Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Words Speak for Themselves

John Kerry is in the news again for a remark he made at Pasadena City College about American troops in Iraq.

Kerry then told the students that if they were able to navigate the education system, they could get comfortable jobs - "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," he said to a mixture of laughter and gasps.
Kerry disparraged the troops in '71.

Today is nothing different.

Leopards, spots. etc.

I think as a leading Democrat he is just repeating the wails of the left Dems. You can read similar comments on the 'net every day.

The fact that he would say something like this before the election only proves his leftist credentials and his stupidity.

He couldn't find his solid waste evacuation unit if his head was buried in it. And it is.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Blogger Not Blogging

Blogger software that is.

Blogger has been very cranky the last few days when it comes to accepting posts. Or even refreshing pages. Hopefully this will soon be over and normal posting frequencies will resume.

BTW how about dem Bears? Not as good as the '85 team IMO. Still one of the best teams in the league for a long time. For nostalgia fans, here are the words to the Super Bowl Shuffle. A video of The Super Bowl Shuffle.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Unified Action

Reader Carol Herman alerted me to this excellent Austin Bay "Strategy Page" discussion of an interview with Donald Rumsfield.

Saddam Hussein's economic and political policies damaged agriculture in the land that eight millennia ago spawned the Agricultural Revolution. (Heck of an achievement, huh?) Agriculture, Commerce and several NGOs have expertise and programs that are helping revive Iraqi farms. Still, problems occur when trying to tailor programs to meet specific local needs -- like, who pays for the program and who is ultimately in charge of oversight and coordination.
This kind of effort is called "Unified Action". Here is how we used to direct those efforts.
Our system for "Unified Action" is still largely a Cold War, 20th century relic designed to prop up governments (so often corrupt and ill-led), instead of helping individuals and neighborhoods become economically self-sustaining and self-securing. Winning war in the Age of the Internet means improving neighborhoods and individual lives. The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and micro-finance whiz Muhammad Yunus understands this.
Austin Bay points out something he saw in Iraq.
While serving in Iraq in 2004, I met a young U.S. Army captain who was running a successful small-scale date palm restoration project. What we really need are joint development and security teams, where agricultural and economic specialists work with that captain "in the field" on a sustained, day-to-day basis. We need to decide who is in charge of that team (the captain or the arborist?) and how we fund it.
Here is the hot question Austin asked Secratary Rumsfeld.
"Mr. Secretary, based on our experience in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the limited interagency and non-governmental organization (NGO) participation in that operation, how do you see 'Unified Action' evolving for future conflicts?"
This really is key for speeding improvement in Iraq. Get every one on the same page. This is particularly true of those elemetnts which Secratary Rumsfeld has some fairly direct influence.
The politically deft SecDef finessed the question -- and it was finesse, not dodge. The military jargon masked a heavy political hand grenade I was rolling toward the Beltway. You think Harry Reid's land deal or Mark Foley's messages are big stories? How about a stinging pre-election turf battle between Defense and the departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Commerce and Agriculture, complete with zinger accusations of who is or isn't contributing to the war effort?

I know, that's quite a claim, which is why I need to translate the mil-speak: Unified Action means coordinating and synchronizing every "tool of power" America possesses to achieve a political end -- like winning a global war for national survival against terrorists who hijack economically and politically fragile nations and provinces.

People understand the role of soldiers and cops in a war, but in 21st century wars where economic and political development are determinative, an arborist at the Department of Agriculture and a Commerce Department trade consultant can be powerful contributors to "Unified Action."
I'd like to see people and organizations competing to improve the lives of the Iraqi people.

Do you think the Democrats would be interested?

Webb Is Hot

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh Friday. Rush was hot. His show was full of Republican pornography, after giving fair warning to children and adults.

He read excerpts from Webb's book.

Webb seems like the perfect politician. He knows what the public wants.

Democracy, whiskey, sexy.


For background on this story and a few "I deplore"s see Captain's Quarters and Instapundit

Friday, October 27, 2006

On Terrorism

Men who use terrorism as a means to power, rule by terror once they are in power. --Helen Macinnes
H/T Forbes Magazine

Committed to Victory

The fight in Italy in WW2 was badly handled politically and militarily at every step except the initial blow. (sound like Iraq?)

The fighting at Monte Casino killed over 15 times more men than we have lost in Iraq.

Did we give up because mistakes were made?

Nope. We committed ourselves to victory.

I wish the Democrats felt the same way about the current war.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Electing Democrats on a "Might Be"

Two American Generals say they are voting for Democrats in the hopes of changing American policy.

The military leaders also say that Democrats might be willing to put up the massive infusion of cash they believe will be required to fix a military stretched thin, and to permanently increase the size of the Army.
With Rangle heading Ways and Means? Who promises to strangle the economy with higher taxes? Despite the fact that lower taxes have increased government income way above expectations?

With Alcee Hastings (who was impeached and convicted for bribery) running Intelligence?

The Generals are delusional.

And we should listen to them?

In any case we already have an Army increased in size by 80,000 but the increase like the tax cuts is not permanent.
While the Republican-controlled Congress passed legislation temporarily increasing the size of the Army, a permanent move in that direction is anathema to Rumsfeld -- who has battled for a smaller, ever more technology-dependent military.
So the generals got most of what they claimed they needed for now and still they are not happy? I don't get it.

Build More Nukes

In an otherwise good article on the up coming elections and what it will mean to have a Democrat House and Senate, Pete Du Pont says:

"Reducing dependence on foreign oil" is a good Democratic goal, and there are a number of ways to accomplish it. Building more nuclear power plants is one.
Could some one please explain how building more nukes will reduce our oil consumption or increase its production?

I'm an energy engineer. I have been looking at this question for a very long time. I still can't figure out the connection.

America gets its electricity from coal fired plants, natural gas fired plants, and hydroelectric dams with wind coming on strong. Not very much oil in the mix. So how will building nukes help?

H/T Instapundit

Rating Congress

Reader Paul alerted me to a site that rates Congress critters on a liberal/conservative axis. A zero rating is totally liberal; a 100 rating is totally conservative.

I hereby call your attention to those considered to be in line as the leadership of the Democrat Party, and those that would chair the most important committees should the Democrats gain control of either chamber. Where do they fall on the scale? Check them out for yourselves below, with a few interesting "things you ought to know" thrown in for good measure:

22 Robert Byrd (WV-Senate President Pro Temp/Senate Appropriations)
Would be 3rd in line to succeed to the Presidency!

15 Steny Hoyer (MD-House Majority Leader)

11 Alcee Hastings (FL-House Intelligence)
An impeached former Federal Judge, who was thrown off the bench for lying under oath and accepting bribes!

11 David Obey (WI-House Appropriations)

11 Harry Reid (NV-Senate Majority Leader)
Currently embroiled in a growing scandal involving questionable land deals!

9 Carl Levin (MI-Senate Armed Services)

9 Jay Rockefeller (WV-Senate Intelligence)

8 John Conyers (MI-House Judiciary)
Can't wait to convene impeachment hearings against President Bush!

6 Dick Durbin (IL-Senate Majority Whip)
Compared U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Soviets in their Gulags, and genocidal dictator Pol Pot!

6 Pat Leahy (VT-Senate Judiciary)
Forced to resign from the Senate Intelligence Committee for leaking classified material!

6 Nancy Pelosi (CA-Speaker of the House)
Would be 2nd in line to succeed to the Presidency!

4 Charlie Rangel (NY-House Ways and Means)
He just can't wait to raise your taxes!
There is much more plus a lot of links.

Note that Socialist Bernie Sanders rates a 6.

Republicans are going to have to get over their dislike of the socialist lite Republican Congress and vote for Republicans. If they don't they will wind up with socialist heavy. Did I mention the war on Islamic Fascism?

Kinky Gains

The polling in Texas shows that among the likely voters Kinky Friedman is at the bottom of the pack.

Republican Rick Perry has 36 percent, Democrat Chris Bell has 26 percent. Independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn has 19 percent and Independent Richard Kinky Friedman has 16 percent. Two percent were undecided and Libertarian James Werner has one percent.
What is the Kinky organization's take on the polls?
Friedman spokeswoman Laura Stromberg says she's not worried at all.

“We are really happy with where we are going and how we are polling,” Stromberg said. “The only polls out there show what likely voters think and Kinky is doing very well considering his whole strategy is go after the unlikely voter.”
Kinky's Campaign amplifies that statement.
Early voting began statewide this Monday, and the first two days of early voting give us plenty of reason to hope. Throughout the state, we've seen up to a 60% increase in voter turnout compared to 2002 figures. Why does this matter? Because only 29% of us bothered to show up at the polls last time, and we've said all along that if we see a surge in turnout, Kinky will win.
This is the same strategy Jesse Ventura used to win in Michigan in '98. It made him Governor of that state.

