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Leb Army seals Syrian border
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
Page 3: Non-WoT
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Page 4: Opinion
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
U.S.-Canada border pass card a bad idea, U.S. senator says
A U.S. senator is sounding the alarm about a plan for identity cards at the Canada-U.S. border, dubbing the idea a potential "economic and cultural train wreck." The blunt talk came from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy who told a U.S. Senate hearing in Washington on Thursday he feels the entire plan is a "cockamamie idea." The so-called pass card, announced in January, will be used by Americans crossing the Canadian border.

"We've got an economic and cultural train wreck on the horizon," said Leahy. "I can just see a complete screw-up on the border come Jan. 1, 2008. Our closest friend in this hemisphere is going to be, like, what happened? Are we pariahs?" U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff defended the plan for the new cards. "Unless we were to waive all identification requirements and just let people come and go willy-nilly, it seems we owe the American public at least a kind of identification document that is biometric and that is secure," he said.
You know, national ID cards aren't really all that bad. If it improves security, why not?
Posted by: Rafael || 03/03/2006 14:19 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [381 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yes, national ID cards are that bad. I've seen plenty of people excluded from society because they didn't have an ordinary picture ID. And they couldn't get a picture ID without a picture ID.

And without a picture ID you can't rent an apartment, and you can't get a job. But this is now, bad as it is.

With a national ID, all of a sudden hundreds of intrusive and poorly thought out systems come into play. Databases filled with incorrect information that *can't* be corrected, are thrust into your life based on nothing more than bad luck.

Someone with a name kind of like yours has an outstanding warrant for a traffic citation in Florida--with a national ID card, you discover you can't get a driver's license in Oregon until you travel to Florida to get arrested so you can prove you are not who they think you are. (This is now, too, BTW. Happened to a friend.)

Other problems are that everybody wants to use the national ID card for their own purposes, like the Social Security number was misused. How about ridiculously low-security systems such as credit cards, with 1970s quality security, associated with your ID card? A nightmare.

You know they issue the damn things consecutively? So if you steal one credit card, you automatically know the numbers of the next 100 or so? And they adamantly refuse to improve their security.

Your medical records will be associated with your national ID card, making it very easy for your insurance company to discontinue coverage when you are no longer cost effective, that is, when you want them to pay for your medical costs, not just to pay them premiums. Thank you, HIPPA Act.

Look, right now the Brits are trying the national ID card scheme. See what a disaster it will be for them, before even thinking about the same for the US.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/03/2006 16:34 Comments || Top||

#2  If it improves security, why not?

Ben Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." That's you he's talking about, Rafael. And nothing you've said leads me to believe he's wrong. Happy Brithday, Ben.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/03/2006 16:57 Comments || Top||

#3  Contrast your response with that of Anonymoose.

I know what national identity cards are all about, from another world in another lifetime. (cards hell, identity booklets!) My experience with them is a little different, hence my statement that they aren't all that bad. Anonymoose did a great job pointing out how this would not be the case here.

Now, I'm just wondering Nimble, do you agree with Chertoff? Do you support these new border cards (PASS I think they're called)?
Posted by: Rafael || 03/03/2006 17:52 Comments || Top||

#4  Passports work fine. If they don't fix them, don't invent a new form.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/03/2006 17:58 Comments || Top||

#5  show your ID - quit whining . Take the tinfoil off for a second. Does the US control who Canada admits as political refugees? Check the list and see if you agree. Whether it's a PASS, passport, Driver's License (restricted to legal citizens/aliens) or other hard-to-counterfeit ID, you may bitch and moan, but you'll show it or stay home, because the rest of rational America will DEMAND it. F*&king black helicopter nuts
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 18:08 Comments || Top||

#6  Just who exactly is whining? I'm all for whatever security measures are deemed necessary! National ID cards or whatever.

You'll note that these PASS cards are for AMERICANS crossing the border. Canadians will be required to show passports. Fucking black helicopter nuts! Or were you refering to Spemble?
Posted by: Rafael || 03/03/2006 18:21 Comments || Top||

#7  Yo, brilliant one - he's referring to Moose and (to my surprise), NS.
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 18:23 Comments || Top||

#8  Moose has had Black Helicopter Syndrome for a long long time...
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 18:24 Comments || Top||

#9  From the black helicopter society I resent that!! NSDQ!~
Posted by: 49 pan || 03/03/2006 20:17 Comments || Top||

#10  .com: Look, you may be filled with the milk of human kindness, trusting of your fellow man, honest as the day is long and always willing to give a sucker an even break.

That ain't my hood. I was raised around cutthroats, blackguards, hackers, teachers, thieves, creeps, rats, historians, finks, con-artists, bureaucrats, senior NCOs, spooks, and I suspect a few pimps. To say I have had a colorful vantage of the species is an understatement.

However, I see mankind as neither inherently good or evil. Weak and lazy, more to the point. So I rely on history.

If villains have used it for their purposes in past, and yet now, someone claims great good will come of it, call me dubious.

For this reason, I see no more purpose in ID cards than did Heinlein's Lazarus Long: that once a place adopts them, it is going to hell, so you had best pack your bags and leave.

In fact, I lump ID cards along with all the other accoutrements of the police state. They are well known, and the earliest, best example I can think of is that of the first emperor of China, Ch'in, whose techniques bore a startling similarity in the ancient world, to those used in East Germany.

Dammit, they keep doing it the same way every time.

And yet you say, but *THIS* time, the ID cards will be used for a GOOD purpose! Yeah, right.

Face it, this is the same damn argument liberals always use to try to justify socialism and communism. It didn't work in 100 OTHER countries, but that is just because they didn't TRY hard enough, or didn't spend enough money, or they were inferior ethnically, or whatever. IF WE CAN JUST TRY SOCIALISM OR COMMUNISM HERE, WE *KNOW* IT WILL WORK!!!! IT JUST *HAS* TO BECAUSE IT SOUNDS SO GOOD!!!

Same with goddamn ID cards.

Face it, sometimes an idea just sucks, no matter how good it sounds. It's not paranoia to know that it sucks ahead of time, as it has sucked 100 times in 100 different places in the past.

Pattern recognition is one of the hallmarks of people who get through life with all of their fingers, toes and eyes.

Prove that you are smarter than a liberal. Look at the British experiment with ID cards, objectively. See what they get out of the deal vs. the major pain in the ass it turns out to be.

It won't happen quickly. Look how long it took for the National Health Care to go to the dogs. But I can almost guarantee it will be for crap. As it has been, and so shall it ever be, forevermore.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/03/2006 22:02 Comments || Top||

#11  It's coming. Period. Get your 2¢ in constructively with everyone who you can collar. That would be good for us all because, indeed, there are those who will try to abuse it.

As for your colorful background - we might have a lot in common, lol. If I wasn't a near-total recluse, not out of paranoia - simply a personal choice, it would be fun to trade stories, heh.

Grab your congressman and anyone else you figure can steer it in the best direction.
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 22:48 Comments || Top||

#12  Uhh... I hate to sound the doom-n-gloom, but all you people protesting ID cards need to take a look in your wallets (or equivalent). See that driver's licence? There it is. Try cashing a check without it.

The only thing standing in the way of the Orwell Nightmare that you are so worried about is the finite capacities of the Gummint to actualy do something.

While everyone here can come up with anecdotes all day long, your actual fears are mostly just potential. If your worries were to actualy come to pass, we would all have much more important / immediate things to worry about. I, for one would probably be mobilized to help implement whatever police state was being started up, and I would have to decide on wether I wanted to join the resistance in the woods, or be a mole from within resistance sympathiser/agent.
Posted by: N guard || 03/03/2006 22:53 Comments || Top||

#13  As far as a US police state goes, I have a simple way to tell if we are really becoming a police state, or if someone is having a paranoid delusion.

I call it the MSCE ditch digger scale.

The typical paranoid delusion is the fear that when the government "takes over", it will take all of the Microsoft Certified Engineers and make them dig ditches. This is because a paranoid police state America needs lots and lots of ditches for some reason, and heck, it's not like those engineers were doing anything constructive, anyway.

Of course this is ludicrous, but it shows the difference between a delusion and reality.

In a real police state, the government would use gradualism to take away *accustomed* rights, such as the right to bear arms, the right to free speech, the right to practice religion, etc. It would justify each of these as necessary to combat "the threat".

A real police state is also very obsessive about surveillance, and more than anything else, this shows the large grey area between a liberal state and an authoritarian state. A liberal state only uses authoritarian techniques against a small, criminal minority. An authoritarian state insists that only by inflicting such techniques on everybody, are they *able* to police the criminal minority.

So, for example, the US is far more a liberal state because we are allowed to own guns with few restrictions, compared to elsewhere. We can also be really abrasive with our political speech, even going so far as to suggest a politician dyes their hair, without being supressed, like in Germany.

However, we are more authoritarian over such things as highway speed limits, and shrug off the right to drive as fast as you want, which is beloved in Germany. So our government could get really abusive about speed limits and we would shrug it off as not particularly oppressive. But if they tried restricting our ownership of dogs and cats, there would be pitchforks and torches in the streets.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/03/2006 23:18 Comments || Top||


Sports Father from Hell
Posted by: too true || 03/03/2006 13:10 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [285 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Not like hiring a hit man to take out a rival.
Posted by: Snomoting Ebbomong1497 || 03/03/2006 14:00 Comments || Top||

#2  Both sickening and depraved, but he was man enough to confess.
Posted by: Visitor || 03/03/2006 14:23 Comments || Top||


Accountant stole millions to support 17 lovers
An "unremarkable" accountant stole £9.5 million to support 17 lovers, a court in Japan heard yesterday.

