Archive for October, 2006
31 Oct 2006

Kill the Pop-Ups

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Now here’s a game that is a practical training simulator applicable to real life.

Hat tip to Seneca the Younger.

31 Oct 2006

Papua New Guinea Threatens Australia With the Ultimate Sanction

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The Sydney Morning Herald reports that if Australia fails to knuckle under, the PNG regime will accept less aid from Australia (!).

PAPUA New Guinea is threatening to dramatically reduce the money it receives from Canberra, suspend all official visits by Australians or impose onerous travel restrictions, and recall its high commissioner.

Whether it does so, the Herald understands, depends on what response it receives to a strongly worded aide-memoire delivered to the deputy secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, David Ritchie, yesterday afternoon.

The diplomatic note demands an explanation for the bans Australia put on visits by PNG’s Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, and its Defence Minister, Mathew Gubag, as well as its decision to cancel the next ministerial forum between the two countries. The letter also expresses disappointment at the “unilateral” actions taken by Australia.

The bans were announced by the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, a fortnight ago, after the escape of the Australian fugitive and Solomon Islands attorney-general designate Julian Moti on a PNG military aircraft.

The aide-memoire gives the Australian Government a week to respond. If no satisfactory response is forthcoming, PNG will retaliate, instituting a range of measures that promise to create havoc for Australia’s $300 million annual aid program to PNG.

The most serious step being contemplated is the suspension of significant elements of Australian aid deemed not essential to PNG, the Herald understands.

Holy mackerel! Do you suppose if tensions increase, Papua New Guinea will escalate and proceed to devastate its adversary by actually sending money back to Australia?

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Hat tip to Memeorandum.

31 Oct 2006

Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy

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John Kerry is a smooth article, but the soft life of ultra-privilege has taken its toll. Yesterday, while bloviating away before a youthful audience (in typical politico fashion) on the desirability of education, Kerry spectacularly put his foot in it.

video

And he did this days before a bitterly contested election deciding control of both houses of Congress.

Naturally, his adversaries behaved precisely as John Kerry would have in their position, seeing a floundering adversary in trouble, they proceeded to hand him a rock.

Republicans criticized his remark, and demanded an apology. Kerry fought back, attempting a clever save by claiming his condescending reference was really aimed at President Bush. Right, John. Two points for chutzpah.

Allahpundit has a nice summary of the truckload of bricks landing on the deserving Mr. Kerry.

Well, he is a fellow Yalie, so I feel obliged to offer Senator Kerry a little advice: apologize; reveal that you were molested as a child and consequently have self-esteem issues leading to your belittling all your fellow Americans who did not attend St. Paul’s, become president of the Yale Political Union, and get tapped for Bones; then announce that you will at once be entering rehab.

31 Oct 2006

Babysitter Shoots Bear, Saves Children

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We almost missed this one. Just found it via a link to NYM.

Associated Press, recently reported (10/12), the case of a spirited and quick-thinking babysitting aunt who saved two nieces and a nephew from an aggressive black bear.

Porthill, Idaho — A northern Idaho babysitter shot and killed a 422-pound black bear that broke into a backyard as three toddlers played.

The woman was watching her sister’s children at their home near the Canadian border early last week when one the kids began screaming, “Bear! Bear”

Becky Henslee says her sister grabbed the youngsters and ran into the house.

As the bear pawed at the screen door, the woman, who did not want to be identified, loaded a hunting rifle.

When the bear looked away, she opened the door a crack and fired twice, killing the animal.

Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer Greg Johnson says the bear was likely hungry and drawn to the house by a backyard barbeque.

The shooting was legal — the babysitter had a valid Idaho bear hunting tag.

Bonner County Daily Bee

Hat tip to Traction Control.

31 Oct 2006

Conservatism at Yale

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La plus ça change, la plus c’est la même chose.

James Kirchik Y ’06, at the America’s Future Foundation blog, serves up an account of the recent Conservative political scene at Yale, describing the current character and ethos of the various political parties of the Yale Political Union.

Meanwhile the right-wing subculture at Yale has become the bastion of intellectual life on campus. At the PU, I always knew that getting into a debate with a Tory, Con, or a member of the POR would be more challenging than any classroom discussion. Yale students suspect that this is more or less the truth of the matter. They just wish it weren’t so.

As the POR chairman said in a recent YPU organizational meeting speech, “Getting drunk and hungover at every opportunity may be intense, but without something more, you’ll wake up one day and find yourself as empty as the keg by your head. You may find something intense in varsity sports, musical organizations, secret societies, and debating clubs, but make sure that your college experience informs your life. You need authenticity.”

I will forever remember my days in the Yale Political Union with great fondness. There really is no body like it in the world. I know that new characters will replace the old ones, but the PU will remain its lively, irascible old self. And while I will not soon be joining any secretive conservative organizations, I will, at the very least, have a greater appreciation for Charles the Martyr.

This blog’s author is, for the record, a member of the Party of the Right.

Hat tip to SC Maggie Gallagher Y’82.