Some early voting numbers for Texas can be found here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Few Problems Have Arisen

Due to some problems with my #1 son I have had to move my cable modem. The cable people tell me they have to come to my house to do a reauthorization. That will happen on Thursday.

In the mean time I have had to install a phone line to my new location for the computer so I could use dial-up for my Internet Service.

So here I am.

Posting will be light until I get the cable modem re-installed.

Thank you for your patience.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Don't Leave Yet

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih asks Americans for help.

LONDON (Reuters) - Iraq is vital to the world's future and the West cannot cut and run despite growing anxiety over the relentless bloodshed there, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said on Monday.

Salih, in London for talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other ministers, voiced concern at the growing pressure on the British and U.S. governments to change direction in Iraq given the heavy death toll among coalition forces and Iraqis.

He stressed that Iraqi forces were gradually taking over responsibility for security but said Iraq needed the "enduring support" of the international community to combat what he called "a difficult onslaught by terrorists."

Asked about a pledge by Australia's opposition to pull the country's troops out of Iraq if it wins the next election, Salih said: "I do believe there is no option for the international community to cut and run."

"The fate of Iraq is vital to the future of the Middle East and the world order," he told reporters.
So we have a new democracy calling for help. Will the Democrats heed that call?

I have my doubts.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mikveh Monologues

Interesting article about Jewish ancient and modern reasons for ritual immersion (mikveh very loosely translated means "ritual pool"). My first mate dipped in a mikveh as part of her conversion to Judaism. Such ancient uses are discussed:

Recently, Mayyim Hayyim celebrated its second year with the Mikveh Monologues, a program of stories and songs performed by actors, musicians, and community members. Similar to the Vagina Monologues, playwright Eve Ensler’s dramatic telling of women’s life stories as these stories are connected to women’s vaginas, the Mikveh Monologues used actors and community members to tell the stories of those who have immersed in these particular living waters. Ultimately, mikveh immersions have evolved beyond a ritual connected to conversions to Judaism, purification after menstruation or childbirth, or prior to a wedding.
Mayyim Hayyim loosely translated means Water of Life. Probably a Dune fan picked the name.

More modern uses:
Others used the mikveh after sickness, or divorce. Rabbi Mark Sokoll, who was honored as part of the day’s program, told the story of a woman for whom the mikveh was the last place she went before she died. Her trip to the mikveh was the last time she left her home.
The site linked above is about a woman who became Jewish before marriage was an issue. She always wanted to be Jewish.

When it came decision time for me and the first mate I let her make the decision. I'm knd of liberal about religion and told her before we married that any religion except Christianity would do (Islam was not on her list). She chose to become a Jew.

Jesus has my respect as one of the major feminists in the Western tradition (helping to end honor killings). The man as God idea just didn't sit well with me, though and I thought the gruesome images of Jesus nailed to a cross are a bad influence on children. YMMV.

Well in any case back to the old time religion. If it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for me.

All this was prompted by this link from Kesher Talk about Dating Jewish.


Dr. Sanity has a piece up about Ted Kennedy's work for the Soviets. The good Dr. Starts with the source of this information CyberCast News Service. Who sources it to political science professor Paul Kengor, of Grove City College and the author of new book, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism.Then the Dr. gets to the heart of the matter:

What interests me is the transformation of the Democratic Party into a tool that every major enemy of this country--from the North Vietnamese, to the Soviets, to the Syrians all the way up to the present day-- has been able to use to advance their objectives at the expense of America. As Feldman notes, this does indeed give new meaning to the term "opposition party".

It also give new clarity to one of the issues that I have talked about on this blog repeatedly, and that is the complete betrayal by the political left in this country of the values and freedoms upon which the U.S. was founded.

How easily they deceived themselves (if it was deception at all) into thinking that they had more in common with the communist party leadership of the USSR than with the duly elected president of the U.S. How easily people like John Kerry supported and enabled the dictators of North Vietnam. Is it any susrprise at all that today, in our war on terror, that this same political party and the same deluded base that animates them see the terrorists as the oppressed victims and the US as the evil oppressors?
It is not so much that they think all these dictators are good (that illusion no longer holds up well). It is that the enemy of my enemy.... And their enemy is American capitalism. They long for the old tribal way of life. This is evidenced by their identity politics. They are not so much a party as a collection of tribes. Interestingly tribes are inherently collectivist. So that may be another point of affinity.

More Kink

A very interesting interview with Kinky Friedman who is running for Governor of Texas. Here is a small sample:

Politically, he says he's like Frank Sinatra: "I started left, and moved right." Consequently, Kinky is still fairly liberal on social issues--he's reluctantly pro-choice, and he's for gay marriage ("they have every right to be just as miserable as the rest of us"). Otherwise, he does a fairly convincing impression of a Republican from ten years ago, back when they still had principles: tough on illegal immigration and crime, anti-tax and pro-fiscal responsibility.
I'm sure after that you will want to read the whole thing.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Descent Into Anarchy

It looks like the Palestinians especially in Gaza are descending into anarchy. Amira Haas reports:

Slogans shouted at rallies sound better when they rhyme. "Not Ismail, not Haniyeh, we want back the government of haramiyeh." Haramiyeh means thieves, and the protesters in Ramallah - Palestinian Authority workers who have not received their salaries for the last seven months - shouted what can be heard in conversations in the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip: Hamas may be clean, but the Fatah thieves are preferable. After all, the reasoning goes, when Fatah was in power, our salaries were assured.

The continued strike at PA offices, the rallies of the clerks and the demands for a unity government - all call on the Hamas-led government to recognize the negative balance of its brief tenure. There is justification for the complaints: A government is supposed to make sure that civil servants get their salaries, as part of fulfilling its obligation to protect the welfare of the population. A government - even one as lacking in powers as a Palestinian government under Israeli occupation - is supposed to weigh its political and ideological platform against its ability to meet its civil and economic obligations. But under Hamas, the backbone of society collapsed when the civil servants' livelihood - as basic and modest as it was - was no longer assured, as it had been during 12 years of chronic instability.

The Fatah governments bequeathed to the Hamas government a dependence on the funds of donor nations, whether they were used for development or to cover the annual budget (including covering the funds that Israel plunders from the Palestinian people in broad daylight, in the form of the taxes it levies on Palestinian transactions, without transferring it to the Palestinian treasury.) But the fixed global donations to the PA are not made without recompense, which was a process of political negotiations, as faltering as it was, including the Palestine Liberation Organization's recognition of the occupying State of Israel and the State of Israel's recognition of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.
The one advantage the Fatah government had in its international relations and its relations with Israel was its willingness to lie or employ the Two Wings fiction. That is no longer such an attractive option. The Israeli government, at least, is not buying it.

General Halutz, Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Army has this to say about the state of Gaza:
"The Palestinian Authority is a state of anarchy, and lawlessness is reigning in the Gaza Strip," said Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz on Friday in a speech to commercial and industrial leaders, adding that the Palestinian issue seemed like a problem whose solution was "far away."
Far away from the two state solution. Other possible solutions are closer at hand.

A UN representative echos the General:
UNITED NATIONS — The continuing violence and near-closure of Gaza coupled with the lack of any apparent political solution "is truly explosive" and as potentially dangerous for both Israelis and Palestinians, the U.N. Mideast envoy warned Thursday.

Alvaro de Soto told the U.N. Security Council that a national unity government "offers the most credible opportunity _ indeed, perhaps the only one _ to stem the slide into anarchy" for the Palestinians and restore basic law and order.

Months of contacts to bring the current Hamas-led government and President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party into a national unity government have broken down over Hamas' refusal to accept international demands to recognize Israel, renounce violence and endorse past peace accords.

De Soto said donors should signal their readiness "to re-engage if there is a genuine movement" toward a national unity government that embraces the international demands, which are backed by the so-called Quartet that drafted the stalled roadmap to Mideast peace _ the U.N., the U.S., the European Union and Russia.

"Palestinian society is teetering between national unity one day and civil conflict the next," de Soto said. "The Palestinian Authority ... has for several months been governed by a president and a prime minister with divergent programs, and has been polarized by deadly clashes between rival security forces."
Personally I'm betting on civil war. Because despite months of negotiations and pressure from Egypt and other Arab governments there has been no movement.

Such a situation comes when the forces involved are at rough parity. Both sides think they can win. I think they are forgetting another possibility from civil war. Both sides can lose. Wich would make a pretty good side bet in the civil war question.

