Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Friday, April 23, 2004
In a proposal to get the rest of the world to stop hating Americans, MM suggests providing good living conditions, water, food, etc to those who are in dire need of it. A good idea, on paper. We'll ignore the fact that this is financially impossible (one big reason being that I feel that most of the people in the country would have no interest in contributing any of their money to a cause like this. Even those who have millions and millions of dollars to spare....). The fact of the matter is, even if we could make the lives of everyone on the planet as cushy as some of our lives are, they would still hate us!! It's a matter of religion. They hate us because we are infidels, and they don't want us around! They are Islamic. They are taught (I believe) that they are to convert the WORLD to Islam, and that those who are not Muslim are infidels. If we became an Islamic state, then MAYBE their hatred of us would wane. Maybe. But giving them water and food will not help. We've tried that! It doesn't work!
Moore is making me believe that his comprehension of worldly affairs is not much broader than Dubya's. Maybe he is simply posturing, again, and is telling those people that want/need to hear it that the solution is easy but our govt won't act on it. Oversimplification again. It's not that easy, Mr. Moore.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Well, my BS meter is about to overheat. I gotta turn this guy off until at least tomorrow.
After 3/11, I wonder if he still thinks that his 'observations' are cute?
Very good passage. Definitely sarcastic, but pretty good. I don't agree with everything he is saying (go figure) though. I think he is over-simplifying a lot of issues.
Our overuse/over-dependence on oil and wastefulness in general is sick.
Jessica Lynch-the story the biased media presented turned out to be inflated and even wrong in a lot of respects. The rescue was set-up to bolster flagging support for the war. (The initial rescue story was disputed by docs in the hospital. They said it was all hype, that there was no resitance in the hospital)
My question is (Moore did not touch on this), what about Shoshana Johnson, who was wounded and taken hostage before Jessica Lynch? Oh wait, she was black and not waif-like so she was ignored and got nowhere near the attention JL got.
Army Spec. Shoshana Johnson was shot through both legs and held prisoner for 22 days, but is receiving only a 30 percent disability benefit. Johnson, who is black, has accused the military of racism and applying a double-standard. Lynch commented to USA Today, “We were all POWs... It was a horrible thing to go through, so I think we all should’ve been treated equally.”
Moore seems to take any opportunity to rag on Bush, and even American people. His latest bewildering comment had to do with war (Iraq Part II) coverage by the French. On There were English subtitles, which he attributed to the fact that Americans are too dumb and lazy to learn a second language. I took Spanish for years in high school and college. I've studied some Italian and learned snippets of various other languages when I traveled thru Europe (Czech, Polish, German, French). But no, I would not be able to understand a news boradcast in French. That doesn't mean that I haven't learned a second language, but it does mean I never learned French.
I would have quoted him, but my cd player sucks and rewinding is a pain.
--France, Russia, and China, though nominally responsible (with the U.S. and U.K.) for overseeing the program, in fact used their positions on the Security Council to promote business with Saddam for their nation's contractors. France and Russian companies especially pocketed fat profits from cut-rate oil sales from Saddam, a percentage of which they returned to Saddam as a kickback in violation of the UN sanctions.
--As UN monitoring grew laxer, Saddam grew bolder, eventually kicking out inspectors. The UN's major response was to vastly expand the scope of Oil for Food spending while complaining often about U.S. and U.K efforts to redress Saddam's rampant violations of the scheme.
By means of this scam, Saddam’s regime ultimately skimmed off for itself billions of dollars in proceeds that were supposed to have been spent on relief for the Iraqi people. When the scheme was reported in the international press—in November 2000, for example, Reuters carried a long dispatch about Saddam’s demands for a 50-cent premium over official UN prices on every barrel of Iraqi oil—the UN haggled with Saddam but did not stop it.
Beyond that, Saddam had also begun smuggling out oil through Turkey, Jordan, and Syria. This was in flagrant defiance of UN sanctions and made a complete mockery of Oil-for-Food, whose whole point was to channel all of Saddam’s trade. The smuggling, too, was widely reported in the press—and shrugged off by the UN. In the same period, Saddam imposed his own version of sanctions on the U.S., demanding that Oil-for-Food funds be switched from dollars into euros. The UN complied, thereby making it even harder for observers to keep track of its largely secretive and confusing bookkeeping.
"Yes," he replies, unequivocally. "When a bomb attack happens here, I won't be against it, even if it kills my own children. Islam is clear: Muslims living in lands that are occupied have the right to attack their invaders."
