On Double Standards and Oil Spills.

So, there has been much outrage against Tony Hayward, the (former) CEO of BP, for sailing on his yacht while oil continues to leak into the Gulf of Mexico, including criticism from the White House.

Meanwhile, President Obama goes on a golf outing a week later and there isn’t similar outrage, except from the right who point out the parallels. Why the double standard?

Simple. Mr. Hayward represents BP, “an evil capitalistic corporation” while the Obamesiah is hailed as the savior of us all, bringing hope and change…

Now, personally, I think both can use a much needed rest from time to time and shouldn’t be expected or forced to put the rest of life on hold for something they have little direct influence over.

Imagine if five years ago, after New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, if President Bush were to have gone golfing. The outrage would have been deafening. Meanwhile, President Obama practically gets a free pass. They were burning effigies of Bush in the street, try the same thing with Obama and you’re tagged as “racist”.

Now, it wasn’t the role or responsibility of the Federal Government to swoop in and “rescue” the residents of New Orleans, rebuild their city, etc. As I have said before, if anything, it’s the LOCAL Government, the “First Responders”, that bear that responsibility. Of course in truth, it’s the responsibility of the individual to ensure their personal safety, to evacuate, etc. and not to rely on any government entity to do it for you.

In the case of BP, again, it’s not the responsibility of the Federal Government to come in and clean things up. President Obama is starting to receive criticism now about a lack of “timely” response but in reality, it’s the responsibility of BP to handle the leak, to fix it, and clean it up. Now, they can be free to hire Federal resources at fair rates to assist in that (and I think they should pull in and and all resources that are available and necessary to resolve this), and the Federal Government certainly does have the responsibility to ensure that any laws, regulations, etc. are enforced and that any violations are perused according to those laws in whatever manor is appropriate, both civil and criminal is applicable. BP is responsible and they should suffers the consequences for those violations.

Now, in this case, it is reasonable to expect the Federal Government to take some sort of a leadership role on this from a Government standpoint given the jurisdictional issues. While the individual states are supposed to have a degree of independent sovereignty within their borders, the original designed role of the Federal Government in the first place was to be involved, have oversight and leadership in matters that cross state boundaries.

The Deep Water Horizon spill certainly fits that qualification! All States, and even other nations, along the Gulf Coast are being impacted environmentally, economically, industrially, etc. from this. So in that context, the Federal Government stepping in and saying “enough is enough” is certainly appropriate. However, at the end of the day it’s still the responsibility of BP to take care of this mess. A complete Government takeover would only serve to make matters worse then they already are. Those who are best qualified, with the most experience, happen to be those that are already working the issue, the Oil Industry and the various companies from drilling/processing, to cleanup, etc. as is always the case with Government, too much involvement and interference would serve only to add additional barriers to a solution, as we have already seen.

In the end, from a Government standpoint, I think the Local Governments should take the Government lead on clean up within their area, along their coastlines while the Federal Government can focus on pressuring BP with the larger “fix this doggone leak” issue. Still, at the end of the day, it’s BP’s screw-up, they are the ones responsible for fixing, and paying for, their mistakes.

That said, I don’t think that any individual, Tony Hayward and President Obama included, should be expected to put the rest of their life on hold because of this.

Posted in General, Politics | Leave a comment

How much is a trillion?

Projections are, with the new budget that Obama is putting forward that the Federal deficit (the difference between what we are spending and what we are actually getting in in taxes – how much we are ADDING to the national debt this year alone) will be a record 1.7 Trillion dollars, which amounts to 12.3% of the GDP (Wall Street Journal). The last time we saw a federal deficit that high a percentage of GDP was in 1942 when we were building up our forces as we entered the Second World War.

According to Wikipedia, the dimensions of a modern dollar bill is 6.14 × 2.61 × 0.0043 in, 155.956 × 66.294 mm × 0.10922 mm

So, if we create a stack of 1.7 trillion dollar dollars…
0.10922 mm × 1,700,000,000,000 (1.7trillion) = 185,674,000,000 mm (185,674 km)
185,674 km = 115,372.5 mi

So, a perfect stack of 1.7 trillion dollar bills would be 185,674 kilometers (or 113,372.5 miles) tall which is roughly half the distance to the moon (average distance of 385,000 km) also about fourteen and a half times the average diameter of the earth (12,742 km)

In addition, the bill is (155.956 × 66.294) 7,687 mm² (76.87 cm²)

76.87 cm² × 1,700,000,000,000 = 130,679,000,000,000 cm² (13,067.9 km²) (50,455.45 mi²)
that’s over fifty thousand square miles of dollar bills.

