Thursday, July 31, 2003

I'm all blogged out, seriously. I'm seriously taking a break, cause everything in my head is scattered...and there have been a number of incidents at work that are really testing my ethics and it's really getting on my nerves....so yeah..THIS time I'm really taking a hiatus. I guess I'll start back up on Monday.
WHOA!


Investigators have traced the funding for the Sept. 11 attacks to al-Qaida accounts in Pakistan, a top FBI (news - web sites) counterterrorism official told a Senate panel Thursday. Officials did little to clarify the Saudi role in the funding.


This I already knew...via Uggabugga and their many charts. Heh.

It's still surprising.

And Pakistan is one of our allies, no? Like Saudi---oh wait. That was redacted.
Even though I'm technically on hiatus because I don't feel like blogging due to one of my many mood swings, here's two interesting posts about Lancaster County. . . one from Gil Smart of the New Era, and the other about Young Democrats of Lancaster County. As vice-President of the Millersville College Democrats, I found them very interesting.

Both are about the uphill battle Democrats face in overwhelmingly one-party Republican Lancaster County, PA. Go read.
I think I'm due for a hiatus? Don't you?
This is disgusting.


The U.N. Children's Fund, UNICEF, says more than one million children are illegally bought and sold each year around the world.

The UNICEF report says human trafficking is now the world's third largest criminal business, after drugs and weapons trafficking. The U.N. findings released Wednesday said child trafficking generates up to $10 billion a year worldwide for those who illegally buy and sell children for cheap labor and as sex slaves.



I wrote about modern slavery awhile back. I think I may need to do it again.
I didn't watch the Bush press conference so I realyl can't say much about it. Rumor has it it was a real hum-dinger.
Good news, the ozone is recovering.
In the ever engaging entertainment that is the California Recall, it seems Ah-Nawld isn't running.
LIBERIA WATCH

The United States has offered a draft resolution to the UN about creating a multinational force to stabilize that country. The US role was sort of unspecified, however any commitment by the United States would be brief.

In the post that Blogger devoured last night, I advocated immediate American action, citing the British intervention in Sierra Leone that ended that civil war, and the recent French intervention in neighboring Ivory Coast, which may have quelled a brewing genocide.

An advance peacekeeping force from neighboring West African nations has arrived in Liberia.

Say what you will about "humanitarian" interventions. In 1994, the US and the world ignored Rwanda. One million were put to death in a 100 day period. That war spread into neighboring Dem. Rep. of Congo to cause what I've termed an "African Holocaust."

If the US, and the World ignores Liberia, imagine that chaos. Much like a stable Iraq could lead to a stable Middle East, a stable Liberia could lead to a stable West Africa.

The two regions are further similar. Both are oil-rich.

I say let's go. Let's roll and save these people.
Oh Jesus...

The Pennsylvania Gazette has a howler of a stinker from Ann Coulter. Kudos for Timothy Gray.

I read it and screamed "She's so stupid. What a stupid bitch!"

Someone, PLEASE tell this woman to either get a brain or ...do something. She's a disgrace to the right.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I wrote this great post on Liberia tonight because I changed my mind, and Blogger ate it. I saw red, and I'll re-write it tomorrow. I'm way too flustered now.
The Liberia post will wait till tomorrow night. I'm quite indignant about this case from California. Yeah, I'm an uppity little Negro. Sue me.

They FUCKING punched a kid in the head. He was already cuffed, if I viewed the video correctly. The kid wasn't doing anything wrong. What the hell. What the fucking hell.

And the cops are SUING over alleged racial discrimination because they feel they were treated too harshly because they were WHITE. WHAT the FUCKING FUCK! And watch them win too. White victimhood, oh boo hoo.

I'm really too bitter, angry, and upset to write about Liberia tonight. It'll have to wait till tomorrow.



I'm curious (as always). Are there any family blogs? Not those geared toward families. I mean those by families. There are group blogs made by friends. Why not family blogs?

And on that note, I think my mom should start a blog. She's very perceptive, intelligent, and I think the world would learn a thing or two from her. I sure have.
If you're not reading war news, you're doing yourself a great diservice.
A Thought, and Query


I've been reading a lot about religious fundamentalism. A lot of what I'm reading seems to regard fundamentalism as a threat, much like the totalitarian reaction to democracy that occured between World War I and II. Yet, a lot of what I'm reading seems to capitulate to the fundamentalists: either through trying to co-exist with them or understand them, etc.

A curious little thought entered my head: is this not the same appeasement from the '30s? I'm not sure why I thought that.

I'm curious... what do YOU think. If it is: Why? If it isn't: Why?
Something tells me I need to be intoxicated, or high, to find this amusing.



The Pentagon (news - web sites) is setting up a stock-market style system in which investors would bet on terror attacks, assassinations and other events in the Middle East. Defense officials hope to gain intelligence and useful predictions while investors who guessed right would win profits.


This is something the Ferengi from Star Trek:The Next Generation would do. And it's really perverse. It's just like...ewwwwwwww.
What the hell is this?

New Yorkers often become part of unexpected mob scenes -- huge crowds on subway platforms, at clothing sales, or at free concerts in places like Central Park. Now they are doing it on purpose, for fun.

"Flash mobs," in which people show up at an assigned place at a certain time, perform some brief acts, and then leave, have descended on stores, a hotel and even a piece of a park in New York.

In the latest occurrence, about 200 people converged on a Central Park ridge across from the Museum of Natural History on Thursday. Once in place, the mob tweeted like birds and crowed like roosters, chanted "Na-ture," and then dispersed.

If you're wondering what's the point, there isn't one. The gathering was the fifth instalment of the New York-based Mob Project, which started in June with a guy named Bill who sent an e-mail to some friends, who forwarded it to their friends, and so on.



Oy...pop culture gets weirder and weirder. Or is the fact that I find this weird and not screaming cool a sign that I'm getting older?



oh my god, i'm going to be 22 in a few months!
REDACTED

I wonder what's in those 28 pages that were "redacted."

Lord child, Orwell must be spinning in his grave. . .

Anyway, I've pretty much read through the report. Lots of finger pointing. Then lots more finger pointing. Then more. Then more. Oh darn, there goes the World Trade Center.

I think Busy Busy Busy said it best in just a handful of words: "What we had there was a failure to communicate."

I've also observed that it really shows Condi to be a triflin' little liar.

Unfortunatly, this story has almost no legs. Despite all that was revealed, the story is neatly buried . . . . . I suspect we'll never know the true extent of Saudi involvement...or how much was known and when it was known. . . and so on, and so on, and so on. Redacted.
I'm so glad I go to a university that has normal, friendly, College Republicans (they do exist) and that these people are tormenting some other university.

