Monday, June 30, 2008

Netgear "Open Source" Routers

Although the KWGR614 is essentially just a marketing ploy (since you've been able to run Linux on Broadcom chipsets for quite a while) I'm not complaining and MyOpenRouter is definitely to be applauded.

They'll definitely get my money (over Linksys) the next time I need a new router. Really, it couldn't hurt the share price of my Cisco stock that much, now could it?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Finally Cured My Home NAT Pain



Although in the past I've run into issues (on the job) where NAT (or multiple webs proxy chains) made troubleshooting connectivity issues difficult, closer to home my crappy WRT54Gv5 (VxWorks based, I believe which unlike the older Linux 54g's does not allow you to disable NAT) has not only obscured my wireless activity but made access controls difficult. Although I had a Nessus scanner running on the WLAN segment all the PVS data was obscured by the router.

I'm sure there are probably ways I could use different username/password combinations with Squid to provide limited access to my kids computers and full access to anything else, but I'm a bit lazy and its a painful enough just to keep changing the proxy configs on the laptops my wife uses.

So I was about ready to order an Honest to God AP so I could finally get useful PVS data, until I finally realized I had a perfectly good 851w sitting in the closet. I've always found wireless painfully difficult to configure on this router. I think the problem which I finally overcame last night, was configuring a subinterface on the radio interface which the right VLAN, but that is probably worth a separate blog. With ACLs on the 851 only allowing DNS (the Debian dnsmasq package works great) and TCP/3128 to the firewall. I know can distinguish distinguish my kids browsing habits. Not that it is hard. As you can see from the squidview screenshot my daughter is playing dragontales games on pbskids.org. What's the harm in opening up all the entire .gov domain, anyway?

This week I'll span the 851's WAN port on my 2940 and plop in a PVS sensor and I'll have even better visibility!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Frederick County Broadband -- looks like Sprint EVDO it is!



I was sort of worried about broadband in New Market because I would rather die that use Comcast and it doesn't look like DSL is possible, so I guess I'll be rigging up my home grown EVDO router again. Well the fact that I'm under contract for God knows how long is certainly an incentive to stick with it, too.

BTW I actually hit 1.5/1.0 earlier which I thought was pretty amazing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

So is SCADA Security "Pushing Rope" Too?

Rothman has his doubts on VirtSec. Hell, if IT has 18 month buying cycle's and SCADA has 15 (or even 25 year, depending on who you talk to) what does that say about the SCADA security Market?

Leaving Chicagoland Videos

A unlike the photos none of these were staged.


Better than Austin?



Driving out!




Surely is a dream...

Leaving Skokie

My 9 year old took these pictures on Friday.



With all this Hillary nonsense behind us, the Rustbelt never looked prettier!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Should you work where you want to live? (or vice versa)

So my oldest son is pretty nervous about our move from Skokie to Frederick and our old cat that won't die and I are the only one's that can't sleep in a LaQuinta somewhere in Ohio. This time, my son and I (and the three pets) are make the final drive from Illinois to Maryland.

As we were driving across Indiana, he asked, "Dad, how do we know we are making the right decision?"

Kids are funny that way. I have been asking myself the same question. Of course the brutally honest answer is your really never know. You have a set of data at a given point in time and you go for it. You make your best effort and you could be wrong and you recalibrate as your dataset changes. But you don't tell that to a 9 year old that is anxious enough already.

* * *

When it came time to leave College Station in 1994 we picked San Antonio because it was a large city in Texas that I sort of familiar with (I had drilled at Camp Bullis) and because it wasn't Houston or Dallas. I had lived in Houston when the Oilers had a good team and never much cared for most folks that said they were from Dallas (or Plano or Richardson) while at A&M.

