Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Diplomad And US Aid Assistance to Tsunami Survivors.....


Soon to be added to the blogroll the Diplomad adds his two cents to the ridiculous partisan sniping about how much the US is helping the survivors of the horrific Tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

OK. We'll make this short.

Let's start with the last citation, the one from the UN. I can tell you, dear readers, that I am temporarily working in one of the countries that got slammed hard by the tsunami and while the UN effort might be in high gear, it must have its parking brake on. No sign of that effort here! Lots of bureaucrats flying in and out, but that's about it.

And now to that Egeland character and the UN official site's claims. Notice to the UN: The USA is BY FAR the biggest donor to the UN system. We pay for about 25% of the whole operation, BUT when you look at operations like WFP or UNHCR, we cough up about 40%. That wheat and rice that the WFP is bragging about? It is almost all from the USA. Notice to Mr. Egeland: if taxpayers want to give more they can do so without having the government reach into their wallets. Ever hear of charities? The American people are BY FAR the biggest donors to private charities -- many of which are doing very fine work here in alleviating the suffering. Please note, they are actually on the ground, delivering goods and services, not flying about on first class tickets and holding press conferences in New York.

Now to that weird Post newspaper. Whom have you heard saying Bush is insensitive to the plight of the victims of this natural disaster? I haven't heard that here in ground zero. I doubt you've heard it anywhere but in the MSM.

Well, whaddaya know? The German Chancellor has cut short his vacation! Now that's gotta hurt a EUroweenie, huh? Giving up a day or two of the four or five or six months annual vacation EUrocrats get --boy that feeds and shelters a lot of people out here! They really appreciate it, Mr Chancellor! And those $4 million the ENTIRE EU has pledged, yeah, that'll do it! I'm sure it will be a big help when some of it gets here in about six months.

One more note about the USA. The amounts listed in the newspapers as donated by the USA greatly underestimate the true size of the donation we make. We are moving huge numbers of aircraft, ships, and personnel to help out. We have carriers and even a MEU on the move. And guess what? We don't charge the UN for that, and we don't include those enormous costs in any "pledging conferences." The only countries I see delivering goods and services where I am are the Aussies (who are terrific!) and us. The EU is only to be seen in press releases.

These lib-left people and their posturing make me sick . . . real folks are dying and the comfortable chattering lefties want little lip-biting gestures. I'll take a C-130 any day.

Read the other post as well, and then tell me who you would rather have bailing you out, the UN or the US?

My Friends and Family Kick Serious Ass............


Before I left for my Christmas vacation to the sunny balmy shores of Boston, one of my good friends gave me an early Christmas present to read on the plane- Peace Kills by PJ O'Rourke. He suprised me because one night we had been talking about America, democracy, our Constitution, free speech, and other philosophical angles to politics. I emailed him an article by Mr O'Rouke the next day, "How to Explain Conservatism to Your Squishy Liberal Friends: Individualism 'R' Us" and remarked how interesting it was that this essay included so many of the points we raised in the previous discussion. Then the bastard goes and buys me PJ's latest book. I didn't even land in Boston before I was done reading it. His present is coming, I just haven't received it yet. For those who want to know what it is you can email me because he might read this and I want it to remain a secret....Mwahaahaa!!

Back in early December, I wrote a post about the latest Kyoto conference and referenced the new Michael Chrichton novel, State Of Fear, and wrote how I couldn't wait to read the book. Sure enough, under the tree Christmas morning was the book. My sister read the post and bought me the damn book. How about that? Pretty cool. My mom also got me the Stephen King-Stewart O'Nan book Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season, but I haven't had a chance to crack that one yet.

So how come none of my friends or family who read my blog bought me this?

It's ONLY about $440,000...

That's like, pocket change. You can't expect me to ride around forever in my Ford Escape now, can you? I must get to work faster. This car will get to work faster, no question. Maybe if you all pool your leftover christmas money together.......

....oh relax, I was only kidding. Thanks again to all of my friends and family for the wonderful Christmas presents, and thanks Mom for stuffing me senseless for the few days I was home. I will have to make the next cast of Survivor to lose the weight I just gained over the holidays.....

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

2004 MN4 No Longer a Potential Threat............


As is often the case after futher observations are made of a potential earth bound NEO, 2004MN4 has now been ruled out as a potential impactor for the year 2029, or any other time in the next century.

Via Nasa's NEO site-
Possibility of an Earth Impact in 2029 Ruled Out for Asteroid 2004 MN4 Don Yeomans, Steve Chesley and Paul Chodas
NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office
December 27, 2004
Over the past week, several independent efforts were made to search for pre-discovery observations of 2004 MN4. These efforts proved successful today when Jeff Larsen and Anne Descour of the Spacewatch Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, were able to detect and measure very faint images of asteroid 2004 MN4 on archival images dating to 15 March 2004. These observations extended the observed time interval for this asteroid by three months allowing an improvement in its orbit so that an Earth impact on 13 April 2029 can now be ruled out.

As is often the case, the possibility of future Earth impacts for some near-Earth objects cannot be entirely ruled out until the uncertainties associated with their trajectories are reduced as a result of either future position observations, or in this case, heretofore unrecognized, pre-discovery observations. When these additional observations were used to update the orbit of 2004 MN4, the uncertainties associated with this object's future positions in space were reduced to such an extent that none of the object's possible trajectories can impact the Earth (or Moon) in 2029.

In the accompanying diagram, the most likely position of asteroid 2004 MN4 is shown at the end of the blue line near the Earth on 13 April 2029. However, since the asteroid's position in space is not perfectly known at that time, the white dots at right angles to the blue line are possible alternate positions of the asteroid. Neither the nominal position of the asteroid, nor any of its possible alternative positions, touches the Earth, indicating that an Earth impact in 2029 is ruled out.

Even though this asteroid has been removed from the Torino Scale listing, and has been shown to no longer be a threat, it still should serve as a warning that we need to get serious about mitigating asteroids, because we will not always be able to wait for the secondary calculations to rule out an impact. One day the calculations will make an impact more instead of less likely. After reading this article from, Worrisome Asteroid Underscores Planetary Defense Mission, I found the following site which intends to "significantly alter the orbit of an asteroid in a controlled manner by 2015"-

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you-

The B612 Foundation

Former NASA astronaut, Russell Schweickart, is Chairman of the B612 Foundation. The goal of the group of scientists, technologists, astronomers, astronauts, and other specialists is to significantly alter the orbit of an asteroid in a controlled manner by 2015.

On to the blogroll with B612.....It's definitely good to see a private operation pro-actively involved in dealing with this threat.

In other space news, the Titan-Bound Huygens probe detached From Cassini on the 24th of December, and the countdown until it lands or floats on Titan is on-

December 24, 2004
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

The European Space Agency's Huygens probe successfully detached from NASA's Cassini orbiter today to begin a three-week journey to Saturn¿s moon Titan. NASA's Deep Space Network tracking stations in Madrid, Spain, and Goldstone, Calif., received the signal at 7:24 p.m. (PST). All systems performed as expected and there were no problems reported with the Cassini spacecraft.

The Huygens probe, built and managed by the European Space Agency, was bolted to Cassini and has been riding along during the nearly seven-year journey to Saturn largely in a "sleep" mode. Huygens will be the first human-made object to explore on-site the unique environment of Titan, whose chemistry is assumed to be very similar to that of early Earth before life formed. Huygens will tell us whether this assumption is correct.

"We wish to congratulate our European partners as their journey begins and wish them well on their descent to Titan," said Robert T. Mitchell, Cassini program manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We are very excited to see the probe off and to have accomplished this part of our job. Now we're ready to finish our part -- receiving and relaying the Huygens data back to Earth."

"Today's release is another successful milestone in the Cassini- Huygens odyssey," said Dr. David Southwood, director of science program for the European Space Agency. "This was an amicable separation after seven years of living together. Our thanks to our partners at NASA for the lift. Each spacecraft will now continue on its own but we expect they'll keep in touch to complete this amazing mission. Now all our hopes and expectations are focused on getting the first in-situ data from a new world we've been dreaming of exploring for decades."

The Huygens probe will remain dormant until the onboard timer wakes it up just before the probe reaches Titan's upper atmosphere on Jan. 14, 2005. Then it will begin a dramatic plunge through Titan's murky atmosphere, tasting its chemical makeup and composition as it descends to touch down on its surface. The data gathered during this 2-1/2 hour descent will be transmitted from the probe to the Cassini orbiter. Afterward, Cassini will point its antenna to Earth and relay the data through NASA's Deep Space Network to JPL and on to the European Space Agency's Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, which serves as the operations center for the Huygens probe mission. From this control center, ESA engineers will be tracking the probe and scientists will be standing by to process the data from the probe's six instruments.

