Friday, December 18, 2009

Drone Videos On Your TV, Bill and Monica, McInnis Will Lose

Health Reform
Paul Krugman
David Brooks
Eugene Robinson
Dana Milbank

"Some of those senators seem motivated largely by a desire to protect the interests of insurance companies — with the possible exception of Mr. Lieberman, who seems motivated by sheer spite." - Paul Krugman
"The White House hasn't managed to drive a deep enough wedge between the Senate Republicans, who aren't going to vote for reform under any circumstances, and the Democratic caucus. The waverers and the opportunists have been allowed to take control." - Eugene Robinson
"But now Democrats have come up with a formidable weapon: They are threatening to steal Christmas. And Republicans would give large sums of frankincense and myrrh to keep that from happening." - Dana Milbank
"So what’s my verdict? I have to confess, I flip-flop week to week and day to day. It’s a guess. Does this put us on a path toward the real reform, or does it head us down a valley in which real reform will be less likely?" - David Brooks

All of the links above relate to the health care reform bill, which maybe scheduled for a vote at 7 pm on Christmas Eve. I think I have extracted the quotes to give a good synopsis of what is going on.

One of the funniest stories came from the Wall Street Journal yesterday, when they reported that Iraqi insurgents were using a $26 dollar piece of software to hack into video feeds from $4 million military drones. The Russian made software, called SkyGrabber, is designed to allow you to capture signals from satellites so that you could grab video, music, or whatever else is being beamed around the skies unencrypted. Most videos from cable companies are sent encrypted and then either unscrambled at their studios before sending it to you, or your cablebox at home does the unscrambling. But many places in the world don't encrypt their transmissions, and you could use this software with your computer and a simple satellite dish to watch television and movies at home, powered by a stolen Chinese solar panel... great for living in rural places.

It turns out that the military has been sending the video feeds from these million dollar drones unencrypted through satellites, and hoping that nobody would notice. This way they could send information to rural Afghanistan as well as to Iraq and Pakistan. So, the Iraqi insurgents were just grabbing the video feeds, not hacking into any system: "Iranian-backed groups have intercepted satellite data, allowing them to view, record, and share video relayed by these pilotless vehicles. While the information could be used to spy on military intelligence and troop locations, there's no reason to believe the hackers can affect the Predators nor access anything other than raw video.

The setup requires a PC, satellite dish, satellite modem, and software such as SkyGrabber, which was developed by the Russian firm SkySoftware. Because of Iraq and Afghanistan's rough terrain, military officials cannot assume the Predators will have a clean, line-of-sight connection with the bases that send them orders. To work around the problem, the drones switch to satellite linkups. However, unlike credit card payments and cellphone calls, this military satellite data is not encrypted.

Once the insurgents learned the Predator video was unencrypted, they basically pitched their TV antennas and enjoyed the show." Again, insurgency on the cheap, and proving how clever many of these folks are. Similar to the Iranian CyberArmy group who hacked into Twitter, leaving a poem in Farsi written by the Ayatollah Khomenei... yep so simple even a 14 year old boy could do it during the summer when he has nothing but time on his hands to hack into a satellite, and has been done in secret by teenagers for years now...

they're baack...

Just in time for Christmas is a book that is supposed to be a definitive version of the Bill Clinton - Monica Lweinsky scandal: “The Death of American Virtue,”  asserts that Clinton had yet another extramarital affair, with Susan McDougal of Whitewater fame. Also in the book, Monica Lewinsky tells author Ken Gormley that she believes the president lied under oath when he described their encounters.

At the same time, Gormley offers a harsh portrait of Starr as a man out of his depth and who lost all sense of proportion. His interviews offer new ammunition to critics who contend the Lewinsky investigation was marred at its outset by improper questioning of Lewinsky in January 1998 by Starr’s lieutenants, who continued to grill her even after she asked for a lawyer." Well, duh, Monica, of course he lied...

This reminds me of the generational divide this incident spawned, along with so many jokes. My father was constantly upset, and it changed his outlook about all Democrats afterwards, saying they couldn't be trusted. I was more tolerant, saying that with the stress that all Presidents are under, why couldn't they have a fluffer to help relieve them; which raises all kinds of parallels between the White House and the porn industry... Clinton himself, in the best frat boy fashion, was being more disingenuous than honest. Many guys don't see oral sex or anything that doesn't involve penetration as counting as sex in the Biblical sense. So, when Bill said that he didn't have sex with Monica, he meant it, but popular perversions don't count...

"President Clinton also testified before the 9/11 commission. He said he was very concerned about an attack. In fact, Clinton said he couldn't remember how many times he had told women in the White House, 'Just keep your head down.'" —Jay Leno

"Independent counsel Robert Ray released his final report and he concluded that President Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky. That was $70 million well spent." —Jay Leno

"Are you excited about this cloning thing? That company CloneAid, which has been doing all this research, made an announcement that they have been able to clone a Bill Clinton Jr. from a blue dress." —David Letterman

"Bill Clinton may get his own talk show on CBS. It will be strange once again to hear 'So who is on Clinton tonight?'" —Craig Kilborn

"Clinton wants to be a talk show host. I think he'd be a great talk show host. ... His would be the only one where the couch folds out. I'm just glad Clinton wasn't offered a game show. The last thing I want to see is Clinton yelling at women 'Come on down.'" —Jay Leno

Colorado in the news...
Back here in Colorado, the state legislature is trying to come up with some laws governing medical marijuana, as well as the city of Denver. Denver doesn't want a marijuana shop closer than 1000 feet from each other, or within 1000 from a school, and people can't smoke the stuff on premises. I remember when I was a kid, and my mother was part of the local PTA fight to limit having a restaurant that sells alcohol 1000 feet away from the elementary school. She was demonized and her character smeared, and eventually Red Lobster won... Along with the upswing in pot dispensaries comes the robberies of the places, there have been over 25 in Denver so far this year.

We have a Democratic Governor, Bill Ritter. He is going to be challenged next near in an election by the Republican candidate Scott McInnis. The Republican Party wants to have a united showing for their candidate and has discouraged all other Republicans from running so there won't be a primary fight, saving a lot of money that can then be poured into fighting the dred Ritter.

The only problem is, Scott is a horrible candidate, and he won't win. Simply put, nobody will trust a guy who dyes his hair in such obviously bad colors. It indicates an insecure vanity matched by a shallowness of character, plus, he has a really big head that makes him appear to be a giant puppet... The only way that the Republicans might win the Governor's seat is if they convinced the Blue Dog Democrat John Salazar to change parties and run against Bill Ritter. They would be just as doomed to fail if Tom Tancredo ran as the Republican, but at least it would be fun and entertaining trying to see how many times Tom would get angry or put his foot in his mouth, which I believe is a permanent position for him...

The Republicans will have a better chance unseating Senator Bennet, who was appointed, not elected. They have selected Jane Norton, who has carpet-bagged it back to Colorado especially for the contest.


  1. I have known Jane Norton and her family for about 40 years. They are all born and raised in Colorado. Jane Norton has always resided and worked in Colorado. The carpet bag comment is totally in error.

  2. Thanks for the correction. I thought I had read that she was living out of the state during the last few years, so I stand corrected. Usually I check a person in wikipedia and neglected to do this here.

    It should be a good race between Norton and Bennet, I hope to attend any debates and rallies they will have. It might spark more interest in politics in Colorado, while the Governor's race will be boring...


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