There’s no getting around this: the GOP is a criminal enterprise

Point 1: The President has admitted on national television taking actions that are indisputably illegal; the domestic spying initiative has been undertaken in contempt of the FISA law put into place to curb executive abuses precisely like these.

Point 2: The Senate Intelligence Committee voted yesterday in a party line vote to not investigate the domestic spying plan, thereby abdicating their responsibility for oversight and, indeed, the rule of law. The Republican members of the committee have no personal integrity and no respect for the rule of law if they can use their position to protect a manifestly lawbreaking president.

A vote for any Republican, period, is a vote in favor of these tactics. I don’t care who they’re kin to, or what they say they’ll do. As far as the Heathen are concerned, they can all go straight to hell.

Heathen Birfdays

There have been a couple here lately…

  • Last week saw the birth anniversary of certain ScotsHeathen; and
  • This very day, we believe, is the birthday of certain former Heights-area restauranteur-heathen, now engaged full-time in (probably futile) attempts to keep the Heathen Attorney and his Progeny from all forms of mischief.

Happies to all!

Boycotting the Irrelevant

South Dakota Logo South Dakota has, as we’re sure you’ve noticed, enacted the most sweeping abortion ban in years with a law that should not withstand Constitutional scrutiny (whether the new farther-right SCOTUS will hold that way is anybody’s guess). This editorial points out the obvious: that in a post-Roe world, states would be free to enact whatever level of abortion regulation they wanted, but with consequences. There are, of course, economic ramifications, and among those is the possibility of a tourist boycott.

It occurs to us, however, that the states most likely to enact sweeping abortion bans are in fact that states we probably don’t spend any money in anyway. We Heathen have never spent any money in South Dakota, and we have no plans to, and that’s got nothing to do with their attempts to lay claim to their citizens’ uterii. Are there any reliably Red States with actual tourist attractions? (We’ll stipulate Texas, but take our word for it that we’re not entirely sure how abortion would be regulated here post-Roe.)

(Image from comments at

Belated Weekend Observations

Prince remains teh awesome, even when relegated to backing duties as “just” a guitar player for protege Tamar’s last-minute Houston gig on Friday night.

Said gig started at midnight, which is late enough that we took post-work naps to better prepare. We are: old.

Prince’s awesomeness is in no way reducted by the unmitigated halfassery of the venue. They were clearly wholly unprepared for the crowd — which was only about capacity; it wasn’t super-crowded — and had the world’s worst will-call scenario despite knowing in advance that virtually everyone going to the show would be doing will-call. We’ve been in Soviet hotels with better efficiency ratings. A significant number of people were STILL IN THE WILL CALL LINE when the music started, and they’d been there over an hour.

Said venue also manage to have, near as we could tell, only two bartenders. There may have been another bar somewhere, but we can’t be sure. We CAN be sure that the ones we saw were absolutely swamped and wholly insufficient to the crowd gathered ten deep around their bar.

We can’t decide if our favorite part was the “Purple Rain” encore or the moment, early in the show, when Prince dropped the mike and name-checked Sexual Chocolate.

Dept. of CNet Not Doing Its Homework

So the goons at CNet are running a story on a Mac hacking contest trumpeting the results: the Mac in question was hacked in half an hour. However, CNet doesn’t bother to even LINK to the site in question or describe the parameters of the test, making it very hard for people to discover some key facts about this “hacking” event. Here’s the real scoop, and the only piece of information you need to know:

The contest “organizer” gave anyone who asked an account on the machine. This means the contest isn’t about getting access; he gave that out to begin with. It was about escalating privileges, which is much simpler. This is why you don’t give user accounts to anyone who asks for one — not that a sane person would, of course, unless they just wanted to get a headline on CNet. It’s also been pointed out that, in addition to handing out accounts, the “host” also left every single service running, thereby providing the maximum possible number of opportunities for his new users to vandalize his machine.

Summary? Like the much-ballyhooed Mac malware of last month, it’s a non-event. Is OS X a hardened system capable of withstanding any conceivable attack? No, certainly not. There’s no such creature. Is it manifestly more secure and stable than anything Microsoft makes? Absolutely.

And can we rely on journalists to print inflammatory stories with no background or follow-through? You bet your ass.

Update: There’s a sober and level-headed discussion of the “hack” over at ubergeek news source Ars Technica.

Colbert’s Ubergeek Shout-out

It is with no small degree of embarrassment that we admit to remembering every single thing mentioned in this little video clip from the Colbert Report about the new online D & D game (which we will not be playing, thanks).

If you need a little refresher, you can’t do better than Lore Sjoberg’s Book of Ratings entry on D & D monsters. It begins with the Displacer Beast:

As far as I know, the idea of a six-legged panther with squid tentacles that looks like it’s somewhere other than it really is originated in the mind of D&D creator E. Gary Gygax, possibly as the result of blunt trauma. Not that I’m complaining. The displacer beast is an excellent example of synergy; a panther with squid parts is considerably more intimidating than a squid strapped to a panther.

Frist, still a jackass

Bill Frist is doing his best to make sure the Senate Intelligence committee does absolutely nothing to investigate Bush’s manifestly illegal domestic spying scheme.

Frist specifically threatened that if the Committee holds NSA hearings, he will fundamentally change the 30-year-old structure and operation of the Senate Intelligence Committee so as to make it like every other Committee, i.e., controlled and dominated by Republicans to advance and rubber-stamp the White House’s agenda rather than exercise meaningful and nonpartisan oversight. […] These are truly desperate and extreme measures to block an investigation of the President’s conduct. Sen. First is literally threatening the Committee not to exercise oversight over the President’s warrantless eavesdropping on Americans. Glenn Greenwald

What he knew, and when he knew it

As it turns out, Bush was given a detailed briefing before Katrina:

WASHINGTON — In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans’ Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage. Bush didn’t ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: “We are fully prepared.” The footage _ along with seven days of transcripts of briefings obtained by The Associated Press _ show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster. Linked by secure video, Bush’s confidence on Aug. 28 starkly contrasts with the dire warnings his disaster chief and a cacophony of federal, state and local officials provided during the four days before the storm.

Just to be clear, since the press seems to be missing it, this means that not only did PLENTY of people anticipate the levee’s failure (contrary to Bush’s claim), but some of those people BRIEFED HIM ON THAT VERY POSSIBILITY only days before he lied to everyone about it.

FEMA still sucks

The Feds are prosecuting Forrest County, Mississippi sheriff Billy McGhee for seizing a pair of 18-wheelers full of ice on September 4, in the wake of Katrina. Said 18-wheelers were intended for aid, and the area in question needed aid.


Via TPM.