Thursday, December 30, 2004

AP: Associated Alternate Press

Growing tired of covering the real world, the AP is making moves to become the leader in alternate history reporting. While many have pointed out unofficial attempts to make the jump in the past, I believe that this is the first officially-recognized article in the press agency's 2005 agenda, tentatively titled the Alternative Timelines Initiative:

NEW YORK - Just think: Instead of exposing Janet Jackson's breast at the Super Bowl last Feb. 1, what if Justin Timberlake reached across her chest, fumbled with Jackson's top and .... The stitching holds! There is no malfunction!

That means no national discussion of showbiz morals, no drastic tightening of FCC restrictions — but the fallout is just as serious.

It goes on from there. Read it all, and just try to tell me that the AP is not insane.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Cheap Way To Burn CDs and DVDs

Check out 8-bit Joystick's method of burning copy-protected CDs and DVDs right here. Much cheaper than buying a DVD-RW drive!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Hallelujah!

The LA Times reports here that the Democrats may be in the first stages of softening the number one reason I am not a Democrat: their support of abortion.

WASHINGTON — After long defining itself as an undisputed defender of abortion rights, the Democratic Party is suddenly locked in an internal struggle over whether to redefine its position to appeal to a broader array of voters.

The fight is a central theme of the contest to head the Democratic National Committee, particularly between two leading candidates: former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who supports abortion rights, and former Indiana Rep. Tim Roemer, an abortion foe who argues that the party cannot rebound from its losses in the November election unless it shows more tolerance on one of society's most emotional conflicts.

Roemer is running with the encouragement of the party's two highest-ranking members of Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and incoming Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Dean, a former presidential candidate, is popular with the party's liberal wing.

If Roemer were to succeed Terry McAuliffe as Democratic chairman in the Feb. 10 vote, the party long viewed as the guardian of abortion rights would suddenly have two antiabortion advocates at its helm. Reid, too, opposes abortion and once voted for a nonbinding resolution opposing Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.

I can't believe it. Of course, it's nowhere close to definite, since Dean is a formidable opponent. But it sounds like there is a growing moevement in the Democratic party toward Democrats who are pro-life, or at least not rabidly pro-choice.

Of course, this isn't going to make me a Democrat overnight. There are still the issues of the war on terror, secularism, the economy, and general sanity :P. But if abortion gets taken off of that list, it definitely opens me up a little more to vote for Dems every once in a while, of course depending on the candidate.

So I suddenly have a dog in the DNC Chair fight. GO ROEMER!

L?!

Memo to New York State: It's F, not L.

Don't worry, the typo is being rectified as I write, and John Forbes Kerry will be receiving New York's electoral votes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

One Lawsuit That Seems Destined To Lose

So many great news stories today! Here's another one, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Gordon Maag is a former trial lawyer and appellate court judge who ran for an Illinois Supreme Court seat downstate, I assume in this past November election. He lost. Now he's accusing critics of maliciously painting him as a supporter of frivolous lawsuits. His response? He sues the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and other groups. For $110 million.

Right now my frivolous-lawsuit-meter is blinking red. If he's right that he was falsely smeared, $110 million is still way way overboard. So he's filing a frivolous lawsuit against those who portrayed him as supporting frivolous lawsuits, indicating that the accusations against him were likely correct.

I don't think I've ever seen a self-defeating lawsuit before.

Amy Grant Update

Read about Grant and Gill's Christmas Concert here.

Given Grant's earlier reign as the queen of contemporary Christian music, it was surprising that there was no hint of the religious dimension of Christmas until the end of the first set. The early selection reinforced the secular spirit of the season, with "Sleigh Bells" (featuring an onstage cameo by their 3-year-old daughter, Corrina), "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Winter Wonderland" setting the tone.

I've said this a million times, but I'll say it once more because I love repetition: I don't like Amy Grant.

Hat tip About Christian Music.

The Graphing Calculator Story

This is a really cool story about how a programmer (and eventually, a whole team) developed a piece of software clandestinely in the offices of a major American computer manufacturer. These are true hackers, even taking into consideration that all this was done for Apple.

Cornerstone Band List Up

Well, it's started, at least. Nine bands are listed here at the moment. I think the plan is to add a bunch each day for the next few days, in order to drum up more interest or something.

The current band list:

Switchfoot
Skillet
Day of Fire
Aracely
FBS
Joy Electric
Seventh Star
the Crossing
Once Dead

Conspiracy Theory of the Day

For some reason, this is getting some play in the blogosphere. I think the focus is mainly as an object of ridicule. Go check it out and decide for yourself. Excerpt:

Paul Wofowitz will authorise the detonation of a nuclear payload in the Houston area on December 27, 2004. The Hidden Hand network (Mossad/al-Qaeda/SAS) of which he is the nominal controller has verified in advance every aspect of operational integrity - a failsafe job with zero chance of discovery.

Houston has been primed for months via deliberate mismanagement, incompetence, corruption and embezzlement at its FEMA-independent Emergency Center. The police and fire services have been deliberately and systematically sabotaged and thrown into administrative chaos so as to ensure maximum fatalities in the aftermath of the detonation. However, the existence of the center will provide the Bush administration with a "we did everything we could" excuse.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Rev. Schuller's Orchestral Conductor Commits Suicide

Story here. Please pray for the church, family, and all the viewers who may be affected by this.

The timing is weird, because I was just checking out this site, which criticizes Schuller, among other big-name evangelists. I might put up a post in the next few weeks relating this criticism to a couple highly-respected Christian musicians. . .

Credentialed Journalist?

I'm probably not going to get it, but I've applied for this. The Conservative Political Action Conference is having its annual gathering in February of next year, and is actively courting bloggers to attend and act as fully credentialed members of the press. It could be a step forward both in my evil plan to save the world and in my 2008 candidacy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Remember Those Magnetic Alphabet Sets?

Well, you can find everything online nowadays.

People In Glass Houses . . .

Would you take web design tips from this website? Well, that's what the article is meant to cover: how to reduce webpage clutter.

Let's Go See The Orchestra

Just found out about this.

Nick, can you add it to the concert schedule I sent you? I think it fits under option (3) we talked about yesterday.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Starships Online

Check out this site to see some great starship models.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

World Almanac Dismisses Last 2.5 Months Of The Year

This is absolutely silly. ABC 7 Chicago is passing on The World Almanac's Top Ten Stories of the Year. I thought it was a little wierd at first that the Almanac would pass such judgment with more than three weeks still remaining on the calendar, but check this out: the list was obviously compiled in mid-October. Qualifiers on the Top Ten list make this clear.

For example, "Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remained at large as of Oct"; "As of Oct. 15, coalition troop deaths since the start of the invasion totaled over 1,227"; "By mid-Oct. an estimated 70,000 people had been killed [in Sudan] and 1.4 million displaced." The Almanac is dismissing two and a half whole months of 2005! And the most glaring example:

2. Polls showed Pres. George W. Bush (R) locked in a tight race for reelection against Sen. John Kerry (D, MA). Kerry had pulled ahead of the Democratic pack and effectively secured nomination Mar. 2 by nearly sweeping "Super Tuesday" primaries and caucuses. On July 6 he tapped as his running mate Sen. John Edwards (D, NC), his last serious rival in the primaries. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, an early front-runner, had failed to win any primaries. The Bush administration's war on terrorism-as waged in Iraq and elsewhere-and the economy were key issues in the Nov. 2 election, in which control of Congress was also at stake.

The list has been compiled before the elections, so the Almanac can't point to the election itself as one of the top ten stories of the year. Instead, it claims that the "tight race for reelection" is a major story, and talks about the election in past-tense, but doesn't mention who won. It's like one of those comedy bits where someone can't remember a name, and tries to hide the fact by mumbling and passing his face over his mouth.

"Who won the election, Almanac?"
"Well, it was krbsh."

Yeah, Almanac. We really trust you for our facts and history. One of the most important elections in the history of the United States, and you can't be bothered to wait it out before you complete your Top Ten list for the year?

Sunday, December 05, 2004

THEM

I saw The Forgotten yesterday, and then today I randomly landed on this. Coincidence? I think not. Just because you're paranoid, that doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Ted Rall, Uber-Isolationist


If you participate in a war of retribution, are you "fighting for your country"? There have only been four attacks on American soil by a foreign power. All were carried out by Japan during World War II: Pearl Harbor, the now-forgotten submarine strafing of a California oil refinery, balloon-borne bombs dropped without casualties on Oregon and Washington state, and an air raid on Dutch Harbor, a remote U.S. outpost on Alaska's Aleutian Islands, in which 43 residents died. Japan and Germany's declarations of war intuitively appear to justify the sacrifice of 291,557 American soldiers in World War II, but were those deaths necessary to defend us? There is no evidence that the Axis intended to invade the U.S., nor did it possess the logistical capability to occupy it. The defeat of Nazism liberated millions from tyranny, but that was a happy byproduct of a war we fought to expand our military and economic influence. Right or wrong, World War II was a war of choice against Germany and one of retribution against Japan.