We really liked Austin, but we weren't sure if we could get teaching jobs there. And we just barely managed to find jobs before September, but San Antonio was definitely not our kind of town. Eventually we started driving up to Austin almost every weekend. And finally I managed to get a job working out of the Huntland office for Southwestern Bell. Then Cisco 9 months later. And we loved it. Too bad I got sick of Cisco and working at home at Digital Bond. I tried hard for Seattle getting shot down at both Amazon and Microsoft after the on-site interviews. Then Chicago came up -- with Hewitt. We felt we needed a change. Our last Summer in Austin sucked the life out of us, old houses with weak AC's and minimal insulation -- my wife said move somewhere cooler or put in a pool. The job was good. A more security ops related role that involved Open Source and development and the money was good, so we went for it.

That was 18 months ago. I really don't know how long we would have stayed in Chicagoland even if there hadn't been the an "act of God".

Skokie was definitely a unique plassI've been meaning to blog on it and I'm sure I will in the coming months, but it really wasn't us. And I'm not sure anyplace in Chicago was, either.

* * *

So I asked my son, "What is different about moving to Maryland than when we moved from Austin to Chicago?" And I managed to get him to admit that we know people there, we have family there and "I have two friends there," he said, referring to the two girls of my Dad's executive assistant that live on a farm.

And I told him that (like Austin) we picked Maryland -- then I found a job there. I'm not sure it put his mind at ease that is good enough for me.

97s vs. 98s (or why I believe in surveillance but not torture)

Seems like forever since I blogged but on the way out of Chicago (I'll have a blog or two on that later) they were hyperventilating about the FISA compromise legislation on Air America. So horrible, the telco's got immunity. Boo hoo. I'm glad they got it. Damn right you shouldn't let folks (like the nasty ACLU) sue them.

So I was wondering why I find "domestic surveillance" far less problematic than torture.

And I think might have something to do with clean and dirty Intel. Or perhaps I've just watched one too many episodes of The Wire and now firmly believe that listening to folks phone calls is always a good thing.

Now the 97 series MOS's in MI are primarily HUMINT folks. Counterintelligence and Interrogators. HUMINT is dirty, nasty work, and not for folks like me.

To engage in MI stereotypes (and I'll leave the 05H's out of this) many of the 97's (especially the one's that manage your clearances) I knew were sort of creepy folks. They liked to fuck with you. They liked to play mind games. 98's (SIGINT guys like myself) on the other hand might be sort of geeky (and there were a fair number of folks at Goodfellow that dressed up in those weird Mid-Evil costumes and did jousting and God knows what else), but they weren't so creepy.

But maybe its about the what you can get. Abusing someone's human rights with SIGINT (violating their privacy) does not impact the quality of the intel (since like sniffing network traffic, it is fundamentally a passive process and you can never have too many intercepts) -- while that is certainly not the case with interrogation because obviously they do know they are being water-boarded, sodomized, or whatever your "enhanced interrogation" technique of choice that were authorized by the Bush administration.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Keeping the Creative Juices Flowing

Not that I've needed that the last few days.



More energy drinks and 3mm contractor bags please!

How long did it take you to figure out what this commercial was about?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Detecting CitectSCADA with Nessus

For the most part, I try not to put product specific content on my blog but given all the bellyaching about CORE-2008-0125 and to avoid "advertising" on SCADASEC-L it is worth noting that this plugin now joins the other 36 SCADA Plugins in the Direct (soon to be renamed Professional) Feed. The majority these were developed by Digital Bond in 2006.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Maintaining Perspective



Selling a house (under any circumstances) can be stressful, but these days... Well, with bad news everyday about the economy, mortgage industry, etc. well it can be a bit much. Fortunately, little suprises can bring things back into perspective.

Tonight, as I was un-shelving books off of one of the many unfinished bookshelves we purchased from the shop on Guadalupe back in Austin (right close to 45th street) I found a copy of a A Prayer Book of The Armed Forces that I was given in November 2001 by our new church that we had just joined in Austin.

