Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Using an Antifraud System to Commit Fraud

Using antifraud systems to commit check fraud.


Social Security is not an Entitlement

Social Security is not an entitlement. It is a form of retirement insurance that citizens are required by law to pay for and the government is required by law to distribute to retired citizens. Do not let the wealthy fund their bailout on the backs of the sick and elderly.


Jon Stewart's Take on the Afghanistan Wikileaks Episode

Jon Stewart mocks the media reaction to the Afghanistan Wikileaks leak. Hmm, 95% of suicide bombers come from two religious schools in Peshawar. ISI is aiding the Taliban insurgents. We are funding our own attackers and their advisers. Is this the 2010 version of Catch-22? Remember in Catch-22, the Germans paid the Americans to bomb their own air base. How is this any different? And our MSM doesn't care. There's too much money to be made promoting the status quo.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Monetary Cost of War

There is an interesting graphic on Barry Ritholz's blog depicting the cost of war for Americans. Americans are paying $547,619/deployed soldier for Afghanistan and Iraq versus $254,658/deployed soldier for World War II. We deployed 16.1 million soldiers for four years during World War II versus 2.1 million soldiers for the current conflicts over 9 years. This is not even counting the people we have lost due to combat and suicide. What is sad is that had we not gone in to Iraq, we would not have squandered the advantage we gained in Afghanistan. As it is, Iran has won Iraq via cultural ties with the Shia majority. Meanwhile, we lose Afghanistan by losing the favor of the average Afghan due to bombing and killing his family and neighbors. Such is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.


Enabling Bridged Networking in RedHat 6 Beta 2

I decided to play around with the Redhat 6 beta 2 64 bit (x86_64) version since Xen is going away after RedHat version 5. Instructions on enabling bridged networking for a KVM server are rather scarce on the Internet and what few there are don't work well. Well, I found part of the answer here. In brief, perform the following steps:

# chkconfig NetworkManager off
# chkconfig network on
# service NetworkManager stop
# service network start
# cd /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts

Edit ifcfg-eth0 to read:


Note: HWADDR= line does not appear to be needed.

Create and edit ifcfg-br0 to read:


Change your IP address (IPADDR variable) and gateway (GATEWAY variable) to suit your network environment.

Restart the network:
# service network restart

Configure iptables to forward traffic accross the bridge:

# iptables -I FORWARD -m physdev --physdev-is-bridged -j ACCEPT
# service iptables save
# service iptables restart

Restart the libvirtd daemon:
# service libvirtd reload

Check to see if your bridge br0 exists:
# brctl show

Should it still not work, in Virtual Machine Manager, go to Edit -> Host Details -> Network Interfaces and add a br0 interface if it is missing. This should rebuild the ifcfg-br0 script in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts. Restart your network again.

To migrate your virtual machines from the default virtual network which is NATed, change directory to /etc/libvirt/qemu and edit your virtual machine's xml file.

Change interface type='network' to interface type='bridge'.
Change source network='default' to source bridge='br0'.

Altering those two lines should do it.
# cd /etc/libvirt/qemu
# virsh create virtual_machine_name.xml
# virsh create kubuntu-kvm.xml
Domain kubuntu-kvm created from kubuntu-kvm.xml)

If the virsh create command produces an error, note it carefully and check your edited xml file.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

41st Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Forty-one years ago today, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed and stepped foot on the lunar surface. It was a momentous event in human history. For a brief period of time, they united the world. People all over the world said, "We did it!" For that brief moment, everyone forgot their squabbles and celebrated history in the making. Now, forty-one years later, we have people denying that the landings ever took place, a broken and demoralized NASA, a corrupt and shady banking system, a dysfunctional government, and Afghanistan (Vietnam Part Deux). Can't we all come together as Americans and solve our problems. It's not like we are going to the Moon. We know what to do. We have the knowledge and experience and expertise to fix things. We don't need millionaires and billionaires telling us what financial and social sacrifices we have to make on their behalf. Everyone can share and sacrifice and prosper, and just maybe, after the work is done, we can say again, "We did it!"


Monday, July 19, 2010

Deficit Hawks are a Different Raptor Indeed

What a deficit hawk truly is.


Goldman Sacks!

Goldman Sacks! They make Viking raiders look nice by comparison. At least the Vikings didn't screw their own.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Arsonist Will Be Okay

Ben Sargent cartoon on Wall Street Reform. As will these arsonists.


Building Peace One School at a Time

The NY Times has an article about Greg Mortenson of the Central Asia Institute. Bill Moyers interviewed Mr. Mortenson last January. Here's a Charlie Rose interview on July 27, 2010. This is where our best hope lies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. When you can make grown men happy with a swing set in a playground in Afghanistan, you are doing something right. Mr. Mortenson is strengthening communities and helping them flourish. The Taliban are actually dividing communities and taking the men and boys from villages for their own ends. Mr. Mortenson has been told that the Taliban have lost their Saudi funding and have resorted to crime for their fund raising. That's an interesting development. What I don't understand though is why the US government is not adopting Mr Mortenson's approach and building more schools and clinics along the same lines using villagers to build the schools so that they have a stake in the process. Please watch the videos and see for yourself what one man can do with a little bit of money where whole armies have failed.


