September 2005 Archives

This is brutal (Heh)

The website is in German but the context is easy to figure out. A Cow-Orker goes out to lunch and leaves their system connected to the net? Download one of these spiffy screens and watch them blow their latte when they see what seems to be a broken LCD.

Love among the Landmines

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An interesting story about minefields and the penguins who thrive in them. From Planet Ark:
Penguins Find Peace in Falklands War Minefields
KIDNEY COVE, Falkland Islands - There's a mating ritual going on in the minefield.

Fortunately the would-be lovers are penguins, too light to detonate the deadly mines laid more than two decades ago during a war on the far-flung Falkland Islands.

Thousands of penguins and other feathered and amphibious friends choose to nest and rest in no-go zones. The British estimate that some 25,000 land mines, mostly sown by Argentine forces in the 1982 war with Britain, remain.

On a recent day, the squawking penguins were busily finding partners, preparing nests and waddling about the mating grounds.

Wildlife numbers in the mined areas appear to be on the rise and conservationists cannot hide their enthusiasm about this unorthodox form of protecting lands previously trampled by people or overgrazed by sheep.

It is the bright spot in a long-term land mine problem -- one that is not likely to go away because de-mining is difficult, if not impossible, in the peaty soils and shifting sands of this South Atlantic archipelago.
And Argentina has done what about these mines? A very cool story indeed but not exactly the way I would go about creating a nature reserve...

Bear Kissing

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Ohhh Kaaayyy... Actually, this would be kind of cool. I love critters. From Canadian CTV:
Alberta's bear-kissing booth back in business
A controversial kissing booth is back in business, after the owners of an Alberta zoo decided offering guests a chance to pose for pictures -- smooching a bear -- wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Animal rights activists had lobbied to shut the attraction down, insisting that a bear kissing booth sends the wrong message about the dangers bears pose to people.

To those who run the Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail, Alberta though, they're doing it for the love of the animals.

For nearly 40 years, Ruth LaBarge has been training Kodiak and Black bears to appear on the silver screen. In all that time she's grown to love the animals, and isn't afraid to show it.

So, LaBarge is offering visitors to the modest Alberta zoo a chance to watch the trained bears share a smooch. And, for a small price, guests can get a kiss of their own from a brown bear named Ali Oop.

After a summer during which three people were killed and several others injured in bear attacks across the country, critics say the idea is not just silly -- it's stupid and dangerous.

A campaign led by the Toronto-based animal rights group Zoocheck Canada prompted the park to put a stop to the ursine embraces.

But an influx of supportive letters from the public convinced the zookeepers to let the bears pucker up again.

"They just need to lash out, they're an animal activist group that doesn't really look after animals, they just need some publicity," the zoo's co-owner Doug Bos told CTV News.

And besides, the zoo insists the kissing booth is just a small part of a larger twice-daily presentation about wild bear safety.

"I'm not sure if it's okay," Ryan Kelley said when asked whether he'd let his children smack lips with a bear. "But I've read enough about it, and we've seen ads for it on the TV. If my kids want to kiss the bear, I'll let them kiss the bear."
The "Activists" need to make a stand but their stand is not based on knowledge and education. These are bears that were raised with humans and could not survive in the wild. The very fact that their people let them interact with movie actors on various sets shows that these people feel that these critters are well socialized and not a threat. These people do have forty years experience with bears...

A dissection of an image

Zombie lives near the San Francisco area and takes photographs of the various "Leftist" "Pacifist" demonstrations that seem to happen like clockwork in that town.

Here he shows the context behind one image that is getting a lot of press these days -- this one:


A very powerful image. But... He pulls the lens back a little bit to show the context:


An adult managing a group of kids -- each one with the same pre-printed bandanna. Now rotate around a little bit and take another look:


The adult's Tee-Shirt is bearing the flag of the Communist Nation of North Vietnam.

Nope -- no bias here, just us America-Loving people who are lobbying for a different outcome.

One more favorable to those who would tear us down. Pitiful Quisling wanna-bees...

LiftPort Group

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Interesting website -- these people are trying to build a Space Elevator. A Space Elevator involves a rope with one end attached to the Earth and the other end attached to a large mass a bit outside of the Geosynchronous orbit (26,000 miles). Linear electric motors lift an elevator cab from Earth to Orbit (the energy from the descending cabs would be recycled). The energy (and cost) to lift one pound to Orbit is a fraction of what it costs today with chemical rockets. Reliability is a lot better too. Very cool stuff -- this is the future of space travel...

A Joke

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From an email list:
A woman walked into the kitchen to find
her husband stalking around with a fly swatter.

"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Hunting Flies" he responded.
"Oh. Killing any?" she asked.

"Yep, 3 males, 2 Females," he replied.
Intrigued, she asked, "How can you tell?"

He responded, "3 were on a beer can,
2 were on the phone."

Barbra Streisand -- Climatologist

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Barbra Streisand has a depth to her that I never knew about. Not only having a career as actress and singer, it seems that she is an expert in climatology. The Drudge Report has a report on this previously unknown talent and delivers a much needed smackdown to her self-centered idiocy.
This summer's back to back superstorms are proof positive we have entered a new period of "global warming emergency," artist/citizen Barbra Streisand warns.

Streisand is back on the scene to promote her reunion disc with Barry Gibb.

As hellstorm "Rita" churned in the Gulf, Streisand sat down for a promotional interview with ABCNEWS's Diane Sawyer.

"We are in a global warming emergency state, and that these storms are going to become more frequent, more intense," Streisand urgently declares.
The Drudge Report then goes on to review a bit of history:
But Sawyer did not remind Streisand that a category 5 hurricane struck the Bahamas with 160 mph winds -- when the singer was five years old, in 1947.

And when Streisand was 8 years old, a hurricane -- named "Dog" -- packing 185 mph churned-away in the Atlantic!

When she was 9, a storm named "Easy" ripped the seas with 160 mph sustained winds!

Streisand was 13 years old when "Janet" hit Mexico with 150 mph winds.

Streisand was celebrating her sweet sixteen as "Cleo" formed with 140 mph winds.

At 18, Streisand read news about "Donna" AND "Ethel" -- both storms carried 140 mph winds and formed 9 days apart in 1960!

Streisand was 19 when it happened again -- two Category 5 storms scared the world: "Carla" and "Hattie." "Carla" maxed out at 175 mph winds the year Streisand made her television debut on "The Jack Paar Show" in 1961.

And who could forget Hurricane "Camille" -- which smashed into the United States with 190 mph, just as "Funny Girl" garners eight Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture and one for Barbra as Best Actress.
Clueless Ninny...

Awww Crap...

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One of my favorite people on the Blogroll just lost his house and four cats to fire. Dale at Mostly Cajun writes:
Still alive, but battered...
This is my post-storm post...

I have lived through this one. We sat out the storm proper in a rural home in Ragley, Louisiana. As each rain band passed us, the winds howled and trees swayed. At dawn the light revealed a few pine trees down in the large yard, but no damage to the house.

Nephew and I got out and removed our vehicles from the adjacent pasture where we�d parked them to keep them from damage by falling trees. We took his pickup truck and headed out to see if we could make our way to his house to survey damage. To get out of the rural area, we had to use the truck and a tow strap to drag fallen trees off the road. WE DID THIS. We didn�t wait for FEMA or any other government agency to come to our rescue. We helped our neighbors, because they had chainsaws removing other fallen trees. As we made our way out of the woods to the main road, that was the scene. Everywhere we turned, plain ol� people were out clearing trees and debris off the roads so that things could start going back to normal.
Mostly Cajun goes to get some equipment and comes home to find:
When I got back, smoke was pouring out of my house. I called 9-1-1 to report the fire. After I finished reporting, I ran to the house to see if I could break in windows to let out my cats, but the smoke and the fierce heat coming off the building were so much that I couldn�t get within a few yards.

The local fire department responded very fast, but when they got there, the community water system was dry, killed by Hurrican Rita. They called for assistance from several nearby fire departments who transported water in, but the house was a total loss.

Did you ever think about what you lose? Four loyal pets�irreplaceable. Itty, Splot, Mollie, Callie, my four cats� Mom and Dad�s photo albums� photos of the past 80 years. My library�books I�d acquired over the past twenty-odd years. My gun collection� Personal papers� On and on and on... All gone. Devastation is an over-used word. I use it here...
Damnit! Keep him close to your hearts and prayers -- he is good people.

News out of Northern Ireland

Awesome news from ABC News/AP:
IRA Fully Disarms, Aide to Inspector Says
Outlawed Irish Republican Army Fully Disarms, According to Aide to Monitor

International weapons inspectors have supervised the full disarmament of the outlawed Irish Republican Army, a long-sought goal of Northern Ireland's peace process, an aide to the process' monitor said Sunday.

The IRA permitted two independent witnesses, including a Methodist minister and a Roman Catholic priest close to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, to view the secret disarmament work conducted by officials from Canada, Finland and the United States, the aide to retired Canadian Gen. John de Chastelain said on condition of anonymity.

The office of de Chastelain, who in recent weeks has been in secret locations overseeing the weapons destruction, scheduled a Monday news conference in Belfast.

The aide told The Associated Press that the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning news conference would detail the scrapping of many tons of IRA weaponry this month at a confidential location in the Republic of Ireland. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Both witnesses the Rev. Harold Good, a former president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and the Rev. Alex Reid, a Catholic priest also will state what they saw.

Statements from the British and Irish governments, Adams and the IRA's command were expected within the next 24 hours.

"I am confident that tomorrow will bring the final chapter on the issue of IRA arms," said Martin McGuinness, the deputy leader of the IRA-linked Sinn Fein who plans to travel Tuesday to Washington to seek U.S. political support for the IRA's actions. "I believe that Ireland stands on the cusp of a truly historic advance, and I hope that people across the island will respond positively in the time ahead."

The breakthrough should smash the biggest stumbling block in Northern Ireland's peace process since Britain opened negotiations with Sinn Fein in December 1994.
Very wonderful news. The story goes on with some of the history and previous treaties. It will be interesting to see what England's response will be. I can also see that since the U.K. is getting a lot more tough on the immigrant Islamofascist terrorists recently, Sinn Fein has decided that it might not be a good time to be a terrorist.


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There was a 7.9 Earthquake in Northern Peru. Four people known dead. Here is the USGS web page for this: Earthquake Hazards Program ABC News/AP has some coverage:
Powerful Earthquake Rocks Northern Peru
A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7 hit northern Peru late Sunday, causing power outages and cutting phone service throughout much of the region.

One radio report said four people were killed.

Peru's Geophysics Institute said the quake struck at 8:55 p.m. and was centered about 60 miles northeast of the jungle city Moyobamba, 420 miles north of the capital Lima.

"Several houses have fallen down and there are several people dead," Carlos Mori, who lives near Moyobamba in the town of Lamas, told Radioprogramas. "All of the residents of Lamas are in the streets. Most of the people are helping."

Busy day tomorrow

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Driving down to Seattle tomorrow morning to drop Jen off. A friend of ours is retiring to Mexico and Jen is helping her drive down and get situated. Tomorrow evening is my first Welding class -- I have a wire and TIG welder but need to improve my skill set and correct some bad habits. (The welding ones anyway.) Needless to say, posting will be a little bit light tomorrow.

Neato Machines

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Aaron Cain builds Tattoo Machines and has posted an online gallery of some of the machines he has built, repaired, modified and collected. There is a mystique associated with Tattooing and it follows that there is a similar feeling towards the articles of the Tattoo trade. These are gorgeous works of art in a sort of H.R. Geiger way. Here are a three:
Gorgeous work -- forging, casting and carving the metal.

Medical Imagery through the ages

A wonderful collection of medical images dating from 1830 through 1850 can be found at the Yale University School of Medicine, Peter Parker Collection (no, not that Peter Parker) From their website
Peter Parker, medical missionary and diplomat to China, was born in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1804. His parents were farmers and devout followers of the orthodox Congregational faith. Parker attended Yale College, graduating in 1831, and remained in New Haven to study theology and medicine, earning his M.D. from the Medical Institution of Yale College in 1834. In January of the same year he was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in Philadelphia, one month before departing for Canton as the first Protestant medical missionary to China. One year after his arrival, with assistance from American and British benefactors, he opened the Ophthalmic Hospital at Canton. Parker specialized in treating diseases of the eye, particularly cataracts, but also performed general surgical operations including the removal of tumors. He is probably best known for the introduction of anesthesia to China in the form of sulphuric ether.

During his first trip to China, Parker made the acquaintance of the Western trained Chinese painter, Lam Qua. In the 1820s Lam Qua had studied under the patronage of George Chinnery, the first English painter to settle in China. Lam Qua's training and the level of mastery he developed enabled him to become one of the most revered Chinese painters utilizing the Western style of portraiture. As a result of his talent, he developed a sizable client�le from the Western community within as well as outside of Asia. The most celebrated body of work by Lam Qua is the impressive collection of portraits, commissioned by Peter Parker in the 1830's, of patients at the Canton Hospital with large tumors or other major deformities. These startling and somewhat gruesome paintings of pathological subject matter are unsettling to the viewer. One of the most noticeable aspects of each portrait is the expressionless look on the subjects' face. The lack of emotion turns the viewer's eye from the subjects' face to their pathology, or illness. Each subject appears to express neither pain nor sadness and serves as a testament to the human spirit in the face of physical adversity. Images displayed here represent only a part of the collection of Lamqua's work held by the Medical Historical Library at Yale University. The portraits are of men, women, and children of a variety of ages and at various stages in the progression of their tumors.
The portraits themselves can be found here and here is one example:

Sweet Story

Wonderful people -- from Netscape/CNN/AP comes this story from New Jersey:
Couple to Aid Evacuees With $258M Jackpot
A couple who were the sole winners of a $258 million Mega Millions jackpot say some of their winnings will go to help Hurricane Katrina victims.

Harold Lerner, 60, got a call from a friend telling him someone in Rutherford, where the couple live, had bought the winning ticket from the Sept. 16 drawing.

"Little did I know it was my wife who purchased the ticket. We ran downstairs. On the top of the newspaper were the five numbers, and I read off the numbers," he said at a press conference Friday.

"She says, 'Honey, I think we're millionaires,'" he said. "We hugged, kissed and embraced. I'm thinking, `This can't be right, maybe we made a mistake.' We checked it 500 times."

Sure enough, the winning numbers from the Sept. 16 drawing - 5, 16, 41, 46, 50 and the Gold Mega Ball number 1 - were all there.

The couple got paranoid, Helen said, and stashed the ticket in her underwear drawer. Then they went for a walk around town, where residents were still buzzing about the as-yet unknown lottery winner.

Since Helen, who bought the ticket, chose the cash option, they will get $156.1 million, lottery officials said. The federal tax bite will amount to about a quarter of that.

Along with helping Katrina evacuees, they said some of their winnings would go to Seton Hall University, where Helen graduated in 1976.
Nice -- philanthropy is not dead...
...turned out to have a little less than 100,000 attendents and many of them were on the side of President Bush and the developing Democracy in Iraq. ABC News/AP reports:
Anti-War Protesters March in Washington
Thousands of Anti-War Demonstrators March in Washington, London; Rallies Planned in L.A., Rome

Opponents of the war in Iraq rallied by the thousands Saturday to demand the return of U.S. troops, staging a day of protest, song and remembrance of the dead in marches through Washington and other American and European cities.
The money quote is in the second paragraph:
"More than 2,000 people gathered"
Of course, Reuters drank the cool-aid and showed its bias wonderfully. From Yahoo/Reuters:
Thousands protest Iraq war, globalization
More than 100,000 protesters flooded Washington on Saturday to stage dual demonstrations against the U.S.-led war in Iraq and economic globalization, before coming together to demand that President George W. Bush bring troops home.
And further into the Reuters "News" piece:
The crowds swelled throughout the day, and by late afternoon organizers of the anti-war demonstration said 300,000 people had assembled -- exceeding an anticipated 100,000. Washington police declined to comment on the size of the rally.
Getty Images has photos of the crowds such as this one:
GlobalCop has some images of the people who were staging a counter-protest -- each image is presented as a separate entry so look for September 24th and start scrolling down (lots of them). Here is one:
And has some random photos of the protesters. Here is one (with caption):
We found it! Here is the new message! "Run away from the enemy and build levees" - you know - the levees that the environmentalists prevented the construction of in the 1990's, when Bill was in the White House

Fun in Nepal

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Some people never learn. Followers of Communist Mao tse'Dung are still around -- from the Islamic Republic News Agency:
Nepal Maoists abduct 60 students
Suspected Maoist rebels have abducted 60 students from a secondary school in Northwest Nepal, the police said on Thursday, reports `The Asian Age'.

The students were abducted on Wednesday from Saraswati Secondary school in Dolpa district, 475 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu, and forcibly marched to an undisclosed location for indoctrination, the police said.

"The Maoists selected 60 sturdy looking boys and girls of grades six to ten and abducted them," the police said after a teacher at the school reached the district headquarters Dunai on Thursday.

The militants regularly abduct students for indoctrination sessions and normally release them several days later.

Separately, a district security officer who declined to be named, said the militants destroyed three government buildings with explosives in southwest Nepal on Tuesday after evacuating workers.

"The rebels had forced the staff to leave and set off the explosive devices destroying the offices," the official said from the district of Doti, 425 kilometers, southwest of Kathmandu.
Nepal is a monarchy which is probably why these idiots have been able to gain traction. But hope is in the air:
...Nepal has said that it will hold "open and free" municipal elections in April 2006 and national parliamentary elections within two years.

"The King is determined to re-energize democratic institutions by restoring sustainable peace and making democracy meaningful cultured and refined," Nepal's foreign minister Ramesh Nath Pandey said in the UN General Assembly.
Time will tell...

Looters in Texas

No reports of actual shootings but it is nice to see Citizens following the four steps of reliance. From Houston writer John Little at Blogs of War:

Looters Strike in Advance of Rita - Armed Citizens Patrol Midtown
Well I just found out why the media was in my parking garage. Looters struck last night and trashed 12 cars. We usually have very tight security but the gates were left open by management due to fears of power outages. I need to go check my car now.

My car is fine but the mood in the area is tense. I ran across two neighbors carrying hunting rifles (or a rifle and a shotgun to be exact) who were actively searching for a guy they suspected of breaking into more cars. They agreed to let me photograph them from the neck down. Hopefully, HPD will send one or more officers to our neighborhood. I think there is risk of additional looting or worse.

And the four steps are:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Municipal
  • State
  • Federal
Nice thoughtful piece at The American Enterprise:
Global Warming Dilemma � Coal or Nuclear?
In the next few years, New Jersey and Vermont will do the entire country a favor by resolving the dilemma as to whether we can stop global warming without nuclear power.

The two states have joined Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Delaware in a remarkably innovative pact to cut carbon dioxide emissions�the prime suspect in what now appears to be serious evidence of climate change.

The Northeastern Pact will set a cap of 150 million tons of carbon dioxide per year until 2015 and then allow states to start trading emissions permits to lower the figure. Since first introduced in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, this �cap-and-trade� model has already proved stunningly successful in lowering sulfur dioxide emissions. In only fifteen years, sulfur dioxide emissions have been reduced 50 percent at a cost of about 1/10th of what the Environmental Protection Agency originally predicted. Now the Northeastern states are taking the lead by applying the same strategy to carbon dioxide.

But New Jersey and Vermont have a problem: Environmentalists are jockeying to close down the two nuclear plants that serve as prime sources of energy for the two states. The 635-megawatt Oyster Creek Nuclear Station in Monmouth County provides 9 percent of New Jersey�s electricity. It comes up for re-licensing in 2009. Vermont Yankee, near Brattleboro, generates 535 MW, one-third the state�s energy and 70 percent of what the state doesn�t have to import. Without these two nuclear stations, coal or natural gas will have to be substituted and carbon emissions will rise considerably.

As usual, environmentalists are assuring everyone it can be done with "renewables" � wind, solar, and other "alternative" energies.

But there is no myth more damaging in diverting the nation�s attention from its energy problems. The universe has been pretty well explored by now�there aren�t any "alternative energies" sitting around waiting to be discovered. We know all about solar radiation, about the winds that are driven by its heat (in conjunction with the earth�s rotation), about rivers and streams and how they can be harnessed to produce electricity. We also know about the chemical energy that is stored in the electrons at the periphery of the atom and can be tapped by "burning" organic compounds. And we know about the much more powerful energies that lie at the nucleus of the atom.
Game Set Match. The author explores Hydro, Wind and Solar, finds them coming up short and closes with this:
So the choice is the same as it was in 1979: coal or nuclear. And ever since Three Mile Island, we have chosen coal. We now burn three times as much coal as we did in 1980, and the trend is still moving upward. This is almost certainly one of the prime causes of global warming.

The time is coming when the nation is going to have to give nuclear power a second look.
And considering that it will take about ten to fifteen years to get the plant from design stage to commissioning, we really need to start now...

Nukes in Canada

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French company Total SA (used to be Total Fina ELF when they were participating in the United Nations Oil for Food scandal -- they "reinvented" their brand) is considering the use of Nuclear Reactors to help extract Canadian Oil-Sand fields. The Wall Street Journal has the story:
Total May Use Atomic Power At Oil-Sand Project
French oil giant Total SA, amid rising oil and natural-gas prices, is considering building a nuclear power plant to extract ultraheavy oil from the vast oil-sand fields of western Canada.

This comes as oil prices -- driven even higher by Hurricane Katrina and now the threat of Hurricane Rita -- are removing lingering doubts about the long-term profitability of extracting the molasseslike form of oil from sand, despite the fact that the output is much more expensive to produce and to upgrade than is conventional crude.

At the same time, prices of natural gas -- which oil-sands producers have relied on to produce the steam and electricity needed to push the viscous oil out of the ground -- have risen 45% in the past year. That is prompting Total, which holds permits on large fields in Alberta that contain oil sands, to consider building its own nuclear plant and using the energy produced to get the job done.

Despite the attraction of abundant electricity, industrial companies have been reluctant to install nuclear devices, however small, on their premises because of safety and cost concerns. Small nuclear reactors have been used for purposes other than generating commercial electricity, but mainly to power ships -- submarines, icebreakers and aircraft carriers, for example.

A notable exception was the Soviet Union, which built four small nuclear reactors at Bilibino, inside the Arctic Circle, in the mid-1970s to operate a gold mine. The plant still is in operation.
I have talked about this before but I'll go over the two points that the Enviros use against Nuclear power. Safety: Nobody died from Three Mile Island. Chernobyl was a disaster with 4,000 eventual deaths but the design was a bad one (cheap) and the idiot who ran the test that triggered the meltdown was operating way beyond the operating parameters for the reactor. Waste: The majority of the waste that needs to be stored is left over from the World War Two developments at Hanford and Oak Ridge. The waste from Power Plants is minimal. The designs that have failed are ones that date from the 1950's. Nuclear Engineering has come a long long way since then; not only with new insights on reactor physics but with better control systems. France and Japan derive the majority of their electricity from Nuclear. Lots of accidents over there right? Right? . . . . (crickets) Back to the article:
Even now, despite wanting to cut production costs, few oil-sands producers have been willing to talk openly about the nuclear possibility for fear of protests from environmentalists. Nuclear power doesn't bring back good memories in Alberta, where in the 1950s U.S. and Canadian scientists looked into the possibility -- later abandoned -- of detonating an atomic bomb to bring oil to the surface.

Total would speak about its plan only in general terms. "It's not foolish to look into the nuclear option," Yves-Louis Darricarr�re, Total's director for natural gas and power, said in a recent interview. "We have a team looking into it."
Memo to the Albertans: That was the 1950's We have moved on. A hair-brained scheme from the 1950's has zero bearing on what the engineers are looking at doing today. And more:
Total's interest is the latest sign that nuclear energy is making a global comeback. Finland commissioned a new reactor in 2003, the first such order in Western Europe in 13 years. France has chosen a site in Normandy where a reactor will be built. The U.S. hasn't commissioned a new nuclear plant for three decades, but the industry is talking seriously about a revival, encouraged by the Bush administration and the rising cost of fossil fuel.
Cool! And the political climate in Alberta:
The government of Alberta said that although there are no nuclear power plants in the province, there is no moratorium on nuclear energy. "We don't favor one form of energy over another," said Alberta Energy Ministry spokeswoman Donna McColl. "We let the market decide."

Al Qaeda's Plan

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was interviewed by Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein and the results are in a book (available only in Arabic for now).

Strategy Page has an article that delivers the gist of the message:

Al Qaeda Has a Plan and Here It Is
Al Qaeda has a plan, and it's been published in a book (Al-Zarqawi: al Qaeda's Second Generation) by Jordanian journalist, Fouad Hussein. Several al Qaeda leaders were interviewed for the book, including al Qaeda's man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The book is only available in Arabic, but it does lay out a very straightforward strategy for world conquest. Actually, it sounds a lot like what the nazis and communists had in mind last century. The only difference is that, while the nazis killed you for who you were, and the communists killed you for what you believed,al Qaeda kills you for religious differences. No matter which zealot gets you, you're still dead.

According to Fouad Hussein, al Qaeda has a seven phase plan for world conquest. It goes like this.

Phase 1, the "wakeup call." Spectacular terrorist attacks on the West (like September 11, 2001) get the infidels (non-Moslems) to make war on Islamic nations. This arouses Moslems, and causes them to flock to al Qaedas banner. This phase is considered complete.

Phase 2, the "eye opening." This is the phase we are in, where al Qaeda does battle with the infidels, and shows over a billion Moslems how it's done. This phase is supposed to be completed by next year.

Phase 3, "the rising." Millions of aroused (in a terrorist sense) Moslems go to war against Islam's enemies for the rest of the decade. Especially heavy attacks are made against Israel. It is believed that major damage in Israel will force the world to acknowledge al Qaeda as a major power, and negotiate with it.

Phase 4, "the downfall." By 2013, al Qaeda will control the Persian Gulf, and all its oil, as well as most of the Middle East. This will enable al Qaeda to cripple the American economy, and American military power.

Phase 5, "the Caliphate." By 2016, the Caliphate (one government for all Moslem nations) will be established. At this point, nearly all Western cultural influences will be eliminated from Islamic nations. The Caliphate will organize a mighty army for the next phase.

Yeah yeah -- the Caliphate. They came close to having it once and have never gotten over loosing it. That was some 900 years ago and was their crowing achievement. What have they done since except create a repressive medieval culture based on shame and hate. The author has a few more points to make and then closes with this paragraph:

Nothing really new in all this. Al Qaeda has been talking openly about this (the global Islamic state) for years. These Islamic terrorists are true believers. God is on their side, and they believe all obstacles will be swept aside by the power of the Lord. Will al Qaeda's plan work? Ask the nazis and communists.

Light posting today

I was out doing some photography for one website I am developing. More after dinner...

Amtrak blog

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While spending today reading the entire Internet (yes, I actually do that!) I ran into this website: Replacing Amtrak which proposes the privatization of America's Rail industry. From the website:
Amtrak is a colossal failure. I was one of the people who worked to create Amtrak in 1970-71. The railroad today bears little resemblance to what was promised. Amtrak has ripped through $29 billion in federal subsidies (and several billion more from the states) and remains on the verge of bankruptcy. Today, Anthony Haswell, who is sometimes acknowledged at the "father of Amtrak," agrees with my critical views regarding Amtrak and praises the book "End of the Line."
I found out about Joseph Vranich's Blog through this article at Tech Central Station which outlines just how much we are pumping into Amtrak and how poorly it is being managed.
Katrina Costs Justify Cutting Amtrak
Following our nation's worst-ever natural disaster, Washington will probably send $200 billion in aid to rebuild New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities. Doing so will cause the federal deficit to skyrocket. President Bush suggested last week that some Hurricane Katrina costs may be financed with cuts in other programs. Amtrak is an excellent place to start.

Consider that the railroad perpetuates the Orlando -- Los Angeles "Sunset Limited," a train listed in a Department of Transportation report as costing taxpayers $466 in subsidies per passenger. Most of Amtrak's network is expendable considering that more than 50 percent of its traffic is carried on only 10 percent of the system. Evidence that Amtrak is utterly dysfunctional can be found in 30 reports issued since 1997 by the Government Accountability Office, the Amtrak Reform Council and others.

A misguided Congressional response to the avalanche of negative findings is to throw more money at Amtrak, and yet Senate appropriators are willing to grant Amtrak $1.45 billion -- an all-time record -- while Senate Democrats claimed that anything less than $1.8 billion would be "the final nail in the coffin" for the railroad. Senators Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) ignore Amtrak's failures and want to authorize nearly $11.4 billion for the railroad over the next six years.

Before Katrina, Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta was right to say, "Handing over more than a billion dollars with no reforms attached only gives Amtrak a blank check to continue misspending taxpayer money." After Katrina, sending fat grants to Amtrak's headquarters reaches a new level of absurdity.

Amtrak's biggest money losers, the long-distance trains, should be closed. Of the 25 million passengers who rode Amtrak last year, less than 15 percent used the cross-country trains. Many more Americans rely on our airline system. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport alone serves more than three times the number of passengers than does the entire nationwide Amtrak system of 512 stations.

We could phase Amtrak out of existence while preserving the busiest routes through a competitive bidding system that reduces subsidies as more efficient private companies take over. Already in the United States, companies under contracting arrangements carry 40 million rail commuters annually -- many more than Amtrak carries -- and they do so with a high degree of reliability.

The trains in Europe that are run by private companies are the ones gaining the most customers, a result of companies providing higher quality and lower prices to stay ahead of market contenders. Such competition inspires them to be more innovative and imaginative.

Amtrak will never turn itself around if it keeps raking in taxpayer's dollars. If Congress won't cut Amtrak and other wasteful programs now, then President Bush must put his thus-far-unused veto pen to use.
Trains helped to build America and to make it great. The land-grants issued to the railroads created some fine cities. The Horse and Buggy also helped to build America and to make it great. Their time came and went and their passing is held reverently and examples are kept by private hobbyists and Museums but they are gone from the common landscape. Trains need to get off the public teat. If they cannot compete in a free market, they should have the grace to die quietly and let the private corporations run things. $11.4 Billion Dollars over the next six years? You are looking at Senators Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) who are pushing this version of Crack to Addicts.

New Orleans is flooding again

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Rainwater and storm surge and the power is still on but it is grim. Yahoo/AP has the story:
Rita Inflicts Fresh Floods on New Orleans
Hurricane Rita's wind-driven storm surge topped one of New Orleans' battered levees and poked holes in another Friday, sending water gushing into already-devastated neighborhoods just days after they had been pumped dry.

An initial surge of water cascaded over a patched levee protecting the impoverished Ninth Ward, flooding the abandoned neighborhood with at least 6 feet of water.

"Our worst fears came true," said Maj. Barry Guidry, a National Guardsman on duty at the broken levee.

Leaks beneath another levee that was repaired with rock and gravel after Hurricane Katrina flooded homes with at least a half-foot of water. Meanwhile, wind-whipped waves pushed water from Lake Pontchartrain over a seawall and rain runoff with no outlet pooled in city streets.

Evacuees from the misery-stricken city learned of the new flooding with despair.

"It's like looking at a murder," Quentrell Jefferson of the Ninth Ward said as he watched the news at a church in Lafayette, 125 miles west of New Orleans. "The first time is bad. After that, you numb up."
Just Damn! And the forecast is for another couple years of strong seasons before the cycle starts to mellow out again. We are entering this cycle and it will get worse for a year or two. We have had these cycles before -- the historical record is quite good...

Blogging Rita

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A number of bloggers are writing about Rita. Lawrence Simon is coordinating their efforts at his site: "" There is a list of bloggers plus other weather and news links being posted at the top of his page. He writes about a conversation with a Moonbat:
Moonbats in Hurricane conditions
Wandering around, feeling the light wind and drizzle, a neighbor walks by.

"Well, it's this a bummer? I say.
"Yeah, it's a cat 3, gonna be a cat 2 when it hits way away."
"I guess this was all just a practical joke?"
"Something to sell a buttload of gas."
"Yeah, well, Bush wanted all that money."

Even under Hurricane Warnings, moonbats thrive. They must be stomped...

"Look, the man loves to be on his ranch. You think he'd give that up 11 months a year just to take shit from the media and all the people in the country? He's not brilliant, but he's not THAT stupid."

And I went back inside.
Laurence absolutely nails something that has been rattling around my brainpan for the last couple weeks after Katrina. Crawford is not a "vacation", it is The Other Whitehouse. Bush has held State Meetings with Spanish President Aznar, Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Uribe of Colombia, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Mexican President President Vicente Fox, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, all at his ranch at Crawford. I got this information from here and this is just the first hundred links of the 703 that this search returns to me. Bush has also conducted meeting there, both F2F and Teleconferencing. He has met with Lance Armstrong, Powell, Rice and all of the other movers and shakers in his administration. He is working for us when he is down there. He would rather run the government surrounded by the ranch than by a bunch of blue-state ninnies. With today's Internet and Satellite connectivity, he can do just as much at Crawford as he can at the Whitehouse. I would imagine that the dignitaries visiting him would much rather stay at a comfortable and secure facility that had a definite Western sensibility than at a comfortable and secure facility that was culturally sterile (Washington D.C.) I mean when was the last time that Pooty-Poot danced to Cotton Eye Joe.
This is idiocy! I thought the government of South Africa was too smart to do something as stupid as this. From BBC News:
S African white farm to be seized
South Africa says it will for the first time force a white farmer to sell his land under a redistribution plan.

The decision was announced by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights, set up to return to black people land lost under apartheid.

An official said talks to agree on a price for the farm had failed and the farmer has vowed to challenge the move.

South Africa's government says it wants to hand over about a third of white-owned farm land by 2014.

The commission on Thursday said an expropriation notice would be served on Hannes Visser, the owner of a cattle and crop farm in North West province.

The government offered to buy the 500-hectare (1,250-acre) farm for $275,000 but Mr Visser said it was worth almost twice as much.
And the comparison to Zimbabwe is not to be sneezed at.
But Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says the pace of reform should be speeded up - as in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where most white-owned land has been seized by the state.

"There needs to be a bit of oomph. That's why we may need the skills of Zimbabwe to help us," she said.
Skills of Zimbabwe? My aching ass!!! Zimbabwe went from being the breadbasket of Africa to having to import its own food. All this because the "blacks" who got the farms knew nothing about farming and did not want to do the work to learn. The farms are unproductive. South Africa is a perfect example of what Zimbabwe was like before Mugabe took over and instituted his "reforms". Now it's happening in S.A.. Cripes!

Pot of What?

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Shamelessly swiped from Denny at Grouchy Old Cripple:
Yet another childhood fantasy destroyed.
Click for full-size Image

Leaving Houston

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I wrote about the Houston traffic cams before here. Visited them today and it is downright eerie -- very few cars on the road. Here is I-45 North - one of the primary evac routes out of the city:
Ghost town...

Turnabout is fair play (Heh)

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A little accident in Gaza today -- ABC/AP has the story:
Blast at Hamas Rally Kills 10, Injures 85
Truck With Militants, Homemade Rockets Blows Up at Hamas Rally; 10 People Dead, 85 Others Hurt

A truck filled with masked militants and homemade weapons exploded at a Hamas rally Friday, killing at least 10 Palestinians and wounding 85 including children bringing a grisly and terrifying end to one of the last gatherings by armed groups celebrating Israel's Gaza pullout.

The blast sent a huge cloud of white smoke over the mass festivities, a sea of green Hamas flags and thousands of people gathered at Jebaliya, a Palestinian refugee camp that was the scene of harsh fighting between militants and Israeli soldiers during the past five years of violence.

After initial confusion, people began running away from the rally and gunmen fired in the air. People wailed in grief as others tried to tend to the mangled and dismembered bodies of the dead and wounded.

Mishandled explosives apparently caused the blast, which came a day before an agreement by militants not to publicly parade weapons is to take effect.

Witnesses said many children were among the casualties.

Hamas said six militants were killed, including Jihad Shaleal, head of the group's military wing in Jebaliya. Hamas blamed Israel, but the Israeli military denied any connection. Palestinian security officials said the blast was an accident.
To injure children is a tragedy. For everyone else, you sow what you reap. And of course, they learned from their lesson:
But Palestinian officials said the explosion was set off by the mishandling of explosives. The Interior Ministry issued a statement calling on Hamas "to shoulder its responsibility for these ... explosions instead of making accusations against others."

An accidental explosion would be only the latest in a string of deadly mishaps for militant groups in Gaza.

A Hamas weapons warehouse exploded this month in Gaza City, killing six people. Hamas claimed it was an Israeli attack, but Palestinian security forces found the blast was an accident caused by the militants.

During an Islamic Jihad rally at the abandoned Jewish settlement of Netzarim last week, a gunman died after accidentally shooting himself in the head.

Even after the blast Friday, seven or eight gunmen stood in the back of another truck riding through Gaza, using their feet to stop a half-dozen rockets from bouncing around in the bed.
Emphasis mine -- the Israeli's don't have to kill the terrorists, they are doing a fine job of it themselves. Talk about pig ignorant!

Those who protest the war

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An interesting look at the money behind the current crop of war protesters. The Washington Times has the story:
War protesters linked to radical left-wing groups
The groups gathering in Washington this weekend to protest President Bush and the war in Iraq have ties to radical left-wing groups and communist organizations and have enjoyed the support of the left's biggest financial supporter, George Soros.

United for Peace and Justice (UPJ) and International Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) are the two main organizers of the weekend of events -- the first major public protest allowed to surround the White House in more than 10 years -- and expect 100,000 people from dozens of smaller left-wing and liberal organizations.

A highlight of Saturday, the first day of protests, is an appearance and speech by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq.

"That will be a marvelous moment," said Bill Dobbs, spokesman for UPJ. "I'm sure a lot of people want to hear her."

The leaders of ANSWER, founded three days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, are connected to the Workers World Party, a Marxist group that has expressed support for such dictators as North Korea's Kim Jong-il, Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic and Iraq's Saddam Hussein. The latter two have been ousted from power and jailed.

Other groups associated with ANSWER are the Free Palestine Alliance, U.S.-Mexico Solidarity Foundation and the Muslim Student Association of the U.S. and Canada.
The article goes on to explore where the money is coming from:
John J. Tierney, a scholar at the Institute of World Politics and author of "The Politics of Peace: What's Behind the Anti-War Movement?" said the core of the protesters are "ideologically very hard-core left" and that their agenda goes far beyond merely protesting the Iraq war.

