Thursday, November 22, 2007

Narita airport in Japan

This is an all over the fucking place post about international travel because that's my mood at the moment.

I'll start by saying the Japanese are so fucking nice compared to US. I really ♥ the Japanese. They are always so courteous and polite to a gaijin which is a pejorative term to begin with.

My flight into Narita was late. Very late. So I missed my next flight which was one per day. I was Naïve and didn't realize international airports closed at night. Closed?

Those of us who missed our flights were herded into one area. Thankfully near restrooms. And we were guarded all night long to make sure we didn't steal anything. Stealing anything? It was impossible because all the shops had heavy metal grills, but whatever.

This is a note of caution: Please pay attention. I'd checked my suitcase and sweatshirt at a small stall. It seemed like a good idea at the time. How the fuck could I know they would drop the temperature down to about 60°F (15.6°C)? I froze my ass off. My assumption is the temperature was lowered for the sake of the people cleaning the airport and polishing the floors. Just speculation here.

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger? I'll go with comfort.

Of all the airports I've been in only two struck me as sucking. One was in Canada and one was in the US.

I love to collect foreign coins. In Taiwan they are not allowed to give change in Taiwan coins. One girl (really young so she was a girl) took some coins out of her purse for me.

In the Canadian airport I mentioned above, one of the people checking luggage noted the pins/badges on my backpack and gave me a pin/badge to add to my collection which was a limited edition pin/badge only given to employees.

Ah. Then there was the Manila airport (NAIA) where they discovered I'd overstayed my visa by one day. Yeah, one fucking day. I explained I was in the Makati Hospital undergoing tests for potential cancer. They gave me a "yeah, we've heard them all" look and fined me. No harm, no foul.

Now here's a conundrum for ya. Almost every time I'm waiting in an airport for a flight and notice an attractive girl/woman who appears to be traveling alone she ends up seated next to me? If not seated next to me, she will change seats and be next to me. The seat gods? Too fucking spooky.

Another conundrum. Why the fuck do I think of things to post when seated on the toilet only to return to the computer and have no clue what I wanted to say? Then, after going to have another cigarette on the toilet, I immediately remember what I wanted to post?

Probably more travel tales to follow...

I don't travel much anymore and I miss it.

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Are Black People Stupid? Opinions Differ

Three things:
1. I can't provide a snippet. You need to follow the link.

2. The headline is ridiculous in that it's a stupid question.

3. I rarely link to the alpha dogs, but this is different.

Actually I have a fourth thing. I always have another thing, but usually post before it occurs to me.

I've worked with black people who were obviously more intelligent than all of us except me. Hahaha.

Intelligence has nothing to do with melanin. It also has nothing to do with income. Some of the most intelligent people I've ever known were by all standards poor.

Via Atrios.


US university helped save lives in Cyclone Sidr

Even with this help...
A university in the US provided such detailed information on Cyclone Sidr that Bangladeshi officials were able to move people away and probably saved countless lives.

Almost 24 hours before the storm hit Bangaldesh's coast, emergency officials received detailed storm surge maps from the Louisiana State University (LSU) that showed the areas that would bear the maximum impact of Sidr.

The maps were sent by Bangladesh origin Hassan Mashriqui, an assistant professor at LSU, and helped officials move people out of harm's way ahead of the storm that has left several thousand dead and displaced millions.

I really do like to post positive information from time to time. I admit its rarely available.

How many would have died without this LSU information?

I'll have to admit something. I went to this story because I thought the university might have been mine. It turned out to not be, but that doesn't really matter. At least someone helped.

And, my high school mascot was a tiger. YEAH!

Via Japan Herald.


Angels, Hunter Agree on $90 Million Deal

I don't post about sports. In fact this is the first time I've had to tag a post as "sports".

This is fucking obscene. No one is worth that much money. Especially someone who plays a child's game.

I'll be back after running to the bathroom to vomit.

I'm back. Yuck! I'll go back later and clean up.

Yeah, I realize it happens in all sports, but its always fucking obscene.
Vladimir Guerrero finally will have some protection in the batting order. The Los Angeles Angels, who have been trying to land another strong hitter for several years, agreed to a five-year, $90 million deal Wednesday with free agent Torii Hunter, who hit .297 with 28 homers and drove in 107 runs for Minnesota this year.

I need to make a couple things clear here.

Baseball is barely a sport at all. Soccer and basketball are "real" sports. I've played football, basketball, soccer, gymnastics, track and field, baseball. And baseball is the only sport in which I fell asleep waiting to go back in.

I'm an equal opportunity antagonist. I blame the greedy bastards who demand such money and the team owners who agree to pay.

