You need this cat! We’re sure you do. If you agree, drop us a line; some friends of Heathen have been fostering a litter of kittens, and have five left. They need good homes. We here at Heathen World HQ heartily endorse the adoption of cats (and dogs) if at all possible.

What’s not to like?

So Bush has nominated a GENERAL to take over the CIVILIAN intelligence agency. That alone should give you pause, and indeed there’s broad bipartisan opposition for this very reason, not to mention the fact Gen. Hayden is strongly associated with the NSA, home of the “warrants? we don’t need not steenkin’ warrants!” domestic spying initiative. If that’s not enough to ditch this guy, may we suggest that his apparent complete ignorance of the Fourth Amendment might tip the scale?

Wired on Hacking RFID

Wired has a surprisingly nonhysterical piece on the lack of security in many RFID systems; it’s worth a read. They only miss in one area that we saw, and it’s a picky point: most supply-chain (which is to say, shipping) tags don’t have pricing data, at least not when it comes to biggies like Wal-Mart and the DoD. Those tags hold only a 96-bit number that is associated back to a database entry. They’re not secure per se, but since they’re essentially active bar codes, it matters a lot less in this application than it does in, say, keycards.


Slashdot is reporting that, come September, Lucasfilm will release two-disc versions of each of the first three Star Wars films (which is to say, episodes IV, V, and VI, known colloquially as “the ones that don’t suck all kinds of ass, as even the one with the goddamn ewoks looks like Citizen Kane compared to any of the other three”) including both the remastered versions as well as the original theatrical release versions. Clickthrough to the actual story fills in that the “classic” versions will have only 2-channel soundtracks, and we assume won’t get the fancy remastering treatment, but at least they’ll exist.

Of course, this could be a huge hoax. There’s no press release at LucasArts or LucasFilm or Fox that backs this up, which makes us nervous. However, the source quoted in the story (Jim Ward) is in fact an exec with Lucas’ empire as stated, so either the hoaxers did homework or it’s legit. It’s also apparently being viewed as an add-on event to the launch of a new video game on September 12, which creates a bit more believability.

If true, MUST HAVE.

Cato Institute on GWB

They’re on the right (they’re libertarians, not republicans) and they’re not at all happy about George’s assault on the Constitution and its implications for presidential power in America. The full report is a PDF, but here’s the executive summary:

In recent judicial confirmation battles, President Bush has repeatedly — and correctly — stressed fidelity to the Constitution as the key qualification for service as a judge. It is also the key qualification for service as the nation’s chief executive. On January 20, 2005, for the second time, Mr. Bush took the presidential oath of office set out in the Constitution, swearing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” With five years of the Bush administration behind us, we have more than enough evidence to make an assessment about the president’s commitment to our fundamental legal charter Unfortunately, far from defending the Constitution, President Bush has repeatedly sought to strip out the limits the document places on federal power. In its official legal briefs and public actions, the Bush administration has advanced a view of federal power that is astonishingly broad, a view that includes
  • a federal government empowered to regulate core political speech — and restrict it greatly when it counts the most: in the days before a federal election;
  • a president who cannot be restrained, through validly enacted statutes, from pursuing any tactic he believes to be effective in the war on terror;
  • a president who has the inherent constitutional authority to designate American citizens suspected of terrorist activity as “enemy combatants,” strip them of any constitutional protection, and lock them up without charges for the duration of the war on terror — in other words, perhaps forever; and
  • a federal government with the power to supervise virtually every aspect of American life, from kindergarten, to marriage, to the grave.
President Bush’s constitutional vision is, in short, sharply at odds with the text, history, and structure of our Constitution, which authorizes a government of limited powers.

