Saturday, August 13, 2005

It ain't like it used to be, but it'll do

Updated: See Dubya has added a third pic over at the Jawa Report, adding a little perspective to this post.
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From the Jawa Report, via Cdr Salamander (Thanks!) comes this photo:


How many times have we seen the President and his entourage stalking down that dirt road outside Crawford, they all stop, then W approaches that lone podium sprouting from the desert? With his famous strut that, if you will remember, in Texas, they call walkin?

Well, See-Dubya at the Jawa Report spotted this pic at The American Spectator, and thought that he had seen something similar. Turns out he was right:

Well, me and the boys got some work to do. You want to come with us? It ain't like it used to be; but it'll do.

Note: I substituted my favorite caption in place of the one chosen by See-Dubya. He used, instead:

"We're gonna stick together, just like it used to be. When you side with a man, you stay with him. And if you can't do that, you're like some animal, you're finished. "
Go read the Jawa Report.

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Dust To Dust...

Courtesy Ann Althouse, guestblogging over at Instapundit, comes this timely (to me) and interesting link to an article on the 'green' funerary practice. This subject does not raise any particular flags, nor engender a rant from me. The article was well written, and I think the author had fun doing it.

Read the article, paying attention to the choice of phrases. For instance, a man who "... reopened the long-moldering cemetery last fall.". Another instance (emphasis mine):
In the green scheme of things, death becomes a vehicle for land conservation and saving the planet. "It is not enough to be a corpse anymore," said Thomas Lynch, an author, poet and Michigan funeral director. "Now, you have to be a politically correct corpse."

But just what is a politically correct corpse is an increasingly thorny issue. In recent months, there has been a struggle for the soul of the emerging industry between...
This passage, however, raises a question:
Dr. [Billy] Campbell also said he thought that refrigeration would be promoted rather than embalming, which still endures in the older, conventional part of the cemetery, accomplished by a freelance embalmer, known as Dead Ed, on a bicycle.
I have re-read this paragraph several times, and aside from the profession (Freelance Embalmer?) and the person's nom de guerre (Dead Ed?), I cannot figure out how he embalms corpses on a bicycle.

All in all, an interesting read. Having attended nine funerals in the past nine months (my travel day yesterday was for the ninth), it struck a chord.

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las puertas al otro lado

In contrast to my previous post about immigration done right, we have this article from the Tuscon Weekly titled Images From The Battleground illustrating immigration done wrong.

Lyle Robinson's Tres Bellotas Ranch sits in a cradle of hills right on the Mexican border. It's a pretty place. Sprawling Mulberry trees shade the brick house and oak trees--bellotas in Spanish--decorate the surrounding landscape. This time of year, during the monsoon season, the oaks drop acorns that cowboys and others working this land, 13 miles southwest of Arivaca, have prized as summer snacks for centuries.

It hardly seems possible that such a peaceful-looking spot could be the scene of anything momentous. But it is.


This is a place where all the rhetoric from the president and his government about homeland security crumbles to pieces on the hot ground. The Tres Bellotas is a battleground in the relentless, ugly, nonstop invasion of drugs and illegals across our southern border.

This is a long article, but well worth the time to read it. The description of columns of illegals trekking across the landscape, trailing debris and sometimes corpses, and truckloads of illegals and drugs racing unlit through the night, and a landing of a helicopter containing masked, uniformed, and armed Mexicans should cause some concern. A lot of concern, actually. The frequency of border fences being cut to allow illegals in and cattle out, and the solution to constant repairs, goes beyond concern. Scarey would be a better word. From another rancher, Tom Kay:

Surprisingly, Tom doesn't consider the violence of the drug smugglers his biggest problem. It's how ridiculously easy it is for them, and people smugglers--the two often work together, sometimes within the same gang--to invade American territory. They simply cut the fence, or run it down, and they're in.

But that also lets his cows out into Mexico, and that explains the railroad ties.

In two places, Tom is replacing cuts in his border fence with cattle guards--the ties will line the pits below the steel guardrails--hoping the smugglers will drive or walk across the guards, rather than cut his fence.

It's a desperate measure, giving bad guys ready access through America's back door. But Tom and Lyle Robinson, who also plans to install border cattle guards, say it's the only way they can maintain control over their livestock. At up to $1,000 a head, every animal that drifts into Mexico threatens their ability to stay in business.

"I talked to the Border Patrol and the Forest Service about the fence cuts, and they said there's nothing they can do," says Tom. "They said do what you have to do."

Border Patrol spokesman Soto says the agency is aware of the repeated fence cuts, and has no objections to ranchers installing cattle guards.

Hmmm. For those of you who might not know what a cattle guard is, here is a description of how to build one. Basically, it is a passage through a fence that restricts cattle, horses and sheep, but allows unhindered passage to wheeled traffic. A gateway without a gate. Una puerta. Un pasaje sin restricción.

