Monday, February 28, 2005

Football In A Closet................


This weekend my best bud decided he wanted to see some football. Alas, the only game in town at the present time is the Arena Football league, and our humble cities representation in said league- The Nashville Kats. So tickets were purchased (thanks again Fin), and four of us went to see some football arena style...

Thoughts......Hmm.....Well, seeing as how there isn't any other source of football to watch at this time besides the combines, I can't complain. It did resemble football, no doubt. They use the same ball, wear pads and helmets, and score touchdowns and field goals. However, that, dear readers, is where the comparison ends. The rules are adjusted to where most of the players play both offense and defense, this I like. You are allowed to substitute "specialty" players on either offense or defense(QB, placekicker, etc.), but for the most part the same guys play the whole 60 minutes. In an attempt to keep the game moving along the playclock stops for out-of-bounds plays or incomplete passes only in the last minute of each half or when the referee deems it necessary for penalties, injuries or timeouts. Unfortunately, the referees apparently get paid by the number of flags thrown, for I can't remember a stretch of more than two consecutive plays without a flag. One of my friends remarked as Nashville lost in the waning seconds-"they played to the final flag." For a 60 minute game, it took over three hours to complete. If you are actually interested in the breakdown in the rules, you can visit this official AFL site- Arena Football League Home-AFL 101-.

Was it non-stop action? No. Did it have its share of exciting plays, big hits, great runs, etc- that make football fun to watch? Certainly. I was impressed with the crowd size as well- perhaps indication of how sports starved Nashville is this winter without any Predators hockey. Supposedly the game was sold out. Overall, an enjoyable experience, even though they lost. The one drawback however, is it makes you miss football like you wouldn't believe.

I am ridiculously jonesing for some NFL right now. Whaddayagonnado...

At least I can look forward to what Jason Stark from ESPN writes as "the most relentless lineup in the American League" in the Boston Red Sox 2005 version. How cool is it going to be to watch the Spankees stew in the dugout on opening day reliving their epic choke, whilst we raise the banner for the 2004 WORLD SERIES CHAMPION BOSTON RED SOX?

Beyond cool. Uber-cool. Words don't describe it properly. It will be an enjoyable spring, and then should hold me until we finally reach training camp for the NFL, and start weighing the chances of a Super Bowl run for my beloved Titans.....

Ahhh, good times........yes, good times....

Friday, February 25, 2005

Stuff Worth Reading Written In Nashville........


I have rearranged the sidebar and included a blogroll of Nashville bloggers, most of whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the WKRN Nashville Bloggers Meetup. Stop by the sites listed, for they are good.....if I missed anyone, let me know in the comments to this post...

The Goalposts Have Wheels...........


Yesterday I had a post detailing the inevitable "moving of the goal posts" by Bush's critics now that democracy and liberty are festering around the middle east. Today, the always eloquent Victor Davis Hanson shows me how far I have to go to be a great writer with his piece entitled- Merchants of Despair
......I would post an excerpt, but you really ought to just go read the whole damn thing.....

February 25, 2005
Merchants of Despair
Sort of for the war, sort of...

by Victor Davis Hanson

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Is the Arab Street Reaching A Crossroad?......


Today in ReasonOnline, Michael Young-opinion editor at the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut- pens an article commenting on the recent pro-democracy/anti-Syrian occupation demonstrations currently taking place in Lebanon, and the juxtaposition liberals face as the Arab street lurches forth towards democracy-

This magazine alone is proof that there is no consensus among American liberals (in the classical sense of the term) as to whether defense of liberty at home should somehow imply defending it abroad. As Christopher Hitchens bitingly observed in a 2001 Reason interview with Rhys Southan, when asked about why he was growing more sympathetic to the libertarian critique: "It's hard to assign a date. I threw in my lot with the left because on all manner of pressing topics—the Vietnam atrocity, nuclear weapons, racism, oligarchy—there didn't seem to be any distinctive libertarian view. I must say that this still seems to me to be the case, at least where issues of internationalism are concerned. What is the libertarian take, for example, on Bosnia or Palestine?"
Indeed, what is the libertarian take on Iraq or Lebanon? Or, for that matter, that of those leftist internationalists who cannot bring themselves, even temporarily, to walk in step with the Bush administration? Should the priority be freedom? Should it be to deny the president recognition for being true to his democratic word? Is American democracy an island, an isolated city on the hill that can be an inspiration but must not otherwise challenge the status quo buttressed by the prescriptions of national sovereignty?

Who knows, but earlier this week tens of thousands of marching Lebanese, and hundreds of thousands behind them, were hoping the answer is more, not less, American interest in advancing their desired liberty, even as they realize they are the ones who must take the lead.

And so it goes. One might recall back in the lively days of the mighty ship USS Clueless, Stephen Den Beste did in fact predict the inevitable change in the attitude of the Arab Street, provided Bush did follow through with his ambitious proposals. He laid out what needed to be done to finish this war- and so far, most things seem to have followed his predictions. Here are what he considered the main goals of the war in Iraq-
To make a significant long term change in the psychology of the "Arab Street"
-To prove to the "Arab Street" that we were willing to fight, and that our reputation for cowardice was undeserved.
-To prove that we are extraordinarily dangerous when we do fight, and that it is extremely unwise to provoke us.

To defeat the spirit of the "Arab Street". To force them to face their own failure, so that they would become willing to consider the idea that reform could lead them to success. No one can solve a problem until they acknowledge that they have a problem, and until now the "Arab Street" has been hiding from theirs, in part aided by government propaganda eager to blame others elsewhere (especially the Jews).

To "nation build". After making the "Arab Street" truly face its own failure, to show the "Arab Street" a better way by creating a secularized, liberated, cosmopolitan society in a core Arab nation. To create a place where Arabs were free, safe, unafraid, happy and successful. To show that this could be done without dictators or monarchs. (I've been referring to this as being the pilot project for "Arab Civilization 2.0".)
Stephen would probably not come out and be the type of guy to say "SEE!!! I TOLD YOU!!!", but for those critics of the Iraq war, or the war in Afghanistan, it is becoming abundantly clear that the Arab Street wants to get rid of their dictatorships, and anyone with half a clue can realize that Iraq is a big step in reforming the Arab world.

Obviously, no one expects these regimes, both the dictatorships like Syria, or the Theocracies like Iran to go down without a fight, and it will unfortunately take more bloodshed before the corner is turned. But the more I read about Assad, and his fumbling of the Lebanon situation, the more I can see the inherent weakness in these regimes. And the more the people, the masses of the Arab street pull back the curtain in front of their leaders, the more they realize that it isn't "the Jews" or "the Great Satan" that is causing their problems, but their leaders themselves. The further back this curtain is pulled, the less grip these leaders will have over the people.