Meanwhile the fighting between Hamas and Fatah continues. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh recently has his convoy fired on by some Fatah folks.
Palestinian security officials said disgruntled relatives of a Fatah activist killed in recent internecine fighting with Hamas fired at Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's motorcade as it drove through Gaza on Friday, but the Hamas leader's armored Mercedes car was not hit and nobody was injured.

Officials in Haniyeh's office said the attack did not appear to be an assassination attempt, but it comes at a time of growing tensions between rival Palestinian factions that have sparked fears of civil war.
Not an assasination attempt? What was it? Agressive electioneering?
The incident occurred less than 12 hours after the rival factions reached an agreement through the mediation of Egypt’s permanent security delegation to Gaza which calls for an immediate cessation of violence and an end to incitement and mudslinging on Palestinian media outlets.
Evidently their agreements with each other are faring no better than their agreements with Israel. There is no honor among thieves.

The Defeated Commit Suicide

Commenter linearthinker has suggested this companion piece by Dr. Sanity to go with my recent Honor Can Not Be Purchased In A Bazaar.

Dr. Sanity is discussing suicide bombing.

But this tactic is not, I suggest, a product of Islam. Rather, it is a product of the bruised Arab psyche. Remember that the Japanese also turned to suicide tactics in WWII to evade the humiliation of defeat. Though their religion was Shinto rather than Muslim, they too constituted a paradigm shame/honor culture, and defeat brought about, as with the Arabs, a furiously suicidal/homicidal response. After their armies had been defeated, their fleets sunk, their cities set aflame, and their home islands invaded, they launched the kamikaze bomber offensive, thereby committing a hi-tech form of hara-kiri, their usual remedy against intolerable shame. It is in this way that the modern Arab world resembles the Japan of World War II. In both cases it is not religions but psychic wounds, the wounds inflicted by defeat and evident inferiority, that inspire suicide bombers.
As long as we do not surrender ala Vietnam I believe victory is assured. That does not mean it will be easy, painless, or quick.

Honor Can Not Be Purchased In A Bazaar

Winds of Change is discussing honor/shame cultures and how their clash with our culture of guilt/innocence is coming along.

Given the honor/shame nature of the Palestinian culture I believe they fight because to them negotiations are only a prelude to fighting.

Winning their objectives by negotiations has no honor (or at least not enough). That is one of the reasons that the Palestinians are seen as Cheats and Liars.

They want their honor back. That is won only by fighting and dying for a cause until they are destroyed or Israel decamps. In other words honor can not be purchased in a bazaar. This explains why no amout of negotiations will solve the Palistinian's problems.

The only answer for this is to change the culture or population transfer.

What is going on now is a circle that can not be squared in a decade or two. The time frame required is on the order of a century or two. I do not think the Israelis are willing to wait that long.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Rotary Club Is The Enemy

Abu Nopal has an interesting post up discussing the moral hazard in the Iraq War that tends to push Iraq towards Tribalism. He asks what we can do to counter that. Here is my answer:

What you need is a business class that agitates for lower crime and violence. Crime and violence are bad for business.

What is needed is Rotary Clubs and Chambers of Commerce. And more Electricity.

The Islamists are right. The Rotary Club is their enemy.
Mona Charen quotes Hamas on the importance of women and Rotary Clubs:
Her role in guiding and educating the new generations is great. The enemies have realized the importance of her role. They consider that if they are able to direct and bring her up the way they wish, far from Islam, they would have won the battle. That is why you find them giving these attempts constant attention through information campaigns, films, and the school curriculum, using for that purpose their lackeys who are infiltrated through Zionist organizations under various names and shapes, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, espionage groups and others, which are all nothing more than cells of subversion and saboteurs. . . . The day Islam is in control of guiding the affairs of life, these organizations, hostile to humanity and Islam, will be obliterated.
Our enemies know what they fear and they will tell us if we listen.

Will Jordan Go Islamist?

Will Jordan go Islamist in its next election? Commenter Abu Nopal has found an interesting tid bit on a Jordanian blog. They are discussing a possible postponement of Jordanian elections.

The next day, Rana Sabbagh, drew a nightmare scenario in which an Islamist victory in Jordan would unite with the Hamas government in Palestine to form an Islamist state in Jordan and parts of Palestine. She highlights the fact that leading Jordanian Islamists view the 1988 disengagement between Jordan and the West Bank as unconstitutional (Hamas leaders don’t recognize the disengagement either). She draws her concerns from unnamed officials and influential MP’s (who have a vested interest in extending the life of the current parliament). Her analysis is that the parliamentary elections will be delayed for a year or two.

The Economy is Booming

The American Economy is booming. Government revenues are up. And yet under such conditions, when newspaper profits normally rise to great heights the New York Times and many other newspapers face severe declines in profits.

The newspaper business is an anachronism. Its days, like the days of moveable type are over. The next recession will probably kill the legacy media.

It has two problems. High fixed costs - presses and paper. That is not an insurmountable problem. The bigger problem is that it is not meeting the needs of its audience for entertainment, information, and especially commentary.

With broadband and Youtube the television folks will be next. The decline will be slower because sports still animates television viewing. How about them Bears?

Cheats and Liars

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert says Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas must take action.

The moment of truth with the Palestinians is fast approaching, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will have to "take action" or "all shreds of hope will be lost," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday night on his way back from Russia.

"The problem with the Palestinians is reaching a critical point," Olmert said. "Either Abbas will take courageous steps, or all shreds of hope will be lost." Abbas, Olmert said, must "put his house in order."
What kind of action? Hope of what? Well there are a lot of possibilities, but this article gives very few clues.
Referring to both the Palestinian and Iranian issues, Olmert essentially said that he is not opposed to compromise, but at a certain point there comes a time when there is a need to fish or cut bait.

He said that even the Qataris, whose foreign minister, he said, was quite far from Israel's position, had come to the conclusion during the attempts to get Hamas to change its policies that they are "cheats and liars."
The policies are recognition of Israel, an end to attacks, and adherence to previous agreement.

That a fellow Arab country should come down on Hamas that way shows that Hamas has been much more liberal with its false promises and double dealing than is usual even for Arabs. (Jeeze you would think I was talking about American Indians in 1870 - the cause is the same Tribalism)

Olmert talks as if he believes the train is leaving the station and another one ids not due for decades if ever. We know that the train is the Peace Train. The question is: what are the consequences of not getting on it.

One thing we do know is that the political - wing military wing fiction is over. Israel is making the Palestinian politicians responsible for their behaviior and the behavior of their countrymen. If they cannot control their country they will be deemed not to have one.

Update: 20 Oct '06 1159z

A newspaper from Qatar gives its view.
“We made bets and had expectations that the West and especially the European Union would give us a chance to address our cause through politics, and we believed that the Arab world would be our supporter.” Since its rise to power, tensions between Hamas and Fatah have deepened, boiling over into violence. At the same time, efforts are underway to try to form a unity government that might manage to end the clashes and get sanctions lifted.
Evidently Hamas is not getting the support from the Arab world it hoped for and sanctions are biting.

Gaza is breaking into warlordism. Tribalism gone wild. Loyalty to the family, clan, tribe is taking the place of loyalty to a nation. They are returning to a state of nature. How uncivilized.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The NYTs Should Read My Blog

The New York Times is finally figuring out what is going on in the world.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 — As debate swirls about whether new international sanctions against North Korea will be effective, the Bush administration appears to have made some headway in using new American legal tools to cut off both North Korea and Iran from the international financial system.

The American campaign to use its own financial regulations to put pressure on North Korea and Iran has been a mix of implicit threats backed by explicit action, American officials and banking experts say.

Over the last year, American officials have met with many private banks overseas to warn them of the risk of doing business with certain Iranian and North Korean trading companies and businesses that the United States says have been tied to terrorist groups or to the spread of nuclear materials.

One of the main unspoken messages of the visits, experts say, is that the United States government may eventually bar American banks from working with financial institutions doing business with groups tied to terrorism.
I have been covering this since March of this year. I have also covered Hamas and Hizballah, not just Iran. (I have been light on North Korea however). Here is a short list of some of my articles on the subject.

Follow the Money
Follow the Gold
Cash Flow Jihad Bites
Squeezing Hamas' Cash Flow
Lebanon's Cash Flow Problems
Hizballah Joins the Cash Flow Jihad
Cash Flow Jihad Strikes Hamas
Cash Flow Jihad Meets Aftermath
Iran to Enter Cash Flow Jihad Zone
Iran Cash Flow Squeezed
Iran: Cash Flow Jihad (Sanctions) Update

Also note that Hamas was blindsided by the severity of the sanctions. They call it a siege. Which it is.
GAZA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Hamas, the Islamist group that runs the Palestinian government, said on Thursday it could never have imagined the vast international pressure it would come under after winning democratic elections earlier this year.

