September 23, 2008

Nothing To See Here

A must read about Obama's relationship with just "a guy who lives in my neighborhood."

...The Chicago Annenberg Challenge stands as Barack Obama’s most important executive experience to date. By its own account, CAC was a largely a failure. And a series of critical evaluations point to reasons for that failure, including a poor strategy, to which the foundation over-committed in 1995, and over-reliance on community organizers with insufficient education expertise. The failure of CAC thus raises entirely legitimate questions, both about Obama’s competence, his alliances with radical community organizers, and about Ayers’s continuing influence over CAC and its board, headed by Obama. Above all, by continuing to fund Ayers’s personal projects, and those of his political-educational allies, Obama was lending moral and material support to Ayers’s profoundly radical efforts. Ayers’s terrorist history aside, that makes the Ayers-Obama relationship a perfectly legitimate issue in this campaign.


You know, if the MSM would put just a 1/4 of the energy they put into the viscous attacks on Sarah Palin into actually reporting on Obama, it would be nice.

Posted by Ith at 12:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 19, 2008

Tough Luck

A baby survives an abortion -- Obama is quite content to let the baby die. God forbid he choose life. He's all abortion, all the time.

Probably one of the best articles I've read on just how much of an abortion extremist Obama is.

Deniers for Obama

Posted by Ith at 10:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 17, 2008

'Help! I'm a Hollywood Republican'

An excerpt:

...This brings me to my second secret life.

I'm a Republican. A heretofore secret Hollywood Republican. I know men and women who are heavy drug addicts and they have no problem finding employment in Hollywood. I know men and women who are gambling addicts and they work pretty regularly. There's even a director who was arrested for child molestation and yet was hired by Disney - yes, Disney - to helm a picture, and people defended this decision by saying even child molesters have a right to work. I would bet my bottom dollar that all these people are on the correct side of the political spectrum. They are liberal democrats.

Me, I'm a Republican. A conservative Republican. I believe passionately in free market capitalism. I believe in the Second Amendment, i.e., the right to bear arms (I even own several guns and go to the shooting range with friends from shul several times a month). I despise communism and fascism, and I believe there is a special place in hell for Islamic totalitarians and their Western apologists - probably 99.9 percent of Hollywood people.

The whole thing here.

Posted by Ith at 4:20 PM

August 14, 2008

Follow the Money

They sent Martha Stewart to prison for a whole lot less. An interesting article on Pelosi's stock market shenanigans and what she has to gain by keeping the price of oil high.

Posted by Ith at 11:37 AM | Comments (2)

July 2, 2008

I Remember the Seventies Too

...It's all such a 1970s way of thinking. That's when many gloomy experts told America that the Cold War, inflation, scarcity, and economic malaise would be permanent fixtures in our lives. Americans, they insisted, needed to lower their expectations of what was possible. Life was now more of a zero-sum game. The same meme is being recycled today. Don't believe it.

The whole thing here.

Posted by Ith at 12:23 PM

May 30, 2008

Drill Here, Drill Now

You can sign the petition here.

Posted by Ith at 1:35 PM | Comments (2)

April 30, 2008

[snorfle]

I love the title of this article: Dude, Where's My Recession?

And if that weren't enough, he throws in a Terminator analogy for good measure.

[snorfles some more]

Posted by Ith at 3:58 PM

April 23, 2008

Fallen Angels

Anyone else remember the Niven/Pournelle novel form the eighties, "Fallen Angels"?
Basically, the Earth is facing an Ice Age, while environmentalists are still going on about global warming.

Turns out it might not be so fictional after all:
Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

Posted by Ith at 10:23 AM | Comments (3)

March 7, 2008

Fair Play

I thought this was interesting:

British sense of fair play proven by science

The British sense of fair play has been scientifically proven by experiments held in 16 cities which show that, by comparison, the Russians and Greeks thirst for revenge.

The idealised games held around the world have shed new light on the way in which people co-operate for the common good - and what happens when they don't.

The research published today in the journal Science shows that taking revenge is more common in relatively corrupt and undemocratic traditional societies based on authoritarian and parochial social institutions, where citizens think it is acceptable to dodge taxes or flout laws because criminal acts frequently go unpunished.

[...]

In a commentary in the journal Science, Prof Herbert Gintis of the Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico, confirms how: "Anti-social punishment was rare in the most democratic societies and very common otherwise.

"Using the World Democracy Audit evaluation of countries' performance in political rights, civil liberties, press freedom and corruption, the top six performers among the countries studied were also in the lowest seven for anti-social punishment. These were the USA, UK, Germany, Denmark, Australia and Switzerland."

He adds: "Their results suggest that the success of democratic market societies may depend critically upon moral virtues as well as material interests, so the depiction of civil society as the sphere of 'naked self-interest' is radically incorrect."

Posted by Ith at 9:47 AM | Comments (1)

February 8, 2008

'The Sun Also Sets'

Climate Change: Not every scientist is part of Al Gore's mythical "consensus." Scientists worried about a new ice age seek funding to better observe something bigger than your SUV — the sun.

An excerpt:

Back in 1991, before Al Gore first shouted that the Earth was in the balance, the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study using data that went back centuries that showed that global temperatures closely tracked solar cycles.

To many, those data were convincing. Now, Canadian scientists are seeking additional funding for more and better "eyes" with which to observe our sun, which has a bigger impact on Earth's climate than all the tailpipes and smokestacks on our planet combined.

And they're worried about global cooling, not warming.

Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity.

Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.

Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.

This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.

Posted by Ith at 9:41 AM | Comments (1)

November 16, 2007

Countdown

How many new episodes does your favourite show have left? You can check here.

Posted by Ith at 11:55 AM

October 31, 2007

Scary Stuff

University of Delaware Requires Students to Undergo Ideological Reeducation

This reads like something out of the Soviet Union! Though the university would probably consider that a compliment.

Posted by Ith at 9:19 AM | Comments (3)

October 22, 2007

Coming Soon From Hillarycare

This is the sort of thing we can look forward to if Hillary gets her way.

Posted by Ith at 9:00 AM

October 14, 2007

Not Nobel Winners

In Olso Friday, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded to the Burmese monks whose defiance against, and brutalization at the hands of, the country's military junta in recent weeks captured the attention of the Free World.

The prize was also not awarded to Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and other Zimbabwe opposition leaders who were arrested and in some cases beaten by police earlier this year while protesting peacefully against dictator Robert Mugabe.

Or to Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest in Vietnam arrested this year and sentenced to eight years in prison for helping the pro-democracy group Block 8406.

The rest here.

Posted by Ith at 10:28 AM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2007

When 'Romance' Is A Dirty Word

'Girls Gone Mild'

There were parts of this that just made me want to cry for these girls and women. Like the excerpt below:

...Irene, fifteen, hooked up with a boy for some time—"we basically became friends with benefits," she confided to a reporter for The New York Times. Unfortunately, the boy never got around to asking her out on a real date, as Irene was hoping, so she was "devastated." But she says, "Since then, I've become really good at keeping my emotions in check. I can hook up with a guy and not fall for him."

How extraordinarily sad -- and she's only fifteen!

Posted by Ith at 1:48 PM

August 11, 2007

Freeman Dyson: Heretic

HERETICAL THOUGHTS ABOUT SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.

Read the whole thing. Having always been an admirer of Professor Dyson's I'm thrilled to see that his writings are on a website. Very cool!

Via LJ buddy, CaptofmyHeart.

Posted by Ith at 11:56 AM

July 21, 2007

The Genocide Generals

A stark reminder from the past, especially meaningful these days, when the term 'Nazi' is tossed around frequently by the left.

The Genocide Generals: secret recordings explode the myth they knew nothing about the Holocaust

During the latter half of World War II, the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) undertook a massive clandestine operation of which the full, extraordinary details are only now coming to light.

Between 1942 and 1945, a section of SIS - known as MI19 - secretly recorded no fewer than 64,427 conversations between captured German generals and other senior officers, all without their knowledge or even suspicion. The 167 most significant of these are about to be published for the first time.

Together, they provide us with a goldmine of information about what the German High Command privately thought of the war, Adolf Hitler, the Nazis and each other.

Do go read the entire article. There's also a rare colour photo of Hitler with his generals, which is very odd because I've only ever seen B&W before.

Posted by Ith at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

July 2, 2007

'I Was a Fanatic'

I was a fanatic...I know their thinking, says former radical Islamist

An excerpt:

When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network - a series of British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology - I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.

By blaming the Government for our actions, those who pushed this "Blair's bombs" line did our propaganda work for us.

More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.

The attempts to cause mass destruction in London and Glasgow are so reminiscent of other recent British Islamic extremist plots that they are likely to have been carried out by my former peers.

And as with previous terror attacks, people are again saying that violence carried out by Muslims is all to do with foreign policy.

For example, on Saturday on Radio 4's Today programme, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: "What all our intelligence shows about the opinions of disaffected young Muslims is the main driving force is not Afghanistan, it is mainly Iraq."

I left the British Jihadi Network in February 2006 because I realised that its members had simply become mindless killers. But if I were still fighting for their cause, I'd be laughing once again.


Posted by Ith at 4:04 PM

June 13, 2007

60 Million Missing

Infanticide, Abortion Responsible for 60 Million Girls Missing in Asia

There is a little-known battle for survival going in some parts of the world. Those at risk are baby girls, and the casualties are in the millions each year. The weapons being used against them are prenatal sex selection, abortion and female infanticide — the systematic killing of girls soon after they are born.
Posted by Ith at 11:21 AM

The Trouble With Islam

Found this video linked on The Corner this morning.

It certainly doesn't pull any punches!

Posted by Ith at 10:11 AM

June 7, 2007

Immigration Attitudes Survey

I was asked to put up a link to this survey for my readers.


Increasingly, Americans are turning to the web for news about politics. This is a survey about online news coverage of the immigration issue. We are interested in your thoughts on this important political controversy. If you decide to participate in our survey, you will start off by answering a few questions about yourself and your political attitudes. Then you will watch a short news clip of an immigration story. After the clip, we will ask you some questions about your position on immigration policy. In total, the survey should take about 15 minutes to complete. The survey is completely anonymous and you can skip any questions you do not wish to answer.

Click here to take the survey:


Posted by Ith at 12:03 PM | TrackBack

June 6, 2007

Behind The Veil

In Saudi Arabia, a view from behind the veil

....I was ready to cope, or so I thought. I arrived with a protective smirk in tow, planning to thicken the walls around myself. I'd report a few stories, and go home. I had no inkling that Saudi Arabia, the experience of being a woman there, would stick to me, follow me home on the plane and shadow me through my days, tainting the way I perceived men and women everywhere.

I'm leaving the Middle East now, closing up years spent covering the fighting and fallout that have swept the region since Sept. 11. Of all the strange, scary and joyful experiences of the past years, my time covering Saudi Arabia remains among the most jarring.

I spent my days in Saudi Arabia struggling unhappily between a lifetime of being taught to respect foreign cultures and the realization that this culture judged me a lesser being. I tried to draw parallels: If I went to South Africa during apartheid, would I feel compelled to be polite?

(emphasis mine)

Thanks to KC Anathema for the link.

Posted by Ith at 3:53 PM

May 30, 2007

It Can Happen Here

An article on what chain migration has wrought in Europe.

Posted by Ith at 9:17 AM

May 14, 2007

The Fecklessness of American Feminism

Excellent article: The Subjection of Islamic Women
And the fecklessness of American feminism.

Posted by Ith at 9:54 AM

May 8, 2007

The 'Heartland' Is In

The Realignment of America The native-born are leaving "hip" cities for the heartland.

Very interesting article and well worth a click through to read IMHO.

Posted by Ith at 4:02 PM

May 1, 2007

Glossy Political Mailers

With Ith's kind permission... here is my belated guest blog post.

A couple of organizations I've never heard of, Citizens for Public Water and Monterey FLOW, assure us that a publicly-owned desalination plant is the answer to all of our water woes. In their six-page glossy full-color mailer, they claim that they are "working together to ensure that water remains affordable for all county residents."

Well... I haven't the time or the energy to dig deep and study this one, but one sentence jumps out:

Growth . . . will occur in accordance with existing and new land-use policies.

Hmm. What "new" land use policies might those turn out to be? The mailer is mysteriously silent on this point.

I confess I am torn. As a lifelong resident and survivor of several past water shortages with rationing, I do want our local water supply to be safe and plentiful. But on the other hand... if there is a new source of water brought online (i.e. a desalination plant) I suspect we will find out very quickly what those "new" land use policies would be. All together, now, one-two-three: More development! More traffic! More bodies! More McMansions! Hurrah!

Water. At what price?

Discuss amongst yourselves. I have work to do.

Cross-posted at Coffee with CrankyBeach

Posted by CrankyBeach at 7:05 PM

April 2, 2007

And So It Comes To this

Teachers drop the Holocaust to avoid offending Muslims


Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Governmentbacked study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.

I should be surpised, but sadly, I'm not.

Posted by Ith at 11:58 AM

March 19, 2007

Cinemas of the Future

.... In the near future, you can expect restaurant-quality meals made with ventless cooking equipment; interactive concession signs and lightning-swift mobile-phone service allowing customers to reserve seats and pay for tickets.

The whole article here.

Posted by Ith at 12:47 PM

March 8, 2007

Take A Look At The Chart

Europe Lags As U.S. Races Ahead

It's an interesting article over all, but go down to the bottom and look at the chart. The 'long-term joblessness' number is astounding.

Posted by Ith at 10:31 AM

March 7, 2007

Stupid

We let hundreds of thousands of illegals pour across our borders, but if you're trying to get here legally?

The US currently limits visas for skilled foreign workers to 65,000 a year, while the number of green cards, required for permanent resident status is limited to 140,000 a year.

The whole thing here.

Posted by Ith at 3:30 PM

February 15, 2007

Marriage and the Terror War

Very interesting article on "preferential patrilateral parallel cousin marriage" and how it relates to Islam.

.... In this first in a series of essays on Muslim cousin-marriage, I want to begin to make the case that Muslim kinship structure is an unexamined key to the war on terror. While the character of Islam itself is unquestionably one of the critical forces driving our global conflict, the nature of Islamic kinship and social structure is at least as important a factor — although this latter cluster of issues has received relatively little attention in public debate. Understanding the role of Middle Eastern kinship and social structure in driving the war not only throws light on the weaknesses of arguments like D’Souza’s, it may also help us devise a new long-term strategy for victory in the war on terror.

The whole thing here.

Posted by Ith at 12:42 PM

February 14, 2007

My Kind Of Valentine Post

Sexless and the City

Posted by Ith at 1:26 PM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2007

Can One Assume...

that they'll be offering birth control pills over the counter as well?

British Pharmacy Chain to Begin Trial to Offer Men Anti-Impotence Drug Viagra Over Counter

(Now, they may already, but BCPs aren't listed in the article as something already done OTC)

Posted by Ith at 11:16 AM

February 8, 2007

Alvarado Street Fire 2007

We had a huge fire downtown last night.

101 year old building and 20+ businesses. Alavarado is shut down until they can stabilize what's left of the building. And it's AT&T/Crosby Golf tourney week, so the town is packed.

Posted by Ith at 3:34 PM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2006

Ted Kennedy & His Buddies at the Kremlin

A Phenomenon Called Senator Kennedy

...... More secrets about Kennedy’s collaboration with Moscow became known after the famous defector Vasiliy Mitrokhin smuggled his invaluable archive of secret KGB documents to the West. In 2002, he publicized some of them in The KGB in Afghanistan working paper, published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In 1980 Kennedy attacked President Carter over the latter’s tough opposition to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. As Mitrokhin reveals, the senator had evidently coordinated that with Moscow several weeks before — through Tunney and Egon Bahr, West Germany’s top Social Democrat who often had secret contacts with the KGB.

Then in 1983, according to the notorious KGB document quoted by Sebastian and now by Kengor, Tunney conveyed another secret message from Kennedy to the Soviet leader, communicating to Andropov the senator’s willingness, “in the interest of world peace,” to take some joint measures against “the militaristic policies of Ronald Reagan.” When the KGB received this information, they classified it at the highest possible level — not only as “top secret,” but also as “of special importance” and a “special file.” It was immediately reported to Andropov, but left him unimpressed. So the intrusive senator was rebuffed for a while.

However, Andropov died soon, followed shortly thereafter by his senile successor Chernenko. In less than two years, Gorbachev got to power. He soon reversed the previous decision on Kennedy, and agreed to see him in February 1986.

The above alone would be enough for the new general secretary to know significantly more about the senator than his family name. But the story did not end there. Below we are quoting more top-secret documents from Soviet archives (about which you can read more on in John O’Sullivan’s new book, The Pope, the President and the Prime Minister), which tell about Ted Kennedy’s further contacts with the Kremlin.

Posted by Ith at 12:53 PM

October 27, 2006

Writer Beware

This has become a favourite blog over the last few months.

Want to know the innermost secrets of Writer Beware? Of course you do! Come and read about hunting down scam agents, and get information on writing and publishing from authors/scam hunters Victoria Strauss and A.C. Crispin. Got questions on how to avoid scams in the writing world? Ask the experts! Got questions on writing and publishing? Get the straight dope here.

They have another great post up on the perils of paying for representation and vanity publishing.

Posted by Ith at 1:47 PM

October 26, 2006

Cry Baby Party

From David Frum's Diary today.

Posted by Ith at 4:56 PM

September 8, 2006

Climate Change Rocked Cradles of Civilization

Severe climate change was the primary driver in the development of civilisation, according to new research by the University of East Anglia.

The early civilisations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, South Asia, China and northern South America were founded between 6000 and 4000 years ago when global climate changes, driven by natural fluctuations in the Earth's orbit, caused a weakening of monsoon systems resulting in increasingly arid conditions. These first large urban, state-level societies emerged because diminishing resources forced previously transient people into close proximity in areas where water, pasture and productive land was still available.

In a presentation to the BA Festival of Science on September 7, Dr. Nick Brooks will challenge existing views of how and why civilisation arose. He will argue that the earliest civilisations developed largely as a by-product of adaptation to climate change and were the products of hostile environments.

"Civilisation did not arise as the result of a benign environment which allowed humanity to indulge a preference for living in complex, urban, 'civilized' societies," said Dr. Brooks.

"On the contrary, what we tend to think of today as 'civilisation' was in large part an accidental by-product of unplanned adaptation to catastrophic climate change. Civilisation was a last resort - a means of organising society and food production and distribution, in the face of deteriorating environmental conditions."

The rest here.

Posted by Ith at 1:12 PM

August 24, 2006

Close To "Almost Home"

This happened in the town near where my family lives in Utah.

Sheriff says teen saved family by killing intruder

Parents in danger: The boy breaks free of duct tape, plunges knife five times into the man's back

Posted by Ith at 12:02 PM | Comments (3)

August 18, 2006

Thank You

In Christian-Muslim relations, peace not served by ignoring history
~ by Denver's Catholic Archbishop

And this, on a related note from the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Al, in England: Multiculturalism is to blame for perverting young Muslims

Posted by Ith at 12:37 PM

August 17, 2006

Chilling

The Christian Science Monitor is running an 11 part series written by Jill Carrol, the reporter who was kidnapped in Iraq. It's absolutely chilling.

A small example:

As we stood in the small kitchen, Abu Ali, the insurgent with the salt-and-pepper beard who had abducted me, proudly declared that his wife wanted to die.

"Um Ali wants to be a martyr. She wants to drive a car bomb!" he said, beaming.

Of course, she'd have to wait, since she was now four months pregnant. It is forbidden in Islam to kill a fetus at that age, he explained.

"Oh, OK, OK, oh wow," I said. I feigned confusion while I tried to think of what to say.

The chaos of dinner preparation swirled around us. The kitchen was typically Iraqi: a cramped space with thin metal countertops that have no cabinets beneath.

Someone had sewed a skirt for the countertop out of gaudy fabric, but one part had torn away. Next to the refrigerator was a giant freezer, covered all over with stickers advertising Maggi-brand soups.

Three children played around our feet - all progeny of the would-be bomber.

I was still unused to captivity, still learning the boundaries, both physical and mental, that my kidnappers had imposed. I didn't want to offend. But I was shocked at the talk of a mother's suicide; shocked that Um Ali would blush at her husband's praise of this plan.

"Oh, I didn't know women could be car bombers," was all I could muster.

Later I was told that this was the only way women could be part of the mujahideen. The men could have the glory of fighting in battle. Women got to blow themselves up.

How do you reason with such people? I honestly don't see how you can.

Posted by Ith at 3:31 PM | Comments (5)

August 15, 2006

What A World

When a leader has to beg its people to stop murdering baby girls -- oh right, they're not actually babies, they're fetuses. My mistake.

Indian premier calls for end to killing of unborn girls

Posted by Ith at 9:28 PM | Comments (2)

August 14, 2006

July 14, 2006

The Joy of Risk-Taking

I found this article linked over on The Corner yesterday: Brilliant men always betray their wives

I found it fascinating, not to mention timely, since we were discussing something similar while waiting in line for Dead Man's Chest on Saturday.

Posted by Ith at 11:52 AM | Comments (4)

June 29, 2006

McDonalds Escape

This is very true: McDonalds, when you're in a strange place, can be very calming. It's just familar, even if you're in Holland and they give you this odd whitish green substance instead of ketchup for your fries :)

Posted by Ith at 11:13 AM | Comments (12)

June 24, 2006

Weekend Reading

Cassandra has it covered: Liberal Anti-War Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

Posted by Ith at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

June 13, 2006

June 6, 2006

Exporting Smugness

An excerpt from an editorial in the London Times:

.... The strength of disdain is a measure of Europes weakness. Smugness is one of Europes great contemporary exports. We may all think that we know America, its music, its culture, its self-confident exceptionalism. We tend to forget that Americans fight only with extreme reluctance. We overlook their penchant for agonised self-criticism; everything bad we know about the US, we know because Americans inexhaustibly rehearse their societys shortcomings. There has never been greater transparency, whether than on the battlefield or the boondocks, and there has never been more open debate about the countrys virtues and vices the internet has transformed the quantity and, at times, the quality of the conversation.

Better than most, Muslims understand why Islamist terrorism is war at its unholiest, an existential threat to societies. Iraqis may resent occupation, but they fear a weakening of US resolve. Their fears should be ours. Were it to become politically impossible for a president to keep Americas forces engaged from its shores, then the backbone of international security would be broken. America-bashing may be a popular sport, but its adherents prefer not to contemplate its consequences.

Later: the lost link.

Posted by Ith at 12:43 PM | Comments (2)

April 12, 2006

Home DNA Tests?

Saw this article linked over on The Corner this morning. It's like science fiction some days! And how they're being used in some cases makes you wonder:

Alan Moldawer's adopted twins, Matt and Andrew, had always thought of themselves as white. But when it came time for them to apply to college last year, Mr. Moldawer thought it might be worth investigating the origins of their slightly tan-tinted skin, with a new DNA kit that he had heard could determine an individual's genetic ancestry.

The results, designating the boys 9 percent Native American and 11 percent northern African, arrived too late for the admissions process. But Mr. Moldawer, a business executive in Silver Spring, Md., says they could be useful in obtaining financial aid.

"Naturally when you're applying to college you're looking at how your genetic status might help you," said Mr. Moldawer, who knows that the twins' birth parents are white, but has little information about their extended family. "I have three kids going now, and you can bet that any advantage we can take we will."

Seems to me that stuff like this should be another nail in the coffin of racial quotas. One can only hope.

Posted by Ith at 8:53 AM | Comments (3)

March 29, 2006

March 27, 2006

March 24, 2006

Bulgaria to Let U.S. Use Military Bases

Bulgaria will allow the United States to use several military bases in the country, giving American forces a jumping-off point closer to potential hotspots in the Middle East, officials said Friday.

The rest here.

Posted by Ith at 12:50 PM

March 23, 2006

Obligations

The obligation of unwanted fatherhood

If you're going to engage in adult activities, then you need to accept responsibility for adult consequences.

Posted by Ith at 9:45 AM | Comments (5)

March 18, 2006

The End of the Internet?

A whole lot of guns are lined up against the Net right now: Net neutrality/two-tiered Internet issues; increasing discomfort over the U.S. control of Internet operation; China's moves to create its own domain system (a possible prelude to a new, country-specific, alternate root system); supposition that, with Vint Cerf and a bunch of dark fiber in hand, Google might be looking to create its own Internet--and of course, there are the viruses, the spam, the scourge on young people that is MySpace, and, how could I forget...porn and pop-ups.

Basically, I'm starting to wonder if the one-Internet-for-all paradigm we've enjoyed so far is about to break and if we can expect a future where we all use smaller, private, for-profit or nonprofit, corporate, and/or political Internets according to our various locations and interests. Let me put it this way: it's all too likely that George W. Bush didn't misspeak when he mentioned "the Internets." The military has probably already built an alternate Internet--if not more than one, and it's looking all too possible that the Net itself is about to fracture into a mess of cliques, privately owned networks, and glorified Usenets.

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Ith at 1:23 PM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2006

Not The Average Single Woman

This is an excerpt from a larger article about "the gender gap". Makes you wonder if we women who blog on current events really are quite different then many of our counterparts in how informed we are.

Male influence. Women are significantly less likely than men to follow national and international affairs, a knowledge gap that researchers have documented for decades. In a new survey conducted for Women's Voices, Women Vote by the Democratic polling firm of GQR Research, a large majority of nonvoting single women -- 70 percent -- said they ''find politics and elections so complicated that it is hard to understand what is really going on." [emphasis mine] That helps explain why single women are much less likely to vote. It also explains why married women more often adopt their husband's political outlook -- which tends to be more conservative -- than the other way around.

Okay, the bolded bit above? That's just plain embarrassing. Geez! Too complicated? It's not like someone is asking you to build a freaking nuclear reactor! The only cheesy rationalization I can come up with is that if they asked uninformed men the same question, I can't see them using the reason 'that it's too complicated' -- even if it is. They'd come up with something a little less pathetic, like, "I'm too busy with my career to pay much attention". Of course, this probably explains why I've always gravitated to men socially as opposed to my own gender. The men at work, or some miscellaneous social gathering, were much more likely to be talking about something that interested me than the women were.

Posted by Ith at 12:42 PM | Comments (15)

Here Come the Globotaxers!

What If There Were an International IRS?

Posted by Ith at 12:16 PM | Comments (1)

February 16, 2006

Reciprocal Beneficiaries

I really like the idea of this. Remember a few weeks ago, I posted about the university that wanted a written statement that same sex couples were actually having sex before they would give them benefits? That bugged me. Here in CA, a similar legal statement is required. If we're going to offer benefits to same sex couples, and cohabitating aka 'shacking up' heterosexual couples, then any two people should have that same option. The fact that Nin and I aren't lesbians disqualifies us, despite the fact we function as a couple in every other way, just annoys me no end.

Posted by Ith at 10:40 AM | Comments (6)

February 7, 2006

Scientist predicts 'mini Ice Age'

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Russian astronomer has predicted that Earth will experience a "mini Ice Age" in the middle of this century, caused by low solar activity.

Khabibullo Abdusamatov of the Pulkovo Astronomic Observatory in St. Petersburg said Monday that temperatures will begin falling six or seven years from now, when global warming caused by increased solar activity in the 20th century reaches its peak, RIA Novosti reported.

The coldest period will occur 15 to 20 years after a major solar output decline between 2035 and 2045, Abdusamatov said.

Dramatic changes in the earth's surface temperatures are an ordinary phenomenon, not an anomaly, he said, and result from variations in the sun's energy output and ultraviolet radiation.

The Northern Hemisphere's most recent cool-down period occurred between 1645 and 1705. The resulting period, known as the Little Ice Age, left canals in the Netherlands frozen solid and forced people in Greenland to abandon their houses to glaciers, the scientist said.

Posted by Ith at 3:11 PM | Comments (4)

February 3, 2006

Why Do We Still Watch Survivor?

Some thoughts from various TV related folk here.

Posted by Ith at 12:25 PM | Comments (3)

January 31, 2006

Nerves & Pain

Surprising Source of Chronic Pain Discovered

Some types of ongoing, inexplicable pain like arthritis are caused by intact, healthy nerve fibers rather than those that have been damaged, a new study finds.

The discovery surprised researchers. It had not been made before partly because studies of chronic pain have tended to focus on the damaged nerves.

The new understanding, reported in the Jan. 25 issue of the journal Neuroscience, could help scientists develop new types of painkillers.

The evidence so far applies only to ongoing pain associated with nerve injury and inflammation, although it may turn out to be more widely applicable, said Sally Lawson, a professor of physiology at the University of Bristol in the UK.

Posted by Ith at 3:00 PM | Comments (1)

January 20, 2006

Gillian Anderson

Nice interview by Maureen Ryan with Gillian Anderson on "Lady Dedlock, Dana Scully and the influence of 'The X-Files'"

I'm looking forward to catching Bleak House at some point, and it's a plus the screenplay was adapted and written by Andrew Davies, who did the BBC "Pride & Prejudice". Should be good!

Posted by Ith at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

January 19, 2006

Refreshing

Elfman: It's Not Polite to Be Rude

The former "Dharma & Greg" star, who's in a new comedy about a single woman that will premiere on CBS this spring, says she's definitely not impressed with the attitudes of some people she sees in Hollywood.

"A lot of my peers that I've worked with, they're not on time," she said. "They think it's absolutely OK to have attitude and treat people like crap. And they think nothing of it. They have a sense of some sort of entitlement, where I don't know where that comes from."

Maybe it has something to do with not being brought up with much discipline, said Elfman, 34.

Posted by Ith at 4:17 PM | Comments (4)

January 12, 2006

Disney To Buy Pixar?

Several top Wall Street analysts have dismissed speculation that the Walt Disney Co. plans to buy Pixar animation and install its chairman, Steve Jobs, as chairman of Disney, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. The wire service quoted David Miller of Sanders Morris Harris as saying, "I think it's absurd. ... It would have to be an enormously compelling offer to even have Mr. Jobs stop and consider it for maybe more than five seconds. ... He looks at Pixar like you and I look at our children," Miller said. "Our children aren't for sale." Doug Mitchelson, an analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., was quoted as saying, "We reaffirm our view that a Pixar acquisition by Disney makes no sense." Most analysts continue to predict that a deal between Disney and Pixar will be consummated. The A.P. observed that "the most likely reason for the delay is that a new deal with Disney is complex."

Link.

Posted by Ith at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)

January 11, 2006

Ride-along teen: 'Man down!'

The voice on officer May's squad car radio was unfamiliar at first. It wasn't Richard May's; he had just radioed headquarters minutes earlier to say he was trailing a suspect from a fight at a nearby taqueria.

The voice was that of a kid, no older than a teenager.

``Man down!'' the voice said, a bit high, but firm. ``Man down!''

It took another instant for East Palo Alto police Sgt. Alma Zamora, the watch commander in charge late Saturday afternoon, to recognize the voice. It was that of a 16-year-old Boy Scout Explorer, who was out for a ride-along with May.

And then Zamora realized -- the boy was sitting in the front seat of May's squad car with a gunman on the loose.

``At that point, we couldn't get there fast enough,'' Zamora said in an interview Tuesday.

Zamora jumped in her patrol car and sped just one block away to University Avenue and Weeks Street. As she rounded the corner, she caught a glimpse of the boy, tall and thin, talking to a policeman who had responded to the scene.

``It was almost a relief,'' she said, ``until I saw the officer.''

May, 38, a mentor in the Explorers program , lay lifeless on the pavement. He had been shot at least twice, including once in the head, police said. The crime was caught on tape from a security camera at a nearby building.

The suspect, 22-year-old Alberto Alvarez, was caught early Sunday morning. He had a gunshot wound to the leg. He was arraigned Tuesday on a murder charge.

Police won't identify the boy, who they worry could be in danger from the suspect's fellow gang members. He is a key witness

.

The rest of the story here.

Posted by Ith at 12:20 PM | Comments (2)

January 4, 2006

Carnival Anyone?

If you find yourself insufficiently engaged by us guest bloggers, you might like to check out Carnival of the Vanities, in its first appearance of the new year, under new management. Or not.

Posted by at 7:11 PM

December 16, 2005

Zebrafish Lead The Way

Gene may explain pigment variety in people

Posted by Ith at 4:00 PM | Comments (1)

December 1, 2005

St. Andrew's Day II

As I noted yesterday, it was St. Andrews Day. Following up on that, here's an article from the Scotsman I read today: Call for St Andrew's Day holiday stirs up the national debate

Posted by Ith at 9:49 AM | Comments (2)

November 7, 2005

The French Connection

This is an interesting one.

It's not really easy to excerpt, but this should get you started:


....Think like a counterintelligence analyst for once. It's an old-fashioned sting operation. You're Jacques Chirac, okay? You want to embarrass the Americans and protect your buddy Saddam Hussein, right? The Americans are running around trying to find evidence of a covert Iraqi nuclear program. So, first you feed them some crappy information along those lines, hoping that they'll buy it, and then you arrange through Rocco in Italy to have these documents surface. The documents "confirm" the disinformation and of course also what the Americans want to believe anyway. The Americans launch their accusations, then it turns out that the documents are forgeries, and bad forgeries at that, and so the Americans look like idiots and the causus belli disappears. In one move, you've helped your friend Saddam and hurt the Americans. Terrific. Chapeau, and all that.

Posted by Ith at 9:37 AM | Comments (2)

November 4, 2005

Have They Looked Deep Into Their Hearts?

So the riots in France continue. Gee, and here I thought France was the perfect Utopia. After all, didn't they berate us over and over again after Katrina? What a racist society we were! How much poverty and injustice! Why, nothing like that could ever happen in blessed France. Here's a mirror, France. Take a good long look. And I just have to ask: Have you looked into your hearts and asked why they hate you?

And while we're on the subject, Mark Steyn has much to say on the subject here. (link found at Instapundit)

Posted by Ith at 12:42 PM

A Muslim Guy Fawkes?

John Derbyshire explains Guy Fawkes Day, the Gunpowder Plot, and brings the discussion to the present day.

Posted by Ith at 11:11 AM | Comments (3)

Turning On The Wayback Machine

An emailer to the Corner with a detailed reminder of the Clinton years and Operation Desert Fox.

Posted by Ith at 10:58 AM

October 27, 2005

Relief

Like CTG, I'm happy in a relieved sort of fashion, not a 'pop the champagne corks' fashion. Here's hoping that the next nominee is what the President promised initially, and one I want to fight for. But I'm a part of the extreme right wing of the party, so what do I know?

Posted by Ith at 12:43 PM | Comments (4)

October 19, 2005

Backwards Association

Your Brain Remembers What You Forget

I've always thought I have a lousy short term memory. Not so much in forgetting where something is, but what I was going to say. My family will stop and let me talk, because they know if they don't, I'll have forgotten by the time they finish. The excerpt below is exactly how I try and remember what I was going to say. I backtrack from what I'm thinking now, to what made me think of it, and so on and so forth. Usually works.

As you dash outdoors in the middle of winter, you might make it halfway down the block before realizing that your ears are freezing because you forgot your hat.

Now, scientists have shown that even though you've had an apparent memory lapse, your brain never forgot what you should have done.

Memory works mainly by association. For example, as you try to remember where you left your keys, you might recall you last had them in the living room, which reminds you that there was a commercial for soap on television, which reminds you that you need soap, and so on. And then, as you're heading out the door to buy soap, you remember that your keys are on the kitchen counter.

Your brain knew where the keys were all along, it just took a round-about way to get there.

Posted by Ith at 11:42 AM | Comments (1)

October 11, 2005

Defending Columbus

Interesting article here on Columbus and 'native Americans'.

Posted by Ith at 9:27 AM | Comments (1)

October 10, 2005

Ditch the Rice Cereal & Bring Out the Curry

At least, that's what's hot in baby food these days, according to this article.

Posted by Ith at 12:00 PM | Comments (6)

October 6, 2005

Not The Root Of All Evil

Found this post (not to mention the actual blog) -- by a psychologist no less -- via The Corner this evening. If you're tired of only hearing about how the internet is bad, then this will be a breath of fresh air. Those of you who've hung around here for a while, or read my "all about me" page know why I think the internet can be an amazing place. Needless to say, I very much enjoyed the post.

Posted by Ith at 8:09 PM | Comments (6)

When Drunk Driving Deterrence Becomes Neo-Prohibition

Decades later the temperance movement is still around, just under another guise:

.... MADD has also worked to undermine the criminal protections of accused drunk drivers protections routinely granted to accused murderers, rapists and other felony crimes. MADD, for example, has pushed to impose tougher penalties on motorists who refuse to take roadside breath tests than on those who take them and fail effectively turning the Fifth Amendment on its ear. The organization also favors "administrative license revocation," which means the revocation of the driver's licenses and, in some cases, the confiscation of the vehicles, of those accused of drunken driving before they're ever given a trial.

The organization is also pushing the widespread use of ignition interlock devices, in which a driver must blow into a tube to start his car, then blow again every 20 minutes or so while driving. Washington state recently passed a law allowing judges to mandate the devices in the cars of people merely accused of drunk driving, not convicted. And the states of New Mexico and New York have both considered legislation that would require the devices in every car sold in-state. The New Mexico bill is stalled in the state senate after being passed by the house. The New York bill was initially killed, but it gains more votes each time its determined sponsors reintroduce it.

MADD is also pushing its agenda onto family laws, including a zero tolerance policy for divorced parents. Under the bills MADD is trying to push through state legislatures, a parent caught consuming one beer or glass of wine before driving could face penalties that, according to MADD, "should include, but are not limited to" "incarceration," "change of primary custody," or "termination of parental rights." This means that if you take your kid to the game, have a beer in the third inning, then drive home, you could very well lose your rights as a father.

The entire article here.

Posted by Ith at 12:00 PM | Comments (2)

October 4, 2005

Stolen Romance

More from Card on another subject. This stems from a review of the book "Princess Academy" (which he highly reccomends).

....By being so "free" these days, we have stolen romance from our children. Our daughters grow up thinking they have nothing to offer a man but their bodies; our young men grow up thinking that someone is cheating them if they can't satisfy themselves however they wish.

It's sad that the gentle romance of this novel will feel like a fantasy to many young readers.

But when I was young, this was the romantic world I lived in -- where a held hand was full of daring and excitement, and it didn't occur to me for a long, long time that I could even hope for more.

Where a first kiss might not come until late in one's teens, and decent young men and women did not want to sully themselves by attempting sex outside of marriage.

Am I the only one who remembers that world? Of course many of my generation were impatient with the rules that seemed to restrict us. But it was those very rules -- the chaperones, the separation between the sexes, the "repression" of "natural desires" -- that made romance even possible.

Why couldn't we, as a generation, have had the sense, the unselfishness to give that same gift to our children? To let them chafe against the limitations that kept them from disastrous mistakes and bitter memories?

Read it all here.

Posted by Ith at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2005

Firefly Thoughts

Jim Geraghty muses on Firelfy and Serenity.

Posted by Ith at 9:55 AM | Comments (2)

September 20, 2005

Hurricane Alpha?

They're running out of names for this year's hurricanes, so the Greek alphabet is next.

Posted by Ith at 4:34 PM | Comments (5)

September 15, 2005

Furry & Feathered Refugees

Our local aquarium has taken in two otters and a passle of penguins from an aquarium wrecked by Katrina.


....The otters, Buck and Emma, could possibly end up going on display, too, but that's a much iffier proposition. For one thing, they'd have to share quarters with some of the aquarium's resident otters, who haven't been on birth control since they all happen to be females.

The co-ed living arrangements might make Buck happy, but not the aquarium staff. Since the aquarium is already working overtime to return stranded sea otter pups to the wild successfully -- or to find homes for them in captivity -- it's a bit counterproductive to let one be born right under the staff's noses.

Besides, Murray said, the aquarium's Fish and Wildlife Service permit for handling sea otters doesn't allow for any monkey business, so to speak.

The obvious question: Is Emma, Buck's longtime significant other, on birth control? The non-obvious answer: No.

"We don't know why they haven't bred," Murray said.

But even if romance didn't have to be squelched, he added, things might not go swimmingly. "Even when we just put females together, they can bicker. And bickering otters can hurt each other."

If Buck and Emma are kept to themselves, their pool will be smaller than it was in New Orleans and they won't get to play to the crowds that they've been used to.

"So we want to provide as much stimulation as we can," Mayer said. "Toys and ice and live food... And we'll work with them on some of the behaviors they're trained to do... That's vital for these guys for maintaining their demeanor and well-being."

Tuesday, as Buck rolled around in the ice and Emma wriggled around on her "raft," their demeanors seemed playful, and their well-being seemed not to be in question.

You can find updates on the new arrivals here.

Posted by Ith at 12:28 PM | Comments (3)

September 13, 2005

Oh, The Horror!

"Ill Wind May Not Blow to the Whitehouse"

As the full horror of Hurricane Katrina sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if this is the end of George Bush's presidency.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that every copy of the US Constitution was destroyed in the storm. Otherwise President Bush will remain in office until noon on January 20th, 2009, as required by the 20th Amendment, after which he is barred from seeking a third term anyway under the 22nd Amendment.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the entire political agenda of George Bush's second term will not still be damaged in some terribly satisfying way.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that the entire political agenda of George Bush's second term consists of repealing the 22nd Amendment. Otherwise, with a clear Republican majority in both Houses of Congress, he can carry on doing pretty much whatever he likes.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the Republican Party itself will now suffer a setback at the congressional mid-term elections next November.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that people outside the disaster zone punish their local representatives for events elsewhere a year previously, both beyond their control and outside their remit, while people inside the disaster zone reward their local representatives for an ongoing calamity they were supposed to prevent. Otherwise, the Democratic Party will suffer a setback at the next congressional election

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if an official inquiry will shift the blame for poor planning and inadequate flood defences on to the White House.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody admits that emergency planning is largely the responsibility of city and state agencies, and nobody notices that the main levee which broke was the only levee recently modernised with federal funds. Otherwise, an official inquiry will pin most of the blame on the notoriously corrupt and incompetent local governments of New Orleans and Louisiana.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush contributed to the death toll by sending so many national guard units to Iraq.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody recalls that those same columnists have spent the past two years blaming George Bush for another death toll by not sending enough national guard units to Iraq. Otherwise, people might wonder why they have never previously read a single article advocating large-scale military redeployment during the Caribbean hurricane season.

