THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 370 July 11 - 17, 2005
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July 11, 2005
Column has been filed. Tomorrow morning (Monday Morning) Niven will be over and we're off to his mother's beach place, where we can get some work done on Inferno and talk with Steve Barnes about the possibility of another Heorot novel. We'll see.
There was quite a bit of interesting mail over the weekend, and also there were important warnings in last week's view. It won't take you long to go read that, so do so now... And be sure you saw the Adobe Acrobat warning.
Regarding the Adobe Acrobat Reader vulnerability (in your mail last week) -- that particular vuln is only for the UNIX version of Acrobat Reader, not the Windows versions.
That's not to say that Acrobat doesn't have problems ... so readers would be advised to ensure that their Acrobat reader software is updated (see the Help menu in the program).
Advance warning....tomorrow (Tue) is "Microsoft Patch Tuesday". Reports are there are some critical updates in there, so readers should ensure they are set up for automatic updates. Note that a new option on the "Windows Update" page (from your Start menu) allows you to get the updated "Microsoft Update", which will also automatically update MS-Office apps. It requires an Active-X install, but it is very painless and quick. Highly Recommended.
Regards, Rick Hellewell
|This week:||Tuesday, July
My thoughts on Microsoft and the Spyware situation are in the column (the
new section was added in front of the last part of the June column).
Some more on this at
Claria is attempting a far more ambitious transformation. In addition to cutting--this past February--its license agreement from "Constitution" lengths to 2,500 words, the company is courting major publishers to bundle its ad software with search toolbars, IM clients and other mainstream applications.
Note that Microsoft is rumored to be considering buying Claria formerly known as Gator. My take on all this is in today's column at www.byte.com./
Wear your heart on your sleeve.
It always helps if you actually read what your enemies say, not what your friends think your enemies ought to be saying. And see mail.
Robert Walsh of San Diego I have a subscription check from you but apparently not an email address. Thanks
Dan finds something interesting:
Subject: Check it out, someone makes a x1 PCI-E video card now
And its Matrox, its a dated core, but if you're looking for cheap multi-monitor capability in the 2-D world with current hardware she's the only game in town right now I think:
For years I used Matrox boards in any writing machine because their text looked so much better than anyone else's. They are still outstanding in 2-D.
July 14, 2005
Today we celebrate the liberation of seven aristocrats: four forgers, two madmen, and a young aristocrat who had challenged the best swordsman in France to a duel and whose father got the king to lock him up to prevent his being killed. The forgers vanished. The madmen were sent to the common madhouse. The final young mad became "Citizen Liberte" under which name he lost his head in The Terror because apparently his conversion from aristocracy was incomplete. The garrison of the fortress prison was composed of retired and disabled soldiers, all of whom had been appointed because of meritorious service to the nation. They were slaughtered to a man.
Liberty. Equality. Fraternity.
Everyone is concerned about Rove. No one seems to be looking at the source of the flap.
I see that Joe Wilson, who botched his investigation of attempts to buy uranium in Niger, having been sent there by his wife, is calling for Rove's resignation. Since Rove more than one year ago gave all journalists permission to quote from any interviews they had with him on this subject, it remains a mystery to me why one reporter is in jail, and another waited until the last minute to reveal that he had permission from his source to testify to the Grand Jury. Surely this cannot have been a spin on the part of the press to give this story legs?
What remains a mystery is why Wilson, who got the assignment from his wife's recommendation, thought that having gone public to denounce the Administration by revealing the details of his CIA work in an op-ed article, ever thought that no one would look into what his wife did for a living. One wonders: mendacious? Incompetent? Duplicitous? Or some other explanation? I invite comment. Can he possibly be so naive as to suppose that after writing an article denouncing the Administration, no one would ask how he got the assignment in the first place? Or that once it came out that it was on his wife's recommendation, no one would look into her employment and how she got the power to recommend this future Democratic Party operative for a CIA assignment?
As for me, I don't think I much care what Wilson says, and I certainly wouldn't hire a man who spoke of discovering forgeries in documents that weren't shown to him until months after his report. I think the CIA could have taken a name at random from the Pentagon phone book and got at least as good a report as they got from Wilson. He took a junket to Niger, sat around drinking tea, talked to people who would come talk to him, investigated nothing: this according to his own account. Then he talked about his report in the newspapers, which resulted in scrutiny of his report, which resulted in discovery of its worthlessness. Interestingly, the original interpretation of the report was that it confirmed that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. Wilson now says he concluded the opposite. The Brits to this day stand by the story Wilson was to "investigate": the Brits to this day say that Saddam did try to buy uranium in Niger.