Read the whole article here. Surprisingly, though, I can't post this on You've Lost, because although I think Rall's statements are wildly off the mark, his rhetoric is toned down quite a bit. There's a lot of conspiracy theorizing and idealistic isolationist speak, but very little out-and-out flaming. Good for you for once, Ted.

Which means I may have to do some actual debunking, rather than pointing and smirking. Okay, how about a Chamberlain comparison. Here's the British Prime Minister in 1939:

How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing. It seems still more impossible that a quarrel which has already been settled in principle should be the subject of war.

I can well understand the reasons why the Czech Government have felt unable to accept the terms which have been put before them in the German memorandum. Yet I believe after my talks with Herr Hitler that, if only time were allowed, it ought to be possible for the arrangements for transferring the territory that the Czech Government has agreed to give to Germany to be settled by agreement under conditions which would assure fair treatment to the population concerned. . . .

However much we may sympathize with a small nation confronted by a big and powerful neighbor, we cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole British Empire in war simply on her account. If we have to fight it must be on larger issues than that. I am myself a man of peace to the depths of my soul. Armed conflict between nations is a nightmare to me; but if I were convinced that any nation had made up its mind to dominate the world by fear of its force, I should feel that it must be resisted. Under such a domination life for people who believe in liberty would not be worth living; but war is a fearful thing, and we must be very clear, before we embark upon it, that it is really the great issues that are at stake, and that the call to risk everything in their defense, when all the consequences are weighed, is irresistible.

And:

Since I first went to Berchtesgaden more than 20,0000 letters and telegrams have come to No. 10, Downing Street. Of course, I have been able to look at a tiny fraction of them, but I have seen enough to know that the people who wrote did not feel that they had such a cause for which to fight, if they were asked to go to war in order that the Sudeten Germans might not join the Reich. That is how they are feeling. That is my answer to those who say that we should have told Germany weeks ago that, if her army crossed the border of Czechoslovakia, we should be at war with her. We had no treaty obligations and no legal obligations to Czechoslovakia and if we had said that, we feel that we should have received no support from the people of this country. . . .

When we were convinced, as we became convinced, that nothing any longer would keep the Sudetenland within the Czechoslovakian State, we urged the Czech Government as strongly as we could to agree to the cession of territory, and to agree promptly. The Czech Government, through the wisdom and courage of President Benes, accepted the advice of the French Government and ourselves. It was a hard decision for anyone who loved his country to take, but to accuse us of having by that advice betrayed the Czechoslovakian State is simply preposterous. What we did was to save her from annihilation and give her a chance of new life as a new State, which involves the loss of territory and fortifications, but may perhaps enable her to enjoy in the future and develop a national existence under a neutrality and security comparable to that which we see in Switzerland to-day. Therefore, I think the Government deserve the approval of this House for their conduct of affairs in this recent crisis which has saved Czechoslovakia from destruction and Europe from Armageddon.

Does the experience of the Great War and the years that followed it give us reasonable hope that, if some new war started, that would end war any more than the last one did?

One good thing, at any rate, has come out of this emergency through which we have passed. It has thrown a vivid light upon our preparations for defense, on their strength and on their weakness. I should not think we were doing our duty if we had not already ordered that a prompt and thorough inquiry should be made to cover the whole of our preparations, military and civil, in order to see, in the light of what has happened during these hectic days, what further steps may be necessary to make good our deficiencies in the shortest possible time.

One can only wonder at the evil which could have been avoided if Chamberlain had taken a firm stance against Hitler's first act of aggression. Instead, he asked the same questions that Rall now asks -- why should we sacrifice in order to defend another country? The answer is obvious, at least to me: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. If we sit back and decide to wait for evil to come to us before we oppose it, rather than destroy evil when it appears, we are doomed as a civilization and we deserve to be doomed.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Wish

TRACK: Wish
ARTIST: Much The Same
ALBUM: Quitters Never Win

Well You're in control and I know it 'cause I'm miserable again
I don't understand how any of this makes me a better man
You know I always run to You for some help with my life
You know I always come to You for a little wise advice
And all I get is pain
Okay, so I'm exaggerating,
I'm just saying that's how it seems to me

If all good things come to an end, then what about the bad?
Am I cursed to never see the fruits of the life I wish I had?
And can I try, one more time, to be pleasing to You?
My futile efforts never seem to make my wish come true
What can I do?

GO

I'll follow through with all these claims I never cease to make
A promise to myself is one I promise to break
But when I have You by my side then I can do what's right
I'll become the co-pilot and You control this flight
Then everything will be alright

If all good things come to an end, then what about the bad?
Am I cursed to never see the fruits of the life I wish I had?
And can I try, one more time, to be pleasing to You?
My futile efforts never seem to make my wish come true
What can I do?

WHAT CAN I DO?

How far are we going to take this, Da?

The question is not how far.
The question is,
do you possess the constitution,
the depth of faith,
to go as far as is needed?


This song's for me
A reminder of how I intend my life to be
Every word I sing
Is an anthem against my own hypocrisy
Let me be free
Let me be free

He's Back



Chris Muir is back from his hiatus. Go check out Day by Day. September 11 of this year is his last comic before the hiatus, btw, if you're interested in reading the archive.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Maybe This Is Where He Gets His Unimpeachable Sources

Excerpt from this Dan Rather interview:

Describing his love of CBS and CBS News, Rather observed in the interview last year: "In my mind and the minds of the people I work with, this is a magical, mystical kingdom -- our version of Camelot. And we feel we are working at a kind of roundtable of King Arthur proportions. Now, it may be that this kingdom exists only in our minds. But that makes it no less real for those of us who live it every day."

And then there was this: "Ed Murrow's ghost is here. I've seen him and talked to him on the third floor of this building many times late at night. And I can tell you that he's watching over us."

So yeah, as LGF says, "Dan Rather Talks To Spirits".

"Episcopal Church Officially Promotes Idol Worship"

I'm about a month behind on this one, but I'll post anyway since this story is very important. If true, this makes the Episcopal's homosexual clergy issue seem small in comparison.

For more info, check out the Christdot post that led me to the story, as well as all of the post's comments.

Something To Do On A Friday Night

Anybody want to check this out sometime? More info here.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Stem Cells A Success

Umbilical stem cells, that is, not embryonic stem cells. Story here.

Hat tip bond_servant at Christdot.

This Blog Has A LiveJournal

Now all you livejournalers can add me as a friend. Someone (my guess is AudioScrobbler friend AdmiralMemo) set up Heroes from the Past's syndicated feed on LiveJournal as a user, and you can check it out right here.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Great Chicago Fire Sale

So now Chicago is reduced to having a huge garage sale over eBay. Some cool stuff, but the actual auctions don't open for another couple days. I'll check back then.

But I did notice:

Posted by Hello


Hmm. Does that explain this?

Oh, yeah: hat tip ABC 7.

NO!! ONE MORE BAND BREAKUP

The Orange County Supertones are breaking up. Not immediately, but they're saying that 2005 will be their last year.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Google Scholar!

Now this is excellent. Google has just released a new search engine which focuses on "schoarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research." Should be good for college students, peronal study, online arguments, and maybe even commercial research.

Nice work, Google!

Another Good Blog

Check out Digital Branch. Looks like he and I have the same opinion on a lot of things, but he's a thinker and I'm a linker, as evidenced by this post. And check out this celestial simulator, which is linked to in one of Digital Branch's recent posts. Sounds really cool, tho I haven't tested it yet.

UPDATE: Forgot to add in some of the links :P.

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Next Step In The Slippery Slope?


Last month, The UK's High Court ruled that doctors have the right to deny a terminally-ill baby lifesaving (temporarily) treatment. That child, Luke Winston-Jones, died on Friday after doctors, with mother Ruth begging them on bended knee to save his life, refused to give him an adrenaline shot which would have done so.

Please pray for Ruth, as well as the rest of Europe.

Hat tips Roger L. Simon, Barcepundit.

Four More Cabinet Resignations

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham have all submitted resignations from their posts, but the big one is Colin Powell. Story here.

I'd hoped he would stay on -- although I disagree with him on many issues, I think he often played an important role in the Bush adminitration as the principled dissenter. Or maybe my opinion is colored by the media's portrayal of the Cabinet -- I must admit, I haven't really studied Powell's role in the Cabinet, but I'm mainly working off of what I've read while investigating other issues.