Read it all here (no registration requred for this link)

Via The Corner.

Posted by Ith at 9:54 AM | Comments (1)

September 12, 2005

September 9, 2005

A Few Ideas

Housing for Katrina Victims: Ideas from Science Fiction.

The shipping crate house is kinda kewl.

Posted by Ith at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2005

Mobilizing The Troops

I got a personal call this morning from the chairman of the local Republican party, wondering why his e-mails to me are bouncing. (It's because my ISP has finally put in some decently aggressive anti-spam measures.) I told him I'd whitelist him, and then mentioned that one of the most recent things caught in the spam filter was the latest self-aggrandizing piece of cr*p newsletter from our local congress-moron.

He then told me the best shot at getting rid of said moron, short of death (which we most certainly do not advocate, no we do not) is to mobilize every voter in California to vote yes on Proposition 77, the re-districting initiative.

If you are on the fence about Prop 77, consider this. Often you can know someone (or something) by their enemies as well as by their friends. Need I mention that the "usual suspects" (i.e. the left-wing loonies) are the ones stepping forward to oppose 77? Who do you want to align yourself with on this one?

(Note: The above entry is cross-posted at my own blog, Coffee with CrankyBeach.)

Posted by CrankyBeach at 11:03 AM | Comments (1)

August 19, 2005

Sign Of The Times?

Fall TV full of sci-fi themes

Science fiction is coming back big. This fall will find more television shows with sci-fi/fantasy themes than audiences have seen in five years -- for reasons that may lie deeper than demographics.

Emboldened by the surprise success of ``Lost'' on ABC last season and other recent successes on cable, major networks are adding new shows covering an array of fantastical themes: alien invasion (CBS's ``Threshold,'' NBC's ``Surface,'' ABC's ``Invasion''), dead people talking (CBS's ``Ghost Whisperer'') and scary creatures of the night (a remake of ``The Night Stalker'' on ABC). These shows are being given prime spots and are being backed with sizable promotional budgets.

Over the years, sci-fi has proven a durable and effective vehicle for reflecting unease and uncertainty in the world, feelings being sparked now in a post-Sept. 11 climate where invisible enemies are seen as lurking among us, striking when we least expect it out of motives we don't understand.

``Science fiction had a big resurgence in the 1950s, the era of potential nuclear war, the Cold War and the Red Scare,'' said Rockne O'Bannon, a veteran of such sci-fi series as ``Farscape'' and the creator of a new miniseries, ``Triangle,'' set in the Bermuda Triangle, the Atlantic Ocean region where ships and planes have been reputed to have disappeared mysteriously.

``Here we are facing the same kind of questions and the same kind of uncertainties about how safe we are, how safe our children are going to be and what world is going to be like. It's something we haven't had to face in the post-Vietnam generation,'' O'Bannon said.

[....]

But it's about more than big numbers. NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly says that in choosing new shows for the fall, the network keenly was aware that ``these are paranoid times.''

``Look at what just happened in London and what's going on in Iraq and the West Bank,'' said David Goyer, who wrote ``Batman Begins'' and is executive producer of ``Threshold.'' ``People are scared.''

``Who's friend? Who's foe?,'' Reilly continued. ``What's in our interest in national security? You don't want to literally go at those themes because they make you uncomfortable. You want to kind of bring them out and manifest them in other ways, give us a way to work them out.''

Which means if viewers want to find larger, real-life meaning behind the ideas expressed in the new series, they will have to recognize the allegorical references.

``In science fiction, historically, you're telling allegorical tales,'' Goyer said. ``You're shining a light back on society -- what's happening now. It's a way to talk about what's going on, but from a sideways angle.''

Posted by Ith at 12:34 PM | Comments (5)

August 16, 2005

First Hand Report

RightGirl has a first hand report on the lecture she recently attended given by two very brave Muslim women.

She finishes her report with this:

And what of that woman, and those guards, and that potential for anything? Our politicians and protectors denounce the threat level in this country like it is a racist construct; they pooh-pooh our fears and concerns, and they assure us that nothing bad could ever happen in Canada. After all, there are no bad people here.

So why did this lovely, intelligent women need fifteen armed guards in a country that purportedly has no terrorists? Something tells me that someone is deluded, and it's not Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Posted by Ith at 11:09 AM

August 9, 2005

More BRAC

The hearing was last night, so I guess we just wait and see. Considering we never really recovered from Fort Ord being shut down, if we lost two bases at the same time now, I can't see how there's anyway to put a good spin on it. I'd be interested to know if any other community our size has taken not one, not two, but potentially three base closures. On the TV news they said that the two remaining bases account for 20% of the school district's students.

Officials make case for keeping schools


The hearing at the Monterey Conference Center opened with video testimony from U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and segued to statements by Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel and former Democratic Congressman Leon Panetta, before moving on to a detailed presentation by Monterey City Manager Fred Meurer. All made basically the same points.

The arguments against moving the two military schools centered on their vital roles in the war on terror. The speakers stressed that the two institutions would take years to rebuild elsewhere and that their work can't be "privatized" at civilian universities.

"It would be a huge mistake to lose these two tremendous assets," Feinstein said. "We're in the middle of a war."

Citing the Navy school's pioneering work in developing a homeland security studies curriculum and DLI's instruction in "the world's most difficult languages," Boxer said. "It is essential that no action be taken to disrupt the work of the Defense Language Institute or the Naval Postgraduate School."

The language institute, she noted, graduates 25 times the number of Arabic linguists of all other universities in the United States combined, and teaches all of the nation's Persian Farsi linguists.

A report prepared by Meurer showed that 26 students received degrees in Arabic at other universities around the United States compared to 521 graduates of DLI's Arabic course.

In addition to the military-specific subjects taught, the two schools are able to change gears to meet changing needs, said Terry Tamminen, cabinet secretary to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

DLI "shifted faster than any college could have done after 9/11'' to meet the military's sudden surge in demand for linguists who spoke Arabic, Pushtu, Farsi and other Central Asian languages, Tamminen said, and the Navy school, "unlike any other graduate university," applies the fruits of its research directly to military needs. He cited, for example, its work with unmanned aerial surveillance drones that became invaluable intelligence-gathering tools in Afghanistan.

NPS combines technical research capabilities with access to nearby training ranges with good weather year-round at Camp Roberts and Fort Hunter Liggett, and open air spaces over the Santa Lucia Mountains, to test concepts as they are developed, he said.

Moving either the language institute or the Navy school is "a misnomer," Farr said. "What we'd be doing is dismantling and reconstructing, and find that not all the pieces are there" after such a move.

[....]

.... Panetta, who serves as co-chairman of the California Council appointed by Schwarzenegger to prepare arguments against further military base closures in the state, reminded the commission that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had initially recommended against moving the two schools.

"It is our view that there is no credible evidence that moving or outsourcing these functions will result in an equivalent product on behalf of our national security," Panetta said, and "there is no credible evidence that there are cost efficiencies to be achieved through realignment. To rebuild this capacity elsewhere would not only be extremely expensive, it would be risky to our defense preparedness."

DLI's language teaching is duplicated nowhere else, he said, and NPS research projects and studies are "focused on nothing else but winning the war on terrorism."

Panetta also cited endorsements of the two institutions by Gen. John Abizaid, commander of the U.S. Central Command, and Gordon England, acting deputy secretary of defense and Navy secretary.

The two schools are targeted repeatedly for closure, he said, because the military "tends to look at educational facilities and their missions as second-class citizens" and because there is a misconception that their functions can be privatized.

"The reality is that these assets don't exist in the private sector."

Posted by Ith at 3:09 PM | Comments (5)

Blogs For Wise Guys?

When I first read this headline, "The next gold mine: Moblogs", my first thought was mobsters with blogs. Turns out that isn't quite what it means.

Posted by Ith at 12:59 PM

Taking The Salute

General gets his marching orders

FURIOUS campaigners are to stage a massive protest at the Tattoo after learning that the man they blame for ditching Scotland's historic regiments has been invited to be guest of honour.

The leaders of Save the Scottish Regiments campaign are angry that General Sir Mike Jackson, head of the Army, has been asked to take the salute at the event. And the lobby group was set to meet today to finalise plans to give "a hot reception" to the man behind the decision to disband the regiments.

They were due to finalise arrangements for how they will attempt to disrupt the sell-out event, one of the most popular Festival attractions.

But Tattoo producer Mel Jameson said he would not tolerate any attempt to cause mayhem at the Tattoo.

Edinburgh-based regiment the Royal Scots faces the axe under the plans, which would see it merged with the King's Own Scottish Borderers into one battalion.

It would then be merged with the remaining four regiments to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

This year's Tattoo sees all six Scottish regiments performing at the event together for what is set to be the last time.

Posted by Ith at 12:00 PM | Comments (1)

Seperation

Poll: Westerners considering separation

More than one-third of western Canadians surveyed this summer thought it was time to consider separation from Canada, a poll suggests.

In the survey, 35.6 per cent of respondents from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia agreed with the statement: Western Canadians should begin to explore the idea of forming their own country.

Albertans, at 42 per cent, were most apt to consider independence, followed by Saskatchewan at 31.9 per cent. Residents of B.C. and Manitoba were the least likely to consider separation, at 30.8 and 27.5 per cent respectively.

Posted by Ith at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)

August 8, 2005

BRAC Back

You may recall a few months back I reported that neither NPGS or DLI were on the BRAC list. Well, they were sneaky and recently added us on to the list. Now there's a scramble for Monterey to make the case.

There's a local report here.

Posted by Ith at 4:19 PM | Comments (1)

Old Time Immigration

Two articles on immigrants in the 19th & 20th centuries.

"No Irish Need Apply"

American Names: Declaring Independence

Posted by Ith at 12:48 PM

August 2, 2005

A Request For Support

American Digest is asking for reader support of Michael Yon. You can read all about it here.

Posted by Ith at 10:17 AM

August 1, 2005

Reading List

Stuff I read today that you might like to read as well:

Anger Boils at Illegal Immigrants

Let's face facts, Europe's being run by cowards

Fundamentally, we're useful idiots

And John Hawkins has a list of least liked Republicans/Conservatives from a right of center blogger POV. Usually when I participate in RWN's lists, my choices never seem to be anyone elses, but this time, I scored well!

Posted by Ith at 3:14 PM

July 29, 2005

True Courage

Frontier women to defy Islamists' men-only ballot

MORE than a hundred tribal women have taken a stand against creeping fundamentalism in northwest Pakistan by declaring themselves candidates in local elections that Muslim leaders had decreed a male-only preserve.

Despite one in three local government seats being designated for women candidates, the governing Islamic alliance has ruled that women should neither contest the polls nor vote. It has warned women that they will be forcibly barred from polling stations and face hefty fines if they try to cast their votes.

At the last election in 2001 the women-only seats were left empty because of a ban by Islamists. However, the federal Government insists that women be guaranteed the same electoral rights as men. More than a hundred women have defied the locally imposed ban in North West Frontier Province.

The women, covered from head to toe by veils and protected by police, went to file their nomination papers in the remote Dir district yesterday.

[....]

The right-wing Islamic government in North West Frontier Province has recently passed legislation called the Hasba Act to enforce strict Sharia and to establish a religious police to promote virtue and prevent vice.

It proposes on-the-spot punishment for people who fail to adhere to Islamic values.

The federal Government has described the Act as unconstitutional and has vowed to block its implementation.

Political observers maintain that the law would lead to the Talebanisation of the province. The provincial government has already banned male doctors from treating female patients and segregated educational institutions. It has also banned male coaches from working with female sports team.

My apologies to NOW and their ilk. I realize the above isn't as important as getting into Augusta, but I thought I'd pass it on nonetheless. /sarcasm

Via The Corner

Posted by Ith at 3:36 PM

July 26, 2005

"Star Date"

Star Date Honors Trekkies

Screenwriter Paul Hernandez told SCI FI Wire that he's preparing for his feature-film directorial debut: Star Date, about guys who throw a Star Trek viewing party in order to find like-minded girls, leading to the first Trek conventions. It's based on a true story.

In an interview, Hernandez described the opening scene as if making a pitch to a studio executive: "Picture this: In the opening scene it's 1972, and a couple is necking in this car, and this guy is very visibly a nerd, and you wonder what she's doing with him. Then, he notices the time, and he says he has to run home because there's a rerun of a Star Trek episode that he has missed, and he never saw it. Well, she breaks up with him."

Hernandez said that the guy then talks to his friends about finding girls who also like watching Star Trek, and they expect about 10 people. "The reality is that they end up getting about 10,000 people involved, and it's the invention of pop culture and results in the first convention," Hernandez said.

The Paramount movie will incorporate some original footage of the conventions three decades ago, showing a young William Shatner as Capt. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Spock. He's hoping they may be involved somehow in Star Date, too.

"I did go to a few of the conventions myself as an 11-year-old kid," Hernandez said. "In 1981 I went to the Shamrock Hotel, but I didn't get dressed up, because I thought that's just too much. [I] saw trailers for Tron and Time Bandits and then [Star Trek II:] The Wrath of Khan, and the next day we became Trekkie fans."

Hernandez wrote the upcoming movie Sky High with Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley; it opens July 29. Hernandez's first screenplay, Instant Karma, is in production, starring Pierce Brosnan and the voices of Dom DeLuise, Burt Reynolds and Eartha Kitt in a film about a safecracker who is reincarnated as a series of animals.

Posted by Ith at 4:08 PM

July 13, 2005

You Go, Girl!

'Toyboy', 31, marries his 70-year-old sweetheart

For sprightly grandmother-of-three Edna Townsend, it was definitely love at first sight.

And to Simon Martin, who was still in his twenties at the time, she was the woman of his dreams.

After that fateful first meeting, the pair began dating and soon embarked on a full-blown romance with little thought for the small matter of their 39-year age difference.

Two and a half years on, the newlyweds - now aged 70 and 31 - are off on a two-week honeymoon in Cornwall, proving that sometimes love can indeed conquer all.

Last night Simon, an accomplished organ player who has been profoundly deaf since he was nine, said: "I'd never had a proper relationship before I met Edna. My life was all about music.

"She's turned my life upside down. She is definitely the woman of my dreams. I couldn't be more happy and don't care about the age gap."

The couple, who live together in Worle, Weston-super-Mare, met at a concert where Simon was playing the organ. Edna restores the instruments.

Posted by Ith at 11:33 AM | Comments (5)

June 29, 2005

It Just Gets Creepier

Found this over on The Corner just now:

THE new religion embraced by former Catholic schoolgirl Katie Holmes unlike her original faith actually encourages abortion. As The Post's Philip Recchia has re ported, the Church of Scientology assigned Tom Cruise's fiance a full-time handler, Jessica Rodriguez, 29, who is a member of the sect's elite corps, the Sea Organization. Like all Sea Org members, Rodriguez is discouraged by the sect from ever giving birth. And if she does get pregnant, chances are she'll have an abortion. A former high-ranking Sea Org member now tells Recchia: "It is estimated that there have been some 1,500 abortions carried out by women in the Sea Organization since the implementation of a rule in the late '80s that members could not remain in the organization if they decided to have children. And if members who have been in the Sea Organization for, say, 10 years do decide to have kids, they are dismissed with no more than $1,000" in severance. Our source's ex-wife was also a Sea Org, and she was pressured by the church into having an abortion.
Posted by Ith at 1:17 PM | Comments (9)

Canada's Unhappy Birthday

David Frum: What a grim and troubling anniversary this coming July 1 will be.

Posted by Ith at 8:29 AM

June 27, 2005

A Little Whine With Your Wine

Muslim anger at bid to serve drink outside

Muslim charities have tried to stop an Italian restaurant serving drink on a terrace, claiming it is offensive to Glasgow's Asian community. Gambrino Pizzeria in Kelvinbridge wants to use the pavement outside its premises as an eating and drinking area and has applied to Glasgow City Council for permission.

However, the proposals for eight tables and 16 seats has infuriated the local Asian community who say drinking alcohol outdoors is "offensive".
Two Muslim charities, UK Islamic Mission, based at the Islamic Mosque in Carrington Street, and Noah's Ark/ Radio Ramadhan in Arlington Street, formally objected to the Great Western Road restaurant's seating plans.

Posted by Ith at 2:28 PM | Comments (5)

Arming The Border

Canada Suggests Armed Agents at Border

- A Canadian Senate report released Wednesday said customs agents should carry weapons like their U.S. counterparts to prevent terror threats, and blasted Ottawa and Washington for not doing more to secure the shared border.

The arming of the Canadian border agents has long been opposed by the government.

A long-awaited report by the Committee on National Security and Defense said Canada and the U.S. have not progressed in tightening their 4,000-mile border.

"Despite what should have been the wake-up call of Sept. 11, 2001, there has been an unsettling lack of progress on both sides of the border to improve efficiency and strengthen security at land border crossings," said the 192-page report.

Testimony before the committee revealed numerous gaps including 139 border crossings where Canadian customs officers work alone; some 62 Canada Border Security Agency offices have no access to the customs database to screen incoming travelers; and several airports that take in international flights have no onsite immigration checks.

Unlike U.S. Border Patrol agents, CBSA officers are unarmed. They are instructed to call the federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police or local police departments if threatened, but officers testified that help is often slow in coming.

"The committee has reluctantly come to the conclusion that if the federal government is not willing or able to provide a constant police presence at Canada's border crossings, current border inspectors must be given the option of carrying firearms after successfully completing rigorous training in the use of such firearms," the report said.

RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli, however, strongly opposes an armed border patrol, fearing some incidences would be unnecessarily inflamed if officers were armed.

"I know being at the border can be risky and there are certain dangers," Zaccardelli testified in April before the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-Terrorism Act. "I am strongly against arming people simply to create the notion that we might feel more secure."

Posted by Ith at 10:10 AM | Comments (1)

Back To Nature

While I sit in my very cold living room as the water heater guy does his stuff, I present this for your perusal. It's an interesting article on how Europe's declining birth rate is leaving long populated areas virtually deserted of humans, and that space being filled by, amongst other critters, wolves!

Posted by Ith at 9:59 AM | Comments (4)

June 22, 2005

Took The Words Right From My Mouth

Well, err, brain I guess.

Kathy on the Natalee Holloway case.

Posted by Ith at 9:48 AM | Comments (1)

Quote

The AFI list of top 100 movie quotes can be found here.

Posted by Ith at 9:19 AM

Isn't That Something?

MELBOURNE, Australia -- An Australian engineer held hostage in Iraq for nearly seven weeks arrived in his home country yesterday and apologized for his televised plea for coalition forces to withdraw from Iraq. Douglas Wood, 64, who lives in Alamo, Calif., told reporters at Melbourne's airport that he supported the coalition forces' role in Iraq.

"Frankly, I'd like to apologize to both President Bush and Prime Minister [John] Howard for the things I said under duress," said Mr. Wood, with his American wife, Yvonne Given, and his brothers, Vernon and Malcolm, and their wives by his side.

"I actually believe that I am proof positive that the current policy of training the Iraqi army ... works because it was Iraqis that got me out," he said.

Posted by Ith at 8:58 AM

June 18, 2005

Credit Where It's Due

I'll admit, Susan Estrich tends to drive me crazy. (I'm sure that comes as a huge surprise!) But I was emailed this article yesterday, and have to give her props.

Posted by Ith at 4:30 PM

A Real Rival To PayPal?

Never let it be said I don't provide fodder on the weekends!

Google to Start New Payment System

Posted by Ith at 1:27 PM

Tsunami Alert Followup

An article about the earthquake and tsunami warning earlier in the week: This time, ocean spared Crescent City

Posted by Ith at 1:15 PM | Comments (1)

June 17, 2005

Pardon Me Whilst I Adjust My Tea Hat

Via Michelle Malkin, comes a link to a good take on women bloggers and the 'are there enough of them and are they relevant' theme.

Blogging was a natural for me -- I'm the girl who subscribed to 'Foreign Affairs' when she was 15, after all. I was, and am, a current events junkie. I don't always blog about politics though. I'm eclectic in my interests, and I think my blog reflects my personality -- except in RL I'm a lot more shy. I don't really think of myself as a 'female who blogs', more of a 'me who blogs'. And 'me' is just as likely to be talking about 'Star Trek' or 'Pirates of the Caribbean as I am illegal immigration, going to Mars, or the 2008 election. I'm great at cocktail parties, let me tell you!

I may be your cup of tea -- or not. But I certainly do appreciate you at least sitting down long enough to have a cookie. Now whether you want to stay for the entire tea is up to you, but I honestly don't think my sex usually has much bearing on that decision.

(now if I could just work absinthe into this....)

Posted by Ith at 11:31 AM

June 15, 2005

Countdown To Terror?

I received an advert for this book from Townhall.com, and was wondering if anyone has heard about any of the information contained in it? I'm not familiar with Congressman Weldon, so I'm curious.

The ad copy is in the extended entry.

Comments, thoughts, all appreciated.

Dear Fellow American:

You would think that after the horror of 9/11 the U.S. intelligence community would be chasing down every lead to protect us -- but they're not.

A prominent member of Congress has credible evidence that a member of the "Axis of Evil" is planning major attacks on the U.S.

Our intelligence services are outright ignoring this specific threat.

My name is Tom Winter. In the 30 years I have been covering Washington politics, I have never read anything as chilling as Countdown to Terror.

I knew immediately that this critical information needed to be spread as far as possible. That is why I decided to offer you a free copy of Countdown to Terror when you sign-up for a risk-free trial to HUMAN EVENTS.

Never before has such "real time" war-related intelligence from an impeccable clandestine source been publicly disclosed.

Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA), the Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote this book because, in his own words:

"This book is an act of desperation . . . because I could not get our intelligence community to act on it, though my source has proven his credibility . . . "

Not long after 9/11, Congressman Weldon found himself on the front lines of the War on Terror, enmeshed in international intrigues with spies and killers. He learned about plots to assassinate world figures (including a former U.S. President) and of a plot to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans by radiation poisoning.

Ultimately, he would discover a still more audacious plot -- one that is still unfolding.

It's a plan by Iran to inflict a terrorist attack on the United States -- an attack of such catastrophic dimensions that it is code-named after Shi'ite Islam's 12th Imam: the prophet of doom who ushers in the Islamic apocalypse.

Amazing as it might seem, our Intelligence Community -- the CIA, the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency -- has met Weldon's discovery with yawns, bureaucratic inertia, and even active attempts to silence Weldon's source.

The fact that the information came from an Iranian with contacts throughout the highest levels of the Iranian mullahocracy meant nothing to them.

What is the intelligence community doing to prevent the 12th Imam operation? Nothing. They are, in fact, ignoring it.

After eight years of deep slashes in our defense and intelligence budgets by Slick Willie and his gang, decades of strategically disastrous over-reliance on technical rather than human intelligence, and a tendency towards politically correct groupthink, our nation's intelligence agencies are in deep trouble -- and all of us are at risk.

In addition, Congressman Weldon reveals that even in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Bush administration's 9/11 Commission our country's intelligence services have so far failed in their task of protecting us from future threats.

Let's fervently hope that Countdown to Terror serves as the wake-up call the intelligence community so desperately needs: our very survival could depend on it. May this book make our leaders angry . . . angry enough to act -- and to save American lives.

Among Weldon's shocking revelations you will find:

* Straight from the source, "The 12th Imam is like your Christian Apocalypse..." and it will be "bigger than 9/11"

* Weapons of Mass Destruction: how near Iran is to the atomic bomb, to biological and chemical weapons -- and how much of this new weaponry the mullahs plan to share with terrorists

* Evidence that Osama Bin Laden was or is hiding in Iran as an honored guest

* Revealed by Weldon's Iranian contact and proven true: the terrorist plot to hijack a Canadian airliner and fly it into the Seabrook nuclear reactor near Boston -- which would have killed hundreds of thousands of American

* Iraq: the operations planned against U.S. troops there -- designed to replace a new democratic Iraq with an Islamic state

* International Terrorism: terror operations that are in the works against U.S. allies in Europe and Asia

* Assassinations: whom Islamic terrorists are targeting -- plus the operational details

Weldon's revelations don't end there. You will also discover more details about the true nature of the threat against our country and what we need to do now to thwart the danger, such as:

* Incredible details of how the CIA asked French Intelligence to silence Weldon's Iranian source -- and warned the source to shut his mouth and stop talking to Curt Weldon

* Four potentially fatal weaknesses in our intelligence community that must be addressed soon -- before disaster strikes

* Why the intelligence community does not want to become entangled with the Iranian counter-revolutionary movement

* The secret organization headed by Iran's Ayatollah Khameni that plans international terrorist operations involving al Qaeda and other major terror groups -- making Iran the world's leading sponsor of international terrorism

* How September 11 showed that terrorists have ample knowledge of our intelligence community's incompetence

* The recent fatwa by a fanatical Saudi cleric giving Osama Bin Laden permission to use nuclear weapons: how it may signify the beginning of an operation to explode an atomic bomb in New York or some other large city

* Why the Clinton Administration bears much of the responsibility for the incompetence of our intelligence community

* The 9/11 Commission: its discovery of three big problems in the intelligence community that contributed to the catastrophe of 9/11 -- and that continue to imperil our national security

* How the Clinton Administration's political corruption of the intelligence community destroyed the careers of patriots and put us all at grave risk today

* Weldon's grand strategy for winning the war on terrorism -- including an alliance with a country that may surprise you, and many other much-needed measures

Posted by Ith at 10:39 AM | Comments (2)

June 14, 2005

Freedom

Some very brave women.

Posted by Ith at 12:13 PM | Comments (1)

June 10, 2005

Talk About Contrast

On one channel we have the Democracy Now!! news show. This is basically the televised version of lefty moonbat screeds. One channel up, is Pentagon TV with a news show put on by the military. Talk about contrast! As for the so called "mainstream" press, KGO, our ABC affiliate out of San Francisco, had a piece on the Lodi terror suspects that was mostly about how persecuted and harassed the Muslim community there is.

Posted by Ith at 6:12 PM

June 9, 2005

Suit targets Utah's New Porn Law

A couple of independent bookstores, an artist and a grass-roots political organization, among others, say Utah's new internet porn law is unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, the Center for Democracy and Technology and attorneys representing the American Booksellers Association filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Thursday challenging 2005 legislation meant to limit children's access to legal internet adult content. Utah's new law requires the Attorney General's office to compile a list of internet sites that include content that is "harmful to minors." Internet Service Providers are then required to block access to those sites. Utah companies that operate websites that could be deemed harmful are required to rate their own sites and regulate children's access. The plaintiffs say the law - which goes into effect in stages - is so broad it quells their right to free speech.

The whole thing here.

Posted by Ith at 3:47 PM

Painting The Chrysanthemum Throne Pink

Three of four academics told a government panel on Imperial succession Wednesday it would be acceptable to revise the current law to allow females to sit on the Chrysanthemum Throne, although two said males should be given preference.

It was the second time the advisory panel heard expert opinions; the first was at the previous meeting on May 31.

The panel, tasked with submitting a report to the government on the succession issue this fall, has been discussing a proposal to revise the 1947 Imperial House Law, which stipulates that only a male heir with emperors on his father's side can assume the throne.

The panel is discussing ways to ensure a stable Imperial succession, as the Imperial family is facing a difficult situation since no male heirs have been born since 1965.

The details here.

Posted by Ith at 3:25 PM

Continuing This Week's Apparent Theme

From the Japan Times: Women who diet during pregnancy may be fostering obesity in children

(and here's me who hasn't even been to lunch yet)

Posted by Ith at 3:21 PM

June 7, 2005

Charity Slog

Afghan Girls Fund Charity Slog

200 MILES 10 DAYS NO FOOD

To raise much-needed funds to educate girls and women in Afghanistan, a small group of mostly National Geographic Society' employees, will walk 200-miles over 10 days with no food.

It is an ambitious trek that will include the full length of the C&O Canal, ending at National Geographic headquarters around 3pm on June 9th. Because we believe our extraordinary hardship will inspire greater attention and sponsorship, we are also going with no backpacks, no tents and no sleeping bags. Our one luxury will be a mosquito net each and the only food-related item will be one teabag per person (for emergencies).

10 crazy-minded-big-hearted trekkers have signed up to attempt what we have lovingly dubbed The Slog, as well as a growing group of Day Sloggers who'll also raise money and join us for the last 20 miles to the finish line.

We trust this significant challenge will demonstrate how passionate and serious we are about education in Afghanistan. 100% of all money raised will be going to National Geographic's Afghan Girls Fund.


Via Michelle Malkin

Posted by Ith at 4:47 PM

June 3, 2005

Male/Female?

How male or female is your brain?

There are two tests if you follow the link above.

Via The Corner

Later: my results in the extended entry

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sq.jpg

Posted by Ith at 10:20 AM | Comments (7)

May 31, 2005

Even A Broken Clock Is Right (at least!) Once A Day

Quebec Rejects Introduction of Sharia Law

Later: title changed slightly because Kathy is pesky, precious :)

Posted by Ith at 3:49 PM | Comments (5)

May 26, 2005

Depriving the World of Another Einstein

If Albert Einstein were growing up as a kid today, would he be put on Ritalin?

The answer here.

Posted by Ith at 4:43 PM

Maybe This Is Why

In regards to my last post: CIA Overseeing 3-Day War Game on Internet

Posted by Ith at 2:46 PM

May 24, 2005

Japan's UN Aspirations

Two different articles from the Japan Times on Japan's quest for a security council seat.

Chinese protests stiffen Japanese resolve

Japan feels it's long been owed UNSC seat

Posted by Ith at 4:26 PM | Comments (1)

May 19, 2005

The End Of Canada?

Dave J. has some thoughts.

Posted by Ith at 9:10 AM | Comments (2)

May 18, 2005

Wine & Cheap Labour

Facinating post here on two subjects I have a keen interest in: wine and my concern that we're creating an underclass by turning a blind eye. Beyond my concerns about illegal immigration as it pertains to the strain on our schools and health care system, I've worried we're creating a class of society little better than serfs. When I hear things like, "we need them to wash our dishes and cut our lawns" I cringe. And now I guess we can add, "make our wine" to that list. I've come to the conclusion that illegal immigration/amnesty/guest workers are bad for us and them. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I know we can do better, and hopefully, so can they.

Posted by Ith at 3:26 PM | Comments (6)

May 16, 2005

See, I Told You He'd Jumped The Jawa

Lucas on Iraq war, 'Star Wars'

"Star Wars" director George Lucas says that although he wrote the original film during the Vietnam War, his six-part saga could apply to the war in Iraq.

''In terms of evil, one of the original concepts was how does a democracy turn itself into a dictatorship,'' Lucas told a news conference at Cannes, where his final episode had its world premiere.

''The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable.

Can't it just be a fun movie, George? [sigh] Is that too much to ask? What happened to the guy who said he didn't make his movies to be messages? I think it was in "Skywalking", but there was a quote there that was something about how much he hated movie makers bashing thier audience over the head with a "message". I know we've all gotten a bit [cough] older, but geez!

Posted by Ith at 8:26 AM | Comments (4)

May 10, 2005

Related

U.S. pays for care of illegal aliens

About time. If the Federal government can't/won't secure the border, then it's about time they helped pay for what that lack of action costs border states.

(on a side note, interesting that the article in the "lifestyle/Health and Fitness section of the paper.)

Later: Much more here

...even if the entire nearly $71 million allocated for California were reimbursed only to San Diego County health providers taking care of undocumented patients, the amount would fall $29 million short of covering the basic cost of that care...

...a spokeswoman for the California Hospital Association... said California hospitals provided $500 million a year in emergency care for illegal immigrants, seven times the amount of the federal grant.

Posted by Ith at 11:44 AM | Comments (4)

May 4, 2005

Over On TKS

Jim Geraghty is pondering "Kingdom of Heaven".

I'm seriously considering seeing it this weekend before everything I'm reading about it colours my perceptions too much.

Posted by Ith at 11:17 AM | Comments (2)

May 3, 2005

Interesting

Feds mull national Chinese-language program

A snippet:

The federal government, alarmed by the lack of expertise in languages considered critical to national security, announced today that it wants to establish a comprehensive Chinese language instruction program for students in kindergarten through college.

The Chinese K-16 Flagship project will create a sequential course of instruction with the goal of graduating students who are linguistically and culturally fluent in Chinese. The request for proposals has attracted enormous interest from Bay Area educators and institutions who are anxious to see the program housed in northern California.

Universities are likely to partner with schools that serve elementary, middle- and high-school students as they collaboratively bid on the proposal, which currently dedicates $750,000 for the first year. But because the Bay Area already has a number of intensive Chinese-language programs in place, some hope the region will have an edge against competitors from elsewhere around the country.

``We are very excited that the federal government has finally recognized the importance of Chinese as an area of study and of beginning to learn the language while you are young,'' said Andrew Corcoran, head of the Chinese American International School in San Francisco. CAIS, which serves students from preK-8th grade, is the oldest Mandarin immersion program in the country. ``There's a lot of opportunity here. I hope the decision makers look West.''

Posted by Ith at 7:23 PM | Comments (1)

The Death Of Star Trek?

Not sure I agree with this article, but it will make for an interesting debate, I'm sure.

Strange New World: No 'Star Trek' by Orson Scott Card

Posted by Ith at 8:26 AM | Comments (3)

April 28, 2005

Ward Churchill Invades CSUMB

Received via email from the Monterey County Republican Party

Ward Churchill Invades CSUMB

The Monterey County Republican Party will partner with California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) students, veterans and community leaders to remember the victims of 9/11 on Monday, May 2nd at 6:00 pm. The Associated Students of CSUMB have invited Ward Churchill, a man infamous for his comments suggesting those killed in the 9/11 attacks were "Little Eichmanns" and that 9/11 was retribution for U.S. aggression abroad.

Help us denounce the actions of Ward Churchill by joining us in a candlelit vigil honoring the memory of those who died on 9/11. More information on Ward Churchill is available in the Monterey Herald's article published today, available by clicking here. Ward Churchill's claims are outrageous, untrue and disrespectful to those who lost their lives on 9/11.

[....]

Event Information:

Date: Monday, May 2nd, 2005
Time: 6:00pm
Place: University Center, CSUMB

Please forward this email message to any friends, family or neighbors who may be interested in attending.

We Need Your Help! To help make this event happen or for more information please contact Amy at 759-8590 or amy@montereyrepublicans.org.

Please Join Us!! Bring a candle, a flag and a friend!

Posted by Ith at 9:04 PM | Comments (1)

April 26, 2005

Red Ensign Standard XX

Red Ensign Standard XX is up!

Posted by Princess Jami at 7:37 AM

April 17, 2005

Oh, Shenandoah

I hate to plug my own blog (of course, that doesn't stop me), but I have nothing else to share at the moment. I spent the day in the lovely Shenandoah Valley of Virginia yesterday - my thoughts can be found here.

Posted by Jen at 11:12 AM

April 12, 2005

More American Women Than Men Go Online

Interesting piece of information via The Corner.

Posted by Ith at 5:53 PM

April 11, 2005

Happily Ever After -- Not

Bloody Marriage

.... While the popular fantasy of the fairy-tale royal wedding persists to this day, with its visions of horse-drawn carriages, sparkling tiaras, and handsome princes, the reality is that many such unions were far less romantic. "Traditionally, British monarchs were expected to marry not for love but to ensure the purity of the dynasty--to make sure the royal bloodline continued and to make suitable alliances with other royal families,"

[....]

One result of the custom of marrying for duty over love was a system replete with royal mistresses, from Charles II's plucky favorite, Nell Gwynn, to Edward VII's longtime lover, Alice Keppel, and her great-granddaughter Camilla Parker Bowles, as well as numerous illegitimate children. "It's the way it's always been, and until very recently indeed, nobody raised an eyebrow for even a minute," says Harry Gelber, a visiting scholar at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University. In fact, when Edward VII lay dying, his wife, Queen Alexandra, summoned Keppel to his bedside so she could see him one last time.

Posted by Ith at 12:24 PM | Comments (3)

April 5, 2005

Guess It's Time To Renew My Passport

U.S. to Tighten Border Controls by 2008

Apr 5, 11:49 AM (ET)

By BARRY SCHWEID

WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans will need passports to re-enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, Panama and Bermuda by 2008, part of a tightening of U.S. border controls in an era of terrorist threat, three administration officials said Tuesday.

Similarly, Canadians will also have to present a passport to enter the United States, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Canadians have been the only foreigners allowed to enter the United States with just a driver's license.

An announcement, expected later Tuesday at the State Department, will specify that a passport or another valid travel document will have to be shown by U.S. citizens, the officials said.

Posted by Ith at 9:13 AM | Comments (3)

April 4, 2005

Canada, The Ban, & Me

By now, most of you have heard about the Canadian Gomery publication ban and the U.S. blogs that are reporting on it.

I got to thinking: where in the heck do I stand? I belong to the Red Ensign group, most of whose members live in Canada. Can they be prosecuted for having a group blogroll that may have individual members who are reporting on this -- some of them from outside Canada's borders, like me? And what about people like Paul? He lives in Canada, but I let his blog live here on my domain that is hosted in the States.

I think the Canadian government has a can of worms on its hands, and that's putting it mildly!

A bit later: here's a Canadian Press report on Yahoo about the banned testimony.

(and it's Yahoo Canada, so does that mean the Canadian press is ignoring the ban now?) (though the article mentions the ban -- it's like they're just skirting around the edges)

Posted by Ith at 3:52 PM | Comments (4)

Hadn't Thought Of It That Way

I like McGehee's take on the late Pope and the Iraq war. Food for thought.

Posted by Ith at 3:36 PM

March 28, 2005

New Hope for Cat Allergy Sufferers

Scientists have made a breakthrough in efforts to prevent allergies caused by cats, it emerged today.

They have developed a protein that could block the allergic response and the technique could be adapted to other situations such as food allergies.

In the research, reported in the April issue of Nature Medicine, they found that mice treated with a newly developed part-cat, part-human protein did not develop an allergic reaction.

Andrew Saxon, of the University of California in Los Angeles, said in todays Guardian newspaper that the technique could be extended to develop cures for potentially deadly allergies to food such as nuts.

The allergic attacks occur when the immune system mistakes cat or pollen allergens for germs, producing large amounts of an antibody which triggers the release of a chemical called histamine. This causes symptoms such as inflammation, rashes and swelling.

Dr Saxon fused the cat allergen with a human protein that tends to slow down the immune system. The cat part causes the immune system to produce the antibody but the human part calms the reaction, resetting the immune system.

His cure is still several years and many clinical trials away from becoming a mass market treatment, The Guardian noted.

Posted by Ith at 8:22 AM | Comments (1)

March 25, 2005

Another Page Turned

Iraqi Women Train at Police Academy

Posted by Ith at 8:30 AM

March 24, 2005

Good Reading

I discovered The Anchoress about ten days ago, and have found a great deal of comfort in much of what she's written on the subject of Terri Schiavo. She's Roman Catholic, and I'm not, but there's not a great deal off difference in our core beliefs, and I've enjoyed reading her thoughts.

Posted by Ith at 10:29 AM | Comments (2)

March 23, 2005

Helping Kingsley

You know how I love pugs. I was just doing some general web surfing on the subject, and came across Kingsley's story. It just about made me cry right here at my desk. I will never understand how people can treat their pets so horribly.

Posted by Ith at 5:07 PM | Comments (2)

The More Things Change...

Excellent article here that attempts to dispel some of the myths of the Crusades. Seems to me, the more I learn about the real history behind the Crusades, that we're essentially in the same war today.

Via Tributaries

Posted by Ith at 12:57 PM | Comments (2)

March 21, 2005

Viking Or Crown?

SIR Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music, is under police investigation after officers raided his kitchen - and discovered he had prepared a dead swan for his dinner.

Sir Peter said he found the electrocuted bird beneath power lines and was planning to make it into a "delicious" terrine.

His menu has not impressed the authorities, however. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, which applies across the UK, the whooper swan is a protected species and according to ancient laws only the Queen is allowed to sample the delicacy.

But on Orkney, where Sir Peter lives, a Viking law says swans are the property of the people and not the Crown.

The rest of the tale here.

Posted by Ith at 12:37 PM | Comments (3)

The Wage Gap Myth

Of men, women, and money

Posted by Ith at 12:29 PM | Comments (1)

Condi Goes To Church...

in China!

Posted by Ith at 12:17 PM

March 17, 2005

The Not So Silent X

Fascinating article on gene sequencing, the X chromosome, and gender differences.

Posted by Ith at 4:02 PM

March 12, 2005

A Wince And A Nod

As longtime readers know, I'm American born of Canadian parents who lived in Canada when I was a teenager. Not to mention I spent every single summer growing up with my grandparents in Victoria (when I wasn't at the grandparents in Smithers). So when I read articles like this one, I nod and wince all at the same time. Hey, I've been there -- a lot of the anti-American sentiments expressed I got directed at me by my father's family (the ones in Victoria) and by the kids in school, and not a few teachers. I guess I was an easy target. On the other hand, I have a great deal of love for my other country. I have wonderful Canadian friends, in RL and on-line, I'm proud of the role my forbears played in settling British Columbia. Yeah, I guess I'm a little conflicted :) What I'd like to see is something similar written from the perspective of Canadians who left Canada for the States. People who left for the very reasons many American ex-pats went to Canada for. People like my parents, and my uncle who is planning the big move, and the many others I've had dealings with over the years.

Not being a journalist, only a lowly blogger, I'd like to invite any Canadians who left to explain a bit about why in the comments. For balance, don't you know.

(via Jonah Goldberg on The Corner)

Posted by Ith at 12:17 PM | Comments (7)

March 9, 2005

"Disneyworld For Food"

I'll be the first to admit I love Whole Foods, or as we call it around here (and according to the article, we're not the only ones!) Whole Paycheck. Their cheese section alone can keep me ecstatic for hours. I can't afford to do my "regular shopping" there, but for special stuff, it's the place! Well, they've upped the ante. They just opened something new, and I can't wait to see one! "Disneyworld for Food" indeed! You'll probably have to send a search party in for me -- I'll be with the cheese.

