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Posts from — June 2013


This change to https involves a lot of prep work. It turns out that browsers will not act nice if you have anything on an https site that isn’t from another https site. Links to non-https sites are fine, but graphics that are used on the pages must have an https source.

The big offenders in this regard are my weather bug and the Feedjit list. I’ll have a weather link, but it won’t display the temperature and current conditions like the weather bug does. I don’t have a replacement for the Feedjit, so it is going to have to go.

I’m sure there are other things that I’m going to have to remove or change to get things working properly, but things will probably get a bit strange here once the transition starts.

June 30, 2013   Comments Off on Changes

Le Tour 100 – Stage 2

Tour de FranceBastia to Ajaccio

Distance: 156 kilometers.

This is not going to be nice. The first half of the stage is a gentle uphill run that includes a sprint, but then it is mountain time with two category 3 climbs and then a category two climb to the top of Col de Vizzovona. After the top it gets dangerous as it is downhill until about 10 km from the end where there is another category 3 climb before the coast into Ajaccio. The top ten should look very different today.

The BBC has a video look at the history of the Tour, if you have the time and resources.

Marcel Kittel got to keep the Green, but the other two Jerseys are gone after today.

Jan Bakelants took the stage and the Yellow today, and there are now deficit times to be made up, 17 minutes and 35 seconds for Marcel Kittel, and those, like
Geraint Thomas, who were injured yesterday. It was a stage for all-arounders.

Yellow Jersey Jan Bakelants ( Bel – RLT – 042 ) [Yellow] 08h 40′ 03″
Green Jersey Marcel Kittel ( Ger – ARG – 197 ) [Green] 47 points
Polka Dot Jersey Pierre Rolland ( Fra – EUC – 051 ) [Polka Dot] 5 points
White Jersey Michal Kwiatkowski ( Pol – OPQ – 153 ) 7 [White]

Team: RadioShack-Leopard ( RLT – 041-049 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Jan Bakelants ( Bel – RLT – 042 )
Combative: Blel Kadri ( Fra – ALM – 087 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Jan Bakelants ( Bel – RLT – 042 )
2 David Millar ( GB – GRS – 176 ) + 00′ 01″
3 Julien Simon ( Fra – SOJ – 218 ) + 00′ 01″
4 Daryl Impey ( RSA – OGE – 185 ) + 00′ 01″
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen ( Nor – SKY – 002 ) + 00′ 01″
6 Simon Gerrans ( Aus – OGE – 181 ) + 00′ 01″
7 Michal Kwiatkowski ( Pol – OPQ – 153 ) + 00′ 01″
8 Sergey Lagutin ( Uzb – VCD – 206 ) + 00′ 01″
9 Christophe Riblon ( Fra – ALM – 089 ) + 00′ 01″
10 Cadel Evans ( Aus – BMC – 031 ) + 00′ 01″

The Rest of the Top 30:
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June 30, 2013   Comments Off on Le Tour 100 – Stage 2

Le Tour 100 – Stage 1

Tour de FrancePorto-Vecchio to Bastia

Distance: 213 kilometers.

It was Marcel Kittel day at the Tour. He won the Yellow, the Green, and the White Jerseys as well as the stage. The riders listed for the Green and White Jerseys are actually the seconds in those classifications.

Everyone has the same official time, 4 hours, 56 minutes, and 52 seconds, because they were all together at the finish.

The BBC reported that Geraint Thomas expected “carnage” in Corsica, and Geraint was right as today Team Sky wait on Geraint Thomas scan. A monstrous team bus got stuck under an overhead finish-line bar as the riders were approaching, and in the resulting confusion there were pile ups. Geraint is definitely going to be riding in pain tomorrow, if he doesn’t have to withdraw. The BBC Stage 1 report offers more details.

