Thursday, September 30, 2004

Terrorists Claim Ten New Hostages

The BBC is reporting that a group calling itself the Islamic Army of Iraq claim that two Indonesian women, six Iraqis, and two Lebanese have been taken hostage. The news was broadcast on Al-Jazeera and made no mention of any demands. The credibility of the report has not been verified thus far.

Also blogging: MyPetJawa
Burkett Family Blog

Yes, the Burkett family has started a blog to defend Bill Burkett for his complicity in Rathergate. If you anticipate a clearing of the air, you'll be sorely disappointed. In fact, they are saying that Bill Burkett lied but not as much as other people and he prays for forgiveness so leave him alone. All it seems to accomplish is to increase the ambient whininess of the blogosphere. Even so, the comment thread that's developing seems to be a little interesting.

Also blogging: Backcountry Conservative, In The Bullpen
Nader Off Ballot in Ohio

According to Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, Ralph Nader won't appear on the Nov. 2 ballot because of Ratherdized signatures on petitions circulated by non-Ohioans came up short of the 5,000 required to qualify.
Hair Cut, Style, Blow Dry, and Chubby Rub

(Springfield Township, Ohio) Summit County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Shane pleaded not guilty to a charge of public indecency for allegedly masturbating under a salon cape while he was getting his hair highlighted. The owner of the upscale hair salon and day spa, Karen Crawford, stated:
"The girls that it happened to were pretty shaken up because they're young and never experienced anything like this before."
Of course, this begs the question as to how often the older hairdressers encounter chubby rubbers. Inquiring minds would like to know. Nevertheless, it's a crime and Shane faces a possible sentence of 30 days in jail and a fine if convicted.

Without fail, whenever I think that I've heard of every possible perversion, something like this happens. Sheesh!
Indians Ballplayer Shot

(From local Cleveland broadcast news) After beating the Kansas City Royals last night 5-2, someone fired a shot at the Cleveland Indians team bus as it traveled to the airport. Pitcher Kyle Denney ended up with a bullet in his calf. It was removed by team trainers and he was taken to the hospital. Another player, outfielder Ryan Ludwick, was grazed with the bullet. Both injured players should recover completely. Kansas City Police classified the incident as a random drive-by shooting.

They have some pretty nasty fans in KC.

[Update] Police say it's not clear that the bus was the intended target. Apparently, bullets fly all over Kansas City.

[Update 2] According to this report, Bart Swain, Indians Director of Media Relations, stated:
As part of a rookie hazing ritual, Denney was wearing a USC cheerleader's uniform when he was shot.

The outfit included high white boots.

"Our trainers said the boots may have saved Kyle from further injury," said Swain.
I sure that Kyle Denney is absolutely thrilled that this information was released to the media.

Child Porn Ring Busted in Australia

Almost 200 people have been arrested thus far in a massive nationwide raid of child pornographers linked to Eastern European organized crime. A childcare center owner, teachers, police officers, doctors, members of the armed forces, and government officials collectively face thousands of charges ranging from rape and sexual assault to sex tourism and creating and possessing child porn.
According to state and territory police figures released today, 68 people were so far facing charges in Victoria, 57 in Queensland, 28 in NSW, 24 in Western Australia, seven in the Northern Territory, six in South Australia and one in Tasmania.

More suspects were being questioned tonight and further charges expected, police said.

All those facing charges appear to have accessed pay-per-view child porn websites hosted by organised crime groups in eastern Europe.

State and territory police seized 380 computers, CDs, photographic equipment and magazines as they executed more than 400 search warrants.

Porn collections ranged from one or two images up to one person's library in WA which contained more than 200,000 images accumulated over decades.

"These are the most heinous, vile, despicable crimes against the child," said NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney.
Numbers of arrests are changing as more suspect locations are raided under the blitz called Operation Auxin, The Australian crackdown came as part of a major international investigation headed by the U.S. Customs Service.

My joy at this news is tempered by the fact that there are still many, many perverts in societies throughout the world.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Supplying The Enemy

Robert Koehler of The Marmot's Hole reports on the story of a South Korean company selling 107 tons of sodium cyanide, a chemical weapons precursor, to a Chinese company which then transferred the shipment to North Korea. This is not good and also apparently not the first time it's happened. To have South Korean products going to supply the North Korean military establishment is outrageous. Hell, that would be like the U.S. sending secret missile guidance technology to a communist country. Simply outrageous!

Oh, wait a minute. Clinton did that. In fact, now that I think of it, every time the Chinese communists launch a satellite or warhead, they should probably send a thank you note to the former president.

Of note, though, is that the South Koreans prosecuted the company official responsible for the transfer of the sodium cyanide and he was given a suspended sentence. As far as I know, nobody has been held in the least bit accountable for the transfer of missile technology to China.
Supreme Court Overturns 'No Procreation' Ruling

(Columbus, Ohio) As reported previously, Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler directed that deadbeat dad Sean Talty, 32, avoid fathering children since he kept having kids without supporting them. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled the decision be overturned because no method was included for lifting the ban on having children if Talty caught up with his child-support payments.

Interestingly, both the prosecution and the defense agreed that reproduction is a constitutionally protected right.
New Kenneth Bigley Film Released

Al-Jazeera has broadcast a new propaganda video of British hostage Kenneth Bigley pleading for his life. In the film, Ken Bigley is shown stating something that's inaudible, but Al-Jazeera gives this quote:
"Tony Blair is a liar - he doesn't care about me. I am just one person. My captors don't want to kill me."
Of course, it's reasonable to believe that his words were coerced, if that's what he said. Rusty Shackleford has more including stills from the video.
Soldier On Leave Attacker Arrested

(Columbus, Ohio) From a previous report, decorated Iraqi War soldier Foster Barton, 19, of Grove City, attended a concert while wearing an Iraqi Freedom T-shirt and was attacked and knocked unconscious. According to this report, Barton's alleged attacker has been identified and was arrested last night by Columbus Police. Brent Cornwell, 28, of Blacklick, was arraigned in Delaware County Municipal Court on a charge of felonious assault. Bond was set at $15,000.

It seems the attacker's own family helped get him arrested.
Taiwan Threatens To Lob Missiles at Shanghai

(Beijing, China) China has announced anger because Taiwan Premier Yu Shyi-kun threatened to lob missiles at Shanghai if the People's Liberation Army (PLA) attacked the island's southern city of Kaohsiung. China believes that Taiwan is faking peace while truly seeking independence.

To the Chinese communists, apparently the opposite of peace is not war, it's liberty and freedom.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Zarqawi Website Hacked

For the second time, a group calling itself TeAmZ USA has hacked into Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi's web site to stop some of the incendiary propaganda. And, as before, it's back on line. Interestingly, from Rusty Shackleford we learn that not everyone is anxious to see the website out of commission.
I received an e-mail message from a reader who was outraged by what he saw on the Zarqawi website. In fact, he was so outraged that he decided to give the webhost a call and complain.

Eventually, the company responded and said that they were aware of Zarqawi's website on their host and had numerous complaints. But they reassured my reader with this cryptic message, that "people at the highest level had asked them to keep the website up."
It's speculated that this means intelligence services are using the website to track down Zarqawi's location. If this is true, I hope they're successful. On the other hand, it seems that having avenues for sensationalism is fostering escalation of the atrocities and, as such, the website should be shut down. I think Al-Jazeera should be reined in also.

Also blogging: In The Bullpen, Digger's Realm
Heinz Will

Several newspapers have asked the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to order that the will of late Sen. H. John Heinz III be made public. The media is looking to examine information pertinent to Teresa Heinz Kerry, the late senator's wife. Common Pleas Judge Frank Lucchino decided that attorneys for the estate have 20 days to provide reasons why the document should remain sealed.
'Naked Photographer' Sentenced

(Columbus, Ohio) Earlier this month, attorney Stephen Linnen, 34, pleaded guilty to dozens of counts of public indecency, sexual imposition and criminal trespassing. Linnen liked to traipse around, expose himself to women, then take pictures of their shocked expressions. For the crimes, Judge Tommy Thompson sentenced Linnen to 18 months in jail.

The judge also ruled that Linnen can keep his license to practice law and may leave the jail to do so. Linnen will be required to continue seeking psychiatric counseling for sex addiction, but he will not be required to register as a sex offender.

