Comments by: YACCS
Thursday, January 31
The United States is made up of people whose ancestors hated Europe. They came here to get away from what Europe stood for; they came here because they wanted something different. And they were resolved not to let this nation become another Europe, because they'd seen the worst Europe had to offer.And yet the European press would tell US how we should wage war? Let's see... how many wars were fought in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries? And how many times in the 20th did we have to come pull their fat out of the fire?
You find out who your friends are when the chips are down. Saudi's not doing much at all. Europe has been very free with advice - with bad advice that would have made things worse. England's been a lot more help and support than I'd have thought. Turkey's been a life-saver. Pakistan stabilized itself, India seems to have backed off on the saber rattling. They're both helping.
We're finding out who our friends are. At least, our friends for the moment.
Boston Globe Online / Editorials | Opinions / Souring on Saudi Arabia since Sept. 11
But what many in the United States find especially infuriating is the posture the Saudis have adopted since the massacres. Cynical, unhelpful, disingenuous, and self-righteous, Riyadh has made plain its distaste for the US war against terrorism. It refused to allow US aircraft based in Saudi Arabia to attack Afghanistan. It will not permit any attack on Iraq to be launched from its territory. Insultingly, the Saudis officially deny that American forces are even in their country and do not permit the US flag to be flown at the American air basenear Al Kharj.Frankly, it's beginning to look like Saudi is not exactly our friend in the ME any more.
But let Saddam pull something, like taking Kuwait or moving into Saudi, you think they'd change their tune?
Ousting Saddam is a possibly over-optimistic piece about something that needs to be done - but the question is whether it should be done by us or the Iraqi people.
Face to Face with Hamid Karzai
Take a few minutes, if you've got the time, and read about someone who may well be the George Washington of Afghanistan.
Bush to Americans: Change Your Soft Culture
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - Hoping to tap into the wave of patriotism sweeping the United States since Sept. 11, President Bush asked Americans on Thursday to seize the moment to change the nation's "feel good" culture.Oh, aren't there a lot of people who are going to howl about THAT!
But it's true, isn't it?
There's a saying that political capital is a very ephemeral thing - here today (Like Bush's ratings during the Gulf War) and gone tomorrow (like his ratings after he raised taxes after promising not to.) and it cannot be banked. It can be used wisely, however - and I hope this is a wise use of it.
Wednesday, January 30
Barbara Lerner on Turkey on National Review Online
I couldn't be sure, so I decided to subject Turkey to my own test. It's the Flo-Jay tough-times tourism test, and what it measures is whether a vulnerable American proxy can feel perfectly safe and comfortable in that country — not just in ordinary times, but in tough ones, when the economy is tanking, the population is hurting, and Muslim religious feeling is running high because it's a holy month. Flo-Jays are frail little old Jewish-American ladies, and they make ideal testers because they're twofers-plus, representing both the great Satan, America, and the little one, Israel — as well as women. My own demographics are right for the job, and in November, the timing seemed right too: Turkey was struggling with a 70 percent rise in inflation and a 70 percent drop in tourism. So I packed up my tennis shoes and flew to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines during Ramadan. And — to make the test a tough one — for a Flo-Jay — I decided to spend my time there without coming within spitting distance of a luxury hotel or guided tour.Very thought-provoking article on tourism in Turkey - it may well become the sort of ally we wish Saudi Arabia was. One very interesting paragraph...
But the clincher, for me, was finding the ubiquitous Turkish protective symbol — the blue, black, and white evil eye — on the ribbons that bound the little boxes of sweets given out to guests at the Bar Mitzvah ceremony I witnessed at Neva Shalom. The idea behind the symbol is one that all the Turks I met subscribed to: The way to protect yourself from evil is not to hide from it, but to look straight into its unblinking eye, recognize it for what it is — in yourself and in others — and deal with it up front. That's a quintessentially Turkish idea, and it's a far cry from the kind of blameless-hopeless-helpless victim mentality that is so all-pervasive in the Arab world, and so beloved by our liberal elites at home.This is well worth the read, and makes me WANT to go back to Turkey again for a visit. However, at about $800 a head just for the airline ticket, it may well be a while before I do so.
(Wait a sec - there's always military Space-A... hmmm.)
MSN Entertainment / Celebrity Gossip, News & Interviews
A Leg UpOkay - I know she's a pop sensation. And she's not bad looking - but frankly, I'd expect a dress like that on East Ponce, not Hollywood. (For out of town readers - that's where I understand you go in Atlanta to find ladies of negotiable virtue.)
Certainly, she's... ummm, healthier looking than most you're likely to find...
Tuesday, January 29
NEW YORK — Orders for expensive manufactured goods rose a more-than-expected 2 percent in December, suggesting better days may be ahead for the nation's battered manufacturing sector, while consumer confidence improved again, lifted by increased optimism about jobs and the economy.And Sen. Daschle is going "No! Wait! Stop! You CAN'T recover yet - it's an election year, and we NEED you to be sick!"
Personally, I think the Democrats are the sick ones. Your mileage may vary - but Daschle's had his chance to show whether he put the good of the country ahead of party politics... and he failed.
ABCNEWS.com : Nevada Commision Denies Tyson License
Jan. 29 — The Nevada Athletic Commission refused today to reinstate Mike Tyson's boxing license, after he tried to withdraw his petition to box again in the state where he has been banned twice.Time to find a new career. Repeat after me... "Would you like fries with that?"
