Sunday, July 29, 2007

Garrison Keillor

On "A Prairie Home Companion", I think he said, "Stuck to a vinyl couch like a melting Paris Hilton."

Listen to the July 28, 2007 compilation show.

Well actually, on a re-listen I found out he said, "Paris Hilton getting up off a vinyl couch."

And then sound effects master, Tom Keith made the sound with his voice that would be Paris Hilton getting up off a vinyl couch.

But I like mine too.


Friday, July 27, 2007

"Loose Change" Producer Arrested Monday For Allegedly Deserting The Army

Update July 30,2007:

Theatrical release of "Loose Change" set for August 2007.

Google list of Articles
about Korey Rowe in Oneonta's 'The Daily Star'.

By Jake Palmateer, staff writer for the The Daily Star, a newspaper out of Korey Rowe's home town reports that the "Loose Change" Producer was arrested on Monday, July 23, 2007:

"Korey Rowe, 24, a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, was picked up by deputies at about 10:45 p.m. Monday, Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. said.

Rowe, along with Dylan Avery and Jason Bermas, are members of Louder Than Words, a production company that is working on a third edition of the movie "Loose Change," which contends the U.S. government was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That edition is intended to be a theatrical release."


"..theatrical release" - enough said; this could have a huge influence on the 2008 presidential race.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hunter S. - His Life, His Death

(June 18, 2009 - Apparently the user has removed the YouTube selection below.
Here's the interview that was used in the film from ABC radio(Australian Broadcasting Corporation) posted on YouTube by "giftmitch"; Part 1 & part 2).

A short Film by Mike Daugherity about Hunter S Thompson. Did Hunter S Thompson kill Himself? Hunter S talks about 911, George W Bush and the Iraq war. Hear the man talk in rare interviews.

Click the title to go to YouTube


Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Large Hadron Collider - Why Bury 8 Billion Dollars Under Europe?

From a great article in the New Yorker, May 14, 2007, A Cosmology "Crash Course" by Elizabeth Kolbert.

Below, Elizabeth sketches the link between cosmological theory and practical matters, like public money (my added links):

"In 1969, the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy held a hearing at which the physicist Robert Wilson was called to testify. Wilson, who had served as the chief of experimental nuclear physics for the Manhattan Project, was at that point the head of CERN’s main rival, Fermilab, and in charge of $250 million that Congress had recently allocated for the lab to build a new collider. Senator John Pastore, of Rhode Island, wanted to know the rationale behind a government expenditure of that size. Did the collider have anything to do with promoting “the security of the country”?:

Wilson: No sir, I don’t believe so.

Pastore: Nothing at all?

Nothing at all.

Pastore: It has no value in that respect?:

Wilson: It only has to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. . . . It has to do with are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. . . . It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending.

Asked to explain how their work, supported by public funds, contributes to the public good, particle physicists often cite Wilson, or offer some variation on his non-answer answer: the search for knowledge cannot be justified on other grounds; its value, like the particles under study, is irreducible."


FilterBlogs reduction: Hover Cars. We want Hover Cars!

FilterBlogs Cosmology label.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Civilian Casualties Wiki Tries To Document Afghan War

You should go...

While browsing Wikipedia I found a wiki dedicated to tracking civilian deaths in the war in Afghanistan.

As well, I thought a little history of the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979 - 1989) might be an interesting read, it sums up with a familiar polemic...

“..the Soviet war in Afghanistan has often been referred to as the equivalent of the United States' Vietnam War.”

So now, the cold war is over, and Afghanistan is the United States' Vietnam again... (with Iraq, the evil twin).

However much things change, sometimes they seem to
stay just the same.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Surge In Afghanistan? -- It May Already Be Too Late

On Wednesday July 18, '07 a British Parliamentary Committee report on the war in Afghanistan was released; it is full of bad news, and some inane talking points...

The Associated Press wrote a story carried in the International Herald Tribune entitled, "NATO's Force In Afghanistan Is Being Undermined, UK Panel Warns",

"The NATO mission in Afghanistan is being undermined by its members' failure to provide adequate troops and serious strategic mistakes, a British parliamentary committee said in a report Wednesday.

