Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

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WordPress.com Changes to Commenting is an Attempt to Combat Fake Comments? FAIL

March 16, 2012

As more and more WordPress.com bloggers (like here and the DoD) begin to realize that their commenting system has had a surprise and unwelcome shot to the foot, the confusion and discontent is spreading rapidly. For the moment, we sit here at the mercy of the top folks at WP.com, hoping that my instruction thread has limited the damage, and alleviated a lot of the confusion for our readers.

While we wait and see if they’ll realize their mistake and/or change this, I believe I’ve stumbled upon what prompted this sudden move:

If I’m reading that right, it looks like my theory that this was intended to be a solution to nefarious gravatar/nic-jacking was correct, as this appears to have been done as a reaction to one case involving a victim of above-average influence on the net? Wow.

Even if it was properly executed (which it isn’t even close), it’s a boneheaded sledgehammer solution to a fly-sized problem. The thinking is still flawed, since anyone can still simply steal an image and apply it to their own gravatar account, if they really wanted to impersonate another netizen. Like with an IP, only the webmaster or admin would be able to tell the difference, and even they would not be able to verify which email addy what the legit one, right? To the rest of the world, the commenter is successfully impersonated. For example <—simple demonstration, with one of my other accounts.

Hopefully they're smarter than this, and switch it back…soon.

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Introducing: WPPBA Chat!

June 8, 2009

I’m going to take the opportunity to apologize to the members of the WPPBA for my recent absence.  I’ve been focused on other sites as of late, and have been spending a lot of my time online as a guest blogger elsewhere.

So, in an effort to make up for my desertion, I’m pleased to announce that I have received the rights to (well, permission, actually*) a WPPBA chatroom!

WPPBA CHAT

Go ahead and add the link to your sidebars, come on in, and make yourself at home.  But do play nice.

*The chatroom (code name: Table 9) is operated by my netizen pal Roses, who has graciously offered to expand the room to the WPPBA.  It operates 24/7, and has all the normal Java features.  Currently, the room is quite popular with netizens from other sites I frequent (or used to frequent; namely, LGF).  There are a dozen or so political blogs from outside the WPPBA that link there, so when you come in you may want to introduce yourself and all that.

 

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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About This “But He Kept Us Safe” Meme…(pt. II)

January 21, 2009

Yea, I know I’ve been over this before, but I thought I’d mention that there now appears to be a website created for the purposes of formally thanking Bush for it (h/t LGF):

bushmissionaccomplished

Never mind the irony that Bush has stated on multiple occasions that he regrets the whole “Mission Accomplished” thing, of course.  On his watch, nearly 3000 died in the worst terrorist attack in American history.  In response, he turned around and invaded a country that had nothing to do with it, resulting in even more American lives lost, tens of thousands wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent…and nearly 6 years later, we’re still there.  But we’re supposed to thank him, because the batshit crazy cave-dwellers haven’t managed to pull off another stunt with knives and flying lessons?    They’re saying that not allowing the same mistakes and oversights to happen again is cause for some sort of praise, and willfully ignoring the fact that the battle was being waged well before 9/11, and making the assumption that those of us that hadn’t died horrifying deaths would be living under bin Laden’s rule if it wasn’t for the protective blanket provided by Papa Bush.   I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. 

Well, if one admits that it’s a cop-out for unconditionally supporting the guy all these years, then maybe I get it.

Anyway, if you click the image, you’ll see also that the site’s founders make the claim that “the president’s Number One Mission is to protect our nation” (bold in original).   But as we saw yesterday, the oath requires the president to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States”.   Much has been made of the conflict between the two principles during Bush’s eight years in office, certainly, and I would assume that the ultimate goal would be to avoid sacrificing one for the sake of the other.   So how did Bush do with regard to the actual oath?  Pretty poorly, it would seem. 

So go ahead and thank him, if you wish.  You’re just a couple clicks away.  Give him the ol’ A for effort.  For myself, I think instead I’ll wait see if Obama is capable of cleaning up the mess first.