In the heady months following September 11, I watched on the web as, one by one, Army Reserve and National Guard Intelligence units were activated. Finally the call came that selected members my Information Operations unit would be ordered to Fort Belvoir. My CO (or XO, I can't remember) asked if there were any reasons I could not go. I said, "no." The events are kind of hazy but I believe my wife and I started talking with my son, not yet 3, who we still called "Kolya" at the time ( because that nickname is used in the message from a St. David's parishioner who wrote of encouragement in the prayer book) about Dada going away for a while. I remember sitting down at the retro table in our retro kitchen in our 1948 1200 sq ft house on Brentwood -- the one that sold for full price the first day on the market.

I started packing my duffle bag, looking at activation checklists, wondering if how hard it would be to get on Camp Mabry to visit the JAG office. Camp Mabry on MOPAC was not the same place I had gone to every month while in college. I notified Cisco of my impending activation and found out that I could keep my salary for a year. I believe they ended up extending it to two years (as did many companies) which was important since I was an E-6 who made just a little bit less than a Software Engineer III at Cisco.

In the end, the orders were rescinded somewhere at the Army level, and like many others who had enlisted in the last days of the Cold War for college money, I did not re-enlist. Something I feel a little bit guilty about. And over a year later, my final ETS date came and went -- a month before the stop-loss on Intelligence personnel (and aviation and special forces and more), but I always wonder how things would have turned out if events had happened differently.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Little Comic Relief for the Citect Weary



Well those bad boys from Argentina are at it again stirring up quite a June SCADASEC-L storm. I lost count at 50-60 messages. You know it's bad when folks start talking about type safe languages. And of course every classic SCADASEC-L thread has to have an *APOLOGY*.

Thank God I resubscribed.

But somebody better get Walt his blood pressure meds (I've been baiting that hook for months and I finally got a bite -- maybe I can reel in Joe on the next cast!) cause he is getting legal on their ass

I have said for a long time that I think this "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" vulnerability reporting is counterproductive and dangerous.

I further say that if as a result of Core releasing this vulnerability to the Associated Press, if a Citect system gets hacked and property damage occurs or lives are lost (which CAN happen) that the victims can pursue Core as well as Citect. specially since Core states that this vulnerability has not been previously exploited.

IANAL, but that's perilously close to inciting to commit a crime in my book.

Patience. Breath in. Breath out. Resisted the urge to quote some CORE's disclosure timeline, which I actually haven't read, but I can guess....

Hmm... Maybe Citect should sue Core. Oh wait Cisco tried that already.

But back to the title, this Onion article on Cheney is brilliant

WASHINGTON—Reports surfaced Tuesday that the New York–based Fox News Channel has obtained a tape which purportedly features another cryptic video message from U.S. vice president and known extremist Dick Cheney, widely regarded as the most feared man in America.

"We have analyzed the tape, and the voice on it matches up with earlier recordings of the vice president," said CIA spokesman George Little, who claimed the tape may contain valuable clues regarding the location of the elusive Cheney, who was last sighted in late 2005 along the border of Maryland and Virginia

"Though more specific details on his whereabouts have yet to emerge, we do know two things," Little added. "Dick Cheney is still alive, and he is out there somewhere."

Yikes, and I'm moving to Maryland real soon now.

Oh and if you are a visual learner (more fun if you've watched the 9/11 conspiracy theories on Youtube)

9/11 Conspiracy Theories 'Ridiculous,' Al Qaeda Says

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

We can always dream....



A nice idea but oh well... no Chinese hackers this time

A recent report from the National Journal cited computer security executives and U.S. intelligence officials blaming Chinese government hackers for two major U.S. power outages. We already debunked the claim with respect to the massive 2003 northeast blackout. Now the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council has released its preliminary report (.pdf) on the February 26th 2008 Florida outage, and -- no surprise -- human error, not cyber terrorism, is to blame.