Echoing concerns expressed by senior British military figures in recent weeks, the legislators warned that the entire Afghan campaign is at risk if leading NATO countries continue to refuse to deploy additional personnel.

Lawmakers also criticized the pace of work to combat the opium trade in Afghanistan and said NATO was failing to communicate its successes to ordinary Afghans, handing the propaganda initiative to the Taliban."


The 'serious strategic mistakes' referred to above, is talking about the three major coalition entities working at cross purposes. With-in the nexus of these, NATO (with three different sets of engagement rules), Enduring Freedom (US Air Power and special forces), and the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief or ACBAR (relief groups) are the horrific, and unprecedented civilian death rates, the lack of coordination and investment in rebuilding and security, and the lack of a central military command. (!?)

The Guardian Unlimited weekend edition, The Observer, ran a piece by Nicholas Watt and Ned Temko last Sunday, July 15, '07. From interviews with Lord Ashdown, a career diplomat and politician, and Lord Inge, former chief of the defence staff, Watt and Temko out-line the British defence staff's opinion of the state of the war in Afghanistan:

(my emphasis)

"Inge's remarks reflect the fears of serving generals that the government is so overwhelmed by Iraq that it is in danger of losing sight of the threat of failure in Afghanistan. One source, who is familiar with the fears of the senior officers, told The Observer: 'If you talk privately to the generals they are very very worried. You heard it in Inge's speech. Inge said we are failing and remember Inge speaks for the generals.'

Inge made a point in the Lords of endorsing a speech by Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, who painted a bleak picture during the debate. Ashdown told The Observer that Afghanistan presented a graver threat than Iraq.

'The consequences of failure in Afghanistan are far greater than in Iraq,' he said. 'If we fail in Afghanistan then Pakistan goes down. The security problems for Britain would be massively multiplied. I think you could not then stop a widening regional war that would start off in warlordism but it would become essentially a war in the end between Sunni and Shia right across the Middle East.'

'Mao Zedong used to refer to the First and Second World Wars as the European civil wars. You can have a regional civil war. That is what you might begin to see. It will be catastrophic for Nato. The damage done to Nato in Afghanistan would be as great as the damage done to the UN in Bosnia. That could have a severe impact on the Atlantic relationship and maybe even damage the American security guarantee for Europe.'

Ashdown said two mistakes were being made: a lack of a co-ordinated military command because of the multinational 'hearts and minds' Nato campaign and the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom offensive campaign against the Taliban. There was also insufficient civic support on, for example, providing clean water.

Ashdown warned: 'Unless we put this right, unless we have a unitary system of command, we are going to lose. The battle for this is the battle of public opinion. The polls are slipping. Once they go on the slide it is almost impossible to win it back. You can only do it with the support of the local population


To me, it doesn't seem that the message being sent by the military leaders to the politico's has gotten though. The Parliamentary Panel's high-lighting of the heroin issue shows a cultural myopia and a miss-understanding of the war that may actually speed the disillusionment of the Afghan population with NATO.

If we wish to see this through, we need an Afghan Surge, a spreading area of operations that
constantly establishes new 'forward operating bases' in each capital, in each town until every crossroads has a federal and/or local police presence. At The Same Time, irrigation and electrical infrastructure projects, and training on all levels must move ahead. NATO/ACBAR need to be paying farmers to work at improving the value of their land.

More than 33,000 western soldiers are in Afghanistan now. It's going to take perhaps 100,000 soldiers, plus twice as many civil engineers, planners, police, training not to mention MONEY.

This needs to be approached with the same sense of import as the reconstruction of Europe after WWll. This will be harder though, 20 years of war rather than 5, and a level of infrastructure and education levels that are behind by a century.


