Monday, February 28, 2005

Red Harvest

Yeah, you have to be a member to read this, I think, but it's a great review of the Hammet novel "Red Harvest" and the various attempts to make it into a film. They didn't mention Carradine's "The Warrior and the Sorceress" though.

The Tower and The Ravens

Crows are apparently threatening the British Monarchy.
And Charles isn't helping much either.

Econimist's View of Women in Science

Here's an interesting bit. Now why would I go to an economist for information on biology/neurology/psychology? I suppose I will just pull out the CrackPot stamp for this guy.

Surprisingly this Boston Globe article appears to be more reasonable.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Aljazeera Cartoons

Look at these. I'm not very surprised that no matter where America shows up in the Middle East news we're the evil bastards.

This one is just pathetic. You think this is any reaction to Jordan Easton's comments? The art work is just a yawn. I'm sure some third rate art school drop out was paid for this rubbish.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson on Security

Saw this linked at Schneier on Security.

Security ... what does this word mean in relation to life as we know it today? For the most part, it means safety and freedom from worry. It is said to be the end that all men strive for; but is security a utopian goal or is it another word for rut?

Read the rest of the piece. It's pretty much spot on. I don't think it's correct as a philosophy for your whole life, but it's better than what most Americans are living. If you read this blog, which I find unlikely, you know I have a very sore spot about the extreme complacency of the American citizenry.

Thompson may have been a crank in a lot of things, but when he got things right I think he hit the bull's eye.

Album Art - Poor Taste

This blog has a couple of pretty funny entries (See the Condilicious entry), and they have a link to a site with the worst album art in existance. They do have a very good point in asking why the Scorpians aren't in jail. (Go to the "Oh no.... It's the Germans" link at the web page. (Don't if you're at work.)

UPDATE: Yes I am a blithering idiot. (NO that isn't the update. That is a well known fact.) The Blog in the link is Pursuit of Happiness.

Feminists Wrong?

From the Captain's Quarter. Looks like someone found a study that shows Lawrence Summers' statement about women and math may be factual.

The article has this big qualifying paragraph at the start.
The human brain is composed of two types of tissue--gray matter and white matter. While men and women have about the same amount of gray matter and white matter, men appear to use more gray matter, while women use more white matter. Before we proceed further, it's important to note that while the two genders may think differently, this does not affect their intellectual performance or overall intelligence. [Emphasis Mine]
Talk about the PC Pathetic. They qualify the whole thing before even discussing it.

Pretty lame study when you get through with it. The analysis group was pitifully small and likely causes a huge amount of error to be built in. Never mind the likely total lack of racial diversity (since we all must be so PC on this topic).

And just because it's funny I will point out this paragraph.
But women outshine men when it comes to vocabulary. In childhood, girls' vocabulary develops more quickly than that of boys; by adulthood, women can speak 20,000 to 25,000 words a day compared to a man's 7,000 to 10,000.
You fill in your favorite line related to this.

Nothing on the variations in shopping habits in the study. Oh well, maybe in the next one.

UPDATE: I found a paper by one of the authors that appears to be on the topic. It's from 1995 and is written in some funky scientific language that I don't get. I'm just a Physicist, so this stuff is just strange to me. Here it is if you're interested.

American Main Battle Rifle History

Simplistic (overly so in cases) overview of the MBR of the American military. This topic would make a great book. Especially coverage of the innovations & changes that American arms went through when compared to some of our allies, some of which picked a rifle design and stuck with it for 75 years. Kind of mistake we could be making with the AR15 & it's wimpy derivatives (we really should go back to a more robust round like the .30-06. I'm reading about some Delta force complaints in "Black Hawk Down" right now).

Successful Ballistic Missile Defense Test

This report says success, but we haven't heard all of the aspects of the test, so who knows what they really mean by success. At least it got off the ground and fulfilled the tests requirements.

Here is a Missile Defense Agency Press Release that gives some better details. But once again you'll note a lot of data needs to still be processed. The release does specifically state that the test missile directly collided with the test target and only the impact destroyed the target.
That is pretty impressive.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Wow. Cox and Forkum have ZAPPED Jemma on this one. If you used this kind of camouflage you'd be certain to experience a mercy killing.

Media Matters and The Leadership Institute

Really interesting post from QandO. Talking about the media "watch dog" group Media Matters and their recent comments about the Leadership Institute.

Hanson Debate at Dartmouth

Interesting read, though just the highlights.
After I read this, I wondered what rock was Professor Edsforth living under.

Oh wait, He's in Academia.

There's this article at VDH's website that discusses free speech in academia and the cases of Summers and Churchill.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


This is a pretty amazing piece. I sincerely wish I had spent more time (a lot more time) working on my writing skills after reading something this well done.

And hey, I like it.

Biometric Passports

This is from the Economist. A lot of blaming America for the requirements, and if the statements are factual, I can't blame them. These passports are pretty much junk.

I think the writer over plays the problems with biometrics accuracy, and they choose some that have higher error rates (except for iris scans which they keep putting in the list, but is highly accurate compared to the rest). Many companies use some form of biometrics these days when high levels of security are needed. Usually though they are part of an authentication system, not an identification system. There is a difference. Usually the authentication system is multifactored while an identification is nearly always stand alone.

Quite surprising that these things are remote readable and not encrypted. That is utter stupidity. Talk about ease of stealing someone's identity as they walk by.

I'll have to look for the details on this and see just who actually is the major cause of this mess. The article does state that a UN agency, the ICAO put out the specification in 2003, so I'm wondering how America is the sole target of the derisive statements.

UPDATE: Here is the ICAO site on MRTD. (Machine Readable Travel Documents)
I don't see anything specifying who demanded what, but I don't know if this site would have that level of details. They do say that the facial recognition is their choice for the biometrics. What a lousy choice.

Interesting little site. About the political left. Take a look.

Some lefty blogs are calling it "David Horowitz's Neo-McCarthyite Blacklist." Well, at least Ted Rall does. Think maybe that gives the site a definite touch of validity.

"Sod Off Swampy" T-shirts

Yes, this is American Capitalism at its best.

Not sure I like the art, but then, I'm not going to wear it to make anyone happy. Well, except me maybe.

Eminent Domain Case Arguments

It is nice to see this getting so much interest. The blogs are definitely talking up the case.

Professor Bainbridge speaks to the discussion comparing it to "the old Soviet kolkhozy." Which I think is rather appropriate. He also makes a case about the subjective value of the property to the owners who are losing their homes.

CNN Gun Battle Heating Up

This link is to TriggerFinger. Pretty big list of what's been happening. I wouldn't quite list this as a storm yet, but with luck it will turn into one.

Death with Dignity Law Goes to the Supremes

This challenge, by the Bush administration, is just wrong. Not to mention going about it the wrong way. The Oregon law essentially allows the doctor to prescribe lethal doses of medication for patients with known terminal diseases once they are understood to be within 6 months of the end. The challenge uses the Controlled Substances Act to try and make this illegal.

This blocking of a completely reasonable law is bad enough, but using a law about illicit drug trafficking is just lame.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Democratic Debate

From Whizbang. They postulate, and provide a potential debate scenario that is directly out of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Well, at least it's funny.

CNN Committing Firearms Felony

First saw a discussion of this at The Smallest Minority.

The discussion there and the transcript really does look to me like this was a totally illegal purchase both from the seller and purchaser's side. Then the transportation of the feloniously purchased firearm across state lines would be a second felony.

Of course they start out with the BS on their illegal purchase by stating the .50 cal they bought is a "fearsome" weapon and all the associated rubbish. Then you have this brilliant bit of rhetoric:
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Gun control advocates want a federal ban on this weapon. Their reasoning, anything that can hit a target at 1,000 yards with the bullet the size of a small artillery shell could certainly pose a major threat to aircraft. [emphasis mine]
Yeah, artillery shell. Threat to aircraft. When was the last time someone used .50 caliber in artillery? Oh Never? Well, I guess they are just doing responsible reporting and not over hyping the situation.

It's even more entertaining to see that the go to "Congressman Moran" for professional opinion on what the effects of a .50 caliber would be on a jet.
ZAHN: Just sitting here watching, you shoot, made me feel the power of that weapon. And you have got a guy out there, Drew, like Congressman Moran who is saying this weapon is powerful enough to bring down a jet. What is the reality?