And from the money quote from the FEAT Report


Although the initiating cause of the event is still under review by the Field Personnel Actions Review Team (FPART), a sub-team of the FEAT, the preliminary cause is currently linked to the disabling, by a relay field engineer, of all local protective relay equipment while troubleshooting
an associated 138 kV switch. The FRCC Handbook requires that “each system operator shall notify the FRCC Security Coordinator when a protective relay or equipment failure that reduces system reliability occurs.” Although the FEAT has not come to any conclusions regarding this part of the analysis, the nature of this procedure and its importance warrants that it be reaffirmed by the FRCC OC to ensure that FRCC system operators and relay field personnel
understand the intent and importance of the procedure when performing maintenance on FRCC bulk power system elements.

But a nice thought than an Nmap scan summoned a blackout...

Hat Tip: Fergdawg on SCADASEC-L

Monday, June 09, 2008

Another one on Obama as Reagan




From RealClear Politics. I guess the Reagan nostalgia is irresistible. Yeah, I remember gas lines in Houston in 1979, the morning I heard on the Today show about "Desert One" before I went to school (4th grade). Oh, and the Mickey Mouse stickers on the back of pickups. Yeah, happy times.


An unpopular incumbent president sits in the Oval Office. His party's brand is badly tarnished. The economy is in shambles, unemployment on the rise. The housing market is in crisis. Gasoline has become a major issue.

America is enmeshed in a protracted crisis in the Middle East with no end in sight. We are near war footing with Iran. The reputation of the United States is diminished world wide. In historically high numbers, voters believe the country is on the wrong track.

The opposition party has nominated a charismatic candidate for president whose oratorical skills are compared to JFK, perhaps better. He had been introduced to the majority of Americans by way of a spellbinding keynote speech at a previous national party convention.

He has a fervent core of supporters and has emerged as the leader of his party through an insurgency that challenged and ultimately defeated his party's establishment. He runs against Washington and the special interests that control the Capitol. His message is change and hope.

If ever the public demanded change in Washington, it is in this presidential year. It could not be a better political environment for the party out of power.

Yet with all the stars aligned perfectly for a party change in the White House, national polls show the opposition candidate barely ties, and often trails, his opponent.

There is little doubt about the voter's desire for change, but there is plenty of doubt about this candidate who pledges to deliver it. Who is the candidate?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Maybe my wife was on to something



And I thought it was just delirium cause by infant-induced sleep deprivation, but apparently Komodo dragons are a real threat


JAKARTA, Indonesia - Scuba divers swept away in strong currents survived 12 hours in shark-infested waters before scrambling onto a remote Indonesian island where they faced yet another threat: a Komodo dragon.

The divers — three from Britain and one each from France and Sweden — came face-to-face with the giant, carnivorous lizard on Rinca's palm-fringed beach, and fought it off by pelting it with rocks and pieces of wood, Pariman, a port official said Sunday.

[snip]

Komodo dragons, which can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh as much as 365 pounds, are only found in the wild on Rinca and Komodo island. There are believed to be 4,000 left in the world.

History and Geography

Commentary
This is the first section of some prose poetry that I wrote back in the mid 1990s. The imagery is a mix of San Antonio (in particular what it looked like if you took a busride from the affluent Northwest side downtown) and Kuala Lumpur and the pseudo-historical references were heavily influenced by the texts I was reading while teaching Texas history to 7th graders in Northside Independent School District. And I believe there is much that was intentionally derivative of Kafka and Borges. And there are some metafictional (and historiagraphical) aspects similar to some similar writings from about 1991.

See In the Colonial City for the introduction to this series. See The Legacy of Conquest for the next section.



1. History and Geography

In the colonial city, you recognize changes slowly. Time thickens. Perception is delayed. The place transforms itself until suddenly you realize you are there, it has always been this way—you have been standing at this exact same spot your entire life.

