Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Sadly, the GOP has no one as riveting and steely in the role of coup leader as Burt Lancaster.

"The constitution means nothing to Obama or the democrat party and the mainstream media is pushing Obama’s leftist agenda instead of being the watchdog against corruption and extremism," informs DD's almost favorite blog, the Lehigh Valley Conservative, the most fun virtual place you can find in Pennsy for that piquant blend of Old Testament religious hypocrisy, unhinged rage, unintentional hilarity and problems of democracy.

"I once said in one of my earlier posts, that we the people must change the way the government operates. If not, there is another way since there are others besides the politicians who take an oath to protect the constitution. That would be our military officers. Someone else agrees with me! Read article written by John Perry ..."

But you can't, because even the whackjobs at NewsMax -- home to every extreme right GOP columnist in the country -- found one of its own house columns on the excellence of a military coup as a way to solve the Obama presidency too problemmatical to defend -- once many started reading it.

"There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the 'Obama problem,'" it started, prior to yanking.

"Don't dismiss it as unrealistic ... America isn't the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized."

TPM has the entire thing saved here.

Between rumination on a military takeover as problem solving and Glenn Beck's take on the darkly nefarious plot behind flu immunizations, you have a good spectrum of really nuts white guy paranoia, as also defined by Burt Lancaster's character, trying to overthrow the President, in Seven Days in May to General Buck Turgidson telling Lionel Mandrake about the Commie fluoridation plot after launching a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union in Dr. Strangelove.

There are critical differences. In both movies, it was whack-job generals who were the paranoids moved to action. And in the movies, we all knew the General Scotts needed dealing with. Today, the mainstream media can't deal with nuts.

Today, too, the US military is a vision of sanity and reliability compared to the Republican Party. (With some minor exceptions, one hopefully supposes.)

Daily the latter furnishes a stream of General Scotts and Turgidsons, from Glenn Beck to Chuck Grassley to Trent Franks to anyone from Oklahoma or Alaska or South Carolina to -- well -- there's always someone new starring in a YouTube clip.

The spectacle is a source of national shame, life imitating art badly. In fact, in the Seven Days in May trailer, one is astonished at how much more eloquent and intelligent the actors seem than our political class.

Anyway, Seven Days in May was a very good movie. If you rent it and you're a regular reader, I guarantee you'll surely enjoy it.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Yesterday, DD commented that whenever would-be peroxide bombing terrorists are in the news, web hits go up. Way up.

Everyone (well not everyone -- just the different types who prefer reading terror stories to whatever's up with Mackenzie Phillips) is looking for 'how to make a peroxide bomb.'Naturally, after reading about it in the news.

However, in retrospect, DD blog had an unusual spike of searches on how to make peroxide bombs from at least mid-August until yesterday. Some of it was attributed to continued news coverage and fallout from the Airplane Liquid Bomber Plot convictions in early September.

So I decided to drill down a bit and Colorado jumped out and bit me. DD blog almost never has any readers from Colorado. California, New York, northern Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania and the UK are where most of the regulars phone in from.

Using screen snaps of Google Analytics returns, unusual search results line up from Aurora. Why is Aurora interesting?

Because, according to the US government -- Najibullah Zazi and the Beauty Parlor Supply Store Bomb Gang were there shopping around for ingredients.

For example, from today's Los Angeles Times:

"During July and August 2009 Zazi and others ... purchased unusually large quantities of hydrogen peroxide from beauty supply stores in the Denver area ... Zazi [made purchases] from a supply store in Aurora ... In July, August and September 2009 [individuals associated with Zazi made purchases] from three different beauty supply stores around Aurora."

Colorado logons for peroxide bombs, many in the last few days. Big circle is Denver. Aurora sticks out on drill down.

The significant number of logons for information on peroxide bombs occurs prior to the permanent detention of Zazi.

Aurora's very specific interest in peroxide bombing prior to late September. All entries listed here are posts on a peroxide bomb plot.

At SITREP yesterday, I commented that the government's indictment of Zazi showed the frequently seen al Qaeda poor man's approach -- to ineptly surf the Internet for bomb-making recipes, hoping something will fall into one's lap that makes it as easy as baking a cake.

Despite a lot of media coverage on peroxide bombing being easy in 2006 (see here and here for a recap), this is not really the case. If it was, peroxide bombs would have been exploding quite frequently over the past few years.

Paradoxically, it has long been apparent to this writer that many al Qaeda men believe everything they've read in US newspapers. And, therefore, DD blog posts on the 'easy to make peroxide bomb' meme are like flypaper to them. (For instance, the only thing readers of DD's blog from Pakistan are interested in are the same posts. And there are a few of these readers/surfers every month. It's all they do -- perform trawls for 'peroxide bomb' through Google, as far as I can tell. By contrast, most people don't seem to be so monomaniacal, homogeneously mean-spirited, dull and intellectually incurious about the rest of the world.)

To reiterate, from SITREP: There are many tricks to making these things, details not included in recipes posted around the Internet, which is where they're scrounged up.

And the authorities have been reasonably tight-lipped about the mechanics of things which have been found in peroxide bomb plots. And this is, in a manner of speaking, a good thing -- because it keeps the wanna-be's flailing around in ignorance.

The FBI was also entirely right in being very concerned during the days when Najibullah Zazi remained free, with friends and family attesting to his innocence. Up until very recently, the Beauty Parlor Supply Store Bomb Gang was still trying to get its act together. He needed to be dragged off the street. And they have to be dragged off, too.

"Prosecutors said that [Najibullah Zazi] had traveled overseas to receive bomb-making instructions and had done extensive Internet research on the components of explosive devices," reported the Los Angeles Times.

Perhaps so, but if you've received decent bomb training, would you really have to scrounge the Internet in August and September for peroxide bombs formulas, recipes which leave you partly baffled?

Or, to use a rhetorical question: Did the IRA need Google, the Internet and a hodgepodge of webpages to make bombs?

Or, how about this one: If I downloaded fifty articles on open heart surgery from the Internet would you let me repair your crusty valves?

Painfully amusing. Sadly, this astonishing collection of mystifying gobblers, is not. The Heritage Foundation: threat or menace?

Tip o' the hat to Armchair Generalist.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Updated, II

Hits at DD blog always spike when news of alleged hydrogen peroxide bombing al Qaeda men is on the front page.

"Terrorism suspect Najibullah Zazi plotted for more than a year to detonate homemade bombs in the United States, had recently bought bomb-making supplies from beauty supply stores and was looking for 'urgent' help in the past two weeks to make explosives, an indictment charged Thursday," reported AP minutes ago.

"[Najibullah Zazi] rented a suite at a hotel in his hometown of Aurora, Colo., authorities charge. The room had a kitchen, and subsequent FBI testing for explosives and residue in the suite found the presence of residue in the vent above the stove.

"In July and August, Zazi bought unusually large amounts of hydrogen peroxide and acetone — a solvent commonly found in nail polish remover — from beauty supply stores in the Denver metropolitan area, [the government indictment says]..."

If true, and if the evidence of TATP explosive or concentration of hydrogen peroxide is substantial, Zazi will be sent over -- probably for life. The various documents, included in the indictment at Cryptome look particularly damning.

In the UK, there have been three bomb plots which employed peroxide. Most recently, DD touched upon the Airplane Plot Liquid Bombers. For them, concentrated hydrogen peroxide was the oxidizer for a primary of Tang citric acid/sugar powder concentrate.

In the London tubeway bombings, also known as the 7/7 plot, peroxide bombs in satchels were used.

A third plot concerned what DD dubbed the flour and peroxide bombers. (Also see here for a pic and more on the Chapatti Flour Gang's Peroxide Bombs -- which did not work.)

The entire archive on jihadists and peroxide bombing at DD is here.

TATP -- one hydrogen peroxide-based compound, is discussed here.

So far, if the news is actually true, DD leans toward Zazi -- in terms of threat -- as in the same league as the Chapati Flour Gang bombers: inept and desparate but someone who will invariably be taken off the street and banged up for a good long time.

If there is any good news in this sorry tale it's that it is some evidence that despite the passage of years, al Qaeda has shown little if any talent for improving its methods. They're still reliant on people combing drugstores and beauty salons after a beggar's trip/trawl around the Internet.

Longer and with some illustrative pics -- at SITREP.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


A good match.

One must go where the money is and the missile defense lobby, led by the Heritage Foundation, realizes the Values Voters constituency is their place.

Now, here's where it gets tricky. The missile defense industry doesn't care a hoot about the really crazy side of the Values Voters confab -- the well-known Republican idiot from Missouri and his thinly veiled racist joke about the president being a monkey who runs out of the jungle to steal golfballs, the fool from Oklahoma telling a rapt room that all pornography turns one into a homo.

However, the EMP crazy lobby (and, by extension, conjoined with the missile defense lobby) is correct in judging the crowd's rage and frustration ripe for manipulation. So it taps into one of the greatest bete noirs of the Values Voter in 2009, and adds its own sales pitching: First, there is too much money -- entitlement -- going to poor people who aren't white, and that money could be spent for missile defense, and -- second -- entitlements -- or money going to poor people who aren't white, aren't constitutional, but defense of the nation is, so missile defense is guaranteed by the Constitution.

To get some of this, you'll have to watch a trailer put together to sell a movie made by Heritage called 33 Minutes. However, in truth, the message has been tailored through the summer to fit into the world view of teabag protest -- an interesting trick involving turning a vested arms-manufacturer national security interest into something supposedly populist and common man.

