Wednesday, March 30, 2005

UN in Charge of the Internet?

This blog entry by Captain's Quarter is very interesting. The article he links I link above and it's an interview with Houlin Zhao. He seems to be of the opinion that the ITU should be controlling the internet. Just what we need, a corrupt backward organization in charge of a system that looks to be doing just fine right now.

Zhao's responses are pretty poor on every question. Or maybe I was just expecting a more technically clued in official. He has some concerns that I just can't see the UN making any changes in, such as spam and security. Things that nations can't control now, I can't see them changing. As to freedom of speech, I don't see that they will have any control or effect at all. I may be wrong, but I would like someone show me how they've increased freedom of speech in China in any way at all.

Oh, and big surprise, he considers the US governments involvement in the internet as being a problem. Could be, but then they funded the origination of what evolved to be the internet. Maybe they shouldn't have any say in addressing or naming, but if the US government shouldn't be involved, the UN shouldn't be allowed either.

I don't like the thought of another layer of crap on top of the work groups of the IETF and other technical standards groups already in existence. They appear to work quite well at this time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

GAO Report Shows TSA Secure Flight Not Ready

GAO study looks to show that the TSA hasn't gotten there with this Secure Flight system yet. Goes right along with the privacy issues as well.

Great, another lame system that is behind schedule.

Monday, March 28, 2005

TSA and Privacy Issue Lies

Schneier site weblog on TSA lying about the use of personal data on the "Secure Flight" program. Seems that if your information was in a couple of airlines databases it was actually used for the tests, which TSA denied on their website, and the contractors failed to properly control or destroy data when the were done.

Paranoid about the government? Probably should be.

American Diplomats Now Setting International Policy

This one just aggravates me. Not to mention there isn't sufficient information out there to tell what is going on with this CF.
Ambassador Nancy Powell, America's representative in Pakistan, refused to allow the distribution in Pakistan of wanted posters, matchbooks, and other items advertising America's $25 million reward for information leading to the capture of Mr. bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.

Instead, thousands of matchbooks, posters, and other material - printed at taxpayer expense and translated into Urdu, Pashto, and other local languages - remained "impounded" on American Embassy grounds from 2002 to 2004, according to Rep. Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois.
She has been removed, but she essentially stopped all "white" intelligence measures in Pakistan related to OBL.

She still works for the state department, and the state department denies that she restricted the distribution of the materials. Which doesn't match what the intelligence service told the Rep. Kirk. State says the program was discontinued because it was ineffective. I can't find anywhere who made the decision on the effectiveness of the activity.

There is also denial that she was removed because of this, which seems likely since it took quite some time to remove her, and she still works for the state department.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Hanson on Churchill (Ward not Winston)

Well, I think VDH is a bit irritated by Churchill.

He basically analyzes all of Churchill's claims and does so quite derisively.

Churchill has spoken of the firsthand trauma of battle service as a combat veteran, both as a paratrooper and as a sniper — among the most hazardous of corps in the United States military. Once again, there is no such evidence that he served in any capacity other than what his official duties in a motor pool and as a projectionist entailed.
Motor pool sniper? Paratrooper Projectionist?
The whole article is quite entertaining.

The Art of War: Name Dropping Executives

So, I'm in a meeting (i.e. wasting valuable time) and I'm there because I'm the company's only CISSP. (certified security professional) The new marketing Director is discussing how to sell our product to a potential big customer, by pushing something we don't have in the system. I state that that would be deceptive and I couldn't be part of it. She states that we plan to put in the feature, and that this is only positioning, not deception.

I state that unless they are told up front that this is a function "in the works" rather than supported, I won't help. She then comes out with "well, you obviously don't know how to sell." I state, "obviously, thank god." She then states, "in sales, you have to understand the proper use of positioning what the product can and will do. It's just like what is stated in the Art of War, which obviously you haven't read."

Now, being the second time that someone has dropped the art of war on me as a put down, I blow a gasket. "Really? I have read the seven military classics of china, and I'm quite well versed in them." She says, "I'm talking about Sun Tzu's the Art of War." At which point I want to bang my head on the conference room table.

I then politely explain that Sun Tzu is part of the seven military classics and that she hasn't a clue about what the Art of War is about. And lastly, I stated I won't participate. (I didn't quit, I'm waiting for Monday for that. Heh.)

Why is it that Executive types read a book, and are suddenly experts on a subject? Especially war, which happens to be one of my fascinations. It must be that MBA that makes them decide that they are far more intelligent than the rest of the world.

John Gibson's Lunacy

The link is to Glen Reynolds (Instapundit).

I saw this little rant last night from Gibson, and just shut him off. Bomb thrower? Or just an imbecile? I honestly don't like Gibson.
I can understand having strong feelings on the Schaivo case, but apparently Gibson had an aneurysm over the whole thing. That and having Pat Robertson on an interview just pissed me off. It's one thing to have reasoned debate on an issue, but participating in unreasoned vilification of one party is just asinine. I think there is enough over-emotional news commentary in the MSM now, I don't think I want to be forced into hearing about the religious ultra-right also.

Check out the LAT linked article at Glen's site. For some reason people are vilifying the NRA for not politicizing the Minnesota shooting spree. I may be missing something here, but they seem to making it part of the political context of the Shaivo case. There may be a common thread, but why should the NRA get involved. Hey, the Brady bunch is doing enough riding those corpses.

Bobby Fischer's Rants

Bobby Fischer may be only 62, but he's showing signs of senility.

"The United States is an illegitimate country ... just like the bandit state of Israel. The Jews have no right to be there. It belongs to the Palestinians....

"That country, the United States, belongs to the red man, the American Indian. ... It's actually a shame to be a so-called American because everybody living there is ... an invader."
If the USA, or any country for that matter, is illegitimate because its present population invaded/displaced the aboriginal culture, then all countries in the world are illegitimate. Thus Bobby Fischer shows a complete lack of perspective on history.

Read the rest of his whine. It's actually kind of amusing.

Iraqi War "Resister" Refused Canadian Asylum

Resister? Resister!?
In a written ruling awaited keenly by dozens of other U.S. war resisters believed to have come to Canada, at least seven of whom have filed similar claims, adjudicator Brian Goodman concluded Jeremy Hinzman, 26, had not made his case.

"Removal to the U.S. would not subject [the Hinzman family] personally to a risk to their lives or to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment," said the ruling, posted on the board's website. [emphasis mine]
Well, looks like the DESERTERS will be coming home. Home will be Leavanworth, Kansas if they receive justice.

I also like how he is so heroically acclaimed:
"I assumed this would be the outcome, prior to the hearing, when it was deemed that the illegality of the war was irrelevant," he told several dozen cheering, banner-waving supporters.

Asked about his next move, Mr. Hinzman said: "I feel fine. I'm going to have a good three-day weekend with my family, I'm going to go running on Saturday, and start an appeal process on Monday."

That will mean asking the Federal Court to review the board's decision.

Mr. Hinzman, who now works as a bicycle courier, drew international attention after he deserted the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C., 14 months ago and fled to Toronto, just days before his unit was deployed to Iraq.

At his three-day refugee hearing in December, he contended that if he killed or injured anyone in Iraq his actions would amount to atrocities because the conflict was illegal, and hence criminal.
Now with luck he'll be Uncle Sugar's guest for a maximum of five years.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Riding the Corpses Like Sleds

Yes, that is a shocking title. It's exactly what the Brady bunch is doing with the dead from the Michigan school shootings.
But what do I know. Go read their little propaganda letter yourself.

Prisoner Death Disinformation

I'd read about this at a couple of sources and just recalled it after seeing the Strategy Page.

I'll quote it all here below. I'm doing it because I don't see a way to just link to this single article and I don't know where the link will take you tomorrow. I'm cutting and pasting, so any errors in spelling or other issues are from the original writer.
March 21, 2005: Not all prisoner deaths are the same, but you'd never know this from what you read in the news. Recent reports on deaths of prisoners in U.S. custody will give people the wrong impression about the number of suspected terrorists being killed without justification. The figure often quoted (at least 108), however, is deceptively high. It includes a number of prisoners who were killed in an insurgent attack (mortar shells hit the prison, killing 22 inmates) and prisoners who died of natural causes or in accidents (one notable death from natural causes was Abu Abbas, the mastermind of the Achille Lauro hijacking). These two subsets account for 51 of the fatalities in U.S. custody. This reduces the total of violent deaths to 57. Out of these, only 26 are being investigated as possible crimes. The remainder were investigated, and the deaths were ruled justifiable homicide (a total of 31, if one accepts the total of 108).

