Monday, May 31, 2004

I get comments, I get comments, I get lots and lots of comments..........

Actually I don't get lots of comments. Which is fine, I'm not pretending that this little page of web is anything special. I'm a realist. I do like when folks disagree on a major issue though. I enjoy the new perspective.

So I made a post for Memorial Day. I was trying to show how the US is not your typical "Empire" in that the majority of the wars our nation has bled the most for were wars against evil. Not Empire. We wanted to survive, not dominate. I thought Powell said it best-

"I don't think I have anything to be ashamed of or apologize for with respect to what America has done for the world."

Has the US done some horrible things?


Is the US responsible for the world?


Has the US been a force for good in the world?


Is the US wanting to take over the world?

HELLL no.....

We want to have fun and vacation. Screw Empire building, live free and prosper dammit.

There were some comments left on the last post I wanted to address-

sarah wrote-

"Attention- micheal moore does speak for me on many levels. That is what makes this country what it is, Do not generalize this once great land for your own ego's sake. we do not all feel the same way as you."

I apologize for sounding as if I spoke for this "once" great land. That would be foolish to think. I actually think that folks like Michael Moore speak to people like sarah to hear themselves talk and be idolized as some modern day hero, when in reality the real heros are the people in Iraq or Afghanistan right now. Or any number of places the citizens of the US are volunteering to help liberate the world. It's not for my ego. And I am not suprised that everyone does not feel as I do. That's OK. I don't expect them to. But I respect those like Pat Tillman far more than those such as Michael Moore. I think people like Pat do more to help the world than those like Moore. That's my opinion.

Thanks for commenting sarah, I respect your opinion.

Truepatriot wrote:
"Colin Powell is a man who deserves a monument constructed and dedicated to his past service to our fair country.

I bet he doesn't think so. I bet he thinks he's just another American trying to do right, and doesn't believe that his contribution is any more meaningful that anyone else's.

He has truly seemed to be a saint in a sea of thieves. That's why, comming from his lips, the quote mentioned in "Memorial Day and Empire Building" is curious. The United States has plenty of real estate left to accomidate the burial of its dead.

In our country, yes. Sometimes those that die, like in WWII, get buried in places like Normandy. We don't own Normandy, but quite a disproportionate amount of people from the US died to liberate a stretch of beach in France. Mr Powell isn't trying to say there wasn't room in Nebraska, just that we weren't in Normandy for some French real estate.

No one goes to war unless there are politacal, strategic or economic ends to be met and the Iraqi War is no different.

Yep, sure isn't. Fortunately, like most International Wars the US has been involved with the political, strategic and economic goals met were beneficial to the occupied party.

Anyone who believes otherwise knows little about the history of the U.S. or the world. Powell is right in asserting that the United States hasn't asked for anything. It has simply taken it.

So we just "took" Iraq? Um, I don't think so.

Is the Secretary aware of the conditions by which Germany and Japan were aloud to continue to exist after WWII?

In fact, I imagine that Mr Powell spent many hours studying the conditions by which Germany and Japan were aloud to continue to exist after WWII, because those conditions led to peace and prosperity for both of those countries. We should be so lucky in Iraq.

Tman, you and Powell are, on this point, misguided at best. The differnce only is that Powell knows better."

I'm not exactly sure what I am misguided about.......

Perhaps you'd like to comment?

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Memorial Day and Empire Building...........................

There is an urban legend concerning Colin Powell's response to an alleged question from the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding American 'empire building' goes a little somethin' like this.......

When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.

He answered by saying that, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."

It became very quiet in the room.

Turns out, that's not even close to what really happened. And that's not even close to what Colin Powell said.

It was actually the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 26, 2003. And The United States Secretary Of State was forced to convince the world that a Hitler protege of the new millenium was actually dangerous.

He wasn't trying to sell life insurance, he was trying to explain that the importance of an international consensus against a Genocidal Maniac was instinctual.

From the link above-

In a question-and-answer session afterwards (during which the phrase "empire building" was never mentioned, incidentally), the secretary of state was asked by former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey if he felt the U.S and its allies had given due consideration to the use of "soft power" — promulgating moral and democratic values as a means of achieving progress towards international peace and stability, basically — versus the "hard power" of military force.

Here, in part, is how Colin Powell actually responded to Carey's question:

There is nothing in American experience or in American political life or in our culture that suggests we want to use hard power. But what we have found over the decades is that unless you do have hard power — and here I think you're referring to military power — then sometimes you are faced with situations that you can't deal with.
I mean, it was not soft power that freed Europe. It was hard power. And what followed immediately after hard power? Did the United States ask for dominion over a single nation in Europe? No. Soft power came in the Marshall Plan. Soft power came with American GIs who put their weapons down once the war was over and helped all those nations rebuild. We did the same thing in Japan.

So our record of living our values and letting our values be an inspiration to others I think is clear. And I don't think I have anything to be ashamed of or apologize for with respect to what America has done for the world. [Applause.]

We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace. But there comes a time when soft power or talking with evil will not work where, unfortunately, hard power is the only thing that works.

It wasn't the first time Colin Powell had used the figure of speech. During an "MTV Global Discussion" on February 14, 2002, he was asked how he felt representing a country commonly perceived as "the Satan of contemporary politics." Here is the relevant part of his reply:

[F]ar from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II. We were willing to do it, glad to do it. We went to Korea. We went to Vietnam. All in the interest of preserving the rights of people.
And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, "Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us"? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. And that is the kind of nation we are.

Funny thing about the article, is that the phrase "the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead" wasn't actually spoken at the World Economic Forum (where they probably had a diplomatic spread worthy of King Tut). Actually, it was on MTV.

And so here another American generation stands, taking on yet another new version of international oppression, fascism, tyranny and injustice. And yet again this generation of American decides to risk their lives for the benefit of the rest of the world. Willingly and Fearlessly.

I am permanently indebted to those who gave their lives so that I may live in a land that is free.

This weekend, we celebrate their lives.

Naturally, someone will try and fuck it up. I was thinking of something along the lines of this asshole, you know what I mean.

This weekend, at some point, salute the Freedom Makers.

Happy Memorial Day.....we don't want your oil, just a place to bury the dead.

Update: Bill at INDC Journal links to this stunning and moving interactive feature highlighting the stories of WWII veterans. Yet more stories of brave Americans making the world safe for us and the rest of the world. These are the stories of our country that more of us need to remember. Attention the rest of the world: these are the REAL Americans.....Michael Moore and friends DO NOT speak for us.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The United States of Islam?.......................

Laugh all you want but here's a story that the blogosphere has been furiously debating for the last few weeks-

Hamtramck mosques to air calls to prayer

Council rejects drive to stop broadcasts; now, voters to decide

By Ron French / The Detroit News

Brandy Baker / The Detroit News

Council President Karen Majewski and colleagues will place the issue before voters in an election.

Islamic calls to prayer will be broadcast over loudspeakers onto the streets of Hamtramck beginning Friday.

A petition drive intended to stop the broadcast of the religious messages, which has become controversial in this city, appears to have backfired for the moment.

The petition drive was intended to stop a noise ordinance amendment regulating the religious messages. The City Council voted unanimously to reject the petitions and place the issue before city voters in the next election.

“I am appalled by the level of racism I have seen,” Councilman Scott Klein said. “The people opposing this amendment (that allows the calls to prayer) have nothing on the boys from Birmingham (Ala.).”

But Robert Zwolak of Hamtramck, who led the petition drive, was just as upset by the council's actions.

