Incessant Rant
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Welcome to The INCESSANT RANT. On our worst day this site will embody .00000001% of the world’s opinion. Considering the world population increases by three every second, I'm going to have to persuade just under 260,000 people to agree with me daily if only to break even. I'm screwed...


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I'm a Conservative Troglodyte who puts more emphasis on common sense rather than political parties.

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Friday, December 31, 2004

I am Nostradamus, with a brain injury...

I'M pretty poor in the prediction department. So, as I stetch out here relaxing with a glass of Laphroaig and branch water complimented by a Punch Maduro, I thought I'd prove it to you. So, for the rest of the early evening, in anticipation of some rubber chicken cash bar event later on tonight, I'll be adding my list of 2005 prophecies. They'll be coming a couple at a time, so check back later if you feel like pointing your finger and laughing at my Naïveté...

HERE GOES:

Science--- Nanotechnology became a term of familiarity this year. In 2005 you will see why. By the end of 2005 it will be a household word related to everything from medicine to stain free pants. Higher curriculum will put plans on the budgeting table to consider focusing degrees in this specific discipline.

Products will be made cleaner, stronger, lighter, and more precise. Computer hardware will take another large leap to “who knows where.” 2004 introduced nanotechnology to the layman. 2005 will provide nanotechnology a home.

Medicine---There will be the dabbling in cloning as in the last three years. But, that won’t be 2005’s calling card. 2005 will begin a trend in medicine that has been long overdue. The incessant management of common illness has, too long, been treated with the application of myriad antibiotics (from toddler on up). As a result, a whole generation has weakened their natural defenses within their own body to be able to combat disease without medical intervention. With the recent events in South East Asia, focus will turn to the ineffectiveness of once useful medicines. Before the end of the year, American doctors will be on the firing line for their excessive prescribing of Drug Company pushed products.

Politics---Government Workers Union(s) members may want to update their resumes. “Privatization” will be the word that invokes chuckles from Republicans and thinly veiled disdain by their counterparts. You know that union employee that mows the lawn between the reflecting pool and the Smithsonian? Well, come about June, see if there isn’t a beat up red pick-up truck with a “Bob’s Landscaping” sign plastered on the side. There are, literally, 100’s of thousands of unionized jobs that are going up for grabs before we bid adieu to 2005. Democrats will put up a fuss because this is a meal ticket contribution cow for them. Who will be pulling the switch…?(get this) Grover Norquist.

Tort reform? I hope not. We aren’t ready yet. Something else has to occur first (more on that later…before the end of the long weekend). Did I mention that I have 20 years in the insurance industry and I’m totally against tort reform at the very present? I’ll let you know why shortly.

Arts & Literature (contemporary)---Besides my favorite author (Jack DuBrul) coming out with a new Philip Mercer thriller you might want to keep an eye out for a brand new murder mystery author (wink, wink) popping up on the scene sometime late in the year. Here’s the abridged version (New York City, little known history, maniacal antagonist, eccentric protagonist, big ass Great Dane, and a chip off the ol’ block…plus Virgil’s BarBQue).

Also, Linda Fairstein will break out “Entombed” the 4th of January. However, the real signatures of 2005 will arrive on the big screen.

The final installation of Star Wars will, absolutely, murder any previous box office records…and George Lucas will go out on a high note by delivering the best of the 6. Spielberg will roll out “War of the Worlds” starring Tom Cruise. That will be a moneymaker. My sleeper pick is “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Don’t ask me why. I just have a hunch. 2005 will close with a bang thanks to the newest in the Harry Potter series, Goblet of Fire; The Lion, the Witch the Wardrobe; and Peter Jackson’s latest adventure, King Kong. But, I’m telling you, keep an eye out for “Hitchhiker.”

War on Terror---

IRAQ---If you are a terrorist in Iraq and you’ve managed to keep your posterior in one piece to date, it’s been nice knowing you. Once the elections are out of the way, there will be a significant effort to instill ownership on the newly trained Iraqi Special Forces, and law enforcement. Right now, whether the US likes it or not, we have been walking on egg shells of a sort. Any exploitable incident is the proverbial horse bit that can rain a political hot plate of backlash which would threaten the elections. However, once they’re in the can so are the attached political ramifications.

In addition, pressure against Iran and Syria by the US, and the new Iraqi government will not just be rhetoric. The result will be both countries being pressured into physically policing their borders (in and out). In short, a true no holds barred hunting season on foreign Jihadists opens February 1st, and there is no limit.

As 2006 sneaks in, US Military presence in Iraq will start decreasing

IRAN---Protest Warrior better book their seats now. Iran is going to become the premier “Mecca of protest” and discourse this coming year. The Mullahs are going to attempt to control the growing discontent by taking away from the already oppressed. Big mistake. Workers will be protesting for lack of paid wages. Hospitals (which were privatized under recent government edict) will continue to decay as a majority have already filed for bankruptcy. Pro-democracy advocates will gain an unprecedented degree of support from the common Iranian as Iraq leads by example. Playing off the restlessness caused by corruption, poverty, and tyranny, students, then business owners, then (reinvigorated “reformists”) will demand changes.

Iran’s nuclear weapon endeavors will be the foremost bargaining issue of 2005. It won’t be too far into the year before the US pushes the EU out of the way and takes the lead on the issue. Simultaneously, operatives will be active within deep Iran stirring up the mix a bit. Don’t plan an Iranian vacation this year. They’re going to be busy.

CHINA---China has problems. Sure, their economy continues to grow (so they say). But, internally, they have a “Jimmy Hoffa” dilemma. There have been an unprecedented number of riots and protests within the Mainland. The interesting thing about these events is that they are, no longer, confined to specialized and individual, one issue groups. Multiple issue events are taking place motivated by the continued corruption, class differences, and demands for more favorable working conditions. China’s ability to out bid the rest of the planet on cost is about to be challenged from within. Child labor, sub-par wages, and government abuses will give way to massive protest. China is entering the Hoffa Age as the US did 5 decades ago. It’s going to cost them. That, by default, doesn’t bode well for the growing relationships with Iran, the EU, and Russia. As a result, all three of those entities will have to tone down the rhetoric with the US.

Oh hell, that's enough...running late...
Happy New Year !!


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Boris Yeltsin: Hell on Wheels?

Boris Yeltsin has always been fodder, here in the West, for the occasional reference to overindulgence in adult beverages. However, if his long time body guard is to be believed, it was no joking matter.

Alexander Korzhakov, gave an interview to the Moscow Times that provides some of the disturbing details. Most prominent is the insistence that “After becoming president, an intoxicated Boris Yeltsin struck and killed a man in a driving accident…”

Holy Smokes!

Korzhakov is now promoting his memoirs (Boris Yeltsin: From Dawn to Dusk). This latest revelation is added in a special reprint edition. Apparently, at the time of the accident, which is described in the attached article, Gorbachev was trying to exploit any issue, regardless of size, to have Yeltsin removed from power. Korzhakov covered it up on Yeltsin’s behalf and never reported the accident to authorities.

I don’t know if the account is believable, since Korzhakov fell out of favor with Yeltsin in 1996 when he was fired during the election campaign. However, prior to that, you certainly can’t argue with Korzhakov’s unequaled access. The former KGB officer probably has some interesting stories to tell.

Friday, December 31, 2004
Korzhakov Drinks to an Era
By Francesca Mereu
Staff Writer


(excerpt)
"Gorbachev, who at the time was dreaming of finding the smallest cause to remove the separatist Yeltsin from politics, would have rewarded anyone who had told him about the event," Korzhakov writes.

Korzhakov writes that he averted a potential crisis by repairing the Zhiguli. "It was turned into a new car ... [and] the owner did not report the accident to the police."

As for the injured man, "we bought medicines and changed doctors and hospitals. But after six months he died. We buried him as well, since he did not have any close relatives."

Asked when and where the event took place, Korzhakov said cryptically that it had happened in the early 1990s "in a certain small village."

(The rest of the article is here)



Incidentally, as a bonus…do you know which US President was arrested (that’s right, arrested) for Hit & Run while in office…and then failed to show up for a Washington DC Court Appearance?

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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tales from the Tail…


There’s this guy with a blog, a radio show, a law degree, his own personal pleasure cruise, and, oh yeah, a book

I had the good fortune to pick up Hugh Hewitt’s latest endeavor last night on the way back from a meeting. I was fortunate on two levels. First, (and Hugh will like this) it was the last copy in stock at this particular Connecticut Barnes & Noble Bookseller. Of course, this is Connecticut, so it is entirely possible they mistakenly lost a crate of them behind the endless piles of Gus Hall biographies and vegan cookbooks.