The United States has taken abuse of prisoners very seriously. In one recent case, a Marine officer is being investigated over the shooting deaths of two prisoners. In another incident, an Army platoon leader has made a deal with military prosecutors – he will cooperate in investigating a company commander who allegedly ordered some murders during a raid in response to mortar attacks that killed another officer. That officer and several others have already been punished for attempting to cover up an incident where two prisoners were forced off a ledge at gunpoint. The Abu Ghraib incident, that was huge news last year, was already under investigation when details were leaked to the press. Another fact to be noted is that these abuses have often been reported by fellow soldiers. The Abu Ghraib case is a prime example – one of the members of the unit delivered the evidence to people up the chain of command.

For comparison, prisons in the United States have a much higher rate of deaths. In 2002, federal prisons had 335 prisoners in custody die from all causes. State prisons had 3,105 deaths in that same timeframe. This is a total of 3,440 deaths in custody. It should be noted that eight states in 2002 had higher totals of deaths in custody than the U.S. military had has in Iraq and Afghanistan over the entire war on terrorism. Removing the 22 killed in the insurgent mortar attack, the number of states with higher death rates increases to ten. Other countries have had problems with deaths in prisons – in 2003, the United Kingdom recorded 171 deaths in custody (94 suicides, one prison homicide, and 76 of natural causes). France had 118 suicides in prison in 1999.

Clearly, this is a case where the figures are accurate, but are being used to paint a false picture of the situation. This will not stop new efforts to wage lawfare against the military. This will be a huge hassle for the United States as the war on terror continues. – Harold C. Hutchison
Interesting, isn't it? I'd heard the number of casualties actually whittled down to just 8 in one article, but Mr. Hutchinson does a clean job in his discussion, so I'll take his word over the MSM.

Government Secrets

Got to love this one. Schneier again with a perfect posting of Government stupidity.

Unfortunately, he links the WSJ and you have to pay. But he quotes a couple of parts of the article that are really odd.

Nuclear Terrorism False Positives: or How Security Professionals Don't Understand Radiological Science

Another entry by Schneier. I think the posting is very good in that it sparks debate on the topic, and if you look at the comments, you'll get to see security professionals response to the situation. That will indicate that many in the security field haven't much of an understanding of how radiological sciences work.

My kick is the people who still think that the radiation detectors being used by fire departments are "Gimicky." Seeing that these detectors have been used by nuclear facilities and radiological facilities for decades, all around the world, I find it hard to conceive where they get the idea that they are gimicky.

They also don't seem to like the police reaction in this case to the detection of radiation from a person that received a medical treatment with a radio-isotope. From my point of view they are lacking in perspective. The person set of a broad spectrum gamma radiation device. A person making a dirty bomb could possibly do the same thing. Should we ignore the indications of a problem? Or should we react reasonably and ensure the greatest amount of safety for the public in general by inconveniencing an individual for an hour? I think this is obvious.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Hillary's Voting Fraud Assurance Bill

So, I take this as affirmation of Hillary's intent to run. I mean, why else would you put forward legislation that will guarantee voter fraud?

A bill proposed by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., would enable anyone to register to vote on election day and cast a ballot without a photo ID, proof of citizenship or other personal identification.

And from the horse's ass:

In a statement, Clinton said, "Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process. The smooth functioning of our democracy depends on voters having faith in the fairness and accuracy of our voting system, and the Count Every Vote Act is an important step toward restoring this covenant. We must be able to easily and accurately count every vote so that every vote counts."

Accurately count every vote, no matter how many times the person votes.

British Violation of American First Amendment Rights

The linked article and this one are from Captain's Quarter relating to libel cases of publications released only in the USA and American periodicals that are found on the Web. Seems that the British courts are now freelancing on libel cases.

Read both. Then be worried. I think something really needs to be done on this one. This makes the McCain-Feingold encroachment on free speech seem minor.

Nanotechnology: The New Asbestos

Now here is a reason to be very careful with nanotech. This article shows how exposure can be very hazardous. They don't really talk about what the doses are like on scientific study animals, but I'm glad they are at least looking at these things before they get out in large numbers in the environment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Ford Motor Company Feud with the Police

Big hat tip to Ravenwood's Universe on this major piece of irony.

There's this little class action lawsuit against Ford by a bunch of police departments in Illinois. Seems that when someone crashes into the back of the Crown Vic at high speed, the gas tank gets punctured. Surprise surprise.

So Ford decides that since these people are suing them, they won't sell them cars. Shouldn't be a shocker there right? Oh no.
"The Crown Vic is the only game in town, but it's a very dangerous game," said Trish Murphy, a trial attorney involved in the state lawsuit filed almost two years ago in St. Clair County Circuit Court.
So now a bunch of them want out of the class action lawsuit so they can buy more Fords. Of course, they are whining about it.
"This whole thing has been confusing from the start," said Buffalo Grove police Cmdr. Steve Husak, whose department doesn't plan to continue to be a party to the suit. "Class-action suits come and go, and nobody pays attention or considers how it might impact them."

McHenry County officials have hired an attorney to represent nine municipalities that want out of the lawsuit, said county attorney Richard Flood.

"Ford has generated a lot of ill will among municipalities, but many feel they have no choice but to continue with the Crown Vic," Flood said.
Ill will? You use the car as a tank, and when there is an accident you sue them for it complaining that they didn't design it like a tank. Who's the idiot here?
But if more departments choose to leave the lawsuit, questions about the car's safety may never be addressed, said Murphy, who added that plaintiffs want Ford to install fire suppression systems in it.
Fire suppression system? Does any other stock vehicle for passenger use have a fire suppression system? What planet is this lady from? Oh, wait, She's a LAWYER.

Note also:
Though federal regulators and a jury in an earlier phase of the trial determined that the car was safe, the judge in the suit, filed by dozens of police agencies in the state, is still considering safety and consumer fraud allegations against Ford. Meanwhile, attorneys are appealing the jury decision.
Gotta have those legislative judges jumping in here also. Consumer fraud? Hmm. I don't recall ever seeing any advertisements stating the Crown Vic is safe for high speed rear end collisions.

Here's the final laugh:
The City of Northlake is slowly converting its fleet from Crown Vics to the smaller and less powerful Chevy Impalas, said Mayor Jeffrey Sherwin.

"Ford's response is just punitive," he said, "and we won't allow ourselves to be bullied."
Just being punitive. You moron. You use the car for something it's not built for and when it has problems you sue. Wouldn't you be surprised if they didn't pull their hand out of the fire rather than continue to be burnt? And, how smart can you be to continue buying a car you consider defective. Who set up this brain trust in any case?

Minnesota School Shooting

Another school shooting with a similar M.O. as the rest.

Let's see. Goth - Black Clothes - Quiet - Picked on by others.

Witnesses said 15-year-old Jeff Wiese - a tall, quiet loner who was teased about his looks - smiled as he gunned down helpless victims.
So what set him off on the killing spree. Must have been the ready availability of guns since his grandfather was a police officer. If not that is had to have been the black clothes/goth thing which is an obvious sign of a psycho killer. Couldn't have anything to do with his being picked on. Not to mention the stability level of this kid couldn't have been great. Father committed suicide and mother in a nursing home with brain injuries from a car accident. So if you're going to pick on someone, pick the unstable person who has access to guns.

The American Indian Movement spokesman has something totally irrelevant to add with this choice nugget.
Clyde Bellecourt, head of the American Indian Movement, called the shootings "tragic" but part of a pattern of "growing violence and crime" on the reservation. "It has to do with drugs, the flood of casino-related money flowing into the region, and the rise of Indian gangs," he said.
I'm sure this statement is relevant. I don't see mention of gangs anywhere in here.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Police Don't Have to Protect You

There must be more to this than what is reported in this article. Because if there isn't, this is bloody incredible.

