Friday, April 27, 2007

Fun Facebook in Juxtaposition with Virginia Tech Tragedy

Early Monday morning Toronto, April 16; very nice day, it's spring at last - you can feel it in the air - maybe the oxygen levels are up a little – there's a craziness in the air, a frenetic kind of feeling...

I punched the computer; threw on the radio; and began to create coffee.

I prime my story-writing brain with National Public Radio; but soon the voices will be in the back of my head, and I'll be blogging down a pathway in search of a twig.

The twig appeared on NPR, news at 10:00; a shooting at Virginia Tech, a lock-down, nothing more...

I have been interested in the phenomena of the serial and mass murderers since the 1970's - when a peer of mine took a hunting rifle to school in a nearby town.

In the early eighties Elliott
Leytons excellent work, 'Hunting Humans' came out; and I gave it a read. I have followed the science of profiling with interest ever since. The most strange and distorted individuals, sometimes offer the most interesting reflections of a culture.

The X-files,
the 1990's TV series, starred David Duchovny as Fox Mulder, FBI profiler. The shows writers used up-to-date theory and research to punch up the script. One of my favorites.

I knew right away this was my twig - I also knew this was going to be a lousy day. As a writer though, it would be a rewarding one.

I knew a fast breaking story like this one could change the way news is consumed. In the San Francisco earthquake of 1989, CNN went live for at least 12 hours (I feel asleep), until the next morning. It was the first time a network had done this kind of news coverage. CNN's next big gig was the 1991 war with Iraq. Brought to you live; with the CNN correspondent sending video as American Bombs rained down around him; and anti-aircraft tracer fire lit the sky at mid-night.These two events
took CNN from small player to a major in the news business.

Now perhaps the Internet was about to experience a similar metamorphosis.

My plan was to watch a national story unfold in real time on the Internet, and write about the experience.

So I click on my FireFox icon, and Boolean search: Virginia + Tech + Blogs.

I've found the ‘Blog 'O' Sphere’ is a good place to find citizen journalists close to the scene as a story is breaking - like Baghdad Blogger in 2003 and the Blogs out of Beirut, under Israeli siege in the summer of 2006.

Interesting, No Bloggers, No MySpace...

List, List, List. Common thread, come on. What's common other than VTech?

Facebook! Everyone at Virginia Tech is on Facebook!

So I joined.

Apparently, so did a 'million' other people.

I'm exploring its Web 2.0 possibilities now.

Yin & Yang, Dam Yin & Yang.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Economist Alan Blinder on the End of the Middle Class

Economist Alan Blinder - Vice Chairman on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System - says Sector Protectionism is necessary now to protect the American middle class. Blinder's change of direction is necessary, he says, because job migration in the new economy has happened more quickly, and more broadly than expected.

He says we need to protect the middle class now or face a collapse of the engine of the global economy.

Worth a look, in this interview with Charlie Rose.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

David Halberstam Killed in Auto Accident

A consummate professional. He followed his heart, and got the facts straight.

Mark Lennihan/Associated Press, 1993

He died doing what he loved to do: - from the Obituary in The NYT;

"He was on his way to interview Y. A. Tittle, the former New York Giants quarterback, for a book about the 1958 championship game between the Giants and the Baltimore Colts, considered by many to be the greatest football game ever played."

In sports, economics and war reporting - with his small town narrative style; David Halberstam was a shinning example of what a reporter and writer should strive for.

Joseph L. Galloway of McClatchy Newspapers
periodically posts at:
Michael Yon Online Magazine

see bug ---->


Monday, April 23, 2007

Latest Pet Food Recall LIst

Up-dated and revised, daily information links.

Menu Foods Revised pet food recall list

FDA Pet food Recall list daily updates.

These are Brand Names as of April 11, 2007, that may have Melamine. Melamine is not a food product and can cause kidney failure and death if eaten. The thread consumers should be watching, is to avoid any product that has ChemNutra Wheat Gluten in it. So far, Canada's own Menu Foods; Tennessee's Sunshine Mills, Inc.; Nestlé Purina PetCare Company; Hills Pet Nutrition; and Del Monte Pet Products; are the mills the poison seems to have been shipped to.