So here we have a situation where private citizens are installing devices allowing unrestricted passage, and the Border Patrol says it's OK? Even realizing that the fences are there to keep livestock contained rather than to keep people out, that attitude seems a little over the top.

What about personal security? Going armed is a way of life, for all the good it will be:

Whenever he rides his land, Tom carries a .44-caliber Magnum pistol on his saddle for self-defense, and for predatory lions. And when Dena goes for walks, she brings Ruby, the bull mastiff, and her pistol.

As far as she's concerned, the gun isn't optional. This is especially so in light of Border Patrol statistics showing that the common assumption about who is sneaking across the line and why--the harmless illegal only looking for work--has shifted significantly in recent years.

From Oct. 1, 2004, through July 24 of this year, Tucson sector agents arrested 375,000 illegals--37,000 a month. Of that 10-month arrest total, more than 28,324 had criminal records, 283 for sexually related crimes. Given this, and the effort it takes to reach their isolated house from the road, the Kays consider anyone who shows up at their door at night a threat. But they also know that should a confrontation go bad, American law enforcement will probably come after them.

"We've all been warned to not even show a gun to an illegal," she says. "A woman here did that a while ago, just showed it, didn't point it, and the FBI came to her house and warned her not to do it again, because it's a federal crime to threaten an illegal. But if I'm alone, what am I supposed to do? I can't scream, because no one will hear me."

[Lyle] Robinson is also sadly aware of whose side his own government is on when it comes to defending himself.

Potential criminal behavior aside, there is another aspect of the ease with which border crossings are made that should frighten all Americans.

The Border Patrol doesn't release a by-nation breakdown of those it arrests, and the agency is particularly tight-lipped about arrests of special interest aliens, known as SIAs. These are individuals from the list of about 35 countries the U.S. considers terror threats. But the Weekly has obtained SIA arrest figures from a federal law enforcement source who asked to remain anonymous.

From 2000 through 2003, plus the first nine months of fiscal 2004, agents in the Tucson sector, and the Arizona office of the Yuma sector, arrested 132 SIAs. The numbers include 10 from Afghanistan, seven from Iran, 12 from Yemen, 11 from Pakistan and three from Iraq.

Using the common estimate that the Border Patrol only catches one out of every three who cross, or as some believe, one of every five, we can calculate that upward of 660 individuals from terror-threat nations have crossed into our country through Arizona.

Those SIA arrest figures, by the way, include six individuals from Saudi Arabia, the country that produced 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 maniacs.

Homeland security?

What is to be done about this? Obviously, we must control the border, but how? Many solutions have been proposed, all with critics that show them unworkable, from fences, to military patrols, to reforming the entire economy of Mexico, and Central and South America so that there no longer remains an incentive to cross illegally.

I don't know what the final solution will be. I do know, however, that we must stop some of the current practices of coddling the illegals by providing safe sanctuary cities. They should be immediately shipped back to wherever.

Why do I support closed borders? Here is the answer.

(Thanks to Free Republic for the original link.)

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Immigration Done Right!

Too often I find myself complaining about illegal immigrants and lack of assimilation into American culture. Sometimes, though, we find instance of immigration done right. From the (Michigan) Grand Rapids Press via mlive.com comes this article.
GRAND RAPIDS -- With babies crying in the background, and billowing trees forming a backdrop through transparent drapes, a resonant "I do!" rose from the crowd of 300.

Loud cheers rang through the banquet hall, and many in the audience waved small American flags as freshly naturalized citizens from 63 countries embarked on a new beginning with an oath of loyalty to the United States.

The author, Steven Harmon, goes on to report how several people felt about their new citizenship. Of particular note, since Mr. Harmon did not mention interpretors, was that each of his respondents spoke English. Like I said... Immigration done right!

Although many of these people had been living her for a number of years prior to this event, I think this is still appropriate: Welcome to America!

(Thanks to Free Republic for the original link)

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Art Announcement

Blogging will be light to nonexistent today as I need to do some traveling. I am reposting this announcement so it will remain at the top.

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If you like Art, and who doesn't, and you by any chance live in the northern portion of Middle Tennessee, you might be interested in an upcoming exhibition.

A nice young lady that I am acquainted with (we attend the same church), who is during the daytime a school teacher, is also an artist. Among other things, she does watercolors. And quite well, too. Therefore, you are invited to:

the opening reception of a new art exhibit featuring the work of

Niki Lawrence

1154 West Main Street
Hendersonville, TN

Friday, August 12th
from 6:30 - 8:30 PM

Light refreshments will be served.
For more information call (615) 822-0789
The display will remain up through September 9th, 2005

Here is a Google map to the Monthaven Mansion.

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"The Tears of St. Lawrence."

Just stepped outside (Midnight) and caught a couple of Perseid meteors. Well, I didn't actually catch them, just saw them as they burned up in the atmosphere.

Today, August 12, is the peak of the meteor activity for the Perseids.

In 2005, the Perseids are expected to reach their maximum on Aug. 12. Peak activity is unfortunately predicted for the daylight hours across North America. Sky watchers are thus encouraged to watch during the predawn hours of Friday, Aug. 12 and again during the early morning hours of Saturday.

