Friday, April 30, 2004

The Emperor of Ice-Cream, by Wallace Stevens Call the roller of big cigars, The muscular one, and bid him whip In kitchen cups concupiscent curds. Let the wenches dawdle in such dress As they are used to wear, and let the boys Bring flowers in last month's newspapers. Let be be finale of seem. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream. Take from the dresser of deal, Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet On which she embroidered fantails once And spread it so as to cover her face. If her horny feet protrude, they come To show how cold she is, and dumb. Let the lamp affix its beam. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Bye Steve

I just lost one of my best friends yesterday. We were like brothers, and had become best friends when we were 13. It's hard to fathom, and harder to blog. I'll be back soon. -Jim

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

e-bay auction of the week

And now to cleanse the pallate. Check this out.

Monday, April 26, 2004

See No Evil

My blog on this subject is a few days late, which is decades in Blog-time. But I'm cheesed off, and since it is my "only job" to tear down those who lead me, (according to some), I am going to do my job to the best of my ability. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, a blogger obtained this photo: Bush determined that this photo and any like it were disrespectful to the families of the victims, and that he is going to "crack down" on the publication of such photos. Now here comes the part where I tear down my leader: Trying to strong-arm the media into painting a rosy picture of the war, and trying to hide this loss of life from us is more disrespectful to these dead than I could ever be. Bush might as well be pissing on these soldiers' graves. The dead bodies who lay in the coffins in this picture were in Iraq to ostensibly fight for the VERY FREEDOM that President Bush is now trying to curtail. This ham-fisted censorship is not just disrespectful to the dead, but also disrespectful to every American. Is it not our right to know the costs of this war? Is it not our right to dissent? Who is President Bush to tell the media not to publish such photos? By the way, there are a bunch more here. Each coffin in that picture represents many grieving family members. The photo is everything BUT disrespectful. It's far from it. If any family members of these brave soldiers feel I'm disrespecting their sons and daughters, I will take the photo down. However, if you think the photo is merely disrespectful to the President, tough shit. How far does Bush have to go before people realize he is a linear thinker with no respect for anything but his own agenda? Right now his agenda is to get re-elected. God only knows what Bush's agenda is after that. I certainly don't want to find out. -Jim

The Brass Knuckles of Democracy?

I usually don't get pissed off by NPR, but this morning they ran a report about the front-line soldiers' feelings about the war. Not surprisingly, they were totally for it. Well duh! Did they forget that none of our soldiers were drafted? This is called a skewed sample. If you were to survey radical Islamic insurgents in Fallujah how they felt about their cause, you would also get a skewed sample. The findings from such a survey should only be used as news about that sample. The fact is, this report was barely news. So our troops are for the war. That's perfectly normal, and good! Our boys in Iraq should be for the war. Why is this news? (Yawn.) Then the reporter said, "Many of the American troops see themselves as the head of the spear of Democracy ... (blah blah)." I checked my radio. Was I listening to NPR? Since when is Democracy a spear? Fascism is arguably a spear. Totalitarianism ... sure, a spear. Even a Monarchy might be represented as a regal spear. But in what way does a spear represent ANYTHING about democracy? I picture a soldier holding a subject of the king at spearpoint: "Vote, or die!" OK, maybe the oppressed subject picks up a spear and overthrows the regime to build a democracy. But in this case, the spear is coming into Iraq from the outside, and being held by a foreigner. Hmmm ... the spear might ostensibly represent us protecting ourselves against Iraq, but how would that differentiate us from any other type of government? As Edward R. Murrow said during the Vietnam conflict: "Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation."

Thursday, April 22, 2004

One "Patriot" Speaks Out

The FBI wants to read your Instant Messages. I have a problem with this. The FBI already can snoop on our IMs. It takes a little work, but it shouldn't be easy. For as easy as we make it for the FBI, we will be making it equally easy for hackers. Hackers got their start with our phones (as did the FBI) and it might be argued that the sky didn't fall because our phone lines can be tapped. But our computers are different, as it generally hosts information whose security is vital to our well-being. Lastly, it probably won't help. The FBI is just lame to think that by insisting upon a back door will make snooping for them as easy as flipping a switch. If it is, something is wrong. If it isn't this easy, it's bureaucracy based on ignorance ... again.