GRIFFIN: Well, the opponents say it's true. The reality is, can you put a bullet into an engine? Can you put it through a fuel tank? Can you put it through a cockpit? Yes. Is that enough to down a commercial airliner, probably not. Could it cripple an airliner, create an emergency? I think you would have to say the answer is yes.

ZAHN: So, beyond Congressman Moran and the people supporting his point of view, how worried is the intelligence community or anybody in the government about this weapon?

Back to topic, the legality of the purchase comes down to the fact that there is no allowance for interstate purchase of firearms other than through an FFL holder. The private citizen who sold him the weapon can't legally sell to him unless he's from Texas. And the CNN purchaser is performing a felony if he attempts to circumvent the law and purchase in a state that he is not a resident.

Now, that being said there are two things that should happen. One they didn't purchase the weapon illegally, but falsified the report to make it look like they could. In this case they should be held accountable by the public and the rest of the MSM. If they purchased it illegally on the other hand, the report is just fine, but the purchaser should be arrested and charged with multiple felonies. And as one commenter at Smallest Minority points out, they may have a case for conspiracy, since multiple individuals were involved in the perpetration of a felony.

Read the transcript. You'll be appalled.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Eminent Domain Case Going to Supremes

This was in the local paper. I've heard about this a couple of times in the MSM.

The case I think should be obvious, but there are other places that have shown no respect for private property, NYC being one of the greatest violators. The problem is that the town of New London is attempting to seize the property of several private owners in order to hand it over to another private party.

The fifth amendment isn't the clearest on this. This article quotes the Constitution related to eminent domain and also speaks to the fourteenth amendment's relevance to the topic. The crux of the whole thing though is that the statement of the fifth is still that the use is for the "public" benefit.

'The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says 'nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.'

And this:

Explicit in the just compensation clause is the requirement that the taking of private property be for a public use; the Court has long accepted the principle that one is deprived of his property in violation of this guarantee if a State takes the property for any reason other than a public use.

This leads one to believe that it would be very difficult to defend the city of New London's act. Especially with this portion of the news report:

Dery is upset that the city wants to take his property before putting a developer under contract and deciding exactly what will replace his neighborhood.

“What they’re saying,” Dery said, “is that anything that we put there will be better than you.”

I read this as they haven't decided who they are going to give the right to profit from taking the property away from these private citizens. I wonder if handing private property over to a third party which will result in profit, which is not going to the public, has any relevance. Not to mention the seizure of the property when they don't know what they will do to "improve" the area.

I'm looking forward to the results. Even more so what the possible arguments are that could possibly defend this action.

UPDATE: Here is a blog by Crooked Timber that also discusses this.

Hunter S. Thompson Dead

What a shame. Reports state that it appears that he committed suicide.

As everyone knows, Thompson was the originator of Gonzo journalism and had multiple popular books relating news, drug use and the struggle with authority.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Put Up or Shut Up

Getting tired of hearing this crap.

Your new crusade will end, God willing, with the same defeat as its predecessors, but only after you have suffered tens of thousands of dead and the destruction of your economy," Zawahiri said in his message to "the peoples of the West" broadcast by the Qatar-based satellite channel.

Still waiting for them to start with this extreme societal disruption and defeat. Of course, being the cowards that they are, you'll never see them actually take the west on, never mind America.

The rhetoric of the crusades still just doesn't hold water. If this was a religious based war it would be over now. If it was solely for economic reasons there would be no need to create a democratic regime.

I suppose they have to say something to keep the nut case followers going. They keep saying they are going to destroy us, but the effects of their attacks have been mere stings that anger the tiger.

Cell Phone Jammers

Nice little article on how these are being used. It's illegal, but I can see in some venues where these would be wonderful. Churches, concert halls, lectures (schools), etc.
Maybe the thing to do is have it legal for institutions to post and jam, but leave it illegal for some people to maliciously jam.

I have to say, personally I really hate cell phones. I don't have one and will resist ever having one. I'm not an important person and there is absolutely no reason that someone has to be able to get in touch with me at any time they desire.

Not to mention, many of the real annoyances are people who have their phones at 100 decibels with some inane ring. They always go off just when it will piss you off the most.

Another Political Test

Here's another one. This one has me closer to what I expected.
I have to laugh a little. The previous post's test placed me into a more liberal position than I generally would consider myself. The results though sounded quite logical. So I don't have much of a problem with them. This test is a little different and looks to place me where I would like to see myself politically. The odd part is that the results were only slightly different. The variation was from slightly liberal to slightly conservative. And in both aspects had me in the more libertarian side, by quite a lot.

Moral Political Test

Saw this at Free Will Blog.

I panicked when I first got my results, mainly because the word Liberal is spewed about everywhere, but then I started reading the meanings of some of the things and was a little better.

I still think the test is a bit bent but I'll have to read more into how it supposedly works.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Lawrence Summer's NEBR Transcript

Well, read this. Seems of all the groups mentioned only the feminists flipped out.

I'm going to confine myself to addressing one portion of the problem, or of the challenge we're discussing, which is the issue of women's representation in tenured positions in science and engineering at top universities and research institutions, not because that's necessarily the most important problem or the most interesting problem, but because it's the only one of these problems that I've made an effort to think in a very serious way about. The other prefatory comment that I would make is that I am going to, until most of the way through, attempt to adopt an entirely positive, rather than normative approach, and just try to think about and offer some hypotheses as to why we observe what we observe without seeing this through the kind of judgmental tendency that inevitably is connected with all our common goals of equality. It is after all not the case that the role of women in science is the only example of a group that is significantly underrepresented in an important activity and whose underrepresentation contributes to a shortage of role models for others who are considering being in that group. To take a set of diverse examples, the data will, I am confident, reveal that Catholics are substantially underrepresented in investment banking, which is an enormously high-paying profession in our society; that white men are very substantially underrepresented in the National Basketball Association; and that Jews are very substantially underrepresented in farming and in agriculture. These are all phenomena in which one observes underrepresentation, and I think it's important to try to think systematically and clinically about the reasons for underrepresentation. [Emphasis Mine]

Interesting isn't it? Catholics and Jews didn't roar about his statements. White men didn't say anything. (But who cares what they think those oppressor bastards.)

Note the emphasized section. He's speaking of looking at this from the results of observation not trying to make judgments related to it. From what I see he's talking about hypotheses, not personal beliefs.

Read it all yourself. Looks like someone should get some form of skin. Preferably thicker. And maybe some ears and a brain to go with it.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Howard Dean Quotes

I really have to hand it to the Right Wing News. This collection of Dean quotes is just fascinating.

Arizona "Guns in Bars" Bill

Strange that they have specific laws saying no guns in bars. Of course, there are so many other states that don't have such laws that have huge kill rates due to fights escalating.

Get this:

"How many bar fights, how many pool-cue fights that occur in and around liquor establishments would have been worse if there were guns present?" Isaacson said.

"There are probably places where it might be appropriate to bring a gun: a VFW in Sun City where it's 30 guys and they've all known each other for years. But a college bar in downtown Tempe on Fiesta Bowl eve, with all those high emotions, that's probably not a good thing."

Oh that makes so much sense. Every other state that allows concealed carry in bars must have such high kill rates. Or is it that Arizona has people that can't be responsible with a gun in a bar?

Kerry and Form 180

Will he ever actually sign that damn form?

This OpEd brings up the topic again and now I'm becoming even more suspicious as to what is really in his discharge. He just won't sign the form and keeps stating that he either has or will.

Is Kerry hiding something?

Miller and Cooper and the First amendment

Here's a good one. These two journalists are at present in contempt of court in the investigation of the outing of CIA operative Victoria Plame. (You remember the Wilson going to Niger about Uranium purchase attempts by Iraq. How Wilson's wife, Plame, is alleged to have been revealed to the public as punishment for his coming out publicly saying Iraq never did, even when his report to the federal government says they did. etc.)

Funny thing is that they don't want to reveal their sources in the investigation that they and other liberals were screaming for during the elections where they were trying to pin the blame on president Bush. It's just so typical that once they got what they wanted, they refuse to play. May there be some relationship that now there isn't any political benefit to assisting this investigation?


His time in the Navy. Yes. His work for Habitat for Humanity. Yes. His alternate energy policies (not counting the anti-nuke ones). Yes. Every other bloody possible thing he seems to have ever, ever, ever done. Hell, no. Why on earth we named a sub after him...

More on Greenpeace

Due props to the VodkaPundit...

I'm telling you, this is starting to vie with the fantasy that I'm the heckler that the brute Al Franken decides he has to take out. The main reason I could never, ever, join the Protest Warriors.