Secondly, it was a quick and informative read that gets you nodding in agreement while simultaneously thinking that there’s a lot more to discuss on the topic. Working on the follow-up yet Hugh? I thought so.

It’s an excellent introductory work to the Blogosphere; almost an invitation to jump on board. His enthusiasm for the “new” medium translates throughout. Average books are based on knowledge. Good books are based on knowledge and passion. Excellent books share that passion with the reader. Hugh…mission accomplished.

The most impressionable chapter to me deals with the various reasons that people “blog.” He does a little categorizing based on some of the more prominent ones out there on the digital plain. But, I’d venture to guess he had the desired result in my case, because I took a few minutes to contemplate my own involvement. I came to the disheartening conclusion that I like to hear myself talk, and the disturbing supposition that I don’t always know what I’m going to say. I guess that’s something.

Quite frankly I don’t get a lot of traffic on this site. Although, I’m surprised by the number of visitors that do show up (and come back). David Sifry (founder of Technorati.com) would refer to me as part of the “tail” as pointed out by Hewitt in “Blog.” I, kind of, like it that way. It’s easier to develop camaraderie and shared interest. Those of us in the “tail” tend to rely less on links and more on “thinks” to a degree. In my opinion, some of the most cerebral, entertaining, and analytical opinions are right out there on the sites that are off the main interstate a couple miles. Nothing in blogland is better than finding an elusive backwoods restaurant with the delicious homemade fare that leaves you wanting more, not yet discovered by the "city folk."

Hugh Hewitt hits all the key notes and works the scales a bit on the future of the medium. But, the lasting impression present cover to cover was the overt delight he has in what blogs have done, what blogs are doing, and what blogs will do…He loves this stuff and it shows. So do I…
Cheers
IR

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Bull in the ‘China’ Shop…


As China forges ahead with relationships to Iran, the European Union, and even Russia the underlying thought is whether they can progress to a position that would challenge the “solitary superpower” label attached to the United States. Internationally, they have continued to develop into an established economical behemoth. However, domestically, there are some serious downplayed problems.
The New York Times via the International Herald Tribune chronicles just a few of the more obvious…

--- Police statistics show the number of public protests reached nearly 60,000 in 2003, an average of 160 per day

--- the Wanzhou uprising, which occurred on Oct. 18, is one of nearly a dozen major incidents of spontaneous social unrest in the past three months, many sparked by government corruption, police abuse and the unequal riches accruing to the powerful and well-connected.
.
--- That marks an increase of nearly 15 percent over 2002 and was eight times as high as the number recorded a decade ago. Martial law and paramilitary troops are commonly needed to restore order when the police lose control.

---protests of the past have concentrated on single localized issues that seldom gathered support from other down trodden groups. However, that is changing exponentially. A solidarity of multiple protest causes has been generating as of late.

--- China is having more trouble than at any time since the Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 1989 maintaining social order.

--- In November, up to 100,000 farmers in Sichuan Province, frustrated by months of fruitless appeals against a dam project that claimed their land, seized Hanyuan County government offices and barred work on the dam site for days. It took 10,000 paramilitary troops to quell the unrest.


--- A week ago, a village filled with migrant workers in Guangdong erupted into a frenzy of violence after the police caught a 15-year-old migrant stealing a bicycle and beat him to death. Up to 50,000 migrants rioted there, Hong Kong newspapers reported.

--- Luo Gan, the Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of law and order, issued new national guidelines warning that "sudden mass incidents" were increasing during China's economic transition and calling for tighter police measures to prevent unrest.


China has been dependent on cheap labor as well as complete government control in order to present favorable international market conditions. As their citizens wake up to the oppression they have been subjected to by, simply, comparing their stagnant life style and hardships to those of privilege within their own borders, the unrest will escalate. That can’t bode well for the status quo. As workers look for more representation, and by default, more favorable working conditions, the ability to exploit cheap labor is going to dwindle. The United States faced these same issues over five (5) decades ago. While basic workers’ rights were an ethical necessity, the cost to American manufacturing was high. China is starting to learn that lesson one protest at a time.

Some would say that the current escalation of common worker unrest in China is a direct result of their increase in foreign business exposure internally. With those foreign workers came foreign ideas, and fortunes to the privileged Chinese. Some would, also, say that the class differences promote a motivation for those oppressed to challenge the current state of affairs in China. Some would be right about that line of thinking.


For China masses, an increasingly short fuse
By Joseph Kahn The New York Times
12/31/04


WANZHOU, China The encounter, at first, seemed purely pedestrian. A man carrying a bag passed a husband and wife on a sidewalk. The man's bag brushed the woman's pant leg, leaving a trace of mud. Words were exchanged. A scuffle ensued.
.
Easily forgettable, except that one of the men, Yu Jikui, was a lowly porter. The other, Hu Quanzong, boasted that he was a ranking government official. Hu beat Yu using the porter's own carrying stick, then threatened to have him killed.
.
For this Yangtze River port city, the script was incendiary. Onlookers spread word that a senior official had abused a helpless porter. By nightfall, tens of thousands of people had swarmed Wanzhou's central square, where they toppled official vehicles, pummeled police officers and torched City Hall.
.
Minor street quarrel provokes mass riot. China's Communist Party, obsessed with enforcing social stability, has few worse fears. Yet the Wanzhou uprising, which occurred on Oct. 18, is one of nearly a dozen major incidents of spontaneous social unrest in the past three months, many sparked by government corruption, police abuse and the unequal riches accruing to the powerful and well-connected.
.
"People can see how corrupt the government is while they barely have enough to eat," said Yu, reflecting on the uprising that made him an instant proletarian hero and later forced him into seclusion. "Our society has a short fuse, just waiting for a spark."

(Continued)





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Makeup Ruling on the Money...




9th Circuit: Employer Can Force Women to Wear Makeup

Justin M. Norton
The Recorder
12-30-2004


In an opinion likely to raise the ire of civil rights and feminist groups, a divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled Tuesday that a woman who was fired from her job as a casino bartender for refusing to wear makeup cannot sue for sex discrimination.

The 2-1 decision rejected bartender Darlene Jespersen's argument that Harrah's Operating Co. violated her rights when it implemented "Personal Best" image standards requiring women to wear makeup and men to trim their fingernails and keep their hair short.

"Even if we were to take judicial notice of the fact that the application of makeup requires some expenditure of time and money, Jespersen would still have the burden of producing some evidence that the burdens associated with the makeup requirement are greater than the burdens the 'Personal Best' policy imposes on male bartenders," Senior Judge A. Wallace Tashima wrote for the majority.

Judge Barry Silverman concurred.

Judge Sidney Thomas dissented, saying that a jury easily could have found that the makeup requirement illegally requires female employees to conform to sex stereotypes, or that it places more of a burden on women than Harrah's male grooming standards.

"Sex-differentiated appearance standards stemming from stereotypes that women are unfit for work, fulfill a different role in the workplace, or are incapable of exercising professional judgment systematically impose a burden on women, converting such stereotypes into stubborn reality," Thomas wrote.
(Continued at Law.com)

I took a little skip around the blogosphere to see if anyone had an opinion on this case. I should have known better. It seems that anyone who stumbled across the decision had an opinion. Various and the indifferent can be seen here, here, here, there, everywhere...

Most seem to think that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blew another one. They didn't. In fact the only stupidity here is that something like this requires a Court decision in the first place. Simply put, a private company initiated a company policy (across the board) that reflected on their business, and ultimately, their bottom line. There is little difference from requiring make-up, or requiring that the McDonalds Employees wear those polyester uniforms with the golden arches patch.

Here's a little secret. Jespersen could have won this case before it even got to the lower Court. Harrah's Operating Company would have rolled over without a fight. All Jespersen had to do was get a quick note from a dermatologist that confirmed that continued use of foundation/concealer and/or face powder caused discomfort, and resulted in occasional acne, as well as other skin irritations. Then, she could inform her employer that the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act required her employer to make reasonable accommodation. End of story. Instead, she chose to challenge the company policy head on.

And, she did so poorly. The 9th Circuit points out that there was nothing in the record that documented that she would end up spending 100's of dollars on make-up a year, and invest much time in application. She failed to document, and therefore, make her case.

