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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In Thailand....

Lots of thoughts on recent events. But unfortunately unable to post. In Hua Hin. I like this place better than other places in Thailand because its less honkie tonk. Ie cream is so much cheaper in Thailand too!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I Received A Response To My Google Post, That I just Cannot Leave On My Personal Email....

so I hope that the writer forgives me for reposting it here in addition to my comments on his musings. I have expunged all personal information so that there should be no reason to think that a connection can be made to the actual individual.

Remember that I my original post can be read here, and it was about the Attorney General's request for some limited information on Google searches. However, despite what appeared to me to be a debatable, poorly written, biased media story, albeit a reasonable issue to discuss, it inevitably became some anti-George Bush rant. These rants and nonsensical thought that have become embedded in psyche of liberals in particular and Democrats in general. I view this loss of sense to be a dangerous distraction from some of the deadly serious issues that face us as a nation and as individuals today and serve no one, Democrats nor Republicans.
Here's my rant from the left for today:

I agree that the newspapers are doing a terrible job, but as an old lefty, I would argue that liberal bias and Bush-hating has nothing to do with it.
Although we agree that the press is doing a poor job, some of the press biases are aimed directly at the sitting President of the United States. I think that some of the venom directed towards GWB gives the press some kind-of 'raison d'etre' but it is inexcusable to allow them to do it so sloppily. But lets see what he says about this.
First, the long sad decline of CBS News is just one example of the way in which most media outlets have become part of huge entertainment conglomerates where getting the news and getting it right are no longer as important as entertaining the public and turning a profit. I get most of my news from the newspapers and radio (or the online versions thereof), but when I do watch CNN or the old network news, I don't see as much left/right imbalance as I do screaming, posturing, white smiles, and large breasts.
So, what is wrong with large breasts? However, how is this different than news ever was? There have been profit making ventures for decades not the past 5 years so this does not excuse the bias. But lets us look at some of the academic work on the biases of the press, from UCLA here and Berkeley and UCLA here. It seems as if the biases run much deeper than just a desire to be popular. If that were the case, then as these pieces argue, one would expect that a well run business should lean more towards the centrist position that the US populace holds. What these academic papers suggest is that the press is further left than the population in general.
That, and a tendency to read something from the administration, contrast it, sometimes, with something from the Democrats, and make no effort to make sense of the story or who might be right or wrong in any given case.
This is exactly what is not happening. We do not have a situation were the press is reporting the news so much as they are presenting news that fits an agenda. The misrepresentations that occurred in the AP Google article that try to paint the administration in a poor light without even attempting to frame the issues surrounding access to pornography by children is a sorry excuse for real journalism.
Second, while the Internet and other new media may, in the long run, contribute to a more democratic and better-informed society, we have as yet figured out no way to sort the good from bad, and often the true from the false.

This argument is a strawman. There has never been a way to sort the good from the bad, since the good from the bad can be, in particular, a subjective issue. It is actually incumbent upon the consumers to demand accountability in reporting the news. The press relies upon trust and if the public loses trust in the press, then it loses its franchise. Blogs are actually helpful to this process by pointing out inconsistencies and downright biases in reporting and assists both the public and press in identifying and correcting inaccuracies and biases that are embedded in reporting.
(The Bush guys have figured out far better than anyone on the left that a well-orchestrated campaign of falsehoods, half-truths, and insinuation (see the Swift Boat episode
John Kerry, in my humble opinion, deserved everything that he got from the Swift Boats. He refused to release his records and they pounded away at that and he has still not done so completely to this day. His explanations as to why he wouldn't or didn't were simply awful. If he had nothing to hide, then why hide it. If he couldn't handle the heat then he shouldn't have been in the kitchen. And furthermore, its not as if there was not a concerted and overt program to try portray GWB's military in a bad light. There was. And Dan Rather and Mary Mapes for their efforts got their asses put into a sling. The effort by the left did not hold up to scrutiny whereas the stories against Kerry resonated with some people. He could have completely eliminated the issue but he chose not to. His loss and maybe he actually was trying to hide something like was asserted by the Swifties.
and the smearing of Max Cleland and John Murtha as prime examples)
I am not intimately familiar with the Cleland issue, but I believe that he lost his reelection bid on a wider variety of issues than just military ones, particularly since he represented a conservative state in the deep south. He was just not their man. But the left likes to point at some of the smears and then make the connection that these smears were the reasons why he lost. They may have been a contributing factor but it is a weak argument to try to say that they were the reasons why he lost. To liberals, arguing against their positions are smears but their arguments against conservatives are valid debating points.

And I am not really sure what the writer is trying to say about Murtha. It seems as if the press and pundits alike have given the guy a fairly wide berth to dock his agenda. Or maybe the left figures that when Murtha talks, his opinions are supposed to move mountains and the Republicans are supposed to crumble immediately upon hearing his words of wisdom.
, spread through commercials, blogs, bought-and-paid-for editorials, and non-news news shows like Bill O'Reilly's,
Bill O'Reilly is a pundit, is really an opinion journal and is not even designed or sold as news but a forum to discuss current events. If one confuses Bill O'Reilly with the AP or the New York Times, then they truly do not know or understand the difference between news and opinion. The left almost inevitably cites his show as an example of biased reporting but it cannot be since it is not a news show. In fact, I believe that the chief reason that Bill O'Reilly is frequently cited by the left is that it is practically the only example of right leaning mainstream media show that can be used to make the weak argument that there is a conservative slant to some press reporting. Overall, Bill O'Reilly should be held to the same accountability standard as the op-ed of the New York Times that also gets a wide berth for their factuality.
as can serve the desired effects even if the president officially distances himself from them. Another, even better example, is Pat Robertson. Sure, he should be allowed to rant about God giving Ariel Sharon a stroke, but he should be doing it to a handful of parishioners in a rural church in Tennessee, not on television to millions.
Same is true with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, then. I also think Al Gore too. I suppose that GWB distanced himself from the alleged smear campaigns as far away as Clinton did with the smear campaigns against special Whitewater prosecutor, Kenneth Starr. Kind of par for the political course, I'd say.
The marketplace, at least at this point, is not doing much at all to sort the good from the bad, the truthful from the false. I doubt you could ever establish standards that would satisfy everyone, on the left and the right, but at least perhaps we could entertain people to be skeptical (and just to ignore TV preachers). Right now, I suspect, we are so drowned in images and noise that most of us just tune it out.
Again, what are the standards if the press does not think that they have to report the news? The market does sort these things out but its not done instantaneously, the market mechanism takes time. I find it difficult to tune out agenda laden journalism since it continues to strike me every day. That is the illness of the agenda laden press. Its like getting higher and higher does of some chemical and it eventually effects the patient. I consider the presses behavior as an affront to our intelligence, both liberal and conservative. The press by being untruthful is at the same time being disingenuous, by pressing a limited point of view it is limiting its market and, as a result, is making itself dispensable. This will only give rise to increasing the demand for an alternate viewpoint or a source to collaborate or debunk assertions made in the press. Maybe this is why Fox and the Bill O'Reilly's of the world have become so popular.
On another tangent, I don't see why liberals and conservatives alike should not ALWAYS be skeptical about any so-called democratic government's requests to eavesdrop on its citizens without the appropriate checks and balances. In the Google case, it seems that most of the right things are happening: the Justice Department makes a request, the company contests it, and the courts sort it out. Poor media coverage aside, anyone who looks hard enough should be able to sort out the issues.

In the current illegal wiretapping scandal, however, the Bush administration is arguing that it should be able to spy on whomever it wants, whenever it wants, without even notifying the court set up under the FISA law, which is secret and, by some accounts, very compliant.
Boom. So here is the inevitable liberal screed. If the NSA listens in on the overseas [only] calls of people that are either al-Queda or calling al-Queda, then it becomes "spy on whomever it wants, whenever it wants, without even notifying the court set up under the FISA law."

