Sunday, October 31, 2004

Car Bomb Outside Chechen Hospital, 17 Wounded

Two car bombs exploded outside Grozny Hospital No. 9, wounding 13 members of the Chechen Secret Service, three hospital workers, and a child. Major Igor Golubenko, of the Chechnya Emergency Situations Ministry, stated the security officers were targeted. A group led by rebel Yunadi Turchayev is blamed for the attacks.
Hotel Blast in Tikrit

From the Sydney Morning Herald comes this breaking news:
A rocket slammed into a hotel in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, killing 15 people and injuring eight, US and Iraqi officials said.

A second rocket was fired at a US military position but caused no damage or casualties.

The blast at the Sunubar Hotel sent frightened guests of the three-storey hotel running into the street, some barefooted, others with bloodstains on their clothes.

Dr Hassan al-Juburi, director of the Tikrit Teaching Hospital, said the blast happened at 8pm (0400 AEST). The eight injured included two policemen and all the victims were Iraqis, officials said.
The attack is blamed on insurgent forces.
Human Face Transplant

The Cleveland Clinic has reviewed and approved the procedure for the first human face transplant after extensive debate on the ethical, medical, and psychological ramifications. Dr. Maria Siemionow is behind the effort, having successfully transplanted faces, limbs, and other tissues in laboratory rats.

Interested-Participant is preparing a catalog of recommended candidates for the first face transplant for Dr. Siemionow's consideration.
Double Voting

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that more than 27,000 people are registered in both Ohio and Florida, allowing them to vote in both locations. Moreover, they could double vote without being detected.
These people are among more than 27,000 listed as active voters in both Ohio and Florida who could cast ballots in either of the two states, both among the most closely contested in the presidential race.

Despite increased scrutiny of voting procedures following the 2000 election - and a federal reform law aimed at shoring up the patchwork system - virtually nothing prevents transient voters from casting ballots in multiple states, testing a system that relies more on the honesty of individual voters than on any checks and balances.

As many as 400 people voted in Ohio and Florida in the same election over the past four years, records show. In the 2000 presidential election, about 100 Ohio voters also cast ballots in Florida - where the presidential race was decided by just 537 votes.
Three things need to be reiterated about double voting: 1) nothing prevents it from occurring, 2) the system relies on trust that voters won't do it, and 3) it can easily change the outcome of an election.

After the problem of double voting was identified in other newspapers, Florida's Secretary of State, Glenda Hood, asked the Justice Department to initiate an investigation.
Nurses Leaving UK for U.S.

Dangling larger salaries, huge bonuses, and better living standards, American recruiters are achieving success in luring National Health Service (NHS) nurses to leave Britain and relocate to work in the United States. According to the Royal College of Nursing Annual Report, more than 2,000 nurses, a record number, left Britain for the U.S. last year.
In 2002-03, more than 2,200 verification checks on UK-based nurses were requested by American employers, up from just over 1,000 the previous year. [ ... ]

The Nursing Times said that American companies were increasing their presence at job fairs in the UK and putting enticing adverts in the professional press. Some recruiters have offered guaranteed jobs to registered nurses who want to move to the States with their families.

Packages offer salaries of up to �39,000 [$60+K] a year, two months' rent-free accommodation, air fares, visas for all the family, educational opportunities, a green card working visa and the possibility of citizenship.
A real life example of the law of supply and demand which leaves the NHS holding the bedpan.
Beheaded Body of Shosei Koda Identified

From the Associated Press:
A decapitated body wrapped in an American flag and found in an insurgent-controlled section of Baghdad was that of a Japanese man kidnapped by Islamic militants, a Japanese official said Sunday.

Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said in Tokyo that the government confirmed that the body found Saturday was that of Shosei Koda, 24.
Fingerprints from the body were sent to the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, and police experts there positively identified the body as Koda's. Koda was beheaded by an al-Qaida-linked group led by Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Also blogging: Backcountry Conservative, Diggers Realm, The Jawa Report

[UPDATE] Video is here .

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Next in Line - Outsourcing to Pakistan

In the 1990s, American businesses began outsourcing computer, telephone, and information technology jobs to India to cut their cost of labor. With a large, educated, and English-speaking population that works cheap, why not? From a balance sheet perspective, Indian workers are a real bargain. In a country that has a per capita yearly income of less than $500, call center employees earn from $3,000 to $5,000 per year with benefits. Therefore, working at a call center is an attractive employment alternative and applicants wait in line to be interviewed.

The practice of outsourcing computer and telephone work has become a global phenomenon worth an estimated $600 billion worldwide and the trend is for it to continue growing bullishly. And, although India is recognized as the largest recipient of outsourced telecommunications, many other countries are also providing workers for outsourced jobs. China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Russia are benefiting, just to name a few.

Interestingly, one country that hasn't taken advantage of the growth in global outsourcing is Pakistan, India's next door neighbor. The primary reason is that the government of Pakistan has not been actively pursuing the development of features that would attract foreign companies that outsource. In particular, the teaching of English has not been emphasized and government regulations have been a consistent impediment to growth in the outsourcing industry. However, that's all changing.

Enter Farukh Aslam, Chairman of the Call Centres Association of Pakistan. He describes the state of Pakistan's information technology and call center outsourcing as "nascent" with only about 1,000 people employed by two dozen companies. After spending about twenty years in the U.S. being educated and working, Aslam returned to Pakistan in 2000 to find the country lacking vision and leadership in business development. He spent two years working to help streamline laws so that companies could operate and, as a result, he predicts that the Pakistani call center industry will employ 10,000 workers by next year. The problem of English proficiency is a long term project that's being addressed so that future jobs will have qualified applicants. Aslam is urging the government to teach English to every student, not just the offspring of the wealthy.

Investors believe that Pakistan has strong potential to provide low-cost information technology services which could potentially be the largest foreign exchange earner for the country.

One last note, Americans working in the call center industry making $30,000 per year or more are not going to be around long when their company realizes that people in India, or Pakistan, will do the same jobs for $3,000 per year. A backup plan is recommended.
Swift Vet Rally CANCELED

The Rally/March of Swift Vets scheduled for 1pm tomorrow has be canceled. According to SwiftVets.com:
The information I posted about a former SECNAV and Kerry's Discharge was pulled at my request because I jumped the gun.

You couldn't believe the powerplay behind the scenes at this moment regarding this story.

You can call me many things (and probably will) -- I don't care.

This isn't my call anymore on how/where/when/why this story will come out.

I've been told/asked/cajoled whatever you wish to call it -- to stand down.

So, this Chief will STAND DOWN (for now).

That's all I have to say on the matter. If you want me to personally apologize to everyone -- so be it.

- Troy Jenkins (aka "NavyChief")
Pass the word.
Baghdad TV Station Bombed, Seven Die

According to this report, a car bomb gouged a hole in the building housing the offices of Al-Arabiya Television, killing seven and wounding 19.
A group calling itself Thawrat al-Ishrin (Revolution of the 1920s) Brigades claimed responsibility for what it called an attack on "the infidels' television" in a statement posted on an Islamist website. Its authenticity could not be confirmed.

The station's Baghdad bureau chief, Haidar al-Wattar, said Al-Arabiya, which had lost three journalists by US fire, had now been "attacked by the other side", which was the price to pay for its "objectivity."
In another report, the group is identified as the National Islamic Resistance, 1920 Revolution Brigades. Calling Al-Arabiya "the mouthpiece of the American occupation in Iraq," the group warned of more attacks against the station.

The station's offices are located in the western Mansour District of Baghdad, not far from the Green Zone.
Eight Marines Killed Near Fallujah

BBC News reports that eight U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force have been killed and nine wounded in fighting around Fallujah and the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi. No other details were given.
Al-Jazeera Defends Airing Bin Laden Tape

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Al-Jazeera television, facing fresh US criticism for airing a new message by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, defended its decision to show the tape, saying it was news any media would have jumped on.

