Podcast 16: State of the Union

Chip, Brad, Brandon and Dan discuss President Obama’s first State of the Union address.


Project Aurora, part 2

Yesterday I blogged about the unfolding scandal known as Project Aurora. I’m following the story closely so I thought I would post a follow up.

When Google initially announced the breach of security, the Chinese government remained silent. Following Secretary of State Clinton’s speech on Internet freedom, however, the Chinese government has begun to fiercely defend itself. According to a report from Reuters, China believes the U.S. government is politicizing the breach of security, which it claims it had nothing to do with. Google claims that they are no longer going to censor search results on Google.cn (although as of today they are STILL filtering searches) and have threatened to pull out of China completely.  China is calling their bluff.

“Perhaps Google has already realized that China can do without Google, but without China, Google does not have a future,” the People’s Daily retorted.

China might be onto something. Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Delhi to pressure Indian officials to hitch their wagon to Washington’s strategy.  Gates made a clear case for Indian support:

Read more…

Project Aurora and the Militarization of Cyberspace

In December of 2009, security experts at Google identified a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on their own corporate infrastructure as well as that of at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses. According to Google, the
“primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.”

It appears that the hackers used social networds to identify key employees at Google, and then set the stage for them to click on links to malware. According to Joseph Menn at Financial Times,

The most significant discovery is that the attackers had selected employees at the companies with access to proprietary data, then learnt who their friends were. The hackers compromised the social network accounts of those friends, hoping to enhance the probability that their final targets would click on the links they sent.

Read more…

Podcast 15: Senator Brown and the Politics of the Filibuster

In which I outsource my critique to Bruce Bartlett

I pretty much agree with everything Bruce Bartlett says about the President’s first year:

Does this mean I am happy with everything Obama has done in office? Of course not. I am sympathetic to the idea that the stimulus plan was too small and insufficiently front-loaded to turn the economy around. But on the other hand, the Republican idea that we should have done nothing or just cut taxes is nonsense.

I think Obama erred in pushing forward with health care reform before the economy had recovered and before sufficient time had been spent developing a comprehensive plan. The whole health reform effort has looked to me as if it was jury-rigged from day one, based less on a serious analysis of what needed to be done than about getting something–anything–through Congress that could be called health reform.

I am disappointed that the idea of bending the cost curve has gotten short shrift, but I am even more disappointed that Republicans adopted the extraordinarily cynical strategy of defending Medicare from any cuts whatsoever, just to pander to seniors quick to panic over any threat to their generous, taxpayer-provided health benefits.


Maybe more than you care to know about Scott Brown

Or maybe not. I guess it depends on how you roll.


Massachusetts Special Election: Healthcare Armageddon?

So tomorrow is the BIG SHOWDOWN in Massachusetts!, the CLASH of opposing ideologies!!, the BIGGEST, most STUPENDOUS!!!!, MOMENTOUS!!!!! election we’ve had since…….since….well, since the last REALLY, REALLY PIVOTAL!!! election in upstate New York — or had you forgotten about that one already?

After all the hype and hyperbole, let’s take a deep breath and remember a few things. Continue reading