I'm flummoxed. The judge sentences him to jail for multiple sex offenses, requires he seek help for sex addiction, but doesn't classify him as a sex offender. Linnen will be allowed to continue practicing law even though he's been found in gross violation of the law. The judge seems to be ignoring the statistically likely future aberrant behavior by this pervert.

Monday, September 27, 2004

International Women's Rights Conference

(Jakarta, Indonesia) Women's rights activists from Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Lebanon, India, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia met this past weekend to discuss sexuality and human rights in Muslim societies in South and Southeast Asia. Of primary concern was human rights abuses of women that are sanctioned and sometimes mandated by the laws of various Asian countries.
"In Muslim societies, sexuality, especially a woman's body, is increasingly becoming an arena of intense political and social conflict," said a statement issued during the final day of the meeting.

[ ... ]

"Widespread practices of sexual violence, forced marriages, female genital mutilation, marital rape, unsafe abortion and discrimination based on sexual orientation constitute blatant human rights violations," the statement said.
There's no dispute that the conditions described are accurate. There is also no dispute that human rights abuses are culturally and politically embedded in many Asian countries with Islamic traditions. Unfortunately, not everyone recognizes that attitudes towards the rights of women is a fundamental and rigid point of disagreement that is flaring the conflict between Islam and Western civilization.

Reform is sorely needed throughout Islamic nations to just attain a semblance of compatibility with the rest of the world. There may be a billion Muslims, but they're still outnumbered 5 to 1 and they will lose the battle with modern society. Western civilization bends over backwards to accommodate the pre-Victorian values of Islam. Muslim society does not reciprocate. Islam requires a reformation to accord all people equal rights regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, and gender.

It is a bright sign that women activists can and have gathered together to discuss the issue of human rights in the world's largest Islamic country which, by the way, just happens to be a democracy.
NYT Profiles (Leftist) Political Bloggers

Extracted from yesterday's edition of the New York Times Magazine:
Earlier this month, a platoon of right-wing bloggers launched a coordinated assault against CBS News and its memos claiming that President Bush got special treatment in the National Guard; within 24 hours, the bloggers' obsessive study of typefaces in the 1970's migrated onto Drudge, then onto Fox News and then onto the networks and the front pages of the country's leading newspapers.
There was a coordinator? It must have been a secret coordinator. And there was no "bloggers' obsessive study of typefaces." Bloggers were exposing fraud by the media.

The profile of bloggers is ten pages in length and the aforementioned sentence is the only reference to conservative blogging and bloggers. The author, Matthew Klam, wrote ten pages and could only put in one sentence, I repeat, ONE STINKING SENTENCE, about conservative blogging. And the sentence is inaccurate and pejorative.

The NYT should print a revision to their motto. Suggested: "Half the news that's fit to be slanted."

Trackback to Beltway Traffic Jam.
Computer Viruses

Kevin Maney writes:
Monday, security software maker Symantec reported it found 5,000 new viruses aimed at Windows in the first half of 2004 - a dramatic increase over 2003.

[ ... ]

So far, Microsoft has had no luck staying ahead of the threats. The company plugs one hole or advises customers to take a certain measure, and the hackers find four ways around it. It's the software equivalent of trying to get rid of cockroaches.
Since I work with a Mac, I don't experience the problems and I can only imagine the frustration of those that are infected. It seems Microsoft has a challenge of great proportion. Interestingly, the best way to get rid of roaches is to have everyone leave and set off a bomb.
Sinead O'Conner Says She's Not Nuts

That's what she generally wants everyone to believe in a 2,000-word full page advertisement in the Irish Examiner.

My take is 'she doth protest too much.'
New Mayor Has Homicide on Resume

(East Cleveland, Ohio) After the conviction of Emmanuel Onunwor on corruption charges and his removal from office as mayor, the citizens of East Cleveland installed Saratha Goggins as head of the city government. The stench of criminality in the mayor's office, though, was not wafted away with Goggins arrival. According to this story, the office continues to emit a malodorous ambiance since Goggins came with a resume containing references to a homicide. On at least one occasion, she resolved a dispute with a rival by stabbing him in the heart. Details of the incident are much more vague than sketchy. Nonetheless, present day political and personal rivals seem to be maintaining an appropriate nonconfrontational posture towards the new mayor.
From Gitmo Back To Taliban and Killed

After a period of tropical rest and recuperation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, captured Taliban commander Maulvi Abdul Ghaffar was released to assume command of more Taliban. He wasn't so lucky this time. Instead of being taken prisoner, he was killed in a gunbattle with Afghanistan security forces.

So, what's wrong with this scenario. We catch him, we release him, he starts shooting at us again, this time we kill him. Why didn't we just blow the bastard away the first time we had him?

Maybe this is an illustration of what it means to fight a "sensitive" war.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Unintended Consequences

I would have to be handcuffed and jailed to be prevented from stealing this post from the AnalogKid. It's from an email.
Last Thursday I put out one of my Bush/Cheney signs in my front yard. Between midnight and 3:00 a.m. someone stole it. On Friday night I put out sign No. 2. Since I didn't have to get up early, I thought my dog and I would "stake out" our sign. This time I put the sign a little closer to the gate leading to my backyard. With my dog on an extra long leash, I planted myself on a lawn chair and read "Unfit for Command" by flashlight until about 1:00 a.m. Here comes the fun part . . . I noticed that the car coming down the street was slowing down and pulling over to the curb right next to my yard. Sure enough, he gets out of his car and heads right for my sign. Just as he was about to uproot and desecrate it, I opened my gate and let my dog make the initial introduction! As he ran to hide behind the rear end of his car, I promptly moved to the driver-side door, which was still open. It was a fairly nice car with power everything and still running. While my dog continued to "introduce" herself, I rolled up the window and hit the power door lock button. With that, I slammed the door, grabbed my Bush sign and headed into the back yard.

And now for the "rest of the story." About 40 minutes later, I heard a knock at the door. I opened the door to one of our city's finest . . . the Vancouver Police Department. The officer asked me what was going on and when I told him, he could not stop laughing! I followed him out to the perp's car and stood there while he asked the guy a few more questions. Upon learning that the guy lived a couple of streets down, I -- knowing what was about to happen -- asked him, "Why do you have Oregon plates on your car if you live just down the street (here in Vancouver, Wash.)?" Larry, Oregon has no sales tax, so often Washington residents will buy and register cars in Oregon to avoid paying sales tax . . . it's a crime and the fine is pretty stiff. Here comes the best part. . . . The look on this guy's face told me he knew he was about to get busted. When the officer asked for his license and registration, the "Democrat" mumbled that (his license) was suspended. Just for kicks and giggles I asked the officer if he smelled any alcohol coming from the guy! The officer looked at me, smiled and promptly gave him a field breathalyzer test. Guess what? You got it, he blew a .10, legally drunk in the state of Washington.

DUI, illegal registration and the brand of "MORON," all 'cause he hates Bush!
With respect to anecdotes, this is a prize winner. Be sure to check out the comment thread at Random Nuclear Strikes also. A detailed tabulation of what this Kerry supporter will have to pay for his misadventure is provided by Rivrdog. Ouch!
Israel Car Bombs Terrorist in Syria

(Damascus, Syria) In apparent retaliation for a Hamas terrorist bombing last month which killed 16, Israel took out Izz Eldine Subhi Sheik Khalil with a car bomb in Damascus.
Police at the scene of al-Zahraa district explosion were seen retrieving pieces of the body of Izz Eldine Subhi Sheik Khalil. The car exploded outside his home at 10:45 a.m. when he tried to start it, Hamas officials said.
Khalil was an important Hamas liaison between terrorist factions in Syria and Gaza and he is the first slaying of a Hamas terrorist by the Israelis on Syrian soil. Israel's action establishes a precedent where terrorists can no longer feel protected by being in another country.
Russert's Question

I'm watching Meet The Press and Tim Russert just asked General Abizaid to tell which cities in Iraq would see a major military offensive between now and January.

The General should have told him, "Well, Tim, we plan on attacking at X time, at X place, with X number of troops, carrying X weapons, by units with the following X weaknesses. And now that we've provided the enemy with all the information they need, Tim. Should we also offer them transportation to the battle?"