Perle vs. Dean Debate

The Link is PowerLine describing somethings he's heard about the debate. Pretty funny.

This news article verifies the issue with the screaming Perle fan, but removes the f-bomb.

I'm a bit disappointed that the debate was held in Portland. From the sounds of the news article that I've read, the cheers for Dean were common and deafening.

Well, next Saturday it will be on CSPAN so we can all hopefully make intelligent decisions on the results.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Advising the President

Ran across this at Sine Qua Non and just couldn't resist listing it here.

Sen. John F. Kerry's brash offer to meet privately with former foe President Bush to discuss foreign policy before Bush's meetings abroad next week with key European leaders has apparently fallen on deaf ears at the White House.

``We've offered to have Sen. Kerry (D-Mass.) meet with President Bush to discuss his trip to Iraq, if the White House is interested,'' Kerry spokesman David Wade said yesterday. ``There are many areas where genuine bipartisanship would make a difference in leading our country forward, whether in national security or children's health care.''


Oh Sorry,

No really. Sorry. This one tops it off.

One veteran Republican strategist with strong White House ties dismissed Kerry's move as ``yet more brazen political grandstanding from the junior senator.''

Oh, I nearly busted a gut. Nothing like the irrelevant trying to get another minute of news space.

Class Action Lawsuit Reform

Wow. I didn't expect that all of these lawyers would approve this bill.

But, now we need to see how this survives the activists in the judicial branch.

There is a lot of trumpeting of this as a win for president Bush, but I really don't think that is relevant. Or more appropriately, who cares? This type of reform is needed to restrain what has become a tool in people's tactic of blaming others for their stupidity.

Now let's see what the law-blogs will say.

Commentary on Ward Churchill

Granted sent me this link to an opinion piece on Ward Churchill.

Excellent read.


Ok, ok. I'm going to hell. I need therapy. I would LOVE to have been on the trading floor for this little donnybrook. Slapping the shite out of Greenpeace... Oh man. Where do I sign up?

Thanks to Instapundit

Startups and Drinking the Coolaid

No link. Just a rant.

I work for a startup. We had a company meeting yesterday about a huge management turn over and got a dose of the coolaid from the Chairman of the Board and the new Interim CEO.

So, after already being at work for 10 hours, I sat in my chair and had the leather funnel put into my mouth and they used the jumbo size coolaid pouch to start pouring. An hour later, having really having said absolutely nothing of any value, they started the presentations from the CTO and the head of Product Management. Product Management actually provided some interesting information, while the CTO brought his own big jug of coolaid.

Forty minutes later, I said "to hell with this," and walked out.

Why, must people in management torture you with useless information and then tell you how wonderful everything is? I always get nervous that they are hiding something nefarious in the coolaid. Not to mention, I hate spending 12 hours at work when the last 2 were just a waste of time.

Tour de Lance pt 7

Lance Armstrong has decided to race again in the Tour. Though, I'm not really sure why. Not like he needs the money, or the abusive allegations of drug use and doping, nor the abusive french spectators.

I'm certain this year you'll be hearing even more screams about how he must be using something to enhance performance. Even though he's come up clean every year that they test, which is more than can be said for the other winners that have ridden during the newest drug testing years. Jan Ulrich suddenly dropped out one year, and the rumor was that it was because he was obviously not going to pass any of the tests.

I have an argument with some former co-workers about whether Lance marks up with the other racers with large win numbers. Most of their arguments have to do with Lance not racing and winning races in Europe before and after the tour. Most of the Big winners, like Merckx, Indurain, etc. all raced and won in multiple big races. My argument is that the difference is that Lance is racing many racers that are racing less and concentrating on the tour just as he does. So in full context, Lance is racing in the style of his time as Merckx or Indurain did.

It should be an interesting race in any case.

Dean (not James) Debates Perle

I'm really interested in the results of this debate. I mean, I want to read the transcripts, not the press coverage. Funny how these articles about the press blackout come close to making Dean sound like he saved the day. Could be that there is just a kink in the new team, but if you have a slightly suspicious side, this could be read another way.

But, I am more concerned with the results of the debate. We know it's "Anti-War-Peace-Loving" Dean against "Fascist-Evil-NeoCon" Perle. The results of the commentary should be interesting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Walmart Leaving Quebec

I have to say I've read about this in a couple places and I'm just wondering, is Walmart trying to make a point to unions, or was the demands of the union really unreasonable? To be honest, I'm betting on the former.

Wal-Mart's decision triggered vicious rebukes from leftist Canadian politicians. David Christopherson, a Canadian Member of Parliament, even called Wal-Mart's decision to close the store "economic terrorism."

It is difficult to understand how workers are exercising their free choice by banding together to negotiate with their employer, but Wal-Mart is the corporate equivalent of Bin Laden because it is choosing not to stay in business under the union's terms.
Terrorism? Not likely. Fair dealing in good faith? Not likely.

Of course, is the union working in good faith?
The union has gone further than the petition, also filing a complaint with the Quebec Labor Relations Commission in an attempt to force Wal-Mart to return to the bargaining table and remain open. The store plans to close in May.
Apparently not. But that isn't really the purpose of a union in modern days.

QandO has a nice little piece that I have to mention because of the title Who is Galt-Mart.

Social Security Debate

Got this link from the Geekwife. Pretty interesting perspective. Though they have the facts a little off. The Socialism movement in Great Britain really started just after WWI. I've been reading a history of the inter-war years and Britain pretty much just fell to pieces in those few decades. They formed a major welfare state and decimated their armed forces. (part of the reason for the need of the welfare state.) I would say the commonwealth wasn't in too bad shape, but the Britain itself was a mess.

This quote really bothers me both in the fact that it's true and from the perspective of what our Demoocratic leadership don't seem to believe the rest of the citizenry deserve.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says market Social Security accounts are playing "roulette"; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls them a "guaranteed gamble"; Sen. John Kerry that the market account idea is "a rip-off." Sen. Olympia Snowe (R., Maine) is opposed, having "serious concerns" about individually owned accounts; Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R., Mo.) opposes allowing individuals to invest their Social Security payments in "risky investments."

And yet each of these individuals owns just such marketplace investments, either through the Thrift Savings Plan or other accounts. The question is, why won't they let you do the same in your retirement plan, the one called Social Security?
Oh and one snarky remark related to the article. Noam Chomsky is like a bizarro world Ayn Rand. Clueless but on the other side.

Granted sent this link to a UPI article on the "Commanding Heights" PBS series. I'm thinking the book sounds better to me, but the series probably is easier. One line in particularly convinced me to look at it.
"In 'Commanding Heights' we're more telling a story than making an argument," he said. Nevertheless, the theme of the series seems clear: markets work, and government economic planning does not.

PETA and the Lobster Debate

Found this on Sneaking Suspicions. I'm going to mark it up just as funny.

Apparently, PETA is twitching all over about the study.

No Kidding

Boy Reuters really does pull out some outstanding news stories. This one is on how the US is spying on Iran with satellites and UAV. Man they can keep up with the news can't they. It just makes you laugh to see articles like this one.

Even better when they report statements like this from the Iranian Intelligence Minister.
Yunesi denied allegations by Washington that Tehran was secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear activities are for generating electricity.

"Our nuclear and military activities are transparent. We have nothing to hide," he said.
Yeah, we believe you. But could you tell us why you've been purchasing the materials needed for making nuclear weapons triggers then? That's one of those things that really sets off the alarms. Not much use for Po-210 other than as a part of building a neurton source. I doubt that they are making large volumes of static eliminators (unlikely since there are much cheaper and safer materials to do this). Maybe they are starting a new industry in making camera lens brushes. And since Iran doesn't have a space program, I'm going to doubt that they intend to use it as a thermoelectric power source on a satellite.

But Hey, Their program is transparent! Not that they aren't hiding the facilities underground. I mean having nuclear processing facilities underground is such an economic boon. All the extra infrastructure that needs to be added for cooling and ventilation. Put it underground so it will be easier and cheaper to install.

Yeah, ok, we believe you. And we're not spying on Iran, we're just getting some vacation photos to show mom when the troops return.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sorry - aka Pathetic

The Geekwife sent me this. Just hard to restrain fist of death.

It was bad enough with the web pages of these pathetic pieces of human refuse, but to put them all in a book will just ensure that they are permanently recorded for the waste of oxygen that they are.

