Saturday, July 29, 2006

Iran bans foreign words

Only in Iran, right? What about freedom fries and English only? Ya see what intolerance breeds?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has banned a string of foreign words and replaced them with Persian equivalents, it was reported today.

The presidential decree – which turns pizzas into “elastic loaves” – orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deigned more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Persian Academy.

The academy has introduced more than 2,000 words as alternatives for some of the foreign words that have crept into the Farsi vocabulary.

Among other changes, “short talk” is the alternative to “chat” while a “cabin” will be renamed a “small room”.

We do live in interesting times.

(courtesy link)


And now for something completely different

Water, water everywhere and… will it last?

Getting back to that global warming thing that doesn't exist because Dim Son says so. We're starting to see near-term disaster. Take Mount Kilimanjaro, please.
In the thin, cold air here atop the Andes mountains, the blue ice that has claimed these peaks for thousands of years and loyally fed the streams below is now disappearing rapidly.

Mountain glaciers such as this are in retreat around the Earth, taking with them vast stores of water that grow crops, generate electricity and sustain cities and rural areas.

Farmers here say that over the past two decades they have noticed a dramatic decrease in the amount of ice and snow on their mountaintops. The steady supply of water they need to grow crops has become erratic.

"There is less water now. If there is no water, this land becomes a desert," said Benedicto Loayza, a 52-year-old farmer, standing under pear trees fed by channels dug on the mountain centuries ago to collect runoff.

"You can think of these glaciers as a bank account built over thousands of years," said Lonnie Thompson, one of the first scientists to sound the alarm, as he stood by the largest ice cap in the Andes. "If you subtract more than you gain, eventually you go bankrupt. That's what's in process here."

Thompson arrived at the blue-white face of the Quelccaya glacier this month after a two-day hike from the nearest road, climbing into the oxygen-thin air of 17,000 feet above sea level. Since he started his annual visits here in 1974, he said, the huge ice cap has shrunk by 30 percent. In the last year, the tongue of the ice has pulled back 100 yards, breakneck speed for a glacier.

Since Thompson's first reports, he and others have confirmed a rapid recession of glaciers worldwide. Snows on Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro, extolled by Ernest Hemingway as "wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white," will be gone within 14 years, Thompson estimates. Glaciers in the Alps, the Himalayas and throughout the Andes are also shrinking, he and other researchers have found.

The point is we will, in many of our lifetimes, see horrible water shortages caused by melted snow on Kilimanjaro and probably other places which is being caused by fictitious global warming.

To be fair, the moron isn't solely at fault, but does share the blame because he isn't acting now to stop global warming. Clinton, Bush Sr and others share the blame because this isn't a sudden discovery. Even Gore, as VP, could have done more.

(read more)


A little good news out of Lebanon

This peace proposal sounds pretty good except for one glaring omission. There must be weapons inspectors in the south. That may be implicit, but everyone has to know the guerrillas have laid down their arms. Then there's the matter of Chebaa Farms, but that appears potentially reconcilable.
Hezbollah politicians, while expressing reservations, have joined their critics in the government in agreeing to a peace package that includes strengthening an international force in south Lebanon and disarming the guerrillas, the government said.

The agreement — reached after a heated six-hour Cabinet meeting — was the first time that Hezbollah has signed onto a proposal for ending the crisis that includes the deploying of international forces.

The package falls short of American and Israeli demands in that it calls for an immediate cease-fire before working out details of a force and includes other conditions.

But European Union officials said Friday the proposals form a basis for an agreement, increasing the pressure on the United States to call for a cease-fire.

The details:
It starts out with an immediate cease-fire. Following that would come:

• the release of Lebanese and Israeli prisoners; Israeli withdrawal behind the border; the return of Lebanese displaced by the fighting.

• moves to resolve the status of Chebaa Farms, a small piece of land held by Israel and claimed by Lebanon. The proposal calls for the
U.N. Security Council to commit to putting the area under U.N. control until a final demarcation of the border.

