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Posts from — August 2013

Processing Latency

Digby is wondering WTH?

‘Informed sources’ are leaking that the US has intelligence showing that Syrian forces were preparing for a chemical attack three days before it occurred, and the information is detailed enough that an educated guess could have been reasonably made as to the target.

The Syrian opposition is now asking why the US didn’t tell them, so they could have minimized the effects of the attack.

My guess is that the importance and meaning of the intelligence wasn’t determined until after the attack had taken place. They still haven’t figured out that they need more linguists and analysts to handle what is being collected to determine what is important.

Crucial information that would have pinpointed September 11 as the target date for a major attack wasn’t available until September 12 because of the backlog, and things have only gotten worse with all of the data hoovering that is going on.

August 31, 2013   Comments Off on Processing Latency


Since it is apparent that the Security Council can’t do anything about Syria, because Russia and China will veto anything that seems negative about the Assad government; and Britain has already decided they won’t go to the party, Zero is going to pass the problem to Congress.

That provides him with a way out, as Congress has done next to nothing so far, so they aren’t likely to do anything about this. If the House decides to even bring a bill up for a vote, you just know that it will be to de-fund Obamacare, with an amendment to blow up Syria [or not] as that is the only issue that can currently pass the House.

August 31, 2013   Comments Off on Punt

The Snowden Effect

An alarm company called my Mother and opened their sales pitch by saying that the FBI estimated that there was a burglary every so many minutes in the US and there had been break-ins in my Mother’s area.

My Mother’s response: It’s probably the FBI breaking in to bug people’s phones….

Not a lot of trust in the government anymore.

August 30, 2013   4 Comments

Friday Not-A-Cat Blogging


Friday Cat Blogging

Umm.. Recycling inspector?

[Editor: Li’l Brer Possum was in the recycling bin by my Mother’s kitchen door. He was checking for anything that might be in the cans and I took the picture with my cell phone. The cats are in hiding again.]

Friday Ark

August 30, 2013   8 Comments

The UK Takes A Pass

The BBC reports that David Cameron loses Commons vote on Syria action

British MPs have rejected possible UK military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to deter the use of chemical weapons.

A government motion was defeated by 285 to 272, a majority of 13 votes.

PM David Cameron said “the government will act accordingly”, effectively ruling out London’s involvement in any US-led strikes against Damascus.

The Prime Minister may not watch public polling, but the members of Parliament apparently do, and don’t want to explain to their constituents why Britain is involved in another Mideast Conflict.

Cameron had already backed down from his original proposal on the intervention, and Parliament was no happier with his substitute proposal. The Parliament doesn’t want to get involved unless they can be convinced that there is a British concern involved, and there is a real chance of making a difference.

Now it’s time for the US Congress to do its duty, and vote on this issue.

August 29, 2013   2 Comments


Scout First Draft graphic

It wasn’t the storm, it was the levees.

It wasn’t Nature, it was man.

The Weather Underground’s Hurricane Katrina tracking map.

An animation of the National Hurricane Center’s tracking maps. If you stop the animation and step to frame 13 you will see that they had Katrina coming to my house for a while.

The track on Google map from the Central Florida Hurricane Center so you can see exactly where the storm struck, and it wasn’t New Orleans.

Katrina did have top sustained winds of 175 mph with a pressure of 902 millibars, a Category 5 storm, but that was in the central Gulf of Mexico. It came ashore as a Category 3 hurricane to the East of New Orleans. There was minimal wind damage in the city from the hurricane.

Wikipedia has a nice article on Katrina, without going totally technical on the science behind hurricanes.

August 29, 2013   Comments Off on Katrina


The telephone issues have been resolved, so now I’m tied up doing some rehab work. Most of the work involves installing doors which is something I really don’t like to do, as I’m not all that good with a chisel.

It has finally stopped raining, so it looks like we will only record twice as much rain as normal for August, but the temperature has return to hot and humid.

August 29, 2013   34 Comments

He Is Going To Do It

There was no need for the US to be involved, other than as a concerned citizen of the world community in the civil war waging in Syria. What is happening in Syria is of no strategic interest to the US. Humanitarian aid is all well and good, as it generally goes to people who have been affected through no fault of their own.

Zero feels compelled to project US power into every problem that makes it to the front page of the Washington Post, and this time he decided to include ‘a red line’ that must not be crossed. He put the US into this position, and now he is going to attack yet another country ‘to prove he wasn’t bluffing.’

Tomahawk cruise missiles cost around $1.45 million, so we have to wait to see how many millions of dollars he thinks is sufficient to prove he isn’t a wuss. This whole mess is testosterone poisoning, and it is just as bad in this White House as the last one.