“The damage has been done. This is Chernobyl,” Zwolak said, referring to the nuclear power plant disaster in Ukraine in 1986. “The fallout will last for many years.”

As a result of the council's decision Tuesday night, the city has no power to regulate the volume or the time of day the calls to prayer may be broadcast.

Masud Kahn, secretary of the Al-Islah Islamic Center, said after the meeting that the mosque would go ahead with plans to begin broadcasting the calls to prayer, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

The call to prayer is an integral part of the Muslim faith. It is made five times a day, and lasts between one and two minutes.

Here's the likely argument that the Islamic faith will use when defending it's desire to annoy the living shit out of those of us who don't want to hear "Allahu Ahkbar!" blaring through our windows at 4:30 in the morning: Christian churches ring bells to call to prayer, why can't we?

And they would have a point.

Now do I think for a second that the two sounds are comparable? Of course not- a church bell has a few rings, end of story. Go back to bed. No big deal. A huge loudspeaker blaring arabic at ungodly hours would be exponentially more annoying. But that's not the point that will be made.

The point will be that Christians are given special privileges to ring their call to prayer, which clearly would violate any standard noise ordinance. Some may argue that it isn't a call to prayer anymore, it's just a bell letting everyone know what time it is. This may be true in some cases, but if its true that any churches are still ringing it as a call to prayer, it is what it is. And it clearly is an example of religion getting special privileges that other groups or individuals don't get. I'm not allowed to blare Jimi Hendrix at 4:30 in the morning as loud as I want to, as it would disturb my neighbors. Therefore the law should be applied equally- no one should be allowed to blare noise at ungodly hours when it disturbs the peace, even if it is just a church bell.

The only way for this to clear the SCOTUS is for all religious groups to agree not to blare their call to prayer at all. It's the only way for the government to abide by the establishment clause in our constitution- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

By not allowing ANY religious groups to blare their call to prayer, congress would a.) not be making any laws that establish a state religion, in fact they would be making the law to specifically remain neutral, which is what they should be, and b.)would not be prohibiting the free exercise of said religion.

Freedom to exercise one's religion does not include allowing said religion to disturb the peace of a community. You can pretty much gauruntee that the Muslim argument will be that no one has stopped the churches, why shouldn't they be allowed to?

Answer: We are going to have to stop the churches. To do otherwise would clearly be hypocritical, and now is a time where we must abide as strictly as possible by the laws of our constitution if we want to defeat religious fundamentalism.

If we don't, we are playing right in to the hands of those who wish to see the US become a Caliphate state.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The Family Guy Quotes......

(via-Michelle at ASV)

Family Guy Quotes

Tough to pick a favorite, this one is up there though.....

"Brian: Peter, did you read the fine print on this loan contract?
Peter: Um, if by "read" you mean imagined a naked lady, then, yes."

Monday, May 24, 2004

We read letters, we read letters, we read lots and lots of letters......

Reading the WSJ at lunch today, and come across this letter to the editor from a Robert J. Sutter from Atlanta. It is in regards to an opinion piece from last week written by Mr. Ramos-Horta, the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1996, East Timor's senior minister for foreign affairs and cooperation. His piece basically argues that sometimes force is the only thing capable of defeating evil, and all of the nonviolent protests in the world wouldn't have stopped the genocide in Rwanda, nor the removal of Saddam.

In Mr. Ramos-Horta's words-

" In almost 30 years of political life, I have supported the use of force on several occasions and sometimes wonder whether I am a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace prize. Certainly I am not in the same category as Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu or Nelson Mandela. But Mr. Mandela, too, recognized the need to resort to violence in the struggle against white oppression. The consequences of doing nothing in the face of evil were demonstrated when the world did not stop the Rwandan genocide that killed almost a million people in 1994. Where were the peace protesters then? They were just as silent as they are today in the face of the barbaric behavior of religious fanatics.

Some may accuse me of being more of a warmonger than a Nobel laureate, but I stand ready to face my critics. It is always easier to say no to war, even at the price of appeasement. But being politically correct means leaving the innocent to suffer the world over, from Phnom Penh to Baghdad. And that is what those who would cut and run from Iraq risk doing."

Mr Sutter responds with this in todays paper-

"Mr. Ramos-Horta speaks to the need for coalition countries to stay the course in Iraq. I couldn't agree more, but I'm puzzled as to why this plea is heard frequently from politicians in all parts of the world, yet nothing is ever heard from the leaders of the newly formed government of Iraq.............

..........By the end of June the U.S. is supposed to turn over the reins of governing to this body. I would expect the world press to ask government officials of Iraq their views regarding the progress being made, and their position on the activities of terrorists who would prevent them from establishing a free Iraq.

I know what the terrorists in the Middle East believe, and I know what folks who hate America, both inside and outside our country, believe. What I don't understand is why no one dares to ask what the Iraqis want?

Why has the press of the free world ignored this group of people?"

A good question Mr Sutter. One might say that it is the AGENDA of the majority of the newsmedia to defeat George Bush at every oppurtunity due to their liberal bias. If this means actively ignoring positive stories about our military during a time of war, well, so be it. It fits the agenda, end of story.

What's REALLY sad is that the media has the blogworld to access just like everyone else, and they continually get scooped by Iraqi bloggers on a daily basis. Here's one of the latest from Ali at Iraq the Model

An excerpt-

"If one is to believe the media and the Arab leaders and Muslim clerics, the only conclusions that can be drawn from such a situation, is that there are no Iraqis in Iraq. The only Iraqis who seem to exist and “care about the Iraqi people” live outside Iraq! I can name in this respect, in addition to the above; the western media, the French, German and Russian governments and the “pacifists”. Otherwise why aren’t the Iraqis going out to the streets in hundreds of thousands to protest against their "oppressors"!?

I guess there are only few answers to this question. It’s either that the majority of Iraqis don’t feel there’s such huge violation that needs to be protested against, or that they are more interested in their daily lives; their jobs and the future of their children than whining about buildings that as holy as they are to them, can not match their care about their jobs and children’s future.

This may give the impression that Iraqis are apathetic to what’s happening in their country, which could be true for some of them as a result of decades of oppression and hopelessness, but when one remembers that Iraqis did demonstrate a lot in the last year, such presumptions indeed seems to fit only a minority.

The only difference here is that most of the demonstrations the Iraqis made were not demanding ending the occupations. They were about improving life conditions and security; in other words things that really matter to them. Still there were political demonstrations, but the largest of these were, one demanding immediate elections and one condemning terrorism!!

There still one possibility that might explain why the rest of the world “care” more about Iraqis than the Iraqis themselves. It’s that we are all traitors who accepted to deal, and sometimes cooperate fully with the occupiers. This was what I heard from most Arabs describing the IP, the new Iraqi army, the GC, the ministers and most of the government employees. It seems that we have a new breed of traitors multiplying in Iraq and these seem to have forgot according to the rest of the world that they are Iraqis (Hey, I don’t belong into this category. I’m a CIA agent, please remember that!). Iraqis indeed need lessons from Hassan Nasr Allah and Al-Jazeerah of how to be…Iraqis. I'm not claiming that most Iraqis love America, although a good percentage certainly do. I'm only suggesting that more Iraqis are becoming day by day, at least, less anti-American and more realistic.

We all know that the goal of the American army in this operation is to arrest Sadr and there’s no need or cause to harm the holy shrines and I’m sure that the highly trained soldiers and bright leaders in the US army will manage to do that with the minimal damage if ever.

