Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Washington, DC Mirror Universe

From the Washington Post:

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said today that the director of the Department of Employment Services has resigned after weeks of turmoil in the city's summer jobs program, which blew its budget by more than $30 million dollars and has been plagued with organizational problems.


The inspector general initiated an audit of the program last month at the request of Council members Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8). That report is not expected until September.

In the meantime, council members haven't hesitated to express their disapproval and frustration.

Barry, who started the 29-year-old program in his first year as mayor, has spoken out.

"From all accounts . . . this year is the most mismanaged programmatically and financially in the history of this program," Barry said last week.

Also in this alternate universe: Hizzoner doesn't smoke crack with hookers, he does outreach to get them to change careers.

Obama RSVPs

You may recall that I invited Barack to my graduation party. His response?

Dear John,

Thank you for contacting Obama for America and for inviting Senator Barack Obama to your event. Over the course of the campaign, Barack has met with or spoken to hundreds of thousands of Americans at kitchen tables, large rallies, small town hall meetings, and other events in every part of the country. He appreciates the outpouring of support he has received at every stop.

The unprecedented level of campaign activity since early last year speaks to the strong desire of the American people to reclaim their government. We consider every invitation, and Senator Obama values your interest in his candidacy. Due to time constraints, he must decline a large majority of invitations. After careful review, we have determined that Senator Obama will not be able to participate in your event.

We hope that you stay involved and engaged with the campaign, because we need your help. As Barack has said, “if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when… we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.”

Thank you again for your interest and your understanding, and please accept our best wishes for a successful event.


Team Scheduling
Obama for America


Monday, August 11, 2008

A Tale of two (ssh) iPhone Apps: pTerm vs Touch Term

As far as I can tell, there are only (2) ssh apps for the iPhone right now: Touch Term ($2.99) and pTerm ($4.99). Since I don't know anyone who has tried either, I decided to download both and kick the tires.

Besides basic terminal support, I want an ssh client that allows you to configure ssh tunnels. Since Safari on the iPhone supports proxies, there's no reason ssh shouldn't be able to listen on a port and redirect to a remote host (-D) so I can tunnel my http traffic when I'm someplace sketchy (or someplace I don't want to be snooped, like work).

First, Touch Term:

Touch Term requires you to specify your username and password in the connect screen, which (1) makes me paranoid that my user and password are being shipped back to the author, and (2) makes you setup multiple connect profiles for multiple users on the same box.

Touch Term eats the initial ssh connect dialog, so you don't get to initially accept the host as known or not. I was not able to test with either client what happens if the host signature changes (man in the middle attack).

Touch Term also does not support ssh tunnels. It does let you hide the keyboard, and does support horizontal and vertical, but does not support multi-touch to zoom in and out.

As for pTerm:

pTerm requires you to setup a connection first, but asks for username and password at login. The initial connect dialog tells you that the host is unknown, and do you want to accept the key.

pTerm does not let you hide the keyboard: you get about 1" viewable, or 6 lines. You can use multi-touch to pinch/pull/scroll, but whatever text you have can only be viewed in that 1" area. It also supports both horizontal and vertical viewing.

pTerm does not support ssh tunnels, but I did submit a feature request. Since it's based on putty, I hope that feature can be ported pretty quickly.

Both apps have their strengths and weaknesses, but neither supports everything I'm looking for. I'll have to wait and see what the next few updates bring, or just roll my own.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

iPhone 3g, new TV

I became upgrade eligible on Thursday, so Saturday morning at 7:30am I lined up at the Apple store. After a minor issue removing my AT&T discount, I was able to get my 16GB Obama (as opposed to McCain) iPhone.

After I got home, I took my new TV out of the box, and hooked everything up. The new TV stand and furniture come next week. I had to run out and get an HDMI cable for the PS3, but everything is hooked up and working.

I download the iTunes remote app for my iPhone, hooked my laptop to the XBR, then used the iPhone to watch an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force I bought on the iTunes store.

