A sampling of Sarah Palin fans.

I’ve been lax on keeping up with politics around here in part because I’m pretty worn out on the topic since the elections. The few things that have gotten my dander up would’ve resulted in less than coherent posts on my part anyway.

Still, the book tour that Sarah Palin is on right now has caught my attention because wherever she goes there’s often a big turnout of fans hoping to get an autograph. These fans sincerely believe Palin is the best thing to come along in Conservative politics in years and a majority of them would love to see her become the first female President. If you were to just look at these people you’d think they were pretty normal, but if you actually talk to them, as the folks from New Left Media did in Columbus Ohio on November 20th, you find that they’re less than deep thinkers:

On November 20, 2009, Sarah Palin visited Columbus, OH as part of her book signing tour for “Going Rogue.” When her supporters were asked broad questions about why they why they thought she should be president, the responses were vague: She’s “real.” She’ll “stick up for America.”

It has been said comments that you would find similarly talking point-driven, substance-less supporters at an Obama rally, and we agree. But no politician has emerged on the national stage as undefined and unqualified as Sarah Palin, and her public persona–which is anti-intellectual by definition–discourages substance. Instead, we get winking. One could hardly imagine her giving a complex speech about race in America, or speaking eloquently about our country’s relations with Islam. Not just because she couldn’t write such a speech (Obama has speech-writers, of course) but because she wouldn’t–such necessarily academic discussion is antithetical to the persona she’s created for herself and that her supporters have come to love.

It really is scary to think that these people are allowed to vote. Granted, I probably couldn’t have listed off every single policy issue that Obama had campaigned on when he was running for office, but there were several that I agreed with such as his current attempt to reform health care, closing down Guantanamo, and ending the war in Iraq. I can manage to list off several policy issues and not just spout cliched platitudes to explain my reasons for voting for Obama. It’s questionable whether or not you can find anyone in the Sarah Palin camp who could do the same.

I suppose you could argue this is somewhat unfair when you consider that even when she was VP she never had anything other than very broad ideas such as “smaller government” for policies, but that makes the enthusiasm of her fans that much more frightening. They’ve bought into her without really even knowing what her policies would be. Several, as you can see in this video, even admit right up front that they are clueless as to what her policies would be and it doesn’t matter to them one iota. For them it’s not about policies, it’s about getting someone into the White House that they feel will makes things better simply by being there. Whatever she decides to do will be A-OK with these people because she can do no wrong.

She was almost a heartbeat away from the Presidency thanks to a political stunt by John McCain. Part of me would like to believe she has a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever winning the Presidency on her own, but then I think of the fact that George W. Bush managed to pull it off and I get a little nervous.

Found over at TBogg.

Who says you need a scary costume on Halloween?

I mean, would you take candy from a guy who looks like this:

Click to embiggen!

That’s what greeted the half dozen or so groups of kids that stopped by my backdoor this evening. All told I think we saw maybe 13 or 16 kids so they all got to grab big handfuls of candy before scampering off into the darkness once more. It took awhile to get underway as we didn’t see anyone for the first hour and a half, but once it got dark it picked up steam.

We’ve still got a crap load of candy left though.

According to Scalia there’s nothing wrong with executing an innocent man.

I’d like to think that I have a very well developed sense of fair play and I’ve been told as much over the years. This partially explains why I have no problems with things like capital punishment in cases where the question of guilt is beyond doubt. The problem, of course, is that the question of guilt is rarely beyond doubt so in general I come across as opposed to the death penalty to most people. If there is any question that someone might be innocent of the crime they’re facing the death penalty for then I much prefer to go with life imprisonment because that can be reversed whereas death cannot. That seems a decent trade off to me.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia, however, has a different standard of what’s fair. Not only does he not have a problem with executing what could potentially be an innocent man, he goes as far as to argue that such a death would not be unconstitutional:

This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is “actually” innocent.  Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged “actual innocence” is constitutionally cognizable.

In short, as far as Scalia is concerned, so long as you are convicted in a full and fair trial then your actual innocence is irrelevant to the question of whether you should be executed. The fact that the courts are intrinsically a human institution and thus are as fallible as the humans that constitute them apparently holds no sway in his mind.

This goes against every instinct of fair play I have. I am literally dumbfounded in the face of that kind of argument. I shouldn’t be as Scalia has said a lot of stupid things in the past that will ensure I celebrate the day he steps down from the Supreme Court, but even for the likes of him that argument is simply stunning.

