Friday, September 28, 2007

Not Evil After All

Yesterday I posted about Verizon not filling a request from pro-choice group.

Naral president Nancy Keenan said Thursday that the organization was distressed by the company's original denial of Naral's request.
''This is where you have a corporation that is censoring free speech,'' Keenan said.

Today Verizon now intends to allow it. Whether it had to do with outdated policies as company officials have said.

''We have fixed the process that led to this isolated incident,'' Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said in a statement.

''Upon learning about this situation, senior Verizon Wireless executives immediately reviewed the decision and determined it was an incorrect interpretation of a dusty internal policy,'' Nelson said. ''That policy, developed before text messaging
protections such as spam filters adequately protected customers from unwanted messages, was designed to ward against communications such as anonymous hate messaging and adult materials sent to children.

Or if it was a cave in (I tend to believe the company line), it looks like rewarding bad behavior. If you scream, whine and accuse enough, anyone can get their way. From what I know of it (and I will admit I only know from the limited articles I have read) Naral looks to be exhibiting the mentality of a two year old.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Real Tyranny

For those who call President Bush a tyrant, this is what tyranny really looks like.

YANGON (Reuters) - At least nine people were killed in Myanmar on Thursday as soldiers and police cleared the streets of central Yangon by giving protesters 10 minutes to leave or be shot, tightening a two-day crackdown on the largest uprising in 20 years
Nobody in America involved in a peaceful demonstration, no matter what they say, have to worry about the police issuing a ultimatum like this.

Because I Want You To

Activists tend to be really focused and that is an asset when trying to achieve a goal but they tend to lose sight of other aspects of reality. They forget what is important to them is not important everyone. They tend to think everyone should bend over backwards to help them achieve their goal. Anyone that hinder their progress, become evil in their eyes.

Nancy Keenan, Naral's president, told The New York Times, which first reported the story on its Web site Wednesday night, that Verizon's decision interfered with political speech and activism.

"No company should be allowed to censor the message we want to send to people who have asked us to send it to them," Keenan said. "Regardless of people's political views, Verizon customers should decide what action to take on their phones. Why does Verizon get to make that choice for them?"

So by not fulfilling a request, Verizon is now interfering. Verizon is under no legal obligation to grant them there request, which is why it is called a request. That is why they had to ask.
Naral Pro-Choice America can respond in several ways which includes boycotting Verizon but to claim that Verizon doesn’t have right to say no is rather selfish and immature. Not everybody share the same world view and to think other wise leads to disaster.

I don’t know why Verizon said no and I really don’t care. I don’t care who they said no to, whether it is to a Christian group or a neo-Nazi group, they have a right to refuse their business.

Oh and to answer their stupid question, "Because no one is forcing anybody to buy their services". Don't like their services, go somewhere else and grow up while you are at it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Poland's All Front Fight for Life

I have never understood why killing a convicted criminal is bad while killing an unborn child is a good choice to have. If one is to fight for life of a criminal, should they be committed to maintaining all forms of life? Well Poland seems to think so too.

Poland's refusal to go along with its fellow 26 E.U. member states has stymied the bloc's plans to mark an official "European day against the death penalty" next month. Poland's deputy justice minister, Andrzej Duda, argued at a meeting of E.U. justice and interior ministers last week that the union should instead celebrate a "right to life" day, with abortion and euthanasia on the agenda, too.
Fight for the “right to life” on fronts sounds like a reasonable stance. I have mixed feelings on the death penalty myself but when it comes to abortion I firmly believe it is wrong. At least with the death penalty, the individual has done some serious evil (unless they are truly innocent). When it comes down to it, I would be much more comfortable with both being illegal then both being legal. I would rather error on the side of life then death.
"As serious as the death penalty is, the execution of a justly convicted criminal does not approach the level of evil -- intrinsic evil -- as abortion or the direct, intended killing of any innocent person, be they in the womb or a hospital bed," Mallon argued.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hardly Worth Mentioning part II

Captain's Quarter thinks the President is missing an opportunity.

Understandably, we need to focus more attention on Myanmar than we presently manage. However, it seems rather odd that Bush would choose that issue for his central focus rather than challenge the nations of the General Assembly to pressure Iran. After all, our own national interests count for something, and a UNGA address gives Bush the best platform to call for action against a rogue nation.
I think the President is taking another route. There is an old pet training treat call "Ignoring Bad Behavior". It only works if the subject craves attention so the isolation, the ignoring is a punishment. This method works great injunction with "Rewarding Good Behavior". The people of Myanmar are showing good behavior by demanding Democracy, they are an example to the Iraina people and Pres. Bush is holding it up for all to see.

For this to work, the full court press has to be done to help those who want freedom in Democracy. If all that is supplied is empty rhetoric like what happen after the first Gulf War then it is a waste of time.

At the conclusion of Desert Storm, Iraqi Kurds in the north and the Iraqi Shi'a in the south launched an armed revolt against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Iraqi government troops tried to crush the movement, reportedly razing mosques and other Shi'ite shrines and executing thousands.

President Bush may be taking an opportunity to be positive, to attack the flies with honey.


Foil the Pain

Now there is a reason for the tinfoil hats.

#7 posted by Cpt. Tim , September 24, 2007 10:40 AM:
I simoultaniously applaud them for coming up with ways to handle these types of things without hurting people, and shudder thinking about how it will be misused.
This will be a great way for them to deny responsibility in breaking up peace marches. People will say that there was nothing violent or illegal about a march and the authorities can hide behind "whoops.. oh well, at least no one was hurt"

#8 posted by outlanderssc , September 24, 2007 10:42 AM:
>...unless they developed some sort of microwave shield for the person.
Or they stood BEHIND the transmitter -
I'm envisioning mylar and aluminum foil as the new fashion for protesters.