THHGTTG:TM

That's right. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is appearing in theaters in MAY! Here's IMDB's and Yahoo!'s pages for the movie.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Sphere of Jihadist Influence World Map


This is a map of the countries in which jihadist activity/presence has been rliably reported. These countries are marked in red. The map was made by the guys over at Jihad Watch through the World66 travel site, and the original post is here. Hat tip LGF.

Nazi 2008

The Nazis are planning to run for President in 08 (hat tip Instapundit). I may vehemently disagree with Democrats, but they're light-years better than some of the possibilities.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Link Roundup

LOCAL

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that casino plans in the Chicago area are hitting a snag: the horse-racing industry wants a piece of the action.

Mayor Daley, having privatized the Skyway, now looks toward privatizing O'Hare and Midway airports. Privatization of a means of transportation seems wierd to me, but my rule of thumb is that taking something out of the public sector is good. Anyone have some good analysis on this?

Chicago cops are finding grenades all over the place.

The Chicago Cubs tap Bob Brenly, former Diamondbacks manager, as color analyst. At least, I believe he'll be doing color; does anyone know whether it'll be color or play-by-play?


NATIONAL

President Bush selects an old Texas friend to replace John Ashcroft as attorney general.

The ACLU is defending street preachers in Sin City.

Christopher Hitchens, a hardcore fire-breathing atheist, defends Bush's secularist policies and condemns the left's defense of religious fanaticism.

Airlines are submitting to random testing of water quality on domestic and internatonal flights.


INTERNATIONAL

Thinklings offers a Christian slant on blogger oppression in Iran.

A senior Iranian official admits to state sponsorship of terrorists.

Don't ever say France's armed forces never did anything useful.

Terrorist Siege in the Hague

Check out Zacht Ei for coverage of what seems to be a police siege of a terrorist safehouse in the Hague.

Fallujah

Check out the Belmont Club for some analysis of the battle of Fallujah.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Resignations from Bush's cabinet

Ashcroft (Attorney General) and Evans (Commerce) so far. Yahoo! has the story here.

Monday, November 08, 2004

New Blog

Hey, all! Go check out my new blog, You've Lost. No, it's not a smug Republican blog bragging about Bush's re-election. It's an attempt to showcases instances where politicians and other figures resort to ad hominem attacks rather than make a reasoned argument.

Friday, November 05, 2004

9/11 vs 11/3

Bunny Diehl comes across an interesting poll on Democratic Underground. Details here, and check the comments for an uncensored look at some angry liberals.

UPDATE: Hat tip to The Thinklings.

Europe is Gone

Europe may be an Islamist state within the next ten years. I've read many bloggers make this claim, but I couldn't believe it until following the Theo van Gogh story, primarily via LGF and Zacht Ei.

Since I'm a linker, not a thinker, rather than typing out a history of the events, I'm doing some googling and some LGF archive-checking to give you a simple chronology of the van Gogh story.

van Gogh's IMDB page

Pim Fortuyn killed

The Dutch right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn has been shot dead.

Fortuyn, 54, was attacked as he left a radio studio in the central Dutch city of Hilversum. He was shot six times and suffered multiple wounds in the head, chest and neck, and died shortly afterwards.

Police said they had arrested a white Dutch man in relation to the killing, but no motive has yet been established.

...

Fortuyn has provoked public indignation by calling for the Netherlands' borders to be closed to immigrants and by describing Islam as a 'backward' religion.


Fortuyn's obituary

The death of Pim Fortuyn comes just nine days before Dutch national elections in which polls had predicted he would win enough seats to lead one of the country's largest parties.

The 54-year-old sociology professor was a flamboyant character who combined custom-made Italian suits and a flashy lifestyle with hard-hitting anti-immigrant views.

Professor Pim, as he liked to be called, shocked the Dutch establishment in February with a call for the repeal of the first article of the constitution which forbids discrimination.

...

The shaven-headed former academic and columnist was openly gay, distinguishing him from the bulk of Europe's far-right, traditionalist politicians.

...

He used his sexuality as fuel for his fire against Islam, which - like many other religions - does not accept homosexuality.

He slammed Islam as a "backward culture" - a view which he expounded at length in a book called Against The Islamisation Of Our Culture.

Born in 1948 to a conservative Catholic family in a small town in the north-west of the country, Fortuyn went to Amsterdam in the 1970s to study sociology and later became a professor at the University of Groningen.

Over the last 10 years he made his name as a columnist and commentator, producing a number of articles and books on society and politics.

Fortuyn's anti-Muslim views, calls for an end to all immigration and pledges to come down hard on crime struck a chord with voters despite the country's celebrated reputation for liberalism and religious tolerance.


BTW, Fortuyn was killed by an animal-rights activist, not an Islamist.

Details about van Gogh's fight against Islam

As a columnist [Theo van Gogh] was a ruthless agitator who couldn't resist insulting people. For example, he dubbed the head of the European Arab League, Dyab Abou JahJah, "a pimp of the prophet", and dismissed the notion of a multicultural society as "a farce".

He verbally assaulted the "leftwing, politically correct mafia and politicians" whom he held responsible for "demonising" Pim Fortuyn, the anti-establishment and anti-immigrant politician who was assassinated two years ago. "The Netherlands is beyond hope and beyond reason," was his conclusion.

The columnist and filmmaker in Theo van Gogh merged in his most recent productions. This past summer, he produced a short film with Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali - a rising star in Dutch politics and equally outspoken - about a Muslim woman forced into an arranged marriage and abused by her husband.

Van Gogh describes "Submission" as a pamphlet against violence against women in Islamic societies. In it, four women - their scarred bodies visible through a transparent gown and with Koranic verses daubed on them – tell their gruesome stories. The film sparked widespread commotion among Holland's large Muslim community and led to a series of death threats. Ayaan Hirsi Ali was given round-the-clock protection from the Dutch security services. Van Gogh rejected police protection.

Van Gogh's last production will be aired on the Internet in December and shown in the cinemas from January. Titled '0605', it deals with the assassination of Pim Fortuyn on 6 May, 2002, and was meant as homage to the populist leader who shook the Dutch political establishment.


IMDB's 06-05 page

Plot Outline: A fictional version of the events that led to the assassination of the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn on May 6, 2002. The movie is based upon the book "The sixth of May" by Thomas Ross.


van Gogh murdered

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A Dutch filmmaker who had received death threats after releasing a movie criticizing the treatment of women under Islam was slain in Amsterdam on Tuesday, police said.

A suspect, a 26-year-old man with dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality, was arrested after a shootout with officers that left him wounded, police said.
Filmmaker Theo van Gogh had been threatened after the August airing of the movie "Submission," which he made with a right-wing Dutch politician who had renounced the Islamic faith of her birth. Van Gogh had received police protection after its release.

Dutch national broadcaster NOS and other media reported that Van Gogh's killer shot and stabbed his victim and left a note on his body. NOS said witnesses described the attacker as having an "Arab appearance."

A witness who lives in the neighborhood heard six shots, and saw the man concealing a gun. She said he walked away slowly, spoke to someone at the edge of the park, and then ran.

"He was walking slowly, like he was trying to be cool," she said, describing him as wearing a long beard and Islamic garb. "He was either an Arabic man or someone disguised as a Muslim," she said.


English Translation of note left by assassin

Suspect Arrested in Murder of van Gogh

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Dutch police have arrested eight suspected Islamic radicals as part of the investigation into the brutal slaying of outspoken filmmaker Theo van Gogh, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The suspects were detained in the 24 hours following Van Gogh's killing while he bicycled on an Amsterdam street, prosecution spokeswoman Dop Kruimel told The Associated Press.

Six detainees are of Moroccan origin, one is Algerian and the other has dual Spanish-Moroccan nationality, she said.

The suspect in the killing — a 26-year-old suspected Muslim extremist with dual Moroccan-Dutch citizenship — was arrested Tuesday after a shootout with police. The unidentified suspect was wounded in the leg.

Kruimel said the suspects, whose identities were not released, were detained and released during an October 2003 investigation into a potential terrorist threat.

...

Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said the suspect "acted out of radical Islamic fundamentalist convictions" and added that he had contacts with a group that was under surveillance by the Dutch secret service.

The suspect allegedly is friends with Samir Azzouz, an 18-year-old Muslim of Moroccan origin awaiting trial on charges of planning a terrorist attack targeting a nuclear reactor and Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, NOS Dutch television reported.

Azzouz was among those arrested in October 2003 but released for lack of evidence. He was re-arrested in June.


Portestors Arrested

Police in the Hague, seat of the Dutch government, arrested several people who had been shouting anti-immigrant slogans.

...

"In this country, nobody can be killed because of what he says, that is not what we want," Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk told the crowd.


"Nobody can be killed", but arrest is just fine . . .