Observers will be favored by an absence of bright moonlight during these intervals. At midnorthern latitudes, moonset occurs on the evening of Aug. 11 at around 11-p.m. local daylight time and around 11:20 p.m. the following night. Since dawn doesn’t break until around 4:30 a.m., that means there will be about 5 to 5½ hours of dark, moonless skies for the two best viewing nights for the Perseids.

Visit Space.com for more information, and an explanation of the post title. More information here.

For the past few years it has been a hit or miss activity, but when my kids were young we all used to go out and lay in the street to observe this annual meteor shower. The street gave us an unobstructed view of the sky, and lying down saved sore neck muscles. With the development in my neighborhood, doing the same now could result in unwanted tire tracks across various portions or your anatomy.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

What Is This About?

Seems there is STILL an ongoing border dispute between Iraq and Kuwait, even with Saddam being almost gone. Strangely, I have seen nothing of this in the news reporting, but ran across a reference to it at Hammorabi. A Google search turned up an article on Adnki, a mention on Peak Oil News, and several references to the historical border dispute (prior to 2000).

So what's going on here? Are the Kuwaitis really moving the border northward? Stealing Iraqi oil? Building either concrete or metal walls (depending on source) to keep out displaced Iraqis? The British contingent has, I believe, control of this part of Iraq, but who monitors the border itself? I assume that with the Coalition control, and constant back and forth military traffic, that border checkpoints are not enforced in the same manner as they would be between 'normal' countries.

The interim Iraqi government is understandably preoccupied with events to the north. Are they counting on the British and U.S. infrastructure to handle the situation? If so, from what I've read, something seems to have dropped through the cracks.

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A Goal To Die For

Susan Nielsen, writing in the Oregonian, makes a good point in this article titled:
Make space travel worth dying for
She makes a case that space travel has become too bland, dull, unexciting and ho hum, and that the latest mission of the shuttle was:

...to haul some stuff to the International Space Station, make some repairs and haul some trash home.

Snore. It's like watching seven really smart people do weekend chores.

Given the extensive news coverage of the mission, with expert after expert speculating incessantly about the possible deleterious effects of minute whiskers of stray materials on the return voyage, the immediate hold placed on future launches pending solutions to the problems revealed, and the concern of the man-in-the-street over astronaut safety, she appears to assess the situation correctly.

No wonder Americans have lost enthusiasm for space and become obsessed with astronaut safety, as if space travel should be safer than a drive to the grocery store in an air-bagged Volvo.

That obsession with safety goes further than an air-bagged Volvo. It includes all vehicles now, down to and including the Hyundai that I drive. The obsession with safety now also encompasses all aspects of our lives. We've even infused our educational system with safety. Not only physical, but psychological as well. Political Correctness* is the vehicle used to insure that we are free from any offensive learning, with safety from rejection as a goal. Safety is foisted on us in what we eat, how we exercise, and public and private behavior. Back to Ms. Nielsen and space travel:

This has to change. If we're going to bother with space travel, we should take worthwhile risks. Otherwise, we'll keep running short on rewards.

Rewards. What rewards? I've been asked recently what, with the exception of Teflon and Tang, has the space program ever given us? Funny you should ask.
Health and Medicine - NASA Spinoffs

DIGITAL IMAGING BREAST BIOPSY SYSTEM - The LORAD Stereo Guide Breast Biopsy system incorporates advanced Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs) as part of a digital camera system. The resulting device images breast tissue more clearly and efficiently. Known as stereotactic large-core needle biopsy, this nonsurgical system developed with Space Telescope Technology is less traumatic and greatly reduces the pain, scarring, radiation exposure, time, and money associated with surgical biopsies.

BREAST CANCER DETECTION - A solar cell sensor is positioned directly beneath x-ray film, and determines exactly when film has received sufficient radiation and has been exposed to optimum density. Associated electronic equipment then sends a signal to cut off the x-ray source. Reduction of mammography x-ray exposure reduces radiation hazard and doubles the number of patient exams per machine.

LASER ANGIOPLASTY - Laser angioplasty with a "cool" type of laser, caller an excimer laser, does not damage blood vessel walls and offers precise non-surgical cleanings of clogged arteries with extraordinary precision and fewer complications than in balloon angioplasty.

ULTRASOUND SKIN DAMAGE ASSESSMENT - Advanced instrument using NASA ultrasound technology enables immediate assessment of burn damage depth, improving patient treatment, and may save lives in serious burn cases.

HUMAN TISSUE STIMULATOR - Employing NASA satellite technology, the device is implanted in the body to help patient control chronic pain and involuntary motion disorders through electrical stimulation of targeted nerve centers or particular areas of the brain.

COOL SUIT - Custom-made suit derived from space suits circulates coolant through tubes to lower patient's body/ temperature, producing dramatic improvement of symptoms of multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other conditions.