Posted by Ith at 12:22 PM | Comments (7)

Making The Natl. News

The last few months, there has been a major brouhaha over Salinas closing all their public libraries due to lack of funds. The story is now on the FNC website.

Posted by Ith at 12:06 PM

March 4, 2005

"Baby Mamas"

Yesterday, I posted about a phone conversation at work that revolved around "Baby's Mamas". Today, I came across this article.

Posted by Ith at 6:19 PM

March 3, 2005

A Question That Wants Answering

Right here. Awww, go on, click! It's for the children and the blue fuzzy critters from Andromeda.

Posted by Ith at 9:42 AM

March 2, 2005

Pirates Of The Peruvian Somthing-or-Other

Latin America's first animated 3-D movie -- a swashbuckling Peruvian yarn about a boy battling Dutch pirates -- is eyeing distribution in the United States and China after becoming a box office hit at home.

"It has grossed half a million dollars and 100,000 viewers in the six days since it opened," producer Hernan Garrido-Lecca told Reuters. on Wednesday.

That makes "Pirates in Callao" second only to "Shrek 2" in terms of animated box office hits in Peru "and if things continue like this, I think it'll overtake it," he said.

The 78-minute picture tells the adventures of a 21st century boy who travels back to the 17th century and takes on legendary Dutch pirate Jacobo Clerk, known as L'Hermite (the hermit), who looted Spanish galleons full of Peruvian gold.

The boy hooks up with another boy from the 19th century and the pair help the Indians avoid the pirate's clutches in what was a key Pacific trading post in colonial times.

The rest of the article can be found here.

Posted by Ith at 4:02 PM

February 22, 2005

Because They Can

Cassandra is talking about Eminent Domain Abuse. Think it can't happen to you?

Posted by Ith at 12:06 PM | Comments (1)

Voices

It's that season again, and there's much worry (yet again) about the lack of popular female bloggers (Ilyka sums it up quite handily). And then there's Susan Estrich and her hysteria over the lack of women, not to mention the right kind of women, writing at the L.A. Times. And let's not forget the brouhaha over Lawrence Summers' remarks at Harvard in regards to women in the sciences. And I suppose somewhere, "feminists" are still rallying over being allowed to play golf somewhere or other. Oppression is all around, it would seem. At least it is to certain segments of our "Blue" populace. I don't know, do you think maybe they could muster a small amount of outrage for -- just a tiny portion of their righteous indignation. It's not asking much, is it?

.... Suddenly, the woman in the backseat of the Buick opened the door and stepped out. Her abbaya was unfastened. Her scarf and veil were gone. She had long, thick, black hair. She was a young Saudi woman, maybe seventeen or eighteen. She reached up to the sky and she cried, "Momma! Momma!" Blue nylon cord dangled from her wrists. The white-haired driver got out again and scrambled back around the front of the car. In a futile effort to resist, the young woman sprawled out on the road, stretching her arms out in front of her on the baking summer asphalt. The man pulled her arms behind her back and deftly tied them to her ankles. Then he opened the trunk of the Buick, lifted her up, and dropped her in. He closed the trunk, made a U-turn at the intersection, and disappeared into the sunlit afternoon. It was over in the time it takes a traffic light to change from red to green.

Or this one:

....Last week a Kuwaiti named Adnan Al-Enezi murdered his 13-year-old daughter, Asma. After handcuffing and blindfolding his pleading daughter, Adnan Al-Enezi cut her throat in front of her two brothers and sister. He thought she was not a virgin. I wasn't surprised to hear that Mr. Enezi supported jihad and had established connections with known militants. Mental derangement rarely confines itself to a single segment of a person's life.

The Al-Arabiya news reported: "The murder report was the talk of the town in Kuwait, especially after people learned that forensic tests proved the girl was still a virgin and that she had not suffered any sexual assault." The italics are mine. Perhaps if forensics had found the girl was not a virgin, there would have been much less talk, though I'm sure for the sake of propriety the talking public would have preferred a pillow had been used instead of a knife.

"The desert is full of voices"

February 19, 2005

Power Lines v. Hobbit

More weekend posting, just for you (if you're the "you", you'll just know).

High wires menace Hobbiton's peace

Movie director Peter Jackson is backing residents in Matamata who are opposing Transpower's proposed 400kV line and rumours are rife that he intends to return to the area to film The Hobbit.

[....]

There are two proposed routes up the centre of the North Island, one of which will run alongside Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours near Matamata, a tourist attraction made famous by Jackson's filming of The Lord of the Rings.

Owner Russell Alexander said he had spoken to Jackson who was "very supportive" of what was being done to oppose the lines.

The Herald understands Jackson has indicated he would not look at returning to the site to film The Hobbit, J.R.R Tolkien's preclude to Lord of the Rings if the pylons are erected.

Posted by Ith at 2:30 PM | Comments (1)

February 17, 2005

Such A Charming Place!

Via Ghost of a Flea comes this tale from the serene French countryside.

Posted by Ith at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2005

On Valentine's....

This is a nice sentiment from David Frum:

"Ive never liked the Valentines Day holiday. Our culture celebrates romantic love morning, noon, and night 364 days a year and then sets aside one special day every February to really rub the lovelesses noses in it. Not so nice. So: if you are lucky enough to have a sweetheart, of course you must kiss her (or him) today. But if you want to do a good deed, give a thought to the many lonely people around you: the divorced, the widowed, the unlucky and maybe, if you have a spare dollar or two, you might want to send a small anonymous bouquet to one of them. Oh and send it to the office, where everybody can see."
Posted by Ith at 3:16 PM | Comments (1)

February 11, 2005

The U.N. Gets In On The Act

Neo-Prohibition is one of my pet topics, and I came across this article today on how the U.N. is getting in on the movement. Here's an excerpt:

The U.N.'s Neo-Prohibitionists

The United Nations is coming for your booze and its starting to fabricate the kind of factoids that the international health nannies will no doubt try to spin into "conventional wisdom."

"The amount of death and disability caused by alcohol globally is similar to that caused by tobacco and high blood pressure," trumpets the media release for a study in last weeks medical journal "The Lancet."

"Overall, four percent of the global burden of disease is attributable to alcohol, 4.1 percent to tobacco and 4.4 percent to high blood pressure. Alcohol is causally related to more than 60 different medical conditions, including breast cancer and coronary heart disease. In most cases, alcohol has a detrimental effect on health," claims the release.

The study authors, from Sweden, Canada and the U.S., claim theres a "growing contrast between the treatment of alcohol in trade agreements and disputes as an ordinary commodity and the more restrictive treatments of such other commodities as tobacco and pharmaceuticals, which also entail public health risks."

They end their study with a call for a "new international treaty on alcohol control, along the lines of the [United Nations] Framework Convention on Tobacco Control."

Posted by Ith at 8:35 AM | Comments (5)

January 31, 2005

Funny Is As Funny Does

Go read this, then come back and tell me if you agree: Is the Y Chromosome for Yuks?

I mused on this during the walk home from work, and I think I've come to the conclusion that men aren't funnier than women, just what we think is funny is different in some cases. And yes, I can quote whole sections from "Monty Python & the Holy Grail", thank you very much! But then there are things like bathroom humour, which I just hate, and don't find funny at all. That's the main reason I'm one of the few people who didn't like Shrek. However, the guys I work with? Bathroom humour is king!

Like the authour of the article, I'm making a big ol' sweeping generalization, because we're diverse, right? After all, I was the one girl who loved hard SF as a teenager. SF geekyness, yes, potty humour, no :) And I probably shouldn't even mention the weird things I do to Christmas music..... mmm... nope. You have to meet me in RL for that one!

Do we need a list? Okay, a list!

Stuff that's funny (to me)

I Love Lucy
Stripes
Monty Python
MASH
Abbot and Costello
Jack Benny
Bob Hope movies
Snarky humour in general like House on House, Methos on Highlander, West Wing (the early seasons), Buffy.
Black Adder
Red Dwarf
Young Frankenstein
SCTV
Rolf Harris

Oh yeah! Don't forget, the one time this blog was linked by Jonah Goldberg on The Corner was because my guest blogger, Eclectra, didn't "get" Animal House. To tell you the truth, I don't get it either :) But that's just me. I think "Zorro, the Gay Blade" is a hoot and a half, after all. But I didn't like "Blazing Saddles", and I don't like "The Simpsons". See? I'm honest!

Maybe humour is just too subjective to categorize? Yeah, that sounds good.

Posted by Ith at 6:06 PM | Comments (12)

January 30, 2005

Damn Amazing

I've been reading The Corner this morning and the roundup posts like this one, and this one really got to me. Isn't it truly amazing how much the internet has opened up our view to people on the other side of the world that we, as regular people, can access without the filter of big media?

Just think about it. With a click, you can read in real time, what's going on in Iraq, from Iraqis. It's not too many years ago that you'd have to wait for the evening news for a little bit of information, or for another week till your copy of Time or Newsweek came in the mail. And that would be it. Just a report from one or two people, filtered through whatever news company they worked for. And now... And now it's almost hard to remember those days. We almost take this, this internet, this technology, this revolution, for granted.

Posted by Ith at 1:17 PM | Comments (1)

January 28, 2005

They May Have Something

I fidget, I pace, I bounce my legs, I have a hard time sitting in one place -- you should see me talking on the phone!

Overweight? Maybe You Just Don't Fidget Enough, Researchers Say

Posted by Ith at 6:38 PM | Comments (4)

January 14, 2005

Will There Be Jello?

(how'd you like that mental image?)

Calif. Senators Argue Over Rice Nomination

The two high-profile Democrats who represent California in the Senate are squaring off over Condoleezza Rice, the president's nominee to be secretary of state.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the senior and more moderate of the two, supports Rice and plans to introduce her at her confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

That's where Sen. Barbara Boxer, a member of the committee, will be waiting to grill Rice over the war in Iraq. Boxer maintains that Rice misled the public over the war.

Posted by Ith at 4:22 PM

January 11, 2005

January 8, 2005

The Sympathy Gap

The Sympathy Gap; Victims of Natural Disasters Vs. Victims of Unnatural Disasters

When more than 100,000 people have been killed, and thousands of others are in danger, the international community has a moral obligation to do what it can to limit the damage and reduce the suffering of survivors.

So why is it that the international community so rarely even tries? Oh yes, an unprecedented relief effort is taking place now in the areas of South Asia struck by last month's tsunami. That's laudable.

But when, in 1987-88, more than 100,000 people were killed in the Kurdish areas of Iraq, the international community turned a blind eye.

Those Kurdish victims were overcome not by waves of water but in some cases by waves of poison gas. Why should sympathy for those drowned on a beach be so much greater than for those choked in the streets of their village? More to the point, why should an act of God elicit more empathy than an act of man? The man in question, of course, was then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Having slaughtered the Kurds with impunity, two years later he attempted to wipe Kuwait off the map

[...]

World leaders, led by the United Nations, also shirked their moral duty in Rwanda in 1994, when more than 800,000 people were murdered.

And more recently, in the Sudanese region of Darfur, Arab Muslims have been slaughtering and raping African Muslims. As many as 80,000 people have been killed and at least 1 million have been driven from their homes. Hundreds of thousands remain in danger.

An international effort to stop the carnage and provide relief for the survivors is under way - but it pales in comparison with the effort being made on behalf of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Posted by Ith at 12:54 PM | Comments (10)

December 6, 2004

"Shortage" Seems To Be An Understatment!

From an email I received today:

.... As House and Senate negotiators continue to work on legislation to enact the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, English First hopes they will alleviate the Arabic translator shortage by repealing Clinton Executive Order 13166.

E.O. 13166 requires all recipients of
federal funds to provide translations
into any language at any time, including
Arabic. According to Kirk Belnap, a
professor of Arabic at Brigham Young
University, no more than 200 non-Arab
Americans in the entire country had a
professional-level proficiency in
Arabic in 2001. That shortage has not
lessened. According to The 9/11
Commission Report, "The total number
of undergraduate degrees granted in
Arabic in all U.S. colleges and
universities in 2002 was six."

"The FBI blames an Arabic translator
shortage for its inability to translate
many hours of recorded conversations
among suspected terrorists. Surely,
Congress could waive this relic of
the politically-correct Clinton era
in the name of national security,"
said Jim Boulet, Jr., Executive
Director of English First.

Congressman Peter King (R-NY) has
introduced legislation to repeal
E.O. 13166, H.R. 300. Congressman
King's bill has 78 cosponsors.

Click "More" for the rest.


Calls Needed:

Senator John Warner (VA)
(202) 224-2023 (voice)
(202) 224-6295 (fax)

Senator George Allen (VA)
(202) 224-4024 (voice)
(202) 224-5432 (fax)

Senator Sue Collins (ME)
(202) 224-2523 (voice)
(202) 224-2693 (fax)

Senator James Inhofe (OK)
(202)224-4721 (voice)
(202) 228-0380 (fax)

Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA)
(202) 225-5672 (voice)
(202) 225-0235 (fax)

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (MI)
(202) 225-4401 (voice)
(202) 226 0779 (fax)

Rep. Jim Saxton (NJ)
(202) 225-4765 (voice)
(202) 225-0778 (fax)

Rep. Joe Wilson (SC)
(202) 225-2452 (voice)
(202) 225-2455 (fax)

Rep. Trent Franks (AZ)
(202) 225-4576 (voice)
(202) 225-6328 (fax)

You might say:

Arabic translators are in short
supply. The 9/11 Commission reports that
just six (6) will graduate college
this year. Bill Clinton's Executive
Order 13166 increased the shortage by
making Arabic translations (and other
translations) a protected civil right.

H.R. 300, introduced by Congressman Peter
King, would repeal E.O. 13166, and
thus free up Arabic translators for
critical national security duties.
The confereees on the 9/11 bill could
easily add H.R. 300 to this legislation.
Please do so.

Thank you for doing what you can on
such short notice.

Posted by Ith at 5:43 PM | Comments (1)

November 29, 2004

Lab Notes

Don't Fear The Gas Pump.

Posted by Ith at 5:23 PM | Comments (5)

November 18, 2004

Democracy Is What Divides Us

Interesting article here that explores the premise that "Europe doesn't believe in democracy".

.... The American Constitution may have borrowed much of its frame of reference from French revolutionary ideals, but the historical outcomes parted company pretty quickly. The United States ended up with a federalised system and an iron-clad Bill of Rights while France was descending into the Terror. We do not have a shared reverence for the robustness of democratic institutions because, in continental Europe, democratic institutions have been anything but robust.

That is why the EU is busily moving away from the idea of government being directly and transparently responsive to the popular will.

The monstrous global crimes of the 20th century - the collective guilt which is still the motor force of European political consciousness - were all thought to have been generated (or at least condoned) by popular will.

The political instincts of the people are far too inflammable and mercurial to be trusted. Better leave the serious business of law-making and governance to a professional class of administrators, an enlightened elite who will not be subject to the whims and volatile passions of the mob whose vicissitudes have brought such disgrace on our countries.

Public opinion manipulated by national political leaders has to take the rap for the hideous events of the two world wars and the Cold War that followed them, and so they will all be cut down to size. Democracy is all well and good in its place but the power of the people must be sieved, regulated and heavily supervised if it is to come to the right conclusions.

It may sound apocalyptic, but I do believe that the democratic experiment in continental Europe, begun just over 200 years or so ago, is coming to a close.

The European Union is creating what it hopes will be a benign oligarchy. Real political power will reside once again within elite circles (as it does already in France) which will conduct their business in the corridors rather than in the assemblies.

Meanwhile, the United States will persevere with the belief, which Europe regards as crass, that giving ordinary people power over their governing class is the only hope for peace and security. Democracy, and what it entails, is not what unites us, Mr Blair. It is what divides us.

Posted by Ith at 11:12 AM | Comments (1)

And Sometimes...

There are times when I think Prince Charles is nuts, but other times that he's got a point. Apparently, he's being ripped for the contents of a memo he wrote:

In the memo, the prince wrote: "What is wrong with everyone nowadays?

"Why do they all seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities?

"This is to do with the learning culture in schools as a consequence of a child-centred system which admits no failure.

"People think they can all be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities or infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary work or having natural ability.

Apparently this view makes him "old fashioned", "out of time", and "patronizing". Well I guess we can be old fashioned together, because I for one am sick and tired of people who think they're entitled to something they've never worked for because it's beneath them to do the scut work it takes to get to where they want to be. So they should just get that top job with no qualifications or experience.

And now you have schools not using red pens so as not to diminish the students' self -esteem, or not allowing scores on team sports for the same reason. We have a whole generation that's growing up not knowing how to deal with failure. Life is success and failure. You can't have one without the other. Learning to deal with your failings is as important as dealing with your successes. There's no shame in doing an honest day's work, even if you aren't ever going to be rich and powerful. But that seems to be a minority opinion these days.

Yes, pet peeve. Could you tell?

Quite a bit later: Amen!

Posted by Ith at 9:31 AM | Comments (4)

November 5, 2004

Pity To Anger

I think I'm going to be seesawing for awhile. I suppose it makes sense considering how emotionally draining this election has been.

This is the must read of the day. I remember the first time I had an east coaster act like I had no stake in what happened on 9/11. I didn't realize that such beliefs were so widespread.

Posted by Ith at 9:21 AM

November 4, 2004

Savor This

Peggy Noonan is back with a good one.

The Democrats have lost their leader in the Senate, Tom Daschle. I do not know what the Democratic Party spent, in toto, on the 2004 election, but what they seem to have gotten for it is Barack Obama. Let us savor.

The elites of Old Europe are depressed. Savor. The nonelites of Old Europe, and the normal folk of New Europe, especially our beloved friend Poland, will not be depressed, and many will be happy. Let's savor that too.

George Soros cannot buy a presidential election. Savor. "Volunteers" who are bought and paid for cannot beat volunteers who come from the neighborhood, church, workplace and reading group. Savor.

The leaders of the Bush effort see it this way: A ragtag band of more than a million Republican volunteers who fought like Washington's troops at Valley Forge beat the paid Hessians of King George III's army. Savor.

Posted by Ith at 9:41 AM | Comments (1)

October 4, 2004

Polygamist Eye For The Monogamist Guy?

Polygamy laws expose our own hypocrisy.

Posted by Ith at 11:04 AM | Comments (9)

September 17, 2004

Islamic Europe

The Turkish question

The eminent Islam scholar Bernard Lewis recently observed that Europe is likely to be effectively Islamic - an extension of the Middle East and North Africa - by the end of the century. That view has now found an echo at the heart of the European Union itself.

In a speech delivered at Leiden University last week, European Commissioner Fritz Bolkestein described demography as the "mother of politics." America's youth and dynamism, said the former senior Dutch politician, will ensure it remains a superpower. China is a rising economic power. But Europe, he said, is destined to be "Islamized."

Posted by Ith at 5:37 PM | Comments (3)

September 16, 2004

Not Saying A Word


39_1_091604_hurricane_pensacola.jpg
(AP Photo)

Posted by Ith at 3:38 PM | Comments (4)

September 12, 2004

Open Discussion Sunday

Some of the things being discussed on my currrent events email list today:

Topic: Kerry Hints GOP May Suppress Black Votes

My comment: Yes, us Republicans hate it when blacks vote, let me tell you. Gee, look at all those black votes in FL... Oh, wait! Those problems were in districts run by DEMOCRATS!! And when it came to proof about trying to disenfranchise blocs of voters, it was the Gore campaign that made sure that the votes of men and women serving overseas were thrown out.

Topic: The most disingenuous and lame thing I've heard from the Dems over this is a variety of riffs on, "It doesn't matter if the docs are forged because we know the information in them is true."

My comment: Unbeleviable. The Dems must think we're stupid, they really must. They have no respect at all for the "average American" they claim to care so much for. They only care that we stay uninformed and meekly accept the pabulum they force feed us. Heaven forbid that we think for ourselves! It has been so ironic that the average joe has been the one responsible for this blow to the MSM -- just dozens of bloggers who won't accept the pabulum. They can't control the information anymore, and they can't control us, and I say, AMEN!

Topic: For the 100th time, WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE MEXICAN BORDER!!

My comment: Neither party is willing to buckle down and do something. Mark my words, the border problem is going to bite us later,
if not sooner. Reember when there was a possibility that some of 9/11
terrorists came across the Canadian border? Imagine what's happening to the south, and tell me that al-Queida isn't coming across there.

Any or all of the above are open for discussion in the comments, or introduce your own topic. Readers, start your engines!

Posted by Ith at 1:09 PM | Comments (3)

September 4, 2004

Watch Them Implode!

FOX is reporting that sources are saying they're close to capturing Bin Laden, and it could happen at any time.

Gold star to whoever is the first to say, "I question the timing".

Can you imagine if they did get him? We'd be cleaning up after all those Dem heads exploding for days!

Posted by Ith at 11:36 AM | Comments (5)

September 3, 2004

Clinton Ailing

Depending on what you read, he's had a heart attack, he's having tests, he's having bypass surgery, or this Drudge headline, "LIFE AND DEATH BATTLE: Clinton in NY Hospital for Emergency Bypass Surgery... "

Now, let's see, if I take page from the Dems, I would probably make some tasteless and mean comment right about now. But I'm not one of them, so I think not. I hope the former President makes a swift recovery and that his daughter doesn't have to go to her father's funeral at such a young age.

Posted by Ith at 10:05 AM | Comments (2)

August 30, 2004

Wow!

So, I wanted to see what the official definition of 'governator' was (It's going to be in the American dictionary next year!), and I found the web site for the American Dialect Society. They have an annual Word (or Phrase) of the Year contest, and one of the words for 2003?

ass-hat: noun, a thoughtless or stupid person.

It's listed under the Most Useful category.

Rachel must be so proud!

BTW: definition of governator: noun, the current Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Posted by Ninjababe at 8:57 PM | Comments (1)

August 21, 2004

Elitists And Others

Since my brilliance-on-command abilities are malfunctioning this evening, and since I don't want Ith's regular readers to keep coming up dry when they click here, I decided to post an essay I wrote in college. Some of you may know I went back to college at the age of forty-umph and graduated 3 years ago.

The course was "Organizational Behavior" (in English, that's advanced management) and the topic had to do with multicultural team decision-making and problem-solving. The date of the essay was October 5, 2000.

When asked to write about multicultural team decision-making and problem-solving, I am hard-pressed to recall any situation at all in my life wherein I was part of a team where anyones ethnic or cultural background had the slightest relevance in the matter at hand. In fact, I had to think hard to remember the teams I have been on which have included people from other cultural backgrounds because I take people as I find them, and the ability to work as a team has never been impacted in any way by cultural differences. In fact, having worked on school projects in recent years with (a) a young man from Brazil, and (b) three young men of Mexican-American heritage, I can only say, if thats how they grow them in Brazil and in Hispanic families, bring them on! Working with each of those students was very rewarding; and again, there is no story at all to tell about the team decision-making and problem-solving. I am pleased to report that in all cases the teams functioned smoothly from start to finish, and produced excellent results.

In an effort to find inspiration for this assignment, I read ahead in the textbook to chapter 12, Group Dynamics, and chapter 13, Teams and Teamwork for the 21st Century. A statement at the top of page 397 jumped out at me: . . . a stronger positive relationship between group effectiveness and value diversity (as opposed to demographic diversity.) This goes to a concept I have been wrestling with and trying to nail down for a few years now, which is that in my own experience at least, the gaps most difficult to bridge between individuals have not been those of ethnic or cultural differences, but those of attitudes and values, and the very insidious prejudices held by those who consider themselves part of the intellectual elite.

Some years ago I saw a story on a TV news magazine about a woman from a small Midwestern farming community. What brought her to national attention was her simple act of writing a letter to the editor of one of the national weekly news magazines (Time, Newsweek, or US News and World Report). Her letter displayed such profound insight and grasp of the subtleties of whatever issue she was commenting upon that the magazines editors refused to believe that it could have been written by someone from a small town who had never been to college. I cannot recall all of the details, but this is the first instance that I can recall where the reality of the depth of intellectual prejudice came to my attention.

I began to ponder this issue again about four years ago, when I read The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy by Dr. Thomas Sowell. Sowell discusses stratification of society not by race, ethnicity, culture or gender, but by self-appointed elitists who set themselves above everyone else and truly believe that ordinary people are not competent to make their own decisions but need those same elitists to do their thinking for them. Sowells commentary struck a chord with me in that although I have experienced very little racial or ethnic prejudice directed at me personally (the exceptions being people in some of the other countries I have visited who simply dislike all Americans), I have very often felt the subtle but definite prejudice from those social or intellectual elites who look down their noses at anyone who is not a member of their particular group. I have served on numerous committees and projects with such people, who almost always have a very similar cultural and ethnic background to my own, but their self-proclaimed intellectual and/or social superiority have divided us just as surely as racial, cultural or religious differences have more noticeably divided various peoples for all of recorded human history. (As an aside, I have often wondered whether some of these folks would look at me any differently were I to show them evidence that I am directly descended from members of several of the royal houses of Europe, those of England and Spain to name just two. I have never cared enough to test the theory, though.) One can find countless examples of the intellectual superiority complex simply by watching politicians and pundits on television. Some of them presume to lecture the rest of us on how to conduct our livesand some of them do not. The contrast is quite marked, if one pays attention.

On the employment front, although we do have a certain amount of ethnic and cultural diversity in our medical practice, again the sharpest divisions are found in value systems and perhaps even more in the arena of attitudes. Interestingly enough, the nurses, who with the exception of the doctors have the most education among the staff, have never shown any signs of intellectual elitism. They are far too busy doing their jobs and caring for patients. Unfortunately, much of the rest of the staff (without a college degree among them) have not followed the example of the nursing staff, and have set themselves up in an us versus them competitive environment, which seems to break along the lines of certain values and attitudes. An example of this values diversity came into sharp focus the day last year when one staff member asked another how she had enjoyed the Rodeo. I dunno, I never got out of the bar, came the reply. That someone would take the trouble to attend a large event and then actually skip the event itself in favor of hanging out in a bar is simply beyond my comprehension. This same person is one of the most vociferous pot-stirrers in the us versus them clique. The sections of chapter 13 in the text that jumped out at me were in this vein; for example the section on page 421 about cooperation versus competition, and the section on page 424 about group cohesiveness. In our office, the only group cohesiveness happens within the aforementioned clique. They display excellent cooperation and cohesiveness within the groupthey spy on the non-group members and report back to each otherbut cooperation between groups? Forget it. There is even subtle sabotage wherein members of that group neglect to do even very simple things for non-members that are actually crucial to the smooth functioning of the medical practice. For example, when a clique member makes a photocopy of a document for use by a non-member, they often do not bother to make sure that the copy is actually readable. This of course creates extra work for the non-member, who is then chided for being petty. Team decision-making and problem-solving? Not in our wildest dreams. Culture or ethnicity has nothing to do with the lack of cooperation.

Why is this childish and detrimental behavior allowed to continue? At the beginning of the semester, when I told my boss I was taking Organizational Behavior, he said I hope you dont use this office as an example! Needless to say, we have at best ineffectual management. I would even go so far as to say our management is virtually nonfunctional. A discussion of the reasons behind that situation is far beyond the scope of this paper. I should point out, however, that the nursing staff answer to a separate nursing manager who simply will not tolerate turf battles, gossip and one-upmanship. I believe that is a major reason for the differences in working relationships between the nurses and the other personnel.

In conclusion, lest I be misunderstood, let me state that I do not intend to imply that cultural differences do not impact team decision-making and problem-solving. I merely wished to show that they have not impacted my own experience, and as I understood the parameters, this assignment was intended to be a reflection from my own personal experience. Having a common cultural background with co-workers has taken a back seat to our differences in attitudes and values. Between me and my fellow students, however, the common values of hard work and pursuit of excellence have transcended any cultural differences that might have existed. My experience therefore has been that values, attitudes and intellectual prejudice have played far greater roles in the success or failure of teamwork than cultural matters.

Posted by CrankyBeach at 8:29 PM | Comments (4)

Are Republican Men Better Looking?

I have heard it said that Republican women are prettier than Dem females, and well do I believe it. I mean, right down the line, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Bella Abzug to Hillary, lib gals are frumpy as a matter of anti-lookist principle. Who's enchanting across a crowded room, a YAF ingenue or a WTO demonstrator with colored milk barfed down her front?

But ladies, let's give our menfolk their due praise as well. There's just something about the Party of Lincoln that firms the jaw, fires the eye, enlivens the complexion, and squares the shoulders. You can spot em a mile away. Alas, they're usually married.

Our men are funny without cruelty, chivalrous without irony, charming without pandering, and smart without morbid brain disease. They can say hoo-ah without sounding like an idiot. I'd like to hear Kerry's hoo-ah. Probably much like Dean's yeaargh.

Republican women are not impressed with pretty-boy visages like Edwards'. Where Mrs. Kerry and the media see Adonis, we see but an animated Ken.

The compelling qualities of the Republican Man transcend classical standards. Who's hunkier, I ask: homely Abe Lincoln or Stephen A. Douglas? "Handsome is as handsome does" is only too true, and works overwhelmingly in the Republicans' favor.

Posted by at 7:47 PM | Comments (7)

August 20, 2004

Quote

I get the quote of the day on my cell phone. Here's today's rather timely one:

People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election. -- Otto von Bismarck
Posted by Ith at 1:02 PM

Scrutiny

Check out this post over at ILJN: More Kerry Discrepancies?

Posted by Ith at 10:07 AM

August 13, 2004

Priorities

Hey, I know it's not as important as getting into Augusta, but do you think our "feminist" organizations might like to pay some attention to issues like this?

Rape now taking the form of genocide

Posted by Ith at 6:06 PM | Comments (5)

August 12, 2004

Coastal Commission Shenanigans

Here in CA we have the Coastal Commission, a government organization dedicated to throwing it's substantial weight around to stop development. The Heart Corp. finally got tired of years of trying to develop part of Hearst Ranch and agreed to sell the property to an open spaces/conservation group. Now this is something the Coastal Commission should be all for, but they aren't.

.... A deal to pay the Hearst Corp. $80 million to give up most of its development rights was announced last month a deal the coastal commission staff should be expected to celebrate.

Instead, in what the San Diego Union-Tribune called an example of grudge-match meddling, coastal commission executive director Peter Douglas is trying to sabotage the deal, going so far as calling it a bait and switch scam.

Douglas even belittled the deals opening of vast stretches of magnificent beaches to the public, claiming that under the law, all beaches are public a bizarre statement which is laughably untrue.

And one of his underlings improperly telephoned state officials, trying to drive down the lands $230 million valuation, according to an official with Caltrans, which paid for the appraisal.

One newspaper editorial called these efforts another example of the coastal commission staffs obstructionist activism.

We think theyre yet another vivid illustration of the coastal staffs never-never land concept of reality, where the truth is a lie, fact is fiction, and property rights do not exist.

The Hearst Ranch deal may be the last chance to save this treasured stretch of coast from being turned into ranchettes for Silicon Valley and Hollywood millionaires. The public, which would pay for the acquisition through voter-approved bond measures, has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to buy parkland and open space.

Posted by Ith at 10:43 AM | Comments (2)

Public Enemy #1: Part II

I did a search and found the original article by Gretchen Ritter that was the subject of the article I blogged about yesterday. The site requires registration, but I'll excerpt some of it here.

.... It denies men the chance to be involved fathers. This is a loss for them and a loss for their children. What does it mean when fathers are denied the opportunity to nurture their kids in ways that are as important as their work? What do the children miss when they don't have fathers changing their diapers, picking them up from school, coaching soccer, making breakfast or dinner and doing homework with them? On both sides, the answer is too much.

Women who stay at home also lose out they lose a chance to contribute as professionals and community activists. Parenting is an important social contribution. But we need women in medicine, law, education, politics and the arts. It is not selfish to want to give your talents to the broader community it is an important part of citizenship to do so, and it is something we should expect of everyone.

Full-time mothering is also bad for children. It teaches them that the world is divided by gender. This sends the wrong message to our sons and daughters. I do not want our girls to grow up thinking they must marry and have children to be successful, or that you can only be a good mother if you give up your work.

Nor do I want boys to think that caring for families is women's work and making money is men's work. Our sons and daughters should grow up thinking that raising and providing for a family is a joint enterprise among all the adults in the family.

[....]

Finally, the stay-at-home mother movement is bad for society. It tells employers that women who marry and have children are at risk of withdrawing from their careers, and that men who marry and have children will remain fully focused on their careers, regardless of family demands. Both lessons reinforce sex discrimination.

This movement also privileges certain kinds of families, making it harder for others. The more stay-at-home mothers there are, the more schools and libraries will neglect the needs of working parents, and the more professional mothers, single mothers, working-class mothers and lesbian mothers will feel judged for their failure to be in a traditional family and stay home their children.

By creating an expectation that mothers could and should stay home, we lose sight of the fact that most parents do work and that they need affordable, high quality child care, after-school enrichment programs and family leave policies that allow mothers and fathers to nurture their children without giving up work.

Later: Boudicca's take.

Posted by Ith at 9:08 AM | Comments (6)

August 9, 2004

No, Not Bee Gees, Gee Gees.

Otherwise known as "Global Geophysical Events". And they are a danger scientists say we don't take seriously enough. Here's one example:

.... The potential threat that scientists currently have their eye on is an insecure rock - the size of the Isle of Man - in the Canary Island of La Palma.

The rock is in the process of slipping into the sea and Professor McGuire fears that when it finally collapses, the resulting tsunami will cause massive destruction along the coasts of countries like the USA, UK and many on the African continent, within a matter of hours.

"Eventually the whole rock will collapse into the water, and the collapse - when it happens - will devastate the Atlantic margin," said Professor McGuire.

The triggering factor could be the eruption of the volcano on La Palma, called Cumbre Vieja, which could feasibly blow "anytime", according to Professor McGuire.

Many researchers working in the field of Gee Gee's would like better monitoring of Cumbre Vieja, so that advance warning can be given for the possible collapse of the rock.

"We need to be out there now looking at when an eruption is likely to happen," said Professor McGuire. "Otherwise there will be no time to evacuate major cities."

Posted by Ith at 1:39 PM | Comments (1)

Local Swift Boat Vet Denounces Kerry

One of the vets in the news lives right here on the Monterey Peninsula:

Whatever the merits of John Kerry's heroics in Vietnam, his actions in leaving combat quickly and denouncing some of his shipmates afterward touch a sharply throbbing nerve with a Pacific Grove Navy veteran who served in the same small boat squadron as Kerry.

Richard O'Mara, who served for a year as a gunner's mate aboard a PCF patrol craft or "swift boat" in the Mekong Delta region in 1968-69, still steams over Kerry's testimony in 1971 before the Senate Armed Services Committee in which Kerry accused fellow sailors of war crimes.

O'Mara is a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of more than 200 vets familiar with Kerry's service who oppose his candidacy for president.

[....]

"I'm not part of a right-wing, Republican conspiracy," O'Mara said. "I've been involved in this a long time. I've known these things about this guy for a long time. I'm not getting a nickel."

O'Mara has lived and worked in Pacific Grove for more than 20 years. He once owned a beachfront snack stand at Lovers Point -- Fat Richie's -- and has been an antique dealer, artist and construction worker.

His objections to a Kerry candidacy center around loyalty, which O'Mara said the Democratic candidate betrayed in two ways.

"This is about John Kerry's actions in Vietnam," he said, "and most importantly his actions afterward, while the fight was still going on."

Kerry, he said, left his enlisted crew behind after four months in-country after receiving three minor wounds.

"He deserted his crew. He deserted the whole unit. He took all the training he had and wasted it."

Then, O'Mara said, Kerry appeared before a Senate panel to denounce the war and some of his shipmates as war criminals.

"People were fighting and dying while he lied through his teeth."

If Kerry witnessed war crimes, O'Mara said, he had a duty to report them.

"We constantly went out of our way not to injure civilians, damage their fish traps or fish nets," he said.

Kerry's statements before the Senate "did tremendous damage to the war effort," O'Mara said, and hurt veterans coming home.

Posted by Ith at 10:51 AM | Comments (2)

August 5, 2004

Always The Oddball

Seems I'm still a little different (no comments from the peanut gallery!):

If you're reading this, chances are you're a man. It's not just because Wired News covers technology, the traditional domain of men. Recent surveys found that a large majority of people who read news online are male.

While the gender ratio of people who read print newspapers is about 1-to-1, 60 percent to 70 percent of the people who read the websites of the same newspapers are male. For example, 61.8 percent of NYTimes.com readers are men, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, an agency that provides research and analysis on Internet users. However, the audience of the paper version of The New York Times is roughly 50-50, according to audience reports provided by the paper.1 (Wired News' male-female ratio is about 7-to-3, in line with other technology-oriented sites). In general, the number of men reading online news is 8 percent to 13 percent higher than women, according to studies by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Posted by Ith at 5:33 PM | Comments (3)

August 4, 2004

Okay, Mr. Clarke, Which Is It???

Heard on the top-of-the-hour radio news that Richard Clarke is saying the newly-unearthed Al Qaeda threats are real, but "there's a credibility problem."

Let me get this straight. The threats are real, but the Bush Administration revealed them, so that means they cannot be believed...?

Is this not a perfect example of someone trying to have it both ways?

Just my $.02 worth on this fine Wednesday morning.

Posted by CrankyBeach at 11:19 AM

July 30, 2004

The Dwight Eisenhower Of The 19th Century?

A new take on a guy named Grant

Posted by Ith at 5:31 PM | Comments (1)

Subway Takes The Low Road

Another email I received this morning revealed the following pic from Subway Europe's tray liners:

supersize.jpg
It has come to our attention that SUBWAY, an American company, is using this tray liner (see below for English translation) in their restaurants in Germany and across Europe. In a shameless and anti-American effort to increase sales in Europe, SUBWAY restaurants are promoting the film, "Super Size Me," a documentary about a man who gains weight by gorging himself at McDonald's for 30 days straight without any exercise.

[....]

The most offensive part of this new advertising campaign is the display of an obese Statue of Liberty holding a burger and fries in her hands. The headline screams Why are Americans so fat? (The headline uses the German word Amis a derogatory term for Americans.)

Posted by Ith at 1:29 PM

July 28, 2004

Nothing To Do With Iraq?

Interesting tidbit from The Corner:

"One of the most sobering pieces of information to come out of the investigation of the March 11th bombings [in Madrid] is that the planning for the attacks may have begun nearly a year before 9/11. ... It appears that some kind of attack would have happened even if Spain had not joined the Coalition -- or if the invasion of Iraq had never occurred." --- Lawrence Wright, "The Terror Web," in the 8/2/04 New Yorker.
Posted by Ith at 10:28 AM

July 26, 2004

Misery Loves Company?

French Prez Annoys Others, Too

Posted by Ith at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)

July 23, 2004

Short But Sweet

A letter to the editor in today's Monterey Herald:

Bush vs. Moore

When George W. Bush wakes up Wednesday, Nov. 3, he will still be president of the United States of America.

When Michael Moore wakes up Wednesday, Nov. 3, he will still be a fat, scruffy, unmade bed.

I have withheld the letter writer's name, but you can see it if you go here.

:)

Posted by CrankyBeach at 1:42 PM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2004

Where's The Party?

I guess the protesters here at the FCC shindig were a mite disappointed at the lack of turnout:

Lorie Hanson came out and was disappointed with the lack of people who came to speak or listen to the crowd.

"Turnout for Monterey is really low," said Hanson, who was carrying a "Where's the Party?" sign.


Awwwww.... how sad.

Posted by Ith at 12:09 PM | Comments (1)

July 21, 2004

On The Frontier

I really loved this article. My mum grew up a few hours from the towns in question, and I think it's a pretty good illustration of my American/Canadian spilt personality. I have this Californian/Far North Canadian thing going, so sometimes I confuse even myself!

Posted by Ith at 9:13 AM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2004

What's It Gots In His Pants, Precious?

I know everyone is talking about this, and I don't actually have anything to add, but I really wanted to use that subject header!

I'm easily amused.

Posted by Ith at 9:51 AM | Comments (3)

July 12, 2004

Scots Regiments III

Soldiers kicked out to 'soften up regiments'

THE military has been accused of using its own disciplinary code to expel soldiers from Scottish regiments so they can be softened up for the axe.

Scotland on Sunday revealed last week that at least two historic regiments will be disbanded as a result of swingeing defence cuts, with the most likely targets those units with the biggest recruitment problems.

It has now emerged that the number of Scottish soldiers dismissed for indiscipline under archaic Queens Regulations has soared over the past five years.

The toll of servicemen and women being kicked out of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers alone has soared by 300% in the past five years, from 10 in 1999/2000, to 40 in 2003/04.

Government critics suggest the MoD is deliberately increasing the number of troops dismissed to bolster its argument for axing regiments.

The number of Scots soldiers dismissed under Queens Regulations paragraph 9.414, which covers offences including indiscipline, failing drugs tests and engaging in "sexual aberration" has more than doubled to 245 since 2000.

"The number of people being kicked out under this code should be fairly consistent over the years," said John Thurso, the Lib Dems Scottish affairs spokesman.

"I find it hard to believe that there has been such a dramatic rise of cases of indiscipline in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. The only plausible answer is they are using exit codes such as 9.414 to push people out.

"It is unacceptable that when Scottish regiments are suffering such overstretch that experienced soldiers are being forced out.

"It worries me that this practise is being used to run down the regiment ahead of defence spending cuts."

Other related stories here.

Posted by Ith at 5:23 PM

Scots Regiments II

First Minister McConnell breaks his promise on threat to Scots regiments & admits he didn't challenge ministers in London over the plans.

.... Mr McConnell signalled he would offer no resistance to Treasury plans that could mean 2 billion of savings forced on the armed forces, possibly leading to the abolition of two of Scotlands remaining regiments.

