GoDaddy + Hoder = Outrageous

Hoder and GoDaddy

While I am the first to admit I’m a little on the cranky side, it actually takes quite a lot to trip my moral outrage switch.

But GoDaddy has tripped it in spectacular style.

The well-known blogger Hoder is a dual Canadian/Iranian citizen who is generally considered to be the daddy of Iranian blogging. He has written passionately about politics and censorship, been published in mainstream publications including the Guardian, and visited Israel in 2007 as a citizen journalist and peace activist.

On November 1, 2008 (almost exactly a year ago), Hoder was arrested while visiting his family in Tehran, probably because of that visit to Israel. He has since spent at least ten months in solitary confinement, and has been repeatedly beaten and tortured. He may still be facing the death penalty.

His domain is registered at GoDaddy., and thus the site housing the online archive of his writing, expires in 21 days. Many, many  members of MetaFilter, where Hoder is also a member, are more than willing to fork over the renewal fee to preserve his domain while he’s imprisoned. GoDaddy’s response to this request has been thus:

They refused citing security issues. However, if any of Hoder’s family can provide his password or the last 6 digits of the credit card used to register, the company will allow renewal, even with a different CC.


Would GoDaddy like the Iranian police to beat that Visa number out of Hoder? Perhaps his family should stop their efforts to get their son released and instead expend energy requesting he be “interviewed” to get his GoDaddy password?

This attitude is frankly beyond indifferent and appalling and into territory previously uncharted by my vocabulary. I am literally at a loss to find the adjectives to describe how stunning this is.

This is a problem that is very easily solved by simply crediting Hoder’s hosting and domain account, and would already be solved by any company that hadn’t had its last ounce of human decency sucked out of its mindless, bureaucratic soul. This requires nothing more than a little ordinary customer service in an extraordinary situation.

There appear to be actual people behind the @GoDaddyGuy account on Twitter. Let us hope that Twitter requests to renew #hoder’s domain registration will be treated with vastly more compassion than GoDaddy has shown to date.

They could hardly show less.

He Did It

Quite honestly, I wept last night. More than once.

I never thought I would live to see this. This is so much more than a Democratic win; this is a turning point in American history. I honestly thought the US was too divided, too suspicious, too protectionist to elect a black man to the presidency in my lifetime.

I was wrong. After eight long years, I was willing and ready to elect any democratic candidate; the DNC gave me my dream candidate. But I never, for one minute, believed that he’d be elected. I loved him, I supported him, I donated to him, and God did I ever want change, but I simply did not believe the US had changed enough in the last 40 years to put this worthy man in the White House.

It has. And though he ran on a promise of change, the fact that America was willing to elect him – to donate, to campaign, to phone bank, to canvass, to work, to fight, to vote to elect him – means the change has already begun.

No matter what he does in his presidency, the impact of that change will reverberate for generations. For millions of children, the literally unimaginable barrier has been broken. And if he can, they can.

And I am so very, very happy he did.

Election Night Party Kick-Off

I forgot to mention: we’ll be kicking off around 8PM, so feel free to come by at any point from then. We’ll keep the Obama Family Chili warm for whenever you turn up!

Again, we’re at 18 Gilabbey Street, which is at the bottom of College Road, and if you get lost we’re on 021 234 9938.

Election Night Party

Come one, come all, to the greatest show on Earth: the 2008 US election. We’re quietly getting excited about an Obama win over here on Gilabbey Street. Me and Election Projection Stats Junkie Nerd Boy are gearing up for a long night of election returns on the fourth of November, and you are cordially invited to geek out with us and color in happy little blue states on your very own electoral map.

There will be Obama Family Chili, Baked Alaska, stars and stripes cupcakes, beer, wine and plenty of fuel for late night revelers. Obviously, you’re free to go home well before the California results start to roll in after 5 AM, but we’ll be up all night. At that point I’ll be weeping with unbridled joy or lighting my passport on fire, but either way it looks like it will be quite a night.

Assuming we can gather up at least half a dozen people for a couple of hours that evening, we’ll add party games like Pundit Bingo, Who Wants to Be an American Citizen, and an electoral vote sweepstakes. You are welcome to bring your pyjamas, and we’ll bundle you and your teddy into a taxi when you’ve had your fill of election night fun.