You can go here to the Main Cassini page to get the latest info on the Huyens probe. This is a truly exciting project, but I still think that we need to spend more time on things like the B612 project. Congratulations to Cassini folks though, so far so good....

I would also like to take this oppurtunity to point any readers in the direction of a comprehensive list of relief agencies that have been set up to help aid the survivors of the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Please visit-A list of relief efforts in India for tidal wave relief-

Also visit the Command Post for a more extensive list of Relief agencies....

It's good to be back in Nashville, and after surviving holiday travel hell on my way home, being back in the swing of things feels good. I have some book reviews forthcoming, as I finished two excellent books on my travels this year....

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas to All Christians!!.......And Happy Holidays to the rest!!!


Things are finally freezing here in Boston, making me feel at home again.

I hope you are all enjoying a big time with your friends and family, and the spirit of good will, blah blah blah....Santa was veddy veddy good to me this year. Plenty of Red Sox schwag to carry home, plus I got a mini-Foreman grill so I can KNOCK THE FAT RIGHT OUT!!

Okay, Holiday celebrating is over, back to reality.

The latest big space rock that might destroy humanity comes courtesy of J.D. over at Evolution v4.0 and NASA's JPL NEO program...

Asteroid (2004 MN4)

Near-Earth Asteroid 2004 MN4 Reaches Highest Score To Date On Hazard Scale

Don Yeomans, Steve Chesley and Paul Chodas
NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office
December 23, 2004
A recently rediscovered 400-meter Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) is predicted to pass near the Earth on 13 April 2029. The flyby distance is uncertain and an Earth impact cannot yet be ruled out. The odds of impact, presently around 1 in 300, are unusual enough to merit special monitoring by astronomers, but should not be of public concern. These odds are likely to change on a day-to-day basis as new data are received. In all likelihood, the possibility of impact will eventually be eliminated as the asteroid continues to be tracked by astronomers around the world.....The brightness of 2004 MN4 suggests that its diameter is roughly 400 meters (1300 feet) and our current, but very uncertain, best estimate of the flyby distance in 2029 is about twice the distance of the moon, or about 780,000 km (480,000 miles). On average, an asteroid of this size would be expected to pass within 2 lunar distances of Earth every 5 years or so.

Usually, predictions of impacts decrease once more orbit data is calculated from other independent astronomers. Well, 2004 MN4 has not been dowgraded quite yet. In fact, it's doing the opposite.

December 24 Update: 2004 MN4 is now being tracked very carefully by many astronmers around the world, and we continue to update our risk analysis for this object. Today's impact monitoring results indicate that the impact probability for April 13, 2029 has risen to about 1.6%, which for an object of this size corresponds to a rating of 4 on the ten-point Torino Scale. Nevertheless, the odds against impact are still high, about 60 to 1, meaning that there is a better than 98% chance that new data in the coming days, weeks, and months will rule out any possibility of impact in 2029.

For those unfamiliar here is the Torino Scale, and keep in mind no tracked object has ever reached beyond a one on the Torino scale, and we are already at four with this one.

The Deep Impact Mission doesn't get off the ground for another two weeks, but the NEO problem looks like it might get some front page news without it. This is a good thing. Now let's hope they re-adjust the Torino scale readings of 2004MN4, or start planning your last 25 years on the planet....A 1300 foot long asteroid hitting the planet (at around mach 15-20 no less) will cause planet-wide devastation. Perhaps not a planet killer, this impact would surely alter if not interrupt life as we know it. And it will cause unprecedented damage to our modern world.

Bruce Willis can not save us from this folks, no matter what Hollywood tells you.


And may all your Christmases, be briiiiiggghhttt.......

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Tman In Tennessee- LIVE From Boston!!!!!!


Back to see me mum for Christmas so here I blog from the unseasonably warm picturesque city of Boston. Here's some irony- I brought my big winter jacket because normally Boston is freezing in December, in fact on Monday it was in the single digits (degrees/Fahrenheit). In Nashville, the day I left the temperature had started falling and it was getting colder, but certainly no single digits. Well, today in Boston, it's been in the mid-fifties all day, and I went with the springtime liner of my winter jacket when my mom and I went to go walk and pick up groceries. Meanwhile in Nashville, I spoke to some friends who tell me it's freezing and snowing. So I left Nashville expecting to freeze, and instead ended up in balmy weather in Boston while everyone in Nashville is freezing and can't get to work. Go figure. However, I don't expect the balmy weather to last. It's supposed to snow in Boston this weekend, and return to regular Boston weather. And by the time I get back to Nashville, I'm sure the snow will be gone.

Anyhoo, I was talking to my mom today about her latest adventure with UPS, other wise known as the WORST SHIPPING SERVICE IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. She had ordered a gift through amazon for my sister and did the usual UPS service to receive it. Here's our story-

Dec. 11th- Package is sent from Vendor to UPS to ship.

Dec. 12th- UPS makes unsuccessful attempt to deliver to my Moms apartment. Mom proceeds to call UPS and change the delivery address to her work address, which is all of eight blocks away from her apartment in downtown Boston.

Dec. 13th- No visit from UPS, either at home or work.

Dec. 14th- Still no visit from UPS at either address. Mom, fearing the worst, decides to call UPS and determine the problem. UPS proceeds to inform my Mom that since they had to redirect the package, it needed to go to a different "depot". This being obvious bullshit, considering my Mom's apartment is, again, all of eight blocks away from work (she walks to work every day) instills little confidence in my mom that she will receive her package before Christmas. Mom calls up the Vendor, who she then tells that she believes UPS has no idea where her package is. The vendor responds- "that's not possible, let me call them and straighten them out." Mom waits through cheery Christmas hold music. "Ma'am? The Vendor here, UPS has most certainly lost your package. And we are out of the item you ordered so we will be forced to refund your purchase. We deeply regret the inconvenience. Again, we're sorry." Mom decides to go to a local vedor to get the item, and luckily, is able to find the absolute last one available in the city of Boston.

The fun doesn't end however.

Dec. 15th- UPS delivers a flat box addressed to my Mom at her office. The original item she purchased was rather large, and certainly not flat -(Item to remain anonymous in case my sister is reading this). Seeing as how it was addressed to her, my mom opens the box and discovers that it is two books addressed to her upstairs neighbors. She repackages the items and drops them off with a full note to her neighbors explaining the situation. For fun, my mom decides to see what ended up happening to her original shipment. Apparently, the item was delivered to a family somewhere in upstate New York, who then returned it to UPS seeing as how they did not order the item to begin with, and they are honest fine upstanding upstate New York citizens.

Moral of the story? If it absolutely, positively, has to be there before Christmas- DON'T RELY ON UPS.

If this story whet your appetite for UPS delivery escapades, please read the following links from the always hilarious Jay Pinkerton, as he describes his adventure with UPS in getting his computer from Canada to Los Angeles.

UPS is the Worst Shipping Service in North America
-and the follow up
UPS: The Revenge! (cymbal crash)

Merry Christmas all, I'll try and blog some more from the sunny, balmy shores of Boston!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Mission Updates-Cool Saturn Picture and Deep Impact Update


Dione and Saturn

Cassini captured Dione against the globe of Saturn as it approached the icy moon for its close rendezvous on Dec. 14, 2004. This natural color view shows the moon has strong variations in brightness across its surface, but a remarkable lack of color, compared to the warm hues of Saturn's atmosphere. Several oval-shaped storms are present in the planet's atmosphere, along with ripples and waves in the cloud bands.

In other interesting Saturn news-

Lightning on Saturn '1m times stronger' than on Earth


FINDING yourself in a thunderstorm on Saturn would be a truly shocking experience, scientists have discovered.

New data from the Cassini spacecraft shows that lightning on the ringed planet is a million times stronger than on Earth. But even terrestrial lightning can deliver between 100 million and one billion volts of electricity.

Scientists compared the strengths of Earth and Saturnian lightning by detecting its radio signals.

Cassini, the NASA probe currently orbiting Saturn, picked up radio signals from Earth lightning as far out as 89,200 kilometres. But as the spacecraft approached Saturn last July, it started detecting lightning signals at a point about 161 million kilometres from the planet.

Dr Don Gurnett, a space physicist from the University of Iowa, said: "This means that radio signals from Saturn’s lightning are on the order of one million times stronger than Earth’s lightning. That’s just astonishing to me."

Some of the signals were linked to storm systems on Saturn observed by Cassini.

And the Latest from the JPL folks, Univ. Maryland and Cal Tech

Deep Impact-NASA Set to Launch First Comet Impact Probe

Launch and flight teams are in final preparations for the planned Jan. 12, 2005, liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., of NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft. The mission is designed for a six-month, one-way, 431 million kilometer (268 million mile) voyage. Deep Impact will deploy a probe that essentially will be "run over" by the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 at approximately 37,000 kph (23,000 mph).