It doesn't take collusion or conspiracy to stop this shit. Each team owner should just say I'll pay one or two million a year. If a player gets injured and can't play any longer, he's still set for life.

Wouldn't you go to work for a company that offered you such a package? Just asking.

Via AP.


Documents pinpoint origin of foreign fighters

Now why would the Bush administration ignore this? OIL?
Saudi Arabia and Libya, both considered allies by the United States in its fight against terrorism, were the source of about 60 percent of the foreign fighters who came to Iraq in the past year to serve as suicide bombers or to facilitate other attacks, according to senior U.S. military officials.

The data comes largely from a trove of documents and computers discovered in September, when U.S. forces raided a tent camp in the desert near Sinjar, close to the Syrian border. The raid's target was an insurgent cell believed to be responsible for smuggling the vast majority of foreign fighters into Iraq.

The most significant discovery was a collection of biographical sketches that listed hometowns and other details for more than 700 fighters brought into Iraq since August 2006.

Hahaha. I'm listening to internets tubes online radio and they just reported this. You may mentally listen to the Twilight Zone theme song here.

Via International News Ireland.

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HIV drug resistance seen in central China-expert

Slowly, diseases are finding ways to overcome humans' attempt to fight them.
Significant numbers of people living with HIV in central China have developed full-blown AIDS despite receiving free anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs...

Do I have to state the obvious? Curing diseases is far less effective than preventing them in the first place.

Via Reuters.

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MI, US: Plan to put video from surveillance cameras on the Internet

Just when will you fucking sheeple wake up? Your wife/husband could observe you in an innocent conversation and assume a tryst. Your neighbor might see you picking your nose and not come to your next little party because the canapés may include boogers.

You are being fucked and it doesn't even feel good, but you seem to accept it.
More controversy surrounding plans to install surveillance cameras around Lansing. The city has now unveiled plans to put those cameras on the internet in an attempt to combat crime. That plan has many residents wondering if they are trading their privacy for security with a plan that may not work. They're supposed to keep a close eye on the city and catch criminals in the act.

Excuse me, but I have to go into town. I seem to be out of cartridges for my gun. Can't shoot myself with the bow and arrow.

Via The Signs.


Ontario to create panel on bisphenol A

Have you heard of this? I haven't. Bisphenol A?

I'll admit as I have in the past, I'm antsy about any chemicals, bacteria and such shit I can't see.

Hell, things I can see scare me.
Ontario [Canada] could become the first jurisdiction in Canada to place restrictions on bisphenol A, a controversial chemical that is found in hundreds of consumer products, ranging from plastic baby bottles to sports helmets and the resin linings on the insides of most tin cans. Although Health Canada is currently assessing the safety of bisphenol A, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday the province won't wait until Ottawa rules on the chemical's safety. He said Ontario plans to appoint an expert medical and scientific panel to advise it on potentially dangerous substances in widespread use, and a priority for this group will be to provide recommendations on how best to deal with bisphenol A.

Via The Signs.


Questions requiring answers

I had a visitor from Stvring, Nordjylland in Denmark.

Can the people of Denmark pronounce such names? Just asking.

I'll admit I can't, but I have trouble with CAT.

Pakistani authorities release thousands of opposition supporters

Some good news for a change.
More than 3,000 people jailed under emergency rule have been released, the Interior Ministry said today, the latest sign that President Gen. Pervez Musharraf was rolling back some of the harsher measures taken against his opponents.

OK. All is right with the world and oppression has been thwarted.

Oops. I think I spoke too fucking soon.
Headline: Pakistan: Free Judges Held Under House Arrest

Tell me something. I'm just too fucking dense. How do "free" and "under house arrest" equate? What am I missing here?

To me "free" means I can walk around my neighborhood, get a taco, have conversations with my friends, go to Starbucks®, solicit sex from an undercover police officer.

Oops, sorry. That last "soliciting" thing was a slip of the the ol' typing hands.

Well, at least they can go to bed in their favorite pajamas and hold their teddy bear.


Congolese river used for radioactive dumping no danger

Whew! That was a close one. Thank God they dodged the bullet.
A river in southeastern Congo where authorities believe as much as 19 tonnes of radioactive minerals were dumped earlier this month is no longer a danger to local people, officials said on Tuesday.

Authorities had seized the minerals, mainly copper and cobalt ore, in the city of Likasi in Congo's mineral-rich Katanga province in October after tests revealed radiation levels nearly 50 times the limit for mineral exports.

Katanga's environment minister ordered their disposal at a nearby abandoned uranium mine but the load never made it and the government says at least some of the ore was dropped from a bridge into the Mura river, just 10 km (6 miles) outside Likasi.

