Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for June 2009

Finally! Congrats Senator Al Franken!!!

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled today in Al Franken’s favor and just now, Norm Coleman conceded the race. As a Minnesotan and a Democrat, all I can say is, FINALLY!!! I am doing a modified snoopy dance as I listen to the news.

CA-50: Fear & Loathing in North San Diego?

(Also at OC Progressive)

What happens when you combine a Democratic fundraiser in North San Diego County, a homophobic right-wing neighbor disturbing the peace, and the San Diego County Sheriffs? Apparently, one BIG, nasty mess! Here’s the original TPM story:

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a fundraiser for Francine Busby, who previously ran for the deeply-Republican Fiftieth District and came close to winning in the 2006 special election and subsequent regular election, was raided by sheriffs after an unnamed neighbor made a noise complaint. Busby now calls it a “phony” noise complaint, and the article says that multiple neighbors said there was no great noise at all.

Here’s the twist: The fundraiser was hosted by a lesbian couple, and shortly before the sheriffs came a particular neighbor had shouted anti-gay slurs at the assembled crowd. “It was a quiet home reception, disrupted by a vulgar person shouting obscenities from behind the bushes,” Busby says.

As one neighbor told the paper: “We didn’t hear anything until the sheriff came, with eight patrol cars and a helicopter.”

And yes, the new developments are becoming more sordid by the minute. Details after the flip…

Why We Can't Wait on Solving the Climate Crisis

New Orleans may sink into the sea by 2100. Much of Florida may also be underwater by then. Drought will likely become the norm out West, meaning California could no longer provide the food we depend upon. Las Vegas may become downright inhabitable.

No, I’m not fabricating any of this. These will be the consequences of inaction if we continue to delay implementing the solutions we need to solve the coming climate crisis. But for some reason, may of our supposedly wise lawmakers in Capitol Hill are either willfully ignorant of the facts or downright lying about our future.

Seriously, we can’t allow any more of this.

National Endowment for the Arts Gets a Raise from The House… Now We Need The Senate!

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $15 million increase for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for FY 2010, as my good friend Cecil Thompson just e-mailed me.

This is Great! The problems with the economy are hurting the performing arts spaces big time… from the Metropolitan Opera down to many of the smaller companies and performance groups in your own regions.

The Evil Specter of Government Medicine

Folks, I don’t think it’s any news that the Obama Administration’s push for socialist-communist-fascist health care is a direct threat to our nation, and our way of life.

For those of you unaware of the implications of socialist, let me illustrate it to you:

Shut 'Em Down

The Iranian regime has crossed the Rubicon in its reaction to nonviolent protest and citizen dissent and is currently executing a slow-motion coup d’état which may usher in a new leadership dedicated to exercising the totalitarian power of the state.

In spite of the role played by connectivity in reporting the abuses of power and the violent repression of its citizens, the West seems unable to exercise any meaningful influence on the perpetrators of murderous violence.  Opposing them merely exacerbates the propaganda of the autocratic authors of this repression.  Web-based repositories hosted in the US and the world at large have become targets of the Iranian security establishment seeking to identify individuals who have opposed the state, a matter of arguably life-threatening urgency for those involved.  If they want to act like a military junta then they should be treated as such.  They clearly are using the Western infrastructure of the Internet for their own doubtful, and internationally criminal, purposes.

Cut Off the Internet

From the network map illustrated it appears, as confirmed by RIS database searches, that the primary Internet provider in Iran, DCI Autonomous Systems, owned and operated by the state and the source of all filtering and censorship, has worldwide connectivity through six transit providers, Turk Telecom (TTNet, AS9121), FLAG (AS15412), Singapore Telecom (AS7473), PCCW (AS3491), Telia (AS1299), and Telecom Italia Sparkle (AS6762).  The regime itself blocked access to five out of six of these providers as part of their premeditated communications blackout on the eve of the announcement of the election results, as shown.  The connectivity through TTnet at the time may have been an oversight.  This demonstrates the ease with which a total Internet blackout can be accomplished either overtly or covertly on either side of the Internet Exchange Point.