Masaaki Matsubayashi, 56, admitted diverting money from a baking company's health insurance scheme on more than 500 occasions in the last five years alone.

Colleagues were reportedly stunned to discover that Matsubayashi, an apparently unremarkable officeworker, had numerous mistresses going back over 25 years.

He reportedly bought several of them expensive Mercedes, one received a £10,000 kimono and he continued to pay £1,500 a month to a lover he had not seen in years. Matsubayashi was office chief in the accounts department at the Shikishima Baking Company in Nagoya, where he was said to be a quiet man who left office parties early.

No one suspected that he maintained a secret apartment and toured nightclubs to drink with hostesses.

However, his home was said to be dilapidated. His wife, who is reported to have been unaware of his double life, has now divorced him.

The Shukan Jitsuwa magazine reported that he initially told police: "I want more new women. It's what I live for. I don't feel guilty at all."

Yesterday, he told the court in Nagoya: "I am truly sorry." He will be sentenced at a later date.
Posted by: 3dc || 03/03/2006 11:03 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [350 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "I want more new women. It's what I live for. I don't feel guilty at all."
If that's the lifestyle of the average accountant, I have truly missed my vocation, dammit!
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/03/2006 11:08 Comments || Top||

#2  ...he was said to be a quiet man who left office parties early.

And now they know why...
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/03/2006 11:57 Comments || Top||

#3  This story really needs a graphic...
Posted by: Classical_Liberal || 03/03/2006 12:21 Comments || Top||

#4  Your wish is our command ... ;-)
Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 12:29 Comments || Top||

#5  Note to Fred: I can't get the graphic posting to work in linux on Firefox. Clues?
Preview can go south too.
Posted by: 3dc || 03/03/2006 12:35 Comments || Top||

#6  Sorry. It only works in IE and Opera. It's a DOM thing.
Posted by: Fred || 03/03/2006 23:57 Comments || Top||


And now for something completely different : Backmasking!
Years ago someone told me that if you played Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven song backwards that you could make out "satanic messages". It is not my opinion that Led Zeppelin and the other artists here were given some kind of evil power to make these backwards sounds have a satanic message. And, no, I did not create this to show the evils of Rock and Roll. Instead I made this flash piece for two reasons:

I was new to flash and wanted to be better at it and
The reverse files sound cool.
The way I made these sound clips was first to get a copy of the original versions. For example I took my copy of Stairway to Heaven (I tried it once with a live version but I couldn't hear the message clearly) then opened it in a sound editing program (I used Windows Sound Recorder—but you can use the open source software Audacity), and reverse it. Crop to the place with back-masking sounds. That's it.

Cool flash animation by Jeff Milner with a dozen backmasks, some very cool (Eminem), some creepy (Pokemon, Britney Spears). Totally WOT-unrelated, but fun IMHO.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/03/2006 10:38 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [286 views] Top|| File under:


Man 'hacks off own legs' with a chainsaw
A MAN who claimed a chainsaw gang chopped off his legs did it himself, police said yesterday.
This calls for a Leatherface pic.

The unnamed van driver told them he was dragged from his vehicle by attackers who hacked at his legs with the saw before torching his Transit.

But police revealed they now believe he turned the saw on himself.

Retired policeman Jim Edgar, 61, found the man lying on the ground screaming at an isolated spot in Shilton, near Witney, Oxon, on Wednesday.

He said: "Blood was gushing all over the place."

A police source said: "It looks as if he did it to himself. The pain must have been horrific. God knows what possessed him."

Officers would not comment on whether doctors had saved his legs.

The man was still under heavy sedation yesterday.
I'll bet.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/03/2006 10:36 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [340 views] Top|| File under:

#1  At least he left his tackle in place.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/03/2006 12:08 Comments || Top||

#2  Do we have a "crazy as a s#!thouse rat" graphic?
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 03/03/2006 13:42 Comments || Top||

#3  "If you cut your legs off with that thing, don't come running to me."
Posted by: Mike || 03/03/2006 14:14 Comments || Top||

#4  Image hosting by Photobucket

Tough guy.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/03/2006 16:43 Comments || Top||

#5  Frank Zappa fan?
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 18:03 Comments || Top||

#6 
chain saw marks..the new fetish.

Posted by: RD || 03/03/2006 18:46 Comments || Top||

#7  chain saw marks..the new fetish.


Cutting is for sissies.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/03/2006 20:09 Comments || Top||

#8  Frank Zappa fan?

Nah, they'd have to be electric weasles, Frank.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/03/2006 20:12 Comments || Top||

#9  Heh, I dunno... I've been cut purdy good - hurt (and bled) like nothing else, before or since. Just barely made it - the ER estimated I lost just under a quart before they stopped it.
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 20:14 Comments || Top||

#10  "weasels ripped my flesh"
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 23:06 Comments || Top||


The Attack of the Giant Worms
not funny for the local farmers, I know, but I couldn't resist with the headline ...
Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [283 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I was there 14 years ago and the worms were a problem then. Spectacular place BTW.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/03/2006 0:18 Comments || Top||

#2  Perhaps it's time for the farmers to consider switching over to wheat, which doesn't need swampy conditions, and I think is more nutritious anyway, even if it isn't traditional.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/03/2006 6:48 Comments || Top||

#3  That guy's not wearing no pants!
Posted by: Skidmark || 03/03/2006 7:40 Comments || Top||

#4  They don't need to grow anything but earthworms. An 18 inch earthworm would be worth a couple of dollars in North Florida about right now. Probably pay to air freight them in.
Posted by: 6 || 03/03/2006 8:46 Comments || Top||

#5  18 inches worms would provide a lot more protein than wheat, and it tastes like chicken, I'm told.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/03/2006 11:35 Comments || Top||

#6  IIRC, dog food is made from earthworms, also. That could be a rather profitable sideline to their other farming income.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/03/2006 13:00 Comments || Top||

#7  ummm ... which brands, OP?
Posted by: Rolf the dog || 03/03/2006 13:04 Comments || Top||

#8  I pass
Posted by: RD || 03/03/2006 16:17 Comments || Top||

#9  Years ago, an agricultural station on Mindanoa, the Rural Life Center, discovered that a local shrub, the ipil-ipil, made a good hedge for terraces. The farmers didn't have to use wood to shore up the terraces.

Now would be a good time to look that plan up.
Posted by: mom || 03/03/2006 16:38 Comments || Top||

#10  Watch this video from google

Shark is not top.
Posted by: 3dc || 03/03/2006 16:42 Comments || Top||

#11  Mindanao, not Mindanoa.
Posted by: mom || 03/03/2006 16:45 Comments || Top||


Africa North
Libya denies charges it is detaining women
TRIPOLI - A Libyan justice ministry official denied late Wednesday a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report that the authorities were arbitrarily detaining women and girls indefinitely in “de facto prisons”. Libya rejects any discrimination against women, the official said, adding that it was protecting them against practices, which the government wanted to eradicate.

The US-based global human rights group on Tuesday documented alleged abuses in the so-called protective homes for women and girls deemed by the authorities to be “vulnerable to engaging in moral misconduct.” These include violations of rights to liberty, freedom of movement, personal dignity, privacy and due process.

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s regime is holding women and girls who have committed no crime, or who have completed a sentence, the report said, urging their immediate release. It said some were there because they had been raped and then ostracised from their families for staining their “honour”.
Typical Arab nonsense, in other words.
Officials transferred the majority of these women and girls to these facilities against their will, while those who came voluntarily did so because no genuine shelters for victims of violence exist in Libya, HRW said.
Because shelters are a western decadence.
The justice ministry official, who declined to be identified, said a “social rehabilitation institutions” was a place of refuge for women and girls who had no honest way of earning a living and no family links. “They are victims of incidents related to honour and morals and their relatives have refused to allow them to live in the family home,” the official said. “This institution is a refuge for women, a protection against exploitation and revenge.”
And punishment.
The official accused HRW of basing its report on “certain psychologically vulnerable women and a misunderstanding of Libyan laws.”

Farida Deif of HRW, the report’s London-based author, said Tuesday, “How can they be called shelters when most of the women and girls we interviewed told us they would escape if they could?” The inmates were not allowed to leave the compound and are sometimes subjected to long periods of solitary confinement for trivial reasons, HRW said.

Most endure invasive virginity examinations, are given no education except weekly religious instruction and typically have no legal representation, the group said. The report added that the exit requirements were “arbitrary and coercive”, with a male relative taking custody, or marriage, often to a stranger, the only way out.
And we know what happens next.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [295 views] Top|| File under:

#1  No, certainly not! There are honored guests of Kadhafi the caliph living in luxurious palaces with turbanned and parachute panted bodyguards (sans genitalia).
Posted by: ed || 03/03/2006 8:38 Comments || Top||

#2  "The official accused HRW of basing its report on “certain psychologically vulnerable women and a misunderstanding of Libyan laws."

No, the problem is they understand Libyan laws (Shari’a) quite well and find them to be barbaric. Under Shari’a justice the families of the victim as well as the perp are the first consideration not the victim herself. That’s the reason most rape cases end in marriage in Libya.