Exit thought:  That image of Bush has always spooked me.  Is it a gay lover look?  A Manson-esque stare?  The failed televangelist?   I’m not sure, but I’d take his ridiculous eyebrow-contorting phony smirks any day of the week over that crazy mugshot.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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2 Years Of Chamber Battles

January 16, 2009

I just thought I’d mention that the Chamber just had its 2nd birthday.   I’ll crack open an adult beverage to celebrate, but first I thought it’d be kinda neat to offer a little insight on where we’ve been.  A sort of “by the numbers”, a couple years in:

chamberstats

Top 10 posts all-time (by hits):

Title Views  
WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance 4,929  
Photos: Karl Rove and George W. Bush 4,797  
Satellite Images: Gustav vs. Katrina 2,379  
Confirmed: Cindy McCain Is the Crypt Ke 1,685  
Racy Idol Photos: Brilliant! 1,654  
The Perils Of Posting Legitimate Questio 1,534  
The Cost Of “Infrastructure” Vs. War 1,383  
Who The Heck Is Johanna Cardona? 1,359  
Greetings Lizards! (Update: Banned) 1,285  
Is Andrew Rove “Prepared For War”? 1,182  

Top 10 search terms (how we were found):

Search Views
karl rove 2,900  
chenzhen’s chamber 2,287  
big mac 975  
chevrolet aveo 728  
tall 642  
george w bush 605  
johanna cardona 583  
godzilla 515  
chenzhen 455  
cyrus the great 430  

Top 10 clicks (links visitors clicked):

URL Clicks
time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,16… 264  
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonella_Barba 208  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/… 176  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/… 175  
technorati.com/search/johanna%20cardo… 139  
redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm… 122  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/… 115  
wordpress.com/tag/wordpress-political… 99  
littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog 89  
technorati.com/search/video%20johanna… 85  

Traffic by the month:

chambergraph
click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it!  A modest blog, to be sure, but I’ve certainly had a lot of fun so far.  Here’s to a couple more!

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A New Chariot, And A Challenge

December 23, 2008

Well, I decided that the winter beater was a little too beat, so I pulled the trigger on one of these Aveo 5 SVM’s that we had on the lot at my store.  It was a steal, ’cause it was sitting out there 60 days and the boss had it priced for less than what we owned it for.

Anyway, it’s a silver 2007 with about 12,400 on the odometer.  It seemed like a smart buy since it has plenty of factory warranty left, my techs said they hardly ever have problems, they hold their resale well, and I should be able to achieve some pretty respectable MPG’s with the little 1.6L engine.  Although, I did splurge and get some 16″ wheels for it (since I naturally get a discount, and the stock 14′s were just too cheap-looking), so it might effect my efficiency a tad.  We’ll see.

czaveo1

By the way, SVM stands for Special Value Model, which means that this car is about as no-frills as one can find these days.  A basic AM/FM radio, crank windows, 5-speed manual transmission, no A/C, cruise, or power…anything.  Pretty much just the essentials are included, although it does have side impact airbags and a nifty digital clock right on the dashboard.

As far as the MPG’s go, I thought I’d spend the winter tracking the tank and see what this little golf cart can do.  The goal is to beat my summer car, the modified 2000 Cougar aka “Slow and Low”.   On paper, this looks easily achievable, considering the official EPA numbers:

aveovscougar

The Aveo is definitely at a disadvantage, however.  Consider alone the ambient temps here in Minnesota in the wintertime (below zero for most of last week), which translates into both less efficiency when she’s going, but also burning gas while she sits there warming up (I’m sorry, but when it’s 10 below, I’m going to run it for at least 5 minutes.  The car was so frozen the other day that the clutch actually stuck to the floor).  Now, add the snow factor (and all the spinning and slogging that results), along with the fact that I wouldn’t consider myself as an expert with a stick shift, and that I won’t be logging nearly as many highway miles (I’m transferring to a store that is much closer to home)….I think we might have a pretty good competition here.

