PSA: Firesheep

If you use wireless in public location (like Starbucks), it’s possible that someone else can use a Firefox extension called Firesheep to “sidejack” your Amazon, Facebook, Twitter or Google account (among others). This allows them to do things in your name on those accounts, and perhaps even steal your password (under rare circumstances).

Though the vulnerabilities exploited by Firesheep have been around for a while, once an easy-to-use tool is released, it’s pretty common for jackasses to make heavy use of those tools for malicious purposes. The simplest cure is this tool from the good people at EFF. Here’s a more lengthy explanation of how Firesheep works and what it can do.

Fear and Self-Loathing

I’m glad he finally pointed this out:

President Obama deflected heckling by AIDS protesters during a Saturday rally, suggesting they take up their cause with “the other side” that’s opposed to funding.

A group of people interrupted Obama’s speech before 9,000 in Connecticut chanting “Fund Global AIDS.”

The president was quick to respond to the chorus of protesters saying, “You’ve been appearing at every rally we’ve been doing. And we’re funding global AIDS. And the other side is not. So I don’t know why you think this is a useful strategy to take.”

Obama was in Bridgeport as part of a four-state swing during the final days before the midterm elections, stumping for Rep. Jim Himes, who is in a tight re-election race, and the state attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, who is seeking the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Chris Dodd, who is retiring.

“I think it would make a lot more sense for you guys to go to the folks who aren’t interested in funding global AIDS and chant at that rally,” Obama said. “Because we’re trying to focus on figuring out how to finance the things that you want financed, all right?”

That led to chants of “Obama, Obama” as the crowd stirred and the president tried to calm emotions as the protesters were escorted out of the rally.

I’ll never figure out why left-leaning activists spend so much time protesting the people who vote their way while basically ignoring the Republicans.


Bill Maher’s entire interview with Jimmy Carter has been posted at HBO, and it’s worth watching just to remember the disconnect between the view of Carter that’s been cemented into pundit’s brains and the reality of the man, who was a smart, pragmatic and effective president. This interview spends a little time on Ted Kennedy’s role in undermining Carter’s presidency and giving us 8 years of Ronald Reagan, including Ted’s spiking of a healthcare bill that he felt didn’t go far enough. (Here’s the other side of that historical argument.)

Early Morning Open Thread: Lucky

From commentor Gemina13:

In 2004, I lived in Brea, CA… I took the 110 (Harbor) Freeway to work and back home each day. Traffic at rush hour was usually slow torture. On July 26th, 2004, it was the hottest day of the year, with temperatures in the 90s and relative humidity. I had just mentioned to a friend that my current cat, a peach tortie named Precious, was growing old and I wanted to find a kitten to help revive her spirits (and mine) a little.
I was driving south at about 5 mph, approaching the shoulder near Exposition, when I saw a kitten sitting on the asphalt, mouth open in a scream. I pulled over and tried to coax it into my arms, but it dove behind my rear passenger wheel. It took a big rig rolling past at 3 mph to scare the kitten into running back to me. I picked it up, and almost at once it laid its head on my chest and started to purr. I got it in the car. I checked–yep, a male. Maybe 3 to 4 weeks old. So thin his ribs showed through his fur, which was crawling with fleas. Asphalt was tangled in his coat. His eyes were almost shut due to a tarry discharge, which also covered most of his nose, and when he mewed it sounded like a rusty screen door being opened. And he would not stay in the passenger seat. I put him there and started the car up, and he wailed until I picked him up and put him in my lap. Well, I told myself, I’ll take him to the no-kill shelter near my place. Somebody’s gonna adopt this little guy. He’s just too cute and sweet.
Was he ever. He crawled up on my shoulders, purring in my ears. Two police cruisers pulled up beside me as I drove home–both times, the LAPD’s finest burst out laughing when they caught sight of the kitten riding on my shoulder. I was just grateful not to be pulled over and ticketed for distracted driving.
So I got to the shelter. Unfortunately, it was closed–it was only open on weekends, something I’d forgotten. Dejected, I headed for the Banfield Pet Hospital, and was met by two vet’s assistants, teenaged girls. All I said was, “I need someone to look at this–” and was met by eager squeals of, “Oh, look at him! He’s so gorgeous! He’s adorable!” Then they looked at me and said, in tandem, “You’re keeping him, right?”
I couldn’t say anything but, “I guess I am now!”
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A simple voter’s guide to the Arizona elections

I’ll confine my advice to the state-wide propositions. You can basically assume that anyone you vote for in Arizona with an (R) next to their name is going to be well to the right of Barry Goldwater and most Democrats are going to vote similarly to your moderate Northeast Republicans. Arizona is far from the reddest state – despite our rumblings to the contrary lately, and despite the fact that we reelect Sheriff Joe year after year – but our political class is generally kooky.

Anyways, as a rule, if the Proposition in question has been sponsored by the state legislature: vote No. If it is a voter initiative, you’re probably on much safer footing (think medical marijuana). When in doubt – and I hate to say this, but if you haven’t bothered to read up on the Propositions – when in doubt, just vote No on everything. That’s the lesser evil. Here’s a quick guide to the Propositions if you actually want to know a bit more about just what the AZ legislature has up its sleeve, and go to the polls Tuesday a tiny bit better informed.

What Al said…

Back in 2007 and 2008 there were two people who seemed consistently correct in their pre-election analysis in the long primary season and then the General. One of them was Nate Silver and his 538, but his analysis was (and is) mostly about the numbers and very little about the why. The better analysis to me always came from Al Giordano over at The Field.

Perhaps it is his time living outside of the US that gives his work insights that most folks just miss as they get swept up in CW gasbag talking points. Or maybe it is his work as an organizer. Whatever the reason, he is just a hell of a reporter, observer and analyst of our political system.

A couple of days ago he had a solid post that should be required reading. Al gets straight to the massive uncertainty, why it is happening and who will be at fault if the massive GOP wave comes to past:

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I Don’t Have the Energy

To properly tear into this Pat Caddell piece in the WaPo, so if someone else would like to, I’ll gladly post it. It really is the most breathtakingly shameless thing I think I’ve ever read in the WaPo. I’m sure Breitbart will quote it in his new gig at ABC news. Heckuva job, media.

Also, do we have any reports from the rally?