Except that one girl with the one hand. She's an annoying. . . . heh. . . well I don't like her and we'll leave it at that. (and rumor has it noone likes her...) But all the others are very nice people who I'll someday convert to the light of center-leftism.

In all honesty, I think what seperates the College Republicans that I know, and enjoy debating with, is the fact that 1. They're amazingly tolerant. 2. They're not Jesus-freaks and 3. They're not bigots like these whiny kids are. And I hope they never get that way.

Monday, July 28, 2003

I'll have something substantial about Liberia and a bunch of things I've been thinking about either tonight or tomorrow night. Plus a thesis update.
Congress contradicts Paul Wolfowitz's statements. So why the heck is he still making them?


Also...a Marine was killed in Baghdad today. My friend who I'm wearing the yellow ribbons for is a Marine and I believe he's still in Baghdad. I'm on pins and needles. . .
This is pretty cool.

Scientists report that the Lost City, a bizarre cluster of limestone spires rising from the peak of an ocean-floor mountain, is at least 30,000 years old.

The "city," on top of a mountain about as high as nearly 3-mile-high Mount Rainier, was discovered in 2000 by an expedition using a research submersible designed for deep-ocean diving. It was named for its towers, some as tall as an 18-story building.

The Lost City is about 4,500 feet deep, at 30 degrees latitude in the mid-Atlantic, 9 miles from the mid-Atlantic ridge. The ridge is where the North and South American continental plates have been separating from the European and African continents for about 20 million years. They are spreading at a rate of about 2 inches a year, creating the ridge between the plates.


Hey, look. Napster's back.


But you gotta pay for it. Screw that.
A West African peacekeeping force is due in Liberia this week.

MONROVIA, Liberia (CNN) -- Peacekeepers from Nigeria are due to arrive in Liberia within days to try to stop fighting between forces loyal to President Charles Taylor and rebel militias.


This is good. Although I have a theory. . . the sudden media attention Liberia has gotten in the last few weeks may have emboldened the rebels to take Monrovia. It's just a theory. . . . .and I'm probably wrong.
Iraq, of course, is a shining beacon of hope.
DRC Update

*Congo's cabinet held its first meeting.
*A new massacre has been reported, however.
*Belgian scientists have devised a way to determine if diamonds sold are the "conflict diamonds" banned by the Kimberley Process.
*and Doctors Without Borders wants the UN Mandate extended. So do I.
As much as I'm enjoying the entertainment that is the California recall. . . does anyone else think that they've forgotten something? Like. . . the 38 billion dollar deficit?
Hey, remember that Australian peacekeeping mission to the Solomon Islands? It seems to be working.

HONIARA (Reuters) - Leaders of one of the Solomon Islands' warring militia said on Monday they were prepared to surrender their weapons, but wanted talks with the head of a peacekeeping force sent to restore order to the lawless nation.

Leaders of the Malaita island militia, which has controlled large parts of the capital Honiara since a police-backed coup in 2000, said they wanted a 30-day amnesty to hand in weapons.

They said the rebels planned a traditional surrender of arms to tribal priests on August 15 and invited peacekeepers to witness the hand over.

"We don't want to fight them (peacekeepers) and we can't match them," Jimmy Rasta, co-founder of the Malaita Eagle Force (MEF), told Australian radio from an island near Honiara.

"All my boys, as former MEF, they're willing wholeheartedly to give up their guns...(but) if we give up at the moment it becomes a crime," said Rasta.

He asked for a 30-day amnesty to surrender weapons, saying time was needed to gather guns from rebels on several islands.


Good to hear. Very good to hear.
100 things about me. Very revealing. In fact, I suggest you ignore this post all together.
Question: Anyone a bodybuilder? And if so, how the hell do you get rid of strech marks? And why the hell do they appear nearly a week after said parts were built?

I got a real weird shock. There's some really bright purple lines on my shoulders that were not there this afternoon. I think they're stretch marks.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

The university in its infinate wisdom decided to have the construction company (which did NO construction) sever all telecommunications to the South Side of the campus, where I live and work. Thus, from 630pm Friday to 230pm Sunday, I had no net, telephone. Most of Saturday I had no television either...and whatever they did to the cable effected my cellphone service. Needless to say, with over 600 little annoying cheerleaders checking in, half the campus blacked out, and no telephones to communicate, it was NOT a pleasant couple of days.

Friday, July 25, 2003

I have a really busy weekend. One half of the campus is having the power turned off due to a major construction project. One dorm is full of mold, so the conference located there has to be relocated. And hundreds of teenage cheerleaders (UGH!) are descending on the campus. So I may blog. But probably not.
Go get this CD. It's the best music of 2003. Incredibly moving music.


(Ok I didn't buy it, I defied the RIAA. But I WILL buy it...in fact it's on that Amazon wish list right now . . . the one thats in the links . . . . . . .)


changed my mind. I bought it now.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

A scumbag is close to death. No...not Rush Limbaugh. I'm talking about Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin.
This just in from the University of Duh. I'll explain the duh after the article quote.

Marketing campaigns on college campuses that encourage students to drink moderately and responsibly don't reduce drinking, and in some cases can lead to higher rates of abuse, a Harvard study to be released today concludes.


Now I go to a "dry" school in an almost "dry" town. Yet, people are routinely drunk off their asses on weekends (well, those who don't pack up and go home to mommy and daddy). Not me, of course, I'm a good boy.

But the University continues to hold on to the belief that most students do not drink or have less than 4 drinks when they go out to party. The Snapper's police briefs confirm otherwise. My suspicion is the university only polls those over 21, and independent studies show that even on our "dry" campus, there is substantial underage drinking. Thus, the duh.

(I'm almost 22, by the way. But I'm a good boy. Heheheh.)
Uh...should we be worried about this?


The software that runs many high-tech voting machines contains serious flaws that would allow voters to cast extra votes and permit poll workers to alter ballots without being detected, computer security researchers said yesterday.



Uh oh. . . . .
Speaking of peacekeeping...look at what the Australians are doing!


The leader of an international intervention force is promising a speedy return to order in the capital of the Solomon Islands, as troops begin to arrive in the South Pacific nation.

Nick Warner got a warm welcome Thursday as he touched down in the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara.

Mr. Warner is coordinating an Australian-led international peacekeeping force code-named "Operation Helpem Fren," using the pidgin English phrase that means "help a friend."


I report, you decide.
Desperation in Liberia.

Forces loyal to Liberia's President Charles Taylor battled rebels for the sixth day in the capital Monrovia on Thursday as West African countries inched closer to deploying peacekeepers and residents begged for help.

But hopes that regional troops would be sent in immediately to stop the carnage were dampened as a meeting of regional and U.S. military experts in Sierra Leone to work out the details of the mission ended with no date for the deployment.