Posted by: DepotGuy || 03/03/2006 9:35 Comments || Top||

#3  Sounds like your standard arab "asshatery".
Posted by: Elmavimp Javiling7379 || 03/03/2006 13:20 Comments || Top||


Africa Subsaharan
Mutiny in DR Congo ends UN raid
Mom! Those mean rebels are SHOOTING at me!

And there isn't a decent restaurant in this whole place, either. That's it -- I'm going home.
A mutiny by some 40 soldiers in Democratic Republic of Congo has led to the suspension of a joint UN-Congolese operation against a rebel group.
"That does it! We quit!"
The men, unhappy about their conditions of service, fired shots in the air and seized food rations, a United Nations spokesman told the BBC. Other UN officials say the men had fired at a UN helicopter in which a senior commander was travelling.
Just you wait til the mighty Uruguayans get at them.
Some 17,000 UN peacekeepers are in DR Congo to oversee elections due in June. They have been helping the Congolese army stage a series of raids against various rebel groups which continue to rampage in parts of the east.
Nobody told me they waz gonna shoot back! Who do they think they are? They ain't even got blue berets.
The Congolese soldiers were taking part in a joint operation to retake the town of Tchei in Ituri region from an ethnic militia.

The elections will be the first multiparty polls in DR Congo for 40 years and come four years after the end of a civil war. The current transitional government is made up of various rebel leaders, who agreed to lay down their arms in return for a share of power. Mineral-rich DR Congo, the size of western Europe, has been ravaged by conflict and misrule and there are no roads or railways from one side of DR Congo to the other.
Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [280 views] Top|| File under:


Caribbean-Latin America
Two US Embassy guards killed in Haiti
Two Haitian men who worked as security guards for the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince were shot to death as they went home from work, the embassy said on Thursday. Gary Michel Joseph and Ernst Polo were killed late on Wednesday and their bodies were found in a residential area of the capital on Thursday, the embassy said in a statement.

The killings came as Haitian police reported a drop in crime since the February 7 presidential and legislative elections, particularly in dangerous slums such as Cite Soleil. Haiti had been plagued by political and gang violence and a spate of kidnappings for ransom in the months leading up to the vote. Police said slum gangs opposed to the interim government that has run Haiti since ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was deposed two years ago called a halt to the violence, allowing the elections to be held in relative safety. "Measures taken at the political level have contributed to easing the security situation," said Jean St.-Fleur, director of Haiti's administrative police. "In places such as Cite Soleil, Bel-Air and other places reputed as dangerous, the number of kidnappings is practically zero." The U.S. Embassy called the slain guards "devoted professionals" and said it was working with Haitian and U.N. police to find the killers.
Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [285 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Why do we have an embassy in Haiti? The Dominican Republic sends us baseball players. Haiti only sends illegal immigrants to fill out our welfare rolls.
Posted by: RWV || 03/03/2006 0:46 Comments || Top||

#2  Maybe if they learned to play bezboll they wouldn't spend so much time oppressing each other.
Posted by: Fred || 03/03/2006 11:58 Comments || Top||

#3  Maybe if they hadn't been a French colony...
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/03/2006 12:02 Comments || Top||


China-Japan-Koreas
Japan, U.S. Finishing Plans for New Radar
Japanese and U.S. military officials are finalizing plans to deploy a radar system for a missile shield at a Japanese air force base in northern Japan, defense officials said Friday. The high-resolution radar system, aimed at detecting and intercepting ballistic missiles, is to be deployed at the Shariki base in Tsugaru, Aomori prefecture, about 360 miles northeast of Tokyo.
...
Japan's Defense Facilities Administration Agency said the two countries are still finalizing the plan as part of ongoing talks on a broader realignment of U.S. military bases in Japan. Japan and the United States will hold talks next week on the realignment, which would reduce the U.S. military presence on a southern Japanese island and give Tokyo greater responsibility for security in the Asia-Pacific region, defense and Foreign Ministry officials said Friday.
...
During the five-day talks beginning Tuesday in Honolulu, Hawaii, the two sides will discuss details of an October realignment agreement that includes a proposal to shift 7,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to the U.S. territory of Guam, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. This is good news. Yesterday I was thinking of posting a comment about moving all the Marines out of Okinawa to Guam. Guam is about 1/2 the size of Okinawa but has 1/9th the population and will give the Marines some room to train.
Posted by: ed || 03/03/2006 20:12 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [436 views] Top|| File under:

#1  There's also TINIAN and SAIPAN islands in the Northern Marianas - the Mayor of Tinian has told the local MARIANAS VARIETY and other medias that he would like to see Marines or some other type of military-based economy come to Tinian. In any case, North Korea's beating the rhetoric drums of war but its China and its PLAAF that doing all the buzzing and penetrating of Japanese airspace for the Norkies. STRATEGYPAGE.com reports that China's PLAN are expanding their surface warfare and UNREP naval actvities, inferring that China's intent is for its PLAN assets to engage in long patrols of areas claimed or occupied by China. A scenario still exists that any US-led mil action ags North Korea proper may likely also involve TAIWAN. With both China and NK claiming to have missles that can hit the US West Coast-MidWest, and eventually all of the USA, Guam as the closest US territory to Asia should be the first choice for at least one, or more, Nimitz-class BG and MAG/MRG. China cannot hope to successfully confront or par the USN in the Pacific unless she controls or dominates the major island groups in the Western and Central Pacific, which by extens also means in LT a play for control of Hawaii. We already know from the 2005 Chinese White Paper that a minima of 1/2 of CONUS is already desired as future Chinese territory, plus the pre-planned destruction of 200M, plus-minus, of Amer's 300M population. THE ONLY WAY FOR CHINA/COMMIES TO BYPASS CONTROL OF THE PACIFIC IS TO WAGE FULL-FLEDGE WAR ON CONUS-NORAM ITSELF, IDEALLY WITH ANTI-AMERICAN AMERICANS IN THE WH AND CONGRESS.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/03/2006 23:47 Comments || Top||


Europe
14th century ship found in Stockholm
you know you want to go watch this, yes?
Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [305 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It's an omen.
Posted by: 2b || 03/03/2006 3:13 Comments || Top||

#2  Viking era ended in 1066. By the 14th Century, the Swedes were already inventing fictitious ancient kings to make their kings sound more impressive.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/03/2006 10:58 Comments || Top||

#3  You mean to say they finally located that Soviet sub?
Posted by: Zenster || 03/03/2006 12:10 Comments || Top||

#4  I blame George Bush for this.
Posted by: bigjim-ky || 03/03/2006 17:32 Comments || Top||


Moscow says John Paul II assassination accusation is 'absurd'
Posted by: Fred || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [277 views] Top|| File under:

#1  What was absurd was the U.S.S.R. OF COURSE they are responsible.
Posted by: bgrebel || 03/03/2006 20:20 Comments || Top||


US firm told to translate documents into French
A French subsidiary of the US conglomerate General Electric was found guilty Monday of breaching the country's language laws for producing English-only versions of health and safety guidelines.

Confirming a lower court ruling, the appeal court in Versailles west of Paris ordered GE Medical Systems to pay 580,000 euros (690,000 dollars) to the company's works committee and to the General Labour Conferation (VCGT) trade union, which brought the case to justice.

The company was also fined 20,000 euros for every computer and print document that has not been translated in three months' time.

The case was brought under a 1994 law intended to defend the role of the French language in public life.

Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [282 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hey - obey local laws. I don't care where you do business.
Posted by: gromky || 03/03/2006 2:58 Comments || Top||

#2  GE medical will pay up and quit doing business in France at all. That is how this usually goes.
Posted by: SPoD || 03/03/2006 6:46 Comments || Top||

#3  Yeah, and you need to start rewriting your medical prescription in Latin again.
Posted by: Snaiper Jeretch8186 || 03/03/2006 6:46 Comments || Top||

#4  There is no need for GE to base operations in France, other than onsite techs and maintenance engineers. It may even turn out cheaper to move operations to other offices in the Netherlands, Italy, or better yet, to New Europe, though the sales commutes may be tough.
Posted by: ed || 03/03/2006 7:50 Comments || Top||

#5  If it was not for GE (and other 1940's era US companies) this would not be an issue: Siemens would be making all the med-tech equipment for France, and all the docs would be in German only. Of course, that would not be a problem, because German would be the national language of France.
Still, it makes no sense that GE would not print documents in whatever the local language is where the equipment or services are being used. And how hard is could it be - computers can translate most of it, and the technical words stay in English anyway.
Posted by: Glenmore || 03/03/2006 9:38 Comments || Top||

#6  And how hard is could it be - computers can translate most of it, and the technical words stay in English anyway.

Not in France. All English technical language words have Frenchified equivalents. ]They'll pick up some liability risk for poor translations as well as the immediate cost of translation. Pull out, Jeffrey.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/03/2006 9:57 Comments || Top||

#7  No big deal _ there's plenty of people in the Dead Languages Departments of universities that wouldn't mind part time jobs.
Posted by: Shilet Throse6198 || 03/03/2006 15:30 Comments || Top||

#8  FWITW: Aall US companies require the US-based companies they deal with to have their Quality Management System documents in (at least ) English, so this is not unreasonable. This is also applicable to companies doing DOD work, regardless of the company's nationality. I think that if the full story were known, they were probably asked nicely several times and then after being told, "OK we're on it" for many moons, the fun-meter pegged and the laywers took over.
Posted by: USN, ret. || 03/03/2006 16:14 Comments || Top||


Montenegro votes on independence on May 21
Montenegro will vote on independence on May 21, parliament decided Thursday, with the referendum to settle the fate of the last remnant of the former federal Yugoslavia. The assembly unanimously backed the date proposed by President Filip Vujanovic, a day after it passed a law laying out the rules of the vote. The stage for the referendum was finally set after years of wrangling between the "sovereignist" authorities and opponents that favour continued union with Serbia.

