Friday, December 31, 2004

Bush Term Job Creation

Must have missed this from Whizbang.

Of course, the MSM silence on this topic speaks volumes.

MSM vs. Blogs - Bitter Bias Bashing

Seems like there is a bit of fisticuffs coming out lately between those who support the MSM and the blogsphere. Powerline, Instapundit, and Hugh Hewitt all seem to be primary targets of some fairly slipshod (in my opinion) reasoning.

I think this is an interesting little scuffle, though that is probably making more of it than it is.Mark Welch's article is there. The article by Crooked Timber is at this link. I do find one statement in the Crooked Timber article a bit odd.

If you think that blogs should replace the mainstream media, then you should be prepared yourself to live up to some minimal standards of scrupulosity, intellectual honesty, and willingness to deal fairly with facts that are uncomfortable for your own ideological position. You should be prepared to live up yourself to the standards that you demand of others.

I still don't understand this thought that the blog pundits are stating that blogs will replace the MSM. I can't find anything to support that and none of these articles provide quotes or links either. The part I really wonder at is whether he really believes that the MSM lives up to the standards that he speaks of, and do they deal "fairly" with facts that are uncomfortable to their ideology? I personally don't see a majority of the MSM living up to that.

I think that one thing that the arguments are missing is that the MSM provides raw news and they sometimes get it wrong. I have no problem with that if they responsibly use retractions, which I don't think many do. Blogs on the other hand take the reported news and compare multiple sources to see if it all fits. When it doesn't "With his own weapon do I stab him." Using the MSM reports and other available information on the web to cross check, the Bloggers ensure truthfulness. Bloggers are copious with their use of links. The best pretty much demand that you read the sources yourself. That is something the MSM can't do, and I doubt would if they had the means.

As for bias, well you get what is there when you read the blog or the news. The only difference is that I don't find many Bloggers stating that they are impartial. The MSM screams it constantly, but you just have to listen to CBS or Fox and you will see there is a bend.

American Stinginess Perspective

Granted posted this in a comment on another blog and didn't tell me about it.

And it's quite informative. Long and informative.

Laser Attack on Commercial Jets

Been hearing some strange reporting around this story. The MSM keeps saying that is shows sophistication in the attack.

That case, like all the others being investigated by the FBI is involved a mysterious laser light entering the cockpit of commercial airliners at altitudes that officials say indicate sophisticated lasers are involved.

"The beam was green in color. It is my understanding green lights are more intense a night than red lasers. It can disturb the flight of the aircraft or the landing of the aircraft," says Bob Hawk of the FBI.

I've even heard on the idiot box that green lasers are only used by the military and that lasers available to the public are only red. Someone hasn't done their research very well. It took a single google search to come up with 155,000 hits. Just look here.

There has been reported a total of six different incidents in various cities.

The troubling thing is that the lasers track the aircraft. And that the sources of the lights may be sourced 15 miles away. That sounds like military style equipment to me. Though the news has mentioned the Laser Dazzler they fail to give much information on it. From what I've found the Dazzler is unlikely to be what is being used. It is a hand held device, and Effective Range is described as:

The Dazzler can shoot a cone of light three feet wide at a distance of 20 feet. With the use of lenses, the width of the cone can be adjusted to a point where it would nearly fill a room in an average-size house.

This doesn't sound like you could track an aircraft nor be effective at several miles range.

Some meteorologists in Seattle are saying it could be St. Elmo's fire. Somehow that explanation sounds far too implausible.

Pranks with copy cats around the country sounds more plausible, but still doesn't sound as plausible, especially if you've ever used a laser pointer and tried to hit a small object, never mind tracking a small moving object.

Terrorists with military technology? At this time, I'd say that is the most plausible for the facts that I've found. Though having 6 different occurrences in various cities makes me think it less likely.

Any thoughts?

Basque Secession

Wow. They're actually moving toward separation from Spain.
Could this be the end of the ETA as well?

USA "Doesn't Play Well with Others"

Been trying to figure out how to look at this. I would really like to know Ms. Smart's factual basis for this statement.

Ms Short said the coalition countries did not have good records on responding to international disasters.

She said the US was “very bad at coordinating with anyone” and India had its own problems to deal with.

Yeah, and the UN has a wonderful track record. That's why food and water are just sitting waiting for distribution by the, while military transports from various countries are dropping food/water supplies into remote areas.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Hurry Up and Wait

Hmmm. Let's see, the US was too slow in providing money, but yet:

Some survivors have seen no aid since the tsunami struck on Sunday due to the inaccessibility of the worst hit areas, cut off from the outside world by flooding and downed bridges, and the sheer magnitude of the disaster affecting many countries.

Aid started pouring into Indonesia only to stop at the airport due to a lack of fuel for trucks to move it.

What did I say about planning?

We are doing very little at the moment," U.N. emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland acknowledged in New York. The United Nations estimates up to 5 million people need aid.

"It will take maybe 48 to 72 hours more to be able to respond to the tens of thousands of people who would like to have assistance today -- or yesterday, rather," he said. "I believe the frustration will be growing in the days and the weeks ahead."

Yeah, stinginess or slow to react is the problem of the US. But, since they failed to plan and went off half cocked, they will probably cause the problem to be worse than if they had stopped and tried to get some recovery plan in effect.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan cut short a holiday to oversee the relief operation from New York. The United Nations will launch a major appeal on January 6.

Bush was such a slacker to get majorly abused for waiting for assessments and facts from on site, but Kofi Annan comes in 2 days later and nothing is said?

But of course Bushitler is EEEEEVVVVIIILLLLL.

Emergency/Disaster Response Basics

Since everyone seems to be only caring about how much money the US can spew at a problem, let's look at what a responsible agent does in an emergency.

First, you go to your emergency plan and begin implementing the details of that plan. Well, we'll skip that since there doesn't appear to be any planning in this case and even if there is, the scope of this disaster is probably beyond any planning that was deemed reasonable by these countries.

So, during and after the event you start evaluating the effects of the disaster. Scoping out the limits of where and who it has effected. What are the effects to those harmed? In this case, the areas were many small and medium island groups or long low level coast lines. The effects were huge levels of physical damage to all infrastructure including water and food sources, roads, and housing. Who was affected is literally everyone. They were effected by large numbers of dead and many injured.

Now you have a very large population in a zone of destruction that is huge they have little of no food and water supplies. The dead and the sea water are causing the spread of infectious disease.

Now that you know the basic physical situation you can evaluate the needs of those in the disaster zone. Food, Water, Medicine, Fuel, and Shelter are obvious. You also will need a means of delivering the aid. Planes, boats, ground transport. Of course, you also have to locate, coordinate and pay for these resources. Now that didn't take any time did it? Of course you can throw some of the basic necessities together without any assessment. But how do you get it there and how do you put it there once you arrive? No time needed for that.

Initial assessment teams arrive on site and provide infrastructure to allow for planes and other relief transport. The quicker this is done the sooner the relief aid will arrive.

Now you have the immediate relief supplies coming in and starting to distribute them.

Now you assess the long term needs and what has to be done to get them in place. This will include water processing, sanitation, and permanent housing. Providing provisions for building is a challenge, especially with the area over which these supplies will need to be spread. Then there is the other forms of infrastructure, such as farming and fishing equipment, tourist facilities, etc. But we aren't anywhere near this stage of the recovery.

With that simple description of what needs to be planned, why is there so much complaining about how long the US took to start providing money and then complaining about the amount being too little? The scope of the resources needed still haven't been scoped. The assessment teams have only been on the site for a couple of days and even they haven't been able to reach all of the areas effected.

Last count I believe total aid from Governments world wide is now over $300M. And I'd be surprised if a majority of it isn't just sitting around unused. Why? Because they haven't figured out where to use it. See the subject link for the World Health Organizations site. They estimate the need for $40M dollars for immediate health needs. And they even speak to the four day period having given them time to understand fully the scale of the problem.

Being impatient with the US for its timing (being first and ahead of the UN) is just foolish. Look at the news, the money provided is for the short term needs. We all know that the US has deep pockets and they will be opened again.

The thing that really bothers me though is that it seems the US is the only country being heavily criticized here. And worse, much too much of the criticism comes from our own press. No big surprise, they use the most distorted version of "facts" that they could find. Look at the NYT if you don't believe me. (Why do they only list our governments charitable giving and not all giving by the citizens of the country? Oh, because it doesn't fit in with your editorializing.)