On a related tangent, I noted today that CNN had on its crawl another mass grave was opened in Iraq. There were 80 bodies contained within, some of them children still clutching their toys. Now, Bush supporters point to this, point to liberals, and say "Why don't you care? All that appeasement killed those people. Now there will be no more mass graves. Why don't you care about these people's freedoms?"

I won't even go into the '91 uprising counterargument, where the Coalition (meaning the US), ignored these people after telling them to rise up.

I'm quite certain Liberia, and Congo, and Sudan, and a host of other nations are littered with mass graves. Some with children. I bet some of those children are clutching their toys. Yet, there's a general hostility to "regime change" on the African continent. Why? Why can't we do what we're attempting to do for Iraq for Liberia? Why? Why? WHY?

Liberia has experienced two decades of war. Ignored by its colonizer, the US. Ignored by the world.

Liberia's neighbors are stepping up to the plate. Let's hope they show the "civilized world" a thing or two about peacekeeping.


SNARKY UPDATE:

Surfing the net, I've found that people(read:Americans) just don't want to send troops to Liberia for whatever reason. Sorry Liberians. Enjoy dying. Ralph Wiggum seems to think it tickles.
The 9/11 report can be read here. My library doesn't have it yet (and they seemed suspicious about my inquiry...) so I downloaded it. When I'm done reading it, I'll post a full report on my thoughts. I'm already annoyed though. The Saudi involvement was redacted. And I freaking hate that word redacted.


Oh, by the way, you best read this report anyway. It's the closest we're getting to the truth anytime in the next two decades.
Early reminder...

It's probably better that you remove your television from your domicile during the month of September. I'm planning on it.
Michael Powell just got bitch-slapped.


The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation today to block a new rule supported by the Bush administration that would permit the nation's largest television networks to grow bigger by owning more stations.

The vote, which was 400 to 21, sets the stage for a rare confrontation between the Republican-controlled Congress and the White House, because there is strong support in the Senate for similar measures, which seek to roll back last month's decision by the Federal Communications Commission to raise the limit on the number of television stations a network can own. The F.C.C. has ruled that a single company can own television stations reaching 45 percent of the nation's households, but the House measure would return the ownership cap to 35 percent.


Heh.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

My thesis topic has changed slightly. I'm focusing on religious fundamentalism and fascism. I suppose this could be called clerical fascism. I'm still fascinated and terrified by both religious fundamentalism and fascism, and if things are as dark as some liberals believe, I may not get another chance to study it. After I do a lot more preliminary reading, I'll have a title and it'll be better focused.

David Neiwert, of course, has been all over this. Scroll down.
Good news for Sao Tome and Principe. Despite the recent coup, which seems to be resolving itself peacefully, the sales of some offshore oil assets are proceeding as planned. Sao Tome and Principe, a deeply impoverished country, could do very well with the offshore oil assets it shares with Nigeria.
This is a very strange Condolezza Rice commentary. I'll be honest and say I had some strange visions upon reading it, but I probably shouldn't share them.
Hi boys and girls!

North Korea may have some big big news in the coming days! Yay! Nuclear Fun! I'm so happy I could f*st myself!


North Korea could declare itself an atomic power soon if the United States does not respond to its proposals for ending a nuclear controversy, diplomatic sources in Tokyo said amid increasing shadow-boxing ahead of likely talks.

The United States said Tuesday it was considering fresh talks with Communist North Korea and China on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons ambitions if they were followed by broader discussions with Japan and South Korea.

But White House spokesman Scott McClellan played down a Washington Post report that said the United States was considering offering North Korea a formal security guarantee in return for ditching its nuclear program.

"We never take options off the table," he said, referring to military action if diplomacy fails.


I apologize for the perverse sarcasm, but I, and I cannot possibly be alone, have been seeing this crisis get worse with each passing month. And to be honest, with our forces stretched thin across the globe, any war with North Korea (which I sense in the wind) is going to require some drastic measures at home. Maybe even a draft.
HAHAHAHA! Schools are saying "Fuck you!" to the RIAA!


BOSTON - Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (news - web sites) have moved to quash subpoenas seeking the names of students suspected of Internet music piracy, saying they're illegal because they weren't filed properly.

The schools said the subpoenas, issued by the Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites), didn't allow for adequate time to notify the students, as mandated by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said Tuesday the school did not object to providing the information.

"We're not trying to protect our students from the consequences of copyright infringement," he said. "Once the subpoenas are properly filed, we will comply with the subpoenas."


Beautiful. I love it. . . .

Upon hearing some interesting. . . hmmm. . . complaints, I got to thinking.


What would a WET (White Entertainment Television) look like?

Fill up my comments thread. I'm seriously really curious about this.
The scum is dead. No, not Ann Coulter* although a boy can wish, can't he? I mean Saddam's boys. Dead, dead, dead. And good.



*and before anyone gets all up in my corn flakes about wishing a certain hostile, cruel, and shrill harpie bitch of a commentator would come to harm...let it be known that she has a similar mindset about liberals, blacks, gays, and anyone who dares disagree with her. She wished Tim McVeigh would have blown up the NY Times.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Monday, July 21, 2003

DRC UPDATE

Damnit, Congo remains a freaking mess.


More than 20 civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed in a horrific manner in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), French military officials in the troubled region say.

A reporter saw a dozen bodies, many of which were mutilated, with a boy decapitated and a woman who had her ovaries ripped out and her throat cut open, in the village of Nizi, some 40 kilometres north-east of Bunia.


There's still a silver lining to this dark cloud. The Baltimore Sun has an inspiring story about an American NGO that helps out with medical treatment in the DRC. It is a missionary group, however. Sometimes that's bad, but usually good. And here I was thinking Americans didn't care. We do.
Frankly, I want to see more stories like the latter than the former.
Atrios is good today. Scroll down and read it all.
Liberia has officially fallen apart


A thundering barrage of mortars shook Liberia's capital Monday, hitting two U.S. Embassy compounds and residential neighborhoods, and killing more than 90 people, as government and rebel forces fought over President Charles Taylor's last stronghold.

Wailing with grief, Liberians lined up bloodied, mangled bodies outside the U.S. Embassy, demanding to know why Washington has not sent troops to end more than a decade of strife in the country founded by freed American slaves.



Now, I am in support of Americans along with an international intervention force in Liberia, and my general sense is that I'm more or less alone in this one from all angles of the political spectrum. Despite the fact that Al Quada has been documented in laundering money through Liberia's diamond mines (along with our very own Christo-fascist Pat Robertson).

Jeanne D'Arc at Body and Soul has some excellent commentary on how she feels about an intervention in Liberia. Also, Fuzzy Logic also has an excellent post about Liberia as well. I recommend both.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Fuck the RIAA!
The Beach was great.