Um, he's in London. How are the Britons the invaders? They are already there? Furthermore:
"Britain became a legitimate target when it sent troops to Iraq. But it is against Islam for me to engage personally in acts of terrorism in the UK because I live here. According to Islam, I have a covenant of security with the UK, as long as they allow us Muslims to live here in peace."
Right, so he's going to continue being a lazy sponge there until what? He stops getting his free money? They he will have been transgressed against sufficiently to justify moving away and launching an attack?
What's stopped you doing it (suicide bombing)? "As you know from watching the news," intones Abu Yusuf, "there are brothers who do leave the country and do it." He is referring to the four Muslims from Luton who died fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the two British Muslims, said to have had ties to al-Muhajiroun, who last April left to become suicide bombers in Israel. "In-shallah [ Godwilling], there will be a time to go."
What is this guy waiting for? He wants to "kill and be killed" as ordered in the Koran. I guess he is too comfortable in his cushy well-paying job to get around to carrying an attack out.
Not all Muslims feel this way (I would be willing to venture that a vast majority does not condone violence of this type. After all, the Koran is against murder....):
Muhammad Sulaiman, president of the Islamic Cultural Society, the largest of the 14 mosques in Luton, dismisses al-Muhajiroun as "verbal diarrhoea". "They are an extreme Right-wing group - the Muslim version of the BNP," he says disdainfully. "They think Muslims should dominate, just like the BNP thinks whites should dominate. They use Islam as a vehicle to promote their distorted beliefs, particularly to unemployed young bloods who are vulnerable."
Well said. And I love the 'verbal diarrhoea' comment.
Extremism. Not good. Not good at all.
Where is the hypocrisy? Randall Terry, Christian crusader and avid disowner of his kids, railed against people divorcing (his parents included), sent out flyers of his 'perfect' Christian home, and then divorced his wife for a much younger woman.
So he changed his crusade to anti-gays.
A prominent man. Blatantly hypocritical. Changing his views to reflect his changing lifestyle. And trying to force others to keep up and play along.
This tires me out.
"Censorship is healthy for any society, and that goes for arts, entertainment, anything. Self-imposed means that the majority of people say that is what we want, and it can be changed if people's attitudes change, which is how a democratic society works."
Again I say, huh? So if a majority says that rock n' roll is bad, then we outlaw it? If "bad" words are deemed unacceptable, then there will be fines and jail time for anyone having the audacity to make such utterances? I guess what Boone wants is for people to change their attitudes to accept his beliefs as correct, and then put a self-imposed ban on their creative outlets that don't adhere to his stifling beliefs. Idiotic.
Yes, Pat Boone is a devout Christian who sees fit to try and force others to see life thru his eyes (freedom of religion? Only if it is my religion. Yet another blog in the works).
If he becomes the public voice, we're in for a heap load of trouble.
Yes, there will be more blogs on this subject later.
But comparing the number of civilians killed in Baghdad to the number of students killed in the Columbine shootings? How do those two events compare at all?
His last rant (yes, this book seems to be a big rant for the most part) was over the Coalition of the Willing, that supported the US invasion of Iraq. As Moore lists the different countries, he makes sure to throw out ignorant, condescending, and nasty comments about the countries on the list. He is trying to show that the support from most of these countries is pointless in his opinion (doesn't moral support count for something?), but comes off sounding ignorant ("Eritrea, where the hell is that?) and insulting ("Latvia, more Nazi collaborators. Lithuania-even more collaborators."). Tell me why being a 'Nazi collaborator" negates the value of these countries? On top of all this, Moore makes use of insulting stereotypes ("Ethiopia? They are going to send starving children to fight" -that was paraphrased) to make his "point". But then following on the heels of his insults, is the list of countries that did not support the war. Yet this time, he did not resort to name calling and country-bashing. Many of the countries that made this list would have received his vicious comments had they been on the war list. But since they weren't, I guess it wasn't worth his time to second guess them. He just accepted them as perfect.
