I worked this guy, Gary Ross, that was convicted a few months ago of attempting to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity (see FBI press release).  Thankfully, he was no longer employed by our firm at the time of his arrest.  However, according to the press release, he was caught by an undercover officer just like in Dateline’s "To Catch a Predator" series but without the cameras.

Even more shocking is that he was found with a "Plan B" file on his computer that detailed his plan to flee the United States and assume a fake identity.  I can attest that this guy seemed completely "normal."  He definitely didn’t look like an online predator.  After hearing about the case I searched the court database online and have to say that the evidence against him was overwhelming.  He definitely deserved to go down.

He will be sentenced on October 21st to a minimum of 5 years in prison.  It just goes to show that you never really know some people even though you see them at work almost every day.  Sick bastard.

The Dow suffered the biggest single day point loss in history yesterday, but rallied today to post its third largest point gain ever.  I guess the sky is *not* falling into the ground as predicted.  What does this mean for you?  The bottom line is that you will not be able to get credit as easily as in the past, but you *will* survive if you can live without the need for much credit.  I personally believe that the mismanaged banks on Wall Street should be allowed to die for their mistakes.  Of course, those people with more than $100k in deposits with any single bank, outside of retirement accounts, would be a little screwed.

Both McCain and Palin decried "gotcha journalism" during an interview with Katie Couric because a voter asked a question of the vice presidential candidate, she said a position which conflicted with McCain, and it was filmed.  In the exchange, Palin said that the U.S. should cross the Pakistan border if needed to "stop the terrorists," which is in stark contrast to McCain’s view on the subject and parallels Obama’s position.  The McCain campaign’s answer: blame it on "gotcha journalism." You have to see it for yourself.  My favorite parts of the video below is how uncomfortable McCain is when Palin is speaking and then later when Katie Couric makes a face and says, "It wasn’t a ‘gotcha,’ she was talking to a voter!"

It is just proof positive that having cameras follow you 24 hours a day you just can’t be incompetent.  McCain and Palin are redefining the term "epic fail" if they think that the entire country is going to fall for their "stupid is the new smart" campaign.

SNL’s take on the Palin-Couric interview was great!

Matt Damon’s Sarah Palin prophecy comes true, it is a bad Disney movie.

Storied San Francisco law firm, Heller Ehrman White and McAuliffe LLP, voted to dissolve their partnership earlier today after 118 years in business.  The firm had 650 attorneys and professionals working in 35 practices across 14 offices around the world.  Yeah, the fundamentals of our economy are *not* strong.  Wow.  Morrison & Foerster LLP, another venerable San Francisco law firm is almost twice the size as Heller Ehrman, with 1130 attorneys. Those mofos are probably suffering too in this business climate.

A man was arrested in West Virginia for DUI and charged with assault for “farting in the officer’s general direction.”  According to the police report, this guy allegedly “lifted his leg and passed gas loudly” on said cop and “then fanned the air with his hand in front of his rear onto the cop.”  Who knew that cops in West Virginia were so sensitive!?  The complaint filed by the cop goes on to say, “The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature.”

Created contact!  Now that’s a fart ladies and gentlemen!  Bravo!  Bravo!!!

Wow, this cop is lucky he didn’t go camping us back in high school.  It’s one thing to get a whiff of a really good one out in the open, but to be enclosed in a tent with the fart, that’s special.  I have some high school friends that were scarred for life.  I am sure they remember, unless they were so traumatized that they blocked the memory.  You know who you are.

P.S. Thanks for not pressing assault charges against me guys, jeez!

Disney thinks it’s cool to have cartoon music everywhere on its property, for no apparent rational reason.  Even in my room I can hear it echoing in the distance (it’s 9:23pm now).  Creepy.  Then there are cartoons playing in monitors all over the place, including the lobby of my hotel, and kids are totally motionless while staring at them.  Again, creepy.  It’s like they are peddling addictive porn for kids.  I really can’t wait to leave on a plane tomorrow morning.

I am off to Orlando to attend a Privacy industry conference, returning Thursday.