It's a bit over seven minutes and delivers the entire story -- that Muslim terrorists and Iran -- cue the muezzin calls -- are perhaps mere steps away from taking the US back to the time of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Missile defense is the only answer, it's constitutional and you know, in your heart of hearts, it's the right thing. America must lead and leadership means missile defense.

Even an ex-Soviet bioweapons developer, Ken Alibek, makes an appearance, perhaps because he looks and sounds scary, talking in a thick accent about lots of people getting killed. Call it stock documentary footage for when you need the crowd to feel a sense of menace and forboding.

"The film talks about not only the threat of a direct nuclear blast on our cities, but the threat of Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)," notes one right wing blog in discussing the EMP and missile defense lobby's presence at Values Voters. "A nuclear weapon of the right size detonated at the right height over the United States could fry almost every electronic circuit board in the country –- computers, televisions, phone switchboards, automobile computers ... The United States would, in an instant, be hurled back to [the time of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.]

"Can you imagine how difficult…no, how impossible it would be to maintain our modern way of life under these circumstances? Can you imagine the millions who would starve to death in the big cities where no food could be delivered ... ?"

"But when you consider the trillions we spend on social programs that aren’t even authorized by the U.S. Constitution, the system would cost peanuts," it concludes. "Are not the lives of millions of Americans worth it?"

The 33 Minutes trailer:

Also featured is Heritage employee James Jay Carafano.

Heritage, as DD mentioned last week, is a propaganda organ for the pushing of far right policy dressed up as scholarship.

It gathers various suspect ideas -- that healthcare reform must be defeated, that the welfare class is getting too much in entitlements and undeserved stuff, that the rich are being taxed too much, that gays are assaulting the precious institution of marriage, that global warming, while no longer a cruel hoax, if dealt with will result in diminished US business, poorness for the wealthy and a much weakened military, that poor people who aren't white are unjustly sopping up national treasure that could be spent on missile defense, a project which spreads freedom around the world, that the auto-industry bailout and cash-for-clunkers took money away from freedom-ensuring missile defense, etc -- and employs its stable of bought-and-paid-for experts to craft pieces which exhort readers on the excellence of such beliefs.

For instance, just this week South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, explained this at Heritage, readers being told that the Obama administration's stance on missile defense "[is] the inevitable result of an American foreign policy unmoored from our commitment to human rights and human freedom ..."

Now, aside from the laughable assumption post-9/11 that the US stands for commitment to human rights because its exceptionalism insures thats its torture of Muslim prisoners has always been superior by nature and therefore a Geneva Convention-approved-and-OK kind of torture, missile defense is, DeMint insists, the embodiment of "American ideals." And anyone who doesn't see this is probably a traitor.

"Missile defense represents freedom's ultimate shield -- not just for us, but for friends of freedom around the world," argues DeMint.

And here's the Rachel Maddow Show's recent segment on the Values Voter Summit.

If you watch the Maddow show, you must be gay. And you know what 12-year old boys think of gays, right?

Operation Electromagnetic Pulse from last week.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Thursday, September 17, 2009


Next up, a survey of all the press the GOP electromagnetic pulse crazy lobby placed over the last ninety days, in excerpts. (Minus larger opinion pieces placed directly by the EMP Crazy lobby members, covered earlier on this blog. And since this blog has already covered all the major GOP politicians and celebrities involved with it -- Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Curt Weldon, Trent Franks, Roscoe Bartlett, Pete Hoekstra, etc -- their contributions can be more finely delved in the link at the very foot of the piece.)

Readers again notice it's exclusively the property of the crank GOP right, now the great norm of the party. But unlike the more pressing and obvious problem of reforming healthcare nationwide, the GOP is for acting on electromagnetic pulse menace although the issue has no patrons as powerful as the health insurance industry and big pharma. By contrast, EMP draws from the missile defense industry lobby -- which was dealt a blow today. The missile defense lobby is also functionally equivalent to the Bomb Iran lobby.

In addition, readers will see some of the press -- handled by reporters at off-the-page dailies -- suffered from uniquely mind-numbing opening lines, spun off variations on the memes -- 'it sounds like science fiction' and 'it's an American nightmare.'

Chronologically, going backward through the summer:

"It sounds like a science-fiction disaster: A nuclear weapon is detonated miles above the Earth's atmosphere and knocks out power from New York City to Chicago for weeks, maybe months. Experts and lawmakers are increasingly warning that terrorists or enemy states could wage that exact type of attack, idling electricity grids and disrupting everything from communications networks to military defenses." -- USA Today, Sept. 16

"[Mike Huckabee], an unsuccessful 2008 Republican presidential candidate, warned "Islamo-fascists" could instigate EMP with a nuclear weapon ... 'Somebody who doesn't like us might say, wouldn't that be a great way to shut down the United States of America?' Huckabee said. 'It would have a more immediate and long-term social and economic upheaval than any other attack could produce.' " -- Buffalo News, Sept. 11

GOP pols from Idaho using it for a small local pork project.

"$1 million, Idaho National Laboratory, Electric Grid Reliability/Assurance - Idaho Falls. This project would develop the capability to perform research and testing of the effects of Electromagnetic Pulse attacks on the electric power grid and associated control systems, critical communications systems, and other defense critical infrastructure ... Idaho funding requests for defense and military-related projects submitted by Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch were approved today by the Senate Appropriations Committee." -- State News Service, Sept. 11

"For a country as utterly dependent on electronics and electricity as the United States, it's a nightmarish scenario. Imagine a weapon that can disable our electrical grid ..." -- Buffalo News, Sept. 11

"It sounded like the story of a blockbuster Hollywood movie or the topic of a History Channel disaster documentary ... 'The bad actors who want to attempt this are out there,' said Dr. Fritz Ermarth, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council. 'There is very little evidence they are losing interest (in an EMP attack).' " -- Niagara Gazette, Tonowanda News, Sept. 10

"It sounds like something straight out of a movie -- a science fiction movie, really. A terrorist attack on the U.S. involving a nuclear bomb detonated in the sky above us with the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) shutting down all electronic devices." -- Niagara Gazette, Sept. 9

The next piece representes the Bomb Iran lobby and was published in the Jerusalem Post on Sept. 4.

"Furthermore, Teheran's successful upgrade of its ballistic missiles to satellite launchers has given it the capacity to launch nuclear weapons into the atmosphere. This renders Iran capable of launching an electromagnetic pulse attack from sea against just about any country. An EMP attack can destroy a state's electromagnetic grid and thus take a 21st-century economy back to the pre-industrial era. Such an attack on the US, for instance, would cripple the American economy, and render the US government at all levels incapable of restoring order or preventing mass starvation ... The route to [bomb] Iran is also open. Various leaked reports indicate that Saudi Arabia has given Israel a green light to overfly its airspace en route to Iran."

Next up, the limited Doomsday movie scenario, suitable for movie-making, a piece done in the style of thinking-the-unthinkable, a practice which -- sadly -- did not seem to suffer any industry-wide lay-offs during this recession.

"In this scenario, terrorists who strike Northern Virginia on September 11, 2010, do not need a nuclear weapon to shut down the region's computers. Instead, they use homemade EMP-generator bombs that any good engineering student can build with $400 and information found on the Internet. They detonate nine of the bombs within a triangle stretching from McLean west to Dulles International Airport and south to Chantilly. The EMP blasts take down communications and navigation equipment at Dulles, some of the less critical computers at CIA headquarters in Langley, and data centers that carry some 40% of the world's Internet traffic. With police unable to use radios, computers, and cell phones, the terrorists escape. It is eight months before they are identified. Only one of the six-member team will be captured in the next two years. A similar bomb, detonated near Wall Street, acts as a "weapon of mass disruption," sowing chaos and fear." -- the Futurist, September issue

"New technologies, including electromagnetic pulse weapons, that could knock out our electrical grid and paralyze our country, will soon be part of our enemy's arsenals -- if they're not already. Given the threat to millions of American lives -- not to mention millions of our allies -- reducing missile defense is both dangerous and irresponsible. President Obama should rethink his decision to pull back on missile defense before it's too late." -- Investor's Business Daily, Aug. 31

Incidentally, Investor's is the same publication that received a slapdown from Stephen Hawking after absurdly using him as an example of someone who would be dead under the British healthcare system.

"The smarter the electric grid, the more susceptible it is to electromagnetic attacks from above, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett warned today ... The Maryland Republican argued on National Public Radio's 'Science Friday' that the United States must act to protect the 'smart grid' that electric utilities are hoping to develop from terrorist attacks ... As the stimulus law pumps billions of dollars into building a digital smart grid, the system risks approaching a 'tipping point' that would make it easy prey for rogue states or even Russia, Bartlett said." -- Environment & Energy, Aug. 13

"Sounds like something from a science fiction movies, doesn't it? Well, it's not. It's called EMP, electromagnetic pulse, and we first heard a lot about it back in 1981, remember then? One big blast from an EMP pulse would send all of us scrambling and practically shut down our economy. Well, we haven't heard much about it since then, but my next guest has revived EMP because he says that upgrading the nation's electricity system to a smart grid could make the problem even worse." -- Ira Flatow, NPR, Aug. 14

"Trying not to sound like a fear-monger or something out of Ian Fleming or Tom Clancy novel, Steuben Foods chairman and founder Henry Schwartz has started a grassroots group aimed at alternately warning and educating Americans about what he considers to be serious threats against national security." -- Buffalo Business First, July 28

The next excerpt was published by the Heritage Foundation, unbylined, through the State News Service. It was written by Heritage employee James Jay Carafano and was also published through

The Heritage Foundation is functionally a policy organ for the GOP. It gathers various suspect ideas -- that healthcare reform must be defeated, that the welfare class is getting too much in entitlements and undeserved stuff, that the rich are being taxed too much, that global warming, while no longer a cruel hoax, if dealt with will result in diminished US business, poorness for the wealthy and a much weakened military -- and employs its stable of bought-and-paid-for experts to craft pieces which exhort readers on the excellence of such beliefs.

