Sunday, February 27, 2005

Solving Iran!

I was stunned to watch the “pundits” on the Sunday morning shows discuss the deal between Russia and Iran regarding the supply of nuclear fuel for power plants. I guess it is necessary to be totally technically illiterate to be a pundit. What they all missed is the quid pro quo in the deal, Iran gets processed fuel from Russia in exchange for a equal amount of burned fuel. It’s sort of like the old soda bottle return programs. Or the old Charlie Chan movies, No tickee, no washee!
How would you like to see a program that
1) Supports the people of Iran at the expense of the mullahs?
2) Builds a path toward eliminating Russia’s surplus stocks of weapons grade uranium?
3) Reduces global carbon dioxide emissions?
4) Increases the supply of oil without additional drilling?
5) Prevents war with Iran?
Does any of that sound attractive? Well, how about throwing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the waste bin along with the other Cold War Era arms control treaties and start thinking as if we had entered the 21st Century? The treaty hasn’t been working very well anyway! Would you trade a useless treaty for the list of benefits above? If your answer is yes, this is what you need to support.
1) We allow the agreement to go forward subject to a free election in Iran (That puts the mullahs at a disadvantage, they don‘t want free elections because they will lose!).
2) We allow Russia to dilute its surplus of weapons grade uranium to commercial grade fuel and sell it to Iran which burns it, subject to forcing the material to be shipped and inspected by US & UN entities with each having a veto over subsequent shipments for violations of the agreement. Note that shipping spent fuel for reprocessing is quite problematic under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is why it has to go.
3) We encourage Iran to generate its electrical needs with nuclear power in lieu of fossil fuels thereby decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide spewed into the air.
4) Item 3 above allows Iran’s oil to be diverted into the world oil market, driving down world spot market prices.
5) By reducing fuel costs for electricity generation, we provide more of it and thereby a more modern standard of living for the Iranian people, fostering democracy and leading to a more friendly, democratic Iran.
So why do you need to be technically competent to understand all this? Simply because the world is driven by economics and the MegaWatthour-electric (MWHe) fuel cost to burn oil in a modern, combined cycle gas turbine power plant with a thermal efficiency of 60% (i.e. state-of-the-art) is essentially equal to the cost of one barrel of oil. If the price of a barrel of oil is $50, the fuel costs to generate one MWHe will be $50. The last time I saw the fuel cost of surplus fuel from Cold war stocks, one MWHe equivalent cost about $23 for nuclear power plants. Over the life of a power generating plant, the difference in additional capital and interest costs for a nuke over a cogen will be dwarfed by the savings in fuel costs. Economically, the facts demand a switch to nuclear power. What holds it up are the touchy-feely worries of the Ecofreaks about meltdowns and the Non-Proliferation Treaty. If you’ve already indicated a willingness to drop the treaty, are you now willing to risk a meltdown in Iran? Even the Sierra Club might sign onto that list of benefits!
Now does this mean we should build Russian reactors in the United States? Of course, not! We want newer, better technology for our new nuclear power plants! Read about one sample of the choices read here.
Calculations: One barrel of oil is 42 US Gallons. Texas crude weighs about 7.286 pounds per gallon and has a heating value of 19,460 BTU/pound. This computes to 567,142 BTU/BBL. Converting from BTUs to KWH we use a value of 3412 BTU/KWH. The result is about 1662 KWH/BBL. At 60% thermal efficiency, we get 997 KWH/BBL. 1000 KWH = 1 MWHe. So rounding off, we need one barrel of oil to generate 1 MegaWatthour of electricity.
Update 2/28/05 8:33 AM -
Welcome readers!
Here are some previous posts you might enjoy based on your interests:
So browse around and make yourselves at home!

Thanks Cat & Cowboy!

The Questing Cat & the Jersey Cowboy are safe back in Germany from their tour in Iraq. If you want to read why our soldiers are proud of their efforts in Iraq, this is the place! If you want to learn why you should be proud of them, find my previous posts on the Questing Cat.
I want to try something because it is so hard to build an interactive, relational database of blogging here on Blogger. I give you a keyword, i.e. Questing Cat and suggest the archive month, i.e. December, so you can use the Edit > Find (on this page)> path to previous posts! Then you can read the thread which has developed over time, until I find a better blog provider!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

I Vote For Cognitive Dissonance!

Click above for an excellent piece by my old buddy Bummer Dietz as a Pilgrim in a foreign land (Hollyweird). As always, he has a well written piece. But is is more of a question, which alternative makes more sense in trying to decode weird behavior? My vote is for cognitive dissonance.
Be sure to check out his Ann Coulter post with my attempts to be "helpful" in the comments section, since I know Will Smith is busy this week with movie tours and the Oscars!

High Rise Fires - Continued

Click above for a brief item on a high rise fire in a 23 story building in Taiwan. I saw a snippet of video on TV. The report indicates 4 dead with more rescued by helicopter from the roof. So the problem presists. This one was above the reach of outside hose streams, so it just burned toward the roof. I'll see if further reports add more detail, but the standard curtain wall around a central core office building does seem quite vulnerable to fire. And there is no easy way of winning the battle against the fire, once it has taken hold. So the first line of defense needs to be those people in the immediate vicinity (the fire militiamen) doing their best to knock it down until the fire department arrives. A stitch in time saves nine. Meanwhile, the rest of the building above the level of the fire is evacuated. That way no one will be in the zone of potential fire growth, should the fire department have difficulty gaining control.
There was a brief note in the Wall Street Journal yesterday "Kudos to the man in Pompano Beach, Fla., who climbed into a burning house Tuesday, rescued two dogs and fought the fire with a garden hose before driving away. The Sun-Sentinel Web site says he never told passersby his name and said only that he was rushing off to get his children to school on time." Spoken like a true Militiaman!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Financial Fallout of Rathergate

We now know what the Mary Mapes & Dan Rather escapades cost CBS News’ parent company, Viacom. The answer is a
“…non-cash impairment charge of $18.0 billion…”

See page 16 here
Update 2/25/05 4:36 PM - It seems the official explanation is they are writing down goodwill for the Blockbuster & the CBS Radio (bye-bye Howard Stern) parts of CBS. So that means they haven't gotten to Rathergate yet! Sorry for the error! Amazing how they can blow off $18 billion just like that, but I guess the accumulated reputation of the decades was worth something it is not now! Can you say Former Tiffany Network?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

End Mortgage Deduction - Save Social Security

Click above for Maureen Dowd's latest Moonbat rant! Now she is trying to get the Bush Administration and the AARP to fight over personalized Social Security Accounts!
Listen, Maureen, it is very simple! If we use a phased elimination of the mortgage interest deduction to fund personal accounts, the Bushies and the AARP can have a "Common Cause"! Retirees don't use the deduction (they've either paid off the mortgage and/or don't have enough income to use itemized deductions). The Boomers will pay off their mortgages during the phaseout. So the principal group losing the deduction is the Gen-Xers & beyond who get personal accounts in return! So who is going to complain when they understand the plan?
Maybe just the over-the-hill Moonbats like you!!!!

Update 2/24/05 8:17 PM - Adding link to previous post. I realized that if you did not read the previous post, you wouldn't know what was in it for the Gen X-ers,
the ability to use funds from Social Security to prepay their mortgages.
That would reduce their monthly payments and make housing more affordable! So by getting the government out of using tax policy to distort the mortgage industry, everybody wins!


Update 2/25/05 4:34 PM - As the sergeant on Hill Street Blues used to say "Be careful out there!"

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Hey! I've Got A Day Job Too!