In a candid article published in the Palestinian press, Ahmed Youssef, a political adviser to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, said the group had been shocked by the strength of opposition to its electoral victory.

"It went beyond all imagination," wrote Youssef.

"The government ... did not expect the pressures and the siege imposed on our people would be so harsh, so strong and so large in scale."

Youssef's is the latest in a series of articles by Hamas officials in recent weeks either seeking to explain themselves or calling on the Palestinian community to refrain from violence and think more carefully about how it opposes Israel.
I wonder how long it will take before the Times figures out that the siege of Hamas is bending the Palestinian "government" in a more peaceful direction.

H/T Regime Change Iran

Illinois State Board of Elections

I was looking for a guide to polling places in Illinois. The State Board of Elections does not have that information up yet. I will be keeping an eye on that site and post the polling place guide before the next election in November.

Rumsfeld: Remember History

Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfield says we must look to history and not underestimate our enemies in the Terror War.

Americans must take a lesson from history and not believe that the terrorist threat has been exaggerated or will go away, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday.

The new terrorist enemy is, he said, "even more ruthless and more lethal - with no territory to defend, no treaties to honor, that measures progress in terms of decades, not days, and who seeks the world's most dangerous weapons. With this sort of enemy, Americans cannot afford - and indeed could not survive - another holiday from history."

In remarks prepared for delivery to students at the Air Force's war college at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Rumsfeld also acknowledged that the Iraq war, like other battles, "has not been a steady upward glide path. We have not been successful at predicting every conceivable tactic of the enemy."
In effect what he is saying is that our current troubles are a continuation of a war that has been going on for about 1,400 years.

He is also saying that set backs are inevitable.

The hardest thing he says is that short term thinking (years) will not defeat an enemy who thinks in terms of decades and centuries. Which is why I do not worry much if the Dems get into control of Congress. Our enemies will keep attacking and thus the Dems will be forced to deal with it or be destroyed as a viable political party.

Kinky On Drugs

Sound like fun? Well actually it is politics. Not near as much fun as kinky on drugs. This is about a different kind of kinky. Kinky Friedman who is running for Governor of Texas.

He is running a good campaign in Texas. He has the politicians there running scared.

So I decided to look at his platform [pdf] to see what he has to say about the drug issue. Here it is:

4} KEEP OUR KIDS SAFE. Texas prisons are filled with drug addicts who are sick, not criminals. Let’s get them into treatment and out of prison, making room to lock up murderers and sexual predators for the rest of their lives.
Which is pretty much where I stand on the issue. The difference between me and Kinky? I have medical evidence to back up my position. Is Addiction Real?

He Has Returned

Our #1 son has returned from Chicago.

He got home last night while I was sleeping.

My #2 son who is a student at the University of Chicago (full scholarship, Russian language) put him up for a couple of days in his dorm room until he decided to come back to Rockford. Then #2 son put up the money for a bus ticket.

We are keeping our fingers crossed.

Push Poll

Random thoughts on politics and the coming elections.

I just got a push poll tonight re: Don Manzulo from his Dem opponent whose name I still can’t remember.

I told the sucker I was voting straight R this time although I had voted Bush/Obama in ‘04.

This idiot at first thought Obama was a Republican because I had mentioned Bush’s name. Despite the fact that I said I split my ticket in ‘04. Keyes polled 15 points below Bush. I helped make that happen.


I’m an anti-prohibtionist kind of guy.

Every time I try to reach out to the left on that issue I get my hand smacked.

I’m voting straight Republican. Right down the ticket.

Where I’m coming from: I have researched the issue and believe drug use is a symptom of pain.

Just as insulin use is a symptom of some forms of diabetes.

Is Addiction Real?

The NIDA says that drug use is in part genetic and part environmental. Now I don’t favor genetic persecution any more than I favor enriching terrorists and criminals.

Say. Do they still teach alcohol prohibition in schools?

Despite all that I’m still voting straight Republican.

As I said. There are real issues the Dems could use to beat the Republicans. They won’t use any of them.

The drug issue is such a no brainer for the Dems if they would just look at the current government research on the matter (NIDA).

It is a genetic disease triggered by trauma.

We are persecuting the traumatized. It fits the Democrat narratitive about the Republicans just about perfectly. With a bunch of racisism (selective prosecution of minorities) thrown in.

And yet I can’t get the Ds interested because I think that we have an Islamofascist problem in this world. As soon as they hear that they ignore one of the most powerful issues they have had for decades.

God help the Republicans if the Dems ever wake up on this issue before the Rs change their minds. It will be 1932 all over again.

The Republicans are not so hot but the Dems are brain dead. Ds don’t understand economics. They don’t get the war. And on top of that they don’t care about real civil liberties. Instead they prattle on about the Patriot act. Interrogations. Intecepting calls that cross our borders. etc. Idiots.

At least the Rs get two out of three of my main issues.

BTW the drug war stuff is for any Dem who is smart enough to pick it up. Although my guess is that the dope dealers pump a lot of $$$ into the Dems to keep dope illegal.

Just look at the El Rukan and Blackstone Ranger scandals from many years back in Chicago. Then imagine that going on all around the country.

I wonder if the District Attorney offices around the country are checking on the political donations of the various gangs.


Do Republicans support drug prohibition because it finances criminals or because it finances terrorists?

Republican Socialism. Price supports for criminals and terrorists.


Now there is a real issue. Naturally the Democrats won’t touch it.

Two Wings one Bird

It is hard to believe but the Israelis look poised to shed another illusion. The Palestinians are not happy. not happy.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz drew the ire of Arab Knesset members Wednesday when he told the plenum that he had "had enough" and would no longer distinguish between terror organizations.

"There was a period in the beginning when we made a distinction between rockets and between organizations, and what did this create? One organization placed responsibility on another organization. No more," said Peretz.
So nor more militant wing, no more political wing. One bird.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Crooked Sham

I recently got a comment spam from a drug rehab outfit in one of my drug war articles.

So naturally I had to say something about it:

Drug rehab is a crooked sham.

If people are taking drugs due to an underlying condition (PTSD from child abuse say) then weaning people from drugs will not cure the "addiction" because addiction is not the problem.

I suppose it pays well "curing" symptoms with the inevitable "relapse" when the symptoms come back.
Then I ask the rehab guy:
Supposing you can do what you say you can do, let me ask a question.

Do you have a program for insulin addicts?

To Save a Life

I haven't been posting much lately (you noticed?).

My #1 son has gone to Chicago and was picked up a about a week and a half ago for wandering the streets and sleeping on park benches. He hadn't eaten for a few days. He was incoherent. He was placed in a hospital for mental observation.

After a week of observation he was put out on the street with no support except for a list of homeless shelters.

We do not expect him to live out the winter.

At this time he is not totally rational. He thinks he is God and it is his job to fix the human race. He doesn't eat for days at a time. He walks endlessly. He does not want to return home.

This all came about because we have laws to protect the rights of people who might be incarcerated in mental institutions against their will. A good idea. However, hearings are biased against those whose problems are not a threat to themselves or others in the next six hours.

When he is medicated he seems to get better, however he refuses to take his medications.

Deinstitutionalization has not fixed the mental illness problem. It has been transfered it to a less costly system (homeless shelters) of handling the mentally disabled.

BTW I had been meaning to write this for several days. Both my mother and my first mate thought getting the word out was a good idea. Writing this was more a matter of outrage than courage.

My job here is to speak for those who can't speak for themselves. Many thanks to those of you who have donated to keep my voice on line. And to the rest of you who encourage me by reading and commenting. Bring a friend.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fear of Risk

There is a post mortem going on about the performance of the Israeli Army in the recent war in Lebanon. This particular report deals with the performance of 91st Division.

An interim Israel Defense Forces investigative report to the failures of the army during the war in Lebanon was delivered on Sundays to the chief of staff and the General Staff Forum, points out major deficiencies in the performance of IDF's 91st division and its commander, Brigadier General Gal Hirsch.
Let us start out with the good news.
One positive point which stems from the report is the individual performance of the battalions and companies which came in direct contact with Hizbullah. The results of these battles were all in favor of the IDF soldiers.
So despite the difficulties the IDF was cleaning Hizballah's clock.

