Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I wonder how long it will take me to get used to my new page- and not think that I've typed in the wrong address?
A Palestinian suicide bomber killed three people in a bakery in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, one of Israel’s most popular holiday spots, in the first such attack in the Jewish state in nine months, police said.
Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the previously unknown “Army of Believers” claimed joint responsibility for the bombing.
As LGF points out- the Al-Aqsa Brigade are part of Fatah, Abbas' bunch of thugs. The same Fatah that this recently happened to-The US government plans to transfer $86.4 million to the security forces of embattled Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the coming days, senior Washington officials said on Friday.
That certainly worked out well didn't it? I wonder if that money- belonging to the people of the United States- might have been better spent?
Friday, January 26, 2007
A big part of the problem is the way that the Constitution in the US is being eviscerated these days. It really does seem that the people in charge either don't give a damn about the document or else they're too blinded by their own agenda to understand simple terms like "shall not be infringed" or "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech", etc, etc.
I'm not an American citizen but the US is important to me- and to watch the way it's changing at the moment is painful. Seems to me that a group of people who can actually read and understand the Constitution need to come along and repeal a whole bunch of laws that clearly and plainly run counter to it.
But what are the odds of that ever happening?
Thursday, January 25, 2007
The police are considering proposals to share intelligence and information with Muslims before launching anti-terror operations.
The plans, announced by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, are part of a wider vision to engage more with British Muslims whose support police need in fighting terrorism.
At a conference on Islamophobia, Sir Ian told his largely Muslim audience that combating the threat of extremism and terrorism was something his officers could not do alone.Amazing. Funny that no one even suggested sharing intelligence with the Catholic community before launching anti-IRA raids a few years back. The very idea would have been laughed at, despite the fact that that community remained pretty much closed-mouthed about terrorist activity. No, when non-Muslim groups are involved, the police and intelligence services just get on with their jobs as best they can. No one would dream of offering any non-Muslim community such special, privileged treatment.
And it seems that the police are also going to cease their "stop and search" tactics because it's "alienating" the Muslim community- so if cops see a Muslim man acting suspiciously, and perhaps carrying a bulging backpack or wearing a thick coat in the summertime, they probably won't be able to check to see if he is in fact on his way to blow up some innocent civilians. No, police are considering only stopping people they have "prior intelligence" on, and not on their appearance. Yep, the risk of offending some thin-skinned people sure is more important than stopping bombs being detonated in public places.
Again, police and army roadblocks and car searches- and searches of backpacks, handbags, and shopping bags-were all tactics used to prevent the IRA and the like from carrying out bombings here in Northern Ireland. So why the double standard now?
Thursday, January 18, 2007
First this- "Underlying that, Islamic principles don’t foster individual freedom so much as they command modes of behavior, and that culture informs every single aspect of life in Iraq. An Iraqi federal police colonel who lives a very secular lifestyle underscored this to me when he said, in a meeting with US Army troops present, that if Ayatollah Sistani tells him to fight the Americans who are currently training his forces to take on the terrorists, then he will fight us. Islamic loyalty would trump common sense and any notion of freedom, since he knows full well that taking on the US Army would result in his own death and more destruction in his country."
And then, a little later, this - "Communities like Al Salam and Khadimiyah in Baghdad prove that at the end of the day most Iraqis value security and the chance to have a normal life above any notions of jihad and sectarianism, and we can work with most Iraqis to make their country safe."
Evidently this is not the case if a secular officer would turn his gun on his current colleagues of so ordered. He values jihad above security and a normal life. Given that, and the fact that he was prepared to admit that right in front of American troops, there seems to be a certain disconnect between Preston's assertions that most Iraqis value a comfortable life above jihad and his own personal experience of being told that current loyalties, love of country and even self-preservation mean less than the duty to conduct jihad.
Monday, January 15, 2007
The contract will be substantial because the precision guidance kits will be made to fit into all existing 155-millimeter artillery shells used by the United States and NATO. The artillery rounds -- 3 feet tall and 10 inches wide -- would receive new screw-on tips, which are actually precision guidance kits that provide new satellite-guidance capability, wings that deploy mid-flight and mini brakes that can help steer the shells in the desired direction. The idea is precision targeting, even though the target may be 20 miles away.
The retrofitting of existing shells is expected to be much less expensive than the manufacture of precision shells.
BAE programs director Jim Unterseher has said that it costs less than $5,000 to manufacture a guided "screw-on" fuze for an existing artillery round, while it would cost "tens of thousands" to make a single "smart" round from scratch.
The advantages are obvious- more precise artillery will mean less rounds needed to harm the enemy and less chance of collateral damage.