"We don't believe anyone can argue about the newsworthiness of this latest Osama bin Laden recording. Any news organisation would have aired the tape if they had received it," al-Jazeera spokesman Jihad Ballout said.

A US State Department official said Washington had asked Qatar's government to prevent the Arabic broadcaster airing the tape, but al-Jazeera refused.

Government officials in US ally Qatar, which hosts the leading Arabic satellite channel, were not immediately available to comment. Al-Jazeera says it received the tape on Friday.

In Washington, a US official said there is text at the start of the tape attributing the production of the tape to al-Shahab media production and that text has a date of 10 Ramadan, which was last Sunday. The tape also has English subtitles, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Al-Jazeera claims they received the tape by drop at its offices in Islamabad, Pakistan, and then it was transmitted to headquarters in Qatar. Since the tape was received in Pakistan, there's a hint that bin Laden is still hiding in the mountains straddling the border with Afghanistan.
Das Contest

(Frankfurt, Germany) The German Language Council and the Goethe Institute organized a public relations campaign to improve the image of the German language by showing it to be as romantic and glamorous as the French and Italian languages. Excuse me a moment ... writing that sentence just cracked me up. Rest assured, I'm not making this up.

Anyway, included in the PR campaign was a contest to select the coolest, sassiest, most valuable, and most beautiful word in the German language. Words were submitted along with supporting arguments to a panel of judges. These academic image makers believed that the word chosen would go a long way in reducing prejudice toward the German language. So, what did they choose? Habseligkeiten!

Yes, Habseligkeiten - meaning belongings. I don't know why. Maybe it's the word's meaning or the way it just tractors off the tongue.
Secret Service Visits Blogger

Kevin Aylward at Wizbang has the scoop on the 23-year-old LiveJournal blogger, Annie, who wrote a prayer to God to have George W. Bush k****d and, subsequently, was visited by Secret Service agents. It's recommended that Annie blogger put a leash on her fiery feline pronouncements. Having read her entry, it's easy to see why the agents wanted to talk to her. They did and were satisfied it was just a random burst of immaturity. No harm, no foul.

Annie's dossier, of course, will be annotated accordingly.
SWIFT VETS on CAPITOL STEPS - Sunday

All Hands On Deck! SUNDAY - SUNDAY - SUNDAY!!!

SwiftVets are organizing an anti-Kerry demonstration on the U.S. Capitol steps for Sunday. NZ Bear has the details.

Mark Your Calendar

Also from the Bear, the rumors about Kerry getting a less-than-Honorable Discharge are still in the air. May break soon.

[Update] Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report has the freshest information concerning tomorrow's rally. Apparently, the Swift Vets are planning to announce an October Surprise concerning John Kerry's discharge from the U.S. Navy. The event is now called a march on Washington starting at the Naval Archives at 1pm.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Planets Favor Kerry

When handicapping the election, make sure you include the following with all the polling data:
Indian astrologers say that the planets favour Democratic candidate John Kerry to win the White House race over US President George Bush in next Tuesday's polls.

"For months opinion polls have shown the race between Bush and Kerry, his challenger, to be neck and neck," said author and astrologer Lachhman Das Madan, who also heads the Astrology Study and Research Institute in Delhi.

"But the cosmic writ reveals Bush cannot become the president of the US again. On the other hand, Kerry's horoscope shows that Saturn is in the third house from the moon which is highly favourable," he said.

"The planets Mercury and Mars in the fifth and third house have exchanged positions. Success in competition is certain ... Kerry will be the new president."
No word from Miss Cleo yet.
BASE Jumper Dies

From this report, it appears that the authorities will need to use DNA testing to identify this latest Darwin Award winner. He was retrieved from the bottom of a gorge in the New South Wales Southern Highlands in Australia. According to the story, these jumpers have been dying in noticeable numbers. No thanks. I'm not interested in being a suicidal participant.

One thing, though, bothers me. When these bodies are found, can you ever be certain that it wasn't an intentional, preplanned, goodbye-cruel-world suicide?
Victoria Snelgrove - Fatality From Pepper Ball

Updating a previous report, the controversy surrounding the death of Red Sox fan Victoria Snelgrove, allegedly caused by a pepper ball fired by police into a riotous crowd, has not diminished. CodeBlueBlog asserted that there is no documented medical evidence of a pepper ball injury ever causing a death. So, answers to two questions are sought. What was the cause of death? And, are pepper ball guns lethal?

According to this report, Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole announced on Tuesday that an independent panel, headed by former U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern, will investigate the incident and determine exactly what occurred. Meanwhile, two other Boston police investigations, one by homicide detectives and one by the internal affairs division are already in progress. These investigations, however, appear to be focusing on whether the police used excessive force, not necessarily the cause of death. So, the question remains. Can a pepper ball injury to the eye cause death? Hopefully, the investigators will address this issue along with the issues of the lethality of pepper ball guns and the excessive use of force by the police.

But wait, there's more. AnalogKid reports that the Seattle Police Department has also been watching the Snelgrove case and, as a result, has suspended the use of pepper ball launchers pending the outcome of the investigations in Boston. Without conclusive evidence that pepper ball guns are lethal, though, Seattle Police may be overreacting and, at a most inopportune time. If Bush is reelected, strongly left-leaning Seattle may erupt as it did during the World Trade Organization conference a few years ago. If so, the police department is going to need all the riot control equipment it can get.

In summary, many questions have arisen from the death of Victoria Snelgrove. Specific concerns include the acceptability of using pepper ball guns, excessive use of force by the police, adequacy of police training, and the cause of Snelgrove's death. The first question that should be answered is what caused her death. All the other issues cannot be adequately answered until it's determined exactly what killed her.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Democracy In Iraq

(Forward Operating Base Hawk, Iraq) Just recently constituted is Iraqi Village, a permitted community of squatters in the Abu Ghraib area, with notables comprised of a town council, an imam, a sheik, and a mayor. These notables are in the initial stages of forming their democracy. Responsibilities are assigned for all governing members and they hold meetings to address each others grievances. For anything they can't resolve internally, they consult with Maj. Patrick Barry, Executive Officer of the 303rd Armor Battalion of the Washington National Guard, who, with his staff, help.

Last week, Ward Sanderson of Stars and Stripes sat in and took notes at one of the meetings. Here's an excerpt:
The ones who stood out first were the mayor, the imam and the sheik. The women, though, soon took over.

The mayor wore a navy jacket, the imam and sheik fluttered in turbaned and draped. The women wore floral-hued scarves. The mayor, the imam, the sheik and some stubbled men all took seats around the long table. Most of the women sat along the walls near the children.

Iraqi Village Council

The council would gather at the Forward Operating Base Hawk when things got out of hand, and ask the Americans for help. Their enthusiasms for voting combined with verbal jousting, talk of real violence and want of a strong man showed a people in search of democracy, but wanting desperately to impose their will upon the other guy nonetheless.

During the course of the meeting, the mayor would prove defensive, the imam would maintain pious distance from this thing called democracy, the sheik would pine for the days when he was held in highest esteem. The women in scarves, initially demure, would vent.

The village mayor had seized the daycare and installed his wife as principal and had hired his daughter-in-law, too, some said. The mayor said she was the most qualified.

Another man said the council sent him a letter threatening to use him as a human shield. The women of the daycare complained that the mayor's son showed up to the school brandishing an AK-47.

"Well, OK," Barry started. "Did anyone send a threatening letter that we should know about?"

"Sending threatening letters is a big deal, and I want to find out what's going on."

Someone said the council did not send any such letter: "This is a note when someone is out of order, and goes outside the rules," an interpreter explained.

The man who was disciplined by the letter had somehow interfered in the brouhaha over the daycare and something to do with sports, and was told to mind his own business.

A woman in a lilac scarf fired off a staccato burst in Arabic. There is nothing to the letter, she insisted.