Bad News Hughes makes us laugh again

From this entry, which the delicate ought not read, as it is in fact a discussion of collegiate male depravity somehow unassociated with alcohol and therefore all the more horrific. Hughes understands drunken shenanigans, as he explains:

Sometimes people say unkind things about drinkers. I understand why. It’s not like I, personally, never got all liquored up and kicked all the slats out of a fence, or threw a small man into some bushes, or helped Eric Gilmore huck a frozen turkey through a window with such force that it actually crashed through a corresponding window in the house next door, like six feet away, and we had to run outside and pretend we knew nothing about it, a ruse that worked because everyone was preoccupied with water squirting from the bathroom pipes I had burst moments before by firing a large firework into the toilet and holy shit that was one of the best parties I’ve ever been to and I often like to think it was our partnership that night that helped Eric overcome some of his dislike for white people. You never want to wholly overcome your dislike for white people. Anyway, I can’t speak for Eric, but I’m willing to accept some of the blame for the unkind things some people say about drinkers. I’ve had drinks, I’ve been naughty. But then the people who say unkind things about drinkers, who are they? They sit at home, gray and shriveled souls sipping tea and gnawing at cardboard and using the bitter resentment only borne from a life without joy to criticize and castigate those of us who occasionally take in a draught or two of spirits to loosen the shoulders, sharpen the mind and googly up the eyes. A practice that — as you and I know — puts a little sparkle on the Twinkie, just like Grandpa used to say. So fuck those guys. I feel like a good drunk does for the soul about like what four or five bowls of raisin bran do for the bowel. I even enjoy the hangover, as long as there’s nothing too taxing on the schedule and I can swagger through the day with a refreshing minimum of forebrain activity, just as pleasantly retarded as Coldplay fans, Democrats, Buddhists and people who maintain Harry Potter books can be enjoyed by adults. […] Oh, and you know what else? I don’t want to get all blah blah blah about society and gender roles and certainly people should be free to define masculinity in any way that makes them happy, but there’s this thing, right, with men, this lowest common denominator, and it’s that on some level we all measure our manliness by the level of menace we present to polite society. Like, even the most law-abiding and square of us take pride in, for example, how bad our feet stink, or that we shat out an abnormally large poo, or that we did a cannonball into the pool that ruined a nearby wedding ceremony, or something. We’ll brag about it. Sometimes under the guise of regret, but make no mistake — it’s still bragging. Look for the gleam in our eyes as we apologize. Somewhere, deep down in our hypothalamus, that apology is being transmuted into a humorous tale shared with our brother warriors around the campfire. Don’t try and change this. Don’t try and dim that gleam. Recognize that it’s there, for, like, evolutionary reasons, because back in ye olden times disputes were settled by the size of poo and men of the tribe often had to drive away saber-toothed tigers with their terrible, terrible feet.

It’s the things one particular Gainsville crowd did when stone sober that trouble him.

Sweet Fancy Moses do we ever love this headline

Truckload of Missing Art Found in Trailer Park

Our love for it, however, is eclipsed by the highlighted graf below, which is perhaps the finest one to ever appear in an article about an art heist:

A multimillion-dollar art heist that began two weeks ago when a truckload of paintings, sculpture and antique furniture vanished on the road from southern Florida to New York ended on Wednesday night in a most unlikely place: a 30-year-old trailer park in Gainesville. It was there, at the 300-family Arredondo Farms, that a task force of the Gainesville Police Department and the Alachua County sheriff’s office arrested the driver of the truck, Patrick J. McIntosh, after they had surrounded a trailer belonging to what one official called “his baby’s momma’s sister.” Mr. McIntosh surrendered without incident, the authorities said, and the art was found intact. “The guy gave up,” said Sgt. Keith Faulk, who works for the sheriff’s office. “He was a big ol’ boy, too — 6-8, 280. I think he might have thought about slipping out. Then again we had the residence surrounded.” Mr. McIntosh, 36, had been missing since April 17, when he and his 24-foot Budget rental truck pulled out of Boca Raton with millions of dollars worth of art, including seven canvasses by the Abstract Expressionist painter Milton Avery. He had been hired by David Jones Fine Art Services to deliver the art from private dealers and collectors — and at least one museum — in Boca Raton to a series of homes and galleries in New York. “He appeared to be very polite, very hardworking, you know, dependable,” said Susan Buzzi, who works for David Jones. “But who knows what lurks — well, it’s a mystery I suppose.”