Consistency, Mr. Moore. You should find some (as well as some respect for these countries and their cultures. Something you chastise Pres. Bush for not having.). Though I will give you some props for being a raging hypocrite. You're really good at that.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
It now sounds as though he is trying to persuade the reader that because of bin Laden's kidney/dialysis problems, he is not scary and maybe the Saud's were the cause of 9/11, not bin Laden. He claims there is no reason to be scared of someone unless they are big and mean and in perfect health, and that bin Laden is not scary because he is not the penultimate bad guy. He seems to think that someone on dialysis could not have had anything to do with an act like 9/11 who would have no contact with the hijackers because he was lost, roaming the barren mountains in Afghanistan. In what world does MM live? Has he never heard of the internet? Or satellite phones? The guy is a billionaire (millionaire?). Why couldn't he have been responsible? This guy wants to do nothing but blame Bush for everything (earlier he blamed Bush for the US's history with Saudi Arabia), even if his reasons are ludicrous and totally closed minded. I am not saying there is no truth to some of his arguments, but the guy is an idiot. He is letting his need to posture for attention and his animosity against the Repub's to blind him against the real world. He may be one of the very few people (in the world) that is convinced (at least at the timeof this book's publishing) bin Laden is not responsible for 9/11.
Why would the Saud's attack us (as he just proposed)? Sure they hate us, that is clear. They get tons of money (and immunity, in some cases) from us. Why would they piss is the pot they drink from?
Oh wait, it must have been them because the only place a person could learn to fly a jumbo jet is in the air force, "someone's airforce". That is why they could not be bin Laden spawned terrorists.
Seriously, what is this guy smoking? How is his word taken as gospel by so many people?
Monday, April 19, 2004
Sunday, April 18, 2004
The Simpson's was funny tonight....
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Here's something to look forward to-I am reading the book "Under the Banner of Heaven" (actually, I got the book on tape so I am listening to it). I have had lots of thoughts, but no energy to get them down on here. Don't worry, next week I will have lots to say.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
And then there's Rumsfeld who said of Iraq "We have our good days and our bad days. We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say "This is one of our bad days," and pull the trigger.
What?? I would think they are against the violence, but I guess they consider vigilantism acceptable.
They also call the Iraqi insurgents "patriots" and compare them to "the American revolutionaries." I would have to disagree with that as well. Think about it-the French helped us to gain our independence from Britain (while still holding territories in the Americas, I believe). Our battling the French as soon as Britain left would have been akin to the Iraqi insurgents antics.
I have trouble comprehending people that are so blinded by their beliefs that they could make such inflammatory statements. Well hell, maybe I've decided that this 'democratic' club is treasonous in comparing our forefathers to suicidal zealots and in their desires to assassinate a high ranking US official. When people make threats against the President, the reaction is fierce. Maybe these 'traitors' should feel the wrath of the govt for their desires to kill Rumsfeld?
They (panel officials) said the reports would also quote from internal memorandums by Thomas J. Pickard, acting director of the F.B.I. in summer 2001, in which Mr. Pickard described his frustration with Mr. Ashcroft and what he saw as the attorney general's lack of interest in the issue of how the bureau was investigating terrorism suspects in the United States.
To make matters worse for BJ (that is funny, my acronym is satirically appropriate. I didn't even realize that until I typed it in), it seems he stopped flying commercially on govt business, supposedly due to threats unrelated to al qaida. He started using the FBI's $40 million Gulfstream 5 jet.
Current and former F.B.I. officials have told the commission that they were infuriated by Mr. Ashcroft's use of the jet and that it was seen as emblematic of his detachment from the needs of investigators.
Mr. Corallo said Mr. Ashcroft used the plane only when it was not needed for other business by the F.B.I., which is part of the Justice Department. Previously, Mr. Ashcroft, like others attorneys general, had flown on commercial airlines when traveling on government business.
Sounds a little fishy to me. And it sounds as though for whatever reason, the terrorist threat was ignored by BJ. But then again, that is one side of the story. We'll see what comes out when he is questioned further.
Maybe he was otherwise occupied mobilizing his fight against porn.
Monday, April 12, 2004
Frankenradio is right: this whole concept was an ill-conceived, top-down, artificially constructed walking media corpse. I give this monstrosity 6-7 months, maybe until December, before the plug is pulled and its stations go back to broadcasting foreign-language programming -- or until the whole network is revamped with real talent. Until then, let the fart machines work at full steam.
Added: Here is a review that discusses more the inclusion of blacks into the show and the democratic fold. Or actually, the lack of inclusion. Check it out, it's pretty interesting. At least they are not hypocritical, like they an act they accuse the republicans of indulging in. And yes, that was sarcastic. I am becoming less and less impressed with Al Franken the more I hear about/from him.