After listening to the President's speech tonight, I was pretty impressed. The man, to my way of thinking, is showing statesman qualities. Statesmanship, as opposed to the usual political hack, has the ability to get both sides going on an issue when that issue is VITAL - not just when it's politically expedient. Chamberlain wasn't a statesman - Churchill was, in WW2. It's heartening to see someone like Bush giving out straight info, and a welcome change from the last Administration.
However - the media is letting loose of their affection for Bush. Two of the four on-line news services, MSNBC and FOX, had cover photos of Bush with his mouth open - caught while talking. Nobody looks good like that - it's totally lacking in dignity. ABCNEWS and did better with their selection of the photos. Which is funny - they haven't really been supporters of Bush.
Just an oddity that I thought would amuse you.
CNN.com - 16 charged with stealing WTC relief funds - January 29, 2002
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Manhattan district attorney's office said Tuesday that 16 people, including 12 Port Authority workers, have been arrested on charges of stealing money meant to help victims of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.Scum.
Still working on the changes - but...
Your honor, Osama made me do it
LAST WEEK, the father of Richard “Shoe Bomber” Reid insisted his son was “brainwashed.” A friend of John “American Taliban” Walker’s told People magazine that Walker had been brainwashed by al-Qaida. And recently, Slate reported that Abd-Samad Moussaoui, the brother of Zacarias “20th Hijacker” Moussaoui, believes that, in Britain, his brother “became prey to an extremist brainwashing cult.”Oh, the old "The debbil made me do it" defense, eh? Sorry - Somehow I don't think it's going to fly.
Something else I'm going to admit worries me -
I think there's some of the more fundi Muslims that would like nothing better than to see a true war develop between Christianity (which encompasses (to them) the entire spectrum of religions that have the Bible as a centerpiece) and Islam.
Two reasons for that...
1. It would give those who preach hatred and isolationism a real leg up in the Islamic heirarchy, and...
2. It would get rid of us unclean non-believers, if they suceed.
Of course, sucess in war is a whole lot more complicated than mass charges with fixed bayonettes - covering yourself with massive amounts of personal glory. These days, I think that there's enough evidence in the world media that the Wahabbi version of Islam (as practiced in Saudi Arabia and exported to the rest of the world) is the sort of interpretation of Islam that gives the Koran a bad name. And before you get hot on me about that - I've read SOME (not all, I will admit) of the Koran, and it seems pretty straightforward about how folks following it should live. It doesn't include suicide bombing, it doesn't include killing those who don't convert, and it doesn't include forcing women to dress in shrouds and beating them if they don't comply. Neither does it justify FGM.
However - there are those who will twist it and interpret it and preach it in a fashion to get folks to do the stuff THEY think should be done. And when you're dealing with a relatively illiterate population, it's the preachers that decide what their congregations will believe - not the holy book of the religion. Call it the difference between Dark Islam, where you'll get beaten if your beard isn't long enough, and Light Islam - where women are respected and the culture flourishes.
(Here's a thought... maybe it'd be a good idea to print Arabic primers. Zillions of 'em. Bind them with voice chips reading verses from the Koran that are referenced in the text. Or, depending on cost, do full versions of the Koran in MP3 players - then airdrop them over areas where the Dark Islam is being preached and taught....)
Just a thought.
Monday, January 28
Sunday, January 27
Every so often, you come across something that gives you a new point of view. In this article about Bill Gates, you get a glimpse of what could have happened if Osama Bin Laden had put his mind, charisma, and money toward solving the REAL problems plaguing the ME, instead of dedicating himself to making them worse.
Maybe I'll buy that copy of Win2000 after all, if a foundation like this is where the money's going.
TIME.com: Interview: John Walker Lindh's Lawyer
Lindh was also reunited with his parents for the first time in two years this week. "He was pleased beyond words to see his parents," says Brosnahan. " I think he's glad to be home and he's glad to be in this country. He's a citizen of this country."Yeah. Right. I'll just bet he was going "You know, I'm getting a bit homesick. I think I'll head home right after Ramadan" on Sept. 10th.
It's all just a game, isn't it? Court of public opinion - if he tries to paint this jerk as a victim - remember where he was found. In a prison, right after an uprising.
And ask yourself - why was he there in the first place?
Chilling lessons at al-Qaida U.
There are those who would have us hold back - who would prefer negotiation to true action. The mindset apparent in the materials gathered here, however, is resistant to negotiation except as a means to gain time and resources for further offensive action. I hate to say it, but I don't think there's much in the way of alternatives here. We either go and destroy them, or they will attempt to destroy us.
I'm biased. I'd rather see them destroyed.
I've been wondering...
The counter service I'm using tracks domain addresses, and I've noticed a few folk from outside the US looking in here. If you would, could you take the time to put in a quick comment, who you are (handles are OK), where you're from, and what you're thinking? Curiousity brought you here - how about satisfying some of mine?
VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: The problem we've had is that Henry Waxman doesn't want to have to deal with the substance of the report, but he's tried to attack the report by challenging the process, by saying we didn't meet with the right people. He's gotten the GAO involved now and demanding...Ummm... me, too. I can see where they'd want a fair bit of info, but it seems to me (judging by the statements Vice President Cheney made) they've complied and given all the info necessary and appropriate.
Except, of course, the minutes of the meetings where the Enron execs said "We're going to give you lots of money, and when we strip the company of assets we're going to need the government to bail us out," and the VP Cheney said "Sure, you can count on us."
But basically? All you need to know is this. They gave campaign donations, as many, many companies do. When they needed inappropriate help from the government due to their own foolishness, the government said "Sorry, no. You made the bed, you gotta sleep in it."