"From central Florida to the surface of a comet in six months is almost instant gratification from a deep space mission viewpoint," said Rick Grammier, Deep Impact project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif. "It is going to be an exciting mission, and we can all witness its culmination together as Deep Impact provides the planet with its first man-made celestial fireworks on our nation's birthday, July 4th," he said.

Here are some great animations of the Mission itself and what we will be doing..

The Deep Impact mission will hopefully begin a serious discussion outside of the science and astronomy circles of how we will detect and mitigate deep and near space objects from hitting the planet and ruining everyones day, not to mention the fate of humanity. Stuff like that. Regular readers of this blog (all three of you) know about my borderline (what?) obssession with this subject, but I still feel that the current NASA budget expenditures for the NEO programs are a joke. There is simply no good reason to fund non-NEO related projects such as the Space Shuttle, when we are nowhere near properly or even slightly prepared to deal with mitigating a Near Earth Object. Hopefully all of the press Deep Impact will receive will help push this issue out in the spotlight.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Sigh......Bring On the NFL Draft!!!...........


No joy in Titansland sportsfans, as my beloved Tennessee Titans lose their third straight 40-35 to the hated Oakland Raiders. I wanted to see them win this one because I REALLY REALLY hate the Radiers, and their work-release thugs passing as fans. There's a reason, a very good reason, they don't serve beer at Oakland home games. The analogy would be of the pouring gasoline on a fire type, which for delicate ears I will avoid.

Steve McNair tells Drew Bennett to "save some for next year.."

To make things even more annoying, Drew Bennett now has eight touchdowns over the last three games, tying an NFL record held by Jerry Rice (1987, '93). Billy Volek has thrown for 918 yards and 8 touchdowns in the last two games, both times losing the game. Suffice to say, the injury bug is no longer a bug, and now resembles an 800 pound gorilla hanging off the back of this team. There are more rookies starting each game than ever before, and over half of the original starting lineup is out for the season.

Feh....I cannot complain however, since this Red Sox fan finally made it to the promised land this year. Having two teams kick that much ass in one year is a little bit much to ask.

Here's what I got from my staff for Christmas, just to keep things in perspective...

My crew rocks....

Friday, December 17, 2004

Karma In Action: Little Girl With Teddy Bear Saves Marines...

...(Via Blackfive)

The story of a little Iraqi girl, a teddy bear, a convoy of US Marines, and a mine in the road....You go read now.

Kyoto Is Dead. Kaput. Sleepin' With Da Fishies. Taking a Dirt Nap....


Praise the lord. Logic and sanity prevail at a Multi-National conference, cats and dogs lying together, The Red Sox won the World Series, next thing you'll tell me that France is building the largest bridge in the world with multi-national cooperation. Oh, wait...

Ron Bailey, Reason magazine's science correspondent, has been reporting from the Kyoto conference and providing some excellent coverage. Here is an excerpt from the final death-march of Kyoto-

BUENOS AIRES -- The Kyoto Protocol is dead -- there will be no further global treaties that set binding limits on the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) after Kyoto runs out in 2012.

Under the Kyoto Protocol industrialized countries are supposed to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases 5.2% below their 1990 emissions levels during the first commitment period which runs from 2008-2012. The European Union agreed to reduce its overall GHG emissions by 8% during that period. To cut its carbon emissions, the European Union has established a carbon trading scheme in which companies must purchase permits to emit carbon. The number of carbon permits is capped at 8% below 1990 emission levels. The European Union and environmentalist activists have been pushing for negotiations to establish more stringent emissions limits for a second commitment period after 2012. It's not going to happen.

The conventional wisdom that it's the United States against the rest of the world in climate change diplomacy has been turned on its head. Instead it turns out that it is the Europeans who are isolated. China, India, and most of the rest of the developing countries have joined forces with the United States to completely reject the idea of future binding GHG emission limits. At the conference here in Buenos Aires, Italy shocked its fellow European Union members when it called for an end to the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. These countries recognize that stringent emission limits would be huge barriers to their economic growth and future development.

"I've been wondering if a cap and trade system for reducing carbon emissions would be successful," said Taishi Sugiyama, a senior researcher at Japan's Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry. "I think the answer is no. The market for carbon credits will likely shrink to be only within Europe after 2012."

The sanity part comes from the idea for a Zero Emissions Technology Treaty (the preceeding link is in Microsoft Powerpoint- Here is the Google cache in HTML)

Mr. Bailey continues-

Such a treaty would have broad appeal because it avoids the inevitable conflicts over allocating emissions targets and because most countries recognize the importance of long-term technological progress. Sugiyama argued that a global cap and trade system is way too premature for developing countries to join because effective low cost ways to cut carbon emissions that they could use to binding emissions targets simply don't exist. "I cannot imagine a cap and trade system over the whole globe without low cost energy and emissions control technologies," said Sugiyama. However, as advanced energy technologies emerge over the next couple of decades, implementing a global cap and trade system becomes a more realistic prospect because developing countries will have access to effective technologies.

Running with the theme of the death of environmentalism as a religion, I stumbled across another Michael Chrichton speech that highlights one of the main faults in politicizing science-

An excerpt-

How will we manage to get environmentalism out of the clutches of religion, and back to a scientific discipline? There's a simple answer: we must institute far more stringent requirements for what constitutes knowledge in the environmental realm. I am thoroughly sick of politicized so-called facts that simply aren't true. It isn't that these "facts" are exaggerations of an underlying truth. Nor is it that certain organizations are spinning their case to present it in the strongest way. Not at all---what more and more groups are doing is putting out is lies, pure and simple. Falsehoods that they know to be false.

This trend began with the DDT campaign, and it persists to this day. At this moment, the EPA is hopelessly politicized. In the wake of Carol Browner, it is probably better to shut it down and start over. What we need is a new organization much closer to the FDA. We need an organization that will be ruthless about acquiring verifiable results, that will fund identical research projects to more than one group, and that will make everybody in this field get honest fast.

Because in the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don't know any better. That's not a good future for the human race. That's our past. So it's time to abandon the religion of environmentalism, and return to the science of environmentalism, and base our public policy decisions firmly on that.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

France Opens Worlds Tallest Bridge...........

....(via Chicagoboyz)

And man, it is a big one....

It's designed by British architect Norman Foster. The steel-and-concrete bridge with its streamlined diagonal suspension cables rests on seven pillars, the tallest measuring 1,122 feet, making it 53 feet higher than the Eiffel Tower.

And, never one to miss out on an oppurtunity to say something monumentally stupid, Jacques Chirac-

"This exceptional opening will go down in industrial and technological history," Chirac said, praising the designers and builders for creating "a prodigy of art and architecture -a new emblem of French civil engineering."

The bridge will serve as a symbol of "a modern and conquering France," he said.

Um, Jacques, it was designed by a Brit, and the company used to get the thing up in the air was an American company- ENERPAC.

And "a modern and conquering France"? Only in France do they claim to conquer something by building a bridge OVER LAND. Yes Jacques, you have certainly conquered those nasty traffic jams in the french countryside. Vive' La Revolution!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Sky Is Falling!! Again!! (Part 12,789)...........

.......Michael Chrichton has released a new novel, State Of Fear which takes a new angle on the Global Warming movement, and makes some relevant points that need to be heard louder. I have read a few reviews, and am looking forward to reading it.

Ronald Bailey, of Reason Magazine reviews it last week in the Wall Street Journal-

In "State of Fear" (HarperCollins, 603 pages, $27.95), Michael Crichton delivers a lightning-paced technopolitical thriller that turns on a controversial notion: All that talk we've been hearing about global warming -- you know, polar ice caps melting, weather systems sent into calamitous confusion, beach weather lingering well into January -- might be at best misguided, at worst dead wrong. Think "The Da Vinci Code" with real facts, violent storms and a different kind of faith altogether.

According to Mr. Bailey, the book weaves in and out of fact and fiction, combining stories of environmentalism gone amok using examples such as the DDT Ban (which ended up killing more people through malaria than it saved from DDT), and the New York Powerline Scare, which resulted in losses in the billions of dollars by requiring power companies to bury lines needlessly and by pushing down property values for no reason at all. From the recent history of the environmental movements, this book practically writes itself.

Mr Bailey also has been following the Kyoto Conferences, the latest installment being the (deep breath) "United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change's Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP10)." As many people know, the Kyoto plan consists of the following-

Mr Bailey at Tech Central Station-

Under the Kyoto Protocol developed countries agree to cut back their average emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide to 5.2 percent lower than their emissions in 1990 by 2012. The main greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide which is accumulating in the atmosphere as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide levels have increased from 280 parts per million in 1750 to 372 ppm today. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases trap heat as it is being radiated out into space and re-radiate back toward the surface. The chief greenhouse gas is water vapor. Without water vapor, the Earth's average surface temperature would be well below freezing. Computer climate models predict that extra greenhouse gases will heat the atmosphere and create a positive feedback loop increasing the amount of water vapor, thus boosting global temperatures even more.

