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May 17, 2006

Bigger Boards With Bigger Nails: A Bleg

Malbug_17An anti-spam company thought that it had come up with an ingenious way to combat unsolicited commercial emails:

(Eran) Reshef's Silicon Valley company, Blue Security Inc., simply asked the spammers to stop sending junk e-mail to his clients. But because those sort of requests tend to be ignored, Blue Security took them to a new level: it bombarded the spammers with requests from all 522,000 of its customers at the same time.

But the spammers retaliated.  Using tens of thousands of hijacked computers, they launched a furious counter-attack against Blue Security that was so severe, it also affected a number of other sites, including TypePad, the engine behind The Malcontent and many other blogs.  (Which would explain the latest behind-the-scenes frustrations experienced by Robbie and me.)

The spammers told Blue Security to cease operations, or it would turn viruses loose on the company's clients.  Rather than risk an all-out war, today Blue Security is unilaterally disarming.

Which leads me to the real topic of this post, a "bleg":

A few months ago, I bought an additional 60GB of server space and 1.8TB of monthly bandwidth at DreamHost to handle our video demands.  But recently, I have also been preparing to ditch TypePad for a WordPress blog.

DreamHost has "one-click" set-up of WordPress, but of course, it takes a lot more than that, and DreamHost doesn't offer a lot of support in exchange for their cheap rates.

So, if there are any talented Web types out there who enjoy this site and would be willing to donate a little time (or at very low cost), in exchange for whatever publicity of kudos I could give you, I could use help to get up and running.  Some of my challenges include exporting our massive archives (and ensuring that all the links work), template and theme design, etc.

I have already put a lot of money into this blog, and what I have gotten in return from TypePad is a lot of downtime, degraded performance of our administrative interface, and a complete lack of support for any sort of innovative features.

So whether you have nuts-and-bolts coding talent or artistic/Web design capability, I would be grateful for any affordable assistance.

May 16, 2006

Can't Take His Eyes Off of You

Malbug_17Morrison Most TV news anchors can't ad lib their way out of a crumpled up tissue.

But it can be fun to watch them try, because sometimes the unscripted banter will reveal the deepest thoughts of local news personalities.

Take WNBC's "Today in New York" co-anchor Rob Morrison.  He was at his tinfoil hat-wearing best this morning, convinced that his TV talks to him as he introduced a piece on today's Tony nominations.

Sure, his bio says he has a wife.  But it sounds like he might also be willing to carve out some conjugal space for "Jersey Boys" star John Lloyd Young.

[Watch video – 0:50, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 0:50, WMV format, low bandwidth]

May 12, 2006

Why Elliot Will Win

Malbug_17

Columnist John Podhoretz applies a political model to "American Idol" voting and predicts a winner.  He could be onto something.

Of the three remaining contestants, I think Katharine would make the best Idol (my criteria being someone who can sell records and sell out venues), probably followed by Elliot.  I just don't see how Taylor is as sellable as the others.

[Thanks, Alan!]

May 10, 2006

Reuters' Day of Atonement?

Malbug_17

George Bush sure has been taking a drubbing lately, and no one has drubbed quite as mightily as the "journalists" from Reuterville.  So now that Bush's poll numbers have tanked, does that mean Reuters is going softer on him now?

Take this photo from an event today, showing the "caring" side of the President:

Icare

Perhaps they are making up for this:

Retire

Or other past media sins like this from USA Today:

Rage_1

Or this from "NBC Nightly News":

Ilie

Although I suppose that last one could have just been NBC's secret shout-out to tennis fans.

May 08, 2006

Burying, Rathering Than Grinding, Axes

Malbug_17

Many on the gay Left have made a cottage industry of demonizing their political opponents, even when those opponents also happen to be gay.  So it was refreshing to see today's WaPo op-ed by Elizabeth Birch, former executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, and her partner, Hilary Rosen, former director of the Recording Industry Association of America.

Rather than continue the Left's pointless and self-destructive crusade against Mary Cheney, the pair welcomed her more public stance on issues of concern to gay Americans:

Mary's presence on the national stage -- the daughter of the vice president of the United States discussing issues related to our lives -- is most welcome and has the potential to be a transforming moment for all Americans.

[snip]

We applaud Mary Cheney's leap onto the national stage. The timing of the book's release is a welcome boon to the current effort to defeat (for the second time) the White House-endorsed Federal Marriage Amendment, which is before Congress and would put discrimination against gay and lesbian families into the Constitution. The vote has once again been timed by the congressional Republican leadership to exploit the midterm elections.

Mary is leading the Cheney family to bring new understanding to dinner-table discussions across the land. We look forward to the Cheney family embracing this teachable moment, not just on the book tour but in election halls, state legislatures and Congress.

Nice to see that "Dear Mary" website hasn't been updated since the 2004 election, by the way.  Then again, leave it to those kooky gays not to let a chance at political posturing go by, at the expense of actually making a meaningful difference.