And so far, one suicide has resulted from someone who questioned their accounting practices, and quit before it was all discovered. BTW, why hasn't there been a big stink raised about Arthur Andersen?
Saturday, January 26
news.telegraph.co.uk - Pro-Putin cult urges return to Soviet 'glory'
Whenever I hear of someone in Russia talking about the "Glory" of Soviet Russia, I just have to wonder where in the Party this person came from. Obviously not the lower levels, because there wasn't much 'glory' there. Or perhaps waiting in lines most of the day for basic necessities was 'glorious' then, because there were at least the necessities available.
Come on, folks - give capitalism a chance. You figured you could ignore it and it would wither - when it's Soviet Russia that did the withering. Communism doesn't work in a closed system - the only way it DOES is by taking over and looting other, more prosperous economies.
I can only hope this bozo doesn't get much more political support than he has now.
AIDS set to surpass Black DeathJan. 25 — AIDS will surpass the Black Death as the world’s worst pandemic if the 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS do not get life-prolonging drugs, a public health physician said.All that's needed is for AIDS to mutate to an airborne version - and you can pretty well kiss civilization goodbye. As well as the human race... Then again, there's always Ebola. That gets any more hardy, and we're in a world of hurt.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | UN staff ran refugee extortion racket
Corrupt United Nations staff in Nairobi extorted millions of pounds from refugees desperate for a fresh start in western countries including Britain, UN investigators said yesterday.We're the good guys. Trust us. Give us money, and we'll help you.
Somehow, I don't think this is what the original founders of the UN had in mind...
Friday, January 25
FOXNews.com - Hamas Working on Missile That Can Reach Jerusalem
JERUSALEM — The Islamic militant group Hamas is developing a rocket with a range long enough to hit cities in Israel, one of the group's leaders said in an interview.Is it just me, or is it just terribly, terribly STUPID of the Hamas to announce this development? Are they going to try using it as a barganing chip? "Give us land, or we'll use these on you?" What happened to the LAST political group to systematically use missiles as terror weapons?
They're no longer around. Hamas keeps this up, they may well join the Nazis.
01.25.02: Aero-News Network: Ariana Airways (Afghanistan) Makes First International Flight The First in a Long Time...
It's been over two years since Ariana Afghan Airlines made a commercial flight. They got their surviving aircraft, a 727, back into service this week, on a flight from Kabul to New Delhi."Good on ya, mate!" as the Aussies would say. You've got a long way to go, but getting back into something resembling civilized transportation is a sign of progress.
Now, don't let the backwards looking cretins foul you up....
About Zogby International
Zogby Special Feature -
Well, so far, so good. But past performance doesn't equate to future results. Personally, however, I'm glad to see a President that doesn't depend on polls to give him direction.
His 63% rating also puts him ahead of Harry Truman (58%) and Ronald Reagan (56%) who last year occupied the third and fourth rankings respectively.
This is the fifth Presidential Greatness Poll conducted annually by Zogby International. The poll has a margin of sampling error of /- 3.2%.
Is the U.N. Running Brothels in Bosnia?
If prostitution is illegal in Bosnia, then why — in the presence of some 20,000 NATO peacekeepers and thousands of other U.N. officials, policemen and aid workers — has sexual trafficking in the region become an international scandal?
Perhaps this is to be expected from the enlightened nations there. But somehow, if the US were doing it, think there wouldn't be an international outcry?
Hate to see it, but the more I see of the way overseas nations are handling things like peacekeeping, and reading their reactions to our actions - the less impressed I am with the ethics and sensibilities of the older countries. I can see why isolationists get the way they do. I wouldn't want the UN running brothels in the US...
Lindh Showed Zeal of Converts
His parents, however, are saying he was young and impressionable, and shouldn't be held responsible for his decisions. However, they had no objections (apparently) to him travelling halfway around the world to 'find himself'. If he was so irresponsible and in need of guidance (by them, apparently) they should have kept him at home.
And I think the 'self' he found should have stayed lost.
Thursday, January 24
CNN.com - Call to prayer made for detainees held in Cuba - January 24, 2002
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. Navy chaplain announced the first morning call to prayer for the 158 Taliban and al Qaeda detainees at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, early Thursday morning.So, tell me again how 'cruel' and 'heartless' we are to these prisoners? They're likely eating better than they ever did in Afghanistan, the weather is warm, they have shelter and free medical care, and they have their religious needs met.
Seems to me, as I've said before, we're putting out a lot of effort to make sure they're okay.
Partisan Review - Marx, Money, and Mysticism after Mao
An old story used to circulate in the Soviet Union: once there was an emperor who was very evil and very fierce. He said two plus two equals six. All the people were afraid of him and agreed that two plus two equals six.A long read, but an interesting one, on how to get China to dump Marx.
Gateway slashing 2,250 more jobs
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 24 — Gateway Inc. said on Thursday it eked out a profit in the fourth quarter as sales slid by more than half, but the No. 4 U.S. personal computer maker announced a new round of job cuts and store closings. Gateway, which has lost market share amid a price war led by Dell Computer Corp., is cutting about 2,250 jobs, a 16 percent reduction in a work force that was cut by 25 percent last year when the computer maker shut its foreign operations.They come and they go. Anyone seen an AST PC lately? That company has essentially folded. It's all part of the game, I guess - but it's kind of a sad one to see a known brand fall by the wayside. Osborne, Kaypro, Commodore, Amiga... Take a look at the Obsolete Computer Museum and see how many YOU remember....