"They're not anti-war. They are anti-West, anti-capitalism and anti-American political culture," Mr. Tierney said. "You see the speeches, the flags, the posters, the speakers and the pamphlets cover a whole host of revolutionary causes, literally everywhere."

The question of who is funding the protests remains clouded. Billionaire George Soros has funded various left-wing groups that will have a presence at the protest through his Open Society Institute, as has the Tides Foundation, created by Theresa Heinz Kerry, heir to the Heinz food fortune and wife of Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat. Money from both of these groups is filtered down to other groups and then filtered down to yet others, Mr. Tierney said.
The people who show up for the march may have their hearts in the right places but they are perfect examples of Josef Stalin's "Useful Idiots".

Hurricane Rita

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Has weakened to a CAT3 but is still deadly. Expected landfall is around 7:00AM tomorrow. Up to date info can be found at the National Hurricane Center I'm glad the only thing we have to worry about are earthquakes and active volcanoes...

Light posting tonight

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Working on two web pages tonight. One is for a Seattle naturalist who has been taking some wonderful bear and wildlife photographs. The other is for a local group trying to stop a huge (and grossly inappropriate for this area) housing development from being sited near where we live. Over 750 Homes, figure about 1200 people trying to drive to work each day down 25 miles of two-lane country road. (There are precious few local jobs available and these have already been filled by the existing local population. The nearest reliable source of work is Bellingham, 27 miles due west.) Spew will resume tomorrow...

Driving in Houston

With Rita bearing down on them, people are evacuating coastal Texas.

Found this website that shows the traffic cams in and around Huston.

A sample image:



Shocked... Shocked I tell you!

A wonderful example of over-the-top "yellow journalism" found in Khaleej Times Online:

Saudis shocked at discovery of wine factories
Recent reports in the local media giving details of raids on illegal wine factories across the Kingdom have shocked Saudi society where alcohol is banned.

A number of government departments took part in the crackdown, including the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, with others providing general assistance.

Saudi society continues to refuse to admit alcohol use is rife in the country, with the authorities arguing that those who engage in the illegal activity aim to spread evil without realising that large amounts of alcoholic drinks are due to local demands, according to a report in the Arabic daily Asharq Al Awsat on Saturday.

On Tuesday, a residential place in the Al Rabwa neighbourhood, east of the capital, was broken-into and a complete alcohol-producing factory was uncovered along with SR15,000 worth of goods ready to be distributed across the Kingdom.

The house had been rented by a Saudi national in charge of the marketing side with a number of workers, mostly from Africa, overseeing the production.

The report said that further searches of the property provided details of how large quantities of wine were being produced, using heavy machinery to process the grapes, rat carcasses to accelerate the fermentation process as well as sewage water and several banned chemicals.

It said that similar equipment was discovered at raided properties elsewhere in Saudi Arabia, none of which followed basic rules of hygiene as they sought to maximise profits with no regards to health and safety.

A two-litre bottle of beer can cost as much as SR 250 with some producers offering discounts for large orders. On an average, the number of barrels used to ferment grapes in each of the twenty illegal factories discovered by the police was 50, holding 500 litres, the price of which was SR 3.75 million, usually sold within a two months period. A single factory could therefore generate SR 22.5 million every year.

Wine bottles, smuggled into the Kingdom and sold on the black market, cost SR700 and are sometimes laden with chemicals to increase alcohol content and volume.

Distribution occurs mainly on Wednesdays and Thursdays, when agents deliver their shipments to consumers, in areas designed to evade supervision, usually through trusted intermediaries. Wine merchants conduct their affairs with extreme caution fearing a trap by the moral police.

An official involved in the latest raid told Asharq Al-Awsat that wine factories were, for the most part, uncovered with the help of individuals previously involved in the trade, who regretted participating in illegal activities and cooperated with the authorities. The Riyadh Health Centre, responsible for promoting awareness of the dangers of locally- produced wine, said drinking could cause kidney failure and damage the liver due to harmful chemicals.

Ongoing investigations with individuals arrested for their involvement in producing or selling alcoholic beverages, revealed that most of them were non- Saudis who had learned the necessary skills before travelling to the Kingdom and then teaching locals.

Most of those arrested said economic gain was the main motive behind their actions since they could obtain large sums of money in a limited period.

I know a little bit about making wine as I have been homebrewing for over twenty years and my wife and I are starting up a commercial booze business. A few comments...

To get a handle on what dollar amount we are talking about, One Saudi Ryal equals 0.266 US Dollars. Think of them as equal to a quarter, four SR's equals about a buck ($1.06 to be exact).

The report said that further searches of the property provided details of how large quantities of wine were being produced, using heavy machinery to process the grapes, rat carcasses to accelerate the fermentation process as well as sewage water and several banned chemicals.

The equipment used to process grapes is not heavy -- a crusher destemmer and bladder press are small enough to be operated by one person and equipment of this size is fine for a small commercial winery.

Rat Carcasses -- gimme a break. There are some very early recipes which call for adding a piece of meat at the beginning of fermentation. This was to provide amino acids and specific enzymes for the yeast to use. This technique was dropped when the yeasts were studied and a system of nutrients were developed to ensure a vigorous fermentation.

Sewage Water -- belongs in the sewer. There are waste streams from wine making (mostly cleaners and sanitizers mixed with water) but these are not incorporated into the product. The author of this "news item" is trying to make people think that the sewage was a component of the wine.

As for Banned Chemicals -- how about telling us what chemicals the "Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" and the "Moral Police" have banned. These people probably had sodium or potassium metabisulfate, some jugs of chlorox (sanitation) and a few kilos of yeast nutrient.

Back to the news article:

A two-litre bottle of beer can cost as much as SR 250 with some producers offering discounts for large orders. On an average, the number of barrels used to ferment grapes in each of the twenty illegal factories discovered by the police was 50, holding 500 litres, the price of which was SR 3.75 million, usually sold within a two months period. A single factory could therefore generate SR 22.5 million every year.

What is it they were making -- wine or beer? And for $62.50 for two liters, that had better be some really fine beer!

But then they are back to "barrels used to ferment grapes" 500 litres is about 133 Gallons. A smallish hot tub is about 400 gallons so you can get a handle on the size of 500 liters. They had 50 of these barrels? In a house? If it was 50 ten litre barrels, that might make more sense but each barrel would only be just under three gallons -- not very efficient.

And finally:

Wine bottles, smuggled into the Kingdom and sold on the black market, cost SR700 and are sometimes laden with chemicals to increase alcohol content and volume.

They are buying wine bottles and ordering them specifically contaminated with "chemicals to increase alcohol content". The only thing that can do this is either sugar or more alcohol. Adding sugar when it is bottled is not a good way to go unless you are looking for champagne as the yeast starts fermenting again and the evolved CO2 gas has no where to go. It serves to carbonate the wine (or beer) and can be dangerous if the pressure of the CO2 buildup exceeds the breaking strength of the bottle.

Like I said, perfect example of yellow journalism -- all hype and hysteria and zero actual facts. Glad to see that our own Mainstream Media doesn't have a monopoly on this technique.

Europe doing what it does best

Iran is flaunting its 'supposed' nuclear capabilities. From Yahoo/AFP:

Iran warns aggressors of 'fire and destruction'
Under pressure over its nuclear programme, Iran flaunted its ballistic missiles and warned any nation considering attacking the Islamic republic would face a "destructive and fiery" response.

On show at an annual military parade on Thursday were thousands of troops and a range of hardware including six of Iran's Shahab-3 ballistic missiles -- which sported banners saying "Death to America", "We will crush America under our feet" and " Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth".
An Iranian Shahab 3 missile passes by during a military parade to commemorate the start of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war in Tehran September 22, 2005. To cries of 'God is Great', Iran showed off its military might on Thursday and warned potential aggressors that the Islamic state would vigorously repel any attack.

Meanwhile, on the European front -- from Yahoo/AP:

Europeans Drop Harsher Stance on Iran
The European Union on Thursday offered to delay its drive to bring Iran before the U.N. Security Council for its suspect atomic activities if Russia and China will agree to a new resolution that criticizes Tehran for violating nuclear commitments.

If an agreement is not reached, however, the EU, backed by the United States, planned to force a vote on the tougher resolution.

The new U.S.-backed European offer was contained in a text threatening Tehran only with referral to the Security Council at a later date. The previous EU draft resolution -- which also remained on the table -- urged the 35 nations on the International Atomic Energy Agency board of directors to report Iran to the U.N.'s highest decision-making body during the board's current session.

Oooooo - scary. We are criticizing you -- feel the harsh rays of criticism emanating from our diplomatic minds... Zing zing zing... And whats more, if you continue to develop nukes, we will think about reporting you to the U.N. Security Council. Hat tip to Charles at LGF.

A new common cold remedy?

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Interesting news from the South African IOL website:
New nasal spray hailed as cure for the cold
A nasal spray that can stop the sniffles before they start is being hailed as the biggest breakthrough in cold remedies in years.

The spray forms a thin layer of gel at the back of the nose, where it traps the cold virus, disarms it and helps the body to flush it out.

Trials show that using the spray - called Vicks First Defence - within 36 hours of the virus entering the body can stop a cold in its tracks.

This is the period when symptoms like a tickly throat and sneezing indicate a virus has got into the nasal passages and is preparing to spread.

The treatment is the first to attack the virus that does the damage, rather than just soothe symptoms. It's the nearest scientists have come to developing an effective cold vaccine.

"This is one of the most exciting advances in the cough and cold industry," says Professor Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University.

Cold and flu expert Professor John Oxford, from the Queen Mary School of Medicine in London, says: "I expect Vicks First Defence to have a considerable impact in the treatment of the common cold.

"Not only will it empower sufferers to combat their cold far more effectively than before, it may help prevent the virus from spreading to others."

The cold is the most common illness. By the age of 70, most of us will have suffered an average of 200 colds and spent three years coughing and sneezing.

There are at least 100 known cold viruses, usually transferred by touch or through the air from coughs and sneezes.

It is claimed the spray, developed by Procter & Gamble, is the first product clinically proven to target the virus.

The spray can even be used as protection where germs spread easily, such as on buses or trains, or in offices.

Vicks First Defence goes on sale in pharmacies around the UK next month.
Very cool! It is already being sold in Germany, Austria and Italy.

A tale of two cities

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Jason Smith at Generation Why nails the problems with New Orleans with two photographs:
The Wheels on the Bus Go 'Round and 'Round...
Compare and contrast.

Houston evacuation
courtesy: Mayor Bill White

New Orleans evacuation
courtesy: Mayor Ray Nagin
Sums it up pretty well...

Climate Change courses available online

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University of California, San Diego has a nice set of online courses available online. The material is free to view. There are two dealing with Climate Change and one each for Astronomy and "Life in the Universe". These are available at the Calspace website. Good stuff -- the people who put this together are not buying into the "we are all gonna die" hysteria that a lot of "experts" are spewing these days. Yes, the earth is entering a warming trend but as the online course says (talking about the initial settlement of Greenland by Eirik the Red who had murdered two men in a quarrel and was banished from Iceland:
Known as "Eirik the Red," he was exiled from Iceland for three years for his crimes, and in 980 A.D. he set sail and spotted an icy wasteland with pockets of green, habitable land rich in wildlife. In 982 A.D. he returned to this land with his family and livestock and lived there for the remainder of his exile. Returning to Iceland in 986, he convinced others to settle there with him, in part by somewhat misleadingly naming the settlement "Greenland". Habitation of Greenland at the time was possible because the climate of the early Middle Ages was unusually warm. By 1000 A.D., Greenland was inhabited by an estimated 1,000 Scandinavians. This original settlement was later celebrated in Icelandic saga, and other Scandinavians arrived in Greenland. The settlement only lasted until about 1480 A.D., when the onset of nasty winters brought the inhabitants to death by starvation. This sudden climatic cold spell, known as the "Little Ice Age," is an example of the power that climate change can have on human society.
It was warm enough that they were able to grow wine grapes (fermenting equipment was found) -- wine grapes require high temperatures to develop the sugar needed for fermentation. But the next climate swing happened in the 1500's
The "Little Ice Age�, lasting from about 1350 A.D. to about 1850 A.D., was characterized by advances of mountain glaciers in most parts of the world and occasional spells of unusually cold winters in North America, Europe, and Asia. We commonly see European paintings from the 18th century that depict ice-covered rivers and lakes that have not been frozen for a life-time! In northern Canada, permanent snowfields developed, as seen in the age distribution of lichens growing on rocks.

Among the possible reasons given for the "Little Ice Age" are low solar activity and increased volcanism. How then are we going to tell which part of the recent warming is "natural" and which (if any) is due to human influence? The standard answer to this question is that the warming right after 1850 is mostly natural. The weather in the mid- and late 1830s was highly unusual and highly stressful, with severe winters and bad harvests (The great Irish famine falls into this period.) In the conventional view, the "Little Ice Age" is an anomaly (indeed it was the coldest period in the last several thousand years) and the warming after 1850 simply gets us back on track. This concept also supports the idea that warming in the last century has been a good thing for people, plants and animals, because it brought back the previous regime of a more benign climate.
And we are now entering into another phase of warming. The idea that humans can make drastic changes to the climate is pure hubris on our part. We are the microbe on the ass of the flea that is biting an elephant. For a perfect example of ice in the 1500's, take a look at what Pieter Brueghel painted in the 1500's
These canals never freeze today. More on historical climatology can be found at this NASA site.

Proof again that anyone can put up a website

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This is actually a lot more slick than most of the raving loony websites: Weather Wars
Ivan and Katrina
These are both very Russian sounding names. It has been established that the former Soviet Union (fSU) developed and boasted of weather modification technology during the 1960's and 70's with deployment against the United States coming in 1976 with the audible arrival of the woodpecker grid. These weather operations continue to this day.

I have posted this page FAR sooner than I would like to have. I would like to have had the post mortem of Katrina from the National Hurricane Center to work from as well as a little time/distance from the events of this week so that perspective can be maintained. I will continue to update and add to this page in the days ahead.

This nation has not faced an economic crisis like the one that Katrina will spark in the days and months ahead. But that is one of the reasons Katrina was absolutely guided along the path that we all watched. This path has resulted in maximum damage to the energy infrastructure, transportation infrastructure and to the psyche of those that remain susceptible to further storms this year and in the years to follow. Oh New Orleans!

I fully expect one more 'event' this year to impact the United States. My gut feeling is that it will be an earthquake/volcanic event with intensity of at least 7.5 in magnitude resulting in insured losses to exceed $25 billion. Where will happen? My gut says the Western United States.
The woodpecker grid I emphasized was a Russian over-the-horizon radar system named Steel Yard that operated on frequencies near the amateur radio bands. Ham operators would hear a series of pulses that sounded like a woodpecker. Here is the entry for Steel Yard at Global Security. Back to Weather Wars for a bit more:
In the 1930's Tesla announced other bizarre and terrible weapons: a death ray, a weapon to destroy hundreds or even thousands of aircraft at hundreds of miles range, and his ultimate weapon to end all war -- the Tesla shield, which nothing could penetrate. However, by this time no one any longer paid any real attention to the forgotten great genius. Tesla died in 1943 without ever revealing the secret of these great weapons and inventions.

Unfortunately, today in 1981 the Soviet Union has long since discovered and weaponized the Tesla scalar wave effects. Here we only have time to detail the most powerful of these frightening Tesla weapons -- which Brezhnev undoubtedly was referring to in 1975 when the Soviet side at the SALT talks suddenly suggested limiting the development of new weapons "more frightening than the mind of man had imagined." One of these weapons is the Tesla howitzer recently completed at the Saryshagan missile range and presently considered to be either a high-energy laser or a particle beam weapon.
At the time that Tesla was quoted, he was in his late 70's and given to flights of fancy more than solid engineering. The only reason that these quotes were taken seriously is that Tesla had already given us the system of electrical power distribution that we use today, the rotating alternating current motor, the fluorescent light and Radio -- yes, Radio. Check out the U.S. Supreme Court's judgment on Tesla's radio patent number 645,576. Anyway, back to Weather Wars -- who is the webmaster there? A Mr. Scott Stevens -- a professional weather reporter for KPVI-TV in Idaho. Sheesh -- he may look good in a parka standing in the middle of a blizzard but don't let him expound any of these ideas on air... This sort of fuzzy-headedness reminds me of sites like Micromike and that classic The Timecube

Another article on Nuclear Power

This from an Irish Sunday Business Post Online article by David McWilliams:
We need to go nuclear
What will happen to our civilisation if we have no power?

Could we survive?

How would you behave if the lights flickered, dimmed and then went out for good?

These questions are no longer the stuff of science fiction. In our lifetimes, possibly as early as the next decade, the world will begin to run out of oil.

In the interim, oil prices are likely to rise, governments and regimes will come and go and petrol is likely to be rationed.

We will look for alternatives. We will start to burn other stuff - other fossil fuels - to feed our insatiable desire for energy.

What impact will turning the world into a giant pyre have on global warming?

Environmental concerns apart, these other fuels, like oil, are a finite resource � so what happens when we run out of things to burn? What will we do then?

This week, we had a number of reports, both domestic and international, focusing on how we might deal with the end of oil, and at the same time reduce carbon emissions to prevent global warming.

The reports focused on a combination of changing our behaviour (shorthand for consuming less) and using alternative, more environmentally-efficient energy sources.

One report cited elephant grass as a viable alternative for Ireland. This is doubtless part of the solution, but the missing link in this discussion is the real elephant in the corner, which nobody is prepared to talk about for fear of eternal damnation.

In Ireland, we are all afraid of the N word. This word cannot be used in polite conversation. It is a word so vile, foul and degrading, it automatically puts you outside the pale.

The N word breaks all the rules. So let's just whisper it. Shush, quietly now. . . nuclear. That wasn't so bad, was it? Say it again, nuclear. Yes, nuclear power. Is it time to revisit nuclear power? Given the depletion of the world's resources and the fact that carbon emissions are unsustainable, nuclear power is a logical alternative.

The very word 'nuclear' scares us. Its lexicon is contaminated. It is associated with Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Cold War. As bread goes with butter, nuclear goes with warhead.

Inmost of our minds, nuclear signifies death and destruction on a monumental scale. If not warheads, missiles and bombs, the word nuclear conjures up images of accidents, leaks, fallout and horrendously deformed babies.

But this is only half the story, and while we shouldn't dismiss concerns about safety, we should also open our minds to the possibility that nuclear power is part of the energy solution, not part of the problem.

For example, countries with the highest environmental standards in Europe, such as Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, France and Germany rely significantly - and in France's case overwhelmingly - on nuclear power.

These are not irresponsible countries that would willingly put their citizens at risk. Indeed, there has never been an accident in any of these countries.

There has also, despite all the hype, never been a nuclear accident in Britain.

In fact, according to Professor Robert Winston, the president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science that had its annual bash in Dublin last week, "more deaths resulted from Markham Main [a Yorkshire colliery] than all the accidents and power stations put together, including Chernobyl".

Most scientists agree with Winston.

Nuclear power is safe and, when reactors are well maintained and standards are high, nuclear power has proved itself to be one of the safest ways to generate energy.

Another argument in support of nuclear power is that it is environmentally much sounder than burning stuff. If we are to achieve significant reduction in carbon emissions and maintain our lifestyles, nuclear power is an obvious candidate.

It is considerably cleaner than fossil fuel and much less damaging to the environment. We harm our environment more from burning peat in Ireland than we would if we had a nuclear power station heating every home in the country.

Internationally, the planet would be a much cleaner place if large countries like China, India and Iran used nuclear power exclusively, rather than burning coal.

With respect to global warming and environmental degradation, others have made the argument that, even in the worst case scenario, the impact of a nuclear accident is localised, whereas the impact of global warming and air pollution from burning fossil fuels affects the whole planet. This seems harsh, but it is true.

Even figures from Chernobyl bear this out. In the 19 years since the accident, 4,000 people have died. In contrast, each year respiratory disease that results directly from coal-based air pollution kills many more.

In terms of nuclear waste and decommissioning older nuclear plants, Finland and Sweden are introducing technical solutions that satisfy most of the domestic opposition to nuclear power. It is fair to say, given their environmental records, that, if it is good enough for the Scandinavians, it should be good enough for us.

The points above could be termed the 'it's not as bad as you think' arguments in support of putting nuclear power back on the table. While they may not persuade everyone, they are at least an antidote to the blanket hysteria that surrounds the N word.

The other arguments are simply the 'we have no alternative' position. Oil is running out. The regimes that control oil are becoming increasingly unstable and might not last the shock of running out of black gold. So supplies might be unstable even before it runs out.

Also the price of oil will rise prohibitively, so some other form of energy must be found.

The other 'no alternative' argument is the simple contention that nuclear power, counterintuitive as it may sound, is environmentally friendly. Either we go nuclear or we risk climate change on a devastating scale. To reduce carbon emissions, either we switch to nuclear power in some form or we change our entire consumer-driven society and its growth-based economic benchmarks.

Maybe, in an environmentally compromised future, a contracting economy will be regarded as the objective of government policy, but, for the moment, the obsession with growth reigns, and with it, the compulsive desire for energy.

While there is no doubt that concerns about nuclear energy are real, they will not be made clearer by regarding nuclear power as heresy. In Ireland, we need to explore every avenue and close the door to none.

In 2020, there is every possibility that we will be a nuclear state and, if not, we will definitely be importing nuclear energy from elsewhere. We might as well start discussing this eventuality now.
The emphasis on the Elephant Grass is mine -- there has been a wonderful study of this that completely debunks its use. A net energy sink and horribly polluting. I have taken the liberty of quoting the entire article as it is very well thought out and David has his facts right. The only thing I would add is that since Petroleum products are so heavily used in other industrial and chemical applications, there will be a lot more implications to running out than roads full of stopped cars.

Opera Browser

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A nice alternative to Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc... is Opera. They used to have two versions - one with bundled advertising for free and one without advertising for about $30. In order to get better market penetration, they decided to drop the charge for the advertising-free version and make their money with corporate support and niche markets. A very savvy move and a very nice browser. Give it a try...

Nuclear Power

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Excellent essay by Michael Fumento regarding the hysteria against Nuclear Power.
Exorcising the Demons of Chernobyl
Why would an energy-craving nation (the U.S.) that also demands a pristine environment put the kibosh on a limitless form of power (nuclear energy) that produces no air pollution and no emissions environmentalists claim cause global warming?

It stems essentially from two massively-publicized incidents that plague our imagination: Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979 and especially Chernobyl in Ukraine. Nobody was even injured at TMI, but Chernobyl was a disaster of epic proportions. Or was it?

For the answer go back to 1986 in the former Soviet Union, a regime in which worker and public safety mattered zilch. A powerful steam explosion at one of four reactors of the Chernobyl nuclear facility near Kiev � a hunk of junk compared to any American nuke plant � caused additional explosions, a fire, and a full nuclear meltdown. Over 100,000 people were evacuated.

UPI's immediate death toll was 2,000 while others used far higher figures. "Late Word From Inside Russia: Mass Grave for 15,000 N-Victims," blared the New York Post. Blame these perhaps on confusion and Soviet secrecy. But in 2001 Agence France-Presse reported the highest toll ever, claiming "between 15,000 and 30,000 people died" from the initial blast and radiation exposure. As to delayed cancer deaths from radiation, some nuclear energy opponents estimated almost half a million.

But a voluminous new report assembled by the Chernobyl Forum, comprising 8 UN agencies, shows not only that the accident's immediate impact was grossly exaggerated but that even delayed cancer deaths will prove minuscule compared to the outrageous predictions.

The actual number of immediate deaths? Not 30,000 but rather 47 says the report. All were among plant personnel and emergency workers, none among the general public.

Delayed cancer deaths estimated in the new report? Not half a million but about 4,000. This though five million people received excess radiation exposure. Yet the report also admits that although there's been plenty of time for cancers to start showing up, researchers are having trouble finding enough cases even to justify the 4,000.

The report did attribute nine thyroid cancer deaths in children from drinking contaminated milk (which may be preventable with cheap iodine supplementation).

But even for the cancer most linked to radiation exposure (leukemia) and for those with the greatest such exposure (cleanup workers) it found studies repeatedly showing no increased risks.
Let's see -- no global warming, no greenhouse gasses. The fuel is a lot more compact so the environmental damage from mining is greatly reduced (It takes 90 rail cars full of coal to power a decent sized city for one day. It takes about six pounds of Nuclear Fuel for the same power output.) True, the waste is radioactive for 30 years or so but the technology to reprocess and store this waste has been around for a long time. C'mon people, wake up!

Desktop CNC

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CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and is the method by which machine tools can be controlled by a computer. These used to be large systems with proprietary controllers but there is now an excellent selection of software that allows you to do this with a home computer and some servo motors. Here is an excellent resource: The CNC Desktop Machine Information Center This is what a small CNC Mill looks like:


Unreal -- from Reason Magazine:

Muslims and the Holocaust
UK government committee tries to nix "exclusive" memorial

Recently in England, four Muslim-staffed committees appointed to advise Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Cabinet on issues related to Islam have come up with a recommendation: Get rid of an official event viewed as offensive to Muslims. What event would that be? A celebration of the Crusades, perhaps? No, Holocaust Memorial Day. In the words of one committee member, "The very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims. It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others."

That "one people," of course, are the Jews.

The committees aren't exactly proposing that the Holocaust commemoration be scrapped outright. They want it to be folded into a "Genocide Memorial Day" that will also include such crimes as the slaughter of the Tutsis in Rwanda and the massacres of Bosnian Muslims by the Milosevic regime.

Dilute the memory until it fades away. This is the reason there is so much outrage over the proposed International Freedom Center's 300,000 sq. ft. exhibit proposed for the rebuilt Twin Towers while the World Trade Center Memorial for the events of 911 is in a much smaller space (50,000 sq. ft.) located underground.

Take Back the Memorial Cox and Forkum have some interesting things to say as well.

The other shoe drops

Earlier, I had written here about how North Korea finally signed an agreement to stop production of Nuclear Weapons.

Well, it seems that Kim had his fingers crossed and there is now a "request" on the table. From Voice of America:

North Korea Demands Civilian Nuclear Reactor
North Korea has thrown a major obstacle in front of an agreement it joined just one day earlier, by demanding the United States provide it with a civilian nuclear reactor before Pyongyang makes any moves toward disarmament.

A North Korean broadcaster reads a Foreign Ministry statement demanding the United States provide it with a light water nuclear reactor, before Pyongyang will return to the global Non-Proliferation Treaty, or readmit international nuclear inspectors.

Just a day earlier, North Korea had joined Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States in a joint statement of principles, which committed Pyongyang to dismantling its nuclear weapons and programs.

Just wonderful -- also, don't forget that they had pledged to the United Nations that they were stopping work on their reprocessing facilities and they started up again secretly. Time will tell...

It was great that Bush had the foresight to pressure China and Japan into joining in on the negotiations -- North Korea initially wanted to just negotiate with the UN and the US and China didn't want anything to do with the process. It was pointed out to China that an unstable neighbor without Nukes is a lot better than one with.

Two links to read - alternative energy

First, this link from the Montreal Gazette:

Can this man save the world?
Everyone wants to cut car emissions. Sooner or later, someone will find a way to do it. Joe Williams hopes it's him.

Joe Williams Sr. believes he has the machine that will help save the world. It will make the sky blue, allow everyone to breathe easier, and, in a time of skyrocketing fuel prices, save us all money.

Yes, it's hard to believe. Williams is a Winnipeg boy who cut his business teeth managing McDonald's and Burger King franchises. Even now, he employs only 15 people in his Toronto and Manitoba offices. He entered this save-the-world field only 11 years ago and has invested just $7.5 million in his product.

But before you sniff skeptically and skip to the next story, read on.

Because if Joe Williams turns out to be right, "I think Bill Gates and our group will be shaking hands," he says. "It's that big."

"It" is his Hydrogen Generating Module, or H2N-Gen for short.

Smaller than a DVD player - small enough to sit comfortably under the hood of any truck or car - it could be big enough to solve the world's greenhouse gas emission problems, at least for the near future. In fact, it could make the Kyoto protocol obsolete. Basically, the H2N-Gen contains a small reservoir of distilled water and other chemicals such as potassium hydroxide. A current is run from the car battery through the liquid. This process of electrolysis creates hydrogen and oxygen gases which are then fed into the engine's intake manifold where they mix with the gasoline vapours.

It's a scientific fact that adding hydrogen to a combustion chamber will cause a cleaner burn. The challenge has always been to find a way to get the hydrogen gas into the combustion chamber in a safe, reliable and cost-effective way.

Williams claims he has achieved this with his H2N-Gen. His product, he said, produces a more complete burn, greatly increasing efficiency and reducing fuel consumption by 10 to 40 per cent - and pollutants by up to 100 per cent.

Most internal combustion engines operate at about 35 per cent efficiency. This means that only 35 per cent of the fuel is fully burned. The rest either turns to carbon corroding the engine or goes out the exhaust pipe as greenhouse gases.

The H2N-Gen increases burn efficiency to at least 97 per cent, Williams said. This saves fuel and greatly reduces emissions.

It also means less engine maintenance and oil changes. The only thing the vehicle owner has to do is refill the unit with distilled water once every 80 hours of engine use.

Tests show the unit itself should lasts for at least 10 years, Williams said.

Here is Mr. Romaniuk with one of his devices:


Looks like a nice enough person -- someone who had an idea and is trying to get it promoted. Now go and read here -- Don doesn't have "links" so you will need to scroll down to the entry for "September 17, 2005" and read this:

September 17, 2005
Yet another alternator driven hydrogen injector has recently entered the scene and is currently under lively Slashdot scrutiny.

Let's repeat some key points...

~ There is credible mainstream research evidence that shows that modest 5% hydrogen injection into an ICE can in fact offer performance and pollution benefits.

~ It has yet to be shown whether the costs and losses of onboard hydrogen generation can be done for less than these benefits. Especially if it has to be integrated into other ongoing ICE improvements. Naturally, there is no gain if the generation costs merely equal its benefits.

~ The cost of such a system has to be amortized over its benefits. If 48 cents per mile is taken as a vehicle operating cost (the new tax guideline), then a two percent improvement cannot cost more than a penny per mile. At 15,000 miles per year and three year payback at ten percent interest, the fully installed system cost and its maintainence cannot exceed a tiny fraction of $387.52 total. Otherwise, there are no positive benefits.

~ On any "more miles per gallon" device, there are very serious issues over double blind testing and the placebo effect that can utterly overwhelm any actual performance benefits. Further, it would seem to be quite difficult to isolate hydrogen injection from plain old water injection, which has its own costs and benefits.

~ The inefficiency of a car alternator alone is probably enough to cause a lack of a breakeven. If the electrolysizer so much as used stainless steel instead of platinized platinum electrodes, this would guarantee a bad enough efficiency to prevent breakeven.

~ Needless to say, as the load on an alternator increases, your gas mileage will go down. Their ain't no free lunch.

~ By a fundamental thermodynamic concept called exergy, electrolysis is fundamentally and profoundly a destroyer of value. Any onboard injection system absolutely and positively must avoid electrolysis if it is to succeed.

~ Possibly exhaust gas driven reformation has a chance at succeeding. This has yet to be shown. But alternator driven electrolysis flat out ain't gonna happen.

Spend some time poking around Don's website -- he has definite chops and bona-fides. As for the first link, I will just let the sound of Oink-Flap, Oink-Flap, Oink-Flap, Oink-Flap pass overhead and off into the sunset of failed scams. Mr. Romaniuk is so wrong, he is not even _ right _ (to quote a wonderful personality in Quantum Mechanics)

A timeline that is not what it seems...

Those who had been following the run-up to Katrina and its horrible tragic aftermath will certainly remember Mr. Aaron Broussard's interview on Meet the Press -- an excerpt:
BROUSSARD: ... The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.
It seems the timeline for this tragedy was a lot earlier than Monday through Friday. MS/NBC found the son:
Subsequent reporting identified the man whom Broussard was referring to in the Meet the Press interview as Thomas Rodrigue, the Jefferson Parish emergency services director. Contacted on Friday by, Rodrigue acknowledged that his 92-year-old mother and more than 30 other people died in the St. Rita nursing home. They had not been evacuated and the flood waters overtook the residence.

The chronology of the phone calls described by Broussard came under particular scrutiny by bloggers.

Rodrigue said he didn�t see or hear Broussard�s comments on Meet the Press. When told of the sequence of phone calls that Broussard described on Meet the Press, Rodrigue said "No, no, that�s not true."

"I can�t tell you what he said that day, why he was confused, I�m assuming he was under a tremendous amount of pressure," Rodrigue told MSNBC.

"I contacted the nursing home two days before the storm [on Aug. 27th] and again on the 28th of August," Rodrigue said. "At the same time I talked to the nursing home I also talked to the emergency manager for St. Bernard Parish," Rodrigue said, "to encourage that nursing home to evacuate like they were supposed to and they didn�t until it was too late."

Broussard must have been confused "because I was calling, not my mother calling me, I was calling her," Rodrigue said. Further, Rodrigue says he never made any calls after Monday, the day he figures his mother died, based on conversations he�s had with another person who had a family member perish inside St. Rita�s. Officials believe that the residents of St. Rita�s died on Monday, Aug. 29, not on Friday, Sept. 2, as Broussard had suggested.
What a tragic way to loose your Mom! And this would have transpired during the Municipal and State Efforts and not during the Government Efforts that were finally invited in a few days later by Governor Blanco. The one ray of light:
The husband and wife owners of St. Rita�s nursing home in the New Orleans suburb of Chalmette have been charged with homicide in the case.

"The pathetic thing in this case was that they were asked if they wanted to move them and they did not," Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti said Tuesday. "They were warned repeatedly that this storm was coming. In effect, their inaction resulted in the deaths of these people."

"They had a duty and a standard of care to people who could not care for themselves," Foti said of the owners. "If you or I decided we are going to stay, we do it of our own free will. ... The people at the nursing home don�t have that choice."

"Thirty-four people drowned in a nursing home when it should have been evacuated. I cannot say it any plainer than that," Foti said, his voice rising with anger.
And dammit, these people will probably walk in five or ten years. I am thinking more along the lines of: Rope. Tree. Or a couple cinder-blocks on each foot in a slowly filling swimming pool if you have the time and want to give them a foretaste of the purgatory that awaits them. And this is before Satan clears out his calender and pencils them in for a few eternities of real work...

Awww crap...

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One of my favorite web sites was Kim DuToit. An irreverent look at society and someone who is blissfully unafraid to say what they think on any subject. He was recently hired by someone and as I can only guess, one condition was that he stop blogging. It would be nice if his cessation was like Steven DenBeste's still-online archive but it seems he does not have that luxury. His web site is gone; dropped into the bit bucket. His blog roll entry has been respectfully moved to the Gone but not Forgotten category. Taps have been played and a pint raised to a possible future resurrection. Good Luck and God Speed Kim and Connie and family in whatever you may do!

Who makes what in NYC

Fascinating look at annual salaries in New York City from New York Magazine:

Who Makes How Much
An impertinent look at other people's paychecks.

Salary envy and its more loathsome twin, salary smugness, are the yin and yang of New York life, the engine that drives the city. But face it: Unless you're actually steaming open the mail, most of what you think you know about what your neighbor makes is little more than fantasy. That's where we come in. We've compiled a voluminous and eccentric list of hundreds of New Yorkers' salaries, from the hedge-funder who pulled down more than a billion last year to the Chinese-food deliveryman making four figures (plus tips). There's Calvin Klein and a guy who sells knockoffs on the street, a cantor and an imam, a first-year assistant district attorney and Sam Waterston, an honorary veteran of the D.A.'s office.

And they offer eight pages of examples sorted by category.

Edward Lampert - $1.02 billion - Manager, ESL Investments hedge fund
Chelsea Clinton - $120,000 - Consultant, McKinsey & Co.
Travis Harris - $3,120 Shoe-shiner, Wall Street
Chris (last name withheld) - $24,000 - Panhandler, Bleecker and Broadway

Glenn Lowry - $617,323 - Director, the Museum of Modern Art
Aristotle Stathatos - $21,159 - Security guard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Steven Kasher - $300,000 - Chelsea gallery owner
Andy Warhol - $16,226,741 - Deceased artist

50 Cent - $50 million - Rapper, hyphenate
Diddy - $36 million - Rapper, superhyphenate
Tom Stewart - $20,000 - Tower Records clerk
George M. - $16,800 - Street musician, Astor Place subway station

Gregory Burke - $18,444 - Private first class, United States Army, stationed in Iraq
Kofi Annan - $341,094 - Secretary-general, United Nations
Michael Bloomberg - $1 - Mayor

These are just a few of the nuggets here -- they did a good job of juxtaposition and sampling. Fascinating stuff. Visited NYC a few times and it is fun to visit if you have a good place to stay but I could not imagine living here. Must be why we live on a farm...

How it should be done

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Rita is moving towards the Florida keys and people are bailing out in an orderly fashion after having prepped their houses for the storm.
Click for full-size Image
Bloomberg has the story:
Exodus as new storm threatens devastated US region
Jeb Bush, the Governor of Florida, ordered the Keys evacuated of 40,000 residents yesterday as another hurricane headed towards the US on a track that threatens New Orleans, as the devastated city�s mayor ordered a second evacuation and suspended all plans for residents to return.

With the prospect of another hurricane grinding its way over the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico for the second time in three weeks, world crude prices surged, and President Bush gave warning of another potentially devastating strike on New Orleans.

Tropical Storm Rita is set to become a powerful hurricane by the time it reaches the Gulf this week and crude was up $4.39 to $67.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange by lunchtime. It was the largest-ever rise in dollar terms. US crude oil futures rose by $4 a barrel and US shares slid with the spike in oil prices.

Chevron and Shell announced precautionary evacuations of Gulf facilities, as conducted three weeks ago before Hurricane Katrina, after which oil production still remains down by 56 per cent and natural gas output down by 34 per cent.

The Florida Keys area was braced for Rita, which pounded the southern Bahamas yesterday morning. It was expected to have strengthened to a hurricane by the time it hits the chain of islands on Florida�s southern tip, with a potential 8ft (2.4m) sea surge.

Governor Bush, the President�s brother, said: "I urge people to take this storm seriously." Although Florida is immediately threatened today, the White House is watching tracking maps that predict that Rita could hit the Louisiana coast this weekend, as a probable Category 3 hurricane.
Just wonderful...

