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2006 February 16 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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We Must Not Change “The Plan”

Rumsfeld rolls on, but the BBC says the Credits roll on last US Army MASH unit.

So we hand millions of dollars of equipment and facilities to Pakistan, because we’ll never need an 82 bed mobile trauma center for any national emergencies.

That’s because all future wars will be conducted according to Rumsfeld’s plan.

The first man to earn the title, and only one to deserve it, Generalissimo Aleksandr Vasil’evich Suvorov was know for his pithy remarks: on grand plans he noted they generally relied on your enemy having a copy of the plan and following it, which was unlikely.

February 16, 2006   Comments Off on We Must Not Change “The Plan”

It’s So Much Fun Being A Pariah Nation

From CNet we learn that a British judge doesn’t trust the justice system in the US.

Gary McKinnon, the U.K. citizen accused of hacking into computer systems run by NASA and the U.S. military, will not be extradited across the Atlantic to face trial unless the U.S. can guarantee he won’t be treated as a terrorist.

February 16, 2006   Comments Off on It’s So Much Fun Being A Pariah Nation

A Flying Car Again?

An MIT grad student has designed a flying car and is putting together a company to build it with the prize money he won for designing it.

This is only the most recent attempt at a concept with a long history.

February 16, 2006   Comments Off on A Flying Car Again?

Just Because

FL Plate

February 16, 2006   Comments Off on Just Because

The Four Meme

Karen at Peripetia tagged me for this.

Programmer / System Analyst
Associate Professor of Computer Science [adjunct]
Criminal Investigator
Russian Linguist / Intelligence Analyst

Almost everything by Akira Kurasawa
Almost everything by Stanley Kubrick
Bad swashbucklers starring Errol Flynn
Bad 1930’s serials, especially Flash Gordon

Places I’ve Lived:
Cinco Bayou, Florida
San Diego California
Rochester, New York
Mettendorf, Germany

Television Shows I Love:
None, I don’t watch it

Television Shows I Haven’t Seen:
All of them

Interesting concept, I might try it some day.
[The last time I took any significant time off, I helped my parents rehab a house.]

Favorite Dishes:
Jägerschnitzel Morfelden, Germany
Burrito combinación from El Indio in San Diego
Pizza with mushrooms and pepperoni from Tom & Nancy’s in Rochester
Kobe steak, Okinawa

Sites I Visit Daily [Non-Blogs]:
Christian Science Monitor
BBC News
Cnet News

Places I Rather Be:
München [Munich]

Not terribly exiting, I’m afraid. Oh, under “Places I’ve Lived” I limited it to those where I lived more than two years. There are a dozen other places at two years or less.

If anyone feels inclined to take it up, go for it.

February 16, 2006   Comments Off on The Four Meme

Graphics Matter

A Muslim scholar on the BBC World Service made a point that is obvious once you think about it: graphics are more important than the written word in the Middle East because the mass of people are illiterate.

The planted stories in the Iraqi press were a waste of money because the people you are trying to reach can’t read. The religious leaders are the majority of the literate class, so everything goes through their filter. Imams at Friday prayers are the source of much of the “news” most people receive.

This is why pictures and cartoons cause such furor: they don’t require literacy. This is why radio, TV, and graphics are required to get a point across. The written word is not an effective mass media form around the Persian Gulf.

February 16, 2006   Comments Off on Graphics Matter

Listening To The Radio

So Condi wants Congress to pony up tens of millions of dollars to help promote “democracy” in Iran.

First, Iran elects its president and parliament, which sort of makes it a democracy, as opposed to the autocratic rule of the Shah.

Afghanistan had elections and put it power a parliament of war lords and Islamic fundamentalists.

Egypt had elections and chose members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fundamentalist group.

The Palestinians had an election and put Hamas, an Islamic fundamentalist group, in charge.

Iraq had elections and is forming a government of Shi’ia fundamentalists who are good buddies with Iran.

What Condi really wants is separation of mosque and state, but if she gets too strident about how religion has no place in the government of a nation, or its laws, she could run into trouble with the Religious Reich.

One of the problems in democracies is that people don’t always do what you want them to do, and sometimes vote against their best interests, especially when religious leaders are involved in the process.

February 16, 2006   Comments Off on Listening To The Radio

Clear As Mud

If this interview [warning: Faux] was supposed to clear things up, it didn’t.

