Blogressive February 1, 2006
The Wikipedia Mini-Scandal
Having solved all of the nation's problems Congressional staffers have taken the time to abuse the honor system at wikipedia.org, one of the Internet's most popular websites, prompting engineers to temporarily block edits emanating from U.S. House and Senate computers. Wikipedia.org is an online encyclopedia maintained by ordinary citizens. Pages can be edited by anyone but records of revisions are kept.
Users at House and Senate IP addresses have removed unflattering facts such as broken promises on term limits, messy divorces, and even connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. They have also vandalized, deleted, and placed bogus information on the pages of political rivals.
Examples of the abuses are documented here. But the edits that caught the eye of the Blogressive weren't the obvious biographical enhancements or partisan attacks on political enemies. Taxpayer-funded Congressional computers and staff have made numerous nonpartisan wikipedia edits:
Added vital information on Whitney Houston's work on her husband Bobby Brown's reality TV show: "During the program, she popularized the phrase, 'Hell to the naw!' "
Added Press Secretary Scot McClellan as a related topic to term "douche." (Well, OK, that is a tad partisan.)
Corrected a misspelling on the topic "Asian Fetish."
Corrected a misspelling on the entry for the movie "The Big Lebowski."
Corrected the spelling of "mullet" on Billy Ray Cyrus's biography.
Added this tidbit to Jay Leno's biography: "He appeared in an episode of Good Times in which his character promotes getting tested for venereal diseases."
Made numerous additions and corrections on the topic "masturbation."
Properly attributed a murder to Freddy Krueger on the entry for the film "Nightmare on Elm Street."
Visit wikipedia.org for a more complete list of edits made from inside the House of Representatives and the Senate.
By the way, we checked our logs here at progressive.org to see what sort of activity we got from these addresses. While we've had our share of visits from House and Senate addresses there were no anonymous or vicious comments. Interestingly, Matt Rothschild's column, "John Kerry Steps Up," was read and printed by someone at a Senate address. Is someone keeping a scrapbook?
Blogettes Fragments from headlines and blogs you may have missed
The hottest topic in the progressive blogosphere.
The Star-studded World Economic Forum
"People seem to let their hair down a little bit and loosen their ties. And there is a lot of give and share that's going on both in front on the panels and behind. So it's a learning experience for me and, I guess my from end, I hope they will recognize as they have from Bono's efforts and others, that many of us on the entertainment side can talk about the issues. People tend to get an audience from television when celebrities are involved. That helps. The danger is when you get in over your head and then you lose your credibility."
Actor/Producer Michael Douglas at the World Economic Forum
"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee. That's just a joke, for you in the media."
Ann Coulter tells one of her patented "jokes." She has a mic but still needs a brick wall, a plaid sport coat, and a sense of humor to actually qualify as comedian.
Credit cards for kids. "The biggest credit card group is issuing prepayment cards to let youngsters purchase products on plastic. How much the teenagers can spend is limited by the amount that their parents are prepared to deposit in advance, but the scheme was described yesterday by consumer groups as “irresponsible.” The National Consumer Council (NCC) has raised fears that the cards will get children so used to spending money that is not theirs that they will go hopelessly into debt once they are old enough to apply for a credit card. Source: timesonline.co.uk
Palestinians greet new government with nervous laughter. "A slew of jokes circulating among Palestinians following Hamas' landslide election victory reflects concerns that the fundamentalist group will impose Islamic law and social codes across the West Bank and Gaza. As one goes, all police stations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been ordered shut because all complaints must now be filed directly to God." Source: ap.com
More "stop-loss." Uncle Sam wants you... to stick around. The U.S. Army is forcing about 50,000 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan to continue serving beyond their original commitments. Defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute think tank warns that the volunteer army as we know it is in peril. "As the war in Iraq drags on, the Army is accumulating a collection of problems that cumulatively could call into question the viability of an all-volunteer force. When a service has to repeatedly resort to compelling the retention of people who want to leave, you're edging away from the whole notion of volunteerism."
Iraq reconstruction funds gambled away... no, literally. "A U.S. government audit found American-led occupation authorities squandered tens of millions of dollars that were supposed to be used to rebuild Iraq through undocumented spending and outright fraud. In some cases, auditors recommend criminal charges be filed against the perpetrators. In others, it asks the U.S. ambassador to Iraq to recoup the money. Dryly written audit reports describe the Coalition Provisional Authority's offices in the south-central city of Hillah being awash in bricks of $100 bills taken from a central vault without documentation.It describes one agent who kept almost $700,000 in cash in an unlocked footlocker and mentions a U.S. soldier who gambled away as much as $60,000 in reconstruction funds in the Philippines... The audits offer a window into the chaotic U.S.-led occupation of Iraq of 2003-04, when inexperienced American officials — including workers from President Bush's election campaign — organized a cash-intensive 'hearts and minds' mission to rebuild Iraq's devastated economy." Source: ap.com Related: sigir.mil/audit_reports
We are definitely in a rut. On "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer, Bush speculated about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as a presidential candidate, calling her "formidable." He also joked about the possibility of another "Bush, Clinton" succession. "Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton," he said, referring to the fact that Bill Clinton had succeeded his father, and Sen. Hillary Clinton could succeed him. Source: cbsnews.com
It's now illegal to "annoy" others with anonymous comments. "Buried deep in the new law is Sec. 113, an innocuously titled bit called 'Preventing Cyberstalking.' It rewrites existing telephone harassment law to prohibit anyone from using the Internet 'without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy.' " Source: cnet.com
Share your McJob, McLow Wages, and McNo Benefits with a family member. "Too busy to get to your shift at McDonald's restaurant? Don't worry -- send someone else in your family to go along for you. The world's largest restaurant chain said Thursday it had begun trialing a new scheme in Britain whereby two people from the same family who worked at the same branch could cover each other's shifts without giving any prior notice... McDonald's said the first users of the new 'Family Contract,' which it believes to be unique in Britain, were two sets of twins. McDonald's said it would look to extend the scheme if it proved to be popular and successful." Source: reuters.com
Today's Video: Frank Caliendo's Bush (and Clinton) routine
Frank Caliendo does a spot-on impersonation of Presidents Bush and Clinton in a recent appearance on Letterman. Video
Today's Site Pick: Hoax photos. How gullible are you?
Review a gallery of famous photos, real and doctored. Guess which ones are fakes. museumofhoaxes.com