So, for the record, Slow and Low burned 213 gallons of fuel and travelled 6505 miles last season, which sets the mark to beat at 30.537 MPG.  Can this little Aveo do it? 

Mileage logs will be tracked here.   Or, better still, I’ll try to figure out a way to paste the tracker button

somewhere on the main page (it’s a little too wide for the sidebar).

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Are You Smarter Than A Lizardoid?

December 8, 2008

As a nice follow-up to my Thanksgiving Day post, LGF Gets Punked, I thought it’d be fun to play a little game.  For this contest, I’m going to post a question, and the first commenter to answer correctly is going to win a fabulous prize. First though, a little background…

In our first episode, I had gotten the Lizardoid’s undies in a bunch by rogering up the LGF Dictionary blog with a couple of cute little items, like a my own YouTube video, a short LGF bio on myself, and a vandalized header. Oh, and I also moved the dictionary itself over to the Chamber (I did give it back, just for the record).  Anyway, after a bit of drama in the Thanksgiving thread over on the main site, the blog key holder Zombie arrived to calm the horde, and blithely posted the following:

I heard a rumor the LGF Dictionary had been hacked, so I just went in 5 minutes ago and unhacked it.

if it gets hacked again, I’ll probably just take it offline.

Too many people knew the password, so it was floating around a little loose.

(Password changed, needless to say.)

At the moment, the dictionary itself is no longer there (just the blog); I may re-upload it, may not.

Wait and see what happens.

The fact that a wordpress.com blog has no “password” and that it wasn’t “hacked” notwithstanding, Zombie did manage to remove my mess (something that really took only a couple of clicks, no doubt), and the dictionary itself is now posted at LGF proper (why it wasn’t there all along, I’m not sure).  

But “wait and see” we did, and when you go to the blog now you can check out my little encore:

czbaaaack

I’m going to take the liberty of utilizing the LGF Dictionary one last time and say….

Bwahahaha!!!

But the question to my contestant field of LGFers past and present is a simple one:

How the heck did I do it?

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Update: It took a few days, but the LGFers finally got word:

chenmandy

Ah yes, that’s the question.  But again, no “hack”.  Please, let’s review the facts:

1) On Thanksgiving, I was granted admin privileges to LGF-D by one of the handful of other admins on that blog

2) Once I was in, I performed a few actions, including booting the other admins (save Zombie), replacing the header, posting a new thread (”The Legend Of ChenZhen”), pasting my “you’ve been punked” youtube video in place of the dictionary page (and moving the dictionary text to my own, password-protected page), and grabbing a few screenshots along the way.  (nothing that couldn’t have been put back to normal without too much trouble)

3) I post the “LGF Gets Punked” thread here in the Chamber, displaying the screenshots and providing a forum for discussion

4) after sitting that way for a few hours, Zombie was eventually alerted, quickly moved in to erase all those things, booted me as the last remaining admin (leaving only herself), and posted her aforementioned comment on LGF

5) a few days ago, my encore appeared at LGF-D (and only remains posted because, presumably, Zombie hasn’t been alerted to it yet)

And with that, I give everyone a big…fat…HINT.  (Since no one had noticed, and the post is likely to be gone soon)

Update:  The blog is gone, as Zombie promised.  Time to reveal the answer.  Not too complicated…

Since I knew that it would be easy for Zombie to fix all those things I listed in #2 above, and that I’d be promptly blocked, I thought it might be fun to “schedule” an encore as long as I was in there.   For wordpress.com blogs, the scheduling part is easy to do from the post editor:

Scheduling a Post (Timestamp)

Scheduling a Post (Timestamp)

The problem was, any new thread that I penned would have shown up at the top of the list in the dashboard, (even if it hadn’t been published yet), meaning that it probably would have been caught when she was deleting the other stuff.   What I needed was something that would have been buried a little to avoid detection. 

