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day permlink Friday, 20 December 2002

permlink New Nigerian Scam

Some scams are more obvious than others. The famous "Nigerian" e-mail scams are easy to spot and ignore (though they're apparently pretty successful, which makes me despair for my fellow sentients), but someone's added a wrinkle which makes the bait a little bit more plausible to some people.

Nigerian Net Scam, Version 3.0 [Wired News]
This time, the scammers pose as potential buyers for big-ticket items, like cars, listed for sale online. The buyer explains that a business associate in the United States will mail the seller a cashier's check for the amount of the item plus the cost to transport it overseas. The seller is asked to wire the transportation fees to the buyer once the check has cleared so the buyer can arrange for shipment.

But a week or so after the check clears and the money has been wired, victims are notified by their banks that the check was counterfeited.

Scam victims admit they initially were skeptical when the deal was brokered, but after receiving and depositing a cashier's check that cleared, they assumed all was well. The scam takes advantage of a little-known loophole in the U.S. banking system...
What it comes down to is: don't believe e-mail from strangers which require money from you, even if they can send you checks which initially clear. permlink  

permlink Illinois quarters

Illinois quarters are coming January 2nd [U.S. Mint]
The Illinois quarter's reverse design depicts a young Abraham Lincoln within the outline of the state. A farm scene appears on the left of the outline of the state and the Chicago skyline is on the right of the outline. Twenty-one stars border the coin, signifying Illinois as the 21st state to be admitted into the Union on December 3, 1818.
The U.S. Mint has a nice page full of reasonably hi-res image files of current coinage, but no Illinois image just yet.

The state's website has it though. permlink     1 comment(s)  
I ordered my 4 mint rolls from the official website on 2 January 2003, and amazingly, they just got in yesterday, 6 January 2003. The IL coins have the date "2003", which makes me wonder how they came up with my order so fast. Maybe they minted a mess of IL quarters in the last week of 2002, only they were not monetarized (e.g., commissioned as legal tender) until the 2nd. This is bugging me. 2003 is not 2002, and 2 + 2 .ne. 5. Bo
      ...posted by Bo on January 7, 2003 3:22 PM
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permlink You, Your Luggage and You

If flying this holiday season, you might want to browse this article: TSA Issues Tips For Checked Bags [Washington Post]
The Transportation Security Administration added a whole new list of guidelines for what is and is not recommended when packing checked luggage. Food should be avoided, shoes should be packed on top and books should not be stacked, for example.

Perhaps the most surprising recommendation for a federal security agency: Luggage should not be locked. Otherwise, security officials who need to check inside the bag may have to break the locks, the TSA said.

Noting that federal agents have arrested airport workers with records of felony and other violations, Charles G. Slepian, a former security consultant for TWA, wonders about the wisdom of not locking luggage...

The agency suggests that passengers pack personal items, such as toiletries, in plastic bags so screeners can clearly see what's inside without having to open it ... pack books in a single layer at the bottom ...
Some of it seems like a manual for slipping things past security, but I suppose that's unavoidable.

The official document: TSA Updates New Guidelines for Passengers Checking Baggage permlink  

permlink Lott out

Buh-bye: Lott to Step Down as GOP Leader [Washington Post]
"In the interest of pursuing the best possible agenda for the future of our country, I will not seek to remain as majority leader of the United States Senate for the 108th Congress, effective Jan. 6, 2003. To all those who offered me their friendship, support and prayers, I will be eternally grateful. I will continue to serve the people of Mississippi in the United States Senate."

"There's a fast-moving momentum building up for Bill Frist," Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) told reporters last night after meeting with Frist at the Republican Senate campaign headquarters near the Capitol. "I can assure you the [Frist] team is growing very quickly."
Christmas came early for the Republicans (the primary beneficiaries of Lott not being in the public eye).

Goodwill Lacking by William Powers [National Journal]
Why do some transgressors become such pariahs that they are driven out of public life... while others not only survive their ignominy but go on to prosper?

Based on the events of the last week, we can safely place Lott among the goodwill-deficient. It's true his story took several days to get traction, but once it did, it soon became clear that very few people in politics or the media had warm feelings of any kind about the Senate majority leader. If goodwill were a bank account, Lott had a shockingly low balance, especially for someone who has been in public life for so long and risen so high.
I've often wondered how this would have played out differently if Lott were actually a skilled legislator and respected party leader; then again, if he were, I doubt he would have made such a huge mistake in the first place.

And the folks (some of whom call in to TV and radio with astonishingly stupid things to spew) who blame this scandal on 'liberals' going after Lott underestimate both the self-interest of Democrats who would have preferred that he stay as a punching bag and the dissatisfaction of Republicans who actually didn't want someone like him in charge. permlink  

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