Three times during the evening of the abduction, the mother had reported to the Castle Rock police that her girls were missing. She also had obtained a protective order during her divorce proceeding that required her husband to stay away from her house. The order also said police "shall" use all reasonable means to protect her and her children.

The officer who took her calls did nothing, except tell her to call back in two hours if the girls did not reappear.


"The reason is they're too busy," he said. Plenty of laws impose a duty on the government, he noted, "but that doesn't mean the victim has a right to enforce it" by suing, he added.


"Don't the police have an obligation to enforce" the protective order? Ginsburg asked.

No, Eastman replied.

"Can they just ignore all orders of this kind?" Stevens asked. Yes, said a Bush administration lawyer, although the failure to act may lead to a lawsuit in the state courts, he added.

WaPo has this article. With this interesting point about the 14th amendment with respect to another case.

The county's failure deprived the boy of his 14th Amendment right to liberty without due process of law, the mother argued. But the court ruled that the boy had no such "liberty interest" because the 14th Amendment does not require states to protect individual members of the public against harm caused by private parties.

The 14th Amendment, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the majority, "is phrased as a limitation on the State's power to act, not as a guarantee of certain minimal levels of safety and security; while it forbids the State itself to deprive individuals of life, liberty, and property without due process of law, its language cannot fairly be read to impose an affirmative obligation on the State to ensure that those interests do not come to harm through other means."

Hmmm. Very interesting. Where does this place self defense then? If the government has no obligation to protect you from another private party, how can they prevent you from protecting yourself from that private party? (i.e. Gun Control)

Several other articles do a better job in explaining the circumstances.

Castle Rock officials also say that Gonzales has wrongly characterized the police as unresponsive to her demands to find her daughters. Assistant Town Manager Fritz Sprague says police tried several times to find Simon Gonzales. Sprague says that Jessica Gonzales did not lead police to believe that her husband had a weapon or that the children were in imminent danger.

I still think this smells funny.

Annan's UN Reform

Well, at least they are thinking about getting rid of the Human Rights Council. That abomination has been such a laughing stock that it will never be able to do anything useful.

Of course, he also wants the developed countries to pony up 0.7% of their GDP for helping under developed countries. Yeah, that's a good idea. Hand a really corrupt agency gigantic amounts of money. Dive right in on that one.

I haven't seen anything on what reforms and accountability they are plan on placing to fix their messed up house. I guess I'll have to look for the actual report.

Police & Shooting in Mass

Full & complete credit to Massbackwards (who also has linked us on his blog roll, what a guy)

Great article on Boston Police and shooting within the PD. Interesting take on things. I like getting policemen's POV on self-defense, although the thrust of this article was clearly on policemen's personal self-defense, not that of Joe & Jane Citizen. Still, a good read.

I don't trust that number on Gettysburg and I'm going to track it down when I get home & can look up some references. I found it quoted verbatim on several web sites, but... you can't trust the Internet man.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

AIM and Your Security

Found this link at iwasthinking.
Snopes, I think, is being very naive. The article leads you to believe that because Weinstein states that they won't use info from IMs, that they can't or won't. Read the TOS. It's quite evident that they are reserving that right.

Since the TOS clause that was quoted is specific to any AIM product, I don't agree that it is limited by the other clause that they quote on user to user content.

Weinstein told the clause in question falls under the heading "Content You Post," meaning it only relates to content a user posts in a public area of the AIM service. "If a user posts content in a public area of the service, like a chat room, message board or other public forum, that information may be used by AOL for other purposes," he explained. [Emphasis Mine]

So, is this a legal contract to the users in variance with the written contract? I'm betting not. Not being a lawyer (thank god) I can't say that with absolute faith, but having a healthy distrust in legaleez I wouldn't take the risk.

I also have read the Privacy Policy. It looks like they don't access private content, but, does this trump the TOS contract? Since I don't see clear cut interrelations between the documents, I don't think it's simple.

My conclusion. AIM is useful only for the most mundane uses, and if you need security, don't use it.

Petty Union Tricks: Update

From Dog Snot Diaries.
I love when people don't take apologies.


Friday, March 18, 2005

More Violence

Letters from Salon's article on violence in the media. Sometimes letters on Salon are like reading very well written parodies. Only thing is, they're usually someone's honest opinion, which, makes them twice as funny.

Nun's Conviction Upheld

Now here's a reason why I hate over zealous and over righteous people.

"It's confirmation of what I'd been thinking all along. I don't have confidence in the court system to uphold the law of the land, international law," Hudson said in a telephone interview from her home in Washington state.

Hudson said the protest was an act of "civil resistance" to inform Americans their government was violating international treaties and other agreements by continuing to possess and threaten to use nuclear weapons.

The logic apparently goes:
1) I'm a nun and a good person, therefore the law doesn't really apply to me.
2) I have false ideas about what international and local law states about America's possession of nuclear weapons.
3) Facts? Why do I need those? I feel that the USA is violating treaties and agreements.
4) Civil resistance isn't punishable when violating the law.

I can respect a person's attitude toward nuclear missiles and war in general, but if you're to stupid to get the facts straight don't bother me. I also Hate loud whining when they are held accountable for their actions. Maybe they should read some Gandhi on civil disobedience.
Gandhi practiced two types of Satyagraha in his mass campaigns. The first was civil disobedience, which entailed breaking a law and courting arrest. When we today hear this term, our minds tend to stress the “disobedience” part of it. But for Gandhi, “civil” was just as important. He used “civil” here not just in its meaning of “relating to citizenship and government” but also in its meaning of “civilized” or “polite.” And that’s exactly what Gandhi strove for.

We also tend to lay stress differently than Gandhi on the phases of civil disobedience. We tend to think breaking the law is the core of it. But to Gandhi, the core of it was going to prison. Breaking the law was mostly just a way to get there.
Well, I guess you can't expect nuns to learn anything from a heathen. Even if he was the most successful of civil disobedience protestors of any time.

Dick Cheney Martial Abilities: Humor

Ravenwood's Universe. Very funny collage of Cheney photos and how they represent his killing techniques.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Global Day of Protest - or - Moonbats for the Day

The link is to an article pummeling Michael Moore and this "Global Day of Protest."

The geekwife sent me a link related to this from Michelle Malkin. She talks about the protests but doesn't give the specific movement name. I believe they are related if not the same thing.

The geekwife has a point on hoping someone takes pictures of this parade of freaks. [Well, I'm paraphrasing, she didn't say 'freak.' She's generally more polite than that.]

If you want to see the major mover for this group here is a link to the side show. There is a page where you can find out where the local "parade of idiots" will be in your state.

Violent Entertainment and Real Violence

Yay! It finally looks like some history and common sense has been applied to the idea that violent movies and video games lead to violent people. Salon (membership required) has a great article reviewing a book that talks about the kind of things I've always brought up in conversation. They talk about the fact that the world used to be much more violent; public executions, higher murder rates. That childrens entertainment of yesteryear was as bloody as it is today; they quote a western adventure novel that was quite popular and sounds particularly nasty, penny-dreadfuls, etc. Basically, yep, the world is a nasty place and so's entertainment. Then it goes on to mention that, in fact, the world we live in is radically safer than it ever has been before (a fact that I can't seem to communicate to my mother-in-law no matter how I phrase it). Anyway, go and read the whole thing.

Kerry and the Media Love Affair

P.J. O'Rourke at the Weekly Standard.

Nice perspective on JFK getting the 'Distinguished American Award. He takes a couple of shots at Teddy the Tick also. Quite humorous.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Destroying the Earth: How To Site

Again from Schneier. Cool though really long.

Port Security and Radiation Detectors

This one again is from Schneier. He has an interesting perspective, but I disagree partially to his conclusion. The comments are interesting, but some are way off on reality. I went overboard with my comment and it's almost a tome.

Having worked 13 years in the nuclear field and using all forms of radiation detectors, I am confident that my analysis is more than accurate. Especially as relating to what the actions are taken when the large area detectors come up with a positive indication of radioactive material.