Monday, April 19, 2004

The Five Theses

On Why We Shouldn't Have Attacked Iraq

Many of us took our stances on the Iraq war long ago, and amid all the dialog about the war, we rarely take time to remember the reasons why we take a particular stance for or against it to begin with. Hopefully we all have reasons. Reasons are important. Martin Luther kicked off the reformation by writing up his reasons and nailing them to The Church door at Wittenberg. (Notice I don't say "The Catholic Church door" since prior to Luther there was no such distinction.) So, in honor of Luther, I am nailing my reasons for why we shouldn't be in Iraq to my blog.

1. Pre-emptively striking Iraq out of fear that they were going to strike us was probably wrong, and is still unsubstantiated.

It is probably wrong because we have no direct proof of their intent or their development of WMDs. While it is true that Hussein was recalcitrant in his dealings with weapons inspectors, it is certainly unsubstantiated as MUCH of our intelligence has proven to be wrong, and we have yet to find any definitive prove of the existence of WMDs. I was against the war prior to its beginning because I did not feel the evidence I was shown was worthy proof--especially since I had suspicions about point "3". I think my instincts were right. Now that we are there, and have about a thousand Americans (and how many Iraqis?) dead, our original intent, it would seem, is no longer the issue with most people.

2. Pre-emptively striking Iraq was a bad precedent

During the Salem witch trials, if you pissed someone in town off, you risked them going to the town council and telling the council that they saw you twitching and muttering to satan. If they did, they gathered the pitch, piled up the twigs, and summoned you to a trial. In fact, NONE of the dead were ever scientifically proven to be a witch. Yes, if someone has a nuclear bomb almost built and we know they intend to use it on us, it behooves us to take care of business. But it also behooves us to HAVE EVIDENCE. Without this evidence, America established a horrible precedent that if we don't like you, all we have to do is pull a few strings and build a case against you. Did you piss off the President or his dad? Watch the skies for F117A's. Is this how it happened? I don't know but it doesn't matter. This is how our detractors will always see it. Oops.

3. Pre-emptively striking Iraq was probably a red herring.

To say that this "pre-emptive strike" is the real reason behind this attack is--in my opinion--not true. Our real reasons for going into Iraq have a direct relationship to the dwindling supply and thus rising cost of oil. If anyone doubts this, or the importance of oil to our economy, read this or this, or both. The President does know about the importance of oil to our economy. I believe that instead of taking a stance that encourages the development of renewable resources, he is attempting to extend our access by establishing a stronger military presense in the Middle East that is not in Saudi Arabia. Can I prove this? No. Do I need to to have my opinion? No. If I were to be burning President Bush at the stake over it, it would be my obligation to prove it. But I'm not. The fact is that long-term financial stability in the US requires us to have a long window of time wherein the production of oil does not peak. Remember 1973? It's not because oil was scarce that prices went up, it's because oil production in the US peaked, and increased our dependancy on foreign oil. At the current rate, some experts feel that world-wide production of oil will peak in 2007. Short of a nuclear terrorist attack, this is probably the biggest thing on the US radar screen. Hmmmm ....

4. That we ousted an evil dictator does not justify what has happened.

Yes, the Iraqis were telling us they loved us, and hated Saddam. Yes he was evil. But no, that doesn't justify what we did. There are arguably worse dictators in the world, such as Kim Jong Il and King Faud himself. Why aren't we attacking Riyadh? Oh yeah ... they're our "friends".

5. This war merely augments our flawed policy with the Middle East.

Now we've done it. We've militarized another generation of bored, rich, Islamic youth. What are they going to do with all that time, money, and those degrees in Theology? Even if we succeed in democratizing Iraq, these "terrorists" will simply move to either Syria, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Indonesia, Morocco, Azerbaijan, or maybe Djibouti just because it sounds funny. There are about 20-odd other countries as well. Most of these countries have Muslims who either dislike or hate America for its intrusive foreign policy and our insistance that we establish our hegemony in the Middle East, including areas that are considered sacred and where "infidels" are not supposed to tread. Those are my first five reason. If someone else can come up with 90 more, I'll be happy to add them to the list and call this our new 95 Theses.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Is it me? Or does the above scattergram have an eerie resemblance to ... North America?

Harvard University Responds to MOTM

In an attempt to define "liberal" and "conservative" I posted "Consiberal Libervative" here. Harvard reads my blog daily, and responded in kind by performing a nation-wide survey of college students. You can take this survey here. Harvard, Harvard, Harvard. You didn't listen to me. You have effectively defined "Conservative" and "Liberal" in the most flawed way possible: by example. There are no core principles in the basis of these definitions. I have only three words to say: "does anyone care?" From now on, you are a liberal if you act like all those other people that are typically referred to as liberal. You are conservative if you act like people we call conservatives. End of argument. I am now a "Secular Centrist". Where's my secret secular centrist decoder ring?

