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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Wow...just...wow...

From Digby (via Atrios):
The appointment of George Bush's leading hawk as head of the World Bank was heading for a crisis over his relationship with a senior British employee.

Influential members of staff at the international organisation have complained to its board that Paul Wolfowitz, a married father of three, is so besotted with Oxford-educated Shaha Riza he cannot be impartial.

Extraordinarily, they claim she played a key role in pushing the 61-year-old Pentagon official into the Iraq War. And the row comes amid claims that Wolfowitz's wife Clare once warned George Bush of the threat to national security any infidelity by her husband could cause.

A British citizen - at 51, eight years younger than Wolfowitz's wife - Ms Riza grew up in Saudi Arabia and was passionately committed to democratising the Middle East when she allegedly began to date Wolfowitz. She studied at the London School of Economics in the Seventies before taking a master's degree at St Anthony's College, Oxford, where she met her future husband, Turkish Cypriot Bulent Ali Riza, from whom she is now divorced.

After they moved to America, Shaha worked for the Iraq Foundation, set up by expatriates to overthrow Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War. She subsequently joined the National Endowment for Democracy, created by President Ronald Reagan to promote American ideals.

Bulent Riza said Shaha started to "talk to Paul" about reforming the Middle East. And New Yorker magazine's respected commentator Paul Boyer observed that a senior World Bank official "named Shaha Ali Riza" was an "influence".

When I heard that Wolfowitz was nominated to be the head of the World bank, I couldn't figure out why exactly. I thought it may have something to do with the Neocon agenda and the resource pillaging of Iraq. Step one was getting us to war, step two is using the World Bank to profit from it (and I may not be that far off). But who knew that he was being led by the johnson by his mistress?

Friday, March 25, 2005

You remember how the right called the left crazy?

So you remember how the right wingers called the left crazy, that they were scared of what we'd do after the election, that we were unhinged, unglued, unstable, loony? Remember how they said there'd be bat-shit crazy liberals out in the streets with guns shooting any random hapless conservative that walked by? Remember how that was just political wing nuttery that never came to fruition? That was awesome.

In other news:
Man Trys Steal Gun to 'Rescue Schiavo'

A man was arrested after trying to steal a weapon from a gun shop so he could "take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo," authorities said.

Michael W. Mitchell, of Rockford, Ill., entered Randall's Firearms Inc. in Seminole just before 6 p.m. Thursday with a box cutter and tried to steal a gun, said Marianne Pasha, a spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Mitchell, 50, told deputies he wanted to "take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo" after he visited the Pinellas Park hospice where she lives, Pasha said.

This is what happens when the President makes the demands of radicals gain legitimacy.


CNN has the details of another conservative murder plot:
...snip...
Authorities said Richard Alan Meywes of Fairview, North Carolina, offered $250,000 for the killing of Michael Schiavo and another $50,000 for the death of Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who ordered Schiavo's feeding tube removed a week ago.
...snip...

It makes me think of the show OZ where the white supremicist rapist Schilinger says "any laws I broke didn't deserve to be laws." Ignoring the fact that plotting to kill someone because of this case is a irony tsunami, this is just scary. When the Free Republic board has to post a message that says "Mod note: Calls for violence will result in suspensions" you know things are getting out of hand.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Posting from SFO

Raise your hand if you're on your way to Hawaii.

:D

I haven't been to Hawaii in nearly 4 years and well, that's just too damned long. The best thing is that I get to be there for nearly 6 days and then I fly to San Diego. NICE! This is going to be a good trip.

I have another great trip coming up too. I'm going to Chiang Mai Thailand on the 29th of April and coming back on the 15th of May. I'm attending a yearly US/Thai military exercise called Cobra Gold. It's hosted by the Thais and by the III Marine Expeditionary Force. Fortunately for this attendee, the III MEF spent so much time working on tsunami relief they feel that the don't really need to do an exercise. So what they are doing is having a week-long conference about the lessons learned from the tsunami relief efforts. The second week is going to be what the military calls a STAFFEX. Basically it's a computer exercise for the logistical staff work - in this case during a disaster relief scenario. All this means that I won't be so freaking busy like I was last year. Like I said, this year's exercise is in Chiang Mai which is Thailand's 2nd largest city. Unlike Bangkok or Pattaya, Chaing Mai isn't known for its nightlife, it's more of a cultural city located in the mountainous resort area of northern Thailand. So I'm looking forward to that. Also one cool thing that I found on the net recently is that Chiang Mai is close to where the Karen Tribe are located. They are known for putting brass rings around their neck to lengthen (or appear to lengthen) their necks.