The shipper of the Melamine was a chemical company in China. Since this article was first published, the link has failed; I am working on it.


Latest Menu Foods Recall List

Latest Cat & Dog Food Recalls from Menu Foods

Cat Food Recalls:

Look For Date on The bottom of Can or back of Pouch


Adult Sliced Chicken/Sauce Formula 3oz Can UPC: 37257-37359

'Nutro Max Cat Gourmet Classics'

Pouch Kitten Chicken/Tomato 3oz Pouch UPC:79105-36263

Pouch Senior Whitefish/Crab 3oz Pouch 3UPC:79105-36265

'Pet Pride'

Flaked Tuna 3oz Can UPC:11110-80472

Sliced Chicken/Heart/Liver 3ozCan UPC:11110-86261

Sliced Turkey/Gravy 3ozCan UPC:11110-86257

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3ozCan UPC: 11110-86264


Flaked Chicken/Tuna 3ozCan UPC: 37257-01287

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3ozCan UPC: 37257-01243

Sliced Chicken/Heart/Liver 3ozCan UPC:37257-01285

Sliced Salmon/Chicken 3ozCan UPC: 37257-01286

'Science Diet Feline Savory Cuts Can' (see qualifier)

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can UPC: 52742-44120

Sliced Chicken/Grvy 3oz Can UPC: 52742-44110

Sliced Oceanfish/Sauce 3oz Can UPC: 52742-44010

Sliced Senior Chicken/Gravy 3oz Can UPC: 52742-46000

Dog Food Recalls:
Look For Date on the bottom of Can or Back of Pouch

'Grreat Choice'
London Grill Cuts 13.2ozCan UPC: 37257-37002

'Pet Pride'

Pouch Chicken Teriyaki/Gravy 5.3ozPouch UPC: 11110-84172

Pouch With Stew 5.3ozPouch UPC: 11110-88124

'Springfield Prize'
Chicken Cuts/Gravy 13.2ozCan UPC: 41380-13901

'Stater Brothers'
Chicken Cuts/Gravy 13.2ozCan UPC: 74175-12240

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cho Sueng Hui

When I was growing up the most important truth I discovered, and the one that saved my life, was the realization, or the observation, that I was the same as every one else. It was a fleeting moment and in that moment of assurance, I couldn't believe that this was the thin bit of whatever that seperated saine from insaine; but I Knew, I Believed, I was Certain.

It was a close shave. I doubt now that anyone reading this could honestly say they hadn't had the same close save; because I Know, we're All the same.

This knowledge allows me to ask you now, to try to understand Cho Sueng Hui. Try to understand the hell he was in, isolated, confused, and at the end, insane. He was not unusual in a lot of ways, just not able to work through the stuff we All have problems with.

RIP Human Being.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Time Burns By; Johnny and Roseanne Cash Home Gone.

The Video, filmed in this house:
Photo credit:

Jim Henley, of Unqualified Offerings, says of the Cash Home burning,“God really didn’t want Barry Gibb writing songs there.”

I have similar tastes in music.

Before I knew there was a Icon, as I realized, it was burning right in front of me; on TV.

More sad news...


here's 'Man In Black' From YouTube;


Monday, April 9, 2007

Hill 145 & The Pimple

Originally published 11/11/06; Updated, 04/09/07, with new links!

General Arthur Currie

After 3 years of carnage, where the life-blood of entire generations from four continents was left in the soil of Europe, someone on the front lines was given real power to realize a plan that hopefully would see the Allies out of four years of senseless death. That person was Canadian General Arthur Currie and his plan was one the first sign of no front warfare.

(with help from: senior commander, Field marshal, Douglas Haig and Field Marshal Third Army, Julian Byng. It is important to note that after this battle Currie took over Byng's job, as Byng was shuffled up the ladder of success. Currie was the first Canadian Commander of the Canadian Corps.)