The Senate initially laid out a proposal through the Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S. Res. 98), which stated the sense of the Senate was that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialized nations or "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States". According to Yale University economist William Nordhaus, the Kyoto proposal would cost $716 billion, and the United States would bear two-thirds of the global costs. Kyoto would have the overall effect of lowering the mean temperature average a whopping 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2050. One bad day at Mt. Saint Helens could set back over fifty years of C02 reductions, but we would not get the $700 billion back. President Bush has wisely withdrew the US from any consideration of the current proposals.

What I believe is missing from the attempts to lower emissions is cost efficiencies and incentives. There is little doubt that there are far more emissions-producing engines, factories, and power plants across the world than say, 100 years ago. The pollution currently smothering major cities across the world is obvious. For example, Mexico City, which has a driving system where you can only drive your car on certain days of the week. This system was implemented to fight the rising pollution that was literally choking its residents to death. Something had to be done. Unfortunately, like many other short-sighted environmental knee-jerk policies, the vehicle policy in Mexico ignored the principles of efficiency and in doing so overlooked the economic incentives it created. This created no incentives to cut back on driving and as a result the goal of decreased car use has not been attained. The end result has not lowered overall pollution levels in Mexico City.

Whenever industries look to cut costs, one of the biggest savings is cutting fuel consumption and minimizing utility costs. With smarter and more efficient technologies, industries can streamline their energy use, and cut down on the costs thereof. The same goes for automobiles. My new Ford Escape gets about 20 miles to the gallon, and emits barely any emissions as far as a gas burning engine is concerned. It makes sense for me to get a more fuel efficient vehicle (I save money), and the side effect is lowered emissions. Another example would be the Caterpillar Truck ACERT (Advanced Combustion Emissions Reduction Technology), integrated with the next generation HEUI fuel system for on-highway truck engines.
-David Semlow, marketing manager, Caterpillar Truck Engine Division-"This new technology is an environmentally sound solution that also offers excellent benefits to truck owners, ACERT is a customer-driven solution that is designed for the long-term." Again, technology that saves the customer money yet lowers emissions.

This principle of incentives needs to be applied throughout markets in order to truly get any lower emissions. By attempting to levy taxes and regulations on businesses and economies, we are stifling the natural evolution of innovations that make cleaner fossil fuel burning engines. By hindering countries such as the US that are on the cutting edge of producing these technologies, we are only slowing down the process of developing these systems.

Back to State of Fear- Mr Bailey continues-

""State of Fear" is, in a sense, the novelization of a speech that Mr. Crichton delivered in September 2003 at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club. He argued there that environmentalism is essentially a religion, a belief-system based on faith, not fact. To make this point, the novel weaves real scientific data and all too real political machinations into the twists and turns of its gripping story.

For example, the climate computer models relied upon by global-warming proponents like Drake -- or, in real life, by John Adams (NRDC), Carl Pope (Sierra Club), Kevin Knobloch (Union of Concerned Scientists) and John Passacantando (Greenpeace USA) -- predict that such warming will be strongest at the earth's poles, turning glaciers into floods and raising sea levels. In "State of Fear," Drake warns that Greenland's ice cap is melting and will push the sea level up by 20 feet. (As it happens, on Wednesday of this week Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, testified with similar alarm before a British legislative committee, saying: "If the ice-sheets in Greenland melt, sea levels would rise 6.5 metres and London would be underwater.")

Yet as Mr. Crichton has his scientist Kenner correctly note, Greenland's ice cap is in no imminent danger of melting away. It is well established scientifically that average temperatures in Greenland and Iceland have been falling at the rather steep rate of 2.2 degrees Celsius per decade since 1987. As for temperatures in most of Antarctica, they have been falling for nearly 50 years, and ice there has been accumulating rather than melting. And those sea levels? Nils-Axel Mörner, a professor of geodynamics at Stockholm University, has been studying the low-lying atolls of the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean. He has found "a total absence of any recent sea level rise" and has instead found evidence of a fall in sea level in the past 20 years -- a fact that Mr. Crichton has the good instinct to report in the course of pushing his plot forward."

The simple reality that much of the environmental movements are having to deal with today is that the low-hanging fruit of emission reductions have all but been picked. Skies in most major cities in the US are cleaner than they were in the 70's and 80's. Now these groups are attempting to push socialist agendas under the guise of environmentalism. And as more books like Mr. Chrichtons are released, more people are beginning to realize that no, in fact the sky is not falling, and frankly, we don't want to try socialism again thankyouverymuch.

Stephen den Beste describes the phenomena adequately when commenting on Kyoto here-

"The real issue goes under a code-phrase: "sustainable development", which means "The US is using too damned much of everything and won't stop."

It's somewhat more general than that, actually: the first world and especially the US is using too much; we (?) need to throttle back the First World and let the Third World catch up.

All of this is based on a fundamental assumption that it's a zero-sum game. If the industrialized nations are wealthy then the Third World cannot be. If we slow down the First World then we get more equality in the world. Well, we would. But not by helping those living in the Third World in any important way. We'd make everyone equally poor, not equally rich.

Energy is the key. Nothing happens without expenditure of energy. There's lots of rhetoric about "clean energy" but that's all it is; there are only two substantial alternate sources of energy which don't involve burning things. The others are all fantasies.

You got nuclear and you got hydro. That's it. It's possible to generate power intermittently with wind, but not very much. It's possible to generate power with tides. You can get some power from geothermal. You can get some from solar. But none of them can generate power in terawatt quantities, which is what we need for a modern industrial economy. The US overall generates about 4 terawatts of electricity, and a lot more energy is consumed in cars and trucks and trains and ships and other ways.

So if we want to keep increasing the amount of power we'll generate, we'll have to burn coal or oil. It's as simple as that. And if we can't do so, then our economy will stop growing.

Yes, conservation. Yes, yes, yes; more rhetoric. But there are limits to that, and we've already wrung a lot of those savings out. Conservation isn't an infinitely deep well. Eventually you reach a point where restricted energy production puts the screws on everything else, and the kind of economic growth we've enjoyed ceases. Conservation reaches a point of diminishing returns. Thereafter, if the population grows and energy production doesn't, then everyone has to live on less. Not just less energy, less of everything, because everything else depends on energy consumption.

Which is the whole point. That is what those who've proposed this treaty are actually after. That is their real agenda. And the proof of that? Kyoto will force the industrialized nations to cut energy production, but permit developing countries to increase theirs.

And the cuts will fall disproportionately on the US. Not just because we're the largest consumer of energy, but also because the cuts are constant unrelated to expected population growth. France, whose population is falling, will have to cut energy production under the treaty the same amount as the US, whose population is rising rapidly. So the per-capita energy generation rate will fall much more rapidly in the US than in France, and the US economy will finally be reined in and cease to embarrass hell out of everyone else who can't keep up.

Updated Addition: (via QandO)Coincidentally, Michael Chrichton himself pens an article for Parade Magazine, highlighting the many points raised in the preceeding post. (And one more thing about Michael Chrichton. Jurassic Park. I simply cannot get me enough of them movies where humans get eaten by Dinosaurs. Never. Especially those humans who ya' know, really had it coming, like that lawyer in the first Jurassic Park. I'm saying, he needs to write one where T-Rex invades France and gets so fat from eating that Halliburton puts him on a diet, making him some huge T-Rex stairmaster or something. Pure gold I tellsya..)

From the article-"Fittingly, the century ended with one final, magnificent false fear: Y2K. For years, computer experts predicted a smorgasbord of horrors, ranging from the collapse of the stock market to the crash of airplanes. Some people withdrew their savings, sold their houses and moved to higher ground. In the end, nobody seemed to notice much of anything at all.

“I’ve seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it never came to pass,” Mark Twain is supposed to have said. At this point in my life, I can only agree. So many fears have turned out to be untrue or wildly exaggerated that I no longer get so excited about the latest one. Keeping fears in perspective leads me to ignore most of the frightening things I read and hear—or at least to take them with a pillar of salt.

For a time I wondered how it would feel to be without these fears and the frantic nagging concerns at the back of my mind. Actually, it feels just fine.

I recommend it."

Friday, December 10, 2004

CBS Decides It Will Not Have A Silly Little "Blog Thingy" Questioning It's Authoritae!!!

...(via soon to be added to the blogroll- QandO)

CBS NEWS reports-

Internet blogs are providing a new and unregulated medium for politically motivated attacks. With the same First Amendment protections as newspapers, blogs are increasingly gaining influence.

