Patterico's Pontifications

11/24/2012

Reminder: Obama Still a %$@*-Up

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:37 pm

This is who this country elected:

In his tour of Burma, billed as an historic first visit since Burma’s 2007 move to democracy, it was clear he was in way over his head, even on small things. Obama repeatedly referred to the country’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader Aung San Suu Kyi as Aung Yan Suu Kyi, an astonishing error given her global fame.

He also bungled the norms of Burmese polite address, calling Thein Sein, the nation’s leader “President Sein,” an error comparable to addressing Cambodia’s Pol Pot as Mr. Pot.

But he also undermined his supposed democracy mission, first by telling the Burmese leaders that he too wished he could govern without opposition, calling into question whether he himself believed in the representative government he was advocating.

By 2016 the people who voted this guy into office will finally realize how badly they f’ed up.

By then it will be too late.

11/23/2012

It’s Black Friday: Use the Amazon Widget!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:33 pm

The Amazon widget is on the right sidebar just under Recent Comments. If you don’t see it, you probably have software blocking it. Just tell your anti-ad software to whitelist this site, or go to Amazon via this link.

Happy shopping!

Comment Tweaks

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:51 am

Recent Comments are back. (Ding!) Comments alternate between a white and a light gray background to make it easier to distinguish between comments. Currently, my comments have a yellow color, which makes them stick out uniquely. Also, every commenter is currently assigned a unique hash tag, like they have at Ace’s. It gives no hint as to what your actual IP address is, but if a troll tries to leave multiple comments using different names from the same IP, you will be able to catch them.

Let me and Admin Guy know what you think.

Is Neal Rauhauser the One Who Wrote the Anonymous Claim that Rove’s ORCA System Was Hacked?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:18 am

I have warned you time and again to be careful about attributing any significance to factual claims made by anonymous people. A couple of days ago, the Daily Caller reported on an anonymous claim taking credit for supposedly hacking Karl Rove’s ORCA system. Even though the Caller article points out that there is no proof for the claim, and later specifically notes facts that contradict it, the claim somehow became a story on their site. Indeed, the Caller tells its readers that the claim was made by a “mysterious hacktivist group” — when it could just as easily be a single lying loser behind a keyboard. More on who that loser might be in a moment. Here is the Caller:

A mysterious hacktivist group called The Protectors says it is responsible for Project ORCA’s technical failures on Election Day, even though it has offered no proof to support the claim.

Velvet Revolution and Justice Through Music, both activist organizations founded by convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin, had offered a million dollar bounty to tech savvy people prior to Election Day to prove instances of tampering with voting machines.

Kimberlin, who has been extensively profiled by The Blaze and Time, made his foray into election-reform politics in order to prove that Republicans stole the 2004 presidential election.

The Protectors are attempting to claim that reward, stating in a letter to Velvet Revolution — dated Nov. 8, and allegedly received by Velvet Revolution on Nov. 12 — that the group sabotaged the Romney campaign’s efforts to win the presidency.

With all due respect, Daily Caller editors, how do we know this letter is the product of a “mysterious hacktivist group”? How do we know it’s not just some douchebag sitting around making a claim to draw attention?

Let’s look at a couple of red flags. We already know from the first sentence of the article that there is “no proof” for the claim. And this paragraph also suggests that the claim is B.S.:

The timeline The Protectors offered in the letter to Velvet Revolution, however, contradicts accounts from both the Romney campaign and ORCA volunteers.

But the reasons to doubt the claim run much deeper.

The email came in to the mailbox of Brett Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution. To the extent that gullible media outlets report the story, that tends to raise the profile of Velvet Revolution. Cui bono? Why, Brett Kimberlin and his associate Neal Rauhauser, who has heavily promoted the story (and claimed to have received advanced notice of the action) on his gibberish-filled stalker blog. (No links for gibberish-filled stalker blogs.)

But here’s the part that really got my attention: the letter to Velvet Revolution ends this way:

We may just put all our evidence into a tidy little package and give it to a painfully bored nemesis hanging out in a certain embassy in London.

“Tidy little package.”

Bwahahahahahahahaha.

Anyone who has followed Neal Rauhauser for any length of time sees the words “tidy little package” and chuckles — or perhaps laughs out loud, as I just did. You see, Rauhauser loves to use the word “tidy” in connection with compilations of evidence. It’s a verbal tic that is noticed by everyone who has read the guy’s ravings for any length of time.

Just a few examples:

[UPDATE: See the bottom of this post for an example of Rauhauser using this exact phrase.]

Coincidentally enough, the Gaped Crusader (who has many startling similarities to Rauhauser including an IP address) loves the word “tidy” as well:

By contrast, I did a search, and it turns out that in nearly 10 years of blogging, I have never used the word “tidy” in a post, even once. Until this one.