True to my word, I have awarded a guest post to one of the submitters of my curse contest last March. Dread won--mostly because he volunteered to win, reminding me of my promise. Is this corrupt? Yes. Am I Josef Stalin? No. However, Dread DID accuse me of being a threat to freedom-loving people everywhere were I to edit his post. Frankly I think his post might have benefitted from my YEARS AND YEARS of PROFESSIONAL experience as a WRITER AND EDITOR. But I would hate to be found guilty of censorship. So ... with tongue extruded and pointed in a Colorado-ly direction. Here is Dread's post, unedited, in its ... pure ... form. Any other volunteers to guest post shall be treated with this same preferential treatment. (... all in jest people. Don't get excited.) ___________________________________________________________

With this ring, I thee want to pork you.

As I lay on the couch Wednesday night, flipping channels between two NHL playoff games, the planets aligned and both games entered intermission simultaneously. Hmm. My laundry had been folded, dishes washed, hunger quenched and blogs posted to. Not being the type of person to spend much time on broadcast network channels (save syndicated Friends episodes on FOX), I turned to ABC to see what was on. THE BACHELOR is still on? Again? Now, this was intriguing (for a moment) when I first discovered it, much like touching a hot stove burner and realizing, hey, THAT was unpleasant. What an odd dating ritual this is, or dare I say, phenomenon? Tweny-five gals (or guys, in the case of The Bachelorette), readily sacrificing any privacy they may have prized prior to their 15+ minutes of exposure to the World, waiting to be eliminated. It made me think about reality television in general. Isn't the point of each and every reality show to see who will be eliminated? Of course they're all competitive, and in competition there is a winner and there is a loser. In the case of The Bachelor, isn't it bad enough te be rejected in person, let alone in front of millions of people? What would possess someone to look for 'the one' in such a forum? I guess if you think about it, the bar scene is a lot like The Bachelor/ette, except you are competing against a larger and more varied pool of people. What gets me is that America is not sick of this fad yet. Ten guys or gals eliminated on the first night. The host makes the *same statement* before the roses are handed out, and the prince or princess makes the *same* statement before tossing flowers out to the hottest of the hot before getting to know *any* of them for real. A more refined example of exactly how shallow these folks are is 'Average Joe.' Now, this is more of a social experiment than any of its predecessors, where a certain number of guys with average jobs, leading average lives, with average looks vie for the right to date a beautiful woman, who must choose between them (or possibly none of them). Halfway through the show, a few model-type guys are injected into the dating bloodstream and all of the sudden (doomsday fanfare) EVERYTHING IS ABOUT TO...CHANGE!' Youbetchya. As we all expect, it boils down to the Average Joe which the beauty queen has deemed the most handsome amongst his peers, and one of the oily beau hunks. That's right, substance doesn't seem to matter, just the topping on the donut. Ever get one of those, where you buy a Maple Bar or a Chocolate Bar, bite into it expecting custard in the middle, and you get...dough. Awww, man. Bummer. So to conclude the first Average Joe, the babe chooses the model over Adam, who had won over the hearts of America with his shy, perma-smiling demeanor...but wait. 'EVERYTHING IS ABOUT TO...CHANGE!' Average Joe - Adam Returns. That's right! Women from all over the nation wrote in, wanting to date this loveable Charlie Brown. Off we go. Now, all of these women were out of my league (don't take much) - beautiful, but average? Sparing you the horrid details, the same sceanrio played out, where bikini models, in this case, were introduced to the dating stew. My question is, why didn't they write in like the rest of the girls, some of which may have had a genuine interest in Adam? If they're just there to spice the stew, Adam's stock just declined. What a bonehead. Again, it boiled down to a choice for our hero (ahem) - the bikini babe or the Average Josie. The shallow end just drained - ultimate shallowness. Shallowosity. Shallow-abara. Adam - The Shallinator. He did what Malena did to him. Is it something chemical? Did the network dictate who Adam chose to perpetuate the series? I'm not about to consult Mulder and Scully on that one, but I was left shaking my head, even though I suspected he'd choose the most inappropriate girl for him. I certainly hope my kids don't grow up thinking this is how dating is done. It should be on a porch swing, holding hands, sipping lemonade, she wearing a poodle skirt, he, donning a letterman sweater. Yes, there are lots of "swell's", "heck's" and "golly gee's." I am of course kidding. But people, am I right about the television dating thing? You don't want to get me started on 5th Wheel, Blind Date or Elimidate. Good Lord - bottom of the barrel in the gene pool there. All references to the television shows mentioned were viewed for purely scientifical and researchifying purposes.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

The Latest Threat in Iraq

As if the rage of radical Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr wasn't enough to make our soldiers in Iraq miserable enough ... take a look at the local fauna they have to deal with.