A ride on one of the city buses illustrates this phenomenon. At each stop further South (or North relative to the side of the equator where you happen to find yourself) the ratio of brown bodies gradually increases; the streets begin to fork and crack; the metal shopfronts pulled down to protect the glass become more and more prominent (by this point, bars will no longer do) until old men with shotguns loiter in turbans with long white beards[1]

You will know when you arrive downtown in the colonial city. You will know when you have made it, because there will be tourists everywhere. Tourists are the ones who take the time to look under statues or peek behind silkscreen portraits—lifting the edges of the gold “made in” sticker, checking for authenticity. Tourists are the ones who have a use for the souvenirs that only a colonial city can provide[2]

Tourists also share an appreciation for History, for they know how much has happened here. It is true, the brass plagues on every street-corner prove it—as does the guide book that is available at information kiosks everywhere. This book is useful for foreigners and locals alike, because it contains the texts of all that has happened here. The entries in the guidebook are identical to what is written on historical markers.

On the top of each page is a symbol that corresponds exactly to the one of the marker.[3] It is in this manner that you can precisely determine what happened wherever you happen to find yourself standing.

Now, it would be irresponsible of me if I did not mention that it is possible to navigate the streets of our city without the use of this guide book. There is a slight chance you can put these events into a logical sequence. You just might be able to make sense of it all on your midnight strolls here—but it is not recommended.

You see, many of the letters on the plagues have become worn or corroded (particularly in less desirable sections of town,) making the markers difficult if not impossible to read[4]

I know what you are thinking. There is an easy solution to that…
But alas, if there is one law that is rigorously enforced here, it is that metal polish (or any of the strong solvents) must not be carried on your person. This provision may seem strange, perhaps even archaic, but there is certain logic to it (much like the ban on wire cutters in the outer provinces.) You see the past must be preserved—left as it was. History must not be polished, embellished or made clean.

This is one of the guiding principles here in the colonial city and it applies to each of the many historical sites, both large and small—even for our most famous shrine, for which the city gets its name.[5]

It is for this reason that you need the book.

Footnotes
1 - In the colonial city, hair has been known to grow to infinite lengths.
2 - There is no kitsch in the colonial city.
3 - It is impossible to reproduce these symbols in the current typeface.
4 - Only the blind are permitted to make rubbings of historical markers.
5 - In the colonial city, we form our most precious memories in wax.

In the Colonial City (a guide for tourists)

Commentary

Although it is starting to get old, there are a couple of big pluses about moving frequently: you throw away lots of stuff and you find old stuff forgot about because it was packed away. As I was going through old file folders tonight, I came across a piece I wrote in 1995 or 1996. Can't remember exactly when, but I know it was written during a summer training session for English teachers. This was a "writing process" workshop. A whole week. All very scripted and taught by a senior high school teacher.

We read works of our choosing and then we wrote. I remember the novel I read The Painted Bird by Jerzy KosiƄski. Awesome book if you haven't read it. (Interestingly enough, the Wikipedia article quotes DG Meyers from Texas A&M who was my wife's advisor when she was a brand new English grad student back in 1990)

Anyway, during this teacher training, I missed out on the fact that we were supposed to be writing personal narratives. I should have been clued in all the other Language Art's teachers were writing their dead grandmother's or some equally trite stuff freshmen comp students would write about.

In any cause, I worked on this prose poem that I found tonight, which I ended up calling "In the Colonial (a guide for tourist)" I worked on it during the writing sessions and even "shared" some of it when given the opportunities. I remember writing some of it using a dumb terminal connected to my UNIX account on TENET (the texas educators network).

Near the end of the week, we were going to "publish" our work (that is the end of the writing process, you know) in some happy-ass little collection of all the language art's teachers' writish, but that didn't happen. I don't remember the term (for a first person narrative) but they said this isn't a "blah" piece. They said there wasn't enough "me" in it. Now the "they" I'm referring to was a middle-aged high school teacher that was terribly patronizing and actually treated me like her one of her kids. Now patronizing, middle-age female teachers with more seniority (and thought they knew everything) than were the 3rd worst thing about being in the public schools (the first two things were grading and making parent phone calls).

I've always had the bad habit of going against the grain. Not five years earlier a sympathetic Master Sergeant had taken me out of my PLDC class at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas and said I needed to shape up, quit questioning the curriculum and the primary instructor or I'd get sent back home. So "Specialist Franz" kept his mouth shut for the next week or so, so he could graduate and get his Sergeant's stripes a few years later because he was so lazy about putting in promotion packets.

