Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Round Mound of Rebound

I can be bought. If they paid me enough, I'd work for the Klan.
Charles Barkley

Gotta lov'im.

It’s a Family Tradition

I dislike ever quoting or linking to the BBC, but it is unfortunately necessary in this case.
King Mswati III, ruler of the tiny southern African kingdom of Swaziland, has gotten married. To his eleventh wife. Noliqwa Ntentesa, 21, was selected by the king three years ago at an annual ceremonial dance.

She is pregnant with his 25th child. Two more young women have already been lined up to marry the king.
Let’s take a look at Mswati III’s kingdom, shall we?
Swaziland recently surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection.

More than one-fourth of the population needed emergency food aid in 2004 because of drought, and more than one-third of the adult population was infected by HIV/AIDS.
I found, after visiting the CIA’s World Factbook and then the Swaziland Official Government website, some rather glaring discrepancies between the two sources. So, I shall present both sides.
Population Growth Rate: CIA = 0.25% -- Swazoolis = 2.9%

Birth rate / 1000 population: CIA = 27.72 births -- Swazoolis = 36.4 births

Death rate / 1000 population: CIA = 25.26 deaths -- Swazoolis = 7.6 deaths

Infant Mortality / 1000 live births CIA = 69.27 deaths -- Swazoolis = 7.8 deaths

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: CIA = 38.8% -- Swazoolis = 34.2%

Life expectancy: CIA = 35.65 years -- Swazoolis = 60 yrs.
The economic numbers are about as bad. The BBC says that the unemployment rate stands at 40% while nearly 70% of the country's one million inhabitants live on less than $1 a day. King Mswati III owns a fleet of luxury cars, including a $500,000 (£260,000) Maybach, and has spent millions of dollars refurbishing palaces for his wives. I think that more wives for King Mswati III is just the ticket for the Swazoolis. Each of his 11 and soon to be 13 wives can probably hope to survive well past the CIA’s bleak number of 35.65 years and might even make it to the Swazooli governments much brighter 60 years. This government appears to be on a par with this one.

Oh yas, how does all of this tie in with the title of this post? King Mswati III’s father, King Sobhuza II, who led the country to independence in 1968, had more than 70 wives when he died in 1982.

First ever - urban tree sit

Make what you will of this.
HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- Hood River police seem unfazed by a young man who has vowed to spend a week suspended high in a tree in the center of town.

Anthony Villagomez, 24, started his tree sit at 11 p.m. Sunday night and said he was going strong. He has five gallons of water and enough granola and to last him through the end of the week.

Hood River Police Lieutenant Jerry Brown said that as long as Villagomez presents no threat to the public or to himself, he is free to stay up there.

Villagomez, who is trained as an arborist, says he is staging the tree sit to protest the Bush administration's forest policies. He says he believes his is the first truly urban tree sit.
As opposed to the much more common rural tree sit, of course.

UPDATE: Just thinking; where I come from we call rural tree sitting, "deer hunting".

Out of the shadows at last - Deep Throat

According to this story, the July issue of Vanity Fair will have an exclusive reporting that former assistant director of the FBI, W. Mark Felt, was, or rather is, Deep Throat. Felt has been a prime candidate mentioned in scores of books and reports on the Watergate affair but has always denied his involvement.
"I would have done better," Felt told The Hartford Courant. "I would have been more effective. Deep Throat didn’t exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?" (1999)
As for Bernstein and Woodword, who have vowed not to disclose the identity of Deep Throat until after his/her death, Carl Bernstein issued a press release where he neither confirmed nor denied Felt's admission.
In the article, O'Connor reports that Felt's children, Joan and Mark Jr., urged him to go public after he revealed his secret to them in 2002.

Felt argued with them, O'Connor writes, saying he didn't want the story out there.

"I don’t think (being Deep Throat) was anything to be proud of," Felt indicated to his son, Mark Jr., at one point, according to the article. "You (should) not leak information to anyone."

But Joan is quoted as saying that "Bob Woodward's gonna get all the glory for this, but we could make at least enough money to pay some bills, like the debt I've run up for the kids' education. Let's do it for the family."
Now, that is heartwarming, is it not? His daughter, who ran up large bills to educate her own children, says, "Let's do it for the family."

Linked to: Captain Ed, Wizbang, Volokh, OTB, Echidne, Rexblog, Smash, John Cole, Attaturk, Jawa Report (thanks for the mention), Patterico, Political Teen, Goldstein (thanks for the mention), Goldstein II, say anything, Joe Gandelman, Point Five, Right Wing Nuthouse, Caerdroia, La Shawn Barber, slantpoint, rexblog, Devine Angst, Jeremy Gilby, Dean Esmay, Poliblogger, leanleft, Ed Driscoll, Gandelman, Jan Haugland, Cori Dauber, Centerfield, Scared Monkeys, Kevin Drum, Nathan@southern Appeal, Burnt Orange, McQ, Prof. Bainbridge, Jo Fish, Cori Dauber, SadlyNo (I think),

Anniversary - worst race riot in history

Now, this is .something that I did not know. Tuesday, May 31, 1921, community of Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the worst race riot in US history was underway.
It is an event that hardly anyone commemorates on Memorial Day weekend, because its existence has been all but erased.

More than 1,000 homes and businesses were destroyed in less than a week, and at least 300 people were killed, and then buried, possibly in unmarked mass graves, according to a 2001 report on the incident by an Oklahoma state commission.

The official death toll surpassed the totals of the 1965 Watts riot, the 1967 Detroit riot, the 1968 Washington riot and the 1992 Los Angeles riot combined. Some historians estimated that the toll reached 1,000, based on photos of trucks full of bodies as they rolled out of town, according to a member of the commission.
Olivia Hooker, now 90 years old, tells this story;
She heard tapping on the roof of her home in Tulsa, and in her young mind Olivia Hooker thought it was hail from a Midwest storm. Her mother grabbed her hand, crept to a small window and explained, to the 6-year-old's horror, that it was actually raining bullets.

"Up on the hill was a machine gun with an American flag on it," Hooker, now 90, said in testimony at a recent hearing in the House before members of the Congressional Black Caucus. "My mother said, 'They are shooting at you.'"
This is a shocker. The story reports that the blacks in Greenwood were descendants of slaves owned by the Seminoles, Cherokees, and other Indian tribes. I sure as hell did not know that American Indians owned African slaves. I have never before heard such a thing.
Over time, black hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and law offices sprang up. In those days, according to the Greenwood Cultural Center's Web site, the neighborhood featured "what may have been the first black airline in the nation." "We had everything the whites had, and I suspect more," said Otis Clark of Tulsa, a 105-year-old riot survivor who testified at the hearing.
The riot started when a bunch of good ol' boys (10,000) descended on the community to uphold the honor of a white woman (what else?) supposedly accosted in an elevator by a black delivery boy. No matter, of course, to the outraged Bubbas and Billy Bobs that the boy was released with no charges filed. And it didn't matter to the local ragsheet, the Tulsa Tribune, which ran a story with the headline "Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator."
"The first thing they did was burn my doll clothes," Hooker, who now lives in White Plains, N.Y., recalled in her testimony. "Then they came in the house. My mother put us under the table. We had not fled because my mother was trying to save the house."

Hooker's home was spared (that was mighty white of them, wasn't it?), but her family ultimately moved to Topeka, Kan. "We didn't stay because they had blown up the schools, and my parents couldn't stand the idea of having five children and no schools," she said.
This is a sickening story but it did occur 84 years ago. The part of this story that is most disturbing to me is what has happened only recently.
A quest for reparations by surviving victims ended two weeks ago. The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed without comment a class-action suit against the city of Tulsa, its police department and the state of Oklahoma.

The rejection left in place a lower court's ruling that a two-year statute of limitations on claims had expired in 1923. According to law, the judges ruled, it mattered little that segregated courts in which Ku Klux Klan members held judgeships refused to hear claims of black victims immediately after the riot, or that evidence of its devastation was erased or hidden until the 2001 report.
Huh? KKK judges refused to hear claims until the statute of limitations had run out and this has no bearing on claimants rights under the law? Evidence of mass murder and devastation had been hidden or erased for 80 years and this has no bearing on claimants rights under the law? What law are they referring to? It is law with which I am not familiar. But this is even more disturbing, if true.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, based in Denver, said that legal avenues had opened to black complainants over time, citing the 1960s as an era when claims could have been brought, or perhaps the 1980s.
This is a very interesting thing to know. I am aware of cases where courts have struck down long established law as being unconstitutional, but I have never heard of a court saying that one might have received justice during one era or another, but not today. The court said, in so many words, "Justice depends on the which way the wind is blowing during any given decade. In the 60's or 80's, you might have received justice, but, sorry, not today." I cannot believe that this article is giving us all the facts. This can't be accurate, can it?

