Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Morning Blog

Looks like those pesky Chinese are at it again! Google has revealed that the Gmail accounts of US government officials were compromised during an attack that appears to have originated in China. Included in the accounts that were accessed, was one belonging to an unknown member of the cabinet. Here's looking at you Joe Biden, you scamp! By now, you should have learned to never open an email with the subject line hottgirlz4u!

More on China here.

More on the American response to cyber-attacks here. Notably, it states that the US would consider retaliations (possibly including military actions), in the event that "key US computer systems" were attacked. I wonder, does the definition of "key systems" include those in the private sphere? If so, is that a good thing or a bad thing? I could see how an attack on a huge, private system like Google for example, could have profound effects across the country, particularly as more and more companies (and government institutions), use it as their communications network. But should we go to war over a private company's problems, even if it affects millions of people? Furthermore, what sort of control would a private company like Google have to transfer over to the feds in order to receive protection from them? Lots of questions to answer about this. Thoughts? Reuters puts it into context here. To sum up:

The idea of responding militarily to most of these threats is preposterous. We thwart hackers with better passwords, IT professionals and policing, not aircraft carriers. We do not threaten to bomb countries caught spying on us in traditional ways and should not do so just because the prefix “cyber” applies.

Meanwhile, the British seem to be having fun with it.

This is very good news: The UN Human Rights Council has gone on record as repudiating anti-blasphemy laws. Laws banning dissent in essence, ban the formation of civil society:

America's historical experience has been that its society's capacity for tolerance grows stronger through exercise. Protections afforded speech and the press are not only a means of safeguarding something of great and unique value (that is, open discussion), but also a means of developing the habit of moderating natural but dangerous individual and societal tendencies.

The Japanese seem to be taking a momentary pause in their practice of going through prime ministers like toilet paper. Naoto Kan has survived a no-confidence vote though he's indicated that he'll step down in the next few months once the various crises have been resolved. He would have been the sixth prime minister to leave power in the past five years. Seems to me that at this point, they could probably save themselves a lot of fuss and bother by just filling the spot through temp agencies.

Maybe someday they'll find a credible prime minister. Certainly, they could do worse.

2012 Watch: Anybody remember that Tim Pawlenty is running? Me neither. Personally, I'm going to dream the impossible dream and tell everyone to get behind Gary Johnson. Sure it's tilting at windmills but he's probably the only palatable Republican to make any sort of attempt at the presidency in quite a few long decades. With any luck, he'll do somewhat well and make the rest of the Republicans realize that sanity is something voters are interested in. You guys should do it. When's the next time you're going to get the chance to vote for a pro-choice, pro-gay union Republican that wants to end the drug war and get us out of Afghanistan and Iraq immediately? It's like seeing Haley's Comet. You might not live long enough to do it again.

Quite a few people agree with him on drugs, by the way.

He doesn't do half bad on the Colbert Show either for that matter.

Speaking of presidents, FW De Klerk, the last president of apartheid era South Africa has called out current president Jacob Zuma. Rightly so, I'd say. Zuma should not and must not entertain people in his party that favor land appropriations in the style of Zimbabwe. South Africa is facing so many problems on just about every front. The last thing they need is racial divisiveness.

Amidst all the financial scandals, here's one bank that should have greased a palm.

A shameless pun.

Interesting article about a cold case in Washington, DC. I'm betting that the killer will start pestering the detective with calls every time he sits down to dinner. Anyone else find it odd that a death is being discussed in the Lifestyle section?

Somehow, even with the NFL lockout, I don't see this taking off in the States.

Frankly, wanting to fight 1,000 pound bulls with your bare hands sounds like Darwinism at work. It's probably for the best. I'd say this would be a further example. Surely there are better ways to test ones endurance. Had the man never heard of jogging?

Hey Nerd! After 70 odd years of trying to maintain some sense of continuity in their universe (not an easy thing considering the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" storyline in which the universe pretty much ended), DC Comics has decided "To hell with it! Let's start over!" Fan reaction on revamping pretty much every super hero is mixed, particularly when considering the sartorial travesty that is now Wonder Woman. Personally, I think that if it's not broke, don't fix it. However, I'd love if they did something gritty and dark with Matter-Eater Lad. Clearly, he's got some issues to work through what with that eating disorder and all.

A History of the House-Husband.

Ironically, this this completely failed to make me laugh, out loud or otherwise.

Gimme a beat!

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