When people discussed going after the "root causes" of Islamic terrorism, they would usually mention poverty, or American interventionism for oil or somesuch other garbage. Den Beste was someone who could say what Bush and his administration were probably thinking- the root causes were the Arab and Islamic cultures themselves. When your system denies women the right to be a part of society, and imposes ridiculous restraints on productivity through religious fundamentalism, you are breeding contempt. And this frustration is easily manipulated when you control the media operations in your society. All these dictators needed to do was drum up stories about the "evil zionists killing innocent children" or "America is the great Satan" and presto! you've eluded the responsibility for the failures.

With the removal of the Taliban and Saddam, the curtain is slowly being drawn back. And Assad's fumbling of Lebanon is yet another pull or two in the direction of full clarity. Notice that there was speculation throughout the Arab world whether or not it was "the Jews" or "the Mossad" who took out Hariri. Not the case in Lebanon. They knew almost immediately. As a result of the assasination of Hariri, Assad has only managed to shorten his rope.

There is no guarantee that the end result will be successful reform of the Arab world. There is always the chance that (heaven forbid) a nuclear device is detonated either in the US or elsewhere that could completely alter the playing field for democratic reform. As I said before, these regimes will go down swinging. But one thing the Islamic terrorists have found out, which other countries such as Japan already knew- the US doesn't like to start wars, but by god we certainly do know how to finish them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005



Oh, never mind, it's just a moon. Saturns Moon. Well, it looks pretty cool anyways...

Cassini's ability to remain precisely and steadily pointed at targets, such as Saturn's moon Mimas (seen here) yields sharp images despite the relatively high speed at which the spacecraft moves.
Cassini was traveling at more than 13 kilometers per second when it acquired this view, which shows crisp detail on Mimas (397 kilometers, 247 miles across) against the backdrop of Saturn's northern hemisphere. Shadows of the icy rings stretch across the atmosphere and are blurred due to spacecraft motion..

Yes, I can be a Star Wars geek sometimes.....

Tennessee Titans Update..........


Ho boy am I not going to enjoy writing this. For those Titans fans out there, you probably have already heard the bad news about the roster cuts the team had to make over the last few days. The Titans have been putting off this size of a cut for the last three years, ever since their last run in the Super Bowl. Basically, as Floyd Reese said, they have trying to keep the core players together so they could remain in the hunt for a championship. And minus the championship, the Titans have the third best record in the league since 1997. They have lost in the playoffs to eventual Super Bowl winners in Baltimore and New England, and as this fan will attest, have always been a hard-hitting gutsy football team. They especially proved the gutsy part last year after week 10 of the season, when they had already been eliminated from the playoffs, the Titans refused to roll over and took good teams to the wire each week. It was a true sign of professionalism all around, and one could see Jeff Fishers never-say-die attitude filtered through his players.

This being said, the salary cap issue has surfaced like an unholy beast this year, and has claimed six veterans from our squad. The following players have been cut from the roster due to the size of their contracts.

DE Kevin Carter
FB Robert Holcombe
WR Derrick Mason
OT Fred Miller
K Joe Nedney
CB Samari Rolle

Once these players were released, the Titans have gone from being $28 million over the cap to $8 million under, which will give them room to sign their free agents, and have plenty of money left over to sign their first round draft pick.

All six of the players listed have given their best to the Titans in years past. But out of all of them losing Derrick "D-Mase" Mason is the toughest one to swallow. At $4.7 million, his cap number wasn't anywhere near as high as the others, and D-Mase was easily the most valuable offensive weapon over the last few years besides McNair. D-Mase is the first player in franchise history to post four straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and last year, he caught a career-high 96 passes for 1,168 yards with seven touchdowns. He also holds the NFL single-season record of 2,690 combined net yards. Not to mention D-Mase was one of the most public faces for the Titans, with the Derrick Mason Radio show on WWTN, and the Derrick Mason Foundation-started to help at-risk children and battered women in the greater Nashville area. Mason holds an annual golf tournament during the offseason as well as other events to raise money for the foundation. His wife, Marci, acts as the organization’s Vice President. My friend and I had the pleasure to meet D-Mase at his radio show last season, and he was the most down to earth pro-sports player I have ever met. He didn't act like we were taking up his time, and stayed to chat with us for quite a bit. He will be sorely missed, both on and off the field.

There has been talk that the Titans will have a chance to resign some of the players listed above, but I think that may be wishfull thinking. Other teams would be insane not to snatch up D-Mase or a Robert Holcombe. Nedney, Miller, Carter and Rolle may not be worth as much for various reasons but they are all quality players, and their presence will be missed as well.

All this being said, the Titans still look to make another run next year. McNair appears to be ready to rock- his annual off season surgery appears to have gone well. I can't imagine why he would appear in the NFL "Annie-Tomorrow" commercial if he didn't plan on returning. And we still have some young guns upcoming in Chris Brown, Tory Fleming and Ben Troupe. Add in the offensive genius of one Norm Chow, former offensive coordinator for the USC Trojans, as well as Ray Sherman as the new Wide Receivers coach, and all certainly does not appear lost. On the defensive side, check out this interview with Jim Schwartz, the defensive co-ordinator who after a 5-11 season last year seems pretty fired up about the upcoming one.

We still have a ways to go before training camp, but the tough pill to swallow has come early, and now we Titans Fans can begin the climb up the mountain.

It's gonna be weird not seeing this at the Coliseum though-

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Kofi Annan Pleas For the US to Help Keep the UN Relevant...........


In today's Wall Street Journal, there is an editorial written by none other than the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. In it, Mr. Annan seems desperate to reiterate the importance of the United Nations in tackling the worlds difficult problem spots. I'm going to post pieces of the article, and my comments in between.

Our Mission Remains Vital

February 22, 2005; Page A14

In the past year I have read many attacks on the United Nations -- quite a few, but by no means all, in the pages of this newspaper.

That pains me, because I have served the U.N. all my life. I have done, and am still doing, everything I can to correct its imperfections, and to improve and strengthen it. And I believe profoundly in the importance of that task, because a strong U.N. is of vital importance to humanity.

If this were true, then why did he allow Cuba to represent Latin America, Zimbabwe to represent Africa, and Saudi Arabia to represent the middle east on the UN Human Rights Council? Is this his idea of reform? Does he not realize that these three regimes are guilty of atrocious violations of human rights that to this day remain unchecked or unchallenged? What is the freaking point of having the worst offenders in charge of maintaining the HRC? Unbelievable.

When the appalling disaster of the tsunami struck in the Indian Ocean, killing at least 150,000 people and destroying the livelihood of millions, President Bush acted quickly to form a core group of nations with available military forces in the region. That was the right thing to do. It got the relief efforts off to a flying start, which was essential.

But a week later, when all involved came together in Jakarta to plan and coordinate the multinational effort, everyone, including the U.S., agreed that the U.N. should take the lead.

That's not the tune that Jan Egeland was singing when the US was sending an aircraft carrier to help out a day after the Tsunami hit. Remember back then, we were the "stingy" nation. Now the UN wants to take credit for, um, what exactly? Forming a committee? I'll turn it over to the Diplomad blog who was on the ground in the Tsunami affected areas and saw the UN action first hand-read this entire post, here is an excerpt-

The puffery about the UN Joint Logistics Centre is just that puffery. The UNJLC, as of today, is still not completely functional in Indonesia. To be fair, they seem to have brought in some good people (some not so good) who should do a credible job coordinating the much-reduced relief activity anticipated in the days ahead as US, Australian, and New Zealand forces depart. It is not clear, however, that the Indonesian military couldn't do it alone, but, international donor politics demand a UN stamp.

