The Daily Pulse, 10.13.04

I told you I’d delay this puppy a bit to get the debate in, so don’t complain and don’t think I blew you guys off this week again. The truth is that I didn’t do any work on this on Tuesday because I suffered a bad case of insomnia on Monday night (you would have thought that Raw would have bored me enough to fall asleep), and when I got home from work on Tuesday afternoon, I went out like the proverbial hundred-watter. So I’m cramming this thing in and submitting it after the debate and hoping that I get enough sleep to tide me over (the debate ends way after my bedtime). In fact, since it’s the big story today, I’ll start off with it, but after the usual…

THE PIMP SECTION

Laflin is still not as old as I am. But he can still get two columns in within a day, unlike me.

Erhardt and Big D forgot that Itty’s whereabouts were explained away in an issue of Green Lantern Corps Quarterly. He found the last female of his species and they’re off making little starfish.

Nguyen goes all over the board and scores some good points all around. Nice sticking of the dismount, son.

Gordi Doinks off for us.

Angeloni continues to fellate Ninty.

Falconi talks about TV shows that I either don’t watch or never heard of.

THE ANTI-SPYWARE SECTION

Remember, this all started because the slugs at Enigma Software dared to advertise their piece of shit SpyHunter at 411 (one of the reasons why I decided to leave, honestly). So I’m responding every single column with proper anti-spyware information. And guess what? People are actually taking this to heart. They’re asking me for help if they’re infested, or they’re writing me telling me that their browsing experience is less annoying thanks to the stuff I’ve been putting up here three times a week for a few months now.

(And as I understand it, there are some unscrupulous browser toolbar people trying to advertise here at the Pulse. Well, don’t click on that ad, whatever you do. We’ll still get the money from the impressions, and your system will stay safe.)

Big, big Kudos to the guys at the Spyware Warrior Forum for pointing out to everyone the extent of criminal activity participated in by Enigma Software, makers of the bane of advertising on this site, SpyHunter. Slimeballs extraordinare, aren’t they? And in case you need more info about what flaming bags of shit they are, try here. Suzi’s Blog has a great list of other flaming bags of shit that promote anti-spyware programs that are spyware themselves. Consult it if you have questions.

(On a side note, those SpyHunter ads started over at Reality News Online, and BFM, a contributor there, spotted them. He told the webmaster, gave him those links that I cited above, the webmaster read them, the blood drained out of his face, and he contacted his ad provider. No more ads for Enigma products on RNO, thank you. So guess what? If you provide the info, there are sites who will listen.)

One of the leading vectors for spyware is so-called free programs that contain this shit in order to “pay the bills”. No one deserves that kind of treatment. If you’ve got a question about whether or not a certain program contains spyware, head over here. It’s a nice alphabetized list of programs that do contain spyware and should be avoided at all costs.

Here’s a list of the programs you really need to help you get rid of menaces, and, more importantly, prevent them from occurring in the first place:

Spybot and AdAware. The ONLY two spyware removal tools to trust. Do NOT buy any spyware removal tools, because none of them work better than these two, and all of them except these two are suspect.

SpywareBlaster. Will nuke thousands of different potentially malicious ActiveX controls, and now has the ability to prevent a number of non-ActiveX methods of installing spyware for people who use Mozilla/Firefox.

SpywareGuard. From Javacool, like SpywareBlaster. It’s a real-time scanner for spyware. A decent first line of defense.

IE-SpyAd. Throws numerous ad-related URLs into IE’s Restricted Zone, where they won’t display or affect your system. Bookmark this one, since it’s the only one that doesn’t have an in-program update.

A few people have recommended also installing the Sun Java Virtual Machine, since it’s Windows’ buggy, half-assed implementation of the JVM that allows a lot of spyware to install (less so within the past month and a half than before). I STRONGLY recommend that you visit here and update your version of Java.

So many people have asked about a free anti-virus program that I’m also going to recommend AVG. Totally free, and works really, really well, as well as commercial anti-virus programs. Frequent database updates, good heuristic detection, everything you want in an anti-virus package.

