October 2004 Archives

Light posting today

Got a bunch of irons in the fire right now so posting will be a bit light today and tomorrow. For postings, check out my blogroll in the right margin. I will leave you with one excerpt from J. F. Kerry and one photo. Hat tip to Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazzette bq. The Empty Throne The following is Kerry's latest position on Iraq, as he explained it to Tom Brokaw this past week. Something I saw reminded me of this today:
Brokaw: This week you've been very critical of the president because of the missing explosives in Iraq.The fact is, senator, we still don't know what happened to those explosives. How many for sure that were there. Who might have gotten away with them? Is it unfair to the president, just as you believe he's been unfair to you, to blame him for that? Kerry: No. It's not unfair. Because what we do know, from the commanders on the ground, is that they went there, as they marched to Baghdad. We even read stories today that they broke locks off of the doors, took photographs of materials in there. There were materials. And they left. Brokaw: The flip side of that is that if you had been president, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. Because you... Kerry: Not necessarily at all. Brokaw: But you have said you wouldn't go to war against him... Kerry: That's not true. Because under the inspection process, Saddam Hussein was required to destroy those kinds of materials and weapons. Brokaw: But he wasn't destroying them... Kerry: But that's what you have inspectors for. And that's why I voted for the threat of force. Because he only does things when you have a legitimate threat of force. It's absolutely impossible and irresponsible to suggest that if I were president, he wouldn't necessarily be gone. He might be gone. Because if he hadn't complied, we might have had to go to war. And we might have gone to war. But if we did, I'll tell you this, Tom. We'd have gone to war with allies in a way that the American people weren't carrying the burden. And the entire world would have understood why we were doing it.
bq. As I said, I was reminded of that incoherent ramble today, when I saw this:

Kerry's Legacy

From The Big Trunk at PowerLine comes this link to a column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The author, former Vietnam POW Paul Galanti, spent 2,432 days in captivity: bq. Kerry's Legacy: No One Who Has Aided the Enemy Deserves to Become President bq. Being a prisoner of war in Vietnam had some high points but many more low ones. The worst days physically were behind us in 1970, 1971, and 1972. After Ho Chi Minh died in 1969, the routine torturing of POWs for propaganda purposes pretty much stopped. Our captors panicked in November, 1970, following the daring raid on a closed POW camp at Son Tai 20 miles west of Hanoi - and moved all of us into the huge Hoa Lo prison in central Hanoi. We finally were permitted a semblance of societal life after years in solitary and/or stuffed into tiny windowless cells with two or three other POWs. bq. Our morale - at least in the cells in which I lived during this time - while not so idyllic as those portrayed in the farcical "Hogan's Heroes," was tolerable compared with the dark ages of 1965-1969. He talks a little more about Prison life and also the timeline -- the Paris talks, the Tet Offensive... The he brings up the Vietnam Veterans against the War. bq. And then in 1971 we started hearing about "Vietnam Veterans Against the War," whose leader was a former Naval officer. From various sources I've since learned that the most senior leader of VVAW was LTJG John Kerry, a U.S. Naval Reserve officer. Kerry claimed Vietnam was "ravaged equally by American bombs and search-and-destroy missions as well as by Viet Cong terrorism . . . ." Hunh? Hadn't I been shot down because we were required to fly close to the targets to minimize civilian casualties? bq. Asked for a recommendation as to possible courses of action for Congress to pursue, Kerry said he had spoken to representatives from Hanoi and from the PRG (Viet Cong) at the Paris peace talks, and mentioned his support for "Madame Binh's points." At that time Madam Nguyen Thi Binh was the Viet Cong foreign minister. These meetings took place in the spring of 1970, apparently before Kerry joined the VVAW. Hunh? It's illegal for U.S. citizens to do this, much less commissioned officers. And more: bq. But the worst was when Kerry, clad in store-bought camouflage and festooned with his decorations, told the world he and his comrades routinely had committed war crimes while ravaging the countryside like Genghis Khan. bq. It was a terrible lie, but it reinforced what the leaders of the peacenik movement had been saying for several years. It was the antithesis of what our government had been reporting. And it was simultaneously the worst betrayal of the United States to those of us who had been spectating for so many years in enemy territory. bq. It was very simple to us. Kerry sold out his shipmates from the Swift Boats. He sold out every one of us in Hanoi - and likely extended our stay there (for which we all offer him ever so many thanks) - by concocting the lies he now calls "a little over the top." And he continues to fabricate stories to cover up a lackluster career in the Senate. When I heard a tape of Kerry's Boston accent complaining about our forces "ravaging the countryside like Genghis Khan," I had my only flashback to the large cell in Hoa Lo where I first had heard it when Hanoi Hannah - North Vietnam's woman propagandist - was bragging about Kerry's "Winter Soldiers" and the testimony of this Naval officer before a committee of the U.S. Senate. bq. Kerry's legacy isn't that he has the same initials as John Fitzgerald Kennedy or that he motored around the rivers of South Vietnam in a small boat for four months before asking to leave the war early. His legacy is more along the lines of Benedict Arnold's. The only difference is that Benedict Arnold was a successful soldier before he committed treason. I doubt Benedict Arnold would have much success running for President today. Are we to believe that someone who aided the enemy in time of war is worthy of becoming President? Good stuff told by someone who was there and suffered the effects of Kerry's grandstanding...

Kerry's military record

The Braden Files has more on the growing dishonorable discharge question: bq. Kerry�s Dishonorable Discharge There is overwhelming evidence that John Kerry got a dishonorable discharge from the Navy, and that, as a result of such discharge, he was stripped of all of his famous but questionable Navy awards and medals. And the kicker? The evidence is on his website! bq. Kerry�s oh-so-clever handlers evidently depended on the ignorance of the public and the press about military records when they posted his 1978 "Honorable Discharge from the Reserves" on his site as part of a carefully selected partial release of his Navy records (the Navy says it is still withholding about 100 records). However, one diligent reporter, Thomas Lipscomb of the New York Sun, saw through the scam and exposed it in a story on October 13. Predictably, the major media has shunned the story. bq. What Mr. Lipscomb noticed (and I overlooked when I first read the document) was the date of the posted discharge, Feb. 16, 1978. This was six years after Kerry�s six-year (1966-1972) commitment to the Navy ended. The anti-war detractor of our military did not re-up for another six-year term in 1972, so why the delay of his discharge? The only logical conclusion is that the 1978 honorable discharge was a second discharge given to replace an earlier undesirable discharge. Emphasis mine -- the 1978 date is important -- continue reading: bq. I was a colonel assigned as Director of Operations of Headquarters, Texas Air National Guard when George W. Bush was a lieutenant in the Air Guard. Since 1999, I have been besieged by the media, from the London Guardian to CBS�s Sixty Minutes, NBC, the Boston Globe, and others, with allegations and questions about Lt. Bush's service in and discharge from the Texas Air National Guard and USAF. I recently appeared on Fox & Friends twice to shoot down CBS�s phony memos about Lt. Bush and allegations about his discharge. In the interest of fairness and equal time, it is time that scrutiny of John Kerry's discharge(s) is demanded. bq. Senator Kerry has said that his medal certificates were reissued because he lost them (and his dog ate his homework, I suppose). Rewards are certified in one�s permanent personnel record jacket. If you lose a medal, you can get a replacement medal if your records show the award. The only way awards would have to be reissued is if they were rescinded and deleted from your records. And this narrows the possibilities down toward a dishonorable discharge, rather than a lesser form of undesirable discharge. As Mr. Lipscomb noted, "There is one odd coincidence that gives some weight to the possibility that Mr. Kerry was dishonorably discharged. -- (W)hen a dishonorable discharge is issued, all pay benefits, and allowances, and all medals and honors are revoked as well. And five months after Mr. Kerry joined the U.S. Senate in 1985, on one single day, June 4, all of Mr. Kerry's medals were reissued." And more: bq. The Nixon/Ford presidency gave way to Democrat President Jimmy Carter in 1977, which tends to explain the six-year delay in getting the revised discharge. Mr. Lipscomb adds some insight: bq. Mr. Carter's first act as president was a general amnesty for draft dodgers and other war protesters. Less than an hour after his inauguration on January 21, 1977, while still in the Capitol building, Mr. Carter signed Executive Order 4483 empowering it. By the time it became a directive from the Defense Department in March 1977 it had been expanded to include other offenders who may have had general, bad conduct, dishonorable discharges, and any other discharge or sentence with negative effect on military records. In those cases the directive outlined a procedure for appeal on a case by case basis before a board of officers. A satisfactory appeal would result in an improvement of discharge status or an honorable discharge." Any questions?

Republican Prayer

Dr. John Ray at A Western Heart brings a very interesting item to light. bq. This one is so way-out and so presumptuous that I am afraid it gave me a laugh. John then quotes from the article linked above: bq. In a letter of clarification requested by a traveling minister, the Internal Revenue Service has declared people gathered in tax-exempt churches can't pray for President Bush to win the election on Tuesday. The ruling comes in response to a request by the Christian Defense Coalition, which is in the midst of a 15-day prayer tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the organization, had planned to lead in prayer for a Bush victory during evening services in each town. Though he had hoped to hold the services in churches, Mahoney says he has used American Legion halls, hotels and other venues pending a clarification from the IRS. bq. The American Center for Law and Justice wrote the letter to the IRS on behalf of the Mahoney's group, explaining that the pastor planned to "offer prayer during the evening services in the churches he visits that God grants President Bush four more years as president and that Senator Kerry does not become president." OK - I get the picture... So let's propose this - suppose a Democrat were to deliver a sermon in a church and advocate J.F. Kerry, the IRS would be looking into that too?
Guess not. This is from a story I blogged about here where Senator Ted Kennedy gave a sermon at a church and: bq. According to the AP report, Kennedy �urged the congregation to vote for Kerry.� Hypocrites -- to believe that some citizens out there want these people in power. UPDATE: Jen pointed me to an article that says that the IRS is actually investigating a number of Non-Profits for their politicizing. The article can be found at the Austin American Statesman (bogus registration required) bq. IRS Investigating 60 Tax-Exempt Groups By GENARO C. ARMAS bq. About 60 charities, churches and other tax-exempt groups are being investigated for potentially breaking federal rules that bar them from participating in political activity, the Internal Revenue Service said Friday. bq. Such violations would threaten their tax-exempt status, the IRS said. bq. The investigations involve guidelines for 501(c)(3) groups, which grant tax-exempt status so long as organizations do not participate in political activities like endorsing candidates or making campaign donations. bq. By law, the IRS cannot reveal names or details of investigations. It did reveal that about 20 of the groups being looked into were churches. bq. Heightened concerns about improper political activities this election season warranted the creation of a committee of career civil servants to look into potential political violations by tax-exempt groups, according to the agency. Also on the web are these stories: From Philly.com: bq. IRS asked to probe political activity at Mt. Airy church A watchdog group has asked the IRS to investigate "inappropriate and possibly illegal" political activity at one of Philadelphia's most prominent congregations, Mount Airy Church of God in Christ. bq. The 5,000-member mega-church is led by Bishop Ernest Morris, president of Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, an influential group that has thrown its support to the Kerry-Edwards camp. bq. In a complaint filed Tuesday, Americans United for Separation of Church and State cited Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's pro-Kerry stump speech at a worship service Sunday at the Mount Airy church. bq. Morris had followed Kennedy at the pulpit and said to his congregants, "I can't tell you who to vote for, but I can tell you what my mama told me last week: Stay out the bushes." Mt. Airy is the church pictured above. From the Marantha Christian Journal comes the story that Kerry has done this often: bq. Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's increasingly prominent habit of using politically sympathetic churches as a platform for campaign speeches is drawing criticism -- though for differing reasons -- from groups on both the ideological right and the left. bq. President Bush's re-election campaign came under fire earlier in the year when news reports revealed that campaign officials were attempting to use conservative-leaning congregations to obtain church directories for mailing lists -- and encouraging pastors of such congregations to use their pulpits to endorse Bush positions. Supporters of church-state separation denounced the tactic, with some Christian leaders going so far as to buy full-page advertisements in the New York Times and other newspapers to do so. bq. Now the Kerry campaign is enduring criticism for using churches to hold what amounts to political rallies during Sunday morning services in African-American and other Democratic-leaning churches. Many conservatives have long accused liberals of hypocrisy for engaging in the practice. They go into some more detail and then talk about a very interesting bill which has been languishing in the House and which does not have a sponsor in the Senate yet: bq. H.R. 235, the "Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act," has languished in the House for more than two years, despite strong support from the Religious Right. It would allow churches and other houses of worship to endorse political parties and candidates while still maintaining their tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. It has failed even to gain a sponsor in the Senate. Let's hope that this little piece of odium gets squished ASAP. Finally, from the town of my birth comes this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: bq. Bush, Kerry take campaigns to the church pews Choosing politically on matters of faith bq. In July, Connie Phillips and four friends donned "People of Faith for Kerry" T-shirts to volunteer at area food banks, joining a national effort by the Democratic campaign to show that President Bush did not have a corner on Christian voters. And the meat of the story: bq. The late surge in Democratic religious activism is drawing fire from liberal groups that normally attack the religious right. On Oct. 12, the Interfaith Alliance urged the Kerry campaign to "stop politicizing religion and misusing houses of worship for partisan political purposes." And Americans United For Separation of Church and State has filed as many complaints against churches for endorsing Kerry as for endorsing Bush. I logged into Thomas to check on H.R. 235 and the last major action was in 2003. Let's keep it that way people -- please?

Kerry's military

We saw Kerry's Navy at Cox and Forkum's site this August:
Now, thanks to Kevin Aylward at Wizbang, we see his Air Force: bq. Your Moment Of Zen Call it prophetic, call it ironic, call it what you will, but I thought this report of a Kerry crash landing was fitting...

Go back to sleep Walter

From DrudgeReport: bq. CRONKITE: KARL ROVE BEHIND BIN LADEN TAPE? Sat Oct 30 2004 16:31:19 ET bq. Former CBSNEWS anchorman Walter Cronkite believes Bush adviser Karl Rove is possibly behind the new Bin Laden tape. bq. Cronkite made the startling comments late Friday during an interview on CNN. bq. Somewhat smiling, Cronkite said he is "inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing." bq. Interviewer Larry King did not ask Cronkite to elaborate on the provocative election eve observation. Bush Derangement Syndrome at its finest.

Kerry's war record

The fact that Kerry has continuously refused to sign the Form 180 to release his service records to the general public has caused some people to start digging and digging deeply... I had blogged about this specific issue a few times here, here, and here. A current roundup can be found at The Truth Laid Bear: bq. Kerry Discharge Story Leaking Like A Sieve I still can't vouch for or confirm any of this, so please treat this all as the purest form of Internet rumors. But here's what's being posted on FreeRepublic and elsewhere this morning:
I [DONALD L. NELSON, CAPT, JAGC, USNR] was on active duty as a U.S. Navy lawyer when all of this was going on some 25 to 30 years ago, and so was Mark F. Sullivan, who at all relevant times was the personal lawyer to J. William Middendorf, then the Secretary of the Navy. We remember.
We are trying to break this absolutely true story nationwide, i.e., Fox News, C Span, and hopefully all the major networks. We are positive that John Kerry was one of those dishonorably dismissed from the Navy for collaborating with the Viet Cong, after he was released from active duty but still in the Navy, and for a totally unauthorized trip to Hanoi. He later got an "honorable" separation in 1978, some 12 years after joining the Navy, under President Carter's "Amnesty Program" for draft dodgers, deserters, and other malcontents who fled to Canada and Holland, among other places, to avoid military service to our country.
This is why he has refused, and continues to refuse, to release all of his Navy records: they reflect that he was Dishonorably Dismissed from the United States Naval Service. If they do not (which they do), he would have released them to the public. Again, he has not done so, because he well knows that the truth would kill his challenge to President Bush.
Needless to say, to reiterate what N.Z. Bear said earlier: bq. I still can't vouch for or confirm any of this, so please treat this all as the purest form of Internet rumors.

Osama and Fahrenheit 9/11

Some people are starting to notice a very eerie similarity between what Osama Bin Laden spoke about and what the major Democratic Party talking-points are as well as stories presented in F9/11 which were not otherwise carried by the media (MSM or Blogosphere): Stefan Sharkansky at Shark Blog: bq. Osama bin watching Fahrenheit 911? Osama bin Laden's new video, which just aired on Al Jazeera, borrows heavily from Michael Moore: bq. In an address just days ahead of the US presidential election, bin Ladin also said the US administration resembled "corrupt" Arab governments. bq. He accused Bush of reacting slowly to the September 11 attacks, saying: "I never thought that the supreme leader would leave 50,000 of his people in the two towers to face the terrifying events alone at the time they were in need for him." Hindrocket at PowerLine says that the cover for Osama's video has been found:
One pf the PowerLine readers points out that the Kerry camp is getting sensitive about the similarity between Osama's diatribe and their own talking points: bq. KERRY CAMPAIGN BLOWS UP AT FOX, THREATENS TO THROW FOX OFF THE PLANE, BACKS OFF: bq. KERRY CAMP OBJECTS TO 4:00pm FOX NEWS SEGMENT: ALAN COLMES: "It's not like he [Osama bin Laden] had a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker in his cave." NEIL CAVUTO: "But he's all but doing that, isn't he? I thought I saw a button." bq. KERRY CAMP ASKS FOR RETRACTION, DOES NOT GET ONE� JOHN SASSO BLOWS UP AT FOX PRODUCER ON PLANE: "Is that the one? Is that her? I want her off the plane tomorrow. I'm not kidding." Sir George at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links to an open letter from Kat at The Middle Ground where she takes Michael Moore to task and lays down a fine fine rant on his sorry ass: bq. Open Letter To Michael Moore Osama Bin Laden and F9/11 bq. Mr. Moore, bq. You are a scurrilous, obese, disgusting, treasonous dog. A stinking boil on the ass of humanity. bq. How did it feel when you heard Osama Bin Laden, the arch enemy and single most prolific mass murderer of 3000 Americans, quote your movie? Did it give you a vicarious thrill? You piece of shit. bq. Not enough that your poisonous filth was distributed by the terrorist "minutemen" of your fantastical nightmare, Hezbollah, or shown in Iran, that "free" country that hangs little girls for speaking out against the religious fanaticism of her country while you decry the faith of the President of the country which you infamously claim citizenship to. You must now believe yourself some Godhead, having captured the attention of your favorite celebrity, the same scum which you declared justified in his acts only a day after your fellow citizens were burned to a crisp in two towers by an inferno of jet fuel, or forced to jump to their death from 100 stories, crushed beneath the weight of hundreds of thousands of tons of steel and concrete. Nothing left to identify them but a shard of a leg bone, a tooth, a finger. She concludes with this: bq. Sleep easy tonight, for I am sure that no nightmare will disturb you as you must first have a soul to be so tormented. I am sure if you ever read this you would shrug and wash your hands, like Pontius Pilate, of the blood of the innocents you helped to kill. Keep scrubbing, their blood will never wash off, because it is a stain forever branded on the stinking ass of your life. Strange times when the enemy endorses a political candidate and the majority of the populace don't seem to be enraged...

The Chicago Way

Donald Sensing writing at One Hand Clapping has perhaps the best analysis of the Osama Bin Laden videotape: bq. Police Officer Jim Malone to Eliot Ness: "If Capone comes at you with a knife, you go after him with a gun. If he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way! And that's how you get Capone!" bq. I am wondering whether bin Laden has started to realize that since 9/11, America has been fighting al Qaeda the Chicago way. Consider the evolution of his rhetoric until yesterday. Donald then gives some quotes from Bin Laden from 2001 onward and offers the following observation: bq. No longer does bin Laden call America the "weak horse." No more is he threatening to humiliate America and force its soldiers to flee homeward in fear and disgrace. Now he is practically doing a Monty Hall routine, asking, "Let's make a deal." bq. The Islamist triumphalism is absent. In fact, if Osama bin Laden could dance he might be imitating Fred Astaire: "Let's call the whole thing off!" Or maybe Great Garbo, "I want to be let alone." What he was certainly saying boiled down to this: if you leave us alone now, we'll leave you alone. No matter how insincerely he means it, he did say it, and it can't be gaining him new recruits to jihad. Jihadis don't die to be let alone, but to defend Islam itself. bq. The words on the videotape are not the words of a man who thinks the light at the end of the tunnel is anything but the headlight of the proverbial oncoming train. This was the tape of a man who knows his tail is getting whipped from one end of the world to the other. He's now out of ideas and even out of new threats. The extensive quotes of the Quran as in tapes of yore seem AWOL now. Very good stuff... My only concern is that if the USA agrees to back off and give them a break, they will view this as Hudna -- a truce for the purpose of re-grouping and waiting until the strength is back. Given how we are marshaling our troops for a push into Fallujah right now, I somehow do not think this is the case, for which I am very glad...
Yadda, yadda, yadda... From Arab News: bq. Coin From an �Alien Civilization� A Saudi newspaper yesterday reported the discovery of what it called a rare coin with unique features that belonged to an ancient civilization. The paper said the coin had an inscription in an unknown language that was not English. It described the coin as having a palm tree with eight branches, a woman sunbathing, a ship and a castle with a dome. bq. According to the newspaper, the coin belonged to an ancient civilization that flourished in Al-Jouf. bq. The strange thing is that the �strange� coin, which the paper claimed had an inscription in an unknown language, had Puerto Rico inscribed clearly on it. The coin is believed to have been left behind by one of the tourists visiting the area and does not belong to any ancient civilization as claimed by the newspaper. Photo is here:
Bunch 'o maroons...

Storm Blogging

Got quite the front moving through here -- the barometer is flip-flopping like a certain Presidential candidate, we lost power a couple times (only for a few seconds although the candles are lit and each of us has a flashlight at hand). Thanks to UPS technology, we have the internet (for 15 minutes anyway if it goes out for good) so blogging will continue... BTW: The Internet is 35 years old today - it seems appropriate to be lighting a candle for this birthday but ours are not lit for this reason: From the CBC article: bq. 'Lo' and behold! The internet turns 35 In the 1960s, computer scientists at American universities and in the U.S. Department of Defence devised a plan for a network of computers that could all communicate with each other. bq. After the hardware was put in place, researchers at UCLA attempted on Oct. 29, 1969, to log in to a computer at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, Calif. bq. In an interview on CBC Newsworld, Prof. Leonard Kleinrock admitted researchers weren't exactly prepared for the history-making moment. bq. "[The message] wasn't anything like 'What hath God wrought?' or 'Come here, Watson. I want you,' or 'a giant leap for mankind.' We weren't that smart," he said, referring to the first messages over telegraph, over telephone and from the surface of the moon. bq. In order to log in to the two-computer network, which was then called ARPANET, programmers at UCLA were to type in "log," and Stanford would reply "in." bq. The UCLA programmers only got as far as "lo" before the Stanford machine crashed. And that was NOT a Windows machine. Heh...

False Ideas and Thoughtless Activists

From Back40 comes this example of a "Great Shiny New Thing" that will fix one aspect of the current environmental woes -- only it ain't so... bq. Ersatz Green Here's an example of the false ideas coming from thoughtless activists.
For those who haven't already heard of PLA, it is basically a replacement for polyester that's made from corn. It means compostable plastic packaging, and is also used to make "Ingeo" cloth, but is not structurally sound enough to make "durable goods" with. One downside is that it's made from corn kernels, not husk or stalk, so growing for plastic competes with growing for food instead of taking a waste stream. However, it's a great material, a huge step in the right direction, and hopefully its success will continue to grow.
bq. There is no such thing as maize waste. Every bit of it is food for some creature. Farmers chop the whole plant up for silage; seed, cob, leaves and stems are all livestock feed. bq. Even worse, it's a net cost to the environment to use maize as an industrial packaging and the cost would reflect that if not for massive subsidies. It takes so much energy to cultivate, fertilize, harvest and transport maize that it uses more fossil fuel to make than it produces in alternatives. When the environmental costs of soil degradation, erosion and water use are factored in it doesn't make any environmental sense at all. bq. The only way it makes sense to use plant materials for industrial materials is if they come from perennial plants that don't need annual cultivation and are inedible except by fungi. That means woody material high in lignin that even ruminants can't digest; even termites need fungi to digest lignin for them. Also his comments on Buddy Cat are worth reading. Life is hard but a good friend can make it a lot better... Critters is friends too...

J. F. Kerry and Stem Cell Research

Dr. John Ray, one of the bloggers at A Western Heart and he quotes an email he received from Tammy Brehm-Gibson. The link on Tammy's name points to a list of citations for a paper she co-authored. Generally the longer the list, the better the Kung-Fu of the scientist and she has most excellent Kung-Fu -- remember grasshopper, this is only one paper and she has been busy... On to her email: bq. I would like to add my comments to the current policy on Stem Cell Research that is being debated by John Kerry and George W. Bush at this time. bq. As a scientist who is involved in Medical Research at the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale I know that stem cell research is in its infancy. There is great promise that research involving stem cells could help improve the lives of many people suffering from horrible diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, juvenile diabetes and perhaps even spinal cord injuries. Great Promise are the key words here! Nothing has been proven yet....the research is still in the early stages. bq. I'm personally frustrated and angered by John Kerry's political view that there is a BAN on stem cell research. There is not! Last year, the federal government spent $25 million on stem cell research (established stem cell line(s) already available from embryonic sources mostly in vitro fertilization where couples have donated extra embryos to science for research) and includes stem cells from umbilical cord blood, adult stem cells and animal stem cells. The BAN he is talking about is for new embryonic stem cells from embryos that have to be destroyed (the moral issue). How can Kerry make this claim? The claim that new stem cells from human embryos are going to cure disease???? PLEASE! It's a serious stretch!!!! How dare he!!!! She goes on and concludes with this: bq. There is no ban!!!!!!! bq. I'm sorry to report that John Kerry is lying to the American public in this area. Please do your research before you vote! Good stuff!

He's baaaack!!!

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It seems that a new videotape from Osama Bin Laden has surfaced. He addresses the upcoming election and names the candidates. If this turns out to be authentic I will be extremely surprised. The pig has such an ego he would have made his presence known a lot sooner if he wasn't already a grease-spot on the walls of Tora Bora. Couple people are reporting this: From Fox News: bq. There was no way to determine when the tape was made, although it did refer to next week's presidential elections in the United States. bq. In the video, bin Laden also accused President Bush of "misleading" the American people since the 2001 homicide airline hijackings that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. bq. "Your security is not in the hands of [Democratic candidate John] Kerry or Bush or Al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands," bin Laden said. bq. "To the U.S. people, my talk is to you about the best way to avoid another disaster," he said. "I tell you: Security is an important element of human life and free people do not give up their security." bq. "If Bush says we hate freedom, let him tell us why we didn't attack Sweden, for example. It is known that those who hate freedom do not have dignified souls, like those of the 19 blessed ones," he said, referring to the 19 hijackers. Other news services are carrying the story too: From Associated Press From Reuters Looking at the photo from the video, this person looks quite a bit different than the photos of Bin Laden, even the earlier ones when he was healthy.
If you look at the image on the left (this is from today's videotape), you will see that his beard extends to conceal his cheekbones. Looking at an older image from about 4 years ago, you can see no cheekbone hair and they look different. The facial hair and grooming are both very close but this is something a competent stylist can do. I am betting that these are two different people.

Whose mistakes are worse?

Wonderful essay by Mona Charen: bq. Take heart America. John Kerry is too smart to make the kind of mistakes George W. Bush has made. His election (should it come to pass) will signal the dawn of a new era in which sophisticated internationalists will restore America's place in the world with skillful diplomacy and sound multilateralism. It will be the kind of administration that will make The New York Times and CBS News proud. bq. For starters, President Kerry will persuade France and Germany to send troops to Iraq so that our guys can get a little R-and-R on the Riviera. Though it may have seemed that France was firmly opposed to liberating Iraq; and though it looked like France truly intended to set herself up as the counterweight to American global influence; and though France, Russia and China were lobbying to remove all sanctions against Iraq; and while some cynics may have noticed that many French concerns were doing extremely well on the UN's corrupt oil-for-food program; Kerry will overcome all of that. bq. He'll also somehow finesse the small matter that the populations of France and Germany are adamantly opposed to the Iraq venture (as indeed was Great Britain's -- Blair supported us at considerable personal risk). Unlike Blair, Chirac and Schroeder agree with their people. Still, John Kerry is very bright. He is fluent in French and can say s'il vous plait. And presumably that clever Richard Holbrooke can say bitte. bq. Further, Kerry will restore our standing with the United Nations. Why just in the last few days, Kerry has seized upon a report (which now turns out to be false, but that's a detail) provided by Mohamed el-Baradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The U.N. report claimed that the United States had failed to secure 380 tons of high explosives at the Al-Qaqaa site. Kerry demonstrated his confidence in the U.N. by immediately accepting the report as true and declaring it to be "one of the great blunders of this administration." bq. Except that, oops, it seems there were only 3 tons of missing explosives, and all of it probably disappeared before Operation Iraqi Freedom began. This is only about half of it - click on the link to read the rest. She is the author of "Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First"

Kerry's Military Records

I had blogged a little bit about this before -- specifically Kerry's refusal to sign Form 180 but some interesting ideas about why are starting to bubble to the surface. From Charles at LGF: bq. An excellent piece by Buzz Patterson on the important stories about John Kerry that are being ignored and buried by mainstream media as they search for a last minute hit on President Bush: What�s Kerry Hiding? From Buzz' article: bq. The Kerry campaign and website continue to claim he has released all military records. In fact, they've released the few documents painting the senator in a favorable light. There are at least 100 pages, promising to be much more revealing, still unseen. Kerry controls their release. All he has to do is sign the Form 180. To date, he has refused. bq. It goes without saying the main stream media isn't clamoring for him to comply although they hounded President George Bush relentlessly to release his Air National Guard records. Bush, by the way, did the right thing--he signed his Form 180. Kerry has made his naval service the focal point for his election. Shouldn't we expect the war hero to open his military service to America? Where is the outrage (I ask tongue-in-cheek)? Where is the objective journalism? More realistically, what is Kerry hiding? And more: bq. As for every veteran, the truth will be found the form DD214, the official Department of Defense document of release from military obligation given to Kerry when he exited military service on July 1, 1972. It is conspicuously absent from the documents released so far. Everyone serving in the military receives a DD214 the day they separate or retire from service. My suspicion along with a growing number of military personnel is that Kerry received an "other than honorable" discharge in the early 1970s as a consequence of his vehement anti-US, anti-military activities with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and his potentially treasonous t�te-�-t�tes with North Vietnamese Communist officials in Paris. If not, let him release his records. If so, America should demand the release. Emphasis mine -- keep reading there's more: bq. Kerry's activities during his post-war political resume building efforts are expressly prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 104, Part 904; the United States Code Title 18, Section 953 (18 USC Sec. 953); and, arguably, the Constitution, Article 3, Section 3. In fact, the Constitution's 14th Amendment, Section 3 declares, "No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President . . . (who has) engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof." In another time and another place, at a minimum, Kerry would have faced courts martial. In another time and another place, Kerry would be breaking big rocks into little rocks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the military penitentiary. Today, he stands on the brink of election as the leader of the free world. I'm cherry-picking a few choice paragraphs -- the article is well worth reading for a possible insight as to why Kerry will not release his Military Records.

The Real Divide is Only in Elitist Minds

Victor Davis Hanson bats another one out of the park with this essay in the San Francisco Chronicle: bq. Are things really as ghastly as they appear this election year? President Bush is derided as a liar, brain-dead and a coward, not just by fringe groups but by prominent members of the Democratic establishment. Major intellectuals and artists lament that John Kerry won all three debates by skilled debating � and yet gained little ground. bq. Even the wives and children are involved now. Kerry and his running mate John Edwards gratuitously broached the sexuality of Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter; his wife fired back that Kerry is not "a good man." And just when we got a brief respite, Teresa Heinz Kerry derided Laura Bush as never having a real job � before apologizing that, yes, a decade at work in public school counts as real employment. bq. Third-party ads, fueled by the money of multimillionaires, imply that Kerry was also a coward and traitor and that Bush was AWOL. CBS News anchor Dan Rather is caught promulgating clearly forged documents, an ABC memo warns against the chimera of objectivity, and Sinclair Broadcast Group agrees to air only portions of a clearly partisan film after Democrats howled. There is no need to mention the conspiracy theories of "Fahrenheit 911," Teresa Heinz Kerry's "scumbag" and "shove it," or Dick Cheney's use of the F-word. bq. Meanwhile, the back-and-forth acrimony prompts thousands of lawyers to contest an election in advance, hoping to win through the courts should they fail in the popular vote or Electoral College. Unfounded rumors circulate about a renewed draft, the end of Social Security and even of big-shot conservative politicians crowding ahead of the more needy for flu shots. Dr. Hanson then gets to the meat of the matter (after a few paragraphs): bq. Yet the true nature of our loud divisiveness is rarely remarked upon. In the last three decades, there has been a steady evolution from liberal to moderately conservative politics among a majority of the voters, whether gauged by the recent spate of Republican presidents or Bill Clinton's calculated shift to the center. Now the House, Senate, presidency and the majority of state governorships and legislatures are in Republican hands. A Bush win will ensure a conservative Supreme Court for a generation. bq. In contrast, the universities, the arts, the major influential media and Hollywood are predominately liberal � and furious. They bring an enormous amount of capital, talent, education and cultural influence into the political fray � but continue to lose real political power. The talented elite plays the same role to the rest of America as the Europeans do to the United States � venting and seething because the supposedly less sophisticated, but far more powerful, average Joes don't embrace their visions of utopia. Good stuff - he is always worth reading!