And tell me again why this scientist has received nothing but the slightest rebuke (from anyone) over his selling nuclear secrets around the world (and to unstable people/countries)?
Brennan, like many cardiologists, recommends a drink a day for his cardiac patients. Red wine, in particular, has been shown to help prevent heart attacks. Now maybe it's beer's turn. A University of Wisconsin study last fall found that moderate consumption of Guinness worked like aspirin to prevent clots that increase the risk of heart attacks. In the study, Guinness proved twice as effective as Heineken at preventing blood clots. Guinness is loaded with flavonoids, antioxidants that give dark color to certain fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants are better than vitamins C and E, the study found, at keeping bad LDL (bad) cholesterol from clogging arteries. Blocked arteries also contribute to erectile dysfunction, as does overindulgence in alcohol.
Guinness has a higher concentration than lighter beers of vitamin B, which lowers levels of homocysteine, linked to clogged arteries. And researchers have found that antioxidants from the moderate use of stout might reduce the incidence of cataracts by as much as 50 percent.
It's milk's line, but beer gives you strong bones, too.
On top of all that healthy stuff, with Guinness you can get nitrogenated (because of the nitrogen in it), which is a much better alternative than inebriation.
Basic premise of the story-Texas billionaire Billy Joe "Red" McCombs, has way too much money and has decided that he needs more. So he wants to build the biggest ski resort village IN COLORADO (10,00 square feet) on some land he owns around the Wolf Creek Ski Area. The owners of the ski area are pissed, because this will destroy the atmosphere they've worked decades to create. There is a petition going around Durango to stop it and I know more efforts will be made to stop it. Will that make a difference? Only if the Forest Service gets some balls, or if there is any other legal way to defeat it. Because you know this McCombs could care less what anyone else thinks. He's focused on money (why would a billionaire need to construct something that will piss countless people off, just to make more money? He is not making himself available for comment, by the way) and cares about little else, obviously.
The developers working with McCombs, and McCombs's people are acting all confused, because the ski area owners supposedly agreed with this idea. Only when it was proposed, it was only supposed to be a couple hundred units, not the proposed 2,000+.
Pitcher says he worries that a politically well-connected McCombs could push his family off the mountain. After all, he says, McCombs acquired Alberta Park in a 1986 land swap with the Forest Service that was denied by local foresters but approved in Washington.
Colorado Wild spokesman Jeff Berman says that override meant pristine acres in the wildest corner of the state were wrongly traded out of public ownership.
It is land between the South San Juan Wilderness, the most unspoiled tract from Wyoming to New Mexico, and the state's biggest wilderness, the Weminuche. It is an important corridor for wildlife, including the Canada lynx, introduced there over the past five years.
Honts (McComb's venture partner) says he and McCombs got there before the lynx.
What a bunch of arrogant self-absorbed, greedy bastards. At least the Forest Service will be no help.
And yes, this makes me mad.
# When trying on a new .44 magnum pistol for size, ask whether there's a model available with a quart-capacity flask attached for evenings out. Remind the seller of how "the only thing more fun than shooting is drinking and shooting."
# Dress up in a white sheet and pointed hood and carry a noose. Then ask gun salesmen whether they have anything to "help create the perfect matching ensemble."
Yeah. That's funny. This Mike guy is also black, and he's ok with promoting Klan costumes? Nice.
'The Beach' to be closed at night
Officials nix late-night parties at A-Basin parking lot
ARAPAHOE BASIN - The party at "The Beach', a long-time, late-night hot spot at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, will end promptly each evening at 6pm starting April 13.
With Support from the US Forest Service, the Summit County Sheriff's Office and the Colorado Department of Transportation, ski area officials decided to close the Early Riser parking lot, better known as 'The Beach', to overnight parking and camping.
Ski area officials acknowledged the closure will not sit well with everyone, but said they grew increasingly concerned about partying and associated behavior, including public defecation and littering, as well as snow-removal difficulties and avalanche danger.
Because the parking lot is located directly beneath the Little Professor avalanche path, officials clear the lot prior to doing control work. At times, up to 50 vehicles have to be removed to begin avalanche work, leading to delayed control work and increased closure time for Highway 6.
Starting April 13, vehicles left in the lot at night will be towed at owners' expense, ski area officials said.
More detail here on the ski area's website.