But, it's more than that. Suppose I worked for a major corporation (which I do). Suppose that major corporation required that all males have to wear a suit and tie to work every day (which they do). Suppose women in a similar position are only required to wear a suit (which they do). It seems to me that I end up spending, nearly, $1,000 in ties over the year (that’s about 30 good silk neckties). Based on the line of thinking of the plaintiff in the underlying case, I am being forced to present a stereotype of a "stuffed shirt businessman," and that effort requires me to spend significantly more money than a female in a similar position. Is there no justice? None needed…

She had no case since this was a private company with an (across the board) imposed dress code. The 9th Circuit made the right choice.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I’m With ‘Crash’ Davis, Ms. Sontag


A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I've usually taken the high road when someone passes to the great beyond. However, in the recent years I've grown much more cynical. And, some folks just rub me the wrong way.

Below you will find a little essay that leaked out of my pointy little head just over three years ago. As it turns out, someone needs to counter all the posthumous adoration (Example: Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten's piece as pointed to by Hugh Hewitt) with a version of the truth.

I was never a fan of Susan Sontag in life. I am just as indifferent to her "importance" in death. But, now that she has assumed room temperature, I gather that I could be categorized as "mean." I accept that…gladly and without reservation.

(Linked to the OTB Traffic Jam)



I’m With ‘Crash’ Davis, Ms. Sontag

November 13, 2001

One often wonders who is there to assist Susan Sontag in the event of a thunderstorm. There is always that risk in the undertaking of self-righteous nose raising that she may drown in the downpour. Be comforted in the realization that drowning requires the depletion of oxygen on the intake. Sontag has long been accustomed to existing without adequate oxygen reaching the brain.

Thomas Wolfe has her pegged as “just another scribbler who spent her life signing up for protest meetings and lumbering to the podium encumbered by her prose style, which had a handicapped parking sticker valid at Partisan Review.” That’s why Wolfe makes the big bucks.

At the risk of portraying a valid point wrapped up in the fictitious Durham Bull soliloquy of “Crash” Davis, “I believe…in the soul ... the small of a woman's back, the hangin' curveball, high fiber, good Scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap...” So, in the interest of comparison, what is it, exactly, that Sontag believes? She believes in herself. That is a meritorious endeavor. However, despite that very act being the goal of any caring parent to instill upon their child, there are serious repercussions to placing one’s confidence in an irrelevant claptrap.

Face it, she is amusing. No matter the issue. No matter the importance. Sontag is the moral equivalent of Benny Hill in a nunnery. She ensconces her percipience, and in the fashion of a drunk baker twists, kneads, and manipulates her message into a preexisting expectation of where her lapdog gnomes of the cultural garden expect her to be. That is all well and good except for the fact that the very foundation of her pedestal is a bunch of hooey. The Sisters of St. Augustine would, certainly, experience trepidation in the acts of Benny Hill. A thinking populace is no more swayed by Sontag.

In fact, I invite Sontag to speak at length, on any topic and at every occasion. It’s not because she says things I want to hear, or encourages a healthy discourse. I don’t and she doesn’t. However, the very nature of her ludicrous points of view is damaging to the credibility of anyone who, somehow, mirrors that high school lesson of “guilt by association.”

When she was interviewed by the New Yorker in the days after the September 11th terrorist attack she did not disappoint. The piece’s title “Observations by Susan Sontag” would have been enough. Where most would use that encumbrance as the header in their personal diary entry. Sontag, somehow, perceives her view as something to be showered upon the great unwashed. I always wondered what entitled her to that luxury. Surely, it wasn’t something that she regurgitated in the past. I have read a number of her “works.” The most impressionable on me was not her intended message I fear.

Early in her career she wrote a number of essays dealing with art. She expounded on Antonin Artaud, proclaiming him a failure. Sontag deduced that Artaud was unable to complete a thought and that his numerous varied works “amount to a broken, self-mutilated corpus, a vast collection of fragments.“ It never occurred to Sontag to look at Artaud’s endeavors as a means to a goal. Despite his own admission of his difficulties in grasp and concentration, perhaps he enjoyed what he did. Perhaps he enjoyed the challenge that accompanied the profession. Perhaps it was the striving for improvement that drove Artaud to cover the gambit of art, cinema, poems, prose, painting, music et al. Instead, Sontag could only see her picture of another artist’s work. There lies the cornerstone of her failings. And there lies the basis of her warped assessment of the events of September 11th. Her audacity to categorize Artaud as a failure in her definition of the word shows the epitome of hypocrisy when you digest, quite forcefully, one of her most well known pieces.

In Against Interpretation and Other Essays (1966) the intuitive response, as she would call it, was the concept of avoiding the intellectual and analytical evaluation of a piece. “The 'meaning' of art lies in the experiencing both style and content together without analysis. “ That’s an interesting revelation coming from someone who, quite solidly, categorized Artaud as a failure based on the inability to stay focussed on a specific idea. I suppose, sometimes one has to twist, knead, and manipulate until the soft pretzel resembles what the public would recognize and consume.

Regardless, in the New Yorker Sontag queried, “Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a "cowardly" attack on "civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?”

In her “intuitive response” Sontag failed to acknowledge the minor analytical detail that she is an American Citizen, and that the acts of the terrorists were defined by the actors to be murderous, callous acts in cold blood against all American citizens. No. Instead, we ‘intellectuals’ should ponder the all encompassing innate observations and deliberate the feelings of the rat bastards who butchered 4,537 human beings in the name of their “God.” To Sontag, that would be the reasonable response.

Sontag doesn’t think America plays fairly. “How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word "cowardly" is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others.

What a wonderful argument for the necessity to initiate an immediate program to provide “certificates of participation” to all parties of conflict (no matter the purpose) so as not to have to go through the uncomfortable foible of having to declare a winner or recognize right from wrong, sane from insane, smart from dumb. I am reminded of the profound words of chronic law abuser Rodney King and my heart just runs with endearing warmth. “Can’t we all just get along?” The answer is “no,” and there are very valid analytical (sometimes intellectual) reasons for that disclosure. Life is not an exercise in participation. Life is not something to be pondered. It is more than that I hope. Maybe it is an ongoing mission in personal accomplishment and achievement. Life could be an effort to better yourself in all capacities. It is not an application in holding back your own potential so as to allow others achievement at your expense. The whole concept of freedom affords the opportunity to accomplish goals as an individual and as a nation. Making the battlefield one of equality is the “intuitive response” of inept logic. Show me a boxer with short arms, and I’ll show you a throw rug.

Let's by all means grieve together. But let's not be stupid together. A few shreds of historical awareness might help us understand what has just happened, and what may continue to happen. "Our country is strong," we are told again and again. I for one don't find this entirely consoling. Who doubts that America is strong? But that's not all America has to be.”

By all means we grieve together. And, by all means, we shall not be stupid together. Instead, I leave that to Susan Sontag alone. Historical awareness is a conscious motivation to act in a capacity that would guarantee a desired outcome and future deterrent. History holds the souls of Beirut in 1983, Kenya in 1998, Tanzania in 1998, Somalia in 1993, Yemen in 2000, Saudi Arabia in 1996, New York in 1993, and New York, again, in 2001. We are finished with the history lesson Ms. Sontag. The class is entirely too loud. Our country is strong. We are strong in character and pride. I find that extremely consoling, because I realize that character and pride are not given, but earned. They are earned, sometimes, at the expense of those who would try to tarnish those innate qualities within us. A strength-of-purpose lives within the knowledge that our Republic has the ability to control our own destiny so that those cherished freedoms are not on loan from others.

Susan Sontag would say I didn’t understand her point. But, in the very color of her position I understood the whole encompassing view of her work. It initiated an intuitive response. I didn’t take away a single, one-sided, analytical perception as to what she was trying to express in each sentence or phrase. It was pure, unadulterated discord; all of it.

A lesson in reverse to Susan Sontag, never teach the unwashed how to juggle knives, lest they learn to throw them.

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The Thinner Blue Line...

THERE are others who serve this country outside of the military.

Law enforcement is not a "9 to 5'er" when done properly, and with dedication. Each year, about this time, we start seeing tabulations and statistics from the year ending. This, in my opinion, is one of the most important. The men and women of law enforcement put their lives on the line & personal plans on hold when necessary. They are the ones that hold off traffic while you change a tire on the freeway. They are the ones that show up in the middle of the night because you thought you heard a noise downstairs. They are, even, the ones who make it a point to go to your child's school to teach them a little about personal responsibility and repercussions of misbehavior.