Good news from North Korea

The Washington Post/AP is reporting the following:
U.S. Pleased With Korea Nuclear Agreement
President Bush said Monday that North Korea's pledge to end its nuclear weapons programs is a positive step, but he expressed some skepticism about whether Pyongyang will live up to its promises.

"They have said _ in principle _ that they will abandon their weapons programs," Bush said. "And what we have said is, 'Great. That's a wonderful step forward.' But now we've got to verify whether that happens."

"The question is, over time will all parties adhere to the agreement," Bush said.

North Korea agreed to stop building nuclear weapons and to allow international inspections. In exchange, the country will get energy aid, economic cooperation and security assurances.

The deal announced Monday comes after two years of talks between North Korea, the United States and four other nations. Bush said it is "a formula that we all hope works."

"Part of the way forward is for the North Koreans to understand that we're serious about this and that we expect there to be a verifiable process," the president said after a meeting of his Homeland Security Council.

Still, Bush said the agreement was "a step forward in making this world a more secure place."
The Japanese Mainichi Daily News has the text of the agreement:
Text of joint statement from North Korea nuclear talks
Text of the joint statement issued Monday by six nations at talks in Beijing on North Korea's nuclear program:

For the cause of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in northeast Asia at large, the six parties held in a spirit of mutual respect and equality serious and practical talks concerning the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula on the basis of the common understanding of the previous three rounds of talks and agreed in this context to the following:

1) The six parties unanimously reaffirmed that the goal of the six-party talks is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date to the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) and to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards.
It continues with five more points. Excellent news!

Bible stories according to FEMA

Wiley Miller at Non Sequitur nails it today:

Click for full-size Image

Al Gore gives a speech

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Like many people, Al Gore had his schedule impacted by Hurricane Katrina. He was scheduled to deliver a speech in New Orleans and gave it in San Francisco instead. A wonderful article in The American Spectator sheds some light on his subject and choice of venues:
Accountable Al
How the gods do play upon the poor soul who is known to us all as Al Gore. On the day Boy Clinton was impeached they sent him out on the White House lawn to laud The Groper as "one of our greatest presidents." In Campaign 2000, they cast him as the Poor Loser. Ever since he has been wandering the land looking for a friend and intoning preposterosities even more absurd than when he wrote his green classic, Earth in the Balance. There he predicted that all the automobiles in America would soon be parked curbside while Americans squeezed into public transportation and enjoyed the ride. Now he champions the windmill over fossil fuel, no matter how many whooping cranes are slaughtered by the whirling blades. He is Don Quixote turned upside down.

What did the rude gods do to him this time? They forced him to cancel a speech scheduled for New Orleans where he planned to blame global warming for the hurricane season. You can be sure that when Hurricane Katrina scotched his appearance in New Orleans Al, ever the opportunist, saw this idiotic speech as a splendid opportunity to summon the attention of the nation. Of a sudden Al would be the man of the moment. He might yet become president -- a Green in the White House.

So where did Al choose to deliver this critical compendium of misjudgments, hyperbole, and error? In San Francisco, of course, where on September 9 he said, "The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences." And he urged that "the leaders of our country be held accountable" for the flooding of New Orleans. Unfortunately he was addressing the Sierra Club, which was not the best place to bring up the flooding of New Orleans.

The very day he spoke a congressional task force reported that the levees that failed in New Orleans would have been raised higher and strengthened in 1996 by the Army Corps of Engineers were it not for a lawsuit filed by environmentalists led by who else but the Sierra Club. Among those "leaders of our country" to "be held accountable" for the flooding of New Orleans, would Al include the Sierra Club? How about the Save the Wetlands stalwarts? According to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times, a 1977 lawsuit filed by Save the Wetlands stopped a congressionally funded plan to protect New Orleans with a "massive hurricane barrier." A judge found that New Orleans' hurricane barrier would have to wait until the Army Corps of Engineers filed a better environmental-impact statement.
It will be interesting to see what comes of the investigation. The idea that global warming is cauing the increased hurricanes this year is fatuous and does not fly in the face of the evidence. There are cycles of good years and bad years and we happen to be in the middle of a bad cycle. Global warming has nothing to do with this.

More fun with Government Agencies

More problems with Government Agencies while working on the Katrina aftermath. This time from the Department of Agriculture -- The UK Mirror has the story:
Tons of British aid donated to help Hurricane Katrina victims to be BURNED by Americans

Hundreds of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned.

US red tape is stopping it from reaching hungry evacuees.

Instead tons of the badly needed NATO ration packs, the same as those eaten by British troops in Iraq, has been condemned as unfit for human consumption.

And unless the bureaucratic mess is cleared up soon it could be sent for incineration.

One British aid worker last night called the move "sickening senselessness" and said furious colleagues were "spitting blood".

The food, which cost British taxpayers millions, is sitting idle in a huge warehouse after the Food and Drug Agency recalled it when it had already left to be distributed.

Scores of lorries headed back to a warehouse in Little Rock, Arkansas, to dump it at an FDA incineration plant.

The Ministry of Defence in London said last night that 400,000 operational ration packs had been shipped to the US.

But officials blamed the US Department of Agriculture, which impounded the shipment under regulations relating to the import and export of meat.
And a few comments from the relief workers in New Orleans:
The worker added: "There will be a cloud of smoke above Little Rock soon - of burned food, of anger and of shame that the world's richest nation couldn't organise a p**s up in a brewery and lets Americans starve while they arrogantly observe petty regulations.

"Everyone is revolted by the chaotic shambles the US is making of this crisis. Guys from Unicef are walking around spitting blood.

"This is utter madness. People have worked their socks off to get food into the region.

"It is perfectly good Nato approved food of the type British servicemen have. Yet the FDA are saying that because there is a meat content and it has come from Britain it must be destroyed.
The food they are talking about is the equivalent to our MRE's that are being handed out to flood victims.
September 19th is Talk Like A Pirate Day. From their website:
Why do we need an International Talk Like a Pirate Day?
Make no mistake. We do. But it's a little hard to articulate why, especially when you've made the mistake of referring to your wife as a scurvy bilge rat and tried to order her back into the galley.

Talking like a pirate is fun. It's really that simple.

It gives your conversation a swagger, an �lan, denied to landlocked lubbers. The best explanation came from a guy at a Cleveland radio station who interviewed us on the 2002 Talk Like a Pirate Day. He told us we were going to be buried by people asking for interviews because it was a "whimsical alternative" to all the serious things that were making the news so depressing.

In other words, silliness is the holiday's best selling point.
This page gives some techniques and lingo (scroll down a bit). Arrrr!

Uh Oh...

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There is a word -- Bohica. Has kind of a nice Carribian sound to it. It is actually an acronym for: "Bend Over -- Here It Comes Again" From the National Weather Service Hurricane Center, I present Rita:

Gimme a break here...

I had heard about this story through another source and was curious enough to track the two images down. Found them (and the story) at Dhimmi Watch: UK: 'Allah' ice-creams banned
Dhimmitude On Ice, from the UK's Sun tabloid, with thanks to Granny Weatherwax and Giaour:
Cone-demned ... 'spinning whirl' ice creams look similar to the world Allah written in Arabic script

ICE creams are being withdrawn from Burger King � because a design on the lid looks like the word Allah.

The fast food chain has had dozens of complaints about the coloured symbol - meant to be a spinning whirl - on its range of BK Cones.
And it is, of course, caving rather than focusing on sanity.
Get a grip on reality here... It's a dessert! No, its a deity!

Awaiting trial in the Big Easy

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It seems the problems with the State and Municipal Gub'mint in New Orleans had already been recognized by the Federals -- some people were awaiting court dates when Katrina made landfall. The LA Times has the story:
Louisiana Officials Indicted Before Katrina Hit
Federal audits found dubious expenditures by the state's emergency preparedness agency, which will administer FEMA hurricane aid.
By Ken Silverstein and Josh Meyer, Times Staff Writers

Senior officials in Louisiana's emergency planning agency already were awaiting trial over allegations stemming from a federal investigation into waste, mismanagement and missing funds when Hurricane Katrina struck.

And federal auditors are still trying to track as much as $60 million in unaccounted for funds that were funneled to the state from the Federal Emergency Management Agency dating back to 1998.

In March, FEMA demanded that Louisiana repay $30.4 million to the federal government.

The problems are particularly worrisome, federal officials said, because they involve the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the agency that will administer much of the billions in federal aid anticipated for victims of Katrina.

Earlier this week, federal Homeland Security officials announced they would send 30 investigators and auditors to the Gulf Coast to ensure relief funds were properly spent.

Details of the ongoing criminal investigations come from two reports by the inspector general's office in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, as well as in state audits, and interviews this week with federal and state officials.
The article is a bit long but it cites chapter and verse what the FEMA money was allocated for and where it went. As I had said before, there are four levels of response. The next level is called when the previous level is overrun.
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Municipal
  • State
  • Federal
and we are starting to see how badly the Municipal and State governments of Louisiana were being run.

Waking up in the Big Easy

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Interesting news coming out of New Orleans. This from the Washington Times. Unfortunately, they charge $3 for viewing an article that is more than a few days old so a fair-use excerpt of it is below:
Blacks fault lack of local leadership
By Brian DeBose
September 10, 2005

Some in the black community are beginning to question what happened to the black leadership during the Hurricane Katrina disaster, especially in the city of New Orleans.

While a few black leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Congressional Black Caucus, have singled out the president for blame, others say Mayor C. Ray Nagin, who is black, is responsible for the dismal response to the flooding that stranded thousands in the city's poorest sections.

"Mayor Nagin has blamed everyone else except himself," said the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny.

"The mayor failed in his duty to evacuate and protect the people of New Orleans. ... The truth is, black people died not because of President Bush or racism, they died because of their unhealthy dependence on the government and the incompetence of Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco," he said.
Published on September 10, 2005, The Washington (DC) Times Blacks fault lack of local leadership That smirking ChimpyMcBushHalliburtonHitler is the cause of our ineffectiveness.
-- BZZT -- NOT!

Katrina Kars

Something I never thought of -- what will happen to all of the cars that were flooded out by Hurricane Katrina. Not only the ones people own, how about those sitting, new, in dealers lots. The Massachusetts Daily News Tribune has this story:
Buyers warned of Katrina cars
MetroWest used-auto dealers and a national industry group say car buyers should beware of flood-damaged vehicles making their way into the market in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"Someone is going to end up with some of those cars that have been damaged," said Mark Rizoli of Auto Village, a truck seller in Milford. "People are going to have to take extra precautions to make sure it doesn't happen to them."

Rizoli said his dealership makes sure not to buy such vehicles, which could have "major electrical issues" after sitting in water for extended periods.

"Sometimes," Rizoli said, "even the most cautious dealer will end up with (a flood-damaged car) that slipped through the cracks."

Insurance companies usually purchase such vehicles from policyholders, declare them "totaled" and then sell them at auction to be resold for parts, many of which will still be suitable for use in other cars and trucks.

But some unscrupulous dealers and wholesalers buy flood-damaged cars at scrap prices, clean them up, retitle them and resell them. The vehicles may look good, but the electronics and safety systems are likely damaged -- and can threaten the safety of the new owners.

The National Automobile Dealers Association said buyers should check a vehicle's title history, look for rust that shouldn't be there, examine the interior for dried mud and residue, and smell the trunk for mold.

When Hurricane Floyd struck Florida in 1999, an estimated 75,000 vehicles were ruined by floods and totaled by insurance companies, according to Carfax Inc., a Fairfax, Va.-based firm that performs background checks on used vehicles.

More than half of those cars and trucks, however, were resold to buyers unaware of the vehicles' histories or uninformed about the extent of the damage caused by flooding, Carfax said.

Carfax estimates, based on information it has received from law enforcement and government authorities, that between 250,000 and 500,000 vehicles could have been damaged by flood waters generated by Katrina.

"I suspect they will make their way up here," said Brian O'Connell, owner of O'Connell Motors, a used car dealer in Framingham.

However, O'Connell said he only buys from local dealers and is not concerned about running into the damaged vehicles himself. These cars "do tend to get up into the northern auctions," he said, and if someone buys from a wholesaler from outside the region, "they would have a higher probability of getting one of those vehicles."
Might be good to use Carfax if you buy a car in the next year or so... I'm wondering if the manufacturer would honor the warranties -- after all, the car had been declared as totaled...

Talking about political jokes again

This time its France and a tale of invasion and imperialism. An interesting story from Strategy Page:
LEADERSHIP: French Plans for Invading Iraq in 2003
France was not always opposed to the American invasion of Iraq. One persistent Pentagon rumor, however, might explain why the French came to oppose the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. In December, 2002, a French staff officer visited the Pentagon with a proposal from his government. France would send 18,000 troops (about what they contributed in 1991) to join the Iraq invasion force. However, France wanted a specific area of occupation after the war, with full authority in that area for as long as Iraq needed to be occupied. The American State Department backed the French proposal, but the Department of Defense didn�t trust the French, and were suspicious of their motives. So the French officer went home empty handed, and the French government decided that invading Iraq was really an evil thing to do.

What exactly were the French up to? No one is sure, but the most plausible theory was that the French wanted to be in Iraq, after Saddam fell, to make sure no embarrassing documents, or witnesses, showed up. France had been supplying Saddam with weapons, and other assistance, for over three decades. Moreover, how better to help get the Sunni Arabs back in power, than to have 18,000 French troops occupying, say, western Iraq. This sort of arrangement is nothing new for the French. Although France participated in the Balkans peacekeeping of the 1990s, France was known to be pro-Serb, and French officers were later caught helping out the Serbs in illegal ways. Very embarrassing, but not unexpected. The Pentagon was well aware of how the French pulled their pro-Serb stunts in the 1990s, and apparently wanted no more of that nonsense in Iraq.
Interesting and if true, how very very... French

The problem with political jokes...

| 1 Comment that they become elected. Case in point - a Mrs. Jackie Wagstaff as told by the Washington Times:

Candidate touts 'hip-hop agenda'
Durham mayoral candidate Jackie Wagstaff donned bright-orange Chuck Taylor shoes and large gold earrings to announce her "hip-hop agenda" for City Hall.

Mrs. Wagstaff said she would use "gangsta" culture and rap music to appeal to disaffected youth, luring them away from crime with the offer of free studio time to record songs. T-shirt giveaways would serve as another enticement.

If elected, she would hold monthly meetings with her "hip-hop Cabinet," streetwise teens with insights on how to improve Durham.

"You can always take something bad and find something positive," said Mrs. Wagstaff, 46, who recently adopted the nickname J-Dub. "Gangsta to me is an organizational structure -- not organized crime, but organized good."

It seems that Mrs. Wagstaff has a little gangsta background herself:

Mrs. Wagstaff, a former City Council member who has served the past three years on the school board, survived a 2002 effort to remove her from office after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts for doctoring check requests from the nonprofit North East Central Durham Reinvestment Inc. She also has been evicted several times for not paying rent.

Fo shizzle...

Trail Tech

Jen and I go hiking and backpacking.

A new company: "Eastern Active Technologies" is bringing an interesting technology to backpacking. From their website:

Eastern Active Technologies
Where Your Last Mile Is Your Lightest Mile

Welcome to Eastern Active Technologies where your last mile is your lightest mile. EAT has been North America's leading manufacturer of consumable outdoor gear and equipment since 1999.

Our consumable backpacks, sleeping bags and tarps have been carried over thousands of miles and over countless mountains by our happy (and well fed) customers.

Our products are made possible by our proprietary sugar, starch, rice and meat based materials and your appetite.

Imagine watching your camping buddies unpacking their huge backpacks and setting up their intricate (and heavy) shelters while you recline in luxury, secure in the knowledge that you'll be carrying about sixteen ounces less tomorrow. And another pound per day after that.

Our high end products are definitely not for everyone. Whiners need not apply. Those willing to put in the effort and discipline needed to take advantage of the super-ultra-ultra-lightweight approach we pioneered will see the benefits immediately. Those not willing to "suck it up" might want to leave right now, and spend your hard earned money at The North Face or Feathered Friends. If you consider yourself "hard-core" though, check out our product line via the links at the left (note we recommend use all of our products in conjunction to get proper and balanced nutrition).

Here is an example of one of their products:

TREKKING POLES ProteinStixTM. Tasty treats that are easy on the knees. Our high-protein trekking poles are sturdy enough to support one's weight on the trail and still satisfy the meanest hunger in camp.

We have to admit that when we first saw backpackers using trekking poles, we thought they were just another gearhead affectation. But as our knees and ankles hit the far side of forty, their appeal became more palpable. Sadly even the lightest (and priciest) trekking poles added two pounds to our trail weight.

Fortunately when we began crafting our nutritionally balanced line of edible gear we quickly realized trekking poles could be the foundation of a healthy meal, and simultaneously help us avoid injury on the trail.

By compressing beef, chicken, shrimp and textured vegetable protein under high heat and temperature (using a proprietary process and large enough amounts of msg to cause binding and hardening of the pliable proteins) we are able to offer our customers a sturdy and truly nutritious pair of sticks.

And don't think we've forgotten you vegans: we now offer a fully organic, vegetarian product formed from Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP).

Looks cool to me -- gonna check REI next time I'm in town.

A vacation to remember

Up for auction at eBay-- it has three days left on the listing so go there and view this classic before it goes away.

The Ultimate Hippie Vacation!
If you are the winner of this auction, you and a guest will be picked up by my crazy brother-in-law, Cody, in his huge hippie bus, and he will take you on what he calls, "The Ultimate Hippie Vacation!"
  • Old Hippies - Relive The Good Ol' Days!
  • New Hippies - Experience the USA Like You Never Have Before!
  • Crazy People - Hang Out With One of Your Own Kind!
The Rules of the Trip:
  1. You will be required to sell Tie-dyed T-shirts for gas and food money.
  2. There is no map on the bus and he WILL get lost.
  3. Stuff Happens! (And you know what I mean!)
  4. If the bus blows up, he has a tent.
  5. You must provide your own bail money. (Please see rule 3)
  6. He will provide "the most craziest vacation you will never forget!"
Okay, the deal is, my brother-in-law and his huge hippie bus moved into our backyard. AND WE WANT HIM OUT! Please help us by bidding on this auction! Every bid moves him one step farther out of our yard!

About my brother-in-law, he may be a little "touched in the head." He just showed up a few weeks ago (unannounced of course) from California and parked his Hippie Bus in our yard. Apparently, he was fleeing from some sort of alien or supernatural invasion or something like that. (If you win, he'll be MORE THAN HAPPY to explain that one to you.) Anyway, his bus really stands out up here in the Ozarks of NW Arkansas (not too many hippies around here), and the neighbors have started to "talk".

It really didn't help matters much when, 2 weeks ago, we got a call from an elderly lady that lives down the road from us. She was out of breath and could barely get out the words: "I just saw Cody runnin' down the road "nekkid" as a jaybird! You best git your husband down here to fetch him or else I'm callin' the law!" Well, she did call the "law" and now he needs money for his newest court date.

Oh yes, he has other "court dates" and if you schedule your vacation at just the right time, I'm sure he'd be happy to include one on the itinerary. And about the itinerary... he says he'll go wherever "the voices" tell him to go... So, your guess is as good as mine!

The trip could last at the least, a few days and at the most, a lifetime. It all depends on how long you want to live in a Hippie Bus with a crazy guy!

And there is a lot lot more -- go and read the whole listing. Some of the photos are wonderful -- here is Cody in contact with the Mother Ship:


Ahhh rats...

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One of my favorite writers is hanging up their hat and pulling their blog offline. Michael King at Ramblings Journal:
"Goodbye, farewell and amen"
Life's changes are always such that you never expect them, and they take a minute or three to get used to when they occur.

My life is taking a turn now that is forcing me to give up writing Ramblings' Journal.

I've accepted a new position that will preclude me from continuing my writings here. So I'm pulling the plug on R/J in order to focus on the new opportunity that has been placed before me.

Contrary to the opinions of others, I'm not running for office (I don't have the patience), nor am I joining a monastary. But I am turning the page on this chapter of my life, and moving forward. I'm very thankful for the friendships I've developed as a result of the blog, and I'm still going to be around -- you never know when an e-mail from me or a note in your comments section will show up to jab you or give you a thumbs up.
I wish him all the best -- he is a wonderful writer and has been keeping the flame alive at Ramblings Journal since May of 2004.
This is sick. From Babalu Blog we have the link to this story:
Bureaucratic Myopia vs. Common Sense
Humberto Fontova
Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2005

A friend of mine in the swamp tour business offered his employees and his fleet of airboats to government officials to help evacuate flooded New Orleanians. His ten boats were lined up and ready to launch, along with dozens of other volunteer craft.

These boats spent six exasperating hours lined up as FEMA officials inspected them thoroughly.

In the meantime, floodwaters rose to rooftops all through New Orleans. The FEMA inspection was for the same horrible hazards � insufficient life preservers, fire extinguishers, etc. - as the Coast Guard and Game & Fish Commission inspect for when they interrupt our fishing and hunting trips.

Finally a FEMA official proclaimed: "NO!" Many of the boats were deemed unfit to be used. They could not help rescue desperate people. These boats may have been perfectly seaworthy and may have able-bodied owners anxious to donate their efforts to the rescue. What they lacked were the required number of life preservers (!!) - one per potential rescuee presumably, as required by the Coast Guard.

Even ghastlier, the FEMA folks explained, some rescuees may have been forced to sit on the floors of some boats, which were also deficient in the number of seats - one per rescuee, presumably.

So instead, let's allow people to drown, hunh, Mr. FEMA person?

Then the few volunteer boats that passed the inspection were only allowed to rescue people until nightfall. The swamp tour owner defied the order and brought out 100 (very grateful) people that night on his own.

Another acquaintance owns a food wholesale business. He offered the $2.5 million worth of food in his warehouse to feed desperate hurricane victims. Four Army helicopters started revving their rotors, prepared to fly in and start hauling out the food.

Then an FAA official stepped in and nixed the mission. The food warehouse, you see, was located within a mile of a NASA facility. Some regulation would have been violated.

I heard about many, many more such bureaucratic idiocies that I'll report in due course. I'm still digging out myself.

My sister-in-law was in a New Orleans Hospital when savages broke in and started looting and raping. She was helicoptered out in the nick of time. She might have been a U.S. embassy worker in Saigon circa May 1975, or even a Rolling Stone at the Altamont Speedway in December 1969. Some hideous stuff went on down here.

As for us, the Louisiana Fontovas (17 of us) evacuated to my brother's (very large, thank God) home in Houston for the storm. We're back now, but we found our house demolished.

My parents' house is closer to New Orleans; it flooded, but not to the roof - only a few inches, just enough to ruin carpets, some furniture, sheetrock, etc. We're all camping out at my sister's house three blocks away from mine that somehow escaped major damage. So some Fontovas are refugees again?

Big deal! We did it before, with a major difference: you can buy insurance against Katrina. None was offered against Castro. So this is a breeze. No power down here yet. But we're eating well, using a propane burner and a makeshift bar-b-cue pit on much of the fish and game we pulled from the freezer, which was still cold. Heck, outside cookery of fish and game was pretty much how we always ate.

Alas, those vicious, hateful rednecks came through again. A huge crew of them with chain saws, bobcats, tarps and brawn descended on my property and cleared a path for us to enter the house, then cleared out much of the downed timber and hauled off part of my detached roof. They brought food, water - most importantly, hope and good cheer. They descended from Nashville and Tulsa and belong to a first Baptist Congregation which has a church in our neighborhood - to which we do NOT belong.

No matter. They were helping EVERYBODY and ANYBODY in trouble. Unreal. Much more to come, amigos, when I get better situated and get some electricity.
Stories like this are all over the place - I wrote earlier about how FEMA was preventing cellular companies to come in with temporary COW and COLT installations to provide cell service for people who still had working phones. Just like the swamp tour owner who defied the FEMA order and the "vicious, hateful rednecks" who descended with help, the effective rescues are a local effort. If there is one lesson that people should take from this, it is that Personal Responsibility is a Very Important Thing and if you don't have any of it, you need to get some soon... It is very easy to snipe at someone's recommendation for Duct Tape but in the event of a biological or dirty-nuke attack, that silver roll could be what saves your life (along with the spare ammo, the gallons of water and the canned food).

The myth of Photo-Voltaic

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Don Lancaster is a wonderful resource for those interested in various alternative energies. He delivers a brutally honest explanation of why most of them are a complete waste of time. Today (go here and scroll down to the entry for September 15, 2005) he explains:
Another of the pv solar popular myths is that "extra" electricity on the grid is somehow "wasted" or "unused". In reality, there are typically six or more different types of electricity on the grid at any given time.

Their mix is continuously adjusted to optimize costs to a fraction of a millicent per kilowatt hour. Sources might include...
  • Baseload Power is from low cost sources that run continuously but may be hard to start or change.
  • Rolling Power is a source that is manned and ready-to-go at "full steam" that can be switched in only when and if needed.
  • Peaking Power comes from more expensive sources that can be rapidly turned on or off and otherwise quickly adjusted.
  • Brokered Power is bought and sold from other utilities to help even out supply and demand.
  • Stored Energy has been previously saved ( such as pumping to a higher lake ) during lower cost times. This process is quite efficient at load levelling.
  • Negawatts are conserved energy through demand reduction via time-of-day cost penalties or conservation incentives.
  • Returned power is the tiny fraction provided by solar pv users through synchronous inverters when they have excess capacity.
In "net metering" states, any returned power is heavily subsidized and represents an obscenely unfair tax on the other utility users. A just and neutral policy instead would be for a utility to sell at current retail and buy at their current avoided cost. Any differential being fully justified by the additional storage service that the utility is providing.
If you are a few miles away from the commercial power grid, sure, PV is an alternative (actually a modest low-RPM diesel is a much better one) but to think that PV can compete on the free energy market without huge (taxpayer funded) subsidies is ludicrous. It also gives me no end of amusement to see all the "back-to-the-land" types rail against the "nasty chemicals" used in the manufacture of computer chips but they gleefully advocate placing yards and yards of them on their own rooftops...

Vegetarian? Know one? Read this

Interesting and documented article on Vegetarianism and how it is not as healthy as its proponents tout:
The Myths of Vegetarianism
by Stephen Byrnes, ND, PhD, RNCP

"An unflinching determination to take the whole evidence into account is the only method of preservation against the fluctuating extremes of fashionable opinion" -- Alfred North Whitehead
Dr. Byrnes sets the article up with the telling of a consultation he had with a vegetarian patient. He then goes on to list 15 myths about Vegetarianism that are worth looking at. He also provides several references (text only, not links) for each Myth so you can do your own research. Here is a partial excerpt of the first two. Well written and researched:
MYTH #1:
Meat consumption contributes to famine and depletes the Earth's natural resources.

Some have argued that cows and sheep require pasturage that could be better used to raise grains to feed starving millions in Third World countries. Additionally, claims are made that raising livestock requires more water than raising plant foods. Both arguments are illogical and simplistic.

The pasturage argument ignores the fact that a large portion of our Earth's dry land is unsuited to cultivation. The open range and desert and mountainous areas yield their fruits to grazing animals (1).

Unfortunately, the bulk of commercial livestock are not range fed, but stall fed. They do not ingest grasses and shrubs (like they should), but are fed an unnatural array of grains and soybeans. It is true that these foods could be fed to humans. The argument here, then, is not that eating meat depletes the Earth's resources, but that commercial farming methods do. Such methods also subject livestock to deplorable living conditions where infections, antibiotics, steroids and synthetic hormones are common. These all lead to an unhealthy animal and, by extension, an unhealthy food product. Organically raised livestock, then, is a healthier and more humane choice (see myth #15 for more on this topic).

As for the claims that raising livestock requires more water than raising plant foods, water that livestock drink would be drunk by them anyway, even if they were not being raised for food. Additionally, the urine of grazing animals, which mostly comprises water, is rich in nitrogen which helps replenish the soil. Much of the water used in commercial livestock farming, however, is used up in growing the various grains and soybeans fed to the animals. If a concerted effort were made to return to the ecologically sound "mixed farm," (described below), then such huge expenditures of water would be unnecessary.
MYTH #2:Vitamin B12 can be obtained from plant sources.

Of all the myths, this is perhaps the most dangerous. Vegans who do not supplement their diet with vitamin B12 will eventually get anaemia (a fatal condition) as well as severe nervous and digestive system damage (6). Claims are made that B12 is present in certain algae, tempeh (a fermented soy product) and brewer's yeast. All of them are false.

Like the niacin in corn, the B12 analogues present in algae and tempeh are not bioavailable. We know this because studies done on people's blood levels of B12 remained the same after they ate spirulina and tempeh; there was no change, clearly indicating no absorption by the body (7). Further, the ingestion of too much soy increases the body's need for B12 (8). Brewer's yeast does not contain B12 naturally; it is always fortified from an outside source.

Some vegetarian authorities claim that B12 is produced by certain fermenting bacteria in the intestines. This may be true, but it is in a form unusable by the body. B12 requires intrinsic factor from the stomach for proper absorption in the ileum. Since the bacterial product does not have intrinsic factor bound to it, it cannot be absorbed (9).

It is true that vegans living in certain parts of India do not suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. This has led some to conclude that plant foods do provide this vitamin. This conclusion, however, is erroneous as many small insects, their eggs, larvae and/or residue, are left on the plant foods these people consume, due to non-use of pesticides and inefficient cleaning methods. This is how these people obtain their vitamin B12. This contention is borne out by the fact that when Indian Hindus migrated to England, they came down with pernicious anaemia within a few years. In England, the food supply is cleaner, and insect residues are completely removed from plant foods (10).
Interesting -- I was a Vegetarian for a few years about ten years ago. I felt better at first but caught every cold that came around and had lower energy than normal. I was careful with my diet too and took vitamin supplements including B12. That first bite of roast beef was incredible -- my body was craving it and I was blind to its needs. Now, I am in better shape than ever. I am not advocating a diet of raw meat and nothing else; Jen and I consume a lot of vegetables and grains but meat is a definite part of our diet.

A new invention - the Pizza Fork

Just when you thought you had seen it all -- kitchen department.
Pizza Fork and Cutter
Slice and eat with the same utensil! This time-saver cuts through pizza crust, forking up bites and delivering them right to your mouth! Great for other pancakes and waffles too. Stainless steel; dishwasher safe.
Available from these fine folks: Miles Kimball

Two Debates

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I do not have media or transcripts yet but it seems that Christopher Hitchens delivered hellfire and brimstone unto George Galloway. (C-SPAN-2 Saturday at 9:00PM EDT) Facts will always trump ad-hominem. One nugget was after Galloway invoked the name of Cindy Sheehan and praised her efforts. He had previously endorsed the "Iraqi resistance." Hitchens came back with the comment that Galloway: "Praise the killers of Casey Sheehan and then prey on the emotions of his mother..." The other debate between Victor Davis Hanson and Arianna Huffington seems to have been nothing more than a turkey shoot. With the turkey duct-taped to a large sheet of plywood and a fluorescent red bulls-eye spray-painted on its belly. Leftie "talking points" may sound sooo erudite at a Manhattan Cocktail Party but when confronted with fact and history, they wither and fall to the ground like last years leaves. A highlight of this debate was: "And Arianna finally couldn't resist anymore and snapped at VDH with a very patronizing tone, telling him he doesn't understand things correctly..."

Light blogging today

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Spent the afternoon building a rolling tool cart for the shop. Been taking up metal working and blacksmithing - lots of fun!

Three Years Today

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Jennifer and I were married three years ago on this date. Life just keeps getting better and better -- one of the best decisions I ever made. Jen -- I love you!

Two Debates tomorrow

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I would love to have real broadband for tomorrow. (We are far enough in the sticks that Satellite is the only option and latency issues with satellites makes streaming media a no-go.) Two debates are happening tomorrow. Debate One is between the wonderfully acerbic Christopher Hitchens and Red George Galloway -- Christopher lays out his strategy in this article at Slate:
George Galloway Is Gruesome, Not Gorgeous
Now, watch me debate him.
My old friend and frequent critic Geoffrey Wheatcroft once tried to define a moment of perfect contentment and came up with the idea of opening a vintage wine while settling down to read an undiscovered work by P.G. Wodehouse. Another comrade identified bliss with writing or reading very hard in the afternoon, knowing that someone really, really nice was coming to dinner. I, too, have a taste for the simpler pleasures. Can I convey the deep sense of delight that stole over me when I learned that George Galloway and Jane Fonda were to go on an "anti-war" tour together and that the idea of this perfect partnership had come from Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues?

The pure silliness and risibility of the thing would have been quite beyond one's power of invention. And, oh, just to be present when they finally meet. Jane can shyly tell George, who yells daily about the rape of Jerusalem by Zionism, of the brave days in 1982 when she and Tom Hayden went to entertain Gen. Sharon's invading troops in Lebanon. He can huskily and modestly discuss (he says he's a great admirer of her role in Barefoot in the Park) his long record as one of Britain's leading pro-life politicians, and his more recent outrage at the judicial "murder" of Terri Schiavo.
As is usual with Hitchens, this post just keeps getting better and better and better. Red Georgie will not know what hit him. The term "blindsided" was coined for events like this. The debate is being hosted here: Baruch College, CUNY The next one is one I had just heard of through a private email. One of my favorite writers is Victor Davis Hanson. His Friday essays are something I look forward to each week. A Classicist and Historian, he brings the long view into today's events. He is a serious and well-grounded scholar. Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI) is sponsoring a debate between him and media gadfly Arianna Huffington. I am sure that text transcripts and downloadable media will abound after these events but I would love to be there watching. Fish in the barrel? Meet Mr. Shotgun. Mr. Shotgun is not your friend.


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Filed under Science I guess... This bill has been introduced into Congress by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: S. 517:
To establish the Weather Modification Operations and Research Board, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the `Weather Modification Research and Technology Transfer Authorization Act of 2005'.

It is the purpose of this Act to develop and implement a comprehensive and coordinated national weather modification policy and a national cooperative Federal and State program of weather modification research and development.

In this Act:
(1) BOARD- The term `Board' means the Weather Modification Advisory and Research Board.

(2) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR- The term `Executive Director' means the Executive Director of the Weather Modification Advisory and Research Board.
(3) RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT- The term `research and development' means theoretical analysis, exploration, experimentation, and the extension of investigative findings and theories of scientific or technical nature into practical application for experimental and demonstration purposes, including the experimental production and testing of models, devices, equipment, materials, and processes.
(4) WEATHER MODIFICATION- The term `weather modification' means changing or controlling, or attempting to change or control, by artificial methods the natural development of atmospheric cloud forms or precipitation forms which occur in the troposphere.
Moonbats... I am surrounded by Moonbats! What part of Science to you fail to gasp? Do you know how much energy is in a modest thunderstorm and how little we are able to affect it? Scientists have been lusting after effective weather modification since the early 1950's and what has come of it? Nothing, Zip, Zero, Zilch... What has changed in your little part of the universe? Wonder if she is friends with Rick Santorum...
Talk about not getting the big picture... From the NY Times:
Letter From the Editor
On Monday, Sept. 19, will launch a new subscription service, TimesSelect, an important step in the development of The New York Times.

Subscribers to TimesSelect will have exclusive online access to many of our most influential columnists in Op-Ed, Business, New York/Region and Sports. In addition to reading the columns, TimesSelect subscribers can also engage with our columnists through video interviews and Web-only postings.

All of our news, features, editorials and analysis will remain free to readers of, as will our interactive graphics, multimedia and popular video minutes.
Emphasis mine. This is not a "new" service -- if you read through the above marketing jargon, they are taking their most popular features, the features that actually have meat on their bones and shutting them behind a wall and charging admission for access. They are providing access (100 citations/month) to their archive which is cool but the key issue is that these people's writings will no longer be available to anyone:
  • David Brooks
  • Maureen Dowd
  • Thomas L. Friedman
  • Bob Herbert
  • Nicholas D. Kristof
  • Paul Krugman
  • Frank Rich
  • John Tierney

  • Gretchen Morgenson
  • Joseph Nocera
  • Floyd Norris

    New York/Region
  • Peter Applebome
  • Dan Barry
  • Clyde Haberman
  • Joyce Purnick

  • Dave Anderson
  • Harvey Araton
  • William C. Rhoden
  • Selena Roberts
  • George Vecsey

    The International Herald Tribune
  • Roger Cohen
  • John Vinocur
These are some good writers, some I don't bother to read and some middle of the road. Still, it is a shame that the Grey Lady has chosen to depart from the Newspaper of Record model and wander off into "whoring our assets" land. Sure, they will make money from Libraries and people who have extra cash lying about but they will not get mine and I know a lot of other people who will feel the same...

A new oil refinery planned

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One of the critical reasons for the current high price of all fuels is the major shortage of Oil Refineries. No new ones have been built in the USA for the last 29 years. (Thanks enviros!) Sir Richard Branson is not known for his conservative entrepreneurial style. That is him on the tailgate of the truck along with designer Burt Rutan and Paul Allen.
The funny looking thing being towed is SpaceShip One, winner of the X-Prize as the first ground to space private vehicle. Sir Richard also runs Virgin Airlines and has been fuming about the current high price of Jet Fuel. He has correctly identified one of the major bottlenecks jacking the prices as a lack of refining capacity and is planning to do something about it. He is planning to build one. But where? Australian web site Finance News has the story:
Virgin plans oil refinery
Think you are upset about high gas prices? Maverick British entrepreneur Richard Branson is so furious he wants to build his own oil refinery.

Like the rest of the airline industry, Mr Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airways has been stung by higher jet fuel prices and was forced to raise fuel surcharges for the second time in four months.

Hurricane Katrina sent oil prices soaring to $US70 a barrel because it shut several US Gulf Coast refineries, which turn crude oil into products like diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.

"If we don't start now to get more refineries built then fuel prices could literally rocket to $US100-$US200 (per barrel of oil) and the world economy would come to a grinding halt," Branson said in an interview on financial news network CNBC overnight.

Mr Branson did not say where he wants to put his refinery, but some analysts said he should not look to the US, where no one has built a refinery in 29 years.

"My immediate reaction to that is: Not in the US," said Paul Flemming, oil analyst at Energy Security Analysis Inc. "That's definitely more pie in the sky than anything."

In the US, getting a permit could involve years of navigating local, state, and federal regulations and protests from environmental and community groups, analysts say.

