Daily Archive: 11/03/2013

Nov 03 2013

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: The Fast Food Workers Movement – The Ants on the Elephant by Geminijen

“We are the Workers, the Mighty, Mighty Workers

Everywhere We Go,

The People Want to Know

Who We Are, So We Tell Them…
.”

 photo ed7bfc5c-559a-453a-94c8-393154d74dd9_zpscaa5eb88.jpg

As I walked toward the demo of the Fast Food Workers in Union Square, I heard the words and sounds of this song and couldn’t help but grin.  We were back!  The workers that is – not the “middle class,” not the “deserving poor”, not “the 99%.” As a working class kid from a union factory family, I got it.  Not only because you can’t really go around shouting “Middle Class of the World Unite” or “We are the Mighty Mighty Middle Class” – let’s face, it, it just doesn’t resonate – but because the very concept of “worker” which this movement seems to grasp intuitively changes the very nature of the struggle.  

“The Middle Class,” “the poor” and even “the 99%” define us in terms of how much wealth we have or do not have, regardless of how we got it, in the upwardly mobile mantra of Capitalism. As workers we are defined, instead, by what we do, how we appropriate the materials and provide the services necessary for the survival and comfort of the human species. And that is a pretty important difference.



Obama’s “middle class” framing of all that is good and important in society (and god know we all want a better lifestyle) is no more than the standard capitalist divide and conquer, the promise of individual upward mobility for the few at the expense of the many.  You too can be one of the chosen. And we often buy into it. We want to see ourselves as “better” because we have been able to buy our own home, or send our children to “private” or “charter” schools.  And we rationalize that it is because we deserve it – we’re smarter, more industrious, stronger, our skills are more necessary–not due to the whim of the time and place we were born into or that our skills and success are built on the back of the skills and hard work of others.

All of us have known an aunt who raised kids, worked outside the home all her life, carried on intelligent conversations about the world’s problems, worked for the community and has ended up relatively destitute.  What is her value? Is she poor because she deserved it?  How about many of our young people today who bought the American Dream, worked hard, even went to college if they could afford it and now, through the vagaries of capitalism are jobless or working in low paying jobs that will not allow them to get that middle class dream (unless they can still inherit it from their parents)?

 photo 19bf65ef-a905-4248-8fd7-47b921838287_zps085764a6.jpg



The term “workers” reunites the labor movement by removing the distinction between the mostly white, working middle class (who usually got their middle class lifestyle through union benefits that their grandfathers fought for) and the less affluent workers who are often people of color, single mothers, immigrants, and increasingly young college educated workers who missed out on the brass ring due to the recent failing economy. As one worker put it:

“I don’t care if you’re blue collar, white, collar, pink collar or no collar — all of us have value.  Have you ever stopped to think how hard people work?  The people who cook for you, the bus driver who drives you to work in the morning?  The people who clean your house and your clothes?  Have you ever stopped to say ‘thank you’?  If you don’t know how to do that job, or if you don’t want to do that job, the best way to say thank you, no matter how much you make, is to stand in solidarity with us and RAISE THE MINIMUM wage!”

Nov 03 2013

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: The Fast Food Workers Movement – The Ants on the Elephant by Geminijen

“We are the Workers, the Mighty, Mighty Workers

Everywhere We Go,

The People Want to Know

Who We Are, So We Tell Them…
.”

 photo ed7bfc5c-559a-453a-94c8-393154d74dd9_zpscaa5eb88.jpg

As I walked toward the demo of the Fast Food Workers in Union Square, I heard the words and sounds of this song and couldn’t help but grin.  We were back!  The workers that is – not the “middle class,” not the “deserving poor”, not “the 99%.” As a working class kid from a union factory family, I got it.  Not only because you can’t really go around shouting “Middle Class of the World Unite” or “We are the Mighty Mighty Middle Class” – let’s face, it, it just doesn’t resonate – but because the very concept of “worker” which this movement seems to grasp intuitively changes the very nature of the struggle.  

