Monday, January 31, 2005

Election Mars Reporting

Iraqi Voting Disrupts News Reports of Bombings
by Scott Ott

(2005-01-30) -- News reports of terrorist bombings in Iraq were marred Sunday by shocking graphic images of Iraqi "insurgents" voting by the millions in their first free democratic election.

Despite reporters' hopes that a well-orchestrated barrage of mortar attacks and suicide bombings would put down the so-called 'freedom insurgency', hastily-formed battalions of rebels swarmed polling places to cast their ballots -- shattering the status quo and striking fear into the hearts of the leaders of the existing terror regime.

Hopes for a return to the stability of tyranny waned as rank upon rank of Iraqi men and women filed out of precinct stations, each armed with the distinctive mark of the new freedom guerrillas -- an ink-stained index finger, which one former Ba'athist called "the evidence of their betrayal of 50 years of Iraqi tradition."

Journalists struggled to put a positive spin on the day's events, but the video images of tyranny's traitors choosing a future of freedom overwhelmed the official story of bloodshed and mayhem.

New York Times Election Reaction Surprising

This page has not hesitated to criticize the Bush administration over its policies in Iraq, and we continue to have grave doubts about the overall direction of American strategy there. Yet today, along with other Americans, whether supporters or critics of the war, we rejoice in a heartening advance by the Iraqi people. For now at least, the multiple political failures that marked the run-up to the voting stand eclipsed by a remarkably successful election day.

Tough Work Rules in Germany

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.

She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her "profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel.

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Chinese Fire Alerts

I heard on the radio today that hundreds of years ago, the Chinese imbeded firecrackers in the walls of their homes so that if the house caught fire, the resulting noise would alert the family. At least they didn't need batteries.

Where is the Democrats Outrage?

Greg Borowski at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has conducted a review of votes cast in the last presidential election and found that over 1,200 of them came from voters at non-existent addresses. These votes add to the total of the same-day registrants whom the city cannot verify, raising even more questions about the competency of city election officials:

Already, the newspaper has reported that about 8,300 more votes were cast than the number of people recorded by the city as voting. This appears to be due to cases where cards from those who presented identification and registered on election day could not be processed, a gap that the city’s own estimates had put at more than 10,000.

The additional 1200 voters only accounts for less than one percent of all votes cast in the city. Combined with the unaccountable same-day registrations, however, the additional votes provide an uncomfortable coincidence; the total comes to almost exactly John Kerry's margin of victory for the entire state. It also contributes to the growing consensus that Milwaukee's voting system has broken down, mainly due to the wild same-day registration laws and a lack of competency in the election office.

Another one you want to read.

Call Canada.

Thomas Sowell

Another essay by Sowell that everyone should read.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Weapons Nanotechnology

There is some interesting reading here on how nanotechnology is being used in weapons development. Some of it is scary.

Nanometals can be produced by heating metal wire beyond the boiling point, and then cooling the liquid under pressure to form spherical particles less than 100 nanometers in size, according to Quantumsphere.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory is developing nano-scale thermite materials that would replace the toxic lead compounds used in "electric matches" that remotely set off synchronized fireworks. The nano-scale devices would also be less likely to accidentally go off since they are not as sensitive to electric current.

Researchers are also investigating using nano-scale materials to replace the lead-based primers that ignite the propellants in small and medium caliber weapons. The lead-based primers have been identified as hazardous and toxic, so scientists are working on Metastable Intermolecular Composites (MIC) that have specified particle sizes to achieve the optimal ignition time

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Say it ain't so

Having grown up out in Texas and Oklahoma, I developed a strong belief that the most admirable and possibly the best athletes on earth were those who put up their own money and relied on their skill and courage to make a living riding bulls. These guys did not rely on long term contracts or big endorsement contracts in most cases. They had to get on the back of a one ton bull and stay there for 8 seconds to get paid. Not only that, but once they failed to stay on, the bull was able to assert his physical superiority on the cowboy in a number of ways. For this reason, injuries of various sorts including concussions, broken bones and lots of bruises and contusions were common to bullriders and they were required to persevere despite such maladies if they were to get paid. They didn't get sick leave.