Some people say that Tim Russert is a cut above Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, and Tom Brokaw. They're interchangeable to me.
United Way Tapping Into God

(Toledo, Ohio) I don't have a ready link, but it's probably not necessary in contending that the United Way has been nationally denying support to the Boy Scouts of America because it is an organization founded on a belief in God. Simply put, if you have faith in God, the United Way will cut off funding.

Given their rejection of religion, it's interesting and rather ironic that the United Way has scheduled a fund-raising concert at the Friendship Baptist Church for this evening. A program of religious and gospel music will be presented to the faithful followers of Jesus Christ from 6 to 9pm at Friendship Baptist, 5301 Nebraska Ave, in Toledo. Performing will be the Toledo Interfaith Mass Choir and others.
The concert is part of the United Way's Targeted Leader Initiative. Admission is free; an offering will be taken to aid the United Way. Information: 419-248-2424.
The United Way eagerly takes from the faithful, but refuses to give to the faithful.

My take is that the actions of the United Way are hypocrisy of the highest order. What's next? Maybe we'll see the Boy Scouts called on to raise funds for the United Way.
Credit Card Debt Is Unconscionable

Some eyebrows were raised recently when Cleveland Municipal Judge Robert Triozzi threw out Discover Bank's attempt to collect on an unpaid credit card debt of Ruth Owens. The judge ruled that the actions of Discover in trying to collect about $9,000 on a $1,900 debt were unconscionable. Some observers believed the ruling had no legal basis and felt the judge was trying to gain favor with the public.

In the case, Judge Triozzi determined that Discover had been unreasonable by the way they allowed the debt to multiply even after it became known that Ruth Owens had no ability to pay. She was unemployed and on Social Security Disability yet still tried to pay the debt. Unfortunately, though, it inched above the $1,900 overlimit threshold and she was forced to pay additional overlimit charges of $20 to $29 per month. She was also charged for a feature called CreditSafe which supposedly puts all payments and fees on hold if you're unemployed, disabled or hospitalized. Discover charged her for CreditSafe by deeming her unemployment and disability as preexisting conditions.

Although some questioned the basis for the ruling, Judge Triozzi was acting in accordance with the law. According to Gregory Travalio, law professor at Ohio State University, contracts may be ruled unconscionable if there was unfair bargaining and the terms are deemed unreasonable.

By having a person sign a long-winded contract written in microscopic legalese, it's hard to support the contention that the person fully understood all elements of the contract. Therefore, it's difficult to say the bargain was fair. And, by having someone pay $9,000 for a $1,900 debt sure seems to stretch the definition of reasonable. In fact, it's awful close to loan sharking.

In summary, Judge Triozzi's ruling has a valid basis in law, however, it's not clear what will happen on appeal.
Arabs 'Not Responsible For Atrocities' in Darfur

According to a former member of the West Darfur Parliament, Arabs are not responsible for driving over a million people from their homes in Darfur while executing tens of thousands.
Obeid Hasbullah Dico said even the Arab tribes had fallen victim to the looting Jinjaweeds (genies on horses) although the world was being told that the Jinjaweeds were Arabs.

"The Jinjaweeds are mere bandits. Anyone riding on horses to loot will be called by that name. The Jinjaweeds can come from any tribe," he said, adding that these bandits had killed at least 500 Arab shepherds in the past decade.

Even the international organisations that had set up temporary bases to monitor the humanitarian situation in Darfur, Obeid observed, were discriminating against those of Arab descent.

"Those applying for temporary jobs with the organisations are asked which tribe they are from.

"Those from Arab tribes are immediately rejected. The Westerners call them Jinjaweeds, and ask them to get out," he said recently in his house in El-Geneina in West Darfur.
Obeid Hasbullah Dico claims that the entire conflict is caused by roving gangs of criminals and rebels who are capitalizing on an ongoing feud between farmers and shepherds in Darfur. He makes no mention of any religious conflict as has been reported.

Dico appears informed, but I'm not sure I buy his characterization of the conflict. His claim that the "Jinjaweeds are mere bandits" doesn't account for the fact that they are being supplied with weapons from somewhere and the weaponry has escalated the feud between farmers and shepherds to murderous rampages. Dico also neglects to mention the nature of the rebel element trying to take over the government. My take is that Dico's view of the situation is incomplete.

Um ..., that is with one exception. He blames the international media for mischaracterizing the conflict in Darfur. This is so easy to believe that it's not worth checking on.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Suspected Voter Fraud in NE Ohio

The NAACP National Voter Fund and an anti-Bush, nonprofit group called Americans Coming Together, or ACT Ohio, are suspected to be behind fraudulent absentee voter registration schemes being investigated in Lake and Summit Counties.
Elections officials have said hundreds of absentee ballot applications and dozens of voter registration cards are in question. Lake County Prosecutor Charles Coulson, also involved in the probe, said the problems are more significant than originally thought.

"We've seen voter fraud before, but never on this level," Coulson said Thursday. "I grew up in Chicago and this looks like the politics of Mayor Daley in the '50s and '60s."
Lake County Sheriff Daniel Dunlap said there was an attempt to register a dead person, a campaign tactic former Mayor Daley used frequently. The NE Ohio fraud, however, also includes people who haven't quite made it to the grave.
In one other instance, an elderly nursing home resident who usually signs with an "X" appeared to have a firm, cursive signature when she registered.

"We are going to have to see who's alive and who's well," Dunlap said.
Sheriff Dunlap notified the FBI and the Ohio Secretary of State.

In Summit County, Bryan Williams, Director of the County Board of Elections, stated that some voter registration applications have nonexistent addresses while others from the same street all have the street identically misspelled.

My take is that these fraudulent voter application schemes are obviously being run by amateurs. It's suggested they call Dan Rather or Bill Burkett.
Schwarzenegger Vetos Driver's Licenses For Aliens

There are many illegal alien advocates angry at Gov. Schwarzenegger for vetoing the bill to grant driving privileges to non-citizens. Not the least of which is the government of Mexico which sent Juan Bosco Mart�, general director for North American affairs with the Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE), to complain to the press.
Bosco said the inability of undocumented workers to obtain a driver's license hurts all migrants in California, not just Mexicans.

"The Mexican government will continue to defend the interests of the Mexican community residing in California within the realm of the laws of the United States and California," he said.
What! Huh?

Since when are illegal border crossers acting "within the realm of the laws of the United States?" They are trespassing in a foreign country. They crossed an international border without a passport, without a visa, without permission and the action is not within the realm of legal behavior according to the laws of the United States. Somebody needs to challenge Mr. Bosco Marti on his definition of "within the realm of the laws."

Of course, I'm convinced that the media won't challenge him because they see the illegal aliens as possessing measurably more equality than actual American citizens. The subject of illegal aliens and the porous borders of the U.S. incenses me considerably and I congratulate Digger for being able to closely follow the issue without pulling his hair out.
Russia Wants Help Fighting Terrorism

For the Moscow Times, Andrew C. Kuchins and Dmitry Trenin have authored a piece that assesses the history and future of terrorism in Russia. The blame for the Beslan murders, the several recent Moscow bombings, and the downing of two Russian airliners is clearly placed on the shoulders of President Putin, but not without a caveat. Putin stated earlier this month that Russia's response to terrorism is a disaster because "dark and mysterious forces" are seeking to weaken Russia. The dark and mysterious forces Putin referred to are those of the United States. The authors agree with Putin, however, they do not believe there is malice involved. They believe the United States has just been neglecting to provide all the assistance Russia needs.

Wait a minute, Russia refused to provide any help to the U.S. in ousting Saddam Hussein and has forcefully worked against the U.S. position before the United Nations Security Council. Specific U.S. offers to help after terrorist attacks have been refused. And consistently, American diplomatic efforts have been coldly rebuffed as Russia decided to ally itself with the spineless Old Europeans, France and Germany. All this is happening while Putin progresses slowly in returning Russia to an authoritarian police state, although he's pledged unconvincingly to stick with democracy and the free market. He's even cozying up to the Kyoto Protocols which the U.S. adamantly opposes. If neglect is to be attached anywhere, it should be directed towards Putin who has consistently backed the losing horse and neglected to treat the U.S. as a friend. It is outrageous to fault the U.S. for Putin's lack of foresight and general ineptitude.