There's other evidence, and it's a fair conclusion that Saddam did seek to buy uranium in Niger. He didn't get any, but he was trying to buy it. Wilson says his report proves he did not even try; but apparently the original report did not support that conclusion. At least the Company thought his report supported the conclusion that Saddam tried to buy uranium in Niger, and that resulted in their not objecting to Bush's use of that in his address.
Wilson, meanwhile, says his report supports no such conclusion, and Saddam never did any such thing. Wilson's op-ed piece denounces forged documents that Wilson could not have seen before writing his report. So: he went at his wife's behest; he submitted a report that apparently supported the contention that Saddam tried to buy uranium; he went public stating that his report proved that Saddam did not try to buy uranium; he embarrassed the Washington Post which eventually had to reveal him as a source. We could go on but why bother?
In my judgment the attention being given to Mr. Wilson, given the track record of his achievements in his CIA assignment, is a bit odd. Why should I care what a Kerry staffer recommends about Republican strategists? Is it unpredictable?
There is in last week's Weekly Standard an article, "What's the Matter with Gitmo?", http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/771uukif.asp that I recommend to your attention. It is well thought out, and he has looked at actions and alternatives as well as backgrounds. I don't suppose I agree with everything he said, but at the moment I don't recall much to disagree with.
One paragraph: "One conclusion, then: We are all always rightly concerned about the operational morality of America's intelligence agencies; we should probably be more concerned about their competence. It's not at all unlikely that however much military and CIA officers have had recourse to physical intimidation and pain in their interrogations, this choice is probably more common more quickly among officers who don't have the necessary background and linguistic skills to deconstruct effectively their detainees through mental seduction, intimidation, and fatigue. "
I could not agree more with that.
<http://www.newsmax.com> Hillary Clinton 'Seething' Over Rick Santorum
2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was reportedly "seething" after what the New York Post says was a "frosty" encounter yesterday with her conservative Senate colleague Rick Santorum.
Clinton paused during a Capitol Hill interview with Post reporter Ian Bishop "to let out a week's worth of pent-up frustration," the paper said, over Santorum's new book, "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good." <http://www.newsmaxstore.com/nms/showdetl.cfm?&DID=6&Product_ID=1940&af_id=1237>
Santorum penned his tome in response to Clinton's own best-selling tribute to socialism, "It Takes a Village." [NewsMax has some of the first copies of Santorum's book -- get it with our FREE offer -- Go Here Now <http://www.newsmaxstore.com/nms/showdetl.cfm?&DID=6&Product_ID=1940&af_id=1237> .]
But up until now, the former first lady has held her fire.
"It takes a village, Rick, don't forget that," Clinton called out as the two passed in a narrow hallway.
"It takes a family," Santorum shot back through a veiled smile.
Not content to let the Pennsylvania Republican have the last word, Clinton responded, "Of course, a family is part of a village!"
The exchange may be the first of several debates between the two diamatrically opposed senators, if - as the Post posits - Santorum tosses his hat into the presidential ring in 2008 and challenges Mrs. Clinton.
And these are said to be two leading candidates for the Presidency; each wants to be the most powerful man, uh, person, in the world.
Don't forget, it takes a real Viking to raze a village... Or perhaps an Islamic Jehadist.
An announcement that may interest some:
Subject: Explorers Club Documentary Film Festival 2006 Call for Entries
CALL FOR ENTRIES
The fourth annual Explorers Club Documentary Film Festival will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2006. The Film Festival represents a continuation and extension of the Club's longstanding mission, as we seek to honor filmmakers who share our vision for, and commitment to, a healthier planet in the twenty-first century. The festival will be a daylong celebration of the best in films on the subjects of Scientific Exploration, Field Research, and Wildlife & Conservation.
The competition is open to members of The Explorers Club as well as the general public, and we invite filmmakers to submit their works for consideration. Films completed between January 1, 1998, and October 13, 2005, are eligible for submission.
Deadline for submissions: October 14, 2005.
Download and print the entry form: http://explorers.org/spec_events/filmfest/filmfest2006/filmfest2006.pdf
Or contact The Explorers Club to request an entry form. Entry forms must be completed in hardcopy and submitted by mail.
Submit inquiries or completed entry form to:
Sybille Campbell, Festival Director The Explorers Club 46 East 70th Street New York, NY 10021 Tel: 212-628-8383 Fax: 212-628-2048 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Chambers Events Coordinator for Sybille Campbell
The Explorers Club 46 East 70th Street New York, NY 10021 (212) 628-8383 (212) 628-2048 (Fax) email@example.com
July 15, 2005
Off on Yet Another Trip today. Sigh.