WHY OCEAN CITY MD IS TEN TIMES BETTER THAN THE JERSEY SHORE

I am committing blasphemy by making this post, being from Philadelphia and all. But it has to be made.

1. The Water.
The water in Ocean City is a wonderful aqua-greenish blue. Unlike in New Jersey, where it often is New York sewage brown or Vomit pea-green. With hospital waste. And the water at Ocean City is warmer too.

2. The Beach.
The beach is always wide, spacious, and fun. Most Jersey beaches are narrow (with the exception of Wildwood and sometimes Avalon.) I suspect it's due to overdevelopment of the Jersey shore, while most of Maryland's coastline is a national park that extends southward into Virginia.

That's good enough for me. The boardwalk rocks too.

There is one problem though. Every t-shirt shop sells Confederate flag t-shirts. I think I sarcastically and loudly exclaimed one day "Oh Lawdy Lawdy, we's gonna celebrate us up some Southern Rebel Pride!" Hahaha.

Also, a question. When did the Iron Cross become so popular? This is the first summer I've seen it on t-shirts.

Anyways, it was a fun trip. Ocean City gets 4 stars out of 5.
Hey guys! Guess what???! North Korea has a second, hidden nuclear site!


WASHINGTON, July 19 American and Asian officials with access to the latest intelligence on North Korea (news - web sites) say strong evidence has emerged in recent weeks that the country has built a second, secret plant for producing weapons-grade plutonium, complicating both the diplomatic strategy for ending the program and the military options if that diplomacy fails.



That's all now. Y'all have a blessed Sunday now, ya hear?

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Hiatus till Sunday. I'm going to Ocean City, MD.
Heh...


I love it when people from high school who vanish off the face of the earth suddenly decide that they want a phone call. And I love it that they're probably still hot as hell . . . oy.

Never ceases to amaze me. (and there's no point to this post, yes.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

I'll take this news as good news.

LONDON (Reuters) - The number of asteroids likely to collide with Earth and cause huge damage is smaller than expected, scientists said on Wednesday.
A computer simulation developed by scientists in Britain and Russia shows that asteroids with a diameter of 200 meters (yards) will hit the Earth's surface about once every 160,000 years, instead of every 2,500 years.

"Fewer asteroids (than expected) will make it to the surface of the Earth," said Dr Phil Bland, of Imperial College in London.

If a massive near-Earth object measuring more than a kilometer (0.6 mile) in diameter slammed into the planet it would cause global devastation and kill an estimated quarter of the world's population.

But scientists believe an event of that size would only occur about every 700,000 years.


Good cause we don't get to go extinct. Thus, good news.
DRC Update

The ICC (yes, that evil shrill ICC that will usurp all American soverignity by way of France) is taking a good hard long look at the violence in the DRC. This could be a prelude to a possible investigation into war crimes in the region. Also in the DRC, the top rebel arrived in Kinshasa to be sworn in as vice-president in a power-sharing agreement. Here's to hoping for peace.

More good news: The United States and the United Kingdom both back a French-led effort to impose an arms embargo on Eastern Congo.



UNITED NATIONS, July 15 — The United States, France and Britain have united behind a French draft resolution that would impose an arms embargo in eastern Congo, increase the ceiling on United Nations peacekeepers in the country and strengthen their military mandate, diplomats from two of the countries involved said today.


Things are looking somewhat better, it seems. We'll see. . .
Hey, where's that 9/11 Report?

A Prayer

Hi, God? It's me, Terry. I was wondering if you could deal with someone. His name is Pat Robertson. He's usurping Your name for political reasons. Also, he likes dictators with ties to Al-Quaida--Al Quaida being that terrorist group that also usurps Your name to kill thousands of Your people. So if you could maybe give him a pox or two or make his eyes bleed or make his teeth fall out then bite him on the ass, I--no--we, Your Chosen People, will be ever so grateful. If you can make it as painful as possible, because he DID usurp Your name, that'd be fabulous.

Love and Kisses

Terry Pinder
a concerned monothesist.
Well this is random.


Abuja: Nigeria "unequivocally" condemned Wednesday's military coup in Sao Tome and Principe, whose President Fradique de Menezes was attending an international forum in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
"The government condemns unequivocally this violation of the democratic process," an official statement said. "Needless to observe that the development is also a gross violation of ... the constitutive act of the African Union."



Geography lesson: Sao Tome and Principe is located off the West Coast of Africa. It's a series of small, volcanic islands settled by the Portuguese, and it's desperatly poor. It also shares vast oil fields with Nigeria.
I got confirmation.

I'm sure my kids (when they're born, 20 years from now) will be ever so thankful that we saw fit to let the deficit go 400+ billion dollars this year, and 400+billion dollars next year. Because they'll be paying for it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Everyone send Jack some good karma...he's sorta-kinda in Claudette's path.


As an aside, I love watching hurricane coverage. Sometimes reporters getting blown around in the wind can be entertaining. Sadly, we rarely get hurricanes this far north in Pennsylvania, and usually they only give us a glancing blow. Except for Floyd in 1999, although that was more rain than wind.
Oh damn...that crisis that isn't a crisis probably is a crisis and probably always has been a crisis even though they say it isn't a crisis.



Former defense secretary William Perry warned that the United States and North Korea are drifting toward war, perhaps as early as this year, in an increasingly dangerous standoff that also could result in terrorists being able to purchase a North Korean nuclear device and plant it in a U.S. city.

"I think we are losing control" of the situation, said Perry, who believes North Korea soon will have enough nuclear warheads to begin exploding them in tests and exporting them to terrorists and other U.S. adversaries. "The nuclear program now underway in North Korea poses an imminent danger of nuclear weapons being detonated in American cities," he said in an interview.

Perry added that he reached his conclusions after extensive conversations with senior Bush administration officials, South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun and senior officials in China.




Nothing to see here. . . move along.. . . oh wait. . .

WASHINGTON, July 14 — North Korean officials told the Bush administration last week that they had finished producing enough plutonium to make a half-dozen nuclear bombs, and that they intended to move ahead quickly to turn the material into weapons, senior American officials said today.

The new declaration set off a scramble in American intelligence agencies — under fire for their assessment of Iraq's nuclear capability — to determine if the North Korean government of Kim Jong Il was bluffing or had succeeded in producing the material undetected.


Well, it was too cold in Anchorage anyway.


Seriously, I've been screaming about this since October. You can read for yourself. (warning, I was really depressed that week...post birthday blues.)
Claudette's a hurricane.



000
WTNT34 KNHC 150519
TCPAT4
BULLETIN
HURRICANE CLAUDETTE INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 26A...CORRECTED
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
MIDNIGHT CDT TUE JUL 15 2003

...CORRECTED LANDFALL TO THIS EVENING.