But they note that people in other places would not be too keen to have an oil refinery in their backyards.

"If you're talking about a 400,000 barrels per day refinery next to a French Chateau in the Loire valley, the timeline is infinite," said Tim Evans, senior oil market analyst at IFR Energy Services.

"If you're looking at an industrialised part that already includes an oil refinery, it's much less of a big deal."

Mr Branson said plenty of places would welcome the jobs that a new refinery would create. "Some people will kick and scream, but they may be the same people screaming about the fact that they're having to pay enormous prices every time they get into the car."

But building a refinery to ease high fuel prices would be far from a quick fix: any refinery would take at least four or five years to build, if not longer.

And according to Energy Security Analysis' Flemming, another refinery would not ease record high crude oil prices as Branson suggests, since it would not increase actual crude oil production.

Mr Branson's idea does have some fans, however, among those concerned about the lack of competition in the refining industry, which is dominated by a few large companies.

"The oil companies themselves aren't interested in building new refineries and will tend to denigrate the chances of any new investors actually succeeding in their business," said Mr Evans of IFR Energy Services.

"They'll say, 'What does Richard Branson know about oil refineries?' He doesn't have to know about that part of the business, but he can easily see that oil refiners are making a margin far superior to what he's making in the airline business."
Say what you want but the guy is anything but stupid. Even when oil prices rise to the point where shale extraction becomes economical (and we have huge amounts of oil shale that can be extracted), the resulting crude still has to be refined into its component products. Very cool. I used to work in Seattle for a company that does Ocean Engineering and had the opportunity to visit a local refinery for a job-related function (a very cool instrumentation project!). That place is squeaky clean. Sure, they sometimes burn off excess gasses but the level of effort to prevent pollution is fantastic even from this geeky but untrained eye...


Talk about human rights and the cosmetics industry. This from The Guardian:

The beauty products from the skin of executed Chinese prisoners
Cosmetics firm targets UK market; Lack of regulation puts users at risk

A Chinese cosmetics company is using skin harvested from the corpses of executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe, an investigation by the Guardian has discovered.

Agents for the firm have told would-be customers it is developing collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners after they have been shot. The agents say some of the company's products have been exported to the UK, and that the use of skin from condemned convicts is "traditional" and nothing to "make such a big fuss about".

With European regulations to control cosmetic treatments such as collagen not expected for several years, doctors and politicians say the discovery highlights the dangers faced by the increasing number of Britons seeking to improve their looks. Apart from the ethical concerns, there is also the potential risk of infection.

Just when it can't get any worse, there is this little bomb:

When formally approached by the Guardian, the agent denied the company was using skin harvested from executed prisoners. However, he had already admitted it was doing precisely this during a number of conversations with a researcher posing as a Hong Kong businessman. The Press Complaints Commission's code of practice permits subterfuge if there is no other means of investigating a matter of public interest.

The agent told the researcher: "A lot of the research is still carried out in the traditional manner using skin from the executed prisoner and aborted foetus." This material, he said, was being bought from "bio tech" companies based in the northern province of Heilongjiang, and was being developed elsewhere in China.

Emphasis mine. Why do they use the Chinese products then?

The agent said his company exported to the west via Hong Kong."We are still in the early days of selling these products, and clients from abroad are quite surprised that China can manufacture the same human collagen for less than 5% of what it costs in the west." Skin from prisoners used to be even less expensive, he said. "Nowadays there is a certain fee that has to be paid to the court."

Emphasis mine again. I wonder if it will put a crimp in the plastic surgery busniess when people realize they have bits of corpse tissue in their lips. Just when plastic surgery couldn't get any worse.

A change of heart in the Gulf Coast

There is an interesting change afoot among people getting back to their lives in the Gulf Coast. Hat tip to Bruce at mASS BACKWARDSfor this link:

Smelling the Coffee
As much as it must have pained them to run this story, the Boston Globe reports that gun sales in Baton Rouge, and much of the Gulf Coast area are booming (pun intended), despite the recent announcement by Wal-Mart to discontinue gun sales in the area.
Spillway Sportsman, near Baton Rouge, sold 172 guns in one three-day period after the hurricane, when normally it might sell 15. One mother came in to buy her first gun after she and her two children, ages 9 and 12, witnessed a slaying on the streets of New Orleans, said Scott Roe, Spillway's owner.

"Her comment was, 'I was a card-carrying, antigun liberal -- not anymore,' "Roe said. "She said, 'I'm going back home, and I am not going back unarmed.' "
There's one more parent who has realized that she alone is ultimately responsible for the safety and well-being of her children. It's a shame Senator Barrios, Mayor Menino, and the rest of the gun-grabbing "progressives" that run this state would rather see her children orphaned by a looter looking for crack money.

But, hey...crackheads vote too!

Sadly, there are some people, even in the region impacted by Hurricane Katrina, who still don't get it. It's as if they've been living in their own little fantasy worlds devoid of all sense of reality for the last week and a half (though likely much longer).
Wal-Mart's decision to stop gun sales also earned it praise from several customers, who said police would protect them from any trouble.

"Why can't we get along? This is a time of crisis," said Mike White of Kenner, La. He said people who need guns for legitimate reasons, such as hunting, would not be buying now.
Mike White of Kenner, Louisiana is an idiot of the highest order.

Cool -- as Robert Anson Heinlein says: "An armed society is a polite society."

The buck stops here

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You may have heard the expression: "The buck stops here" but been unsure of its origin. It comes from the Presidency of Harry S. Truman who although quiet, was a very capable leader and was never one to defer responsibility. Truman, like a ship captain, felt that he was responsible for the actions of those under him. President Bush today showed that he is made of the same right stuff. From Yahoo/Reuters:
Bush: "I take responsibility"
President George W. Bush took responsibility on Tuesday for federal government failures in handling the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as new questions swirled over the discovery of at least 44 bodies in an abandoned hospital.
And more:
"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said. "I want to know what went right and what went wrong.

"Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack or another severe storm? That's a very important question and it's in our national interest that we find out exactly what went on so we can better respond," he said.
That is leadership...

A nasty little war...

| 4 Comments being fought over a 13 year old boy. From Yahoo/LA Times:
A boy and his $400 million
His name is Alex. He is 13 years old. And when he reaches 35, he stands to inherit an estate now valued at about $400 million.

This L.A. golden child is the only son of Mark Hughes, the late founder of Herbalife International, a maker of nutritional supplements.

Hughes' death at age 44 on May 21, 2000, made Alex the sole beneficiary of a vast trust. The multimillionaire died of a lethal combination of alcohol and an antidepressant after a drinking binge. The death was deemed accidental.

But Alexander Reynolds Hughes is now at the center of a lengthy and contentious probate battle in Los Angeles County Superior Court pitting his mother, Suzan Hughes, a former actress, court reporter and Miss Petite U.S.A., against trustees of the Hughes Family Trust. Mark and Suzan Hughes divorced two years before his death, in 1998, after nearly a decade of marriage. She was the third of his four wives.

Suzan Hughes wants the court to oust the trustees, who include Alex's paternal grandfather. She previously tried � and failed � to persuade the courts to remove the trustees on grounds of violating their fiduciary duties. Now, she has filed another petition seeking their removal on other grounds.

Hillel Chodos, her attorney, claims the trustees have paid themselves millions in fees while ignoring Alex's needs.

"Basically, they got the gold mine and [Alex] got the shaft," Chodos said. "They have paid themselves at least $5 million in trustee fees to date � maybe more. They paid their lawyers and accountants maybe $12 million to $15 million."

But attorneys for the trust have fired back in court papers, accusing Suzan Hughes of waging a "personal vendetta" against the administrators of the Hughes trust. They describe the case as "one of the most contentious trust and estate proceedings on record."
The terms of the trust:
The trustees include Alex's paternal grandfather, Jack Reynolds, former Herbalife chief executive Christopher Pair, who was a longtime friend of Mark Hughes, and Conrad Lee Klein, an attorney who was Mark Hughes' personal counsel for almost 20 years. Klein is the husband of California Appeals Court justice Joan Dempsey Klein and served for many years as an executive officer of Herbalife. (None of the parties, including Alex and his mother, retained financial ties to Herbalife after its sale.)

Under terms of the trust, Alex will receive one-third of the trust's annual income � or about $1 million judging by today's value � along with an additional $35 million from a separate custodial account, when he reaches age 25. At age 30, he could expect to receive about $2 million annually. Then, at 35, he will receive whatever remains in the trust, Ziskin said.
And of course, Ms. Hughes is not well off -- no, not at all:
Under her divorce settlement, Suzan Hughes receives $10,000 a month in direct child support and the trust pays approximately $100,000 for property taxes and insurance on her home, for Alex's tuition at the Windward School in West L.A., and for his medical expenses and medical insurance.

Court papers filed on Suzan Hughes' behalf state that "child support did not take into account the lavish lifestyle that was provided to Alex by his father when Mark was alive and had custody of Alex. This lifestyle included vacationing with Mark at his lavish beach home, cruising on Mark's yacht, driving in Mark's fleet of luxury cars and attending events of extraordinary prestige, lavishness and extravagance."

She has asked the trust to reimburse her for Alex's expenses and to make annual payments of $877,000 in after-tax dollars "so that Alex may continue to live the lifestyle he enjoyed while his father was alive." Chodos said Alex's expenses include legal fees, charitable giving and accounting advice.

The trust's attorneys believe that Alex's mother has waged her legal fight for two reasons: her attempt with other bidders to acquire Herbalife after her ex-husband's death was rejected by the trustees, and, she may believe that her divorce settlement was "insubstantial" when compared to the payout received by Mark Hughes' fourth and final wife, Darcy LaPier Hughes. The former Hawaiian Tropic model, who married Hughes on Valentine's Day 1999 after previous marriages to Hollywood action star Jean-Claude Van Damme and Hawaiian Tropic founder Ron Rice, reportedly received a $34-million settlement.

But attorneys for the trust estimate Suzan Hughes' net worth in excess of $10 million, with a yearly income of more than $600,000.

Yet, they assert in court documents, "her wealth apparently falls short of what she believes she is entitled to."
What a hypocrite -- it is what Alex wants... Google her name and she comes up as an "actress and philanthropist" and she is starting her own reality TV show.

An interesting coincidence?

There is a memorial being planned for the site of the 9/11 Flight 93 crash in Pennsylvania. The structure is drawing some criticism as the overall shape and color is that of the Islamic Red Crescent:

Flight 93 Memorial

Flags of some Islamic Nations

Now it seems that the opening of the Crescent is aligned directly towards Mecca. Wretchard has more to say at The Belmont Club:

The Flight 93 Memorial
The design of the Flight 93 memorial is being criticized for resembling a Red Islamic Crescent. Michelle Malkin, Real Clear Politics and Little Green Footballs point out the uncanny similarity. One poster at the FreeRepublicclaimed that the "Crescent of Embrace", the principal visual feature consisting of a semicircle of red maple trees enfolding a central space, was oriented toward Mecca.
According to this site, the latitude/longitude coordinates of Mecca are 21.4234, 39.8262 and the coordinates of the Flight 93 crash site are 40.052, -78.8963. Using the calculator from this site, I determined that the azimuth between the two points is 124.80°.

Next I went to the Flight 93 National Memorial website and found the biggest overhead view of the memorial I could find with north oriented up. I measured the distance from tip-to-tip of the crescent and came up with 64px east-west and 90px north-south. The arctangent of 64/90 is the angle between north and a line drawn between the tips, which works out to 35.42°. Adding 90° to this angle gives the direction the crescent faces as 125.42°. Conclusion: the crescent points towards Mecca with an error of 0.62°, or 0.17%.
I had my doubts, so I decided to check things for myself. The Flight 93 Memorial Site has a downloadable PDF map of the winning design, which I duly downloaded. The legend at the bottom of the map specifies it is oriented North, whether true or magnetic is not stipulated. (Magnetic declination is between 6 and 9 degrees W.) Drawing a line connecting the tips of the crescent and drawing a perpendicular, you can see which which way it "opens". Using a protractor, I found the crescent opens between 230 and 240 (southwest) degrees, or taking the reciprocal, between 50 and 60 (northeast). You are invited to do this yourselves and verify the result.

Wretchard fact checks and it comes out accurate:

Both give a result of 55 degrees true, or its reciprocal 235. I can tell you that my jaw fell open. The bearing given by both Great Circle Calculators corresponded near enough to the measured opening of the Crescent from the PDF map.

There is some possibility for coincidence -- Wretchard again:

Now it could have been coincidence. I went to architect Nelson Byrd Woltz's website and examined his portfolio. Many of his previous works emphasize the semicircular or crescent motif. For example, the Westminster Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden, Watercolor Park, Doris Duke Center and North Carolina Arboretum all seem to incorporate this semicircular theme. That brought me right back to the Flight 93 Memorial Site. If you look at the video provided, you'll see that the orientation of the "Crescent of Embrace" is determined, or at least very strongly suggested by the contours of the ground. (The PDF map shows the same thing). The contours run right through the opening of the crescent. Unless you wanted the park visitors to climb up and down contour lines the opening was exactly where it had to be. So the simplest explanation it seems to me, is that the orientation of the Crescent of Embrace is coincidental.

But what a coincidence! Memorials are symbols above all and it may be inappropriate to commemorate Flight 93 with a Red Crescent facing Mecca.

Finally, Zombietime has some more coverage of this including an animated GIF file that shows that not only is the memorial a crescent but it is the exact same proportions as the Islamic symbol. A reader of his site did this projection of the crescent on an azimuthal equidistant world map and this shows the relationship of the crescent with Mecca:

Click for full-size Image

NOLA at its finest

When Jen and I were reading stories of the rescue efforts in the post-hurricane New Orleans, one of the things that repeatedly surfaced were stories of people who were told to go to place "X" and were then forgotten about. It seems FEMA brought eager people but it brought zero computer skills or databases or communications or radio dispatching, or, or, or, or... The people we read about over the last few days had been found thirsty, hungry, exhausted and pissed off. This evening, I just read about 45 people who would love to fit into that category. Netscape News/CNN has this story:
45 Bodies Found at New Orleans Hospital
Forty-five bodies have been found at a hospital that was abandoned more than a week ago after it was surrounded by floodwaters unleashed by Hurricane Katrina, a state health official said Monday.

The bodies were located Sunday at Memorial Medical Center, said Bob Johannesen, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Hospitals. Johannesen said the bodies were those of patients, but he had no other information.

Dr. Jeffrey Kochan, a Philadelphia radiologist volunteering in New Orleans, said the team that recovered the bodies told him late Sunday it found 36 floating on the first floor.

"That's what they were talking about last night," Kochan said. "These guys were just venting. They need to talk. They're seeing things no human being should have to see."

Police Chief Eddie Compass declined to answer questions Monday about the discovery, including whether police received any calls for assistance from inside Memorial Medical Center after the hospital was evacuated.

"I can't say nothing," Compass said, referring a reporter to a spokeswoman for Mayor C. Ray Nagin who did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
And we must not forget that the original responsibility to evacuate lay with the Mayor and the Governor. Here is the link to the New Orleans Disaster Preparedness website which outlines the responsibility very clearly. Scroll down a little more than half way until you hit the line that says:
A. Authority
As established by the City of New Orleans Charter, the government has jurisdiction and responsibility in disaster response. City government shall coordinate its efforts through the Office of Emergency Preparedness

The authority to order the evacuation of residents threatened by an approaching hurricane is conferred to the Governor by Louisiana Statute. The Governor is granted the power to direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from a stricken or threatened area within the State, if he deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response or recovery. The same power to order an evacuation conferred upon the Governor is also delegated to each political subdivision of the State by Executive Order. This authority empowers the chief elected official of New Orleans, the Mayor of New Orleans, to order the evacuation of the parish residents threatened by an approaching hurricane.

B. Issuance of Evacuation Orders

The person responsible for recognition of hurricane related preparation needs and for the issuance of an evacuation order is the Mayor of the City of New Orleans. Concerning preparation needs and the issuance of an evacuation order, The Office of Emergency Preparedness should keep the Mayor advised.
Emphases mine. Major hat tip to Rob at Gutrumbles for the link to this story.

An explanation of the New Orleans Flooding

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In the run-up to Katrina's landfall, it was told time and time again that the city of New Orleans lay in a geological bowl and was susceptible to flooding. Leave it to Denny at Grouchy Old Cripple to find out exactly what kind of bowl it was and to post the graphic that explains it:
Click for full-size Image

A salute to Mike Brown

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Once again, Cox and Forkum hit the nail on the head:
Click for full-size Image

Poison Ivy and Tylenol

Derek Lowe suffers from a bit of Poison Ivy and talks about the similarity between it an Tylenol and muses on whether Tylenol (or even Aspirin) would make it to the market as a new drug these days:
Remind Me Not to Do This Again
As I sit here typing this evening, my right arm is giving me fits. About a week ago, I had the misfortune, while retrieving a mis-thrown frisbee in the back yard with my two children, of reaching into an area with some poison ivy growing in it. And I�ve been paying for it ever since.

My immune system has been set off by contact with an alkylated catechol called urushiol (lot of information here.) The stuff penetrates the skin quite well, damn it all. It�s simultaneously greasy (with a fifteen-carbon tail on it) and has a polar head group (the catechol), so it just wanders in there will all the other lipid molecules and does its thing. Its thing is to get oxidized to an ortho-quinone, which is probably what does the damage.

Quinones are reactive beasts, which is why we don�t put catechol groups (or similar precursors) on drug structures if there�s any possible way around it. Some years ago, Merck made a big splash in Science and other venues with a small molecule that affected the signaling of the insulin receptor. That was quite a feat, and worthy of the attention - but the molecule itself, derived from a natural product, was a quinone. I rolled my eyes when I first saw it, as did almost everyone else in the industry, and we were correct - Merck was never able to develop the stuff into a real drug.

A notorious exception to this rule is acetominophen, known also by its brand-name form of Tylenol, which gets metabolized to a reactive quinone-like compound. (There�s no way that the compound would be seriously developed today, but that almost certainly goes for aspirin, too, and there you have one reason that it�s so hard to run a drug company these days.) The acetominophen metabolite is cleared handily by one of the body�s standard systems (glutathione conjugation), but if you take enough of the stuff to deplete your reserves you�re in for some serious liver damage.

So, this quinone has soaked right into me and reacted with some of my cell-surface proteins, prompting my immune system to mount a big inflammatory attack. This response isn�t just available in your back yard, though: it�s a little-known occupational hazard in research labs. There are many classes of reactive compounds that can penetrate the skin enough to cause trouble. If a particular person�s immune system finds fault with the result, they end up with dermatitis that�s indistinguishable from vigorous, prolonged poison ivy contact.
Derek's commentors post some of their own experiences. The human body is a fascinating (and somewhat exasperating) system...

Stormy Weather

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It seems that Senator Rick Santorum (R-Accuweather) is at it again with his meddling with the weather. I had written about him earlier here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here regarding his efforts to strongly limit the weather information presented for free on the National Weather Service Website all the while, taking campaign contributions from Accuweather, a commercial company who stands to make a lot of money providing these same services for a fee if the free websites are taken offline. I even received a nice comment from someone who supported Senator Santorum. The only issue is that they posted their comment from a netblock owned by Accuweather (read about it here) It seems that he has irked some people (agaiiinnn). The Northern Pennsylvania Times Leader has the story:
Union criticizes Santorum remarks about Katrina forecast
The National Weather Service Employees union on Friday said U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum should retract statements this week questioning whether the weather service had given sufficient warning of Hurricane Katrina's path and fury.

"There's nobody else in the country saying the weather service didn't do a stellar job," said Dan Sobien, a meteorologist in Tampa, Fla., and vice president of the union.

Union president Paul Greaves accused the third-ranking Senate Republican of trying to further his goal of limiting the weather service's role in favor of private companies, such as Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather.

"We know Sen. Santorum is looking out for the interests of his constituents in Pennsylvania," said Greaves, a meteorologist in Albany, NY, "and one of those constituents is AccuWeather."

During an interview Thursday with WITF Public Radio in Harrisburg, Santorum, R-Pa., said, in part, that "the weather service gave no warning, or not sufficient warning in my opinion, as to the effects when it came on land in Florida as a Category One hurricane."

"Predictions were that it wasn't going to go out to the gulf and affect the western gulf coast, it was going to sort of head up to Florida or go right off the coast of Florida."

"I'm not going to suggest when it comes to Katrina that there were any major errors," he went on to say in the same interview. "I don't know. This is something that I think needs to be investigated."

Following the union's criticism, Santorum released a statement Friday saying that "I hope as we go forward to review the various aspects related to Hurricane Katrina that we also look at whether the forecasts and warnings provided the necessary information to preserve lives and property."

But a fellow Republican senator, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, praised the weather service's performance, calling it in a statement Friday "one of the most accurate hurricane predictions we have ever seen." Spokesman Wesley Denton said DeMint was unaware of Santorum's comments or the union's response.

DeMint cited the same documents referred to by Greaves and Sobien indicating that 2 1/2 days before Katrina hit New Orleans, the agency had accurately predicted it would hit there. "These early and accurate forecasts saved countless lives along the Gulf Coast," DeMint said.

Earlier this year, Santorum introduced legislation that would limit what information the weather service, a federal agency, could provide to the public. He said the agency should focus on "severe weather forecasts and warnings designed for the protection of life and property," and leave the day-to-day predictions to private companies like AccuWeather, a point he made in Thursday's interview.
Emphases mine -- what a little stinking turd... "the weather service gave no warning" can be directly refuted by taking a look at my blog entry from two days before landfall where I showed this free NOAA prediction:
Click for full-size Image
Senator Santorum, I call bullshit on your ass...

Brown Out

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Took a lot less time than I expected. Mike Brown resigned today. CNN has the story:
FEMA director Brown resigns
President taps senior staff member as temporary replacement

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Brown resigned Monday after coming under fire over his qualifications and for what critics call a bungled response to Hurricane Katrina's destruction.

President Bush chose David Paulison, the director of FEMA's preparedness division, as interim director, the White House announced.

"As I told the president, it is important that I leave now to avoid further distraction from the ongoing mission of FEMA," Brown said in a news release.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this president and to work shoulder to shoulder with the hard working men and women of FEMA. They carry out an unusually difficult task under the harshest of circumstances. My respect for these dedicated professionals and this organization is unyielding.

"There is no other government agency that reaches people in a more direct way. It has been the best job in the world to help Americans in their darkest hours."

The resignation came three days after Brown was recalled to Washington by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and replaced as the point main for Katrina relief efforts.

Since Brown's reassignment, Vice Adm. Thad Allen, the Coast Guard's chief of staff, has been leading FEMA's mission along the Gulf Coast.

On Friday, a Time magazine article called into question whether Brown's resume was padded to overstate his experience in emergency management. A FEMA official quoted in the report said Brown believed the article was inaccurate.
I blogged about the Time Magazine article here. And we have the obligatory "we fired his ass but he was actually a good worker" sendoff from Chertoff:
Chertoff said in a news release that Brown had done his job.

"Mike managed over 160 disasters during his tenure at FEMA, and his service in those disasters has been commended by many," Chertoff said. "He has done everything he possibly could to coordinate the federal response to the unprecedented challenge posed by Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans levee breach. He is a good man, and I personally appreciate his work and his commitment."
Yeah, 160 very small disasters where the local infrastructure was more than capable to handle any issues. I have a bad personal taste in my mouth from FEMA -- Seattle, WA had a minor earthquake a few years ago. My sewer line was damaged and it would cost me about $5K to repair it. FEMA based their relief on the cost of a typical repair averaged over the entire USA. FEMA said that this repair should only cost about $1,200. I was thinking fine, give me the $1,200 and I'll cover the rest. No -- they had to either fully fund the repair or they would not contribute anything. Seattle is a bit on the expensive side plus there was a below ground level garage with a loose rock retaining wall on either side. One side had to be dismantled for the work to be done, it was not a "cookie-cutter" job, there was a lot more labor involved. It is good that Brown stepped down and it will be interesting to see who Bush chooses as his replacement. I wonder what Gen. Russel Honore is thinking about for the next ten years or so...

Black out

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It seems that a good-size chunk of Los Angeles lost their power this afternoon. Bloomberg has the news:
Los Angeles Power Restored After Line Overload Causes Blackout
A power failure in Los Angeles, the second-largest U.S. city, darkened downtown and several nearby cities, trapping people in elevators, disrupting refineries and snarling traffic.

The blackout started around 12:35 p.m. local time, and almost all who lost power had it restored by 2 p.m., said Kim Hughes, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation's largest municipal utility.

Power was lost in an area with about 2 million people after a worker with the utility accidentally overloaded a transmission line, tripping circuit protectors, Hughes said. Overloading the line caused an automatic shutdown of other lines to prevent damage to equipment.
And a bit more about why the line was overloaded and one example of the impact:
The region does not have adequate power generation or transmission capabilities to maintain an adequate cushion during periods of peak demand, the California Energy Commission said earlier this year. Below normal temperatures kept demand well below peak levels today.

Investment in power plants has slowed on uncertainty about the direction of the state's electricity industry, four years after an energy crisis resulted in blackouts for millions of people, said Peter Navarro, a professor with the University of California at Irvine.


"Capital investment in new power plants is not happening to the degree it should," Navarro said in a telephone interview. "Neither the governor nor the legislature nor the public utilities commission has created a long-term energy policy."

Today's blackout affected industrial facilities such as Valero Energy Corp.'s Wilmington oil refinery, which shut down after losing power, according to spokeswoman Mary Rose Brown. The refinery has a capacity of 77,000 barrels of oil a day out of California's total capacity of about 2.03 million barrels.
And of course, the refinery will start right back up once power is restored. BZZZTTT!!! It will probably take a day or two to get everything back online and that is with everyone working overtime. Our oil supply takes yet another hit. How about some more refineries people -- we have not had a new one built for about 20 years (thanks environmentalists...).
UPDATE: Link to Sunday Times-World corrected... Well researched and spot-on article in The Sunday Times-World:
Focus: White do-gooders did for black America
Black poverty is the result of 30 years of misguided welfare rather than racism, says John McWhorter

As it quickly became clear that there was a certain demographic skew among the people stranded in New Orleans, journalists began intoning that Hurricane Katrina had stripped bare the continuing racial inequity in America.

The extent to which this was hidden is unclear, actually. An awareness that a tragic disproportion of black Americans are poor has been a hallmark of civic awareness among educated Americans for 40 years now.

The problem is less a lack of awareness than a lack of understanding. The publicly sanctioned take is that "white supremacy" is why 80% of New Orleans�s poor people are black. The civics lesson, we are to think, is that the civil rights revolution left a job undone in an America still hostile to black advancement.

In fact, white America does remain morally culpable � but because white leftists in the late 1960s, in the name of enlightenment and benevolence, encouraged the worst in human nature among blacks and even fostered it in legislation. The hordes of poor blacks stuck in the Superdome last week wound up there not because the White Man barred them from doing better, but because certain tragically influential White Men destroyed the fragile but lasting survival skills poor black communities had maintained since the end of slavery.
Bringing things up to present day New Orleans:
This is the hell that most of the people in the Superdome either lived in or knew at close hand, and none of them could help being stamped by it. Welfare reform was only nine years ago. The women now past the five-year cap are mostly struggling in dead-end jobs. This is better than living on the dole. But these women are weighed down by too many kids created under the old regime to have the time or energy to get the education to get beyond where they are. Poor black neighbourhoods are not what they were at the height of the crack epidemic in the 1980s, but they are still a crying shame.

The poor black America that welfare expansion created in 1966 is still with us. Poor young blacks have never known anything else. People as old as 50 have only vague memories of life before it. For 30 years this was a world within a world, as is made clear from how often the Katrina refugees mention it is the first time they have ever left New Orleans.
Excellent close-up examination of what went wrong and why. Unintended consequences rearing its ugly head...

A record

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Jen and I both hike and backpack. I used to do a small amount of rock climbing, she was more extreme than me. Two local people Mike Layton and Erik Wolfe just bagged the last great unclimbed route in Washington State. They are active on Cascade Climbers and their trip report is here: [TR] South East Mox Peak- The Devil's Club, First Ascent of the East Face 9/1/2005 Here is where they went:
Click for full-size Image
Amazing story -- 70 pound packs, bushwhacking in to the base camp, rappelling down only to have the ropes tangle. The last person known to attempt this climb was Fred Becky in 1968. Our local newspaper: The Bellingham Herald has the story as well:
Bellingham men are first to scale Mox wall
When Erik Wolfe and Michael Layton finished climbing a 2,500- foot wall in a remote corner of Whatcom County, they pulled off a feat no one had attempted in 37 years.

"Incredible! Absolutely astounding!!" wrote Harry Majors, a historian of North Cascades exploration and climbing, on Majors added that their first ascent of the east face of Southeast Mox Peak was the most important North Cascades climb in 50 years.

John Roper, a Bellevue-based veteran climber who has climbed all but one named peak in the North Cascades, says Majors wasn't exaggerating.

"It really really is impressive."

The adventure pushed the climbers to the limit. Wolfe, 43, a Bellingham carpenter, says he'll never do anything like it again.

"It took me to the absolute end of my emotional and physical abilities," he says.

The climb was his partner's idea. Layton, 28, is a Bellingham resident when he's not in chiropractic school in Portland, Ore., or performing technical climbs. He decided to try the huge slab of banded gneiss after spotting it in a Web site of North Cascades photographs taken by Bellingham firefighter and pilot John Scurlock.

"The thought of climbing it pretty much just ate away at me until I climbed it," Layton says. "It's just so breathtaking, I wanted to be a part of it." North Cascades climbing legend Fred Beckey, now 82, gave up part way up the face in 1968. He was the last to try. In an e-mail, he told Layton it was a good place for a funeral.

One danger of the face is its sheer size: half a mile high, with the last 1,500 feet vertical. Another is the quality of the rock. Unlike the granite that forms such climbing landmarks as Yosemite and Liberty Bell, the gneiss of Southeast Mox has few stable cracks that would allow climbers to place anchors for their ropes. And where it isn't solid, climbers must expect falling rock.

And it is so remote that rescue would be unlikely.
As Jen said earlier this morning -- these are two people who will not have to buy their own beer for a year or so... Just Damn!


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Local news but bizarre - KOMO-TV has the story:
Rock Slide Kills 3 On I-90
Three people were killed early Sunday morning in a rock slide that temporarily shut down westbound Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Kelly Spangler said a large section of a rock wall broke off the hillside and fell on a car just after 1 a.m., crushing the three people who were inside.

"These are very, very large rocks," she said.

No other cars were hit.

The interstate was closed to westbound traffic at milepost 70 for much of the day. It re-opened at 3 p.m.

Department of transportation engineers spent the day stabilizing the hillside where the rock broke free about two miles west of Snoqualmie Pass. They also removed overhanging loose rocks that were above the lanes on the highway, posing a potential risk to drivers.

The names of the three people who were killed have not been released.
There is snow avalanche danger in that area -- when you drive I-90, you will see cannons that are used to dislodge dangerous snowpacks. Didn't think the rock was dangerous though. The last few days have been cooler and wetter but no freezing. Yet another reason to just hang out on the farm...

A thought on 9/11

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People have been celebrating the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attack with moments of silence and prayer. This is fine for the departed but considering what happened, should we not also have a moment of rage? Reading around the web it seems like a lot of people are mentally pigeonholing 9/11 with Hurricane Katrina and airplane wrecks as something bad that happened to us. It was but it wasn't an accident or a natural phenomenon. It was a pre-meditated attack by people who want to fundamentally change the way that we live. We have made great inroads stopping them but they, like any skilled enemy, have studied us and our culture and have learned how to exploit our weaknesses and turn them against us. I speak of the Left... People over there, please wake up -- appeasement does not work, it makes it worse. I was one of you four years ago and after 9/11, I saw what questions the Left was asking and didn't like their answers. If I can wake up, so can you.

A southern bulge

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It seems that Magma is on the move down in Oregon. Yahoo/Reuters has the story:
Scientists find growing land bulge in Oregon
A large, slow-growing volcanic bulge in Eastern Oregon is attracting the attention of seismologists who say that the rising ground could be the beginnings of a volcano or simply magma shifting underground.

Scientists said that the 100 square-mile (260 sq-km) bulge, first discovered by satellite, poses no immediate threat to nearby residents.

"It is perfectly safe for anyone over there," said Michael Lisowski, geophysicist at the United States Geological Survey's Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington.

The bulge is rising at a rate of about 1.4 inches per year, according to a report issued by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The bulge is located in a sparsely populated area 3 miles southwest of South Sister, a mountain 25 miles west of Bend, Oregon.
This will be interesting to watch over the next few years. Some volcanoes blow up spectacularly (Mount St. Helens), others quietly spring to life and grow and grow (Popocat�petl). And of course, let's not forget about Yellowstone Park - the focus of much pseudo-science and media hype.

In a few hours...

...we will be "celebrating" the anniversary of the horrible Islamic Terrorist Attack on our nation. Let us note each and every one of these people's names -- they were not warriors, they were innocent people who died because of a corrupt culture on the other side of this planet that thinks it can return to its 'glory days' from 900 years ago... Memo to Allah: It failed then and it will fail now... To the rest of you, please join me in remembering our countrymen who were murdered by Islamofascist Terrorists:
September 11, 2001
In Memoriam.