The long and short of it, is they ended up publishing some poem I'd written in college that had even less of me in it than this piece.

* * *

As a failed writer (yeah I was an English/Creative writing major in College), I was fairly competent at imagery but horrible at plot. I hated stories, even though I tried to write short fiction. Nothing ever really happened in the stuff I wrote and when I tried to add plot elements I hated what a wrote.


* * *

In The Colonial City
(a guide for tourists)

1. History and Geography
2. The Legacy of Conquest
3. Illnesses of Time and Space
4. The Open Plain

Obama on Leadership

Anyone who has seen examples of strong leadership in the military from their CO or 1SG, from their CEO, or even their principal. My first boss out of college, when I was a public school teacher, actually stands out was one of the best leaders I had the pleasure of working for in the last 15 years.

Notice the humility, the focus on strong organizations, teamwork, and putting egos aside to solve a common purpose. This is definitely worth watching regardless of the politics (or your thoughts on Obama), but this sort of talk is impossible to imagine from a Dubya or Clinton. Not sure about McCain.

Childhood Psychiatric Meds on NYT Cover

As I picked up the bagels on the little shop on Dempster with the kindly older lady with the Russian accent (yes I will miss hearing just as much Russian as Spanish--and the fresh bagels) I was surprised to see this article on the front page of the NY Times on potential conflict of interest

Dr. Biederman is one of the most influential researchers in child psychiatry and is widely admired for focusing the field’s attention on its most troubled young patients. Although many of his studies are small and often financed by drug makers, his work helped to fuel a controversial 40-fold increase from 1994 to 2003 in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder, which is characterized by severe mood swings, and a rapid rise in the use of antipsychotic medicines in children. The Grassley investigation did not address research quality.

Doctors have known for years that antipsychotic drugs, sometimes called major tranquilizers, can quickly subdue children. But youngsters appear to be especially susceptible to the weight gain and metabolic problems caused by the drugs, and it is far from clear that the medications improve children’s lives over time, experts say.

In the last 25 years, drug and device makers have displaced the federal government as the primary source of research financing, and industry support is vital to many university research programs. But as corporate research executives recruit the brightest scientists, their brethren in marketing departments have discovered that some of these same scientists can be terrific pitchmen.

I'm not sure what is bringing this out in the open but there definitely seems to be increased coverage in the media about the challenges of diagnosing and treating childhood bipolar. And regardless of where one sides with the issue, that is a good thing -- because diagnosis is tricky, treatment is tricky and the meds are tricky. None of it is for the feint of heart.

Another Clinton Post Mortem on Kos

There is another quite witty Why Clinton Lost blog over on Kos:

Wow, Clinton strategy as Intelligent Design?

We heard that Clinton was liked by this demographic or that one, and it was asserted that those demographics were the important ones, and the ones won by others were less important. We heard that caucuses were not a sufficient measure of electability, despite their actually doing electing. We heard that entire states were also-rans.

It was not a narrative, but a meta-narrative. She was electable because she was electable, and anything that disproved that theory was dismissed as an exception. It was the campaign equivalent of Intelligent Design.

It was, in short, a terrible, mind-bendingly awful strategy. That is not to say that there was not substance discussed, in the debates -- but the campaign was not about that substance. That is not to say that there were not good points to be made in "electability" -- but her spokesmen made them shabbily. In the end, it was not an argument that could convince.

and scathing critique of how lame past Democratic campaigns have been run:

The goal is to assemble the broadest coalition possible -- by saying nothing that could possibly offend anyone. The premise is to appeal to "independents", and "centrists", and most of all the "undecided", that group of people so uninterested in politics that they cannot fathom the difference between the parties, but who allegedly can be mobilized into action if only you do absolutely nothing that will get them the slightest bit worked up. It is a cynical, wretched excuse for leadership, but more to the point it provides absolutely no room for error: it is an all-defensive strategy. If your opponent is a block of wood, incapable of making any positive plays on their own, you may pull it off; but if your opponent scores any point, you are left unable to answer it.