Some people might fear the undesirable reactions of the She’at Muslims outside Iraq in response to any attempt to arrest Sadr at this period. Let me say that there are no easy options here, but if we believe in that theme and surrender to our fears, we’ll be falling to the same trap that many European governments fell in. we’ll be appeasing the extremists instead of facing them. Besides what could Hizbullah or the Iranian clerics do?! Send more fighters?? They are already doing this and they need no excuse for that!

The only way we can stop that is by continuing the building of democracy in Iraq. Once those outsiders lose any sympathy inside Iraq, and once the neighboring countries feel that it’s impossible to stop the process, they’ll give up and try to find other alternatives that might help them keep their decayed regimes alive, at least for few more years. It’s not that easy, but it’s that simple. This is a battle of wills above all."

Mr Sutter, you may have to turn off CNN and fire up the WWW, but the voices from Iraq are out there. I wish that our media would pick up more from these sources, but you can't say the Iraqi's aren't trying.

You can say that the major US newsources certainly aren't......

More required reading.......Bill Whittle strikes again......

Bill Whittle, who pens some incredible essays for the blogworld to pontificate on, has graciously offered another installment- STRENGTH - in his soon to be novel about America.

If you haven't read any of his essays before, I suggest you take the time to become familiar with them. My personal favorites so far are MAGIC and TRINITY (parts I&II).

And yes, they are long, and yes, they are worth the time needed to truly read them.

Friday, May 21, 2004

But what does this have to do with Gay Marriage?................

Last night I was talking with my bud Ryan about the total lack of reality that seems to have unhinged the media elites in this country and left them alienating more and more of their readers and viewers (WSJ excluded).

Then I read this from the Instapundit-

"THIS POLL suggests that the media really are out of touch on Iraq. Note these questions:

20. On the situation in Iraq today, where do you think most of the problems are being created?

1. In Iraq 23%
2. In Washington, DC, or 18
3. In the news media 27
4. (Combination) 21
5. (All) 8
6. (None) -
7. (Not sure) 3

27. Which of the following news stories upset you more?

1. The abuse of Iraqi prisoners
by U.S. soldiers 8%
2. The beheading of an American
civilian by Muslim terrorists 60

3. (Both equal) 29
4. (Not sure) 3

28. Do you think the media spent an excessive amount of time covering either of the following news stories?

1. The Iraqi prisoner abuse story 34%
2. The beheading of American Nick Berg 9
3. (Both were covered excessively) 35
4. (Neither was covered excessively) 15
5. (Not sure) 7

Now it seems that instead of simply alienating their audience, the media is beginning to be more than a hindrance in this war, they are Talking us in to Defeat...

"May 21, 2004
Congress, Media Could Talk U.S. Into Iraq Defeat
By Mort Kondracke

The American establishment, led by the media and politicians, is in danger of talking the United States into defeat in Iraq. And the results would be catastrophic.

The media - unperturbed by mistakenly likening both the Afghan war and last year's invasion of Iraq to Vietnam - focuses overwhelmingly on the bad news coming out of Iraq. There is plenty of bad news - but there is also much good, and it is being almost completely ignored.

Some Members of Congress - either out of a passion to defeat President Bush, pique at not being listened to by the Bush administration, or simply a need to hear their own voices - are declaring the war "unwinnable" or "a quagmire," or are demanding an "exit strategy."

Both the media and Congress are obsessed with the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. It is awful, but both institutions are treating it as if it were the most important occurrence of the war.

The decapitation of Nicholas Berg - which, it merits reminding, required several cuts of the knife to stop his screaming - was a front-page story for just one day. Only one newspaper that I know of, the Dallas Morning News, plus the Weekly Standard magazine, made the point that Berg's murder is "why we fight."

By now, Abu Ghraib has been a lead story for weeks. And Congress has gone so far as to pull top U.S. commanders back from the battle zone to grill them about it - just as America's enemies are launching what they hope will be the Iraqi equivalent of the 1968 Tet offensive, hoping to undermine the June 30 handover of power to Iraqis. "

We found WMD's in Iraq, the sarin shell is a particularly nasty version of WMD's, known as a binary weapon, which Saddam lied to the UN about having for years. I know, how shocking.

The Commisar at Politburo Diktat has noticed that the lefty bloggers are, um, how shall you say- MUM- about this discovery?

Da Comrades.

The problem with this discovery is that it was apparently unmarked, meaning we have no idea how many of these still may be in some ammo dump somewhere in east bumbF*** Iraq. Or buried under the desert like those MIG's we found. Either way, FIND THEM FIND THEM FIND THEM!!!!

Is anyone else getting as sick as I am with the way the liberal media is participating in this anti-american orgy?

Thursday, May 20, 2004

McLean v. Arkansas - Plaintiff's transcript, testimony of Stephen Jay Gould.........

As you can see from my right sidebar, I have a section devoted to "debunking your creationist/Intelligent design Friends". One of the sites I have found most helpful recently in terms of keeping me abreast of the latest struggles science is dealing with in the nations courtrooms is The Panda's Thumb. The site is named after the famous essay by Stephen Gould, The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History.

One of the most fascinating links I stumbled across was the following transcript from McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, which is known as one of the more high-profile court cases relating to evolution since the scopes trial. The case pitted creationists against pastors, priests, teachers, and scientists. "McLean et al. vs. Arkansas" sought relief from Arkansas' Act 590, which mandated that evolutionary biology instruction be balanced with "creation science". Unlike the 1925 Scopes trial in Tennessee, the Arkansas court heard testimony from a large number of witnesses on both sides of the case. Judge Overton ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, and Act 590 was deemed unconstitutional. One of the witnesses for the trial was none other than Stephen Gould himself.

This is the transcript still available of the testimony from Dr. Gould for the plaintiffs and the cross-examination from the defense. I am linking to this testimony for the benefit of others to read and distribute, because it is in danger of becoming erased from history due to the neglect of the official records and the lack of centralized data storing in the Arkansas court systems.

I suggest perusing the testimony to get better acquainted with the history of this debate, as it is fundamental to our progression scientifically to desist wasting time on non-scientific theories in science classrooms.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Now yer talkin'.......................

Hey NASA, pay attention!

Asteroid Eaters: Robots to Hunt Space Rocks, Protect Earth

"At the movies, the best way to stop an asteroid from wiping out Earth is to lob a few nuclear missiles at the rocky beast or blow it apart from the inside with megaton bombs.

While those methods promise some fantastic explosions -- and maybe a blockbuster hit -- a team of engineers are looking at a more patient approach. Their weapon: a swarm of nuclear-powered robots that could drill into an asteroid and hurl chunks of it into space with enough force to gradually push it into a non-Earth impacting course.

"We're aiming to examine the whole idea of these robots," said Matthew Graham, design project manager for the study at SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc. (SEI), an engineering consulting and concept analysis firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

SEI researchers have completed a preliminary study into the robots, called Modular Asteroid Deflection Mission Ejector Node (MADMEN) spacecraft, under a grant awarded by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) to come up with new techniques to defend the planet against pesky near-Earth objects (NEOs).

"Previous studies by NASA and NIAC focused on concepts that could detect asteroids or bump them using propulsion systems of nuclear weapons," NIAC director Robert Cassanova told "[MADMEN] was rather unique in that it would nibble away at the asteroid."

Read the rest of the article.

The only big problem I forsee with this technique is, how are we going to affect an asteroid spinning in random rotations? Not to mention it being miles wide?

For instance let's look at Toutatis.

Toutatis is about 2.9 miles long and 1.5 miles wide (4.6 by 2.4 kilometers).

