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The WeatherPixie
Weather Conditions, Wish we were there...

Odd things and such things, as I feel appropriate, possibly relating to the war.
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Look below for links to good sites, ebooks and such.

Jerry Lawson, Proprietor

Comments by: YACCS

Wednesday, July 31
WASHINGTON — Backed by union members, Senate Democrats served notice Wednesday that they will fight President Bush's wish for greater management flexibility within the proposed Homeland Security Department.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., told reporters that flexibility, to many union members, "is just a code word to often go after the workers ... a chain saw, and get out of the wre a tree."

Mikulski and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, chief sponsor of the Senate Homeland Security bill, said they will not alter civil service and union protections despite Bush's threat to veto the measure over that issue.

"This is no time to let ourselves be divided by a partisan, ideological sideshow," said Lieberman, D-Conn.
Right. You'll make it impossible to fire employees who won't or can't do the job - but it's not partisan. No, really, it's not.

Look at which party is more concerned with getting the job done, and which is more concerned with posturing.

Remember in November.


BBC NEWS | Education | Pupils 'not allowed to play tag'
Children have been banned from playing tag, making daisy-chains and doing hand-stands in school playgrounds over fears of safety, research suggests.

The "culture of caution" led to one school banning running games in case children fell over, a survey by the Children's Society and the
Children's Play Council found.

Source: Children's Society and Children's Play Council
In one primary school, pupils were stopped from making daisy chains over fears the youngsters could pick up germs from the ground.

Pupils at another primary school were banned from doing handstands after a girl was injured.

And another school banned the use of yo-yos in case they caused injuries.

The findings come as experts grow increasingly concerned that restricting children's play may stifle their mental and physical development and contribute to the growing levels of obesity.
No! Ya think?

I think the madness is spreading. It's spreading to the UK. And it's the lawyers' fault, it says further down in the article.

There's no such thing as a no-risk life. No matter what the lawyers say.


retrosystem - computers - consoles - art - customizing - supercharged - cool
We take original console or computer cases, clean them up, restore them, and build you a complete Windows/Linux compatible system to the limits of technology and to the limits of what we can stuff into these cases.

In doing so we go WAY beyond your average system.

Currently we're working with Amiga 1000 cases, Atari 2600 cases and the original NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) console game case.
A break from the grim. You too can have the fastest Atari on the block...



It's For Your Own Good. Really.
Documentation of Internet Filtering in Saudi Arabia

Abstract: The authors connected to the Internet through proxy servers in Saudi Arabia and attempted to access approximately 60,000 Web pages as a means of empirically determining the scope and pervasiveness of Internet filtering there. Saudi-installed filtering systems prevented access to certain requested Web pages; the authors tracked 2,038 blocked pages. Such pages contained information about religion, health, education, reference, humor, and entertainment. See highlights of blocked pages. The authors conclude (1) that the Saudi government maintains an active interest in filtering non-sexually explicit Web content for users within the Kingdom; (2) that substantial amounts of non-sexually explicit Web content is in fact effectively inaccessible to most Saudi Arabians; and (3) that much of this content consists of sites that are popular elsewhere in the world.


A 2001 Council of Ministers Resolution prohibits users within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from publishing or accessing certain content on the Internet. The government's Internet Services Unit (ISU) operates the high-speed data links that connect the country to the international Internet; while Saudi internet users may subscribe to any of a number of local internet service providers, all Web traffic is apparently forwarded through a central array of proxy servers at the ISU, which implements Internet content filtering roughly in line with parts of the Resolution. If a user's requested URL is found on the Saudi blacklist, the user is directed to a page that explicitly informs him or her that access to the site has been denied. The ISU administrative web site explains the implementation of the government's content filtering regime, presents the reasoning behind it, and lets Saudi internet users request that a particular site or URL be blocked or unblocked. Citing to the Qur'an as a basis, the government describes its task with filtering as "preserv[ing] our Islamic values, filtering the Internet content to prevent the materials that contradict with our beliefs or may influence our culture."

In addition to detailing Saudi blocking of sexually explicit content, the ISU web site lists as bannable "pages related to drugs, bombs, alcohol, gambling and pages insulting the Islamic religion or the Saudi laws and regulations." Such non-sexually explicit sites are said to be blocked only upon the direction of security bodies within the Saudi government. The ISU describes its policy as filtering only the "absolute minimum possible number of web pages possible to fulfill its duties."

Okay - what are it's duties? Preserving Islamic values...

Let's take a brief look at what they ban:
  • Religion. A total of 246 pages were blocked from Yahoo Religion categories, including Christianity (67 pages blocked), Islam (45), Paganism (22), Judaism (20), and Hinduism (12). An additional 11 pages placed by Yahoo within the Religion section of Business and Economy were also found to be blocked. Specific blocked pages included substantial portions (including the home pages) of (an agency promoting religious tolerance as a human right), (A Christian-Muslim Dialog), and
    (a Web site calling for brotherhood and love between religions).

  • Health. Blocked health pages included information about specific diseases, treatments, and prevention methods. 8 blocked pages describe mental health specifically, 3 describe abortion, and 2 describe other aspects of women's health. 18 additional pages described illegal drugs, the war on drugs, and their effects and risks.

  • Education and reference. Specific blocked web pages providing education and reference content include (the Women in American History section of Encyclopedia Britannica Online), (the Islamic Cultural Library), and
    (the Anne Frank House).

  • Sites providing information specifically to and about women. Blocked pages include
    (The Women's Network - Busy women sharing solutions and advice), (Skirt Magazine for
    Women Online), (Sexuality and relationship info you can trust from Planned Parenthood Federation of America), and the previously-mentioned Women in American History section of Encyclopedia Britannica Online.

  • Humor sites. A total of 81 blocked pages were categorized, by their own authors or by Yahoo, as providing humor content; some were, by their own descriptions, "off-color" or "offensive". Example sites include,, and jokes about Monica Lewinsky.

  • Entertainment, music, and movies. Blocked content includes 251 distinct pages classified, by
    their authors or by Yahoo, as providing music, movies, or other forms of entertainment. Specific blocked pages include (Fox Searchlight Pictures),
    (the Rolling Stone magazine), and (Warner Brothers Records).

  • Sites providing information to the gay community. 13 pages were blocked from Yahoo's Society - Cultures
    and Groups - Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals category. Blocked pages included listings of regional organizations, support groups, and news coverage, as
    well as pages providing information of specific interest to Muslim gays and/or to gays living in Muslim countries.

  • Pages perceived to be hostile to Saudi Arabia. Among the specific pages blocked were numerous Amnesty International pages about Saudi Arabia and the reports on Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. While blocked content on these sites seemed to be restricted to that portion of content specific to Saudi Arabia -- top-level site home pages were not found to be blocked -- these pages are
    nonetheless of particular interest since they are produced by well-known international human rights organizations.

  • Pages about Middle Eastern politics, organizations, or groups. Various blocked pages provided content likely to be controversial in the context of modern Middle Eastern politics. Example sites include and (the Israel Defense Force).

  • Services allowing circumvention of filtering restrictions. Certain web sites allow a user to view other web sites; such sites include translation services, proxies, and archives. Numerous such pages were blocked, including translators provided by, Altavista/Babelfish, and, as well as the and proxy servers.

  • Swimsuits, lingerie, modeling, and other non-pornographic human images. Pages were blocked from Yahoo categories that suggest the display of images of people wearing less clothes than is typical in Saudi Arabia. For example, 28 pages were blocked from Yahoo's Swimming & Diving category.

  • Pornography. The majority of the Google "free adult sex" pages were blocked by Saudi Arabia's filtering system. It is likely that blocking of all 795 Google "free adult sex" pages would be consistent with Saudi Arabia's desire to block pornography. Accordingly, the 110 such pages that were not blocked were likely examples of underblocking; within this sample of relatively well-known sexually-explicit pages, Saudi Arabia's correct blocking rate is about 86% and its underblocking rate is about 14%. In addition, Saudi Arabia was found to block sites recently reregistered after prior domain registrants allowed their domain registrations to lapse; many such sites come to provide sexually-explicit content, as documented in one author's prior Domains Reregistered for Distribution of Unrelated Content: A Case Study of "Tina's Free Live Webcam".

  • Among the pages tested were many thousands not affected by the Saudi filtering system. We attempted to access many sites based on our initial knowledge of what content is blocked in other countries worldwide and of what content might be of particular concern to the Saudi Arabian government. We found that news sites, US government sites, and Israeli government sites (excluding the Israel Defense Force) could all be viewed as usual. We also found that the overwhelming majority of education sites remained accessible.

    Conclusions and Future Work

    Since our listing of blocked pages is not and cannot be perfectly representative of content blocked in Saudi Arabia, it is difficult to draw sweeping conclusions about the Saudi blocking system. On the basis of the blocked sites we have found, we do conclude

    (1) that the Saudi government maintains an active interest in filtering non-sexually
    explicit Web content from users within the Kingdom;

    (2) that substantial amounts of non-sexually explicit Web content is in fact effectively inaccessible to
    most Saudi Arabians; and

    (3) that much of this content consists of sites that are popular elsewhere in the world.