The closure will not sit well with some people? You're damn right it won't sit well! It isn't going to sit well with their current BASE skiers, the people that give the place most of its business. To address a couple of their concerns: too much trash? How about more garbage cans (with more frequent dumping) or even a dumpster on one end of the lot? People crapping where they please? Ever hear of a port-a-pot? On to my real griping....
Ok, why do I blame the ski industry? Here's why. The Basin is a relic, if you will. There is no development at its base as the Forest Service hasn't allowed it (yet). It is a local's ski area. The atmosphere there is unlike the atmosphere you will find at most other resorts in Colorado-it is unassuming, laid back, and people there are serious skiers (unlike the people out to be seen at Beaver Creek and Vail). Granted, the atmosphere/attitude at other resorts isn't that bad, but it just isn't the same as at the Basin. And one of the big draws, especially late season, is 'The Beach'. I've slept overnight there and I've dropped cars off there to reserve a front row seat. You see, the parking lot at the Basin abuts the mountain itself. So there are no shuttle busses or long walks. When the weather gets nice, people camp out and then spend the next day drinking, grilling, and chatting with people, enjoying the sun and fun atmosphere. Outfits get crazy, and people spend more time partying than skiing. It's a riot.
But now they want to cut back on all of that. Whatever the reasons they are spewing out, to me it smacks of another ploy by the industry to take a great sport and continue making it more and more an elitist activity. Even though Vail Associates didn't buy the Basin when they wanted to a couple years ago (it would have violated the anti-trust laws), there is a ticketing agreement and this makes me wonder if Vail doesn't somehow have some influence over them. Are they trying to run out the locals (aka-bums with no money) so that they can try to bring in a 'higher class' crowd and make more money? It would not surprise me at all. Even though I love the sport, it makes me sick to see what they've done to it. It is elitist ($75 a day to ski?) and that pisses me off.
If they kill the spirit of the Basin, I'll be even more motivated to go and buy some rondenay (spelling is wrong, sorry) gear. And I am already set of buying it so that I can avoid those sh*tholes they call resorts.
On February 5, Gary LB, 49, of Des Moines, Iowa, was fined $70 for killing three motorcyclists and seriously injuring two others. Butler drove his van into the oncoming lane of traffic just as a group of six motorcyclists was approaching. He was convicted of two minor traffic offenses. (That's not even one traffic offense for each person he killed)
Last November, Everett H, 75, of Toledo, Ohio, caused a crash that cost motorcyclist Nancy Hejl her leg. EH allegedly pulled out of a driveway into the path of Hejl's bike. Two years earlier, EH had been convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the death of another motorcyclist when he pulled out of a driveway into that rider's path. At that time, he received a $500 fine, a suspended 10-day jail term and a three-month drivers license suspension. He now faces a charge of negligent assault. (Third times the charm. Maybe that is when they'll decide to do something to get this guy to wake up. Maybe, I don't know, take away his license for good?)
Last September, Katherine G, 17, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, caused the death of motorcyclist Glenn Braswell, and left his passenger, Randi Lynn Cohen, critically injured. KG crossed the center line of a road and ran into Braswell's bike. She faces three traffic offenses, the most serious of which carries a maximum fine of $270. (I am sure the family of Glenn B feel that is an adequate punishment)
Last June, James W., 67, of Ohio, was sentenced to attend a motorcycle awareness class and pay a $1,000 fine after causing the death of a Versailles, Ohio, police officer on a motorcycle., JW pleaded no contest to a charge that he turned his car into the path of the officer's approaching motorcycle. (What do they usually do to someone who kills a cop?)
And my favorite....
Last December, Congressman Bill Janklow was convicted of a felony charge of second-degree manslaughter for driving through a stop sign at approximately 70 mph, causing the death of motorcyclist Randolph Scott. Although the conviction carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, Janklow got off with a 100-day sentence and an $11,000 fine. (This idiot had run the same stop sign before and almost hitting people, had a history of excessive speeding [and somehow getting out of tickets], and had the gall to plead innocent of this most recent charge!)
As a motorcyclist myself, this stuff depresses/scares me. I've been run off the road, cut off, or almost hit most times I've taken my cycle out. It sucks to know that if someone injures/kills me, that they will get a slap on the wrist. I don't think that killing someone in another car or a pedestrian gets such light treatment. Regardless, a $70 fine for killing three people?? That is ludicrous.