The Undercover Southpaw is like a mirror image of a traditional revolver with the cylinder release on the proper- that is, the right- side of the gun. So no problems for a left-hander to reload the weapon.
Hopefully, this is a path that more and more gun manufacturers will begin to follow- surely it can't be that risky to pick their biggest selling item and offer a left-handed version? I reckon a good number of left-handed shooters would swap out guns that they already own for a southpaw version.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
As he was protesting Guantanamo, we asked whether he condemned Castro's concentration camps and imprisonment of human rights activists. We also asked if he thought the Cuban people deserved to live in freedom. He would only reply: "Castro is such a unique figure" and that "Communism worked under Castro"
We asked Jenny Heinz, another protestor, what she thought of Castro's tyranny. She got agitated and told us that wasn't what she was there to speak about. When finally pressed for an answer she said "I think Castro brought literacy to a lot of Cubans." Another person we spoke to, Tony Palladino, told us he'd "take Castro over Bush anytime." He didn't take me up on my suggestion that he actually move to Cuba.
Loretta Gallion told us that it is "not our business to free and liberate" people. When we mentioned the North Korean gulags, the genocide in Darfur, and other instances of oppression across the globe, and asked if we should intervene in those instances, she replied "I really don't know enough to answer."Prime examples of being blinded by ideology.
Seems like the North Koreans must be in a bad way if they're contacting a German rabbit breeder about a strain of large bunnies for meat.
Karl Szmolinsky has been given a contract by North Korea to supply giant rabbits to help to boost meat production in the reclusive Communist country, which is suffering severe food shortages. The only problem is that such huge rabbits consume vast quantities of food themselves as they grow.
Szmolinsky, from Eberswalde, in the east of Germany, was contacted by the North Korean Embassy in Berlin in October after Robert attracted press coverage. “They want to boost meat production. They’ve arranged for me to go to Pyongyang in April to advise them on setting up a breeding farm,” Szmolinsky, who is 68 next month, told The Times.
He breeds German gray giants, which are among the world’s biggest rabbits, and sells his annual crop of 60 to 80 to other breeders in Germany. He said that an attaché at the embassy came to his home and asked to see his rabbits. The diplomat was so impressed that he placed an order for eight females and four males, which were shipped to North Korea a few weeks later.
Each bunny can give about 15lbs of meat.
"When there isn't enough money to buy meat, you do without," said Bonifacia Ysidro. "Tortillas," she added, "you can't do without."
Of course, I'm sure that most "greenies" won't be at all concerned about the 53 million or so people
currently living in poverty who are on the verge of sliding into starvation- saving the planet is more important than mere people to them.
Staying in the new movie picture vein, here's one from the next installment of the Resident Evil franchise, Extinction. I'm not sure how this one will pan out- Milla Jovovich's character, Alice, still seems to be super-powered (bad ending to the second film I thought) but there's a new director on-board, Highlander's Russell Mulcahy. Given the first two films, I'm not expecting too much- what a waste of source material.
The first image revealed from the upcoming "I Am Legend" movie starring Will Smith. Based on the book of the same name by Richard Matheson it's previously been filmed twice- once as The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price and then again as The Omega Man with Charlton Heston. Looks like this version will be sticking with vampires as the menace. I hope they do the story justice.
Monday, January 08, 2007
The insanity never stops.
PUT down those golf clubs and go for your gun: shooting is fast becoming the social networking sport of choice.
A survey of 2,000 companies and 14,000 directors shows that shooting is soaring in popularity. A decade ago, toting a shotgun did not even feature among the most popular recreations listed by company directors. But the survey ranks shooting as the seventh most popular recreation, almost level with gardening.
Nor is shooting’s popularity solely down to City bankers blasting off on corporate days out. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) saw its membership rise to 128,000 last year, up from 110,00 in 1996; the number of affiliated syndicates has jumped to 940 from just 370 in 1996.
A recent survey by economic consultants Pacec estimated that 480,000 people now participate in shooting and the sport generates 70,000 jobs. Many of the newcomers are women.
Hopefully this is a trend that will continue.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
The hog hung snout down from a tree Friday in William Coursey's front yard, not far from where the avid hunter said he shot the beast. He said he hauled it to a truck weight station, which recorded the hairy hog at 1,100 pounds.
But Coursey believes his behemoth surpasses the famed super swine shot and killed in 2004 that weighed in at half a ton on the farm's scales. A team of National Geographic experts later confirmed "Hogzilla" didn't quite live up to the 1,000-pound, 12-foot hype, saying the beast was probably 7 1/2 to 8 feet long, and weighed about 800 pounds.
I can't wait to see the pictures and the inevitable Hogzilla 2 show on National Geographic!