    And from the page providing their reasoning:

    Usefulness of Filtering:

    God Almighty directed humanity in the Nobel Qur’an in the words of His prophet Joseph: “He said: My Lord, prison is more beloved to me than that to which they entice me, and were you not to divert their plot away from me I will be drawn towards them and be of the ignorant. So his Lord answered him and diverted their plot away from him, truly, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower” Yusuf(12):33-34

    Confirmation from modern scientific studies:

    In a study by Cass Sunstein in the Duke Law Journal it was found that countries which impose strict laws relating to prevention of pornography enjoy a reduction in the rate of rape and murder and vice versa. Similarly, in a study conducted by the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography and another conducted by the University of New Hampshire it was found that those states trafficking most heavily in pornography saw a similar increase in the rate of rape. Specifically, Alaska and Nevada were the two states with the highest rates of pornographic materials (five times that of other states), accompanied by a similar increase in rape activity (eight times that of other states).
    Okay. Guess it's their country, they can decide the rules they want to live under.

    But it makes me wonder - what would the average Saudi say about the restrictions if he didn't have the club of the Religious Police hanging over his head? And WHY aren't our liberals complaining about the censorship that the Saudis have to endure? They're quick enough to scream about anything in our country that even remotely smacks of censorship - yet here's solid evidence.

    Why the silence?


    From comes the question: "Do we still need the Saudis?"

    For the time being - perhaps. But it's tenuous.
    Anti-Saudi hawks hope that once the U.S. installs a friendly regime in Iraq—the Administration says it is still merely considering such a plan—Washington will end its alliance with the kingdom, its oil and bases no longer critical to U.S. interests. "If we sort out Iraq and Detroit develops a hydrogen engine," says a U.S. diplomat, "Saudi Arabia will go back to being a fascinating, benighted part of the world that people don't visit."

    Isolating Riyadh, though, carries risks. Western diplomats warn that the al-Saud clan, which has ruled the kingdom for the past century, is the only Western-leaning institution left in a fundamentalist state that is growing younger, poorer and more radical. "Let's say we decided to split sheets with the Saudis. What would replace them would not be a pretty sight," says a U.S. diplomat. "You could see another Taliban. There's no moderate group that could come in and take over."
    But the status quo won't work well either.

    Plenty of questions - no easy answers...


    The X-Prize is a $10 million award to whoever can manage to do two suborbital launches of the same vehicle within two weeks.

    Canadian Arrow is a leading contender for this prize, and they've been testing out their liquid oxygen/alcohol engine.

    They're planning on using carbon vanes in their exhaust stream for guidance. Hmmm.

    Where have we seen this technology before? And somehow, the projected shape is mighty familiar...

    What the heck - let's try out some proven technology for a change...


    Tuesday, July 30
 - Church: 23 Cuban youngsters defect - July 29, 2002
    Twenty-three of the 200 Cuban youngsters who attended the World Youth Conference in Toronto, Canada, decided not to return to the communist island, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba said Monday.

    The youngsters are in hiding in a "safe house" until Tuesday, when the Cuban delegation is slated to return to Cuba, said Joe Garcia of the Cuban American National Foundation.
    Garcia said relatives of the youths from Texas, New York, New Jersey and Florida had traveled to Canada to help them seek asylum.
    Care to guess how this is being reported in Cuba? "Catholic Canadians Coerce Cuban Children!" would be my guess.


    WASHINGTON — With an estimated 61 percent of people in the United States classified as overweight or obese, America is the land of plenty and it shows.

    Experts say obesity is sometimes genetic, but sometimes is the result of hormonal or chemical imbalances in the body.

    And sometimes it is self-inflicted -- the result of too many Big Gulps or Big Macs or other food products that use the expression "Biggie," "Super-sized," "foot-long" or "double-decker" to describe quantity.

    And while some people believe that fast-food restaurants are to blame -- last week a New York lawyer filed a class action suit against four fast-food companies claiming his clients didn't know their fast food contains a lot of fat -- lawmakers are trying to legislate the country out of its epidemic-sized problem.
    Right. Pass a law and folks will get skinny.

    Next up, calorie ration books to each citizen - and woe betide the person who goes over his government calculated allowance!


    Anti-gravity propulsion comes ‘out of the closet’ - Jane's Civil Aerospace
    Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, has admitted it is working on experimental anti-gravity projects that could overturn a century of conventional aerospace propulsion technology if the science underpinning them can be engineered into hardware.

    As part of the effort, which is being run out of Boeing’s Phantom Works advanced research and development facility in Seattle, the company is trying to solicit the services of a Russian scientist who claims he has developed anti-gravity devices in Russia and Finland. The approach, however, has been thwarted by Russian officialdom.

    The Boeing drive to develop a collaborative relationship with the scientist in question, Dr Evgeny Podkletnov, has its own internal project name: ‘GRASP’ — Gravity Research for Advanced Space Propulsion.

    And this is from Jane's - which is a fairly solid organization, I think.

    Wowsers. This COULD change a whole lot of things....


    Monday, July 29
    Why haven’t we heard from aliens?
    Part 5 of ‘Rare Earth’ debate:
    If complex life exists elsewhere,
    would we even know?

    July 29 — Astrobiologists focus on why we haven’t already made contact with complex intelligent life, if indeed it exists elsewhere in the universe. The debate is the final installment of a series on the prospects for finding alien life.
    And looking how we can't get along with our OWN kind - boy, I can't wait to see what would happen if there WERE alien signals detected.


 - Feds Arrest Al Qaeda Suspects With Plans to Poison Water Supplies on Them
    Federal officials have arrested two Al Qaeda suspects in the U.S. with documents in their possession about how to poison the country's water supplies, sources tell Fox News

    World Kuwait on heightened alert as Iraqi buildup reported near border
    Iraqi buildup near border puts Kuwait on heightened alert

    Monday, July 29, 2002
    ABU DHABI — Kuwait has drafted an emergency plan in coordination with the United States as officials reported an Iraqi buildup near the Kuwaiti border.

    On Monday, the Kuwaiti Al Rai Al Aam daily reported that authorities have cancelled all vacations for civil defense employees until further notice. The newspaper said the move is part of heightened preparations for an Iraqi attack.

    Related? Or not?

    Wasn't it August of 90 that Saddam did his thing the first time? And then, to cap it all off...

    XM Radio - New Channel Announcement

    Playboy Radio (ch. 205) — This adult entertainment premium channel, available for an additional $2.99 per month, will debut on XM on September 3, 2002.
    As if traffic wasn't bad enough ALREADY, now XM will have the Playboy Radio channel. Get both hands on that wheel, bub!


    Sunday, July 28
    News about Space Operations at's How to Make War.

    Most surprising was the S-21's stated mission - it's a tourist spacecraft. Sergei Kostenko, head of Suborbital Corporation (a US-Russian private firm created for the project) claimed in mid-March that "around 100 people have paid $100,000 each into a special account (to book places)". Knowing the Kremlin's penchant for double-duty taskings on Russia's civilian transportation infrastructure, there are probably several military missions being planned for the S-21.
    Suborbital flight - the final tourist frontier.

    At least, till NASA reverses it's retrocranial stance and seriously starts promoting SSTO and space tourism.



    Would you survive a horror movie? Find out @ She's Crafty

    You know, I like these quiz things. Cheap late-night entertainment...


    Dear Jerry Lawson,

    Congratulations on recently completing your 1,000th SETI@home workunit. Through your support, SETI@home has grown to become the largest distributed computation on Earth. We at SETI@home greatly appreciate the 2.58 years of computer time you have donated to the project, and hope that you will continue your support. As a small token of our appreciation, you may now download and print an official certificate stating your achievement of this goal, available at:
    Wow. Cool.

    Now, if we could just FIND something...


    Saturday, July 27
    Norwegian Blogger
    However I have one comment before I get into this, the problem is that the eternal rebel 68-generation type has gotten a lot of power in this society, that is someone that has developed the youthful urge of rebellion into an old age sclerotic hatred of the society they came from.

    These people were Communists, Stalinists, Maoists, supporters of Pol Pot, and violently opposed to the Vietnam War, America and everything it stood for. With their mothers milk they took in a deep contempt for bourgeouise life, and their love of academia gave them a love for the imaginary working class, but a vitriolic hatred of the actual working class.

    The thing though is that by now these people are the old fogies, the old guard, the people with power and influence, and they have excessive power over the media, education, and the foreign service. They are still unapologetic former followers of totalitarian ideologues, unlike former generations they have never broken with or tried to explain away their past because quite frankly they still believe they were basically right.
    Norway's having problems.

    The problems are with the immigrants from Islamic countries.