• the provision by Israel of maps of minefields laid during its 18-year occupation of the south.

• "the spreading of Lebanese government authority over the entire country," meaning the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south, with the strengthening and increasing of the small, lightly armed U.N. peacekeeping force currently there.

The provisions do not spell out the order in which the steps must take place, but Saniora has said the government cannot spread its authority in the south unless the Chebaa farms issue is resolved. Israel's hold on Chebaa has provided Hezbollah with a rationale to maintain its arsenal and its "resistance" against Israel.

(read more)


Israel is after Hizballah

That's been the claim of Israel, but they're really after Lebanon. If there was ever any doubt, what with the disproportionate number of civilians being killed, this pretty much eliminates any doubt:
Israeli Cabinet Minister Avi Dichter said on Israel radio Saturday that it was unacceptable for Lebanon's government "to hide behind the claim that a terror organization is operating on their ground and they cannot stop it." He said Israel holds the government fully accountable for what Hezbollah is doing there and that "Lebanon is paying the full price these days." [emphasis mine]

(read more)


Embryonic stem cells created

This is very good news because the cells are clinical-grade whereas the cells being studied in the US are not due to contamination from mouse cells.
A biotech company in Singapore said on Friday that it has created human embryonic stem cells that comply with the strict standards imposed for clinical use in humans.

Alan Colman, the CEO of ES Cell International, said: "It is the first time lines have been made according to the current good manufacturing practice conditions."

The new cell lines have not been made with any living animal tissue and so are believed to be safe for clinical use in humans.

(read more)


World as dangerous as it has ever been

At least it is during most polled people's lives. Not a good sign for Repugs who want to play their "security" card. This via a recent USA Today/Gallup poll.

(read more)


Cat Blogging

Actually a Cambodian Civit.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Information you need to know

Just what is this increase in the minimum wage? Is it a windfall or a mild breeze?
Reporters, who write news stories for a living, do have the time to adjust numbers for inflation and should routinely do so in their news stories. This means that when an article tells readers that a bill in Congress will raise the minimum wage to $7.15 an hour in 2007, from 5.15 an hour at present, it would be helpful to tell readers that this is equal to approximately $5.32 in 1997 dollars, the year the last minimum wage hike took full effect. This means that minimum wage workers would get about a 3.0 percent increase in real wages from 1997 to 2007, if this bill was approved.

Hmmm. I feel a slight draft.

(read more)


Tour de France/Landis update

I admit I'm no cycling fan per se (wow French!), but I do follow the Tour de France privately. I blogged earlier this was not over and we may know more soon.
Floyd Landis plans to give a news conference Friday in Madrid about the positive doping result that threatens to wipe out the American's victory in the Tour de France, his lawyer's office said.

It would be the American cyclist's first public appearance since Thursday's announcement by his team, Phonak, that he tested positive for abnormal levels of testosterone after the 17th stage of the Tour.

The office of Landis's lawyer, Jose Maria Buxeda, told The Associated Press that a news conference with the cyclist will be held at 11:30 a.m. EDT in the Spanish capital.

Landis denied any wrongdoing in a teleconference with reporters on Thursday and vowed to clear his name.

read more)


Gunman slays Somali constitution minister

I'm not sure how much longer I can ignore Somalia. With limited brain capacity and serious limitations on initiative (read I'm lazy), its impossible to keep up with all the conflicts. Are there still "troubles" in Northern Ireland? Damned if I know. The MSM can't mention everything either.

That said, this is very sad. The report paints Abdalla Derrow Issak as a reasonable man who wanted what was best for his country. Now he's dead.
An unknown gunman has shot and killed Somalia's constitutional and federal affairs minister in the provincial town of Baidoa, making him the first high-profile politician in the 18-month-old transitional governmment to be slain, officials and relatives said.

Abdalla Derrow Issak was shot three times as he left the mosque after Friday prayers in the temporary government base in Baidoa, about 250 kilometres (155 miles) northwest of the capital Mogadishu, but the gunman fled. He died as passers-by rushed him to hospital, witnesses said.