They face knives, guns, baseball bats, and bombs. They deal with thieves, pedophiles, forgers and murderers. They are our domestic front to the war on terror.

Sometimes they give you a ticket for pushing a little too hard on the accelerator. Sometimes they just give you sound advice in that regard. There are times when they take more than their share of abuse from citizens and the press alike. There are times when they deserve it, and they make solid efforts to address those problems.

154 Law enforcement officers died in the line of duty this year. That is just under one every other day. Unfortunately, statistics say that the tally might not yet be finished for 2004. Regardless of the cause or the means in which they perished, each man or woman leaves a void in our community. They deserve to be honored for their service…


Group: 154 officers died in line of duty in 2004

WASHINGTON (AP)
— Law enforcement organizations reported Tuesday that 154 officers died in the line of duty in 2004, nearly half of them in traffic-related accidents.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors said the statistics for 2004 were compiled from reports through Dec. 24.

Seventy-two local, state and federal officers died from traffic-related accidents while 57, about one-third, died from shootings, the organizations said. A variety of causes led to the other deaths.(Continued here)

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Hard to Fathom...

This earthquake generated a huge tsunami wave, hitting the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and even Somalia. Clicking the graphic will take you to a gif animation that shows how the wave moved towards the surrounding coasts. Pay attention to the time lapse above the map to get an idea just how fast the initial wave was moving.

The animation was put together by Kenji Satake, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

"Don't Thank Me...Thank My Recruiter"


What happens when the general public (inclusive of our mainstream media) purposely or inadvertently misrepresents the facts concerning Iraq (and other military issues)? Well, the "military" loads for bear, checks their packs, and comes out firing.

Added to the blog roll is a brand new (meaning that it fired up today) blog called "Don't thank me...thank my recruiter." Behind the keyboard(s) are 13 Veterans aching to educate the public.

This should set it up rather clearly...

WHAT WE HAVE HERE...

Alright people, what we have here is 1 Blog, 13 Veterans reporting for duty, and millions upon millions of soft, fluffy, Civilian brains THAT WANT TO BE EDUCATED IN THE WAYS OF THEIR PROTECTORS!

READ IT, LEARN IT, REMEMBER IT… ALL OF IT!!

NASTYDAWG…OUT!

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Canine Crash...

No one saw the cat running for his life and scurrying under the dumpster...


Dog Drives Truck Into Auto Parts Store
By Associated Press


December 28, 2004, 5:33 PM EST

SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Michael Henson left the auto parts store with more problems than when he arrived. For that, he can thank his dog.

Henson, whose truck had a sticking throttle, brought his dog along for company when he drove to O'Reilly Auto Parts store in Springdale on Sunday.

"He'd left the truck running -- I guess to show the people at O'Reilly's -- and the dog jumped over and knocked the truck into gear," Springdale police Sgt. Billy Turnbough said.

The truck raced into the building, stunning Henson and clerk Josh Hopper.

"The guy said he was standing there, looked up, and saw his dog driving his truck through the building," Turnbough said.

Hopper said he heard the crash and looked up from the transaction.

"His truck was in the window," Hopper said. "I thought, 'Oh no.' Everybody was fine. His front left tire just made it onto the brick wall."

No one was hurt and no humans or animals were cited, police said.
Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press


Next time Fluffy…don’t get too comfortable…
This short AP blurb reminded me of a Jerry Seinfeld show I saw years back.

He used to do a great bit that dealt with animals (pets mostly). Part of the routine (shown below) dealt with dogs. He’d set up the routine by talking about how your dog always jumped into the driver’s seat as soon as you exited the car…Professing that dogs really wanted to be people…or actually thought that they already were…There’s a definite truth as shown above…

ON DOGS

...A dog will stay stupid. That's why we love them so much. The entire time we know them, they're idiots. Think of your dog. Everytime you come home , he thinks it's amazing. He has no idea how you accomplish this every day. You walk in the door, the joy of this experience overwhelms him. He looks at you, HE'S BACK, IT'S THAT GUY, THAT SAME GUY. He can't believe it. Everything is amazing to your dog. ANOTHER CAN OF FOOD? I DON'T BELIEVE IT.

Dogs want to be people. That's what their lives are about. They don't like being a dog. They're with people all the time, they want to graduate. My dog would sit there all day, he would watch me walk by, he would think to himself, I COULD DO THAT! HE'S NOT THAT GOOD.

That's why the greatest, most exciting moment in the life of a dog is the front seat of your car. You and him in the front seat. It's the only place where your head and his are on the exact same level. He sits up there, he thinks, THIS IS MORE LIKE IT. YOU AND ME TOGETHER, THIS IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE. He looks out the front. What's he looking at? He's a dog. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE - A RIGHT OR A LEFT? I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE I AM.

They have a hard time. They stand up, they sit down, they can't handle the turn either way. No matter which way you turn, he's not ready. They don't know what to do. And then comes the great moment of frustration. You stop someplace and get something to eat. This kills him. You get a hamburger, this blows his mind. INSTANT FOOD WHENEVER YOU WANT IT? You know what this means to him? You ever see the look on his face? He looks over at you. HOW'D YOU GET THAT? ARE THEY GIVING IT TO EVERYBODY NOW? YOU THINK I COULD GET ONE? They can't get anything.

Dogs have no money. Isn't that amazing? They're broke their entire lives. But they get through. You know why dogs have no money?---Jerry Seinfeld

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Sponge Bob Square Pants for Mayor...

DEMOCRAT NH State Representative Susan Almy must be considering a run for Student Council President. She wants to give towns and cities the option of providing voting rights to juveniles age 14 and up. She’s working on a State Bill to do just that. Of course, she wants 14 & 15 year olds to get ¼ votes in local elections only. 16 & 17 year olds would get ½ votes.

"I thought that it might be interesting to see if we could get a couple of towns to try doing this as an experiment to see how it would go," Almy said.

"It seems to me that it would be extremely interesting to allow younger youths who were starting to think about civic affairs to be able to start voting in school."
(Article here)


Oh, wonderful. A captive environment with an admitted Leftist bias serving as a polling "palace" for a juvenile electorate.

Forgive me if I don’t think this is a good idea. Courting the “young vote” is an admirable cause. Creating the “younger still vote” isn’t. Her rationalization is that it would raise interest among America’s youth in civic affairs. Is this just another attempt at indoctrination? Probably.

I won’t insult all of America’s youth and conclusively state that 14 year olds are not prepared to make such binding decisions. I’ve met some that instilled a greater sense of confidence in me than a significant number of adults who voted in the 2004 General Election. I, will, however, state that kids need the opportunity to be kids first.

Why stop with 14 year olds? Let’s move it down to 10 years old and start a PAC for Sponge Bob Square Pants. I hear he is a fiscal Conservative capitalist…

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Something to Watch in Iran...

THE conventional wisdom on Iran is that any regime change will be initiated internally. The simple fact of the matter is that, if Iran is to be denied nuclear capability, Mohammad Khatami and the Cleric purists cannot be allowed to continue driving the boat. The talk on the street these days is that Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has the ear of a number of the reformist groups for the late Spring Presidential elections . But, don’t be deceived by the term “reformist.” They have “devolved” such that “reformist” holds the same misnomer as would the term “democrat” in our country.

What should be interesting, however, is the reaction of the Iranian government in the very near future. Apparently, Mohammad Q. Public is getting a bit rambunctious these days. Later this month the Iranian Nurses Union is going to do an overt protest march. What’s unusual is that they are blatantly advertising that fact. Mohammad Sharafi Moghadam has gone so far as to state on record that if the Iranian government continues to ignore their requests, the Union will be forced to act outside the law.

Then, consider that more than 200 workers from Iran Pars Garment plan to hold a rally over back pay in Tehran this week. This is another overt protest right out in front of the rest of the world. They plan on marching from a town in the Northern province to Tehran in an attempt to gain the attention of the Iranian government in reference to 7 months back pay. This one is a 350km walk. You know, there are a lot of towns and villages to stop in on the way to their destination. You have to wonder whether they will pick up some moral support along the way.

The natives are getting restless.

These aren’t pro-Democracy rallies. But, you can’t deny the fact that these are the laymen challenging the highest of the high right out in broad daylight.