    They are (in essence) demanding that the Norwegian culture change to suit them, instead of them changing their culture to mesh with Norway's.

    The leaders of Norway see little to nothing wrong with this. The people of Norway are objecting to the hold the leaders have. This is being echoed at various volumes across Europe.

    This is a cogent and interesting view of things. Not a pleasant one, however.


    USS Clueless has an interesting post on how market forces have worked to our advantage in the PC world, and for a lesser extent the Mac world as far as development of hardware goes.

    In fact, Macs have benefited greatly from the PC competition. If it hadn't been for the evolution in PC design, Apple wouldn't have had much choice as far as components go. No telling where video would be stuck for the current Macs. Probably back in the EGA ages - you'd have 16 colors at 640x400 and like it.

    Anyway - like the current state of computers? Thank the gamers - they're the ones who've really pushed the hardware envelope. Machine speed, graphics capability, storage - it's been the gaming industry and it's continual challenges to the hardware that have pushed the envelope. (Along with Microsoft bloatware, too, to give the devil his due. If Windows was still under 20 mb in size, you think we'd have 20 GB drives selling for under $100? I doubt it, somehow.)


    Going after starry pan-Islamic futurists with a rubber glove and a sharp stick.
    MuslimPundit is up - and his posting is bad news indeed for those (like me) who think of Islam as a peaceful religion.

    Briefly, it is. When it's the only one.

    And if it has to destroy non-Islamic peoples or cultures, that's just the way it is.

    (Can't say that, as a member of a non-Islamic religion, I agree with that particular concept.)

    So it may well be that I've got my head planted in my nether regions about the co-existance of Islam and other religions. Frankly, I'm thinking we're in for some VERY interesting times.


    Yahoo! News - Rosie Suing Mad at "Rosie"?
    The Koosh Balls have hit the fan for Rosie O'Donnell. The recently retired talk-show host is apparently so irked at the content of her eponymous magazine that Rosie has reportedly threatened to sue Rosie.

    Rosie is jointly owned by O'Donnell and Gruner & Jahr USA. O'Donnell contributes her name, face and celebrity-friendly cachet, while Gruner & Jahr actually runs the magazine.

    Since Rosie began publishing in May 2001 (replacing Gruner & Jahr's moribund McCall's), O'Donnell has butted heads several times with her publishers. However, in recent weeks, things degenerated to such a point that, according to Tuesday's New York Times, O'Donnell told Gruner & Jahr execs that she may be forced to sic her lawyers against her own magazine.
    And the only winners will be the lawyers involved.


    WizKids - MechWarrior
    At first it was going to be a simple little fort, nail the crates together cut a door and a couple windows, throw on some paint and voila the kids have a playhouse. But change had already set in; the girls started talking about a tree house so the design evolved “upwards” to a fort on stilts. Over the next week as the “air fort” design was coming together a shift in paradigm occurred. When looking at the crates, Jim’s Mech-riddled brain now saw two LRM racks. So the question was posed to the children…. How about a “Mech tree house”?
    Mission creep rears it's ugly head...


    Marine Corps Times - R&R - News
    The MRE Gourmet: How to make a pouch meal even better
    What can I say - it's field non-cooking at it's finest.



    Friday, July 26
 - Saddam Is Sending Money to Families of Suicide Bombers
    GAZA — The friendship between Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat dates back to the Gulf War.
    Arafat stood by Hussein through that time, and Palestinians cheered when Iraqi Scuds landed on Tel Aviv.
    Now Hussein is returning the favor, sending $25,000 checks to the families of suicide bombers and $10,000 to those killed attacking Israel.
    At a ceremony on Monday in Gaza, three Palestinian families received checks. Their sons belonged to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
    So - tell me again how the kids in Iraq are suffering and starving because there's no money to buy food on the international markets?


    Obese man sues fast food chains
    A 5-foot-10-inch, 272-pound man has sued four major fast food chains, claiming their fare contributed to his obesity, heart disease and diabetes, his attorney said Friday. The lawsuit, which estimates that millions of Americans could be included in the claim, also seeks to have the companies label individual products with fat, salt, cholesterol and other dietary content as well as to warn consumers of potential health consequences.
    And it was filed in New York! I could see if it were filed in California - but New York?


    The Perseids are coming! The Perseids are coming! Meteor show gets off to a start
    The annual Perseid meteor shower has begun in modest fashion and will soon start building toward a peak Aug. 12, when as many as 60 or more shooting stars could be visible each hour from the Northern Hemisphere.


    Thursday, July 25
    OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan
    A month ago there were news reports of a post-Sept. 11 baby boom. Everyone was so rocked by news of their mortality that they realized there will never be a perfect time to have kids but we're here now so let's have a family. I believed the baby=boom story and waited for the babies.

    Then came the stories saying: Nah, there is no baby boom, it's all anecdotal, there's no statistical evidence to back it up. And I believed that too. But I've been noticing something for weeks now. In my neighborhood there is a baby boom. There are babies all over in Brooklyn. It is full of newborns, of pink soft-limbed infants in cotton carriers on daddy's chest. It is full of strollers, not only regular strollers but the kind that carry two children--double-wides. And triple-wides. In the stores and on the streets there are babies cooing, dribbling, staring, sleeping. I see them and feel a rush of tenderness. I want to kiss their feet, I want to make them laugh. Kids are always looking for someone to make them laugh. The sight of any dog can do it. The sight of another baby can do it. The sight of an idiotic adult covering her eyes with her hands and moving her hands away quickly can do it. I would know.

    I don't care what anyone says, there have got to be data that back up what I'm seeing: that after Sept. 11, there was at least a Brooklyn baby boom.
    Life goes on. Occasionally, when I look at a baby, or my little boy, I am optimistic. Optimistic that we're going to find a way out of our religious troubles, our enviornmental troubles, our population troubles... troubles, period.

    Laughter is God's gift to the soul.

    And children laugh a lot.


    Tuesday, July 23
    lgf: the gloves are off
    Think of it this way: if the Iraqi army tied a five-year-old to every tank, pillbox, and missile battery; if they had Saddam Hussein constantly surrounded by a slew of second-graders, if every soldier was always accompanied by a photogenic little ponytailed girl, would you let that neutralize the U.S. forces fighting this enemy? No -- the little children would die along with the soldiers and tank drivers, and the full responsibility for that would lay with Iraq, and we'd be telling tales of this cruelty for centuries hence. And so it is here. The Sheikh deliberately hid among civilians, and he wouldn't care one whit about killing 14 Israelis. So he was killed (to prevent more Israeli deaths), and unfortunately so were the people around him -- and the responsibility for those deaths lies with him and his lousy outfit.
    Yep. NOT with the Israelis.

    The Palestinians are ignoring the Rules of Warfare. You AVOID causing civilian casualties if at all possible. And there seems to be evidence that this bozo knew he was a target, so he surrounded himself with civilians - figuring the Israelis would be hesitant to fire.

    They weren't.


    From Little Green Footballs, some commentary on the death of the leader of the military wing of Hamas, Sheikh Salah Shehada
    lgf: the gloves are off
    As for the death of those civilians, they weren't "premeditated" -- they were unavoidable. Killing the Sheikh was a necessity. Killing him by any other means would have led to more, not fewer, Arab casualties, not to mention quite a few Israeli ones. The Israelis don't owe it to the Arabs to risk their own soldiers to save Arab lives. As I said earlier, the responsibility for civilian deaths is with the Palestinian militants who hid amongst the civilians.
    Predictably, the Israelis are being cast as the evil folk who destroyed five houses and killed at least nine other people in addition to their target.

    And you know, I just don't care that Palestinian civilians died. This registers right up at almost .01 on the Care-O-Meter, and doesn't even show a flicker on the Sympathy Counter. They tapped out that account a long time ago - and they show no signs of making any new deposits.

    Heartless, you may say? Cruel? Uncaring?

    Yah, sure, you betcha! The Israeli army and air force have been trying hard to minimize civilian casualties. (Don't point at the Jenin massacre - they didn't find any bodies above the number the Israelis said they killed, and that was less than 60. No mass graves, no heaps of half-burned bodies. Basically, a non-starter. And there's been NOTHING that shows me that Israel, under attack from the Palestinians, have been excessive in their responses.)

    The concept that you leave the leaders alone in a wartime situation is a rather ludicrous one. It's somehow more moral to throw thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of men into the meatgrinder of war, than to throw a missile that takes out the enemy's head military honcho. But that's not customary - it's just not done.

    Until now.

    The Palestinians better hope the Israeli's haven't learned any MORE lessons from the way the Palestinians've been fighting the war.


    Monday, July 22
    Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the
    possible designers of the human body.

    One said, ``It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the

    Another said, ``No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system
    has many thousands of electrical connections.''

    The last said, ``Actually it was a civil engineer. Who else would run
    a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?''
    Oldies, but goodies off of Usenet. Enjoy! (And try not to groan too loudly, okay?)