If you were to count five dollar bills every second, it would take over 10,744 YEARS (over ten millennium) to count it all.

That’s a lot of money, and that’s just the stuff we’re spending that we DON’T have. The entire budget is over twice that. at $3.6 TRILLION.

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Nine Inch Nails…

Now, I’ve not been a real big fan of Nine Inch Nails, not getting into their hard style, but I have found their latest two releases The Slip, and Ghosts I-IV fill a new musical knotch for me and have enjoyed listening to them.

The best part is that they are showing how screwed up the RIAA/MPAA/etc. model is.

They are making gobs of money while allowing their music to be distributed for FREE, proving that people will willingly pay for a product when there is actual value added.

Posted in Computers, DRM, Entertainment, General, Music | Leave a comment

Red Alert 3

The DRM madness continues. It has been announced that the same horrible DRM used in BioShock, Mass Effect, and Spore will be infecting Red Alert 3 as well, with a limit of five activations.

What does this mean? You can only install Red Alert 3 FIVE times and after that it’s an expensive coaster.

As a huge fan of the Command and Conquer series, I was all set to pre-order the Collector’s Edition at $60. Upon this news I visited my local GameStop and talked to the manager (Kevin’s a nice guy and we have a good rapport) and explained the situation and how I would not be pre-ordering or purchasing the Game as a result. He understood but said they don’t have any direct EA reps to forward my complaints/concerns to. I also sent an email to several people in EA Corporate/PR departments, opened a ticket with customer support, and opened a bug report through the Beta program, all explaining the issues with their DRM and activation in general.

To Whom it may concern;

I am writing in protest of the DRM proposed for Red Alert 3 as seen in the following articles.
http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/14/1510217
http://pc.ign.com/articles/908/908755p1.html

I was prepared to pre-order the collectors edition of RedAlert 3 from my local Game Stop this week until I read the beforementioned article. I have been a loyal fan of the Command and Conquer series since the original DOS C&C. I have purchased C&C, RA, Tiberian Sun, RA2, C&C3, Renegade, Generals, All of the expansions (collector’s editions when available), as well as purchasing the First Decade Box set in addition to stand-alone copies of the above, I have also been participating in the public Beta of RA3 with the Key through the C&C3:Kanes Wrath Expansion. Even today I will reinstall the original Command and Conquer, or Red Alert 2, or Generals, and play with friends who have similarly purchased the entire range of C&C titles.

However, the limited activations as proposed for RedAlert 3 is, in my opinion, unacceptable and as such I will NOT be pre-ordering or purchasing RedAlert 3 until/unless the online activation is removed. Whether the allowed activations are 3, 5, or even 15, I will eventually reach that limit. I can’t count how many times I have reinstalled the original C&C or other older games, rebuilt my computer, or upgraded to a new computer, all of which would trigger new activations.

If Dune II (Developed by Westwood Studios in 1992, since absorbed into EA) required activation, would the activation servers still be active, 16 years later?

I similarly cannot be assured that ten years from now Electronic Arts would even be around to reactivate my copy of Red Alert 3. When once huge pioneering companies such as Commodore, Atari, Interplay, etc. disappear, there is no guarantee that any company, especially in these economic times, can be around long term. Even Microsoft could disappear at some point.

Similarly, even though the concept is extremely intriguing, I refuse to play Spore because of it’s activations, constant phoning home, and other restrictions. I know many other people who are boycotting ALL EA titles because of the DRM in Spore, Mass Effect, Red Alert 3, etc. And I similarly will advise people to avoid RedAlert 3 until the activation requirement is removed and the copy protection is at the most, similar to that found on earlier C&C titles.

I can deal with CD-Keys, I can deal with CD-Checks to a point (however just because I have CD Emulation software on my computer does NOT mean I am a pirate, I wish to protect my investments and the origional discs.). Activation however is where I draw the line. I had pre-ordered Microsoft Flight Simulator X before I realized it required activation. When I discovered that, I had no choice but to return the software as I refused to accept those terms.