The square-jawed major listened, fingers locked in front of him on the table. Beside him sat his civil affairs officer, 1st Lt. Glenn Allen. Sgt. 1st Class Richard Allen studied things from the back of the room.

After much heat, everyone seemed willing to forget the letter. "So there's no problem," Barry said. "Let's move on." [More at link]
I don't think the Iraqi Village council meetings are much different from what occurs in America. For example, I personally have been at homeowner's association meetings and heard staccato bursts in Arabic, Korean, and Spanish. Nonetheless, I'm proud of our military. I salute Maj. Barry and his men. And I wish the people of Iraqi Village the best fortune and great ease in their transition to being a free people.
Ansar al-Islam Murders Eleven Iraqis

From The Jawa Report:
The Army of Ansar al-Islam has murdered eleven Iraqi National Guardsman in a video released by the group today. Two days ago the same group had released a video showing the captured Iraqis, accusing them of collaboration with the enemy. Ten of the victims are seen shirtless and kneeling in the video before they are shot in the back of the head by one of the terrorists with an AK-47. The video also shows the grisly beheading of one of the Iraqi victims.

[ ... ]

The Army of Ansar al-Sunnah website also carried the following warning "We will not forget about the blood of our elderly, women and children that are shed daily in Fallujah, Samarra, Ramadi and elsewhere on your hands and the hands of those you work with." and according to the AP it said that the 11 slain men were "responsible for guarding the Crusader American troops in the Radwaniya area" in Baghdad.
Rusty Shackleford has posted stills from the video. The graphic execution video is available at the Terrorist Media website and here.
Pollster Estimates Ohio Unemployment Now At 100%

A survey of employment status in Ohio households estimates that 100% of the people in the state are now unemployed. There is no official figure for the actual number of unemployed since the pollster concedes that the data are based on projections which were of "limited precision," because the quality of the information depends on the accuracy of the household interviews used for the study.

Designed and conducted by a guy in my neighborhood, the results of the study are being reported exclusively in the Interested-Participant blog. The study's methodology and results are considered valid because some other guys in the neighborhood said so. Additional support is provided by an unrelated survey to be published today on the Web site of The Lancet medical journal.

From SFGate.com: A survey of deaths in Iraqi households estimates that as many as 100,000 more people may have died throughout the country in the 18 months after the U.S. invasion than would be expected based on the death rate before the war.

There is no official figure for the number of Iraqis killed since the conflict began, but some non-governmental estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000. As of Wednesday, 1,081 U.S. servicemen had been killed, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

The scientists who wrote the report concede that the data they based their projections on were of "limited precision," because the quality of the information depends on the accuracy of the household interviews used for the study.

Based upon these two surveys, it can now be concluded that all scientific survey results that are reported with an initial disclaimer that states there is no valid basis or "limited precision" should immediately be sent to the San Francisco Chronicle or any other MSM member.

[Update 10/31/04, 0200EST] Paul at Wizbang has a post up that indicates many people are questioning the validity of the survey indicating that 100,000 Iraqis have died. He cites an article in Slate. It's worth a visit.
Gastric Bypass Patient Recovering

(Sioux Falls, SD) When Patrick Deuel, 42, of Valentine, Neb., entered the Avera McKennan Hospital last June, his weight was approaching 1,100 pounds.

Patrick Deuel
Patrick Deuel
(Photo: S. Villanueva, AP)

After being placed on a strict 1,200 calorie per day diet, he lost 421 lbs. as of Tuesday, when he underwent a nine-hour gastric bypass operation performed by lead surgeon Dr. Fred Harris, assisted by medical team of more than 20 members.
The operation took so long - Harris said anything more than four hours is unusual - because it involved two surgeries. The gastric bypass segment took only about an hour and went "very smoothly," Harris said. But first the surgeon had to contend with a more complicated endeavor.

As Deuel put on massive weight in recent years, excess fat put extraordinary pressure on the protective wall that holds his internal organs in place. At some point, the pressure forced a scar from a past gall bladder surgery to thin out. Most of his small bowel, part of his colon and other innards pushed through and created a watermelon-sized sac that hung outside his abdominal wall.

[ ... ]

Harris spent several hours delicately working to put everything back in place and repairing what was essentially a huge hernia. He had to sew mesh over the wound to make sure Deuel's innards stay in place.
Yesterday, Patrick Deuel awoke in the intensive care unit "doing very well," even cracking jokes. Dr. Harris stated that there were "no major problems so far," although, the real science is keeping Patrick Deuel alive afterwards. Any surgery entails risks such as infection or excessive blood loss, but obesity surgery also has the risks of leaking of the pouch, loosening of the gastric staples, and, in Deuel's case, a large hernia repair. Unfortunately, that's not the end of Deuel's ordeal since living with a gastric bypass has its own problems.

Gastric Bypass

Since he still weighs 651 lbs., Deuel will be required to completely alter his lifestyle to accommodate the smaller stomach, a strict diet, an exercise program, and, after about a year, the need for plastic surgery to remove excess skin that has been stretched to extraordinary lengths. If Patrick Deuel surmounts all the difficulties associated with the surgical operations and living with the gastric bypass, which may take years, studies have shown that the odds are in his favor to keep the weight off and live a longer and healthier life. Interestingly, he appears to be in a good frame of mind for achieving success, having a positive outlook and a sense of humor. As an example, while preparing for the operation, Deuel mentioned to Dr. Harris that he was a Republican and, "when he gets inside there, if he finds anything Democratic, take it out."
Man Tries To Run Over Katherine Harris

Check out this story from Sarasota, Florida,
A motorist who told police he was exercising his "political expression" was jailed Wednesday on an aggravated assault charge alleging he tried to run down U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris and a group of re-election campaign supporters. No one was injured.
It should say 'fortunately, no one was injured' because the potential was great. The clueless Democrat driver, Barry M. Seltzer, 46, was charged with first-degree felony assault with a deadly weapon and is being held in the Sarasota County jail without bond. If convicted, he faces a potential 30-year prison term.

This incident demonstrates how emotions, overheated by politics, can easily prompt irresponsible, even criminal, behavior. It happens way too often.

Companion post at Backcountry Conservative.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Russia Linked To Missing Weaponry

Breaking news from Matt Drudge:
GERTZ // THURSDAY // WASH TIMES: Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons and related goods out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S. military operation, The Washington Times has learned. John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.
Perhaps the only real surprise here is that Russian complicity took so long to be (apparently) confirmed. The suspicion was raised prior to the start of the war.
Red Sox Win The World Series!

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox team for a great season. Final score: Sox 3, Cards 0. Sox take series 4-0.
Gitmo Prisoners To Sue

This story is the dumbest. Not worthy of comment, however, take a look if you want to shake your head in disbelief.
Google Directory

I signed up and now I want out. Anyone know how I can do it?
Arafat Very Ill

Breaking news from News.com.au.
Dung - The Communist Rapist

From Channel NewsAsia:
HANOI: Vietnam's former deputy sports minister Luong Quoc Dung is to stand trial on charges of raping a 13-year-old girl in an attempt to rid himself of bad luck.

The accused had held the post of vice chairman of the State Committee for Physical Training and Sports until he was dismissed by Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and expelled from the ruling Communist Party on March 1.

Dung's trial, which will be held behind closed doors to protect the identity of the victim, is only scheduled to last one day. If convicted by the Hanoi People's Court, the 52-year-old faces between seven and 15 years in prison.
Now, there's some good along with the bad in this case. The bad, of course, is that Dung is a child rapist and there is a victim. The good is that Communism, as practiced in other countries, would normally protect party members from this type of prosecution. In Dung's case, apparently party membership carries no weight.

Another comment is that Dung must be a complete idiot, jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Raping anyone, much less a 13-year-old girl, is not the path to being luckier.
Congratulations To Dr. Shackleford

Well worth mentioning is that The Jawa Report is now a source for Google News. Drinks for everybody.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Oberlin Voter Registration at 117%

Oberlin, Ohio, including Oberlin College, has a population of eligible voters that is smaller than the number that have registered. After subtracting children and others who aren't eligible from census data, only about 7,000 people are presumably available as registered voters. Astonishingly, the election board has received 8,162 voter registrations.