Other People's Money

Politics and also Islamofascism - two stories actually. The first one -- Politics -- is in regards to Julian Bond, head of NAACP Michael King at Ramblings' Journal writes about: bq. The Internal Revenue Service has begun an examination of the tax exempt status of the NAACP, in light of a speech by chairman Julian Bond at last July's NAACP National Convention. Bond's speech was especially partisan, vilifying Republicans in general, and President Bush in particular. From the Star Tribune article: bq. In a letter dated Oct. 8 and released Thursday, the IRS told the NAACP it had received information that chairman Julian Bond conveyed "statements in opposition of George W. Bush for the office of presidency" and specifically "condemned the administration policies of George W. Bush in education, the economy and the war in Iraq." bq. The letter reminded the NAACP that tax-exempt organizations are legally barred from supporting or opposing any candidate for elective office. bq. Bond's speech on July 11 included a long section that sharply criticized the Republican Party, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for their positions on an array of issues important to black Americans. Michael offers some commentary and closes with this: bq. It's a wonder that Bond hasn't cried "Racism," in response. Then again, the day is still young. The second story is pure Islamofascism -- Yasser Arafat's money trail -- this is from an article in the Middle East Forum and describes Issam Abu Issa's attempt to start a business in palestine: bq. From Optimism to Dismay On July 1, 1994, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman, Yasir Arafat, arrived triumphant in the Gaza Strip, watched by millions on television across the world. I was already in Ramallah, having traveled there from my family's exile in Qatar in the weeks after Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and President Bill Clinton had signed the Oslo accords in September 1993. Between 1994 and 1996, I and fellow Palestinian businessmen and intellectuals spent many days brainstorming to see what contributions we could make to a Palestinian state. My family was originally from Haifa, and I hoped to witness an Israeli withdrawal of forces and the birth of a democratic Palestinian state. It was a time of optimism among Palestinians. I gathered with friends and business partners around the television in Ramallah and watched Arafat's arrival in the Gaza Strip. bq. In 1996, I founded the Palestine International Bank (PIB). Thousands of Palestinians in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the diaspora supported me financially or morally. My investors and I hoped to build a thriving economy in the newly autonomous PA areas. The PIB was truly Palestinian. Headquartered in Ramallah, it used mostly Palestinian capital, although it did receive support from other Arabs. All its reserves were kept inside Palestinian areas, and our shares traded actively on the Palestinian stock exchange. From nothing, we expanded our customer base to more than 15,500. Among those licensed by the newly established Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), we were the largest bank in the Palestinian territories. The story continues: bq. Rather than use donor funds for their intended purposes, Arafat regularly diverted money to his own accounts. It is amazing that some U.S. officials still see the Palestinian Authority as a partner even after U.S. congressional records revealed authenticated PLO papers signed by Arafat in which he instructed his staff to divert donors' money to projects benefiting himself, his family, and his associates. An excerpt from the conclusion: bq. Arafat's failed leadership is one factor responsible for the evolution of Palestinian extremism and fundamentalism, as well as a culture of death and despair among the Palestinians. While Clinton feted Arafat at the White House as a peace partner, many of us who worked with or lived under Arafat disagreed, seeing him instead as a man exclusively concerned with power, money, and personal gratification. He heads a dictatorial regime staffed by gangsters. I and increasing numbers of Palestinians also blame U.S. and Israeli officials who, in the wake of the Oslo accords, calculated that a Palestinian dictatorship would make a better negotiating partner than a Palestinian democracy. They were very wrong. When growing pressure in the Palestinian territories forced Arafat to find a scapegoat for his political failure, mismanagement, and economic plunder, he turned his guns toward the Israelis. bq. Reform and Arafat are like oil and water. Arafat instigates violence to deflect blame for his own corruption. No amount of dialogue or diplomatic dinners will change this fact. Hat tip to The Big Trunk at PowerLine

Bush for President -- from Germany?!?

Cool! Germany's largest newspaper just endorsed President Bush as their choice in this election. From Richard Bennett's Mossback's Lunch: bq. Warum George W. Bush der bessere Pr�sident ist In sechs Tagen, am 2. November, hat Amerika die Wahl: George W. Bush oder John Kerry? Hier nennt BILD-Autor Hugo M�ller-Vogg seine zehn Gr�nde, warum es f�r Deutschland, die Welt und Amerika besser w�re, wenn George W. Bush Pr�sident bleibt. Richard comments: bq. So we have Koizumi, Putin, Curt Schilling, Mike Timlin, Pedro Martinez, and Germany for Bush, and Arafat and Al Qaeda for Kerry. Interesting. From the Bild endorsement again: bq. In six days, on 2 November, America has a choice: George W. Bush or John Kerry? Bild publisher Hugo Mueller Vogg lists ten reasons why it would be better for Germany, the world and America, if George W. Bush remains president. bq. 1. Bush has clear priorities. 2. Bush has learned that military strength is the only answer to fanatics. 3. Under Bush, the US will continue to bear the financial, military and casualty burden in the fight against terrorism. 4. Bush will do everything he can to prevent nuclear proliferation. 5. Bush has learned that America can defeat every country in war, but needs allies in peace. Thus, his second term will be characterized by cooperation with international partners. 6. Bush knows Europe is militarily weak, so he won�t ask them for help. 7. Under Bush, America will remain a strong partner for Israel in its fight for survival. 8. Republicans have always been stronger supporters of free trade than Democrats. 9. Every new American administration makes mistakes. Bush has already made his. 10. With Bush, we know what to expect. With Kerry, we don�t. Need I say more...

Prickly City

Our local MSM newspaper (The Bellingham Herald) started carrying Prickly City a few months ago and Jen and I both love it. Sort of an early Calvin and Hobbes energy but a very different cartoon and slant. Today's was spot-on: (The image was a bit too large to display in one line so what you see is a smaller thumbnail - click on it to get the full cartoon.)

It is a dangerous job...

Blogging is not an easy walk in the park. Listen to this story about fellow-blogger Gerard Van der Leun at American Digest: bq. LAGUNA BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- Doctors are blaming a rare electrical imbalance in the brain for the bizarre death of a blogger whose head literally exploded in the final week of the election! bq. No one else was hurt in the fatal explosion but a small room at the blogger's residence was sprayed with blood and brain matter when Gerard Van der Leun's head suddenly blew apart. Experts say he suffered from a condition called Hyper-Cerebral Blogosis or HCB . bq. "He was deep in concentration with his eyes focused on the screen and his fingers frozen over the keyboard," said Laguna Beach early responder, Miguel Wilsonista. "He seems to have hit 'Post' for what had to be the 3,456,856th item of inept political photoshopping this year when the blast occurred. bq. "His browser history documents that he went from Drudge to Real Clear Politics to Talking Points Memo to Instapundit to Fox News to The New York Times to MSNBC to Kos to Roger Simon to Little Green Footballs to The Corner to Atrios to Google News to Allah to The Belmont Club to Wonkette and finally, and probably fatally, to Andrew Sullivan . All of a sudden his hands flew to his temples and he screamed in pain. Then, as if someone had put a bomb in his cranium, Van der Leun's head popped like a firecracker." bq. Incredibly, Van der Leun's is not the first case in which a blogger's head has spontaneously exploded during these last few days of the campaign. Five bloggers are known to have exhibited of HCB in the last week. bq. The most recent explosion occurred just two days ago at Instapundit, when Glenn Reynolds' skull burst but his blog kept on updating itself oblivious to Mr. Reynold's absence. Documents unsealed in Washington today, disclosed that fading blogger Andrew Sullivan's head actually exploded in early 2004, but duct tape, chewing gum, and love has kept that blog's keyboard humming in the grisly aftermath. And some people think we sit around in our pajamas eating bon-bons and surfing the web at our leisure. This is a dangerous full-contact profession...

The Missing explosives

I had blogged about this earlier here, here and here. From the last entry in that list: bq. The unraveling thread... The reports that the US blundered and let several hundred tons of high explosives disappear is turning could well turn out to be a fraud from Mohammed El Baradei � the report �leaked� to the MSM in order to make President Bush look bad. Anyway, B.C. - The Imperial Torturer at The Idiotarian Rottweiler ran into an excellent analysis of the whole event over at Drink This: bq. On October 12, 2004, the International Atomic Energy Agency�s Mohamed El Baradei submitted a letter to the UN Security Council stating concern over missing explosive material, material capable of nuclear proliferation. There weren�t a lot of details about specific locations or the nature of the materials. Three days ago, On October 25, 2004, El Baradei and the New York Times filled in the some of the blanks. Apparently, CBS hoped to hold on to this story for this Sunday's airing of 60 Minutes but elected instead to let the equally partisan New York Times run the story. bq. Since the NYT story broke, John Kerry has jumped head long into this issue like a dung beetle into a steaming mound of Kangaroo manure. This scatological approach to campaigning is perilous at best. Rolling this turd into the center of the political stage and handing out forks to willing voters assumes too much. bq. As Kerry sticks his thumbs in his ears and waves his hands back-and-forth at the President, intelligent voters recognize that the facts do not suggest that highly specialized nuclear materials were stolen on the President�s watch. To the contrary, the facts are evidence that Saddam was building and preparing to use Weapons of Mass Destruction. She goes into great detail -- I'm going to quote a couple paragraphs from the middle of the article. It would be very worth your time to follow the link and read the entire thing (hint hint): bq. When: (excerpted -- there are entries dating back to 1991) On 18 November 2002, Hans Blix lead UN weapons inspectors back to Baghdad to resume their mission. Shortly after their arrival, weapons inspectors discovered that 35 tons of HMX could not be accounted for. Officials in Saddam�s government explained that the materials had been used in �civilian programs.� bq. In January 2003, the IAEA placed seals on a number of Al Qaqaa bunkers. bq. In early March, 2003, IAEA inspectors verified the presence of the sealed materials for the last time. bq. On 3 March 2003, the U.S. commenced Operation Iraqi Freedom. bq. Who: The first U.S. military force to arrive at Al Qaqaa was the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. They arrived at Al Qaqaa on 3 April 2003. (According to erroneous MSM reporting, the 101st Airborne was the first U.S. force to arrive at Al Qaqaa). bq. According to the Department of Defense (DOD),
When his [Army Col. David Perkins] battalion arrived at Al Qaqaa April 3, it engaged several hundred enemy soldiers and the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam in the area. The unit killed or captured all who were there, with the battle lasting through April 5.
bq. According to Perkins, after the enemy had been neutralized, soldiers of 3rd did an initial assessment of the depot to determine the quantity and �capability of the munitions� at the complex. Again, according to the DOD,
Perkins soldiers concentrated on looking for weapons of mass destruction, especially chemical weapons. They found suspicious white powder and reported that through the chain of command. A chemical unit arrived, tested the powder and determined it was safe. The soldiers did not find the IAEA- sealed explosives.
Very good stuff...

About Time

Yasser Arafat may well be on the way out. There was a brief hope earlier this year when it was thought that Yasser Arafat was critically ill but it seems to be happening for real this time. From the link to Haaretz: bq. Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's health has deteriorated and he is in critical condition, Palestinian sources said on Wednesday night. The sources went on to say that a team of doctors in his Ramallah headquarters were fighting for his life. According to some reports, the PA chairman regained consciousness, though he was suffering from hallucinations. Emphasis mine -- I hope these are good hallucinations -- ones that foretell the times in the underworld awaiting his soul... Vomiting up swarms of wasps sounds like a good start. Endless flaying of his skin would be a good followup (remember, he has eternity, no need to do everything at once!) And remember once again, he is a construct of the old Soviet cold war (spent several years off and on in Moscow) -- he was an Egyptian, there are no palestinian people, they are also a construct (they are Jordanian but the Jordanians certainly do not want them back -- it is illegal for a palestinian to own land in Jordan) The thought that he was so ego-centric as to not appoint a successor adds a delightful frisson to the event -- no clear line of sucession, sounds like a nice long riot to me... As Jen said -- "These people want a state? Let's give them one -- PLASMA"
This is very very cool. I read about it in today's Seattle Times and it's something that will stir the evolutionary pot for some years to come. bq. Discovery of prehistoric "little people" creates huge stir in scientific world Scientists have discovered a tiny species of ancient human that lived 18,000 years ago on an isolated island east of the Java Sea � a prehistoric hunter in a "lost world" of giant lizards and miniature elephants. And why the shift in stature (they were about three feet tall)? bq. Researchers suspect that the earlier ancestor may have migrated to the island and evolved into a smaller dwarf species as it adapted to the island's limited resources. This phenomenon, known as the "island rule," is common in the animal world but had never been seen in human evolution. bq. "Not even in primates," said paleoanthropologist Peter Brown of Australia's University of New England, a member of the multinational team reporting on the find today in the journal Nature. "But even though we have evidence of intelligence [in the new species], they were clearly subject to isolation and dwarfing." The article then goes on to talk about the Wallace Line: bq. The new find is certain to influence a flourishing debate over the human presence both in Indonesia and on Flores, which lies immediately east of the so-called "Wallace Line" dividing those islands once connected to Australia or Asia, and those, like Flores, surrounded by water for the past 2.6 million years. bq. Generally speaking, islands west of the Wallace line, such as Java, display a full range of mainland animals. On the isolated, ecologically limited eastern islands, however, animals often evolved in conformity with the island rule: Animals smaller than rabbits get larger; animals larger than rabbits get smaller. bq. Flores, with a limited food supply and no predators, was a prime example of this mechanism. At the time when the Flores woman lived, the island hosted both Komodo dragon lizards 3 feet long and a dwarf variation of stegodon, a prehistoric elephant. Here's her skull compared to a modern Homo Sap:
A capsule biography of Alfred Russel Wallace can be found here His home page is here (not to shabby considering he died in 1913) More on the Wallace Line can be found here. There are lots of books available about him -- both his works and biographies (he was a contemporary of Charles Darwin and it was his work in parallel with Darwin's which sparked Darwin to get off his butt and publish his "Origin" -- Wallace had the same data and was writing to Darwin asking for thoughts on the book he was about to publish while Darwin had been sitting on his notes for a couple of years). Finally a Wallace quote which should be taken to heart by today's crop of environmentalists: bq. "It has been generally the custom of writers on natural history to take the habits and instincts of animals as the fixed point, and to consider their structure and organization as specially adapted to be in accordance with them. But this seems quite an arbitrary assumption, and has the bad effect of stifling inquiry into those peculiarities which are generally classed as 'instincts' and considered as incomprehensible, but which a little consideration of the structure of the species in question, and the peculiar physical conditions by which it is surrounded, would show to be the inevitable and logical result of such structure and conditions. From 'The Ornithology of Northern Celebes,' 1860, Ibis 2: 140-147, on pages 145-146 Fascinating stuff. I was a Biology major in a past life and Wallace is finally getting his recognition as one of the tall dogs of evolution and natural science.

Back again!

Was away for two days -- Jen's parents came for their first visit to the farm and we took a road trip through Eastern Washington. Got the wood stove stoked, the studio is nice and toasty and got lots of links to explore. Let the blogging begin...

One Year Ago Today...

It was one year ago today that I posted the following first entry: bq. Hello world! says it all... Posted by Dave Halliday at 01:14 PM | Comments (0) Looking forward to many more years... I ran a Wildcat Bulletin Board system for ten years (originally sold by Mustang Software, now handled by Hector Santos at Santronics who wrote a lot of the Wildcat utilities and bought the program when Mustang went through their IPO mistake and decline). Blogging is a lot of fun!!!

Bush endorsement

Michael Jericho, blogger at A Western Heart posts his endorsement for President Bush in the upcoming elections. He uses a great photo of Bush that speaks volumes for the content of his character.

Airport "Security"

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Cajun at Mostly Cajun has a good rant about Airport Security and the TSA (A.K.A. Mineta's Morons): bq. Observations from traipsing around the country My little excursion off to school has given me a look at airport security yet again. I think I�d laugh if it wasn�t so aggravatingly pathetic. He outlines the trip and then makes some observations: bq. A few observations: bq. 1) They were X-raying shoes. Every passenger had to take off his/her shoes and pass them through the scanner. The shoe thing, folks, has BEEN done. Talk about the US military fighting the last war� TSA is looking for the last terrorist they missed. bq. 2) I knew better than to bring my Swiss Army knife which is normally constantly in my pocket ... ... The idea of a plane-full of compliant passengers idly allowing a terrorist to hijack a plane with a box cutter are past. Besides, there are other deadly objects that will pass through security undetected. Even a plain, ordinary credit card is a dangerous weapon in the right hands. The dangerous part is the MIND. He goes on and raises a couple other very good points. Interesting reading. bq.
The guys at Cox and Forkum absolutely nail the case of the missing explosives:
The title references this cartoon character: marv.gif

The USA strategic petroleum reserve

Oh this is sweet... The USA maintains a reservoir of petroleum in storage for the event of disruption of our imported oil. Under the Clinton administration, this was drained to a very low level to help bolster the economy by artificially depressing the true price of oil. President Bush has been filling this reserve back up to it's designed operating levels because of heightened problems in the Middle East. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries just asked the USA to do the following: From the International Herald Tribune bq. OPEC asks U.S. to tap oil reserves The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has called on the United States to dip into its strategic petroleum reserve to help deflate oil prices, the cartel's president said Wednesday. bq. "We had communication with them," OPEC's president, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, told reporters, referring to U.S. policy makers. "I asked them to use their reserves." bq. Purnomo, who is also Indonesia's oil minister, did not describe Washington's response. bq. Crude prices were down slightly after the comments. Crude for December delivery was at $55.05, down 12 cents, in premarket trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. bq. Oil prices have soared around 70 percent this year, to over $50 a barrel, on rapid demand growth that has strained global supply and left OPEC members little spare production capacity to cool prices. bq. The Bush administration has consistently rebuffed calls to use U.S. emergency reserves to reduce prices. The reserve was set up after the 1970s Arab oil embargo as a counterweight to OPEC's market power. The White House says only a severe supply disruption would warrant a release. bq. Analysts said Purnomo's request to Washington was unusual, as OPEC usually regards government stockpiles as a threat to its own market influence. bq. "The OPEC president has the mandate to make unilateral approaches on behalf of the whole organization," an OPEC official said. "He has already called on all producers to raise output, so it's not really a departure from that policy. It is an irony though." bq. In a report Tuesday, the International Energy Agency stressed the need for oil-producing countries and international oil companies to increase their investments in finding and pumping oil. bq. The agency said there were sufficient oil reserves to meet demand for at least the next 30 years. But it said that not only would oil companies have to increase their spending, oil-producing countries would also have to allow more outside access to their reserves. bq. It predicted that world oil demand would grow about 50 percent, to 121 million barrels a day, by 2030. To meet that growth, the industry would have to spend about $105 billion each year "from the wellhead to the consumer," according to the agency, an adviser to oil-consuming nations. bq. The agency acknowledged in its annual report, the World Energy Outlook, that it failed to foresee the growth in demand for oil by China but said that its predictions should improve now that China had agreed to share its data on production and consumption. bq. The report warned of a drop in oil production and shortfalls in supplies if oil companies and oil-producing countries do not make huge investments, totaling $3 trillion over the next three decades, in everything from developing new fields to building more tankers, pipelines and refineries. bq. "The availability of oil in terms of reserves and geology isn't an issue but the problem is whether the oil can find the money," Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency and the principal author of the report, said in an interview. bq. "Will that strategic meeting take place?" No F-in' way...

Dylan Thomas' birthday

Dylan Thomas would have been 90 today. Steve Landsburg at Marginal Revolution has a wonderful memorial for him:
He left us with a small number of poems so heart-wrenching that I cannot read them, even for the two hundredth time, without all of the symptoms of an emotional crisis. Take In Country Sleep, where a father reassures his daughter that she has nothing to fear from fairy tale villains---but only from the Thief who comes in multiple guises to take her faith and ultimately to leave her "naked and forsaken to grieve he will not come". In Country Sleep was a standard bedtime poem in our house, and my daughter soon learned to anticipate "the part where Daddy cries". Then there's the prose. Nobody is better at nostalgia and grief for time's relentlessness:
The lane was always the place to tell your secrets; if you did not have any, you invented them. Occassionally now I dream that I am turning out of school into the lane of confidences when I say to the boys of my class 'At last, I have a real secret!' "What is it? What is it?" "I can fly!" And when they do not believe me, I flap my arms and slowly leave the ground, only a few inches at first, then gaining air until i fly waving my cap, level with the upper windows of the school, peering in until the mistress at the piano screams, and the metronome falls to the ground and stops, and there is no more time.
Steve closes with this: bq. For a brief 39 years, as Time held him green and dying, Dylan Thomas spun words and images of surpassing beauty that will live as long as the English language. May he rest in peace. Good stuff... He _is_ missed.

Sailing in Puget Sound

Michael J. Totten had the wonderful experience of sailing in the area where Jen and I live -- Puget Sound: bq. I don�t know much about sailing. My friends Adam and Christina took me out on their boat. They have the sailing bug, big time. I can see why. It�s one of the best ways to travel. It�s slow, to be sure. Taking seven hours to go 25 miles isn�t exactly efficient. But you aren�t strapped in your seat like you are in an airplane, a bus, or a car. You can get up and move around like you can on a train. It�s better than train travel, too, though, because you�re in control. Assuming the boat isn�t tiny, you have more room to sprawl out in than even in a first class sleeper car. bq. Arriving by boat isn�t like arriving any other way. You get to skip the ugly suburban sprawl and pull up right in the heart of the city. The harbor closes around you like embracing, welcoming arms. And after spending all day on the water, lashed by freezing wind, a cheeseburger and beer tastes like manna from heaven. bq. We saw ducks, dolphins, and seals. A rainbow over the jagged snow-capped peaks of the Olympics. Fall foliage on the deciduous trees among the evergreens.

Kim is back!

Blogger Kim DuToit, his wife Connie (Mrs. DuToit)and their kids have been traveling in England and old Europe. They are back. Kim posts and is a wee bit cranky (he does that well): bq. Getting Readjusted Sorry about the low amount and poor quality of bloggage today. Woke up at 4am (body says: "Hey! It's 10am, and time for that English breakfast of bacon, eggs, bangers, baked beans and fried tomatoes with toast!"), and have been trying to play catch-up with a backlog nearly a month's news and other people's blogging. bq. Still tired. Not even the giant bowl of Rice Krispies and four cups of coffee have helped. bq. Only one thing to do: time to go to the range. bq. See y'all tomorrow. Heh...

Lunar Eclipse tomorrow

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The always useful Space Weather has the goods on tomorrows Lunar Eclipse. They link to a NASA site for this information: bq. It's a lunar eclipse. Beginning at 9:14 p.m. EDT (6:14 p.m. PDT), the moon will glide through Earth's shadow for more than three hours. Observers on every continent (map) except Australia can see the event: The pale-white moon will turn pumpkin orange as it plunges into shadow, becoming eerie red during totality. We are in the Pacific Northwest and will miss the first part of the eclipse but should see Totality (if the rain-weasels keep the clouds away -- we have been leaving offerings). Times for the Pacific Coast are: Totality begins: 7:23 p.m. Totality ends: 8:45 p.m. Exits Earth's shadow: 9:54 p.m. Check the links for info on your own site.

Kerry football (again)

Swiped from PowerLine:
A true man of the people, a real sportsman. What a maroon...

The explosives that were not there

Kevin at Wizbang links to an article at Captain's Quarters regarding the RDX explosives that mysteriously vanished under the eyes of the USA: (This according to United Nations International Atomic Energy Association director Mohamed El-Baradai) As Kevin says: bq. It's like your mom used to say, "well it didn't just get up and walk away..." From Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters: bq. Insurgents Hauling 380 Tons Of Explosives Not Exactly A Covert Act Unfortunately for the New York Times, no one gave a thought about the logistics of the notion that small bands of insurgents made off with 380 tons of explosives under the noses of the Coalition with no one noticing. CQ reader and retired Army Reserve Captain Ian Dodgson got paid to think about logistics, and he did some "cocktail-napkin" math that escaped the geniuses at the Paper of Record: bq. We're familiar with the NY Times story and the IAEA accusations that the "missing" explosives were looted from the Al-Qaqaa military base due to US negligence in securing the facility. bq. If I were a guerilla "looter" and I was planning such an operation from a military standpoint, here's what the task would require: bq. Assumptions: * Each "looter" could haul comfortably about 25 pounds per trip to a truck. (of course after 12 hours that would require superhuman endurance) I'd allow 5 minutes per round trip to the truck * Work day 12 hours * assume security breaks down 1 week after war starts (that allows 2 weeks before the US troops arrive) * each pickup truck can carry about 1/4 ton of explosives (I did a quick calculation based upon the dimensions and weight of a block of C-4 and the dimensions of an average small pickup) and it takes 15 minutes to either load or unload the truck. * the secure hiding place for 380 tons of explosives is 30 minutes away. bq. Calculations: * 380 tons / [((12hrs/dayX60min/hr) / (5 min per load)) X (25 lbs per load) X 14 days] = 15 loaders X 2 = 30 loaders/unloaders * 30 loaders/unloaders times 200% for breaks, rest, inefficiency, etc. = 60 loaders and unloaders. * 380 tons / [(12hrs/day / 1 hr/round trip,load,unload) X (.25 tons per trip) X 14 days] = 10 trucks and drivers X 1.5 (contingency) = 15 trucks and drivers. * 4 trucks + 10-15 men to supply water, food and other logistical requirements * Total = 19-20 trucks, 90 men working continuously for two weeks to "loot" facility. bq. Bottom line this operation would take the resources of AN ENTIRE COMPANY (approx. 100 men) OVER TWO WEEKS, good Intel to know exactly where the "right" explosives were hidden and a means of breaching huge steel doors and concrete of an ASP. bq. And all of this would have to be done in an area with numerous intel overflights that would be looking for exactly this kind of activity in the combat zone, and not get noticed at all. Like so much of what the New York Times, CBS, and the Kerry campaign feeds us ... it just doesn't add up. Yeah riiighht... Heh...

Great Judge

A Criminal Courts Judge in Texas threw a party for the defendant and then gave them life in prison. CNN/Law Center has the story: bq. A judge threw a party complete with balloons, streamers and a cake to welcome a former fugitive back to her court -- and sentence him to life in prison. bq. "You just made my day when I heard you had finally come home," Criminal Courts Judge Faith Johnson told Billy Wayne Williams, who had been convicted in absentia of aggravated assault after he disappeared a year ago. "We're so excited to see you, we're throwing a party for you." bq. Williams, 53, who has a criminal record dating to the 1980s, was accused of choking his girlfriend until she passed out. He failed to appear for his trial last November and was captured Thursday at a gas station in suburban Arlington. This guy is obviously _not_ Santa Claus and he had jumped bail. The Judge arranged a party for him because it was obvious that he was so very special: bq. Before he was brought into the courtroom on Monday, the judge directed staff members as they placed balloons and streamers around the courtroom. A colorful cake was decorated with his name and one candle to signify the year he spent on the lam. bq. "It seems like everyone wants to have a party, and it's fun for you people, but not for me," Williams told reporters as he was led away in handcuffs. Very cool -- sense of humor and brings the fact home to the prisoner that he was violating the law and that he was not above it.

Hanoi directed Kerry

The other big story of today is this: bq. the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese delegations to the Paris peace talks that year were used as the communications link to direct the activities of Kerry and other antiwar activists who attended. bq. Kerry insists he attended the talks only because he happened to be in France on his honeymoon and maintains he met with both sides. But previously revealed records indicate the future senator made two, and possibly three, trips to Paris to meet with Viet Cong leader Madame Nguyen Thi Binh to promote her plan's demand for U.S. surrender. Emperor Mischa at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler asks: bq. We wonder if Hanoi will extend political asylum to their star player? The Big Trunk at PowerLine: bq. Thomas Lipscomb is an old Timesman who puts his former employer to shame. Lipscomb's latest report is of interest as always. Today the New York Sun carries Lipscomb's "Hanoi approved of role played by anti-war vets." Lipscomb has this to say: bq. Hanoi Approved of Role Played By Anti-War Vets The communist regime in Hanoi monitored closely and looked favorably upon the activities of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War during the period Senator Kerry served most actively as the group's spokesman and a member of its executive committee, two captured Viet Cong documents suggest. bq. The documents - one dubbed a "circular" and the other a "directive" - were captured in 1971 and are part of a trove of material from the war currently stored at the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University at Lubbock. Originally organized by Douglas Pike, a major scholar who is now deceased, the archive contains more than 20 million documents. Many are available online at the Virtual Vietnam Archive and, as the election has heated up, have been the focus of a scramble for insights into Mr. Kerry's anti-war activities. The Circular and the Directive are listed as items numbered 2150901039b and 2150901041 respectively. Their authenticity was confirmed by Stephen Maxner, archivist at the Vietnam Archive. Charles at LGF links to The Winter Soldier website: bq. John Kerry and the VVAW: Hanoi's American Puppets? Newly discovered documents link Vietnam Veterans Against the War to Vietnamese communists bq. Two recently discovered documents captured from the Vietnamese communists during the Vietnam War strongly support the contention that a close link existed between the Hanoi regime and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) while John Kerry served as the group's leading national spokesman. The Winter Soldier has copies of these documents available for viewing on their website (and no, they were not written with Microsoft Word). Meanwhile at Wizbang, Kevin is linking to Art Morre's report in WorldNet Daily: bq. The first documentary evidence that Vietnamese communists were directly steering John Kerry's antiwar group Vietnam Veterans Against the War has been discovered in a U.S. archive, according to a researcher who spoke with WorldNetDaily. bq. One freshly unearthed document, captured by the U.S. from Vietnamese communists in 1971 and later translated, indicates the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese delegations to the Paris peace talks that year were used as the communications link to direct the activities of Kerry and other antiwar activists who attended. Kevin at Wizbang also provides the test and images from the Winter Soldier website in their entirety since the Winter Soldier website is being swamped with traffic as this story gains traction. This is like watching a train-wreck in slow motion -- what was the Democratic Party thinking when they pushed Kerry as their candidate...

R.F.I.D. Tags

I posted a few days ago regarding RFID tags and the fears that some people have regarding remote reading of the tags and the ability for one person or item to be picked up and scanned out of a group. There is a very good mildly technical article on these over at ACM Queue

The unraveling thread...

The reports that the US blundered and let several hundred tons of high explosives disappear is turning could well turn out to be a fraud from Mohammed El Baradei -- the report 'leaked' to the MSM in order to make President Bush look bad. Charles at LGF links to a short blurb from Cliff May at The Corner: bq. BOMB-GATE [Cliff May] Sent to me by a source in the government: �The Iraqi explosives story is a fraud. These weapons were not there when US troops went to this site in 2003. The IAEA and its head, the anti-American Mohammed El Baradei, leaked a false letter on this issue to the media to embarrass the Bush administration. The US is trying to deny El Baradei a second term and we have been on his case for missing the Libyan nuclear weapons program and for weakness on the Iranian nuclear weapons program.� bq. (For the record, I don�t reveal my sources so if that means I end up sharing a cell at Sing-sing with Judy Miller, so be it.) There is a later story at the same website from K. J. Lopez:
"THE SOURCE" [KJL] A reader asks...could a high-profile U.N. official be looking to influence the American election?:
According to the LA Times account of the evolution of the story, the "source" was working with CBS News for a while, then switched to the NY Times (presumably because it was a more prestigeous channel). Since the Times' ostensible news hook was the letter from El Baradei to the Security Council, the only way a source could have been working in advance with CBS and NYTimes was if the source was very close to El Baradei, and able to influence the timing of the release of the letter. Who more likely than El Baradei himself, who apparently has a grudge against Bush?
Wretchard at The Belmont Club links to the story of some embedded NBC reporters traveling with the 101st Airborne:
That Missing RDX NBC reporters embedded with the 101st Airborne are questioning the New York Times report which suggests that US custodial incompetence was responsible for the loss of RDX explosive.
NBC News: Miklaszewski: �April 10, 2003, only three weeks into the war, NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army's 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qaeda weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing. The U.S. troops did find large stockpiles of more conventional weapons, but no HMX or RDX, so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988, and can be used to trigger a nuclear weapon. In a letter this month, the Iraqi interim government told the International Atomic Energy Agency the high explosives were lost to theft and looting due to lack of security. Critics claim there were simply not enough U.S. troops to guard hundreds of weapons stockpiles, weapons now being used by insurgents and terrorists to wage a guerrilla war in Iraq.� (NBC�s �Nightly News,� 10/25/04)
Wretchard gives an interesting analysis and concludes with this (emphasis Wretchard's) bq. The account above shows that the RDX explosive was already gone by the time US forces arrived. Although one may retrospectively find some fault with OIF order of battle, most of the damage had already been inflicted by the dilatory tactics of America's allies which allowed Saddam the time and space -- nearly half a year and undisturbed access to Syria -- necessary to prepare his resistance, transfer money abroad and disperse explosives (as confirmed first hand by reporters). Although it is both desirable and necessary to criticize the mistakes attendant to OIF, much of the really "criminal" neglect may be laid on the diplomatic failure which gave the wily enemy this invaluable opportunity. The price of passing the "Global Test" was very high; and having been gypped once, there are some who are still eager to be taken to the cleaners again. And this story will get featured in the Main-Stream Media? listening... crickets... UPDATE: The Big Trunk at PowerLine is doing their usual excellent reporting on this story too.

Light blogging the next couple of days.

Jen's Mom and Dad are up visiting for a week so blogging will be a bit on the light side. It's fun having them up here -- they are farmers and this is the first time they have visited ours.

Kerry speaking

Roger L. Simon has a fun article on the question of Intelligence Quotients for Kerry and Bush. Roger links to this article in the NY Times: bq. Secret Weapon for Bush? During the last presidential campaign Mr. Sailer estimated from Mr. Bush's SAT score (1206) that his I.Q. was in the mid-120's... bq. Mr. Kerry's SAT score is not known, but now Mr. Sailer has done a comparison of the intelligence tests in the candidates' military records. They are not formal I.Q. tests, but Mr. Sailer says they are similar enough to make reasonable extrapolations. bq. Mr. Bush's score on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test at age 22 again suggests that his I.Q was the mid-120's, putting Mr. Bush in about the 95th percentile of the population, according to Mr. Sailer. Mr. Kerry's I.Q. was about 120, in the 91st percentile, according to Mr. Sailer's extrapolation of his score at age 22 on the Navy Officer Qualification Test. And this wonderful quote from Linda Gottfredson, an I.Q. expert at the University of Delaware: bq. ...she was not surprised at the results or that so many people had assumed that Mr. Kerry was smarter. "People will often be misled into thinking someone is brighter if he says something complicated they can't understand" The interesting link is from one of Roger's commenters who posted a link to this article at SLATE Magazine: bq. Since the final presidential debate, John Kerry has traveled around the country delivering a series of speeches that his campaign calls his "closing argument." The topics vary, but the theme is always the same, the "Fresh Start for America": Friday in Milwaukee, a "fresh start" for jobs; Monday in Tampa, a "fresh start" for health care; Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., a "fresh start" for fiscal responsibility and Social Security. The speeches are supposed to convince Americans of Kerry's fitness for the presidency, but a side effect has been to demonstrate how inept he is at delivering prepared remarks. bq. The campaign gives reporters the text of each of Kerry's speeches "as prepared for delivery,"... Looking at one speech: bq. Kerry's health-care speech Monday in Tampa was a classic of the form. The written text contained a little more than 2,500 words. By the time he was finished, Kerry had spoken nearly 5,300 words�not including his introductory remarks and thank-yous to local politicians�more than doubling the verbiage. Pity his speechwriters when you read the highlights below. It's not their fault. One example: bq. Kerry's Script: I will work with Republicans and Democrats on this health care plan, and we will pass it. bq. Actual Kerry: I will work with Republicans and Democrats across the aisle, openly, not with an ideological, driven, fixed, rigid concept, but much like Franklin Roosevelt said, I don't care whether a good idea is a Republican idea or a Democrat idea. I just care whether or not it's gonna work for Americans and help make our country stronger. And we will pass this bill. I'll tell you a little bit about it in a minute, and I'll tell you why we'll pass it, because it's different from anything we've ever done before, despite what the Republicans want to try to tell you. One almost wants to pity the guy he is so clueless...