"Allah shall forgive him, Abdalla passed away after he was shot by an unidentified gunman," one of his relatives told AFP on Friday.

Somalia parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden mourned the minister as a "peace-loving" Somali and vowed that the government, which is largely regarded as weak and defenceless, will bring the criminal to justice. The motive of the killing remained unclear.

(read more)

I do know Nepal isn't peaceful.
The collective sigh of relief heard around the capital last week, as reports of possible United Nations involvement in a tenuous peace process came in, is a sign of just how much faith ordinary Nepalis place in the world body.

Ordinary citizens believe that once the U.N. gets involved, Nepal's 11-year-old Maoist problem will be resolved in favour of a peaceful democratic state. The local intelligentsia, too, holds similar beliefs. "The U.N.'s role will be to effectively manage the peace process. It will be difficult initially but we are certain that the U.N. will succeed," says Narayan Wagle, editor of the influential ‘Kantipur' newspaper.

Such faith is striking considering the U.N. is nowhere near being involved. And even if it does, its recent failures in places like Rwanda, the Balkans and Cambodia give spoilers enough to derail any such role in Nepal.

(read more)


On the road again

John Dean [Wikipedia], the Watergate whistle-blower, in his new book asks if the US is on the road to Fascism. He says not, but we should be wary. I disagree about the "road" part. We're so far down the road we don't even speak the local dialect. See if you don't agree.
John Dean, the White House lawyer who famously helped blow the whistle on the Watergate scandal that drove Richard Nixon from office, says the country has returned to an "imperial presidency" that is putting the United States and the world at risk.

In his new book, "Conservatives Without Conscience," Dean looks at Republican-controlled Washington and sees a bullying, manipulative, prejudiced leadership edging the nation toward a dark era.

"Are we on the road to fascism?" he writes. "Clearly, we are not on that road yet. But it would not take much more misguided authoritarian leadership, or thoughtless following of such leaders, to find ourselves there.

Read the Merriam-Webster definition.
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control [early instances of army fascism and brutality -- J. W. Aldridge]

We've arrive according to Aldridge's definition and, except for the forcible suppression of opposition — — assumed physical as opposed to strong-arming and subterfuge — — we're nearly there by M-W's definition.

(read more)


Blair to press Dim Son on ceasefire in Lebanon

This is cute. Blair is strutting around saying he's gonna press the moron. Then, Bushco pulls the carpet out from under Blair by stating they've already decided to take a resolution to the UN. Blair just can't win. You don't upstage Bushco or give the impression you have.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair will press United States President George Bush on Friday to support "as a matter of urgency" a ceasefire in Lebanon as part of a United Nations Security Council resolution next week, according to Downing Street sources.

At a White House meeting, Blair will express his concern that pro-western Arab governments are "getting squeezed" by the crisis and the longer it continues, the more squeezed they will be, giving militants a boost. The private view from Number 10 is that the US is "prevaricating" over the resolution and allowing the conflict to run on too long.

But diplomatic sources in Washington suggest the US and Israel believe serious damage has been inflicted on Hezbollah, so the White House is ready to back a ceasefire resolution at the UN next week.

(read more)


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Disappointing Tour de France news

This isn't over, so take heart.

Tour de France champion Floyd Landis tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the race, his Phonak team said Thursday on its Web site.

Landis rode the Tour with a degenerative hip condition that he has said will require surgery in the coming weeks or months.

Arlene Landis, his mother, said Thursday that she wouldn't blame her son if he was taking medication to treat the pain in his injured hip, but "if it's something worse than that, then he doesn't deserve to win."

"I didn't talk to him since that hit the fan, but I'm keeping things even keel until I know what the facts are," she said in a phone interview from her home in Farmersville, Pa. "I know that this is a temptation to every rider but I'm not going to jump to conclusions ... It disappoints me."

All I have to say is, "Good for mom". She's being supportive while being ethical. That isn't always easy.


Why do people think war is like a video game?