1) Click above for some more hilarity at !
2) Be sure to go to Bummer Dietz at for the latest Google News news! He just broke 100,000 looks!
3) Captain Ed at is celebrating a successful transplant for his wife, and 5,000,000 looks! I did my share! Congrats!
3) Thanks to the two commenters welcoming WD40, I must be nearing double digit readership!
Meanwhile, it's back to the workaday world, where I have been alpha testing my "Soda water for high rise fires" ideas with some smart guys. It definitely needs more work, but at least they don't think I'm crazy! I'm still "The Professor". They seem to agree the water and carbon dioxide mix is a good firefighting agent. The trick will be to get it to the right place without freezing anything in the riser; or losing flow because it foams in the riser, not as it exits the nozzle. Tough questions when you can't predict what floor the fire will be on, which building, the water temperature or many other variables! I need to chew on these problems!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Post A Comment to Welcome WD40!

I took the occasion of President’s Day to call my niece and nephew. They’re fine! So I told them that I wanted to talk to them on the day when we all remember their eighth cousin nine times removed, George Washington. It seems that Mom has finally figured out a way to get my nephew online so he can do schoolwork! So I told him to send me an email so we can communicate. I figure he can become my first dedicated reader! So rather than worry about counters and such, maybe some of my other readers can post a comment saying hello to him.
I’ll give you some bio info. He’s a real chip off the old block(s). He is so slick, I call him WD40!
1) He is smart.
2) He loves to read (He was reading Harry Potter in the second grade).
3) He is surrounded by bossy women. The biggest pain is his rookie math teacher who is not as smart as he is! Boy is it tough to be in sixth grade and be smarter than an adult who can give you grades! Next in order is his pesky little sister, Monkey Princess. She is a bright, talkative (or is that yakkety?), athletic, soccer star! Boy can she be a pest. Finally there is “Ain’t Nobody Who’s Happy if Momma Ain’t Happy“, Dear Old Mom who makes him do his homework (up to FIVE hours a day). Can’t a guy get a break around here? See, it really helps being Washington’s cousin; the minute you think you’ve got it tough you just think about Valley Forge and then count you blessings!
4) Who knows what he’ll be, but he “listens”. Beware of the quiet ones!
So come on y’all and post a comment to cheer up a hardworking young boy!

P.S. It’s not all bad. He’s got his male relatives to cheer him up. Grandpa taught him to fish so well that he can catch them without baiting the bare hook! His Uncle visits around Thanksgiving every year. And of course Dear Old Dad is always watching out for him.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Converting Messianic Jews

Click above for a thread on Discarded Lies about Messianic Jews. I believe most, if not all, of the authors of this blog are Jews. This question about Messianic Jews struck me as quite honest and worthy of an attempt at an honest response. You have to look way down to number 84 of the comments section to see my first response, then the counter response and now my counter-counter response quoted below...
"Ploome - Thanks.
But already I can see the outline of the Christian response. This is the interpretation of the rabbis. Jesus quotes The Word of God. Now admittedly, if you start out skeptical, you never get around to looking at the question from this point of view and will definitely come to a different conclusion.
In an effort to find the Jewish Word of God in the Bible, I scanned the pages, checking the little summary quotations at the top of each page. The effect is like a “Cliff’s Notes to the Bible”. The overwhelming impression I got was these Jewish Children of God are really bratty! First God creates a paradise (the Garden of Eden). Then He instructs His children in proper behavior, they disobey (Eve eats the apple), He punishes them (ejects them from the Garden) and repeat & repeat & repeat….. If I were God, I wouldn’t be too happy with my children!
Meanwhile, in the news come stories of the Shia “Day of Atonement” with self-flagellation and bleeding etc. What’s that all about? I began to see a pattern of illogic from the Christian perspective.
Both the Jews and the Muslims see the basic question as “Do I follow the True Faith?” And in seeing this as an either/or question. Their logic goes as follows:
1) There is one true faith.
2) That faith is mine.
3) The other faith disagrees with mine.
4) The other is not a true faith.
So we end up with the Jews saying the Muslims are wrong and vice versa.
The Christian belief is to ask a different question, “Am I obeying God the Father?” This is a yes/no question.
Yes, I obey and will be redeemed.
No, I disobey and will not be redeemed.
So in the maelstrom of Greater Israel, we have Jew against Muslim while the Christians in Bethlehem live in Peace. That is not to say that Christians cannot be just as wrong! Those Christian monks in Bethlehem are Eastern Orthodox, while the largest Christian church is the Roman Catholics and we know how they’ve gotten along historically!
But you presumably have lived the American Creed. And do you recognize where it comes from? The White Anglo-Saxon Protestants! Remember the Mayflower? It is not a coincidence that our nation was founded by those seeking religious freedom from the interpretations of the rabbis, ayatollahs and archbishops!
And if you want empirical evidence, which nation would you say God has blessed? Does “God Bless America” have a familiar ring? That song written by an American “Jew”?"
Update 2/21/05 3:56 AM - I've made some more posts at Discarded Lies. Actually it has been an interesting interplay of ideas! There have been some initial misunderstandings based on our own inherited cultural histories, but it has been quite civil. I encourage one and all to follow the link and read all the comments. As a summary here I would make this point. I am All-American, so that is my inherited cultural history. I am proud to be All-American. I believe we were the leaders in introducing the concept of separation of church and state into the world's consciousness, yet another reason to be proud! The lack of true separation of church and state continues to cause difficulties, even in "democracies" that have state religions. And in my opinion, the citizens of Israel would be well served to show solidarity with an American who preaches that we are, in effect, all the children of God! The Ten Commandments belong to all, even though Moses was a Jew. And it might help concentrate the Israeli mind to watch the end of "Saving Private Ryan" once again, to check out the relative proportion of crosses to Stars of David in the D-Day Cemetery at Normandy before they continue to stand by in silence while an Orthodox Jew harasses an Amercian preaching ecumenism! Or have they already forgotten "Never Again"!
P.S. One of the downsides to being such a "mesmerizing" blogger is you give your audience too much to think about! Someday, my friends at Discarded Lies will add me to their blogroll! ;-)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

CV(H) 67, The JFK, Humanitarian Relief Carrier

Click above for a Fox News story on the proposed retirement of the aircraft carrier, John F. Kennedy CV-67. I have a modest proposal. Transfer the ship to the Active Reserves and redesignate it CV(H)-67. Then keep an active duty crew about to enable the ship to deploy on short notice and add a reserve crew consisting of helicopter pilots and mechanics, SeaBees and other specialists knowledgeable in humanitarian relief. Maybe add some C-2 Tracker crews for carrier-onboard-delivery (COD) and some search capability with S-2 crews. Put into the budget some money for a squadron or two of MV-22 Ospreys (or their Coast Guard derivatives). Then fill the former magazines with portable watermaking equipment and medical & relief supplies.
You end up with a readily deployable (or even prepositionable) humanitarian relief carrier. It would be a fitting tribute to the Father of the Peace Corps!