Now, what many wp.com bloggers might not realize is that you can use the above interface to reschedule a post that has already been published.  So, all I did was look for an older post that I could use to drop in my video and set a new date.  And as luck would have it, Zombie unwittingly gave me a little gift over a year ago, ’cause I found a thread aptly titled “I’m Ba-a-a-a-a-ack”.   Destiny?  I dunno.   But I figured the chances of catching that were slim to none, and even the fact that I was subsequently blocked wouldn’t stop the post from appearing at the specified date and time.

In other words, what you saw here was a brave nomadic warrior’s voice from the blogospheric grave coming back to issue another punking, and certainly NOT another “hack”.

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Yep, I’ve Got A Blavatar Too

December 5, 2008

After a year of spreading the purple throwing star around to every blog, message board and random social networking service I came across, the circle is finally complete.  As silly as it might sound, I’ve been itching for one of these for quite some time, and just recently the good folks at WordPress.com granted The Chamber an early Christmas gift:

blavatarsnip

I’ve got an avatar, a gravatar, and now…a blavatar!  Cool huh?

As an aside, there is a slightly amusing background story on how the star came to be, in case you’re curious.  I was pretty peeved at the WordPress people at the time, but lately I’ve been thinking it may have been one of the best things to have happened to The Chamber.  With little setbacks come great ideas, I guess. 

So, the purple shuriken of the Brave Nomadic Warrior of the Political Web ™ is now universal and worldwide.  Sort of my own “ghost face killing plate” (if you’re down with kung fu cinema metaphors), so you know who’s around when you see it.

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LGF Gets Punked

November 27, 2008

As a former member who was unceremoniously shown the door, there was quite a temptation to go with the nuclear option once I discovered that I had access to LGF’s precious dictionary.  But alas, I couldn’t bring myself to do something quite that assholish, so I decided to have some mercy and go for a simple prank instead. 

And since the enigmatic Zombie holds the primary key to the site, I know that my handiwork will only remain posted for so long.  So, I figure that I should probably document everything with a few screengrabs, just for chuckles:

punked2

click to watch vid

click to view text

click to view text

Banning netizens has a way of coming back and biting one in the ass, eh? 

So, I left the blog standing, but is anyone wondering where the dictionary itself went?  To the nervous lizardoid horde, I say not to worry, ’cause I kept it fully intact….here.

Update:  There are LGFers claiming that I “hacked” the dictionary.  Since I predicted that this might happen, I decided to snip another ‘grab while I was in there (email addys redacted):

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

See, I was a user with administrator status.  And anyone who knows anything about how a wordpress.com blog works can tell you that someone doesn’t become an administrator unless they’re invited

No hacking. Not my thing. Just thought I’d clear that up.

Update: Well, I thought perhaps CJ would let pride get in the way of saying anything about it, but here it is:

ChenZhen proved why he was banned in the first place, and showed the world that he’s a true creep who should never be trusted with anything.

“True Creep”?  C’mon Charles!  That hurts. 

Fair enough though, ’cause everyone is entitled to their opinion.   But speaking of opinions and “showing the world”, I couldn’t help but notice that 54% of CJ’s peers thought he’s worthy of the “Pro-Censorship Ass-Hat Award“.  This is an honor that, from a certain point of view, was “proved” to be deserved based on the fact that even the “trusted” guardians of the LGF Dictionary have turned on him, looked to a seasoned master of the fine art of the flame war, and allowed this punking to transpire.

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The Rightosphere’s Grand Finale

November 2, 2008

As a Brave Nomadic Warrior of the Political Web™, I’ve noticed some insanely desperate attempts to change the course of the race over the last year or so.  From the idea that it was Ayers who secretly wrote Obama’s book, to the elusive Michelle Obama “whitey” tape, to allegations that Barack forged his birth certificate, the width and breadth of the assertions seemed to be limited only to the boundaries of the human imagination (an absolutely hilarious rundown of these “greatest moments” was penned in a classic post by Jon Swift here). 