This action almost guarantees that the Nobel Committee with give the next Peace Prize to Edward Snowden to make up for giving one to Zero.

Poison gas is a terrible thing. I had a great uncle who was caught in a mustard gas attack in World War I and died very young as a result, but a bullet or artillery shell could have had the same effect. Killing people is the problem, not how they are killed.

August 28, 2013   Comments Off on He Is Going To Do It

Cue Santayana

Is there a law somewhere that mandates that every 10 years the US needs to do something incredibly stupid that involves killing people for no good reason?

Via Digby you head over to Slate to see a graphic of the relationship of Syria to other power centers in the Middle East and the US.

That chart is based on a letter to editor in the Financial Times.

The Egyptian blogger, The Big Pharaoh, has a more complex version.

The simple version that even this administration should understand is that the choices are Assad and Iran, or al Qaeda. The actual Syrian opposition that started the protests against the Assad regime has been overtaken by foreign militant fundamentalists.

The only thing that cruise missiles are going to do is kill more Syrians, none of whom want to die, and many of whom just want to stay out of the current war in their country.

No one has put forth a single good reason why the US should get involved in Syria. If European nations want to get involved, let them explain that decision to their people.

Bombing a country is an act of war. If this administration wants to go to war with Syria, get a declaration of war from Congress.

August 27, 2013   2 Comments

Another Media Outlet Goes To Work

Via Marcy Wheeler, an NBC report system security at NSA.

If you are one of the 1000 system administrators, most of whom seem to be contractors, you don’t need to hack anything, because you aren’t tracked. The sysadmins can use other people’s accounts, and have access to everything on the network.

I have better security on my home wireless network. The people at the top need to be fired over this. This is rank incompetence.

August 27, 2013   8 Comments

A Law To Protect Secrets

The BBC reported David Miranda row: New law ‘needed to protect secrets’

Anti-terror laws should be strengthened to prevent leaks of official secrets, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Blair has told the BBC.

He was speaking after police seized what they said were thousands of classified documents from David Miranda – the partner of a Guardian journalist.

Lord Blair said publication of such material could put lives at risk.

First off, whatever was on David Miranda’s property was encrypted if it came from Laura Poitras, because that’s how she does things. There is a less than zero chance that they have any idea what is in the files, so they are lying when they claim that there were hundreds of secret documents. There might be, but British authorities will be expending a lot of time and resources finding out.

Who are these people whose lives are put at risk by documents showing that NSA, GCHQ, et al. are collecting the data of their own citizens? The ‘terrorists’ already assume that everything is monitored, because it is in the countries they come from, so this doesn’t alter what they do in the slightest.

The new law to protect secrets should be to protect the ‘secrets’ of the ordinary people who aren’t involved in anything criminal or subversive from their governments.

August 26, 2013   Comments Off on A Law To Protect Secrets

Remnant Low Fernand – Day 2

Position: 20.6N 98.5W [ 4PM CDT 2100 UTC].
Movement: West-Northwest [295°] near 9 mph [15 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 30 mph [ 45 kph].
Wind Gusts: 40 mph [ 65 kph].
Minimum central pressure: 1009 mb ↑.

Currently about 75 miles [ 125 km] West-Southwest of Tuxpan, Mexico.

The storm is inland and bringing flooding rains to the area.

At 4PM CDT the storm has degenerated into to a remnant low. This is the last NHC advisory.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

August 26, 2013   Comments Off on Remnant Low Fernand – Day 2

The Evidence Builds

CBS News reports that Edward Snowden’s digital maneuvers still stumping U.S. government.

Their sources are saying that as a system administrator working for a contractor at the regional center in Hawaii, Snowden managed to go wherever he wanted on the entire network and hide his tracks.

The bottom line is that they have no effective auditing capability on the system, and any of the problems reported are the result of screw-ups, because anyone intent on abuses can easily hide their tracks.

This is the system created by the people who are tasked with making the information infrastructure of the US secure. This is really pathetic …

August 25, 2013   2 Comments

Tropical Storm Fernand

Tropical Storm FernandPosition: 19.3N 96.2W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: West [280°] near 9 mph [15 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 50 mph [ 80 kph].
Wind Gusts: 60 mph [ 95 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 35 miles [ 55 km].
Minimum central pressure: 1001 mb ↓.

Currently about 5 miles [ 10 km] North of Veracruz, Mexico.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Gulf Coast of Mexico from Veracruz to Barra de Nautla.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

August 25, 2013   Comments Off on Tropical Storm Fernand