Unlike this slave reparation business that is in and out of the news, this case is not about a group of people deciding suddenly that they are entitled to money because of things that happened to their forefathers 400, 300, 200 years ago. Slavery was not only legal during those times, it was, in fact, accepted all over the world and had been accepted, even considered normal, for millennia. The people of Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma were American citizens supposedly protected by the full force of American law and what happened to them was perpetrated by public representatives, supposedly representing that law, who then hid what they did for 80 years. This is justice?

Another point. Kudos to the state of Oklahoma for the investigation and report made in 2001. So, what are you going to do about it? "Yup, we done it," is not exactly a mea culpa and doesn't replace the lady's doll clothes. She ought to get her doll clothes replaced, if she wants them. And to the city of Tulsa I might ask, "Where are you in this? Justice for all of the citizens of Tulsa is not, apparently, part of your program for greater metropolitan Tulsa."

Kum by ya

But underneath the canopy of downtown trees, and near the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. bust on the Palafox Street median, about 100 people softly sang hymns about a time when black people were oppressed.
And that, the impromptu singers believe, continues today.What oppression of the black people are these protesters protesting? The new deadly force law recently enacted in Florida. This law, according to this report, guarantees that people will not be prosecuted for using deadly force against intruders on their property.

The protesters were quoted as saying, "(it) will lead to open war on black males."
"It's almost a way to eliminate people. Black men will be under the ground more than ever." Sounds to me like these people are openly admitting that black males are the most frequent intruders on other people's property. Following that logic, we should eliminate the death penalty and long prison terms also, so as not to discriminate against black males. One could logically extend these protections against punishment to the entire criminal class, excepting, of course, white Anglo-Saxon males (WASM's).

Why do these people always manage to turn almost every issue about which they disagree into a race thing? The race card gets played so often and is applied in so many issues that I think people have become numb to it. The most brazen and ridiculous example used was that by Susan Watson, president of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (surprise!). She a white female type person and asked the crowd (only 100 people, so this wasn't a million man deal) if they believed the law would be applied equally to her and a black man. The crowd shouted, "No". I would like to shout, "No shit!" I doubt that any person would treat a black man or a white man or a Mexican man or an Arab man or a Chinese man the same as a white female attorney for the ACLU. If the white female intruder doesn't turn out to be Aileen Wuornos, Ma Barker or Bonnie Parker, you would probably be correct to proffer unequal treatment.

Maybe I misunderstand the purpose of the protest. Maybe what these people are saying is that a black man who uses deadly force against an intruder will not receive the same preferential treatment under the law as a white female attorney for the ACLU. I think that this is 2005 AD and that possibility is very slim. I also think that I do not misunderstand the purpose of the protest.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Run, Osama, Run!

Lucianne has someone who is now sending links to stories and reports on News24, apparently the online version of the South African Daily Sun. There are 3 stories today which got my attention.

Run, Osama, Run

This is a very nice opinion piece published on the News24 website written by a Jon Qwelane, who also happens to be a radio talk show host when he is not on suspension for saying something outrageous.

Mr. Qwelane says,
I pray - yes I do - that Osama bin Laden will not be so stupid as to get himself caught by the Americans, dead or alive, for the Americans will outdo even their sordid selves to humiliate him.
First, it was the shame of Guantanamo Bay and the barbaric torture of blindfolding of shackled, red-uniformed Muslim prisoners from Afghanistan, who were brutally tortured in barbaric instances which were fully condoned by George Bush and his former secretary of state, Colin Powell.

Then came the destruction of Iraq against all sane admonition by sensible people from around the world.

A litany of lies was cooked up by the Pentagon, and so-called weapons of mass destruction were conjured up to justify bombing Iraq for its oil and toppling its president, Saddam Hussein, and murdering his two sons.

Then followed Lynndie England with her infamous poses for photographs with naked Iraqi prisoners and her completely barbaric methods of humiliation, while laughing and smoking a cigarette.

As if that were not enough, just a little over two weeks ago Newsweek magazine ran a shocker (SHOCKER!) of a story, which was corroborated by the military. The infamous Guantanamo Bay detention centre became the place where the Americans, trying their utmost to extract information from suspected "terrorists", embarked on the worst type of humiliation to a Muslim: they took a copy of the Holy Qur'an and flushed it down a toilet. (emphasis mine)
Aha! Another of those lucky souls who either have experience with heretofore unknown gigantic jumbo crappers, or who have never seen a toilet flush, I don't know which. Mr. Qwelane goes on to say,
Anything and persons suspected of collaborating with the Big Satan were attacked, and Condoleezza Rice was verbally attacked Newsweek for its coverage.
Mr. Qwelane is somewhat, er, linguistically challenged, but I digress.
Says my friend the analyst (an unnamed South African government employee who clued Mr. Qwelane to, well, whatever): "The whole American fixation with humiliating Islam and Muslims springs from the core American politico-economic self-interest, which is loaded with long-standing tensions exacerbated by the fact that oil states are generally powerful, religious states.
I'll need some help with this. American fixation springs from the core American politico-economic self-interest, which is loaded with long-standing tensions exacerbated by the fact that oil states are generally powerful, religious states. What kind of tensions? Sexual tensions? (Not performing well even with the Viagra?) Fandom tensions? (When, not if, will those damned Yankees win it all again?) Or a combination of the two? (She finished 4th and dang near won the dang thing, only weighs a hunnert pounds, it jist ain't fair.) I have no idea what these gentlemen are talking about and I fear that they don't either.
America has for a long time claimed to hold the moral high ground, and that has included its pursuit of the politico-economic invasion to attack Islam, because they see it as barbaric, uncivilised and inferior.
Well, they are right there. See below.
I had definite feelings on 9/11 because I felt the way those towers were attacked was gross. I am not so sure anymore, and America needs to seriously question its brand of "morality.
Well thank you, Mr. Qwelane, for your concern. The cold blooded murder of 3000 people was "gross", but "now I'm not so sure," and we need to seriously question our brand of morality. Right after we get through questioning South Africa's brand of intelligence.

South Africa's Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, is angry because 42,000 South African AIDS sufferers are receiving anti-retroviral drugs (out of an estimated 500,000 victims who need these drugs). She thinks that is 42,000 too many! She says they should be treated with combination of garlic, lemon, olive oil and beetroot.
She said, as she has previously, that the scientifically dubious formula is the foundation of a healthy diet, and also helps the complexion.
The complexion. Ah, yes. Andrew Sullivan will be overjoyed to hear about this moron.

Health experts in South Africa have been demanding that President Thabo Mbeki dump this incompetent nincompoop before she kills all 5,000,000 HIV sufferers in South Africa. But he won't do anything because he has decided, since 2002, not to say anything to anybody publicly about HIV/AIDS. Up until his vow of silence he had been insisting that HIV does not cause AIDS.

How many of your people have died and will die, Mr. Qwelane, because of the criminal stupidity and appalling ignorance of your country's leadership? How moral is that? Say what you will about G. W. Bush, he doesn't dumbly murder innocent American citizens.

Note: Mr. Qwelane was hauled into court for saying the following;
that a benevolent dictatorship is desirable and preferable, that the South Africa Constitution should be suspended; that illegal immigrants be ruthlessly hunted down, jailed and deported; that they be shot on sight, that illegal immigrants are guilty of perpetrating violent crimes against law abiding citizens, and do not deserve to be treated as human (emphasis mine).
Well, one man's inhuman illegal immigrant is another man's Saddam Hussein.

Islam seen as barbaric, uncivilized and inferior? Say it ain't so.

Bride gang-raped on wedding night.

Islamabad - A bride was gang-raped by her groom's friends on the first night of their marriage with her in-laws' consent in the southern part of Pakistan's Punjab province, a news report said on Monday.

The daily Times said Husseinid Hussain and his family allowed the bride, Kaneez Kubra, to be dishonoured in revenge for her brother's crime of having sexual relations with their daughter.

The bride's father, Ghulam Hussain, said four persons sexually assaulted his daughter in front of his son-in-law in his house in Punjab.

But her ordeal did not end there. Ghulam Hussain said on the following day she was taken to the residence of another friend and assaulted again.

"They are cruel. Hussain's grandfather and mother plainly told my daughter the wedding was just an excuse to (inflict) revenge on your brother for having sexual relations with our girl," he said.
But that's not all. How did poor Kaneez Kubra come to marry into such a despicable family? Was it head-over-heels love? Love at first sight? Did her new husband have a lot of money and she was gold digging? No, she was ordered by an Islamic court to marry him in compensation for her brother's sexual escapades with her new husband's sister. How low can these people go?

This is how low;
In 2002, eight young women, including two sisters aged two and four, escaped vani marriages near the Punjab city of Mianwali after the Supreme Court of Pakistan said the practice violated the law and norms of civilised society.

French Reject EU Constitution – So What?

The French rejection of the EU constitution is all over the news and the net (see the myriad of links, below). I have read extensively since yesterday when the news was announced and I fail to see the EUphoria emanating from the majority of the blogs. While the vote probably spells the political doom of Jacques Chirac, will his replacement be any better? Chirac is a mealy-mouthed blowhard but I think if you look around at the Western Europe leadership, you will see that all of the Western European leaders are mealy-mouthed blowhards. It’s a continental thing.