The current situation does more then show distrust towards your customers, but also shows a level of contempt towards us as well. It hearkens back to the “Guilty until proven innocent” mentality of some antiquated legal systems and is in my opinion not acceptable and I will refuse to support it.

I hope that EA as a company will reconsider it’s stance on DRM and product activation and that I still will be able to enjoy Red Alert 3.

Thank you.

Posted in Computers, Games, Windows | Leave a comment

KeepSafe and Netflix

So, I have been playing more with Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” feature (and have a Roku Player on order) but was having an issue where every time I try to watch via the browser it would crash.

I have traced the issue down to Stardock’s KeepSafe. As a work-around, I have set an exception for IE. In KeepSafe’s Configuration screen, “What should be stored” -> “Application Settings” -> “Add” -> “C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe”

That will create an exception so that KeepSafe will ignore any changes made by IE. I now will need to go submit a bug report to Stardock.

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Truecrypt 5

Truecrypt 5 is finally out and I have to say I’m really excited about it. I finally have open source, portable, cross-platform, volume encryption that allows me to create a single secure volume that is accessible on Windows, Linux, AND MacOS X. On top of that, it will also do FDE for Windows, encrypting the entire disk, or just the partition. It can dual boot Linux and other OS’ but won’t encrypt their drives. In addition, it seems that the Linux (and likely MacOS, but I have not had an opportunity to test that yet) versions of Truecrypt cannot mount Windows Truecrypt FDE partitions.

Still, all in all it’s awesome software and a worthwhile upgrade. And you can’t beat the price either. :o)

Posted in Computers, Linux, Mac, Security, Windows | Leave a comment

50 Years…

Today is the 50′th anniversary of Explorer 1. The first U.S. Satellite. After the Soviet’s success with Sputnik 1 almost four months prior, the “Space Race” really begins to take off, both figuratively and literally.

Posted in General, Science, Space | Leave a comment

The Cake is a Lie!

Well, portal was short, but awesome.

It starts out simply enough a neat puzzle game with a neat gimmick. “Can’t wait to see what sorts of mods the community comes up with to take advantage of this,” I think to myself. Starting the game, right away there are subtle hints that something is slightly amiss, but those are quickly dismissed. As the levels progress it begins to slowly become apparent that something is deeply wrong. Once in a while the sterile environment of the test chamber is broken, giving us a glimpse behind the scenes. These glimpses slowly reveal that there is trouble. It never fully reveals anything to you, but begins to place enough doubts and questions in your mind as the combination of these glimpses as well as the makeup of some of the test chambers start to show the more sinister such that by the time you do get to the “last” test chamber, you’re already thinking about escape, which finally becomes clear when you’re being sent into a fiery furnace. “First you will be baked, then there will be cake” wasn’t just another glitch…

Once escaped from that final test chamber, the second portion and endgame reveals itself. This is where you work your way through the back side of the facility until you eventually make your way to the grand finale where you confront the voice that has been following you the entire time.

This latter portion is completely hidden when you start out, not even hinted to in the list of levels under the main menu, which only shows the nineteen test chambers. This helps to build the illusion and the emotion of the game. You expect to play the nineteen test chambers and that’s it. As it progresses, just as the character would, you begin to wonder if maybe there is something more. Maybe there is more to it than just a few puzzles showing off a new capability.

The game, though short, is masterfully done. I couldn’t agree more with those that praise it as one of the few examples of true “art” in games today. I can’t wait to see what might come next from Portal.

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Sputnik

Exactly fifty years ago today the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite kicking off the Space Race which of course lead to the creation of NASA.

So, I guess I should thank the Soviets for helping employ me by going home and watching October Sky. :-)

Posted in General, Science, Space | Leave a comment

Still bitter after six years?

In this article on CNN, what is striking me off the bat is not Al Gore’s more of the same “Global Warming” Hot air, but the side commentary that CNN has decided is important to the article. Specefically, I refer to this quote…

In 2000, he won the popular vote but lost to George W. Bush when the Supreme Court ruled for the Republican in the disputed election.