    An Engineered Tragedy
    Statistical Analysis of Casualties in the Palestinian - Israeli Conflict,
    September 2000 - June 2002
    Not a good read, if you're thinking the Palestinians are victims. Actually, I guess they are - they're victims of their own hatred, and their own leaders who foment that hatred.


    ‘Donahue’ for July 18
    PHIL DONAHUE, HOST: Good evening. She’s a well-known conservative whose book, “Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right” is on No. 1 position on “The New York Times” bestseller list. Looky, here.

    Well, welcome, Ann Coulter. You couldn’t have been meaner to me. I’m not in the book. What am I? A potted plant? And liberals are rich. If a liberal has indoor plumbing, he’s a hypocrite. Liberals are sort of classist type people who go around in limousines and are not in touch with the real world.

    You give me a headache. This book, I mean, on and on. I’ve never been so assaulted in my life.

    ANN COULTER, “SLANDER”: Oh, thank you. You’re not that assaulted.

    You weren’t mentioned.

    DONAHUE: That was the biggest thing that hurt. You’re proud of what you did to Bill and Hill, aren’t you? You impeached the guy.

    COULTER: Thank you. You’re one of the few who will give me credit for that.

    DONAHUE: Well, you’re right there. You were with-you played Monica’s tape-recorded conversations with Linda Tripp at your house parties, holiday time.

    COULTER: No, I didn’t, but that’s the last book. Can we talk about this book?

    DONAHUE: Wait a minute. Did you or did you not play the Monica tapes in your apartment, or is it a home, at a holiday time?

    COULTER: No, that is utterly preposterous. But I love that there are so many rumors about me out there, and that people want to talk about crazy things like this, rather than discuss my book.

    DONAHUE: David Brock, in his book “Blinded By the Right,” says you did.

    COULTER: Apparently he says a lot of things that aren’t true, though I haven’t read his book. I hear it’s wonderfully edited, though, because it’s edited by the same person as this book, which just came out.

    DONAHUE: But you’re proud that you spent $70 billion of the people’s money investigating Bill Clinton?

    COULTER: Are we really going to keep talking about the last book?

    DONAHUE: I want you to tell me if you’re proud of that. This is the first chance I’ve had to talk to you.

    COULTER: I’m disappointed that he was not removed from office. And, as I wrote in my last book-we will get to this book in a moment, right?

    DONAHUE: Well...

    COULTER: As I wrote in my last book, at the end of the introduction, the conclusion that if Clinton can get away with what he got away with, it would set a whole new standard for the entire country. And we are seeing that right now in these corporate scandals.
    If you read the transcript, Donahue comes across as a complete jerk. Coulter comes across very well, staying on track while Donahue tries to get her goat.

    After reading this, I'm even LESS likely to watch Donahue. I AM more likely to buy Coulter's book. I'm more likely - I'm not necessarily going to, but I'm more likely to.

    Coulter 1, Donahue 0.


    Yahoo! News - LAX Terminal Evacuated Over Buckle
    LOS ANGELES (AP) - A belt buckle that raised suspicion with security workers at Los Angeles International Airport caused the temporary evacuation of part of a terminal area Sunday, authorities said.

    The belt buckle had an image of an explosive device on it, said airport spokeswoman Gaby Pacheco. The item was discovered at about 4:30 p.m. by security workers monitoring a scanning machine on the departure level of the terminal, Pacheco said.

    The Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad investigated the item, said Officer Don Cox, a police spokesman.


    RUN! RUN! RUN! < /capslock >

    You know what's really scary about this? That there are (or were, I hope the screener who called this a problem got tossed out so fast that their head got windburn) people to whom this would be reasonable! Repeat after me: The PICTURE of a bomb is NOT the same thing AS a bomb!

    A belt buckle with the image of a bomb on it.

    Incredible. Simply incredible.


    Ever wanted to see Action Comics #1? The original issue that Superman was in? Take a look at Action Comics #1 for a full-page scan. They don't make them like this anymore... For one thing - out of 64 pages you don't have half of them full of advertising.

    Update: In fact, I think there's two pages of advertising. There's a bunch of stories, ranging in complexity from an almost wordless set of cartoons to half of a short story with a couple of illustrations. I can't think of a combination that would be better suited to drag kids along into reading - you start with the near-wordless illustrations, as you get older you read the dialog balloons and front pieces, then you move on up to the denser stories with few illustrations.

    And it only cost 10 cents. 64 pages...

    Then you look at comics these days. Complex story lines, virtually no explanation of the characters, 10 pages of artwork, twenty of ads, and kids don't buy them at $2.50 each. If you're lucky, you get a complete story in an issue - but that's rare.

    Think there's any chance that the comics companies would rethink things, and come out with something like Action #1 again? With a bunch of stories, published weekly, and priced at a dollar I'd be interested. But I kind of lost interest in comics the first time they killed off Superman. I'd buy them for Aaron, but there's nothing I'd give him that's appropriate for a 4-year old.

    Which is a shame.


    New stuff up at MeatBlog - take a look if you've a mind to.


    Sunday, July 21
 Beyond the Rubber Bullet
    The U.S. armed forces don't do much shooting anymore. Even in Afghanistan, they engage in more advising and guiding than gunplay. Soldiers today are asked more often to keep the peace or defuse demonstrations, and the last thing they want in those situations is to fire a lethal weapon. That's why the Pentagon is spending more and more research-and-development dollars on weapons that stun, scare, entangle or nauseate — anything but kill.

    The U.S.'s nonlethal-weapons programs are drawing their own fire, mostly from human-rights activists who contend that the technologies being developed will be deployed to suppress dissent and that they defy international weapons treaties. Through public websites, interviews with defense researchers and data obtained in a series of Freedom of Information Act requests filed by watchdog groups, TIME has managed to peer into the Pentagon's multimillion-dollar program and piece together this glimpse of the gentler, though not necessarily kinder, arsenal of tomorrow.
    Gods - ever wonder what would happen if peace activists ever had to confront reality?


    Saturday, July 20
    Editor: Myself - Hoder's English Blog
    i am in tehran now
    This is so hot here in Tehran. I had no trouble entering the country and I'm hoping the same when exiting. Yesterday was a anti-American demonstration. Although we all know these kind of demonstrations and people who participate in these kind of stuff. Most of them are govenrment staff who are forced to come, or they are gonna have problems. Even some of them are brought down to Tehran from other cities. So nobody should take these things seriousely. Iranians love Americans and their life-style, you just have to come here to see it. 01:42
    From an Iranian. Somehow, I'd be more inclined to trust his work than Iran's official news sources.


    Yahoo! News - Flaws in U.S. Air War Left Hundreds of Civilians Dead
    On-site reviews of 11 locations where airstrikes killed upward of 400 civilians suggest that American commanders have sometimes relied on mistaken information from local Afghans. Also, the Americans' preference for airstrikes instead of riskier ground operations has made it harder to discover when the intelligence is wrong.
    Okay - here we drop into the morally relative abyss.

    We're bombing a country where the leadership was actively fighting the US. Civilian casualties occur, along with miltiary. Civilian casulaties occur because the intelligence information we get from the Afghani resistance (and far be it from me to suggest that there might be some old intertribal scores settled in the process, oh no...) and WE are to blame for the deaths because we didn't use ground forces. We've got folks who hold grudges for centuries, who see the chance to settle them with a satphone call.

    Okay, for all you moral relativists out there - how many American lives is ONE Afghani civilian worth? Ten? A hundred?

    I say 0. We didn't want this war, we didn't start this war. Our responsibility is to our soldiers to not put them in harm's way unless needed, to use all the assets we have to the best of our ability, and to try our best to sort out the information as well as we can.

    But shit like this doesn't make it any easier.
    "On Dec. 20, according to rival Afghan commanders in Gardez, Mr. Zadran ordered fighters manning a checkpoint south of the city to halt a convoy of tribal elders from Khost who were heading to Kabul for the inauguration of the new interim government. They demanded that the elders pressure Mr. Karzai to appoint Mr. Zadran the governor of Paktia Province, Paktika and Khost provinces. The elders, Afghans in Gardez say, refused.

    A few hours later, the convoy of elders was hit by a succession of American attacks, killing most of the occupants. The survivors scrambled up a hill, toward the villages of Asmani and Pokharai, and the American planes, circling back, struck both villages, destroying about 20 homes.

    Rival warlords in Gardez say Mr. Zadran used his satellite phone to tell the Americans that the convoy was filled with Qaeda fighters.

    A few weeks after the strike, two men from a nearby village who were found sifting through the rubble of Asmani for their relatives' belongings said they had buried 42 villagers after the strike. The men were adamant that there had never been any Qaeda or Taliban fugitives there."
    There's a lot of stuff going on - we need to be cautious about what we're hitting - but we STILL have to hit it. The best we can do is to try to minimize casualties - and I don't think risking our soldiers is the way to do it. Crosscheck info? Sure. Watch out for petty crap? Sure. Kill all the warlords? (Hmmm...)