Of course, the politico's are screeching again. Bush wasn't fast enough, didn't give enough. What a surprise.

UN Only Body With "Moral Authority" For Relief

Captain's Quarter has a great little tirade on this.

It's nice to see that the British have stupid Politicians as well.

Ayn Rand Institute Looking for Donations and Volunteers (What?)


That said this just makes me laugh until it hurts.
Volunteers and Donations

Public Service Message

I know Geekwife will keep this link handy. There may be others that need it as well.

In addition to the link: Toll Free Customer Service Number (800) 201-7575

Geekwife is pretty ripped at Amazon and has been for some time. She'd love to take her business elsewhere, but doesn't like the choices offered elswhere (let's face it, as bad as Amazon is, would you go to I'm still pretty happy with Amazon, but I do see some of their practices as a bit greasy to say the least. They set the site up to facilitate billing, not ordering, and that's just sleazy. Anyway, hopefully this will help others that may need this number.


OK. This is wrong. I apologize for my complete lack of humanity...

Now that that's out of the way, linked is a complete explanation of how and why Bush is to blame for the tusnami. If you read through the comments, you'll see the ultimate weapon that Bush has unleashed to cause this horror: GODZILLA!

I hope Batman won

Sorry. Had to share this one.

From Polipundit


From the guys at Powerline...

A frontal assault on an isolated post that results in near complete destruction of the attacking force and not a single casualty of the defending force. I'm sure you can find instances of this during the history of Viet Nam, but from my own understanding, this was the exception, not the rule. In Iraq, it's the rule, not the exception.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

UNgrateful. Chapter 2

Completely pathetic. Worse, the USA has to defend itself against our own media.

Mr Powell was forced yesterday to defend the US response. On broadcaster CBS, interviewer Harry Smith suggested that the initial $US15million "doesn't seem like very much money from the United States of America". Mr Powell said it was "a start" and would increase.

And this from a CBS Report.

Measured another way, as a percentage of gross national product, the OECD's figures on development aid show that as of April, none of the world's richest countries donated even 1 percent of its gross national product. Norway was highest, at 0.92 percent; the United States was last, at 0.14 percent.

This is like saying that if I give a homeless person $1000 it would be around 1.3% of my pay. If Bill Gates gave the same guy $10,000 it would be 0.0000025% of his income. And by the UN representatives statement, My gift would be worth more than Bill Gates. What?
[I got that thought from Right Thinking from the Left Coast.]

I suppose we should realize that you don't get thanks all of the time for your generosity. But then, you don't have to put up with third parties criticizing your very charitable giving.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

WaPo Makes 10 Errors in One Paragraph on the MemoPot Scandal

Great named Blog. Scylla & Charybdis
Nice link over from LGF. [again]

Some may be quibbling, but then again it's pretty funny.

Navy Seals Suing AP

Get this one. Thanks to LGF.

Not much by way of details is given. But I'd assume that it's just a little irresponsible to post the original pictures on a website and then complain when someone finds them and uses them.


Why am I not surprised by this type of crap.

U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.

Oh, Raise our taxes to give relief money. How much money floods in from other countries when there are disasters in the US. I'm guessing NONE.

In response to Mr. Egeland's comments, Mr. Duffy pointed out that the United States is "the largest contributor to international relief and aid efforts, not only through the government, but through charitable organizations. The American people are very giving."

It takes some major sack to gripe about charitable giving. Especially at this level. The only country reported that has come even close to the amount offered by the US government is Australia with $10M. (US offering $15M) No one has even mentioned the non-governmental monies that have and are going to be sent.

A CNN Report states :

On Monday, U.S. officials said the total package of aid so far was $15 million.

In addition, Powell said, nine patrol planes and 12 C-130 cargo planes packed with relief supplies were on their way to South Asia.


In a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York Monday, Egeland called for a major international response -- and went so far as to call the U.S. government and others "stingy" on foreign aid in general.

"If, actually, the foreign assistance of many countries now is 0.1 or 0.2 percent of the gross national income, I think that is stingy, really," he said. "I don't think that is very generous."

In an interview Monday night with CNN, Egeland reiterated his view: "It bothers me that we -- the rich nations -- are not becoming more generous the more rich we become."

The average rich country gives just 0.2 percent of its national income to international solidarity and international assistance, he said.

"We keep 99.8 percent to ourselves, on average. I don't think that's very generous," he said.

I couldn't find anything that is specifically called the Gross National Income, but I did find a list of the GDP and GNP for the top countries in the world. Both list the US as having over $10 Trillion dollars. How much of that do they think we should be forced to give to the UN? 1% would be $100 Billion Dollars. Then, with the recent record of the UN, how much should we trust that this money would not fill some UN bureaucrat's pocket.

This guy should just STFU.

Well here's a good article that puts American giving into perspective. Put out by Front Page Magazine.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Another Black Adder Star's New Job

The History channel has Bolderick (Tony Robinson) doing the Worst Jobs in History.

Yeah, Some are a serious YUCK.

Military Support for the President

This article pretty much says it all.

I wonder if the support doesn't in some way show that the military personnel think that what they are doing is worth while and thus leads to what Bush is doing is worth while.

Darwinism vs. "Intelligent Design"

I guess I'm thinking that a lot of the people complaining about the teaching of Intelligent Design are being a bit thin skinned.

Hugh Hewitt is more speaking of the irresponsible reporting, or editorializing of WaPo. The article I didn't find too outlandish, though they lack the level of reasonable reporting that Hewitt is talking about.

On the topic itself though, I'm unhappy with teaching Intelligent Design as a theory. I'll admit I'm a believer in the strict definition of Theory.

a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena

Most of the arguments I've found online against evolutionary theory are trying to make out that there are holes in the theory. It's a scientific theory, not a scientific LAW. LAWs are fully provable, which includes reproducibility of the results. A theory is an offered explanation. And when it comes down to the argument of holes, Intelligent Design has no cloth for the number of holes.

An article at "How Stuff Works" Holes in Evolution Theory shows some of the arguments against Darwinism, and gives some of the responses from science. On the other hand, I can't find anything that I would call scientifically reasonable for support of the Intelligent Design theory.

This article is an interesting view of the theories. They pull out the Aristotelian four causes. You may just want to skip this. It's a bit long in the tooth. It's from Skeptical Inquirer.

If Intelligent Design is allowed, which theory do we select? Do we just assume the Christian religion is correct? I would argue not. Then to what amount of information for all the various religious theories do you go to? I don't think this has a place in academia at any level.

What do you open yourself up to when you accept forcing the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools? Are you going to allow flat earth theory? Are you going to allow teaching of all the Conspiracy theories in history of political science?

USA Responsible for Tsunami

This is just rich. You got to read the comments too. Some people are actually sounding off that this is plausible.

This method allows the HARRP transmitters to concentrate the powerful radio frequencies into a beam. This beam is so accurate and powerful that it can deliver a million times more energy into a precise spot in the ionosphere than any other known ionospheric manipulator! Many scientist predict that such a concentration of electromagnetic energy blasted into the ionosphere will actually split the protective layer and tear huge gaping holes in it. This could cause cataclysmic global disasters and disrupt the geophysical balance of the entire planet!
Yeah sure. This is what caused a massive earthquake and nothing related to the rather large amount of seismic activity in that area.

Came from a ricochet from Right Thinking from the Left Coast to The Last Call.

Le Crapaud Capituler Aller écrevisse

Quick translation, The French (ok it means toad) Surrender to Crawfish. (American Crawfish that is.)

Humor from Tim Blair.

Justification for Corporeal Punishment

I'm thinking of castration with a spoon. A very dull spoon.

Mickey Moore to Make a Mess of Another Topic

Just wondering what justice can really be served by the Massive Moron's new tirade. Will this give any real speaking time to the issues, or will it just make more divisions in cleaning up an already messy part of the Healthcare industry.

“We ran a story in our online newspaper saying Moore is embarking on a documentary and if you see a scruffy guy in a baseball cap, you'll know who it is," said a spokesman for Pfizer Global Research and Development.
I don't suppose they could come out and say "If you see some slob fat bastard in a baseball cap, call security." Too bad. I'm pretty certain that is the feeling these guys are actually having.