May 04, 2006

Bedeviled Advocate (I Know, I Used a Similar Headline Before)

Malbug_13

Why am I so amused that the "privacy policy" link on LPI Media's FAQ page for its own magazine, The Advocate, mistakenly directs readers to The Advocate, a daily newspaper in Baton Rouge, La. (and to a broken link, actually)?

Maybe I amuse too easily.

Junk Science

Malbug_13

What is it with some people's almost pornographic obsession with Fox News Channel?  (Disclosure: I almost never get my news from television.  I don't much care for it.)

The Washington Post reports today on a "study" that purports to show that George Bush might "owe" his 2000 election victory to FNC:

"Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its audience to shift its voting behavior towards the Republican Party, a sizable media persuasion effect," said Stefano DellaVigna of the University of California at Berkely [sic] and Ethan Kaplan of Stockholm University.

In Florida alone, they estimate, the Fox effect may have produced more than 10,000 additional votes for Bush -- clearly a decisive factor in a state he carried by fewer than 600 votes.

My, what a modest claim to make!  But it sounds to me like a textbook case of a "Post Hoc Fallacy."  Event B occurs after Event A; therefore, Event A must be the cause of Event B.

What kind of bullshit science is this, anyway?  Actually, it is a 51-page piece of bullshit science called "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting."

Admittedly, I have not yet read the whole paper.  And maybe the authors think I am supposed to be impressed and/or intimidated by things like this:

Equation

Or perhaps they want to lull me into submission with stultifying passages like: "The Fox News effect could be a temporary learning effect for rational voters, or a permanent effect for voters subject to non-rational persuasion."

But the fact remains that, nowhere in the "study" (to my reading) or in the related media reports have they established cause, only contemporaneousness.

The argument is that Fox News was the reason that people voted more conservatively.  But couldn't the opposite be just as true?  That is, couldn't Fox owe its existence to a rightward political trend that was already in progress?

Because FNC was created in 1996, why should I not claim that the "Republican Revolution" of 1994 was the "cause" of Fox News?  Only two years separated those two events.  What explains the electoral bath the Republicans took in 1998, only two years after the creation of Fox?

And how would the authors explain the countering effect of the measured left-leaning bias of almost every other media outlet, whose combined reach is infinitely greater than Fox?  The answer is, they don't, and their failure to do so makes their agenda all the more transparent.

Admittedly, it was a great way for DellaVigna and Kaplan to get publicity, especially among the vast numbers of reporters who loathe Fox.  But if a guy like me with only one college-level statistics course under his belt can see through them, why can't the WaPo?

May 03, 2006

Time Warner Jackpot Sparks Outrage

Malbug_13

New York (AP) — On the heels of Time Warner's announcement of a $1.46 billion first-quarter profit, the Senate Commerce Committee has announced hearings next week to investigate potential price-gouging.

"All those zeroes," said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Senate Commerce Committee Chairman, loosening his Incredible Hulk tie.  "All those freakin' zeroes!"

"A profit that high cannot possibly be a result of market forces," said Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), a committee member.  "I will not stand by idly while hard-working Americans and Vietnam veterans are made to pay obscene prices for substandard news and entertainment."

Commerce Committee staff members have been combing through the media giant's shareholder reports, news articles and other documents for evidence that the company is taking unfair advantage of consumers.

As the nation heads into the busy summer entertainment season, senators are concerned that high prices for Time Warner products are stretching Americans' disposable incomes thin.  Others expressed anger at Time Warner's profligate spending.

"They're paying Anderson Cooper $2 million a year for, what, 300,000 viewers a night?" said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)  "I mean, that's half of what Brian Williams makes on NBC, but about 6 million fewer viewers."

Richard_parsons_money

Richard Parsons, Time Warner chairman and CEO,
receives his annual bonus

"Look at this list of underperforming properties," said Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.)  "Ratings for 'The Sopranos' are in the toilet.  The Atlanta Braves' starting (pitching) rotation has an ERA of – what – like, 12?  And Quack.com?  What the fuck is that?"

Senators said they intend to press Time Warner to adopt austerity measures.

"Do they really need a 'Fortune 500'?" asked Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)  "Isn't 300 or 400 good enough?"

Richard Parsons, chairman and CEO of Time Warner, was reached for comment atop a four-story pile of money.

"The men and women of Time Warner are working hard to shore up this critical sector of the U.S. economy," he said, lighting a fat Montecristo Platinum with a fistful of stock options.

"With Americans importing more of their news from Britain and more of their feature films from Europe, they should be thankful that there are still domestic media leviathans to make them think and laugh."

A Senate Commerce Committee spokesman said hearings would be scheduled for Tuesday, and that Parsons and other top executives could expect tough questioning.

"Like any red-blooded American, I'd fuck Brandon Routh too," said Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.)  "But $11 is still an awful lot to ask for Superman Returns, and that's even before nachos and a Coke."

May 02, 2006

Suck It, Drudge

Malbug_13

I know Matt Drudge viscerally hates all things left-wing, a category in which Stephen Colbert is now firmly ensconced, but what is this poorly punctuated bullshit about, exactly?:

Drudge

So he's trying to humiliate a show that comes on at 11:30 p.m. by comparing it to the prime-time line-up of a competing network?

