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2008 June — Why Now?
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Posts from — June 2008

Fun With My Computer


I’m converting something that was created decades ago to a web-based version, and it has been “interesting”.

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June 30, 2008   14 Comments

Federal Court Gets “Snark”-y

Bill Mears of CNN tells us that the Court cites nonsense poem in ruling for Gitmo detainee

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A federal appeals court has slammed the reliability of U.S. government intelligence documents, saying just because officials keep repeating their assertions does not make them true.

A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington likened the Bush administration’s case to a line in an 1876 nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll: “I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.”

Portions of the court’s findings were released a week ago, including a ruling that a Chinese Muslim accused of being a foreign fighter was wrongly imprisoned. The full ruling was released Monday.

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June 30, 2008   3 Comments

We Did It To Ourselves

CNN tells us that General Shinseki was right and Rumsfeld was wrong: Army criticizes itself in Iraq invasion report

(CNN) — The U.S. Army’s official history of the Iraq war shows military chiefs made mistake after mistake in the early months of the conflict.

Failures to recognize the chaos engulfing the country and to send in enough troops to restore order after the 2003 invasion have long been highlighted by critics, but a new report shows the Army assessing itself.

Frank opinions from officers serving in the 18 months from the start of war to Iraqi elections in January 2005 reveal there were concerns at the time, not just about assumptions made by planners but at decisions taken once U.S.-led coalition forces had control of Iraq.

Understand that standard doctrine was all that General Shinseki was basing his opinion on, not some wild new concept. His estimate of 350K troops was what the manual called for in the situation, but Rumsfeld and the neocons wouldn’t listen and over 4000 dead later we are no closer to being able to get out.

June 30, 2008   4 Comments

Let’s Party Like 1930

Alexandra Twin, CNNMoney.com senior writer, tells us the good news: Stocks: Mixed day, brutal June

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Stocks struggled Monday at the end of worst June for the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials since the Great Depression, amid rocketing oil prices and ongoing financial market woes.

This is what happens when you let a Harvard MBA and oil man run the country. Since the reign of Ronnie they have been systematically removing all of the controls put on business after the Great Depression because they were “unnecessary”, “no one would do those sorts of things today”, “the market will provide its own limits”, “regulation is bad for business”, etc. Without the regulation and controls they made all of the same mistakes with exactly the same results.

June 30, 2008   27 Comments

Public Notice

Alemannia Aachen

I realize that people are surprised when I cover football matches, but I limit myself to the big tournaments and the World Cup. The reason is that I really doubt many would be interested in the trial and tribulations of the Alemannia Aachen football club, even though they did get promoted to the Bundesliga last year, alas only to be relegated.

I can assure you that followers of der Kartoffelkäfer experience more disappointment than fans of any US sports team.

Oh, they are called der Kartoffelkäfer because of their kit colors, and it isn’t meant to be derogatory… well, most of the time.

I’m not sure that being able to follow them over the ‘Net is a good thing.

June 29, 2008   2 Comments

We Can’t Afford FISA

FISA is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It is supposed to be about “Foreign Intelligence”, as in “they don’t live here” and “threats from outside the territory of the US”.

It allowed warrantless surveillance within the United States for up to one year unless the “surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party”. If a United States person is involved, judicial authorization was required within 72 hours after surveillance begins.

Definition of a US person: “A US person includes citizens, lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens, and corporations incorporated in the US.”

The supposed problem with FISA is that the FISA court said that a warrant was needed to intercept communications between two foreigners that passes through a switch in the US. The judge was obviously wrong in that interpretation, or they wanted to conduct surveillance for more than a year, or it wasn’t actually communications between two foreigners that they were interested in pursuing.

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June 29, 2008   9 Comments

Die Mannschaft versus La Furia Roja

European Championship 2008

Spanish national teamGerman national team

Update: Final Spain 1-0 Germany. Just past the 30-minute mark Fernando Torres took a pass from Cesc Fabregas Xavi Hernandez, out-moved a defender and chipped it in over the German goalie, Jens Lehmann.

It’s time for the UEFA Cup finals of real football, the version that requires you to use your feet, so nothing else will happen in Europe during the match, and there will be either celebration or commiseration afterward, depending on how your side made out.

Pierre at Candide’s Notebooks is planning to live-blog the event starting at 2:30PM EDT [he’s in the other part of Florida].  It is scheduled to start at 8:45PM local in Wien/Vienna which prime-time for European audience.

The BBC will have a ‘Net feed, but it will be nearly impossible to log in, even if they don’t restrict it, which I suspect they will.

The German side are having some injury problems, but I will still give them the edge.

I expect they will both wear their first kit, which is white over black for the Germans and red over dark blue for Spain.