Yesterday afternoon NBC had a bull riding competition on which I caught some of. It was a little sad to see the modern bull rider wearing a helmet complete with a face mask and a vest with protective armor plate. Obviously, the modern day bull rider is showing considerable recognition of his vulnerability and is probably revealing a healthy dose of intelligence vis-a-vis his predecessors, but I am having a hard time developing the same admiration for the modern-day bull rider.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Back From Reno

Did you see this in the news? I doubt it. Stories like this which don't make it to the forefront of the offerings by the main stream media probably explain why the troops have a rosier view of Iraq prognosis than those who only read newspapers and watch T.V.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Looking Back

I got an E-mail today from a woman who was in my Sr. Class in High School and has taken on the chore of informing everyone in the Odessa, TX High School class of 1956 when someone dies or is in the hospital--mostly deaths. The former classmate who was the subject of today's death notice was like most of them in that I knew I knew her but couldn't really place her, but the notice mentioned she had lived in Seneca, South Carolina which is not far from me here in Georgia. So I looked her up in my yearbook. After refreshing my memory of Madolyn and regretting that I had not known she was so close and ran an antique shop, I was struck, as I looked at numerous pictures, hundreds of students, I could not find one single classmate or teacher whom we would now consider fat or even overweight.

Friday, January 14, 2005

From Scrappleface Again

Illegal Alien Rights 'Job #1' for Homeland Nominee

(2005-01-12) -- Michael Chertoff, President George Bush's nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security, said today that if he's confirmed by the Senate his "job number one" will be to protect the civil rights of illegal aliens suspected of terrorist activities.

"We've been over-eager in the past to detain men whose crimes consisted of little more than breaking our laws," said Mr. Chertoff, currently a judge on the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. "Protecting Americans from death and dismemberment is important, but it must never stand in the way of guarding the civil rights of illegal aliens."

Mr. Chertoff noted that "a person's disregard for U.S. laws should not spawn prejudice against them or subject them to the inconvenience of detention in jail."

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid predicted a smooth confirmation process, adding that he is "encouraged to hear that Judge Chertoff is coming to share our progressive Democrat views."

"When I think of Homeland Security," said Mr. Reid, "my heart immediately goes out to the illegal aliens whose homes are not yet secure from government intrusion and whose lives have been disrupted by our myopic zeal to prevent a highly-unlikely terror attack."

From: Carol Platt Liebau

Victor David Hansen, as usual, gets it right: "Islamicists Hate Us for Who We Are, Not What We Do". When a group feels victimized, no history of aid -- military and economic -- to Muslims means anything. "Crimes" will always be invented to rationalize an irrational hatred.

The vast bulk of the American electorate understands this. But a lot of Democrats -- Pat Leahy, among others -- don't. And they have lunatics among their staunchest partisans -- people who are more worried about the well-being of terrorists in US captivity than about innocent Americans and Brits having their heads hacked off with a butter knife.

Obviously, torture is wrong and runs contrary to American values. But if the Democrats think they are going to win back the American electorate with indignation that always runs hotter against this country than against its enemies, well, they have a long time in the wilderness ahead.

MLB Puts Foot Down

Let's imagine that you cheated your customers (clients), broke company rules, brought dishonor to your profession and were not only caught, but admitted wrong-doing. Would your company (boss or institution) tell you that in the future if you did that 4 more times and were caught, it would really get tough. You would have to take a year off work. My former employer would have fired me in the first instance and I had academic tenure. Everyone seems to be impressed with how major league baseball has now gotten serious about illegal drug use by players. Nonsense.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


"Flu shots save lives. Three years ago, medical experts warned George Bush that a dangerous shortage loomed. Instead of fixing the problem, production of the vaccine was sent to a factory overseas--the vaccines were contaminated. Now Bush wants Canada to help, even though his own policies make it illegal for us to import medicine from Canada. Seniors and children wait. Not enough vaccines for pregnant women. A George Bush mess. It's time for a new direction."--John Kerry campaign ad, Oct. 16, 2004

"N.E. Pushes to Find Takers for Flu Shots: Remaining vaccine could go to waste"--headline and subheadline, Boston Globe, Jan. 12, 2005

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Social Security

Many can't understand how the Democrats can reflexively reject President Bush's social security reforms in the complete absence of the details of his plan. All we really know is that he wants to give young people the OPPORTUNITY to put SOME of his payroll taxes into an account which will be invested into fairly sedate stock and/or bond funds which will be expected--over time-- to grow enough to offset what will be a reduction in the government check from Social Security when they retire. Liberals and conservatives have completely different philosophical traditions which will form the basis for the coming debate, but you won't hear it expressed openly. Republicans and conservatives feel the government should foster individual, family, and community achievement even if that makes society less equal. The Democrats and liberals want to use government to foster equality even if that makes the economy less efficient by penalizing those who are most productive.