Instead, he backed Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, who on Monday promised a "ruthless" focus on public services and ruled out any pre-election spending spree on other departments.

"My view is that education, health, transport and tackling crime are the top priorities," Mr McConnell told journalists at Westminster. "These are and should be the top priorities."

Meanwhile, figures obtained by The Scotsman reveal that the MoD now employs more civil servants than soldiers. With army recruitment frozen until October, the army has 102,000 soldiers on its books, while the MoD employs 102,600 civil servants.

The prospect of Scottish regiments, including the Black Watch, which is now serving a second tour in Iraq, being amalgamated or abolished has unleashed a wave of protest from senior officers and politicians of all parties.

Mr McConnell yesterday refused to comment on his meetings with Mr Blair and other ministers, saying he would stick by a policy of not discussing his conversations with ministers in London.

Suggesting some confusion in the Executive on the issue, Mr McConnell first insisted he would wait for the results of Mr Browns spending review next week before consulting regimental leaders and others affected. Minutes later he hinted that he had raised the issue of the regiments with London-based ministers some weeks ago, but again refused to go into detail.

The First Ministers position was condemned as "shocking" by the Conservatives, who have tabled a Commons motion censuring him and calling on "all of Scotlands representatives to unite behind Scotlands historic regiments".

Posted by Ith at 5:18 PM | Comments (2)

They Lied

So Much For 'Bush Lied'

.... The basis for the war in Iraq was not that Saddam could kill us all in 2003. It was that he might be in a position to do us and the world incomparable harm in the coming decade, and that the lesson of 9/11 was that (as President Bush said in June 2002) "if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long."
Posted by Ith at 11:19 AM

July 10, 2004

Joe Wilson: Monumental Liar?

Via The Corner this morning, Plame's Input Is Cited on Niger Mission. Report Disputes Wilson's Claims on Trip, Wife's Role.

Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, dispatched by the CIA in February 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq sought to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program with uranium from Africa, was specifically recommended for the mission by his wife, a CIA employee, contrary to what he has said publicly.

Registration required, but well worth it for this one, IMHO

Posted by Ith at 2:46 PM | Comments (1)

July 9, 2004

So, Pardon Me

I don't see Bill O'Reilly all that often, but happened to catch the tail end of this last night.

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight.

Hating America. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." According to a new poll, 40 percent of Canadian teenagers think America is an evil country. Among French-Canadian teens, the number jumps to 64 percent. Those numbers can be laid right on the doorstep of the Canadian media and government

As you may know, the FOX News Channel is not allowed in Canada, but CNN is. Fair and balanced? You decide.

The USA takes a relentless pounding from many Canadian news organizations and from the liberal government. So, what can we expect from the kids? They're not getting a full picture. And neither is most of the world.
Increasingly, the bully America is being portrayed as the devil. And the far left in this country is gleefully piling on. Guys like Michael Moore [are] running around the world telling everybody what a bad place America is. Moore and his enablers should be very proud of themselves

For the benefit of the Canadian kids, let's take a look at the record:

The foreign and defense policies of Ronald Reagan (search) resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the freeing of approximately 122 million people in Eastern Europe.

The state of Israel would cease to exist if not for American protection, and about 5.5 million Jews would be in grave danger.

Nearly 23 million Taiwanese would be denied freedom if not for American protection. More than 48 million South Koreans would be living under a dictatorship if not for American protection. USA action led to the removal of the Serbian dictator Milosevic (search), who was responsible for the murders of hundreds of thousands of people in the Balkans.

The USA and Britain removed the Iraqi dictator Hussein, who was responsible for the murders of hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East. And we have also removed the terrorist Taliban government in Afghanistan.

America is sending $15 billion to Africa to help victims of AIDS. We were unable to find out how much France contributes, if anything. To be fair, Canada sends $270 million, which is substantial.

American action in Central America, Grenada, and Haiti has kept millions of people out of totalitarian regimes. Of course, all of this has cost every American taxpayer big. And thousands of American servicepeople have lost their lives protecting people overseas.

It is insulting and dishonest for Americans and Canadians and Europeans to condemn this country because they don't like certain policies. Dissent is good. Slander is unacceptable.

The truth is that the USA has freed more human beings in 230 years than the rest of the world combined. France has freed almost no one. Ditto Canada.

So, pardon me as I object to the Michael Moores of the world - and that man is too cowardly to come in here, all right? Pardon me as I object to the anti-American foreign press and bums like Chirac in France and Chretien in Canada.

America has a provable history of freeing oppressed people all over the world in fighting evil dictators. Canada should be ashamed that so many of its young people are flat out ignorant. And Americans should wise up and realize we are living in a changing world. Old friends are not necessarily true friends.

Posted by Ith at 10:23 AM | Comments (6)

July 8, 2004

Tag, You're It

This came as a surprise to me. Can you imagine if they tried to implement such a policy here? The ACLU would have kittens along with a cow or two.

ASYLUM seekers in Scotland will face electronic tagging within months as part of a major security crackdown by the Home Office, The Scotsman has learned.

Reliance Monitoring Services, part of the same group as the security firm criticised for releasing prisoners in error, will take on the controversial contract, operating a six-month pilot scheme from September.

Home Office sources say that about 70 asylum seekers in Scotland will be involved in the compulsory trials, which will run alongside similar projects in England and Wales before being rolled out across the UK.

Posted by Ith at 5:13 PM | Comments (2)

July 7, 2004

Kid Rock, uhh, Rocks?

Truth can indeed be stranger than fiction.

It was a lazy afternoon at Russell Simmons' spread outside downtown East Hampton.

The hip-hop and fashion mogul, his younger brother Joe (aka Rev. Run, who's filming a pilot of his own reality show for the ABC Family Channel), movie director Brett Ratner and his girlfriend, Serena Williams (recovering from her defeat in the Wimbledon final), were getting a little antsy on a rainy Monday, wondering what to do with themselves.

Then Kid Rock arrived.

So they all decided to drive into town and take in a movie.

They jumped into various vehicles and headed for the United Artists East Hampton theater on Main St.

Standing in front of the box office and perusing the titles, Simmons suggested that everybody catch the 7:15 showing of "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Kid Rock balked.

"I don't want to see that, it's all propaganda," the rock star said - sparking a prolonged political debate right there on the sidewalk.

"Russell, don't you understand, everything we got in this country, we got from fighting," Kid Rock argued, according to Simmons' account. "It's just a movie. ... I'd rather go to the bar across the street."

Kid Rock refused to see the movie, and said goodbye. The others bought tickets and went into the theater.

A couple of hours later, Simmons returned to his parked car. On his windshield was a scribbled note:

"Vote Bush. Bush Rocks," apparently written by Kid Rock himself.

Only in the Hamptons, kids, only in the Hamptons.

But I still hate that duet he did with Sheryl Crow. What an idiotic song... [grumble]

Posted by Ith at 9:49 AM | Comments (3)

July 6, 2004

Threat To Scrap Some Of Scotlands Historic Regiments.

McConnell wants answers on threat to Scots regiments

..... Some Scottish MPs had warned of a threat to Scots regiments as long ago as last year, and the Conservatives said yesterday that Mr McConnells last-minute intervention suggested that he and Alistair Darling, the Scottish Secretary, had failed properly to represent Scotlands interests in the governments debate over spending.

"There has been a case over the last number of months for strong personal interventions to make sure that decisions were made in Scotlands best interests," said Peter Duncan, the Tories shadow Scottish secretary. "Jack McConnell needs to be quite explicit as to how he has worked with Alistair Darling on this issue - have they worked together at all?"

As well as anger that the Treasury is driving through defence cuts at a time of global turmoil, some MPs are expressing frustration with the MoD. Inspired by the US, the ministrys military doctrine is increasingly moving away from traditional land and air forces towards so-called network-centric warfare, where hi-tech weapons platforms and vehicles, many of them unmanned, are co-ordinated by central command posts, not front-line commanders.

Anne Begg, the Labour MP for Aberdeen South, who raised the future of the Scots regiments with Mr Hoon last year, said that military planners have the wrong priorities. "The sort of peacekeeping operations that we are so good at and should be concentrating on dont need the latest technology, they need well-trained British troops on the ground," she said.

Bruce George, the chairman of the House of Commons defence select committee and a leading critic of the MoDs new thinking, described the idea of cutting or merging regiments as "unacceptable" yesterday.

Speaking at a security conference in Edinburgh, he said: "You lose that regimental spirit which makes the British Army almost unique, and that is something that will only be tampered with at the peril of the government."

(free registration required for the whole article)

Posted by Ith at 1:48 PM

July 3, 2004

Coincidence?

An Iraqi official killed this week in a car bombing was in charge of the Iraqi investigation into allegations that the ousted regime siphoned billions from the U.N. oil-for-food program, an official of an Iraqi political party said Saturday.

Ehsan Karim, head of the Finance Ministry's audit board, died Thursday of injuries suffered that day when a bomb exploded as he was heading for work. His driver and bodyguard also were killed.

As head of the ministry audit board, Karim was in charge of the Iraqi probe into the oil-for-food scandal, Entifadh Qanbar, spokesman of Iraqi National Congress, told The Associated Press.

"It's possible that he was killed because of the investigation, which is a serious issue," Qanbar said. However, Qanbar said it was too early to say whether he was targeted because of the investigation.

The rest here.

Posted by Ith at 10:46 PM

July 1, 2004

More Bill

Bill Cosby is at it again.

Bill Cosby went off on another tirade against the black community Thursday, telling a room full of activists that black children are running around not knowing how to read or write and "going nowhere."

He also had harsh words for struggling black men, telling them: "Stop beating up your women because you can't find a job."

Cosby made headlines in May when he upbraided some poor blacks for their grammar and accused them of squandering opportunities the civil rights movement gave them. He shot back Thursday, saying his detractors were trying in vain to hide the black community's "dirty laundry."

"Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it's cursing and calling each other n------ as they're walking up and down the street," Cosby said during an appearance at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund's annual conference.

"They think they're hip," the entertainer said. "They can't read; they can't write. They're laughing and giggling, and they're going nowhere."

Posted by Ith at 8:08 PM

June 30, 2004

Raise A Glass To Thomas Jefferson

While Jefferson is known for authoring the Declaration of Independence, serving as our third president, and founding the University of Virginia, his contributions to wine remain some of his most enduring and overlooked legacies.

He tirelessly promoted wine cultivation and appreciation and worked as an advocate for farmers with vineyards. He also acted as a wine consultant for several presidents, including Washington, Madison, and Monroe, even after his retirement from public life in 1809. And although he did not see wine production flourish in North America during his lifetime, many attribute the eventual success of this countrys wine industry to Jefferson. He has been described as the greatest patron of wine and winegrowing that this country has yet had, according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

So remember, when spending time with friends and family this Fourth of July, take a moment to appreciate how far wine has come since 1776, thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, the man who not only made it possible for you to celebrate this great day, but also to enjoy the wonderful aromas and flavors in your glass.

Read the rest here.

Posted by Ith at 5:46 PM

June 23, 2004

The Right To Choose

If you aren't reading Debbye's blog everyday, you should be, because she writes posts like this one:

When I proclaim my support of women to choose, I mean something a bit different than the current Liberal fear-mongering about abortion. I'm supporting the right of women to make decisions about their lives and futures, which includes our rights to be at-home mothers, wear a burka, have the independence we gain by driving ourselves to wherever we choose to go, and have the right to say "No" because ultimately, that's the definition of freedom: Having the right to say no.

The Official Feminist Movement jumped the shark long ago. Time to take back what is ours: the right to speak about ourselves for ourselves, and to celebrate our own diversity, that being our right to be individually individual.

Read it all.

Posted by Ith at 6:35 PM

June 21, 2004

Baby Update

The baby that was abandoned in the chemical toilet has had her condition upgraded to serious. Still no word on what brain damage she may have suffered.

Posted by Ith at 10:06 AM | Comments (2)

June 20, 2004

Guns For Teachers

Fascinating post over at Grim's Hall on Thailand, terrorists, and arming teachers.

Posted by Ith at 5:12 PM

June 18, 2004

A Miracle

Here's some local news for you. A newborn was abandoned at the bottom of a chemical toilet yesterday. Yes, that's right, in the waste, at the bottom. Why the miracle? The baby survived, but barely. The doctor on the news last night said another half hour and she wouldn't have made it. She's still in critical condition though, so send a few prayers her way.

A newborn girl abandoned Thursday in a portable toilet near Soledad is in critical condition in a Palo Alto hospital.

The baby's mother, a 17-year-old field worker, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and was taken to Natividad Medical Center in Salinas. Her daughter was initially taken to Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, then transferred to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford Medical Center for specialized treatment.

A field foreman found the newborn girl around 10:45 a.m. in the waste reservoir of a portable toilet at a Gardoni Farms labor camp on Camphora-Gloria Road, about a mile east of Highway 101 in Soledad. Workers alerted the foreman to the sound of a screaming child.

The foreman pulled the newborn out and immediately called 911. The baby was discovered with its umbilical cord still attached. It was not immediately clear whether birth occurred in the portable toilet or if the baby was dropped into the waste tank.

Monterey County sheriff's deputies and medical personnel responded to the scene. Around 11:30 a.m., emergency workers alerted Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital that the child was in an ambulance, on her way there.

Dr. David Kasting, the neo-natalogist who treated the girl, said she was probably trapped in the toilet for one or two hours. He found the child had a body temperature of 80.5 degrees, well below a newborn's normal temperature of about 97 degrees.

"In all my years, I have never seen a newborn this cold," he said.

Doctors were concerned with the girl's respiratory system, but her lung function appeared good and her heart rate was stable at Salinas Valley. Kasting also said the child did not appear to have ingested any harmful fluids. It appeared she was born seven weeks prematurely.

The newborn was stable at Salinas Valley, although doctors feared she could have suffered brain damage. She was trasferred to Stanford around 7 p.m. Late Thursday, doctors there changed her condition to critical.

You can read the entire article here.

Posted by Ith at 8:29 AM

June 9, 2004

CrankyBeach Is In The Building

Greetings, one and all. Ith has graciously invited me to join the guest blogger roster. I don't know how much you'll see of me, though, because I can't be brilliant on command. :)

By way of introduction, I've known Ith in real life for nearly 15 years, going back even to the pre-Nin days. In my misspent youth I registered as a Democrat (gasp!) but saw the error of my ways and repented in time to help elect Ronald Reagan in his first landslide.

And that's all I have time for right now, as I must get back to my eeeeevil Republican ways, act like I'm gainfully employed, and make some money to help spur the economy! Hope to see more of y'all in the next few days.

Posted by CrankyBeach at 9:42 AM

Guest Host Intro

Ith, the whimsical host of this blog, posted an invitation to author some posts for her blog over the next few days.

Ith and I have exchanged comments over a long while and thus I was eager to serve as a temp on her site.


I quickly volunteered and by days end, I was given the keys to Absinthe & Cookies.


First, I must thank the gracious host of this blog for the invitation and then I must move onto matters of the deepest importance to me.... yes...self-promotion.


Here is a brief description of who I am.
I host the blog called Bleeding Brain and have been doing so since September 2002. Like a lot of people, I began blogging as an outlet for the emotions that still ran hot one year after the events of September 11th 2001.

I am an industrial software designer. I pretend to know what I am doing and my clients pretend to pay me (it all works out really nicely in the end).
I was born in central Africa in the 1960s to a hippie white mother and a military black father. Having lived in the jungle home provided by my father for the first part of my life, I decided to live among my mother's people for a while and thus ended up North America where I live to this very day.


I am only moderately skilled at writing (largely because English is my only first language). My foremost love is music and my second love is the sound that music makes when it is played.


I am a conservative sprinkled with libertarian seasonings and a dash of social conservatism.
I strongly supported Ws raid on Afghanistan and the subsequent raid on Iraq.
I have always loved Ronald Reagan and I mourn his passing.


I support Israel's right of self-defence and Taiwan's right to stay independent.


I will try to be on my best behaviour on Ith's blog.
Anyway, introductions are done. I look forward to starting with my first post here in a day or two. The subject will likely relate to the war on leftism.

Posted by at 12:59 AM | Comments (2)

June 3, 2004

Chinese Tattooing

There's quite the kerfuffle going on in Scotland after it was learned that the Chinese, more specifically the military band of the Peoples Liberation Army of China has been invited to perform at this year's Edinburgh Tattoo:

ITS website promises that the 55th Edinburgh Military Tattoo will be the most spectacular ever - a 1,000-strong line-up from five continents.

But, just two months from its official opening on the 6 August, the Tattoos organiser, Brigadier Melville Jameson, has found himself at the centre of a growing political storm, facing the threat of a long summer of anti-Tattoo demonstrations.

The Edinburgh debut of the military band of the Peoples Liberation Army of China, an army whose troops were responsible for killing pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and whose soldiers continue to occupy Tibet, has caused outrage among politicians and human rights groups.

"Its still one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet," said Mike Pringle, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh South, and vice-convener of the Scottish Parliaments cross-party working group on Tibet.

"If someone had invited representatives of Saddam Husseins government and band, there would be outrage. This is a government which is repressing its own people, let alone the Tibetans. I dont think Brigadier Jameson realised what he was biting off."

Posted by Ith at 6:14 PM | Comments (1)

May 28, 2004

Just Like Stalingrad

According to Sidney Blumenthal, a one-time adviser to president Bill Clinton who now writes a column for Britain's Guardian newspaper, President George W. Bush today runs "what is in effect a gulag," stretching "from prisons in Afghanistan to Iraq, from Guantanamo to secret CIA prisons around the world." Blumenthal says "there has been nothing like this system since the fall of the Soviet Union."

In another column, Blumenthal compares the April death toll for American soldiers in Iraq to the Eastern Front in the Second World War. Bush's "splendid little war," he writes, "has entered a Stalingrad-like phase of urban siege and house-to-house combat."

The factual bases for these claims are, first, that the US holds some 10,000 "enemy combatants" prisoner; and second, that 122 US soldiers were killed in action in April.

As I write, I have before me a copy of "The Black Book of Communism," which relates that on "1 January 1940 some 1,670,000 prisoners were being held in the 53 groups of corrective work camps and 425 collective work colonies . In addition, the prisons held 200,000 people awaiting trial or a transfer to camp. Finally, the NKVD komandatury were in charge of approximately 1.2 million 'specially displaced people.'"

As for Stalingrad, German deaths between January 10 and February 2, 1943, numbered 100,000, according to British historian John Keegan. And those were just the final agonizing days of a battle that had raged since the previous August.

[....]

The absence of proportion stems, in turn, from a problem of perspective. If you have no idea where you stand in relation to certain objects, then an elephant may seem as small as a fly and a fly may seem as large as an elephant. Similarly, Blumenthal can only compare the American detention infrastructure to the Gulag archipelago if he has no concept of the actual size of things. And he can have no concept of the size of things because he neither knows enough about them nor where he stands in relation to them. What is the vantage point from which Blumenthal observes the world? It is one where Fallujah is "Stalingrad-like." How does one manage to see the world this way? By standing too close to Fallujah and too far from Stalingrad. By being consumed by the present. By losing not just the sense, but the possibility, of judgment.

CARE FOR language is more than a concern for purity. When one describes President Bush as a fascist, what words remain for real fascists? When one describes Fallujah as Stalingrad-like, how can we express, in the words that remain to the language, what Stalingrad was like? And while I'm at it, when we call Shimon Peres or Yossi Beilin or now Ariel Sharon a "traitor," how much more invisible do actual traitors become?

George Orwell wrote that the English language "becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." In taking care with language, we take care of ourselves.

Read it all here.

Posted by Ith at 10:44 AM

May 25, 2004

Just an FYI

I just received the 2004 Federal Poverty Income Guidelines with my monthly update for state-run insurance billing. Ever wonder if you're at poverty level?

These are the guidelines effective April 1, 2004 till March 21, 2005.

1 Person in Family: $1,552 month / $18,620 year
2 People in Family: $2,082 month / $24,980 year
3 People in Family: $2,612 month / $31,340 year
4 People in Family: $3,142 month / $37,700 year
5 People in Family: $3,672 month / $44,060 year
6 People in Family: $4,202 month / $50,420 year
7 People in Family: $4,732 month / $56,780 year
8 People in Family: $5,262 month / $63,140 year
9 People in Family: $5,792 month / $69,500 year
10 People in Family: $6,322 month / $75,860 year

For each additional person, add: $530 month / $6,360 year

I told my supervisor that he either has to let me have a kid or give me a raise... He's pondering the situtation.

Posted by Ninjababe at 5:39 PM | Comments (4)

May 19, 2004

Bill Cosby With A Smackdown

Found this over on The Corner today:

Bill Cosby was anything but politically correct in his remarks Monday night at a Constitution Hall bash commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. To astonishment, laughter and applause, Cosby mocked everything from urban fashion to black spending and speaking habits.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal," he declared. "These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids -- $500 sneakers for what? And won't spend $200 for 'Hooked on Phonics.' . . .

"They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English," he exclaimed. "I can't even talk the way these people talk: 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is' . . . And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. . . . Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. . . . You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth!"

The Post's Hamil Harris reports that Cosby also turned his wrath to "the incarcerated," saying: "These are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake and then we run out and we are outraged, [saying] 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"

When Cosby finally concluded, Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and NAACP legal defense fund head Theodore Shaw came to the podium looking stone-faced. Shaw told the crowd that most people on welfare are not African American, and many of the problems his organization has addressed in the black community were not self-inflicted.

Posted by Ith at 5:25 PM | Comments (22)

May 18, 2004

Law Of The Land

Japan, that is.

Overall, this article in the Japan Times deals with what a foreign parent can expect if their child runs afoul of the law, but this particular bit talks about what you don't have the right to in Japan:

.... From what I've heard from consular officials, the police will treat you pretty much the same as Japanese nationals. But that doesn't mean you'll be treated well.

Suspects can be held for up to 23 days without being charged. Interviews with the police are not taped, and often take place without a lawyer present. Suspects may not make or receive phone calls. Visits are restricted and conversations are monitored. If a suspect needs to converse with a visitor in a language other than Japanese, permission for the visit will depend on whether an officer who understands that language is available to listen in. Bail is the exception rather than the rule and is almost never granted to foreigners. If convicted, foreigners generally serve their sentence in Japan.

The tough news for parents is that all this applies to juveniles, too. Police will inform parents when a minor is arrested, and are more liberal about parents visiting. But even if no charges are filed, your child is likely to remain in jail at least a few nights.

Posted by Ith at 1:10 PM

Outside Eyes

This story about merging a Roman Catholic school with another school in Scotland is just so odd to me on so many levels.

SCOTLANDS leading Roman Catholic has written to council chiefs opposing plans for a mixed-faith primary school campus in Midlothian.

Cardinal Keith OBrien said the Church would prefer St Margarets RC Primary to be redeveloped and not merged with Loanhead Primary on a single site.

Parents of children at St Margarets have also expressed fears that a mixed-faith campus would lead to playground trouble.

Plans for the mixed-faith primary campus are part of a 50 million private finance deal to upgrade Midlothian schools.

No point here really, just noting the oddness of it.

Posted by Ith at 12:56 PM

May 17, 2004

More Mountain Lion News

So my mountain lion (assuming it's the same one) (which it probably is) is all over the news here. This article discusses residents demanding that Fish & Game remove her from their neighborhood. During a council meeting, a resident wanted to know why the kill had been removed. The answer gave me a giggle:

.... "If we're all supposed to feel comfortable because it's only killed deer, why take the carcasses away? You're only provoking it to kill again," said local resident Mary-Margaret O'Connell. "That's just pretzel logic."

O'Connell said council members at Wednesday's meeting asked Pacific Grove police Lt. Tom Uretsky why the dead animal was removed.

"It's not PC to leave a deer carcass by the swimming pool at Asilomar conference center," he said.

[emphasis mine ~ Ed.]

A second article on the critter is here. And it's mentioned in a neighbouring community's paper.

(oh, and I'm getting search hits for "mountain lion pacific grove")

Posted by Ith at 5:59 PM | Comments (2)

A Lottery You Need To Win

Scots losing out in heart treatment 'lottery'

HEART patients in Scotland are losing out to their English counterparts in a "national lottery" which sees them deprived of one of the best treatments available, a leading Edinburgh consultant warned today.

Dr Nick Boon, a consultant cardiologist at the new ERI, said that while up to 80 per cent of patients in English hospitals were offered the latest form of non-surgical treatment for angina, that figure fell to just 13 per cent in Scotland.

The new treatment, while more expensive, is said to be far more effective, making patients less likely to need to return for further treatment or surgery.

Dr Boon, one of Scotlands leading heart specialists, blamed the huge difference in the treatment given to English and Scottish patients on the different NHS funding systems in the two countries.

[....]

The treatment has been approved for use in Scotland, but is still relatively rarely used because health boards are not providing the funding, said Dr Boon.

In England, where foundation hospitals see the health service run on a competitive, business model, funding is being provided in many hospitals.

"It has not become a post code lottery now, it has become a national lottery," said Dr Boon.

Posted by Ith at 10:40 AM

May 16, 2004

Kiss Comments

KISS STAR CAUSES FURORE IN MUSLIM COMMUNITY

KISS bass player GENE SIMMONS has angered the Muslim community after labelling Islam a "vile" culture on a live radio interview.

[....]

"Extremism believes that it's okay to strap bombs on to your children and send them to paradise and whatever else and to behead people," he said yesterday (May 13).

"Your dog, however, can walk side by side, your dog is allowed to have its own dog house... you can send your dog to school to learn tricks, sit, beg, do all that stuff none of the women have that advantage."

Simmons also warned that the West was under threat, and that the Untited Nations didnt work, adding the West must "speak softly and carry a big stick".

"This is a vile culture and if you think for a second that it's going to just live in the sands of God's armpit you've got another thing coming," he said. "They want to come and live right where you live and they think that you're evil."

Posted by Ith at 1:42 PM

May 10, 2004

A Refuge Of Christendom

Nice article at NRO by Robert Alt on his chance meeting with some Christians in Baghdad. A small excerpt:

Walking down a busy street in Baghdad several weeks ago, I came across an oasis, a reservoir of precious fluid in the middle of an arid desert. Vulgar souls might denigrate it as a "liquor store," but such insults are hurled by those who have never tasted the water of Islay after traversing dry and sun-scorched Iraq. As I stood there surveying my prize, the shopkeeper asked me a common question: "Amerikee?" "Yes, I am American," I replied. His eyes lit up. "Me Christian! Me Christian!" he exclaimed. A friend of the shopkeeper then entered. A brief Arabic exchange followed, during which I heard the familiar "Amerikee," preceding the friend's exclamation, "Me Christian!" In a land of Islam, I had stumbled upon a refuge of Christendom.

I asked where my newly found brethren went to church, but "church" was not an English word they understood. In my struggle to conjure another term to convey this idea, I asked where they prayed all the while accompanying my words with miserably executed charades. This seemed to register, and I was quickly whisked through the marketplace, then through the back streets, and ultimately to a gated brick building. There I was greeted by a man accompanied by a young boy of around nine. The boy smiled and asked my name, following which I asked him his. "Joseph," he replied. Not Samir, Ali, or Muhammad as I had expected, but Joseph. There was little doubt left that I had indeed found Christians.

Posted by Ith at 6:11 PM | Comments (2)

May 9, 2004

Around & About

Nin had to work today, and then she's going to see "Hell Boy", so what would I be doing but blogging?

Brunch Report: It was goood! and Glenn bought a half flat of strawberries too, so he cut some up and soaked them in champagne, mum made a sponge cake, and the strawberry shortcake was mmmmmmmmm!

I really need to get those Horatio Hornblower DVDs. I saw the first movie yesterday, I saw the last one first a few months back, and I've seen one from somehwere in the middle.

Paul is still out and about as his blog slowly disappears into nothingness.

Allah has been on a freakin' roll this week.

I really do love Alison Krauss.

Maura decides to open up about her chronic health problem, and she does it with grace and humour. Having a chronic health condition myself, I admire her for her honesty.

Over at Girls! we're discussing cooking and swim suits.

D.G. is nearing her second blogiversary! Happy Day, sweetie.

Rachel shares my passion for jasmine. Jasmine & sandalwood -- two of my favourite scents. (and it's so nice to be able to link to a Rachel post again!)

Lachlan is blogging up a storm as one of the guest bloggers over at the Blight.

There's already a LotR Trilogy Boxed Set ready to go.


Me, I'm waiting for the super-duper-extra-extended-complete-till-they-add-even-more-stuff edition that I'm sure is to come.

Posted by Ith at 12:21 PM | Comments (5)

May 4, 2004

New Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Since I know so many of my friends suffer from this:

HealthWatch: New Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Dr. Kim Mulvihill

Like millions of Americans, Manny Sanchez suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome.

"I was having pain at nights when I was sleeping," he said. "I started losing strength in my hand when I was picking up stuff."

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the number-one repetitive stress injury in America today. It happens when a nerve called the median nerve gets inflamed and compressed, resulting in tingling, pain, and numbness in the fingers and hand.

Sanchez popped pills and had cortisone shots, but didn't want to go through surgery. That's when he heard about a new device that can give relief without pain, surgery, or drugs. The device -- called a cold laser -- produces no heat, but is capable of penetrating deep into the tissues of the hand.

"The frequency of the beam enhances healing," said Dr. Reginald Bottari, a chiropractor. "And it reduces inflammation."

The device is FDA (news - web sites)-approved to treat carpal tunnel. While some of the medical data is conflicting, studies have shown that the laser increases blood flow, reduces inflammation, and reduces symptoms. One study conducted for General Motors had very promising results.

"They found that 75% ... were able to get back on the job," Bottari said.

The laser has no known side effects, but not all health insurance policies cover it.

Posted by Ith at 12:03 PM

April 27, 2004

So Now American Idol Is Racist

According to Elton John at least.

"The three people I was really impressed with, and they just happened to be black, young female singers, and they all seem to be landing in the bottom three," said John on Tuesday, commenting on the tally in which the lowest vote-getter is eliminated.

"They have great voices. The fact that they're constantly in the bottom three -- and I don't want to set myself up here -- but I find it incredibly racist," John said at a news conference promoting his Radio City Music Hall concert backed by an orchestra of students from London's Royal Academy of Music and The Juilliard School of New York

Here's my take: I think that La Toya, Fantasia, and Jennifer are so good, they're splitting the vote. And never underestimate the power of teeny bopper girls voting for the "cute guy" (hey, I'm not so old I don't remember the girls I went to school with putting up posters of Leif Garrett, etc, on their locker doors!). I don't think it's racist, it's just the way the cookie crumbles. I'd like to know what the voter demographics are, because my assumption is that they would skew high towards female and teenaged/early twenties.

Posted by Ith at 11:35 AM | Comments (9)

April 20, 2004

There Has To Be A Better Way

Passengers warned of six-hour check-ins

In the UK, they're warning of 6 hour checkins to fly out. You'd think there would be a better way to deal with security. Couldn't people submit to a security check prior to flying? I know if I were traveling overseas, I'd take the opportunity to be checked out and pre approved as opposed to standing in line for 6 hours. Especially when the airlines spend more time questioning little old ladies than anyone in an ethinic group they're afraid of being sued by. If there was a prescreening option, those that took it could have a streamlined checkin and all those that didn't could be questioned at the airport regardless of ethnicity.

My best idea this early in the morning.

Posted by Ith at 7:55 AM

April 19, 2004

Music To Drive By -- Or Not

Via Angstman comes this list of the five most dangerous pieces of music to drive to:

1: Richard Wagner - Ride of the Valkyries

2: Giuseppe Verdi - Dies Irae (from Requiem)

3: The Prodigy - Firestarter

4: Basement Jaxx - Red Alert

5: Faithless - Insomnia

He also has the safest songs, but you'll have to visit for those.

Posted by Ith at 4:55 PM | Comments (3)

April 14, 2004

Jersey Girl Fatigue

The 9/11 Widows: Americans are beginning to tire of them.

.... The core group of widows led by the foursome known as "The Jersey Girls," credited with bringing the 9/11 Commission into being, are by now world famous. Their already established status in the media, as a small but heroically determined band of sisters speaking truth to power, reached ever greater heights last week, when National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice made her appearance at a commission session--an event that would not have taken place, it was understood, without the pressure from the widows.

[....]

But the best known and most quoted pronouncement of all had come in the form of a question put by the leader of the Jersey Girls. "We simply wanted to know," Ms. Breitweiser said, by way of explaining the group's position, "why our husbands were killed. Why they went to work one day and didn't come back."

The answer, seared into the nation's heart, is that, like some 3,000 others who perished that day, those husbands didn't come home because a cadre of Islamist fanatics wanted to kill as many of the hated American infidels in their tall towers and places of government as they could, and they did so. Clearly, this must be a truth also known to those widows who asked the question--though in no way one would notice.

Who, listening to them, would not be struck by the fact that all their fury and accusation is aimed not at the killers who snuffed out their husbands' and so many other lives, but at the American president, his administration, and an ever wider assortment of targets including the Air Force, the Port Authority, the City of New York? In the public pronouncements of the Jersey Girls we find, indeed, hardly a jot of accusatory rage at the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. We have, on the other hand, more than a few declarations like that of Ms. Breitweiser, announcing that "President Bush and his workers . . . were the individuals that failed my husband and the 3,000 people that day.

[....]

Nor can anyone miss, by now, the darker side of this spectacle of the widows, awash in their sense of victims' entitlement, as they press ahead with ever more strident claims about the way the government failed them. Or how profoundly different all this is from the way in which citizens in other times and places reacted to national tragedy.

From August 1940 to May 1941, the Luftwaffe's nightly terror bombings killed 43,000 British men, women and children. That was only phase one. Phase two, involving the V-1 flying bombs and, later, rockets, killed an additional 6,180. The British defense, was, to the say the least, ineffectual, particularly in the early stages of the war--the antiaircraft guns were few, the fire control system inadequate, as was the radar system. Still, it would have been impossible, then as now, to imagine victims of those nightly assaults rising up to declare war on their government, charging its leaders, say, with failure to develop effective radar--the British government had, after all, had plenty of warning that war was coming. It occurred to no one, including families who had lost husbands, wives and children, to claim that tens of thousands had been murdered on Winston Churchill's watch. They understood that their war was with the enemies bombing them.

[....]

Yesterday's session of the 9/11 Commission brought an appearance by Attorney General John Ashcroft--a reminder, among other things, of various intriguing questions posed by some of Ms. Breitweiser's analyses (delivered in her testimony before the 2002 congressional committee) of the ways the Sept. 11 attack might have been foiled. If the Federal Aviation Administration had properly alerted passengers to the dangers they faced, she asked, how many victims might have thought twice before boarding an aircraft? And "how many victims would have taken notice of these Middle Eastern men while they were boarding their plane? Could these men have been stopped?"

A good question. One can only imagine how a broadcast of the warning, "Watch out for Middle Eastern men in line near you, as you board your flight," would have gone down in those quarters of the culture daily worried to death about the alleged threat to civil rights posed by profiling and similar steps designed to weed out terrorists. Consider, a veteran political aide mordantly asks, what the response would have been if John Ashcroft had issued a statement calling for such a precaution, prior to Sept. 11.

Posted by Ith at 12:41 PM | Comments (2)

April 11, 2004

Right We Are?

Does anyone know what happened to Maripat and Right We Are? Even email I send is bouncing back.

Posted by Ith at 2:49 PM | Comments (11)

April 10, 2004

Going Dark

My brother is in the final stages of switching me over to my new computer, so I'm going to be scarce until everything is up and running!

Keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by Ith at 1:06 PM | Comments (1)

April 8, 2004

A Different 9/11 Family

The way the media makes it seem, the 9/11 families are all the same four women from New Jersey. But in the April 5 issue of National Review, Byron York has an article on Jimmy Boyle, a retired New York firefighter whose son Michael, also a firefighter, died in the North Tower of the WTC.

Only a part of it is online, but I'll try and excerpt some of what isn't, here.

.... Bush had reason to pay attention to Jimmy Boyle. Boyle is a past president of New York's Uniformed Firefighters Association, Local 94, the largest local firefighters' union in the country. He's also a lifetime Democrat who has never voted for a Republican for president (he was, in fact, head of Firefighters for McGovern back in 1972). But this year, Boyle plans to vote for George W. Bush, because Boyle wants the president to keep up the war on terrorism.

All that would be enough to make Bush grateful, but on that day in Long Island the president owed Boyle for another reason. In the week before the memorial ceremony, Boyle, acting not as a retired union chief but as a man who lost his son on September 11, took it upon himself to defend the president against charges that his campaign exploited memories of 9/11 in its first set of advertisements.

[....]

.... By the time the commercials actually appeared on Thursday, the story was not the ads themselves but the "controversy" over them. The Bush campaign was on the defensive.

That's where Jimmy Boyle came in. Boyle was at his home in Westbury, Long Island, early Thursday morning when he heard a report saying that September 11 families and firefighters were furious about the commercials. Boyle didn't know what was going on. "I said, 'Jeez, I'm a family, and a firefighter, too, and nobody ever mentioned anything to me,'" he recalls.

When he looked at the ads later that day, Boyle didn't see a problem. "I'm not knocking any family member who's against the president," he says, "but I felt that September 12 was a new world from September 11, and this guy George Bush stepped up to the plate and became a leader, and I want him to be able to finish this war." Boyle talked to a number of his friends who had lost relatives on 9/11, and they felt the same way.

Boyle decided to write an open letter in support of Bush. "A few of the voices of September 11 have been critical of President Bush's campaign advertisements that, in a respectful way, recall the incredible challenges we all faced," Boyle wrote. "Certainly we respect those voices and their opinions. Those few voices, however, do not speak for all of us."

[....]

Boyle also called Ken Haskell, a firefighter who lost two brothers, both firefighters, on 9/11. "I encourage [the president] to use those images," Haskell says. "It's important for people to remember what happened to us. People are going to be bitter for the rest of their lives for what happened, but they should blame the terrorists, not the president." (emphasis mine)

Boyle did all of his work unbidden by the White House. Indeed, the Bush campaign had no contact with Boyle until after the letter attracted a little press attention.

So when the press will only talk to 9/11 families that fit their agenda, remember that there are other voices and veiwpoints out there. But the liberal media doesn't think we need to hear about them.

Posted by Ith at 5:40 PM | Comments (5)

Blame China?

Higher Prices? Thank China

The same global economic forces that have consumers paying higher prices at the gasoline pump may soon have them shelling out more money for their beds, their appliances, and even their food.

In a trend apparent at the start of the year that has accelerated in recent weeks, prices have been soaring for nearly every one of the world's major commodities--the raw materials like metals, grains, and fuels that are essential to making the familiar products of modern life. Until now, consumers remained blissfully unaware of the chaos in the commodities markets, because manufacturers have absorbed the increased cost of doing business rather than raise price tags in auto showrooms and department stores. But the strain is beginning to show, and a few companies have indicated they will ask customers to help share the burden.

Most economists doubt that the run-up in raw materials will lead to widespread inflation. The Federal Reserve clearly has debated the issue but concluded that other factors in the economy--such as relatively high unemployment--will keep the risk of spiraling prices low. Nevertheless, a few analysts see the current rumblings as the beginning of a major shift in the global economy, in which new wealth and continued population growth in Asian countries force U.S. consumers to pay more for limited world resources.

Bill O'Neill, a principal with commodities research firm LOGIC Advisors in New Jersey, can sum up the reason for the commodities upsurge in a single word: China. "The warning signs were out there that Chinese demand for industrial commodities would be strong, but I think it happened quicker than some people thought," he says. With its economy growing at an annual rate of nearly 10 percent, even while adding 11 million per year to its 1.3 billion population, China has been gobbling up raw materials. Markets are merely reflecting the fact that for the first time, the world's most populous country now has a significant number of citizens who can afford cars, meat, and better housing.


[....]

Still, it's hard to believe that China's voracious appetite won't seriously affect the No. 1 consumer nation. With oil, where pump prices move in step with the price of crude oil, consumers already are feeling the impact of China's 30 percent growth in demand last year (it's now the world's No. 2 consumer of petroleum). Whether or not the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries holds to the production cuts it made last week, worldwide demand for oil will continue to increase thanks to China, pushing up the cost of all manufacturing and transportation.

Then there's food. China is expanding its livestock herds to meet its citizens' demands for more meat. As a result, the Middle Kingdom has dramatically increased its imports of soybeans, a prime component of cattle feed. China is expected to import 25 million tons of soybeans this year, a 14 percent increase over last year. Soybean prices in the United States, in turn, rose to their highest level in 15 years. Also, while China had been a minor player in the U.S. wheat market, buying just 78,800 metric tons a year ago, over the past year, that figure has ballooned to 1.4 million metric tons. Leading cereal maker Kellogg said last week it is feeling pressure from the grain market and is considering price hikes.

[....]

But a few observers see dire warnings for the future. Lester Brown, agricultural economist and founder of the Earth Policy Institute, thinks the recent increases in grain values are merely "the early tremors before the quake." Environmental degradation in China--loss of irrigation water and rapid urban expansion--has dramatically shrunk the land available for crops. The Gobi desert is growing by 4,000 square miles each year because of these occurrences. China's need for imports will dramatically grow as a result, he argues. And as China turns to the world market, "higher food prices could become a permanent part of the economic landscape," Brown warns.

On the oil front, Stephen Leeb, who manages the MegaTrends fund for U.S. Global Investors, argues that the world is entering a new era in which supply cannot keep up with demand. Although he has no predictions for the next few months (and admits that crude oil prices could drop somewhat, as they did last week), Leeb predicts a dramatic increase over the next five to 10 years. "The stark fact is that the world has very little excess capacity, and it's all in the hands of a very volatile country--Saudi Arabia," says Leeb. In his recent book, The Oil Factor, he predicts $100-a-barrel oil will lead to global inflation. "We have to pray it does so in a gradual fashion," he says.

Posted by Ith at 12:08 PM

April 6, 2004

The Cultural Cringe

Tartan is suddenly cool again as Scots build on transatlantic link

WHEN thousands of pipers march through New York on Tartan Day, some see a celebration of all that is good about Scotland. Others see the perpetuation of heather and haggis clichs which hold back the modern country.