The EU is being developed for one reason and one reason only. The people of western Europe, as a whole, are lazy, selfish and envious of the United States (unfortunately, England must be included in this group). Their respective economies are stagnant and unemployment is rampant. They (the people) demand 30-60 days, more or less, of paid holiday and paid vacation annually with a mandated 35 hour workweek and mandated no overtime. They demand government paid medical, dental and hospitalization costs and free university education for everyone. They have opened their doors to almost unlimited immigration from Muslim North Africa and the Middle East and ignore the deleterious effects on their societies. Imagine the economic effect here in the US if no one was allowed to work more than 35 hours per week, period. The leadership (and I use that term loosely) does not have the political will (ala Margaret Thatcher) to challenge their respective citizenry and tell it like it is; "If these are the things you want, then this is the price that you must pay. If you want employment and a higher standard of living, then sacrifices to your lifestyles will have to be made." The European people don't understand the difference between "lifestyle" and "standard of living".

Say what you will about the United States, but the people of this country possess a quality of character that is sadly missing from that of almost every other people on the planet. The ability or capacity or trait or whatever you wish to call it of being able to react positively and aggressively when something is very very wrong. I lived in Detroit and worked in the automotive industry during the late seventies and early to mid eighties. Detroit was like a ghost town and Tokyo was humming. You can remember that, can’t you? For as long as I can remember, Michigan tags, or license plates, had been black with white lettering. The only state with a booming economy was Texas (oil - high fuel prices). So many people from Detroit packed up their families with all the possessions they had left and drove to Texas seeking work that the Texans referred to them as "black tag people". I bought a house from a bank. You could see the effect of a breadwinner losing his job and it was a sad thing to see. First, a sign would be posted outside the house, "For sale, Snowmobile" or boat or 4-wheeler. The family was selling its toys. Then, within a few weeks, another sign and a car parked in front of the house, "For Sale, 1982 Daytona". The family was selling their 4th or 3rd or 2nd car. Then, a few weeks after that, "House For Sale - by Owner". Then, within a short period of time, the house was empty and the repossessing financial institution would write on the front window with Bon Ami, "For Sale by Bank, Call 552-1234". That’s how I found my house, by driving around good neighborhoods and reading the writing on the front picture windows. I didn’t call Century 21. I didn’t have to.

What was the response from the American people? It took a while. There were the requisite sledgehammerings of Japanese cars in mall parking lots with cheering out-of-work autoworkers and TV cameras looking on, Iacocca screaming to the government about tariffs, the UAW and USW and AFL-CIO and Teamsters all crying for government relief. And there were the political panderers, but panderers lose in the end (see John Kerry). What really happened was that all of these groups and individuals were forced to accept the fact that the way they had been doing business since 1945 had to change. And we changed it. Who, now, is afraid of Japan? Who, now, fears the German economic monster? I could not possibly be any more proud to be an American than I am today, having seen and lived through and been a part of that miraculous economic recovery. Can the Europeans do the same? I don’t think so. And their leadership doesn’t think so, either. Hence, they have cobbled together a massive bureaucratic union that consumes vast amounts of capital and vaster amounts of print and airway space and that makes it appear that the leadership is addressing the problems. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

It is really simple. More simple than the pundits make it sound. If every European country is charging 25% tariffs on every other country’s goods and services, and the political elite can convince their respective populations that these tariffs are the cause of their economic ills, then it becomes easier to convince those peoples that eliminating those tariffs will fix everything, right? And, of course, a massive bureaucracy is required to manage this stupendous undertaking. Well, if I charge you 1.25 for my widgets and you charge me 1.25 for your thingys, and we agree to charge each other only 1.00 for those widgets and thingys, are we any further ahead than when we started? My expenses are reduced by .25 but my income is reduced by .25, also. 1.25 minus 1.25 equals 0 and 1.00 minus 1.00 equals the very same 0. No one gains anything. The opposite occurred with Mexico and the US via NAFTA. The howling from the unions and Perot’s "giant sucking sound" of jobs being sucked out of the US by Mexico was laughable. Here, the numbers looked like this; Mexico was charging us 1.22 on average for every 1.00 that we exported to Mexico but we were only charging 1.025 for every 1.00 that Mexico exported to us. So when all those tariffs went to zero under NAFTA, we took a loss of .025 of every 1.00 exported and the poor Mexicans took a .22 loss. The difference is .22 minus .025 or a net gain in competitiveness for US products of .195 or a net loss in competitiveness for Mexican manufacturers of minus .195, however you choose to look at it.

The silly Europeans have managed to convince themselves that they don’t have to change anything or reevaluate anything or work any harder or any longer. All they have to do is form a giant bureaucracy and everything will be hunky dory. Happy days are here again.

The French vote was a repudiation of Chirac and the EU because, and only because, the French people fear the nose to nose competition with Eastern Europe that the EU constitution would mandate. Supposedly all of the barriers and subsidies would eventually fall, and farmer Maurice would have to compete directly with farmer Stanislaw or, horrors!, farmer Kazim. That prospect is unpalatable and unacceptable to the French and to the Germans and to the English and to the Belgians and to just about all of them. Sitting down to figure out how best to compete is not something they are going to do, not now, not ever. If the Agnelli’s can’t get Italian government money, Fiat is dead and they know it. If Volkswagen, Wolfsburg has to compete with Ford, Czech Republic, VW is dead and they know this, too. And if the French wine industry has to compete with Spain and Portugal, or just about anybody, for that matter, the French wine industry is dead (this is already happening).

The rejection of the EU constitution by the French people is merely a bump in the road. The European bureaucratic elite will hem and haw and rewrite enough of it to get it passed, eventually. And Europe’s already long downhill slide into irrelevancy will accelerate. To what end, who knows?

Linked to: Scared Monkeys, chicagoboyz, Patterico, Joe Gandelman, Southern Appeal, John Kay, Prof. Bainbridge, Kevin Drum, Damian Penny, Poliblogger, OTB, Jan Haugland, Captain Ed, beggingtodiffer, Chrenkoff, Pejman

Sunday, May 29, 2005

En Memoriam - Memorial Day Post

My Memorial Day post is a little late. I have been thinking about this all day. The net is chock full of writers whose skills far exceed those of your humble servant. I offer this because it is the best that I can do.


Revolutionary War.........4,435.............*.................4435
War of 1812 ....................2,260............*.................2260
Mexican War...................1,733 .......11,550 ........ 13,283
Civil War:
Union .............................110,070 .....249,458 ....... 359,528
Confederate...................74,524 .... 124,000+...... 198,524
Combined ................... 184,594 .....373,458 ....... 558,052
Spanish-Amer. War ........... 385 .......... 2061 ............ 2446 &
World War I .................. 53,513 ....... 63,195 .. .....116,708
World War II ............... 292,131 ..... 115,185 ....... 407,316
Korean War ................... 33,651 .......... * ................ 33,651
Vietnam War ................. 47,369 ..... 10,799 ........... 58,168
Gulf War ............................. 148 ........... 145 ................293

Combat deaths refers to troops killed in action or dead of wounds. Other includes deaths from disease, privation, and accidents, and includes losses among prisoners of war. Wounded who died of their wounds are included under Combat Deaths.

* Non-battle deaths not known for these wars.
+ Confederate non-battle deaths and wounded estimated.
& Actually only six weeks of sustained combat.
^ There was only one month of combat.

These figures obviously leave out a great number of conflicts ongoing and those not considered "wars", like Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Indian Wars, Texas/Mexico, the campaign against the Barbary Pirates, etc. These figures also do not include those lost who did not wear a uniform, such as American government officials, FBI and other American law enforcement officers, CIA officers and civilians (men, women and children) caught up in conflicts and murdered simply because they were Americans.

And these are just numbers.

Please remember that each and every one of the numbers listed above represents a name.

Someone’s son or daughter.

Someone’s brother or sister.

Someone’s mommy or daddy.

Someone’s friend.

Our heroes.

Yankee update

A real nailbiter, this one. No further comment necessary.

Batman gets real

The new Batman trailer is on the net. What. a. cast. Take a look. It's 10 minutes long and looks spectacular. Definitely not for the kiddies.
Thanks to Ace.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Robert Mugabe moves to clean up cities in Zimbabwe

He sends in the army and burns them down. Very effective measure and is certainly quicker than all that silly rigamarole that we go through here, like condemnation proceedings that drag through the courts for years, letting bids for contracts to do the work, resettling displaced residents to better living spaces, throwing up parking garages, subsidised housing, office towers, parks and the like on the renovated properties. Nope, just burn them down. Everything taken care of in one night.

Linked to No PasarĂ¡n, Art of the Blog, L'Ombre de L'Olivier, Jackie Danicki, Jeff@Geopoliticalreview, smalldeadanimals, Samizdata,

Fidel Castro's lapdog-of-the-month yapping again.