From the article-

"Toutatis looks something like a dumbbell hurtling awkwardly through space. It has a crazy rotation that makes normal days impossible. Scientists can't explain the shape or the spin, but they're eager to learn more in September when, during the close pass, even backyard skywatchers will be able to spot the asteroid.

So how would the robots be effective against an asteroid as big and awkward as this?

I would think not very. But the idea does have potential, and ANYTHING that someone proposes and tests would be better than what we are currently doing, which technically is nothing.

Once again, Saturn, Mars, etc.- none of this will mean anything to me until we can get a higher level of security in terms of dealing with NEO's.

Ok, this is friggin' REEEEEDICULOUS.......

Grrrr.............from those bastions of the politically correct embezzlement organizations, THE USOC.....

NEW YORK — American athletes have been warned not to wave the U.S. flag during their medal celebrations at this summer's Olympic Games in Athens, for fear of provoking crowd hostility and harming the country's already-battered public image.

The spectacle of victorious athletes grabbing a national flag and parading it around the stadium is a familiar part of international sporting competition, but U.S. Olympic officials have ordered their 550-strong team to exercise restraint and avoid any jingoistic behavior.

The plan is part of a charm offensive aimed at repairing the country's international reputation after the deepening crisis in Iraq and damaging revelations of the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.

"American athletes find themselves in extraordinary circumstances in Athens in relation to the world as we know it right now," said Mike Moran, a veteran former spokesman for the United States Olympic Committee who has been retained as a consultant to advise athletes how to behave.

"Regardless of whether there is anti-American sentiment in Athens or not, the world watches Americans a lot now in terms of how they behave and our culture. What I am trying to do with the athletes and coaches is to suggest to them that they consider how the normal things they do at an event, including the Olympics, might be viewed as confrontational or insulting or cause embarrassment."

"What I am telling the athletes is, 'Don't run over and grab a flag and take it round the track with you.' It's not business as usual for American athletes. If a Kenyan or a Russian grabs their national flag and runs round the track or holds it high over their heads, it might not be viewed as confrontational. Where we are in the world right now, an American athlete doing that might be viewed in another manner."

So wait, lemme get this straight. Because we happened to televise and publish our skeletons for the world to see, which as horrible as they were, weren't really that bad by any strecth of the imagination, we should be so ashamed as to not even wave our flag at the Olympic Ceremonies?

Are you freaking kidding me?

RUSSIA? The former Soviet Union, has less to be ashamed of than the US? Chechnya? Hello?

How about Zimbabwe? Where Mugabe has tortured and starved thousands of his own people? I could go on and on listing country after country that tortures and abuses its own people on levels approaching satanic, if not going lower.

But noooooo.. The one country that dares to put its own people on the line to help liberate others from oppression, while trying to make the world safe, we are the bad guys. To my mates in England and Australia, I imagine that you would find this type of request quite humorous, as you too have shed blood alongside ours to liberate those oppressed before.

Did they ask the NAZI's to do the same thing???? (shaking head).....

Here's what we should do. We should have our flag, and next to them should be the flags of every country the US currently aids by either food or military assistance. Every country that boos us for holding there flag along with ours gets dropped from the list.

Starting with Egypt......

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

So how close is Cassini Huygens to Saturn?..........

.................It's about This close...............Or more specifically, about 23.9 million miles away.

Nice pic though, amazing how symmetrical the rings around Saturn are though, eh?

And the lord said...Boom!....................

I hadn't discussed this when the news came out, but I wanted to bring it up, because some reading this may be interested...

Evidence for a Large Impact at the Permian-Triassic Boundary

Article Posted: May 14, 2004
By: David Morrison

A newly discovered impact crater near Australia might be implicated in the greatest mass extinction of all time, 251 million years ago.


A NASA news conference was held May 13 to announce the discovery of an impact crater near Australia that might be implicated in the greatest mass extinction of all time the Permian-Triassic or PT event, 251 million years ago.

Identification of the cause of this critical event for the history of life on our planet is one of the major challenges of paleontologists and astrobiologists. As Michael Benton recently wrote (Michael J. Benton: "When Life Nearly Died  The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time," Thames & Hudson, 2003):

"The end-Permian mass extinction may be less well known than the end-Cretaceous, but it was by far the biggest mass extinction of all time. Perhaps as few as 10 percent of species survived the end of the Permian, whereas 50 percent survived the end of the Cretaceous. Fifty percent extinction was associated with devastating environmental upheaval. But there is an enormous difference between 50 percent survival though the end-Cretaceous and only 10 percent survival through the end-Permian. The key difference & is in the diversity of founders available for the reflowering of life after the catastrophe. The survival of only 10 percent of species means that many major groups of plants, animals, and microbes have probably gone forever."

As was mentioned in the discussion during the NASA news conference, at the time when early paleontologists first recognized the PT boundary, some suggested that all life had been killed on Earth, and that the Creator started over with entirely new life forms.

The new research is by geochemist and oceanographer Luann Becker (Dept. of Geology, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara), and her colleagues R. J. Poreda, A. R. Basu, K. O. Pope, T. M. Harrison, C. Nicholson, and R. Iasky. The paper title is "Bedout: A Possible End-Permian Impact Crater Offshore Northwestern Australia". The paper abstract is reproduced below.

The paper reports on the identification of a large submarine impact structure off western Australia that is dated at 250.7 +/- 4.3 million years (an argon-argon date from a single plagioclase crystal). This geological rise had previously been thought to be volcanic, but a re-examination of drill cores by this team shows clear evidence of impact materials, including abundant shocked mineral grains. Their preliminary work suggests that this original crater was nearly as large as the Chicxulub crater, which caused the KT extinction 65 million years ago.

Recent work by others has shown that the extinction at the end of the Permian was extremely rapid, like that at the end of the Cretaceous. Less is known generally, however, about the earlier extinction. Some other evidence of an impact at the PT boundary has been found, but so far no significant iridium anomalies such as those that first suggested an impact at the KT boundary.

The interpretation of these great mass extinctions is complicated. Both the KT and the PT event have been associated with large volcanic eruptions, although the time scale for volcanism is millions of years, not the thousands of years (or less) that account for the great dying. Few scientists today think the Deccan volcanism 65 million years ago played a major role in the KT extinction, but many have proposed that the even larger Siberian eruptions of 250 million years ago might have been responsible for the PT extinction. In the case of the KT, there was a great deal of early evidence of an extraterrestrial event, but the discovery of the actual crater was key to wide acceptance of the reality of the impact catastrophe 65 million years ago. Identification of a large crater with age 251 million years might also resolve the PT debate, but a great deal more work needs to be done.

Doug Irwin of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Intuition, who also participated in the NASA press conference, stated that the arguments that this might be the PT impact crater are interesting but not compelling. He noted that while the evidence for an impact at the PT has been growing over the past couple of years, he would still not be able to say that an impact was more likely than a volcanic explanation, or perhaps some other cause. The PT event remains one of the big mysteries of the history of life on Earth.


Obviously there is still much work to be done to prove or disprove the impact hypothesis, but it appears quite possible that what is known as the "the Great Dying" 250 million years ago, when 90 percent of marine and 80 percent of land life perished in a very short time, was caused by a piece of space rock crashing in to our planet.

It must have been one big piece of space rock too, because the crater they are talking about connecting to the PT extinction is 125 MILES across....

Monday, May 17, 2004

Cox and Forkum nail it again........

The insightful duo put the entire prison abuse/execution stories in perspective like few others can. Here
and here..