Robert Rousseau, Lorain County Republican Party Chairman and a member of the county board of elections, stated that the problem appeared to be "sophisticated fraud" by voter registration-drive organizations. In disagreement, Thomas Smith, Lorain County Democratic Party Chairman and elections board member, believes that the problem is simple miscalculation by the elections board or the U.S. Census Bureau.

Resolution? Who knows? Reading the article, I'm not convinced anything will be done. If next week's election in Ohio is contested because of a few thousand vote difference, I'd recommend taking a real close look at Oberlin.
2,000 Filipinos Entered Iraq From Kuwait

On account of relaxed Kuwaiti border restrictions, an estimated 2,000 overseas Filipino workers slipped into Iraq from Kuwait on Saturday. The total number of Filipino workers in Iraq is now estimated to be at least 4,000 in various civilian industries.

It's somewhat perplexing that Filipino workers would continue to flock to Iraq. Just recently, the government removed all forces from Iraq after a threat to behead one Filipino. It appears that the overseas Filipino workers feel relatively safe going to Iraq while their leaders in the Philippines are spineless.

Of course, I'm looking at the situation from a distance, but it still galls me that American military advisors (last I checked, at least 600) are in the Philippines helping them with their terrorist problem while, at the same time, the Filipino military is noticeably not in Iraq.
Japanese Taken Hostage

A video was posted today on an al-Qaeda website that showed a kidnapped Japanese man with three terrorists standing behind him. One terrorist stated that the government of Japan have 48 hours to remove all Japanese forces from Iraq or the man would be beheaded.

Bastards!

[Update] From The Jawa Report we learn that the Japanese man is 24-year-old Akio Koda, an apparent "drifter whose family had not heard from him in months."

[Update 2] According to Ogrish.com, the hostage is named Shosei Koda and a link to the al-Qaeda website video is provided.
Hope For Alzheimer's Patients

According to the Medicinal Plant Research Center at Newcastle University, it's a steaming cup of tea.
Campaign Notice

For those interested, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Dennis Kucinich will be speaking today about health care in Lorain, Ohio.
Republicans Challenge 17,000 On Voter Rolls

From a Cleveland Plain Dealer report:
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections must find more than 17,000 registered voters by Friday to tell them they may be culled from the rolls by Republican challengers.

One problem: the very reason these voters are being challenged is because the elections board can't seem to reach them.
Apparently, there's some concern about whether the voters actually exist.

How odd.
Zarqawi Associate Killed

(Baghdad, Iraq) From News.com.au:
An aide to Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in an airstrike in the militant stronghold of Fallujah ....
A precision airstrike was used on a safe house the terrorist group used. No name for the aide has been provided.
Guest Relations Officers

I found this story from Malaysia interesting because I'd never heard the euphemism 'guest relations officers' used for the common bar slut.
Castro Bans Dollars

Cubans will have to do business in pesos after November 8th now that Fidel Castro has banned conducting business in U.S. dollars. The edict is expected to affect transactions from an estimated $1 billion sent to the island from remittances by Cubans in the U.S. and from tourism.

I expect an expansion of black market activities. It usually happens when the government places unreasonable restrictions on currency.

Monday, October 25, 2004

RFID In Passports

Thanks to Anita Campbell for the heads-up on this report. Effective early 2005, U.S. Passports will be outfitted with RFID chips and some people view this as a decrease in security.
Here is how the claim goes: any terrorist, kidnapper or pickpocket equipped with an RFID reader supposedly will be able to scan a crowd in an airport or large gathering, and immediately see who is an American. They could read all sorts of data about those individuals, including name, address, date of birth. They would have access to a digital photograph.
The report takes a wait and see approach to the reduced security contention because RFID chips customarily are not awash with personal information, rather the chips have an identifying number which points to information in a secure database. I tend to agree for now, however, I'm expecting to hear more on this subject in the next few months.
Court Rules Against Provisional Ballots

The Democrats goal of allowing people to vote outside their home precincts was challenged by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. Subsequently, Democrats successfully filed suit in U.S. District Court to block Blackwell's directive to require voters to vote in their own polling places. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Blackwell's authority while rejecting the practice of provisional ballots.

Democrats say they won't appeal. Good, I thought it was a lousy idea and a guarantee of many lawsuits.
Children Die In Toledo Fire

Yesterday, from a Toledo Blade report:
Six children died today in an afternoon apartment fire in South Toledo that also left one other child in critical condition.

All of the victims were under 7 years old, Toledo fire Chief Mike Bell said.

Toledo firefighters responded about 2:40 p.m. to the fire just east of Reynolds Road, and about a quarter-mile north of Airport Highway.
Latest report has seven kids dead. It's also been reported that no adults were injured nor were any in the house. Seven kids under 7-years-old left alone.
WAPO Endorses Kerry For President

This was predictable.
[W]e believe Mr. Kerry, with his promise of resoluteness tempered by wisdom and open-mindedness, has staked a stronger claim on the nation's trust to lead for the next four years.
I believe the Washington Post staff members are overwhelming Democrats. They'll claim they are objective but, it's a lie.
Bosox Fan Dies

I just came across a very interesting post at the CodeBlueBlog and the author calls for the medblogs to take an interest in the story. Here's an excerpt:
The night the Red Sox won the ALCS, 80,000 Bostonian fans swelled the streets around Fenway, and a police officer fired a pepper ball into a part of the crowd. The marble-sized pepper ball -- that travels about 300 feet per second -- is said to have struck a woman in the eye. By the accounts I can find, the woman fell to the ground and was reported to be bleeding from her nose, at least. She died hours later at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
So it appears she died from a pepper ball wound which the author disputes as not being founded on existing medical knowledge. In fact, no data supports anyone ever dying in this manner. The post is engaging and I recommend that my readers visit the CodeBlueBlog.
Brazilian Rocket Launch

After much trial and error, including a deadly explosion last year which killed 21 people, the country of Brazil has successfully launched a rocket into space. It appears that the nagging problem with persistent jiggling of the equipment has been tempered.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Apologies

About three days ago, I got hit with a double whammy and the result has been no blog entries. Last week I experienced some pesky problems with accessing the Internet and they got increasingly worse as time went by. Then, out of the clear blue, I got hit with a bothersome respiratory and gastric malady that laid me down. The net affect of both problems was to have blogging put aside. I have suffered through the worst, am feeling much better, and have solved (fingers crossed) the problems with getting on line

I also looked at my email for the first time in several days and figure it's going to take at least a full day to process properly. Please accept my apologies for going AWOL.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Sox

Blah, blah, blah ... the Boston Redsox win and the hero looks like Charles Manson.
Punishment

My son has a cat allergy. It's genetic. He knows to stay away from cats. Monday he didn't go to school because on Sunday he was close to cats. The allergic reaction is scary. Fortuntely, I've been through previous episodes and knew what to do. I punished him for being boneheaded. He has been sentenced to read Mila 18 by Leon Uris. He's being clocked and there are pop quizzes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Driving Lesson

I just spent an eternity teaching my 16-year-old some driving skills. My hands are still shaking. I never thought that this endeavor would entail explaining the difference between lawns and roads.
GENERAL INDIVIDUAL COMPLAINT

I am repulsed by the fact that the media glorifies people that wear dirty clothes. In fact, it's trendy. Filth is trendy. I saw this program (Late night something with carson) where the host just looked dirty, unkempt and unshaven, sort of "I've been in the woods and I stink kind of guy" and he introduced somebody who looked like they just came out of the garage after dropping the engine from a car, and he spoke with all the eloquence of a grumbling V8 engine.

It sure seems to me that if a person gets the opportunity to be on national [and international] television, a person ought to don his Sunday best.