Amount of Federal Taxes you owe: $5,600

I got this lovely news last night. It is no one's fault but my own. It's hard to write insightful and edifying blogs when someone just farted in your own personal elevator. Once the shock subsides, I shall pick up my quill once again. Until then, I will be huddled in a corner weeping. -Jim

Monday, April 12, 2004

Consiberal Libervative

This just in from the Compartment Department. When people ask me “Are you Republican or Democrat?” My answer used to be “Neither, I’m a Libertarian.” Recently, however, I realized that the Libertarian party, while well-meaning and often correct in its policy, isn’t exactly perfect and is definitely the purveyor of kooks. So now my answer is, “Ummm … uhhhh … I dunno. Neither?” So if people ask me “Are you Left or Right”? I have to ask them what they mean. Those euphemisms are highly subjective. For a woman’s rights activist, one might assume that the “left” are the good guys and the “right” should all be castrated. Same for a free speech advocate, minus the castration part. Switch ‘em for someone who wants lower taxes. “Left” and “right” are a conglomeration of assumptions that are quite ambiguous, and I think fairly issues-based in their definition. Often when I ask people to define left or right, the quick comeback is “Are you conservative or liberal?” In the interest of being a consistent pain in the ass, I am forced once again to ask people what they mean by that. Outside of the definition-by-example of using Republicans and Democrats, most people don’t really know what conservative or liberal mean. Sometimes people over-simplify that liberal means that you think “more stuff is okay” and that conservative implies that you are more traditional. Again, this is issues based in its definition. The earliest and most-heated argument during the forming of the United States was whether the bulk of power should reside with the states, or with the Federal government. Likewise, a more powerful government (state, federal or otherwise) tends to limit the freedoms of the individual. So it follows that one definition of liberal and conservative is this: A liberal interprets the Constitution (and the powers granted therein to the government) “liberally” and a conservative does so “conservatively”. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. The fallout is that liberals want a bigger, more powerful government, and the conservatives want a more restricted, smaller government. By this definition, which is almost entirely arcane and never intended, I am most certainly a conservative. Woohoo! But most of these terms used today are rife with contradiction. Does a conservative want less government, as evidenced by their emphasis on lower taxes? Then why do they impugn legislation reflecting their moral agenda on gays, women, and “consensual criminals”? If our nation is polarized, as so many say, then it’s also confused, which so many are also saying. As for me, I take each issue on its own merit, and vote based on the virtues of those running. I have core principles that I always apply, but those core principles aren’t represented by any political party or geographical spot on the political map. Perhaps not coincidentally … I’m ambidextrous.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Fair and Balanced ...

Though it is my favorite pastime (just short of playing computer games) to bash Bush, I think I need to show my softer side today. I realize this is already ancient news but I am a slow thinker. Consider this a case of Treppenwitz. All this hullabaloo over Condi Rice's testimony is--in my most humble opinion--making the Democrats look like the bad guys. Let me explain why. 1. The fact that she is not releasing her speech notes is based on an important precedent. Just because it's an election year does not mean this precedent should be negated. And it would be negated if the oval office did this "just this once". These issues are like toothpaste--easy to squeeze out but hard to take back. 2. It is just silly to think that Bush's administration could have anticipated the 9/11 attacks any better than Clinton's (or Gore's) might have--and absolutely preposterous to think that they *did* know about it and didn't try and stop it. Bush ain't great, in my opinion, but he isn't a traitor for God's sake. 3. While Dr. Rice isn't exactly coming off as a world-class leader in this situation (she seems to be offering excuses, and doesn't seem to have been initiating a lot of action) some of her excuses are truly good excuses. 4. Are the Democrats hunting for clues that Bush had his sights set on Iraq before 9/11? Well ... duh! 5. Instead of taking a level-headed approach to the problem, some opportunists took this as a chance to attack Bush's administration instead of solving the real problems in government. They've even gone so far as to do some unfair editing of the hearing transcripts. News flash: There are plenty of REAL ways to attack Bush. Pick your battles, you dorks! Why aren't we, instead, asking the question "Maybe we should consider the National Security Advisor's role as a non-partisan role that doesn't get swapped out every frickin' four years?" Rice's testimony does hint at the massive complexity of inheriting the previous administration's intelligence and trying to make sense of it. This is something that few people have probably ever considered. Well now we know. If I remember right, Greenspan's role is actually appointed by the President, but that every President wisely re-appoints him. Well speaking of precedent, maybe the role of National Security Advisor should be handled in a similar manner.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