I'm a bit snarky about the comments related to complacency. I don't believe I was ever complacent with respect to radioactive material in all the years I worked with it. There is something about professionalism and vigilance around dangerous materials that keeps a person from complacency.

Go and read for yourself.

Lovecraft Article

Starts at Professor Bainbridge and there is a link to the article on the WSJ.

This quote got me:

If Lovecraft had been a film director, he might have come up with a movie much like "The Blair Witch Project," only scarier.
Like that would be something difficult to do? I found "The Blair Witch Project" excessively irritating. It was impossible to suspend belief because I was to busy wanting to pummel the characters.

If you're going to buy Lovecraft books, stick with Arkham House.

Gun News Galore

mASS BACKWARDS has quite a slew of gun related news from the People's Republic of Massachusetts. Includes a fisking of a letter to the local communist paper. Quite entertaining.

Feinstein Grabbing Guns Again

Hattip to Ravenwood's Universe.

Interesting how I always get irritated when I run into a Frisco news organ.

Dianne "I-have-a-federal-carry-permit-but-you-can't-own-a-gun" Feinstein wants to re-establish the 1994 Assault Weapons ban. Here's the quote that just made my head spin.
Feinstein announced bipartisan co-sponsors Monday: Republican Sens. John Warner of Virginia and Mike DeWine of Ohio, and Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York. But getting the bill through the Republican-controlled Congress will be an uphill battle.

"We know the ban worked. We voted for its renewal in the Senate last year. Yet, it was allowed to expire," Feinstein said in a statement. "This failure will have deadly consequences on the streets of America. It is time to re-establish the ban and help make our communities safer."

It worked? Funny, everything I find says just the opposite. I'm certain you can find better articles if you look. Most search results I've found are from the gun-grabbers and don't actually show where they get their statistics, unlike the linked article.

Philadelphia Homicides and Gun Permits

Now here is some obvious illogical political posturing.

Philly has had a string of homicides (21 in the last 8 days) and the mayor thinks they should have a moratorium on issuing gun permits.

Now, I can't find any evidence on line that suggests that the number homicides have any correlation to legal permit holders or the number of permits issued. I'd bet that none of the homicides were committed by anyone with a legal permit.


Cox and Forkum have an interesting piece here. The article they link is also quite disturbing.

Overall, I think China has been playing poorly on the world scene. Their aggression toward Taiwan, their complete lack of effort on solving North Korea, their obstructionism in the UN security council with regards to Iran, all point to irresponsibility.

Taiwan is now a major economic partner to the mainland, yet they continue to saber-rattle with regards to an island they haven't controlled in more than five decades.

North Korea is a major rogue state nestled into their side. How can allowing them to threaten the whole pacific Asian sector be of any benefit. Other than it forces the US to seek their assistance and maybe boosts their egos. I can't imagine the US allowing something like this, and I know the former USSR had more control over adjacent states before they collapsed.

Support for Iran doesn't square up either. Especially seeing that they are one of the largest oil consumers from that area, it would benefit them to ensure that Iran at least stabilized and stopped being a threat to its neighbors. China's dependence on this oil will only increase with time and by choosing appeasement of Iran won't solve future threats to their needs.

Overall, I think China is leading the world into conflicts that it is allowing and which it will do nothing to stop.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I saw this picture linked at Wizbang.

I've been laughing at it for about 5 minutes so far.

I can't come up with a decent caption though.

Busted by the Burka Babes?

UPDATE: Oh god, Little Green Footballs has more pictures.

Other Captions:
Hey, I can see up your Burka.


Bloody birthday. And in honor of it, a link to an interesting article talking about age and software development (two things I'm concerned with). At this point in time, I haven't run into this problem much, but I've heard about it quite a lot. Having spent the last three years at a company who's average age is well past mine, I look young to most of my co-workers. But, I was living in NYC in the late eighties & early nineties when the computer revolution took off. I got involved in computers initially doing word processing and from there into desktop publishing. The desktop publishing industry was fascinating because it was right in the middle of the transition from the old cold type machines to the Macs (and PC's) that run the industry now. I got to see, first hand, as people's skills became obsolete over night. The older people that took the time to learn the machines not only stayed employed, but became more valuable because of their knowledge and experience with the old technologies and experience dealing with the customers. The others were out of work and bitter. I mean nasty bitter. I remember talking with people that simply loathed computers. My mother-in-law was one of them. The thing was, it wasn't the computers fault, but rather the fault of the people that weren't ready & willing to learn. I may have been young at the time, but being a history nut, I recognized the pattern and learned from it in a way that young people (myself included) normally don't. The cold type workers were buggy whip makers and those new fangled automobiles/computers were messing up their lives. While that was true, fighting progress is like fighting the ocean. You will lose. Better to float, ride the wave, whatever metaphore you like, learn the new technology, keep food on the table, and bring your experience and skills to the new job because they'll come in handy. It's something to take away.

The other points in the article, seperating coders from developers, I look at slightly differently. In my own department we have several people well into their 60's working on these here new fangled personal computers (these guys still pine for the main frame and the works stations). They use the skills that they learned 30 years ago. They only use the skills that they learned 30 years ago. We've also got a couple of people in the their 60's that are fantastic at their jobs and have a depth of knowledge that is endlessly helpful. I differentiate it this way. One group has a year of experience, replicated 30 times. The other group has 30 years of experience. I'm trying to be in that second group as much as possible.

The really good news is, the boomers will be retiring in droves. This will force employers to hang on to the aging, but knowledgeable, workers in order to keep the business running.

Some other people had thoughts on this as well:
Similar Thoughts
Good Info


This weblog by Schneier leads to a decent site on electronic privacy. There is a link advertised on the site to another privacy site, which is also helpful.

The paper he speaks of is about some changes that really should be looked at and probably enacted in the wake of the Lexis/Nexis, Checkpoint scandal that is in process at the moment. I find it astounding that there is so little control over companies like this.

WaPo Commentary on Iraq Checkpoints

The Belgravia Dispatch led me to this article. Some decent information and perspective from an embedded reporter.

Monday, March 14, 2005

TSA Still Dragging Their Feet in Arming Pilots

4500 out of 95,000 can now carry guns. Less than 5% can carry guns.

Still sounds like the TSA is doing all it can to limit who can carry for pilots.

My favorite bit in the article:
Mackett said the psychological testing and background checks are unnecessary because pilots already have been carefully vetted by their airlines to be able to fly commercial jets.

Hatfield countered that the requirements are needed because of the unique stresses of defending a plane from terrorists while trying to fly it.

"All of the testing, including the psych portion, is designed to ensure we have the most capable candidates for this extremely demanding job," he said.

"Unlike other law enforcement jobs, it's not just about making a life-or-death decision and waiting for backup. It's about making that decision and then turning around and flying the plane again."
No extra stress with having to fend off attacker bare handed and then have to fly. Don't you think the pilot would have less stress if they were armed? I know I would be.

Another Looting Report from Iraq

Interesting little report. Wide spread looting of high tech equipment after the invasion.

Funny though, no WMD, but now all this outcry about tools being stolen. The Sunday commentaries made this sound like the US screwed up again.

Blogspere News

Funny how the Blogsphere is still being attacked from so many questionable critics. Captain's Quarter goes into the 'racist' argument here.

There also is a piece at INDC Journal on cross linking between left and right leaning blogs. Kind of an interesting thing to look at.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Clarifying the Italian Iraq Incident

Captain's Quarter has a nice piece that gathers a lot of little bits of news that show that the Italians didn't do what they claimed in informing the US forces in Bagdad. Also discusses the Italian use of paying ransoms and how this should be stopping.

No Privacy with AIM (AOL Instant Messenger)

I haven't used AIM in quite a while, and from the look of it I won't ever use it again. Well, unless I can find something that will encrypt the information.

From the Article:

The revamped terms of service, which apply only to users who downloaded the free AIM software on or after Feb. 5, 2004, gives AOL the right to "reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote" all content distributed across the chat network by users.

"You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the content or to be compensated for any such uses," according to the AIM terms-of-service.

Although the user will retain ownership of the content passed through the AIM network, the terms give AOL ownership of "all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this [user] content.