It was notably dubbed a propaganda shop by Paul Krugman. "Pentagon Should Battle Pirates and Terrorists with Laser Technology" -- one example of Heritage work, was singled out for ridicule more recently.

"Picture a massive tsunami, but with lightning instead of water. And, like the surge produced by lightning, electrical systems act like antennas sucking down a rush of electrons that fry circuits and burn out microchips. -- James Jay Carafano, Heritage, distributed by the State News Service, July 28

Carafano also published for Heritage at Family Security Matters, another right wing prop publication. That particular piece, from July 6, warned of EMP doom and bemoaned the Obama administration's cutting of missile defense and boosting of the popular cash-for-clunkers program, one presumes at the expense of critical national defense.

"What happens if the entire world, or as least the United States, was hit by an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) that would wipe out every bit of electricity and power that we've worked so hard to build up the past few centuries?" -- Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 26

"The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack had one eye on recent Iranian tests above the Caspian Sea." -- Pittsburgh Tribune, July 12 (The PT, a Richard M. Scaife property, is part of the missile defense lobby.)

"[Experts] fear North Korea could hitch a small nuclear warhead to a rocket and launch it from a trawler; this 'SCUD in a tub' would trigger an electromagnetic pulse designed to destroy large portions of America's electrical grid." -- Pittsburgh Tribune, different story, same day.

Finally, one letter to the editor in the Philadelphia Inquirer, after GOP extremist and former Pennsy senator Rick Santorum's piece on EMP doom in the newspaper in late August.

"Unfortunately for Rick Santorum's dreams of avarice and boondoggles, the words of the 1983 movie War Games are still as true as they ever were: 'The only winning move is not to play.'

"Santorum is absolutely correct in saying that an electromagnetic pulse would be enormously destructive. But the missile-defense program does not provide any sort of answer as, after a half-century of shoveling billions upon billions of dollars into it, it shows no signs of ever being operational.

"The only real function that either an EMP program or the continued missile-defense program has ever had and ever will have is to transfer money from taxpayers to defense contractors." -- Philadelphia Inquirer letters page, Aug. 30

Previously -- from the archives of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy

On the US Missile Defense Lobby at Armchair Generalist

If you found this read an absorbing one, you sure won't want to miss: Values Voters, electromagnetic pulse, and the movie that could save our country.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


In Internet-land as administered by US big business, there's no way to get serious help. The US business model is to ignore customers and users (it's shot throughout the system) -- to fob you off on help desks staffed in a foreign land or to send you for advice delivered by a team of passive-aggressive charity-case IT volunteers trolling a chat forum.

DD discussed his experience with this in Prisoner of Blogger at el Reg in August. My incidents were not remarkable as many readers surely know from years of getting the same rigamarole shoved at them.

The nut of it is that you've no recourse if your application blows up. Generally, you're ignored or blamed as the instigator of your new trouble. If you've no stick to whack someone with to get attention, good luck with that.

Re the WordPress blogging application, which suddenly blew up on a subdomain due to an undocumented fault, DD wrote:

My WordPress fail hung on an unusual show-stopping problem with the program.

WP depends on its database and, apparently, under certain conditions, if that database server hiccups or goes sideways, and the application cannot see it, it thinks it's being asked to freshly install. It does not happen for everyone, but it is not uncommon, and it is very bad when it crops up ... [Any] stranger logging onto such a faulted blog in the time between crash and when the owner figures out what's up can input their e-mail and be installed as administrator. This is a fair sized window of opportunity, unless absolutely no one reads your blog, and it is exactly what happened as I was attempting to put the pieces of wreckage back together. A new administrator had to be disposed of after my password was reset in an attempt to lock me out. And although the blog remained intact, something was crippled in the capacity to update it.

The blog is hosted on Yahoo!, so the vulnerability is present for anyone using a Yahoo! hosted-website and its WordPress installation.

Yahoo!'s policy toward WordPress, if you called to consult help on this was, essentially: "We provide no support for WordPress."

So -- you were sh-- outta luck calling them about it, a not uncommon state of affairs across the US re software applications offered by big business on the Internet.

Normally, that would have been the end of it. Root hog or die.

But DD was able to write about it for el Reg.

Imagine my dry amusement, as well as surprise to read this from Yahoo!, in the morning e-mail:
Dear Yahoo! Small Business customer,

We are writing to inform you of a critical issue related to the WordPress blog(s) you activated ... We have become aware of security vulnerabilities in older versions of the WordPress software. To prevent others from exploiting these vulnerabilities and potentially damaging your blog or Web site, we will soon upgrade all Yahoo! Small Business WordPress blogs [to the allegedly] more secure [most recent version of WordPress] ... Please note that this upgrade will not damage your blog data, including your posts and comments, and will not break themes and plug-ins you may have activated when you set up your blog.

For most customers, the upgrade will simply fix critical security issues.
There was more but readers get the idea.

Not so easy to ignore anymore, eh, when the shortcomings are distributed through a through a more widely distributed and read narrative. I tried the polite question; I tried in different places with different audiences. Really.

In any case, Yahoo's! solution was the predictable one, the regular fob used at WordPress.Org by its volunteer help squad.

At the time, DD wrote:

As for aid in WordPress support forums, one is dependent upon the pure milk of human kindness dispensed by others. If one is inexperienced, the help forums can be combed for clues which, on balance, tend not to accurately describe the fault and its implications. In two questions I posted, the general solution offered was to update to the newest version of WordPress, which is not a fix at all, but a catch-all recommendation many people receive from the volunteer squad as a pro forma band-aid. Some people, naturally, resent it.

Updating sometimes cures a problem. Perhaps not your problem. And often it saddles users with an entirely new set of bugs and faults to be divined after the passage of time and many tears of frustration. Patching and updating can be likened to the polishing of a turd a thing which cannot be polished.

Dragging people into updates is the way of US computer process. The future is always better. When, invariably, the update destroys some blogs or renders others non-functional in place, frozen, it will be the fault of users until proven otherwise.

We don't support that software, buddy boy. And if no one can hear you yelling, whaddayougonnadoaboudit, huh?!

Monday, September 14, 2009



If you are to seek liberty and truth you must first seek right and reason and not argue the facts of one issue, for it will not make any sense ...

Wish I could make that up, but -- sadly, no -- it's from today's edition of the Lehigh Valley Conservative.

Over at Glenn Greenwald, there's a long discussion on the politics of resentment as practiced in Heevahava Country.

Invariably, it boils down to rage from the white middle class in Pennsyltucky, or South Carolina, or Indiana -- over getting screwed out of their American dream.

And it's true -- in Heevahava Country they have been screwed over, along with everyone else not in the very top tier of America. But who are they angry with? It's those who allegedly get all the entitlements -- the poor born brown and black who are making off with hard-earned tax revenue.

Here at DD blog this is seen as unusually ludicrous but not surprising. As someone who has followed and been involved in national security issues for the past eight years, I've seen it's not the poor who are getting bigger and bigger pieces of the pie.

It's the defense industry that takes huge slices from the larder, rewarding no one but its own in the process of seemingly endless war. If you want a career in national security, you sharpen your skills at finding new enemies, even when they don't exist. And if an enemy does exist, then there is no money in appraising it accurately, only in exaggerating it. Nothing else grows the business.

Or one can consider the financial industry. Or any large collective industry dominated by super-wealthy corporations. One could any significant industry which has successfully taken over the government's business of regulation through the buying and securing of Congressional and Executive power and used that power for nothing but legislation-enhanced looting of the country.

Yet the Ted Nugent-ization of the GOP voter in Heevahava Country delivers something like this, always reliably, from the LVC:

"I suspect that most people that don’t have health-care insurance are people that can’t afford it, or don’t want it because it’s not high enough on their priority list," it is written. "Booze, drugs, cigarettes, junk food, lottery tickets and rental movies are more important to many that are on the public dole!"

It's never right to go out and yell for the lynching of executives at Citi or BofA or Goldman Sachs, no matter the latest outrage. It is, however, always time to redirect that rage at those who have little or nothing.

They're taking my s--- and buying stuff they don't deserve and shouldn't have!

Throw the cow over the fence some hay, dammit, the welfare leeches are spending my taxes on booze, drugs, cigarettes, junk food, lottery tickets and rental movies!

In Heevahava Country, they're plugged in to their own special news delivery. And it furnishes bray for the angry idiot, ready to inspire a stoning of the neighbor's house across town, because the neighbor is gay, or educated, or a teacher, or a Democrat, and doesn't go to church right, or all of those combined. Insanely though, in Heevahava Country they're still bootlickers for those who've deprived them of the most, mad-as-hell at those in the same boat as them.

Maybe there is wisdom in this. Since there's no obvious way -- no political process, no way to get power to go after those at the top of American society, it could be better to work mercilessly at pushing others like you out of your sinking rowboat -- while pretending they're not like you. Or if your present health insurance is no damn good, isn't it better to derail any move to improve it just to make sure those who don't have it now can't possibly wind up more fortunate than you after reform?