Thank you, Jesus, for blessing us with such abject beauty. Thanks too to Miss Griggaloo, who says “There should be more of that sort of thing in today’s journalism.” Indeed, Griggy, indeed.

More on Colbert

The media’s reaction to Colbert’s stellar “fuck you” to both them and the Bush Administration has been kind of funny to watch. First, they ignored it completely, focussing instead on the lame Bush v. Bush skit that preceded it. Now that the video has been burning up the net all week, they’ve been forced to actually address it — and their talking point is the same as the administration’s: “He wasn’t funny.”

Bzzt. Wrong. We’re sure the press corps didn’t like the degree to which he pointed out their utter and complete emasculation and failure to provide any sort of watchdog role, but that doesn’t make it not funny. It just makes it funny, but about them. The press corps has become a lapdog, useless and ultimately powerless, so it’s no surprise they didn’t enjoy Colbert pointing that out so brilliantly. Now, if they’d just start doing their damn jobs again — but that’s probably too much to ask.

No, we still don’t run any antivirus software.

John Gruber explains why the recent Dan Goodin “story” about the “rise of OS X malware” is, well, bullshit. It was an AP piece, so it ran all over the damn place despite being a poorly researched piece of shit, as Gruber illustrates. Bullets, in case you’re in a hurry:

  • Yes, if you’re an idiot, and download supposedly unreleased OS updates from dodgy websites and try to install them, the odds are you’ll get infected. Dumbass.
  • No, we’re not invulnerable in Macland. But no reasonable person every said we were.
  • Yes, it’s still true that the Mac is essentially virus-free, and has been since its introduction.
  • Yes, this is partly because of its market share, but also because of the way the system is designed since the shift to OS X.
  • No, Apple’s move to the Intel platform does not mean it’s going to be subject to an increased level of malware activity — virii are still system dependent; you’ll note that Linux is virus-free, too, but has always run on the same hardware as Windows.
  • Finally, journalists sure are lazy:
    If Goodin wanted to be reasonable or accurate, he could have written a story titled “Some Guy Double-Clicked a Trojan Horse Virus for Mac OS X but It Didn’t Actually Spread to Anyone Else”, but what kind of story would that be? OK, it’d be a true story, but it wouldn’t be a good story. No one would have linked to such a story except to make fun of it: What would be the point of making a big stink out of one guy who got hit by a Mac OS X Trojan horse — which was so poorly written that it couldn’t even successfully spread to another computer — when there are hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Windows users suffering from malware every single day? What good journalism calls for is taking that one guy, and writing an article that presents his episode as though it were part of a trend of increasing Mac virus attacks. No one is going to make fun of Dan Goodin — or the Associated Press, or the dozens of reputable news outlets that ran the story — for that.

Oh, did he hurt your feelings?

The White House is apparently upset about Colbert’s routine at the WHCD. Hilariously enough, right-leaning US News covers both their anger and their clear talking point that Colbert wasn’t funny. Um, right. We’ve seen it. It’s all over the net, and it’s hilarious. Maybe it’s not funny if you’re trapped in the west wing with an out-of-touch demagogue, but we can’t really help you there. It was funny, bitches, and you’d best shut up and take it. If you don’t want to be lampooned as an administration that ignores reality and the opinions of experts on virtually every front — and that famously insulates itself from every whiff of dissent or disagreement — well, don’t be that administration.


So, some researchers have found another pyramid.

In Bosnia. Bigger than Giza. That nobody knew about.

We repeat: Whoa.

Update: We Been duped, but we’re in good company. Hat tip to the Attorney.