...CLAUDETTE NOW A HURRICANE...STILL MOVING WEST...

A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ALONG THE TEXAS COAST FROM
BAFFIN BAY TO HIGH ISLAND. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN
EFFECT NORTH OF HIGH ISLAND TEXAS TO INTRACOASTAL CITY LOUISIANA.

A HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT SOUTH OF BAFFIN BAY TO
BROWNSVILLE TEXAS.

AT MIDNIGHT CDT...0500Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE CLAUDETTE WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 27.9 NORTH... LONGITUDE 94.4 WEST OR ABOUT
175 MILES EAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS.

CLAUDETTE IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 8 MPH AND THIS GENERAL
MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE WITH A SLIGHT INCREASE IN FORWARD
SPEED OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THE CURRENT FORECAST TRACK...
CLAUDETTE WILL BE NEAR THE CENTRAL TEXAS COAST BY THIS EVENING.

AIR FORCE RESERVE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT RECENTLY REPORTED MAXIMUM
SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR 75 MPH...WHICH MAKES CLAUDETTE A CATEGORY ONE
HURRICANE. SOME ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS POSSIBLE BEFORE
CLAUDETTE MAKES LANDFALL.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 140 MILES FROM THE
CENTER. REPORTS FROM A RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT ALSO INDICATE
TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS ARE APPROACHING THE UPPER TEXAS COAST
NEAR GALVESTON ISLAND.

THE LATEST PRESSURE MEASURED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT
RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT WAS 988 MB...29.18 INCHES.

STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 3 TO 5 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...
ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE
EXPECTED IN THE WARNING AREA NEAR AND TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE
CENTER CROSSES THE COAST. LARGE SWELLS HAVE BEEN IMPACTING THE
SHORELINES ALONG THE TEXAS COAST AND ARE CREATING ABOVE NORMAL
TIDES AND DANGEROUS SURF CONDITIONS.

STORM TOTAL RAINFALL OF 5 TO 8 INCHES IS POSSIBLE IN ASSOCIATION
WITH CLAUDETTE.

REPEATING THE MIDNIGHT CDT POSITION......27.9 N... 94.4 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST NEAR 8 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS... 75 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 988 MB.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL
HURRICANE CENTER AT 2 AM CDT FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT
COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 4 AM CDT.
My head is still spinnin' from all the spin from the White House. And . . . I'm starting to get a headache.
Okay...

Someone break this down for me, because I admit that I don't quite understand it.

Is it 450 billion dollars in deficit spending over two years? Or is it 450 billion dollars in deficit spending a year. Because if it's the latter, that means nearly a trillion dollars of deficit spending over a twenty-four month period, and even a moron knows that ain't good.
I got addicted to a computer game today, thus the lack of posts.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Our well behaved Tropical Storm that was supposed to head for Brownsville...well it's decided to head further north.
If you're not reading Democratic Veteran, you're doing yourself a great diservice.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Just so you know. . .



North Korea has reprocessed all of its spent fuel rods. At least according to the South Korean News Agency. I just thought that was important to know.


And just so you know, Australia is talking tough.
Watch out Brownsville...Claudette's 'a-comin.


The National Weather Service on Saturday was sticking to the forecast that the federal agency had maintained for several days for Tropical Storm Claudette: landfall as a tropical storm or minimal hurricane near or south of Brownsville late Monday or early Tuesday.

The expectation was that a trough of low pressure over the Mississippi Valley, which was pulling Claudette north-northwest at 8 mph on Saturday, would push east late in the day, allowing an area of high pressure to take its place. Then, the clockwise circulation of the high pressure area would steer Claudette into a sharp left turn, pushing it westward to right at or below the mouth of the Rio Grande.

I still don't know what to say about Uranium-gate. The spin is making me dizzy as hell.
Has Tony Blair lost his goddamn fucking mind?


Tony Blair is appealing to the heads of Western governments to agree a new world order that would justify the war in Iraq even if Saddam Hussein's elusive weapons of mass destruction are never found.

It would also give Western powers the authority to attack any other sovereign country whose ruler is judged to be inflicting unnecessary suffering on his own people.

A Downing Street document, circulated among foreign heads of state who are in London for a summit, has provoked a fierce row between Mr Blair and the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder.


It sounds like a PNAC cum-fest.

And, I wonder, if conservatives who oppose the UN and the ICC for their "soverignity issues" will jump on this program, which is an equally horrific violation of "soverignity."

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Heh.


A New Jersey student who sued successfully to be the sole valedictorian of her high school has been disinvited from attending Harvard University for plagiarism, according to a published report.

Citing an unnamed source involved with the decision, The Harvard Crimson reported for Friday's edition that the Ivy League school decided not to welcome Blair Hornstine into its class of 2007.




Equally heh.


Hornstine skipped her school's graduation ceremony last month.

I don't have much to say about Uranium-gate (or whatever it's called) just yet . . . but it looks like some high-drama is about to bust out. Especially next week with the release of the long-awaited 9/11 Report.

I seriously think heads will roll. It'll be great fun.
DRC UPDATE

Remember Congo?

The French-led force in Bunia, Ituri has met some resistance in confiscating heavy weapons. Three tribal militia soldiers were killed. The Indian Air Force is sending 250 personnel as well. Good news though, rebel groups seem to be headed toward peace.
Uh...yeah. So North Korea is reprocessing nuclear fuel. . .


The Nitpicker (aka the other Terry) has an interesting post up. Go read.
Apparently that AIDS funding for Africa falls short. Way short.
You can read all about the reason I will never, ever move to California.


And you know what, I'm willing to bet that California will STILL be fucked up a year from now, no matter who the governor is. And a lot of people will suffer for it. Shame on those idiots out there. Shame on them.

(Pennsylvania is still taking applications if you want to relocate. We'd love our own Silicon Valley.)
Did you guys know that Nicolas Kristof is black? He's done an excellent job at passing all these years.

Actually, I'm being snarky. It was an excellent article on genetics and biology that shows that the concept of seperate races is biologically incorrect. Ethnicity is real, as that is a cultural construction along with other things.
If anyone who works for the Government Printing Office wants to hook a brotha' up, I will be eternally grateful...


I reeeallly want to see that 9/11 Report reeaal baaad.

Friday, July 11, 2003

BREAKING NEWS....BREAKING NEWS....BREAKING NEWS....BREAKING NEWS....



The revolution is eating its children. Check CNN.com
THE SHORTER TERRY PINDER


The claims about the Bush Administration knowing things from this summer are suspiciously and eerily similar to last summer.
9/11 Investigation Watch

Next week, a final report from the Congressional investigation will be released. It promises to be explosive.

