Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Quit Stalling and Resign, Sen. Larry Craig

Sometimes, I don't understand Republicans. When Newt Gingrich was bashing Bill Clinton, demanding his resignation for cheating on his wife with that woman, Miss Lewinski, he was cheating on his own wife at the time. He even admitted it, divorced his wife and married the woman. How virtuous. When Republican representative Henry Hyde, then head of the House Judiciary Committee, was in charge of deciding whether to pursue Clinton's impeachment, he failed to disclose that he was guilty of the same indiscretion years earlier, even worse because it went on for four years and the intimacy went deeper, if you know what I mean. Both he and the woman he had the affair with were married at the time. When the Internet magazine, Salon.com broke the news, he dismissed it as one of his "youthful indiscretions."

One of my Republican friends told me then, "Well, at least he didn't do it in the White House." I responded by asking him what difference does it make who it is or where it's done. If it's a preacher or a deacon, whether in the church sanctuary or in the back seat of a car, cheatin' is cheatin' and that is immoral.

Cheating isn't my main point here, although Sen. Craig is married. It is the hypocrisy inherent in politics and it seems to be reeking more than a public mens' room from within the Republican party. From Bill Clinton's self-made problem and the self-righteous attempts by cheating Republicans to chop off his head, to Mark Foley and holier than thou religious icons, there are just too many conservative Republicans getting themselves into moral dilemmas. Gay and straight. What bothers me most is the double standard many Republican voters display. Reverse any of the above scenarios and these people would sing a different tune. If Clinton were Republican and the Democrats were going after him, well, you get my point. Republican sinners are not as bad as Democratic sinners. God is always on the side of Republicans, the more conservative, the better.

The hypocrisy in Craig's case stems from his series of votes against gay rights and his support of a 2006 amendment to the Idaho Constitution that bars civil unions and gay marriages. Look, I don't care if the guy is anti this or anti that, but stand by your principles. Certainly, we elect our officials based on the premise of honesty and integrity. We want them to stand tall and fight for our rights and to do what we feel would be best for us in our communities and throughout the nation. We expect them to be intelligent and have more common sense than the average sexual deviant this man has turned out to be.

What would prompt him to walk into a very public mens' room and signal the guy next to him that he was "in the mood?" I've been known to be a betting man and odds are, the guy sitting there is doing a natural body function at the time. Wow, that's a real turn on, isn't it? May I wipe when you're done? How sick. Maybe, I don't know enough about the gay lifestyle, but if that's how they hit on each other, I don't want to know any more about it. As a straight male, I've never had the desire to hit on a woman while she's engaged in an extremely personal and private moment like pinching a loaf. Something tells me she's not going to be in the mood at the time, either. In the senator's instance, this was a total stranger, sight unseen. I guess it didn't matter who he was or what he was doing, he liked his shoes.

Rumors have been flying all around on Sen. Craig for years. This is not new and he has been written about in the past. Up until his guilty plea for a misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the bathroom arrest, everything previous was speculation - their word against his - and he and his staff shrugged it off and found these rumors to be laughable. Now, he should move from the closet, not the men's room, to out in the open and admit he's gay or bisexual and get on with his life. What makes him think we would buy his lame 'lack of legal counsel and not enough time to prepare a defense and that's why he pleaded guilty' excuse? He had two months to try and there was too much evidence against him. Waving his senate credentials in the face of the arresting officer who asked for his ID, for example, implied that this was not the first time he's used his power to get out of trouble.

Senator Craig, it's time to resign. Do all you can to shield your family from the plunge you are about to take. You already sh*t and it's time to get off the pot before you flush more Republican politicians down the toilet with you. They're already in enough trouble and voters want to wash their hands of the likes of you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chemistry student's explanation of Hell

This is from an e-mail my brother sent me. I can't vouch for it's authenticity, but I found it to be rather interesting and worthwhile to publish here.

The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.

With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you, and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.

The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God."


Friday, August 17, 2007

How the FBI deals with Internet terrorist threats


I once met with an Orlando FBI special agent with information regarding an unsolved murder case. I had been playing around with local authorities on another matter and something pertaining to that case crossed my path. Unfortunately, I didn't tell him anything he didn't already know, but because of this, he proffered a small amount of tidbits the FBI was aware of. A young woman was picked up at a bar I used to stop at once in a while. She was never seen again. This happened before I ever frequented the place and I did not know her. Because the crime crossed state lines, the feds got involved. The trail led to a ranch in Texas where several sets of human remains were found, but none belonged to the girl in question. Since the prime suspect did not own the property, there was no way to prove the bones were directly linked to him. Oh, they know who did it, but they were having a tough time proving it. That is all I was told. No name. No town. Just the basics. I was on a need-to-know basis and I didn't need to know anything more. The only reasons I was privy to anything at all was because of my affiliation with someone else and my knowledge of the case. That was the only time I ever met with a federal agent.

Have you ever received an e-mail from a person or organization that threatened the national security of the United States? I did. It was chilling and I immediately forwarded it on to the FBI. Today, with the proliferation of blogs and comments, there are probably a lot more nasty words being passed around, especially on controversial blogs, and more so than when it was just through e-mail accounts. Below is the letter I received (addressed directly to me) and the FBI's response.

Personally I don't see much difference between Americans and Israelis.
Both are regrouped scumbags from all over the world and both massacred
the original inhabitants of the lands.