The stories are pretty much limited to statements of memos from big pharmaceutical companies.

Tsunami Death Toll at 21k and Rising

This is just astounding. I can't imagine what these areas must be like. Not to mention what is going to occur with disease deaths that follow these disasters.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

IRAQ: The War That Isn't Reported

From Interesting article.

December 24, 2004: The bombing of an American mess hall on the 21st was a suicide bombing operation. This attack killed 22 people, including 13 U.S. troops. This is the first time such an attack has been carried out on an American base. That's because the security for bases has been very good. The suicide bomber was wearing an Iraqi army uniform. The Baath Party secret policemen have long experience in getting Iraqis to do their bidding, and it's surprising it took this long for them to get a suicide bomber into a base. The basic technique for recruiting a suicide bomber is to find someone who is already in the Iraqi army or police and has access to a base. Then you kidnap a close relative and tell the guy to either carry out the mission, or the kinfolk die. Not all people are willing to die for a relative, so in some cases, the plotters will deceive the bomber. This means making the bomber think he is just delivering the bomb, not wearing it when it goes off. This kind of viciousness is rare in human history, but common in the Middle East, and Middle Eastern history.

Bad enough to have a suicide bomber to deal with, worse to have someone under duress and then killed at the time of delivery.

And the press makes us out to be the bad guys.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Rumsfeld Should Stay. PERIOD

Ok, I don't need to make the argument. Victor Davis Hanson makes a devastating defense of Rumsfled. And it is in full perspective. Something NONE of the people calling for his head have even attempted.

MSM Will Force Iraq to be Viet-Nam Irrelevant of Reality

Hugh Hewitt has an article that discusses the press making the Iraq war into Viet-Nam. Admittedly, that characterization of his article is mine, but I think it extremely accurate.

Mainly, journalism is starting to intentionally tamper with politics by selective reporting and using especially shocking events to editorialize. In this case Stevenson is piggy-backing his editorial comments on the deaths of soldiers in Mosul.

The original article in the NYT pretty much speaks for itself, if you're willing to read it objectively. RICHARD W. STEVENSON is the author of this "News Analysis" which I personally would call an opinion piece. I always thought that analysis required facts, but this provides none at all.

I've been seeing this for a while, but this "news analysis" really strikes me as what was seen during Viet-Nam. Instead of truthfully presenting facts, irrelevant of who they support, this ilk of the press seems to call it news, when it really is propaganda.

The Belmont Club brought to question the actions of an AP reporter who appears to have been very very lucky to get photos of the execution of Iraqi Electoral workers. If this isn't even questionably propaganda, I don't know what it is. I am even feeling a little paranoid after Salon came out condemning Wretchard's query. If this is such open and open journalism, surely it could take the questions of a blogger.

Read it all yourself. They say don't trust the Government, but in this case, you'd be wise to question whether the MSM deserves to be trusted.

It's Titled "No Blood for Organs"

Ummm, Just go and read it. Too weird.

Sensible Gun-Control Legislation - No Really

Of course it's part of an article on some dolts suing Walmart because their daughter bought a shotgun at the store and killed herself with it. But that's not what I'm talking about here.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York, who ran for Congress after her husband was killed and son wounded in 1993 by a gunman on a Long Island Rail Road train, wants to strengthen the federal background check system by encouraging states to share mental health records. She has introduced legislation that would give states grants to automate and turn over the information.

She drafted the bill after a priest and a parishioner were shot to death by a schizophrenic man in a New York church in 2002. He, too, should not have been allowed to buy a gun.

Now that makes sense. It would make even more sense if it is tacked onto the abilities of the NICs system. I'm certain though that this won't be a catch all of mentally unfit people. It would also require someone to sit down and say which mental illnesses are disqualifying. Probably a good thing, but I see lots of fights.

Of course they then go too far with this statement.

As the Bracys prepare for another Christmas without their daughter, they are urging lawmakers to support McCarthy's bill and dealers to conduct their own background checks.

Would this be a requirement that dealers conduct their own checks? I'm guessing the ACLU might fight this one on privacy grounds. The NIC check just gives a yes-or-no answer and a number. Not a reason. Do they believe that dealers should be forced to do something like this?

Got this one from a ricochet from Free Will Blog to Right Thinking from the Left Coast.

Global Warming? Hot Air.

George Will column on topic. Interesting, but not debate.

The Media Causing Deaths of Troops in Iraq

Got this from a ricochet. Started at the Belmont Club, bounced to Astute Blogger and then to
Winds of Change.

Go see the Belmont Club and the article on Salon's complaints about "conservative bloggers" questioning or suggesting complicity of the AP photojournalist at the murder site of the Iraqi electoral personnel.

I find it fascinating that the media seems to think they are the only ones that can question the someone's motives. Again the Evil Bloggers , Whoops forgot that 'conservative' part, are stirring up trouble.

Bravo, keep up the good work.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Genetic Modification

Genetically Modified [GM] foods have been making a lot of news lately with the EU temper tantrums over them. There are some articles out there discussing other GM plants. This one is from The Economist.

I'm a bit nervous about GM plants. I worry that they may cause permanent and irreversible variations in the base genetic codes of many plant types. I don't understand how they can guarantee that the pollen from GM plants don't fertilize non-altered plants. Corn, cotton, and many types of trees are being engineered.

Benefits could include lesser needs of insecticides to protect and ensure crops success and alterations of various plants to perform acts that they don't normally do. These may include hazardous chemical remediation, higher uptake of greenhouse gases, etc. There is also the benefit of higher output per acre and the ability to grow in less hospitable conditions.

There is also mention of a more sinister side. Monsanto is genetically modifying plants to be resistant to herbicides. Something that they sell a lot of. If you want to reduce the amount of pesticides used, you should include herbicides in that list.

There is also the pharmaceuticals engineered into plants. Some plants could be used to provide vaccines to animals directly and would then have a lower handling rate and thus lower costs. You could also stitch the vaccines of many deadly diseases directly into food products and ensure people stop dying from these diseases world wide.

Bio-fuels are the big one right now. Ethanol and Bio-diesel. Alternative to oil. My question is, how much would need to be produced to make a dent in oil dependency, and is there a true cost/benefit ratio there that can be beneficial?

I guess I have a lot more to look at.

Here's an interesting article on Super Trees.

This is an article that characterizes the anti-GM groups as alarmists. Though I find Dr. Henry Miller a bit to confident and far to much of a generalist.

Censoring Terrorist TV

Here's an odd one. I'm sure the ACLU will be suing over this one any second now.

Lebanon's ambassador to Washington, Farid Abboud, said his country strongly disagreed with the new designation.

"If you want simply to demonize or eliminate one side, you're not going to advance the issue," he told Reuters. "If you are going to focus on one side simply because of the political message, it's unacceptable and it's a grave breach of the freedom of speech."

Boucher said: "It's not a question of freedom of speech; it's a question of inciting to violence. And we don't see why here or anywhere else a terrorist organization should be allowed to spread its hatred and incitement through the television airwaves."

I've heard a couple of arguments that say that the Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the right of the freedom of speech for incition of violence. This article discusses Advocacy of Violence. It does appear to be lawful.

Applying the Brandenburg test, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed. The First Amendment, the Court declared, does not permit the imposition of liability for nonviolent speech activities, but only for the consequences of violent conduct. Nor could liability be imposed on a group, some of whose members committed acts of violence, merely because of association with that group, which itself possessed only lawful goals, the Court added. Advocacy of imminent violent actions was first required.

The Court recognized that in “the passionate atmosphere in which the speeches were delivered, they might have been understood as inviting an unlawful form of discipline or, at least, intending to create a fear of violence where or not improper discipline was specifically intended.” Still, “mere advocacy of the use of force or violence does not remove speech from the protection of the First Amendment.”

I would argue another way to support this ranking of the company as a terrorist organization. My understanding is that no one right can deny another person of their rights. And in this case it could be viewed as protecting large numbers of citizens. We have heard that the terrorists are suspected of using tapes and Arab news agencies to send triggers to action for terrorist acts. If this is part of the concern, then this is merely the US government protecting the citizen's rights. The most basic of which is the right to LIFE.

Maybe there is more to this than I'm seeing, but I'm not seeing this strictly as censorship. If the actions to protect the life of citizens and causes censorship, I believe that protection trumps this isolated right to free speech.

