Thursday, August 31, 2006

George Galloway = Nutbag

"The Arab world is waking up to its potential power," writes George Galloway of the Party of God's "victory." At the same time, the Arab world realizes it has a useful idiot in the person of the "Respect" MP from Bethnal Green and Bow.

This is one of the most absurd piece of analysis I've ever read. Jimmy Carter is a right winger compared to this garbage.

Is this guy on the take or what?

Out of the big tent; The "South Park Republicans" have had enough

The coming conservative crack-up. The New York Times' John Tierney sees the trend; libertarians (a.k.a South Park Republicans)are fed up with the Republican Party's marriage to the Religious Right and Rick Santorum's overreach. What will they do? Pray -- not for or to Jesus -- but for divided government!

Democrats had "The West Wing," but Republicans had a hip show with a younger audience. Michael Moore could churn out propaganda, but Stone and Parker could counter with "Team America," their movie in which Moore appears as a suicide bomber who can't stop eating hot dogs.

Stone and Parker were never thrilled to be G.O.P. poster boys and said they weren't sure what a South Park Republican was. They were generally reluctant to be pigeonholed ideologically, but last week they clarified it by headlining at a Reason magazine conference in Amsterdam, the libertarian version of Davos. Stone and Parker said that if you had to put a label on them, they were libertarian?and that didn't mean Republican to this crowd.

The G.O.P. used to have a sizable libertarian bloc, but I couldn't see any sign of it at the conference. Stone and Parker said they were rooting for Hillary Clinton in 2008 simply because it would be weird to have her as president. The prevailing sentiment among the rest of the libertarians was that the best outcome this November would be a Democratic majority in the House, because then at least there'd be gridlock.

"We're the long-suffering, battered spouse in a dysfunctional political marriage of convenience," said Nick Gillespie, the editor in chief of Reason. "Most of the libertarians I know have given up on the G.O.P. The odds that we'll stick around
for the midterm election are about as good as the odds that Rick Santorum will join the Village People."

Stone and Parker told me they'd previously seen the G.O.P. as a relief from the big-government liberals, particularly the ones preaching to America from Hollywood. We see these people lying, cheating, whoring," Stone said. "They're our friends, but seriously, they're not people you want to listen to."

The religious right used to be a better alternative, Parker said. "The Republicans didn't want the government to run your life, because Jesus should. That was really part of their thing: less government, more Jesus. Now it's like, how about more government and Jesus?"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Segue music; John Batchelor is going on hiatus

John Batchelor is leaving ABC Radio. He explains that he might be back somewhere. What will I do at 10 p.m. now?

Christopher Hitchens rips Joe Wilson yet another one

Palme was as much a covert agent as the man on the moon. The case was overblown and served nothing but political ends. It should have never come to this but it was useful for beating the Bush Administration. What was it about Rove and frogs anyway? It seemed that Saddam did more digging in Niger than Inspector Wilson. What a fraud!

I had a feeling that I might slightly regret the title ("Case Closed") of my July 25 column on the Niger uranium story. I have now presented thousands of words of evidence and argument to the effect that, yes, the Saddam Hussein regime did send an important Iraqi nuclear diplomat to Niger in early 1999. And I have not so far received any rebuttal from any source on this crucial point of contention. But there was always another layer to the Joseph Wilson fantasy. Easy enough as it was to prove that he had completely missed the West African evidence that was staring him in the face, there remained the charge that his nonreport on a real threat had led to a government-sponsored vendetta against him and his wife, Valerie Plame.

In his July 12 column in the Washington Post, Robert Novak had already partly exposed this paranoid myth by stating plainly that nobody had leaked anything, or outed anyone, to him. On the contrary, it was he who approached sources within the administration and the CIA and not the other way around. But now we have the final word on who did disclose the name and occupation of Valerie Plame, and it turns out to be someone whose opposition to the Bush policy in Iraq has like Robert Novak's?long been a byword in Washington. It is particularly satisfying that this admission comes from two of the journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn who did the most to get the story wrong in the first place and the most to keep it going long beyond the span of its natural life.

The global warming inquisitors

A must read Alex Beam column. Some environmentalists are a threat to academic freedom and Al Gore is egging them on.

When Lindzen published similar views in The Wall Street Journal this spring, environmentalist Laurie David, the wife of comedian Larry David, immediately branded him a ``shill." She resurrected a shopworn slur first directed against Lindzen by former Globe writer Ross Gelbspan, who called Lindzen a ``hood ornament" for the fossil fuels industry in a 1995 article in Harper's Magazine.