Under a European Union-brokered deal, the 460,000 registered voters will respond to a question asking whether they support a fully independent Montenegro. If at least 55 per cent of those voting are for independence, Podgorica would end the already loose and largely dysfunctional union of Serbia and Montenegro. The EU welcomed the assembly's approval. The broad support for the referendum law is "a good basis for a transparent and democratic process that has Europe's full support," EU foreign affairs chief Javiar Solana said in a statement. The EU presidency, currently held by Austria, issued a statement saying the referendum now has legitimacy and urging all political forces in Montenegro to ensure that "the organisation and the implementation of the referendum is accepted in all of Montenegro."
Posted by: Fred || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:


Great White North
Chevron expands Alberta Oil-Sands land buys - will spend billions
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 09:34 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [438 views] Top|| File under:

#1  the bought relatively cheap ($50M or so)

they will attempt to sell a portion of the development rights

if it works out well, they can reduce their own expenditures to the hundreds of millions and still retain 30% or more of the eventual output

full disclore: I own stock in Chevron
Posted by: mhw || 03/03/2006 11:44 Comments || Top||

#2  The process of melting the frozen bitumen with hot steam essentiall cleans the sand and it is then returned to the ground with the main byproduct steam. These extensive sands provide a continental source of oil without damaging the environment, and sounds like a great investment to me. They should proceed warp speed as we may not have years.
Posted by: Danielle || 03/03/2006 16:07 Comments || Top||

#3  When I lived in Canada 25 years ago, you could homestead on the Peace River. The government would give you 64 acres of land as long as you cleared it. I seriously thought about it. Of course, no one at that time understood the oil sands under the land were worth anything.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/03/2006 17:01 Comments || Top||

#4  I don't know anything about this particular accumulation of tar sand, but in a general sense the tar sand system is pretty well understood, so I'd be surprised if the tar was not under the ground there. The challenge is mostly economic - there is a lot of oil already being produced from the Alberta tar sands, but it is being strip mined, and the tar extracted. I believe this project is intended to develop it with a combination of underground mining and drilling. This costs a lot more, and requires higher sustained oil prices in order to make economic sense. (But it is more environment-friendly, and it could work for more deeply buried reservoirs.) And, it costs a huge amount of money up front. And, it requires the technology to work as planned. Keep that in mind next time you fill up your tank - Chevron is betting over a billion dollars prices stay high, so they can continue to supply the consumer and make money.
(Full disclosure - I work for them, elsewhere, as a geologist, and NOT in PR (shields self from barrage of rocks and rotten vegetables.))
Posted by: Glenmore || 03/03/2006 17:48 Comments || Top||

#5  Glenmore, thanks for finding oil.

Get Chevron to lobby for an oil import fee to keep the price above $50/bbl.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/03/2006 18:01 Comments || Top||

#6  war with Iran will do that without a fee. Open ANWR, build refineries, choke the ME
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 18:10 Comments || Top||

#7  1) Nobody would listen to me if I did 'lobby' Chevron for anything.
2) An oil import fee might keep prices high, but it would be wrong. Let the market find the right price.
3) War, or threat of war, in Iran, or Nigeria, or Saudi Arabia .... any or all of these will decrease the supply and increase the cost, or increase the risk premium and increase the cost. All are bad for world (not just US) economies in the short and medium term. Peace is better.
4) Opening ANWR won't help much, may not help at all (may not be any oil there - we haven't drilled, so we don't know), and it will eventually be opened and explored, once we get desperate enough.
5) We have not built refineries in a long time, but we have built refinery capacity, by enlarging existing plants, and improving their efficiency. Building NEW refineries in the US is just about impossible environmentally; as a hypocritical environmentally sensitive nation we would rather emit two units of pollution in some foreign country and import the refined product than emit one unit of pollution here. American refineries are cleaner and safer than ever, and cleaner and safer than pretty much anywhere else in the world, but they still stink and can blow up.
6) The Mid-East isn't the only place which poses a threat to us through high oil revenues; we can't really crack down on Mexican immigration lest Mexico cut off our imports and crush our economy; we can't retaliate against idiot Chavez in Venezuela - same reason. Bush has to 'hold hands' with Saudi leaders and engage in diplomatic pressure rather than nuke Mecca when oil funds flow to terrorists. We're addicts, and will remain so for a while - there is no replacement to fossil fuel in sight.
7) And I'm not banned (yet)! Would have been at some open-minded liberal web sites.
Posted by: Glenmore || 03/03/2006 18:28 Comments || Top||

#8  A couple of points.

1. Only governments can carry very large financial risks. This is why governments are the insurers of last resort for banks. Goverments can and should underwrite the risks of large non-conventional oil developments by contracting to buy a fixed amount for a fixed price over the lifetime of the project.

2. There is far more oil in unconventional sources than in the Middle East.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/03/2006 19:23 Comments || Top||

#9  Glenmore - good responses, why would you be banned? I disagree with a few, as follows:
the regional gas formulations at seasonal changes cause periodic shortages of refinery capacity (by air-basin in the US) clearly for good reason - cleaner air. California, my state, must be forced by Feds (FHWA Highway funds?) to ease enviro-suit stops on refinery capacity. We need to share the pain. I would even agree to off-shore oil-drilling if adequate safety/insurance could be made. (i.e.: negligent spill: turn over all assets)
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 19:34 Comments || Top||

#10  P.S. : Mexico? We could take it and Venezuela by force if need be. Hardass? yes. Realistic. F*&k yeah. They need to know it
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 19:36 Comments || Top||

#11  The real war on terror.
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/03/2006 19:41 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Culture Wars
Mayor Nagini shocked, SHOCKED! by second Katrina video
ScrappleFace
(2006-03-02) — Just hours after the Associated Press (AP) ‘shocked‘ New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin yesterday by showing him video of a FEMA briefing during Hurricane Katrina in which government officials speculate about the impact of the expected Category 5 storm, the AP has shown the mayor a second “alarming and disgusting” video.

The first video shows President George Bush, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff and then-FEMA Director Michael Brown, among others, dealing with how to respond to the developing disaster, and what to make of inconsistent reports from New Orleans about the condition of the Lake Pontchatrain levees.

The second video, shot by a parking lot security camera several days earlier, shows row upon row of yellow school buses, sitting idle on a day when thousands of local residents remained in the path of the storm.

“Someone at the White House should have given the order to use those school buses to evacuate the city before Katrina hit,” said the Mayor, who is the top local government official in New Orleans. “It makes me ill to think that the federal government failed to intervene to save these people. George Bush had plenty of time, and he did nothing.”

Mr. Nagin, who is the Mayor of New Orleans, noted that local residents “did just what we have trained them to do in a disaster. They watched the hurricane coverage on CNN and waited for a federal official to knock on the door and rescue them.”

“They followed their training,” said Mr. Nagin, the Mayor of New Orleans, “but the knock never came. They were helpless, utterly helpless.”

In May 2002, Ray Nagin was elected Mayor of New Orleans, a city which sits below sea level, between the Gulf of Mexico and a large lake.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan today said, “One can always argue after the fact about whether President Bush should have intervened more forcefully to protect New Orleans from this grave threat, but Ray Nagin is the lawfully elected mayor, and whether he remains in office is up to the people of New Orleans, not to the president.”
Posted by: Korora || 03/03/2006 0:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [349 views] Top|| File under:

#1  “Someone at the White House should have given the order to use those school buses to evacuate the city before Katrina hit,” said the Mayor

The mayor owned the busses! Why the F?C! did he not do it! It was well within his authority. This guy must be the dumbest mayor on record. Sad to say but it looks like New Orleans will get a Darwin for electing him. He should be charged with neglegence and accessory to mass murder for not acting in his legally bound duty to protect his city. Some day it will sink into his head that he hold responsability for this.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 03/03/2006 2:08 Comments || Top||

#2  LOL. Ott Rulez. NO / LA are terminally fucked, politically, and will likely remain so forever.
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 2:15 Comments || Top||

#3  agreed, these guys are fools, lead by bigger fools. The big easy should now be called the big stupid. This is criminal what he did and he should be tried by the people of LA for his crimes.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 03/03/2006 2:24 Comments || Top||

#4  Agreed, bro - but this is Scrappleface. I used to say that with a wink, but the gap between the parody and reality has become razor thin these days.

Brings to mind the Ghostbusters with their "proton gun" beam weapons... sometimes Scrappleface and Reality strike me as crossing the beams, lol. We're getting slimed, bro, lol.
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 2:34 Comments || Top||

#5  49, this is parody.
Posted by: gromky || 03/03/2006 2:58 Comments || Top||

#6  Got me as well. I missed the Scrappleface and thought it was a real news report and what's more it didn't even surprise me.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/03/2006 3:19 Comments || Top||

#7  Its like bronzie and goldie only its made of iron.
Posted by: pihkalbadger || 03/03/2006 6:24 Comments || Top||

#8  “Someone at the White House should have given the order to use those school buses to evacuate the city before Katrina hit,” said the Mayor.”

Mayor Ray: You've got your bus colors all discombobulated. Federal and State Buses are usually white and have bars and mesh netting over the windows, and have angry looking drivers, etc. Yellow buses are owned by the local school system, city or municipality. Yellow is your color mayor, your buses, your responsibility. White buses be the Feds or State.