Colin Powell's Job Search

Click above for an idea I had to help Colin Powell find a new job. He's had a bit of time off as Condi Rice has eased into his old job. It's time for him to get serious about finding out what he wants to do next. So I've posted a comment at the Belmont Club with a suggestion. Here is the complete text of my comment(s), the second of which applies to Colin Powell..
"From the night shift at Pajamahadeen News Network - Is this what you are looking for? Meanwhile, in diplomatic circles…
Does Colin Powell still need a job? I would propose we make him the American Military Attaché to the United Nations! This would then also allow him to run for the post of General of the Army of the United Nations. Why do this/? Because it is obvious that just as Iraq needs training in military matters, the various UN forces need training. And they especially need training and discipline to enable them to mimic American forces, which can be “Your best friend, or you worst enemy”.
Where to start? Offer training similar to our various war colleges for proposed ad hoc “coalitions of the willing“. We start by proposing that the UN sanction a test program. So we ask Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, Jordan plus some more experienced powers. Including Australia, Great Britain and the United States to develop a plan for the forcible ejection of Syrian forces from Lebanon, with a follow-on liberation and free elections for Syria.
The project will be known as “Operation Lebanon Freedom”. The United States will provide the commanding General of the Army in the person of Colin Powell. He will do the necessary coordination with the POTUS, SECDEF and JCS to provide the necessary command and control with supervisory forces. Operations will be conducted from the Sixth Fleet Headquarters. Invasion forces will depart from Turkey on the Northern Front, Israel on the South Western Front and Iraq on the Eastern Front. The United States will provide its AWACS and J-STARS aircraft for aerial de-confliction and FAC aircraft directing ground support operations. The Israeli air force will provide air superiority and ground attack air power.
The zones of operation have yet to be defined, by a notional plan would be for Israel to re-occupy southern Lebanon. Lebanese Army and militia forces would occupy the balance of the nation, until such time as they are strong enough to relieve the Israelis. Iraqi and United States forces would occupy eastern Syria from a line running north and south located 10 NM west of the Syrian Presidential Palace. The remaining zone in western Syria would fall under Turkish control.
Launch date for the operation would be one week after the nominal date for free elections in Lebanon, currently scheduled for June, in order to give the Security Council an opportunity to approve the war plan."

Friday, February 18, 2005

Tsunami Update

The latest from PACOM...
Indonesia's president has named several new military chiefs, replacing a tough-talking nationalist general who headed the powerful army with an officer seen as a moderate…
Santoso won praise for helping implement a peace pact between warring Muslims and Christians in the volatile eastern Moluccas islands. Santoso took over as military commander after the deal was signed in 2002...
Analysts said the rise of Santoso -- who holds a masters degree in management and has a background in intelligence -- could dash Ryamizard's hope of heading the military and pave the way for Santoso himself to take the top post.
Nationalist politicians have been rallying behind Ryamizard to become military chief while moderates have wanted Santoso.
While the English-speaking Yudhoyono was seen as a thinking general who feels comfortable with foreigners, Ryamizard was known for his anti-foreign views and harsh attitude towards separatists in Aceh and Papua provinces.
So it seems that the winds of democratic change are blowing strong in the largest Muslim nation in the world as it moves its military closer to the United States Model!

Chicago's Dealings With Its Firefighter's Union

Mayor Daley’s challenge in dealing with the unions can be illustrated in the situation with the firefighters. Here is a quote from the Chicago Sun-Times on the desires of management with regard to the firefighters and the paramedics…
“Chicago Fire Commissioner Cortez Trotter wants firefighters and paramedics to work the same shift -- 24 hours on duty and 72 hours off -- to speed the pace of cross-training and hasten the day when firefighters and paramedics can be used interchangeably.
Trotter's push for a shift change comes on the eve of a union election and just days after 1,000 present and former Chicago firefighters gathered in Las Vegas to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the bitter strike that produced their first-ever contract.
Firefighters currently work 24 hours on and 48 hours off, a popular system that allows them to hold second and third jobs.”
The anticipated union response is illustrated here..
“Bill Kugelman, the ousted president now facing a rematch against McNally in a four-candidate field, said he would leave it up to the rank and file.
"I don't dictate to the membership. They dictate to me and I go out and fight for what they want," Kugelman said.
"I don't see anything wrong with it. Your yearly amount of hours worked will go down. Your time-and-a-half will go up. There would also be more hiring and promotions because you're putting on a whole fourth shift. But, if this is what the city wants, we want something in return."
So the union is out for something “in return” for moving forward on a plan that adjusts to reality. The improvements in building codes, smoke detectors etc. mean a continuing decline in the need for firefighting. The trend toward more life safety operations, particularly medical emergencies with continue. The city cannot afford a huge number of firefighters with nothing to do. So the cross-training is the wave of the future. So what to offer “in return”? I happened to hear Mike North on The Score Sportsradio talking to some firefighters. They were surprisingly receptive to Cortez Trotter’s administration because he was trying to improve the training for the firefighters. The one complaint they had is that Chicago is the only major city that does not include bunkers in their standard equipment. So how about spending some of the one-time proceeds from leasing the Chicago Skyway to buy them in exchange for making permanent improvements in the training and scheduling of firefighters? Both sides win because this solution addresses the real needs of both and bypasses the posturing.

Teaching Kids American History

The challenge in teaching kids history is that the people and places seem so anachronistic. Maybe what we need is to tap into the kids sense of fun and do the American thing and update history. So here is a look at my likely distant* cousin’s "Paul Revere‘s Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
You know how it was originally written and then modified by us kids when I was in grade school…

“Listen my children and you shall hear
The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
He got in his car and stepped on the gas
The engine blew up and he fell on his…..
Now don’t get excited, don’t get alarmed!
The engine blew up and he fell on his arm.”
In passing this along to my young niece and nephew I added this bit...
“So onto his horse and off went a running
To tell all the world the Redcoats are coming!”
Someday in the 22nd Century a kid will substitute for “He got in his car…” something along the lines of...

“He tried to text message on his cell phone but…”
And the finish will still be “…the Redcoats are coming!”
* That distant cousin remark is due to the fact that there were Longfellows in Machias way back when. Since everyone is related to everyone else at this distant point, I am related to the Longfellows and that means Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. So while I have not bothered to count the generations, he is my distant cousin. Maybe this fact will encourage you to actually read the header of this blog and then follow its guidance to read about those other distant patriots to whom you owe so much!
Or read more Longfellow

28 Sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
The Building of the Ship.

29 Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee,
—Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith trumphant o’er our fears,
Are all with thee,
—are all with thee!
The Building of the Ship.

Self-Policing The Blogosphere

Click above for old old friend Bummer Dietz' tryout of some suspicious activity. He is intrigued by the rumors tied to the TWA 800 incident. He is skeptical of the government investigators from the NTSB. The bloodhound on the trail... Here is my post
Go to a hardware store and look at a plastic gas can. You will see a label (the anti-lawyer) that says something to the effect that 'you should keep the nozzle in contact with the tank at all times when filling'. The problem is that a moving stream of fuel will cause static electricity to build up. A plastic tank is not electrically bonded (i.e. grounded) to the nozzle so with enough charge, a spark can jump the gap. With a nearly empty tank, there is enough air to create a flammable mixture (e.g. between the 'lower explosive limit' and the 'upper explosive limit'). Especially note, that the "flash point" of jet fuel is about 100 degrees F, so the fact that the air conditioning system used the fuel in a tank as a heat sink plays a part.
A hot summer day combined with the added heat from the heat exchanger raised the fuel temperature above the flash point for the fuel (100 degrees F, which is why diesel powerboats do not have bilge blowers, but gasoline boats do. The fuel is not expected to ever reach 100 F and therefore will not ever reach the lower explosive limit of diesel). Now you get a BOOM because you have the three necessary elements; fuel, air and an ignition source. No mystery missile required!
Also note that the 747 is a big plane and that the missile warheads of man portable (MANPAD) missiles are quite small and have limited altitude capability. We just flew all sorts of sorties in Iraqi airspace using these precepts. The insurgents even hit a low altitude jumbo jet, which sustained minor damage to an engine nacelle (i.e. the infrared heat source) and still managed to land safely at Baghdad International (Was it a DHL plane? MSN Search it, we're boycotting Google!).
The current solution is to install a system to use reverse osmosis gas separation technology to separate the nitrogen in air from the oxygen and then inject the nitrogen into the fuel tank to exclude the oxygen (i.e. inert gas blanketing). No oxygen, no BOOM! Plus they have improved grounding of the fuel line to eliminate the spark gap. Engineers are notorious for "belt and suspender" solutions to keep the "WILD-EYED, AMBULANCE CHASING, BARRATRY LOVING TRIAL LAWYERS" at bay!
You feel better now? We just proved the blogosphere is self-policing! Congratulations!"
Personal note to Bummer - Leave the engineering to the engineers! I know that engineers feel competent to address legal issues, but the reverse is not necessarily true! That is because liberal arts majors can become lawyers! No "profession" with entry standards that low can expect to merit the respect of the general populace.
Update 2:10 AM 2/18/05 Bummer is turning out to be a GREAT STRAIGHT MAN!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Road To Damascus

Click above for a report from The American Spectator on the evolving situation in Lebanon and Syria. Let's cut to the chase...