Rich Lowry on Geneva Convention on National Review Online
Not only has al Qaeda not signed the Geneva Convention, al Qaeda and the Taliban aren't even governments. Remember, it wasn't just the United States that said that the Taliban wasn't the legitimate government of Afghanistan, even the United Nations took that position.So how well SHOULD we treat them? Personally, I think they've got it at lot more cushy than they should now.
The Times Taleban army rises again to face US
FROM TIM REID IN KANDAHARLet's see. 450 tanks and armored (personnel) carriers. Guess that's about 10 A-10 sorties, maybe 20. Oh, heck, let's give everyone some flight time, and make it 45. (I can see the pre-mission brief now. "Remember - your limit is 10. Anyone bagging more than 10 vehicles WILL be subject to disciplinary action. It's a $5 fine for each one over the limit - and remember, leave some for the next guy!"
It does show, however, that the mess over there IS NOT over, not by a long shot.
Commets on Bellesiles Story
Bellesiles, as you may know, authored a work of purported scholarly accuracy that stated that there were very few firearms in colonial America. He seems to have done a lot of checking of non-existant sources, ignored a lot of data in file sthat he DID supposedly check, and to top it all off, when questioned he said all his notes were destroyed in a flood. His work was hailed as definitive by the anti-personal ownership of firearms advocates, sich as HCI.
But he's lost support since he wouldn't share his data for independent checking. Even the folks in Emory's history department are mentioning the 'f' word in relation to his work now. And when they do that, it's a real problem.
The 'f' word? Fraud.
Wednesday, January 23
According to court records, the petition filed "alleges that the detainees are being held in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Convention. It requests that U.S. authorities produce the prisoners in a U.S. court, explain the reasons for their decision and accord them due-process guarantees."Double standard - sadly, the repression and brutality are almost EXPECTED from those countries - but not from the US. If anything even HINTS at it - you can expect all the so called 'human rights activists' will immediately leap at it. They know they'd have a chance at correcting things if the US is doing wrong. Those other countries - they don't have a chance and they know it.
You ever notice how some folks overseas are so eager to bash the US for anything, up to and including exporting Brittany Spears? (Frankly, I'm not sure I blame them there.) But you've also noticed who they turn to first when help is needed, right?
Or maybe, it's just because we're first to offer.
Aren't we as a country just totally mean and heartless?
Avoiding a recipe for failure
This is the period that will test whether a war that has been described, correctly, in epic terms is met with eventual success. The great danger in this war was never that the initial military aims would fail; it was, and is, that initial and limited success in these aims would persuade a people not eager for epic struggle (no people ever are) that victory was theirs, and it was time to open another bag of Doritos.It's necessary to remember that the rebuilding of Afghanistan is going to be just as important as the destruction of the Taliban. Look on it as important as rebuilding Germany and Japan were after WW2. If we do it right, we'll have a good friend in the region AND it will enhance our prestige. We do it wrong - well......
The Vanishing 401K Revisited
In our last episode, our hero had just opened his 401K statement, and was ghastly flabbered (as opposed to flabbergasted) to find that suddenly his accounts were balanced right at zero! Phone calls to an ex-employer ensued, and the following information was gathered....
Well, it seems like the company had stopped using ADP for their payroll services. They had started using Paychex - and had rolled the funds over into the Payckex 401K fund without telling any of the 401K plan participants in advance. Supposedly we were to be told - but I sure didn't get anything resembling a letter stating that was going to happen. Apparently I'll be getting a welcome package from Paychex in a week or so.
So at this point I'll put the question out. Should I stay with these folk for the 401K stuff, or roll my funds over into an IRA?
Just a few quick ones...
Saudi Dress Code for Female Troops Revised
Seven years after the Air Force's top-ranked female fighter pilot began a one-woman crusade, the Defense Department yesterday dropped its requirement that female military personnel in Saudi Arabia put on black, head-to-toe gowns when leaving their base.We get oil from Saudi - they get money from us. That doesn't give them the right to tell us how we should force our military to act. I think this is a long overdue change.
‘Free energy’ or ‘voodoo science’?
Let's see. 3 100 watt bulbs - that's 300 watts/hour. Times 2 hours, that's 600 watts - not 4.5 kilowatts. Unless they've got some other load, I'd think 4 12 volt car batteries would be able to handle a 300 watt load for two hours. Smells fishy to me...
FTC proposes hotline
to thwart telemarketers
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 — The Federal Trade Commission is proposing the creation of a national “do not call” registry that would allow consumers to ward off unwanted telemarketers with a single phone call.Yea, verily, there was much rejoicing at the news. And when they finished rejoicing (being able to properly rejoice for the first time in a long time with no fear of interruption by telemarketers) they did the dinner dishes and went along the rest of the evening in blessed quiet.
Tuesday, January 22
About Us: Overview - United Devices, Inc.™
By combining thousands of ordinary PCs to work on extremely large computational projects, problems can be solved more quickly and less expensively than by conventional methods. Now regular people can help fuel research and projects that previously may have required a bank of supercomputers or a hundred years to complete. The Volunteer Your PC program lets you make a real difference without donating money or your time with the tool that you are using to view this site right now—your home PC.The way I look at it, this is a worthwhile cause. I've got it (as well as Seti@home) running on my system, and it seems to be running just fine. FWIW, I've got it running the Anthrax antitoxin routine - though theres several other ones. Take a look - I think it's worth it.