"Practically all of the product has now been removed (from the river). Even at the dumping site, when we removed the sacks, we tested and there was nothing," Joseph Monga Herion, technical advisor to the provincial infrastructure minister, told Reuters.

"There is no longer any risk."

Anything fishy in this story? Just asking.

So why this?

Via Reuters.


I can bring you down, down, down

Update below.

Something no one seems to be mentioning about Scotty "I unwittingly lied" McClellan is its one man's word. He also has to sell his fucking book.

I've no doubt he's now telling the truth and his allegations should be investigated, but...

I seriously doubt he was innocent. Politics don't work like that. He knew exactly what the truth was.

In addition, if one of your neighbors turns you in for having sex with barnyard animals, it isn't true until proven.

Hey, it was consensual!

Jesus H Christ in Doc Martens, I hate seeing both sides of a situation and sure as hell hate to appear to be defending the Bush administration.

Update: Check out Roger Ailes (the good one) for more information. Damn I wish I had his contacts.

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Are Aliens Among Us?

I don't know about you, but my neighbor seems pretty suspicious. And those fucking eyes. Hypnotic.
In pursuit of evidence that life arose on Earth more than once, scientists are searching for microbes that are radically different from all known organisms.

If the scientist want my neighbor's address, just let me know.

Having mined this for any potential comedic value, I will state...great.

This is basic science. Never assume what you know is what is true. Aliens? Most likely not, but investigating is imperative.

Via The Signs.

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Quote of the day

"It's getting very weird out there."

-- Digby
blogger supreme

Can I get an amen?


Giant Sea Scorpion

Comparison of sea scorpion to human

Black scorpion

Yeah, a scorpion. I tend to pick up on scorpion and spider posts/news stories.

I post this only because I used to have seven black scorpions, am a Scorpio, the spider thing is obvious.

In fact I just recently celebrated my Scorpio birthday which is another post entirely.
European scientists have discovered a 390-million-year-old fossilized claw of giant sea scorpion.

Another story says scientists have discover a "human size" scorpion fossil.

I'm sorry, but very few of us are eight feet tall. None of us?
The immense fossilised claw of a 2.5m-long (8ft) sea scorpion has been described by European researchers.

Oh well, we'll accept literary license.

Two observations. My scorpions never stung me. They were teh shy. Same with my pirañas which swam away and never bit.

Via Neatorama.


IRAQ: Children with serious illnesses abandoned

Would this be happening if the coalition forces weren't killing thousands of Iraqis? Not sure, but the situation might be better.

Lack of medical care certainly is a factor. And the assumption "we're all going to die" is also a factor.
Nine-year-old Faleh Muhammad was abandoned by his family in April 2006. He was left to fend for himself in the streets of Baghdad, and later he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

"I miss my mother… in the last days before they left me, she was very sad. One day I woke up in the morning to find my father and mother had disappeared," Faleh said.

"We were living in an abandoned building near Hay Jamia'a District with three other families. I asked them about my parents and they told me they had left. So I had to work to be able to eat because those families couldn't feed me," he said.

Faleh said he started begging in the streets of Baghdad and one day he had a serious headache and fainted. Helped by passers-by, he was taken to Yarmouk hospital and after two days diagnosed with leukaemia.

I'm constantly reminded how inhumanely people can treat each other. And it pisses me off.

Via Reuters.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Britain Sorry for Mislaying Details of 25M

File under: I don't think "I'm so sorry." is fucking adequate.

You have to give certain details to the government, your employer, your bank, mortgage lender, your doctor. One expects these to be guarded carefully and you would be so wrong.
Britain's Treasury chief tried to reassure millions their personal details were safe Wednesday after the one of the biggest security breaches in the country's history - the loss of two computer disks containing details about nearly half the population.

Experts said the loss left millions of people exposed to identity theft and bank fraud.

"I can well understand people's anxiety and anger that this has happened. It should never have happened, and I apologize unreservedly for that," Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling told GMTV television.

There were gasps [Only gasps? They really are reserved.] from lawmakers in the House of Commons on Tuesday when Darling described the scale of the loss by the country's tax and customs service.

Two computer disks that went missing in the post while being sent from one government department to another contained names addresses, dates of birth, national insurance numbers and - in some cases - banking details for 25 million adults and children, nearly half the country's population of 60 million.

I assume you caught the "half the country's population" bit.

You have no privacy in most countries and very little security.

I admit I'm anal and paranoid, but every single question asked of me I analyze. Do you need this information? You're a goddamn supermarket and need to know my home phone number? Fuck off.

Most of the time I give as little personal data as is possible to complete the transaction I'm involved in. If the idiot clerk won't accept the non-information I'm willing to provide, I move on or demand to see the manager. Details of who I am and my life are mine and not any business of others.