As much as I love the new phone, Playstation (and thus, Blue ray) + new TV = amazing. 1080i and 120hz is spectacular.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick: A Real Dee-troit Pimp

If you have not been following the news about Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, you have been missing some shizzle.

Wikipedia has some nice background:

1) Manoogian Mansion party
Kilpatrick's first controversy started as rumors of a wild party in the fall of 2002 involving strippers at the official residence of the mayor—the city-owned Manoogian Mansion. It is alleged by former members of the mayor's Executive Protection Unit that the mayor's wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, came home unexpectedly and upon discovering Kwame with the strippers began to attack one of the women.

2) The murder of Tamara Greene
Tamara Greene was a 27-year-old exotic dancer who went by the name "Strawberry" and who claimed to have performed at the Manoogian Mansion party. While sitting in her car with her boyfriend, Greene was shot multiple times with a .40 caliber Glock handgun. Although official statement by Detroit Police Department claims that Ms. Greene was shot three times, sources from Homicide Division of DPD have claimed that she was shot 18 times.

3) Motorcycle Squad Harley Davidson
In July of 2003, WXYZTV reported that Kwame Kilpatrick was seen riding the streets of Detroit on a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide police motorcycle which was taken from the Detroit Police Motorcycle Squad by Kilpatrick. The report indicated that he at times was riding alone without security, placing himself at risk and that the cycle had been taken by the mayor for his personal use and pleasure.

4) Whistleblower trial
In 2003, a civil lawsuit was filed against Kilpatrick by his ex-bodyguard Harold Nelthrope and former Deputy Chief Police Gary Brown. The police officers claim they were fired because of an internal probe into the mayor's personal actions and that the firing was a violation of the whistleblower law.[37]

The trial began in August 2007 with Kilpatrick and his chief of staff, Christine Beatty both denying they were involved in an extramarital affair.

5) Text-messaging scandal
In January 2008, The Detroit Free Press examined and revealed the existence of more than 14,000 text messages exchanged between Kilpatrick and his chief of staff Christine Beatty on their city issued SkyTel pagers between September–October 2002 and April–May 2003. The dates are of importance because they encompass the time periods of the alleged Manoogian Mansion party and the ouster of Gary Brown respectively.[54]

The text-messages are the nucleus of an $8.4 million secret deal settlement by the city of Detroit. The attorneys for the city had tried since 2004 to keep the text messages hidden on the basis that they were personal and private communications.[54] However, a city directive re-authorized by Kilpatrick during his first term as mayor indicates that all electronic communication sent on city equipment should be "used in an honest, ethical, and legal manner" and cautions, "is not considered to be personal or private."[55] The mayor's spokesman said the policy only applies to city-owned equipment and the text-messages are exempt since they were sent on a city-leased device.[55]

Kilpatrick and Beatty, both married at the time, did discuss city business; however, many of the series of messages describe not a professional relationship but an extramarital sexual relationship between the two, often in graphic detail. The text messages further describe their use of city funds to arrange romantic getaways, their fears of being caught by the mayor's police protection unit, and evidence the pair conspired to fire Detroit Police Deputy Chief Gary Brown.

6) Criminal charges
On March 24, 2008, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced a 12-count criminal indictment against Kilpatrick and former Detroit Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, charging Kilpatrick with eight felonies and Beatty with seven. Charges for both included perjury, misconduct in office and obstruction of justice. Worthy also suggested that others in the Kilpatrick administration could also be charged.

7) Red Lincoln Navigator
In 2005, WXYZ-TV reporter Steve Wilson reported that the city had entered an expensive one year lease for a luxury SUV. It was to be used to chauffeur the mayor's family. The lease was for $24,995; five dollars under the amount that would have required the approval of city council. Kilpatrick, chief of staff Christine Beatty, police chief Ella Bully-Cummings, and other members of the mayor's staff all denied that the red Lincoln Navigator was intended to be used by the mayor's wife and children. Eventually, Kilpatrick admitted the Navigator was for his family, claiming he had told the police chief that it was "too much" and to take it back.[64] Media coverage of this story was best known for a situation involving the mayor and his security team. Wilson had tracked Kilpatrick down in Washington, D.C., where he was attending a mayor's conference. When Wilson tried to question Kilpatrick about the Navigator lease, a member of the mayor's security team is seen on camera shoving Wilson against a wall.