But now as we enter the final moments of this long campaign, the rightosphere is faced with the reality that McCain’s chances are slim.  So, I’m going to take the opportunity to use the end of a 4th of July fireworks production as a metaphor, and document the components of the flurry as I stumble upon them.  And believe me, there are some definite oohs and ahhs here (just in the last 24 hrs or so):

-Barack Obama Malcolm X’s secret love child?

Kidding!

….not:

Tom Mboya, and Philip Ochieng, all share common physical features of the Kenyan Luo tribe: Modest stature under six feet, round faces, small chins, wide set eyes, slanted back foreheads, and retracted hairlines…none of these features are shared by Malcolm X and Barack Hussein Obama Jr.

(That one earned Pamela a Countdown “worst person” award)

-The Weather Underground and Obama’s campaign both feature a logo that is circular!

Do you see the connection?  I don’t.  Then again, I assumed that the Obama logo was designed by some outside group anyway.  As it turns out, I was right.  In any case, go ahead and click the link, as the other suggestions of Obama/WU correlation in the post are just as flimsy.

Update:  Good grief:

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

OK, so they knew it was a dishonest smear.  I’m not sure if that makes them better or worse.

-The Obamas have no pets!

That one may actually be fact, but the stab at spinning it into a game-changer earns a spot here.

-DID VERA BAKER ABORT OBAMA’S BABY? IS OBAMA BEING BLACKMAILED BY HER? BY OTHERS? DID OBAMA RIDE HER DIRTY?

??????

-An Examination of Obama’s Use of Hidden Hypnosis Techniques in His Speeches

This one comes to us in the form of a 67-page pdf!

I’ll continue to highlight more eruptions as we march towards the finish line, since we still may have yet to witness the most spectacular example.  You can almost hear the groaning sound as these people grasp at straws, desperately hurling anything and everything they can think of, as soon as they think of it.   In a way, this is a more extreme shadow of what the McCain campaign has done, so I have to wonder that it never occurred to any of these people that all this crap might have done more harm than good. 

Oh well, let’s enjoy the fireworks!

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Update: I should probably rethink the title for this thread, as I totally forgot about the PUMA’s: *Breaking* Ayers Advises Obama on a Regular Basis (source)

Ah yes. *Breaking*, the day before the election.

Update:  Speaking of which, Drudge finds his inner PUMA:

drudgefinger1

The screenshot of the middle finger scratch, again!  LOL

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Introducing: Chamber Lounge

October 21, 2008

I’ve decided that the Chamber might need an off-topic, uncensored, behind-the-scenes, backstage pass style area for both WPPBA members and regular readers.  So, here it is:

Chamber Lounge

For easy access, the link will remain near the top of the sidebar:

This area is password-protected, and is not viewable to the general public.

The password has been emailed to WPPBA members, along with a few others.  If I’ve missed you, feel free to send me a shout via the contact form and I’ll get it to you.

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Doubling Down On The Ayers Controversy

October 6, 2008

It appears that the big news this week in this crazy 2008 election campaign is the return of Bill Ayers into the national spotlight.  The opening salvo came over the weekend, when Sarah Palin brought it up at a campaign stop in front of a group of supporters, and stated that Obama was “palling around” with terrorists (CNN’s attempt to fact-check the claim is here, and the Obama response here).  Perhaps the decision was made within the camp that, having been beaten in a couple of debates on the actual issues, and seeing themselves slide in the polls, the time has come for a little desperation.  And since everyone else is talking about it, I thought it’d make a good topic for the Chamber.

I’d like to kick this thing off and say that I’m not going to offer up any defense of Ayers here.  All those Weatherman activities took place during a tumultuous time in America (before I was born), so I don’t see myself in a position to offer up much of an informed opinion on the whole thing.  All I know is what I read in places like the blogs, CNN, the NYT, and wiki.  But to the overall notion that Obama’s association with Ayers is relevant to the campaign or his ability to serve as president, I’ll say a few things about what appears to be an attempted smear job…

First, are those associations any more significant than those at the University of Illinois – Chicago?  After all, Ayers is a distinguished professor there, and the university is state-funded.  Would that, by the McCain/Palin logic, disqualify the entire UIC faculty from ever becoming president? I mean, they’re “palling” around with him, right?  Or, how about anyone who has taken one of Ayers’ courses? The entire state of Illinois? Heck, that’s worse. They’re paying him!