I can't wait to get my copy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

The Army has released the facts on the capture, and rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch. It's less glamorous than the initial reports. Which doesn't matter to me. I still think, and always will think PFC Lynch and women serving in combat like her are role-models to women everywhere. And sadly, I expect some shrill harpy wench of a commentator (Ann Coulter comes to mind) to shriek like an ugly banshee about why women can't be in the military, etc. etc. etc. Which is a damned shame, and it maligns PFC Lynch's good name.
Ted Rall has gone off the deep end. Wow, what a shrill nutty column.

Although, I think his argument boils down to "Puritianism: The belief that somewhere, someone else is having fun and you're too dour to."
Interesting story. Someone's academic work could be a national security threat.


Three things:

1. I hope they let him get his PhD. Then I hope he's promptly hired by the NSA.
2. They need to classify most of his dissertation. Let the basic non-descript stuff out.
3. The government needs to analyze what's on the net. He got ALL of his info through public domain.
Matthew Yglesias has an interesting story about tourists around the world.

Which is interesting. Statistically, German tourists are the nicest. Anecdoteally, they seem to be absolute bastards.

In the Fall, I'm going to have an international roommate. I'm not sure which country he'll be from, but we generally draw our exchange students from "Old" Europe. I'll have to ask him.

And I have an story too. The nicest tourists I've ever encountered were Bermudans. Friendly people. They love spending money too, especially on clothes--because they really don't have any stores on Bermuda. I really hated that retail job two summers ago, but the days the Bermudans came made me a very happy person. Too bad Old Navy doesn't, and didn't, pay commission.

I'd have to say the rudest tourists I've encountered are Floridians. Constant whining about the cold. Sheesh. Next time, bring a coat.
This can't possibly be good.


North Korea has carried out up to 70 tests as part of its nuclear weapons programme, according to South Korean sources.

The communist regime is alleged to have reprocessed a small number of its spent nuclear fuel rods, which could provide it with weapons-grade plutonium.

Intelligence director Ko Young-koo told parliament that his staff had noticed tests on high-explosive - which can be used to detonate nuclear devices -being conducted near the nuclear site in Yongbyon.


How much longer . . . . . . . .


(Can also be read here. And here. And here. And here. )
Sean-Paul Kelly, on his Central Asian adventure, explores Wahabbi Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia. Among other things. His journey has been a fascinating read. Go read.
If you're bored one afternoon, and have a bit of free time, you might want to pay a visit to this online roleplaying site I found. It's pretty interesting. . .basic, but interesting.
A link to the Bible I use.
HUMOR TIME
Sponsored by DUper and FReeper Land!

The Shorter Liberal Argument

Conservatives are uncaring intolerants who only care about forcing their Christianity down our throats and lining their pockets (and Israel's) while screwing the poor, gays, minorites, and Palestinians. Why do these fascists hate America? To the duck pit with ye!

The Shorter Conservative Argument

Liberals are treasonous Commie-Pinko pansy appeasers who only care about loving Stalin, Saddam, raiding our wallets and throwing money at non-working social programs for ungrateful Blacks and Hispanics who leech off of welfare and perpetuate class warfare or race warfare and perpetuate minority victimhood. They hate families with their pro-baby killing, homosexual agenda. Why do these Hell-bound Socialist Marxists hate America? To Guantanemo with ye!



Both arguments, in my opinion, are equally stupid. But funny though. I was, and am, entertained.
(I paid a visit to Democratic Underground and Free Republic. The bile at both sites is nauseating. Funny, but nauseating. )

*edited with suggestions from a personal friend.
Rumsfeld reveals that a second assessment team has been sent to Liberia.


I think it's likely that some American troops will be sent as part of an international peacekeeping contingent. Which is good.
I wish everyone involved in the Road Map to Peace would play ball and compromise. . .but the cynic in me expects nothing from those people.
The 9/11 Commission, which is holding public hearings today, got this...uh....interesting testimony.


WASHINGTON - The United States and the international community sat by for a decade as Afghanistan (news - web sites) became "a terrorist Disneyland" where attackers were trained and assaults were planned, a terrorism expert testified Wednesday.

Rohan Gunaratna, head of terrorism research at the Institute for Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore, told an independent terrorism investigative commission here that U.S. leaders had to know their homeland would eventually be targeted.

"You knew the intention of al-Qaida was to kill American people where they could be found, but still you did not act, and you paid a very heavy price for it," said Gunaratna, the lead-off witness at a full-day hearing on terrorism, al-Qaida and the Muslim world.



In addition, you can also read the Commission's interim report which is available online.

. . . and on the Homeland Defense Watch. . . we see that red tape is causing problems...bad ones. . .

thus my concern over the non-descript tank farm I talked about the other day.
Straw Man


The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of "reasoning" has the following pattern:


Person A has position X.
Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
Person B attacks position Y.
Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.
This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position simply does not constitute an attack on the position itself. One might as well expect an attack on a poor drawing of a person to hurt the person.


uh, annoying hacker?...can I have my blogroll back please?


UPDATE
Thank you.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Giggle.


Bush's five-day, five-country tour will take him to four of the countries Clinton visited -- of the nearly 50 in sub-Saharan Africa. He is scheduled to make remarks in the same parking lot at the same Botswana reserve that Clinton used for that purpose; he'll also ride down the Bill Clinton Highway in Nigeria, visit the hotel in Entebbe, Uganda, that has a Clinton Pavilion and Clinton Imperial Suite from his predecessor's trip.


Now, the article was about much more than that. But that paragraph made me snicker. About Bush's African adventure: excellent idea. About time he did one, too.

Where is Agent Z?
Tropical Storm Claudette has done some major strengthening. Jamaica and the Cayman Islands are now in her path, and it's very likely that she'll become a hurricane.

Also, those along the Gulf, be wary.
Here's an interesting story.


WASHINGTON - U.S. forces have arrested the Iraqi diplomat alleged by some Czech officials to have met with the lead Sept. 11 hijacker five months before the attacks.

U.S. government officials said Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani was arrested on July 2. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said al-Ani had been interrogated but had provided little information.

The arrest was first reported Thursday by CBS News. U.S. investigators have dismissed Czech accounts of an April 2001 meeting in Prague between suicide hijacker Mohammed Atta and al-Ani, who is widely believed to be an intelligence agent.

Some Czech officials stand by their claims, the only known link between Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s government and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Atta and al-Ani met," Czech U.N. Ambassador Hynek Kmonicek said a year ago in an interview with The Associated Press.

Czech officials said Atta had contacted al-Ani, who was later expelled from the Czech Republic, to discuss an attack on the Prague building that serves as the headquarters for U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Other Czech officials retracted the account after U.S. investigators said that Atta was in the United States during the time he was supposed to have been meeting with al-Ani.