Gordon McCannel Aamoth. Edelmiro (Ed) Abad. Maria Rose Abad. Andrew Anthony Abate. Vincent Abate. Laurence Christopher Abel. William F. Abrahamson. Richard Anthony Aceto. Erica Van Acker. Heinrich B. Ackermann. Paul Andrew Acquaviva. Christian Adams. Donald L. Adams. Patrick Adams. Shannon Lewis Adams. Stephen Adams. Ignatius Adanga. Christy A. Addamo. Terence E. Adderley. Sophia B. Addo. Lee Adler. Daniel Thomas Afflitto. Emmanuel Afuakwah. Alok Agarwal. Mukul Agarwala. Joseph Agnello. David Scott Agnes. Joao A.D. Aguiar. Lt. Brian G. Ahearn. Jeremiah J. Ahern. Joanne Ahladiotis. Shabbir Ahmed. Terrance Andre Aiken. Godwin Ajala. Gertrude M. Alagero. Andrew Alameno. Margaret Ann (Peggy) Jezycki Alario. Gary Albero. Jon L. Albert. Peter Craig Alderman. Jacquelyn Delaine Aldridge. Grace Alegre-Cua. David D. Alger. Ernest Alikakos. Edward L. Allegretto. Eric Allen. Joseph Ryan Allen. Richard Dennis Allen. Richard Lanard Allen. Christopher Edward Allingham. Anna Williams Allison. Janet M. Alonso. Anthony Alvarado. Antonio Javier Alvarez. Telmo Alvear. Cesar A. Alviar. Tariq Amanullah. Angelo Amaranto. James Amato. Joseph Amatuccio. Paul Ambrose. Christopher Charles Amoroso. Spc. Craig Amundson. Kazuhiro Anai. Calixto Anaya. Jorge Octavio Santos Anaya. Joseph Peter Anchundia. Kermit Charles Anderson. Yvette Anderson. John Andreacchio. Michael Rourke Andrews. Jean A. Andrucki. Siew-Nya Ang. Joseph Angelini. Joseph Angelini. David Angell. Lynn Angell. Laura Angilletta. Doreen J. Angrisani. Lorraine D. Antigua. Seima Aoyama. Peter Paul Apollo. Faustino Apostol. Frank Thomas Aquilino. Patrick Michael Aranyos. David Gregory Arce. Michael G. Arczynski. Louis Arena. Barbara Arestegui. Adam Arias. Michael J. Armstrong. Jack Charles Aron. Joshua Aron. Richard Avery Aronow. Myra Aronson. Japhet J. Aryee. Carl Asaro. Michael A. Asciak. Michael Edward Asher. Janice Ashley. Thomas J. Ashton. Manuel O. Asitimbay. Lt. Gregg Arthur Atlas. Gerald Atwood. James Audiffred. Kenneth W. Van Auken. Louis F. Aversano. Ezra Aviles. Alona Avraham. Ayodeji Awe. Samuel (Sandy) Ayala. Arlene T. Babakitis. Eustace (Rudy) Bacchus. John James Badagliacca. Jane Ellen Baeszler. Robert J. Baierwalter. Andrew J. Bailey. Brett T. Bailey. Garnet Edward (Ace) Bailey. Tatyana Bakalinskaya. Michael S. Baksh. Sharon Balkcom. Michael Andrew Bane. Kathy Bantis. Gerard Jean Baptiste. Walter Baran. Gerard A. Barbara. Paul V. Barbaro. James W. Barbella. Ivan Kyrillos Fairbanks Barbosa. Victor Daniel Barbosa. Christine Barbuto. Colleen Ann Barkow. David Michael Barkway. Matthew Barnes. Melissa Rose Barnes. Sheila Patricia Barnes. Evan J. Baron. Ana Gloria Pocasangre de Barrera. Renee Barrett-Arjune. Arthur T. Barry. Diane G. Barry. Maurice Vincent Barry. Scott D. Bart. Carlton W. Bartels. Guy Barzvi. Inna Basina. Alysia Basmajian. Kenneth William Basnicki. Lt. Steven J. Bates. Paul James Battaglia. W. David Bauer. Ivhan Luis Carpio Bautista. Marlyn C. Bautista. Mark Bavis. Jasper Baxter. Lorraine G. Bay. Michele (Du Berry) Beale. Todd Beamer. Paul F. Beatini. Jane S. Beatty. Alan Beaven. Larry I. Beck. Manette Marie Beckles. Carl John Bedigian. Michael Beekman. Maria Behr. (Retired) Master Sgt. Max Beilke. Yelena Belilovsky. Nina Patrice Bell. Andrea Della Bella. Debbie S. Bellows. Stephen Elliot Belson. Paul Michael Benedetti. Denise Lenore Benedetto. Bryan Craig Bennett. Eric L. Bennett. Oliver Duncan Bennett. Margaret L. Benson. Dominick J. Berardi. James Patrick Berger. Steven Howard Berger. John P. Bergin. Alvin Bergsohn. Daniel D. Bergstein. Graham Andrew Berkeley. Michael J. Berkeley. Donna Bernaerts-Kearns. David W. Bernard. William Bernstein. David M. Berray. David S. Berry. Joseph J. Berry. William Reed Bethke. Yeneneh Betru. Timothy D. Betterly. Carolyn Beug. Edward F. Beyea. Paul Michael Beyer. Anil T. Bharvaney. Bella Bhukhan. Shimmy D. Biegeleisen. Peter Alexander Bielfeld. William Biggart. Brian Bilcher. Mark K. Bingham. Carl Vincent Bini. Gary Bird. Joshua David Birnbaum. George Bishop. Kris Romeo Bishundat. Jeffrey D. Bittner. Balewa Albert Blackman. Christopher Joseph Blackwell. Carrie Blagburn. Susan L. Blair. Harry Blanding. Janice L. Blaney. Craig Michael Blass. Rita Blau. Richard M. Blood. Michael A. Boccardi. John Paul Bocchi. Michael L. Bocchino. Susan Mary Bochino. Deora Frances Bodley. Bruce Douglas (Chappy) Boehm. Mary Katherine Boffa. Nicholas A. Bogdan. Darren C. Bohan. Lawrence Francis Boisseau. Vincent M. Boland. Touri Bolourchi. Alan Bondarenko. Andre Bonheur. Colin Arthur Bonnett. Frank Bonomo. Yvonne L. Bonomo. Sean Booker. Kelly Ann Booms. Lt. Col. Canfield D. Boone. Mary Jane (MJ) Booth. Sherry Ann Bordeaux. Krystine C. Bordenabe. Martin Boryczewski. Richard E. Bosco. Klaus Bothe. Carol Bouchard. John Howard Boulton. Francisco Bourdier. Thomas H. Bowden. Donna Bowen. Kimberly S. Bowers. Veronique (Bonnie) Nicole Bowers. Larry Bowman. Shawn Edward Bowman. Kevin L. Bowser. Gary R. Box. Gennady Boyarsky. Pamela Boyce. Allen Boyle. Michael Boyle. Alfred Braca. Sandra Conaty Brace. Kevin H. Bracken. Sandra W. Bradshaw. David Brian Brady. Alexander Braginsky. Nicholas W. Brandemarti. Daniel R. Brandhorst. David Reed Gamboa Brandhorst. Michelle Renee Bratton. Patrice Braut. Lydia Estelle Bravo. Ronald Michael Breitweiser. Edward A. Brennan. Frank H. Brennan. Michael Emmett Brennan. Peter Brennan. Thomas M. Brennan. Capt. Daniel Brethel. Gary L. Bright. Jonathan Eric Briley. Mark A. Brisman. Paul Gary Bristow. Victoria Alvarez Brito. Marion Britton. Mark Francis Broderick. Herman C. Broghammer. Keith Broomfield. Bernard Curtis Brown. Capt. Patrick J. Brown. Janice J. Brown. Lloyd Brown. Bettina Browne. Mark Bruce. Richard Bruehert. Andrew Brunn. Capt. Vincent Brunton. Ronald Paul Bucca. Brandon J. Buchanan. Greg Joseph Buck. Dennis Buckley. Nancy Bueche. Patrick Joseph Buhse. John E. Bulaga. Stephen Bunin. Christopher Lee Burford. Capt. William F. Burke. Matthew J. Burke. Thomas Daniel Burke. Charles Burlingame. Donald James Burns. Kathleen A. Burns. Keith James Burns. John Patrick Burnside. Irina Buslo. Milton Bustillo. Thomas M. Butler. Patrick Byrne. Timothy G. Byrne. Daniel Martin Caballero. Jesus Cabezas. Lillian Caceres. Brian Joseph Cachia. Steven Cafiero. Richard M. Caggiano. Cecile M. Caguicla. John Brett Cahill. Michael John Cahill. Scott W. Cahill. Thomas J. Cahill. George Cain. Salvatore B. Calabro. Joseph Calandrillo. Philip V. Calcagno. Edward Calderon. Sgt. 1st Class Jose Orlando Calderon-Olmedo. Kenneth Marcus Caldwell. Dominick E. Calia. Felix (Bobby) Calixte. Capt. Frank Callahan. Liam Callahan. Suzanne Calley. Luigi Calvi. Roko Camaj. Michael Cammarata. David Otey Campbell. Geoffrey Thomas Campbell. Jill Marie Campbell. Robert Arthur Campbell. Sandra Patricia Campbell. Juan Ortega Campos. Sean Canavan. John A. Candela. Vincent Cangelosi. Stephen J. Cangialosi. Lisa B. Cannava. Brian Cannizzaro. Michael R. Canty. Robin Caplan. Louis A. Caporicci. Jonathan N. Cappello. James Christopher Cappers. Richard M. Caproni. Jose Cardona. Dennis M Carey. Stephen Carey. Edward Carlino. Michael Scott Carlo. David G. Carlone. Rosemarie C. Carlson. Mark Stephen Carney. Joyce Ann Carpeneto. Alicia Acevedo Carranza. Jeremy M. Carrington. Michael T. Carroll. Peter Carroll. James J. Carson. Christoffer Carstanjen. Angelene C. Carter. Christopher Newton Carter. James Marcel Cartier. Sharon Carver. Vivian Casalduc. John F. Casazza. Paul Cascio. Neilie Casey. William Cashman. Margarito Casillas. Thomas Anthony Casoria. William Otto Caspar. Alejandro Castano. Arcelia Castillo. Leonard M. Castrianno. Jose Ramon Castro. William Caswell. Richard G. Catarelli. Christopher Sean Caton. Robert J. Caufield. Mary Teresa Caulfield. Judson Cavalier. Michael Joseph Cawley. Jason D. Cayne. Juan Armando Ceballos. Marcia G. Cecil-Carter. Jason Cefalu. Thomas J. Celic. Ana M. Centeno. Joni Cesta. John J. Chada. Jeffrey M. Chairnoff. Swarna Chalasini. William Chalcoff. Eli Chalouh. Charles Lawrence (Chip) Chan. Mandy Chang. Rosa Maria (Rosemary) Chapa. Mark L. Charette. David M. Charlebois. Gregorio Manuel Chavez. Jayceryll M. de Chavez. Pedro Francisco Checo. Douglas MacMillan Cherry. Stephen Patrick Cherry. Vernon Paul Cherry. Nestor Chevalier. Swede Joseph Chevalier. Alexander H. Chiang. Dorothy J. Chiarchiaro. Luis Alfonso Chimbo. Robert Chin. Wing Wai (Eddie) Ching. Nicholas P. Chiofalo. John Chipura. Peter A. Chirchirillo. Catherine E. Chirls. Kyung (Kaccy) Cho. Abul K. Chowdhury. Mohammed Salahuddin Chowdhury. Kirsten L. Christophe. Pamela Chu. Steven Paul Chucknick. Wai-ching Chung. Christopher Ciafardini. Alex F. Ciccone. Frances Ann Cilente. Elaine Cillo. Edna Cintron. Nestor Andre Cintron. Lt. Robert Dominick Cirri. Juan Pablo Alvarez Cisneros. Benjamin Keefe Clark. Eugene Clark. Gregory A. Clark. Mannie Leroy Clark. Sarah Clark. Thomas R. Clark. Christopher Robert Clarke. Donna Clarke. Michael Clarke. Suria R.E. Clarke. Kevin Francis Cleary. James D. Cleere. Geoffrey W. Cloud. Susan M. Clyne. Steven Coakley. Jeffrey Coale. Patricia A. Cody. Daniel Michael Coffey. Jason Matthew Coffey. Florence Cohen. Kevin Sanford Cohen. Anthony Joseph Coladonato. Mark J. Colaio. Stephen J. Colaio. Christopher M. Colasanti. Kevin Nathaniel Colbert. Michel Paris Colbert. Keith Eugene Coleman. Scott Thomas Coleman. Tarel Coleman. Liam Joseph Colhoun. Robert D. Colin. Robert J. Coll. Jean Marie Collin. John Michael Collins. Michael L. Collins. Thomas J. Collins. Joseph Collison. Jeffrey Collman. Patricia Malia Colodner. Linda M. Colon. Soledi Colon. Ronald Comer. Jaime Concepcion. Albert Conde. Denease Conley. Susan Clancy Conlon. Margaret Mary Conner. Cynthia L. Connolly. John E. Connolly. James Lee Connor. Jonathan (J.C.) Connors. Kevin P. Connors. Kevin Francis Conroy. Brenda E. Conway. Dennis Michael Cook. Helen D. Cook. Jeffrey Coombs. John A. Cooper. Julian Cooper. Zandra Cooper. Joseph J. Coppo. Gerard J. Coppola. Joseph Albert Corbett. John (Jay) J. Corcoran. Alejandro Cordero. Robert Cordice. Ruben D. Correa. Danny A. Correa-Gutierrez. Georgine Rose Corrigan. James Corrigan. Carlos Cortes. Kevin M. Cosgrove. Dolores Marie Costa. Digna Alexandra Rivera Costanza. Charles Gregory Costello. Michael S. Costello. Asia Cottom. Conrod K.H. Cottoy. Martin Coughlan. Sgt. John Gerard Coughlin. Timothy John Coughlin. James E. Cove. Andre Cox. Frederick John Cox. James Raymond Coyle. Michelle Coyle-Eulau. Anne M. Cramer. Christopher Seton Cramer. Lt. Cmdr. Eric Allen Cranford. Denise Crant. James L. Crawford. Robert James Crawford. Tara Creamer. Joanne Mary Cregan. Lucia Crifasi. Lt. John Crisci. Daniel Hal Crisman. Dennis A. Cross. Helen Crossin-Kittle. Kevin Raymond Crotty. Thomas G. Crotty. John Crowe. Welles Remy Crowther. Robert L. Cruikshank. Francisco Cruz. John Robert Cruz. Kenneth John Cubas. Thelma Cuccinello. Richard Joseph Cudina. Neil James Cudmore. Thomas Patrick Cullen. Joan McConnell Cullinan. Joyce Cummings. Brian Thomas Cummins. Nilton Albuquerque Fernao Cunha. Michael Joseph Cunningham. Robert Curatolo. Laurence Curia. Paul Dario Curioli. Patrick Currivan. Beverly Curry. Sgt. Michael Curtin. Patricia Cushing. Gavin Cushny. Caleb Arron Dack. Carlos S. DaCosta. Jason Dahl. Brian Dale. John D'Allara. Vincent D'Amadeo. Thomas A. Damaskinos. Jack L. D'Ambrosi. Jeannine Marie Damiani-Jones. Patrick W. Danahy. Nana Kwuku Danso. Mary D'Antonio. Vincent G. Danz. Dwight Donald Darcy. Elizabeth Ann Darling. Annette Andrea Dataram. Lt. Edward Alexander D'Atri. Michael D. D'Auria. Lawrence Davidson. Michael Allen Davidson. Scott Matthew Davidson. Titus Davidson. Niurka Davila. Ada M. Davis. Clinton Davis. Wayne Terrial Davis. Anthony Richard Dawson. Calvin Dawson. Edward James Day. William T. Dean. Robert J. DeAngelis. Thomas P. Deangelis. Dorothy Alma DeAraujo. Tara Debek. James Debeuneure. Anna Debin. James V. DeBlase. Paul DeCola. Capt. Gerald Francis Deconto. Simon Dedvukaj. Jason Christopher DeFazio. David A. Defeo. Jennifer DeJesus. Monique E. DeJesus. Nereida DeJesus. Donald A. Delapenha. Vito Joseph Deleo. Danielle Delie. Colleen Ann Deloughery. Joseph Deluca. Anthony Demas. Martin DeMeo. Francis X. Deming. Carol K. Demitz. Kevin Dennis. Thomas F. Dennis. Jean C. DePalma. Jose Nicolas Depena. Robert J. Deraney. Michael DeRienzo. David Paul Derubbio. Jemal Legesse DeSantis. Christian L. DeSimone. Edward DeSimone. Lt. Andrew Desperito. Michael Jude D'Esposito. Cindy Ann Deuel. Melanie Louise DeVere. Jerry DeVito. Robert P. Devitt. Dennis Lawrence Devlin. Gerard Dewan. Simon Suleman Ali Kassamali Dhanani. Michael L. DiAgostino. Lourdes Galletti Diaz. Matthew Diaz. Nancy Diaz. Obdulio Ruiz Diaz. Michael Diaz-Piedra. Judith Belguese Diaz-Sierra. Patricia F. DiChiaro. Rodney Dickens. Lt. Col. Jerry Don Dickerson. Joseph Dermot Dickey. Lawrence Patrick Dickinson. Michael David Diehl. John DiFato. Vincent F. DiFazio. Carl DiFranco. Donald J. DiFranco. Eddie Dillard. Debra Ann DiMartino. David DiMeglio. Stephen P. Dimino. William J. Dimmling. Christopher Dincuff. Jeffrey M. Dingle. Anthony DiOnisio. George DiPasquale. Joseph DiPilato. Douglas Frank DiStefano. Donald Americo DiTullio. Ramzi A. Doany. Johnnie Doctor. John J. Doherty. Melissa C. Doi. Brendan Dolan. Capt. Robert Edward Dolan. Neil Dollard. James Joseph Domanico. Benilda Pascua Domingo. Albert Dominguez. Charles (Carlos) Dominguez. Geronimo (Jerome) Mark Patrick Dominguez. Lt. Kevin W. Donnelly. Cmdr. William Howard Donovan. Jacqueline Donovan. Stephen Dorf. Thomas Dowd. Lt. Kevin Christopher Dowdell. Mary Yolanda Dowling. Raymond M. Downey. Frank Joseph Doyle. Joseph M. Doyle. Randy Drake. Patrick Joseph Driscoll. Stephen Patrick Driscoll. Charles Droz. Mirna A. Duarte. Luke A. Dudek. Christopher Michael Duffy. Gerard Duffy. Michael Joseph Duffy. Thomas W. Duffy. Antoinette Duger. Jackie Sayegh Duggan. Sareve Dukat. Cmdr. Patrick S. Dunn. Christopher Joseph Dunne. Richard A. Dunstan. Patrick Thomas Dwyer. Joseph Anthony Eacobacci. John Bruce Eagleson. Edward Thomas Earhart. Robert D. Eaton. Dean P. Eberling. Margaret Ruth Echtermann. Paul Robert Eckna. Constantine (Gus) Economos. Barbara G. Edwards. Dennis Michael Edwards. Michael Hardy Edwards. Capt. Martin Egan. Christine Egan. Lisa Egan. Michael Egan. Samantha Egan. Carole Eggert. Lisa Caren Weinstein Ehrlich. John Ernst (Jack) Eichler. Eric Adam Eisenberg. Daphne F. Elder. Michael J. Elferis. Mark J. Ellis. Valerie Silver Ellis. Albert Alfy William Elmarry. Lt. Cmdr. Robert Randolph Elseth. Edgar H. Emery. Doris Suk-Yuen Eng. Christopher S. Epps. Ulf Ramm Ericson. Erwin L. Erker. William J. Erwin. Sarah (Ali) Escarcega. Jose Espinal. Fanny M. Espinoza. Brigette Ann Esposito. Francis Esposito. Lt. Michael Esposito. William Esposito. Ruben Esquilin. Sadie Ette. Barbara G. Etzold. Eric Brian Evans. Robert Edward Evans. Meredith Emily June Ewart. Catherine K. Fagan. Patricia M. Fagan. Keith G. Fairben. Charles S. Falkenberg. Dana Falkenberg. Zoe Falkenberg. Jamie Lynn Fallon. William F. Fallon. William Fallon. Anthony J. Fallone. Dolores B. Fanelli. Robert Fangman. John Joseph Fanning. Kathleen (Kit) Faragher. Capt. Thomas Farino. Nancy Carole Farley. Paige Farley-Hackel. Elizabeth Ann (Betty) Farmer. Douglas Farnum. John G. Farrell. John W. Farrell. Terrence Patrick Farrell. Capt. Joseph Farrelly. Thomas P. Farrelly. Syed Abdul Fatha. Christopher Faughnan. Wendy R. Faulkner. Shannon M. Fava. Bernard D. Favuzza. Robert Fazio. Ronald C. Fazio. William Feehan. Francis J. (Frank) Feely. Garth E. Feeney. Sean B. Fegan. Lee S. Fehling. Peter Feidelberg. Alan D. Feinberg. Rosa Maria Feliciano. Edward P. Felt. Edward T. Fergus. George Ferguson. James Joe Ferguson. Henry Fernandez. Jose Manuel Contreras Fernandez. Judy H. Fernandez. Elisa Giselle Ferraina. Anne Marie Sallerin Ferreira. Robert John Ferris. David Francis Ferrugio. Louis V. Fersini. Michael David Ferugio. Bradley James Fetchet. Jennifer Louise Fialko. Kristen Fiedel. Amelia V. Fields. Samuel Fields. Alex Filipov. Michael Bradley Finnegan. Timothy J. Finnerty. Michael Curtis Fiore. Stephen J. Fiorelli. Paul M. Fiori. John Fiorito. Lt. John R. Fischer. Andrew Fisher. Bennett Lawson Fisher. Gerald P. Fisher. John Roger Fisher. Thomas J. Fisher. Lucy Fishman. Ryan D. Fitzgerald. Thomas Fitzpatrick. Richard P. Fitzsimons. Salvatore A. Fiumefreddo. Darlene Flagg. Wilson "Bud" Flagg. Christina Donovan Flannery. Eileen Flecha. Andre G. Fletcher. Carl Flickinger. Matthew Michael Flocco. John Joseph Florio. Joseph W. Flounders. Carol Flyzik. David Fodor. Lt. Michael N. Fodor. Steven Mark Fogel. Thomas Foley. Jane C. Folger. David Fontana. Chih Min (Dennis) Foo. Del Rose Forbes-Cheatham. Godwin Forde. Donald A. Foreman. Christopher Hugh Forsythe. Claudia Alicia Martinez Foster. Noel J. Foster. Sandra N. Foster. Ana Fosteris. Robert J. Foti. Jeffrey L. Fox. Virginia Fox. Joan Francis. Pauline Francis. Virgin (Lucy) Francis. Gary J. Frank. Morton Frank. Peter Christopher Frank. Colleen Laura Fraser. Richard K. Fraser. Kevin Joseph Frawley. Clyde Frazier. Lillian I. Frederick. Andrew Fredericks. Tamitha Freemen. Brett O. Freiman. Lt. Peter L. Freund. Arlene E. Fried. Alan Wayne Friedlander. Andrew K. Friedman. Paul Friedman. Gregg J. Froehner. Lisa Frost. Peter Christian Fry. Clement Fumando. Steven Elliot Furman. Paul James Furmato. Karleton D.B. Fyfe. Fredric Gabler. Richard Gabriel. Richard S. Gabrielle. James Andrew Gadiel. Pamela Gaff. Ervin Vincent Gailliard. Deanna L. Galante. Grace Galante. German Castillo Galicia. Anthony Edward Gallagher. Daniel James Gallagher. John Patrick Gallagher. Cono E. Gallo. Vincenzo Gallucci. Thomas Edward Galvin. Giovanna (Genni) Gambale. Thomas Gambino. Giann F. Gamboa. Ronald Gamboa. Peter J. Ganci. Claude Michael Gann. Lt. Charles William Garbarini. Andrew Garcia. Cesar Garcia. David Garcia. Jorge Luis Morron Garcia. Juan Garcia. Marlyn C. Garcia. Christopher Gardner. Douglas B. Gardner. Harvey J. Gardner. Jeffrey B. Gardner. Thomas A. Gardner. William Arthur Gardner. Francesco Garfi. Rocco Gargano. James M. Gartenberg. Matthew David Garvey. Bruce Gary. Palmina Delli Gatti. Boyd A. Gatton. Donald Richard Gavagan. Peter Gay. Terence D. Gazzani. Gary Geidel. Paul Hamilton Geier. Julie M. Geis. Peter Gelinas. Steven Paul Geller. Howard G. Gelling. Peter Victor Genco. Steven Gregory Genovese. Alayne F. Gentul. Linda George. Edward F. Geraghty. Suzanne Geraty. Ralph Gerhardt. Robert J. Gerlich. Denis P. Germain. Marina R. Gertsberg. Susan M. Getzendanner. Capt. Lawrence Daniel Getzfred. James Gerard Geyer. Cortz Ghee. Joseph M. Giaccone. Lt. Vincent Francis Giammona. Debra L. Gibbon. James A. Giberson. Brenda C. Gibson. Craig Neil Gibson. Ronnie Gies. Laura A. Giglio. Andrew Clive Gilbert. Timothy Paul Gilbert. Paul Stuart Gilbey. Paul John Gill. Mark Y. Gilles. Evan H. Gillette. Ronald Gilligan. Sgt. Rodney C. Gillis. Laura Gilly. Lt. John F. Ginley. Donna Marie Giordano. Jeffrey Giordano. John Giordano. Steven A. Giorgetti. Martin Giovinazzo. Kum-Kum Girolamo. Salvatore Gitto. Cynthia Giugliano. Mon Gjonbalaj. Dianne Gladstone. Keith Alexander Glascoe. Thomas I. Glasser. Edmund Glazer. Harry Glenn. Barry H. Glick. Jeremy Glick. Steven Lawrence Glick. John T. Gnazzo. William (Bill) Robert Godshalk. Michael Gogliormella. Brian Fredric Goldberg. Jeffrey Grant Goldflam. Michelle Herman Goldstein. Monica Goldstein. Steven Goldstein. Ron Golinski. Andrew H. Golkin. Dennis James Gomes. Enrique Antonio Gomez. Jose Bienvenido Gomez. Manuel Gomez. Wilder Gomez. Jenine Gonzalez. Joel Guevara Gonzalez. Mauricio Gonzalez. Rosa J. Gonzalez. Lynn Catherine Goodchild. Calvin J. Gooding. Peter Morgan Goodrich. Harry Goody. Kiran Reddy Gopu. Catherine Carmen Gorayeb. Lisa Fenn Gordenstein. Kerene Gordon. Sebastian Gorki. Kieran Gorman. Thomas E. Gorman. Michael Edward Gould. Douglas A. Gowell. Yugi Goya. Jon Richard Grabowski. Christopher Michael Grady. Edwin John Graf. David M. Graifman. Gilbert Granados. Lauren Grandcolas. Elvira Granitto. Winston Arthur Grant. Christopher Stewart Gray. Ian J. Gray. James Michael Gray. Linda Mair Grayling. John Michael Grazioso. Timothy Grazioso. Andrew Peter Charles Curry Green. Derrick Arthur Green. Wade Brian Green. Wanda Anita Green. Elaine Myra Greenberg. Donald F. Greene. Gayle R. Greene. James Arthur Greenleaf. Eileen Marsha Greenstein. Elizabeth (Lisa) Martin Gregg. Denise Gregory. Donald H. Gregory. Florence M. Gregory. Pedro (David) Grehan. John M. Griffin. Tawanna Griffin. Joan D. Griffith. Warren Grifka. Ramon Grijalvo. Joseph F. Grillo. David Grimner. The Rev. Francis E. Grogan. Linda Gronlund. Kenneth Grouzalis. Joseph Grzelak. Matthew J. Grzymalski. Robert Joseph Gschaar. Liming (Michael) Gu. Richard Guadagno. Jose A. Guadalupe. Yan Zhu (Cindy) Guan. Geoffrey E. Guja. Lt. Joseph Gullickson. Babita Guman. Douglas B. Gurian. Philip T. Guza. Barbara Guzzardo. Peter Gyulavary. Gary Robert Haag. Andrea Lyn Haberman. Barbara M. Habib. Philip Haentzler. Nizam A. Hafiz. Karen Hagerty. Steven Hagis. Mary Lou Hague. David Halderman. Maile Rachel Hale. Diane M. Hale-McKinzy. Richard Hall. Stanley Hall. Vaswald George Hall. Robert John Halligan. Lt. Vincent Gerard Halloran. Carolyn B. Halmon. James D. Halvorson. Mohammed Salman Hamdani. Felicia Hamilton. Robert Hamilton. Carl Max Hammond. Frederic Kim Han. Christopher James Hanley. Sean Hanley. Valerie Joan Hanna. Thomas Hannafin. Kevin James Hannaford. Michael L. Hannan. Dana Hannon. Christine Lee Hanson. Peter Hanson. Vassilios G. Haramis. James A. Haran. Gerald F. Hardacre. Jeffrey P. Hardy. Timothy John Hargrave. Daniel Harlin. Frances Haros. Lt. Harvey L. Harrell. Lt. Stephen Gary Harrell. Aisha Harris. Stewart D. Harris. John Patrick Hart. Eric Samadikan Hartono. John Clinton Hartz. Emeric J. Harvey. Peter Hashem. Capt. Thomas Theodore Haskell. Timothy Haskell. Joseph John Hasson. Capt. Terence S. Hatton. Leonard William Hatton. Michael Helmut Haub. Timothy Aaron Haviland. Donald G. Havlish. Anthony Hawkins. Nobuhiro Hayatsu. James E. Hayden. Philip Hayes. Robert Hayes. William Ward Haynes. Scott Hazelcorn. Lt. Michael K. Healey. Roberta Bernstein Heber. Charles Francis Xavier Heeran. John Heffernan. Michele Heidenberger. Sheila Hein. Howard Joseph Heller. JoAnn L. Heltibridle. Ronald John Hemenway. Mark F. Hemschoot. Ronnie Lee Henderson. Janet Hendricks. Brian Hennessey. Edward (Ted) R. Hennessy. Michelle Marie Henrique. Joseph P. Henry. William Henry. John Henwood. Robert Allan Hepburn. Mary (Molly) Herencia. Lindsay Coates Herkness. Harvey Robert Hermer. Claribel Hernandez. Norberto Hernandez. Raul Hernandez. Gary Herold. Jeffrey A. Hersch. Thomas Hetzel. Capt. Brian Hickey. Ysidro Hidalgo-Tejada. Lt. Timothy Higgins. Robert D. Higley. Todd Russell Hill. Clara Victorine Hinds. Neal Hinds. Mark D. Hindy. Richard Bruce Van Hine. Katsuyuki Hirai. Heather Malia Ho. Tara Yvette Hobbs. Thomas A. Hobbs. James L. Hobin. Robert Wayne Hobson. DaJuan Hodges. Ronald George Hoerner. Patrick Aloysius Hoey. John A. Hofer. Marcia Hoffman. Stephen G. Hoffman. Frederick J. Hoffmann. Michele L. Hoffmann. Judith Florence Hofmiller. Maj. Wallace Cole Hogan. Thomas Warren Hohlweck. Jonathan R. Hohmann. Cora Hidalgo Holland. John Holland. Joseph Francis Holland. Jimmie Ira Holley. Elizabeth Holmes. Thomas P. Holohan. Herbert W. Homer. Leroy Homer. Bradley Hoorn. James P. Hopper. Montgomery McCullough Hord. Michael Horn. Matthew D. Horning. Robert L. Horohoe. Michael R. Horrocks. Aaron Horwitz. Charles J. Houston. Uhuru G. Houston. Angela Houtz. George Howard. Brady K. Howell. Michael C. Howell. Steven L. Howell. Jennifer L. Howley. Milagros Hromada. Marian Hrycak. Stephen Huczko. Kris R. Hughes. Melissa Harrington Hughes. Paul R. Hughes. Robert T. "Bobby" Hughes. Thomas F. Hughes. Timothy Robert Hughes. Susan Huie. Mychal Lamar Hulse. Nicholas Humber. Kathleen (Casey) Hunt. William C. Hunt. Joseph G. Hunter. Peggie Hurt. Robert Hussa. Lt. Col. Stephen Neil Hyland. Robert J. Hymel. Capt. Walter Hynes. Thomas E. Hynes. Joseph Anthony Ianelli. Zuhtu Ibis. Jonathan Lee Ielpi. Michael Patrick Iken. Daniel Ilkanayev. Capt. Frederick Ill. Abraham Nethanel Ilowitz. Anthony P. Infante. Louis S. Inghilterra. Christopher N. Ingrassia. Paul Innella. Stephanie V. Irby. Douglas Irgang. Kristin A. Irvine-Ryan. Todd A. Isaac. Erik Hans Isbrandtsen. Taizo Ishikawa. Waleed Iskandar. Aram Iskenderian. John Iskyan. Kazushige Ito. Aleksandr Valeryerich Ivantsov. Sgt. Maj. Lacey B. Ivory. Virginia Jablonski. Bryan Jack. Brooke Alexandra Jackman. Aaron Jacobs. Ariel Louis Jacobs. Jason Kyle Jacobs. Michael Grady Jacobs. Steven A. Jacobson. Steven D. Jacoby. Ricknauth Jaggernauth. Jake Denis Jagoda. Yudh V.S. Jain. Maria Jakubiak. Robert Adrien Jalbert. Ernest James. Gricelda E. James. Mark Jardim. Amy N. Jarret. Mohammed Jawara. Francois Jean-Pierre. Maxima Jean-Pierre. Paul E. Jeffers. John Charles Jenkins. Joseph Jenkins. Alan K. Jensen. Prem N. Jerath. Farah Jeudy. Hweidar Jian. Eliezer Jimenez. Luis Jimenez. Charles Gregory John. Nicholas John. LaShawana Johnson. Lt. Col. Dennis M. Johnson. Scott M. Johnson. William Johnston. Allison Horstmann Jones. Arthur Joseph Jones. Brian L. Jones. Charles Edward Jones. Christopher D. Jones. Donald T. Jones. Donald W. Jones. Judith Jones. Linda Jones. Mary S. Jones. Andrew Jordan. Robert Thomas Jordan. Albert Joseph. Ingeborg Joseph. Karl Henri Joseph. Stephen Joseph. Jane Eileen Josiah. Lt. Anthony Jovic. Thomas E. Burnett Jr.. Angel Luis Juarbe. Karen Susan Juday. Ann Judge. The Rev. Mychal Judge. Paul W. Jurgens. Thomas Edward Jurgens. Kacinga Kabeya. Shashi Kiran Lakshmikantha Kadaba. Gavkharoy Mukhometovna Kamardinova. Shari Kandell. Howard Lee Kane. Jennifer Lynn Kane. Vincent D. Kane. Joon Koo Kang. Sheldon R. Kanter. Deborah H. Kaplan. Alvin Peter Kappelmann. Charles Karczewski. William A. Karnes. Douglas G. Karpiloff. Charles L. Kasper. Andrew Kates. John Katsimatides. Sgt. Robert Kaulfers. Don Jerome Kauth. Hideya Kawauchi. Edward T. Keane. Richard M. Keane. Lisa Kearney-Griffin. Karol Ann Keasler. Barbara Keating. Paul Hanlon Keating. Leo Russell Keene. Brenda Kegler. Chandler Keller. Joseph J. Keller. Peter Rodney Kellerman. Joseph P. Kellett. Frederick H. Kelley. James Joseph Kelly. Joseph A. Kelly. Maurice Patrick Kelly. Richard John Kelly. Thomas Michael Kelly. Thomas Richard Kelly. Thomas W. Kelly. Timothy C. Kelly. William Hill Kelly. Robert C. Kennedy. Thomas J. Kennedy. Yvonne Kennedy. John Keohane. Ralph Francis Kershaw. Lt. Ronald T. Kerwin. Howard L. Kestenbaum. Douglas D. Ketcham. Ruth E. Ketler. Boris Khalif. Norma Khan. Sarah Khan. Taimour Firaz Khan. Rajesh Khandelwal. Bhowanie Devi Khemraj. SeiLai Khoo. Michael Kiefer. Satoshi Kikuchihara. Andrew Jay-Hoon Kim. Lawrence Don Kim. Mary Jo Kimelman. Sue Jue Kim-Hanson. Heinrich Kimmig. Karen A. Kincaid. Amy R. King. Andrew Marshall King. Lucille T. King. Robert King. Lisa M. King-Johnson. Brian Kinney. Takashi Kinoshita. Chris Michael Kirby. Howard (Barry) Kirschbaum. Glenn Davis Kirwin. Richard J. Klares. Peter A. Klein. Alan D. Kleinberg. Karen J. Klitzman. Ronald Philip Kloepfer. Andrew Knox. Thomas Patrick Knox. Yevgeny Knyazev. Rebecca Lee Koborie. Deborah Kobus. Gary Edward Koecheler. Frank J. Koestner. Ryan Kohart. Vanessa Lynn Kolpak. Irina Kolpakova. Suzanne Kondratenko. Abdoulaye Kone. Bon-seok Koo. Dorota Kopiczko. Scott Kopytko. Bojan Kostic. Danielle Kousoulis. David Kovalcin. John J. Kren. William Krukowski. Lyudmila Ksido. Toshiya Kuge. Shekhar Kumar. Kenneth Kumpel. Frederick Kuo. Patricia Kuras. Nauka Kushitani. Thomas Joseph Kuveikis. Victor Kwarkye. Kui Fai Kwok. Angela R. Kyte. Kathryn L. LaBorie. Amarnauth Lachhman. Andrew LaCorte. Ganesh Ladkat. James P. Ladley. Daniel M. Van Laere. Joseph A. Lafalce. Jeanette LaFond-Menichino. David LaForge. Michael Patrick LaForte. Alan Lafranco. Juan Lafuente. Neil K. Lai. Vincent A. Laieta. William David Lake. Franco Lalama. Chow Kwan Lam. Lt. Michael Scott Lamana. Stephen LaMantia. Amy Hope Lamonsoff. Robert T. Lane. Brendan M. Lang. Rosanne P. Lang. Vanessa Langer. Mary Lou Langley. Peter J. Langone. Thomas Langone. Michele B. Lanza. Ruth Sheila Lapin. Carol Ann LaPlante. Ingeborg Astrid Desiree Lariby. Robin Larkey. Judy Larocque. Christopher Randall Larrabee. Hamidou S. Larry. Scott Larsen. John Adam Larson. Natalie Janis Lasden. Gary E. Lasko. Nicholas C. Lassman. Paul Laszczynski. Jeffrey Latouche. Cristina de Laura. Oscar de Laura. Charles Laurencin. Stephen James Lauria. Maria Lavache. Denis F. Lavelle. Jeannine M. LaVerde. Anna A. Laverty. Steven Lawn. Robert A. Lawrence. Nathaniel Lawson. David W. Laychak. Eugen Lazar. James Patrick Leahy. Lt. Joseph Gerard Leavey. Neil Leavy. Robert George LeBlanc. Leon Lebor. Kenneth Charles Ledee. Alan J. Lederman. Elena Ledesma. Alexis Leduc. Daniel John Lee. David S. Lee. Dong Lee. Gary H. Lee. Hyun-joon (Paul) Lee. Jong-min Lee. Juanita Lee. Kathryn Blair Lee. Linda C. Lee. Lorraine Lee. Myung-woo Lee. Richard Y.C. Lee. Stuart (Soo-Jin) Lee. Yang Der Lee. Stephen Lefkowitz. Adriana Legro. Edward J. Lehman. Eric Andrew Lehrfeld. David Ralph Leistman. David Prudencio LeMagne. Joseph A. Lenihan. John J. Lennon. John Robinson Lenoir. Jorge Luis Leon. Matthew Gerard Leonard. Michael Lepore. Charles Antoine Lesperance. Jeffrey Earle LeVeen. John D. Levi. Alisha Caren Levin. Neil D. Levin. Robert Levine. Robert M. Levine. Shai Levinhar. Daniel C. Lewin. Adam J. Lewis. Jennifer Lewis. Kenneth Lewis. Margaret Susan Lewis. Ye Wei Liang. Orasri Liangthanasarn. Daniel F. Libretti. Ralph M. Licciardi. Edward Lichtschein. Samantha Lightbourn-Allen. Steven B. Lillianthal. Carlos R. Lillo. Craig Damian Lilore. Arnold A. Lim. Darya Lin. Wei Rong Lin. Tomas Gallegos Linares. Nickie L. Lindo. Thomas V. Linehan. Robert Thomas Linnane. Alan Linton. Diane Theresa Lipari. Kenneth P. Lira. Francisco Alberto Liriano. Lorraine Lisi. Paul Lisson. Vincent Litto. Ming-Hao Liu. Nancy Liz. Harold Lizcano. Martin Lizzul. George A. Llanes. Elizabeth Claire Logler. Catherine Lisa Loguidice. Jerome Robert Lohez. Michael W. Lomax. Maj. Steve Long. Laura M. Longing. Salvatore P. Lopes. Daniel Lopez. George Lopez. Luis Lopez. Maclovio Lopez. Manuel L. Lopez. Joseph Lostrangio. Chet Louie. Stuart Seid Louis. Joseph Lovero. Sara Low. Michael W. Lowe. Garry Lozier. John Peter Lozowsky. Charles Peter Lucania. Edward (Ted) H. Luckett. Mark G. Ludvigsen. Lee Charles Ludwig. Sean Thomas Lugano. Daniel Lugo. Marie Lukas. William Lum. Michael P. Lunden. Christopher Lunder. Anthony Luparello. Gary Lutnick. Linda Luzzicone. Alexander Lygin. CeeCee Lyles. Farrell Peter Lynch. James Francis Lynch. James Lynch. Louise A. Lynch. Michael F. Lynch. Michael Francis Lynch. Michael Lynch. Richard Dennis Lynch. Robert H. Lynch. Sean Lynch. Sean Patrick Lynch. Terence M. Lynch. Michael J. Lyons. Monica Lyons. Nehamon Lyons. Patrick Lyons. Robert Francis Mace. Marianne MacFarlane. Jan Maciejewski. Susan A. MacKay. Catherine Fairfax MacRae. Richard B. Madden. Simon Maddison. Noell Maerz. Jeannieann Maffeo. Joseph Maffeo. Jay Robert Magazine. Brian Magee. Charles Wilson Magee. Joseph Maggitti. Ronald E. Magnuson. Daniel L. Maher. Thomas Anthony Mahon. William Mahoney. Joseph Maio. Takashi Makimoto. Abdu Malahi. Debora Maldonado. Myrna T. Maldonado-Agosto. Alfred R. Maler. Gregory James Malone. Edward Francis (Teddy) Maloney. Joseph E. Maloney. Gene E. Maloy. Christian Maltby. Francisco Miguel (Frank) Mancini. Joseph Mangano. Sara Elizabeth Manley. Debra M. Mannetta. Marion Victoria (vickie) Manning. Terence J. Manning. James Maounis. Alfred Gilles Padre Joseph Marchand. Joseph Ross Marchbanks. Hilda Marcin. Peter Edward Mardikian. Edward Joseph Mardovich. Lt. Charles Joseph Margiotta. Louis Neil Mariani. Kenneth Joseph Marino. Lester Vincent Marino. Vita Marino. Kevin D. Marlo. Jose J. Marrero. John Marshall. Shelley A. Marshall. James Martello. Michael A. Marti. Karen A. Martin. Lt. Peter Martin. Teresa Martin. William J. Martin. Brian E. Martineau. Betsy Martinez. Edward J. Martinez. Jose Martinez. Robert Gabriel Martinez. Lizie Martinez-Calderon. Francis (Frank) Albert De Martini. Lt. Paul Richard Martini. Joseph A. Mascali. Bernard Mascarenhas. Stephen F. Masi. Ada L. Mason. Nicholas G. Massa. Patricia A. Massari. Michael Massaroli. Philip W. Mastrandrea. Rudolph Mastrocinque. Joseph Mathai. Charles William Mathers. William A. Mathesen. Marcello Matricciano. Margaret Elaine Mattic. Lt. Col. Dean E. Mattson. Robert D. Mattson. Walter Matuza. Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Maude. Charles A. (Chuck) Mauro. Charles J. Mauro. Dorothy Mauro. Nancy T. Mauro. Robert J. Maxwell. Renee A. May. Tyrone May. Keithroy Maynard. Robert J. Mayo. Kathy Nancy Mazza-Delosh. Edward Mazzella. Jennifer Mazzotta. Kaaria Mbaya. James J. McAlary. Brian McAleese. Patricia A. McAneney. Colin Richard McArthur. John McAvoy. Kenneth M. McBrayer. Brendan McCabe. Michael J. McCabe. Thomas McCann. Justin McCarthy. Kevin M. McCarthy. Michael Desmond McCarthy. Robert Garvin McCarthy. Stanley McCaskill. Katie Marie McCloskey. Tara McCloud-Gray. Juliana Valentine McCourt. Ruth Magdaline McCourt. Charles Austin McCrann. Tonyell McDay. Matthew T. McDermott. Joseph P. McDonald. Brian G. McDonnell. Michael McDonnell. John F. McDowell. Eamon J. McEneaney. John Thomas McErlean. Katherine (Katie) McGarry-Noack. Daniel F. McGinley. Mark Ryan McGinly. Lt. William E. McGinn. Thomas H. McGinnis. Michael Gregory McGinty. Ann McGovern. Scott Martin McGovern. William J. McGovern. Stacey S. McGowan. Francis Noel McGuinn. First Officer Thomas McGuinness. Patrick J. McGuire. Thomas M. McHale. Keith McHeffey. Ann M. McHugh. Denis J. McHugh. Dennis P. McHugh. Michael Edward McHugh. Robert G. McIlvaine. Donald James McIntyre. Stephanie McKenna. Molly McKenzie. Barry J. McKeon. Evelyn C. McKinnedy. Darryl Leron McKinney. George Patrick McLaughlin. Robert C. McLaughlin. Gavin McMahon. Robert Dismas McMahon. Edmund M. McNally. Daniel McNeal. Walter Arthur McNeil. Jaselliny McNish. Christine Sheila McNulty. Sean Peter McNulty. Robert William McPadden. Terence A. McShane. Timothy Patrick McSweeney. Martin E. McWilliams. Rocco A. Medaglia. Abigail Medina. Ana Iris Medina. Deborah Medwig. Damian Meehan. William J. Meehan. Alok Kumar Mehta. Raymond Meisenheimer. Manuel Emilio Mejia. Eskedar Melaku. Antonio Melendez. Mary Melendez. Christopher D. Mello. Yelena Melnichenko. Stuart Todd Meltzer. Diarelia Jovannah Mena. Dora Menchaca. Charles Mendez. Lizette Mendoza. Shevonne Mentis. Wolfgang Peter Menzel. Steve Mercado. Wesley Mercer. Ralph Joseph Mercurio. Alan H. Merdinger. George C. Merino. Yamel Merino. George Merkouris. Deborah Merrick. Raymond J. Metz. Jill A. Metzler. David Robert Meyer. Nurul Huq Miah. William Edward Micciulli. Martin Paul Michelstein. Patricia E. (Patti) Mickley. Luis Clodoaldo Revilla Mier. Maj. Ronald D. Milam. Peter T. Milano. Gregory Milanowycz. Lukasz T. Milewski. Corey Peter Miller. Craig James Miller. Douglas C. Miller. Henry Miller. Joel Miller. Michael Matthew Miller. Nicole Miller. Phillip D. Miller. Robert Alan Miller. Robert C. Miller. Benjamin Millman. Charles M. Mills. Ronald Keith Milstein. Robert Minara. William G. Minardi. Louis Joseph Minervino. Thomas Mingione. Nana Akwasi Minkah. Wilbert Miraille. Domenick Mircovich. Rajesh A. Mirpuri. Joseph Mistrulli. Susan Miszkowicz. Lt. Paul Thomas Mitchell. Richard Miuccio. Jeff Mladenik. Frank V. Moccia. Capt. Louis Joseph Modafferi. Boyie Mohammed. Lt. Dennis Mojica. Manuel Mojica. Fernando Jimenez Molina. Kleber Rolando Molina. Manuel Dejesus Molina. Carl Molinaro. Justin J. Molisani. Brian Patrick Monaghan. Franklin Monahan. John Gerard Monahan. Kristen Montanaro. Craig D. Montano. Michael Montesi. Carlos Alberto Montoya. Cheryl Ann Monyak. Capt. Thomas Moody. Sharon Moore. Krishna Moorthy. Laura Lee Morabito. Abner Morales. Carlos Morales. Luis Morales. Paula Morales. Gerard (Jerry) P. Moran. John Christopher Moran. John Moran. Kathleen Moran. Lindsay S. Morehouse. George Morell. Steven P. Morello. Vincent S. Morello. Arturo Alva Moreno. Yvette Nicole Moreno. Dorothy Morgan. Richard Morgan. Nancy Morgenstern. Sanae Mori. Blanca Morocho. Leonel Morocho. Dennis G. Moroney. Lynne Irene Morris. Odessa V. Morris. Seth A. Morris. Stephen Philip Morris. Christopher M. Morrison. Ferdinand V. Morrone. William David Moskal. Brian Anthony Moss. Manuel Da Mota. Marco Motroni. Iouri A. Mouchinski. Jude J. Moussa. Peter C. Moutos. Damion Mowatt. Ted Moy. Christopher Mozzillo. Stephen V. Mulderry. Richard Muldowney. Michael D. Mullan. Dennis Michael Mulligan. Peter James Mulligan. Michael Joseph Mullin. James Donald Munhall. Nancy Muniz. Carlos Mario Munoz. Francisco Munoz. Theresa (Terry) Munson. Robert M. Murach. Cesar Augusto Murillo. Marc A. Murolo. Brian Joseph Murphy. Charles Murphy. Christopher W. Murphy. Edward C. Murphy. James F. Murphy. James Thomas Murphy. Kevin James Murphy. Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Jude Murphy. Lt. Raymond E. Murphy. Patrick Sean Murphy. Robert Eddie Murphy. John Joseph Murray. John Joseph Murray. Susan D. Murray. Valerie Victoria Murray. Richard Todd Myhre. Louis J. Nacke. Lt. Robert B. Nagel. Mildred Naiman. Takuya Nakamura. Alexander J.R. Napier. Frank Joseph Naples. John Napolitano. Catherine A. Nardella. Mario Nardone. Manika Narula. Shawn M. Nassaney. Narender Nath. Karen S. Navarro. Joseph M. Navas. Francis J. Nazario. Glenroy Neblett. Marcus R. Neblett. Jerome O. Nedd. Laurence Nedell. Luke G. Nee. Pete Negron. Laurie Ann Neira. Ann Nicole Nelson. David William Nelson. James Nelson. Michele Ann Nelson. Peter Allen Nelson. Oscar Nesbitt. Gerard Terence Nevins. Renee Newell. Christopher Newton. Kapinga Ngalula. Nancy Yuen Ngo. Khang Nguyen. Jody Tepedino Nichilo. Kathleen Nicosia. Martin Niederer. Alfonse J. Niedermeyer. Frank John Niestadt. Gloria Nieves. Juan Nieves. Troy Edward Nilsen. Paul R. Nimbley. John Ballantine Niven. Curtis Terrence Noel. Michael Allen Noeth. Daniel R. Nolan. Robert Walter Noonan. Jacqueline J. Norton. Robert Grant Norton. Daniela R. Notaro. Brian Novotny. Soichi Numata. Brian Felix Nunez. Jose R. Nunez. Jeffrey Nussbaum. James A. Oakley. Dennis O'Berg. James P. O'Brien. Michael O'Brien. Scott J. O'Brien. Timothy Michael O'Brien. Lt. Daniel O'Callaghan. Jefferson Ocampo. Dennis J. O'Connor. Diana J. O'Connor. Keith K. O'Connor. Richard J. O'Connor. Amy O'Doherty. Marni Pont O'Doherty. Douglas Oelschlager. Takashi Ogawa. Albert Ogletree. Philip Paul Ognibene. John Ogonowski. James Andrew O'Grady. Joseph J. Ogren. Lt. Thomas O'Hagan. Samuel Oitice. Capt. William O'Keefe. Patrick O'Keefe. Gerald Michael Olcott. Gerald O'Leary. Christine Anne Olender. Elsy Carolina Osorio Oliva. Linda Mary Oliva. Edward K. Oliver. Leah E. Oliver. Eric T. Olsen. Jeffrey James Olsen. Barbara Olson. Maureen L. Olson. Steven John Olson. Matthew Timothy O'Mahoney. Toshihiro Onda. Seamus L. O'Neal. John P. O'Neill. Peter J. O'Neill. Sean Gordon Corbett O'Neill. Betty Ong. Michael C. Opperman. Christopher Orgielewicz. Margaret Orloske. Virginia A. Ormiston-Kenworthy. Ruben Ornedo. Kevin O'Rourke. Juan Romero Orozco. Ronald Orsini. Peter K. Ortale. Jane M. Orth. Alexander Ortiz. David Ortiz. Emilio (Peter) Ortiz. Pablo Ortiz. Paul Ortiz. Sonia Ortiz. Masaru Ose. Patrick J. O'Shea. Robert W. O'Shea. James Robert Ostrowski. Timothy O'Sullivan. Jason Douglas Oswald. Michael Otten. Isidro Ottenwalder. Michael Chung Ou. Todd Joseph Ouida. Jesus Ovalles. Peter J. Owens. Adianes Oyola. Angel M. Pabon. Israel Pabon. Roland Pacheco. Michael Benjamin Packer. Diana Borrero de Padro. Spc. Chin Sun Pak. Deepa K. Pakkala. Jeffrey Matthew Palazzo. Thomas Anthony Palazzo. Richard (Rico) Palazzolo. Orio Joseph Palmer. Frank A. Palombo. Alan N. Palumbo. Christopher M. Panatier. Dominique Pandolfo. Lt. Jonas Martin Panik. Paul Pansini. John M. Paolillo. Edward J. Papa. Salvatore Papasso. James N. Pappageorge. Marie Pappalardo. Vinod K. Parakat. Vijayashanker Paramsothy. Nitin Parandkar. Hardai (Casey) Parbhu. James Wendell Parham. Debra (Debbie) Paris. George Paris. Gye-Hyong Park. Philip L. Parker. Michael A. Parkes. Robert Emmett Parks. Hasmukhrai Chuckulal Parmar. Robert Parro. Diane Marie Moore Parsons. Leobardo Lopez Pascual. Michael J. Pascuma. Jerrold H. Paskins. Horace Robert Passananti. Suzanne H. Passaro. Victor Antonio Martinez Pastrana. Avnish Ramanbhai Patel. Dipti Patel. Manish K. Patel. Steven B. Paterson. James Matthew Patrick. Manuel Patrocino. Bernard E. Patterson. Maj. Clifford L. Patterson. Cira Marie Patti. Robert Edward Pattison. James R. Paul. Patrice Paz. Sharon Cristina Millan Paz. Victor Paz-Gutierrez. Stacey L. Peak. Richard Allen Pearlman. Durrell Pearsall. Thomas Pecorelli. Thomas E. Pedicini. Todd D. Pelino. Michel Adrian Pelletier. Anthony Peluso. Angel Ramon Pena. Emerita (Emy) De La Pena. Robert Penniger. Richard Al Penny. Salvatore F. Pepe. Carl Allen Peralta. Robert David Peraza. Jon A. Perconti. Alejo Perez. Angel Perez. Angela Susan Perez. Anthony Perez. Ivan Perez. Nancy E. Perez. Berinthia Berenson Perkins. Joseph John Perroncino. Edward J. Perrotta. Emelda Perry. John William Perry. Lt. Glenn C. Perry. Franklin Allan Pershep. Daniel Pesce. Michael J. Pescherine. Davin Peterson. Donald Arthur Peterson. Jean Hoadley Peterson. William Russel Peterson. Mark Petrocelli. Lt. Philip S. Petti. Glen Kerrin Pettit. Dominick Pezzulo. Kaleen E. Pezzuti. Lt. Kevin Pfeifer. Tu-Anh Pham. Lt. Kenneth John Phelan. Michael V. San Phillip. Eugenia Piantieri. Ludwig John Picarro. Matthew Picerno. Joseph O. Pick. Christopher Pickford. Dennis J. Pierce. Joseph A. Della Pietra. Bernard T. Pietronico. Nicholas P. Pietrunti. Theodoros Pigis. Susan Elizabeth Ancona Pinto. Joseph Piskadlo. Christopher Todd Pitman. Josh Piver. Robert R. Ploger. Joseph Plumitallo. John M. Pocher. William Howard Pohlmann. Laurence M. Polatsch. Thomas H. Polhemus. Steve Pollicino. Susan M. Pollio. Lt. J.G. Darin Howard Pontell. Joshua Poptean. Giovanna Porras. Anthony Portillo. James Edward Potorti. Daphne Pouletsos. Richard Poulos. Stephen E. Poulos. Brandon Jerome Powell. Scott Powell. Shawn Edward Powell. Tony Pratt. Gregory M. Preziose. Wanda Ivelisse Prince. Vincent Princiotta. Kevin Prior. Everett Martin (Marty) Proctor. Carrie B. Progen. David Lee Pruim. Richard Prunty. John F. Puckett. Robert D. Pugliese. Edward F. Pullis. Patricia Ann Puma. (Retired) Capt. Jack Punches. Sonia Morales Puopolo. Hemanth Kumar Puttur. Joseph John Pycior. Edward R. Pykon. Christopher Quackenbush. Lars Peter Qualben. Lincoln Quappe. Beth Ann Quigley. Patrick Quigley. Lt. Michael Quilty. James Francis Quinn. Ricardo Quinn. Carol Rabalais. Christopher Peter A. Racaniello. Leonard Ragaglia. Eugene J. Raggio. Laura Marie Ragonese-Snik. Michael Ragusa. Peter F. Raimondi. Harry A. Raines. Lisa J. Raines. Ehtesham U. Raja. Valsa Raju. Edward Rall. Lukas (Luke) Rambousek. Julio Fernandez Ramirez. Maria Isabel Ramirez. Harry Ramos. Vishnoo Ramsaroop. Deborah Ramsaur. Lorenzo Ramzey. A. Todd Rancke. Adam David Rand. Jonathan C. Randall. Srinivasa Shreyas Ranganath. Anne Rose T. Ransom. Faina Rapoport. Rhonda Rasmussen. Robert Arthur Rasmussen. Amenia Rasool. Roger Mark Rasweiler. Marsha Dianah Ratchford. David Alan James Rathkey. William Ralph Raub. Gerard Rauzi. Alexey Razuvaev. Gregory Reda. Sarah (Prothero) Redheffer. Michele Reed. Judith A. Reese. Donald J. Regan. Lt. Robert M. Regan. Thomas M. Regan. Christian Michael Otto Regenhard. Howard Reich. Gregg Reidy. James Brian Reilly. Kevin O. Reilly. Timothy E. Reilly. Joseph Reina. Thomas Barnes Reinig. Frank B. Reisman. Joshua Scott Reiss. Karen Renda. John Armand Reo. Richard Rescorla. John Thomas Resta. Sylvia San Pio Resta. Martha Reszke. David E. Retik. Todd Reuben. Eduvigis (Eddie) Reyes. Bruce A. Reynolds. John Frederick Rhodes. Francis S. Riccardelli. Rudolph N. Riccio. AnnMarie (Davi) Riccoboni. David Rice. Eileen Mary Rice. Kenneth F. Rice. Cecelia E. Richard. Lt. Vernon Allan Richard. Claude D. Richards. Gregory Richards. Michael Richards. Venesha O. Richards. James C. Riches. Alan Jay Richman. John M. Rigo. Frederick Charles Rimmele. Theresa (Ginger) Risco. Rose Mary Riso. Moises N. Rivas. Joseph Rivelli. Carmen A. Rivera. Isaias Rivera. Juan William Rivera. Linda Rivera. Waleska Martinez Rivera. David E. Rivers. Joseph R. Riverso. Paul Rizza. John Frank Rizzo. Stephen Louis Roach. Joseph Roberto. Leo A. Roberts. Michael Edward Roberts. Michael Roberts. Donald Walter Robertson. Catherina Robinson. Jeffrey Robinson. Michell Lee Robotham. Donald Robson. Antonio Augusto Tome Rocha. Raymond J. Rocha. Laura Rockefeller. John M. Rodak. Antonio Jose Carrusca Rodrigues. Anthony Rodriguez. Carmen Milagros Rodriguez. Gregory E. Rodriguez. Marsha A. Rodriguez. Richard Rodriguez. David B. Rodriguez-Vargas. Matthew Rogan. Jean Roger. Karlie Barbara Rogers. Scott Rohner. Keith Roma. Joseph M. Romagnolo. Efrain Franco Romero. Elvin Santiago Romero. James A. Romito. Sean Rooney. Eric Thomas Ropiteau. Aida Rosario. Angela Rosario. Fitzroy St. Rose. Mark H. Rosen. Brooke David Rosenbaum. Linda Rosenbaum. Sheryl Lynn Rosenbaum. Lloyd D. Rosenberg. Mark Louis Rosenberg. Andrew I. Rosenblum. Joshua M. Rosenblum. Joshua A. Rosenthal. Richard David Rosenthal. Philip M. Rosenzweig. Richard Ross. Daniel Rossetti. Norman Rossinow. Nicholas P. Rossomando. Michael Craig Rothberg. Donna Marie Rothenberg. Mark Rothenberg. James M. Roux. Nick Rowe. Edward V. Rowenhorst. Judy Rowlett. Timothy A. Roy. Paul G. Ruback. Ronald J. Ruben. Joanne Rubino. David Michael Ruddle. Bart Joseph Ruggiere. Susan Ann Ruggiero. Adam K. Ruhalter. Gilbert Ruiz. Robert E. Russell. Stephen P. Russell. Steven Harris Russin. Lt. Michael Thomas Russo. Wayne Alan Russo. William R. Ruth. Edward Ryan. John J. Ryan. Jonathan Stephan Ryan. Matthew Lancelot Ryan. Tatiana Ryjova. Christina Sunga Ryook. Thierry Saada. Jason E. Sabbag. Thomas E. Sabella. Scott Saber. Charles E. Sabin. Joseph Sacerdote. Jessica Sachs. Francis J. Sadocha. Jude Elias Safi. Brock Joel Safronoff. Edward Saiya. John Patrick Salamone. Marjorie C. Salamone. Hernando R. Salas. Juan Salas. Esmerlin Salcedo. John Salvatore Salerno. Rahma Salie. Richard L. Salinardi. Wayne John Saloman. Nolbert Salomon. Catherine Patricia Salter. Frank Salvaterra. Paul R. Salvio. Samuel R. Salvo. Carlos Samaniego. Rena Sam-Dinnoo. John Sammartino. James Kenneth Samuel. Hugo Sanay-Perafiel. Alva Jeffries Sanchez. Erick Sanchez. Jacquelyn P. Sanchez. Jesus Sanchez. Eric Sand. Stacey Leigh Sanders. Herman Sandler. James Sands. Ayleen J. Santiago. Kirsten Santiago. Maria Theresa Santillan. Susan G. Santo. Christopher Santora. John Santore. Mario L. Santoro. Rafael Humberto Santos. Rufino Conrado F. (Roy) Santos. Capt. Victor Saracini. Kalyan K. Sarkar. Chapelle Sarker. Paul F. Sarle. Deepika Kumar Sattaluri. Gregory Thomas Saucedo. Susan Sauer. Anthony Savas. Vladimir Savinkin. John Sbarbaro. Lt. Col. David M. Scales. Robert L. Scandole. Michelle Scarpitta. Dennis Scauso. John A. Schardt. John G. Scharf. Fred Claude Scheffold. Angela Susan Scheinberg. Scott M. Schertzer. Sean Schielke. Steven Francis Schlag. Cmdr. Robert Allan Schlegel. Jon S. Schlissel. Karen Helene Schmidt. Ian Schneider. Thomas G. Schoales. Marisa Di Nardo Schorpp. Frank G. Schott. Gerard P. Schrang. Jeffrey Schreier. John T. Schroeder. Susan Lee Kennedy Schuler. Edward W. Schunk. Mark E. Schurmeier. Clarin Shellie Schwartz. John Schwartz. Mark Schwartz. Adriane Victoria Scibetta. Raphael Scorca. Janice Scott. Randolph Scott. Christopher J. Scudder. Arthur Warren Scullin. Michael Seaman. Margaret Seeliger. Anthony Segarra. Carlos Segarra. Jason Sekzer. Matthew Carmen Sellitto. Michael L. Selves. Howard Selwyn. Larry John Senko. Arturo Angelo Sereno. Frankie Serrano. Marian Serva. Alena Sesinova. Adele Sessa. Sita Nermalla Sewnarine. Karen Lynn Seymour-Dietrich. Davis (Deeg) Sezna. Thomas Joseph Sgroi. Jayesh Shah. Khalid M. Shahid. Mohammed Shajahan. Gary Shamay. Earl Richard Shanahan. Shiv Shankar. Cmdr. Dan Frederic Shanower. Neil G. Shastri. Kathryn Anne Shatzoff. Barbara A. Shaw. Jeffrey J. Shaw. Robert J. Shay. Daniel James Shea. Joseph Patrick Shea. Mary Kathleen Shearer. Robert Michael Shearer. Linda Sheehan. Hagay Shefi. Antoinette Sherman. John Anthony Sherry. Atsushi Shiratori. Thomas Shubert. Mark Shulman. See-Wong Shum. Allan Shwartzstein. Johanna Sigmund. Dianne T. Signer. Gregory Sikorsky. Stephen Gerard Siller. David Silver. Craig A. Silverstein. Nasima H. Simjee. Bruce Edward Simmons. Diane Simmons. Don Simmons. George Simmons. Arthur Simon. Kenneth Alan Simon. Michael John Simon. Paul Joseph Simon. Marianne Simone. Barry Simowitz. Jane Louise Simpkin. Jeff Simpson. Cheryle D. Sincock. Khamladai K. (Khami) Singh. Roshan R. (Sean) Singh. Thomas Sinton. Peter A. Siracuse. Muriel F. Siskopoulos. Joseph M. Sisolak. John P. Skala. Francis J. Skidmore. Toyena Corliss Skinner. Paul A. Skrzypek. Christopher Paul Slattery. Vincent R. Slavin. Robert Sliwak. Paul K. Sloan. Stanley S. Smagala. Wendy L. Small. Gregg Harold Smallwood. (Retired) Lt. Col. Gary F. Smith. Catherine T. Smith. Daniel Laurence Smith. George Eric Smith. Heather Lee Smith. James G. Smith. Jeffrey Randall Smith. Joyce Smith. Karl Trumbull Smith. Kevin Smith. Leon Smith. Moira Smith. Rosemary A. Smith. Sandra Fajardo Smith. Bonnie S. Smithwick. Rochelle Monique Snell. Christine Snyder. Dianne Snyder. Leonard J. Snyder. Astrid Elizabeth Sohan. Sushil Solanki. Ruben Solares. Naomi Leah Solomon. Daniel W. Song. Mari-Rae Sopper. Michael C. Sorresse. Fabian Soto. Timothy P. Soulas. Gregory T. Spagnoletti. Donald F. Spampinato. Thomas Sparacio. John Anthony Spataro. Robert W. Spear. Robert Speisman. Maynard S. Spence. George E. Spencer. Robert Andrew Spencer. Mary Rubina Sperando. Frank J. Spinelli. William E. Spitz. Joseph P. Spor. Klaus Johannes Sprockamp. Saranya Srinuan. Michael F. Stabile. Lawrence T. Stack. Capt. Timothy Stackpole. Richard James Stadelberger. Eric A. Stahlman. Gregory M. Stajk. Alexandru Liviu Stan. Corina Stan. Mary D. Stanley. Joyce Stanton. Patricia Stanton. Anthony M. Starita. Jeffrey Stark. Derek James Statkevicus. Patricia J. Statz. Craig William Staub. William V. Steckman. Eric Thomas Steen. William R. Steiner. Alexander Robbins Steinman. Edna L. Stephens. Andrew Stergiopoulos. Andrew Stern. Norma Lang Steuerle. Martha Jane Stevens. Michael James Stewart. Richard H. Stewart. Sanford M. Stoller. Douglas J. Stone. Lonny J. Stone. Jimmy Nevill Storey. Timothy Stout. Thomas S. Strada. James J. Straine. Edward W. Straub. George Strauch. Edward T. Strauss. Steven R. Strauss. Sgt. Maj. Larry Strickland. Steven F. Strobert. Walwyn W. Stuart. Benjamin Suarez. David S. Suarez. Ramon Suarez. Xavier Suarez. Yoichi Sugiyama. William Christopher Sugra. Daniel Suhr. David Marc Sullins. Lt. Christopher P. Sullivan. Patrick Sullivan. Thomas Sullivan. Hilario Soriano (Larry) Sumaya. James Joseph Suozzo. Colleen Supinski. Robert Sutcliffe. Selina Sutter. Claudia Suzette Sutton. John F. Swaine. Kristine M. Swearson. Brian D. Sweeney. Brian Edward Sweeney. Madeline Sweeney. Kenneth J. Swensen. Thomas F. Swift. Derek O. Sword. Kevin T. Szocik. Gina Sztejnberg. Norbert P. Szurkowski. Harry Taback. Joann Tabeek. Norma C. Taddei. Michael Taddonio. Keiichiro Takahashi. Keiji Takahashi. Phyllis Gail Talbot. Robert R. Talhami. John Talignani. Sean Patrick Tallon. Paul Talty. Maurita Tam. Rachel Tamares. Hector Tamayo. Michael Andrew Tamuccio. Kenichiro Tanaka. Rhondelle Cherie Tankard. Michael Anthony Tanner. Dennis Gerard Taormina. Kenneth Joseph Tarantino. Allan Tarasiewicz. Michael C. Tarrou. Ronald Tartaro. Darryl Taylor. Donnie Brooks Taylor. Hilda E. Taylor. Leonard Taylor. Lorisa Ceylon Taylor. Maj. Kip P. Taylor. Michael M. Taylor. Sandra C. Taylor. Sandra Teague. Karl W. Teepe. Paul A. Tegtmeier. Yeshavant Moreshwar Tembe. Anthony Tempesta. Dorothy Temple. Stanley L. Temple. David Tengelin. Brian J. Terrenzi. Lisa Marie Terry. Goumatie T. Thackurdeen. Harshad Sham Thatte. Michael Theodoridis. Thomas F. Theurkauf. Lesley Anne Thomas. Brian T. Thompson. Capt. William Harry Thompson. Clive Thompson. Glenn Thompson. Nigel Bruce Thompson. Perry Anthony Thompson. Vanavah Alexi Thompson. Eric Raymond Thorpe. Nichola A. Thorpe. Sgt. Tamara Thurman. Sal Tieri. John Patrick Tierney. Mary Ellen Tiesi. William R. Tieste. Kenneth F. Tietjen. Stephen Edward Tighe. Scott C. Timmes. Michael E. Tinley. Jennifer M. Tino. Robert Frank Tipaldi. John J. Tipping. David Tirado. Hector Luis Tirado. Michelle Titolo. Alicia Nicole Titus. John J. Tobin. Richard J. Todisco. Lt. Cmdr. Otis Vincent Tolbert. Vladimir Tomasevic. Stephen K. Tompsett. Thomas Tong. Azucena de la Torre. Doris Torres. Luis Eduardo Torres. Amy E. Toyen. Christopher M. Traina. Daniel Patrick Trant. Abdoul Karim Traore. Glenn J. Travers. Walter (Wally) P. Travers. Felicia Traylor-Bass. James Trentini. Mary Trentini. Lisa L. Trerotola. Karamo Trerra. Michael Trinidad. Francis Joseph Trombino. Gregory J. Trost. Willie Q. Troy. William Tselepis. Zhanetta Tsoy. Michael Patrick Tucker. Lance Richard Tumulty. Ching Ping Tung. Simon James Turner. Donald Joseph Tuzio. Robert T. Twomey. Jennifer Tzemis. John G. Ueltzhoeffer. Tyler V. Ugolyn. Michael A. Uliano. Jonathan J. Uman. Anil Shivhari Umarkar. Allen V. Upton. Diane Maria Urban. John Damien Vaccacio. Bradley H. Vadas. William Valcarcel. Antonio Jesus Montoya Valdes. Mayra Valdes-Rodriguez. Felix Antonio Vale. Ivan Vale. Benito Valentin. Santos Valentin. Manuel Del Valle. Carlton Francis Valvo. Pendyala Vamsikrishna. Edward Raymond Vanacore. Jon C. Vandevander. Frederick T. Varacchi. Gopalakrishnan Varadhan. David Vargas. Scott C. Vasel. Azael Ismael Vasquez. Santos Vasquez. Lt. Cmdr. Ronald James Vauk. Arcangel Vazquez. Peter Anthony Vega. Sankara S. Velamuri. Jorge Velazquez. Lawrence Veling. Anthony M. Ventura. David Vera. Loretta A Vero. Christopher Vialonga. Matthew Gilbert Vianna. Robert A. Vicario. Celeste Torres Victoria. Joanna Vidal. John T. Vigiano. Joseph Vincent Vigiano. Frank J. Vignola. Joseph B. Vilardo. Sergio Villanueva. Chantal Vincelli. Melissa Vincent. Francine A. Virgilio. Lawrence Virgilio. Joseph G. Visciano. Joshua S. Vitale. Maria Percoco Vola. Lynette D. Vosges. Garo H. Voskerijian. Alfred Vukosa. Gregory Wachtler. Lt. Col. Karen Wagner. Mary Wahlstrom. Honor Elizabeth Wainio. Gabriela Waisman. Wendy Alice Rosario Wakeford. Courtney Wainsworth Walcott. Victor Wald. Kenneth Waldie. Benjamin Walker. Glen J. Wall. Lt. Robert F. Wallace. Mitchel Scott Wallace. Peter G. Wallace. Roy Michael Wallace. Jean Marie Wallendorf. Matthew Blake Wallens. Meta L. Waller. John Wallice. Barbara P. Walsh. James Walsh. Jeffrey Patrick Walz. Ching H. Wang. Weibin Wang. Lt. Michael Warchola. Stephen Gordon Ward. Timothy Ward. James A. Waring. Brian G. Warner. Derrick Washington. Capt. Patrick J. Waters. Charles Waters. James Thomas (Muddy) Waters. Kenneth Watson. Michael H. Waye. Todd C. Weaver. Walter E. Weaver. Nathaniel Webb. Dinah Webster. William M. Weems. Joanne Flora Weil. Michael Weinberg. Steven Weinberg. Scott Jeffrey Weingard. Steven Weinstein. Simon Weiser. David M. Weiss. David T. Weiss. Vincent Michael Wells. Deborah Welsh. Timothy Matthew Welty. Christian Hans Rudolf Wemmers. Ssu-Hui (Vanessa) Wen. John Wenckus. Oleh D. Wengerchuk. Peter M. West. Whitfield West. Meredith Lynn Whalen. Eugene Whelan. Adam S. White. Edward James White. James Patrick White. John S. White. Kenneth W. White. Leonard Anthony White. Malissa White. Olga Kristin Gould White. Sandra L. White. Staff Sgt. Maudlyn A. White. Wayne White. Leanne Marie Whiteside. Mark Whitford. Leslie A. Whittington. Michael T. Wholey. Mary Lenz Wieman. Jeffrey David Wiener. William J. Wik. Alison Marie Wildman. Lt. Glenn Wilkinson. Ernest M. Willcher. John C. Willett. Brian Patrick Williams. Candace Lee Williams. Crossley Williams. David Williams. Deborah Lynn Williams. Kevin Michael Williams. Louie Anthony Williams. Louis Calvin Williams. Lt. Cmdr. David Lucian Williams. Maj. Dwayne Williams. Lt. John Williamson. Cynthia Wilson. Donna Wilson. William E. Wilson. David H. Winton. Glenn J. Winuk. Thomas Francis Wise. Alan L. Wisniewski. Frank T. Wisniewski. David Wiswall. Sigrid Charlotte Wiswe. Michael R. Wittenstein. Christopher W. Wodenshek. Martin P. Wohlforth. Katherine S. Wolf. Jennifer Y. Wong. Jenny Seu Kueng Low Wong. Siu Cheung Wong. Yin Ping (Steven) Wong. Yuk Ping Wong. Brent James Woodall. James J. Woods. Marvin R. Woods. Patrick Woods. Richard Herron Woodwell. Capt. David Terence Wooley. John Bentley Works. Martin Michael Wortley. Rodney James Wotton. William Wren. John Wright. Neil R. Wright. Sandra Wright. Jupiter Yambem. John D. Yamnicky. Suresh Yanamadala. Vicki Yancey. Shuyin Yang. Matthew David Yarnell. Myrna Yaskulka. Shakila Yasmin. Olabisi L. Yee. Kevin Wayne Yokum. Edward P. York. Kevin Patrick York. Raymond York. Suzanne Youmans. Barrington L. Young. Donald McArthur Young. Edmond Young. Jacqueline (Jakki) Young. Lisa L. Young. Elkin Yuen. Joseph Zaccoli. Adel Agayby Zakhary. Arkady Zaltsman. Edwin J. Zambrana. Robert Alan Zampieri. Mark Zangrilli. Christopher Zarba. Ira Zaslow. Kenneth Albert Zelman. Abraham J. Zelmanowitz. Martin Morales Zempoaltecatl. Zhe (Zack) Zeng. Marc Scott Zeplin. Jie Yao Justin Zhao. Yuguag Zheng. Ivelin Ziminski. Michael Joseph Zinzi. Charles A. Zion. Julie Lynne Zipper. Salvatore J. Zisa. Prokopios Paul Zois. Joseph J. Zuccala. Andrew Steven Zucker. Igor Zukelman.

