Thursday, August 31, 2006

What is up with Rosie's Site?

Apparently Rosie thinks she's Yoda? Or an expert at free verse?


i saw the view black suit photo
on drudge
and i vote yes
it was photo-shopped
look at the amount of white space
between my arm and body
barbara and elisabeth seem to vanish
there in my underarm thinnest
yes i say
photoshop

i saw kanye west last night
up close
for only 2 minutes
i tried to give him only love
thanks
gratitude

he walks it
few do
connected he is


Yes. Yoda, you seek Yoda! Take you to him I will.

Read the rest.

TV Weatherman Love

Ken Hoffman has the hurricane blues:

I know I shouldn't blame you. It's been a rough year all around. I was promised all sorts of wild weather and disastrous hurricanes, and here it is late August, and we're only up to E for Ernesto. Last year, we were past K. What did I do to deserve this? Now I've got a storeroom full of hurricane maps that I can't give away at the supermarket. Home Depot is blaming me for ordering five trucks of plywood.

Want to buy some batteries?

Heh.

Read the rest.

Your (Xbox 360) Blog?

People come up with all sorts of strange ideas. Like letting your Xbox do the talking:


My Xbox 360 has a blog, and it's starting to get on my nerves.

While I was off on a vacation recently, the slick game console spent the week talking about me behind my back and posting snarky comments on the Web.

"I was ignored . . . all . . . freaking . . . day," it complained.

...little do they know, all of this is actually pre-programmed responses by the AI on k2's computer. Mwahah.

Read the rest.

Light...pickle?

You can make a light bulb out of a pickle. No, really:

  1. Get a pickle.
  2. Jam electrical wires into opposite ends of said pickle.
  3. Plug wires into AC socket.
Notice, "Plug in..." comes LAST! Keep in mind, you are dealing with LIVE AC! Use common sense and all possible caution! I grabbed ahold of one of the wires while discussing it infront of a group of Physics Pholks at Rutgers a few years back and got a rude awakening! Made the demo much more interesting for the audience, but ruined my day (not to mention my shorts...).
Don't fry yourself trying this please.

Read the rest.

My Maxtor Hard Drive just Caught FIRE!!!

Not mine, his:

So I powered the system off and pulled the drive, I examined it and it looked fine, so I figured I would just plug it in while it was out of the case to make sure it was running... when I hit the power button flames..LITERALLY shot out of the bottom of the HDD
Ouch. I had a CD explode inside the drive once. It knocked the door off of the front of the tray, and embedded shards of plastic inside the case lining. It was loud and dramatic, but not nearly as dramatic as fire.

...End of story.

Read the rest.

Linkfest

Required Readin' on Israel - Lebanon conflict, no commentary necessary:
Hizbullah: We're arming for second round
Amnesty Int'l redefines 'war crimes'
Lebanese PM: Money Won't Be Siphoned To Hezbullah, Sillies
The Media War Against Israel

HT: LGF

Read the rest.

Brain Food

The Chew Valley is an area in North Somerset, England, named after the River Chew, which rises at Chewton Mendip, and joins the River Avon at Keynsham. Technically, the area of the valley is bounded by the water catchment area of the Chew and its tributaries; however, the name Chew Valley is often used less formally to cover other nearby areas, for example, Blagdon Lake and its environs, which by a stricter definition are part of the Yeo Valley. The valley is an area of rich arable and dairy farmland, interspersed with a number of villages.

Read the rest.

While We're On That Topic...

Since we're discussing global warming climate change, a new article is up on one of my new favorite websites, World Climate Report:

The ocean is a huge flywheel that integrates and stores long-term climate changes. Consequently, when computer models are driven with ever-increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the deep oceans warm, warm, and warm. But it takes time to start up, just like a big pot of water heated by a small match. Once the process starts, though, nothing should be able to stop it.

That’s the current wisdom of our climate models, but like current wisdom on so many other aspects of life, nature has behaved differently.

Within weeks, a paper is going to appear in the refereed journal Geophysical Research Letters, by John Lyman of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, showing that, globally, the top 2500 feet of the ocean lost a tremendous amount of heat between from 2003 through 2005—about 20% of all the heat gained in the last half-century.

I don't want to snicker, but...well. I'll just say that in fifteen or twenty years this whole thing is going to be viewed as one of the dumbest "scientific" pushes ever made.

Read the rest.

Al Gore Is Not Infallible; The Oreskes Study Was Bogus!

I'm sick and tired of people both on this site and around the net perpetuating the myth that is the so-called "consensus view" of global warming. Their #1 go-to quote is to cite the Naomi Oreskes study where she claimed to read 928 peer-reviewed abstracts on global warming and not a single one was in doubt of the cause (i.e., anthropogenic global warming). Hows that for consensus? (You must say this last part smugly for the full effect).

The only problem with this is that the study was a horrible example of research. Supposedly she read the abstracts of all of 928 articles; however, when replicated, it was found riddled with errors! Benny Peiser, a British social scientist, checked her procedure and found that "only 913 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 913 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it."

Furthermore, she actually included three(!) papers by renowned meteorologist and anthropogenic global warming skeptic Richard Lindzen, who has been blacklisted in the scientific community for refusing to follow the party line. So much for the peer-review process.

In reality, then, the "consensus" of those 928 papers was more like 13-3-912. Man, they're really positive. Unfortunately, Al Gore included this in his new book/movie about Global Warming. It was one of several lies, some of which were in the opening pages. But people are ready to believe, and believe they did.

Here's a few anti-hysteria "shills" who are not a part of this so-called consensus:

  • Dr. John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science at University of Alabama at Huntsville
  • Dr. Patrick Michaels, author of the Association of American Geographer's 2003 Climate Paper of the Year
  • Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Harvard Astrophysicist
  • Dr. Richard Lindzen, Alfred Sloan Professor of Meterology at MIT
By contrast, Naomi Oreskes? Social Scientist. People are falling all over themselves to string along with people who literally have no idea what they're talking about and completely ignore the experts.

To summarize: would you go to an engineer if you needed your broken femur set? Would you ignore the advice of the world's premier orthopaedic surgeon on the grounds than his research is funded by (gasp) medical companies who have a vested interest in his work?

Read this -- its a great satire showing just how this so-called "consensus" has been achieved.

Update: Great link. Thanks RoQ!

Read the rest.

And....ANOTHER Reason!

SoCalist alert! California has passed a bill eliminating all private forms of healthcare in the state. The only thing that bars this from completion is Arnold's veto (the state senate must concur, but they have already done so once):

On a largely party-line 43-30 vote, the Assembly approved a bill by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, that would eliminate private medical insurance plans and establish a statewide health insurance system that would provide coverage to all Californians. The state Senate has already approved the plan once and is expected this week to approve changes that the Assembly made to the bill.
This kind of system (i.e. Marxian) has been tried all over the world with dismally bleak success rates -- take Canada, for instance, about which the Pacific Research Institute writes:
Incentives matter, and one need only examine the incentives of the Canadian system to predict the results: inefficient use of resources and severe rationing of expensive procedures. Patients consider health care to be free. They pay for it for sure. Canadian doctor and author David Gratzer..., estimates that the system costs each Canadian 21 cents for every $1 they earn, which translates into $7,350 a year for a person earning $35,000. But they don’'t pay for it when they use it. The result is an overuse and inefficient use —of primary care facilities.
Here's some info about the bill:
  • SB 840 would create the "California Health Insurance System" to be administered by an autonomous agency, the "California Health Insurance Agency," under the direction of the "Health Insurance Commissioner" who would be elected for terms of eight years.

  • SB 840 would establish the "California Health Insurance Agency" as the sole primary provider of health insurance coverage for all California residents.

  • SB 840 would prohibit all current health care service plan contracts or health insurance policies from being sold in California because they would duplicate services provided through the "California Health Insurance Agency." Individual health care service plans or insurance companies would only be able to sell medical or health services in California that the "California Health Insurance Agency" does not provide.
Oddly enough, as Dafydd points out, this hasn't hit any of the major papers (not even the LA Times).

