Saturday, November 10, 2001

Miss Cleo Joins the War Effort:
The FBI is using psychics to help out with the war on terror. Among the amazing and uncanny predictions known only to these mystic seers of space and time:
"Our reports suggest a sports stadium could be a likely target"

Didn't See These Civilians on the News:
Now that the Taliban infestation has been eradicated in Mazar-i-Sharif, the locals are starting to celebrate as told in this article in the Telegraph.
In Mazar, citizens celebrated their liberation from four years of Taliban rule. Women cast off their burqas and men shaved off beards in gestures of contempt for their former repressive rulers... many of the city's residents were reported to be offering prayers of thanks for victory at the city's Blue Mosque, regarded as the holiest shrine in Afghanistan. Sheep were slaughtered in honour of the liberation and flowers were thrown at the victorious troops. One resident told The Telegraph: "This is wonderful news. The people of Mazar have suffered terribly under the Taliban. We don't want them in our city."

Common Sense:
Andrew Gilligan's editorial in The Sunday Telegraph titled, "The War, the media, and the great untruths" is unarguably the best critique of journalism in this war I've read to date. Great lines abound in his column, but the best is a quote attributed to Wing Commander Andrew Brookes, air analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, describing "carpet bombing", then and now:
"There were 1,600 B52 sorties in three days during the Gulf War... They came every three hours round the clock. That was carpet bombing. This is more like bathmat bombing."
Tell Me Something I Don't Know:
Bin Laden: Yes, I did it. Since alot of the Arab world believes the attacks were some sort of "Zionist Conspiracy", I guess this means bin-laden is an Israeli agent. Oops
Why We're Called Doughboys:
There's a bunch of fat bastards in the military according to MSNBC:
Although in the population at large more women are overweight than men, the reverse is true in the military, Atkinson said. He cited a study that shows 58.6 percent of men and 26.1 percent of women in the military are overweight.
I don't know about that 58.6% figure. I'd say it's closer to a quarter, and most of those are in the Senior Enlisted ranks, whose biggest battle is figuring out how to keep coming up with excuses as to why they're not in their office.
“It’s time we recognize obesity as a chronic disease and dedicate federal resources into research and effective treatment programs.”
Ooh, here we come to the real reason for this report. We want money, preferably federal dollars in large quantities sufficient enough to pay off the mortgage and buy that new BMW.
Atkinson said the Marines had the fewest overweight members and the Navy had the most. “I guess that’s because on a ship the emphasis is not on moving around a lot,” Atkinson said.
That, and the Navy has alot of fat chicks. Probably the most out of all the services. The Air Force, of course, has the highest percentage of "hotties".
A study this week in the American Journal of Health Promotion found members of the Air Force would look to smoking as a way to keep the pounds off. Close-to-overweight smokers enrolled in a program to help them quit were four times as likely as others in the same program to say they might take up the habit again to lose a few pounds.
That's balls on accurate. I speak from experience.
Obesity is measured using body mass index — a calculation of height versus weight. Someone with a BMI of 25 or over is considered overweight and people with BMIs of 30 or more are considered obese.
Atkinson said 61 percent of the general U.S. population is overweight and just over a quarter are obese.
61% would appear to make being "overweight" the norm, which means that you're not overweight...or something like that. Since the BMI is an arbitrary number, just raise it and most people wouldn't be considered "overweight".
Sex? What's That?
The Vatican apparently has a problem with a U.N. Field Manual the gives guidelines to aid workers in third world countries, reports the Dallas Morning News.
The manual promotes "without reserve" the so-called morning-after pill for contraception, presents sterilization as "simple birth control," and takes a "nonjudgmental" attitude on extramarital relations and gay and lesbian relations, the Vatican said Thursday.
Maybe they're trying to get a handle on the problem. This isn't 21st Century Europe we're talking about here.
The Vatican also decried what it said was young men and women "being introduced to the world of individualistic and irresponsible sexual pleasures which increases the risk for expanding the HIV/AIDS epidemic."
Damn, that whole sex thing got out of the bag again! I think they would've figured it out on their own without the help of the U.N., John Paul.
Strange Bedfellows:
Remember that wave of "multi-culturalism" that swept the West and is still hanging on with dogged tenacity in the U.S.? Well, it appears that feminism and radical Islam just can't co-habitate peacefully, if this article from the Telegraph is to be believed. Apparently, the pushy insistance that we must value all cultures equally and criticize none (except the dominant host culture) stops dead in it's tracks when it comes to girls. We can only hope this dawning realization that not all beliefs are kosher with Western thought, and indeed are at odds with the very things that all Westerners (liberal and conservative) hold dear, will take hold and spread to other special interests as well.
I've Got a Gesture for Ya:
Apparently, the Pakistani Dictator Seeks 'Gestures' for Backing U.S. How about this: We promise not to destroy you. Is that a good gesture? No? Then how about we go talk to the Indians. They're the world's largest democracy and are pretty keen on the Kashmir region. Besides, I'd rather send military and financial aid to a friendly democracy, than to see our best military hardware fall into the hands of a brutal dictator. We don't need you to become another Saddam Hussein.
Yeah, and I've got a Particle Accelerator in my Backyard:
According to the Pakistani paper Dawn, Osama claims he has nukes: If US uses N-arms it will get same response. I find it suspicious that bin-laden claims he has nuclear weapons just days after Bush declares that Osama might be trying to acquire them. If you've got nukes, Osama, put up or shut up.