Negotiate with the Taleban, and get out as soon as possible. Offer the Taleban a share of government in exchange for a guarantee Afghanistan would not tolerate foreign extremists (Al Qaeda). It's an olive branch the Taleban have extended on several occasions; most recently when they made the statement that they had nothing to do with the 'new' suicide tactics in the
summer 2006. It will mean we have to tolerate another Iran -- a new Islamic state in the region -- in exchange for regional stability.

I think it's a good deal.

The buffoons in political office through-out NATO seem to think 2,000 more troops and few more helicopters will rescue victory from the jaws of defeat.

What the generals are saying -- I think -- is that we may wake up some morning soon, and be shocked to discover that over night, the Canadians
at Kandahar have been over run.

Canadians need to press government for clarity here, what will it actually take to win this war? Not one more drop of blood is worth it if this continues as an escalating series of civilian horrors.

FilterBlogs Afghanistan label.


The Toronto Blue Jay Post Game Phone-in Guy

The first caller, on the July 19, '07 get-away-day, afternoon post game, phone-in show on the Fan590 Toronto, nailed it,

"..the Toronto Blue Jays were either winning or tied going into the seventh, eighth or ninth in every game against the New York Yankees, and ended up losing 3 of 4."

Pitching has been as good as it gets.

The line-up, in only it's tenth day playing together, is hot and cold: lead-off, the four spot, and 8, 9 are cold. The nine-cylinder-offense must fire on one more cylinder to beat first division teams.

For my buck, the juries still out; we still haven't seen the line-up kick yet.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

China REALLY Serious About Melamine Contamination In Food

Poisonous Glycol's recently found in Pet foods, toothpaste and medicine, made in China, has lead the Chinese government to act, harshly.

From The Guardian Unlimited

"State media announced yesterday that Zheng Xiaoyu - former director of the State Food and Drug Administration - has been executed less than two months after being sentenced."

Image from Xinhua News

I guess the Chinese Really like Free Trade.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

For The Record: "Congress A Favor Factory"

Last year jailed lobbyist, Jack Abramoff called Congress a "favor factory" in testimony with regards I. Lewis Libby.

Roland F Stephen, Associate Professor of Political Science at North Carolina State University about applying "earmarks" on proposed legislation in Congress; from a March 6, 2006 post on the forum, Innovation Online Idea!
(my emphasis)

Pork barrel spending has shot up recently, with a stunning rise in the number of "earmarks" -- special provisions in spending bills which go to pet projects -- from almost none in the 1980s to over 13,000 last year.

Simply stated, our representatives sell earmarks to favored constituents in return for money and other forms of support. Disgraced Congressman Jack Cunnigham had a price list, written on offical stationary.
Jack Abramoff called Congress a "favor factory" because of the way the earmarks have been used.

Has anything changed?

It's not an Oil Economy or a Military/Political/Corporate Cabal -- it's a Favor Factory!

That was it... That was the moment -- officially -- when the Republic ended.

For the record.

Updated Links:

Here's a list from January 08, 2006 Gateway Pundit of the 40 of the current 45 democratic senators who took Abramoff money.


Transportation Sector Should Follow Boeings 787 Lead

From: Boeing 787 Dreamliner Home

The Boeing 787, built from carbon-fiber composites, is far lighter and thus more fuel efficient...

(Boeing 787 unveiling, from

From an article by Elizabeth M. Gillespie published last month in The Honolulu Advertiser Online,

"The 787 will be the first large commercial airliner built mostly from light, sturdy composite materials instead of aluminum, making the plane more fuel-efficient and less expensive to maintain. Not only that but the manufacturing process is revolutionary.

Boeing has lined up a vast network of suppliers around the globe that are manufacturing large pieces of the 787, which are then flown on a superfreighter to the final assembly plant in Everett, north of Seattle, where the plane is essentially snapped together."

The entire transportation sector should be forced by government, if necessary, to achieve 100mpg. as soon as is feasible though this light weight strategy.

An interesting contradiction comes to mind that could slow things down in government...

In the online publication "The Project For A New American Century/Rebuilding Americas Defenses" (pdf) the Empirists from American Enterprise Institute envision a global army, which use heavy Humvee's that are able to carry armor plate.

