It’s that time again…


Tonight the Nevada Democratic Party will play host to the latest Democratic debate, airing on CNN from 8:00pm to 10:00pm EST. Wolf Blitzer will be serving as moderator.

In the picture above, take a good long look at the rightmost figure. That will be the most you will be seeing of Mike Gravel tonight, as, once again, he will be excluded from the debate.

I will be doing my frenetic best to “live blog” the debate, although I’m all too aware that in my less-than-capable hands, “live blogging” needs to be in “parentheses”. If any other Zoo critters would like to lend their time and fingers to the cause, I would be most grateful.

UPDATE: Live blogging taking place now.

UPDATE II:  Live blogging has now concluded.

Revisiting History – Fox News/Giuliani connection

For those of you who may have missed this..
via: Raw Story

“If not for Rudy Giuliani, there might not even BE a FOX News Channel”
COUNTDOWN’s Keith Olbermann explores the very long standing and very special relationship between Rudy Giuliani and FOX News. This interview with Wayne Barrett, senior editor of the Village Voice and author of “The Grand Illusion“, ran on Countdown November 15, 2007.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Backdoor exposed in new NSA-endorsed encryption – no need for them to break in, when they already have the keys…


Stumbled across this story during the course of my daily duties. It seems that “Dual_EC_DRBG”, a new encryption standard, which has been approved and endorsed by the NSA, contains a fairly obvious backdoor. This backdoor was exposed by Dan Shumow and Niels Ferguson at the CRYPTO 2007 conference in August.

Here’s a link to Dan and Niels’ presentation. Two warnings: One, the link is to a PDF, and two, the math involved might be a bit intense, especially if you have no prior experience with encryption algorithms.

For the rest of us, Bruce Schneier does a wonderful job of explaining the backdoor in layman’s terms in his Wired article. Here’s an excerpt:

This is how it works: There are a bunch of constants — fixed numbers — in the standard used to define the algorithm’s elliptic curve. These constants are listed in Appendix A of the NIST publication, but nowhere is it explained where they came from.

What Shumow and Ferguson showed is that these numbers have a relationship with a second, secret set of numbers that can act as a kind of skeleton key. If you know the secret numbers, you can predict the output of the random-number generator after collecting just 32 bytes of its output. To put that in real terms, you only need to monitor one TLS internet encryption connection in order to crack the security of that protocol. If you know the secret numbers, you can completely break any instantiation of Dual_EC_DRBG.

Now, in their presentation, Dan and Niels bend over backwards to avoid any insinuation that this backdoor was coded intentionally. However, the probability that such a vulnerability somehow made its way into the standard by accident is vanishingly small…and the probability that such a vulnerability would have been completely overlooked by both NIST and the NSA is vanishingly small squared. The only reasonable assumption is that this encryption method was specifically and intentionally designed with a built-in “skeleton key” function, enabling our nascent fascist totalitarian police state to decode supposedly “secure” messages at will.

So Rudy, what else ya got..?

Here is another great video from TPM on Rudy “9/11” Giuliani, and apparently the only message he’s got to run on..
Fox sure seems to like this guy (or rather, he is the one they are trying to so hard to sell – a friend of corporate America? Or just friend of News Corp, Roger Ailes, and Rupert Murdoch?).

Milk it Rudy..

Don’t forget to visit “TheRealRudy“.

Traveling to Great Britain gets interesting.. Are we next?

Terror crackdown: Passengers forced to answer 53 questions BEFORE they travel
via: Daily Mail (UK)

Travellers face price hikes and confusion after the Government unveiled plans to take up to 53 pieces of information from anyone entering or leaving Britain.

For every journey, security officials will want credit card details, holiday contact numbers, travel plans, email addresses, car numbers and even any previous missed flights.

The information, taken when a ticket is bought, will be shared among police, customs, immigration and the security services for at least 24 hours before a journey is due to take place.

Continue reading…

The information, taken when a ticket is bought, will be shared among police, customs, immigration and the security services for at least 24 hours before a journey is due to take place.

Anybody about whom the authorities are dubious can be turned away when they arrive at the airport or station with their baggage.

Those with outstanding court fines, such as a speeding penalty, could also be barred from leaving the country, even if they pose no security risk.

Wow.. how about my bra size? My I.Q.? Or perhaps the name of my first grade teacher..?

U.S.A.’s bridge team expresses anti-Bush sentiment, faces suspension.

Bridge Team

Via the New York Times:

In the genteel world of bridge, disputes are usually handled quietly and rarely involve issues of national policy. But in a fight reminiscent of the brouhaha over an anti-Bush statement by Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks in 2003, a team of women who represented the United States at the world bridge championships in Shanghai last month is facing sanctions, including a yearlong ban from competition, for a spur-of-the-moment protest.

At issue is a crudely lettered sign, scribbled on the back of a menu, that was held up at an awards dinner and read, “We did not vote for Bush.”

By e-mail, angry bridge players have accused the women of “treason” and “sedition.”

Continue reading

Op-Ed – Sleepless over Megan

Now and again there is a story, that keeps me awake all night, because I can’t get my head around it. Megan’s story , posted here and elsewhere yesterday, is one of those.

I was trying to find a word for the behaviour of the other girl’s parents and the only word that came to mind was: Immature. Stooping to an adolescent’s level and engage in the mobbing of another child, out of a distorted sense of solidarity with their own daughter, is immature and irresponsible in the extreme.

But it is not rare. I keep hearing mothers say: “I am my daughter’s best friend, really. We have so much in common.” And fathers claim to be, above all, “best buddies” with their sons. Some of it is, of course, a blessing. Thank God the times of patriarchs and matriarchs who were absolute monarchs in their families are over. But, while children need grown-ups who make informed choices as role models and the rules of parents to rebel against in order to develop into a mature individual, they often find nothing of the sort.

What’s to blame? The cult of youth, that equates maturity with age. The media provide us with role models like the Susan Mayer character of “Desperate Housewives” who is “oh so cute” with her childish behaviour and her daughter who is “oh so cute – look at how grown-up she behaves!” And, of course, the economic elites who need to have us just that way. Who in his or her right, mature mind would camp outside a store to get an I-phone or an x-box? Who, as a grown-up logical person, would buy a house and then go on spending money on consumer goods, like there was no tomorrow and no mortgage on the home? “The Economy” that all-consuming allmighty beast, that we have to appease at all cost, profits immensely from our from immaturity!

And being immature at the age of, let’s say 55,  is not so bad after all, isn’t it? If all else fails, you can still get yourself sworn-in as President of the United States of America.