Curries plan was the logical progression of the ever increasing complexity of modern war but most importantly a recognition of how artillery and machine gun had forced tactics to change.

'The Pimple' is the name given to the high ground upon which the German artillery dominants the great plain around Passchendaele just beyond Ypres. Hill 145, just to south, and in range of the Pimple, must be taken at the same time.

The soldiers who would be going over the top were informed of the details of the attack and trained for weeks on actual sized layouts of enemy positions; layed out on the ground from maps drawn by special forces reconisance and aircraft photography. A new tactic soldiers really liked, was going over the top in small lines, in sections, rather than as a line to be cut down like wheat to a scythe of machine gun fire. They trained to walk slowly, at an even pace, under fire. As they walked out into no mans land the morning of the attack, behind them, the guns would be sounding and in front of them a curtain of death, artillery, 'softening up' the enemy and cutting wire. The Canadians were to walk calmly into this hell, pacing like the zombies in 'Night of the Living Dead'.

By the end of the day, special forces on both hills are successful - with horrendous loses compared with modern tactics. The pre-planned, fast advance through the centre begins. Now the giant machine, Nye a CITY, the size of present day Vancouver, lurches to life, a colossal Juggernaut. Forward, to exploit the opening, it moves 4.5 miles the first day, the largest single advance by either side since the first summer of the war, 1914.

Currie had created a mammoth communications and supply infrastructure that looked like a modern government bureaucracy. Generals integrated real-time statistical information into the battle plan as it unfolded. It was designed to exploit the openings victory in battle created; with lightning speed, powerful, rapid advances: 'Bite, Hold, Push, Bite, Hold, Push.' Like a coiled steel snake, designed to move powerfully and quickly, in a synchronised fashion. This was one of the first successful examples of what later became known as Combined Operations.

It was a template for war to come. But of coarce it came from the study of the past; Currie probably borrowed from Field Marshal Alfred Graf von Schlieffen; who's battle plan was the opening act of this war. More importantly I think, is Currie's first hand knowledge of the effects of artillery and machine guns on soldiers that was the key to his success.

One of the flanks in this battle, we remember as Flanders Fields. It's where the beautiful poem comes from, from where the Remembrance Day Poppies come from. It was the first battle in the First World War where the Lines moved Miles rather than Yards. It was the beginning of the next wars; Mechanization, speed, tanks, Blitzkrieg, Asymmetric warfare, Combined Operations.

No credit to the Canadian Military hierarchy, they buried Currie after the war. Thankfully we re-learned his lessons in time to contribute in the victory over Fascist Germany, in the second go around, WWII.

If you're in the Canadian Forces now, this should be required reading.--->
Inter Press Service News Agency/New Canadian Counter-insurgency field manual coming.

Other Links:

For King And Empire -a Great documentary, great web site, great maps!

Canadian Government Archives: War Diaries -original sources!

The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation - West Points leading edge theory

Cut and paste into your browser ( ) then scroll down to a Great links page!

The Long, Long Trail: The British Army in the Great War/links page

Poppy GIF image from Google. thx.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Opps! x2 MYBAD (update 04/08/07)

Every ones doing it! Join the party!

Pretty soon there’ll be no one left to kidnap!

From the NYT

BAGHDAD, April 3, 2007

“An Iranian diplomat kidnapped by armed men wearing uniforms of the Iraqi security forces was freed here on Tuesday, Iraq’s foreign minister said, adding that he continued to work to free five Iranians held separately by American military forces and was optimistic that they would be released soon.”

Opps. Your Iranian? Not Iranian/American by any chance? No? Dam!

Well… ..can I borrow a couple a bucks till Friday? I’m holding this Baghdad family, I sure the cousin will pay; I can drive you to the embassy, but I got no gas…

(updated; April 8, 2007)

Opps! I guess I got this all wrong!

Instead of a joke it turns out it's another story about the shadow army working for the USA.


Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms seized an Iranian diplomat as he drove through central Baghdad, officials said Tuesday. Tehran condemned the abduction and blamed U.S. forces in Iraq.