The big debate over where Scottish heritage in the United States is heading took a huge step forward over the weekend, as dozens of organisations agreed to work together to promote tourism, industry and education.

For years, the myriad Caledonian and St Andrews societies and clan associations have been criticised for pulling in different directions. Now, under the banner of the Scottish Leadership Conference, they have vowed to forge a common path.

Larger institutions have been co-operating to organise Tartan Day for about eight years and despite concerns that the use of tartan might perpetuate the "shortbread-tin" myths, it will remain the focus of events.

[....]

"When Tartan Day was first launched, there was a lot of resistance. People were uncomfortable. The fact that Americans were doing this might have seemed patronising, but it was not.

"Tartan, its meaning and its iconic status, is so important to everyone. Now there is an emerging spirit of co-operation and co-ordination, not only here in the US, but from across the Atlantic as well."

Mr Bain said he felt the American-Scottish community had to change - "to be more professional and to work more collaboratively".

[....]

The smaller groups include many US clan associations, believed to have a combined membership of more than 100,000.

One clan delegate told the conference: "I feel like the owner of a lemonade stall whos been invited onto the board of General Motors."

Susan Stewart, the First Secretary, Scottish Affairs at the British Embassy in Washington, attended the conference. She said: "At a government level there is an eagerness to work with the Scottish-American organisations.

"The Scottish cultural cringe, where we are embarrassed about our heritage such as tartan, is receding. In the past we have been embarrassed by the shortbread-tin and Brigadoon associations, an age when these things were not considered cool. I think we have got over that. In tartan, we have an icon of international recognition.

"Modern Scotland is secure enough in its contemporary strengths, achievements and merits to assume icons of the past. If someone talks to me about penicillin, I talk to them about Dolly the sheep. If someone talks to me about Sir Walter Scott, I mention AL Kennedy or Ali Smith."

Tartan TV is one of many Scottish companies looking to make a break into US markets. Its programmes are already carried to 10.4 million viewers on cable channels in the US and Canada. The Aberdeen-based company is now preparing to sell shows to the US networks, opening up the greatest television audience in the world.

Robert Sproul-Cran, the chief executive officer of Tartan TV, said there was a huge appetite for television programmes looking at both traditional and contemporary Scotland.

He said: "The Scots make up the sixth largest ethnic group in the US. But because of our historical role in the development of modern America, as a group, the Scots are almost invisible. They were the bankers, the merchants and traders who helped build America. As a result, the Scots are totally integrated.

"Tartan is an icon and we did decide to tap into it in our name and branding. We found even those Americans who had no connections felt nothing but warmth towards the Scots. I draw them in with tartan, glens and genealogy, then talk about biotech industries and Dolly."

Mr Sproul-Cran added: "There is a resurgent interest in all things Scottish in the US. The number of American citizens who claimed Scottish ancestry has gone up by almost 50 per cent since the Nineties."

Kate Smith, who is researching nationalism at Glasgow University, said there was growing confidence in Scottish identity: "As far as branding goes, tartan is the best logo in the world.

"The influence of the Declaration of Arbroath and its call for freedom can be seen in the Declaration of Independence. Scottish migrs took and still take a leading role in the narrative of America and the Scottish-American societies keep that story alive."

Posted by Ith at 5:50 PM | Comments (3)

Not Too Shabby

We've long been making our mark on America

VIKING expeditions from Orkney and Shetland headed west 500 years before Columbus. According to the Norse sagas, the first native Scots to set foot in America were Hake and his wife Hekja. Sent ashore to scout, they reported back to the expedition captain, Thorfin Karlsefni, that the land was bountiful with wheat and grapes. As a result, Thorfin called the new land Vinland, the Land of Wine - present-day New England.

Scots were among the earliest explorers of the North American continent. One, Thomas Blake, accompanied the Spanish conquistador Vasquez de Coronado in 1540, to become the first European to see the Grand Canyon.

Robert Barclay from Aberdeenshire founded the Scottish colony of New Jersey. It remained untypically slave-free, largely thanks to the efforts of another Scot, the Quaker, George Keith.

In 1688, the merchants of Glasgow paid for a new, deep harbour at Port Glasgow and the way was open for the rise of a Scottish-American transatlantic trading empire based on tobacco, cotton, hundreds of thousands of Scottish migrants, and eventually a massive Clydeside shipbuilding industry.

Two of the 56 men who signed the American Declaration of Independence in 1776 were born in Scotland, and 19 had direct Scots ancestry. One of the Scots signatories, John Whitherspoon, founded Princeton University.

The first Scottish US president was James Monroe, the great-grandson of a Scots Covenanter who had arrived in the US in chains. Monroe threw the Spanish out of Florida and established the famous "Monroe Doctrine", excluding the European powers from the Americas.

A majority of US presidents could claim some Scots blood, including Andrew Jackson, James Knox Polk (who nabbed California from Mexico), Andrew Johnson (who succeeded the assassinated Abraham Lincoln), General Ulysses S Grant (who effectively won the Civil War), and Woodrow Wilson (who led the US into the First World War).

In modern times, the Scottish-Texas connection has loomed large. Lyndon Johnsons family came from Annandale, while the two Bush presidents have long had close oil business links with Edinburgh. George Bush jnr spent youthful holidays on the braes of Angus, befriending Bill Gammell, the former Scottish rugby internationalist and now Chief Executive of Edinburghs Cairn Energy.

Scots played a key part in the expansion of the US during the 19th century. The wilderness was tamed by adventurers such as Davy Crockett before, later in the century, John Muir headed west from East Lothian and invented the concept of environmentalism.

Displaced Scottish farmers such as Jesse James took to robbing trains, building infamous outlaw reputations, only to have to deal with tough lawmen such as Alan Pinkerton, from Govan, who founded the worlds first private detective agency.

Americas growing industrial and scientific might was the work of educated but poor Scots immigrants with a flair for enterprise, such as Andrew Carnegie and Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. Bell would later use the profits from his phone business to fund the invention of the aeroplane.

Scots Americans such as Donald Douglas and Allan and Malcolm Loughhead would later create the modern aerospace industry. Five of the men who have walked on the moon were of Scottish blood - Neil Armstrong, Alan Shephard, Alan Bean, James Irwin and David Scott. Nor should we forget the contribution to the information technology age - Thomas Watson built IBM, while the mother of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates is a Maxwell.

Posted by Ith at 5:08 PM

Ties That Bind

Executive donates 5,500 to New York memorial

With six days of promotional events under way in the Big Apple, George Reid, the Presiding Officer, has announced a $10,000 (5,467) donation from the Scottish Executive to a New York memorial garden in honour of the 67 Britons who died in the 11 September terrorist attacks.

Speaking at a reception yesterday hosted by the Executive in New Yorks Central Park, he said the donation was an expression of the close ties between Scotland and the United States currently being celebrated during Tartan Week.

He said: "We are delighted to announce a $10,000 donation from the Scottish Executive for this memorial garden which has Prince Charles as its patron.

"It is especially apt that while a lot of Scottish people are currently out here in New York for the Tartan Week celebrations we honour the close links between our two countries."

Posted by Ith at 4:58 PM

Blood Fued!

Well, not quite. But never underestimate the capacity of a Scot to hold a grudge (yes, I've been guilty of it myself)

This article is ostensibly about the "Dressed To Kilt" event held in New York last night, but it seems to mostly be about the fued between Sean Connery and Scotland's First Minister.

.... Relations between the First Minister and the former James Bond actor had deteriorated after Sir Sean refused to meet Mr McConnell during celebrations in the United States to discuss ways of improving Scotlands profile abroad.

Sir Sean was said to be angry at the way he was treated during Scotlands bid to host the Ryder Cup, but he is also thought to be generally unhappy at how Labour ministers have dealt with him in recent years, particularly over the devolution campaign.

The row came to a head when close aides to Mr McConnell hit back at the star, claiming the First Minister wanted to be seen with celebrities "on the way up" rather than those "on the way down".

Meowwwww!

The other amusing bit was about Richard Branson:

.... Meanwhile, back in Britain, Sir Richard Branson was showing exactly how not to wear a kilt. He was at an event, in London, to celebrate the successful bid by the National Railway Museum in York to buy the historic Flying Scotsman steam engine, saving it from possibly being sold abroad.

But he raised eyebrows . . . by wearing his kilt the wrong way round.

There's a picture too!

Posted by Ith at 12:49 PM | Comments (1)

April 4, 2004

Beauticians Without Borders

This one is dedicated to Rae (who has just moved to bright shiny MT digs).

Opening Afghan Eyes With Mascara and Beauty Classes

Posted by Ith at 4:18 PM | Comments (1)

April 1, 2004

The Mad Piper

'Mad Piper' saluted by stamp issue honouring D-Day feat

Private Millin played Highland Laddie, Blue Bonnets, Over The Border and Our Road to the Isles as troops landed on D-Day (Photo: PA)
0104pipb.jpg


Bill Millin, 81, found fame as the soldier who piped Lord Lovats 1 Commando Brigade ashore during the landings at Sword Beach in Normandy on 6 June, 1944.

Mr Millin, originally from Sandyhills, Glasgow, went on to play himself in the Hollywood film, The Longest Day, alongside Sean Connery and John Wayne.

Now an image of him stepping on to the Normandy beach-head has been included on a stamp depicting the greatest seaborne invasion ever undertaken.

[....]

Mr Millin was labelled the "Mad Piper" by German troops who were captured defending the Normandy beaches.

Lord Lovat told him to ignore army orders banning the playing of bagpipes in battle for fear that the pipers would be picked off by the enemy.

Wearing his kilt, he marched up and down Sword Beach playing Highland Laddie as German bullets rained down around him.

German prisoners interviewed after the beach was in British hands revealed they had not shot Mr Millin because they thought he was mad.

Posted by Ith at 4:38 PM | Comments (12)

March 30, 2004

Where Does It End?

I'm just taking a quick break and wanted to post a link to this article on a lawsuit against Llyod's Of London for slavery reparations.

This was one part that jumped out at me:

One plaintiff, Deadria Farmer-Paellman said the slave trade denied her identity.

"Today I suffer from the injury of not knowing who I am, having no nationality or ethnic group as a result of acts committed by these parties," she said.

There are any number of people who could make similar claims, but she feels a lawsuit and some cash will make her feel better. At least, that's how it reads to me. What about people who were adopted? What about other ethnic groups who've had their cultures pretty much wiped out? Should I be thinking about finding someone to sue becasue the Romans invaded Britain? Or the English, Scotland, or....? The past pretty much sucked, and there's enough damage done for all of us. It's time to deal with the present and not fixating on a past that can't be changed. And a step in that direction would be to put even a 1/4 the effort that goes into this reparations movement into trying to stop modern day slavery. After all, what could be a more noble memorial to those that were slaves than to honour their memory and suffering by stamping out the scourge of slavery that still exists in so many places in this world?

Posted by Ith at 9:57 AM

March 27, 2004

North American NATO?

General: U.S. Wants Canada to Join Pact

Posted by Ith at 4:34 PM | Comments (1)

March 26, 2004

Glass Houses & All That

I'd heard in passing about the Brit cavers rescued in Mexico, but there's more to it it would seem:

It was an upbeat ending to an expedition that began as an adventure-training break, developed into a drama that enthralled Mexicans all week and sparked a diplomatic spat along the way amid questions as to exactly why the caving team, most of them military, were in the 8.5-mile cave system in the first place.

After news that they were trapped emerged last Monday, Mexican president Vicente Fox questioned why, as military personnel, they were in the country on tourist visas on what amounted to a military expedition that had not been declared to the Mexican government by the Ministry of Defence. To try to answer those questions, Mexican immigration authorities detained the entire 13-man team taking part in Exercise Cuetzalan Tiger, following the men's release after check-ups at a military hospital in the southern city of Puebla.

It's pretty rich to have the Mexican government whinging about having people in their country illegally.

Posted by Ith at 7:47 PM | Comments (2)

March 25, 2004

Give Me That Old Time Disaster

Whatever happened to good old fashioned disaster movies? They should be mindless, fun, without a "message" or a "hit you over the head" political agenda.

"The Day After Tomorrow" is none of the above, more's the pity.

Like, go "carbon-neutral", duuude.

Posted by Ith at 5:31 PM | Comments (2)

March 24, 2004

Full Of Surprises

Congressman Casts Doubt on Clarke's Credibility

In a letter to the 9/11 commission on Wednesday, a Republican congressman noted that before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, a House panel held twenty hearings and two formal briefings on terrorism -- and Richard Clarke "was of little help in our oversight."

"When he briefed the subcommittee, his answers were both evasive and derisive," wrote Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) in a March 24, 2004 letter to the national commission investigating the terrorist attacks.

Shays said the commission might find the information about Clarke relevant, given the fact that Clarke was testifying on Wednesday. Clarke made headlines this week after blasting the Bush administration in various media appearances and interviews.

Posted by Ith at 5:43 PM

March 20, 2004

"The Real Treatment"

Ahhh... Europe, land of the free. Well, unless of course you're a reporter investigating EU corruption.

Police arrested a leading investigative journalist yesterday on the orders of the European Union, seizing his computers, address books and archive of files in a move that stunned Euro-MPs.

Hans-Martin Tillack, the Brussels correspondent for Germany's Stern magazine, said he was held for 10 hours without access to a lawyer by the Belgian police after his office and home were raided by six officers.

"They asked me to tell them who my sources were. I replied that was something I would never do. Now they have all my sensitive files, so I suppose they'll find out anyway," he said last night.

"The police said I was lucky I wasn't in Burma or central Africa, where journalists get the real treatment," he added.

Posted by Ith at 5:05 PM | Comments (1)

March 18, 2004

A Foot In The Door

One example of why you should never let the UN get a foot in the door.

The UN regularly cozies up to dictators like Saddam, turns a blind eye to corruption and genocide, but they still find time for important things like having their inspectors rummage around Canada looking for signs of racism.

Posted by Ith at 11:31 PM

PC Kills

From The Scotsman comes this report about what happens when crime meets political correctness.

STRATHCLYDE Police abandoned a high-level investigation to clamp down on the emergence of an Asian gang culture in Glasgow after the operation was deemed to be politically incorrect.

The revelation came as Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, prompted outrage by announcing a visit to Glasgow this weekend, days after a teenager was abducted and murdered, allegedly by a gang of Asian youths.

Police and community leaders in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow called for calm, following rising public concern over the kidnap and murder of Kriss Donald, 15.

As detectives continued the hunt for his killers, The Scotsman learned that Operation Gadher, a police investigation designed to tackle the growth of Asian gang culture in the city's southside, was stopped six months ago over fears that it wasn't politically correct.

Posted by Ith at 11:27 PM | Comments (2)

March 16, 2004

Another Fine Mess Indeed

So rumour has it that the French are investigating terror threats against their country. Now how will "old Europe" square that with blaming Spain for being attacked because they helped the US in Iraq? God knows the French have been more like enemies than allies to us, but the terrorists want to attack them anyway. It's not like this comes as a surprise to any of us, but I'm sure the concept will make heads spin on the Continent. It's an object lesson in the moral bankruptcy inherent in the policy of appeasement. But will the French and their EuroCronies see it that way? Or will they manage to twist themselves into a state of total denial? And if they're attacked, who will they turn to for help? Their new buddies, the ChiComs?

What a fine mess they've gotten themselves into.

Posted by Ith at 11:16 AM | Comments (1)

March 15, 2004

Quaking

I was in bed, but there was an earthquake and I had to get up to find out where it was and how strong. So for blogging perpetuity, it was near San Juan Bautista, and it was 4.6. okay, just rechecked and it's down to 4.3.

I'm going back to bed.

Posted by Ith at 10:59 PM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2004

Buggy

Just a note that we're still having some problems with people not being able to comment -- including me again. However, Kathy will be moving us blog, stock and barrel over to the new hosting company soon, and once that's done, she can work on our corrupted database, which is how all this started.

So please bear with us while we're renovating! Once it's done, all the blogs here on 'the wing' will have their own subdomains. I'll be switching A&C over to bittersweet.ondragonswing.com, so get ready to change those blogrolls :)

Thanks everyone for visiting and being patient.

Posted by Ith at 5:15 PM

March 10, 2004

Better Than Average

Are you the average clothing size? It might be bigger than you think -- or not.

According to this study, the average American woman is a size 14.

The Ladies:

* 64 percent of women are pear-shaped, while 30 percent are "straight," which means they have little perceptible waist.
* Black women have larger measurements than other women, but they are most likely to have the classic hourglass shape.
* Women over 36 are the most likely to have bigger hips.
* Black women older than 55 have smaller hips than those ages 45 to 55.

The fashion industry assumes these standard measurements for a woman: 35-inch bust, a 27-inch waist, and 37.5-inch hip. In the real world, women ages 36 to 45 actually average:

* White: 41-34-43
* Black: 43-37-46
* Hispanic: 42.5-36-44
* Asian: 41-35-43

The Gentlemen:

* Older men have trimmer thighs than younger men.
* 19 percent of men are considered portly.
* An additional 19 percent of men have "lower front waists." (That means they have to look under their belly to find their waist.)
* Men who are over 45 are the most likely to have bellies.

The fashion industry assumes the average man is a traditional 40 regular, which means 40-inch chest, 34-inch waist, and 40-inch hip, with a 15.5-inch collar. In the real world, men ages 36 to 45 actually average:

* White: 44-38-42
* Black: 43-37-42
* Hispanic: 44-38-42
* Asian: 42-37-41

How do you measure up? No, you aren't required to answer :)

Posted by Ith at 5:39 PM | Comments (7)

March 5, 2004

FYI

I've been spammed into next week the last few days, so I've been banning IPs like crazy. So, if you are a legit commenter, there's a chance you may get a message saying you're banned. If you do, email me at edithna AT yahoo DOT com with your IP and I'll unban that one.

I can't wait for MT 3.0 and comment registration!

Posted by Ith at 6:56 PM | Comments (1)

February 25, 2004

Foam Bad

Just before I turned the TV off this morning, Peter, Paul, & Mary came on Fox News to perform (yeah, that was bizarre in itself) and they were pleasant, matter-of-fact, talked a bit -- at the interviewers request -- about their friendship with John Kerry, and then sang their latest song. There was no foaming at the mouth, or inane pronouncements, they just did their thing. It was a nice change from the usual antics of the left leaning celebrities we are exposed to.

Posted by Ith at 7:55 AM | Comments (5)

February 5, 2004

Divided We Read

This illustrates the political divide using what we read.

Posted by Ith at 5:47 PM | Comments (2)

Get With The Program

Good little article over at the New York Times on the geek impatience factor. I have to admit, I've wanted to tell certain people they need to pull off the cyber freeway:

The tension over the MyDoom virus underscores a growing friction between technophiles and what they see as a breed of technophobes who want to enjoy the benefits of digital technology without making the effort to use it responsibly.

The virus spreads when Internet users ignore a basic rule of Internet life: never click on an unknown e-mail attachment. Once someone does, MyDoom begins to send itself to the names in that person's e-mail address book. If no one opened the attachment, the virus's destructive power would never be unleashed.

"It takes affirmative action on the part of the clueless user to become infected," wrote Scott Bowling, president of the World Wide Web Artists Consortium, expressing frustration on the group's discussion forum. "How to beat this into these people's heads?"

Many of the million or so people who have so far infected their computers with MyDoom say it is not their fault. The virus often comes in a message that appears to be from someone they know, with an innocuous subject line like "test" or "error." It is human nature, they say, to open the mail and attachments.

But computer sophisticates say it reflects a willful ignorance of basic computer skills that goes well beyond virus etiquette. At a time when more than two-thirds of American adults use the Internet, they say, such carelessness is no longer excusable, particularly when it messes things up for everyone else.

For years, many self-described computer geeks seemed eager to usher outsiders onto their electronic frontier. Everyone, it seemed, had a friend or family member in the geek elite who could be summoned often frequently in times of computer crisis.

But as those same friends and family members are called upon again and again to save the computer incompetents from themselves, the geeks' patience is growing thin. As it does, a new kind of digital divide is opening up between populations of computer users who must coexist in the same digital world.

And I'm dedicating this post to Paul!

Posted by Ith at 5:33 PM | Comments (5)

December 30, 2003

It's Gonna Be A Big Baby

Very interesting article on the evolving science of tectonics and the granddaddy of CA faults -- the San Andreas. If you're at all interested in the subject -- and if you live in CA you probably are -- then go read this one. Amazing stuff.

Posted by Ith at 5:19 PM | Comments (1)

Blame

Clifford May on The Corner has this observation about Iran and the deaths in Bam:

.... It was no secret that the region was prone to earthquakes. It is no secret that un-reinforced mud-brick buildings would, in case of a severe temblor, bury people alive. The leaders of a poor country could claim that they hadnt the resources to do anything about that -- that they could not, for example, afford to reinforce existing structures or build new structures that could withstand temblors. But Iran is oil-rich and has had plenty of money to lavish on nuclear weapons programs and on such terrorist groups as Hezbollah.
Posted by Ith at 9:34 AM

December 12, 2003

Spicy Mary Poppins Sort Of Thing

A Spoonful of Cinnamon Helps Treat Diabetes

People with diabetes can help keep their bodies healthy by simply adding a dash of spice to their diet, new research reports.

In a study, diabetics who incorporated one gram -- equivalent to less than one-quarter teaspoon -- of cinnamon per day for 40 days into their normal diets experienced a decrease in levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood fats.

Posted by Ith at 5:48 PM

December 9, 2003

PC Tail Chasing For The Holidays

I live in a very liberal area of California. Hey, my congressman is Sam "United Nations Flag over His Office" Farr, and likely to be for the foreseeable future. But do you know that here in liberal Monterey, it's okay to mix religion and state? T'is true! Every year, the city sponsors "La Posada". It's a commemoration of Mary and Josephs search for lodging in Bethlehem, and it is held every year. But guess what? You don't see any libs taking the city to court for violating their cherished seperation of Church and State. Why? Simple -- it's a celebration of "Mexican Heritage". So it's okay to have a Christian observance as long as it's ethnic. The proper ethnicity, mind. Not just anyone's heritage will do. I certainly don't think the city would allow a similar event if it were say, Scottish in origin, or English, or German. Cynical, aren't I?

And catch a look at the Angels -- that's right Angels! -- that decorate Monterey over the Christmas season.

angel1.jpg

They're all over the place, including across the roads with lights. But they celebrate "Mexican Heritage" too, so no problem, eh?

Posted by Ith at 5:35 PM | Comments (2)

December 4, 2003

More Neo-Prohibition

Back in April, I wrote a few posts on the neo-prohibition movement. Today, there was an article on the subject over at FNC.

American lawmakers haven't even learned the lessons of Prohibition when it comes to alcohol. In the last 10 years, a well-funded group of neo-prohibitionist advocacy groups have sprung up and have begun calling for a variety of public policy initiatives aimed squarely at restricting (again) the public's access to alcohol. Groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Center for Alcohol Marketing to Youth and the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse advocate such initiatives as raising taxes on alcohol, forbidding alcohol manufacturers from advertising, using zoning laws to limit the number of bars and liquor stores in a particular neighborhood, and making it more difficult for restaurants and pubs to obtain liquor licenses.

The hard lesson we should have -- but have not -- learned from our various "prohibitions" is that no amount of legislation or social engineering is going to prevent some segments of the population from using substances many of the rest of us disapprove of.

The authour of the article also has a long paper, "Back Door To Prohibition" here. Read and be aware.

Though a return to formal prohibition seems farfetched, a slightly modified, back-door prohibition is certainly feasible and probably already within reach. The new temperance movement has pushed forand wona wide range of anti-alcohol initiatives across the country, including higher taxes on alcohol; zoning laws that restrict taverns and bars or limit their concentration in certain areas; bans and severe restric-tions on alcohol advertising; and aggressive drinking and driving laws that are aimed not at rounding up seriously inebriated drivers but at putting the fear of a drunken driving arrest into social drinkers, most of whom can responsibly mix a drink or two over dinner with the drive home. The aim of the neoprohibitionist movement seems to fall short of constitutionally mandated sobriety. Rather, the neoprohibitionists seem more interested in inconveniencing social drinkers, embarrassing them, and threatening them with draconian drinking and driving laws to the point where consuming alcohol away from home just isnt worth the hassle.

Next they'll be trying to take my steak away from me. Just wait and see.

I'd have the neo-prohibitionist's knickers in a twist with my belief that the drinking age should be 18. If you can vote, be in the military, be married, you should be able to drink! Otherwise, why isn't the voting and military age 21? You're either an adult, or you aren't.

Update: Found this at Mark's: "The 86 Rules of Boozing". Bwahahaha!

Posted by Ith at 5:24 PM | Comments (6)

November 20, 2003

The Perks, Baby

Article on FOX News about singles and those married perks. Read if you are so inclined. It's a subject I tend to get annoyed over, but I don't really have any comments at this time.

Update: Michael has a post on the same article.

Posted by Ith at 5:38 PM | Comments (2)

November 19, 2003

Hmmm...

This is part of an email sent to The Corner today with some musings about gay marriage:

.... Under the traditional restrictions, a man cannot marry his daughter, or, a fortiori, his son, and so if he leaves them a very large inheritance, it is taxed, although what he leaves his wife is not taxed. But under a general license to 'marry' another man, a man could marry his son, and thus pass his property to the son tax-free.

"This is a loophole that would have to be closed, if estate taxes are going to continue, and the obvious way to close it would be to eliminate the special consideration given to inheritance by a spouse. This would be an unwelcome surprise to some propents of 'gay marriage.'

"On another front, what if two men who are partners in crime take the precaution of marrying, so that they can each be sure that the other one won't turn state's evidence at trial, should they be caught?

"Marriage, with the special privileges that have grown up around it, is a potential source of advantages to the unscrupulous. The remedy is going to be, I suppose, to reduce or eliminate the privileges. Having achieved marriage, the homosexuals may find that it isn't worth having any more..."

I was thinking of similar things a few months back when I was writing a post on civil unions. I suppose there's dozens of laws that will have to be looked at. My own personal feeling is that laws benefiting married folk will go away -- not all at once, but eventually. And probably spouse/partner health benefits from employers that offer them will also go the way of the dodo. Not sure on SSI, but I could see them doing away with widow/widower benefits at some point. It's going to be every man/woman for themselves. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing from the perspective of a single person, I guess.

The world it is a changin'.

Lil Clarification: I didn't send this email to The Corner, it just got me to thinking when I read it there. (which tends to be a bad thing)

Posted by Ith at 7:40 AM | Comments (12)

November 5, 2003

That Memo

I heard about this on FOX late last night, and was going to post about it, but sleep called. However, I don't have to now, because Rothy is on the case.

Quick recap:

The memo, provided late Tuesday by a source on the Committee and reported by Fox News' Sean Hannity, discusses the timing of a possible investigation into pre-war Iraq (search) intelligence in such a way that it could bring maximum embarrassment to President Bush in his re-election campaign.

Among other things, the memo recommends that Democrats "prepare to launch an investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the [Senate] majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation of the administration's use of intelligence at any time but we can only do so once ... the best time would probably be next year."

The last paragraph of the memo reads, "Intelligence issues are clearly secondary to the public's concern regarding the insurgency in Iraq."

More later!

Update: Here's what's being said:

Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona on that Democrat memo: "This strategy memo lays bare what we've started to see for some time: an orchestrated effort by Democrats at a time of war to improperly use an intelligence investigation as a weapon against President Bush. The memo completely shreds Democrats' claims of bipartisanship in this investigation and falsely attributes ugly motives to the President, members of his administration, and fellow members of Congress. It has reached conclusions about this investigation before it's even been concluded. The Senate should examine whether its rules have been violated by this memo. It is, for example, improper under Senate rules to impugn the motives of fellow Senators. Additionally, committee staff should never be involved in partisan political scheming, most especially Intelligence Committee staff members, who in the past have always acted in a nonpolitical, bipartisan fashion. If Senators continue to attribute this memo to staff, then those staff members should be fired. Additionally, I call on Senator Rockefeller and Senate Democratic leaders to immediately disassociate themselves from this partisan attack plan. A failure to denounce this memo publicly would clearly seem to be an acknowledgement of its authenticity."

Update II: SDB weighs in on WWII & now, and what it means to be an American first, and a politician second.

Posted by Ith at 7:15 AM | Comments (1)

October 29, 2003

Hear For Yourself

Patterico's Pontifications has a post on Terri Schiavo that I'd like to direct your attention to: For Anyone Convinced That Terri Schiavo Should Be Killed

Posted by Ith at 5:20 PM

October 28, 2003

No Last Meal

Maybe someone who's a lawyer can explain this to me. I keep seeing lawyers & "legal experts" on the news, absolutely outraged at the Florida legislature for daring to rescind the starvation order on Terri Schiavo. They say it's against the law due to separation of powers. And that the Supreme Court will surely rule in favour of the husband.

So, my question: how come it's okay for the Governor of a state to stop the execution of a condemned prisoner? Isn't that overriding the powers of the court? Or how about when they pardon someone altogether? Seems like someone like Terri Schiavo should at least have the benefits of the condemned.

(not that a prisoner would ever be starved to death.) (that would be cruel and unusual.)

I appreciate any and all explanations!

Posted by Ith at 6:50 AM | Comments (6)

October 24, 2003

The Numbers

Census: Record Number of Women Childless

Lots of reasons are given for why, though not my reason. So I guess I'm statistically insignificant :)

Posted by Ith at 5:15 PM | Comments (2)

Ft. Stewart Update

Senators: Conditions `unacceptable for sick reservists at Fort Stewart

The Associated Press - SAVANNAH, Ga.

More than 600 sick and injured Army reservists enduring long waits for medical treatment while living in spartan barracks should be sent to less crowded military facilities closer to their homes, two U.S. senators said in a report Friday.

The report by Sens. Kit Bond, R-Mo., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., blamed Army commanders for ignoring requests from Fort Stewart for additional medical staff to handle the needs of more than 20,000 active-duty and reserve troops who returned from Iraq in late summer.

Posted by Ith at 5:10 PM

October 18, 2003

Tinkering

I've been tinkering with the sidebar, and I've added the newest Bear Flag member -- Citizen Smash. I've also added some selections to the bookshelf and the entertainment center.

One item I'd like to point out is Dangerous Beauty. It was a wonderful film that got not a speck of notice when it was released and should have. I found the DVD quite by accident a few years ago, and it has become one of my favourite movies and I've come to admire Veronica Franco, the woman the movie is about. She was quite amazing. If you're looking for a gem of a movie, you could do worse than watching this one.

Posted by Ith at 2:58 PM | Comments (1)

October 11, 2003

Way With Words

Here's a report on what it's like to update the dictionary.

Posted by Ith at 1:35 PM

October 10, 2003

Credit Where It's Due

I have many friends who are Evangelicals, and I get a little tired of the constant bashing they get. That's why I really liked this article: Evangelicals take the lead in human-rights activism.

Posted by Ith at 5:35 PM

Black Book/Red Blood

Huw has a post here that is well worth your time to read. Not that this is a surprise -- Huw writes some pretty amazing stuff on a regular basis.

Posted by Ith at 5:31 PM

October 9, 2003

In Other News....

Angel has been picked up for the entire season. This is of the good! The first two eps of the season have been great.

I nominated Deb to join the Bear Flag League, and she announced today that she is our newest member! Welcome aboard!

Michele is having a limerick contest.

Still waiting to hear from Mickey.

This quote I'm sharing just because: "I don't know if we'll marry," the magazine Radio Times quoted Bonham Carter as saying. "I find it romantic bearing his illegitimate child and living next door." Oh for Pete's sake! I don't think I need even comment, do I?.

Posted by Ith at 6:01 PM | Comments (4)

October 7, 2003

Lunch Notes

For CA Election coverage, head over to CalBlog where many BearFlaggers are group blogging.

Today's 80's Lunchtime Music Moment selection is "Beat It" by Michael Jackson. For old time's sake, I'm dedicating this to Paul!

Mary and Bev are back from LCA, still waiting for Mickey to report in. Bev says Nigel looked fit and trim, and that they got to spend time with Kiefer Sutherland. Still no word on how much money was raised, and the burning question as to who won the Coke can auction.

Posted by Ith at 12:15 PM | Comments (1)

A Little Quicker Please

I was watching our local news after CSI Miami ended last night, and they led with the Rhonda Miller story. But the story they told was the one from the afternoon. Hours before their report aired, Drudge already had links to stories that indicated her allegations were falling apart.

This is why I don't get my news at 11.

Doesn't anyone at the station look at the latest news before going on the air?

For much more on Rhonda Miller, check out "damnum absque injuria", here and here.

Posted by Ith at 6:55 AM | Comments (2)

October 6, 2003

Go Figure

Christopher Hitchens says that the ayatollah's grandson has called for a U.S. invasion of Iran.

.... "Now we have had 25 years of a failed Islamic revolution in Iran, and the people do not want an Islamic regime anymore."

It's not strictly necessary to speak to Hossein Khomeini to appreciate the latter point: Every visitor to Iran confirms it, and a large majority of the Iranians themselves have voted for anti-theocratic candidates. The entrenched and reactionary regime can negate these results up to a certain point; the only question is how long can they do so? Young Khomeini is convinced that the coming upheaval will depend principally on those who once supported his grandfather and have now become disillusioned. I asked him what he would like to see happen, and his reply this time was very terse and did not require any Quranic scriptural authority or explication. The best outcome, he thought, would be a very swift and immediate American invasion of Iran.

It hurt me somewhat to have to tell him that there was scant chance of deliverance coming by this means. He took the news pretty stoically (and I hardly think I was telling him anything he did not know). But I was thinking, wow, this is what happens if you live long enough. You'll hear the ayatollah's grandson saying, not even "Send in the Marines" but "Bring in the 82nd Airborne." I think it was the matter-of-factness of the reply that impressed me the most: He spoke as if talking of the obvious and the uncontroversial.

And for the life of me, I can't remember where I found the link.

Posted by Ith at 6:00 PM | Comments (1)

October 4, 2003

OFFR

Good post here on California Republic. No permalinks, but it's the only post so far for today, titled "Progressive Groping".

So, how are we to judge the alleged misbehavior of our wannabe political leaders? Well, we should be reminded of the lesson taught us by the leader of the Progressive womens movement, Gloria Steinem. In an NY Times op-ed March 22, 1998 Ms. Steinem informed us that no means no; yes means yes. Remember, this was all surrounding the Kathleen Willey affair. Willey said no and Mr. Clinton stopped. According to Ms. Steinem this is all perfectly fine because Mr. Clinton acted responsibly - no means no. | If you remember her liberated direction to the rest of us was summed up as the one free feel rule aka OFFR. So, weve got to logically consider this Arnold problem from a liberated and Progressive point of view.

It gets better, so go read it all.

Posted by Ith at 7:34 PM

Brave & Lucky

Daring ride foils suspected voyeur

Fed up with a stranger she thought had been spying on her for months, Hannah Arbuckle didn't hesitate when she saw him outside her Kessler Boulevard home.

She chased him, police say, and jumped into the bed of his pickup as he sped away.

Before the chase was over, Arbuckle would end up with bruises and a twisted knee, but she led police Wednesday evening to a convicted rapist who may be behind a series of peeping incidents.

Posted by Ith at 1:48 PM

Guess What?

You know I've talked about the sales assitant in our office who is a black woman in her mid-twenties. The one that likes listening to Rush. Well, guess what? She registered to vote for the first time, and registered as a Republican.

I think I deserve a microwave for this one [g]

Posted by Ith at 1:42 PM

October 3, 2003

It's What You Don't Say

Neil Cavuto says, in regards to bias in the media, "The issue isn't what the media reports, it's what the media does not report."

You can read the whole thing here, but here's a snippet to wet your whistle:

... I mean, why is it the folks who argued that sex should never be an issue when it involved a Democrat, are now creating such a stink when it involves a Republican? Perhaps because they're hypocritical, phony, smarmy worms with an agenda as transparent as their own puffed up egos?

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Neil??

Posted by Ith at 6:46 PM | Comments (1)

"Not Happy" Roundup

These last links, then it's back to TGIF!

Check out this, and then go here, and here, and last go take a look at this. It's a multi-part article, so the rest is here, here, and here.

Update: After reading the last few links on the Kay report, you wonder. If I only got my news from local TV and radio, I'd never know what Kay really reported. The news blurbs, every hour, on the hour say the same thing, "No weapons of mass destruction found."

Posted by Ith at 5:20 PM

October 1, 2003

Blood In The Water

So Drudge has big red headlines about a National Enquirer story alleging Rush Limbaugh has a pain pill problem. Now assuming (we'll see) it's true, why do I get the feeling that the mainstream media won't have the same warm fuzzy love and understanding for his problem that they do every time someone like Aaron Sorkin or Robert Downey Jr. ends up arrested and in rehab for the umpteenth time?

I think we're about to see the old double standard go into hyperdrive with this one.

Posted by Ith at 5:58 PM | Comments (3)

Tom Tancredo Is My Hero

Tancredo will seek to abolish race caucuses

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) plans to introduce a rule to abolish all race-based congressional caucuses. The rule would banish all caucuses created on the basis of ethnicity, such as the Black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific caucuses.

His suggestion, which the congressman said he knows will spark outrage, immediately drew accusations of insensitivity from members of the caucuses he proposes to destroy.

Tancredo told The Hill: You should not have any organization, a caucus especially, based solely on race. I mean on issues? You bet. But on race? Why should we be separating ourselves up into these racial divisions?

It would be anathema to me if someone wanted to create a white caucus. A race is something over which we have no control. Everything we are told is we should ignore it, that we should try to eliminate that as a distinction in our society, he added.

Read it all.

Posted by Ith at 5:43 PM

"Choking In His Own Blood"

Steve Hayward has a great bit on The Corner this morning about The Return of the King, the trailer, the speech we've all been dissecting, and Winston Churchill. You should go read it all, but here's a bit of it:

Near the end of the story Aragorn and Gandalf lead a last-ditch attack on Mordor with an inferior force that knows it marches to its deatha diversion they hope will aid Frodos chances of destroying the ring. In the book, Gandalf has a long parley with a senior captain of Saurons forces before the battle begins. It wouldnt work very well on film, and it appears from the trailer that the filmmakers have substituted an original speech (that is, not from the book) from Aragorn in place of Gandalfs parley that reminds of nothing so much as the St. Crispins Day speech from Henry V: A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. This daywe fight!

Okay, maybe not as lyrical as Shakespeare, but both fictional scenes recall a real moment from the not-too-distant past: Churchills choking in our own blood speech on May 28, 1940. Not yet three weeks in office, Churchill was facing intense pressure from the appeasers still in his war cabinet (Halifax and Chamberlain) to seek terms from Hitler. Churchill put them down once and for all with a speech to the entire cabinet that ended as follows: If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground. (Churchills deed didnt become publicly known until after the war. The whole story is told in John Lukacs superb book Five Days in London, May 1940, from Yale University Press.) The point is: moral fiction sometimes does reflect reality at moments of great clarity.

Posted by Ith at 7:40 AM | Comments (2)

September 30, 2003

Seat Guru

Interesting site for those that travel by airplane a lot.

Posted by Ith at 6:12 PM | Comments (2)

Bummer

Arafat breakdown: Feared he had been poisoned

.... "He was very tired and alarmed that he had been poisoned," a source said. "After a few days of arrest and a thorough examination, he's back at work again. The crisis is over."

Better luck next time, I guess.

Posted by Ith at 5:27 PM | Comments (3)

Hah!

I have a Monty Python daily calendar. Today's seemed very apropos to the situation in California. Since it's all text, I'll just type it in:

Vote Wisely
Vote Silly
The Silly Party

Support the Silly Party The only party that is publicly committed to:
-raising prices
-destroying industry
-causing inflation
-ruining the economy

A Silly Government would:
-raise the school-leaving age to 43
-encourage naughtiness in high places
-maintain confidence in British Silliness abroad.

Posted by Ninjababe at 2:39 PM

September 20, 2003

Worth Noting

Also from The Corner, this quote:

"European intellectuals went wild when the electricity failed in Baghdad. They note the 10,000 heat deaths in France with a shrug of the shoulders."
Posted by Ith at 4:47 PM

September 19, 2003

Drunken Sailor

A little sea shanty to mark the day! I think everyone knows this one. And if you click "more" you'll find a history of the song. Found it all here at barefootsworld.com. There's also an audio clip on the page with the tune (for those that don't know it)

Chorus Way, hay up she rises, Way, hay, up she rises, Way, hay, up she rises, Earlye in the morning!

What will we do with the drunken sailor?
What will we do with the drunken sailor?
What will we do with the drunken sailor?
Earlye in the morning?

Put him in a long boat and row him over

Hoist him aboard with a running bowline

Put him in the scuppers with the hose pipe on him

Hoist him up to the topsail yardarm

Put him in the brig until he's sober.

Make him clean out all the spit-kids

Make him turn to at shining bright work.

Make him do 12 steps all day and all night.

That's what you do with a drunken sailor
(The last line of this verse is followed by "Amen")

The sailorman's shanty was a tune they sang together to aid them in coordinating their work aboard the tall sailing ships of the world. It eased the work, as all were pulling together.

Additional verses would be created as necessary until the job was completed.

The Drunken Sailor, a capstan chanty, was a moderate tune sung when hauling anchor. In order to raise the anchor, bars were inserted into the capstan, and the men would walk around it, turning the capstan to raise the anchor, straining at the bars and stomping their feet on the deck on the words "Way Hay, Up She Rises" as the bow of the ship sank into the trough of the swell, holding fast as the bow rose with the sea.

Posted by Ith at 5:01 PM | Comments (6)

Charge It!

Not even a hurricane can get between a shopaholic and a new mall opening!