New Orleans from someone who went there

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This post defies excerption. Go here and read it all. The backbone of America -- probably did not vote for Kerry...

Judging a Chili Cook-off

This has been rattling around the net but I saw it again at Mostly Cajun and swiped it to post it here. Hey, he saw/swiped it from these fine people and who knows where they found it...

Judging a chili contest
The notes are from an inexperienced chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield, IL.

Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment, and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted."

Here are the scorecards: (Frank is Judge #3)
Chili # 1 Eddie's Maniac Monster Chili...
Judge # 1 - A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2 - Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge # 3 - (Frank) What the hell is this stuff?! You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put out the flames. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy!

Chili # 2 Austin's Afterburner Chili...
Judge # 1 - Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
Judge # 2 - Exciting BBQ flavor; needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge # 3 - Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

Chili # 3 Ronny's Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili...
Judge # 1 - Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick. Needs more beans.
Judge # 2 - A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers.
Judge # 3 - Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. The barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting pie-eyed from all of the beer...

Chili # 4 Dave's Black Magic...
Judge # 1 - Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge # 2 - Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish, or other mild foods; not much of a chili.
Judge # 3 - I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. That 300-lb woman is starting to look HOT...just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

Chili # 5 Lisa's Legal Lip Remover...
Judge # 1 - Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2 - Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 - My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead, and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw those rednecks.

Chili # 6 Pam's Very Vegetarian Variety...
Judge # 1 - Thin, yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.
Judge # 2 - The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
Judge # 3 - My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I pooped on myself when I farted, and I'm worried it will eat through the chair! No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone.

Chili # 7 Carla's Screaming Sensation Chili...
Judge # 1 - A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge # 2 - Ho-hum; tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. **I should take note that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress, as he is cursing uncontrollably.
Judge # 3 - You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing; it's too painful. Screw it; I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

Chili # 8 Karen's Toenail Curling Chili...
Judge # 1 - The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold, but spicy enough to declare its existence.
Judge # 2 - This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild, nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge # 3 farted, passed out, fell over, and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor fella, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?

Dogging today

Jen and I were at an annual picnic for people in our area who raise ISSR Shiloh Shepherds.

The Shiloh is a breed developed by a woman in New York state who wanted to return the German Shepherd bloodlines back to what it used to be before all the dog shows, AKC and puppymills perverted the breed. She started in 1974 and has done some amazing work.

We are looking for an all-purpose farm animal -- stock guardian, companion and a working and herding dog. We had seen two Shilohs a few years ago and now that we are looking for a dog, they have risen to the top of our lists. We saw six adult dogs and a couple puppies of various ages. Each and every one of them was well behaved around people they did not know, very mellow and just hanging out with their owner.

Very smart and very beautiful. I took some photos and will have them posted at the Brownsnout website tomorrow. Here is one of the creatures we met today from his breeders website:


What's not to love!

Pig-headedness in the Astrodome

Wired Magazine has a story of bureaucratic stupidity (Not Invented Here) and pig-headedness:

Astrodome Radio Station Blocked
KAMP 95.3 "Evacuation Radio Services", a low-power FM station for Hurricane Katrina evacuees housed at the Astrodome, is still stuck in limbo. Although the group trying to organize the station has wrangled three 90-day licenses from the FCC, as of Thursday, they were being stymied by a handful of temporary administrators content to maintain radio silence.

While basic needs -- food, water, clothing, shelter -- have been met with remarkable hospitality, the survivors of the hurricane inside the Astrodome complex say they continue to suffer from a lack of information. Parents struggle with paperwork to enroll their children in school while simultaneously attempting to locate housing and employment, not to mention lost family members. Most evacuees sit alone on cots, passing the time playing cards or dominoes. Short blasts of information periodically echo from the Astrodome's PA speakers.