The Police endorsement of J. F. Kerry

Presidential wannabe J. F. Kerry has said from time to time that he had the endorsement of Police Officers. On October 14th, the tall dog spoke -- link from The Intergalactic Capitalist: bq. Police Call on Kerry to Stop Misrepresenting Their Support Today Chuck Canterbury, the President of the nation's largest police labor organization, called on John Kerry to stop making misleading statements regarding his support from the law enforcement community. Both on the campaign trail and in Wednesday night's debate in Tempe, AZ, Senator Kerry has alluded that he has the support of the majority of these brave men and women. bq. "As the elected leader of the largest organization representing America's Federal, State and local law enforcement officers, I believe it's important to point out yet again that we do not support his candidacy for President," Canterbury said. "And to be perfectly frank, the groups which do support him actually share the same membership rolls and, taken together, probably comprise less than one-quarter of our nation's police officers." bq. Canterbury further noted that unlike the organizations which Senator Kerry touts, F.O.P. members as a whole decided that the Fraternal Order of Police would endorse the reelection of President George W. Bush. They based their decision, he said, on the record of the Bush Administration in supporting America's first responders�-including helping to secure passage earlier this year of H.R. 218, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, the organization's top legislative priority. Bush also successfully fought to greatly enhance the benefits for the families of officers killed in the line of duty. Starbanker links to the Press Release from Grand Lodge of the F. O. P. Another lie?


Found this on Google News - the link is to an NY Times article: bq. Ambush Kills 50 Iraq Soldiers Execution Style In the deadliest ambush of the insurgency, guerrillas dressed as policemen killed about 50 freshly trained Iraqi soldiers in remote eastern Iraq as the unarmed soldiers were heading home on leave Saturday evening, Iraqi officials said Sunday. bq. The soldiers were taken from three minibuses at a fake checkpoint about 95 miles northeast of Baghdad, near the Iranian border in restive Diyala Province, police officials said. They were told or forced to lie down on the ground in rows, then killed mostly with bullets to their heads. bq. The ambush, extraordinarily ambitious in scope and violence, showed a high level of organization, and the insurgents probably had inside information on the travel plans of the soldiers, who were members of the nascent Iraqi National Guard, officials said. The left-handed pig-dog in question? bq. On Sunday night, a group called Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the new name of the militant band led by Jordanian fighter Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility in an Internet posting. The good news is that the gloves are slooooly coming off and when the Iraqi forces get pissed enough, a reign of hellfire will visit Zarqawi and he will spend his last few minutes talking to Iblis The Thrice-Damned, the cacodemon charged with conscripting new arrivals into the ranks of the forgotten in Hell. Then the fun begins

The Big Kerry Story

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is out in the Washington Times. Kerry Lied. bq. At the second presidential debate earlier this month, Mr. Kerry said he was more attuned to international concerns on Iraq than President Bush, citing his meeting with the entire Security Council. bq. "This president hasn't listened. I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them, to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable," Mr. Kerry said of the Iraqi dictator. bq. Speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in December 2003, Mr. Kerry explained that he understood the "real readiness" of the United Nations to "take this seriously" because he met "with the entire Security Council, and we spent a couple of hours talking about what they saw as the path to a united front in order to be able to deal with Saddam Hussein." Emphasis mine. According to the WaTimes article: bq. But of the five ambassadors on the Security Council in 2002 who were reached directly for comment, four said they had never met Mr. Kerry. The four also said that no one who worked for their countries' U.N. missions had met with Mr. Kerry either. The article goes into some detail, the reporter (Joel Mowbray) spent some time tracking down lots of people and they all say the same thing. No meeting. The only person who said differently was from -- guess what country -- FRANCE bq. Jean-David Levitte, then France's chief U.N. representative and now his country's ambassador to the United States, said through a spokeswoman that Mr. Kerry did not have a single group meeting as the senator has described, but rather several one-on-one or small-group encounters. But no other members even had a one-on-one chat. What a maroon... I am glad that the mask is slipping from the face of the current democratic party and the world is seeing it for what it is. Maybe this will inspire someone like Zell Miller to clean house and get us people like the other J.F.K. and F. D. Roosevelt. Other bloggers are carrying this story: Dan at The Carnivorous Conservative: bq. More important than some might think? Wizbang, among others by now, I'm sure, have the breaking Kerry story: bq. I'm seeing some reactions to this already and I would suggest we stifle the yawns and not "misunderestimate" this story. Kerry's attacks on Bush have been what? "He lied." He said at that debate, "America needs a President who tells the truth." It is the final week of a tough campaign and Kerry needs to be moving forward and fast. He does not need people asking the questions: "Did you lie?" or, "Why did you lie?" Yes, politicians lie all the time. But, if this story is true, not usually so blatantly in a nationally televised event. This type of story now, which may only be stage setting for other breaking news, should not be too quickly dismissed. bq. Remember, this is on tape. If this gets some traction, the networks will be playing footage from the debate and asking questions that go to the heart of Kerry's character at a time when he can least afford them. It also mitigates Kerry's main attack on Bush's honesty. If this drives up Kerry's negatives even just a few ticks, it will likely have an impact in a tightly fought campaign. And Cheney, perhaps even Bush can trumpet this on the stump making it news, even if no one else does at first. Over at The Truth Laid Bear: bq. Without lapsing into blogger triumphalism, countering the mainstream media's tendency to ignore Kerry's flaws is, after all, what we're here for, isn't it? (Or Bush's flaws, for that matter, but others have that beat covered pretty well.) bq. I'll admit, my first reaction was a bit of a yawn myself. But then I thought about why that was, and I think it comes down to the fact that I expect Kerry to exaggerate and outright lie when it serves his political purpose of the moment. But the fact that he's a serial exaggerator is exactly why this story should receive attention, not why it should be shrugged off. bq. So let's not treat Mr. Kerry with the "soft bigotry of low expectations" that I'm sure his squishly little liberal heart would find so offensive. The standard is a simple one: tell the damned truth. It would appear he didn't in a crucial discussion of one of the most critical policy decisions made in years. The two blogs from whom I got the initial heads up: TheBigTrunk at PowerLine has a short entry with a link: bq. John's bogus (UN) journey The Washington Times has posted Joel Mowbray's story that Rocket Man teased here yesterday: "Security Council members deny meeting Kerry." Bill at INDC Journal has more: bq. All politicians lie, right? Not quite like this - watch the video. bq. Kerry manufactured meetings out of whole cloth and then presented them as justification for a deadly serious contradiction of George Bush's decision to go to war. bq. He did something very similar when he previously recited a false story on the Senate floor about an illegal mission into Cambodia, using it as a basis for criticism of Ronald Reagan's intent to provide aid to the Nicaraguan contras. bq. These aren't exaggerations. This isn't a case of lying about sex. It's a story about a man that's pathological enough to look a nationally televised audience of 55 million people in the eye and tell them a manufactured story, and then use it to propose a conclusion about a deadly serious matter of foreign policy. bq. This isn't a misused accusation that "KERRY LIED!" by virtue of his previous declarative statements about the "unacceptable threat" from Iraq's WMD programs. This isn't akin to Lawrence O'Donnell's tirade of, "LIAR LIAR LIAR," about items deemed unworthy of public debate. bq. This is just a "lie." Take it for what its worth.

Comment Spam

One of the joys of running a blog is that people will add comments to the posts. One of the not-so-joyous aspects is that these comments can be advertisements for commercial websites. These people are either getting people to read the comment or are jockeying for a high position in Google's Page Ranking System (for a given search term, the more web sites that mention that term and have a given URL, the higher that URL gets ranked). One of the more prolific (on this site) uses a name of Bob(and some number) at a phony Yahoo email account. Michelle at A Small Victory also has problems and delivered a fine rant on the topic: bq. An open letter to my most prolific comment spammer Dear bob (this could go to angrry girl as well): bq. I was thinking about both of you as I deleted the comment spam you left on my site during the night and I got to wondering about your chosen career path. bq. Let's say you make ten cents for every spam comment you leave. Does your boss know that just minutes, even seconds, after you leave that comment, it's deleted? I'm thinking that if the company you work for checks on your work at all, they would see no evident of the hard, long hours you put it informing the masses about granny porn and pocket bikes and you'd end up with a whopping paycheck of about thirty cents. Is it worth it? bq. And there's the other thing. See, no one really reads those old post you're leaving the comments on. Oh, I know that you're only doing it so your boss's website gets the high Google ranking, but doesn't it ever make you feel just a little bit sad that you're spending the time putting in these well thought out comments (great site! thanks for the info!) and the 47 links to dogs getting it on with grade D porn stars and no one is reading them? Does it make you feel empty inside? Just a little? bq. I was also thinking about your social lives. Bob, what do you say to a pretty young thing that you're trying to pick up in the corner bar after a hard day's work spamming blogs? When she asks you what you do for a living, do you fib just a bit and tell her that you're a publicist or a promoter? What if you get her in bed and she ends up falling in love with you (thanks to the free viagra you get from your company) and she wants to know more about your job? I can imagine the look on her face when you tell her that the publicizing you do consists of trolling weblog comments with promotions for lactating shemale porn. Unless, of course, the girl you end up bedding goes by the name of angrrygirl. Or she's really a lactating shemale. Then you're golden. bq. I suppose it takes all types to keep our economy going. But it can't do much for your self-esteem to know that you're among the bottom feeders of the workforce, right alongside telemarketers and bill collectors. bq. I almost feel sorry for you, that you were forced to choose such a disgraceful career path, but I have to wonder what led you to this juncture. There's a root cause for everything, bob, and someday we'll get to the bottom of why you think comment spammer is a good job choice. And maybe someday, we'll figure out why the people who pay you think it is worth doing so, when everything they pay you for disappears so quickly. Or why they think that people in the market for a second mortgage are going to use the first company that pops up on Excite to get one. bq. Well, if you're ever in town, let me know. I'd like to buy you a drink. Hah, no. What I'd like to do is hog tie you and hang you from my ceiling. Then, I'd invite every spam weary blogger over for drinks and, when they're drunk enough, I'll pass out sticks and yell Pinata time! bq. Don't say you didn't have that coming, bob. I know that deep down inside, you feel shame. Make the break today. Leave the seedy world of comment spam behind. Stop making the baby jesus cry. bq. Sincerely, M Heh... Talk about speaking Truth to Power

Kerry's 22 questions

Charles at Little Green Footballs links to an interesting article by Bob Woodward. From Mr. Woodward's article: bq. The role of commander in chief is clearly one of the president's most important jobs. But a presidential campaign provides voters little opportunity to evaluate how a candidate would handle that role, particularly if the candidate isn't an incumbent. bq. At the end of last year, during 3 1/2 hours of interviews over two days, I asked President Bush hundreds of detailed questions about his actions and decisions during the 16-month run-up to the war in Iraq. His answers were published in my book "Plan of Attack." Beginning on June 16, I had discussions and meetings with Sen. John Kerry's senior foreign policy, communications and political advisers about interviewing the senator to find out how he might have acted on Iraq -- to ask him what he would have done at certain key points. Senior Kerry advisers initially seemed positive about such an interview. One aide told me, "The short answer is yes, it's going to happen." bq. In August, I was talking with Kerry's scheduler about possible dates. On Sept. 1, Kerry began his intense criticism of Bush's decisions in the Iraq war, saying "I would've done almost everything differently." A few days later, I provided the Kerry campaign with a list of 22 possible questions based entirely on Bush's actions leading up to the war and how Kerry might have responded in the same situations. The senator and his campaign have since decided not to do the interview, though his advisers say Kerry would have strong and compelling answers. In other words, Kerry weaseled out of the interview because he didn't like the questions he might be asked... Woodward's article then goes on with the 22 questions. Some interesting ones and ones that I would like to hear Kerry's answer on. I have three questions of my own: * Why is it that Kerry will not meet privately with reporters? * Why hasn't Kerry signed the Standard Form 180 and released his military records into the public domain? * What is his plan for foreign policy and for dealing with terrorists? I would like to know these.

Separation of Church and State

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Hindrocket at PowerLine links to a photo of curchgoers listening to Ted Kennedy 'preaching' at the Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia. According to the AP report, Kennedy "urged the congregation to vote for Kerry." Here is an AP photo of the congregation:
Hindrocket then offers the following comment: bq. Is it legal to hold political rallies in churches? Not if the church wants to maintain its tax-exempt status. But somehow the rules don't apply when the preacher is a Democrat. All those worries about how dangerous it is to mingle religion and politics don't apply, either. So true... Part of getting the tax-exempt status is that you cannot do politics of any kind. You are a non-profit but you cannot campaign for someone or promote a political candidate. If the Republicans did this, the MSM (Main Stream Media) would be all over them. Dem's do a little 'sermon' - not a peep...

More Guardian lunacy

Michael Jericho at A Western Heart links to the latest bit of Guardian ass-hattery -- they are sugesting that William Shakespeare was a Muslim. Michael: bq. The Guardian is staffed by lunatics: The Guardian: bq. The influence of William Shakespeare on western culture has made him arguably Britain's greatest export. Now it is being claimed that his work resembles the teachings of the Islamic Sufi sect. bq. The argument will be put forward next month at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. It comes as part of a week of events focusing on Islam to address concerns raised by the 'war on terror' and improve understanding of the links between Islam and British culture. Michael again: bq. Yes, they are similar, in the precisely the same way that a gutteral belch eerily echoes the Arias of Verdi. That comparison was absurd, and I need not criticize it further. I will point out, however, that the earlier comparison - to King Lear - is likewise spurious, as it is well known that Shakespeare took that story from a far older Celtic story about an ancient British King. One who pre-dated Islam by (at least) a few hundred years. bq. Of course, there is no arguing against the fact that this is how Muslims would like us to try to "improve understanding of the links between Islam and British culture". By handing over to them all credit for anything good that the evil Britons - and indeed evil Europeans in general - ever accomplished. Sheesh!!!

You gave us Bush

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A good response to the Guardian's recent editorial was given by Sir Banagor. The link to the Guardian editorial now returns their retraction and apology, here is the most offending paragraph: bq. On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you? I put the entire editorial at the bottom of this link -- click on the Continue reading "You gave us Bush" link to view it in it's entirety. Sir Banagor points to the Editorial link (now returning the retraction) and says: bq. I imagine that, within a few days, there might be retractions after a firestorm, all making their way around the Internet blogs and, later, news shows on TV. bq. But that isn�t what I will write about on this particular subject. The fact that somebody at The Guardian wants Bush dead is of absolutely no surprise; that it was put in print is perhaps a little more surprising, but not entirely shocking. bq. What I�m going to write about, briefly, is how the Eurabians gave us Bush and Sharon. bq. I don�t really have to explain it much at all to those who are already voting for Bush. But maybe some people on the other side might take note of their own little lectures about root causes. Heh... He continues with: bq. Just like the Left argues that terrorism doesn�t come out of a vacuum, neither do Bush and Sharon. They exist and have power for a reason: to kill terrorists. bq. If somebody were to argue that this is a simplistic reason, I should remind them that it is no less simplistic than saying poverty and ignorance cause terrorism. The only difference is that my simple argument is true, and theirs is not; else we would be subject to half a billion terrorists coming from central Africa, and such is obviously not the case. bq. No, terrorism is caused by hatred which can have absolutely nothing to do with ignorance and poverty. Many of the 19 hijackers from 9/11 were fairly well-to-do, and they had lived in Europe and the States (so you can�t say that they weren�t exposed to Western culture). Obviously they were never so poor as to need to beg on the street for their daily bread. bq. Just as their terrorism comes out of a deep hatred for our world, Bush and Sharon come out of a deep response to that hatred. There's a good bit more - click on the link to read the entire thing. Sir Banagor is a good writer.

Flu shots and Yasser Arafat

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Roger L. Simon has the beginnings of a nice lefty rant on the overall health of palestinian Terrorist Yasser Arafat and his current ailment -- he is currently suffering from a bad case of the flu: bq. It's undoubtedly Bush's fault... ... that Arafat didn't get his flu shot and has contracted the flu... at least that's how Tunisian doctors given permission to treat the Chairman by the Israelis have described Arafat's illness. Debka says it's more serious matters (gall stones, recurring acute intestinal infection) but implies this is one just one more bump to be exploited by the Grand Terrorist in his seemingly unending quest to ruin the lives of his own people. To refresh people's memory -- Arafat is Egyptian, he was trained by Moscow's finest and installed by them to counter the growing "Western" influence of the democracy in Israel. There never was a 'palestinian' state -- the people who had the land in the 1930's were the Ottoman Turks.

Biking through Pennsylvania

An interesting story of recycled public works and their current use. The NY Times has an article on an abandoned section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike being turned into bike paths. bq. Biking Dark Tunnels and Wide Lanes on a Lost Highway Pulling into the parking lot of the Ramada Inn in Breezewood, Pa., you'd never suspect it was the gateway to a lost bit of highway history. At one end of a garish commercial strip where the Pennsylvania Turnpike meets the main road south toward Washington, the hotel resembles roadside America at its most generic. But around in back, a rutted dirt road leads away from the gravel parking lot and down a short embankment to an old highway, its concrete surface a kind of mid-20th-century matte gray. bq. Four lanes wide, carefully engineered and undisturbed by driveways or public access roads, it stretches eastward, utterly deserted, for miles. bq. What a place for a bike ride. bq. And it gets better. Just down the road, the pavement, which used to be a part of the turnpike, literally heads into the Allegheny Mountains, twice plunging into the eerie darkness of a hillside. "It's unreal to go through a milelong dark tunnel on a bike," said Matt Imler, who speaks from experience. He is an assistant manager at a Breezewood outdoor sports outfitter and one of the adventurous cyclists who take the tunnels as a challenge. Very cool! I grew up in Pennsylvania and used to ride on the Penn Turnpike a lot -- it was one of the first real models for the current Interstate Highway System. Dwight Delano Eisenhower as President laid down the framework to expand this to a national system (even in Hawai'i) Until a year ago, Jen and I used to live in Seattle and there, people have been taking over abandoned railroad rights of way and converting them to bike paths -- the best known one of this area is the BGT - Burke-Gilman Trail Hat tip to dangerousmeta

Kerry's Band of Brothers

Here are his real brothers from ComeTogetherUSA:
Hat tip -- Charles at LGF:

NeoCommunists and America

Geoffrey at Dog Snot Diaries is in an excellent mood today and delivers a fine rant on the current left and their thoughts on America and their plans for the future: bq. Liberals hate America. They really do. I don't mean they hate the land itself or the people, I mean they hate the concept of America. The liberals of today aren't even true liberals. They're closer to communists. In fact, they're the new communists of this millenium. NeoComs. bq. NeoComs love the nanny state. They think the citizenry is too stupid to think or take care of itself. Hanoi John is King of the NeoComs. You're too stupid to plan your own retirement. You're too stupid to get health care. You're too stupid to improve your lot in life. The government has to do it for you. NeoComs need the government to provide health care for everyone, and make the top earners pay for the dregs. bq. NeoComs hate freedom. They want to tell you what you can and can't see because you're too stupid to understand things. Obscenities on tv? Fine. Not a problem. Michael Moore's bloated lies on the big screen and in schools? Excellent! That's education. Stolen Honor or Swift Vet ads? No Way! Lawsuits are filed and threats are made. Freedom of Speech only applies to NeoComs, not the citizenry. bq. That carries over into their personal lives. NeoComs are violent. Extremely violent. They think it's justified. Carry a sign to a public Hanoi John NeoCom rally, you'll get punched in the face. That's almost guaranteed. To them it's justified. In their warped minds they are right, and anyone who is wrong should shut the fuck up. When they are denied entrance to private GOP rallies, they cry about the loss of their rights. They create conflict in hopes they get arrested and can publicize it. The man is keeping them down. bq. NeoComs believe the end justifies the means. If they have to pollute the elections to win, they will. They've already launched their legal eagles and given them instructions to make waves even if there were no wrong-doings. It doesn't matter to them. Perverting our system is fine, as long as they get the desired result. bq. NeoComs believe they were fucked by "the system". They spread that myth because their existence depends on it being believed. It's not a single mom's (with 4 kids and another on the way) fault she's flat broke. It's the system's. She was fucked by the system, and needs to collect what's owed to her. Don't worry, the NeoCom state will take care of her. Where will they get the money? From those that actually received an education, worked, and MADE something of themselves. The NeoComs love talking about the tax cuts for the wealthy. The wealthy received 95% of Bush's tax cut. No shit. They pay 98% of the taxes. Here's an idea, flat tax or put a tax on goods and services. You think the wealthy use 98% of the natinon's goods and services? Fuck no. You end of the month check collectors do. bq. The NeoCom Nanny State. Hanoi John gives you clothes, food, and healthcare. In return, he robs from the rich. He tells you what to watch, say, and think. Our fate and world involvement is decided by our enemy. We're responsible for passing the "Global Test". bq. This election is important. Check out Geoffrey's comments section too -- there is a NeoCom posting under the name Neo who bloviates and then gets taken down and Neo bloviates some more. Jen hit it on the head when she said that it's like watching a train wreck... Heh...

News item this monday???

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Two links from two blogs with an interesting buzz... From INDC Journal: bq. Cryptic Alert Speaking of "lies," keep an eye on the front page of the Washington Times this coming Monday. bq. UPDATE: It's something that the Kerry campaign will be forced to address regarding a previous criticism of Bush's foreign policy. That's all that I'm saying. And from Power Line: bq. We just Got a Tip... ...that a major newspaper will break a front-page story Monday morning that could create a serious problem for the Kerry campaign. We don't yet have any details, but it relates to a foreign policy issue, and it will call into question--amazingly enough--John Kerry's truthfulness. bq. We'll watch for the story Sunday night and post it as soon as it becomes available. I love this election. The mask has really slipped from the face of the Democratic Party...

RFID tags in US Passports

Generally, I do not have a problem with RFID tags - the claims that these can be read remotely are laughable to anyone with a basic knowledge of electronics. You need to be within a foot or so and other tags cannot be near (they use the same power frequency and re-transmit their data on the same data frequency -- two RFID chips within range of the transceiver would jam each other) McArtuhur at The Misanthropist links to an article at Schneier on Security which outlines a very good security concern. I will take exception to one point though and mention something else: bq. "...These chips are like smart cards, but they can be read from a distance. A receiving device can "talk" to the chip remotely, without any need for physical contact, and get whatever information is on it. Passport officials envision being able to download the information on the chip simply by bringing it within a few centimeters of an electronic reader. bq. Unfortunately, RFID chips can be read by any reader, not just the ones at passport control. The upshot of this is that travelers carrying around RFID passports are broadcasting their identity. bq. Think about what that means for a minute. It means that passport holders are continuously broadcasting their name, nationality, age, address and whatever else is on the RFID chip. It means that anyone with a reader can learn that information, without the passport holder's knowledge or consent. It means that pickpockets, kidnappers and terrorists can easily--and surreptitiously--pick Americans or nationals of other participating countries out of a crowd. bq. It is a clear threat to both privacy and personal safety, and quite simply, that is why it is bad idea. Proponents of the system claim that the chips can be read only from within a distance of a few centimeters, so there is no potential for abuse. This is a spectacularly na�ve claim. All wireless protocols can work at much longer ranges than specified. In tests, RFID chips have been read by receivers 20 meters away. Improvements in technology are inevitable..." First, a bit about RFID technology. There is no power source in the chip itself. It has what amounts to a simple crystal set tuned to one frequency and it receives this radio frequency (the "RF" in RFID), converts it to electricity and uses that to power the other side of the RFID chip. The "ID" side of the chip uses the small amount of juice to send a weak signal. It is transmitted in radio frequency domain but consists of binary data -- an identification or ID. I could certainly dummy up something very easily and cheaply to get a valid signal from an RFID chip that was 20 meters away -- as long as no other chip was closer and I would have to use a large (meter long) antenna or flood the area with a _lot_ of RF energy. The trope that technology is getting better ignores the fact that the RFID chip _has_ to get enough received power to function and this requires a large antenna (focused on the chip in question) or a huge unidirectional broadcast of RF energy (and only able to receive the data from one RFID chip). The point I take exception to is that very little data is stored on the chip. What is usually the case is that the chip has a unique 'number' stored on it and that number becomes a new identity number. The link to your personal data happens when this one number is entered into the agency's computer database and that number is used to call up your file. More data equals more power and we are dealing with a small and thin source here. The idea that someone 'cruising the airport' and scanning people's passports and 'getting their identity' is bogus unless they already had a link into the immigration computer in which case, they would not need to hack the RFID chip at all, they could do this from the safety of their desktops and not bother lurking in airports with large Yagi antennas and strange boxes attached to car batteries...

Penguins at the North Pole

Stolen shamelessly from Denny Wilson at Grouchy Old Cripple:
Why there are no penguins at the North Pole

This is cute

A great sendup of F 9/11 -- it's set in the time of the Lord of the Rings. The Michael Medved Fan weblog links to Fellowship 9/11: bq. A searing examination of the Aragorn administration's actions in the wake of the tragic events at Helms Deep. With his characteristic humor and dogged commitment to uncovering - or if necessary fabricating - the facts, Moore considers the reign of the son of Arathorn and where it has led us. bq. He looks at how - and why - Aragorn and his inner circle avoided pursuing the Saruman connection to Helms Deep, despite the fact that 9 out of every 10 Orcs that attacked the castle were actually Uruk-hai who were spawned in and financed by Isengard. The film (just under 15 minutes) is available for free viewing at IFILM.COM Heh...

Kerry's false plan for peace

Charles at LGF links to this editorial from Charles Krauthammer: bq. Kerry's false plan for peace The centerpiece of John Kerry's foreign policy is to rebuild our alliances so the world will come to our help, especially in Iraq. He repeats this endlessly because it is the only foreign policy idea he has to offer. The problem for Kerry is that he cannot explain just how he proposes to do this. bq. The mere appearance of a Europhilic fresh face is unlikely to so thrill the allies that French troops will start marching down the streets of Baghdad. Therefore, you can believe that Kerry is just being cynical in pledging to bring in the allies, knowing that he has no way of doing it. Or you can believe, as I do, that he means it. bq. He really does want to end America's isolation. And he has an idea how to do it. For understandable reasons, however, he will not explain how on the eve of an election. bq. Think about it: What do the Europeans and the Arab states endlessly rail about in the Middle East? What (outside Iraq) is the area of most friction with U.S. policy? What single issue most isolates America from the overwhelming majority of countries at the United Nations? bq. The answer is obvious: Israel. Charles then talks about Old Europe and the Middle East's reaction to President Bush's Israel policy: bq. Why are they so upset with Bush's Israeli policy? After all, isn't Bush the first president ever to commit the United States to an independent Palestinian state? Bush's sin is that he also insists the Palestinians genuinely accept Israel and replace the corrupt, dictatorial terrorist leadership of Yasser Arafat. bq. To re-engage in a ``peace process'' while the violence continues and while Arafat is in charge is to undo the Bush Middle East policy. That policy -- isolating Arafat, supporting Israel's right to defend itself both by attacking the terror infrastructure and by building a defensive fence -- has succeeded in defeating the intifada and producing an astonishing 84 percent reduction in innocent Israeli casualties. Good stuff -- Krauthammer has called it perfectly -- this is the thing that Kerry is relying on and is afraid to speak before the election. As some of Charles commenters brought up, this policy was very much in effect during the 2000 Camp David Accords: bq. ...the concessions offered by Barak included a complete Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the creation of a palestinian state, palestinian control of the "Old City" in Jerusalem, and control of the Temple Mount. Basically, everything that demon could have asked for, they were offering. But instead of accepting it--or even making a counter-offer--he walked away from the table. To quote my wife - if they want a state, give them one... Plasma!

Mount St. Helens

Someone we know works at Advanced Ceramics Research�s. One of their products is an UAV -- Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle named the Silver Fox. These are being deployed over Mount St. Helens to observe activity inside the crater. Some very cool images are coming back:

A course on Politics

Found this at one of the email lists I'm on: Short course on politics DEMOCRAT You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful. You vote people into office that put a tax on your cows, forcing you to sell one to raise money to pay the tax. The people you voted for then take the tax money, buy a cow and give it to your neighbor. You feel righteous. Barbara Streisand sings for you. SOCIALIST You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor. You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow. REPUBLICAN You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So? COMMUNIST You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk. You wait in line for hours to get it.It is expensive and sour. CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows. DEMOCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow, which was a gift from your government. BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE You have two cows. The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, and then pours the milk down the drain. AMERICAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses. Your stock goes up. FRENCH CORPORATION You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows. You go to lunch. Life is good. JAPANESE CORPORATION You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains. Most are at the top of their class at cow school. GERMAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour. Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year. ITALIAN CORPORATION You have two cows but you don't know where they are. While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman. You break for lunch. Life is good. RUSSIAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You have some vodka. You count them and learn you have five cows. You have some more vodka. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have. TALIBAN CORPORATION You have all the cows in Afghanistan, which are two. You can't milk them because you can't touch the cows' private parts. Then you kill them and claim a US bomb blew them up while they were in the hospital. POLISH CORPORATION You have two bulls. Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk them. FLORIDA CORPORATION You have a black cow and a brown cow. Everyone votes for the best looking one. Some of the people who like the brown one best, vote for the black one. Some people vote for both. Some people vote for neither.Some people can't figure out how to vote at all. Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which is the best-looking one.

Great skit on Information Technology

I do not know how long it will be available at this site but there is a great Conan O'Brien skit on one person's search for IT support available here Heh...

A replacement for Kofi Annan

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Corrupt United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan's term of office ends early 2006 (thank God for small favors). Guess who is jockeying for the slot when it becomes available? From Interest Alert comes this story suitable for the upcoming Halloween season (or Samhain if you prefer...): bq. Analysis: Clinton eyes U.N. post Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has set his sights on becoming U.N. secretary-general. A Clinton insider and a senior U.N. source have told United Press International the 56-year-old former president would like to be named leader of the world body when Kofi Annan's term ends early in 2006. bq. "He definitely wants to do it," the Clinton insider said this week. bq. A Clinton candidacy is likely to receive overwhelming support from U.N. member states, particularly the Third World. Diplomats in Washington say Clinton would galvanize the United Nations and give an enormous boost to its prestige. But the former president's hopes hang on a crucial question that will not be addressed until after the presidential elections: can he get the support of the U.S. government -- a prerequisite for nomination? bq. The political wisdom is that a second George W. Bush presidency would cut him off at the pass. The notion of Clinton looming large in the international arena from "the glass tower" in New York would be intolerable to the Bush White House. If Democratic candidate, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., wins on Nov. 2 the prospect of Clinton as secretary-general won't exactly be welcome either, but Kerry would find it much harder -- if not impossible -- to go against it. Considering how ineffective the U.N. is now, this might actually be a good place for him to strut on the world stage (such as it is), cozy up to all those cute foreign interns and generally stay out of harms way.

The French socialist paradise

A wonderful set of links at Pave France. Damien asks the question: "What do you get when your government promises to coddle you for life?" Well, you get the mess that is the French socialist paradise... bq. France must learn to work harder and rein in its "excessive" public sector if it is not to sink into irreversible economic decline, a committee of experts led by former IMF chief Michel Camdessus warned the government Tuesday. bq. Commissioned by Finance Minister and presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy, the report [Le sursaut - Vers une nouvelle croissance pour la France (The Start - Toward a New Growth for France)] painted a depressing picture of a country hampered by unemployment of nearly 10 percent, declining productivity and investment and permanently low growth rates. bq. It warned that public debt, which has tripled as a proportion of gross domestic product in the past 20 years, as well as heavy public spending, were jeopardising the state's capacity to cope with future problems. bq. "A serious syndrome of denial is setting in which curbs all but superficial reforms. But the fact is we are indeed stalling, and if nothing is done to overcome the pernicious phenomena which we have observed, in about 10 years it will lead to an irretrievable situation," the report said. Damien then comments: bq. Then the usual complaints, the usual characters. France's most noisy -- if not most powerful -- union, CGT, begins its press comments on the report thusly: "Yes, France and Europe have an urgent need for a new growth." And there is where agreement ends. CGT contends the report, rife with contradictions and light on substantive change, still manages to attack every fundamental right of the working stiff. "Monsieur Camdessus qui opte pour des propositions lib�rales, se trompe vraiment de chemin." Mr. Camdessus's liberal proposals are the wrong way. The right way apparently being more of the CGT same-old-same-old. Going down the tubes -- wonder if we will have to bail them out again...

MP3's on their way out?

Slashdot links to an interesting article at MSN Tech and Gadgets: bq. MP3 losing steam? After years as the unrivaled king of the digital-media world, the venerable MP3 music format is losing ground to rival technologies from Microsoft and Apple Computer. bq. MP3 is still the overwhelming favorite of file traders, but the once-universal format's popularity has been going quietly but steadily down in personal music collections for the last year. According to researchers at The NPD Group's MusicWatch Digital who track the contents of people's hard drives, the percentage of MP3-formatted songs in digital-music collections has slid steadily in recent months, down to about 72 percent of people's collections from about 82 percent a year ago. And meanwhile, some of the bigger companies are finally getting around to adding native MP3 support to their products: bq. Some big companies that have resisted this notion for years are finally adapting to the MP3 world. bq. Last month, Sony confirmed that it would at last let its digital music players support the MP3 format directly, instead of making consumers convert their files into Sony's own proprietary ATRAC format. bq. Microsoft also recently added the ability to rip CDs into the MP3 format to its new Windows Media Player, after years of sending users to third-party plug-ins if they wanted to make MP3s. Lots of other formats out there too - Ogg Vorbis is a lossless compression for all platforms.