Posted by: Visitor || 03/03/2006 9:48 Comments || Top||

#9  :>
Very truthy piece.
Posted by: 6 || 03/03/2006 11:52 Comments || Top||

#10  Now THAT'S fake, but accurate!!
Posted by: AlanC || 03/03/2006 12:32 Comments || Top||

#11  GOT ME on this one!!LOL! It is just so close to real! Good on ya Korora.
Posted by: 49 pan || 03/03/2006 20:22 Comments || Top||

#12  I missed most of the segment but a lady on FNC called in and claimed that over 90%+(?) of these LOCAL/CITY buses weren't in working order to begin with, or words to that effect. Someone should tell Mayor Nagin, etal. FEMA doesn't come in unless the State formally requests it, and usually after any storm; that FEMA is obligated/charged only to return the city or affected to the same or similar condition it was before the storm; and that it isn't FEMA's duty/mandate anyways to substitute for either the local private sector andor the local public sector, espec the latter. IS THE LADY CORRECT?
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/03/2006 23:23 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Politix
..How Crooked Was Duke Cunningham?...
....I knew it was going to be bad, but not this bad..

The staggering details of Cunningham's wrongdoing surpass anything in the history of Congress, official Senate and House historians said.

"In the sheer dollar amount, he is the most corrupt," said Deputy House Historian Fred W. Beuttler. "The scale of it is unprecedented."


RTWT.

Mike
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 03/03/2006 12:05 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [299 views] Top|| File under:

#1  His bribes included a Rolls-Royce...

Hey, I mean who would take notice of a congressman driving around in a Rolls and start asking questions?
What a friggin idiot...
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/03/2006 12:15 Comments || Top||

#2  "His own misconduct has already left him penniless, homeless, estranged from those he loves and disgraced in the eyes of his countrymen,"
Yup, and now for a stint in the pokey - off you go, good riddance.
Posted by: JerseyMike || 03/03/2006 12:29 Comments || Top||

#3  The scale is unprecedented? Teapot Dome? Credit Mobelier? Abscam? Koreagate? If it's sheer dollar amount, it's only because of inflation.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/03/2006 13:17 Comments || Top||

#4  The Credit Moblier was a good one, all right. Union Pacific RR. And they pretty much got away with it.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 03/03/2006 19:53 Comments || Top||


Gore Asks for (free) Ad Time to Fight Global Warming
Former Vice President Al Gore launched his keynote address at the Four As media conference in Orlando Thursday morning by promising not to do a commercial for his new cable network, Current TV. which is as moribund as Air America's new subscriber list

And he didn’t.

Instead, he urged the media industry to contribute air time to an upcoming public service campaign alerting consumers to the dangers of global warming. Gore spent most of his twenty minute presentation detailing the heavy toll that global warming is taking on the earth’s ecosystem.
20 minutes of greenhouse gases he sould've spared the planet
He said that a new coalition, to be announced soon, comprised of environmental, labor, religious and other groups would be raising money to make “major ad buys over the next three years” to address global warming.

Gore than asked the media industry to step up with a “dollar for dollar” matching contribution for that campaign. Gore said he was contributing the proceeds from a book and a documentary on the subject (both to be released later this year) to the coalition.
that's called a quid pro quo for his reelection in '08 plans enviro-hysterical action plan, basically a 50% freebee on ads. But hey! no controlling legal authority, huh?

“The climate crisis is the most serious challenge our civilization has ever faced,” he said.
Bullshit. The real science is still out except for the true believers and those getting agenda-based-study grants. Even if warming due to human causes (not proven), the rise is soooo miniscule, all but hysterics would never notice it this century. Read Michael Chrichton.
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 09:02 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [553 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."

-- Vice President Al Gore

Posted by: Visitor || 03/03/2006 9:32 Comments || Top||

#2  I keep wondering, all this things in the water and air keep killing us supposedly, but we are living longer hmmmmmm.
Posted by: djohn66 || 03/03/2006 9:50 Comments || Top||

#3  Gore said he was contributing the proceeds from a book and a documentary on the subject (both to be released later this year) to the coalition.

Wow! A book and a movie by Al Gore coming out? That could bring in, like, hundreds and hundreds of dollars!!
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/03/2006 10:21 Comments || Top||

#4  Gore has his OWN NETWORK spewing weird propaganda 24/7. That channel is "Current". On DirecTV it is channel 366.
So having a complete network of his own to spout BS what the hell does he deserve free air time from the other networks for?
Make his own network interesting enough that some fool would watch his crap!
Posted by: 3dc || 03/03/2006 10:29 Comments || Top||

#5  Dear Mr. Gore.

Shut the fuck up, you moron.

Thank you,

People of the United States of America
Posted by: mmurray821 || 03/03/2006 11:24 Comments || Top||

#6  djohn66

Actually, the air and water is cleaner than anytime since before the 70s. However, when your standards are something like non-existance of mankind, its a little more demanding. Too bad these people didn't live a hundred years ago when most heating and energy creation at home was by coal. Fouled the air, few if any 'white' christmas with soot all over the urban areas. Rank dumping of waste into nearly all waterways. With transportation by horse, where do you think most of the 'organic' material they dropped went to? Summer was a season of flies and other wonder vectors for disease. I believe people like these should be sentenced to three years in a real third world country without all these 'harmful' modern techologies. Can't wait to see when the first crop failure strikes their 'organic' farms.
Posted by: Snomoting Ebbomong1497 || 03/03/2006 12:27 Comments || Top||

#7  SE,

Don't know if you've read "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson, but he has some great descriptions of what a winter in Chicago was like with all the coal smoke.
Posted by: Dreadnought || 03/03/2006 13:39 Comments || Top||

#8  Thanks for the plug!
(just kidding, that's not me. But we spell it the same way)
Posted by: eLarson || 03/03/2006 14:14 Comments || Top||

#9  A classic example of Gore using # 14:

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the 2005 winners

1. Cashtration (n): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

2. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

3. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

4. Bozone (n): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

5. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is, like, sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's, like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic fit (n): The frantic dance you perform just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

18. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

And the pick of the literature:

18. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
Posted by: Visitor || 03/03/2006 14:33 Comments || Top||

#10  And his fellow travelers post garbage like this:
claiming bush is the anti-christ
Posted by: 3dc || 03/03/2006 15:29 Comments || Top||

#11  It isn't the WP 'Mensa Invitational'. It's the 'Style Invitational'. I had an honorable mention once back in 1994 for my entry in a 'Give someone an appropriate nickname' contest:

Bill Buckner Clinton.


Unfair to Bill Buckner, I know, but what are you going to do?
Posted by: Eric Jablow || 03/03/2006 16:15 Comments || Top||

#12  I've always like this Terpsboy image of Gore, too.
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 17:21 Comments || Top||

#13  LOL - Rodger rules
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 18:30 Comments || Top||

#14  POTUS GORE is going to SAVE THE SUN BY FORCING THE ENTIRE EARTH TO REGRESS/GO BACK TO THE FUTURE IN THE MIDDLE AGES OR EARLIER. Rather than building the Starship(s) Enterprise or Battlestar(s) Galactica, Gore and the enviro nuts want to make sure every human being and pet dog gets to be toasted by the Sun safe here in good ole doomed Earth, where OWG and American-specific Holocaust/Genocide is good for the earth and everyone, even for future mostly dead Americans, ERGO VOTE FOR THE DEMS IN 2008.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/03/2006 23:56 Comments || Top||


StrategyPage: Old Soldiers Stick Around
The U.S. Department of Defense now believes that older is better, at least when it comes to NCOs and officers. The Pentagon wants to encourage more military personnel to stay in uniform for up to 40 years. To that end, the Department of Defense is asking Congress to approve extending pay rate tables from 30 to 40 years. Currently, once you pass 30 years of service, you no longer get raises based on length of service. There is another proposal in play, that would change the current "half pay at 20 years and 75 percent pay at 30 years" retirement plan to add " 25 percent at ten years" and " 100 percent at 40 years". This would encourage younger troops to stay for ten (and then maybe go for 20 or 30), and make it more attractive for the most experienced troops to go for 40 years.

Ever since World War II, the U.S. military has encouraged a "youthful force." In addition to "up or out" (get promoted after so many years in a rank, or be laid off), officers and NCOs were encouraged to retire at 20 years or, at most 30. But things have changed in the last sixty years. People not only live longer, they stay fit as they grow older. It's not unusual to see NCOs in their 50s keeping up with troops in their 20s during runs and other demanding physical tasks.

The 40 year career would not be open to any old soldier that wanted it. You can stay in for 40 or more years now, but need approval from the Pentagon. The new pay scale would make more older troops willing to stick around if asked. In fact, the number of older NCOs and officers worth keeping around is small. But these are men and women with extraordinary capabilities. These are people you don't want to lose, even to age. The talents they have are usually people skills, which tend to improve with age. Putting together, and managing, teams is what the military often has to do in a hurry. In cases like this, one or two people, who are really good at it, can make an enormous difference. Military history is also full of soldiers in their 60s and 70s who ran circles, at least mentally, around everyone else. Since the military has been all-volunteer since the 1970s, the overall quality of the force has improved, and that, along with healthier old age, has produced a lot more old soldiers worth keeping around.
Posted by: ed || 03/03/2006 07:26 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [302 views] Top|| File under:

#1 
bug report extracted - thanks
Posted by: ed || 03/03/2006 7:38 Comments || Top||

#2  Ah, 2 singles - looked like the double-quote. Good eye, ed!
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 7:46 Comments || Top||

#3  Looks like you and phil_b are already on it in the "Bush's trip to Pakistan" thread.
Posted by: ed || 03/03/2006 8:16 Comments || Top||

#4  In fact, the number of older NCOs and officers worth keeping around is small. But these are men and women with extraordinary capabilities

The name Grace Hooper comes to mind.