Via The Guardian.


Quote of the day

Taegan Goddard has a quote of the day:

"Can I honestly tell you I spend not a nanosecond listening to what each of them are saying sniping toward each other, so I have no idea what you're talking about. [?]"

-- John Edwards, quoted by CNN, on Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama criticizing each other.

My take on this is either he is lying through his fucking teeth or doesn't deserve the presidency.

This information (what other candidates are saying) is the most important goddamn information he needs right now and he's clueless? What will he do with NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) reports such as "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S."? React like Bush did?

Personally, I go with lying, but either one is equally reprehensible.

Without getting too '08 on your ass, one by one candidates are doing superlative jobs of losing my vote. No, I'm not looking for someone perfect, but someone who knows when to keep their mouths closed or say something intelligent if they find silence impossible.

May I suggest Edwards should have said something like, oh, I don't know, "I don't want to comment on squabbles between other candidates. These will come up. If I'm involved, I'll have something to say."

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Please neuter...

I would just like to add a suggestion: Any descendants of Prescott Bush.

Via Jonco.


Gaza: the Final Solution in Slow Motion

This is genocide and it is in slow motion. It might be a great tactic, but only sadists and psychopaths would resort to it.

And where's the Bush administration's condemnation? This seems humanitarian to it?

Oh yeah, why the fuck do I keep forgetting the Bush administration is made up of sadists and psychopaths. They undoubtedly see nothing wrong here.
About four o'clock in the morning the pharmacist Salim Madani is in Sufa, the only border post to the Gaza Strip that the government of Israel opens every now and then. They have been waiting for 14 day for a truck loaded with medicines for distribution in the Strip, still stuck on the Israeli side. They have been waiting for permission from the Israeli government so that they may move the load onto another truck so the medicines can move into Khan Yunis on the Palestinian side.

For many months ill Palestinians have been dying needlessly because many other trucks have not been authorized to transport medicines or even any other basic products - to the prison into which Gaza has been transformed. The martyr children Mohammad Turk, Mohammad Helow and Shaban Lulu, are only three of the hundreds of Palestinians that have died in the last so many months as a result of the Israeli and international blockade.

Shifa'a hospital staff in Gaza City pointed out September 5, 2006 that the three boys had died because of renal complications that could not be treated as they had run out of the necessary medicines. The Emergency General Director of the Ministry of Health warned at the time of the imminent danger of death faced by more than six hundred children suffering from renal deficiencies. Since then, actually since Israel occupied Palestine for the first time, it has been very plain that Palestinian children, old people, women and men face the very present danger of losing their land, their houses, their way of life and even life itself, for no other reason other than they are not Jews.

It is also glaringly clear that from that date on that the international community has refused to put a stop to this slow and painful genocide. On the contrary, they have chosen to make it possible in many ways for Israel to carry out its own Final Solution in Palestine: giving them weapons, money, political support and punishing the Palestinians in Gaza with a boycott that cries out to heaven with anguish for its cruelty and brutality.


Talking in less technical terms but closer to reality, what OCHA [UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] is actually saying is that the Israelis stop the food at the border until it perishes and the medicines go out of date. In this way " the beasts in two legs" (as the Palestinians are called by the Israelis) fall ill for lack of vitamins, enough food or the essential elements necessary for a healthy life. Then they find that they cannot find any help in medicines that turn out to be ineffective. [emphasis in the original]

Stopping shipments of industrial materials, building materials, household supplies and such is one thing, but three categories of shipments should never be stopped or delayed at the Gaza border crossing.

1. Medicines.

2. Food for the people.

3. Animal feed.

If you want to read more on this, here's the Oxfam page from whence the photo came.

Then there's this headline: Israel approves arms shipment to Abbas. Of course none of those arms will ever be used against Israelis.

Olmert categorized this as "a goodwill gesture". No, a goodwill gesture is to allow shipments of food and medicines.

We live in very strange times indeed.

Via The Signs.

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Rock, Paper, Scissors - Paper can't win!

While I'm in Jonco's neighborhood, I'll grab this little goodie:
I understand how scissors can beat paper, and I get how a rock can beat scissors, but there's no fucking way paper can beat rock. Is paper supposed to magically wrap around rock and leave it immobile? Why the hell can't paper do that to scissors? Screw scissors, why can't paper do this to people? Why aren't sheets of college ruled notebook paper constantly suffocating students as they take notes in class? I'll tell you why, because paper can't beat anybody. A rock would tear that shit up in 2 seconds.
When I play rock paper scissors, I always choose rock. Then when someone claims to have beaten me with their paper I can punch them in the face with my already clenched fist and say, oh shit I'm sorry, I thought paper would protect you, you asshole.