PROGRAMMABLE PACEMAKER - Incorporating multiple NASA technologies, the system consists of the implant and a physician's computer console containing the programming and a data printer. Communicates through wireless telemetry signals.

OCULAR SCREENING - NASA image processing techniques are used to detect eye problems in very young children. An electronic flash from a 35-millimeter camera sends light into the child's eyes, and a photorefractor analyzes the retinal reflexes, producing an image of each eye.

Visit that site. There are many, many more spin-offs from the space program listed. These benefit not only the United States, but humanity as a whole. (and thanks to e-Claire for the pointer.)

Back to Ms. Nielsen again (emphasis mine):


But if the United States is going to keep putting Americans in space, it has to send them somewhere new. That's the nature of exploration and innovation. Go further or stagnate. Risk nothing, get nothing. Risk everything and reap big rewards.

If the trend toward tiny risks and bite-size rewards continues, our reach will no longer exceed our grasp. And if that day comes, the United States will have no business launching people into space.

Instead of making space travel something to die for, let's make it something to live for! Get on board, write your Congressman and express your support for space exploration.

* political correctness
Actions or expressions that avoid excluding, marginalising, or insulting individuals or groups over issues such as gender, culture, race or ability. The term is often used in a derogatory way to suggest that these actions or expressions are motivated more by the desire to conform to prevailing social standards rather than a genuine respect for the rights of the individual or the group.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mother-Daughter Deployment

Here is an article about a mother/daughter team deploying to Kuwait, both in the same Oregon National Guard unit.
SALEM, Ore. -- Sgt. 1st Class Brenda Berrios and Sgt. Karissa Smith never leave home without their beauty products, not even when the mother and daughter are bound for Kuwait, as part of their deployment with a Salem-based Oregon National Guard unit.
The unit will spend some time at Ft. Bliss, TX for combat training. Individually, women deployed in support roles are not noteworthy, given the tremendous job that others have done and continue to do. A mother/daughter team is, I suspect, highly unusual. The job they will do is very important, if not as exciting as killing AIF tards.
Once in Kuwait, the company's mission will be tracking soldiers' records, including promotions, insurance forms and emergency notifications.
As with all of our troops, deployed and stateside, I pray for their safety, thank them for their service, and expect excellent job performance. In the case of this pair, and their fellow soldiers in Kuwait, I hope that this is the extent of their security problems.
"It'll be great years from now," Karissa said. "She'll talk to her grandkids and say, 'Your mom and I were deployed.' And we'll brag about who saw the first camel spider."

camel-spider.jpg(Image credit: www.inminds.co.uk)

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Hemingway Redux

Michael Yon...
9 Seconds...

Sometimes IEDs blow through the Stryker, launching it into the air, and critically or fatally injuring the people inside. Odd body parts will often be left unscathed, such as a severed hand in a black glove on the road. About 43 Americans have died here during the past ten days.

8 Seconds...

7 Seconds...

The men are cautiously watching us, still talking among themselves. The transmitter is armed. A push of the button might make the final dispatch.

6 Seconds...

A terrorist is preparing to push the button, but the timing's got to be just right…not yet…not yet…we are almost there…

5 Seconds...

One of the terrorists does a double take at the lead Stryker, blowing his cover. The call instantly goes out to "Block left! Lock 'em down! Two pax!"
If all reporters were equal...
This was an appropriate time to run for cover. Enemy bullets snapping by. I saw at least two soldiers smiling—authors are not allowed to carry weapons PaPaPGawGaw

BOOM PaPaPpop zinnggg--dust clouding the air—sure would be nice to have a gun instead of a camera right now boompop Gawsnapsnap boom boompoppboomGawGawGaw.

I looked back to where we had been because the prisoner [the American soldiers always remind me that I should call prisoners "detainees"] was still there, hand-cuffed, and on his knees, with the radio transmitter lying beside him on the ground.

We had left the prisoner in the open. Bullets were snapping, and I'm crouched on a knee behind a Stryker. When I look back again, I see Kurilla standing out there, alone, next to the terrorist on the sidewalk. Bullets are kicking up dirt and Kurilla gives us a look, What the hell! You left the prisoner!
And they most certainly are not...
Fire in the hole, fire in the hole, fire in the hole!


Nothing. Just the C-4 exploded.

One soldier said, “You’re not going to write about this are you? That wasn’t anything. Don’t make it sound like a big deal, okay? My mom reads your stuff, and every time you write about something dangerous she freaks out.”
Michael Yon would be...
Captain V is one of the most respected officers here. When things go wrong, soldiers love to hear his voice on other end of the radio. They know that things are getting better fast when Captian V is on the way. A couple months ago, I rolled out with his section, and soon we were sleeking on foot down the darkened streets and warrens of Mosul, far away from the Strykers. We got into contact and there was some minor shooting drama, and I ended up separated with only two soldiers. We were alone in Mosul. Guns were hot. There was a sergeant and a young soldier, and the sergeant's radio could not reach out. "Let's stay here and Captain V will find us," I suggested. But the sergeant was having none of that sit-tight stuff. He wanted to keep moving, and so we did.
First among equals!
After midnight, the ramps dropped and we slipped silently into the dark spaces of Mosul. Creeping through stinking alleys, we took cover in darkness, sometimes illuminating briefly under shop lights, then disappearing back into the shadows.