"Suspected Islamist Killing Tests Dutch Tolerance"

AMSTERDAM, Nov 3 (Reuters) - The killing of a filmmaker critical of Islam puts new strains on Dutch traditions of tolerance and will fuel demands for tougher treatment of immigrants, analysts and commentators said on Wednesday.

Theo van Gogh, who angered Muslims with a film that said Islam encouraged violence against women, was shot dead on Tuesday. A man with Dutch and Moroccan nationality was arrested for the killing, and suspected of Islamic extremist motives.

Commentators said the murder showed attempts to integrate immigrants had failed and threatened to make race relations worse in a country where 10 percent of the population is defined as "non-Western" foreigners -- many Muslim Moroccans and Turks.

"This event shows what kind of climate we have allowed to develop. What kind of people we have allowed in and just allowed to go their own way. How we have much too long just let things go to seed," sociologist Herman Vuijsje told the Volkskrant daily.

A country built on trade, with a reputation for openness and liberal policies on issues from drug use to gay marriage, the Netherlands has seen a rise in hostility towards foreigners since the rise in 2002 of taboo-busting populist Pim Fortuyn.

Tapping into a wave of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities, the openly gay Fortuyn said the Netherlands could not absorb more foreigners, demanded tougher integration policies and criticised Muslim views on homosexuality and women.

Noting that Fortuyn's murder and that of Van Gogh came 911 days apart -- a reference to the U.S. abbreviation for Sept. 11 -- De Telegraaf newspaper said lenient immigration policies had turned an open society into a "resentful and intolerant" one.

"Afraid of being called racist, we have been so tolerant with regard to these religious fascists that they have been allowed to merrily undermine the roots of our freedom," it said.

A group of far-right protesters shouting "Islamists, parasites" were arrested in The Hague on Tuesday after the killing and a right-wing group of Fortuyn supporters were due to hold a demonstration in Amsterdam later on Wednesday.

"I don't rule out unrest. The climate is seriously hardened," said Interior Minister Johan Remkes.

Mat Herben, a Fortuyn supporter, said Van Gogh's death had shown that the country was embroiled in a clash of cultures:

"Society is threatened by extremists who reject our culture. They are the fifth column and Theo saw that more than anybody."


BUT . . .

The Economist weighs in

An outspoken and provocative film director, Theo van Gogh, was murdered in Amsterdam on the morning of November 2nd. A 26-year-old Dutch Moroccan apparently emptied a magazine of bullets into his victim, knifed him as he lay dying and left a note stabbed into his body. He was arrested after a shoot-out with police. Ironically, Mr Van Gogh was killed as he was cycling to the studio to finish editing a film about the previous political murder, of the flamboyant anti-immigrant populist Pim Fortuyn in May 2002. Fortuyn, whom Mr Van Gogh admired, was killed by an animal-rights activist of ethnic-Dutch origin. At the time the fact that the killer was neither Muslim nor an immigrant was greeted with relief by politicians and public alike.

No such relief this time. The victim was an outspoken and often offensive critic of Islam, who once called radical Islamist immigrants “a fifth column of goatfuckers”. His killer was a jallaba-clad Muslim immigrant and associate of a radical group that Dutch intelligence has been watching. Police arrested eight more Islamist suspects the next day. The justice minister said the murder stemmed from “radical Islamic beliefs”. Mr Van Gogh was killed a few months after the screening on television of his film “Submission”. The film, based on a screenplay by a Dutch parliamentarian, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, features a Muslim woman in a see-through burqa telling a story of abuse within her marriage; she has text from the Koran condoning family violence written on to her naked body.



Moroccan teens spit on Van Gogh portrait

AMSTERDAM — Moroccan teenagers have allegedly spat on a large portrait of murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, it was reported Thursday.

Shortly after Van Gogh's murder on Tuesday, spray can and graffiti artist Donovan Spaanstra, 33, painted a portrait of the Dutch television celebrity and columnist on the fa├žade of a building in the Warmoesstraat.

"For an artist, from an artist. Van Gogh has walked past here thousands of times," Spaanstra told newspaper De Telegraaf.
Initially greeted by applause for painting the portrait, Spaanstra claimed some Moroccan teens then hassled him, screaming "Hamas, Hamas". He claimed they even spat on the portrait and did not want to discuss the killing.


28% of all Dutch want to leave the country

"Thou Shalt Not Kill" = racist (with pic and video)

In the Netherlands, artist Chris Ripke reacted to the murder on Theo Van Gogh by an islamic fundamentalist by painting a mural with the text "Gij zult niet doden" ("Thou Shalt Not Kill"), one of the ten commandments of the Christian religion.

But because the head of the nearby mosque complained to the police that this was 'offensive' and 'racist', the cops came and sent in city workers to sandblast the mural. A local journalist, Wim Nottroth, who wanted to protest against this by standing in front of the mural was arrested.


Dutch Princess Maxima calls for more dialogue

On a positive note, Dutch vice prime minister Gerrit Zalm (also chairman of the EU) has declared war on terrorism.

The number one thing that hits me with this story is all the intolerance, coming from all sides of the issue. Europeans accuse Americans of bigotry and intolerance, but it seems like there's a lot going around here. The militant Islamists are obviously intolerant of other ways of life, but there's more to it than that. There seems to be a segment of the Dutch population that want to end immigration and forcibly assimilate Muslims into Dutch culture as a whole; I think that's both impractical and offensive. And then there's the Dutch government, which is actively stifling free speech, as evidenced by the arrest of protestors and the sandblasting of the "Thou Shalt Not Kill" mural.

We may have intolerance problems here in America, but most of us take it for granted that everyone has a right to free speech. It's spelled out in our Constitution and defended by our court system, and it's alive and well in the public arena, certain exceptions notwithstanding. Rather than use violence or government intervention to silence a voice, most attempts rely on influencing public opinion -- getting the public as a whole to decide that it would be impolite, offensive, unfair, deceitful, politically incorrect or stupid to voice a certain idea. See here for an example of this (imperfect, I know, since it's the U.K. instead of the U.S.).

Anyways, my time is up, and I've rambled way too much. Here's my attempt at a cohesive conclusion: The Netherlands, and in fact the whole of Europe, is (are?) threatened by an influx of Muslims, many of whom are radical Islamists. Instead of targeting the radical Islamists, however, governments are (1) dealing with crimes by Islamists on a case-by-case basis, (2) attempting to establish more dialogue with Muslims, (3) talking about forcibly integrating all Dutch Muslims into Dutch culture, (4) stifling free speech by citizens of all stripes whose actions may be perceived as anti-Muslim. The approach seems to me to be confusing at best, and more likely incoherent. And they criticize us for our approach to the War on Terror?

UPDATE: I don't think this is the right way to deal with the problem:

Muslim School In Netherlands Bombed

Now I'm Really Looking Forward To Flying

Dave Barry had some interesting information sent to him by a Northwest Airlines flight attendant. Details here.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Daily Mirror Loses



Per my post on political civility:

For me, it's not so much the yelling, the anger, the passion. If you can get passionate about this country's electoral process, that's a lot better than being apathetic about it :). What does bother me a lot -- and I come across it both online and in person, although luckily most of my friends are good about it -- is when someone can't understand the brute fact that the person on the other side of the political spectrum may be as intelligent and well-informed as you are. The next time I hear "They're too stupid to be allowed the right to vote", "You simply haven't looked into all the facts", "He just isn't old enough yet to have the right perspective on things", "Bush is a moron", "Kerry is an empty suit", the conversation is over. Done. And you've lost, no matter whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with me.


UPDATE: I initially decided against linking directly to The Mirror because I'm really offended by their message, but I've changed my mind about linkage. Clicking on the picture should now take you to the Mirror's Front Pages page.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Monday, November 01, 2004

Chuck's House of Magic Burns Down

The largest magic/costume store in the south suburbs burns to the ground on Halloween. Story here. My guess is that an arson investigation is already underway; it's too much of a coincidence. I think somebody decided to try to pull an untoppable trick; maybe it just got out of hand, or maybe this was the intended result.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

OFFICIAL HEROES FROM THE PAST ELECTION ENDORSEMENTS

VOTE FOR THESE PEOPLE! . . . and for me in 2008.

UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: George W. Bush. No 'lesser of two evils' in my opinion. I wholeheartedly support Bush and agree with him on all issues I consider major.
UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT: Dick Cheney. I'm not quite as passionate about Cheney as I am about Bush, but he won me over in the VP debate. And it would be kinda silly to endorse Bush without endorsing Cheney, since it's a paired ballot.
UNITES STATES SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS: Don McArthur-Self. Although I endorsed Alan Keyes for President in '96 and I agree with him on most of the issues, this year's campaign has caused me to doubt Keyes's character. The carpet-bagging issue, the slave reparations, and multiple other things leave a bad taste in my mouth. McArthur-Self agrees with my positions on abortion, the war on terror, Iraq, and many other things, so my endorsement goes to him as an official write-in candidate.
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE, ILLINOIS 2ND DISTRICT: Stephanie Kennedy Sailor. Unlike Bush vs Kerry, I believe that Kennedy vs Jackson is a lesser-of-two-evils style matchup. I don't agree with the Libertarian Party platform with respect to abortion, the war on terror, and many other things. But for one thing, I'm not sure whether Kennedy Sailor completely matches the platform, since her website does not details her platform on specific issues -- she is running completely on a small-government plank, which I agree with in theory. For another thing, I generally agree with the Libertarian Party more than I agree with the Democratic Party. Thing number three, I completely disagree with Jesse Jackson, Jr, on about every issue imaginable (although I would choose him over his father if forced). And thing number four and last, this is a binary decision -- the Republicans have failed to put up a candidate at all (paving the way for JOSH PERSONS 2008!), and there are no write-in candidates whatsoever.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Possible Sosa Trade?

Just got this via the Die Hard Cubs Fan Club group list:

This morning's Trib mentions a possible trade of Sosa
to the Mets, saying, "Cubs general manager Jim Hendry
declined comment on the Newsday report, but sources
said his tribune Co. bosses have told him to do
whatever it takes to find Sosa a new home."

The article goes on to suggest one possible trade
would include Cliff Floyd who would provide a lefty
bat in left field and a back up to Lee at first.

I see no way this happens. There is no way the Cubs
are better off replacing Alou with Floyd and losing
Sosa. I think the Cubs are more likely to eat a
portion of Sosa's contract than pick up a guy like
Floyd and his contract.

I googled it, and here are some stories on the possible Sosa trade here and here. Both stories are especially interesting -- and I'm giving a little credence to them -- because one comes from the Chicago Tribune and the other comes from Newsday. The Chicago Tribune, Newsday and the Cubs (as well as the LA Times, WGN, and many other media outlets) are all owned by the Tribune Company.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

RED SOX WIN! RED SOX WIN!

Not quite the Cubbies, but I'll take it :).

UPDATE: An article looking at the new champions from Chicagoans' perspectives here. From the Kansas City Star. *scratches head*

Monday, October 25, 2004

Mr. Six


I didn't know that Six Flags mascot had a name. Anyways, go here for more disturbing photos and video of a look-alike contest. . .

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Relatives

Just doing some random geneaological stuff, moving information from some family books into the computer. I'm tracking down names and histories on the Internet as I go. This guy is my dad's third cousin, and the Persons on this page is his father (Mark's, not my dad's).

I guess I'll have to see Silent Running now.

And I know I'm related to this guy somehow, although I haven't worked on my mother's side of the family yet.

As always, more updates as they come along.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Trib Backs Bush

The Chicago Tribune officially announces its backing of George W Bush here. They supported Bush in 2000 also, as did the Sun Times, IIRC. So I pretty much expected it, although I don't fully understand it; my opinion of the Trib is that it's generally liberal, and Chicago is obviously a liberal town. But I'm not going to look gift horses in the mouth :). Via LGF.

60:40 odds the Sun Times follows suit. Or maybe they have already; I'll do a quick search and get back to you on that.

Using Photography To Make A Political Statement

Cheap Juxtaposition Tricks 101: How many allegorical signs can you fit into one picture? Via Lileks.

My Uneducated Prediction


Posted by Hello


After I took the picture, I edited the insanely high "within 4%" prediction to 25. Which is probably still way too high.

Anyways, you can make your own prediction here, and maybe win a plasma TV.

I may update this post with an electoral count for this prediction. BTW, DC isn't included above; my prediction is Kerry.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Political Civility

Go check out this post by Lara, a quick rant about the lack of civility in political conversation recently.

For me, it's not so much the yelling, the anger, the passion. If you can get passionate about this country's electoral process, that's a lot better than being apathetic about it :). What does bother me a lot -- and I come across it both online and in person, although luckily most of my friends are good about it -- is when someone can't understand the brute fact that the person on the other side of the political spectrum may be as intelligent and well-informed as you are. The next time I hear "They're too stupid to be allowed the right to vote", "You simply haven't looked into all the facts", "He just isn't old enough yet to have the right perspective on things", "Bush is a moron", "Kerry is an empty suit", the conversation is over. Done. And you've lost, no matter whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with me.

Political discourse needs to have as its goal two things. The first is a revelation of the facts of the matter. Perhaps the person with which you're talking/discussing/disagreeing/arguing/fighting is in reality not informed. Then don't fall back on "You don't have all the facts." Instead, present the facts, and say, "Have you considered X?" or "How does your position take into account Y?" And be prepared to show proof of X or Y, or for the purposes of the discussion you're as uninformed as your partner/opponent.

The second goal of political discourse should be an examination of assumptions. Once all the facts are out on the table, and there's still a difference of opinions, the discussion should find its way to a point where it's assumption versus assumption. For example, in discussion of abortion, my basic assumptions that inform my position include the assumptions that a human life is valuable, that viability is meaningless, that extra-marital sex is immoral, that personhood is inherent at conception, and I'm sure there are others. And eventually, if the discussion with a proponent of the pro-choice/pro-abortion position is going well, we'll be able to pinpoint the difference in assumptions -- either my opponent will admit the assumption that human life is not valuable (and yes, I've had people admit this before!), or the assumption that viability somehow makes a moral difference, or the opposite of one my other assumptions. At this point, I and my opponent must step back, take a look at our respective assumptions, and each ask ourselves, "Am I comfortable with my assumption?"

That's why I talk politics with people. It's definitely not to score points. It's not to change anybody's mind -- only two people can change your mind, and I'm not one of them. My first goal is to spread and receive information. My second goal, and the more important one in my opinion, is to get both you and me to examine our assumptions ourselves. And if I think your assumptions are wrong -- as I often will -- there's nothing more I can do to change them, after the facts are known and the assumptions are uncovered. I won't throw out some relativistic nonsense that we're both right for ourselves. One of us is right and one is wrong, but further discussion is fruitless, so let's talk about baseball.

I know I'll be comfortable with my assumptions, as long as their foundation is what it should be. And what about you? What's yours?

UPDATE: Crossposted at RedState

UPDATE 2: Crossposted at You've Lost

Democrats vs The Special Olympics



Michelle Malkin is reporting that this flyer is being handed out from the offices of Craig Fitzhugh, a Democrat running for office in Tennessee House District 82. Story here.

If you want to crack jokes at Bush's expense, fine. If you want to insult those who are voting for Bush, go ahead. But don't do it at the expense of disabled children. Don't let the Special Olympics be caught in the crossfire.

This is disgusting.

NOTE: At this point, the story seems to be valid, but has not been fully corroborated. I'll let you guys know once someone gets to the bottom of this. Or, you can follow the Malkin link above -- she and TVC (who keep spamming me, or else I'd link to them) are the story breakers, so she'll probably stay on top of it.

UPDATE: Check Bill Hobbs for updates. He's keeping a close watch on the story.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Ghosts?

I've been browsing this Illinois-based ghost site a little bit -- pretty cool, and it mentions Bachelor's Grove, which I've been to a couple times. Anyone want to take a road trip to one of these other places sometime?

Also, be sure to check out here, sent to me by TekieCid. It's an actual video. I think I see something next to the car, but I'm not sure.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

9/11 Profiteering

Does this bother anyone else?




I'm not sure if the Flash ad, which I've attempted to paste above, will show correctly. I saw it on an article page for The American Spectator, and it directs to this page, where you can see what is being sold.

UPDATE: Yahoo is carrying a story here. The sale of these coins has been halted pending a fraud investigation.

Adventures in Tech Support

This is making the rounds of the office here.

Inverse Random Blogs

Here are two blogs to think about, both of which have randomly provided links to me via the Blogger bar. That's the thing you see at the top of my webpage, as well as any other Blogger/blogspot.com page.

Worst blog ever? Well, probably top five at least, right here.

On the other side of the blog quality spectrum is this one. Not much on current events, but can you get more quality than a Roman poet from the first century AD?

Cubs fan's worst nightmare

Well, almost. The Yankees, Sox, Astros and Cardinals all in their league championship series?! Luckily, it's the RED Sox rather than the WHITE Sox, or else I'd just have to cry.

GO RED SOX! Please! For the sanity of Cubs fans everywhere!

Monday, October 11, 2004

GO CONRAD!