If they seek to use the Internet as cultural candy for their population, to be dialed up, down or off at will, it seems that our infrastructure is being used by the regime to relieve a tension which they are incapable and unwilling to manage themselves.  There is also the issue of the economic impact of such a blockade, which would render the economic sanctions the UN seems unwilling to impose irrelevant by interdicting the normal flow of inbound and outbound business related traffic.  The Internet is a development of the enlightened and pluralistic culture which the Iranian leadership has consistently defined as their ideological enemy.  One wonders why they should be permitted to utilise it for their own totalitarian purposes, both domestically and internationally.

It’s interesting to note that in spite of legality issues regarding cyber-warfare there seem to be no international conventions regarding the manipulation of routing information and BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) database management.  This is evidenced by recent incidents:

In early 2008, at least eight US Universities had their traffic diverted to Indonesia for about 90 minutes one morning in an attack kept mostly quiet by those involved. Also, in February 2008, a large portion of YouTube’s address space was redirected to Pakistan when the PTA decided to block access to the site from inside the country, but accidentally blackholed the route in the global BGP table.

BGP hijacking and transit-AS problems Wikipedia

Obviously this would also restrict international access to PressTV, IRNA and IRIB websites hosted domestically in Iran, thereby cutting off the flow of regime propaganda to the rest of the world.  Shucks.

Whether this is something which could or should be done formally or covertly, either by international convention, unilateral action or at a grass-roots level along the lines of the DDoS attacks on Iran in recent weeks is an open question.  But it’s fair to say that international law is several decades behind the technology at this point, creating an opportunity for direct action.  Whether this is done uniformly, sporadically or as a sequence of ‘rolling blackouts’ in response to Iranian intransigence and behaviour are all options to be considered.  It’s times like these when one wishes that in a parallel universe there was an IWW local worldwide of Internet traffic engineers, network administrators and security professionals willing to embark on such an activity.

A Decade (or so) Of Beltway Sexcapades

With Mark Sanford’s tearful admission yesterday, he became the latest addition to an ignoble list of politicians who found (placed) themselves in the midst of a sex scandal during the past decade (or so).

Michael Jackson RIP – open thread and tributes

The LA Times is confirming the sad news that Michael Jackson has died of a massive heart attack.

For someone of my age, Michael defined a generation. From early days as a child singer he went through several amazing metamorphoses, some increasingly bizarre. But he was gifted. And he was always there.

Thoughts, tributes, regrets. Anything welcome in this open thread


It is yet another beautiful day here in Dublin.

However I’m stuck indoors listening to professors in nerdy glasses boorishly lecturing (hectoring) us. Today I had to get up early in the morning because my presentation was scheduled first in the session. It was misery as I’m not a morning person. Who can do this to me? But anyway it went alright.

Yesterday it was big news when Emerging Springboks tied the game with Lions at 13-13. The last 15 minutes of the game was quite exciting to see the Springboks going from 6-13 under, to drawing the game. Of course, I kept my mouth shut in the Pub.

Dublin is a very interesting city with a beautiful City Center (Centre). The architecture around Trinity College was absolutely gorgeous (or at least it is to the untrained eye). It is the home of the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow.

I have been watching the Iran coverage on Irish TV, mainly through BBC and 24 Hours (The French Channel). The Brits and Iranians expelled diplomats in a tit-for-tat action. The other day folks on the TV were also debating Obama’s Press conference. It is fascinating to see how Europeans view us and their debates are so different.

BTW do you know what is a Movie-um? Can you guess? Last Sunday I was strolling on the bank of River Thames, nearabouts Lambeth, and came across Movieum! One more word added to my English lexicon, thanks to the “moronic” Brits. 😉