    It's war. Shit happens.


    Phil Donahue's loved. Really, really loved.

    Daily Pundit
    He's always been a moron. I still remember one time when he was railing about Ronald Reagan "violating the constitution" because he had said something about his faith in God during a speech.
    The one time I saw him speechless is when he had Cal Thomas on his program and Donahue said something to the effect, "The problem with you conservatives is that you think there are simple answers to complex problems." Cal without blinking said, "No the problem is you liberals take simple problems and make them complex."
    Posted by Jay Caruso at July 19, 2002 07:12 PM
    Complexity generates controversy - controversy generates ratings. Taking a simple problem and increasing the complexity gives liberals a chance to show just how much they really, really care.

    Off on a tangent, take the disposal of nuclear waste. From an engineering standpoint, the solution's simple. Vitrification of the stuff into glass blocks, storage of the glass in stainless steel containers, storage of the containers deep underground in geologically stable strata. It's not a perfect solution, but it's pretty good considering our courrent state of the art. And things can always be re-accessed and redone when the state of the art gets better.

    But environmental groups oppose anything resembing a solution, oppose transport of the stuff because it's not safe (and you should see those casks they use for transport - an M-1 tank isn't as well armored) oppose storing it underground (because there might be a volcano or something) while complaining about nuclear energy and how we should never have started using it in the first place.

    But they care. They really, really care. They don't know what to DO about it, they shoot down any ideas that come up, but you know they care. Because they tell you.

    They care. At least, for this week they do.


    Friday, July 19
    Authoritarian regimes ultimately fall because, as societies become more developed and interdependent, they also become increasingly difficult to govern by coercion. In some cases, "people power" on the street has brought such regimes down; in others, more subtle forms of resistance have been decisive. In almost all cases, the role of the middle class has been critical.
    The strategy of "passive aggression" would start by lifting the Draconian trade and investment sanctions on Iraq that have enriched Mr. Hussein's henchmen, wiped out the middle class and created appalling suffering. The Iraqi economy, now a quarter of its size in 1990, would be allowed to recover. This, in turn, would facilitate the re-emergence of the middle class -- the most effective potential source of resistance to the regime. Military-related sanctions would remain in place.
    Hmmmm. Interesting idea there - might be worth checking out...


    NEW YORK — Many Muslim Americans have faced discrimination since Sept. 11, but one Muslim cleric is working to change the terror-link perception while also working with the community to prevent further terror from within.
    Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani addressed his followers recently in New Jersey, just miles from Ground Zero, and called for action and change amongst Muslim Americans.
    "We have a problem in the Muslim community," Kabbani, chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, said. "What they did here is a big burden on their shoulder, and they are not going to run away, and they are going to be brought to justice."
    It's nice to see a leading cleric of a branch of the Islamic faith come out publicly and say that his religion's been hijacked. It's also good to see one talking moderation, and speaking out in no uncertain terms against the terrorists that have infested Islam.

    And if you're looking to send him some money (like I am) let me know what/when you find a good address.


    Thursday, July 18
    Moussaoui Attempts to Plead Guilty
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- The sole person charged in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Zacarias Moussaoui, tried to plead guilty Thursday and declared himself an al-Qaida warrior loyal to Osama bin Laden. The judge insisted that he take a week to consider the consequences in the death penalty case.
    U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema took the rare step of refusing to accept the plea after Moussaoui stunned the courtroom with his announcement. He kept talking after the judge told him to stop and almost was removed from the courtroom.
    Okay - he wants to plead guilty. He's PROUD of his guilt.

    And, he's a nutcase! Talk about entertainment value...


    Wednesday, July 17
    FBI official: Bin Laden likely dead
    WASHINGTON, July 17 — The FBI’s head of counterterrorism said Wednesday that he believed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden was dead, the first time a senior law enforcement figure had suggested that bin Laden did not survive the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
    No loss to the world. No loss, at all.


    Tuesday, July 16
    Neat Stuff, at CosmicLog.
    Space weather alert: The sun threw off a powerful “X3-class” solar flare as well as a wave of charged particles known as a coronal mass ejection on Monday — and that means there’s a heightened chance of geomagnetic disruptions and auroras, also known as the Northern or Southern Lights, over the next couple of days.
    Now if we only could see them locally...


    Found at ColdFury.Com (along with some other good stuff)
    Since the attack, I have seen, heard, and read thoughts of such surpassing stupidity that they must be addressed. You've heard them too. Here they are:

    1) "We're not good, they're not evil, everything is relative."
    Listen carefully: We're good, they're evil, nothing is relative. Say it with me now and free yourselves. You see, folks, saying "We're good" doesn't mean "We're perfect." Okay? The only perfect being is the bearded guy on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The plain fact is that our country has, with all our mistakes and blunders, always been and always will be, the greatest beacon of freedom, charity, opportunity, and affection in history. If you need proof, open all the borders on Earth and see what happens. In about half a day, the entire world would be a ghost town, and the United States would look like one giant line to see "The Producers."

    2) "Violence only leads to more violence."
    This one is so stupid you usually have to be the president of an Ivy League university to say it. Here's the truth, which you know in your heads and hearts already: ineffective, unfocused violence leads to more violence. Limp, panicky, half-measures lead to more violence. However, complete, fully-thought-through, professional, well-executed violence never leads to more violence because, you see, afterwards, the other guys are all dead. That's right, dead. Not "on trial," not "reeducated," not "nurtured back into the bosom of love." Dead. D-E-Well, you get the idea.

    3) "The CIA and the rest of our intelligence community has failed us."
    For 25 years we have chained our spies like dogs to a stake in the ground, and now that the house has been robbed, we yell at them for not protecting us. Starting in the late seventies, under Carter appointee Stansfield Turner, the giant brains who get these giant ideas decided that the best way to gather international intelligence was to use spy satellites." After all," they reasoned, "you can see a license plate from 200 miles away." This is very helpful if you've been attacked by a license plate. Unfortunately, we were attacked by humans. Finding humans is not possible with satellites.You have to use other humans. When we bought all our satellites, we fired all our humans, and here's the really stupid part. It takes years, decades to infiltrate new humans into the worst places of the world. You can't just have a guy who looks like Gary Busey in a Spring Break '93 sweatshirt plop himself down in a coffee shop in Kabul and say "Hiya, boys. Gee, I sure would like to meet that bin Laden fella." Well, you can, but all you'd be doing is giving the bad guys a story they'll be telling for years.

    4) "These people are poor and helpless, and that's why they're angry at us."
    Uh-huh, and Jeffrey Dahmer's frozen head collection was just a desperate cry for help. The terrorists and their backers are richer than Elton John and, ironically, a good deal less annoying. The poor helpless people, you see, are the villagers they tortured and murdered to stay in power. Mohamed Atta, one of the evil scumbags who steered those planes into the killing grounds (I'm sorry, one of the "alleged hijackers," according to CNN - they stopped using the word "terrorist," you know), is the son of a Cairo surgeon. But you knew this, too. In the sixties and seventies, all the pinheads marching against the war were upper-middle-class college kids who grabbed any cause they could think of to get out of their final papers and spend more time drinking. At least, that was my excuse. It's the same today. Take the Anti-Global-Warming (or is it World Trade? Oh who knows what the hell they want) demonstrators. They all charged their black outfits and plane tickets on dad's credit card before driving to the airport in their SUV's.

    5) "Any profiling is racial profiling."
    Who's killing us here, the Norwegians? Just days after the attack, the New York Times had an article saying dozens of extended members of the gazillionaire bin Laden family living in America were afraid of reprisals and left in a huff, never to return to studying at Harvard and using too much Drakkar. I'm crushed. I think we're all crushed. Please come back.With a cherry on top? Why don't they just change their names, anyway? It's happened in the past. Think about it. How many Adolfs do you run intothese days? Shortly after that, I remember watching TV with my jaw on the floor as a government official actually said, "That little old grandmother from Sioux City could be carrying something." Okay, how about this: No, she couldn't. It would never be the grandmother from Sioux City. Is it even possible? What are the odds? Winning a hundred Powerball lotteries in a row? A thousand? A million? And now a Secret Service guy has been tossed off a plane and we're all supposed to cry about it because he's an Arab? Didn't it have the tiniest bit to do with the fact that he filled out his forms incorrectly - three times? And then left an Arab history book on his seat as he strolled off the plane? And came back? Armed? Let's please all stop singing "We Are the World" for a minute and think practically. I don't want to be sitting on the floor in the back of a plane four seconds away from hitting Mt. Rushmore and turn, grinning, to the guy next to me to say, "Well, at least we didn't offend them."