This is the statement that has bothered me the most over the past few days, so I had a look at the constitution and some writings on the case law surrounding the 4th Amendment.

But first, I have to take offence at these kinds of thoughts. I would hope that our laws were not designed to protect those foreign blood-thirsty al-Queda terrorists and their desire to kill us and our children. Where liberals miss the whole point of listening into these conversations is that these terrorists want to attack Americans and kill them. They are not the anti-Bush crowd but the anti-all-of-us crowd. I view this conflict with these terrorists as a war and liberals do not. Liberals want it to be something that can be neatly taken care of by police and prosecuted in the justice system through our current system of law like common criminals are. I think that what our government is trying to do is not arrest and prosecute terrorists, as their process would imply, as criminals but to stop attacks before they happen. The government may not have the right to collect evidence using these methods that can be used in court but why should we stop our government from gathering intelligence that is designed to identify risks and to stop attacks before they happen. Remember, this is the international communication between those on US soil [the law does not distinguish between American citizens and those non-residents that are rightly and legally on our soil] and not domestic surveillance that the press so popularly likes to call it. We are targeting people that come from other lands to do physical harm to Americans and if we have the tools to identify the risks, targets, plots and methods, then it is incumbent upon us to use this information to eliminate these risks. Doing otherwise is just foolish.

The 4th Amendment restricts government in search and seizure particularly if this is going to be used in a court against the defendant. Originally designed due to the experience of the original Americans that due to rampant smuggling and non payment or taxes, or other duties by the British, the 4th Amendment reflected that experience. It was not originally intended as protection of the state against potentially treasonous activities.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The court debate over the past 2 centuries has surrounded the concepts found in the 4th Amendment between the wording unreasonable searches and probable cause. AS we drift back and forth between the two, there has not be a definitive declaration of what constitutes reasonable and probable except in very specific cases. There is till much room to maneuver within this Amendment.
By 1992, it was no longer the case that the ''warrants-with- narrow-exceptions'' standard normally prevails over a ''reasonableness'' approach. 23 Exceptions to the warrant requirement have multiplied, tending to confine application of the requirement to cases that are exclusively ''criminal'' in nature. And even within that core area of ''criminal'' cases, some exceptions have been broadened. The most important category of exception is that of administrative searches justified by ''special needs beyond the normal need for law enforcement.'' Under this general rubric the Court has upheld warrantless searches by administrative authorities in public schools, government offices, and prisons, and has upheld drug testing of public and transportation employees. 24 In all of these instances the warrant and probable cause requirements are dispensed with in favor of a reasonableness standard that balances the government's regulatory interest against the individual's privacy interest; in all of these instances the government's interest has been found to outweigh the individual's.
A very involved discussion citing court case examples of the 4th Amendment can be found here.

But from my reading of the material available, I do not see where one can categorically conclude that what the NSA is doing is illegal. Either on its face or what is being alledged in some tightly wound liberal circles.

Also, the FISA law is a complicated and sometimes not useful in fighting terrorism as outlined by the former head of the NSA in a speech to the Washington Press Club, here. His speech and question and answer give a good outline of his thoughts as the head of the NSA before and right after 9/11. He knows a lot more about this stuff then much of the people talking about it today and is a worthwhile read. This is what he had to say about the FISA process...
First of all, I need to get a statement of fact out here, all right? NSA cannot -- under the FISA statute, NSA cannot put someone on coverage and go ahead and play for 72 hours while it gets a note saying it was okay. All right? The attorney general is the one who approves emergency FISA coverage, and the attorney general's standard for approving FISA coverage is a body of evidence equal to that which he would present to the court. So it's not like you can throw it on for 72 hours.

In the instances where this program applies, FISA does not give us the operational effect that the authorities that the president has given us give us. Look. I can't --and I understand it's going to be an incomplete answer, and I can't give you all the fine print as to why, but let me just kind of reverse the answer just a bit. If FISA worked just as well, why wouldn't I use FISA? To save typing? No. There is an operational impact here, and I have two paths in front of me, both of them lawful, one FISA, one the presidential -- the president's authorization. And we go down this path because our operational judgment is it is much more effective. So we do it for that reason. I think I've got -- I think I've covered all the ones you raised.

And my liberal friend's thoughts continue...
I won't make a secret of the fact that I believe George Bush and his administration have done nothing to earn our trust, but the larger issue is that we should never trust an individual or a single branch of government to safeguard our liberties by taking them away. (Ben Franklin had a great quote about how people who trade liberties for safety deserve neither.)
What liberties are being taken away? The right to chat up al-Queda? I think that the right to chat with al-Queda will need its own constitutional amendment.

Furthermore, we know from our liberal friends, that GWB has never done anything to earn their trust but which President has? In reality, GWB would have been vilified no matter what he had said or done by these people anyway. I always laugh when one tries to assert that they came into this administration with an open mind. That is just poppycock.
Terrorism, like child pornography, is a great, scary amorphous thing, but any administration at any time could come up with an equally scary threat (communism, totalitarianism, immigrants, etc., etc.) to justify limiting the freedoms that democracy is supposed to protect. I don't care whether Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George Bush, or Condoleeza Rice is in the White House, we should always assume that anything done in secret (i.e., letting Enron and its ilk write our energy policy) is suspect.
Terrorism is amorphous like communism but with communism we also had an enemy to fight and one that we could expect to act rationally. But the containment of communism was also costly as evidenced by the Korean and Vietnam wars. But I argue that these wars were inevitable its a matter of choosing a time and a place to fight them. We will have costs and deaths and be attacked gain and lose ground and therefore, we have to be cognizant and aware of where our risks are.

And also, so now we turn the tables and argue that Enron writes energy policy. GWB and his minions are gathering information on everyone about everything but them have to ask Enron what to write on energy policy? Maybe this is just a transformed early anti-Bush leftist meme that argued that GWB was stupid. Since he has proven smarter than people thought and at least capable of beating Democrats in elections and legislation, they have to argue something new. But this energy policy argument is an issue that I actually have very strong feelings about. If an administration is trying to gather information and needs to know really what is going on in the energy industry or any other industry for that matter, business cannot be expected to divulge non-public information, trade secrets or investment plans if this information and plans are going to be made public. Industry should not be reasonably expected to do so and in fact, have a duty not to divulge certain important information to protect their shareholders. In fact, if this information is known to be released to the general public, it will be whitewashed and combed through for general public consumption. Then, what is the point of talking frankly with anyone? This isn't just a GWB issue but one that every President will need, weather Democrat or Republican.

I had another argument with a friend about this a while back. He said that Congress has the right to this information under their oversight obligations. Yes, they have oversight obligations but do they have the right to this information after the fact? They too have the opportunity to gather information on their own through hearings, by speaking to industry experts and holding closed door sessions themselves. This is actually how the system is designed to work. But opportunistic liberals look at this as another chance to take a shot at GWB.
Maybe we don't post every al Quaeda lead in the newspaper, but we should always trust that keeping the administration, the legislature, and the courts, however corrupt and flawed any of those institutions is at any time, fully involved in the processes of government is the best way to protect our freedoms.
Who says that they are corrupt and flawed? It has worked reasonably well for over two centuries. But I feel that Liberals and Democrats are really missing the boat, here. We are at war and we have duties not just to protect our freedoms but also out people. They, through their blind hatred are willing to trade or risk the lives of my loved ones and children for their utopian ideals, that as I have written above, are more hallucinogenic than utopian. I hope that they wake up and try to help to win this battle against the crazies of Islam. These people would like nothing better than to destroy us. So what good are all those freedoms under bombardment by these fanatics?