Contending that the U.S. should cease neglecting Russia, Kuchins and Trenin maintain that the following actions are necessary to properly support President Putin in fighting terrorism:
1) much fuller sharing of intelligence information;
2) material and technical support to better secure Russian borders, airports, other transportation infrastructure and nuclear power stations as well as nuclear and chemical weapons and materials;
3) more assistance to close off sources of financing from abroad for terrorist groups on Russian territory; and
4) training and possibly direct operational assistance in the search and capture of terrorists.
Don't want much, do they? Quite interestingly, Putin throws his few cents into the whiny "We-Need-Help" effort by pleading to the media for help in combating terrorism. Best of luck, Vlad, you'll need it. Also, good luck with the U.S. helping secure the borders since about 3,000 Mexicans will have to sneak into Russia every night to meet strict American border security standards.

Although Kuchins and Trenin do acknowledge that the U.S. is fully justified in having reservations about Putin's goals and motives, they strongly believe that Russia should be given assistance by America, but don't mention what Putin is willing to do to accommodate the interests of the United States, if anything. Their argument is strong, but strictly for the benefit of Russia. A prudent diplomat would expect some sort of concessions from Putin in return for substantive support from the U.S.
Kenneth Bigley Reported Killed By Terrorists

Kidnapped at the same time as murdered Americans Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley, Brit Kenneth Bigley has been reported killed on an Islamic Internet site. The Tawhid and Jihad group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are claiming credit. A statement appeared on the Web site and consisted of the following:
"Tawhid and Jihad announces that it has executed the British citizen and gives you the good news of kidnapping seven British soldiers. We will be releasing the tape shortly."
A spokesman for the British military stated that they have all forces "accounted for." The Command Post also has a report.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Grand Rounds - Medical/Health Care Writings

Planning and organizing for the debut of Grand Rounds, a weekly medical/health care blog linkfest, has been completed by Nick Genes of Blogborygmi. The inaugural posting will be Tuesday, September 28, with a submission deadline of Monday night. It's expected that Grand Rounds will be a chart topper since public interest in medical and health care news and information appears to be very high.

Submission guidelines for Grand Rounds are posted here.
Five Question Blog Survey

From Rocket Jones, I'm impelled to answer the following Five Question Blog Survey.
1. Why did you start a blog?
I started a blog because it is a natural extension to activities I've been doing my whole life. Reading and writing. Blame it on grade school where it all started.
2. Do you have a blogmother/blogfather?
No. That's not because I don't want a motherfather. In fact, if there was an application process, I'd submit Interested-Participant as a worthy orphan, seeking maybe one puny motherfatherin' notice from Glenn Reynolds. But it won't happen because there is no motherfatherin' application process. I must note, however, that based upon my reading of comments by trolls, there's no shortage of stupid motherfathers in the blogosphere.
3. Has it helped/hurt/had no effect on your professional life?
4. Do your 'real world' friends know that you blog?
Yes, but they don't read it. I don't know why. The best I can figure is that I'm too damn boring or they can't read and I consider it a tossup between the two.
5. Do you have a blog crush?
With respect to people, no. With respect to subjects, many.
Seldom do I join in with this type of Q & A. Maybe it's the weather change with autumn among us. If anyone else is interested, Rocket Jones is looking for additional participants.
Utah Valley State College

Here's a story from last week that's well worth passing on. One person in the administration of Utah Valley State College, Vice-President Joe Vogel, decided to deplete almost the entire budget of $50,000 for speakers by inviting Michael Moore to address the students. This happened after Michael Moore's marketing team chewed on his ear.

A firestorm of protest and complaint has erupted. Conservative Sean Hannity has even offered to debate Moore at UVSC for free.
"Michael Moore: Come out, come out, wherever you are," Hannity said, during an exclusive telephone interview with the [Deseret] Morning News. "If he wants to debate this election, I accept the debate. Let's debate it."
Discussions to have Sean Hannity appear are in progress. Meanwhile, UVSC students are collecting signatures to force a recall election, giving students the chance to veto the decision to invite Moore to speak, as well as remove Vogel and student government president Jim Bassi from office.

The story continues to develop and Doug at All-Encompassingly has been on top of the reporting. Go visit.

By the way, if I was going to guess on the email address of Joe "I'm-The-Smartest-Person-In-Utah" Vogel, it would be It's just a guess.


Germany Builds World's Fastest Hydrogen-Powered Car

At the Paris Auto Show this week, the German luxury automobile giant BMW unveiled a 185 miles per hour hydrogen-powered car. The vehicle, called the H2R, has a modified 6-liter, 12-cylinder internal combustion engine.


As desirable as the high standard of ignitability of hydrogen within the engine may be, it also requires a great deal of attention outside of the combustion chamber. To avoid misfiring, for example, BMW's engineers have developed a specific gas cycle and injection strategy, with BMW's VANOS infinite camshaft adjustment masterminding the share of residual gas according to specific, on-demand requirements:

Before the hydrogen/air mixture is able to flow into the cylinders, the combustion chambers are cooled by air to ensure that the fuel/air mixture is not able to ignite in an undesired, uncontrolled process.
It's quite a handsome machine even though it doesn't look like it has a passenger seat. Hell, it doesn't look like it even has enough space for a pizza. Obviously, it's not designed for the average consumer.

Of note is the hydrogen fuel technology and it should come as no surprise that the Germans are at the forefront of innovative hydrogen-powered vehicles. In the early part of the 20th Century, the Germans pioneered the use of hydrogen in transportation with the world's fastest dirigible. Unfortunately, their pioneering effort hadn't solved the pesky "undesired, uncontrolled" ignition problem.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kerry Campaign Pulls Ads

Among likely voters nationally, polling indicates Bush leads Kerry by 50 to 46 percent. Nonetheless, Kerry advisors are watching state polls and finding that they are regionally too far behind President Bush in Louisiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri to justify continued spending in those states. Consequently, they've pulled their campaign ads to save an estimated $5 million for use in more competitive venues.

In lieu of using polls to determine a candidate's strength among the voters, prudent observers will watch how the campaign teams shuffle their money.
Human Cloning Breakthrough

Baghdad Bob and Document Dan

Baghdad Bob Document Dan

(via Baghdad Bob's Misunderstanding Gallery and the Country Store)
Elite Media Claim Credit For Rathergate

Kevin Aylward at Wizbang clearly shows that any claims of responsibility for Rathergate by the major media are false. The depth, the detail, the variety, and the sheer number of reports by the blogosphere easily outdistances anything the major media may claim. To cite a previous entry,
It's interesting that the breaking of the story and the search for leads and supporting information have been done by bloggers who, chances are, will never be given due credit. One could say this is an example of a classic cliche where the bloggers have won the battle and it's time for the elite media to bayonet the wounded.

Sometime down the road, one can also probably expect that a journalism award will be handed to a member of the major media for investigative reporting on the forgery fiasco and the blogosphere will be lucky to get a brief mention. This brings to mind another cliche related to large endeavors, "rewards go to the non-participants."
There should be little doubt as to the genesis and maturation of the Rathergate story. Without Buckhead's Posts, Little Green Footballs, Powerline, AllahPundit, Wizbang, Rathergate, Spoons, INDC Journal, Ace of Spades HQ, Captain's Quarters, and many others, there would be no Rathergate, the American public would have been defrauded, and CBS would continue to be stealthily recognized as a de facto extension of the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Home Schoolers Portrayed As Terrorists

(Muskegon, Michigan) According to a report in the Muskegon Chronicle, the county emergency services department conducted a mock terrorism drill for school officials, students, bus drivers, and parents, along with county agencies, hospitals, and medical responders. The exercise scenario consisted of a domestic terrorist group called the "Wackos" planting a bomb on a public school bus filled with students. The Wackos were identified as home schooling advocates.

By designating home schoolers as terrorists, a firestorm of complaints was created.
The Chronicle and local officials were deluged with phone calls and e-mails from across the nation, complaining about the choice of words.

[ ... ]

Chris Klicka, senior counsel of the Home-Schooling Legal Defense Association based in Washington D.C., called the characterization outlandish.