Conrad is always on my wavelength; or maybe I'm always on his because I got brainwashed by Ghoti Hook (RIP) when I was in college. Anyways, he has two new editorials posted on his website, Decapolis. One is about Sky Captain, and the other is about the economy.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Stavesacre Member Injured

Just received this email:

Unfortunately ... Stavesacre is going to have to cancel tonight's show in
Bakersfield. We apologize to our fans and all the great people at Station 3:16.
Dirk has suffered a major back injury and is unable to get out of bed. He went
in for x-rays yesterday but the Doctor isn't sure how long it will for him to
recover.
Your prayers and thoughts are appreciated.
The rest of the bands on the bill will be playing tonight at Station 3:16.
Please show your support for the venue and bands who have worked hard to make
this a great show for us. Keep checking the website for our rescheduled
appearance at Station 3:16. We have NOT canceled the other 2 shows later in
month.

Saturday, October 23, 2004
Smart City Grinds
Azusa, CA
7pm
w/ NOISE RATCHET
$12 tix available @ www.itickets.com
635 N. Azusa Ave.
626.945.7773
http://www.smartcitygrinds.com

Saturday, October 30, 2004
Hills Park Ampitheater
Las Vegas, NV
Noon- 10pm
w/ Staple, Mortal Treason, and many more
$10 in advance www.itickets.com / $15 gate / kids under 10 yrs free
9000 Hillspointe Road
702-220-8811
http://www.freakshow13.com
Stavesacre plays at 8:30 pm

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Read This Essay, Now

Bill Whittle at Eject!Eject!Eject! has written the best blog post ever. I'm completely serious -- it's long, but you must read it. Read it all -- don't miss the second part, which you can get to by clicking the Part 2 link at the top of the page or by going here. Think about it, digest it, disagree with it if you will. But don't ignore it, and if you dismiss it as the rantings of a right-wing neocon, I will whack you upside the head.

The Cutest Klepto

Here, via Lileks.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Liveblogging Debate #1

Well, I'm here in Mike Krempasky's house, having taken up this offer. The debate is coming up in about an hour.

I don't know how much actual live-blogging I'll be doing, but I'll try. I'm not sitting in my apartment screaming at the TV by myself this time around.

CSPAN is carrying the pre-debate feed, where Jim Lehrer is coaching the audience, unaware that he's on live TV.

The candidates come out and shake hands.

CSPAN is breaking the debate rule that disallows split-screen views of the two candidates.

Kerry is long-winded. George Bush has started off very shaky, looks like he keeps losing his train of thought.

VOCIFEROUSLY!

Bush still looks like he's grasping for words, leaving long pauses before continuing his sentences.

Seems like Lehrer is going to the thirty seconds every question now.

Pfffh. I'm not doing a good job of liveblogging. I'm paying too much attention to the actual debate, trying to catch everything for myself, to be able to critique every step coherently on here. :( I'll keep posting my thoughts and observations, but I can't vouch for their cogency.

Here's a thought, though -- Kerry is arguing that we shouldn't have brought foreign troops to help us in Afghanistan. Kerry is also arguing that we should have brought foreign troops to help us in Iraq.

Lehrer makes a good point. He points out that Bush is multilateral in the case of Korea, while Kerry is unilateral.

At this point, Krempasky's wi-fi seemed to overload, and I couldn't access the Internet anymore, so I had to stop liveblogging :(.

My final thoughts on the debate: Bush got his points across well, and so did Kerry. But Bush seemed preoccupied with something else; his mind wasn't into the debate, and that concerns me. I was wondering whether there were national security issues weighing on his mind, and my thoughts were (partially) confirmed after the debate: I was informed that Bush was involved in an all-day security briefing earlier in the day, and it was implied that the meeting's purpose was not debate coaching but rather talking about newly-discovered information. This is all hearsay, of course, but it fits in with my reading of the President.

President Bush also seemed, at times, to be expecting a crowd response. He would pause for a second as if waiting for some cheers or claps or something, and then seem to remember that the event is a debate rather than a rally. Bush is an extrovert; he thrives on the goodwill of others, on crowd reaction and participation, and he was uncomfortable with the reception he got from the crowd. Of course, the crowd reception wasn't his fault -- as I think I mentioned earlier in this post, Jim Lehrer coached the crowd beforehand, telling them to remain silent. At one point, he jokingly said "I'll kill you", presumably to someone who was speaking up while he was addressing the crowd. But I believe only CSPAN carried this pre-debate coaching.

Anyways, I think that Bush will do better in the townhall meeting. He'll be able to have more of a rapport with the crowd, so he'll feel more relaxed, more able to make jokes, more able to be himself. I'm looking forward to it.

Blindside, Project 86 Victimized By Thieves

Story here. In two unrelated incidents, both Blindside and Project 86 lost their touring gear and much more. In Dallas, TX, Blindside was robbed of all their gear, their total tour earnings to date, their computers and other gadgets, and their passports. Project 86, in Phoenix, was robbed over over $7000 in gear and merchandise.

Project is asking for donations if possible. I may send a check out this weekend.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Volcano-Cam

No, not this. Mt St Helens, which geologists think is ready to blow again.

Monday, September 27, 2004

"Violence Never Solves Anything"

I read Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein, something like ten or more years ago (which would have made me twelve at the most). I just read it again this weekend. I didn't realize it at the time, but the book influenced my thoughts on war more than any other except the Bible itself, and maybe The Lord of the Rings. Hmm . . . what does it say when you trace back so much of your thought process to works of fiction? I don't mean the Bible, of course, but Tolkien, Lewis, Heinlein, Roddenberry, Card, Schulz, L'Engle, even Franklin Dixon, who was himself fictional. None of you may ever know the extent to which my adult life has been directed by Bill Watterson.

Anyway, back to the subject. Starship Troopers is a treatise on the ethics of warfare disguised as a science fiction novel, and I encourage everyone to read it. Here's an excerpt:

I thought about it during the last session of our class in History and Moral Philosophy. H. & M. P. was different from other courses in that eveybody had to take it but nobody had to pass it -- and Mr. Dubois never seemed to care whether he got through to us or not. He would just point at you with the stump of his left arm (he never bothered with names) and snap a question. Then the argument would start.

But on the last day he seemed to be trying to find out what we had learned. One girl told him bluntly: "My mother says that violence never settles anything."

"So?" Mr. Dubois looked at her bleakly. "I'm sure the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that. Why doesn't your mother tell them so? Or why don't you?"

The had tangled before -- since you couldn't flunk the course, it wasn't necessary to keep Mr. Dubois buttered up. She said shrilly, "You're making fun of me! Everybody knows that Carthage was destroyed!"

"You seemed to be unaware of it," he said grimly. "Since you do know it, wouldn't you say that violence had settled their destinies rather thoroughly? However, I was not making fun of you personally; I was heaping scorn on an inexcusably silly idea -- a practice I shall always follow. Anyone who clings to the historically untrue -- and thoroughly immoral -- doctrine that 'violence never settles anything' I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedom."


Crossposted at RedState.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Realign on FOX?

Just got this from Realign. I'll see if I can make it, but I'm not promising. Anyone else interested at all?

Hello,

GUESS WHAT!!!!! We need your help. We have a show comeing up Oct. 2nd at Evangelical Free Church in Bloomington IL and we need you to come and show your support. FOX will be their to film our performance for a Central Illinois based TV series called Uncovering the Underground so we want to pack the place from front to back. Also performing will be some friends of ours from Carbondale IL called Skuf, you can learn more about them by visiting www.skufworld.com. This event is looking to be a great evening filled with crazy rockin music and crazy rockin people. So don't miss this event it will be a good one.

We have also just finished recording some new music and we have decided to place a pre-production version of our new song SUFFOCATE on the website, and we want you to evaluate it for us. We want to know what you think about the direction our music is going, so go to www.realignband.com and listen to the new song SUFFOCATE and then fill out the evaluation form. Your opinoin is very important to us so wether you think it is the best or the worst thing you've ever heard we want to know.

Thank you for your support and we will see you Oct 2nd at E-Free in Bloomingtion IL

Friday, September 24, 2004

Good News for Potlucks All Across the State

No longer do Illinois churches have to fear government crackdowns on Sunday afternoons! Story here (registration may be necessary :( ).

Expos Update

Sounds like the Expos are going to move to Washington, DC, after all. The plan is for the team to use RFK Stadium until a new field is built south of the city. Story here.

Cornerstone 2005

Just bought my ticket to Cornerstone 2K5 for $80 -- I think that's the cheapest I've ever paid for it. Prices go up after September 30!

Giving "Electric Boogaloo" A Whole New Meaning

Check out the video here, via Junkyard Blog.

Now all we have to do is take the Borg's "Resistance Is Futile" speech, put it to the tune of Darth Vader's Imperial March, and our doom is assured.