RSVP in the comments below, and sincerely, whoever you are, we’d love to have some company on the night.

PS: I will be taking the Tuesday and Wednesday off. Because after eight long years of this horseshit, I deserve it.

McCain Raises an Army – Of Dead White Guys

McCain Hoover

I noticed this in the last debate, but it became very striking in this one, just because the repetition of the theme made it noticeable. As we all know, McCain is not a young man. He’s 72 years old, and his age has been an issue in this election. Despite the importance of this issue, especially given his choice of Palin as his VP pick, someone on the McCain team has utterly failed to kick a very telling habit out of him in debate prep.

He’s standing there on stage next to a vibrant, engaged, youthful opponent, and the political references McCain made were to:

  • Herbert Hoover – Born August 10, 1874. Current age: 134. (Dead.)
  • Teddy Kennedy – Born February 22, 1932. Current age: 76. (Dying.)
  • Tip O’Neill – Born December 9, 1912. Current age: 95. (Dead.)
  • Ronald Reagan – Born February 6, 1911. Current age: 97. (Dead.)
  • Teddy Roosevelt – Born October 27, 1858. Current age: 150. (Dead.)

McCain’s reference points for political leadership have an average age of more than 110. The youngest person mentioned is Reagan, who would only be two years older than McCain were he not mulching flower beds in California. They are uniformly white, uniformly male, and almost uniformly dead.

This is not how to position yourself as contemporary, forward looking and in touch with the electorate when your age and the VP who will take over your job when you keel over and die in office are your chief liabilities. I don’t think it lost him the debate or anything (though I do think he lost it), but it is something I haven’t seen mentioned in the press, so I thought I’d throw it out there.

I Win at Sarah Palin Bingo

Sarah Palin Bingo WIN

John and I stayed up to watch the Vice Presidential Debate, and at the suggestion of Maman Poulet, we decided to play Sarah Palin Bingo. Suzy also offered up a feminist political drinking game, but once she and I realised that it was late and we were old and were going to have to play with cups of tea instead of shots, we decided it wasn’t worth it.

So bingo it was. And every time Palin used some predictable conservative dogwhistle phrase, I got to tick a box on my card. To my great annoyance, the woman banged on and on and on about natural gas, pipelines and energy independence, but never actually said “foreign oil.” Eventually, however, I was able to yell BINGO! with the predictable arrival of the National Guard.

The second time I got to yell BINGO I decided that I owned Sarah Palin’s ass. In the grand tradition of Alaska, I am now considering auctioning her off on Ebay, because I certainly don’t want her.

Do I hear one dollar?

I'm An American. Who Do I Sue?

Federal Spam - Not So Tasty

A couple of weeks ago I took the early morning train up to Dublin to renew my accidentally expired passport. The US Embassy in Dublin is open for approximately 3 hours each morning, 4 days a week, so this meant getting on the very first train from Cork and I still barely made it before they closed for what is presumably a 21 hour lunch.

Entering the compound one might politely describe as The Ugliest Building in Dublin was a very bizarre experience. In the US, I’m used to armed police on the streets, metal detectors in schools and heavy security at shopping malls. In Ireland, none of that happens. So it is extremely disconcerting to find ones self in Ballsbridge, entering an already freaky compound through something that very closely approximates airport security complete with uniformed guards, a metal detector, an x-ray belt for my handbag, and the requirement to leave both my phone and my nail scissors at the checkpoint. I spent more than a moment wondering if I was being shielded from a potential hostage situation or actually be taken hostage.

Neither event came to pass and everyone was exceedingly nice, from the guards to the cashier to the lovely French woman who helped me complete my application. My new passport was required for our mortgage paperwork, so I was anxious to get it back as soon as possible and minimise any delays. When the form asked for my email address, I provided it willingly so that the consulate could have one more way of contacting me if there were any issues.

There was no opt in/opt out checkbox and no disclaimer or fine print of any kind, so I naturally assumed my email address would be used only for purposes pertaining to the application on which I provided it.

Today, three days after the prompt delivery of my shiny new passport, I received an email from – something long and rambling to do with absentee ballots and Minnesota. Here it is in all its spammy glory:

Spam glorious spam… click for full version

First of all, I have no idea what they’re on about, nor do I care. I have never lived in Minnesota and doubt I could locate it on a map if challenged to do so. I have certainly never voted in Minnesota, and voting information specific to Minnesota is irrelevant to me – as it is to every other US expat in Ireland who is from any of the 49 states not named Minnesota.