“The Middle Class,” “the poor” and even “the 99%” define us in terms of how much wealth we have or do not have, regardless of how we got it, in the upwardly mobile mantra of Capitalism. As workers we are defined, instead, by what we do, how we appropriate the materials and provide the services necessary for the survival and comfort of the human species. And that is a pretty important difference.



Obama’s “middle class” framing of all that is good and important in society (and god know we all want a better lifestyle) is no more than the standard capitalist divide and conquer, the promise of individual upward mobility for the few at the expense of the many.  You too can be one of the chosen. And we often buy into it. We want to see ourselves as “better” because we have been able to buy our own home, or send our children to “private” or “charter” schools.  And we rationalize that it is because we deserve it – we’re smarter, more industrious, stronger, our skills are more necessary–not due to the whim of the time and place we were born into or that our skills and success are built on the back of the skills and hard work of others.

All of us have known an aunt who raised kids, worked outside the home all her life, carried on intelligent conversations about the world’s problems, worked for the community and has ended up relatively destitute.  What is her value? Is she poor because she deserved it?  How about many of our young people today who bought the American Dream, worked hard, even went to college if they could afford it and now, through the vagaries of capitalism are jobless or working in low paying jobs that will not allow them to get that middle class dream (unless they can still inherit it from their parents)?

 photo 19bf65ef-a905-4248-8fd7-47b921838287_zps085764a6.jpg



The term “workers” reunites the labor movement by removing the distinction between the mostly white, working middle class (who usually got their middle class lifestyle through union benefits that their grandfathers fought for) and the less affluent workers who are often people of color, single mothers, immigrants, and increasingly young college educated workers who missed out on the brass ring due to the recent failing economy. As one worker put it:

“I don’t care if you’re blue collar, white, collar, pink collar or no collar — all of us have value.  Have you ever stopped to think how hard people work?  The people who cook for you, the bus driver who drives you to work in the morning?  The people who clean your house and your clothes?  Have you ever stopped to say ‘thank you’?  If you don’t know how to do that job, or if you don’t want to do that job, the best way to say thank you, no matter how much you make, is to stand in solidarity with us and RAISE THE MINIMUM wage!”

Nov 03 2013

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert, The Word: See No Evil

The Word – See No Evil

Allegations surface that the NSA spied on the Vatican, and Representative Mike Rogers defends the agency via circular logic.

Rep. Mike Rogers Angrily Defends Bathroom Spycam

by Ken White, Techdirt

Representative Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) was defiant today in the face of accusations that he had installed a small digital camera in the women’s bathroom in his office at the Capitol.

“This is just politics,” said the ten-term Congressman. “I would argue the fact that we haven’t had any women come forward with any specificity arguing that their privacy has been violated, clearly indicates, in ten years, clearly indicates that something must be doing right. Somebody must be doing something exactly right.”

When reporters asked how women would know to complain – the spycam, funded by the government, was expertly hidden – Rogers asserted that was the point. “You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated ,” said Rogers.

Rogers went on to explain that the nation’s Capitol – which has housed figures like former Congressman Bob Filner and former Senator Bob Packwood – presents known dangers to women, and that the spycam is calculated to make certain they are protected from those dangers. “If the women knew exactly what that spycam was about, they would be applauding and popping champagne corks. It’s a good thing. it keeps the women safe. It keeps the Capitol safe,” Rogers asserted.

Rogers then abruptly concluded the interview, threatening to sue reporters if they wrote about it.

So, by Rep. Rogers premise, if a person is knocked unconscious and raped, it’s not a rape because you didn’t know about it at the time. Right. What a pig.