Another one to watch how it plays out.
Oy vey, this Niger uranium story gets weirder every day.


WASHINGTON, July 7 — The White House acknowledged for the first time today that President Bush was relying on incomplete and perhaps inaccurate information from American intelligence agencies when he declared, in his State of the Union speech, that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium from Africa.

The White House statement appeared to undercut one of the key pieces of evidence that President Bush and his aides had cited to back their claims made prior to launching an attack against Iraq in March that Mr. Hussein was "reconstituting" his nuclear weapons program. Those claims added urgency to the White House case that military action to depose Mr. Hussein needed to be taken quickly, and could not await further inspections of the country or additional resolutions at the United Nations.



I'm not going to say anything, just yet. I want to see how this plays out.

Although, did anyone ask Niger what they thought about it?
I don't know what to say about this. . .


Baker, in his first year as Cubs manager, delved into heat and skin color when talking to reporters Saturday, saying black and Hispanic players hold up better under the summer sun and heat.

"It's easier for most Latin guys and it's easier for most minority people because most of us come from heat. You don't find too many brothers in New Hampshire and Maine and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Right?" he said with a chuckle.


Although . . . I do despise the cold. . . . . . . . . hmmmmmmmm...interesting point. But best kept to ones self.
9/11 Commission Watch


That commission that I feared would not do its job for the partisan makeup of the board is actually, well, doing its job. Sadly, the government doesn't really want to cooperate.

WASHINGTON, July 8 — The federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks said today that its work was being hampered by the failure of executive branch agencies, especially the Pentagon and the Justice Department, to respond quickly to requests for documents and testimony.

The panel also said the failure of the Bush administration to allow officials to be interviewed without the presence of government colleagues could impede its investigation, with the commission's chairman suggesting today that the situation amounted to "intimidation" of the witnesses.



The NY Times story, I feel, downplayed the panel's true feelings ever so slightly. The AP story was much more harsh.



WASHINGTON - Short on time and patience, leaders of the independent commission studying the Sept. 11 attacks released a status report Tuesday that singled out government departments, including Defense and Justice, that they said were not cooperating fully.

Republican Thomas H. Kean and Democrat Lee Hamilton, chairman and vice chairman of the 10-member National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, said they took the unusual step because the Bush administration's level of cooperation during the next few weeks will determine whether the panel can write a thorough report by its May 2004 deadline.

"The task in front of us is monumental, and time is slipping by," said Kean, a former governor of New Jersey. "Every day lost complicates our work."


*Sigh*


This is very, very sad.
Stupid Kobe...


EAGLE, Colo. (AP) -- The sexual assault allegations against Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant were made by a 19-year-old Colorado woman, authorities said Tuesday.

Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy confirmed the woman's age but refused to discuss other details of the case. He said the alleged victim has left on vacation with her family.



And he wonders why we boo him when he comes to Philly.
This is ridiculous.

Sudan's Foreign Minister says Tuesday's plane crash which killed at least 115 people was the direct result of U.S. sanctions.

Mustafa Osman Ismail says the accident was caused by a lack of spare parts, which he says, were unavailable because of U.S. sanctions. The U.S. imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1997. It also remains on the U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism



There wouldn't be any sanctions if your country didn't support terror. Duh.
Fun With Orwell! (As documented by Billmon, just scroll down.)
Something must be wrong with the weather. This is the third day in a row of gorgeous summertime temperatures. Meaning. . . no posts. Except that there's a new tropical storm!

Monday, July 7, 2003

I really want an answer to this question that I posed a couple days ago. What's in the tanks, and why's there no security?
Yet another third world country that 99% of people can't locate is falling apart.


Over the past 12 months, that conflict has escalated into a campaign of intimidation by the rebel leader, Harold Keke, who is accused of dozens of murders, rapes and beheadings.

Whole villages have been torched, and refugees say he has taken to kidnapping women and children to use as human shields.


Charles Taylor is going to accept asylum in Nigeria, another corrupt West African state.

Charles Taylor also has ties to Al Quada, which I KNOW I've read and I'll link to when I find it. I'm hoping a special forces kidnapping operation is in the works. Which I'm okay with, as long as they don't torture him. I find torture immoral, and a moral nation cannot condone torture.
I am dismayed.

I've been chatting with friends and a number of people. Noone seems to be happy about the possiblity of troops being sent to Liberia, except me it seems. Anyone else experiencing this?

I try my best to explain why we need to go. Million dislaced. Many dead. A humanitarian catastrophe.

Kind of like Congo.

Again, I'm dismayed.
Hey, look...MSNBC fired Michael Savage.
Bush and Putin seem to have the same problem.

They've both declared their prospective wars over, but evidence overwhelmingly points to the contrary.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the war in Chechnya is over. Chechens voted in a March election, he notes, approving an autonomy plan that keeps the tiny breakaway republic in the Russian Federation. He has scheduled local elections for October and has transferred military operations from the security service to the police.

But the suicide bombings at a Moscow rock festival over the weekend tell a different story. Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up, killing 13 other people. The attacks are the latest in a series of such bombings, many involving women, that have killed dozens of innocent people.

Meanwhile, Russian soldiers perish in daily incidents all over Chechnya. Some 100 to 150 Chechens disappear each month. Many are seized by Russian security forces and never heard from again.



Again, not good. Not good at all. And it sounds a lot like this.

Quagmires? Not in Iraq, at least not yet. I'll give that a few more skeptical months. In Chechnya, oh hell yeah.
It was an awesome day out in the sun. I tanned (LOL), wandered around. Ogled the new freshmen who are here for their two-day orientation. Bought some new dress shirts because twice a week in the new semester I'm going to dress up all buisness like. Got some minutes for the cell-phone. Ate a good dinner...


Then came home to this.

TEHRAN, July 7 — Iran has successfully conducted the final test of a midrange missile, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry here confirmed today.

The missile, called Shahab-3, was first tested in 1998 and has a range of 806 to 930 miles, which means it can reach Israel and American troops stationed in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.


Not good. Not good at all. Naval Reserves are now out, unless there is a draft.

Two things . . .


1. Where did this term 'sexed up' come from. Even though the subject matter is serious, I think the term is hysterical.

2. Waaayy too nice to be inside. No posts till some ungodly hour in the morning. Plus I'm off...
Global Security, quite disturbingly, is now hosting a Target: Iran website.


I am sort of considering the naval reserves to pay for graduate school, but I'm starting to rethink that option. . .
This can't be good for Kuwait. No more liberals in power. Just Islamic conservatives.

Sunday, July 6, 2003

FOR LANCASTER AREA RESIDENTS . . . a Homeland Security Question . . .