31 Oct 2006

Ghost Nebula

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A spooky nebula for Halloween.

photo

Hat tip to Karen Myers.

30 Oct 2006

Abdur Rauf, Al Qaeda’s Microbiologist, at Large in Pakistan

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The Washington Post is reporting a story of the capture in Afghanistan in December of 2001 of documents linking a Pakistani microbiologist named Abdur Rauf to an Al Qaeda project attempting to weaponize Anthrax bacillus.

The documents told of a singular mission by a scientist named Abdur Rauf, an obscure, middle-aged Pakistani with alleged al-Qaeda sympathies and an advanced degree in microbiology.

Using his membership in a prestigious scientific organization to gain access, Rauf traveled through Europe on a quest, officials say, to obtain both anthrax spores and the equipment needed to turn them into highly lethal biological weapons. He reported directly to al-Qaeda’s No. 2 commander, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and in one document he appeared to signal a breakthrough.

“I successfully achieved the targets,” he wrote cryptically to Zawahiri in a note in 1999.

Despite the evidence in US hands, Pakistan has refused to arrest him, and Rauf remains at large. The Post’s anonymous source said:

We will never close the door, but the chances of getting him into the United States are slim to none,” said one U.S. intelligence official, who, like others, agreed to discuss the case on the condition that he not be identified by name.

Beyond the mysterious reasons for Pakistan’s reluctance to cooperate in this particular case, there is also the question of whether Rauf’s biological weapons research was connected to the US Anthrax mailings in 2001.

U.S. officials are even more reticent in discussing possible links between al-Qaeda’s anthrax program and the 2001 U.S. attacks, which killed five people and briefly shut down the U.S. Capitol. Privately, FBI officials doubt that such a link exists. They note that the attacks came with an explicit warning — a letter advising the victims to take penicillin, resulting in a far lower death toll — but without an explicit claim of responsibility. “It doesn’t fit with al-Qaeda’s modus operandi,” one intelligence official said.

Yet U.S. officials have been unable to rule out al-Qaeda or any other group as a suspect. Earlier this month, FBI officials acknowledged that the ultra-fine powder mailed five years ago was simply made and could have been produced by a well-trained microbiologist anywhere in the world.

Several leading bioterrorism experts still contend that the evidence points to al-Qaeda or possibly an allied group that coordinated its attack with the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These experts point to hijacker Mohamed Atta’s inquiries into renting a crop-duster aircraft and to an unexplained emergency-room visit by another hijacker, Ahmed Ibrahim A. Al Haznawi, for treatment of an unusual skin lesion that resembled cutaneous anthrax.

The Post’s article references a web site published by a left-wing New York and District of Columbia attorney named Ross E. Getman which extensively discusses the Al Qaeda links to the 2001 Anthrax Mailings, and offers a theory explaining Al Qaeda’s motivations for attacking Senators Leahy and Daschle and the media.

Getman is discussed as one of the amateur investigators of the 2001 Anthrax Attacks in Wikipedia.

The same investigator has also published a shorter article titled, Al Qaeda, Anthrax and Ayman.

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I was wondering why an anonymous intelligence community source would be leaking such a story (not attacking the Bush Administration) to the Post, and it occurred to me that the relationship of spooks to certain elements in the media may have grown so cozy that they might actually use a Post leak to rattle the Pakistani government’s cage on a controversial issue currently in contention.

30 Oct 2006

Why Vote Republican?

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Excellent GOP response ad.

video

Hat tip to José Guardia and Dean Esmay.

30 Oct 2006

Trying Again For Zawahiri

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ABC News tells us that Zawahiri was the target of the attack on the Bajaur madrassa, and the attack came from US Predator drones, not Pakistani helicopters.

Even if the attempt was unsuccessful, there is cause for optimism.

No word yet on whether or not Zawahiri was killed in the raid, but one Pakistani intelligence source did express doubt that Zawahiri would have been staying in a madrassa, which is an obvious target for strikes against militants. That source, however, did express confidence that Pakistani intelligence is closing in on Zawahiri’s location.

One of the clerics who is believed to have been killed today, Maulana Liaquat, was one of the two main local leaders believed to be protecting Zawahiri.

Pakistani intelligence sources tell ABC News they believe they have “boxed” Zawahiri in a 40-square-mile area between the Khalozai Valley in Bajaur and the village of Pashat in Kunar, Afghanistan. They hope to capture or kill him in the next few months.

30 Oct 2006

Professor Indiana Jones’ Denial of Tenure Letter

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Marshall College makes an awfully good case for the negative decision.

link

30 Oct 2006

Scientist Proves Vampires Impossible

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Costas Efthimiou, a physics professor at the University of Central Florida, has done the math.

Legend has it that vampires feed on human blood and once bitten a person turns into a vampire and starts feasting on the blood of others.

Efthimiou’s debunking logic: On Jan 1, 1600, the human population was 536,870,911. If the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month, there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600. A month later there would have been four, and so on. In just two-and-a-half years the original human population would all have become vampires with nobody left to feed on.