First Amendment attorney Kevin Goldberg called blogs “definitely new territory.”

“[The question is] whether blogs are analogous to a sole person campaigning or whether they are very much a media publication, which is essentially akin to an online newspaper,” said Goldberg, who is the legal counsel to the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

“Ultimately, I think, the decision will have to come down to whether the public will be allowed to decide whether bloggers are credible or whether some regulation needs to occur.”

Man, I guess Rather got pretty pissed that a few blogs blew his entire Bush/National Gaurd story to absolute shit, and thus accelerated his departure from broadcasting.


Taken from- the United States Constitution Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

In other words, Big journalism better start paying closer attention to the crap they continually shove down America's throat, because individual citizens in the blog world will continue to call them out if they are peddling bullshit. I don't see exactly how the government could possibly regulate "blogs" to the point where it wouldn't infringe on the first amendment. I understand the argument about political speech and the funding thereof, but those are ethical, not legal problems. And considering the amount of incredibly unethical crap floating around on the net as it is, I don't see why they would start with blogs.

So, to Kevin Goldberg and the other hired goons from the legal counsel to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, CBS, and the rest of the Major News Media, here's what I think about your ideas to supress my right to call you all a bunch of lying condescending elitists-

All together now......"awwwwwwwwwwww......"

Is It Time for the UN To Go?...............


Many people are beginning to wonder.

John O'Sullivan writes today in the New York Post-

December 10, 2004 -- WHICH of the fol lowing recent news stories is the odd one out:
(a) United Nations accused of cover-up of sexual harassment by senior official.

(b) U.N. soldiers in Africa accused of sexual trafficking in minors.

(c) Son of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan accused of profiting from U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal until early this year.

(d) U.S. Senator urges Kofi Annan to resign after his committee discovers that the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food program transferred $21 billion to Saddam Hussein.

(e) U.N. "High Level Panel" of eminent persons urges greater powers for world body.

The answer is, of course, news headline (d).

No one is ever asked to resign for wrongdoing at the United Nations. Indeed, since Minnesota Sen. Norman Coleman suggested that the secretary general should fall on his sword for presiding over the Oil-for-Food scandal, there has been a positive rush of diplomats and governments from all over the world to his defense.........

Americans tend to be baffled by these reactions. They look at the multiplying scandals around the United Nations and wonder how the man in charge can avoid being held responsible for any of it by other countries.

But the explanation is simple: Kofi Annan is the symbol of the United Nations' lack of accountability. He is never held responsible for what goes wrong, because the United Nations is never held responsible, either. It sails in a cloud of noble idealism over the actual failures, hypocrisy, corruption and outright criminality that attend some U.N. actions on the ground below.

And there is a polite consensus outside the United States not to notice the glaring contradictions between idealism and reality. Too many influential people and institutions have invested too much in the United Nations and the U.N. system to see its flaws clearly.

The UN, in this humble Americans opinion, is a complete and total joke at this point of its history for the following reasons.

1.) In January of 2003, The UN held its conference on Disarmament. The rotating chairs to head the conference went to -you ready for this?- IRAQ and IRAN. Iraq, the country that would figure prominently in the discussion at the conference, the one that everyone was trying to disarm so that they would not develop and use WMD's, was in the head chair of the conference. Fox gaurding the hen house, plain and simple. Don't get me started on The UN and Iran with their nuclear program, that will just upset me.

2.) The UN Human Rights Commission is chaired by (shaking head) -are you ready for this?- fine protectors of human rights such as Cuba, Sudan, Libya, and China. Libya was put in charge of the Commission in 2003 despite the fact that they were still under UN sanctions for the Lockerbie bombings. José Miguel Vivanco, a regional director with Human Rights Watch- "The world's worst human rights violators protect themselves, and one another. They act like a true mafia." For instance, Argentina, which used to vote to condemn Cuba's human rights abuses, announced that it will abstain this year. The announcement came only days after international human rights groups declared that Cuba's violations reached a new high last year, with the execution of three people who were trying to flee the island on a hijacked boat, and the imprisonment of 75 peaceful dissidents.

3.) The UN Failure in Rwanda- Despite pleas from the UN peacekeepers on the ground in Rwanda, the UN failed to act to stop the slaughter of over 800,000 people. Belgium, one of the UN forces main military contingents, withdrew all of its forces after ten of its soldiers were killed. Peacekeepers actually backed off from protecting a school, allowing a few hundred children to be slaughtered.

4.) And the big one....The UN Iraqi "Oil-for-Payoffs-Weapons-and-Diplomatic-Immunity" program, otherwise known UNSCAM. This site created by the Commissar has perhaps the best round up of all the information. From the site-

"After the 1991 Gulf War, the U.N. imposed economic sanctions on Saddam's regime. Concerned that the sanctions were hurting the people of Iraq, in 1996 the Security Council established the Iraq Oil-for-Food Program (OFP). Under strict U.N. control, Iraq would be allowed to export oil and import food and humanitarian supplies.

Over time, the program grew. Over seven years, $65 billion worth of oil was sold through the program and $38 billion of goods was imported into Saddam-controlled Iraq. Inspectors, monitors, and local bureaucrats oversaw oil sales, imports, and distribution of the humanitarian aid. The other $27 billion went to Kuwaiti war reparations, to the UN for administrative costs, and to Kurdish-controlled Iraq.

Saddam evaded and abused the sanctions program as much as possible. He smuggled oil out of Iraq. He demanded kickbacks from both sides of the OFP: purchasers of oil and suppliers of goods. The GAO estimates that he earned $10 billion from smuggling ($5.7Bn) and kickbacks ($4.4Bn).

For years before the 2003 Iraq War, much of this was known, and ignored by the U.N. and the U.S. Indeed, there was constant global pressure to abandon or ease the sanctions; various Security Council Resolutions increased the amount of oil that could be sold and broadened the list of goods that could be imported. In 2001, the OFP did tighten up the oil pricing policy, and thus reduced the margin on the kickbacks required from oil purchasers.

Various U.S. agencies reported on the graft and kickbacks throughout 2002 and 2003, with modest attention. The lid blew off the OFP scandal on January 30, 2004, with the publication in Al-Mada, a Baghdad newspaper, of a list of 270 alleged recipients of oil allocations from Saddam. Reportedly the recipients of these vouchers had the right to buy Iraqi oil and could then re-sell it at a tidy profit. The names included oil companies, small trading companies, politicians (many of them vocally pro-Saddam), and at least one U.N. official, Benon Sevan, the head of OFP. (By my estimate, the published list of oil vouchers, in total, was worth about $800 million, one part of the puzzle, NOT the whole thing.)

There is obviously a need for a United Nations type of organization, but the current one is infested with dictatorships and career diplomats who do nothing to further the welfare of the world or even their own constituents. Certain nations pack certain committees so that they clear themselves of any wrongdoing. Right now, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) set up in Palestine is one of the only relief agencies of its kind and level of funding. While I agree that Palestine needs help and funding (even though Arafat died with billions of dollars of Palestinians money), how come there isn't a relief agency set up North Korea? How come the UN doesn't have the same level of relief agency set up for the Sudanese getting slaughtered and starved by muslim militants? The United Nations has become what it replaced, the League of Nations- an ineffectual institution which hinders progress and democratic change in the regimes it represents.

Suggestions for its replacement have been something along the lines of a League of Free Nations, composed of only those nations who value liberty, individual freedom, and self-determination in government. Then we can move the UN building to France and let them play with it.

But it is very difficult to accept the premise that the UN is currently capable of doing anything but be increasingly hypocritical.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Well, Except For the Concentration Camps of course.....

...(via LGF)

Poll: Over 50% of Germans equate IDF with Nazi army

Six decades after the mass extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, more than 50 percent of Germans believe that Israel's present-day treatment of the Palestinians is similar to what the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II, a German survey released this weekend shows.

51 percent of respondents said that there is not much of a difference between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today and what the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust, compared to 49% who disagreed with such a comparison, according to the poll carried out by Germany's University of Bielefeld.

The survey also found that 68 percent of Germans believe that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the Palestinians, while some 32% disagreed with such a statement.

One would think that the Germans, of all people, would be the last to compare Jews to Nazi's, for almost whatever reason. One would be wrong apparently. This is a scathing indictment of anti-semitism gone amok in Europe, as the European media continues to hype the suffering of the Palestinians whilst ignoring the terrorists attacking Israel.

Israel isn't lining up Palestinians in to boxcars and shipping them off to gas chambers. They aren't attacking Syria and making plans to conquer Jordan. They are simply trying to live on the one piece of land in the entire world that is central to their existence. Not only that, but Israel is surrounded by nations that deny its existence, and in many ways are sworn to its destruction.