So for the benefit of those out there on 2 wheels, slow the hell down, get off your damn phone/quit reading/putting on makeup/rooting through your bag/yelling at your kid/checking your look in the mirror/GET OUT OF YOUR SELF-ABSORBED WORLD and pay attention to the other people on the road (yes, there are other people there. It is NOT your road)!!
Sunday, April 11, 2004
2 hours later, I am back and still not sleeping. I can't wait until the warm weather in a couple days!
We got rid of malaria here thru the use of DDT. Then we banned DDT. We still don't have malaria here, but many countries like Africa still lose way too many people to the disease. DDT does help quell the outbreaks, but since DDT has been essentially banned, these outbreaks continue. It sounds as though spraying inside a house helps tremendously without hurting the environment and really without hurting the people in the house. But it's hard to come by and not promoted as a good countermeasure. It's a very interesting/illumuinating article.
Friday, April 09, 2004
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Patty Bickerton, the youth minister at Glassport Assembly of God (search), said the performance wasn't meant to be offensive. Bickerton portrayed the Easter rabbit and said she tried to act with a tone of irreverence.
"The program was for all ages, not just the kids. We wanted to convey that Easter is not just about the Easter bunny, it is about Jesus Christ," Bickerton said.
Right, is a four-year old going to understand that? No.
Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children.
"He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped," Salzmann said.
Think that's bad? They didn't stop there:
Performers broke eggs meant for an Easter egg hunt and also portrayed a drunken man and a self-mutilating woman, said Jennifer Norelli-Burke, another parent who saw the show in Glassport, a community about 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
Seriously, what were these people thinking? I wonder if they went around kicking little dogs on the way to their 'performance'....
Question-if you are stealing someone's car, should anyone really be surprised that some recourse was taken against the thieves by the victim? Maybe calling the cops would have been the 'wiser' thing to do, but maybe by the time the cops arrived the car would be gone for good (and the victim would not be in jail...). It's almost (but not quite) like someone attacking a police officer and then being pissed that the cops used force back against them. You are attacking a cop!! How is it a surprise? Likewise, you are stealing a man's car (he's 26). EXPECT A RESPONSE!
I'm not sure how I feel about this (oh wait, maybe I am....)
"Tragically, for all the language of war spoken before September 11, this country simply was not on a war footing," Ms Rice told the panel.
"For more than 20 years, the terrorist threat was growing, and America's response across several administrations of both parties was insufficient."
Of course there was no war talk going around! If it had been suggested, can you imagine the 'war monger' talk that would have been flying around? Before (and also after for many) 9-11, I doubt there were very many people in the general public that would have supported aggressive acts such as bombing al qaida targets or trying to kill bin laden. Of course now everyone is criticizing the lack of action, but I'll bet many of the same people would not have supported the pre-9/11 actions they are now suggesting.
Ms Rice said that one intercepted message spoke of "unbelievable news coming in weeks", while another said: "Big event, there will be a very, very, very big uproar".
"Troubling, yes. But they don't tell us when, they don't tell us where, they don't tell us who, and they don't tell us how," Ms Rice said.
How is our defense supposed to be failproof, especially if specific targets are not mentioned (which would probably never happen, except with a very inept terrorist group)? A person/group can only do so much. And if we cut back on funding for services like the spy game, how can we expect to really learn anything significant? I remember hearing people yammering about how bad it is/would be for an infiltrator to partake in 'illegal' activities just to fit in with one of these groups we need to know more about. Yet at the same time, these same people demand that we find out as much as we can without resorting to such 'atrocities'. Ok, that is nice, but back in the real world the rest of us are wondering how that is possible? If you can't get into a group, how do you expect to garner any real info? And if you refuse to participate in their activities, how will they become accepted/trusted? They won't!
She said that
"We have made changes since then," she said, citing in particular the creation of the Department for Homeland Security.
In other words, the egos of these intelligence groups got in the way. Big surprise. You would think they would work together instead of trying to hog the glory for the betterment of the US people, right? Think of them as a different kind of politician (not a very good comparison, but I think it's applicable when referring to those in charge that are making the big calls). Politicians rarely work together for the common good. They more often than not work for the good of their party and their own re-election. Why should the heads of the CIA, FBI and others be any different?
Now we wait to see what becomes of this 'non-partisan' inquiry into what could have been done better.