Monday, October 18, 2004

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Candles, cake, balloons, and noisemakers are being electronically transmitted to my beautiful daughter, Ter, on her birthday.
Cleveland Less Poor Than Thought

The results of a study commissioned by the Key Bank and the Cleveland Foundation indicate that the city of Cleveland is not as impoverished as previous research had found.
"It shows there are disposable dollars in Cleveland neighborhoods that can support businesses and retail," said Daryl Rush, the city's community development director.

The study due for official release next week was done by Social Compact, a Maryland-based nonprofit that tries to show the hidden buying power in urban areas. It studies utility bills, credit reports, auto registrations and other sources to compile population and income estimates.
Since the results of the study are encouraging, there will probably be scant mention of it in the elite media. Businesses, however, will review the data and may be persuaded to locate in the area if adequate buying power exists. It should be noted that there already have been indications of renewed vibrancy of the local economy from rumblings of uncommonly high election season voter registration transactions.
Best Of Me Symphony

Featured this week is the P.J. O'Rourke Edition of the Best Of Me Symphony. Go visit.
Multicultural Home Improvement Market

In the 1990s, the population of Hispanics in the U.S. increased by 58%, more than four times the rate of growth achieved by the total U.S. population. Coincidentally, the percentage of Hispanic homeowners increased dramatically in the decade ending 2003. The statistics, of course, are not being ignored by American businessmen and, according to this report, their marketing and advertising efforts are being refocused.
"It's a very underserved market," said Cindy McConkey, vice president of communications for Scripps Network, which owns Home and Garden Television and is studying plans for a Spanish-language channel. "We have measured Hispanic viewership and it is on the rise."
Home improvement spending by Hispanics has grown 80% over the last seven years and the total market is estimated to be $25 to $30 billion.

During the 2004 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, experts noted that the burgeoning growth and affluence of the Hispanic and Asian populations provide compelling reasons for directed multicultural marketing. Marketing consultant Luis Garcia noted:
"With 40 million Hispanics and their $600 billion in annual purchasing power, this group represents an economic opportunity larger than Canada and wealthier than any Latin American country," said Garcia.
I guess Garcia is saying that there are more Mexicans in the United States than there are Canadians in Canada. This is not surprising to anyone with even the smallest familiarity with the news.

Regarding the Asians, Saul Gitlin, Executive Vice President of Kang & Lee, a multicultural marketing agency, stated that the Asian home improvement industry "is the most overlooked market in the U.S." Gitlin cites data indicating that Asians are significantly more affluent than other demographic groups and are, therefore, "ripe for manufacturers and retailers."

Consequently, experts agree that there are many Hispanics ready to buy and there are many upper-middle class Asians ready to buy and it's up to the home improvement firms to take action for their business. Any rational assessment of the growth and potential for growth of the home improvement industry would have to agree that the indicators are overwhelmingly positive. The future is bright despite the pronouncements of various politicians that the current economy is trending negative. And, personally, I've fairly had my limit of hearing that the U.S. economy is the worst in 50 years.
Carnival Of The Capitalists

Congratulations to Jay Solo on the one-year anniversary of the Carnival Of The Capitalists. It's become a popular and enduring feature of the blogosphere and it's sure to continue.
Belarus Referendum

From Reuters:
MINSK (Reuters) - Belarus awaited the outcome of a referendum on Monday to determine whether President Alexander Lukashenko, accused in the West of running roughshod over human rights, can run for office for a third time.

Officials released few details of the count, subject to delays after Sunday's plebiscite. Lukashenko's liberal opponents, speaking long before the polls closed, said it was subject to unprecedented cheating and intimidation.

Lukashenko needs the support of 50 percent of all registered voters -- not just those casting ballots -- to do away with a constitutional provision limiting him to two terms in office.

Two exit polls offered contradictory results in the former Soviet republic, where Western observers have deemed elections fraudulent since soon after Lukashenko first came to power in 1994.
The polling was overseen by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which sent 300 observers. It was noticed that the polling was conducted in a "climate of fear" with debate on issues lacking. Exit polling produced conflicting results. When asked of the irregularities, Lukashenko basically told everyone to mind their own business. He's quoted as saying,
"Try to calm down and stop accusing us of violations and cheating. Look at your own problems and solve them."
It appears that Belarus is drifting back towards the police state politics of communism.
Zarqawi Announces Allegiance to Bin Laden

Earlier today, Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad group announced on the Internet that bin Laden is "the best leader for Islam's armies against all infidels and apostates" and declared allegiance to al-Qaeda.

And also today, as if this news were not common knowledge, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated:
"I consider the activities of terrorists in Iraq are not as much aimed at coalition forces but more personally against President Bush," Putin said at a news conference after a regional summit in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

"International terrorism has as its goal to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term," he said. "If they achieve that goal, then that will give international terrorism a new impulse and extra power."
Therefore, one can reasonably assume that President Bush is considered to be the greatest threat to the goals of fundamental Islamists. The Electoral College Breakdown might need to note that the world's murdering terrorists appear to be Leaning Towards Kerry. (Hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

CIA Agent Caught Shoplifting

This report is proof positive that President Bush is getting bad information from the CIA. Forget about stealing classified information from foreign enemies, our secret agents can't steal a package of bacon without getting caught. After being pinched, Michael Kostiw's name was withdrawn from consideration as the CIA's Executive Director. (via The Owner's Manual)
Terrorists At Beslan Were Drug Addicts

It seems to me that AnalogKid at Random Nuclear Strikes should get some credit for the scoop on this story.
FORENSIC tests show that some of the terrorists who seized more than 1000 hostages in a school in the southern Russian town of Beslan last month were drug addicts, says senior prosecutor.

Nikolai Shepel, Russia's deputy prosecutor general, said forensic experts found traces of drugs in the bodies of some of the militants that exceeded normally lethal levels.

This indicated they were long-term drug addicts, he said in a statement carried by the Interfax and Itar-Tass news agencies.
Apparently, it's common knowledge in Eastern Europe that Chechen society tolerates widespread drug use. (sarcasm)How nice. Now, all we have to do is follow their example and decriminalize drugs in the U.S. and we too can have a Beslan adventure.(/sarcasm)
Aussies Deny UN Request

From News.com.au:
AUSTRALIA has quietly rejected diplomatic overtures from the United Nations and the US to contribute to a military force to protect UN officials in Iraq.
Interesting.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Your Local Voting Guide

In every election in my life I've been less informed about local candidates than those running for state and national offices. President, governor, senator, congressman, yes, I know who they are and which party they belong to. When it comes to local offices, I'm lost. The election approaches and there are names in television commercials that I've never heard. People running for judge, county commissioner, school board, dogcatcher, coroner, and they are all strangers to me. Not only that but, in many cases, you aren't given a clue as to which political party they belong to. On a local level, party affiliation is often hidden.

Realizing this particular aspect of democracy, I developed a technique for determining who to vote for. Drive around.

Yes, cruise through your community's neighborhoods and look at the signs. If you want to know if Mr. Pick-A-Name is Democrat or Republican, just look at what his sign is placed next to. It doesn't take a lot of effort. Sometime between now and November 2nd, drive around town with a pad of paper. You'll easily be able to figure out who's for Kerry/Edwards and who's for Bush/Cheney. The adjacent signs you'll see are all the local politicians who don't like the voters to know which party brung them.
Wal-Mart Growth

Mexican liberals are upset that Wal-Mart is building a store in close proximity to ancient ruins which the Aztecs named Teotihuacan - The Place Where Men Become Gods.
Teotihuacan
TEOTIHUACAN

An open letter to President Vicente Fox carries the complaints of the artist community, including painter Francisco Toledo and novelist Laura Esquivel.
"Teotihuacan is for Mexicans our greatest cultural heritage, an expression of our history and our identity as a people and nation," the writers and artists said in the letter.
Although the national anthropology institute has stated the new Wal-Mart poses no threat to the ruins, local protesters disagree and claim that the new store will spoil the site. They also charge that small businesses will be killed and life in the area will change.
"We're afraid it would open the door to more development ... McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken," said the novelist, poet and activist Homero Aridjis.
What a dichotomy! When there is too little or no development, the liberal community complains and protests. Leftists also complain and protest when there is any notable development. It's a no-win situation. The liberals cannot be satified and it's difficult to dispute the contention that they are primarily opposed to free enterprise. As indicated by the following report, liberals may have a litany of complaints but the same is not true of the customers.