And what about the other members of the various boards? Or the guy who does Ayers’ taxes? Or his mailman?

So, what level of association would be deemed damning?  I just don’t see how serving on the same board or whatever for something completely unrelated to Ayers’ past would be very relevant.  Its not like Obama was helping him build bombs, funding the building of bombs, or even anywhere near a bomb being built.  And unlike the Wright controversy, I don’t recall seeing so much as a picture of Obama and Ayers together “palling around” (a picture that they’d be anxious to get their hands on, one would assume).   If all the smear merchants have to work with is headlines like “Ayers Was on Woods Fund Board with Obama When He Stepped on Flag“, I’d say that the attack is pretty weak.   Perhaps the fact that they are even wasting time with it instead of focusing on the myriad of real problems we face in this country will mean that Obama’s lead in the polls will widen further. 

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Did Palin’s Email Hacker Break The Law?

September 18, 2008

I was hoping to see a WPPBA thread on this subject, so I thought I’d just throw it out there for the Alliance…

With all the buzz over this, I’ve seen plenty of claims on blogs out there that what was done here constitutes a federal crime.  What I haven’t seen, however, is exactly which law was broken.  I’ll admit that I’m no lawyer, and I’m still trying to figure this out, so I’m hoping that someone can help me in the comments section here. 

For the time being, I’ll start with what I know.  Via the much linked-to Malkin page, the pertinent part of the hacker’s “confession”:

In the past couple days news had come to light about palin using a yahoo mail account, it was in news stories and such, a thread was started full of newfags trying to do something that would not get this off the ground, for the next 2 hours the acct was locked from password recovery presumably from all this bullshit spamming.

after the password recovery was reenabled, it took seriously 45 mins on wikipedia and google to find the info, Birthday? 15 seconds on wikipedia, zip code? well she had always been from wasilla, and it only has 2 zip codes (thanks online postal service!)

the second was somewhat harder, the question was “where did you meet your spouse?” did some research, and apparently she had eloped with mister palin after college, if youll look on some of the screenshits that I took and other fellow anon have so graciously put on photobucket you will see the google search for “palin eloped” or some such in one of the tabs.

I found out later though more research that they met at high school, so I did variations of that, high, high school, eventually hit on “Wasilla high” I promptly changed the password to popcorn and took a cold shower…

So, the hacker was basically able to exploit Yahoo!’s password recovery system, reset it, and gain access to the account (quite easily, it would seem).  In other words, this person used the tools that Yahoo! itself provides visitors to its site, as opposed to something akin to a script kiddie “hack”.  (Nevermind what this says about Palin and/or Yahoo!’s ability to protect a password, I’m still trying to make sense of what law was broken. )

Remember that Yahoo! is basically a free email service, so to me, it would be unclear if anything that transpires on their servers is “owned” by Palin or anyone else who uses it.  I would think that you’d be at the mercy of Yahoo! and whatever their terms of service are.  So, speaking of that (emphasis mine):

5. MEMBER ACCOUNT, PASSWORD AND SECURITY

You will receive a password and account designation upon completing the Service’s registration process. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the password and account and are fully responsible for all activities that occur under your password or account. You agree to (a) immediately notify Yahoo! of any unauthorized use of your password or account or any other breach of security, and (b) ensure that you exit from your account at the end of each session. Yahoo! cannot and will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from your failure to comply with this Section 5.

I don’t know about you, but what I’m reading there is that the responsibility for Sarah Palin’s password winding up on some 4chan message board falls on….Sarah Palin.  In fact, as you read the terms of service, one gets the impression that any given user can expect very little guarantee of, well, anything.  Heck, they can just shut your account down if they feel like it (see section 15).