Yellow Jersey Marcel Kittel ( Ger – ARG – 197 ) [Yellow] 4h 56′ 52″
Green Jersey Alexander Kristoff ( Nor – KAT – 103 ) [Green] 35 points
Polka Dot Jersey Juan José Lobato del Valle ( Esp – EUS – 115 ) [Polka Dot] 1 points
White Jersey Danny Van Poppel ( Ned – VCD – 208 ) 3 [White]

Team: Vacansoleil-DCM ( VCD – 201-209 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Marcel Kittel ( Ger – ARG – 197 )
Combative: Jérome Cousin ( Fra – EUC – 053 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Marcel Kittel ( Ger – ARG – 197 )
2 Alexander Kristoff ( Nor – KAT – 103 )
3 Danny Van Poppel ( Ned – VCD – 208 )
4 David Millar ( GB – GRS – 176 )
5 Matteo Trentin ( Ita – OPQ – 158 )
6 Samuel Dumoulin ( Fra – ALM – 084 )
7 Gregory Henderson ( NZ – LTB – 026 )
8 Jurgen Roelandts ( Bel – LTB – 027 )
9 José Joaquin Rojas ( Esp – MOV – 129 )
10 Kris Boeckmans ( Bel – VCD – 202 )

The Rest of the Field:
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June 29, 2013   Comments Off on Le Tour 100 – Stage 1

Just Bloody Stupid!

Yesterday Juan Cole commented on another ‘leak’:

NBC reports that Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright is under investigation as the source for David Sanger’s 2012 New York Times article revealing that the United States is behind the Stuxnet computer virus, which was used to infect computers at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facilities and at the Bushehr nuclear energy plants and delay their going hot.

Dr Cole’s point is that the MSM isn’t going to start calling Marine General Cartwright a ‘traitor’, and David Gregory isn’t going to suggest that David Sanger should be arrested.

Let’s consider the actual effects of the two leaks. Snowden informed the public and the world that the US was spying on its own people, in addition to spying on everyone else, which by the way everyone else already assumed. This has created domestic political problems, nothing else has actually changed because the rest of the world already assumed this was happening.

On Cartwright, I would like to point out that only a total psychotic would ever come up with a plan that injected a virus into a computer system that was involved in any way, shape, or form, with anything that included the word ‘nuclear’ in its description. Anyone who has that kind of concept in their mind for more than 4 seconds, should seek immediate psychiatric help, and be confined until the episode has passed.

Even without that, these clowns infected the Internet with yet another piece of truly annoying software that eats bandwidth and wastes people’s time, and this software is now in the hands of the ‘script kiddies’ who do things just because they can. Computer viruses are illegal under the laws of the US and most of the world, and the US sends people to prison for creating them. It was the height of hypocrisy for the US to start faking anger when Saudi petro facilities got infected, and accused Iran of being naughty. The US gave the world the go ahead to do this crap when they released Stuxnet.

Everyone involved in the Stuxnet project should be sentenced to prison until 51% of the attendees at a Linux convention can be convinced to switch to Windows 8.

June 29, 2013   14 Comments

Ecuador to US: Get Bent!

I mentioned in comments somewhere that if the US tries to put pressure on Ecuador, or any country south of the Rio Grand any more, they are apt to force the government in that country do the exact opposite. Latin America is really tired of US imperialism, and going along with the US can be political death down there.

The Guardian reports that Ecuador breaks US trade pact to thwart ‘blackmail’ over Snowden asylum

President Rafael Correa’s government said on Thursday it was renouncing the Andean Trade Preference Act to thwart US “blackmail” of Ecuador in the former NSA contractor’s asylum request.

Officials, speaking at an early morning press conference, also offered a $23m donation for human rights training in the US, a brash riposte to recent US criticism of Ecuador’s own human rights record.

President Correa is a socialist, and was well aware that Republicans were probably going to block the trade preferences for Ecuador for that reason alone. This way he controls the issue, and preserves his country’s dignity.

Under Ecuadoran law, no decision can be finalized about Edward Snowden until Mr Snowden is on Ecuadoran soil, which means in the country, or in one of its embassies.

HT Celsius 223 at the Agonist.

June 28, 2013   2 Comments

Le Tour 2013

Although the centennial of the first Tour de France was 2003, this will be the 100th race. During ten years in the 20th century the race was replaced by two other events – World War I and World War II.

The race starts on 29 June on the island of Corsica and will finish on 21 July in Paris, so I thought I should explain some of what I’ll be ranting about.