And Now Back to the Issue at Hand

War in Iraq. The U.S. has grown since the 1960's, when we fought an unpopular war for the first time. The lesson we learned was that the soldiers who risk life and limb by serving our country are heroes regardless of what we think of the war they're fighting. This was a good lesson. There was never a lesson, however, that we should be "careful in criticizing" the decision maker's in said unpopular war. No one said that we could just leave the Vietnam debacle at "mistakes were made". And yet, the current administration is treating war critics as if they are being unpatriotic. It's as if the current administration is reaching into the past where we learned some grand lesson (like the one about not criticizing our soldiers) and concluding that this is something we all learned a long time ago. "Hey, we all know that you're not supposed to criticize our government when were at war." Bullshit! At what point in our history did someone criticize our government's actions during a time of war and somehow risk national security? What is at risk here is George W. Bush's re-election. Our soldiers in Iraq are at risk because he sent them there! NOT because some of us back home are criticizing that decision! Colin Powell cautioned Senator Kennedy for what he said in a speech that Powell didn't even hear. Kennedy accused Bush of misleading the country about the war, which is not exactly a preposterous claim. Then Powell, who is more-and-more becoming Bush's sock puppet, slaps Kennedy on the wrist by appealing to some imaginary "higher law" of not criticizing the government during wartime. I've been hearing this a lot: "don't criticize the government about the war." And yet we hold the citizens in Hitler's Germany in contempt for not criticizing him. Here it comes, accusations that I'm comparing Bush to Hitler. That's not what I'm intending, but fire away. Today we accidentally bombed a mosque. Better not say anything because we're the good guys! Shhhhh!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

How Grammatically Correct are you?

Four years of being beaten soundly by lesbian English professors has apparently paid off. I took the test below and my results are:
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, April 05, 2004

Time Travellin'

Sometimes a theme hits you with surprising consistency. Today's theme is time travel. This morning I started reading (listening) to "The Time Traveller's Wife", a book sounding suspiciously like a romance. I'll let you know later if it's good if anyone cares. Then today I get to The Ronkainen Project and if you dig down a bit you'll see his request for submissions on Time Travel. If you had five stops to any time in the past, when would you visit, and what would you do there? It's a fun little exercise. Send your responses to todd@ronkainen.org. So in light of the theme, I have a bizarre theory that I shall finally utter outside the region of my own skull. The only other person who has ever heard this theory is my ex-girlfriend Howie. So here it is in all its resplendant freshness: Long ago, I determined that time travel would never be possible because if it was, we would have seen visitors from the future. Technology is never controlled by rational judgement, so given that it seemed obvious to me that humanity never figures out how to do it. BUT ... then one day it hit me like a 20-pound sack of russet potatoes; what if these tall, pale aliens that so many people claim to have close encounters with aren't really from other planets at all. What if they are humans from the future? It would make sense that humans who travel through time might be genetically altered so as to perform this feat. And the reason they fiddle with our genitals is, of course, because they have contaminated their own genetic materials by so much cloning and stuff, and they need ours to fix their problem. This is just obvious, and I will treat it as fact from now on. -Jim