"Home-schoolers have never been accused of violence against any school," Klicka said, after calling The Chronicle. "There's an outpouring from the nation -- it's a mockery against what home schooling is and the contributions home-schoolers have made to the country."
The Chief Deputy for Emergency Services, Daniel Stout, was rather cavalier in taking full responsibility for the scenario.
"That's just what I decided to use," he said of the name choice for Tuesday's drill. "It may have been a poor choice, but that's what was used ... I'm the one who wrote the scenario."
In my opinion, terminology is less important than the level of realism contained in the drill. To my knowledge, there has never been an instance where home schoolers were militant or violent in any manner. The simulated terrorists could be much more believable.

Additionally, for some reason, I can't shake the nagging gut feeling that the creator of the drill scenario were making a political statement. However, whether a political position was being heralded or otherwise, Daniel Stout and others involved with planning the exercise should issue a formal public apology to the parents and the students of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. (via Common Sense and Wonder)
Dems Outsource Fund-Raising

AnalogKid posts on the hypocrisy of the Democrats by showing they are outsourcing campaign jobs while continuously berating the very idea of outsourcing. Candidates for the Oregon Legislature are having Nebraskans perform their fund-raising because it's cheaper. Oregon jacked up their minimum wage to the point where it saves money to have work farmed out to other states, proving once again that minimum wage laws put people out of work.
Attorney General Sues Thermal Seal Inc.

(Columbus, Ohio) Thermal Seal Inc. and owner Ronald M. Heath, Jr. are being sued by Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro for violating consumer protection laws. Apparently the company has been scamming customers by failing to deliver services, failing to honor warranties, shoddy workmanship, and entering into contracts knowing that the work may never be completed. The lawsuit asks for reimbursement and civil penalties of $25,000 fines for each violation.
Terrorist Leader Is With The Virgins

(Baghdad) A close aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Sheik Abu Anas al-Shami, 35, was taken out by a U.S. air missile strike in the Abu Ghraib suburb west of Baghdad. Have fun with the virgins, you terrorist scum. Thirty-five years on the planet Earth following the Religion of Peace and you leave as a box full of charred body parts and, chances are, not all of them. Those plans to grow old and play with your grandchildren have been canceled. (via Dr. Rusty Shackleford)
Decapitated Corpse Given to U.S. Officials

Although it's suspected to be Jack Hensley, there is no confirmation yet on the identity of the decapitated corpse handed over to the U.S. by Iraqi officials.
The body was found with its severed head in a black plastic bag in Baghdad's Amiriya neighborhood, said Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman, an official with the Interior Ministry. The U.S. Embassy confirmed that a headless body was handed over to American authorities, but said officials were still trying to determine the identity of the corpse.
So far, the promised video images of Hensley's alleged execution have not been produced.

Being unable to immediately determine the identity of a decapitated corpse bespeaks the wanton and arbitrary nature of the murders committed by the terrorists in Iraq.

[Update 10:50am EDT] Confirmation has been received that the body handed over is Jack Hensley.
School Duct Tapes Saggy Pants Student

(Dunlap, Indiana) At Concord Junior High School, Spencer Allison's pants were sagging in violation of the school dress code so the assistant principal wrapped duct tape around the boy's waist to keep them up. Spencer's father, Scott Allison, became outraged and complained to the school board because he was afraid his son would be mocked.

Now, this is dumb. If Scott Allison had given his son a belt before he went to school, then he probably wouldn't be a disciplinary problem. In fact, the old man would also probably benefit from a good solid belt every now and then.
Kerry/Edwards 46%, Bush/Cheney 40%

According to a poll of registered young voters conducted by CBS News for MTV, John Kerry has a six percentage point lead over President Bush. Fake or accurate? You decide.
Mahatma Gandhi Enslaved His Son

This has to be somewhat scandalous. According to a report in The Times of India, Mahatma Gandhi's great-granddaughter has written a tell-all book about the family which alleges that Gandhi enslaved his son throughout his lifetime.
Controversially titled Gandhi's Prisoner? The Life of Gandhi's Son, Manilal, the 400-page book released last week is written by Uma Dhuphelia-Mesthrie and explores the Gandhi family's early years in South Africa in the early 1900s.

[ ... ]

"Manilal didn't have a choice. He wanted to be a doctor but Gandhi didn't allow him to study at all. He would have like to marry a particular woman but his father wouldn't allow that," Dhuphelia-Mesthrie told AFP.
Apparently, Gandhi discovered the right way to live and didn't want his offspring to make mistakes by acting independently. Evidently, Gandhi was an enigma, believing in independence and enslavement simultaneously. I wonder if any adherents of Gandhi's philosophy will be troubled by the apparent contradiction. Probably not.

Bin Laden Toy

Osama Bin Laden Toy

Undoubtedly, everyone remembers the Twin Towers Toy found last month to be sold to children in Florida. Now another toy commemorating terrorism has been found in Ashboro, North Carolina. It's an Osama Bin Laden toy cell phone.

Bin Laden Toy

Interestingly, both toys were provided by L and M Import and Export company in Miami. The company stated that the toys originated in China and they were unaware that they depicted Bin Laden. The toys have been recalled.
Jack Hensley Beheaded by Tawhid and Jihad

After the passing of the militants' 24-hour deadline for the release of all Iraqi women from prison, which the U.S. says are nonexistent, an Islamic website claims to have killed the second American, Jack Hensley. From the Northeast Intelligence Network:
Al Jazerra [sic] is reporting the beheading of the second of three hostages - the other US captive being held by terrorists followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. We have informtion [sic] that Al Jazeera is in possession of the video, which is also expected to reach jihad forums within the next few hours.

[ ... ]

The Northeast Intelligence Network has obtained critical information from multiple sources that the security surrounding these men was compromised from within. We will have more on this matter shortly.
Other sites following the story include:
Diggers Realm
Classical Values
Backcountry Conservative
My Pet Jawa
Rooftop Report
Based upon recent experience, video and/or still photos should be forthcoming. These fanatical murderers seem to derive much more enjoyment from broadcasting their atrocities than actually performing them. Evil sons of bitches.

[Update] The viewing links are here and here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Soldier On Leave Attacked At Concert

(Columbus, Ohio) While on leave from combat duty in Iraq, soldier Foster Barton, 19, of Grove City, attended a concert while wearing an Iraqi Freedom T-shirt that offended another person in the audience. So, Barton was beaten. He was attacked from behind, knocked unconscious, and punched and kicked while on the ground. He'll be delayed in his return to the 1st Cavalry division in Iraq due to his injuries.

It's pretty damn sad that a guy who risks his life in Iraq comes home to be beaten up by an anti-military fanatic. And, I would bet money that the guy who attacked him is a leftist who has said, more than once, that he supports the troops.


[Update] More at Backcountry Conservative with links. Also, check out the compilation of comments at Our Life.
Ohio Poll - Bush Leads By Double Digits

The latest Ohio Poll conducted by the University of Cincinnati has President Bush at 54% and John Kerry at 43%. The poll surveyed 456 likely voters between Sept. 12 and Sept. 18.

Mowing While Drunk

(Collinsville, Illinois) Police are cracking down on driving a lawnmower while drunk in this town outside St.Louis. Donald R. Barton, 40, of Collinsville, was charged Monday with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol for driving a Power Pro riding lawn mower on U.S. 40. He spent last night in jail with bail set at $20,000 by Madison County Associate Judge James Hackett.
Burkett 'WARNED' Rather

According to this story, Dan Rather knew from the start that there were potential problems with the documents.
Former National Guard commander Bill Burkett said Monday night that he warned producers at CBS that they needed to authenticate documents he gave them that were critical of President Bush's National Guard record - because he couldn't guarantee they were real. [Emphasis mine - ed.]

"Before I gave up any documents I wanted to know what you were going to do with them," Burkett told CBS anchorman Dan Rather. "And I insisted that they be authenticated."

Rather admitted that CBS had failed to heed their primary source's warning.
So, it appears that Dan Rather opted to go with the story when he had many indications, including the source, that the documents were not authentic. Rather seems to be the only person that had any confidence in the authenticity of the documents while being the person least familiar with their content.