150 Dates In A Year....

This woman dated everyone that asked her for a year, 150 dates in total...
Maria Headley, decided that her dating standards were just a little too high and for a year, decided to [say] yes to anyone and everyone who asked her out. She accepted the invitations without regard to sex, race, age, income or ethic origin.

A hundred and fifty dates later, she met and eventually married Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan, a man 25 years her senior, with two teenage children from a previous marriage. It was perhaps a match she might not have considered if not for this experiment and the resulting open-minded that led her to date everyone from a homeless man to millionaires and everything in between.
I bet Spike could beat that record!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Google Turns Down Request For Information...

This wildly misleading AP article on Google declining to release search engine requests to the US Attorney General is sadly an awful piece of journalism. However, misleading journalism has become par for the course. [An additional note, is that all the other search engines, where this information has been requested, have complied].

The first problem that I have with the article is that it does not mention that the Attorney General is seeking out the data to defend laws against the risk of exposure to pornography by children in a typical search till the 4th paragraph. In journalism 101, One learns that who, what, why, where, when and how are to be answered in the first paragraph or two. By not including relevant subject matter in the first two paragraphs, the writer misleads the reader on the subject and issues being reported upon. The article sites a San Jose Mercury News article where I found this...
The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.
the Supreme Court actually had this to say about the law...
The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked enforcement of a law intended to protect children from pornography on the Internet, saying the law probably violates free-speech guarantees.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court said 1998 legislation "likely violates the First Amendment."

The court ordered parties from both sides to reconsider the issue in a lower-court trial. The ruling gives the Bush administration a chance to prove the law does not violate free-speech rights.
They did not actually strike down the law and said that it MAY be unconstitutional. They gave the Administration the chance to prove that it does not violate free speech rights in the Pennsylvania case and this is the data that the Attorney General is trying to seek from Google. And for all you Clinton worshippers, it was him that signed this legislation into law.

I found a child porn law that was actually struck down by the high court, but this has nothing to do with the current case. court in 2002....
The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday struck down a 6-year-old law that prohibits the distribution and possession of virtual child pornography that appears to -- but does not -- depict real children.

The law had banned a range of techniques -- including computer-generated images and the use of youthful-looking adults -- which were designed to convey the impression of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

The 6-3 ruling says the law violates the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech. The decision hands a major setback to the Justice Department and the majority of Congress in their legislative efforts to fight child pornography.
This case appears to have struck down a very limited piece of the same or similar legislation but does not address the overall 1st Amendment rights of individuals to traffic in child porn in general.

The case actually under discussion was referred back to the Pennsylvania court and the Supreme Court instructed the Bush administration to prove that the law does not violate freedom of speech. In the meantime, the Supreme Court says that it cannot be enforced. So maybe this in legal circles represents a strike down, I just don't know. But, it is kind of interesting that it is the Bushies that are working on proving that the Clinton signed law does not violate freedom of speech!!! So what is the relevance of this case, legislation attempting to limit exposure of pornographic material to minors, and the Attorney General seeking Google search records? Well, the writer wants to weave a web of subtle sinister accusations that Bush trying to weaken personal privacy and seeking information on individuals without letting the reader know what is exactly going on here. And I wonder just how giving this data to the Attorney General in this case weaken privacy? Is personal information unscrubbable from Google search records? Or not. Can Google comply with the request without releasing sensitive personal data? Honestly, I doubt that this is the problem, Google may be concerned that legislation that limits the ability of children to view porn links may threaten or complicate Google's business. That is another issue that the writer did not even suggest or challenge. Or is Bush using the request for data in this case to somehow end run around privacy restrictions to somehow gain access to personal information of what is really anonymous Google users? And if this is the case, despite a complete lack of evidence to suggest so, by the writer, what is his motive for doing so? Its hard to tell from the poorly constructed and written story, but the writer, as I outline below uses some obtuse arguments to imply that this is the case.

As an aside and mid-post rant, it amazes me how bad the MSM has become in driving an agenda designed to embarrass the Bush Administration without presenting all the facts or aligning the facts so that they appear as if there is some sinister hidden agenda.

In fact, Google is probably more concerned about the commercial issues that the case presents to them rather than the non-existent issues of freedom of speech and privacy that the release of random non-traceable data risks. Of course they use the freedom of speech and privacy issues at the blunt object to fight the request...
Google-- whose motto when it went public in 2004 was "do no evil"-- contends that submitting to the subpoena would represent a betrayal to its users, even if all personal information is stripped from the search terms sought by the government.

"Google's acceding to the request would suggest that it is willing to reveal information about those who use its services. This is not a perception that Google can accept," company attorney Ashok Ramani wrote in a letter included in the government's filing.

Complying with the subpoena also wound threaten to expose some of Google's "crown-jewel trade secrets," Ramani wrote. Google is particularly concerned that the information could be used to deduce the size of its index and how many computers it uses to crunch the requests.

"This information would be highly valuable to competitors or miscreants seeking to harm Google's business," Ramani wrote.
Google would surely want this to be a freedom of speech issue on their part as a privacy issue in releasing company data and not one that supports the ability of children to access online pornography through their search engine. So it appears as if this is the tactic that they are employing. However, as I understand the case the government does not need and does not seek private data and Google even says this just what happens when someone enters words into a search engine and what kinds of hits come back. So Google's privacy defense here rests on a very strict definition that even if the data has no personal information they won't release it since no one has the right to even know what kind of data the whole population of users accesses. Its seems a little flimsy to me.

So what is the problem? I choose two simple words that a child may use, for example, I put the words round apple in a Google search and get back 18,000,000 hits. I did not chose multiple coupling of words so that I could get an illustration of what I wanted but this was my first try. Unfortunately, the 8th hit down on the first page displays this...
EXHIBITIONIST Movies From Porn Pay Per View
Starring: Released By : Dream Girls Cute coeds getting naked in public! Hot girls
flashing at a public beach and on a boardwalk. Sexy chicks with big tits ...
galleries.aebn.net/.../gallery/genre/exhibitionist/ clip/0032/refid/AEBN-025554/tid/9/layout/mgp_layout2.cfm - 8k - Cached - Similar pages
[not work friendly].

So, in the end, the AP is trying to construe this as a risk to privacy. If they didn't want the reader to think this, then they would not have written the piece in such a heavy handed anti-Bush manner. They do sight some risks here...
"Search engines now play such an important part in our daily lives that many people probably contact Google more often than they do their own mother," said Thomas Burke, a San Francisco attorney who has handled several prominent cases involving privacy issues.

"Just as most people would be upset if the government wanted to know how much you called your mother and what you talked about, they should be upset about this, too."

The content of search request sometimes contain information about the person making the query.

For instance, it's not unusual for search requests to include names, medical profiles or Social Security information, said Pam Dixon, executive director for the World Privacy Forum.

"This is exactly the kind of thing we have been worrying about with search engines for some time," Dixon said. "Google should be commended for fighting this."
I do not think that this is the data that is being requested or that these issues are even those that are at risk here. But the AP feels compelled to muddy the waters by using these people to beat at the issue. The question that I have about these comments, are how does this information get onto Google servers if at all? Is it taken secretly off of your computer when you do a search or does one have to enter this data in order for it to get onto the Google data-bases? If Google is secretly compiling this data on you, then that is the violation of privacy not the Government's desire to find out if children are inadvertently being exposed to pornography through innocent online searches. And do people have the right to privacy if they put their social security numbers or medical histories into the Google search box? Come on, this is silly. "If someone is stupid enough to do that then they deserve whatever thye have coming to them. Yes, there are privacy issues but its not Bushes fault its Google's problem.

My letter to the AP today:
I have never written to you before but your disgustingly misleading and poorly written piece on Google and its response to the Attorney General on child porn amazed me.