On a related note, if Osama boy here does have nukes and manages to detonate a nuclear device of some sort against an American target, then we should take the kid gloves off. The guy launches an attack against the WTC and the Pentagon. The energy released from the WTC attack alone was equal to a tactical nuke. Then there's this biological attack, which I believe he had something to do with. We have evidence that Iraq is involved with all of this. Yet all we hear is that we have to be patient, we have to be measured, we have to hold back. To hell with that if this guy manages to detonate a nuke. We've got plenty of our own sitting around doing nothing. Might as well get our money's worth outta them.
There've been quite a few parody pieces floating around covering the "What if today's media covered WWII?" angle. This is one of the best:Now and Then.


Insensitivity to period of fasting and repentance could 'offend' Christians, 'strain' Alliance

Friday, November 09, 2001

Good News from the Front:
Northern Alliance Claims It Has Captured Mazar-i-Sharif. If this keeps up, perhaps alot of the criticism going around will fade. Nothing shuts up opposition and gains friends like victory. There also might be some movement starting around Kabul:
A Reuters cameraman saw about 800 Northern Alliance fighters march toward the front line along with four tanks and 40 artillery pieces while United States jets roared overhead, dropping bombs on Taliban positions overlooking the opposition-held Bagram airport.
Man, how's that for a mental picture? Awesome
Cloudy Days:
Scientists have speculated for years that jet contrails form heat trapping cirrus clouds. Sept. 11 and the following days provided clear data in support of this theory, as reported in this New York Times article. An example of the dramatic effects of contrails:
The most valuable data were collected the next day. Only nine military flights crossed a region from Ohio to Virginia, an area normally cloaked in cirrus clouds from the 700 to 800 jets crossing daily, Dr. Minnis said. With those images, his team was able to chart precisely how those nine threadlike contrails fanned out over five hours to form a shield of cirrus clouds covering 24,000 square miles.
Time to Finish the Mission?
According to the Telegraph, Saddam running training camps for terrorists, say defectors. Among other things, the defectors say:
"We were training these people to attack installations important to the United States. The Gulf war never ended for Saddam Hussein. He is at war with the United States. We were repeatedly told this."