Dancing Robots
Dancing Robots
Robots
Dancing Robots
Robots Robots
FOOOOTBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLL!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Soli Deo Gloria

Track: Soli Deo Gloria
Band: Too Bad Eugene
Record: Moonlighting


tell me, where can i run from You, is anywhere out of view?
been running so long, there's nowhere to hide
here now Your presence is all around, the light never flickers out
it searches my soul and pierces my mind
my world is left behind

and i hear You calling
confess with your mouth, believe in your heart, you shall be saved
and these walls start falling
You tear me down, you lift me up
my will is changed
You fan this flame

then You say to obey Your commands, i finally think i can
but not by my will, it's just by Your grace
so send me out and we'll change the world, every boy and girl
will know that You're king and know that You reign
all others pass away

and i feel Your peace now
greater is He, that is in me, than who's in the way
so i'll seek You first now
i'll take up my cross, consider my loss for Your sake gain
sola fide

and i hear You call out
confess with your mouth, believe in your heart, you shall be saved
so i'll seek You first now
i'll take up my cross, consider my loss for Your sake gain
sola fide

and soli deo gloria
to God alone be all the glory
let God be true and every man a liar
let every knee bow every tongue confess
to God alone be glory, not to men

Want to be a Christian Music Reviewer?

I just posted this as a comment over at my friends' Media group blog, but then I thought it could go just as well here. I'm about to send in an email, and you can too if you're interested.

Hey guys,

Not sure if this is up your alley or not. You may consider yourself competitors rather than possible contributors, but Gyrospinners.com is looking for help. I originally heard the news at CCMBuzz, and the contact info is here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Cubs snap streak

I missed this -- but only by a couple days. With the Cubs' win on Monday, they're guaranteed to have a winning season. Paired up with last year's 88-74 record, it's the first time since 1971 and 1972 that the team has had two consecutive winning seasons!

Cougar Sightings in Lynwood

The Washington Post/UPI has a short blurb here (scroll down). Not much detail, but a police officer claims to be a witness and a biologist says it's possible, so be careful when you go outside.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Ineffective Security at Illinois Capitol Building

I guess they've caught the guy who (allegedly) shot the security guard at the Capitol building in Springfield. I'm glad they did, and I'm saddened by the death of the security guard. But what jumps out at me in the story, what I simply can't believe, is this claim:

The Capitol building doesn't have metal detectors, and the security guards are unarmed.

What?! Last I checked, Illinois is part of the USA, not Happy-Fun-Land-Where-Nobody-Ever-Tries-To-Shoot-An-Elected-Representative. I'm very sorry that it took the death of one of these security guards, but it looks like people are coming to their senses:

"We will not allow cold-blooded killers to keep our people away from their government," the governor said. White, who manages the Capitol, has asked lawmakers to approve the use of metal detectors and said he would push for them again, along with other security upgrades.

Blagojevich said he supports the idea. State Rep. Rich Brauer had known Wozniak for about 30 years.

He said Wozniak had a wife and two teenage children and had moved to the small community of Petersburg decades ago to escape the violence of Detroit. "What can you say? He was just real friendly and outgoing," Brauer said.

"To me it's incredible that we have this guy that is in charge of security at the Capitol, and he's there with no protection at all. And a guy comes in with a gun."

BTW, I noticed that the quote above mentions a "White" without providing a first name. I went back to the article, looking to get the full name and bracket it into the quote, but it is never mentioned. Just another minor example of media incompetence, I guess. Maybe it's Secretary of State Jesse White?

Monday, September 20, 2004

States Update



create your own personalized map of the USA
or write about it on the open travel guide

No, this is not a Bush vs Kerry prediction. For that, go here. This is just an update of this. I'm making progress -- twenty-six now, two states added in four months. I'd been hoping for three, but Cali didn't work out :(. I got to catch a Rockies game in Denver, though, which brings my major league baseball stadiums count up to four -- Comiskey, Wrigley, Camden, and Coors. I have no idea which of these checklists I'm going to finish first -- probably neither.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Travel changes

Well, because of Ivan, my co-workers and I missed our connection in Denver for Santa Ana. We decided just to stay in Denver for the weekend, so at 1 in the morning local time, 3AM Eastern, we're online trying to find something to do in the area. We have quite a few different things -- the Dodgers-Rockies game, a local brewery, hiking -- that most of us want to do, but that one of us (a different one for each) has completely nixed. Guess which one I vetoed . . .

So we're going to try to get a consensus in the morning to go canoeing. I think we'll get it together. Well, I hope we get it together.

Did I mention my 'new' computer? My old work PC broke down -- Blue Screen of Death while installing a driver update for the wireless card from Windows Update, and afterward the bottom PCMCIA port seemed to be fried. So I couldn't use my wired network card, which I need for work. I borrowed another computer for the day -- another employee had just gotten a new laptop himself and was sending his old one in, so I borrowed it. I sent an email in to the home office, and everybody agreed that the best solution would be for me to keep the other guy's 'old' computer as my 'new' one. It's alright; definitely a lot better than my old one, which I still have to clean up and then turn in.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Baseball Update

The Cardinals are the first team this year to clinch a playoff spot. The Cubs' magic number is 15. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee have all been eliminated. For the important race stats, as always, check out RIOT Baseball.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Will Ivan Hover?

One Hand Clapping compares the three-day (Sunday) and five-day (Tuesday) forecasts on Ivan here. I'd heard from Tom Skilling a couple nights ago (yes, we get WGN in Virginny) that this hovering over western North Carolina was a real possibility. Looks like the current models are actually predicting western Virginia. So now I'm wondering whether I'm going to get to work on Monday.

Bush-Kerry Gap only Four in Illinois?

Maybe my vote will matter after all.

UPDATE: Keep forgetting to mention my sources! This is via RedState.

"You Can Do A Lot In One Day."



Barcepundit has the story here.

My attempted translation of the body of the advertisement (from my HS and College Spanish, IANAE):

You can do a lot in one day.

Imagine what can be done in three months.

Now, if you subscribe to EL PAIS.es before October 8th, we will give you three months free.

In EL PAIS.es, you will encounter up-to-the-minute current events, analysis from all perspectives, news from the last hour, more than 1.3 million published articles back to 1976, exclusive multimedia animations and some of the largest companies in our country.

Subscribe now to EL PAIS.es and enjoy three months of news free.

UPDATE: Just thought I should mention this is via Lileks.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Loyola Health System Induces Labor as Means of Abortion

Story here. Since Loyola is a Catholic organization, it is not allowed to perform abortions. But, according to Catholic sanctions, it is acceptable to induce labor once a child is viable -- I'm assuming this is to potentially save the life of the child. Doctors at Loyola, as well as Providence Health System on the West Coast, use this as a loophole: they wait until a child is technically viable (the cutoff is 23 to 26 weeks), and then induce labor, fully expecting the child to die after birth.

CBS 2 Chicago Turning on Network?

CBS 2 Chicago has a report here that seems to support the accusation that the Rathergate memos were forged. No conclusions are drawn, but a clear contrast is made between the number of experts and witnesses that have collectively criticized the memos as forgeries and the monolithic authoritarian response from the network. They present quotes from two document authenticators -- Emily Will and Linda James -- who were hired by CBS to investigate the memos, and who both strongly cautioned CBS that the documents were unauthenticatable (is that a word?). Killian's secretary is also quoted, as well as Matley and California Congressman Chris Cox. The "Forged memos, but true content" angle is suggested at the end of the article.

I don't see any AP mention, so this seems to be CBS 2's own story, taking a position against Rather. Any thoughts?

UPDATE: Just saw the AP mention: "The Associated Press contributed to this report." Not sure what that means. CBS does claim rights to the story: "© 2004 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed."

UPDATE: Mike from Rathergate got back to me:

Joshua,

Thanks for the link - FYI - it was a national CBS story this morning

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/09/06/politics/main641481.shtml

I guess I missed that. Does this indicate that the network is moving toward an apology, and an admission that the memos are forgery?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Seven Keys to Baldpate

I am going to make this. The Inner Geek, who comes as close to a high-school nemesis as I ever had, is the lead actress. By God's grace, we've patched up our differences since Doom Jail, so I'm looking forward to meeting her once again!

Relient K Album Release Show

I don't think I'll be able to make this, but maybe you can (whoever you may be).



Relient K is back!


Youth leaders and parents get ready! The number one requested Christian band of youth and teens, Relient K, is coming to Chicago for a special album release party on October 28th at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.


Tickets are available now for the low price of $15. PLUS…included in the admission price is a copy of the brand new full length CD, MmHmm.


Relient K live in concert…plus a CD all in one!


Tickets are general admission and a limited number are available!



FOR TICKETS:

Call Christian Happenings 1-800-965-9324

Order online at ChristianHappenings.com

Order by mail: send a check payable to Christian Happenings with $8 s/h to:
6155 Huntley Road, Suite F – Columbus, OH 43229




ALSO COMING TO CHICAGOLAND:

October 1 (In 3 weeks!) – Third Day with TobyMac See Third Day in their first stop in Chicago in 2 years. Friday, 10/1/04 at UIC Pavilion in Chicago.