That is not to say that all peace marchers wear tinfoil hats but then again some do.

Hardly Worth Mentioning

Is this a slap in the face of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Is President Bush saying you are hardly worth mentioning when I can talk about a country that wants Democracy?

But despite the United States leading efforts for more U.N. sanctions against Iran to curtail its nuclear program, Bush will only make a brief mention of Tehran in his speech, the White House said.

"The speech is not about Iran," spokeswoman Dana Perino said. "The speech is about liberation and how liberation from poverty, disease, hunger, tyranny and oppression and ignorance can lift people up out of poverty and despair."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pope Does a Calling Out

If this speech by the Pope is calling out Islam/Muslims as put forth, then it is also calling out pro-abortion, euthanasia and same sex marriage activists.

There are some who believe that it is legitimate to destroy human life in its earliest or final stages. Equally troubling is the growing crisis of the family, which is the fundamental nucleus of society based on the indissoluble bond of marriage between a man and a woman. Experience has shown that when the truth about man is subverted or the foundation of the family undermined, peace itself is threatened and the rule of law is compromised, leading inevitably to forms of injustice and violence.
Politically speaking, if a Catholic holds that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, can they continue to support the Democrat party. Is this a legitimate stand in mixing Catholicism and politics?
Still reeling from the attacks on Sen. John F. Kerry's brand of Roman Catholicism during the 2004 presidential race, 55 House Democrats issued a joint statement yesterday on the central role that the Catholic faith plays in their public lives.
Or course this does not automatically switch them to the Republicans because there are issues there also.

I am not Catholic, so these are an outsider questions but it does show difficulties in voting politics with religion being the main guide. Neither party is a perfect match, so a person is left with going with the best of the worst. Different people have different priorities so they make compromises in other areas. For a Democrat, they will compromise on killing an unborn child and same sex marriage in order to mandate helping the less fortunate and stopping wars. Does one out way the other? Well read the last line in the above from the Pope. It says abortion, euthanasia and same sex marriage inevitably leads to injustice and violence. Taking him at his word, it means what they comprise on leads to what they want to stop.

Melting Pot Victory

Over at Big Lizard, Dafydd got carried away with a comment to post at Patterico's Pontificatio and it got me thinking so I did the same (I did put this in the comment section but decided to post it here also).
Does America have a better understanding of the word because of our vast diversity? I’m not talking about individual knowledge about the world but a cultural understanding.

There were 1,266,264 immigrants who were granted legal residence in 2006, up from 601,516 in 1987, 849,807 in 2000, and 1,122,373 in 2005. (Source).
The US receives a lot of people from around the world, each of them bring their culture to the states. A little bit of their culture spreads and changes the US culture hence the “Melting Pot”. The culture in America has been called many things including said not to exist. There have been attempts to define it and mock it but American culture is everywhere a McDonalds, Pepsi/Coke and Levi’s are. It is a common culture, not very refined because it is a culture of common every day people. It takes things from other countries and puts an American spin on it, mass markets it and then sends it back. The spin comes not originally from America but from the “Melting Pot” filter of other countries. That is why it spreads (like a disease according to some) across the world. Because no matter where the American culture goes, it carries something known, it carries something familiar to everyone. American culture is made up of little bits of other cultures. Does that patchwork culture mean we, as a country, can find common ground quick and have a better understanding of the world in general?

If this idea is true then we actually need to bring in more people from the ME into the American Borg Culture. Of course there is one thing that always needs to be done. They must become functional Americans, not foreigners living in America. I’m not talking about forcing them to abandon their culture with legal measures; I am talking about not making special rules that allow them to maintain their independence (like many are trying to do with Hispanic immigrants such as teaching in Spanish). It should be made quite clear to anybody wanting to immigrate to the US that they are expected to become Americans. They are expected to add what it is to be an American not subtract.

It has been said that we cannot win against the terrorist win military might alone, some say we must understand our enemies but what if they understand us because they can now identify with us a little more.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Gun Made Me Do It

A group of International police chiefs miss the point, yet again.

An international organization of law enforcement executives has called on the U.S. government "to support strong and effective gun violence prevention
policies" to reverse a two-year rise in violent crime.

"It is simply unacceptable that in communities across America, more than 80 people a day are dying from gun violence," Laine stated while unveiling the 46-page report, which resulted from the Great Lakes Summit on Gun Violence held in Chicago earlier this year and sponsored, in part, by the Joyce Foundation.

"Every day, dedicated police officers put their lives on the line to protect their communities from criminals who often outgun them, but we can't do it alone," he said. "This is why we are calling on policymakers and the public to help us combat gun violence.

The criminals are using illegal guns to commit crime, so let’s take away guns from law abiding citizens, because they are the only ones who will follow the law. The criminals have all ready shown their commitment to laws.

Specific proposals include:

  • Requiring that all gun sales take place through federally licensed dealers;

The first thing that pops out to me is that I would no longer be able to sell my property without going through a dealer and they won’t be doing for free. The value of my property just went down. Secondly, criminals don’t normally buy guns legally in the first place so this won’t affect them.

  • Enhancing the ability of law enforcement to use federal gun trace data to deter illegal trafficking;

By all means let’s go after the illegal aspect.