I just read a Fortune article about business jets which are well beyond my reach.  However, I do know that a couple of my friends have been asked by their bosses or business contacts to outings on private jets.  So I will publish this excerpt just for them.  If someone ever asks me to join them in their private jet, I will be sure to follow these rules so that I may be invited back.

  • Ask in advance how much luggage you may bring.
  • Don’t take your seat until after the owners find theirs.
  • Never tip the staff. That’s entirely up to the owner.
  • Nix bringing your own meal. But offering to feed everyone – preferably by air caterer – is a nice gesture.
  • Skip the red wine. You don’t want your hosts to remember you every time they see the stain on the carpet.
  • Arrange for ground transportation when you land. Asking for a lift is an inconvenience.
  • Show your thanks. One owner gives a gift equal to a first-class commercial ticket when she flies with other owners. You may not need to go so far, but don’t skimp either.

Someone in the McCain campaign held up a BlackBerry at a news conference and said, "he did this." The McCain spokesman went on to say that "Telecommunications of the United States, the premiere innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create."

So let me get this straight, a guy that does not use email and has been quoted saying that he "watches" the Drudge Report on the Internet when a staffer holds up a computer in front of him, wants to take credit for inventing the "miracle" of the BlackBerry!  That is just too much.  I completely fell out of my chair laughing at this one.  McCain apparently does not want to be outdone by Al Gore "inventing the Internet."

The BlackBerry and other smartphones were really made possible by increased wireless bandwidth (bigger pipes) and the engineering of new wireless transmission protocols, like GPRS and W-CDMA.  Add to that the miniaturization of phones because of Moore’s Law and you have the necessary components to make a smart phone.  I guarantee you that McCain had nothing to do with Moore’s Law or the development of any wireless transmission protocols.

At best, the only government organization that can take some credit for the creation of the BlackBerry and other smartphones would be the FCC for auctioning the wireless spectrum in the U.S. to the telecom companies.  The Commerce Committee had absolutely nothing to do with the BlackBerry.  Even if the committee impacted the telecom industry in the U.S., as the McCain spokesman says, the company that makes the BlackBerry is based in Canada and sells its devices worldwide!

I have $20 that says that McCain and his lamers have no idea that the BlackBerry was not created in the United States.  How can anyone with a working brain, Republican or Democrat, have any respect for McCain or even take anything he or his campaign says seriously?  I guess that the "fundamentals of his campaign are strong."  You know, the whole making stuff up part.

Some argue that the McCain spokesperson said the BlackBerry comment on purpose to distract from the comments made by McCain just yesterday that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."  I do not think that anyone would act this dumb on purpose.  That would mean that the McCain campaign plan is to say a new outrageous lie every day and hope that nobody has the time to fact check them all before election day.  Sad.

Tucker Bounds, McCain spokesman, was beatdown on all cable news networks.  Even Fox Fixed News got into the act of lambasting Tucker.  Wow, you know you have going too far if your "friends" are turning their back on you.  Even Bush’s Brain, Karl Rove, said that the McCain ads "cannot pass the…truth test."

After the jump (via Gawker), some comments claim that Tucker pulled his own feed cable in the MSNBC interview to get out of finishing the interview, which started bad and was getting worse.  This guy is like a human piñata that they put in front of cameras instead of McCain and Palin answering questions about their lies.

My favorite, when McCain said yesterday that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" as Lehman folded, Merrill sold to BofA, and AIG panics on cashflow problems. McCain: I know that you are really old an probably losing your facilities, but our banks are the fundamental building blocks of our economy you moron!  Insane McCain in the membrane!

Beware of Google Maps
Via xkcd. During our camping trip to Clear Lake during Labor Day weekend,
Mama and I experienced some Google Maps shenanigans too.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was turned on earlier today and we are all still here.

At least for now anyway.  In the coming months, the collider is expected to begin smashing particles into each other by sending two beams of protons around the tunnel in opposite directions. There are some skeptics who claim that the smashing particles experiment could lead to the creation of a black hole capable of swallowing the entire planet.  Scientists believe that if a singularity, or black hole, were created that it would be too weak and unstable to do any damage before it would "dissolve."