Mikey Moore Photoshop Contest

Saw this at LGF.

Some of the pictures are hilarious. Some, well, you'll see.

And the Cox and Forkum cartoon there is a hoot.

Lileck Fisking Wolcott


Wolcott is a troll, but his anus must be bleeding from this fisking.

No further description is necessary, just go and read.


Reconsidering My Stand on Misanthropy

I just had the silly (stupid?) idea of going and buying a book on TCL. Well that took me down DW Highway past the Mall.

People are just way to stupid. Fighting through the lights, at which some MORON had to jump out to block the intersection when their light turned yellow.

And worse of all, I couldn't find the book.

Nancy Military Experts -or- Girly-Man Generals

I just read sections of this article at Captain's Quarters. Great article there going on with that posted at the Belmont Club.

WaPo seems to have some special technique for finding pessimists and cowards for military commentators.

"On the strategic level, we were expecting an horrendous month leading up to the Iraqi elections, and that has begun," retired Army Col. Michael E. Hess said.

Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst of Middle Eastern military affairs, said he is especially worried that the insurgents' next move will be an actual penetration by fighters into a base. "The real danger here is that they will mount a sophisticated effort to penetrate or assault one of our camps or bases with a ground element," he said.

You've got to be kidding. This guy actually thinks the insurgents would attack a large US military complex in a frontal assault. Not a chance.

"Twenty-one months" -- the length of the occupation so far -- "is not a long time to tame the tribal warfare expected there," said retired Marine Lt. Col. Rick Raftery, an intelligence specialist who operated in northern Iraq in 1991. "My guess is that this will take 10 years."

Pessimist. 10 Years? Does he honestly think we'll be manning Iraq at this level after a decade.

A byproduct of such a strike is that it tends to drive a wedge between U.S. personnel and the Iraqis who work on the base. "I think that this tells us first that our base facilities are totally infiltrated by insiders who are passing the word on when and where we are most vulnerable to attack," said retired Marine Col. Edward Badolato, a security expert.

Totally infiltrated. No other way they could get the information. Not that one person couldn't have provided that. This still is assuming that this was a precision strike or a placed bomb. Wouldn't it be more prudent to wait for the results of the investigation? Wait, no, that wouldn't be sensational enough of a report.

Oh and this last pessimist is a jewel.

Not all experts were pessimistic. Retired Army Col. John Antal said he expects more spectacular attacks in the coming weeks, but mainly because "the enemy is on the ropes and desperate to stop the elections."

But others were throwing up their hands. "This sure isn't playing out like I thought it would," said retired Marine Lt. Col. Jay Stout, author of a book about the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq, in which he fought. He said he is no longer confident about what the U.S. strategy in Iraq should be.

"We have few choices: We can maintain the status quo while trying to build an Iraqi government that will survive, we can get the hell out now and leave them to kill themselves, or we can adopt a more brutal and repressive stance."

His choice? "I don't know the right answer -- I gave up guessing a few months ago."

Throwing up his hands? Why is he even being used if he can't even make a guess. Instead he just implies that the military will need to be repressive. What an ASS.

MASCAL - Troops Attack in Iraq

Here is a sight that I've seen linked by GlenReynolds as linked in an article by Belmont Club. Wretchard discusses the mortar attack that occurred directly after the hit on the mess tent. The point being that the insurgents were intentionally targeting the medical personnel coming to the aid of the injured. Funny that I've been surfing the news all morning and haven't heard a word out of the MSM on this.

Wretchard also points out the EU's agencies in Iraq are refusing to look at the mass graves so that they don't have to be part of the punishment of the Iraqi war criminals.


Here is something interestingly missed by the MSM or just left out since it comes from the AP reporter embedded at the attacked base in Mosul.

Insurgents have fired mortars at the chow hall more than 30 times this year. One round killed a female soldier with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, in the summer as she scrambled for cover in a bomb shelter. Workers are building a new steel-and-concrete chow hall for the soldiers just down the dusty dirt road.

Of course, the MSM has had further yells for Rumsfeld's head again because of this. Funny, something was being done to make this place safer, but the MSM is reporting it as if nothing is even being considered.

I've been reading Free Will Blog and they pretty much come to an appropriate conclusion.

Now is the time for reconciliation and healing

Recounting the recount of the recount... Oh look, found enough "votes." We win!

I'm not the first to say, or suggest, this. Now, watch how quickly the story becomes, "Oh, the public is just tired of all this bickering. We've spent enough money and time. Let's all get together and sing because after all justice has been served now that we have a Democrat elected by 8 votes. It wasn't served when a Republican had won by 270."

This is maddening. So, what happens now? Should the Republican party in Washington follow the lead of the Democrats and begin data mining the more Republican parts of the state? Finding votes, interpreting votes, all but printing them up in the back room? This makes what happenned in Florida in 2000 look like a model for perfect election processes and yet, now we'll be told that it's time to stop. This is not how a democratic republic is supposed to work. This is how a banana republic is supposed to work, minus the bloodshed.

I don't know where to go with this. It makes me want to spit. I think I'm going to go up on the hill tomorrow and poke .45 inch holes through paper for while to make this feeling go away.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Political Leaks of Secret Information

This one seems to be totally missed by the MSM.

Here's the crux:

As a result of their revelations to the public and the press, three U.S. Senators -- Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who's also the ranking Dem on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) -- are the subject of a "criminal referral" made on Monday for speaking publicly about this satellite. Such referrals are made to the Justice Department by the administration when criminal conduct is suspected. In this case, it's not only suspected, it's evidenced on the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post. A highly reliable intelligence community source told me that the referral had been made because senior administration officials were beside themselves that the three had taken the controversy on funding this project to the press.

Will this come to anything. I've been continuously amazed that all these "leaks" have come to absolutely no prosecutions. Is there no importance to the counties big secrets?

I did find this editorial, but for some reason they see this probe as being suppression of criticism. Coming from a Californian paper, I'm not surprised. By this thought, you'd have to call television reporters showing combatants in active operations a reasonable report and not risking their lives for a sensational news piece.

This report is more factual, and has more details about the satellite and the information that was released by the senators. I suppose you could see that since they don't approve of the spending for this satellite, the best way to scuttle to program is to leak information that it exists and make it ineffective.

If this is found to be true, I would demand jail time for these senators.

Eco-Exploitation of Children

This is just bloody outrageous.

Let's see why this is VERY wrong.

First, they are using children to protest topics they neither understand nor have the intellect to conceive.

Second, Being impressionable, you can tell them something is good and something is bad, but with no perspective this is just exploitation.

Third, this is using public funds to perform protests that takes a political stand that schools should not be allowed. Did all of the parents of these children agree with this political statement? I'm dubious.

Fourth, The television coverage showed adults telling the children they were heroes. Awarding an act they didn't understand. What does that tell you?

Fifth, Look at this statement:

“Today, young rainforest heroes from around the world are reminding JP Morgan Chase that its most important stakeholders are future generations,” said Tracy Solum, director of Rainforests in the Classroom, a program of Rainforest Action Network. “This is education in action, and these are kids the Earth can count on. These posters represent the wisdom and creativity of a new generation inspired to protect the Earth.”

“Children around the world are asking JP Morgan Chase to invest in their future by doing its part to protect the world's last remaining rainforests,” said Paula Healy, an elementary school teacher in Fairfield County, Connecticut. “Earth is on loan to us from future generations, and these students know the value of protecting their natural inheritance.”

Inspired? Inspired to protect the earth? Inspiration requires knowledgeable decisions and an understanding of all portions of a topic. Did these children understand why they were protesting JPMorgan? I think that they are capable of understanding that protecting the rainforests is a good thing. But do they understand why they are protesting this company?

This obviously is exploitation. You're waving children in front of a company to make a message. The children don't understand that they are being used for this groups end game. They also give this as the excuse for the protest and thus must be the reason for the exploitation.

JP Morgan Chase is the largest U.S.-based bank still operating without a comprehensive environmental policy.


calling on the world's second largest bank to keep its commitment and live up to environmental standards set by Citigroup and Bank of America earlier this year.

If I believed this was an honest protest, the parents should be doing it with their children. They would then be indicating the parents understanding of the issue and who is going to benefit from the change in corporate policy.

