Monday, July 31, 2006
More lies they expect us to swallow:
TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan (Reuters) - Michael Moore -- gadfly filmmaker, liberal activist and political lightning rod -- says he finds himself being hugged by a lot of Republicans these days......Yeah, right. What, you think we have absolutely no common sense, Michael? Think about it; there's only three Republicans on the planet who could get their arms around Michael Moore. And that's assuming Sasquatch is GOP.
....."If you were to hang out with me here it won't be five or 10 minutes before you see a Republican hug me. That is almost as entertaining as some of the films," Moore said in an interview.
Posted by lumberjack at 9:55 AM
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Posted by lumberjack at 11:24 AM
TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as "pizzas" which will now be known as "elastic loaves," state media reported Saturday.
I had to check the URL to be sure this wasn't from the Onion. But no, truth is stranger than fiction; this is a real story. So I guess the question is: does Ahmadinejad have reason to be concerned? Could we hijack Persian culture with Michael Jordan jerseys and modern slang? It's worth a try. Why bother with air strikes when we can undermine Iran's nuclear ambitions with "bootylicious," "metrosexual," and "wifi"?
Posted by lumberjack at 10:48 AM
Friday, July 28, 2006
From News of the Weird:
In June, federal judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. ordered Missouri to suspend executions until substantial changes are made in its procedures, including specifying exactly which lethal drugs are to be used and in what quantity. Gaitan also pointed out that the doctor overseeing the state's executions is dyslexic and may inadvertently be transposing the dosage numbers. [CNN-AP, 6-26-06]
Transposing dosage numbers is probably the reason he got the job in the first place. Look at it this way, better he makes a mistake in this job and stays out of my HMO. What's he going to do, kill them too much?
Posted by lumberjack at 8:12 PM
Thursday, July 27, 2006
So did you hear the report that:
undercover government investigators were able to obtain sensitive excess military equipment such as launcher mounts for shoulder-fired missiles and guided missile radar test sets from a Defense Department liquidation sales contractor.Yikes. Well, some good news, kind of related; I just noticed that every government key in existence carries a message to the new Iraqi government. Kind of a reminder for them:
“This investigation confirms sensitive military equipment is being sold or given to the public, posing a serious national security risk,”
Posted by lumberjack at 3:59 PM
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Posted by lumberjack at 4:16 PM
OK, I understand al-Maliki may have said a few things some of us didn't care for...
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Dennis Hastert has rejected calls Tuesday by congressional Democrats to cancel an address Wednesday by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to a joint session of Congress.
So al-Maliki was expressing an opinion that is not uncommon in the middle east, that Israel was the aggressor. (of course the refreshing thing is that it's no longer a unanimous opinion - many Arabs are blaming Hezbollah) Anyway, so what? We gave the Iraq back to the people of Iraq. If anything, al-Maliki's comments should demonstrate that we have not installed a sock-puppet in Iraq.
And note to congress: keep in mind that you are the same body that elected to hear testimony from Jane Fonda and Jessica Lange concerning cuts to farm aid. And why was their testimony relevant? They had both portrayed farmers in movies.
Posted by lumberjack at 10:35 AM
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Here I am with breaking news about sunscreen protection and the blogger servers won't let me upload my illustrative images. (I mean, what is the point of discussing sunscreen if you can't depict the parts you don't want burned?) She was a real joy to the eyes too.
The servers somehow ate a post yesterday, as well; leaving the world to wonder what my position is on Whacking Day. I guess I'll have to take up that controversial topic at some later date, when the servers are behaving themselves.
Posted by lumberjack at 11:15 AM
Monday, July 24, 2006
At a friend's house there was a game of some sort. And as usual my friend's kid won. His girl child won. And man did the boys not like that. "You just got lucky."
"If I had my tennis shoes you wouldn't have won that."
"Look, look at this, I can't even bend my ankles in these shoes."
"I would have beat you so bad your head would spin."(?)
And know who it reminded me of? Yeah, John pull-ma-finger Kerry:
"If I was president, this wouldn't have happened," said Kerry during a noon stop at Honest John's bar and grill in Detroit's Cass Corridor.