The society that makes the switch to light-weight carbon fiber transportation model would have a more expensive army, due to efficiencies of scale.

Technological progress is anathema to war.


Rocky Mountain Institute, Winning The Oil End Game/Executive Summary.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Home


Friday, July 6, 2007

A Bad Day, Early In July...

Captain Jefferson Francis, Captain Matthew Dawe, Master Cpl. Colin Bason, Cpl. Cole Bartsch, Cpl. Jordan Anderson and Pte. Lane Watkins were killed in a IED attack upon their armored personnel carrier, on 04 July 2007.

I grieve for the lost of Canadian soldiers and offer my sincere condolences to their families and friends.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week echoed the release of an ACBAR report on civilian casualties in this war. The ratio of civilian to combatant deaths is around 1 to 1; meaning that as many Taleban and Nato forces have died as innocent civilians.

As a result of nine deaths in two separate IED attacks on Canadian Forces in the last three weeks, the conversation on the home front has come down to "we need safer transport" More highly armed personnel carriers is a good idea, yet it will only skew that terrible ratio for the worse -- and will be countered by the Tabeban, in time, with better more powerful IED's.

Can we buy piece of mind? This discussion about 'safety' in a war is ridiculous, in my opinion.

The Associated Press published a piece, picked up by The Independent, that has a good over-view of what the last few weeks has been like for Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.

"Southern Afghanistan has seen fierce fighting in recent weeks. More than 2,900 people - mostly militants - have been killed in insurgency-related violence in Afghanistan this year, according to an Associated Press tally of numbers provided by Western and Afghan officials.

Of the 102 foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan this year, 46 were Americans, 18 Britons and 22 Canadians.

Also in the south, militants battled Afghan and US-led coalition troops in separate clashes that left 20 militants and one policeman dead, officials said.

Militants attacked at least three police checkpoints in Ghazni province on Tuesday, and ensuing gun battles left 13 militants and one officer dead, said. General Ali Shah Ahmadzai, the provincial police chief.

In Zabul province, Afghan and US-led coalition forces clashed with suspected Taliban militants on Tuesday in Shahjoy district, leaving seven militants dead and six others wounded, said Ali Kheil, a spokesman for the province's governor."

We lost another battle last week, 45 civilian dead, 20 Tabeban -- in one incident -- from Yahoo! News.

ACBAR is the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) umbrella group; all the non government players active in re-building infrastructure, in-country.

List of the dead from CBC


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

NASA's Heliophysics Team Begins Processing Themis Mission Data

Processing Themis Mission Data to get us hover cars!

From the
THEMIS Mission press release of June 7, 2007

"All stored science and engineering data are recovered regularly with a success rate of nearly 100% across the constellation. The THEMIS ground systems continue to function very well."

From the
THEMIS orbits page:

Stage 1: Injection or “Coast” Phase
2/15/07 - 9/15/07

Right after launch all spacecraft are lined up in the same orbit with a 15.4 Re apogee.

Stage 2: Orbit Placement Phase
9/15/07 - 12/15/07

The orbit placement phase is also called “Dawn phase” because the apogee of the orbits are on the dawn side of the magnetosphere. Probe 1 apogee is at 30 Re, Probe 2 at 20 Re, Probes 3 and 4 at 12 Re, and Probe 5 at 10 Re.

Stage 3: Tail Science Phase
12/15/07 – 4/15/08

In the tail science phase the apogee of the orbits are in the magnetotail. Probe 1 apogee is at 30 Re, Probe 2 at 20 Re, Probes 3 and 4 at 12 Re, and Probe 5 at 10 Re.

See more at the THEMIS
Mission Page

Check out the THEMIS mission video page for a NASA science briefing.

(scroll down untill you see this icon :)


University of Manitoba Photo Gallery Has Great Pictures Of Elie Manitoba Tornado

Storm-chasing photographer and U of M student Justin Hobson took wonderful still color images of the F4 Elie Manitoba Tornado.