    SO HERE'S what I resolve for the new year:
    Never to forget our murdered brothers and sisters.
    Never to let the relativists get away with their immoral thinking.
    After all, no matter what your daughter's political science professor says, we didn't start this.
    Have you seen that bumper sticker that says, "No More Hiroshimas"? I wish I had one that says, "You First. No More Pearl Harbors."
    The more I'm seeing, the less and less I think that Islam is as peaceful a religion as I thought. Perhaps I'm judging too harshly, perhaps I'm basing my views of it on information that's been colored by the media. Perhaps it's akin to judging Christianity by the folks who had those fun parties called the Crusades and the Inquisition.... but I don't like a lot of what I see, that apparently a lot of Islamic folk have no problem with. All it talkes is about ten, fifteen minutes of surfing, and you find plenty of evidence that dissent from the mainstream is only only discouraged, it can get you killed.

    Relativisim is fine - but it would not only be banned under Islam, the practicioners would likely be killed.


    Monday, July 15
    News, Views, And Random Cursing
    Count Me In On This One
    To show our support for the Iranian people, we each have agreed to display this letter, in English and in Farsi, on our pages from sunrise to sunset today, Tehran time.

    We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.

    What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.

    Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:

    - That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
    - That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny

    We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.

    And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.

    And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come.

    From Random Jottings.
    Or, from Cold Fury.

    Needless to say, I support the struggle of the people of Iran against the Mullahs that control them...


    Sunday, July 14
    IranMania News - Tehran slams Bush's "open interference" in its affairs
    TEHRAN, July 13 (AFP) - Iranian state radio on Saturday denounced US President George W. Bush's "open interference" in the Islamic state's internal affairs after the US head of state urged Tehran to abandon its "destructive policies."

    "How does Mr Bush, who has no legitimacy back home, allow himself to openly interfere in Iran's affairs and speak of reforms," the radio said in a first reaction to the US president's comments Friday.

    "Americans have until now been careful not to directly interfere in our affairs, but this is flagrant (interference)," it said.
    If mentioning that your system doesn't work at all well is interfering, if having hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating against your government is just seen as normal politics and nothing to be concerned with, then it's probably about time you realized that you can keep a lid on dissent for only so long - and that it's a lot better to allow dissent and change than keep a culture oppressed and static.


    IranMania News - Tower of Pisa impotence ad makes hardliners see red
    TEHRAN, July 14 (AFP) - An advertisement for a "miracle" impotence cure depicting a man vying to raise the Tower of Pisa has left hardliners here fuming after it ran in the main official daily Iran over the weekend.

    The advert by a health-ministry-approved drugs firm claimed to offer a 'miracle' treatment for impotence with '98 percent success rate.' Public discussion of sex remains taboo in Iran 23 years after the Islamic revolution, creating a total dearth of sex education which sociologists blame for a hight rate of marital problems.

    "The publication of this advertisement and especially the drawing are immoral acts", the arch-conservative Jomhouri-Eslami newspaper complained Sunday. The paper asked how Iran, which is run by the official IRNA news agency, "dares to publish this depraved and immoral advertisement that is an attack on all modesty."
    Ummm, maybe because they don't think that YOUR standards are necessarily the best ones? The picture's funny, too. I can see the humor in it - it's a shame that the mullahs can't. (Many thanks to Asparagirl for posting this on her blog.)

    China planning manned mission to space - The Times of India
    WASHINGTON: China may launch its first manned mission to space by 2003 or 2004, the Pentagon says in its annual report to Congress on the state of Chinese military.

    The report, issued on Friday says that Beijing has thorough knowledge of US and foreign space operations and has long-term plans to launch its own space station, and possibly a reusable space plane as well.
    Well, maybe THIS will get NASA moving. But then again, they only have so much money to work with...

    BTW, did you know that you can fly from Bangalore to Hyderabad for Rs. 1999? (About $41 US...)

    Rates subject to change - better reserve now!


    Update: This is a weird use of cookies - I used the converter to see what Rs 1999 would be - now CNN is putting out popunders for calling cards so I can call the family back in India... Guess it's time to delete my cookie cache.


    From Daimnation!, the blog by Damian Penny of Corner Brook, Newfoundland
    Mail call: special neo-Nazi asshole edition I recieved an e-mail today from none other than Bill White, the viciously anti-Jewish Maryland legistaure candidiate I noticed yesterday. (See below.)

    Don't misunderstand my sign -- I really don't like Jews, or at least most of them. There are some exceptions, but usually in spite of the Jewishness. At least enough of the County agrees with me to keep voting for me. ;-D

    I also don't think a few fringe Jews attempting to ban Christmas represent "omnipotence" -- I mean, we beat you on it, didn't we? Just like you guys have beaten trying to ban Easter, trying to change the state song, trying to start racial troubles in Damascus, trying to exclude people from your political events, et cetera, et cetera. It's not your power to do things that bothers me, it's the things you would do if you had the power. But I guess it's typical for a Jew to exaggerate the power and importance which others
    attribute to you. :->

    The phase of history in which Judaism was expedient is ending; I don't think the Jewish lobby can survive another century. That's not necessarily a good thing, since it will certainly be replaced with something worse, but se la vie ... :->

    BTW, A reader of mine sent me your site. Amusing. Never heard of you, did a quick search on you, and you don't look like you've ever achieved anything of importance. Have fun though. ;-D

    The man's a nutcase. His site at has some interesting links, he makes no bones about the fact of his dislike for Jews or Israel, and Pravda seems to love him.

    I think I'm going to find out who his opponent(s) are, and donate to them. We don't need someone like this in office, except as a cautionary tale.

    And I, for one, don't want to read the story involved...


    Saturday, July 13
    Yahoo! News - Bin Laden Along Afghan-Pakistan Border -- Spy Chief
    BERLIN (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden ( news - web sites) is alive, probably in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan ( news - web sites), the head of Germany's BND foreign intelligence network said in a newspaper interview due to be published on Sunday.

    "Given the information we have we are convinced that bin Laden is still alive," August Hanning, president of the Bundesnachrichtendienst agency, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper. Bin Laden is Washington's main suspect in the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

    "He is still the figurehead of al Qaeda, but doesn't appear to move around very much, and if at all, in a very conspiratorial way," Hanning said.
    You know, that's a very interesting way of putting things. It strikes me that he could very well be alive, but severely wounded. It takes a long time to recover from losing an arm(s) or leg(s) and it's pretty certain he wouldn't have much in the way of decent medical care. Add it all in, and if he's not dead, it's pretty clear why he's not been doing his little "Live from The Cave of The Martyrs" videos. ...


    Air Force releases most specialties from Stop-Loss
    06/21/02 - WASHINGTON -- Air Force personnel officials announced June 21 the release of most Air Force specialty codes from Stop-Loss, a Defense Department program designed to retain members of the armed forces beyond established dates of separation or retirement.

    You know, I'm kind of wondering at that. If we're going to get into a real war - could it be they're looking at quality over quantity, instead of going for quantity as they did in WW2, Korea, and such?

    As I said... hmmm...


    A Few Saudis Defy a Rigid Islam to Debate Their Own Intolerance
    The austere teachings of Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab, who rejected the worship of saints or idols, have been prevalent in Saudi Arabia for more than two centuries. The ruling Saud dynasty owes its very control over the peninsula's once fractious tribes to the fact that their ancestors championed his teachings.

    Saudis abhor the term Wahhabism, feeling it sets them apart and contradicts the notion that Islam is a monolithic faith. But Wahhabi-inspired xenophobia dominates religious discussion in a way not found elsewhere in the Islamic world.

    Bookshops in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, for example, sell a 1,265-page souvenir tome that is a kind of "greatest hits" of fatwas on modern life. It is strewn with rulings on shunning non-Muslims: don't smile at them, don't wish them well on their holidays, don't address them as "friend."

    A fatwa from Sheik Muhammad bin Othaimeen, whose funeral last year attracted hundreds of thousands of mourners, tackles whether good Muslims can live in infidel lands. The faithful who must live abroad should "harbor enmity and hatred for the infidels and refrain from taking them as friends," it reads in part.
    Saudis in general, and senior princes in particular, reject the notion that this kind of teaching helps spawns terrorists.

    "Well, of course I hate you because you are Christian, but that doesn't mean I want to kill you," a professor of Islamic law in Riyadh explains to a visiting reporter.

    What is it with these folks? Do they have a definition of hatred that is perhaps akin to our "mild disgust looking at a pile of dogshit" or perhaps "dislike of cleaning out the catbox"?

    This seems to be a very intolerant society and religious branch - yet we're supposed to give them all credence and be really nice to them, because we're the tolerant society and we've got to be a good example to them.

    Like they apparently care.

    I'll freely admit that the more of it I'm seeing, the less I'm inclined to respect the entire Islamic world. Intolerance is rampant, stagnation in science and literature is preferred, government corruption over there makes our governmental turbulence look positively non-existant, subjugation of women is legally assured, no questioning of the tenets of their beliefs is tolerated, and this is seen as perfectly acceptable by the leftward factions in our society. Or at least it was - there's indications that some of the more radical leftists are sawing off the limbs that are supporting them, and others are going "uh, you know that we're supporting folks who wouldn't have a moment's hesitation to kill us because of the freedoms we believe in."...