  • Removing all firearms and ammunition from batterers when law enforcement responds to domestic violence calls; and

Simply responding to a call does not warrant seizure of private property, how about arresting violent offenders if there has been a crime.

  • Mandating safe storage of firearms by private citizens.

Which renders them useless in case of self defense, such as when an armed criminal breaks into a house.

Decreasing gun violence policies should never punish those who are not committing the violence.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stop War

Today I saw a “Stop War” bumper sticker. It wasn’t the first and I am sure it won’t be the last. But it did get me think, so I will share the thought (or at least put it down here). The US could pull out of the ME completely and declare all hostilities on our part will cease. There is an old saying “It Takes Two To Tango” or in other words two sides to fight. That would mean the war would be over right? Technically yes but what if the other side still wants to fight? With war, the side still willing to fight gets to dictate the terms peace, since the other side has surrendered. Bin Laden has given term of surrender.

There are two solutions to stopping it. One is from our side, and it is to escalate the fighting and killing against you. This is our duty, and our brothers are carrying it out.
The second solution is from your side. I invite you to embrace Islam.
So what would life be if all embraced Islam, would it be this?

Would Britney and Madonna die?

Muslim terrorist leaders threatened to forcibly convert Britney Spears and Madonna to Islam and warned if they resist, their heads would be cut off for "spreading Satanic culture," according to a new book released today.

After the surrender would those who did not embrace would they face this?

About 500 Pakistani Christians in Charsadda, a town in the North West Frontier
Province bordering Afghanistan, received letters earlier this month telling them to close their churches and convert by Thursday or be the target of "bomb explosions."

Of course if the US pulled all troop out right now and said we are done fighting, we all would not be face this choice tomorrow. The fighting would not stop but the warzone would change. At the very best we would be fighting a defense war much like what Israel is doing. They pulled out of the contested areas of the West Bank and Gaza, they pulled out of Lebanon and see what that has gotten them.

One of my favorite movies is “Cool Hand Luke” starring Paul Newman. There is a scene relatively early on where Luke is boxing Dragline (Played by George Kennedy ). Dragline has an easy time knocking Luke down again and again but Luke keeps getting up. The fight is ended by Dragline walking away because he realize for him to win, he would have to kill Luke. During a poker game later on, Dragline comments on winning with nothing.

Nothin'. A handful of nothin'. You stupid mullet head. He beat you with nothin'. Just like today when he kept comin' back at me - with nothin'.

Nothing can win if the other side quits. The terrorists will keep fighting, even if they have nothing.

With a slight modification the saying could be “It Takes Two To Fight, But One To Surrender”.

Carter does it again

Former President Jimmy Carter has a new opinion.

Former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday that it was almost inconceivable that Iran would "commit suicide" by launching missiles at Israel.
He has been right so many times in the past I think we should just accept it as fact. Well he right in one way, Iran would never launch a missile from Iran but there is nothing stopping them from launching it elsewhere and he is not completely blind to Iran and their designs on Israel.
Carter did not dismiss the idea that Iran might want to attack Israel, noting Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment production despite two United Nations resolutions imposing sanctions on the country.
It is sad to see someone who ignores the words the Iranian President or just doesn’t believe them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bought and Paid For?

Organized crime is known for buying officials to turn a blind eye to their crimes and focus on the competition, is this any different?

Indeed, misuse of union pension funds is being conducted on an increasingly grand scale. Boehm pointed out that in one West Coast case, union officials embezzled $200 million from a pension fund.

"The biggest tragedy of all is that Congress recently cut back the amount of funds being used to investigate corruption, presumably for political reasons," he added.

In August, congressional Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee succeeded in cutting $47.7 million in funding for the OLMS out of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008 (H.R. 3043).

The Congress that accomplished nothing on the some of the biggest issues such as Immigration, Iraq or ethic reform (They did pass a bill that makes it easier to hide corruption) but they had time to ramrod this through. They also tried to remove an age old measure to protect an individual from pressured voting.

While most people look at Unions as favorable according to this.

Overall, 57% of the public has a favorable opinion of labor unions and 68% completely or mostly agree labor unions are necessary for workers' protection.
It seems that less and less actually want to be in one.

But as U.S. industry evolves, the influence and relevance of unions may be simultaneously declining.According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 12 percent of the national workforce belonged to labor unions in 2006, down from 12.9 percent in 2004. That number is down from the 35 percent of workers who were union members in the 1950s.
If the large Union ceased garnering protection from the Democrats, how long would they last in their current form. Anything that does not adapt becomes obsolete and that is exactly what is happening to the Unions. They are suffering from their own success. Unions for a long time were the champion of the workers by getting necessary, protective legislation passed. What do Unions want now, they want legislation that force more people to be represented by them, even if they don’t want to be.

But union officials said they were petitioning now in the hope that there will be a Democratic president someday who will appoint a board that will look favorably upon their argument.
In others words, “someone bought and paid for”.

Related post

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Walking or Talking

RightWingSparkle has a great compairison of presidential daughters and it has nothing to do with physical appearence.

Not my Fault

Pulling out of Iraq is a complex situation for most people but to Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) it is pretty straight forward.

( - If pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq results in "a bloodbath," the guilt will rest with the Iraqi people and not with the U.S. Congress, according to Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a leading proponent of withdrawing troops.

"Many have threatened that there will be chaos, a bloodbath, when the United States redeploys from Iraq, and this in fact may be the case," Murtha said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Monday. "If they continue to choose to spill blood, it will not be on the conscience of the United States."