There is more in the article. They also discuss the AIM@Work service that is aimed at companies, but I can't see why any company would use it with this obviously wide open hole in the companies security. AIM was horribly insecure before, but now they have a contracted right to take and use content. Why anyone would use this service with this BS attached is beyond me.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Lucas Finally Get Star Wars Right?

Been looking at this. Seems a bunch of people are unhappy that the last of the second trilogy is very dark and will likely get a PG-13. The tone I'm seeing is that people are unhappy about this. I'M THRILLED. Though PG-13 will probably not be dark enough for me.

To say the least, I have been very disappointed with the first movies being so children friendly. These movies would have been so much better if they were much darker. No humor would have been better. Star Wars as Film Noire would have made it so much better.

Frisco Firefighters

Hattip to Ravenwood's Universe for this truly odd information.

Frisco is trying to outlaw guns completely, but now they want to post firefighters on the streets in high crime networks. Who's fighting fires?

Oregon Gun Legislation

Saw this linked on Gun Watch.

Why is Oregon suddenly gone so nuts? Look at Senate Bill 927 specifically.
Look at these attributes that would require a gun to be banned:

(d) Has any of the following characteristics:
(A) A centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any of
the following:
(i) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
(ii) A thumbhole stock;
(iii) A folding or telescoping stock;
(iv) A grenade launcher or flare launcher;
(v) A flash suppressor; or
(vi) A forward pistol grip.
(B) A centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than
10 rounds of ammunition.
(C) A centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.
(D) A pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any of the following:
(i) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip or
(ii) A second handgrip; or
(iii) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that
allows a person to fire the weapon without burning the person¢s hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.
(E) A pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
(F) A shotgun that has both of the following:
(i) A folding or telescoping stock; and
(ii) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon,
thumbhole stock or vertical handgrip.
(G) A shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
(H) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

Well, that pretty much covers many military rifle from WWI and on. The Lee-Enfield No.1 mark 3 would satisfy this list. This level of vagueness could be interpreted that way.
The list they provide of specific guns is also huge.

Why is Oregon suddenly out of control with this legislation?

Social Attitudes

Interesting little poll from the Economist/YouGov.

Mostly a discussion on how the American people feel on how their political affiliations have shifted. Note that they don't have gun control as an issue as a measure for the poll. I'd have thought that that would have been a more timely indicator than the marijuana question.

Unloaded Gun

I had read about this in the news, but had no idea there was a video. To quote that great philosopher, Bugs Bunny, "What a maroon."

Friday, March 11, 2005

Sudan Nuclear Tests by the USA

Didn't know that the USA tested Nuclear weapons in Sudan in the 1960s?
Apparently, neither did the Sudanese government who became highly distraught about it all.

Just read where this little misquote of a simple spelling error went. Absolutely amazing.

This is so funny that I believe it to be true. Humor on this scale is beyond the ability of any comedian. Of course, now that it's been reported as true, it will be considered true in many contexts.

As for CNN's quote being an "old saying," the least they could have done is look it up on the web. Generally attributed to Mark Twain, but actually said by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Petty Union Tricks

Let me tell you a little story about a union called the UAW.

Seems Marine's can borrow their parking spaces as long as the vehicle is union made and there is nothing indicating support for president Bush.

Makes me want to ensure all my purchase are non-union made.

Go and read it.

Swedish Furniture Rage (Anger not Fad)

Free Will Blog had this to say about IKEA furniture assembly instructions and the company overall. Quite humourous.

Book List: The Art of War

Granted's military reading list link gave me an idea. How about making a list of books on specific topics like on that site.

I'll start with the Art of War. Some basic Histories and "How To" texts.

The Art of War - Sun Tzu or The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China
The Art of War - Machiavelli
The Prince - Machiavelli
Frederick the Great on the Art of War
Napolean on the Art of War
On War - Clausewitz
On Guerilla Warfare - Mao
History of War - Delbruk

You can find some of these at the linked site above. The site is a little scary in some sections. But they have some great free resources.

Add to the list in comments.

My list would be longer, but I'm just not getting that caffeine jump start I need this morning.

International Court of Justice Confused

This article started me off confused. And I had to look at a couple of others to figure this out. I was trying to figure out how the ICJ could have a finding related to the Vienna Conventions related to 51 death row inmates in Texas who came from Mexico. First I thought it was the Geneva Conventions, but after some caffination, that cleared up.

The article finally points out that that the reason why the US is withdrawing from this specific accord is the ICJ is being used to review state/local level decisions. The inmates are in for local domestic crimes that are obviously pretty bad and were found guilty. How the ICJ suddenly decided it had the right to overview this, I'm uncertain, though it looks like there is some related pressure due to the international dislike of the US use of capital punishment.

Since there isn't any oversite, looks like they are doing just what we thought they would, random law making with no appeal.

Of course, you can look at this OpEd by the Houston Chronicle if you want to see an unreasoned piece of logic on the topic. Lots of name calling and faulty statements of judgment, but no facts at all. Get this:
By opting out, the United States invites other nations — many with far fewer homegrown procedural protections than generally offered in this country — to skirt or flout the consular treaty. A number of nations have signed the treaty without agreeing to the international court protocol, but key allies and trading partners, including Germany and Japan, have.
Umm. We opted out of the ICJ overview and use as arbitrater, not the convention itself. The ICJ portion is an "optional" protocol in that convention. We aren't denying them the ability to use consular assistance or contact.

Guess I'll look at this some more. Seems like a lot of stink being thrown around about this, and the only reason I see that is because it's Bushitler who made the decision.

UPDATE: This Voice of America article makes it clear what the issue is. The Mexican inmates have used the convention to circumvent the US law process. Their trials and convictions were under the state of Texas' jurisdiction, and instead of using the state appeals and federal appeals process, they jumped directly to the ICJ. That's why the present administration is withdrawing.

I do think the state of Texas screwed up by failing to provide consular notification in these cases though. There must be a way for the states to abide by international treaties which the US is a part. That failure is just sloppy.

The view that this is a "sore loser" move is a crock. The use of the protocol to circumvent a countries process of law is utter rubbish.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Military Reading List

This looks like a hell of a source for good information. I'm going to start digging into the WWI archive right now and I'll branch out later. The spawn are getting interested in the Revolutionary War and I've only read a couple of books on the subject ("First Salute" by Tuchman, "Battle of Paoli" by McGuire, "The Price of Folly" by Seymor, "The War For Independence" by Peckham [which wasn't great] and "1776" by it's at the library [which was a great little history]) and should be able to speak intelligently to the little maggots.

History and narrative

Great article on President Wilson and the start of WWI. Very interesting take on how history occurs and how history is presented. It makes you think, in 80 years will people be looking back on how Bush resolutely lead us to war (right or wrong) or will it be about someone else in charge or completely different motivations or outcomes. Wild stuff. I really enjoyed the discussions about Wilsons reception(s) by Europe. The more things change, etc. Plus, hard to forget, the peace settlements of WWI lead directly to some of our modern conflicts including the establishment of Kurd/Shia/Sunni Iraq, the particition of Palestine that helped lead to the establishment of the Jewish state, not to mention WWII. I've just added his book to my wish list (hey, if anyone is reading this and wants to support a history geek's habits: Here, hey, I can dream, the ole Instapundit gets books for free all the time. I'd be glad to read them & review them if that's what it takes, anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program).

Blogs Got Value? - Money

According to this site, this Blog is worth $1249.59.


Break in with a gun, act in self defense?

This one is pretty unbelievable. But, hey, welcome to the People's Republic of Massachusetts. Let me get this straight. They bust in to the house of someone in their 60's with emphysema and multiple heart attacks in their history. Said person may, or may not, have had a knife. So, three, rather tough looking teenagers, with a gun, vs. the guy who can't breathe and his heart stops occasionally. Where was the self defense claim? From the old man? Nope. Those poor put upon teenagers who broke into the house and threatened the guy with a gun, an illegal gun by the way, were forced to defend themselves from that wheezing old monster...

Oh, and storing the gun in a bucket of rock salt... I'm sure that was good for keeping the thing in proper operating condition.