Now a few more underlying facts that have been made public recently; The inflation rate since the 8th month of the year in Iran is a whopping 14.8%. That can’t be good, especially when the government has been sitting on wages for the last 7 months. In addition, “the average price of fresh fruits set 33.9% growth last week compared with the first week of last month. Vegetables were also offered at 24.7% higher prices. The CBI report also noted 7.5% and 2.4% increase in the prices of eggs and cooking oil, respectively. Meanwhile, the price of white meat (chicken) set 1.3% increase in the said period while sugar was sold at 0.9% higher price.“

Simply put, an unhappy working class not receiving their wages, but seeing significant cost increases in the most basic of necessities doesn’t make for a jocular disposition. Add to that the public displays of displeasure are growing more daring against a government that exists on control through intimidation and absolute rule. You can almost smell the cordite fuse.

Then there is that other thing. Light Crude is, conveniently, falling faster than Michael Moore at the Victoria Falls Bungi Jump Classic. That can’t be good.

How the Iranian government treats these upcoming demonstrations should be interesting and telling to an extent. Handling them the wrong way could embolden other more costly demonstrations and protests. Certainly, a poorly performing economy combined with a significant number of disconcerted workers is not a recipe for bliss and decorum. It’s almost an invitation to test the bounds of permissibility.

It kind of makes you wonder if there aren’t some guests in Iran stirring the mix a bit. Perhaps someone decided to break out the old Cold War field operative manuals after all.

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Monday, December 27, 2004

Devastating...

UPDATE #2: Six minutes of amazing raw video footage from Sri Lanka Reuters Television via the World Channel via NSB.
(Hat tip to BigJim.org)


Click Photo for slide show available at the IHT (warning graphic)...


Thousands still missing as mass burials begin
(The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse)



Epicenter of quake was devastating wave-maker
(By Andrew C. Revkin The New York Times)


Tour firms cancel trips after tsunami
(Bloomberg News)


Kathy Kinsley of "On the Third Hand" is following this closely having spent time in the region, and understandably, is concerned for friends still there. She has posts
Here-12/26/04
Here-12/26/04
& Here-12/27/04

UPDATED with relief agencies:


International relief organizations are mobilizing to help the earthquake and tsunami victims. Contact information for some groups that are accepting donations:

American Red Cross
800-HELP-NOW (800-435-7669)
www.redcross.org

Mercy Corps
800-852-2100
www.mercycorps.org

Doctors Without Borders
888-392-0392
www.doctorswithoutborders.org

Action by Churches Together (ACT International )
www.act-intl.org ACT International

Or send internationally valid check specifying its designation to the earthquake/tsunami victims to:

ACT International
Ecumenical Centre
Route de Ferney 150
P.O. Box 2100
CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

Catholic Relief Services
www.catholicrelief.org

Direct Relief International
805-964-4767
www.directrelief.org

International Medical Corps
www.imcworldwide.org

International Orthodox
Christian Charities
Middle East Crisis Response
877-803-4622
www.iocc.org

Operation USA
800-678-7255
www.opusa.org

(As listed in USA TODAY-12/27/04)

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Sunday, December 26, 2004

Capitalism is Cool...

Who are Peter Cordani and Rudolph Gunnerman?

Odds are that you never will know. But, then again, there is always the chance that they will become household names someday. Both have the potential to create a name for themselves that might eclipse the celebrity of Bill Gates, Henry Ford, and George Washington Carver combined. Such is the norm in the “land of opportunity.” You never know where the next advancement in technology, medicine or convenience will pop up.

The recipe, however, is usually the same. A problem or dilemma exists. A problem solver decides to take a stab at it. Potential for financial gains wait at the end of the rainbow should the problem solver find the solution. Sometimes the impetus is something other than money. But, even those ideological individuals who claim to be searching for the big find in order to “better the world” end up comfortably well off in the end.

ENTER Peter Cordani.

Peter Cordani is a big thinker. Back in 2001 he started doing some research on how to (get this) slow down, or just plain stop a hurricane.

Apparently, Cordani was working on the yard one day and the Soil Moist he was using sent off one of those All American “light bulbs.” Soil Moist is one of those chemical mixtures you put around the roots of the plant so that the water doesn’t pool and cause rot. The moisture, instead, gets absorbed into the polypropylene concoction. Cordani, the thinker, tinkered with the polymers and created a white powder substance. The spoonful of powder, when mixed with a glass of water, immediately turns to, well, goop. It, also, lowers the base temperature of the “goop” to something close to ice.

It’s been a couple years since he invented the product. Cordani even negotiated with Evergreen Aviation in McMinnville, Ore to rent a Boeing 747 Tanker this past hurricane season, while the coasts of the southeast were getting pounded with four strong storms. Astronauts Edgar Mitchell and Scott MacLeod are on the team as well. Cordani considered flying a load out to one of the four storms and giving it a Dyn-O-Gel enema. The goal was to drop in tons of the powder that can absorb 3,000 to 4,000 times its weight, shear the storm, and knock down the temperature about 15 degrees. That, in turn, would lower the Hurricane scale about two categories. That’s the theory as Cordani sees it.

Recently, Cordani and his team have been meeting with representatives of China, Japan, and Taiwan who have showed a curiosity. He’s looking for a substantial investment so that further testing can take place. The US, in general, has taken a skeptical approach to this Floridian’s endeavor.

Government meteorologists and scientists say he hasn’t got a chance of making a difference…But, I know something that they don’t know. Cordani has a previous invention that could endear him to every single female on the planet. It seems that in his Long Island teenage years Cordani invented the heated toilet seat. He’s also, invented straws that change colors based on a chemical reading to prevent against the unknowing use of the date rape drug Rohypnol. Simply put, Cordani identifies a problem, produces a potential solution, and tries to get the two to meet. And, he’s relentless by all accounts.
"We're just going to work on an isolated section in the southern quadrant of the storm and it's going to use its own energy to work against itself. That's the key to this. We're not dropping 300 nautical miles of powder. We're working on a small isolated section," says Cordani.

It sounds far fetched. Perhaps he hasn’t got a chance of pulling it off. Maybe I’m not wrapped too tight to think that he’s on the right track in guarding against one of nature’s greatest furies. But, then again, what would Ben Franklin say about the Space Shuttle?

Oh yeah, one more thing.

In 2001, “Cordani's team chartered a Canberra jet to drop $40,000 worth of his Dyno-O-Gel (also called Dyn-O-Storm) into a dark cloud off West Palm Beach. The event was covered by local TV, which reported that the cloud immediately dissipated. Not only that, a video of the airport radar screen showed that the cloud vanished. “
(you can see a video demonstration right here…)

AND then, there was Rudolph Gunnerman.

Gunnerman is CEO of Sulphco, Inc. and his bailiwick is a new fuel for the combustion engine that is cleaner burning, cheaper to produce, and doesn’t compromise the power produced from a 100% gasoline burning engine. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the teeth to the Saudis?

By all accounts, he’s already done it. In fact, he’s been in a partnership with Catipillar Company since 1994 developing this little dream of his.

Gunnerman’s invention is a substance called “Aqueous fuel for the 21st century” (A21). Essentially, Gunnerman has developed a fuel that is comprised of up to 55% tap water, and 45% Naptha.

What’s Naptha?

It’s an early by-product of the refining process used to produce gasoline. Whoa. Did you get that? One of the most costly factors in the production of gasoline usable in your motor vehicle is the refining process. This is due, not only, to the necessity of creating an efficient burning fuel, but, also, the plethora of regulations placed on the refineries so that environmentalists don’t cry in their Cornflakes. However, the use of Naptha in the formula would require less refining, because the byproduct of the process would be a significant part of the new fuel. That seems like a win/win situation so far doesn’t it? Lower refining costs and lower necessity of imported crude oil would be golden. However, there are other benefits as well. Simply put, have you ever tried to light a substance on fire that is comprised, mostly, of tap water? That would be safety factor #1. Actually, tap water and Naptha would separate naturally, sort of like oil and vinegar. However, the simple addition of a chemical agent to prevent the naptha and water from separating causes the fuel's vapor pressure to drop to one-fifth that of ordinary gasoline. This renders the new fuel inflammable and negates the necessity for a standard engine to have vapor-recovery systems on fuel pumps. Bingo that may be a small cost in auto production, but suppose you produce hundreds of thousands of motor vehicles annually. That a nice savings.