8) Civic Fund
On May 8, 2007, WXYZ reported that Kilpatrick used $8,600 from his secret Kilpatrick Civic Fund to take his wife, three sons and babysitter on a week long vacation to a five-star California resort, the La Costa Resort and Spa.[66] The fund, controlled by Kilpatrick's sister and friends, was created to improve the city of Detroit through voter education, economic empowerment and crime prevention. Tax and accounting experts said Kilpatrick's use of the fund was a violation of IRS regulations.[67] The story was also compounded after WXYZ's cameras caught Kilpatrick in a fit of rage grabbing the microphone out of the hand of reporter Ray Sayah and throwing it hard across the room such that it hit a wall, while Sayah tried to question him about the situation.

9) Slander suit
Kilpatrick was named in a slander lawsuit along with Christine Beatty and police chief Ella Bully-Cummings. The lawsuit was brought about by two police officers that claimed to have been slandered in the media by city officials.[68]

The lawsuit stems from a 2004 incident in which the two police officers pulled over Kilpatrick's chief of staff Christine Beatty for speeding. Beatty was irate at being stopped and bluntly asked the officers, "Do you know who the fuck I am?" when the officers came to the vehicle.[68] While stopped, Beatty called Police Chief Bully-Cummings to have the officers called off, which the officers allege they were ordered to do. When reports of the incident started to surface in the media, Kilpatrick, Beatty and Bully-Cummings all claimed that the traffic stop was some type of "set-up" to harass Beatty.

10) Recall campaign
The Wayne County Election Committee approved a recall petition to remove Kilpatrick as mayor based on the multi-million dollar settlement ($9,000,000+) in a whistle-blower lawsuit against the city, and the accusation that Kilpatrick misled the City Council into approving the settlement. The recall petition was filed by Douglas Johnson, a city council candidate.[71] Kilpatrick has appealed to the commission to reconsider its decision on the grounds that Johnson is not a resident of Detroit.[72] Johnson also requested that Jennifer Granholm use her power as Governor to remove Kilpatrick from office.

On March 12, 2008, at the request of the Mayor's office, Wayne County Election Commission rescinded its earlier approval for the recall. The Mayor's office argued that there was not any evidence that the organizer, Douglas Johnson, actually resided within the city limits of Detroit. Johnson stated that his group would refile using another person whose residency would not be an issue. [73] On March 27, 2008, a second recall petition was filed against Kilpatrick by Angelo Brown. Brown stated in his filing that Kilpatrick is too preoccupied with his legal problems to be effective. Kilpatrick's spokesman James Canning again dismissed this latest recall by saying: "It’s Mr. Brown’s right to file a petition, but it’s just another effort by a political hopeful to grab headlines."[74]

On May 14 the Detroit City Council voted to request that the governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, remove Kilpatrick from office.

And now, breaking news from the New York Times:

DETROIT — Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick, already fighting eight felony charges including perjury, was charged Friday with two felony counts of assaulting or obstructing a police officer. The officer, a sheriff’s deputy, was attempting to serve a subpoena.

Michigan’s attorney general, Mike Cox, announced the new charges one day after Mr. Kilpatrick was sent to jail for violating the terms of his bond by traveling to Canada in July on city business. Each count carries a penalty of up to two years in prison or a $2,000 fine upon a conviction.

“It’s a very straightforward, simple case,” Mr. Cox said. “I cannot recall ever seeing — let alone hearing of — a situation where a police officer trying to serve a subpoena was assaulted.”