Posted by lumberjack at 9:03 PM
From Memri, an interview with Nasrallah:
re·think Pronunciation Key (r-thngk)
Hassan Nasrallah:"I Told Them [Lebanese Political Leaders] That We Must Resolve the Issue of the Prisoners, and That the Only Way to Resolve it is by Abducting Israeli Soldiers"
Interviewer: "Did you inform them that you were about to abduct Israeli soldiers?"
Hassan Nasrallah: "I told them that we must resolve the issue of the prisoners, and that the only way to resolve it is by abducting Israeli soldiers."
Interviewer: "Did you say this clearly?"
Hassan Nasrallah: "Yes, and nobody said to me: 'No, you are not allowed to abduct Israeli soldiers.' Even if they had told me not to... I'm not defending myself here. I said that we would abduct Israeli soldiers, in meetings with some of the main political leaders in the country. I don't want to mention names now, but when the time comes to settle accounts, I will. They asked: 'If this happens, will the issue of the prisoners be over and done with?' I said that it was logical that it would.
tr. & intr.v. re·thought, (-th�t) re·think·ing, re·thinks
n : thinking again about a choice previously made; "he had second thoughts about his purchase" [syn: reconsideration, second thought, afterthought] v : change one's mind; "He rethought his decision to take a vacation"
Posted by lumberjack at 4:35 PM
"The whole of Britain has become Dar ul-Harb” (territory open for Muslim conquest wherein "the kuffar (unbelievers) have no sanctity for their own life or property."
Re: Beslan: "If an Iraqi Muslim carried out an attack like that in Britain, it would be justified because Britain has carried out acts of terrorism in Iraq."
In a recent interview with BBC Radio, a pleading Bakri said that Britain should accept him “on humanitarian grounds."
"Come on guys. I was only kidding. What, you can't take a joke? Come on, let me back in now. This isn't funny anymore. Guys? Guys? Come on."
Posted by lumberjack at 12:03 PM
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Is it a big surprise that the ACLU would support idiots who feel called to show up at the funerals of servicemen to inflict even more pain on the mourning families?
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas church group that protests at military funerals nationwide filed suit in federal court, saying a Missouri law banning such picketing infringes on religious freedom and free speech.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit Friday in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., on behalf of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church, which has outraged mourning communities by picketing service members' funerals with signs condemning homosexuality.
The church and the Rev. Fred Phelps say God is allowing troops, coal miners and others to be killed because the United States tolerates gay men and lesbians....
For the ACLU this lawsuit must be a lot like their work supporting the KKK's right to march. This crazy church is Christian, strike one, and they're opposed to rights for gay people, strike two, BUT, they're engaged in protests that are horribly wrong and cruel beyond the pale, therefore, home-run, bingo, the ACLU will take the case. What is it with the ACLU? More:
"I told the nation, as each state went after these laws, that if the day came that they got in our way, that we would sue them," said [church leader] Phelps's daughter Shirley L. Phelps-Roper, a spokeswoman for the church in Topeka, Kan. "At this hour, the wrath of God is pouring out on this country."
I don't think that God punishes nations because of the actions of some of it's citizens. He doesn't punish a coal miner in West Virginia because of an ordinance passed in San Francisco. If punishes us in this world at all, it's for our own transgressions. And when it comes to transgressions I'm hard put to think of one worse than deliberately bringing pain to the grieving family members at a funeral. Call me over-sensitive, but it seems to me that if I bring wails of pain from someone, there's a good chance that I'm not obeying the "love one another; as I have loved you" commandment.
In the spirit of that love, let me give you some advice: Don't stand next to any of these church-members in a thunderstorm. If God punishes us on earth, these guys are just smouldering piles of ashes waiting to happen.
I guess it's just icing on the cake that this church is wrong in their attitude towards gays as well. If you're going to commit horror in God's name, I guess it doesn't much matter if your underlying motivation is also corrupt. Perhaps they've got their own translation of the bible:
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.to which they have added "except for the gay people"
Posted by lumberjack at 1:17 PM
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Here's an odd thing. Reports are that from 700 to 1500 missiles have been fired into Israel in the last week. But most images coming out of the war zone show damage in Lebanon. Coverage of the people seems to be about even though. I see lots of Lebanese children, and lots of Israeli soldiers. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Israel had done more damage than Hezbollah, but I can't believe Hezbollah has done none. Why does the camera always run out of film when there is an Israeli child crying and hurt after an attack? Or could it be that those 700-1500 rockets just haven't come down yet?