And the 300 trucks? Notice how the UN press release rolls together IOM and UN. It would be akin to stating, "Between them the United States and Mexico have 12 aircraft carrier battlegroups." Technically true, but . . . The overwhelming majority of those trucks are IOM's -- arranged and paid for by USAID. The Indonesian Minister of Defense noted, January 16, "The U.S. Military [in Aceh] has been the backbone of the logistical operations providing assistance to all afflicted after the disaster. We'd like to pay tribute to the soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen of the U.S. Forces deployed in Aceh throughout the relief effort." He didn't say the UN.

The press release is vague about who provided shelter and malaria control. For good reason: the UN has done VERY little of that. USAID and the USN have done the majority of it. Same with the claim about reaching hundreds-of-thousands of people with food aid. The UN didn't do that; the Aussies and we did that. It was US, Australian, and New Zealand C-130s, and US boats (both USN and leased by USAID) that moved the food to Aceh and Medan. It was USN and USMC helos and LCACs that moved it out to the affected areas. The UN-leased helos -- paid for largely by the Japanese -- have only just begun to operate.

Kofi then attempts to argue that the main reason it is important for the UN stamp on the relief operations is "because it is in no one's pocket. It belongs to the world." Ok, whatever Kofi. It belongs to the world yet the US pays for over 40% of its operating budget. Why don't you just admit that you want the UN to have a stamp on the relief effort so you can attempt to justify a reason for the UN's existence.

Mr Annan then decides to use another great example of the usefulness of the UN- Iraq. You have GOT to be kidding me.

Nope, he's serious. Observe.

Another example of the U.N.'s importance -- a more difficult one, because of its sharply divisive political context -- is Iraq.

More difficult? Tap away there dance man...

Indisputably, the war in Iraq two years ago caused many people on all sides to lose faith in the U.N. Those who favored military action against Saddam Hussein were disappointed that the Security Council did not -- as they saw it -- have the courage to enforce its own resolutions.

It's not that they didn't have the courage, they couldn't enforce them if they wanted to without military back up from the US. Those resolutions weren't worth the paper they were printed on. This is such a ridiculous statement.

And those who opposed it were frustrated at the U.N.'s inability to prevent a war they thought unnecessary or premature.

Like, Um Iraq maybe? Is Kofi aware that Iraq was the head chair of the nuclear disarmament committee during the late 90's? Again, why would Saddam vote to have himself removed?

Kofi lists multiple examples of how the UN's "expertise" was needed to help with elections and the drafting of their constitution. I'm not sure why, but hey at this point why bother trying to figure it out. Unsurprisingly Kofi glosses over the UN controlled Oil-For-Palaces-and-Payoffs Program in Iraq.

Of course the U.N. is far from perfect -- even if some of the recent allegations made about it have been overblown. The interim report of Paul Volcker's independent inquiry has helped put the Oil For Food program in perspective. Some of the more hyperbolic assertions about it have been proven untrue.

All one needs to do to expose how ridiculous that statement is need look no further than the website devoted to UNSCAM- Friends Of Saddam-

An excerpt from the site-

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.)

Kofi wraps up this head-shakingly daft essay with the following pleas and excuses-

The U.N. cannot expect to survive into the 21st century unless ordinary people throughout the world feel that it does something for them -- helping to protect them against conflict (both civil and international), but also against poverty, hunger, disease and the erosion of their natural environment.

And most people of the world realize that if they are depending on the UN to save them, well, they are pretty much screwed.

And in recent years, bitter experience has taught us that a world in which whole countries are left prey to misgovernment and destitution is not safe for anyone. We must turn the tide against disease and hunger, as well as against terrorism, the proliferation of deadly weapons and crime -- starting, urgently, with decisions from the Security Council to end the abominable crimes in Darfur and bring war criminals to international justice.

They might make up another committee! I'm sure the head hunters in Darfur are absolutely shaking in their boots at the thought of another UN committee!!!

This September, we have a real opportunity to make the U.N. more useful to all its members. Leaders from all over the world are coming to a U.N. summit in New York. I shall put before them an agenda of bold but achievable proposals for making the U.N. work better, and the world fairer and safer.

Do you think that in this proposal he will propose suspending the chairs of Cuba on the HRC? Methinks not.

I know that Americans want to do that as much as any people on earth. More than any other people, they have the power to do it -- if they listen to and work with others, and take the lead in a concerted effort. I believe that they will give us that lead. I look forward to September with hope and excitement.

So, what are you saying Kofi? We in the US can help people as long as we listen to say, Libya lecture us on prison abuses? This country does not need to listen to the UN lecture us about anything anymore. We did that for years and we ended up with two smoking craters in New York. That game is over with. We have tried to keep the UN relevant, but when over half of the members of the organization hail from entirely corrupt and abusive regimes, there is simply no point.

Until the UN looks in the mirror and proposes certain requirements for admission in to the circle, it will continue to be a useless body that exists solely to satisfy the conscience of disillusioned liberals and appease corrupt dictators.

And that's your tax dollars at work.

Monday, February 21, 2005

RIP Hunter S. Thompson..................


The Father of Gonzo Journalism has officially left the building. Hunter S. Thompson was found dead by his son from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on Sunday Night. After living a life of reckless abandon, it perhaps seems fitting for Hunter to go out this way, perhaps not. But there wasn't anything remotely normal about Hunter, and as sad as it is, I highly doubt this comes as that much of a shock to anyone. Thompson had a flare for the dramatic, and as his novels attest, was no stranger to mind alterations. Many people, myself included, were quite amazed he was actually still alive, much the way one wonders how Keith Richards is still alive. His appetite for drugs and booze was legendary, and his ability to describe the mindset of someone tripping their asses off was unprecedented.

There have been numerous reactions to his passing. Tim Blair lists a few of them, Stephen over at Hog On Ice has his take.

Captain Mojo over at Chicago Boyz brings up the often overlooked aspect of Hunter, and that was his commentary on the failure of the hippie generation to accomplish anything other than get wasted and annoy conservatives.

Even for those who have never been particularly interested in wild times and substance abuse, he is a unique chronicler of mid-20th century American history. As well as being a constant assault on conservative values, much of Thompson’s works are bitter recollections and critiques of the failures and weakness of the counter culture. His excesses are, intentionally or not, as much a warning as a celebration.

If you want to know why the hippie generation has become so bitter and reactionary, just read the famous "high-water mark" quote from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. His "doomed generation" was the flower power generation collapsed on its own worthlessness. In his middle works, even conservative thinkers can gain profitable insight into the self-destruction of 60’s idealism, and see the progress of the 67’ers into obsolescence and the emergence of a more sinister and violent left in their wake.