Hugo Chavez threatened to reconsider diplomatic relations with the US if Washington doesn't extradite Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles who is accused (again) of plotting to blow up a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing 73 people. Fidel's flunky fails to mention that Carriles has already been tried twice for the crime, the second time by Venezuelan military tribunal, and acquitted both times.

Now comes Venezuelan's foreign ministry to assure us that Fidel's Venezuelan hack's statement was not a "threat". Whew boy! I will certainly sleep easier tonight knowing that the USA is not under threat by the mighty Venezuelan armed forces.

Hey, amigos, you've already tried this guy two times and couldn't convict him. There is no way that the US sends him back to you so that you can ship him off to the bearded one to stand him up against a wall. No vale la pena, muchachos.

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia reported dead

UPI reports that Saudi King Fahd has been dead since late Wednesday (that's right, he has, or had, his own website). A power struggle may be in progress at this time between Crown Prince Abdullah, second in line of succession, and seven of his half-brothers who fill all of the other top spots in the regime. Actually, he's been pretty dead since 1996 and Abdullah has been the de facto regent since that time.

Nothing to worry about. These are all devout followers of the religion of peace and I am sure they will work it out with a minimum of bloodshed.

Memeorandum neutral?

See Update below! Memeorandum innocent.

I thought Memeorandum was a neutral site dedicated to flagging the most commented on stories of the day.
Memeorandum: Pentagon Substantiates Cases of Koran Mistreatment - WaPo - Posted 4 hours ago
Actual WaPo Headline: Pentagon Confirms Koran Incidents - "Mishandling" Cases Preceded Guidelines Established in 2003

Where is the mistreatment? Oh, here it is;
"accidental touching of the holy book" and
"bumping into the holy book" and
"stacked two Korans on a television set".

Now, the NYT, which covers the same report as the WaPo article, chooses to present exactly the same information to its dear readers this way:
Inquiry by U.S. Finds 5 Cases of Koran Harm

And the "harm" found by NYT?
"accidentally touched the Koran" and
"touched it within the scope of his duties" and
"stood over the Islamic holy book during an interrogation"

Reuters says: Guantanamo probe finds 5 Koran mishandling cases.
Reuters repeats the dastardly incidents related above.

I see. Touching accidentally or within the scope of one’s duties or standing over the book during an interrogation? My God! What could be worse?

Impeach Bush! Jail Rumsfeld! Assassinate Lincoln! Hang Aaron Burr!

Would someone please wake me when this is over?

Stayed awake long enough to link to: Betsy, Cori Dauber, Anchoress, Gandelman, John Cole, Patrick Ruffini, Ezra Klein, Michelle Malkin, Tom Maguire

UPDATE: Memeorandum innocent! Gabe and Tom both tell me what happened. WaPo changed the headline but left the story intact (see comments 1 and 2)
Thanks for the explanation.

Jim Bowie rolls over in his grave

They can have my pointy-edged, razor-sharp knife when they can pry it out of my cold dead hands. 25 bucks would also work.

Linked to: Mitch Berg, David Carr, ScaredMonkeys, Pejman, Jan Haugland, chicagoboyz, McQ, Dr Demarche, Radley Balko,

Dog Bomb

Originally uploaded by markinmexico.
Would you strap an explosive device on ol' Buford and send him out to the road, then trigger the device and blow ol' Buford to smithereens? Well, they would.
Linked to: OTB, Gandelman, Bill Roggio, USSNeverdock

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Tshwane River

The Tshwane River
(Old Folks at Home)
Written by Stephen C. Foster

Way down upon de Tshwane Ribber,
Far, far away,
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere's wha de old folks stay.
All up and down de whole creation
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation,
And for de old folks at home.


All de world am sad and dreary,
Eb-rywhere I roam;
Oh, darkeys, how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home!


This could not happen anywhere else

Lisa Hoffman tells us some stories that you could not possibly read about happening in any other country on this earth.

U.S. Army Spcs. Wai Lwin and Azhar Ali.
As they turned onto a bridge along the road to Baghdad's airport, a bomb detonated near their vehicle, killing the two instantly. One was a Buddhist born in Burma, the other a Muslim from Pakistan.
Army Pfc. Min Choi.
Killed Feb. 26, less than a month after he arrived in Iraq, in a bomb attack while he was on patrol. Choi was a Korean immigrant from River Vale, N.J.. "My son said he needed to serve our country," Choi's father, Jong Choi, told a Westchester, N.Y., newspaper
Marine Lance Cpl. Tenzin Dengkim, of Falls Church, Va..
Dengkim, a rifleman-scout, was killed April 2 in a firefight in Haditha, Iraq. Dengkim, 19, was the son of a single Tibetan mother, who had fled her homeland for asylum in India. In 1992, he and his mother were permitted to immigrate to Utah as refugees.

He had said he also hoped to learn the military skills he could one day use to help Tibet find religious and other freedoms.
Army Spc. Uday Singh, 21.
Killed during an ambush on his Humvee patrol near Habbaniyah. At his cremation in India, he was dressed in his Army uniform and draped with the U.S. flag.

He decided he wanted to live in America at age 16 while on a visit from his India home to his aunt and uncle in Lake Forest, Ill. A fan of fast cars and war movies, Singh also dreamed of becoming a respected military man like his Sikh father and grandfather and, later, as a successful American businessman.
Army Sgt. Pamela Osbourne, 38.
Shrapnel from a rocket attack on her camp in Baghdad killed her.

She came to America from Jamaica when she was 14 with two dreams - to become a U.S. citizen and to join the military. Once in the Army, she developed a medical condition that could have kept her out of war duty, but the mother of three from Hollywood, Fla., was determined to serve her adopted country and insisted on going.
Marine Cpl. Binh Le, 20.
He was killed when a suicide truck packed with explosives attacked his checkpoint. Putting himself at deadly risk, Le fired at the truck, keeping it far enough away when it exploded to spare many innocent lives. His commander has recommended him for the Silver Star.

He came from Vietnam at the age of six to live with his aunt and uncle in Alexandria, Va.. He had already served one tour in Iraq when he volunteered for a second. The son of a former South Vietnamese army soldier.
Sgt. Rafael Peralta, 25.
A platoon scout who didn't have to go on the dangerous Nov. 15 mission, Peralta volunteered to join five Marines hunting insurgents house-to-house in Fallujah.

In their fourth house of the morning, three enemy fighters waited behind a closed door. When Peralta opened it, he was hit in the head and chest by a close-up fusillade of AK-47 fire. His Marine mates fought on, until one of the insurgents rolled a grenade toward Peralta, who lay bleeding on the floor.

To save his nearby comrades, Peralta reached for the explosive and, with seconds to spare, tucked it under his stomach to take the full force of the blast.

He was the only one of the five Marines to die.

He joined the Marines the day after he got the "Green Card" that made him a legal resident.
What do all of these soldiers and Marines have in common that you and I can never have in common? They were not citizens of The United States. They were immigrants, green card holders, resident aliens.

Since the Revolutionary War the US armed forces have permitted, no, welcomed non-citizen residents. It is a heritage from our founding.
In all, more than 40,000 non-citizens from more than 100 countries are now in uniform. About 8,000 sign up each year, according to Pentagon and immigration statistics.
At least 110 U.S. immigrant-soldiers who have perished in Iraq, according to a Scripps Howard News Service casualty database. More than half of these war dead were not even American citizens when they gave their lives for the country.
At last count, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it had naturalized at least 59 U.S. troops after they died in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
You know, I think that this is the real reason that "they" hate us. Such a thing would not be possible in their countries. This is why we are so much stronger and will continue to become stronger while "they" wallow in their self pity and dreams of a caliphate that never was.

Presidential judicial appointments - the real numbers

Federal judges confirmed for last five presidents
(Sources: Congressional Research Service, Senate judiciary majority and minority staff.)

Jimmy Carter, 1977-1981
District court ....... Circuit court ............ Total
228 nominated ...... 61 nominated ........ 289
206 confirmed ...... 56 confirmed ........ 262
90.4% .......... 91%.......... 90.7%

Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989
District court ...... Circuit court ........... Total
336 nominated ....... 102 nominated ....... 438
292 confirmed ...... 83 confirmed ......... 375
86.9% .......... 81.4% .......... 85.6%

George H.W. Bush, 1989-1993
District court ...... Circuit court ........... Total
199 nominated ........ 54 nominated ........ 253
150 confirmed ........ 42 confirmed ........ 192
75.4% .......... 77.8% .......... 75.9%

Bill Clinton, 1993-2001
District court ...... Circuit court ........... Total
382 nominated ........ 106 nominated ....... 488
307 confirmed ....... 65 confirmed ......... 372
80.4% .......... 61.3% .......... 76.2%

George W. Bush, 2001-2005
District court ...... Circuit court ............ Total
177 nominated ....... 52 nominated ........ 229
168 confirmed ....... 35 confirmed ......... 203
94.9% .......... 67.3% .......... 88.6%

Hmmm. Well, first of all, it looks like Jimmy Carter was a busy little beaver during his four altogether forgettable years in the White House. When he wasn't busy lusting after women in his heart, fending off attacks by killer rabbits, trying to have Billy committed and sending good men on suicide missions into the Iranian desert, he was appointing judges. 551 judges in only four years. Man, that's a lot of judgeships. Looks like Dubya is just trying to undo the damage.