The ad on the right side of my blog for Black and White World is worth checking out, it would be a good thing if more people were able to see their work.
Considering the complete lack of conservative or non-liberal cartoons in the newspapers these days, folks such as Cox and Forkum, or Chris Muir's Day by Day cartoon really deserve to be there. Not only would it strike some balance, but there work is excellent and well illustrated.

And I'm really getting sick of Doonesbury....

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Prison Abuse Vs. Islamic Execution Video.....................

As we all know, some of the prisoners at Abu-Gharib were apparently tortured and humiliated, in a truly vicious and atrocious display of barbarity by our US soldiers. There is no excusing it. It was awful. Those responsible should pay dearly, court-martials, the whole deal. And as most of us are aware, this is what is being done. I won't compare this to the fact that this sort of abuse happens on a daily basis in just about every Arab prison complex in the world, not to mention some of our domestic prisons here in the US, because we need to be better than this if we are to succeed in Iraq.

Then we have the latest news about Nicholas Berg, the young man from Philadelphia who went to Iraq to try and repair some satellite antennas, basically help out. He was caught by some Islamic fundamentalists, and they made a video of his execution so the world could see it. He was beheaded, in a grotesque and barabaric display of inhumanity. If you have the stomach, you can see the video here (note-this is an EXTREMELY graphic video and be forewarned it is not edited for sensitivities-if you haven't the stomach, don't click the link).

What we have seen after the prison abuse story was immediate condemnation, apologies from our own president, eventual reparations to the abused, and general "oh the humanity" type editorializing in all of the major newspapers. This is pretty standard for our media these days, take a negative story from Iraq and sensationalize it, regardless of the consequences, while in the meantime ignore the thousands of other positive stories of schools and hospitals being built, kids playing soccer in the new stadiums being built, and so on. There are literally hundreds of stories ignored by the media on a daily basis of positive works done by our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. And this bothers me. It tells me that the media heads are undermining our efforts in the War simply to sell newspapers and get better ratings. I hope those columnists and TV producers sleep well at night, because I couldn't live with myself knowing I am de facto supporting the enemy.

Then we have the execution. What we WON'T hear from the leaders of the Islamic world is apologies, or condemnation, or attempts at reparation. In fact, instead we will hear support and praise for the executioners from many of the Imams and Mullahs, along with a few "I told ya's" from the more moderate Imams. But nothing coming even remotely close to an apology or condemnation. If you see it, please let me know. When you hear people say "but this is simply a small percentage of Islam, this is not true Islam"- remember that there are 1.5 billion muslims. 1% of a billion muslims is still millions of people. And it only took 19 of them to cause unprecedented destruction.

What this is leading to was the topic of todays bleat from James Lilek. He hits the nail on the head when describing the realities on the ground that few people seem to realize these days-

"The West doesn’t have the power to change Islam; it only has the power to destroy it. We have a lot of nukes. We could kill everyone. We could just take out a few troublesome nations, kill millions, and irradiate Mecca so that the Fifth Pillar is invalidated. The hajj would be impossible. Every pilgrim a martyr. I don’t think we’ll do either; God help us if we do, but inasmuch as we have the capability, it’s an option. But it would be a crime greater than the crime that provoked such an act, and in the end that would stay our hand. They know we won’t do it.

Strong horse, weak horse.

There is another path, of course. Simply put: if a US city is nuked, the US will have to nuke someone, or let it stand that the United States can lose a city without cost to the other side. Defining “the other side” would be difficult, of course – do you erase Tehran to punish the mullahs? Make a crater out of Riyahd? These are exactly the sort of decisions we never want to make. But let’s say it happens. Baltimore: fire and wind. Gone. That horrible day would clarify things once and for all. It’s one thing for someone in a distant city to cheer the fall of two skyscrapers: from a distance, it looks like a bloody nose. But erasing a city is a different matter.
Everyone will have to choose sides. That would be one possible beginning of the end of this war.

I hope that sooner or later the media uses its focus to expose this reality in a way that becomes crystal clear to the American people and the West in general. This is a world war of religious fanatics versus freedom espousing people. There is no whitewashing of this reality. Whether or not George Bush is president, there will be more Nicholas Bergs, and more screaming Jihadis calling for "death to the JOOOOS and America".

The lynchpin right now in this conflict is Iraq. Either we succeed in giving Iraqis a chance to become free and democratic, or we surrender the most important battlefield of this war that is out there.

Think about that next time NPR opens it's "all thing considered" with another story about the prison abuse, or the latest "horrible atrocity" commited by the US troops.

I almost threw my fucking radio through the window this morning when it came on. I really need to change the station.....

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Mars Rover update...Spirit Surpasses the One-Mile Mark!.......

This stuff continues to baffle me. The planet is like 80 million miles away, and we just drove a go cart around on it for over a mile. While taking pictures. And beaming them back to earth. And navigating the terrain. And not blowing a strut or tipping over, or any number of things that could go wrong. Cause see, if this did happen, there isn't a handy tow company in the vicinity to fix it. Freaking VERY cool stuff....

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Surpasses the One-Mile Mark! - sol 121-123, May 10, 2004

On sol 121, after a brief nap, Spirit conducted atmospheric measurements before continuing its trek toward the "Columbia Hills." A 96.8 meter (318 feet) drive that consisted of about half direct drive and half auto-navigational drive broke Spirit's last one-sol distance traveled. That drive brought the mission total to 1,669 meters (1.04 miles), flipping the rover's odometer over the one-mile mark.

Sol 122 was a touch-and-go day, starting with a half-hour alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration, a one-hour Mössbauer integration and a set of four microscopic images all on the same patch of soil. Panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer data were also obtained before an afternoon nap. The bulk of the afternoon was spent driving another 65 meters (213 feet).

Sol 123 started off with Panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer observations for near-field surveys, atmospheric studies, and localization. Spirit then took a half-hour nap, followed by the day's drive. This sol consisted of another 48-meter (about 157-feet) direct drive, the mid-drive survey and localization remote sensing, and then 47-meters (about 154 feet) of driving using auto-navigation. The total was 95.2 meters (312 feet), bringing the mission total to 1830 meters (1.14 miles).

Way to be NASA.......Now stop screwing around with Mars and figure out where the asteroids are, and how we're going to stop them.

THIS should be getting more funding than most of the NASA projects right now, because as I've stated before, all the Mars stuff won't mean jack once we find a big ass NEO headed for downtown LA....

Monday, May 10, 2004

Omar from Iraq the Model and Abu-Gharib.................

As the story about the prisoner abuse continues to unfold in Iraq, Ali over at Iraq the Model gives us an interesting perspective from an Iraqi concerning the whole issue.

He recounts a story he had with a doctor who has been working at the prison since the days of Saddams rule, and believe it or not, he thinks the days under Saddam were worse....I know, how shocking.

An excerpt:

"-Yes but what about the way they are treated? And how did you find American soldiers in general?

- I’ll tell you about that; first let me tell you that I was surprised with their politeness. Whenever they come to the hospital, they would take of their helmets and show great respect and they either call me Sir or doctor. As for the way they treat the prisoners, they never handcuff anyone of those, political or else, when they bring them for examination and treatment unless I ask them to do so if I know that a particular prisoner is aggressive, and I never saw them beat a prisoner and rarely did one of them use an offensive language with a prisoner.

One of those times, a member of the American MP brought one of the prisoners, who was complaining from a headache, but when I tried to take history from him he said to me “doctor, I had a problem with my partner (he was a homosexual) I’m not Ok and I need a morphine or at least a valium injection” when I told him I can’t do that, he was outraged, swore at me and at the Americans and threatened me. I told the soldier about that, and he said “Ok Sir, just please translate to him what I’m going to say”. I agreed and he said to him “I want you to apologize to the doctor and I want your word as a man that you’ll behave and will never say such things again” and the convict told him he has his word!!