Kerry supporters

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Hat tip to Charles at LGF for the link to this Yahoo Financial News article: bq. Company You Keep Politics: When John Kerry claimed "foreign leaders" preferred him to President Bush, we could only scratch our heads. But now we're getting the picture. bq. At a Hollywood, Fla., fund-raiser last March, Kerry told supporters foreign leaders were virtually lining up to back him. "I've met foreign leaders who can't go out and say this publicly, but boy, they look at you and say, 'You have got to win this; you have got to beat this guy; we need a new policy.' Things like that." Who is he talking about? Read on: bq. Just Thursday, Palestinian Authority leader and sometime terrorist Yasser Arafat endorsed Kerry. Why? Kerry did once call him a "statesman." And, as his foreign minister noted, under Kerry "several staff members during Clinton's administration would return." Kerry has also won praise from Kim Jong Il, North Korea's totalitarian dictator, who has murdered millions of his own people. Kim calls Bush "human scum." But he likes Kerry's support of two-way talks between North Korea and the U.S. -- which would give the "beloved leader" a big negotiating advantage. Then there's Fidel Castro -- another communist tyrant smitten with the Massachusetts senator. While Kerry delivered his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, Castro celebrated by running a bootlegged copy of "Fahrenheit 9/11" over Cuban TV. Don't forget former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Last year, Mahathir, who is often called "moderate," said Jews "rule this world by proxy." This year, he urged U.S. Muslims to vote for Kerry "in the name of Islam." We all know, of course, whom President Jacques Chirac of France and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany prefer. Polls show Bush is overwhelmingly unpopular in those countries. And neither man has made a secret of his contempt for the cowboy from Texas. The article compares Kerry's friends to Bush's friends (Putin, Blair, etc...) and closes with this aphorism: bq. We go back to an old saying: You'll be known by the friends you make and the company you keep. If so, Kerry's in big trouble. And if he wins, so are we.

Halloween called off

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From Seattle TV station KOMO-TV: bq. School District Bans Halloween "Let them have their 30-minutes of dressing goofy and having candy," said Silas Macon on the grounds of Puyallup's Maplewood Elementary School Wednesday afternoon. bq. He'd just learned the grade school tradition of a party and parade in costume during the last half-hour of class before Halloween night won't happen this year in the Puyallup School District for his two daughters. bq. The superintendent has canceled all Halloween activities. bq. A letter sent home to parents Wednesday states there will be no observance of Halloween in the entire school district. And the reason why (or one of the reasons): bq. Hansen says the superintendent made the decision for three primary reasons. First, Halloween parties and parades waste valuable classroom time. In addition some families can't afford costumes. bq. It's the third reason some Puyallup parents are struggling with. bq. The district says Halloween celebrations and children dressed in Halloween costumes might be offensive to real witches. bq. "Witches with pointy noses and things like that are not respective symbols of the Wiccan religion and so we want to be respectful of that," said Hansen. Emphasis mine. Baby Jeebus - P.C. gone way way too far. Someone give that "superintendent" a good whap with a cluebat, please...

This just in...

bq. Bush to Repeal Voting Rights for Blacks, Women If George Bush is reelected to a second term, he will not only reinstitute the military draft, but newly-released internet rumors indicate he'll make it illegal for women and Blacks to vote, ban hip-hop and rap music and reinstitute Prohibition. bq. And that's his agenda for just the first 100 days of his second term, according to variety of reliable sources including MTV, billionaire Democrat activist George Soros, Oscar-winning documentarist Michael Moore, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. bq. Democrat presidential candidate John Forbes Kerry said he couldn't confirm the rumors, but agreed that "such things are being said by people I respect." bq. "This raises some serious questions that Mr. Bush needs to answer," said Mr. Kerry, "At the very least, the news media has an obligation to keep these stories alive until they can be conclusively proved or for the next 13 days, which ever comes first." From Journalist Scott Ott

Resource for tinkerers

For people who are interested in any form of metal working (lathe, blacksmithing, foundry) or curious about old-time engineering and building techniques, this website should be at the top of your list: Lindsay Books They reprint old engineering manuals and also print guides to various crafts. The books are high quality and are very much worth getting. They are having a bit of fun with the website too - check out their Trauma Center and the Lindsay Laboratories. I especially like their admonition on the order page: bq. IF YOU CALL, HAVE YOUR ACT TOGETHER. Know what you want, and have your charge card ready. Our job is to get orders shipped, not to sit and wait while you thumb through your catalog or go to the garage for your charge card. Heh... Good stuff!

Bad weather in Japan

A typhoon is hitting southern Japan pretty hard - 31 known dead and over 40 missing. USA Today has a report: bq. A powerful typhoon blasted across Japan on Wednesday, killing at least 31 people, causing deadly mudslides and flash floods and prompting thousands to flee their homes, officials said. Nearly 40 people were missing. bq. Typhoon Tokage made landfall on Japan's main islands early Wednesday and � though it was downgraded by the evening to a tropical storm � was was proving to be one of the deadliest storms of the season.

2005 DARPA entry

Last year, the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) sponsored a Grand Challenge - autonomous vehicles were supposed to navigate a 300 mile, off-road course in the Mojave Desert. The 2005 event is scheduled for October 8th, here is one of the entries:
The cool thing is that the builders are age 15 and 20: From the article: bq. Chip firm Via is backing a team called "The Prodigies" as its official entry into the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. bq. The Prodigies - two young lads called Nicholas Hoza (15) and Christopher Medrzycki (20) have built the autonomous vehicle pictured below using a Via EPIA mini-ITX motherboard. bq. The vehicle, it's claimed, can drive and navigate on its own and cope with the Darpa Grand Challenge - with a prize of $2 million for the winner. bq. The young guys are showing off the vehicle at the Robonexus 2004 show. The robot, shown below, is certainly smaller than the Intel Itanium car which Chipzilla entered last year.

Entry number 2000

I was looking over the site stats and noticed that the last entry was number 1999. Getting up there! Also coming up is my first aniversary - October 27th, 2003 at 1:14pm (blogging from work)... Fun times!

Kerry "foreign policy"

dgci found a very interesting link regarding John Kerry's thoughts on foreign policy as manifested by Susan Rice. bq. The Rice Stuff? Susan Rice talks about Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Does she know what's going on in Iraq? bq. In a conference call with reporters Monday, Susan Rice, was asked about Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Rice is a senior foreign policy adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign who is often mentioned as a possible National Security Adviser in a Kerry White House. Her comments on Zarqawi make that a worrisome prospect. bq. Why? Rice's understanding of Zarqawi is wrong. Her comments directly contradict the findings of the review of prewar Iraq intelligence prepared by the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and signed by Senator John Edwards, a member of that panel. bq. Here's what Rice said Monday in response to a question about the Kerry campaign's "position on Zarqawi": bq. Our position is that he poses a major threat now in Iraq, a threat that frankly wasn't there before the U.S. invasion. But now we have got to go after him and capture him or kill him. Before the invasion, he was in non-Saddam controlled area, very minor, and didn't pose any imminent threat to the U.S., and was not in any way cooperating with al-Qaeda. bq. She's right about two things: (1) that Zarqawi "poses a major threat now in Iraq;" and (2) "we have got to go after him and capture or kill him." bq. Everything else is wrong. Here are two of the areas where she was wrong: bq. Start with her claim that Zarqawi is "a threat that frankly wasn't there before the U.S. invasion." The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee review cites a CIA report, Iraq Support for Terrorism: "A variety of reporting indicates that senior al Qaeda terrorist planner al Zarqawi was in Baghdad [redacted]. A foreign government service asserted that the IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] knew where al Zarqawi was located despite Baghdad's claims that it could not find him." (p. 337) bq. Rice also claims that Zarqawi was in a "non-Saddam controlled area, very minor." Language from the Senate report (p. 338) suggests that while Zarqawi certainly operated out of non-Saddam controlled Iraq, he was also in Baghdad: The article then goes on for a couple more good points and closes with this question: bq. The question remains then: Why would Susan Rice say these things? Is it possible that the senior foreign policy adviser to John Kerry simply doesn't know much about Zarqawi, the leading terrorist in Iraq today? Or is it possible that she knows all of this and chooses to deny it in a crass political effort to separate the Iraq war from the broader war on terror? bq. It's hard to know. bq. And there are more unanswered questions. Does John Edwards agree with Rice or with the Senate report he signed? And what about John Kerry? Was his senior foreign policy adviser speaking for him? Does he believe that Zarqawi was not in Iraq before the war? Or that he was not cooperating "in any way" with al Qaeda? 13 days to go...

High Stakes

Mike at Cold Fury links to something he found on the web. Turns out it is from a newspaper in Ellensberg, WA -- here's the source link and a couple of paragraphs. (NOTE: the newspaper said that they will keep the article online until October 27th. I am posting the entire article in the Click Here to continue reading High Stakes link at the bottom.) Here are a couple of points: bq. If we, in a spasm of frustration, turn out the current occupant of the White House, the message to the world and ourselves will be two-fold. First, we will reject the notion that America can do big things. Once a nation that tamed a frontier, stood down the Nazis and stood upon the moon, we will announce to the world that bringing democracy to the Middle East is too big of a task for us. But more significantly, we will signal to future presidents that as voters, we are unwilling to tackle difficult challenges, preferring caution to boldness, embracing the mediocrity that has characterized other civilizations. And more: The election of John Kerry will serve notice to every terrorist in every cave that the soft underbelly of American power is the timidity of American voters. Terrorists will know that a steady stream of grisly photos for CNN is all you need to break the will of the American people. Our own self-doubt will take it from there. Bin Laden will recognize that he can topple any American administration without setting foot on the homeland. Manweller is spot on when he talks about the criticality of this election and why it is so important that Bush be given time to finish the job he started. I'm not fond of Bush but I think that Kerry getting into office would be a grave mistake...

Cool tech...

Vaporware for now but they are scheduled to ship Q1 2005. The Lemur MultiTouch control surface
For electronic music, sometimes a traditional keyboard is not versatile enough. Other manufacturers have made ribbon controllers and boxes with knobs on them but the ability to control in two dimensions would be interesting... It will be fun to see how they are accepted (and what price the unit is).

Oh this is wonderful...

From a news item in last Sunday's Ottawa Citizen: bq. Science turns monkeys into drones Humans are next, genetic experts say bq. Scientists have discovered a way of manipulating a gene that turns animals into drones that do not become bored with repetitive tasks. The experiments, conducted on monkeys, are the first to demonstrate that animal behaviour can be permanently changed, turning the subjects from aggressive to "compliant" creatures. bq. The genes are identical in humans and although the discovery could help to treat depression and other types of mental illness, it will raise images of the Epsilon caste from Aldous Huxley's futuristic novel Brave New World. bq. The experiments -- detailed in the journal Nature Neuroscience this month -- involved blocking the effect of a gene called D2 in a particular part of the brain. This cut off the link between the rhesus monkeys' motivation and reward. bq. Instead of speeding up with the approach of a deadline or the prospect of a "treat," the monkeys in the experiment could be made to work just as enthusiastically for long periods. The scientists say the identical technique would apply to humans. The article goes into the possible ethics issues a bit: bq. The original purpose of the research was to find ways of treating mental illness, but the technicalities of permanently altering human behaviour by gene manipulation are currently too complex, he said. bq. However, he and other scientists acknowledge that methods of manipulating human physical and psychological traits are just around the corner, and the technology will emerge first as a lucrative add-on available from in vitro fertilization clinics. bq. "There's no doubt we will be able to influence behaviour," said Julian Savulescu, a professor of ethics at Oxford University. Sheesh... I should talk though, Jen and I bought our first slaves for the farm this last weekend. We got ten of them and they are currently dozing in the kitchen -- they will take care of our 140 apple trees.

"Fossil" Fuels

Interesting article on Greenie Watch (no permalinks, look for the title) John Ray comments about Petroleum and the growing thought that it might be caused naturally in the earth and not be a result of biological breakdown: bq. MORE EVIDENCE THAT OIL IS NOT A FOSSIL FUEL AND IS NOT RUNNING OUT Fossil fuel may not require fossils, as the pressure of deep Earth has been found capable of creating hydrocarbons from inorganic matter. The findings, by an American team of researchers, suggest that hydrocarbons, the main constituents of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas, could be extracted from a virtually endless source. "These experiments point to the possibility of an inorganic source of hydrocarbons at great depth in the Earth-that is, hydrocarbons that come from simple reactions between water and rock and not just from the decomposition of living organisms," says researcher Russell Hemley of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Geophysical Laboratory in DC. bq. There are two theories on the origin of fossil fuels, the biogenic theory and the abiogenic theory. According to the biogenic theory, fossil fuels are the remnants of ancient plant and animal life deposited in sedimentary rocks. According to the abiogenic theory, hydrocarbon deposits are primordial, being part of the Earth as it formed. The abiogenic theory holds that petroleum is produced by nonbiological processes deep in the Earth's crust. bq. For their experiments, the researchers created laboratory conditions mimicking the Earth's upper mantle, which underlies the crust at depths of about 20 to 60 kilometers (12 to 37 miles). The researchers squeezed materials common at the Earth's surface-iron oxide, calcite and water-to pressures ranging from 50,000 to 110,000 times the pressure at sea level. They then heated the samples to temperatures up to 1,500�C (2,700�F). They were able to get methane to form by reducing the carbon in calcite over a wide range of temperatures and pressures, supporting the possibility that the deep Earth may produce abiogenic hydrocarbons. bq. "This paper is important," says physicist Freeman Dyson at Princeton University in New Jersey. "Not because it settles the question whether the origin of natural gas and petroleum is organic or inorganic, but because it gives us tools to attack the question experimentally. If the answer turns out to be inorganic, this has huge implications for the ecology and economy of our planet as well as for the chemistry of other planets." Fascinating and major implications. Once we know the geological process, we can start looking for instances of them in nature and seeing what is there. Dyson is no dummy... The full paper is available here A PDF copy is available for download from there as well.

U.N. corruption and Banana Republics

The Big Trunk at Powerline links to an excellent article by Claudia Rosett: bq. La R�publique des Bananes Kofi Annan tries to explain away France and Russia's Oil for Food wrongdoing. bq. Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, finds it "inconceivable" that Russia, France or China might have been influenced in Security Council debates by Saddam Hussein's Oil for Food business and bribes. "These are very serious and important governments," Mr. Annan told Britain's ITV News Sunday. "You are not dealing with banana republics." bq. This has been Mr. Annan's chief response so far to the extensive documentation cited in the recent Iraq Survey Group report, from the CIA's Charles Duelfer, that under cover of the U.N.'s Oil for Food relief program Saddam was trying to buy up pals on the U.N. Security Council. Mr. Duelfer tells us that under the leaky U.N. sanctions and corrupt Oil for Food program, Saddam had already built the networks and was amassing the resources to rearm himself with weapons of mass destruction as soon as U.N. sanctions were entirely gone. bq. With the aim of shedding sanctions, Saddam, according to his regime's own records, was throwing billions in business and millions in bribes to France, Russia and, to a lesser extent, China, all veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council. As it happened, sanctions were indeed eroding, and these three nations opposed the decision of the U.S. and Britain that Saddam either had to shape up or be shipped out. bq. But in Mr. Annan's view, Saddam's oil money had nothing to do with it. Nobody buys the officials of France, Russia and China. They are serious and important. She raises this point too: bq. In defending Russia, China and France, Mr. Annan further implied that Saddam's traffic went only to companies, not governments, and therefore could not possibly have swayed state policies. Perhaps Mr. Annan has forgotten that all Saddam's contracts were funneled into Oil for Food via the official U.N. missions of the respective countries. Although earlier this year Mr. Annan and some of his aides were busy excusing Mr. Annan's Secretariat from any responsibility for Oil for Fraud, by way of blaming the U.N. member-state missions, especially those on the Security Council. bq. Maybe Mr. Annan also forgot that both China and Russia, however nonbanana their status at the U.N., have yet to enter the era of genuine private property rights. In both these nations, there is a hazy line between state and private sector, no fair and impartial rule of law to define that line, and no press free enough to delve deeply into such matters as when, by whom and at what price it might have been crossed. Maybe Mr. Annan also forgot that large business interests, even when private, can wield a certain amount of lobbying clout, even in France. An excellent article and worth the five minutes or so to visit and read...

Teresa Heinz Kerry opens her yap...

Roger L. Simon links to this interview of THK and her opinion on current First Lady Laura Bush. From the USA Today interview: bq. Q: You'd be different from Laura Bush? bq. A: Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job - I mean, since she's been grown up. So her experience and her validation comes from important things, but different things. And I'm older, and my validation of what I do and what I believe and my experience is a little bit bigger - because I'm older, and I've had different experiences. And it's not a criticism of her. It's just, you know, what life is about. As Roger comments: bq. As most of us know, Laura Bush, not an heiress, was a public school teacher and a librarian - with a master's degree in library science - when she married George Bush at the age of thirty-one

Memo from Turner Zarqawi

The Puppy Blender links to a very interesting article from Austin Bey on Abu Musad al-Zarqawi, his recent declaration of solidarity with Al Qaeda and a memo from him to his followers which was intercepted early last year. From the memo: bq. Zarqawi's intercepted message to his Al Qaeda comrades admitted that his terror band was "failing to enlist support" inside Iraq and was "unable to scare the Americans into leaving." bq. Zarqawi lamented "Iraq's lack of mountains in which to take refuge," which many commentators read as an echo of his experience in Afghanistan with Al Qaeda. bq. Zarqawi's document also suggested a strategic solution to his group's failure: launch attacks on Iraqi Shias and start a "sectarian war" that he suggested would "rally the Sunni Arabs" to his cause. This war against Shiites, Zarqawi thought, "must start soon -- at 'zero hour' -- before the Americans hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis." Glen also links to this article about the use of Iraqi forces: bq. Despite the publicity given to the coalition troops in Iraq, some 90 percent of casualties are now Iraqi. The anti-government forces have not given up attacking coalition troops, but realize that it's a lot more dangerous to take a shot at better trained and armed coalition troops. And this observation: bq. Foreigners are mystified at how Iraqis continue to join the police and army, despite the car bombings and other attacks directed against them. It's not just for the money. For many of these recruits, there is a dead relative, murdered by some Sunni Arab thug working for Saddam. It's civil war, and the coalition wants to prevent it from turning into an orgy of revenge. What gets little reported in the West is the enthusiasm among Iraqis, and especially members of the government, for just bombing Fallujah into rubble. For the majority of Iraqis, Fallujah represents the murderous oppressor. "Kill them all, for they are all guilty," is an attitude shared by too many Iraqis, and a little too bloody minded for most Western journalists. Memo from Turner - Rolling Stones, lyrics excerpted: bq. You're the great, gray man whose daughter licks policemen's buttons clean. You're the man who squats behind the man who works the soft machine. bq. Come now, gentleman, your love is all I crave. You'll still be in the circus when I'm laughing, laughing on my grave.

In the Coffeeshop

Portland, OR blogger Michael J. Totten was hanging out at his local and reading to get some background for his upcoming trip to Syria. He overhears some people talking: bq. Overheard At the Coffeeshop Yesterday I went to a coffeeshop in my neighborhood to do a little homework in Totalitarian Studies. I�ve traveled to unfree countries before, but never to a full-bore totalitarian police state. And since I�ll be doing just that in five weeks I�m reading about the experiences of other writers in these kinds of places to get an idea of what I should expect and how I ought to behave. bq. I ordered my coffee and sat in a chair at a small row of outdoor tables. There were four of us sitting there, all strangers. An older black man sat next to me reading a book about the Buddha. Another guy, about my age with long hair and a goatee, stared at nothing in particular while chain-smoking Camels. A rumpled-looking third fellow, a few years younger than me, quietly read the paper. He is sitting and reading and these people start talking: bq. The young man reading the paper decided to share the news. He mumbled something about the election. I ignored him because I was reading. bq. The chain-smoker piped up. Something about the Patriot Act. I kept reading. bq. �It�s a police state,� the young man with the newspaper said. He had my attention now. And he had the attention of others. �Ashcroft and Bush have turned it into a police state.� bq. �Man, this is a real scary time,� said the old Buddhist. bq. �Hey,� said the chain-smoker. (None of these guys seemed to know each other.) �Do you think America has too many freedoms? Think the government should take all our rights away? Then vote for George W. Bush!� All the while Michael is reading about Paul Theroux's travels through Syria and the lives of people under a true totalitarian regime: An excerpt from the book - Paul is talking with a Turk named Yusof -- they have been waiting to clear the boarder: bq. We were summoned to the office and handed our passports. And then we were on our way. Those men wearing dark glasses and sipping tea, Yusof said. They were not travelers. They were members of the mukhabarat � Syria�s secret police. All this in a whisper, Yusof�s hand over his mouth. bq. �Here I like,� Yusof said. We were in a rocky landscape, with wide strips of green. �Aleppo is good. I drink. I eat. I disco. I fuck. But - � He leaned over. �I don�t talk.� The contrast between the true totalitarianism and the imagined injustices people suffer here are very distinct and obvious...

Bobby Fischer's decent into madness

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Chess Genius Bobby Fischer has been having some issues with reality over the past twenty years or so. Here is the latest manifestation from the Japanese Mainichi News: bq. Bobby Fischer vigorously defends his manhood Chess genius Bobby Fischer has lashed out against what he sees as doubts about his virility, boasted of being hugely endowed and claimed his incarceration near the site of Japan's worst nuclear accident is aimed at making him impotent. bq. Fischer, speaking from the East Japan Immigration Bureau Detention Center in Ushiku, Tochigi Prefecture, was slamming an article in the Aug. 30 edition of Time magazine in which its Tokyo Bureau Chief Jim Fredrick said the chess champion's anti-Semitism and status as a fugitive from the U.S. justice system "might not sound like Mr. Right" to the average lonely heart. bq. "I wear size 14 wide shoe. Just keep that in mind when you say I'm not a dreamboat, or not Mr. Right," Fischer said in an Oct. 11 interview he gave a Philippine radio station and posted on the Internet over the weekend. And where is he being held? bq. Fischer believes that Ushiku's proximity to Tokai, scene of Japan's worst-ever nuclear accident following a critical reaction at a plant in 1999, makes him susceptible to the effects of leaked radiation. Ushiku is about 50 kilometers from Tokai, where the government has deemed radiation levels are fit for human habitation. Fischer said repeated requests for a transfer and provisional release, the Japanese equivalent of bail, have been rejected. bq. Fischer is in the Ushiku detention center while he fights a deportation order issued Aug. 24. The Tokyo District Court granted an injunction against the execution of the order on Sept. 8. His American lawyer is due to speak about the case at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo on Monday afternoon. The Tokai accident was caused by a worker not following the procedure which led to criticality, about 24 people being exposed to large doses of radiation (not that large actually but over the limit for annual exposure which are pretty conservative) and no fatalities. There was radiation released into the environment but not much and it was quickly cleaned up. Fischer is getting worked up over nothing...


What a wonderful idea -- TV-B-Gone hangs off your keychain and when the button is pressed, it cycles through all of the known Television Remote Power Off commands.
Fifteen Bucks and peace and quiet are yours...

The Man who would be King -- and the Breck Girl

Slate magazine has a very interesting clip of the other John (Edwards) getting primped for some event... A couple minutes and three personal dressers and hair people? No wonder the Bush administration calls him the Breck Girl...

Light blogging today and tomorrow

I am finishing off the Apple Cider press and getting all the hydraulics plumbed in. I'll blog a little later tonight and some tomorrow but not the usual volume. Free Ice Cream should resume Thursday...

The ghost in the machine

A man in Eugene, OR -- Chris van Rossmann -- discovered the hard way that his television was emitting something else besides photons... CNN has the story: bq. Flat-screen TV emits international distress signal Search and rescue operation leads to apartment bq. An Oregon man discovered earlier this month that his year-old Toshiba Corporation flat-screen TV was emitting an international distress signal picked up by a satellite, leading a search and rescue operation to his apartment in Corvallis, Oregon, 70 miles south of Portland. bq. The signal from Chris van Rossmann's TV was routed by satellite to the Air Force Rescue Center at Langley Air Base in Virginia. bq. On October 2, the 20 year-old college student was visited at his apartment in the small university town by a contingent of local police, civil air patrol and search and rescue personnel. bq. "They'd never seen signal come that strong from a home appliance," said van Rossmann. "They were quite surprised. I think we all were." Toshiba was very cool about it: bq. Van Rossmann said he was told to keep his TV off to avoid paying a $10,000 fine for "willingly broadcasting a false distress signal." bq. Toshiba contacted Rossmann and offered to provide him with a replacement set for free, he said. Probably some shielding not grounded or a miss-wire at the assembly line. I remember another story about SAR -- about 15 years ago, during a very hot summer day, some of the people working at a Boeing plant in the South Seattle area decided that deploying one of the aircraft life rafts and floating down the Green River would be a wonderful way to spend a lunch break. Unbeknown to them, the SAR locater beacon is activated when the raft is inflated and about 30 minutes after they got the raft into the water, a very large helicopter was hovering just overhead asking if they needed assistance... Needless to say, these people enjoyed short careers at Boeing. DOH!

Team America

Jen and I saw this today - it is a royal hoot. They don't leave anyone unscathed, right or left. Well worth checking out if you have a sense of humor...

Old Europe in Iraq

Wretchard at The Belmont Club has a very interesting, typical and disturbing account of the actions of some European troops serving in Iraq. bq. From Blackfive comes a link to how Canadian troops in Afghanistan realized an ammo dump that had supposedly been cleared by European troops --wasn't. Troops from the Princess Patricia Regiment discovered a large pile of explosives ten minutes away from their camp. It contained: bq. ... 82 buried bunkers, each 20-metres long, housed thousands of Soviet FROG missiles (one step down from Scud missiles), and every variety of rocket and mortar shells. ... Some of the FROG missiles were still in their original cases. Some heaped in the open. Some stacked to the roof in the unlocked, open bunkers. Much of the ordnance had warheads removed to collect the explosive for homemade bombs -- or for blasting at a nearby quarry. "Unbelievable!" was Maj. Brian Hynes' reaction when he saw them. "We (troops of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)) have been here some two years, and no one knew this was at our back door. Unbelievable." bq. Many of the rockets, missiles and shells had been pried open for the explosives, which are used peacefully to blast mountain rock into gravel, and by those who want to make bombs that disrupt Kabul. ... Littered with burned out Soviet military vehicles, the whole area is a junk pile strewn with every sort of live ammunition, fuses, unexploded shells, rockets, etc., all supposedly under the authority of Belgian troops (at the moment), who ignored it. And the activities of the Old European troops when discovered? bq. In the midst of examining the bunkers and taking photos, a Swedish UN guy, a French major and a German colonel arrived to make a fuss and order the Canadians to leave. The French major insisted his government had a deal with the Afghan government for the area, and ISAF had no business being there. This cut little ice with Maj. Hynes, who is responsible -- not to the commander of Camp Julien, Col. Jim Ellis -- but to the ANA (Afghan National Army), which has now moved in to secure the site. bq. The French major was clearly bluffing, hadn't checked the bunkers and got a classic Canadian roasting from Maj. Hynes -- who was supported by a German general who was also appalled at the laxity. "Now we've stirred up the hornet's nest," grinned Maj. Hynes. "Good. Now we may get some action." Buncha self-centered corrupt twits... At least the German supported the Canadians in being disturbed by the incompenence...

The photo of the day week year

I hope my keyboard is able to survive the coffee I just snorted ointo it. Hat tip to Charles Photo from Yahoo/AFP

Junk Beer meet Junk Beer

Last Friday this merger was announced: bq. MONTREAL October 14, 2004 -- Molson today announced modifications to its proposed merger with Coors to address concerns raised by some institutional shareholders and pertaining to option holder voting rights and to compensation provisions relating to two key senior executives. The company believes these changes address the concerns raised by institutional shareholders and will now allow shareholders to focus on the financial, operating and strategic benefits of the proposed merger. This was first announced in July but it has taken them a couple months to hammer out the details... Since I drink neither, this has little effect but it will be interesting to see what will happen in the commercial beer market. I either home-brew or get local beer (currently very fond of this one: Stone Brewing -- Arrogant Bastard Ale) a bit over-the-top attitude but an excellent beer.

Chomsky is right!

Well, this only came about because he was talking about something having to do with Linguistics, not Foreign Policy for which he has zero training or authority. Linguistics he knows and knows well. From Michael J. Totten comes this link: Harry's Place bq. Chomsky is totally, utterly right. Words you thought you'd never read at Harry's Place? Me too. Not words I usually write. Yet Chomsky hits the nail on the head when it comes to Derrida and post-modernism. And here is the quote from Chomsky talking about post-modernism and the work of Jacques Derrida who passed away recently: bq. "I have spent a lot of my life working on questions such as these, using the only methods I know of--those condemned here as "science," "rationality," "logic," and so on. I therefore read the papers with some hope that they would help me "transcend" these limitations, or perhaps suggest an entirely different course. I'm afraid I was disappointed. Admittedly, that may be my own limitation. Quite regularly, "my eyes glaze over" when I read polysyllabic discourse on the themes of poststructuralism and postmodernism; what I understand is largely truism or error, but that is only a fraction of the total word count. True, there are lots of other things I don't understand: the articles in the current issues of math and physics journals, for example. But there is a difference. In the latter case, I know how to get to understand them, and have done so, in cases of particular interest to me; and I also know that people in these fields can explain the contents to me at my level, so that I can gain what (partial) understanding I may want. In contrast, no one seems to be able to explain to me why the latest post-this-and-that is (for the most part) other than truism, error, or gibberish, and I do not know how to proceed." Don't forget to visit Michael's link -- some of the comments on his board are fun to read, the nut-jobs and moonbats are well represented and they get rightly skewered by Michaels other readers...

The Truth about Iraq

Charles at LGF points to a new website: "The Truth about Iraq". They are doing fund raising to get some television commercials out there but they also have a lot of the statistics that you just do not hear on the Mainstream Media as well as specific examples of media bias and how the "insurgents" are playing the Western media like a two-dollar violin. They cite their references for every point they make. Check it out - looks really good...

Modern-day madman

Found this link at the Mysanthropist - it's to an article in the UK Observer about Turkmenistan and its ruling psychopath, Saparmurat Niyazov. bq. "On 27 October the people of Turkmenistan - a gas-rich, desert-dominated central Asian country - will be celebrating 13 years of independence from the former Soviet Union. There will be feasts and military parades in the gleaming capital, Ashgabat. But, like the Soviet-era buildings behind the marble facades, the fabric of society is crumbling under the rule of the man they will be praising: Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenbashi the Great, Turkmenistan's 'President for Life'... bq. ...As well as renaming January, Niyazov has renamed April after his mother, May after his father and September after his 'divinely inspired' masterwork, the Rukhnama. This 'book of the soul' dominates the life of his subjects. Written between 1997 and 2001, it fills bookstores across the country and has been made the cornerstone of an otherwise ravaged educational establishment. 'On a par with the Bible and the Koran, it is to be used as a Spiritual Guide,' writes Niyazov in the introduction, 'to remove the complexities and anguishes from day to day living.' There are regular pageants staged in sports stadiums depicting scenes from this opus, centring on the moral purity of his mother and father. And every morning at factories and schools the citizens sing the national anthem, which refers to Turkmenistan as 'The great creation of Turkmenbashi'... Just the place I would want to do business with... The Observer article is fairly long and goes into detail about some of Niyazov's more egregious decisions. One of these is an ecological disaster waiting to happen - specifically, the construction of the Golden Age Lake. bq. At an estimated cost of $6.5bn, it is expected by many scientists to reduce the scarce and vital water supplies of the desert nation through drainage and evaporation. Experts say the best expenditure of funds would be to dredge and re-line the Karakum canal which makes life possible for a large proportion of the Turkmen population. A senior Western official in Ashgabat, who refused to be named, believes Turkmenistan is at a crossroads. 'What it does in the next 50 years will determine what it will be like in the next 10,000 years. It will either be a country that can sustain a population of up to 8or 10 million forever, or it will go back to being a desert with a few watering holes. If it doesn't invest its hydrocarbon profits in the water infrastructure we will be bringing food aid in 50 years' time. Sad really...

Big Electricity

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Working with industrial electricity is a lot different than household wiring. One of the people who work with this also blogs as Mostly Cajun and he related a wonderful story of one state government at work: bq. Just about twenty or so miles to the north of where I�m sitting is a medium security facility owned by the State of Louisiana. Several years ago, one of the local electrical contractors called us. They�d been called to the prison because of a �transformer blow-up.� We do work on transformers way past the scope normally done by electrical contractors, so off I went. The problem wasn�t actually IN the transformer, but rather the switch which determined which of two high voltage sources fed the transformer. bq. The transformer itself was installed in a little utility room in the prison�s maximum security cellblock, and there was an open window next to the utility room door. That window was heavily barred, but it was in the guard�s office. When he saw me first walk up, the called to me and I asked what he�d heard. He said it was a loud blast, like a big shotgun, then the lights went out. He and I laughed about the idea of a shotgun blast in a prison. I imagine his laughing was a relief, because I�d bet when that transformer went off, he had other ideas in mind. bq. Anyway, I tested the transformer just to make sure it was okay, then discussed with the electricians what they needed to do to repair the blown-up switch. After everything was repaired, I was on my way. Of course, being a good steward of my company�s business, I left business cards with the maintenance people at the prison. bq. Fast forward a few months. The story is a long one so I have put it below. Click on the Continue Reading "Big Electricity" link for the rest.

