Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Friday, May 31, 2002

What a bastard!

What a bastard! (Sorry Lee-ann, but that is the only appropriate word.) Read this:
Berkmar High principal Jim Markham said he has fielded a slew of angry phone calls and e-mails for denying a handicapped high school senior a walk across the school's graduation stage last week.
But he said Tuesday he sticks by the decision, which the student, Masha Malikina, considers "incredibly cruel" and plans to challenge.

"It was an issue of safety," Markham said. "It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make."

But, according to the student:
Malikina said her doctors had given her the go-ahead, and she was shocked at the last-minute derailment of her plans.

"I was told that it was a time issue, that they were afraid I would take too long," she said. "No one ever said they were concerned about leg spasms."

I would have waited, with pleasure.

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I hope NPR doesn’t hear about this

I hope NPR doesn't hear about this Apparently, the BBC sent all TiVo recorders as episode of a new sitcom, whether the folks who owned the Tivo sets wanted it or not

I didn't know that the broadcaster could turn on a TiVo set remotely. Makes me glad I don't have one.

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The aluminum foil hat folks

The aluminum foil hat folks have to be loving this.
The FBI on Thursday won additional powers to conduct domestic counterterrorism surveillance that critics said could trample on Americans' constitutional rights.

A quarter century after the government imposed guidelines to curtail domestic spying, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced changes to lift FBI restrictions on conducting surveillance of public gatherings, religious and political organizations and surfing the Internet as part of the government's response to Sept. 11 attacks.

I know that there are a lot of people who aren't worried about this because they trust Bush and Ashcroft not to abuse this power. Whether they are right or wrong in that trust is irrelevant. What about the next guys to hold those offices? Or the ones after them? Would you trust Nixon with this kind of authority?

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Gotcha! A pro-life group, Life Dynamics, recently conducted a 'sting' operation on abortion clinics.
Life Dynamics said one of its activists has called more than 800 abortion clinics nationwide in recent months, pretending to be a 13-year-old girl impregnated by her 22-year-old boyfriend. What she learned is that more than 90 percent of the clinic employees handling the calls said they would conceal the information provided by the caller, according to Life Dynamics president Mark Crutcher.

Such an action would be a violation of the law in states that require the reporting of sexual abuse of a minor. A 22-year-old having sex with a 13-year-old is considered statutory rape in all 50 states.

This is outrageous. The right to privacy should not be used a shield to protect child abusers, but the war between pro-life and pro-choice has so skewed the values of those who favor abortion rights, that they are willing to do just that.

More from the story:
Planned Parenthood called Life Dynamics' campaign an attack
"Their attacks are trying to damage Planned Parenthood, and also eliminate reproductive health services in this country," said president Gloria Feldt. "They'll use any tactics they can."

Hmmm. point out that laws are being violated on a widespread basis, and that is an attack? I don't think so. And telling the truth is not a tactical move, but a relevatory one.

On the other hand, pro-lifers don't have completely clean hands either:
Anti-abortion organizations have also expanded their use of the Internet. In addition to identifying doctors who perform abortions, several sites carry photographs of clinic employees and of women entering clinics to get abortions.

"In this way, mothers who go to kill their babies will be exposed to the world," anti-abortion activist Neal Horsley wrote on an Internet site seeking volunteers to take photographs outside clinics.

Horsley contends, and some legal experts agree, such use of photographs is protected by the First Amendment.

Legal, maybe, but ethical? Absolutely not! They should be ashamed.

UPDATE And some are

Officials with Right to Life may agree with the message, but not the strategy.

"I think it's going to cause more harm than good," Right to Life President J. Patrick Conroy said. "Not only do I object to it on the basis of the intimidation factor, but I think in this case the backlash will exceed the intended, anticipated benefits."

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It’s not my fault, the devil made me do it!

It's not my fault, the devil made me do it! First tobacco, now gaming, next, they're gonna take your Whopper!
There's a huge cost to communities, there's a huge cost to individuals, particularly to families of compulsive gamblers," said Scott Harshbarger, president of Common Cause, a citizens group that promotes government accountability.

Harshbarger is also the former attorney general of Massachusetts who launched the tobacco industry lawsuits. In the biggest class-action settlement in history, tobacco companies agreed to pay 48 states $246 billion in damages.

Now, Harshbarger is ready to tackle gambling, which he calls the next public health crisis. He said casinos could hold a huge potential payout to help recovery efforts for addicts.

I'm beginning to agree with Dick the Butcher in Henry VI pt 2.

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Thursday, May 30, 2002

No posting yesterday

No posting yesterday My ISP connection was broken. But, never fear, the time was not wasted. There are 2, count 'em, two new posts over at And So It Goes finishing the tale of the memorial day weekend.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002

New posts

New posts to Battle of the Bulge, One step up and two steps back and to And So It Goes, A Holiday Weekend, or Why I Go To Work.

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He’s leaving home

He's leaving home My oldest son, Adam, graduated from high school on Monday. He makes me proud to be his dad.

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Patriotism is an extremist emotion

Patriotism is an extremist emotion, at least, it is according to the Anti Defamation League.
FreedomFest organizer Wayne Hicks describes the upcoming celebration as "a big 4th of July party," replete with fireworks, patriotic musical performances, a turkey shoot, gun show, craft fair, and even a petting zoo and horseback rides for the kids.

The Independence Day weekend event will take place in Dry Fork, Ark. from July 2 through July 6 and it will include the following presentations: "The Bill Of Rights ... and Why We're Losing them," "The Constitution and Constitutional Law," "A Complete Explanation of Section 861 of the IRS Code," and "Keeping and Bearing: What Part of 'Shall Not Be Infringed' don't they understand?"