Now the real question. Everyone knows that a new fuel concept won’t be easy to push on the American people if there is a significant loss of power. Ed Begley jr. is, certainly, entitled to a glorified putt-putt golf cart, but that wouldn’t fit the bill for those guys in the Hemi commercial. The water molecules separate into hydrogen and oxygen atoms, which increases the fuel's combustibility. And, listen to this:

Don Patterson, a truck engine account manager with Tenco, the
Caterpillar dealership for 10 counties surrounding Sacramento, has used
A-21 to fuel a three-axle, 300 horsepower tractor truck, and he's
impressed.

"It felt exactly like diesel, good acceleration, no smoke," he says.
"You could not tell you were driving an alternative fuel truck. The other alternative fuels, compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, you do get a horsepower and torque loss. Not with this. I've been a journeyman mechanic for 25 years, and I've never seen anything like it."

That was an interview from back in 1996. So where is it? Beats me. You’re lucky to find any information on this potentially revolutionary alternative hybrid fuel source after 1998.

Testing on the new fuel was done all over the country. The Minnesota Transportation Department challenged Gunnerman to convince them, so he flew up and, promptly, convinced them. "it had the cleanest exhaust I've even seen coming out of a diesel. If this really does what it seems, this is big!"---MTD chief operations engineer.

Then there are the comments from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection from 1996:

"It's probably close to half again cleaner than regular gasoline, at
least," says Ed Glick, a planner in charge of the mobile sources section of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, which has studied A-21. "It'll meet the 2005 standards -- the gasoline that we're all using now wouldn't."

So, where is this stuff? Why isn’t all over the market giving Sheiks and Shysters stomach problems? Beats me.

In 1996, A21 won federal approval to be become the first "primary fuel" on the market since the invention of gasoline and diesel more than a century ago. And, apparently, in the City of Reno (home base for Sulphco)A-21 has been successfully used in boilers receiving 250 kilowatts of electricity a day from an A-21-fueled generator stationed on the Gunnerman's property. A-21 can be used in any diesel powered or spark-ignition motor to drive cars, trucks, aircraft, even locomotives. In fact, Reno's city bus N. 405 started using Gunnerman’s initial prototype of A21 back in 1993. On February 22, 1996, after 11,292 miles of city use -- the engine was shipped to Caterpillar for inspection. Reno's Regional Transportation Commission maintenance supervisor Bruce Anderson reported a 29% increase in mpg for the bus.

I’m not an environmentally conscious individual. But, I do support a common sense approach when the concept ties into an economical and strategic advantage. So far, only minor adjustments costing less than $500 would have to be done to existing vehicles so that A21 could be used. However, the cost of the fuel would be about ½ of today’s prices and that cost would be made up rather expeditiously. Gunnerman knows the math. Like all good capitalists he realized that in order to make money, you have to spend money. As of 1996 he had sunk $7 Million of his own money in the development of A21.

So, where is it? Well, the company has focused on alternatives to diesel engines in heavy-trucks and equipment first. Perhaps that’s why we aren’t seeing an A21 pump at the local Sunoco. Then again, I can’t find any recent news on this new fuel. Perhaps there was a flaw of some sort. After all, water has a tendency to freeze in cold climates. However, that problem was solved by an ethanol additive. Who knows?

That’s not the point is it? The truth is, these two remarkable innovators both grabbed onto a problem begging for a solution. Both projects are works in progress. Both of the treasure hunters are relentless in their pursuit. And, our “land of opportunity” provided the freedom that encourages creativity, originality, and innovation.

Incidentally, our society provides that flowerbed for these ideas and the motivation to grow them into a fruit bearing concept. That society is a nice heaping helping of capitalism.

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Saturday, December 25, 2004

Wishful Drinking...

Getting stranded between flights can have its advantages.

Midway International had Harry Carey’s Bar and Grill and just enough Vodka Gibsons to get me thinking. I got this curious idea of what type speech I would like to see Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi make to the Iraqi people immediately following the elections at the end of January. So, I wrote one...

Had there been any attractive women in the bar, this might have made a pretty good ice breaker.

"What cha typin'?"

"A speech for Prime Minister Iyad Allawi."

NOW is the time...

Now is the time for my Iraqi brothers and sisters to come together as one to achieve all of our aspirations. You have freedom and justice in your sights and for your part, you must grasp it. Take hold with a passion of which you thought you could never know. It is here for you, and you must seize it for your own.

There is violence in this wondrous country of ours. There are those who would take your new found freedom and pervert it to the days of yesterday. They would return to the beatings, the torture, the privileges to the few and the suffering of the many. To them we must say “no.” We must decisively, conclusively, and unfalteringly state that we will not go back. Iraq has a future of hope; a future of decency; prospect of righteousness. You, my friends, are on the eve of this dream. And, you must grasp it with all your strength.

Now is the time…

We cannot sit and wait for the Americans, or the British, and others to do this for us. We cannot expect freedom and liberty to magically appear within our presence without price. We must earn it for ourselves. We must make our own justice. For we have a vested interest in the future of this country. Our children have that same bound necessity. Our children’s children will someday know that it is because of you, my brothers and sisters, that they live a life of freedom, and boundless opportunity. There is no greater gift that you could provide. None. There is no greater bequest that could be received. Such an opportunity is here, today. Covet it, for it is yours to know at its birth. It is yours to shape, to nurture and to grow. Iraq is yours and she needs you.

Now is the time to move beyond our recent past and learn from our ancestors of old. The Code of Hammurabi basks in the concern of the ruler for the weak, the widow, and the orphan. In a democracy the ruler is each and every one of you. With that representation derives a responsibility to your neighbors. We were once the envy of the world as one of the first civilizations to honor our citizens with Mesopotamian legal theory. That sense of justice must be returned in full so that the world can, again, look upon our great land to see the honor and pride that Iraqis take in their fairness to their fellow man. These are not tasks that can take place tomorrow. People of Iraq; now is the time.

Now is the time to put away our petty differences that pale in comparison to this task at hand. Dwell not upon your weariness, your strength shall be according to the measure of your desire. There is an old Iraqi proverb that says “Two cats can strangle one dog.” Think of that my friends as you face the hardships created by the miscreants fighting our efforts to move beyond Saddam Hussein’s tyranny. We are all Iraqi. We are a proud people entitled to a more equal representation. And, we are, also, 25 Million cats under siege by a handful of unruly dogs. Now is the time, my friends, to end their lawlessness. Now is the time to remove these foreign weeds from our garden so that it can grow in peace and prosperity. NOW IS THE TIME.

Some have accused the Americans of invading our sovereign soil in their own self-interest. They have been accused of being more interested in what dwells under our soil rather than the remarkable people who dwell on top of it. I do not believe this to be true. I have seen the schools they have rebuilt. I have watched them return our water works and our electrical facilities to working order. I have witnessed, first hand, the absolute respect and dignity that they instill in my fellow citizens. They are not invaders. They are liberators. I recognize the opportunity that they have placed in front of us. Regardless of what you believe to be their motives, my fellow Iraqis, the simple fact of the matter is that the Americans have given you a tremendous opportunity. We cannot let it pass us by. We will not.

I will leave you with another Iraqi proverb that, without a doubt exists in many different cultures throughout the world. “A journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step.” Now is the time to take that step. Do not fear those who would stand in your way. You have the strength and the brotherhood of free Iraq at your side. You, also, have the support of many beyond our shores who are looking to Iraq to set an example of peace and prosperity throughout our corner of the world. It is up to us to show them the real potency of our resolve.

Now is the time…



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Friday, December 24, 2004

And to all...

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Integrity by Proxy
(What happens when the consigliore is exposed as a cad?)

ON December 16th, the Rainforest Action Network “asked” a group of Connecticut second graders to travel to New York City and “hand deliver over 700 colorful handmade posters from children around the world asking William B. Harrison, chief executive officer of JP Morgan Chase, to keep his promise and stop lending money to projects that destroy endangered forests and cause global warming.” That’s from the RAN press release.

Disregard the actual statistics on deforestation. Disregard the absolute inconclusive evidence of global warming. Disregard the incredible gall attached to this Leftist “Chicken Little” organization using second grade pigeons in their political venture. Ignore all of that. Even ignore that media was clued in on the visit so that the cute little kids could be exploited for the posterity of cretin environmentalists on International news shows. The media is good at sniffing out the news. But, they’re not that good.