DenBeste on Election Polling

Steven DenBeste has GAFIAted. His blog is still up and is very much worth perusing for the library of well-researched entries. Yesterday, a single-line entry at the top points to a very interesting inspection of political poll results presented in an easy to read format. Steven: bq. Looking at the "RealClear Politics" plot of the presidential polls, I see two long term trendlines, punctuated by a hell of a lot of what I would refer to as "experimental error":
bq. I don't believe that public opinion has been changing as much as these polls seem to suggest. The variation we see up through July looks like what engineers call "sample aliasing" or "jitter". Note that it falls well within the oft-claimed �4 points of error. This is typical for data taken in noisy sampling environments; I've seen this kind of thing many times. bq. August and September are different. I've seen that kind of thing, too. bq. In my opinion, the polls were being deliberately gimmicked, in hopes of helping Kerry. In early August it looks as if there was an attempt to engineer a "post-convention bounce", but it failed and was abandoned after about two weeks. But I'm not absolutely certain about that. bq. The data for September, however, is clearly an anomaly. The data is much too consistent. Compare the amount of jitter present before September to the data during that month. There's no period before that of comparable length where the data was so stable. bq. The September data is also drastically outside of previous trends, with distinct stairsteps both at the beginning and at the end. And the data before the anomaly and after it for both Kerry and Bush matches the long term trendlines. bq. If I saw something like that in scientific or engineering data, I'd be asking a lot of very tough questions. My first suspicion would be that the test equipment was broken, but in the case of opinion polls there is no such thing. My second suspicion would be fraud. bq. In September, I think there was a deliberate attempt to depress Kerry's numbers, so as to set up an "October comeback". Of course, the goal was to engineer a bandwagon. bq. Public opinion isn't usually as ephemeral as these polls suggest that it is. But there can be long-term trends, and I find it interesting that such a thing actually does show through. It's quite striking how close some of the data falls to the long term trendlines which I've drawn in. bq. The reason the Democrats and the MSM are getting frantic is that they're losing. Emphasis mine.. Heh...

What went before

Wretchard at The Belmont Club offers some real insight into the history of Islam's relationship with the Western World. Wretchard first references a link to a Roger L. Simon article: bq. Roger Simon suggests that time spent in places like Ramallah is never wholly wasted because it provides an accurate, if somewhat cynical perspective of the true state of human nature. Wretchard replies: bq. Mr. Simon is too modest. Time spent living in the Third World is an education without which one's understanding of Terror is sadly incomplete. Long before September 11, the Madrid train attack and the massacre of school children in Beslan they were forshadowed by Operation Bojinka, the LRT train attack and the mass abduction of schoolchildren in Basilan. Never heard of them? That's understandable. bq. Operation Bojinka was a series of planning exercises and dry runs in the Philippines in preparation for the September 11 attacks. Here's how Wikipedia describes it. bq. The term can refer to the "airline bombing plot" alone, or that combined with the "Pope assassination plot" and the "CIA plane crash plot". The first refers to a plot to destroy 11 airliners on January 21 and 22, 1995, the second refers to a plan to kill John Paul II on January 15, 1995, and the third refers a plan to crash a plane into the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia and other buildings. Operation Bojinka was prevented on January 6 and 7, 1995, but some lessons learned were apparently used by the planners of the September 11 terrorist attacks. bq. I can still see the Dona Josefa apartments, where these outrages were planned, in my mind's eye. It's along FB Harrison near a dusty children's playground not far from the city zoo. Wretchard then goes on to outline all of the parts of Operation Bojinka including the recent arrest of one of the perpetrators. He also draws a link between the fondness for school abductions/terrorism and the reports that "25 Chechen terrorism suspects have illegally entered the US from Mexico" This 'nuisance' has been developing under our noses for a long long time and the pustule needs to be lanced, cleaned out and disinfected and sewn shut, never to infect again.


One of my interests is electronic music and although great strides have been made recently in real-time computer modeling, for some sounds, only the "classic" analog synthesizers will do. I have equipment from Moog, Oberheim and the more recent Synthesis Technology (the MOTM line). I also have some digital synths - specifically the Kurzweil and some other odd-ball stuff. People I know that are into this stuff have wet-dreams about owning a large setup. Here is someone who satisfied that itch. Sheesh... pick_a_modular.jpgmines_bigger.jpg I recognize a lot of the equipment (the faceplates are distinctive to the various companies) and most of these are from modern companies. There is a very neat renascence happening in that the patents for the original circuitry have expired so craftsmen (and several women) are re-working these designs using current state-of-the-art components so you get the classic sound of the Moog (for example) but with a much better noise level (zero) and a greatly improved stability (you don't have to retune the #@$& thing between songs). Fun times!

Kerry's hidden agenda for Iraq

Theresa Heinz-Kerry let slip her hubby's plan for getting rid of the motivation behind the Islamofascist nussiances... From the Reno Gazette-Journal comes this excerpt from a speech she gave: The lede: bq. Heinz Kerry pitches health care Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of U.S. Sen. John Kerry, outlined a national heath-care plan Thursday in Reno, calling for heath insurance for all U.S. children, lower prescription drug prices for seniors and national catastrophic health insurance coverage. The slip: bq. Heinz Kerry ended with what she called �a highly effective� remedy for arthritis that drew laughter and some skepticism from the audience. bq. �You get some gin and get some white raisins � and only white raisins � and soak them in the gin for two weeks,� she said. �Then eat nine of the raisins a day.� Looking here, we see that due to an awful translation error of the Koran, the word 'hur' is not brought from Syriac to Arabic as doe-eyed, and ever willing virgins. In Syriac, the word 'hur' is a feminine plural adjective meaning white, with the word "raisin" understood implicitly. Looking at an earlier work (then Islam), the Hymns of Ephrem the Syrian, yields "white raisins" of "crystal clarity" rather than the houris. This is Fscking Brilliant. You get a bunch of older arthritic people to start masticating the prize-in-heaven that is awaiting the Islamofascist pig-dogs, nine per person, each and every day. Double rations on Sunday if you want. Just think, one arthritic person could totally wipe out one shaheed-bubba's reward in eight days - this is one Beetle Week (Eight Days a Week and all that..) Cool - I may have to re-think this election...

Oh this is classic...

This was provided by a new entry to our Blogroll - give a warm welcome to Catallarchy A perfect example of the difference between public sector and private sector when it comes to economics. The choice is to use a government provided product or a privately provided product. The source sells to both vendors and the government is supposed to be running this at cost. The outcome - the government is unable to sell it's product at any less than twice the private sector price and is left with inventory. The government -- Holland The product -- I'll let Patri Friedman speak: bq. Because they foolishly tried to compete with the free market in growing, packaging, and selling marijuana by creating a publicly-run medicinal marijuana program. Blaming packaging and distribution costs, the government bud sells for twice as much as the plentiful coffeeshop alternative. As a result, they�ve only sold 175 lbs of 450 expected. The head of a cannabis research company misses the point by asking �Why is it that a legal commodity is more expensive than an illegal commodity?� bq. The crucial distinction here, of course, is between public and private, not legal and illegal. In other words, whoever started that program must have been stoned on the smoke of public power to think they could compete with the private sector. Oh well, at least there�s an obvious way to console themselves - I mean, just how sad can you be with 275 lbs of dope lying around? bq. Full article at Yahoo News. Heh... Old Europe at its finest - they should ship it to Germany to console the laser-tag people unable to play. Ist Verboten!

More on the Deming Library and Patriot Act

I had blogged about it earlier here. There are two new articles available. The first from the Bellingham Herald (they pick it up finally!) bq. After library records subpoenaed, lawyer questions PATRIOT Act When a grand jury subpoenaed the Deming Library for book borrowers' records in June, administrators exercised their right to question the demand - a right that doesn't exist under the USA PATRIOT Act. bq. For Deborra Garrett, attorney for the Whatcom County Library District, the experience reinforced what is scary to her about the PATRIOT Act, and reminded her that small towns aren't immune from big government investigations. bq. "If this were a PATRIOT Act subpoena, not only would the library and I not be permitted to talk to anyone, there also would be no procedure to have the court look at the situation and determine (whether) it is appropriate to force the library to disclose the information," she said. The article then goes on with Deborra Garrett talking about the difference between the subpoena and the use of the Patriot Act: bq. A grand jury apparently authorized a U.S. Attorney's Office investigation, and issued a subpoena for the records, delivered to Garrett on June 18. bq. On behalf of the library, Garrett filed a motion to quash the subpoena, asking a federal judge to weigh patrons' privacy rights against the requested materials' relevance to the investigation. bq. The U.S. Attorney's Office has since withdrawn the subpoena, Garrett said. bq. Garrett said that she thinks the recourse allowed by a grand jury subpoena is appropriate. bq. "It's not that privacy rights can never be invaded," she said. "But if the government seeks to invade them, the government has to show that it's absolutely necessary to do that. ... "I'm concerned the PATRIOT Act would result in making the legal protections afforded to citizens unavailable." bq. She said she thinks the act "is conducive to what I think is abusive conduct. That's why I find it scary." The second article is in the Whatcom Independent. Unfortunately, the only way it has to view its articles is to download the PDF file for the entire issue. There seems to be no way to search for a specific article and get just that. The article in question is on Page three of the PDF file for the October 15, 2004 issue. I excerpted the text from that file -- here is an excerpt: bq. October 15-21, 2004 Whatcom Independent by JOHN KINMONTH bq. The Deming Library has won its fight against the government after refusing to give the records of its readers, following an FBI investigation into suspicious writings in one of the library�s books. Since the article is such a pain to get from their website, I am posting it below - click on the Continue Reading link to view it and remember that the entire work is Copyright by the Whatcom Independent. UPDATE: I had forgotten this but in my previous post, reader ravin left a comment wondering if someone visiting the library might not have written the marginal note. There is nothing that says it was someone who checked out the book. I use this library from time to time -- it is about 20 minutes from where we live and is nice and big and has a large reading area. Very good point!

Unusual shotgun

Koscielski's Guns and Ammo in Minneapolis, Mn. have come up with a small shotgun. Really small. How small? How about credit card sized - two barrels. Here is a pic with some more commentary:
bq. A new twist on the idea of concealable weapons, the credit card-sized shotgun, is shown at Koscielski's Guns and Ammo, the only gun shop in Minneapolis. It's a two-shot weapon machined from a block of metal the height and width of a standard credit card, and about a half-inch thick. Each barrel fires seven standard steel BBs. It will retail for $100. Mark Koscielski, owner of Koscielski's Guns and Ammo, and Patrick Teel, who makes the guns in suburban Blaine, gave The Associated Press a preview Tuesday night ahead of a news conference scheduled for Wednesday. They said the guns are meant to be used only for close-range self-defense and wouldn't be effective as offensive weapons. Koscielski's has a website but it is currently "under development" and just shows the parking page/portal of the registrar. I don't know that it would stop a crack-addled attacker but it would be a good alternative to tasers or mace.

Victor Davis Hanson

Another excellent essay -- this time it's about the choice that voters will face this November 2nd and some background on the two candidates. bq. The Therapeutic Choice A war for our lives, or a nuisance to our lifestyle? bq. Americans are presented with a choice in this election rare in our history. This is not 1952, when Democrats and Republicans did not differ too much on the need to stay in Korea, or even 1968 when Humphrey and Nixon alike did not wish to withdraw unilaterally from Vietnam. It is more like 1972 or 1980, when a na�ve McGovern/Dukakis worldview was sharply at odds with the Nixon/Reagan tragic acknowledgement of the need to confront Soviet-inspired Communism. Is it to be more aid, talk, indictments, and summits � or a tough war to kill the terrorists and change the conditions that created them? bq. Mr. Kerry believes that we must return to the pre-9/11 days when terrorism was but a "nuisance." In his mind, that was a nostalgic sort of time when the terrorist mosquito lazily buzzed about a snoring America. And we in somnolent response merely swatted it away with a cruise missile or a few GPS bombs when embassies and barracks were blown up. Keep the tribute of dead Americans low, and the chronic problem was properly analogous to law-enforcement's perpetual policing of gambling and prostitution. Many of us had previously written off just such na�vet�, but we never dreamed that our suspicions would be confirmed so explicitly by Kerry himself. bq. In the now-lost age of unperturbed windsailing and skiing, things were not all that bad before al Qaeda overdid it by knocking down skyscrapers and a corner of the Pentagon � followed by George Bush's commensurate overreaction in Afghanistan and Iraq that brought on all the present messy and really bothersome cargo of IEDs, beheadings, and promises of dirty bombs to come. The Taliban and Saddam were, of course, bad sports. But really, going all the way over there to topple them, implant democracy, and change the status quo of the Middle East? Tsk, tsk, tsk � well, that was a bit much, was it not? He then defines the "Therapeutic view" espoused by Kerry and the Left: bq. This attitude is part of the therapeutic view of the present struggle that continually suggests that something we did � not the mass murdering out of the Dark Age � brought on our present bother that is now "the focus of our lives." We see this irritation with the inconvenience and sacrifice once more reemerging in the Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, and the New York Times: We, not fascists and Islamist psychopaths, are blamed for the mess in Iraq, the mess in Afghanistan, the mess on the West Bank, and the mess here at home, but never credited with the first election in 5,000 years in Afghanistan or consensual government replacing autocracy in the heart of the ancient caliphate. And proceeds to outline why this is the wrong choice for now: bq. To all you of the therapeutic mindset, listen up. We can no more reason with the Islamic fascists than we could sympathize with the Nazis' demands over supposedly exploited Germans in Czechoslovakia or the problem of Tojo's Japan's not getting its timely scrap-metal shipments from Roosevelt's America. Their pouts and gripes are not intended to be adjudicated as much as to weaken the resolve of many in the United States who find the entire "war against terror" too big, or the wrong kind, of a nuisance. And some choice comments to the entertainers who popularize the "Therapeutic view": bq. The artists, musicians, and entertainers have also railed against the war. In the therapeutic mindset, the refinement and talent of a Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Al Franken, Bruce Springsteen, or John Fogerty earn respect when they weigh in on matters of state policy. But in the tragic view, they can be little more than puppets of inspiration. Their natural gifts are not necessarily enriched by real education or learning. Indeed, they are just as likely to be high-school or college dropouts and near illiterates, albeit with good memories, voices, and looks. The present antics of these influential millionaire entertainers should remind us why Plato banished them � worried that we might confuse the inspired creative frenzies of the artisans with some sort of empirical knowledge. But you can no more sing, or write, or act al Qaeda away than the equally sensitive novelists and intellectuals of the 1930s or 1940s could rehabilitate Stalin. So true - please read the entire thing before voting this next election!

Genesis space capsule - reason for crash

NASA has determined the cause of the Genesis capsule crash into the desert floor a few months ago. From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: bq. Faulty installation of switch doomed Genesis, NASA says NASA's Genesis space capsule crashed in the Utah desert last month because a critical piece of equipment that was supposed to trigger the release of two parachutes apparently was installed backward, space-agency officials said Thursday. The finding, if verified, would be a blow to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and its major contractor on the $264 million Genesis mission, Lockheed Martin Corp., which also was involved in the 1999 loss of NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter because of a mix-up between English and metric units. Ouch! The article also gives a short wrap-up of the capsules mission and the crash itself: bq. The Genesis spacecraft spent nearly three years about 1 million miles from Earth gathering delicate samples of solar wind. Scientists planned to study the material flowing out from the sun in hopes of gaining clues about the early formation of the solar system. bq. Because of fears of contamination, the mission was designed to end with a helicopter capture of the capsule before it touched the ground. Instead, the craft hit the ground at nearly 200 mph. They don't mention the neat thing about the helicopters used to catch the capsule -- they were piloted by Hollywood stunt pilots. NASA wanted craft that were agile and they felt that the stunt pilots were the best for the job.

Anything to get elected

Charles Krauthammer takes VP Candidate John Edwards to task for using Christopher Reeve memory for political gain. In his column he says: bq. After the second presidential debate, in which John Kerry used the word "plan" 24 times, I said on television that Kerry has a plan for everything except curing psoriasis. I should have known there is no parodying Kerry's pandering. It turned out days later that the Kerry campaign has a plan -- nay, a promise -- to cure paralysis. What is the plan? Vote for Kerry. bq. I'm not making this up. I couldn't. This is John Edwards on Monday at a rally in Newton, Iowa: "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again." bq. In my 25 years in Washington, I have never seen a more loathsome display of demagoguery. Hope is good. False hope is bad. Deliberately raising for personal gain false hope in the catastrophically afflicted is despicable. Charles then makes a couple of very good points. He is someone who is more than qualified to make them since: #1) - he was a practicing Medical Doctor and #2) - he is wheelchair bound as a result of a spinal cord injury Charles: bq. First, the inability of the human spinal cord to regenerate is one of the great mysteries of biology. The answer is not remotely around the corner. It could take a generation to unravel. To imply, as Edwards did, that it is imminent if only you elect the right politicians is scandalous. bq. Second, if the cure for spinal cord injury comes, we have no idea where it will come from. There are many lines of inquiry. Stem cell research is just one of many possibilities, and a very speculative one at that. For 30 years I have heard promises of miracle cures for paralysis (including my own, suffered as a medical student). The last fad, fetal tissue transplants, was thought to be a sure thing. Nothing came of it. bq. Third, the implication that Christopher Reeve was prevented from getting out of his wheelchair by the Bush stem cell policies is a travesty. There is more and it is worth reading. Check it out... Hat tip Charles

The new Swift Boat Vets' ads

Hindrocket at Power Line brought my attention to two new Swift Boat Veteran's ads. They are available for viewing here and are worth checking out. As Hindrocket says: bq. They are powerful, moving, calm and relentless. Kerry must rue the day he decided to run as the Vietnam candidate.

An affront to human dignity

The Commissar links to a landmark decision by the European Court of Justice. This august body ruled that "The affront to human dignity posed by that activity justifies a restriction on the freedom to provide services." The activity in question? Laser-Tag The event that precipitated this: bq. Police in the German city of Bonn in 1994 had prohibited a German company, Omega Spielhallen-und Automatenaustellungs-GmbH, from operating a Laserdrome, a game developed and marketed by a British supplier. bq. German authorities argued that "acts of simulated homicide and the ensuing trivialization of violence" violated the principle of human dignity enshrined in the German constitution. Gimme a break... Laser tag is fun and a great way to blow off some steam. Also, note that the initial police action happened in 1994 and the EU Court decision is in 2004 -- wheels of justice grind fast over there... One of the Commissar's readers left this wonderful comment: bq. I think this German movement to protect people from imaginary harm needs a logo. I suggest they should borrow something simple and symmetrical from Asia, then maybe turn it backwards or something to make it unique. Heh...

Benchmark Hunting

David Sucher at the City Comforts Blog posts about an interesting pastime, that of Benchmark Hunting -- this is an outgrowth of GeoCaching. To quote David: bq. Almost every day I stumble on some new variety of human experience. Have you ever heard of Benchmark Hunting? bq. Using your GPS unit and/or written directions provided by NGS, which are available for review by the public, you can seek out NGS survey markers and other items that have been marked in the USA. bq. The interesting thing about benchmarks and horizontal control points is that a majority of them are located in plain sight (though largely ignored by the general public). Searching out these locations and documenting them allows others to share pictures of the various areas where they are placed. There's a certain excitement to be the first to find and document a control point, as well as seeing what others have found through photos on the website's Benchmark Gallery. Some of these points haven't been visited and documented as being still in existence in a very long time, so you may also be rediscovering long neglected objects of American history as well! Fun stuff - here's a pic of what one of them looks like:

Bill Whittle is thinking again!!!

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Essayist Bill Whittle is amazing. Check out his work at EjectEjectEject Anyway, today (04:47am PDT to be precise) he: bq. I just had a vision. bq. Nothing mystical, no sense of a tap on the shoulder by Divine Providence, and it is the antithesis of a personal sense of destiny. History has not been kind to such people. And these ideas are much, much bigger than I am. bq. But something woke me up, literally as well as figuratively. bq. No, this in fact is an idea -- a set of ideas -- so simple and humbling that I am again, as I have so often been in the course of this little cyber-experiment, filled with awe and humility and more than anything a sense of gratitude that I might be allowed to have a small, small voice in this critical time in history. bq. I want to remember -- and more importantly, commit myself to the notion that at this exact moment, all of the ideas and threads and comments and history that circles in and out of my head, all of my many work experiences in science, aviation and entertainment have finally coalesced into a vision of why Eject! Eject! Eject! is here and what we are going to try to do. Bill then talks about his Silent America series of essays which are also being published in book form. Bill talks about the end of the War on Terror and what that will be like, the Presidential Election and he considers this a great time to start on a new collection of essays. He then talks about what he is now thinking about: bq. So, like you, I am holding my breath until November 3rd. But win or lose, that day will mark a new beginning, and if you think the War and the Election have been stressfull and tumultuous, well, you ain't seen nothing yet. bq. I worry about terrorism. I worry about Transnational Progressivism. I worry about the utter moral decline of large parts of Europe. I worry about China. I worry about all these things. bq. But the only thing I genuinely fear is the cyclical nature of civilization. I fear the consequences of abandoning personal responsibility. I fear the self-hatred and nihilism that grows among the pampered, the narcissistic and the uninformed. These are things to be feared greatly. They have brought down entire civilizations and led to dark ages that have cost this species very dearly. I think we stand at such a point today, and this election -- win or lose -- will not determine the outcome...although it might give us some indication of how sick or healthy we are at this pivotal moment in history. bq. So prepare yourselves. There is a big fight ahead of us, regardless of who is crowing loud in a few weeks time. Other civilizations have fallen; this one may yet. But none have been armed as we are, and our wonder weapon is not the Carrier Battle Group, the Smart Bomb, or the M1 Abrams. This Civilization is armed with information, with real-time communication, with self-organizing expert systems. And for the first time in history, it has in its quiver the chance to hear from great minds otherwise buried in obscurity, to harness the power of billions of opinions and ideas and little, well-made boxes of competence and expertise; brilliant and commanding voices thrown away with the chaff in preceeding generations. This is a force multiplier to cheer even the most pessimistic. bq. And civilization will rise or fall on the ability to use these weapons under the shield of our shared values of freedom, opportunity, and just plain courage. bq. Watch this space. Bill - we are watching with all senses wiiiide open.

Must.. Go.. Here..

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to London, Ontario to see five and one half hours of William Shatner movies...
Saturday, October 23rd - 8pm onward -- as CBC Arts News reports: bq. A film festival in London, Ont. is boldly going where no film festival has gone before � by showcasing the work of William Shatner. bq. But contrary to what you might expect, the festival � dubbed the First Annual Mini Shatner Fest � will not feature any movies with the Canadian performer in his most famous role, Captain Kirk. bq. Instead, it will highlight more obscure films, ones that came out both before and after Shatner's three-season run on television's Star Trek. A highlight of the news article (talking with Skot Deeming, the festival's organizer): bq. The response to the festival has so far been enthusiastic. One person even sent Deeming an e-mail asking if he could bring alcohol. bq. Deeming's answer: "Maybe you should bring some alcohol. It's five-and-a-half hours of 1970s Shatner films. You might need a little bit of that." Heh...

The Bush Special Olympics

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Ran into this little gem at DGCI (Democrats give Conservatives Indigestion) and felt the same thing that DGCI did. -- "To Far. Simply to far." This poster is being circulated by a group of Democrats in Tennessee:
It is being circulated by the office of Tennessee State Representative Craig Fitzhugh (Democrat) From the link: bq. Rep. Fitzhugh�s office, which is shared by the Kerry-Edwards campaign, has been distributing a flyer showing a Special Olympics child with President Bush�s face superimposed on the head of the disabled youngster. The headline reads: �Voting for Bush Is Like Running In The Special Olympics: Even If You Win, You�re Still Retarded.� bq. �This kind of mean-spirited material has no place in an election campaign,� said Rev. Sheldon. �In my 40 years of involvement in politics, I�ve never seen anything so despicable as this flyer. Rep. Fitzhugh should not only apologize to the disabled community and to his opponent Dave Dahl, he should fire whoever is responsible for distributing this ugly attack piece.� Rep. Fitzhugh and Dahl are running for the State House District 82. The flyer has been distributed from Fitzhugh�s campaign office in Ripley, Tennessee. His office also serves as the local Kerry-Edwards campaign headquarters. DGCI's comments are good: bq. It wasn't enough that the Democratic candidate for President has a dubious record of military service, or that he returned from that service to immediately go lie before Congress about the so-called "atrocities" every Vietnam vet was committing. bq. It wasn't enough that the Democratic candidate for Vice President said that you'd have to be "crazy" to vote for George Bush, then out of the other side of his mouth alluded to all types of medical miracles that would happen if John Kerry was elected, while politicizing the death of one of America's best-loved actors, Christopher Reeve. bq. No, now they have to resort to this. bq. This goes beyond "mud-slinging". Far beyond. This goes beyond the boundaries of taste. This is pure political desperation, nothing more. The Democrats are so desperate to return to power that they will stop at ABSOLUTELY NOTHING... absolutely nothing at all. They'll grasp at any straw. bq. They'll vandalize yard signs, and yards. They'll shoot holes in the windows and doors of Republican campaign centers. You've been reading the news. You know I'm not making this stuff up. You've seen their escalation over the past few months. bq. And now this. Exploiting an image of a retarded child competing in the Special Olympics. John F. Kennedy must be rolling in his grave today to see what his party has become. bq. They've got nearly three weeks left, and at this point nothing the Liberal Left will stoop to SHOULD surprise me. Nothing SHOULD shock me. bq. But this does. I'm shaken to my very core that these people can behave like this, and call themselves Americans. bq. Because, if THIS is the future of America -- if THESE are the people who think that they are qualified to lead this great nation of ours -- God help us all. God help us all indeed. These people are delusional. As I have said before, I am not a fan of President Bush and if the Democrats had a candidate like Zeller or Lieberman, the issue of who to vote for would be a zero-brainer. Kerry has the great hair, is tanned (not so great), speaks reasonably well (if you don't pay attention to what he is actually saying (blah, blah, blah...)) but Bush actually sees the problem for what it is, he talks about it (not so well when he is talking extemporaneously), and then goes and does what he said he would do.

John F. Kerry's Islamic connection

Charles at LGF points to a chilling connection between Presidential wanna-be Kerry and some rather nasty Islamic peoples: bq. Here�s a site detailing the extensive connections of the Islamic Society of Boston to terrorist groups: Citizens For Peace and Tolerance - Promoting a Hate-Free America. bq. The former leader of the Islamic Society of Boston is Abdurahman Alamoudi, who recently pled guilty to smuggling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Libya�s Jihad fund, to plot the assassination of Saudi Prince Abdullah. bq. Another influential figure in the Islamic Society of Boston is the infamous Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi, virulently anti-American spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Qaradawi�s name was listed on the Arabic language brochure for the ISB�s new mosque�but omitted from the English version. bq. Yet, the Boston Redevelopment Authority sold them the land for their proposed new mosque�a vast complex estimated to cost $22 million, much of which is coming from Saudi Arabia�at far less than fair market value, and is now being sued by concerned citizens of the area. bq. And look who wrote a letter of support to the Islamic Society of Boston to celebrate the groundbreaking of their new mosque... This is the tip of the iceberg -- it gets better. Noted scholar Daniel Pipes also noticed some people whose interests were not in America's benefit - he talks about al-Qaradawi and Alamoudi and he adds another name to the roster: bq. Osama M. Kandil, the Islamic Society of Boston's leader for over a decade. Turns out that in addition being a former instructor at Harvard Medical School and the founder and chairman of an Egyptian pharmaceutical company, Biopharm Group, he is also associated with the notorious Safa group of Saudi businesses and "charities" headquartered outside Washington, D.C. and was a founding director of the Muslim Arab Youth Association, one of the most radical Islamist organizations in the United States. bq. ISB's treasurer, Walid A. Fitaihi, has applauded anti-Israeli violence as "a great thing" and made antisemitic statements about Jews having "perpetrated the worst of evils and . . . brought the worst corruptions to the earth." He also presents a timeline of the Mosque building. And finally, one cannot overlook this Reuters news item from Iran: bq. Iran Would Welcome Kerry Camp Proposal Iran would welcome a proposal by U.S. presidential candidate Senator John Kerry running mate for a "great bargain" to solve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program, a senior Iranian official said on Saturday. bq. Vice presidential candidate Senator John Edwards has said that Kerry, a Democrat, would be willing to supply Iran with nuclear fuel for power generation if Tehran abandons its own fuel-making capability - if Iran did not accept this offer, it would confirm Iran wanted to make an atom bomb. Iran holds the worlds greatest reserve of oil. They do not need nuclear power. A true American...

Mineta's Morons at work...

From CNN comes a report on a meeting of the Transportation Security Administration. The organization is headed by a political hack named Norman Mineta. This has his handywork writ large... Here are some excerpts including a $64 gallon of coffee (and you thought Starbucks was pricey!): bq. TSA gave managers lavish party, generous bonuses Sixty-four dollars for a gallon of coffee? bq. That is how much the Transportation Security Administration paid a Washington hotel to host a November 2003 awards banquet, contributing to a price tag for the party of nearly a half-million dollars, according to the Department of Homeland Security's independent investigator. bq. The TSA, which is in charge of airport security, also paid $3.75 for each soft drink, $1,850 for seven sheet cakes, $1,500 for three cheese displays, and more than $81,000 for awards plaques, according to the report from the department's Office of Inspector General. If you read the rest of the article you will see that this was a three-hour event for 1,100 people and the bill for the entire shindig was $461,745. Talk about cost overruns -- makes the Air Force $700 toilet seat look like chump change. And these people are the ones who confiscate toenail clippers and bookmarkers while letting people walk through security with guns...

Odd creature in Texas

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Radio Station WOAI has this story on their website: bq. Another Texas Chupacabra? LUFKIN, Texas -- Local animal experts are having a hard time identifying a strange looking animal killed in Angelina County on Friday -- an animal that looks eerily similar to the as yet unidentified "Elmendorf Beast" killed near San Antonio earlier this year. bq. "What is that?" are the first words out of anyone's mouth when shown photos of the animal, according to Stacy Womack. bq. Womack is a veterinarian who has worked at a local Zoo for over 20 years. The creatures description? bq. The animal's blue-grey skin is almost hairless and appears to be covered with mange. A closer look at the animal's jaw line reveals a serious overbite and four huge canine teeth, and a long, rat-like tail curls behind the animal's emaciated frame. The article goes into some history of other strange creatures in that area and also has a number of pictures. Here are three: chup1.jpgchup6.jpgchup9.jpg

The Third Presidential Debate

Gordon at Dog Snot Diaries has what I would consider to be the best wrapup on the debating styles of President Bush and wanna-be J. Kerry: bq. I'll tell you what though. After having watched John Kerry over the last month I've come to a realization. Despite that he comes across as aristocratic and haughty, the man is an excellent communicator and seems well groomed for such formal debate as we've seen over the last two weeks. I can easily understand how people can be allured and even swooned by not neccessarily what - but how he presents bq. BUT, I'm not here to put a man in office based solely on his poise. Rather, I take what the politicians have to say based on face value and for lack of a subtler way of putting it - John Kerry's full of shit. Almost all the plans and promises his campaign is built upon are in direct contradiction to his voting record over the last 22 years. How can anyone contest that? Two short paragraphs and he nails it...
Michael King at Ramblings' Journal links to the Drudge report of a 66-page document: A quote from the document: bq. If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a "preemptive strike" (particularly well-suited to states in which there techniques have been tried in the past). Michael also updates this report with this info: bq. One top DNC official confirmed the manual's authenticity, but claimed the notion of crying wolf on any voter intimidation is "absurd." bq. "We all know the Republicans are going to try to steal the election by scaring people and confusing people," the top DNC source explained. As they say -- developing...

Socialism: a highway to Hell

From A Western Heart - a fine new blog from Australia. bq. I have just put up here a translation from the Portuguese of an article by Brazilian blogger Luis Afonso. It was well-received in Brazilian conservative circles so I am happy to make it available in English. Its title is: "Socialism: a highway to Hell". Going to the link I find this stunning article: bq. For over a century Marxism, Communism and Socialism have continued to exert an allure, even on new generations as they come up. It seems that the followers of such creeds don't care about the millions of human beings that have been sacrificed on the altar of these ideologies -- rather the ideologies continue to inspire good feelings of humaneness and solidarity in millions of young around the world. What is the key to this enigma? How might we open their eyes? bq. The first thing to be clear about is that the refutation of socialism (from now on I will use the generic term "socialism" to refer to any of the ideologies concerned) via arguments based on economic rationality simply does not work. Such arguments do not make any dent in socialist feelings. Socialism has something like a "Teflon coating", ensuring that nothing sticks to it - and its utopian appeal never dies. This aspect of socialism was noted by Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho in his memorable debate with Alaor Caffe: "You can see that Marxism is a philosophy, is a economic theory, is an ideology, is a revolutionary strategy, is a political regimen, is an ethical-moral system, is a cultural criticique, is a militant political organization. It is all that at the same time" (Marxism, the Right and Society). It is hard to topple such a row of attributes effectively. Socialism finishes up running away from the debate. It slips between your fingers.... bq. How did we get to this point? Perhaps a good hint, one of the best things produced on the subject, comes from John Maynard Keynes (1934): "Communism is not a reaction against the failure of the nineteenth century to organize optimal economic output. It is a reaction against its comparative success. It is a protest against the emptiness of economic welfare, an appeal to the ascetic in us all... It is the curate in [H. G.] Wells, far from extinguished by the scientist, which draws him to take a peep at Moscow... The idealistic youth play with communism because it is the only spiritual appeal which feels to them contemporary". (Hollander- Political Pilgrims). I'll put the rest of the article below - click on the Continue Reading link:

Finca Vigia

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McArthur at The Misanthropist links to a sad NY Times article about Hemingway's house in Cuba -- Finca Vigia -- where he did a lot of his writing. bq. "...Nature has been hostile to the house over the years, experts say, with rain and creeping vegetation penetrating the walls and the foundation. The roof leaks, the walls are turning green with mold, the floors are buckling and termites are devouring the wooden frame. The bedroom where Hemingway wrote some of his greatest works, including "The Old Man and the Sea," is so close to collapsing that its furniture has been moved into storage. bq. "We have cared for this house with great affection for many years, because we Cubans consider Hemingway one of ours," said Gladys Rodriguez, president of the Hemingway International Institute of Journalism in Havana and one of the principal caretakers of the author's legacy in Cuba. bq. "We will keep doing all that we can," she said. "But we cannot deny that we need help. This museum legally belongs to Cuba, but morally it pertains to the United States."..." McArthur's reply to this last line is priceless: bq. ...communism being OK till you need some help with the bills...

