Thursday July 26, 2007 – “Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.” – Elbert Hubbard

D’oh! Spammers Exploit Interest in The Simpsons Movie 

Jul 19, 2007, News Report

A new spam campaign exploiting interest in “The Simpsons Movie” has been discovered. The spammed e-mails claim that recipients will receive a $500 Visa Gift card for participating in an online survey. Each e-mail contains a graphic of Homer Simpson sitting on his sofa. The image asks: Will you go see the movie The Simpsons? Take our short survey now

Clicking on the image takes surfers to a Web page branded with similar graphics of The Simpsons, which asks for a valid e-mail address.

“You would be as crazy as Krusty the Clown to enter an e-mail address on that page,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “Not only are your chances of receiving a gift less than zero, but you are delivering a valid e-mail address to a spammer on a platter. Lists of living breathing e-mail addresses are what keeps the spam industry afloat — by confirming your contact address you are helping the spammers and increasing your chances of being deluged by junk e-mail.”

Experts note that this is far from the first time that cybercriminals have exploited Hollywood movie characters.

“Last month Sophos discovered a worm that infected USB drives claiming that in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” the eponymous teen wizard would die, and in May, we saw a threat spammed out that pretended to be a trailer for the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie,” continued Cluley. “The public’s hunger for new blockbuster movies coming out of Hollywood gives cyber-criminals an endless stream of riches with which to tempt the unwary. Too many people click on links in an unsolicited e-mail without thinking of the possible consequences.”


O’Reilly compared Daily Kos to Capone, Mussolini

On the July 23 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, responding to Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers’ assertion that “there’s a lot of stuff that [Daily Kos bloggers] do that isn’t horrible,” host Bill O’Reilly said: “It’s kind of like Al Capone.” O’Reilly continued: “We’ll only do bad things on Thursday, and we’ll slaughter a bunch of people, but on Friday we’ll go to church.” In response to Powers’ statement that “there’s a lot of good diaries put up there,” O’Reilly said: “[Former Italian fascist dictator Benito] Mussolini made the trains run on time.”

Read more


Bush’s Martial Law Plan Is So Shocking, Even Congress Can’t See It –Executive über alles as member of Homeland Security Committee barred from viewing post-terror attack provisions

By Paul Joseph Watson

July 23 2007

President [sic] Bush’s post-terror attack martial law plan is so shocking that even sitting members of Congress and Homeland Security officials are barred from viewing it, another example of executive über alles and a chilling portent of what is to come as constant reminders of the inevitability of terror attacks reverberate… Since [Rep. Peter] DeFazio (D-OR) also sits on the Homeland Security Committee and has clearance to view classified material, the request would have appeared to be routine, but the Congressman was unceremoniously denied all access to view the documents, and the White House wouldn’t even give an excuse as to why he was barred.



S.C. treasurer resigns from office following drug indictment

July 24 2007

South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel resigned from office Tuesday, more than a month after he was indicted on a federal cocaine charge… Ravenel, a Republican, had been considered a rising political star before his indictment was announced June 19.



Michigan Young Republican pleads guilty in rape case

24 Jul 2007

The former head of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans admitted today that he sexually abused a colleague during a national convention here last summer. Michael Flory, a 32-year-old attorney from Jackson, Mich., pleaded guilty to sexual battery on the day he was to stand trial for rape.



Traders ask how low can the dollar go

By Michael Mackenzie in New York

July 22 2007

How long before the dollar hits $1.40 to the euro? That is the question many analysts are asking after a week when the US currency struck a new low of $1.3843 to the euro and fresh multiyear lows against a range of currencies, including sterling.

The US currency has fallen 4.5 per cent against the euro this year and 4 per cent against sterling, hitting a new 26-year nadir against the pound last week. The trade-weighted dollar index dropped to its lowest since 1992.

The dollar exchange rate is important because the US relies on hefty foreign purchases of securities and other assets to fund its current account deficit.

“At some point, the fall in the dollar will translate into foreign investors no longer buying US assets and selling their existing holdings,” said William Strazzullo, chief market strategist at BellCurve Trading.

“We expect euro/dollar to appreciate to $1.42 by the end of the quarter and sterling/dollar to to move to $2.10 as investors reduce their dollar-denominated exposure,” said Hans Redeker at BNP Paribas.

Complete article at:

The Financial Times


The dirt on farm subsidies – A system that is supposed prevent food shortages and farmer poverty does neither.

By By Brian M. Riedl
July 24, 2007

Republican and Democratic congressional leaders rarely agree on a major issue. Yet both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) have gone on the record as opposing the current $25-billion farm subsidy system, which Congress is rewriting this month.

Changing the system won’t be easy. They will have to battle the powerful agriculture lobby and its allies on the House Agriculture Committee, who are once again employing Norman Rockwell imagery to assert that farm subsidies are an all-American necessity that ensures an adequate food supply and alleviates farmer poverty.

But two seemingly arcane aspects of farm policy undermine both claims. First, farm subsidy eligibility is restricted to growers of only a few crops. Second, once a farmer’s eligibility is established, subsidies increase with the size of the farm. These make farm subsidies just another narrowly targeted corporate welfare program.

On the first point, producers of just five crops — wheat, cotton, corn, soybeans and rice — receive nearly all farm subsidies. In fact, only one-third of the $240 billion in annual farm production is targeted for subsidies. All other farmers — including growers of fruits, vegetables, livestock and poultry — receive nearly nothing.

This raises the question: If farm subsidies are necessary to produce an adequate food supply with stable prices and thriving farmers, why haven’t the growers of nonsubsidized crops experienced these problems?

Walk into any supermarket and you will quickly find yourself surrounded by farm products, from apples to oranges, beef to chicken, that are produced and distributed without farm subsidies. Yet their prices and supplies are relatively stable, and the farmers’ incomes are just as high as those of subsidized farmers. The free market works for all other farm production, and it can surely work for producers of wheat, cotton, corn, soybeans and rice.

Complete article at:,0,3818350.story?coll=la-tot-opinion&track=ntothtml

Brian M. Riedl is a senior fellow in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation.


USGAO: Federal Farm Programs:  USDA Needs to Strengthen Controls to Prevent Improper Payments to Estates and Deceased Individuals.

GAO-07-818, July 9.

Highlights –


Ugland House.

Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana), Chairman of the US Senate Finance Committee, has been fascinated for the past 2 months by what may be the most spectacular and expensive mystery spot in the western hemisphere, where madcap attorneys and accountants have managed to squeeze 12,000 companies into a single 5-storey building. Along with billions of dollars in unpaid taxes.



three thousand more words

This Modern World: Dial “M” for Moustache

Steve Benson: … recommendations against evil-doers …

R.J. Matson: if anyone in my administration reveals the secret plan …

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