Do you think that all child porn is a 1st Amendment issue that deserves public support? If you think that, then say that. Not by using the illustration of NSA eavesdropping on known al-Qaida terrorists overseas communications in this piece and then trying to equate the two?

I have to say, I have never been more disappointed in the US media then I have been in the last several years. You guys are not doing your jobs. If its an agenda that you guys want to promote, then set up a think tank and do it there, not in the popular press.

As far as I am concerned, you guys are not fighting for my freedom, but are limiting the freedom of discussion by slanting your news and promoting personal agendas. Shame on all of you.

My post on this: http://madjaymon.blogspot.com/2006/01/google-turns-down-request-for.html

Glen[zo] XXXX
I wonder if Google pays these people to write this stuff.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Comment On Cote d'Ivoire....

From my buddy that I met there. His wife is from CI...
Hey Glenzo! Many thanks, and yes, very very sad indeed. Mxxxxx was crying yesterday evening; her mother's family are all from the West, refugees in Abidjan. Working myself with the UN I have to be critical on their involvement though. Either the UN mandate in CI gets significantly enforced or they will (in fact they already are) be regarded as perpetuating the status quo of two divided countries, perceived as such from both main warring sides, north and south.

There is also the issue of blue helmets misbehaving themselves and exacerbating local disparities. Some FR peacekeepers even robbed a bank in Man themselves; others are involved in organized prostitution. Gbagbo just uses the young patriots for his own interest; discrediting the UN and France as much as he can to get away with it and try to stir nationalism in order to get re-instated as the only alternative left for Ivorians to look upon.

I heard that France might send troops to intervene. If they do that again they might just get rid of Gbagbo once and forever by putting someone else in his place (as they tried in 2004, with Mathias Doue, the then military commander, who at the end refused to take power through yet another coup...). Since then Gbagbo fired him and put him under house arrest... Let's see, if pressure rises even further France might force Doue to accept being put in place and 'officially' restore order. the problem here is that France is totally discredited so among Ivorians. I met Doue twice when we were in CI; he studied In France and Germany, with a rather calm personality, and is fluent in FR, EN and German.

The problem is that many of the rebels were already with General Guei back in 2001; these guys, as much as Gbagbo, just want to stay in power, and that by all means, regardless of what might or might not happen.
Is the UN really part of the solution to the worlds problems?

Iran Continues Towards Building A Nuclear Strike Capability As the Europeans And The UN Dilly-dally Around...

Iran is playing Europe like a fiddle as their actions appear to be strictly designed to buy time. Referring these Iranian madmen to the UN Security Council is going to do what? Refer them in order to slap sanctions on the country? The world buys their oil and what do they need in return? Onions? Or maybe French grown lemons?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin did not specify what action they expected the IAEA to take at its February 2 meeting.

"There is the issue of whether it goes to the U.N. Security Council -- this is a question that has to be answered," Merkel said. "I think we have to think step by step, and above all send a signal to Iran that shows the international community won't accept it if Iran doesn't respect the commitments that are expected of it and the promises it has made."
The Iraqi sanctions didn't appear to be that successful other than creating a more difficult longer-term solution. The US felt compelled to invade and regime change has been US policy even under the worshipped populist Bill Clinton.

Even the French are getting in on the act and are on the same page as the sensible Condi Rice...
France, with the support of the United States, rejected Iran's request for more negotiations on the Islamic republic's nuclear program, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying Wednesday "there's not much to talk about" after Iran resumed atomic activities
. What the Europeans just can't comprehend is that these people in Iran just don't care if they are referred to the security council since they have other ideas of what they want to do. They want to detonate a nuclear weapon against Israel and they may-as-well take out a European city while they are at it. Some may think that aggressive actions like this would force the world to respond, but respond how? A retaliatory nuclear strike? An invasion by conventional forces? So sensible people figure that the Iranians have little to gain taking it to that level and that they can be convinced to shelve their nuclear bomb ambitions.

The problem is that we aren't dealing with sensible people. These Muslim fanatics want to die. As I wrote about yesterday, their natural reverence for the deceased, even those that have die in war is transforming into a desire to die to "strengthen the religion." So if one thinks that these fanatics will think that they don;t want to have a hideous conflict, then I am afraid that you are sorely mistake. They want a hideous deadly and destructive conflict. Additionally, its not just that they don't care if millions of Muslim people die....
"Martyrdom, for us, is our school, our ideology, our heart and our prayer," says Mullah Hassan Ali Ahangaran, a religious consultant to the Martyrs' Museum in downtown Tehran. "It allows the continuation of Islam. The blood of the martyr revitalizes our religion."
They view death as desirable.

This is the enemy that we face these days. One that wants to trade off the deaths of millions for millions. They want to break our will through incredible hideous horror. And they will do it. That is what they are attempting on a smaller scale in Iraq. They brutally murder even the innocents to show how blood-thirsty they really are. And of course this resonates with the flabby liberal thinkers back home in the US. But by giving into them, they will only raise the stakes. They want to attack and they want to attack again on our soil. There is a billion of them and their birth rates replace the legions of killers even if 10's of millions are killed in global conflagration. The sick math of a conflict of this type is what they want.

We have to take them out before they kill us. Its the duty that we have to our children. And since these sickos want to die, lets just give them what they want.

Gruesome Mood...

Sorry for the following several posts. But I am just not in that great a mood and all this stuff bothers me and I want to get it off my chest.

Piercing The Head Of a 24 Week Old Fetus In A Partial Birth Abortion...

The doctor pushes a needle into the back of the head of the fetus to kill it, above.

Or a dilation and evacuation [D&E] abortion where the doctor literally pulls the fetus apart, here.

Democrats Protect Americans?

In addition, they'll protect the civil liberties of terrorists to the last American person they kill.

Insane Ivorian Nationalists Attack UN "Blue Helmet" Camps... 4 Die...

I used to live in Cote d'Ivoire [Ivory Coast] when this conflict was just getting started. Without getting into the silly reasons, why these people have almost completely destroyed their lovely country, suffice it to say, that decades of hard work and a peaceful existence have been dashed in a few short years.

Narrow minded nationalism for this 40-odd year old republic, is driving locals to attack UN "blue helmet" forces and the French military [they have had a presence there since colonization] in an attempt to drive them out of the country. In essence, they claim that they want their country back, but what they really want is to restart the civil war and that will end up in the deaths of countless people.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Gbagbo's government to halt what he called "orchestrated violence directed against the United Nations."

France's chief of defense staff said on Wednesday he believed the time had come for the international community to impose sanctions to back the peace process.
This may be another Rwanda or Dafur in the making.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Eat Me...

This is wildly strange. A man in Germany was convicted of the murder of a man that wanted to be eaten...
He previously has testified that Brandes [the victim] answered his Internet ad seeking someone for "slaughter and consumption" and told him that he wanted to "be eaten alive."
So the murdered fellow wanted to be eaten--alive!....hhmmmmm. And that is not all, Brandes [the victim] actually ate some of himself before being murdered and more fully consumed.
Before Brandes was killed, the two attempted to eat parts of the man's body together. Meiwes, according to previous testimony, ate more after the killing.

Asked Tuesday why he left some portions of his victim uneaten, Meiwes said some parts did not appeal to him and that he also feared disease.
Seems like two crazy guys found each other. I could think of better ways to spend the day.

In Islam, The People Want To Die...