No sound, no sight, just soldiers prowling through the murk of war, bringing worry to men who should be worried. The soldiers found the right house, and silently slipped inside.
If you have read Michael's dispatches, then you know how good he is. If you haven't, then you are missing something extraordinary. A self-financed, totally independent war correspondent. You can and should read his Online Magazine. You can even subscribe, so that you will be notified via email when new posts are up.

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G'Day, Mate

A massive search is being conducted for a lost hiker in Utah.
(Aug 5, 2005) --ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- Rocky Mountain rescue dogs have joined the search for missing hiker Bryan Butas. Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith said Friday's search was set for 7 a.m. in the hope the calm early morning weather would aid the dogs.

The 35-year-old St. George reportedly planned to go hiking alone last Saturday afternoon in the Oak Grove area near Leeds. His car was found Sunday near the Oak Grove campground, Undersheriff Bart Bailey said.

Volunteers from Butas' church and his office, two airplanes from the Civil Air Patrol, one helicopter, the Rocky Mountain search dogs and two powered parachutes combed the Oak Grove area on Thursday.

Butas' wife and three children relocated last week to Ohio and Butas was planning to join them in December.
The search is temporarily postponed.
The two-day search was called off Tuesday night because of extreme weather conditions in the area but will reconvene today.
Search resumed, but now scheduled to be scaled back. No luck so far.
ST. GEORGE - As the sixth day of searching for missing hiker Bryan Butas closed, Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith said the search will be scaled back.
Uhhh, Nevermind!
SALT LAKE CITY -- A man thought to have disappeared while hiking in southwestern Utah has been traced to Australia, Washington County sheriff's officers said Tuesday.

Bryan Butas, 35, of St. George, Utah, reportedly planned to go hiking alone July 30 in an area near Leeds. His car was found the next day near the Oak Grove campground in Dixie National Forest.

Sheriff Kirk Smith said investigators found that Butas had purchased a plane ticket on July 20 and flew from Los Angeles to New Zealand and then to Sydney on Aug. 2. He was then traced to Cairns, Queensland.
Hmmm, wife and kids move to Ohio, where he is to join them. Maybe he should have taken that left at Albuquerque.

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Anniversary: Personal Stuff

Today marks a personal milestone for me. It is the 37th Anniversary of my partnership and marriage to my first and only wife.

I salute the woman who joined with me, produced wonderful children, shared in joy and heartbreak, supported me in all of my endeavors whether she agreed with them or not, and in the Biblical sense has been a true helpmeet.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

RFID, Good or Bad?

I really have mixed feeling about the recent trends towards RFID.

What is RFID?

RFID stands for radio frequency identification. A computer chip is attached to an antenna, and they are often referred to together as an RFID tag. Data stored on the chip transmits wirelessly through the antenna to an RFID reader or scanning device that operates on the same frequency as the antenna.
The latest application of RFID in the United States involves attaching an RFID chip to passports, making identification and data collection much easier and more accurate.
United Airlines pilots and crew are the flying guinea pigs in a test of controversial new passports equipped with remotely readable chips.

Approximately 300 United employees stationed on international flights received the new passports in mid-June as part of a three-month, three-country test of IDs equipped with RFID chips. The chips can be read at a distance at border crossings by special readers installed for the trial.
Criticized for exposing unencrypted personal data to anyone with access to a Reader, the State Department responded.
In response to that criticism, and demonstrations of the chips' range, the State Department included some shielding in the covers of the passports given to the United employees. The agency didn't disclose what kind of material it used, but it has in the past publicly considered employing a metallic fiber weave in the cover.
The Brittan Elementary School in Sutter, CA experimented with RFID attached to identification badges, the easier to determine attendance with, you see. Due to negative reaction, the program was terminated in short order. But therein lies the problem with RFID: I see, you see, we all see.

Granted, it would be much easier to identify and track potential terrorists, illegal immigrants, and various and sundry other petty criminals. Once they have been tagged, that is. I wonder how many will voluntarily self-identify at tagging time? At the same time, it will also be much easier to identify and track lost hikers, kidnapped children, fugitives from justice, and ME!

Without apology, I will state here and now that I will not allow myself to be tagged, for any purpose. Or my transportation.

The British government is preparing to test new high-tech license plates containing microchips capable of transmitting unique vehicle identification numbers and other data to readers more than 300 feet away.

Officials in the United States say they'll be closely watching the British trial as they contemplate initiating their own tests of the plates, which incorporate radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags to make vehicles electronically trackable.