and the stuff of History

This primary season featured, after all, a classic contest: the irresistible force of Barack Obama against the immovable object that was Hillary Clinton. By any stretch, that would have been a barnstormer of a primary, but coupled with the historic nature of the year, a year in which a black American and a woman not only competed for the presidency against the white men that have held exclusive keys to the office since the nation was first founded, but competed for the first time on essentially equal ground, the first in which race and gender, while remaining issues, were relegated to fringe issues as opposed to all-defining, unambiguously disqualifying characteristics -- now that is the stuff of history.

Looking back, we should remember that, because that will be what will end up in the history books. Obama could have lost. Clinton could have won. McCain may yet still win. But they were all judged, if not entirely on their merits, at least as much on their merits as any politicians are, in today's environment. Martin Luther King Jr. said he had a dream, and was killed for it, but in the end equality is an unstoppable force. All that is required is that people desire it, and the rest, though it may take generations, or be slowed, or momentarily dammed, will happen.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Clinton Campaign like Bush Iraq Strategy

There have obviously been a lot of Clinton post-mortems but only Ben Smith's made me think of the similarities.

“There was a constant push and pull on what the overall message would be,” said a senior staffer, who recalled the endless delays on everything from Clinton’s speeches to her policies to her very schedule. “A lot of that paralysis went as high as her.”

and

As a result, when Clinton — as had been predicted by polls — lost Iowa, she and her aides were left with no set plan.

“There was not a plan in place — the plan was: Win Iowa,” said a senior staffer.


and


“After Iowa, everyone looked at her said, ‘Well, you were winning, so we didn’t feel the need to tell you all these things that were f---ed up,’” said an aide.


Bottom line in both: no contingency planning, too much reliance on other's judgement, and surrounding yourself with yes-[wo]men who won't tell you the truth.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Well Done (If there is any truth to this) and more Anti-Meds Talk (this time about the troops)




If this is true somebody deserves a medal for this one. Meaning, someone in Iranian intel.
Defense Department counterintelligence investigators suspected that Iranian exiles who provided dubious intelligence on Iraq and Iran to a small group of Pentagon officials might have "been used as agents of a foreign intelligence service ... to reach into and influence the highest levels of the U.S. government," a Senate Intelligence Committee report said Thursday.
and
The revelation raises questions about whether Iran may have used a small cabal of officials in the Pentagon and in Vice President Dick Cheney's office to feed bogus intelligence on Iraq and Iran to senior policymakers in the Bush administration who were eager to oust the Iraqi dictator.

and if you are into conspiracies theories like the nutcase that comes on AM 820 after Rachel Maddow (who is actually quite good).
According to the report, Ledeen, however, persisted, presenting then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith with a new 100-day plan to provide, among other things, evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that supposedly had been moved to Iran — Saddam Hussein's archenemy. This time, the report said, Ledeen solicited support from former speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich and from three then-GOP senators, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Jon Kyl of Arizona and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.


Yeah, this Malloy character was talking was how shocked it was that 11% of troops in Iraq (17% in Afghanistan) were taking antidepressants (not sure about the stats, but from the Time article).

In 1994 then Major E. Cameron Ritchie, an Army psychiatrist, was among the first to suggest that SSRIs should deploy with Army combat units. In a paper written and published after she returned from a combat deployment to Somalia, Ritchie noted that the sick-call chests used by military doctors "contain either outdated or no psychiatric medications." She concluded, "If depressive symptoms are moderate and manageable, medication may be preferable to medical evacuation."

I would have expected much higher and it would be curious to see how those rates compare with comparably stressful occupations or with the population at large. But its frightening to think about the troops when they come back trying to get psychiatric care for even "mild" mental health issues such depression or PTSD or even given limitations of emergency hospitalization with top notch health insurance. "Just go the emergency rooom..." (if you didn't read my blog entry from last November during more stressful times).