CNN.com - Daschle offers to break impasse on economy bill - January 22, 2002
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle proposed Tuesday to break the impasse on the economic stimulus package by bringing a scaled-back version of the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote.Forgive me for saying this - but isn't this a hoot? First he does all he can to block any sort of government sponsored recovery - then when it looks like the economy is recovering WITHOUT help, he starts pushing for a stimulus package. A scaled back one.
In other words - he's got to hop on the economy train before it leaves him (and the Democratic party) in the dust.
Bush, Daschle fall out as Congress returns
Sometime in October, the phone calls between Bush and Daschle trailed off. Relations frayed further with winter's chill; they fought over, and failed to pass, legislation to boost the sagging economy. Today, as Congress returns and Bush prepares his first State of the Union address, the working relationship between the Republican president and the Democratic Senate leader has become tense and wary.So it's back to politics as usual - which means that the country can go rot as far as Democrats are concerned, if they don't get their way. Daschle's little grandstand play blocking any sort of economic stimulus package showed just how much they really care about the voter - but you can bet that the economy will be high on the list come campaigning time. And what do you want to bet that what we're in is going to rival the Great Depression - at least from their electoral angle? Of course, they wouldn't exaggerate just to influence voters...
Better pack up the Model A and head to California - maybe I can find a job pickin' grapes before the economy really crashes and the refugees hit the roads. Man, I'll sure hate giving up my job at Lockheed, though...
National ID in development But enthusiasm for the system appears to be fading, poll says
WASHINGTON -- With the nation's nerves still raw from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, some federal and state authorities are hoping the public is primed to accept a national identification card.Here's the big question - how do you make it so it can't be duplicated? Short of putting some pretty high-tech stuff into it, like using a smart-card that would have a record of, oh, your iris pattern on it - that would need to be verified with a central data repository whenever you:
took a trip outside the country,
made an expensive purchase,
crossed state lines,
made a withdrawl from your bank,
went grocery shopping...
and what about the electronics infrastructure needed for that? Admittedly, it'd be about as difficult to create as the network used to verify credit card purchases, but how happy would most people be with the intrusion factor?
I wouldn't be. Remember - our government derives it's power from OUR consent, not the other way around.
The Sun - Camp X-Ray prisoners not mistreated
PRISONERS at Camp X-Ray are NOT being mistreated in any way, an official report found yesterday.And in a sidebar...
Ugly side of Labour exposedNow ask yourself - WHY would they want to portray the US as mistreating the prisoners?
Don't know about you, but I don't like the answers I come up with.
The Vanishing 401k -
Well - isn't THIS just too interesting...
When I left Syscon Technologies 3+ years ago, I left my 401K in their care, since the mutual funds I'd chosen were doing pretty well. What with the Internet boom and bust, I lost about a quarter of that amount - but still had more than I started with. So far, so good, right? I get my quarterly statement - and it looks like I took a distribution.
My account balances are reading Zero. That's right - $0.00. Zilch. Goose eggs. Nada. Nothing. Because sometime in the last 90 days I took a distribution or payout of those funds.
This is, as the saying goes, news to me. I don't recall getting a hefty infusion, and I'm pretty sure I'd notice a check with 5 figures on it. So tomorrow I need to see just what's going on.
I'll keep you posted.
Monday, January 21
Ever wonder what temperature extremes those poor prisoners are experiencing? Well, take a look at weather.com - Local Weather - Guantanamo Bay NAS, Cuba and see. It's terrible. Simply terrible. Those poor prisoners, yanked from the gentle weather conditions of Afghanistan and tossed into the horror of the Caribbean winter...
But then, compared to Kabul, I suppose it's not that bad.
Hey, folks pay good money to stay at all inclusive hotels in the Caribbean. These guys get everything paid for. Admittedly, their recreational activities are a bit limited, but if they behave themselves, maybe they'll get a beach trip.
Authorities follow e-mail trail in shoe bomb case
French police sources say accused shoe bomber Richard Reid sent an email to someone in Pakistan after he failed to get on his intended Paris-to-Miami flight because of questioning from security personnel. The sources say Reid asked an unidentified person what to do and was told to get on the next plane to Miami. The sources said Reid also sent an e-mail to his mother in which he appeared to be saying goodbye.The Internet never forgets. E-mail goes through servers - servers get backed up. Even the 'anonymous' ones.
Genuine Hero's War Memorabilia Seized by Screeners
WWII Super-Ace Joe Foss Hassled; MoH Ancillaries Taken by Lunatic ScreenersThis'll come as no surprise to those who are either travelling frequently or watch the news. In the interests of 'fairness' and to avoid racial profiling (which is, I suppose, worse than actually hijacking a plane) there is a zero-tolerance policy being enforced that is so rigid that an 86 year old man carrying a nail file, a Medalof Honor, and a commemorative bullet (de-milled and inert) gets seriously hassled by screeners who after getting the nail file and bullet, want to take the Medal also.
Probably one of the cretins thought it'd look good dangling from his jacket when off-duty.
Aid Groups warned of rising dangers
Despite the growing security concerns and some calls within the interim Afghan government for a greater presence of international security troops throughout the nation, there has been no sign that U.S. or U.N. officials will push to extend the international security force outside of Kabul. In his visit to the capital city last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Afghans should take responsibility for their own security, adding that international assistance should be designed to “train Afghans to take care of themselves and not depend on foreign forces to do so.”The tribal leaders in Afghanistan see more to be gained by being a small fish in a drying pond than from restoring the country's infrastructure to a 20th century standard - or even trying to drag it into the 19th century.
That attitude has gotten Afghanistan where it is today.
Works well, doesn't it?