Why doesn't everyone realize, regardless the superiority of force, in and out isn't an option.
It was meant to be over by now. This time last week Israeli military planners were demanding another 72 hours to finish the job: that's all they needed, they promised, to clear southern Lebanon of Hizbullah. Yet the enemy has proved stubborn. Despite two weeks of bombardment, Hizbullah's formidable arsenal remains in place. Yesterday they fired yet more rockets - 60 of them - deep into Israel, reaching the city of Haifa and killing a teenage girl in the Arab village of Maghar.

This persistence is causing the first rumblings of Israeli disquiet. Why are the Katyushas "still coming, and killing?" asks one Israeli columnist.

There aren't going to be anymore quick wars. Asymmetrical warfare dictates protracted engagement unless total annihilation is employed.

(read more)


Now this is Spin

First, the details:
In failing to agree on a call for an immediate Middle East ceasefire, the world has given Israel permission to press ahead with its military offensive in Lebanon, a senior Israeli cabinet minister said today.

A high-level Middle East conference in Rome yesterday ended without agreement.

Most European leaders want Israel to halt its offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas immediately while the United States is willing to give Israel more time to punish the guerrilla group.

“We received yesterday in the Rome conference permission, in effect, from the world, part of it gritting its teeth and part of it granting its blessing, to continue the operation, this war, until Hezbollah’s presence is erased in Lebanon and it is disarmed,” Justice Minister Haim Ramon told Army Radio.

Ramon is considered a confidant of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Let me get this straight. Most European leaders favored immediate cease-fire by Israel. But because the US wouldn't agree, they issued no joint statement. That means they gave permission? Wow! My head hurts.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

File under "Its About Time"

Sooner or later it gets to be too much and people start weighing in. Just hope it isn't too little too late.
The religious right, which helped re-elect
President Bush in 2004 by rallying opposition to abortion and gay marriage, is now facing a pushback from the religious left.

With a faith-based agenda of their own, liberal and progressive clergy from various denominations are lobbying lawmakers, holding rallies and publicizing their positions. They want to end the Iraq war, ease global warming, combat poverty, raise the minimum wage, revamp immigration laws, and prevent "immoral" cuts in federal social programs.

"I join the ranks of those who are angry because I have watched as the faith I love has been taken over by fundamentalists who claim to speak for Jesus but whose actions are anything but Christian," declared Meyers, who has written a new book, "Why the Christian Right is Wrong.

(read more)


Information you need to know

Everyone knows an Israeli soldier was kidnapped. Its the reason given for the resultant attacks by Israel on Palestine. But was it really the root cause of the current fighting?
"Gaza, itself, the latest phase, began on June 24. It was when Israel abducted two Gaza civilians, a doctor and his brother. We don't know their names. You don't know the names of victims. They were taken to Israel, presumably, and nobody knows their fate. The next day, something happened, which we do know about, a lot. Militants in Gaza, probably Islamic Jihad, abducted an Israeli soldier across the border. That's Corporal Gilad Shalit. And that's well known; the first abduction is not. Then followed the escalation of Israeli attacks on Gaza, which I don't have to repeat. It's reported on adequately."

BTW, if you clicked on the second link in my last post, you saw that blogger also mentions the physican's kidnapping along with a family member.

(read more)


Israel and Gaza

This a Faux news interview with Lord Gilmour who probably will not be asked to return.

At the end of the interview, Lord Gilmour said Israel's expansion is Gaza is continuing. He goes on to say this:
"They pretend they want peace but they're still stealing Palestinian land by building their illegal colonies and that is very provocative to whom - to a lot of other people as well."

Compare his thoughts with this blogger's.
Only the sadly uninformed or religious zealots believe that the powers that be in Israel want peace in the former Palestine. The two sides' hatred for each other is now generational.

The Israelis never planned to actually return the occupied territories to the Arabs with the possible exception of Yitzhak Rabin, and look what happened to him, at the hands of perhaps only one of his countrymen.