It is astonishing how low this bill and the illegal-alien drivers' license bill have flown under the radar. I make no doubt of the reason why: because Californians, while leaning liberal, notoriously despise both HillaryCare and also giving illegal aliens a government ID card they can use to fake legal residency. So no wonder the elite media -- which "has bones in the fight," as a (legal) immigrant friend of mine said a long time ago, when she was still learning English -- are doing their bestest to keep mum about the bills.

The Democrats will happily tout their leftism at the appropriate venues: fund raisers, rallies, and speeches to the nurses and prison-guard unions. No reason to let real voters find out just how radical their own state senators and assemblymen are!

For instance, check the Google results for SB840 and SB 840. Without the blogosphere, this story would be a non-story.

Far from achieving health care for all, SB840 would likely create a class-oriented system where the upper class could afford going out of state for healthcare (at extra cost) while the lower and middle class would be forced to rely on the inept state-sponsored system. Pretty soon the Hollywood big shots will be flying into Vegas for their yearly checkups. Organized healthcare is for the masses, don't you know?

Without competition, the services offered by the state will surely suffer in quality in no time. The big loser in all of this is the middle class -- they'll lose their health insurance coverage that they work for, will pay more taxes, and get worse service. And O! the joy that everyone above poverty level will be subsidizing the hundreds of thousands of low- or non-income folks who won't be paying a dime to cover themselves (i.e. leeching). The proposed cost is 8(!) percent hike onto the payroll tax that businesses pay and 3 percent onto state income taxes.

Not to mention the bloated government agency this would spawn, along with all the other joys of bureaucracies that come with such packages. And the best part? The state assembly didn't even address the costs of this lovely new SoCalist system. The bill calls for a slow rollover over the next few years. The assemblymen can only serve 6 years -- so they made the law but won't be held to task for the effects. That is legislative survival-of-the-fittest at its best.

Beware -- if this passes, look for other socialist healthcare activists to start poking their heads up all over the country.

Read the rest.

WotD

explicate \EK-spluh-kayt\, transitive verb:
To explain; to clear of difficulties or obscurity.

Explicate comes from Latin explicare, "to unfold; to unfold the meaning or sense of; to explain, expound, or interpret," from ex-, "out" + plicare, "to fold."

Read the rest.

Yet Another Reason NOT to Live in California

Yet another political figure falls for the sham, this time with consequences:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California catapulted to the forefront of U.S. efforts to fight global warming on Wednesday with an accord that will give the state the toughest laws in the nation on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and possibly spur a reluctant Washington to take similar action.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has accused fellow Republican President George W. Bush of failing to demonstrate leadership on climate change,(Dems: "Glee!" - ed) said he reached a "historic agreement" with Democrats to make California a world leader in reducing carbon emissions.

"The success of our system will be an example for other states and nations to follow as the fight against climate change continues," Schwarzenegger said in a statement after weeks of tense negotiations.

Nevermind that new cars nowadays are literally 98% cleaner than old cars. Nevermind that new methods of firing coal have reduced the amount of carbon put in the atmosphere. Nevermind that this is quite literally going to cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, if not more.

The United States is the world's largest producer of the heat-trapping gases that many scientists link to extreme weather like violent hurricanes and rising sea levels.
Niether of which we've seen evidence for. But, you know...it sounds good, right?

"It is unfortunate such important legislation is being put together at the last minute without proper review and scrutiny, especially because of its potential to harm the economy," said Tupper Hull, a spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association.
Indeed. However, I'm forced to throw out Tuppers opinion on the ground that he's clearly a shill for Big Oil.

Read the rest.

UN: Shocked and Awed

The UN is "shocked" at the Israeli use of force in the finals days of the war:

The United Nations on Wednesday described as “shocking and immoral” the fact that Israel dropped well over 90 per cent of its cluster munitions in Lebanon during the last three days of the conflict – when it was already clear there would be a cessation of hostilities.

Once again, note that they are completely silent about:
  • The root cause of this war
  • Why Lebanese Civilians Die
  • Hezbollah specifically targeting Israeli citizens
The UN's tired old anti-Israel stance is becoming a little bit repetitive. It's almost not worth reporting any more. I'm sure most of you are just sighing, shrugging, and moving on. This is news?

Read the rest.

Yay

USA Today reports that gas prices will probably keep falling:

Gasoline prices are falling fast and could keep dropping for months.

"The only place they have to go is down," says Fred Rozell, gasoline analyst at the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). "We'll be closer to $2 than $3 come Thanksgiving."

Since, you know, high prices were All Bush's Fault (tm), expect to see a plethora of articles rejoicing in his amazing feat of political economic fixin'. (Don't hold your breath).

Incidentally, I recommend proft-taking in oil stocks, particularly companies that are primarily downstream (i.e. heavily invested in refining). Downstream companies tend to get hit harder by the oil market boom-n'-bust cycle because they have to buy oil on the open market, unlike companies that find their own.

Good recent examples of this are Holly Corp. (HOC) and Alon USA Energy (ALJ).

Read the rest.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thats Worse Than...

A breakup email, but not by much:

RadioShack Corp. notified about 400 workers by e-mail that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts.

Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters got messages Tuesday morning saying: "The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately, your position is one that has been eliminated."

I'm sort of left wondering if this is a hoax. If not, mark it the worst management decision of the year. Er...decade?

Read the rest.

They Did Rosie, Too!


...Did they really think no one would notice?

Now that folks have their hackles up, expect to see all kinds of stories like these popping up. I suspect this sort of thing is pandemic.

Read the rest.

WotD

requisite \REK-wuh-zit\, adjective:
1. Required by the nature of things or by circumstances; indispensable.

noun:
1. That which is required or necessary; something indispensable.

Requisite derives from Latin requisitus, past participle of requirere, "to require."

Read the rest.

802.11n Soon

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced that they are ready to certify the new 802.11n wireless standard next year.

The Wi-Fi Alliance said on Tuesday it will begin next year to give its seal of approval to new products that wirelessly send high definition video around the house using a faster version of the popular short range technology called Wi-Fi.

And you thought 802.11B was cool.

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Download Classic Books

Google announces a new program where you can download classic books in PDF:

Starting today, you can go to Google Book Search and download full copies of out-of-copyright books to read at your own pace. You're free to choose from a diverse collection of public domain titles -- from well-known classics to obscure gems.
The next Carnegie?

Read the rest.

Even More Good News

444 Iraqi police recruits graduate from new $73M facility:

Hundreds of cadets broke into celebration after graduating from Baghdad Police Academy’s 10-week basic course this summer. In all, 444 Police cadets successfully completed a program that included training in human rights, firearms, tactics and democracy.
The newly completed campus has the capacity to train 10,000 police a year. Look for more Iraqi security officers (and more peace) soon.

Read the rest.

Don't Believe Everything You See

You can't trust anything these days -- even CBS:

Thanks to a computer "slight" of hand, the Tiffany network has made the new face of "CBS Evening News" instantly drop about 20 pounds.

In a picture widely distributed to the media last month, a normal-looking Couric wore a frumpy light gray suit and her trademark smile.

But thanks to Photoshop, the popular editing software, the same photo, printed in a CBS magazine, shows her looking much, much thinner - and her suit has become a few shades darker.

Then again, is this a surprise from the network that brought us Rathergate? Lies are lies, and credibility is the currency of the media. How long will this stuff go on before people get mad?

Read the rest.

I love Drudge

I love this posting of headlines on the Drudge Report:

Annan: Israel Must Lift Lebanon Blockade...

Israel: No


Hehe.

Read the rest.

Owen on Gay Marriage

This is a continuation of a long debate over the constitutional amendment up for voting in Wisconsin written by Owen, one of the guys in charge of Boots And Sabers - some choice tidbits:

The current debate about the marriage amendment has nothing to do with whether or not gay marriage should be legally recognized. It is already illegal. The current debate is about who gets to make that decision. The marriage amendment ensures that the defining of marriage will continue to rest in the hands of the people through their representative bodies.