I have a memory of Rauhauser using the precise phrase “tidy little package,” but can find only circumstantial evidence of it. I can’t find a screenshot of it, but Mike Stack and I used to discuss Neal’s use of the phrase, and Mike has used it on his own blog as a quote or paraphrase of Rauhauser. [UPDATE: See the bottom of this post for an example of Rauhauser using this precise phrase.]

Rauhauser’s defenders will claim that I am basing all this on one word, which I clearly am not. There’s his connection to Velvet Revolution, the email being sent to Velvet Revolution, the use of a characteristic word or phrase, and the fact that he is trying to use the traffic to his blog to promote his insane conspiracy theories about me. It’s not proof he did it, but there’s plenty here to make a knowledgeable observer go: hmmmmm.

But forget Neal Rauhauser. The main point of my post is to caution people about believing anonymous sources. Here is ironclad proof that when you credulously repeat claims of anonymous people who offer no proof, you risk looking like a moron. The hacker group Anonymous has a little inside joke where they go around using the number “over 9000″ to describe things. “Know your meme” explains:

“Over 9000” is a popular catchphrase derived from the Japanese manga anime series Dragon Ball Z that is typically used as an innumerable quantifier to describe a large number of something like “several”, “lots”, “butt loads” and even the metric “ass tonne”.

As Parmy Olson explained in her book about the hacker group Anonymous, members of that group repeat this meme often — and sucker in news agencies in the process.

Just this month, at least two news organizations have fallen prey to the joke:

TechWeekEurope:

The vice prime minister of Israel, Silvan Shalom, has had his Twitter account hacked, with pro-Palestine messages posted on his micro-blogging.

Meanwhile, Anonymous has ramped up its cyber war on Israel, claiming to have leaked over 9000 documents belonging to Israeli officials.

Wow, some person claiming to be from a hacking group claims to have leaked “over 9000″ documents? That’s news, better report it! Here’s another slightly more cautious story from a couple of weeks ago:

Reuters:

A worldwide day of protests and cyber attacks against governments, banks and security firms has been launched by Hacker collective Anonymous to mark Guy Fawkes Day. Hundreds of people marched in London, while another rally hit Washington, DC.

Around 200 Anonymous supporters, according to RT’s London Bureau, assembled in London’s Trafalgar Square for Operation Vendetta, a march to the Houses of Parliament. The group itself claims over 9,000 people joined the action.

Another outlandish claim of “over 9000″ something or another being dutifully reported, albeit with some skepticism.

When it comes to Rove’s ORCA failure, anonymous reports claiming hacking are worthless. Indeed, the only story worth reporting is the possibility that the person behind this silly claim is a single loser behind a keyboard with an unusually close connection to Brett Kimberlin.

UPDATE: A tipster provides this link to Rauhauser using the “tidy little package” phrase verbatim using his Stranded Wind persona.

11/22/2012

Stacy McCain Nails Karoli of “Crooks and Liars” on Her Bizarre Decision to Throw What Remains of Her Credibility Behind Neal Rauhauser

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:58 pm

McCain nails it. Read the whole thing. A teaser:

Wow: Rauhauser’s own claim to have identified Patterico as orchestrating the (non-existent) right-wing conspiracy against Weiner is cited by Karoli as proof that Neal was right! So if Rauhauser were to assert that he once worked as a body double for Brad Pitt, Karoli would link that as “proof” of Neal’s muscular physique. This is an invalid circular argument which accepts mere assertion as “evidence.”

McCain also notes a troubling coincidence that has weighed on my mind in the past:

Three hours after Patterico brought up Rauhauser’s name in connection with “Jennifer George,” Patterico was SWATted.

Probably just a coincidence, I’m sure. Ask the Gaped Crusader.

Go read it all.

Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:15 pm

[As I have done before, I am reprinting the post below from 2006, about a mental exercise I sometimes employ to help me appreciate the good things in my life. Many people have written me to say that they have given their loved ones an extra hug after reading the post.

Even if you’re going through a rough time, there are no doubt positive aspects of your life that you won’t be able to count on forever. Hopefully this post will help you not to take those things for granted. Happy Thanksgiving.]

I’ve discovered a way to bring a new perspective to your life.

To explain it, I have to tell a little story.

Driving home Friday night, I was remembering a time years ago, when my daughter Lauren (now six years old) was in her first year. An old friend of mine was coming to town, and we went with my wife to see a Glen Phillips solo acoustic concert down near San Diego.

We were very excited to see the show. But for some reason, we couldn’t get a babysitter. So we decided to take Lauren. Since it was just an acoustic show, we hoped that she’d sleep peacefully on my lap. If, during the show, she got upset, I would take her out to the car. Thereafter, my wife and I would take turns watching her in the car.