I'm with Molly Ivins

She has the clever idea the Dems should run Bill Moyers for president.
Dear desperate Democrats, here's what we do. We run Bill Moyers for president. I am serious as a stroke about this. It's simple, cheap and effective, and it will move the entire spectrum of political discussion in this country. Moyers is the only public figure who can take the entire discussion and shove it toward moral clarity just by being there.

Could Bill Moyers win? Molly thinks not.
Do I think Bill Moyers can win the presidency? No, that seems like a very long shot to me. The nomination? No, that seems like a very long shot to me.

Then why run him? Think, imagine, if seven or eight other Democratic candidates, all beautifully coiffed and triangulated and carefully coached to say nothing that will offend anyone, stand on stage with Bill Moyers in front of cameras for a national debate ... what would happen? Bill Moyers would win, would walk away with it, just because he doesn't triangulate or calculate or trim or try to straddle the issues. Bill Moyers doesn't have to endorse a constitutional amendment against flag burning or whatever wedge issue du jour Republicans have come up with. He is not afraid of being called "unpatriotic." And besides, he is a wise and a kind man who knows how to talk on TV.

It won't take much money--file for him in a couple of early primaries and just get him into the debates. Think about the potential Democratic candidates. Every single one of them needs spine, needs political courage. What Moyers can do is not only show them what it looks like and indeed what it is, but also how people respond to it. I'm damned if I want to go through another presidential primary with everyone trying to figure out who has the best chance to win instead of who's right. I want to vote for somebody who's good and brave and who should win

Imagine a campaign including the candidates' actual positions and opinions. Now that would be novel.

(read more)


Does Anyone Else Have a Problem with this Story?

This reported in, an Israeli news source.
The role of the international force that will be sent to Lebanon following a cease-fire will be to assist the Lebanese army to deploy in the south, ensure that Hezbollah does not rebuild its positions there and ensure that quiet is maintained along the Israeli-Lebanese border, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed Tuesday.

Uh, the US and Israel agreed on the role of the international force? What about the rest of the international community? They get no say in the matter? There's no mention in the story the US and Israel even "consulted with" other countries.


Some people sure do talk funny. Wanna take a shot at interpreting the following quotation?
The killings have also alarmed the Roman Catholic church, with papal envoy Archbishop Fernando Filoni earlier this month stressing that there remains "an activity of high incidence of a moral and political violence against those who profess different political ideologies."

Here's what the story reports 2 paragraphs earlier:
Leftist groups who have been openly critical of [Philippines President] Arroyo's leadership have said that nearly 100 leftist activists have been killed by masked gunmen since the president came to power in 2001.

Does that remotely resemble your interpretation?

(read more)


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Now They Understand

Back in the day (2000) I was campaigning among friends and family:


Yes I was yelling. Now, 6 fucking years later, Americans finally "get it". Oi vey!

Have You Heard This One?

But not seriously, folks.

I recall a routine from way back. Mort Sahl gets the credit. I can't remember for sure, but the timing in my head says Mort.

The routine:

The president has this map with all the trouble spots marked in black.

So the president is standing in front of this black map… (rim shot)

Mort does the joke much better than I.

It really will be easier in the forseeable future to list countries not in present or imminent conflict/war.


No Brains Required

Some people don't have the intelligence of a carrot.
Police have condemned a huge role-playing game where contestants travel all over London armed with water pistols looking to "assassinate" other players, saying it could spark terrorism alerts.

"StreetWars", which is described on its Web site as a "3-week long, 24/7, watergun assassination tournament", begins on Tuesday in the capital.

The game, which has already taken place in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Vienna, involves players hunting down targets whose details they have been given and then squirting them with water to eliminate them.

But angry police say the appearance of people behaving suspiciously, armed with what could look like real guns, risked sparking major alerts in a city where four suicide bombers attacked the transport system last year, killing 52 commuters.

(read more)


Just Tell Mary I've Told You I Like Her

Does this sound a little like grade school? You know, where you don't tell Mary you like her, but ask a friend to mention it to her. Talk about being wankers. No direct contact is necessary.