Secondly, the most interesting number in this data is the very low - 67.3% - approval rating for the Circuit Court judges that Bush II enjoys. However, it is still better than Clinton's. All of the Bush II numbers are better than Clinton's.

Someone with more political acumen than I will have to explain to me what all the screaming has been about. Is this all just preparations for the "big one" (or two or three), SCOTUS?

Linked to: The Captain

Gave a war and nobody came

Dan Drezner follows links to a New Republic article by Gregg Easterbrook that claims that warfare is very much on the decline worldwide.
War has entered a cycle of decline. Combat in Iraq and in a few other places is an exception to a significant global trend that has gone nearly unnoticed--namely that, for about 15 years, there have been steadily fewer armed conflicts worldwide. In fact, it is possible that a person's chance of dying because of war has, in the last decade or more, become the lowest in human history.
The numbers, please.
The University of Maryland studies find the number of wars and armed conflicts worldwide peaked in 1991 at 51, which may represent the most wars happening simultaneously at any point in history. Since 1991, the number has fallen steadily. There were 26 armed conflicts in 2000 and 25 in 2002, even after the Al Qaeda attack on the United States and the U.S. counterattack against Afghanistan. By 2004, Marshall and Gurr's latest study shows, the number of armed conflicts in the world had declined to 20, even after the invasion of Iraq. All told, there were less than half as many wars in 2004 as there were in 1991.
Drezner goes on to say,
Easterbrook spends the rest of the essay postulating the causes of this -- the decline in great power war, the spread of democracies, the growth of economic interdependence, and even the peacekeeping capabilities of the United Nations.

First, he neglects to mention the biggest reason for why war is on the decline -- there's a global hegemon called the United States right now. Easterbrook acknowledges that "the most powerful factor must be the end of the cold war" but he doesn't understand why it's the most powerful factor. Elsewhere in the piece he talks about the growing comity among the great powers, without discussing the elephant in the room: the reason the "great powers" get along is that the United States is much, much more powerful than anyone else. If you quantify power only by relative military capabilities, the U.S. is a great power, there are maybe ten or so middle powers, and then there are a lot of mosquitoes. [If the U.S. is so powerful, why can't it subdue the Iraqi insurgency?--ed. Power is a relative measure -- the U.S. might be having difficulties, but no other country in the world would have fewer problems.]
Drezner has a whole lot more to say and provides supporting links. As they say, read it all.

Flushing the koran (quran, qu'ran, whatever)

The MSM has now torqued itself into a veritable frenzy of activity in reporting and hashing over and rehashing unsubstantiated charges of abuse of Islam's holy book, the koran (quran, qu'ran, whatever). Notice that I don't capitalize koran (quran, qu'ran, whatever). When is the last time that you saw someone capitalize "bible". Now, had I said "Holy Koran (Holy Quran, Holy Qu'ran, whatever) then possibly I would have capitalized the "k" ("q", "q", whatever). You no capitalize mine, I no capitalize yours.

This high-pitched squall from the MSM (WaPo, Reuters, AP), LAT) is in obvious defense of Newsweek and its now infamous retraction of its more infamous report of flushing a koran down the toilet at Gitmo. Ever try to flush a book down a toilet? I invite all of you very upset bloggers/citizen journalists to try it. Just one time. Go try to flush a book the approximate density and size of the koran down a toilet. Now, the WaPo report which is referenced above cleverly changes the wording to, "in the toilet". I have never heard, not once in my life, anyone say, "flush in the toilet". Never. Ask yourselves and answer honestly, have you?

Each and every one of these news reports cites unnamed sources and/or unsubstantiated charges. Also, the reports selectively quote FBI reports from 2003. That's two-thousand-three, as in 2 years ago. The purpose of all this panty bunching, panty knotting, panty twisting, bowels-in-uproar, fart crossways, fainting spell inducing hysteria is to excuse Newsweek's riot and death inducing now-retracted bogus report.

The response from the blogosphere, the usual mud-slinging, sarcastic, accusatory, "this proves we were right" and "this proves you were wrong" reaction has been breathtaking in its width and breadth. Today in Memeorandum there are 5 sources quoted concerning this issue (or non-issue if that is your bent) linking 42 responses from bloggers, if I counted them correctly. All this by 10:00 AM, CST.

Get. A. Life. - Get. A. Grip. - Get. Some. Perspective. So what if the koran was, in fact, desecrated? So what if, in fact, it was flushed in (or down) a toilet, or 10 toilets, or 100 toilets? So what? Does flushing in (or down) a toilet compare to this?
beating; administration of electric shocks and burns on the head and sensitive parts of the body; rape and other sexual abuse of women; non-therapeutic use of drugs; sleep deprivation; use of a form of torture known as el telefono, the telephone, consisting of blows with the palms of the hands on both ears simultaneously; la parrilla, the metal grill, consisting of electric shocks on the most sensitive parts of the victim's body (usually the genitals, mouth, temples, toes, wrists) while he or she is tied to a metal bed frame; the pau de arara, parrot's perch, in which the victim is trussed into a crouching position, with the arms hugging the legs, a pole being then passed through the narrow gap between the bent knees and the elbows, the ends resting on two trestles or desks - with the victimn in a position in which the head hangs downwards, electric current is then administered to sensitive parts of the body, and water squirted under high pressure into the mouth and nose until the victim is on the verge of suffocation; the submarino or baera, in which the victim's head is held under water almost to the point of suffocation.
or this?
Pictures of dead Iraqis, with their necks slashed, their eyes gouged out and their genitals blackened, fill a bookshelf. Jail cells, with dried blood on the floor and rusted shackles bolted to the walls, line the corridors.
or this?
Sometimes those who survive wish they were dead, as in Zernovodsk this summer, when townspeople say they were chased on to a field and made to watch women being raped. When their men tried to defend them, 68 of them were handcuffed to an armoured truck and raped too. After this episode, 45 of them joined the guerrillas in the mountains. One older man, Nurdi Dayeyev, who was nearly blind, had nails driven through his hands and feet because it was suspected that he was in contact with the fighters. When relatives later retrieved his remains, he was missing a hand. The relatives of another villager, Aldan Manayev, picked up a torso but no head. The families were forced to sign declarations that Dayeyev and Manayev had blown themselves up.
or this?
Berg then was pushed to the floor and screamed as one of the executioners wielded a large knife. The man sawed off Berg's head while the other captors shouted: "Allahu Akbar!" Arabic for "God is great."
Yeah, he's great is he not? The god of the koran. How about this?
Ethnic Infanticide and Forced Abortion
Perhaps the report's most shocking finding is that repatriated pregnant women imprisoned in the jip-kyul-so are subjected to forced abortion. In the cases of advanced pregnancy, babies were killed immediately after birth. The goal of the regime is to eliminate children that may have been fathered by Han Chinese men.
How about this one?
The country (Saudi Arabia) has one of the highest execution rates in the world. Last year 123 people were executed for "crimes" including witchcraft and sodomy. Amnesty International reported 34 cases of amputations as punishment last year. Seven were cases of "cross-amputation" where the right hand and left foot are cut off. A man had his eye surgically removed as punishment.
And there are thousands and thousands more examples like this one. Google them or Wickipedia them or Lexis/Nexis them or whatever you would like. And the images and videos available are too nasty for me to post here. But you can check them out.

I do not in any way condone the violation of US law in the treatment of prisoners, be they civilian or military. But let's get real, here. Let's join the real world. The terrible things that governments perpetrate upon their own citizens every day of the year, year after year, in many cases prescribed by law in those countries, in many cases prescribed by Sharia law, are so much more gross violations of human beings than flushing a koran in or down the toilet that it renders this whole koran desecration business laughable.

What we do here is investigate the charges and, if enough substance and evidence is found to warrant prosecution, said prosecution then takes place. Then we hash it out and develop ways to try to prevent a reoccurrance. That is the way it works here. That is the way it worked there, at Gitmo, in 2003. That is the way it works in a system governed by rule of law. A Judeo-Christian system.

Anyone who does not believe that the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, our laws and codes and customs are or were not founded on Judeo-Christian belief are deluding themselves. In God we trust, remember? One basic tenant of Christianity, at least my Chistianity, is the tolerance of other beliefs. We might think they are wrong or misguided in some way or in many ways, but they are tolerated so long as the basic tenants of Judeo-Chritian beliefs are not violated. Sharia law with its beheadings, amputations, lashings and eye-gougings are violations of basic Judeo-Christian beliefs and will never be understood or accepted or tolerated in The United States, nor should it ever be. Since your koran is the source of this "law", then is is not worthy of respect and its desecration is no desecration at all.