Now for the bad news.
The positive comments, however, end there. The investigation raises major problems with the issues of battle management, its purpose and its objectives. One major problem reported by the investigators was the attitude towards the mission. According to the report, the officers and soldiers treated the fighting in Lebanon as a normal security incident and not as a war, including in the field, despite the fact that the senior officers and the general staff had said that they are indeed in a war.
What does that mean? Probably that the wartime rules of engagement were not fully implimented. Too much concern for civilian casualties and collateral damage at the expense of the lives of Israeli soldiers.
The missions were not articulated clearly especially in two parameters: the purpose and the timeframe for the missions. Instead, only the objectives of the missions were defined clearly. This resulted in vagueness and inability to assess the results of the missions.

Frequent mission changes: the investigation found that the missions and orders were changed too frequently for the forces to prepare adequately. The missions were articulated in writing, phone, or radio, which contributed to the confusion, and mistrust among the command.
Clear orders and definite objectives are essential in implimenting the commanders intent.

Probably some of the confusioin of changing orders could not be avoided due to Hizballah's ability to capture and decode Israeli communications. This can be fixed by improving security.
Inconsistency in managing the battles caused areas which were controlled by the IDF to be abandoned, only to be conquered again. There were extreme changes in the intensity of the battle moving from long periods of waiting to intense periods of activity in very tight schedules which caused confusion among the commanders. The battle orders were also not delivered clearly to the forces, a fact which did not allow the forces to maximize their firepower and use it efficiently.
Again the problem is one of understanding the commanders intent. Or of the commanders having no definite intent which would be much more serious.

As to changes in tempo and general confusion: absolutely normal in warfare. Hurry up and wait is so normal in armed forces that normally it is not at all remarkable except for the griping of the soldiers. This points to a lack of training.

Now comes probably the worst indictment of the officer corps. Any officer corps.
As to the location of the brigade commanders, only the commander of the paratrooper's brigade chose to command the forces from within the battlefield, even when the forces had suffered losses and there was a need for that. Among the battalion commanders, that phenomenon was less prevalent, but did find some instances where the commanders chose to be outside of the battlefield.
They teach you over and over in good militaries that leadership is not just giving orders. It is sharing danger with your men and seeing how things are going first hand. Without that kind of leadership armies become reluctant to close with the enemy. The officer corps loses the trust of the soldiers.
On the logistical side, the report indicates that the division was unaware that there were tanks and bulldozers without fuel. In addition, the report indicates that there was not enough done to open logistical corridors into the forces. The brigades also did not prioritize the formation of logistical corridors. The report indicates that most of the logistical solutions were a result of improvisation.
Logistics is the heart and soul of a modern military. Improvisation is good. Planning is better.
The report also indicated that the commanders of the division did not stick to the mission and did not show determination because they were afraid to take risks, logistical problems, and lack of preparedness of the force.

The report also indicated problems in the area of the so called "IDF spirit" which calls for constant contact with the enemy, determination, and personal risk taking for the name of the mission. In that area, the report indicated that the commanders acted timidly and did not wish to expand the mission and take the necessary responsibility.

The report also indicates deficiencies in the training of the forces and their professional readiness, which caused a problem in the way they performed in battle
All warfare is about calculated risk. Timidity in the officer corps is a very serious problem. It means the inability to take advantage of situations as they arise.

The lack of constant contact allows the enemy to regroup. This makes the fighting harder and the losses higher.

I have blamed the timidy on Israeli culture. Particularly its economic culture of Socialism. Socialism is about avoiding risk. Capitalism is at its heart a risk taking economic culture. Time for a change.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Totally Weird Cheap DIY Projects

I was looking around for Buckminster Fuller stuff on the www and found this site about totally weird low cost DIY (Do It Yourself) projects.

To give you some idea. The first project on the linked page is a Self Charging LED Cactus.

Go have a look.

Slave Labor

Typically, what defeats tribalists is destroying their slave labor system: the emancipation of women and captured members of other tribes.

Which is why I suggest more electricity is needed in Iraq.

Slave labor cannot compete against the electric motor.

Surprisingly Buckminster Fuller rated electric motors in "slave equivalents" in 1940. Over 65 years ago. You know it is possible the guy was on to something. Energy under control equals liberation.

Here is the Fuller definition of an energy slave. It is 150,000 ft-lbs a day for 250 days a year. That would be about 14.12 kWh a year. Bucky thought a middle class family required one hundred energy slaves per person; that would be 1412 kWh per year. At $.15 per kWh delivered that would be about $220 per year per person or $1100 per year for a family of five. Roughly one hundred dollars a month.

Hizballah In Distress

Lebanon is not what it used to be.

Although Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah continues to boast about a "divine victory," significant signs point to the fact that the situation in Lebanon is not as of yore.

One of the signs can be seen in the fact that Hizbullah decided to cancel the central rally for Jerusalem Day – the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, in which supporters of the Shiite militia commemorate Jerusalem every year through military demonstrations and belligerent statements.

This year Hizbullah officials announced that the central event has been cancelled and that local rallies will be held in the different regions. The organization's statement said that this is a historical year, in which the "robber of Jerusalem" (i.e. Israel ) suffered a crushing and historical defeat by the group's fighters, and that the organization has decided to settle for the mass victory rally held on September 22.

"In order to ease on our honorable public, we decided to replace the central event with local activities," the statement said.

It appears that Hizbullah is trying hard to find ways to "ease on the public" as time passes since the war. The school year has just begun, and in Beirut's Dahiya neighborhood students arrived at the ruins which were once their schools.

In the Bekaa Valley, a large number of students flocked to the classrooms which have already began operating, and fears rise over the winter which is on its way, especially among those who have been left homeless.

Therefore, it is not surprising that in Hizbullah's stronghold of Baalbek, demonstrators have already taken to the streets, claiming that they are on the verge of hunger.

"The failure to deliver governmental compensation for the demolished houses is pushing us to a state of hunger," owners of the ruined houses chanted during a demonstration Friday. Although the protest was directed at Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, it appears that if the situation is not improved, Hizbullah will also hear about it.
So the big money dispenser from Iran/Hizballah that was supposed to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild destroyed housing in Lebanon was a propaganda sham.

Well propaganda does not put food on the table (except for the propagandists).

Siege warfare is slow. Its bite is inexorable. Hizballah is going to have a lot fewer supporters in May than it has even now.

Perhaps Hizballah/Iran could take lessons from Clinton. It's the economy, stupids.

Evil Governments

Prohibitions always favor crooks. Take gun prohibition for starters. Then look at drug prohibition. And now the Republicans have voted in internet gambling prohibitions.

Crime (violence and fraud) is government business. Vice is a personal responsibility issue. Or else we are going to wind up with food police.

Unfortunately Republicans no longer discriminate between vice and crime.

There are estimates that libertarian voters make up 15% of the electorate (range 10 to 20%). Suppose 1/2 that number favor Republicans over Dems. That is 7.5% of the voters. Piss off even 2/3s of that number and you have lost a 5% chunk. That is enough if they stay home or vote D to lose a lot of elections.

So how do you get those voters on your side? Fiscal responsibility (not a prescription drug benefit) and less government intrusion. The Rs have not been very fiscally responsible and they have been sticking their noses where they have no business.

What ever happened to the party of smaller less intrusive government? Something theocons and libertarians used to agree on. Evil governments always start with the premise "there is no limit to the good we can do if we put (government) guns to people's heads".

Which seems to be the ruling philosophy of Rs and Ds these days.

You want a big tent in order to win elections? Go back to core principles.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hamas - Attack Americans

The brilliant strategists of Hamas have decided that the way to win their war against the Israelis is to attack Americans.

Hamas plans to attack American targets in the Middle east, a TIME Magazine report released on Friday said.

According to the report, Hamas officials discussed the idea during secret meetings in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The terrorist organization was "running out of patience" with the US and wants to retaliate.

The organization was fuming over the Bush administration's efforts to bring down the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, the Islamist group said.
This is in an effort to get the Americans to end Cash Flow Jihad Against Hamas. I do not think this will work according to the Hamas plan. In fact the American response will likely be to intensify the siege of Hamas.

No one ever accused the Palestinians of developing policies that would advance their cause.

All the Americans and Israelis have to do is keep squeezing the Palestinians until they destroy themselves with a Civil War.

I’m gonna beat this wussification

So says Kinky Friedman formerly of Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys who is now running for Governor of Texas. The full quote (which is even funnier):

Susannah McNeely: How do you think “cowboy” has been used pejoratively?