Posted by Ith at 7:11 AM

September 4, 2003

Now That's Interesting

Because we're 'fair & balanced' here at the Cookie, and since I blogged about his comments yesterday, I pass along this news item:

Actor Johnny Depp Disavows Anti-American Quotes

Denying any anti-American sentiment on his part, actor Johnny Depp said on Thursday that quotes attributed to him as likening the United States to a "dumb puppy" were inaccurate and taken out of context.

"I am an American. I love my country and have great hopes for it," Depp said in a statement released by his Los Angeles-based publicist. "It is for this reason that I speak candidly and sometimes critically about it. I have benefited greatly from the freedom that exists in my country and for this I am eternally grateful."

[....]

Explaining his comments a day later, Depp he had been using a metaphor that was taken "radically out of context," adding, "There was no anti-American sentiment."

"What I was saying was that, compared to Europe, America is a very young country and we are still growing as a nation," he said. "My deepest apologies to those who were offended, affected, or hurt by this insanely twisted deformation of my words and intent."

His spokeswoman added that the Kentucky-born Depp, 40, lives in the south of France with his family because his wife, actress-singer Vanessa Paradis, is French.

Posted by Ith at 7:39 PM | Comments (3)

Two Sides Of The Coin

Here's two posts on the subject of MECHA

MEChA Supporters Defend Group

Bustamante Silent on Separatist Past

Posted by Ith at 5:30 PM

Wither Feminists?

The Insta Dude asked, "Why don't we hear more of this kind of thing from feminists?" Funny he should ask that, because I've long wondered the same thing. And I realized how often I've wondered over the last few days because I've been going through my archives to find posts to add to "my favourite posts" list over in the sidebar. (and let me tell you, going through nearly a year of archives on my old blogger blogs is a job and a half!) I've been putting posts in little subject groupings for later perusal, and decided I'd share the links I've come across so far that pertain to this subject in a blog post. Be warned that some of these early entires were amongst my very first ever blog posts (I started in Jan 2002), so be gentle.

January 2002
Not even a cup of tea yet!

May 2002
Bias

July 2002
Multiculturalists to Rape Victims: You Had It Coming

September 2002
No Tears

Remembering

November 2002
A Kinder, Gentler Taleban?

Tales Of Evil

January 2003
The Deafening Silence

February 2003
Where Vengeance Is Written In Blood

March 2003
The Fairer Sex?

May 2003
Just Another Day In The Religion Of Peace

June 2003
This Time

Posted by Ith at 5:15 PM

September 3, 2003

Storming The Gates

Another great article by Wendy McElroy, this time on Christian feminists and how PC feminists aren't too happy to see them.

....Feminism can be defined as the belief that women should be liberated as individuals and equal to men. It is only natural for there to be disagreement over what a personal ideal like "liberation" means and how a basic concept like "equality" should be defined. Indeed, it would be amazing if every woman who cared about liberation and equality came to exactly the same conclusions.

For example, what does equality (search) mean? Does it refer to "equality under just law" -- under laws that protect person and property? Is it "socio-economic equality" that requires legal privileges for the disadvantaged and government control of the marketplace? Perhaps it is the cultural equality in which attitudes and social expression need to be controlled and "politically corrected?"

Disagreement on complex political terms and social issues is not only inevitable, it is healthy because it fuels open, honest discussion.

Yet PC feminists insist: There is no room for discussion on issues like abortion, on promoting diversity or on how the Bible oppresses women. They proclaim a specific position to be "feminist" and, then, declare women who fall outside that position to be "non-" or "anti-feminists."

Posted by Ith at 9:37 PM | Comments (2)

August 30, 2003

Oldie But Goodie

Back in October of 2002, I posted these links on my old blogger blog. I thought they were worth digging up and reposting in light of Bustamante and his AZTLAN connections finally being reported in the media, and that there's actually interest now in the subject of MEChA.

This one is an article titled "The Road to AZTLAN":

As one of MEChAs founding documents, El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan (The Spiritual Plan of Atzlan) puts it: In the spirit of a new people that is conscious not only of its proud historical heritage but also of the brutal gringo invasion of our territories, we, the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlan from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny.

El Plan Espiritual is typical, not just for its atrocious prose, but also for its violent racial overtones. Indeed, to judge by the numerous Web sites and student publications sponsored by MEChA, life after the reconquest is going to be a pretty dreary affair. Just beneath the surface of the Marxist-inspired union of free pueblos imagined by MEChA visionaries runs a rich vein of race hatred and conspiratorial anti-Semitism. As an editorial addressed to capitalist whites in the University of California Irvines La Voz Mestiza (The Mestiza Voice) concludes, Youve spilled enough of our blood, now its your turn to bleed you [expletive] sub-human beasts. Or, as one of MEChAs many charming slogans has it, por la Raza todo; fuera la Raza nada: for those of our race, everything; for those outside of it, nothing.

Such statements dont leave much to the imagination. In calling for the re-partition of the American Southwest, MEChA is not just seeking the overthrow of the American government but the overthrow of its people as well. Only in this way will it achieve the bronze continent for the bronze people of which it dreams. This is strong beer, indeed. As a number of recent cases indicated, however, MEChA is not just tolerated on our supposedly multicultural campuses. It is encouraged:

1) In 1995, the Voz Fronteriza, the University of California San Diegos (UCSD) official MEChA publication, ran an editorial on the death of a Latino INS agent. Describing him as a traitor to his race who deserved to die, the editors of the Voz concluded that all the migra [a pejorative term for the Immigration and Naturalization Service] pigs should be killed, every single one. In the controversy that followed, UCSD Vice Chancellor Joseph W. Watson defended the publications right to free expression. Watson also refused to officially condemn the sentiments expressed in the Voz Fronteriza article, arguing that the university is legally prohibited from censuring the contents of student publications.

2) Late last year, two student reporters from the UCSD satiric publication, The Koala, attended and attempted to photograph an open meeting of MEChA. In response to complaints from MEChA, the UCSD administration charged them with violating the student codes catch-all prohibition on obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other UCSD or University activities. Watson the same man who, six years earlier, had defended the Voz Fronterizas right to free expression and refused to condemn the contents of the publication issued a statement to condemn Koalas abuse of the constitutional guarantees of free expression and disfavor their unconscionable behavior.

Watson then brought the staff of The Koala before an administrative court. When it appeared the court was likely to find in The Koalas favor, the administration annulled the proceedings and ordered that the trial be re-held, this time in secret. The Koala was saved from Watsons kangaroo court only after the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) stepped in, reminding the UCSD administration of the constitutional protections of due process and freedom of expression and calling media attention to the case.

3) In February of this year, The California Patriot, a publication of the University of California Berkeley College Republicans, ran an article critical of MEChA. Before the journal could be distributed, a number of people apparently MEChA activists broke into the Patriots campus offices and stole the entire print run, valued at $2000. When Patriot staff members lodged a complaint with the university police department, they received death threats. The university, meanwhile, quietly dropped the case. It continues to supply Berkeley MEChA with $20,000 in yearly student activity fees.

You're going to want to read all of this one.

The second link is to a group called FIRE that's trying to stop hate groups like MEChA from having free reign on our college campuses.

Update: Breaker (who will be one of the guest bloggers here next week) has a lot on the subject over on his new blog.

Posted by Ith at 11:54 AM | Comments (5)

August 29, 2003

Meatless Omelettes On The Shore Of Galilee

This was a post on The Corner today that I found very amusing:

This is a little long, but it's hilarious, from a priest who is no stranger to Corner readers. This closing line is one of the all-time greats in epistolary history. It appears as a letter in the current issue of Crisis magazine:

I was delighted to read the Manichaean ramblings of Danel Paden, director of the Catholic Vegetarian Society ("Letters," June 2003). It confirmed my theory that fanaticism in Western society alternates between nudism and vegetarianism, both of which contradict the order of grace.

As an optimist, I happily trust that Paden confines his extreme commitments to vegetarianism.

Taste is one thing; it is another thing to condemn meat eating as "evil" and permissible only "in rare and unfortunate circumstances." Paden disagrees with no less an authority than God, Who forbids us to call any edible unworthy (Mark 7: 18-19), and Who enjoins St Peter to eat pork chops and lobster in one of my favorite revelations (Acts 10: 9-16). Does the Catholic Vegetarian Society think that our Lord was wrong to have served up fish to the 5,000, or should He have refrained from eating the Passover Lamb? When He rose from the dead and appeared in the Upper Room, He did not ask for a bowl of Cheerios, nor did He whip up a meatless omelette on the shore of Galilee.

Man was made to eat flesh (Genesis 1: 26-31; 9: 1-6), with the exception of human flesh. I stand on record against cannibalism, whether it be inflicted upon the Mbuti Pygmies by the Congolese Army or on larger people by a maniac in Milwaukee. But I am also grateful that the benevolent father in the parable did not welcome his prodigal son home with a bowl of radishes.

Vegetarians assume an unedifying posture of detachment from the sufferings of vegetables that are mashed, stewed, diced, and shredded. In expensive restaurants, cherries are publicly burned in brandy to the applause of diners. It is not uncommon for people to submerge olives in iced gin and twist the peels of lemons. Be indignant, vegetarian, but not so selectively indignant that the bleat of the lamb and the plaintive moo of the cow drown out the whine of our brother the bean and the quiet sigh of the cauliflower.

Vegetables have reactive impulses. Were we to confine our diet to creatures that lacked sense and do not even respond to light, we could only eat liturgists and liberal Democrats.

The Rev. George W. Rutler
New York City

Posted by Ith at 5:24 PM

August 28, 2003

Down In The Bronze Age

One of Wales' oldest farms dating back thousands of years is believed to have been discovered in a field in Ceredigion.

"This farm is a missing link in the pre-history of west Wales.

"Although a number of hill forts date from this period, non-defended domestic settlements are extremely rare."

The remains of the burial mounds consist of three rings, each about 12 metres in diameter.

They are typical of burial mounds of about 2000 BC where the cremated remains of the community's elders would have been buried.

But according to Mr Hughes, the second excavation is even more exciting.

Within the pear-shaped stone enclosure are post-holes belonging to Bronze Age or early Iron Age huts.

The settlement is big enough to have contained two or three houses.

"Carbon dating should confirm that the burial mound dates to about 2000BC," said Mr Hughes.

This means the Bronze Age graveyard dates back to the time the Preseli Bluestones were raised at Stonehenge.

Posted by Ith at 5:18 PM

August 25, 2003

An Ounce of Common Sense

They come from all over China, Russia, Mexico, Ethiopia, even France looking for opportunity and for better lives for their children. These are not the tired, hungry and poor yearning simply to be free, and it's not just America they've come to. These are the huddled masses yearning to learn English, and they've come to Vegas to do it.

While battles continue to rage in states like Oregon, Texas, Colorado, Illinois and New York, where some language education "experts" still cling to an outmoded construction known as bilingual education, Las Vegas hotel-casinos teach English the way new Americans have been learning it for generations: immersion, sink or swim.

Las Vegas has been quietly succeeding where public schools subscribing to the bilingual model have failed and it has done so simply by not tampering with an individual's natural predisposition to grasp a new language faster when it is the only tool available. So while school children in bilingual ed whose adaptive young brains are poised to assimilate language within months are unable to read, write or form a clear thought in English, 40- and 60-year-old immigrants laboring as cooks, guest room attendants and bellhops at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino must communicate with co-workers and customers the only way that they can be understood in English.

Interesting read that can be found in its entirety here.

Posted by Ith at 5:29 PM

Drink Up, Me Hearties!

Cus it's good for your heart!

Amongst other things.

Life-Extending Chemical Is Found in Certain Red Wines

ologists have found a class of chemicals that they hope will make people live longer by activating an ancient survival reflex. One of the chemicals, a natural substance known as resveratrol, is found in red wines, particularly those made in cooler climates like that of New York.

The finding could help explain the so-called French paradox, the fact that the French live as long as anyone else despite consuming fatty foods deemed threatening to the heart.

Besides the wine connection, the finding has the attraction of stemming from fundamental research in the biology of aging. However, the new chemicals have not yet been tested even in mice, let alone people, and even if they worked in humans, it would be many years before any drug based on the new findings became available.

The possible benefits could be significant. The chemicals are designed to mimic the effect of a very low-calorie diet, which is known to lengthen the life span of rodents. Scientists involved in the research say that human life spans could be extended by 30 percent if humans respond to the chemicals in the same way as rats and mice do to low calories. Even someone who started at age 50 to take one of the new chemicals could expect to gain an extra 10 years of life, said Dr. Leonard Guarente of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the pioneers of the new research.

Posted by Ith at 5:25 PM | Comments (1)

August 21, 2003

Waiting For That Hard Hitting Media Coverage

Yesterday I posted wondering about the lack of media coverage on the ties Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante has with the racist group AZTLAN. Turns out Michelle Melkin is wondering to. Go read it all, but here's a sampling:

As a student at Fresno State University in the 1970s, Bustamante was an active member of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, or MEChA, which stands for the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan. Bustamante repeatedly denies having a "radical ethnic agenda," but has refused to disassociate himself from his Mechista roots. In fact, Bustamante recently returned to Fresno State for a separate Latino commencement ceremony founded by two of his Chicano activist classmates.

MEChA has been dismissed by some as a harmless social club, but it operates an identity politics indoctrination machine on publicly subsidized college and high school campuses nationwide that would make David Duke and the KKK turn green with envy. MEChA members in the University of California system have rioted in Los Angeles, editorialized that federal immigration "pigs should be killed, every single one" in San Diego, and are suspected of breaking into a conservative student publication's offices and stealing its entire print run in Berkeley.

MEChA's symbol is an eagle clutching a dynamite stick and machete-like weapon in its claws; its motto is " Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada (For the Race, everything. For those outside the Race, nothing)."

[....]

MEChA's liberation agenda, outlined in El Plan de Aztlan, states defiantly:

"We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent. Brotherhood unites us, and love for our brothers makes us a people whose time has come and who struggles against the foreigner 'gabacho' who exploits our riches and destroys our culture. With our heart in our hands and our hands in the soil, we declare the independence of our mestizo nation. We are a bronze people with a bronze culture."

Substitute "Aryan" for "mestizo" and "white" for "bronze." Not much difference between the nutty philosophy of Bustamante's MEChA and Papa Schwarzenegger's evil Nazi Party. To date, however, the only exposure Bustamante's MEChA history has received has been on the Internet.

In a critical article on Bustamante published by David Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine.com last week, Lowell Ponte notes that "Like Nazism, MEChA has acquired more than a tinge of racism. In their tactics to advance Latinos and 'La Raza,' many of its activists have directed racist attacks against not only white-skinned Anglos but also against blacks, Asian-Americans and Jews -- in fact, against every non-Latino group."

Posted by Ith at 5:30 PM | Comments (2)

True Benevolence

Where cruelty contrasts with true benevolence.

Wonderful article about ZAKA in Israel, which is an all volunteer organization of emergency medical/rescue workers.

In traditional Jewish sources, "true benevolence" (chesed shel emet in Hebrew) refers to the act of caring for the dead. Of all the benevolent acts a person can perform, caring for the dead is considered almost pure altruism, for the dead have no way of repaying the kind deed. In Israel, about eight years ago, a special volunteer organization was established in the Orthodox Jewish community to carry out just such acts of "true benevolence" for victims of accidents, terrorism, or other forms of sudden death. They were regularly referred to in the media as "the people of true benevolence" as they began to appear at the scenes of terrorist bombings and other such incidents. At the time, all they did was pick up the pieces more often than not, quite literally. Today, that small, religiously motivated organization has grown into an internationally recognized first-response service, mobile victim-identification unit, and search-and-rescue team.

Definitely go read it all.

Posted by Ith at 5:16 PM

August 15, 2003

Planning Commission Strikes Again

'A nice law that will strangle somebody'

A MUCH-REWRITTEN city law came back to bite its authors again this week, when the Carmel Planning Commission realized it could not approve Wayne and Claudia Reek's plan to change the siding on their house from plywood to shingles.

While vowing to rewrite the rules yet again, commissioners voted to let the homeowners shingle 49 percent of their house at Crespi and Mountain View, as well as add a covered front porch, balcony, doors and windows. After the ordinance is fixed, they said, the Reeks can return for permission to shingle the remaining 51 percent.

Under the current "demolition definition" law -- adopted by the city council in February -- putting new siding on a house constitutes a "rebuild," which requires correcting any parts that do not conform to current zoning laws. Since their home was built in 1976 before Mission Trail Park setbacks were established, the Reeks would have to remove part of their kitchen, decks and garage.

"You've seen the house -- it's in terrible shape," said Claudia Reek, adding that she and her husband would eventually like to fix up the whole building. "Everything was legal when it was built. We don't understand why we're 'nonconforming.'"

The rest of the story is right here.

Posted by Ith at 5:52 PM | Comments (1)

Ye Olde Police Blotter

It's time for another installment of the local police blotter.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: CPD and CFD units responded to Torres and 11th on a report of a child who climbed a tree and could not come back down. Upon arrival, the child was found to have climbed approximately 30 feet up a tree and was now stuck at that height because she was too scared to climb back down. CFD arrived and utilized a rescue ladder to retrieve her from the tree.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Scenic Road resident reported that sometime between 07/21/03 and 07/31/03, someone entered his downstairs room at his residence and took some of his clothes. The only items taken were his clothes, while the unknown subjects left a stereo, DVD player and other expensive items. He requested a close patrol of his residence during the evening hours and reported the incident for information only.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Resident at Lincoln and First reported hearing someone calling for help but could not determine where the voice was coming from. An area check revealed a resident had accidentally locked himself in a small closet located on the outside portion of his fireplace. He was freed without injury.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Anonymous person reported a possible burglary in progress. Officers arrived and contacted a subject, who was moving things into the house. They have been away because the house was being painted.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Lincoln resident called the department to report a subject was using a power tool which was too loud. Upon arrival, advised the subject why he was being contacted. He stated he was using a planer for a home improvement project. He added that he would be using the planer for no more than a total of one hour for today. He would also try to alleviate the high-pitched sound which the planer makes by partially closing the garage door.

Posted by Ith at 5:44 PM

It's Friday!

And you know what that means!

Posted by Ith at 5:32 PM | Comments (2)

August 14, 2003

Junk Science & DDT

A very good article here on the demonization of DDT and how it's caused the deaths of many people around the world, with more to come.

Posted by Ith at 5:26 PM | Comments (1)

August 13, 2003

I Have Time To Run

Found this over at InstaPundit. All about what will happen when Mt. Rainer goes.

I lived in Victoria when Mt. St. Helens blew, and there's nothing that can really describe what it's like. And St. Helens wasn't near a large population center.

Posted by Ith at 7:49 AM

August 11, 2003

Quote

"The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his
memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very
imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are
so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of
our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play,
we march always in the ranks of honor." ~ Sir Winston S. Churchill

Posted by Ith at 7:50 AM

August 10, 2003

Move Over Carbon Dating

Archaeology turns to superconductivity

Researchers from Israel have developed a new way to date archaeological objects that is based on superconductivity. The new technique relies on measuring the magnetic signal from lead - which was widely used in antiquity - in samples that have been cooled to cryogenic temperatures.
Posted by Ith at 4:31 PM

Drake's Secret Voyage

On the evening of Sept. 26, 1580, the vessel Golden Hind sailed into England's Plymouth Harbor commanded by the privateer Francis Drake. The ship's ballast had been thrown overboard and replaced by 26 tons of silver and hundreds of pounds of gold that Drake had plundered from Spanish galleons on the Pacific Coast of South America. According to the folklore of southwestern England, a voice from the ship called out to fishermen tending their nets, "Is the queen still alive?" referring to Drake's patron, Elizabeth I. It had been three years since Drake had set out on his journey. He had gone 40,000 miles, the first English sea captain to circumnavigate the globe. And now he was returning home a glorious hero.

After Drake landed, there were celebrations. He was eventually knighted by Queen Elizabeth. But a veil of secrecy descended over his journey. The Spanish ambassador, Bernardino de Mendoza, wrote to King Philip II of Spain that Drake's men had been warned "on pain of death" not to divulge details of their trip, and Drake's logs and charts were impounded. Among the many mysteries for contemporary scholars is a gap in Drake's account of his whereabouts from April 1579, when he left the Pacific Coast of Mexico, to November when he landed in the East Indies.

Now an independent Canadian scholar, Samuel Bawlf, says he thinks he has solved the mystery. Mr. Bawlf, the author of "The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake," newly published by Walker & Company, says Drake had actually been on a secret mission for Elizabeth to find the Pacific entrance to the Northwest Passage, the coveted trade route that would link Europe to the treasures of the Orient. And in doing so, Mr. Bawlf says, he had sailed much farther north than anyone had ever dreamed, to Alaska, 200 years before the first recorded European explorers, including Capt. James Cook.

Read the rest of the article here.

Posted by Ith at 4:29 PM

August 9, 2003

Website Of Interest

I was sent the link to this website in email. Very comprehensive site with information on Iran and the Freedom Movement.

Posted by Ith at 3:16 PM | Comments (1)

August 6, 2003

Excitement On The Home Front

The Carmel Pine Cone site has been screwed up for a while now, but I checked today and it's working. So that means I can share some of the thrills from the Carmel-by-the-Sea Police Department and the Monterey County Sheriff's Office.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Subject approached an officer at Monte Verde and Ocean and was soliciting items he had for sale. Office asked for a business license, which he did not have. He showed a laminated card with his business address. After checking with dispatch, he was informed he would not be able to obtain a business license. He crossed the street and met up with two other males in a black Infiniti. Corporal asked the officer to stand by until his arrival, but both officers were diverted to handle a medical call.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Male advised he heard muffled voices and a strange sound in the church parking lot at Mountain View and Junipero. He stated he went outside to investigate and observed two subjects, one with a "blow torch," attempting to light the trees on fire. He returned to his residence to contact the police department and did not see or hear the subjects leave. Upon arrival, an extensive search of the area was conducted, but no subjects or any signs of damage were located.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Dolores residents reported a raccoon chased their dogs around the backyard and then into their house. No medical attention was requested. Information forwarded to animal control for follow up.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: Person dialed 911 to advise that subjects were going to leave the business at Ocean and Junipero without paying. Upon arrival, the subjects advised the person had rudely told them, "Put out your cigarette or leave." The subjects became angered because of his tone and demeanor and awaited law enforcement. He stated he politely asked the subjects to extinguish their cigarettes. The subjects refused and so he became upset and told them sternly to put them out. He allowed the subjects to leave without paying for their coffee and told them not to come back to the restaurant.

Posted by Ith at 2:17 PM

Mongolia Bits

Found this link on The Corner today.

Mongolia's return to religion

...... A makeshift church hall was packed with Mongolian worshippers, their eyes tight shut, their arms swaying in the air.

There was little doubt about the passion felt by these worshippers for their new foreign god.

Axel, a young missionary from Germany, was leading the service.

"I felt God told me go to the East," Axel said.

"One day I heard a report of Mongolia. I didn't know where to look, but somehow I had this click in my heart," he said.

"As I went there the first time, in 1992, it just touched my heart. I felt so touched and felt the confirmation in my spirit (that) this is the place."

The converts are young, drawn to Christianity by its powerful evangelical message.

Many are also escaping deeply troubled pasts.

Seventeen-year-old Solongo is a case in point. She ended up on the streets after repeated beatings from her alcoholic father.

"I was on the streets for four years," she said. "I did lots of bad things, I got drunk, I smoked and lots of other bad things."

"Then two years ago I came to this church. It changed me, I stopped doing those bad things. Jesus has changed my life."

Christian groups are proliferating so fast that they now outnumber official Buddhist organisations.

But to Mongolia's conservative Buddhist elite, such rapid growth is deeply troubling.

Some Christian groups now accuse the government of orchestrating a campaign to prevent them gaining new converts.

It is a charge which Mongolia's devoutly Buddhist Prime Minister Enkbayar strongly denies.

But he did acknowledge concern about the arrival of these new foreign religious groups in his once Buddhist country.

"Religious differences are very difficult to solve, because all religions express themselves in terms of ultimate truth," he said.

These young Mongolians have found their truth, and it lies in a new foreign god.

The question facing the country now is whether traditional Buddhism, in its critically weakened state, will withstand the foreign onslaught - or whether Christianity will peacefully succeed where communism so brutally failed.

And from the Corner post I got the link from is this: .....Second, my Mongolia Guy (no kidding) tells me that Mongolia has soldiers in Iraq with the US. He adds: "I've always wondered how they are seen, seeing as how 'they're just like the Mongols' is always the worst thing Arab opponents can say against the US." {Mesopotamia endured a very nasty ravage by Genghis & his lads back in the 13th century.)

Posted by Ith at 2:03 PM

August 5, 2003

Web Wanderings

In my web wanderings today looking for General Convention information, I came across this article: A Challenge to Episcopalians. It deals with what the authour sees as three choices: get out, give in, or stay in.

Food for thought.

Posted by Ith at 6:21 PM | Comments (6)

July 31, 2003

Convergence

Very interesting article on the convergence of the Angloshpere and the Blogoshpere.

.... Separate as the British and American information universes have been until now, a process of convergence has begun that will continue until there is only a single Anglosphere information universe. In this, the differences between right and left (for example) become more important than the distinctions of national origin. This process is already foreshadowed in the leading edge of the information universe, which at this point in time is the blogosphere -- the world of the Web logs, or blogs.

Several interconnected and mutually reinforcing developments are driving this process. The first and most obvious is the advent of the Internet and World-Wide Web. This permits flat-rate worldwide communications, ready access to the press of all nations, and, most importantly, the ability to link documents. Two things about the blogosphere are of particular interest: the ability of almost anyone with basic computer literacy to start and run a blog, and the practice of embedding links to other documents of interest.

With this practice, a report in one media source can draw comment from a universe of commentators, many of whom will be more knowledgeable or more immediately involved, and those comments themselves can link to source documents to prove or disprove the point in contention. Still other blogs serve as clearinghouses to review comment on a particular topic or incident, linking to a large number of individual commentators.

The blogosphere was given a strong boost by Sept. 11 and its consequences, particularly the Afghan and Iraqi wars. One salient characteristic of the blogosphere debate was that the pro- and anti-war debates tended to fall out by position on the political spectrum rather than by nationality.

Each side furthermore linked indiscriminately to newspaper and network Web sites on a pan-Anglosphere basis. This meant that blog readers throughout the Anglosphere began to find themselves linking to the Guardian, Times and Telegraph in Britain, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Sun Times, or Australia's Sydney Morning Herald or The Age indiscriminately. In the blogosphere, the sun never sets on the Anglosphere press.

The blogosphere is still miniscule compared to the audience for broadcast and print media. (Although reporters are more and more relying on the blogosphere for research and background, and more and more aware that the blogosphere has the power to expose quickly errors that previously could be buried.) However, its denizens are disproportionately young and disproportionately well-educated professionals. They will likely set the tone more and more for the coming generation. Furthermore, the rise of the blogosphere will likely affect Britain disproportionately to America.

Worth reading it all.

Posted by Ith at 6:14 PM | Comments (2)

July 29, 2003

Ellison Crusades Against AOL

From Scifi Wire:

SF author Harlan Ellison is pressing ahead with a lawsuit against America Online for copyright infringement, the Wall Street Journal reported. Ellison charges that the Internet company didn't act fast enough when a fan posted some of his stories without permission on an online forum carried by the service. America Online says it's not to blame and that it removed the stories once it was aware of them, the newspaper reported.

While he is seeking money from America Online, Ellison told the newspaper that the suit is more a crusade to hold Internet service providers accountable for material pirated by their users.

In March 2002, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled that the company wasn't liable. Ellison appealed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ellison's lawyers initially sought as much as $488 million from AOL, according to a court filing. But in his deposition, Ellison said he wants only "to get recompensed for the money I laid out," plus what his contributors gave and an extra $20 for each donor, the newspaper reported.

Posted by Ith at 6:15 PM | Comments (4)

A Must Read

I finally got the opportunity to read John Hawkin's interview with Congressman Tom Tancredo. If illegal immigration is a subject that concerns you, this is a must read.

Posted by Ith at 5:48 PM | Comments (3)

You Play, You Pay

There's an article here about bar owners who have been fined for serving underage drinkers, turning around and suing the teens for fraud.

The winning quote from the article, I think, is this:

"I feel like I made my mistake and I paid for it," she said. "I did my hours of service, I learned my lesson. And just because they were negligent, I don't think I should have to pay."

So you chose to break the law, and because the bar didn't catch you, that makes it their fault? Uh huh....

Posted by Ith at 1:01 PM | Comments (6)

July 28, 2003

Good Or Bad?

According to this, Paul Darrow and friends are brings Blake's 7 back.

Now, part of me is thrilled! B7 remains my all time fave SF series. And Avon... ah, Avon! Well anyway, yes, part of me is thrilled. But at the same time, I'm so hoping this doesn't end up being a real turkey. Sometimes you just can't go home, you know?

Time will tell.

Posted by Ith at 6:19 PM

July 27, 2003

Stirring The Pot

Iraq Flap Shakes Rice's Image

Personally, I think this has more to do with the opposition not being able to stand the thought of a Black woman who's not "one of theirs" getting any farther than she has.

Posted by Ith at 2:19 PM | Comments (2)

July 26, 2003

Stay Tuned!

I volunteered pics of me as a child of the 60's and 70's for Michele's Blogathon effort. So keep an eye out for them!

Posted by Ith at 1:22 PM

July 25, 2003

Solitude

I want a garden shed!

Scots' garden sheds are dram fine places

THE humble garden shed is giving householders a much-needed refuge from the demands of daily life - but very little green-fingered work appears to go on.

While men and women may claim to be repotting the geraniums or trimming leeks, they are just as likely to be enjoying a crafty smoke, reading a book or having a dram of whisky.

Only a third of Scottish shed owners actually use their garden shed for gardening, according to a survey carried out by the makers of the Balvenie single malt.

And some 10 per cent of Scottish shed owners admitted keeping a bottle of alcohol in there for those quiet moments of solitary contemplation, compared to only 5 per cent south of the Border.

Sheds have become a popular retreat among women as well as men, exploding the stereotype of the solitary male burying his worldly troubles in the compost.

Ten per cent of Scots admit to using their garden sheds as a smoking room, while 6 per cent say it is a place to escape the demands of their family or partner.

Nine per cent enjoy listening to the radio, while almost a tenth take a book or a newspaper into their garden retreat, and 13 per cent retire there with a cup of tea or coffee.

By: CLAIRE SMITH -- 25-Jul-03

Posted by Ith at 7:48 AM

C.S. Lewis On The State & Marriage

Found this quote while surfing around yesterday. I've been to the website before, usually from a Corner link. Come to think of it, that's probably why I was there yesterday!

Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question--how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mahommedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not. ~ C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity
Posted by Ith at 7:38 AM

Archeology Bits

You can read the Gutenberg Bible online. It's pretty cool!

And then there's this article about dating the first people to come to America: New World Ancestors Lose 12,000 Years. An interesting read if you like this sort of thing.

Posted by Ith at 7:36 AM

July 24, 2003

More On Clinton & WMD

Yesterday, I posted Clinton's remarks on Larry King. Here's Rush Limbaugh's take on it:

....But - and this is key - Clinton also talked about his own 1998 bombing runs against Hussein's targets. Bill Clinton is incapable of being above politics. I quoted him from December 16, 1998 being far more specific in his insistence that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program which could be reconstituted within months than George W. Bush has ever been. (See: National Review Online's analysis) If the DNC argument is that Bush misled the American people by manipulating intelligence information, then Clinton also lied in spades - and he knows it! Clinton didn't mention nuclear programs on LKL, because he didn't want to draw attention to what he said in that speech - which you can watch, read and listen to right here. That's what I wanted Clinton to say, and he didn't.

He also talks about how this relates to Hillary's run for the White House [shiver].

.... He's not trying to prop up Bush's poll numbers. On the contrary, if Bush's numbers keep dropping Hillary will jump into this race with both feet. They're not going to let a Democrat win in 2004, because that would defer Hillary's run until 2012.

All very interesting.

Posted by Ith at 7:45 AM | Comments (1)

July 22, 2003

My List

When John asked me to participate in his "Great Americans" survey, I had an instant brain freeze! I thought about it for awhile, and realized if I listed every person I thought was a great American, I would be listing till the cows came home. So, I decided to list people that had inspired me as a child, or whose stories had left a lifelong impression on me.

This was my list (in no particular order)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Harriet Tubman
Theodore Roosevelt
James Madison
Benjamin Franklin
George Washington Carver
Lewis & Clark
Daniel Boone
The Western Pioneer.

Posted by Ith at 6:07 PM

Somebody Still Wants Us

Iceland Presses U.S. Not to Remove Jets

Posted by Ith at 5:32 PM | Comments (3)

Rock On, Silvio

TIME has 10 questions for the Italian prime minister. One of the questions was "What do you really think of German tourists?" His reply: Ich bin ein Berliner.

Posted by Ith at 5:29 PM

July 18, 2003

Why Colonialism Isn't A Dirty Word

Rich Lowry says, "No one wants to say it out loud, but we are all colonialists now."

Conservatives want to provide security and decent government to far-flung parts of the world for our own good -- to protect America's interests; liberals want to provide security and decent government to far-flung parts of the world for other people's good -- to protect humanitarian principles.

The unspoken assumption of both sides is that swaths of the world have proven incapable of self-government, and they're both right. So conservative Republican President George W. Bush sends American troops to take over from the nasty dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and liberal Democrat Howard Dean wants to send American troops to take over from the nasty dictator of Liberia, Charles Taylor.

Beneath all the vitriolic partisan disagreements about American foreign policy, then, there is a sort of colonialist consensus, which is why American troops are in Afghanistan and Iraq (a Republican president's colonialism), Bosnia and Kosovo (a Democratic president's colonialism), and perhaps soon Liberia, too (a Republican president's colonialism that is pleasing to Democrats).

The covert return to colonialism implicitly admits that old-fashioned colonialism -- at least of the civilizing British Empire sort -- never deserved its bad name. The British were capable of brutality and greed, but the historical ledger of the British Empire is positive. As British historian Niall Ferguson writes in his new book, Empire: "No organization in history has done more to promote the free movement of goods, capital and labor than the British Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And no organization has done more to impose Western norms of law, order and governance around the world."

That we forgot all this -- buried under an avalanche of guilt and of Marxist and multiculturalist self-critiques -- is a sign of how no one can beat the West at anti-Westernism. Sept. 11 was a blunt reminder that the piratical regimes that have flourished in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa in the absence of Western assertion are not just a disaster for people living under them, but are dangerous to us.

Read the rest here.

Posted by Ith at 5:42 PM | Comments (1)

July 16, 2003

Coming Along

The new blog theme is coming along nicely -- especially since I dumped the first one and started all over!

I'm hoping that the new "Absinthe & Cookies" will be unveiled by the weekend.

Posted by Ith at 5:17 PM

July 15, 2003

Of Camels & "Sex In The City"

The moment you've all been dreading! One of my long overly wordy posts!!

While channel surfing last night, I came across a documentary on AMC about American media and the Arab/Muslim world. Some interesting stuff and worth a watch if you come across it. I'm going to try and reconstruct some of my thoughts and comments while watching last night, so bear with me!

First off, I really do understand where a lot of these people they interviewed are coming from. (They talked to people in Lebanon, Egypt, Qatar, and to Kurds in Iraq.) Yes, American culture seems to be omnipresent: if it's not American movies and TV, it's Starbucks, Coke, and The Gap. It's pure culture shock. It brought to mind Japan from the last century, and the ones before that. They tried to quarantine Western goods and culture, and succeeded for a while. But this is the computer age, and you can't quarantine your culture like you could then. You can choose not to participate, but the people around you are changing because they are participating. That's so much harder to deal with. And some of them aren't dealing with it too well.

There's a perception by some Arabs that this is some orchestrated campaign by the United States to undermine their values by flooding them with our music, movies, and food. Like Steven Spielberg heads some secret cabal of film makers at the behest of our government to "get those Arabs". They really overestimate our sneaky quotient! Of course, what it's really about is money. You want to spend yours, we have the product for you. Our film makers don't care about our values, so you're not special in that regard! Nothing personal, guys -- it's just business. And business that not just we practice. They spoke to a Lebanese TV Network owner who is a lapsed Muslim and doesn't care if he offends people with his programming. He's got the most popular network in Beirut, and that's what he cares about.

Another man lamented the fact that 'Americans don't understand that many in the Muslim world find the idea of two men kissing on TV to be perverted.' Of course, what he doesn't know is that many Americans would agree with him. Our TV and movies are a double-edged sword. They think we can't understand them because of what they're seeing, and yet don't realize that what they are seeing isn't how the average American lives. It's fantasy. Most American women aren't emulating characters on "Sex in the City", and your average family doesn't live in "Knots Landing". Yet, two young women they spoke to felt they had a good understanding of Americans because they had watched American shows and rejected what they saw in those shows. Rejected what they saw as empty and shallow lives with no grounding in morality. Again, there are a lot of Americans who would agree with them. But they don't know that.

One man talked about Americans not understanding Arabs because he'd seen an American movie where the Arabs in it rode camels. He was upset because he said Arabs don't ride camels anymore, they drive cars, and we had no respect for his culture. Guess what? Movie makers don't have a lot of respect for anyone's culture! Ours included. Look at how Southerners are portrayed, Christians, Italian-Americans are usually mobsters, the English during the Revolution portrayed as bloodthirsty murderers in a recent Mel Gibson film, the list goes on and on. Again, Arabs aren't getting special treatment -- they're getting the Hollywood treatment that we all get.

One film maker in Beirut basically said that Arabs needed to stop being losers. That if they didn't like what America was putting on their screens, then to start making an alternative and then supporting that alternative. That it's their fault, not ours, that our culture is being embraced by Arabs. Make something better!

As long as they keep buying, we'll keep making. It's as simple as that. You can't stop time in its tracks, no matter how hard you try. Take responsibility for preserving your culture and stop blaming us for your failure to do so. Realize that while you claim that we don't understand you, you don't really know us any better. You just have a facade of understanding because of our media. It isn't really us. I think if you actually got to know the real us, you'd see we have a lot in common.

Posted by Ith at 5:51 PM | Comments (16)

Raspberry Jam On The Front

I meant to post this yesterday, but never got it out of my "notes to blog on" folder. (Found on The Corner) It's a letter from the Duke of Wellington.

Allied Headquarters, 1812

Gentlemen:

Whilst marching to Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by H.M. ship from London to Lisbon and then by dispatch rider to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's Government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensive carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance since we are at war with France, a fact which maycome as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty's Government, so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both.

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountant and copy boys in London or, perchance,

2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant,

Wellington

(Now, I'll admit, I imagined this in my head with Stephen Fry's voice from Blackadder III when he played "the Iron Duke")

Posted by Ith at 11:06 AM | Comments (3)

July 10, 2003

MT Medic?

Anyone use this?

Posted by Ith at 6:26 PM | Comments (2)

What The Future Holds?

John O'Sullivan writes on "Marriage American Style"

I think his idea has merit -- in fact, what he suggests is pretty close to what I've thought might happen in the future. I'll use me as an example. I'm nearly 40, never married, my brother is three years younger, and he to has never married. Neither of us has children, nor do I really expect we will at this late date. I forsee the two of us sharing a household when we're seniors -- think Anne of Green Gables (except I'm not nearly as grumpy as Marilla!) . What Mr. O'Sullivan discusses in his piece would fit us to a tee.

Posted by Ith at 5:28 PM

Ayatollah Lugar?

Yesterday in the streets of Iran, protesters against the tyrannical, terrorist theocracy braved attacks from water cannon and machetes. They were speaking up for freedom and democracy at extraordinary personal risk.

Naturally, some Americans wanted to express support for the protesters, hoping to nurse freedom in Iran. This is consistent with American values, and it also would help our national security by removing a terrorist-sponsoring regime with nuclear ambitions.

Among those Americans on the side of freedom is Senator Brownback, who, with the bipartisan support of Senators Kyl, Schumer,Inouye and others,introduced the Iran Democracy Act. That bill stated clearly,There is currently not a democratic government in Iran. Instead, Iran is an ideological dictatorship presided over by an unelected Supreme Leader with limitless veto power, an unelected Expediency Council, and Council of Guardians capable of eviscerating any reforms,and a President elected only after the Council disqualified 234 other candidates for being too liberal, reformist, or secular. That is a crucial point, because the American deputy secretary of State, Richard Armitage, has been going around saying publicly and incorrectly that Iran is a democracy.

The Iran Democracy Act went on to assert it is the policy of America to support an internationally-monitored referendum in Iran by which the Iranian people can peacefully change the system of government in Iran. And it included millions of dollars in funding to help spread the message of freedom in Iran.

Unfortunately, the Iran Democracy Act ran into opposition from the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, and the top Democrat on the committee, Joseph Biden. Mr. Brownback, desperate to show some signal of support to the brave Iranian forces of freedom, compromised, proposing a trimmed-down amendment to the State Department authorization bill. That proposed amendment said It is the policy of the United States that currently there is not a democratic government in Iran, the United States supports transparent, full democracy in Iran, and the United States supports the holding of an internationally monitored referendum in Iran by which the Iranian people can peacefully change the system of government in Iran.

Read the rest here.

Posted by Ith at 5:22 PM

Terror Ties

Interesting expose at FNC on Jeanne Butterfield who is the director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Seems Jeanne has been a very busy girl!

A few bits from the article:

You may recall that it was Ms. Butterfield who said, just after a group of young men on student visas flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, "I don't think that the events of last week can be attributed to the failure of our immigration laws."

To understand Ms. Butterfield's history is to understand the newer and downright irresponsible positions taken by AILA. Before she was elected director of AILA, Jeanne Butterfield was executive director of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, the group that acted as a front for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in much the same way that Sinn Fein acted as a representative of the Irish Republican Army -- but without participating in electoral politics and representative government as Sinn Fein has.

[....]

But its defense of terror did not stop with the action of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. David Horowitz (search) noted in a 1991 National Review article that the Palestine Solidarity Committee was "one of the few groups in the world supporting Saddam's rape of Kuwait."