Another program that I’d like to add here is a little tough to work with for noobs if it goes buggy (you need to know a little something about your Networking settings in order to debug if something should go wrong). Protowall is a supplement to your firewall or NAT system. It hooks directly into XP’s networking system to block any and all traffic that comes from URLs on a list maintained by the program (all protocols, not just TCP/UDP). It’s mainly designed for anti-P2P purposes (which will appeal to a great many of my readers), but it contains lists to block spyware and ads. Its blocklist can easily be updated using its supplementary program, Blocklist Manager. I have Protowall running and a Blocklist Manager icon on my desktop, and I use Blocklist Manager to update the blocklist every couple of days. You will have problems getting to some sites unless you shut down Protowall temporarily, like ESPN or Sports Illustrated, but it does have a tray icon you can right-click and shut down in a few seconds. It’s the third layer of anti-ad material for me, with IE-SpyAd and AdSubtract running alongside it. Warning, though: it only works with XP. I’d recommend its predecessor, Peer Guardian, for other MS OSes, but it isn’t being developed anymore, and there were still bugs in it when development stopped. You can get Protowall and the Blocklist Manager (which will also work with Peer Guardian) at Bluetack’s site.

Of course, only download them from the links provided above. And only download those programs; don’t fall for the ads that are shown at various websites.

With AdAware and Spybot, check for updates using their internal update function at least once a week. Run them at least once a week or whenever you think you might have problems. Remember, the new version of Spybot has browser protection capabilities, so have that run at startup and leave it running. Check for updates to SpywareBlaster once a week. It only needs to be run once initially in order to establish protection. Then, after it downloads updates, just click on the line that says “Enable Protection For All Unprotected Items” and kill it. It doesn’t need to be active. For IE-SpyAd, bookmark the site and check for updates twice a week, since it has no kind of internal updater. Run the Blocklist Manager every couple of days to make sure that you keep up on the latest banned URLs. Since all it does is add Registry entries, it doesn’t eat up anything.

If you’re having trouble with spyware or a browser hijacker, or think that you do, head over to the SpywareInfo Forums, where the pros there can help you diagnose and get rid of stuff. I was promoted to Full Helper status there and ended up joining ASAP, the Alliance of Security Analysis Professionals. Look for their symbol, which I’m not going to try to link to anymore because someone at the other end keeps munging it.

The Ravin’ Cajun asks me to recommend a good client-side spam filter for MS mail programs running under Windows. Now, this is something I don’t have experience with because my ISPs have always had good spam filtering, plus, I use Thunderbird, which handles the remainder quite nicely, thank you. Some readers wrote in and recommended SpamBayes, which is totally free and supposedly works very well, so I’ll add it on to the anti-annoyance list that we’re building up here.

Now that it’s moved to a release candidate status, I feel good in recommending Firefox as an alternative to IE. Go grab a copy and see what you’re missing.

MASTER DEBATOR

Kerry won, period. Three for three. No incumbent has ever gone oh-fer in the debates. He looked confident and for the most part stayed on topic while Dubbaya was floundering, pausing inappropriately, totally blank expression on his face…you’ve seen that look before from him when he gets confused and none of his helpers are there to assist him. I have a theory about this: he had an emotion transplant and gave all of his passion to Karen Hughes. If you watched the apres on CNN, as I did, you noticed that Hughes showed more passion in five seconds than Dubbaya has in four years. If she were on the ballot…well, I still wouldn’t vote for her, but it’d be a tough rejection. Unlike this one.

Here’s one reason why Dubbaya got beaten senseless on Wednesday night: the question was “Will you raise the minimum wage?” He starts talking about education. And he did the same thing with a question about affirmative action as well. As for outright lying, he was doing a lot of that as well. No litmus test for judges, my ass. Every single appointment he made in his illegal first term had an abortion litmus test attached to it like a big pink strip on the black muumuu, visible for all to see. That’s how we end up with yahoos like the one in Alabama spooging over the Ten Commandments. And they continue to tell that “Kerry voted for higher taxes 96 times” whopper. Where did they get that number from, Question Mark and the Mysterians? Oh, my apologies. He supposedly voted for higher taxes 98 times. And it’s 127 times that he voted against cutting taxes. And 277 times to waive the budget cap to authorize additional spending, like Iraq. All lies, but they should be put on the record. My apologies for misstating. Maybe I thought they got the number from Question Mark and the Mysterians. “96 Tears” is a tune that you can’t get out of your head.