Thursday, November 08, 2001

ISN Reports:
Courtesy Day 2001
Sorry, fans of Babylon 5. The upcoming two-episode collection due this December is the only Babylon 5 releases Warner is going to do at the moment.
Herbert, You Magnificent Bastard! I Read Your Book!:
Ancient Desert Fighters: Check
Jihad: Check
Fanatic Suicide Squads: Check

Now all we need is Muad'Dib, and the Taliban's production of Dune will be complete.
At Least it's not New Coke:
Are Coke and Harry Potter an Unhealthy Alliance?
Puff piece about the dangers of kids and junk-food, with Very Concerned Scientists ™ doing their best to Think About the Children © . Today's "Put Down the Crackpipe And Step Away" Award goes to Michael Jacobson, of Centers for Science in the Public Interest (of movie theater popcorn fame). I'll let his statement stand on it's own:
"From now on when people say 'Harry Potter,' a lot of kids are not going to think about the book or movie, they're going to think about Coca-Cola."
Reach for the Sky, Varmint!:
Would-be terrorists, watch out! More Texans Seek Concealed Gun Permits. Of course, you really can't take a gun to any place that a terrorist would most likely target, and I doubt a handgun would really do you any good against speeding trucks full of explosives or rogue aircraft bent on destruction, but if it makes you feel better, then go for it. Just don't get drunk and shoot your next door neighbor by accident.
Our Friends the Pakistanis:
According to Pakistani dictator Musharraf, the Allies are Losing the Image War. Say it ain't so!
Continued bombardment during Ramadan, Islam's holy month, ``will have a negative fallout in the entire Muslim world,'' the general said, adding that he intended to bring up the matter with Bush at a meeting during U.N. General Assembly debate.

``The sensitivities of Ramadan have to be considered,'' Musharraf said later in London.
As I've said before, if this isn't a religious war, then Ramadan shouldn't even be an issue at all. Muslims have fought and killed each other during Ramadan countless times in the past.
However, Musharraf said Pakistan has ``no intention'' of breaking off relations with the Taliban, saying the continued ties provide ``a useful diplomatic window.''
I bet.
This was Musharraf's first foray out of the country since the Sept. 11 attacks. The general, who himself took power in a 1999 coup, said he believed his position was secure in his absence.

``There is no risk involved. I know the support I enjoy in Pakistan,'' he said in Paris.
I give this guy a year before he's deposed in a coup by radical fundamentalists or assassinated. That's usually the end his kind meet.

Wednesday, November 07, 2001

Respecting the Will of the People:
Attorney General Ashcroft Overturns Assisted Suicide. Now tell me how a damned government appointee has the power to overturn a state legislature? By using a loophole to push his own agenda, that's how. Somehow I thought that with the war, the federal government would be too busy with real foreign and domestic threats to muck around in state affairs.
No Word on Keith Richards Yet:
Giant Cockroaches Were Alive Before the Dinosaurs
No smart-ass comment here. I'll let it speak for itself.
Our Friends the Italians. No, Really:
The New York Times Reports that Italy will Contribute 3,000 Troops in Afghan War. At least the Italians seem to know what's really at stake here based on Defense Minister Antonio Martino's comments:
``No-one should delude themselves into thinking that the war against terrorism will be brief, painless and limited. But we must be aware that this is a struggle of civilization against barbarity''
The one really wierd thing is this statement towards the end of the article:
The contribution of Italian troops to the Afghan war effort will be a boost for Berlusconi, who looked isolated on the international stage in September after his assertion that Western civilization was superior to Islam sparked outrage.
Maybe someone can tell me how his assertion could possibly spark outrage. I grew up in the Western world, have spent an enormous amount of time in the Islamic world, and I would agree with Berlusconi. Unless of course you think totalitarian regimes which ruthlessly maintain their grip on power and commit massive human rights abuses while at the same time severely limiting the liberties of their citizens is somehow on par with Western Civilization.
Bad Blood:
According to a Defense Department Inspector General, Soldiers may get tainted blood caused by the mismanagement of the Defense Blood Standard System. Among the multitude of deficiencies cited:
"The blood processing laboratories indicated that although they could accommodate the extra work required during peacetime, in the event of a wartime situation ... they would not be able to adequately meet their mission," the report said.
That's not very reassuring given the present situation.
Two new Star Trek DVD's are out this week, reports. I have been patiently waiting for Star Trek: The Motionless Picture to come out on DVD for quite some time, but I haven't heard of the Shatner/Nimoy DVD that's being released as well. Sounds like an interesting idea. There's also a cool piece in that article about sailors aboard the real-life Enterprise enjoying the new show of the same name. Of course, it's the engaging plotline of the show, and not the buxom Vulcan that's made the series popular amongst a bunch of cooped-up sailors who haven't been in port for awhile.
Someone Call Schliessen:
Germany OKs Troops for Terror Fight. France should be tendering it's surrender any moment now.
Our Friends the Egyptians:
Although a recipient of billions of U.S. taxpayer's dollars, Egypt is Critical of U.S. Airstrikes.
America should also stop its campaign during Ramadan, Islam's holiest month and a time when Muslims feel closest to God and their faith, el-Baz told reporters. Ramadan begins in mid-November.