Since the children are the protest group, this isn't like showing a learned and understood statement. JPMorgan doesn't have a environmental policy, and that they aren't meeting a commitment to meet standards set by other banks. It's not that they are actively cutting down rainforests or intentionally supporting companies that do. Its that they don't have a policy. Talk about protesting the vague.

Look at the site and look at the news.

Stehpinkler and DAMNED proud of it

Gods above, if the Germans and Australians become pansy-assed Swedish style girly-men... It doesn't bode well for the world. Is it possible that the country that produced the men that fought at Gallipoli is going to now sit in the bathroom because it would be too offensive to women (who aren't even there)? The cleaning argument is one we've had at our house, but despite my deference to the GeekWife on almost all aspects of control within the home... Sorry. Ain't going there and neither is the boy-spawn. Anyway, I just don't see this going over that well Down Under. The Germans... well... maybe this explains why they haven't kicked France's ass in more than 60 years (must be a record)...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Uparmoring Perspective

Free Will Blog has some interesting perspective on where blame may be more appropriately placed other than on Rumsfeld.

Russia Downgraded to Not-Free

Freedom House has down graded Russia. I suppose that shouldn't be a surprise. Its the only country to be down graded this year.

British Allies

A very informative article discussing British-American relations.

I just wish I could believe that more of the British public and press could be so reasonable.

Michael Moore Letter to the Faithful

I'll be using the Wilton Democrat's site for examples of total blithering stupidity in the Democratic ranks. Here is a letter from the Lard Lad.

It must be in Moorespeak, because I can't seem to understand how anyone can't see the number of distortions and factually challenged statements therein. The worst part of the whole thing is that they position themselves as victims.

As victims we can't stop asking ourselves what we did wrong. We can't seem to grasp that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating.

Listen to George Bush say that the will of God excuses his behavior. Listen, as he refuses to take responsibility, or express remorse, or even once, admit a mistake. Watch him strut, and tell us that he will only work with those who agree with him, and that each of us is only allowed one question (soon, it will be none at all; abusers hit hard when questioned; the press corps can tell you that). See him surround himself with only those who pledge oaths of allegiance. Hear him tell us that if we will only listen and do as he says and agree with his every utterance, all will go well for us (it won't; we will never be worthy).

Can this be real? Do these people really have such a poor grip on reality that they go to this level. The rhetoric is just fascinating.

And then this:

Any battered woman in America, any oppressed person around the globe who has defied her oppressor will tell you this: There is nothing wrong with you. You are in good company. You are safe. You are not alone. You are strong. You must change only one thing: Stop responding to the abuser.

They actually have the gall to compare themselves to battered women or the truly oppressed. Should I feel pity for them? I'm sorry all I feel is derision and loathing. If this election makes you view yourselves in this way, I'd hate to see you in a real crisis in life.

I didn't go to Moore's website because I don't want in any way to be viewed as supporting the Fat Farce From Flint.

Any other good nicknames for Moore will be placed here with extreme Joy irrelevant of how bad they may be.

NH Political MoonBats

I found this Shawn Macomber column in The American Spectator. It references a NH group of complete idiots. I only say that because it looks and reads that way.

Take this as an example:

Before the Inaugural...Things To do List

1. Get that abortion you've always wanted.

2. Drink a nice clean glass of water.

3. Cash your social security check.

4. See a doctor of your own choosing.

5. Spend quality time with your draft age child/grandchild.

6. Visit Syria, or any foreign country for that matter.

7. Get that gas mask you've been putting off buying.

8. Hoard gasoline.

10. Borrow books from library before they're banned - Constitutional law books, Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter, Tropic of Cancer,etc.

11. If you have an idea for an art piece involving a crucifix - do it

I'll refrain from comment since Macomber does a pretty good jobs. [and in all likelihood I will be unable to comment with out the use of obscenities for these "people."

The Nuclear Option - Some Perspective

I don't generally read Novac, but this column does give some historical perspective on the use of the Nuclear option in the senate.

I don't like the idea though. It strikes me as dishonest force. I'm not surprised either that Robert Byrd used it four times as majority leader. I loathe Byrd almost as much as I did Strom Thurman.

Of course a WaPo article fails to give perspective:

Republicans say that Democrats have abused the filibuster by blocking 10 of the president's 229 judicial nominees in his first term

Novac specifies what those ten losses were:

None of 10 filibustered Bush appellate court nominees has been confirmed, and another six are all designated filibuster victims.

Why all the blocking of the Appellate court nominees? What does this bode for Supreme Court nominees? The US court structure has the Appellate court, actually called the Courts of Appeal as the next to highest court in the country. So the Democrats are fine with Bush's low level appointees, it's just when they get to the levels where they will make profound constitutional law decisions that the democrats won't allow any Bush nominees.

Has anyone seen anything in the MSM that is this specific on the issue? I certainly haven't.

Moyers Moves On

After a fairly responsible career, Bill Moyers goes out with a whine.

And Moyers has done nothing to endear himself further as he heads for the exit, telling anyone who will listen that "the conservative press is a propaganda wing of the current administration and the mainstream press thinks only of the bottom line."

[emphasis mine]

This type of clap trap smacks of a Ratherism. No Retrospect or Perspective.
(No surprise either considering having been the editor and chief correspondent of CBS from 1976 to 1980)

"I learned the hard way an old lesson that the greatest moments in the history of the press came not when journalists made common cause with the state but when they stood fearlessly independent of it," he said. "Now we have those megamedia companies that won't speak truth to power and an ideological media that willingly lies for power. Scary!"

Scary indeed. Though his statement appears to be pointed at Murdock and his small clique.

As perspective goes, he misses totally the historical changes in the media with cable and the rise of Fox News. Until that point there was no national news organization that appealed to the conservative half of the US. To this day I don't believe there is a national broadcast company that leans conservatively.

Front Page Magazine has an article with Moyers history.

The Washington Post took it usual bent view of Moyers adieu. Not unusual that a Left bent organization would screech that Moyers is right.

Watching the final program, which consisted of a report on the dominance of right-wing ranting in TV and radio and an interview with Anthony Romero, head of the ACLU, one may have felt guilty about not having supported Moyers more loyally as he kept fighting the good fight.

His is one of the few liberal voices left in broadcasting, it seems, and his insistence on being armed with facts to support his opinions left him at something of a disadvantage when dealing with people who think the way to win an argument is to scream the loudest.

[emphasis mine]

How wonderful that they recognize the screaming. I've been seeing it for a long time. Though the WaPo is far from innocent on that topic. Both sides scream. Who screams louder? I'm not sure, and it depends on what you read or view.

And this statement just left me bewildered.

piety is one of the sins most common to those on the political left, and Moyers's career has hardly been devoid of it.

[emphasis mine]

Now WaPo claims the high MORAL ground for the left? Is that it? What was that exit poll question that we heard so much blathering about?

The WaPo piece then goes on to rant about Right leaning news organizations supporting Bush. But again this pundit fails totally to place perspective into his piece. Not one word about the vast majority of the press supporting Kerry or even discussing the left lean in the press.

I had hoped that Moyers would have left with some decorum, but like Rather he seems to have had to have his final temper tantrum on the way out.

British National ID Cards

This article addresses some benefits of a national level ID card. They have a point on things like benefits fraud, ID theft, generic ID for starting bank accounts or receiving a passport. For many of these things it will cut down, but not eliminate these illegal activities.

There needs to be an understanding by everyone that no matter what you do with these cards, someone will make a passable forgery. There will be a limiting effect on the amount of fraud that will occur because the national its will be more difficult and thus more expensive to forge.

As to prevention of Terrorism, RUBBISH. Have these people missed that terrorists tend to have large amounts of funding? It will make it more expensive to get IDs to set up a terrorist act, but if you believe there is no way to dodge the need for an ID, you live under a rock.

Charles Clark also tries to persuade the reader that the IDs can't lead to government abuse. He fails.

I believe that some critics of our proposals are guilty of liberal woolly thinking and spreading false fears when they wrongly claim that ID cards will erode our civil liberties, will revisit 1984, usher in the “Big Brother” society, or establish some kind of totalitarian police state. Those kinds of nightmare will be no more true of ID cards, when they are introduced, than they have been for the spread of cash and credit cards, driving licences, passports, work security passes and any number of the other current forms of ID that most of us now carry.

Firstly, just because there are multiple databases that hold your information doesn't mean that they are organized and controlled by the government.

