Backdropped against the blackness of space, the STS-122 external fuel tank (ET) begins its relative separation from the space shuttle Atlantis. The fan-shaped bright area is the result of ET venting after orbiter separation. What happens in this nominal occurrence is that the residual cryogenics in the tank heat up to some extent and the pressure increases, popping the relief valve. The residual gases spray out of the tank and are quite noticeable with the light reflection.
Hillary Clinton and her driver were cruising along a country road one evening when an ancient cow loomed in front of the car. The driver tried to avoid it but couldn’t – the aged bovine was struck and killed.
Hillary told her driver to go up to the farmhouse and explain to the owners what had happened. She stayed in the car making phone calls to lobbyists.
About an hour later the driver staggered back to the car with his clothes in disarray. He was holding a half-empty bottle of expensive wine in one hand, a huge Cuban cigar in the other, and was smiling happily, smeared with lipstick.
“What happened to you?” asked Hillary. “Well,” the driver replied, “the farmer gave me the cigar, his wife gave me the wine, and their beautiful twin daughters made mad passionate love to me.” “My God, what did you tell them?” asked Hillary. The driver replied, “I just stepped inside the door and said, I’m Hillary Clinton’s driver and I’ve just killed the old cow.
The rest happened so fast I couldn’t stop it.”
“Someone noticed that Garfield comics make just as much sense if you throw random panels together, and sometimes are actually pretty funny. He got a cease and desist letter. So he made the code available for people who wanted to try it for themselves” via The Eagle_Fire Garfield Randomizer
Now, however, the Department of Homeland Security’s construction plans are facing opposition from Texans who object to the fence cutting through their property. The Washington Post reports on the hard line the Bush administration is taking with these protesting landowners:
In December, officials sent warning letters to 135 private landowners, municipalities, universities, public utility companies and conservation societies along the border that had turned away surveyors. Landowners were given 30 days to change their minds or face legal action. More than 100 of them — 71 in Texas — let the deadline pass.
Over the past several weeks, U.S. attorneys acting on behalf of the Homeland Security Department have been filing lawsuits against the holdouts.
DHS has no problem pursuing elderly and struggling homeowners. In the small town of Granjeno (pop. 313), however, the border fence would, conveniently, “abruptly end” at the property owned by Dallas billionaire Ray L. Hunt.
It’s not surprising that the administration would be hesitant to upset Hunt, who was a Bush-Cheney campaign “Pioneer” in 2000. More recently, Hunt “donated $35 million to Southern Methodist University to help build Bush’s presidential library.” In 2001, Bush appointed Hunt to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, granting him “a security clearance and access to classified intelligence.”
I bet you thought people banked in the Cayman Islands because they serve fruity cocktails with tiny parasols in them while you’re waiting for your checks to clear. Well, you’re only partly right. The other reason people keep accounts in the Caymans is to avoid paying taxes and/or to launder their ill-gotten gains.
For many of us this is not news — or at least it wouldn’t be, if not for the brain-dead actions of one such bank and the magistrate they duped into being their monkey.
Swiss Bank Julius Baer used its legal muscle to convince a U.S. judge to close down the WikiLeaks.org domain, because the site contains documents that allegedly show Baer is exchanging its clients’ dirty old dineros for fresh clean ones with just a hint of mint.
Some background: WikiLeaks.org exists so anonymous whistle blowers around the globe can document human rights offenses, corporate malfeasance, nuclear accidents, and the like. The world gets to see what nasty things those in power have been up to, while the leakers get to live their lives without being waterboarded (or worse).
But the bank’s solution is so mind-bogglingly stupid, you have to wonder if these guys need help getting their pants on each morning.
First, this is exactly the kind of story bloggers and Net-centric journos crave. Big nasty corporation stomps all over plucky public-serving underdog. Who can resist that plot line?
Second, the equation Bank Julius Baer = Money Laundering is now firmly cemented in the minds of everyone who has encountered this story, regardless of whether it’s true.
Trois: The documents in question, which might have been quickly forgotten alongside the 1.2 million others on the site, are now hotter than the Paris Hilton sex video. Dozens of mirror sites have sprung up, and Cryptome.org and PirateBay have squirreled away copies of the docs for any interested parties.
Oh, and by the way, the judge’s order failed to shut down the site. The IP numbers (22.214.171.124) still work, as do its Belgian and Christmas Island domains. Or they would, only last time I checked the sites were overwhelmed with traffic from people with a sudden keen interest in Cayman Islands banking.
It’s a fascinating study in how the courts and high-powered corporations still manage to shoot themselves in the feet when they try to manipulate the Net.
As crypto-wonk Bruce Schneier has eloquently stated, this ain’t about security, it’s about control. Corporations and governments have an insatiable appetite for it. But I think we’re all better off when they go hungry.