The Mess in Iran

Read this report from the Economist. Very educational and informative, even for a wonk like me. By the end you will know everything. 🙂

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Reliable Electronic Voting Machines

Via SF Gate:

State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California’s voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems’ electronic functions, according to a University of California study released Friday.
The researchers “were able to bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested,” said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who authorized the “top to bottom review” of every voting system certified by the state.

Neither Bowen nor the investigators were willing to say exactly how vulnerable California elections are to computer hackers, especially because the team of computer experts from the UC system had top-of-the-line security information plus more time and better access to the voting machines than would-be vote thieves likely would have.

Bowen said in a telephone news conference Friday that the report is only one piece of information she will use to decide which voting systems are secure enough to use in next February’s presidential primary election.

If she is going to decertify any of the machines, she must do it by Friday, six months before the Feb. 5 vote. Read more…

You can contact California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen here and let her know what you think of electronic voting machines.

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VOX Bloggers: Stand Together!

Bloggers are under attack by Fox "News". Well, who are these bloggers? They're YOU and ME. It's time to fight back!

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For my Marina friends…

Dear Friends,

After several days of rumors and seeing a piece on the 11:00 news, I finally confirmed that they're have been 11 attacks on women AND men in the Marina in the past 3 weeks. This afternoon I spoke with two patrolling cops and another officer eating lunch at the Marina Deli.

The attacks have been fairly consistent – primarily on Chestnut Street, a few near Fillmore and Greenwich, two to three males dressed in all black wearing Halloween skeleton masks, REAL guns (one has said to be brandishing a machine gun), average height, race unknown. All of the attacks have occurred at night or early morning, all of the women/men have been robbed of everything (jewelry, backpacks, purses, phones, etc…), some of been physically harmed and attacked, all have been threatened with guns.

One woman was forced into her apartment building. Victims have been grabbed right in the middle of the street and sidewalks. Also – several stores have been robbed at gunpoint by similar men – they believe this could be a gang from the Tenderloin or Western Addition area.

The cops have advised us to do several things:

1. Do not fight back – they are very dangerous. Pepper spray, etc…is not very helpful in these cases b/c it could anger them enough to use their weapons.

2. Report anything suspicious immediately. Do not go out alone at night. Do not wear flashy clothing, jewelry or brand name clothing.

3. Call our neighborhood supervisor Aliota-Pier at 554-7752 (this is the number the cop gave me) and request more police patrol. I asked them why I couldn't find anything in the news about the attacks and they said it is a huge political mess right now. Aliota has lent our neighborhood patrol to the Western Addition. In effort to cover her tracks, she is trying to keep the attacks out of the news/papers/etc…

4. Their final word of advice was to avoid the Walgreens at Divis and Lombard at night. They said that more felons, parolees, drug pushers, etc… who live and work out of the Bridge Hotel (directly behind Walgreen's) than any other building within a few miles radius of the Marina . They also told me that a huge rash of back thefts have been occurring all around this area & in the Presidio – including, bikes that are locked and they are stealing just parts – the seats, wheels, etc…(I can attest to this – I've had one car and three locked bikes stolen in the Marina over the past 8 months – all parked on Chestnut, Fillmore and Baker Streets!!)

I'm not trying to scare anyone…I just want everyone to be safe. Please pass this information onto friends and neighbors.


Christy, Founding City Girl

City Girls Guide Connecting Active Professional Women!

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Inbox Zero

Great video from a 43 Folders / GTD guru.

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Teach your children well

Knowledge is Power for the People, Ignorance is Power for the Rulers.   If you don't know the nature or origin of the ingredients in the food you buy, it's easier to sway your purchasing decisions through advertising. If you don't know that your priest keeps being moved around due to accusations of child molestation, it's easier to get you to entrust your children to his tender, loving care. If you don't know what the government is doing as part of its global war on terrorism, it's easier to get you to believe it's all for your own good. If you don't know that there are others out there whose sexual preferences aren't quite what religious and social leaders say God demands, it's easier to repress your own feelings and pretend to be like "everyone else."


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Quick Summation of Ex-Gay Groups

Ex-Gay = Denial Reinforcement Service Organization

For some strange reason there's been a lot of stories in the news about ex-gay groups recently. (Exodus, Love In Action, etc.)

A friend said the groups are all about money, that the organizations prey on their members*.  I didn't agree. I mean, I don't doubt that the organizers make money off these pathetic people of but it doesn't seem money-centered like, say, Scientology.

It's more simple. More basic. And here it is:  The ex-gay organizations provide a service. The typical client does not like himself (a common enough affliction) and desperately wants to go back into closet; to the denial he enjoyed before coming out. The ex-gay organization gives permission to continue living in that state of denial, as well as helping to set up a framework to reinforce and continue the denial on a daily basis. It's as simple as that.

The situation gets a little out-of-hand when these guys start marrying women and having kids—followed by the inevitable truck-stop arrest or HIV infection.

I'll just never understand why these guys are so desperately sad and unhappy with themselves. What do you do with someone like that?

I, for one, give them my sympathy and stay as far away as I can get. 



I want to be clear I am talking about the organizations that exist for grown, consenting adults, not the places for confused/gay teens. In situations where the gay person is a minor and it's the parents who want a straight child, there are brainwashing facilities where teens can be sent.  These "Straight Camps " are an entirely different animal from a typical ex-gay organization and not one of which I want to make light. These Christianist-cult-compounds (often a prison-like facility in the mountains of Utah) employ all sorts of interesting aversion-therapy techniques that would never be allowed in a prison since, unlike adult prisoners, teenagers are not subject to the protections of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. This is no joke. It is the law in Utah and a few other states where these straight camps are located.  The situation for the kids in these camps is so dire and unbelievable and desperate that it's hard to get mainstream media attention for the issue—people simple do not believe it can happen here in America. This is a subject for a different, much longer, far more serious, post.

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