Ah, found it. I knew there had to be some coverage of Israeli hardship among all the depictions of doe-eyed Lebanese children. I wonder if American support for Israel is the reason coverage is so one-sided. George Bush supports them? Ack! War crimes! Get pictures of the victims.
Posted by lumberjack at 4:23 PM
Friday, July 21, 2006
Of course someone had to try to clone a human. You knew someone would try it, just to elicit the collective, "By All That Is Holy, NO." It's the Kevorkian syndrome, you get jazzed by going against the flow. I get that whenever I sing in public. Anyway:
It is troubling. And this is just a step on the road that will end with some other scientist saying, "Sure it's a monster but the spirit of Science mandated that we try."
Scientist contends he tried five times in a foreign lab
By Gareth Cook, Globe Staff | July 21, 2006
The first-ever scientific paper detailing an attempt to create a cloned child was published yesterday, raising concerns that the author may eventually succeed in an effort most researchers believe is ethically troubling and dangerous.
As usual, South Park already covered this:
It's thanks to the wonder of genetic
engineering that soon there will be
an end to hunger, disease, pollution,
even war. I've created things that
will change the world for the better --
-- For instance, here is a monkey
with four asses.
How does that make the world better?
And here, of course, is my four-assed
ostrich, and my four-assed mongoose.
The Boys look increasingly confused.
Do you have anything besides just
animals with four asses?
Oh, well, I suppose so... Ah yes,
over here --
Mephesto points to some odd-looking animals.
Here I have rats spliced with ducks...
And gorillas spliced with mosquitos.
And here I have rabbits spliced with
fish to make little bunny fish!!
In a tank, four fish with bunny ears swim around. Cartman
looks at them closely and notices that the bunny ears have
little strings attached to them.
Hey... These bunny ears are tied on
with little strings!
And over here is swiss cheese spliced
with chalk... And a beard.
Posted by lumberjack at 10:50 AM
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I put up a rumor, well, a bulletin board post (which usually doesn't carry the weight of a rumor heard on the bus) about Billy Leeson/Bell being up and getting better. Well it's true. Gateway Pundit has a link and an excerpt from the story. And I'll tell you what - as mad as I was about a "peace activist" doing this to him, I'm happier still that he's going to be ok.
Go Billy. Yeah you!
Actually I think the credibility scale goes something like this:
(in order of decreasing reliability)
1) Something you've seen yourself.
2) Something you've seen the video of.
3) Something your wife told you.
4) Something you've read in several papers, unless one of them was the NYT.
5) Rumors you overheard on a bus.
6) Rumors your wife told you.
7) Anything you read from Some Guy on the Internet.
Oh yeah, and lastly, anything you read in the NY Times.
Posted by lumberjack at 9:25 PM
C.W. Nevius blogs about the Pew survey about bloggers. Wait, maybe it's Nevius who surveyed the Pew blog. No? Well, whatever:
Alexander Halavais, may only be an assistant professor of interactive communications at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, but he knows how to deliver the money quote. Asked about bloggers by the Washington Post, Halavais came up with a beaut.
"The average blogger is a 14-year-old girl writing about her cat,'' Halavais said.
And though I distrust most anything that comes from the aptly named people at Pew, I understand that these results weren't damning. Nevius calls them "not just surprising, but hopeful." So I'll accept them. This time. Actually I'm pretty much happy with any study that doesn't condemn me by name.
From the numbers in Nevius's post I suppose that I'm just a little bit too old to be doing this. He also reports that most bloggers read newspapers. Ha! I pretend to cut down trees for a living; that's as close as I want to get to the newspaper biz. I feel a moral obligation to burn the damn things whenever they inadvertently make their way into the house. (the NYT and the WaPo anyway) Another number: some 61 percent told the survey that they blog to "motivate people to action.'' See, I part from the mainstream here too. I figure you know what you want to do next. I can motivate you somewhat if you like -- Hey! Those of you who want a bowl of ice cream: Get up! You keep putting it off, you know the wife will scoop out all the cookie-dough and leave you with plain vanilla. Get moving!
Feel free to bookmark this page so you can come back whenever you need additional motivation.