Larry Miller the comedian has an excellent analogy about the Arab-Israeli situation that is worth repeating here- (from this Weekly Standard article)

Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals. Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

It would be funny if it wasn't true.

Jewish Nazis. Way to go Germany, I see you are dealing just fine with your guilt complex....(shaking head)...

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Merry Christma-WHAT THE HELL??????


Most Americans believe the virgin birth is literally true, a NEWSWEEK poll finds

Dec. 5 - Seventy-nine percent of Americans believe that, as the Bible says, Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, without a human father, according to a new NEWSWEEK poll on beliefs about Jesus.

Sixty-seven percent say they believe that the entire story of Christmas—the Virgin Birth, the angelic proclamation to the shepherds, the Star of Bethlehem and the Wise Men from the East—is historically accurate. Twenty-four percent of Americans believe the story of Christmas is a theological invention written to affirm faith in Jesus Christ, the poll shows. In general, say 55 percent of those polled, every word of the Bible is literally accurate. Thirty-eight percent do not believe that about the Bible.

So, does that mean that 79% of Americans believe that Lot's wife was turned to a pillar of salt?
Genesis 19:26: "But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."

How about God being so pissed off at humans (which he supposedly created) that he not only decides to kill all of them, but also the "birds of the air and fish of the sea"?
Zephaniah 1:2:“I will sweep away humans and animals; I will sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. I will cut off humanity from the face of the earth.”

But hey, this god was one powerful dude, because apparently he could make plants grow before there was even a sun-
Genesis 1
"12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning-the third day.
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights-the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars."

Don't even get me started on the whole Leviticus/God hates fags thingy, that whole bit is just too loopy even for me. Biblical interpretation is just that-interpretation. I have no problem with people using the bible as a moral compass, provided that a.) they don't take it too literally, and b.) they don't impose it on anyone else.

What IS a fact is that Christmas is a holiday that co-opted previous pagan celebrations so that the Romans could keep everyone under one roof. No one is debating this.

If you want to believe in the virgin birth, more power to you, but I do wonder if this "79% of Americans that do believe in the virgin birth" ends with Jesus. Do they also believe in the other absurdities in the bible? Where does it end?

I now direct my beloved readers to Jay Pinkerton's Back of The Bible Series for further analysis of the literal interpretation of the word of god.


"I will rebuke your offerings,
then spread dung on your faces."
(Malachi 2:3)

Monday, December 06, 2004

True Patriot Returns!!!...........Part II.....

.....continued from our previous discussion here-

True Patriot, who believe it or not is actually a friend of mine here in Nashville, has continued our discussion from the previous post. I am posting them here so he can respond again in kind. I enjoy intellectual discourse, and have nothing personal against him, I just vehemently disagree with his political positions at this time. I'm glad he is responding and let's hope it stays civil...(fingers crossed)...

"Ah, yes. Using the word "liberal" as slander. You very well may not be a Republican but you'll make a swell one when you grow up."

So much for remaining civil. Oh well.

"(By the way, how is Ann Coulter's new book?)"

Don't know, I think she's an ass. If I were more like her, I wouldn't even bother with you. I'd just ban you from commenting on my site.

"Ever stop to wonder where the first two syllables of the word "libertarian" come from?"

Ever stop to wonder the profound difference between the two?

"(WARNING: PONDER AT YOUR OWN RISK If you realize the truth of this your universe may shatter around you.) Perhaps "Republitarian" would be more apt..."

Tell you what, read this article by PJ O'Rourke, it will help explain things better for you. No warnings necessary. How to Explain Conservatism to Your Squishy Liberal Friends: Individualism 'R' Us

"There is a man who has publicly announced his intentions to change of the the Constitution of United States of America. Yes. That's right. The Constitution. Why? Because this person believes that the issue of defining marriage should not be left up to the states or individuals but up to him."

You think gay marriage is more important than the struggle between democracy and religious freedom vs. fanatical ideology? Ok then...

"To use his words, "If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America". Who is this man? None other than #43. That's right. George Wanker Bush. "

George is wrong on this issue, in my opinion. I don't believe we need a constitutional amendment either for against Gay Marriage. They should be allowed the same rights as other couples, sans(without) amendments to the constitution. By the way, would you like me to list all of the DEMOCRATIC senators who AGREE with Bush? Including the former Democratic candidate? Didn't think so.

"If you feel such zeal to speak out against the muslim registered voters of Hamtramck you must-out-of-your-head-crazy-upset over this. What are we to do about the rape of one of this nations most sacred documents?"

Nothing. Because that's precisely what will happen. Nothing. You honestly think the congress will be able to enact a "Defense of Marriage" amendment to the US Constitution? You need to read more. Even George has about given up on it.

"(There is also talk that this man wishes to put a diabolical plan in motion to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision! Whatever do we do!?!) WHAT DOES THIS "WRITING ON THE WALL" SAY TO YOU?"

I don't see this happening, although I agree with you that it is troubling. I am pro-choice, and believe that the government has no business interfering with womens bodily rights. Fortunately, a majority of the country agrees with you and I. George can only appoint the Justices, he cannot make their decisions for them. I am not worried that he will pack the court with justices so that he will attempt to overturn Roe. V. Wade. A plurality of Reagan-Bush appointees, O'Connor, Kennedy, and David H. Souter, reaffirmed that the Constitution protects a right of abortion. Bush Junior did propose an amendment to the constitution that would ban third trimester abortions, but Courts are however consistently ruling that health requirements are necessary to consider the interests of the pregnant woman.

"Its nice to see you can differentiate between 'moderate' variety of muslim and the violent 'fundamentalist'. Maybe instead of using the word "muslim" interchangeably with "'kill you for making a bad movie about Islam' kind" you wouldn't sound so racist. Just a tip. This one's free of charge."

Here's a tip for you TP, Islam ISN'T A RACE. You may want to think about that before calling me a racist. And by the way, there are many people who are commited to KILLING PEOPLE WHO SPEAK ILL OF ISLAM, whether you believe it or not. Does Salman Rushdie ring a bell?

TP then commented on my post concerning the lack of outrage from Hollywood over the Murder of Theo Van Gogh, and the accompanying article from Pat Sajak.

"Let me get this straight:
A> Movie stars who speak out on political issues are bad."

No, anyone can say whatever they want about political issues. I get annoyed when movie stars use their status to lend unwarranted legitimacy to their comments. Sean Penn doesn't have a masters in International Law, so when he speaks out on the legality of the war on Iraq, I can call him an ill informed idiot. On my blog. Which all of twenty people read. Michael Moore lies blatantly in his films, and too many people swallow his bullshit hook line and sinker.

"B> Movie stars who don't speak out on political issues are bad."

No, I was annoyed when you didn't hear a peep out of hollywood about the Van Gogh murder. Can you imagine the boiled over outrage if some christian fundamentalist gunned down Michael Moore? Why isn't there the same outrage over Van Goghs death?

"C> Game show hosts who speak out in political issues are good."

I don't care if the person is a circus clown, if they write an article I think I want to post about, I will. The merit is in the article itself.

Thanks for visiting again TP! Stop by any time!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Gah.......My Head Hurts............

......(Via Dave Barry)

Attention K-Mart Shoppers!!!!!

Make sure you are absolutely not on any type of hallucinatory recreational drugs before clicking the following link......rabbit holes indeed.....

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Blame Canada!!........Except for These Two.........


Yes, it's a joke. In fact, the "Blame Canada" song that comes from the South Park Movie:Bigger, Longer and Uncut was pretty damn funny I must say.

Me? I don't have anything against Canadians. They like their molsons and hockey, eh, and any country that is willing to sit outdoors in below zero weather in a stadium at night to watch a hockey game is crazy enough for me, thankyouverymuch. Of course they have their moonbats, as any healthy democracy should.

What was hilarious last night as I was watching the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour on PBS they had a segment on Bush's visit to Canada, and spoke about the animosity between the two countries since the war in Iraq. The hostess stated that America has been holding negative views towards Canadians lately, and then said something along the lines of "as you can see from this popular cartoon, the American attitude's towards Canadians also are feeling strained"-then cut to a small bit from the "Blame Canada" musical number in the Southpark movie. Journalistic integrity at its finest, no doubt. Here are some of the lyrics from "Blame Canada"-

Sheila: Times have changed
Our kids are kids are getting worse
They won't obey their parents
They just want to fart and curse!
Sharon: Should we blame the government?
Liane: Or blame society?
Dads: Or should we blame the images on TV?
Sheila: No, blame Canada!!!
Everyone: Blame Canada !!!

Yep, we sure do hate them crazy canucks. Just keep sending your Alberta Steaks and your Molson, and everything will be just fine, mmmkay?


