Showing posts from July 9, 2006
Vatican condemns Israel for attacks on Lebanon

A few things bother me about this one. The Holy See condemned the terrorist attacks and the military response but the condemnation of the terror attacks is barely mentioned. Why?

Second, what precisely does the Holy See propose that Israel do? Simply endure hundreds and hundreds of rocket attacks until they either get bored or run out of ammo?

War is a scourge but pacifism in the face of tyranny is objectively evil.
For all you morons is the opening of De La Where's post in re: the NYT and financial monitoring programs. The article he cites, in my view, is not the slam dunk he thinks it is. This is a question of intentions vs. capabilities.

That the US was seeking to track terrorist financing is certainly not news. It didn't start after 9/11 and certainly won't end with the disclosure of the SWIFT program. As the article states, the US declared in open session their intention to use the SWIFT program. That doesn't mean the program wasn't secret. It is conceivable that we would not have been able to monitor the program nor that it was in motion. Shining the largest light in media upon the program was a bad idea, a betrayal (not a service) of the public trust and damaged our ability to monitor terrorists. The same voices that were up in arms over the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity and called for impeachment are now dismissing the SWIFT story with a sniff an…
In From the Cold looks at The Israeli Strategy with the unjaundiced eye of a pragmatist. There's a fair amount of information I didn't know. Specifically, I didn't know about the bunkers near the airport. Read the whole thing.
Blogging the Bible. Some of this is funny in a snarky way. Reminds me of reading Kausfiles if he covered the Bible.
The Plank points to more cracks on the Left. Can Democrats keep the party together? Should they? We see similar cracks on the right. Will we see a viable third party candidate in 2008? Probably not but the two parties are clearly going to have to reorient themselves to resort the voters into different groups.
More on Israel's latest war:
Israel’s Invasion, Syria’s War

The author astutely points out that there are serious dangers in attacking Lebanon. In my estimation, clearing Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon would be the completion of the Cedar Revolution. However, the Lebanese might not see it that way and would resent Israel's interference. How can Israel not intervene? Lebanon is either unable or unwilling to control the terrorists in their soverign territory. You can bet if we had a hundred rockets launched from Montreal at Vermont and New Hampshire we'd do something about it no matter what Ottowa had to say.

Israel foolishly used measured responses for terror attacks from Gaza and other territories from which it withdrew in hopes of garnering praise from "the world community". They are now seeing the price of restraint when dealing with terrorists. Unless or until Israel really starts to prosecute them in earnest (with extreme prejudice if you like Summer…
A new intolerance visits Provincetown

Welcome to Bizarro World. This is evidence that majority will always seek to suppress the minority no matter who that majority is. Add in a victim status and it ups the ante.
I watched the first installment of "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" last night. It was the episode entitled "Battleground". Simply put, it was extraordinary. The adaptation was faithful to the original. Acting and direction were better than most feature films. The most amazing part was the total lack of dialog. There are no spoken words for the entire hour. As far as I know, that's a first. (Although I think there's an episode of Buffy that was silent as well. Not sure, if anyone knows, let me know in the comments)

Highly recommend it. Can't wait for the rest of the installments.
White Sands missile test phenomenal'. Who's laughing now? They laughed and belittled Ronald Reagan. They suddenly became concerned with ROI for government spending. (Where's the ROI on poverty programs?) The MSM belittled the program by dubbing it "Star Wars". Where are they now?
The Jawa Report: Fidel Castro Rumored Dead....Again

Update to previous post about Fidel taking a dirt nap:

Sounds like this could just be a rumor but there are things that give me pause. For one, remember when King Fahd died he was dead for some time before he official announcment. Why? It is believed his family had to work out issues of power and control before the announcment was made. Otherwise, a power struggle might ensue and that's bad for business. Could be the same thing here.

Then there's this:

He's stronger than ever

Methinks thou doest protest too much. Like Baghdad Bob he's giving the an outrageous and contrary spin on known facts.

Remember also when John Paul II was ill and certain to die, his condition was described as "grave" which insiders say was a way to tip them off that they ought to get themselves to the Vatican and start the funeral apparatus in motion.

In either case, we should know more in the next week or so. With rumors of his …
Most Expensive Home in the world. Watch the video.

Bear with me as this one is a bit like a game of telephone. I got it from Varifrank, who got it from Babublog who got it from Jonah...

Two e-friends working on Wall Street say rumors are running around that he's bought the big one. I find nothing on the wires.

If the rumors are true, this would be great news. Could Cuba finally join the free world? Will Ernesto try to fill the vaccuum?