Al Gore LOST. Get over it. The Supreme Court did not decide that “Bush gets to be president even though Gore won.” Rather it decided, rightly so, that Gores constant recounts as they continually changed the rules (to more favor himself and the “D” ticket in each successive recount of course) were not appropriate and must stop. Bush won in 2000, rightfully so, according to the Federal election laws and won the contested Florida electoral votes according to Florida election laws. Oh, yes, and George W. Bush won AGAIN in 2004…

Also, while some might disagree, Florida is a prime example of exactly WHY the electoral system should remain as opposed to a popular vote. Imagine a close race where the entire NATION would have to perform a recount. Not just one jurisdiction, not just one state, but ALL votes, in all states would have to be recounted if there was a dispute in a national election.

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Osama/Obama

So it seems that while they can make all the Hitler/Bush comparisons they want, CNN is reporting that liberals can’t take a joke switching Barack Obama and Osama Bin Ladin by the head of Fox NEWS and as such the Democratic Party, prompted by Clinton Advocate moveon.org have decided to cancel a presidential debate they were going to hold on the News Network…

Then again maybe, just maybe, instead of making a political joke, they were actually poking fun at their primary competitor CNN who confused the two on their broadcast two months ago.

During the Jan. 1 broadcast of Wolf Blitzer’s nightly news program, a pre-commercial preview of the show’s next segment included a story on the hunt for Al Qaeda’s leadership. Over a photo of Osama Bin Laden and his second-in-command Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Blitzer stated, according to the transcript, “Plus, a new year, but the same mission. Will 2007 bring any new changes in the hunt for Osama bin Laden?”

But instead of asking “Where’s Osama?” the graphic over the two Islamists read “Where’s Obama?” referencing the surname of popular Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama.

This “mistake” had prompted criticism, but also jokes from an assortment of additional jokes on late night variety shows and other media. He, and his name has continually been a source of jokes.

They can dish it but can’t take it, it seems.

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Washington D.C. Gun Ban Violates Second Ammendment? Amazing!

FOXNews has a report that a Federal Appeals Court has just ruled several decades old laws that pretty much ban all handguns and nullifying the Second Amendment within the Washington D.C. City Limits (going so far as requiring a permit to carry one from one room to another in your private home).

Washington D.C. has always had some of the worst firearm laws on the books and I had wondered how long it would take for these to get struck down. Hopefully this will prompt similar action in other states like Maryland which, while not nearly as horrible as Washington D.C., is pretty anti-gun itself.

One gem comes from the dissenting opinion. Judge Karen Henderson dissented, writing that the Second Amendment does not apply to the district because it is not a state.” If the second Amendment is invalid in D.C. because it’s not a state, then I suppose the same should be true for the rest of the Constitution, so how long until they revoke that pesky Fifth Amendment, who needs due process of law anyway? Or the Fourth, why should we need probable cause to search your house anyway?

Oddly enough, while FOX felt it was worthy of a breaking new alert, on CNN I don’t see any indication of this major development in regards to preserving the Constitution. We do learn however that “Coroner [says]: Anna Nicole Smith’s PC may hold clue [to her death]” as if I really wanted yet more news coverage of a porn star found dead in her hotel room… Yes it’s sad when people die (I’ll make an exception for the likes of Saddam Hussein but as a general rule…), but I don’t want continuing coverage of the death of someone who’s really just “famous for being famous” a full MONTH after the fact. Please, it’s getting old. Ok, she died, it’s sad. I don’t want to hear about it anymore, I don’t CARE about it. Let her friends and family grieve in peace and let it go. There are much more important things going on (and no, I’m not talking and Paris Hilton getting her car seized for driving on a suspended license, I don’t care about THAT either…)

Anyway, that was my rant for the day, I now return you to your regularly scheduled news fluff.

… Update: now CNN is covering it…

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IE6 “unsafe” 284 days out of the year

From this Slashdot article, according to the Washington Post Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 had publicly known unpatched vulnerabilities with exploit code for 284 days of 2006, of those, for 98 days there were known active attacks against those unpatched vulnerabilities stealing “personal and financial data” from users.

Quoth Slashdot…

“For a total 284 days in 2006 (or more than nine months out of the year), exploit code for known, unpatched critical flaws in pre-IE7 versions of the browser was publicly available on the Internet. Likewise, there were at least 98 days last year in which no software fixes from Microsoft were available to fix IE flaws that criminals were actively using to steal personal and financial data from users… In contrast, Internet Explorer’s closest competitor in terms of market share — Mozilla’s Firefox browser — experienced a single period lasting just nine days last year in which exploit code for a serious security hole was posted online before Mozilla shipped a patch to remedy the problem.”