Who's up for a pre-emptive strike against Syria?

Turkey? Syria supports the Kurdish rebels.
Israel? Enough said!
Jordan? Don't want to upset Uncle Sam do you?
Iraq? Syria is the safe haven of the insurgents!
Lebanon? There is already rioting in the streets of Beirut!
France? Don't want to miss out on those post-war contracts!

I assume Australia would be with us, they always are!

So maybe the question should be, is anybody against the idea?

Update 2/17/05 4:02 PM - First let's descibe an appropriate scenario for asking the question. Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia's entry for the Korean War
"On June 25, 1950 North Korean forces moved south in force. Using Soviet equipment and with huge reserves of manpower, their surprise attack was a crushing success. Within days South Korean forces were in full retreat. Seoul was captured by the North Koreans in early July. Eventually the South Korean forces, and the small number of Americans in Korea, were driven into a small area in the far South around the city of Pusan. With the aid of American supplies and air support the ROK forces managed to stabilize this frontier. This became a desperate holding action called the Pusan Perimeter. Although more UN support arrived, the situation was perilous, and it looked as though the North could gain control of the entire peninsula."…
"The western powers gained a
United Nations mandate for action because the Soviets were boycotting the Security Council over the admission of Mongolia to the UN while the (Nationalist controlled) Republic of China held the Chinese seat — the Republic of China refused to acknowledge the independence of Mongolia, and thus blocked its entry into the UN. Without the Soviet veto and with only Yugoslavia abstaining, the UN voted to aid South Korea. U.S. forces were eventually joined during the conflict by troops from fifteen other UN members: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, Greece, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Colombia, the Philippines, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Truman would later take harsh criticism for not obtaining a declaration of war from Congress before sending troops to Korea. Thus, "Truman's War" was said by some to have violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the United States Constitution."…
So the delegate from Lebanon puts a motion onto the floor of the UN asking for it to invade Syria. The iraqi delegate seconds the motion. Now we ask, All in Favor?
Re: Anon's comments, the saying was from the Vietnam era "Kill Them All and Let God Sort It Out!" This is precisely why the Army had a hard time winning the "hearts and minds" of the South Vietnamese. Of course, the Army then was almost totally dominated by what I would characterize as "Attrition Warriors". The kind of generals who led a draftee army. If you pay a soldier less than minimum wage, you can afford to waste his life, so he learns to discount the value of other human lives and says such stupid things! Fortunately, most Army units have moved away from attrition warfare, though not as far as the Marines!
In answer to the question about treason. First, we find the basis in law, specifically Article 3 of the United States Constitution which defines the crime of Treason. From there we decide if any one individuals actions meet the definition (presumably "Aid and comfort in the realm" - e.g. Does he do this act within the United States?). From there, the biggest challenge, and the one most frequently not met, is to find the one individual who will say "I'll go first!". That individual files a complaint with the appropriate authorities (e.g the FBI). The FBI investigates and if it finds the charge has merit initiates a prosecution. If at trail, the charge is found to have merit before a jury, the accused is convicted and the designated punishment is meted out. So Anon, will you go first?

Update 1:24 AM 2/18/05 I did not know what it is that Anon was so incensed about with Scott Ritter. I think I see the reason in a post by BlackFive. It seems he has joined Al-Jazeera TV! Now, at first blush that might seem as if he intends to trade with the enemy. But what if he intends to convert the sinners? Put another way, what if he intends to bring The Word Of God to those who have not heard it, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” Yes, I know Ritter has been a fellow traveler with Hans Blix, but give him a chance for redempton, “By their works ye shall know them”.
Reading his piece for Al-Jazeera gives us insight into how confused he is. He thinks Iraq is Vietnam! Well, he is wrong! But then, I assume he has not been to Fallujah of late to see the ground truth. Once more we see an Army veteran relying on “body counts”. Someone should take him there. Then, if he still retains his opinion, Ritter will not do well on Judgment Day.

Captain Ed Destroys The MSM Media on Eason Jordan!

Click above for the latest from Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters Blog! He is in fine form, and there is nothing I need to add except BRAVO ZULU ED!!!

Incidently, he is doIng this with his wife lying in the hospital recovering from a transplant operation! A real pajamahadeen, if I've ever seen one! He does more in his spare time then most MSM journalists do in a week at their jobs! There is also note that he now has a paying gig!.


The Illinois Political Green Zone

Today I'd like to introduce you to Illinois' Political Green Zone, the hotbed of democracy in action, where politics really does make strange bedfellows. First, you'll need a scorecard. So here are excerpts from the February 8 article by Scott Fornek of the Chicago Sun-Times about the upcoming Democratic mayoral primary in Berwyn...
"Alex Bojovic might be the first political candidate to claim that he took a bribe -- and then make it the centerpiece of his campaign.
That's because federal prosecutors are praising the Berwyn alderman, saying he went undercover, pretended to be corrupt and accepted a $500 bribe in a sting that resulted in the indictment of a top city official in the western suburb.
"You played a critical role and provided significant assistance," First Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro wrote in a letter to Bojovic.
Bojovic is not shy about sharing the letter with voters as he campaigns for mayor.
"I tell them, I am the person that has actually stood up for them and said 'Enough is enough,' " Bojovic said.
Bojovic, 43, is one of four mayoral candidates running in the Democratic primary Feb. 22. The others are City Clerk Michael J. Woodward, lawyer Kevin K. Pechous and former Chicago precinct captain Victor O. Burgos.
The winner will square off April 5 against Republican Anthony Castrogiovanni and two Democrats who chose not to run under the party banner -- Ald. Ray Fron, who is running as an independent, and former Ald. Michael O'Connor, who is leading the newly created Independent Voters of Berwyn slate."

OK, we have seven candidates for mayor! And Chicago is going to have trouble coming up with just one to challenge Mayor Richard Daley! And let us look at the unusual currents swirling around one of these candidates,

"Burgos, 37, works in the facilities management department of the Cook County Juvenile Court. He said he has helped numerous politicians get elected, including Cicero Town President Ramiro Gonzalez, the Loren-Maltese protege who succeeded her two years ago. But he said he is not a shill for Gonzalez -- or anyone else.
"Absolutely not," Burgos said. "I'm on my own in this one. . . . We don't want Berwyn to become Cicero."

How was that again, Victor? You are running in a Democratic primary, you helped elect a Republican mayor in Cicero, yet you are running because you don't want Berwyn to become Cicero! Wow! And looking at your campaign mailer we find some more interesting stuff…

"It is time to fight crime effectively for our children" with a picture of Burgos and eleven children that look to be Hispanic. On the reverse side it reads in part "While these police cars sit… Berwyn spends more tax dollars for head of police than New York or Chicago"

Meanwhile the political pundits of the Sun-Times display their cluelessness as they are old style FDR Democrats. Here is a try by Carol Marin to describe Cicero politics.

" Gonzalez is the hand-picked successor of Betty Loren Maltese, who went off to federal prison a couple of years ago for raiding the coffers of Cicero along with some of her mobbed up pals. DiCrenscenzo didn't think Gonzalez, who has padded the public payroll with 18 of his relatives, was much of an improvement. Nor did he think Gonzalez actually ran Cicero. He believed Ed Vrdolyak, the former Chicago alderman and attorney whose law firm makes nearly a million dollars a year in fees from the town, was the real boss."

