Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Unforgivable and unforgotten

"'I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' '"
-- Jerry Falwell, Sep 11, 2001

Thanks, Jerry. We need to hear this sort of thing from the Wadical White Wing from time to time just to get our bearings.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Iran quake -- what to do

In light of the enormity of the devastation and tens of thousands who have died

1. Sent $$ to

2. wrote gov't to support relief effort

Monday, December 29, 2003

Who needs a draft?

Not when you can extend enlistments indefinitely ...

'Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Eagle, an expert on enemy targeting, served 20 years in the military -- 10 years of active duty in the Air Force, another 10 in the West Virginia National Guard. Then he decided enough was enough. He owned a promising new aircraft-maintenance business, and it needed his attention. His retirement date was set for last February.

Staff Sgt. Justin Fontaine, a generator mechanic, enrolled in the Massachusetts National Guard out of high school and served nearly nine years. In preparation for his exit date last March, he turned in his field gear -- his rucksack and web belt, his uniforms and canteen.

Staff Sgt. Peter G. Costas, an interrogator in an intelligence unit, joined the Army Reserve in 1991, extended his enlistment in 1999 and then re-upped for three years in 2000. Costas, a U.S. Border Patrol officer in Texas, was due to retire from the reserves in last May.

According to their contracts, expectations and desires, all three soldiers should have been civilians by now. But Fontaine and Costas are currently serving in Iraq, and Eagle has just been deployed. On their Army paychecks, the expiration date of their military service is now listed sometime after 2030 -- the payroll computer's way of saying, 'Who knows?'

The three are among thousands of soldiers forbidden to leave military service under the Army's 'stop-loss' orders, intended to stanch the seepage of troops, through retirement and discharge, from a military stretched thin by its burgeoning overseas missions.' "

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Would everyone else prefer Fox simply drop the 'fair and balanced'

mantra and go with a straightforward 'we use liberals for target practice'?

TIM'S TV LIST / Dramatic list for family viewing

1. "Gilmore Girls." WB. Yes, oddly enough it did pop up on our previous "falling from grace" drama list. And if it is in the midst of a down year, that doesn't diminish the fact that "GG" has, in the past, been far and away the smartest, most assured, funny and moving family drama on television.

Lauren Graham plays the mom as lovingly confused as to the road map of child rearing -- which should make all parents feel better. Her daughter turned out great but the thorny issues with her own parents remain. Modern and complicated, mature and hip, it pulls off the near impossible -- making all three generations interesting.

2. "Joan of Arcadia." CBS. The trick that "Joan" manages so well is luring a young audience to a network (and, by association, a show) that screams, "My parents watch that." But the dynamics here are sound. Two parents with their own issues to sort out, three kids with varying degrees of pressing age-appropriate problems (not to mention that one talks to God regularly). All told, something for everyone, the point of this list.

3. "American Dreams." NBC. Maybe too obviously PC for some people as it tracks the hot-button issues of one seemingly close-knit but internally fractious family through turbulent decades. But the history lessons here are as entertaining as the more straightforward family-familiar plotlines. Nobody said using a family as a metaphor for post-Kennedy America was going to be easy. It's a big task and despite low ratings, fans are passionate for this series.

4. "Everwood." WB. OK, so the dead mom conceit is overused, but Treat Williams as a formerly too-busy-for-his-family neurosurgeon is great, as is Gregory Smith as his moody son -- typical of the WB's ability to mesh adults and teens successfully. The series can at times fall into a bag of saccharine, but it's a hit among the youth demographic while still remaining compelling for adults. A lot of readers have said this series has launched discussions in their homes; given the closed-mouth nature of most teens, that's really saying something.

5. "Smallville." WB. It's the Superman saga updated and given the WB sheen, but it's also a home run with the target audience. Like any series based on a superhero, there are dramatic flights of fancy that you just have to go with -- this ain't gritty reality. But more often than not the storytelling is solid and the outcome entertaining. Part of the parental responsibility, of course, is actually sitting down and doing the watching. You could do a whole lot worse than this, no question.

6. "Judging Amy." CBS. It's been around awhile, it's no longer fresh, possibly never hip and is often lost among each season's new crop. But this is still a fine family show, and Tyne Daly is about as real as you can get when it comes to characterization. Plus, it's Amy Brenneman, for God's sake. Wait, is it wrong to lovingly gaze at another TV wife/mom? This is so confusing. Anyway, maybe not your first choice but a solid show.

7. "The O.C." Fox. Granted, not for the really young. You'd hate to have to constantly explain the sexual urges, or more dangerously, the bitchiness and money lust. But still, this season's surprise hit pairs teen interest with parental interest. The acting is solid on both levels (Peter Gallagher and Adam Brody in particular) and there's enough soapy theatrics to keep everyone glued for their own specific reason. Hey, not every family show has to be "7th Heaven."

8. "7th Heaven." WB. Have you noticed a trend here? Yes, congratulations to the WB for landing four of eight shows on this list. "7th Heaven" was essentially the one that woke up the WB to an interesting fact -- while young teen girls were always the target and hipness was always the hook, staid,

faintly religious "7th Heaven" became the real hit. Family shows, it turned out, weren't such a bad idea. You could still get the youth by going through the parents. Lots of practice is probably why there are so many series here --

deservedly. It must be said, however, that "7th Heaven" has pretty much covered every family storyline imaginable and is getting long in the tooth

TIM'S TV LIST / 39 reasons not to kill the tube

TIM'S TV LIST / 39 reasons not to kill the tube: "Forget about great. Never mind best this and best that. What this country wants most from its television watching experience is entertainment - if it's mindless, that's just a bonus. We are a weary, work-hard people. The Nielsens have historically borne out this fact: Difficult, smart and literate TV offerings are fine for the 5 percent of the people who've got that kind of brain power left at the end of the day. The Great Masses -- they'll take a groin thwack on 'America's Funniest Home Videos' over Bill Moyers pretty much any day of the week.
In that mindset, and because there's just no stopping our 'List Week Hootenanny,' here then the 39 most entertaining things on TV. And, of course, a couple of other lists. It's like a sickness: We can't stop.

1. "24." Fox. Didn't make our best dramas list because, let's face it, there's too much suspended belief here, too much ridiculous nonsense, too much Kim Bauer. But still, this is the ultimate plate-spinner drama. All adrenaline.

Wouldn't miss one ludicrous episode.

2. "Alias." ABC. A complete and utterly confusing piece of fluff. Which means, it's awesome in its own don't-take-it-seriously crusade. Jennifer Garner dressed to kill and kicking much bad-guy ass. What's not to like?

3. "SportsCenter." ESPN. The best highlights show on the planet. All day, every day.

4. "Survivor." CBS. Most reality shows could have made this list, given the American insatiability for them. But this franchise consistently delivers and is one of the best shot and edited series on TV.

5. "The Daily Show." Comedy Central. Jon Stewart is quite possibly the funniest man alive. Required viewing.

6. "MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge." Spike TV. You'd think the carnage would get old. But it never does.

7. "The Sopranos." A serious drama? Sure. Everybody waits breathlessly for this series like Jesus is going to reappear in the second act.

8. Pretty much any reality-based clip-show Fox airs. Honestly, "World's Worst Fill in the Blank" always makes you watch, no matter how inane or morally offensive. Just admit it.

9. "The Office." BBC America. OK, look. It's not for everybody. But there are only 12 episodes, not counting the forthcoming Christmas specials. This is something you rejoice in anytime you see it.

10. David Letterman. CBS. Never disappointing, always different. And now he's a dad and evolving yet again as we watch.

11. "The Simpsons." Fox. Fifteen years of genius. Period.

12. "Cops." Fox. Don't get all high-brow. You know it's fun. All these years and people still take off running. Have they learned nothing? Oh, well, it's better for us when they do.

13. "Late Night With Conan O'Brien.'' NBC. It's hard to believe he's been around 10 years. There's been so much brilliance in the decade, but in particular we are all indebted to him for giving Triumph the Insult Comic Dog exposure.