Hopper was never one to hold a single job at any one time. She was involved both with the academic world and with the Navy during the time that she held her positions in the Remington Rand Corporation, then from 1955 in the Sperry Corporation which had merged in that year with Remington Rand. Her connections with the academic world were many, sometimes visiting positions as in 1959 when she was a Visiting Lecturer at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania. She was a consultant and lecturer for the United States Naval Reserve up to her retirement in December 1966, by which time she had reached the rank of Commander.

The Navy and Hopper were not apart for very long for, in August 1967, she was recalled to active duty in the Navy. At this time she took military leave from the Sperry Corporation and did not return to that job, retiring from it in 1971 when she reached 65 years of age. Her return to the Navy was intended to be for only a six months period [5]:-

... at the request of Norman Ream, then Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy for Automatic Data Processing. After the six months were up, her orders were changed to say her services would be needed indefinitely. She was promoted to Captain in 1973 by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations. And in 1977, she was appointed special advisor to Commander, Naval Data Automation Command, where she stayed until she retired.

Active service in the Navy did not prevent Hopper holding academic appointments, and she was a Lecturer in Management Sciences at George Washington University between 1971 and 1978.

When Hopper retired from the Navy in August 1986, at 80 years of age, she was the oldest active duty officer in the United States. She had reached the rank of Rear Admiral, being promoted to the rank of Commodore in a White House ceremony in December 1983, then becoming Rear Admiral Hopper in 1985. At a celebration held in Boston on the USS Constitution* to celebrate her retirement, Hopper was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award possible by the Department of Defense.


* retiring the oldest active servicemember on the oldest active ship in the fleet.
Posted by: Snaiper Jeretch8186 || 03/03/2006 8:38 Comments || Top||

#5  Subject: The poodle and the leopard

A Story with a Moral

A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her faithful aged poodle named Cuddles, along for the company.

One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long, Cuddles discovers that she's lost. Wandering about, she notices a leopard heading rapidly in her direction with the intention of having lunch. The old poodle thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in deep doo-doo now!"

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, she immediately settles down to chew on the bones with her back to the approaching cat.

Just as the leopard is about to leap, the old poodle exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here."

Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks a way into the trees.

"Whew!", says the leopard, "That was close! That old poodle nearly had me"

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard.

So off he goes, but the old poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up.

The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now, the old poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks , "What am I going to do now?", but instead of running, the dog sits down with her back to her attackers, pretending she hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old poodle says:

"Where's that damn monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!"

Moral of this story.....Don't mess with old guys... age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!

Bulls--t and brilliance only come with age and experience!



Posted by: Visitor || 03/03/2006 9:03 Comments || Top||

#6  Ah, Grace Hopper.

When I was a fledgling programmer working for the JCS, Adm. Hopper was still active in an office down the hall of the E-ring, 2nd basement. I got to meet her a couple of times.

Only flag officer in all of DOD who got away with wearing a charm bracelet while in uniform. Sharp, sharp, sharp as a whip.

Somewhere I still have the 'nanosecond' she passed out in a talk she gave to my software team.
Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 9:11 Comments || Top||

#7  Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper has an Arleigh Burke-class DDG named after her. It's the only combatant ship in the Navy named after a woman.
Posted by: Mike || 03/03/2006 9:11 Comments || Top||

#8  Somewhere I still have the 'nanosecond' she passed out in a talk she gave to my software team.

You mean you didn't grind it up to make some pica seconds? :)
Posted by: Snaiper Jeretch8186 || 03/03/2006 9:20 Comments || Top||

#9  no link?
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 9:21 Comments || Top||

#10  Link was given in comment #1 bug report.
http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htatrit/articles/20060303.aspx
Posted by: ed || 03/03/2006 9:31 Comments || Top||

#11  Hell if they'd had this I'd probably still be in the reserves at a minimum.
Posted by: OldSpook || 03/03/2006 9:37 Comments || Top||

#12  np - thx ed
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 9:39 Comments || Top||

#13  You mean you didn't grind it up to make some pica seconds?

Chopping it would have been more appropriate. She used to pass out pieces of wire about a foot long, i.e. the length of wire that electrical signals can travel in a nanosecond. Her point was that hardware constraints would loom sooner or later and would affect how we wrote software.

That was before really integrated circuitry was possible, so the looming is happening a little less slowly than some might have predicted. But it's a real issue for serious machines that model e.g. nuclear blast effects, airplane performance or weather.
Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 9:47 Comments || Top||

#14  There are a few facts of life that the military only grudgingly accepts during wartime.

The first of these is that appearance doesn't matter, performance matters.

The second is that you only really need combat soldiers for combat.

The third is that the young and strong non-combat soldiers are only needed in forward deployment, not back in the home front to train replacements.

The fourth is that you *never* have enough lead time in training replacements before you need them to be shipped forward. This means that those already forward deployed stay there longer than they should be, and those in the rear get shipped forward sooner than they should be.

Older personnel help ease things at every level of this process.

First of all, they are skilled and experienced performers. Second, though they are not optimal for combat, they can fill in every role behind the combat lines.

Third, though they are also less than optimal for forward CS and CSS, they free up young and strong CS and CSS personnel to become combat soldiers, both near the front and back in training facilities.

Finally, they improve replacement training because they can discriminate in training between militarism (or "looking" military) and militancy (or "performing" militarily); and emphasize the latter. This gets competent replacements forward faster, and gets forward combat soldiers rotated to the rear faster.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/03/2006 10:54 Comments || Top||

#15  There's one other problem with the military, especially with retaining people longer: too often once you reach a certain rank, you're shoved into "administration", rather than retained in your primary skill area. I declined one promotion and refused to be considered for another because it would have meant I'd end up an administrative desk jockey, instead of working with people in a real job. If you keep people longer, you're going to have to do some major modification to the skill ladder and the entire TO&E. Lots of other problems to be addressed, too - like how do you keep older guys in if you treat them like crap. BTW, #14 is right on the mark!

Today, there are between 25m and 35m active/reserve/retired/former military people in the United States. That would be a rather large number to select from to put people on the border for national security. There are lots of other areas where the US could use these people to good advantage, if they'd just get over a bunch of silly prejudices, mostly maintained by middle-management (senior NCOS, Field Grade officers). Inertia will be extremely difficult to overcome, however.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/03/2006 13:23 Comments || Top||


In New Video, Blanco Says Levees Are Safe
In the hectic, confused hours after Hurricane Katrina lashed the Gulf Coast, Louisiana's governor hesitantly but mistakenly assured the Bush administration that New Orleans' protective levees were intact, according to new video obtained by The Associated Press showing briefings that day with federal officials. "We keep getting reports in some places that maybe water is coming over the levees," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said shortly after noon on Aug. 29, according to the video. "We heard a report unconfirmed, I think, we have not breached the levee. I think we have not breached the levee at this time."

In fact, the National Weather Service received a report of a levee breach and issued a flash-flood warning as early as 9:12 a.m. that day, according to the White House's formal recounting of events the day Katrina struck. Critics have maintained the Homeland Security Department responded too slowly to the breaches, delaying repair efforts and allowing flooding to worsen. Formal reports of New Orleans' levee breaches reached the White House by 6 p.m., and the administration confirmed the damage by the next morning, according to the White House's recount.

In the video of the conference call, Blanco appears uncertain about the reliability of her information and cautioned that the situation "could change." Blanco said floodwaters were rising in parts of the city "where we have waters that are 8 to 10 feet deep, and we have people swimming in there."

"That's got a considerable amount of water itself," the governor said. "That's about all I know right now on the specifics that you haven't heard."
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [313 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Gosh. How will the assholes spin this one?

The more unvarnished BS-free info you learn...
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 3:14 Comments || Top||

#2  Of course Bush should have known that the levies were breached! Just like he should have known there were notWMD's in Iraq [anymore] and he should have known that 9/11 would happen....

For being a dumb chimpbushhitler(tm) they sure must think he has some kind of super-ESP or something.

I figure the MSM will ignore this and focus even more intensely on Bush'es failure....
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/03/2006 7:28 Comments || Top||

#3  I'm very confused, I thought the levees were blown up by neurotoxin-tipped darts armed Krazed Killer Dolphins escaped form Area 51 or something... this was how The Man held down the NOLA proud people, I was told.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/03/2006 7:47 Comments || Top||

#4  think this will make Bob Schieffer's CBS news as the lead? Bwahahhhaa


me neither
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 9:17 Comments || Top||

#5  At the time Bush, Blanco etc. were making their statements there was no reason to doubt that the levees were intact, save for some possible localized overtopping or seepage. They knew how high the storm surge had been, and it was not as high as the main New Orleans levees (those around St. Bernard and the Lower Ninth Ward are a different story.)

Most of the area SHOULD have been safe against the actual impact of Katrina. Most of the damage THIS TIME was due to levees that failed due to flaws in design and/or construction. These flaws were not discovered due to poor monitoring and maintenance.