"The [President] surrounds himself with non-electable, non-accountable, self-avowed Communists that know nothing but contempt for the American way of life ..." continues the LVC. "Sounds more like a Castro type to me! Maybe a black Michael Moore ... [He] wants to hand out even more entitlements and to 'spread the wealth' to the failing underclass of people that the Democrats helped to create in the first place."

"The easy play would be to be angry at the nine banks who received $175 billion taxpayer dollars through the Troubled Asset Relief Program and then shelled out $33 billion of these dollars in bonuses to employees," wrote bonafide crazy and nastyman Ted Nugent illustratively a few months ago.

While such anger would be logical, says the Nuge, the bankers are not the right targets. Ted, who whenever given a stage relentlessly professes to be for the common shlub, says the real appropriate target is Obama healthcare reform. That's the guilty party!

"If you support Fedzilla's socialist and Marxist bloodsucker ways, do true freedom addicts a favor and move to Europe where your dream is alive and not so well," he rants in another column.

"[Others -- Ted means poor people, especially those with brown or black skin, as usual] fail to do anything to improve their health."

Nugent makes clear those without health insurance, the poor, those denied policies, those recently fired -- are bloodsuckers.

"Yet still some of these bloodsuckers have the audacity to believe someone else should pay for their health care when they obviously do not care about their health. Is this the Planet of the Fat Apes or America?

"A dose of truth: health care is not a right. It is a personal responsibility. If you don't give a damn about your health care, how dare you demand another free man to pay for it."

"Disjointed positions and arguments seem to be more prevalent today only because of the seriousness of the problems and ignorance of the people at this moment in history," adds the Lehigh Valley Conservative.

I've heard a busted watch is right twice a day, sort of.

As I Vaz Sayink

"An article on the Fox News Web site has put forth the theory that health reform is a stealth version of reparations for slavery: whites will foot the bill and, by some undisclosed mechanism, blacks will get all the care," writes Barbara Ehrenreich for the New York Times.

"When you’re going down, as the white middle class has been doing for several years now, it’s all too easy to imagine that it’s because someone else is climbing up over your back."

She concludes:

"So despite the right-wing perception of black power grabs, this recession is on track to leave blacks even more economically disadvantaged than they were. Does a black president who is inclined toward bipartisanship dare address this destruction of the black middle class? Probably not. But if Americans of all races don’t get some economic relief soon, the pain will only increase and with it, perversely, the unfounded sense of white racial grievance."

A week ago DD mocked New York Times reporter Riva Richmond's computer advice column, asking the question: Where does the newspaper find these people?

In a column on computer security for the clueless buying a new PC for their kids, she wrote:

"Since a lot of malicious programs now come through Web sites, you will also want to use one of the many free tools available to help you avoid malicious sites."

It was rubbish advice. Always has been, always will be. DD commented:

[It's] advice which ties you to the underlying bedrock of a world reliant on enumerating badness. And since the bad actors know that people try to avoid obviously malicious sites, or who already use filters which try to steer them off, they're always busy trying to poison and infiltrate sites which are not assumed to be malicious.

And yesterday, reality intruded in the guise of a malicious download on the Times' website, blowing Richmond's observation to bits. Again.

And today, the Times throws Richmond into the fray, one ... more ... time -- with predictable results.

It's just an annoying fact that some people aren't so good at stuff but that their minders mystifyingly hold the opposite opinion.

"[One analysis] of the problematic ads indicated that an antivirus program called Avast, which has a free 60-day trial available, was able to spot them before they caused trouble," writes Richmond.

Avast is free to the home user. That's what DD was using yesterday when visiting the New York Times. A simple visit to the web makes the free part plain.


"When installing a new security program, you should disconnect from the Internet and any backup devices and, if possible, install it from a CD-ROM," she continues.


If a security program has failed because it is not up-to-date on the most recent badness afflicting the user, disconnecting from the Internet will not make it work better, particularly if you are choosing to reinstall it.

Avast, by one example, is almost always downloaded from the web.


So are most of the anti-virus programs and various standalone system cleansing tools -- for instance, like HiJack This!

Doh! Doh!

"Some malicious programs, often known as malware, are programmed to block the downloading of antivirus programs from the Web," she continues.

This is true but not particularly helpful since it does not include a solution or practical suggestion. Neither does it describe a slightly complicated set of realities.

The most obvious problem with Richmond's statement, and it is a big one, is that store-bought anti-virus software, the kind that comes on a CD-ROM (or that old thing that's been in your desk drawer for a year), is -- by definition, not up to date. And it will not detect the new virus that may be blocking access to anti-virus sites. Plus, buying a new-box-with-CD immediately purges you of some cash money without guaranteeing a solution to the predicament.

If the malware in question has anti-virus software countermeasures, the anti-virus software will not generally be able to operate freely on the system unless the PC is restarted in safe mode. However, restarting in safe mode imposes a different set of handicaps on users.

However, some anti-virus programs will operate adequately under handicapped conditions when a computer virus has taken control of some normal system functions. But no general users are apt to know which products are the best candidates on a case by case basis.

But still, most -- make that almost everyone for the sake of this discussion, cannot access the Internet to update their software -- they are, in essence, handicapped -- when the PC is started in the fall back safe mode, anyway. So safe mode is immaterial.

Ohhhh s---! Boy, this is really a plateful of suck.

In the hands of these many users, the CD-ROM delivered software will not be able to remove the new virus properly since it will not have been updated and informed of the the present problem. See here for an example of how this happens all the time.

On the other hand, if the afflicted user is still on-line, he or she can take a whack at updating or downloading the installed anti-virus or another similar program. Google can be used to search for a solution, too. And since many more will have already suffered or be suffering the same problem, there are always work-arounds -- and unblocked links to programs which can be downloaded and used -- to remove the malware.

This is not easy and it is often tedious work -- but it is a straightforward task.

So only someone nuts would waste their time running out to the store to buy new a-v or install from an old CD-ROM taken off the shelf.

And if you are still so ferhoodled, so knocked about by the virus that you cannot even navigate anything on-line, then you can do the reliable and obvious:

Call someone who knows. Then pay them.


The New York Times Sunday Virus Adventure

You laugh, laugh, laugh at the clever non-sequitur commercial. You groan, groan, groan at how Norton Internet Security apps pointlessly gobble up the resources of your PC.

Returning to yesterday's New York Times computer malware adventure for a moment, savor the bad good fortune of the black hats who knew exactly where to put their poisoned advertising: Right into the Times' special on how our giant parasitic rip-off banks did and are doing!

"One year after Wall Street teetered on the brink of collapse, seven out of 10 Americans lack confidence that the federal government has taken safeguards to prevent another financial industry meltdown," reported AP today.

Was that computer virus in the bestest of places or not?!

Odds you can get a computer virus off your system: Pretty good.

Odds the President will force any meaningful change on Wall Street: Pretty bad.

Odds Wall Street is still like Dokken and you are like chicken with no government firewall: Excellent.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Oof! Fake-antivirus redirect trojan horse on famous high traffic website!

Some New York Times readers may get a little bit more than expected today. When clicking on the graphic interactive presentation for "How the Finance Giants Shrunk, Then Grew Under the Financial Crisis," DD was treated to an attempted dose of fake-antivirus malware, embedded as a redirect on the webpage.

In this case, the trojan horse redirects readers to a malicious website, telling users they must use something called "Personal Antivirus" to immediately remove viruses on their PC. In reality, the only computer virus on the PC is the one leading the action on the monitor, one generally designed to obtain your credit card number.

DD blocked the attempted redirect, and created a snapshot of what it looked like after it had been made to fail on his system.

Phony anti-virus warning.

"Your private data is under attack!" says the malicious website, while in the process of attacking you.

Coincidentally, just last week wrote about the New York Times and one of its slightly benighted computer advisor/columnists here in The Computer Futzer.

At the time, the New York Times reporter informed:

"Since a lot of malicious programs now come through Web sites, you will also want to use one of the many free tools available to help you avoid malicious sites."

To which DD replied, quite accurately:

Eh ... not so valuable. Again, it's advice which ties you to the underlying bedrock of a world reliant on enumerating badness. And since the bad actors know that people try to avoid obviously malicious sites, or who already use filters which try to steer them off, they're always busy trying to poison and infiltrate sites which are not assumed to be malicious.

Perhaps like a malicious download seeded onto the website of the NY Times on Sunday.

It's just now a matter of fact that badness happens to everyone, sooner or later.

"I just got browserjacked off the New York Times website," writes another user here. "I think it came off a redirect to some website with sexinthecity in the url. It was one of those fake malware alert/free system scan scam sites. It launched a phony 'scan' without my permission."


New York Times acknowledges problem:

"Some readers have seen a pop-up box warning them about a virus and directing them to a site that claims to offer antivirus software. We believe this was generated by an unauthorized advertisement and are working to prevent the problem from recurring. If you see such a warning, we suggest that you not click on it. Instead, quit and restart your Web browser."

Not the best advice, the CYA attitude getting a bit in the way of transparency, which -- technically speaking -- would be to admit the fake warning, which is only a symptom, could indicate for some that troubles were only beginning.

And you shan't want to miss: Always Wrong, Always Late

Thursday, September 10, 2009


A jump-on-the-grenade story is one in which a reporter at a small newspaper is sent out to cover a local event, one which is either of little importance or not something anyone is interested in other than the sponsors of the event.