From last year a Poll/study (Hat tip) indicates that 71% want the US military out of Iraq within a year, so does he have a point? Should the US just give them what the poll says they want or do we in truth have an obligation to stay?

If a man dies in front of us and we do nothing to save them, did we kill them? In the strictest terms no we did not. A man who rushes into a burning building to help a stranger is a hero, a man who watches the building burn is a by-stander and a man who leaves behind someone that they could have helped is a coward. But what if the person who needs help doesn’t want it or doesn’t think they needed. What if they no longer need help? As I said pulling out of Iraq is a very complex situation. The US could begin to pull out tomorrow and Iraq could continue to become a stable nation or it could spiral down into a death pit. It is a gamble that Rep. Murtha is will to take but he is not playing with his money. If the gamble fails, he doesn’t have to pay a drop of blood. The dept is left to the Iraq people who he doesn’t care one iota for.

There are no guarantees. The US remaining in Iraq does not ensure a strong, free democracy but it makes it more likely. A full on bloodbath is not the automatic out come if the US leaves but once again it is more likely. Which side do you want to hedge your bets on? Rep. Murtha does care, do you?

I beleive Rep Murtha is wrong, we do have a responiblity, it will be partially our fault.

Fox has a sample of what we could lose.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What can the President of the United States of America really do?

What can the President of the United States of America really do?

Unlike what some candidates pretend, the President cannot fix Social Security, Medicare, Health Coverage, tort reform, Immigration, balance the budget or even approve treats (such as Kyoto Protocol). These all require the Legislation Branch (Lb) to actually accomplish anything. The Executive Branch (EB) can suggest plans, try to influence the LB, or yell at the top of their lungs that something needs to be done. The closest thing a President can actual do is the issue a executive order (EO). An executive order bypasses the LB but is always trumped by actual law. If a law and EO conflict with each other, the law wins hand down.
Here is what a President can really do.

  • is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. He or she has the power to call into service the state units of the National Guard, and in times of emergency may be given the power by Congress to manage national security or the economy.

The President gets to direct the troops and can even call them to service for a short time but needs the LB to declare war.

  • has the power make treaties with Senate approval. He or she can also receive ambassadors and work with leaders of other nations.

The President talks to other countries and can negotiate a treat but without the LB approval it is just talk. The LB makes it a law.

  • is responsible for nominating the heads of governmental departments, which the Senate must then approve. In addition, the president nominates judges to federal courts and justices to the United States Supreme Court.

The President, though their cabinet, enforces and interrupts the laws that the LB creates. If the President interrupts it wrong then the Supreme Court can step in.

  • can issue executive orders, which have the force of law but do not have to be approved by congress.

The President can make up a law only if it does not conflict with an existing law or any new law that is created. The only defense an EO has is the veto but a veto can be overridden.

  • can issue pardons for federal offenses.

The pardon goes back enforcing the existing laws and apparently can be sold for the right price.

  • can convene Congress for special sessions.

The convene Congress is what I’m refering to when I say “yell at the top of their lungs”.

  • can veto legislation approved by Congress. However, the veto is limited. It is not a line-item veto, meaning that he or she cannot veto only specific parts of legislation, and it can be overridden by a two-thirds vote by Congress.

The Veto is the EB part of the check and balance between the different branches. It does nothing to create only to hinder or stop. This is one area that the EB can affect the budget.

  • delivers a State of the Union address annually to a joint session of Congress.

The State of the Union is part Yelling and part influence.

So there you have, the President can’t actually fix the laws of this nation. A president can influence the fixes, can suggest fixes and can ask for fixes. But the president is there to manage what we currently have and what the LB gives them in the future. Anyone who has actual fixes should either stay in the LB or run for it because that is where the changes have to happen.

"War on" or "War for" Poverty?

The title of this story will automatically draw criticism and shut down some communication but it does raise some valid points.

"After 40 years of failure, they still insist that they want to expand this war, that they think they should pour more money into this war," said Star Parker, president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education. "Already, over $3 trillion has been spent on the war on poverty, and so far, we've not seen results."
Poverty is not a nail that can be driven in by hitting it with a bigger hammer of money. Water and electricity will always take the path of least resistance, are people in general any different? How many people do work to meet the minimum standards? Too many times I have heard the phrase “good enough” (and unfortunately I have said it).
In my job I have to struggle against short term goals and longer term success in fact I left a job because all the company wanted was to meet short term goals. The company has since shut down operation at that location because the longer term success was compromised. In other words they painted themselves into a corner with nowhere to go. The company spent a lot of money looking for longer term success. They are now out of that money because the investment never paid off. The investment was based on a 10 year operation to cover the cost, they got 5 years.

That is what throwing money at poverty is, attacking short term goals and forgetting long term success. Don’t get me wrong, money is most definitely needed for long term success. Money without change the culture is just making a more expensive culture. What is needed is to define the long term goals that will make success. Any symptom that hinders success has to be addressed as far up stream as possible. The current efforts have put black families with a growing number of issues.

She added that the result of the war on poverty for the Black community has been that two out of three pregnancies are ended through abortion, and seven in 10 children are born outside of marriage.

"What are the implications on society?" she asked. "Seventy percent of our incarcerated are coming from these broken homes. Family breakdown leads to government dependency.