Chemistry and Grad School

Derek Lowe writes about the availability of chemicals and life during grad school: bq. A Day in the Life: Dichloromethane and Peanut Butter OK, I've got dry dichloromethane ready to go, right out of the Aldrich bottle. It's not like dichloromethane ever gets all that wet, not compared to something like THF. Stuff's a sponge. Man, I remember the days when we had to distill that fresh from sodium metal. And the fires! Now we just pay more money and it comes in a syringe-sealed bottle. What a deal. Beats calling the fire department once a month. bq. Bottled dry solvents! I'd have called that the height of decadent luxury back in grad school. Of course, a lot of stuff looked like the H. of D. L. at the time, have to keep that in mind - minimum wage would have been a real pay raise, considering the hours. . .took years before I could look at ramen noodles again, and that week where all I had in the place was a jar of peanut butter - smooth, too, worse luck. . . Spent a few years in labs (MarineBio but everyone else wanted to be Jacques Cousteau in the early 70's so real work was tight) before dropping out of college (computers were starting to get really popular and there was money to be made!). I know the feeling... He mentions Aldritch - they are like the Grizzly of power tools or Graingers or McMasters of everything else (except electronics for which you have DigiKey)

Debates part three

Jen and I were off eating fantastic Greek Food at the Caf� Akroteri so we didn't catch the debate. We both know who we are voting for and for what reasons so we preferred to get on with life and watch the summaries later. Ian at the Inoperable Terran points out two wonderful lines from President Bush: The moderator was Bob Schieffer from CBS news service - the same CBS that is still trying to spin the Bush Memo and Rathergate. bq. BUSH: In all due respect, I�m not so sure it�s credible to quote leading news organizations about � oh, nevermind. And this one directed to Senator Kerry's voting record: bq. As a matter of fact, your record is such that Ted Kennedy, your colleague, is the conservative senator from Massachusetts. What's not to love...

The insurgents are getting pissed at outsiders;

Islamic outsiders from Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iran... Interesting link and commentary at Richard Bennett's Mossback's Lunch: bq. The Iraqi Resistance is made up of some pretty stupid people. Any Iraqi who�s genuinely upset with the American Occupation can help to bring it to a swift conclusion by helping to restore order in the troubled parts of the Sunni Triangle and organizing around his chosen candidates in the January election. Every car bombing, sniper attack or kidnapping just strengthens the occupation and pushes the elections further away. bq. Some of them have finally started to get the message and help the Coalition take out the foreign terrorists who�re responsible for the atrocities: From the WaPo article: bq. U.S. and Iraqi authorities together have insisted that if Fallujah is to avoid an all-out assault aimed at regaining control of the city, foreign fighters must be ejected. Several local leaders of the insurgency say they, too, want to expel the foreigners, whom they scorn as terrorists. They heap particular contempt on Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian whose Monotheism and Jihad group has asserted responsibility for many of the deadliest attacks across Iraq, including videotaped beheadings. bq. �He is mentally deranged, has distorted the image of the resistance and defamed it. I believe his end is near,� Abu Abdalla Dulaimy, military commander of the First Army of Mohammad, said. bq. One of the foreign guerrillas killed by local fighters was Abu Abdallah Suri, a Syrian and a prominent member of Zarqawi�s group. Suri�s body was discovered Sunday. He was shot in the head and chest while being chased by a carload of tribesmen, according to a security guard who said he witnessed the killing. Richard's closing comment is great and on target: bq. This is, of course, bad news for the Democrats who want to turn the War on Terror into a tea party. Heh...

Sponge Bob - meet your bacteria buddies:

bacteria.jpg This is downright bizzare... From this article in Nature: bq. Square bacteria grown in lab for the first time An unusual, square bacterium that has eluded scientists since its discovery almost 25 years ago has been grown in the lab, by two independent teams. This means researchers can finally investigate the lifestyle and physiology of what is one of the most salt-resistant microbes. bq. British microbiologist Anthony Walsby first scooped these salty squares out of a hypersaline pond near the Red Sea in 1980. Since then, cultivating "Walsby's square archaeon" in the lab has been a holy grail for microbiologists studying salt-loving (halophilic) bacteria. And growing it in the lab? bq. To study a microbe in the lab, it is essential to be able to cultivate a plentiful supply of pure sample; it would be impractical to regularly collect fresh samples from remote locations. But despite numerous attempts, Walsby's archaeon has resisted being cultured. bq. "The assumption has been that it was ungrowable," says Mike Dyall-Smith, whose team at the University of Melbourne, Australia, is the first to publish a method for cultivation, in the Federation of European Microbiological Societies' Microbiology Letters. And the culture medium? bq. The culture needs to be hypersaline: at least 18% salt, which is roughly the same concentration as soy sauce. The more we learn about this wonderful planet, the weirder it gets. I love it!!!

Interesting Flu statistics

Corsair at The Rational Pirate links to a Center for Disease Control graph that shows the current crop of doomsayers to be somewhat in error. bq. Interesting Experiment Coming Up Every year we are assured that the apocalypse is coming if we don't all get our flu shots. I almost never get the shot. In fact, I think I have only every had 2 or 3 in my whole life. Yet here I still am! bq. This year it turns out that only half of the dose of flu vaccine that the US was planning on having will be available. It will be interesting to see if the rest of us die. A lot of people are saying that since last year we had a major FLU epidemic and lots and lots of people died that we will have a similar one this year. The graph from the CDC shows that after the initial spike early on (which was high enough to qualify as an epidemic) the death rate dropped to well below the normal baseline. The spike last year was much less than the one in 2000 -- short memory span I guess.

European duplicity

I am feeling sick to my stomach right now. I had seen reports of this newest mass grave in Iraq - estimates of about 300,000 men women and children bulldozed into shallow graves. The children clutching toys. Charles at LGF pointed to a link at BBC with one short sentence that really made me feel great... The overall story: bq. A mass grave being excavated in a north Iraqi village has yielded evidence that Iraqi forces executed women and children under Saddam Hussein. And the task of gathering information as to who died and recovering their remains for proper burial: bq. Mr Kehoe said that work to uncover graves around Iraq, where about 300,000 people are thought to have been killed during Saddam Hussein's regime, was slow as experienced European investigators were not taking part. The line that makes me feel really friendly to Old Europe - the axis of weasels: bq. The Europeans, he said, were staying away as the evidence might be used eventually to put Saddam Hussein to death. Emphasis mine. Sick bastards... They engaged in corrupt activities all during Saddam's regime, used the inherent weakness of the United Nation to line their pockets with the corrupt Oil-For-Food game and now they don't want to foster any chance that their best buddy Saddam will come to the justice he so richly deserves.

The only 180 Kerry has not done...

Is this one: Standard Form 180 standard_form_180.gif The full form in PDF format is available for download here. President Bush had no problem filling it out and releasing his records. Why not Kerry?

Comments on Christopher Reeve

Rob at Gut Rumbles echoes some of my thoughts on the recent life of Christopher Reeve: bq. I'm going to get really existential here. If I were Christopher Reeve, I would rather have died falling off that horse than stay alive the way he did. He spent nine years with his mind intact and his body dead from the neck down. bq. What a horrible way to live. My thoughts too -- the human body doesn't really function below a spinal column break. The fact that Reeve survived as long as he did was a testament to the wonderful care he was able to receive. Other people do not have this advantage and die slowly, bit by bit over a year or two. The human body does not function well below the point of a spinal column injure. Para's have it better in that they have more upper body to compensate. Quads do not do well at all.

Peace Prize = Barking Moonbat

The other shoe dropped. I was initially pleased with the Norwegian selection for the Nobel Peace Prize (the Peace Prize is selected by Norway and is separate from the Swedish Prize committees). Wangari Maathai was awarded the prize: "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace" And then she goes and holds a press conference: bq. Nobel peace laureate claims HIV deliberately created Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, today reiterated her claim that the AIDS virus was a deliberately created biological agent. So as an ecologist, she is now a trained scientist? bq. "Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have been living with monkeys (since) time immemorial, others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that. bq. "Us black people are dying more than any other people in this planet," Ms Maathai told a press conference in Nairobi a day after winning the prize for her work in human rights and reversing deforestation across Africa. So start condom use and get the black males to start using them. This is simple off-the-shelf technology that is proven to greatly retard the spread. Wanna die a slow and horrible death, have unprotected sex with anonymous partners - simple as that. If you are married, stop your partner from having unprotected sex with other people. If he (or she) does, stop having sex with them until they are tested and tested again a month or two later. This is a simple matter of life or death. Her commentary goes downhill such that a five-year-old could Fisk it. Sad really but what do you expect from the same crew who elected Carter and Arafat.

Team America

The creators of South Park have a new movie coming out and it has some people's knickers in a bunch. For an example, here is a photo of Hans Blix having a nice refreshing swim in Kim Jong Il's personal shark tank: hans.jpg Bill from INDC Journal provided the link and his comments and excerpts from the Democratic Underground website are wonderful: bq. My anticipation level for Trey Parker and Matt Stone's new puppet movie was already pretty high, but after reading the injured commentary in the DU moonbat forum, it's now at a fever pitch. Here are some excerpted reviews from our favorite irony-impaired members of the proletariat: * I'm sorry but any film that tries to paint liberals as traitors is sick * They should spend the rest of their days in the Denise Miller home for washed up right wing shills. * South Park is nothing but ugliness and cynicism taken to the 9th degree. The fact that it is funny doesn't make it less amoral. * It's a propaganda film - the title wants to make closed minded people think America is so good for being "World Police". Oh geez, we're in a lot of trouble. * I can't believe there are still people who don't realize that the Southpark guys are Republican shills. * Which kid always dies? The poor kid, whose house is full of rats as a comedy device. * those guys lost me years ago, when they trashed rain forest preservation & biodiversity. Call me touchy and humorless but I can't get any chuckles out of human caused mass extinction. * Horrific Labor Practices at South Park The last one is a classic -- I remember a quote from Walt Disney talking about troubles with actors. He said that he had the advantage in that if any actor gave him trouble, he could tear them up and toss them in the trash can. These are _cartoons_ people and I use the term people loosley...

Two Elections

Dr. David Yeagley at Bad Eagle offers an interesting comparison between the recent elections in Afghanistan and the upcoming Presidential election in the USA. bq. Democracy in Afghanistan! Just three years after the overthrow of the Taliban, 10.5 million Afghans registered to vote, and 43% of them were women. October 9, under threats of violence everywhere, Afghans cast their ballots. Half a million Afghan refugees living in Iran voted; nearly a million in Pakistan voted. The ballots are coming in by helicopter, plane, donkey, and foot, in this historic region of the word, in this historic time. bq. They say it will take nearly three weeks to carefully count the ballots, but just think, they did it! They went through with it, in the midst of a war-torn country, full of oppression, ego-maniacs, and national opium dealers (better known as "war-lords"). And yes, there were accusations of fraud and irregularity from the opposition, and threats toward voters and murders of election workers, but even those voices were swallowed up in the overwhelming chorus of democratic fervor, as the people rejoiced in this magnificent testimony to the power of freedom. We must greatly, greatly admire the Afghanis for bravely following through. bq. And Americans and coalition forces should feel mighty happy about it. A great effort was made, and to this point, it should be hailed as a profound success. To all appearances, it is a monumental step forward for Afghanistan. bq. And there's an critical election coming up for Americans, too, and one where intimidation, intrigue, irregularities, and fraud are the more threatening because they are more subtle, more hidden, and more deceptive. Dr. Yeagley then talks about an article: The Shadow Party (this is part one of three) Dr. Yeagley then comments on the article: bq. The Democratic party is a crumbling coalition of special interest groups, and those in the know realize that the party is basically over as a political force. The new force has been created by independent financial backing from people like George Soros, who donate millions to radical anti-American (socialist) grass roots groups all over the country. It appears that the Soros family is the likely replacement for the tired, flagging Kennedy family for control over the Left. bq. The intensity of their efforts to "throw the election" process is becoming more and more apparent. It is beyond the usual political dynamic in a healthy democracy. It produces violence--the kind you find in a dictatorship, when the opponent is literally attacked, and the election is "won" by physical threat and manipulation. Bush Derangement Syndrome again? Great photo of George Soros too - I really wonder what is eating him from the inside out. I have seen people on the street with this skin condition including the darkened fingernails. Dorian Grey without the benefit of a painting... soros.jpg

A letter to the Editor (Edited for Content)

Emperor Misha at Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links to a Letter to the Editor and the hack job that they did editing it: From Beth, at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: bq. How do you judge what's a 'last resort'? bq. John Kerry says that President Bush didn't use war as the last resort. My question is, to what point does a situation get before war is considered the "last resort" and becomes acceptable to Kerry? Do we have to wait until we are attacked? bq. Does anyone doubt that Saddam Hussein would have eventually armed those who would attack us, considering Saddam's army had been firing upon our aircraft (patrolling the no-fly zone, per the ceasefire) for the previous 12 years? Is that not in itself considered an attack? bq. If North Korean or Iranian -- or French, for that matter -- troops repeatedly fired upon our aircraft for 12 years, wouldn't we consider that an act of war? The reply to her letter: bq. Here's what the Washington Post editor that emailed me watered it down to in order to make it look vaguely stupid: bq. John Kerry said that president Bush didn't use war as the last resort in Iraq. bq. Do we have to wait until we are attacked? bq. Does anyone doubt that Saddam Hussein eventually would have armed those who would attack us, considering that his army had been firing upon our aircraft patrolling Thankfully, they did not print this but beejus -- that would have gone out with her name on it if they had. The Liberal Main Stream Media reporting for duty...

Interview with Robert Davi

Very interesting link from Cold Fury. Michael links to an interview with Actor Robert Davi Here are Robert Davi's credits courtesy of IMDB - he has been busy! From the introduction to the interview: bq. A Hollywood Heavy for Bush Today, many Hollywood celebrities use their fame to air their Leftist political views. Johnny Depp whines about America and lives in France. Sean Penn travels to Iraq to provide sound bites for Saddam. America is attacked and Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, and Janeane Garofalo attack America as the root cause of anti-American hate. Michael Moore produces a propaganda film for the enemy and the cinema community gives him an award. Very true. The article then goes on to introduce Robert Devi - prolific actor and hero (recently rescued a young girl from a fire and saved her life). From the interview -- talking about Janeane Garofalo: bq. KAPLAN: I usually find that people like her are not that knowledgeable. They should read Horowitz�s book (The Anti-Chomsky Reader ..ed). bq. DAVI: They�re knowledgeable and unknowledgeable. They should read all of David Horowitz�s books. When they speak, they not only denigrate President Bush but America also. When Garofalo is speaking, her words convey a strong anti-American sentiment. What I hear from them is this Chomsky-like revisionist propaganda that always attacks America first. It�s an attack on America without any historical perspective or reference, always blaming America for the ills of the world. It�s always ignoring or excusing the atrocities committed by Communists and other adversaries of the Untied States. Even a discussion of slavery, a five-thousand-year-old institution, somehow ends up as an attack on America. Slavery was certainly not an American invention. America fought a civil war to get rid of slavery and became a better country because of it. Were there post-slavery race problems? So we had the Civil Rights movement. That is what America is really all about. bq. In the 1960�s John F. Kennedy was able to galvanize society�and Hollywood followed suit. The Civil Rights movement was a protest, but in a way that strengthened America. The revisionists ignore the positive and distort what Kennedy stood for. John Kennedy was a Zell Miller Democrat. Regarding the elections of 2000 and the current Bush Derangement Syndrome: bq. KAPLAN: What do you think about the election and how Hollywood is reacting to it? bq. DAVI: There is an almost visceral prejudice against George W. Bush by many in Hollywood, bordering on being totally irrational. bq. KAPLAN: You feel people in Hollywood have an unfair view of President Bush? bq. DAVI: I see a disconnection between Hollywood and the administration after the 2000 election. During the recount in Florida, I spoke to friends in Hollywood who felt they were �disenfranchised.� As for myself, I thought it was almost a divine intervention how the dispute turned out: the week of 9/11, some people who told me they felt disenfranchised during the recount told me, �Thank God Bush was in office at that moment, instead of his opponent!� Mayor Giuliani said the same thing. They felt much safer with President Bush in office. I think Bush is absolutely the right man at the right time, and thank God he�s in office. Many of my friends who didn�t vote for him said so, too. bq. But it only took three weeks after we went into Afghanistan to change all that. Now, as we get further away from 9/11, it seems like the left-wing media has begun to interject more politics into the war effort. Talking about threats from within: bq. KAPLAN: You mentioned earlier threats posed to America from within. bq. DAVI: I am aware of that. I became sensitized to these issues by what was going on in my own daughter�s private school, where it seems a majority of the teachers have a left-wing agenda. The Center for the Study of Popular Culture made me aware of how 90% of college instructors also have left-wing political views and how that affects education in this country. Just before mock presidential elections at my daughter�s school, the pupils were given Time Magazine for Kids to read an article, Leader of the Pack: John Kerry. It discussed Kerry�s views on terrorism and education in a very slanted and positive way, while President Bush�s agenda and policies were all presented negatively. I passed this same article among seven or eight adults of different political viewpoints at my home, and all of them agreed the article was biased. The students were all told to read that one article and then vote. If you only give an eighth grader one point of view to read, with no balance, what are you going to get? My daughter said Kerry won, hands down. Emphasis mine -- the education link is one that needs to be looked into and cleaned up right now. It is a vipers nest. I have only cherry-picked a couple of the great points that Mr. Davi made. If you have ten minutes, it's worth going there and reading the interview yourself. I know I will be checking IMDB more frequently to see what Mr. Davi is up to. Two fan sites here and here The first is a Tripod 'free site' -- be sure to have your pop-up blocker turned on...

Magma at Mount St. Helens

I haven't blogged about our volcano recently but that doesn't mean it is not active and recently, it's activity has been changing from repetitive steam and ash bursts to something very very new. Magma flow reaching the surface. As CNN reports: bq. Volcanic rock has flowed to the surface of Mount St. Helens' crater, creating a new lava dome after weeks of seismic activity, a geologist said Tuesday. bq. Scientists had known for days that magma or molten rock was nearing the surface, as a bulge grew on the south side of the existing 1,000-foot lava dome and the increasingly hot rock gave off steam as it met water and ice in the crater. The bulge is now considered a new lava dome, the scientists said. bq. "Now that we have new lava at the surface, we're comfortable saying" that dome-building has resumed at the volcano, U.S. Geological Survey geologist Tina Neal said. bq. The bulge had risen at least 330 feet since scientists noticed it September 30.

A small matter of Airport Security

Hat tip to the Stupid Security blog. seinman points to this article in FOX News: bq. We've all had trouble returning rental cars at airports, so an elderly woman's mistake in Boise, Idaho, this week might be easy to understand. bq. The unidentified woman got to Boise Airport (search) at around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, so early that no one was at the car-return counter to help her. bq. She drove around a bit more, looking for another rental-car return, when she apparently spotted a helpful sign � another car, this time right inside the passenger terminal. bq. So she drove her rented minivan up a sidewalk handicapped ramp, through a pair of sliding-glass doors, past the baggage-claim area and ended up at the most logical place � back at the walk-up rental-car counter. And the Airports reaction to this: bq. Police and Transportation Safety Administration personnel questioned the woman, but decided not to cite her. bq. "The lucky thing is she didn't hit anything," airport spokeswoman Larissa Stouffer told The Idaho Statesman. bq. Anderson (Boise Airport Director John Anderson) admitted the airport still had some security issues to work out. bq. "It's a combination of something that we have corrected short term, and then we will correct long term, and we want to make sure nothing like this happens, and then again you have to look at the lighter side too," The woman made her flight.

Segway's new toy...

centaur_4.jpg Drool is streaming down my chin as I write this. Slashdot links to the new vehicle from Segway. The Concept Centaur. Be sure to check out the videos - this is waay too cool. It will do stable wheelies, each wheel is independent of the other. Makes other ATVs look like clunky dinosaurs. We wantsssss our precccciousssss... The magazine Popular Science has more.

Bush Derangement again

The Commissar has a good roundup of some of the more heinous crimes done to Republicans by free-thinking members of the left who are afraid that their "voice" might be suppressed. bq. Spokane, Washington - Bush's campaign office in Spokane burglarized, vandalized, Oct. 11. bq. West Allis, Wisconsin - Dem. demonstrators stormed a Republican campaign office, Oct. 5. bq. Knoxville, Tennessee - Gunshots fired into Bush-Cheney headquarters, Oct. 4. bq. Orlando, Florida - Mob attacks Bush-Cheney office, Oct. 5. bq. Madison, Wisconsin - Swastika Burned Into Grass On Bush Supporter's Lawn, Oct. 1. bq. Vail, Colorado - Vandals chainsaw Bush-Cheney sign on Magnus Lindholm's yard, Sept. 29. bq. Columbus, Ohio - Purple Heart Iraqi vet attacked, Sept. 30. bq. Gainesville, Florida - Democrat slugs area GOP chief, Sept. 18. bq. In flight, over Canada - Drunken Kerry supporter assaults seatmate in flight, Sept. 16. bq.
Dallas, Texas
- Family of dead soldier harassed at candlelight vigil, Sept. 9. bq. Bozeman, Mont. - Bush campaign office vandalized, paint sprayed and rocks thrown, Sept. 4. bq. Huntington, West Virginia - Gunshot fired at Republican headquarters, Sept. 2. bq. Seattle, Wash. - Veteran for Bush booed at parade, July. It's gotten so bad that Gov. Marc Racicot, Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Chairman wrote this letter yesterday (10/11/04) to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney: bq. Dear Mr. Sweeney: bq. Over the past several weeks, acts of violence and vandalism have occurred at Republican and Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters across the country. In addition to the injuries, property damage and disruption associated with these acts, these events have created a threatening and intimidating atmosphere abhorrent to our democratic process. bq. On October 5th, according to news reports, witnesses, police reports and admissions of your members, the AFL-CIO, as part of a national strategy, protested at more than a dozen of our campaign and party headquarters across the country. In many locations, the protestors attempted to enter, or entered, campaign or party facilities. As one protestor said, "Actually, we're storming into an office." In Orlando, Florida, injuries and damage were sustained. Protestors forced their way into the facility, fracturing the arm of one staffer, and vandalized the office. In Michigan, protestors entered a headquarters and engaged in activities apparently intended to disrupt volunteers trying to make phone calls. bq. Protests by your organization come on the heels of several other incidents at Bush-Cheney '04 offices around the country, including a break-in at our Seattle office where laptop computers were stolen from the Washington State Bush-Cheney �04 executive director and the state Republican Party 72-hour director. Just last night in Canton, Ohio, a Bush-Cheney '04 staffer was forced to lock herself in an office while another break-in was in progress. The facility was seriously damaged and property was stolen. Additionally, gun shots have been fired into Bush-Cheney '04 offices in West Virginia, Florida and Tennessee, windows broken in West Virginia and campaign staffers threatened. In Wisconsin, a supporter of the President had a swastika burned into his front yard simply because he had a Bush-Cheney '04 lawn sign. We urge your support in helping us ensure the safety of all individuals working on our campaign and others as we are making every effort to secure the safety of all participants in the political process. bq. I hope you will put an end to protest activities that have led to injuries, property damage, vandalism and voter intimidation. We will hold you and your organization accountable for the actions of your members and urge you to immediately discontinue any coordinated protest efforts that result in damage to our facilities, or injury to people who may hold different political views than your members, but who share an equal right to be involved in the political process without suffering violence, intimidation and threats. And these people want to run the country... It's about power -- it is not about helping the common man. Same as the Communists, Marxists. It's like Taliban-lite. Bush Derangement Syndrome...

Voter registration fraud in Denver

From the Channel9-News Iteam comes this story of multiple voter registrations. bq. With just 21 days left until an election in which every vote will count, the 9News I-Team has uncovered voter registration fraud that could cause chaos on Election Day for hundreds, possibly thousands of Colorado voters. bq. 9News has discovered a record number of fraudulent voter-registrations across the state. Secretary of State Donetta Davidson tells 9News she is concerned about what the I-Team has uncovered and wants those responsible prosecuted. "It has just gone rampant," she told reporter Deborah Sherman in an interview Monday afternoon. bq. Most of the fraud has come from registration drives, where people at grocery stores or on the streets ask you to sign up. 9News has learned many workers have re-registered voters multiple times by changing or making up information about them. 9News has documented 719 cases of potentially fraudulent forms at county election offices show fraudulent names, addresses, social security numbers or dates of birth in Denver, Douglas, Adams, Boulder and Lake counties. Information from other counties is still coming in. And more: bq. Some of the registration drive workers earn $2 per application or about $10 an hour. One woman admitted to forging three people's names on about 40 voter registration applications. Kym Cason says she was helping her boyfriend earn more money from a get-out-the-vote organization called ACORN or Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ACORN works with low or moderate-income families on housing issues. Cason said her extra registrations earned her boyfriend $50. bq. Gerald Obi says workers pressured him to keep registering to vote so they too could earn extra cash. When asked how many times he had registered this year, Obi said, "about 35 times." Considering how much the Democrats whined and screamed in 2000 when Bush won the close election, they will probably have a field day with this one... Hear any whining??? Maybe that is because the groups doing the registration drives are "liberal" socialists. Faaaggghhhh - a bunch of morally bankrupt whiners...

Bush Derangement Syndrome

There is a foul tide rising from the left and it needs to be brought to light. Blogger Michael J. Totten lives in Portland Oregon and has been a life-long Liberal, his wife plans to vote for Kerry. Michael plans to vote for Bush but every other vote will be Democratic. In other words, he keeps his eyes open to the facts. Michael and his wife were talking about political yard signs and he posts: bq. Yard Signs and Vandalism My wife asked if it would be okay with me if she put up a John Kerry For President sign in front of our house. Of course, I said. Why should I have a problem with that? She lives here and she�s voting for Kerry. bq. I told her we ought to put up two yard signs, one for Bush and one for Kerry. It would have been the only way to reflect my position on the presidential race, let alone hers. (This was when I was still undecided.) It�s still kinda sorta true even now that I�ve settled on Bush. I plan to vote a split ticket this year. The Republicans get my White House vote and the Democrats get the rest. bq. Then she said something that didn�t surprise me one bit: �Whatever we do, we should not put a Bush/Cheney sign out there by itself.� bq. I didn�t have to ask her why she thought that. We both live in the same neighborhood and we both have eyes. There are no Bush/Cheney signs on anyone�s lawn. Every single last sign is for Kerry. And there is plenty of vandalism and graffitti around. Our corner grocery store had an American flag spray-painted on it. The 50 stars were replaced with a Nazi swastika. The New York Times newspaper box on the corner has �Lies� spray-painted across the front of it. Handbills from the neo-Stalinist International ANSWER have been stapled to telephone polls for years. I saw a poster a few hours ago accusing the United States of genocide. Someone set up an �Impeach Bush� headquarters just down the street. They hung a poster in the window that declares the president is a terrorist. Someone threw a molotov cocktail at a Starbucks. bq. Don�t get the wrong idea. There is only one neighborhood in the entire city where I would rather live. (That would be NW 23rd, for those of you who know Portland.) My own neighborhood is great. It has everything I want: new and used bookstores, coffeehouses, nice restaurants, microbrew pubs, movie theaters, corner groceries, the whole urban works. Our neighbors are friendly decent people. The staff at the local hangouts know my name and what my �usual� is. But there are just enough jerks around (anarchists, mostly) who think this is Berkeley. bq. We made the right call when we decided putting a Bush/Cheney sign in the yard would only be asking for trouble. Just now I turned on the local news and saw that the more-conservative neighborhood next to mine (we�re talking a distance of six blocks away) was vandalized last night. Those who put a Bush/Cheney sign in their yard woke up and saw �Fuck Bush� spray-painted in huge white letters on the sides of their cars. bq. Portland isn't the only place where this sort of thing is happening. Someone in Madison, Wisconsin had an 8-foot by 8-foot swastika burned into his lawn next to his Bush/Cheney sign. Someone fired shots at a Bush campaign office in Tennessee. bq. Roger L. Simon has been writing recently about �secret� Bush supporters. Moxie wrote about her experience coming out of the conservative �closet� in Los Angeles. bq. What a contemptible election season this is. People who live in a democracy aren�t supposed to be afraid of announcing who they will vote for. Radical leftists aren't the only jerks in the country. Maybe the same sort of thing happens to liberals in conservative cities like Dallas. I don�t know. If so, I haven�t heard about it. bq. UPDATE: I figured this was going on somewhere. A Democratic Party office in Louisiana was vandalized and torched - twice. Also, an anti-Bush protestor was kicked by a delegate at the Republican National Convention. Nice election we got here. This has been happening in WA State too - offices being broken in to, computers being targeted, signs being defaced. It is odd - I have been a long-time Democrat and would love to be able to vote for someone with brains and wisdom like Lieberman or even Biden. Why the Demo party put up John Kerry as its presidential candidate is beyond me. Most liberals are in an Anyone But Bush mode. I am in an Anyone But Kerry mode and Bush gets my vote...

Political Cartoons

Political Cartooning is very much of an art form. I am fond of Cox and Forkum since they distill the actual facts of the day rather than the MSM (Main-stream Media) spin. Today's cartoon is on the Afghanistan Election and is a perfect example. The thing I like about their site is that they also provide some of the back-story -- where they got their facts and information. The info for this cartoon is wonderful - it shows what we have been actually doing for the last couple of years. Good work... 04.10.11.Casting-X.gif And the backstory: #1 - from the Boston Globe bq. Protests lose force day after Afghan election "I think they [the other candidates] saw how many people were voting for Karzai, and they got scared, so they decided to say the election was not fair," said Seelay Srek, 22, an observer working at a women's polling station. She said she had been elated to watch Afghan women vote for the first time, and went home relieved that there had been little violence -- only to grow angry at the emphasis on the ink mistake. bq. "The ink is not important compared to millions of people's votes," she said. [...] bq. Srek, the Afghan journalist who acted as a poll observer in Kabul, said she was most excited when she saw an old woman arrive enthusiastically at the polls despite a pronounced limp. "It made me happy," she said. bq. Another woman, she said, told her she planned to vote for Karzai against the wishes of her husband. bq. "When I go home, I'll tell him I voted for the guy he wanted," she confided. But wait - Saudi Arabia is also holding its first elections soon. They are the biggest nation/kingdom/city-state in that neck of the woods. They must be the most progressive. Not according to this report #2 - from FOXNews bq. No Vote for Women in Saudi Elections. Women may neither vote nor run in Saudi Arabia's first nationwide elections, the government announced Monday, dashing hopes of progressive Saudis and easing fears among conservatives that the kingdom is moving too fast on reforms. bq. Some women considered the move yet another indignity in a country where they need their husbands' permission to study, travel or work. But others said they wouldn't trust themselves to judge whether a candidate is more than just a handsome face. bq. The religious establishment had been lobbying against women's participation in the elections, diplomats said.

Sampler resource

Music Samplers are a strange bunch of machines -- the people developing them never seem to be on much of a budget for new technology so they seem to use hardware that is ten or more years behind any other computer technology. Even though these devices are essentially a CPU with an OS and a usually small crappy display in a box. The more popular lines of machines are still using SCSI hard drives but they are using the SCSI-1 and SCSI-2 interfaces and are not able to recognize more than 2GB of hard disk space (think FAT-16 filesystems for a box made today). Some of the more innovative systems will recognize up to a whopping nine GB but is still saddled with the SCSI interfaces (there are three new synths out there that have USB interfaces!!!) I ran into a link to this company: SCSIforSamplers.com I have not done business with them but am about to and they came highly regarded. Now don't get me started abut memory for samplers -- anyone got any SIMMs they aren't using... (kidding -- both of my Kurzweil's are maxed out but still...)

Awww CRAP!

Good people are bailing out of this planet like they knew something... Hmmm... From the Drudge Report -- no permalink as yet: Nikki Finke in Los Angeles is reporting that actor Christopher Reeve is dead, according to sources close to the actor. He died suddenly Sunday. News of his death has not been reported publicly yet. His family will make an announcement Monday at the earliest. Reeve was just mentioned Friday in the second live presidential debate by John Kerry. Noting he was a friend of the paralysed Reeve, Kerry said he was in favor of further stem cell research because Reeve could walk again one day thanks to such science.... Probably a major release for him but it is sad to see him go. The Readers Digest had a nice interview of him from September 9th of this year -- check it out...

Jihad in history

Charles at LGF links to a fascinating bit of American history. It seems that John Quincy Adams had a direct run-in with Muslim duplicity and Jihad while dealing with some Algerian sea pirates: From this link: I'll be excerpting a bit heavily so click the link to read the entire article. It will take about 15 minutes and is interesting if you are into American history: bq. John Quincy Adams Knew Jihad John Quincy Adams possessed a remarkably clear, uncompromised understanding of the permanent Islamic institutions of jihad war and dhimmitude. Regarding jihad, Adams states in his essay series, bq. ��he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind�The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.� Here is a great quote from Adams himself: bq. Of Mahometan good faith, we have had memorable examples ourselves. When our gallant [Stephen] Decatur had chastised the pirate of Algiers, till he was ready to renounce his claim of tribute from the United States, he signed a treaty to that effect: but the treaty was drawn up in the Arabic language, as well as in our own; and our negotiators, unacquainted with the language of the Koran, signed the copies of the treaty, in both languages, not imagining that there was any difference between them. Within a year the Dey demands, under penalty of the renewal of the war, an indemnity in money for the frigate taken by Decatur; our Consul demands the foundation of this pretension; and the Arabic copy of the treaty, signed by himself is produced, with an article stipulating the indemnity, foisted into it, in direct opposition to the treaty as it had been concluded. The arrival of Chauncey, with a squadron before Algiers, silenced the fraudulent claim of the Dey, and he signed a new treaty in which it was abandoned; but he disdained to conceal his intentions; my power, said he, has been wrested from my hands; draw ye the treaty at your pleasure, and I will sign it; but beware of the moment, when I shall recover my power, for with that moment, your treaty shall be waste paper. He avowed what they always practised, and would without scruple have practised himself. Such is the spirit, which governs the hearts of men, to whom treachery and violence are taught as principles of religion.� Nice people to do business with...