Oh, yeah, Cooling, did you pay attention to the answer about homosexuality? Dubbaya said he didn’t know if it was a choice or if it was biological. Kerry came straight out and said that people were born that way. Dubbaya would love nothing better than to use that doubt to recriminalize gay behavior. Thank God you live in England, huh?

Neither candidate delivered a knockout blow, and if you look at the polls, you can see why. Statistical dead heat in the popular vote, too close to call in the electoral. Neither candidate wanted to get too aggressive just in case there was a backlash, especially among women, to any type of perceived aggression. So both played it pretty safe and did what they do best: Kerry citing facts and figures, Dubbaya lying through his teeth and going off-topic in order to make some point about some unconnected issue, mostly education. That seems to be his answer about everything. Lose your job to someone overseas? Educate yourself because you’re stuck in the past. Happen to be black and are discriminated against in employment? Get an education and make yourself valuable enough that your skin color doesn’t matter (okay, so I agree with that one, affirmative action being one of the few things I disagree with My Candidate about, but I’m so ofay that if you are African-American, you can disregard it). You’re gay? Get some more education despite the fact that the gay community is the best-educated demographic in America. Social Security going down the tubes? Get more education so you can make more money in order to pay into the system. We’re not going to have concentration camps during Four More Years as I fear. It’ll be worse: we’ll all be sent to school. Like I want to go through that again.

(Actually, I do, in a sense. Kansas State offers a master’s program in food safety through the Net, but there’s no way I can swing the seven grand to afford it. And don’t tell me about student loans; no bank will loan it to me with a Chapter 7 on my credit report for the next couple of years. If someone out there is rich and wants to open a private scholarship fund…yeah, Fleabag, that means you.)

I am a little nervous about the economy, though. Kerry’s solution to the doldrums boils down to “We can recreate the 90s, oh, yes, we can” while Dubbaya just stands there and goes “Duh, you mean my tax cut didn’t work?” My confidence does not boil over.

However, I will still vote for Kerry. Why? Because he and I both believe in Blue Cross. Simple as that.

DIFFERENTIATION

From CNN:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist attacked Sen. John Edwards on Tuesday over a comment the Democratic vice presidential candidate made regarding actor Christopher Reeve.

Edwards said Reeve, who died Sunday, “was a powerful voice for the need to do stem cell research and change the lives of people like him.

“If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again,” Edwards said.

Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, called Edwards’ remark “crass” and “shameful,” and said it gave false hope that new treatments were imminent.

Edwards campaign spokesman Mark Kornblau hit back, “Yes, breakthrough research often takes time, but that’s never been a reason to not even try — until George Bush.”

Every time there’s something regarding stem cell research, the GOP pulls out Frist, who’s a heart surgeon in addition to being a goose-stepping fascist. He’s the type of person who’d invoke Godwin’s Law in this type of situation by claiming that Mengele thought that his research was promising.

Folks, don’t buy anything Frist says about this. He’s not a research scientist. He’s simply a physician. Research scientists say that stem cell research holds the promise of a future free of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and juvenile diabetes, and that the research should continue. I’m totally in favor of it, and even state that all aborted fetuses should be used for that purpose. In fact, we should abort fetuses for the express purpose of gaining access to new lines of stem cells, and we should start with any fetus whose parents are registered Republicans. In fact, even one parent who’s a registered Republican should be eligible for abortion. We can’t allow children into this world that might end up voting GOP.

STOLEN RIGHTS

My fascist bud John King chimes in with a question/comment/screed:

You get the Sinclair family of channels out in flyover country?

As far as I know, none of the indie stations on my cable network are owned by Sinclair. I actually wish they would buy one and make it a UPN station so that I wouldn’t have to download SD and Enterprise. I don’t need three CBS stations, two NBC stations, two ABC stations, and two Fox stations.

I’m laughing my ass off at the media tripping all over their dicks to give Kerry another journalistic shoeshine for not tripping over his own face on Friday, when word comes down that Sinclair is running this Vietnam story two weeks before the election.