Continuing to bomb Afghanistan at current levels during Ramadan would be an ``affront'' to Muslims everywhere, he said.
Of course, invading Israel during Ramadan is alright, because it's against the Jews. And how "affronted" have muslims been when wars amongst themselves have carried on through Ramadan? The Egyptians have obviously bought into the notion that this is a religious war, else why would have they brought up the whole Ramadan angle? If this is a war against terrorists in Afghanistan and not Christianity against Islam, then why does it matter if we continue bombing through Ramadan or not?
While emphasizing the United States' right to retaliate, el-Baz said there would have been less opposition in the Islamic world to the strikes if Washington had first sought approval from the United Nations
Right. As a sovreign nation, we really don't need to ask the permission of a world body to defend ourselves, just like you didn't need permission to invade Israel, and you didn't need permission to torture and slay thousands of your citizens in your own fight against extremists.
From the Time of the Pharoahs:
Archaeologists Unearth Ancient Egypt Doctor's Tomb.
Is There a Draft in Here?:
FoxNews reports that Selective Service is getting some airtime in the nation's high schools, informing male seniors of the penalties for not registering. Imbedded in the report is this pearl of wisdom by Rick Jahnkow, of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft:
"Young people go through basic training, they are stripped of their individuality, they are reshaped in the military's own image,"
First, note that Mr. Jahnkow has never served in the military, so his astute observation about the basic training process is pretty much just him talking out of his ass. I realize that he's mighty impressed with himself for watching various documentaries about Basic Training and being able to parrot the words used by the Instructors at these training facilities, but I'm afraid I have to say he's full of shit on this one.
The military establishment and the more conservative politicians want to reshape values, so when they talk about a draft it has more to do with the that than any genuine military need."
The 60's are like, over, man. The big, scary military wants to reshape values? Wow, instilling things like integrity, honor, accountability, and public service are a real threat to America. More likely, those traits are a threat to Mr. Jahnkow and his associates, whose values of victimization, cowardice, and lack of self-control and responsibility are in danger of becoming extinct as Americans start realizing that arrested adolescence may not be such a good thing, after all.
Using Our Own Decency Against Us:
The Telegraph reports that Taliban forces are hiding in mosques and hospitals. The Taliban are well aware that the U.S. will do it's best to ensure that we conduct the war within the guidelines of the various LOAC treaties we have signed. By hiding in and amongst the civilian population and buildings, they are hoping to avoid being killed from above. It also has the added benefit of showing more "civilian casualties" if the U.S. bombs a building where these people are hiding out. According to International Law, Red Cross buildings, hospitals, mosques, etc., lose their special protective status if they are used by the enemy. But how much emphasis do you think that rule will get if the Taliban show pictures of ruined mosques and dead "civilians"?