That the NWS "received a report of a levee breach" earlier than Blanco's (or Bush's) statements did not make their statements 'wrong' - as we later learned, a LOT of initial 'reports'
about a lot of things were wrong.

I live in New Orleans. Pre-storm there was lots of warning that it could be bad, and everyone should leave if they could (I did). The storm came through where I was; the wind blew, the rain fell, the power went out. Battery-powered radio told us the storm had weakened, and jogged to the east a bit, and we all thought that, once again, New Orleans had dodged a bullet. Then morning came and the winds dropped and people out towards the Lake started seeing water coming up in their streets. It still took a number of hours to get official confirmation - thousands of trees and power lines down meant you couldn't just drive, and helicopters had to be brought back into the area from Lafayette etc. where they had been taken for their protection. Landing zones and support service had to be set up (Lakefront Airport is outside the levee.) I could go on, but you get the point - it is totally unrealistic to expect ANYONE to have perfect, or even decent, information over such a large area in just a few hours after such a large event.
(This is not a 'blanket' defense of Bush, Blanco, Chertoff, Brown, Naguin, Broussard, etc., and just applies to all this nit-picking 'gotcha' cr*p about 'who said what when' during and immediately after the storm.
Posted by: Glenmore || 03/03/2006 9:30 Comments || Top||

#6  It's simple, really. Bush knew that the levees would break because Halliburton placed the explosives right where Rove told them to. Duh!

/wow, that's actually kinda fun
Posted by: BH || 03/03/2006 10:27 Comments || Top||

#7  Five days after the briefing, with most of New Orleans underwater, Bush said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

This gotcha crap has gotta stop! What Pres. Bush says is true, even with this video of his briefing. There's a HUGE difference between saying they COULD be topped/breached and actually ANTICIPATING/BELIEVING they WOULD be! I, for one, knew about NO since college and the very MINUTE I saw that storm hit Cat. 5 (Friday or Saturday), I would've been gone! Much like the scrappleface article on Nagin below, sitting around waiting on Feds to save you will get you killed in a storm like this!
Posted by: BA || 03/03/2006 11:25 Comments || Top||

#8  For being a dumb chimpbushhitler(tm) they sure must think he has some kind of super-ESP or something.

Actually it is all right there under the desk in the Oval Office--next to the Economy Up/Down Lever and the Nuclear Button is the "knows everything about all topics" screen.
Posted by: eLarson || 03/03/2006 14:11 Comments || Top||


International-UN-NGOs
New UN fund to speed global disaster response
You wouldn't believe the cost of 5 star hotels in disaster areas these days.
Can't they run everything from Cyprus?
The United Nations next week launches a new global emergency fund to provide swifter relief to victims of natural disasters, but with far less money on hand than the $500 million it had hoped to raise.

The Central Emergency Response Fund will have just $188 million when it opens for business, which is nonetheless a significant improvement over an existing U.N. standby loan facility of $50 million.

Donations to the new fund, which will be able to make grants as well as loan money, have come from 19 of the 191 U.N. member-states. But some wealthy nations including the United States, Japan, Australia, Italy and Canada have yet to make pledges.
We prefer to help the victims rather than buy Kofi's kid an expensive car.
"Governments have committed to responding quickly and effectively to help those most in need, yet now that we have a global emergency fund, governments seem reluctant to actually put money in," said Sarah Kline, an official of international relief organization Oxfam.
That's because we're doing quite well without you. Better, in fact.
Oxfam has argued the fund would need $1 billion to increase their influence politically ensure an adequate U.N. response to disasters like the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, last year's destructive earthquake in Pakistan and Hurricane Katrina in the southern United States.

U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland asked for the fund after the tsunami, and the General Assembly approved it last December.

The idea is to give the world body the ability to quickly send emergency supplies to areas hit by natural disasters and other humanitarian crises, without having to wait for international donors to send checks. The money in the fund would be continually replenished as contributions later poured in for each individual disaster.

The 19 donors to date are Armenia, Britain, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Grenada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Sweden, Switzerland and Sri Lanka.
Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [335 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Cool! Then the Vampire Vulture Elite can get there and start sucking the bodies dry in record time!

Didn't the 'UN' claim to have been to the Tsuami areas in record time(1)? What do they need this for - a mobile 5-star hotel and 24 hour catering service? Kind of a MASH unit for the Vulture Elite?

This is pathetic...

(1) - Yes I know its was really the US (USAID) and Australia (and others) who provided the bulk of the initial relief - but the Vampire Elite was quick to take credit for it and they did send in their Corrodinaters of Corrodinaters (WTF?) --- as soon 24hour catering had been established.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/03/2006 0:24 Comments || Top||

#2  Spot-on, CF.

Same old create a new pot o' money game.

Fuck off. Don't offer the scum a dime of MY money.

Better yet, pull the plug on this aged whore, throw it out, and torch the building (per a comment yesterday), lol.
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 2:08 Comments || Top||

#3  .com-

Burn the UN???I'm surprised...shocked....disappointed!

Get the furniture out first, it's GOTTA be some primo stuff. :)

Mike
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 03/03/2006 12:26 Comments || Top||

#4  The UN and "speed"? There ain't enough money on this planet to make that happen.
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/03/2006 13:59 Comments || Top||

#5  The furniture and the artwork.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/03/2006 19:06 Comments || Top||

#6  Heh, Mike & tw - you're right. The silverware's already gone, however, lol.
Posted by: .com || 03/03/2006 19:20 Comments || Top||

#7  Have a heart folks! Do you have any idea how expensive Dom Perignon is these days? Swiss bank accounts don't fill themselves you know!
Posted by: DMFD || 03/03/2006 23:55 Comments || Top||


Israel-Palestine-Jordan
Madonna Awaits Messiah
US pop diva Madonna wants to buy a house in the Israeli town of Rosh Pina, where the ancient Jewish Kabbalah tradition expects the Messiah to appear at the end of the world.

Yediot Aharonot said the owner of a 100-year-old, ramshackle five-bedroom villa overlooking the Sea of the Galilee had been recently contacted several times by representatives of the superstar with a view to selling his property.

According to the same source, Madonna wants to renovate the building into a centre of study of mystical Jewish texts pored over by Kabbalah followers.

The self-proclaimed Material Girl, a keen aficionado of the ancient Jewish mystical tradition, last visited Israel in September 2004.

She turned to Kabbalah in 1997 through the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre which proclaims to offer a path to spiritual enlightenment through an eclectic mix of Orthodox Jewish tradition, visualisation and positive thinking.

Two years ago, she took the Hebrew name Esther and reportedly observes the Jewish sabbath, although she has not converted to Judaism.

One of her recent dance tracks is called "Isaac", the name of famous Kabbalah Rabbi Isaac Louria who lived and worked in the now northern Israeli town of Safed during the 16th century.
Oy. There goes the neighborhood.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/03/2006 17:21 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [288 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Clearly she isn't a nice Catholic girl anymore. But what will she do if the Messiah has the temerity to appear while she's on tour elsewhere?
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/03/2006 19:08 Comments || Top||

#2  Don't think she's touring much nowadays...
Posted by: Raj || 03/03/2006 19:20 Comments || Top||

#3  More proof that all the money in the world can't buy a lick of common sense.

What a pathetic loser.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/03/2006 20:11 Comments || Top||

#4  Madonna Awaits Messiah

Probably because He's the only nooky she hasn't nicked yet.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/03/2006 20:20 Comments || Top||

#5  'I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'-Matthew 19:23-24

How she can work that will indeed be a miracle.
Posted by: Photle Fleart1604 || 03/03/2006 21:13 Comments || Top||

#6  Yeah, he's coming sweetheart and he's pissed!
Posted by: whitecollar redneck || 03/03/2006 21:24 Comments || Top||


Southeast Asia
Suspected bird flu cases on rise across the country
Suspected bird flu cases are being detected in the country at an alarming rate, with more people falling sick in Surakarta in Central Java, Madiun and Malang in East Java and Batam in Riau Islands province.

An as-yet unnamed 12-year-old girl suspected of contracting bird flu died Wednesday night after being treated at the Moewardi Hospital in Surakarta.

Her body has been sent to her hometown in Boyolali, Central Java, for burial, hospital director Mardiatmo told Antara.

Blood tests for the victim have been sent to a Jakarta laboratory for confirmation.

Another seriously ill suspected bird flu patient is being treated in isolation at the hospital.

"Clinical symptoms, including coughing and a high fever, indicate that he is bird flu-positive. The patient also used to live near large-scale quail breeding centers," Tri Lastiti, the deputy director of the hospital, told The Jakarta Post.

The 31-year-old man, identified as Daryoto, was believed to have been infected by the carcasses of dead birds, which had been dumped in the area during the past month.

"Thousands of quails died every day and their remains were just thrown away into a nearby river," Nanik, Daryoto's wife, said.

Central Java Governor Mardiyanto said earlier the provincial administration would launch a large-scale poultry cull of infected birds. The culls would occur in five of the province's 35 regencies -- Karanganyar, Boyolali, Sukoharjo, Sragen and Klaten.

Mardiyanto ordered people to be on the alert for the virus and immediately report any suspected bird flu outbreaks among poultry to their local animal husbandry office.

"If people see scores of chickens dying, they should report this to the nearest office. Animal husbandry and health officials will soon follow up their reports," Mardiyanto said.

In Bandung, the number of suspected bird flu patients rose by 11 to 66 as of Wednesday. The latest patient was admitted to the city's Hasan Sadikin Hospital on Wednesday.