So, I open up the thread to enlighten myself.  Was the offence related to posting the new password online?  Just accessing the account? 

Have at me, and I’ll update when I see the light.

 

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Update: I was wrong about the WPPBA not having a thread up. DandelionSalad has one (that’s getting a lot of hits, actually), with more background on what happened.

Update:  Another WPPBA member posts, this one hoping the culprit goes to jail.  Still waiting for the charge…

Update:  Another reason I ask, is because there are “lock door/throw away key” comments being posted on other blogs, or discussions about whether Palin should show mercy and drop the charges.  But no one seems to be stopping to ask if there is a there there to begin with. (of course, going public with showing mercy in light of having nothing to charge the kid (?) with might just be a great political cover for the aforementioned section 5 oopsy).

Update:  I thought I’d add that Gawker (the site that posted screenshots of the emails in question), feels good about their legal situation. Here is the rundown on their coverage.

Update:  Thanks to commenter Mike who finds a post over at the Volokh Conspiracy, and OrinKerr states:

UPDATE: The FBI and Secret Service are conducting a joint investigation. The easiest crime to prove here is 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(2)(C), accessing a protected computer without authorization to obtain information, with the possibility of felony liability under 18 U.S.C. 1030(c)(2)(B)(ii)-(iii) and also the possibility of felony liability under 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(4). As with most computer crime cases, the real trick will be finding the bad guy rather than finding a charge.

For the record: § 1030. Fraud and related activity in connection with computers

I dunno.  I think the “trick” would be equating what happened and “accessing a computer without authorization”.   Again, what this person essentially did was gain access to web pages (as opposed to a computer) using the tools that Yahoo! provides.  No trojan horses, no spyware, no keystroke logger.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I’m not seeing anything sticking at this point.  But again, I’m not a lawyer and am unaware of precedents here.

Update: The most comprehensive breakdown I’ve seen thus far of the legalities involved at Threat Level: Little or No Jail Time Likely for Palin Hacker 

The law really does appear to be ambiguous on this one.  But to prove how little I know, I had no idea that there was such a thing as the Stored Communications Act.

Update:  There’s been an indictment, and they’re charging him in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 2701 and 1030(a)(2) (as Volokh predicted).

Update:  There’s and excellent discussion going on over at Volokh, and the title says it all:  Is the Palin E-Mail Hack Indictment Legally Flawed?

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It’s Called An “Idiom”, Dimwits

September 9, 2008

Ah…It was a typical day.  I got home from work, turned on my laptop, checked my email and the Chamber control center, then decided to see what was new in the world of politics.  And what did I see at the top of the memeorandum page?  This: Obama Says McCain Is Offering Fake Change: ‘You Can Put Lipstick on a Pig, But It’s Still a Pig’

LEBANON, Va. — “That’s not change,” Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said of what Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is offering.

“You know, you can put lipstick on a pig,” Obama said, “but it’s still a pig.”

The crowd rose and applauded, some of them no doubt thinking he may have been alluding to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s ad lib during her vice presidential nomination acceptance speech last week, “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.”

Then I see that Drudge once again seizes opportunity to mislead, and puts it front and center:

A few more clicks, and I discover various bloggers hysterically rushing in to attack Obama for calling Palin a “pig”.

Still more clicks, and I notice that the McCain camp calls for Obama to apologize to Palin:

Reporters were a bit skeptical that Obama intended to do that; from the sketchy reports we have, he seemed to be talking about how John McCain can claim to represent change but isn’t really an agent of change.  But Swift said, “it’s pretty clear the crowd thought that that was the insult he was leveling.”  And Swift made the (hopefully) undeniable observation that Palin is the only one of the four national candidates who wears lipstick.