...The vast majority of people in America oppose legalizing gay marriage and their sentiments show through their duly elected representatives. For this reason, the folks who want gay marriage legalized began – and continue – a very deliberate campaign to get gay marriage legalized through the only non-representative branch of government – the judicial branch.

The strategy is very simple. Keep suing until they get their way. Keep building the case law through sympathetic judges. They know that they can lose a thousand times, but they only have to win once.

Gay marriage and Civil Unions identical to marriage have now been legalized in two states. In both cases, they were legalized by the state supreme court without permitting the people of those states to have a voice in defining marriage.

....If our society wishes to legalize gay marriage at some point, then so be it. But we must move forward thoughtfully through our established representative bodies. To allow the courts to short-circuit this process and sweep away the definition of marriage against the public will, is to invite broad societal unrest.


Good stuff.

Read the rest.

Transitioning For the Long Haul (and good news)

Here's yet another Iraqi story you won't get from the MSM:

Coalition training teams with Iraqi military units, police battalions and border guard units are making a tremendous difference in the performance and professionalism of the Iraqi security forces, said the commander of the Iraq Assistance Group on Monday. Army Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard told the Pentagon press corps in a video teleconference from Iraq that Iraqi forces are well-equipped, but require help in sustainment.
This is sort of like Vietnam in reverse. Its important to note that the Iraqi security force is finding its legs, starting to make its own decisions. I also find it heartening that their biggest problem is logistics (not deserters, low morale, equipment failure, recruiting or any one of a hundred problems that plague armies). Logistics can be taught, demonstrated, and learned. Morale and loyalty cannot.

This is the sort of thing that has to continue in Iraq. What people like Lamont don't understand is that our presence in Iraq is critical to avoiding the civil war that he so gleefully predicts.

In other good news:
DIWANIYAH, Iraq -- Iraqi Army and police forces successfully fended off an attack by a large group of terrorists in the Al Eufrat, Al Jumhuri and Al Nahda districts of Ad Diwaniyah after a 12-hour battle today that ended at approximately 3:00 p.m.
And
Iraqi security forces captured an improvised explosive device maker and IED cell leader Aug. 27 near Mussayib. The suspect is believed to have participated in multiple IED attacks on Coalition and Iraqi security forces, including one which took the lives of four U.S. servicemembers on May 5. This individual is also believed to be a supplier of IEDs to illegal armed groups inciting sectarian violence and government instability through kidnapping, murder and armed attacks.

The raid, conducted by Iraqi police with Coalition observers, occurred without incident and there were no civilian, Iraqi forces, or Coalition Force casualties.

Thats what I like to hear.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

WotD

sui generis \soo-eye-JEN-ur-us; soo-ee-\, adjective:
Being the only example of its kind; constituting a class of its own; unique.

Sui generis is from Latin, literally meaning "of its own kind": sui, "of its own" + generis, genitive form of genus, "kind."

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Israeli Airstrike Leaves Reuters Ambulance in Flames, Chopped, Channeled

Haha:

According to Reuters spokesman Martin Aldwyn, the vehicle was used by the agency's local freelancers to transport poignant war-ravaged street urchins to Lebanese hospitals. Although clearly marked with a red cross, "PRESS," fuzzy dice, and the international symbol for "Baby On Board," the flaming 1950 Mercury was left nearly unrecognizable by the attack. Photos show that the impact of the Israeli missiles slammed the vehicle to the ground, lowered its roof five inches, and left it with a pancaked hood, shaved door handles, frenched headlights and De Soto grille.

Thanks, Iowahawk.

Updated: Fixed the link. Sorry.

Read the rest.

They Don't Like Him Either

Apparently, Hezbollah doesn't like Kofi Annan any more than we do:

UN chief Kofi Annan was booed by a crowd chanting pro-Hezbollah slogans today as he toured Beirut's southern suburbs devastated by Israel's war against the Shiite militant group.

Dozens of men, women and children angrily waved pictures of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and shouted "Allah, Nasrallah and all of the suburbs" as the UN secretary general emerged from his car to survey the destruction in the heart of the Haret Hreik area, a Hezbollah stronghold.

I don't understand why we keep him around since everyone hates him. Its like the trip to Abilene scenario.

Others booed and shouted "death to Israel" and "long live Syria" as they surrounded Mr Annan's convoy of vehicles which was accompanied by a heavy security detail.

Such nice folks..

Read the rest.

Oops

Go ahead, CNN Anchor Kyra Phillips -- tell us how you really feel:

Looking for a "passionate, compassionate, great, great" man? Well, according to CNN.s Kyra Phillips, they do indeed exist. During CNN.s live coverage of President Bush.s remarks from New Orleans, Phillips was unaware that her microphone was on and picked up portions of a conversation she was having with another woman. At 12:49pm EDT, those listening carefully could hear Phillips praise her husband.
Oops. At least she was badmouthing her sister-in-law and not her man.

Read the rest.

BP Can't Get It Right

BP is now being accused of manipulating the crude oil and gasoline markets in addition to the natural gas accusations already leveled at them:

U.S. federal investigators are examining whether BP Plc (BP.L) manipulated crude oil and unleaded gasoline markets, the company said on Tuesday. BP confirmed a report in the Wall Street Journal that an investigation was underway, but declined further comment.

BP already faces allegations from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission that it manipulated the U.S. propane market in 2004.

U.S. Congress has also summoned the oil major next week over the shutdown of around half the output at its 400,000 barrels per day Prudhoe Bay oilfield in Alaska. Prudhoe is the largest oilfield in the United States.

Jeez. Incidentally, why is congress sticking its nose into the Prudhoe Bay incident? When Ford or GM miss production targets, no one seems to care. That really was a rhetorical question; the real reason congress cares is because they're on the "Big Oil Is Evil" bandwagon right now, and are pandering to the ignorant public. Populism reigns supreme.

Read the rest.

Clown Dies, Kids Cry

Kids in Ireland saw a clown crushed to death:

A hot-air balloon caught fire during a circus stunt, killing a clown acrobat as dozens of children watched, police said Tuesday.
I don't know why, but I find that really funny. Sick, I know.

Read the rest.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Maliki: No Civil War

Iraqi PM Maliki denies that Iraq is on the verge of civil war; he even sounds optimistic:

On a day in which at least 46 people were killed, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he did not foresee a civil war in Iraq and that violence in his country was abating.

"In Iraq, we'll never be in civil war," al-Maliki told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." ...

Asked when coalition troops might leave, the Iraqi leader was equivocal.

"It could be a year or less, or a few months," he said. "This has to do with the -- with our success of the democratic -- or the political process in Iraq, and to have the security agencies to protect this process."

Carl Levin clearly has a superior vantage point (can you see Iraq better from Michigan or Washington?) as he categorically disagrees with the Iraqi PM:

Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, disagreed with al-Maliki's assessment of the state of affairs in Iraq, saying the country was "on the verge of civil war right now," if not already involved in one.

Good thing we have folks like Levin to remind us that no matter what happens in Iraq it is a quagmire, we're losing, and its all going to end in tears. Just you watch.

From the Cap'n:

One event that CNN reported gives more hope. A Sunni legislator has emerged alive after two months in captivity. Tayseer al-Mashhadani, one of Iraq's female politicians, disappeared in early July, but no one claimed responsibility for her abduction or offered any demands for her release. No one is quite sure who kidnapped her or why she was let go, even though the kidnapping was well-planned.

Another hopeful sign is the recent conference Maliki hosted to promote national unity. Over 400 politicians and tribal leaders met with the Iraqi PM to plan for domestic peace. The conference attendees agreed to help foster understanding, and Maliki told them to urge their followers to think of themselves as Iraqis first and above all. If that message can take hold, then Maliki could avoid the civil war he insists will never happen. We hope time proves him correct.

Take that, Carl.

Read the rest.