Moments before Mr. Cox’s announcement, a circuit court judge, Thomas E. Jackson, allowed the mayor to be released from jail after posting a $50,000 cash bond. He also took away the mayor’s travel privileges and ordered him to wear a global-positioning tether.

But Mr. Kilpatrick, 38, who is in his second term as mayor, could soon be headed back to jail, as assault charges would be another bond violation.

The incident that prompted the new charges happened July 24, a day after Mr. Kilpatrick traveled across the Detroit River to Windsor, Ontario, on city business without court approval, a violation of the terms of his bond in the perjury case. That violation is what prompted Judge Ronald Giles of the 36th District Court in Detroit to have Mr. Kilpatrick sent to the county jail Thursday.

Just look at Google News to see why I'm nominating Marion Barry for Pope.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Boxing Day Premier

My cousins and a couple friends attended the premier of Boxing Day at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD.

The movie was shot on a $2,000 budget, and in many parts it looked like it. It really exceeded my expectations, and I laughed all the way through.

I think they should enter it in Sundance. I don't think it would win, but I think it would do really well.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Richard Bruce Cheney, 46th (Vice) President

Dick Cheney is a mysterious figure. He could just as easily be a villain who was lifted from the pages of a comic book. (Side note: how is it that both Bush and Cheney were arrested for DWI, and MADD isn't protesting in front of the White House every day?)

The Washington Post did an excellent, 4 part series on "the most influential and powerful man ever to hold the office of vice president."

A few snippets from the first part...

On his role as VP:

In his Park Avenue corner suite at Cerberus Global Investments, Dan Quayle recalled the moment he learned how much his old job had changed. Cheney had just taken the oath of office, and Quayle paid a visit to offer advice from one vice president to another.

"I said, 'Dick, you know, you're going to be doing a lot of this international traveling, you're going to be doing all this political fundraising . . . you'll be going to the funerals,' " Quayle said in an interview earlier this year. "I mean, this is what vice presidents do. I said, 'We've all done it.' "

Cheney "got that little smile," Quayle said, and replied, "I have a different understanding with the president."

"He had the understanding with President Bush that he would be -- I'm just going to use the word 'surrogate chief of staff,' " said Quayle, whose membership on the Defense Policy Board gave him regular occasion to see Cheney privately over the following four years.

Expanding the law:

In expanding presidential power, Cheney's foremost agent was David S. Addington, his formidable general counsel and legal adviser of many years. On the morning of Sept. 11, Addington was evacuated from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House and began to make his way toward his Virginia home on foot. As he neared the Arlington Memorial Bridge, someone in the White House reached him with a message: Turn around. The vice president needs you.

Down in the bunker, according to a colleague with firsthand knowledge, Cheney and Addington began contemplating the founding question of the legal revolution to come: What extraordinary powers will the president need for his response?

Before the day ended, Cheney's lawyer joined forces with Timothy E. Flanigan, the deputy White House counsel, linked by secure video from the Situation Room. Flanigan patched in John C. Yoo at the Justice Department's fourth-floor command center. White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales joined later.

Circumventing the process:

Three days after the Ashcroft meeting, Cheney brought the order for military commissions to Bush. No one told Bellinger, Rice or Powell, who continued to think that Prosper's working group was at the helm.

After leaving Bush's private dining room, the vice president took no chances on a last-minute objection. He sent the order on a swift path to execution that left no sign of his role. After Addington and Flanigan, the text passed to Berenson, the associate White House counsel. Cheney's link to the document broke there: Berenson was not told of its provenance.

Berenson rushed the order to deputy staff secretary Stuart W. Bowen Jr., bearing instructions to prepare it for signature immediately -- without advance distribution to the president's top advisers. Bowen objected, he told colleagues later, saying he had handled thousands of presidential documents without ever bypassing strict procedures of coordination and review. He relented, one White House official said, only after "rapid, urgent persuasion" that Bush was standing by to sign and that the order was too sensitive to delay. [Read the order]

I'm about 2/3 of the way through Scott McClellan's book, and I have the same sinking feeling about Bush that I had about Reagan: he is not evil, but he surrounded himself with evil people.