There are two bright spots in the Canadian blogosphere that I have neglected from putting on my blogroll, and you should read them often, as they are always chock full of bloggity goodness.

Colby Cosh- On the NBA (It's FANNNTASTIC!!) Basketbrawl-

Boy, I couldn't watch the footage of the Pistons-Pacers brawl often enough--seeing Artest paste that pudgy guy down on the floor was worth the price of season tickets on its own--but I got tired of the ensuing hysteria awful quick. Why don't you sportswriters who are referring to this stuff as "shocking" and "unprecedented" do a Google search for "Heysel Stadium" and get back to us?

I mean, far be it from me to condone violence, but at this point wouldn't it help break up the sheer monotony if someone did? Or if someone pointed out, at least, that the Boston Bruins' 1979 Yuletide foray into the MSG stands was far more horrible and dangerous, did nothing to hurt the "scrappy" reputations of the (white) players or the city responsible, and is never now remembered with anything but fondness.

I must already have seen a hundred different things used by the Outrage Industry (which employs me) to fill in the blank: the brutal and horrifying Pistons-Pacers brawl was inevitable in a league/country that condones ______. The leadership of David Stern? Check! The presence of beer at sporting events? Check! The cultural preeminence of rap music? Check! The adoption of the three-point line? Hey, give us another day or so!

And Kate Olsen, of Small Dead Animals- on waitress hygiene-

So, then, if it is within the capacity of a plumber to select a wardrobe that covers the equatorial realms of his anatomy, is it too much to expect of a waitress?

I didn't have my camera at brunch today. But, to the young woman who seated us at our table, and swished by on too frequent a basis, may I offer the following observations:

1. Jewelry located anywhere between the collarbone and ankle is not intended for public consumption.

2. The protrusion of post-pubescent lardy tissue between the upper lip of your low rise pants and the lower edge of that shrunken t-shirt resembles a uncooked roll of pork sausage. This may not have occured to you, but with a breakfast menu in my hand, it certainly occurred to me.

3. The only women thin enough to expose a midrift forcibly confined in such away are in a hospital bed and subject to medically supervised feedings.

4. People are trying to eat, dammit.

There. I feel better already. Next time, I will bring a camera, and I will make you famous.

You go read them now!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

There Are Maps, and Then There Are MAPS.......


Jay Manifold over at a Voyage to Arcturus turned me on to what may be my new favorite toy.


"Celestia is a free real-time space simulation that lets you experience our universe in three dimensions. Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy. All travel in Celestia is seamless; the exponential zoom feature lets you explore space across a huge range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few meters across. A 'point-and-goto' interface makes it simple to navigate through the universe to the object you want to visit."

How cool is this? It's a complete 3D map of the universe. Want to see what the path of the orbit of Saturn looks like in a 3D view? Point and click. Check out a comet or two, go land on Neptune- point and click. I can't install this at work for obvious reasons, but I can't wait to download this to my home PC. I will download it later tonight and let you know whether it's as cool as it sounds......

Ok, so I get a little astronomy-geeky sometimes. I can stop any time I want. Really, I can.....ok, maybe not...

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Reason #87 Why Hollywood Actors Are Increasingly Useless......(and more reason to go see Team America:World Police)


As many of you may know, Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker was murdered in cold blood by a muslim who was upset by the portrayal of Islam in Van Gogh's production of the film written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Submission. As some of you may not know, the word "Islam" roughly translates in to english as "submission to God.", thus the reason for the name of the movie. Ms. Ali states that her purpose was not to give offense but to draw attention to what she contends is widespread but hidden violence against Muslim women, even those living in Europe. Well, apparently many muslims, including the one who murdered Van Gogh didn't quite see it that way. So they killed Van Gogh, and I assume would kill Ms. Ali if she wasn't under serious security at the present time.

What is seriously hypocritical is the non-reaction to the murder by -suprise!- hollywood actors and directors. One would think that guys like Michael Moore and Tim Robbins would jump to the defense of Van Gogh, and try to do all they could to protect others who make films that question the rights of Islamic men to suppress women in such abominable ways. One would be living in another world if one thought that way unfortunately. To my knowledge, there has been little to no word about it from the Hollywood leftists at all. Thanks a lot, you useless bastards.

Pat Sajak (yes, I believe it is that Pat Sajak) has written an article recently in Human Events Online discussing this hypocrisy that is well worth reading-

An excerpt-

"Picture this:

Somewhere in the world, a filmmaker creates a short documentary that chronicles what he perceives as the excesses of anti-abortion activists. An anti-abortion zealot reacts to the film by killing the filmmaker in broad daylight and stabbing anti-abortion tracts onto his body. How does the Hollywood community react to this atrocity? Would there be angry protests? Candlelight vigils? Outraged letters and columns and articles? Awards named in honor of their fallen comrade? Demands for justice? Calls for protection of artistic freedom? It’s a pretty safe bet that there would be all of the above and much more. And all of the anger would be absolutely justified.

So I’m trying to understand the nearly universal lack of outrage coming from Hollywood over the brutal murder of Dutch director, Theo van Gogh, who was shot on the morning of November 2, while bicycling through the streets of Amsterdam. The killer then stabbed his chest with one knife and slit his throat with another.

The presumed murderer, a Dutch-born dual Moroccan-Dutch citizen, attached a 5-page note to van Gogh's body with a knife. In it, he threatened jihad against the West in general, and specifically against five prominent Dutch political figures. Van Gogh’s crime? He created a short film highly critical of the treatment of women in Islamic societies. So, again I ask, where is the outrage from Hollywood’s creative community? I mean, talk about a violation of the right of free speech!

Read the whole thing. And if anyone spots a quote or something from the Hollywood left where they do in fact voice a strong condemnation about the murder, I would be greatly obliged to be alerted-thanks in advance....

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Tman Thanksgiving/Birthday Weekend Roundup........


'Twas a fabulous few days here in this small humble town of Nashville. I had three things going for me this past week.

1.)Thanksgiving holiday from work mixed with lots of football and paid vacation time that I have to kill before the end of the year.

2.) My Birthday on Friday. Yay! Another excuse not to work and drink heavily!

3.) A spectacular turkey recipe.

Thanksgiving was a resounding success as I got to make my new favorite Turkey Recipe for the third straight year with some friends. The recipe isn't anything special, my Mom sent it to me from the New York Times a few years ago when I was attempting my first turkey, but damn does that bird taste good. The short-version recipe-

Take Turkey, stuff garlic cloves inside, outside, in the Turkey pan, and under the skin of said turkey. Lay entire Turkey on bed of Bay leaves and rosemary. Take the following ingredients, mix together in to a paste, and rub generously under the skin, inside and around the Turkey-
Brown Sugar
Dijon Mustard
Olive Oil
Yes, More (crushed) Garlic
Cayenne Pepper
Garlic Powder (hey, why not?)
Salt and Pepper
Generous Amount of High Quality Whiskey-(this year it was Woodfords)

Stuff Turkey with Pepperidge farm stuffing, because it's easy to make that stuffing after a few shots of that Woodfords. And throw a few more garlic cloves on it for good measure.

Add a healthy dose of good friends and their excellently prepared side dishes, a bottle of 1997 Chinon (man was that tasty), some FOOTBALL! (both on TV and outside, it being a gorgeous day and the guys were feeling some bravado after all the booze) and VOILA! Perfect thanksgiving Turkey Dinner with all the needed ingredients. And there is still some Turkey left, which continues to taste incredible days afterwards.

After we finished with the football and the Turkey we went to Jackson's for a night cap and were treated to a great crowd full of friends all together in the same place with the same mood. It got past midnight, and the mood jumped up a notch as I was then treated to birthday salutations from a wide spectrum of libations and friends alike. Just a great day all around.

The rest of the weekend was straight birthday celebrations, football, turkey, and friends- pretty much repeating Thanksgiving in general the whole weekend.

So apologies for the light posting, more festive ranting to come soon.....hope everyone else had a great Turkey day too!

Oh yeah, and the Titans are done for the season. Thank you Titans for playing tough despite the injuries and setbacks, I have little doubt we will be talking playoffs and Super Bowl next year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Man's Best Seafaring Friend........


Dolphins Save Swimmers from Shark

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Reuters) -- A pod of dolphins circled protectively round a group of New Zealand swimmers to fend off an attack by a great white shark, media reported on Tuesday.

Lifesavers Rob Howes, his 15-year-old daughter Niccy, Karina Cooper and Helen Slade were swimming 100 metres (300 feet) off Ocean Beach near Whangarei on New Zealand's North Island when the dolphins herded them -- apparently to protect them from a shark.

"They started to herd us up, they pushed all four of us together by doing tight circles around us," Howes told the New Zealand Press Association (NZPA).