In a letter to the editor that appeared the following day, a Cicero elected offical ripped Marin for her obsession with Ed Vrdoyak!

So what is going on here? Well, at its heart, this is competitive democracy. Labels don't mean anything. Both Cicero & Berwyn are undergoing demographic shifts. Both retain the economic status of their respective pasts. Cicero was the home to Eastern European factory workers in the Hawthorne Works plant of Western Electric that made all those millions of black rotary dial telephones of the "Ma Bell" days. Berwyn was home to the foremen. Its neighbor, Riverside, was home to the managers. Riverside is the home of former Illinois Republican chairwoman, Judy Baar Topinka, the only remaining statewide Republican elected official! So this is the "Green Zone", the front lines in the struggle between the Democrats and Republicans for the Hispanic vote! If you want to get a flavor of the campaign it can be summarized by these general themes:

1) Everyone is going to fight gangs (primarily Hispanic gangs) in a campaign that would make Marisol, the American Girl proud!
2) Everyone is going to fight government waste, no more political crony capitalism!
3) Everyone is going to fight for lower taxes.
4) Everyone is going to fight for the voice of Hispanics to be heard.

Sounds like the Republicans are ahead on points! That certainly is not the Howard Dean agenda!

By the way - I recently heard on the radio that Cicero has just landed a huge new economic development project! So I guess, that means we're for Republican-style cozying up to big business too!

What is really going on here is the transformation of Mexican peasant immigrants into Mexican-American, middle class homeowners; just like those Eastern Europeans before them.

Update 2/18/05 5:59 AM - This is too precious! Carol Marin weighs in again on the politics of Cicero! Now it seems she thinks a 23 year old goody two-shoes from Chicago will bring democracy to the Hispanic voters of Cicero!

Update 2/18/05 9:37 AM -

For my out-of-town readers a little bit of commentary on the Vrdolyak and Marin careers is in order. Ed Vrdolyak gained his maximum notoriety first as a supporter of Chicago’s first female mayor, Jane Byrne, who had been elected as an independent. They joined forces with Vrdolyak becoming the leader of the Evil Cabal. Later, he led a council of aldermen opposed to Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington in what became known as Council Wars.

Carol Marin is best known as the local TV news anchor who threatened to quit when the management of her station decided to add commentary by Jerry Springer to the broadcast. Her protest won the day temporarily, but she eventually went on to 60 Minutes Wednesday, before returning to local news in Chicago.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The New McCarthyism!

The time has come for a joint Senate-House committee hearing into charges that American servicemen have “targeted” journalists during combat! The obvious leaders for the minority would be Sen. Christopher Dodd and, from the House, Rep. Barney Frank! This promises to be the most riveting testimony since the McCarthy hearings! It seems that, once again, it is time to defend the honor of the United States Army! Who are these people who engage in Un-American activities? Who do they work for? Where do they get their information. The American People demand answers! Who will be this generation’s Joseph Welch?
“Have you no sense of decency!”

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

WSJ's Eason Jordan Kerfuffle

Click above for a nice summary of the Wall Street Journal's place in L'Affaire Eason Jordan.

I guess the key question now is has the video of Jordan's remarks been used for propaganda purposes in the Arab world? To get closer to an answer you could ask

1) Whose camera was it? Who has custody of the tape?
2) Since the proceedings were allegedly confidential who approved a camera?
3) Similarly, who approved a blogger? Isn't he just a part of the public relations machine intended to publicize the proceedings, not hide them?
4) Can you go out on the streets of Baghdad and find an Arabic language version of his remarks?

The whole thing smells fishy! It could just be the media circling the wagons, or it could be something more sinister. Time should tell!

Blog Counter Update

We’ve had some discussions on a site counter. I noted that the data in my profile view was so inaccurate as to give rise to the question, is it worth the bother? Now Little Green Footballs has reported inconsistencies in their counts as it applies to the Darling of Wall Street that supports my host (He That Shall Not Be Named - AKA “Slytherin” - Hat Tip - Harry Potter). Here is the latest
“To recap, we’ve noticed on many occasions that G**gle News does include more than a few sites with, to say the least, serious credibility problems —including hard-core anarchist site Infoshop, Justin Raimondo’s paleocon antisemitic site, barking moonbat lunatic asylum Democratic Underground, radical Islamic jihadi sites and Jihad Unspun, and extremist pro-Palestinian site electronic intifada, to name only a few.”
I did report my problem, so far without result. So the question of the accuracy of the data remains. Given the likely political orientation of Slytherin’s employees and the content of LGF & Machias Privateer, it raises the question, 'Can even paranoids have enemies'? Slytherin does control my servers, it could be as easy as giving you a “cannot find server” message!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

History Repeats Itself!

A quotation from the book Reckless Disregard by Renata Adler, Vintage Press, Copyright 1986, pp244-245 paperback edition.
“In the Sullivan case…held essentially that criticism of public officials in the performance of their official function is for the most part (and in the absence of clear and convincing proof of “actual malice”, in the new sense of “knowledge of falsity” or “reckless disregard”) Constitutionally protected. The case favored, above all, dissent and diversity, in the context of the great moral movement that was civil rights. It could not, however, have foreseen that in modern life it is the press itself that has, to a degree, become unitary, powerful, monolithic, suppressing the very diversity that it was the purpose of the First Amendment (and even Sullivan) to protect.
Another unforeseeable result of Sullivan: since “actual malice” was redefined (by Justice Byron White speaking for the Court in St. Amant v. Thompson) to include “serious doubt”, there have been consequences of an entirely ironical and entirely unintended sort. Publications, in order not to be vulnerable, in any future lawsuit, to the charge that they had in fact, at any point in the writing or publishing of a story, a “serious doubt”, are beginning actively to discourage responsible inquiry, checking, editorial queries in the margin, all of which would constitute evidence (before courts that interpret St. Amant too simplistically and literally) that whoever asked, checked, made those queries in the margin did have that form of “ actual malice” which is “serious doubt”. It is obvious that this interpretation encourages almost everything that is undesirable and unprofessional in journalism - and that is the opposite of what Justice White intended, in the entirety of his opinion for the Court in St. Amant…”
It is not altogether surprising that the two media companies whose actions Adler reviewed are at the forefront of today’s controversies! The cases were Westmoreland v. CBS et al. and Sharon v. Time (allowing that Time is now Time-Warner, the parent of CNN).
Update 2/14/05 11:57 AM - Click on heading to go to . Check out the detailed report on the "Palestine Hotel" event. So much for the comparison of what can be found in the MSM versus the Blogosphere! More later on the Wall Street Journal's internal contradictions between the editorial pages and page B1!