14. Anything on Nick At Nite. It's like comfort food.

15. "The PowerPuff Girls." Cartoon Network. Just the soundtrack gets our blood pumping, but the cleverness knows no bounds and it never gets old.

16. "Monday Night Football." ABC. A staple. One of the great ideas in all of television.

17. The History Channel. From the hangover-curing Hitler documentaries to the rest of the stuff you'd think would bore the tears out of you, but doesn't.

18. NASCAR. Dismiss it if you want, but people are insane for it. Plus, there's crashes. Not that anyone is supposed to like them.

19. "South Park." Comedy Central. Little cartoon cut-out kids swearing. Cartman alone has made life easier. This show proves we live in a great country.

20. "NFL Countdown/Primetime." ESPN. A gift to sports fans. Tremendous information.

21. "Monster Garage." Discovery Channel. Guys tearing up metal and creating art. It started a wave of industrial rampaging on TV.

22. "Spongebob Squarepants." Nickelodeon. There's no real educational component and for some people, no real allure. But for others, this is cartoon crack.

23. "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." Bravo. Overexposed? Sure. But with the country relentlessly fascinated with makeover shows, this one at least makes you smile instead of wince.

24. BET videos. Pretty much self-explanatory. And if MTV actually played videos, it might have been considered.

25. Almost anything MTV/VH1 does. That's not an endorsement, just fact. From "The Real World" to "Newlyweds" and on down the list, these channels tap into and feed our surface joys, our fixation on eye candy.

26. Jimmy Kimmel. Not everybody's guy. But a guy's guy, and a real emerging talent in late night.

27. "Pardon the Interruption." ESPN. It all works. From the yelling to the timer to the masks to the attention-deficit topic list. Makes time fly.

28. "Maternity Ward." TLC. A lot of non-fiction stuff from the Discovery brand networks could have been here. But this series is compelling and extremely well done.

29. Great commercials. Yep, advertising. Sometimes the best thing in any given TV hour. A current fave: The Miller Lite ad where people topple like dominoes. Inventive and funny.

30. "So Graham Norton." BBC America. A great late-night host. He's got a lightning wit and cutting sarcasm, all sheathed in a heart that kids.

31. "Primetime Glick." Comedy Central. Stupid and addictive, one of the best running sight gags in some time.

32. "Hardball With Chris Matthews." MSNBC. Yes, he yells and cuts off his guests and, well, yells. But he's smart and damn entertaining.

33. "American Chopper." Discovery Channel. Family discord, choppers, tough guys, yelling, strange comedy, cool bikes. Another winning formula.

34. The Outdoor Life Network. It's not often that you can watch fishing on TV. And the Tour de France.

35. "Adult Swim." Cartoon Network. Stupendous: Cater cartoons to adults who don't want to grow up. Weird and hilarious little treasures.

36. "The O'Reilly Factor." Fox. Liberals loathe him. Conservatives bow to him. He provokes everyone. Apparently he's doing something right and should get some credit for knowing how the TV game is played.

37. The Food Network. Hours can slip away, even if you can't cook and you're just hungry. But really, this is all about personalities.

38. The Travel Channel. Perhaps the single most bizarre lineup of shows on any cable channel. Zero focus, but loads of fun.

39. Foreign channels. From telenovelas to mind-bending Chinese soaps, sometimes you get sucked in for long chunks of time, never understanding a word. Now that's entertainment.

TIM'S TV LIST / And now for a little laughter

And now for a little laughter

Tim Goodman Tuesday, November 18, 2003


It's like a lollapalooza of lists here. It's like ... "High Fidelity. " Yes, very funny. We got that already. That's fine. Today's all about funny. Or not funny. Or qualified funny. It's all covered.

Odd, the astute among you may point out, but after bloviating on about how great the dramas are on TV, yesterday you only came up with seven. And, lo,

Mr. The Sitcom Is Dead, there's now a list of 13 comedies. How do you reconcile that?

Easy. We don't. We make lists.


The same rules apply throughout the week. The series are ranked in order. Shows on these lists must be alive. No canceled gems. Of course, a show can be imported. Which is new enough to us. We're easy.

1. "The Simpsons." Fox. First, let's dispense with all the talk about when "The Simpsons" was at its best, at the zenith of its broad, gregarious pop cultural assassinations and reimagining of the American dysfunctional family through cartoons. Yes, some years are better than others. But this is a Hall of Fame entry without an asterisk. "The Simpsons" is the ur-comedy, pre- and post-list cool. It's unmalignable. Let's make this as clear as possible: "The Simpsons" is the greatest television series ever made.

2. "The Office." BBC America. David Brent may be the best comedic invention since Kramer. Or Homer. Maybe better. Given that comedy is so subjective and achieved through so many forms (slapstick, irony, rote punch lines, etc.), there are many species on this list. But "The Office" succeeds where others fear to tread -- without clearly defined ideas of humor, without obvious one-liners and without the safety net of the laugh track. This British workplace mockumentary is utterly brilliant, from its very first step onward. Ricky Gervais is a comic genius, period. If you never saw this, or don't get BBC America, the first-season DVD is out. Wait no longer.

Deep breath. And pause. OK, let's move on.

3. "Curb Your Enthusiasm." HBO. What is it about unpleasant people that is so funny? Maybe the reactions of the normal people around them? Maybe their sheer audacity? Whatever. Larry David has essentially taken Unpleasantville by force and now runs it as his personal fiefdom. But this is an act, right? Yes. Don't hate the messenger. What ignites this series is the dangerously risky but superbly executed notion that if you make viewers squirm and then ratchet it up higher, hilarity ensues. Much of this series is improvisation. But all of it is daring. You can hate Larry David if you want to, but how can you, through the laughter?

4. "Arrested Development." Fox. Every year Fox gives the network television world a really great comedy. This year this is that comedy. Of course, every year it kills that comedy almost without fail. Word is, Fox is going for patience with this one. Lovely news. "Arrested Development" tweaks the conventional sitcom formula and dares the audience to laugh without being prodded. This series is subtle, bizarre and understated. Now start watching it.

5. "Scrubs." NBC. Without question, this is the most underrated and least appreciated comedy on network television. By now, "Scrubs" should have a handful of Emmys in all the important categories, but doesn't. Where the bloom is off many of its stablemates, "Scrubs" remains vibrant and stupid. A nice combination. Also, one day John McGinley will get the Emmy (and the attention) he deserves for his tour-de-force weekly performance.

6. "King of the Hill." Fox. In the vernacular of the series, this show ain't right. And that's what makes it so special. Hank Hill is an American icon. Also, for what it's worth, this is an exceptionally good family series. Mostly it's just sweet and slightly off kilter.

7. "Malcolm in the Middle." Fox. Nestling ever so close to "Scrubs" in the underappreciated department, Malcolm deserves not only a wider audience but also a lot more respect. Physical humor collides with charming silliness, and the two leads, Jane Kaczmarek and Bryan Cranston, are relentless in their malleable-faced pursuit of laughs.

8. "Sex and the City.'' HBO. But is it a sitcom? Yes. Even if it knows that "dramedy" is a more accurate fit, the series prefers to be a comedy. The attraction to "Sex and the City'' is the utter lack of punch lines, of course, as Sarah Jessica Parker and company maneuver through the mine fields of dating and life as fabulous women in a fabulous city. Maybe not a gut-buster, but funny in that knowing way of the world.

9. "Friends." NBC. It's always love-hate. Always. But this is the final year, and looking away from egregious transgressions of sitcom policy is the kind thing to do. And you know what -- the last two seasons have been very funny. In a bleak landscape, this show has always been there for you.

10. "South Park." Comedy Central. It's terrible to be the best show on the planet for such a short, short time. Once the hype and controversy and uniqueness faded, something happened. "South Park" didn't die. It remained clever, vital, even. It got more prickly and dangerous, and even though it's still considered yesterday's "it show," this thing is damn funny more often than not.

11. "Will & Grace." NBC. Like any successful sitcom, this show fell in love with its own cleverness and took some time to rebuild the damage. But the scathing one-liners and snarkiness remain.