Meanwhile, in Honolulu, Hawaii, yesterday Wal-Mart opened its first urban store on Oahu near Ala Moana Center. Crowds of shoppers arrived early and, when the doors opened, they were described as washing into the store excitedly. Outside, a couple dozen people protested the store being permitted to open before the reburial of ancestral remains that were found during construction. The protest was peaceful and, other than by the media, largely ignored. Archaeologists are still sorting through the remains which are intermingled with garbage and animal bones.

In summary, Wal-Mart overcomes the impediments and roadblocks and continues to grow because it is "the better mousetrap" of the retail world. The company is the top retailer in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. with significant and growing presence in Europe, Asia, and South America. Wal-Mart expansion has become as predictable as the changing seasons.
Arkansas Bus Crash - Update

From a commercialappeal.com report:
The driver of the bus that crashed on Interstate 55 early Saturday and killed 14 had less than half a second to react when his bus began to swerve, officials said Thursday.

Driver Hubert Walters, 67, drove the 39-foot bus off the road near Marion, Ark., after more than eight hours of night driving, and investigators have been piecing his last seconds together to learn why.

The Walters Charter and Tours bus owned by the driver's brother, Roosevelt Walters, had problems, including a cracked frame that held the motor in place and a roof skin placed over an existing roof, a feature that added up to 700 pounds to the top of the bus.
It appears that my original thoughts on the accident may be wrong. Far from driver fatigue, evidence now seems to indicate the accident was caused because the bus was in questionable mechanical and structural condition.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Woman Dies In Ticket Line

(Chicago, Illinois) A 70-year-old woman collapsed to the pavement while waiting in the Oprah show ticket line outside Harpo Studios in Chicago. A brain hemorrhage killed Barbara Alzamora of Harwinton, Connecticut.
Catholic Priest Steals More Than $1 Million

From cbs2chicago.com:
A judge set bail at $100,000 for a Catholic priest who resigned earlier this summer amid allegations that he stole more than $1 million from his parish on the city's southwest side.

The Rev. Brian Lisowski appeared Thursday in Cook County Criminal Court via closed-circuit television. He was charged with felony money laundering and theft from a school or place of worship.

Lisowski resigned in July from St. Bede the Venerable after acknowledging he had relapsed into alcoholism and had been stopped by police in the company of an alleged prostitute, church officials said.

After his resignation, there was a sudden increase in the parish's collections cash account that prompted the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago to look at his personal financial records, Auxiliary Bishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller has said.
I cannot tell you the relief I feel knowing that the Catholic Church hierarchy has crooks other than child molesters and pedophiles. At least common thieves can be rehabilitated.

Darfur Conflict

Darfur Deaths Total 70,000 Since March

From a BBC report:
About 70,000 displaced people are thought to have died in Sudan's Darfur region since March, mainly from disease and malnutrition, a UN official says.

David Nabarro, head of the World Health Organisation's health crisis group, said up to 10,000 people were still dying in refugee camps each month.

Darfur Conflict
Darfur Region
It's estimated that only about 15% of deaths were due to violence, most were caused by poor sanitation and disease. Concern has been expressed internationally, but little help has been provided. The UN has been noticeably slow in reacting. On the other hand, the African Union has assisted by mobilizing a 300-strong cease-fire monitoring mission, but it's only a small start.

Of note is that the UN is again particularly unreliable when it comes to helping stop massive death tolls.
Turk Beheaded by Ansar al-Sunnah

Shown on the website of the Army of Ansar al-Sunnah, Turkish truck driver Ramadan Elbu was beheaded. A statement read in the video said the kidnappers belonged to the Tawhid and Jihad group's "Qaqa Brigade," a reference to a commander who served the Prophet Muhammad.

Rusty Shackleford has more on the story including still images and video. Others blogging: Backcountry Conservative, Diggers Realm, Outside The Beltway, and Sortapundit. As an Oh-by-the-way, does anyone know how to properly pronounce "Qaqa Brigade?" If it's like I think it is, the bastard murderers are appropriately named.
Al-Qaida Financier Arrested

Wanted on Spanish charges of giving logistical and financial support to terrorists since 1997, Mamoun Darkazanli, 46, a Syrian-German dual national was arrested in Hamburg by German authorities. Considered a flight risk, he is in custody awaiting extradition to Spain. If convicted of being a bag man for al-Qaida, he faces up to 12 years in prison.

Good, and with any luck, the Spanish jury will remember the bombing in Madrid earlier this year.

In a related story, the Bank of England has ordered a freeze on all assets of the Tawhid and Jihad group held in financial institutions in Britain. The action wasn't taken earlier because "legislation requires a high standard of evidence to be there before the Chancellor can instruct action to be taken," said an anonymous spokesman.

It appears that the "high standard of evidence" was achieved with the videotaped beheading of Kenneth Bigley. Personally, I believe some people, British leftists, have been sitting on their hands and not taking a proactive role in fighting terrorism.

Trackback to the Beltway Traffic Jam.
Tiger Woods Blocked

(San Juan, Puerto Rico) Tiger Woods' yacht crew failed to notify the U.S. Coast Guard prior to entering San Juan harbor and was turned away. Security regulations require four days' notice prior to entering a U.S. port.

Tiger and Wife
Mr. & Mrs. Tiger Woods

Tiger and his wife, model Elin Nordegren, are cruising and honeymooning through the Carribean after being married October 5th in Barbados. They'll just have to do it without visiting Puerto Rico.

An interesting side note is that the Woods' marriage was covered by the Associated Press and the media universally told of the secretive event and stated that even Oprah Winfrey attended. According to this source, Oprah wasn't there.
Kidnapped Chinese Engineers

Updating a previous entry, one Chinese engineer held hostage was killed and the other was freed from the al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in a dramatic rescue operation by Pakistani Security Forces. Wang Peng succumbed to injuries, Wang Ende survived and was handed over to Chinese diplomats. Five kidnappers were killed. Unfortunately, Abdullah Mehsud, the terrorist leader and former Gitmo prisoner who was released because he was no longer dangerous, was not.
FBI Indymedia Raid - Update

Updating a previous report, the Indymedia servers taken by the FBI have been returned and as soon as the equipment is operationally checked, all websites will be back on line.

Interestingly, according to this report, there's some international intrigue associated with the FBI raid and confiscation of the Indymedia equipment. It seems the Swiss government initiated the request for the search and, under an multi-national treaty agreement, it was performed by the FBI since the company owning the servers was American. It's reported that the Swiss concern has something to do with photographs taken of Swiss guards and G8 protesters. Indymedia has its lawyers trying to get more information, such as who authorized the search and why. It's believed the search was illegal. There will surely be more to this story.
Media News

There's a new blog, called Regret The Error, dedicated to documenting corrections, retractions, clarifications and trends regarding accuracy and honesty in North American media. For any regular reader of the news, this blog is engaging and informative. It provides a central clearinghouse which demonstrates that most media corrections are the literary equivalent of sweeping the dirt under the carpet. (via mediabistro.com)

In an article about Internet fraud, Adam Penenberg discusses an area of increasing concern - click fraud. Click fraud is the practice of adulterating pay-per-click advertising statistics by generating illegitimate hits.
Click fraud takes advantage of the increasing popularity of performance-based ad arrangements on the net, and the dramatic rise in the cost of online advertising. Those that stand to benefit most are search networks' content partners, which receive commissions on these fraudulent clicks, and competitors intent on playing dirty by inflating a rival's pay-per-click spending to stretch their advertising budget.