Bringing the Airbus A380 To Peotone

Click above for a story from today's Chicago Sun-Times regarding the new Airbus A380 super jumbo airplane. They note that
"It's one thing to build a really, really big airplane. It's quite another to find a place for it to land.
U.S. airports from Seattle to Atlanta say accommodating Airbus SAS's new superjumbo A380 in anything other than an emergency would require major construction. Runways would need widening and terminals would need upgrades to load and unload the double-decker plane easily.
Even with those improvements, airports might need to curtail other airport traffic to let the big jet lumber through the airfield. And some officials worry the weight of the A380 would collapse tunnels and buckle overpasses.
What's more, some airport officials say they just aren't seeing the demand for the A380 that would warrant such cost and inconvenience.
...The Federal Aviation Administration says just four U.S. airports-- John F. Kennedy in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami-- are formally working with regulators on plans to accept the new plane for passengers. Another two-- Anchorage and Memphis-- are working with the FAA to take the cargo version.
...At Chicago's O'Hare, spokeswoman Annette Martinez said the airport is working on interim changes that will enable it to accommodate the plane by the end of 2007, while hoping for approval of a big expansion that would make it practical to take the A380 in the long term."
So do you see the FAA spending taxpayer money to build up the marketability of a Boeing rival in Boeing's corporate hometown, or will they suggest meeting the 21st Century by inviting our European friends to fly their plane to a brand new airport in Peotone, Illinois? And to think such an airport would also earn some political support from the black community through the good offices of Jesse Jackson Jr. A twofer!
Update 5:31 AM 2/14/05 - Toni has posted a comment (Hi Toni!). But let us try to make a silk purse out of a French sow's ear! We make Peotone an air cargo distribution airport in a manner similar to the way Memphis is the Fedex hub and Louisville is the UPS hub. All that high priority air cargo from China flies into Peotone, once a day. The otherwise empty plane returns to China carrying American products at bargain freight rates (this is how South American products such as flowers and fruit got a foothold in America, all those otherwise empty air cargo planes flew the products here cheaply). One flight in, then one flight out per day! Now once the stuff is here, it needs to be distributed! So we pack it into 787 freighters and send it out again with a single daily flight each way. In the process, we develop a cargo market for the 787, which can be used to amortize the cost of designing and building an Air Force tanker version of the 787. So to accommodate our European Amis, we strengthen the competitive advantage of a major Illinois company. Viva La France! Viva La Difference!

Madrid High Rise Fire - Building Near Collapse

Long time readers of this blog know I've dealt with the unresolved issues of fighting high rise fires. I have made the point that we need to improve our ability to fight fires above the reach of water sprayed from street level. We've had two fires in Chicago, the Cook County Administration Building and the LaSalle Bank Building, where the Chicago Fire Department was able to get water on a high rise fire and prevent building collapse. There is no guarantee we'll always be so lucky!
We need to look at innovative alternatives. One I put forward is to inject liquid carbon dioxide into the standpipes to create a "seltzer water" mix to fight the fires. Another would be to install manometers between the interior of the stairwells and each floor to allow occupants to time their entry into the stairwell so as to minimize smoke intrusion and allow escape through the fire floors. So where are the politicians on this issue? Where is the after action report on the LaSalle Bank Building fire? Now is the time to act.

America's Princess Wows the European Princes!

It seems the United States is on the road to closer relations with Europe. Condi Rice’s trip is being hailed as a success. But what are the underlying truths here?
1) The United States is the world’s only superpower. There was a little drama as her plane arrived in Belgium. A Secret Service man pushed the Belgian "Protocol Chief" around. If the roles were reversed, we’d be outraged. As it is, we are quite pleased with the outcome, power has privileges! (Via LGF).
2) There was a post on Power Line with the text of a speech by Abraham Lincoln, part of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. It echoes a point I made earlier about how first-generation Americans are different from 12th-generation Americans, in that they still carry traces of the old country and have not yet learned to be American. The truth is that Europeans still labor under the burdens of a class system of royalty and peasants. What else would explain the Princess Di phenomenon? So at its heart, Europe is still a "style over substance" kind of society. This largely explains Europe’s popularity in American’s salons of “Style”; Hollyweird, Madison Avenue, the Democratic Party, Academia and TV.
3) Given Europe’s preference for style over substance, sending Condi Rice as a virtual Princess of America, was a smart move. As the French say, “Make Love Not War”. We’ve sent our Princes before, Colin Powell and Don Rumsfeld. But a meeting of princes tends to bring out the testosterone. A Princess meeting the various eligible Princes induces them to pitch woo! So, in the event, a woman Secretary of State is more likely to reign in these headstrong Princes of Europe without a fight than our Princes did. And there really is no need to re-conquer the Europe we conquered in 1945. We just need cooperation. Love Not War!
What we ought to do as a follow up is send President Bush’s daughters on a “European Vacation”. Let them go and charm the Euros! Make it a real Debutante Ball. The Europeans would eat it up and the girls would have some fun. Lord knows it’s got to be tough being First Daughter! So let them have some fun before they settle into their real jobs!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

A Lincoln's Birthday Present - Eason Jordan's Scalp!

What a day yesterday was for accountability! First we have the departure of Eason Jordan from CNN. There was excellent work by the bloggers of Easongate, But I do believe it was the credible threat of a massive libel suit against him and CNN’s parent, Time Warner, that forced his hand. Good Riddance!
In Chicago, Mayor Daley has announced some really tough policies to deal with those who act improperly while on the city payroll or as outside contractors doing business with the city. As I said, quite a day!
And just in time for the real Abraham Lincoln’s birthday celebration!

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Future of Energy Independence!

Discarded Lies has a story on a "nuclear battery" that can provide 10 MWe of power for remote villages (the proposed site is in Alaska). So once the Alaska Wildlife Refuge is depleted, Alaskans will be getting their power in a non-polluting manner from nuclear power! There are other nuclear options that will soon come to the fore. So far, the big unreported story is how utilities have improved the thermal efficiency, operating rate and reduced refuelling time of existing 1000 MWe nuclear plants. The operating cost is about 2 cents /KWH! So a big part of our future will be nuclear. Just don't expect to read about it in the paper anytime soon.
Update 2/12/05 3:28 AM - Fixed link! I now have a witness (Evariste!) that I should have an office twinkie. I just can't afford one on my enormous income of $0.00 and I already have such competent volunteer fact checkers and helpers that I don't think I need a professional! I'll just struggle along with what I've got!

Understanding Fuzzy Logic

One project I am currently working on is trying to bring more sophistication to the training of people who engage in running safety boats for sailboat races. I am offering to help the National Training Coordinator of U S Sailing to develop better course materials. To give you some insight into the process, I think we should compare standard “relay logic” to “fuzzy logic”. Relay logic forms the basis for all binary digital devices (i.e. digital computers). That means a decision making process based on a series of picking one of two alternatives. The basic form is yes-no, either-or, neither-nor etc. Using such a rudimentary system, it is possible to do many magical things. But there are limitations. Such logic doesn’t handle nuance or experience very well. It tends to create blunt, brute force solutions.
So “fuzzy logic” was invented. It assigns weighted values to the decisions. This is an in-between, “maybe” style choice. For illustration, let’s examine a typical question. Should I wear a life jacket on the boat? The relay logic choices are yes and no. But ask any boater and he’ll tell you it “depends”. That is where fuzzy logic comes in! What does it depend on? Well if it’s a nice sunny day with no wind or waves, wearing a life jacket is too oppressive and hot and the threat of drowning is almost non-existent. Therefore, by our fuzzy logic we say no, you don’t have to wear your life jacket today. If the wind is howling and there are breaking waves, we say yes, wear your life jacket. Fuzzy logic in action! But implementing this into a codified law? That is beyond the ken of traditionalist thinkers such as lawyers! To them the world is black or white with no shades of gray! So don’t let lawyers dictate your decisions!

Helping Sledders Triumph Over Lawyers

I got another letter to the editor published on the American Spectator’s website. The original topic was the way our governments are caving in to the “Safety Nazis” and banning such childhood pleasures as sled hills. Read the letter published before mine for an excellent summation of the problem (and its echoes in yesterday’s topic of the Lincoln Park porch collapse). Here is my letter with an engineered solution to the dilemma…
“I would suggest that the public insist that on sledding days, the city plow and salt the sidewalk between the sled hill and the street. If the pile of snow is downhill from the sidewalk, the sledders will first slow down on the bare concrete, then smack into a pile of plowed snow. That should stop them safely!”