This whole situation is becoming difficult to fathom. You need to resign, Dan. You've obviously lost it. (via Ace of Spades HQ)
Canada - Tops in Trash

Thanks to Kim at Bacon and Eh's for pointing me to this little nugget of information.
Canadians produce more garbage per person than any other nation in the world.
Because it's sent to Michigan, the issue of Canadian garbage has been controversial for decades and, as it turns out, a big part of the problem is that Canadians are garbage overproducers.

I've been trying to think of a slang term for garbage overproducer, but not much comes immediately to mind. Trashier? Trashiest? Maybe. Anyone else got an idea?

Monday, September 20, 2004

CBS - Bill Burkett - Kerry Campaign Connection

Why is it not surprising that CBS producer Mary Mapes told Joe Lockhart, a trusted John Kerry campaign advisor, to call Bill Burkett, the alleged forged document supplier. It's almost like CBS is an extension of the Kerry campaign. Should collusion be suspected? If not, how does one explain the cozy relationship between a major news organization and the John Kerry campaign team?

Interesting, yes, but not as interesting as some information Spoons has found. It's the transcript of a telephone conversation between Mary Mapes and Joe Lockhart and the source is unimpeachable. Follow the link and take a look.

Others following the DNC/CBS collusion angle:
INDC Journal
Allah Is In The House
It seems like Bill Burkett's cluster caucus also includes USA Today, Howard Dean, and maybe others.

[Update 9/21/04, 6:50am EDT] Well, well, check this out. Bill Burkett now says that he may be the patsy in the whole forged document mess. He maintains that he didn't forge any documents, he only turned them over to CBS after getting them from a woman named Lucy Ramirez. No information on Lucy Ramirez as yet and, based upon Bill Burkett's distant relationship with the truth, it wouldn't be surprising if she were fictional.

Of course, none of this new information does anything to take the heat off of Dan Rather and CBS. I'm waiting for someone to be fired. (via Spoons)
Islamic Fatwa Forbids Yoga

As a collection of spiritual techniques and practices, integrating mind, body and spirit, yoga could distort Islamic beliefs. Therefore, the mufti, Ali Gomoa, has signed a religious edict calling the practice of yoga "an aberration" that violates Islamic law. It's not clear what the punishment is for violations.

Somebody probably could make a few dollars by developing a computer program to track what's forbidden by Islam and predict what will someday be forbidden.
American Hostage Beheaded

Bastards! American Eugene Armstrong is beheaded in a video released by the Army of Ansar al Sunna, a group with links to al Qaeda and headed by Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Links here and here.

[Update 8:30pm EDT] According to this report, Mr. Armstrong's body was found near a mosque in Baghdad at about 1am, AEST (11am, EDT). Also, in the beheading video, a speaker made a statement:
During the statement, the speaker also called US President George W. Bush "a dog".

Addressing Mr Bush, he said: "Now, you have people who love death just like you love life. Killing for the sake of God is their best wish, getting to your soldiers and allies are their happiest moments, and cutting the heads of the criminal infidels is implementing the orders of our Lord."
There is no better illustration of the pure evil that permeates the thinking of these murderers.

Japanese Lolita

The Lolita Culture

(Tokyo) This story demonstrates the utter unpredictability of trends in fashion and culture. A growing segment of the population of young Japanese women are adopting a "Lolita" persona in their wardrobe.

Japanese Lolita

The look encompasses elaborate, doll-like costumes with lacy parasols, teddy bears, and jeweled scepters as props.
Lolitas regularly gather in places like Tokyo's Harajuku, a neighborhood that for decades has served as a magnet for Japanese counterculture. On a recent warm weekend in Harajuku, dozens of women -- including many who had traveled great distances to be here -- stood around completely covered in frills, holding hands or sucking on lollipops while passersby snapped photos and gawked. Some sat on the ground with legs stretched out in front of them like toddlers.
Interestingly, strong impetus to the Lolita movement is from a man named Novala Takemoto who has written several novels featuring Lolitas. In one big selling novel, he writes:
[A]bout a lonely Lolita in rural Japan who meets a bad girl biker and discovers true friendship. The novel has become the basis for a popular movie, whose English title is "Kamikaze Girls." The producers are seeking a distributor in the U.S.
Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some pedophiles at the root of the Lolita movement. As such, I don't think it will have a wide nor enduring appeal. (via Rob Sama)

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Police Foil Bomber, Suspect Dies in Custody

From this story, the Moscow Police apprehended a suspected terrorist in a car wired with explosives.
Federal Security Service spokesman Sergei Ignatchenko told Interfax that FSB explosives experts found two land mines in the car and 200 grams of TNT under a seat.

"All of it was connected by a system of wires with an antenna and remote control," Ignatchenko said, Interfax reported.
The suspect, Alexander Pumane, confessed to investigators before succumbing to a reported heart attack. However, the city prosecutor's office stated that an investigation found that he had actually died of bodily injuries and a criminal case of death by aggravated assault and abuse of office has been opened. It's not clear who will be charged with causing Pumane's death.

Although the Moscow Times article states that Pumane died of bodily injuries, it's fairly clear that this means the heart was injured by a heart attack. Everybody knows he had a weak heart. Therefore, the assault charges should be dropped.

(via The Owner's Manual and the Backcountry Conservative)
Muslim Brotherhood

In a special report (free reg.), the Chicago Tribune looks at the secret underground international Muslim Brotherhood whose goal is to create Muslim states. They preach martyrdom and jihad and have been openly supportive of Palestinian suicide bombings. America as a Muslim country is their long-term aim. It's sobering reading and highly recommended. Spoons has more.
Most Sober Cities

Check it out. Cleveland is tied for 16th (with San Francisco) on the list of most sober cities. People in Columbus (19th), Akron & Cincinnati (tied for 32nd), and Toledo (37th) are apparently having more fun. At the bottom of the list is Denver where everyone must be hammered. (via Charles Hill in happy Oklahoma City)
CBS Now Blames The White House

According to the WaPo, CBS executives are now claiming they let their guard down because the White House didn't prevent them from using apparently forged documents. Holy moley! They're getting awful close to resorting to the generic leftist blame sink - global warming. Of course, there's always the excuse of a document malfunction.
Female Mutilation in Africa

Activists are trying to get support to end female genital mutilation in Africa but they are having little success. An international conference ended with the issuance of a plea for more countries to ratify the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. Only three countries so far have ratified the protocol, Rwanda, Libya, and Comoros.

This is a sad situation.
UN Threatens Sudan With Sanctions

If violence continues in Darfur, the UN Security Council says it will impose sanctions on Sudan's oil industry.

Woo-hoo! If Sudan's sanctions are anything like the Iraqi sanctions, it's milk and honey time for Kofi and the Corrupted.
Canada Has Cleaner Garbage

A recent announcement by John Kerry that he would ban Canadian garbage from being dumped in Michigan has caused outrage by residents and officials in Toronto. Columnist Don Martin of the National Post wrote that John Kerry is "the front-runner to be the most anti-Canadian candidate" and that he "is generating new hostilities from Americans."

It's not clear how this sentiment can be reconciled with major media reports that the whole world outside the U.S. loves John Kerry. Nevertheless, Torontonians are incensed partly because they believe their garbage is cleaner than American garbage and it shouldn't be criticized.
"The material we are sending there is as safe or safer than the stuff local people there are putting in their landfills," said the chief of solid waste for the city, Angelos Bacopoulos.
Well, if it's so clean, why doesn't Toronto keep their garbage? As stated in a previous post, they don't currently have any other place to put it since they shut down their landfills.

Regarding the purported cleanliness level of Toronto's garbage, there are some people who strongly disagree.
"You should listen to the noise and smell the stench and see the dangerous road conditions that we have to deal with every day," said Lynette Guzman, who lives with her husband and two children in Wayne County, Mich.
Maybe once you get past the stench, the stuff from Toronto is pretty clean.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

NHL Lockout

Claiming there was no other choice, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman announced last Wednesday that the NHL board of governors unanimously backed locking out more than 600 players since no agreement was forthcoming between team owners and the NHL Player's Association. The lockout coincides with the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement and, according to Bettman, will continue until the player's union "acknowledges that the problems are as real as our governors' resolve to fix them [sic]. We will be here, ready to make a fair and meaningful agreement." With the deadlock, the owners, players, and fans are reluctantly anticipating the cancellation of the entire 2004-2005 season.