Should you're unfamiliar with this method of making a decision between two people, you can find instructions here.

Via Jonco.


Two sides to every story

This ain't very far from the truth.

BTW, its not true. You may substitute any political candidate's name.
Here’s an example of how politicians and news outlets might put spin on a story.

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogical researcher, discovered that Hillary Clinton’s great-great uncle, Remus Rodham, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture is this inscription: ‘Remus Rodham; horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.’

Judy e-mailed Hillary Clinton for comments.

Hillary’s staff of professional image adjusters sent back the following biographical sketch:

‘Remus Rodham was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings
with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.’

And THAT is how it’s done folks!

Now folks, that's first rate gallows humor.

Via Jonco.

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Wounded soldiers asked to return signing bonuses

I have nothing much to add to the excerpt below except, there's always and "except, there is a tremendous fucking chasm between Bush's words and actions.

You're surprised?

How comfortable is that cave you've been living in? Hell, even Osama knows what's going on in the world from his caves.
When Jordan Fox was serving in Iraq, his mother helped organize Operation Pittsburgh Pride, which sends thousands of care packages to U.S. troops from his hometown, which prompted a personal “thank you” from the White House. When Fox was seriously injured in Iraq, the president sent what appeared to be personal note, expressing his concerns to the Fox family.

But more recently, Fox received a different piece of correspondence from the Bush administration.
The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.

To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.

Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.

I watched the report from the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, and I kept thinking, “This can’t be right.” Apparently, it is.

In Jordan Fox’s case, he was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle, causing back injuries and blindness in his right eye. He was sent home, unable to complete the final three months of his military commitment.

Last week, the Pentagon sent him a bill: Fox owed the government nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus.

“I tried to do my best and serve my country. I was unfortunately hurt in the process. Now they’re telling me they want their money back,” Fox said.

Look, if a soldier signed a contract, collected a signing bonus, and then quit, I can understand the military asking for the signing bonus back.

But we’re talking about troops who volunteered, served, and were seriously injured. It’s not their fault they got hurt. How on earth is the Pentagon justified in asking for a refund?

In the next to last paragraph, I agree with that assessment. If one reneges on a contract that's one thing. But compare this situation with an athlete who is injured. Do they have to return some or all of their signing bonuses if downed by injury?

I did a superficial search of the NFL (National Football League) and the only thing I came up with was Kellen Winslow Jr: Winslow knew he was breaching contract.

My search seemed to indicate players injured in the line of work (playing football) are not penalized.

Oh, but he's a football player, a much more serious undertaking than being a soldier, so I suppose that doesn't count as a decent comparison.

Via Carpetbagger Report.

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Another attempt to bring you the human side of fighting in Iraq.

Personal accounts always provide more impact than dispassionate reports or even TV in many cases.
A lot of people have commented with questions asking me about the truth about Baghdad. First there is no ever lasting truth in Baghdad. Is this sudden relative calm a lasting change or a lull before the storm? Nobody really knows.

The violence has dropped to levels of 2005, I still wake up to shooting outside the windows and we hear explosions that shake our desks or sometimes are just a distant boom. Now bombs are killing one or two in Baghdad, it has been a long time since they've killed tens or hundreds. Thank God for any moment of peace for Iraqis.

Via Baghdad.


Cheney Beats the Drums of War

This is actually a test. What about this story upsets me?

Cheney is threatening Iran with no proof of the accusations he makes? Hint: Because they don't exist.

Yes, I know the Quds force is technically not the Iranian government, but...

The fact he's bringing up the "nuclear bomb" bogeyman?

Neither. Its this quote: "President Bush said the best way to avoid "World War III"..." Yeah, I know its bad punctuation, but its my blog and I can do it if I want to.

Fucking Bush should not be mentioning World War III. Period. Case closed.

No world leader should ever suggest the possibility of WWIII. If its considered inevitable we have a different scenario.

Attacking Iran will be a shit storm of profound magnitude and millions will die. Much of the Mid-East will be destroyed for decades to come and Iran would become the world's largest source of glass (little consolation), but it won't necessarily trigger WWIII. Its possible it will, but a country's leader shouldn't try to frighten the people unnecessarily. Oh shit. I forgot its Dim Son.
Just four days after President Bush said the best way to avoid "World War III" was to prevent Iran from obtaining the know-how to build a nuclear bomb, Vice President Cheney vowed that Iran would face "serious consequences" if "it stays on its present course."

In an address yesterday to a pro-Israel think tank, Cheney stepped up the warlike rhetoric against Iran, most notably by linking Iran's government to attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq more explicitly than ever before.