What does this mean? For 78% of last year there were security holes in Internet Explorer 6 that were known publicly without a fix from Microsoft. For 26% of the year, there were active attacks against such an unpatched security hole busily stealing information (such as personal and financial information useful for things such as Identity Theft) from users, again, without any fix from Microsoft. This is the biggest reason why many people, including myself, refuse to use Internet Explorer, safety.

What is more telling is the following two paragraphs from the Post article…

The first major flaw in a Windows program last year involved one that could be easily exploited
via Internet Explorer. In late December 2005, experts tracked organized
criminals hacking into sites and seeding them with code that installed password-stealing spyware on machines used by anyone who merely visited the sites
with IE. Microsoft initially downplayed the severity of the attacks,
until it became clear that the threat was fairly widespread and that
thousands of customers had already been attacked in the span of a few
days. The threat was seen as so severe that a large number of security
experts urged users to download and install a patch produced by a third
party until Microsoft developed an official fix.

In September, attackers would exploit an unpatched flaw in non-Microsoft Web server software to install malicious code on thousands of legitimate Web sites
that could infect Windows machines when users merely browsed the sites
with IE. Much like the IE flaw first detected in December 2005, this
sophisticated attack by organized criminals also would prompt a series
of third-party security patches in the days before Microsoft issued an
official update.

Security researchers usually do not recommend installing third party “patches” (that is patches made by someone other then the maker of the software such as Microsoft in the case of IE) because of the potential for other problems (and possibility for a trojan horse) so when they DO recommend it one should take notice. These vulnerabilities were severe and active exploits widespread. While the argument can be made that Microsoft needs to take time for QA testing (and rightly so, especially considering how widely their products are used) when something like this pops up, they should at least release a preliminary fix with a “this is not fully tested yet and could break things, use at your own risk” before pushing out an official QA approved, regression tested patch.

That would be similar to the way Open Source Software such as Firefox does it. When a vulnerability is found it is quickly fixed (sometimes in a matter of hours). Now sometimes a new version with just that fix is quickly pushed out, again in a matter of hours or days, other times for less severe issues, they will be rolled into the next planned release but concerned users can have the updated version immediately by using one of the “nightlys” (many pieces of Open Source Software make available what is known as “nightly releases” where a current snapshot of the development is automatically built every night with all of the fixes and updates to that point, including security fixes. These are versiond according to date (2007-01-05-04-mozilla1.8 for instance) and are commonly used for testing updates prior to an official release (such as 2.0.0.2 or 1.5.0.10)

That said, actual “releases” often quickly follow a major vulnerability and as the article mentioned, there was one period for nine days there was an major unpatched security hole for Firefox (2% of the year).

Why?

I don’t think that Microsoft truly disregards security, they have made some big improvements over the last couple years to improve the security of their products as a whole. So what is the biggest issue with Internet Explorer, why is it constantly under attack? It’s not because it’s the only thing out there, the browser monoculture is finally starting to fall apart with Firefox gaining huge amounts of market share, and firefox isn’t perfect either. However what really makes IE so much more dangerous is the integration into Windows and ActiveX. Any hole in Internet Explorer has the ability to open up the entire system to an attacker with more ease. While security holes in any networked application is dangerous, a hole in Internet Explorer is by definition now a hole in Windows since it is so tightly integrated (For instance, Internet Explorer is used to PATCH Windows directly from a web page, http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/). This is an example of Microsoft showing a preference for user convenience over security.

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The end of an era? (of terror)

Cox & Forkum: Last Vestiges

An interesting historical perspective at American Thinker. (via InstaPundit)

Most of the great butchers of the 20th century died of old age, in their own beds, some of them honored by millions. Not a single one met justice in the sense accepted in free states across the world. The handful who died otherwise are aberrations, victims of strange events that act as models for nothing.

There is one single exception — the hanging of Saddam Hussein on December 30, 2006 …

Hitler committed suicide.
Stalin died of a stroke.
Milošević died of a heart attack before the end of his trial.
Mussolini was assassinated.

Hussein was captured, tried, convicted, and executed under the laws of the new government of the nation that is rising out of the ashes.