Kinky Friedman: By Europeans, by some Americans . . . maybe it’s because of George W., maybe not. It’s been used that way to mean a loose cannon or a bully. But a cowboy has never been that. A cowboy has always stood up for the little people. He’s always been a knight out of time, beloved by all the children of the world. I want to preserve the cowboy as he really is. I want to take us back to a time when the cowboys all sang and the horses were smart. I’m gonna beat this wussification, if I’ve got to do it one wuss at a time.
When I was a kid the Cowboys always had an easier time recruiting than the Indians. Which would you rather be? A defender of women, children, and civilization. Or a sneaky squaw oppressing terroristic tribalist? Easy decision for a five year old to make.

Ya gotta wonder why it is so hard for adults to figure it out today.

BTW the above Kinky quote came out of the comments at the above site. Scroll down.

Smart Police Chief

Here is an article I wrote, first published in June of 2002, about the FBI shifting focus from the Drug War to the Terror War. It deals with our then Rockford, Illinois Police Chief Jeff Nielsen.


We have one very smart police chief in Rockford. In an article published on the AP newswire, our very own Rockford, Ill. Police Chief Jeff Nielsen said that with the recent changes in FBI manpower allocations, he envisions fewer arrests on major drug cases by the FBI.

"While you wish they didn't have to ( pull agents ), you understand," Nielsen said. "If a slightly lower arrest rate means they have a higher arrest rate in terrorism, that's good."

He made this remark in response to news that the FBI was shifting more than 400 agents from drugs to terrorism.

Last year after the 9/11 attacks, Atty. Gen. Ashcroft said, "We cannot do everything we once did, because lives now depend on us doing a few things very well." Of course, he really didn't mean it. The FBI has been very busy in California targeting legal ( in that state ) marijuana dispensaries. As if keeping the sick and dying from that next toke was more important than keeping aircraft suiciders from crashing into tall buildings.

I do think his statement, at least, is in fact a tacit admission that they were not doing anything too well. I think this is proof positive that while the drug war grinds on, there is no end in sight. We are not yet to the point where they will admit that the prohibition they are enforcing is the cause of most of the crime associated with the drug problem.

I think it is interesting to look back at how myopic drug prohibition made the FBI in the recent past, Raed Hijazi, a confidential FBI drug informant in the early 90s, begged the FBI to look into the activities of al-Qaeda terrorists. All the FBI was interested in was another photo op drug bust. This was reported in the 17 Oct 2001 Boston Herald. This report was too late to prevent 9/11. But the information can be used today to course correct our government.

And course correcting it needs, badly. The FBI is still way over-committed to drugs. Arianna Huffington says that even with the reorganization, there will be more than 2,000 agents still on prohibition and less than 1,600 fighting terrorism. An improvement is not a revolution. And what is badly needed is a revolution.

What is needed is a change in priorities. Drug prohibition can never give us a drug-free society. It is an impossibility. We have been fighting heroin for more than 80 years. Are we any closer to a heroin-free society than when we started? Has it worked out any better than alcohol prohibition? The fact is that prohibition does not solve substance abuse problems. It only adds crime to the mix.

Our police chief is smart enough to see some of this. Very good. Because it takes him out of the ranks of those who believe no sacrifice is too great to keep people off drugs--even a sacrifice of 3,000 Americans by terrorists in one day. It is time to get over our drug war addiction. Lives are at stake.

Friday, October 13, 2006


The FBI is having foreign language troubles.

The Washington Post reports that five years after 9/11 only thirty-three FBI agents have even minimal Arabic proficiency. Guess how many of those work in international terrorism sections? Zero. Yes, that's right. The numbers are not much better for Farsi.

What seems to be the hold-up? Apparently, the FBI cannot bring itself to hire "foreigners" - basically anyone who has relatives overseas. It's American provincialism at its worst. Among those who are routinely rejected by the FBI - I have this on anecdotal evidence - are Jews from Iraq, Yemen, North Africa, and Iran who came to the US as children or teenagers.

Great quotation from Georgetown professor Daniel Byman, head of that university's Security Studies Program:

"It is easier to get a security clearance if you don't have any interaction with foreigners, which is not what you want if you want better interaction with foreigners."

All of this came to light during a lawsuit filed by Special Agent Bassem Youssef. Youssef, who happens to be one of the Bureau's highest-ranked Arabic speakers, is suing the FBI and the Justice Department for "retaliation." Instead of protecting Americans by having people on staff who actually understand what al Qaeda members are saying, the FBI decided to cut Youssef out of terrorism cases post-9/11. After he complained about his treatment to a congressman, the FBI blocked Youssef's promotion.
We are getting mail from our enemies. This is good. No one in the loop knows how to read it. This is bad.

BTW some good charts at the link above.

The FBI has always been a provincial organization filled with "suits". In fact before 9/11 they had about twice as many agents fighting drugs as working on terrorism. Why? In those days a table full of dope got more news coverage than rounding up terrorists. Raed Hijazi was ready to spill the beans on Al Queda in America. The FBI wasn't listening. What were they listening to from Raed? Dope tails.

So we have a price support system for criminals and terrorists (drug prohibition) and naturally the FBI went with the flow. Now the flows are changes some. What is the FBI doing? Well one part is supporting terrorists (through prohibition enforcement) and another part is going after terrorists. Why? It is what we pay them to do. Anti-terrorism and prohibition support are both popular programs. The real stupidity is not in the FBI. Or: we get the government we deserve.

We Don't Do Surrender

British General Richard Dannat changed his tune under pressue from the Blair Government.

Britain's army chief, who set off a political storm by calling for troops to be withdrawn from Iraq "soon,'' said Friday he meant a phased withdrawal over two or three years, and denied that he was attacking government policy.

Gen. Richard Dannatt gave a series of damage-control interviews after newspapers ran front-page stories interpreting his earlier remarks to The Daily Mail as a blast at Prime Minister Tony Blair's policy.

"It's important that people remember that we are in Iraq at the express wish of the democratically elected Iraqi government,'' a spokesman for Blair's office said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Blair's official spokesman told reporters in Scotland, where Blair is involved in Northern Ireland talks, that the general had the prime minister's full support.
Well the General stepped in it with his original statement.

Personally I like his new statemnt better.

Wave Mechanics

Reader linearthinker allerted me to a post on wave mechanics and Planck's Constant for engineers and non engineers.

BTW the non-engineers version (at the bottom of the page) is definitely not work safe. Very illustrative of the concept, however.

Let me add the concept illustrated is the natural frequency of a spring-mass system.

Democrats Will "Own" the 'Net?

Robbert Cox worries that if the Democrats own the 'Net Portals that Republicans will be in trouble politically.

WASHINGTON - If you doubt the Internet is causing a sea change in politics, just ask “independent” Senate candidate Joe Lieberman, who came out on the wrong end of a blogger-fueled campaign for the Democratic nomination in Connecticut.

That was no accident.

In the waning days of Howard Dean’s abortive presidential campaign, I met many of the talented folks who played a role in turning the Dean Web site into a powerful fundraising tool that propelled an unknown candidate into the national spotlight. At various blogging conferences since, I have had the opportunity to observe many of these bright minds strategizing on how to best leverage the emerging world of blogs and other “social networking” services known as “Web 2.0” to advance their liberal political agenda and win elections.

Their common refrain: “We need to own the Internet the way the right owns talk radio.”
First off the 'Net routes around censorship. Second off think Air America. Third off no amount of advertising will make socialism or appeasement work any better than the last time they were tried. Fourth Lieberman looks like a shoo in to win the election.

Will this ownership of the portals make any difference in the short run? Look at what has happened to Michelle Malkin.
Last week she received notice from YouTube, the world’s most popular video sharing service, that her video had been deemed “offensive.” The result? Her account was terminated and her videos deleted.

YouTube refused to say why her videos were “offensive” and there was no avenue available to challenge the decision. Today, her videos are gone and her voice is suppressed on the most important video “node” on the Internet.

Some might note that Malkin can still host her videos elsewhere. Of course she can, but that would fail to understand the powerful forces of “network externalities” at play online. There is no Avis to eBay’s Hertz for good reason: Once an online network is fully catalyzed, there is no reason to join an alternative network. If you want to get the most money for your Beanie Baby collection, you are going to want access to the most potential bidders — and that means eBay.
I think that is true for sites where transactions take place. For politics/entertainment it matters less. People will search out the entertainment and politics they like.

FWIW blogspot (who hosts this blog) is also a Google property. So far I'm still around.

H/T Instapundit

Update: 13 Oct '06 1800z

Air America files for bankruptcy.


Over the Next Hill

I was born on Friday the Thirteenth in 1944. Sixty two today.

Elligible for Social Security.

I feel 40 and think 20.

Not bad.