The phrase's meaning is obvious -- a derivation of take-one-for-the-team. One of the more amusing uses of it in popular culture was in the movie The Stoned Age. On the search for female companionship, Joe and Hubbs wind up in an empty house with two girls, one too obviously beautiful, the other -- played by China Kantner, not so much. Hubbs advises Joe to altruistically do his manly duty, so he can get on with the action with the hot girl who won't put out if she feels her friend is neglected. In the movie, the grenade turns out not to really be a grenade.

But in Niagara Falls, the EMPAct America convention -- the exclusive property of the GOP fringe -- is a bona fide jump on the grenade event for journalism. Which explains why all the small local newspapers, the Tonawanda Gazzette, the Niagara Falls Forlorn Pooch, the Buffala Barbecue Wing, have afforded it the same manner of stenographic coverage.

The reporters are required to. It's local!

"For a country as utterly dependent on electronics and electricity as the United States, it’s a nightmarish scenario," reports the Buffalo News.

"Imagine a weapon that can disable our electrical grid, shutting down the telecommunications network and all other systems that need energy to run.

"Phones wouldn’t work. Computers wouldn’t function. People wouldn’t be able to withdraw money from an ATM. Water filtration and sewage treatment plants wouldn’t operate.

"'If electricity were suddenly to fail, we would be instantaneously transferred from the 21st century to the 19th century,' said Christopher A. Beck, senior adviser for science and technology to the House Homeland Security Committee."

Yes, it's back to the time of The Man Who Shot Libery Valance -- for the hundredth time or so -- when there was no hot running water, you used a shed for sh------ in, and bad men were removed from the commons with a good rifle blast.

Yesterday, healthcare reform was the big news. But a portion of the GOP, along with the standard collection of creationism believers, missile defense boosters and birthers like Frank Gaffney or Trent Franks, was in Niagara Falls to mull over the megathreat no one else cares about.

"I'm not worried. I have a tin foil beanie," posts one lonely commenter to the Buffalo News piece.

Whether or not Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, the man most reponsible for keeping the electromagnetic pulse doom iron in the fire in Washington for the past few years, regrets his issue has jumped into the gloppy refried bean plate of GOP extremist crazy is hard to know. But it has.

"At least one speaker, Beck, acknowledged that people who are passionate about the EMP issue are sometimes viewed as being a little off-kilter, but he said the good turnout at the conference shows that they are not alone," concluded the newspaper.

Yes, assuredly there's no shortage of off-kilter.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


"Americans who fail to sign up for a medical plan after health care overhaul takes effect could be hit with fines of up to $3,800, according to a new proposal circulated Tuesday by a senior insurance industry toady Democrat," says AP.

See, here's the deal. Everyone gets ordered to buy health insurance from the industry that's been screwing Americans over for the last couple of decades. You get to have health insurance like DD's -- premiums are paid but you can't collect on it for anything. Everytime you go the doctor, the insurer won't pay for drugs or services under a variety of excuses having to do with words like "copayment" and "deductible."

So you stop going to the doctor for sh--. Until maybe you're almost dead from something and get sent to the emergency room. Then, if you survive, you get a bill that the insurance company still won't pay enough of, so you can file for bankruptcy. Simple enough. An easy to follow procedure. If you had exercised more and not been on drugs and stuff, you wouldn't be sick, anyway.

Fining people who can't afford and refuse to buy such insurance seems like the icing on the cake. Couldn't be more logical and fair, really. Maybe the fine could be collected by insurance companies, too, thus taking the paperwork intensive duty of punishment for non-compliance out of the hands of the US government. Then there could be an escalating series of penalties added if one does not promptly pay the fine. Like doubling it after thirty days past due.

"Meanwhile, an idea that Obama supported during the campaign and has since championed appeared to be in deeper trouble," explains AP helpfully. "Prospects for a government insurance option appeared to be sinking fast."

"The proposed fines are part of a proposal from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont."

DD hates Max Baucus. In fact, I hate everyone from Montana. Montana has one tenth the population of Los Angeles county. Seriously. Your cat, dog or pet chameleon could represent Montana.


Even health insurance industry whore Max Baucus is too lefty for the Wall Street Journal op-ed page.

If you thought Katrina was bad just wait for the EMP sneak attack.

In the world of GOP electromagnetic pulse crazy, it's best to think upside down and counterintuitively.

For everyone in the United States except the GOP and George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina's lesson was that the city was destroyed and disaster arrived while the administration looked on. When the GWB admin did do something, the moment which remains in everyone's memory is the atrociously self-serving and idiotic one: The President claiming one of his toadies -- the infamous "Brownie" -- the appointed head of FEMA, was doing a heckuva job.

But in GOP Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy-land, Katrina was just a forewarning, a preamble -- if you will, to much worse things which will happen if we don't wake up and do as the seers recommend. And that's to build more missile defense or gin up interest in bombing Iran pre-emptively before those scalawags send us all back to the time of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

For the curious, the above snapshot comes from Frank Gaffney's editorial on electromagnetic pulse doom in the Washington Times today here.

Gaffney has written numerous columns over the years on electromagnetic pulse doom, often published in the WaTimes, all generally ignored outside DC.

Way back in 2006, he was going on about it in the same place, recommending readers heed the advice of another famous electromagnetic pulse doom fearmonger, Curt Weldon.

"No one has done more than Curt Weldon to warn the nation against the potentially 'catastrophic' threat of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack . . " wrote Gaffney.

"[Weldon] has sought another closed-session of the House to apprise his colleagues, who remain largely uninformed of this megathreat, and to rouse them to the sort of decisive action they previously took on missile defense."

"Weldon [was tossed out of office by voters] anyway, the megathreat being not as compelling as the perception of crookedness, [when] the FBI is investigating you for influence peddling," DD wrote at the time.

However, this week the first national convention on electromagnetic pulse doom is being held in Niagara Falls by EMPAct America, starting in earnest tomorrow.

It will not surprise readers to find Frank Gaffney and Curt Weldon among the list of speakers and presenters at the conference. (See here.)

Naturally, the Washington Times op-ed does not inform readers of Gaffney's role in the EMPAct America conference, although he advertises for it in the piece. Everyone probably knows that in Washington, anyway, right?

So this is neither here nor there when it comes to the actual nature of affairs in the GOP's electromagnetic pulse crazy lobby. It's just the usual DC routine of using the media to feed and massage prospects.

More interestingly, this con is where GOP pols and ex-pols go for a cause as fringe as other fine beliefs espoused by EMPAct America speakers like Mike Huckabee and Trent Franks: Barack Obama isn't an American citizen and creationism.

Earlier in the year, DD gathered together a collection of videos made for Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy Theatre. They are here.

Beyond any doubt, Frank Gaffney made the best one. It's a white-knuckled techno-thrilling short of a missile attack on the continental United States which concludes with the stirring words: "A terrorist's dream, an American nightmare!"

And in July, the electromagnetic pulse lobby had its shot in a Congressional hearing, as it has in many years past.

"[An electromagnetic pulse attack is] a giant time machine that would move us back in technology a century," said Congressman Roscoe Bartlett -- one of EMPAct America's leading spokesmen, before the House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology. (See here.)

Despite successfully hijacking the hearing, which was supposed to be primarily on the reliability of the electrical grid and its cybersecurity risk profile, the EMP lobby (meaning Bartlett and one of the authors of a report which is used by the EMP lobby like a copy of the Ten Commandments on a stone tablet) was given the same silent brush-off it has received in the past.

The electromagnetic pulse crazy lobby continues to work hard on its press profile. And news stories in out-of-the-way venues like the Niagara Gazette have published the forlorn admonishment that no one is paying attention.

[Few] have heeded these [EMP] warnings," reads the newspaper from yesterday.

"Only the Amish and others not reliant on late 20th -- much less our 21st -- century technology would escape unscathed ... discussion of EMP has all but dried up," fretted a reporter at US News & World Report in July.

"It sits in a long range of hysterical predictions about nukes that have been going on since 1945," said someone to the Buffalo News, also in July. Hmmm, that didn't turn out so well.

Expect more stuff from EMPAct America this week and over the weekend, particularly if news is slow.


The Saga of Operation Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy

Monday, September 07, 2009


Was the explosive plot viable? That's a loaded question.

Where these men bent on terror? Yep.

DD covered this years ago. At the time the US press went into hysterics.

All of that was discussed at length here.

Everything, except the existence of the plot, was reported foolishly in the US media. Very little of it, almost none -- in fact, holds up. The UK airplane plot -- politically -- was more along the lines of a convenience for the Bush administration, something to once again scare people with, exposing the UK investigation which had it well in hand and forcing arrests before British authorities were ready.

Read down to the comments for links and discussion on the how's and why's on the chemical bombs.

Would the convicted men been able to make such things? Possibly. Possibly not. It's a method, though.

Again, see here with special attention on the comments, the pertinent material of which was in the public domain awhile ago.

Keep in mind, the actual working ingenuity of alleged al Qaeda men in the west has proven to be very strained in the intervening years.

Here DD culls the comments from my recent el Reg piece on faults using Blogger and WordPress.

One of its basic premises is that 'help' with any of the applications always involves getting past the gatekeepers of doing nothing. That is, it's always your fault until you can prove it isn't. Along the way, you need a thick skin against the regular implication that you're inferior, delivered courtesy of the local passive aggressive volunteer IT help squad.