Posted by lumberjack at 8:15 PM
The Dissident Frogman reports that a member of the French parliament is calling for military action against Israel.
......I give you Jacques Myard, a full blown member of the French Parliament, elected by the people (from the Paris suburb of les Yvelines) to his very own seat at the Assemblée Nationale, publishing on his website a communiqué where he calls for France to undertake military action against Israel.
......... it irresistibly brings to mind the famous taunt "you and what army?"
Posted by lumberjack at 11:51 AM
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I got an e-mail threatening, well threatening nothing really, the writer forgot to put in the threat, but telling me that I was using copyrighted images of a drunken Christiaan Briggs....
Gee, it'd be tempting to refer him to Christiaan Briggs' take on copyright. (there should be none) But what I want to know is, how is this not fair use? The images were part of my commentary, they weren't used for profit... and by the way, where did they go? They were public images on flickr at one time. Now they're gone.
Anyway, who puts their friends in this position? I mean, if Christiaan Briggs hadn't attacked an innocent kid, those pictures would have no meaning. Now, as if calling Christiaan Briggs friend isn't embarrassment enough, "morph" has to ask me to take down the pictures. How much easier this would have been for everyone if instead of being a grit-tooth, angry, denouncer of violence, if Christiaan Briggs had worked on eliminating the violence in Christiaan Briggs.
***Update: From the Les Incompetents bulletin board-
"Sorry we've been dragging our feet about updating this. Bill has now come round and is walking and talking so things are looking a lot better. Hopefully he should be fit and well fairly soon. Naturally he and his family appreciate the support and kind comments."Great news.
Posted by lumberjack at 10:45 AM
Captain Ed actually looked at the suit:
Taking A Stroll Through The Garden Of Half-Truths
I've had a chance to review the lawsuit filed on behalf of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, and it has an amusing take on reality that I heartily recommend to all interested parties. Quite frankly, the defense will have a delightful time if this ever gets to court. This is one of those moments when one wonders what color the sky is in another's world.
Maybe someone will explain why the Wilsons/Plames sought Sheehan-levels of publicity once the kerfuffle was joined. And what I really want to know: who talked her into the pajama, spaced-out, "now where'd my medication get to?" photo.
Posted by lumberjack at 10:18 AM
America wants to know.
In the August issue of O, the Oprah Magazine, the talk-show host explains that some people misunderstand her close friendship with King.
"I understand why people think we're gay," she says. "There isn't a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women...."
OK, so do we know if Oprah is telling the truth? Well, look at the flannel shirt test. I think you have to admit they'd make terrible lumberjack-lesbians.
Posted by lumberjack at 9:44 AM
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
I know why this was news; it was the headline.
Store wants to shock chickens to death for customers
Just too good, and I figured the story would be as ho-hum. But skimming through it I find:
Every morning, the chickens are given a fatal electric shock, de-feathered, cleaned, cut, and put on the shelves.Doesn't it sound like some kind of chicken hell? Getting shocked, plucked, and cut up every morning? Then, next day, it starts over. Poor chickens, wondering what they possibly could have done to deserve this. What sins are available to a chicken anyway? You need opposable thumbs to commit all the big transgressions.
Posted by lumberjack at 9:59 AM
Monday, July 17, 2006
Atlas Shrugs has coverage of the rally in NYC. Lots of pictures, and my favorites: Hillary doing goofy-face.
And speaking of odd images, I saw this on Drudge but I'm not sure why it was there:
We once dressed the dog up in doll clothes and an Easter hat, and I swear that dog looked more comfortable in the doll clothes than Al Gore does in those blue jeans.
Posted by lumberjack at 6:07 PM
Friday, July 14, 2006
Wishful thinking on the part of the Daily Mail:
Around 5,000 protesters did their best to interrupt the outdoor meeting and meal between the president and Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel. Eventually shielded from the noise by 40 tons of barbed wire and 12,000 policemen, the pair sat down to dine on a roasted wild boar slaughtered earlier that day, uninterrupted by protesters. Or babies.
There were 5,000 protesters? Wonder why all other reports cite "hundreds" or "500" at most? And 12,000 police officers? Why would you need any barbed wire; that many police would block the streets for blocks in each direction. But somehow 40 TONS of barbed wire was needed?
What a pathetic example of "reporting".