In Madiun, East Java, the condition of a 12-year-old patient from Singkil village, Ponorogo, who is believed to be infected with the virus, remained serious.

"The patient is still in intensive care by our team of doctors, and cannot be visited yet," a Dr. Soedono Hospital spokesman said Thursday. A sample of the patient's blood has been sent to Jakarta for testing and the results would be available within a week, the spokesman said.

In Malang, a seven-year-old boy was admitted to the intensive care unit at the Saiful Anwar Hospital with suspected bird flu symptoms.

However, Gatoet Ismanoe, a doctor of the hospital, said the boy, who had earlier been treated at the Muhammad Saleh Hospital in Probolinggo, was still under observation to determine his illness.

In Batam, the local animal husbandry office sprayed disinfectant at Panglong village in Nongsa district Thursday, after laboratory tests found bird flu in the area's poultry.

At least eight chickens were found dead in the area with blue and swollen heads -- recognizable symptoms of the flu.
Suspected bird flu cases on rise across the country


Wahyoe B. Wardhana and Fadli, The Jakarta Post, Malang/Batam

Suspected bird flu cases are being detected in the country at an alarming rate, with more people falling sick in Surakarta in Central Java, Madiun and Malang in East Java and Batam in Riau Islands province.

An as-yet unnamed 12-year-old girl suspected of contracting bird flu died Wednesday night after being treated at the Moewardi Hospital in Surakarta.

Her body has been sent to her hometown in Boyolali, Central Java, for burial, hospital director Mardiatmo told Antara.

Blood tests for the victim have been sent to a Jakarta laboratory for confirmation.

Another seriously ill suspected bird flu patient is being treated in isolation at the hospital.

"Clinical symptoms, including coughing and a high fever, indicate that he is bird flu-positive. The patient also used to live near large-scale quail breeding centers," Tri Lastiti, the deputy director of the hospital, told The Jakarta Post.

The 31-year-old man, identified as Daryoto, was believed to have been infected by the carcasses of dead birds, which had been dumped in the area during the past month.

"Thousands of quails died every day and their remains were just thrown away into a nearby river," Nanik, Daryoto's wife, said.

Central Java Governor Mardiyanto said earlier the provincial administration would launch a large-scale poultry cull of infected birds. The culls would occur in five of the province's 35 regencies -- Karanganyar, Boyolali, Sukoharjo, Sragen and Klaten.

Mardiyanto ordered people to be on the alert for the virus and immediately report any suspected bird flu outbreaks among poultry to their local animal husbandry office.

"If people see scores of chickens dying, they should report this to the nearest office. Animal husbandry and health officials will soon follow up their reports," Mardiyanto said.

In Bandung, the number of suspected bird flu patients rose by 11 to 66 as of Wednesday. The latest patient was admitted to the city's Hasan Sadikin Hospital on Wednesday.

In Madiun, East Java, the condition of a 12-year-old patient from Singkil village, Ponorogo, who is believed to be infected with the virus, remained serious.

"The patient is still in intensive care by our team of doctors, and cannot be visited yet," a Dr. Soedono Hospital spokesman said Thursday. A sample of the patient's blood has been sent to Jakarta for testing and the results would be available within a week, the spokesman said.

In Malang, a seven-year-old boy was admitted to the intensive care unit at the Saiful Anwar Hospital with suspected bird flu symptoms.

However, Gatoet Ismanoe, a doctor of the hospital, said the boy, who had earlier been treated at the Muhammad Saleh Hospital in Probolinggo, was still under observation to determine his illness.

In Batam, the local animal husbandry office sprayed disinfectant at Panglong village in Nongsa district Thursday, after laboratory tests found bird flu in the area's poultry.

At least eight chickens were found dead in the area with blue and swollen heads -- recognizable symptoms of the flu.
Posted by: Fred || 03/03/2006 08:57 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [411 views] Top|| File under:

#1  In Bandung, the number of suspected bird flu patients rose by 11 to 66

My comments got lost due to stuff. I made the point that Bandung is where the first cases of human bird flu occured in Indonesia and the current rate of ongoing infections strongly indicates to me we have sustained transmission, which means the pandemic has started here.

Whether it can be stopped is an interesting question that given time, I will say more on later.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/03/2006 9:21 Comments || Top||

#2  I project the first official outbreak will work much like this:

First of all, about 25-100 people will all come down with the flu at once. The official response, good, bad, or indifferent will *seem* to work, with no new cases and much rejoicing that "we have stopped the spread" of the disease.

Then, within a short time, a smaller number of people will come down with the disease outside of the original infection area. These cases will be incorrectly put down to "ones we missed", and the sense of relief will still be there.

And then, much further outside the original infection area, there will be several outbreaks, all seemingly unconnected to each other. And then the explosive growth of the disease starts to happen in earnest.

Every control measure taken will be "a day late and a dollar short". The local region will be quarantined only after it has spread through the country. The country will be quarantined only after it has spread to several adjacent countries, etc.

Avian flu will give us some "special effects", too. That is, even though we will be focused on the sick people, entire nation's supplies of poultry could be wiped out--their major source of protein. Starve or risk the flu?

Other domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, are everywhere in the world and spread out among the human population. If the disease also affects them, the human-animal transfer could intensify the spread of the disease enormously.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/03/2006 10:05 Comments || Top||

#3 
"...entire nation's supplies of poultry could be wiped out--their major source of protein. Starve or risk the flu?"

Well...the folks in the PI with the worm problems can always market their worm meat!

Posted by: Vinkat Bala Subrumanian || 03/03/2006 16:06 Comments || Top||

#4  If the disease also affects them

At least one cat has been diagnosed with the avian flu HN51 in France already.
Posted by: lotp || 03/03/2006 16:15 Comments || Top||

#5  11 to 66 does not a pandemic make, phil_b, especially when most of them have had bird contact to an extent that most people never do.
Posted by: Darrell || 03/03/2006 16:27 Comments || Top||

#6  The issue is, how will the pandemic start? Will it start with a big cluster of cases as Moose suggests or will it start slowly with an almost imperceptable increase in cases over time?

I think the latter, primarily because I think there are multiple changes the virus has to acquire in order to transmit efficiently in humans. One prominent virologist estimated 25 genetic changes are required for efficient transmission in humans. I know enough about evolution to know that the bulk of those changes can only be acquired through infecting people and are only retained (in the gene pool) if (once) sustained transmission occurs.

So until sustained transmission occurs all we have is a series of isolated bird to human infections and short chains of H2H transmission. Once sustained transmission occurs and we will see a steadyly increasing cluster (and then clusters). How fast the cluster increases depends on how many of those adaptations the virus has acquired. Initially, it will just have enough adaptations to maintain sustained transmission (RO just over 1) and we will see a slow increase in cases in the cluster, which is what we are seeing in Bandung.

How long it takes before we get efficient transmission and rapid spread is anyone's guess, but the 1918 pandemic indicates 1 to 2 years.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/03/2006 17:26 Comments || Top||

#7  could be Phil B, but just as intercontinental jet travel will expose people much more rapidly, we've all been exposed to bacteria and viruses that our ancestors (at least Cont. U.S.) would NEVER have been exposed to. We have antibodies for things which will never naturally occur where we now reside. I'm hoping the outbreak will be short, like you, I'm sure. Could be a real bitch in Indonesia, Burma, China, et al....
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 17:58 Comments || Top||

#8  Frank, I've thought a lot about this and much of what you read is politically correct drivel.

In a nutshell, I think even when we have thousands of cases a day, its still containable. However, whether it is contained or not will depend on local factors.

The case in Batam caught my attention. Batam is a 45 minute ferry ride from Singapore and several thousand people cross a day. If anywhere can contain an infectious H2H bird flu outbreak, Singapore can. So watch what happens when there is an outbreak there.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/03/2006 18:11 Comments || Top||

#9  lol - that's the FIRST time I've ever been accused of being Politically Correct

*slap* Slap*

I'll see you at dawn, sir. Bring a second
Posted by: Frank G || 03/03/2006 18:32 Comments || Top||

#10  Frank, I wasn't accusing you of being PC. Rather its the idea that once the pandemic starts we are all equally at risk is PC nonsense. Without going into a long complex explanation. Containment measures are additive and the number of cases in an area is a direct function of how effective the local containment measures are. The key variables are how effective the government is and how 'public spirited' the citizens are.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/03/2006 19:30 Comments || Top||


Businessmen under scrutiny over attempted Philippines coup
I think we've seen this one on the teevee two or three thousand times...
Philippine officials say they are investigating a group of businessmen for their alleged role in the failed coup plot against the government of President Gloria Arroyo. Defence secretary Avelino Cruz says his office is gathering evidence against several businessmen who are suspected of having provided funds for the attempt to overthrow the Arroyo government. The businessmen, who have not been identified, allegedly attended a meeting of the leaders of the failed coup attempt.
I'll bet it was that idiot, Cliff Barnes...
Meanwhile, the Defence and Justice secretaries and the police chief are closely monitoring the security situation in the country in the next 24 hours.
After that, you're on your own!
They say there has been a marked improvement in the situation. If this does not change, the officials say they may suggest the lifting of the state of national emergency that was declared by President Arroyo to quell attempts against her government.
Posted by: Fred || 03/03/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [305 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Nothing like a little theater to brighten up a trip. There were 5 tousand people at the protest, 17,000 showed up for the WWF event the same night. The people here were just looking for a street party.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 03/03/2006 1:29 Comments || Top||



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