UPDATE - Just found what appears to be a picture of the beast. It actually doesn't look all that big compared to the original. Estimated at 9 feet long but as we know from Hogzilla 1, hanging the hogs like that stretches them out a good deal.
Here are my posts on Hogzilla and another I dubbed Hogzilla's cousin, the latter which also tipped the scales at about 1100 pounds. It appears to be significantly larger than this latest find. No word on what Son of Hogzilla was taken with- if anyone catches the weapon/calibre used, please do let me know.
A spokesman for Derbyshire Police said: "When making a decision to release any photograph, police forces must take into account numerous factors including the public interest test, whether there is a strong local policing purpose and, of course, the Human Rights and Data Protection Acts.
"Photographs of named people that are in police possession are classed as data and their release is restricted by law.
"Acpo (Association of Chief Police Officers) guidance states that releasing a 'wanted' photograph of a named person should only happen in exceptional circumstances where officers believe that the named suspect may be a danger to the public."
Of course, in this day and age a murderers so-called "human rights" might be infringed if he's identified and apprehended by police before he murders again- no word about the human rights of any potential victims. And what exactly do police consider exceptional circumstances? Do they have to kill again before two escaped murderers are considered to be a threat to society? I would have thought that two fugitive killers on the run from the police might be considered a threat to public safety.
And, finally, why the hell were two murderers being held in an open prison in the first place?
Unbelieveable. I guess the police will extend their sympathies to the families of anyone unlucky enough to encounter these killers on the run- that seems to be the preferred choice over public servants actually doing their job these days.
Everything you've learned about Word over the years is now wrong. The familiar menu names - File, Edit, View, Insert, Format and the rest - are gone, replaced by cryptic new headers: Home, Insert, Page Layout, and Reference.
And clicking on a header no longer triggers a flurry of pull-down menus. Sure, Microsoft's bloated menus were a design catastrophe, but at least you knew where things were. No more. Now you get a long horizontal bar called "The Ribbon" that holds - no, hides - most Word commands. Although Mac OS X users will find the ribbon familiar, they will have no leg up in battle to learn the new Word: most commands are slightly, but devilishly, different.
Great. MS has decided that not only must Vista resemble Mac software, but now so too must its premier program- at the expense of every single current user. Mmm, will it actually woo any Mac users over to MS and PCs? I don't think so- and it may surely push a lot of Microsoft users away from the program. Open Office, for example, is ever so slightly different from Word. With the 2007 release, Open Office must surely look a lot more user friendly than the new Word; and it's free. Word 2007 is retailing at $229 for the program alone or $109.95 for the upgrade. Sounds like a bargain to me; pay over a hundred bucks for a program that no longer resembles the original, or download a look-alike for free. Tough decision.
At the moment I use Outlook and Word- one of the reasons is familiarity with the programs, they are just what I'm used to. I like the way they both are now. But why would I, or any other MS user, pay through the nose for an "enhancement" that renders all of our current expertise obsolete, when we can get the same functionality for free?
Friday, January 05, 2007
The Senate, as is typical, will get off to a slower start than the House, where rules and practice permit speedy debate and ensure tight majority power control over the agenda. After passage of a series of routine resolutions - including elevating 89-year-old Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., as President Pro Tempore, third in the line of presidential succession - the Senate floor will open up for speeches about the upcoming session.
More on the line of succession here.
Here's an example of the kind of man that is now a hop, skip and jump from being president-
Meanwhile, author Graham Smith recently discovered another letter Sen. Byrd wrote after he quit the KKK, this time attacking desegregation of the armed forces.
The ex-Klansman vowed never to fight "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.
A U.S. Border Patrol entry Identification Team site was overrun Wednesday night along Arizona's border with Mexico.
According to the Border Patrol, an unknown number of gunmen attacked the site in the state's West Desert Region around 11 p.m. The site is manned by National Guardsmen. Those guardsmen were forced to retreat.The Border Patrol will not say whether shots were fired. However, no Guardsmen were injured in the incident.
The Border Patrol says the incident occurred somewhere along the 120 mile section of the border between Nogales and Lukeville. The area is known as a drug corridor. Last year, 124-thousand pounds of illegal drugs were confiscated in this area.
The Border patrol says the attackers quickly retreated back into Mexico.
Question is- why did they attack the site, and what happened after the Guard retreated?
Civil servants are used to dealing with red tape - but a group are now having to adjust to black tape to show them where to put things on their desks.
National Insurance staff in Longbenton, North Tyneside, are taking part in a pilot scheme on desk management.
It is part of the Lean programme brought in by consultants Unipart, which has already seen public sector workers told to clear their desks of personal items.
HM Revenue & Customs declined to say how much Unipart was paid, claiming it was a commercial matter.
