AN INGENIOUS fraudster is believed to be sunning himself on a beach after persuading leading banks to pay him more than Euro 5 million (£3.5 million) in the belief that he was a secret service agent engaged in the fight against terrorist money-laundering.
The man, described by detectives as the greatest conman they had encountered, convinced one bank manager to leave him Euro 358,000 in the lavatories of a Parisian bar. "This man is going to become a hero if he isn’t caught quickly," an officer said. "The case is exceptional, perfectly unbelievable and surreal."
Posted on 28 Oct 2005
A few weeks back, when I was in LA I left the TV on as I read my email. I catched a stand up comedy show on HBO from a band called Flight of the Conchords on HBO's One Night Stand. You should watch it if you have a chance (it is available with cable on demand in a few places).
Posted on 26 Oct 2005
I have been following the Fitzerald investigation in the last few weeks. As much as can be followed by the prosecutor that has so far not done any public appearances nor said a word about his findings or his strategy.
Following the investigation has thus been limited to reading the various speculations based on who is being subpoenaed and the public statements done afterwards. An other interesting source of information in this puzzle is the PR campaign from those targeted by this opaque investigation.
A few interesting links on the subject:
A Cheat Sheet to get acquainted with the participants.
In other words, instead of blowing sky high, the volcano may simply snore loudly, roll over, and go back to sleep. And as Dean points out, since all the testimony Fitzgerald has collected is covered by the grand jury secrecy laws, we may never know what he found.
One can easily imagine the howls of protest on the left, and the smug satisfaction on the right, should this come to pass. It would be particularly bitter finale for those of us who all along have regarded the Plame outing as a proxy for the more fundamental crimes committed along the march to war in Iraq.
Unlike some (see Justin Raimondo's last two columns, for example) I've never had more than a forlorn hope that Fitzgerald would delve into the Niger forgeries, the Chalabi connection, the Office of Special Plans, the Downing Street Memos or any of the other investigative leads into the heart of the neocon conspiracy. Nor have I seen any evidence -- or even plausible speculation -- that would lead me to believe Fitzgerald has expanded his probe beyond the immediate matter at hand: the leak of Valerie Plame's identity and CIA affiliation. But, like most hardcore Cheney administration haters, I've been content with the busting-Al-Capone-for-tax-evasion metaphor. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld: You go to war with the indictments you can prove, not the ones you'd like to prove.
But there's a special reason this scandal is so personally satisfying to me as a media critic. It's because elite journalism is on trial. Powerful journalists are playing the role usually played in these scandals by besieged White House operatives. They're in the witness dock. It's a New York Times reporter who is failing to recall key facts...mysteriously locating misplaced documents...being leaned on to synchronize alibis.
Elite journalism is at the center of Weaponsgate, and it can't extricate itself from the scandal. Because, at its core, Weaponsgate (or, if you're in a hurry, "Wargate") is about how the White House and media institutions jointly sold a war based on deception -- and how the White House turned to these media institutions to neutralize a war critic who challenged the deception.
A particularly cute quote from Billmon:
Of course, everybody’s free to indulge in their favorite theories about Whose Behind It All. After all, we are talking about the era of "dark actors playing their games," to quote the conveniently dead David Kelly. Like Watergate, this is one of those cases where paranoid conspiracy theories are simply alternative rough drafts of history.
Posted on 26 Oct 2005
The new Manu Chao album Siberie m'etait contéee... is wonderful. The lyrics are the best that Manu has put out so far and I can only understand half of them. If you were looking for an excuse to learn french, this is it.
I was only able to order this from Amazon.fr. There must be a cheaper choice. If I did not have a busy schedule it would have been just as expensive to fly to Paris and get back to get the CD.
Posted on 25 Oct 2005
A discussion forum is available here and various Ajaxy controls are available from their Subversion repository:
svn co https://svn.borgworx.net/SVN/BorgWorX/trunk/Web/
Posted on 24 Oct 2005
Is the era of Ali-G over?
Update: Bastien Nocera points out that it is over, but there are a couple of Sasha movies coming out. Its the end of an era.
Posted on 24 Oct 2005
Edd Dumbill interviewed Chia-liang Kao, the creator of SVK, a distributed version control system layered on top of Subversion:
SVK allows distributed development using existing infrastructure, which means you don't need to deploy a new system for your whole organization. SVK works best with Subversion, but you can also seamlessly branch from CVS, Perforce, or even git repositories. SVK lets you commit directly back to Subversion repositories and "commit as a patch" to other systems or to Subversion repositories you don't have commit access to. Such patches can then be applied by the maintainer, using either a regular patch tool, or SVK, which also will help filling the commit log.
It makes things easier for contributors to open source projects to maintain their patches as a local branch and accept changes from upstream, rather than being treated like second-class citizens who have to deal with patch hell just because they can't commit. You can do this with many other version control systems using "vendor branches," but mostly they require too much work to maintain a short-lived branch just for a patch or two that haven't yet been reviewed and committed.
Open source projects sometimes fork because it's too hard to integrate branches that have diverged too much. Painless merge makes it much easier to branch instead of fork.
John Osborn interviews Anders Hejlsberg at O'Reilly. Mostly focused on the new features in C# 2.0 with a little touch of how they are used to build 3.0 features.
Posted on 23 Oct 2005
Light patches of slashdot comments and a heavy downpour of porn later in the evening.
Posted on 20 Oct 2005
Tonight at 11:30pm, in Comedy Central, after the Daily Show. The premier of "The Colbert Report".
Posted on 17 Oct 2005
Sebastien posted an update on the state of Code Access Security (CAS) in Mono:
Today, actually this has been true for quite a while, we are able to run all of corlib's unit tests without any failure, including an additional 301 CAS specifc tests (i.e. that aren't normally executed). We can also execute all
System.Drawing.dllunit tests without requiring, or even demanding, UnmanagedCode permissions. We also have a great coverage (including 2450 CAS specific tests) for
System.Web.dllwith perfect results (except for a small mcs bug on partial classes) and a few more tests (18) for
Make sure you read the rest of Sebastien's post if CAS is of interest to you.
Mikael Hallendal from Imendio unveiled their effort to port Gtk to OSX. They had not done much publicity before as they wanted to get some code working first. Anders Carlson is behind this effort. Hopefully we will see the community pick up and a nice theme to integrate the apps with the native look of the Mac happen.
Also see the GIMP running without on OSX without X11.
These are fantastic news for Gtk# users.
Erik points to an interesting inteview:
Posted on 06 Oct 2005