Justice has been played out for at least one brutal dictator, still there is much work to do. For instance, the people of North Korea are still starving under the brutal rule Kim Jong Il.

Whether you supported the action in Iraq or not, this really is what it has been all about. Saddam Hussein was viewed as a threat to the United States and to the world as a whole. The only way to eliminate that threat is to eliminate Saddam. We disposed him from power and this past week the court of Iraq ensured that he will never again pose such a threat.

Now, there are worries that the death of Saddam will act as a catalyst for more terrorist violence both within Iraq and elsewhere in the world. In reality, they simply want any excuse to try and kill more American soldiers and civilians. Keep in mind that many of the terrorists now committing violence within Iraq are actually foreigners from Iran and Syria.

This is sure to raise the constant debate about capital punishment. If anything should serve as a case for capital punishment, the atrocities that were committed by and on the order of Saddam can certainly serve as it. I sometimes wish that we could turn around and execute him again, and again, for all that he has done, all of the suffering he has been directly responsible for, the thousands of lives lost and countless more forever impacted, but that would twist it from the dispensation of justice to revenge.

There is currently an article on CNN about how, in response to the hanging of Hussein, Italy is now pushing the UN for a worldwide ban on capital punishment.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/01/02/italy.saddam.reut/index.html

Italy will campaign at the United Nations for a global ban on the death penalty, Prime Minister Romano Prodi said on Tuesday, after graphic images of Saddam Hussein’s hanging shocked people around the world.

Italian politicians of all political parties expressed disgust at Hussein’s execution, with even former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi calling it a “political and historic error.”

There are crimes that are so heinous (primarily crimes that themselves involve the taking of multiple lives such as serial murders, genocide, terror attacks, etc.) that I believe the ONLY reasonable solution is to remove those responsible from the human race entirely. Now obviously, this is the most extreme and permanent of punishments and as such it must be reserved for only the most extreme of crimes. On top of that, it’s permanency should also cause pause, once someone has been executed, we can’t turn around and go, “oops, we were wrong, sorry”. This is a big reason why the appeal process is so critically important. An overturned conviction in such a case is really a matter of life and death and there should be no question about the guilt. However, once guilt has been established, upheld throughout the entire appeals process, and all avenues of legal inquiry are finished, then final punishment should be dispensed.

powered by performancing firefox

Posted in General, Iraq, Politics, Terrrorism | Leave a comment

Blame game

CNN Currently has the following “QuickVote” on their website…
http://www.cnn.com/POLLSERVER/results/19974.exclude.html

Which level of government is most responsible for the slow response to Hurricane Katrina?

With the current responses (as of 9:30, 9/9/05)

Federal – 45% (105827 votes)

State – 18% (42417 votes)

Local – 16% (37126 votes)

They’re all equally responsible – 22% (50803 votes)

Here’s the deal. The fact of the matter is that it is the responsability of the LOCAL and STATE governments to handle evacuations and the like. They are the ones in in charge of the first responders (Police, Fire, EMT, etc .). It is the job of the local and state governments to develop an evacuation plan and execute it. It’s NOT the job of the federal government to handle that stuff, however they do provide training and assistance in developing such plans and procedures at no cost to local and state officials.

If the Federal Government is expected to take the lead to plan and evacuate New Orleans when a hurricane approaches, then what about Pass Christian, Mississipi? What about San Francisco come an earthquake, the Federal Government’s job is not to hold the hand of every other government. And forget that pesky little tenth amendment to the Constitution that states that things that are not enumerated in the Constitution for the Federal Government (nor prohibited) are reserved for the States.

And now they just signed a $51 BILLION dollar aid bill. While I think it’s nice to try and help those displaced by the hurricane, isn’t that what insurance is supposed to be for? And most of the people who are going to end up seeing all sorts of payoffs are those that REFUSED to obey a manditory evacuation order.

So, why is everyone trying to point the finger at the Federal government? Here are my thoughts on that.

A) People are looking for any reason to blame President Bush for bad things that happen, especially liberal havens like New Orleans as well as the Mainstream Media.

B) The people responsible at the state and local level do not want to take the blame. The Mayor of New Orleans, who should have been the front line man and should have been the one with the answers about how to keep his city safe is trying to divert attention away from his own gross mistakes by pointing in the direction of both the State and Federal levels saying it’s their fault. Now he is asking for and has recieved large sums of money, never mind the fact that he squandered and misused what he recieved long before the hurricane. He squandered his money and then begs for more.