Believe it or not, I haven’t read anything in the standard mainstream sources that can be perceived as a bias toward Kerry in this matter. In fact, the stories go out of their way to point out how ridiculous the senators who filed the complaint with the FEC are behaving. And I agree.

Now mind you these are the same people whose heads disappeared CLEAR up their own assholes when Michael Moore was blatantly peddling a two-hour Democratic commercial and will have released the DVD right before the election as well.

And Shrek 2 is coming out the week of the election as well (in fact, the day of the election). All the summer blockbusters get released around November, and you have to admit that Fahrenheit 911 was a summer blockbuster. Nothing sinister there, unless you count Fairy Godmother’s effect on the polls. And you can easily say that Jennifer Saunders has an effect on the polls as much as you can say that fellow Brit Will Cooling does.

But all of a sudden they are discovering the right-wing bias of a television conglomerate running an anti-Kerry film made of people who had their ass beat in part because of the lies he spilled when he came home to cover his own ass. Winter Soldier my ass.

What lies? Kerry turned against the war due to his experiences there. He went public about the fact that he had turned against the war. I’d say those were statements of conviction. But that’s the difference between us, and vive le said. Besides, I thought that the media had a liberal bias. That’s what all the conservatives say, no matter how often they’re proven wrong.

Especially the part that Sinclair owns mostly WB and UPN stations. These people gave Koppel the finger when he was desperately trying to remain relevant by pissing on the memories of soldiers killed in Iraq for ratings and a good table at Elaine’s.

Or it could have been a heartfelt statement of protest against the stupid actions performed by the Junta in regard to getting those kids killed. Not every action by the media can be considered cynical and biased against the illegal occupants of the White House. You probably see something sinister in the fact that the media didn’t turn fully against Vietnam until after Nixon was elected.

I’m telling you Eric, there are a lot more people out there like Sinclair than Michael Moore.

Dear God, I hope so. One Michael Moore is too much.

Now, as to the issue of Stolen Honor…I’m highly against the content being made public, of course. The whole premise is dubious. Those ex-POWs needed some kind of figure to represent a cause for the pain that they suffered, and John Kerry, as a visible antiwar protester, was convenient as any. It could have been Jane Fonda for all that it matters (in fact, it’d be more logical that it was Fonda). The POWs are blaming the wrong person. If Johnson wasn’t such a gung-ho asshole and if Nixon wasn’t obsessed with “peace with honor”, they’d have got out of captivity sooner. But Johnson and Nixon are dead, and Kerry’s running for president.

This film isn’t a documentary, it’s a catharsis for the filmmaker and the POWs who appear in it. They have their axe to grind against Kerry because Kerry turned against the war. It’s a common syndrome among Vietnam-era vets and other people of that age to regard Kerry as a traitor because he followed his conscience. I’ve had numerous discussions with Fleabag about this very issue. He says that some of his relatives, stone Democrats, won’t vote for Kerry because of ‘Nam. I’m a little too young to have lived it, so I can’t personally say what my feelings are. Personally, it’s a non-issue. The guy changed his mind about ‘Nam after being there, he got lambasted for it at the time, and he’s paying for it now as well. At least he went over there instead of ducking into the National Guard, you know?

So the film’s dubious. But Sinclair’s decision to preempt regular broadcasts and show it isn’t. This is clearly a First Amendment issue, and you know that I’m a First Amendment absolutist. They have a right to show it if they desire. It’s their company, and the old equal time provisions no longer apply. Let them broadcast it. People will tune in if only for the freak show value, which is what helped Fahrenheit 911 at the box office. Disney wouldn’t release it, so Miramax went through another distributor to get it out. The Demo senators are trying to get it quashed, so people will tune in to see what the fuss is about. But if they had balls, they’d follow that ninety minutes with ninety minutes of the most horrific scenes of carnage from Vietnam and Iraq that they could find (and there should be enough in the vaults) to show people why Kerry made the decision he did.

I told everyone a long time ago that this election was going to be the Year of Pure Politics. Propaganda is just part of how you play the game.

And that’s enough propaganda from me. Tune in to this website for Cooling presenting the other side of the coin. Unlike some other places, we are truly fair and balanced.