***Update: You can find anything on the internet, ie, that 40 tons of razor wire, coiled to 18 inch, would give you........ 40,000 feet of protection. That's about the height commercial airliners fly.
Wonder how the Daily Mail could get this wrong? They had over 6,300 reporters on the scene. And their tape recorded notes used over 49 million miles of audio tape.
Posted by lumberjack at 12:50 PM
I joined the hunger strike by accident yesterday. I'm pretty sure curried chicken is allowed so long as you don't use too much garam masala or salt. Tonight I'll see if I can't make my own pork loin smoothie.
Hey good news. Michelle Malkin has signed up too.
Posted by lumberjack at 12:26 PM
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Just a reminder; with this warmer weather your pool's chlorine levels will most likely need to be increased. Or decreased, or something.
***Update: And ALSO:
Also important. Should you feel overheated due to the weather, you should have someone lift up your hair until help arrives.
Posted by lumberjack at 6:02 PM
Israel has information that Hizbullah guerrillas who captured two Israeli soldiers are trying to transfer them to Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.
You'd hope that Iran will look at what's happening in Lebanon and decline the transfer. If they do accept the prisoners, they will be asking for this thing to become regional. Will they?
Posted by lumberjack at 12:43 PM
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Darn, Christiaan Briggs, "peace activist", cleaned the gallery in his flickr account. Good thing I copied everything before he did. The above picture is now titled "Entertaining." Before it was titled "Entertaining the Pigs" Also gone are several portraits of police officers that were titled "Do You Know This Man?"
I hadn't thought of it before but I suppose the "Do You Know This Man" pictures were an attempt to intimidate police officers. The thought that a professional police officer would have anything to fear from Christiaan Briggs, well, you can see why it passed me by. But I suppose it's smart of him to try to make himself look less threatening now that he'll be going on trial for his attack on Billy Leeson. (aka Billy Bell of Les Incompetents)
Also down are "Morph's" pictures of Christiaan drunk and making a fool of himself. I saved those too but I see little point in putting more of them up. Point made already, you know? Maybe I'll put them up on a flickr account.
Posted by lumberjack at 10:18 PM
Much has been made of some amateur scientist's drawings that purported to prove that flight 93 couldn't have crashed as claimed. From what I understand, the critics of this theory have latched on to some preliminary sketches in order to distort the debate. To be fair, we must consider the final, more complete, engineering drawings. Keep an open mind. Judge for yourself:
Posted by lumberjack at 12:49 PM
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I'm surprised. I thought it would take another 20 years for the Catholic church to get to this point:
“Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It’s our duty to protect ourselves.” Thus spoke Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican’s supreme court, referring to Muslims. Explaining his apparent rejection of Jesus’ admonition to his followers to “turn the other cheek,” De Paolis noted that “The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century…and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights.”Let's hope this change in policy makes things better. We already know what doesn't work. Appeasement doesn't work.
De Paolis is hardly alone in his thinking; indeed, the Catholic Church is undergoing a dramatic shift from a decades-old policy to protect Catholics living under Muslim rule. The old methods of quiet diplomacy and muted appeasement have clearly failed. The estimated 40 million Christians in Dar al-Islam, notes the Barnabas Fund’s Patrick Sookhdeo, increasingly find themselves an embattled minority facing economic decline, dwindling rights, and physical jeopardy. Most of them, he goes on, are despised and distrusted second-class citizens, facing discrimination in education, jobs, and the courts.
Abduhl Rahman was allowed to leave Afghanistan with his life but he was the exception to the rule. His only crime was converting to Christianity, and he would have been killed for it had world attention not been focused on the case. Now we need to protect the hundreds of other converts who face apostasy charges each year. It's time to bring the Muslim world into the 21st century.
Posted by lumberjack at 11:14 AM
Monday, July 10, 2006
Color me cynical but I've come to believe that most of the debate about immigration in the US is driven by calculations of how many voters will be gained or lost with any particular approach. This is more than a little disappointing, especially as it appears that republicans may be just as guilty as democrats.
Like I said, disappointing, but at least they're not vying for the Islamic vote. Gates of Vienna has a truly scary post about the Christian wing of the Social Democratic Party's pandering for the "Muslim vote". Politically empowering Muslims in Europe seems like a short-cut to dhimmitude.