Oooh, also before Thailand, just after this trip actually, I am finishing my last masters class. WOO HOO! I'll finally be done so I can get my life back. I won't have to worry about taking another class or writing a 10 page paper or logging on every day to make sure my participation gets counted. I'll get to have a "normal" life again. I can't wait.

...also, the plane that I'll be riding in just pulled up. It's a 777 and it's freaking massive. After today, I'll have been in just about everything (KC-135 is essentially a 707, 727, 737, MD-80, MD-11, DC-10, L1011, 757, 767, A340) except a 747 and an A380, maybe I can get that one of those knocked out of the way on my trip to Thailand (which will be commercial not milair...NICE).

Monday, March 21, 2005

This needs to be heard...

Sorry for the blogging break. I've just been so swamped with school and work stuff. After I spend a few hours writing a paper the last thing I feel like doing is blogging. Besides, I really haven't found all that much to blog about recently. The Terri Schiavo issue, although tragic, is of very little concern to me since both Beth and I have living wills (and so should everyone else by the way).

What is a great concern to me is this post from Roachblog (found via Atrios):
This is something my Great Aunt Minnie would say when she really meant Holy Shit. I've posted occasionally about what I fear we have become; both as a military force and as a nation. I'm happy when I don't see news reports that stoke my fears.

I'm not happy now.

Suddenly, the count of prisoners dead in captivity is up to 108. Boy, that happened fast, didn't it? When I did my seven year hitch in the Navy, the gold standard for horrible, communist, totalitarian, non-Geneva convention deadly bastards who you never wanted to get captured by was the North Vietnamese.

They were happy if you died in your cell. They tortured. They hated. They abused just for perverse commie, Stalinist fun. They were the worst. Worse than Nazis, even, because the Nazis at least sometimes pretended to be civilized about POW treatment. The North Vietnamese didn't even pretend.

So how many American POWS died while captured by the insane and lawless North Vietnamese during the entire Vietnam war? One hundred and fourteen. From all causes. What killed the 108 (so far) reported in our custody?

Mostly "violent causes".

Maybe someone would like to explain WTF that means. I don't even want to try.

Amazing.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

And now for something completely different...

Sierra gets a little crazy for the photographer (Beth took this shot)


Seriously, Sierra is a great cat. She's a bit fiesty towards Stevens, but then again Stevens gives it right back to her. Hopefully we can get them to be nice to each other eventually.

Anyone know a good cat trainer? Yeah, me either.

You know what this country needs?

  1. Sweatshops (the 3rd world has them, why can't we?)
  2. To get rid of that pesky 40 hour work week concept (who wants to work 40 hours anyhow?)
  3. To keep workers from receiving overtime (I'm sure most people who get overtime just use that money to buy drugs and porn anyhow)
  4. To prevent states from setting minimum wages that are higher than the federal minimum (minimum wages are so New-Deal era anyhow)
  5. To make it so those who get tips don't drain the pockets of their employers by demanding a wage that is above the poverty line (poverty is all the rage these days I hear)

I say we just adopt the labor laws of a third world country. Burma maybe. Oooh or Vietnam! Indonesia is always a favorite. I tell you what, go to the Gap and pick out ten random articles of clothing. The country represented the most will be our new labor standard.

Find out more here!

Hat tip Atrios

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Hilarious read of the day...

Sometimes you read righties and their arguments are at least well thought out and somewhat cohesive (no Little Green Footballs and Anti-Idolitarian Rottweiler, I'm not talking about you). Sometimes those righties actually make you stop and think about your positions and ideals and see things (even if briefly) from their point of view.

Not today.

I present for you California Conservatives For Truth. Over at CC4T you can read such gems as:
Any parent with a child in a public school has likely discovered our education system is little more than a means by which liberals indoctrinate children with socialist ideology. If this seems a radical assertion, I assure you it is not. In fact, examples abound indicating its accuracy.

Take the "community box," for instance. How many elementary school kids across the country show up the first day of school, only to have their brand-new supplies pilfered by their teacher and thrown into one big box, to be distributed henceforth as said teacher sees fit? (Karl Marx also had very little regard for private property rights.)

and this:
Seems to me like the left is 100% in line with Communist thought.