And if Magellan is such joke, what must it be like to try to get treatment from the VA? But Sertaline is relatively cheap, so there is some hope.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Best Cheap Painless PCI Wireless Adapter for Linux that Supports WPA without using ndiswrapper?

Yeah, asking a lot.

The Encore ENLWI-G2 looks like a possibility. It uses the Realtek 8185. Or should I go with an Ralink chipset?

Or here's a crazy idea. Get a rock solid Intel driver and one of these MiniPCI to PCI adapters?

Hitler's ^H^H^H^H^H^H Hillary's Bunker

Given all the talk of "Hillary's Bunker" and that it got pulled from Youtube, it is worth watching again.



Warning: the subtitles are not workplace (or family friendly)

SCADASEC-L: The Best of Times and Worst of Times




The great thing about small communities (like the world of SCADA Security) is that the egos of folks are often inversely proportional to the size of the overall community.

As a result, people get their feelings hurt easily. Partly because everybody has either worked for the other guy (or tried to work for them) or tried to get them to work for you. And more often than not, you've bid against them for security services somewhere, some time. Or at least you've presented at their conference. (Of course everybody has their own conference now, so that isn't so hard.)

Small pie. Big frog. Get it?

(CAVEAT: If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you obviously haven't been following the thread on "Advertising" on SCADASEC-L)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Random Thoughts on Hardy Virtualization (Redux) and Other Topics

Although the shoddy support of dom0 across most distributions not just Hardy (at least my hardware) is depressing (but not as depressing as the last episode of Season 4 of The Wire, talk about bleak, although after reading the summary I may have misinterpreted much of the episode) the one bright spot has been KVM with Virtual Machine Manager. Everything is built in, no threat of custom kernel. (VirtualBox worked reasonably well but even when I installed the xVM binary off the Sun site, ubuntu kept wanting to install a new *-rt kernel). Trying again on Ubuntu, since my first attempt to get Tracks (an interesting-looking rails GTD app) on CentOS failed miserably, much like my attempts to do the cgi version of MoinMoin running under Apache. Disabled selinux, disabled suExec and it stilled didn't work -- before deciding just to run the Desktop Edition until I have time mess with it again. The good thing was a got some custom themes working for the first time (had never tried) and ended up getting sinorca4moin working pretty easily.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Bring on the generation, race, gender, culture wars?

So like many folks Andrew Sullivan's article article on Obama back in December made a significant impact on my views of this year's presidential race -- and what was at stake. The notion that we can somehow get past 30 years of culture wars, 16 years of gridlock, and somehow move past the same tired, superficial debates that characterize our presidential campaigns seemed tremendously appealing -- and might even be possible.

But with the anger and spectacle of irate Hillary supporters leaving the DNC Rules & Bylaws meeting or those outside and countless interviews of West Virginian's and Kentuckians, I'm not so sure.

The first supporter from Manhattan (who thought the person asking for her name might be CIA) identified herself first and foremost as a "older American woman" who bitter about the success "inadequate Black male." The raw emotion was shocking, but it should come as no surprise that a party that has assembled a heterogeneous coalition based on identity politics (race, class, gender, sexual orientation) would come undone because of identity politics.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

(Perhaps a similar argument can be made for the Republicans and Christian fundamentalists, but that is best left for another post)

But this campaign has revealed a number of things about the Democrats. The notion that the Democratic party has a monopoly on diversity and tolerance has been ripped apart not only by YouTube but by the statements of its party leaders. As long has African Americans (and those better educated and those more economically secure and those more religious) supported the "right kind of nominees" it was a big tent, but the tent get's a lot smaller (or at least less full). You see this in the comments of Bill Clinton attacking Moveon.org, when Hillary talks about White Americans (this is code word for how dare Blacks...) or when the "Latte-sipping" Democrats are attacked for being elitist.

With ex-Republican-voters (like myself) supporting Obama, and Boomer Feminists proclaiming their support for McCain, it ought to be an interesting campaign.