Nov 03 2013

badBIOS

Meet “badBIOS,” the mysterious Mac and PC malware that jumps airgaps

by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Oct 31 2013, 10:07am EDT

Ruiu said he arrived at the theory about badBIOS’s high-frequency networking capability after observing encrypted data packets being sent to and from an infected laptop that had no obvious network connection with-but was in close proximity to-another badBIOS-infected computer. The packets were transmitted even when the laptop had its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards removed. Ruiu also disconnected the machine’s power cord so it ran only on battery to rule out the possibility that it was receiving signals over the electrical connection. Even then, forensic tools showed the packets continued to flow over the airgapped machine. Then, when Ruiu removed the internal speaker and microphone connected to the airgapped machine, the packets suddenly stopped.

With the speakers and mic intact, Ruiu said, the isolated computer seemed to be using the high-frequency connection to maintain the integrity of the badBIOS infection as he worked to dismantle software components the malware relied on.

“The airgapped machine is acting like it’s connected to the Internet,” he said. “Most of the problems we were having is we were slightly disabling bits of the components of the system. It would not let us disable some things. Things kept getting fixed automatically as soon as we tried to break them. It was weird.”

It’s too early to say with confidence that what Ruiu has been observing is a USB-transmitted rootkit that can burrow into a computer’s lowest levels and use it as a jumping off point to infect a variety of operating systems with malware that can’t be detected. It’s even harder to know for sure that infected systems are using high-frequency sounds to communicate with isolated machines. But after almost two weeks of online discussion, no one has been able to rule out these troubling scenarios, either.

“It looks like the state of the art in intrusion stuff is a lot more advanced than we assumed it was,” Ruiu concluded in an interview. “The take-away from this is a lot of our forensic procedures are weak when faced with challenges like this. A lot of companies have to take a lot more care when they use forensic data if they’re faced with sophisticated attackers.”

Well, this story has been making the rounds recently and it’s my sad duty as a Computer Professional to tell you it’s theoretically possible.

Anything except a write once, disk at a time CD ROM, DVD, or Blue Ray can become infected.

Standard Industry Practice for virus removal is to take an ‘air gapped’ machine fresh from the box (and by machine I mean motherboard, video card, memory, power supply, case, monitor, mouse, and keyboard- that’s it) and a brand new hard drive, then install a fresh Operating System from scratch, add the strongest anti-virus software you happen to have, and finally scan and fix (hopefully) the media you think is infected.

In practice you work with whatever crappy spare parts you have on hand (after all, you may end up with an infected machine and have to re-do everything).

Back in the early days of flash BIOSes I and some of my colleagues argued that it was the perfect place to put a virus and therefore a very bad idea.  Today you can hardly buy a motherboard without one.

Likewise driver and Operating System updates require an Internet connection and then you’re connected to a source of possible infection.

I haven’t independently verified sonic transmission, but I’ve used an analog modem and it’s the same thing in principle.

So if it doesn’t already exist just like Tom Clancy’s Debt of Honor it soon will.

Scary huh?

Nov 03 2013

On This Day In History November 3

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 3 is the 307th day of the year (308th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 58 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1964, residents of the District of Columbia cast their ballots in a presidential election for the first time. The passage of the 23rd Amendment in 1961 gave citizens of the nation’s capital the right to vote for a commander in chief and vice president. They went on to help Democrat Lyndon Johnson defeat Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964, the next presidential election.

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790. Article One of the United States Constitution provides for a federal district, distinct from the states, to serve as the permanent national capital. The City of Washington was originally a separate municipality within the federal territory until an act of Congress in 1871 established a single, unified municipal government for the whole District. It is for this reason that the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is known as Washington, D.C. Named in honor of George Washington, the city shares its name with the U.S. state of Washington located on the country’s Pacific coast.