One of the failures of the current programs seems to be that it promotes a disruption of a stable family. How important is a stable family to poverty conditions? There have been several studies that show a stable family (this one is from 2006) is the best environment to raise children.
Glenn and Sylvester contend that the research over the effects of the shifts in family structure that started several decades ago is now clearer. "Most family scholars," they comment, "apparently now agree that the preponderance of the evidence indicates that children tend to do best when they grow up with their own two married parents, so long as the marriage is not marred by violence or serious conflict."
It only makes sense (to me at least) that any improvements to living conditions must be constructed on a stable foundation. One does not build on sandy ground unless you want to rebuild after the storms.

Something new has to be done because the old is producing some horrible conditions. It is a requirement to go over the original ideas and seeing what failed or why they were deviated from.

But Sheldon Danziger, co-director of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, told Cybercast News Service: "These statements are not consistent with 30 years of research."

"Poverty remains high, not because of a shortage of effective anti-poverty policy options, but because the public and policymakers have not made reducing poverty a high priority," he said.

"The primary reason that poverty persists is not because the research of the war on
poverty planners was flawed, but because the economy failed to deliver the benefits of prosperity widely," Danziger added.

I know from personal experiences that no plan it absolutely correct at the beginning. I also know that parts of the plan are ignored and changed not because it was wrong but because the person carrying out the plan thought it was. For a plan to succeed, wrong starts must be abandoned and a new direction taken. When is America going to recognize the wrong start we are currently on?

FrontPage on the same subject

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Warm Comfort of a Cold Statue

I have always like Lauren Green from Fox, she holds herself with a quite dignity. It is never more evident than in this story about Kathy Griffin speech during award acceptance.

I just don't understand comedian Kathy Griffin. Please understand that I like her. She's been on the FOX News Channel quite a bit and for the brief times we've talked, I've found her to be funny and self-effacing.

So, it puzzled me at first, then angered me second, that she would accept an award
and then insult a man who preached love and acceptance.

LG goes on to show how the sacrifice that Jesus made impacted the world in a chain of events. It is a good read and I hope you can take time to go through all of it.

My reaction to KG is a little different. It doesn’t really anger me but it does make me sad that a person would turn a small statue into some more then God, at least in their mind.

“This award is my God now."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

US Suicide Bombings

How would America react if a car/suicide bombing campaign started in here in the states?

"This is a very dangerous world. It's an era of terror, and fixing this problem will not be easy," said Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) at a briefing held by the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

"We can see in regions there is now al Qaeda ... there will surely be an umbrella group in Europe and possibly [a group] here," she said, noting that "car bombings and suicide bombings are likely to be in our future."

What would a bombing campaign require? Well if it is suicide bombing then it obviously requires a steady stream of people willing to die and source for explosives. In the US it isn’t hard to make a low level explosive. Recipes can be found on the internet or even in books like the Anarchist Cookbook available on The materials can be purchased with little notices since they are house hold items. No the explosives are not the real problem for a suicide campaign it is the need for people. Even with the open society that the US is, the stream of people needed to make an effecting campaign would be noticed because the majority of them would have to come from the outside. Most definitely there would be some home grown terrorists, but even that type of recruitment would be noticed.

In order for a suicide bombing campaign to have long term feasibility, there has to be a safe base of operations. Israel is surrounded by terrorist strongholds so much so that a fence was put up. These Base of Operations have to be located in a friendly environment to allow the continuous campaign of suicide bombers. For the US, terrorist would have at best neutral territory to work from in Mexico and a hostile one in Canada, since they have their own problems with terrorists.

This is not say, that we won’t have any because there is a desire by the terrorist heads to strike fear in the hearts and minds of America. If or when it does happen, I see several major things coming to bear. The border fence (virtual or real) will be completed, violence against those of Middle Eastern decent will sky rocket and an immigration block from Muslim nations will be pushed through. Detention camps may make a comeback depending on how bad the violence against ME is and how bad the bombings are. Racial profiling will become a normal procedure by the authorities. In general, life for ME will become much less favorable.

I hope for the sake of America and for the innocent that none of this ever does happen.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Double Take

There is a political/government term that has always makes me do a double take when I see it because it means something different to me.

Russia just did it;

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin dissolved Russia's government Wednesday in a major political shakeup ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections, the Kremlin said.
Canada did it in 2005;
Martin is expected to dissolve the House of Commons on Tuesday and set a firm date for the elections. Under Canadian law, elections must be held on a Monday unless it falls on a holiday and the campaign period is sharply restricted.
Even the Palestinian Authority did it;

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the tenuous Hamas-Fatah government on Thursday and declared a state of emergency in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
For Canada it meant that the majority party changed and new Prime Minister was appointed. In Canada’s case the voters did the deciding.

What happen with the PA is closer to what I think of when I hear the term. There is a civil war or revolution and the government doesn’t really exist anymore.

Right now the word is out whether this is a move by Putin to somehow advance his grip on power or if it is simply him firing the Prime Minister as allowed by their Constitution. I know when I saw the headline my first reaction is that he did a massive power grab and put Russia into a dictatorship. That is my problem with the whole “Dissolving Government” term.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


It is a day that brings back memories much like Pearl Harbor and the JFK assassination. Many remember what they were doing that day while others look to see how much has changed since then. I remember huddling around a TV at work. The plant I worked at continued right on producing as the guys on the floor kept doing their work. I know the events played heavy on their minds because I would give them updates as they came across. They had many question that I didn't have answers for. Some of the question still don't have good answers.

Things were a little different for my girlfriend (now wife). Her office shut down and sent people home. Her office was a high rise building in the center of downtown (not NY city). For them, they were worried about being a target also. I imagine that question was on the minds of many. It is a question we face every time there is a large concentration of people, a sporting event, a concert or just a plane trip. The other shoe hasn't dropped but there is that spector hanging over us in this country. Early on it was a question of when and where but now it has becoming more of an "if". For some it has even become a bumper sticker , political tool or the next great struggle.

