Saturday, November 05, 2005

Let them eat cake

Buried down deep in India Delays Opening Border With Pakistan we find:
The United Nations, which warned on Oct. 28 that it would need to reduce its relief missions soon due to underfunding, will announce details of its cutbacks on Tuesday, exactly a month after the quake, said spokeswoman Amanda Pitt.

She declined to reveal any details Saturday, but said the U.N. has received only a quarter of the $550 million it needs for humanitarian operations in the quake-ravaged area for the next six months. [Ed. – the member states are too engrossed in their bid to get control of the Internet]

Perhaps the UN can dial back the graft and replace the incompetents in their $1.2 billion headquarters-renovation project. That should free up at least $650 million.

This is a scene from the movie ‘Fat Chance’
The U.N. Isn't a Threat to the Net
By Kofi A. Annan

Governance of matters related to the Internet, such as spam and cybercrime, is being dealt with in a dispersed and fragmented manner, while the Internet's infrastructure has been managed in an informal but effective collaboration among private businesses, civil society and the academic and technical communities. But developing countries find it difficult to follow all these processes and feel left out of Internet governance structures. [Ed. – I’m sure that as soon as the developing countries have “developed” their citizens will be able “follow all these processes.”]

The United States deserves our thanks for having developed the Internet and made it available to the world. [Ed. – how ‘big’ of you, Kofi] For historical reasons [Ed. – yes, the same reasons we maintain control over our military], the United States has the ultimate authority over some of the Internet's core resources. It is an authority that many say should be shared with the international community. The United States, which has exercised its oversight responsibilities fairly and honorably, recognizes that other governments have legitimate public policy and sovereignty concerns, and that efforts to make the governance arrangements more international should continue.[Ed. – sorry, Kofi, that’s not even close to the position of the United States]

The need for change is a reflection of the future, when Internet growth will be most dramatic in developing countries. What we are seeing is the beginning of a dialogue between two different cultures: the nongovernmental Internet community, with its traditions of informal, bottom-up decision making, and the more formal, structured world of governments and intergovernmental organizations [Ed. – yes, the best thing that could happen to the Internet is handing its management over to the UN bureaucracy]

The Internet has become so important for almost every country's economy and administration that it would be naive to expect governments not to take an interest, especially since public service applications in areas such as education and health care will become even more widespread. They need to be able to get their Internet policies "right," and to coordinate with each other and with the Internet community. But governments alone cannot set the rules. They must learn to work with non-state stakeholders. They, after all, are the ones that have played critical roles in building and coordinating the Internet, and they will remain the driving force of further expansion and innovation. [Ed. – translation: UN member states haven’t the know-how to make the Internet work, we merely want to control it.]

Update: the bad link to Domain Names: U.S. Principles on the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System has been corrected.

Confucius say…

When well hidden, do not call in to radio show.

Robber sentenced after bragging on radio

South Chicago Heights, Nov. 5 (UPI) — An Illinois man was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his role in a bank robbery after he gave details of the heist on a radio call-in show.

Confucius also say…

Woe comes to a man who is dumber than a bag of doorknobs

The State of Denial, it’s just outside Paris
Rioting Spreads Beyond Paris Suburbs

The Foreign Ministry said it was concerned that foreign media coverage was exaggerating the situation. "I don't have the feeling that foreign tourists in Paris are in any way placed in danger by these events," ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said, adding that officials were "sometimes a bit surprised" by the foreign coverage.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Texas’ Keystone Kops
Search on for Texas Death Row Inmate

HOUSTON - Authorities searched for a death row inmate Friday who slipped off his handcuffs, changed into street clothes and bluffed his way out of jail by flashing a fake ID badge with a photo of himself…

On Thursday, a deputy took Thompson to a meeting room because Thompson said he had a meeting with his attorney. The visitor, however, was not Gaiser, who said he had no plans to meet Thompson that day. Investigators were questioning the visitor.

The visitor left after a short time, and once Thompson was alone he managed to remove his handcuffs and slip off his bright orange prison jumpsuit, Martin said.

He put on a dark blue shirt, khaki pants and white tennis shoes, which authorities believe were the clothes Thompson wore during his sentencing. Martin said investigators do not know how he managed to keep them.