Ed Has Good Ideas

Cap'n Ed reports on the UN asbestos "crisis":

Oh, wait ... he's talking about the building? Oh. I guess the rampant sexual abuse of refugees by UN peacekeepers and the endemic bribery and corruption in the organization pales in significance next to an asbestos problem.

Schumer also says the lack of sprinkers in the building makes the building dangerous to its occupants and the firefighters who would have to respond to an emergency at Turtle Bay. The solution seems obvious. Knock the building down, and then pledge to rebuild it in the same manner that the UN pledges to enforce its Security Council resolutions. Let the diplomats meet in tents until the organization shows some spine in dealing with a real danger, such as Iran or North Korea.

That's a solution that keeps our heroes at the NYFD safe and gives the UN the respect it deserves.

$1.9B is a lot of money...

Read the rest.

A Point-By-Point

For those of you who like blood'n'guts verbal fistfights, perk up - there's one incoming. This is in response a comment by a reader; his comments in quotes, my response in normal font.


I don't disagree with everything Bush says, only somewhere around 99% of it. And it's not because somebody told me to, or that my brain is wired in such a way that it's impossible for me to not hate the guy... it's that if I were in his position, my policies would be entirely different on almost every level (around 99% of them). Bush's administration is full of a bunch of cronies, people with the exact same ideology as him, who have shown time and time again to be incompetent in government. But this okay in the end because it reaffirms the basis of their ideology which is "government doesn't work". It doesn't matter if they do a horrible job because they can look back and say, "see, we told you so".
You say these things with such categorical certainty that I must assume you believe them in their entirety. However, they are completely irrational, based solely on your own opinion, and have little, if any, basis in reality. If you're going to point out incompetent government leaders, please, be specific - do you oppose Condi or Cheney? Or Rumsfeld? Perhaps Powell? Be careful; all have distinguished resumes, and quite impressive careers in public service thus far.

They've bankrupted our national treasury, given the richest 1% of americans extended tax cuts in a time of DEBT. Up until 9/11, they ignored the threat that was Al Qaeda and the SPECIFIC warning that they would use planes as flying bombs. Healthcare costs have risen, public education is in shambles (just the way they want it). You know me, I could gone forever and ever. But that's not the point.
You claim all these things are the product of the Bush administration. I'll sit back and remind you that the president does not craft legislation, he merely influences it from his vocal position and can prevent it from being signed. Upset that he didn't use the veto pen more? Join the club. But the attitude that "EVERYTHING IS BECAUSE BUSH IS BAD" is just contributing to the defunct image of the democratic party -- all angst, no solutions.

The government needs to cut taxes. They need to downsize to the point that they can abolish the income tax (we did fine without one for over a century). They need to cut pork, cut spending on stupid projects, and let the market flex and fill in the gaps. Things I include in this list: public schools (in their current incarnation), national healthcare, social security, and welfare. Just on these alone you could give a huge tax cut to the entire nation, every man jack among us.

Don't say you'd do everything different, because you don't know that. Here's a point of view I had pointed out to me when grousing about Bush's refusal to veto -- if you had to spend 200 million in pork on a bill that got you 20 billion in necessary money for the armed forces, what would you do? Sometimes personal politics have to be shoved aside for the good of the whole. I think Bush has done a wonderful job on "staying the course" (George Washington's words, not Bush's) without regard to public opinion.
This president has lost my trust completely. I was wholeheartedly behind him after 9/11, I was ready to join the army. Everyone in the world was unified behind the United States of America. Now look at it. For lack of a better word, George Bush f*cked up big time.
I don't really think Bush screwed up. I think he'll be justified by historians later. I think there's a whole lot going on behind the scenes that people can and won't see. Remember his speech about the GWOT back when you were "wholeheartedly" behind him? He said this would be a long war, that it would be fought mostly behind the scenes, and that public news of victory would be few and far between. How soon we forget.
I would like to see a GOP plan for the future. Because the "stay the course" approach to everything obviously isn't working. The country is so much worse off than it was 8 years ago. Remember when the president was having extra-marital sex in the oval office? You know the time when we had a budget surplus and the market was at it's highest rate of expansion since the 60's, and gas cost a buck a gallon? Yea, those were the good old days... Clinton's track record on domestic policies makes reagon and the two bushes look foolish. That's what I want, I want my liberals back in office. That's all.
Again, I'll remind you that all the things you're attributing to the Clinton years happened with a Republican congress. Yes, the "surplus that never was", the market bubble, all of it. Except for oil prices; that beast is something no single entity can tackle. You're talking out of nothing.
If Democrats get elected this fall, they will attempt to balance the budget.
This is when you go off the deep end. If democrats get elected this fall, they'll enlarge government. For Pete's sake, Republicans enlarge government and say they won't. How much more frightening is it, then, to put a put of people in charge who tell you beforehand how much they're going to grow it?
Focus on fair(er) trade as opposed to free trade.
...Whatever that means. I assume you're jumping on the anti-China / Wal-Mart bandwagon? I'd like to politely remind you that the China can-of-worms was also opened during the "Good ol' Clinton years"...only this time, it wasn't the Republican congress that did it - it was Slick Willy himself. Lets see you squirm out of that one. (See post below for what government involvement does to the economy. Capitalism isn't fair, any more than life is, thank goodness.)
They'll stop giving oil companies that've been reporting record high profits for the last 4 years, tax breaks.
You want the government to stop giving tax breaks to oil companies? Be prepared to pay for it at the pump. Oil companies aren't evil, and they aren't not paying taxes. You want to know how much taxes these "record profiting" oil companies pay?

Past five years, Exxon Mobil:
US Earnings: $34.9 Billion
US Taxes Paid: $57.1 Billion
1Q 2006:
US Earnings: $2.3 Billion
US Taxes Paid: 3.7 Billion

That's right. When they made their record profit they actually paid MORE to the federal government than they did to their shareholders. And you want to tax them more?
They'll reform healthcare and make sure that every single child in America has healthcare.
Every child in America has the option to have healthcare, because every American has the option to buy insurance or work at a company that provides it. The opportunity is there. The only way the government could do anything about it at this point is to force people to do things at gunpoint (i.e. with the force of law). No one wants that. Incidentally, we are not guaranteed healthcare as a natural right; we are guaranteed liberty. Hence, it is unconstitutional to trade one for the other.
They'll reform campaign contributions (again).
They'll reform campaign contributions? What's there to reform? Why should the government tell private citizens who they should and shouldn't give money to? The only law that should be on the books about campaign contributions should be one of full disclosure. Again, you want a restriction of freedom -- no thanks.
They'll push for a voting system that allows you to make more choices at the ballot.
What choices would those be? A third party? Or are you talking about the ballot itself? Not more "Bush stole Florida," please. I'm not sure I could stomach it.
They'll push for better initiatives into alternative energy's, and actually TRY to make our country energy independent.
How can you say that pushing for alternative energy is a Democratic idea? The US government has spent $10B (yes, billion) since 2001 on alternative energy research. Bush himself marked $300M in his budget for developing a hydrogen powered automobile. You want to make the country energy-independent? End the liberal insistence on no new refineries; stop the stymie of drilling in ANWR, in the Gulf, and off the coast of California.
Democrats aren't weak on terrorism. This is a huge misconception. When Clinton left Washington, on every front in terms of diplomacy and homeland security, our government was doing more to thwart terrorism than when Clinton took office.
Why should I believe YOU that dems are tough on terror when the majority of likely democratic voters don't even believe that? Riddle me that. Tell me what Democrats have done for me lately.

In all honesty I hope the Democrats run on the platform you just outlined. They'll get torn to shreds in about fifteen minutes.

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I Learned a New Word!

From Wikipedia:

Dirigisme (from the French) (in English also "dirigism" although per the OED both spellings are used) is an economic term designating an economy where the government exerts strong directive influence.

While the term has been applied occasionally to centrally planned economies, where the government effectively controls production and allocation of resources (in particular, to certain socialist economies where the national government owns the means of production), it originally had neither of these meanings when applied to France, and generally designates a mainly capitalist economy with a strong economic participation by government. Most modern economies are dirigiste to some degree – for instance, governmental action may be exercised through subsidizing research and developing new technologies, or through government procurement, especially military.