"Given the nature of Iran's rulers, the declarations of the Iranian president, and the trouble the regime is causing throughout the region -- including direct involvement in the killing of Americans -- our country and the entire international community cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its most aggressive ambitions," Cheney said. He offered no new evidence for his accusation.

Via WaPo.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Birds [sic] flu found in market near Saudi capital-report

This is truly scary stuff. Bird flu infected birds are starting to make it into the food supplies. Its bad enough a few families might eat home grown birds with the flu, but this is a public market.

Thank god this was discovered before the annual haj in Mecca.
Bird flu has been found in birds at a poultry market on the outskirts of the Saudi capital Riyadh, newspapers reported on Tuesday.

Al-Watan newspaper carried photographs of an agriculture ministry team in masks and white coats in the Aziziya market south of Riyadh, saying bird flu cases had been found there. It was not clear what strain of bird flu had been detected.

The discovery comes just a few weeks before nearly 2 million faithful arrive for the annual haj pilgrimage season in Mecca.

Arab News said birds had been culled in the area after four cases of bird flu were found during a random inspection.

Agriculture and health ministry officials were not available for comment.

Saudi authorities last week culled 50,000 birds at a poultry farm in al-Kharj, 150 km (94 miles) south of Riyadh, after 1,500 birds died of unspecified causes.

Officials said this week 220,000 birds have been culled so far, as teams combed other areas near the capital which has a population of around 4 million.

Via Reuters.


Stem cells without embryos- skin cells transformed

Sometimes scientists blow me away. No, not Oppenheimer.

These teams seem to have solved the "political" problems surrounding embryonic stem cells. In addition, they've probably found a much less costly way to produce "embryonic stem cells".

I think they'll be a lock for the next Nobel Prize in medicine.
Two separate teams of researchers announced on Tuesday they had transformed ordinary skin cells into batches of cells that look and act like embryonic stem cells -- but without using cloning technology and without making embryos.

Their breakthroughs could make possible the long-sought goal of tailor-made medicine, but without the political, scientific and ethical roadblock of using human embryos.

Both teams call the new cells induced pluripotent stem cells and say they look and act like embryonic stem cells -- the master cells that give rise to every cell and tissue in the body.

"We can now envisage a time when a simple approach can be used to produce stem cells that are able to form any tissue from a small sample taken from any of us," Ian Wilmut of the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said in a statement.

"This will have enormous implications for research and perhaps one day for therapy," added Wilmut, who helped clone the first mammal, Dolly the sheep, in 1997.

BTW, I've wanted to add images to several posts but Blogger is fucking with me again. Have to find a way to fuck them back. Muahahaha.

Via Reuters.


Coup D'Etat Rumblings In Venezuela

I'm just throwing this out there as one man's opinion. Hell, many of my posts are only my opinions, so this fits right in.

Just watch and see if this comes to pass.
The Bush administration tried and failed three prior times to oust Hugo Chavez since its first aborted two-day coup attempt in April, 2002. Through FOIA requests, lawyer, activist and author Eva Golinger uncovered top secret CIA documents of US involvement that included an intricate financing scheme involving the quasi-governmental agency, National Endowment of Democracy (NED), and US Agency for International Development (USAID). The documents also showed the White House, State Department and National Security Agency had full knowledge of the scheme, had to have approved it, and there's little doubt of CIA involvement as it's always part of this kind of dirty business. What's worrying now is what went on then may be happening again in what looks like a prelude to a fourth made-in-Washington attempt to oust the Venezuelan leader that must be monitored closely as events develop.

Via The Daily Scare.

You might find it interesting to go to this The Daily Scare post. Its titled: Are Conspiracy Theorists out of Their Gourds?

Hey, even The National Enquirer and Star get it right sometimes.

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US plans case against AP photographer

AP photographer Bilal Hussein

The US continues to turn everything you assume about "justice" on its fucking head.

How unfortunate Bilal Hussein was born with such a horrid name. He never had a chance.
The U.S. military plans to seek a criminal case in an Iraqi court against an award-winning Associated Press photographer but is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented.

An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a "sham of due process." The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.

A public affairs officer notified the AP on Sunday that the military intends to submit a written complaint against Hussein that would bring the case into the Iraqi justice system as early as Nov. 29. Under Iraqi codes, an investigative magistrate will decide whether there are grounds to try Hussein, 36, who was seized in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on April 12, 2006.

Dave Tomlin, associate general counsel for the AP, said the defense for Hussein is being forced to work "totally in the dark."

The military has not yet defined the specific charges against Hussein. Previously, the military has pointed to a range of suspicions that attempt to link him to insurgent activity.