    Sigh. Well, we lost Communism as an enemy - I hate to see it replaced with Islamofacism, but it may happen.


    Okay - OilBlog is now up, regarding the new data and theories concerning petroleum sources and primordial composition. Mosat of the postings I had here have been moved THERE, so if you're looking for something that was here, go there.

    The big question - what sort of relevance does it have for this site? It's an interesting sidebar, I think, and seeing we're so dependent on oil in our country it's worth looking at some theories that show the ME doesn't have quite the lock on things that they might think. Indeed, without the oil they sell they haven't got much at all...

    Hey, don't yawn so much - you might find it interesting.

    And don't all rush to it at once, hear? You might slip and hurt yourselves...


    Friday, July 12
    The Origin of Methane (and Oil) in the Crust of the Earth
    The deposits of hydrocarbons in the crust of the Earth have long been regarded by many investigators as deriving from materials incorporated in the mantle at the time of the Earth's formation. Outgassing processes, active in all geological epochs, then transported the liquids and gases liberated there into porous rocks of the crust. The alternative viewpoint, that biological debris was the source material for all crustal hydrocarbons, gained widespread acceptance when molecules of clearly biological origin were found to be present in most commercial crude oils.
    Okay - here's the paper that started it all. And I think I'll be starting another blog, dealing with the oily stuff...


    Ane a bit more...

    Supplies of oil may be inexhaustible - 05/29/02
    On April 16, Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, published a startling report that old oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico were somehow being refilled. That is, new oil was being discovered in fields where it previously had not existed.
    Scientists, led by Mahlon Kennicutt of Texas A&M University, speculate that the new oil is surging upward from deposits well below those currently in production. "Very light oil and gas were being injected from below, even as the producing was going on," he said.
    Although it is not yet known whether this is a worldwide phenomenon or commercially important, the new discovery suggests that there may be far more oil and gas within the Earth's core than previously thought.
    Kennicutt is not the first to suggest that vast hydrocarbon deposits may lie well below those currently known. In 1995, the New York Times reported that geochemist Jean Whelan of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts had also found evidence that oil was moving upward into reservoirs from somewhere far deeper.
    Oil heresy? Once tapped, forever gone - or so the thinking went.

    Well, guess the old "good news, bad news" routine still works. Bad news is, the ME is about to destroy itself. Good news is, we won't have to depend on them for oil anyway...


    Now, this one is a mix of geological science and Fortean philosophy. Can you tell where one ends and the other begins?

    The End of Fossil Fuels
    With a title like The End of Fossil Fuels you may think that this is an article about alternative energy or "free" energy, but alas, it is not. It is an attempt to describe the inadequacy of the term "fossil fuel" and to prevent its further usage in the English language through education in the mysteries of the hydrocarbon structures in the earth. I can't blame people for having used this misleading phrase, being guilty myself. We are regularly taught such misconceptions in school. But one should always be ready to learn new ideas and concepts, especially once the evidence is investigated.

    Thursday, July 11
    On Fear versus Caution:

    Little kids are fearless. I watch my son, and he's doing things that almost continually have me biting my lower lip - because I know how much they're going to hurt IF he slips and falls. (He doesn't - mostly.) It's like "Hey, my body is a great toy! Let's see what it can do!" And more power to him on that - as long as he doesn't try to stick his hand through a fan blade or something. I'm not fearless - I know pain hurts (especially a badly twisted ankle, which isn't really right yet.) and I tend to avoid possible falls and physical contusions...

    But yet, sometimes he's the most cautious person I know - attempts to get him to eat new foods elicit an expression like we're trying to feed him rat poison, and he will NOT go play with other kids at the church in his age group. This worries me - and I don't know what I can do about it. Me, I'll try pretty much any cuisine on the planet, and have eaten things that would make my wife (and a lot of my friends) gag. But like Aaron, I'm cautious around people until I get to know them. Is that hereditary, I wonder?

    It strikes me that as we grow up we tend to get a lot less cautious, then it seems to kick in again. Taking my own case as an example, there's a lot of things I did in my teens and twenties that I wouldn't even attempt at the present time. Conversely, there's things I'd like to try that I probably won't - and again it's because of the cautious tendencies that seem to be cropping up as I get older. For instance, there's little to no way that we'd move if I got offered an excellent job in California - because we'd be leaving behind a life here. (In fact, I got offered the possibility to move to Rhode Island in '96, at a significant increase over my then pay. If I'd been single, I might have. But it wouldn't have been a certainty at all.)

    Oh, I enjoy reading about new things and new technology - I'd dearly LOVE to go into space, though that doesn't seem to be in the cards. But really new experiences? Ummm... Heck, I've got enough problems trying to stir myself to clean out the garage and continue trying to teach myself sheet-metal work. Intellectual and physical inertia, I guess.

    I just turned 46. My mother is still alive at 85, my father is 82. With expected advances in medicine, I figure I'm good till 90, if I take care of myself - and I try to.

    But what's the point? Like I said, I'm interested in new tech - heck, I'm interested in a lot of things - but the urge to actually dive into them is limited in a lot of ways by my pre-existing cautions. I'm really not looking forward to viewing "This Same Old Shit, with minor variations on a theme" for the next 45 years...

    Should I take a page from Aaron, and start stretching myself - even though I know the inevitable mistakes are going to hurt? Or am I just going through a mid-life crisis of sorts, and it'll be better in a few months...

    Or, in the words of Glen Campbell from the '60s...

    The Straight Life

    Sometimes I imagine myself as a drifter
    A seeker of fortune, connoisseur of great wines
    Dashin' through meadows of yellow and green
    Tryin' to catch the impossible dream
    A-leavin' the straight life behind

    Sometimes my thoughts found me way down in Mexico
    A-drinkin' tequila goin' out of my mind
    Havin' a ball on a couple 'a bob
    A-treatin' the ladies to corn on the cob
    A-leavin' the straight life behind

    And suddenly all my silly thoughts disappear
    She comes to me softly with crackers and beer
    A-winkin' and blinkin' and blowin' my ear
    A-runnin' away with my mind

    It's great to be in love, I'm not really thinkin' of
    A-leavin' the straight life behind
    I'm just playin' a game in my-y mind

    Once in a while in my mind I go a-bummin'
    A-goin' nowhere, with no worry of time
    Runnin' along chasin' after a train
    Hummin' a song in the sun and the rain
    A-leavin' the straight life behind

    I can just see me on a tropical island
    A-ridin' the surf and drinkin' coconut wine
    Havin' me fun with the girls in the sand
    Chasin' the sun through an innocent land
    A-leavin' the straight life behind

    Suddenly all my silly thoughts disappear
    She comes to me softly with crackers and beer
    A-winkin' and blinkin' and blowin' my ear
    A-runnin' away with my mind

    It's great to be in love, I'm not really thinkin' of
    A-leavin' the straight life behind
    I'm just playin' a game in my-y mind
    Maybe that's it. What do you think?


    VodkaPundit - Chill Before Serving
    More Required Reading
    New David Warren. Need I say more?
    Well, OK -- here's a taste:

    It is hardly being reported, but there are currently daily skirmishes over the "exclusion zones" in northern and southern Iraq. Planes from the U.S. and Britain have stepped up missions considerably, and their purpose seems to be to gain intelligence on Saddam Hussein's military dispositions.

    In addition, the U.S. has established a substantial special forces presence in eastern Jordan near the border with Iraq -- close to the principal concentration of Iraqi Scud missiles (aimed probably at Israel). This U.S. deployment has been fairly obvious; it is designed to force Saddam to show his hand, by moving his own western defences in response to the threat.

    Jordan? Really? I have it on good authority that Jordan has (for reasons of survival) long played on both sides of the terrorist fence (Worst. Metaphor. Ever.), but this kind of cooperation with the US is new, and, if true, very, very big news.

    There's a fine highway that runs from Amman to Baghdad. For the last ten years, refugess and oil-smuggling tanker trucks have run west across that road.

    How about 3rd ACR take that road east?

    November? Maybe late October.


    Wednesday, July 10
    From Little Green Footballs
    Paranoia is totally justified (they ARE out to kill us) but I just don't see a hijacking working. Just today we saw a guy at Heathrow go for the cockpit, and the entire crew and passengers went after him, and they wern't even American (by and large). (Note: I haven't seen this anywhere else.)

    Whole new world. Someone seizes your plane = immediate death sentence for you and everyone aboard. Period. There is no argument or way around that. Ergo, they will not seize the plane, because you and I will tear their eyes from their skull, and if I die trying, the guy behind me dies trying, and the guy behind him dies trying, the fourth, fifth, and sixth will get to the hijackers.