12. "Wanda at Large." Fox. So nobody's watching it. So Wanda Sykes was unfunny and annoying at the Emmys. Doesn't matter. The content is still there. It's still angry and funny and different. If you've seen nothing of her but her Emmy appearances or limited "Curb Your Enthusiasm" appearances, you might not know that Sykes is hilarious. She's a wicked stand-up. The more that comes out, the better the show. Fox needs to move this to a safer home.

13. "Frasier." No, really. It's the last season, and it's making a comeback. A big one. There were many safe, predictable "Frasier" seasons and the inevitable detours into Whocaresville. But this will always be a classic sitcom. It bows out this year in style.

Friday, December 19, 2003

On this anniversary of the impeachment, let's not forget the accusers

Gingrich, who managed to blow the top off the hypocrisy index by beating that impeachment drum while boinking his own intern for six years, and his successor, Bob Livingston, whose peccadilloes promptly burst out of HIS closet.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

If W weren't such an inarticulate boob ...

In an interview Tuesday night with President Bush, ABC correspondent Diane Sawyer asked why the administration stated as a "hard fact" that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had such weapons when it appears now he only had the intent to acquire them.
"So what's the difference?" Bush responded. "The possibility that he could acquire weapons. If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger."

-- from The Washington Post 11/18

If he weren't such an inarticulate boob he could have made a better case, like these guys...

'One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.' (1)

'If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program.' (2)

'Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.' (3)

'He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.' (4)

'[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.' (5)

'Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.' (6)

'Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.' (7)

1. President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.
2. President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.
3. Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998.
4. Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
5. Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998.
6. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.
7. Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

In case you were in any doubt about Hamas

Hamas is not fighting for Pal independence and has no interest in any lasting peace. It's committed to the destruction of the state of Israel. Period.

'By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian militants Wednesday rebuffed fresh overtures from Egyptian mediators to halt all attacks against Israelis as part of a proposed cease-fire aimed at reviving a U.S.-backed 'road map' to peace.


Palestinian officials said the Egyptians had pledges from the United States that it would pressure its ally Israel to pull back from Palestinian cities in return for a complete truce by groups that have led a suicide-bombing campaign.

But senior Islamic Jihad official Mohammed al-Hindi said the faction was opposed to the proposals after a second day of talks in Gaza with the Egyptians, who failed to secure a cease-fire at talks in Cairo earlier this month.

'The position of Islamic Jihad is clear and it has remained unchanged,' al-Hindi said. Islamic Jihad and the militant Islamic group Hamas, which has staked out a similar stance, are both committed to the destruction of the state of Israel.'

Delusional leftists are incapable of assimilating this but the rest of you might want to take note. "

Friday, December 12, 2003

Somebody over there sees the big pic

'Having realized, at last, that islands of happiness and prosperity cannot exist unharmed in a sea of misery and depravation, the U.S. and her allies, have decided to eradicate the roots of evil. And the roots of evil are precisely this misery and squalor. It is not a war against a race or a religion; it is a war on backwardness and stagnation; a war to bring prosperity, freedom and progress, thereby freeing people from poverty, despotism and degeneration and hence ending hatred, hostility and alienation which are the true sources of danger and terrorism against the rich and prosperous. This is simple enough reasoning and derives its strength and force from its very simplicity. I said it before; it makes sense, great sense. If this was mere talk and wishfull thinking, many have said it, and thought it. But when it comes to actually taking action, making sacrifices, wading through murky waters, facing the monsters and vermin of the marshland waste deep in treacherous waters, it becomes a grand and historic enterprise, and deserves respect and admiration; as long as the intention remains pure.'

If only that picture were seen as clearly here. "

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Anything Into Oil

Technological savvy could turn 600 million tons of turkey guts and other waste into 4 billion barrels of light Texas crude each year
By Brad Lemley
Photography by Tony Law
DISCOVER Vol. 24 No. 05 | May 2003

Gory refuse, from a Butterball Turkey plant in Carthage, Missouri, will no longer go to waste. Each day 200 tons of turkey offal will be carted to the first industrial-scale thermal depolymerization plant, recently completed in an adjacent lot, and be transformed into various useful products, including 600 barrels of light oil.

In an industrial park in Philadelphia sits a new machine that can change almost anything into oil.
"This is a solution to three of the biggest problems facing mankind," says Brian Appel, chairman and CEO of Changing World Technologies, the company that built this pilot plant and has just completed its first industrial-size installation in Missouri. "This process can deal with the world's waste. It can supplement our dwindling supplies of oil. And it can slow down global warming."
Pardon me, says a reporter, shivering in the frigid dawn, but that sounds too good to be true.
"Everybody says that," says Appel. He is a tall, affable entrepreneur who has assembled a team of scientists, former government leaders, and deep-pocketed investors to develop and sell what he calls the thermal depolymerization process, or TDP. The process is designed to handle almost any waste product imaginable, including turkey offal, tires, plastic bottles, harbor-dredged muck, old computers, municipal garbage, cornstalks, paper-pulp effluent, infectious medical waste, oil-refinery residues, even biological weapons such as anthrax spores. According to Appel, waste goes in one end and comes out the other as three products, all valuable and environmentally benign: high-quality oil, clean-burning gas, and purified minerals that can be used as fuels, fertilizers, or specialty chemicals for manufacturing.
Unlike other solid-to-liquid-fuel processes such as cornstarch into ethanol, this one will accept almost any carbon-based feedstock. If a 175-pound man fell into one end, he would come out the other end as 38 pounds of oil, 7 pounds of gas, and 7 pounds of minerals, as well as 123 pounds of sterilized water. While no one plans to put people into a thermal depolymerization machine, an intimate human creation could become a prime feedstock. "There is no reason why we can't turn sewage, including human excrement, into a glorious oil," says engineer Terry Adams, a project consultant. So the city of Philadelphia is in discussion with Changing World Technologies to begin doing exactly that.
"The potential is unbelievable," says Michael Roberts, a senior chemical engineer for the Gas Technology Institute, an energy research group. "You're not only cleaning up waste; you're talking about distributed generation of oil all over the world."
"This is not an incremental change. This is a big, new step," agrees Alf Andreassen, a venture capitalist with the Paladin Capital Group and a former Bell Laboratories director.
The offal-derived oil, is chemically almost identical to a number two fuel oil used to heat homes.

Andreassen and others anticipate that a large chunk of the world's agricultural, industrial, and municipal waste may someday go into thermal depolymerization machines scattered all over the globe. If the process works as well as its creators claim, not only would most toxic waste problems become history, so would imported oil. Just converting all the U.S. agricultural waste into oil and gas would yield the energy equivalent of 4 billion barrels of oil annually. In 2001 the United States imported 4.2 billion barrels of oil. Referring to U.S. dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East, R. James Woolsey, former CIA director and an adviser to Changing World Technologies, says, "This technology offers a beginning of a way away from this."
But first things first. Today, here at the plant at Philadelphia's Naval Business Center, the experimental feedstock is turkey processing-plant waste: feathers, bones, skin, blood, fat, guts. A forklift dumps 1,400 pounds of the nasty stuff into the machine's first stage, a 350-horsepower grinder that masticates it into gray brown slurry. From there it flows into a series of tanks and pipes, which hum and hiss as they heat, digest, and break down the mixture. Two hours later, a white-jacketed technician turns a spigot. Out pours a honey-colored fluid, steaming a bit in the cold warehouse as it fills a glass beaker.
It really is a lovely oil.
"The longest carbon chains are C-18 or so," says Appel, admiring the liquid. "That's a very light oil. It is essentially the same as a mix of half fuel oil, half gasoline."
Private investors, who have chipped in $40 million to develop the process, aren't the only ones who are impressed. The federal government has granted more than $12 million to push the work along. "We will be able to make oil for $8 to $12 a barrel," says Paul Baskis, the inventor of the process. "We are going to be able to switch to a carbohydrate economy."