"We definitely have an interest in testing an RFID-tagged license plate," said Jerry Dike, chairman of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and director of the Vehicle Titles and Registration Division of the Texas Department of Transportation.
Or anything that I need to carry on my person, such as a driver's license, a credit/debit card, a passport, or any shopping cards. If it requires an optical scan, and otherwise can be shielded, I'm OK with it. Otherwise no. Also add in a big, fat NO to RFID or even GPS trackers in rental vehicles.

The argument goes that if you don't break the laws, and have nothing to hide, you should submit meekly to this process. The problem is that no matter how attractive is the idea that it's only for the BIG things, say child molestation, Police and DA creep (similar to this) always comes into play.

On the other hand, I have no problems with RFID being used for inventory control, sales data, shipment tracking, or the like. I'm not going to complain if Wal Mart uses this technology. For discussions against this concept, go here.

So, is it possible to have one aspect (material control) without the other (people control)?

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Interesting speculation about whether or not Jeb Bush will run for President in 2008.

Hmmm. with Condolezza Rice as Vice-Presidential candidate, that would make an interesting ticket.

Sign me up.


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The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread Is...

Crustless sliced bread!
Britain's first "crustless bread", a sliced loaf that stays white all the way through, was unveiled yesterday.
Hovis said its Invisible Crust was aimed at the one in three parents who have to trim sandwiches before their children will eat them.
Georgia McClean was impressed with the taste, her brother, Harry said ‘It's fine’
The bread is made from regular ingredients, but is slowly cooked in a special tin and oven so that the outer layer of dough does not brown.

What will they think of next?

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Laugh of the Day

Get on over to Dr. Tony, and read these:

[...] comments from office notes by treating physicians and Independent Medical Exams:


“patient was hit by a mild truck”


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Motive, or Motivation?

Two disparate posts, with the same theme. First, from Robert Mandel at Mandelinople, exploring the motivation of teachers. He compares a variety of situations, from open source programming, to the difference between mediocre and great practicioners of disciplines such as programming and composing, to the manufacture of iPods, and channels it all into the motivation of teachers. Particularly history teachers.
Too often, in fact, in most cases, a teacher goes into an interview for a job and has a credential that "qualiifes" them to teach the subject they are applying for. In my case, I have a single subject social studies credential. This "qualifies" me to teach history, economics, government, as well as any other course that falls under "social studies", including psychology. But how hard is it to earn a social studies credential? In truth, not very. And as professor Wineburg noted, to often those who teach history have taken few if any classes in it.
He makes some very good points and, as always, you should read the whole thing.

Then, from Chaotic Synaptic Activity, comes this post, titled "Inspectmanship" vs. "Getting It" In it he speaks of the Florida Comprehensive Academic Test. (FCAT), the No Child Left Behind program, and the different methods of preparing for Combat Systems Assessment inspection in the U.S. Navy.

The culture was easily lulled into doing enough to get by sometimes, with the focus being that one and only inspection, the wolf closest to the sled. When times were hectic with deployment and training schedules, it seemed the next avalanche of work for the next big event kept coming. Sometimes the best you could do was to figure out the path of least resistance to the passing grade. Striving for excellence was an entirely different ball game.

The old saw that says Those that can, do: Those that can't, teach would not, in my opinion, apply to either of the gentlemen. I would hazard a guess that Mr. Mandel would make a fine Naval Officer, and that the person behind the Chaotic Synaptic Activity blog would make a fine History Teacher. They Get it.

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Multicultural Sex

Sex is apparently the answer, after all. But what is the question?

How do we avoid the pitfalls of a multicultural society, where cultural segregation engendering suspicion, antagonism and conflict are the rule rather than the exception?

There has been much written lately concerning this question. Most of it has examined the British experience, and rightly so. However, it doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to arrive at the same scenario here in the United States. Is it too late to reverse this trend?

Robert Mandel writes at Mandelinople:


Slowly and surely the west is rising but will it be too late to defeat the enemy at the gates while battling the cancer inside?

I have written many times on multiculturalism, about the evil and perniciousness way it is undermining our schools and our society. Let there be no doubt about this, that every cultural vice, from racism, to slavery and genocide, has been practiced by the west with equal vigor as it has been practiced by every other culture. But make no mistake, where we have sinned, we have never been alone.


Historians will one day marvel that it was our own relaince on criticism, rational inquiry, and reflection that caused us to doubt even ourselves. They will wonder how we ever let such a destructive force permeate our thoughts and values. Then they will ask "Did they catch themselves in tme?"
Maybe, or maybe not. In the United States the main problem is ethnic, rather than religious. The vast majority of immigrants here are from Mexico, and Central and South America. The barriers to assimilation are mainly language and ethnic. Worldwide, however, the divisions mainly fall along religious lines. The practice of catering to immigrant cultures is alive and well to our North. Multiculturalism at its finest:
Toronto, ON, Apr. 28 (UPI) -- Muslims in the Canadian province of Ontario can soon turn to settling disputes in their own courts, known as sharia, the Washington post reported.