Reading through the comments and discussions about the issues that separate the two parties, one must conclude that neither side is open to conceding on anything. So, the players walk away and the owners lock them out. Interestingly, a quick survey of public opinion about the lockout indicates that a majority think the players are to blame for the current situation by asking for too much. It appears the public has little sympathy for a union that represents a group of players who make an average of $1.8 million a year.

From an economic standpoint, life without the NHL will reach far outside the world of the players and owners. Although not easily quantifiable, net income will dip in sports bars and restaurants that cater to hockey fans, in souvenir shops seeing fewer customers, and in department and specialty stores and eBay where the sale of trademarked clothing and athletic equipment is anticipated to plummet.

Probably most noticeable will be the impact on the sports media. The CBC, TSN, and Rogers Sportsnet are struggling to put together schedules of sports entertainment to fill the vacuum. This is a real challenge since nobody can remember when there wasn't an NHL season. Current estimates of cutbacks by the media are in the dozens of employees and expected to rise as the full effect of the lack of NHL programming becomes known. Not included in any estimates is the impact on the many freelance reporters and pundits who regularly contribute to hockey broadcasts.

One potentially significant future result of the lockout is the expected negative impact on smaller and newer NHL franchises, specifically those teams located in places like Florida, Tennessee, and Carolina where hockey is not a traditional sport. These franchises may not be able to easily recover their lost fan base and, if not, the NHL may see negative repercussions from the lockout for years to come.

In summary, it appears that there will be no NHL season for 2004-2005 and the result, in the near and distant future, will be estimated economic losses in the hundreds of million of dollars to the U.S. and Canada.
WaPo Investigating

It seems that at least one leader in the elite media - The Washington Post - is finally taking serious notice of the apparent forgery fiasco. Currently being investigated are strong indications of direct links between CBS, retired Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, and the Democratic National Committee.

However, chances are that anything the WaPo publishes will not be new to the blogosphere. It's interesting that the breaking of the story and the search for leads and supporting information have been done by bloggers who, chances are, will never be given due credit. One could say this is an example of a classic cliche where the bloggers have won the battle and it's time for the elite media to bayonet the wounded.

Sometime down the road, one can also probably expect that a journalism award will be handed to a member of the major media for investigative reporting on the forgery fiasco and the blogosphere will be lucky to get a brief mention. This brings to mind another cliche related to large endeavors, "rewards go to the non-participants."
Rain, Flooding Strand Kids At School

(Amesville, Ohio) Flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan caused 115 students and about 30 staff to be stranded at the Amesville Elementary School Friday night. The situation sounds maybe a bit worse than it actually was.
[S]chool cooks made pizza, nachos and cookies for the students and about 30 employees at Amesville Elementary.

Students in preschool through fifth grade stayed busy by playing bingo and attending a dance before going to sleep about 10 p.m. on carpeted classroom floors, wrapped in blankets that the Red Cross brought in by boat, said school librarian Patti McKibben.
Sounds more like a massive slumber party than an emergency.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Beauty Queen Arrested

(Honolulu, Hawaii) Former Miss Hawaii Tiffini Hercules and her husband, John Limahai Jr., have been arrested and charged with dealing ice, or crystal methamphetamine, from a house in Kailua. The arrests culminated a three-month investigation by crime-reduction officers in Kailua. They face possible 10 years or more in prison if convicted of the felonies.

From beauty queen to accused major drug dealer is not a recommended career path.

Campaign Thuggery

Campaign Thuggery

Campaign Thuggery

(via Wizbang) Three-year-old Sophia Parlock cries on her father's shoulders after a smiling Kerry-Edwards thug (Photo: Randy Snyder/AP) yanked a Bush-Cheney sign from her hands and later threw pieces of the ripped up sign at them. It happened at the Tri-State Airport as John Edwards was boarding a plane after a campaign swing through West Virginia and Ohio.

KA-BOOM in North Korea

Last week's massive explosion in North Korea has been explained as a mountain that was blown up in the middle of the night to allow for construction of a hydroelectric power plant. Needless to say, there is considerable skepticism about this explanation. Robert Koehler at the Marmot's Hole observes that it just doesn't make a lot of sense but North Korea does not have a reputation for doing things that make sense. That is why the country is a starving, dirt-poor nation. Many feel the explosion was most likely related to an accident at a weapons, chemical, or fuel facility. There's much more at the link.

Interestingly, looking at Japanese media (Japan Times, Mainichi Daily News) in the past week, I've seen not one mention of the North Korean explosion. This seems strange. When loud explosions go off in my neighborhood, I tend to have a few questions and comments. From what I've seen, the Japanese are minding their own business. Maybe I'm not reading the right newspapers.
Wal-Mart in Russia

From a Moscow Times report comes news that Wal-Mart may open a store in St. Petersburg next year.
"I have such information, but I'm not ready to talk more in detail about the opening of Wal-Mart," the chairman of St. Petersburg's economic development committee, Vladimir Blank, was quoted as saying.
A source stated that Wal-Mart is already recruiting workers through local employment agencies and that the store would be on the outskirts of the city and encompass about 180,000 square feet.

Wal-Mart spokesman Bill Wertz would not confirm the report.
Murderer of Beslan Threatens More Attacks

According to this report, after Russian President Putin announced there would be no negotiations with Chechen rebels,
Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility on Friday for the Russian school siege in which more than 320 hostages were killed, half of them children, and threatened further attacks by any means he saw fit.
The terrorist scum, who heads up armed units of the Riyadus-Salikhin group, emphasized that there would be continued attacks in the future in the campaign for an independent Chechnya.
"We are not bound by any circumstances, or to anybody, and we will continue to fight as is convenient and advantageous to us, and by our rules," he said in an unrepentant statement published on a rebel Web site.
It was also confirmed that his group was responsible for the downing of two Russian airliners last month and two other Moscow bomb attacks.

So, taking as hostages and shooting school children in the back are considered "convenient and advantageous" tactics according to his rules. My assessment would be that overwhelming force is more than justified to kill Shamil Basayev and his lieutenants. I'd personally recommend a slow and extremely painful execution.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Parking Ticket Scam

(Madison, Wisconsin) Enterprising college student, Anthony R. Gallagher, 23, was arrested for creating and issuing his own parking tickets. He collected numerous $40 fines before being caught and charged with lying to investigators.
Today's Headline

From the Times Argus in Montpelier, Vermont, is this story.
Accused priest will no longer play church organ
I would hope so.
More Outsourcing

Northeast Ohio has been a focal point of complaints about outsourcing of jobs. This story indicates that even our criminals aren't staying home.
Two men from Cleveland have been charged with illegally selling T-shirts imprinted with the Iowa State University logo.

The men were arrested Saturday for third-degree intellectual property counterfeiting.

They sold the T-shirts near Kinnick Stadium during the Iowa-Iowa State game, police said. The shirts depicted the character Calvin from the strip "Calvin and Hobbes" urinating on an ISU helmet, police said.

The counterfeiting charge falls under a state law that went into effect July 1.

For police and Iowa State, it's not about bad taste.

"It really has to do with using the ISU name," said John McCarroll, Iowa State spokesman. "It's about the counterfeiting rather than the phrase."
It's probably a safe bet that John Kerry would blame this on the Republicans.
Um, I Have Nothing

That's right. I really am lost for words to explain my reaction to the news that a German radio station will now broadcast in the Klingon language. Not only is society dumbing down the population, it's dumbing them into an alternate universe at the same time.
Dan Rather's Unimpeachable Source

Retired from the US Army National Guard, Lt. Col. Bill Burkett has been known to pass around stories about George W. Bush and now is collecting stink as the potential source of the forged documents. Burkett seems to be Dan Rather's unimpeachable source for information on Bush's National Guard service, yet a simple history of Burkett indicates that the only aspect about him that is unimpeachable is his seething hatred for George W. Bush. It's assumed that the reason Dan Rather doesn't want to reveal Burkett as his source is because the guy is an embarrassment.

