OBL: Still Kicking Our Ass

static on your TVI wish I could remember September 11, 2001 for the tragedy that took thousands of American lives in horrific terrorist attacks. But all I can think about is:

What if — after years of tracking and nearly capturing the man (before giving up last year) — Osama bin Laden was captured/arrested within days of the attacks he masterminded? How incredibly different our cultural, media, military and political landscape would be…. perhaps….

Certainly George W. Bush would be a genuinely proud man, not the facetious, naive, and stubborn loser he will always be remembered as. In last week’s video, bin Laden dissed the U.S. for not just losing Iraq, but making it worse. You’d expect this to inspire rage within President Bush, however, somehow the fool interpreted these remarks as vindication for his planless obsession with staying in Iraq. Instead of vowing to find bin Laden, or imploring the public to ignore him outright, our foolish leader scratched his chin and opined: “I found it interesting that on the tape Iraq was mentioned, which is a reminder that Iraq is a part of this war against extremists.” Bush’s team’s only defense was to somehow take away from the video that the healthy and in control bin Laden was “virtually impotent.” There’s no way these people possibly see themselves in the mirror each day… talk about “virtually impotent.”

It is downright shameful to see military leadership (Crocker & Petraeus) pawned as spokesman promoting the most implausible and ridiculous “strategy” of beginning to withdraw the additional 30,000 troops that were sent earlier this year by the middle of next year and trying to spin it as “progress.” Their “successes” are defined by unsourced PowerPoint‘s and hardly challenged by Congress or the lapdog media. Even George Will did the math and is left scratching his head: Send in 30,000 troops on cost-plus missions, begin redeploying them 15 months later after incurring more losses and attaining absolutely no political stability and call it “progress?”

Yes, the entire world wants to kick us today as OBL carries on with his terror and pokes fun at how America has fucked so much shit up around the world in the name of one pithy terrorist attack. Sure we haven’t been attacked since, but we also tend to forget the numerous attacks that have taken place in Europe, the UK and elsewhere, like in Algeria, where suddenly suicide bombings are the new hip thing among teenagers. Plain and simple, OBL isn’t lying when he broadcasts his disturbing propaganda. Meanwhile the Petraeuses and Crockers are only kidding themselves, and, by extension, us.

Let’s begin again.

turn off the damn tv and stop the war

Facebook Profiles Go Public

The next step on Facebook’s staircase to ubiquity further breaks down the site’s once fortress-like barrier, but it may eventually bring in more ad value for F8 app developers.

While the optional opening up of search may seem like an inevitable move, is it so necessary to practically spam every search engine with profiles? By joining the site did you agree to — as Om Malik put it — put your name in a veritable White Pages for the Web?


Facebook’s first “public offering” was last September, when it opened up the site to registrants regardless of their affiliation with a university or high school. Originally a .edu e-mail address was a mandatory prerequisite to register for the site. This, understandably, led to privacy and safety concerns, multiplied by the addition of the now-widely-accepted News Feed, which would broadcast your activities and postings on the site to your friends. Perhaps Facebook is comfortable that one long year of social network growth and adoption — along with a handful of freaky MySpace horror stories — has made the masses more aware of Facebook’s privacy settings.

Only the users name and photo will be accessible via a facebook.com frontpage search, according to Facebook’s Philip Fung, who looks no older than 17 despite being an apparent graduate of both Cal Tech and Stanford. The blog post reminds users that multiple levels of privacy settings can prevent searchability and access — it would also be nice if Facebook sent e-mails to users who may not be logging on regularly.

The big play for Facebook here is opening up to search engines. By exposing the info (presumably just names) of its users (upwards of 30 million and counting), it’s Google Page Rank will skyrocket, and every individual user will find their profile near the top of a name search (something that could very well be a kick in the face of LinkedIn — I was told at one job interview that it was easier to find my LinkedIn profile than to find my resume).

The word “public” alone get the valley and the street even more worked up over the still-privately-held social networking / platform?

Facebook users one year ago perceived — and sudden — impediments on privacy. But this doesn’t seem to be such a big deal — most anyone with their name and photo on facebook most likely has it publicly listed elsewhere. Still, Zuckerberg and Co. should edumacate the masses and continue to be very straightforward about the changes and the various, easily tweaked privacy settings available for each user.

So better tidy up that Facebook profile now, because soon enough it won’t just be your mom’s friends finding your profile, it could be a potential or soon-to-be former employer.

facebook public profile

What Happened to TimesSelect Podcasts?

Recently I stopped receiving New York Times Op-Ed podcasts via iTunes and today I figured I’d investigate — perhaps they changed the URL or something.

However, the icon at left goes to a new NYT page, NYTimes.com Podcasts where there are no links to subscribe to readings of the daily Friedman, Kristof, Dowd, Krugman, or Brooks, whether or not I’m logged into my TimesSelect account. Am I somehow missing something?

When I subscribe to the feed, say Krugman’s podcast feed, the latest return is the August 3 podcast although his most recent column was August 20. Additionally, I can’t seem to find links to subscribe via Audible, the company that produced and published the op-ed podcasts. Perhaps just a burp in the Times’ transition to freeing up its TimesSelect content or are these Op-Ed podcasts gone for good? Say it ain’t so.

A Chicago Visit

A long-awaited week off finds me among family and old friends in Chicago — and I can’t seem to get away from Wrigley Field, where my beloved Cubs have told me over the course of the past two days, that, yes, indeed, this is a special year, in spite of the slow, 4-9 start to August.


5 years $91 million for Big Z, Carlos Zambrano — add to that the fat contracts of our other young studs — Ramirez, Lee and Soriano — and whoever buys out the Cubbies from the Tribune this offseason will be investing in a winner (and maybe even a World Series champion?!?). Thanks Jim Hendry, according to Z, Hendry has been “his man” ever since drafting him as a 16 year old.

I was lucky to have seats in the 5th row behind the dugout today — and it was the dry run for the Chicago Air Show. Some photos on my flickr here.

Banged out some quality posts this morning for LAist, please read my Max Roach obit here and my editorial on the Crandall Canyon (Utah) mine disaster coverage here.