In everyone's life there are moments that define one self and for a nation there are events mark history. What we do in reaction to these times clarifies who we are.

So Cool!

The Big Lizard got here first but this is just so cool that I wanted to throw in a few cents.

Aerogel is one of the weirdest man-made substances on the planet. First, it's the lightest stuff in the world -- literally: An evacuated form of aerogel is a solid, but is actually less dense than air (meaning it would "float" on air).
But it's also an amazing insulator against both cold and heat; it's an excellent dessicant, or drying agent; it can mimic a biological cell, absorb oil, lead, and mercury pollutants... and aerogel armor can even protect against impact from bullet or bomb... or maybe even a car crash.
Why would something so light, be so strong or more correctly put more impact resistant? The foam structure allowed the tensile stresses to be converted into compressive stresses, much like an arch. The amount of these micro arch (actually they are spheres) in an aerogel has to be phenomenal. That means it has the ability to redirect outside stresses over a very large area. The more a stress or force is focus, the more penetrating power it has. This material takes things in the opposite direction by spreading out the force.

The insulator aspect is tied in to the structure also.

Another striking property of aerogels is their internal surface area. This is very difficult to measure, but can be estimated by the rate of adsorption and desorption of nitrogen. The internal surface area of an aerogel can be as high as 1000m2/g. For a sample of typical density, a cube an inch square would have as much internal surface area as ten copies of the Greater Vancouver Yellow Pages.

The better, more efficient insulators use the concept of trapped air to reduce convective and conductive heat transfer. The two biggest factors is the degree to which air flow is eliminated and he amount of solid material surrounding the air. For both instances the less is better and that is exactly what the aerogel deliverers.

This is a substance straight out of sci-fi but within our reach. Houses will need less energy to keep warm or cool. The environment can be cleaned up easier. Soldiers will be protected better. Vehicles can be made lighter, safer and more fuel efficient. The big stumbling block of course is manufacturing cost and that is looking better.

Monday, September 10, 2007

EU wants to be Important

The People of the EU want to be more influential or as they say it, take more global responsibility.

The vast majority of Europeans want the European Union to take greater responsibility on the world stage - according to a new poll by the US German
Marshall Fund - especially in aid development, trade and peacekeeping missions.
But that’s the thing of responsibility, it is there for anybody to take but you have to be all in. It is good that they want to aid development, trade and peacekeeping but what about where there isn’t any peace to keep?
There was little support (20%) for committing troops for combat missions.

Keeping peace is easy when no one wants to fight. What do you do when one side is committed to killing or enslaving all who opposes? What do you do if one side doesn’t want peace or only wants peace on their terms? Peacekeeping is a great phrase but how effective has it been?
As discussed, peacekeeping, since its beginnings over 50 years ago, has not been an overwhelming success. The ideal peacekeeping mission would have a clear entry plan, establish a lasting peace, and leave behind a set of stable institutions for ensuring that peace, all in the timeframe of two to three years. As it stands, of the 55 U.N. PKOs, 15 are ongoing. Of those, at least 10 have been going on for more than 10 years and five of these have been going on for more than 20 years.[20] Five of the 15 are too recent to be evaluated. Thus 10 of the 15 ongoing PKOs could be automatically labeled failures according to Downs and Stedman's criteria. Of the remaining 40 cases, Downs and Stedman only analyze 16, but of these only six qualify as unmitigated successes. PKOs do not have a promising track record. What can be done to improve the probability of success in peacekeeping missions?
The same essay goes on.

The only hope for success in peacekeeping operations requires sustained interest from the international community, along with detailed plans for state building after the core goals of disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and reconstruction.

Violent people/group/armies tend to resist being disarmed and then tend to do it in violent manners. That means if you want peace, you have to fight for it. It is one of those life contradictions that makes perfect sense to some and is completely lost to others.

Diplomacy should always be the first, second and third thing tried, hopefully it works. There are going to be time that it doesn’t, when diplomacy has to be combined to additional steps. Unfortunately history has shown time and time again that war does solve something, so there will be time that combat will be necessary. If one side is unwilling to go that far then they are at a disadvantage to those who are more than willing to kill and die for their cause.

EU please do take a “global responsibility”, even if you don’t work directly with the US…

Almost 90% of Europeans want the EU to play a bigger role globally while slightly more than half (53%) feel that the EU should cooperate with the US in dealing with global threats, compared with 43% who feel the EU should address threats independently from Washington. France was the only country where a majority (58%) feels the EU would do better to address global threats alone.
… as long as you work toward peace and democracy.

Lassie, Where is Jimmy?

As a dog lover and my experience with the various dogs over my lifetime, I firmly believe that dogs have individual personalities and understand us better than most people believe. It appears the scientific community is starting to agree with what dog lovers have known.

It is precisely their proximity to people -- which disqualified our four-legged
friends as a model for so long -- that now makes them interesting to animal
researchers. "When it comes to understanding human behavior, no mammal comes
even close to the dog," says Kaminski. Her Leipzig research team has
demonstrated that dogs are far better than the supposedly clever apes at
interpreting human gestures.

Having four dogs currently, I have a lot of opportunity to study their behavior and train them. Also being a crazy dog owner, tend to talk to them as if they can understand. It doesn’t seem crazy to me, because too many times I have had them responded correctly to what I am saying or pointing to. The key thing to communicating to a dog is to be consistent and of course rewards treats for re-enforcement (Dog have always thought with their stomachs).