[ ... ]

Click fraud can be carried out in several ways. The simplest: Hire a legion of low-wage workers to click manually on web ads. For instance, The Times of India reported on a new type of gray-market outsourcing: A growing number of Indian housewives, urban professionals and college grads are hired to sit around and click on ads for hours on end. They make between 18 and 25 cents per click and earn up to $200 a month.
Since click fraud affects the integrity of the Internet in addition to increasing the cost of conducting online business, the FCC should investigate and take appropriate action. The article also addresses other types of Internet fraud and it's worth a look. (via Wired News)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Deputy Sheriff Killed

(Near Waldo, Ohio) A report from the Ohio News Network:
A veteran sheriff's deputy on an early morning call was shot and killed early Thursday morning.

Brandy Winfield, age 29, was found shot in his overturned cruiser. Winfield was a six-year veteran of the Marion County Sheriff's Department.

He leaves behind a wife and two young children. His father and brother are both Marion city police officers.

The whole incident started around 4 a.m. Thursday morning along SR 423 near Waldo, which is six miles south of Marion.

Deputy Winfield was responding to a report of a disabled vehicle and he radioed in that he saw two men walking along the highway, the sheriff's office said.

A short time later, all radio transmissions ended. Winfield's cruiser was found upside down in a ditch, and Winfield had been shot in the head.
A suspect was arrested at the scene and another showed up at the local hospital while a third is still being sought.

We should never forget that there is nothing routine in the life of a police officer. Condolences to the family and friends of Deputy Winfield.

[Update 4:45pm EDT] From nbc4i.com:
(Waldo, Ohio) Authorities on Thursday released a photo of the man who they said shot and killed a Marion County sheriff's deputy earlier in the morning.

Juan Carlos Cruz
Juan Carlos Cruz

Delaware County Sheriff Al Myers released the photo of Juan Carlos Cruz, 20, who allegedly shot Winfield.
Described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, Cruz is considered armed and dangerous.

As a precaution, the Buckeye Valley School District was placed on lockdown and a section of S.R. 423 was closed by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Anyone with information should call the Delaware Police Department.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Suicide Websites

From The Japan Times, it's reported that authorities are investigating the suicide-pact deaths of nine young people whose bodies were found yesterday.
In recent years, a number of Web sites have sprung up in Japan to introduce suicidal people to others so that they can die together, often of carbon monoxide poisoning using charcoal stoves in sealed vehicles.
Something is seriously wrong when suicide becomes a group activity.
Zarqawi Beheads Iraqis

Fadhel Ibrahim and Firas Imeil, two Iraqi National Intelligence officers, were beheaded today by followers of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Dr. Rusty Shackleford has the report with still photos and video and adds the following:
Disclaimer: When I started posting about this subject I never expected the terrorists to begin beheading people on a daily basis. I am saddened to keep posting on this subject. However, I still feel strongly that most Americans have forgotten what it was like to watch the Twin Towers fall. They have forgotten what it was like to watch people jumping out of those buildings. Many claim to remember, but an intellectual understanding of such attrocities is not enough. Let the images and video posted below remind you of the sick SOBs we are fighting. We fight for our secularism, we fight for religious choice, and we fight for our civilization.
There have been complaints about putting the beheading reports on the Internet and I can understand the views of those in disagreement. My personal belief is that the United States and its allies are locked in a battle with a primitive and brutal enemy and any attempt to put blinders on their atrocities is shielding the true nature of the conflict from the American people. The terrorists are not noble adversaries and we shouldn't pretty them up. They are the assassins of a savage and feudal civilization. The war is a death match and the video and photo images remind us who the enemy is and why we must win. In summary, I agree with Rusty and Interested-Participant will continue to point to the ugly images of reality.

Unwanted Implant

Bogus Doctor Busted

(Miami, Florida) After evading criminal charges for five years, doctor impersonator Reinaldo Silvestre has been apprehended in Belize where he was teaching medicine. He awaits extradition to the U.S.
Investigators say Silvestre performed operations on champion bodybuilder and former Mr. Mexico Alexander Baez and at least two women, resulting in gross disfigurement and severe physical and emotional pain. He earned the nickname from police "The Butcher of South Beach."

Police say Baez went to Silvestre's Ocean Health Center in Miami Beach to have his pectoral muscles enhanced. But he woke up to find he had been given female breast implants.

Unwanted Implant
Former Mr. Mexico Alexander Baez

Baez' attorney also says veterinary anesthesia was used on his client, who woke up three times during the procedure. A warrant for Silvestre's arrest was issued in September 1999 after he failed to appear in court.
Silvestre is charged with organized fraud, aggravated battery, practicing medicine without a license and grand theft.

One would imagine that a doctor nicknamed "The Butcher" would have difficulty in getting patients. (via Slings and Arrows)

Armored Truck Spill

Armored Truck Flips, Spills Cash

(Akron, Ohio) From NewsNet5.com:
Interstate 77 is closed after an armored truck flipped on the highway, NewsChannel5 reported.

Armored Truck Spill

The armored truck flipped at about 9 a.m. on Interstate 77 southbound between the White Pond Drive and Ridgewood exits.

Armored Truck Spill

Police said money was sent everywhere after the crash. At least three other vehicles were involved.
Apparently the armored truck driver lost control going northbound and crossed the median and hit another car head-on in the southbound lane. It's unknown how much money was strewn over the area. However, it is understood that passing motorists exhibited award-winning rubbernecking skills.
Mafiaville

From an AP report:
Investigators found the remains of two people believed to be former Mafia captains at a vacant lot apparently used for years as a graveyard for people ordered killed by the late mob boss John Gotti and other gangsters, authorities said.
The remains are believed to be Bonanno crime family captains Philip Giaccone and Dominick Trinchera. The area in Queens where the remains were found is known locally as Mafiaville and agents are continuing the search for more bodies including the man who accidentally killed John Gotti's 12-year-old son in 1980 and then disappeared.
Babies In Mass Grave

According to this report, a mass grave in northern Iraq has produced evidence that Saddam Hussein executed women and children. Investigators found nine trenches in the village of Hatra containing hundreds of bodies including skeletons of unborn babies and toddlers clutching toys. The victims are thought to be Kurds shot and killed in the late 1980s and bulldozed into the trenches.
The body of one woman was found still clutching a baby. The infant had been shot in the back of the head and the woman in the face.

"The youngest foetus we have was 18 to 20 foetal weeks," said US investigating anthropologist P Willey.

"Tiny bones, femurs - thighbones the size of a matchstick."

Mr Kehoe investigated mass graves in the Balkans for five years but those burials mainly involved men of fighting age and the Iraqi finds were quite different, he said.

"I've been doing grave sites for a long time, but I've never seen anything like this, women and children executed for no apparent reason," he said.
Frankly, the finding of another mass grave doesn't surprise me. It's been known that Saddam Hussein is, and always has been, an ignorant, murderous thug and mass killings of innocent people is what murderous thugs do. However, I continue to be flummoxed by the attitudes of leftists that say the U.S. should have left Hussein in power.

Also blogging: A Western Heart, The Jawa Report
PayPal Outages

For the fifth consecutive day, outages have affected PayPal payments, log-ins and account creations.
The technical glitch plaguing the eBay (EBAY) subsidiary has affected an untold number of users, making it hard for some online sellers to complete deals, according to the eBay website.

Since some people are able to log in while others are not, eBay spokeswoman Amanda Pires said the total number of affected users remains unclear.
With 50 million user accounts worldwide, the financial impact of the PayPal outages could be substantial.