These moves by the Taliban are also a good reason to send in more ground troops, whether special ops or regular light infantry, to go in and physically eliminate the enemy. It would reduce the amount of civilian casualties at the expense of U.S. lives, but then again, nobody in the world really gives a damn if American soldiers die, so long as the lives of "innocent civilians" are spared. Right, Xu Maomao?
Saving the World in Spite of Itself:
As expected, support for the war worldwide is beginning to drop. As reported in this article by the Washington Post, worldwide public opinion polls are showing a steady decrease of support amongst the world's population. Here are some choice excerpts:
The views of Xu Maomao, 31, a human resources manager in Beijing who attended a candlelight vigil in late September to mourn the U.S. victims, typify the evolution of public opinion in many countries: "I supported the military strikes at first, but now I don't know what to say," she said. "I keep hearing about the lack of electricity in Afghanistan, or civilians and children being killed. But only once in a while is there anything about a terrorist base being hit. With all that high technology, can't the United States do better?"
Apparently, this person has just found out that wars actually cause damage and kill people. He also seems to be a sucker for the Taliban propaganda machine, which apparently has enjoyed much success with most of the gullible numnuts of the world.
"I think the United States has been too harsh and unreasonable," said Tong Zhifan, 22. "It's big and powerful, and it doesn't care how others feel. You can't behave like that. Isn't that why America was attacked?"
No, America was attacked because an Islamic Death Cult has decided that Western Civilization has corrupted the Faith, and can only be saved and purified by the removal of the chief corrupting force, America, and it's "colony" Israel. By the way, how's the Falun Gong doing these days?
Pedro Reyes Linares, a leader of Mexican labor and community groups, said the United States should have turned to international courts, not bombs. He said the U.S. effort resulted from typical American impatience.

"It's clearly not a war between good and evil," he said. "The impression is that there are other motives behind the war. It's not just hunting down the terrorists, but achieving greater control in a strategic area with rich resources, and the possibility of exploiting oil and minerals."
Let's see, terrorists sieze four commercial airliners, slam three into buildings and crash a fourth, killing 6,000 people. Yes, here's our grand chance to go sieze some oil! Further proof that perhaps illegal immigration from Mexico may be a good thing, seeing as how the Mexican education system has so utterly failed this gentleman.
"It simply means that America has no regard for innocent lives lost in other parts of the world," said Sipho Seepe, a South African political analyst. "For them the concept of innocent lives lost applies to situations where white and people of Western origin are involved. When it is black people's lives or those of people of Indian origin, the concept does not apply."
And our prize for most boneheaded comment goes to Sipho Seepe. Apparently, only White Westerners died on Sept. 11. Someone send the Publisher's Clearinghouse Clue Patrol to this winner's home.
But Japan's deep pacifist streak is still evident. Yoshiaki Nagashima, 59, dug out photographs of Afghanistan he took in 1978 and exhibited them this week at a small gallery in Tokyo -- photos of children laughing and smiling. When the airstrikes began, he said, "I felt the egotism of the superpower."
I could whip out photos of Nanking during the 30's and make a self-righteous comment myself, but that never happened, did it Yoshiaki?