Secondly, just the existence of such a database will prove open to abuse because it exists. Abuse of power always occurs. It's just a matter of when.

Dress Codes for Air Marshals

What a huge steaming pile.

I just saw an interview with Dave Adams (I believe) on Fox. He states that the article is wrong. He stated that the dress policy in place has no requirements for suits but doesn't allow jeans or disguises.

I can understand no disguises. Especially since in many cases the Air Marshal couldn't carry it off. One example given was a Marshal dressed as a priest. Jeans though? Come on. The primary pants I've seen on flights is jeans. Now that they have stated that, they should allow them.

But I wonder if this is completely accurate. They do have quotes from several Marshals that conflict with the official stance.

Mr. Adams also stated that the dress code was partially due to large numbers of complaints by the airlines. Umm. Who the F*** cares what the airlines want? Why should we be depending on security policy from an industry that obviously hasn't a F***ing clue about security.

Michel Malkin has an article dicussing this further. I especially found this enlightening:

Quinn spent two decades at the Secret Service before taking over the air marshals service, which may explain his dangerous fashion taste for the Men in Black uniforms. According to several sources inside the agency, Quinn has used his position to hire several former Secret Service cronies -- who have plenty of experience guarding high-profile politicians and celebrities, but no clue about what it takes to blend in and be effective watchdogs in the air.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Ivory Coast Calls for US Arbitration

Zirignon-Toure of the Ivory Coast.

"We really need an increased US engagement in our country," she said in a news conference. "The US is the only country that can be an honest broker in the current crisis."

Strange that they don't think of France as honest brokers.

Thanks for the bump from Free Will

Color Codes and Terror Levels

The article shows that just because you're an intelligent scientist, it doesn't mean that you can't make asinine conjectures.

I think the threat levels are largely motivated by politics. There are two possible reasons for the alert.

Reason 1: CYA. Governments are naturally risk averse, and issuing vague threat warnings makes sense from that perspective. Imagine if a terrorist attack actually did occur. If they didn't raise the threat level, they would be criticized for not anticipating the attack. As long as they raised the threat level they could always say "We told you it was Orange," even though the warning didn't come with any practical advice for people.

Reason 2: To gain Republican votes. The Republicans spent decades running on the "Democrats are soft on Communism" platform. They've just discovered the "Democrats are soft on terrorism" platform. Voters who are constantly reminded to be fearful are more likely to vote Republican, or so the theory goes, because the Republicans are viewed as the party that is more likely to protect us.

(These reasons may sound cynical, but I believe that the Administration has not been acting in good faith regarding the terrorist threat, and their pronouncements in the press have to be viewed under that light.)

This smells strongly. Mostly of conspiracy theories. Of course there couldn't be any way that those that thought up the warning levels may have been trying to make an honest attempt to create a tool to help the American public. No, it has to be the republicans getting votes. I don't think his statements are cynical so much as paranoia. I would conjecture that he voted for Kerry.

The funniest of thing of all for this is that he wrote it in January 2004 (before the democrats even had a candidate). I wonder if his statement truly held up. We heard this same whining during the election, and it came to nothing. Did the fact that there was a color coded terror alert system get Bush votes? Not a chance. By the time of the elections, the public was used to hearing about the changes in levels and as usual was complacent. The public did perceive Bush as being more capable of providing proper security and effective defense in the war on terror is more likely.

I wonder if he'd be so cynical if it had been a democrat that had created the system.

In this case I think maybe the scientist should stick to science, unless he actually has proof of wrong doing by the present administration.

Mozilla Firefox

Wow. I've been using Firefox for a couple of days and it's an evolutionary step ahead of Internet Explorer.

Granted pointed out the tabs function to me where you have multiple URLs open on one running instance of the browser. This is fabulous as it helps lower memory usage and helps prevent Windows XP from wedging. The 'find' function is very nice as well. It's active as you type and is very friendly.

Oh, and the pop-up blocker actually works. I have IE's popup blocker on and the Google tool bar popup blocker on my IE browser and I'm continuously pummeled by popups that get through.

I also could import my IE bookmarks during install. Thank God.

Overall this browser makes all the others I've experienced look like rubbish.


Hitachi, LG, Matsushita, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Thomson, and Mitsubish has a bit of a head start from what I've been seeing. Their Blu-Ray system is said to be market ready. Though as we all know the new equipment will be too expensive for most people at the start. Not to mention, like most new technology, I would prefer some run time to work out the bugs prior to investing. I'm definitely not happy about having to purchase another technology.

HD-DVD is the competing technology and is said to be behind. Led by Toshiba and NEC they appear to be a the less desirable technology. Though I see it as only a little different. Blu-Ray has a single side capacity of 27 GB and HD-DVD has a capacity on two sides of 30 GB.

In the market Sony et. al, appear to also have the lead in being able to force/convince more large movie conglomerates to use the technology. So it may be that this technology is forced on the market rather than worked out between all of the principals of the industry. Not sure I like that. Though the standards process is to allow for all parties to agree on a set of measures so that there isn't conflicting technologies and issues with the markets. I've also seen some statements that say that the technologies will be far to expensive to have both of them in one system. Disappointing, but that is pretty much the way of the capitalist market place.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Counting the Recount

I wish I had profound comments to add to this. I just don't. It's kind of unbelievable. Don't the laws mean anything at all to people?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Global Warming and Carbon Emissions

Thanks to the Belmont Club for the link to this article. It goes in depth on what had to be done to lower or maintain the carbon levels in the atmosphere. The end analysis is that to do what is being proposed may be impossible.

As Wretchard states, SO WHAT.

Go and read the article at the Belmont Club. His article discusses policy and junk science that seem to be the norm in politics today.

I was bothered by the comments that seem to be leading that the idea of Global Warming is based on junk science. I must admit that is pretty much walking around with your head up your ass. Any isolated environment, no matter the size, which dumps more waste products into that environment without some manner to recycle them into the system sooner or later will suffocate on its own wastes. If you have ever brewed beer, you'd know exactly what I mean.

Now you may wish to say that placing gigatons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere every year is far from poisoning the waters with alcohol, but its just a bigger carboy. Even worse, is that there is no reason to be this wasteful. We have seen advancements in recent years that have lowered emissions from cars and power plants. Being more conservative with energy expenditures would not only lower emissions, it would lower the US dependence on oil and save you some cash.

I suppose this could also be a lesson in how to cook a lobster. If you dump him in boiling water he dies quickly, but painfully. If you put him in a pot of cold water and bring it to a boil, he'll get used to the temperature change up until the point where he dies.

Behavior Assessment Profiling

Bruce Schneier provides an interesting opinion piece in the Boston Globe. It relates to behavioral assessment at airports. Essentially, he comes down with how behavioral assessment works and computer passenger profiling doesn't.

This is all in reference to the ACLU suit challenging the constitutionality of Behavioral assessment Profiling. But read the ACLU link. You can very easily come to the conclusion that its personal revenge.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of King Downing, the National Coordinator of the ACLU's Campaign Against Racial Profiling, who was approached by law enforcement officials after arriving at Logan Airport on October 16, 2003 to attend a meeting on racial profiling in Boston. Upon arriving at the airport, Downing, an African-American who wears a short beard, left the gate area and was making a phone call in the public terminal when he was stopped by a state police trooper who demanded that he produce some identification. When Downing declined to do so without knowing the basis for the request, he was first told that he would have to leave the airport. However, when he attempted to leave the terminal building, Downing was stopped again, surrounded by four troopers and told that he was being placed under arrest for failing to produce identification. When Downing finally agreed to produce his driver's license, the troopers then demanded to see his airline ticket. Downing was told by the police that he could be barred from the airport if he did not cooperate. After the police inspected Downing's identification and travel documents, he was allowed to leave. No charges were ever filed against him.

I would say that the cops were a bit overboard here, but, that is there job in this case. The point of what the police do is if they see someone that doesn't appear right, they ask for ID. If you say NO, they get suspicious. And not cooperating makes things worse.

The ACLU is wrong in their suit though. As Schneier points out:

But the ACLU has it wrong. Behavioral assessment profiling isn't the problem. Abuse of behavioral profiling is the problem, and the ACLU has correctly identified where it can go wrong. If policemen fall back on naive profiling by race, ethnicity, age, gender -- characteristics not relevant to security -- they're little better than a computer. Instead of "driving while black," the police will face accusations of harassing people for the infraction of "flying while Arab." Their actions will increase racial tensions and make them less likely to notice the real threats. And we'll all be less safe as a result.