What is the Best Way of Helping Others?

Zen mind is not Zen mind. That is, if you are attached to Zen mind, then you have a problem, and your way is very narrow. Throwing away Zen mind is correct Zen mind. Only keep the question, "What is the best way of helping other people?"

Seung Sahn


Freedom of Speech or the Lack Thereof

I have redacted certain parts of my opinions. Normally, I would leave them, but being unemployed for almost a year makes one sensitive to those individuals who hold my fate in their decisions and may not like my opinions if they find this obscure blog even if they are only words because they disagree with my worldview. The First Amendment protects one from the government, not a private organization or individual. I'll leave it at that for now.


Friday, July 16, 2010

The Beginning of the End

When you tell your sick and elderly that their Medicare and Social Security are going away even though they paid taxes for those benefits, and you give lip service to the parents whose children gave their lives for their country and overturn the findings of another general officer who found problems, the end of a military empire and its supporting government composed predominantly of Christians begins.


Microsoft Gives the FSB Windows 7 Source Code

Bruce Schneier does not think that this is a good idea. I don't either. I thought Ballmer hated Commies, er, Russians by their former nickname. Microsoft is going to give the source code of the most widely used operating system on the planet to a foreign intelligence service that used to work for one of the most repressive governments the planet has ever known? Even if the version we give them is "doctored", the Russians are no fools. They'll disassemble a retail copy and compare it to the source code they were given. I wonder if the NSA is happy about this development. Surely, the British equivalent isn't. Is Microsoft trying to drive governments, consumers, and businesses to adopt Linux? How will they spin this development?


A Good Start, or Is it?

While the arrest of Medicare fraud rings is a good start, the government is only saving a little bit of money via deterrence. If we want real healthcare savings, the (redacted due to loss of free speech) industries will have to be overhauled. (This will have to happen unless the majority of us don't want healthcare because we are on an unsustainable trajectory.) More doctors will have to be produced by the country's medical schools. The current healthcare "reform" law only extended coverage. It did not contain costs or reduce them. So in that respect, the current healthcare reform legislation is a failure. The above news article is analogous to the FBI arresting individuals for mortgage fraud when 80% of mortgage fraud is committed by the mortgage bankers through their institutions. Only 20% of mortgage fraud is committed by individuals. Are the dynamics similar for Medicare fraud, or are they different? Between 3-10% of Medicare payments are fraudulent and performed by healthcare providers, but the reason for such a practice is for the benefit of the patient according to Wikipedia. Is the majority of Medicare fraud committed by companies rather than individuals? It is certainly easier to commit fraud as the officer of a company. It gives one cover they would not have as an individual thief.


Matters of the Heart

"The human spirit is not measured by the size of the act, but by the size of the heart."
Yakov Smirnoff


Romans of Lesser Rank

BBC slideshow of some of the evidence that Roman era skeletons found in a gravesite in York were those of gladiators. Gladiators were considered infames.


See Beautiful Ontario Lacus

See Beautiful Ontario Lacus on Titan. The lake is evaporating slowly in the Titanian summer heat just above -184 degrees C. The lake levels are receding at the rate of about 1 meter per Earth year. A Titanian year is 29.5 Earth years, so this will be a long summer.



Thursday, July 15, 2010

God Help Us Get Through These Difficult Times!

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.
Upton Sinclair

You can be right, have all of the evidence on your side, and still lose the argument due to inherent bias or inherent ignorance, r.e. Upton Sinclair. We seem to be seeing both ignorance and bias playing out in national and global economic policy currently. We have a deficit because of two overseas wars, excessive tax cuts, and the government assuming the private sector's debt in 2008. Now we have millionaires and billionaires telling the rest of us that we will have to get by with no Medicare or Social Security if we ever get the chance to retire. Personally, I believe that a 75% to 90% income tax should be reinstated on the wealthiest 1% of the population. We should mothball at least one carrier group and kill the JSF program, and look for other cost savings in the sacred cow defense budget. Medical costs need to come down 50%. This can be done by increasing the number of practicing doctors two-fold and possibly eliminating or reducing (redacted due to loss of freedom of speech). Putting everyone under Medicare would make everyone but the doctors and health insurers happy. Of course, none of this will happen until it's too late. It is quite possible that the US will collapse like the Soviet Union - not from external forces, but from internal ones. Our economy is being wrecked by investment bankers and economists, amoral corporate businessmen and corrupted politicians. Each group has their own opinion about what is wrong with America, but each of them are innocent of any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, the Poor and Middle Class become poorer each day, and there's no way to save money efficiently.

God Help Us All and save us from people who have their best interests at heart instead of society's. Help us to discern truth from deception, and help each of us do the right thing every day. Guide us to wisdom and not folly, and mend hearts so that we all can help one another through this difficult manmade calamity.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A Really Cool Idea

This is a really cool idea, a true flying car, that just about anyone can drive or fly. The problem is that the DOD currently has a track record of not getting projects done cheaply or in a timely matter. Small companies developing the prototypes is probably a good thing, but look to see a major defense contractor buy them. Then watch it all go downhill from there.

The concept and execution of a flying car is about 100 years old. The best example of a flying car is the Taylor Aerocar.


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