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2007 August 15 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Unintended Consequences

It occurs to me that if the US declares Iranian special forces terrorists, another country is then free to call US special forces terrorists.  It’s like torture – if the US does it, then every one else can do it without penalty using the US as their example.

They are describing America for the rest of the world and the result is not pretty.

August 15, 2007   6 Comments

More Ethnic Cleansing

Update: Local officials in Nineveh province now put the death toll at 500. There are only an estimated 100,000 Yazidi in Iraq.

Juan Cole notes that the series of car bombs that killed 200 in northern Iraq was a continuation of the attempts to eliminate minority populations. This time the Yazidi, a Kurdish religious sect, were the targets. In July it was Shi’ia Turkmen.

The Sunni Arabs want to force all other groups out of the area. The “noise” about al Qaeda in Iraq is is the official military agitprop. This is more probably part of the civil war than of the resistance to occupation. This would have happened with or without the US presence or foreign fighters.

August 15, 2007   2 Comments

Another Provocation

Outside of the regular military of Iran is the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, AKA the Revolutionary Guards or Pasdaran. The Special Forces unit of the AGIR is the Quds Force which has an interesting history:

The Quds Force was created during the Iran-Iraq war as a special unit from the broader Pasdaran forces. After the war, Quds Force continued to support the Kurds fighting Saddam Hussein, during the war it had helped the Kurds fight the Iraqi military. The Quds also expanded their operations into other areas, most notably aiding Ahmed Shah Massoud’s Northern Alliance against the Soviets during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and then helping Massoud after the war against Taliban forces. There were also reports of the Quds forces lending support to Muslim Bosnians fighting the Serbs during the Yugoslav wars.

The US supported the Kurds. The US supported the Northern Alliance against the Soviets and the Taliban.

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August 15, 2007   Comments Off on Another Provocation

More For The Rich, Nothing For The Poor

Via Melissa at Shakesville , Scout at First Draft notes that the Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone) Tax Credits that were sold as an encouragement to investment in rental housing in the areas devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita are actually being used in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the University of Alabama, for luxury condominiums rented to people attending the home football games.

Tuscaloosa is 200 miles from the coast and experienced a thunderstorm as the result of Katrina, but that’s where the tax credits are being used.

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August 15, 2007   4 Comments

Living In The 1980’s

Most of you have no idea what it was like connecting to the Source or Compuserv at 110/300/1200 baud. The baud rate is approximately ten times the character rate, so the 110 baud modems actually sent and received information at 10 characters per second.

Trying to work on the ‘Net with an effective throughput of 120 characters per second means that most things time-out before they are finished. You have e-mail, but you really hate the attachments on spam which come down in minutes not milliseconds.

People who are stuck on dial-up today are connected at 56,000 baud, 5,600 characters per second, which makes a lot of sites pretty unusable for them.

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August 15, 2007   2 Comments

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Tropical Storm Flossie had the power sucked out of her by wind shear and cooler water as she was about to beat up on the big island of Hawaii, but they got some rain and 20-foot waves. As a consolation, TBogg reports there was 5.4-magnitude earthquake centered 25 miles south of Hilo.

Tropical Storm Erin seems poised for a Thursday night landfall around the Texas-Mexico border with 50-mph winds and rain.

Tropical Storm Dean is scheduled to be a Cat 1 hurricane when it moves through the lesser Antilles around the island of Dominica on Friday. What it does afterwards is the dependent on how strong the ridge above it is. In any case, the reduced wind shear and warmer water in the Caribbean ensures strengthening, probably to Cat 3 status.

August 15, 2007   3 Comments