This type of story just makes me spit & curse.

Terrorist Loophole Legislation - Illinois Foolishness

Well, they took 1 (.50 cals are big and scary looking) and added 1 (GAO says a couple dozen terrorist suspects legally purchased some type of gun) and got:

This pretty much says it all:

"We didn't 'connect the dots' before the last terrorist attack and now the threat is staring right at us. If we know that terrorists are buying guns right here in the U.S., then why wouldn't they get their hands on the most powerful weapon available that could attack a civilian airliner or a chemical plant?" asked Thom Mannard, Executive Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. "Our military found training manuals in the Middle East directing terrorists to come to the United States to take advantage and exploit our weak gun laws to carry out future attacks and clearly terrorists are following those instructions."
Didn't connect the dots?
Well, let's start with to buy a gun in the USA you are REQUIRED to be a citizen.
Next, there isn't any law stating that terrorist SUSPECTS can't buy guns. If you want that fine, go right ahead. That would make some amount of sense.
Next, making the .50 caliber illegal means that the terrorist wouldn't be able to use something else? Or couldn't get the .50 cal illegally?

I surrender. Watching the Anti-Gun whackos is like watching someone with St. Vitus' Dance.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


At Truth Laid Bear. We're number 11570. I think that is Slimy Mollusks I believe.

Heh. The Glory!

More on the Terrorist Loophole

Instapunk via Instapundit.

Nice little commentary about the forms that you have to fill out just to get the NICS check started. To the point, if you've ever done this, you know it's far from something that one goes through lightly.

New York Times & Gun Control

All nods to the instability

These guys are usually guaranteed to up my blood pressure any time they start to talk about firearms. The gross ignorance and outright stupidity they display on almost every occasion can be quite maddening. This is article is no exception. They immediately launch their comments with this little quip:

"The bad news is that 47 of them were cleared to go ahead anyway and buy assault rifles, ammunition or whatever else was on their firearms shopping list."

Wow. They're issuing class three licenses to the terrorists? Because, in order to buy and assault rifle (a full automatic combat rifle) one has to have a class three federal fire arms license that allows for the transfer of "machine guns" between individuals. What's that? Oh, you meant to say black, scary looking guns that are semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull) instead of fully automatic (one trigger pull sends x-number of rounds down range). Then, they go on and even drop all pretense of trying to carefully use language to imply something that isn't true (assault weapons, the most frequently used term which of course refers to guns that look like combat weapons but aren't) and make a statement is actually, blatantly false:
Warnings about terror suspects' easy access to combat rifles grew after 9/11 ...

Combat Rifles. Really? Not a gun that looks like a combat rifle, but actual combat rifles? Where do I put my order in? I love that new British rifle and it'd be fun to go full "rock & roll" auto out in the back yard. What's that? I can't. Neither can the terrorists. They NYT is wrong and/or lying? Say it isn't so.
This drivel from the same people that have accused the administration of using the terrorist threat to unnecessarily scare people in order to support a hidden agenda. However, they're just reporting the facts, not trying to scare people to support a hidden agenda, right?

Hey, I got through the whole post without using a single curse word to describe the NYT representatives. I deserve praise.

Terrorists Want Russel Crowe

Al-Qaida wanted to kidnap him as part of a "cultural destabilization plot."

Heh. They can have him. I'll deal with the destabilization.

GAO Study on Gun Purchases and Terrorists

Here's a gem. Been seeing a few articles on how the present NICS check actually helps terrorists get guns. Now being called the "terrorist loophole." Ah, how very responsible of the MSM to ensure that they emotionalize something to an extreme.

Most of what the reports say is that the GAO study found that people, suspected or known to have affiliations with terrorist groups, were able to buy guns. Now the suspected thing bothers me, since this is supposed to be a country that lives by rule of law and being suspected isn't proof or conviction. Also, the present NICS system isn't setup to address terrorists watch lists, and if that is desired, then maybe the law needs be changed. But it will need to be changed greatly. My understanding is that at present if you fail a NICS check you are either mistakenly denied or you've committed a felony. I don't know what rights you have to get information on why you are denied. And like the watch lists that are used for airlines, I suspect there will be a huge amount of errors.

This article discusses Sen. Lautenberg's proposal to change the NICS checks to preserve records of purchases of suspected terrorists for a ten year period. There goes that rule of law thing again. I suppose this wouldn't be an outrageous change as long as it is strictly limited and has a sunset clause. They also point out an issue of errors similar to what I state above:
"However, there is more to this story that Sen. Lautenberg won't mention," Waldron added. "The report says an estimated 650 NICS transactions generated initial hits on terrorist watch lists during the GAO study period. Yet, the vast majority of those hits did not result in valid matches. [Emphasis mine]
That will cause issues in that NICS checks are supposed to be fast. If you ring one of these initial hits, what's to say you then end up on a list in error? Will there be back checking of the lists to ensure correctness, or will you now be considered a terror suspect because someone screwed up?

Of course, this is going to be a major blow up with all the gun control freaks screaming for legislation. You can be quite certain that there will be many attempts to stitch in more controls than just those related to terrorist watch lists.
"It's amazing that over 40 people who are on a terrorist watch list legally walked into a gun shop and bought a gun," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday. "What is going on in this country?"
Yeah, I chose one of the clearer voices of reason from this article.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who requested the GAO study along with Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., on Tuesday sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales asking him why the Justice Department let people listed in the FBI's Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File buy weapons.
Interesting that the senators are both from states with extreme gun controls.

The Brady Bunch jumps right in as well with this neat little piece of propaganda. I'm not going to quote them, they're just to irritating. But check for yourself. It's short and to the point. Really bent and factually challenged. I just saw the bullet on gun inventories and laughed. I know from having an FFL that the BATFE can require an inventory at any time they please.

They all seem to miss the fact that if a terrorist wants a gun, they will get one. If they wanted to ensure that they can't be tied to the act of terrorism, they would use an illegally purchased or stolen gun. Do you really think that they would go into a store and buy it? Again, this will only punish legal purchasers and do nothing to stop crime/terrorism.

Ravenwood's Universe also makes a good point about terrorists still being able to rent vans.

UPDATE: Here is the link to the GAO .pdf of the report.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hezbollah Protests in ENGLISH?

First ran across this at Citizen Smash.

Large cranes hoisted two giant red-and-white flags bearing Lebanon's cedar tree. On one, the words, "Thank you Syria," were written in English; on the other, "No to foreign interference."

Umm. Fascinating. I missed that, but I was pretty much wondering when the counter protests were going to happen. The big difference between these and the anti-Syrian protests is that these were planned and the first protests were spontaneous. (Ok I'll give you the slight possibility that the first CIA initiated the anti-Syrian protests. That and a roll of tin foil.)

China and Taiwan - Smoke to Fire?

Hearing so much yelling about Lebanon and Syria, North Korea, Iran. But the China/Taiwan situation is starting to make noise. This is something we should be worried about. With the amount of investment in both countries, and a strong interest in having them stay separate, I think this new law on Taiwanese secession should be an alarm.

I wonder if this is again the bluff and slap that Taiwan and China periodically play with respect to Taiwan's freedom. They've been free in reality for a long time, but they are still not recognized by many countries.

They also have a lot to lose if it comes to blows. Both sides are making big money off of their industrial/business ventures.

I also don't see the US actively putting on the gloves for Taiwan.

Democratic Intelligencia?

Well, with this intelligence levels like this, I hear the distant toll of:

Crackpot Crackpot Crackpot Crackpot Crackpot

Get a load of this.

"Two brothers own 80 percent of the machines used in the United States," Heinz Kerry said. She identified both as "hard-right" Republicans. She argued that it is "very easy to hack into the mother machines."

"We in the United States are not a banana republic," added Heinz Kerry. She argued that Democrats should insist on "accountability and transparency" in how votes are tabulated.

"I fear for '06," she said. "I don't trust it the way it is right now."

Makes you think...

Checkpoints and the Gray Area of War

James H. Joyner has an article here describing, from several points of view, the gray zone of the military checkpoint as it exists in Iraq.