I decided to check out Lindzen for myself. He wasn't hard to find on the 16th floor of MIT's I.M. Pei-designed Building 54, and he answered as many questions as I had time to ask. He's no big fan of Gore's, having suffered through what he calls a ``Star Chamber" Congressional inquisition by the then senator . He said he accepted $10,000 in expenses and expert witness fees from fossil- fuel types in the 1990s, and has taken none of their money since.

He's smart. He's an effective debater. No wonder the Steve Schneiders and Al Gores of the world don't want you to hear from him. It's easier to call someone a shill and accuse him of corruption than to debate him on the merits.

While vacationing in Canada, I spotted a newspaper story that I hadn't seen in the United States. For no apparent reason, the state of California, Environmental Defense, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have dragged Lindzen and about 15 other global- warming skeptics into a lawsuit over auto- emissions standards. California et al . have asked the auto companies to cough up any and all communications they have had with Lindzen and his colleagues, whose research has been cited in court documents.

"We know that General Motors has been paying for this fake science exactly as the tobacco companies did," says ED attorney Jim Marston. If Marston has a scintilla of
evidence that Lindzen has been trafficking in fake science, he should present it to the MIT provost's office. Otherwise, he should shut up.

"This is the criminalization of opposition to global warming," says Lindzen, who adds he has never communicated with the auto companies involved in the lawsuit. Of course Lindzen isn't a fake scientist, he's an inconvenient scientist. No wonder you're
not supposed to listen to him.

Jarvis Green is a great guy and a Patriot

But why should that surprise you? Jarvis Green is a Patriot in the true sense of the word. And he proves that adversity builds character.

FOXBOROUGH -- A teardrop rolled gently down his cheek and disappeared at his chin. His eyes turned red. Sniffles punctuated his remarks.

Hurricane Katrina had struck again.

Yesterday was as bittersweet as it gets for Jarvis Green. The defensive lineman was saluted for his volunteerism when he received the Ron Burton Service Award -- a memorial to the Patriots' first draft choice ever and his humanitarian work -- during the team's Kickoff Gala at Gillette Stadium. He received it on the first anniversary of the disaster that made Green's efforts vital.

The honor overwhelmed him: ``It's something special. I was very surprised."

So did the ordeal, even in retrospect: ``I still get emotional about it."

When Katrina destroyed swaths of his native New Orleans area, Green did not jump into action. He couldn't. After witnessing the horror on TV while watching with his wife, he tried in vain for seven days to phone his relatives within the storm's tumultuous reach. Nothing.

"Three aunties and four uncles," he said. ":I had no idea whether they were all right."

They were, Green discovered when he finally could make contact. Their homes were not; nothing was left of them, and in despair, his family decided to resettle from Donaldson, 24 miles west of New Orleans, to Baton Rouge. ``They'd had enough," said Green.

His Katrina experience was only beginning. Advised of the carnage, he threw himself into the relief rubble with a vengeance. He and four fellow Louisianan teammates -- Bethel Johnson, Eric Alexander, Kevin Faulk, and Daniel Graham -- joined assistant strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod to deliver T-shirts and toys and individual attention to 700 victims who had been evacuated to the installation.

Monday, August 28, 2006

This quip says it all

The ever-essential Squaring the Globe sums it up nicely.

"I do not read Globe editorials unless I need a free substitute for syrup of Ipecac."

I wonder what Renee must think. Meanwhile, here's what Chris Lydon thinks of the Boston Globe editorial page as of late.
"The Globe editorial page may be the most predictable rectangle in print, and the least remarked. "

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Someday coffee drinkers will understand

I don't stop everything for tea at 4 p.m. but I do know that tea is good for you.

Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers.

The work in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition dispels the common belief that tea dehydrates. Tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers, UK nutritionists found.

These polyphenol antioxidants are found in many foods and plants, including tea leaves, and have been shown to help prevent cell damage.

The rewards of fighting dirty

The new mode of fighting is no match for armies that try to minimize collateral damage.
How cowards can win.

Andrew J. Bacevich is worth reading.

Friday, August 25, 2006

WalMart always placating the commies!

Just remember unions are WalMart are OK in Communist China!. It' s just in the free world that WalMart dislikes union organizing. Granted the communist labor unions are hardly independent but I guess they believe in "always low prices."

SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- Wal-Mart, capitalist retailer for the masses, now has its own Communist Party branch.

Earlier this month, Communist Party and Communist Youth League branches and a trade union were set up at a Wal-Mart outlet in the northeastern industrial city of Shenyang, a staffer in the store's communications department said Thursday, confirming Chinese media reports.