Posted by lumberjack at 11:22 AM
Friday, July 07, 2006
You hear the story and wonder if it can be true. A former human shield harasses a guy's girlfriend on the bus, then when he's called on it, gets off the bus with the guy and clobbers him. The guy, Billy Leeson, lead singer for the British band Les Incompetents now lies in a coma.
Peace Activist Beats Singer Into Coma
Rising pop star Billy Leeson, lead singer for the British band Les Incompetents, was riding on a London bus last week when some maniac started harassing his girlfriend. An altercation ensued. After the two men got off the bus together, the maniac threw a punch that resulted in Leeson fracturing his skull and going into a coma. The madman ran off laughing. His name: Christiaan Taylor Briggs, peace activist.
Briggs is best known for leaving his New Zealand home in 2003 to serve as a human shield, defending the genocidal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in the name of peace, love, and the children.
Can this be? A human shield, a person who feels so strongly about armed conflict that he is willing to give his life to protect others, a guy like that not only picks the fight, he cracks his skull, then runs off laughing? Well, look at the guy and make up your own mind. Does this look like someone who would do such a thing?
(Bonus question: When alcohol addiction hits the mean-drunk stage, isn't it time for you to give it up?) From Flickr's public images:
Most images have been removed. No, not because I had to, because "Morph", the owner of the pictures, didn't hit anyone and may be the salt of the earth for all I know. It really didn't feel right, showing all the other people at the party as well. So ok, pictures are down.
Should the "peace activist" run amok again though... well, the innocent could be photoshopped out.
***Update II: Les Incompetents on Youtube.
Also- Thanks Tim Blair for the link, and the original pointer to this story on Florida Cracker.
Gateway Pundit is keeping up with the story. (and has an amusing image of freedom-fighter Briggs, hiding his face behind a kafiya, because, well you know, reprisals)
***Final Update: Briggs was convicted, sentenced to less than a year, and has done his time.
Posted by lumberjack at 8:11 PM
An AFP story:
Minute man: Putin has total recall of last sex encounter
Jul 06 2:11 PM US/Eastern
His memory of the first time he "did it" is a little hazy today, but Russian President Vladimir Putin reassured reporters that his recollection of the last time he had sex is clear as an unmuddied lake.
"I can't remember exactly when I did it for the first time," a laughing Putin said after completing a live two-hour webcast during which he fielded questions from web surfers around the world on a wide range of questions.
"But I certainly remember when I did it the last time, to the exact minute," the Russian president said.
Putin, 53, did not provide further details.
And I'm glad he didn't. Otherwise, kudos Vladimir. I have trouble remembering who was president for my first time. Or my last time either... wait, best not call it "last". I'm an optimist.
Posted by lumberjack at 10:04 AM
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- The National Park Service has granted the Ku Klux Klan's request to hold a rally and protest the Iraq war at the Civil War battlefield where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
Gordon Young of the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan obtained the permit Wednesday for about 100 people to participate in a Sept. 2 event at Gettysburg National Military Park.
Posted by lumberjack at 11:49 AM
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Yes, were my soul trembling on the verge of eternity, were this hand freezing in death, were this voice chocking in the last struggle, I would still, with the last impulse of that soul, with the last wave of that hand, with the last gasp of that voice, implore you to remember this truth, God has given America to be free!
Without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we're mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
Posted by lumberjack at 11:15 PM
There it is, blurred in the distance, the space shuttle Discovery. It's like a representation of America, powerful and ready, poised for assent. The result of hard work and planning, dedication to a vision. And like America, there have been setbacks, there have been hard times, but the leaders have not wavered in their commitment to the vision. And also like America, it is tethered to a gantry and has liquid oxygen venting from ports on it's side. And an American flag, it's got an American flag on it's wing. Which wing? The right wing of course. The left wing, well, lets not talk about the left wing on a great day like today. Except to note that the shuttle will be taking the left wing aloft too. It's attached so we may as well.
And they're blurred but you can also see the catwalks; the bridge onto the great ship. They invite all who would join this great adventure to climb aboard. Well, not all - you do have to join the program and get training. But after that, it's off to adventure .... except that you have to pay taxes too, but then, onward and upward. And you get to wear a special suit too. The suit is your American identity. You wear it proudly even though the French think their suit (often a clown suit) is better. Your suit protects you from the harsh environment of space. And you trust your suit, though you may feel unease in the knowledge that it was made from materials supplied by the lowest bidder. And you know that reporters from the New York Times have been poking pins into your space suit, and worrying the seams, still you trust that the damage can be repaired.