The WaPo series is a fascinating read. I highly recommend you read it all the way through.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Starbucks: Same Day Discounts for Junkies

This morning, I picked up my usual iced, decaf, venti Americano (read: decaf, iced coffee) at SBUX, and they stamped my receipt and told me to come back this afternoon for a $2 iced, grande anything. Apparently, it's some new marketing campaign:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Looking to bring more value-seeking consumers through its doors for a late afternoon caffeine fix, Starbucks Corp. said it will now offer its morning customers any iced grande beverage for $2 after 2 p.m.

The price is a big cut from the normal price of most grande-sized iced drinks. A grande iced latte, for example, costs about $4. To get the discount, customers must present a receipt from their morning Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500) visit.

The promotion was previously only offered in Seattle, Chicago and Miami. The company said it is taking it nationwide beginning Tuesday to answer consumers' calls for more value at the chain, which has seen traffic drop as gas prices rise and consumer spending falters. It runs until Sept. 2.

"I think we've kind of hit the nail on the head," said Brad Stevens, vice president of customer relationship management. "It's easy for baristas to implement and it's easy for customers to understand."

Because a free, tall, iced coffee on Wednesdays was a veritable differential equation to solve.

Perhaps Brad is casting aspersions at the Starbucks card rewards?

Either way, I'm going to lunch now to save $0.35 on my junkie-treats.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Review: DJ AtomX Live at Palma

As mentioned Friday, DJ AtomX played a set at the new Club Palma in Baltimore.

How was it? Let's ask the DJ:

My DJ Event At Palma Club In Baltimore:Music,Fights,Cops,And Corruption.+Pics.

So i DJ'ed at the new Palma nightclub here in baltimore this past saturday.The event was being put on by a friend of mine.The party was an asian party(although anyone was allowed to come)and i am to dj from 9 to 11pm.No problem.I arrive at 7:30 to check soundlevels and to see if their is any problems with the equipment or learn how to work the mixer if need be.

I arrive and they are just starting to work on the speakers,wiring then in and such.Why they didnt do this days ago is beyond me but whatever.Shoudnt take long these guys are pros right? 7:30 turns into 8:30.Then 9.Now were open.People are starting to come in.Then 9:30.Uh oh.Finally at 9:40 they figure it all out and i go on.

Now,i have been promised a 2 hour set no matter what.So i figure im playing from 9:40 to 11:40.Well one of the other promoters wants the hip hop dj to go on at 11.My friend steve tells me this and although im not happy about it,i can always leave here and go see Blank and Jones in D.C.The friends i brought all want to do this so im like screw it lets go.I tell steve if im not spinning im leaving. Were getting ready to leave....

Just one problem.The other DJ is a friend of steve and mine that steve brought in to play.He hasnt really done a show like this,hes completely nervous and he doesnt even think hes brought enough music for the event.Now I knew this would happen ahead of time(dont ask me how i just knew)so i took the liberty to bring more then enough hip hop music to give steve to give to him if this happened.I also brought him a set of headphones(once again dont ask!).

Now i really dont want to leave any of my music or equipment behind but i dont exactly want to stay either.My friends are ready to go.Am I comin? Whats the holdup?Decisions,Decisions.Well before i can make up my mind about it my friend turns to me and says:"Dude you GOTTA stay man!!I dont know what im doing just yet,and i dont think i have enough music.""You gotta stay and help me!!"

*SIGH*.I mean, i cant exactly leave after a speech like that now can i?So i tell my other friends im staying and some leave and some stay.I tell my main friend and roomie im gonna stay and help the other dj out,so lets just get drunk on the free bar tab i have till we can barely stand!So now,ive become hip hop dj AtomX.WORD.

Not that i dont like hip hop ive Dj'ed it in the past at partys as a favor to some people but i play dance music.But the crowd is getting really strong and theres 3 half naked go go girls dancing on the dj booth speakers so might as well have some fun with this!