C) Part of the reason is that people are LAZY, they want handouts instead of getting off their rears and working. Instead, not only the people who want to just wait around for someone to come rescue them instead of being proactive and seeking out shelter, but also the city government wants the federal government to do their job for them instead of taking the time and money themselves to be properly prepared.

Here is more food for thought from the Wall Street Journal (thanks to Cox and Forkum)

Many in the media are turning their eyes toward the
federal government, rather than considering the culpability of city and
state officials. I am fully aware of the challenges of having a quick
and responsive emergency response to a major disaster. And there is
definitely a time for accountability; but what isn’t fair is to dump on
the federal officials and avoid those most responsible–local and state
officials who failed to do their job as the first responders. The plain
fact is, lives were needlessly lost in New Orleans due to the failure
of Louisiana’s governor, Kathleen Blanco, and the city’s mayor, Ray
Nagin.

The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not
belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state
officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial
first response to disasters. First response should be carried out by
local and state emergency personnel under the supervision of the state
governor and his emergency operations center.

The actions and inactions of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are a
national disgrace due to their failure to implement the previously
established evacuation plans of the state and city. [Emphasis added]

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Stem Cells

FoxNews is reporting that stem cells have been used in repairing the skill of a seven year old German girl.

Surgeons have used stem cells from fat to help repair skull damage in a 7-year-old girl in Germany, in what’s apparently the first time such fat-derived cells have been exploited to grow bone in a human.

The girl had been injured two years before in a fall, which destroyed several areas of her skull totaling nearly 19 square inches, the German researchers reported.

Howaldt and his colleagues treated the skull in the same operation that recovered bone from the girl’s pelvis and about 1.5 ounces of fat tissue from her buttocks. The bone was milled into chips about one-tenth of an inch long and placed in the missing areas of the skull. Then surgeons added the stem cells to the bone chips. The cells had been extracted from the girl’s fat in a laboratory while surgeons prepared the girl’s skull.

Once again, like every other stem cell success story, these were NOT embryonic stem cells, which require the killing of a newly formed human, but rather adult stem cells. In this case, the doctors used fat stem cells from the girl herself in order to rebuild the missing portion of her skull. There is 0% chance of rejection of anything like this because the girl’s own cells were used. The fact of the matter is that there is plenty of potential with other forms of stem cell research such as adult stem calls and placental stem cells and absolutely nothing so far from the embryonic.

So why do people keep pushing embryonic stem cell research then? Abortion. By accepting embryonic research as valid, humans in the early stages of development are put at the same level as a common laboratory rat, making it easier to justify the mass murder of millions of these young people.

What I find disgusting is that organizations such as PETA protest the use and sacrifice of animals in experiments but not only do these same people then ignore the use of human embryos, almost with the effect of elevating common rodents above a human child, but they in fact end up encouraging it.

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Security Guard arrested for Charles County fires

According to CNN, a security guard that was tasked with guarding the housing development has been arresting in connection with setting the fires.

A security guard was arrested on arson charges Thursday in connection with the fires that destroyed 10 homes under construction in a Maryland subdivision outside Washington last week, authorities said.

Aaron Speed, 21, who had been hired to watch over the new upscale development, is to appear Friday in federal court in Greenbelt, said Thomas DiBiagio, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland.

Also of intrest is the fact that they have ruled out “eco-terror”.

Although environmental groups opposed the subdivision’s construction because of its proximity to a nature preserve, authorities said they have virtually ruled out any connection to “eco-terrorist” groups.

My question is this. What’s the motive? Lone enviro-mentalpatient?

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Charles County Fires “Eco-terrorism”

CNN is reporting that the fires earlier this week are likely the result of “eco-terrorists”, violent extremist environmentalists.

An FBI agent said the fires may have been set by environmental extremists.

A dozen homes were destroyed and 29 others damaged near the state’s Mattawoman Natural Environment Area. No injuries were reported. The damage was estimated at at least $10 million.

FBI spokesman Barry Maddox said FBI agents were on the scene and would investigate whether the fires were an act of ecoterrorism.

“Anything and everything will be considered, but we’re not labeling this anything other than suspicious fires,” Maddox said.