Isn't it also significant that "The Colbert Report," a relatively new show, is already out-pacing the entire prime-time schedules of CNN, MSNBC and Headline News, and is nearly even with Fox's 11 p.m. hour?

Stupid Walter-Winchell-wannabe queer.

Developing ...

May 01, 2006

The Violentest Way To Wake Up

Malbug_13I really should start watching "Good Morning America" more often.  At least according to AOL Television, it sounds like Charlie might be taking getting snubbed for the ABC anchor gig kind of hard:

GMA Rape

Anyone else going to click on the "remind me" link?

April 28, 2006

It's the Economics, Stupid

Malbug_13Nozzle Columnist Charles Krauthammer reveals the shocking truth behind the skyrocketing gasoline prices.

It's ... SUPPLY AND DEMAND!

Actually, he ticks off a number of interesting underlying factors that have restricted supply and increased demand to their current extremes: among them, the American public's intransigence, the boom in China and India, environmentalists, and Iowa farmers.

Give it a read, especially if you sit around all day scapegoating the oil companies.

April 25, 2006

Federal Censorship Commission

Malbug_13Looks like we're about to get five more years of theocratic rule at the FCC:

The President intends to nominate Kevin J. Martin, of North Carolina, to be a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, for an additional five-year term expiring June 30, 2011. Upon appointment, he will be redesignated Chairman. Mr. Martin currently serves as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

April 19, 2006

McClellan ... Out!

Malbug_13Scott Bushies talking to Tony Snow as possible WH press secretary replacement.

Now Scott will have to listen to that old bat Helen Thomas only in his nightmares.

April 05, 2006

MaudlinSaysWhat?

Malbug_13Katie Couric makes the least surprising announcement of the week:

Couric

[Watch video – 5:05, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 5:05, WMV ormat, low bandwidth]

March 23, 2006

Hermetically Sealed Dick

Malbug_13Echo chamber watch: Cheney's hotel TV will brook no dissent.

March 20, 2006

Now If We Could Just Fit Details With a Plethysmograph

Malbug_13Queer Beacon writes that the new issue of Details is dredging up a 10-year-old study connecting homophobia with latent homosexuality by measuring penile responses to gay porn.

It's not enough that Details is the gayest magazine on the planet; now they're actively recruiting self-professed hets.

March 13, 2006

Mind Your G's, L's, B's, T's and Q's

Malbug_13GLAAD claims victory in the gay language wars; vows to mount charge up Bisexual Hill.

15 Gay Minutes

Malbug_13

60minutes1

60minutes3

The Logo channel's homo influence over their CBS News buddies is finally starting to pay some dividends.

Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes last night explored the current state of thinking over what makes someone gay or straight.

Though no single factor was entirely predictive, there is a statistically greater chance that a man will be gay based on how many older brothers he has, and whether he is right-handed.  (Seriously!)

60minutes2It is also clear that "gender nonconformity," an early indicator of homosexuality, emerges at the earliest of ages.  Stahl interviewed a family that includes two 9-year-old twins, one of whom wears pink nail polish and is certain that he was meant to be a girl.  According to the mother, stark gender differences between the two boys emerged as early as 18 months old.

Stahl's piece relied heavily on the research of Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, whose work in the past has come under withering criticism.  But I found her report fascinating nonetheless, showing that we are probably both closer to and farther away than ever before from knowing the ingredients that ultimately go into one's sexual orientation.

[Watch video – 14:52, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 14:52, WMV format, low bandwidth]

March 10, 2006

An Entertaining Read

Malbug_13Sullivan grovels to get back into the good graces of ... Paul Krugman?!

And this man is still a spokesman for conservatives ... how?

March 08, 2006

My Farmer's Not Gay, Is Yours?

Malbug_13Others have noted The New York Times' laughably tardy foray yesterday into reporting on real-life women whose husbands later come out as gay, a la Brokeback Mountain.

But as an alert reader pointed out, there was a curiously gay-unfriendly reference near the top of the article.  After relating the story of Amy Jo Remmele, a rural Minnesota woman who was divorced from her husband after she discovered his Gay.com profile, reporter Katy Butler then includes this seemingly gratuitous line:

"Mrs. Remmele — now married to a farmer who raises cattle, corn and soybeans — is one of an estimated 1.7 million to 3.4 million American women who once were or are now married to men who have sex with men."

If Ms. Butler doesn't toe the Times' GLBT line a little more carefully, she could find herself yanked from the Old Pink Lady's gay beat.

I suppose it's germane that Mrs. Remmele is now remarried, but that bit about "a farmer who raises cattle, corn and soybeans"?  Are we to think that she is somehow less likely to wind up with a gay man because her hubby is some strapping pastoralist stereotype who's out bucking bales of hay every day?  Perhaps she could have made her point more clearly by writing: "Mrs. Remmele — now married to a farmer who puts his penis into her vagina every day ..."

Obviously, Ms. Butler didn't see Brokeback Mountain, because if it taught us nothing else, it was that cowboys are all humping each other like ferrets.

[Note: There is at least a thin mist of sarcasm hovering over this post.]



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