I became a huge Hunter fan during college, after reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He was somewhat of a hero of mine for years, especially during the *cough* experimental stages in my life. I used to wish that I could spend a weekend at Hunters place in Colorado and get tanked while discussing politics. But Hunter definitely seemed to float further and further towards the deep end in his autumn years. And I became less and less interested in the counter culture and the experiments thereof. I immensely enjoyed his novel released in 1998, The Rum Diaries, and I do hope they follow through with the movie.

There will never be another Hunter S. Thompson. Requiescant in Pace Hunter....

"I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me."
Hunter S. Thompson

Friday, February 18, 2005

Reason #8756 I'm Glad I Quit Smoking..............


Man Throws Lit Cigarette Out Window, Sets SUV Ablaze

SAN FRANCISCO -- A 20-year-old man barely escaped serious injury Thursday after a lit cigarette he tried to toss out the window while driving across the Bay Bridge blew back in and ignited the vehicle, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Classic stuff. Now since I've always hated anti-smoking Nazi's when I did smoke, I promised that I will never be that obnoxious person who goes in to a smoky bar and whines about how smoky it is. But highlighting this is not being a Nazi. I was never the type of smoker who would flick butts when done smoking wherever I wanted. I tried as best as I could most times to find somewhere to throw the but safely in the trash or an ashtray. My old truck was LITTERED with butts, and the thing use to smell like a cigarette. My Mom HATED to drive in it with me anywhere in it. Now my new car has never been (nor will be) smoked in, and it still has the new car smell.

And thankfully, it will never be burned to a crispy mess due to my own stupidity.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Since the Major News Media Don't Find This Stuff "Newsworthy"......

.......(via Beautiful Atrocities)

If you turn on any major news network or open up any major newspaper today and look for some news about Iraq, chances are you will read something like the following-

"Iraq a terrorist spawning ground, CIA admits"

Iraq Insurgents Can Conduct 60 Strikes Daily -Pentagon

Pentagon Unsure of Iraq Deployments

A daily look at US military deaths in Iraq

Three Fort Stewart soldiers killed in Iraq

Now I'm not saying that these articles aren't newsworthy. They certainly are, and they need to be reported. But ask yourself this, have you read or heard the following news reported by the major news sources?

This list is from the following site- Roads to Iraq-

Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?

Did you know that the Iraqi government employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?

Did you know that 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been built in Iraq?

Did you know that Iraq’s higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers?

Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2004 for the re-established Fulbright program?

Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers?

Did you know that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks?

Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.

Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?

Did you know that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid October?

Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?

Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consist of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?

Did you know that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004?

Did you know that 2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election had a recent televised debate recently?

My answer, of course, is no. A big fat OF COURSE NOT.

Thanks a lot Major Media. You guys are really helping out in this war. I mean, if it wasn't for you, we might actually get our troops home faster! Of course that would mean you would have to go back to covering important issues Like Kobe's trial or Michael Jackson, but hey- at least you could look yourselves in the mirror in the morning.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Hell Yes.........................


One of the books I enjoyed thoroughly when I was younger was The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe, by Douglas Adams. I didn't read all of the sequels, but I do remember reading most of them.

Ok, yes I was geeky. At times. Maybe most of the time. That's not important.

The good news I have to share if you hadn't heard already is that they are finished with the production of the movie version of Douglas Adam's book, and have released the trailer exclusively at Amazon here. Go check it out, as it appears that they somehow managed to recreate the book in movie form to the point where the book will not lose as much luster as is usually the case when going from novel to big screen.

And they cast Mos Def as Ford Prefect. What more could you ask?

If you are interested, and were also geeky when reading the book, you will enjoy the blog they have set up for the movie here. And yes, The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is still 42.

The Wall Street Journal Takes A Step Back........


Any regular reader of this site will know that I like to quote from articles from the Journal, and appreciate the bias that they duly expose in their paper. This bias of course, being towards "Free Markets and Free People" as they quote continually. Due to this bias they come off with a conservative republican stance most of the time, and it is reflected in the tone of the editorial page. They do however, give liberal democrats a chance to voice their opinions as well, and they also criticize Bush and other Republicans whenever they fall out of line of their bias. Until his recent departure, you could rely on the editorialist Al Hunt to bash Bush and stump for Kerry every thursday on the back page. The Journal also gives other democrats many oppurtunites to voice their dissenting opinions of Bush's policies. That's why I prefer the journal over say the New York Times, or the Tennesean, as the other two tend to try and hide their obvious bias, and don't give enough space to dissenting opnions from their bias.

Which leads me to the title of this post, and what happened recently at the Journal in regards to the Eason Jordan/CNN scandal. As many of you may or may not know, CNN's Chief News Executive Eason Jordan made some unacceptable remarks at the Davos Forum claiming knowledge of 12 journalists who had been targeted and killed by U.S. military forces. When Rep. Barney Frank, who was also on the panel challenged Jordan to exaplin further, Jordan tried to defuse the situation yet still claimed that "some people" believe the military has it in for journalists. One is to assume that Mr Jordan is one of those people? We may never know because the owners of the video tapes of the forum refuse to release the tapes. The journal wrote an editorial on Monday somewhat defending Jordan, and even worse, disparaging the blogosphere for trying to scalp another Big Media figure.

An excerpt from the article-

The writers of these columns believe that, in addition to having opinions, we are ultimately in the same information business as the rest of the press corps. Which is why we try to break news whenever we can if a story merits the attention.

So it was only normal for our Bret Stephens to report a January 27 panel discussion he attended at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during which CNN's Eason Jordan appeared to say--before he tried to unsay it--that U.S. troops had deliberately targeted journalists in Iraq. Mr. Stephens's story appeared the next day in our Political Diary, an e-mail newsletter for subscribers that is part of this Web site. It is the first account by any news organization of what has come to be known as Easongate.

By now, everyone on the Good Ship Earth knows that this particular story ended Friday with Mr. Jordan's abrupt resignation from CNN. This has certain pundits chirping delightedly. It has been a particular satisfaction to the right wing of the so-called "blogosphere," the community of writers on the Web that has pushed the Eason story relentlessly and sees it as the natural sequel to the Dan Rather fiasco of last year.

How about the non-right wing part of the blogosphere? Shouldn't they be happy that Eason got called out too? What about the soldiers and their families? Aren't they glad that this moron got what he deserved for making such destructive and unsubstantiated comments about the people RISKING THEIR DAMN LIFE so that he can run CNN? The next paragraph gets the Old Media wagons a circling-

But Easongate is not Rathergate. Mr. Rather and his CBS team perpetrated a fraud during a prime-time news broadcast; stood by it as it became obvious that the key document upon which their story was based was a forgery, and accused the whistleblowers of the very partisanship they themselves were guilty of. Mr. Rather still hasn't really apologized.