Muslim promoters of sharia arbitration said no cases have yet been decided but the process is set. Islamic leaders created an Islamic Court of Civil Justice last fall and it has chosen arbitrators who have undergone training in sharia and Canadian civil law.

The relevance of a separate court is discussed by Dymphna at Gates of Vienna in a posting about new courses in Sharia Law being offered at the University of Toronto:


Meanwhile, Ontario is still grappling with their Shar’ia Court. Some naked emperor was assigned to do a study and he came up with the brilliant idea that “why not…as long as you provide safeguards for the women and children…” No, I’m not making that up. Here’s the summation by the Globe:


Mr. Mandel points us to this from Michael Barone:

Multiculturalism preaches that we should allow and encourage immigrants and their children to maintain and celebrate their own culture apart from the national culture. Society should be not a melting pot but, in the phrase of former New York Mayor David Dinkins, "a gorgeous mosaic." That mosaic, of course, looks less gorgeous as people surveyed the work of the British-born-and-raised bombers.


Writers in other tolerant countries have been noticing the blowback from multiculturalism. The Dutch novelist Leon de Winter wrote that as traditional Calvinist discipline frayed and Muslim immigrants rejected Dutch tolerance, "the delicate mechanism of Holland's traditional tolerant society gradually lost its balance."


In America, as in Britain, multiculturalism has become the fashion in large swathes of our society. So the Founding Fathers are presented only as slaveholders, World War II is limited to the internment of Japanese-Americans and the bombing of Hiroshima. Slavery is identified with America, though it has existed in every society and the antislavery movement arose first among English-speaking evangelical Christians.

But most Americans know there is something special about our cultural heritage. While Harvard and Brown are replacing scholars of the founding period with those studying other things, book-buyers are snapping up first-rate histories of the Founders by David McCullough, Joseph Ellis and Ron Chernow.

Mutilculturalist intellectuals do not think our kind of society is worth defending. But millions here and increasing numbers in Britain and other countries know better
Johann Hari writes:
Multiculturalism is not the best way to welcome people to our country

It promotes not a melting pot but a segregated society of sealed off cultures, each sticking to its own
Unless you are an ardent proponent of multiculturalism as described above, you will surely agree that the results have deleterious effects upon society at large. And if you agree to that point, then you must ask: What can be done? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in... written in the words of Mr. Hari (emphasis mine)


It is not too late to unpick the dysfunctional logic of multiculturalism. We can actively promote dialogue, meeting-places and inter-breeding. No more funding of divisive faith schools. No more separate community centres.

Britain has the highest rate of mixed-race partnerships anywhere in the world, largely due to sexual relationships between white and black people in London. This - not multiculturalism - is the British tradition to promote. No more bland "tolerance": let's have rows and laughs and sex. Our future lies in this glorious mixing of races, not in separating them out and hermetically sealing them off in their own outdated "cultures".

Multiculturalism is dead; long live miscegenation.

Many thanks to Michael J. Totten, guest blogging at Instapundit, for the pointer to posting by Johann Hari, which I had missed,

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Teacher Caught Licking Students' Wounds

Reuters, via Yahoo, offered without comment:
PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - The Oregon teachers' board reprimanded a high school football coach for licking the bleeding wounds of student athletes, school officials said on Friday.

Read the whole thing.

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Can You Hear Me Now? Why Not?

An interesting article, suggesting that men REALLY do not hear women, as many women frequently claim, according to this Yahoo article:

LONDON (AFP) - Men who are accused of never listening by women now have an excuse -- women's voices are more difficult for men to listen to than other men's, a report said.


Assuming that they're referencing the same report, Discovery Channel had a slightly different take on it:

Aug. 1, 2005 — The human brain processes male and female voices differently, according to a recent study that looked at how the human brain reacts to male and female voices.

The research explains why most of us hear female voices more clearly, as well as that we form mental images of people based only on the sound of their voices.

The findings, published in the current journal NeuroImage, also might give insight into why many men tire of hearing women speak: the "complexity" of female voices requires a lot of brain activity.


Not having paid the dues, I cannot access the original report. However, from personal research with a single subject in a long term study, elsewhere known as a marriage, I am going to make an observation.

I can now blame the melodious 'complexity' of her voice for my habit of tuning her out. Ain't science great?

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Yakovlev Pleads Guilty - Anyone Surprised?

NEW YORK - A former United Nations procurement officer pleaded guilty Monday to soliciting a bribe under the oil-for-food program, making him the first U.N. official to face criminal charges in connection with the scandal-tainted operation.


I feel confident in stating that he will not be the last.

On a side note, since the OIFOFF program has been talked about for a long time now, with Paul Volker heading a commission investigating the scandal, there is probably no way to assign causality to the Bolton appointment. Just like it was not coincidental that the Embassy hostages held for 444 days under Jimmy Carter were released the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.

Update: Corrected OIF to OFF (Oif For Food).

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Jaywalking, Maybe?