As is typical of many media-shy Chinese, she gave only her surname, Liu. She would not discuss further details.

A bastion of private business, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has fought efforts to form unions elsewhere in its worldwide operations.

But in recent weeks it said it agreed to work with the state-sanctioned labor federation to allow unions in its outlets in China, where it has 30,000 employees.

But what do these unions have over their American counterparts? A business development strategy. This really does get ironic.

But the Xinhua report stressed that the branch's function would be to promote etter business.

The party and youth league branches "will encourage members to play an exemplary role in doing a good job and that will be helpful to business development," it quoted Chen Lie, a Communist Party district leader in Shenyang, as saying.

Chen said the groups would not interfere with management or operations of the retailer, which is based in Bentonville, Ark.

Since July, employees of at least 16 other Wal-Marts in China also have formed unions, according to the ACFTU, the umbrella group for unions permitted by the communist government. Overall, China aims to unionize employees at 60 percent of its foreign companies by the end of this year.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Is this the sweet spot of stem cell science?

This is good news but somehow science has a way of pushing the envelope. My guess is that we haven't heard the last of embryonic stem cell.

A stem cell breakthrough by American scientists is set to overturn ethical
objections to potentially live-saving research.

They have found how to make stem cells from embryos without destroying the embryo in the process - an advance that could open the door to billions of dollars in research funding.

Stem-cell research, which specialists believe holds the key to treating many diseases, has been crippled in the US by the religious Right, backed by the Bush dministration. Federal support for such research has been banned because it involves the destruction of embryos.

Now a team at Advanced Cell Technology - a private company - has found that it is possible to create human stem cells using one or two cells from an early embryo, without doing any damage to the embryo.

In theory, the technique could be used to create both a baby and a set of immortal stem cells unique to that baby that might be used decades later to cure the baby - now adult - of diseases such as Parkinson?s or heart disease.

Much more likely, however, is that it will be used as a research technique to advance stem-cell science.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The raging debate on charter schools

If charter schools underperform traditional ones, why is it then that they are waiting lists to get into them?

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 - Fourth graders in traditional public schools did significantly better in reading and math than comparable children attending charter schools, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Federal Education Department.

The report, based on 2003 test scores, thrust the Education Department into the center of the heated national debate over school choice. It also drew a barrage of criticism from supporters of charter schools, the fastest-growing sector in public education, who sent out press statements casting doubt on the report?s methodology and findings even before they were announced...

The study found that in 2003, fourth graders in traditional public schools scored an average of 4.2 points better in reading than comparable students in charter schools on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, often called the nation?s report card. Students in traditional schools scored an average of 4.7 points better in math than comparable students in charter schools.

Students in charter schools that said they were affiliated with local school districts did better than those in schools largely independent from local systems, scoring on par with children in regular public schools in reading and math.

The study also compared traditional public schools with charter schools in central cities serving mostly minority students and found no significant difference in reading achievement at the different schools. However, math scores at such urban charter schools still lagged those at traditional schools, except when those charters were affiliated with local districts.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Besides hitting the high hat, there was a time when Carl Palmer hit high marginal tax rates.

Carl Palmer didn't need much of a financial planner. Unlike most musicians, he knew the deleterious effects of high marginal tax rates.

Bankrate: What were some of the things you invested in?

Carl Palmer: I invested in what I considered to be very easy investment --
government bonds, unit trusts, played the stock market to a certain extent,
AT&T, Exxon, those types of things. My main interests were rental properties, beachfront properties and buying offshore properties when the legal side in Europe allowed you to do that. Laws changed, so to have anything that was in an offshore company would make you automatically subject to X amount of tax. I also recorded in places like Switzerland, Germany, Montreal and even America, because then the tax wouldn't have been as high. If you consider that to be an investment, then long term it turns into a very good investment, because it was taxed at a much lower rate.

Bankrate: What was the tax situation in the UK?

Carl Palmer: During the early '70s, the tax here was 98 percent. During that time, you could work and record outside of the country, because the product was recorded where it wasn't subject to full-on UK tax. This is a very old law, since changed a thousand times.

Bankrate: So which albums did you record outside the UK to avoid that excessive rate of tax?

Carl Palmer: The biggest one would have been "Works," which was a double album and which we toured with an orchestra. We recorded an orchestra in Montreux,
Switzerland, and then we went to America and toured for three weeks with a 64-piece orchestra. The only way to do that was to use the tax savings we had to reinvest back into our business.

Bankrate: Have the laws changed to the point where it now makes financial sense to do projects like that in England?