Now, explain to me how setting fires, which will release plumes of smoke containing all sorts of toxic chemicals, is supposed to halp the environment. Are these not the same kind of people that vandalize SUV’s because they guzzle gas and release so called “greenhouse gasses”? Those that help perpetuate the “global warming” myth. Thus, other than the “terror” aspect of things, what environmentally friendly outcome is expected from setting dozens of fires that will themselves release all sorts of “greenhouse gasses” and other toxic fumes into the atmosphere?

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Russia: Saddam Terror threat

The same Russia that refused to support U.S. action in Iraq actually warned the United States that this same Iraq was planning their own terror attacks against the United States after 9/11 leading up to the 2003 war.

CNN: Putin: Russia warned U.S. of Iraq terror

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country warned the United States several times that Saddam Hussein’s regime was planning terror attacks on the United States and its overseas interests.

Putin’s comments in Kazakhstan came amid a new debate in the United States about the extent of ties between Saddam and the al Qaeda terrorist network triggered by a preliminary report from the commission investigating the September 11 attacks.

“I can confirm that after the events of September 11, 2001, and up to the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services and Russian intelligence several times received … information that official organs of Saddam’s regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations,” Putin said.

I guess their under the table oil and arms deals with Saddam were more important than U.S. and even World security. Then again, Iraq was no threat anyway, right? Check out the Commentary at C&F discussing the Iraq and Al Qaeda links and how it is being reported by the media. Also, Bill O’Reilly has an excerpt from Congressional testimony that includes a letter from former CIA Director George Tenet.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY,

Washington, DC, October 7, 2002.

Hon. BOB GRAHAM,

Chairman, Select Committee on Intelligence,

U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: In response to your
letter of 4 October 2002, we have made unclassified
material available to further the
Senate’s forthcoming open debate on a Joint
Resolution concerning Iraq.

Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a
line short of conducting terrorist attacks
with conventional or CBW [Chemical or Biological Weapons] against the
United States.

Should Saddam conclude that a US-led attack
could no longer be deterred, he probably
would become much less constrained in
adopting terrorist actions. Such terrorism
might involve conventional means, as with
Iraq’s unsuccessful attempt at a terrorist offensive
in 1991, or CBW.

Saddam might decide that the extreme
step of assisting Islamist terrorists in conducting
a WMD attack against the United
States would be his last chance to exact
vengeance by taking a large number of victims
with him.

Our understanding of the relationship between
Iraq and al-Qa’ida is evolving and is
based on sources of varying reliability. Some
of the information we have received comes
from detainees, including some of high rank.

We have solid reporting of senior level contacts
between Iraq and al-Qa’ida going back
a decade.

Credible information indicates that Iraq
and al-Qa’ida have discussed safe haven and
reciprocal non-aggression.

Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we
have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of
al-Qa’ida members, including some that have
been in Baghdad.

We have credible reporting that al-Qa’ida
leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could
help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting
also stated that Iraq has provided
training to al-Qa’ida members in the areas of
poisons and gases and making conventional
bombs.

Iraq’s increasing support to extremist Palestinians,
coupled with growing indications
of a relationship with al-Qa’ida, suggest that
Baghdad’s links to terrorists will increase,
even absent US military action.

Sincerely,

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

(For George J. Tenet, Director).

In Short, this, combined with my previous entry we see that in fact Saddam did pose a direct threat to the United States, and thus we were more than justified in eliminating that threat.

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Saddam and Al Qaeda, together forever?

Here we go, another one from our friends and C&F

CNN reported today: Blair: Al Qaeda worked in Iraq; 9/11 panel finds no link between terror network, Saddam.

Notice the subhead, which asserts no link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. Other news outlets used similar headlines giving the impression that the 9/11 commission has dismissed all links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden. But even the CNN article recites links between Al Qaeda and Iraq that are mentioned in the commission’s report.

Once again we see the media doing all it can, includuding using misleading headlines in order to push people to their Anti-Bush political view by suggesting that we had no reason to go to Iraq beyond oil. In short, shells filled with mustard gas is not proof that Saddam had WMD’s, lack of a direct link between Saddam and 9/11 equates to no link between Saddam and Al Qaeda at all, and while we’re at it, I guess Saddam’s government was actually a wonderful utopian society.

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