Of course, if she likes you then its a whole different ballgame. For Bushco however, there will be no direct contact regardless what "Mary" says. Bombing Syria wouldn't be considered direct contact, right?
Though American officials consistently point to Syria as a key player in the Middle East crisis, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pointedly won't be stopping in Damascus on her current trip to the region.

She is visiting Lebanon, Israel, and the Palestinian territories before attending an international conference in Rome tomorrow. The meeting, bringing together Western and Arab countries, is to explore the avenues that could lead to a cease-fire and creation of an international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.

But it is Syria that Ms. Rice and other US officials say "knows what it needs to do" in this crisis. That means stopping its arms supply line to Hizbullah's military wing, and pressuring Hizbullah's leaders (some of whom live in Damascus) to give up abducted Israeli soldiers and cease the shelling of Israeli territory.

But rather than delivering that message itself to Damascus - an Arab capital that has had no American ambassador for more than a year - Washington is turning to its closest Arab partners to carry its message.

The Bush administration's principle of avoiding the international players it finds most objectionable is facing in the Middle East what may be its biggest test.

It is a diplomatic practice that the Bush administration has used elsewhere, but without clear results thus far, analysts say.

Charles Freeman, a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, is a skeptic. "To imagine you could somehow subcontract to someone else the contacts and pressuring with a party you consider crucial but at the same time disagreeable or objectionable is not a good" approach, he says .

But of course, no one will listen to Charles Freeman who probably knows more about the Middle East than Dim Sun knows about his Texas ranch farm. I scratched the word ranch because no true Texan would call Dim Sun's property a ranch.

(read more)


Does Bushco Really Want Israel to Severely Weaken Hezbolla? Or…

Is this Bushco's real reason for supporting Israel's attacks on Lebanon? They've done their best to de-stabalize Iran in the past. Helping the rest of the world fear Iran would go a long way in setting Iran up for invasion.
Iran insists it will not be drawn into the Middle East fighting between Israel and Tehran's Hezbollah clients but may be unable to avoid fallout on the already difficult diplomatic struggle over its nuclear program - hardening positions on all sides, experts on the talks say.

Outside Iran, the fighting could sharpen the resolve of Western powers and others that fear Iran wants to build a nuclear weapon and is using what it calls a civilian program as a cover for that ambition. Inside the country, hard-line forces might become increasingly unwilling to make concessions.

One of the immediate worries is that Iran could set off a regional arms race and bring new risks to an area brimming with tensions. The fighting in Lebanon and the Hezbollah rocket attacks highlight concerns that nuclear material, whether from Iran or elsewhere, could in the future find its way into the hands of militant groups like Hezbollah who want to destroy Israel.

After all, playing the fear card has worked out quite nicely on Americans.

(read more)


Monday, July 24, 2006

Maybe They're Learning

I've posted several times at SPIIDERWEB™ about the lax security at our ports. Sometimes, just sometimes, TSA (Transportation Security Authority) does a bang– up job and they deserver kudos.
Both terminals at John Wayne Airport were temporarily evacuated Sunday evening and passengers were taken off airplanes after a female passenger made it past a security checkpoint without being screened, authorities said.

Hundreds of travelers - even those aboard airplanes - were required to undergo a second security check, said Nico Melendez of the Transportation Security Administration.

(read more)


File Under "These People Can Vote"

Example numero uno:
Employee: So, we were going to mail all these invoices, but instead we're going to fax them since our postage machine died. Just put them on here and press start.
Temp: Okay! Got it.

Temp begins faxing.

Employee: Um, you have to take them out of the envelopes first.

Example dos:
Counter person: Hi, can I help you?
Customer: Yes, I'd like a dinner for twelve, please.
Counter person: Oh, I'm sorry. For orders that large you have to call catering at least twenty-four hours in advance.
Customer: Er, then how about two dinners for six?
Counter person: Oh, sure, we can do that.