Bruce Schneier has a newsletter called Cryptogram. If you have interest in security topics, have a look.

Help Control Assault Weapons

This is everyone's chance to step up. Help us all keep assault weapons under control. You can make a difference.

Some people are never happy

There. I posted. Happy now?

Seriously though, I thought I should post a link over to RatherBiased. If anyone is going to have information when the CBS News report will be released, it'll be these guys. Plus, they've got an interesting site. For other news along similar lines you can over to RatherGate.

Which brings me to a little rant. Yes. OK. We all remember. WaterGATE brought down a president. However, all the other bloody GATES that the media (and apparently ourselves) slap on words to suggest, hey, maybe another president (or, now, just about anyone) is on the chopping block. So we end up with MonicaGate, RatherGate, AbuGate, TortureGate. Please. Make it stop. No more. Enough. Teapot Dome brought down a president. Couldn't we start calling stuff TortureDome? Sounds like more fun anyway.

Deserting - Again

I have some different news about desertions in the US military. This is better, nicer news.

Thank you very much VodkaPundit.

The title link is to an API report that actually states that desertions are DOWN.

Funny. 60 Minutes didn't appear to say anything like that. But then, when do you expect CBS to have perspective in their editorials. Ummmm. I mean reports.

On second thought, no I don't.

How to Protect Yourself if Attacked with a Candy Cane

Well, it doesn't translate well.

Thanks to geekwife for this one.
[Sooner or later the Gs (Granted and the geekwife) will actually post something.]

Charles Krauthammer has a column on Christmas and the threat posed by its celebration. Everything from the secular PCness to views of various semi-religious types.

School districts in New Jersey and Florida ban Christmas carols. The mayor of Somerville, Mass., apologizes for ``mistakenly'' referring to the town's ``holiday party'' as a ``Christmas party.'' The Broward and Fashion malls in South Florida put up a Hanukkah menorah but no nativity scene. The manager of one of the malls explains: Hanukkah commemorates a battle and not a religious event, although he hastens to add ``I really don't know a lot about it.'' He does not. Hanukkah commemorates a miracle, and there is no event more ``religious'' than a miracle.
Nice article overall. For a true conservative I find Krauthammer to be a very reasonable person. [And He has a great name.]

Non-Lethal Weapon Systems

Non-Lethal Weapons have been popping up sporadically in the news. From the death in Boston due to the improper use of a Pepper Ball gun to the use of new technologies in Iraq for crowd control.

American Technology Corporation has deployed the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) system in Iraq through the military. (obviously) Have a Look. Pretty cool technology.

Microwave 'Active Denial Technology' is another one. I've found much whining about this system online. The Economist whines:

Tests on volunteers, the air force claims, have shown no long-term effects other than tenderness caused by repeated exposure; of the $51m spent on developing the system so far, $9m has been devoted to evaluating its effect on victims.


The term "non-lethal" is something of a misnomer, since weapons described as such do not have to pass any specific test to demonstrate their non-lethal nature, and nearly all NLWs can kill if used in a certain manner. Even America's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Programmedefines NLWs as "weapons that are explicitly designed and primarily employed so as to incapacitate personnel...While minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and undesired damage to property." minimizing fatalities is not the same as preventing them altogether.

Let's see, 'Victim' and 'not the same as preventing them altogether.' I'd say someone is completely missing the point on where these 'weapons' will be deployed. The 'victim' will be part of large, out-of-control crowds where the use of guns or batons would definitely cause more deaths and serious injuries. Not just to the 'victim' but to the constabulary involved in crowd control. Or think about military uses. The army could disperse large violent opposition, like that seen in the Somalian Civil War [See the bottom of the page. or remember the phrase 'black hawk down'], without having to kill them, or be killed by them.

My favorite that NLWS is the "Tactical Maloderant Ball." [To see this scroll down the page.] It's a Paint ball Stink Bomb. Wonder if whoever invented the paint ball gun ever thought that it would be used as a real weapon? The linked site has a bunch of "Police Only" equipment. Some are a bit scary.

Well, there are more, but I have to work for a living.


I checked on the history of paintball.
Damn, if you don't learn something new every day.
Started in New Hampshire.
Gun creator - James Hale of Daisy Manufacturing. So it's not likely that it was ever intended for non-fun-as-long-as-you-follow-the-directions use.

Near Space Spy Craft: Part 2

The Economist $$ has an article on "stratellites" which I'd guess has some relation to these near space vehicles.

They sound REALLY interesting. Supposedly these things are ultra-high flying dirigibles that are solar powered and can carry a 1.4 tonne payload at an altitude of 13 miles. And they're reusable. (They sodding better be. I don't want 1.4 tonne payloads dropping on me in the middle of the night. )

The uses projected in the article are many. From a replacement for satellites, providing a new form of WiFi coverage (for an area the size of Texas), Military payload (Yup those spycraft), and a version of a missile platform for 'Star Wars' type of projects.

Space Daily has an article and pictures that is very similar to what is in the Economist piece. (and you don't have to pay.) They go into the use of stratellites for the new WiFi uses.

Of course, no surprise here, Lockheed Martin is doing the missile platform testing. Though I haven't found much on the particulars on this.

Terrorist Detention in Great Britain

Apparently the USA isn't alone in its court problems with terrorists and terrorist suspects. The Lords have spoken, and we are only hearing the answer not the question. I dislike court reporting. They so often fail to accurately report what exactly was argued and these generalization are just not enough to make coherent decisions on the topic.
But in any case, I think the court has a point, as ours does in the US. Indefinite detention is wrong. If you have them on something, put them to the appropriate trial mechanism and be done with it. I find it unlikely that they are just being held because they look middle-eastern.
The court gets it wrong in that the law sets a dangerous precedence, if this article is correct.

Any foreign national suspected of links with terrorism can be detained or can opt to be deported.

But those detained cannot be deported if this would mean persecution in their homeland.

It is obvious that there should be a third logical filter here. If the detainee may be persecute in their homeland and refuses deportation and they are deemed a threat to the people of the country, then they can and will be detained. Without this you're allowing the courts to dump dangerous individuals into the country. It will just form another path that requires death or destruction (or other mayhem) before you're allowed to protect yourself.

Oh, wait, you aren't allowed to protect yourself in GB.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Alexander the Gay

Well VDH convinced me not to bother with this Oliver Stone travesty.

In reality, the movie proved not so much scandalous as boring.

Fatwa on combating Americans in Iraq

This Fatwa is interesting reading. The Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi has a long list of quotes from the Koran that pretty much state that the actions of terrorism is wrong.

"When Allah permitted [the Muslims] to respond to aggression [by saying] ' Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed [Koran 22:39],' he laid down principles that would guarantee noble human behavior [on the part of the Muslims]. The Muslim responds only to someone who has attacked him, without deviation [as stated in the Koran 2:194]: ' And one who attack s you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you, ' [and also:] ' Fight for the sake of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities [Koran 2:190].'

"It is forbidden to attack noncombatants, even if they belong to the attacking countries. The soul of man is sacred and an attack on it is an attack on all humanity. [This is because it says in Koran 5:32:] 'W however slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men.'

"The Prophet [Muhammad] forbade the killing of women and children, saying 'Do not kill a small child' and 'Do not kill descendants and simple laborers,' [i.e.] anyone who hires him to carry out services that are not connected to fighting. Similarly, Islam has forbidden the murder of hostages and [priests] who dedicate themselves to God.

"Islam does not permit the capture or abduction of noncombatants. In the event that [noncombatants] are captured, Allah commanded [Muhammad] his Messenger to treat them well [as it says in Koran 76:8]: 'And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive' [and Muhammad said] 'Treat prisoners well.'

"It is forbidden to hold hostages and threaten the lives of noncombatants because of an action carried out or not carried out by others. [The hostages] are not to blame for this action, and they cannot prevent it. Allah said: ' N o bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another [Koran 6:164],' and the Prophet [Muhammad] said, 'A criminal will be punished only for his own deeds.

I thought that I would find this all outrageous, but in the end, I found most of it reasonable and behavior that Americans would follow if they were invaded.