Carl Palmer: Yes. If you record outside of England now, the savings are very

A great American has died

"In that moment, Rosenthal's camera recorded the soul of a nation." . . .Editors of US Camera Magazine.

R.I.P. Joseph Rosenthal

A 1995 AP profile is here. More of Mr. Rosenthal's work can be found here.

Hat tip: Powerline.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lothars doesn't kill the radio star,

The radio star has long been dead. But YouTube makes a Video Star of Lothars and his theremin.

Yes it would come to this

Yes Michael Moore is aiding the enemy.

Moonbat in flight

This is what happens when you are filled with Bush-hatred. This story deserves more play.

Mrs. Mayo told passengers she was an undercover reporter testing security
to see whether she could sneak restricted items on board.

As a columnist for the Daily Times of Pakistan, Mrs. Mayo criticized President Bush -- calling him "a president not elected by the people"-- and the war in Iraq. "The folksongs of the 1960s will never be written again because of President George Bush. He has hampered the liberties of my country in the name of September 11. Songs now can only talk of patriotism they cannot mention peace," she wrote.

Gee no protest songs. Ms. Mayo is very myopic.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It's official now, I say President Carter is a fully fledged moonbat

I cut this former President so much slack over the years. Perhaps it was because of his work for Habit for Humanity which I have supported in small measures. Perhaps it has been because of his genuine religiousity even though I'm not a man of faith per se. He even had good things to say -- against liberal and antiglobalization dogma -- about genetically modified foods for the Third World. I found that interesting. But I've finally given up on the man from Plains, GA. He is an unadulterated moonbat. Why? For a man who brokered "peace" in the Mideast, he has clearly forgotten that our ally Israel is as much as a victim as his beloved Palestinians.

SPIEGEL: You also mentioned the hatred for the United States throughout the Arab world which has ensued as a result of the invasion of Iraq. Given this circumstance, does it come as any surprise that Washington's call for democracy in the Middle East has been discredited?

Carter: No, as a matter of fact, the concerns I exposed have gotten even worse now with the United States supporting and encouraging Israel in its unjustified attack on Lebanon.

SPIEGEL: But wasn't Israel the first to get attacked?

Carter: I don't think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon. What happened is that Israel is holding almost 10,000 prisoners, so when the militants in Lebanon or in Gaza take one or two soldiers, Israel looks upon this as a justification for an attack on the civilian population of Lebanon and Gaza. I do not think that's justified, no.

SPIEGEL: Do you think the United States is still an important factor in securing a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis?

Carter: Yes, as a matter of fact as you know ever since Israel has been a nation the United States has provided the leadership. Every president down to the ages has done this in a fairly balanced way, including George Bush senior, Gerald Ford, and others including myself and Bill Clinton. This administration has not attempted at all
in the last six years to negotiate or attempt to negotiate a settlement between
Israel and any of its neighbors or the Palestinians.

Thank goodness President Bush 43 hasn't played along with the peace process that's failed time and time again. Ignoring Arafat was a good move on the President's part.

And President Carter as for Bush 43 not trying, did you ever hear of the "roadmap?" Of course that was sabotaged by the Palestinians and despite "land for peace" !

The more far removed we are from the Carter presidency the more ridiculous it becomes.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This real man will certainly sleep with one eye open

This certainly can be called sticking one's chest out. But then this writer certainly doesn't know what he's in for.

[The] backfiring feminist conspiracy has, of course, developed hand in hand with the march of raging political correctness in Britain. The two have combined like some potent chemical reaction to explode in the faces of a generation of women who thought that a 'moulded' man would make for a desirable one.

In recent years, men have been trained like circus seals to be inoffensive to women, and no longer know how to entice them and turn them on.

But women secretly long for a man with swagger, who is cocky and self-assured and has the cheek to stand up them and make fun of their feminine foibles.

They long for the rakish charm of a man who knows there's a whole ocean of fish out there, who isn't afraid of being himself in case he is rejected.

The truth is, a real man doesn't care what any woman thinks of him. He doesn't care what anyone thinks of him: he answers solely to his spirit.

Real men don't pretend or even try to understand women. They simply love them for being the mysterious, capricious creatures that they are. And they don't take them too seriously, either.

They know the vicissitudes of the female mind, its constant insecurities and the fluctuations in mood.

Rather than pander to them, they simply watch them drift by like so many clouds on the horizon. They don't get entangled in a woman's feelings and listen to her prattling on and on until she's talked herself out. Such strong and stoic men are exactly what women need to anchor themselves amid the chaos of their emotions.