Tour jerseys

The cartoon characters from my header are wearing the various colored jerseys that indicate the leader in the different classifications in the race.

The Maillot Jaune, Yellow Jersey is worn by the rider with the lowest time overall in the race. The eventual winner of the race may never have come in first in any stage, but was near the lead throughout the race and achieved the lowest time over the entire course of the event. The winner is normally an “all-arounder”, someone who is very good at the sprints and the hill climbing, even if they aren’t the best. Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, and Fabian Cancellara are “all-arounders”, showing up on the lists of the sprinters and the climbers, while staying in the top ten for overall time.

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June 28, 2013   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging


Friday Cat Blogging

Hot…it’s really hot

[Editor: Hermit it stretching out on my neighbor’s patio to avoid fleas and take advantage of the shade.]

Friday Ark

June 28, 2013   2 Comments


The MSM proves once again it has the attention span of a kitten in a yarn factory.

The latest bogus government press release being disseminated is that ‘terrorists’ are changing the way they do things as a result of the Snowden leaks.

I have no idea why a system that depends on couriers known on sight at the links they maintain would be changed because the US government is spying on its citizens.

Look, if you are a supposed journalist working for any MSM outlet, you need to be aware of the Internet. The programs that are used on the Internet are called browsers and they all feature a box called the search box in the upper right-hand corner. If you type in “al qaeda hacked” in that box on click on the magnifying glass, you will see that the UK’s MI6 and US Cyber Command have been giving themselves pats on the back for attacking ‘terrorist’ web sites, for years.

To sum up, we are asked to believe that evidence that the US government is spying on its own citizens is responsible for ‘terrorists’ not trusting the Internet, but years of obvious attacks carried out by US and UK intelligence services didn’t cause the ‘terrorists’ to avoid doing anything important on the Internet. Yeah, right…

June 27, 2013   2 Comments

The View From Afar

Chris Berg wrote an interesting opinion piece at the ABC: Secrets and fears of a paranoid government

Nobody believes the disclosure of classified information should be legal. Any organisation, private or public, needs some degree of confidentiality to function. As the Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald points out, Snowden “made his choice based on basic theories of civil disobedience”. He will bear the consequences.

But an Espionage Act charge goes well beyond that. Disclosing information about the actions of a democratically elected government to the media is not the same as secretly undermining national security for the benefit of the hostile foreign powers – not on any practical, ethical, or philosophical grounds.

It was embarrassing, but not damaging, when the world read America’s diplomatic cables in 2011. It is embarrassing that the world knows the US government is listening to its phone calls. But have these embarrassments materially hurt American security interests? Not likely. Were they done in the service of a foreign power? Quite the opposite.

People may wonder what gives an individual the right to question the actions of his government? If you are in the military, you are actually required to make the decision whether or not an order is legal.

As a result of the war crimes trials following World War II the Nuremberg defense, ‘I was just following orders’ is no longer available. After the decision in United States v. Keenan, members of the military cannot follow orders that are obviously illegal. Of course, there is no real definition possible of ‘obviously illegal’, so the individual in the military has to do a reality check on orders that don’t seem right. If the order was illegal, you get dinged if you obeyed it, but if you don’t obey the order and it is determined to be legal, you get dinged for insubordination. [If you think this is confusing, just read Catch 22.]

Congresscritter Alan Grayson [D-FL] explains why he thinks the surveillance is illegal. He is an attorney who has made a lot of money winning cases in courts. I agree with him, that the military and CIA have no legal right to do these things inside the United States. Within the US borders, the FBI and DoJ handle these issues.

June 26, 2013   12 Comments

Let’s Get Real

The Main Stream Media has become the propaganda arm of the government, and the corporations that own it.

All of the dishonesty and ignorance they have displayed regarding the Snowden revelations show clearly where their allegiances lie, and it isn’t with the Constitution or the people of the United States.

Edward Snowden will most probably be given asylum somewhere because of the way the US government treated Bradley Manning. According to what I was taught in SERE training, Bradley Manning was tortured, and according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice he was denied a speedy trial. Everyone who doesn’t depend on the US media for information, knows this.