I have a question. Off of US 30 on PA72 (I think), there are these great big tanks. They look like oil tanks, but they obviously can't be since we're landlocked. Anyone know what's in them?

I'm curious, because a few nights ago some friends and I were on our way to a diner, and all of us noted that there was absolutely no security. It concerned us greatly.

(Others have noted the same thing about the tank farms near Philadelphia International Airport and the Sports Complexes, where the Schuylkill Expressway and I-95 converge)
Orcinus's series on fascism is available via PDF.
Les Dabney is back! Go look, scroll down. There's good stuff.
DRC UPDATE (part of an occasional series)

The French-led European Union peacekeeping force in the northeastern city of Bunia has reached its full force of 1,100 soldiers. Their mandate ends in just a few months. However, violence continues across Eastern Congo. NGOs state that the violence is actually increasing.

The Kivu region is experiencing horrid atrocities as two militias, one backed by neighboring Rwanda in its proxy war against Uganda (and for control of resources such as diamonds which are not covered by the Kimberley Process, coltan, and many more minerals) and another Congolese militia. Since April 5, villages, schools, health clinics and infrastructure have all been destroyed. In addition to the 'normal' systematic rapes of women and girls, men and boys are now being targeted.

Dr Denis Mukwege said he has already seen a number of men who had been raped, but never such a young victim.

'It is hard to comprehend why we are suddenly seeing this,' says Dr Mukwege. 'Homosexuality is taboo in our society. Is this a way of telling people they are worth nothing?'

If it is, this shocking new phenomenon is working. The men Dr Mukwege sees all feel 'diminished'. Many he says are in complete denial, insisting the rape never happened.

'However, when they insist on an AIDS test, then I know they know what happened,' he says.

All the NGOs in Bukavu Christian Aid spoke to have received reports of male rape and sodomy. For many years now they have been documenting reports of rape of women and young girls. All the details are carefully filed - the age, which can range from seven to 70, if it occurred in front of their husbands and their children, how many men were involved.

'Now, we are going to have to start keeping records of male rape,' says one human rights worker in despair.


The article goes on to state about the major concern of humanitarian agencies. I think it's implied (at least I sensed it) that there are those who feel inter-governmental organizations could do more.

Human rights workers in Bukavu are concerned about the new levels of violence and human rights abuses they are seeing. Rival governments arm all the rival militias in eastern Congo. Rwanda, Uganda and even Congo's own government are fighting proxy wars to gain control of the region and its fabled mineral wealth.

However, Canada yesterday pledged several million dollars in humanitarian aid.

There is a faint (very faint) glimmer of hope. A few days ago, DRC President Joseph Kabilia started a transitional government.

The international community has hailed the creation of Democratic Republic of Congo's new unity government, aimed at serving as a catalyst to democracy for the vast former Zaire and at ending a war that has killed more than two million people.

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila named the government Monday, as DRC marked 43 years of independence from Belgium, and urged the Congolese people to put aside the ethnic differences that have divided the central African country, and finally unite their vast nation.


I raise a skeptical glass to a positve future for the DRC.

Way too nice and summery out to sit in front of the TV/Computer bitching about the world. Thus I'm outside. See ya tomorrow.

Saturday, July 5, 2003

Oh. My. God.

American families are turning away French foreign exchange students.

I read this article at 2 in the morning, when I should have been in bed. I'll be seething for days.

My message, once again, is simple.

Grow. the. Fuck up.
I'm sick of the childishness. I'm fucking sick of it. You got your goddamned war. So grow the fuck up already and stop being childish. It's quite embarrassing to those of us like me who hold their home country, and its people, to a higher standard.

We. Are. A. Better. Country. Than. This. Christ Jesus.

I know it goes both ways, so in France, you people Grow. The. Fuck. Up. too.
Everytime I've tried to wrap my brain around our government's decision to suspend all military aid to nations that won't grant immunity to Americans if they're bought before the International Criminal Court, I just get really angry, incoherent, and then I get the urge to scream.

Except that's not really how I feel. Instead, I get really, really tired. Like all the energy has been drained from my body.

Let's call it: Outrage fatigue.

Here's the list:

The 35 countries which have signed or ratified the Protocol but have refused to sign Article 98 agreements include key South American countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela; Belize and Costa Rica in Central America; Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia in Europe; Benin, Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia in Africa; Fiji and Samoa in the South Pacific; and the island countries of the English-speaking Caribbean.


Oh, and weren't a bunch on that list helping us with the War on Terror? And a bunch were "New Europe." And it also cuts off other support as well. Like hurricane relief. I guess the American government won't be helping Belize or the Caribbean island nations if they get smacked with a Cat. 5 hurricane this hurricane season. Bummer. Shoulda' signed.


Bummer for "New Europe."

Bummer for nations that have suffered under Al-Quaeda terrorism, like Tanzania. Yea...sorry. Bummer.

Come the fuck on. We're a better fucking country than this. Christ Jesus.

Body and Soul covered this much better than I did.

Friday, July 4, 2003

Thursday, July 3, 2003

Click this.
via Walter, we discover this bit of un-fucking real news. Unreal. Unfucking real.

The Kimberley Process was Congo's last best hope. It should be applied as a BLANKET BAN on all diamonds mined in any nation on the African continent that is currently eating itself from within. But instead, there's a grading system.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic - countries long blighted by civil war - are set to be officially cleared as legitimate producers and exporters of "clean" diamonds by the Kimberley Process - a UN-backed coalition of governments, diamond companies and non- government organisations.


God.

Ok...the Kimberley Process is working in Liberia, currently the next target of a regime change (and a good one at that.) However, it ignores the suffering of Congo, where 5 MILLION people have died in one God-awful African Holocaust. A conflict that CONTINUES to be ignored in the press, despite the various shoutings of a few compassionate bloggers on both sides of the political spectrum, I might add.

Remember, diamonds, coltan, and other minerals bought from the DRC FUND THEIR GENOCIDAL WAR. Please remember that. In fact, tattoo it to your frontal lobe.

Write your congressman.
Apparently, the 9/11 Report that Congress created in the immediate aftermath is due out next week.

Apparently.

The cynic in me continues to not expect much.
I got sick of the old comments. We're back to Haloscan.

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Good news for Liberia, but what about the Congo?


oh...forgot about that coltan.
The Nitpicker reports that Chris Matthews (that annoying guy on MSNBC) has layed the smackdown on Ann "I'm not human, I'm a reptilian Fascist" Coulter so sublime I think I . . . well, go read it for yourself. It's quite beautiful. I got a tear, really, I did.

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Two things, actually.

1. Has anyone else noticed that the Weather Channel Anchors are ALWAYS having babies?


and


2. I'm planning a post on tokenism. Yes...THAT tokenism.