This explains why old people who have been specifically excluded from any effect of the new Social Security rules can ardently oppose personal accounts. This in turn accounts for the reluctance of many Republicans to address the changes requested by President Bush. Those most benefitted, the young, aren't usually paying attention to events 40-50 years from now and don't vote in any case. Those oldsters who are not affected vote in high numbers and are afraid of any changes in their beloved monthly stipend. President Bush has a job of work to do.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Scrappleface Strikes Again

CBS 'Memogate' Report Sparks Calls to Fire Rumsfeld

(2005-01-10) -- While CBS News anchor Dan Rather will be permitted to retire on schedule in March, today's release of a 224-page report on the so-called "memogate" scandal sparked Congressional Democrats to call on President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

CBS responded to the results of its internal investigation by firing four producers, but taking no action against Mr. Rather because his errors were the result of being overworked and over-ethusiastic about the story. However, Mr. Rumsfeld cannot claim a similar alibi, said one unnamed Democrat Senator.

"It's appalling that Rumsfeld faces no consequences," said the Senator. "This arrogant administration never admits mistakes."

Congressional Democrats immediately launched three concurrent investigations that will invite Mr. Rumsfeld to testify about his alleged lack of involvement in the CBS story about Mr. Bush's Air National Guard service in the early 1970s.

Smiling Pig Syndrome???

Britain's Office of Communications, which rules on viewers' complaints about TV programs, decided in November that the on-air, manual collecting of hog semen on the "reality" show "The Farm" did not violate standards in that, in the office's opinion, the pig did not feel "degrad(ed)" by the experience.

I have been wondering about this.

WASHINGTON — The criminal probe into why former Bill Clinton aide Sandy Berger illegally sneaked top-secret documents out of the National Archives — possibly in his socks — has heated up and is now before a federal grand jury, The Post has learned. . . .

"It may have been off the front pages, but the investigation has been active," said a source with knowledge of the probe.

"[Berger] has been interviewed several times by federal agents — FBI and prosecutors."

Berger admits removing 40 to 50 top-secret documents from the archives, but claims it was an "honest mistake" made while he vetted documents for the 9/11 commission's probe into the Twin Towers attacks.

Berger has also acknowledged that he destroyed some documents — he says by accident. . . .

The documents include multiple drafts of a review of the 2000 millennium threat said to conclude that only luck prevented a 2000 attack.

That story conflicts with Berger's own testimony to the commission, in which he claimed that "we thwarted" millennium attacks by being vigilant — rather than by sheer luck, as the review reportedly suggests.

Fun Project

First, go read this article.

Now, go to your hometown paper and the New York Times and the Washington Post and look for the article.

Next, ask yourself how the coverage would differ if the U.S. military was involved? What would be the position of the U.N.? What about cable T.V.? Have you seen the story there? The problem is the main stream media can't figure out a way to blame Bush for this.

The Numbers Game

Many of us are having trouble comprehending the fact that some 150,000 or more lost their lives in the recent tsunami in South Asia. Credible predictions hold that there will be more deaths in coming days from infectious diseases caused by almost total disruption of sewage systems and decomposing bodies contaminating the drinking water. As hard as these numbers are to grasp, we must keep in mind that they are largely the result of a natural disaster and the world-wide relief effort to help those affected has been quite large.
Perspective on all of this, however, might be realized by a consideration by a much greater human disaster which was brought about not so much by nature as by humans reaction to bad science. I speak of the 300 to 500 million cases of malaria each year which result in the death of at least 1 million --many of them children. Much of this could be alleviated by reversing the idiotic governmental restrictions on the use of DDT. Indoor spraying of DDT has been proven to be effective in reducing malaria and enviromentally safe. Don't expect the environmental wackos to reverse their objections or our cowardly politicians to face them down with facts.

Hit Squads

The following was recently published in Newsweek and has the liberals all a twitter:

Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries, officials tell NEWSWEEK.

While others are debating whether or not we should pursue this war against terrorists in this fashion, I am sitting here upset that we don't have such squads already in place. Our enemies need to go to bed at night with some real question as to whether or not they will wake up come morning.