On July 16, 1790, the Residence Act provided for a new permanent capital to be located on the Potomac River, the exact area to be selected by President Washington. As permitted by the U.S. Constitution, the initial shape of the federal district was a square, measuring 10 miles (16 km) on each side, totaling 100 square miles (260 km2). During 1791-92, Andrew Ellicott and several assistants, including Benjamin Banneker, surveyed the border of the District with both Maryland and Virginia, placing boundary stones at every mile point. Many of the stones are still standing. A new “federal city” was then constructed on the north bank of the Potomac, to the east of the established settlement at Georgetown. On September 9, 1791, the federal city was named in honor of George Washington, and the district was named the Territory of Columbia, Columbia being a poetic name for the United States in use at that time. Congress held its first session in Washington on November 17, 1800.

The Organic Act of 1801 officially organized the District of Columbia and placed the entire federal territory, including the cities of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, under the exclusive control of Congress. Further, the unincorporated territory within the District was organized into two counties: the County of Washington to the east of the Potomac and the County of Alexandria to the west. Following this Act, citizens located in the District were no longer considered residents of Maryland or Virginia, thus ending their representation in Congress.

The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1961, granting the District three votes in the Electoral College for the election of President and Vice President, but still no voting representation in Congress.

Nov 03 2013

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Steve Kornacki: Joining Steve on the Sunday morning panel are: Joy Reid, managaing editor at TheGrio.com; Lynn Sweet from the Chicago Sun-Times; Buzzfeed‘s Evan McMorris-Santoro; Perry Bacon of TheGrio.com; Elahe Izadi at National Journal; Michael Wahid Hanna from The Century Foundation; and Rebecca Abou-Chedid with the Truman National Security Project.

Steve also has an interview with Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef, the “Jon Stewart of Egypt” whose show returned only to be blocked again.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Guests on “This Week” are  White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); and FiveThirtyEight.com editor-in-chief and ABC News special contributor Nate Silver.

Joining the roundtable discussion are: ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; co-host of CNN’s “CrossfireVan Jones; ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl; and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan.

Also a special interview with actor Rob Lowe discussing his portrayal President John F. Kennedy in the new National Geographic Channel film “Killing Kennedy.”

Note:  “This Week” will air at 2 p.m. ET on WABC in New York this Sunday due to NYC Marathon coverage. And be sure to set your clocks back one hour on Sunday for the end of Daylight Saving Time.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-MI) and the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); also former director of the CIA and NSA General (ret.) Michael Hayden.  I don’t expect a very balanced discussion of the NSA from these three.

Sitting with him for a panel discussion are David Sanger of the New York Times; David Ignatius of the Washington Post; plus our own Jan Crawford and John Dickerson.

Also a special interview with Alexandra Zapruder and former LIFE editor Dick Stolley about the 26 second film that tells the story of the Kennedy assassination.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: On this Sunday’s MTP the guests are  former Republican nominee, Mitt Romney; and Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA).

For the roundtable discussion, the guests are Senior Adviser to the president, David Axelrod; Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodard; editor of the Weekly Standard Bill Kristol; and anchor of BBC World News America, Katty Kay.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms/ Crowley’s guests are Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of House Homeland Committee; and Senator Kelly Ayotte(R-NH).

Joining her for a panel discussion are former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-LA); CNN Crossfire Host Newt Gingrich, former Kathleen Sebelius adviser Neera Tanden; and Obama biographer David Maraniss.

Nov 03 2013

Formula One 2013: Yas Marina

Boring.

Yup.  Even more boring than Schumacher.  bmaz says so and I agree.

Let me tell you how it goes.  Vettel grabs the lead at the start and pulls out beyond the DRS margin (1 second) in the first two Laps before DRS is enabled and then drives off to a tire changing delta (15 to 20 seconds) and then there is no race at all.

No Bernie, position changes between back markers don’t count.  Both Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships were clinched last week.  Why watch?

Not that it’s a total excuse for my lack of updates, truth is I’ve just been too busy to do it.