Wow, did I nod off and wake up in 1955 or something? Note to CC4T, they compare us with terrorists these days. Terrorists not communists. Here, have some more Koolaid.

Maybe you're just being retro. I hear retro is the new black.

Random 10

And now, this week's installment of my random 10:
  1. Bush - Personal Holloway
  2. Gang Starr - Intro (The First Step)
  3. Billy Joel - Goodnight Saigon
  4. Duran Duran - Ordinary World
  5. Coldplay - Daylight
  6. Alice in Chains - So Close
  7. The Pretenders - Thin Line Between Love and Hate
  8. Sheila Nicholls - Fallen for You
  9. Feeder - Buck Rogers
  10. Marcy Playground - Poppies


There's some ... uh ... interesting stuff in there this week. Gang Starr has made the Random 10 every time I have done it I think. Seriously, I haven't listened to them much at all since high school.

Oh yeah, I was totally into rap in high school. And I'm totally not into rap now. Actually, that's not entirely true. I certainly don't like "gangsta" rap. I think mostly because every song is about name dropping and talking about how awesome they are. The type of rap I like is either humorous, has a worthwhile message, or is self-depricating. A good example of this is the Pharcyde. Back in 1994 (when I got that CD), you didn't hear many rappers talking about how girls had passed them by or how they were depressed because a girl left them (but there's other fish in the sea that is). The black eyed peas or ugly duckling are great examples these days. Dave is really into rap (and not only the weenie rap that I like) so if you're interested in learning more, talk to him.

Anyhow, I'm still hammering away at the site and getting my pictures organized. I think my work is going to force me to reformat and reinstall before they'll let me on to the network. Kind of frustrating, but it'll give me the chance to get it set up exactly the way I want. I'm going to partition the drive. Any recommendations on partition size from anyone out there? I want to have an operating system/program files drive and a storage drive. I have 60GB's to play with so I figured I'd do 10/50. Would the program drive be too little or would it be okay?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Sorry it's been so long...

I've been working hard on my photography website. It took me a while to adjust the pictures from the Windjammer Regatta and get them posted. Then I took to designing some spiffy graphics to spruce the page up a bit. Then I took the time to complain about the ridiculous lack of ability to make my site the way I want it on the support forums. They say they'll have a totally skinnable update, but they won't say when. That tells me that they are having some trouble and can't nail down a release date. If it isn't within the next year, I'll be moving everything over to a site that I host myself (maybe I should start reading up on linux, apache, mySQL, and PHP eh?).

I'm having a ball with renting the lenses. This weekend, I'm renting a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L Image Stabilized, Ultrasonic Motor lens. Supposedly, it is an absolutely spectacular lens. It's all kinds of fast (f2.8 over the whole zoom range!) so I think that I may try to find some kind of indoor event to photograph. I really need to work on getting some business cards. *click* Hey, I just took a picture of you that you might like, here's my card feel free to check it out. That's money in the bank!

Actually, I'm just kidding. I'd mostly rather see good people get great pictures. Many of you that read this (if there are still any readers out there that is) don't know that I was in martial arts (Tang Soo Do and Matsumoran Orthodox Shoryn Ryu to be exact) starting when I was 8. I know for a fact that if there was a photographer who got in there and took some great pictures of the contestants, every one of the students' parents would have been so unbelievably happy. I have a lot of pictures, but they're all from crappy cameras. I wish I had some great images to look back on.

So I'm excited about that possibility. There are some other events that I'm excited to photograph coming up. First up will be the Skagit County Tulip Festival - the same one that I got the picture of the little girl and the purple tulips. Next up will be the great weather of spring and hiking trips around the mountains. We'll be taking a trip with Reid (our house's Kato Kalin) down to his home town in Wallowa County, Oregon for Memorial Day. Next up will be the 4th of July, I seriously can't wait for that! After that will be the McChord Airshow where I'll be able to test my skills with wide angle shots of the parked planes and telephoto action shots of the flying planes. I'm also hoping that there will be some kind of hot air balloon festival around here some time.

I'm just crossing my fingers that I'll be around these parts for all of that.

So anyhow, I feel like I've got a lot to learn about photography, photoshop, and the business of selling both, but I'm having a hell of a lot of fun while I'm learning.
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