I haven't read this book yet, but the book Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, details the onset of this religion and the acts played out by the founder and his followers. And I have to say, based on the book I wouldn't be real happy about living in a town whose Mayor was Mormon-at least back in the early day. One of their beliefs-one way to save a 'non-believer' is to shed their blood. In other words, kill/hurt a non-Mormon and it saves their soul-doesn't matter why you hurt them (land, money, etc). And their legacy in early Utah is not all that great either. Last year there was an article in the paper (and I forget the details) that was talking about a big massacre site, carried out by the M's, that they have now apologized for. I think they killed a bunch of non-M's that were nearby. I forget (which makes that excerpt pretty useless).
Regardless, it doesn't sound like the early M's very a very nice group of people. I will read the above mentioned book and do some more research so I can add to this.
Sidenote: I don't consider myself prejudiced, but I think I am pretty open minded. I don't mean to attack the Mormon faith or its followers, this was more of a comment on HISTORY and the acts they were involved in. So I am not randomly attacking them, my comments are based on actual events. You can't dispute history (though many people-including our government-try to, or at the least they ignore it)
Synopsis-based on the actions of the early Mormons, I am not sure an apology was necessary (for the killing, sure. Vigilante justice ain't the best solution. But for kicking out some violent closed minded folks? Nah)
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Here the rub of it all-we (the industrialized world) want the deforestation to stop. We want it to take care of the greenhouse gases. The people burning it need the wood for fuel so they can eat, and they need the land to raise crops (as short-sighted as it may seem to us) so that they can eat and maybe make enough money to survive. Flop over to the US, the largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world. I'm willing to bet that most of the pro-rain forest proponents are in this country. How many of them would be willing to make drastic cuts in their production of these gases (not a life threatening decision) to assist the rain forest in reducing the gases? That is an argument/outlook I don't know that I've ever seen thrown out-since we are so rich (and spoiled), shouldn't we be held more accountable for our contributions to the problem instead of some poor Brazilian people who are trying to survive? Unfortunately, I think most people that are against the slashing and burning don't put themselves into the shoes of the Brazilians. They see things only from their own point of view (where nothing is their fault) where other people need to make the sacrifices.
Here is an essay I wrote on a subject related to my above rant for the Economist/Shell essay contest last year (no, I did not win.)
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
The parents of Rachel Corrie, who died in a March 2003 bulldozer accident while she was trying to obstruct an Israeli military operation to destroy terrorist weapons-smuggling tunnels, "spoke Sunday at a rally to build support for two protests against Caterpillar this month in Chicago and Peoria," the Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Activists will protest the use of Caterpillar bulldozers to destroy Palestinian homes, at the company's annual stockholders meeting April 14 in Chicago. An "International Day of Action Against Caterpillar" demonstration will be staged April 23 at corporate headquarters in Peoria.
We guess blaming the bulldozer isn't as bad as blaming Israel, which after all is only trying to protect innocent people from mass-murdering terrorists. Maybe Caterpillar can respond by putting warning labels on its bulldozers: DO NOT STAND IN FRONT OF MOVING VEHICLES.
I wonder if that study/this blog will be attacked by Ashcroft. After all, it discusses sex....
"Growin' up's been tough on me * I still don't know what I wanna be
I hope the good Lord understand * There's times I need a helpin' hand
'Cause I'll take the long way to find the short way round
And just like everybody I'm tryin' to reach
a higher ground..."
Damn good stuff. Check it out.
What a waste of money. There are so many other places that kind of money that could be spent (say, the war on terror?), but instead our government is wasting millions in an attempt to get into the rest of the bedrooms in the country not covered by the anti-gay marriage crusade.
We can thank big John Ashcroft for heading up this new colossal waste of money. He is a religious man who doesn't drink alcohol or caffeine, smoke, gamble or dance (what do you do?). I guess he doesn't like anything fun in life (maybe he's Catholic and is wracked by guilt?) and like the President he is serving, wants to make the rest of the country live his Puritanical life. Or maybe he has never seen a naked body (showers clothed, sex in the dark). I mean really, protesting naked people and sexual acts? I'll bet Ashcroft is a closet S&M guy. Is it really that important that people, in their own damn homes, don't watch porn? Who the hell cares? What happens in my bedroom is my business. If I want to have someone (man, woman or chimp) come into MY HOME and whip the crap out of me while I'm hog-tied and covered in processed cheese, that's my business and my business alone. Maybe Ashcroft isn't getting any at home and thinks no one else should either. Maddening. Like I said in a post a little while ago, if we let the govt start getting into our bedroom, where or when will it stop? What is next? And what else is this administration wasting money on?