Both examples via Overheard in the Office.


Time to Adjust the Minimum Wage

That's the title of a blog post over at The Hill Blog where congress critters and lobbyists blog.
By N.Y. GOP Rep. John Sweeney on Politics

I think that after ten years time it is time to make an adjustment. I’m confident that we can get a bill that can raise the minimum wage and protect small businesses and farms from added burdens.

This is a GOP Rep., but this vacuous post easily could have come from the fingers of a Dem.

How can you tell small businesses and farmers who pay less than minimum wage they have to pay each employee more money per hour and not call that an added burden? Duh!

Disclosure: I do believe the minimum wage should be raised and I used to own a small business. Raising the minimum wage wouldn't have been a burden on my business because I paid more than minimum wage already. Many businesses nearby did not.


Funny is Funny

I admit I can find humor where none is intended and where no one else can, but this report is funny. If you disagree, you can just ignore me. I'm fine in my own little world.

Check this out.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Too Funny Except For The Dog

Is this not the stuff of which great comedy is made? Ya, I think so.

Three police officers were accidentally shot Sunday as one or more officers took aim at a pit bull attacking a member of their crew, police said. All were in stable condition.

The three officers suffered minor graze wounds and a fourth was bitten, said police Officer Doris Garcia.

The men had been responding to a dispute between a landlord and tenant in a Bronx building when the animal ran from another floor and attacked one of the officers, police said. The dog was killed by the gunfire.

(read more)

Someone Stop This Insanity NOW!

This has gone far beyond Middle East turmoil. This is getting just too damn close to World War. Where are the adults? I realise there are none in Bushco, but what about everyone else? Ok, Tony Blair doesn't count, but the other world leaders?
As a host of top European diplomats descended on the region, Syria fueled fears the fighting could spread, issuing a stark warning that it would intervene if Israel invaded Lebanon.

If Syria gets involved (read fights Israel) you just know the moron will attack Syria and probably Iran just to show he doesn't play favorites. Then defence alliances kick in and…

(read more)

Saddam Hussein On Hunger strike

I have no idea how this slipped under my radar.
The prosecutor says Saddam Hussein has been hospitalized on the 17th day of a hunger strike.

Uh, that's the whole UPI report. Hell, the headline is nearly as long.

Well it looks like Saddam's doing better than during his last hunger strike that lasted for 1 meal.

As if We Didn't Have Enough Ugliness

The fighting in Iraq is ugly and, if the following is true, things just got uglier. It probably is true.
On the morning of May 9, a group of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division arrived in a remote desert area of western Iraq for a dangerous mission: destroying an insurgent training camp.

What happened then is the subject of intense dispute.

Military prosecutors last month accused four soldiers in the unit of releasing three Iraqi men they captured that day only to kill them. The soldiers have been charged with premeditated murder, a capital offense.

Lawyers for the soldiers deny they released the detainees. They say the soldiers fired only after the Iraqis tried to break free and attack them.

But the lawyers are also making a more startling claim: that the soldiers were given explicit orders before the raid to "kill all military–age males" they encountered.

The lawyers say that two senior officers — a colonel and a captain — have acknowledged they gave that order, as have other men in the same company.

I say its probably true because I read a blog site run by a soldier in Baghdad. He's never mentioned something like this, but from the tone of many posts I get two impressions. One, commanders probably are giving such orders. And two, the troops don't need to be told this. Its something they would decide to do on their own.

Now if you go to the link, you'll see they were on an island and it reasonably could be assumed everyone on the island was an insurgent. Its also possible there would be women and children. Hence they would be ordered to "kill all military–age males". But maybe I'm being too generous. We'll have to see what comes out of this. First reports are often quite different from what is known after an investigation.

(read more)

Middle East Crisis

Who backs an immediate ceasefire?


Why Did I Know This And They Didn't?

Maybe I need to tender my CV. It looks like they could use my help. Or better still, I should start my own fish think tank.
The United States, Israel, the United Nations and the European Union have reluctantly concluded that despite punishing military attacks, Hezbollah is likely to survive as a political player in Lebanon, and Israel now says it is willing to accept the organization if it sheds its military wing and abandons extremism, according to several key officials.