The Palestine Solidarity Committee was formerly known as the November 29th Committee for Palestine (November 29th is the "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People"). The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith said the following in a 1983 report: "Close observation and analysis of the activities of the November 29 (committee) indicates that it appears to be a de facto alliance between U.S. adherents of the Popular Front...and the (Trotskyist) Workers World Party (of New York)..."

[....]

It's baffling that a person whose early career was spent apologizing for terrorism has risen to director of a mainstream, national professional organization whose members testify on Capitol Hill. It is even more baffling that Ms. Butterfield was elected to her position by members of a profession that counts among its members many Jews, while her early career was devoted destruction of the Jewish state. If Ms. Butterfield had been a leader of another group that advocated hate and violence, such as the Ku Klux Klan, she would not have the credibility or trustworthiness to find work as a bank teller, let alone lead a national, mainstream legal organization

Posted by Ith at 5:17 PM

July 9, 2003

East West

Interesting article found via Lex Communis.

Well, interesting to me, living here in Sam Farr land at least! It deals with the shift in CA demographics and voting patterns. Good stuff.

Posted by Ith at 4:20 PM | Comments (3)

Can You Imagine?

What it would be like to lose nearly 20 years of your life?

Man wakes after nearly two decades in coma, greets mother

A man regained consciousness after spending 19 years in a coma as the result of a car crash, greeting his mother who was waiting at his bedside.

"He started out with 'Mom' and surprised her and then it was 'Pepsi' and then it was 'milk.' And now it's anything he wants to say," Stone County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center social director Alesha Badgley said Tuesday.

Terry Wallis, 39, had been at the center since the July 1984 crash.

His father, Jerry Wallis, said his son uttered his first word June 12, was able to talk a little a day later and has improved ever since.

Terry Wallis' wife, Sandi, said her husband was riding with a friend when their car left the road and plunged into a creek. Wallis and his friend were found the next day underneath a bridge. The friend was dead and Wallis was comatose.

"It's been hard dealing with it, it's been hard realizing the man I married can't be there," Sandi Wallis said. "We all, the whole family, missed out on his company."

Wallis' daughter, Amber, was born shortly before the accident. She is now 19 and Wallis has said he wants to walk again, for her. He is a quadriplegic as a result of the crash.

Posted by Ith at 2:51 PM

July 4, 2003

Uncle Sam To The Rescue

This is Neil Cavuto's commentary from yesterday:

So let me see if I have this right: Now the United Nations needs us. Not in Iraq, where it argued, we shouldn't go. But in Liberia (search), where it argues, we should go.

Liberia is a mess and needs to be stabilized, the U.N. says. Funny, Iraq was a mess but apparently didn't need to be stabilized, the U.N. said.

But why quibble over the details. The administration is indeed sending at least 1,000 G.I.s to Liberia -- maybe double that number down the road.

Its part of a global peacekeeping force that needs some clout and we just provided it.

We could have bickered and dithered and ignored. We could have said, to hell with your request. But we didn't.

We could have ignored the desperate pleas from Liberians looking to end a civil war that's already claimed hundreds of lives. But we didn't.

We could have been vindictive and said to the French and Germans, who led this request by the way, "You didn't do diddly for us, we ain't doing diddly for you." But we didn't. No, we recognized the greater good by doing some good. So its Uncle Sam to the rescue again.

You know, there are a lot of people who criticize this country, but we're always there when they need this country.

Yes, we do a lot of things wrong, but when everything hits the fan, we do one thing right: We calm, protect and save people.

Sometimes I wonder why we do anything for fair weather friends, who hate us one moment and then dizzily come running to us the next.

Then I look back in our history and I realize the answer: Its because we've done the exact same thing before, time and time again.

Thats not bad for a country the world loves to hate, until the world is too scared to move.

Posted by Ith at 1:46 PM

July 1, 2003

Eco Stuff

Eco-Hysteria Then and Now

National environmental organizations have been in full war cry over the Bush administration's "assault on the environment." Many of the same criticisms were made twenty years ago about the Reagan administration, yet the data from the 1980s show environmental improvement in most major areas. The environmental record for this decade is also certain to show improvement as well. The hyperbole of environmental lobbies should be understood for its political rather than substantive content.
Posted by Ith at 7:35 AM | Comments (3)

June 28, 2003

Nitpicky

So, I'm reading a NY Times article about the President's fund raising here in CA yesterday. The authour of the article says:

President Bush scurried down the coast of California today

Scurried? Yeah, I know, I said it was nitpicky :) But "scurried"? Can you imagine her saying Clinton "scurried"?

It's the little things, gentle readers.

Posted by Ith at 12:50 PM | Comments (4)

June 26, 2003

The Great Baghdad Museum Caper

Current Score: 33 missing objects.

Click "MORE" to read the rest.

With each passing day since the entire security and liberation effort in Iraq was called into question because of missing tchotchkes, more and more of what turned out to be only 30 missing pieces have been resurfacing and bringing to a close an incident that led to the protest resignations of two presidential cultural advisers and the indignation of people to whom knickknacks have more value than human life.

If you ask such folks whether all those missing artifacts are worth a
single life otherwise spent in bondage and indignity, not to speak of
millions of lives, they'd have to think long and hard before answering.
Recall the universal outrage in March of 2001, when the Taliban (search)
destroyed the giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan (search), an incident
which to this day causes cultural elitists to shake their lowered heads in
mournful disapproval. Nothing--not Sept. 11 nor the forced burqa-zation of
Islamic womanhood--has been so unsettling or horrifying to the "arties" as
the dynamiting of those artworks.

After all, this is the same sort who in the early 90s, upon hearing that my
family and I were Soviet refuseniks (search), would burst out, "Wow, you
had the Hermitage (search)!" and would go on to relate their own,
post-Perestroika (search), experience of its splendor. This is the same
sort as the Denver antiquarian book dealer who informed my friend that he
was holding Bush personally responsible for the destruction of the Iraqi
archives and for the museum thefts, adding that he could have lived with a
great many more Iraqi deaths if only these items had been saved.

The truth, however, is that this man would hate Bush regardless, for he is
of the variety that bristles at men like George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld
because they are not ones to spend hours in museums or theaters. Note the
following passage, written with a straight face, from a recent article by a
Matt Taibbi in the new New York Press (search), titled "I, Rumsfeld": "The
charm of Rumsfeld is something that is really hard to figure....Can you
picture Rumsfeld...looking at a painting? Reading aloud from 'Where the
Sidewalk Ends?' These things are impossible to imagine."

Posted by Ith at 6:20 PM | Comments (4)

June 25, 2003

Moral Stupidity

Another excellent article by Orson Scott Card (via that Instapundit guy)

I had just finished an interview at a public television station, and a staff member was kindly presenting me with a tape of the program, when I saw on a monitor a CNN report that Hamas had declared total war on Israel.

I laughed and said, "And how will that be different from what they've already been doing? Once you've spent a few years blowing up babies and schoolchildren and old people, how can you make your war more total than that?"

To my astonishment, she clucked her tongue and said, "It's getting harder and harder to tell the difference between the two sides."

I couldn't believe she actually meant that. "Israel hasn't been targeting helpless civilians," I said.

To which she contemptuously replied, "They just use the regular army to achieve the same result."

Then she picked up a phone and made a call, rudely turning her back on me. I was, apparently, no longer worthy of serious attention.

Her rudeness, of course, was entirely understandable -- the politically correct are above the rules of ordinary civility, once they have identified you as an unbeliever in their religion.

But I still can't help but be appalled when I find people as morally stupid as this person was.

Posted by Ith at 7:04 AM | Comments (6)

June 23, 2003

More Spy Stuff

Check out Craig's post on a possible Chinese triple agent.

Posted by Ith at 5:58 PM

June 22, 2003

Area 51 & The Joint Terrorism Taskforce

Whats the Joint Terrorism Task Force Doing in the Tiny Town of Rachel?

So if these sensors are on public land, and aren't marked "US Govt. Property" then how can it be a crime to mess with them? Seems kind of shakey ground for charges, doesn't it?

Nin and I were talking about Nellis/Area 51 on our trip as we passed that way. I've read several articles over the years on how the governent is quietly moving the boundaries out and even hassling people on what's supposed to be public land. I take all such reposrts with a grain of salt, but this report does make you wonder.

Posted by Ith at 5:12 PM

This Just In

FOX NEWS is reporting that Greek Special Forces has boarded and siezed a ship carrying 680 tons of explosives.

Here's what FOX News has on their website. Not too much more than what I have here, but a little background on the ship.

Posted by Ith at 1:40 PM | Comments (1)

Spys

Interesting article on Aleksandr Zaporozhsky, and how the Russians lured him back home to arrest for spying against the Soviet Union.

Posted by Ith at 12:57 PM | Comments (2)

June 20, 2003

Failure

I was sent a link to a preview of Dick Morris' book "Off With Their Heads - Traitors, Crooks & Obstructionists In American Politics, Media, Business."

I'm on a quick lunch break, so can't really comment right now, but here's an excerpt that fits into my illegal alien tangent this week. (Lots of interesting stuff in the preview.)

The Crackdown That Didn't Happen-Clinton Refuses to Act to Deport Illegal Immigrants

"Make states issue driver's licenses [to immigrants] which expire when [their] visas do," I suggested to President Clinton on March 16, 1995, during a strategy meeting in the White House's East Wing. Noting that half of the nation's illegal aliens had evaded the system by overstaying their visas, I proposed a system providing for "automatic referral from motor-vehicles agencies to the INS" for deportation when routine traffic stops revealed drivers without licenses who were here illegally.

Raising these two issues-immigration and terrorism-with the president for the first time, I commented that, after all, it is through motor-vehicle law enforcement that most people come into contact with the police. If we could use that interface to catch illegal aliens, we could add mightily to the deportation lists. By interfacing the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and motor-vehicle computers, we could determine, immediately, if an unlicensed driver was just a minor scofflaw or in active violation of immigration laws.

The INS had no organized way of identifying and deporting the 150,000 foreigners who overstay their legal visas each year. Of the thirty-nine thousand deported each year during the mid-1990s, only six hundred were ordered to leave for having overstayed their visas. It seemed like an excellent idea to use motor-vehicle enforcement to identify and arrest those who were here illegally. But Clinton refused to pursue the idea. The idea ran into a solid wall of resistance led by White House adviser George Stephanopoulos. I pushed the proposal again at a meeting with Clinton on April 5, 1995, calling once more for "driver's licenses [to] expire when visas do." But no action was ever taken.

Stephanopoulos explained why in his 1999 memoir All Too Human:

Next on his [Morris's] list of potential presidential targets was immigrants. Basically, he wanted to create a background-check system that would turn your average traffic cop into a member of the U.S. Border Patrol. If, say, a police office spotted a suspiciously brown-skinned person driving a car with a busted tail-light, Dick's scheme would give him the ability to dial into a computer and order immediate deportation if the driver's papers weren't in order. Though he brushed off my fears of potential abuse and political harm to our Hispanic base, I persuaded him to hold off on the practical grounds of prohibitive cost.

The real story is a bit more complicated. White House deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes was charged with "vetting" the proposal through INS and the Justice Department. His answer was both decisive and shocking. "We can't deport the people we are already finding," he said. "If we expand the list of deportees without being able to act against them, the result would be a major scandal."

Even though I renewed the proposal at four subsequent meetings with the president, it was never adopted.

What a shame!

Three of the 9/11 hijackers had been pulled over by traffic cops in the months before 9/11. Had the drivers' license proposal been accepted, we might have sent them packing to the Middle East before they had their chance to fly airplanes into our buildings. In April 2001-five months before 9/11-Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the hijackers, was stopped by police near Miami for driving without a license. He was summoned to appear in court, never showed up, a bench warrant was issued, and the matter ended. Had the motor vehicle/ INS/FBI interface been functioning at that time, the traffic cop would have discovered that Atta was in the country illegally, his visa having expired in January 2001. Atta would have been arrested on the spot and bound over to the INS for deportation. He might not have been in the United States to lead the 9/11 hijackers on their grisly mission.

That same month, Nawaf Alhazmi, one of the hijackers who later seized control of American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon, got a ticket (in Oklahoma City, of all places) for speeding.

And Ziad Samir Jarrah, one of the four hijackers of United Airlines 93, the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, was pulled over on September 9, just two days before the attacks, for driving between ninety and ninety-five miles per hour on Interstate 95. As CNN correspondent Jonathan Aiken observed, "Before 9/11 there really was no terrorist wanted list that a state trooper or anyone in the state agency could turn to indicate that there was any federal interest in this individual. As far as the state police in Maryland knew, Jarrah was a law-abiding citizen. . . ."

Had such a list existed, or had the INS and FBI been interfaced with the motor-vehicle computers, things might have been different.

Something always came before fighting terrorism. Some other policy or political consideration always had priority. In this case, Stephanopoulos was likely close to the mark when he warned of the harm to Clinton's "Hispanic base." Since the vast majority of illegal immigrants-although not terrorists-came from Mexico and other Hispanic countries, any program of this sort might be stereotyped as encouraging racial profiling by traffic cops.

To the Clinton White House, it was just more important to be friendly to Hispanic voters in the short term than to hasten deportations, and thus protect Americans of all races, in the longer term.

Posted by Ith at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)

June 18, 2003

The New Normal

Pet Problems

We have met the enemy, and he is ours. Really. We bought him at a pet shop. When monkeypox, a disease usually found in rodents of the African rain forest, suddenly turns up in kids in the American Midwest via their pet prairie dogs, it's hard not to wonder if species-hopping diseases are homing in on human beings. SARS (news - web sites) is one such plague; so is HIV (news - web sites). By the end of last week, there were 54 monkeypox cases in four states. The virus is a close but less deadly and contagious relative of the smallpox virus; it generally causes a rash and fever, and so far those infected are doing well. Monkeypox is rare. But we live--and die--with hundreds of more common species-hoppers, ranging from roundworms to influenza. "Most of the infections we think of as human infections started in other animals," says Stephen Morse, director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Indeed, conditions are increasingly ripe for transmission, says Morse, as people encroach on more wild areas and animals. A paper published last week in Science suggests HIV came from two different African monkey viruses that combined when the monkeys were eaten by the same chimpanzees. Viruses evolve rapidly by exchanging genetic material in these situations. Then people were exposed to the chimps and acquired the combined virus--and the first cases of AIDS (news - web sites). Handling or slaughtering rare animals, like the civet cats implicated in SARS, can also spread germs to new hosts.

Everything I'm reading seems to indicate us coming back to a time when infectious disease running through our population is the norm, like it was in our parents and grandparents time. I wonder how this will change how we live our lives?

Anyone read Connie Willis' great book "Doomsday Book"? In her near future, pandemics were a part of everyday life. Well worth a read if you haven't had the pleasure.

Posted by Ith at 5:26 PM

Be Careful What You Wish For?

More on how Arnold may be the next governor here in CA if the recall thing pans out.

I admit, I'm more than a little ambivalent about this whole recall effort. I think Davis is an awful governor, but I thought that in his first term too. It's not like the CA voters didn't know what a mess the state was in when they reelected him, so it seems a little disingenuous to me to suddenly want the guy out. And I worry about who may replace him too. The way I read it, the election process would be a free-for-all, needing only 25% of the vote to win. We could easily end up with a governor worse than Davis. Say, someone like Cruz Bustimante, our current Lt. Gov., a man who supports a radical Hispanic group that advocates the overthrow of the US government here in CA and the Southwest.

I wouldn't shed a tear if Davis recalled, but I do worry about the results. Sometimes, the devil you know, is better than the one you don't!

Posted by Ith at 7:30 AM | Comments (3)

June 10, 2003

ANtivirus software...

By Microsoft no less! This makes one wonder what exactly MS has up it's sleeve. The Full article states that MS is venturing into the AV arena from buying "intellectual property" and all rights from a company based in Romania.
Fascinating!

Posted by ondragonswing at 11:33 PM

June 8, 2003

Another African Country Going To Hell

Battle Rages in Apparent Mauritania Coup Bid

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (Reuters) - Street battles raged through Mauritania's capital Sunday and residents said rebel troops stormed the presidential palace in an apparent coup against a pro-Israel leader who has cracked down on Islamists.

Mutineers roamed Nouakchott's center, but gunfire continued and it was far from clear they had overall control in the northwest African country's worst crisis since President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya took power in a bloodless 1984 coup.

[...]

Residents said they believed the uprising had been staged by officers from an armored unit and the air force.

One should never underestimate the power of a few armoured Jeeps and a couple of Cessnas in this sort of situation, I suppose...

Tensions have been bubbling in the almost exclusively Muslim country since the U.S.-led war on Iraq. The government has cracked down on suspected Islamists and politicians close to ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Hmmmm, maybe lending the government a hand might be an idea... Anyway, go read.

And then... Oh, good, apparently this mess has been sorted out.

Posted by at 10:52 AM

An Addendum...

That story about the sale of human meat on the black market in the DPRK that I linked to yesterday has been picked up by the Telegraph (hat tip: MommaBear, via the Gweilo):

Cannibalism is increasing in North Korea following another poor harvest and a big cut in international food aid, according to refugees who have fled the stricken country.

Go read...

Posted by at 10:12 AM

June 7, 2003

Bloody Hell...

According to a posting over at the Gweilo Diaries (hat tip: Momma Bear), North Korean refugees are claiming that human meat is being sold on the black market in the DPRK.

In some corners of the black market, pieces of special meat are displayed on straw mats for sale. People know where they came from, however, they do not speak about it. One refugee said, "Oil from animal meat coagulates and becomes round in shape, however, that of human flesh coagulates and takes the shape of a diamond."

The sale of human flesh is expanding beyond the granary regions.

The same witness said, "If a funeral takes place during the day and the burial is performed that evening, the grave may be dug open and the body stolen before morning. Such incidents happen often. The stolen body is cut into pieces and sold on the black market. This is why people conduct funerals in the evening and bury the dead bodies at midnight. People cannot steal them during the day because other people are watching. Also, the dead bodies lose freshness over night, which makes it difficult to market them."

The North Korean police department has issued an order banning daytime funerals and executes publicly anyone involved in the sale of human flesh.

Go read the whole thing, trust me.

Posted by at 11:15 AM | Comments (2)

June 4, 2003

The Combat Factor

Interesting article that historically compares our Presidents and their combat experience (or lack of).

....Indeed, even the achievement of high military rank does not ensure success as president. Only George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower can be said to have been successful as both generals and presidents. Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor were successful generals, but their presidencies were hardly unalloyed triumphs. And of course, what can be said about the presidency of the unfortunate Ulysses S. Grant, the most successful general of the Civil War?

Third, the most-successful wartime presidents in American history had little or no military experience: James Polk (Mexican War), Abraham Lincoln (Civil War), Woodrow Wilson (World War I), and Franklin Roosevelt (World War II). In contrast, all of the presidents who presided over Vietnam Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon saw active service during World War II.

If military experience were a prerequisite for success as a wartime president, then Confederate president Jefferson Davis should have easily outshone Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. He was a West Point graduate, a hero of the Mexican War, secretary of war during the administration of Franklin Pierce, and a U.S. senator who served with distinction on the Senate Military Affairs Committee.

Lincoln's only military experience was as a militia officer during the Black Hawk War. It was not particularly distinguished. As a congressman, he poked fun of his own military experience to mock the attempt by the Democrats during the presidential race of 1848 to turn Lewis Cass into a war hero comparable to the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor. "By the way, Mr. Speaker, did you know I am a military hero? Yes sir; in the days of the Black Hawk war, I fought, bled, and came away. Speaking of General Cass' career reminds me of my own. I was not at Stillman's defeat, but I was about as near it, as Cass was to Hull's surrender; and like him, I saw the place very soon afterwards.If Gen. Cass went in advance of me in picking huckleberries, I guess I surpassed him in charges upon the wild onions. If he saw any live fighting Indians, it was more than I did; but I had a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes; and although I never fainted from loss of blood, I can truly say I was often very hungry."

Posted by Ith at 5:29 PM

June 3, 2003

Two More Things To Read

David Frum : Beyond Liberal Self-Parody

Hussain Hindawi & John R. Thomson : The U.S. Oil-Control Myth

Posted by Ith at 5:48 PM

A Long Time Ago...

Daniel Pipes offers a little refresher course on the history of Saddam and WMD.

Let's replay this video:

Iraqi and coalition military leaders met in southern Iraq on March 3, 1991, to sign a cease-fire agreement. This was right after the U.S.-led coalition forces ejected Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

The agreement they drew up had many provisions - specifying the cease-fire line, prohibiting certain activities by Iraqi troops, ending support for terrorism. Foremost among them was the demand that Baghdad dismantle all its WMD. To give this teeth, Baghdad had to accept outside inspectors who would locate and destroy the offending weapons.

Saddam Hussein's regime had been routed. So his generals accepted these terms, immediately and without argument. They had no choice.

Exactly a month later, on April 3, the United Nations Security Council endorsed these terms in Resolution 687. The resolution required that Iraq "unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:

"(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities;

"(b) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers and related major parts, and repair and production facilities."

The U.N. resolution also included provisions for a "Special Commission, which shall carry out immediate on-site inspection of Iraq's biological, chemical and missile capabilities." This work of locating and destroying was supposed to be completed in 120 days.

No way. Instead, for 71/2 years Saddam Hussein and his minions played a cat-and-mouse game. They hid weapons and documents, threatened the Special Commission personnel - and on the sly developed new WMD. Overall, were more WMD destroyed or built in that period? It's hard to say.

Feeling ever more confident with what he could get away with, Saddam finally closed down the inspections in August 1998. His government blithely announced it had completely fulfilled the terms of Resolution 687 and ejected the Special Commission from Iraq. Saddam Hussein now had a free hand to build WMD without those bothersome inspectors.

With this step, however, he broke the Safwan contract.

The correct U.S. response to this outrage should have been: "Let the inspectors back in and cough up your WMD-related activities . . . or else."

But 1998 was the era of "end of history" dot-com fog, and President Bill Clinton was diverted by the Lewinsky scandal. As a result, Saddam got away with his defiance. Four long years followed, without anyone keeping tabs on what WMD he might be developing.

Then came 9/11, and a new American sense that the world is a dangerous place. The old casualness toward broken promises was no longer acceptable. Beginning in early 2002, President Bush began exerting pressure on Iraq to fulfill its agreement, or pay the consequences.

The result? The same old cat-and-mouse game, with Baghdad and the United Nations both hoping this would satisfy the U.S. government.

It did not.

Posted by Ith at 5:33 PM

Whole New World

The Washington Post has a piece up on the White House Web chats.

Some of the more humourous questions posed:

And it cannot be disputed that the Web chats have exposed the administration to questioning that has been missing from your typical news briefing. From Terry of Huntsville to Scheib: "Baked Alaska? Who likes that? I say MORE PIE! Thoughts?" From Fred of Flint, Mich., to Scheib: "If you were having a hot dog, what would you put on it -- Ketchup? Mustard? Relish?"

From Rich, of New York City, to Gonzales: "Could you and Miguel Estrada take Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy in a tag team wrestling match? Could tag team wrestling be a compromise to the gridlock which has kept so many nominees in limbo?"

....Occasionally, the administration officials join in the fun. When Snow was asked what currency he would like his face on, he said it would be the $500 bill. "It has the least circulation. That way I wouldn't have to see myself too often." Then, Snow typed in "lol" -- the e-mail abbreviation for "laughing out loud" used routinely by the young and hip. For the sixtyish former corporate titan, it must have been as natural as talking to King Bloop Zod.

Posted by Ith at 5:09 PM | Comments (1)

June 1, 2003

The Virtue Of Patience

Glenn Reynolds has a post on postwar Iraq, malaise, and patience.

Posted by Ith at 7:36 PM

May 31, 2003

Computer viruses, a couple of simple steps to reduce your risk and vulnerability.

Again, I read of new virus threats to the PC community. The sad part is many owners of PC's, are not aware of this perpetual threat. Worse, many people don't have any idea of how to stop, or at least, reduce the chance for infection.

Hopefully this article/rant will be of assistance.

Almost every virus out there today is dependent on 2 simple behaviours of computer users. Yes, I said 2! With that piece of knowledge, you may wonder HOW so many PC's get infected, right? The answer is simple and I will get to it in a moment.

Suppose you receive an email from an address you do not recognize. Ask yourself, what do you do? Do you: 1) Open it and see what it is ? 2) Don't open it but view it in the preview pane ( using outlook, or outlook express ) ? 3) Delete it because you don't know who it is from ?

Number 3 should be your choice. If you don't recognize the sender, don't open it. That procedure will stop 30% of all viruses from even getting to your PC. Now, to the second question.

Suppose you receive an email from an address you DO recognize which has an ATTACHMENT. What do you do? Do you: 1) Open the message and read it and then double click on the attachment to watch the "cool thing" that the message says will happen? 2) open the message, read it, and if it sounds like it is from someone you know, then open the attachment? 3) Open the message, read the short message that says "this is cool!", or something along those lines, and open the attachment? 4) Consider carefully the message, size of the attachment, TYPE of attachment and then if it does not sound like something this person would send you, delete it?

Number 4 should be your choice. No matter how curious you are about the attachment or how "cool" it promises to be, deleting it is the safer course. This procedure will stop about 50% of viruses from ever getting to your computer.

Now to answer the question posed in the 1st paragraph. The 2 simple behaviours that facilitate virus propagation and infection are the following:

1) Opening messages from people you do not know.
2) Opening messages (and attachments) from people you do know, but did not follow the style/pattern that these people normally follow in sending mail messages.

Most viruses are sent as message attachments, usually with innoccuous sounding subject lines such as, " Read the attached form", " I got your message, please read attached Confidential reply ", "This is awesomely cool to watch " etc, ad nauseam. THESE types of subject lines are typical of the many viruses that are out there. Even worse, they can appear to come from a trusted friend. So to emphasize; if you are the least bit suspicious of the email message, delete it.

It is my sincere hope that the reader, will closely scrutinize their email from now on.

Unfortunately, some email clients, Outlook and potentially Outlook Express are preconfigured to AUTOMATICALLY open attachments, when a message is opened. This, of course, is unacceptable as the choice to open the attachment, if any, is removed from your hands!

If you are using Outlook, or Outlook Express you do want to configure it, so that Outlook and Outlook express do not use the preview pane. To do so in Outlook Express, click on view/layout and UNCHECK the show preview pane checkbox. The procedure for Outlook should be similar.

If you are adding up the percentages, you will see we have 80% coverage right now. To address the remaining 20% coverage is easier than you might think. For that coverage, I would recommend the purchase of an Anti-Virus program. An Anti-Virus program will help catch what you may have missed when opening a message that you think is safe. At this point you may think: All I have to do is buy an AV (Anti-Virus) program, install it and I am all set. Well, not exactly. Since new viruses are created daily, it is IMPERATIVE that you update your Anti-Virus program on a regular basis. An Anti-Virus program is useless unless it is updated...I cannot stress that enough!

As for what AV program to purchase, that is up to the reader. My personal favorite is Norton Antivirus, the updates are easy, and setup is a breeze. However, I would suggest doing some research on the subject, asking friends and coworkers and looking for reviews online regarding AV programs.

If anyone is interested in more information on personal computer security, I HIGHLY recommend this site. www.grc.com If you go there, prepare to be scared and rapidly educated ( I was when I first went there!)

Posted by ondragonswing at 5:46 PM | Comments (2)

May 29, 2003

Bill Safire Deserves Better

William Safire is the token conservative Op/Ed columnist of the NYT. I have no idea why he doesn't take a position at, say, National Review, where he would be appreciated.

In today's article, he makes the following points:

What he thinks went wrong with Turkey:
"The mistake of the Turkish generals was to conclude that America would never attack Saddam without Turkey's willingness to provide the bases to launch a northern front.

The mistake of the newly elected Islamic government in Ankara was to believe this notion and think that it could charge the U.S. a whopping fee for transit of our soldiers.

The mistake of Turkish public opinion was to indulge in the deep-seated paranoia toward the Iraqi Kurds, suspecting that they would set up an independent state that would lead to the breakup of Turkey. That led to a warning that our Iraqi Kurdish allies would be attacked as they returned home to Kirkuk, a threat that was Turkey's most serious blunder.

The U.S. made a mistake, too, in assuming that the Turks, long a stalwart ally against communism, would again act like an ally in helping us rid the area of a dangerous tyrant. We failed to grasp that the new government was run by political amateurs.

Result: The Turks are left standing there, hands in empty pockets, while the winning coalition is pacifying and rebuilding their large oil-rich neighbor to the south. Postwar anti-Islamic mutterings are being heard in the army, which averages one coup per decade; that would be another mistake."

What he offers as a possible multilateral relations solution:

"First, opinion-leading Turks should assuage their public's unreasonable fears of Kurdish separatism. Stop inflammatory talk of intervention in northern Iraq. End internal suppression of the Kurdish culture and language.

At the same time, Americans should assure the Turks that we will maintain a military and intelligence presence in Iraqi Kurdistan and will work with the democratic Barzani-Talabani Kurds to jail any P.K.K. terrorists in that autonomous region of federated Iraq. We should quickly set up courts to adjudicate claims of Kurds and the Turkoman minority against lands stolen by Saddam in his ethnic cleansing.

Turkey should then offer a brigade of its army - about 4,000 soldiers - to be embedded in the Polish command in southern Iraq to help establish and keep order. Arabs may not welcome this at first, but Turkish troops have proved to be effective peacekeepers in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

The coalition should graciously accept Ankara's offer, and a portion of the Iraqi oil repayment we foolishly promised to Russia for debts incurred by Saddam should be used to subsidize the brigade's cost.

Then we should let economic nature take its course."

I know it's rather late in the day to be posting about today's column, but I think it's worth your read. Sure, I got most of the good stuff here, but the column as a whole puts a better flow on it.

Posted by at 6:55 PM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2003

Ahem

This is the first post by one of our wonderful guest bloggers. Please give Dave a warm welcome to Gaggle! ~ Ith


I can't believe I'm saying this, but kudos to Robert Coram of the NYT
for this piece (hat tip - RealClearPolitics). I admit, I have my own biases (Go Army!), but his point is valid - the A10 Warthog is an excellent CAS (Close Air Support) fighter.

Hm.

Ah, that's why he has a good point - he's not a regular NYT columnist,
he's an Op-Ed Contributor. This is the guy who wrote "Boyd: The Fighter
Pilot Who Changed the Art of War." From what I hear, it's a good book. In
addition to his article, let me just say that, in my nowhere near humble
opinion, now that the Air Force is viable in its own right, they should get rid
of that stupid rule that keeps the Army from flying Fixed-Wing Aircraft
(yes, that rule exists, for those who aren't in a position to know), and give
the A10 to the Army to own, fly, and develop further in the future.

-- Dangerous Dave

Update: To clarify, 'they' means 'whatever service or Joint Chiefs or Pentagon Committee or Congressional Oversight Committee made up the rule'.

Posted by ondragonswing at 6:23 PM | Comments (5)

Full Disclosure

Related to all the news about the New York Times, and disclosing who actually researches and writes the articles, comes this post by Jonah Goldberg from The Corner:

But, what the press could really use is a big sweaty round of full-disclosures about how television news is produced. People get away with stuff in television editing that would be considered outrageous in print. For example, in print, if I quote you, I'm required to let you know if I'm quoting from different spots in our conversation. I can't take the tail end of sentence # 127 and splice it on to the begining of sentence #3 without using elipses (...) or some such. In television, they do that in almost every interview. In fact, whenever you see a conversation on "60 Minutes" many people might like to know that every time they cut to a tight shot of Ed Bradley or Leslie Stahl nodding and then back to the interviewee they've probably also edited vast chunks of conversation as well. But they make it sound like he just took a breath.

Or, lots of people might like to know that interviewers often re-ask the questions without the interviewee in the room. They also shoot "reaction shots" in which the interviewer nods and smiles as if they are having a conversation when their not talking to anybody (they use these re-asks to splice together the different quotes). Or, they might like to know that many interviews are conducted by speaker phone from a different city, sometimes with the re-asks and reaction shots pasted in. I could go on and on.

I knew that lots and lots of editing went into these sorts of shows, but what he describes is way beyond what I thought goes on. I don't think I'll ever watch a pre-taped news segment the same way again. Or would that be "staged" news segment?

Posted by Ith at 5:23 PM

Out Of Hiding

Iraqi man ends 20 years in hiding

After two decades in hiding, an Iraqi man has finally emerged back into the real world - squinting at the unaccustomed light.

Twenty-one years ago, Saddam Hussein placed an execution order on Jawad Amir for supporting an outspoken Shia cleric.

Mr Amir escaped - not into a far-off town or neighbouring country, but into a space sandwiched between two walls in his parents' home.

He said for the whole of his hiding he never left that small, dark space and had only a tiny peephole to view the outside world.

Posted by Ith at 7:56 AM

Having A Party & No One Shows Up

Parties Have Difficulty Tapping Potential Talent

Apparently, it's becoming more difficult to attract candidates to run for national office. I don't suppose it's too surprising. After all, who wants to run the gauntlet of the press and just the plain nastiness of running for election? I'm not sure I would. The article also mentions "qualified" candidates. What actually makes someone qualified to run anyway? Do they only want people who are in a certain profession-- lawyers --, or with a particular amount of education? Is being an elected representative no longer something open to a regular Joe or Jane?

Posted by Ith at 7:50 AM | Comments (7)

May 26, 2003

Too Close To Home

Rod Dreher posts about discovering the man now wanted for the serial killings in LA lives donw the road from his family.

Derrick Lee, the south Louisiana serial killer suspect cops are searching for, lives down the road from my family in Starhill, Louisiana, a wide spot in the road just south of St. Francisville. My sister was in school with Lee. She taught his son this year in middle school -- until Lee abruptly withdrew the boy three weeks ago, and vanished. And to think I was so relieved during the killer's spree that my family seemed safe, because the killer seemed to be doing all his work south of Starhill. My shaken sister told my dad today, when the news broke, that if Derrick Lee had come to her door, she would have let him in, because she knows him. Lee is considered armed and dangerous. Dear God, you just never know about people, do you?

I remember, a few years ago, after Christina Williams was kidnapped (and later found murdered) here at the former Ft. Ord. One of the guys they pulled in as a suspect was a serial rapist/kidnapper, and I discovered he'd worked as a maintenance man at the company in the warehouse right next to the one I worked at for nearly two years. Scared the crap out of me at the time.

You just never know what evil is right next door.

Posted by Ith at 3:49 PM

May 25, 2003

The Double Life Of Victor Davis Hanson

Very interesting piece in the Boston Globe on Victor Davis Hanson.

....He sought refuge in the classics department, where he studied philology. In the literature of the ancients, Hanson found a ''tragic view of the world'' that resonated with him.

''The Greeks accepted the idea that we all get old, there's certain things that we can't change, human nature is constant throughout the ages and therefore certain things will always be with us-war, pestilence, the fact that individuals are capable of pretty awful things without civilization and culture,'' he explains. ''And the more I read that, the more I realized that it was the way I had been brought up.''

That very much sums up my own personal world view, and as time goes on, the more I beleive it.

Posted by Ith at 2:53 PM

May 24, 2003

The Politics Of Primaries

States Rush to Early Position in 2004 Primaries

Fed up with Iowa and New Hampshire getting all of the attention, other states are rushing to move up their presidential primaries, resulting in what election analysts are calling a worrisome front-loading phenomenon.

Remember Super Tuesday? Well, its in February now, noted Kay Albowicz, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Secretaries of State.

Albowicz said the trend for earlier primaries has been building for nearly 20 years. In 1984, only eight states held their primaries and caucuses by the end of March. The front-loading trend led to states scheduling more primaries by the second week of March, traditionally known as Super Tuesday. Now that target is moving into early February.

So far in the 2004 presidential cycle, Arizona, Delaware, South Carolina and Missouri have scheduled their primaries for Feb. 3 the closest date they can come to the New Hampshire primary, which according to state law must be held seven days before every other state's primary.

Okay, one thing I don't get -- if it's New Hampshire's law, why do the other states care? Why not make their primary the same was NH's and let them deal with the problem?

Not that I really care one way or the other, I just like being a trouble maker I guess!

Posted by Ith at 6:11 PM | Comments (2)

May 15, 2003

On SF/Fantasy Maps...

Recently, Eugene Volokh wondered why some fantasy and SF novels don't include maps, when those would frequently useful to the reader.

Many fantasy novels do, but many don't; SF maps are even fewer and farther between. I can see a few reasons why this might be so.

- SF fans are notorious nitpickers. Details on the map will be compared to the book, and errors will be scruitinized and harped on to the authour. Further, so well details in the map itself, which is particularly an issue for science fiction maps if the universe in question includes Earth/the Sol System. If you leave the map out, vague imprecisions as to distances and location can work. If you put it in, it and the text had better match.

- Not all authours can draw. Talent in writing isn't talent at mapping. Yes, the authour could have someone else draw a finished, quality version of the map...
but that person then should be paid. For mid-list authours, they don't make phenomenal amounts of money, so having to pay for a map wouldn't be an easy decision. The difficulties in decisionmaking also applies if the map costs came out of the publisher's cut of the proceeds, since then the publisher has to decide if the added cost of the map will be justified by any extra sales.

- It could also down to how authours write. Some authours (like Tolkien) are meticulous planners, who write and rewrite. Others write 'off the cuff', with at most a general plan. It is one thing to include a map that you are drawing (or having drawn) as a part of your writing preparation anyway. It is quite another thing for an authour who writes off the cuff to go back and reconstruct a map after finishing the novel. At that point, the novel is done; the authour may well want to move on to a new project (and potential new project) as opposed to adding a map to the old one.

- It could be an aesthetic choice on the part of the authour.

- Maps can lock you in. Once you put the map in the books, it is hard to change. Leave the terrain and map vague, and you retain the ability to add things in as you need them in the sequels. And while there are still SF/Fantasy authours that will deliberately write a stand alone novel, it is becoming rarer all the time.

Posted by at 6:35 PM | Comments (2)

May 7, 2003

Thanks For The Memory

Mark Steyn has a nice column on Bob Hope's impending 100th birthday.

Bob Hope has a special place in my childhood memories. I don't think I ever missed a Christmas show, or an appearance on Carson. I was the child of parents of the radio generation, so maybe I was exposed more to the classic comics, like Jack Benny, & Bob Hope. To me, they still epitomize comedy, and I'd rather listen to an old Benny radio show than anything Robin Williams, or his contemporaries, might come up with.

And strictly entre nous Darling, how are you? And how are all those funny dreams that never did come true? Awflly glad I met you Cheerio and toodle-oo And thank you so much.
Posted by Ith at 7:38 AM | Comments (3)

May 6, 2003

Women With Guns Fight Back

Wendy McElroy on the John Walsh ambush of female gun owners.

Women need to defend themselves, especially single women or those with husbands overseas. And the media has a responsibility to discuss honestly the issue of gun ownership. The John Walsh Show (search) on NBC may have dealt a blow (4/29) to both goals by "ambushing" three women who agreed to discuss their gun ownership and advocacy on air.

Their story is a fascinating glimpse into the sensationalizing bias that surrounds the gun issue.

Maria Heil of Second Amendment Sisters, Tiffany Hyatt Theroit of Armed Females of America and Lisa Marquez had reason to trust John Walsh. The show's Web site describes him as "a tireless advocate for victims' rights and missing children." Moreover, Walsh claims to support the Second Amendment.

Why, then, is Maria's commentary about the show entitled "Liar, Liar"? Why does Tiffany accuse the show's staff of "invading our lives and using the fact that Lisa and I were victims to set us up." Why has Lisa released a public statement to explain she was "lied to" and declare that she, her friends and her family are "very disappointed" in Walsh?

Lisa had feared the show would be confrontational, making it too painful to discuss the domestic violence that prompted her to buy a gun. She tried to withdraw a few days prior to taping. But, as she explained, a staff member called "and promised this was a show about empowering women and not a debate." Tiffany had a similar experience and said, "we were told it would not be a debate, just about our own individual stories."

Read what happened here.

Posted by Ith at 7:29 AM | Comments (3)

April 30, 2003

Neo-Prohibition

I've been seeing more and more lately about a new campaign for prohibition, as bizarre as that seems -- it worked so well the last time after all. Here's an article that was sent to me a few days ago. Thought it was rather interesting.

Apparently there's big money behind these "neo-prohibition" efforts.

Americas anti-alcohol movement is composed of dozens of overlapping community groups, research institutions, and advocacy organizations, but they are brought together and given direction by one entity: the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Based in Princeton, New Jersey, the RWJF has spent more than $265 million between 1997 and 2002 to tax, vilify, and restrict access to alcoholic beverages. Nearly every study disparaging alcohol in the mass media, every legislative push to limit marketing or increase taxes, and every supposedly grassroots anti-alcohol movement was conceived and coordinated at the RWJFs headquarters. Thanks to this one foundation, the U.S. anti-alcohol movement speaks with one voice.

For the RWJF, it is an article of faith that diminishing per capita consumption across the board can contain the social consequences of alcohol abuse. Therefore, it has engaged in a long-term war to reduce overall drinking by all Americans. The RWJF relentlessly audits its own programs, checking to see if each dollar spent is having the maximum impact on reducing per capita consumption. Over the past 10 years, this blueprint has been refined. Increased taxes, omnipresent roadblocks, and a near total elimination of alcohol marketing are just a few of the tactics the RWJF now employs in its so-called environmental approach.

The environmental approach seeks to shift blame from the alcohol abuser to society in general (and to alcohol providers in particular). So the RWJF has turned providers into public enemy number one, burdening them with restrictions and taxes to make their business as difficult and complex as possible. The environmental approachs message to typical consumers, meanwhile, is that drinking is abnormal and unacceptable. The RWJF seeks to marginalize drinking by driving it underground, away from mainstream culture and public places.

The linked article has a link to the complete report in PDF format and it makes for fascinating reading.