Thompson somehow left the prisoners booth in the visiting room.

"The booth should be locked," Martin said. "We don't know exactly whether the door was never locked or he was able to defeat the locking mechanism."

Once out of the room, Thompson flashed a fake ID badge that apparently no one examined as he passed at least four jail employees at work stations, including one who let him into the visitors' lobby, Martin said. From there, Thompson walked out into the street.

Lest anyone think law enforcement in Harris County, Texas is not on the ball:
The sheriff's department is investigating whether Thompson, 35, had inside help
Ya think?

Let’s review:
  • Thompson had a visitor, other than his attorney, who claimed to be his attorney (that person had to be checked into the facility by someone)
  • Thompson got out of his handcuffs (that’s either a key or a very sophisticated pick)
  • Thompson managed to keep hold of (or was re-furnished with) his court-appearance street cloths
  • Thompson had a picture of himself on the phony ID he used (not many inmates have Polaroid cameras or a digital camera and an inkjet printer)
  • Thompson readily left a normally locked prisoner’s booth in the visiting room

Some are more diverse than others
Editorial: A nomination that will divide

Another minus is that the nomination lessens the court's diversity. O'Connor herself had expressed the desire that her successor be a woman. O'Connor seems to have grown wiser about diversity as a result of her Supreme Court experience. She came to see the virtues of having a court that looks like America - doubtless a big reason she softened her opposition to affirmative action in recent years.

In losing a woman, the court with Alito would feature seven white men, one white woman and a black man, who deserves an asterisk because he arguably does not represent the views of mainstream black America.
* - black honkie lover

No kidding, really?

French mayors seek end to rioting
[Ed. – as opposed to what, requesting that it continue? Who writes this stuff?]
Paris, Nov. 4 (UPI) — Suburban Paris mayors are pleading with rioters to end the violence that has plagued the Seine-Saint-Denis area for eight nights.

Something tells me that “pleading” isn’t going to cut it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Dude, don’t touch my tat

Sorry, but after reading Care For Skin After Getting Tattoos, I just couldn’t resist.

Here’s that “health tip” before it got edited down.

In today's culture, tattoos are an increasingly popular expression of self. And, Dude, they’re wicked bad. But according to the Alliance of Professional Tattooists, proper bandaging after getting a tattoo is essential for good health.

Here are suggestions for what to do after getting a tattoo:
  • Blot excess blood from the tattoo. Refrain from using your own clothing to do so.
  • Apply a thick layer of ointment or the transmission fluid leaking from your car to the tattooed area.
  • Bandage using sealed cotton pads or a fairly new plastic garbage bag.
  • Observe skin-care instructions provided by the reputable tattooist around the corner, not the one you used.

Envy is the ulcer of the soul

Reading columnist Dana Milbank's The Life of the Party? Only in the 'Grand Old' Sense reminded me of a scene in an old W.C. Fields movie.
Pompous woman (accosting Fields at a party): “You, Sir, are drunk!”

W. C. Fields: “Yes, Madam, and you are ugly. However, I’ll be sober in the morning.

The 2005 version

Milbank to Judge Alito: “You, Sir, are a nerd!”

Sam Alito: "Yes, Mr. Milbank, and you are a third-rate pundit. Shortly, however, I’ll be a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

You no good, dirty, honkie lover

'Party trumps race' for Steele foes

Black Democratic leaders in Maryland say that racially tinged attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his bid for the U.S. Senate are fair because he is a conservative Republican.

Such attacks against the first black man to win a statewide election in Maryland include pelting him with Oreo cookies during a campaign appearance, calling him an "Uncle Tom" and depicting him as a black-faced minstrel on a liberal Web log

State Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, a black Baltimore Democrat, said she does not expect her party to pull any punches, including racial jabs at Mr. Steele, in the race to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes…

Delegate Salima Siler Marriott, a black Baltimore Democrat, said Mr. Steele invites comparisons to a slave who loves his cruel master or a cookie that is black on the outside and white inside because his conservative political philosophy is, in her view, anti-black.

"Because he is a conservative, he is different than most public blacks, and he is different than most people in our community," she said. "His politics are not in the best interest of the masses of black people."