The excerpt from Ted Rall's forward is just precious. Nothing like a pathetic loser continuing to whine about reality. His statement about the Supreme court shows an unbelievable lack of a clue regarding the federalist Republic that is the USA. Not surprising from a cartoonist who had the gall to insult a dead soldier (Pat Tillman) because he chose stint in the army rather than go into football.

In the bleeding heart manner of the reviews of the book are overwhelmingly supportive. What a shock that the pathetic losers would brandish their pens to ensure a good review rating.

Oh and if you're really into pain, go to their website and see all 8008 entries. Biggest round pound on the internet.

Missile Shield Test Failure

Another costly failure. Still having the interceptor fail to launch, but at least they haven't lost the interceptor, just the target.

Of course, you are getting more comments like this:

"It's clear that the programme is being pushed ahead for political reasons regardless of its capability," says David Wright, co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US. "This interceptor has never been tested in an intercept test. Yet the Pentagon has already put eight of them in silos and is building at least another dozen before even knowing if they work."

"This administration has bought a lemon and there is no way to make lemonade," adds Stephen Young, senior analyst at UCS. "Congress should not spend another dime of the public's money until it can show this system would have some capability against a real attack."

Regarding the political nature of this, it is very hard to take the UCS seriously. The comment comes from an obviously political group, that is against the program. I wouldn't take their opinion of the political nature of the timing of the test. Unless they know something they aren't mentioning, for all they know this could just be another regularly scheduled retest and not something forced by politics.

Young fails to mention that Bush inherited this system from previous administrations. Not like Bush initialized the program. Even if Bush has refunded and moved the process forward, they're still working with an inherited system.

European Human Rights Court Finds Against Britain in McLibel Suit

Large Steaming Pile.

The European Human Rights Court somehow has made this a human rights case. Boy that is a serious stretch. They stated that Britain violated there human rights because it doesn't provide for legal representation for libel suits.
In its ruling, the court said the denial of state legal aid to the defendants, a part-time barmaid and an unemployed single father, had skewed the case from the start.

"The denial of legal aid to the applicants had deprived them of the opportunity to present their case effectively before the court and contributed to an unacceptable inequality of arms with McDonald's," it wrote.

The ruling also argued there was "a strong public interest in enabling such groups and individuals outside the mainstream to contribute to the public debate."
Public Debate? Are you saying that libel is now a valid part of public debate? I don't see how representation could have changed the facts that what they were putting out was untrue.

Looks like another good reason to avoid any european court. With this style of socialist bent findings, I'd say that they are tampering in areas that have nothing to do with human rights. The basic meddling in the basic governmental workings of a major democracy is troubling. This is much worse than the activist judges in this country.

Where does this lead to next? Most probably that the government of Great Britain would have to provide council equivalent to that used by McDonald's, irrelevant of cost or detrimental effect on the court system of the country.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Another Study States that Gun Control Law Effectiveness Studies are Ineffective

More whining about the studies.

Get this line:

Hahn and colleagues found that the five studies of the 1976 ban on handguns in Washington, D.C. and its effects on the city's homicide rate were inconclusive.

Yeah. Because just looking at the rise in crime rates in D.C. weren't telling enough. The studies couldn't figure it out either.

And this brilliant bit of logic.

Hahn says the task force found "no evidence for or against" the idea that handgun bans make it harder for residents of high-crime neighborhoods to protect themselves.

That is pretty much stunning in its complete lack of understanding of reality. I'm really hoping that it was taken out of context and really was referring to the studies not providing any evidence. But I won't hold my breath.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get to the original article. You have to pay for it.

Dean - Not James

Got this link at Ravenwood's Universe.

"We need to be proud to be Democrats," said Dean, recalling the kind of exuberant appearances he made during 2003 when he came close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination before collapsing in early 2004 in Iowa.

Emphasis is obviously mine. Could this be why so many people are angry at the MSM? I'd call this statement factually challenged.

I love Deanites:

Supporter Rebecca Cague watched Dean with a wistful smile.

"I feel like he is what we need to revive the party," she said. "He's not afraid to speak his mind; and when he does, he speaks for us."

That is the problem with Dean. He will not be setting policy and if he doesn't watch his comments, he could very well alienate even more moderate central voters.

That being said, I think Dean, if he shows restraint, could be very good for the democratic party. He does have a good record of being able to stimulate grass roots support. He also has some ability to organize, but I've seen several commentators state that he is good at some levels of organization and needs help keeping focused. Well, I think being at the head of the DNC he can effectively distribute his organizing.

It still comes down to whether the Dems can put forward a candidate that won't insult those voters that are a bit more religious or conservative. In the end the major fight is never over the party loyal, it's about those that have topics which sit in both camps and have to weigh what is being sold as the right way to run the government.

9/11 Conspiracy Article

Came from the Instapundit (Glen Reynolds) via Austin Bay.

Popular Mechanics looks at the conspiracies.

HP CEO Ousting Setback for Women

I was just waiting for this to come up. I'm just entertained by the analysis of her "women's traits" having helped her and her tough relentless style hurt her.

Funny how that tough relentless thing is separated from her "women's traits."

Sunday, February 13, 2005

RFID Tracking Children

Ravenwood's Universe has commentary on this article on RFID tracking students in schools.

Angry parents, saying their children's privacy rights are being violated, have asked the board of the tiny Brittan School District to rescind a requirement that all students wear badges that monitor their whereabouts on campus using radio signals.

Located between the massive silos of Sutter Rice Co. and the Sutter Buttes, this small town has 587 kindergarten through eighth-graders who are the first public school kids in the country to be tracked on campus by such a system, which is designed to ease attendance taking and increase campus security.

"This is the only public school monitoring where children go, with kids walking around with little homing beacons,'' said Nicole Ozer, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer aiding several parents who oppose the badges, which students wear around their necks.

Although all students have identification badges, only seventh- and eighth-graders are being tracked in a test run, according to school officials and representatives of InCom, a Sutter-based company developing the system.

"There is no danger or I wouldn't put it on my son,'' Florrie Turner, a school district employee helping the company develop the software, told the school board at its Tuesday night meeting.

The student tracking system uses radio frequency identification technology used mainly to monitor inventory and livestock. [Emphasis mine.]

Well let's start with the flawed statement that it will ease attendance and increase security.
Let's consider the effectiveness of these IDs. These are mobile equipment, meaning they aren't permanently attached, so they will be abused in many different ways.
1) These IDs will be traded back and forth. Students will trade them and the only way they'd be effective is if someone verifies the photo against the input that the receiver gets from the RFID. But since they are trying to justify the use of these RFID IDs with claiming that the teacher won't have to perform attendance, thus having more time for teaching, they have failed.
2) Clustered. IDs will be gathered together, by collusion or force, by one or more people and will then be able to spoof a large group moving or being involved in an offense. So, as a device of prevention of violence or vandalism, its a total wash.
3) Not carried at all. Students can wear them out of the room, drop them in a convenient cache site for future pickup, and then proceed to do what they wish. Again failing in tracking and control.

As for the "homing beacons" statement, that is just rubbish. This is all based on RFID and they don't emit anything unless they are stimulated by a standing station. The reach of these things isn't very large right now so the homing beacon statement is just trying to scare people.

The whole requirement to carry will only work for those that don't choose to violate the system. Those that do violate the system, will easily dodge any related controls unless some old fashioned human catches them. As monitoring systems go, this is a complete and utter farce.

There is a lot of discussion on student's privacy in all of these discussions, but I'm not convinced that should be a primary argument in the discussion. I'm saying this because if you work in any business that has any form of security, you will be having to have a similar identification that you have to have with you at all times. Most of these IDs are secondary purpose keys, which at minimum, will identify when you arrive into the facility. To say that having to wear these IDs will teach children that they have no right to privacy is ludicrous. There are place in life where you don't have that right. Stop whining and get used to it. Or go live under a rock somewhere.

I haven't even mentioned the costs. How much does the equipment cost? How much does it cost to maintain? How much does it cost to manage/administer the system? You will have to have someone put people into the system, remove them from the system, replace lost/damaged badges. What is the net monetary cost of a system that won't work?

Bruce Schneier discusses a similar tracking system for school bus' in this blog entry.
His analysis is excellent and I think fully applies to this whole discussion. In the comments section there is an entry that states that they are missing the point. The point truly is that the system is to protect the school district and not really protect the children. Read the entry toward the bottom by "Ken." I think he seems to be missing quite a bit about reality.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Neal Stephenson Interview

Interesting interview.