Making oil and gas from hydrocarbon-based waste is a trick that Earth mastered long ago. Most crude oil comes from one-celled plants and animals that die, settle to ocean floors, decompose, and are mashed by sliding tectonic plates, a process geologists call subduction. Under pressure and heat, the dead creatures' long chains of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon-bearing molecules, known as polymers, decompose into short-chain petroleum hydrocarbons. However, Earth takes its own sweet time doing this—generally thousands or millions of years—because subterranean heat and pressure changes are chaotic. Thermal depolymerization machines turbocharge the process by precisely raising heat and pressure to levels that break the feedstock's long molecular bonds.
Many scientists have tried to convert organic solids to liquid fuel using waste products before, but their efforts have been notoriously inefficient. "The problem with most of these methods was that they tried to do the transformation in one step—superheat the material to drive off the water and simultaneously break down the molecules," says Appel. That leads to profligate energy use and makes it possible for hazardous substances to pollute the finished product. Very wet waste—and much of the world's waste is wet—is particularly difficult to process efficiently because driving off the water requires so much energy. Usually, the Btu content in the resulting oil or gas barely exceeds the amount needed to make the stuff.
That's the challenge that Baskis, a microbiologist and inventor who lives in Rantoul, Illinois, confronted in the late 1980s. He says he "had a flash" of insight about how to improve the basic ideas behind another inventor's waste-reforming process. "The prototype I saw produced a heavy, burned oil," recalls Baskis. "I drew up an improvement and filed the first patents." He spent the early 1990s wooing investors and, in 1996, met Appel, a former commodities trader. "I saw what this could be and took over the patents," says Appel, who formed a partnership with the Gas Technology Institute and had a demonstration plant up and running by 1999.
Thermal depolymerization, Appel says, has proved to be 85 percent energy efficient for complex feedstocks, such as turkey offal: "That means for every 100 Btus in the feedstock, we use only 15 Btus to run the process." He contends the efficiency is even better for relatively dry raw materials, such as plastics.
So how does it work? In the cold Philadelphia warehouse, Appel waves a long arm at the apparatus, which looks surprisingly low tech: a tangle of pressure vessels, pipes, valves, and heat exchangers terminating in storage tanks. It resembles the oil refineries that stretch to the horizon on either side of the New Jersey Turnpike, and in part, that's exactly what it is.
Appel strides to a silver gray pressure tank that is 20 feet long, three feet wide, heavily insulated, and wrapped with electric heating coils. He raps on its side. "The chief difference in our process is that we make water a friend rather than an enemy," he says. "The other processes all tried to drive out water. We drive it in, inside this tank, with heat and pressure. We super-hydrate the material." Thus temperatures and pressures need only be modest, because water helps to convey heat into the feedstock. "We're talking about temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures of about 600 pounds for most organic material—not at all extreme or energy intensive. And the cooking times are pretty short, usually about 15 minutes."
Once the organic soup is heated and partially depolymerized in the reactor vessel, phase two begins. "We quickly drop the slurry to a lower pressure," says Appel, pointing at a branching series of pipes. The rapid depressurization releases about 90 percent of the slurry's free water. Dehydration via depressurization is far cheaper in terms of energy consumed than is heating and boiling off the water, particularly because no heat is wasted. "We send the flashed-off water back up there," Appel says, pointing to a pipe that leads to the beginning of the process, "to heat the incoming stream."
At this stage, the minerals—in turkey waste, they come mostly from bones—settle out and are shunted to storage tanks. Rich in calcium and magnesium, the dried brown powder "is a perfect balanced fertilizer," Appel says.
The remaining concentrated organic soup gushes into a second-stage reactor similar to the coke ovens used to refine oil into gasoline. "This technology is as old as the hills," says Appel, grinning broadly. The reactor heats the soup to about 900 degrees Fahrenheit to further break apart long molecular chains. Next, in vertical distillation columns, hot vapor flows up, condenses, and flows out from different levels: gases from the top of the column, light oils from the upper middle, heavier oils from the middle, water from the lower middle, and powdered carbon—used to manufacture tires, filters, and printer toners—from the bottom. "Gas is expensive to transport, so we use it on-site in the plant to heat the process," Appel says. The oil, minerals, and carbon are sold to the highest bidders.
Depending on the feedstock and the cooking and coking times, the process can be tweaked to make other specialty chemicals that may be even more profitable than oil. Turkey offal, for example, can be used to produce fatty acids for soap, tires, paints, and lubricants. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC—the stuff of house siding, wallpapers, and plastic pipes—yields hydrochloric acid, a relatively benign and industrially valuable chemical used to make cleaners and solvents. "That's what's so great about making water a friend," says Appel. "The hydrogen in water combines with the chlorine in PVC to make it safe. If you burn PVC [in a municipal-waste incinerator], you get dioxin—very toxic."
Brian Appel, CEO of Changing World Technologies, strolls through a thermal depolymerization plant in Philadelphia. Experiments at the pilot facility revealed that the process is scalable—plants can sprawl over acres and handle 4,000 tons of waste a day or be "small enough to go on the back of a flatbed truck" and handle just one ton daily, says Appel.

The technicians here have spent three years feeding different kinds of waste into their machinery to formulate recipes. In a little trailer next to the plant, Appel picks up a handful of one-gallon plastic bags sent by a potential customer in Japan. The first is full of ground-up appliances, each piece no larger than a pea. "Put a computer and a refrigerator into a grinder, and that's what you get," he says, shaking the bag. "It's PVC, wood, fiberglass, metal, just a mess of different things. This process handles mixed waste beautifully." Next to the ground-up appliances is a plastic bucket of municipal sewage. Appel pops the lid and instantly regrets it. "Whew," he says. "That is nasty."
Experimentation revealed that different waste streams require different cooking and coking times and yield different finished products. "It's a two-step process, and you do more in step one or step two depending on what you are processing," Terry Adams says. "With the turkey guts, you do the lion's share in the first stage. With mixed plastics, most of the breakdown happens in the second stage." The oil-to-mineral ratios vary too. Plastic bottles, for example, yield copious amounts of oil, while tires yield more minerals and other solids. So far, says Adams, "nothing hazardous comes out from any feedstock we try."
"The only thing this process can't handle is nuclear waste," Appel says. "If it contains carbon, we can do it." Г 
This Philadelphia pilot plant can handle only seven tons of waste a day, but 1,054 miles to the west, in Carthage, Missouri, about 100 yards from one of ConAgra Foods' massive Butterball Turkey plants, sits the company's first commercial-scale thermal depolymerization plant. The $20 million facility, scheduled to go online any day, is expected to digest more than 200 tons of turkey-processing waste every 24 hours.

The north side of Carthage smells like Thanksgiving all the time. At the Butterball plant, workers slaughter, pluck, parcook, and package 30,000 turkeys each workday, filling the air with the distinctive tang of boiling bird. A factory tour reveals the grisly realities of large-scale poultry processing. Inside, an endless chain of hanging carcasses clanks past knife-wielding laborers who slash away. Outside, a tanker truck idles, full to the top with fresh turkey blood. For many years, ConAgra Foods has trucked the plant's waste—feathers, organs, and other nonusable parts—to a rendering facility where it was ground and dried to make animal feed, fertilizer, and other chemical products. But bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease, can spread among cattle from recycled feed, and although no similar disease has been found in poultry, regulators are becoming skittish about feeding animals to animals. In Europe the practice is illegal for all livestock. Since 1997, the United States has prohibited the feeding of most recycled animal waste to cattle. Ultimately, the specter of European-style mad-cow regulations may kick-start the acceptance of thermal depolymerization. "In Europe, there are mountains of bones piling up," says Alf Andreassen. "When recycling waste into feed stops in this country, it will change everything."
Because depolymerization takes apart materials at the molecular level, Appel says, it is "the perfect process for destroying pathogens." On a wet afternoon in Carthage, he smiles at the new plant—an artless assemblage of gray and dun-colored buildings—as if it were his favorite child. "This plant will make 10 tons of gas per day, which will go back into the system to make heat to power the system," he says. "It will make 21,000 gallons of water, which will be clean enough to discharge into a municipal sewage system. Pathological vectors will be completely gone. It will make 11 tons of minerals and 600 barrels of oil, high-quality stuff, the same specs as a number two heating oil." He shakes his head almost as if he can't believe it. "It's amazing. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't even consider us waste handlers. We are actually manufacturers—that's what our permit says. This process changes the whole industrial equation. Waste goes from a cost to a profit."
He watches as burly men in coveralls weld and grind the complex loops of piping. A group of 15 investors and corporate advisers, including Howard Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, stroll among the sparks and hissing torches, listening to a tour led by plant manager Don Sanders. A veteran of the refinery business, Sanders emphasizes that once the pressurized water is flashed off, "the process is similar to oil refining. The equipment, the procedures, the safety factors, the maintenance—it's all proven technology."
And it will be profitable, promises Appel. "We've done so much testing in Philadelphia, we already know the costs," he says. "This is our first-out plant, and we estimate we'll make oil at $15 a barrel. In three to five years, we'll drop that to $10, the same as a medium-size oil exploration and production company. And it will get cheaper from there."
"We've got a lot of confidence in this," Buffett says. "I represent ConAgra's investment. We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't anticipate success." Buffett isn't alone. Appel has lined up federal grant money to help build demonstration plants to process chicken offal and manure in Alabama and crop residuals and grease in Nevada. Also in the works are plants to process turkey waste and manure in Colorado and pork and cheese waste in Italy. He says the first generation of depolymerization centers will be up and running in 2005. By then it should be clear whether the technology is as miraculous as its backers claim.