Muslims are just plain crazy...
"Martyrdom, for us, is our school, our ideology, our heart and our prayer," says Mullah Hassan Ali Ahangaran, a religious consultant to the Martyrs' Museum in downtown Tehran. "It allows the continuation of Islam. The blood of the martyr revitalizes our religion."
I wonder how the blood of your young men revitalizes a religion? You mean God wants all of this to happen?
It's that kind of zeal, western observers worry, that helps to transform a natural respect for the dead into suicidal attacks on the living.
Islam sure appears to be a death cult, doesn't it?
A "Commemoration of Martyrs" organization reportedly is orchestrating a new and large-scale campaign to recruit suicide bombers against Israel and the West. Mohammad-Ali Samadi, a spokesman for the organization, was quoted as saying that 50,000 Iranians had signed up for "martyrdom-seeking operations," and of these, 1,000 had been "organized into garrisons."
If they insist on dying, then it will be difficult to stop them. So we are duty bound to kill them first, for our children's sake. Unless someone has some other workable plan. The only hope is that some voices of moderation in Islam come out and straighten these frightening animals out.

I predict that there will be conflict in Iran sooner than we think. If there isn't and Iran gets the bomb, they will detonate one in Isreal and then try to do Europe.

Starting January 18th...

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Strange Headline...

Scientists discover most fertile Irish male
And all this time we thought that it was due to being Catholic.

More Meat To Chew On For Conspiracy Prone American Democrats...

Top 10 Wackiest Conspiracy Theories
Dinosauroid-like Alien Reptiles are dominating the World [me and my friends from our lair in Wanchai]

Apollo 11 Moon Landings were faked by NASA [it could have been, we had a black and white TV in 1969]

September 11 was orchestrated by the U. S. government [This is favorite one for my friends when I lived in Africa, but I just cannot fathom the motivation to something like this? The answer??? To get people's minds off of thinking about how weak the economy is- remember there was no benefit here for Halliburton since there is no oil in Afghanistan--aha--but there was a pipeline to be built over Afghani soils and the US was angry that they weren't going to get the multi-billion dollar contract...people in my office were actually seriously arguing with me on this]

Barcodes are really intended to control people [When I walk into Park-and-Shop, Li Ka-Shing gets me to buy all kinds of foods and other stuff that I just don't need... like I purchased 12 packages of tampons just last week!]

Charlemagne never existed, is a fictional character [really, who cares-- but this just cannot be true, Steely Dan sung a song called Kid Charlemagne, so Charlemagne had to be real]

The Truth is out there, on Area 51 [LSD must have a role in this too]

Microsoft sends messages on Wingdings Font [Bill Gates wants to be one of those crazy billionaires that James Bond has to stop from destroying the earth like Drax in Moonraker--and with all the computing power at Microsoft's disposal, the next operating system release will probably be a Manchurian Candidate code- at least a Zoolander code]

U.S. military caused the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami [Yea, why not? Just wreak havoc for havoc's sake--not having enough fun in Iraq and Afghanistan, I suppose--Israel is also blamed for this one]

The Nazis had a Moon Base [and Hitler still lives there. He didn't die April 30th, 1945--but if it really did exist, they would have found it in 2001: A Space Odessey]

Kentucky Fried Chicken makes black men impotent [and McDonalds makes white folks impotent]

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Democratic Race Card.....

Played over-and-over again by the frothing at the mouth party, one that likes to perpetuate the myth of Black voter disenfranchisement, continues to use 140 year-old slavery terminology to bludgeon Republicans at Martin Luther King services in Harlem, New York.
Clinton actually got an easy question. "I need you to tell us what distinguishes Democrats from Republicans right now," she was asked.

Clinton's answer was provocative.

Said Clinton, "When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation and you know what I'm talking about..."

Some House Republicans took immediate offense at Senator Clinton's choice of words.

Said Republican Congressman Peter King, of Long Island, "It's always wrong to play the race card for political gain by using a loaded word like plantation. But it is particularly wrong to do so on Martin Luther King Day."
I have just two questions on Clinton's comments...
1. What the fuck is she talking about?
2. When are Democrats, like Clinton, going to stop treating Black constituents like daft children?
And how did I know that she was going to make a comment about this?
Why would black Americans (the majority of the audience to which Senator Clinton was speaking) of the twenty-first century know anything about plantations? Does she consider it a simple ancestral memory or is it something more insidious on her part? Or is she simply playing to the rhetoric which will keep black Americans on the plantation inflamed enough to stay in the Democrat party?
As long as the Democrats continue to play the race card to what they think is a political advantage [leaving aside the potential damage it does to the nation and people] and Democrats and Blacks keep wheeling up to the front of the stage such demagogues and unimpressive thinkers such as Al Sharpton [there is a place for him- such as being a demagogue and media pundit but not a political spokesman for Democrats at their convention-does he really speak for the typical Black? I hope not] and Marion Barry, while a fellow like Michael Steele is called and Uncle Tom by both Whites and Blacks because he is a Black Republican. In this kind of environment, then who can and will take the Black vote seriously because its just not serious. Blacks continue to buy the same stupid lines over-and-over and the same tired racism arguments, what-ever they may be. And if you are Black and you do not do what the Democrats, like Harry Reid, decree you to do, then you are denied advancement and branded as being stooooopid. So who is making who an uncle Tom, these days?

Maybe the reason that the Democrats keep playing this cruel card is that they have very little else to offer to Blacks and the nation as a whole.
Unfortunately, politics is a dirty business, and as far as black liberals are concerned, there's no appealing to reason. Bottom line: Democrats have a lock on the black vote because they appeal to the weakest part of humans: self-pity.

The Japanese Are Just So Unique...


Monday, January 16, 2006

MLK Day....

Video and audio of Dr. Martin Luther King's, March on Washington, 8/28/63, I have a dream today, here. Text of the speech, here.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
I think that my Dad was there.

And, "we know ma."
For Latoya Williams, a black mother of four from Norfolk, Va., the holiday is a chance to remind her children what King accomplished to give them more opportunities in life. Her children respond with a weary, "We know, Ma."

A War With Iran Is Inevitable....

Even the Russians will support it... The biggest news yesterday was that Russia supported the West's position on Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized Iran with unprecedented severity on radio station Ekho Moskvy. He confirmed that Western countries intended to hold an unscheduled meeting of the IAEA to discuss Iran within weeks. Lavrov made it clear that Russia would support the proposal to forward the dossier on Iran to the UN Security Council, even though Moscow had opposed that step until now.

"We shouldn't forget that Iran has a rather developed missile program," Lavrov pointed out. "Medium- and long-range missiles. The continual declarations by Iranian leaders about Israel add fuel to the fire. It all adds to the political arguments of those who say that Iran can be communicated with only through the UN Security Council." I should buy the futures on bambing Iran on Tradesports.

Capital Punishment....

Why execution does not work.

Lynx Jet....

Now, this is flying.... [stolen right off of Not The South China Morning Post].

Sunday, January 15, 2006

If You Are A Hostage, Hope That Somebody Notices That You Are Missing....

Its just not in a good position to be in...
A British man kidnapped in Iraq and held for five days by armed men who threatened to behead him was rescued last week by American special forces and astonished to discover that no one had noticed he was missing.

Confessions Of A Coffee Boy....

There are two French men who have come in for the past three days and order the same thing everytime. Two salads and ONE glass of Merlot. THis confuses me. I hate them. Again, accents usually make me like someone but these men seem pretentious and I hate the way the pronounce "Merlot" like "Meerloh."
This is just great.
I was in there getting milk and suddenly the door closed behind me. The inside does not have handles. My eyes open wide and I am terrified. I start pushing at the edge of the door with all my might. It doesn't budge. I think about what it would be like to die in a freezer. How long it would take, what it would feel like. Would it hurt? Would I actually be frozen in one position? When will someone find my body? I am stuck inside for 10-15 minutes. You know how I escape? I switch to the other side of the door. I push it once and it opens. Apparently, the door does not latch and I was pushing the wrong side of it.
And this...
The Latino "thug" who works next to me at the salad bar only speaks to me in Spanish now. I know he knows English because he talks to customers and other employees in English. I wonder what his motives are and if I will have to bludgeon him to death sometime soon.