I think I'm going to have to read the Baroque Cycle soon. I'm not sure what to bump though. Wellington's Rifles, Old Man's War, Ripples of Battle, Empire?

Well, maybe I'll just buy the books and add them to the pile.

This quote I find quite disturbing.

For much of the 20th century it was about science and technology. The heyday was the Second World War, when we had not just the Manhattan Project but also the Radiation Lab at MIT and a large cryptology industry all cooking along at the same time. The war led into the nuclear arms race and the space race, which led in turn to the revolution in electronics, computers, the Internet, etc. If the emblematic figures of earlier eras were the pioneer with his Kentucky rifle, or the Gilded Age plutocrat, then for the era from, say, 1940 to 2000 it was the engineer, the geek, the scientist. It’s no coincidence that this era is also when science fiction has flourished, and in which the whole idea of the Future became current. After all, if you’re living in a technocratic society, it seems perfectly reasonable to try to predict the future by extrapolating trends in science and engineering.

It is quite obvious to me that the U.S. is turning away from all of this. It has been the case for quite a while that the cultural left distrusted geeks and their works; the depiction of technical sorts in popular culture has been overwhelmingly negative for at least a generation now. More recently, the cultural right has apparently decided that it doesn’t care for some of what scientists have to say. So the technical class is caught in a pincer between these two wings of the so-called culture war. Of course the broad mass of people don’t belong to one wing or the other. But science is all about diligence, hard sustained work over long stretches of time, sweating the details, and abstract thinking, none of which is really being fostered by mainstream culture.

If the US is turning away from science and distrusts technology, I think we are in serious trouble.


Weyco is starting to hear more on this.

In response to public outcry over Weyco's zero-tolerance smoking policy, company president Howard Weyers issued an unusually direct official statement asserting that his employees families and co-workers will be thankful to the company for keeping their workers from going to an early grave.

The statement, along with a supplementary background sheet, was issued on the company's Web site Jan. 25.

The statement, "Why Weyco is Serious About Smoking," is careful to frame the issue in terms of employee choice rather than company action. While trying to be sensitive to smokers personal predicament, it states, we're also saying, ?You can choose to smoke after Jan. 1, but if so, you'll need to find other employment.

The accompanying background sheet takes the same tack. "Many [employees] have thanked us for initiating the program," it reads. Only three have opted-out [sic] of the program and decided to seek employment elsewhere."

I can understand how some would thank you, but they fired four woman who refused.

State Sen. Virg Bernero, D-Lansing, said Monday that he plans to introduce a bill in coming weeks that would ban Michigan employers from firing or refusing to hire workers for legal activities they enjoy on their own time that don't impinge on their work. He says it's wrong that four women lost their jobs at Okemos-based Weyco Inc. because they didn't quit smoking by Jan. 1. (article) [emphasis mine]

In the title article they point to statistics about the costs of time lost due to smoking. Being that this is totally out of context, where are the statistics about losses due to skiing, or employees having children? I'm betting if someone did a study on children related losses (sickness of child, sickness of worker, spread of sickness to coworkers, snow days, teacher's workshop days off, etc.) this company would only hire singles. (Yes, I Am Being Cynical.)

The company also denies any intent to extend its policy to regulate unhealthy eating, drinking, and sexual behavior, citing a number of voluntary wellness initiatives such as health club memberships and campus walking trails.

Hmm. I'm betting that statement is going to be used against them. These behaviors aren't forced to be in compliance with the company's attitudes, just smoking.

I understand that Michigan is an "at will" employment state, like all states but Montana. But what this comes down to is discrimination. This company has made a decision effecting workers which isn't directly related to illegal actions. The claim of costs falls flat due to smoking being the sole issue. So, was the decision made because the workers were failing in their work requirements due to smoking? Or, is it that they just assumed that because they were smokers, that they were unacceptable? Sounds like discrimination doesn't it?

The "At Will" employment argument also falls down when the case for discrimination is made. See this article.

Even if the at-will doctrine applied in a case, it would not negate numerous antidiscrimination laws. In every jurisdiction, federal and state law protects at-will employees against adverse employment action on the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin and disability.

Many states and municipalities also prohibit discrimination based on things such as sexual preference, positive HIV/AIDS tests, marital/family status, arrest record, genetic carrier status, military and jury service, and a host of other status or conduct categories. Other local laws prohibit or limit AIDS and drug testing, and polygraph analysis.

Well, you think with all the tobacco lawsuits out there and the finding against that industry, wouldn't that lead one into addiction as a disability?

This article points that the Weyco actions in most states aren't actually illegal, but they are discriminatory.

After offering programs designed to help workers quit, Weyers in January announced the company would begin screening workers for smoking, and that those caught taking a puff would be fired.

Though more than half of U.S. states have laws on the books preventing employers from discriminating against smokers, Massachusetts isn't one of them, making Weyers a potentially attractive example for employers looking to save a few bucks.
Though she said she doesn't know of any employers taking similar steps, Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, worried Weyers' example would set a dangerous precedent.

"It's absolutely a slippery slope," she said. "This may not be illegal, but it's certainly a discriminatory process.

"Where do they go from here? Testing what we eat? The environment we live in? Extensive DNA testing?"

Questions like those were also on Framingham resident Stephen Zielinski's mind when he heard about the Weyco policy.

"Are they going to tell people not to overeat?" he asked. "What about people who go on ski vacations? They could break their legs. The guy is full of it."

"Do not tell me I can't smoke in my home," LeGay said. "It's going too far. It's legal, (and it's) my home, my car and my time."

This article also spreads a bit of knowledge relating to "At Will" employment.

Even employees who do not have written contracts of employment may be able to bring actions based upon the content of employee handbooks or manuals. Where a company document of that nature outlines a disciplinary process that must precede termination, the failure to follow that process may support a wrongful termination suit. If such a document states that employees will only be fired "for cause", an employer may have to document valid cause, such as the employee's failure to meet performance standards, if the termination is challenged.

Many employers insert language into their handbooks and manuals in an effort to avoid this type of consequence, to the effect of, "Nothing in this manual constitutes a contract of employment between the employer and its employees, and the employer may at its discretion elect not to follow any guidelines or procedures set forth herein in association with employee discipline or termination."

Some states will permit an "at will" employee to bring a lawsuit on the basis that the employer violated an implied covenant of "good faith and fair dealing" in association with the termination decision. In such states, even with an at-will employee, the employer must extend some degree of fairness in the decision to terminate employment.

Not being a lawyer, I think maybe I can ask some law blogger for opinion on the case.

I've stated this conclusion before, I hope this gets jammed up the owner's backside. (sideways)

Eason Jordan Resigns

Well well, Wonder why he resigned?

In a memorandum released to his colleagues last night, Mr. Jordan, 44, who had worked at the network for more than two decades, said he had "decided to resign in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy over conflicting accounts of my recent remarks regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq.

Unfairly Tarnished? If the accounts are conflicting all he had to do is ask for the WEF to release the tapes. Note that he didn't. Any wonder why the bloggers have been yelling for his head?


Even better, the reports make it sound suspiciously like he was asked to leave. Read the following and note how the question isn't really answered.

Asked if Mr. Jordan had been under any pressure from the network to resign, Ms. Robinson said the decision had been his. She said Mr. Walton, the CNN president, was unavailable for further comment. Mr. Jordan did not return a message left on his cellphone seeking comment. Mr. Jordan, who once had day-to-day responsibility for CNN's international coverage, is no stranger to controversy.

[Emphasis mine. ]
Seems very informative to me. If told that you can resign or be fired, you have a decision that is yours. Ms. Robinson should be a politician or lawyer. Nothing like deflection.

Oh, and the Old Grey Lady just can't help but make a one-sided attack here.

It also gave him an ambitious assignment: to reclaim the ratings lead it yielded years ago to the Fox News Channel, whose commentators, at least, tend to tilt to the right.

[Emphasis mine.]
Now, is this an admission that CNN "tends to tilt to the left" or is it just a hack at Fox? The answer is Yes. (at least in my opinion) Why do these people still miss the point that should have come out of the last two presidential elections? At least half of the population is somewhat right leaning, if not neutral enough to want more than just the left leanings of most of the other large news systems, whether broadcast or cable. CNN obviously lost its lead because many people don't see them as politically neutral.

North Korea - American Talks

Starting to get irritated at the MSM stating "Now that North Korea has Nukes." The US government has been saying that they likely have had them for a while now.