The AP rejects all the allegations and contends it has been blocked by the military from mounting a wide-ranging defense for Hussein, who was part of the AP's Pulitzer Prize-winning photo team in 2005.

Perhaps Hussein is guilty of "something" having to do with the "insurgents", but charge the son of a bitch and give the AP a decent chance to defend him.

Photo: Bilal Hussein AP

Its always a dicey situation when a news photographer goes for photos of "the enemy" and this could easily be a huge misunderstanding. But no one knows because there are no specifics about his alleged transgressions.

Via Yahoo! News.

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Up, up, and away, fat chance

First off I'm not proud, but I stole this whole fucking post from Ted Compton.

This is mind bloggering boggling. Its an impossible situation.

Is the Bush administration involved? Oh yeah, I thought so.
So after a note on air transport congestion yesterday and some conversation about it at dinner last night I checked this morning, on a whim, the departure board at O'Hare. It listed 28 departures at 8:00AM, with another 13 within five minutes after 8:00. I've spent a lot of time at O'Hare over the years and I know they're pretty good at what they do, but no way are they going to get 41 flights off the ground in five minutes - especially when they have 26 flights scheduled to arrive within the same span of time.

So pack a few good books on your iPod, Bunky, it's gonna be a while.

My comment.
I did a quick search of O'hare runways. It appears they have 5, but 4 cross each other and one is too close to be used if the others are already in use.

Now, add to that the fact every airport I've ever been in, and its been many, gives priority to incoming traffic (logical); I'd say ya better pack a couple meals at least.

For some reason "Its a Small World" comes to mind.

Oh yeah, if you are expecting a baby soon you might consider naming it Tarmac.

Via 76003.1414.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Top Neocons Call for US to Invade Pakistan

It took a little longer than I expected, but the neocons are calling for the invasion of another country.

Jesus H Christ in Doc Martens, why can't these armchair generals just shut the fuck up?
Two experts have proposed that the US should take pre-emptive action to secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons before they fall into the wrong hands.

Frederick Kagan of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute and Michael O'Hanlon of the more liberal Brookings Institution argue in an article published in the New York Times on Sunday that the US simply cannot stand by as a nuclear-armed Pakistan descended into the abyss.

Via The Signs.

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Israel, the hope of the Muslim world

Where do these reptiles come from? Are they born to humans or do they crawl out of holes in the desert.

Of course humiliating an entire religion is the way to go. Why didn't I think of that before?


Its only common sense humiliating people is not going to bring positive results. Occupying Iraq, a gross humiliation, isn't working out too well.
The state of Israel embodies the last, best chance for the Islamic world to come to terms with the modern world. Received wisdom in the foreign ministries of the West holds that relations with Muslims would be ever so much easier without the annoying presence of the Jewish state, which humiliates the Muslim world. Just the opposite is true. The Israeli presence in the territory of the ancient Jewish commonwealth, on land that once belonged to the Dar al’Islam, offers the single, slender hope for the future of the Muslim world, precisely because it constitutes a humiliation.

Via Asia Times.

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US tripped up over Iranian captives

This comes as no surprise. I've read numerous accounts by intelligence officials and the US military saying they have no evidence of any wrong doing by the Quds Force.

Many of those people suspect it is so, but suspicions and evidence are quite different things.
The United States has captured numerous Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officials in Iraq, hoping to associate them to arms smuggling into Iraq, or even better, to show that the corps' elite Quds Force is involved in assisting Shi'ite forces militarily. To date, not one of the captives has been linked to any such operations.

Via Asia Times.

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Updates below.

I'm here for ya.

I was gonna post about the cyclone heading toward Bangladesh, but was just too damn lazy.

Ya never know with Mother Nature. She can be benevolent or a veritable hellion.
Headline: Powerful cyclone kills 242 in Bangladesh

UPDATE: I had others, but lost them to Blogger. This will be my last because its too disheartening. Up to 15,000 people were killed and seven million lives left devastated by the cyclone in Bangladesh last week, aid agencies have said as the full extent of the disaster became clear.

UPDATE: I think I'm gonna backpedal on this. All other reports I'm finding say the death toll is 2,400 to 3,000 maximum We'll just have to wait and see. I hope the lower numbers are correct.

The loss of life is truly ghastly. I would never have guessed the carnage would be so severe. I naïvely thought people would seek safe shelter. Then we come to the next story.

A huge earthquake hit Chile.

Headline: Quake kills 2, damages homes in Chile

Mother can surprise you.

OK, here's the education part of this fucking post. My mind is so full of trivia, facts, useless knowledge I need to spit some of it out now and then to make room for more trivia, facts and useless knowledge.