Monday, April 05, 2004
As we discussed where to ski on Sunday, the room grew quiet as UConn shut down Duke's offense (held them scoreless for almost 5 minutes!) and came back from a 7 or 9 point deficit with just over a minute to play to win the game and keep Duke from making it to the NCAA Finals. I was overjoyed. Unlike my friend Bill who thought the game was terrible, it was a hellishly good finish. I enjoyed watching it immensely.
Points to note:
I believe Coach K (whose rants were ignored by the refs at the end of the game) was an assistant under Bobby Knight. That is just one more reason to dislike Duke.
I had a dream that night that made me wake up in a bad mood. I dreamt that UConn lost. An hour of convincing myself otherwise made the day all better.
Vail is in no way my first choice for skiing (don't believe the hype)
Saturday, April 03, 2004
Friday, April 02, 2004
"This is a bad advertisement for everything we stand for," said Muhammad Khalifa, a spare-parts trader who closed his shop during the disturbance in a sign of disgust. "We may hate Americans. We may hate them with all our hearts. But all men are creatures of God."
While it may sound as though he doesn't condone the mutilation, I assume he has no problem with them being killed. But the latter half of the statement clearly shows the mindset of a lot of people not only in Iraq, but around the world. They hate us. Completely. Unless they need our help of course (but that is a different blog). Furthermore, as this article states:
One of the gravest sins in Islam is desecrating the dead.
Here again, the rule of Islam is being ignored in order to hurt the Americans. Granted, it may be a small group, but these small groups, acting as Allah 'wants' them to act (by their own interpretations and ignorance of their own religion), are creating an incredible amount of chaos. How can we change that? More tolerance of their religion/lifestyle would be a big first step. But they are intolerant (the hardliners) of our lifestyle in return and see no reason to accept us as we are. An impasse? Maybe. Too many devout religious types find no cause to tolerate other religions, and there is our problem. I don't have much faith (no pun intended) that these problems can be overcome. Most major conflicts have religion as a root cause.
To add to that, many children in these countries are taught to hate Americans (whether justified or not) from the beginning. That is hard to overcome.
Why does it bother me so much? I think I just figured part of it out. Obviously I have no problem with someone voicing their opinion. That is fine. The problem is that too many people put too much stock in what an actor or musician has to say. They don't use their brains to decide how they feel about a subject, they just accept what a famous person has to say without question. And I don't think a lot of these famous people put a lot of thought into what comes out of their mouths (i.e.-Al Franken. Though he is good at name calling). There, I think that is why it bugs me. So maybe its not so much famous people espousing their beliefs, but the apparent inability of a lot of the country not being able to think for themselves, and being snowed over because someone is famous.
Mrs Edmonds, 33, says she gave her evidence to the commission in a specially constructed "secure" room at its offices in Washington on 11 February. She was hired as a translator for the FBI's Washington field office on 13 September 2001, just two days after the al-Qa'ida attacks. Her job was to translate documents and recordings from FBI wire-taps.
She said said it was clear there was sufficient information during the spring and summer of 2001 to indicate terrorists were planning an attack. "Most of what I told the commission 90 per cent of it related to the investigations that I was involved in or just from working in the department. Two hundred translators side by side, you get to see and hear a lot of other things as well."
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Well they’ve decided to ban certain calculators from being used on this test. As stated on the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) website:
If a calculator model can be made to communicate through the use of modules, software, and/or other add-on devices, then this calculator is deemed to possess communication capabilities and will be prohibited.
This ban includes the higher model TI’s, and most HP’s.
Well, I think it’s crap. What they are saying is that those of us using one of these ‘illegal’ calculators have to find someone with a legal calculator (not easy, as most people have the ‘bad’ ones) and learn how to use it. I have an HP 48-GX which uses backwards entry (I don’t know the technical term). Now I have to re-learn how to use one that functions ‘regularly’. I was lucky one person in my office had such a calculator I can borrow. I blame Siavash Hakkakian who decided he needed to modify a calculator so that he could scan questions into it and save them. They found 3 years worth of tests on his home computer. A$$hole.
I guess there are some legitimate reasons for this ban, but isn’t this test supposed to show us what we’ve learned in the working world and whether or not we are now qualified to function in professional real world (non-academic) situations? Sure a more advanced calculator can make the test (and my job) easier, but isn’t that why we make these technological advances?
I am annoyed.