Friday, April 02, 2004

On How I Found Hope In a Pessimistic Novel

My eleven-year old daughter can code HTML way better than I can. When I talk to her it is very clear that she “groaks” the language of code in a way that I never will. I asked her how to have text appear when you “hover” over a link. She started rattling off an explanation much the same way I, when I was eleven, would have rattled off how to exercise safety when using a BB gun. When I asked my daughter to slow down, she looked at me crest-fallen as if to say, “What happened to you … you used to be so bright ….” Well I’m not very bright when it comes to computer usage, in spite of my chosen career path. My daughter on the other hand is exceptionally bright at computer usage. Then I remembered a book I just read called “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson. It’s a not-so light-hearted romp through a cyberpunk world. Not the greatest story arch in the world, but there are some very poignant insights into the way people learn. Stephenson drew upon his theories about “deep pathways” to help him draw conclusions about how the future might look. Our future looks pretty bad according to him. His theory of “deep pathways”, however, is an unwitting message of hope. What he purports is that our brains start off somewhat like a blank hard drive but with one important difference—some rudimentary kernel of “source code” that essentially makes the brain ready to receive input. In a way, it’s like a formatted hard drive but where the formatting is more than a mapping the sectors, but also a sort of deep, unutterable language that helps us to make sense of everything. It’s the language we think in when we are a fetus. Are you with me? Stephenson goes on to imply that what we lay on top of these deep pathways is what makes us … us. So for a little kid in Borneo who grows up around adults who are always eating human flesh, it won’t ever seem like a big deal to eat human flesh unless you eat it with mustard, which might be simply preposterous. For the Borneo kid, his deep pathways underwent a form of praxis with the kid’s early life experiences, and formed themselves in such a way as to make sense of the Borneo kid’s perceptions. The end result is the thought that human shanks are yummy. OK, so back to my daughter. She started experiencing the joy of Microsoft Windows at a much younger age—at a time when these deep pathways were still receptive to rearranging themselves to best survive in her universe. I, on the other hand, first experienced MS Windows as a dull-witted adult with hardly any ability to learn anything new at all. This allowed my daughter’s brain to format itself to Microsoft’s horribly convoluted logic. Except to her it’s neither horrible nor convoluted. So this line of reasoning is making me amend my somewhat pessimistic view of the future of computing. In spite of bad programming and bad business practices in Redmond Washington, kids will eventually grow up with a holistic understanding of their primary workplace tool. There … I said it. I was wrong. Damn kids.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

SUV Drivers Take Heed ...

Here is a weird one. Very, very weird. I'm glad I don't drive an SUV! In my local paper yesterday, the following article appeared. (Normally I would just link to it, but my local paper is so local that they apparently haven't heard of the internet yet!)

SUVs Drivers Target for Serial "Shame Hacker"

March 31, 2004 At 7:45 yesterday morning, Bob Hamas left his home to begin his morning commute. When he saw his car, however, he decided against it. The 2003 Chevy Tahoe had been plastered with pornographic images by a vandal. The crowning touch were the words "PORN ADDICT" spray-painted in huge black letters over the car. He was utterly horrified, and could not understand who would do this--or why. "I'm sure all my neighbors saw my car this morning, since most of them leave for work earlier than I do," Hamas told reporters. "What are they going to think about me now? The thing is, I just bought this car last week. I've been married 23 years, and I'm most definitely not a porn addict." Hamas went on to explain that the person he had bought the car from, however, possibly was. FBI Agent Marion Jeffords instantly recognized Hamas as the latest victim of a strangely unique series of crimes that have recently sprouted up along the west coast. He's calling the crime "Shame Hacking". "There's some very disturbed individuals out there," said Agent Jeffords. "The crime is very new and very bizarre. The person or group behind it is obviously bent on some political statement, and not personal gain. They might be environmentalists, or a person whose loved one was killed by an SUV." The vandal only targets people who drive SUVs. He or she hacks into the SUV driver's account somehow--possibly by doing a DMV search against the license plate. The "shame hacker" somehow gains access to the vehicle owner's internet accounts and delves into their personal lives to surprising detail. Then, when the hacker discovers some shameful secret, the SUV driver finds blatant evidence of this secret plastered on their vehicle for the entire world to see. The spree of vandalism has happened in all major metropolitan areas along the coast of California--a total of 37 reported vandalisms in the past 3 months. "And that is just the reported number," said Jeffords. "I have a feeling that the nature of this crime causes many cases to go unreported." According to Jeffords, dozens of lives have been affected and damaged by shame hacking. • A woman in Bartow had her Lincoln Navigator spray painted with the words "5 ABORTIONS". • A man in Visalia actually had printed out e-mails glued to his Hummer, along with the word "CHEATER" in large black letters. The e-mails were between him and the woman he was having an affair with. His wife filed for divorce as a result. • A couple in Santa Maria had their Ford Expedition painted with the words "FILTHY SWINGERS", and covered with nude pictures of them that had apparently been culled from internet sites. • A San Diego man found "HE HAS AIDS" spray-painted on his Ford Explorer. He did indeed have AIDS, though he had told no one other than medical professionals involved in his diagnosis and treatment. The FBI is continuing to investigate, and urges everyone to exercise caution when providing personal information using the internet. Those who have created e-mail accounts should never provide their real names, addresses, or social security numbers. Also, be sure that when you sign up for an internet service that you use a different password to log in than the e-mail address you provide them. "Most people use the same password for everything," says Agent Jeffords. "A system administrator for an internet service can easily get access to your entire life if you're not careful."

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