I'll be trying to keep up from On The Road.
I Seem to have a Corrupted Copy of outlook. PST so No mail from I July to This Am. So if you wrote last week it my be a week before I answer.
In Seattle. I a not sure what happened with the mail but when I transferred the OUtlook file it doesn't seem to have gone over properly, Oh well, but I am missing mal from the past week or so. It's still back in LA so not a big problem, but I don't have it..
July 16, 2005
I presume everyone here is intelligent enough not to fall for the "class action suit" award for those with Paypal accounts? If you send them your bank account information to get your $210 or however much they offer you, the next step is predictable. Ingeniously they tell you why Paypal cannot simply deposit the money in your Paypal account.
The games people play should not astonish me, but sometimes they do. Here we have Wilson, an odd sort of man who clearly thinks he ought to be more important than he is, who was sent on his wife's recommendation to Niger to determine whether Saddam tried to buy -- or wanted people to think he tried to buy -- uranium. It wouldn't have done him any good to buy it since he had no means of enrichment, but Saddam was big on bluffs, as proven by his generals, each of whom thought the other had deployed chemical weapons.
Wilson's report was not seen as proving that Saddam did not try to buy the uranium. It apparently settled little or nothing and each side in the intelligence community could use it to support its views. There were those who thought Saddam was trying to buy the stuff, and those who didn't think so, and the differences were honest ones of interpretation. Wilson was sent to try to get some hard evidence. His report wasn't a lot of use in settling the matter. Wilson went back to obscurity, which wasn't good for him, so wrote a book. He also did an op ed piece asserting that his report did have clear conclusions, and cited as evidence his denunciation of forged documents. Alas, the documents were not available to him when he wrote his report, and could not have formed the basis for any conclusions. Who forged the documents and why is not known, but all this is irrelevant to Wilson and his report.
Once Wilson wrote his op ed piece, anyone would know that there would be investigative reporters looking into what he was doing. His wife works at Langley, and it's not hard to watch who goes in and out of the gate every day. Analysts don't have very deep cover. The law is specific and says that it is a Federal crime to knowingly and intentionally identify covert CIA employees. That was largely intended to stop the actions of some of the anti-American publications that were rampant back in past times. It was framed in part not to criminalize discussions of common knowledge subjects. When Wilson's wife got him the job going to Niger as an expert, and he then went to the Washington Post with his article denouncing the Administration, it wasn't hard to predict that someone would cotton on to to this, and it would come out.
It became common knowledge that his wife got him the job. Who told that story isn't clear. Possibly CIA people who do not share the anti-administration views. There are some. Quite a few, actually. But it was inevitable that it would come out, and both she and Joe Wilson must have known that.
There are a lot of sticks to beat the administration with. The war was not a good idea. But most of the Democrats who want to beat up the administration over the war voted to authorize it, so an honest analysis of the war decision factors won't work. So, we have this imbecile investigation taking up time. No one is going to show that anyone knowingly and intentionally identified a covert CIA employee. One can make up a lot of plausible scenarios about what happened, including the simplest, that it was common knowledge and no one even thought about her being a covert employee of the Agency. There may even have been someone who did knowingly and intentionally identify her, but you won't find it out at this range, because whoever did that would have been careful to tell the story to others in a way that masks his identity. He was just passing along gossip. But in fact, it was probable that it was just passing along gossip.
There are a lot of questions of importance, and this isn't one of them. The real question is what are we going to do NOW that we are over there in Iraq and any retreat will be seen as a victory for the people we do not want to feel victorious. There is no substitute for victory and that applies to jihadists as much as anyone else. We should not have gone in there, but we are there, and we have got to find a way out.
If all this ingenuity were applied to that question something might come of it, but trying to get Karl Rove to go to a private political management firm is not going to amount to much whatever happens.
We are in trouble over there in Iraq. It is a tar baby, a quagmire, as some of us said it would be; but we are there, and we need a way out, and we don't seem to have one that doesn't leave us worse off than when we went in. Now it may be there is no way out. It's a sunk cost, and we abandon all that blood and treasure and achieve a negative result for its expenditure. But before we write it off, we ought to turn at least as much attention to the question as we have to whether Karl Rove knowingly and intentionally identified Valeria Plame as a covert CIA operative.
July 17, 2005
Still in Seattle on family matters. I am in a 48K well...
I managed to do something wrong so that I don't have the mail from last week, only what has come in since about Noon Friday.
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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