As for Mr. Jordan, he initially claimed that U.S. forces in Iraq had targeted and killed 12 journalists. Perhaps he intended to offer no further specifics in order to leave an impression of American malfeasance in the minds of his audience, but there is no way of knowing for sure. What we do know is that when fellow panelist Representative Barney Frank pressed Mr. Jordan to be specific, the CNN executive said he did not believe it was deliberate U.S. government policy to target journalists. Pressed further, Mr. Jordan could only offer that "there are people who believe there are people in the military who have it out" for journalists, and cite two examples of non-lethal abuse of journalists by ordinary GIs. None of this does Mr. Jordan credit. Yet the worst that can reasonably be said about his performance is that he made an indefensible remark from which he ineptly tried to climb down at first prompting. This may have been dumb but it wasn't a journalistic felony.

If it was just a "dumb comment", then why did Eason resign? Could it be perhaps because this is not the first time he has made these allegations? You wouldn't know from the Journal's article, but it ceratinly was not.
November 2004 Guardian story
"Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the US military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by US forces. "

Back to the Journal article, and this final stanza where the journal disappointed me in a very big way-

More troubling to us is that Mr. Jordan seems to have "resigned," if in fact he wasn't forced out, for what hardly looks like a hanging offense. It is true that Mr. Jordan has a knack for indefensible remarks, including a 2003 New York Times op-ed in which he admitted that CNN had remained silent about Saddam's atrocities in order to maintain its access in Baghdad. That really was a firing offense. But CNN stood by Mr. Jordan back then--in part, one suspects, because his confession implicated the whole news organization. Now CNN is throwing Mr. Jordan overboard for this much slighter transgression, despite faithful service through his entire adult career.

That may be old-fashioned damage control. But it does not speak well of CNN that it apparently allowed itself to be stampeded by this Internet and talk-show crew. Of course the network must be responsive to its audience and ratings. But it has other obligations, too, chief among them to show the good judgment and sense of proportion that distinguishes professional journalism from the enthusiasms and vendettas of amateurs.

No doubt this point of view will get us described as part of the "mainstream media." But we'll take that as a compliment since we've long believed that these columns do in fact represent the American mainstream. We hope readers buy our newspaper because we make grown-up decisions about what is newsworthy, and what isn't.

This condescending attitude that only the "mainstream media" can tell what is newsworthy and what isn't is precisely why the blogoshpere has been lopping media heads in this country lately. And I am distrubed that the Journals editorial board doesn't seem to recognize this, and instead plays damage control for CNN and Jordan.

To its credit however, today the journal prints some letters to the editor that thrash this piece and rightfully so-

Let's Hear What Eason Jordan Really Said

Your Feb. 14 editorial "The Jordan Kerfuffle" argues that CNN news director Eason Jordan might have been forced out "for what hardly looks like a hanging offense."

Not a hanging offense? Here's a guy who is obviously eager to believe the worst about the soldiers fighting in Iraq. What kind of a mindset is this for someone who is in charge of a huge, powerful media outlet? Isn't he supposed to at least give the GIs the benefit of the doubt? How does he differ from John Kerry ranting before Congress about atrocities in Vietnam that he had been "told about."

Dave M. O'Neill
New York

This was not the first time Mr. Jordan made such accusations about the military targeting journalists (apparently to a group of international journalists last fall). Moreover, in 2003, he drew some attention (as you point out) following the announcement that he had information about Iraqi plans to murder high officials, but did not release the information in order to protect CNN personnel. To my knowledge, none of these accusations have ever been substantiated. The pattern that emerges seems to be one of reckless disregard of a newsman's fiduciary responsibility to present information in a truthful manner, vetted as thoroughly as possible, and without bias -- personal, political or social.

Albert B. Murphy III
West Conshohocken, Pa.

Et tu, WSJ? Et tu?

Richard Palmer
San Francisco

You fail to point out the failure of the mainstream media to cover this story; you fail to point out that if this is in fact an overreaction by the bloggers, it could be cleared up if the Davos Forum released the tape/transcript; you fail to recognize that Eason Jordan's resignation might be evidence that perhaps the bloggers are right; and you fall into the liberal trap of labeling bloggers "right wing."

Benny Simpson

Your editorial strikes me as passing strange coming from a newspaper I trust. What are your minimum standards for a scandal? Is it Dan Rather's attempt to influence a presidential election with forged documents? That seems pretty high for a minimum.

It certainly is newsworthy if a high executive of a world-wide news organization repeatedly states before international gatherings, comprised of many who hate the U.S., that our military is targeting journalists. And he's doing this during war time!

The dispute could be resolved, perhaps, were you to add your voice to the many others calling for the release of the tape of the latest incident. But your editorial does not even evince curiosity.

Ernest Marraccini
Elizabeth, Pa

Pay very close attention to yet another excellent cartoon today from the always on target Cox and Forkum-

Pajamas at the Gate

I say it again, the media and the government can only ignore the blogosphere at their own peril.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Grammys, Oscars, and Ego Stroking Bad Hair Nights.........


Recently one of my favorite comedians -Chris Rock- made the comment that straight black men don't watch the Grammy's, and everyone flipped out (of course). I couldn't possibly agree with him more. I won't pretend to speak for straight black men considering I'm about as white as snow, but speaking as a straight white man, ALL AWARDS SHOWS BLOWS CHUNKS.


First of all, the awards are decided by industry insiders who are basically shilling for whatever album/movie/soap opera star they happen to like. You like Matchbox 20 more than Sugar Ray? Congratulations. I think they both suck. See? It's arbitrary. How can you say one song is quantitatively "better" than the other, and enough so that it should get a shiny statue rather than the other one? Imagine if they gave awards for paintings, who wins- Van Gogh or Picasso?

It's freaking ART people! It's not a damn contest!!!!

The second thing about these awards shows that really pisses me off is that the majority of the winners are already getting paid umpteen bazillion dollars for doing what most people would give their right arm to be able to do, and that apparently isn't enough. No siree- they need shiny statues too!! They need to feel even more superior to their peers, so that even though Titanic made eleventy trillion dollars at the box office, now it has shiny statues to go along with it, making James Cameron's head so large that it won't even fit in a movie theater anymore. How many of these artists truly deserve to have this much freaking praise and honor bestowed upon them? You can make a case for folks like Ray Charles or Ella Fitzgerald, but come on- Usher? Cher? Freaking Michael Moore????? (don't even get me started...)

I don't think Chirs Rock and myself are alone with this opinion. A google search for "awards shows suck" returned 207,000 results. Maybe that's my calling- to end awards shows as we know them, and return art to its simpler days when all decent artists went insane and killed themselves or chopped their ears off.

And to further cement the position I am taking here, think of this- there is actually an award bestowed on BEST RING TONE. If that's not a sure sign the the four horsemen are saddling up their rides, I'm not sure what is.

Bitter? Me? Nah. I did get stinking drunk last night though. Maybe that's why.

Rock on Chris- Hey! Wait a minute! What the hell is that in your hand!!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Nashville Blogger Meetup Successful............


Last weekend on Saturday morning Terry Heaton and News Channel 2-WKRN- organized a little blogger meetup for all of the Nashville area bloggers. Whilst this is probably a small collection of the true number of Nashville area blogs, it was a pretty neat little gathering. Everyone seemed to enjoy meeting people who they have read for a while but never met in person before.