{{{sigh}}}

Where to begin?  Well, this transparent attempt to make something (sexist) out of nothing appears to have gone viral throughout the political web, and I’d just like to point out a few things (just in case it will do any good)…

First, “lipstick on a pig” is what those of us who don’t consider English to be second language call an idiom, and it’s a fairly common one

If people put lipstick on a pig, they make superficial or cosmetic changes, hoping that it will make the product more attractive.

Second, the crowd was probably applauding because said idiom was fitting in the obvious context that the “pig” was the Republican’s actual record, policies and stance on the issues, and the “lipstick” represented their facade of “change”.  

Third,  I should mention that the same site that assumed that Obama’s crowd was applauding because he was “no doubt” referring to Palin and her ad lib, later pointed out that…wait for it…McCain has used the exact same figure of speech when referring to Clinton’s health care plan.

McCain surely wasn’t calling Clinton a pig.

{{{slaps forehead}}}

Dear readers, have any of you seen the movie Idiocracy?    ‘Cause that’s America, right now.  Yep, we’ve officially traveled through time or to some alternate universe where the average IQ has dropped to 60 (yes, I know that the average IQ for any time or alternate universe is always 100 by definition, deal with it).

BTW-  Kudos to Allahpundit and Rusty for being intellectually honest and remaining in our time and universe.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Update: I read at one of the blogs that the idiom was also the title of a book, so I Googled, and sure enough:

And just to prove how utterly ridiculous the McCain camp’s outrage really is, consider this exhibit, um…F: Meghan McCain: My Dad Says ‘Lipstick on a Pig’ 

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Gimme A Break, Banned Again?

September 1, 2008

I know I can push bloggers’ buttons sometimes, and on a couple of occasions it has gotten me banished by the more sensitive types.  This one, however, is just plain ridiculous. 

Yesterday, like many bloggers, I was trying to get a handle on the rumor flying around that Bristol Palin was the mother of Trig, and somewhere along the lines I stumbled upon this post at the Wake Up America blog: Risks Of Reporting Rumor As News About Sarah Palin’s Baby Trig and Daughter Bristol

Long story made short, I noticed that the author (Susan) had posted pics of Sarah Palin that appeared to show her in later stages of pregnancy (as an attempt to debunk the rumor), so I figured that I’d chime in, announce that I was going to play devil’s advocate, and link to this:

You know, hey, someone outta mention it as a possibility, right?  Heck, even Ann Althouse mentioned it, and she had been putting more effort into debunking this rumor than just about anyone.  But it would appear that I had struck a nerve:

I highlight the “Edited By Siteowner” because, if you scroll through the comments section of the thread, you’ll notice that I wasn’t the only netizen who had a comment disappear.  In fact, when I came back to the thread later this evening, I counted at least a dozen of them that had been censored.   As to what the offensive material was, I guess I’ll never know, but judging by my standard, it could probably be assumed that it would have been any dissent (even that which was prefaced by the disclaimer “playing devil’s advocate”).  So, I scratched my head, thought for a second, and posted this:

Wow, my comment got deleted as well?

I’ve got to wonder, with half of the comments here going down the memory hole, why did you even bother with this thread? As you mention in the title, you “risk” participating in the nonsense just by posting it, but we’re to walk on eggshells simply discussing it here in the comments section? I’m confused.

The response to that comment didn’t take to long.   Or, I should say, the deletion of it didn’t take too long, followed by the, well…this:

Pretty weak, eh?  Especially when you consider the comments disclaimer over there:

Note from Wake Up America management: This section is for comments from Wake Up America Readers. Debate and disagreement are welcome, but Bush Bashing will be deleted. We can have discussion in a civilized manner and just because you cannot bash does not mean you cannot discuss and disagree or criticize. Anyone that does not know how to separate those things, shouldn’t be speaking anyway. STICK TO THE ISSUE OF THE POST you are commenting on. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our rules of commenting will lose their posting privilege.

I think it would go without saying…what a crock.  But oh well.  It’s Susan’s blog.  She can do whatever she wants to, just like this is the Chamber, and I can do whatever I want to.  So, I think I’ll just post this:

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