"To the extent that it remains a political group, it will be acceptable to Israel," Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon said yesterday in the strongest sign to date that the Israelis are rethinking the scope and ultimate goals of the campaign. "A political group means a party that is engaged in the political system in Lebanon, but without terrorism capabilities and fighting capabilities. That will be acceptable to Israel." [emphasis mine]

(read more)

The Best Defence is a Strong Offense

If that's true then Israel is indeed defending itself. But to me 10 to 1 and 100 to 1 killings doesn't constitute a defence at all.
Israel's 11-day air offensive in Lebanon has left more than 372 Lebanese and 34 Israelis dead, while more than 100 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier have died in Gaza.


At least they're ridding the world of terrorists.
At least 372 have been killed and 1,482 wounded, according to Lebanese security officials. Among them are 20 Lebanese army soldiers and at least eight Hezbollah guerrillas.

Among the civilian deaths are 8 Canadians, 2 Kuwaiti nationals, 1 Iraqi, 1 Sri Lankan, 1 Jordanian.


Damn! They've killed as many Canadians as terrorists.


And So It Goes…

Man oh man I'd find it extremely difficult to teach government in school right now. I'd have to constantly bite my tongue to avoid telling the children this is how government is supposed to work, but not how it currently works.
When school was canceled to accommodate a campaign visit by President Bush, the two 55-year-old teachers reckoned the time was ripe to voice their simmering discontent with the administration's policies.

Christine Nelson showed up at the Cedar Rapids rally with a Kerry-Edwards button pinned on her T-shirt; Alice McCabe clutched a small, paper sign stating "No More War." What could be more American, they thought, than mixing a little dissent with the bunting and buzz of a get-out-the-vote rally headlined by the president?

Their reward: a pair of handcuffs and a strip search at the county jail.

Authorities say they were arrested because they refused to obey reasonable security restrictions, but the women disagree: "Because I had a dissenting opinion, they did what they needed to do to get me out of the way," said Nelson, who teaches history and government at one of this city's middle schools.

"I tell my students all the time about how people came to this country for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, that those rights and others are sacred. And all along I've been thinking to myself, 'not at least during this administration.'"

Their experience is hardly unique.

BTW, I bet you didn't know the tongue was "a fleshy movable muscular process of the floor of the mouths of most vertebrates…"

(Merriam-Webster OnLine)

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Iraq as a Country is no Longer Viable

Iraq's Pinocio regime, you remember Pinocio who wanted his strings removed, anyway it is still publicly committed to Bushco's force–fed constitution. But that is only publicly. One top government official told Reuters things are quite different behind the scenes and Iraq may become essentially, if not in fact, 3 separate countries.

What a spectacular failure for the neocons this would be. That it would come to this isn't surprising at all. It's essentially what the Kurds have wanted for years. It may also be the only way the warring factions have to peacefully coexist.
On the eve of a high-profile meeting intended to demonstrate reconciliation among sectarian and ethnic factions ahead of a White House visit by the prime minister, senior leaders admitted to despair about the chances of averting all-out civil war.

"Iraq as a political project is finished," a top government official told Reuters -- anonymously because the coalition of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki remains committed in public to a U.S.-sponsored constitution preserving Iraq's unity.

"The parties have moved to Plan B," the official said, saying Sunni, ethnic Kurdish and majority Shi'ite blocs were looking at ways to divide power and resources and to solve the conundrum of Baghdad's mixed population of seven million.

"There is serious talk of Baghdad being divided into east and west," said the official, who has long been a proponent of the present government's objectives. "We are extremely worried."

I would hate to see Baghdad divided. That hardly worked out for Berlin, but its their country and their city and their call.

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Cool Image

Update: Oops! Forgot to credit Jonco for the image.

Another Beirut Headline

Courtesy Stuart D Hughes.