Inside the Laptop of a Madman

Ever wonder what was on the hard drive of terrorist kingpin Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? Well, now we know:

On the hard drive was everything from information about Zarqawi’s medical condition to pictures of himself, kept in a file labeled “My Pictures.”

Oh, what I would give to see the roll from “Our Family Vacation in Iraq.”

Also interesting is that, when captured, he was carrying Euros, and not Dollars (like Uday Hussein). If the terrorists have devalued the Dollar, should we be concerned? They’re usually market leaders in this sort of thing, owing to their lack of a need for stability!

Seriously, though, the image of Zarqawi fiddling around trying to download the latest version of Windows Media Player so he could edit and upload his videos to the web is still priceless.

Regardless, I hope we nail the f**ker.

Oliver Willis

Ok, so apparently I’m pretty late to this game, but I have to take a moment and re-direct viewers to Oliver Willis’ Brand Democrat site. Great stuff. I love this t-shirt:

Almost makes me want to be a Democratic partisan again. Almost. And that’s the idea of Brand Democrat, I presume: make the brand stand for something cool again.

Well done.

“Operatives”

This is a fascinating story, if only to watch the snarky New York Times try and squeeze in the phrase “gay Republican political operative” into every other sentence (see the photo caption).

Shh… can you hear that? It’s the sound of a self-satisfied smirk over at the NYT copy desk.

Maybe I don’t really need to ask, but …

Are the Republicans insane?

For the life of me, I can’t fathom why the GOP, party of the Fellatio Impeachment, refuses to acknowledge the obvious — that Tom DeLay sets the bar for Congressional corruption in the 21st century.

This is not, and never has been, a nice guy. This article from Mother Jones (note the date — 1996!) details DeLay’s early dabblings in the scandals that will ensure he remains infamous for a long, long time.

Once the Republicans stop protecting him, that is …

Bizarre Travels in the Strange World of Old School Capitalism

Back in the day when “capitalists” were rumored to look like Mr. Peanut and talk like Burgess Meredith, there were these funny things called “stock certificates.” These were actual pieces of paper signifying ownership in a real, live company, often held in bank vaults or under mattresses.

Now the problem with these things is that, as paper, they were subject to theft, fire, dementia, etc. Things got really fun when the companies represented went through M&A … every time a company would get bought out, the paper would have to be sent in for processing, and then reissued in appropriate amounts for whatever portion of the new company you now owned.

I’m just old enough to have actually owned a few of these (along with a wooden tennis racket and a TI-99 … but let’s not get in to that). I got, like 3 share of GM stock for high school graduation.

Subsequently, GM issued shares for its Hughes Electronics subsidiary, part of which was then bought by Raytheon, and the rest of which was eventually spun off into the Direct TV group. To complicate things, and for reasons I still don’t fully grasp, I actually bought a couple of other GM shares along the way.

So a couple of years ago there was a great reckoning in this bizarre little capitalist empire of mine. Raytheon bought the rest of Hughes for shares and cash — I got a check and, like, a third of a share of Raytheon. Then Raytheon did some kind of reverse split, which effectively bought me out of my smallholder ownings (I like to think it’s because I always voted for resolutions that Raytheon divest itself if its military businesses on my proxies … but since my vote counted for less than in the average US presidential race, I think that’s a hippie fantasy).

Somehow, I ended up with two physical, paper shares of Direct TV, which I then deposited in my Ameritrade account, where they rest, hopefully awaiting a time when they appreciate enough to justify the eleven bucks it’ll cost me to sell them.

And I thought that was the end of my relationship with this company, until I got a letter in the mail at my mom’s house offering me the opportunity to sell my FOUR Direct TV shares with no service charges. WTF?!

Convinced it was a hoax, I duly logged on to the Direct TV site. After much searching — and much to my surprise — it turns out that somehow, some way, I have an additional four shares that Direct TV has been holding “on book” for me for probably close to ten years now.

Bizarre …

If they were actually worth something, I’d buy you all a cocktail.

Tom DeLay vs. Trent Lott

So I’m watching Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, and he’s interviewing a reporter from the Wall Street Journal whose name escapes me. They’re talking about Pres. Bush’s decision to cozy up to DeLay today, and how that differed from Bush’s reaction to Lott, which was to distance himself and basically engineer Lott’s downfall. Recall: Lott got in trouble for associating himself with Strom Thurmond’s racist past. DeLay is in trouble for (allegedly) taking illegal gifts from lobbyists.

The reporter says that there are two main differences: one, Bush needs DeLay to get a lot of stuff done in the House right now (Social Security reform, etc.), and two, Lott’s remarks brought up images of a racist Republican party that Bush was specifically trying to distance himself from.

So, to reiterate:

1. Bush is keeping DeLay around because he’s a loyal button man, whereas Lott was a prickly independent sort of fellow who didn’t like taking marching orders from Rove. Lott was replaced by Bill Frist, whose signature trait is loyalty, not competency (witness how he got outfoxed by the more senior Sen. Reid this week).

2. The Lott scandal brought up images of racism, which Bush rightfully didn’t want to be associated with. The DeLay scandal brings up images of the GOP sucking corporate schlong, which… well… Bush is apparently OK with.

Of course, the WSJ reporter never mentioned that last bit… and Olbermann never asked (Lazy MSM!). But that’s the implication.