November 7 – Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns - #1 artist & songwriter, Steven Curtis Chapman, makes a long awaited return to Chicago with worship artist and leader Chris Tomlin plus the fasting selling debut artist, Casting Crowns (“If We Are the Body”). November 7th at UIC Pavilion in Chicago.

November 9 – David Crowder Band, Something Like Silas, Shawn McDonald – Join rising worship band David Crowder Band for an evening of innovative & contemporary praise! November 9th at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.


FOR MORE INFORMATION: call 1-800-965-9324 or visit SonshineConcerts.com

Monday, September 13, 2004

New Stavesacre Song

Check out Stavesacre's newest song "A Handful Of Words" here.

:(



Please pray for Chris Muir and family.

Rathergate Website

Rathergate.com is up and running.

'Election blow for HK Democrats'??


Posted by Hello

So according to CNN International's Asia front page, Hong Kong's pro-democratic parties have suffered an 'election blow'. Which means, once the MSMspeak is translated into English, that they gained three seats, while their opponents gained none. Full story here. I also like their caption for this picture: "The disappointment is clear on Martin Lee's face as he talks to the media." Well, it's not clear to me, but thanks for editorializing.

Of course, like most other of my rants on here, I could be completely wrong. But characterizing an electoral gain as a loss seems disingenuous at the least. I welcome confirmation or correction.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

60 Minutes Documents forged?

Power Line is reporting here that the Texas Air National Guard memos used by 60 Minutes to cast doubt on President Bush's National Guard service are forgeries. This claim is based on the fact that the memos are not in monospaced font -- that is, fonts in which all characters are of equal width. Instead, the memos are in proportionally spaced fonts, meaning that an i is thinner than a w, for example. Proportionally spaced fonts are currently very common, because the advent of laser printers has removed the necessity for mono spacing. But in 1972, the only way to produce proportionally spaced fonts would be through typesetting equipment -- for an internal memo, never meant for public consumption? I mean, one of them is "SUBJECT:CYA"!

Take a look at the memos (PDF format) here, here, here, and here (main site here), and make your own conclusions. I've been working with computers since 1984 (yes, since I was two years old, no joke), and those look like nothing I've seen printed before c.1995 (compare with this unrelated memo from 1972). Because of the proportional space issue, they are obviously not the product of a typewriter. They look exactly like what you'd expect from a modern desktop computer using MS Word and printing to a Canon, Ricoh or any other modern printer.

UPDATE: a reader to Power Line points out the elevated 'th' in this memo. Can anyone prove this was possible to do in 1972 for an internal memo?

MORE UPDATES: Check out the FReeper factcheck, going on here. You'll find typewriter experts (which I am not) weighing in there.

I'm starting to agree with one of the comments below:

I think something very clever is going on here. I think there are 2 real documents and 2 forgeries. The real documents are the memo ordering GWB to take a physical and the memo revoking his flight status. These are the two docs released by the White House; but they are old news, it has been known for 4 years that GWB missed a physical and lost his flight status.

When I made the statement that "[t]hey look exactly like what you'd expect from a modern desktop computer using MS Word and printing to a Canon, Ricoh or any other modern printer," I had one of the last two in front of me -- I believe the third memo. Looking a little harder at the first two, I can accept the possibility that they were made by a high-quality typewriter, though I still doubt it; but that third one -- if it's not a laserjet-printed document, I'll eat my ink cartridge.

And does anyone have solid evidence that these memos are in fact those released from the White House, as some other commenters have asserted? The CNN report makes a distinction between the documents released by the White House and those that CBS had, which were "personal files from one of Bush's Texas commanders saying Bush discussed with him how to avoid drills during 1972."

LGF, which I should read more often, compares his own version of MS Word with the document here.

THE UPDATES KEEP COMING IN: INDC Journal brings in a Forensic Document Examiner to perform an initial visual analysis. Story here.

EVEN MORE: Kevin Drum, who I'm guessing is a liberal-leaning blogger, reports here that the White House released the memos immediately after receiving them from CBS -- meaning that CBS is the source rather than the WH.

CNSNews has picked up the story here. We'll see if any larger news organizations take the ball and run with it.

Mypetjawa is skeptical.

NEWS SLOWING DOWN: INDC's examiner claims 90% probability of a forgery. Other than that, not much is happening. I get the feeling that everyone is taking a deep breath, crossing their fingers, waiting to see if a major news organization touches the story. INDC's comments section is calling on everyone to get ahold of their local CBS stations, let them know that they'll be taking the fall for the network if they don't start looking into this themselves. And Ron Coleman (of Instapundit sidebar-ad fame) instant messaged me to say:

Hi, Josh. As I have said to a number of bloggers, forget the typeface. The memo is simply not written the way U.S. Army personnel would express themselves in that era. "CYA" in a memo? The use of conjunctions in writing was frowned on in schools during the 1940's and '50's, when these officers were educated. It's just too casual -- "not happy today"?

I touched on that earlier ('I mean, one of them is "SUBJECT:CYA"!'), but didn't really go into detail on that. I've been coming at it from a document analysis point-of-view, because that's the part that sticks out to me. But I have read many others pointing out some of the lingual inconsistencies, both with respect to the casual tone and with respect to typical martial memorandums. The CYA is just the most glaring example. Others include references to 'Bush' without mention of his rank in the second report, usage of the term 'physical examination' rather than the industry standard 'medicals', and reference to 'Ftr Intrcp Grp' rather than the standard abbreviation 'FIG'. I don't have first-hand knowledge of this, so feel free to confirm or correct if you have documentation or some other evidence.

TO THE NEXT LEVEL: The Washington Times picks it up here. Actually, they picked it up off of UPI!

SATIRE ALREADY?: The forgery story is also gaining traction in humor circles.

FURTHER ROUNDUP: Sorry about the lack of updates; I went out to eat. Now I'm back for a little bit, and I'll post what I find.

First, WorldNetDaily has the story here, which mentions LGF, INDC, Drudge Report, Kerry Spot, Power Line, and both the CBS 60 Minutes page and the CNS News story.

Luis at UglyPuppy has a detailed analysis of the visual problems here. Lots of pictures, lots of detail on all of the accusations so far related to the look of the memos.

Powerline has more comprehensive updates, including analysis of the signature, more questions about the availability of proportional type, kerning, and a possible anachronism. BTW: if you're reading this, Dafydd ab Hugh, Balance of Power is a great novel!

Hugh Hewitt touches on the story here, and I hear he had a forensic expert on his show today to talk about the possible forgery.

ABC gets in on it with a story, by an AP writer according to the byline, that Killian's son questions whether his father wrote the memo. It also confirms the CBS-to-White House path.

Weekly Standard has also picked up the story. "[A]ccording to several forensic document experts contacted by THE WEEKLY STANDARD say the Killian memos appear to be forgeries."

And there are reports that the Fox News Channel has picked up the story, although I can't find it on their website yet.

That's it for now. I'll let you know more when I find it.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Scrappleface unleashes more humor. Command Post has a roundup. The Talent Show strikes back, but is way behind the news curve.

FINAL UPDATE (probably): Here's what we've all been waiting for: the WaPo picks it up here, and will carry it as front-page news.

After doubts about the documents began circulating on the Internet yesterday morning, The Post contacted several independent experts who said they appeared to have been generated by a word processor. An examination of the documents by The Post shows that they are formatted differently from other Texas Air National Guard documents whose authenticity is not questioned.

Other news hits: The Star Ledger and the Gleaner both carry an AP report. And look at the spin:

Still, the documents marked the second time in days the White House had to backtrack from assertions that all of Bush's records had been released. They also raised the specter that Bush sought favors from higher-ups and that the commander of the Texas Air National Guard wanted to "sugar coat" Bush's record after he was suspended from flying.

This is immediately after admitting that experts believe this is a forgery. If it's a forgery, how can this mark either a forced White House backtrack or the implication that Bush sought favors?

I don't see any other media hits yet.

Mypetjawa is convinced.

Power Line has started new posts on the subject here and following. This one is the most important: Drudge is claiming here that CBS is beginning an internal investigation, and that if need be, Dan Rather will personally correct the record on-air.

If that happens . . . I'm in shock. I know that others (well, a couple at least; let me retain my vanity :P) have pointed to me as one of the pushers of this story. Honestly, I just got lucky by catching the Power Line story at just the right time, and then offering my own uneducated opinion and hanging on for the ride. But to think that a loose group of individuals across the country could conceivably force the biggest name in news to offer an on-air correction . . . If Rather does this, if he apologizes or even just reads a correction note on-air at the end of a newscast, this will be a watershed moment in the blogosphere, in the Internet, and in news. There's no going back.