June 29, 2008   4 Comments

Florida’s Busy Ballot

So far there are going to be 9 Ballot Initiatives on the Florida general election ballot:

  1. Wants to stop the government from preventing rich foreigners from buying up Florida.
  2. Make Gays third class citizens [in a state in which a “boy and his goat” is still legal]. No indication as to how this is going to save marriage in a state with no-fault divorce that can be applied for over the ‘Net.
  3. Actually a good idea, as it exempts improvements designed to increase resistance to hurricane damage, or the installation of green technology from an increase in assessed value.
  4. Reduce property taxes for soil bank scam artists and others who are using conservation schemes to avoid taxes.
  5. Another attempt to shift costs from property taxes to sales taxes, this time aimed at schools.
  6. Not a bad idea, as it requires that assessment of waterfront property be based on current use, not on its value as a location for a 20-story tourist hotel. It might help a few marinas and boatyards stay in business.
  7. Get rid of the ban to giving tax money to churches.
  8. Shift Community College funding to a local sales tax increase.
  9. Tells schools how to operate while providing a backdoor for vouchers by overriding a court decision.

I’ll give 3 and 6 an extra look, but the rest of this detritus should be put out to the road.  They keep trying to shift the cost of government onto the sales tax, usually implying that tourists will pay for the state.  Well sales tax revenue is way down, tourism is way down, and sales taxes fall mainly on the poor, while property taxes affect the well off.

June 28, 2008   11 Comments

Flood & Fire Update

MSNBC reports that Missouri sandbag levee fails, forcing evacuations

WINFIELD, Mo. – A makeshift barrier holding back the Mississippi River failed early Saturday, swamping the low-lying part of the small community of Winfield and ending a valiant but ultimately doomed battle against the surging river.

About 300 National Guard soldiers worked nearly 20 hours to build a levee around a cluster of 100 homes in the flood plain after the river ripped through another levee there early Friday. Officials hoped the barrier would keep the water at bay long enough for it to recede.

It didn’t. Still, those in the town of 720 people said they won’t forget the heroic effort to try saving the neighborhood.

Actually the problem wasn’t the the barrier, it was the ground underneath it that liquefied and allowed the water to flow through. The ground was saturated by rain before the flood crest reached the area, so there was really not much that could be done – but you try.

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June 28, 2008   2 Comments

Another Fire & Flood Update

From MSNBC [because CNN doesn’t have any fire stories on its front page]: California wildfire takes aim at Big Sur

BIG SUR, Calif. – Firefighters bulked up their defenses Friday against a wildfire that threatened parts of this storied tourist town and prepared for more lightning strikes that could ignite new fires across Northern California.

More than 1,000 fires, mostly caused by lightning, burned across Northern California, including two gigantic blazes in the Los Padres National Forest.

There are also lightning ignited fires in the Manzano Mountains of central New Mexico, and a dozen fires in Colorado.

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June 27, 2008   4 Comments

PCC In The News

Fallenmonk and Chris at Suburban Guerrilla are having a tizzy over Tbogg’s post on “Optical intercourse”, one of the many reasons for students being chastised at Pensacola Christian College.

The article is part of an exposé of some of the people hired by Monica Gooding and the Hedgemony’s Department of Justice.

While they shake their heads in wonder at what happens on the Florida Panhandle, they miss something – PCC’s influence isn’t limited to their campus and the graduates of the college. They have a very widespread network that is global.

In addition to the college, PCC owns: Pensacola Theological Seminary, Rejoice Music, Rejoice Radio, Rejoice TV, A Beka Academy, and A Beka Books. They have all evolved [they will hate that] from Pensacola Christian Academy. The Wikipedia entry notes: “The school was founded as Pensacola Christian School in 1954 by Arlin Horton (who later established Pensacola Christian College) and his wife Beka.”

One of PCA’s most well known alumni is Eric Hovind. Just drop by PZ Myer’s place, Pharyngula,  and search on that name and watch the server slow down.

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June 27, 2008   5 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Oscar the Slouch

Friday Cat Blogging

Go away, flash person!

[Editor: Almost any day you will find Oscar curled up atop this garbage can. A juvenile from the Lone Ranger’s last litter, she’s going to need a new “bed” after a bit.]

Friday Ark

June 27, 2008   15 Comments

An Individual Right

Five of nine Supreme Court justices have decided that “the right to bear arms” is an individual right, and finally replaced the deeply flawed, all over the place, decision in United States v. Miller 307 U.S. 174 (1939), the only other case on the Second Amendment to be heard by the Supreme Court.

CNN reports that the High court strikes down gun ban

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Washington D.C.’s sweeping ban on handguns is unconstitutional.

The justices voted 5-4 against the ban with Justice Antonin Scalia writing the opinion for the majority.

At issue in District of Columbia v. Heller was whether the city’s ban violated the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” by preventing individuals — as opposed to state militias — from having guns in their homes.

The “militia” argument was always an evasion. When the Bill of Rights was passed there were no state militias, the militia was everyone capable of fighting. This doesn’t mean that weapons can’t be regulated, only that they can’t simply be banned. This ruling actually has a minimal effect on current laws outside of a few cities in the United States that do ban weapons.

June 26, 2008   13 Comments

Real Americans Said NO!

On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to H.R. 6304 June 25, 2008, 06:25 PM

Biden (D-DE)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Wyden (D-OR)

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June 26, 2008   3 Comments