As for the one-on-one talks between the US and DPRK, I think the Bush administration is doing the right thing by saying no. I think it would be much better to get China, South Korea, Japan and Russia into the negotiations, mainly because the major regional muscle needs to have a say in what happens. Not to mention the rubbish with the one-on-one negotiations in the 1990's whose terms were so quickly violated by North Korea.

The DPRK press organ has wonderful quotes too:

Keeping up its propaganda offensive, North Korea accused Washington Saturday of invading independent countries to achieve global dominance.

"It is an invariable ambition of the U.S. to invade the DPRK (North Korea) and dominate Asia with the Korean Peninsula as a springboard, and establish a global order of its domination," the ruling party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said.

"The U.S. talk about peace and human rights is nothing but a slogan for invading and dominating other countries and a subterfuge to cover up its criminal nature."

I just would like someone to ask these guys a single question. If our intenet was invading and dominating other countries for world domination, why haven't we already crushed DPRK? Think about that. If America's intent is only a global order of domination, then our military might would easily serve us in destroying the especially dangerous countries. And, politically, by taking on countries that are especially disruptive in any one region, political consequences could easily be deflected.

My fear for all of this comes down to having a country with nuclear capability which is run by people that may not understand, or care, the concept of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction). MAD doesn't work on both sides in this case though. They may have the ability to hit some of our allies at the moment, and maybe even the continental US in the next decade or so, but we have the ability NOW to burn them into a glassified crater. Not to mention our ability to do that without nuclear weapons. But, failing to understand that their actions places them in a path of a "hyper-power" would mean needless deaths to us and assured destruction to them.

Friday, February 11, 2005

St. John's Wart Better than Paxil as Antidepressant

Seems like this one keeps coming up and being shown over and again to have some beneficial properties. Studies just keep coming out to support St. John's Wart. I've seen a couple in the past that claimed that it is useless, but why do new studies come out saying it's effective?

I'm not sold on homeopathic cures. I think too much of it is suspect with little or no real scientific evidence to support it. I know some people who claim some of these cures work, but I've never seen any effect when I tried them.

Of course, when ever the study is by a large corporate drug maker, I just throw it in the dumper. I find it far to suspect when they claim that homeopathic cures are useless. I'd like to see some real scientific body do a real study.

Valentines Suicide Pact

Damn isn't this sad.

A man used e-mail to try to set up a mass suicide on Valentine's Day involving as many as 32 people across the United States and Canada, authorities said.

Gerald Krein, 26, was arrested Wednesday at his mother's mobile home in Klamath Falls and faces charges of solicitation to commit murder, sheriff's deputies said. Investigators are subpoenaing Internet chat room records to try to contact people who may have planned to take part in the suicide.

Detectives learned of the plan from a woman in Canada who said she saw the message in a chat room that had the words "Suicide Ideology" in the title.
Top Stories

The woman, who was not identified by authorities, told detectives she was going to take part in the suicide but had second thoughts when another chat room participant said she would do it and talked about killing her two children before taking her own life, said Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger.

"Our primary goal is to try to locate where these endangered children might be," Evinger said. "We need to investigate where these other computers are. Hopefully we can intervene if anyone still has the notion to follow through with this."

Imagine how screwed up your life has to be to do this.

Bush=Hitler Art Award

Saw this at Michelle Malkin and really juxtaposes the far left and the juvenile.

I don't believe there should be any censorship related to this "art," but I believe there also shouldn't be any censorship of the responses that this "artist" receives.

You want to make inflammatory art, then live with the results. Good lesson in life for those that think that this type of thing should be protected from comment or criticism.

Radical Activists Lawyer Guilty

Stewart was found guilty, and then continued to say her violation of the law was the right thing to do.
"I would do it again -- it's the way a lawyer is supposed to behave," Stewart told a scrum of reporters, television cameramen and dozens of chanting supporters. "When you put Osama bin Laden in a courtroom and ask the jury to ignore it, you're asking a lot," she said, noting that prosecutors had played a tape of the terrorist leader vowing to "spill blood" unless Stewart's jailed client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, was released.

"I know I committed no crime," she said.
Ummm, I though violating court orders was a crime.
But prosecutors said Stewart did not simply push the envelope -- she consciously broke the law by informing Islamic guerrillas in Egypt five years ago that Rahman no longer favored a cease-fire with the Egyptian government.
Stewart and her co-defendants were accused of scheming to obtain Rahman's release. She was found guilty of trying to cover up secret conversations between Rahman and his followers and violating federal regulations by publicly announcing in 2000 that the cleric had withdrawn his support for a cease-fire between the Egyptian government and the Islamic Group -- a fundamentalist organization that carried out terrorist attacks on tourists and police officers.

Essentially, Stewart was accused of conspiring to provide personnel to the terrorists by making Rahman and his words available. Rahman, imprisoned in a maximum-security facility in Colorado, is prohibited from contacting his followers.
This seems to be turning into a defense of violation of the law when pushing your or your clients political agenda. Get this article's statement on the subject.
Activist attorney and radio talk show personality Ron Kuby, who once represented Stewart's client Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, said the verdict will intimidate attorneys handling unpopular political clients.

"It makes it that much more easier for the government to intimidate activist lawyers," Kuby said. "The threat of 20 years incarceration is a terrible deterrent against zealous advocacy."

Kuby, who, along with the late William Kunstler, has represented his share of political clients, said he would continue to help unpopular litigants. But he said other lawyers, faced with criticism from the media, their families and other attorneys, might choose not to push a client's cause vociferously.

"It reflects the tenor of the times," said Jonathan Marks, who is representing Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad in a terrorism-related case in federal court in Brooklyn.

Marks said the Stewart verdict illustrates the tremendous prejudice faced by people linked to Islamic fundamentalism.
Well, yes , the finding should restrain activitist lawyers from "breaking the law." convenient how this is all about prejudice against Islam and not about the fact that this lawyer clearly violated standing court orders and federal law. Not to mention that it is intimidation of the government toward activist lawyers. I could have sworn that by being a lawyer you were supposed to be practicing the law that is written down, not making up what you think it should be.

This article has the shocked response of some Stewart supporters. I especially like this one.
The guilty verdicts shocked her supporters. "I'm leaving the country," an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, Matthew Strugar, said.
BYE, Don't let the door hit you in the ass.
And this one.
"What a mess," a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society, Michael Letwin, said. "This is a chilling blow to public dissent, public dissent against the government, and the attorney-client privilege."
"Chilling Blow to Public Dissent" or just ensuring that lawyers follow the law like all the rest of us. As for the attorney-client privilege, that doesn't include an allowance to aiding and abetting terrorists. By this lawyers remark you'd be able to bomb the judges house and defend yourself as performing under attorney-client privilege.

This case has been going on for a long time and I'm very happy with the result. Now let's hope they throw the book at her and disbar her.

UPDATE: New Sisyphus posts a good commentary on this Here.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Illinois Ruling: IVF Test Tube Embryo is Human Being

Another embryonic definition fight is on its way.
“I certainly admire the initiative of the Cook County judge in taking this step,” but it likely will not survive any appeals attempts, Rosenblum said.

The judge refers in his ruling to an Illinois statute that implies that wrongful death lawsuits can be filed on behalf of the unborn regardless of age. In Lawrence’s interpretation, that includes a test-tube embryo before pregnancy — the microscopic bunch of cells that form after an egg is fertilized in the laboratory but before being implanted into the womb.
If his interpretation is correct, then the clinic worker that failed to properly store the embryo should be held for negligent homicide at least. Wrongful death is for civil cases. Why isn't anyone moving ahead with murder charges? Because its rubbish.

Unborn regardless of age to include test tube embryos prior to implantation?
I think this is a grand stretch. Consider the definitions of "born" and "birth."
born: Brought into life by birth.
birth: The emergence and separation of offspring from the body of the mother.
Now, if the embryo isn't implanted, doesn't that make birth impossible?

The article goes on to describe the devastating effect this could have on the IVF procedure if it is upheld. Fortunately, it will only hold true in Illinois.

American Medical News has a discussion on the ethical issue and related science. It doesn't discuss the Illinois case, but does speak about the excess embryos that are still in storage around the country.

Interestingly they point out that about 35% of the frozen embryos won't survive thawing. Would that then mean, but the Illinois ruling, that the clinics can be held accountable for the wrongful death of the embryo, since they are the ones that froze them?