Sometimes my wife bemoans my detachment and laissez-faire attitude to our marriage and wishes I were more wrapped up in her. I tell her she would soon get bored of it, because men who put women on a pedestal can't make love to them in the way that women want.

A man who is too in awe of his woman isn't going to tear her blouse open and ravish her on the couch; he isn't going to pull her hair and whisper profanities in her ear.

Whenever my marriage is at a crisis point, and my wife's ego and mine are jostling for a position of supremacy, we inevitably have strenuous, battling sex.

My wife is older and more successful than I am, but the bedroom has always been the arena in which I have brought her down to earth.

The female orgasm is the natural mechanism by which men assert dominion over women: a man who appreciates this can negotiate whatever difficulties arise in his relationships with them.

Last Christmas, my wife threw me out after discovering I'd been cheating on her. On the night we got back together, I made strong, passionate love to her. Unfaithful as I'd been, I was not going to let her have me over a barrel for the rest of our marriage.

I needed to keep a sense of self and not allow her to mire me in guilt and a desperate quest of forgiveness.

I needed to let her know what she would be missing if we broke up for ever. I gave her a manful bravura performance that night, and at the height of her passion, I asked her: 'Who's the boss?'

How they fight

We've got too many bohemians

Another strike against the emphasis of developing a creative class to rejuvenate cities.

Such striving for creativity can actually reduce innovation. Vying for creative credit, people routinely neglect good ideas "not invented here." And they often join the crowd behind a new idea just to declare their creativity, which distracts them from really trying to make that new idea work.

To succeed in academia, my graduate students and I had to learn to be less creative than we were initially inclined to be. Critics complain that schools squelch creativity, but most people are inclined to be more creative on the job than would be truly productive. So schooling is mostly about selecting the smarter and more diligent, and learning to show up day after day to somewhat boring jobs with ambiguous instructions.

What society needs is not more creativity or suggestions for change but better ways to encourage people to focus on important issues, identify the most promising ideas, and tell the right people about them. But our deification of creativity gets in the way.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Did this machine change the world?

It was 25 years ago that a clunky box of electronics made its appearance. It's hard to believe that anyone could doubt its utility! Was Ken Olsen's remark taken out of context?

The government money machine

Read and weep.

Reintroducing Jules Crittendon of the Boston Herald.

"Psalm 9-11" today's column by Jules Crittendon, now the city editor of the Boston Herald and a former embed in Operation Iraqi Freedom asks us to dig deep for the courage we don't think we have.

Psalms, like lullabies, give comfort. But they don?t mask or deny the threat. They embrace it, and show the way to strength and ultimately comfort from within. What might a psalm say to anyone whose 9/11 fears have been reawakened.

Strong, ruthless men and women go long hours without sleep for you. They do everything they can to keep you safe. They are your shield.

They will kill for you, and die for you.You can take comfort from that knowledge and draw strength from their example.

But that is not enough. There is something you have to find within yourself. It may be that one day, our shield will fail, and the insidious foe that operates from beyond our borders and even within them will penetrate that shield and kill some of us again.

You must decide for yourself that you will not let them deter you from your path. If they rise against you, you must be prepared to meet them. Prepared to be ruthless in defense of what you love. It may mean that you will die. We all do someday. As a friend of mine who knew what he was talking about once said, it?s not a matter of whether we will die, but how we will die. And when the time comes, the best we can hope for in this life, the one thing we might be able to control, is that we die well.

Each of us must look within ourselves for the strength that pushed the passengers of United Flight 93 forward against their hijackers on Sept. 11, in a successful if tragic assault that prevented further death and destruction.

Hat tip to Powerline, where Mr. Crittendon offers an autobiographical note.

Some tough lessons learned

Ralph Peters keeps pleading. Will we learn our lessons?

This bitter conflict - in which most casualties on both sides of the border are civilians - raises troubling questions, too. Some are identical to those confronting us in Iraq. Many have troubling answers. Others have no real answers at all.

The elementary fact - which far too many in the West deny - is that our civilization has been forced into a defensive war to the death with fanatical strains of Islam - both Shi'a and Sunni. We may be on the offensive militarily, but we did not start this war - and it's all one war, from 9/11's Ground Zero, through Lebanon and Iraq, and on to Afghanistan.

Until that ugly fact gains wide acceptance, we'll continue to make little decisive progress. American or Israeli, our troops are trying. But the truth is that we're really just holding the line.

We have not yet begun to fight. And many among us still dream of avoiding this war altogether.

It can't be done. Because our enemies - Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Islamist militias, regimes in Iran, Syria and elsewhere - are determined to confront us.