Rather according to Roger Simon

This pretty much captures my feelings about Dan Rather now:

The whole Rather brouhaha underlines the obvious truth what useless behemoths Anchormen are in the modern world. Could anyone explain why these windbags are needed, why anyone should "anchor" the news for us, why when there is trouble in the world we should pay the slightest attention to some blow-dried narcissist in a safari jacket who is jetted (undoubtedly first class) into an area where he has often never been and rarely knows much about?


There was a train wreck near my hometown the other day. Someone evidently left a switch in the wrong position and a train collided with a parked train and a tanker car ruptured releasing chlorine gas which unfortunately killed 9 persons, sent numerous others to the hospital and displaced hundreds more who were forced to leave their homes for what has now been several days. They are still working to stop the leaking and get the people back into their homes.
Ordinarily you wouldn't think this would increase our tourist influx, but it has. Yes, we are evidently being invaded by lawyers from all over the country who are stalking the victims in an effort to sign them up for what will undoubtedly be extensive litigation. One lawyer from Miami followed family members into a victim's hospital room in an effort to contact the person trying to get over the exposure. What could be a lower form of humanity?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

I Love These Awards

DETROIT - The sign on the toilet brush says it best: "Do not use for personal hygiene."

That admonition was the winner of an anti-lawsuit group's contest for the wackiest consumer warning label of the year.

The sponsor, Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, says the goal is "to reveal how lawsuits, and concern about lawsuits, have created a need for common sense warnings on products."

The $500 first prize went to Ed Gyetvai, of Oldcastle, Ontario, who submitted the toilet-brush label. A $250 second prize went to Matt Johnson, of Naperville, Ill., for a label on a children's scooter that said, "This product moves when used."

A $100 third prize went to Ann Marie Taylor, of Camden, S.C., who submitted a warning from a digital thermometer that said, "Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally."

This year's contest coincides with a drive by President Bush and congressional Republicans to put caps and other limits on jury awards in liability cases.

"Warning labels are a sign of our lawsuit-plagued times," said group President Robert Dorigo Jones. "From the moment we raise our head in the morning off pillows that bear those famous Do Not Remove warnings, to when we drop back in bed at night, we are overwhelmed with warnings."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Good News from Iraq

Chrenkoff is back with another update on good news from Iraq. It is amazing to me that a single determined individual from Australia can find out all of these things going on in Iraq and we have hundreds of so-called journalists at newspapers and other media centers who can only report on explosions.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tsunami Relief Contributions

Like most Americans, we are wondering how best to help the victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia. Anytime you are asked for cash, you wonder how the money will be used and even what percent of the contribution will go for any worthwhile purpose. Most experts suggest one should go to the Usafreedomcorps web site and select one from there which has been vetted somewhat and can be expected to use the money wisely. I heard on T.V. today that Sri Lanka has refused even medical help from Israel. This struck me as especially sad, so I thought maybe I would just give to a Jewish charity set up to help in Southeast Asia. That way, the money would go to victims who presumably need it and also want it enough to accept help from even Israel. I selected this one . I don't know much about Jewish charities, but I hope this one does some good.

Monday, January 03, 2005

New Year's Thoughts

I have been away for a few days enjoying time with family. In the meantime we have considerable shock at the enormity of the tsunami and the ongoing magnitude of the recovery which will unfortunately include considerable infectious disease. These infections could dwarf the original loss of life. All of this has not kept the liberals focused on the tragedy to the exclusion of political complaints about President Bush not running to the cameras fast enough to bite his lower lip and exclaim his heartfelt feeling of pain for others when we didn't even know the extent of the damage. What a crock.

We just spent several days with my brother-in-law and his wife here at the beach. He was and still is prominent in the news since Speaker Hastert may remove him from his chairmanship of the House of Representatives Ethics Committee. This is widely known to be the worst job a member of Congress can hold, so the loss of it would really be a blessing for the most part. It will be interesting to see how it turns out--probably tomorrow. His greater anxiety will be centered on the O.U. game with U.S.C., I suspect, since he is a rabid Sooner fan.

Wonder how the investigation of Dan Rather is coming along?

The NFL needs to do something about all the meaningless games at the end of the season. Some of the games after one of the teams has a playoff slot are worse than preseason games.

I have already heard some of the liberal talking heads on T.V. wondering why Jimmy Carter, who was last seen at the Democratic Convention sitting next to Michael Moore, was not included with Clinton and G.H.W. Bush in the tsunami fund raising. Gosh, I will have to ponder on that.

Personal Unsecured Loan