Posted by Ith at 5:57 PM

April 26, 2003

Hilarity II

More Mark Steyn, but in a little different vein:

From: info@feedtheiraqikids.org.uk To: uday39@aol.com Cc: qusay73@aol.com

...hadn't heard back from your dad re my last e-mail and I don't want to make a fuss about it, but they're on Sky right now rolling that big head from his statue down the street and they just went past a bank that's on fire and there were all these people jumping up and down and throwing all the money in the air and I couldn't help noticing it was the Bank of Saddam at the corner of Saddam Hussein Avenue and Saddam Hussein Parkway. Which as you know is the branch your last cheque was drawn on. So I was just wondering if perhaps it would be easier for your dad to wire me the funds? If necessary from Damascus...

From: info@nobloodforoil.org.uk
To: customerservice@natwest.co.uk

...extremely annoyed to receive your letter demanding I return my cheque card and Platinum Visa, both cut in two. Obviously, I am as surprised as you that the cheque I paid in for 3,000,000 from the Supreme Revolutionary Council (Entertaining & Miscellaneous Account) bounced, but it is hardly my fault that I had already in good faith sent off the payment for the extensive refurbishment of my chateau. I have written in the strongest possible terms to the military governor of Baghdad in care of the Pentagon pointing out that the successor regime is most certainly responsible for the debts of its predecessor.

As to your refusal to allow me to use the chateau to secure the overdraft, I did not say the property was not in my name, I said it was in the name of Not In My Name, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Coalition For Peace, which is the principal Cayman Islands-registered holding company of Totalitarian PR & Hospitality plc, a registered charity owned by my wife. That being the case, I am outraged by your decision not to honour my cheque of 12,473.89 to Gieves & Hawkes drawn on my End The Suffering Of The Iraqi People Now! (Depleted Uranium Fund) account. While it is true that I am no longer associated with the UN Oil For Food Programme, I can assure you that I have excellent Korea prospects - I mean, career prospects...

The whole thing is here.

Posted by Ith at 2:30 PM

Some SARS Stuff

(Moving this from where I was going to put it in the comments of this post. )

Mark Steyn has a damning article on SARS and Canada, blaming it on Canada's medical system. From stories I've heard from friends and families there, I have to say that Steyn's take has a lot of merit in my view.

As for our diseased Dominion, like the Chinese our leaders behaved true to form. When something bad happens in Canada, the priority is to demonstrate how nice we are. After September 11th, the Prime Minister visited a mosque. After SARS hit, the Prime Minister visited a Chinese restaurant. Insofar as one can tell, Chinese Canadians seem to be avoiding Chinese restaurants at a somewhat higher rate than caucasians. But, while it may have been blindsided by the actual outbreak of disease, the Canadian system is superb at dealing with entirely mythical outbreaks of racism. I think we can take it as read that if a truck of goulash exploded on the 401 killing 120, the Prime Minister would be Hungarian folk dancing within 48 hours. Personally, I'd have been more impressed if he and Aline had had a candlelit dinner for two over a gurney in the emergency room of a Toronto hospital. That's the issue -- not Canadian restaurants, but Canadian health care.

But the piped CanCon mood music has wafted over Jean and Aline's table and drowned out the more awkward questions. Toronto is the only SARS "hot zone" outside Asia. Of nearly 200 nations on the face of this Earth, Canada is one of only eight where SARS has killed, and currently ranks third, after China and Singapore, in the number of SARS deaths. Indeed, Canada had the highest SARS fatality rate in the world until one of two infected Filipinos died a few days ago -- and according to its government she picked it up from the mother of her Toronto roommate.

And on a lighter note, FOX has a reporter in TO, and she was standing with the city behind her. If it had been dusk, I would have expected the "Forever Knight" theme music to kick in! I love the TO skyline.

Posted by Ith at 1:59 PM

April 21, 2003

They Agreed

Judie Brown, American Life League and Patricia Ireland, former NOW president
have agreed that the Laci and Connor Peterson case is a double homicide. Most interesting.

My oldest son was born at 35 weeks or 5 weeks premature. He was certainly 'viable' and did not need an incubator or anything else to survive. He was quite fine. I can tell you that I found it fascinating that the two above women did indeed, agree on the matter of it being a double homicide.

I think the law enforcment folks got the right person and had I passed the suspect on the street, I wouldn't have recognized him because his appearance was certainly most definitely different.

Kel, posting over here today as well

Posted by at 1:28 PM | Comments (2)

April 11, 2003

Brilliance At Its Finest

My friend who works at the Pentagon sent me this.

*giggle*

Kel

Posted by at 9:21 AM | Comments (1)

April 10, 2003

Our wonderful military and the Iraqis--

News guy on Foxnews just asked a cute military guy if they have plans to stop the looting. Heh.

Military guy replies that the folks doing the looting see this stuff as rightfull theirs and that the job of the military is to secure the people, not prohibit them from doing anything else. Heh.

Cute, smart guy!

Heh--anyone see the Iraqi guys holding the sign saying that the human shields are wankers and they need to go home? *G*

Kel, tossing out those profound things for ponderance this morning over coffee

Posted by at 6:37 AM

April 9, 2003

Looking South

Think all the anti-Americanism is in "old Europe" and the "Arab Street"? Take a look at this article.

YUCATAN, MEXICO During a civil but decidedly lopsided discussion with several Mexican nationals about the war in Iraq, I was told, "Your view is distorted because you only get the CNN version of the war in the United States." Never mind that I haven't seen CNN in months, nor have I been back to the U.S. since the war started; it is a popular notion here in Mexico that the Mexican media is delivering a more "honest" version of the war in Iraq. It is not just the typical Mexican citizen who thinks this. Carlos Monsivais, a noted Mexican journalist and author, told a recent conference on Mexico-U.S. relations that Mexicans are getting a more objective view of the war than Americans because "Mexican newspapers are leading their front pages with pictures and reports of civilian casualties," while on American television, all we get are "retired generals and White House press briefings."

So just how objective is the newspaper coverage in Mexico? Here on the Yucatan Peninsula, it can be summed up by this one-word headline on April 1 from the Spanish-language daily Por Esto: "Assassins." They aren't talking about the Republican Guard.

Por Esto (which roughly translates to "For This") is widely circulated and read in Mexico's Quintana Roo State and most of the rest of the Yucatan and is a cross between a supermarket tabloid and old-fashioned, muckraking journalism. It specializes in sensational headlines over gruesome pictures from automobile accidents and shootings, arrested narco-traffickers doing the perp walk, and unflattering photos of various politicians and government officials.

Por Esto is also a consistent defender of the un-empowered, with a pull-no-punches policy of exposing and criticizing shady dealings of various government agencies and moneyed interests (sometimes real and sometimes just for the sake of giving a little grief), the inequities and corruption of the drug war, and any other battle where they think the little guy is getting the short end of the stick.

Thus, one might think that the newspaper's current anti-American tilt might be tempered just a bit by a desire to see the Iraqi people liberated from the dictatorial rule of a murderous thug; but oddly this just isn't so. Rather, the editors at Por Esto are portraying U.S. and British forces as mercenaries spending their days hunting Iraqi women and children, and Saddam Hussein as holding the line in defense of Iraqi liberty and democracy.

Posted by Ith at 5:48 PM

April 8, 2003

And You Think The INS Has Problems

The Immigration Department can't tell how well it's doing at keeping undesirables out of Canada, and it's having trouble removing them once they're here, says the federal auditor general.

During the last six years, a gap of 36,000 cases has developed between the number of removal orders issued by Ottawa and the number of departures actually confirmed, Sheila Fraser reported Tuesday. "Saying they've lost control would be a little exaggerated, but not far from the truth," she told a news conference. "There's a real problem." In her latest report to Parliament, the auditor general also found the department has done no new studies in nearly a decade to assess the efficiency of the border screening process that lets people into the country in the first place.

The combination of imperfect border controls and a spotty deportation system is threatening to undermine the whole fabric of immigration law, Fraser maintained.

"If you have a law in place and never enforce it, why would people bother to respect that law? Why would people go through the procedure of trying to arrive legally in this country, if they can come in illegally and there's no consequence?"

Posted by Ith at 5:18 PM

April 6, 2003

And Some More

A Question, and Answers
Why Iraqis were slow to embrace their liberators.

BY BERNARD LEWIS

This caution and suspicion were revived and reinforced by two new concerns, one deriving from the conduct of the war, the other from the debate about the war.

In purely military terms, the decision to go straight for Baghdad, bypassing the cities of the south, was no doubt a wise tactical choice. It did however leave the largely Shiite south under Saddam Hussein's control. He probably had insufficient regular forces there to cope with a major military assault, but the whole monstrous apparatus of surveillance and repression remained in place, and the people in the south knew very well what would happen to them if they revealed their real sympathies prematurely.

Their understandable caution was further reinforced by the strong and vocal opposition to the war around the world and more especially in the United States. This manifested itself in many ways and, under their very eyes, in the mostly critical questioning of the military by the media in the press briefings taking place on their doorstep.

For us in the West, this is the normal free debate of an open society. But Iraqis, both rulers and ruled, have had no experience of any such thing since the overthrow of the parliamentary regime and the establishment of the dictatorship almost 50 years ago. What they believe they see is indecision, hesitation, even weakness and fear.

This could only intensify their worry that once again the United States may flinch from finishing the job, and reach some kind of accommodation, if not with Saddam Hussein himself, then with some like-minded but more amenable successor, found among his entourage. There are indeed audible voices advocating just such a resolution of the conflict.

The public debate against the war will be similarly understood--or rather misunderstood--both by Saddam Hussein and by his subjects, and will have the unintended effect of encouraging him and discouraging them. The antiwar campaign will not end the war, but it may turn out to have made it longer and harder.

Posted by Ith at 1:41 PM

Some Sunday Reading

WAR ON ALL FRONTS: What else is new?
By John Podhoretz

The president of the United States, who is the key actor in this conflict, has never said or done anything to indicate he believed this was an easy call - or that toppling a dug-in totalitarian regime possessing weapons of mass destruction would be anything but dangerous and horrible.

The assumption that the Bush administration would only take on this task because they believed it would be easy is part and parcel of the constant, tiring and increasingly idiotic underestimation of the president and his team. For more than a year, Bush said that if Saddam Hussein did not disarm, the United States would lead a coalition to disarm him.

He stuck to this position through thick and thin. Through the natterings of the Blixes and the flusterings of the Annans, through the treacheries of the Chiracs and the Schroeders, through the moral compromises of the Putins and the Mubaraks, Bush said he would do what he believed must be done for the safety of the United States and the world.

This is a profoundly serious man. The journalistic mindset that seeks to find division and falsity in his profoundly serious approach to this profoundly serious war is the opposite. It is the state of consciousness that Milan Kundera called "the unbearable lightness of being."

The unbearable lightness of being is the condition in which people can make themselves comfortable with the existence of evil by refusing to look at it and see it for what it truly is. The unbearably light want to skate breezily past the horrors and vent their anger on those who won't let them just skate by.

The unbearable lightness of being cannot take the measure of Bush and his battle plan because it refuses to conceive of a reality in which there are only hard choices. George W. Bush and Tony Blair are reconciled to this reality. Most of the journalists covering them are not.

That is why the leaders are important, and the unbearably light journalists who misunderstand and belittle them are not.

Posted by Ith at 1:33 PM | Comments (2)

April 2, 2003

Meet Don Cherry

From "Opinion Paper"

I've never heard of Don Cherry, but God bless him. He's a Canadian who loves America.
Posted by Ith at 3:11 PM | Comments (4)

March 31, 2003

Or rather--for theirs!

This is a lovely idea!

I do hope these folks get all they are hoping to get!

Kel

Posted by at 6:19 PM | Comments (2)

March 29, 2003

If You Read One Thing Today

Make it Bill Whittle's essay, "History"

There's so much good in it, it's almost impossible to excerpt, so I'm not even going to try.

Posted by Ith at 6:20 PM

Comments From An Ozzie

Link

Damned glad to read these since they are coming from someone who also is watching what's going on, but in another country.

She's also been a damned fine friend over the years! *g*

Kel


another another link fix ~ Ith

Posted by at 3:52 PM

Damned Fine List

And they do prefer quality to quantity there, so naturally I'm there. Heh. I love this blog! *g*

Link

Kel who's all set up to write tonight


another link fix ~ Ith

Posted by at 3:13 PM | Comments (2)

They Don't Get Us

Behind in my readng, and missed the latest from Mark Steyn. But found a great post on it at Mean Mr. Mustard's place that says it better than I could anyway.

In Baghdad, a spokesman for the Iraqi military said the United States was exaggerating its progress and its victories. The spokesman, Gen. Hazem Rawi, said that reports from American commanders that Iraq had lost some 1,000 men fighting in and around the Shiite pilgrimage center of Najaf were wrong.

"It's totally baseless," he said. "If it was true, why don't the enemies show pictures of the dead on their televisions?"

Of course, the obvious answer to this is because we don't take pleasure in showing dead enemies on TV, being much more inclined towards not exulting in the killing of an inept enemy most likely forced to fight by your inhuman crapocracy. We don't consider it a propaganda coup to beam images of people we've killed, riddled with bullet holes, into the homes of the world. That's not us. That's not what we're about.

Excellent post that's well worth reading all of.

Posted by Ith at 3:01 PM

Rally

I posted about the rally on an a current events email list i run, but never had a chance to post about it here. But, here's the outcome.

Posted by Ith at 2:23 PM

Not In Their Name

Found this link on Instapundit. A little snippet:

I've always thought that the last place you'd see the vanity of depression in action would be on a protest march, especially one against war in a foreign country, but I do believe that many of the anti-war antics currently taking place are totally egotistical. Those who demonstrated against US aggression in Vietnam and Cuba did so because they believed that those people should have more freedom, not less. But does the most hardened peacenik really believe that Iraqis currently enjoy more liberty and delight than they would if Saddam were brought down? If so, fair enough; if not, then they are marching about one thing - themselves. That's why so many luvvies are involved; this is simply showing off on a grand scale.

I've just heard a snippet of the most disgustingly me-me-me anti-war advert by Susan Sarandon, in which she intones, "Before our kids start coming home from Iraq in body bags, and women and children start dying in Baghdad, I need to know - what did Iraq do to us?" Well, if you mean what did Saddam do to America The Beautiful, not an awful lot - but to millions of his own people, torture and murder for a start. Don't they count?

Surely this is the most self-obsessed anti-war protest ever. NOT IN MY NAME! That's the giveaway. Who gives a stuff about their wet, white, western names? See how they write them so solemnly in a list on the bottom of the letters they send to the papers. And the ones that add their brats' names are the worst - a grotesque spin on Baby On Board, except they think that this gives them extra humanity points not just on the motorway, but in the whole wide weeping, striving, yearning world. We don't know the precious names of the countless numbers Saddam has killed. We're talking about a people - lots of them parents - subjected to an endless vista of death and torture, a country in which freedom can never be won without help from outside.

The entire thing is a breathtaking smackdown of the "Moore Left"; and this was in the Guardian! Go figure.... Maybe these folks are the "Hitchens Left"?

Posted by Ith at 2:21 PM

Our Polish Friends

Blogs of War is getting lots of mail from Polish readers. Here's one of them:

You are doeing good job! It's the same situation as in Poland in 1939 year when Hitler and attack my country - Poland. At now we have to get freedom for Iraq people. People in Poland know it well - in 1939 France and other european country left us alone and II world war has been start. If in those time all the Europe strike on Hitler there wasn't be many dead people.

At now there are only a few countries, who start fight for freedom: USA, U.K., POLAND, AUSTRALIA - I hope that freedom will come soon

take care!

Something for us to remember.

Posted by Ith at 2:07 PM | Comments (1)

Hijacked Airwaves

This was in French, and I used Babelfish to translate it:

Diffusion de discours et de chants arabes sur les ondes de la police lilloise

LILLE (AP) - Le systme de communication radio des policiers de l'agglomration lilloise a t pirat jeudi entre 21h et 22h par la diffusion de chants et de discours en langue arabe, a-t-on appris vendredi de source policire.

Cette mission pirate dont l'origine n'est pas dtermine n'a pas de "caractre islamiste ou religieux", a assur vendredi la direction dpartementale de la scurit publique du Nord.

Une enqute est en cours. Le piratage aurait t ralis au moyen d'un poste metteur portatif vol

********

Diffusion of speech and Arab songs on the waves of the police force inhabitant of Lille LILLE (AP) - the radio communication system of the police officers of the agglomeration inhabitant of Lille was pirated Thursday between 21h and 22h by the diffusion of songs and speech in Arab language, one learned Friday from police source. This emission pirates whose origin is not given does not have "character islamist or monk", ensured Friday the departmental direction of the public safety of North. An investigation is in hand. The hacking would have been carried out by means of a stolen portable transmitting set

Posted by Ith at 2:02 PM

March 28, 2003

Heh--Who's The Right Person For The Job?


Have you noticed anything fishy about the inspection teams who have arrived in Iraq? They're all men!

How in the name of the United Nations does anyone expect men to find Saddam's stash? We all know that men have a blind spot when it comes to finding things. For crying' out loud! Men can't find the dirty clothes hamper. Men can't find the jar of jelly until it falls out of the cupboard and splatters on the floor....and these are the people we have sent into Iraq to search for hidden weapons of mass destruction?

I keep wondering why groups of mothers weren't sent in. Mothers can sniff out secrets quicker than a drug dog can find a gram of dope. Mothers can find gin bottles that dads have stashed in the attic beneath the rafters. They can sniff out a diary two rooms and one floor away. They can tell when the lid of a cookie jar has been disturbed and notice when a quarter Inch slice has been shaved off a chocolate cake. A mother can smell alcohol on your breath before you get your key in the front door and can smell cigarette smoke from a block away. By examining laundry, a mother knows more about their kids than Sherlock Holmes. And if a mother wants an answer to a question, she can read an offender's eyes quicker than a homicide detective. So... considering the value a mother could bring to an inspection team, why are we sending a bunch of old men who will rely on electronic equipment to scout out hidden threats?

My mother would walk in with a wooden soup spoon in one hand, grab Saddam by the ear, give it a good twist and snap, "Young man, do you have any weapons of mass destruction?"

And God help him if he tried to lie to her.

She'd march him down the street to some secret bunker and shove his nose into a nuclear bomb and say, "Uh, huh, and what do you call this, mister?"

Whap! Thump! Whap! Whap! Whap!

And she'd lay some stripes across his bare bottom with that soup spoon, then march him home in front of the whole of Baghdad.

He'd not only come clean and apologize for lying about it, he'd cut every lawn in Baghdad for free for the whole damn summer. Inspectors my ass... You want the job done? Call my mother.

Note: if anyone knows who wrote this, let us know so we can credit it ~ Ith

Posted by at 12:59 PM | Comments (7)

March 26, 2003

A Canadian Patriot

From the National Post, a speech written by an 18-year-old St. Catharines, Ont., student.

Mr. Speaker, at this time I must remind this House what Canadian patriotism entails. A Canadian patriot is someone who is proud of his country. It is someone who fights for his country and for freedom and democracy. A Canadian patriot strives to relieve the oppressed in nations that they may never see. And finally, a Canadian patriot will stop at nothing to bring these values to the entire world.

Prime Minister Jean Chrtien says he's a patriot. He claims to hold to these values. I would like to ask Mr. Chrtien how he is displaying his patriotism today.

He is not fighting for his country, because he is not fighting at all.

Nor is he fighting for democracy and freedom: two principles that are unknown to an Iraqi citizen.

I believe that Mr. Chrtien has a responsibility, the same responsibility that the House has, and the same responsibility that every Canadian citizen has. We must teach the world what we know as Canadians.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Posted by Ith at 5:46 PM

Cold Weather Gear In Hell?

Brazile says her party must support troops

Democratic strategist Donna Brazile says she backs President Bush's war to overthrow Saddam Hussein and wants her party's leaders to project a stronger message that they support what U.S. troops are doing in Iraq.
Posted by Ith at 5:33 PM

March 25, 2003

I Learned A New Phrase This Morning

kirstenandersenfanclub@yahoogroups.com is a list I found yesterday and subbed to. Someone made a comment about the Islamo-Fascists. While it's amusing at first, it's also very true, and hence, scary.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, when I still beleived in 'A' 'G-d', in other words, still going to church, there was an adorable little Egyptian couple who went there. They were extremely intelligent, well educated to the point of being like trilingual and one of the things I can recall about them was when they were speaking against their previous religious beliefs. Yeah, you guessed it--they had been Muslim. Know what stands out in my mind that I recall these folks saying? How much of a violent religion it is, that it was extremely violent, moreso than what anyone really had a clue about and how women are treated lower than a second class citizen that was a canine. *shaking head* That is what I recall. I would have to say that after recalling that and seeing what I've seen in the past year and a half, I believe it.

Did anyone realize that one of the favorite ways of converting 'Christians' during the Crusades was to soak their feet in boiling oil and if said person didn't convert, then their tongue would be cut out. I'd say that's pretty fucking violent.

Know what? Those fuckers come knocking on my door to get me to 'convert', they'll be met with a small arsenal. I may go down because I refuse to 'convert' but I'll go down fighting and happily take a few of those fucktards with me!

Deeply thoughtful this bright and lovely morning--
Kel

Posted by at 7:56 AM

March 20, 2003

March 18, 2003

East Meets West?

Wendy McElroy on war, and the transformation of Western Feminism

Historically, war has exerted a defining influence on American feminism. World War II ushered women out of the kitchen and into Rosie-the-Riveter jobs. Feminism in the '60s grew out of the anti-Vietnam War movement, to which current feminism owes much of its leftist bias. During the Civil War, feminists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony consciously subordinated "the woman question" in order to support the Union cause. When the 15th Amendment to the Constitution a postwar measure enfranchised black men, feminism reacted by becoming a one-issue movement: The cry was "votes for women!"

The war with Iraq and its aftermath will have an equally dramatic impact. One reason: Western feminism will be forced to confront its Eastern counterpart, which is, in significant ways, a mirror opposite: Islamic feminism. The encounter is likely to change the definition of feminism itself.

Posted by Ith at 6:07 PM

March 11, 2003

Questions, But What About Answers?

Michael Ledeen has an article today on Iran and the specter of nuclear terrorism. So what do we do about it? Take care of Iraq and then move on to the next country on the list. We've taken out nuclear facilities before, so have the Israelis. I think it's that time again.

And on a related note, John Hawkins has an excellent post today on "The Questions I Ask Myself About The War On Terrorism". So after you read the Ledeen article, check out this post and tell me what your answers are.

Posted by Ith at 10:53 PM

February 27, 2003

Complicated

I thought this article, on us, the Turks, and the Kurds, was a good example of how complicated the region is.

Posted by Ith at 5:30 PM

February 26, 2003

Quotes

Via Rod Dreher on The Corner, a few quotes from last night's Leno (I'm long in bed by then!)

"You'd better gas up the dinghy and go fishing with Fredo, because you are dead to me." -- Dennis Miller, on the Tonight Show.

Miller was on fire tonight. He said: "If you're at a peace march, and the guy next to you has a sign saying 'Bush is Hitler,' stop the peace stuff for a second and beat his ass."

And he sent this message to Dubya: "If you're watching, I think you're doing a hell of a job. I'm proud you're my president. ...I think there are a lot more people out here on your side than you may think."

Posted by Ith at 7:50 AM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2003

That Was Then, This Is Now

Peggy Noonan on how times have changed.

In regards to the "Bay of Pigs" aftermath, she writes:

Do you remember or know how Kennedy's partisan and political foes responded to the crisis?

The Republican who'd lost the 1960 presidential election to Kennedy six months before and by less than a percentage point--and who had reason to believe that it may have been stolen--was invited to the White House. He didn't bring his resentments in his briefcase.

From Richard Reeves's "President Kennedy": " 'It was the worst experience of my life,' Kennedy said of the Cuban fiasco . . . to, of all people, Richard Nixon. . . . Kennedy wanted the symbolic presence and public support of both political friends and foes to show the nation and the world that Americans were rallying around the president, right or wrong."

Kennedy asked Nixon's advice. Nixon told him to do what he could to remove Castro and communism from Cuba. The meeting ended with Nixon telling JFK, "I will publicly support you to the hilt."

Kennedy and Nixon that day achieved something like "the kinship of competitors." Mr. Reeves writes. Nixon was good as his word, supporting the president and refusing to attack him.

And then she writes about what former Presidents do today:

But if they cannot offer unity, couldn't they offer discretion? Whatever their views, they should not put them forth in ways that undercut an administration that, right or wrong, is attempting to get a fair hearing from the world in order to take the steps it thinks necessary to make it safer from terror regimes.

Are we getting discretion from our former presidents? No. Mr. Carter is often most critical when outside our country. A few months ago he received the Nobel Peace Prize, and the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Gunnar Berge, announced that the honor "can also be interpreted as a criticism" of the Bush administration. Mr. Carter not only accepted the award under these circumstances; he used his speech to subtly cast doubt on the administration's actions and intentions regarding Iraq. Mr. Carter tours Europe giving help to those who oppose the American government's intentions; at his home in Georgia, he tells a British tabloid he admires its "Not in My Name" campaign to increase world opposition to the U.S. government.

Mr. Clinton, on the other hand, has taken to telling the world that "we should let Blix lead us to come together." Mr. Clinton calls Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, "a tough honest guy who is trying to find the truth." Does Mr. Clinton speak of the American president with such approbation? No. He treats President Bush with equal parts derision and faux sympathy.

He has taken to offering virtually minute-by-minute play-by-play on the administration's decisions, usually on cable. He seems to enjoy putting himself forward as the current president's obvious superior. He is more thoughtful, more experienced. He speaks from a great height.

There's a lot more, so go read the rest here.

Posted by Ith at 7:50 AM

February 21, 2003

Dhimmitude = Europe?

Another intersting article from Bat Yeor on Europe drifting towards dhimmitude.

Today the Iraqi crisis confronts the EU governments with three decades of pusillanimous policy based on oil, markets, short-term economic gains, and an imperialist ambition of domination. It is practically impossible now in Europe to control Islamic terrorism either from within or without. Nor can the EU accept the destruction of the multifarious symbiosis created by all European political parties with the Arab and Muslim world, to the detriment of their own country's security. Europe has undergone a profound structural and demographic change, which is not yet fully perceived by Europeans, even less by Americans. This transformation of a Judeo-Christian based-civilization and culture by strong trends of Islamization is creating social, political and cultural grounds for confrontations that could provoke dangerous social implosions. The drifting away of Europeans from America is not, therefore, due to their superior moral exigencies, as some superficial analysts write. Rather, this drift reveals a traumatic fear of a terrorism that the EU always refused to acknowledge, scapegoating instead Israel and America. It reveals the preservation, at all costs, of Arab and Muslim corrupt dictatorships, including Arafat, with whom the EU has built its economic and international political strategy, power and security. And, more threatening, it indicates a profound transformation, a mutation, whereby a civilization is drifting toward 'dhimmitude.'
Posted by Ith at 6:13 PM

Bitchy, Ranty Things On A Friday

New Story Link

What a total waste for both people who donated ALL these organs. My main complaint about this is that these people are fucking illegals. OUR tax money paid for this.

They weren't illegals until she paid someone to smuggle them here. But once they crossed the line to get here, they were illegals then. I mean golly gee, what if some other child in Bumblefuck, Costa Rica needs the same damn procedure but cuz the parents don't have five grand to pay someone to smuggle them here, kid dies.

I mean this is stupid because there were other people HERE who are legal citizens who could have used the organs. THEN they waste two more major organs that again, someone else could have used? I mean there's people here who get passed by for someone like her? Even someone who's got frapping insurance and STILL can't afford it--it's fucking sad.

Oh yes, let's pay five grand to get smuggled over here and suck up the US people's tax money so we can blame the doctors if something goes wrong. Oh yeah--ain't that a lovely sentiment? It's fucking sad is what it is. They could afford the five grand to get here but they haven't paid for shit after they got here?

PLEASE.

And as for that obnoxious juvenile in Michigan, I think it is with the nasty Bush t-shirt--he needs his ass kicked out of school. That child doesn't have rights other than to be taken care of but until someone is a freaking ADULT, they have no right to the freedom of speech.

THEN there's the Black History Month--woo--where's Celtic History Month? Where's Canadian History Month? Where's Russian History Month? Uhm, yes, thank you. At least give me someone useful like Booker T. Washington as opposed to someone like Sniff Doggy Poop.

Happy weekend--
Kel, probably ranting about Mardi Gras next

fixed the link ~ Ith

Posted by at 5:30 PM | Comments (6)

February 20, 2003

Garden Of Babur

John Weidner of Random Jottings has a lovely post on Afghanis rebuilding the garden surrounding the Tomb of Babur, which was destroyed by the Taliban.

The once-splendid garden,surrounding the Tomb of Babur, was formerly a place were the people of Kabul loved to walk. There were large pools for swimming, and shade from many trees. The garden was destroyed by the Taliban, and by their battles with warlords. The trees were all cut down, and gardeners who tried to keep the flowers alive were thrown into prison. (Life imitates Saruman!)

Now the garden is slowly being restored. Some have questioned whether resources should be spent on this while many Afghans are still homeless. Others consider this a symbol of Afghanistan, and a national treasure that must be preserved. I'm with them, just looking at the picture makes me want to stroll there, even though it is tattered and dusty. Life without gardens is hardly life at all. I'm proud that our country is contributing to this. And I'm keenly proud that my country and our allies led in the liberation of Afghanistan.

There's more to his post here, along with a photo of the garden.

Posted by Ith at 6:11 PM | Comments (2)

February 18, 2003

Some interesting things I found today...

All are from headlines on My!Yahoo

Clerical Error Causes Tragedy

This is why I never get the newest Microsoft product...

At least I don't have to bill Medicare for these mens' penis envy

Granted, they're in the UK... Let's not get me started on yet another rant about Medicare paying for erectial vaccum pumps and not paying for hearing aids... (You can have sex, but you can't hear while doing it...)

Well, I'm not surprised...

Posted by Ninjababe at 11:26 AM

February 17, 2003

Courage

Add me to the list of bloggers telling you to go read Bill Whittle's essay, "Courage".

Posted by Ith at 1:35 PM

February 13, 2003

The Edge Of The Knife

Charles Krauthammer on "Bracing For The Apocalypse"

The domestic terror alert jumps to 9/11 levels. Heathrow Airport is ringed by tanks. Duct tape and plastic sheeting disappear from Washington store shelves. Osama resurfaces. North Korea reopens its plutonium processing plant and threatens pre-emptive attack. The Second Gulf War is about to begin. This is not the Apocalypse. But it is excellent preparation for it.

You don't get to a place like this overnight. It takes at least, oh, a decade. We are now paying the wages of the 1990s, our holiday from history. During that decade, every major challenge to America was deferred. The chief aim of the Clinton administration was to make sure that nothing terrible happened on its watch. Accordingly, every can was kicked down the road:

--Iraq: Saddam continued defying the world and building his arsenal, even as the United States acquiesced to the progressive weakening of U.N. sanctions and then to the expulsion of all weapons inspectors.

--North Korea: When it threatened to go nuclear in 1993, Clinton managed to put off the reckoning with an agreement to freeze Pyongyang's program. The agreement--surprise!--was a fraud. All the time, the North Koreans were clandestinely enriching uranium. They are now in full nuclear breakout.

--Terrorism: The first World Trade Center attack occurred in 1993, followed by the blowing up of two embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole. Treating terrorism as a problem of law enforcement, Clinton dispatched the FBI--and the odd cruise missile to ostentatiously kick up some desert sand. Osama was offered up by Sudan in 1996. We turned him away for lack of legal justification.

That is how one acts on holiday: Mortal enemies are dealt with not as combatants, but as defendants. Clinton flattered himself as looking beyond such mundane problems to a grander transnational vision (global warming, migration and the like), while dispatching American military might to quell ``teacup wars'' in places like Bosnia. On June 19, 2000, the Clinton administration solved the rogue-state problem by abolishing the term and replacing it with ``states of concern.'' Unconcerned, the rogues prospered, arming and girding themselves for big wars.

Which are now upon us. On Sept. 11, the cozy illusions and stupid pretensions died. We now recognize the central problem of the 21st century: the conjunction of terrorism, rogue states and weapons of mass destruction.

Posted by Ith at 7:50 AM

February 8, 2003

Sheer Chutzpah

Found this article while visiting the ever suave bleeding brain. (he said we were delicious, so I can say he's suave!) Anyway, the article, yeah... It's by Dick Morris on the utter hypocrisy of the Clintons when it comes to North Korea and airline security. It's absolutely scathing.

And now, Bill and Hillary are attacking Bush for the twin legacies they left him: inadequate air security and a broken deal with North Korea.

Its a good thing those two are sociopaths. Otherwise their consciences might bother them when they say things like that.

Posted by Ith at 12:53 PM

February 5, 2003

Jordan Turns To Saudis

Jordans King Abdullah headed for Riyadh on Tuesday to secure a Saudi offer to supply the Kingdom with oil in the event of a US-lead military campaign on Iraq. The beleaguered Gulf state is currently Jordans sole source of oil and oil derivatives.

The King was scheduled to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah during his one-day visit to the capital, to discuss the repercussions of a possible war in the region, reported Reuters. According to Jordanian officials, King Abdullah hoped that the Saudis would live up to their pledge of satisfying Jordans oil needs by presenting him with a detailed proposal including quantities and prices.

At the moment, Jordan receives half of its oil from Iraq for free, while the remaining portion is sold to the Kingdom at a concession price, four to five dollars less than the world market price. In the event that Iraqi oil installations are hit by American artillery, the Kingdoms annual five million tons of crude imports will be in jeopardy. US officials may also order its forces to interrupt Iraqi land traffic, blocking the2 , 500truck fleet that delivers12 , 000tons of crude daily to Jordan.

The US government is examining the possibility of allocating a major aid package to Jordan that would include emergency oil shipments. Although not final, US sources revealed that the nations request for American assured oil reserves could be met with over one billion dollars in assistance. (menareport.com)

Posted by Ith at 7:03 AM

February 4, 2003

Where Vengeance Is Written In Blood

An excellent post on "Winds of Change":

In a remarkable book, Woman in the Muslim Unconscious, the Morroccan scholar Fatna Sabbah writes these daring words:

"I would like to say to the young men formed in our Muslim civilisation that it is highly improbable that they can value liberty - by which I mean, relating to another person as an act of free will, whether it be in bed, in erotic play, or in political debates in party cells or parliament - if they are not conscious of the political import of the hatred and degradation of women in this culture."

Posted by Ith at 5:34 PM

January 28, 2003

Update On Ron Dixon

This information on how you can help out Ron Dixon, the Brooklyn man who may go to jail for defending his home with a gun, was put up o NRO's "The Corner" today.

Andrew Freedman, his lawyer, is handling the case for free, so there is no legal defense fund. But those interested can contribute directly to Dixon by sending a check in his name, Ron Dixon, c/o Andrew Freedman at 50 Court St., Suite 702, Brooklyn, N.Y., 11201. While cash is always nice, I imagine the best way to help is by contacting the Brooklyn D.A. and expressing your outrage. I believe he can be reached at this e-mail: HYNESC@BrooklynDA.org.
Posted by Ith at 2:26 PM | Comments (2)

January 27, 2003

Aiding & Abetting

A damning article on the UN's lethal disarmament policy and how it contributed to ethnic-cleansing, including the slaughter in Srebrenica. This isn't an article that lends itself to excerpts, so just go read it at the source.

Posted by Ith at 2:02 PM

Enough Already

Andrea -- Miss Harris to some of you -- has an absolutely excellent post on liberal bloggers, anti-war protesters, and the incessant whining.

Go read it! I'm in a whole lot of pain today, and it actually made me feel better. It did!


Update: Here's a quote that's related to the subject at hand: Howard Dean (who is a Democrat running for President) said he is running because I dont like extremism. Then he said that unless Bush is defeated, "Next thing, girls wont be able to go to school in America. You watch."

Via "The Corner"

Posted by Ith at 12:49 PM

January 26, 2003

Unholy Alliance?

Well, have a gander at this. Take it with a grain or two of salt, but someone out there will find it quite interesting to say the least. *g*

And yes, I tried to make the linky thingy work. *g*

Kel

fixed it ~ Ith

Posted by at 8:25 AM | Comments (1)

January 24, 2003

Shout It Out

The No-War-For-Any-Reason crowd might want to take a look at these articles so they can see just who and what they are suggesting we abandon to their fate in Iraq

Read the rest of this excellent post here.

Posted by Ith at 5:43 PM

January 23, 2003

From The Source

Condoleezza Rice on "Why We Know Iraq Is Lying"

Posted by Ith at 7:45 AM | Comments (2)

January 21, 2003

Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

Excellent piece by Mark Steyn on why we wouldn't want Canada anymore.

As for Canada "joining" America, we've got more chance of getting admitted to the EU, or, come to that, the Arab League. Prof. Bliss may confidently assert that "we are becoming more similar to the Americans in our culture and our values," but, values-wise, he's looking at the graph back to front. If the Prof. really believes the border is "not so much a fence as a lawn-marker," he should try living in a Quebec mill town on the hitherto informally monitored Maine line. This coming Sunday, eight timber-road crossings will be permanently closed and the four bigger border crossings will be open only until 2 p.m. and shut all weekend. Quebecers who work in the Maine woods will either have to make a hundred-mile detour or look for other employment. On the Canadian side of the line, there's talk of mill closures. The lawn-marker just got replaced with razor wire.

I have to say that this turn of events really doesn't surprise me. I remember the talk of a North American perimeter, and while I thought it a good idea, I knew in my heart Canada would never let it happen. They didn't, so now we do what we have to.

America didn't change. We did, and in a dizzyingly short time. What would it take for the Americans to revise their view? Well, we could change back. It won't happen, can't happen. Indeed, on present demographic trends, it's more likely that Alberta will gradually lose the will to resist joining its neighbours in the Trudeaupian stupor.

Yeah, he has that right. All my relatives live in Canada, I lived there myself for about six years. The Canada I used to know doesn't seem to the one that I'm seeing now. My uncle would really like us to move back, and I've thought about it, but I don't think I could live there anymore -- and that makes me sad.

But, since the war, our flabby Dominion's position has weakened further. Not to be alarmist but I'd say the U.S. is coming to regard Canada the way Australia regards Indonesia. Yes, it's geographically close, an important trading partner, a cheap vacation destination and a nominal ally, but it has to be pushed and chivvied into taking even the most perfunctory action against obvious enemies, and everyone knows that all kinds of dodgy characters have the run of the joint. Bali was a soft target for the terrorists because it exists in both worlds -- a Western enclave in bandit country. Canada also exists in both worlds: We're the country that supports both the Princess Pats and Hezbollah.

Washington knows that now. The big story since September 11th is that they finally see us for what we are: foreigners.

Posted by Ith at 6:04 PM

January 19, 2003

Plain Speaking With VDH

Victor Davis Hanson deals with the tyranny of the "BUT" in his latest.

In the new orthodoxy, for example, all cultures are a priori equal, so any evidence like a public Iranian stoning, racist Saudi op-ed, or Sudanese genital mutilation or two that, in fact, there exist vast civilization fault-lines has to be qualified. Force is presumed always wrong in our enlightened, postmodern world, so any proof that it actually solves problems such as Milosevic or the Taliban must be qualified. The United States is across the board dubbed unthinking, clumsy, and often sinister, so any evidence such as its efforts in Afghanistan suggesting that it is, in fact, sophisticated and benevolent, requires prevarication.

Then he has a list of the different types of "BUTS". These are a few of my favorites:

The America-Is-Always-At-Fault BUT

The removal of the Taliban was, of course, good; BUT we installed them in the first place.
I support removing Saddam Hussein, BUT we helped him in the past.
Who likes bin Laden? BUT we created him.
Everyone agrees that the mullahs in Iran are terrible, BUT our past policies are to blame for them.


The Israel BUT

Of course, Israel is a democracy, BUT
No one supports the methods of the intifada, BUT
I am not saying what the Palestinian bombers are doing is right, BUT
Arafat is terrible, BUT look at Sharon.

Posted by Ith at 11:47 AM

November 7, 2002

South Dakota

I was discussing all the voter fraud discovered in SD before election day with Nin last night. You combine fraud with an election that is being decided by several hundred votes, and we want to know what's going to be done about it.

Here's Byron York's take on the subject.

Posted by Ith at 9:40 AM

October 29, 2002

Stop Making Excuses for Muslim Extremists

The ever scintillating Mark Steyn's take on profiling, Muslim extremism, and the "angry white male", and how Christian Fundamentalists really need to start catching up.

Posted by Ith at 9:49 AM

October 26, 2002

For Your Reading Pleasure

This is copied from the old site cus I need some stuff to keep all the tables in place.

TO READ:

* Michael Moore, You Are Such An Idiot

* America In The Dock

* U.S. Unprepared For Another Attack

* And, as usual, Victor Davis Hanson hits it out of the ballpark. "North Korea as metaphor of the times"

A few excerpts: (but go read the whole thing)

Apparently a privileged class of men and women in the West, the beneficiaries of higher education and of ample means, share a tendency to believe that the world works according to their own Enlightenment logic or at least that its reasoned judgment can appeal even to the uninitiated like Kim Il-Sung. And the ego of these new missionaries of wisdom is mighty.

Thus Mr. Carter once gushed that the Korean dictators, who had executed thousands of their own citizens, had suddenly on his arrival been transmogrified into "intelligent and well informed" statesmen and thus worthy partners in his own Cartesian dialectics. Since his 1994 visit, he has boasted that he never ordered a single military attack during his term, that he was the first American to go to Pyongyang in 43 years, that he wished to begin his Habitat for Humanity project in the North, and that the United States had no business building a missile-defense system since North Korea had no nuclear capability.

So let us beware of personable but smug men like Mr. Carter and Mr. Clinton, the prizewinners who assure us that either their ostentatious morality or their self-righteous glibness is equivalent to wisdom. It is not. I'd prefer a less nuanced and less conceited Truman or Reagan, who sensed something evil about the Sung dynasty that our present generation in its missionary pride has forgotten.

Posted by Ith at 4:21 PM | Comments (1)