Lauren was asleep when the concert began — but she awoke, crying, five seconds into the first song. It was louder than we had thought it would be. I hurriedly took her to the car, which was parked on the street about half a block away.

Once I had her out there, I never brought her back inside the club. Although part of me wanted to be back inside watching the concert, I was also having fun being with my daughter — at times talking to her when she was awake, and at times watching her sleep. Plus, I wanted to let my wife see the whole concert. I figured there was no reason to interrupt her enjoyment if I was having a perfectly good time.

It wasn’t so much that I preferred to be with my daughter than to watch a concert. I just didn’t mind staying out with her in the car.

Thinking about this the other night, I asked myself: Patrick, if you could go back to that night, right now, and either stay out in the car with Lauren, or be inside and watch the concert — which would you do?

And of course the answer was obvious.

The night it happened, I didn’t mind being in the car with my daughter. But if I could go back now, there’s no question that I would want to be there.

Not only would I stay in the car with her — I would make the most of the experience, realizing that I had a precious chance to see her at that age again. I would try to commit every moment to memory.

And then I realized: some day, years in the future, I might be asking the same question about my life today — this very minute. If you could have this moment back to live over again, what would you do?

The rest of that evening, I pictured myself as having been sent into my body from the future, to relive the moments I was experiencing. And I saw everything differently. I sat on the couch and watched television with my arm around my wife — all the while imagining myself as an old man, transported back in time to relive that moment. And all of a sudden, what otherwise might have seemed like a mundane moment seemed like a privilege. I felt like the luckiest guy in the world, just sitting there with my wife.

I’ve tried the trick all weekend, and it really changes your outlook. Just sitting around with a sleepy child in your arms is great any way you look at it. But if you picture yourself as someone whose child has grown up — if you imagine yourself as an older man, who would give the world to be back in that chair with that child in his arms — it makes you realize how important the moment is. And you appreciate it more.

Like any epiphany, I know that this will pass, to be remembered only from time to time. I hope I remember it often, when routine is wearing on me.

But there are times I actively need to forget it, because this outlook promotes a sort of hedonism. For example, right now, I need to clean the house — but that’s not really what I would choose to do if I were sent here from the future.

Oh, well. I’m going to clean up anyway. I think the guy from the future would understand — sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. I can hear my future self in my head right now. He says to make a nice cup of coffee and put on some music while I do it, and take some breaks to play with the kids. Enjoy the chores as well as the easy and fun moments, I hear him saying. Some day, you’ll miss even the chores. Some day, you’ll miss almost everything about your life the way it is right now.

11/21/2012

Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:54 am

We’re still working on the site. I have a pretty good post about a Daily Caller article that I can’t publish because I currently cannot upload images, and I have to get to work. So it’s another open thread — but it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so it’s bound to be a slow news day anyway.

11/20/2012

A Police Officer with a Sense of Humor

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:39 pm

A break-in at the University of Texas was described by a responding officer as follows:

Officers discovered entry into the room had been made through the ceiling. The A/C ceiling vent was laying on the floor along with dust and other ceiling materials. Officers began searching the office and discovered a masked non-UT subject attempting to hide by hanging onto the wall molding and a window blind.

The subject refused to comply with the officers’ requests to come out with his hands up. The subject even refused the officers’ coaxing when the officer handed over the Jack in the Box french fries. The non-UT subject escaped through an open window and evaded the officers. The non-UT subject was described as: three feet tall, last seen wearing a brown and black striped coat, furry gloves and black mask over his eyes.

These criminals are ubiquitous. We have had some fitting that description around our house.

Stacy McCain on Rauhauser and Friends

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:34 pm

Stacy McCain:

I consider every claim made by Kimberlin and Rauhauser to be a deliberate lie until proven otherwise. Kimberlin is a convicted perjurer who has been described as a con man, and Rauhauser’s habitual dishonesty is so easily demonstrated that I do not hestitate to say of him, as Mary McCarthy said of Lillian Hellman, that every word he says is a lie, including “and” and “the.”

The motive for Rauhauser’s deceit is obvious enough to anyone with common sense, but as a journalist, I am content to let the wheels of justice continue turning slowly, knowing they grind exceedingly fine.

McCain is a stand-up guy who means it when he says he is standing with those of us who have suffered harassment at the hands of Kimberlin and Rauhauser. Go read his whole post.

Then, if you want to hear something amusing, listen to this BlogTalkRadio program. Rauhauser calls in at 44:20 and callers spend the better part of an hour calling him a psychopath, a stalker, and a publisher of insane gibberish. He dodges questions about paying child support, Brett Kimberlin, and what he does for a living. It’s pretty amusing (and bizarre) stuff.

Listen to internet radio with Vince in the Bay on Blog Talk Radio

P.S. William Hoge’s blog is worth your time as well.

Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

I got nothin’. Tell me what’s interesting.

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