Of course, this quote is obviously warping of facts.

The acts [carried out by] by the foreign armies invading Iraq, i.e. the unprecedented atrocities; the extensive use of weapons of mass destruction, while their invasion of Iraq is ostensibly aimed at preventing the use of such weapons, but reality has proven that [the claim regarding] these [weapons'] existence was a lie; the blatant violation of the Geneva Convention and other conventions relating to [treatment] of civilians during war and [treatment] of providers of medical services and prisoners of war; the use of weapons forbidden by international law; the destruction of homes, buildings, mosques, churches, and other houses of worship and of infrastructure; the deaths of wounded in the mosques and the prevention of [access for] emergency help and rescue [services] for those wounded in the disasters; the blowing up of hospitals and the prevention of the medical staff from carrying out their humanitarian duty towards the wounded – all these are a mark of shame on the foreheads of the countries that carry out [these deeds].

I'm uncertain what the "weapons forbidden by international law" is referring too. I also think that he is saying that hospitals, mosques, churches and other houses of worship and infrastructure are protected by the Geneva Conventions, even when used as staging or attack points agains the military invader. It doesn't.

Acts of hostility towards places of worship in international conflicts are prohibited. Places of worship may not be used in support of the military effort, and they cannot be the objects of reprisals. (Protocol I, Art. 53)

These prohibitions also apply in non-international conflicts. (Protocol II, Art. 16)

If there is any doubt as to whether a place of worship is being used to help the military action, then it will be presumed not to be so used. (Protocol I, Art. 52, Sec. 3)

Attacks against places of worship are grave breaches against the Geneva Convention. (Protocol I, Art. 85, Sec. 4)

Apparently, the sheik doesn't actually check on the news. I'm sure that the film footage by the BBC showing snipers in Fallujah shooting from a mosque's minaret was faked.

Near Space Spy Craft

Weird thing to find on Al-Jazeera.

Strangely enough, looks like they got it from the Boston Globe.

Not sure which is the more unreliable source.

Bin Laden Condemns Saudis

Could we be having a positive effect? If OBL is complaining, maybe the shift is going the correct way.

Rumsfeld's Army - or - Defense Secretaries Must Be Clairvoyant

Tom Donnelly presents a column on the present issues of war in Rumsfeld's War.

All I got out of this is that Donnelly thinks Rumsfeld and the military brass in Iraq should have known completely what they were going to be in for and should have been prepared before hand. Last I knew clairvoyance wasn't something everyone has.

He apparently doesn't like the idea of military transformation. I'd say a typically foolish understanding of military history. When has the US military, or any other for that matter been completely prepared for what they got into from the very beginning? The World Wars definitely show the US being behind when the decided to act. Then they had to fight to catch up. Looking at the present military, I'd say we were incredibly prepared for the invasion of Iraq. What we weren't ready for was the police action that was required afterward.

I do understand that Rumsfeld has intended to push the military more to the high tech and this has led far too much to Big Shiny Planes and Big Shiny Tanks. But it doesn't mean that the foot soldier has been totally ignored. The development of personal body armor, if not the full deployment of it shows that they have been working to help the basic soldier.

The administration is still patting itself on the back for the initial invasion; this week's ceremony honoring retired General Tommy Franks, President Bush acted as though the problems of the post-invasion period didn't exist: the invasion was "the fastest, longest armored advance in the history of American warfare" with "a force half the size of the force that won the Gulf War and "defeated Saddam Hussein's regime and reached Baghdad in less than a month."
But the reality in Iraq today is Tommy Wilson's war, not Tommy Franks's war.

Note he doesn't think Franks did anything extrodinary. The derision of the award is just stupid. Franks and his command did more in one war than any other military has done. Thanks to the high tech equipment and technical planning he did some amazing things. Which leads me to my point. Rumsfeld may run the military from the top, but it's the generals that plan, prepare and execute the battles. If the police action afterward didn't go as expected, that can be understood, since they didn't plan for something they didn't expect. (Still not clairvoyant.)

Google Library

Found this NYT article on Google and a bunch of universities proposing creating a digital card catalog and searchable library for the world's books, scholarly papers and special collections.

Supposedly it will be for the full texts and be only books out of copyright.

Sounds like Project Gutenberg. Though with advertising and an annoying page header no doubt. Oh and popups too.

The amount of work to digitize these libraries must be phenomenal. Well, a job is a job. I kinda like the idea though. At least you'll get access to the books from 1909 and earlier. Still, some great books from that time. The non-fiction/reference books though will be scary.

ACLU and Punch Cards

The Captain's Quarter column goes through this sufficiently that I won't comment.

So so tired of blather on the last election.

Frisco Gun Ban?

Beautiful Atrocities (Dec. 15) has a funny little article on Frisco contemplating a gun ban. Jeff put together a funny grouping of links that gave me a good laugh.

I think Frisco should ban guns. Why shouldn't there be a left coast trial of the same social experiment that was forced on the citizens of Washington DC?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Global Warming

Time again for another round of discussion on global warming and the Kyoto Protocol.

The linked article discusses some of the points on reducing green house gases and how Europe is trying to form some accords with the US on reducing our emissions. They get a couple facts wrong.

Bush withdrew from the Kyoto agreement in March 2001

Well that's interesting. Though only partially factual. Since Clinton put the US onto the accord, no sitting session of the senate has ever brought it to a vote and has stated that they never intend to bring it to a vote. So the statement makes it sound like Bush is doing this unilaterally. No bend at Bloomberg.

The U.S. is the world's largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions, and it needs to impose limits on pollution by factories and power plants to reach a goal of reducing greenhouse gases that cause floods, droughts and heat waves, German Environment Minister Jurgen Trittin said.

Again, not quite right. Green house gases don't cause floods, droughts or heat waves. All of this weather occurred prior to the industrial revolution, so why state it as though its a fact? There is no doubt that the elevated levels of green house gases in the atmosphere has aggravated the weather effects named and many other.

Global warming with out a doubt is effecting the environment. If you deny this you just are clueless. There is also data that shows that the environment for quite a long period has been below the mean normal of earth history. Some arguments say that it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing for temperatures to go up .

I've also seen analysis of the errors in the weather models that are used to predict where global warming will lead. This is from Technical Review by MIT Enterprise.
With all of this debate I think we should come to one conclusion. If we don't do something soon to reduce greenhouse gas the harder it will be to do something later. It will also be more likely that changes later may have to be more drastic and less effective.
The USA is the largest creator of greenhouse gas per capita. Not a good thing. I blame the environmentalists. Yes, that's right. Not any single group, but a combination of extremists that in combination are making it impossible to do anything. Greenhouse gas nuts say we can't burn fossil fuels. Tree huggers say we can't use biomass, since we'd have to cut trees to get it. The anti-nukes say we can't use nuclear power because it's worse than global warming. The end result is that we have to cut back our energy uses, and to hell with things like an economy or people's lives.
We as a nation must start doing something.
First, cars need to get better fuel mileage. There is no excuses at all for technology not moving ahead here.
Second, Nuclear power has to be brought back. It needs to be used responsibly and we have to stop the lawsuits that delay and drive the costs up continuously. With more use, the overall costs should come down and the reductions of greenhouse gas will be substantial. This must include research in proper processing and disposal of wastes. You want to argue about this one, bring it on. I've worked in the nuclear industry for more than a decade and I know it very well.
Third, incentives and funding for technological development of alternative energy sources. Stop funding oil companies to find oil. Put that cash in the fields that show promise to get somewhere soon. Solar, wind, superconduction, etc.
Fourth, the American public must want to save and start to participate in reduction of use. If you hate the Iraq war, then you should be willing to push for us not to have any interests in that area of the world. We may not have gone to war about oil this last time, but the original Iraq war was very much about our oil supply stability. There is nothing like the power of the market to force changes in an economic sector.
Fifth, the government must start regulations to reduce emissions in all sectors. I'm not saying the close to draconian requirements of the Kyoto CF. If there is a progressive cut back, it should be less debilitating to the economy. There should be NO shifting of the reductions either. If a company has a Nuke plant they shouldn't be allowed to have higher emissions from their coal plants. And there shouldn't be any way to shift the savings to some other emitter.

Of course, there are many more, but these are some of the more muscular ones that the USA can do without having to be part of some debilitating "protocol."