Sunday, January 20
FOXNews.com - Saddam Hussein Discusses Mobilizing Iraqi Troops Against U.S. Attack
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Saddam Hussein and his senior aides met Sunday to discuss a general mobilization of Iraqis against a possible U.S. strike, the official Iraqi News Agency reported.Here's an idea - allow the inspectors in, and don't hinder them. Cooperate fully. Show you've got something in your head besides a skullful of megalomaniacal tendencies. That'll go a long way toward getting the sanctions lifted. But mindless blocking won't do it.
Then again, maybe someone'll get smart, and kill Saddam. And kill his sucessor if the replacement thinks he can run a country by being a big man with a gun.
Because it's pretty clear that Iraq doesn't have the horsepower needed to stop us if we decide to come in force. I don't even think it'd take a hundred hours this time, once we pasted it a while from the air. Last time, we stoped because it was a rout, and we didn't want to jeapordize the Coalition. The Coalition doesn't exist any more. Saudi isn't too friendly - though they're working on retracting what some interior people said. And if the terrorist trail leads to Iraq - we're going to follow it.
news.telegraph.co.uk - Britain and US in rift over terrorist prisoners
While the issue is worrying Britain and much of Europe, the American public and the opposition Democrats have accepted the White House view that the harsh measures are needed for security reasons.And precisely how are we not treating them in accordance with the Geneva protocols? Should we allow them access to materials to make weapons? Perhaps give them opportunities to escape? Should we deny them the way to worship as they want? Or is it perhaps that many in Europe are thinking... "We've got to use public pressure to make the US toe the line on this - because they're strong enough that we can't force them."
But it was okay for the Taliban to beat and kill those who didn't practice Islam. No possible trace of a double standard there, eh?
Update: BBC Says Things Are Okay I'd trust the BBC over Pravda any day.
ctnow.com: SPECIALS - Anthrax missing from Army lab
Lab specimens of anthrax spores, Ebola virus and other pathogens disappeared from the Army's biological warfare research facility in the early 1990s, during a turbulent period of labor complaints and recriminations among rival scientists there, documents from an internal Army inquiry show.Oh, boy. Wonder just what samples? How much? Anthrax spores supposedly keep indefinitly... Ebola, however, is much more fragile. Hopefully, this will turn out to be nothing...
Friday, January 18
Saudis may seek U.S. departure
Jan. 18 — Saudi Arabia’s rulers are increasingly uncomfortable with the U.S. military presence in their country and may soon ask that it end, according to several Saudi sources. Such a decision would deprive the United States of regular use of the Prince Sultan Air Base, from which American power has been projected into the gulf region and beyond for more than a decade.Arabic Solidarity? Or peevishness at being essentially a 3rd World country DESPITE massive income from oil?
Here's a hint, guys. (yeah, like the Saudi Princes are ever going to see this...)
Dump the Islamofacism, dump the dictatorial controls on what your people can see and do. You're essentially a theocracy - and I don't care how much you pretty it up (and you aren't really bothering to) you're STILL going to be a dictatorial theocracy. You AREN'T irreplaceable, and attempting to make yourselves so by controlling every aspect of your subjects lives is going to backfire. Take a look in Iran - they're seeing the light. Your best hope is to back off on the people and stop taking everything for yourselves.
It’s a man-eat-XXXXX XXX XXXX world
On Jan. 14, animal rights activists silenced the industry’s PR campaign kickoff. On Jan. 19, XXXXXX hackers plan to attack the Web sites of French and American media companies that have disparaged XXXXX XXX XXXX food. The controversy has even invaded New York, where lawmakers are considering whether to ban XXXXXX XX XXXX (which is legal in 44 states) amid reports that it’s being sold there.
And just WHAT is XXXXXX XXX XXXX?
Link it and see. And then ask yourself - why SHOULDN'T you eat it?
The Times - Jet 'saved by the sweaty feet of shoe bomber'
SWEATY feet and the unwitting action of nearby passengers prevented Richard Reid, the alleged British shoe bomber, from blowing up an airliner, according to sources close to the investigation.Oh, if only he had known about THIS cure for sweaty feet. Who says the Internet is useless?
Why the White House Doesn't Leak
I called Mary Matalin and asked her why this White House doesn't leak when every other White House she ever worked in did. She said, "There's this notion (in the press) that this White House is just so well disciplined and well organized. They think it's run like a camp!" But the real key to the success of the No Leak Law is simple: "Because we have a common agenda we're not trying to advance any position but the president's. So we don't use the vehicle of leaks to advance our own agenda. The Washington press thinks of leaking as 'conflict leaking'--you leak to them to advance an agenda that is apart from the president's, or to force an argument in a certain direction. We don't have that. There aren't any separate ideological or policy vents, we're here to advance his policy. Previous administrations, you didn't like the way it was going you'd leak it out in the press."No wonder the spinmasters don't like him. He's honest (a lot more so than many of our past presidents) he's direct (which used to be a fatal flaw in Washington) and he's straigthforward. As the saying goes - it's hard to cheat an honest man.
Thursday, January 17
FOXNews.com - Biologically Speaking, Race Doesn't Exist
Dr. J. Craig Venter, president of Celera Genomics, the company that recently mapped the human genome, recently said of race and biology, "It is disturbing to see reputable scientists and physicians . . . categorizing things in terms of race."A very nice article pointing out that we're a whole lot more alike than we are different. But a couple of paragraphs really hit home.