So, continue the investigations, root out any wrongdoers, punish them and let us get on with life (and the war).

Linked to: Anchoress, Malkin, Moderate Voice, Mahablog, Pandagon, INDC, Cori Dauber, Attaturk, Tom Maquire, Poliblog, Philip Carter, USS Neverdock, Lt. Smash, OTB Beltway Jam

Note: Oliver@Liquidlist keeps rejecting the trackback for "questionable content". What kind of trackback system do they have there that automatically kicks out any trackback that disagrees with their position?

Why can't I write like that?

THIS is the funniest post I have ever read.

Jim Lampley on his autobiography:
Hey, as long as you’re surfing the web, run over to HuffPo and check out my tedious, windy biography. I wrote it myself. Can you tell? I like it much better than the original, which consisted of the phrase "second banana to possible mad cow victim."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

How strong is the force within you?

"THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE." (that would be me).

So sayeth Lord Vader, but I think I pissed him off. When I killed the page my computer crashed.

Hint: bowling ball. The Force overcame the Darkside for 9 minutes. (Thanks to Ace.)

UPDATE: Ok, OK. I realize that I am not supposed to use an "object", but this should have made it easier. Lord Vader guessed the bowling ball but it took him a long time. So I tried it again, this time with "iced tea". Lord Vader had to call upon an advisor (twice) who I guess was the King of the Burger people (the Burger King, heh heh). I defeat Lord Vader! 30 questions and he can't get it. One of the options at the end was "iced tea", so he had it in him. I think what got him was the question, "Is it colorful?" I thought about this for awhile and answered, "Yes." However, later on he asked me if it was brown. Again I answered in the affirmative. Then he guessed a "margarita". I've never seen a brown margarita, even down here. He ain't so tough. And he didn't kill my PC this time.

What lightsaber color for you?

My Lightsaber is Blue. Blue is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, and truth.

And for you?

Torture Video

This torture video is a sickening example of our brutish, overzealous and vitually out of control troops in Iraq.

I cannot defend this.

Man, they didn't teach this when I was in school

Ah, these kids today. Whaddaya gonna do? Well, Planned Parenthood, I suppose in conjunction with Saran Wrap, has some ideas, at least for 8th graders. Planned Parenthood, according to this article by Janice Shaw Crouse, suggests in their latest comprehensive sex education materials that 8th graders use Saran Wrap as an aid to safe sex when performing oral or anal sex. 8th graders!.

Ms. Crouse quotes the FBI's "A Parent’s Guide to the Internet" as describing the modus operandi of pedophiles:
These individuals attempt to gradually lower children's inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their conversations.
Just listen to little Billy's and little Mary's conversations now. Wow! Talk about giving new meaning to the term "leftovers".

Ms. Crouse makes the point,
And millions of parents are letting so-called sex-education experts do exactly this to their children in the classroom without raising any objection. Unbelievable!
I made the comment above, "...I suppose in conjunction with Saran Wrap,..." in jest, I hope. If I were a corporate executive with SC Johnson (Saran Wrap's owner), I would be seeking a cease and desist order backed up by the threat of a massive lawsuit. I'll check this with some lawyer-type friends of mine to see what, if any, are the legal options available to SC Johnson. If you click on SC Johnson, you will see that their logo is, "SC Johnson - A Family Company." I don't think SC Johnson would consider the instructions to utilize one of their best known products in 8th grade oral and anal sex as family oriented.

We'll see.

But the real point here is that made by Ms. Crouse. Why are we talking to 8th grade girls about such things, anyway? Why aren't we talking to them about relationship building, etiquette, self respect and respect for others, inter-personal negotiations and the give and take required to maintain a relationship instead of introducing them to sexual practices which should be relegated to consenting adults in the privacy of their homes?

I don't have a daughter, I have two sons. Am I all wet here?

Linked to: Michelle Malkin, Editors in PJ's, Harkonnendog, Eclipse Ramblings, CizCom, PoliPundit

John McCain

John McCain
Originally uploaded by markinmexico.
"When people are in close races, I am the first Republican who is asked to come and appear for that person. I am the most sought-after of all Republicans. In this last campaign, I was the one asked by the President to travel and campaign with him.... When you look at the rank and file of ordinary Republicans, I'm extremely popular--it's some of the party apparatchiks who still harbor bad feelings toward me. But it is a little hard for them to do that now, because of my strong support for Bush....Particularly since the 2004 campaign, there has been a great softening of dislike for me."

from Hugh
Linked to: Goldstein, Beldar, Maguire, Patterico, Heretical Ideas, Brendan Nyhan, Atrios, Captain Ed, Scared Monkeys, Southern Appeal, World O'Crap,

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I don't think I believe this

By means of a, ahem, convoluted path which leads from OTB through The Tomo Report to here, we are informed of a truly astonishing Star Wars type warplane. (For clarity I not only enclosed my smart-ass comments in parentheses but have also colored them blue, like my face after choking with laughter.)

Now, according to this MSN Groups page (AMERICASSURVIVAL), written by a Richard Boylan, Ph.D. and titled "Defense Contractor Leaks Details of a U.S. antigravitic space fighter-bomber, the Advanced TAW-50", the US Air Force possesses an aircraft that is capable of the (I kid you not) following:

The TAW-50 has speed capabilities well in excess of Mach 50, a number the contractor calls "a very conservative estimate." Its actual speed "is classified" (yeah, classified Star Date 3091). Mach 1 is 1,225 kilometers per hour, (approximately 748 mph). That means that the TAW-50 is capable of moving way faster than 38,000 mph. In comparison, the velocity required to escape Earth's gravity is 25,000 mph. And yes, the TAW-50 does go into space (someone's in space).

The TAW-50 has a SCRAM (supersonic ramjet) propulsion system for passing through the outer atmosphere.

The TAW-50 has a crew of four. Nevertheless, the TAW-50 flies so fast that it requires computers to fly it. These were developed by American Computer Company, who derived them from its Valkyrie XB/9000 AI [artificial intelligence] Guidance series. They utilize a RISC Milspec Superchip. "There are 180 of them in the flight control system, and 64 more in the weapons guidance system," the contractor reported.

It can carry a combined payload of glide bombs and a package of MIRV (Multiple Independently-targeted Reentry Vehicles), mil-speak for a group of intercontinental ballistic missiles, each of which can seek out and strike a different target. The MIRV pack also contains reentry-capable balloon countermeasures to make it very difficult for laser and other defense weapons to track down where the real MIRVs are and intercept them.

The TAW-50 is armed with its own Kill Laser system (to kill lasers or lasers that kill ? - unclear on this), which can track and immolate SAM (Surface-to-Air missiles), STTA (Surface-To-Trans-Atmosphere missiles), ATA (Air-To-Air missiles), and ATTA (Air-To-Trans-Air missiles). The TAW-50's killer lasers can also knock down high-performance fighter interceptors. The TAW's Kill Laser is much smaller than the earlier 1980s-era SDI (Star Wars program) models (used with such great success, uh, where I don't remember), and has a miniaturized cooling core and 500 times the wattage. The contractor said it "uses a spontaneous nucleonic burst to trigger the lasing [laser] effect" (I had a spontaneous nucleonic burst, once - but that's OK, we were married at the time).

In addition, the TAW-50 is armed with micro-super-explosive HyperDart missiles (yeah, that's what I used for my spontaneous nucleonic burst - see above). These are just a little larger than ordinary aircraft cannon ammunition, but travel at hypersonic speed for up to three minutes, and have enormous explosive capability. One HyperDart can blow apart a MiG fighter anywhere within 20 feet of the HyperDart. The TAW-50 carries several hundred HyperDarts.

Because the TAW-50 is designed to operate in space, it has on board a two-day air supply. This air supply can be extended by using its scoop system and traveling into the upper atmosphere (said scoop system can also be used to shovel out the bulls****).

The TAW-50's power supply is provided by a small nuclear power generator that the contractor said is "Normal-Inert". The contractor said that the spaceplane uses electromagnetoferrometric power generation by the immersion of pellets in heavy water (deuterium) (rabbit pellets, shotgun pellets - what kind of pellets?) and specially-designed coil superconductive magnets, which yield enormous amounts of free electrons when placed in an immersion which has been triggered into an oscillating field state flux (uh-huh, I was in an oscillating field state flux, but the stuff I consumed that put me there is not mentioned in this article).

The TAW-50 utilizes electrogravitics to maintain its own artificial gravity while in weightless space, as well as to nullify the vehicle's mass during operations.

The contractor did not reveal the size of the space fighter-bomber except to say, "It's a pretty big thing" (so is my Hyper Dart - see above).