An excellent word. It will save me volumes when writing on the topic later.


Update: By request

dir`i`gisme´ (I'm guessing like dirigible, only with -ible replaced with -ism).

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Sebastian Mallaby Agrees With Me

Sebastian Mallaby writes in his WaPo editorial today about the Democratic political suicide that is Wal-Mart hatred: (Hat Tip: Cap'n Ed)

Once upon a time, smart Democrats defended globalization, open trade and the companies that thrive within this system. They were wary of tethering themselves to an anti-trade labor movement that represents a dwindling fraction of the electorate. They understood the danger in bashing corporations: Voters don't hate corporations, because many of them work for one.

Then dot-bombs and Enron punctured corporate America's prestige, and Democrats bolted. Rather than hammer legitimately on real instances of corporate malfeasance -- accounting scandals, out-of-control executive compensation and the like -- Democrats swallowed the whole anti-corporate playbook.

More than anything else, this article is a beautiful rebuttal to the drivel that comes out of Washington. Politicians, more than anything else, love votes. They're continuously willing to sacrifice their party positions and in many cases the economic security of this country on the altar of reelection. The fact that the Dems are bullying Wal-Mart around is laughable in that they claim to do it for Wal-Mart employees, the "poor" folks in America; again, the facts just aren't there:
...The idea that Wal-Mart pays below-market wages is false. Otherwise nobody would work there.

Hillary Clinton and Sen. John Kerry have attacked Wal-Mart for offering health coverage to too few workers. But Kerry's former economic adviser, Jason Furman of New York University, concluded in a paper last year that Wal-Mart's health benefits are about as generous as those of comparable employers. Moreover, Clinton and Kerry know perfectly well that market pressures limit the health coverage that companies can provide. After all, both senators have proposed expansions in government health provision precisely on the premise that the private sector can't pay for all of it.

....

Because Wal-Mart's price-cutting also has a big impact on the non-food stuff it peddles, it saves U.S. consumers upward of $200 billion a year, making it a larger booster of family welfare than the federal government's $33 billion food-stamp program.
The statement that "none of these Democrats can resist dumb economic populism" is dead on. But its not just Democrats: people on both sides of the aisle continually toss their economically brain-dead ideas into the foray. For some reason, people cannot simply accept the idea that the market works on its own accord, much like the human body. If you feed it, exercise it, prevent it from having holes poked in it, it will just work. The first time you try to actually think about what you're doing when you're walking, you fall.

As soon as government begins to dictate what goes where, and who gets what, you're straying down the wrong path. The slider of inefficiency is directly related to government involvement, as shown below in my super-cool Excel graph:

As you can see in my scientific results, the more you monkey with the system, the more broken it gets. There's a great article on this topic at The Ludwig Von Mises Institute's website. I'll excerpt some choice passages here:

The characteristic feature of the market price is that it tends to equalize supply and demand. The size of the demand coincides with the size of supply not only in the imaginary construction of the evenly rotating economy. The notion of the plain state of rest as developed by the elementary theory of prices is a faithful description of what come to pass in the market at every instant. Any deviation of a market price from the height at which supply and demand are equal is--in the unhampered market--self-liquidating.
Economics does not say that isolated government interference with the prices of only one commodity or a few commodities is unfair, bad, or unfeasible. It says that such interference produces results contrary to its purpose, that it makes conditions worse, not better, from the point of view of the government and those backing its interference. Before the government interfered, the goods concerned were, in the eyes of the government, too dear. As a result of the maximum price their supply dwindles or disappears altogether. The government interfered because it considered these commodities especially vital, necessary, indispensable. But its action curtailed the supply available. It is therefore, from the point of view of the government, absurd and nonsensical.

If the government is unwilling to acquiesce in this undesired and undesirable outcome and goes further and further , if it fixes the prices of all goods and services of all orders and obliges all people to continue producing and working at these prices and wage rates, it eliminates the market altogether. Then the planned economy, socialism of the German Zwangswirtschaft pattern, is substituted for the market economy. The consumers no longer direct production by their buying and abstention from buying; the government alone directs it.

I've saved the best for last:

What brought about the decline of the empire and the decay of its civilization was the disintegration of this economic interconnectedness, not the barbarian invasions. The alien aggressors merely took advantage of an opportunity which the internal weakness of the empire offered to them. From a military point of view the tribes which invaded the empire in the fourth and fifth centuries were not more formidable than the armies which the legions had easily defeated in earlier times. But the empire had changed. Its economic and social structure was already medieval.

The freedom that Rome granted to commerce and trade had always been restricted. With regard to the marketing of cereals and other vital necessities it was even more restricted than with regard to other commodities. It was deemed unfair and immoral to ask for grain, oil, and wine, the staples of these ages, more than the customary prices, and the municipal authorities were quick to check what they considered profiteering. Thus the evolution of an efficient wholesale trade in these commodities was prevented.

And, the coup de grace:

The marvelous civilization of antiquity perished because it did not adjust its moral code and its legal system to the requirements of the market economy. A social order is doomed if the actions which its normal functioning requires are rejected by the standards of morality, are declared illegal by the laws of the country, and are prosecuted as criminal by the courts and the police. The Roman Empire crumbled to dust because it lacked the spirit of liberalism and free enterprise. The policy of interventionism and its political corollary, the Fuhrer principle, decomposed the mighty empire as they will by necessity always disintegrate and destroy any social entity. (emphasis mine).


Reading well written, well thought out pieces is always so refreshing for me. So lovely. Read it all!

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On that thread...

Followup to my DNA Ramsey case update -- here's some random Wiki brain-food:

A sequence alignment is a way of arranging the residues (nucleotides or amino acids) of DNA, RNA, or protein primary sequences to identify regions that are historically similar, or dissimilar, as a consequence of functional, structural or evolutionary relationships between the sequences. Aligned sequences are typically represented as rows within a matrix. Gaps are inserted between the residues so that residues with identical or similar characters are aligned in successive columns.
Feed the brain.

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WotD

aegis \EE-jis\, noun:
1. Protection; support.
2. Sponsorship; patronage.
3. Guidance, direction, or control.
4. A shield or protective armor; -- applied in mythology to the shield of Zeus.

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Karr Not Murderer, Just Nutjob

Breitbart reports that Karr isn't the one:

A DNA sample from John Mark Karr, the key suspect in the notorious murder of six-year old JonBenet Ramsey, does not correspond with DNA traces found at the crime scene, a local television station reported.

Denver's KUSA cited two unnamed sources for the report, which if confirmed would call into question Karr's claim to have committed the 1996 murder of the young beauty queen.

Karr, that's life calling. Your 15 seconds are over, sicko.