I already have a few Nashville blogs listed on my roll, Thursday Night Fever, Morgan, Nashville Files, Bill Hobbs and the guys from Cox and Forkum. I now have some new ones to add to ye olde roll after being introduced formally. I recommend you take the time to visit the following folks, as I will be doing more of in the future as well..and thanks again to Terry and WKRN for organizing and hosting the meeting, looking forward to doing it again and hopefully next time I can be drunk instead of just hungover...then we'll have some stories to tell the next day..

Here's a partial list, I'm sure I'missing a few so I apologize if I didn't list you here-
Chasing the Dragon's Tale
Roger Abramson-Pith in the Wind
Nashville Truth
Pink Kitty
Right Justified
Terry Heaton (Terry has some pics of the meetup here-)
LindDblu- Linda had a funny story behind the name for her blog, you'll have to ask her.
Neil Orne
Who You Talkin' At

And when I get a minute, I'm going to blogroll these folks all proper like. For they are definitely "stuff worth reading".....Blog on G....Blog on....

Happy Valen- Nah, Screw That- I'm Getting Tanked.......


Yes, it's that time of year where those of us who are single get together and attempt to soak away this absolutely crappy day with the loving embrace of a cold bar.

If you want, you can read this article in The Economist that explains how love really comes down to a chemical addiction between people. Or, you can go to the following site here, BE MY ANTI-VALENTINE and follow the instructions.

Bitter? Nope. Jealous of others in happy relationships? Not I. I mean, some people are WAY more bitter than I on this day. Take this site for instance-

The Alt.Suicide.Holiday Valentine's Day Survival Kit

Valentines Day... ah, the powerful emotions it doth evoke. Images of young lovers holding hands, the exchange of flowers and heart shaped boxes of chocloate candy, laughter, joy, love, love, love; all this coupled with the promise of the impending spring thaw.

It's enough to make a free thinking individual want to gouge his own eyeballs out with an old rusty pair of scissors.

Refuse to be passive! Join the ranks of the angry, the bitter, the angstful, and smash this day into oblivion. You'll thank me for it in the end, I guarantee.

Me? I'll just go with the following picture, which adequately describes my feelings for today. Happy Get Drunk and Make fun of Sappy Couples Day!!

Friday, February 11, 2005

North Korea Suprises The Idiots............


The idiots being anyone who thought that Kim Jong-Il would tell us the truth. I mean c'mon folks, the guy says he shot five holes-in-one the first time he ever tried golfing. He lied in 1994 about his nuclear intentions, so we rewarded him by giving him nuclear power. Thanks Jimmy!

Let's turn it over to the folks at the London Times-

North Korea’s assertion that it has “manufactured nukes”, coupled with a declaration that it will boycott the US-led six-party nuclear negotiations for “an indefinite period”, is a coup de théâtre by an aggressively unstable regime that is internally riven and under increasing external pressure. There is no reason for this to be the coup de grâce for disarmament efforts on the Korean peninsula, provided that the demented defiance is handled sternly.

The truth about North Korea’s nuclear capability cannot be verified, but yesterday’s boast is compatible with available intelligence. Pyongyang has never before gone further than to claim that it possessed a “nuclear deterrent”, had weaponised plutonium and was planning weapons tests. Real-ity is not the strong point of a regime that is sustained by a fantastic personality cult, but the new claims highlight the unpredictability of the regime. The intriguing question, given that North Korea has conducted no nuclear weapons tests, may be whether it has made these alleged bombs, or bought them in. Last week Seoul Shinmun reported that Pyongyang had managed to purchase an off-the-shelf nuclear weapon. The report, presumably based on South Korean intelligence, may not be as bizarre as it seems, given that North Korea specialises in the bizarre.

The political, as distinct from military, significance of North Korea’s move is considerable. Since being confronted in 2002 with US evidence that it had cheated on a 1994 agreement to suspend all its nuclear weapons programmes, the regime has tried bluff, bluster and partial truths. Both forced admissions and boastful hints emanated from behind closed doors, in official negotiations or in easily retracted hints to reporters. Never before has it made a formal public statement that it possesses nuclear bombs.

Until yesterday. Not sure why they chose yesterday, but either way, the jig is up, and weapons inspections would be a moot point. Apparently, the North Korean economy is basically propped up by China ever since the Soviets stopped supplying them with aid, and they had been using this aid to bribe Kim Jong to the peace talks. This would seem foolish as well considering that much like Saddam, Kim Jong could care less if his people starve to death. There doesn't seem to be an easy answer to this scenario, but at least we can stop playing games about his intentions.

What fun for Condoleeza! Welcome to the new job Dr Rice, now see if you can peacefully disarm a maniac who has nukes!

Let's see how well Senator Kerry is doing with Kim, and if he had any luck getting through to the dear leader- over to Kim Jong Il (the illmatic)'s liveJournal


Sea of Flames for everyone!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Palestinian Definition of A Cease Fire........


"We only shoot the duds at you!"

An Israeli settler speaks on his cell phone next to an unexploded rocket following an attack at the Neve Dekalim settlement, February 10,2005. Palestinian gunmen rained mortar fire into Israeli settlements in occupied Gaza despite new President Mahmoud Abbas's formal truce declaration at a summit that revived Middle East peace hopes. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

The only way there will ever be peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors is if the people in the Arab states finally reach the conclusion that Israel isn't going anywhere. Decades of anti-semitic rhetoric have indoctrinated entire generations in to thinking that "death to Israel" is actually an option.

Earth to Terrorists: Israel isn't going anywhere. Deal with it. And that whole "Protocols of Zion" stuff? IT'S NOT REAL. GET OVER IT.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I'm Waiting For My Copy................


Hopefully my mom will track it down and send it to me so I can frame it, but according to SonofNixon an advertisement in the Boston papers today reads:

Congratulations to the Krafts and their organization, to Coach Bill Belichick, and the players and fans of the World Champion New England Patriots on your third Super Bowl Victory, from your friends and fans at the-

World Champion Boston Red Sox

I think I'm gonna cry.....

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I Know This Isn't Going to Hit the Earth............


But Damn- this thing (2004 MN4) is going to be close. So close they are predicting that parts of the world will be able to see it with the naked eye. Let's turn it over to Paul Chodas, Steve Chesley, Jon Giorgini and Don Yeomans over at NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office-

Radar observations taken at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico on January 27, 29, and 30 have significantly improved our estimate for the orbit of asteroid 2004 MN4 and changed the circumstances of the Earth close approach in 2029. On April 13, 2029, the predicted trajectory now passes within 5.7 Earth radii (36,350 km or 22,600 miles) of the Earth's center - just below the altitude of geosynchronous Earth satellites. However, an Earth collision in 2029 is still ruled out. The asteroid's motion subsequent to the 2029 Earth close approach is very sensitive to the circumstances of the close approach itself and a number of future Earth close approaches will be monitored as additional observations are received. However, our current risk analysis for 2004 MN4 indicates that no subsequent Earth encounters in the 21st century are of concern.