The blue sky is the future. Sometimes it's uncertain. Clouds will sometimes appear but when they do, you just delay the journey. (like during Democratic administrations; Kennedy being the exception (hello? Kennedy Space Center?)) And though birds sometimes nest on the tower, um, lets see, the birds are Barbara Streisand and Al Franken, and though they poop on the equipment, nobody much notices them anymore.
And see the blue sign? It's our constitution; it points us in the proper direction. At night it is illuminated by our trust in God. This one is illuminated by a bulb manufactured in Korea, and it warns you to keep right I think. In fact, I'm sure it does. "Keep right and get an education," it proclaims proudly in front of the out building, which is Hawaii and Alaska.
And it's all framed by the green grass, which is nature - the magnificent land we live on. From East to West, from North to South, from Minnesota to, um, Oklahoma. It's the source of our strength; producing wheat, and corn, and other crops we're not familiar with, like barley. And though the NASA employees sometimes have picnics on it (factories), they always clean up after themselves. (EPA)
The turtle is in focus but you'll notice that it doesn't have a head. It has no direction. It's the modern Democratic Party. It invented the internet but is no longer sure which way to go. It only knows that the road seems hotter than it was this time last year, and it blames the shuttle for all its woes. The turtle is concerned with the direction the shuttle is pointed. Though it admits that "up" is the obvious choice, it wonders if a more subtle, or nuanced, direction might be preferable. It won't elaborate on just what the hell a "subtle" or "nuanced" direction would be. It's sure "up" is wrong though. It says that "up" is the "chimpy direction." Just ignore the turtle.
Posted by lumberjack at 11:29 AM
Monday, July 03, 2006
It just gets so old. Bill Keller, in his defense of his indefensible heads-up to terrorists, cites Victor Comras, in Counterterrorism Blog. Cormas writes:
Yesterday’s New York Times Story on US monitoring of SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) transactions certainly hit the street with a splash. It awoke the general public to the practice. In that sense, it was truly new news. But reports on US monitoring of SWIFT transactions have been out there for some time.See? The terrorists, even the home-grown, not-so bright Richard Reid types, already could find this stuff out.
The fact is that there is really very little privacy today when it comes to the international transfer of funds. That is why criminal networks, money launderers and terrorist groups have increasingly turned to Hawalas and cash couriers for such transactions.So the terrorists knew about financial monitoring - makes you wonder why we even bothered to do it. And sure, reports on financial surveillance have been out there for some time. A year ago Victor Cormas wrote:
The United States has put great effort into tracking terrorist funds. A major part of this effort involves regulating and monitoring domestic banking activities and overseas transactions. And it has done a good job of driving terrorism financing away from U.S. shores. Other countries also have financial intelligence units similar to the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. But few, if any, are as active. Most countries rely on their banking and financial communities to police themselves. And few nations other than the United States impose penalties on banks for failing to meet due-diligence requirements. Getting them to strengthen this process remains one of our most difficult challenges.What? Doesn't sound like there was much of a program back then. It sounds like our ability to monitor foreign transactions was kind of weak. Else why would "getting them to strengthen this process" be one of our most difficult challenges?
When Cormas wrote that in June, 2005, there were two possibilities:
1) He didn't know about the SWIFT program, or was unaware of the level of cooperation we were getting.Regardless, now he's providing cover for Bill Keller. And it doesn't matter how they rationalize it, if just one terrorist cell benefits from the information Keller publicized, it will be the innocent who pay for it.
2) He did know about it and had the good sense to protect it's efficacy by down-playing its value.
UPDATE *** Victor Comras speaks in September on the state of our financial tracking of terror. In short:
International cooperation in support of the war on terrorism financing is still patently inadequate....That was nine months ago. Were we getting cooperation from SWIFT at that time? Well, at that time, anyway, Victor Comras didn't choose to expose whatever cooperation there was. And I think he knows that the NYT was wrong in exposing it now. Maybe it's retired-general syndrome that leads him to pull in the wrong direction.
Posted by lumberjack at 11:03 AM