Stars With A Big Belly...

Apparently its now cool to be pregnant and sport a big belly in Hollywood these days as reported by Xinhua. See the pictures including the porky Brittany Spears, here.

When my wife was pregnant the first time, we felt compelled as anal retentive firstime parents to go to Lamaze classes to prepare for the special day. Of course the husbands participate to be more intune with their partners experience, lend support and experience the occasion.

One of the important aspects of the pregnancy experience is alerting the guys to the discomfort that your wife is feeling carrying around all the additional weight. The Lamaze teacher exhorted that we guys should appreciate the discomfort of the big belly and how difficult that it was making life for the newly pregnant with the additional 25 pounds.

Of course, at this point, I had to chime in that I didn't see what the big deal was since I had been carrying around an additional 25 pounds for the past decade and that I was coping just fine. After a "pregnant" pause by the teacher and a lack of a suitable retort, she continued with the class.

China's Foreign Exchange Reserves...

It is reported that China's foreign exchange reserves have reached 818.9 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2005, up 34.3 percent year on year. I would be happy with 10% of that.

A Solution For Iran...

A nuclear armed Iran?
Its theocracy poses a danger to civilization even greater than a nuclear North Korea for a variety of peculiar circumstances. Iran is free of a patron like China that might in theory exert moderate influence or even insist on occasional restraint. North Korea, for an increasingly wealthy and capitalist China, is as much a headache and an economic liability as a socialist comrade.
And one that has already threatened neighbors and is indicating through actions that it intends on gaining nuclear capabilities...
When a supposedly unhinged Mr. Ahmadinejad threatens the destruction of Israel and then summarily proceeds to violate international protocols aimed at monitoring Iran's nuclear industry, we all take note. Any country that burns off some of its natural gas at the wellhead while claiming that it needs nuclear power for domestic energy is simply lying. Terrorism, vast petroleum reserves, nuclear weapons, and boasts of wiping neighboring nations off the map are a bad combination.
Its all right here. Maybe the US just should turn the suspected nuclear sites into radioactive sheets of glass by striking with our own nuclear arsenal first. Kablooie.... they wouldn't even know what had hit them. And in the process, also killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and destroying a country. People getting voporized in a nano-second and other puking their intestines out after getting radiation poisoning from the fallout. Of course, it better that they get vaporized then us and of course the peace-nik liberal skinny armed Lamma island types would get to be all indignant and give them lots of material to write about for around a biblical 40 days. Europe will get all huffy and claim that they were confident of a breakthrough and other useless claims. And they could get back to business at hand of protecting their farmers from competition from those pesky starving third world types. And with GWB at the helm instead of some whining Democrat eurocentric buffoon that would probably want to have a conference on world peace for 3 years before giving a speech on the Iranian problem, we could loyally all rally around the leftist liberals and say that what GWB did was wrong... yadda, yadda, yadda.... and the world be better off and we could all go home, some continuing to hate GWB for doing what we all expect him do but refuse to acknowledge it the responsibility of what his job involves, have a couple of big protest marches and go back to having our weekend barbecues without worry of Iranian threat all the while his actions will have make us all much better off and so much safer for it.

And then after the threat is completely destroyed, we could say "whoopsie daisy" after some of the leftist clowns argue that Iran was not a WMD producer and some New York Times report reveals classified materials debunking the Iranian nuclear threat and concluding that the whole process was designed to gain control of Iran's oil so that we can drive our incredibly wasteful SUV's. Haliburton. Lots of gnashing of teeth is due from these skinny armed liberal types. I look forward to it.

GWB would hopefully and gleefully just respond in a Kafkaesque "oops, golly gee I did what I thought was right" meme and retire to his ranch in Texas to repair his barbed wire fences.

I look forward to it.

Bombs Miss Zawahri....

The Karl Rove to George Bush for you thick headed liberals, the right hand man to global terrorist Osama bin-Laden, Zawahri, targeted in a strike in Pakistan was unfortunately missed. I guess that the woman and children that this guy hides behind were turned into ground beef by the blasts.

The picture above shows him proudly sporting an Ash Wednesday dot on his forehead last year prior to Easter showing his emotional attachment with his unfortunate Christian targeted victims. Burn in hell, hate filled bozo. You will become a martyr one day.

China Discovered America In 1418....

Besides inventing golf, gunpowder and sending men to the moon in 1844, China also mapped the US in 1418 leading reseachers to believe that Chinese explorers discovered the new world nearly century before Christopher Columbus.
The map, which shows North and South America, apparently states that it is a 1763 copy of another map made in 1418.
Of course, the belief that the map makers accurately depicted the earlier map has to be believed since there is no known copy of the supposed earlier map. Otherwise, the earlier map would be the subject of the story.

Really, if the Chinese really did go to the New World in 1614, you figure that they would have brought back tobacco given how much that they love the cancer sticks in the middle kingdom of today.

Is there nothing that the Chinese of old did not discover, invent or build? I wonder what Chekov would have to say about that? If there is a new Star Trek the guy that makes all the wild claims has to be Chinese.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Poor Pit Bulls...


Bomb Iran...

Well, it looks as if Iran's push to arm itself with nuclear bombs is moving forward and it will only be a couple of years before they will be able to deliver the payload to Israel and some of Europe. As has been indicated recently in various news reports, the European negotiators are finding out that diplomacy without the capability of retaliatory threat is destined to fail, and this losing strategy is probably not going to work with Iran, either. So inevitably, Europe will have to come to the US to solve this problem like they did with Kosovo.

The Tradesports market still is only giving odds of a overt strike prior to June 2006 as 15% but this rises to 38% for March 2007. With Ariel Sharon being incapacitated and political turmoil in Israel, the chances of aggressive action to reduce the threat from the crazy Iranian mullahs has declined, at least near term, and the Iranians are taking more aggressive actions to speed up the production of their nuclear capabilities as of late.

One day these crazy Islamists will blow up a city and kills hundreds of thousands of people and there will be no one to blame but the complacent peaceniks that fight our ability to cut down the risks at every turn. Of course they will blame everyone else but themselves but we all know why something like this is happening. Maybe the peaceniks will respond aggressively with a protest. Jeez.

Those Dreaded Calls....

My friend Chris from my hometown in New York called and asked me if I had a chance to look at my emails since my mother had sent me one this morning. Then he says that he had some very bad news for me. Of course, in these situations, ones heart goes into your throat, you think about your parents and your siblings, their spouses and kids and you wait for the awful news.

The awful death was of one of my high school buddies that got killed in an automobile accident. 45 years old with 3 young sons. He used to visit our house regularly and enjoyed fun times and BBQ with my lively family. He has been a close friend and a involved member of the community. He will be missed. Rest in peace.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Tests Confirm That Indeed, Coleman, Was Guilty Of The Crimes That He Was Convicted Of And Executed For...

As I have written, I am against the death penalty in the US. Virginia governor, Mark Warner ordered a more detailed DNA test for a man that was convicted and executed for a crime in that state. There was concern that the man may actually have been innocent of the crime.
A new DNA test confirmed the guilt of a Virginia man who proclaimed his innocence up until his 1992 execution for rape and murder, the Virginia governor's office said on Thursday.

"We have sought the truth using DNA technology not available at the time the (Virginia) Commonwealth carried out the ultimate criminal sanction" against Roger Keith Coleman, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner said in a statement.

"The confirmation that Roger Coleman's DNA was present reaffirms the verdict and the sanction."

Coleman was executed in May 1992 for the 1981 rape and murder of his 19-year-old sister-in-law, Wanda McCoy. He repeatedly proclaimed his innocence.
However, as the DNA tests now confirm, Coleman was indeed guilty of the crime.