Friday the Thirteenth has been very good to me. Not so good for people who have certain phobias.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Revolution Will Be Televised

Gunmen in Iraq stormed a TV station and killed eleven workers.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gunmen stormed the offices of a new satellite channel in Baghdad on Thursday and killed 11 employees in the biggest attack yet on media in Iraq.

Iraqi media organizations, government-run or funded by religious or political groups, are frequent targets for militant groups as attacks by Sunni Arab insurgents and sectarian death squads continue to convulse the country.

"We strongly condemn this terrorist act which muzzles the reality and targets journalists," Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told a news conference.

Hassan Kamil, executive manager of Shaabiya satellite channel, said gunmen raided the station's office in eastern Zayouna district at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT), killing guards, technicians and administrative staff.
Now why would the gunmen be so down on this particular station?
Shaabiya is owned by the National Justice and Progress Party, a small secular party which contested the last two elections but failed to win any seats in parliament.

Shaabiya has so far only done test broadcasts, mainly of patriotic songs. Kamil said the staff had been a mix of Sunnis, Kurds and Shi'ites and that the station had no political agenda.

Kamil said among those killed was the head of the party, Abdul-Rahim Nasrallah, who was also head of the station's board of directors.
So the death squads are going after secular Iraqis who are obviously a threat to their plans. Broadcasting a secular message obviously multiplied the threat.

What does this mean? I think it means that one of the most important things we can do in Iraq is to help bring in more Electricity in order to help brave Iraqis like the ones working at this satellite TV station get their message out.

The Choice This November Is...

Where do the people you are going to vote for this November stand on Missile Defence? Back Talk says that is the most important question you can ask before you vote this november.

North Korea just successfully tested a nuclear bomb. They, like Iran, decided long ago that so long as the world takes a diplomatic approach to the problem, nothing will stop them from making their nuclear bomb. It's a tried and true strategy, one that will result in a nuclear-armed Iran in the not-too-distant future.

With regard to the national security of the Unites States, ballistic missile defense suddenly becomes an even higher priority. North Korea has its bomb, and they are trying hard to perfect a ballistic missile that can reach the west coast of the Unites States. That being the case, you should find out where the Democratic and Republican contestants in your state stand on the issue of missile defense before you vote in November. Generally speaking, Democrats have been opposed to it.

In 2004, Barbara Boxer put forward an amendment to prevent the deployment of the first stage of our national missile defense system in Alaska. The amendment failed, and several interceptors, imperfect though they may be, have now been deployed. If North Korea launches a missile at the U.S. in the near future, I'll be glad to have that system in place. Democrats, by contrast, wanted the system to be 100% reliable before it was deployed...
No system is ever 100% reliable. Plus, for this type of system, tests must be mostly simulated. In addition early deployment helps raise reliability by pointing out operational difficulties.

It is strange that the folks who prefer that America take a defensive stance in the world want America to have a weak defense. Fortunately the Republicans since Reagan have plowed ahead despite the Democrats. A defensive system that is even 30% effective decreases the odds that we would have to nuke North Korea or Iran. It also helps us protect our European allies (who mostly don't want it - yet) and Japan and Israel who do.

If you are going to give up on the sword, best to have a strong shield. Remember that when you prepare to vote this November. No problem for me. I'm a sword AND shield kind of guy.

H/T Reader Paul

Solar Cell = LED

The latest news in the field of energy science is a solar cell made of inexpensive organic laminates that can also function as an LED.

Imagine T-shirts that light up, or a beach umbrella that collects solar energy to run a portable TV. How about really cheap solar collectors for the roof?

All this and more could come from cutting-edge research at Cornell that demonstrates a new type of organic semiconductor device which shows electroluminescence and acts as a photovoltaic cell. The device is the first to use an "ionic junction," which researchers say could lead to improved performance. Since organic semiconductors can be made in thin, flexible sheets, they could create displays on cloth or paper.

"Flexible means low-cost fabrication," said George Malliaras, Cornell associate professor of materials science and engineering, in whose laboratory the research was done. And that means another result of the research could be mass-produced, inexpensive solar cells.

The work is described in the Sept. 7 issue of the journal Science in a paper by Cornell graduate researchers Daniel Bernards and Samuel Flores-Torres, Héctor Abruña, the E. M. Chamot Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell, and Malliaras.
That is the good news. What is the fly in the ointment?
Since the device was created by laminating together materials that are flexible, large quantities could be manufactured very cheaply by feeding two films together from rolls, Malliaras said. The next step, he added, is to try modifying the metal content of the semiconductors to make more efficient materials.
The fly is that the current efficiency of labratory models is not so hot.

However, there is compensation.
"There are tons of materials we can use," he said.
Which means that it is likely with the right combination of materials a commercially viable product is likely. As usual in these things, more study is warranted.

The Latest Lancet Survey of Iraqi Deaths

A lot of heated atmosphere (hot air) is being generated by the Lancet Study claiming 600,000 excess deaths in Iraq since Saddam stopped being numero uno.

In my opinion this survey depends on dubious sampling methods.

Why not just go to the Iraqi government for the real figures? Or go to a more authorative source, Iraq Body Count?

If we extrapolate backwards from the 3,000 (actually less) deaths reported last month and assume that number was constant (actually it was lower).

You get 36,000 deaths a year or about 120,000 in 3 years.

That is 1/5th the number this study reports. (note: Iraq Body Count puts the number at between roughly 44,000 to 49,000 for 3 years making the Lancet study off by a factor of at least 12).

Real engineers do reality checks. Rough order of magnitude stuff. Real engineers always look to see if prejudice affects the numbers. Or "are we in the right ball park"?

This study does not pass the smell test.

H/T Instapundit

Also see Tim Blair who's commenter rhhardin (18th comment) did a gedanken experiment about sampling cats with sharp needles. He found that after 1 to 4 samples further sampling showed that cats were mostly teeth. Children, this is a job for professionals. Do not try this at home.

And more Tim Blair

Update: 19 Oct '06 1908z

A critique of the sampling methods used in the survey by a statistician who has actually done surveys in Iraq. The big flaw? Small sample size. A margin of error of 1200% gives away the game.

Tactics vs Logistics

Real engineering is as much an economic discipline as a technical one.

Most amateurs in the field get all hot about technology with no understanding of economics.

It is like war. Amateurs study tactics. Professionals study logistics.

Technology is the tactics of business. Economics is the logistics.


Wiki is pretty good on technical subjects.

On politically charged subjects not so good.

OTOH I have come across Encyclopedia Britannica articles that were poorly grounded in the subject matter. I have also known people who have written Encyclopedia Britannica articles. Let me just say: not impressed.

I have edited Wiki articles. What I like to do if I think a part is wrong is to add an alternate view instead of erasing the mistaken bit. Then people can make their own choice.

A Better Life

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Palestinians are owed a better life.

Palestinians deserve to live better than they do and be "free of the humiliation of occupation" in a state of their own," said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday night.

"I promise you my personal commitment to that goal," Rice said at a dinner marking the third anniversary of the American Task Force on Palestine.

"There could be no greater legacy for America," Rice told the group, which describes itself as nonpartisan and supportive of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel.
I wonder who owes it to them? Hamas and Fatah who are having a civil war and arming to the teeth to intensify that civil war? Israel which is defending itself against Palestinian attacks? The worlds biggest sugar daddy Uncle Sam?

Condi says the Palestinians should no longer be "humiliated" at check points and by occupation.
"The Palestinian people deserve a better life ... free of the humiliation of occupation," she said.
Failing to note that the check points multiplied when the Palis started Intifada II.

I suppose she has a point. Better a Palestinian Civil War than the humiliation of occupation. In that respect there is a lot to be said for ending the occupation.
Peace talks are in suspension, however, and Hamas, which supports the destruction of Israel, plays a leading role in Palestinian affairs.

And yet, Rice said "things are changing," that moderates were coming to the fore, praising Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
That is either wishful thinking or totally delusional. Given that Rice heads the Department of State I vote for delusional. Excepting for UN Ambassador Bolton.

And yes Abbas is a moderate. He wants to squeeze the infidels out of Israel while the radicals of Hamas want to expel them forthwith. As per usual it is always useful to calibrate your measuring scale.

Update: 12 Oct '06 1553z

Captain Ed discusses the Palestinian Civil War.

Commenter Paul notes that Melanie Phillips is thinking along similar lines.


Charges of treason have been levied against an American for the first time since WW2.

LOS ANGELES - The charge of treason was used for the first time in the United States' war on terrorism Wednesday, filed against a California man who appeared in propaganda videos for al-Qaida.

Adam Yehiye Gadahn, 28, could be sentenced to death if convicted of the charge, which has been used only a few dozen times in U.S. history and not at all since the World War II era. He also was indicted on a charge of providing material support to terrorists.