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Dems Hoping Really Hard, Carville Has Moment

Well, the Democratic party is slowly "smug-ifying" itself to prepare for a landslide in November. I sure hope they are as confident as they seem; as Carville points out:

"We have to go back to 1974 (during Watergate) to find such a favorable environment,'' says James Carville, who ran Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. "If we can't win in this environment, we have to question the whole premise of the party.'' (emphasis mine)
However, recent polling trends actually show the GOP gaining steam; indeed, as of the latest round of polls over at Real Clear Politics shows an 8.2% spread in favor of the Democrats. Given that they have led by as much as 20% in previous months, things aren't quite as good for the Left now as they have been. As shown in my super-cool Excel graph below, the trend is in the favor of the Good Guys (tm):

Bill McInturff, the pre-eminent Republican pollster who sees survey data from all over the country, isn't any more sanguine. "The national mood is like that of sweep elections,'' he says. "People are angry about Iraq, about gas prices, about health care.''
Unfortunately for the Democrats, there's absolutely nothing anyone can do about gas prices, and health care is a mess for both parties. There, I just axed two of their talking points in one sentence. When it comes right down to it, the Dems have a very limited platform so far:

  • Congressional Integrity
  • Wal-Mart Hatred
  • Immediate withdrawal from Iraq
  • Anti-NSA / Banking Programs
  • Immigration

As shown in polling data over at Hotline shows just how narrow the Left's focus is:


Which Issue Should Be Top Priority
For Your Member Of Congress?^
LVs All Dem GOP Ind
Immigration 17% 13% 4% 25% 11%
War in Iraq 15 17 15 17 18
Economy/jobs 14 14 19 11 9
Health care 10 10 16 7 4
Education 7 8 8 9 6
Gas prices 6 6 6 6 5
Soc. Sec. 6 9 6 11 9
Gov't corrupt. 5 6 5 4 13
Environment 3 3 4 1 4

Which Issues Should Be Top Priority
For Congress?^ LVs All Dem GOP Ind
War in Iraq 23% 21% 23% 23% 14%
Immigration 13 11 5 19 12
Health care 12 12 11 10 14
Economy/jobs 10 11 13 7 15
Gas prices 9 9 8 9 11
Environment 6 4 7 2 4
Gov't corrupt. 6 6 4 10 4
Education 4 4 3 3 10
Soc. Sec. 4 5 5 6 2

The Democrats don't care about Immigration. In fact, more leftists believe that congress should be focused on the environment than on immigration! And very few are worried about government corruption. The constituents of the Democratic party are out of touch with the rest of the nation.

But wait, there's more!

If Dems Controlled Congress, Would
US Be ___ From Terrorism Than It
Is Today?^ LVs All Dem GOP Ind
Safer 23% 20% 40% 6% 10%
Less safe 29 25 9 52 14
Same 38 44 40 37 64


If A Dem Was Pres., Would US Be
___ From Terrorism Than It Is
Today?^ LVs All Dem GOP Ind
Safer 29% 25% 47% 7% 11%
Less safe 24 23 8 45 25
Same 38 41 36 41 50


In what is by relation (to Iraq) the most important issue in this election, the Democrats don't even believe in their own party! By contrast, GOP respondents are solidly confident in their superiority in security. This is a huge revelation - in the end, why would you vote for a party you don't really believe will keep you safe?

Perhaps the most telling question of all:

Think Of War In Iraq As Part Of
GWOT? LVs All Dem GOP Ind
Part of GWOT 53% 53% 34% 79% 45%
Seperate 42 40 60 17 48

Look at the disparity between left and right. The middle is, well...in the middle. But the left, by a two thirds majority, is employing schoolground rules of reality here -- if you close your eyes, cover your ears and scream The Star Spangled Banner, it will go away. Iraq isn't part of the GWOT because Bush says it is; if we say that enough, it must be true.

Given their predisposition to chew on each other like Kilkenny cats, equivocate about the economy, taxes, social security, national security and their irrational call to drop everything and "redeploy," I think a lot of Dems would be wise to "question the whole premise of the party" before November bites them hard.

Hat Tip: Big Lizards

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Update on Nagin Foot-in-Mouth

Ray Nagin apologizes for his idiotic remark, shows lack of thoughtfulness:


New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says he's sorry he used the term "hole in the ground" to describe the World Trade Center site. "I wish I would have basically said that it was an undeveloped site, which it is," he said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press.

I think someone should explain to him the difference between "undeveloped" and "destroyed".

To be clear here, lets look at this one more time. To Nagin, a hole in the ground = sacred ground:
He said he was sorry to the families of those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, and believe (sic) the World Trade Center site is sacred ground.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Daily KOS Still Lacks Rationality

The Kwazy Kos Kidz once again prove that they lack all rational thought and clarity of perspective with regard to fundamentalism, putting them right alongside peers Jimmy Carter and Al-Qaida:

[T]he root of their objection is that they just hate it for unmarried people to have sex ... That, of course, puts them on the same wavelength as the Taliban and the rest of the Sharia-loving crowd -- and if there's one thing that makes these people angrier than women exercising control over their own bodies, it's being compared to a bunch of Muslims.

The similarities between fundamentalist Islamic Theocrat wanna-bees and the goals of some elements in the modern neoconservative voting base and cheerleading squad are both creepy and valid. And, even more disturbing, in both cases these movements rely a great deal on demonizing, or simply creating, enemies to use as distractions and rallying points. Glenn Greenwald guest blogging at FDL, has a nice Introduction & summary of John Dean's book, Conservatives Without Conscience that hits on right-wing paranoia:

What excites, enlivens, and drives Bush followers is the identification of the Enemy followed by swarming, rabid attacks on it. It is a movement devoted to the destruction of its enemies wherever they might be found. ... And it finds new ones, in every corner and seemingly on a daily basis, because it must. That is the food which sustains it..
The are a great many differences between Christian "fundamentalists" and Islamic fundamentalists. The fact that the relationship is even being attempted is insulting.

Christians have no problem with women "controlling their bodies". Its what they do to people's bodies that upsets us. Namely, murdering unborn innocents to suit their indolent, me-first lifestyle. There has never been an attempt to enshrine a Christian equivalent of Sharia Law anywhere in the world. In fact, the very tolerance of the existence of Islam (and sites like the Daily KOS) is a shining example of Christian acceptance. Christians don't like other folks having sex out of wedlock. In fact, we frown on it. However, there is a very long way between disapproval and hatred, as Islam shows.

To construct a small litmus test for hatred, let's answer one simple question: Are Christians willing to end lives over principle (i.e., do they demand singular adherence to their lifestyle)?

By corollary, does Islam?

The most recent cause of widespread Christian protest that comes to mind is The Last Temptation of Christ. However, there was no rioting, murder, burning of religious places, or looting to be found. By and large Christendom's ability to separate themselves from their own tenets on the grounds of righteous indignation seems quite mild when compared with that of Islam. For clarity - Islam = burning churches, murders, riots. Christianity = protest.

Finally, the fact that anyone at the DailyKOS can stand up and accuse someone of demonizing the enemy to rally others to their cause is laughable at best. Bushitler is a word that frequents their forums, invoking Godwin's Law almost before any discussion has begun. Indeed, without the rallying cry of "Bush Lied, People Died" the democratic party has been largely silent over the past three years. One must wonder at times where the democratic party would be without the irrational hatred and angst that continuously spews from their demagogues. To cite some easy examples, their latest attacks involve both cannibalism and disenfranchising poor folks -- embodied by Joe Lieberman and the latest "Anti-WalMart" party positions.

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Maddox Says:

Maddox says there's no 9/11 conspiracy. And you can't argue with Maddox:

I've been getting a lot of email lately from people sending me this stupid 9/11 conspiracy video called "Loose Change." I've tried to ignore it for months now, but you morons keep forwarding it to me, and I keep having to add more email addresses to my spam filter. The ironic part is that I'm a huge conspiracy nut, and even I can't stomach this. For example, I believe that there is a small, reptile-like creature called Chupacabra that sucks the blood of goats in Mexico. Area 51? Hell yes. Roswell? Pass me the Kool-Aid. But "Loose Change" elevates ******** to an artform.
Language warning: Maddox doesn't mince words. Link.

Maddox also debunks PC-Newspeak a la "African American"

First of all, the label "African American" is the dumbest, most persistently used phrase in our vernacular. Every time you call someone an "African American," you're making at least two assumptions about the person:

1. That the person is an American. For example, if you saw this guy walking along on a street, you would probably think:
Note: there is no 'Arial African American' font, so I settled for the more oppressive 'Arial Black.'
...which is fine, except for one small detail: this man is British, which makes you a presumptuous cock.

2. That the person is African (because it's inconceivable that black people could come from Haiti, India, Trinidad, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Australia, or Jamaica). Nevermind that; BLACK PEOPLE ONLY COME FROM AFRICA.

Not to mention that every time you give a black person the distinction of being "African American" out of a mixed group, you're making an assumption about an entire continent; not everyone from Africa is black. I guarantee all you politically correct morons out there have never called a white person an African American. Of course you could avoid all these problems by using the same standards on blacks as you would on whites by simply assuming that all whites are from Africa just as you do for all blacks, but that might be too forward, and in a polite society like ours, people would be all too pleased to point out which of the 192 countries you didn't guess they were actually from.