For some reason, when I hear of persistent technical glitches associated with the Internet, I immediately suspect that they are deliberate.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Haiti Violence

Former Haitian President Aristide is in South Africa but his thugs are on the streets of Port-Au-Prince inciting violence and killing members of the interim government. The level of violence has caused interruptions in food aid and, according to Abby Maxman, Haiti's CARE Director, has also caused the UN peacekeepers to reduce their forces. Oddly, when the job becomes more difficult, the UN reduces its forces. Maybe Kofi Annan can explain the logic.

Hospital records indicate 17 people were killed this week and the gangs have instituted a new campaign called "Operation Baghdad" where policemen are beheaded.

Of course, the United States is being blamed for the violence which is pretty much normal. The U.S. gets blamed for everything.
Transmission Towers Toppled

(Oak Creek, Wisconsin) At least eight FBI investigators are analyzing the scene of two deliberately toppled electrical transmission towers to gather evidence to find and convict the perpetrators. A $10,000 reward has been established for information about the crime.
Oak Creek Police Chief Thomas Bauer declined to specify what was found at the scene but said the sabotage, which temporarily left 17,000 homes and Mitchell International Airport without power Saturday and disrupted train travel, could have been done "with a common wrench." Two-inch-long bolts, a half-inch in diameter, were removed near ground level, he said.

Authorities decided early on it was a deliberate act, but no suspect was identified and no one publicly claimed responsibility.
Authorities haven't ruled whether or not the crime was a terrorist act since transmission line sabotage has been carried out in the past by disgruntled workers and vandals in addition to terrorists. Radical environmentalists would be my guess. To contact authorities: Oak Creek police at 414-762-8200 or the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force at 414-276-4684.
Shiite Muslim Beheaded by Army of Ansar al-Sunnah

A video has surfaced on the Internet showing the beheading of a Shiite Muslim named Al-Sayed Alaa al-Malki by the Sunni Army of Ansar al-Sunnah. With an Iraqi accent, al-Malki said on the tape he was a follower of Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
The video showed the man saying he worked with an American military officer named Paul, with whom he allegedly established a "Citizens Claims Office" that was used as a cover "to collect and buy weapons from the street, and sell them to the American army."

A statement purportedly from the Ansar al-Sunnah Army that accompanied the video said al-Malki was killed because "he used the Citizens Claims Office as an underground tunnel -- during his work with the American forces -- to assassinate a number of Sunni leaders."
It appears that Tawhid and Jihad leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is trying to incite a civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites. (via In The Bullpen)

Also Blogging:
Backcountry Conservative,

In The Bullpen,

Outside The Beltway,

The Jawa Report.
Chad Evans is hosting the video here (scroll down).

Abdullah Mehsud

Pakistani Kidnappers Borrow From Iraq

(Chagmalai, Pakistan) In a previous entry, it was reported that al-Qaeda-linked kidnappers took two Chinese engineers (Wang Ende and Wang Peng) as hostages and demanded the release of two Uzbek al-Qaeda militants held by Pakistan Security Forces. The leader of the kidnappers is a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, Abdullah Mehsud, who was released because he was no longer considered a threat. Oops!

Abdullah Mehsud
Abdullah Mehsud

Preferring to be called Commander Abdullah, the leader has directed a group of al-Qaeda-linked militants comprised of Chechens, Uzbeks, Arabs, and Pakistanis who have been battling Security Forces since March. Abdullah is currently surrounded by security forces and vows to kill the Chinese, one at a time, unless the security forces stop all military operations, free the two detained Uzbek militants, and leave. According to Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Abdullah learned from tactics employed in Iraq.
"Whatever is happening in Iraq, they are moving according to that," he said.
Of note is that the situation in Pakistan provides direct evidence of ties among the al-Qaeda terrorists of Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Also of note is that Abdullah is the second recently-released prisoner from Guantanamo Bay known to be drawn back to al-Qaeda. Slimane Hadj Abderahmane clearly indicated his intentions to kill Russians in Chechnya.
Human Rights Watch Protests Al-Qaeda Treatment

From a report by the BBC:
A New York-based human rights group has challenged America's treatment of 11 al-Qaeda suspects it is thought to be holding outside the US.

Human Rights Watch said prisoners were being denied access to the Red Cross and protection under international law, and it suggested torture had been used.
In light of the savage beheadings of innocent civilians by groups linked to al-Qaeda, the contention that terrorists aren't getting bandages for their boo-boos sits angrily on my stomach. Personally, I don't see how any purported mistreatment of terrorists is comparable. Also, the Human Rights Watch, as a group of international complainers, seems to focus an inordinate amount of time criticizing the civilized world while giving the atrocities of fundamentalist Islamic groups barely a mention. For example, months and months of unyielding attention has been devoted to alleged mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile, terrorist atrocities, such as the Beslan murders and the beheadings of Eugene Armstrong, Jack Hensley, and Ken Bigley, fade as issues in less than a week.

Most telling about the agenda of Human Rights Watch is the joint NGO statement of condemnation regarding the Beslan terrorist massacre. Paraphrasing, a group of armed men (not terrorists) took hostages in what they consider to be the international equivalent of a domestic dispute. The fault lies with Russia and the "hostage-takers" broke international hostage-taking laws and, therefore, they should be "prosecuted or extradited" for the crime. Rather than advocating human rights, the statement condemns Russia, deflects responsibility for Beslan from the terrorists, and downplays the immensity of the murders of hundreds of children, parents, and teachers.

Just for drill, try to find the word "terrorist" in the website for Human Rights Watch. I expect that it appears somewhere in the pages. I sure didn't see it.

Monday, October 11, 2004

FBI Raids Indymedia

From a report in today's MediaGuardian (free reg.):
The FBI has seized the British-based internet servers hosting the independent news network Indymedia, prompting accusations of intimidation.

Officers from the US-based federal law enforcement agency took servers belonging to Rackspace, a US-owned web-hosting service with premises in Uxbridge, Middlesex.

[ ... ]

The operation resulted in the temporary closure of about 20 Indymedia websites, covering 17 countries.
It appears that this action effectively shuts down the entire Indymedia operation out of Britain. Many people are enraged, claiming infringement on freedom of information and government cybersnooping. And, no information has been provided as to why or where the equipment was taken.

From a practical standpoint, there is good reason to keep Indymedia in operation. It's a method to monitor what the communist, anarchist, socialist, and other radical groups are doing. I'm sure law enforcement agencies see things the same way so it's odd that they would shut the operation down.
Alcohol Excites Males, Makes Females Drowsy

Research conducted by the University of Kentucky found that men are much less capable of holding their liquor than women.
In tests, scientists gave their subjects set amounts of alcohol and measured their ability to hit a button at the right time when a symbol flashed in front of them.

Shapes were flashed repeatedly on to a computer screen and when a green shape appeared, the subjects had to press a green button on the keyboard.

The green shapes were interspersed with a smaller number of blue shapes. When these flashed, participants were supposed to leave the keyboard alone.

The more drunk the subjects became, the less able they were to stop themselves hitting the keyboard when the blue shape flashed, with men markedly worse than women.
I don't know if I'd give this study much credence. I have problems hitting the keybroad when I'm compeltly sober.
Army of Ansar al-Sunna Beheads Turk, Iraqi

As punishment for working with the Americans, a Turkish man working on reconstruction and his Iraqi Kurdish translator were beheaded by terrorists of the Army of Ansar al-Sunna. The Turk's name is Maher Kemal and the Iraqi's name is Lukman Hussein.

In video from an Islamic website, it appears that the Army of Ansar al-Sunna and the Tawhid and Jihad groups are working together. Rusty Shackleford discusses the relationship and has some photos (WARNING - very graphic images). Video available here and here (WARNING - very graphic video).

Also blogging:
Backcountry Conservative,

In The Bullpen,

The Jawa Report,

Outside The Beltway
The fact that dozens of innocent people have now been savagely murdered by the terrorist scum does not jade me. The loathing I have for the perpetrators multiplies as does the sadness and sorrow I feel for the victims, their friends, and their families. These murderers have to be killed. Not captured, not tried in a court of law, just killed!
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