Another incidence I remember was when one of the soldiers brought a young prisoner to the hospital. The boy needed admission but the soldier said he’s not comfortable with leaving the young boy (he was about 18) with those old criminals and wanted to keep him in the isolation room to protect him. I told him that this is not allowed according to the Red Cross regulations. He turned around and saw the paramedics’ room and asked me if he can keep him there, and I told him I couldn’t. The soldier turned to a locked door and asked me about it. I said to him “It’s an extra ward that is almost deserted but I don’t have the keys, as the director of the hospital keeps them with him”. The soldier grew restless, and then he brought some tools, broke that door, fixed it, put a new lock, put the boy inside and then locked the door and gave me the key!

Omar also lists some responses from various other Iraqis found on the BBC Arabic site discussing the prisoner abuse stories. These comments should be kept in mind as we think about this story.

"-"Thank you Sir for apologizing on the abuse of the Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison. Here you opened an important file; I think that those criminals who were responsible for the mass graves in my country (who are now in your jails' cells) should apologize for their massacres against the Iraqi people".
Imad Al-Sa'ad - Netherlands.

-"Who reads the reactions of Iraqis will see how surprised they're by the way the Americans can prove that years of Saddam's rule and of his anti-American propaganda can be washed out by time; here we have the president of the greatest nation on earth apologizes for what a small group of pervert soldiers did. And here, the American press proves that it's free to show the truth. We lived with similar pictures for years until they became the basics of every prison's daily life and we never heard an Arabic paper point them out. These are lessons from the western culture entering the hearts of Arabs, whether the Arab leaders liked or not".
Sa'eed - Diwaniyah/Iraq.

-"I think that President Bush should talk to us to fill the gap between us and I wish I could see the Arab leaders talk to us like GWB did"
Jihad Abu Shabab - Germany.

-"I'm very happy to see Iraqis condemning the abuse and defending the rights of the prisoners and this is the first time they do something like this, which was impossible for them to do under the dictator's regime. I think that our Arab brothers should mind their own business and take a look at their own prisons".
N - Jordan.

-"I think that president Bush was honest in what he said. Those abuses do not represent the American people. As a matter of fact, we can find cruel men with no morals in any country; that's why we should not judge a whole nation for the violations of a small group of people and I'm sure that these will get the punishment they deserve. Here I'd like to direct my question to the Arabic media "where were you when Saddam mass-executed my people and used all kinds of torture against us?".
Reemon A'adel Sami -Iraq

-"I think that President Bush's statement will find acceptance from some of the Arabs, while the majority will not be satisfied with his words whatever apologies they included just because he is BUSH and he is AMERICAN. I'm sure that the American officials are more upset by the event than the Iraqis themselves because this doesn't belong to their culture or their ethics as a civilized nation.
I think that the event took more space than it actually deserves and the media are creating a mountain from a grain. It's enough for us to remember Saddam's doings to comment on what recently happened".

Here are some more Iraqi blog reactions, this one from Firas Gorges at Iraq-Iraqis,

"Here in Baghdad any one can see that the media is talking about Abo Ghraib more than the Iraqis themselves. Its not Iraqis they are crying on they are using this case against the Americans. Please try to answer these questions:

Is there any prison in the world with out humiliation?
Did any one talk about Iraqi human rights before April 2003?
Did any one ask what those people in Abo Ghraib did to be treated like that?
Can any Arab country open its prisons for any committee?
Would any one dare to criticize prisons system in any other Arab country?

Well……Thank you Arabs, we don’t need your voices now, we know how to solve our problems very well, and it’s being solved. We have our own government and its going to be more legitimate in next July and elected in 2005.

All I can think of now if I had the power is to start a huge campaign against those governments who tries to use us for there own settlements with others. At that time the world would see enough scandals that may forget about us and we would go ahead for prosperity more easily.

I encourage you to read the vaiour other Iraqi blogs out there to get a better perspective of the situation. Each Iraqi blog has links to various others that pop up all the time. Interestingly enough, I obviously don't need to remind anyone that these blogs are a by-product of Iraqis new found freedoms, brought to them by the Coalition.

In regards to Abu-gharib, my thoughts are simply this. The morons who played games and did torture prisoners at Abu-Gharib most certainly need to be court-martialed and dealt with accordingly. And as you can see, this is precisely what's happening. The stories of abuse are abominable, and I agree that just because Saddam did far worse during his tenure doesn't excuse us from our own atrocities. We are of a higher standard than that and need to be held accountable.

This being said, I am getting tired of the hand wringing and partisan political wars being fought over this issue. We continue to ignore the noble and honorable men and women from our Armed Forces that have actually done some AMAZING things in the last year. For instance, "Frisbees near Fallujah" is the latest news from Spirit of America, how many of you heard anything about this in the news? Yeah, that's what I thought. Well, I recommend reading this latest post in its entirety. It is important, yet since it's good news, it will never make the news.

We will only lose this war if we defeat ourselves. There is no army capable of challenging the US military. And the shoot and hide terrorists only strengthen our soldiers resolve. We will only fail in Iraq if we let partisan sniping and historical revisionism from the loony leftists defeat our will to tough it out and see through the hopes for a free and democratic Iraq.

I leave you with the latest thoughts from Joe Lieberman, who makes me wish he would have been nominated for President instead of Kerry....

“The behavior by Americans at the prison in Iraq is, as we all acknowledge, immoral, intolerable and un-American ... I cannot help but say, however, that those responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, never apologized. Those who have killed hundreds of Americans in uniform in Iraq, working to liberate Iraq and protect our security, have never apologized. And those who murdered and burned and humiliated four Americans in Fallujah a while ago never (apologized)....”

“I hope as we go about this investigation we do it in a way that does not dishonor the hundreds of thousands of Americans in uniform who are a lot more like Pat Tillman and Americans that are not known, like Army National Guard Sgt. Felix Delgreco, of Simsbury, Conn., who was killed in action a few weeks ago, that we not dishonor their service or discredit the cause that brought us to send them to Iraq, because it remains one that is just and necessary.”

Friday, May 07, 2004

Mother's Day Itinerary...................

Yep, that time of year again. Me mum's coming down to Nashville this year to be wined and dined as only a loving son could. (cough)...ahem.....My best friend and I have had somewhat of a tradition lately of cooking lobsters at our favorite watering hole, Jacksons, but this year we're skipping the lobsters and will instead have someone else do the cooking. I imagine the cooks at Jacksons wouldn't mind if we stayed the hell out of their kitchen anyways. Since I rarely post about non-political/sports topics, I figured I would show everyone my plans to celebrate the most important woman in my life, so without further adieu, here's Mom's itinerary this weekend....

Friday (night)

8:30 Arrive Int airport -short ten minute drive to check in to nice Hotel off of West End. (she doesn't want to stay in my single bedroom palatial condo (cough-ahem) this year-hey- don't blame me- I offered.)

9:00 dinner at Park Cafe with my best friend and his mom....they have an incredible beer selection here as well, I'll probably be drinking some of these. Good stuff

11:00 (pending Mom's alertness) Guiness at Dan McGuinness' Pub, they have the best Guiness pour in town, if not probably retire for some martini's back at Jacksons.


11:00ish- Breakfast and Coffee at Bongo Java, sit out on the patio and enjoy the fabulous springtime weather.