Now Heres where staying starts to become worth it(if your in to chaotic scenes like i am)A guy steve and i know is so drunk he can barely stand.They try to get him to leave and hes not going.Security from upstairs shows up and they want to try to throw him out the old fashioned way.With brute force.

What these guys dont realize is that their only making it worse.Let asian friends throw out asian friends(and me the token white guy since i know him).Only if a brawl breaks out if when we would need these guys.Plus they are far outnumbered by about 200 asian guys who will stomp them into the ground if they touch this guy.I try to explain that well take care of it and their giving me an attitude about it,but all the while were getting him out of the club.At this point im now AtomX the bouncer.GRR.

We get him out in to the street and he starts bumping into everybody outside and almost falls into traffic.Well obviously the police are outside and they show up and call for backup.The cop is like"GET HIM OUTA HERE OR HES GOING TO JAIL"I told the officer do what they had to do because at this point he was starting to get out of control.

Just as i figure hes going to jail a car pulls up and the back door opens.We toss him in head first and slam the door and the car roars off.Problem solved.Still not a bad night.Only one little skirmish.Its now 2am.Im told to get on the mike and tell people were open till 3.Keep partyng!

All of the sudden at 230am the bouncers come downstairs and say to me "SHUT IT DOWN NOW!"SHUT IT DOWN WERE CLOSED!" And start ushering everyone out.My friend steve doesnt know whats doing on,i dont know whats going on,No one knows.We were told 3am.What gives???

Well What gave is that some retired punk from the liquor board showed up drunk and expected to get his drinks comped.When he was refused and asked to leave he demanded to see The security's staff paperwork along with other paperwork the club is supposed to have.When they refused he called the police.Apparently he was well connected with the corrupt politicians in baltimore(which is pretty much all of them) and about 10 cops showed up.This guy says"I WANT YOU OFFICERS TO GET EVRYONES NAME AND LICENSES IN THIS CLUB RIGHT NOW".Unbelievably the cops started doing it.He was in complete control.(Of course i gave them nothing.I simply walked past them and out the front door.NO INFO FOR YOU!

The guys who run this club are from D.C.And while im sure theres a whole different kind of bribing that goes on there,its nothing like the corruption levels that baltimore has.Trust me.If you dont give someone what they want here they will shut you down.And you have no say in it.

WELL! All in all it was a fun night and Palma actually is really nice inside.But i dont know how long this club will last unless they get more people to come out.They need to start promoting more in dc and the surrounding locations for sure.But they do have a nice line up of famous dj's coming so lets hope that on top of getting more patrons they grease enough palms and bribe enough losers down here to stay open!Thanks for reading.

I talked my way on 2 guests lists, so I have no complaints. Club is nice, Feelgood spun a great set.

I took this pic of Rob:

Download the preshow set he did, it was incredible.

Friday, August 01, 2008

DJ AtomX Live at Palma

My buddy DJ AtomX will be spinning tomorrow night at Palma in Baltimore from 9:00pm to 11:00pm. It's an early set, but can easily be followed by a visit to Glow for Blank and Jones.

Particulars are on the EDM calendar. See you there.

It's recess, turn out the lights

According to Politico, the House Democrats apparently turned off the lights and microphones on the House Republicans:

House Dems turn out the lights but GOP keeps talking

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats adjourned the House and turned off the lights and killed the microphones, but Republicans are still on the floor talking gas prices.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi's refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m. and are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.

At one point, the lights went off in the House and the microphones were turned off in the chamber, meaning Republicans were talking in the dark. But as Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz..) was speaking, the lights went back on, and the microphones were turned on shortly afterward.

But C-SPAN, which has no control over the cameras in the chamber, has stopped broadcasting the House floor, meaning no one is witnessing this except the assembled Republicans, their aides, and one Democrat, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has now left.

History will remember this act of awesomeness through iReporter Rep John Culberson (Asshat-R-TX)'s tweets and camera phone video