Rumors of Fidel's ill health have been circulating for years and a few years ago he collapsed while making a speech. The guy is 80 so he isn't going to be around forever, even if the rumors are false. I have read numerous reports of American and European businesses making plans for "after" as they call it. They know there's big money to be made in Cuba if the embargo is ever lifted and if give up the veneer of socialism which is used as cover for Castro's kleptocracy.

I know I shouldn't rejoice when people die but when those people are evil, I see it as the triumph…
We Didn't Start The Fire

This kid is a genius.
Death Toll at 105 in India Train Bombings. Early indicators point to members of the Religion of Peace(TM). Quelle surprise. Looks like the jihadis in Pakistan are upping the ante. It will be very telling to see how India responds. We have not heard much of late about Musharraf and how tenuous his hold on power is there. I suspect he's been keeping himself out of the press as much as possible given that he's been aiding the US in the GWOT. Any media reports of Pakistan aiding the US on that matter would undoubtedly be problematic for him at home. I may be jumping the gun by pointing to Pakistan as the source for the bombers but it wouldn't be new or surprising. More info as it's available.
Taliban in search of a winning formula. Something tells me they're going to be looking for a long time.
Westhawk: "China is working behind the scenes to develop a diplomatic compromise that will defer Japan’s proposed resolution and thus any action against North Korea (and Iran). Even if China papers over the problem this time, it is too late for China to repair its reputation. By consistently protecting its roguish friends, China is only hardening a growing alliance against it.

Observers will study China’s decisions and try to determine whether there is some hidden cleverness behind them, or bureaucratic inertia, or just ordinary stupidity. Experienced statesmen will ignore such examinations and instead focus on China’s actual decisions. And then respond, as Japan, the U.S., and others will, to protect their interests."

Westhawk correctly points out that the Chinese have lost their reputation, their "face" if you will. Something that is very important in Asian culture and quite often underappreciated in the West. We have a concept of "face" as well but it&…
Rosett's Notebook is still covering the biggest financial scandal in history. No other major media outlet has noticed. (The WSJ's passing mentions don't count.)

The trial so far has included elements straight out of a bad made for TV spy thriller. The briefcase filled with cash, company names like "Phoenix International", a host of shady characters and a slew of exotic locations. That the whole thing appears to have been running just barely under the surface of the UN surprises no one.

The UN's track record of corruption has been well documented but is met by its supporters by a dismissive wave and a shrug of "yeah, and...?" by it's detractors.

Churchill famously remarked that "jaw-jaw" was better than "war-war". While that is true, the price for "jaw-jaw" seems to be a high one indeed. The US garners hisses and clucks of disapproval from the "world community" (Do they have a webpage? -ed.) for ou…
Mastermind of Russian school siege killed. Rot in hell you bastard.
Wow. Kim wanted attention and it looks like he's got much more than he bargained for. I've long believed that Japan's self-imposed constraints on its military was strategically not smart. China's rising naval force is something Japan should be very concerned about, the US Navy notwithstanding. Now with North Korea increasing the frequency and severity of their sabre rattling the time is overdue in an expansion of their force projection hardware.

I don't know offhand if there's a Japanese equivalent to Noble Eagle but if there isn't there ought to be. I wonder if Kim's latest antics have changed public opinion in Seoul or Okinowa.
So I watched the Rosary Murders this weekend in all it's gritty 70's glory. Donald Sutherland is a good lead and conveys the appropriate gloom and exasperation at his inflexible superior. Overall the movie wasn't bad but the last scene left me puzzled. If anyone has seen (and remembers it) please leave a comment.


Saw Coogan's Bluff (well part of it anyway) and I remember liking it but it was simply awful. Boring. The only part worth watching was the opening sequence which shows the city circa 1968. (His cab ride from the airport was $3.00)
World Cup Final recap:

A great game. Both teams were evenly matched and Zidane was a deciding factor for France. His ejection after a classless headbutt hurt the team not only in ability by in spirit.

Even the French coach said:

"Yes, well, he was missed in the last 20 minutes tonight. It weighed heavily in the outcome."

Trezeguet's heartbreaking shot to the crossbar (and it was a missile) broke the French team.

Italy played well but were on the defensive more often than not. Either by design or a reaction to the faster game the French team was pushing as evidenced by their early goal. Whatever the reason, they kissing the trophy when all was said and done.

Third Place Game Portugal v. Germany

Portugal was absolutely manhandled by Germany. Klose wasn't as strong as in previous games but Schwiensteiger was in top form. Two goals and endless stamina had Portugal reeling from first touch.