The 2000 U.S. Census lists eleven different racial and ethnic classifications, and allows for any hybrid combination of those eleven.Well, sure. Take any any need to succeed at life and toss in a safety net, introduce the idea that culture is more important than anything else, alter the culture to emphasize violence and denigrate education and scholarship, and you end up with problems. Why is this so hard to understand?
Question is - will those who complain most about them do something about them? Or are they willing to live with the probems and make no attempt to solve them?
Affirmative action, a program that rewards race for race’s sake, usually at the expense of merit, is a fine example. Black social critics on the left and right have lamented that academic success in urban high schools and among black communities on college campuses is often equated with the "whiteness," or at the very least, with the lack of "blackness," of the African American students."It's time, seriously, to start looking at the impact of culture on students. If you, as a school principle, were to suddenly suggest to your students and parents that 'blackness' meant stupidity - you'd be hounded out of office. If you suggested to them that their skin color should have an effect on how they're evaluated on what they've learned, you'd likely be labeled a hero.
However, it seems that 'blackness' means selective ignorance - when it comes to education. And here's the question - should the things that school teaches (reading, writing, and math) vary because of your skin color? Could it be postulated that '2+2=4' for caucasians, while '2+2=many' is acceptable for african-americans? Heck - for Asians, it'd be '2+2=4.0' - but the Asian cultures promote education and scholarship. African-American culture doesn't seem to. And this is a definite problem for all of us.
Wednesday, January 16
Pravda.RU Justin Raimondo: THE WAR IS A TRAP
VENGEANCE VERSUS THE NATIONAL INTERESTWell, the "street" isn't roiling too much at this point. And if Saudi were to block our oil - we've got our own sources. They, however, don't have other customers - and they're dependent on US.
Consider, gentle reader, the source of the article. Pravda. With a name like that - you'll know it's spun.
Yale Daily News - Academia must recognize patriotism's merits
In "Politics," Aristotle famously asked the question whether a good citizen is the same as a good human being. Can we be both loyal members of a particular city, nation or state and at the same time fulfill our larger moral obligations and duties to humanity? Is there a conflict between a commitment to intellectual inquiry and the free exchange of ideas wherever they may lead and the offices of citizenship that require loyalty to a particular set of institutions, practices and beliefs? In short, is patriotism a virtue? If so, what kind of virtue is it?
It's interesting to see an academic try to rationalize out his increased sense of patriotism, and to call for a more balanced approach to the concept. A good read, and thought-provoking.
Addendum: One question I've got - who the heck are Philby, Burgess, & McLean, and how were they traitors? Oh - wait a sec. (Quick Google Search...)
Burgess, MacLean and Philby
Guy Burgess and Donald MacLean were British diplomats who disappeared in 1951 and surfaced in Moscow in 1956. There was speculation that Harold "Kim" Philby, head of the Soviet section of the British Secret Intelligence Service, was the "third man" who alerted them before they could be arrested for espionage.
And Ron Butler included two extra names - Cairncross and Blount.
US Nuclear Weapons History - The Swords Of ArmageddonThe London Daily Telegraph has published excerpts from a new British book, The Crown Jewels, by Nigel West(a pseudonym for Rupert Allason) and ex-KGB agent Oleg Tsarev.The book describes in the greatest detail yet the activities of the so-called "Cambridge Five" -- Messrs. Blount, Burgess,Cairncross, Mclean, and Philby -- who spied in England for theSovients. Another heretofore unknown spy ring at Oxford Univeristy is also identified.Very... interesting. Thanks, Ron!
One small step for a flying invention
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Jan. 15 — When you’ve spent millions of dollars and nearly six years trying to make a personal flying machine, progress is measured in small increments. So it’s perhaps understandable that the inventor of the SoloTrek is touting his most recent breakthrough — getting the 325-pound machine a few feet off the ground for 19 seconds — as a test “flight.”This is one of the more interesting flying machines I've seen in the last decade - at least, one of the ones that ostensibly worked.
I've mentioned the SoloTrek in Myriads past - and it's good to see it flying. One thing that I think won't fly (or even float) is something else I detailed in Myriad - something called the Freedomship - a gigantic floating city. Based on what information I've been able to find on it, and based on a complete LACK of information or announcements on such things as massive engine buys, steel buys, even toilet buys, I think something that looked pretty feasible in 1997 is now pretty well a pipe dream. Oh, well...
Women's Group to Congress: Give Us 9/11 Money or See You in Court
NEW YORK — A women's rights group is demanding a share of the $11 billion in federal disaster relief for the 9/11 terror attacks, saying it wants the money for affirmative action programs to help more women break into traditionally male fields like firefighting, construction and policing.Request? Yes. They can certainly do that, and I think it should be considered. However, I must point out that there ARE significant physical differences that make it much harder for woment to do the same job as men in the firefighting business. And cutting back on the requirements WILL insure that people will die, either firefighters or those needing rescue.
Demand? No. They shouldn't get a dime. Not a single dime. It seems like folks aren't willing to 'request' things any more, and take 'No' for an answer. Instead, this group seems to think it's entitled to DEMAND the money - which to my way of thinking completely disqualified them from any consideration.
Tuesday, January 15
Are we winning yet?
And some of them are probably thinking - what have you done for my ratings lately? That's what's important - not whether there's progress or not. This will be long, it'll be drawn out, and we'll likely never know a lot of what's gone on behind the scenes.
NEW YORK — A Brooklyn firefighter is circulating a petition calling for the Fire Department to drop plans for a controversial statue because the firefighters depicted are not the three men in the photograph that inspired the memorial.This one, I can see the merits of both sides. You want it to be inclusive - but I'd think you'd also want it to be accurate historically. But hell, aren't we all New Yorkers now? Maybe, just maybe, we aren't doing ourselves a favor by being PC here.