America is terrorist state since it was created, Jews didn't told
Americans to butcher Red Indians, Jews didn't ordered Americans to
massacre Filipinos, Jews didn't asked Americans to invade Caribbean
islands and annihilated people in there, Jews didn't dropped nukes
over Japan, Jews have no aims in butchering Vietnamese, Laotian nation
or Cambodians.

Americans did those things because they were born MURDERERS.
Now, regarding Palestinian cause, Americans are not under the control
of Jews, but in fact Israel is the one under the control. Americans
can flix their muscles whenever they want, and Israelis can't help
but to obey the orders coming from Washington.

Blaming Jews is the thing that makes Americans sons of b*tch feel
slightly comfortable with, because it gives them the sense that they
are under the control of external power and they wouldn't do what
they did.

This is bullsh*t, Americans are our enemies as being Arabs.
And one day when we are finished with Israel, we will force the
bastards behind the Atlantic to pay it back with their own blood.

Arabs don't forget nor forgive.

Sorry if my words hurt you, but it's not a personal.

Revolution till victory

Marvin Wingfield

Here is the FBI response:

Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 16:11:16 -0500
From:"FBI Internet Tips" <sioc@fbi.gov>
Subject:FBI Response

Dear Mr. anonymous: (of course, I supplied my real name)
Thank you for your tip to the FBI Internet Tip Line.
It is being evaluated for it's strategic value, and
will be disseminated, if appropriate, for further
action. It is the policy of the FBI to not provide
results of that evaluation or action to the providers
of information. I would recommend that you contact
ADC.org and lodge a complaint with them regarding the
sending of the email message. You should be aware
that there is a high probability that ADC.org is
unaware that these messages are being sent from their
email system.

David N. Rushing/jbv
Supervisory Special Agent
FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC

The key element here is that information provided to the FBI is not shared back. They do not keep you in the loop, so it's not like dropping by the local police department and asking, "Hey, Chief, what's up with that case you're working on?"

The FBI does not take threats lightly, but what constitutes a real threat? Where is the line drawn between idle insults and the real thing? The FBI is bombarded by citizen complaints every day and many wasted hours are spent deciphering what is and what isn't worth pursuing. Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of "boy who cried wolf" types out there. Some bordering on delusional paranoia.

What the FBI will do, if warranted, is interesting. The complete capabilities of the FBI's "Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier" are closely guarded secrets, but here are some of the things the malware collects, according to Wired News:

IP address

MAC address of ethernet cards

A list of TCP and UDP ports

A list of running programs

The operating system, type and serial number

The default Internet browser and version

The registered user of the operating system and registered company, if any

The current logged-in user name

The last visited URL

A computer is sent a secret spyware program that settles into a "pen register" mode and CIPAV monitors the computer's internet usage, logging everything for 60 days. The information gathered is likely sent on to an FBI technical facility somewhere in Virginia. The educated guess is Quantico, because that's where Carnivore operated. Carnivore was a "packet-sniffing" policeware program. Essentially, a packet sniffer is a program that can see all of the information passing over the network it is connected to.

Wired News reported that under a recent ruling "by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, such surveillance - which does not capture the content of the communications - can be conducted without a wiretap warrant, because internet users have no 'reasonable expectation of privacy' in the data when using the internet." See: Warrantless Monitoring of Internet Traffic

Dissenting and insulting e-mails and blog comments are one thing, and courts generally uphold First Amendment rights, but anyone would be a fool to send real or implied threats via any means, including through anonymizers. They are morally and ethically wrong and always remember that Big Brother is watching.

For further reading on a case the FBI investigated in June, 2007, please go to:
FBI's Secret Spyware Tracks Down Teen Who Made Bomb Threats

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

God, I don't miss it at all

I ran into an old buddy the other day. He asked me why I haven't been hanging around the bar lately. I told him I'm not really drinking anymore.

"Well, you can still come around once in a while, right? You don't have to drink, you know."

I know, but if you stop believing in God, you don't feel like hanging around a church much, do you?"

He agreed.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Quite the Endeavour


I just came in from watching the space shuttle Endeavour lift off. It was a glorious moment and it's still the best attraction Florida has to offer. It was picture perfect, too. I stood in my back yard and followed the bright flame as it rapidly disappeared into the light blue sky. The puffy contrail momentarily stood still giving pause to reflect upon the timeless grace, power and magnitude of this magnificent launch. Then, it wafted away. I went back inside and witnessed what most of the nation was seeing on their television screens. Times like these become an inspiration for America, a moment to forget our woes. This is when we all unite and say Godspeed.

"Class is in session!" the NASA announcer said as the shuttle separated from the main engine and gracefully entered into orbit. Let this be a lesson to us all. As these brave souls journey onward and upward to a place where hatred carries no weight, where there are no borders and enemies do not exist, we must learn to forge ahead and make our world as safe as that oasis in the sky.

My brother, Sam, shuttles VIPs to launches. He drives for a large transportation company and took the two photos below. The first one (taken with his cell phone) was Endeavour on the pad the day before the launch. The second picture (taken with his digital camera) speaks for itself. He said it was very hazy as it lifted off the pad. What I saw from Orlando was very clear once it appeared over the tree tops.

Photo Courtesy of Sam Knechel, Jr.

Photo Courtesy of Sam Knechel, Jr.

The bottom picture looks better if you click to enlarge it.

Photos courtesy of Sam Knechel, Jr.