Chemistry, not alchemy, turns (A) turkey offal—guts, skin, bones, fat, blood, and feathers—into a variety of useful products. After the first-stage heat-and-pressure reaction, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates break down into (B) carboxylic oil, which is composed of fatty acids, carbohydrates, and amino acids. The second-stage reaction strips off the fatty acids' carboxyl group (a carbon atom, two oxygen atoms, and a hydrogen atom) and breaks the remaining hydrocarbon chains into smaller fragments, yielding (C) a light oil. This oil can be used as is, or further distilled (using a larger version of the bench-top distiller in the background) into lighter fuels such as (D) naphtha, (E) gasoline, and (F) kerosene. The process also yields (G) fertilizer-grade minerals derived mostly from bones and (H) industrially useful carbon black.
Garbage In, Oil Out

Feedstock is funneled into a grinder and mixed with water to create a slurry that is pumped into the first-stage reactor, where heat and pressure partially break apart long molecular chains. The resulting organic soup flows into a flash vessel where pressure drops dramatically, liberating some of the water, which returns back upstream to preheat the flow into the first-stage reactor. In the second-stage reactor, the remaining organic material is subjected to more intense heat, continuing the breakup of molecular chains. The resulting hot vapor then goes into vertical distillation tanks, which separate it into gases, light oils, heavy oils, water, and solid carbon. The gases are burned on-site to make heat to power the process, and the water, which is pathogen free, goes to a municipal waste plant. The oils and carbon are deposited in storage tanks, ready for sale.
— Brad Lemley

A Boon to Oil and Coal Companies

One might expect fossil-fuel companies to fight thermal depolymerization. If the process can make oil out of waste, why would anyone bother to get it out of the ground? But switching to an energy economy based entirely on reformed waste will be a long process, requiring the construction of thousands of thermal depolymerization plants. In the meantime, thermal depolymerization can make the petroleum industry itself cleaner and more profitable, says John Riordan, president and CEO of the Gas Technology Institute, an industry research organization. Experiments at the Philadelphia thermal depolymerization plant have converted heavy crude oil, shale, and tar sands into light oils, gases, and graphite-type carbon. "When you refine petroleum, you end up with a heavy solid-waste product that's a big problem," Riordan says. "This technology will convert these waste materials into natural gas, oil, and carbon. It will fit right into the existing infrastructure."
Appel says a modified version of thermal depolymerization could be used to inject steam into underground tar-sand deposits and then refine them into light oils at the surface, making this abundant, difficult-to-access resource far more available. But the coal industry may become thermal depolymerization's biggest fossil-fuel beneficiary. "We can clean up coal dramatically," says Appel. So far, experiments show the process can extract sulfur, mercury, naphtha, and olefins—all salable commodities—from coal, making it burn hotter and cleaner. Pretreating with thermal depolymerization also makes coal more friable, so less energy is needed to crush it before combustion in electricity-generating plants.
— B.L.
Can Thermal Depolymerization Slow Global Warming?

If the thermal depolymerization process WORKS AS Claimed, it will clean up waste and generate new sources of energy. But its backers contend it could also stem global warming, which sounds iffy. After all, burning oil creates global warming, doesn't it?
Carbon is the major chemical constituent of most organic matter—plants take it in; animals eat plants, die, and decompose; and plants take it back in, ad infinitum. Since the industrial revolution, human beings burning fossil fuels have boosted concentrations of atmospheric carbon more than 30 percent, disrupting the ancient cycle. According to global-warming theory, as carbon in the form of carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, it traps solar radiation, which warms the atmosphere—and, some say, disrupts the planet's ecosystems.
But if there were a global shift to thermal depolymerization technologies, belowground carbon would remain there. The accoutrements of the civilized world—domestic animals and plants, buildings, artificial objects of all kinds—would then be regarded as temporary carbon sinks. At the end of their useful lives, they would be converted in thermal depolymerization machines into short-chain fuels, fertilizers, and industrial raw materials, ready for plants or people to convert them back into long chains again. So the only carbon used would be that which already existed above the surface; it could no longer dangerously accumulate in the atmosphere. "Suddenly, the whole built world just becomes a temporary carbon sink," says Paul Baskis, inventor of the thermal depolymerization process. "We would be honoring the balance of nature."
— B.L.

To learn more about the thermal depolymerization process, visit Changing World Technologies' Web site:

A primer on the natural carbon cycle can be found

Solution to the Gay Marriage Conundrum

"I do have a better idea --
The government should only recognize civil unions for legal purposes and leave it to the clergy to sanctify marriages. "

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Ubersite - part one in the series of Things I Hate: "Party Poppers"

Ubersite - part one in the series of Things I Hate: "Party Poppers": "these things were designed by some diabolical, be-monocled little nazi, dreampt up in the few moments when he wasnt injecting jews eyes with blue dye or some other equally evil task. one final, bitter, spiteful stab at a world that cast his beloved third reich down. i just know that that evil little piece of shit is limping around argentina with a horrible little grimace of satisfaction on his disfigured little face, giddy with the knowledge, that someone, somewhere is being tormented by his creation. he rubs his soft, surgeons hands over one another like shaved mice and grins with glee. i can almost hear his insane chuckling.

one day im gonna hunt that little fuck down. "

What every Republican knows

What every Republican knows:
(1) the good things that happen during Democrat administrations are because the GOP laid the foundation,
(2) the good things that happen during GOP administrations are because the GOP is correcting the mistakes of previous Democrats,
(3) the bad things that happen during Democrat administrations are their own fault, of course, and
(4) the bad things that happen during GOP administrations are because the previous Democrat administration screwed up.

Yeah, we gotta let a Democrat in every so often to blame all the bad stuff on.

What the anti-war crowd doesn't want to hear...

Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: " Evan Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana and a leader of moderates in the Senate, responded to questions last week on the war in Iraq and a memo detailing links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden sent to the committee in late October by Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith and later excerpted in these pages.

'Even if there's only a 10 percent chance that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden would cooperate, the question is whether that's an acceptable level of risk,' Bayh told me. 'My answer to that would be an unequivocal 'no.' We need to be much more pro-active on eliminating threats before they're imminent.'

Asked about the growing evidence of a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, Bayh said: 'The relationship seemed to have its roots in mutual exploitation. Saddam Hussein used terrorism for his own ends, and Osama bin Laden used a nation-state for the things that only a nation-state can provide. Some of the intelligence is strong, and some of it is murky. But that's the nature of intelligence on a relationship like this--lots of it is going to be speculation and conjecture. Following 9/11, we await certainty at our peril.' "

So will the anti-war crowd in all honesty say they would be just as upset if Gore were running the show and had invaded Iraq without a clear UN mandate?