The performance of the TAW-50 makes it virtually impossible to defend against (no shit - you can't see what ain't there). It can hide in orbit many hundreds of miles into space, orbiting at times at 22,000 mph. Then, without warning, it can dive straight down through the atmosphere at over 38,000 miles per hour on an 80-degree attack vector, reverse direction within 150 feet of the ground with very little loss of motion and without a glide turn, and almost instantly go vertically straight up at over 38,000 mph until long after it leaves the atmosphere and resumes orbiting in space.

The contractor noted, "Those [electro-] gravitics allow it to change its mass to almost nothing in a moment, and reverse direction in a second, increase its acceleration to so many times G [Earth's gravity] it's not funny, yet they are able to nearly nullify the G-force on the pilots. They [the electrogravitics] are fourth generation (you remember generations I, II and III, used so successfully in, er, I don't remember where), with the ability to bring it to a complete standstill in under 2 milliseconds, if need be, without crushing the pilots, and keep it there for quite some time."

The contractor notes, "It's far too fast for tracking radars. And, he adds, what military aims its radars straight up?"

The TAW-50 can be refueled and rearmed in orbit by docking with the secret undeclared Military Space Station that is in orbit. (See: here) The entire refueling and rearming procedure takes under 10 minutes. Who mans the gas pumps? Military astronauts trained at the Secret Air Force Academy, located in the hills west of the official Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, CO. (somebody's seen Independence Day one too many times). These military astronauts rotate duty by traveling to and from Vandenburg Air Force Base on other military antigravity vehicles (called helicopters). (See: here) The Space Shuttles have carried the arming platforms ("classified Defense Dept. payloads") up to the secret Military Space Station (whaaat?). The contractor reported that with a few extra tanks of LOX (liquid oxygen), the TAW-50 could fly to the Moon and back (now wait, I thought this thing was powered by rabbit pellets in a bucket of dirty mop water, so what's the LOX for and where are the bagels?).

As of 2002, the U.S. has 20 TAW-50s in its arsenal (this is not believable - they would cost 10 trillion dollars each and even our Republican congress couldn't raise that kind of money, especially with no help from George Soros). But, as the contractor commented, "you could take out an entire nation in under 10 days with only 10 of these, doing three attacks a day. One can wipe out an entire city the size of suburban Cleveland in a single attack without having to use any nukes at all."

The TAW-50 was jointly developed by the Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works (Palmdale-Helendale, CA) and Northrop (undoubtedly at their undeclared "Anthill" facility within the Tehachapi Mountains, northwest of Lancaster, CA.) Both companies have a history of development of secret anti-gravity craft at these Mojave Desert facilities.

The electrogravitics for the TAW-50 was produced by GE Radionics. Pratt & Whitney designed the SCRAM atmospheric penetrator technology. American Computing Company created the artificial intelligence supercomputers.

Now, I am not in any way an aeronautical engineer nor a weapons systems expert, so this horsesh...er, I mean, fantastic developement may very well be true. However, my suspicions were aroused when I read this at the end of the article:

And the technology shows that the Defense Department did not fail to utilize what it learned combing through the wreckage of various UFO crashes.

UPDATE: I was going to delete this entire silly post last night, but instead of doing that and retiring for the evening, I stayed up and did a little research into the yayhoo who wrote this article, one Richard Boylan, Ph.D.. Not much surprise here. According to several articles that I found, Dr. Boylan is a UFO and "abductology" kook who had his California Board of Psychology-issued license to practise psychotherapy yanked. He appealed to the California Superior Court, said appeal being denied by Judge Thomas M. Cecil, who spoke the following:
(Boylan) "continues to assert that this case is about his belief in alien encounters. It is not....Petitioner's conduct was outrageous, especially in the light of the underlying reasons for treating these particular patients. His conduct fell well below the standard of care expected of his profession and constituted gross negligence."
And the gross negligence so cited?
"nude hot tubbing" and massage in treating three female patients and of "imposing views on the existence of extraterrestrials into the dreams and memories" of several female patients [SUN #37/Jan. 1996].

I don't think this was a good idea.

This report says that the U.S. Parole Commission has voted to release convicted cop-killer Veronza L. Bowers, Jr.. The story says:
Bowers was poaching deer with two other men in August 1973 when he was confronted by U.S. Park Ranger Ken Patrick. Bowers shot Patrick three times with his 9mm handgun, killing him. The killer has never expressed any remorse, nor has he admitted to killing Ranger Patrick. To this day, he maintains that he was framed by government authorities. Far from being a model prisoner, he was shot and wounded during an escape attempt, and was implicated in the murder of two fellow inmates.
Chuck Canterbury, National president of the Fraternal Order of Police, had this to say:
I was appalled to learn that the Commission approved the release of this unrepentant murderer. Allowing this killer back in the streets puts the public and police officers at risk. We will exhaust every legal avenue in an effort to keep Bowers where he belongs--behind bars. To that end, we intend to ask the U.S. Attorney General to have the National Appeals Board review the case and correct the decision of the Commission.
Canterbury has some unfortunate history on his side:
There is no way that a reasonable person can believe that this killer, who describes himself as a 'political prisoner' in 'fascist America,' has earned his release. The Commission should have denied his parole based on his conduct as a Federal inmate and the strong likelihood that he will commit further crimes once he is free. They have willfully ignored the facts of his case in what is a clear case of dereliction of duty. If the Commission fails to protect the public from criminals like Anthony Kelly and Veronza Bowers, then we must act to protect the public from the U.S. Parole Commission.
The reference to Anthony Kelly is to another prisoner paroled by the parole commission who:
Canterbury's remarks referred to Anthony Kelly, an inmate released in 2001 by order of the U.S. Parole Commission five years before the completion of his sentence. Within nine months of his release, he had assaulted a police officer, stolen numerous cars and firearms, committed two rapes and left three people dead-- including a six-year old girl. It was very clear from his file and the information available to the Commission that he never should have been paroled in the first place.

"We are going to make our views on this decision very, very clear to the Attorney General," Canterbury said, noting that the authorization for the U.S Parole Commission expires at the end of the year. "Ken Patrick left behind a wife and three children. Their lives were irrevocably changed on the night of his murder. Bowers was sentenced to life in prison--and life in prison is what he should serve."

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 318,000 members.
Bowers was "shot and wounded during an escape attempt, and was implicated in the murder of two fellow inmates," as well as claiming that he is a "political prisoner' in "fascist America". And they are going to release him? Where? I don't want to be anywhere near that part of the country with a guy like this running loose, do you?

The English-to-American Dictionary

Patrick Belton at Oxblog notes this and he is right, it is an amusing read. Now we can all understand Mark Steyn's British (not English) slang.

The English-to-American Dictionary:
fag n. Be exceedingly careful with this one. 1. "fag" is a very common (probably the most common) word meaning cigarette. One of the most amusing e-mails I've had concerning this page was from an American who had arrived at her company's UK offices to be told that the person she was looking for was "outside blowing a fag". 2. Almost worse, "fag" was used until recently to describe first year senior-school kids who had to perform menial tasks (cleaning boots, running errands and the like) for the seniors. A contributor tells me that he was met with aghast looks when he told a group of New Yorkers that he "was a fag at school last year". Modern thinking on slavery has seen that the practice of "fagging" has all but died out.

pantomine n. An extremely light-hearted play, usually performed at Christmas and aimed and children, and always featuring a man playing one of the lead female parts (the "pantomime dame"). There are a certain repertoire of standard pantomimes ("Jack and the Beanstalk", "Cinderella", "Aladdin" to name a few) and often reparatory groups will make up their own ones, either off the top of their thespian heads or based on genuine plays. The lead parts are usually played by second-rate soap-opera actors or half-dead theatrical-types. The whole genre is all a bit crap, really. You'd have to be pretty much brain dead to enjoy the damned things. I don't think I even liked them as a kid.

rubber n. Be very, very careful. I got in more trouble using this word in the States than any other. To Brits, a rubber is an eraser. To Americans, however, a rubber is a condom. If you are a Limey and you are called upon to visit the United States, write this on the back of your hand and don't wash until you leave.

shambolic adj. Must say I thought this was universal, but a contributor tells me it isn't. something described as shambolic is in complete disarray, unorganised. You might use it to refer to your aunt Gertrude's octogenarian hairdo or the Russian army's method of ending hostage situations. If I was ever to give one piece of advice to someone wanting independence for their part of the USSR or keen to highlight a particular cause to the Russian government, I'd suggest not taking hostages. If you do so, the Russians give you a couple of days of negotiations, throw in a bit of food so you feel you've got your money's worth and then on about day three they massacre you and all of your hostages using some devastating new method they're trying for the first time.

swizz n. This is a small-scale swindle or con. If you opened your eight-pack of KitKats and there were only seven, you might mutter "that's a bloody swizz". If you discovered that your cleaning lady had been making out large cheques to herself over a ten year period, you'd be inclined to use stronger wording.