1:00-2:00ish - Go for a hike around Radnor Lake, weather permitting.

3:00 -4:30ish- Head to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts to look at some European Masterworks

5:00- 6:00 -Nap. Hey I'm tired from that hike. Maybe a few martini's at Jacksons.

7:30- Dinner with Mom at F. Scotts. Drrrrrooooolllll.....Damn good eats at F.Scotts people....

11:00-Possibly go to 3rd and Lindsley , and see who's playing, maybe just stay at F. Scotts and hear some Jazz at the Bar and sip more martinis. Yum.....

1:30- Night cap at Jacksons.


11:30 -Jazz Brunch at Boscos with the Roland Gresham Trio. The man can play some damn fine guitar. There are few more relaxing ways to spend Sunday morning/afternoon.

4:00 - Drive Mom back to airport and then go home to recover. And work out. Or nap.

Sounds pretty good, no? Food, Art, Music, and ME!!! What more could a mother ask?

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Ted Rall needs proffessional help............................

Yes, Ted Rall, the man who decided to take the story of Pat Tillman and turn it into an anti-war manifesto, has officially lost all sense of reason and sanity. Not to say that this was unexpected, as Ted has continually slid closer and closer towards lunacy with each passing day of the Bush presidency (this seems to be a common theme among many liberals).

I don't get to fisk too often, but this latest bile spewed forth from Ted truly deserves a good nail-studded cluebat smack, as he seriously stepped over the line this time.

An Army of Scum

By Ted Rall

Or, We're Looking For a Few Good Homosexual Rapists

NEW YORK--Now it's official: American troops occupying Iraq (news - web sites) have become virtually indistinguishable from the SS. Like the Germans during World War II, they cordon off and bomb civilian villages to retaliate for guerilla attacks on their convoys. Like the blackshirts who terrorized Europe, America's victims disappear into hellish prisons ruled by sadists and murderers. The U.S. military is short just one item to achieve moral parity with the Nazis: gas chambers.

Ted opens with a paragraph comparing the US Army with the SS. Nay, he says they are "indistinguishable". This is indistinguishable from this. Is Ted even slightly aware of the atrocities commited by the SS during WWII? Is there anything functioning between his ears that would allow for some rational thought? Does he need someone to help him get dressed in the morning? I mean, how in the hell can he make that statement?

"Numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees" by soldiers, freelance mercenaries and professional torturers under the command of CIA (news - web sites) intelligence officers at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, according to an internal government report. The detainees, about 60 percent of them assumed to be innocent by the Americans themselves, were routinely beaten, sodomized "with a chemical light or broomstick," urinated upon, tied to electrified wires and threatened with death, stripped and forced to perform homosexual sex acts on each other and U.S. troops. Don't be fooled by military apologists who insist that these American SS are nothing more than a few bad apples. Seymour Hersh, who has read the army's internal report, quotes Major General Antonio Taguba as saying that U.S.-committed atrocities are "systemic, endemic throughout the command structure...[The soldier-torturers] were being told what to do and told it was OK."

Yes, let's all ingnore the military ranks who have investigated the incidents who state openly that this is not systemic or endemic, let's forget the fact that these soldiers are on a battelfield getting shot at by a diverse range of individuals. Let's pretend this never happens at home in much more "systemic and endemic" ways in US prisons. Let's also ignore the fact that the military has not attempted to hide the evidence behind this, and has consistently stated they are prosecuting the accused individuals to the full extent of military law.

And Ted, don't forget that during WWII, when the SS was beating and torturing Jews before marching them en masse in to gas chambers, they were PROMOTED for their efforts by the higher ups. They were not prosecuted you fucking moron.

True, most soldiers probably don't condone torture. But all soldiers have been tarnished by it. George W. Bush's new gulag archipelago, a string of concentration camps, military and INS prisons that span the globe from North Carolina to Iraq to Afghanistan (news - web sites) to Guantánamo Bay to New York City, has been designed to give torturers the veil of secrecy they require to carry out their hideous acts as well as the tacit understanding that they won't be held accountable. The Red Cross, defense lawyers and relatives of the victims, few of whom are charged with a crime, are denied access to the detainees or even the simple confirmation that they're being held by our government.

Ted, Guantanamo IS NOT a concentration camp. These are concentration camps. This is what happens at concentration camps. I suppose attempting to explain the difference to you may be a waste of time due to your ignorance, but hey- I'm a giver.

Some soldiers, like Sergeant Ivan Frederick II, "questioned some of the things I saw," such as "leaving inmates in their cell with no clothes or in female underpants, handcuffing them to the door." But when he discussed these abuses with his superiors, he says they brushed him off: "This is how military intelligence wants it done."

Female Underpants!! THE HORROR!!!! Next you'll tell me they made them wear makeup too!!

As proven by the classic psychological experiments of the '50s, people put in a position of total power over another human being find it hard to resist abusing their charges. Prison guards mistreat inmates for a simple reason: they can. Wherever one controls another, sadism is inevitable. However, this tragic truism can be mitigated by creating mechanisms to ensure transparency behind bars. Granting prisoners access to attorneys, journalists and other members of the outside world, unannounced inspections by human rights agencies, recognizing their rights under the Geneva Conventions and rigorous prosecutions of criminal guards can never entirely eliminate abuse, but they're essential to prisons run by democratic societies.

Which is precisely what happened in this case. The mechanisms for exposing these circumstances worked, and the individuals responsible are being prosecuted. But once again, why let logic get in the way.

We know about Abu Ghraib only because the inbred psychos who forced nude Iraqi men to pile up in pyramids were dumb enough to snap photographs as mementos of their time liberating the nation from Saddam. It's like the Rodney King video: cops beat up blacks every day, but there usually isn't a camera around.

Yes, there are daily abuses of the system in our country. Yes, sometimes the system doesn't work and guilty parties get away with things a'la Rodney King. But the reality is in Iraq, when Baathist policemen set up rape squads and torture chambers, they were promoted for their actions. Not prosecuted. Does this excuse our soldiers? Of course not. But to act as if this is somehow comparable to the SS is deplorable.

Abu Ghraib, you can bet your bottom dollar, is merely the tip of the iceberg. Our military is structurally corrupt. Beginning in Afghanistan during the weeks after 9/11, civilian command yielded to the amoral gangster mentality of the arrogant intelligence officers of Army Special Forces and the CIA, who stand accused of massacring thousands of captured Taliban prisoners yet have never faced a real investigation.

Hello? What? The Army stands accused of massacring thousands of prisoners? Don't you think Al-Jazeera would have been all over this by now? Does Ted give any specifics or accounts? Is there any corraboration of this accusation at all? Or does it serve to make his Nazi/US Army more believable?

The new tone of lawlessness comes all the way from the White House, directed by a commander-in-chief who starts illegal wars without justification, strips captured prisoners of their rights under the Geneva Convention and whose smirky fingers-crossed response to the prisoner abuse scandal--"I shared a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated...Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people"--sends a wink and a nudge to our uniformed torturers. Keep it up, boys. Keep those broomsticks busy.

"Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people" means "keep it up"? Does any one else who has military friends and family want to introduce Ted to the business end of a broomstick themselves yet? He has a right to an opinion, but he does not have a right to avoid the consequences of said opinions.

Even our coalition partners are getting the message. British soldiers running a coalition gulag in Basra reported smashing the jaw and teeth of an Iraqi accused of stealing, then dumping the broken body of the accused thief off the back of a moving truck. "They did not know whether he survived," writes The New York Times.