In case you haven't noticed, the left really, really, REALLY wants a piece of Karl Rove! Especially for his (maybe) involvement in the Plame/Wilson thingie.

First they want him fired, and prosecuted under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. If that fails, they are calling for him to resign because he's just a bad boy at heart.

OK, that didn't work. Now they want him prosecuted under the Espionage Act. So says David Corn, arguing that there are enough similarities with the Lawrence Franklin case, with good prospects of a conviction.

When that doesn't work either, might I suggest they try jaywalking? Surely Karl Rove has done something illegal, it's simply a matter of finding out what. Speeding? Come on! THINK! You know he's a bad boy.

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Kelo: Sliding The Slippery Slope

Eminent domain. First, and constitutionaly, for public use. Then public good. Now quality of life.

Guys, this is the stuff that armed revolts are made of. My take, your mileage may vary.

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Man Beaten With Own Leg

This story, involving a man, his girlfriend, his prosthetic leg, and some serious issues, has got to be read to be believed. Do it.

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Minuteman looking for a lot of good people.

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Is There A Relationship?

A recent gentleman's club outing in which scantily clad women performed provocatively for male golfers on a Naperville course has embarrassed the town's mayor and prompted a criminal investigation.

It's still unclear whether or not this incident involved any crimes.

Naperville has an ordinance prohibiting public nudity and indecent exposure, but it is not a crime to wear string bikinis or short skirts on a golf course, police said.

Naperville Mayor George Pradel said he was embarrassed by the extensive television coverage of the golf outing. Money magazine last month rated Naperville as the third-best place to live in the country, the mayor noted.

"My heart is broken because this is a family city and I wouldn't want anything to disrupt that," Pradel said. "I'm a cheerleader for Naperville. This takes a little of the air out of my balloon."

This leaves me wondering if there is any relationship between strippers on the golf course, and the rating as the third best place to live. I wonder what the first bestest place is like?

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Sports Fan?

PANAMA CITY, Fla.Aug 4, 2005 — A man who got angry with his wife because she wanted to cuddle after sex when what he really wanted to do was watch sports on television was sentenced to death for killing her with a claw hammer.

This leaves me shaking my head in disbelief.

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Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk

An interesting story out of Oregon details teen-age antics:

GOLD HILL, Ore. -- A 15-year-old boy who pinched and twisted the nipples of a 13-year-old has been sentenced to three days of community service for harassment.

David Thumler, 15, said the "titty-twister" was just horseplay


Ken Chapman, a Jackson County juvenile probation supervisor, said Oregon law defines physical harassment as "offensive physical touching."

That includes such adolescent antics as "wet-willies," "wedgies," "swirlies," "noogies" and all other forms of "Three Stooges" behavior, Chapman said.

But this incident between two teenagers who were, according to the victim's mother, not friends, isn't the reason for this post.

I want to take a short jaunt into fantasyland here, and imagine the United States Senate for a minute. Overlay that with a Three Stooges aura.

Harry Reid, spouting more of his monotonous drivel... how many octaves would his voice rise if given a forceful wedgie? Little Dickie Durbin... would he snivel and cry if he was the recipient of a wet willie? Picture Joe Biden being given a noogie! And a titty-twister or two for Teddie K!

I think the Republican majority should immediately exercise the Three Stooges Option!

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The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writes about the housing bubble, and the fact that it is bursting as we speak. He makes some interesting points, and he may be correct... or not. I just wanted to highlight his shot at the economy in general in the second to last paragraph:

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has become deeply dependent on the housing bubble. The economic recovery since 2001 has been disappointing in many ways, but it wouldn't have happened at all without soaring spending on residential construction, plus a surge in consumer spending largely based on mortgage refinancing. Did I mention that the personal savings rate has fallen to zero?

You know, the economy that's going great, no thanks to Mr. Bush? Lowered taxes, decreasing deficit, higher than anticipated job growth, lower unemployment, yada, yada, yada. Well, I have a comment for Mr. Krugman...

It's the economy, stupid!
Then Sebastian Mallaby makes a case that it's all luck, that some fortuitous serendipity follows W around like a lost puppy.
WHEN IT COMES to economic policy, George W. Bush has all the luck. He's like a drunk who wanders across a six-lane highway and somehow never quite gets smushed.

This has got to be infuriating. That six-lane highway is populated by a large majority of Mainstream Media, a large minority of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, most of Hollywood, and various and sundry character assassins, all gunning their engines and spinning their wheels for yet another shot at the President.

Even the suicidal Helen Thomas, anxiously glancing over her shoulder looking for any indication that Dick Cheney is going to announce a run for the presidency, takes time to whine and cry over W's attitude (and the John Bolton appointment as United Nations Ambassador!):

In fact, Bush is proving that a lame duck has a lot of power to do what he wants to do since he doesn't have to be reelected and, therefore, is answerable to no one.

Furthermore, he indicates he could care less whether he goes up or down in public opinion polls. [...]
So, would you rather be good, or lucky? George W. seemingly is both.

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