Inspired by the crisis, volunteers gathered Sunday in Tish Stringer's small apartment in the Museum District of midtown Houston, planning to broadcast hourly updated information evacuees would need to move forward with their lives. The group thought the ability to quickly speak to tens of thousands of people across multiple arenas would be invaluable, to both evacuees and aid workers alike.

Support poured in from wireless nonprofits like the Prometheus Radio Project. All levels of government seemed excited by the idea, including Houston's Mayor Bill White, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and federal agencies like the FCC and FEMA.

But late Sunday evening, the troubles began. According to KAMP, Rita Obey, a local official from Harris County Public Health Services, gave them a laundry list of prerequisites. The most notable of these was the command to procure 10,000 personal, battery-powered radios -- and batteries.

"She said she was afraid of 'people fighting over the radios,'" said Liz Surley, a KAMP volunteer. "She made us promise not to play any rap music, because she thought it might incite some of the evacuees to violence."

Obey denies she requested the radios.

"I requested samples," she said Thursday. "We never asked them to provide radios -- they offered them."

The group, already operating on a shoestring budget, began a frantic search for the radios they needed. By Monday they had all 10,000 in a warehouse in Houston, waiting to be purchased from and delivered by a distributor.

"They were local and they were waiting for us," noted Surley. Everything was once again in place to go.

Tuesday, two KAMP technicians scouted out a skybox high above the arena floor as a potential radio site with Astrodome staff. Nina Jackson, another administrator, assured the technicians that their request was heading up the chain of command at the Astrodome. Mike Jones, the local Houston rapper who once used his cell-phone number as a self-promotional rhyme, called to offer his support (and presumably left his number).

Wednesday morning, things looked good for KAMP. They had the equipment. They had the licenses. They had the content ready to begin broadcasting. They hoped to install their transmitters in the Astrodome that evening, then begin broadcasting at 9 a.m. the next day.

The volunteers were overjoyed. Many took the cat naps they hadn't allowed themselves earlier in the week, despite getting only two or three hours of sleep a night. Some sheepishly called their employers, apologizing for their spotty attendance. One radio operator rushed to fill out a final FEMA form that had been overlooked.

But at 4:30 in the afternoon, KAMP received word that their request had been denied. RW Royall Jr., the incident commander of the Joint Information Center -- the group temporarily governing the operations of the Astrodome campus -- told KAMP they could not install their equipment. They had been officially, finally denied.

According to KAMP, Royal claimed the Astrodome was not able to provide power to KAMP's low-power FM transmitter. When KAMP offered to bring in enough batteries to power the equipment off the Astrodome's grid, they were still denied.

Obey, speaking to Wired News, explained that the JIC couldn't see a use for the radio station when they had the ability to communicate via the loudspeaker system and newsletters.

"I did not see the utility," said Obey.

This is just so damned wrong on so many levels that it is not fun. A small radio station plus the 10,000 donated radio sets would be a godsend for these people. And they are being denied for such small and pettifogging reasons that I can only conclude that Ms. Obey and Mr. Royall are clueless and self-centered idiots. I know that it is a minor coincidence but what a perfect choice of names...


From Adrants. One of the contestants on CBS' Rockstar INXS wore a shirt that, when viewed normally, appeared to say something in an Asian language but, when viewed sideways, showed something quite different. The Rockstar website has been purged but Adrants kept a screencap. Take a look at it here -- tip your head to the right and see what you think...

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Interesting article on current stop-motion technology.

Tim Burton is releasing a movie: "Corpse Bride" Editors Guild Magazine has an article on the technology behind its making:

'Bride' Stripped Bare
Representing a remarkable step forward in digital filmmaking, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride is a stop-motion animated feature film created through the innovative use of editing and camera technology. Based on a 19th century Russian folktale of a groom (voiced by Johnny Depp) who marries a zombie (Helena Bonham Carter) by mistake, this groundbreaking work features puppets made from stainless steel armatures covered by a silicon skin. Corpse Bride is co-directed by Burton and stop-motion animation veteran Mike Johnson and is scheduled for release September 23 by Warner Bros.

Technologically, this is a movie of many firsts; it's the first feature-length, stop-motion film edited using Apple Final Cut Pro (FCP), it's the first feature shot using commercial digital SLR still photography cameras and, perhaps most significantly, it's the first movie to choose digital cameras over film cameras based on the criterion of image quality.

An excerpt talking about their choice of a commercial Digital SLR:

With these issues in mind, Watts set about getting his hands on every digital camera he could find. Canon UK loaned a 10D, a 1D, a 1D Mark 2, and a 1DS. Nikon loaned a D1x, a D100, and one of the new D2H cameras. Watts also tested cameras from Sigma and Kodak. Initial tests were held at Framestore-CFC and the Moving Picture Company in London.
"We shot the same scene on every camera, converted the digital frames using dcRAW [an open-source program that accesses raw digital images], crunched everything to 2K, color-timed the sequences to match using Baselight and then output to film," says Watts. "Basically, everything looked great until the film-originated version came up, then everyone yelled at the projectionist, 'Focus!'" The images from digital cameras looked so stunning when projected. The tests convinced Burton, Johnson, Abbate and executives at Warners.

Very cool -- the article also mentions that the entire project was managed as an XML flat-file database with an entry for each frame. XML is a simple text-based, human-readable way to convey information that although bigger than other formats, offers a lot of versatility. It lends itself very well to automation with script-processing languages like Python (what they used), Ruby or PERL. Hey, disk space is dirt cheap -- about 70 cents/Gigabyte for decent drives. Stop griping about storage space... :)

Setting up a shot.

A frame from the film.

Don't get sick in Seattle

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And now it seems that another Seattle hospital fired an employee hired for the purpose of reviewing surgeon's performances. The Seattle Times again:
Swedish halts ex-employee from airing work details
Swedish Medical Center has obtained a court order to keep a former employee from publicly discussing his belief that the hospital's program for detecting medical mistakes is "fatally flawed."

The former employee, Riccardo Spurgeon, was fired by the Seattle medical center July 29. He had been hired three weeks earlier to review cases in which patients or health-care providers had raised questions about a surgeon's performance.

Swedish has not explained why it fired Spurgeon except to say in court papers that his "performance was not consistent with Swedish's expectations of employees."

Spurgeon, in his own court declaration, alleges he was dismissed after he raised concerns about a specific "incident" and expressed his surprise that "the general public was not privy" to the information.

When told he was being fired, Spurgeon threatened to go to the news media with his concerns, court records show. Immediately, the medical center hand-delivered a letter to him, warning that he had signed a confidentiality agreement. Swedish said the agreement prohibited him from inappropriately disclosing information about his work to a third party.

Swedish lawyers went to court Aug. 1 and obtained a temporary restraining order barring Spurgeon from talking about his work for the medical center.
Fired after only three weeks? Spurgeon either did something horribly stupid, lied about his resume or uncovered something that the Swedish management didn't want brought to light. A bit more:
"I have been concerned that the Peer Review process at Swedish is inadequate and fatally flawed," he wrote in his declaration. "I have considered making referrals to appropriate state and federal regulatory agencies."

A toe job

A Seattle hospital charged over $1K for clipping a toenail. The Seattle Times has the story:

Suit over toenail bill from clinic can be class action
It began last year with Lori Mill's toenail - or rather, with Mill's $1,133 medical bill from Virginia Mason Medical Center for a 30-second office procedure on her toenail.

Mill complained about a $418 charge for "miscellaneous hospital charges." When Virginia Mason responded that it routinely adds such a "facilities charge" when patients go to its downtown clinic instead of its other clinics, she got a lawyer and sued.

This week, a King County Superior Court judge granted class-action status to her consumer-protection lawsuit, meaning she will represent all Virginia Mason patients whose bills have included such fees. That likely will encompass tens of thousands of patients, said Mill's attorney, John Phillips.

And lawyer Phillips:

Phillips has obtained internal Virginia Mason e-mail from the medical center's own doctors and staff complaining about the charges.

One doctor, whose name was omitted from the e-mail, had a procedure on his own toe at the downtown clinic and then e-mailed Virginia Mason's CEO, Dr. Gary Kaplan, after he got the bill last year. The total bill was $1,200, the doctor wrote. And $1,138 of that was the facilities charge.

"I call it obscene," the doctor wrote Kaplan. "There has to be some sense of appropriateness/fairness/reasonableness to our charges."

Another doctor, dermatologist Allan Kayne, complained about a $1,361 bill sent to one of his patients. More than half - $754 - was a facilities fee. "These charges are not only excessive, but an embarrassment to me and the medical center," Kayne wrote.

Ouch! Virginia Mason is a good hospital (Jen and I both went there for work on our knees) but these charges are way out of line.

Meet Ophelia

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Once more into the breech... From the National Hurricane Center comes this projected path for Hurricane Ophelia
Click for full-size Image

Time Magazine on Mike Brown

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Earlier I referred to a Time Magazine article which questioned Mike Brown's resume. Here is the article in question:
How Reliable Is Brown's Resume?
A TIME investigation reveals discrepancies in the FEMA chief's official biographies

When President Bush nominated Michael Brown to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2003, Brown's boss at the time, Joe Allbaugh, declared, "the President couldn't have chosen a better man to help...prepare and protect the nation." But how well was he prepared for the job? Since Hurricane Katrina, the FEMA director has come under heavy criticism for his performance and scrutiny of his background. Now, an investigation by TIME has found discrepancies in his online legal profile and official bio, including a description of Brown released by the White House at the time of his nomination in 2001 to the job as deputy chief of FEMA. On Friday, Brown, who became director of FEMA in 2003, was relieved of his duties handling the Katrina response and was replaced in that role by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen.
The article goes into quite a bit of detail -- they checked up on the items in Mike Brown's resume and discovered that they were either padded or completely fabricated. I can imagine Mr. Brown rehearsing for his next job: "Would you like fries with that?"


From Yahoo/LA Times comes this story of preparedness:
California Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina
U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones remembers attending an emergency training session in August 2001 with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that discussed the three most likely catastrophes to strike the United States.

First on the list was a terrorist attack in New York. Second was a super-strength hurricane hitting New Orleans. Third was a major earthquake on the San Andreas fault.

Now that the first two have come to pass, she and other earthquake experts are using the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as an opportunity to reassess how California would handle a major temblor.

Jones, scientist-in-charge for the geological survey's Southern California Earthquake Hazards Team, and other experts generally agree that California has come a long way in the last two decades in seismic safety.

In Los Angeles, all but one of 8,700 unreinforced masonry buildings � considered the most likely to collapse in a major quake � have been retrofitted or demolished. The state spent billions after the 1994 Northridge quake to retrofit more than 2,100 freeway overpasses, reporting this week that only a handful remain unreinforced.

Despite these improvements, however, officials believe that a major temblor could cause the level of destruction and disruption seen over the last week on the Gulf Coast.

More than 900 hospital buildings that state officials have identified as needing either retrofitting or total replacement have yet to receive them, and the state recently agreed to five-year extensions to hospitals that can't meet the 2008 deadline to make the fixes. More than 7,000 school buildings across the state would also be vulnerable during a huge temblor, a state study found, though there is no firm timetable for upgrading the structures.

And four Los Angeles Police Department facilities � including the Parker Center headquarters in downtown � worry officials, because they were built to primitive earthquake standards and might not survive a major temblor. Only two of the LAPD's 19 stations meet the most rigorous quake-safe rules.
The article then goes on to talk about how, although many of the buildings have been upgraded, the water, electrical, natural gas and railroad tracks are all very vulnerable (passing over the San Andreas faultline). And of course, all of this is Bush's fault...

Worth 1,000 words...

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Today's Day By Day says it all:
Click for full-size Image

Mike Brown no longer running FEMA

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Wonderful news this morning from Yahoo/AP:
FEMA Chief Relieved of Katrina Command
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown, the principal target of harsh criticism of the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, was relieved of his onsite relief command Friday.

He will be replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, who was overseeing New Orleans relief, recovery and rescue efforts, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced.

Earlier, Brown confirmed the switch. Asked if he was being made a scapegoat for a federal relief effort that has drawn widespread and sharp criticism, Brown told The Associated Press after a long pause: "By the press, yes. By the president, no."

"Michael Brown has done everything he possibly could to coordinate the federal response to this unprecedented challenge," Chertoff told reporters in Baton Rouge, La. Chertoff sidestepped a question on whether the move was the first step toward Brown's leaving FEMA.

But a source close to Brown, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the FEMA director had been considering leaving after the hurricane season ended in November and that Friday's action virtually assures his departure.
"considering leaving after the hurricane season ended in November" riiiggghhhtttt... Not exactly the most graceful exit but a good and quick one. I was expecting him to be given an adviser and to announce his retirement in a month or two. Having him be removed from Katrina work is perfect. I had written earlier about Brown's previous work history -- the Yahoo/AP article covers this as well, adding some new info:
Brown's official biography on the FEMA Web site says that his background in state and local government also includes serving as "an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight" and as a city councilman.

But a former mayor of Edmond, Randel Shadid, told The Associated Press on Friday that Brown had been an assistant to the city manager. Shadid said Brown was never assistant city manager. "I think there's a difference between the two positions," said Shadid. "I would think that is a discrepancy."
Separately, Newsday reported another discrepancy regarding Brown's background. The official White House announcement of Brown's nomination to head FEMA in January 2003 lists his previous experience as "the Executive Director of the Independent Electrical Contractors," a trade group based in Alexandria, Va.

Two officials of the group told Newsday this week that Brown never was the national head of the group but did serve as the executive director of a regional chapter, based in Colorado.


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Got this in an email:

Declaration of Revocation

To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

Your new Prime Minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium." Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour'; skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise." You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to re-spell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up "vocabulary." Using the same thirty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "uhh", "like", and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up "interspersed." There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary, then you won't have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents --- Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is "Devon." If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football." There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2005. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders," which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called "Indecisive Day."

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap, and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call 'French fries' are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps." Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling "beer" is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." The substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine." This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in the Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "gasoline," as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6.00/US gallon -- get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776). Thank you for your co-operation.

Can't think of anything this leaves out. Gun ownership is a non-negotiable though. To quote Robert Anson Heinlein: "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."

Our friends the Brits are discovering this themselves as their armed crime rises while the citizenry is increasingly given fewer and fewer options for self defense.

Cool news

From Wired Magazine comes this wonderful story about a 1-800 number squatter who wanted a "six-figure" dollar value for a certain 1-800 phone number. 1-800-RED-CROSS

Red Cross Gets Squatter's Number
Acting on an emergency request from the American Red Cross, the FCC on Friday handed over control of the toll-free number 1-800-RED-CROSS to the nonprofit group, unceremoniously plucking it from the hands of corporate digit-squatters who'd been hoping for a six-figure payday.

"They weren't going to give it to us, and they were going to charge us ridiculous amounts of money to use it," says Chuck Connor, senior vice president of communication and marketing for the American Red Cross. "They were talking about the kinds of money that changed hands for 1-800-FLOWERS, which is ridiculous."

But would-be contributors will experience something more puzzling if they try to reach the organization through the most obvious, though wrong, phone number. Calls from Wired News to 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) were answered Tuesday by a cheery male voice announcing, "Thank you for calling Inc. of San Diego, California. We offer telecommunications service to the business community."

The upbeat recording refers callers to the company's main number, then hangs up.

The Red Cross finally asked the FCC to intervene last Friday in the wake of Katrina. The commission ruled the same day, noting its longstanding policies "against warehousing, hoarding and brokering of toll-free numbers" and the importance of the Red Cross' work.

So the number has not transferred quite yet -- it will and it is theirs to keep for one year at least. The article talks about the previous owner of that number and their claims to legitimacy. I love how pro-active the FCC was on this... Hand it over NOW! Like to a self-centered child... The owner of 800-ideas could have gotten a huge amount of favorable publicity by donating that number and considering that the Red Cross is non-profit, a nice tax write-off. But they decided to be greedy and got their wrists slapped...

Software tweaking

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I am updating to a new version of the weblog software. Posting will be light this evening and some bugs may scuttle out from the dark places in the code...
An excellent and thought-provoking essay by Robert Tracinski:
An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State
It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists�myself included�did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.
Robert cites some examples and then relates the cause:
My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage one night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)

What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"�the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels�gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of those who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then told me that early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails�so they just let many of them loose. [Update: I have been searching for news reports on this last story, but I have not been able to confirm it. Instead, I have found numerous reports about the collapse of the corrupt and incompetent New Orleans Police Department; see here and here.]

There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit�but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals�and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep�on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

All of this is related, incidentally, to the incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. In a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters�not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.
I am only excerpting this essay -- it is worth going there and reading the entire thing. Robert makes clear a number of thoughts that were rattling around in my brain-pan. If you have not read Bill Whittle's excellent essay, you might want to go and do that as well -- there is a bit of overlap with some of the basic concepts.

New Orleans -- a foretaste of disaster

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Chilling article by Ray Davies in The Times Online:
New Orleans - the ideal place to get shot
Away from the partying it was obvious to a dedicated follower of the city that disaster was around the corner

I spent the early part of last year in New Orleans recovering from gunshot wounds received as I was being robbed. It happened in the early evening as I walked down a quiet street with my girlfriend. There was a football game in town and the streets near the French Quarter were empty. The police presence was elsewhere. The incident itself was over in a flash but it plays over and over in my head and perhaps one day it will make sense to me.

I found out later that there were fewer than 2,000 police in New Orleans at that time and it reached such a point that there was talk of the city was importing officers from Cleveland. Anyway, thanks to someone�s mobile phone, the police eventually got to the scene.

Later, as I was carried into the emergency room at Charity hospital, a doctor reassured me that "New Orleans really is the best place to get shot". They had, he explained, had plenty of practice.

The same week I was shot, I read that three other tourists were killed near to where I was attacked. Tourists were urged not to fight back after being mugged (I was continually reminded of this by the district attorney�s officials, who were critical of the way I chased the man who robbed my girlfriend).
And the health-care system itself:
During my initial week-long stay in hospital and lengthy recuperation, I observed first-hand the bankruptcy of the New Orleans health system. Several doctors who treated me actually apologised for the low standard of healthcare in Louisiana. Even so, they gave me the best of what they did have, for which I am grateful.

I have just looked through some notes in the diary I made after I was operated on and one seems chillingly relevant. "How can the USA be expected to look after the whole world when it cannot even look after its own?" So it doesn�t surprise me to see the world reacting with shock to the "Third World" conditions in New Orleans "in this, the richest and most powerful country in the world". I could have told them that.
A view of New Orleans that one doesn't generally see. It has two industries, tourism and maritime/petroleum and little else.

Photos starting to come in from offshore

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And Mostly Cajun has one of an off-shore platform. Just a little wind and water:
I shrunk it for bandwidth concerns -- visit Mostly Cajun for the full-size Image. And places like these are where 14% of this nations oil comes from. I am still waiting to see what happened to the supply ports -- if these platforms cannot get materials and supplies, they cannot get back to work.

Sean Penn and the media

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I had blogged earlier about how Sean Penn traveled to New Orleans, took a small boat (seating capacity of five or six max) took along an entourage of several people including a "personal photographer" and proceeded to go out looking for survivors to "rescue". The boat was so full of Penn's people that a bystander shouted out: "How are you going to get any people in that thing?" Penn forgot to put the drain plug back into the stern of the boat and it started taking on water. He was unable to start the engine. Geoffrey at Dog Snot Diaries has the photo:
What a frickin' publicity whore...

About Time...

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We give about $USD two billion/year in aid to Egypt.

I never gave too much thought to their government but this report from the BBC is a bit of an eye-opener:

Analysis: Re-birth of Egyptian politics
Egyptians will go to the polls on Wednesday to vote in their country's first ever contested presidential election.

Ten candidates are running for president, but it is the incumbent, Hosni Mubarak, who is expected to win.

Critics of Mr Mubarak, who has led Egypt for 24 years, charge that the election is a charade aimed at deflecting American pressure for reform.

But even if, as many believe, the results are a foregone conclusion, there is no mistaking the energy that preparations for the poll have injected in Egypt's long-stagnant political life.

For civil society in particular, the run up to the election has presented an opportunity to press for genuine reforms.

New and old civil groups have been trying to push at the rigid boundaries which have stifled politics causing Egyptians to lose faith in the possibility of democratic change.

Democratic elections with only one presidential candidate? Now there are ten but only one is expected to "win" Is Jimmy Carter flying there to 'certify' this election too?

Bill Whittle and the Lotus Eaters

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Bill Whittle wrote an excellent essay and published it this morning. If you have not read it, go here now and read. I'll be back when you return in about 10-15 minutes... . . . . Back? Great! Now, let's go to The Belmont Club where Wretchard introduces us to another tribe and ones we would not want as neighbors:
Bill Whittle and the Gotha Program
Bill Whittle has a new essay up called Tribes, where he defines tribedom as a state of mind, and how those states of mind -- the tribes -- manifested themselves in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.
A few paragraphs more and Wretchard brings it home:
One interesting question, which Bill Whittle never answers, is how tribes are formed. Whatever the process, it must feature some retention of memory. To see why this is so, consider its opposite: memorylessness. A Brown University computer science paper defines memoryless behavior as a class of policies where "action decisions are made solely on this basis of the agent's current sensation." On the face of it, "it would seem that memoryless behavior makes little sense. What organism would possibly ignore recent events in deciding how to act?" Yet the Brown paper found that in circumstances where sensation encapsulate all the relevant past information "it is always possible to find a deterministic memoryless policy that is optimal; no other behavioral strategy is superior."

In Bill Whittles' scenario, a number of people find themselves trapped in Hurricane stricken Louisiana, such as in the "Superdome Concentration Camp" and find themselves dividing into tribes. Some loot and rampage, often destroying objects which if they had a memory of recent events they would realize would be useful for their future survival. Others husband their resources and forge alliances to maximize their chances of survival. Clearly the spontaneous division into Whittle's tribes occurs on the basis of some cognition of 'sameness', which can only be the outcome of memory. The sheepdogs recognize each other, and so do the sheep.

Then, one of Whittle's tribes having formed, it begins to behave as if it lived in a memoryless universe. 'Memorylessness' in this context means something slightly different. It is the property of arriving at the same state however you started out, so that the current condition gives no clue as to how things were in the beginning. Under those circumstances it is possible to ignore the history of your life-state because it is irrelevant. It is all collapsed into the present. And, as the Brown University paper concluded, when you have no past it is optimal to act solely on the basis of present sensation. I mention this because one of the historical goals of socialism was to precisely to create this memoryless state. "From each according to his abilities. To each according to his need." Which is another way of saying that you get to the same place no matter how you start out. One of the unintended consequences of encouraging dependency is that it annihilates the life history of the dependent. For him there is no memory and no exit.
Some of the comments at Wretchard's site are wonderfully thought out. Here is one (the backstory is that Marx was spending so much time writing that he failed to provide for his family -- two of his children died under circumstances that could only be described as malnutrition):
Common cents,
"Marx had no soul. How could any man choose not provide for his children?"

One of the most 'liberating' aspects of activism is that it frees you from such petty concerns as the fate of your children. Really good activism produces a rush; a continuous buzz of activity in the vague service of some higher good that helps you forget what you have done; what you are doing. Within the theme of this post, the purpose of activistic exaltation is to obliterate the past. I've often wondered why the phrase 'obliterate the past' occurs so frequently in revolutionary literature until I realized it was the historical equivalent of smashing mirrors and burning diaries. To be truly 'revolutionary' you must cut loose from the past. In other words have no memory.

I used to think this was great. But of late, having had to program stateless web pages, I realized it had certain disadvantages. But it was Orwell who really made the connection in 1984 when he described the Memory Hole and realized its true purpose was to swallow its user.

Readiness Kit and Media Fallout

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Cold Fury posts about Tom Ridge and his calls for people to put together readiness kits and gives links to some interesting responses...
Tom Ridge�s Duct Tape
Do you remember when the last Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, told us that to be prepared for emergencies, we should put together a readiness kit? I do. The kit layout is suggested at Ready.Gov. The portion of the kit for dealing with attacks and natural disasters should have, ideally, "at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food" and a corresponding amount of water - a gallon per day per person.
And some more:
Do you remember what the left said about Ridge, that it was just foolish alarmism for political gain? The only thing the left could focus on, was duct tape. I would argue that the partisan sniping from the left, in the form of ongoing and repeated rants about about duct tape, caused people to really dismiss the message Secretary Ridge was trying to put out. The message was simple: The Feds can�t prepare for everything. You have to be ready to survive for 72 hours. After that, FedGov can get enough stuff in place to help.
And after a few more paragraphs, he gets to the meat of the issue and starts providing links to "Left" bloggers and what they had to say about personal preparedness: Here�s what Duncan Black, AKA Atrios, AKA choagy boy for Media Matters, said about it. I bet he doesn�t want you to remember what Ridge said about preparedness, or how ol� Atrios himself worked to undercut the message. Here�s Kos going on about it. And again with another. There are about twelve other citations complete with links. Each and every one of them damning in their own little way. And where is your grab-and-go kit?

Cool use of materials...

Hurricane Katrina has forced people to improvise.

The Feds have been improvising too.

The LA Times has the story:

Katrina Victims Get Seized Knockoff Items
The Yves St. Laurent and Tommy Hilfiger labels may be phony, but the thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims getting knockoff items seized by federal customs officials probably don't mind.

Displaced survivors in the Houston Astrodome can choose from counterfeit and abandoned clothing, toys, and even dog food.

More than 100,000 items were quickly taken from warehouses and more will follow, said Kristi Clemens, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection division.

The agency has some 1 million items stored, and Customs officials are going through their inventory to see what else would be useful. While the initial shipment went to Texas, officials are looking toward a wider distribution, Clemens said.

For humans, virtually anything that you can wear is available: underwear, jeans, baseball caps, T-shirts, shoes and socks. For dogs: much needed food. For children, toys. For everyone: clean sheets and blankets.

Clemens said officials are looking for locations to deliver items in Louisiana and Mississippi, and then will scout for shelters in other states.

American businesses lose up to $250 billion annually from knockoffs, according to figures released in a Senate hearing. Federal officials seized $138 million in counterfeited goods last year, up from $94 million in 2003.

Counterfeit clothing currently accounts for about 18 percent of seized items.

Law enforcement officials and other experts have testified that counterfeit clothing and other goods have been traced to supporters of terror organizations.

Most counterfeit items come from China, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Russia, according to Customs officials.

Heh... Very cool idea -- whomever thought of that should be made head of FEMA now.

So you get a brand new Rorex on your wrist and a nice Tommy Hifliger tee-shirt and some cool Ray-Ran shades.

You are at least clothed, have eye protection and a watch. Good move!

On its way...

Our friends in Europe promised aid and it is being loaded onto ships at this moment. NOLA/AP has the story:

European aid readied for shipment to Hurricane Katrina aftermath
European nations on Monday prepared aid teams, food rations, water pumps and even cruise ships to help U.S. regions hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Countries large and small have offered aid - from tiny Luxembourg's beds and blankets to half a million food rations from Germany and Britain.

Greece put on standby two cruise ships to house refugees and Sweden has offered aircraft to help distribute aid shipments, said Barbara Helfferich, a European Union spokeswoman.

Helfferich said an EU aid coordinator would go to the United States soon to help ensure aid goes to victims of Katrina in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. U.S. authorities made a rare request for help from Europe over the weekend, asking for anything from diapers and baby formula to forklifts and veterinarian supplies.

Helfferich said the 25-nation EU was able to move quickly to fill requests.

"We have reacted very speedily and, after the aid has been requested, we have been basically able to respond in 24 hours," she said.

She said more pledges had come in Sunday, including promises to ship power generators, cots, tents, first aid kits and Greece's offer of ships.

The NATO alliance has also started to coordinate shipments of food, drinking water, generators and tarpaulins through its disaster coordination center.

The United States thanked its European allies in the 26-nation alliance for their solidarity.

"The United States has been enormously grateful for the outpouring of support both emotional and concrete from allies over the past week," said Victoria Nuland, the U.S. ambassador to NATO.

And some more:

Germany and Britain had already sent 570,000 emergency food rations over the weekend, while Luxembourg was preparing to send a team of five aid experts, two jeeps, and bedding. The Netherlands had deployed a naval frigate, which was transporting drinking water, medical supplies and much needed helicopters.

Many European countries have pledged to release parts of their strategic oil and gas reserves to stabilize global oil supplies.

Thank you!

Starting to wake up in Canada

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Islamists in Canada were pushing to allow Sharia to be used in Canadian family arbitration and mediation cases in Ontario. Fortunatly, a number of groups are protesting this. CBC has the story:
Global groups unite against Islamic arbitration in Ontario
Almost 100 organizations around the globe will protest Thursday against a proposal that would allow Islamic law to be used in family arbitration and mediation cases in Ontario.

Canadian and European feminist groups, dissidents from some Islamic states such as Iran, human-rights activists, writers and journalists will march Thursday in six European cities, and at least five Canadian ones. Protests will take place in Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo, Ont., Montreal and Victoria, and in Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Gutenberg, Stockholm, London and Paris.

Speakers at the Canadian events will include journalists June Callwood, Irshad Manji and Sally Armstrong.

Sohaila Sharifi, an Iranian emigrant who is organizing the London protest, said the protests are part of a global battle between secular societies and "political Islam."

"If [hardline Muslims] win this fight in Canada, there is always the possibility that they would see it as a victory that could bring them one step forward," Sharifi said in an e-mail exchange with the Canadian Press.

"They would use the same argument to establish the same religious system here in Europe and elsewhere."
Good to see some backbone finally. Keep it up!

20/20 hindsight

Mostly Cajun links to a blog entry talking about all the Monday-morning quarterbacking going on over the handling of the Katrina disaster:
Paw Paw gets it right...
Taking a break after helpng out at a shelter, Paw Paw talks about the Monday-morning quarterbacking going on, and pops up with this gem:
However, we have to remember what the situation looked like on Friday, August 25th, 2005. It was a different world then. Mayor Nagin was enjoying the glow of being the mayor of the coolest city in the U.S. There was a storm in the Gulf, but Louisiana routinely weathers storms. If Nagin had gotten his act together Friday and ordered the evacuation of everyone in the city, if Governor Blanco had mobilized every bus in the state, and attempted to move the poorest, most impoverished residents out of the impact area, we have to ask ourselves how that would have proceeded?

Imagine the howls of protest if hundreds of busses had arrived in the housing areas of New Orleans and announced: "We are evacuating everyone. Take one change of clothes and get on the bus. We don�t know where we are taking you, but you have to get out now. - - Everyone, right now - - Get on the bus." There would have been a riot, and rightfully so.
Being somewhat guilty of the hindsight thing myself, we have to know that Paw Paw does have a point. You know that a fine line is often walked when calling for evacuations. Too soon, the storm veers, and you�ve just knocked a hole in the local economy and disrupted thousands of lives. If that happens a couple of times, people will figure the next one is just another false alarm. There might have been some of that in New Orleans this time. Too late, and...
Very good point -- had they started to evacuate several days before the storm, a lot of people would simply refuse. Still, this was very badly handled and it will be interesting to see who actually worked and who played the blame-game...

Bill Whittle has a new essay up

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And it is an excellent one. Go and read Tribes You will not be dissapointed...

Blanco hits bottom and starts digging

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Two articles here -- related. The first from the Washington Post:
Many Evacuated, but Thousands Still Waiting
White House Shifts Blame to State and Local Officials

Tens of thousands of people spent a fifth day awaiting evacuation from this ruined city, as Bush administration officials blamed state and local authorities for what leaders at all levels have called a failure of the country's emergency management.
The money quote:
Blanco made two moves Saturday that protected her independence from the federal government: She created a philanthropic fund for the state's victims and hired James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency director in the Clinton administration, to advise her on the relief effort.
Emphasis mine. Now on to the online edition of the Insurance Journal for June 9th, 2004
IEM to Lead Development of Hurricane Plan for Louisiana
IEM Inc., a Baton Rouge, La.-based emergency management and homeland security consultant, announced it will lead the development of a catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for Southeast Louisiana and the City of New Orleans under a more than half a million dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In making the announcement today on behalf of teaming partners Dewberry, URS Corporation and James Lee Witt Associates, IEM Director of Homeland Security Wayne Thomas explained that the development of a base catastrophic hurricane disaster plan has urgency due to the recent start of the annual hurricane season which runs through November. National weather experts are predicting an above normal Atlantic hurricane season with six to eight hurricanes, of which three could be categorized as major.

The IEM team will complete a functional exercise on a catastrophic hurricane strike in Southeast Louisiana and use results to develop a response and recovery plan. A catastrophic event is one that can overwhelm state, local and private capabilities so quickly that communities could be devastated without Federal assistance and multi-agency planning and preparedness.
Emphasis mine again -- notice that name cropping up again? Granted, there is an efficiency in using the same people as the communications are simpler but sheesh -- after spending $500K on a plan that didn't work, you still hire the same bozo?

If FEMA don't get 'ya, Blanco will...

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This is stunning. The American Red Cross is being denied access to New Orleans. This information is from their FAQ here:
Disaster FAQs
Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?
  • Access to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.
  • The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.
  • The Red Cross has been meeting the needs of thousands of New Orleans residents in some 90 shelters throughout the state of Louisiana and elsewhere since before landfall. All told, the Red Cross is today operating 149 shelters for almost 93,000 residents.
  • The Red Cross shares the nation�s anguish over the worsening situation inside the city. We will continue to work under the direction of the military, state and local authorities and to focus all our efforts on our lifesaving mission of feeding and sheltering.
One very small part of me sees the reasoning behind this. If I was in New Orleans and needed medical aid for something non-critical and was able to get it in New Orleans, I might be disinclined to evacuate after I was treated. The much larger part of me sees that there are people with critical medical needs that are dying because they are not being treated. This is what the Red Cross does and they need to get to work. General Heinz Guderian said the following: "No plan of battle ever survives contact with the enemy." No bureaucratic contingency plan can either. The people administering emergency plans need to be supple and fluid and able to think on their feet. The bureaucracies in charge now are not doing their job and need to be replaced with something much much smaller.

Medical aid for Katrina denied entry

CNN has an astonishing story:
Katrina medical help held up by red tape
Doctors waiting to treat victims in tax-funded, state-of-the-art unit

Volunteer physicians are pouring in to care for the sick, but red tape is keeping hundreds of others from caring for Hurricane Katrina survivors while health problems rise.

Among the doctors stymied from helping out are 100 surgeons and paramedics in a state-of-the-art mobile hospital, developed with millions of tax dollars for just such emergencies, marooned in rural Mississippi.

"The bell was rung, the e-mails were sent off. ...We all got off work and deployed," said one of the frustrated surgeons, Dr. Preston "Chip" Rich of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"We have tried so hard to do the right thing. It took us 30 hours to get here," he said. That government officials can't straighten out the mess and get them assigned to a relief effort now that they're just a few miles away "is just mind-boggling," he said.

While the doctors wait, the first signs of disease began to emerge Saturday: A Mississippi shelter was closed after 20 residents got sick with dysentery, probably from drinking contaminated water.

Many other storm survivors were being treated in the Houston Astrodome and other shelters for an assortment of problems, including chronic health conditions left untreated because people had lost or used up their medicine.

The North Carolina mobile hospital stranded in Mississippi was developed through the Office of Homeland Security after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With capacity for 113 beds, it is designed to handle disasters and mass casualties.

Equipment includes ultrasound, digital radiology, satellite Internet, and a full pharmacy, enabling doctors to do most types of surgery in the field, including open-chest and abdominal operations.

It travels in a convoy that includes two 53-foot trailers, which as of Sunday afternoon was parked on a gravel lot 70 miles north of New Orleans because Louisiana officials for several days would not let them deploy to the flooded city, Rich said.

Yet plans to use the facility and its 100 health professionals were hatched days before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, doctors in the caravan said.

As they talked with Mississippi officials about prospects of helping out there, other doctors complained that their offers of help also were turned away.

A primary care physician from Ohio called and e-mailed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after seeing a notice on the American Medical Association's Web site about volunteer doctors being needed.

An e-mail reply told him to watch CNN that night, where U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt was to announce a Web address for doctors to enter their names in a database.

"How crazy is that?" he complained in an e-mail to his daughter.

Dr. Jeffrey Guy, a trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University who has been in contact with the mobile hospital doctors, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview, "There are entire hospitals that are contacting me, saying, 'We need to take on patients," ' but they can't get through the bureaucracy.

"The crime of this story is, you've got millions of dollars in assets and it's not deployed," he said. "We mount a better response in a Third World country."

Leavitt, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, and Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were in Louisiana on Sunday. Gerberding planned to go to Texas, where many evacuees are now housed.

Many other doctors have been able to volunteer, and were arriving in large numbers Sunday in Baton Rouge. Several said they worked it out through Louisiana state officials.

Dr. Bethany Gardiner, a 36-year-old pediatrician who just moved to Santa Barbara, California, from Florida, had been visiting parents in Florida when the hurricane hit.

"I left my kids and just started searching places on the Web" to volunteer, eventually getting an invitation to come to Baton Rouge, she said.
If Bush wants to retain any form of credibility at all, he needs to seriously clean house NOW! The war in Iraq is a hard subject to report on because a vocal contingent of people will believe what they want to believe and the Main Stream Media has a bias that supports them. For Katrina, the news is immediate, unambiguous and so-far, relatively unbiased. The government is doing very poorly. Large does not mean effective or efficient. An Omnibus agency like FEMA or Homeland Security has no place in today's world. We need smaller, tightly-knit agencies who contract out to their local equivalents as needed.

More fun with FEMA

It seems that you had to be registered with FEMA before the hurricane or else, they will prevent you from helping. I do electronics and although I am not a radio amateur, I like to follow Ham Radio as that is where a lot of the new technology comes from (personal computers and cell phones are two examples). Here is one excerpt from a Ham web forum I belong to:
"I said "well-prepared, self-sufficient" hams should make themselves useful."