Interestingly, it's now been learned that the forged documents were faxed from a Kinkos Copy Center somewhere near Abilene, Texas. Burkett has a standing account and has been seen recently at a Kinkos Copy Center in the area.

Meanwhile, Dan Rather is now stating that he may have used forged documents but it doesn't matter because what they say is true. Next he'll probably throw away the documents and state that we should just believe him because he knows everything.
RATHER: "You must believe me. I'm a reporter."

THE PUBLIC: "If you're a reporter, where are your documents?"

RATHER: "Documents! Documents! I don't need no stinking documents!"
The story continues.
Bomb Injures Children

From a report in the Jerusalem Post:
Ten Palestinian children were wounded, three seriously, when an explosive device they were playing with blew up in the Jelazoun refugee camp north of Ramallah Wednesday night.

Security officials did not rule out the possibility that a makeshift bomb prepared by Palestinian terrorists exploded prematurely wounding the children.
Whether children were playing with a bomb or a bomb was being prepared by terrorists, one thing is sure. Nothing about this report indicates that people were working towards peace.
Washing Makes Floor Dirtier

Apparently, some scientists have enough time on their hands to devote to disproving anything. The Professor of Sanitation and Energy Economy at Oslo University College, Oddbj�rn Sj�vold, believes that washing the floor makes it dirtier.

Jeez, just wait for the custodian to hear about this.
Brits Debate Hunting Ban

The animal rights crowd think hunting with hounds is cruel (in reality, the animal rights crowd want all hunting to be banned and they're continually inching toward that goal). The hunters are not rejoicing. Protesters stormed the House of Commons and were arrested while, outside Parliament, a pro-hunting rally degenerated into violence resulting in at least 19 injured, including two police officers.

While not condoning any lawbreaking, I've got to side with the pro-hunting advocacy on the issue. As I understand, the do-gooder animal rights advocacy is pushing the issue of hunting with hounds as cruel to the foxes. For some reason, the hunting of carnivorous vermin with hounds is cruel while reversing the history and traditions of Britain is not. Nor is it apparently cruel to wipe out a whole industry, taking away the livelihood of many Brits.

Personally, I don't think the word "cruel" should ever be applied to the process of eradicating vermin.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bedbug Infestations

According to this story, the world is seeing a reemergence of bedbug infestations because 'environmentally-friendly' insect repellents don't work. The cost of the bedbugs on the tourism industry is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Kofi Annan Says Iraq War Is Illegal

In an interview with the BBC, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the U.S. decision to invade Iraq was illegal. He maintains that future operations should have UN approval or much broader support.

My interpretation of his words is that the U.S. should defend itself only when the UN or France and Germany approve. My response to his comments is "Shove it, Kofi."
Guard Secretary Says Bush Memos Are Fakes

Pete Slover of the Dallas Morning News reports on an interview of the typist for Lt. George W. Bush's Air National Guard unit. Regarding the authenticity of the questionable CBS memos, 86-year-old Marian Carr Knox stated unequivocally that they are fake. She's certain she didn't type the documents and maintains that she did all the typing.

With respect to the content of the questionable memos, the article does loop-de-loops around Robin Hood's barn trying to establish a pedigree for the content of the memos even though the typist says they are phony. Check out this spin:
Mrs. Knox, 86, who spoke with precise recollection about dates, people and events, said, "I remember very vividly when Bush was there and all the yak-yak that was going on about it."
She precisely recalls dates, people, and events. Well, if so, what do we make of the following:
She said that although she did not recall typing the memos reported by CBS News, they accurately reflect the viewpoints of Col. Killian and documents that would have been in the personal file. Also, she said she didn't know whether the CBS documents corresponded memo for memo with that file.

[ ... ]

Mrs. Knox said that she didn't recall typing a Killian memo alleging that a commander, Col. Walter "Buck" Staudt, was pressuring officers to "sugar coat" Mr. Bush's record. But, she said, such a portrayal of Col. Staudt was consistent with his character and Col. Killian's opinion of his superior officer.
It seems that one doesn't have to remember everything to have a "precise" memory in the opinion of the DMN. To recap:
Mrs. Knox's 'precise' memory doesn't remember typing the documents but she vouches for the accuracy of the content.

Her 'precise' memory of events 30 years ago recalls substantive knowledge of Col. Staudt's character and Col. Killian's opinions which she uses as the basis for vouching for the content of documents she didn't type.
If you're confused, realize that's the purpose of the spin. Obfuscate the issue such that the content of the documents seems to have validity. Trouble is that the documents become more questionable as days go by. The only thing the spin does is make the DMN look incompetent or a de facto division of the Democratic Party.

To conclude, the DMN should have stopped the article after Mrs. Knox stated the documents were fake. Everything that follows is nonsensical.

Kevin Aylward also discusses Marian Carr Knox at Wizbang.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Massive Death Toll From Heat Wave

(San Francisco, California) According to a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a premier American scare factory, thousands of people in San Francisco are going to die from global warming. In a San Francisco Chronicle article peppered with "may," "might," and similar verbs, the co-author of the study, Susanne C. Moser, indicates that the State of California must immediately institute stricter motor vehicle emission standards to ward off the impending catastrophe. Of note is that the death toll of thousands is not expected to occur until the 2090s.

Interestingly, the Union of Concerned Scientists seems to be fairly certain about what is going to occur 90 years from now while at the same time, meteorologists are not sure what Hurricane Ivan is going to do tomorrow. There are many people on their way back to southern Florida after complying with an unnecessary evacuation order. In other words, one group of scientists with the capability of actually seeing, via radar and photographs, a climatological phenomenon, cannot predict precisely what is going to happen from one day to the next, while other scientists, without the capability to see their climatological phenomenon, are predicting what's going to happen several human generations from now.
Zarqawi Website Posts Another Execution

A kidnapped Turkish contractor truck driver was beheaded by al-Qaida-linked militants. Rusty Shackleford has the story and images. Also at MyPetJawa is the story of two Australians kidnapped and threatened with execution by the self-named "Horror Brigade" in Iraq.

Breaking news from Baghdad is an Al-Jazeera broadcast of a Jordanian truck driver being taken hostage and threatened with execution by a group called "Brigades of Al-Tawhid Lions."

I think the Religion of Peace argument has become empty words.
Microsoft Forger

No longer does a news network have to fiddle with ancient typewriters to produce desired news stories, brand new software has been developed to create absolutely flawless forgeries. The program is capable of emulating a variety of obsolete typewriters and primitive word processors. More product information is available here.
More On Rathergate

Evidence is mounting that Dan Rather and his CBS team have either created bogus Bush National Guard documents or have been given a bunch of forgeries and didn't bother checking their authenticity. Many glaring inconsistencies, questions, and unreasonable assertions have been identified and CBS, so far, has not adequately supported its case. The seriousness of the issue is best expressed by Newsweek's Howard Fineman who considers Rathergate to be a turning point for the major media.

Curiously, the way things are unfolding, it seems that years ago Dan Rather may have decided what he wanted to report about President Bush's National Guard service and was looking for some evidence to back him up. Ultimately, he found some shady documents to his liking. According to The Prowler,
PERHAPS MOST TROUBLING to the CBS News staff looking into how its story went off the rails is the timing of the memos' appearance. "Some 60 Minutes staffers have been working on this story for more than three years off and on," says the CBS News producer. "There have been rumors about these memos and what was in them for at least that long. No one had been able to find anything. Not a single piece of paper. But we know that a lot of people here interviewed a lot of people in Texas and elsewhere and asked very explicit questions about the existence of these memos. Then all of a sudden they show up? In one nice, neat package?"
This strongly hints that the conclusion of the search was predetermined and awaited only the method to get there. Poof! After three years searching, one nice, neat package shows up to support what was already decided. Coincidence? Not likely. Odd timing? Definitely.

Dan Rather's credibility and his ability to continue vouching for the documents have been dramatically eroded by bloggers and others producing considerable evidence to the contrary. Dr. Joseph Newcomer, a pioneer in electronic typesetting who's not a George Bush supporter, has performed a detailed analysis and has determined that the whole collection of documents are most certainly forgeries.

Current status of the controversy resembles a feeding frenzy and, as Allah reports, some members of the CBS news team are anxiously hoping the conclusion will result in a job opening at the anchor desk.

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