To wit:
Readers have probably already sussed that this approach to 'help' is one in which a problem isn't a problem if you're the only one complaining and posting about it. Let's apply it across the board for 'help' desks: "Well, sorry sir, but you're the only person who's complained about that today. Call back tomorrow, maybe the etiology will have improved and some others will have cried out, too."
So today we review some of the comments, submitted by common cyberspace types, those with a microscopic bit of stealth sociopath lurking in the genes.

"I really don't understand why people bother with these blogging services," writes Brian. "Is HTML really that horribly difficult to learn? And if it is difficult for you, aren't there a number of commercial applications that will help you with it?"

"I don't bother with any of the blogging services because I thought that all of them stank. I know how to write HTML, and I don't have any personal problem writing a page, and transfering it. I really think that it's less effort to write HTML by hand than bother with a blogvertising 'service.'

"Remember, they don't care about you, they care about their advertisers, who are paying the bills."

Let's deal with Brian's sniping, disguised as sophisticated concern over my blindness to the obvious, in two parts.

First, many people who use blogging applications know HTML very well. Often, they use it within the applications. Often they have spent years writing HTML documents and uploading them to websites, without using blogging applications.

Second, DD did this for years, starting in the Nineties with the Crypt Newsletter at NIU.EDU. It's on the Wayback Machine, which started indexing it around 1999. Many examples are here. The oldest have been there for a decade.

Good ol' Brian was probably around ten back then.

"Is Dick Destiny a porn star name?" asks Anonymous Coward.

"If it isn't, it should be."

Blimey! That's the first time I've heard such a question. This week.

Maybe those in the porn industry who rely on search engines to find DVDs would have liked it to be so, dummy. But I was here first, which you'd know if you could read a webpage at the root of the domain. Dick Destiny is mine all mine on Google.

Spoiled everyone's fun, did I?

Now you can go back to wondering how Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, didn't wind up property of the porn industry, too.

"I used to briefly run a Blogspot (see Blogger) name, but I no longer really see the point of a blog -- forums are more fun, and when you're a moderator, you can permanently pin and lock a journal thread of your own if you desire to," adds Pyros.

Pyros means he runs a small-time community blog where he kicks around those stupid enough to tolerate being under him.

And DD's blog is not run off Blogspot, a central point of the piece.

"Unless the [WordPress failure] happened within mere moments of the initial setup then yes, agreed," writes Jeremy2 with an edge. "It's been a while since I've played with WordPress ... but I'm pretty sure that when you log into the admin system after installation, it puts up a big red box telling you to delete the install scripts for (bloody obvious) security reasons ... I'm pretty certain that nuking/corrupting the DB doesn't cause the install scripts to magically re-materialise on the server.

"I've not much sympathy for people who ignore big red warnings about Bad Things and then complain that the Bad Things happen to them ..."

In this case, another reader steps in:

"Wordpress no longer prompts for removal of the install script. While it is obviously a good idea to remove the install script, I had to check if this was still good practice after noticing the warning was no longer displayed. My first thought was that the install scripts were being deleted automatically now - not the case.

"This kind of makes the 'Oh, it's so obvious, you deserve whatever you get for not deleting the install file' look a little like commenting from the ignorant rather than ivory tower."

Moritz writes:

"You can get rid of everything you don't want on your blogger blog, including the navbar / search bar, the favicon, even the blog post listing itself and only publish some 'gadget' boxes. You just need to switch to one the 'new' blogger layouts and play with the HTML/CSS."

Moritz cannot read right. Perhaps he is a fanboy of everything Google. FTP-published blogs done through Blogger don't do gadgets or 'new'. FTP publishing is glitched, which was the article's central thesis.

"If you ask me I'd imagine all of your Blogger FTP problems are probably coming from [using Yahoo]," adds Jason. "I've used Yahoo! hosting in the past and found it one of the most unreliable services I've yet to encounter on the interwebs."

Yes -- I know, I know -- all my fault for choosing Yahoo! Everyone who uses Yahoo! is stupid. [Fill in the blank with the name of the provider you use or work for] is better.

Another aim of the Reg piece was to illustrate the point there's no shortage of Lords of the Flies. Hang onto your glasses when seeking help. Watch out for the falling boulder.

People of England, wake up! 69 views!! What will it take, sheeple?! It's not just for entertainment anymore!

"[The CEO of Steuben Foods in Elma, New York] said Congressional commissions and committees have tried to call attention to the immediate EMP threat from rogue states or terrorist groups using a missile to detonate a nuclear warhead miles above the United States, but few have heeded those warnings," reports the Niagara Gazette, in an advance for a national electromagnetic pulse crazy convention to be held Wednesday and Thursday.

"Our audience will be the citizens of Western New York ..." said the CEO of Steuben Foods to the newspaper. "I think the citizens (here) will set an example for how the rest of the country should respond."

"Once the grid goes down, nothing will function ... There’ll be no food, no water, no heat."

Gold, pemmican, ammo!

Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Trent Franks -- will be there. Where will you be?


Show all from Operation Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy

What's wrong with getting the first black Supreme Court Justice out of books?

"[A woman in Waco, Texas] likens watching the [Obama] speech at school to teaching evolution," reported the local newspaper.

"I don’t believe in that, and I wouldn’t want it shared with my children."

In an article from Religion Dispatches on how a Texas planning board is trying to bring history books in line with the beliefs of the extreme Christian right, is written:
"It’s a strange notion that a conservative viewpoint is one that no longer supports the idea that we are a country founded on a principle of religious freedom.

"It’s even stranger that members of the media now describe the conservative position as one that argues America is a nation founded on a rigid theocracy ... [In the context of this article, this is a reference to Fox News Channel, which has reported on the issue. --DD]

"All this plays into the idea that if you don’t like this ... then you’re a leftist who hates Christians."
The article discusses how board members would like Thurgood Marshall, Cesar Chavez and Ann Hutchinson -- a woman who was banished from her community for trying to exercise religious freedom, taken out of history books for not being good examples for children.

In Pennsyltucky, my favorite source, the Lehigh Valley Scripture-Quoting Heevahava offers another common complaint:

"So Obama wants to give more propaganda to our children in the schools?" it rhetorically inquires.

"[Obama] and his family were recipients of the entitlement system and now he wants to spread the wealth to make the productive pay for more entitlements for the Democrat assigned victim classes. Shouldn’t he be encouraging the welfare community to be more productive and to contribute to society to lessen the burden on all? He should but won’t! He knows where his votes are coming from and the Democrats and Obama designed it that way, want it that way and will never give that up for 'the children' they claim the care for."

And in such a confused way, a speech to work harder becomes a strengthening exercise in which the burgeoning 'welfare community' -- African Americans -- is reinforced on how to get more undeserved stuff, at the expense of the tribe of GOP white guy.

There's no arguing with that quality of stupid.

Not coincidentally, this was one of Ted Nugent's favorite scripts at the Waco newspaper. Until he was recently fired for being his usual douchebag self, too belligerently opposed to everything even for Waco.

In DD's experience, there has always been a deep resentment of schooling in Heevahava Country.

In Pine Grove the locals presented it in many different ways having to do with the politics of resentment: dislike of teachers, who they thought were rich, lazy and who had a union and were off three months every summer, having to pay a paltry property tax to support it, science and math classes which were too hard, the onerous duty of running off those in the teaching staff who seemed a bit gay while leaving the child molester who was a favorite wrestling coach alone, etc.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


More tales from deep inna heart of Heevahava Country.

Stockpile! Obama will bring on the end of things. The masses -- me included -- will come rushing out of LA, head north and try to steal your stuff. Buy ammo or books on how to make landmines and makeshift claymores, so you can defend your stuff from those of us who would take it without paying in silver or gold.

"[Some white Americans, all Republicans] think an electromagnetic pulse -- EMP for short -- set off by a hostile nation exploding a nuclear device in space could fry computer chips -- shutting down everything from toasters and cell phones to trucks moving food, medicine and other essentials around the nation," reports the Oregonian.

[A precious metals] dealer, said some of his customers 'are actually making sure they have a vehicle that's not going to be impacted by an EMP.'"

"Failure of the power grid is a common theme -- say if huge federal deficits trigger inflation and workers abandon their jobs, or if solar flares damage the grid the way they fused telegraph lines in 1859."

"[Some fellow in the countryside] has factored predatory gangs into his plans to flee to his Snake River hideout with his wife ... and their supplies."

Be sure to check the feature photo (follow the link in the first graf), admire the apron straight from Leatherface's Texas Chainsaw Massacre catalog of rural fashion. Honestly, DD doesn't stereotype Heevahava Country; it has plenty of citizens who make a fine job of it without any help.

There's a great script and award-winning part in a pastiche of this for Billy Bob Thornton. Call me, man.

For today's LATimes, Steve Lopez went to the sticks to find "common ground" with the tribe of Glenn Beck.

It's an exercise in nut-picking, now common because the crazy and stupid are so easy to find, something still frequently played as a shocking development in media centers.

So right off Lopez runs into a discouragingly standard fool, from Santa Clarita: "I've seen documentation that states people will be considered terrorists if they wear blue jeans and talk excessively about the constitution. You're thinking I'm a kook, right? Look it up and you'll find it to be true."

Lopez finds the American heevahava gets his news everywhere -- from other conspiracy theorists, a local physical fitness fanatic, Beck, the virtually inexplicable -- like this guy, material functionally similar to stuff straight out of "The Turner Diaries" only diluted by distance from the original source, e-mails and Google searching.