Gadahn "knowingly adhered to an enemy of the United States, namely, al-Qaida, and gave al-Qaida aid and comfort ... with intent to betray the United States," according to the indictment, handed up by an Orange County grand jury.

The suspected al-Qaida operative has been sought by the
FBI since 2004. Based on the indictment, the FBI added Gadahn to its list of most wanted terrorists and offered a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

Gadahn, who is believed to be in or near Pakistan, is suspected of having attended the terrorist group's training camps in Pakistan and serving as one of its translators. He has become known by his nom de guerre, Azzam al-Amriki, or "Azzam the American."
It is not just the videos. It is what he said in the videos. Stating his intentions boldly.
According to the indictment, Gadahn announced in the 2004 video that he had joined al-Qaida, "a movement waging war on America and killing large numbers of Americans."

"Fighting and defeating America is our first priority," he said, according to the indictment. "... The streets of America shall run red with blood."

The treason charge carries penalties ranging from a five-year prison sentence to the death penalty, while the charge of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization carries a possible 15-year sentence.

Raised in Southern California on a Riverside goat farm, Gadahn converted to Islam and worshipped at the Islamic Society of Orange County in 1997 before being expelled for attacking one of its leaders.
So he is willing to fight America and Muslims he disagrees with. Just perfect for the jihadis.

It's interesting that he worked on a goat farm. Well, now that he is a member of Islam he can marry one. Or perhaps his real love is camels.


Civil War at Any Moment

Mohammed Nazal a member of the Hamas leadership in Syria says that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is waging a war of elimination against Hamas. He also says that:

"They are not after moderating us - it is about wiping us out. It is a war of elimination," Nazal told The Associated Press. He spoke by telephone from another Arab country, but would not specify where.

Earlier, Fatah, Palestinian Authority officials said that Hamas had rejected the Qatari plan that calls for recognizing Israel and renouncing violence as a prerequisite for forming a unity government.

But Nazal said later that his group - the dominant faction in Palestinian politics - only asked for some changes to the Qatari proposal. He did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, the head of the PA's General Intelligence Force in the West Bank, Tawfik Tirawi, warned that the Palestinians were on the verge of civil war because of Hamas's policies.

"Civil war could break out at any moment," he said. "Hamas is storing large amounts of weapons and ammunition so they could use them against Fatah. Hamas is preparing for war against Fatah and President Mahmoud Abbas."
Self government among the Palestinians. Where the bullet is a recourse when the ballot gives results that are unpleasing.

Even Democrats in America are more civilized than that.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Don't Look Now

Don't look at this funny David Zucker video.

It is all about how diplomacy can solve the North Korean nuke problem.

H/T Instapundit


Commenter Paul sent me a link to this article that speculates about the drug use of the Amish School killer.

There were MANY clues in this case! This is the list I sent to the reporters covering this case:

You have a normal, average guy who is even a good husband and father, who, out of the blue, goes on a shooting rampage.

You have the horrifying and vivid nightmares that become so real that you cannot tell the difference between them and reality.

You have a fellow who clearly began acting out the nightmares he was having - technically known as a REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD). We now know that 86% of RBD is antidepressant-induced or perhaps more politically correct would be to say that we know that 86% of those being diagnosed with this are on antidepressants.

You have the reason for most docs to give one of the drugs due to the way Charles Roberts felt about losing his baby daughter.
The article goes on to look at a few other interesting connections between ant-depressant use, loss of contact with reality and crime.
You have the claims of molesting people who are completely unaware that it ever happened and have now denied it ever happened - signs of hallucinating, which higher levels of serotonin produce.

You also have another sign of high serotonin - the thoughts of pedophilia - yes that is scientifically documented. Why do you think we have so much pedophilia now to insure Bill O'Reilly's job of chasing sex abusers on Fox News? Oh my, what would Bill do without these drugs?

You also have reports coming from Sarah Glick, the little old Amish woman who runs Glick's Heath Store, that he was preparing to visit one of her daughters, who are natural practitioners (both lost family members in this tragedy) because he was sick of how he was feeling and wanted to try the natural way. Doesn't that indicate to you he had tried the medical way and it was not working?
Now pot is an anti-depressant. The worst thing pot smokers do on the drug is go to sleep. If pot induced rampages were common the DEA would be running TV commercials on the subject.

So why aren't we looking into substituting a safer drug for a more dangerous one? Well it would interfere with big pharma profits. Which might explain all the drug companies who back the "Drug Free America Campaign".

A well known secret discusses a doctor who tries to treat an "addicted" patient.

Addiction or Self Medication? discusses the self medication aspects of illegal drug use and the drug companies involvement in the "Drug Free America Campaign."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Internet Cafe Burns in Gaza

Al Queda in Gaza thinks that internet cafes are dens of iniquity.

After the Palestinian branch of al-Qaeda took responsibility for killing a senior Palestinian intelligence officer and four of his escorts three weeks ago, the group again took responsibility for violence in the Gaza Strip. Early Sunday morning, Gunmen shot and set fire to an internet coffee shop in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, causing massive damage.

Sunday afternoon an announcement was made claiming that the organization Islamic Swords of Justice, identified as an affiliate of al-Qaeda are responsible for the incident.

In the organization's announcement, it was stated that burning the coffee shop is "part of a series of actions aimed at fighting corruption and the corrupt. During the holy month of Ramadan, our fighters have started operating on the holy land and in the early morning placed a bomb weighing ten kilograms (22 pounds) next to the coffee shop, ridden with corruption and characteristic of the unethical activities that have increased in recent days. Jihad fighters detonated the bomb as a message to all the corrupt people."

According to the gunmen, the owner of the establishment was pre-warned that his business serves as a center for unethical activity and that he should straighten out the situation before it is too late. The organization warned that they would not spare anyone they deemed unethical and that their "swords will have no mercy on them."
Which is why I have been saying that we need to bring more Electricity to Iraq. Exposure to other ideas and cultures is destructive of the Islamist vision. Electricity is key to that exposure. Literacy not required (for TV).

Not to mention, washing machines, running water, flush toilets, and sewage treatment. When we get Iraq to stop smelling like a shit hole maybe the people there will stop acting like they live in one.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Don't Mean Nothin

North Korea claims to have set off a nuke. Steve Den Beste says it may be a misfire. Others belive it may have been a sub-critical test.

Politically a lot of folks are blaming Clinton. However Clinton may have taken steps to redeem his failure to prevent the North Korean nuclear program from advancing to the stage it has reached now.

Clinton shipped a lot of Plutonium to Japan in 1999.

Perhaps what we are seeing is not Clinton's failure but China's revenge.

Joining the Club

Clayton Cramer gets technical.

Westhawk looks at ther politics. H/T Carol Herman

The Amateur's Guide to Nuclear Weapons Design. H/T Commenter Paul

Plutonium Isotopes suggested in another thread by commenter AMac

Update: I changed the Den Beste link now that there is a permalink available to his page on the subject.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Buffet to Iran - Come Get Your Nuclear Fuel

I can't tell if this is totally brilliant or totally stupid. Warren Buffet promises Iran to be supplier of last resort for nuclear fuel.

As tensions continue to creep higher between the United States and Iran concerning access to nuclear power, one thing is becoming very clear, and that’ that it will be very difficult to impede Iran’s efforts diplomatically with or without the United Nations. This is because the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty guarantees all members in good standing the right to produce their own nuclear reactor. However, an ominous cloud still remains intact: no matter how you slice it, the same technology that can generate fuel for a nuclear reactor can also produce the core of a nuclear explosive.

A new twist has been added to this potentially dangerous situation as the second richest man on the planet, Warren Buffet, who is also known for his philanthropy, recently pledged $50 million for a fuel bank. The bank would be managed by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be a supplier of last resort for any nation that elects not to endeavor into the risky and dangerous reactor fuel business and gets the agency’s seal of approval.

Currently, nations argue that if they do not possess their own fuel facilities, they can easily be coerced or blackmailed by foreign suppliers with whom they may have political unrest. Despite Iran clearly being exposed in lies about their program, any suggestion about a nuclear cartel still resounds loudly in the nuclear have-nots corner.

Warren Buffet who has put in a lot of work for the nonprofit organization Nuclear Threat Initiative, which is headed by former longtime Senator Sam Nunn indicated that his $50 million would not be turned over unless governments around the globe come up with $100 million of their own either in cash or fuel.
So despite Iranian lies there are still well meaning people who want to give Iran nuclear fuel. What are these fools thinking? And Sam Nunn? He ought to know better.