Interesting perspective, but I think this still is denying the natural instinct of self-preservation that troops in these situations have. It does fully point out the panic reaction that drivers have when driving up to a checkpoint. He also has quotes from people that show that a checkpoint doesn't always look like the checkpoint that you'd expect.

He does state some interesting ideas on making it clear that it's a checkpoint, but I'm not certain how applicable the military will think these are. Especially the point of letting the public know what to look for also lets the terrorists know exactly what to aim at for the best kill.

Monday, March 07, 2005

"Sod Off Swampy" Effect Spreading

From Tim Blair.
Not anti-environmentalist, but fisticuffs against extremists.

I love the Islamic one.

Sgrena Dueling Conspiracies

This is from "The Jawa Report" which I got to from Wizbang.

Pretty interesting weblog. Essentially, it's a thorough analysis of how Sgrena was probably complicit in this whole scenario and may very well have orchestrated it to support the Iraqi insurgents, of whom she is so fond.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Italian Journalist Iraq Incident is Now a Botched Assassination

Well this just passes over the edge of any logic. If the US had been trying to kill her, don't you think they would have succeeded? With all that military sitting there shooting at the car, don't you think that they would have opened up with a BMG .50 and just torn the vehicle apart if the intent was to kill her.

This article is just a compilation of conspiracy theories and illogical hate against the US. It's almost funny when you step back and look at the whole thing. I really must get some alcoa stock, those tin foil beanies are becoming an international standard.

Also read her comments in this article. Why should any reasonable person believe her? She's been an extremely shrill critic of the American presence in Iraq, not to mention the world, and the fact she can't give America credit for anything should ring alarm bells. Could it possibly be that she is the one pushing this incident into a firestorm? She couldn't be the one lying now could she? Of course, she is so friggin' important that any statement she has made in the past makes the US military hate her and want her dead. Nice that she hasn't super aggrandized herself into an international power that the US fears.

Just to take this all a step further, when a MILITARY CHECKPOINT signals you to stop, what should you do? Continue along, or stop? No one seems to mention that the road to the airport has the highest levels of attacks in the area. Are we expected to believe that the US troops should be ordered to drop all defense because at some point there may be an italian hostage coming down the road? And how is the checkpoint to know who is in the vehicle? When you're signaled to stop, self preservation should scream STOP!

They keep stating that they weren't speeding. In whose eyes? The soldier who sees a car failing to stop when signaled, or the guy who isn't smart enough to stop when signaled to by a heavily armed checkpoint? Car bombers don't tend to stop either. Or did this driver miss that scenario?

Not that she isn't grand standing here.

Speaking from the Rome hospital where she is being treated, Sgrena said the troops may have targeted her because Washington opposes Italy's reported readiness to pay ransoms to kidnappers.

"The United States doesn't approve of this (ransom) policy and so they try to stop it in any way possible," the veteran war reporter, 57, told Sky Italia TV.

In later comments to Reuters, Sgrena was less strident:

"You could characterize as an ambush what happens when you are showered with gunfire. If this happened because of a lack of information or deliberately, I don't know, but even if it was due to a lack of information it is unacceptable."

Ah, the voice of reason. "Veteran War Reporter" without a clue about what happens in war zones. Hey STUPID, you went into the danger zone, you may wish to consider that you had something to do with this problem. Oh wait, can't be her fault, she's a journalist and all soldiers must be clairvoyant as to when a person is a journalist.

No one can wait for the official investigation. But that wouldn't matter in anycase. They would still come out with it as being a cover up. When you have to listen to this crap from the tin foil beany crowd, you just know you're not going to win.

You know, after reading all of these articles and writing this, it's really too bad she wasn't killed. I'll state this clearly. The US would still be hearing all of this assination bull, but we wouldn't have to listen to this stupid cow's voice any more.

Harsh? Yep. Screw it.

Gee, I wonder why no one trusts the Dems on Foreign Policy

It's not like they keep proving themselves to be utterly clueless or anything.

A pattern I've been noticing has developed over time. Clinton and his administration seem to be the perfect examplars of it. In a nutshell, if someone says the things you want to hear, you don't need to explore their motivations, actions or intent any further. So, for the Clinton administration, as long as Arafat kept saying to them that he wanted peace with Israel, it didn't matter what he did or said at home. As long as Kim Jong Il said that he wasn't interested in pursuing nukes, we could feed his nuclear program despite the fact the he was violating the treaty we signed with him. There are other instances that I can't think of right now. It's an extreme instance of form over content and it just seems to be concentrated in Bill Clinton. Now we have a repressive regime held up as the guiding light of liberalism in the world. Why? Because they say they are. That's enough for Bill.

Combine it with junk like this: The New York Times on Iraqi Elections (nods to the Instapundit. Is it any wonder, in this time of hostility from overseas, the country stopped trusting the Democrats?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Martha Stewart Out of the Slam

Been listening to the stir over this. I just have one thing to say:


I said I only had one thing to say. I didn't say I wouldn't say it multiple times really loud.

English Language Test

Ok, this one is better. I marked in as advanced. I didn't pull down the numbers, but then I don't really care that much about the results.

It's supposed to be for fun. I don't see it as producing scientific results.

True Geek Test

I'm a bit irritated at this test. It calls me a poser geek.
I am not a geek. I don't want to be viewed as a geek and I've never viewed myself as a geek.

Maybe I got the wrong idea of where this test was going.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Italian Journalist Iraq Incident

What a surprise that Reuters gets it wrong again.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was freed by her captors on Friday but U.S. forces in Iraq mistakenly opened fire on the convoy taking her to safety, wounding her and killing an Italian secret service agent.

Even CNN fully reports what really happened.

According to a multinational forces statement, the car approached the checkpoint at high speed about 9 p.m. (1 p.m. ET)

U.S. troops "attempted to warn the driver to stop by hand and arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots in front of the car," the statement said. "When the driver didn't stop, the soldiers shot into the engine block, which stopped the vehicle."

I can't see anyone faulting the soldiers for this. What the hell was the driver thinking? Military force flashing lights and firing warning shots and you still speed up on them? I'm thinking Darwinism kicked in the case of the driver.

Then Reuters has to really push the unbalanced reporting with this quote:

"This news which should have been a moment of celebration, has been ruined by this firefight," said Gabriele Polo, editor of Sgrena's Il Manifesto paper, a Rome-based Communist daily. He deplored "completely senseless and mad" events in Iraq.

They also fail to mention that Il Manifesto has been an extremely vehement critic of America in Iraq. I'm still trying to figure out what he means by firefight.

IMAO T-Shirts

Wore my French Fun Facts tshirt to work today. I ran into the Left Wing Liberal Cow who proceeded to attempt to brow beat me about it. I got to laugh in her face. It wasn't even worth my time to argue with her. Later, a VP of my company and he laughed about the shirt and asked me if I'd tried the following:

Go to Google and type in French Military Victories and then click on "I'm Feeling Lucky."

You'll note that the link that comes up only shows Did you mean: french military defeats.

Have to say I've seen this before somewhere, I just don't recall if it was one of the Gs or a blog. Either way it's worth the rerun.

North Korean Propaganda Bureau: LA Times

Get this weblog by HughHewitt.

I thought it was a joke until I really did find the real articles. I mean, who would seriously write a report on "N. Korea Lists Conditions for Negotiations?"

I think Hugh may be a bit harsh on the LAT, but only a little. These articles are very unbalanced and contain little perspective on the worst despot in Asia.

The RogerLSimon quote is very appropriate. It asks if the things the LAT was reporting were put into the context of South Africa of the 70's, would this be tolerated.

Read them yourself. It's kind of painful to read this and take it seriously.

McCain-Feingold FEC Finding - Inform Your Representatives

Captain's Quarter has this blog and a link to to email your federal representatives on the matter. I don't think I would just cut and paste his message, but I think he is sufficiently eloquent that writing and quoting him would be of some benefit.

I especially like his comment about giving up political blogging to take up porn blogging. Though I'm not sure I see very much difference in the end.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

WWI Color Photos

Found this at INDC Journal. Had to save the link somewhere.