Howes tried to drift away from the group, but two of the bigger dolphins herded him back just as he spotted a three-meter (nine feet) great white shark swimming towards the group.

And let this be a lesson to you folks. When you go in to the water, you are no longer lord of your domain. To some species, you are considered dinner. And pray that some dolphins are around if you happen to be near a hungry Great White...

These guys don't do dialogue.....

Monday, November 22, 2004

Compare and Contrast...Sports Pictures from the Weekend.......


We have this one, from the Instapundits Afghani Correspondent-

Our coalition of Rumanians, New Zealanders, British, Americans, Slovaks and Poles was no match for the Afghanis on Sunday. Not in any sort of fighting, mind you, but a soccer match. Our base put a Coalition team together and played a select team from Parwan Province. The Coalition was bested 3-1. However, the Rumanians did salvage something for us – their goalkeeper was a crowd favorite with his play and some theatrics thrown in for good measure.

One of our officers, 1LT Joshua Walters, a soccer coach when back in the States, was the driving force behind this event [he is even helping the area schools with a coaching clinic and organizing a league they can run throughout the whole province]. Local people told us this was the first time in over 25 years they had a public sports event with a crowd. While I am no great fan of soccer itself, I did see that the people here were absolutely delighted with the whole event. So I guess losing wasn’t so bad after all.

And compare that to the knuckleheads from this picture...

Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons and teammates are kept apart from Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers by Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle. Unprecedented suspensions and tighter arena security were imposed by the National Basketball Association following an ugly brawl between players and fans that could deliver the league a painful blow.

Ron Artest, I hope you can rap like KRS-One, because your basketball career is on indefinite hiatus. I would be suprised to see if any team even wants this guy after his suspension is over.

Either way, I think it is pretty obvious the differences between the two photos. I thought it's an interesting commentary that while we go through all kinds of media whoring over the NBA fight this weekend, there was another game being played that had far more important implications. Pistons/Pacers -fight or no fight- will not help to bring world peace any closer. The soccer match in the first picture is actually doing just that.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Breaking News!!!.....!!!!!!..!!!.!.......


Sears/Kmart Acquires France

Iowahak has the details-

The retail industry received another shake-up today as Sears Holding Corp. (NYSE: S), the parent company behind the recent merger of Sears and Kmart, announced the acquisition of embattled European cheesemaker France (NASDAQ: FROG). The buyout deal, estimated at $2.7 billion, will position Sears/Kmart/France as the world's third largest retailer and 15th ranked military power.

Reaction of Wall Street was mixed, with shares of Paris-based France rising 11% in late trading after the announcement, while Hoffman Estates, IL-based Sears Holdings dropped 19%.

"The acquisition of France indicates there will be further consolidation within the low-end, weird-smelling retail segment," said Ivan Kaplan, a retail analyst with Bear Stearns. "I wouldn't be surprised if Sears picks up another floundering discounter like Winn-Dixie. Or possibly Spain."

What about Orangina? Can we get that cheaper now?

That'd be cool....

Iraq and Terrorism? That's crazy man........


I'm just sayin'.....

True Patriot Returns!!!...........


With plenty of pure unadulterated liberal anguish no less! What fun!

A fisking we will go, a fisking we will go........(these are from the comments to "True Patriot, This Is For You" listed below)

"So let me get this straight: In Hamtramck, Michigan there are muslims on the city council (which I only assume is composed of elected citizens) who wish to, in representing a majority, broadcast a call to prayer as dictated by Islamic law."
Correct. You are aware that this call to prayer would violate state noise ordinances, and force a re-writing of the constitution to say "you have the right to impose your religious customs on unwilling citizens", right? Because having someone shreik in Arabic at 5:00 in the morning fails the "your right to swing your fist stops in front of my nose" test.

"The people of Hamtramck will vote on whether or not to allow it. This is your "writing on the wall"?"

Yes, because if you ask strict muslims, of which there are a disproportionate amount in Dearborn and the surrounding Michigan area, they will all admit that they will gladly circumvent US Law to get Islamic law on the books. Point being, they are not assimilating. They are attempting to live in the states but ignore our laws in favor of their own. This is not how our country works.

"Are you afraid the democratic process or is it muslims participating in it that's got your goat?"

That's the problem- they aren't participating. They are trying to circumvent it. What part of this call to prayer violating my right not to be woken up at 5:00 in the morning don't you understand? There are already muslims working in the US Armed Forces, and they don't feel the need to impose their customs on unwilling citizens.

"Are you seriously trying to connect these Americans to the murderer of Theo Van Gogh and those like him?"

I'm not trying to. I want nothing more than those who come to this country to respect our laws. But you continue to ignore the central point I'm trying to make. There are moderate muslims, and I don't consider them a threat at all. But there is a sizeable population of fundamentalists, the "kill you for making a bad movie about Islam" kind, and there are plenty already here in the US. You are absolutely in fantasy land if you think otherwise. Imagine if a fundamentalist christian killed Terry Gilliam for making "the Life Of Brian"? Doesn't that sound absurd? Well, in Islam, it doesn't. Let's observe this article from Joseph D’Hippolito comparing the rhetoric of jihadism with Nazism:In Their Own Words"Consider the words of Mohammed al-Asi, a fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, an advisor to the Islamic Human Rights Commission and the imam of the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.:

Muslims are living in a kafir (unbelievers’) domain; they are virtually adrift and homeless. The inherent condition of today’s Muslims who have lost sight of a Prophet as commander is a religious community of people who are beholden to the forces and powers of kufr (apostasy): secular kufr and religious kufr, mental kufr and military kufr, as well as kufr by choice and kufr by force."

"Your desperate attempt to use this article in defense of your bigoted tone only reinforces your blatant support of the Campaign of Fear."

Hardly. I'm not calling for an end to Islamic immigration, unlike what some Dutch are right now- for instance-"Rita Verdonk, the Dutch Immigration Minister, announced that the government would introduce a law to strip Islamic radicals with dual nationality of their Dutch passports. There are nearly a million Muslims in the Netherlands, most of them from Morocco and Turkey, and the majority continue to maintain dual nationality. Mrs. Verdonk said the law would be changed “so that when a person is suspected of planning or involvement in extremism or serious crimes we will take away their Dutch passport”. "

Your desperate attempt to paint this as some liberal talking points memo "Campaign of Fear" only displays your ignorance of the reality on the ground. You are missing the point of what the fundamentalists want -Dar al-Islam (Arabic: literally house of submission) a term widely used in the Islamic world to refer to those lands under Muslim government(s). In the conservative tradition of Islam the world is divided into two components: dar al-Islam, the house of submission or the house of God, and dar al-Harb, the house of war; the home of the infidels or unbelievers (Arabic: kufr). Guess which one the US is?

"When time permits, 'Google' the founding of the great United States of America and there you will find that without the religiously persecuted there would be no constitution that you so hastily refer to."

Funny that, many of the founding fathers that designed the Constitution, Jefferson for example, weren't religious at all. They would find what is going in Hamtramck abominable. Hell, they found CHURCH BELLS abominable. I'm suprised you would even use that as a point.

"Such sloppy pasting and cutting of 'examples' to propel Fear across the Digital Divide is irresponsible."

Such sloppy arguments, and complete lack of comprehension skills. I know you are smarter than this TP.

"As to my anonymity: I am no more anonymous than anyone else who has contributed a post to this blog. Would you respond defferently if you knew my true identity? Perhaps you are wanting to correspond via e-mail? I prefer the civil arena called the blog. (It keeps us both honest.)"

Whatever floats your boat TP. I have no problem with your anonymity. I just find it odd, that's all. I will respect your wishes.

"P.S. Who is this mysterious 'third man' refered to in your second-hand, no wait, make that third-hand reference? Is he some kind of delegate, politician, or leprechaun?"

You'll have to explain that one a little better, not sure what you meant.

"P.P.S. Bongo Java does have the best coffee in town. On that, I think, we can agree."

True dat.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Found A Great Earth Impacts Page.........


Thanks to Randall at Future Pundit, I was stumbling through the web looking for an article he had recommended about asteroids that was written in the economist, (still haven't found the one he was talking about) and I ran across this page instead- Vector Site. On to ye olde links page with it.

The page does a great job of taking a very scientific approach to analyzing the facts behind Earth Impacts.

-"We now know that Earth impacts, fairly big ones, are happening all the time. The late Eugene Shoemaker of the US Geological Survey came up with an estimate of the rate of Earth impacts, and suggested that an event about the size of the nuclear weapon that destroyed Hiroshima occurs about once a year.

Such events would seem to be spectacularly obvious, but they generally go unnoticed, for a number of reasons: the majority of the Earth's surface is covered by water; a good portion of the land surface is uninhabited; and the explosions generally occur at relatively high altitude, resulting in a huge flash and thunderclap but no real damage."