Tuesday, November 06, 2001

Doing Our Part and Actually Getting Noticed:
From Air Force Link:Maintenance crews backbone of humanitarian mission. Good Public Affairs article on C-17 maintainers doing their thing for the humanitarian effort. Most people don't realize that those of us in the airlift world have been doing this kind of stuff for almost ten years. Wherever's there's been a humanitarian crisis anywhere in the world, our planes have been there with pallets full of supplies, and we mechanics have been there as well trying to keep those planes in working order (against their will, it sometimes feels). I figure I've helped feed and shelter tens of thousands of people during my time, which I think is something to be proud of.
Our Friends the Saudis:
The Washington Post has an interesting article up today titled Saudis Seethe Over Media Reports on Anti-Terror Effort. A nice gem from Prince Abdullah:
"The ferocious campaign by the western media against the kingdom is only an expression of its hatred toward the Islamic system" and Saudi Arabia's religious practices, he said in a recent speech, according to the Arab News, an English language daily.
It's called a free press, Your Highness. Unlike your country, our government doesn't fund and exercise editorial power over our media. Also, I doubt the press hates the "Islamic system". They're probably disgusted with Wahhabism, which curiously seems to resemble the Taliban's unique brand of Islam. Coincidence? I think not. We've been deploying to your kingdom for ten years now, so I have a good idea of what you're about, and what the Western Press says about you can never come close to the bile and hatred that your own government funded newspapers spew at us. You violently suppress dissent and opposition to your corrupt and tyrannical monarchy and redirect the anger of your subjects towards us in your mosques and newspapers, yet you put on a friendly face when dealing with the West. I think I'll let Senators McCain and Lieberman (No, he's not a "Zionist Agent", Your Majesty) have the last word:
"They've been playing . . . kind of a double game here," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said recently on NBC's "Meet the Press." "They've satisfied their extremists within their own societies . . . [and] also financed some of these organizations." Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), on the same program, said the United States "can't tolerate a nation like the Saudis -- whose government, in many ways, continues to stand because we support them -- to promulgate that hatred."
Beat the Draft:
The Air Force Launched a New Ad Campaign to get people interested in joining up. Some interesting tidbits:
"The latest advertising campaign focuses more on the recruiting aspect as compared to last year's objective to introduce the Air Force's new logo and identity."
Last year's campaign: "Meet the new Air Force. Same as the old Air Force, only smaller."
"The overall cost of the campaign, managed by GSD&M of Austin, Texas, is $30 million, including production costs and airtime over the next year."
I think we could've saved 29 million just by having one of our more (ahem) attractive members holding a sign reading, "Hey, it's not the Army"

Monday, November 05, 2001

From the People Who Brought You Trench Warfare:
Apparently, the U.S. isn't the only country that has to deal with "intellectuals" and other assorted smart people fighting the last war. In this article from the Daily Telegraph, Mr. Robert Harris defends the current war against criticism that this should handled like Malaya. I'm not much of an Anglophile, so I'm clueless as to why there is a debate between using the word "emergency" rather than "war" (much less what happened in Malaya), but the larger issue appears to be about whether we should be trying to win the hearts and minds of already unstable people rather than eliminating their means to destroy us.
In Final Twist, Yanks Fall in Ninth The Diamondbacks are the 2001 World Series Champs! Roger's happy and all is right with the world.
A Tribute to the Forgotten Mechanic
Through the history of world aviation
many names have come to the fore...
Great deeds of the past in our memory will last,
As they're joined more and more...

When man first started his labor in his quest to
Conquer the Sky
He was designer, mechanic, and pilot,
And he built a machine that would fly...
But some how the order got twisted,
And then in the public's eye
The only man that could be seen

Was the man who knew how to fly...

The pilot was everyone's hero,
He was brave, he was bold, he was grand,
As he stood by his battered old biplane
With his goggles and helmet in hand...
To be sure, these pilots all earned it,
To fly you have to have guts...
And they blazed their names in the hall of fame
On wings with bailing wire struts...

But for each of these flying heroes
There were thousands of little renown,
and these were men who worked on the planes
But kept their feet on the ground...
We all know the name Lindbergh,
And we've read of his flight to fame...
But think, if you can, of his maintenance man,
Can you remember his name ?

And think of our wartime heroes, Gabreski,
Jabara, and Scott...
Can you tell me the names of their crew chiefs ?
A thousand to one you cannot...

Now pilots are highly trained people,
and wings are not easily won...
But without the work of the maintenance man
Our pilots would march with a gun...
So when you see mighty aircraft
As they mark their way through the air,
The grease stained man with the wrench in his
Hand is the man who put them there...

Author Unknown

That's me. One of the faceless mechanics who give their blood, sweat, and tears to make sure an aircraft gets off the ground and gets to where it's going.