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Delegating To The Office Twinkies

Click above for today's story in The Wall Street Journal, Fallen Star H-P's Board Ousts Fiorina as CEO.
"Hewlett-Packard Co.'s board, amid mounting displeasure with the Silicon Valley computer giant's performance, ousted Chief Executive Carly Fiorina after she resisted the directors' plan for her to cede some day-to-day authority to the heads of H-P's key business units.
...People familiar with the matter said directors felt too much of the company's vast operations had been centralized in Ms. Fiorina's office, creating decision-making bottlenecks. Meanwhile, H-P had failed to meet key performance targets Ms. Fiorina had set for the company during the Compaq takeover fight.
Board members stressed yesterday that the ouster didn't imply that the company would change its strategy. But the dramatic move has renewed speculation that the company might revisit the question of spinning off its highly profitable printing and imaging business. The unit supplies roughly 75% of the company's profits, largely from the mundane business of selling ink cartridges.
As recently as two weeks ago, Ms. Fiorina was still resisting the board's blueprint for management changes, according to one person familiar with the discussions. If Ms. Fiorina continued to resist, that person said at the time, the board would "tighten its position."
See! She thinks of herself as a visionary, but doesn't have the sense to delegate to the Office Twinkies!!! At least I know I could use one!

We're Winning the Global Culture War!

An underlying theme of the spate of unexpected good news in the world is the emergence of a strengthening belief in the conservative principles of personal responsibility and self-reliance over the previously dominant liberal agenda of “the soft bigotry of low expectations”. Simply put, we’re winning the Global “Culture Wars”! The evidence is everywhere, if we only believe. I assume the skeptics will dismiss this possibility, so here is a brief recap of unexpected developments from the recent past.
1) Despite the best efforts of the voice of the ancient regime, the mainstream media, the Republicans defeated the Democrats and now control the Presidency and the Congress with unambiguous voter majorities. Long standing icons of the Left are rapidly falling. Dan Rather is a joke to the populace. The once feared Michael Moore got zero Academy Award nominations in that bastion of the left, Hollywood. Even that pariah of the left, Mel Gibson, got three nominations.
2) The citizenry of Iraq has seized the day, and voted for liberty from the oppression of Saddam. And while the details are yet to be worked out, even the Sunnis are talking about becoming a part of the constitutional process and rejecting the “insurgency”.
3) The people of Afghanistan are making a remarkable transition to freedom after 5000 years of autocracy. They are beginning to take control of their own destiny.
4) The Palestinians and Israelis are shaking hands as they try to seize the initiative to bring peace through justice to their war weary lands.
5) Given the helping hand of the United States Armed Forces, the hard hit nations of the tsunami zone are taking up the challenge of leading the rebuilding of their own countries, while old organizations, such as the United Nations, argue about arranging the deck chairs around the pool. By the time the French aircraft carrier finally reaches the tsunami zone, there will be nothing for it to do, as the Indonesians have chartered boats to ferry relief supplies to the hardest hit regions.
6) Even in that nexus of machine politics, the city of Chicago, the voice of reform is beginning to be heard. Who would have thought a democratic administration would take on the bleeding hearts and their champions, the trail bar, and would ask to hold accountable the brother of a “Victim” for his actions? The story may exist only faintly in the perception of the national audience, but the ramifications could be huge. The incident was a porch collapse in Lincoln Park that killed 13 young, promising lives. Clearly, there was a great deal of blame to go around. There were bad decisions by virtually everyone involved, including the city; except the poor taxpayers of the city!
The building owner contracted for an oversized porch in violation of the city building code. The contractor built that illegal porch without a building permit. The building inspectors were negligent in their inspections of other matters in the building. The occupants invited the world to join their oversized party. And, now the city alleges, one of the hosts is being asked to accept responsibility for his actions! He is accused of joining in jumping up and down on the overloaded porch, weakening the structure, and contributing to the disaster. His brother died in the collapse. He and his family ask, how the city can be so totally lacking in compassions! But the city stands its ground.
So the city is defending the taxpayers against becoming the big pocket cleanser of the guilty consciences of all involved. None of them want to bear their respective shares of the responsibility; the owner, the contractor, the building inspector, the occupants and the brother will now have to come to grips with the facts in a court of law. And the taxpayers may finally get a break from the costs of the “soft bigotry of low expectations“.
And now comes word that Mayor Richard Daley is embracing an end to crony capitalism. And while Daley’s old habits die hard, the reality of the situation is taking over and is hitting at the core of the supporters of the politics of victimization. Jesse Jackson Jr. is panicked that Daley’s actions with the city’s affirmative action program will open the door for it to be euthanized by the Republicans!
So in conclusion, we see signs of distress from the mainstream media, Democrats, Michael Moore, the Iraqi “insurgents”, the Palestinian terrorists, the United Nations, and the machine politicians of Chicago. Not too bad for a time frame of only three months since the election!
P.S. - If Mayor Daley really wants to get the attention of his underlings and prove he is serious about reform. then he should institute a policy where any city employee convicted of vote fraud or electioneering on city time would lose all pension rights! That would get the payrollers attention! And it would be a big step toward the "De-Ba'athification" of city government.
Update 6:12 AM 2/10/05 - Mark Brown's column in this morning's Chicago Sun-Times offers another view into the disrespect of the payrollers for legal authority! It seems the suggestion has been made to install a statue of Ronald Reagan in the halls of the United States Congress (a superb idea!). It would replace a statue of an obscure, Irish politician who served as a senator from Illinois. He was most famous for challenging Abraham Lincoln to a duel that he would not fight when Lincoln appeared bearing broadswords. Why would we honor a coward in preference to the Liberator of Eastern Europe? Do you know more Poles live in Chicago than any city outside of Warsaw?
Update 2/11/05 1:16 PM -
The editorials in today’s Chicago Sun-Times furiously backpedal from Mark Brown’s opinion yesterday! Here is what they say…
“Pat Hickey should chill out. The other day the high school administrator lambasted state Rep. Robert Pritchard of DeKalb County for forwarding a resolution that one of the two statues representing great Illinoisans in Washington, D.C. -- the one depicting Gen. James Shields -- should be replaced with one of Ronald Reagan. Hickey, in outrage, claims this is a slur against the Irish and Catholics.
Shields emigrated to Illinois from Ireland about 1829. He became a force in Illinois politics, but he was peripatetic, first moving to Minnesota -- where he became a senator -- then to Missouri where he also ran for office.
Pritchard obviously didn't intend his resolution to be anti-Catholic or anti-Irish. But the statue of Shields was erected in 1893, and that of the other famous Illinoisan in the capital, temperance leader Frances Willard, was put up in 1905. It's been a century. Isn't it time for a change? "Reagan is the only president born in Illinois," Pritchard says, explaining his choice. "He did so much for the free world."
Pritchard's idea has merit. There are other candidates who could be considered for statuehood -- Adlai Stevenson, Everett Dirksen, Jane Addams, Ida B. Wells, Paul Simon. But Reagan -- who was half Irish, remember -- is a splendid choice, too.”

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Reliability of Exit Polls

Billll comments in the previous post below that the early exit polling indicates that I should add a counter. He believes exit polling. I do not even believe the audited polling of theoretically exact counts of "votes" as represented by my profile!
Recent posts = 17?
Avg Posts Per Week = 8?
Posts Written = 17?
Words Written = 3,719?
Outbound Links = 20?
Recent Posts = 06 November 2004?
So should I believe Profile Views = 241? I DO NOT!!!
Let's try an experiment! Click on Lee's profile which currently is all zeros except Profile Views = 8! We should be able to move this number by having several individuals, who have commented before, look at this profile. If it does not move, we know the numbers are false. Then the question becomes why? It's possible that it is just my profile. It's also possible that some moonbat at the public company that owns the blog provider is manipulating the data to suit his preferences! If so, a counter is meaningless, as is the economic justification for that company's public offering stock price. Let's find out if it is a simple mistake or something more sinister. Visit Lee's profile now!

Blog Counter - Yes Or No?