No. Instead, concentrate on why the six and seven year olds were there in the first place. Focus on why RAN didn’t just leave the kiddos in their Thursday classes up in Fairfield Connecticut so that they could get to work on improving our poor ranking of Math and Science global comparisons. Why use youngsters in the “cause.”

I’ll tell you why. It’s because RAN, and many of the remaining Leftist organizations hold no credibility or attraction on their own. Their haphazard generalizations, reckless accusations, and unfounded conclusions have destroyed any gravitas that they might have enjoyed. They’re flakey, almost; derelict physical appearances have allowed the public to toss off their messages as unwanted and unwarranted purely on their inability to come across as a representative of someone sane.

As a result, many of the Leftists have been forced to approach their goal through the mouths, appearances, and efforts of others. They are politicizing by proxy. This latest example just shows how downright desperate their status has become. Second graders understand lending practices of venture capitalists? Six year olds know who William B. Harrison is? Kids in their second year or elementary school know the intricacies of JP Morgan Chase? Please!

This is not a fluke. The direct messages and messengers of the Leftist agenda are pitifully inadequate to make anything but a negative impression on most “common” folks in this country. By bringing in a third party to push their agenda, they have been banking on the reputations, popularity, and appeal holding up long enough to keep their intended recipients from tuning them out with immediacy. However, in a world of growing skepticism and sophistication of necessity, these proxy groups are, no longer, as effective.

Hollywood is a great example. It used to be that star power was all it took. Shows such as Laugh-In pushed a weekly dose of political content in a humorous setting. The show was damn popular despite an, arguably, Leftist message. The difference was that those on the show knew what they were. They were aware of their limitations. They accepted that they were actors and comedians (with an occasional politician). They didn’t insist that they were the voice of their viewers, except, maybe, for perennial Presidential candidate Pat Paulson. Then, the humor disappeared. The jocularity and self-degradation gave way to narcissistic opinion. Somewhere between the 70’s and the present; actors, singers, and other so-called entertainers became the proxy group of a multitude of Leftist agendas. Laura Ingraham chopped this phenomenon to pieces in last year’s release of “Shut up and Sing.”

As the fortune cookie says, “You are known by the company that you keep.” Such became the case with Hollywood. They have, quite correctly, become the obvious whipping boy of clear thinking Americans. They have lost their star power persuasion simply because they had chosen to represent a message of ill repute from the original messengers of that message. In essence, the proxy group has dirtied themselves to such an extent that they are, now, written off as easily as the groups that they agreed to represent. That’s how we end up with second graders blowing off a full day of necessary classroom instruction in exchange for pushing an unproven environmentalist’s agenda in front of media cameras. You can’t impugn a six year old without coming off like an insensitive jerk. The Left has resorted to involving proxy groups that can’t be held responsible for the misguided directions in which they are led.

Some of the other proxy groups of the left in operation aren’t as obvious. However, they, too, are beginning to lose their “Emperor’s new clothes.” Interestingly, it is, again, the message that is pulling open the curtain.

In the recent past, only the politically savvy could distinguish the leftist slant that sautés our daily intake of main stream media news. The news media has been a “covert” proxy messenger for the “overt” left for years. However, the veiled efforts have been clever and subtle. As a result, there has been less focus on just how invested they were in the Left. That’s changed for a whole host of reasons. First and foremost has been the new ability to compare their message to newer media outlets that show a different angle to a story. Entities such as Fox News, Conservative leaning radio talk show hosts, and market filling print publications recognized a previously ignored market share of moderates, conservative, and “Reaganite hangers” on. Oh what a death throw this produced.

All of a sudden there was somewhere to go for the political layman to compare facts. A story in the New York Times chastising the US Economy, for example, could now be placed side by side with that same story as evaluated by Walter Williams. And editorial by Jesse Jackson could be compared to the thoughts of Rev. Jesse Peterson. In short, the alternatives created the ability to challenge, question, and impugn the once monopolized opinion. This aptitude did nothing short of compartmentalize the reality that our media had not been honest. Figures such as Walter Cronkite had not been above reproach. Dan Rather was not, so much, the straight shooter that he purported to be. Critics of the New York Times could credibly point to embellished slants and outright falsities without someone rolling their eyes in indifference. The label had been established. The main stream media was exposed as the proxy messenger of the Leftist agenda and there is no going back except on substance and content. Despite their fall is market share and print circulation, they are still refusing this corrective path. At the same time, the “Fox New’s”, and the increasing popularity of Right thinking authors is shooting through the roof.

This is just another example of Leftist mouthpiece (the main stream media) being dirtied by the very messenger that employed their tools. The more blatant they became in that relationship, the more sullied they have become. Then the crescendo; Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, and CBS News got caught red handed in the Leftist cookie jar trying to push forged documents in an effort to further the tainted leftist message. Enter the blogs.

Weblogs of the layman, expert, and once removed took on a life of their own. The true sense of a “melting pot” (not in nationality, but in opinion expertise) brought down the truth hammer. The original concept of “town hall” by the Founding Fathers of the United States raised its apathetic head, looked around, and did the duty intended. They did so from a position that can’t be debased due to the very fact that they, exclusively, represent opinion and not unchallenged fact. As the main stream media tries in, anxiety, to lessen the blow to their information monopoly by suggesting regulations on what they refer to as a “dangerous” misuse of the medium, the blogs relentlessly attack that very line of thinking by pointing out the underlying motives, and continuing abuse by the accusers. Weblogs are a spider web that keeps catching flies. Those flies are not very convincing in their attempts to talk their way out of their coming fate. Once again, the proxy messengers have overstepped their bounds only to become placed under the same label as their leftist users.

It doesn’t stop there. The Left depends on proxy politicizing at the very heart of their movement. Whenever a race based issue is initiated, the Congressional Black Caucus takes the lead. You end up with politicians such as Bill Clinton recalling the burning of non-existent “Black Churches.” An ad hoc collective of alleged civil rights leaders end up sending press release type letters to Congressional Committee chairmen challenging the nominations of the Alberto Gonzales’ of the world. Politicians such as Al Gore somehow come up with homeless citizens from Pennsylvania taking the spot light at a town hall presidential campaign appearance. You end up with the AFL-CIO showing up at Republican Campaign HQ in a supposed “spontaneous” protest. You end up with a overt Communist political organizations endorsing a candidate from the Democratic Party while that very candidate is making every effort to move towards a position that would be perceived as palatable to the right leaning electorate. You end up with a non-consistent message delivered by organizational entities that have no interest in anything but their own individual narrow focus. They are not invested in the overall positions of the party they support. More importantly, they are not invested in their country as a whole. They are invested in tapered ideology that affects them. They don’t get behind the position of their candidate. They get behind the negative attacks of their candidates challenger. The obvious differences in their candidate’s primary election and general election make allegiance on message impossible for anyone other than a bi-polar schizophrenic.

How else can you explain an inability of the left to win through legislation, but succeed through propagation of their message by another proxy; trial lawyers? Supported by activist Judges, the trial lawyers challenge referendum initiatives after the electorate has made known the choice of the majority. Case law, unashamedly, butchers legislation to fit the leftist agenda, and not the will of the people. In turn, the trial lawyers fill the campaign coffers of the DNC to the tune of $120 Million. That’s more than twice the amount contributed to Republicans. Yet, the recent interest in “tort reform” has shed light on this symbiotic relationship. If it is possible, the reputation of the trial lawyers has suffered irreparable damage simply by their willingness to act as the mediator of the Left.

The fraught forged within the left has forced out into the open their once veiled relationship with their proxy partners. This conventional wisdom has forced a second generation of such relationships. The fact that second graders are the “tool” of choice is an outright barometer of just how frantic their situation has become. They have created skepticism in the American people that are leading to a more conscious effort to remove them from power. As the pundits and populists are quick to point out that historical politics is cyclical in this regard, don’t be so sure. As the Left loses their tools of camouflage they end up running out of messengers. That suggests the possibility that the only way to turn around the results is to change their message so that it is more in line with the people they wish to represent. How else could you explain Leftist extraordinaire, Nancy Pelosi considering a Pro Life DNC leader? The Left is, actually, compromising one of their own proxy groups (Planned Parenthood) in the process.