Heevahava Country, in terms of media exposure, is fully wired. But the wires are uniformly filled with the stuff that sputters and sparks with paranoia, a trip through the benefits of instant mass communication after being hit over the head with a shovel and been dealt such a bad hand of brain-damage there's no treatment, no coming back.

Lopez finds there is no common ground between himself and the denizens of Glenn Beck country. He briefly finds a broader obvious issue -- "9/11 was used to rally support for unjust wars" -- but it's like saying DD has something in common with electromagnetic pulse crazies or rock critics because we all breathe air.

The only thing missing from the column is a Jack D. Ripper-like discussion of fluoridation. It's been replaced with 9/11-was-an-inside-job and Obama-appointees-are-communists.

"I thanked [the man] for being so forthcoming and then I hit the road, driving past Magic Mountain and out of Glenn Beck country at a good clip, headed for home," he concludes.

"[Maybe] by the end of the year and the passing of Obama care, [we shall see] a diabolical plan that will replace and circumvent God," writes one man from Pennsyltucky, who -- for the sake of illustration, DD has linked to before.

The mind as roast from coast to coast.

What is to be done?

Well, I hear there's these FEMA camps where we can put people who wear blue jeans...


The Chronicles of Heevahava

At the New York Times today here.

School bells ringing, children singing, back to Robert Hall PC Barn, again!

Anyway, that's Riva Richmond's tune in "Keeping That New PC Clean and Pure."

"School starts soon, and many people are getting spanking-new computers. Ah, the joy of a new and more powerful toy — and a clean slate," she writes as preamble on how to set up a secure PC. Except she doesn't. It's just the gathering up of all the old advice that you might as well skip because it's worn out and pro forma. (And besides, your kid knows more about the computer than you. Everyone knows that, right?)

Why is the advice worn out, exhausted? For many reasons, two of which I'll mention. First, updating software is embedded in the way of the PC and the average user can't turn it all off even when he or she tries to. And because this is the way things are, all users eventually find their computers bricked or badly glitched by a patch or update.

As qualification for my role as biting fire ant, DD will point readers to one of the first books on the why's and wherefore's of computer virus writing and anti-virus software in 1994. And that I've been dealing with the world of PC security even longer, since the advent of something I once edited called the Crypt Newsletter.

"CHECK YOUR FIREWALL SETTINGS," advises Richmond. "Do this before you even connect your computer to the Internet."

Yeah sure, you betcha. In the real world, your PC is sold to you with Windows firewall ready. For those standard readers prone to checking their settings anyway, there's not much they can do in the way of fiddling except turn it off. At which point the PC nags them. In fact, one of the most reliable 'features' on a PC is its insistance on regular nagging for many things, not just security.

"Mac users can check and adjust their firewall settings by clicking on the Apple icon and going to System Preferences and clicking on Security and then Firewall," she continues.

Remember when I was nice to some Pacifica radio host back in July?

He claimed he used a Mac.

Next, Richmond goes into the routine on how you want to always be updating your PC. Set computer update to stun now, so it will do it even when you're asleep. That's the message.

Using this strategy, eventually you're machine will get bricked. Or it will inevitably work worse than it did before. And then a little worse, always incrementally worse. Like most people, this will bring you back down to earth, always living with increasingly diminished expectations. Richmond leaves that part out. She also leaves out the bit about automated nagging.

"ADD SECURITY SOFTWARE," the Times reporter continues.

Has anyone normal actually been able to avoid buying a PC in the past decade that doesn't come with anti-virus software pre-installed, waiting to nag you for your subscription?

In fact, the phenomenon of overnagging -- or overharping -- about installing anti-virus software has contributed to the booming business of globally delivered plagues of fake anti-virus software. This world is now so twisted you can see ads for so-called anti-virus software on MSNBC, software which started out as a fake-anti-virus program but now supposedly gone legit. Would you trust such a program? It's called StopSign -- ads for it feature come hither young people delivering the pitch in in eastern European accents -- and you can read the bizarre story through Google.

"Firewalls won’t help fend off viruses or Trojan horses that can come through e-mail messages, Web sites and pop-up ads," Riva Richmond continues for the Times.

Great wrong advice. Yes, they can. Where does the newspaper dig up these people?

My firewall does this. It's called Jettico. If you want to use Jettico, careful now. If Richmond's advice column seemed about right to you before you read this, you could stand to brick your machine installing it.

"There are several free antivirus programs, like AVG 8.5 Free, Avast Antivirus and the forthcoming Microsoft Security Essentials, so even penniless students have no excuse to go without," adds the piece.

It's correct about the free part. However, it doesn't inform that anti-virus software products work by what's known as enumerating badness.

That is, the anti-virus software developers try to gather up all the computer viruses in the world, categorize them, and put detection in the software after the fact. This process, which everyone is locked into, guarantees the newest computer virus will always slip through and have to be submitted to the industry so that detection can be added.

It means your anti-virus software will fail, at least once, eventually. Like DD's did last week when a new version of a fake anti-virus arrived. Fake-antivirus malware also relies upon the PC user's familiarity with automated nagging which cannot be turned off.

Not to worry, the firewall stopped it -- remember, that software Richmond tells readers won't "help fend off" malware? So I submitted it to my friendly neighborhood anti-virus vendor, the one that did not detect it. Two days later, the software caught the new samples in my bad and evil software zoo.

"Since a lot of malicious programs now come through Web sites, you will also want to use one of the many free tools available to help you avoid malicious sites," comes another bit of advice.

Eh ... not so valuable. Again, it's advice which ties you to the underlying bedrock of a world reliant on enumerating badness. And since the bad actors know that people try to avoid obviously malicious sites, or who already use filters which try to steer them off, they're always busy trying to poison and infiltrate sites which are not assumed to be malicious.

Perhaps a better column would have advised readers to expect some manner of tears at a point in time, perhaps sooner rather than later. And that the global system of enumerating badness for the securing of a fundamentally insecure device attached to a fundamentally insecure network ensures this, no matter what one may choose to do.

However, then we'd be in to explaining how malicious software attacks a PC and attaches to a clean system and what steps one takes to make reflexive the removal of it when all the stuff already mentioned in such an article -- fails.

Or one could dispense with such unpalatable and indigestible advice for, "Take it to someone who knows. Open wallet."


A double dose of 'Oof!' The New York Times serves a Sunday dose of malware embedded in poisoned advertising.

Don't do as I do, do as I say. Hmmm, don't do that, either. Nevermind.

Friday, September 04, 2009


To understand this one you'll have to recognize the name Jim Anchower -- a made-up columnist at the Onion.

Typically, Anchower introduced his columns with variations on this riff:

"Hola, amigos. How's by you? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I been hassled by a s--- load of trouble [from fill in the blank]..."

And then you got the pot-damaged beer-smashed white trash dude in stocking cap shtick.

The Seattle Weekly, in the altie newspaper industry-wide directive to seek the most senseless and fit people for music journalism so that loads of dimwit comments may be collected on websites, has ace-in-the-hole Duff McKagan, the ex-but-original bass player for Guns 'n' Roses.

McKagan has appeared in the media in recent years as someone industriously gone back to college to earn a 'degree in business'. Along the way, he's picked up a career as a writer.

"And just to show he means business," wrote Rolling Stone in January, "McKagan even name-checks Adam Smith, 'the founder of capitalism.' 'I do find how money works rather fascinating ... I think part of my mission statement for Playboy may be to perhaps try and shed some light and maybe even bring down some of the criminals on Wall St. Wouldn’t that be cool?"

Paul Krugman look out!

So you've already guessed what this is at the core: lipstick on a very dull pig, a classic case of witless self-esteem in need of brush back.

Indeed, the entire bit about McKagan being a college student of some kind lends itself to vigorous debate since, as you'll see from his words, it's a coin toss yes-or-no decision on whether he could score acceptably on any entrance exams without a good propping up or get-out-of-jail-free card. To put a finer point on it, McKagan can be counted on for a regular plateful of stupid.

However, instead of the joke at The Onion, Duff McKagan is Jim Anchower, really. But without the intentional laughs.

So, without further ado, excerpts from his columns at The Seattle Weekly, where McKagan writes about his favorite records, interminably and without the slightest hint of self-awareness.

"All I knew, however, was that there was music I loved, some I didn't, and some I outright despised."

"ZZ Top, Tres Hombres: Kick-ass American blues from down Texas way. Yeah, I know that I've pimped these guys a lot lately . . . but I really can't say enough about just how great they were and are."

"Led Zeppelin, anything: These guys put a soundtrack to my life not only in the '70s, but also now and again to my life now."

"Thin Lizzy, Dedication (The Very Best of Thin Lizzy): Oh, Rosalie! I really, really love this band."

As you can see, for the Weekly, McKagan really gives the ol' brain cells and word processor quite the workouts.

To continue:

"Badfinger, anything: A magical band with a tragic ending. Some say that Badfinger was cursed."

"The Ramones, anything: Do I really have to say anything at all?"

No. Please.

"AC/DC, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap: Along with the Saints and Radio Birdman, AC/DC kicked our asses from all the way Down Under!"

Duff McKagan's promise of quality is simple. He really is as slow as he looks.

Here's more. MORE!

"1999, Prince: Ah yes, the summer of '83 is when I finally realized that I was one sexy son of a bitch."

"It's Only Rock and Roll, the Rolling Stones: This cassette was the soundtrack to the summer I decided to move from Seattle to Hollywood."

"The Joshua Tree, U2: This record was by all means not just the soundtrack for my summer of '87."

"The Real Thing, Faith No More: The summer this record came out, I was sort of stuck in Chicago ..."