NB: Bayh's dad was no dummy, either.

Read 'em and weep.

Interesting fact: Incumbent presidents running for reelection who
faced no significant opposition on the party's New Hampshire ballot
have never been defeated for a second term as President.

Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, won the primary with 98.9%, after
facing no serious opposition.

Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, won the primary with 95.3%, after facing
no serious opposition.

Richard M. Nixon in 1972, won the primary with 89.3%, after facing
no serious opposition.

Gerald R. Ford in 1976, won the primary with 49.4%, after facing
serious opposition from Ronald Reagan.

Jimmy Carter in 1980, won the primary with 47.1%, after facing
serious opposition from Ted Kennedy.

Ronald Reagan in 1984, won the primary with 86.1%, after facing no
serious opposition.

George H. W. Bush in 1992, won the primary with 53.2%, after facing
serious opposition from Patrick Buchanan.

Bill Clinton in 1996, won the primary with 84.4%, after facing no
serious opposition.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Fired for insulting bin Laden

WorldNetDaily: Worker fired for insulting bin Laden: "A British prison fired an officer who allegedly insulted terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Colin Rose, 53, is appealing to an employment tribunal in Norwich, England, to get his job back, reports the London Telegraph.
Officials at Blundeston Prison in Lowestoft, England, told Rose he had to go because, although he was unaware of it, three Muslims visiting the prison at the time might have heard his remarks about the al-Qaida leader, the paper said. "

...we wouldn't want to hurt those terrorist-huggers' feelings, now would we?

Saturday, November 29, 2003

When the Jew in Hebron has no more need

of security than the Arab living in Tel Aviv, only then can the terms of a real peace be negotiated.

Today the pals are like the Germans in 1919, feeling betrayed and looking for a Hitler to give them another shot. Until at least a majority of pals accept "defeat" (i.e. the existence of Israel) real progress is impossible.

In palestinian culture, the sins of the brothers

are visited on the sister.

'ABU QASH — Rofayda Qaoud — raped by her brothers and impregnated — refused to commit suicide, her mother recalls, even after she bought the unwed teenager a razor with which to slit her wrists. So Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud says she did what she believes any good Palestinian parent would: restored her family's 'honor' through murder.

Armed with a plastic bag, razor and wooden stick, Qaoud entered her sleeping daughter's room last Jan. 27. 'Tonight you die, Rofayda,' she told the girl, before wrapping the bag tightly around her head. Next, Qaoud sliced Rofayda's wrists, ignoring her muffled pleas of 'No, mother, no!' After her daughter went limp, Qaoud struck her in the head with the stick.

Killing her sixth-born child took 20 minutes, Qaoud tells a visitor through a stream of tears and cigarettes that she smokes in rapid succession. 'She killed me before I killed her,' says the 43-year-old mother of nine. 'I had to protect my children. This is the only way I could protect my family's honor.'

... so much for pal 'family values'

Monday, November 24, 2003

Terrorism defined II

"If you call the tail a leg, how many legs < RoughJustice > 10/26/03 10:31

does a dog have?

Answer: Four. (Calling the tail a leg doesn't make it one.)

We know what terrorism is: The attack on civilians by clandestine groups not acting as the lawful agents of a recognized state for the purpose of instilling terror among the populace to achieve political ends.

If terrorist-style attacks are made on our soldiers, that's not terrorism but it is facile to call it so. And if our soldiers commit atrocities on the civilian population, it is a war crime but still not terrorism. "

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Bodies in the Bushes' Conspiratorial Past

Leading off, my personal favorite for Conspiracy Poster Boy of 1989:

Jake Horton
He was the senior vice-president of Gulf Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, a cohort of Enron in the energy industry, and a major contributer to the Bush agenda. According to reporter Gregory Palast, Horton knew of the company's appalling accounting practices, and "... had no doubt about its illegal campaign contributions to Florida politicans - he'd made the payments himself. In April of 1989 Horton decided to come clean with state officials, and reserved the company jet to go confront company officials. Ten minutes after takeoff the jet exploded.

... no satisfactory explanation ever reported.

Then there's ...

J. Clifford Baxter
Found dead in his car, shot in the head. Mr. Baxter was vice chairman of Enron Corp. when he resigned in May 2001. Enron has been hot copy lately with the revelation that they were the largest campaign contributors for George W. Bush. Was J. Clifford Baxter a potential witness to Bush foreknowledge of their wrongdoings? His death was ruled a suicide.


Charles Dana Rice
He was the senior vice president and treasurer of El Paso Corp., an energy corporation swept up in the recent energy scandal. Two months after the "suicide" of Enron executive Clifford Baxter, in the midst of questions about the accounting practices of El Paso Corp., Charles Rice was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head. His death was ruled a suicide.

...nor should we forget Mr Watkins

James Daniel Watkins
His body was found on December 1, 2001 in the Pike National Forest in Colorado, a gunshot wound to the head. Mr. Watkins was a consultant for Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm for Enron. He disappeared on November 13 after he left work. He was described as a devoted family man who always called home if he were going to be late. Officials initially said that the death was suspicious, but have changed their tune and have ruled his death a suicide.

... and what about poor

Steve Kangas
His web site, Liberalism Resurgent, was meticulously researched and presented such a problem to the 'real boss' of George Bush, Richard Scaife, that he hired a private detective to look into Kangas' past. Steve Kangas was found in a 39th-floor bathroom outside of Scaife's offices at One Oxford Centre, in Pittsburgh, an apparent suicide. Mr. Kangas, a very prolific writer, left no note. He had brought a fully-packed suitcase of clothes with him to Pittsburgh. He bought a burglar alarm shortly before he left for Pittsburgh. Why did he need a burglar alarm if he was going to commit suicide? An avowed advocate of gun control, he nevertheless bought a gun. What was he afraid of? Why did he go to Pittsburgh? After his death, his computer was sold for $150 and its hard drive wiped clean. Everything in his apartment was thrown away.

... and finally someone who wandered too close to the fire, Danny Casolaro.

He was working on a book that tied together the scandals surrounding the presidency of George H. W. Bush. He told his friends he was going to 'bring back' the head of the Octopus. Instead, his body was found in a hotel in Martinsburg

...These guys play for keeps methinks.

The wadical white wing of the Weapublican Pahty & Healthcare "Reform"

Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: "The wadical white wing of the Weapublican Pahty < RoughJustice > 11/22 20:11:23

has left the reservation again, trying to slam through their halfbaked version of health care reform...

'White House officials have spent the entire day on the phone trying to coax votes out of Democrats.
Remember what a cow many of these same people had over the secrecy and complexity of the Clinton health care plan in 1994? Well, the Medicare bill is 600-pages long. And buried in those 600 pages are all sorts of changes thrown in at the last minute, during meetings of a secret conference committee that included just two Democrats--one who votes like Republicans on Medicare (John Breaux) and one who lacks the backbone to defend his party's positions (Max Baucus).

Where's the outrage now?

... sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, boys. Bad form.

Friday, November 21, 2003

You Can't Handle the Truth!

Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH! < Col_Jessop > 11/21 18:08:25

Son we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Communication? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Baathists, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury! You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that Iraqi death, while tragic, probably save lives! And my existence, while grotesque, and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't want to talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! We use words like 'honor', 'code', 'loyalty'. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline! I have neither the time, not the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps uner the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to! "

Mossad And Moving Companies

Mossad And Moving Companies - Masterminds Of Global Terrorism?: "Cloudcroft, New Mexico Police Chief Stops Israelis With Suspicious Cargo

By Michael Shinabery
Staff Writer
Alamogordo Daily News

CLOUDCROFT, NM -- That they were speeding through the school zone first got his attention.

That they had Israeli driver's licenses and expired passports made him suspicious.

Cloudcroft Police Chief Gene Green stopped the 2-ton van on Thursday, for speeding. Initially, Green thought the truck was commercial because of exterior markings. But when he found it was out of Chicago, he asked for documentation such as logs books and manifests.