Let us start with a Richter Scale 3 earthquake which is just a damn annoyance to people on the west coast of the US. From there, things get really hairy.

The quake in Chile was 7.7 magnitude. Bear with me. This will floor you:
The magnitude of most earthquakes is measured on the Richter scale, invented by Charles F. Richter in 1934. The Richter magnitude is calculated from the amplitude of the largest seismic wave recorded for the earthquake, no matter what type of wave was the strongest.

The Richter magnitudes are based on a logarithmic scale (base 10). What this means is that for each whole number you go up on the Richter scale, the amplitude of the ground motion recorded by a seismograph goes up ten times. Using this scale, a magnitude 5 earthquake would result in ten times the level of ground shaking as a magnitude 4 earthquake (and 32 times as much energy would be released). To give you an idea how these numbers can add up, think of it in terms of the energy released by explosives: a magnitude 1 seismic wave releases as much energy as blowing up 6 ounces of TNT. A magnitude 8 earthquake releases as much energy as detonating 6 million tons of TNT. Pretty impressive, huh? Fortunately, most of the earthquakes that occur each year are magnitude 2.5 or less, too small to be felt by most people.

So we're talking 10 times 3. Then 10 times 4. Then 10 times 5. Then 10 times 6 plus a few more points.

Folks, that's goddamn huge. Thank God only 2 died.

FYI: Indonesia had a quake of 8.5 magnitude. So did Sumatra. And Alaska.

Hey, that's nearly 10 times the destructive force of the Chile quake. And the list of 8+ magnitude earthquakes is almost endless

As you should know by now, don't fuck with Mother Nature. You will never win.

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GE chief urges incentives to fuel nuclear switch

When CEO's open their mouths you have to pay close attention as if you were listening to a political hack. That's because they basically are. Its PR for them.
US government hopes that hundreds of nuclear power plants will be built to boost national energy supplies will be dashed unless the power industry is given strong financial incentives to switch away from fossil fuels, said Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric.

Mr Immelt told the Financial Times that large-scale nuclear construction would go ahead only if a high enough cost was placed on carbon-dioxide emissions. The US administration backs large-scale investment in nuclear power to strengthen energy security and curb greenhouse gas emissions. But Mr Immelt said only five to 10 US nuclear power projects were likely to go ahead unless there was a carbon-pricing framework to create incentives for utilities to build more.

And just why would GE's CEO be putting in his 2¢ on this subject? Ah yes.
GE has provided advanced and sophisticated technology for nuclear energy for over five decades. Four main product lines support this capability: new reactors, nuclear fuel, reactor services and performance services. [emphasis mine]

The first story above goes on to say.
GE is one of the world’s biggest nuclear engineering companies, and this year launched a 60 per cent-owned joint venture with Hitachi of Japan to take part in an expected worldwide resurgence in nuclear investment. There are about 30 nuclear power plant projects being developed in the US, and applications for two have been filed.

I just wanted to give another perspective for ya.

Additionally, the first story gets pretty scary after the above paragraph.

I've touched on this recently, but can't find the post. No one knows what to do with the nuclear waste from these plants. Its not like you can just spread it out in a field where it'll decompose in a couple months. Its very dangerous for a very long time. Duh!

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U.S. hopes to arm Pakistani tribes against Al Qaeda

Two things. One, this probably isn't going to come out well and two, of course they would promise to fight al-qaedo to get the money and arms. They aren't stupid.
A new and classified American military proposal outlines an intensified effort to enlist tribal leaders in the frontier areas of Pakistan in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as part of a broader effort to bolster Pakistani forces against an expanding militancy, American military officials said.

If adopted, the proposal would join elements of a shift in strategy that would also be likely to expand the presence of American military trainers in Pakistan, directly finance a separate tribal paramilitary force that until now has proved largely ineffective and pay militias that agreed to fight Al Qaeda and foreign extremists, [emphasis mine] officials said. The United States now has only about 50 troops in Pakistan, a Pentagon spokesman said, a force that could grow by dozens under the new approach.

The proposal is modeled in part on a similar effort by American forces in Anbar Province in Iraq that has been hailed as a great success [by Bush? -ed] in fighting foreign insurgents there. But it raises the question of whether such partnerships can be forged without a significant American military presence in Pakistan. And it is unclear whether enough support can be found among the tribes.

Arming these people because they're your "friends" today doesn't always work out too well. Al-Qaeda anyone?

Via IHT.

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What is your blogsite's reading level?

cash advance

Actually, that's about where I want it to be (Neatorama is high school level).

I'm trying to communicate with people all around the world; many of whom know English as a second or third language.

I intentionally avoid vocabulary words I'm sure some of my former high school classmates wouldn't even know.

Via Neatorama.