And at 1049 feet long, it's a damn good thing this isn't going to hit. For a good example of an what happened when an asteroid about this size smacked the earth, check out the following page from the soon-to-be-added to the blogroll-University of Arizona Space Imagery site-Interactive Map of Terrestrial Impact Craters-

The Barringer Meteorite Crater

That's a crater nearly a mile wide and 570 feet deep. And the blast range killed or wounded most animals within around 15 miles. If something this size hit Nashville, you are talking around 1 million people immediately dead.

Regular readers of this site know the next point I'm going to make -


See here for more info on the B612 Foundation..

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Championship Sandwich................


Well, it's official- the City of Boston will have nothing to complain about sports-wise for at least the next couple of decades.

You've got this-

as the bread, and the meat is here-

The Patriots dynasty is now official. The Red Sox finally won after 86 years.

What more could a city ask for? Yeah, yeah, The Celtics and the Bruins, but hey- this is ridiculous- there should be a moratorium on complaints for the forseeable future.

Congratulations to the New England Patriots, well deserved Champions of the National Football League.......

And by the way, how come Freddie Mitchell never gave Rodney Harrison that "something" he had for him? Oh, maybe it was because he was on the bench the whole game. At least you didn't have to wash your jersey Freddie.

The main culprit for my devastating hangover this morning was the word association drinking game we played during the game- anytime you heard a certain word, everyone had to drink. One of the words was "dynasty". I think we drank about 5 million cases last night.

Good times.....

Friday, February 04, 2005

Some Days Victor Davis Hanson Is A Good Writer...........


And then some days he hits Barry-Bondsesque like homers out of the park so far that the thing still hasn't come down yet. His essay today on "The Global Throng-Why the world’s elites gnash their teeth-" fires on so many cylinders I don't know which section to show an excerpt from. I'll try anyways-


"Do we even remember "all that" now? The lunacy that appeared after 9/11 that asked us to look for the "root causes" to explain why America may have "provoked" spoiled mama's boys like bin Laden and Mohammed Atta to murder Americans at work? Do we recall the successive litany of "you cannot win in Afghanistan/you cannot reconstruct such a mess/you cannot jumpstart democracy there"? And do we have memory still of "Sharon the war criminal," and "the apartheid wall," and, of course, "Jeningrad," the supposed Israeli-engineered Stalingrad — or was it really Leningrad? Or try to remember Arafat in his Ramallah bunker talking to international groupies who flew in to hear the old killer's jumbled mishmash about George Bush, the meanie who had ostracized him.

Then we were told that if we dared invade the ancient caliphate, Saddam would kill thousands and exile millions more. And when he was captured in a cesspool, the invective continued during the hard reconstruction that oil, Halliburton, the Jews, the neocons, Richard Perle, and other likely suspects had suckered us into a "quagmire" or was it now "Vietnam redux"? And recall that in response we were supposed to flee, or was it to trisect Iraq? The elections, remember, would not work — or were held too soon or too late. And give the old minotaur Senator Kennedy his due, as he lumbered out on the eve of the Iraqi voting to hector about its failure and call for withdrawal — one last hurrah that might yet rescue the cherished myth that the United States had created another Vietnam and needed his sort of deliverance.

Read. The. Whole. Damn. Thing.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

My Question Is, Why Are You Still Here?...........


Not sure if those reading this have heard, but there is a professor at Univ. Colorado named Ward Churchill who has recently been stirring up quite a nice little sh*tstorm over his proposed lecture. The storm is a product of peoples reactions to an essay he penned the day after the 9/11 attacks in which he accused the victims of not really being really- observe-

Here's the essay-

an excerpt-

"Let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire — the “mighty engine of profit” to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved — and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to “ignorance” — a derivative, after all, of the word “ignore” — counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in — and in many cases excelling at — it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it."

"Little Eichmans"????? How about the janitors and cafeteria workers Professor Churchill? Were they also part of the technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire?

Well, Professor Churchill was supposed to headline a discussion at Hamilton College, and he has since declined. There is discussion to remove his tenure now and force him out of CU.

I think this is wrong. He has obviously exposed himself as a great jackass. His attitudes are quite distasteful in my opinion. But attempting to de facto censor him would have worse implications than allowing him to further expose himself as the jackass he is. And he would probably use his censure as a springboard to further his agenda. And from reports through a Boulder related friend of mine, Professor Churchill had his car swastiked this morning, and receives almost daily email and verbal abuse.

My question to our buddy Ward- If you hate this place so damn much that you cheer when hard working people are brutally murdered for no good reason, why the hell are you still living here?

Update:Hoooooo boy....Turns out this brain surgeon has been fraudulently posing as an American Indian. Get a load of this from the AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT GRAND GOVERNING COUNCIL-

The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council representing the National and International leadership of the American Indian Movement once again is vehemently and emphatically repudiating and condemning the outrageous statements made by academic literary and Indian fraud, Ward Churchill in relationship to the 9-11 tragedy in New York City that claimed thousands of innocent people’s lives.

Churchill’s statement that these people deserved what happened to them, and calling them little Eichmanns, comparing them to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who implemented Adolf Hitler’s plan to exterminate European Jews and others, should be condemned by all.

The sorry part of this is Ward Churchill has fraudulently represented himself as an Indian, and a member of the American Indian Movement, a situation that has lifted him into the position of a lecturer on Indian activism. He has used the American Indian Movement’s chapter in Denver to attack the leadership of the official American Indian Movement with his misinformation and propaganda campaigns.

Ward Churchill has been masquerading as an Indian for years behind his dark glasses and beaded headband. He waves around an honorary membership card that at one time was issued to anyone by the Keetoowah Tribe of Oklahoma. Former President Bill Clinton and many others received these cards, but these cards do not qualify the holder a member of any tribe. He has deceitfully and treacherously fooled innocent and naïve Indian community members in Denver, Colorado, as well as many other people worldwide. Churchill does not represent, nor does he speak on behalf of the American Indian Movement.

New York’s Hamilton College Kirklands Project should be aware that in their search for truth and justice, the idea that they have hired a fraud to speak on Indian activism is in itself a betrayal of their goals.

I'm thinking Canada, maybe somewhere very remote -like no electricity remote- would probably sound pretty good to right now, eh professor?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Only A dream...............


So I'm leaving my buddies house tonight after dropping off some chicken and vegetable soup so the guy doesn't die from malaria or whatever he's currently afflicted by, and he's flipping through the cable choices for viewing....we watch a little bit of the NPR story about how the allies ran out of enough bombs to stop Auschwitz from killing THAT many Jews.....or not...and then I come home and read the Presidents State of the Union Address, which includes the following line-

As Franklin Roosevelt once reminded Americans, "each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth." And we live in the country where the biggest dreams are born. The abolition of slavery was only a dream -- until it was fulfilled.

