Loren Heal

Apr 12

NSA Used Heartbleed Attack, Failed To Warn Of Its Danger | FreedomWorks -

If you hear about this “Heartbleed” security flaw, you should know it’s the result of a basic programming error, which I explain briefly at the link. The National Security Agency is one of the groups security researchers have implicitly trusted to vet their work. Now it turns out that the NSA was vetting security products all right, but not always disclosing flaws, leaving literally billions of people at risk.

Beyond the immediate damage of the Heartbleed attack itself, this scandal shows that far from aiding in the security of computer software, the NSA should be treated as actively hostile to it.

May 23

Help Send @LHeal to #Oklahoma

Update: I’m not going after all. All donations will be refunded.

Going at this time would have put too much strain on my family.


I’m headed to Oklahoma to help out this weekend. I have a pickup truck, a chainsaw, and some shovels. I plan to buy some water and baby wipes and accept donations along the way.


It will cost me a few hundred dollars. Any donations I take in above my expenses will be donated to The Salvation Army, Mercury One, or the Red Cross.

If you prefer,  donate to another organization.

May 21

The Oklahoma chapter of Americans for Prosperity (twitter: @AFPOK):

Send donations to the Salvation Army Disaster Relief at



Or text “storm” to 80888.

Ready to do tumblr again. 

Aug 14

Me, too.

Reviving my tumbler.

Dec 19

Another Reason Lugar Must Go #INSen -

Dick Lugar (R-IN) has been a Senator for so long, he’s lost touch with the way things work outside the Senate cloakroom. Lugar called for the House to pass the Senate’s bill that extends the current payroll tax rate by two months because it was “best for the country”. Yet as The Right Sphere reports, that will cause huge problems for the businesses who have to implement it. A little common sense would show why. Businesses that calculate payroll taxes do so with accounting payroll software. It takes time for these non-trivial changes to software and business practices to be implemented. A payroll tax switchover is already cooked in to most accounting packages, so that the planned payroll tax changes will happen automatically when current law would have them change (Jauary 1). Because payroll software needs accuracy, any significant alteration will take weeks to plan and execute, passing the window for the extension. As Rep Renee Ellmers (R,NC02) said in her press release:

Last week we passed a bill here in the House that extends the payroll tax cut for a full year. But instead of passing the House bill, or another bill which extended the payroll credit for a year, the Democrats in the Senate opted for a meager two month extension…that’s the definition of uncertainty!

The Senate refuses to do the job they were elected to do and is being irresponsible. They have not even passed a budget in over 950 days and now are kicking the can down the road again by only extending the payroll tax for a mere two months. A two month payroll tax extension is a disgrace. Americans have enough uncertainty with their jobs and homes. Senator Reid is kicking them while they’re down with this proposal.
Senator Lugar has ceased to understand the needs of Indiana, and should yield the floor to a new generation.

Dec 16

HHS ObamaCare Targets Insurance Companies Again -

The Department of Health and Human Services is sprinting like mad to get ObamaCare implemented ahead of the 2013 inauguration of President Obama’s successor, trying to cement as much of the law as possible state and federal bureaucracy. Today they promulgate more in their ever-expanding set of regulations about what is and is not insurance. The result will limit consumer choice and force more and more onto Medicaid.

HHS says state governments should pick one of the health plans available in their state as a “benchmark”, but by that they mean “baseline”: plans offered after the determination is made could only be more generous than the selected plan.

This approach, like the rest of ObamaCare, can only serve to narrow the number of choices consumers have, forcing more and more insurance companies out of the marketplace altogether.

The end result will be more and more people who are forced to choose Medicaid as their health insurance, while many others are unable to afford insurance altogether.

Dec 14

NTSB Power Grab -

In a move well outside its charter, the National Transportatation Safety Board on December 13 called for the 50 states to ban the use of texting and other electronic communications in moving vehicles.


NTSB couches its outrageous power grab in terms few would dispute, that “No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.”

But the bargain the texter faces is not to trade his life for a single call, text, or update, but rather an increased risk that he will be insufficiently attentive to the driving task while engaged with the portable device.

According to the NTSB’s press release itself, there are more cell phones in use in the U.S. than there are people. So (taking the NTSB’s causality statistics arguendo) if there are 3,100 deaths per year due to cell phone use while driving, then less than 1 in 100,000 cell phones “causes” a traffic death every year.

More precisely, suppose, given the statistics here:


that roughly 20% of drivers are regular texters. That would mean that of the 930 billion vehicle miles driven by Americans every year,


about 180 billion miles are driven by regular texters.

Over the course of 180 billion miles, 3,100 deaths yield one death for every 58 million miles.

Yes, talking on the phone is risky, as is texting, updating Facebook, or changing radio stations.

But every time we allow the government to restrict our ability to take risks, we take one more incremental step toward a soft, pillowy totalitarian world in which we exist endlessly and live not at all.

Aug 09

The Incomparable @SarahPalinUSA -

As a writer, I am continually impressed by Sarah Palin’s ability to do the writer’s job: convey meaning as efficiently as possible. By efficiently, I mean so that the words we use do not get in the way of understanding. The reader neither has to struggle with a definition or sentence construct, nor wonder why she didn’t use some polysyllabic parallelism.

Some highbrow types might think that’s a left-handed compliment, but it isn’t. It’s a full on tip of the hat from an aspiring wordsmith to his better.

But the test of a pundit is not just the ability to convey meaning, but the ability to grasp it, divine the important parts, and write about them.

Read the linked essay on the downgrade of the US credit rating, and what’s important for us now.

Jul 25

It's not clueless flipflopping, though. (h/t @mkhammer) -

Even though the president says stuff he has no reasonable anticipation of being able to back up, he’s the reasonable, one according to Associate Depressed,