This statement of one of the doctors interviewed bothers me:
Dr. Keenan's facility has a strict policy on not destroying any leftover embryos when a couple is finished creating a family.

"If they want to work with me, couples need to sign a release saying that if they don't use them, the embryos would be made available for donation to other couples," he said. "If they don't agree, they go elsewhere."
I think technically, in the courts, that someone can be held accountable for paternity costs if the "donated" embryo is used. I don't believe there is any legal waver on the source of the embryo when it comes to child support. (Obviously I'm not a lawyer, but if a lawyer got a hold of this, you bet they would try to make money off of it.)

The Conservative Voice provides the perfect crackpot article on the subject.
"Judge Lawrence understands what science has taught for a long time," said Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life. "Rulings of courts should be based on these simple scientific facts. Otherwise, public policy will be subject to the whims of those who want to exploit human beings by defining them as less than human."
Simple Scientific Fact? Where did you pull this out of Father? (I'll stop here because I can only think of snide thing relating to choir boys to say.) I don't know where he found his scientific teaching, but I haven't seen anything that one would call definitive on the subject of when life begins. Not to mention when life becomes "human."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Pointy Stick Law: Scotland

Here is one that pretty much makes me really glad to live in America.

A CRACKDOWN on Scotland’s knife crime "epidemic", which has seen stabbings hit three a week in the Capital, was unveiled by ministers today.

Under-18s will be banned from buying knives and the shops that sell them will have to apply for licenses.

The maximum jail sentence for carrying knives in public will be doubled to four years and the sale of samurai swords will be banned.

Police will also be given unconditional powers to arrest anyone they suspect is carrying a knife.

Scotland has the third highest rate of murders from stabbing in Europe. Police say three people are stabbed in Edinburgh in an average week.

Today, Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said she was determined to tackle the "weekend bloodshed that is cutting short too many young lives across Scotland".

She said: "Sharp instruments caused more than half the 108 homicides in Scotland in 2003.

Sharp instrument, pointy stick, I wasn't kidding.

Marine General's Reprimand: pt II

Got to this article on Varifrank through the Vodkapundit.

He adds quotes to the generals I mentioned originally and then added Halsey and Lemay to the list.

Gas Pump Phreaking

Phone Phreaking was the way of stealing phone services by some pretty simple methods that fooled some really lame technology. RSA with John Hopkins University have shown that they can do the same thing to those little wands that are used for quick access to the gas pumps.
The team has withheld from its article critical code-breaking details that could abet would-be hackers. The makers of products that rely on the security technology say that without those key specifics, criminals are unlikely to achieve what the Johns Hopkins-RSA team has.

"If you look at the kind of equipment and time needed by the researchers to break this, it's not what would normally be considered an attractive theft opportunity," claims J. Donald Turk of ExxonMobil in Fairfax, Va.

In any case, Juels says, the new study uncovers a preventable weakness in wireless security technologies, which are becoming more prevalent. "It's very important to ensure that we get security right in wireless devices from the very start," he says.
Turk should know better than to think that someone won't be able to figure this out on their own and not implement it. The same was thought with stealing wireless phone numbers and access codes. That was pretty easy and cost a lot of people a lot of money. If money is involved, you can bet someone will try it.

Oh, and like the original Phreakers, there is certain to be some major technoGeek out there that will do it just for the challenge. Never tell a Geek that it is unlikely that they could figure this out on their own. If the RSA guys did it, you know there are people out there that can do the same thing.

I'd say they better fix it quick, or they'll be paying for it in the long run.

This Guy's a Peach

Ward Churchill. I've not said anything on this buffoon, but you read things like this and just wish the worst on this guy. Someone that should be forced to live under a dictator like Saddam, then he'd know that the USA isn't "repressive."

Churchill, a professor of ethnic studies, spoke for 35 minutes. He did say he was not referring to children, firefighters, janitors or people passing by the World Trade Center who were killed during the attacks when he referred to technocrats at the World Trade Center as 'little Eichmanns.' His controversial essay described the victims of the World Trade Center attacks by saying, 'True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire.' Churchill later told Reuters, 'Nowhere in there did I justify the killing of innocent people. Those words are not there.'

He reiterated that what he calls America's 'repressive policies' throughout the world were a major cause of the September 11 attacks. He went to far as to describe U.S. foreign policy against Iraq as a campaign of 'genocide.' He described the actions of the hijackers as 'counter attacks'.
Genocide? I think if the intent was genocide, the results would have been much more telling. Sorry, I should know better than throw logic at emotional rhetoric.

The Denver channel has more on the topic.
Churchill said that his comments comparing World Trade Center victims to a Nazi leader were misinterpreted by the media and others. In his essay, "Some People Push Back," Churchill wrote that workers in the towers were the equivalent of "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who ensured the smooth running of the Nazi system.

Churchill also wrote of the "gallant sacrifices" of the "combat teams" that struck America.
Combat teams? Combat teams in the US Military don't intentionally murder non-combatants and then are called "gallant." Most of the time they go to jail.
Most of the questions posed to Churchill were sympathetic but there were people who were angered by his essay who spoke up during the rally.

"Where do you get the gall to call the victims of the September 11th attacks technocrats when you get a $90,000 paycheck from the government you purport to hate?" an audience member asked.

"I am not innocent and I am subject to the same penalty, and that is the answer to your question," Churchill responded.

A longtime American Indian Movement activist, he said he is as culpable as his government because his efforts to change the system haven't succeeded.

"I could do more. I'm complicit. I'm not innocent," he said.
Nice fat pay check and a pass to call America names. I'd go farther then saying he has gall. I'd say he's a bloody hypocrite to take pay from the government he obviously despises.

Fire him for his statements? No. I wouldn't want to strain his 1st amendment rights. Leave him there and where he can remain the Marxist hypocrite that he is. We all need ethical boundary markers, and he certainly is one.

Power Line has some interesting bits about Churchill, especially about his own schooling.
HINDROCKET adds: Two readers have submitted comments on Professor Churchill that I think are of interest. Tracy Allen notes that "His degrees are from Sangamon State University, an 'experiment' in Illinois that appears to have been designed to create a convergence of Marxists and anarchists. Here is a link from a couple of the believers about how the Corporate State destroyed their utopia:"

Among its other unusual qualities, Sangamon State recruited professors via ads in Rolling Stone magazine and didn't grade its students. The experiment was terminated in 1995 when Sangamon State became a "normal" member of the Illinois system, as the University of Illinois at Springfield. Churchill thus came out of an academic background in which activism was prized more highly than scholarship, which would seem consistent with his later practice of fabricating historical evidence to support preordained political conclusions.
Interesting? How does this qualify a guy for a professorship?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Nippon Secret Spy School Books Found

Here are some books I would love to read. Imagine the perspective that they would provide on the military minds at the time of the end of WWII.

I wonder how much they would actually support the decision to use the atomic bomb to end the war.

Among the textbooks are such titles as ``Stratagem,'' ``Espionage,'' ``Propaganda,'' ``The Nation's Fundamental Structure'' and another detailing the amount of drugs and chemicals needed to kill a person.

One titled ``Tactics,'' which explains how to wage guerrilla warfare in the country, is apparently based on the assumption that fighting would continue even after the invasion of the main Japanese islands.

The mimeograph texts were stamped ``Confidential'' and ``To be burned after use.''

``Stratagem'' stresses the importance of doing undercover work in peacetime, while ``Espionage'' teaches various methods of spying and reconnaissance.

``Propaganda'' refers the reader to Goethe's ``Faust'' for a study of the tricks used by one of the characters-the devil Mephistopheles. The book also advises ``snuggling up'' to the people as a means of winning over their sentiment.

``Tactics'' outlines sabotage and surprise attack exercises conducted several times in Gunma Prefecture, in preparation for an expected invasion of mainland Japan.

I really hope that the texts get published even in part some place.

Human Cloning

This is cloning of embryos for human stem cells. Research related to ALS. This isn't the first cloning of human cells. It is known to have already happened in South Korea.

Waiting for the Shite storm.

I'm not going to minimize the ethical arguments on all sides related to cloning. It's a very complex issue. In this case I thing this is a definite no harm. They do state that they are cloning embryos, but since they aren't really clear, I'll assume that this is cloning of a unused or aborted embryo. Since these embryo have no viable host to bring them to full gestation, I don't see them as any more than cells.

Are we supposed to be appeased by Professor Wilmut's declarations that the human embryos will be destroyed after experimentation and that his team has no intention of producing cloned babies?" asked Julia Millington of the London-based ProLife Alliance.