Nice Ted. Way to get that "gulag" rhetoric in. Why not include the Russian "Corrective Labor Camps" too? Never can compare our soldiers to enough atrocities now can we. And nice touch including the Brits too, they must be Nazis as well- right? Ted, you're just making ALL KINDS of friends today aren't you!

One more Iraqi, it seems, who won't be tossing roses at his liberators.

Hey Ted- by a conservative estimate, the Hussein regime was killing civilians at an average rate of at least 16,000 a year between 1979 and March 2003. . That's 16,000 more Iraqis who will be ALIVE period due to our Armed Forces.

Ted, I suggest you remain anonymous around military folks for a while. Because they would be absolutely justified in beating the living snot out of you after this latest ignorant missive.

And thanks for trivializing the actual suffering of those who were put in REAL concentration camps to serve your own misguided and hate-filled agenda. I'm sure they appreciate it.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

An Egyptian lists his Pro-American Countries............

Just read this latest post from the Big Pharoah, an Egyptian blog.......

The attitudes of the Kurds lead us to ponder about who are the most pro-America people in the world. After listening to the news for several years, I can come up with this list:

1) Kurds
2) Eastern Europeans (USA helped them in defeating communism and establishing freedom; 100,000 Romanians stood in the pouring rain to listen to a speech by Bush)
3) Israelis
4) Older generation of South Koreans (those fought along with US soldiers so that they won’t end up starving under the yoke of the North Korean leader)
5) A large number of Iranians (the only Muslims who automatically held street vigils after 911 all by themselves)
6) French who live around Normandy!
7) A good number of Kuwaitis.
8) Secular Iraqis and moderate religious Iraqis.

Of course there might be more groups but I can only think of those. Now, the US can learn a lot from why those groups love her. That’s for another post.

No big suprises there...I do wish that we could simply leave all but the Kurdish areas of Iraq to fend for themselves, and get our troops out of harms way, but this would not accomplish what we set out to do over there. We must continue to work towards getting the entire nation to assume responsibility for the country and its security. Only then will we have started to tip the dominoes of the middle eastern regimes enough that they may fall as well.

Iran's Islamic regime knows that if we succeed in Iraq in implementing democracy, their days will be numbered less so than they already are. And that is why not only Iran, but the other despotic tyrants of the middle east see the future in all too clear terms. They must not let us succeed, or they too will go the way of Saddam once the Iraqi people can truly taste democracy and liberty.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Is this friggin' cool or what?....................................

Yeah, I know.......War, Bush, Politics, deathdestructionmayhem.....blah blah freakin' blah....I am as guilty as anyone in getting too political in the blogosphere as well as in normal conversation.

Well, time for a little break.

As we all hash out our differences here on planet earth, there are two incredibly cool space missions going on right now that always seem to get shadowed (and deservedly so) by current events. I'm not saying the rocks on Mars are more important than civil rights being protected, but hey- WE ARE DRIVING A GO CART ON MARS RIGHT NOW!!! ISN'T THAT FREAKIN' COOL????

Here are some of Rovers latest pics- Behold 'Endurance'! .. I can't even begin to fathom the level of technology that goes in to driving a go-cart around on a planet over 60 million miles away, and then have it take pictures from multiple angles, and then beam those pictures back to us. Freaking amazing.

Then we have the Cassini-Huygens mission, the satellite sent to explore Saturn. The Cassini orbiter will orbit Saturn and its moons for four years, and the Huygens probe will dive into the murky atmosphere of Titan and land on its surface. Interesting facts:Saturn has a huge magnetosphere and a stormy atmosphere, with winds clocked at 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) per hour near its equator and Huygens will be the furthest human-made object ever to land on a celestial body.

I'm still in awe of this most recent image here of Saturn from Cassini, the detail is stunning....

And I have to add some more links to the astronomy section.......

Rant over, just wanted to yak about the cool space stuff going on for a change of pace.....

Amir Taheri- A welcome Iranian perspective

(Via Instapundit)

Amir Taheri is an Iranian born columnist who now works for Benadora Associates, a New York/Washington based PR firm, has written many insightful articles in the past concerning issues in the Middle East. His perspective is a welcome antidote to the usual west-hating diatribes coming out of the Arab press, and this article here is no exception. Telling it straight and to the point, Mr. Taheri tells us-


An excerpt-

May 4, 2004 -- WHAT to do about Iraq? I was bombarded with this question during a recent visit to the United States.
The question is based on two assumptions. First, that Iraq is about to plunge into one of the nightmare scenarios discussed by self-styled experts on TV. Second, that there is some kind of magic wand that one could wave to transform Iraq into a paradise of freedom and prosperity.

Both assumptions are false.

The nightmares are often peddled by those who had opposed the liberation because they didn't wish to see a U.S.-led coalition bring down a Third World dictator. The doomsayers' initial prediction was that, deprived of its oppressor, Iraq would plunge into civil war. That has not happened, so they now warn of chaos, and predict a nationwide insurrection against the Coalition.

But is Iraq really plunging into chaos? Anyone in contact with Iraqi realities would know that the answer is: No.
Yes, a variety of terrorist, insurgent and ordinary criminals are active in the country. Parts of Baghdad remain unsafe. Some roads, especially in the desert area bordering Jordan and Syria, are prone to attacks by bandits. And, as in many other parts of the world where criminal gangs operate, there is also some hostage-taking. But most of Iraq's 18,000 villages and 200-plus towns and cities remain as safe, if not safer, than those in some other Arab countries.

The Coalition faces a problem in Fallujah. But Fallujah accounts for no more than 4 percent of Iraq's Sunni Arab community. Other major Sunni cities - Mosul, Ramadi, even Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown - remain calm......................

Read the rest.....

Monday, May 03, 2004

What liberal bias in the news?.........................

There were two news stories from this weekend that can show you just how slanted and biased the news is these days, in case anyone was wondering.

First, we have the story of the Iraqi prisoners at Abu Gharib, which for obvious reasons is getting all kinds of attention. I agree that the morons from the US Armed Forces should be held completely accountable, and they will most likely end up in a military prison breaking rocks for a very very long time, as well they should.

Then, you have the story of the latest attack by Palestinians on Jewish settlers in Gaza. Were the Palestinians fighting back against the Israeli army? Sure, if you consider the army made up of four children and a pregnant mother. That's right, those brave "freedom fighters" in Palestine walked up to a car carrying a pregnant mother and her four children and shot them all dead at point blank range.

Inspired by a post from The Gantelope, I also ran the following search through Googles news services to see the results.

["iraqi prisoners" American prison]

[pregnant woman palestinian]

The results? 3210 stories about the "barbaric, cruel, inhumane, Saddam like torture of the poor oppressed Iraqi soldiers." I'm not defending the idiots in the Army who did this, but come on folks, worse than Saddam? They are still alive aren't they?

For the pregnant women in Israel? 464 hits. And the majority of the stories have little to nothing to do with the tragedy that occured in Gaza. Not only that, but as The Gantelope mentions, the members of Hamas, Fatah, and Islamic Jihad all praised the gunmen as "heroic".

Here's a picture of the dangerous threat to the Palestinians existence- Mother and Daughters.

So according to our "non-biased fair and balanced media" it is more appalling and newsworthy to report and condemn the bad judgement of service personnell gaurding Iraqi prisoners than it is to report and at least ATTEMPT to condemn the cowardly act of the palestinian gunmen...They were shooting a PREGNANT WOMAN AT POINT BLANK RANGE for godsakes.......Unbelievable....

Update: Cox and Forkum, as usual, hit the nail on the head.....