More Sarah Palin scary video.

SEB regular Spocko is determined to make it hard to sleep at night:

That there is some scary people.

Sarah Palin is dumber than a box of rocks.

I’ve tried to be nice and just point out that she’s a liar, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid mentioning the fact that Sarah Palin has brains made out of Cheez Whiz. The most damning examples of which keep coming from her interview with Katie Couric. Couric described the interview as “interesting” and said that Palin “isn’t always responsive”, which is putting it mildly after you see Palin blithering away in the following video clip:

“But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, Um, helping, oh, it’s got to be about job creation, too, Shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track, so health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade…we have got to see trade as opportunity, not as, uh, competitive, um, scary thing, but one in five jobs created in the trade sector today.”

That’s some painful stupid happening right there. She’s tried to take a question on her opinion about the huge bailout Congress is trying to pass and turns into a mish-mash of Republican talking points that don’t have a damned thing to do with the question she was asked. I’d love to see her explain how the bailout helps with health care reform and reducing taxes and trade. She’s literally babbling in that clip. It’s stunning in its vapidness.

Found via BD who says they finally found someone dumber than George Bush. Amazing, but seemingly so.

Amazon.com really needs to work on their product suggestion routines.

Got the following email just a few moments ago:

We’ve noticed that customers who have purchased or rated Mercenaries or other games in the PlayStation 2 > Adventure category have also purchased Disney Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour. For this reason, you might like to know that Disney Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour will be released on August 12, 2008.  You can pre-order yours by following the link below.

Just so you know Mercenaries is an action game in which you play a mercenary (natch) who runs around blowing up everything in sight while tracking down various bad guys you’ve been hired to put out of commission. Hannah Montana doesn’t do anything even close to as entertaining. Or at least she doesn’t for me. 

All I ask is that I’m allowed to believe the reason said customers out there are purchasing both was for Krismas gifts to their kids and not because of the other, much more scary, reason that comes to mind.

Roman Catholics freak out when man takes Eucharist “hostage.”

I’m often chastised by some folks when I use the word delusional to describe many Christians, but the evidence is often overwhelming even among what could be considered mainstream denominations. Take the Roman Catholics for example. Usually they demonstrate their delusional state by seeing piss-poor images of Jesus Christ or his mother in random inanimate objects, but you could write that off as just them being quirky in a (mostly) harmless way. Every now and then, however, they’ll do something that reveals just how nuts they really are.

Things such as freaking out when someone doesn’t participate in the cannibalistic ritual communion the way they’re supposed to like this guy:

“When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show him,” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.”

A church leader was watching, confronted Cook and tried to recover the sacred bread. Cook said she crossed the line and that’s why he brought it home with him.

“She came up behind me, grabbed my wrist with her right hand, with her left hand grabbed my fingers and was trying to pry them open to get the Eucharist out of my hand,” Cook said, adding she wouldn’t immediately take her hands off him despite several requests.

Webster Cook is a UCF Student Senator down in Florida and he has caused quite a ruckus because he didn’t eat Jesus’ flesh. That’s what this is all about after all: Transubstantiation—that the cracker they give you during communion literally becomes the body of Christ after the priest blesses it. Which, as I said before, when you think about it makes this a cannibalistic ritual which is kinda scary in its own right.

Had this incident ended here then I’d probably write it off as just a minor confrontation between mildly crazy people and move along to the next news item, but it doesn’t end there. No, the Catholic church has to take the lunacy up a couple of notches:

“We don’t know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was,” said Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese.  “However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.”

A hate crime? Are they fucking serious? You bet your sweet Jesus cake they are:

“It is hurtful,” said Father Migeul Gonzalez with the Diocese. “Imagine if they kidnapped somebody and you make a plea for that individual to please return that loved one to the family.”

Gonzalez said the Diocese is willing to meet with Cook and help him understand the importance of the Eucharist in hopes of him returning it. The Diocese is dispatching a nun to UCF’s campus to oversee the next mass, protect the Eucharist and in hopes Cook will return it.

Look out! He’s kidnapped our cracker! Quick! Call in the Eat Your Damned Jesus Nuns to make sure this never happens again!