CHENEY: Oh, probably 10 people. We weren’t all together, but about 10 guests at the ranch. There were three of us who had gotten out of the vehicle and walked up on a covey of quail that had been pointed by the dogs. Covey is flushed, we’ve shot, and each of us got a bird. Harry couldn’t find his, it had gone down in some deep cover, and so he went off to look for it. The other hunter and I then turned and walked about a hundred yards in another direction —

HUME: Away from him?

CHENEY: Away from him — where another covey had been spotted by an outrider. I was on the far right —

HUME: There was just two of you then?

CHENEY: Just two of us at that point. The guide or outrider between us, and of course, there’s this entourage behind us, all the cars and so forth that follow me around when I’m out there — but bird flushed and went to my right, off to the west. I turned and shot at the bird, and at that second, saw Harry standing there. Didn’t know he was there —

HUME: You had pulled the trigger and you saw him?

CHENEY: Well, I saw him fall, basically. It had happened so fast.

HUME: What was he wearing?

CHENEY: He was dressed in orange, he was dressed properly, but he was also — there was a little bit of a gully there, so he was down a little ways before land level, although I could see the upper part of his body when — I didn’t see it at the time I shot, until after I’d fired. And the sun was directly behind him — that affected the vision, too, I’m sure.

But the image of him falling is something I’ll never be able to get out of my mind. I fired, and there’s Harry falling. And it was, I’d have to say, one of the worst days of my life, at that moment.

HUME: Then what?

CHENEY: Well, we went over to him, obviously, right away —

HUME: How far away from you was he?

CHENEY: I’m guessing about 30 yards, which was a good thing. If he’d been closer, obviously, the damage from the shot would have been greater.

HUME: Now, is it clear that — he had caught part of the shot, is that right?

CHENEY: — part of the shot. He was struck in the right side of his face, his neck and his upper torso on the right side of his body.

CHENEY: Well, I still do. I still think that the accuracy was enormously important. I had no press person with me, I didn’t have any press people with me. I was there on a private weekend with friends on a private ranch. In terms of who I would contact to have somebody who would understand what we’re even talking about, the first person that we talked with at one point, when Katherine first called the desk to get hold of a reporter didn’t know the difference between a bullet and a shotgun — a rifle bullet and a shotgun. And there are a lot of basic important parts of the story that required some degree of understanding. And so we were confident that Katherine was the right one, especially because she was an eye-witness and she could speak authoritatively on it. She probably knew better than I did what had happened since I’d only seen one piece of it.

So Cheney followed this bird though about a 120° arc and fired after the weapon’s muzzle had passed Mr. Whittington. If Mr. Whittington was in a depression with only his upper body exposed, then Cheney was shooting into the cover having been blinded by the sun.

Now CNN has a report that includes statements from Miss Armstrong:

The handling of the situation also raised questions about whether Cheney had been drinking at the time of the shooting, about 5:50 p.m. Cheney told Fox he had had a beer at lunch, but the hunt did not begin until “sometime after 3 p.m.”

“The five of us who were in that party were together all afternoon. Nobody was drinking, nobody was under the influence,” he said.

The Kenedy County Sheriff’s Department, which interviewed Cheney about the accident Sunday morning, concluded there was “no alcohol or misconduct involved in the incident.” A state game warden gave Cheney a warning for hunting without a required stamp on his license, for which the vice president’s office later submitted payment.

Armstrong, a longtime friend of the Cheney family, told CNN before the vice president’s interview that she never saw Cheney or Whittington “drink at all on the day of the shooting until after the accident occurred, when the vice president fixed himself a cocktail back at the house.”

Miss Armstrong’s reporting on alcohol consumption is moving about like a flushed quail. I would think she could recognize a beer can when it’s being held by the Vice President, or perhaps beer doesn’t count.

Mrs. Willeford was the third hunter, so Miss Armstrong must have been at the vehicle on the road, and not actually at the scene when the shooting took place.

Cheney says Whittington didn’t respond, but Miss Armstrong said he was awake and talking.

Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. People react differently to violence and it can induce shock. I assume that one of the reasons Cheney uses a 28 gauge is because of his heart condition. The reduced recoil is recommended for heart patients.

I’m at a loss to explain why two supposedly experienced hunters like Cheney and Whittington both failed to purchase upland bird stamps before hunting quail on a event organized by a former chairwoman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

It’s time to haul in the Secret Service and find out what they know. If you can demand testimony from the White House detail, you can sure do it to the detail covering the Vice President.

February 16, 2006   Comments Off on Clear As Mud