Sony Learns Nothing From Its Mistakes

Remember back in 2005, when Sony decided it would be a smashingly brill idea to include a rootkit on one of their CDs? Well, now they’re selling USB keychain drives with built-in fingerprint scanners, and they figured it’d be totally rad to include a rootkit with that as well.

As the old saying goes, subvert my security to prevent the inevitable release of your IP onto the net by 15 minutes, shame on you; subvert my security etc. twice, shame on you still, dumbass.

The Further Adventures of Ted “Completely Heterosexual” Haggard

Remember Ted Haggard, the right-wing preacher who got busted for having sex with a male prostitute, and buying meth from him?

If Bonnie Goldstein at Slate is right, he might be entering the lucrative field of financial shenanigans (a career for which his experience as a preacher prepared him well) (maybe he can share a cell with Kent Hovind).

The nutshell version: he doesn’t have his old salary, and in the current housing market, he can’t sell his $700,000 house, so he sent out a letter asking people to donate to Families With A Mission, which will pass on 90% of donations to Haggard, and keep 10% for administrative expenses.

However, it appears that Families With A Mission was dissolved in February 2007. And its registered agent was a sex offender.

So something funny’s going on.

Arming the Enemy

From the Washington Post:

The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.

The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

Can this administration do anything without it turning to shit?

And I don’t want to hear another word about “criticizing the war emboldens the enemy” or any crap like that. Not while the government’s own incompetence is inadvertently supplying weapons—actual steel weapons, not metaphorical ones—to the people shooting at our troops.

Fifty Bucks, Same As In the Vestry

Religious scandals are always fun, whether it’s Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, or Tommy Tester.

According to the Kingsport, TN Times-News, police in Johnson City, TN, accosted Tester to investigate reports of indecent exposure. Tester, a Baptist minister, radio host, and all-around upstanding citizen, was obviously rattled by this:

“He said they (Johnson City police) scared him–he was scared to death and didn’t know what he’d said or what he’d admitted or anything else,” Morris said.

So rattled was he that he offered the cops blow jobs.

He then got out of his car, lifted his skirt, and peed on a car wash in front of some kids.

The cops also found an open bottle of vodka in his car.

According to reports, Tester also allegedly admitted to police that he had been drinking and failed all field sobriety tests.

He’s been charged with indecent exposure, DUI, and having an open container of alcohol.

Update, 16:13: Well, that didn’t take long. familmusicgroup.com has a gallery of photos of the site owner with various radio people at a convention last year. According to Google’s cache, as of July 15, that page included a photo of Tommy Tester. Not anymore.

GHE EULA: WTF?

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s is out. One weird thing about it is at the bottom of the copyright notice on the back of the manual:

ACTIVISION EXPRESSLY PROHIBITS THE USE OF THE GAME WITH ANY CONTROLLERS OTHER THAN ACTIVISION AUTHORIZED CONTROLLERS OR THE STANDARD GAME CONTROLLERS.

(This also appears at the bottom of the web site.)

I’ve seen some weird restrictions in EULAs before, but WTF? This is like saying that you can only use Microsoft Office with a Microsoft keyboard. Are they trying to protect the sales of $60 Guitar Hero controllers? Or are they just being dickish control freaks or something?

Thanks to for pointing this out.

Argento on Lohan

Once again, Mike Argento nails it:

You can’t turn around without the TV news bloviating endlessly about the troubles of Lindsay Lohan. On Wednesday, the “Today” show had a panel of experts discussing whatever it was she is accused of doing.
[…]

I have no idea who Lindsay Lohan is and I really don’t care. What makes me sad is that she apparently is the new Paris Hilton, the latest poster child for our civilization circling the drain.

Meanwhile, while Lindsay Lohan was dominating the news, the Department of Defense announced the death of Marine Lance Cpl. Bobby Twitty, 20, of Bedias, Texas.

We know everything we ever thought we needed to know about Lindsay Lohan.

Lance Cpl. Twitty? Not so much.

Due Process Was Overrated, Anyway

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out , which el Presidente signed a few days ago.

Unitary Executive Summary: if Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury determines that you’ve been “threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq” or are likely to, then he just needs to “consult” with the Secretaries of State and Defense (it doesn’t say they have to agree with him, and he can have all your property seized. Also that of your friends and anyone else who helps you, including your defense lawyer (except, of course, if past behavior is anything to go by, you won’t get a lawyer).

Nobody will disagree with the idea that it’s a good idea to seize Al Qaeda assets to prevent those assets from being used to bomb us. But I could’ve sworn that there were already law enforcement agencies in charge of doing just that, and laws allowing them to do it. In fact, I may be misremembering, but I seem to remember a time when warrants were involved. Something about those pesky 4th
and 5th amendments or something.

(Note: the 5th amendment only forbids taking private property for public use. There’s nothing in there about seizing your bank account and giving it to one of Cheney’s cronies.)

Remember: they hate us for our freedoms. So if we don’t relinquish our freedoms, the terrorists will have won.

Meanwhile, the sum total of the Post’s coverage seems to consist of a three-paragraph blurb that merely says that this order will be used in the War on Terra (how’s that working out, by the way?), and a passing mention in an op-ed piece.

The Long D’oh! Man

If you’ve read Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies, you may remember the Long Man, a figure cut into a hillside, inspired by the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset, in England.

To promote the new Simpsons movie, a new figure, of Homer Simpson in tighty-whities and holding a doughnut, has been painted on a neighboring field (in water-soluble paint, so it should wash off when it rains).

What’s funnier, though, is the reaction of the local Pagan community:

Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: “It’s very disrespectful and not at all aesthetically pleasing.

“We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind. We’ll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away.”

Point 1: Lighten up, dudes. Bitching about this being “disrespectful” makes you look as wacky and unhinged as the Christian nutjobs protesting The Life of Brian and The Last Temptation of Christ.

Point 2: Rain magic? Rain magic?! In case you hadn’t noticed, this is the 21st century. We know what causes rain, and it ain’t rain fairies or however you think it works.

Point 3: The oldest written references to the Cerne Abbas Giant only date back to the 17th century. In a country that’s been continuously inhabited since long before there was even such a thing as the English language, this is the equivalent of last week’s graffiti in the subway. So either this “symbol of ancient spirituality” went unnoticed for thousands of years (including by medieval Christians, not known for their tolerance of pagan symbols), or else this is really an 18th century farmer’s way of telling his neighbor, “I’m gonna beat your skull in, then make you squeal like a pig.”

So please cut out the drama. And next time you’re at Marks & Spencer, pick up a sense of humor.

Jo Hovind Gets Time

The Pensacola News Journal has the news about Jo Hovind’s sentencing:

Jo Hovind, the wife of creationist theme-park owner Kent Hovind, stood solemnly beside her attorney Friday as U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers handed down a sentence of one year and one day in federal prison.

Jo Hovind, 51, also was ordered to pay $8,000 in fines and three years supervision when she is released from prison.

Which I guess brings closure to the Hovind saga. Now, when are we going to see similar indictments against Ken Ham, Pat Robertson, etc?