    Maybe I'm hopefully naive, but I think the days of the hijacker are over. The terrorists will strike, but not that way.
    Keep our guard up up up, no doubt, but I don't see it happening.
    posted by Andrew X @ 7/10/2002 10:29AM PST | #17
    As I've said before, the paradigm has shifted. Being hijacked was once an 'adventure' - now it's a death sentence.

    And as far as the possibility of pilots carrying firearms - Go for it! If (heaven forbid) a terrorist DOES attack and get the gun in the cockpit - the folks in the plane are dead anyway as soon as the terrorist can find his target, or an F-16 shoots down the plane.


    Dreaded Purple Master
    Daniel had a heart attack on the way to work Monday afternoon. He parked the car and called his boss who called the ambulance, which took him to the closest hospital, Kennestone. Kennestone stablilized him and sent him to Crawford W. Long. They did a heart catheterization and found the clot. They did the angioplasty and put in a stent then and there. Daniel did ask for a room with an internet connection but the nurses just laughed. :-)
    Good for you, Daniel! Got your priorities straight - blog the experience!

    Seriously, my friend, here's wishing a speedy recovery. Anything I can do, let me know.


    Tuesday, July 9
    WhatDIDN' -
    Devoted to smashing conspiracy theories and humiliating their purveyors!
    Take a look.


    [08 Jul 2002 A.D. | 10.48 PM]
    Rapatronic photographs (more, more, more!) of test nuclear explosions in the 1950s. Each shot was taken at intervals of millionths of a second. Even milliseconds after detonation, the deadly fireball had already engulfed the blast tower. Amazing.


    Rapatronic 'Rope Tricks'


    In retrospect, you go "Oh, of course..."

    But you don't think of it when you see it...


    Monday, July 8
    Michael Ledeen on Iran on National Review Online
    Two bombs were found last week in downtown Tehran, one in an automobile in front of the Judiciary Ministry, the other at the intriguing "Council of Deciding What is Best For the Government." Dozens of anti-government organizations are calling for peaceful demonstrations on July 9, Tuesday, the third anniversary of the monster student rally against the regime at the university, and an army officer, thus far anonymous and perhaps even apocryphal, is widely quoted as having said "if a million people demonstrate July 9th we shall arrest the leaders of the Islamic Republic and turn them over to the people."

    Why do I get the feeling the next six months are going to be interesting...


    Cold Fury - News, Views, and Random Cursing
    Received a most interesting e-mail this morning, one that Lori Ann at least will find intriguing and encouraging:
    I'm in Intermodal transportation, rail-truck/truck-rail, you know the drill. Anyway, lately the industry has been hobbled by an acute shortage of equipment, trailers & containers. A seasonal shortage is not unusual and is expected every fall. This year however the shortage is way early, like now. And in past years, the equipment always accumulated on the East or West coast and the shortage was felt at manufacturing centers. Rail Roads would reposition empties at their cost to the interior. This year it's different. There is no equipment to be had anywhere. Not East coast, not West coast, not in the interior. The last time this happened was just prior to the Gulf War. The military sucked up the containers/trailer and rail space prior to the public announcement of Desert Shield. Could the equipment shortages the Intermodal industry is seeing now be a precursor to a military build-up? Something for you to consider....
    Yep. Indeed it is.
    Any massive movement of equipment will indeed require a lot of these containers. As far as the troops go - remember the convoys passing through Atlanta for the Gulf War?

    If I were a betting man... I'd say about November things are going to kick off. Although, if Iran's clerical theocracy falls, the timetable might be accellerated. Ol' Saddam might think it's time to make a land-grab.

    Wouldn't it be funny if Iran asked us for help? After stringing up the mullahs, of course...

    Remember what happened in Romania. The leaders of repressive dictatorships can't allow their people ANY freedom. North Korea is a fine example of that. Iran's clerical leadership's been allowing it's people a lot of freedom, comparatively. It'll be their downfall...


 - Wave of husband killings in Iran - July 8, 2002
    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Married at age 13 to a man 18 years her senior, Ferdows was the wife that Iranian society expected her to be: obedient, and silent, despite the beatings and humiliation.
    But after 30 years of marriage, she had had enough. She arranged to have her husband, Hedayat, killed, authorities say.

    Ferdows, who has been convicted of murder and sentenced to death, is one of at least 20 Tehran women accused of murdering their husbands since February. Initially, the reports of the slayings were largely unnoticed. That changed as the number rose and Iranians began to see the killings as signs of social stresses.

    "Husband killing is a new phenomenon in Iran's male-dominated society. It means economic hardships and social crises are reaching a crisis point," said Mohammad Ahmadi, a sociologist.

    He cited a number of problems in Iranian society that lead to frustration and desperation: forced marriages, philandering by husbands, impotence, poverty and no healthy entertainment in a country whose Islamic laws ban socializing between men and women who are not closely related.

    Others blame restrictive divorce laws that leave women feeling murder is the only way out of a bad marriage.

    Looks like not all is happy under clerical rule. Other bits and pieces I've seen lead me to think that it's a matter of months, if not weeks, until Iran undergoes a revolution of sorts - and the hardline clerics will have two options. Bug out, or swing from the lampposts...

    But hey, they're doing Allah's will - aren't they?


    What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?
    If the members of the American medical establishment were to have a collective find-yourself-standing-naked-in-Times-Square-type nightmare, this might be it. They spend 30 years ridiculing Robert Atkins, author of the phenomenally-best-selling ''Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution'' and ''Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution,'' accusing the Manhattan doctor of quackery and fraud, only to discover that the unrepentant Atkins was right all along. Or maybe it's this: they find that their very own dietary recommendations -- eat less fat and more carbohydrates -- are the cause of the rampaging epidemic of obesity in America. Or, just possibly this: they find out both of the above are true.
    An interesting article - wouldn't it be odd if the food pyramid that's currently accepted (with sparse servings of meat and loads of grains) is inverted from what we're actually designed to process?

    It'd also explain why I've been gaining weight the last couple of years - I'm eating less meat and a lot more starches. Maybe I ought to start the bacon and egg meals again...


    Sunday, July 7
    United Press International: Farrakhan in Iraq for 'solidarity' visit
    BAGDAD, Iraq, July 6 (UPI) -- Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan held a series of meetings Saturday with Iraqi officials on the second day of his visit to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, to discuss ways to avoid a possible U.S. military campaign.
    The official Iraqi News Agency, INA, said Farrakhan, on a "solidarity" visit to Iraq, held talks with Islamic Affairs Minister Abdul Munem Saleh on "ways to confront the American threats against Iraq."
    INA quoted the African-American Muslim leader as saying "the Muslim American people are praying to the almighty God to grant victory to Iraq."


    Aid and comfort to Enemy?

    Maybe we'll be lucky, and he'll stay there....


    New metal alloy is super strong
    It could be the new superhero of metals. More than twice as strong as titanium and steel, it doesn’t rust and it can be cast like plastic and honed to an edge as sharp as glass. And like any superhero, it has a weakness: don’t heat it too much, or it loses its strength.
    Neat! And they can cast it with accuracies of 1 micron.



    Saturday, July 6
    The Army Game

    Not too shabby, at least what I've seen so far looks pretty good.
    Code of Conduct

    Any and all threats against the server, including attempts to hack, crash, or flood a server, actual or implied, are instant grounds for removal and can result in legal action. Come on, this is the U.S. Army you're messing with! Be smart.

    Derogatory language or slander involving race, gender, sexual preference, religion or creed, including negative use of otherwise harmless words such "gay" or "jew" will not be tolerated.

    Excessively harassing other players is not permitted on Official ArmyOps servers. A little healthy competitive trash-talking is tolerable; however excessive comments directed at specific players will be grounds for warning and/or removal.

    Impersonation of AGA, Dev team members, or other members of the Army staff or other fraudulent use of tag of identification is immediate grounds for removal from the servers . This includes close spellings intended to deceive other players in the servers.

    In-game Actions

    The following will not be permitted on any of the Official ArmyOps server:

    - Purposely opening fire on teammates
    - Using flash or smoke grenades to disorient teammates
    - Standing in passageways to purposely block teammates
    - Spamming chat or voice commands


    Following the first few weeks after the launch, as the game develops and players gain experience and understanding of strategy, the environment, and team deployment, the Official ArmyOps servers will command the highest level of dedication and understanding of the game and one.s role in it. Players will be expected to work together as a team. Choosing not to follow commands with the rest of your team is done at your own peril; lone wolf Rambo wanna-be's may be removed from the server without warning. This is a game about the Army. They tend to want you to obey orders in the Army. If you disagree with the commands you are given, it is within your means to advance yourself to a commanding position. It is recommended you choose the legitimate course of action for your own continued well-being.
    It'll be interesting to see what the on-line gaming community has to say about this - and whether it does two things:

    1. Has a long-term following (of course, games like Ultima On-Line and other on-line RPGs seem to)

    2. Increases recruiting numbers.

    Me, I want to see "America's Air Force"...

    Oh, wait. I already have!