Women’s day off

Happy International Women’s Day!  According to the New York Times, “protesters around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day by showing their economies what a day without women’s work, paid or unpaid, is like.”  I’m not sure how much it was a protest and how much a celebration, but I suppose it could be both.  If they were angry today, though, they weren’t alone.  The FBI is angrily hunting moles, China is upset at North Korea and the US (for being upset with each other), and the medical community seems to be upset with the Republican’s alternative to Obamacare.  In other words, kind of a slow news day.

Unless, that is, you happen to be the pilot or the parachutist who recently collided near the ground in Florida.  The great thing about this picture (other than the pictures that follow it) is that both guys walked away from this one.  In my opinion, though, somebody owes somebody a plane.

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Year zero

Picking up from yesterday’s discussion of Made-in-the-USA malware, Wikileaks has released a trove of internal CIA documents that provide helpful hints for anyone interested in spying on people (bad people, of course) by hacking into their computers, phones, and television sets.  Yes, television sets (but only the ‘smart’ ones).  Needless to say (but evidently worthy of column space), the US intelligence community is incensed that anyone other than itself might use these practices.  After all, these tools should only be used by good people to spy on bad people, right?

So, what’s in the vault?  There seem to be a lot of documents with funny names.  You can learn how to hack into TVs, phones, computers (as noted above), web browsers, and other such things.  I haven’t yet found the instructions for how to hack into communist missiles or reality show host campaign headquarters, but they must be in there somewhere.  If you find them, let me know.  They might come in handy.

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Left of launch

While the president of the United States is busily focused on keeping the United States safe from Mexico (and from the former president of the United States), North Korea is busily focused on reminding the world how much they would love to bomb the United States to smithereens (or, at least, be able to).  Although the message of today’s missile launches was that North Korea can wipe out the US bases in Japan if it would like to (it’s South Korean reach is a given, of course), the implication is that it will be able to wipe out US bases in the US pretty soon (and, if they can get their nuclear weapons small enough, US cities as well).  The North Koreans (by which, I guess I mean Uncle Kim) hate it when the US and South Korea do their little war games twice a year and they usually find some way of expressing their displeasure.

A couple of New York Times reporters have recently shed light on what may be a US cyber response to the North Korean missile program.  The concept is called “left of launch” and refers to the ability to compromise the computer programming of the missiles (a la stuxnet) causing them to fail shortly after launch.  (The alternative defense is to try to shoot down the missile–right of launch).  It’s interesting stuff, to be sure.  I do rather wonder, though, how interested the military was in this information coming out and, what that says about its veracity.  I also find it curious that this came out just when three of the four missiles just launched seemed to fly just fine.  Maybe the fourth one caught the bug.  Perhaps this is all just a distraction while a right of launch system moves into place.  I hope that either the right or the left can deliver a consistent knock out.  I don’t think mean tweets are going to solve this one.

Lightly grilled on the gridiron

I had no idea this was a thing.  One of the last of the white-tie events, the Gridiron Club‘s politico-media soiree is kind of like the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in April–except that it happens in March.  The point is, it has parody songs.  (That should be worth the cost of the white ties and evening gowns.)  Here are a few of the titles that I thought were clever (let me know if you find these on youtube):

“White Man’s Brigade” sung to the tune of “YMCA.”

“We’re a Bunch of Rich Men” sung to “If I Were a Rich Man.”

“We’re Trump Family” sung to “We Are Family.”

And, “The Liberal Old Lady From Academia,” sung to a beach boys song (guess it!), about everyone’s favorite persister.

If I knew that important people got to go to fun stuff like this, I definitely would have made more effort in life to be important.  Weird Al, eat your heart out!

Tapped out

It’s odd what the president is able to figure out at 3:30 in the morning that occurs to almost no one else during waking hours.  According to the Times, Trump has learned that Obama was tapping his phones during the recent election.  Trump was understandably angry (if not understandably knowledgeable) about this.  To fact check this story, we can verify it in such NON FAKE NEWS outlets as Fox News, Breitbart, and The Daily Caller (which all seem to agree that Trump does, indeed, seem to hold this opinion).  It seems Trump may have gotten this inclination from a report in ‘Heatstreet,’ which you probably should not link to while your boss or wife are looking on.  Some have tried to figure out what the president was thinking.  Others don’t particularly care.  I know it’s just Donald being Donald and all, but does he really have access to the nuclear codes right now?  And at 3:30am?

Welcome Dobby!

You know how some days all you have left is to look for some good news, because the bad news is just too much work?  No?  Well, it’s like that for me right now and you know what I like?  Giraffes! And, babies!  And, most of all, baby giraffes!  And, you know what?  I don’t even care what baby giraffes are called.  I just love baby freakin’ giraffes.  Welcome to the world, Dobby!  And, good luck!  May you have a wonderful giraffe life!

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From Russia with love

Now that Trump’s cabinet is getting full, it may be time to sort through it and see how much of it belongs to Russia.  The new attorney general has recused himself from any proceedings that a special prosecutor (hopefully a polite one) might bring, and others, like Wilber Ross, are probably hoping there won’t be too many tough questions coming their way.

Further adding to the weirdness is the fact that the US depends on Russia to help it launch it’s spy satellites.  Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists noted that

Yesterday the National Reconnaissance Office successfully launched a new U.S. spy satellite aboard an Atlas V rocket — that was powered by a Russian RD-180 engine.

Though it might seem incongruous that U.S. intelligence collection would be dependent on Russian space technology, that is how things stand and how they are likely to remain for some time.

If the president would like to bring outsourced jobs back to America, that might not be a bad place to start.  At the very least, maybe we could outsource them to Mexico and stockpile a few before the wall is finished.