By the way:

Osthaus repeated the test with a group of cats, a species that loves playing
with strings. The cats, says Osthaus, "did far worse than the dogs."

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Amero

I came across this over at Brainster's Blog I thought I would try my first YouTube.

I have a lot of thought on this but I am finding it hard to put them down so I will just throw out some facts and calculations.

Economical break down

Per capita income for Mexico is one-fourth that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal.

Mexico - GDP - per capita (PPP): $10,700 (2006 est.)

Canada - GDP - per capita (PPP): $35,600 (2006 est.)

US - GDP - per capita (PPP): $44,000 (2006 est.)

According to IMF (side-by side compairison of other lists) the combined GDP would be $15,348,830 ($13,020,861 is from the US alone) compaired to the EU at $13,881,051 and would represent 23% of the world's GDP.

A break down of the shift in demographics;with Mexico population at 108,700,891 (July 2007 est.) and Canada at 33,390,141 (July 2007 est.) the US population of 301,139,947 (July 2007 est.) it would be dramatically shift toward Hispanic. Although the US census doesn't break it down, it is estimated that the nation is 35% Hispanic or roughly 105,000,00. The new NAU would be 45.7% Hispanic versus 41.2% European decent (Hispanic are also partially European decent) with African Americans being in the 8-9% range and Asians in the 2-3%.

Mexico currently has 31 states and Canada has 10 providences and 3 territories. Would that bring the state count up to 94 or 91?

Mexico selects a president by popular vote.

Canada has a Prime Minister selected by the majority party.

Misunderstood or Hypocrite

A poll came out today that says Americans (or at least those polled) do not believe Sen. Hilary Clinton is religious (16% do think she is) despite her numerous visits to churches (Mainly Black dominated churches) and her other efforts.

Clinton didn't stop with that. She invoked God's name a half-dozen times—thanking God for the Ten Point's faithful soldiers, commending those who "see God at work in the lives of even the most hopeless and left-behind of our children." And she made plain her religious credentials:

Does this mean that America is seeing through her or not seeing her properly? I won’t put down what I believe because it is not my place to judge (though I am guilty of doing it).

My advice would be either to stop trying to play the religious card (because it makes you look like a hypocrite) or find a way to show your true self. I don’t believe she will change her approach and since she is in the spotlight and any move to explain will be accompanied with accusations of pandering.

If she is using her faith to bring glory to herself, then she will have to answer later on, as will anybody who does the same.

Note: Only and Rudy Giuliai polled worse at 14%, but then he is not talking too much about it.
Giuliani, a divorced Roman Catholic who favors abortion rights, has said his relationship with God is private

Thursday, September 6, 2007

President Fights for Rghts

The President recently was quoted as saying:

"The insensitivity toward those who support the U.S. economy and society has only served as an impetus to reinforce the battle ... for their rights."
The problem is that he is the President of Mexico and he is talking about the rights of Mexican citizens to illegally entire the US, work and send money back to Mexico. Or maybe he talking about Mexico’s right to export their criminals.

It does seem like he is doing the right things to help improve the quality of life in Mexico.

U.S. politicians have frequently accused Mexico of failing to produce enough jobs to entice young Mexicans to stay at home instead of risking crossing the border illegally. In remarks that appeared to be aimed at those critics, Calderón said 618,000 jobs had been created in the first eight months of his administration, equaling the best-case scenario predictions for the full year.
But when he says rhetoric like this;

"Mexico does not end at its borders."
"Where there is a Mexican, there is Mexico."
I say then there is one more reason to get all those who want to remain Mexican citizens right on out of the country because I really do not want to live in Mexico.

… improve living conditions for the 40 percent of Mexicans who live in poverty. Ending economic inequality, he said, "is the most important challenge of our generation."
This 40% in poverty is not like the US poverty, it is third world poverty.

If I was a leader of a country, I would not be making a top priority to make it easier to export citizens.

… Calderón vowed to press the United States to enact immigration reforms…

The only reason I can see, would be to get rid of undesirables. Is that how he see the “Mexican undocumented workers”? If so, why would we want them? If not, why does he want to get rid of them?

In one of the most high-profile cases, illegal immigrant Elvira Arellano was deported recently to Mexico after spending a year in a Chicago church to avoid being sent home. Her 8-year-old son Saul, who is a U.S. citizen, flew to Mexico on Friday to be reunited with his mother and said he plans to stay indefinitely, helping her fight to return to the United States.

Why doesn’t he vow to help her make a decent life in Mexico after all she is a Mexican citizen? Why does the President of Mexico want to help a Mexican citizen leave Mexico? Is raising a child in Mexico so bad? Unfortunately, too much of the time, the answer is yes.

Pres. Calderón does seem to be working toward making Mexico a better place to live but I don't believe it is a long term benefit to be exporting the poor or undesirables, nor is it neighborly. He should be talking about keep Mexico's most precious resource, its' people.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Middle East Mutt Wants Amnesty

With a name like Mutt Lounge, I can’t pass up this story (Hat tip Conservative Grapevine).

In his blog, Eighty Deuce on the Loose, he tells the story of how the dog joined his unit and moved into their combat post.
"The one thing I have missed more than anything being in the military as a single soldier, is the fact that while living in the barracks I was not able to have ANY pet, even something like a fish," he said
I went several years without a pet, during my military service and then after college. It wasn’t until I met and eventually married my wife that I had a dog in the house again. I can definitely say that there is a comfort in having dog in the house (at least to me), so I completely understand their motivation.