I have a life you know, and after 18 hours of hard work the absolute top item on my priority list is to grab a 3 hour nap and watch (yawn) Formula One because I’m just so into sports and it’s much more entertaining than America’s Cup or Major League Baseball or NCAA Hoopies or the Olympics or the Triple Crown or the Super Bowl or…

Anyway I do a lot of sports coverage and it’s just a grind after a while, especially when they are dull like Le Tour and Formula One turned out to be this year.  Sorry if you think that proves I’m less than serious about my art, I’m really very good at reproducing Elvis playing cards with dogs on black velvet and my prices are quite reasonable.

The big news this week is Kimi Raikkonen’s DQ for car non-compliance after Qualifying, not so much for the position change from 5th to 22nd as for what it reveals about Lotus-Renault’s finances.

You see 4th place and almost 100 points ahead of 5th (and only 24 behind Scuderia Marlboro in 3rd) should imply your program has some kind of credibility.  As it turns out Raikkonen hasn’t gotten a paycheck all season and unless the sponsorship deal comes through Team Lotus is unlikely to attract even a second rate driver like Hulkenberg as a replacement and will have to settle for Maldonado who never saw a crash he couldn’t get involved with.

Well, that’s just how it is if you’re not Red Bull.

I mentioned replacement and it’s old news that Raikkonen has been tapped to follow the ill-fortuned Massa at Scuderia Marlboro (who had the grace to stick with him through his injury, but who has been turning out sucky cars for 4 seasons now).  I wouldn’t read too much into Massa’s recent successes, I think he’s getting a gold watch for loyal service; it would be nice if he ended up with a car, but I don’t see it.  Kimi may even skip the last 2 races with Lotus-Renault to rest up for his new gig.

What really mixes up everything next year is the new blown six power plants and the fact that not only can they and their components break, but weight distribution and aero characteristics will change.  It will go to the teams with the best designers; Vettel is not only not that good a driver, he’s also a total tool who can’t take direction- a diva.  Witness the elevation of the distinctly mediocre Ricciardo as his second.

Of course my Dad (who’s the other reason I watch Formula One, the first being that it’s normally good blog fodder since it’s time predictable and limited) will think I’m missing the lede which to him is Alonso failing to make Q3 because he was sitting in the garage saving tires and then a spin left him without time to put in a hot lap.  I think it’s the remarkable performance of Mercedes with Rosberg and Hamilton and how they will do without Ross Brawn.  I personally think it’s a big mistake even though they’re replacing him with Paddy Lowe, formerly of McLaren, despite Hamilton’s sanguine reaction (remember, Lewis worked with him at McLaren) because if there’s one thing you can count on McLaren to do, it’s screw up race tactics and lose.

Softs and Mediums are on offer.  2 DRS Zones.

Pretty Tables below.

Nov 03 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Agent provocateur: Inside the secret archives of East Germany’s secret police

Simon Menner spent three years trawling through millions of surveillance images in the archives of the East German secret police. What he found was often laughable. But, he tells Holly Williams, beneath the Austin Powers exterior, there was evidence of a truly disturbing machine that still has the power to break its subjects

HOLLY WILLIAMS  Author Biography   SUNDAY 03 NOVEMBER 2013

While the recent leaking of government-surveillance information hasn’t exactly been welcomed by the secret services behind it, an exception comes in the form of the documents obtained by the spies of the Stasi, the Ministry for State Security run by the former German Democratic Republic (GDR).

After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the vast swathes of material the Stasi gathered about their compatriots was archived, and opened to the public. Now, a new book by the artist Simon Menner brings many of these bizarre but sinister records to light for the first time, from photographic guides on how to apply fake wigs, to coded hand signals and even images of Stasi award ceremonies and parties.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Protest in Russia: an activity only for the brave and foolhardy

Malaysia invests in a fresh start for business

Pakistan summons US ambassador over drone death of Taliban leader Mehsud

Kenyan press, opposition criticise proposed harsh media law

Abuse video shocks Saudi Arabia

Nov 03 2013

Saturday Night Movie