Islam Denounces Terrorism
There's been a fair bit of talk about how there seems to be no Islamic site that denounces what's been going on, that is critical of the way the Taliban did things, critical of the wahhabian (I most likely don't have that spelled correctly) attitudes that their sect is the only TRUE way for Islam, just plain critical in general of the Jihadic mentality (Again, that's probably not a proper term...) but here is one. AND it uses Koranic (There I go with those 'ic'-y things again) verses to illustrate their point.
Compassion, Tolerance and Pacifism in Islam
Very thought-provoking site. Well worth taking the time to explore.
By the way, the hosting agency is in Florida. A Whois lookup produced the following
Dialtone, Inc. (NETBLK-DIALTONE2BLK)
4101 SW 47th Ave Suite 101
Davie, FL 33314
Netblock: 18.104.22.168 - 22.214.171.124
Administrator, Network (JC723-ARIN) firstname.lastname@example.org
954-581-0097 (FAX) 954-581-7629
Domain System inverse mapping provided by:
*Rwhois information on assignments from this block available from
Record last updated on 18-Oct-2000.
Database last updated on 15-Jan-2002 02:39:50 EDT.
Monday, January 14
An (expletive deleted) outrage TEFLON-COATED WORDS
Now let me tell you something about these sales: They were perfectly legal. So says Robert S. Bennett, a lawyer for Enron. “I am unaware of any evidence that supports the allegation there was improper selling by members of the board or senior management,” Bennett said. But “improper” is a word dipped in Teflon, so slippery it flips out of your hand like a thrashing fish. It does not mean “right” or, bite your tongue, “moral.”The prediction was that a lot of the Washington Pundits were going to do anything they could to tie Bush into the Enron scandal. After all, he knows some of the folks at Enron, so naturally he'd be giving them all the help he could, right?
Except... as I've pointed out before, when they asked for help, they didn't get it.
Sunday, January 13
BBC News | SCI/TECH | Animals retreat as Antarctic cools
US scientists say they have established that much of Antarctica is cooling.Global warming? Global cooling? Which way do we go? If we attack Global Warming, would it make Global Cooling worse?
BBC News | SCI/TECH | Nigeria adopts space policy
The Nigerian Government is about to enter the space age.Good a reason as any, and better than most. Good luck to you!
Dihydrogen Monoxide in the Dairy Industry
Economic pressures play a major role in the widespread use of DHMO in the dairy industry. In fact, in some areas, it is subsidized by the U.S. government. As a result, claims Waltz, DHMO is the single largest contaminant of milk. Governmental regulations cover the addition of DHMO to the milk once it leaves the cow, but do not cover levels of ingested DHMO.
SOMEBODY better look at this stuff, fast!
Arrested Italian Cell Sheds Light on Bin Laden’s European Network
Arrested Italian Cell Sheds Light
Don't know the credentials of the Center for Public Integrity - but this looked interesting, if a bit old.
A few days after George W. Bush's inauguration, a man cameup to the uniformed Marine on duty at the White House and said "I'd like to see President Clinton." The Marine politely answered "Sir, Mr. Clinton is no longer president". The man said, "Oh, OK." and walked away.
Saturday, January 12
From the text of Musharraf's Speech in Pakistan. "Do we want Pakistan to become a theocratic state? Do we believe that religious education alone is enough for governance or do we want Pakistan to emerge as a progressive and dynamic Islamic welfare state? The verdict of the masses is in favour of a progressive Islamic state. This decision, based on the teaching of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and in line with the teachings of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal will put Pakistan on the path of progress and prosperity.----------------------------------------
Actually - from what I've read of the Koran, it doesn't. I'm revising my estimation of this leader. Either he's got a good speechwriter and is trying to play to Western sensibilities, or he's really a fire-breather and he'll drag Pakistan kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. That is, if he doesn't get killed first. And India stops with the war threats...
Guardian Unlimited Observer | Comment | American cant Yesterday, a group of unidentified men, including a Briton, completed a journey identical in almost every detail to the one described above. Manacled, with some sedated, they were chained to their seats in the aircraft that delivered them. The difference is that this group of 20 men were alleged terrorists with the Taliban and al-Qaeda and their destination was the US base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The difference, too, is that what complaint there has been about their treatment has been curiously muted.Told ya. Less than 24 hours, and these men have been stripped of their most basic rights. I'm surprised he didn't mention something about 'dog kennels' but he'll likely do that tomorrow. Gotta save something for the late edition, after all.
BTW, how would YOU securely transport people who had actively been trying to kill you, and would kill you as soon as look at you? Ask them politely to keep their seat belts fastened?
Zthing Presents: Fruitcake of Doom
Exactly what it says it is.
Message Board - MSNBC - A World Transformed BIBST 12:55pm Jan 9, 2002 EST
Ken,Well, it's nice to be appreciated for our efforts, isn't it? And that's just it... Whenever something goes sour, call in the Americans. They'll deal with the problem and go home afterward.
That way, nobody 'local' is actually embarrassed by having to enforce civilized behavior. Let the Americans do it - they're barbarians anyway, right?
Sheesh. Some of the folks overseas better be careful what they wish for. Don't want the 'ugly Americans' around? Then don't pick up the phone where there's a rabid dog prowling the neighborhood (Kuwait, Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia) and we won't show. That dog comes to the police station, though, and we'll FIND it's owners...
(BTW, this post is a VERY favorable one to Americans.)