This week, the News Blog -- a liberal Web log run by Steve Gilliard, a black New Yorker -- removed a doctored photo of Mr. Steele that depicted him as a black-faced minstrel.

However, the blog has kept its headline "Simple Sambo wants to move to the big house." A caption beneath a photo of the lieutenant governor reads: "I's Simple Sambo and I's running for the Big House."

A spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party [Ed. – apparently the only Democrat in the state who didn’t get the memo] denounced the depiction as being "extremely offensive" and having "no place in politics or in any other aspect of public discourse," The Washington Post reported…

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The dimwits club – over 160 strong

In your reply to this email, please provide your bank account number, bank routing code, social security number, and your name exactly as it appears on your account. Ta-ta.
Man Is Sentenced in Phishing Fraud

PRESTON, England (AP) -- A British man was sentenced to four years in jail Tuesday for masterminding a "phishing" fraud which stole identities and bank details from customers of the eBay auction site.

Prosecutors said David Levi, 29, of Lytham, England, led a six-man gang that stole nearly 200,000 pounds (US$360,000) from more than 160 people. They sent e-mails to eBay customers, pretending to be from eBay, asking for bank details.

Clueless in a DC newsroom

My first reaction after reading Report: U.S. dumped nerve gas in Atlantic by Joseph Chrysdale was, when did all this happen?

Newport News, Nov. 1 (UPI) — The U.S. Army dumped 64 million pounds of nerve and mustard gas and weapons into the Atlantic Ocean, a Virginia newspaper reported Tuesday.

The investigation by the Hampton Roads Daily Press said along with the WW I-era gases, some 400,000 chemical-filled bombs, land mines and rockets were either tossed overboard or packed into the holds of scuttled vessels.

More troubling, is that scientists say the weapons may still be deadly, along with more than 500 tons of radioactive waste from World War II. Until 1970, Congress and international treaties banned sea-dumping.

"We do not claim to know where they all are," said William Brankowitz, a deputy project manager in the Army Chemical Materials Agency. "We don't want to be cavalier at all and say this stuff was exposed to water and is OK. It can last for a very, very long time."

It is known chemical weapons were dumped in at least 26 locations off the coast of 11 states -- six East Coast states, two on the Gulf Coast, California, Hawaii and Alaska. Few, if any, state officials have been informed of their existence, the report said.
I chased down the source article in the Hampton Roads Daily Press and found Investigation: Army secretly dumped chemicals offshore by John M.R. Bull

The weapons of mass destruction may still be deadly,and were dumped along with more than 500 tons of radioactive waste from World War II until 1970, after which Congress and international treaty banned the practice.

John M.R. Bull: 1
Joseph Chrysdale: 0

S. S. Minnow with the Nutty Professor aboard
Greenpeace to be fined as Rainbow Warrior damages Philippines coral reef

TUBBATAHA REEFS, Philippines (AFP) - Greenpeace is to be fined after its flagship Rainbow Warrior II damaged a coral reef in the central Philippines during a climate change awareness campaign, marine park rangers said.

The ship and its crew were assessed a 640,000-peso (11,600-dollar) fine after the 55-meter (180-foot) motor-assisted schooner ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park on Monday, park manager Angelique Songco told AFP.

The ship's bow sliced through a reef formation measuring 160 square meters (1,722 square feet)[Ed. – about the size of your average condo], she added….

[Greenpeace campaign manager Red] Constantino said that Greenpeace divers on the Tubbataha expedition had found that[sic] healthy coral and no evidence of bleaching, believed to be caused by warming sea temperatures.

Constantino said the healthy state of the Tubbataha Reefs did not disprove the theory of global warming, which he described as an "extremely complicated science."

Monday, October 31, 2005

Winnowing the herd
Don't Try to Surf a Tsunami

City Hall is beginning to distribute tsunami-warning brochures across Malibu that are tailor-made for the surfing paradise.

"Never go to the beach to watch for, or to surf, a tsunami wave!" the guide states in bold letters.

" … Because they are not like regular waves, they are impossible to surf. They are much faster, higher and can come on-shore filled with debris."

Malibu emergency preparedness Director Brad Davis said some of the tips may seem painfully obvious, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

"You can't overestimate the intelligence of people out there," Davis said. "Some people still might see it as a gigantic wave and think, 'This is going to be the ride of my life.' "

Hopefully, such thoughts and actions will come to said surfer before having offspring.