If mortality rates were taken into consideration, the population would disappear much faster. Even an unrealistically high reproduction rate couldn’t counteract this effect.

“In the long run, humans cannot survive under these conditions, even if our population were doubling each month,” Efthimiou said.

30 Oct 2006

Party of the Rich

Peter Schweizer, at National Review Online, argues, that while the Republican Party is often looked upon as the party of the rich, the very wealthy are more often democrats.

As U.S. News & World Report political reporter Michael Barone points out, John Kerry won only one county in the state of Idaho, but it was the county that included the super-rich enclave of Sun Valley. And he carried only one county in Wyoming, the one which included the super-rich community of Jackson Hole. Barone calls this part of the “trust-funder Left.”

So why are we seeing the emergence of liberal millionaires and billionaires?

Part of the answer may lie in the way much of this wealth was accumulated. Some of these individuals (Kerry, Dayton, Rockefeller, etc.) inherited their wealth and are thus less familiar with the rigors of the marketplace. Sure they have stock investments, but they haven’t spent time building a business or even holding down a demanding job in corporate America. Others, particularly in the high-tech sector and Hollywood, amassed their wealth quickly and faced fewer challenges in dealing with invasive government and regulations. They see wealth as something that happens quickly, not something that is build up over time. The Silicon Valley 30-year-old worth $200 million on a stock IPO after six years in the business is likely to have a different view of wealth accumulation than the industrialist who amassed a similar fortune over the course of a lifetime. A life of wealth seems more like a lottery, and less like the end result of hard work.

Ironically, Democrats, who talk about income inequality and plutocracy, are now the party of the super rich. The super rich have different priorities and concerns than other Americans. Taxes don’t bite as hard because they can hire accounts and lawyers to avoid or minimize them. They tend to be less religious and therefore less concerned with issues of faith. And they can embrace causes that will impact society and not really affect them… In short, a political party dominated by the super rich is going to have some issues knowing what concerns ordinary Americans.

29 Oct 2006

William and Mary Removes the Cross From its Chapel

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The Flat Hat student newspaper reports:

The cross from the altar area of the Wren Chapel has been removed to ensure that the space is seen as a nondenominational area, Melissa Engimann, assistant director for Historic Campus, said in an e-mail to Wren building employees.

“In order to make the Wren Chapel less of a faith-specific space, and to make it more welcoming to students, faculty, staff and visitors of all faiths, the cross has been removed from the altar area,” Engimann said.

The cross will be returned to the altar for those who wish to use it for events, services or private prayer. Student tour guides have been directed to pass any questions or complaints about the change on to administrators

On the lighter side, Chuck at YARGB, thinks he knows who is responsible:

You know who fears the cross? Right, vampires. William and Mary has been infested by vampires. Hidden stairways in the faculty lounges lead to the crypts beneath the campus of America’s second oldest university; there the administration and tenured faculty spend their “break time” resting on a thin layer of rich soil lining the bottom of comfortable coffins. Soon garlic will be banned from the cafeteria because some find its odor “offensive.” Mirrors will be removed from the restrooms. There will be more night classes for “non-traditional students.” The town’s people had better lay in a stock of wooden stakes and torches, they are going to need them.

Calling Buffy. Where are you Vampire Slayer?

29 Oct 2006

News From Melton Mowbray: Another British Fox Hunt Turns to Falconry

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Neil Everley of the Quorn with Golden Eagle/Steppe Eagle cross

As we noted last December, the infamous February 2005 Hunt Ban, enacted by Britain’s Labour Party as a gesture of class animosity and urban spite, banned hunting par force du chien (i.e., the traditional pursuit and reduction to possession of the quarry by a pack of hounds), but included certain loopholes: drag hunts (i.e., hunts in which the pack hunts an artificially created line of scent) are lawful; and hounds can be used to follow a scent and to flush out a fox, which may then be pursued by no more than two dogs, and ultimately shot or taken by means of falconry.

The strange consequence of this vile legislation has been a curious revival of falconry employing large raptors by several enterprising hunts. Last year, the Cheshire Hunt was seen taking to the field accompanied by a European Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo).

This year, the illustrious Quorn is training a huge Eurasian Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos chrysaetos) and Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) cross.

Melton Today

Hat tip to Steve Bodio. I’m less pessimistic than Steve’s correspondent Patrick, who evidently accompanied the link he sent Steve with prognostications of havoc.

Let’s see — amped up hounds, lots of people, a couple hundred horses, a panicked fox, and someone in a coat and tie handling a massive Golden Eagle cross in the middle of it all. Madness on stilts if you ask me! When the eagle is injured or killed, it will be described as an “accident” rather than planned stupidity.”

I’m sure some very interesting misadventures (and ones worth writing about!) will inevitably occur, but it’s all part of the game in the sporting field. And I’m rather pleased myself at the irony of the same detestable English Puritanism which nearly extinguished the ancient sport of falconry in the British Isles in the 17th century, inadvertently ushering it back in in the 21th century, and in a particularly colorful and grandiose form to boot.

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