I got news for you Sparky, unless you were registered with FEMA or State OEM BEFORE the hurricane, you will not get within 200 miles of the affected area. FEMA is working closely with state PD's to repel any influx of outside "help". Cellular personnel can't even get into the area & they were going to restore service. These guys are now stranded, on the state borders, waiting to get in & deploy COWs & COLTs with microwave backhaul to recover lost coverage & capacity.
COW = Cells on Wheels Cell Tower based on a large 18-wheeler -- large capacity COLT = Cell on Light Trucks Cell Tower based on the same trucks that you see TV stations use, lesser capacity but more agile. microwave backhaul Most cell towers use fiber to connect to the POTS. (Plain Old Telephone System) Microwaves can be beamed through relay stations. Poorer signal but doesn't need wires or fiber. FEMA turning away these people?

But his resume looked good...

There have been a lot of royal screwups with the many agencies handling the Katrina disaster -- some understandable, some not. FEMA seems to be being mentioned more and more in the stories of human suffering, royal screwups and outright incompetence and unpreparedness. The bad news starts at the top -- it seems that Mike Brown has had a bit of a checkered career. The Boston Herald has the story:
Brown pushed from last job: Horse group: FEMA chief had to be 'asked to resign'
The federal official in charge of the bungled New Orleans rescue was fired from his last private-sector job overseeing horse shows.

And before joining the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a deputy director in 2001, GOP activist Mike Brown had no significant experience that would have qualified him for the position.

The Oklahoman got the job through an old college friend who at the time was heading up FEMA.

The agency, run by Brown since 2003, is now at the center of a growing fury over the handling of the New Orleans disaster.

"I look at FEMA and I shake my head, said a furious Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday, calling the response "an embarrassment."

President Bush, after touring the Big Easy, said he was "not satisfied" with the emergency response to Hurricane Katrina's devastation.

And U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch predicted there would be hearings on Capitol Hill over the mishandled operation.

Brown - formerly an estates and family lawyer - this week has has made several shocking public admissions, including interviews where he suggested FEMA was unaware of the misery and desperation of refugees stranded at the New Orleans convention center.

Before joining the Bush administration in 2001, Brown spent 11 years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders' and horse-show organization based in Colorado.

"We do disciplinary actions, certification of (show trial) judges. We hold classes to train people to become judges and stewards. And we keep records," explained a spokeswoman for the IAHA commissioner's office. "This was his full-time job . . . for 11 years, she added.

Brown was forced out of the position after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures.

"He was asked to resign," Bill Pennington, president of the IAHA at the time, confirmed last night.

Soon after, Brown was invited to join the administration by his old Oklahoma college roommate Joseph Allbaugh, the previous head of FEMA until he quit in 2003 to work for the president's re-election campaign.

The White House last night defended Brown's appointment. A spokesman noted Brown served as FEMA deputy director and general counsel before taking the top job, and that he has now overseen the response to "more than 164 declared disasters and emergencies," including last year's record-setting hurricane season.
Sure, the White House will defend him at this moment but I bet there will be an assistant assigned to him in the next day or so and he will announce his retirement in a few months for "family reasons". Sure, he did OK in 164 declared disasters but these were small area and small scale -- he should have been able to deal with Katrina. There were enough projections and scenarios to show what could happen and he probably had the budget for some dang-good advisers -- he should have listened to them. Mike Brown dropped the ball here...

Sean Penn and Katrina

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Sean Penn goes to New Orleans with a boat and tries to rescue children. Sinks. The Australian Herald Sun has the story:
Sean Penn's rescue bid sinks
Efforts by Hollywood actor Sean Penn to aid New Orleans victims stranded by Hurricane Katrina foundered badly overnight, when the boat he was piloting to launch a rescue attempt sprang a leak.

Penn had planned to rescue children waylaid by Katrina's flood waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch.

The actor, known for his political activism, was seen wearing what appeared to be a white flak jacket and frantically bailing water out of the sinking vessel with a red plastic cup.

When the boat's motor failed to start, those aboard were forced to use paddles to propel themselves down the flooded New Orleans street.

Asked what he had hoped to achieve in the waterlogged city, the actor replied: "Whatever I can do to help."

With the boat loaded with members of Penn's entourage, including a personal photographer, one bystander taunted the actor: "How are you going to get any people in that thing?"
A nice heart-felt sentiment but no thought given to the capacity of the boat or its operation. No thinking at all. A perfect example of the left inaction in action.

Great job by the New Orleans police

And whether I am being sarcastic or not depends on what actually happened. Some Army Corps of Engineers Contractors were crossing a bridge. Police fired on some armed people killing at least five of them. The question is were these five fatalities among the contractors or were they a separate armed gang that was firing on the contractors? There are reports going either way: From The SFGate:
Corps: Contractors Killed in New Orleans
Police shot eight people carrying guns on a New Orleans bridge Sunday, killing five or six, a deputy chief said. A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers said the victims were contractors on their way to repair a canal.
This is horrible -- but -- we also have this story from The Seattle PI
Gunmen attack contractors on La. bridge
Police shot and killed at least five people Sunday after gunmen opened fire on a group of contractors traveling across a bridge on their way to make repairs, authorities said.

Deputy Police Chief W.J. Riley said police shot at eight people carrying guns, killing five or six.

Fourteen contractors were traveling across the Danziger Bridge under police escort when they came under fire, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers.

They were on their way to launch barges into Lake Pontchartrain to help plug the breech in the 17th Street Canal, Hall said.

None of the contractors was injured, Mike Rogers, a disaster relief coordinator with the Army Corps of Engineers, told reporters in Baton Rouge.
Emphasis mine -- this version is also posted at lots of other news sources (here, here, here and here for example) This is a good case for instituting the 48-hour rule that was used by bloggers during the outset of the war in Iraq (suspect all news until 48 hours have passed)

Fats Domino found OK

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A bit of good news from Katrina -- from Earth Times:
LSU player gives Fats Domino shelter from the storm
Popular Rhythm & Blues musician Fats Domino, who decided to stay back in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck and was missing after that, is in good health, his agent Al Embry said.

"We've lost everything. I'm worried about all the people of New Orleans. Tell them I love them, and I wish I were home with them. I hope we'll see them soon," the singer said through his agent. Fats Domino, legally Antoine Domino, is a popular singer and pianist with 110 million records, including Blueberry Hill and Ain't That A Shame and 20 US Top 20 singles between 1955 and 1960, to his credit. He is 77 years old.

He is now resting at LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell�s home in Baton Rouge after being saved by rescue workers in New Orleans and being sent to LSU basketball arena.

Russell, who knows Domino through some friends, found Domino and his family there and took them to his two-bedroom hall apartment, which was housing around 20 people.

"I�m not sure where they are headed, but I just feel better knowing that they are okay," Russell said, adding, "Fats just stayed at my apartment, rested, watched the news. I've had people sleeping on the floor, the couch, everywhere. It's been pretty crazy."

Earlier, Embry tried persuading Domino to leave New Orleans but the singer was not ready to abandon the city to which he paid a tribute in a song earlier. "Antoine said he had a boat and a generator if he needed it. He told me he wasn't going to leave New Orleans and that I should wait and pray for him. I hung up the phone and started to cry. I honestly never thought I'd talk to him again," Embry said.

New announcement from Google

Google announced its plans for the future a few days ago:

Google Announces Plan To Destroy All Information It Can't Index

Executives at Google, the rapidly growing online-search company that promises to "organize the world's information," announced Monday the latest step in their expansion effort: a far-reaching plan to destroy all the information it is unable to index.

"Our users want the world to be as simple, clean, and accessible as the Google home page itself," said Google CEO Eric Schmidt at a press conference held in their corporate offices. "Soon, it will be."

The new project, dubbed Google Purge, will join such popular services as Google Images, Google News, and Google Maps, which catalogs the entire surface of the Earth using high-resolution satellites.

As a part of Purge's first phase, executives will destroy all copyrighted materials that cannot be searched by Google.

"A year ago, Google offered to scan every book on the planet for its Google Print project. Now, they are promising to burn the rest," John Battelle wrote in his widely read "Searchblog." "Thanks to Google Purge, you'll never have to worry that your search has missed some obscure book, because that book will no longer exist. And the same goes for movies, art, and music."

"Book burning is just the beginning," said Google co-founder Larry Page. "This fall, we'll unveil Google Sound, which will record and index all the noise on Earth. Is your baby sleeping soundly? Does your high-school sweetheart still talk about you? Google will have the answers."
Google executives oversee the first stage of Google Purge.

Good to see that The Onion's sense of satire is sharp as ever...

Ben Stein talks truth

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Ben Stein has some words to say about Hurricane Katrina:
A few truths, for those who have ears and eyes and care to know the truth:

1.) The hurricane that hit New Orleans and Mississippi and Alabama was an astonishing tragedy. The suffering and loss of life and peace of mind of the residents of those areas is acutely horrifying.

2.) George Bush did not cause the hurricane. Hurricanes have been happening for eons. George Bush did not create them or unleash this one.

3.) George Bush did not make this one worse than others. There have been far worse hurricanes than this before George Bush was born.

4.) There is no overwhelming evidence that global warming exists as a man-made phenomenon. There is no clear-cut evidence that global warming even exists. There is no clear evidence that if it does exist it makes hurricanes more powerful or makes them aim at cities with large numbers of poor people. If global warming is a real phenomenon, which it may well be, it started long before George Bush was inaugurated, and would not have been affected at all by the Kyoto treaty, considering that Kyoto does not cover the world's worst polluters -- China, India, and Brazil. In a word, George Bush had zero to do with causing this hurricane. To speculate otherwise is belief in sorcery.

5.) George Bush had nothing to do with the hurricane contingency plans for New Orleans. Those are drawn up by New Orleans and Louisiana. In any event, the plans were perfectly good: mandatory evacuation. It is in no way at all George Bush's fault that about 20 percent of New Orleans neglected to follow the plan. It is not his fault that many persons in New Orleans were too confused to realize how dangerous the hurricane would be. They were certainly warned. It's not George Bush's fault that there were sick people and old people and people without cars in New Orleans. His job description does not include making sure every adult in America has a car, is in good health, has good sense, and is mobile.

6.) George Bush did not cause gangsters to shoot at rescue helicopters taking people from rooftops, did not make gang bangers rape young girls in the Superdome, did not make looters steal hundreds of weapons, in short make New Orleans into a living hell.
He has a six more points and an update. Good stuff to remember as we listen to the all spin on the Mainstream Media...

Gimme a break...

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Here is the home page for a Louisiana Mortgage Company:
Here is the line of interest:
OK - your house is gone but you still owe us. I understand that they are in business but a month or two moratorium would be gracious and this (considering where they are) should have been built into their disaster plan. Nice doin' Bidness with 'ya.

R.I.P. - Chief Justice Rehnquist

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Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist passed away this afternoon. The NY Times has a nice Obituary:
Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist Dies
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening of cancer, ending a 33-year Supreme Court career during which he oversaw the court's conservative shift, presided over an impeachment trial and helped decide a presidential election. His death creates a rare second vacancy on the nation's highest court.

Rehnquist, 80, was surrounded by his three children when he died at his home in suburban Arlington. His wife died in 1991.
They list a number of his career highlights:
In 1999, he presided over Bill Clinton's impeachment trial from the presiding officer's chair seat in the Senate, something only one other chief justice had done. A year later he was one of five Republican-nominated justices who voted to stop presidential ballot recounts in Florida, effectively deciding the election for Bush over Democrat Al Gore.

Rehnquist, who championed states' rights and helped speed up executions, is the only member still on the court who voted on Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion. He opposed that decision, writing: "Even today, when society's views on abortion are changing, the very existence of the debate is evidence that the 'right' to an abortion is not so universally accepted as (Roe) would have us believe."

Rehnquist was the force behind the court's push for greater states' rights. The chief justice has been the leader of five conservatives, sometimes called "the Rehnquist five," who generally advocate limited federal government interference.
You didn't always agree with him (that is why they have Nine Justices) but his arguments were thoughtful and intelligent. He was popular as Chief Justice:
Rehnquist... He said that he tried to keep the court running smoothly and keep the peace among the justices.

"To get everybody working harmoniously together is not a small feat," he said on PBS's "The Charlie Rose Show." "You have to have a very high boiling point."

Within the court, Rehnquist was a far more popular chief justice than his predecessor, Warren Burger. Liberal Justice John Paul Stevens said in 2002 that Rehnquist brought "efficiency, good humor and absolute impartiality" to the job. Some justices complained that Burger was heavy-handed and pompous.
It will be interesting to see who Bush chooses... Talk about stepping into the breach. I would not want to be that Judge considering the marshaling of forces against Roberts.

Katrina and Tallahassee

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This is sick. From the Houston Chronicle:
Katrina refugees must make room for Miami, FSU fans
First it was Hurricane Katrina chasing them away. Now it's college football fans.

Hundreds of refugees from Hurricane Katrina are being evicted from Tallahassee hotels to accommodate fans coming to town for the Miami-Florida State game Monday night.

"There is absolutely no compassion here whatsoever," Lynne Bernard wrote on a bulletin board on the Web site of The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. "The Hampton Inn in Tallahassee is pretty much throwing us out because of a football game."

A message left for the manager at the Hampton Inn was not returned, but other hoteliers said there was little they could do to help those who fled homes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama because they had to honor long-standing reservations for the football weekend.

At the Courtyard Marriott near the Capitol, evacuees were taking up 15 of the hotel's 154 rooms on Wednesday. A Quality Inn had several dozen of its 90 rooms occupied by storm refugees.

"This weekend has been booked for a couple of months," said Antwan Hinkle, the Quality Inn's front desk manager.

Hinkle said people who have planned trips for months would not take it well if they were told just days before the game that the hotel could not provide rooms. "We're going to have a whole bunch of angry people," he said.
Emphasis mine -- this guy has a capacity for understatement but I don't think he is talking about the same group of angry people... Cripes -- set them up on cots in an unused function room. Ask the football people to double-up on rooms. It is not as though Katrina is an unpublicized event. If I was booked to come into the hotel and I heard that there were refuges staying there, I would be more than happy to double-up with someone on a room. As for angry people, doing something like this will get publicized and I bet that Mr. Antwan Hinkle will be spoken to by his management. The Hotel could have generated some wonderful (and favorable) publicity by extending themselves to take care of the refugees and the football crowd but no, they didn't think and took the easy way out and bumped the people who needed the room the most... Fortunately:
Christian Heritage Church announced plans to open its doors for as many as 200 refugees for four nights starting Friday, then began referring people to the local chapter of the American Red Cross, which is planning to open shelters for as many as 3,000.

The NY Times on Flood Control

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Blogger GEA3 at EU Rota spent a little face-time with Lexis-Nexis and found what the New York Times was saying about Flooding and Levee's a few years ago:
MSM: In Their Own Words, A Continuing Series
Given the hysteria enveloping the editorial pages of the NYT due to hurricane Katrina, what have they had to say on natural disasters in the past, via Lexis-Nexis:

Remember the 1993 floods in the midwest, the NYT editorialized on 14 July 1993:
For the longer term, Washington and flood-prone areas must reconsider the pro's and con's of flood control projects and flood insurance.

The billions of Federal dollars spent to construct dams and levees have doubtless prevented billions of dollars of damage to the areas they serve. But a dam or a levee in one place creates problems somewhere else. Also, by offering protection, they encourage people to live and work and develop farming in flood plains that are inherently risky.
GEA3 cites a number of other examples and then closes with this whopper:
I will leave you with this NYT editorial on 24 June 2003:
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has a rare opportunity tomorrow to strike a blow for both fiscal sanity and the environment. Before the committee is a bill that would bring a measure of discipline and independent oversight to the Army Corps of Engineers, an incorrigibly spendthrift agency whose projects over the years have caused enormous damage to the nation's streams, rivers and wetlands.
And this one from 13 April 2005:
Anyone who cares about responsible budgeting and the health of America's rivers and wetlands should pay attention to a bill now before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The bill would shovel $17 billion at the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and other water-related projects -- this at a time when President Bush is asking for major cuts in Medicaid and other important domestic programs. Among these projects is a $2.7 billion boondoggle on the Mississippi River that has twice flunked inspection by the National Academy of Sciences.

The Government Accountability Office and other watchdogs accuse the corps of routinely inflating the economic benefits of its projects. And environmentalists blame it for turning free-flowing rivers into lifeless canals and destroying millions of acres of wetlands -- usually in the name of flood control and navigation but mostly to satisfy Congress's appetite for pork.

This is a bad piece of legislation.
Things to remember while the NYT histrionically bleats the opposite now.
Indeed -- the NY Times is triangulating and publishing the things it thinks its readers want to read. It has passed from being The Newspaper of Record (c) and morphed into just another medium for popular entertainment. Sad in a way...

Mr. Bill on New Orleans

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The creator of the Mr. Bill character Walter Williams (Oh Nooooo...) has close ties to New Orleans and in 2003 did a wonderful 45-minute film on the dangers that this city faces faced when a major storm would attack attacked. (30+ MB download) The people in this film do not excoriate the Municipal and State Officials but the prior knowledge and historical evidence presented does.

And where were the buses?

There were buses a-plenty to take people away during the evacuation before Katrina.

Why weren't they made available after? Check this imageout:

An aerial view of flooded school buses in a lot,
Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in New Orleans, LA.
The flood is a result of Hurricane Katrina
that passed through the area last Monday.
(AP Photo/Phil Coale)

As hard-hit as everything else...

The Levees -- some numbers

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Steve H. at Hog on Ice has some good numbers on the cost to upgrade New Orleans to withstand a Cat 5 Hurricane:
Where Was Supernanny This Week?
Asleep at the Switch

I�m really disgusted by people trying to blame the New Orleans tragedy on George Bush.

Would you like to know who is really responsible? I�ll tell you. The people of Louisiana caused this tragedy.

Go ahead and yell at me, but the facts are on my side. The Bush-haters say the Army Corps of Engineers couldn�t build the levees and flood walls they wanted to put up, because Congress (which as we all know is totally controlled by George Bush) didn�t get the money it asked for.


The figure quoted is about a hundred million dollars. That�s supposedly the magic sum that the Corps needed to protect New Orleans from flooding. They actually got about forty million.

Let�s all remember our fourth-grade math now.

Louisiana has a population of around four and a half million people. They needed roughly sixty million dollars. So for about thirteen dollars per person, they could have had better levees. I don�t care HOW poor Louisiana is. They could have raised thirteen dollars per person.

Someone please tell me why the federal government was supposed to come up with the money. Tell me why the state of Louisiana, which is full of profitable businesses and prosperous individuals, couldn�t come up with sixty million dollars.

Right, exactly. They could have. They chose not to. Congress didn�t give them the money, there was no reason they couldn�t come up with it themselves, and they simply decided not to pay.
And your question was?

A quote

Heard this on the radio today and had two feelings about it:

"We are like little birds with our mouths open, and you don't have to be very smart to know where to drop the worm," he said. "It's criminal within the confines of the United States that within one hour of the hurricane they weren't force-feeding us. It's like FEMA has never been to a hurricane."

I overheard this out of context -- just an angry voice of someone whom I thought was one of the people who chose not to evacuate. My immediate thought was: "What an ungrateful leech on society -- this is a textbook case of entitlement. Didn't this person ever hear of and practice self-reliance? (Or heed the warning to evac issued three days before landfall.)" When I got home, I Googled it and found it was from someone else. The Minneapolis, MN Star Tribune (Lilek's paper) has the story:

Desperation boils into unrest in New Orleans
Despair, privation and violent lawlessness grew so extreme in New Orleans on Thursday that the flooded city's mayor issued a "desperate SOS" and other local officials, describing the security situation as horrific, lambasted the federal government for responding too slowly to the disaster.

"I'm not sure I'm going to get out of here alive," said Canadian tourist Larry Mitzel, who handed a reporter his business card in case he goes missing. "I'm scared of riots. I'm scared of the locals. We might get caught in the crossfire."

Four days after Hurricane Katrina roared in with a devastating blow that inflicted potentially thousands of deaths, the frustration, fear and anger deepened despite the promise of National Guard troops to stop the looting, a $10 billion recovery bill in Congress and a government relief effort that President Bush called the biggest in U.S. history.

About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at New Orleans Convention Center grew increasingly hostile, clamoring for food, water and attention while around them dead bodies, slumped in wheelchairs or wrapped in sheets, lay in their midst.

Police Chief Eddie Compass said 88 officers sent there were chased away by an angry mob.

"We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten," Compass said. "Tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon."

A military helicopter tried to land at the convention center several times to drop off food and water. But the rushing crowd forced the choppers to back off. Troopers then tossed the supplies to the crowd from 10 feet off the ground and flew away.

There are problems with both sides of this -- the relief could have been better coordinated on every level. The Municipal government knew that a storm above Cat 3 would pose a grave danger to the levees. The first serious engineering studies were done about thirty years ago and they have had all of this time to beef up the infrastructure. Instead, the monies were spent cultivating the tourist business. (New Orleans is a very poor town, there are only two revenue streams: tourism and shipyard operations, other businesses have left as everything else has degraded.)

The State Government could have done something too. The name of our nation: "The United States of America" says it all -- State's Rights trumps Federal on most things. The idea was to have a as small a Federal government as possible and to have the State shoulder the burden of its maintenance. The Federal government could have started moving as soon as the warnings were sounded. The people were in the USA, the claim that all the resources were over in Iraq is bunk. They just were not deployed soon enough. No roads? No airports? The Army has lots of Helicopters. Relief could have been brought in to critical areas.

And now, the other side. What kind of idiot would ignore an evacuation warning. There have been enough stories from people currently staying in distant hotels saying that people who wanted to leave, even if they didn't have a vehicle, were able to hitch or get rides on busses. The roads were backed up but people managed to get out. Sure, if I knew that my home was going to flood, part of me would want to stay behind and try to be with my belongings to try to save as many as possible.

What about self reliance -- you are living in an area that is below sea water and is protected by a series of electrical pumps. Where are these people's "Grab and Go" packs. Even if you cannot get a ride, it is possible to pack 12 days of food into a 60 pound pack. This includes a propane stove and bacteriological water filter. The people who were in the dome -- this was a horrible situation. The people who were in the houses and were hanging out and looting basketball hoops, beer and wide screen TV's, these people should not be the ones to push into first place when the aid lines are set up. Oh yeah, the quote I Googled was in this article -- here it is in context:

Col. Terry Ebbert, director of homeland security for New Orleans, concurred with particularly pungent criticism. "We are like little birds with our mouths open, and you don't have to be very smart to know where to drop the worm," he said. "It's criminal within the confines of the United States that within one hour of the hurricane they weren't force-feeding us. It's like FEMA has never been to a hurricane."

Louisiana state officials also questioned what they saw as the federal emergency agency's absence from the scene. "They say they are coming, they are coming and they are coming," a senior member of Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's staff said. "They are not here yet." (The aide asked not to be identified as the state still hoped that assistance would arrive.)

Looks like Fox Mulder was right...

Images of Katrina

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NOAA has been flying a Cessna Citation aircraft at 7,500 feet over New Orleans. This plane is outfitted with a very nice Digital Imaging System and has been recording the devastation. The main site is here with 250 images organized by geographical area. Please note that each area represents a 60-100MB downloaded ZIP file containing multiple images. Not something to do on dial-up... A synopsis page with some thumbnails is here. Here is one of them -- I reduced the resolution as well as bumping the contrast and brightness. Get the original from the link above.
Click for full-size Image

Two examples of Charity

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Ran into two wonderful examples of basic human charity. Actor Nicolas Cage just gave $1M to relief efforts:
Hollywood actor NICOLAS CAGE has donated $1 million of his own cash to relief efforts residents of New Orleans affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Another relief effort is from the Islamic Relief Organization who have pledged $2M:
Hurricane Katrina Disaster
The Katrina Hurricane disaster has thus far left over one million people displaced and will required the largest relief effort in U.S. history.

Islamic Relief has pledged $2 million to aid in relief efforts for victims who have fled to Mobile, AL, Baton Rouge, LA, and Houston, TX.

In Houston, Islamic Relief is working in coordination with the Muslim community in the city to help over 25,000 victims. In addition to Islamic Relief staff working on the ground, over 700 volunteers are being mobilized to aid in the relief efforts.

In Baton Rouge and Mobile, Islamic Relief staff is working on the ground to set up relief operations, and will be distributing urgently needed items such as water, food, and hygience kits. In addition, Islamic Relief is also planning to provided emergency shelter for the displaced people. Islamic Relief will also assist in the clean-up efforts in the hurricane-affected areas of the city.

Tastes like chicken...

A wonderful story of ingenuity and learning from Yahoo/AP:

Clever Whale Uses Fish to Catch Seagulls
An enterprising young killer whale at Marineland has figured out how to use fish as bait to catch seagulls - and shared his strategy with his fellow whales.

Michael Noonan, a professor of animal behavior at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., made the discovery by accident while studying orca acoustics.

"One day I noticed one of the young whales appeared to have come up with a procedure for luring gulls down to the pool," the professor said. "I found it interesting so I noted it in my log."

First, the young whale spit regurgitated fish onto the surface of the water, then sank below the water and waited.

If a hungry gull landed on the water, the whale would surge up to the surface, sometimes catching a free meal of his own.

Noonan watched as the same whale set the same trap again and again.

Within a few months, the whale's younger half brother adopted the practice. Eventually the behavior spread and now five Marineland whales supplement their diet with fresh fowl, the scientist said.

"It looked liked one was watching while the other tried," Noonan said of the whale's initial behavior.

The capacity to come up with the gull-baiting strategy and then share the technique with others - known as cultural learning in the scientific world - was once believed to be one of those abilities that separated humans from other animals.

But biologists have since proven certain animals, including dolphins and chimps, do this.

"This is an example in which a new behavior spread through a population," Noonan said. "We had the opportunity to see a tradition form and spread in exactly the way that cultures do in humans."

He first shared his research earlier this month at the U.S. Animal Behavior Society Conference in Utah. Since then, he said, his phone hasn't stopped ringing.

Heh... Adding a little variation to their diet.

A sign of the times

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From Yahoo/AP:

The cost and effect of Kyoto

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A short post -- a bit pithy and to the point. A reader of Charles Johnson's LGF sent an email to a few people with some of his numbers for Kyoto:
There is a lot of hysterical posturing from the "reality-based community," claiming that if the US had signed Kyoto, Hurricane Katrina would not have happened.

But in the real real world, here�s what would have happened if the Kyoto Protocol had gone into effect this year (6 months ago):

1. The increase in CO2 without Kyoto would be about 1 ppm.

2. The US contribution would have been 0.25 ppm.

3. If the US had reduced its emissions immediately on Feb 17 to 7% below 1990 levels, or about 20% below present levels, the CO2 contribution would be reduced by 0.05 ppm.

4. Using an IPCC sensitivity of 3 C for a CO2 doubling, the reduction in temperature would have been 0.00057 C, a ridiculously small number.

5. No measurable effect on weather or hurricanes would have occurred.

6. Following the Kyoto advocates� wishes, the above course of action would have reduced US GDP by 2 to 4% and would cost about $100B to $200B dollars, compared to Katrina's cost of about $25B.

On a cost/benefit basis, their arguments make no sense.

P.S. You can say these numbers come from a climatologist who was active in the field for more than 30 years.
Can you say clue-bat? This is from someone who has been active in the field for more than 30 years. More specifically, they are not some "young turk" who is trying to make a name for themselves (and get grant monies) with splashy papers parroting the "very very latest" theories. Been there, done that...

Donald Sensing has an idea...

Donald Sensing has an idea for survivors of Katrina:

Where are the leaflets?
There is no electric power in New Orleans and I assume most of southern Louisiana. There are huge power outages in southern Mississippi as well. With no power, mass communications to the people are significantly degraded. Televisions don't work, there are huge gaps in cell phone coverage and batteries for radios are dying out.

The American military has decades of practice in mass communications to people with no electrical power or other means to receive information. US forces have been dropping leaflets to enemy soldiers since World War I and did so with great effect in the Iraq war in 2003.

The Army's psyops units have the capability to print millions of leaflets per day. It is against the law (literally, a Congressional prohibition, not a mere regulation) to employ psyops personnel or use psyops equipment to communicate to a domestic audience, even the Army's own soldiers. Update: However, in 1992 President Bush (the elder) authorized use of psyops units and equipment for Hurricane Andrew relief.

Another excerpt from a wonderful post:

...The leaflets could explain what aid is on the way, where aid can be found, how to move out of dangerous areas, how to signal critical needs to overflying aircraft, how to sterilize water, basic trauma first aid, where medical help can be attained - the list is endless.

One of the best things leafleting would do is psychologically reconnect the cut off victims to their governments and restore their morale and will.

Very good thought. There is a mantra in Engineering -- C.O.T.S. Commercial-Off-The-Shelf -- this is a perfect example of a C.O.T.S. solution to communication. It does not have to be perfect, it just has to restore some connection. Cheap and available right now. People are probably feeling pretty hopeless and this would go a long way to reassure them that help is on the way. Maybe not as soon as they would like it but on the way.

The cause of Katrina

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Everyone is scrambling to proclaim what the cause of Hurricane Katrina was. Some of the Democratic and Left-Wing bloggers are painting President Bush in a bad light, not only for the "missing" National Guardsmen (they are all over in Iraq 'ya know, not stationed around the city waiting for access to open up) as well as President Bush's dismissal of Kyoto. I will have a later post on Kyoto that sums the costs and benefits quite succinctly. Some other people (specifically, members of the Religion of Peace) are saying that Katrina was sent to us:
Senior Kuwaiti Official: "Katrina is a Wind of Torment and Evil from Allah Sent to This American Empire"
In reaction to Hurricane Katrina and the destruction in its wake, a high-ranking Kuwaiti official, Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, who is director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment's research center, published an article titled "The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah, But Not an Adherent of Al-Qaeda." [1]
The article appeared August 31, 2005 in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa.

The following are excerpts from his article:

"The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah�"

"�As I watched the horrible sights of this wondrous storm, I was reminded of the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah [in the compilations] of Al-Bukhari and Abu Daoud. The Hadith says: 'The wind is of the wind of Allah, it comes from mercy or for the sake of torment. When you see it, do not curse it, [but rather] ask Allah for the good that is in it, and ask Allah for shelter from its evil.' Afterwards, I was [also] reminded of the words of the Prophet Muhammad: 'Do not curse the wind, as it is the fruit of Allah's planning. He who curses something that should not be cursed � the curse will come back to him.'
Kuwait? Hmmm... Didn't we pull their nuts out of the fire back in 1990 when Saddam invaded? Fucking ingrates.

An open message to Jesse Jackson

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I had written about this yesterday here. The URL to use now is this one: The Interdictor, the old one had bandwidth issues. Here is one post from today:
Jesse Jackson
Dear Sir:

Respectfully, I submit that you should shut the hell up. Looting and lawlessness IS the problem. The National Guard choppers are BEING SHOT AT. The NOPD are BEING SHOT AT. You want to focus on the levee? So do they, but check this out: THEY CAN'T UNTIL THE MOB STOPS ATTACKING THE RESCUE OPERATION.

I know you're looking at this situation with concern for the racial implications of the deterioration of civilization out here, but this is bigger than whether people are going to be racists after this is over. This is about rescuing the masses i.e. life and death.

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and blame your stupid comments on your lack of knowledge of the situation. Don't prove me a fool for doing so.

The author spent today moving a router over to city hall to get their internet online again. I bet that DirectNIC will not suffer a shortage of new business once New Orleans gets cleaned up and running again.

The writing on the wall

Toshiba is seeing the writing on the wall and has dropped plans to make its HD-DVD devices until sometime in 2006.

I had written about them before and the unfavorable comparison of this technology to the Sony Blu-Ray. Ars Technica has the story:

Toshiba pushes back launch of HD DVD
It looks like another small victory for Blu-Ray: HD DVD backer Toshiba has decided to postpone the launch of its next-generation optical disc player until after the holiday season. Originally slated to ship late this year, Toshiba's HD DVD players will now debut in 2006.

HD DVD and Blu-ray appear to be set for a format war reminiscent of the VHS vs. Betamax battle of the early 1980s. Supporters of the opposing formats had been in talks over the summer over a unified standard, but they ultimately didn't amount to much.
Toshiba is now reworking its HD DVD launch schedule.

And the closing paragraph says it all:

One hope that HD DVD had was to be first to market with reasonably priced players and a decent list of titles. The hope of having a strong library at launch has all but disappeared, and consumers are likely to steer clear of new players with nothing to play on them. Obviously, Toshiba is playing for time here, hoping that they'll be able to ship HD DVD players sometime in early 2006 with a substantial list of titles in support. But Blu-ray has the Big Mo' right now. HD DVD may not be dead yet, but I think it's just been moved out of the ICU and into hospice care.

Good riddance to poorly designed junk. The Blu-Ray was a technological advance built upon the prior framework of the DVD technology. HD-DVD took standard DVD technology and added more layers to the media (more expensive for the end user) and stepped up the compression (potential for poorer signal). Crappy quality, higher price for recordable media and less overall storage capacity. Say buh-bye...

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve

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Will Franklin at WILLisms has a nice capsule version of what the SPR is:
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)
The Bush administration announced that it would tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to alleviate some of the supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after 9/11, President Bush ordered the SPR filled. Over the past year or two, President Bush caught plenty of flak when his administration continued to fill the SPR when oil was 50 dollars a barrel. But filling the reserve was a priority for national security, so today the reserve is as full as it has ever been and near capacity (727 million barrels).

If OPEC (and the rest of the world) shut down oil shipments to the U.S., we could tap into the SPR for roughly two months and be just fine. The idea there is that two months is plenty of time to liberate a country or two and get the oil flowing again. Two months of no petroleum shipments to the U.S. would also put the serious hurt on the economies of those implementing the embargo. Thus, the existence of the SPR forces countries to think twice before using oil as a geostragetical weapon against America.

Some quick facts on the SPR:
  • Average price paid for oil in the Reserve - $27.25 per barrel
  • Maximum drawdown capability - 4.4 million barrels per day
  • Time for oil to enter U.S. market - 13 days from Presidential decision
  • Investment to date - More than $21 billion ($4 billion for facilities; $17 billion for crude oil)
  • When did it first open? - On July 21, 1977, the first oil - approximately 412,000 barrels of Saudi Arabian light crude - was delivered to the SPR. Fill of the Nation's emergency oil reserve had begun.
Will goes on a bit more outlining where the storage facilities are and just how terrorist-proof they are (think VERY!). Just think, if Kerry had been elected, the reserves would not be at this capacity and he would have probably tapped them earlier this spring to help "cap" gas prices. Carter's gas price "caps" were directly responsible for the gas shortages and lineups at the stations. Ask any competent economist...

Relief from an unexpected source

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Germany has volunteered to aid in relief efforts. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer of all people (he was quite the anti-american radical in his youth and was actively opposed to coalition involvement in Iraq). From
Germany's Fischer Offers Help to U.S. After Hurricane Katrina
German Foreign Minister Joschka offered assistance to the U.S. government in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which has caused devastation on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

"The federal government is prepared to give any assistance or support to bring this terrible natural disaster and its effects under control," Fischer said in an e-mailed statement today, without elaborating on the offer.
But there are still plenty of moonbats over there:
Fischer's offer of assistance came two days after his Green Party colleague, Environment Minister Juergen Trittin, argued in an article in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that disasters such as Katrina showed that Bush was ignoring the necessity for a worldwide reduction of greenhouse gases.

'Eyes Closed'
"The American president closes his eyes in the face of the economic and human damage inflicted on his country and the global economy by natural disasters such as Katrina, caused by neglecting environmental protection," Trittin said.

Trittin argued that although no single storm can unambiguously be traced back to climate change, the man-made emission of greenhouse gases is responsible for more frequent and larger natural catastrophes.
Talk about 'eyes closed' -- Trittin fails to look at the historical record:
Cycles of hurricane activity:
These records reflect the existence of cycles of hurricane activity, rather than trends toward more frequent or stronger hurricanes. In general, the period of the 1850s to the mid-1860s was quiet. The late 1860s through the 1890s were busy, and the first decade of the 1900s was quiet. (There were five hurricane seasons with at least 10 hurricanes per year in the active period of the late 1860s to the 1890s and none in the quiet periods.) Earlier work had linked these cycles of busy and quiet hurricane periods in the 20th Century to natural changes in Atlantic Ocean temperatures.
Hat tip to Crumb Trail for the link to the NOAA Hurricane Research Division

Relief efforts for New Orleans

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A large volume of donations are starting to come in for victims of Hurricane Katrina. From
Katrina Donations Rise as Bush Taps Father, Clinton for Effort
Contributions for victims of Hurricane Katrina climbed to at least $82 million as President George W. Bush asked his father and former President Bill Clinton to lead a fund-raising effort.

Corporate giving made up a significant amount of the total, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, as companies from Abbott Laboratories to Johnson Controls Inc. pledge money and supplies. Jerry Lewis's annual Labor Day telethon will include celebrity appeals for Katrina victims and the Muscular Dystrophy Association plans to give $1 million to help.

"As people focus more on what needs to be done, clearly it's going to be one of the most significant philanthropic efforts that America has put together," said Evan Goldstein, a spokesman for the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast regions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, leaving thousands homeless and causing an estimated $25 billion in damage. Bush plans to meet with the two men -- dispatched to lead tsunami relief efforts earlier this year -- later today, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush were appointed special envoys for the United Nations' for the tsunami recovery in Asia. The tsunami disaster left more than 290,000 dead or missing in 12 countries around the Indian Ocean. Giant waves devastated coastal economies and prompted the largest multinational relief operation in history.
The article elaborates on some of the corporate aid:
Abbott pledged $2 million in cash donations and at least another $2 million in nutritional and medical products to help victims of the storm. Abbott said it is shipping cases of pediatric and adult nutritional products such as Similac infant formula, PediaSure and Pedialyte to the disaster area.

Brewer Anheuser-Busch Cos. said it has shipped more than 825,000 cans of drinking water to Katrina victims, and the Anhesuer-Busch Foundation is donating $250,000 to relief.

United Airlines carried 25,000 pounds of food and water and 50 emergency-medical technicians into New Orleans this morning on a relief flight, said spokeswoman Jean Medina. The flight is returning to Chicago this afternoon, she said.

Johnson Controls Inc. said it will donate $1 million to the Red Cross, as has Capital One Financial Corp.
Good deal. Goes to show that big corporations are not evil.

A taste of what is gone...

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This website has always personified the wonderful eccentricity that seemed to find a warm home in New Orleans. I have never been there and I wish that I had visited -- it will not be the same. Eccentric New Orleans

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