Despite the man being guilty of his crimes and his punishment being justified by the laws of the State of Virginia, I still think that we American's should endeavor to eliminate the death penalty for the various reasons that I have discussed in previous posts, here and here.

Liberals Always Say That The Rich Are Getting Richer...

But in China, not only are they getting richer... China's rich getting younger.

I Spoke At A Financial Forum Last Year...

And I just received this, today. I was a speaker and "Extinguished" Guest for the event. I assume that they meant "Distinguished." Unless they actually meant that I was a speaker and they planned on extinguishing me!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Of Course, China Invented Golf Too....

In addition to gunpowder, the wheelbarrow, origami, spaghetti, fans, kites, the compass, etc., China is now claiming to have invented golf...
A description of the sport, written during the Song Dynasty (AD960-1279), has been found in a volume called the Dongxuan Records. Professor Ling says the book refers to a Chinese magistrate instructing his daughter "to dig goals in the ground so that he might drive a ball into them with a purposely crafted stick". Golf "clearly originated in China", he said, adding that Mongolian travelers took the game to Europe.

However, it is generally accepted that the first place where all the modern aspects of the game were brought together was in Scotland. Scots were also the first to use holes rather than targets.
So, I guess after the Mongols raided, pillaged, raped and killed a city's occupants, they retired after busy day to a nice game of golf. Maybe they used captured slaves instead of caddies and these caddies were so impressed with the game, that they set-up their own golf courses after Mongold moved on and wrote fanciful stories about the game that was passed down through the generations till the Scottish picked it up. Jeesh. Ok, the Chinese may have "invented" golf, but they didn't invent Frisbee golf. Of course, unless it is documented that the emperors threw plates at the their concubines and kept score on how many they hit and it is therefore, considered a sport.

This reminds me of Chekov from Star Trek...
Chekov did betray his youthful passions at times -- including his own reputation as a ladies' man -- but always proved to be the perfect officer in training. Still, his penchant for being injury-prone was matched only by a zealous pride in his Russian heritage -- often comically taking credit for the exploits of other cultures, Earth-based or otherwise.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I Am Sometimes A Fan Of Unwooded Chardonnay...

Too much oak or none at all? But sometimes it tastes too metallic or bitter. I had a wonderful 2003 unoaked Chardonnay from Plunkett's vineyard in Australia and then was disappointed in 2004. The 2003, high a rich floral nose and fruity well rounded tastes. But the 2004 tasted metallic and sometimes so bitter that I couldn't drink it. Maybe the 2004 wine got too hot and oxidized in shipping but I would be willing to try it again!! It was that good the first time around.

One Iraqi's Opinion...

From the not so silent majority...
That was the point I was trying to make, in the hope that it might reach some people who are in the decision-making circles. For my part, I remain utterly convinced, that it is in the profound interest of our country and people and their future, to forge a lasting strategic alliance with U.S.; and that the Super Power can render a most needed help and protection to forge the kind of future that we are dreaming of. Furthermore, the American action in Iraq, regardless of its original motivations and causes, represents a godsend to the country and an opportunity that is not likely to happen again. And besides, the U.S. has made such a huge investment in blood and treasure, that to retreat and fail should be quite unthinkable and would have dire consequences on its future as a World Power, not to mention the War on Terror. Thus there is a fundamental convergence of interests between the Iraqi People and the Americans, to make this Project a success; and so it shall be despite all odds; God’s willing so it shall be.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

CNOOC Agrees To Purchase Nigerian Oilfields For US$2.3 Billion....

China's quest for oil resources have taken them to the likes of Kazakstan and now the oilfields in Nigeria. And with $2.3 billion on the line, lets hope that CNOOC is doing their homework on this one. I have done some research and have found the documents offering this alluring property for sale....
CONTECT EMAIL:eemma111@excite.com.
Attn: General Manager

Dear Mr. CNOOC,
First, I must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction; this is by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and top secret. You have been recommended by an associate who assured me in confidence of your ability and reliability in prosecuting a business transaction of high net value requiring maximum

I am Dr.emmanuel okadigbo (MON) Member Contract Award and Verification Committee.

Terms of Reference
My term of reference involves the award of contracts to Foreign Multinational Companies and Corporations. My office is saddled with the responsibility of contract award, screening, categorization and prioritization of projects embarked upon by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as the sale of selected projects to trusted overseas investors.

We have one project in which you may have an interest. Our office has been charged with selling a 45% stake for US$2.3 billion in some offshore oil fields here in Nigeria previously owned by the late Nigerian dictator Sonny Abacha. His many wives and children have been peddling this property for years to investors around the globe.

Please we are not contacting you because we do not have or know any person with whom we can do the deal with successfully, rather we are trying to start a sucessful relationship with a trusted overseas partner like yourself. If successful, my family and I will move to your country and we can become lifelong friends. My family and I have always enjoyed Chinese food and Bruce Lee movies and look forward to spending the rest of lives living next to you Mr. CNOOC. Remember that this deal is 100% without risk.

If you are interested to assist us, by purchasing this 45% stake in these dictator owned offshore oil fields please reply to the above email address and let me have your personal telephone, fax and email address, so that I can furnish you
with further details on the modalities of the transfer of the properties into
your accounts.

Please keep this matter to your self, as we do not want it to back fire. If you are not interested, delete this email and take it as if you have heard nothing from me.

Trusting in a good and long lasting business relationship with you. And God bless you and your family.

Best regards.

Yapping Democrats....

One of the American Democrats new themes these days is energy security. In other words, getting the United States to be less dependent on foreign oil. This of course makes lots of sense and with the price of oil so high, American ingenuity and industriousness are finding new ways to conserve energy and find new renewable sources.
Success, it seems to me for these guys, is control of, not only the -- the strategic positioning, but the oil. So, success for me would say, "we don't need your lousy oil." We could start -- we could put -- we can run this whole country off renewable energy, right this minute.
Of course, this Democratic Congressmen from California is getting a little crazy saying that we could run the country "right now" with renewable resources. But it a laudable and pursuable goal.

However, NIMBY [Not In My Back Yard] prevails, even amongst these same Democrats and some famous left wing ones at that. Let's have a look at the promise of wind power...
The industry added about 2,500 megawatts of wind power last year, a record 35 percent increase, according to the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group. The country's wind capacity is more than 9,200 megawatts in 30 states, enough for 2.4 million average U.S homes.

Wind power still makes up less than 1 percent of the nation's electricity, but experts expect wind to generate at least 5 percent by 2020.
Of course there are issues with where to put these giant turbines. In China, this has caused problems where people protesting the seizure of their property for wind farms were shot by police. But in the US, it has caused other problems...
The environmental debate has intensified as the first offshore projects are proposed in popular tourist areas, such as Cape Cod, Long Island, N.Y., and the New Jersey shore. Critics, including a member of the influential Kennedy family, worry that some projects could harm national treasures.

"All of a sudden you're transferring an asset used by 5 million people into the hands of private industrial speculators," said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmentalist who has objected to the Cape Cod proposal. "If you're giving away public rights, you ought to make sure the public benefits from this transfer, that the costs do not exceed the benefits."