Team USA: Where do we go from here?

Retire Bruce Arena. He was an excellent pl…
I've been remiss in my coverage of Marching Season as they call in in Northern Ireland.

For the uninitiated, it's the time of year when Protestants celebrate supremacy over Catholics in Northern Ireland. They hold a series of marches starting on July 3rd and culminating on July 12th which marks King James' victory over the Catholics in Ireland in 1690.

Critics of the Orangemen liken this to a Klan march. Supports say its a celebration of their culture. To me, this is short of a Klan rally but more like the Southern Partisan crowd if they regaled themselves in Civil war garb and marched behind a Dixie battleflag and played offensive songs.

The Orangmen also have a penchant for marching through predominantly Catholic neighborhoods. (Imagine the Civil War parade mentioned above happening in Compton, CA or Camden, NJ and you get the idea). They (rightly IMO) claim they are citizens and have the right to march wherever they want. I don't have a problem with them marc…
The wrong size glass is Donald Sensing's roundup of Steven Den Beste's views on energy and power. (Is that meta enough for you?) It's a much more elegant recap of the problems with energy and fuel that we're facing than the ones I have previously posted.

It's concise and encapsulates the enormity of the challenge we're facing.
Bomb tunnel, flood city. Many moons ago (circa 1995) I used to commute into NYC every day from Jersey. Like the rest of the lumpenproles taking the bus in the freezing predawn twilight, I would silently muse to myself the catastrophe that would be wrought if there ever was a tunnel collapse. Stallone made a movie in that vein and Stephen King had a character fighting through the darkened tunnel in a post-apocalyptic New York. I never liked when we stopped dead or even inched slowly through and not just because of the fumes that would be enough to give you a hell of a headache. I used to imagine the deluge of water that would submerge large sections of Manhattan's west side. If you look at the link, you can see what the likely path of the water would be. What the map doesn't tell you is that the 34th street station is a very large complex and massive amounts of water would flood the A,C,E and B,D lines immediately and severely. That water would follow the lines downtown…
Faster is safer. Yes, thank you.

I learned to drive in the NJ Turnpike and in New York City where the weak are eaten. This has a lot to do with why my daily trek up I-95 through PA makes me nuts. Rookies. Worse yet, rookies on their cellphones. (Don't get me started on Delaware drivers).

What the article omits is the effect of the raised speed limit on revenue. I suspect it is approximately zero. For every 65 MPH speed limit, you'll have plenty of people driving north of 80.

Delaware keeps it's small stretch of interstate highway at 55 as a revenue genreation measure. (It's not about safety as we don't have a helmet law for motorcyclists. Any state that lacks a helmet law cannot tell me about safety with a straight face. NB: I still have to wear my seatbelt despite my airbag) That limit isn't going anywhere.

Has anyone noticed how my kids are in life threatening danger when they're in my car without a crash helmet, carbon fiber racing shell, ro…
U.N. Nuclear Chief Pulled Inspector at Iran's Request cue John Bolton for a hissy fit. I have no time for Bardei. He was the one who was about to tell the world that Iran had no nuclear program four minutes before Iran announced to the world that they were a nuclear power. Likewise we heard nothing from the IAEA about Pakistan and India prior to their testing.
Shia death squads are now more of a problem than the Sunni ones if the article is to be believed. If so, it's likely that the Army and Iraqi SF will have more leverage to disarm them than they had over the Sunnis. Let's hope this ends quickly and bloodlessly.
The python strategy: North Korea in the squeeze

I've been wondering of late how we were going to handle Iran and North Korea. We are unable to have any real traction against either of them alone. China supplies the DPRK with the bulk of its oil without which, they would be unable to do much of anything.

If there is as much coorindation as hinted at in the article(s) this might be an effective way of harassing and hampering them enough to force them to give up their missile program.

The problem is they have nowhere to turn. Kim has reportedly told his inner circle that if they do not suppress the populace, they will undoubtedly not survive either an uprising or a coup. Kim knows he has to hold on tightly if he is to survive. Any cracks in that control and things might fall very quickly.

He has been trying to do a mutant version of China's "one country, two systems". He created "Special Economic Zones" where foreign investors have access to North Kore…
Morgan from House of Eratosthenes is a genius. Why? He called me "interesting" so he must be a genius. Now that he's onboard I've doubled my readership to two. (The other one is Hube and he's throws me a link now and again but if SiteMeter is any indicator, he reads this side once in a blue moon.)