'They said this is a U-Haul truck and handed me a rental agreement (for) in-town delivery only in Illinois, (which) had expired two days before,' Green said. He called for backup, and Otero County Sheriff's Deputy Billy Anders, who patrols the Sacramento Mountains, arrived, along with Capt. Norbert Sanchez and Det. Eddie Medrano.

'We got them out and started digging a little deeper,' Green said, 'got permission to search the truck. They claimed they were hauling furniture from Austin to Chicago.' When officers advised the men they were not exactly en route from one town to another, Green said the two men claimed they were Deming bound. 'But they couldn't give us an address in Deming they were going to,' he said. 'Once we got into the truck, they had some junk furniture I wouldn't have given to Goodwill.'

Also inside the vehicle were, Green said, '50 boxes' they claimed was a 'private' delivery, but the men insisted they had no 'idea what was in them.'

At that point, the officers called for drug-sniffing and bomb-sniffing dogs. The men were turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization"

The other day I was scanning the news reports and came across a rather mundane item that really got me to thinking. It simply read:

Cloudcroft, New Mexico Police Chief Stops Israelis With Suspicious Cargo

By Michael Shinabery
Staff Writer
Alamogordo Daily News

CLOUDCROFT, NM -- That they were speeding through the school zone first got his attention.

That they had Israeli driver's licenses and expired passports made him suspicious.

Cloudcroft Police Chief Gene Green stopped the 2-ton van on Thursday, for speeding. Initially, Green thought the truck was commercial because of exterior markings. But when he found it was out of Chicago, he asked for documentation such as logs books and manifests.

"They said this is a U-Haul truck and handed me a rental agreement (for) in-town delivery only in Illinois, (which) had expired two days before," Green said. He called for backup, and Otero County Sheriff's Deputy Billy Anders, who patrols the Sacramento Mountains, arrived, along with Capt. Norbert Sanchez and Det. Eddie Medrano.

"We got them out and started digging a little deeper," Green said, "got permission to search the truck. They claimed they were hauling furniture from Austin to Chicago." When officers advised the men they were not exactly en route from one town to another, Green said the two men claimed they were Deming bound. "But they couldn't give us an address in Deming they were going to," he said. "Once we got into the truck, they had some junk furniture I wouldn't have given to Goodwill."

Also inside the vehicle were, Green said, "50 boxes" they claimed was a "private" delivery, but the men insisted they had no "idea what was in them."

At that point, the officers called for drug-sniffing and bomb-sniffing dogs. The men were turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and U- Haul recovered the truck.

Contents of the boxes remain unknown, pending investigation.

On May 7, 2002, local police authorities pulled over a Budget rental truck in Oak Harbour, Washington near the Whitney Island Naval Air Station. The driver and his passenger were Israeli nationals, one of which had entered the country illegally. The other had an expired visa. Tests performed on the vehicle revealed that there were traces of TNT on the gearshift and RDX plastic explosives on the steering wheel. But no actual explosives were reported to have been found in the truck. [Fox News, 5/13/02]

A report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer the following day reported that the FBI performed follow-up tests on the truck which turned-up negative. One source speculated that perhaps the original tests had actually detected just cigarette residue, and not explosives. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 5/14/02, Jerusalem Post, 5/14/02].

Daily MarketWrap

Daily MarketWrap: " Robert Rodriguez, one of the best performing money managers during the last decade, has 20% of his stock fund in cash and bonds because he can't find U.S. shares that are cheap enough to buy. Rodriguez is a value investor who said he bought stocks for eight to ten times earnings earlier this year, and is unwilling to pay double those multiples today. However, he has been buying some energy service stocks, like Patterson UTI, Ensco, and National Oil Well. He is positive on the price of natural gas for the next several years."

Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Incompetent and the Unaware

Yahoo! Mail - "people who lack skill in a particular domain of human endeavor suffer under a dual burden. First, they lack the skill. More important, because they lack the skill, they lack the capacity to perceive that they lack the skill, which leads them to conclude that they don't. That and a recent British survey indicating that 1 in 3 Britons believe George Bush is stupid (and a threat to world peace, but that's out of scope here), caused a glimmer of synthesis and insight on my part. Anyway, here's the study: "

Israeli restraint

Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: "Many society's have dealt with occupations < RoughJustice > 11/20 11:18:32

and far more brutal ones at that without resorting to blowing up the occupier's children.

I personally admire Israeli restraint in the face of such utterly barbaric behavior. If it were our kids being slaughtered we'd do far more than send in the dozers."

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Bush is a born again Wilsonian democrat

"America's proper role in promoting democracy and freedom in the world was a big issue in the 2000 presidential election. One of the candidates was a Wilsonian idealist, arguing that the prestige and even the military strength of the United States should be used to remake other governments in our image. The other candidate was contemptuous of this woolly-minded notion, saying American blood and treasure should be spent only in humanitarian emergencies or to protect our own narrowly defined self-interest.

The idealist won the election, in the opinion of many. But the skeptic took office. And then, guess what! The skeptic became a woolly-minded idealist! Democracy's a funny thing.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Minority voters are a minority 11/09/03 - GOP’s Southern (=Sailer) Strategy Rises Again. Actually, It’s Never Been Down.: "Despite winning some black votes, in the East, the GOP did poorly in the 2002 House races—because it won only 48 percent of the white vote.
In the South, however, the GOP performed strongly—because it captured 69 percent of the whites. Turnout among whites was also strong.
My theory: despite putting up a smokescreen about how crucial the minority vote was to the Party, Karl Rove surreptitiously put tremendous resources into a get-out-the-vote drive aimed especially at the kind of less-educated whites who don't always show up to vote.
At VDARE.COM, we refer to this shocking idea of appealing to the white vote as 'The Sailer Strategy' because I've described it in several articles. It shocked Jim Robinson so much that he banned us (and readers posting us) from Free Republic!
Although it’s not attracted as much attention, the challenge facing the GOP in the South is very like the problem notoriously confronting the GOP in California: there are a lot of minority voters there. (26 percent in the South in the 2000 election, compared to 29 percent in California). Haley Barbour’s Mississippi, in particular, is almost three-eighths black.
In the Golden State, this demographic fact-of-life caused the Republican Party to panic from 1998 through 2002. But GOP Southern strategists apparently kept their cool by bearing in mind this simple truth: 'Minority voters are a minority.'"

For the Record, Iraqi death toll ~ 13K

Back In Iraq 2.0: "Study: Between 11,000 and 15,000 killed in Iraq
Between 11,000 and 15,000 Iraqis died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, with 30 percent, or between 3,200 and 4,300 people, being civilian noncombatants, according to a new study from the Project on Defense Alternatives, a Boston-based think tank. The percentage of noncombatant deaths is almost twice that of the 1991 Gulf War.
The study looks at the period from March 19 to May 1, when President George W. Bush declared пїЅmajor combat operationsпїЅ to be over, and finds that:
Approximately 201 coalition troops, of which 148 were American, died in Operation Iraqi Freedom; and

between 11,000 and 15,000 Iraqis died, with about 30 percent (3,200 to 4,300) being noncombatant civilians who did not take up arms against Coalition troops."

Sunday, November 16, 2003

CASE CLOSED (Osama-Saddam Link Proved in Intel Cmte Brief) ... or is it?

Weekly Standard ^ | Nov 14, 2003 | Stephen Hayes
From the November 24, 2003 issue: The U.S. government's secret memo detailing cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

CASE CLOSED (Osama-Saddam Link Proved in Intel Cmte Brief ) "OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD. "

... BUT...

who put together this new memo, the one the Standard article is based on? "The U.S. Government," as the headline of the article says?