Mark Steyn says it again brilliantly. Wake up, Mr. Lefite, to the pan-Islamism around us

We hear much about asymmetrical warfare where the giant nation-state is thrown off guard by the pinpricks of terrorism. Mark Steyn thinks the idea of a nation-state is coming to a close if we can make anything of the following fact: "In the United Kingdom, 7 percent of Muslims consider themselves British first, 81 percent consider themselves Muslim first." The UK Muslims speak cockney and may be quant with the Koran, but they work from a big canvass. Contrast this with the ostrich like behavior of western intellectuals.
Pan-Islamism is the profound challenge to conventional ideas of citizenship and nationhood. Of course, if you say that at the average Ivy League college, you'll get a big shrug: Modern multicultural man disdains to be bound by the nation state, too; he prides himself on being un citoyen du monde. The difference is that, for Western do-gooders, it's mostly a pose: They may occasionally swing by some Third World basket-case and condescend to the natives, but for the most part the multiculti set have no wish to live anywhere but an advanced Western democracy. It's a quintessential piece of leftie hubug. They may think globally, but they don't act on it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Something useful you should know

Update: I should have trusted my instincts about chain letters. Apparently the 9-0-# scam is a hoax. So suggests Econopundit posts a mea culpa.

I usually distrust chain letters or notices. But this one seems to be very useful. Not only that it's from Econopundit whom I find reliable on economic matters. The advice herein can head off a growing scam involving long distance calling on your telephone. Be aware.

PASS ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW -- I received a telephone call last evening from an individual identifying himself as an AT&T Service technician who was
conducting a test on the telephone lines.
He stated that to complete the test I should touch nine( 9 ), zero( 0 ), the
pound sign ( # ), and then hang up. Luckily, I was suspicious and refused. Upon
contacting the telephone company, I was informed that by pushing 90#, you give
the requesting individual full access to your telephone line, which enables them
to place long distance calls billed to your home phone number.I was further
informed that this scam has been originating from many local jails/prisons.
DO NOT press 90# for ANYONE!

The GTE Security Department requested that I share this information with EVERYONE I KNOW. After checking with Verizon they said it was true, so do not dial 90# for anyone!!!!!


A family sends off another

A sign of the times from Old Bridge, NJ near Laurence Harbor. (photo credit: me)

Meanwhile the U.S. Army is meeting its recruiting goals. There is no shortage of brave men and women ready to protect our way of life.

Come home safely indeed. And thank you Shawn for your service!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The next big one foiled; Five conspirators still at large!

Tyler Cowan at Marginal Revolution has a few questions about the viability of the Islamo-fascist conspiracy to blow up about 10 American airlines. How could 21 to 24 men pulled off bomb-making on each of the plans. If successful the disaster would have outstripped 9/11.

I guess in theory you can trigger a liquid explosive with a flash camera. The Internet certainly says you can. How much mid-air assembly of the procedure is required, and at what point do the scheming Pakistanis start to look suspicious? Do the passengers just stand around and watch? Of course if only one of the plots had succeeded it would have been terrible terrible terrible. But, um, was this really a well-developed idea for a terror attack? Just askin', as they say...

How many airline passengers would react and say frantically "Let's roll?"

There's a lot of follow on this story. James Taranto has more.

Meanwhile fewer people might be less wary of electronic surveillance. The feds picked up chatter.

Was this event a precursor to the bust?

A brief reprise from the work world

A sunset on a boardwalk from Laurence Harbor in Old Bridge, New Jersey. Photograph made possible by Sony DSC-W50 Cybershot 6.0 megapixels camera. Nice photograph if I do say so myself.

The false promise of vitamins

More bad news for vitamin poppers like me. Dr. Jerome Groopman takes on the multibillion dollar supplement industry.

Some 60 million Americans use supplements, megavitamins, herbs and other so-called "alternative" treatments. Their out-of-pocket costs approach $40 billion a year. Their therapies are promoted by a vast number of self-help books, Web sites and talk shows that feature thrilling testimonials of benefits for maladies that mainstream medicine cannot remedy. But we are now learning what happens when the testimonials are subjected to objective testing. In February, the results of a large clinical trial of the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for osteoarthritis were released. These data came on the heels of a rigorous assessment of the herb saw palmetto for symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland. Both studies failed to show clinical efficacy. All this should mark a sea change in how the public views such treatments.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Oh no we're pissing away millions!

More evidence that vitamins are a waste of money. What will become of all those health food stores? This is one story you hope isn't true. Why? I'm not sure. For years, I assumed that taking vitamins was a virtue. Now we are doomed say the scientists.