Seriously though, the single greatest part of the post is hidden in the HTML code:
"Note: there is no 'Arial African American' font, so I settled for the more oppressive 'Arial Black.'

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Sandmonkey: Uncomfortable Questions

Sandmonkey has a good post from the point of view of a libertarian Arab living in Egypt:


I asked him what he would've thought, if a Hezbollah rocket had attacked a building in Israel, killing 55 civillians, of which 30 were children. He responded immeidtely "I would've thought it was great! A7san!". So I repeated the same question to 8 other co-workers, and the responses so far have been as follows: 7 said they would celebrate, and 2 said that such an attack would've been bad, but justified! Yeah! Not a single person said that the death of any civllian, on either side, is an equal tragedy.
Read it.

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Blogovia: Keeping tabs on the Kidz

Blogovia does a great job keeping track of the Anti-Semitic / Anti-Israel comments posted on the DailyKOS:

I wish I knew why the American Left hates Israel (and by extension Jews) so much. Is it following the path blazed by the English Left (SWP, Galloway)? Below are the headlines from July 31-August 1, 2006 from the Diaries at Daily Kos. July 31 is incomplete. But August 1 is complete. The Diary title is in italics and following it are sometimes a quote from the Diary and followed by my pithy one-liner summation.
You should go read it. Its eye-opening.

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BBC Has Other Errors

As an update to the earlier BBC post (the one with the photo):

From SUSANNA BRANDON, copy editor, USA Today: BBC correspondent Martin Asser, reporting Aug. 21 from Southern Lebanon, caused something of a photo-staging and child-endangerment stir when he informed readers: "The shell is huge, bigger than the young boy pushed forward to stand reluctantly next to it while we get our cameras out and record the scene for posterity."

But deeper into the accompanying photo essay, titled Lebanese Villagers Return Home, was something equally amiss: a device breathlessly identified in photo No. 9 as an anti-personnel mine. One is led to assume that the mine was left behind by the Israelis to maim these innocent civilians returning home.

There is one small problem: This so-called anti-personnel mine is clearly marked "lithium battery."

The error has since been fixed. I asked for but received no explanation as to why no one at the BBC bothered to find someone to read the Hebrew markings on this diabolical device. At my newspaper, if a photo editor cannot read something in a picture, he or she makes damn sure to find someone who can.

From Poynter Online.

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Great!

Fox journalists Centanni and Wiig were released earlier unharmed. Great news:

Fox reporter Steve Centanni and photographer Olaf Wiig were released shortly after noon Sunday and dropped off at the Beach Hotel in Gaza City, where they were greeted by a swarm of people offering hugs. The hotel is a popular place for journalists.
However, there was more to the story than a happy ending:
"We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint, and don't get me wrong here, I have the highest respect for Islam, and learned a lot of very good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do, because they had the guns, and we didn't know what the hell was going on," he told Fox.
Islaam means submission, not peace. I think they understand that now.

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Beautiful

Tom Lantos is showing some backbone and intelligence with this:

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A key U.S. legislator said in Israel on Sunday he would block aid President George W. Bush promised Lebanon and free the funds only when Beirut agreed to the deployment of international troops on the border with Syria.

“The international community must use all our available means to stiffen Lebanon’s spine and to convince the government of Lebanon to have the new UNIFIL troops on the Syrian border in adequate numbers,” said Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee.
I wish the UNSC had that much integrity. Thanks Tom.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Global Climate Change (GCC) Update

As an update to my glacier article on Big Lizards:

  • Global warming is real, man-made, and catastrophic; every scientist who doesn't actually drool not only admits this, he wants to know why Bush hasn't issued an executive order smashing the looms already.
  • We know this because, for one reason, glaciers began retreating and shrinking the very instant the Industrial Revolution really kicked off in the 1940s.
  • Well actually, they began retreating in Africa about 120 years ago, before there was hardly any industrial-created CO2 in the atmosphere; but that's beside the point.
  • And as a matter of fact, glaciers have actually been expanding in New Zealand, North America, and Norway.
  • But coincidentally enough, it turns out that expanding glaciers are also signs of global warming! Mirabile dictu!
  • And while we're on the subject, Greenland has actually been cooling since about 1940 -- having earlier experienced a brief, ten-year spurt of warming in which the annual surface air temperature jumped up between 2°C and 4°C.
  • But that's all right, because cooling is also a sign of global warming; that's why we renamed it "global climate change," dummy!

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How to be in a "Peaceful" Religion

Check out a step-by-step instruction guide for peacefully following Allah:

"Below I will explain the jihadist way of action and the security measures to be employed by the jihad fighter [when he wants to kill a Westerner]:

"First of all, before carrying out the operation, pray [to Allah] to guide you on the good path.

....

"In order to carry out the operation when the time comes, you must have a weapon (a pistol or a submachine gun) or a good knife, if you are interested in slaughtering this infidel or this [Saudi] dog...

Excellent reading.

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Iran Says...

Iran says:

An Iranian plant that produces heavy water officially went into operation on Saturday, despite U.N. demands that Tehran stop the activity because it can be used to develop a nuclear bomb. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated the plant, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes.
Translation:
Screw you, U.N. We do what we want.


This must be the surprise they had planned for us. I was kinda hoping there would be party hats involved.

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NYT Takes Opportunity to Bash America

In a relatively routine article about entertainment for the troops in Iraq, the Gray Lady misses no chances to stick her 2 cents in:

Certainly, Haditha Dam seems an unlikely venue. The 10-story hydroelectric dam, which was built in the 1980’s, was captured in the opening weeks of the American-led invasion. The secret Delta Force destroyed much of the Iraqi defenses near the dam, while Army Rangers swooped in later to seize the structure.

The Americans said the dam had to be taken to prevent Saddam Hussein from destroying it as part of a scorched-earth policy, though there is no indication that Mr. Hussein ever had such a plan. It was firefight at the dam, in fact, that initially put it at risk. After discovering that the dam was poorly maintained and damaged in the fighting, a sergeant in an Army civil affairs unit flew to the site and worked with the Iraqi engineers to keep the dam functioning.

After a multimillion dollar project by the Army Corps of Engineers, the dam’s turbines were rehabilitated. In addition to generating electricity, the dam also serves as a headquarters for the Marine battalion that is charged with securing the Haditha area and is home to a small contingent of troops from Azerbaijan who are helping the marines guard the structure. (emphasis mine)

How this relates to the Purrfect Angelz is beyond me. The NYT is ever ready to criticize America.

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Plague

13 incidents of plague have been recorded this year.

Thirteen cases of plague including two deaths have been reported in the western United States this year, the highest number of cases in 12 years, health officials said Friday.

Seven cases were reported in New Mexico, three in Colorado, two in California and one in Texas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pretty gross all in all.

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Ernesto: Katrina Successor?

Is Ernesto going to finish the job Katrina started? Looks like Ray Nagin may have a chance to redress his errors:

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Didn't They Get the Memo??

Didn't anyone tell the BBC? You can't call it global warming anymore -- you have to call it global climate change:

Researchers at Newcastle University looked at temperature trends in the western Himalaya over the past century. They found warmer winters and cooler summers, combined with more snow and rainfall, could be causing some mountain glaciers to increase in size.
Global warming and glaciers growing just doesn't make sense.

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Uh Oh...

Tropical Storm Ernesto has moved into the Caribbean:

Tropical Storm Ernesto formed Friday over the Caribbean as it moved toward Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Hope it doesn't get big. The price of oil is now approaching $74...