Sean Penn -- good actor, bad whiner

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A couple of people have been reporting this and it has too much traction to let go: From Matt Drudge Complete with a photo of a self-absorbed Sean Penn sucking on a a fag. He is talking to writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the people behind South Park) bq. I remember a cordial hello when you guys were beginning to be famous guys around Hollywood at some party. I remember several times getting a few giggles out of your humor. I remember not being bothered as you traded on my name among others to appear witty, above it all, and likeable to your crowd. I never mind being of service, in satire and silliness. bq. I do mind when anybody who doesn't have a child, doesn't have a child at war, or isn't or won't be in harm's way themselves, is encouraging that there's "no shame in not voting" "if you don't know what you're talking about" (Mr. Stone) without mentioning the shame of not knowing what your talking about, and encouraging people to know. You guys are talented young guys but alas, primarily young guys. It's all well to joke about me or whomever you choose. Not so well, to encourage irresponsibility that will ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitation, and death of innocent people throughout the world. The vote matters to them. No one's ignorance, including a couple of hip cross-dressers, is an excuse. bq. All best, and a sincere fuck you, bq. Sean Penn The Post Script is especially heartfelt: bq. P.S. Take this as a personal invitation from me to you (you can ask Dennis Miller along for the ride as well) to escort you on a trip, which I took last Christmas. We'll fly to Amman, Jordan and I'll ride with you in a (?) 12 hours through the Sunni Triangle into Fallujah and Baghdad and I'll show you around. When we return, make all the fun you want. If you look at the timeline -- the time that Mr. Penn was in Iraq was when a Mr. S. Hussein was still very much in power and Mr. Penn got hosted by some 'minders' and was shown what Mr. Hussein wanted Mr. Penn to see. This was not a back-country visit, this was an orchestrated media show for our media... The second is from MooreWatch. Some of the comments are great.

Afghanistan Election

Great photo at The Politburo Diktat: There is no story per se, just some links and the photo (it is of people lined up around several blocks standing in line to vote) The Commissar links to two stories and quotes from them: bq. Criminals in Afghanistan Stage Election Performance: Afghanistan's historic presidential election closed on Saturday without any of the feared large-scale violence, but the vote was thrown into turmoil when most candidates said a flawed process made the poll invalid. All 15 of President Hamid bq. Karzai's rivals said they were withdrawing from the election because systems to prevent illegal multiple voting had gone awry. The move effectively left Karzai, the favorite to win anyway, as the only candidate in the fray. bq. Election officials refused to halt the process, which appeared to have been embraced enthusiastically by most voters across the rugged Islamic nation despite fears of violence by Taliban militants. There is more -- go there now -- magic is happening in this country.

The Big Apple

I'll be reporting more on this on my other website in a day or so (doing some re-work on it - one of the projects that is limiting blog entries this weekend) From BBC News bq. A boy has got a lot of apple pie to look forward to after helping to grow an apple almost as big as his head. Six-year-old Jamie Corston watched hungrily all summer as the monster Bramley swelled to a whopping 1.1kg in weight, and 45cm round. bq. His parents, Geoff and Janet, got the apple going by piling cow dung around the tree's base each year, and checked on it to see when it was ready to pick. bq. Now they're hoping to get at least two pies out of the amazing apple. There is no mention of the taste but some larger Apples have quite a good flavor profile (Honeycrisp comes immediately to mind). Interesting development -- the economics of orchardry, do you spend a little bit of time and get a lot of fruit or do you 'micro-manage' each tree and get some whoppers. The practical balance has got to be somewhere in between but with 140 trees on the farm, we have an excellent lab to test with...

Cute Dog Chew Toy

Ran into a blog specific for testing dog toys. Lab-Tested runs various stuff through a collection of Labrador Retrievers and sees what survives and what gets chewed to bits. This one caught my eye -- not for the dog's pleasure but for the humans: bq. The description for the Humunga Tongue says, "This is a heavy dog toy recommended for dogs over 40 pounds". What it should also say is "except for Labs, of course". bq. Starbuck loved the way it bounced, and would gladly carry it around, but wasn't quite sure why we laughed so hard that we cried whenever he did so. The inevitable chewing commenced, and soon the floor was littered with tiny orange shreds of rubber. When he separated the ball from the tongue, it became a choking risk and had to go in the trash. balls_humunga_tongue.jpg

The First Vote

Very cool link from Questions and Observations blog. It is to a Reuters article talking about the first vote to be cast in Afghanistan's Election: bq. A 19-year-old Afghan woman living as a refugee in Pakistan has made history by casting the first vote in Afghanistan's first direct presidential election. bq. Moqadasa Sidiqi, a science student who fled Kabul with her family in 1992, cast her ballot at a polling station at a primary school, not in Afghanistan, but in Islamabad, capital of neighbouring Pakistan. bq. "I am very happy, I am very happy," Sidiqi, dressed in a pink and white traditional shalwar kameez and a white headscarf, told reporters after voting. "I can't explain...my feelings, because I am very excited," she said with a shy smile. McQ comments: "...as a certain president might say, "let freedom reign." Referring to this of course Blogged it here

Harder than Diamonds

Hat tip to Slashdot. From Carnnegie/DOE High Pressure Lab comes this Press Release: bq. Compressed Carbon Nanotubes Produce a Phase with a Higher Bulk Modulus than Diamond Cold compression of carbon nanotubes at 75 GPa results in the formation of a superhard hexagonal carbon polymorph that has a different structure than hexagonal diamond [Wang, et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci 101, 38, 13699 (2004]. This new phase is quenchable to ambient pressure and has an experimentally determined bulk modulus of 447 GPa, slightly higher than that of cubic diamond (440-442 GPa). In plain Engrish, this means that the material is harder than a diamond, and when it was created (with a diamond hammer and anvil under intense pressures), it cracked and indented the diamond anvil used in its creation. This just goes to show us that new stuff keeps cropping up every day. It's not just the quantum world, it's the physical one as well. I posted about another one on Sept. 25th when i wrote about a liquid that freezes when it is heated. A fun time to be alive -- I remember when keeping a single electron in a bottle was considered very very cool. This was done at UW in Seattle and I had the pleasure of visitng that lab and seeing the bottle with the electron.

Light blogging this weekend

I have a couple projects that have been pushed back for too long. I will be posting but not as much.

Voting on the Intelligence Bill

From Outside the Beltway comes this story: bq. The Senate voted overwhelmingly yesterday to revamp the structure of the nation's intelligence community by creating a national intelligence director, a counterterrorism center and other agencies in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The bill calls for the most dramatic changes to the intelligence community in half a century, and would give the new director authority to coordinate the activities and spending of the CIA and several other intelligence agencies throughout the government. It would also declassify the amount of money the government spends on intelligence and would create a civil liberties board to safeguard privacy and civil rights as the government steps up anti-terrorism activities. bq. The legislation, passed by a 96 to 2 vote, contains many of the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission. But a confrontation looms with the House, whose leaders have drafted a bill with many provisions not in the Senate measure. The vote underscores the influence of the 10-member commission that studied the government's response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The panel's report, released in July, became a bestseller and spurred Congress and the White House to rethink an intelligence structure built mainly to address Cold War threats. "This is an historic vote and an historic day," the bill's chief sponsors, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), said in a statement. The vote was 96 to two. Hmmmm... We have 100 Senators so that means that two of them were missing. Wonder who they could be: Check out the U.S. Senate website for this particular bill - look at the E's and K's specifically...

Another Rodney Dangerfield Obituary

At Sgt. Stryker, Parker weighs in with a great obit to the late departed comic: bq. Back in 1987, I was preparing myself for whatever was next after the navy. I decided that I should probably convert as much of my Navy schooling into college credits as possible, maybe even get one of those sheepskins. So, via the New York Board of Regents, I learned that a lot of that schooling would translate quite readily. However, I would need to take a few more classes to broaden my education in order to get a degree. bq. Some classes I did not mind taking, such as Creative Writing, and Calculus. But some I just had no interest in. But I soon learned of the CLEP tests, which allowed a guy like me to, in essence, challenge the course, take the final and get the credit. Without having to sit through boring classes I was not interested in. One such class was on art, to satisfy a humanities requirement. So, what the heck? (I am just not an art guy. What I like, and call art, I seem to be the only one who does. And a lot of what others call �art", I just don�t get. I�d rather have had a picture drawn by my then preschool children than say, anything by Picasso.) bq. One of the questions asked on that test �Who wrote this poem? bq. �Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. bq. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. bq. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. etc... bq. Thankfully, the night before this test, I watched �Back to School� and was able to confidently pick Dylan Thomas as the author. Thereby eking out a passing grade on this CLEP test, get an Associates of Science degree via the New York Board of Regents, and getting this job as a Principle Science and Engineering Technician at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. bq. So thanks Rodney Dangerfield. Thanks to your very funny movie, I am where I am at today. Here is hoping that Saint Peter calls you �Sir� and you get the respect you so richly deserve for the rest of eternity.


Bohica - nice tropical Caribbean-sounding word. How's things man? Bohica! Cool. It is unfortunately, an acronym standing for Bend Over, Here It Comes Again. In this case, this is applied to the private sector getting tired of NASA (National Arrows and Spears Administration) dropping the ball on cheap earth to space options and doing something on their own. The ink was not dry on the X-Prize check when the government started maneuvering to regulate private space enterprise... From CNN: bq. Thrill seekers are plunking down six figures to ride rockets that haven't even been built yet, and a new airline called Virgin Galactic promises to be up and soaring in the next three years. Still, the budding space tourism industry faces a myriad of safety concerns -- in the sky and on the ground -- that must be resolved before any paying passenger takes off. bq. The rules that will govern the industry in the United States remain under discussion between federal regulators and rocket developers, and legislation is still before Congress. bq. The pace of negotiations and the ultimate shape of the regulations could determine whether the sky-high enthusiasm for space tourism -- fueled by the historic suborbital flights of SpaceShipOne -- grows or wanes, especially among investors. bq. Federal Aviation Administration chief Marion C. Blakey this week visited Xcor Aerospace, a rocket developer just down the Mojave Airport flight line from SpaceShipOne's home. She talked of partnership with the new industry and said it was important for the United States to be the world leader. bq. She made clear, however, that broad safety issues are the agency's topic No. 1. bq. "Our first concern will be the safety of the uninvolved public, making sure that as this grows and develops that we're doing everything we can to protect the folks on the ground, to make sure that the people who go into space understand the risks," she said. "It will be a risky business for many years to come, no doubt." bq. The FAA for several years has been studying what the average passenger will face from G-force and psychological factors, and what type of medical fitness he or she will require, Blakey said. bq. There is also a question of what information a passenger should have, about safety records, for example, to assess risk and make a meaningful informed-consent statement. She visited Xcor and not Scaled. Why? Why should the feds require 'certification' when the pilot and the passenger are flying experimental aircraft, the passenger has signed a very well crafted legal document and is doing this on their own free will... Hey - if it cost $10K and there was a one in 10,000 chance of crashing and if I had the chance to spend a day or two in orbital space, I would be up there now. I SCUBA-dived a lot and that is as close to weightlessness as you can get on planet and it is wonderful.


From CNN/World News comes this story of an accident in a Hong Kong bank during renovation: bq. Safe boxes from a bank branch were taken away and crushed as scrap metal, leaving customers shocked and angry at the loss of their most valued possessions, executives acknowledged Wednesday. bq. Embarrassed bosses at Singapore-based DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd. said they would repay customers whose valuables were ruined or vanished when 83 boxes were removed Saturday by a contractor during renovations, then dumped and compressed in a junkyard. What was going on: bq. The 83 boxes were removed, along with 837 empty ones, as the bank was expanding the size of a local branch and replacing older, small safe boxes with new, larger ones. A mistake I am sure but still, someone should have checked the plans a little more carefully before starting the demolition. Another idea would have been to spray-paint the doors of the empty boxes to be removed. Sheesh!

Bill Whittle

Bill Whittle is an excellent if infrequent essayist. He publishes a new one every month or so and they are always really worth reading - thought provoking. His newest ones Deterrence Part One and Deterrence Part Two come on the heels of the Presidential Debate and he has some great things to say: bq. I credit John Kerry with the genuine desire to protect this nation, because the alternative is the back alley short-cut to insanity. He has, in mind, precisely the correct formula used protect the ideals of Liberal Democracy and ensure its victory in WWI, WWII and the long twilight fight of WWIII. bq. Allies and alliances defined the Great War. After four years of mind-shattering horror, the European powers had fought themselves to utter stalemate � and those trenches might yet today mark the borders between Germany, Belgium and France were it not for the arrivals of the American allies. Don�t misunderstand me � we did not win that war on the battlefield. That credit goes to the British and the French. But the endless supply of American troops disembarking, full of confidence and optimism and raw heroism, convinced Hindenberg and Ludendorf to desperately roll the dice on the spring 1918 offensives before they faced a million fresh American troops, full of fight. But defense was king in that war, and the Ludendorf Offensives failed. The counterattacks succeeded. The alliance won that war. bq. The alliance won World War II � that is beyond dispute. Without Britain hanging on during the lonely and dark opening years, where would the Western invasion have come from? Soviet Russia defeated almost 70% of the strength of Nazi Germany, and the United States defeated Japan single-handedly at sea, and with a great deal of help from the British and Australians and New Zealanders in brutal island jungles. An Alliance won that war � not us. Not us alone. bq. For almost fifty years, the most successful alliance in history had the guts and the commitment to put American cities on the line in order to prevent Soviet tanks from crashing through the Fulda gap. American, and to a deteriorating degree, European taxpayers built and maintained the armed forces needed to keep half of Europe free while the other half slowly rotted under the weight of an ideology so corrupt that it can now only thrive in the hothouse environment of the western coffee shop or faculty lounge. That, too, was an alliance victory. bq. If John Kerry were running for president in 1916, or 1940, or even 1976, he would have my enthusiastic vote, for the alliance of the US and the European powers is what saved Europe and the world not once, or twice, but three times in a single lifespan. One might expect some gratitude and respect for this, but as I say, the scales fell from my eyes some time ago. bq. But this is not 1916, or 1940, or 1976. Europe, ruler of the world in the first war, had become a military freeloader by the end of the third. Europe was not able to muster the military muscle or political will to extinguish a genocide within Europe � and things have gotten worse since them. The French nuclear carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, returned from her sea trials with a reactor room flooded with five times the allowable level of radiation and with one of her propellers at the bottom of the Atlantic. She borrowed a screw from her predecessor, the Foch � which was faster � and now sits in port making impressive appearances during national holidays and furthermore showing that if God exists he has both a sense of justice and a sense of humor. bq. The Germans cannot deploy an effective force beyond her own borders. The Russians � the mighty Russians -- could not call up so much as one decent ten-man special ops squad when she and her children needed them the most. Japan has constitutional restraints � drafted in American English � preventing her from deploying her defense forces overseas: a fact that has given me many nights peaceful sleep. And as for China� even if she decided, out of the kindness of her heart, to commit her forces to help her arch-rival�who do you think, Senator, would benefit the most from us sharing our weapons, tactics, logistics and intelligence with China. bq. But liberals are defined by their wishful thinking. An alliance would be nice � if the allies could shoulder some of the burden. But the sad, inconvenient, disappointing fact is that there is only one army on the face of the earth that can fight on the same battlefield with the United States; whose forces, technology and training rival ours in quality if not in scale, and whose trust has been forged by three world wars when we have stood alone, together. That country is Great Britain, one of the members of the �trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted.� bq. The sad fact, the unpleasant reality of 2004 is that there is only once nation in the world that is of any strategic value on the battlefield, and that ally is with us as she has always been, a staunch friend through many dark nights who deserves something better, I perceive, than slander from a man proclaiming himself the greatest diplomat since.. well, since himself. I will say this for John Kerry: he is a man unrivalled in his own esteem. bq. An alliance of European powers is a chimera that no longer holds any significant value. That is a critical point. It is an essential point of delusion embedded in Senator Kerry�s world view. He waits for rescue from a knight long dead and moldering, sitting beneath a withered oak tree in rusted armor. And he continues through several other points like a tack hammer -- nailing the truth into the foreheads of liberals everywhere...

Local Library 1 -- FBI 0

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This is the US Constitution in action. A bucketload of people are decrying the Patriot Act saying that it will allow the US Gubbinmint to spy on them without any legal recourse or due cause. Give me a break. For one thing, if the government decided to spy on people indiscriminately, they would have to hire many many more people to monitor these 'illicit communications' and quite honestly, to the complainers, your lives are just not that interesting. I know that mine isn't... A perfect example of the Constitution in action happened about 20 miles from where we live and was reported by KOMO-TV. One point of interest to bring up first is that I was looking for a local source for this story so I checked the Bellingham Herald and the Bellingham Weekly. Both are pretty much in the Democrat / Kerry / Anybody but Bush camp and neither of them had a peep about the story. There is another paper - the Whatcom Independent - they publish every Friday so I'll wait to see if they report it. The Herald and the Weekly have both had a couple days to report on this and I'm really interested why they don't... The story reported by KOMO-TV is this: bq. Small Town Library Takes On The Feds The FBI wants to know who checked out a book from a small library about Osama Bin Laden. But the library isn't giving out names, saying the government has no business knowing what their patrons read. bq. The library in Deming isn't much larger than a family home. Located in rural Whatcom County, it hardly seems the site for a showdown with the feds. bq. "I think we all figure it's places like the New York Library System that's going to be one of the first we hear about," said the attorney for the Whatcom County Library System, Deborra Garret. bq. At the center of the issue, a book titled "Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America." bq. The FBI confiscated the original book after a patron reported than some one hand wrote a bin Laden quote in the margin that read: "Let history be witness I am a criminal." bq. The FBI demanded to know the names and addresses of everyone who ever checked out the book. And the story goes on to say that: bq. "Libraries are a haven where people should be able to seek whatever information they want to pursue without any threat of government intervention," said Director of Whatcom County Library System, Joan Airoldi. bq. Because of privacy policies, the library does not give out circulation records without a court order. When the FBI got a grand jury subpoena, the library filed a motion to quash it -- citing the rights of all people who use the library. bq. "Like the right to read and to read the material of one's choice without fear that someone will come around with questions about why you chose that book," said Garrett. bq. The FBI withdrew the subpoena, reserving the right to file it again. bq. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office says they are not permitted to discuss anything that involves the grand jury. bq. If the feds had demanded the records under the Patriot Act, the library would have had to hand them over without question and without help from the courts. bq. The FBI still has the bin Laden book. bq. Librarians point out, it's overdue. The Library in our town is in the same Library system and they seriously rock. Good staff, good selection of books and DVDs and a nice system of intra-library loans. This is for a town of maybe 300 people.

R.I.P. Rodney Dangerfield

From Reuters: bq. Comic Rodney Dangerfield Dies in L.A. at Age 82 Rodney Dangerfield, the goggle-eyed comic famed for his self-deprecating one-liners and signature phrase "I can't get no respect," died on Tuesday at age 82, his publicist said. bq. Dangerfield, who became a pop culture sensation with a string of broad film comedies starting with "Caddyshack" in 1980, died at 1:20 p.m. PDT at the UCLA Medical Center, where he had undergone heart valve replacement surgery in August, spokesman Kevin Sasaki said in a statement. A couple quotes: bq. I was five years old before I realized there was no such thing as ALPO baby food. bq. I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous - everyone hasn't met me yet. bq. Last time I tried to make love to my wife nothing happened, so I said to her, 'What's the matter, you can't think of anybody either?' Rodney, you will be missed...

Goat blogging

Jen and I took a couple hours off today and brought one of our goats out to a trail to get him used to packing. They can carry 40-60 pounds and can get into places that Llamas and Horses cannot. The added advantage is that they can browse the local plants so there is no need to pack their food. They are as gentle to the trail as a human or a Llama. This is Gohan - he is four years old: gohan-on-trail.jpg

Fire on Canadian Submarine

One of Canada's Submarine fleet suffered a fire. Two news reports: Fropm CBC News: bq. A rescue effort is underway off the west coast of Scotland after a Canadian military submarine with 57 people on board issued a distress call Tuesday morning. bq. Military officials in Halifax said a fire broke out on HMCS Chicoutimi about 200 kilometres west of Scotland and northwest of Ireland, but had since been extinguished. bq. Nine submariners inhaled fumes, but there were no serious injuries, said Commodore Tyrone Pyle, commander of the Canadian Fleet Atlantic. bq. "Out of the 57 crew on board, nine were treated for minor smoke inhalation but are fine," Pyle said. bq. He gave little detail on the cause of the fire, saying only it had started in an "electrical panel in a passageway." From Yahoo/AFP bq. The newest submarine in the Canadian navy, the HMCS Chicoutimi, was adrift in rough seas off northwest Ireland after a fire that left nine sailors injured, the Ministry of Defence in London said. bq. "As far as we know, she's lost all power," a ministry spokesman told AFP, as a British maritime patrol aircraft loitered over the crippled submarine about 100 nautical miles (180 kilometers) off shore. bq. Two Royal Navy frigates and a support ship were expected to reach the Chicoutimi -- a refitted British submarine that only joined the Canadian navy five days ago -- on Wednesday morning, the spokesman said. About the submarines themselves (from teh CBC article): bq. Four Victoria-class submarines are in the Canadian fleet, each named after port cities (their former names in the Royal Navy appear as well): * HMCS Victoria (HMS Unseen) * HMCS Windsor (HMS Unicorn) * HMCS Corner Brook (HMS Ursula) * HMCS Chicoutimi (HMS Upholder) bq. The Canadian Forces bought the subs in 1998 for $750 million. Victoria operates in the Pacific Ocean out of Esquimalt, B.C. The rest are based in Halifax. bq. Built by the U.K., the subs were mothballed in favour of an all-nuclear fleet. bq. Nearly identical to nuclear subs in design, except for their diesel-electric engines.

Another French scandal

Charles at LGF links to an article in the Moscow Times: bq. Total Officials in Bribes Probe. Executives at French oil major Total have been detained for questioning as part of an investigation into transfers of millions of dollars in suspected bribes to win oil development rights in Russia and Iraq. bq. A spokeswoman for Total, the world�s fourth-largest publicly traded oil company by market value, confirmed by telephone from Paris on Monday that French investigators had raided the company�s headquarters and questioned several employees last week. But she said the probe targeted the activities of officials and not the company itself, and declined to comment further. bq. A spokeswoman for the French Justice Ministry refused to comment Monday. bq. The French daily Le Monde, which first broke news of the probe last week, cited Total�s former head of operations Jean-Michel Tournier as saying that the company had used a Geneva-based firm, Teliac SA, to funnel bribes to �certain beneficiaries� in return for gaining access to reserves in Russia and Iraq. bq. �Behind these beneficiaries, there was Russia and Iraq. If we had not paid, we would not have had any crude oil,� Le Monde cited Tournier as saying. Why does this new revelation not surprise me very much. After all, Total was one of the key players in the corrupt United Nations Oil-For-Food program (which BTW, the United Nations still has not released any results of their 'internal investigation' or anything regarding the accounting information). Typical old Europe - axis of weasels indeed...

The SP2 Upgrade Blues

There is a good post at the O'Reilly WIndows DevCenter: bq. How to Cure the SP2 Upgrade Blues The Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) is a boon for people looking for safer browsing, built-in pop-up killing, and better wireless access. But that doesn't mean that it's perfect--far from it. It's caused all kinds of problems on many people's systems, and yours may be one of them. So if you're running into trouble with SP2 or are thinking of upgrading, the Power Hound has help with some of the most common problems you may run into. This week the Power Hound tackles two SP2 upgrade problems that deal with configuring pop-up blocking and the firewall. The upgrade is worth getting but with something this complex running on as many different systems as it does, there are bound to be some 'surprises'. Hat tip to Brian at Grafyte

Chronology of a kidnapping

A very interesting chronology of the French Hostage kidnapping can be found at Pave France. Damien is quoting from newspaper headlines: bq. Monday August 30, 2004: Paris panic after journalists kidnapped in Iraq Tuesday August, 31 2004: Hostages plead: Lift headscarf ban Friday September 3, 2004: Hopes rise for French hostages Friday September 3, 2004: French FM awaits liberation of hostages in Jordan Friday September 3, 2004: French hostages 'no longer held' Saturday September 4, 2004: Hopes rise sharply for quick release of French hostages Saturday September 4, 2004: French journalists 'about to be freed' Sunday September 5, 2004: Hostages' release stalls Monday September 6, 2004: France sounds note of caution over hostages Monday September 6, 2004: France Hopes Stance Aids Captives in Iraq Thursday September 9, 2004: France wants U.S. out of hostage crisis Friday September 10, 2004: Liberation of French hostages still possible: French FM Monday September 13, 2004: French try to answer Iraq's anarchy with charm Monday September 13, 2004: Paris fears long wait possible for hostages Tuesday September 14, 2004: Journalists' Iraqi captors say France is "enemy of Muslims" Friday September 17, 2004: If Chirac can't deliver on hostages, who can? Monday September 20, 2004: De Villepin optimistic for release of Iraq hostages Tuesday September 21, 2004: Chirac in fresh appeal for kidnapped journalists Tuesday September 28, 2004: Report: French Hostages in Iraq to Be Freed Soon Wednesday September 29, 2004: Group holding Iraq hostages pays �tribute� to French stand on Iraq Friday October 1, 2004: Uncertain negotiations: Confusion surrounds efforts to secure the release of the French journalists and their Syrian driver Sunday October 3, 2004: Chaos grips bid to free hostages held in Iraq Monday October 4, 2004: France Riled by Failed Iraq Rescue Mission Monday October 4, 2004: France Calls Crisis Talks Over Iraq Hostages Farce Tuesday October 5, 2004: France vows 'discreet' bid to free journalists in Iraq Tuesday October 5, 2004: Private talks collapse for 2 French hostages bq. To get this far France has sought and obtained intercessions from Sheikh Youssef al-"Shoot-An-American" Qaradawi, Hamas, the Little Chairman, the Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah of Hezbollah, and terrorist Shiite Moqtada Sadr, among others. Nice friends. bq. France has abandoned the practice of diplomacy between plenipotentiaries and will now talk with anyone who can throw a little weight around by virtue of having cut a little throat. M. Barnier thinks France should arrange tea parties for terrorists, while M. Raffarin thinks terrorists are France's best allies. bq. To be French is to awake newly contemptible everyday. There is a lot more - Damian has some very apt comments and links to yet more information. And these are the people that Kerry wants to have decide our Foreign Policy?

Coming in / Going out

gordo.cooper.jpg With all of the hoopla and joyous celebration about SpaceShipOne, we also mourn the passing of Astronaut Gordon Cooper who passed away on Monday. CNN has a nice obituary

The 'Flappy Bird' neighborhood

At the bottom of the Blogroll on the right there is a section labeled Blog Tracking. In this is a line that says: bq. I'm a Flappy Bird in the TTLB Ecosystem This is hosted by The Truth Laid Bear It is fun every so often to poke around the ecosystem and see what the other Flappy Birds are doing. I did this and ran into one I knew! Those of you in website development might know Nick Bradbury - he wrote Homesite and sold it to MacroMedia who incorporated it into their products. He has a couple of new products out - TopStyle and FeedDemon TopStyle is sort of like Homesite except that it integrates editing HTML with editing CSS - I use it on some of the other websites I manage and it's a wonderful tool. Nick's Blog is here Other interesting Flappy Birds are: Texas Law Blog - check out their story on criminals given the death penalty based on evidence from a lab that had "problems". The Houston police chief is calling for delay of executions. Pave France - the British need more parking with their entry on France's referendum on Turkey's entry into the EU. It seems the French are playing their stupid empire games in other theaters than the Islamic world... Finally, there is Futurismic, check out their story on Bigelow Aerospace and their designs for space stations. Inflatable Space Stations... To see who else is in the neighborhood - click here

Insurgents in Iran

The real insurgents, the good guys. Not the "insurgents" you read about on Associated Press or Reuters or Al-Jazzeera. Roger L. Simon has the story: bq. The good folks at the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran are reporting more action by insurgents (yes, real insurgents, not the kind you read about in Reuters) against the Mullahs. bq. In Tehran alone, unidentified individuals, whom the local residents call "Freedom Fighters," set 26 businesses on fire and destroyed 14 patrol vehicles and were able to escape from the scene unscathed. bq. MEANWHILE: Follow the yellow brick road here. Roger's commenters offer some links as well. Check out the whole thing.

Xeni Jardin on SpaceShipOne

Science and techno-uber-geek Xeni Jardin writes about the SpaceShipOne launch in today's BoingBoing. ss1photo.jpg She provides some excellent links including a full size version of the one above. SpaceShipOne is being towed back after landing. Those three mugs sitting on the tailgate of the truck are Paul Allen, Burt Rutan and Sir Richard Branson. The pilot is standing on top of the SpaceShip as it is being towed waving an American flag. Very cool pic! She also links to the West Mojave Aviation Archaeology: bq. What you are about to see is the work of a dedicated group of aviation historians. It is our intention to record and preserve the histories of some of the most amazing aircraft and people ever to grace the California skies. The Right Stuff

Dean Esmay interviews Swift Boat Vet.

There is an excellent interview at Dean's World: bq. I've been trying for some time to obtain an interview with one of the members of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. I most wanted to talked to one of the enlisted men who served personally with Kerry, and after much trying, I finally managed to get a phone interview late last week with Van Odell, who served as a gunner's mate in the same unit as John Kerry and who served with him longer than anyone else did in Viet Nam. bq. As I spoke to Mr. Odell, I decided to ask him the most blunt questions I could think of, wondering at times if he might become offended. He never did. He is a soft-spoken man with a mild demeanor, and displayed an easy temper and a gentle sense of humor throughout. And the interview: bq. Dean's World: The impression I get from news reports is that Kerry's actual crew are standing by him, while those criticizing him are other Swift Boat skippers and their crews. If true, what is your best guess as to why that should be so? bq. Van Odell: It's not true. Steve Gardner served on Kerry's boat longer than anybody else and he's one of our guys. He served with Kerry longer than any other crew member with Kerry, knew him better than any of those guys. bq. I would also say I don't know how Kerry cultivated those guys two years ago. When I knew them in Viet Nam they couldn't stand him, and even if you read Kerry's book Tour of Duty, that even says his crew couldn't stand him then. bq. We don't know how much they support him. Of those who are with him, the only one that will come out and talk to the press is Del Sandusky. The rest are never in the press. Whereas all 60 of us who served with Senator Kerry in our group are all out on the road and talking about why we oppose the Senator. bq. Dean's World: Would you say it's really Kerry's combat record that disturbs you most, or his testimony and actions after coming home from the war? bq. Van Odell: I would have to say it's both. You have to take Kerry as a whole ball of wax, you have to look at what he did in Viet Nam and what he did after coming home. bq. But deep down, viscerally, when he went before the Senate and called me a killer, a murderer and a rapist, I couldn't believe one of our own service members would get up and lie about us like that. I was there for 12 months, not just the 4 months that he was there, and I never saw or participated in any atrocities, nor anything like he described, while I was there. bq. Dean's World: Do you think all Viet Nam vets who came to oppose the war were finks? bq. Van Odell: No! As a matter of fact, everybody has a right to protest a war. What they don't have a right to do is to lie about their fellow soldiers in such a fashion that it affects them in the field of battle and affects them in a prison camp. bq. Things that POWs were tortured to be forced to say are things John Kerry said freely to the Senate and to the TV cameras and guys were sometimes tortured back in prison camps showing them that. bq. I would say that any American has a right to say anything he wants about a war they want to but they do not have a right to lie about what soldiers are doing in the field. I'm cherry-picking a few questions from the interview. And, of course, this will get picked up by the mainstream media...
This is downright nasty. Sharp as a Marble links to this story about a teacher who put a photo of the current sitting president up next to some photos of previous presidents: bq. You might say it is a symbol of the Great American Divide, a teacher putting up a picture of President Bush in the classroom. Some say it is partisanship while others say it is patriotism. bq. Rita Bianco, Parent: "Children should know their president and their first lady!" bq. Parents expressing outrage after a teacher is kicked out of her public school for hanging a picture of President Bush next to pictures of other presidents in her classroom. bq. Shiba Pillai-Diaz, Teacher: "It happened on a small bulletin board near the American flag and also with a poster of the Declaration of Independence." bq. ...Veteran English teacher Shiba Pillai-Diaz says she was shocked when three parents confronted her. The three, insisting the teacher either add John Kerry's photo to the montage of presidents or remove the Bush photo. When Pillai-Diaz refused, she says the school's vice-principal threatened her job which is an act that has parents here fuming. bq. Pillai-Diaz ultimately removed the entire bulletin board and says School Principal Jim Warfel told her she disrupted the school with her "inflammatory politics". She says he then ordered her out of the building. While she says she is a Bush supporter in her personal life, Pillai-Diaz says she keeps politics out of the classroom. bq. Shiba Pillai-Diaz, Teacher: "There was no political intent, nor was there any political content in that photograph nor on the bulletin board." bq. School officials would not talk on camera but insist nobody here has been fired. To that, Ms. Pillai-Diaz asks what does it mean then when your boss asks you to hand over the keys and kicks you out of the building? She also says she is not sure if she'll be returning to school tomorrow. The idea that three parents could hijack the educational process to this extent over such a stupid partisan game makes me feel ill... This was not politics by the teacher, this was bringing politics into the classroom by the parents. These people should drink a nice hot steaming mug of S.T.F.U. and let the teachers teach.

SpaceShipOne slams the X-Prize

The best report I have seen is this one at CNN -- lots of other links to images and videos. bq. SpaceShipOne achieved its most spectacular flight yet, climbing to an altitude of 377,591 feet (71 1/2 miles), eight miles beyond what was needed to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. bq. X Prize officials said it set an altitude record exceeding the military X-15's top altitude of 354,200 feet (67 miles) set on August 22, 1963. bq. With a wish of "Good luck and Godspeed," mission control sent the privately funded craft toward space for the second time in a week, the requirements for winning the X Prize. bq. "Today we have made history. Today we go to the stars," said Peter Diamandis, co-founder of the X Prize Foundation. They also have a great quote and story from Burt Rutan: bq. Winning the X Prize with SpaceShipOne is only the beginning for Rutan. bq. "I have a hell of a lot bigger goal now (than NASA)," he said. bq. He is now determined to supply the craft for Virgin Galactic. bq. "I absolutely have to develop a space tourism system that is at least 100 times safer than anything that has flown man into space, and probably significantly more than that," Rutan said. One small step...