But a spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) claimed it was costing £7.4m nationally.
He said: "The scheme is demoralising and demeaning. Staff know how to order their desks themselves.
"We had a situation in some offices in Scotland where staff were asked 'Is that banana on your desk active or inactive?', meaning were they going to eat it? If not, it had to be cleared away."Can someone explain how it costs over seven million pounds to be told to keep a clean desk? And this at a time when it's being reported that Britain's armed forces are not only living in appalling conditions but the Parachute Regiment are facing the coming years without any parachute training.
Seems to me that Labour should have been cutting the bureaucrats' budgets this past decade instead of the Armed Forces.
A Red Bird-area homeowner turned the tables on a gun-toting burglar Wednesday night, taking the weapon away from him and beating him up with it.
The suspect, identified by police as 21-year-old Marquis D. Anderson, ended up in a local hospital.
"When the police got him, he wasn't able to talk," said Steven Flowers, a neighbor whose home was also burglarized. "He got beat bad. I wish it had been me [who delivered the beating]. I would have done the same thing."
And here's a line that you just have to love seeing in the press-
When police arrived, they found the unconscious burglar in a pool of blood on the hallway floor.
Note too that he stole one handgun from one home and was trying to steal two more. So much for gun laws that make it harder for the law-abiding to purchase firearms.
TIJUANA – The city's entire 2,300-member municipal police force has been ordered to turn in its weapons, leaving doubt Thursday about who would be patrolling this city of more than 1.5 million residents.
The surprise directive from Mexico's Defense Secretariat comes a day after President Felipe Calderon ordered Operation Tijuana, a major offensive against organized crime in the city. More than 3,000 soldiers and federal agents are being sent to the city with the aim of tackling the city's crime problems.
Over the next 14 years, Karnazes challenged almost every known endurance running limit. He covered 350 miles without sleeping. (It took more than three days.) He ran the first and only marathon to the South Pole (finishing second), and a few months ago, at age 44, he completed 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days, one in each of the 50 states. (The last one was in New York City. After that, he decided to run home to San Francisco.) Karnazes' transformation from a tequila-sodden party animal into an international symbol of human achievement is as educational as it is inspirational.
Worth reading the whole thing- including how he eats pizza while running!
For the first time ever, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have developed a material with a negative refractive index for visible light. Ames Laboratory senior physicist Costas Soukoulis, working with colleagues in Karlsruhe, Germany, designed a silver-based, mesh-like material that marks the latest advance in the rapidly evolving field of metamaterials, materials that could lead to a wide range of new applications as varied as ultrahigh-resolution imaging systems and cloaking devices.
The discovery, detailed in the Jan. 5 issue of Science and the Jan. 1 issue of Optic Letters, and noted in the journal Nature, marks a significant step forward from existing metamaterials that operate in the microwave or far infrared – but still invisible –regions of the spectrum. Those materials, announced this past summer, were heralded as the first step in creating an invisibility cloak.
Metamaterials, also known as left-handed materials, are exotic, artificially created materials that provide optical properties not found in natural materials. Natural materials refract light, or electromagnetic radiation, to the right of the incident beam at different angles and speeds. However, metamaterials make it possible to refract light to the left, or at a negative angle. This backward-bending characteristic provides scientists the ability to control light similar to the way they use semiconductors to control electricity, which opens a wide range of potential applications.The development doesn't just have military applications though- with this new tech it's hoped that scientists will have vastly improved imaging ability; to see into human cells or detect diseases in unborn babies.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Others seem to be living in cloud-cuckoo land. Philosopher Daniel Dennett and noted anti-theist Richard Dawkins both believe that religion will disappear within a few decades because of TV, the internet and scientific advances towards a theory of everything. Sure, because TV and the internet have a noted history of not spreading disinformation, myth and the most outlandish lies. That really will help to eliminate the faith of millions of people. I don't think I've ever heard such balderdash promoted as deep thought before.
Also flying in the face of reality are Steven Pinker and John Horgan who foresee a decline in violence and an end to warfare. Jihad on the rise, a rapidly military-modernising China, nuclear proliferation in the Middle East- all sure signs that war may end soon.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Johnson filed the motion asking U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren to preclude Fincher and his attorney, Oscar Stilley, from arguing matters of law to the jury as a defense. The government believes Fincher wants to argue the gun charges are unconstitutional and that the prosecution must prove an "interstate nexus" for the firearms, according to the motion.
They don't want that pesky Constitution to get in the way of them winning.
Monday, January 01, 2007
So why was Bill Clinton posing for photo ops with this scumbag instead of having him arrested on terrorism charges involving the murder of American citizens?