This is, in two words, fucking insane. It doesn’t just stop with the church officials either. Reports are that Catholics “worldwide” were outraged and bombarded Cook with hate mail, death threats, and other abuse prompting him to finally return the cracker and end the hostage crisis:

Cook said he just wanted to show the Eucharist to a friend he brought with questions about Catholicism before consuming it. But outraged Catholics across the globe didn’t believe him and suspected he intended all along to steal the Eucharist and bloggers sent out e-mail messages damning him to Hell.

“I am returning the Eucharist to you in response to the e-mails I have received from Catholics in the UCF community,” Cook wrote in a letter to the church. “I still want the community to understand that the use physical force is wrong, especially when based on assumptions. However, I feel it is unnecessary to cause pain for those who are not at fault in this situation.”

Cook said some threatened to break into his dorm room to rescue the Eucharist. Brinati said the Diocese of Orlando didn’t condone those threats, but was happy Cook had a change of heart and returned it.

“We’ve been praying about that,” she said.

And I’m sure those prayers made all the difference as opposed to, say, the death threats. Cook could still end up being suspended by his university over the incident and he’s filed his own complaint against the Church over the use of physical force. Both complaints are still pending.

Finally, I found this last bit rather humorous:

“I want to thank the individuals who explained the emotional and spiritual pain my possession of the Eucharist caused them to experience,” he wrote. “They have demonstrated that the use [of] reason is more effective than the use of force.”

The last thing anyone involved in this episode has been using is reason. They’re going ape shit insane over a fucking cracker that they literally believe becomes the flesh of Christ. There’s no reason involved in that kind of thinking. That’s pure delusion plain and simple. That’s the crazy talking. If this had been a Hostess Cupcake they’d be locked up and drenched in Thorazine.

New malware trojan tries to change your router settings.

If you’ve never gotten around to changing the default password on your home Internet router, and there’s a lot of you who haven’t, then you should go change it right now.  There’s a new trojan making the rounds that’s really bad news:

A new Trojan horse masquerading as a video “codec” required to view content on certain Web sites tries to change key settings on the victim’s Internet router so that all of the victim’s Web traffic is routed through servers controlled by the attackers.

According to researchers contacted by Security Fix, recent versions of the ubiquitous “Zlob” Trojan (also known as DNSChanger) will check to see if the victim uses a wireless or wired hardware router. If so, it tries to guess the password needed to administer the router by consulting a built-in list of default router username/password combinations. If successful, the malware alters the victim’s domain name system (DNS) records so that all future traffic passes through the attacker’s network first. DNS can be thought of as the Internet’s phone book, translating human-friendly names like example.com into numeric addresses that are easier for networking equipment to handle.

[…] The type of functionality incorporated into this version of the Zlob Trojan is extremely concerning for a number of reasons. First, Zlob is among the most common type of Trojan downloaded onto Windows machines. According to Microsoft, the company’s malicious software removal tool zapped some 14.3 million instances of Zlob-related malware from customer machines in the second half of 2007.

The other, more important reason this shift is scary is that a Windows user with a machine infected with a Zlob/DNSChanger variant may succeed in cleaning the malware off an infected computer completely, but still leave the network compromised. Few regular PC users (or even PC technicians) think to look to the router settings, provided the customer’s Internet connection is functioning fine.

Checking router settings is certainly not one of the things I think to do when cleaning up an infected machine as this is a first as far as anyone knows. You can bet it’ll be something I consider looking at from now on, especially if I know the user in question doesn’t know anything about DNS routing. You should always change the default password on your router along with, if possible, the username of the administrator account itself. Attackers don’t have to have physical access to your machine to attack your router any longer.

Waking up looking like a horror movie victim.

Ah, there’s nothing quite as alarming as waking up to find dried blood on your face and pillow from the oral surgery wounds bleeding during the night. It certainly sobers one up pretty damn quick until you remember you had said oral surgery. My jaw is still somewhat swollen in that general area and it’s feeling a tad ornery this morning, but otherwise I’m fine. My pillow looks like an extra from CSI: Crime Scene Investigators, but I’m alright.

Well, other than being weekday confused. I took Wednesday off for the surgery itself and then Anne suggested I should take yesterday off as well. So today is Friday and I’m dressed for work, but I was just off for two days so it feels like Monday and it’ll feel weird not to get up on Saturday to go to work as it’ll feel like Tuesday. Oh well. Time to take my pills and hit the door.

“Jesus Camp” should scare you.

I don’t think I need to say anything about this video. It really speaks for itself.