The dreaded knock at the door...

It's midnight and they have come for me. I was not a good party member, I confess. I embraced the Evils of Capitalism and the Commissar found me and I am to be put on trial for my shameless promotion of the capitalist Space Ship One. I will freeze in the gulag of Mount Baker.

John Kerry Violated Debate Rules

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Some sharp-eyed people noticed the John Kerry seemed to take something out of his jacket pocket and put it on the desk of his podium before starting the debate. A crib sheet? The issue here is that according to the binding "Memorandum of Understanding" (pdf file) that was negotiated and agreed upon by both political campaigns: bq. (c) No props, notes, charts, diagrams, or other writings or other tangible things may be brought into the debate by either candidate. (d) Notwithstanding subparagraph 5(c), the candidates may take notes during the debate on the size, color and type of paper each side prefers. Each candidate must submit to the staff of the Commission prior to the debate all such paper and any pens or pencils with which a candidate may wish to take notes during the debate, and the staff or commission will place such paper, pens and pencils on the podium, table or other structure to be used by the candidate in that debate. Bill at INDC is on top of the story. bq. As indicated by the linked video (fullscreen mode is very compelling), John Kerry clearly removes what look like note cards or papers from his right jacket pocket, and then places them on the podium at the beginning of the debate. bq. 1. A single candidate's use of prepared notes could provide a distinct advantage in the debate, hence their mutual prohibition. bq. 2. While the nature of the object is inconclusive based on the angle and resolution of the video, the rules clearly state that "(n)o ... tangible things may be brought into the debate by either candidate." That includes notes, Mont Blanc pens, magic hats, you name it. Bill also posts many updates with links to other videos shot from different angles. This is a pretty obvious violation. UPDATE: Bill at INDC journal wrote to me reminding me that The Daily Recycler was also very instrumental in this. The effort was a co-operative one. The Recycler has some more here

SpaceShipOne flight tomorrow

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The Mysanthropist has a link to a Jerry Pournelle article on the previous flight of SpaceShipOne and it's X-Prize attempt tomorrow. In it, Burt talks about the rolling and the Space Ship's landing ability: bq. The complex reason on why the rolling departure occurred will be described in a report we will post at a later date. What I am intending to do here is merely address some of the incorrect rumors about the rolls that have been seen in various news stories and web discussion groups. bq. e the first roll occurred at a high true speed, about 2.7 Mach, the aerodynamic loads were quite low [120 KEAS] and were decreasing rapidly, so the ship never saw any significant structural stresses. The reason that there were so many rolls was because shortly after they started, Mike was approaching the extremities of the atmosphere. Nearly all of the 29 rolls that followed the initial departure were basically at near-zero-q, thus they were a continuous rolling motion without aerodynamic damping, rather than the airplane-like aerodynamic rolls seen by an aerobatic airplane. In other words, they were more like space flight than they were like airplane flight. Thus, Mike could not damp the motions with his aerodynamic flight controls." bq. "Mike elected to wait until he feathered the boom-tail in space, before using the reaction control system thrusters [RCS] to damp the roll rate. When he finally started to damp the rates he did so successfully and promptly. The RCS damping, to a stable attitude without significant angular rates was complete well before the ship reached apogee [337,600 feet, or 103 Km]. He then says: bq. That gave mike time to relax, note his peak altitude, and then pick up a digital high-resolution camera and take some great photos out the windows. Those photos are now being considered for publication by a major magazine. This will be very cool to see! And the landing system: bq. lso got a further evaluation of our �Care-free Reentry� capability, under a challenging test condition. As seen on the videos of the flight, the ship righted itself quickly and accurately without pilot input as it fell straight into the atmosphere. No other winged, horizontal-landing spaceship [X-15, Buran, SpaceShuttle] has this capability. Well engineered, good pilot. Looking forward to the launch tomorrow. Godspeed!

A beam of stupidity, a ray of light...

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From Yahoo/AP comes this story of some group in France trying to resurrect the "compressed-air-car" trope, stupidity at best. The article is glowing but they check their facts and note that compressed air is not a fuel: bq. Pricey Oil Could Be Boon for European Car Record-high oil prices might seem like bad news for the auto industry. But one European manufacturer plans to make a type of car unaffected by $50-a-barrel crude � cars that run on compressed air. bq. "It's safe, doesn't pollute, doesn't explode, it's not poisonous and it's not expensive," said Sebastien Braud, a representative for Luxembourg-based Moteur Developpement International. bq. Inside the Air Car, an electric pump compresses air into a tank. The air in turn pumps pistons that take the vehicle up to 70 mph. The car can travel 50 miles at top speed on a full tank, and farther at lower speeds. Emphasis mine - I used to SCUBA dive and compressed air tanks do explode - I had a safety-disk rupture happen on a set of twins. Thankfully, it was where I was living and not underwater but I have also seen what a full tank can do when the valve gets 'bumped' Fortunately for Yahoo/AP's credibility (these days anyway), they checked with someone else and the report continues: bq. Environmentalists are also wary about the Air Car's claimed benefits. Converting energy from electricity to compressed air is inefficient, according to Karsten Krause of the European Federation for Transport and Environment, a green lobby group based in Brussels. bq. By consuming much more energy from the power plant than it delivers on the road, Krause said, it could even do as much environmental damage as some gasoline cars. bq. "You may not have any pollution from the car itself," he said, "but you're just transferring the environmental burden to another place." bq. Krause's organization pushes a much simpler recipe for cutting greenhouse gas and toxic emissions from vehicles. If consumers ditched their SUVs and other gas guzzlers and chose engine capacities reflecting their real needs, he said, fuel consumption would drop by a third. Sheesh - someone with an environmental brain! For a good dissection of air cars, hydrogen and the whole Eco-Energy myth, check out Don Lancaster's website and especially this article (PDF reader required)


Thanks Charles: kerry-football-crotch-01.jpg 'Nuff said... Click on the link below for the NSFW photo of him in the shower after...

Dumb Criminal and dumb store owners...

From WCPO in Cincinnati: bq. Thieves Get A Taste Of Their Own "Funny Money" Some thieves got a taste of their own "money" when they passed counterfeit bills at an area Wal-Mart store. bq. In a bizarre twist that involved two transactions and three different trips to the Wal-Mart Store in Westwood, employees were determined to teach them a lesson. bq. The employees are calling the thieves the dumbest criminals in the Tri-state. bq. They say they sued their counterfeit money to buy items, but later returned those items to get a cash refund of legitimate bills. bq. But the store manager had a different idea. bq. "A male, black, came into the store, purchased approximately $400 worth of merchandise --a DVD player, some DVDs," said Lieutenant Russ Neville, a Cincinnati police officer. bq. Wal-Mart-mart management says that after the man left, an employee noticed the money was fake -- but it was too late. bq. They never expected what happened next. bq. "A female, black, came back a short time later with a receipt from that purchase and returned approximately $300 or $270 worth of the merchandise," said Lt. Neville. bq. Employees say she was hoping to get real money with her return, but Wal-Mart says they recognized the receipt and made the decision to give back the bogus bills. bq. Management says the thieves actually had the gall to come back a third time, less than an hour later to complain that they had been given counterfeit money. And more (the dumb store owner part): bq. But the Wal-Mart store's management says they used a counterfeit detecting pen that left obvious black marks all over the bills, that most cashiers would pick up on. This is bogus... The pen contains iodine and will react to any starch used in the sizing of cheap paper. ('sizing ' makes the paper feel 'thicker' and 'richer'). Only the really stupid counterfeiters would use a sized paper when they can buy a real 100% cotton bond for about $10 more per ream (enough to make several hundred bills) A bill can pick up fabric starch while sitting in a wallet and test positive while a careful counterfeiter can use decent paper and produce a visually-awful bill that still 'passes the pen test'. Magician and de-bunker James Randi likes to play this trick -- he will spray laundry starch onto part of a bill and wait for the cashier to check it. If they check the part with the starch, he will ask them to check the other end of the bill. He will then ask for the manager and explain why these pens are bogus. The other thought is why Wal-Mart allowed the counterfeit money to leave the store when they had it in their possession. A crime, no?

France, Russia, and China V/S The U.N.

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Another link from Inoperable Terran today -- this one to a story in Instapundit which links to a story in the NY Times: bq. 3 Nations Reportedly Slowed Probe of Oil Sales Congressional investigators say that France, Russia and China systematically sabotaged the former United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq by preventing the United States and Britain from investigating whether Saddam Hussein was diverting billions of dollars. bq. In a briefing paper given yesterday to members of the House subcommittee investigating the program, the investigators said their review of the minutes of a United Nations Security Council subcommittee meeting showed that the three nations "continually refused to support the U.S. and U.K. efforts to maintain the integrity" of the program. And why: bq. The paper suggests that France, Russia and China blocked inquiries into Iraq's manipulation of the program because their companies "had much to gain from maintaining'' the status quo. "Their businesses made billions of dollars through their involvement with the Hussein regime and O.F.F.P.," the document states, using the initials for the program. No officials of the three governments could be reached for comment. Emphasis mine - there's more: bq. The briefing paper said the hearing would focus on Cotecna, the Switzerland-based company hired by the United Nations in 1999 to monitor goods shipped to Iraq, and Saybolt International B.V., the Dutch company that monitored Iraqi oil exports. bq. Also under scrutiny will be BNP Paribas, the French bank that handled oil revenues under the program and which "never initiated a review of the program or the reputation of those involved," the paper says. This "apparent incuriosity," it adds, "raises questions about its internal due diligence and ethical safeguards." bq. The paper said Mr. Hussein's government had influenced whom Saybolt and Cotecna employed and had made it hard for them to obtain the equipment and supplies they needed. "This slowed the inspection process, making it difficult for the inspectors to carry out their duties and easier for the Iraqis to pressure the inspectors or sneak things past the inspection regime,'' the paper says. Don't forget that one of Cotecna's employees was Kojo Annan (here and here) The article closes with this: bq. The paper concludes that the program's greatest weakness was a lack of transparency. "Most transactions involving the program were done behind closed doors or sometimes illicitly," it states. The lists of oil purchasers and aid providers were not known. The United Nations internal audits continue to be withheld from United Nations members and the public. bq. A recent report issued in Washington by the Government Accountability Office, formerly the General Accounting Office, accused the Hussein government of having pocketed more than $10 billion from the six-year oil-for-food program, which used $64.2 billion in Iraqi oil sales to pay for food, medicine and other goods from 1997 to 2003. Last February, a document from Iraqi ministries reportedly cited Mr. Sevan, the chief of the United Nations office that administered the program, as having received oil allotments himself. Mr. Sevan has denied the charges. bq. The Shays subcommittee is investigating all aspects of the program, as are several other Congressional panels and the United Nations-appointed panel, which is headed by Paul A. Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve. Couldn't imagine a better person than Volcker to get to the bottom of this pile of steaming corruption. The guy's a pit bull...

Global Test

Rand Simberg has a wonderful online Global Test available for world leaders, diplomats and UN Members: bq. Welcome, World Leader. We understand that you'd like to undertake some type of foreign policy action. In the past, this would have involved a great deal of debate and diplomatic activity (not to mention bribery) in Paris, Brussels, and on the west bank of the East River. In the interest of streamlined world government, we've developed this simple test, which should take no more than a few minutes to fill out, to get you quickly on to your next foreign adventure, should it meet all reasonable criteria for peace and international justice. bq. The test may be taken as many times as desired, as long as the billion-dollar test fee is paid each time (proceeds are split evenly between the office of the UN Director General, and the French government, to compensate them for the trouble and expense of designing the test). You will be billed upon test completion. Payment may be made via cash (dollars, please, in unmarked bills), credit card, Paypal, or under-the-counter arms contracts. bq. If you'd like to continue with the test, please begin below by selecting the language in which you'd like to take it. Hat tip to Ian at the Inoperable Terran for the link. Here is Cox and Forkum's take on the Global Test: GlobalTest.gif Their website fills in a bit of the back-story behind this concern: bq. In the last night's presidential debate, Senator Kerry criticized President Bush's decision to invade Iraq for not passing a "global test." Kerry stressed the need for more international assistance...

Alert Level 3 and counting

From KOMO-TV: bq. Government scientists raised the alert level Saturday for Mount St. Helens after its second steam eruption in two days was followed by a powerful tremor. They said the next blast was imminent or in progress, and could threaten life and property in the remote area near the volcano. bq. Hundreds of visitors at the building closest to the volcano - Johnston Ridge Observatory five miles away - were asked to leave. They went quickly to their cars and drove away, with some relocating several miles north to Coldwater Ridge Visitors Center. bq. The volcano alert of Mount St. Helens was raised to Level 3, which "indicates we feel an eruption is imminent, or is in progress," said U.S. Geological Survey geologist Tom Pierson from the observatory. The scientists were evaced as well - the word is that this was in the event of ash fall but this mountain has a powerful history so a bit of distance is in order. Five miles is too close for comfort. The weather is nice today too take a look at the VolcanoCam

Another fine French Whine

Charles at LGF links to a petulant Agence France Presse release complaining how: bq. Bush uses France against John Kerry US President George W. Bush is capitalizing on anti-French sentiments that have emerged in the United States since Paris opposed last year�s US-led attack on Iraq, suggesting that opponent John Kerry would give France a veto over US policy. bq. �The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to veto by countries like France,� Bush said Friday at a rally in Pennsylvania. bq. Bush�s campaign does not miss the opportunity to stress that Kerry speaks French and has family ties to France, and that the Massachusetts senator often refers to France when he talks about how the US has lost respect in the world since Bush became president in 2001. France opposed the attack on Iraq because France was making money hand-over-fist both with the corrupt Oil-For-Food program and with selling arms specifically disallowed by the United Nations. (We found them over there with dates of manufacture that speifically were in violation). These people are not our friends despite our pulling their collective petards out of the fire 60 years ago.

News from Najaf and Samarra

From No Watermelons comes this link to an email from a soldier: bq. Did you see the big headline or watch the top-of-the-newscast story about the success of our sons and daughters in Samarra, Iraq? bq. Of course, you didn't. bq. I found mention deep in stories from The Christian Science Monitor and The Associated Press. But it took e-mails from Marine officers in Iraq to relay the importance of this positive news � so I could tell you. bq. It shouldn't be this way. Yet journalism in America is broken. It has no foundation of values by which many Americans can relate and depend. The moral of this column is not about one side prevailing in news coverage on the war on terror. It's simply about fairness � about Americans getting both sides with the same prominence. And more from this article in The Tennessean quoting an email from a soldier over there, this news verified from another source (cited in the article): bq. ''The Najaf shrine � HUNDREDS of dead women and children were brought out after Sadr left,'' Rose wrote. ''They (Sadr's supporters) rounded them up during the battle and brought them in to be executed. Why? Because they anticipated the Americans would eventually enter the shrine and walk into a media ambush. We never went in. The people of Najaf love us right now because of that. They hate Sadr and want him dead. bq. ''Have you heard that one yet (in the media)?'' bq. No we haven't. We just get one side. That's bad journalism � by a news media acting in concert with Kerry. These left-handed Islam pigs are masters at Western Public Relations -- they know how to play the Liberals like a two dollar violin and the Liberals lap it up like nectar from the gods because it allows them to express their justification for their beliefs in Foucault and Multiculturalism. Sorry Charlie - this is a known-broken meme and it deserves to be tossed on the midden along with Disco and Pet Rocks. There is more - the Commissar weighs in with a Somerset Maugham parable -- short so I will quote it in full with all of Commissar's links: bq. Appointment in Samarra A merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market. The servant returned, trembling and frightened. The servant told the merchant, "I was jostled in the market, turned around, and saw Death. bq. "Death made a threatening gesture, and I fled in terror. May I please borrow your horse? I can leave Baghdad and ride to Samarra, where Death will not find me." bq. The master lent his horse to the servant, who rode away, to Samarra. bq. Later the merchant went to the market, and saw Death in the crowd. "Why did you threaten my servant?" He asked. bq. Death replied,"I did not threaten your servant. It was merely that I was surprised to see him here in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra." Finally, Wretchard at The Belmont Club does one of his usual excellent analyses of the situation past, present and future - go read about the beginning of the end for a very few, very nasty people: bq. The "International Herald Tribune" describes the brigade plus attack on Samarra by US and Iraqi government forces. The objective of the operation was to establish government control after the city council had been disbanded under insurgent threat. Samarra is a city of 200,000 on the Tigris river about 120 kilometers north-northwest of Baghdad. It was the capital of the Abbasid caliphate in the 9th century, when palaces and gardens stretched for 30 kilometers along the river. That history is recalled in numerous archaeological relics whose massive construction make it a potential offensive nightmare. The Great Friday Mosque with its spiral minaret, for example, covers nearly 40,000 square meters -- four hectares, or about 9 acres -- with walls 35 feet high and walls nearly 9 feet thick. It is also the site of a replica of the the Imam Ali Mosque of Najaf, holy to Shi'ites, excepting that it is domed in blue tiles, but with the potential, like its southern counterpart, to become a massive redoubt. bq. The International Herald Tribune reports that an overnight assault by four American and two Iraqi battalions (for reference note that a division has about 10 battalions) took 80% of the city, killing 100 insurgents outright, and capturing the Shi'ite mosque, the city hall and a pharmaceutical factory site. The assault on the mosque itself was carried out by the Iraqi army in its first major public debut. Emphasis mine - Wretchard wraps up with this observation: bq. In that respect the earlier American operation in Samarra resembled any Israeli Defense Force incursion into Gaza or the West Bank -- overwhelming but temporary. In fact, any all-American incursion into Falluja would probably have shared the same temporary character. But the American commitment to building a new Iraqi Army and Iraqi State is the bearing strategic fruit which provides the crucial difference. Imagine if the Israeli Defense Forces and a Palestinian Government Force could jointly seize a terrorist stronghold and then garrison it with a Palestinian Force. What if they could seize and hold? This is what American and Iraqi forces are achieving in Samarra; this is what can be done in October that could not be achieved in April, 2004. The view that Iraq is descending into a quagmire represents a valid concern, but it ignores three crucial achievements by US policymakers. bq. 1. The piecemeal defeat of the threatened Sunni-Shi'ite uprising in April by holding the Sunnis fixed while militarily and politically defeating Moqtada Al-Sadr; 2. Rebuilding the Iraqi Army from a near-zero condition in April; and 3. Establishing an interim Iraqi government. bq. Both Saddam and Sadr believed they could outmaneuver the Americans, who were, if the press is to be believed, singularly lacking in nuance and intelligence. bq. Doubtless Zarqawi believes he can do the same. Long may he cherish that hope. Again, emphasis mine...

Live debate blogging

A number of bloggers were sitting around writing entires as they watched the debate on TV. Robb Allen at Sharp as a Marble has the goods: bq. A brief description of the stage. There are 2 lecterns on the stage, both having a set of lights on top borrowed from the Jeopardy set. When the lights blink, you're out of time. If they blink too long, a trap door will open up and your opponent wins by default. There was a lot of controversy over the lights which Bush's team managed to keep. They did, however, lose the argument that Kerry's podium would include a pneumatically controlled boot that would extend into his crotch when Bush pressed a button. I thought that was a petty thing to argue over, myself. bq. Disney has done a wonderful job with the animatronic Jim Leher - it almost looks lifelike! There's still a bit more to go on the technology, but outside of the slow, mechanical movements, you can almost believe he's alive. bq. OK, the debates are about to start. Leher is instructing the audience to sit down and have a nice tall glass of "Shut the F*ck" up or he'll have to open a can of whoopass. He's now introduced the candidates. bq. 9:02 - Jim explained the rules to the candidates and to the audience. He has also instructed those who are playing "Bullshit Bingo" at home to go ahead and fill in the square marked "Kerry Shows off Manicure". bq. 9:03 - First question regarding Kerry making America safer. I didn't think the whole "more seat belts and airbags" answer was exactly what they were asking, but the Volvos in Every Home portion was a nice touch. Bush's rebuttal of "I could so kick you ass" definitely scored points. bq. 9:08 - Bush is asked if we'd be attacked if Kerry was elected. Bush responded with "Well, I'm sure I'd attack horse face over there if he was elected". Kerry hiding under the podium wasn't very presidential. It gets better and better. Caution: Multiple Drink Alert Hat tip: Dean Esmay

Speech by Jose Maria Aznar

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links to a speech from Jose Maria Aznar. You know him as the former Prime Minister of Spain whose election was skewed by the Madrid Terrorist bombings. An appeaser was voted into office as Spain sinks into the shithole of Islamofascist dark ages. bq. I am an optimist. I do believe terrorism can be defeated. In 1995 ETA ordered my murder, fortunately, I survived a car bomb attack. And though I have seen many friends fall under the bombs and bullets of the Basque nationalist terrorists, I fought them with all the instruments a democracy has, and I have seen them shrinking, weaker and prostrated. Believe me, I know what I�m talking about. And that�s precisely what makes me more confident an optimistic. Victory is possible over our enemies. bq. ...What I would like to do today is to share with you a few ideas I have developed through the years fighting terrorism. I�m not a futurologist, but I can assure you, by direct or indirect involvement, I know a few things about terror, how to fight it, and above all, how to defeat it. There are only seven points. bq. 1. Victory is possible if we understand, first of all, what we are up against. This is the classical maxim of the great Chinese thinker, Sunt Zu: �know thy enemy�. He then proceeds to cite two examples, here is the second: bq. Bin Laden shares a common characteristic with Adolf Hitler: he writes and says what he intends to do. And his vision and plans are crystal clear. He talks about the land of Islam stretching from Al-Andalus (the name the Muslims used many centuries ago to refer to Spain) to the Philippines. He talks about a kind of government inspired by a literal reading of the Qur�an. He wants his religion ruling our lives. And if or when we can not be ruled or converted, we must be deadly punished and eradicated. Some say Islam is a tolerant faith. But not Bin Laden Islam, that�s for sure. bq. 2. In order to achieve our victory we must accept and understand that we are at War. Obviously, not a conventional or traditional War, but a new form of conflict. A war that we never look for, but a War that fell upon us just because the implacable logic of our enemy. Bin Laden declared War on us, on the democratic, prosperous, free and basically laicist Western society. And he declared a total War where, according to his view, there is neither room for negotiations nor peace agreements. bq. 3. The fact that we are in an all-out war - them or us - means that we must pursue an active policy, one that seeks to ensure a victory, rather than simply cobbling together a provisional solution to the problem. In other words, a policy of containment, which was applied to the former USSR, is not viable. Whether good or bad, Moscow accepted the game of spheres of influence, whilst the geo-strategic frontiers were always very clear. Islamic fundamentalists do not recognize or respect any frontiers at all. They attack us on our own ground because that is their favorite theatre of war. bq. 4. To do so we must know that we are fighting against not only a group or terrorist movement, but against an ideology. Thus, going over and chasing the terrorists is not the end of the problem. We also have to fight their cause. bq. 5. Every war has its Central Front. In the Cold War it was Germany; today, in the war against Islamic terror, it is Iraq. This we must understand and accept. Those who have chosen a political and strategic agenda made of antiamericanism or against the US hegemony, are blind to the many perils of failing in Iraq. They are blind to the reading fundamentalist terrorists will do in such a scenario, the feeling of success they will experience, and the new impetus they will gain. bq. 6. Being that Islamic terrorism is a global phenomenon, international cooperation is an indisputable fact. However, we should not overestimate or delude ourselves as to its possible results. International collaboration is always difficult, and this is even more the case within the field of counter-terrorism. bq. 7. Finally, I have to remind you that the new terrorism does not put an end to the old forms of terror. Unfortunately we know that in Spain, having suffered ETA attacks for more that 30 years now. But there is something we must understand and be clear about: Violence and terror must be condemned in all circumstances. There are no, and can be no, good and bad forms of terrorism. I have excerpted heavily - the entire speech should take about ten minutes to read and it is worth doing so. Nice to know that someone gets it and that they are on American soil working with the scholars at Georgetown.

Bomb disposal in Florida

From an article in the South Florida Sun Sentinel: bq. Hurricane Jeanne's vicious winds and water did more than destroy a few homes in the Ocean Ridge subdivision. They also unveiled a 10-foot-long World War II bomb buried underneath a beachfront driveway. bq. "We have seen other bombs and depth charges wash up before, but that is unusual to find it underneath the driveway," said Pat Schulke, who lives across the street from the home where the bomb was discovered. bq. The blue-bricked driveway washed away when the ocean's water repeatedly crashed into it. Sticking out a few feet from the rubble and sand was the elongated, 500-pound rocket-propelled bomb, known in the military as a "Tiny Tim." bq. Several explosives were used more than 60 years ago while World War II military trained on the barrier island, said Detective Joe Flescher, Sheriff's Office spokesman. bq. "(Bombs) have washed up in the past, but not usually found within a community," he said. bq. Explosive ordnance disposal personnel from Patrick Air Force Base in Satellite Beach dug up the bomb Thursday and, with parts of State Road A1A blocked off, neighbors evacuated and a police escort, the bomb was transported to Round Island for detonation. bq. "It sounded like a large firework going off," said Lt. David Dangerfield of the Indian River County Fire-Rescue. He was about a half-mile away. "Dirt shot right up in the air, and I felt a minimum percussion from it. The bomb was live." Yikes!

Tips for those new to blogs

Allah has some excellent advice on basic fact checking for those new to blogs: bq. Here's a tip from the creator of worlds to the many new bloggers Rathergate hath wrought. Lean in close because this is important: bq. Whenever you see the mainstream media referring to someone as "Sheikh", you're duty bound to do a search for that person on MEMRI and LGF. bq. I'll show you why. Tonight in Loseweek, Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball warn that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is radicalizing moderate Muslims. Moderate Muslims like "Sheik" Yusuf al-Qaradawi. To be sure, say M&M, Qaradawi isn't a moderate on every issue. For instance, he doesn't have a big problem with blowing up Jews. He's also suspected of having ties to terrorist financing networks. And yes, sure, he happens to be the "spiritual leader" of Egypt's most prominent fundamentalist group, the Muslim Brotherhood. But that doesn't mean he's not a moderate at heart: Allah quotes a few paragraphs from the Newsweek article. He then starts digging: bq. July 27, 2004: Muslim journalist Abdel Rahman al-Rashed: "When it comes to political matters, Al-Qaradhawi represents the utmost degree of extremism." bq. March 9, 2004: "We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America!" bq. June 27, 2003: Condemned the Al Qaeda bombings in Riyadh and Casablanca because "[n]ot everyone who was killed in Riyadh was American and not everyone who was killed in Casablanca was American or foreign." bq. November 3, 2002: From a sermon at the Umar Bin-al-Khattab Mosque in Doha, Qatar. "O God, give us victory over your enemies, the enemies of Islam. O God, protect us from their evils, weaken them, wipe them out, destroy their power, and prevent them from committing aggression against your servants. O God, destroy the aggressor, treacherous Jews. O God, destroy the aggressor Americans. O God, destroy the fanatic pagans. O God, destroy the tyrannical Crusaders." bq. October 1, 2002: Again, from the Umar Bin-al-Khattab Mosque. "O God, support our brothers in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and everywhere. O God, direct their shots, strengthen their power, unite them on what is right, guide them on the right course, give them final victory, watch over them, and protect them. O God, give them victory over your enemies, the enemies of religion. O God, give them victory over the aggressor, treacherous Jews. O God, give them victory over the rancorous, plotting Crusaders." bq. November 6, 2001: A description of his appearance on Al Jazeera two weeks earlier. "[H]e issued a call to Arab and Islamic countries not to assist the U.S. in its war in Afghanistan, and stated that should the Taliban declare a Jihad against the U.S., 'Muslims must help as best they can.' Al-Qaradhawi also said that although he condemns the attacks against civilians in the U.S., 'we must fight the American army if we can.'" Allah then closes with this warning: bq. And so, young Jedis, you see now why you have to do your searches. In a few days, hundreds of thousands of people will have read that Loseweek column and concluded that this terrorist piece of shit, whose influence in the Muslim world is enormous, was a solid citizen until the Bushitler's folly in Iraq drove him batty. Which, of course, is precisely what Loseweek wants them to conclude. Our wonderful media...

Victor Davis Hanson

It's Friday and time for another excellent essay. Today's does not dissapoint especially in light of yesterday's debates and the upcoming election: bq. Kerry, Captive An anatomy of flip-flopping. There is a logic to Senator Kerry's flip-flopping that transcends his political opportunism: He is simply a captive of the pulse of the battlefield, without any steady vision or historical sense that might put the carnage of the day into some larger tactical, strategic, or political framework. As was true over a decade ago during Gulf War I, he contradicts himself when good news from the front makes his prior antiwar stance look either timid or foolhardy. But when the casualty rate rises or CNN is particularly vivid in airing the latest beheading or car bomb he returns to his shrill pessimism and denounces the war. He then talks about good and bad war leaders: bq. The problem with Mr. Kerry's understandable mutability, however, is that real leaders are supposed to some degree to expect and then endure these bouts of public skepticism as the inevitable wage of seeing their vision through. Thucydides' famous encomium of Pericles centered on his ability to withstand the fury of the people � and through forbearance, unshakeable will, and patience allow his constituents to return to their senses. bq. The same steadfastness seems to have been central to Lincoln's and Churchill's successes. Neither blinked after disasters such as Antietam, the Wilderness, and Cold Harbor, or descended into panic or depression following news of horrific losses at Singapore and Dunkirk. Pericles was fined; Lincoln faced defeat in 1864; and Churchill, after staving off early censure, was finally removed from office � but only after it was clear that his leadership had assured victory. bq. By contrast, Nicias, McClellan, and Chamberlain were slaves to public opinion. What vision they had was cobbled together from a sense of what the people wished in any given week � and thus constantly subject to modification and contradiction as the collective mood soared or plummeted, predicated on the people sensing that things were either going well or worsening. Such leaders are flip-floppers not simply because the god of public opinion is volatile, but because in war the battlefield itself is unpredictable and unfathomable � if one examines it in terms of hours, days, or weeks rather than months or years. bq. To this day, Americans have no idea whether Kerry thinks the entire Iraq operation was a flawed idea from the start or approves of the strategy but faults Bush on matters of tactics � not being tough enough on looters, disbanding the Iraqi army, allowing Fallujah to fester. That these are mutually exclusive positions bothers him little when he collates the daily punditry and creates some slightly nuanced new position for the present hour. Excellent stuff...

Richard Avedon R.I.P.

Noted photographer Richard Avedon passed away this morning after suffering a brain hemorrhage while on assignment in Texas. A nice writeup with a slide show is at MSNBC Bloomberg has a good chronology.

Mount St. Helens releases steam

Mount St. Helens released a large plume of steam and a small amount of ash this afternoon just after noon. This pic is stolen from KOMO-TV who have a link to a video of the eruption. st_helens_erupts.jpg KOMO also has this update on their homepage: bq. KOMO NEWS ALERT: There have been 5-to-7 new earthquakes at St. Helens in the last few minutes -- some as large as 2.0 -- which is indicating there could be another, as they say, "throat-clearing" event within the next few days or weeks rather than months. Developing...

Debate blogging - not

Tonight was my Mom and Dad's 60th wedding anniversary so Jen and I went out for dinner with them rather than sitting back in our secret underground compound drinking single-malt and making snarky comments about the debaters. Other people have done much better -- check the blogroll to your right

A letter from Old Europe

Michael J. Totten writes about a trip he made to Paris around two years ago: bq. The Dark Towers of Paris I went to Europe for the first time on my honeymoon a little more than two years ago. Shelly and I started our trip in France, went south into Spain, and then north up to Amsterdam. She had been to Europe before. I had not, preferring instead to visit Latin America. (I still prefer Latin America. I fight boredom in Europe. It is too much like home.) bq. I remember looking out the airplane window at the vast expanse of farms over France. It was like magic. I would finally see the storybook land of city walls and bridges, ancient churches and castles. I wished, not for the first time, that I could live there. bq. And then I got out of the airplane and into a taxi. bq. The driver pulled onto the freeway and I saw Paris for the first time. It has a sprawling skyline of gigantic concrete block towers. Peering into the neighborhoods I saw a lot of trash and broken glass and little activity. There were no signs of life. Every vista repulsed me. And it went on like that for miles. It didn't help much that the predominant color was gray and the weather was overcast. bq. This can't be Paris, I thought. It looks like a Soviet Republic. Where were the church steeples? The amazing French architecture? The restaurant-lined boulevards? bq. I became physically depressed. Every last drop of excitement and anticipation drained out of me. bq. I have always hated American suburbs with their strip malls, fast food joints, big box stores, and inland seas of parking. They�re hideous and I�m glad I don�t live there. I always wanted to know: why can�t we build cities the way Europeans build cities? bq. That drive into Paris taught me what I should have known all along. Europeans don�t build cities like they used to any more than Americans do. Architectural modernism is a worldwide horror. Everyone who had a hand in building the lovely quarters of Paris died a long time ago. He goes on to describe the inner city which is still quite lovely albeit preserved as a museum and then cites an article from Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal talking about part of the problem: bq. Reported crime in France has risen from 600,000 annually in 1959 to 4 million today, while the population has grown by less than 20 percent... Where does the increase in crime come from? The geographical answer: from the public housing projects that encircle and increasingly besiege every French city or town of any size, Paris especially. In these housing projects lives an immigrant population numbering several million, from North and West Africa mostly, along with their French-born descendants... bq. ...A Habitation de Loyer Mod�r� -- a House at Moderate Rent, or HLM -- [is] for the workers, largely immigrant, whom the factories needed during France�s great industrial expansion from the 1950s to the 1970s, when the unemployment rate was 2 percent and cheap labor was much in demand. By the late eighties, however, the demand had evaporated, but the people whose labor had satisfied it had not; and together with their descendants and a constant influx of new hopefuls, they made the provision of cheap housing more necessary than ever... They needed more workers, were faced with the trailing edge of the baby boom so local resources were not there (especially with the ever-present socialist dole -- who wanted to work?) and they did not want to change low work week hours and generous pensions that were built-in to the workers contracts. So, they outsourced without thinking of the social consequences and are now suffering from these policies. Socialist and Marxist government at it's hieght...

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Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF

The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
User Friendly
What The Duck

Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?

Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog

Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
The Online Photographer

A Western Heart
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Power Line
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Weasel Zippers

Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2004 is the previous archive.

November 2004 is the next archive.

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