Kennedy's stance has put him at odds with the environmental organization Greenpeace, which last August sent boats to interrupt a visit by Kennedy. Supporters say the project would meet the region's energy needs in an environmentally friendly way.
Uber-environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr. is against these wind towers because some are planned to be located offshore Cape Cod, near the fabled family retreat. The proposed towers, actually 6 miles offshore from Hyannis, Massachusetts should be more of a concern for wealthy yachters than spoil the view of landlubbers. So maybe these towers, really tiny specks on the horizon, concern him since private enterprise will own and operate them? Or really because it may disturb the "views" of his wealthy privileged family and there wealthy and privileged neighbors? And to call windfarmers speculators is not economically justified, in my humble opinion, just a word of convenience for Kennedy to denigrate the free-hand of the market place. Most wind power is sold off under long-term contracts so that investors can use these contracts to finance the projects.
The wind power added this year will offset the emission of approximately 7 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, equivalent to keeping nearly 500,000 SUVs off the road, the association said.
I have viewed some of Kennedy's politically motivated environmental positioning as just pure crass politicizing and he has every right to do so. But Kennedy's opposition to wind farms is just plain idiotic and pathetic.

Of course, Democrats are also opposed to nuclear power I guess becasue it isn;t renewable and not clean? Doesn;t produce greenhoouse gasses, you know...
2004 August 20 note: There has just arisen a significant difference in policy between Bush and Kerry. In a Nevada speech, pandering to Nevada's bipartisan NIMBY opposition to nuclear waste storage site in Nevada, Kerry has promised that the Nevada site will be abandoned if he becomes President. This site has passed all the scientific criteria and is now in a Federal Court squabble about the Environmental impact statement. A judge has ruled that 10,000 years in the study is inadequate and 100,000 years must be studied.
So I wonder just what renewable resources that this congressman from California was talking about.

Dirty Bomber...

The fertile sick minds of al-Qaeda have come up with some new ideas for death and destruction...
AL-QAEDA is recruiting suicide bombers who are infected with the AIDS virus, according to documents revealed to the Sunday Mirror.

Terror chiefs are also targeting fanatics who suffer other lethal blood diseases such as hepatitis and dengue fever in order to increase their "kill rate" from an explosion. The chilling new threat is revealed in papers distributed to British military camps in Iraq and across Europe.

Under the heading "HIV/Hepatitis" the document states: "There is evidence that terrorists might be deliberately recruiting volunteers with diseases that are spread by blood transference."

Experts have found that bones and other blood-spattered fragments from a suicide bomber could penetrate the skin of a victim 50 metres away and infect them.
Of course this will infect those innocent people around that are unfortunate enough to be in the way. Of course this never bothered the sick minds of these twisted Islamic religious fanatics. And if they can't get enough HIV infected suicide bombers, maybe they will infect them deliberately?

I still like the old style biological warfare...
Since 1346, when the Mongols catapulted corpses contaminated with plague over the walls into Kaffa (Crimea) and forced the besieged Genoans to flee, there have been many documented cases of the use of biological agents against people.
The only way to deal with these people is to kill them before they kill you!

Monday, January 09, 2006

French Terror Alert...

This news is just in...
The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from Run to Hide. The only two higher levels in France are Surrender and Collaborate.

The rise was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing their military.
Now the French can get back to their vast forest of lemon farms. Just for the record Tom, Gr'eat has now correctly identified the Brio brand of lemons as being, as I expected, from Spain and not from France. So your whole French agriculture policy argument has gone down in flames. Oh well. Better luck next time!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Gang of Four...

The last of the gang of four has died.
Yao Wenyuan, the final surviving member of the Gang of Four that terrorized China during the violent 1966-76 Cultural Revolution by persecuting thousands of people, has died, the government said Friday. He was 74.
Nearly every Chinese city dweller who was alive at the time can tell of a relative or friend who was beaten, harassed or driven to suicide, often by tormenters who took advantage of the unrest to avenge grudges.

The violence pitted neighbor against neighbor, wrecked the economy and forced a generation of intellectuals to work in the countryside.
Good riddance.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Mooning is deemed to be a legitimate form of communication. Come-on, we already knew that.
So this week a Montgomery County judge has ruled that mooning is a cheeky yet legitimate form of communication -- but then, Chaucer and Mel Gibson taught us that long ago.

The truth is that words frequently fail the human species. If you want to send a message, don't call Western Union; an even older, surer technology might serve. Unbuckle, bend, let it shine.


For Jesus.

The Real....

Quagmire. Why I could never vote for one ever again.

Don't Tread On Me.....

History here. Comment here.

The Anti-gay Lobby Was right....

First, gay marriage and then this. I knew that nothing good was going to become of this.

Iran's Desire To Build Nuclear Arsenal Should Be More of A Worry To Everyone....

The dithering Europeans have further evidence that Iran is seeking nuclear bomb capabilities...
Iran has been combing Europe and former Soviet states for materials and expertise for potential use in making atomic bombs, according to a leaked intelligence report likely to heighten tensions over Tehran's nuclear drive.

British, French, German and Belgian agencies pooled findings in a 55-page report used to brief governments of the European Union, three of which are conducting talks with Iran in an effort to rein in its nuclear-fuel development program.
Europe will continue to try to goad the Iranians into giving up their ambitions, but since Europe would never use the stick, it is probable that this strategy will be a failure. Then they will leave it up to the Americans and the Israelis to do the dirty work and complain that we did it all wrong. Dopes.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Hong Kong "Home Sales Worst since SARS"....

The above Standard headline should read...
"Rabbit Hutch Sales Worst Since SARS"
The average 600 square feet for a family a four is not a home, in my humble opinion, and made even worse since a Hong Kong square foot is nowhere near a real square foot. Since developers here have been able to define your living space in Hong Kong rabbit hutches including the space occupied by the elevators, the supporting walls, and other unusable areas, the actual living space enjoyed by a typical Hong Kong resident is reduced by at least another 20% in this Kafkaesque calculation.

Who in their right mind would ever buy an apartment in Hong Kong at the prices that these spaces have commanded in the past?
The Land Registry said 4,426 new homes were sold in December, the seventh time in the past eight months sales have declined.

The previous worst performance was in May 2003, during SARS, when 4,130 homes were sold.
A 1,500 square foot poorly constructed apartment with a terribly inefficient layout will set you back in the neighborhood of HK$12 million [US$1.5 million] in the Mid-levels of Hong Kong. Bleck.

It never ceases to amaze me how Hong Kongers just love real-estate and cannot get enough of it. There will be plenty of people getting totally buried after prices decline the next 6 months about 30% and even after a decline of that magnitude, prices will STILL be too high!

45 Degrees...Hell-like...

On our drive back to Sydney on News Years Day [I don't celebrate News Years Eve anymore, so I felt great!] we were met by both hellishly hot weather, 45 degrees Centigrade [113 degrees Fahrenheit], maybe a Sydney record for New Years Day, and a fire that blocked the sole road from Hunter Valley to our Sydney destination.

We were forced off the highway near Woy Woy to seek supplies of food and fuel since we had no idea how long the fire would block the road back. I managed to lose the gas cap and get yelled at by my son, who heard the police announce that the highway was reopened while I was panicking.

Unfortunately, the heat also boiled the wine that I had in the trunk and one of the bottles, a Shiraz, actually had wine leaking through the cork. I drank that last night, and it tasted ok, so not all is lost!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Mark Warner, Virginia's Democratic Governor And Potential Presidential Candidate....

Is endeavoring to prove the innocence or guilt of man, Roger Keith Coleman, that was executed in 1992 for the murder of rape victim using updated DNA testing techniques. Apparently, the techniques used more than a decade ago were subject to interpretation that may have given a false positive to Coleman.

This kind of situation, that I have reported on before, here, shows the fallibility of a system where people may be wrongfully convicted and executed for crimes that they did not commit. And, in my humble opinion, people should not be executed if the system proves to be subject to error. And I think that Americans are starting to see this issue the way that I do.
A Gallup poll in October found that 64 percent of Americans support the death penalty. That is the lowest level in 27 years, down from a high of 80 percent in 1994.
I think that Mark Warner has found a subject where we can make some progress in eliminating this disgraceful behavior and he will benefit as well in his Presidential ambitions.