"All human cloning is intrinsically wrong and should be outlawed. However, the creation of cloned human embryos destined for experimentation and subsequent destruction is particularly abhorrent."

I'd say this extreme view is just foolish. These embryo are not humans. Have no way to get there. It would be a waste to just destroy them. Instead, they should be looked at as a resource that can benefit the lives of millions of humans (and millions of semi-humans).

Even if you disapprove of the waste of these embryo's 'lives', irrelevant of source, you should be smart enough to realize that not doing anything with them is more of a sin than using them to benefit life. I'm not advocating creation of embryos for the research, merely use the ones that exist from a legal process, for advancement of the "human quality of life."

Just Not Quite Right

Oh, this is just not right. I saw this at Right Thinking from the Left Coast.

A Welsh rugby fan has reportedly cut off his own testicles to celebrate Wales beating England at rugby.

Geoff Huish, 26, was so convinced England would win Saturday's match he told fellow drinkers at a social club, "If Wales win I'll cut my balls off", the Daily Mirror reported today.

Friends at the club in Caerphilly, south Wales, thought he was joking.

But after the game Huish went home, severed his testicles with a knife, and walked 200 metres back to the bar with the testicles to show the shocked drinkers what he had done.

Huish was taken to hospital where he remained in a seriously ill condition, the paper said. Police told the paper he had a history of mental problems.

Wales's 11-9 victory over England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was their first home win in 12 years.
Makes you wonder if this happens much with true fans.

Conservative's Attack on the Press

Article on the CONSERVATIVE WAR BLOGGERS and their "jihad" against the press.

Amazing that the CONSERVATIVE BROWNSHIRTS would dare to point out the faults of the press.

This guy is a total git.

Carnival Mainz

This noted on Powerline from Davids Medeinkritik.

When can we withdraw all of the military bases from Germany?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Brady Bunch State Report Card

PDF. But worth a look.
Peoples Republic of Mass gets and A- and NH gets a D-.
Well you can't get that perfect F very easily I suppose.

ChronWatch has an article explaining the grading and why it is so very flawed. The article has some decent links at the bottom related to the topic.

Gun Owner's Study - Book Review

From Reason online. Review of Shooters: Myths and Realities of America’s Gun Cultures by Abigail A. Kohn. Sounds like the book could be interesting, though I think I'll wait a bit and see if there are any peer reviews.

Sounds like a strange study. It's an ethnographic/anthropological study on gun owners in the San Francisco area. Now there is a strange place to do a study on gun owners.

You can also view an article from 2001 by Kohn on this topic. You may wish to skip though, it's mostly fluff. There is a link on the top of the page to Reason Online's other gun related articles.

Kite massacre

Twenty fatalities from a kite flying festival. Why aren't we hearing anything about this from the MSM? Isn't twenty fatalities in Iraq generally declared a massacre or at least a bloody day?

NO, really, Look at the link.

Biden's Nonaggression Pact

Saw this at the Anti-Idolitarian Rottweiler. Biden Seems to want to give the Iranians a hug.
"Senator Joseph Biden said that even if Iran was a full democracy like India, it would want nuclear capability, like India. What the world needed to address was Iran's emotional needs, he said, with a nonaggression pact."
Those always work so well. Helped Russia out so well with Germany.


A friend that publishes weekly movie reviews alerted me to this story about an actress that was killed during a robbery. She had the affrontery to actually challenge the theives who shot her dead. This quote from the NYT piece includes the info the NYPD is putting out:

At the news conference, however, asked about how people should respond to an armed robber, he said, "If you're in a situation when someone is pointing a weapon at you, I think it's best to comply with the directions of that individual."

Uh, no. Wrong answer. I mean, yeah, if they ask for money, toss it one way and run the other. It's just frigging money. "Comply with the directions." Really? And if those directions include stepping over this vehicle or into this empty lot or into the dark part of the park, down this alley (Assuming Brooklyn or NJ or some other city, movies aside, there are almost no alleys in Manhattan), still comply? I hate it when I see the Police, who know better, giving out this kind of advice.

BTW, carry your money and your wallet seperately. Carry your money in two pockets, big bills in one, small bills in the other. When the mugger asks for your money, pull out the wad of ones. No lost ID, most of your cash intact. Of course, this mainly only works for men. Most of the women I know spend tons of time in outfits that don't have pockets. Gives new meaning to the term fashion victim.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Photos of the USS San Francisco

I can't believe this sub survived. The damage is huge. I'm wondering though if this sub will be recovered. Economically, I'm thinking that the damage may cause this sub to be decommissioned.

Here is a site that briefly describes the damage.

They have the sonar dome covered, but I'm going to guess that it's a total loss. I'm going to bet that the torpedo tubes at least on the port side are totaled. The super structure is obviously damaged. I'd doubt that they'd do the full assessment to tell if this could ever be used as a submarine, never mind a war ship.

I'm really interested to see if the damage is as bad as it looks. I still can't believe this sub survived.

Bush's First Term Sees Net Jobs GAINS

Will the democrats admit that they were wrong with their propoganda during the elections?
Of course they will continue to spin this with the flawed argument that the new jobs created were mostly lower paying, but then, they missed that there was a recession. You know that dot com bubble collapse thing? Economy went down and the market had a little correction.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Marine General's Reprimand

Ok I know that generals are political positions, though that is a lot of BS to me. You don't hire a soldier to be nice and PC. I hire them to kill the enemy. Most really successful generals, from my point of view, were foul mouthed, irritating and rude. Look at Sherman, Grant, Patton.

This guy is a MARINE! I don't want any Marine that is pleasant and cuddly. Hell, read what he said. It is pretty mild compared to where some have gone.
"Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. . . . It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling," he said at the forum in San Diego.

"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," he added. "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
Well, I suppose if there weren't real people in the world, no one would get reprimanded.

Gonzales Confirmed

First is factually challenged, the second is just foolish.

"Mr. Gonzales was at the heart of the Bush administration's notorious decision to authorize our forces to commit flagrant acts of torture, in the interrogations of detainees in Afghanistan, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib," said Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA). "The war room in the White House became the torture room."

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) also criticized Gonzales, saying, "Of immense significance, this legal framework endangered American troops by making them more vulnerable to like treatment. Prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere has deepened the anger and resentment that some feel toward our country, and has given a propaganda club to our enemies."
Teddy, just can't seem to get facts straight. Gonzales didn't create policy and he merely worked with the DOJ to get the governments legal position. Gonzales also stated too the bloated tick from the people's republic, that he didn't approve of torture.

As for Carl Levin, when did he start to believe that a US soldier would get as good a treatment by the insurgent/terrorist? Does he forget the civilian contractors shot and beaten to death and then burned in the streets? Did he miss the beheadings? We're not fighting signatories of the Geneva protocols here. They're called terrorists.
What rock has this fool been hiding under?

Then there is the inflammatory rhetoric from the republicans.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a blistering message to Senate Democrats.

"Though I would have thought that the results of the last two elections would have tempered the obstructionist behavior of the Democrat leadership, sadly, it has not," Cornyn said in a press release following Gonzales' confirmation.
Why bother stating the obvious? This won't win you votes and the voters should already be seeing this for what it is. Well, at least those that aren't going to vote democrat for the sake of voting democrat.

Not PC Joke

Two Arabs are sitting in a Gaza Strip bar chatting over a pint of fermented goat's milk. One pulls his wallet out and starts flipping through pictures, and they start reminiscing.

"This is my oldest son, Mohammed...he's a martyr. This is my second son, Hachmed. He is a martyr also."

After a pause and a deep sigh, the second Arab says wistfully, "They blow up so fast, don't they?"

I don't know who originated this. I got it in an email from a friend on a long line of forwarding. If you have any idea who started it let me know so I can pass on the deserved credit.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Vote: Hillary vs. Condi

Go and Vote.
It's worth a laugh.

Sherry is For Drinking

Ummm, Hmmmm.

Just read it. I can't seem to find a comment.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

No Genocidal Intent

No genocidal intent? What?

The report hung its conclusion on the belief that there was no "genocidal intent" by the Sudanese government to kill off a particular group on the grounds of ethnicity, religion or any other reason, a rather dubious finding.

I keep hearing how Bush/Rumsfeld/Gonzales/Rice are responsible for the abuse/torture at Abu Ghraib/GITMO yet the UN can't find any responsibility in the government of Sudan. No intent means no responsibility?