However, ADL, which has a stated mission to "expose and combat the purveyors of hatred in our midst," lists FreedomFest on its "Schedule of Upcoming Extremist Events for 2002," lumping the event in the same category with the "Aryan Unity Rally," "White solidarity gathering," and "Klan Jam."

ADL's only explanation for labeling FreedomFest an extremist event is that it's "sponsored by Fourth Branch, an anti-government group, and Sierra Times."

This is tolerance?

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Scarier than the terrorists

Scarier than the terrorists Fox News has this story on the changes at the FBI.
The plan amounts to a wholesale change of focus from the FBI's historic role of investigating crimes that have already been committed to a new mission: preventing future crimes and terrorism.

The FBI itself describes it as a shift from a "reactive to a proactive orientation." Many reforms had been proposed for years but, until Sept. 11, the FBI resisted change.

The turnaround amounts to a massive change in structure, investigative techniques, culture, attitude, procedures and methodology, hiring and technology.

Sounds pretty innocent until you get to this paragraph:
There will be a new emphasis on computers and technology. For years, the FBI's technology has been woefully outdated — many networks are not linked and analysis is inadequate.

The new National Joint Terrorism Task Force, already in operation, will establish an Office of Intelligence that will encourage analytical capabilities.

More critically, the new intelligence section will have sweeping investigative authority in the U.S. — authority that has not existed recently, as the Central Intelligence Agency cannot spy in the United States and FBI undercover work has until now been limited to probing crimes that are assumed to have already occurred.

You know, there was a reason why the CIA was forbidden to spy inside the US. MAybe we ought to remember that reason before we carelessly discard it. What are we giving up in the name of security?

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Still Talking the talk,

Still Talking the talk, but it remains to be seen whether they can walk the walk.
Said-Rahman said Pakistanis were working with al-Qaeda. "Everyone is working together - Harakat-ul Jihad, Harakat-ul Mujahedeen, al-Qaeda," he said, referring to extremist groups outlawed by Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president. "People are angry with Musharraf. Muslims everywhere are angry."

He said reports about possible terrorist attacks in the US were true. "We have information that there will be some big suicide attacks in the United States," he said. "We know it will happen. We have information. We know the situation. The Americans and the British are the big enemies. They have destroyed Afghanistan."

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Truth and consequences

Truth and consequences The news.telegraph has this story on the possible consequences of a limited nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan.
An American intelligence report says a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan could kill up to 12 million people and injure seven million.

The disclosure came as Pakistani nuclear experts bitterly criticised the armies of both countries for trivialising nuclear war and failing to educate their people about the consequences.

The US assessment said a limited nuclear exchange would have cataclysmic results, overwhelming hospitals across Asia and the Middle East and requiring vast foreign assistance, particularly from America, which would be forced to go in and clean up the radioactive mess.

This assessment comes as Musharref made a speech insisting that Pakistan would not start a war, but would not hesitate to fight it.
Tension is at its height. The danger of war is not yet over," he said in a toughly worded address to the nation, delivered as one million troops massed on the border between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

But in "a message to the world community", he said Pakistan did not want a war. "Pakistan will not be the one to initiate war. We want peace in the region," he said.

But Musharraf said: "If war is thrust upon us, every Muslim is bound to respond in kind" and would "fight to the last drop of blood."

Question: What should the US do to stop this?
Answer: Whatever it takes.

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The Eagle and the Bear

The Eagle and the Bear have joined together.
Bush, just days after he and Putin signed an agreement slashing their nuclear arsenals by two-thirds over 10 years, hailed the transformation of Russia from Cold War rival to friend.

"Today marks a historic achievement for a great alliance and a great European nation," Bush said during his turn in sequential speeches by NATO partners.

"Two former foes are now joined as partners, overcoming 50 years of division and a decade of uncertainty," Bush said. "This partnership takes us even closer to a larger goal, a Europe that is whole, free and at peace for the first time in history."

About 20 years ago (dear god, that long?) I remember hearing a prophecy attributed to Nostradamus, that the third world war would happen when "the eagle and the bear join together to fight the dragon." Back then, such an alliance appeared to be extremely unlikely. Of course, at that time, there was no internet to use to refute these myths, so that little quote stayed in the back of my head. I wish I could remember where I heard it, because I've done several searches, and while I've found it attributed to Revelations, Nostradamus, and even Hopi legends, there has never been a verse or quatrain citation that I could look up. Even the usually reliable Urban Legends site is silent.

Anyway, it really doesn't matter. What is more interesting is that just a few months ago, Russia signed a non aggression and mutual defense pact with China. Now they are cozying up to NATO. It raises disturbing similarities to the prelude to WWII.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2002

I’m back!

I'm back! Did you miss me? I had a very busy weekend, which I will share with you in detail over on And So It Goes, but first I have to get caught up on the news over the last 4 days.

It's amazing how much of my news comes from blogging these days. Imake my daily rounds of the news sites on the web, then read my daily blogs, and I've got a clear picture of what is happening in the world that day. I've been off the web for the last 3 days, and I decided to watch the NBC Evening News last night to get caught up.

What a waste of time.

In a 30 minute telecast, I learned that:
  1. A nuclear war between India and Pakistan would kill millions.
  2. The US is not completely secure from terrorists, but we are making progress.
    • Our borders are still porous, but we've given the Border Patrol horses.
    • Our airline security people have not been replaced with federal employees yet, but the cockpits are locked and passengers are ready to fight back.
    • People are getting tired of vague warnings and alerts, but still want to know every scrap of information the government has, as soon as it has it.
  3. Russia is now a member of NATO.

    Only the last item is really news. The rest is fluff. Network news is not dying; it is already dead. Time to get rid of the rotting corpse.

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A picture is worth a thousand words

A picture is worth a thousand words I was going to write about what Memorial Day means. Instead, I'll just direct you here.

That says it all....

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