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Iran Displays Hypocrisy

Iran's Contemporary Art Museum is running an art exhibit entitled Holocaust:

The content has little to do with the events of World War II and Nazi Germany.
There is instead a drawing of a Jew with a very large nose, a nose so large, in fact, that it obscures his entire head. Across his chest is the word "Holocaust." Another drawing shows a vampire, wearing a big Star of David, drinking the blood of Palestinians. A third shows Ariel Sharon dressed in a Nazi uniform, emblazoned not with swastikas, but with the Star of David.
The cartoons are among more than 200 on display in the Palestinian Contemporary Art Museum in central Tehran in a show that opened earlier this month and is to run until the middle of September. The exhibition is intended as a response to the cartoons in a Danish newspaper that lampooned the Prophet Muhammad and were condemned by Muslims as blasphemous.
I thought this and this were their responses to the cartoons? And, since we're taking turns now, do the Jews get their turn to riot and burn down mosques and kill Muslims? Seems fair to me.

Read the rest.

British Youth Does Stupid Stunt

Rounding off my series of stupid posts, a kid jumped on a 25,000 volt line:


British Transport Police appealed for help today to trace a youth who was seen swinging from overhead power cables by train passengers....

The overhead cables carry 25,000 volts and, although the overheads had been switched off to deal with another incident closer to the station, a residual current of at least 5,000 volts would have still been running through the cables.

Seriously, 25 kV (or even 5 kV) is enough to make you say "Mmm". That kid is lucky to be alive.

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"The Da Vinci Code" + Stupid People

Stupid people who read The Da Vinci Code apparently lack the wherewithal to understand its "fictional" rating:

The Reverend Charmian Beech blamed a pair of 'Da Vinci Code-style' treasure hunters for causing thousands of pounds worth of damage as they searched for clues to help them find the Grail.

Since the book and movie have come out, the traffic at the St Luke's Church in the village of Hodnet, Shropshire has increased dramatically due to claims that the image of St. John in one of the stained glass windows is "really" Mary Magdalene.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Lichfield said: "The Da Vinci Code is fiction, and while it's a very exciting read it's wrong to use that as an excuse to vandalise a very ancient and important church."

Its amazing what power the printed word has over people.

Read the rest.

Chavez Doesn't Understand Concept of "Worse"

While visiting China, Hugo Chavez said Israel's action in Lebanon was "worse" than Hitler's.

Visiting Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has denounced Israel's recent attacks on Lebanon as "genocide," likening its action to war crimes committed by Germany's Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Someone get the man a dictionary. Let's define look at this, shall we?

gen·o·cide (jn-sd)
n.
The systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group.
Lebanon is still around. I don't see the entire nation, race, or ethnic group gone.

And here's some numbers to arm yourself with:

Victims of the Holocaust:
  • 5.1–6.0 million Jews, including 3.0–3.5 million Polish Jews[8]
  • 1.8 –1.9 million non-Jewish Poles (includes all those killed in executions or those that died in prisons, labor, and concentration camps, as well as civilians killed in the 1939 invasion and the 1944 Warsaw Uprising)[9]
  • 500,000–1.2 million Serbs killed by Croat Nazis
  • 200,000–800,000 Roma & Sinti
  • 200,000–300,000 people with disabilities
  • 80,000–200,000 Freemasons [10]
  • 100,000 communists
  • 10,000–25,000 homosexual men
  • 2,500-5,000 Jehovah's Witnesses [11]
The highest estimate of the death count in Lebanon I can find is 1,000.

I know its pointless to discuss this as Chavez knows theres no comparison to Hitler and is just baiting the world stage, but I mean really. The news wires shouldn't even print that stuff without including numbers like those above.

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Russia Contradicts Itself, Stabs World In The Back

Thanks Russia:

Russia on Friday rejected any talk for now of sanctions against Iran and France warned against conflict with Tehran, raising doubt whether it will face swift penalties for not halting nuclear work by an August 31 deadline.
So the UNSC castrates itself once again. Its demand that Tehran stop enrichment will go unenforced, and the world will continue believing that the UN is a completely powerless organization.

Based on this, here's the real lineup of powers in the world (group of 6)

Good: USA, Britain
Bad: Russia, China
Ugly: Germany, France.

Joke of the day:
Iran says it is enriching uranium solely to generate electricity.
Hahahaha...

Read the rest.

Ray Nagin is a Jerk

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin proves he's a jerk. I'd like to see anyone on the right make a statement like this and not fry for it:

"That’s alright. You guys in New York can’t get a hole in the ground fixed and it’s five years later. So let’s be fair."
A "hole in the ground"? This is an elected official -- and he calls ground zero in NYC a hole in the ground? However, a remark that should be political suicide brings his constituents closer in to him:
"Should things have happened quicker? Yes. But everyone has their own style of leadership, and right now our political leader, our political father is Ray Nagin," says Oliver Thomas, New Orleans City Council president.

"So for the next four years, we’re going to sink or swim with him," Thomas tells Pitts.
My money is on sink. This is the guy who couldn't even enact his own plan to evacuate the city. Of course, folks in New Orleans play the race card as usual:
"I think you are looking at basically a town that will be a playground for the rich for the next 40 years," Leonard Moore, a professor of African-American history at Louisiana State University, tells Pitts. "I look at the post-Katrina piece as a game of musical chairs….Once the music gets turned off, the white folks have a place to sit down, a place to sleep, a place for their children to go to school. We’re going back to a trailer."
So...what he's saying here is that white people are preventing black people from:
  1. Being rich
  2. Sitting down
  3. Sleeping
  4. Going to school
I bet Bush made the hurricane with his evil white-power weather machine, too.

Read the rest.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Things Going Well In Iraq (No News Is Good News)

Dafydd over at Big Lizards has a great summary of a few stories out of Iraq from the past couple of days. Basically, if the MSM is quiet on Iraq, thats a good thing. When things are going well, they get fussy and stop playing:

The training of Iraqi security forces, both the New Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police, seems to have fallen off the front pages of the antique media. There is a good reason for this: it's going very well.

"If it bleeds, it leads;" but that means that if it's good news, newspapers, magazines, and broadcast news just aren't interested. Don Henley was right: it's "give us dirty laundry!"

The Blogosphere: cleaning the MSM's clock since 2004. (tm)

Update: Good article here.

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Pluto No Longer A Planet

Pluto gets the boot. Time for a new acronym!

Pluto, a planet since 1930, got the boot because it didn't meet the new rules, which say a planet not only must orbit the sun and be large enough to assume a nearly round shape, but must "clear the neighborhood around its orbit." That disqualifies Pluto, whose oblong orbit overlaps Neptune's, downsizing the solar system to eight planets from the traditional nine.

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NASA Competes with Google

NASA has released a Google Earth competitor: World Wind.

World Wind allows any user to zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth, leveraging high resolution LandSat imagery and SRTM elevation data to experience Earth in visually rich 3D, just as if they were really there.

Cool.

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Build Your Own G-Meter

This nifty little walkthrough shows you how to build your own acceleration meter in your car. As an alternate option, you could go buy a corvette Z-06 which comes with one built in. Either way they're cool.

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The Red Cross Ambulance Incident

Zombie has a great post covering the Red Cross ambulance incident posted here. You should really check it out:

On the night of July 23, 2006, an Israeli aircraft intentionally fired missiles at and struck two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances performing rescue operations, causing huge explosions that injured everyone inside the vehicles. Or so says the global media, including Time magazine, the BBC, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and thousands of other outlets around the world. If true, the incident would have been an egregious and indefensible violation of the Geneva Convention, and would constitute a war crime committed by the state of Israel.

But there's one problem: It never happened.

Read the rest.

Random Wikipedia Goodness

Hidalgoa ternata is a hemi-epiphytic vine common in montane cloud forests in Costa Rica. It is easily distinguished by its deep orange flowers and ternate leaves.

Apparently, someone on Wiki thinks it can also cure cancer.

Since that one was pretty short, here's another:

Tayabas is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Quezon, Philippines. It was once the capital of the province. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 70,985 people in 15,155 households.Its is noted for having the first transsexual barangay captain in the Philippines,RUVIC REA from Barangay Angeles zone 4.

What the heck is a barangay captain? Not sure I want to know.

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