The US media refuse to report on facts that don’t please their corporate masters or their government contacts.

It doesn’t make any difference to the fact that the US government has been conducting unConstitutional monitoring of US citizens why Snowden revealed the programs. When the media reports the claims that these programs have been useful as facts, when those claims come from the same people who have been lying about the existence of these programs for years, they demonstrate that they are government propagandists, not journalists.

The media ignore the fact that there are no legal protections for whistleblowers in the intelligence field. You can’t, by legal definition, be a whistleblower if you work in intelligence, you can only be a ‘traitor’.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller

The members of the media might want to keep that in mind, when they see members of their ‘club’ attacked for leaking.

June 25, 2013   2 Comments

National Lampoon’s Casablanca

We started with Orwell and Kafka, and have descended to Mel Brooks.

First there was the journalists imitating an ancient Keystone Kops routine with the flight to Havana, and now, Corrente’s MsExPat tells us why Hong Kong didn’t arrest anyone.

One would think that at this point the US government would know Mr Snowden’s full name. There must be an Edward James Snowden out there somewhere who is going to be in for a nasty shock if he needs to use his passport. This also means, that apparently the Edward Joseph Snowden in the transit area of the Moscow airport still has a valid US passport.

Personally I would have hated to appear before the local town justice trying to justify an arrest based on the complaint of a Federal official that someone ‘stole State property’. The justice would throw the whole thing, me included, out of his court. The whole process was sloppy, ignorant, and arrogant. The Chinese won’t forget about it for a very long time.

Well, we will have an international cast with Edward Snowden as Victor Laszlo, Vladimir Putin as the poor, corrupt official Captain Louis Renault, Barrack Obama as Major Heinrich Strasser.

Maybe they can get Elton John or Billy Joel to play Sam, but I think Julian Assange will get stuck with the part of Signor Ugarte.

They might also drop the Spanish and call it The White House

June 25, 2013   Comments Off on National Lampoon’s Casablanca

My New E-Mail Signature

[For NSA – when I was in the Agency we actually targeted a real enemy, not the delusions of politicians and cranks.]

I’m old, it’s my job to annoy people.

June 24, 2013   5 Comments


Marcy Wheeler wonders about Zero’s ‘stubbornness’ in the pursuit of Edward Snowden, but I feel that this White House blew by ‘stubbornness’ years ago and is in the deep end of the ‘obsessiveness’ pool.

I seriously doubt he has a ‘doomsday’ file stuffed away somewhere that will reveal all kinds of nasty things if he doesn’t check on it occasionally, but I wouldn’t bet US national security on it, unless I knew exactly what he accessed while he was at both the CIA and NSA. The CIA stuff is very likely to be nastier than anything he was doing at NSA, so I’m sure that someone at the CIA has been looking at the logs that they have naturally preserved against such a problem … eh, right?

On another site it was noted that the Ecuadoran foreign minister was in Hanoi for discussions while Snowden was in Hong Kong, so if Ecuador was inclined to give him asylum, he may already have the necessary travel documents.

Not for nothing, but Hong Kong is a rather major seaport, and people can still book passage on ships. While everyone is checking airports, Mr Snowden could be on a freighter headed to South America. With the necessary travel documents, it wouldn’t be difficult to reach Ecuador.

June 24, 2013   Comments Off on Hmmmm…

Great Goof

It looks like Aeroflot and the Cuban Ministry of Tourism just pulled off a great goof and scored some major hard currency by ‘leaking’ that Edward Snowden was listed as a passenger on a flight between Moscow and Havana.

Apparently dozens of journalist took the bait and didn’t figure out until after the aircraft left the gate that Snowden wasn’t on board. Then after a 12-hour alcohol-free flight to Cuba, they learned that they would have to stay in Cuba 3 days.

So, Vladimir is happy that there are fewer journalists in Russia. Aeroflot is happy that they filled up an aircraft at the highest price for tickets. Cuba is happy that they have dozens of extra visitors who will be paying for rooms and food for three days.

It’s nice that someone has figured out how to make money from the lemming ‘journalism’ that currently infests the Western press.

June 24, 2013   9 Comments