Second of all, and far more irritating, is the following:

  • I have no idea what this list is. It is not identified in any way in the footer. The sender, likewise, is unidentified.
  • I did not ask to be on this list, and at no point was I told that my information would be used for what amounts to federal spam.
  • Most importantly, there is no mechanism provided for me to opt out of this list now that I’m on it.

I am, to say the least, irate. I have an immediate need to drop someone’s trousers and hand out a suitably painful, lesson-instilling spanking. I am absolutely positive that this practice must break a US or EU spam law, and I am old and crotchety and spoiling for a law suit.

I don’t want to write a letter to some dusty office in Dublin, Brussels or Minnesota; I want to haul someone into court and beat them up for their pocket change, because I am exactly that pissed off.

So tell me, dear interpipes, who do I sue? Seriously.

2007: The Year in Review

2007: A Year in Review

Knowing I can’t do better than Twenty Major’s list of AsshatPalooza 2007, or Bock The Robber’s, is something of a bummer. So, I’ve decided to construct the only 2007 recap that will put John Gormley and Britney Spears on the same list. These are the 10 bodies I’d like to thank for making my year worth while, for better or for worse.

10. Senator David Norris

The man is a legend. A hero of long standing, lobbying for human rights and gay marriage, and a quick wit not afraid to call a dog license a dog license. How can anyone not utterly adore him? I swear, I want a David Norris teddy bear for Christmas. (Naturally, I will name it Muhammad.) He is also permanently dignified despite all the ridiculous crap he has to put up with. God love him.

09. Katie French

If for nothing else, for finally alerting those of us who are slightly slower than the other children in the class to what a pack of rat bastards the Indo are. Actually, there is nothing else, but that’s beside the point.

08. Galway City Council

I applaud them for their exemplary environmental activism and resource conservation by ceasing delivery of clean drinking water to the citizens of their city for 157 straight days. And counting. I also commend them for their unique cultural exchange initiative to introduce Galway’s residents to the delicate bouquet of imported bottled water. Tip: Pellegrino with lemon, Perrier with lime.

07. Every Corrupt Broker and Every Rent Boy in the USA

The Republican party purge this year has been extraordinary. Extraordinary in its breadth and extraordinary in the depth of my unmitigated glee. So on behalf of disgruntled Americans everywhere, I would personally like to thank every corrupt corporation in the US that ever gave a bribe to or did a shady land deal with a Republican politician, and especially each and every rent boy these Republicans promptly turned around and gave the cash to.

I love you, each and every one of you. Call me, we’ll do Prada.

06. Justine Delaney Wilson

I’m sure her book High Society and the RTE segment of the same monniker were named with a simple pun in mind. But rather than conjouring images of middle class managers and local TDs doing blow off their Blackberrys, I thought the thing was named after the prominent porn magazine and was looking forward to CEOs and a cabinet minister or two doing eight balls off the sturdy breasts of and pert buttocks of prostitutes and rent boys (respectively). I was terribly disappointed, and urge Ms Delaney Wilson to make up much more prurient real life stories next time. Please.

05. John Gormley and Dan Boyle

For the negotiations that brought the Green Party into coalition with Fianna Fáil, and the Green Party into Irish government for the first time in the party’s 25 year history. And for actually doing something with their new posts, which is really enough of a revolution for the moment. Plus I can flog all my old lightbulbs to the UK on Ebay now. Result!

04. Britney Spears

For the sheer entertainment value. Way, way better than Paris Hilton for jaw-dropping, inadvertent hilarity, from her shaved head to her shaved hoohoo. We desperately need a home grown version to liven up the evening news.

I can’t imagine how you missed it, but this year’s album reads like a confessional transcript. Named Blackout (no, seriously, it is), the CD contains tracks titled Gimme More (This Rehab Stint Is Like, So Not For Me), Freakshow (My Tabloid Life in 2007) and Why I Should Be Sad (That I Cannot Find My Own Knickers). Given recent reports, I think there’s room on the album for a remix of Oops, I Did It Again (And Got Knocked Up Straight Away).