Cool pictures, though just about all are of the french. There is one picture of soldiers in dark uniforms that I haven't been able to figure out. (17th photo)

Their rifles look like Mausers (though they almost look like P-17s - the guy on the right has his so you can see the flat magazine base plate and the middle guy is holding his so you can see the forarm finger grip slot [the P-14 didn't have that] but then the sites are completely wrong) with a blade bayonet, but I can't tell very well who they are.

The shakos are really frigging me up. No helmets.

UPDATE: I think they are Austrian. Those rifles look like Steyr Mannlicher M95.

Update: The link to is broken and I don't know if it will be fixed. But you can try going to the cached page on google for a while. I'm copying the pictures that I like.

McCain-Feingold Censoring Bloggers

First caught whiff of this stinker on Protein Wisdom.

Looks like the McCain-Feingold Political Speech Censorship statute is now looking to suppress political speech/writing of blogs and mailing lists. And since Blogs/mailing lists aren't protected under the press exemption, you can look forward to suppression of more freedoms from this laughable law. The law was unconstitutional to start and is now getting worse. has a list of bloggers reacting to this.

Korean War Deserter Looking to Visit Mom

I'm still trying to figure out why they would issue this guy a passport. When he deserted he gave up his US citizenship. If he wants to visit his mother, that's fine, but do it on the passport of the country he chose by his actions.

Personally, I think he should go to jail.

Supremes Deny Spy Lawsuit

Looks like this one was pretty simple. Though it took them a long time to come to the unanimous conclusion.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

VDH Interview on Cherenkoff

Saw this link posted on Mudville Gazette.

Great interview. Wouldn't you like to have a talk with VDH?

Security Foolishness Brought to You by TSA

Schneier here points out how so much of the properties seized by the TSA at airport checkpoint just show what a failure the TSA's security precautions are a failure. I think the case he sites isn't the best, since the sited PA. Supreme Court Judge intentionally attempted to bypass the checkpoint with an item he was told he couldn't take in carry on. Personally, I believe the Swiss army knife is close enough to the line that it should be disallowed.

Though there are many other examples of sheer stupidity that the TSA is failing when the seize and item. Gun shaped tie clips or key chains, silver bullet key chains from the NRA, etc. All obviously not weapons, but still seized.

Stupid Security has this entry with links to a report on what appears to be obvious TSA harassment of a passenger who got "snippy." Her statement was foolish, but was obviously not threatening.

Dr. Esha Khoshnu made threatening remarks at a Phoenix ticket counter to airline officials saying there was an explosive onboard an America West jet. The Transportation Security Administration said Khoshnu was acting "mouthy and snippy."

Khoshnu apparently said, "If I had a bomb, you wouldn't find it."

But then:

After questioning, Khoshnu was later released by the FBI. The Assistant U.S. Attorney decided that her actions did not merit charges.

This article explains further:

The disgruntled passenger, Esha Khoshnu, is a psychiatrist from New Jersey. According to Alpha Behavioral Care's Web site, Khoshnu is a Yale-educated psychiatrist who has special training in "crisis intervention."

It gets better, they not only allowed her luggage to get on the plane that she wasn't allowed to board, but then they took the luggage, which they had to have screened prior to putting on the plane, and they then blew it up. Now they are going to charge her for it.

Authorities in Phoenix said Khoshnu is not going to be charged with a crime but that she may have to pay for the search and destruction of her luggage, which could cost about $10,000.

So, the TSA over reacted to a non-threatening statement, violated regulations in allowing the luggage on the plane, must have failed security if they didn't properly screen the luggage in the first place, then destroyed her property and are going to charge her. I don't see any failures or incompetence here. Again, the public servant has become the public master and is not culpable for their own stupidity and the related actions.

Another Stupid Security Article has a brief entry about a private security firm responsible for airport security in Frisco apparently cheated when being tested. My confidence in airline safety increases yet again.

I won't even go into the simplicity of dodging the no-fly list.

Is the TSA supposed to provide us at least the security of regular police? My former job was in the nuclear (Nukular!) industry and any such behavior would have gotten your ass in a major sling fast. Security? Is it better now? Maybe, but the TSA is doing there best to fail in making it effective.

Wonderful World of Genetics

I just want to know who paid for this study and how much.


I personally would have chosen beer vise soda, but hey, it's a comic.

Too Stupid for Jail, Too Stupid to Show Up for Sentencing

The judge tells him he's too stupid to jail, and then gets ticked off when the guy doesn't show for sentencing. Maybe the guy was to stupid to understand that he had to show up for sentencing.

Maybe the judge is a touch soft himself.

New Homeopathic Medicine Craze

Goratna. Go out and get your supply today.

Ukrainian Uranium Upset

Pretty interesting that they found this small amount of Uranium 238 in a car at the airport. But of course Reuters takes a flight of fancy with this statement.
Depleted uranium, where uranium-238 is normally found, can theoretically be used to make nuclear "dirty bombs," but it is often used in gun ammunition and armor because of its high density.
Let's see, U-238 has a half life of 4.5 Billion years and is an alpha emitter. Using U-238 for a dirty bomb is just stupid. The clean up would be simple and the exposure threat minimal. Hell, most people would get a greater radiation exposure going into their basements for a few minutes and breathing Radon progeny. (I'd have said daughter products, but that is too un-PC.)

You know, I "theoretically" could use a rock to make a dirty bomb. Doesn't mean it's going to be a disaster when it goes off.

Nothing like hyping something to make a story.

Bush's Fault? Ummm, What?

Saw this at INDC journal and plucked it as the cherry it is.
Take more than one glance at it. First it looks very anti-american.
But it really isn't.

Quotable Quotes: Dan Rather

Saw this link on Powerline. Go and read for yourself. I'll make no further comment.

More on the Supreme's Juvenile Death Penalty

Not to say I am for or against juvenile death penalty, but this decision looks worse the more I look at it. The decision didn't face proper adversarial debate on the studies that were used to show juveniles should be considered outside the norms of responsibility for heinous acts.
Only 19 states allow the juvenile death penalty, and those states rarely use it, justices said. They cited "evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society to determine which punishments are so disproportionate as to be cruel and unusual."

In the minority dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia accused other justices of cherry-picking studies that supported their views and disputed that a national consensus exists. The appropriateness of capital punishment should be determined by individual states, he said, not "the subjective views of five members of this court and like-minded foreigners."
He said that the majority "looks to scientific and sociological studies, picking and choosing those that support its position. It never explains why those particular studies are scientifically sound; none was ever entered into evidence or tested in an adversarial proceeding."
I don't give a hoot about the like-minded foreigners, other than their input should be irrelevant. I do think this falls flat on its face when the studies aren't even cited much less brought to debate.

The St.Petersburg Times has some further excerpts from the case, and an interesting side bar about how several of the juvenile offender cases, that were death penalty cases, will soon be eligible for parole.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Juvenile Death Penalty Disallowed by Supremes

The link is to Professor Bainbridge.

Not a pleasant topic, but the Supremes really charged into taking over the legislative role here. The part I find most offensive is how they really have taken on themselves to be the sole guardian of morals.

I've read a couple of different MSM posting on this and they go from trumpeting this with human rights groups quotes to just giving a small article like NYT does. (see the link on PB's Blog)

From what I've been seeing, the Supremes have now decided that at 18 a switch turns on and people are responsible and understand what they are doing completely. No one younger can ever have that level of understanding. (Look at the Simmons vs. Roper case. That kid knew fully well what he was doing.)

Look at some of the other reports of the MSM out there. This is a pretty poorly thought out decision.

Carnival of Cordite

This is why blogs are so helpful. I found this link to "Resistance is Futile!" at Instapundit. Pretty nice set of firearm related links with some commentary. The links on the entry lead to other decent articles and weblogs.

Go to the Publicola link for a great discussion on the Denver serial rapist aftermath.

Mideast Revolution?

Got this from the Geekwife. Pretty interesting WaPo piece on the sudden democratic movement in the Mideast.

Been a lot of movement suddenly too. Egypt's president Murabak suddenly allowing constitutional changes to allow for real elections, Lebanon's government resigning and the population protesting for Syria to leave. All good things. We can only hope that the momentum continues.