数据库中并不难,因为 Spring Cloud Security OAuth 已经为我们设计好了一套Schema和对应的DAO对象。但在使用之前,我们需要先对相关的类有一定的了解。

    4.1 相关接口

    Spring Cloud Security OAuth2通过DefaultTokenServices类来完成token生成、过期等 OAuth2 标准规定的业务逻辑,而DefaultTokenServices又是通过TokenStore接口完成对生成数据的持久化。在上面的demo中,TokenStore的默认实现为InMemoryTokenStore,即内存存储。 对于Client信息,ClientDetailsService接口负责从存储仓库中读取数据,在上面的demo中默认使用的也是InMemoryClientDetialsService实现类。说到这里就能看出,要想使用数据库存储,只需要提供这些接口的实现类即可。庆幸的是,框架已经为我们写好JDBC实现了,即JdbcTokenStoreJdbcClientDetailsService

    4.2 建表

    要想使用这些JDBC实现,首先要建表。框架为我们提前设计好了schema, 在github上:https://github.com/spring-projects/spring-security-oauth/blob/master/spring-security-oauth2/src/test/resources/schema.sql

    在使用这套表结构之前要注意的是,对于MySQL来说,默认建表语句中主键是varchar(255)类型,在mysql中执行会报错,原因是mysql对varchar主键长度有限制。所以这里改成128即可。其次,语句中会有某些字段为LONGVARBINARY类型,它对应mysql的blob类型,也需要修改一下。

    4.3 配置

    数据库建好后,下一步就是配置框架使用JDBC实现。方法还是编写@Configuration类继承AuthorizationServerConfigurerAdapter

    @Autowired
        private AuthenticationManager authenticationManager;

        @Autowired
        private DataSource dataSource;
        @Bean // 声明TokenStore实现
        public TokenStore tokenStore() {
            return new JdbcTokenStore(dataSource);
        }
        @Bean // 声明 ClientDetails实现
        public ClientDetailsService clientDetails() {
            return new JdbcClientDetailsService(dataSource);
        }
        @Override // 配置框架应用上述实现
        public void configure(AuthorizationServerEndpointsConfigurer endpoints) throws Exception {
            endpoints.authenticationManager(authenticationManager);
            endpoints.tokenStore(tokenStore());

            // 配置TokenServices参数
            DefaultTokenServices tokenServices = new DefaultTokenServices();
            tokenServices.setTokenStore(endpoints.getTokenStore());
            tokenServices.setSupportRefreshToken(false);
            tokenServices.setClientDetailsService(endpoints.getClientDetailsService());
            tokenServices.setTokenEnhancer(endpoints.getTokenEnhancer());
            tokenServices.setAccessTokenValiditySeconds( (int) TimeUnit.DAYS.toSeconds(30)); // 30天
            endpoints.tokenServices(tokenServices);
        }

    完成这些后,框架就会将中间产生的数据写到mysql中了。oauth_client_details是client表,可以直接在该表中添加记录来添加client: 
    这里写图片描述

    4.4 需要注意的地方

    这里不得不说 Spring 设计有一个奇葩地的方。注意看oauth_access_token表是存放访问令牌的,但是并没有直接在字段中存放token。Spring 使用OAuth2AccessToken来抽象与令牌有关的所有属性,在写入到数据库时,Spring将该对象通过JDK自带的序列化机制序列成字节直接保存到了该表的token字段中。也就是说,如果只看数据表你是看不出access_token的值是多少,过期时间等信息的。这就给资源服务器的实现带来了麻烦。我们的资源提供方并没有使用Spring Security,也不想引入 Spring Security 的任何依赖,这时候就只能将 DefaultOAuth2AccessToken的源码copy到资源提供方的项目中,然后读取token字段并反序列化还原对象来获取token信息。但是如果这样做还会遇到反序列化兼容性的问题,具体解决方法参考我另一篇博文:http://blog.csdn.net/neosmith/article/details/52539614

    5. 总结

    至此一个能在生产环境下使用的授权服务就搭建好了。其实我们在实际使用时应该适当定制JdbcTokenStoreClientDetailsService来实适应业务需要,甚至可以直接从0开始实现接口,完全不用框架提供的实现。另外,Spring 直接将DefaultOAuth2AccessToken序列化成字节保存到数据库中的设计,我认为是非常不合理的。或许设计者的初衷是保密access_token,但是通过加密的方法也可以实现,完全不应该直接扔字节。不过通过定制TokenStore接口,我们可以使用自己的表结构而不拘泥于默认实现。

    http://blog.csdn.net/tracker_w/article/category/6360121

    http://blog.csdn.net/neosmith/article/details/52539927



    paulwong 2016-09-16 18:22 发表评论

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              Petya ransomware epidemic spreads, old NSA Windows exploit may be key   
    The New York Times said cybersecurity experts at Symantec indicated the attack is hitting Windows computers through an NSA-developed … The tech below the surface Edge-to-edge displays on cell phones are becoming a thing now, with handsets like the …
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