Incidentally, Canada might be in for a bit of a surprise in the not too distant future. Fox News has just been approved for broadcast up north. As potential right thinking Canadians gain an alternative in media, so cultivates an alternative in opinion. Opinion creates a necessity of voice. Canadian OpEd journalists such as Salim Mansur may gain readers as a result. Missteps of the proxy groups binding Ottawa’s agenda will invoke questionable ordinance. Don’t be surprised if the citizens start questioning leftist decision making with more vigor and force out into the open those proxy groups protecting the socialistic bacon.

I'm not against a six year old having an opinion. I am against a six year old serving as a proxy to those who have destroyed their own reputations in reckless abandon just as they continue to destroy the reputations of their first generation proxy representatives. The Left will keep tearing themselves, and their messengers to pieces until someone gets the brilliant idea that, perhaps, the message needs to be re-evaluated. We have quite a while before that happens in earnest.

Until then, get some popcorn and enjoy the marionette show. That Dan Rather sure can dance.

Linked to the OTB Holiday Traffic Jam

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Three U.N. Officials Leave World Body
(You Make the Call)


Three U.N. Officials Leave World Body

By EDITH M. LEDERER
Associated Press Writer

December 24, 2004, 2:32 AM EST

UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations says the departures of three of its top officials -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan's chief of staff, the undersecretary-general for management and the U.N. controller -- is coincidental. But in a year of unflattering headlines for the world body, some diplomats aren't so sure.

The U.N. is under fire over alleged corruption in its oil-for-food program in Iraq, and U.N. staff this year held a vote of no confidence in senior management.

United Nations spokesman Fred Eckhard said on Thursday that it was purely coincidental that Annan's chief of staff Iqbal Riza, Undersecretary-General for Management Catherine Bertini and Controller Jean-Pierre Halbwachs are all leaving.(read the rest)



Take 1: The United Nations is being 100% truthful and the departure of Annan's chief of staff Iqbal Riza, Undersecretary-General for Management Catherine Bertini and Controller Jean-Pierre Halbwachs is not related to the corruption investigations in any way. Just coincidence...*har*

Take 2: Annan is cleaning house to give the perception that he is proactive in cleaning up corruption and has chosen these three as the sacrificial lambs.

Take 3: Annan is being deserted by those individuals who understand the concept of “guilt by association.”

Take 4: These three were up to their eyebrows in the “Oil for Food” scandal and other purposeful misappropriations, and they are to get their collective posteriors out of the US before the Federal subpoenas start flying...

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Added to the roll...


Added to the blog roll is "The Antiprotester Journal." Their mission is worthy...and just:


"Our mission is simple. We will challenge and confront the Leftist-driven "blame America first" mentality wherever and whenever it is elaborated, before it fatally saps the will of our nation to defeat the enemies that threaten mankind. When the Left demonstrates against America in this time of war, giving comfort, advantage and moral support to our enemies, we'll challenge its lies, misconceptions, false condemnations, lopsided arguments and specious proclamations. When its home-grown heroes like Chomsky, Zinn, Clark, Moore and DeGenova spout anti-American venom, we'll work to counter their hatred of the West and its Judeo-Christian heritage, and to educate the young, who are most susceptible to the half-truths and outright lies that all true leftists promote."

Go check them out...they have good things to say.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

"From the end of the world"

I just added another blog to the list. This one isn't political. I guess you could classify it as "rural." It's rural in the sense that there aren't a multitude of neighbors from where this blogger hails. Such is life in the Antarctic.

Lt. Daniel Simon's blog comes out of Amundsen Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica where he is a researcher. He's there for about a year and files his reports to the blog via Satellite. Currently, there are about 200 folks working out of the research center...soon to lessen signficantly when planes can no longer get in or out.

Kind of interesting comments from "From the end of the world".

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Monday, December 20, 2004

Courting Christmas...or
The photocopy machine is not for group photos

Do the soda thing...and keep your hands in your pockets...

Cain v. Korum Ford (1996) 80 Wash. App. 877 (one unwelcome kiss at holiday party insufficient to establish a hostile work environment).

Marshall v. Cascade Utilities Inc., 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 26280 (9th Cir. 1999), that plaintiff’s co-worker grabbed plaintiff’s buttocks during a Christmas party and had engaged in several previous incidents of standing too close to her or brushing against her.

Radke v. Everett, 56 FEP Cases (BNA) 923 (Mich. App. 1991) (single incident can be enough to support sexual harassment claim

McCarty v. Workmen’s Comp. Appeals Bd. (1974) 12 Cal. 3d 677 (wife of deceased employee could seek workers’ compensation for death of employee who attended his employer’s Christmas party, became intoxicated, collided with a railroad signal pole on the way home, and was killed).

Brockett v. Kitchen Boyd Motor Co. (1968) 264 Cal. App. 2d 69 (employer held liable for injuries to a third party where employer escorted obviously intoxicated employee to his car and instructed him to drive home).

Moshe Marc Cohen v. National Provident filed suit on a host of issues inclusive of the failure of his employer to serve kosher food at the holiday party.

Carroll Air Systems v. Greenbaum, a 1993 opinion from Florida's 4th District Court of Appeal, held an employer vicariously liable for the death of a third party hit by an employee driving home drunk from a professional association meeting.

Bardy v. Walt Disney World Co., the 5th District Court of Appeal ruled that employers are responsible for keeping their employees from driving if they become drunk at a work-related function

Rogers v. Carmike Cinemas Inc., the plaintiff alleged that her boss continually sexually harassed her and ultimately exposed himself to her at the holiday party.

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Oh, Now That's Comforting

IT'S no secret that the border control in the United States is less than stellar. Terrorists wanting to gain entrance into the US in the process of setting up a cell can gain entrance through Mexico, Canada, or along the capacious coastline. Tight control on any of these entry points is a monumental task.

But, why go to all the trouble?


Report finds foreigners defeat border security with stolen passports
By Chris Strohm
cstrohm@govexec.com


Foreign travelers have entered the country using illegal passports the government knows are stolen, and the whereabouts of some with possible terrorist links remains unknown, according to a report released Monday.

"Aliens applying for admission to the United States using stolen passports have little reason to fear being caught and are usually admitted," Richard Skinner, acting inspector general of the Homeland Security Department, concluded in the report.

The report examined the use of stolen passports from 27 countries that are part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. Under the program, travelers from the countries are able to enter the United States without immigrant visas. Twenty-two of the countries are in Europe. The others are Australia, Brunei, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore.(continued)


Prepare to have the hair on the back of your neck go up…

On June 6, 2001, for example, thieves stole 708 blank passports from a foreign city that was also home to an al Qaeda cell that played a significant role in providing financial and logistical support for the 9/11 terrorists, according to the report. The theft was not reported to the U. S. government until April 2004, after 20 aliens successfully entered the country using some of the stolen passports. But CBP only has departure records for two of the aliens. (continued)

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Sunday, December 19, 2004

Tip Jars and Wish Lists?
(kind of gauche... isn't it?)

PERHAPS someone can enlighten me on the norm of online "begging." I seem to be unable to grasp the concept, and in most cases, the necessity.

For example, today I happened across a couple of sites that requested "tips" accompanied by a post indicating that this was necessary so that the "blog" could continue. Funny thing is...the blogs were on Blogspot. Last time I checked, that service was free. Either that, or I'm getting a better deal than anyone else. A significant majority of service created blogs are, either, free or very minimal in cost. Yet, there are these requests to "keep things going" via donations.

It doesn't end there, however. As we approach the holidays (and indeed, find ourselves upon them) I've seen "wish lists." In other words, bloggers, specifically, requesting donations to buy themselves a gift. Huh? I just don't subscribe to the thought of asking complete strangers for cash and carry so that you can grab that PDA or software you've been oogling. I've even seen some bloggers who have an income equal to any five cumulative bloggers asking you to buy them books. What the hell is that about?

Is this the 21st Century version of selling pencils on the street corner;...sans pencils? Or is this something else entirely that my pointy little head is not willing to grab onto?

Some of the more prominent and popular sites have a, potentially, valid cause. The astronomical traffic could, indeed, trigger a necessity for voluminous bandwidth. That can cost a few sheckles. And, if you're that popular, well, it's understandable that you would look to your readers (fans/groupies) to help foote the bill. That, sort of, makes sense.

Just a word of advice. Those of you requesting donations (and receiving them), and pulling in some green via the google Advertising (and the like) better take the copyright statutes to heart. Posting full articles while in a "commercial" venture is a Court proven violation of the law, and actionable, both, in Criminal and Civil court.

So, someone please fill me in...
Gracias,
IR

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