Vitamin supplements do not work and may do more harm than good, experts have warned.

The tablets taken by millions of health-conscious Britons each day do nothing to stave off illness, they said.

In fact, Vitamins C and E - compounds known as anti-oxidants - may actually cause some illnesses. While vitamins may ward off disease in the test-tube, they do little to protect in everyday life, this week's New Scientist reports.

The magazine says: 'Cranberry capsules. Effervescent vitamin C. Pomegranate concentrate. Beta carotene. Selenium. Grape seed extract. High-dose vitamin E. Pine bark extract. Bee spit. 'You name it, if it's an anti-oxidant, we'll swallow it by the bucket-load. We have become anti-oxidant devotees. But are they doing us any good?

'Evidence gathered over the last few years shows that, at best, antioxidant supplements do little or nothing to benefit our health. 'True, they knock the wind out of free-radicals in a test tube. But once inside the human body, they seem strangely powerless.

'Many scientists are concluding they are a waste of time and money. At worst they could be harmful.' The report follows a warning from American scientists that multivitamins could be of little benefit and there is danger of overdosing on some. Anti-oxidants, which occur naturally in plants, mop up free-radicals - toxins produced by the body that damage cells and are linked to a host of illnesses.

Their supposed benefits are so great that much of the £300million spent by Britons on vitamin and mineral pills each year goes on anti-oxidants.

While taking the compounds naturally in fruit and vegetables may be beneficial, pills and other supplements appear to do little good.

One of the most high-profile offenders is vitamin E. It became popular in the early 1990s, when two studies involving more than 127,000 participants found those with a diet high in the vitamin were at less risk of heart attacks and strokes.
However, most studies since then have failed to make the link. One concluded that the vitamin increased the risk of heart failure.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Net Neutrality test coming your way!

The battle over network neutrality just got interesting. A metric for a public policy debate.

A Seattle-based security researcher has devised a way to test for Net neutrality.

Dan Kaminsky will share details of this technique, which will eventually be rolled into a free software tool, on Wednesday at the Black Hat USA security conference in Las Vegas. The software can tell if computers are treating some types of TCP/IP traffic better than others -- dropping data that is being used in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls, for example, or treating encrypted data as second class.

Congress is presently debating whether to enact "Net neutrality" laws that would prevent this from happening. Net neutrality would force Internet service providers like AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. to give all Internet traffic the same quality of service. Advocates of these laws say they are essential to preserving the openness that has made the Internet a success. Broadband providers say that such laws could prevent them from developing a new generation of services.

Kaminsky calls his technique "TCP-based Active Probing for Faults." He says that the software he's developing will be similar to the Traceroute Internet utility that is used to track what path Internet traffic takes as it hops between two machines on different ends of the network.

But unlike Traceroute, Kaminsky's software will be able to make traffic appear as if it is coming from a particular carrier, or being used for a certain type of application, like VoIP. It will also be able to identify where the traffic is being dropped, and could ultimately be used to finger service providers who are treating some network traffic as second-class.

At Black Hat, Kaminsky will show how to perform a basic version of TCP-based Active Probing using currently available tools. He will release his own, more sophisticated software sometime within the next six months as part of a free suite of tools called Paketto Keiretsu, version 3, he said in an interview Tuesday.

The security researcher said he is curious to see what people do with his software. "People are going to start looking [at networks] and who knows what they are going to find," he said.

Which consensus will prevail? We link, you decide!

Has the U.S. and Israel pushed 'free' Lebanon into the Syria-Iran axis.
Or is the Party of God crushed?

Who will adopt one view over the other -- and for what purpose?

Walid Jumblatt, leader of the most powerful clan in Lebanon?s Druze community, said on Tuesday the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas had dealt a fatal blow to Lebanese hopes of a strong independent state, free of Iranian and Syrian influence.

Speaking from his family?s palatial 18th century redoubt high in the Shouf mountains above Beirut, Mr Jumblatt said the Shia Hizbollah movement already sensed victory.

He accused the movement of working to an Iranian and Syrian timetable when it kidnapped two Israeli soldiers on July 12, triggering a devastating Israeli retaliation. In the process Hizbollah had ?stolen the hopes? of young Lebanese whose protests last year helped force Syria to withdraw its troops after 22 years in Lebanon.

But he said that like many Lebanese he had to support the Shia movement in its resistance against ?brutal Israeli aggression?. They were ?a well entrenched guerrilla army, not afraid to die, plus they are fighting Vietcong style?, he said. Israel?s widening offensive would only cause more destruction and weaken further the Lebanese state.