03. Wolff Olins

Wolff Olins, “the world’s most influential brand business” accomplished the year’s most brilliant hoax by unveiling an exec’s doodle of Lisa Simpson giving a blow job as the 2012 Olympics logo. For their efforts, they won accolades for being “edgy” “dynamic” “innovative” and “young.” They also won £400,000, proving definitively that for a desperate ad executive, “impossible is nothing” – especially when you have crayons and a sense of humour in your arsenal.

02. John Smeaton and His Internet Friends

Obvious hurrah and well done to the have a go Glasgow airport hero who had his go during the airport un-bombing. His reward: a bunch of medals and honours… and 1,400 pints bought for him online at the Glasgow Airport Holiday Inn. You can buy him one, too.

01. Miss D

More than 100,000 women have traveled to Britain for abortions in the past 25 years. No woman makes this trip easily. And for women living in poverty, women who must care for small children, women with unsupportive partners, the journey is incredibly difficult. For Miss D, living in care and pregnant with a fetus that could not survive after birth, the journey was almost made impossible by opposition from the HSE, who sought an injunction to bar her from travel to Britain. She won her case when Mr Justice Liam McKechnie told the HSE where to shove it, and further noted that

Miss D had showed courage, integrity and maturity and had also displayed sound moral judgment by refusing to say she was suicidal when she was not.

Courage and integrity being words rarely applied to opposing council’s client. You go, girl. And a happy, healthy, peaceful New Year to you, too.

Can I get my donated blood back?

You know the country’s healthcare system is really fucked when we’re witholding treatment from people desperate for it while foisting it on people who don’t want it.

Currently at the High Court is a woman who refused a life-saving blood transfusion in a Dublin maternity hospital, despite hemmoraging 80% of her blood after giving birth. She’s brought suit against the hospital that got a court order to force her to have the transfusion against her wishes. And I hope she wins.

The hospital contends Ms K’s constitutional rights to freedom of conscience and the free practice of religion did not allow her to decline appropriate medical treatment.

The hospital can contend whatever they like, but the hospital is wrong. I mean really: allow her to decline treatment? We need a hospital’s permission to say “don’t do that to me” now? Because I’m pretty confident that person best placed to decide what constitutes “appropriate medical treatment” for me is me.

After reading all the huffing and puffing in the comments over at Twenty Major, I can’t help but think that people really have the wrong end of various sticks on this issue. The issue is not:

  • That she originally lied and gave her religion as Catholic;
  • That she is in fact a Jehovah’s Witness;
  • That she made her choice knowing she would likely die;
  • That she is from the Congo, that she is here illegally, or that she is seeking asylum.

The issue is really simple: she’s an adult, capable of making her own decisions about her medical care. She made one, emphatically, and the medical professionals around her overrode her. They violated her wishes, and her bodily integrity, and performed a medical procedure without her consent.

(It’s also really complicated: this case smacks of issues of a patriarchal medical establishment, the particular dis-empowerment of women giving birth in hospitals, the rise of the Nanny State, religious intolerance, racism, and institutional misogyny. But none of those issues are being addressed in this court case – or anywhere else I can find, for that matter.)

What’s interesting to me is that nobody accused the women victimised at Lourdes Hospital of being out of order when they sought financial compensation for unlawful hysterectomies. The issue here is largely similar – a procedure they did not want, performed without their consent.

I’m not a legal professional, but it seems to me the transfusions in this case were equally unlawful. It’s simply irrelevant who she is, where she’s from or even why she refused them.

Everyone currently sounding off about how she’s an ungrateful asylum seeker bilking the government for money and should be deported so this case quietly goes away ought to be hoping that she wins. Because even if she is deported, the rest of us still have to live here after she’s gone – and the laws that failed to protect her are the same laws that are supposed to protect the rest of us.

Dan Wishes Me a Happy Kwanza

Not an actual card from Dan Boyle

OK no not really. But we did get a card from Dan Boyle through the door this morning, one that wishes us a happy holiday season.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate this, especially in a country that is 95% Christian. (The 88.4% Roman Catholic bit isn’t really relevant to my joy.) Getting “Merry Christmas” cards irritates me because they make annoying assumptions about the recipients and reinforce a mistaken notion of what’s normal (and normative) in this day and age.

Also not a card sent by Dan Boyle

Oh, and drive carefully on that suburban estate of yours this Christmas, okay?

As my mother says, language counts.

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