Today my co-worker asked if I knew how many people looked at my blog. I do not! As I told him, I could add a counter, if I slowed down enough to read the instructions!
But that's the kind of work best done by an Office Twinkie! I know I posted about that once long, long ago. I know there are at least a few of you out there by your comments. Generally, the comments have been quite gracious. And, I'm inclined to think that I should offer the same respect to my readers whether they number just one or a million. But if there is support for a counter, I might try to find the time to read the instructions. Maybe, you would find safety in numbers. So I invite a few comments to get your opinion! Don't turn this into an election! It's a simple question of should I or shouldn't I. If a few ask for it, I'll give it serious consideration.

Just Saying NO! to Thugocracies

Suddenly, articles describing the perils of tolerating thugocracies are everywhere! Here is a sample of three from today’s newspapers. Don’t put up with thugs, whichever side they nominally are on!

Leading off we have a report on why it was necessary to dismiss Saddam’s army to build a non-corrupt army (a familiar theme here!) in the new Iraq. The op-ed is “When Officers Aren’t Gentlemen” by Mark Bowden in The Wall Street Journal.

“Rebuilding the army has been more difficult than most American leaders imagined. The Pentagon claims to have fully trained 130,000 Iraqi soldiers, which is less than half of its goal. Critics like Sen. Joseph Biden, senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, dispute even that total, estimating the number of "adequately trained" Iraqis at only about 14,000. While there is argument over the pace of that effort, everyone seems to agree that it is the right way to go.
Why has it proved so hard to reconstitute the Iraqi army if, as the elections suggested, the insurgency lacks broad-based popular support? Fear is obviously a big factor. Terror attacks in recent months have subjected police and military recruits to brutal suicide bombings, kidnappings and execution. But beyond the fear factor is something else. Americans working to train the Iraqi army are still battling the ghost of Saddam Hussein.
* * *
Maj. Lechner was upbeat after the assault on Samarra: "It was very interesting and a big success," he wrote. "It was the first time an Iraqi Army unit was given its own objective to take and fought side by side with U.S. units (previously in Najaf, infantry assault units came in behind U.S. units). The story details are a combination of modern war and Alladin."
His force captured a large pharmaceutical complex and the Spiral Tower, a landmark minaret. Maj. Lechner was impressed by the way the Iraqi forces executed relatively complex infantry maneuvers, and more than held their ground when fired upon. They took and successfully held those positions, enduring mortar assaults and attacks by infiltrators over the coming weeks.
"I have never seen a situation change so dramatically," he wrote in mid-October. "When we arrived we [coalition forces] could not even approach the city without taking direct fire, and all of our bases were taking mortar and rocket fire daily. Now, there has not been one incident in weeks and we drive all over the city greeted by smiles and waves. My guys man a checkpoint where people wait in line for four hours and are still happy and smiling. I get frustrated waiting four minutes."
…No, his problem was not with foot soldiers, it was with their officers. One of the central problems with training up an Iraqi force is a military culture fostered by Saddam. The problem is not lingering loyalty to the toppled tyrant, but loyalty to the way he ran his army. Maj. Lechner noticed that the Iraqi commanders in his battalion tended to equate rank more with privilege than with responsibility. They were reluctant to stay on duty with their units for any length of time without "special passes or extended leaves," he said. The higher up the chain of command, the worse the problem. Just prior to going into action in Samarra, the Iraqi battalion commander took a leave. He didn't return until the city was secured. Up and down the officer ranks Maj. Lechner found a marked propensity to steal from their units, falsifying records, embezzling funds and even extorting money from their own men.”

Doesn’t this sound exactly like the situation previously described here regarding the Soviet & its successor Russian Armies?

Second, we have Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times who writes

“Everyone is in agreement that police officers messed up when they burst into an 84-year-old South Side woman's home last Thursday. But no one is quite sure what should be done about it. The cops were acting on a tip from an informant who told them they would find a "Sam Kennedy" and two assault weapons at a home in the 5400 block of South Princeton.
Instead of Sam and his guns, police found Hattie Cain in an upstairs bedroom. Her two tenants, both senior citizens, live on the downstairs level of the split-level home.
"I was in the bed watching the news and heard such a bang," Cain told me on Monday. "I got out and looked out of the window and police had a light flashing in my window. Just as I opened the bedroom door, they were almost at my bedroom. I said no Sam Kennedy lives here and they told me to stay back."
...It took about a dozen police officers tearing up Cain's home to determine that they were operating on flawed information.
During that time, they allegedly kicked in a back gate, broke a door off its hinges, scattered Cain's personal possessions over her house, ransacked drawers, overturned mattresses, and basically raised the blood pressure of people who are at a high risk for a stroke or heart attack.
…In the battle between good and evil, a broken gate might seem insignificant. It isn't. We can't expect anyone, let alone an 84-year-old woman who was wrongfully rousted out of her bed, to trust people who are too ornery to apologize when they make a mistake.
We should know the good guys not by their uniforms, but by the way they treat those they serve.”

Finally, John O'Sullivan has a take on the resurgent IRA thugs who now try to intimidate their erstwhile Catholic followers with

the latest form of punishment beating by the Irish Republican Army is called "a Padre Pio." The victim is told to clasp his hands in prayer and he is then shot through both palms. It is an economical form of wounding someone since one bullet produces two wounds.
Padre Pio, of course, was the saintly Italian priest whose hands bore the stigmata. These are wounds in the palms like those of the pierced hands of Christ. In addition to this, Padre Pio was rumored to be able to see directly into the souls of those who sought his counsel. More than one pious Catholic remembered a previous engagement when invited to an audience with him.
…Here is how the United States could discourage any such intention.
St. Patrick's Day will occur, as usual, on March 17. It is now an established tradition for the president to welcome Irish politicians of all stripes to the White House for an ecumenical celebration. In recent years Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president, has been among the guests.
To warn Sinn Fein-IRA (and their Protestant equivalents, the Progressive Unionist Party, which is likewise linked to violence) of the consequences of threatening terrorism, President Bush should this year invite all the democratic party leaders on both sides of the Irish border to the St. Patrick's celebrations.
But he should explicitly disinvite Adams, Martin McGuinness, other prominent Sinn Fein figures and their counterparts in the PUP. He should explain why. He should order that their visa waivers to enter the United States be lifted. And he should make clear that they will not be able to enter the United States again until they and their colleagues have finally and permanently abandoned the gun.
Until we can look, like Padre Pio, into the IRA's soul, we have to rely on firm government to deter terrorism.”

World Class Self-Absorption & Idolatry

Click above for the story of Ellen's new record for sailing single handed around the world!!
What Hype! She ended up where she started and all she saw of the world was Cape Horn & ocean! Meanwhile, thousands of people her age working in the United States Armed Forces have saved hundreds of thousands of lives in tsunami relief while she was gone! On average, each one of them saved about one life per week for each week Ellen was sailing! Don't we give medals to "heroes" who save the lives of others, not self-absorbed showboats?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Tsunami Relief Enters Semi Delivery Stage

Regular readers know of my description of the relief delivery stages Fedex to UPS Brown to Semi. Pacific Command (click above) reports that
"Indonesia has dispatched six boats carrying tons of rice to the west coast of tsunami-devastated Aceh as part of moves to cut dependency on foreign aircraft to deliver relief aid.
"We're going back to the traditional way of delivering food supplies. That way, we don't need many helicopters," vice-president Yusuf Kalla said after flagging off the ships at the Banda Aceh seaport.
A relief official said the mid-sized boats, each carrying some 50 tonnes of rice, were among 20 vessels rented by the Indonesian Government.
Jakarta is paying 65 million rupiah ($9,212) for each boat a month."
So things are progressing as expected and quite well on the tsunami relief front! I wonder if Le Charles DeGaulle will turn around for home before ever arriving in Indonesia? There won't be much to do by the time she arrives!