?After the 12 July, Lebanon is now unfortunately being entrenched solidly into the Syrian-Iranian axis,? he said. ?The hopes of a stable, prosperous Lebanon where we could attract investments is over for now. It is a fatal blow for confidence.?

Mr Jumblatt has shrewdly navigated the ups and downs of Lebanon?s treacherous politics, gaining influence beyond the weight of his Druze community, a breakaway sect from Shia Islam that makes up around 10 per cent of the population.

As a militia leader during Lebanon?s civil war he accommodated Syria?s expansionary aims. But last year he emerged as one of the Syrian regime?s fiercest opponents in an alliance of groups that came together following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and led a coalition government following elections.

Or it is the view from ThreatsWatch -- Hezbelloh is crushed -- that will prevail?

Israel is providing a lesson on fighting the war on terror.

The mighty Hizballah, rightfully feared as the most lethally armed terrorist organization on the planet, is now on the ropes. Only their lifeline from Syria sustains them in the midst of devastating strikes from the Israeli Air Force. From the hundreds of rocket launchers in southern Lebanon to weapons depots and infrastructure all the way up the Bekaa Valley in Baalbek, Hizballah?s operational headquarters city, the IAF has exacted a heavy toll from Hizballah since the attack in Israel in which Hizballah terrorists killed eight IDF soldiers and abducted the two surviving.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Castro the coward, sounds about right

In Cambridge they are probably holding vigils for Castro, who handed over power to his brother. For the hard left, this is an opportunity to praise the glory that is their hero, Fidel. But the hand-off is not only an opportunity to plan a transition, whatever that might mean beyond the partying in Little Havana. It's also an opportunity to call out the Fidelistas and Chavezites.

For all his anti-American posturing over the years, Castro is really a coward. At least Hugo intimidated his opponents in a farcical election.

I agree with Andres Oppenheimer. Why fear something like an election, Fidel.? And hey you lefties don't give me crap about the U.S. embargo or literacy for the poor or "free" health care for the people. The poor prefer American dollars, a testament to the failure of socialism.

MADRID -- Watching Cuban President-for-life Fidel Castro's visit to Argentina while on vacation here recently, I couldn't help thinking about one of the greatest ironies of our time: The 79-year-old leader is still regarded by many as an icon of courage, when in fact he is the biggest coward among Latin American leaders.Fidel Castro a coward? You bet! Consider:

Unlike every other Latin American and Caribbean leader, Castro has not had the guts to allow a free election in 47 years.Unlike all other Latin American and Caribbean leaders, Castro is the only leader in the region who doesn't have the courage to allow independent political parties. In his island, only one party -- his -- is allowed, and whoever doesn't join it is suspected of being an "anti-social" element. According to the latest Amnesty International report, there are nearly 70 prisoners of conscience in Cuban prisons, while Human Rights Watch puts the figure at 306.Unlike all other regional leaders, Castro doesn't have the confidence to allow a single independent newspaper, radio or television station, or to allow people with different ideas to even appear on Cuban media. Cuba's laws specifically bar anybody in Cuba from publishing "non-authorized news" abroad, making those who do it liable to "enemy propaganda" charges that carry several years in prison.Unlike all other leaders in the region, Castro is afraid of allowing most of his people greater access to
the Internet. According to the World Bank's 2006 World Development Indicators, only 13 of every 1,000 Cubans have access to the Internet, compared with 267 of every 1,000 people in Chile, and 59 of every 1,000 people in Haiti. Regarding what Cubans can read on the Web, Reporters Without Borders, the Paris-based advocacy group, says Cuba's Internet censorship is worse than China's.

Totten on top of his game

This man knows his subject matter.
Hassan Nasrallah has dragged Lebanon?s Shia community backward in time to where they were in the days before the cleric Moussa Sadr brought them into politics in the 1960s. The Shia have always been the poor and forgotten of Lebanon, cruelly neglected and shunted aside by the Sunni and Christian elite and middle classes. Hezbollah was the Shia?s revenge. Hezbollah bullied Lebanese as much as they bullied Israelis. Now the Shia are utterly, tragically, destitute once again. They have a case, but they did not go about redressing their grievances in the right way. Their honor and pride may prohibit them from ever admitting Hezbollah?s latest attacks on Israel were a fatal mistake. But their all too terrible punishment may convince them to seek a healthier and more cautious approach to politics in the future.

You don't want Bechtel on this job

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Senator Henry Reid's worried about Yucca Mountain and a contract with Bechtel. Can you blame him? Do you really want Bechtel handling a project that will deal with nuclear waste? I wouldn't.