Osama bin Laden Innocent - Howard Dean

I reviewed parts of the transcript from Russert's show and I did not see this from the Opinion Journal today.
The thing that really bothered me the most, which the 9/11 Commission said also wasn't true, is the insinuation that the president continues to make to this day that Osama bin Laden had something to do with supporting terrorists that attacked the United States. That is false. The 9/11 Commission, chaired by a Republican, said it was false.
Er, ignoring the fact that his contention that the 9/11 Commission absolved Osama bin Laden of responsibility for support for 9/11 is a lie, didn't bin Laden make a video admitting his role and laughing about it? Who should I believe, Howard Dean or my lying eyes?

UPDATE: If Howard the Cluck was actually referring to Saddam, looks like he blew that one, too.

Bill Maher on ...

I don’t know what got me into Bill Maher today. I saw something on a blog that got me started researching his various opinions on religion, pedophilia, the Iraqi war, George Bush and a few other topics. I tried to copy only what I felt were his honestly held opinions as opposed to humorous statements designed solely to get a laugh. At the end of this post I have listed all of the sources that I used in case anyone might wish to follow them and see all the stuff that I did not include. Obviously there is a lot that I left out. The problem with a funny man like Maher is that it is difficult to separate the closely held beliefs from the ones designed to just get a laugh and one begins to suspect that maybe almost everything he says represents his personal beliefs. If that is so, then I think Maher is a sick guy.

I think that religion stops people from thinking.

I think it justifies crazies.

I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative.

I think religion is a neurological disorder.

God... wrong on defense. Wrong for America.

When you look at beliefs in such things as, do you go to heaven, is there a devil, we have more in common with Turkey and Iran and Syria than we do with European nations and Canada and nations that, yes, I would consider more enlightened than us.

The future does not belong to religion.

We bitch about gas, but adjusted for inflation, it's the same price it was back when the Pope was a Nazi.

Folks, let me sum it up for you: I think religion is bad and drugs are good.

I said I didn't respect religion, any religion, any one who believes in fairy tales to answer questions that we can't answer.
George W. Bush, Presidency:
This idea that George Bush has more integrity — he won the White House on that, “restoring integrity”-- he has no more integrity than the other politician, he just screws his own wife.

Because you know what happens to soldiers who disobey direct orders? That's right. They become the President of the United States!

I think stereotypes are true, abstinence is a perversion, Bush's lies are worse than Clinton's and there's nothing sexy about being old or pregnant.

I think September 11th changed nothing and if I had known the onset of war would add 100 points to George Bush's IQ, I would have started one.

He's got a strong will, he knows what he wants, he goes after it, he sticks to his guns, he wanted this war and he got it.

Bush's lies, like the worst of all political lies, are ones that effect you and me. "Drugs fund terrorism" is a horribly damaging lie, because it is of course OIL that funds terrorism. Clinton's lies were about sex, which if Republicans would get more of, maybe they'd stop caring about.
George W. Bush, 2004 Campaign:
Guys who even in down-to-earth, economically-ailing Ohio, thought blowjobs more important than job-jobs.

Trust me, you can't get away from Bush by moving to France. Because that's where we're invading next.

Yes, it's true, the only thing that stands between us and packs of carnivores eating us alive is a retarded cowboy, his heart-diseased sidekick and their lesbian daughter, Butch.

Let me read a quote from Kim Jong Il. He said this just the other day, I think. He's talking about President Bush, and he said, 'He is a half-baked man in terms of morality and a Philistine whom we can never deal with. His remarks often stun audiences as they reveal his utter ignorance.' Now, if the Democrats had had the guts to talk about Bush like that, wouldn't we now be dealing with President Kerry?
Republicans and Red State Voters:
And, two, the Republicans actually like the idea of our most sensitive diplomatic post being helmed by a raging psychopath.

Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the values and morals of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them. I just don't share them. In fact, and I know this is about 140 years late, but to the Southern States, I would say, "Upon further consideration, you CAN go. I know that's what you've always wanted, and we've reconsidered. So go ahead. And take Texas with you.

The time when blue states and red states come together because we have so much to offer each other. "Spice Rack" meet "Gun Rack." "Picky about bottled water," say hello to "Drinks from a garden hose." "Bought an antique nightstand at an estate sale," meet "Uses a giant wooden spool he stole from the phone company as a coffee table.

Hey, say what you will about the Republicans, they do stand for something: Armageddon, but it's something.

Don't punish rednecks for being rednecks. This week, NASCAR fined Dale Earnhardt, Jr., for publicly saying the words, "It don't mean shit." You can't fine a redneck for that. That's not just an expression to them, it's the entire redneck philosophy! Lost your job? It don't mean shit. Wife run off with the UPS man? Don't mean shit. Entire rationale for a war proves to be false? It don't mean shit. That's the beauty of the lifestyle. If rednecks had to pretend they cared about stuff, they'd be yuppies.

You know, I don't think people should lose their jobs for saying one thing, as we were talking about before, even though what he said was pretty disgusting, and think he is a racist. I think he's a shifty-eyed liar. (Trent Lott)

Yes, because he's the president's flack. He has to say that. Of course, that's his job, is to lie for the other person while he's not lying. We all know that that's not true. I mean, it is not a coalition of the willing. It's a coalition of the bribed. (Ari Fleischer)
Michael Jackson and Pedophilia:
I think that there is no perspective. People have no perspective, especially about crime. You know, zero tolerance. You know, of course, nobody ever wants to see a child, you know, diddled. That’s just plain wrong. But even the people who are testifying against him, they’re saying that he serviced them. They didn’t service him.

I was savagely beaten once by bullies in the schoolyard. Savagely beaten. If I had a choice between being savagely beaten and being gently masturbated by a pop star. It’s just me.
A lot of good has come from drugs. I think 'Penny Lane' is worth 10 dead kids. Dark Side of the Moon is worth 100 dead kids. Because a lot of kids wouldn't even be born if it weren't for that album, so it evens out.
War in Iraq:
One, that Saddam Hussein has bad weapons, and I do say -- I agree, he has chemicals. I bet you he has chems and nukes -- and bios. I don't think he has nukes.

Lay off France. At least they're standing up to the Bush administration, which is more than I can say for the Democrats.

And by the way, it doesn't make me un-American to say, I'd rather live in Paris than in places where cheese only comes in individually- wrapped slices.

I mean, I think, Iraqis, I think, feel that if we drove smaller cars, maybe we wouldn't have to kill them for their oil.

What we know is they wanted to go into Iraq , and they always work on two tracks: here’s what we want to do; what do we have to tell the dummies to sell it? Okay, fear works best, it’s always been good to us. Let’s try that again: fear.

But lest we forget, last month, the people of Iraq risked death and danger to send a simple inspiring message: "America get out of our country!"

We just said, you know what, the world is a tough place, and we have to sometimes support bad people to be a bulwark against even worse people. And that's what we would have if Saddam was still in Iraq. We would have $200 billion more in our bank, in our coffers for America. We would not have the world hating us. We would not have the entire Arab world out for jihad because we have invaded the heart of the Muslim world. And we would have a guy in Iraq, by the way, who would never, ever have allowed a terrorist bastion in Iraq. Saddam Hussein didn't care about jihad and Allah and all that stuff. He cared about power and keeping his power. He would have made sure Iraq was his and not the province of these guys who are cutting off people's heads. He was the head-cutter in that country.
Americans and America:
We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly.

The next reality show must be called "America's Stupidest State." We'll start at 50, and each week, if your state does something really stupid with, say, evolution or images of the Virgin Mary, you'll move on to the next round. Now, of course, the final five will always end up being Alabama, Utah, Kansas, Texas and Florida. Sorry, Tennessee.

Now, Americans this week have acted like the so-called "runaway bride" is crazy for skipping town rather than marrying a Sunday school teacher in Duluth, Georgia. Ah, yes, the good life: the bake sales, the prayer meetings, the abortion protests, who could just walk away from all that?

Anger is what made America what it is in the world today: a hulking pariah whose only friends are toadies and sheiks.

If you're so sure the embryos needed for stem cell research are precious human life that can't be destroyed, then implant one in your uterus and bring it to term.

Put your cervix where your mouth is. Now, right now in America, there are thousands of stem cells sitting in fertility clinics that are not allowed to be used for research, will be destroyed after a year or two, and could be right now implanted in a lady's hoo-hoo - to make a screaming, mewling infant that would, ironically, make you sorry you were ever born.

It seems to me like nowadays there's two kinds of issues in America. There's the kind that's too Byzantine and boring for the average Joe to even know what's going on. You know, the environment and the filibusters and the gerrymandering and what did Tom DeLay do on vacation. And then the really stupid issues that they can understand like Terri Schiavo and gay marriage. And it seems to me the American people have become completely irrelevant.

I think America causes cancer, longevity is less important than fun, and young people should be discouraged from voting.

I think pornography stops rape, AIDS ribbons are stupid, and flag burning makes me feel patriotic.

No doesn't always mean no - well, that's what we call a rude but true. It is of course not a license to go out and rape, just an admission of the reality that getting from point A (not engaged in sex) to point B (having sex) is not without a little gameplaying sometimes, much like selling insurance.
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