The liberation of Europe from fascism was only a dream -- until it was achieved. The fall of imperial communism was only a dream -- until, one day, it was accomplished. Our generation has dreams of its own, and we also go forward with confidence. The road of Providence is uneven and unpredictable -- yet we know where it leads: It leads to freedom.

I'm glad that George Bush is president right now. Call me a jingoistic asshole if you want, or some patriotic fool, but everything that is said in that quote is exactly what I stand for. Republican, Democrat- Liberal, Conservative.

We ALL stand for those words...

Why Humans Will Survive the Next Cataclysmic Catastrophe.........


Nine Saved 38 Days After Tsunami

NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- Nine survivors of the December 26 tsunami have been discovered by police in a forest on India's remote Campbell Bay island after spending 38 days wandering across villages flattened by the killer waves. The nine belong to the Nicobarese tribe and include five men, two women and two girls, Inspector Shaukat Hussain told The Associated Press Wednesday by telephone from Campbell Bay, the only town in Great Nicobar, India's southernmost island.

"They were sitting in the forest when we saw them, and they just ran to us, without saying anything," said Hussain. "They seemed happy, yes, but there was no hugging and tears and shouting in joy and all that."

The oldest survivor was a 65-year-old man; the youngest an 11-year-old girl, he said.

Two of the survivors were severely dehydrated and were hospitalized. The other seven were sent to a relief camp.

"They seemed weak but OK. They said they had eaten coconuts, boars and wild shoots. They hunted to stay alive," Hussain said. "We found them not too far from where we found a dead body and cremated it."

Humans, we are a tough bunch.......

The Saga of Asteroid 2004 MN4.......


David Morrison from Nasa writes the following summary of the 2004 Christmas asteroid scare from the Ames Research center.

An Excerpt-pay special attention to the last few lines..

The Near-Earth asteroid (NEA) named 2004 MN4 began to attract the attention of asteroid researchers just before Christmas of 2004. Don Yeomans of JPL summarized the information available on December 22 as follows: 2004 MN4 was discovered on 19 June 2004 by Roy Tucker, David Tholen and Fabrizio Bernardi from Kitt Peak, Arizona, and observed over two nights. On 18 December, the object was rediscovered from Australia by Gordon Garradd of the Siding Spring Survey. Using further observations from around the globe over the next several days, the possibility of impact in 2029 was realized by both the automatic SENTRY system of NASA's NEO Program Office and the similar automatic system at the University of Pisa (NEODyS). The diameter of MN4 was estimated to be about half a kilometer (later revised downward slightly to 400 m). The predicted flyby would take place on April 13, 2029, and the possibility of an impact could not be ruled out..............
.......This case of MN4 was unusual in two ways: for a few days it yielded a value of TS=4, far higher than any encountered previously, and for several days the addition of new data served to increase the calculated odds of impact. However, just like a run of good (or bad) throws of the dice, this trend reversed and the calculated impact probability went to zero. This is, of course, what we expect for any particular NEA. The odds are overwhelming that they will miss us. But if we were just playing the odds, we would not be in this business. We are in it because there is a possibility of the statistical fluke, of finding an asteroid that will hit in our lifetimes. From that perspective, we cannot assume that time will resolve all threats -- even though that is the likely outcome for any particular NEA.

As has been noted numerous times before on this blog, we need to allot more resources to discovering a means in which to deal with mitigating potentially havoc causing impacts. We do spend money on searching the skies for these impactors, but it is paltry next to what is spent on other projects such as the Cassini probe. I am in full support of these other projects, but I still feel that we need to shift priorities towards programs such as the B612 Foundation. They have proposed to attach a magnetoplasma rocket to an asteroid and alter its orbit-here's the rocket-

If we could figure out a way to stop Hurricanes, or mitigate their effects, wouldn't be wise to do so? We don't have all of the technology ready now to deal with an asteroid such as 2004 MN4, but we need to start designing and implementing it now. Because as we get better at detecting asteroids in our solar system, we seem to find more of them as the following graph illustrates.

It would be irresponsible for our generation to knowingly ignore this issue and hope that future generations can generate the needed technology to mitigate asteroids and other impactors. Yes, the odds are slim of it happening in our lifetime, that doesn't mean it won't.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Why Leftists Are Slowly Slouching Towards Irrelevancy...


Yesterday I had a brief yet interesting conversation with my best friend about the Iraqi elections and the abhorrent goal-post moving responses from the media and other liberal voices. We both agreed that it's sad to see the reaction from people and political groups who would normally be cheering the strides towards democracy exhibited by the Iraqis who are instead whining about the legitimacy and the participation percentages.

Here's the problem I have.

For a healthy democracy to flourish, there needs to be at a minimum two sides (if not more) to each issue so that there can be healthy debate that actively progresses the issues to a better outcome. The more sides you have to a debate, the better your perspective of how each person is affected by the outcome. Obviously, you can go too far with this and get to the point that you have so many sides debating things that nothing ever gets done (see: Canada), but the general idea is to improve the discourse by keeping the discussion about the issues, including as much factual information as possible.

Unfortunately, it seems that lately the left side of the political debates in the US as well as the rest of the world have been sorely lacking in anything but ad hominem garbage. If I read one more comparison of George Bush to Hitler I will literally shoot blood from my eye sockets. This is what is passing for healthy debate from the left these days, and the effect is a lowered level of discourse that slows down positive progressive resolutions.

The right has been guilty of the same thing during Clintons tenure, as too many pundits focused on his pathetic sexual encounters instead of his fumbling of international issues. Clinton himself admitted he let down the world by ignoring the Rwandan massacres for too long. He also failed to properly respond to International Islamic terrorism, and we all know how that worked out.

There is a great blog listed to the right known as Babalu, written by one Val Prieto, and it deals primarily with Cuba -as Val puts it- "an island on the net without a bearded dictator". Val was recently interviewed by the Miami Herald, and he made the front page. Unfortunately, some people decided that Val's critique of the great Bearded one and his hellhole of a country were off base and he shouldn't write such horrible things about their dear leader.

Here's an example of some of the positive discourse-

My Dear Perieto Starting off with what you call Free and what I call Free. The Journalist in America cannot be free to write What they want: Bush and his Hitler Group are taking care of that.......You're a Complete jerk You want News on Cuba I can fill you in on many things you know nothing about. The Truth about Cuba. 87% of the Cubans would vote for Castro 51% of Americans vote for Bush and the whole World hate him: I have to be careful what I say or the OOFAC will be after me and I will have to go to an American Jail: With my DD-214 Form ( You or your Daddy don't have one.) Your Daddy was to busy leaving Cuba with his money than to susport the Castro Goverment, and the Cuban People America screwed the Cubans Thru people like you. Get Balls and E Mail me George.

This is what I'm talking about. No, not all debates from the left are this ricidulous. But how many times do you have to hear people compare Bush to Hitler before you have stop and say -WOULD YOU PLEASE GO READ SOME FUCKING HISTORY ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST?????..............(ahem)....

Okay sorry. Had to rant. Rant over- kitties for everyone!!!