"Young, Loud, and Snotty, the Dead Boys: This must have been the summer of '79, when my young ears were just coming of age ..."

"Live at Budokan, Cheap Trick: Duh!"

"Music of course has so many genres and sub-genres that I could easily keep doing this type of column for the next few years, and we would still only be getting at the tip of the audible iceberg."

Threat or menace?

"So in the summer of '89, I was in Chicago with Slash."

"OK, now the table was being set. It was a foregone conclusion that bands like Warrant, Poison, and Brittany Fox [sic] had used up and abused their reign of substance-challenged and retarded pop-rock."

"Korn, self-titled: The first record by Korn was as groundbreaking as anything since Chuck Berry sang 'Maybelline.' "

"Faith No More, The Real Thing: Enough said."

"I have left out many here on purpose. Maybe some of you think my choices are crap. The beauty of music, though, is that we all find inspiration in different presentations and packages. Have fun this week. I've been having fun writing these."

The reader may have noticed any 'crap' accusation would not have to do with McKagan's taste.

"Mötorhead, Aces of Spades: Uh-huh."

"Judas Priest, British Steel: Yeah? Suck it..."

"Led Zeppelin: The Complete Led Zeppelin: I own the Zep catalogue on vinyl, cassette, and CD ..."

I would never have guessed it!

"Thin Lizzy, Dedication (the Very Best of Thin Lizzy): On this last tour we did in Europe in June, we had a Thin Lizzy concert DVD on ..."

"The Dead Boys, Young, Loud, and Snotty: "Down in flames, down in flames"!!!!!!!"

"The Beatles, anything: It almost goes without saying."

But McKagan won't spare readers. And neither will the editors of the Seattle Weekly, some of whom -- if DD knows copy editors -- must be grinding their teeth on a daily basis over these things.

And to cap it off:

"Summer is fast approaching, and parents everywhere are faced with the perennial dilemma: What are we going to do with the kids?"

"In an attempt to flesh out some stories that may one day become a gateway to a larger literary body of work, I'm going to write some short pieces of my own."

DD has some good ideas to rival the rebranding of Duff McKagan as a writer and financial adviser.

NFL football player Chad Ocho Cinco as a food columnist with a focus on how to order variations on three square meals/day at the McDonald's counter. Child, please!

Joe the Plumber as Joe the Plumber, international investigative journalist. Oops, been done.

Octomom as a family planning columnist in the Health section of the Los Angeles Times.

Craig Miller as a writer on constitutional issues and tyranny. BTW, this already exists here.

Crap is not the sole property of ninnies like Duff McKagan and his minders at the Seattle Weekly.

As a sort of alpha to his omega, you have mindless hagiography -- as practiced today on the front page of the Los Angeles Times' Calendar section.

Written by free-lancer Mikael Wood, you get a jump-on-the-grenade piece, an article in which someone produces the unbelievable on a 24-year old girl, Colbie Caillat, who produces piffle tunes with titles like "Bubbly," "Realize" and "The Little Things."

For the material before the runover, Caillat is 24 going on fourteen, jumping out of an airplane while attached to a skydiver.

"Dude, that wasn't scary at all," Caillat tells the newspaper.

"It turns out there's more to Colbie Caillat than first meets the eye," Wood continues.

Depends on your POV.

If the job is to adhere to reality, no. If the job is to furnish shuck for an entertainment section, yes.

Of course, I'm not so naive that I don't know this is the professional work code. Twenty years ago, at the Morning Call newspaper in the Lehigh Valley, reporters tried to hide from such assignments by playing the mute dummy at the pitch table. Mostly, they did not succeed, which left them with the task of finding interesting and amusing ways to warn off readers, save the dignity, and keep clips out of the star's scrapbook while still getting copy by editors.

Anyway, at some point Wood writes for the Times: "Though the new album hews closely to the vanilla bean vibe of [Caillat's] first, it also reveals a quietly maturing songwriter, one capable of capturing the everyday vicissitudes of romance in language that feels talky and true to life."

If you believe this, then you'll believe me when I tell you once a box turtle changed a flat tire when my car was stranded on the Blue Mountain outside Pine Grove in 1986.

While Duff McKagan could never manage "capable of capturing the everyday vicissitudes of romance" -- Wood, by contrast, is an experienced and excellent writer -- in practical terms it really doesn't matter. The s--- stinks in both places.

Thursday, September 03, 2009



In Stumble and Fail country, it's great to have a global rep as a maker of gigantic weapons and healthcare that doesn't work for a great many people. It's just an obvious fact that our overwhelming and magical technological supremacy in arms development and manufacturing enables us to win wars in mere weeks, sometimes days. All foes are powerless before our might and quickly dispatched. Indeed, it is hard to imagine it having ever been any other way.

Today, from el Reg on the military welfare project known as the Airborne Tactical Laser, something in which funds are transferred from the taxpayer to Boeing as efficiently as possible.

"[It] is a chemically-fuelled laser rather than a solid-state electrically powered one, meaning that it can fire only a limited number of blasts before its sealed, six-ton laser module must be maintained and refuelled with hazardous toxic chemicals," reports el Reg.

"Just how many shots the ATL can fire before being rearmed is unclear, but hints dropped by Pentagon sources suggest it could be as few as six. This compares poorly with the firepower available aboard a normal AC-130 [gunship], leading some analysts to wonder what the point of the ATL really is.

"In years to come, the secret supertroopers of SOCOM may be able to cause a cell tower to stop working, a vehicle's fuel tank to suddenly explode, or a single person to inexplicably be incinerated - all completely silently and tracelessly, without anyone knowing they were ever there and not so much as a spent bullet left behind."

"A single person to be incinerated." Yeah, you'll see that on the evening news when DD can jump to the moon from Pasadena. Or the US becomes the world's biggest and most powerful banana republic.

Oh -- wait -- that's already here.

Mid August on the Weapon of the Week beat: The usual astounding miracles of US might.

Good news, lads! Good news! Four thousand less in over half a
million were fired! That's twice the number of people who live
in Pine Grove, PA! Break out the Champipple!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


One of the file-sharing sites -- Mediafire -- ate a tune from January, sequestered there in the mistaken belief that it was reliable. Do you like annoying javascript? Do you fancy the occasional trojan horse of fake anti-virus software/spyware remover delivered in a semi-hidden contaminated window?

Then that's the place you'll want to use.

Moby Dick Samba -- a four track instrumental recorded using the Korg Pandora PX5D acting as soundcard and processor.

Originally, here.

Keywords: Korg Pandora PX5D, Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II, Ableton Lite

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


It took awhile but EMPAct America, the GOP lobbying group holding a conference this month on the approaching doom which will throw us back to the time of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, has cobbled together a longer promotional video.

And guess what? It's all the neat ones DD has been showing readers since July, combined. (See here for those.)

DD is flattered. He knows EMPAct America's speakers have read his disparaging essays.

Sadly, many less people are viewing EMPAct America's promo video than read his blog posts on EMP Crazy Theatre. C'mon readers, give that video a little more love!

Now, I'd like to draw attention to two of the speakers scheduled for EMPAct America's September convention. First -- Curt Weldon, a former Congressman from Pennsylvania. Like Rick Santorum, covered here last week as a new member of the EMP Crazy Club, Weldon pulled off the tough trick of being too right wing and insane in the fairly conservative state. Voters tossed him out and installed Democrat Jim Sestak.

But here is Weldon skedded as a conference speaker, certifiably, another of the EMP Crazy lobby's eminence grises, perhaps second only to Newt Gingrich.

However, the real toppermost of the poppermost is Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, who is not only an EMP crazy, but also a birther and a global warming denier.

"Trent Franks tells mob he'll seek Obama's birth certificate" is the title of this amusing blog post.

News of this was covered by a small Arizona newspaper here.

"Under Obama's health care plan, seniors would get the worst of it and the plan would 'blow a hole in freedom,'" [Franks] was said to have said by the Mohave Daily News.

Write an editorial on EMP for your local newspaper, recommends Newt Gingrich.


Apocalypse TV is popular on cable. Shows, as written about here furnish opportunities to put CGI mushrooms clouds over US cities or a black hole eating the planet. They're the destitute man's big silly disaster movie, masqueraded as something that might actually happen the way a TV producer dreams it.

The latest is "Surviving Disaster," on Spike, which debuts tonight.

If the New York Post blurb for it is accurate, it doesn't even make a feeble attempt at being factual.

"That's where former Navy SEAL Cade Courtley comes in," reports the New York Post. ". . . Courtley is the ultimate physically fit ninny Johnny-on-the-spot in scenarios ranging from airplane hijackings to biological attacks on the subway to a full-on nuking of Times Square."
NIGHTMARE: Someone in the subway car behind yours puts on a mask and begins spraying an aerosol can. Passengers in that car begin coughing and passing out. Then the attacker begins walking toward the door to your car.

HOW TO SAVE YOUR BUTT: As Courtly puts it: "If one person on the train gets sick, try to help him. If two people get sick, get the heck out of there as fast as you can."

Such is the joy of bioterrorism. By assisting other victims, you risk becoming one yourself. So in this case, the only thing to do is try to stop the train and get off, whether at a station or not. Running though a dark subway tunnel, dangerous as that may be, is preferable to having your liver melt inside your body

If you're scratching your head over why this is so laugh-out-loud ridiculous, "Surviving Disaster" is definitely for you. (Cade Courtley and Spike TV programming slate. Maybe not work safe.)

Wait for the thrill at the end.