I hope the scientists, and not the skeptics, are right about this one.  After these experiments, the world and the universe as we know them will never be the same.  Stay tuned and let’s hope that all of the scientific calculations are correct!

Tonight at the House of Shields, the crappy bar across the street from the Sheraton Palace Hotel on New Montgomery, there will be a tech pitch competition.  You cannot use a powerpoint: it’s just you, a microphone, a sharpie, and a blank flip pad.  The absolute worst pitch will win $50 and the plastic Calcanis Trophy.  It definitely should be good for a laugh.

A community group in Marin County is raffling a $2 million home for only $150.  The winner will have the option to take the house or $1.6 million in cash if they win.  Of course, they would have to pay all of the applicable taxes and all.  Last year only 34,000 people bought tickets.  That means that you’d be paying $150 for a 1 in 40,000 chance to win.  That’s not a bad deal for those odds.

Yes, just like at a prom 33 years ago, birds moonwalk to impress the ladies.

Michael Moore will be releasing his new film, Slacker Uprising, online for free.

The video below is Rage Against the Machine (RATM) protesting at the Republican National Convention yesterday.  After their attempt to take the stage was stopped by police, RATM took to the crowd with an acapella performance armed with only a megaphone, and thousands of fans, RATM played a couple of short renditions of Bulls on Parade and Killing in the Name Of.

Let me tell you about these guys.  These guys have certainly sold enough records to never have to work again for the rest of their lives.  They are millionaires many times over.  So are they relaxing in their mansions and watching the convention on television?  Nope.  These guys went to the RNC to stand up and protest against the Republicans.  Right outside with all the other protesters.  You gotta love ’em.

This video shows that Phelps may have been too aggressive in one of his victories.

Don LaFontaine died yesterday at the age of 68.  If you have seen a movie trailer in the last 30 years you have likely heard this man’s voice.  Don LaFontaine did the voice over for over 5,000 film trailers in 33 years in the industry.  Below is an Alt News spot he did from a couple of years ago.  He will be missed.

Gustav knocked out power for over 1.4 million people in Louisiana but the levees around the city of New Orleans held this time around.  Water did top over a few of the levees causing some flooding, but nothing compared to the flooding when the levees broke three years ago with Katrina.  FEMA supplies that were supposed to be on the road as soon as winds died down and tractor-trailers could safely move were not in New Orleans on Tuesday morning.  Damn, some things never change.

Instead of concentrating on getting FEMA supplies into the affected areas, President Bush gave a speech about oil.  "We need more domestic energy, not less," he said. This "storm should cause Congress to step up the need to address foreign oil dependence."  I am sure that the people in East Baton Rouge Parish just want their supplies and can care less about offshore drilling.  Let’s track down the supplies are people!

Thank goodness that the levees held because it is clear that if the levees had failed FEMA would be just as incompetent and ineffective as they were three years ago.  Let’s hope that the next three storms miss New Orleans to give time for the Gustav flood waters to secede.

Mama and I are back from our camping trip in Clear Lake.  There was a Kiss concert and a motorcycle rally at nearby Konocti Harbor Resort.  We didn’t even know that the place existed so we were surprised to see how many big name musical acts have played there over the years even though it is essentially in the middle of nowhere.  It has hosted many of the same acts that have played the Concord Pavillion or even the Shoreline Amphitheater over the years: Bob Dylan, Steely Dan, Goo Goo Dolls, Loretta Lynn, Mama Etheridge, Kenny Chesney, Third Eye Blind, Toby Keith, Chris Isaak, B.B. King, Poison, Motley Crue, and Jeff Beck.

We could hear the fireworks from the concert echoing over the lake from our tent.  It didn’t really feel like we were in the wilderness camping with fireworks booming in the distance.  Next time we go camping there we will make sure to check the concert schedule at Konocti before we go.  That way we will be able to go to the concert or avoid it as needed.