It does make me wonder where this dog came from with all things considered.

A conservative Iranian cleric has denounced the "moral depravity" of owning a dog, and called for the arrest of all dogs and their owners.
Dogs are considered unclean in Islamic law and the spread of dog ownership in Westernised secular circles in Iran is frowned upon by the religious establishment.
"I demand the judiciary arrest all dogs with long, medium or short legs - together with their long-legged owners," Hojatolislam Hassani is quoted as saying in the reformist Etemad newspaper.
So is it any wonder to hear this?

After Watson's unit rotated out, the units that followed also took care of Charlie. The dog was afraid of civilians.

Operation Bring Charlie Home

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bad Behavior part IV

Dennis Prager ( has an article where he lists ten reasons why people do evil.

1. The Devil
2. Genes
3. Parents
4. Religion
5. Money
6. Power
7. Pursuit of Good
8. Sadism
9. Boredom
10. Victimhood
He calls them reason for doing evil; I call them excuses for doing evil. The first three take the choice out of the person hands and puts them as victims. They eliminate free well. Since I believe humans have free well, then I mark the first three down as influences not reasons.

The remaining six I look at as more in the Dale Carnegie school of thought that says that people do thing in order to feel important. The evil comes in to play when people put themselves in front of others. Religion, money, power and the pursuit of good are paths in order to find importance while the sadism, boredom and victimhood are because the individual realizes they are not important. I include sadism because it involves hurting and destroying in order to build oneself up (others must fail for me to succeed).

This all ties in to Bad Behavior heading that I have been working on and I will be getting back to this but I want to move on to the paper by Naci Mocan and R. Kaj Gittings called "The Impact of Incentives on Human Behavior: Can We Make It Disappear? The Case of the Death Penalty" and as can be expected is an economist look at crime.

In the economic approach to crime, decades of empirical research has demonstrated that potential criminals indeed respond to incentives.

The paper mainly focuses on murder but can be expanded to all crimes within reason.

One common argument made by non-economists against the economic approach to human behavior is that people are not rational enough to behave according to the predictions of economic theory when it comes to behaviors such as smoking, consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs, sexual activity and crime. However, an enormous empirical literature in economics has demonstrated that even these behaviors are responsive to prices and incentives.

Crime will follow a “Cost versus Benefit’ equation. The cost is a mixture of the punishment if caught, the possibility of being caught and some social pressure for being a criminal. The benefit, of course, is the successful execution of the crime and/or what even material gain occurs.

In order to reduce crime, the cost/price must out weight the benefit/gain. That is a simple statement to a complex issue. The most obvious ways to increase the cost would be to have stricter punishments (longer terms and the death penalty) and increase the chance of being caught (more police, more surveillance equipment and better investigation techniques). The problem now is how to pay for all of this and how much is needed to overcome the rational aspect.

The rational aspect is the willingness of the individual to pay the price. Each individual has their own level of acceptance for the price required. Think of it along this line, some people will not speed no matter what even when a multitude of others around them are zooming by. They feel the price speeding, the cost of being caught or increase risk of accident, is too high for the benefit of getting somewhere faster. The cost being broken down in to actually get caught, the ticket when caught and insurance issues. For some it takes the threat of a patrol being present before the price out weights the benefit, while others continue to speed after receiving several tickets, high insurance rates and losing their license. For some people the cost has to be so high, it becomes unrealistic to charge.

Here comes another “easier said than done” moment. In order to effective reduce crime people must believe the price is too high. This requires a “no exception rule” for the guilty. It requires enforcing the law on every account, no matter who is found guilty. It requires the person convicted to serve the full term of their sentence. Finally it requires the person be allowed to earn a place back into normal society when they have fulfilled their punishment.

I'm going stop here and come back to a couple points later on.

Do I Get a Raise?

If the US does go to a national health care does that mean I should get a raise to help off set the tax increase? I mean right now, as part of my salary I get to take part the heath plan they provide. Would the company still provide that, if there is a national heath care program. Would it be worth as much if there is something of lesser quality but free, available?

First let's look at the tax increase. If the nation is providing health care, then that means the nation is paying for it and who pays the nation. That is you and me with our taxes. Since it something they are not doing right now that means they (the nation) doesn't have the money. They will have to find it somewhere meaning more taxes.

At this point, I (I in the pural sense meaning you and I) have taken a pay cut. But if my company no longer is providing any health care then I should expenct a pay raise of $500 to $1000 a month (all depends on how good the company provided plan is).

If I am a union work, this is exactly the question I would be asking.

He said that if health care was nationalized, "it would be one less thing that unions are forced to bargain over and could allow them to turn their attention to things like wages, rather than having to deal with things like health care benefits."

Lazy Americans Work Harder

So much for lazy Americans.

American workers stay longer in the office, at the factory or on the farm than their counterparts in Europe and most other rich nations, and they produce more per person over the year.
They also get more done per hour than everyone but the Norwegians, according to a U.N. report released Monday, which said the United States "leads the world in labor productivity."

Norway, which is not an EU member, generates the most output per working hour, $37.99, a figure inflated by the country's billions of dollars in oil exports and high prices for goods at home. The U.S. is second at $35.63, about a half dollar ahead of third-place France.

This isn’t the only study that shows how lazy American workers are.
Although many Americans undoubtedly agree with this statement, a recent survey by the Department of Labor found that U.S. workers were significantly more productive than their foreign counterparts: