From: "Martin A. Murcek, Jr."
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 23:09:18 -0400
You're a stupid, pathetic dickhead...
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An experienced survivor who has maneuvered around many obstacles, you are looked up to by those who rely on your good judgment.
In the last few years, we've stumbled. We stumbled at the death of the president, the war, and on and on. When you stumble a lot you tend to look at your feet. Now we have to make people lift their eyes back to the horizon and see the line of ancestors behind us saying, "Make my life have meaning," and to our inheritors before us saying, "create the world we will live in."
John is a character in the Babylon 5 universe. You can read his biography at the Worlds of JMS fansite.
Mystical and rain-soaked, you remain mysterious to many people, and this makes you intriguing. You also like a good night at the pub, though many are just as worried that you will blow up the pub as drink your beverage of choice. You're good with words, remarkably lucky, and know and enjoy at least fifteen ways of eating a potato. You really don't like snakes.
Finesse means abandoning frontal attacks for solutions that rely on the same kind of latent properties that led to revenge effects in the first place. Sometimes it means ceasing to suppress a symptom.
Fifty years ago on August 19, 1953, the Americans, with the help of the British, overthrew one of the few democratic governments in the Middle East. The Central Intelligence Agency carried out a coup against premier Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran and brought the Shah, who was in exile at the time, back to power. The success of this subversion emboldened the US for the coming decades to carry out similar actions in Guatemala, Chile, Cuba, Vietnam, and many other countries in the world (The Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba and the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile that led to the ascendance of Augusto Pinochet to power are just two examples).
Although the whole operation in Iran cost the US less than US$1 million (including money given to mobs and looters to create chaos in the capital), the coup proved to be much more costly for Washington than anyone could have imagined at the time. Today, it is quite clear that that operation paved the way for the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which in turn inspired fundamentalist movements in the Muslim world for decades.
Iraq is becoming a major "magnet" for al Qaeda terrorists, who now pose more of a threat than remnants of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, two analysts said Tuesday after a truck bomb killed 17 at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.
Mr. Vieira de Mello, a 30-year Brazilian veteran of many UN peacekeeping operations from the Balkans to East Timor to Africa, had been trapped in the rubble of the devastated Canal Hotel, which served as UN headquarters in the Iraqi capital. He was 55 and was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Mr. Annan mourned his death as "a bitter blow for the United Nations, and for me personally."
Mr. Vieira de Mello made the establishment of full human rights a major part of his mission to Iraq ever since he arrived at the beginning of June as Mr. Annan's Special Representative and insisted that full sovereignty should be restored to the Iraqi people as soon as possible following the occupation of the country by the United States-led coalition.
Mr. Vieira de Mello only took his Iraqi mission as a short-term four-month assignment, so important did he and the Secretary-General consider the global fight for human rights and the urgency of his return to his post as High Commissioner.
He had a long and distinguished UN career stretching over 30 years. Before being appointed to the human rights post in 2002, he was the UN Transitional Administrator in East Timor and prior to that briefly held the position of Special Representative for Kosovo. He had extensive Headquarters and field experience in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, including in Bangladesh, Sudan, Cyprus, Mozambique, Peru and Lebanon.
We have entered a dark dark tunnel and we have no idea what will happen now
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas was on hand, as was Senator James Jeffords. Jeffords said he'd come to know Gilbert personally because of his commitment to serve. He said Gilbert had sought his help after being initially rejected from the military for medical reasons.
(Jeffords) "It was an emotion I'd never had before, to fight so hard to get somebody into war. And then to have the experience of that individual killed in active duty just brings all things into turmoil. The fight - was it worth it to get him in? But you know it was what he wanted. And he's a hero in my mind. But it really raises questions again, why we're there."
Gilbert was the kind of guy who you would expect to be wearing the silver wings of the Airborne on his chest. He was a great athlete, earning a black belt in karate as a teen. He loved snowboarding and snowmobiling. He was a whiz when it came to working on cars. He was hardworking and resourceful and Vermont to the core. And he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, Robert, who served with the Army's Special Forces.
The 82nd is the Army's elite infantry division, ready to go at a moment's notice to where the action is. It was exactly where Kyle Gilbert wanted to be.
Gilbert graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in June 2001 and went straight from there to basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. He was fresh out of the Infantry School and set to begin airborne training when the Sept. 11 attacks happened. It only deepened his intensity to serve.
Today, work on IBM's latest chip technology is increasingly done in East Fishkill, N.Y., home to the company's $2.5 billion semiconductor plant that opened a year ago.
As IBM continues to move ahead with the latest technology -- vying to be the industry leader in semiconductor manufacturing -- it has made no announcements about bringing the latest technology to Essex Junction.
Jeff Couture, IBM's spokesman in Essex Junction, says the Vermont plant is no longer on the cutting edge of semiconductor manufacturing technology.
IBM in Essex Junction makes computer chips used in a range of products from cell phones to supercomputers for its own use and for other companies, a business called original equipment manufacturers, or OEM.
Bob Djurdjevic of Annex Research in Phoenix sees no future in semiconductor manufacturing, not only for Essex Junction, but for all of IBM.
IBM reported in July that its chip-making business lost $110 million in the second quarter. It is expected to post a loss for the year. A part of the loss was due to excess capacity at the East Fishkill plant.
The problem, Djurdjevic said, is that semiconductor manufacturing is moving toward cheaper labor markets overseas. Anyone trying to compete from the United States is disadvantaged by this country's higher wages and other costs.
Liberia's government and two rebel groups signed a peace deal today that outlines a plan to build an interim government from scratch, the first cautious steps to shape a new Liberia after 14 years of devastation.
The accord calls for a transitional government to take power in October from Moses Blah, who became president when Charles Taylor, indicted for crimes against humanity, went into exile in Nigeria a week ago. The three warring parties will be excluded from the two top positions in the interim government, according to the deal, and elections are to be held by 2005.
Recall that, under a cease-fire signed with rebels in Accra on June 17, 2003, Taylor pledged to step down and allow a transitional government formed in which he would play no part. But Taylor reneged, within hours of signing the accord.
More generally, peace accords have had such a dismal track record in Africa in recent times. Essentially, they are a formula for joint plunder of the state.
They attempt to establish "interim governments" "unity government" or a "government of national unity" (GNU) to "bring rebels and opposition leaders into government." A number of ministerial or government positions are reserved for rebel or opposition leaders.
But nobody is satisfied with what they get and, inevitably, bitter squabbles erupt, which often lead to the resumption of the conflict.
More than 30 such peace accords have been brokered in Africa since the 1970s with abysmal success records. Many are shredded like confetti even before the ink on them is dry.
Only Mozambique's 1991 peace accord has endured, while shaky pacts hold in Chad, Niger, and Ivory Coast.
The most spectacular failures were: Angola (1991 Bicesse Accord, and 1994 Lusaka Accord), Burundi (1993 Arusha Accord), DR Congo (July 1999 Lusaka Accord), Rwanda (1993 Arusha Accord), Sierra Leone (1999 Lome Accord) and Liberia (2003 Accra Accord).
In an interview with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service given on Thursday and released by the White House yesterday, Bush interrupted the questioner when asked about his announcement on May 1 of, as the journalist put it, "the end of combat operations."
"Actually, major military operations," Bush replied. "Because we still have combat operations going on." Bush added: "It's a different kind of combat mission, but, nevertheless, it's combat, just ask the kids that are over there killing and being shot at."
In his May 1 speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln, Bush declared: "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country." The headline on the White House site above Bush's May 1 speech is "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended."
U.S. authorities have appointed a media commissioner to govern broadcasters and the press, establish training programs for journalists and plan for the establishment of a state-run radio and television network -- part of an effort to regulate Iraq's burgeoning news media while dodging allegations of heavy-handed control.
In June, L. Paul Bremer, the civil administrator in Iraq, issued guidelines for all media outlets here, forbidding them from inciting violence, promoting "ethnic and religious hatred" or circulating false information "calculated to promote opposition" to the occupation authority.
Occasionally, U.S. soldiers have raided newspaper offices deemed to be in breach of the regulations, and they have closed at least two newspapers and one radio station. But the delicacy of sending heavily armed troops to enforce media rules has prompted the occupation officials to look for other ways to exercise their power to censor.
If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize -- very publicly and very sincerely -- to all the widows and orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. Then I would announce that America's global military interventions have come to an end. I would then inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but -- oddly enough -- a foreign country. Then I would reduce the military budget by at least 90 percent and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims and repair the damage from the many American bombings, invasions and sanctions. There would be enough money. One year of our military budget is equal to more than $20,000 per hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born. That's one year. That's what I'd do on my first three days in the White House.
On the fourth day, I'd probably be assassinated.
With terrorist attacks like that against USS Cole (DDG 67) in October 2000 still a very real possibility, the U.S. Navy has a new ally in the global war on terrorism – the Mk 6 anti-swimmer dolphin system.
Taking over from the Sea Lion Shallow Water Intruder Detection System, the dolphins, operated by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 3, provide significant operational force protection capabilities to the 5th Fleet theater. The Navy’s selection of bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions for its operational systems is based on a variety of factors, one of the most important of which is their ability to work comfortably and effectively in a wide variety of environments.
With capabilities that humans and hardware lack, the swimmer defense dolphins provide a formidable defense for U.S. Navy ships and facilities. Their ability to operate in diverse environments make them easily deployable to other areas in the Arabian Gulf, providing stability in the region, and a strong deterrent against terrorist attacks.
Howard Dean personally appealed to young Democratic activists to support his campaign for the presidential nomination with a stinging attack on President Bush as someone who favored the rich and was fiscally irresponsible.
The former Vermont governor was the only one of the nine active candidates who appeared in person at the biennial convention of the 43,000-member Young Democrats of America being held in Buffalo.
Asked about that after his speech, Dean said: "I think they missed a great opportunity. This group of people are the people who are putting us over the top." He told the crowd that it was his third, straight YDA convention.
Dean aides provided all those attending the convention with pledge cards they could sign, promising to get at least 10 young people each to register to vote. And, Dean was promoting his own special Web site for young voters: www.generationdean.com.
Over the past nearly two years, approximately 10,000 people, invariably branded as al-Qaeda suspects, have been rounded up all over the world in the name of the "war on terror"...Many of those arrested have been described as exceedingly dangerous, although there have been some obvious mistakes, such as an aging, toothless man from Afghanistan who was eventually set free.
IBM cut 500 jobs on Monday at its semiconductor plant in Essex Junction, and told another 3,000 workers they will have to take a week of unpaid leave next month.
The company also cut another 100 jobs at other plants throughout the country.
The news comes on the heels of a second quarter loss of $110 million in the Technology Group, which includes the Essex Junction plant.
"We are not seeing any strong improvement on the horizon," said IBM spokesman Jeff Couture. "Our revenue has declined which has impacted profit. If we can't increase revenue, we need to cut costs. That's why we are taking these steps. We believe they are necessary for the long term health and short term stability of the company."
Workers affected included engineers, technicians, product design and development. Manufacturing jobs were not affected, Couture said. Earlier this months 2,400 manufacturing workers at the plant had their hours cut from 84 hours to 72 hours in a two-week period.
The other 100 workers cut were from IBM sites in Raleigh, N.C., Austin, Texas, Rochester, Minn., and Endicott, N.Y.
The cuts are effective immediately, though workers will be paid through Oct. 17 and receive a severance package, Couture said. Those asked to take a week off will do so during September, Couture said.
When the city becomes a vast prison
You ought to be
Cautious like a sharpened sword
Simple like a grain of wheat
And patient like a camel
What commonsense knowledge would we expect such a helper robot to possess? Examples of indoor commonsense includes knowledge like coffee is made in a coffee maker which is in a kitchen; to find out if it is raining one needs to look out of an open window; master bedroom usually has a attached bath; and so on. We will be collecting indoor commonsense knowledge in the form of template and freeform sentences.
The second component of this project will be to label images of objects commonly found indoors in homes and offices. What are the objects and indoor scenes we would like the robot to recognize? Examples include cups, telephones, coffee maker labels for images with single objects. Here users will be able to label existing images in the database as well as upload new images.
Few hours after a bloody raid on a police station that left 22 people dead, three Afghan soldiers were killed in a fresh raid in southern Kabul, as an American military spokesman said a U.S.-led base came under rocket attack over the weekend in the war-scarred country.
Some 20 months after the fall of the Taliban, members of the militia continue to launch regular attacks on the U.S.-led forces and government and foreign targets, particularly in the south and southeast which was its former heartland.
But anti-American and anti-government sentiments are also rising among local inhabitants who are angry at the slow pace of reconstruction process in the war-shattered country.
In a turbulent 12-hour stretch, a pipeline supplying much of Baghdad's water was blown up this weekend, a huge new fire was set off along an oil pipeline, and a mortar attack on a prison left 6 Iraqis dead and 59 wounded.
The attacks raised new concerns that the insurgents who have been singling out American soldiers may be widening their strikes to include civilian targets and economic sabotage.
Four months after the fall of President Saddam Hussein's government, the overall U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq has encountered a...mix of success and failure. Although the occupation authority has compiled a lengthy list of achievements -- from setting up municipal councils in 85 percent of the country's towns to distributing monthly food rations and allowing Iraqi judges to dismiss suspects arrested by American soldiers -- glaring troubles persist. Electricity production still is well below prewar levels. The unemployment rate is 60 percent. Fuel is in short supply, causing hours-long waits at gas stations. Murders, carjackings and other violent crimes are rampant.
Those problems have fueled complaints on the streets of Baghdad and other cities that the Americans are not working, spending or devolving authority fast enough.
"Why don't they give all the unemployed people a stipend? Why don't they bring in generators so we'll have electricity? Why don't they give our policemen more cars so they can protect us?" asked Kassim Mohammed, an out-of-work engineer who participated in a recent demonstration over a lack of jobs held outside the gates of the vast Republican Palace, which houses the headquarters of the occupation authority. "America can do it if it wants to."
"The Americans say that they came to liberate us, but what have I gained from them? Two bullets in my leg and one in my stomach," Rahim said.
The US-appointed governor of Salahuddin Province, which includes Tikrit, said that, "the treatment by Americans of the people is as in any other province." He paused. "However, the Americans can be very forceful."
Far from the airconditioned hallways of power, ordinary Iraqis are increasingly employing a familiar language of oppression and resistance to describe their condition.
"The US here are an occupation force," said Jameel, who would only give his first name. “Their tanks are doing the same as the Israelis’ in Palestine. They will never persuade us that they are liberation forces. When they kill or destroy anything, the resistance will multiply. We are a Muslim people and our religion and tradition will never allow us to be slaves.”
In a press conference the day before, Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer said that the regular attacks on American forces were "carried out by killers who cannot accept the free and democratic Iraq that now exists."
It is hard to reconcile this portrait with Adel, a mechanic who was also afraid to give his full name.
"My neighbour is Kurdish and yet we treat each other as brothers" he said, "I am a Tikriti Sunni and my wife is Shiite. Religion and race will not be a barrier to us. What we want as ordinary people is for our political and religious leaders to take control. We want to live in peace in a unified Iraq.
"However, now if we find out that somebody has been helping the Americans we will kill them. Even if my own son was an informer I would kill him.
"There is no organization behind it. It is not the Baath Party," continued Adel, when asked about the attacks on US troops. "My family and friends are insulted by the Americans every day and every day we sit down in the evenings and discuss revenge. Maybe one day I will carry out some attacks myself. In the past a famous Iraqi poet said, 'When I visited Tikrit I discovered fire.'"
The perils of a rapid exit are many, but the only alternative is a prolonged occupation that offers no greater guarantees of success, at far greater cost.
As major areas within Verizon's northeastern service territory continued to recover from power blackouts, some industry analysts said the electric grid's woes could create new pressure on the phone giant and its unions to reach a quick settlement to avoid a strike or other disruptions to the dominant phone network in the Boston-Washington region.
Billions of dollars are needed to shore up the faltering North American power grid if more big blackouts are to be avoided, but the incentives needed to lure that kind of cash are missing, energy analysts say.
"We need between $50 billion and $100 billion over several years to upgrade the nation's transmission system," said Kurt Yeager, president and chief executive officer at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Palo Alto, California.
Microsoft said it had thwarted a hacker's attempt to attack the software maker's most important website with a computer worm that itself contained a critical flaw.
The so-called Blaster worm, which still infects an estimated 300,000 computers worldwide, was programmed to bombard the Windows Update site from the stroke of midnight in each country Saturday morning. The attacks began midmorning Friday in the United States when clocks on infected computers in Australia struck midnight.
But security experts said the worm was poorly designed because it targeted the "windowsupdate.com" website, which redirected users to Microsoft's update page, "windowsupdate.microsoft.com", rather than targeting the actual update page itself.
In Baghdad, engineers warned it would take eight hours to repair the breached water pipeline that flooded main roads in the city.
The International Red Cross said some 300,000 residents were without water and warned of people's increasing impatience with the lack of reliable basic services.
Officials say the water pipeline was sabotaged...
"None of the main sewage-treatment plants within Baghdad are working, but most of the main pumping stations are working," Peter Sherlock, the UN coordinator for water and sanitation, told IRIN. "This means that the sewage is being pumped through the system, but that it's basically bypassing the treatment plants and going straight into the river."
For Iraq's most vulnerable populations, especially its children, the consequences can be devastating. "Because of the lack of access to clean water, we've already seen a doubling of diarrhoeal diseases compared to this time last year: these could be typhoid, dysentery, cholera or just diarrhoea," said UNICEF's Geoffrey Keele. "The worrying thing about this is that 70 percent of all children's ailments are linked to contaminated water."
Rehabilitation work is under way at water treatment plants, and tankers go daily to an increasing number of locations in the city. But Sherlock believes it could be five years before the country's water system is running efficiently again.
It's amazing how the simplest post can really rile you up. All that needs to be said about Amin has been said, and I was merely bringing up something I remember from when I was a kid. Yes, I'm lucky I didn't live in Uganda or [fill in the blank], as I'll note you are. I'm also lucky I didn't live in Ukraine like the rest of my family when Stalin (and later, Hitler) liquidated the remnants of my family. I don't think that means I have to wring my hands about it in every post.
Thanks for the traffic, fuckwit.
It's 4 a.m. on a sweltering summer night in July 2003. Across much of the United States, power plants are working full tilt to generate electricity for millions of air conditioners that are keeping a ferocious heat wave at bay. The electricity grid in California has repeatedly buckled under the strain, with rotating blackouts from San Diego to Santa Rosa.
In different parts of the state, half a dozen small groups of men and women gather. Each travels in a rented minivan to its prearranged destination - for some, a location outside one of the hundreds of electrical substations dotting the state; for others, a spot upwind from key, high-voltage transmission lines. The groups unload their equipment from the vans. Those outside the substations put together simple mortars made from materials bought at local hardware stores, while those near the transmission lines use helium to inflate weather balloons with long silvery tails. At a precisely coordinated moment, the homemade mortars are fired, sending showers of aluminum chaff over the substations. The balloons are released and drift into the transmission lines.
Simultaneously, other groups are doing the same thing along the Eastern Seaboard and in the South and Southwest. A national electrical system already under immense strain is massively short-circuited, causing a cascade of power failures across the country. Traffic lights shut off. Water and sewage systems are disabled. Communications systems break down. The financial system and national economy come screeching to a halt.
The vulnerability of advanced nations stems...from the increased vulnerability of the West's economic and technological systems. This...vulnerability is the product of two key social and technological developments: first, the growing complexity and interconnectedness of our modern societies; and second, the increasing geographic concentration of wealth, human capital, knowledge, and communication links...
All human societies encompass a multitude of economic and technological systems. We can think of these systems as networks - that is, as sets of nodes and links among those nodes. The U.S. economy consists of numerous nodes, including corporations, factories, and urban centers; it also consists of links among these nodes, such as highways, rail lines, electrical grids, and fiber-optic cables. As societies modernize and become richer, their networks become more complex and interconnected...
Complex and interconnected networks sometimes have features that make their behavior unstable and unpredictable. In particular, they can have feedback loops that produce vicious cycles. A good example is a stock market crash, in which selling drives down prices, which begets more selling. Networks can also be tightly coupled, which means that links among the nodes are short, therefore making it more likely that problems with one node will spread to others. When drivers tailgate at high speeds on freeways, they create a tightly coupled system: A mistake by one driver, or a sudden shock coming from outside the system, such as a deer running across the road, can cause a chain reaction of cars piling onto each other. We've seen such knock-on effects in the U.S. electrical, telephone, and air traffic systems, when a failure in one part of the network has sometimes produced a cascade of failures across the country. Finally, in part because of feedbacks and tight coupling, networks often exhibit nonlinear behavior, meaning that a small shock or perturbation to the network produces a disproportionately large disruption.
Terrorists and other malicious individuals can magnify their own disruptive power by exploiting these features of complex and interconnected networks...
How would a Clausewitz of terrorism proceed? He would pinpoint the critical complex networks upon which modern societies depend. They include networks for producing and distributing energy, information, water, and food; the highways, railways, and airports that make up our transportation grid; and our healthcare system. Of these, the vulnerability of the food system is particularly alarming. However, terrorism experts have paid the most attention to the energy and information networks, mainly because they so clearly underpin the vitality of modern economies.
The energy system - which comprises everything from the national network of gas pipelines to the electricity grid - is replete with high-value nodes like oil refineries, tank farms, and electrical substations. At times of peak energy demand, this network (and in particular, the electricity grid) is very tightly coupled. The loss of one link in the grid means that the electricity it carries must be offloaded to other links. If other links are already operating near capacity, the additional load can cause them to fail, too, thus displacing their energy to yet other links.
Past policies are inadequate. The advantage in this war has shifted toward terrorists. Our increased vulnerability - and our newfound recognition of that vulnerability - makes us more risk-averse, while terrorists have become more powerful and more tolerant of risk. (The September 11 attackers, for instance, had an extremely high tolerance for risk, because they were ready and willing to die.) As a result, terrorists have significant leverage to hurt us. Their capacity to exploit this leverage depends on their ability to understand the complex systems that we depend on so critically. Our capacity to defend ourselves depends on that same understanding.
The failure of three transmission lines in northern Ohio was the likely trigger of the nation's biggest power blackout, a leading investigator said Saturday.
Firefighters battled a blaze on Iraq's key oil pipeline to Turkey Saturday, August16 , as another U.S. soldier was wounded in an attack by resistance activists fighting the U.S.-led forces occupying their country.
Right-thinking moral Americans are always asking me "Ayn, where can I take my family on vacation without exposing them to decadence and acres of exposed flesh?" Here's my suggestion: go to Utah, the most Republican state in the union, where the values of an Old Testament God are still honored (but without all that bothersome Jewish stuff about circumcisions and not eating blood).
In Jakarta, a suicide bomber dispatched by Osama bin Laden's regional protégés detonates a devastating blast outside an American-owned hotel, blowing apart 10 people. In Baghdad, two days later, a bomb rips through the Jordanian embassy claiming up to 19 lives in what is thought to be a revenge attack by another Al Qaida-linked faction, for Amman's Western-leaning politics.
For the fanatical disciples of the Saudi terrorist mastermind, it has been another murderously good week - even if nearly all the victims were unsuspecting Indonesians and Iraqis who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Yet the name of the man declared the world's "most wanted" by U.S. President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001, attacks is rarely mentioned by senior administration figures these days. Senator Bob Graham, a Democratic presidential hopeful and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, recently said that Washington had "lost focus" on Al Qaida and bin Laden when it turned its attention to war with Iraq. The Bush administration had turned him into "Osama bin Forgotten", he added.
Bush last spoke of him in public in June, when he insisted to reporters: "If Osama bin Laden is alive, the people reporting to him, the chief operators, are no longer a threat. Slowly but surely, we're dismantling his networks."
The evidence of the past few days suggests otherwise: the tentacles of Al Qaida are still active - as senior Pentagon officials acknowledge. Some fear that the original goals of the war on terror declared by Bush have been sidelined as Washington pours men and resources into Iraq, first to overthrow Saddam and now to track him down.
Sitting in the dark, as my laptop battery runs low, I don't know if the truth about deregulation will ever see the light --until we change the dim bulb in the White House.
TO LISTEN TO THE FUSS Europeans are making about their weather, anyone would think that it was actually hot over there.
Okay, so maybe it's a bit warmer than usual. Temperatures across the continent have shot up into the 90s and once or twice have topped 100 degrees in London and Paris. But is this really hot -- hot enough to close businesses, hot enough to cancel trains (the tracks might buckle), hot enough to wax nostalgic for the summer rain to which some Europeans, notably residents of the British Isles, are more accustomed?
Last time we checked, the weather here in Washington was in the upper 80s, which is average to low for this time of year. Temperatures in Houston and Dallas in the past couple of days have topped 100, as they usually do in summer. Yet somehow, no one's talking about extraordinary measures being taken by Texans or Washingtonians.
Notwithstanding the changing of the guard in Kabul, which sees the North Atlantic Treaty Organization taking over command of the International Security Assistance Force, the resistance network that covers large swathes of the country is firmly in place.
The evolving situation in Afghanistan - and Iraq for that matter - represents the designs of the International Islamic Front, which aims to draw the enemy (US) to battlefields, where it will be engaged in protracted warfare that will reap a heavy human and economic toll - much as happened to the former Soviet Union in its misadventure in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
To this end, the Front is recruiting fighters from around the world - and especially from Pakistan and the Central Asian republics - to become its new martyrs on the killing fields of Afghanistan.
We are a major superpower with a third-world electrical grid," said Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who served as energy secretary in the Clinton administration. "Our grid is antiquated. It needs serious modernization."
For the first time, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is leading the Democratic field for the 2004 presidential elections, according to a new tracking poll taken by InsiderAdvantage in conjunction with MWI Research.
Of respondents who said they plan to vote next year for someone other than President Bush, 15.6 percent indicated they would vote for Dean. This nearly doubles his percentage of 8.6 from the previous month’s poll.
The poll was conducted August 6-9. It sampled 500 Americans and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
"This is an amazing change of circumstances," said Matt Towery, a Creators Syndicate columnist and co-founder of InsiderAdvantage. "Since the inception of our cumulative polling on this race, Joe Lieberman had led the Democratic field of candidates, usually by a comfortable margin.
But Dean's powerful Internet-based campaign, coupled with the sudden burst of publicity he has received from the national media, has catapulted him to the front of the pack."
Towery, in a special column today in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, termed Dean’s populist style and use of the Internet as “electro-pop” politics.
InsiderAdvantage is conducting a running, monthly tracking poll of the 2004 presidential race and has polled more than 6,000 Americans since early January. The company is known for its accurate polling of political races in the 2002 elections.
Dean, who recently made the cover of three national newsweeklies, appears to be the one challenger to George W. Bush who is putting a new spin on the time-tested strategy of populism. One might even call Dean's style, with its heavy emphasis on the Internet, "electro-pop."
Rather than pandering to traditional Democratic power groups such as trial attorneys, unions or urban bosses, he is focusing on rural America and the thousands of towns and smaller cities that serve it as centers of daily life. Small-town life predominates Vermont, and Dean is promising to help restore rural communities.
He has tied positions on virtually every issue -- from the economy to the environment -- to the development and growth of rural areas, where he contends that President Bush's policies had little positive impact.
For many people in less densely populated areas, the Web has become a primary tool, from shopping to entertainment. So it may be that Dean's "small-town" thinking was the genesis of his campaign's celebrated strategy to have Web-using supporters forward campaign literature to others.
A certain anti-war tool by the name of Todd rapturiously blogs about his new "Healthy Lawn" enviromentally-correct lawn-mower:
"Mowed the lawn with my new Neuton cordless electric lawnmower this afternoon. It's sweet."
I am always amazed at the greenies gullibilty...where the fuck does this asshat think the electricity to charge his "environmentally friendy" POS comes from? Oil and coal burning generation plants...Jeebus.
Shouldn't Todd be pushing a manual mower or grazing a goat? Not charging a "cordless" model.
Stupis is forever.
Just as the fuckwits in their overpriced Prius slogmobiles don't think about the production of batteries, one of the nastiest chemical soups-in -a-brick on the face of the planet...or battery disposal.
P.T.Barnum was right.
Actually, I know exactly where the electricity comes from, given my wife used to work for GreenMountain.com. The "green" issue is whether I use an inefficient 2-cycle mower, which is part of a distributed pollution problem, versus using power from generating plants that are single-point polluters and thus easier to make "clean". I also do use a manual mower. Further, I've chosen to only mow about 1/4 of my 2 acre plot.
From a more "form over function" POV, I actually like the fact that it's incredibly lightweight, whisper quiet, has mulcher and trimmer attachments, and I don't ever need to go get gas or oil.
In other words, Barnum's maxim doesn't enter into it. You might've learned that had you bothered to investigate my motivations instead of making assumptions about me. But perhaps that's unfair of me, because I've certainly made some about you based on your comment.
Anyway, thanks for the traffic. Lemme know if you ever want to borrow the Neuton, or a DR Field and Brush mower. Can't help you with the goat.
Actually Ed, that was a brain fart on my part. My gas trimmer is 2-stroke, my gas mower is 4. There are still 2-fers out there, but I think they are generally older models (like the one my folks used to have). Serves me right for typing in a fit of pique...
As demanded by President George Bush, President Charles Taylor - a warlord turned president - stepped down from office on August 11, 2003, handed over power to his vice-president, Moses Blah, and left Liberia.
Rather than advance the cause for peace, his contrived departure adds more confusion and could potentially derail efforts to bring peace to Liberia.
The excessive focus on the departure of Charles Taylor elevated him to a status and conferred upon him a legitimacy he did not deserve.
An indicted war criminal, he committed acts of grotesque atrocities, and sponsored the savage RUF in Sierra Leone, whose trademark was hacking off the limbs of those that stood in their way.
Preoccupation with the departure of Taylor diverted attention from on-going peace talks in Accra, Ghana.
[T]hose talks, involving the government, two rebel factions (LURD and MODEL), 18 political parties and 5 civil society organizations, are faltering.
If the peace talks collapse, Moses Blah would continue to serve as president but would be rejected by the rebel movements as a clone of Taylor and not to be trusted.
The skaz technique was most often used to circumvent Tsarist - and Soviet - censorship.
[T]he whole concept of skaz [is] turned on its head, as entities steeped in right-wing regressive elitism censor second-hand expressions of noxious bigotry, while leaving the originals unscathed.
Baghdad had no electricity for a whole day. Call me the master of all whiners but do you have any idea what it feels like to sleep in 50C? I guess with the current heat wave you have a taste. Today's office stories: Muhammad, one of the drivers, decided the best place for his family to sleep was in the car with the engine running and the air-conditioning on. Shihab was up every couple of hours getting water for his kids because he was afraid they would totally dehydrate. Everyone who got into the office today had bags under their eyes and a bad headache. Haifa, the nice lady who makes sure we have coffee in the morning, was ranting about having to watch "this Paul something" give us lies on TV everyday. She actually described Paul Bremer as another Saddam; we see him every day on TV, and the news is all about what he says and what he does. Next we'll have statues of him in the streets. Somehow you feel like he lives in a bubble and has absolutely no idea what the people are saying.
Listen to Bremer talk about improvements in the electrical situation while Basra is rioting. I just didn't believe my eyes when I saw the images from Basra. I am guessing that the reason we didn't have electricity for a whole day in Baghdad is because they wanted to patch things up in Basra. Two days of riots and about eight Iraqis injured. At least the Coalition forces didn't call the rioters "Saddam loyalists", at least there is some acknowledgment that these are people who are upset with the way the occupation forces are mismanaging the country. And it is getting out of hand. Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriyah all going up in one day and Baqubah being added to the list of cities not really under control.
G. my friend got beaten up by US Army last night, he was handcuffed and had a bag put on his head. he was kicked several times and was made to lie on his face for a while. All he wanted to do was to take pictures and report on an attack, he works for the New York Times as a translator and fixer. He got more kicks for speaking english.
his sin: he looks Iraqi and has a beard.
"do you think that iraq will ever have a democracy"..."i don't know...there are to many different tribes and groups that don't agree"..."yeah that's what i think too"...the g.i. escort shows back up with the plumbers...i stand and extend my hand...and he takes it quickly..."my name is sean...it was very nice to meet you"..."yes yes my name is Nasam"...
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.