Let’s have an “Oil-for-assassins” program

“Study the past if you would define the future.”
- Confucius

The UN is about to swing into action yet again with resolution number 1,505,607,405.

U.N. Is Expected to Pass Measure Pressuring Syria

The resolution threatens Syria with economic penalties if it does not give full cooperation to the United Nations investigation that has identified high-ranking security officials as suspects in the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri….

The revised text still includes the threat of penalties but it makes several adjustments to meet the objections of dissenters. In one concession, the co-sponsors moved a reference to Syria's need to "cease all support for all forms of terrorist action and all assistance to terrorist groups" from the text to the preamble, a section of Security Council resolutions that has less force. In another, language saying that Syria "must stop interfering" in Lebanese domestic affairs was changed to "that Syria not interfere."

The Mehlis investigation has been extended to Dec. 15. Until then, Mr. Mehlis is to return periodically to report to the Security Council on Syrian cooperation or lack of it.

Repeatedly hitting yourself on the head with a hammer

Would seem to be a lot like reading What's a Modern Girl to Do?

Why? Because it feels so good when you stop. And trust me, you’ll soon stop.

“I longed for style and wit.”

Don’t give up hope, Maureen, you may yet attain them.

The crocodile comes to Great Britain.

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last.”
- Sir Winston Churchill

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is nearly 80 years old. If you’ve ever wondered why she does not step aside and allow the Prince of Wales to accede to the throne, here’s some insight.
Prince Charles to plead Islam's cause to Bush

The Prince of Wales will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11.

The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strength.

The Prince raised his concerns when he met senior Muslims in London in November 2001. The gathering took place just two months after the attacks on New York and Washington. "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational," the Prince said, according to one leader at the meeting.

It is understood that Prince Charles did not - and does not - believe that the actions of 19 hijackers should tarnish the reputation of hundreds of millions of law-abiding Muslims around the world.

Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, was also at the meeting at St James's Palace. "His criticism of America was a general one of the Americans not having the appreciation we have for Islam and its culture," he said.

Prince Charles, who is about to embark on his first official foreign tour since his marriage to the Duchess of Cornwall, wants Americans - including Mr Bush - to share his fondness for Islam

Perhaps the Prince will also share his theory on how the UK's appreciation of Islam and its culture translates into a fondness for bombing London's subway system, as often as possible by followers of Islam.

Following the Prince's lead, British bankers are also mending their intolerant ways and reaching out to Muslims.
Piggy banks 'offend UK Muslims'

British banks are banning piggy banks because they may offend some Muslims.

Halifax and NatWest banks have led the move to scrap the time-honoured symbol of saving from being given to children or used in their advertising, the Daily Express/Daily Star group reports here.

Muslims do not eat pork, as Islamic culture deems the pig to be an impure animal.
Perhaps, while on his eight-day tour, Prince Charles can convince American mayors that enlightened local officials, in deference to the sensibilities of government employees who are Muslim, must ban toy pigs in the office.
Muslims win toy pigs ban

NOVELTY pig calendars and toys have been banned from a council office — in case they offend Muslim staff.

Workers in the benefits department at Dudley Council, West Midlands, were told to remove or cover up all pig-related items, including toys, porcelain figures, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.
Interestingly, Charles does an about-face regarding technology and economic progress. He wants to confront them head-on.
Prince Charles: Climate Change Terrifying

LONDON - Prince Charles says he believes the pace of climate change is terrifying and people are becoming too dependent on technology.

In a rare TV interview ahead of his official tour of the United States next week, Charles expressed concern that economic progress is "upsetting the whole balance of nature."

"You know, if you look at the latest figures on climate change and global warming ... they're terrifying, terrifying," Charles told CBS' "60 Minutes" in the interview aired Sunday.

"If you make everything over efficient, you suck out, it seems to me, every last drop of what, up to now, has been known as culture," Charles said in the interview, which was recorded last month in Poundbury, England.
And Charles' biggest worry, other than climate change?
In previously released excerpts of the CBS interview, Charles said he was concerned about being seen as irrelevant.