One Iraqi government official also said the diplomat was detained Sunday by a special Iraqi army unit that reports directly to the U.S. military. But a military spokesman denied any U.S. troops or Iraqis that report to them were involved.
And Now after his release:

TEHRAN, April 7 (Xinhua)

The Iranian diplomat released this week after being abducted in Iraq said that he had been tortured by CIA agents, the official IRNA news agency reported on Saturday.
For some reason I don't doubt the Iranians statement about torture.

Why would that be I wonder?


US Supreme Court Rules in Greenhouse Gas Case - Science Should Remain Guide Post for Rule of Law.

Yesterdays ruling is a victory for those of the opinion that corporate power must be effectively regulated to save the Republic.

"..the 'Bushite Regime' has used issues such as abortion, intelligent design and the size of government to divide us while they project their corporate agenda, through the middle."

From the NYT, April 2, 2007
(my emphasis)

"In one of its most important environmental decisions in years, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate heat-trapping gases in automobile emissions. The court further ruled that the agency could not sidestep its authority to regulate the greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change unless it could provide a scientific basis for its refusal."

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Antonin Scalia (Reagan Appointee), Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., all Bush administration appointees, ruled against the majority; indicating a split in the supreme court between those who champion corporate interests, one the one hand; and the 5 justices who ruled that any evaluation of the law should be guided by scientifically acknowledged facts; a corner stone of the Republic.*
(* I am not a lawyer, so in my search for some sources on the basic tenants in the Rule of Law, I was textually drown (dam lawyers).

So, right to the source of law in the USA, the Congress. These rules of evidence, passed by Congress to update previous, similar law, show how important scientific evidence is to the process.)

DECEMBER 1, 2006


Rule 702. Testimony by Experts
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist
the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact
in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience,
training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of
an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient
facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable
principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles
and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas have corporate backgrounds. Justices Scalia and Alito do not, but have positions on key issues which make them corporate-friendly. Scalia supported Nixon during Watergate and after; and is seen to have "deep respect for the executive branch". Scalia's position thus aids in destroying the separation of powers, which is in the corporate interest. Justice Alito has a libertarian streak, and as such, I believe, incorrectly balances corporate freedom and personal freedom; failing to recognize that corporations are not like the individual owners of the companies of yesteryear, but rather they are soulless Things upon which limits need to be placed.

The interests of the Powerful in the Republic are naturally reflected in law; as corporate power grows, the laws of the Republic will, more and more, reflect their interest.

I hope this article will help people of all political stripes to see that the 'Bushite Regime' has used issues such as abortion, intelligent design and the size of government to divide us; while they project their corporate agenda through the middle.

The Reagan/Bush Supreme Court appointments, all surrounded by much consternation, have a common thread; they all represent the interests of Corporate Power, as this case illuminates.

Joint Web portal will offer NBC, Fox content

Sumner Redstone, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom, Inc.; SCARED DINOSOAR

Jeff Zucker, President and Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal.

Viacom is suing Youtube/Google for 1 Billion dollars for content use violations. At the same time other content owners are setting up their own video distribution site.

From The Hollywood Reporter, March 23, 2007:

"News Corp. and NBC Universal announced plans Thursday to launch a video distribution site this summer featuring thousands of hours of content from at least a dozen networks and two major film studios."

The model that all of us consumers of network TV were hoping would emerge on the Internet is one step closer to reality. Free content will be available on this new site, paid for by advertising revenues generated there.

From The Hollywood Reporter again:

"Although the executives said that most content on the site will be free, full-length movies will be sold "principally" on a download-to-own model. Zucker said that, as a general rule, if television content is available for electronic sell-through on platforms like iTunes, it will also be available in the same way on the new site. Chernin added, however, that "most TV episodes, shortform clips and mash-ups" will be free on the site."

With major content owners uploading complete shows, the quality we've become accustomed to at Youtube will become substandard very quickly.

The future many had hoped would unfold, namely Network Television on the Internet, free, on demand and paid for by on site advertising, is coming this summer, to a portal near you!