Not exactly. As Steve's article makes clear, the authorship is a bit more specific. "The memo," writes Steve ...

dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration. Intelligence reporting included in the 16-page memo comes from a variety of domestic and foreign agencies, including the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Much of the evidence is detailed, conclusive, and corroborated by multiple sources.
In other words, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee is doing their investigation into the pre-war intelligence. This memo is what Doug Feith sent them representing their side of the story. With the exception of some tidbits from interviews with Iraqis now in custody, this is, to all appearances, the same bill of particulars that Feith's shop put together in 2002 and which was panned by the analysts in the rest of the Intel community.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Party Polarity Pegged

WH2004: General: "'In general, would you like to see George W. Bush reelected to another term as president, or not?'
Yes No Don't Know
% % %
ALL 44 50 6
Men 45 51 4
Women 42 51 7
Republicans 86 10 4
Democrats 10 86 4
Independent 40 53 7

...Has party polarity ever been this strong?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

A chicken that will come home to roost: China

Unique among our trading partners, China is an 800 lb gorilla with a very poor attitude.

'We know we're losing jobs to China. One way of protecting oneself is investing in Chinese companies and benefiting from the growth of these companies. The problem is in China the investor doesn't necessarily rank high on the order of cash-flow distribution.

In Western capitalism, the shareholder has a right to that cash flow. In China and elsewhere in developing countries, companies are government owned or owned by the military and a general's cousin may run the business. It's a complex investment process. It's a problem from a global investor's point of view.

But the collision problem also affects investors from a non-Asian perspective. Let's say you want to invest in Cisco (CSCO:Nasdaq - commentary - research). And you have 3Com (COMS:Nasdaq - commentary - research) striking up a relationship with Huawei, the Cisco of China.

Huawei is a private company with a stated intention to displace Cisco as king of the router market. That's the collision course. You've got a great company like Cisco that's got a very high valuation, and it's going to have shrinking margins. Huawei can make irrational decisions about pricing because they don't have to care about shareholders. This is a very big concern for investors, whether you're committed to investing only in the U.S. or global. Navigating this collision will be very difficult.

Cisco sued 3Com over this partnership, and they dropped the suit. Huawei made specific products that Cisco accused them of blatantly copying. So there's the intellectual-property issue as well -- we know China just doesn't care. "

...You can't beat 'em and you can't join 'em either. so what's the answer? Embargo the bastards?

Monday, November 10, 2003

How many men does it take to screw in a democracy?

Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: "How many men would it take to subdue Iraq? < RoughJustice > 11/10 17:08:54

According to the US Army War College, between 4 and 20 per thousand population or 100,000 to half a million in this case. More important, it gets worse as the size of the major cities increases and Baghdad is huge, concentrating about 20% of the entire population. Just dealing with a moderate sized capital city would be daunting. 'Sustaining a stabilizing force at such a force ratio for a city as large as one million (or for a country as small as one million) could require a deployment of about a quarter of all regular infantry battalions in the US Army. With current force sizes this means that within two years, every infantry soldier in the US Army would have been cycled through an operational deployment and many would have started on second deployments to the operational area.

The human consequences are potentially more grave. It is sobering to realize that, at a minimum, any extended commitment to a particular operation could mean many individuals would expect a deployment to that operation every year. It is difficult to predict the full range of effects on family life caused by frequent absences of military family members and their frequent exposure to combat-like conditions. '

Veterans Day

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. How soon we forget.

In his History of the First World War, J. P. Taylor gives the following figures (loss of life):

USA 114,095
British Empire 251,900
Turkey 375,000
Italy 460,000
Great Britain 761,213
Austria-Hungary 1,100,000
France 1,358,000
Russia 1,700,000
Germany 2,000,000
Total Military Loss of Life 8,120,208
Total Civilian Loss of Life 8,742,296

In terms of losses (military) this amounted to 5,509 per day. That's the equivalent of 3 Vietnam Wars every single month for 4 solid years.

It quickly became known as the War to End All Wars, making war simply unthinkable among civilized men.

Then 20 years later they did it again. Mother of God, what a ghastly nightmare."

' Democracy Will Succeed’

Words to confront the future by:
"as we meet the terror and violence of the world, we can be certain the author of freedom is not indifferent to the fate of freedom. "

I wonder who actually wrote this speech...and I wonder who will quote it in years to come. It nothing if not quotable.

'Iraqi Democracy Will Succeed'

Published: November 6, 2003

Thanks for the warm welcome. Thanks for inviting me to join you in this 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy.
Staff and directors of this organization have seen a lot of history over the last two decades. You've been a part of that history. By speaking for and standing for freedom you've lifted the hopes of people around the world and you've brought great credit to America.
I appreciate Vin for the short introduction.
I'm a man who likes short introductions.
And he didn't let me down. But more importantly, I appreciate the invitation.
Appreciate the members of Congress who are here, senators from both political parties, members of the House of Representatives from both political parties.
I appreciate the ambassadors who are here.
I appreciate the guests who have come. I appreciate the bipartisan spirit--the nonpartisan spirit of the National Endowment for Democracy. I'm glad that Republicans and Democrats and independents are working together to advance human liberty.
The roots of our democracy can be traced to England and to its Parliament and so can the roots of this organization. In June of 1982, President Ronald Reagan spoke at Westminster Palace and declared the turning point had arrived in history. He argued that Soviet communism had failed precisely because it did not respect its own people, their creativity, their genius and their rights.
President Reagan said that the day of Soviet tyranny was passing, that freedom had a momentum that would not be halted.
He gave this organization its mandate: to add to the momentum of freedom across the world. Your mandate was important 20 years ago. It is equally important today.
A number of critics were dismissive of that speech by the president, according to one editorial at the time. It seems hard to be a sophisticated European and also an admirer of Ronald Reagan.
Some observers on both sides of the Atlantic pronounced the speech simplistic and naive and even dangerous.
In fact, Ronald Reagan's words were courageous and optimistic and entirely correct.
The great democratic movement President Reagan described was already well under way.
In the early 1970s there were about 40 democracies in the world. By the middle of that decade, Portugal and Spain and Greece held free elections. Soon, there were new democracies in Latin America and free institutions were spreading in Korea and Taiwan and in East Asia.
This very week, in 1989, there were protests in East Berlin in Leipzig. By the end of that year, every communist dictatorship in Central America had collapsed.
Within another year, the South African government released Nelson Mandela. Four years later, he was elected president of his country, ascending like Walesa and Havel from prisoner of state to head of state.
As the 20th century ended, there were around 120 democracies in the world, and I can assure you more are on the way.
Ronald Reagan would be pleased, and he would not be surprised.
We've witnessed in little over a generation the swiftest advance of freedom in the 2,500-year story of democracy. Historians in the future will offer their own explanations for why this happened, yet we already know some of the reasons they will cite.
It is no accident that the rise of so many democracies took place in a time when the world's most influential nation was itself a democracy. The United States made military and moral commitments in Europe and Asia which protected free nations from aggression and created the conditions in which new democracies could flourish.
As we provided security for whole nations, we also provided inspiration for oppressed peoples. In prison camps, in banned union meetings, in clandestine churches men and women knew that the whole world was not sharing their own nightmare. They knew of at least one place, a bright and hopeful land where freedom was valued and secure. And they prayed that America would not forget them or forget the mission to promote liberty around the world.
(Page 3 of 5)
Seventy-four years ago, the Sunday London Times declared nine-tenths of the population of India to be, quote, "illiterates, not caring a fig for politics." Yet, when Indian democracy was imperiled in the 1970s, the Indian people showed their commitment to liberty in a national referendum that saved their form of government.
Time after time, observers have questioned whether this country or that people or this group are ready for democracy, as if freedom were a prize you win from meeting our own Western standards of progress. In fact, the daily work of democracy itself is the path of progress. It teaches cooperation, the free exchange of ideas, peaceful resolution of differences.
As men and women are showing from Bangladesh to Botswana to Mongolia, it is the practice of democracy that makes a nation ready for democracy and every nation can start on this path.
It should be clear to all that Islam, the faith of one-fifth of humanity, is consistent with democratic rule. Democratic progress is found in many predominantly Muslim countries: in Turkey, Indonesia and Senegal and Albania and Niger and Sierra Leone.
Muslim men and women are good citizens of India and South Africa, the nations of Western Europe and of the United States of America. More than half of all Muslims live in freedom under democratically constituted governments.
They succeed in democratic societies, not in spite of their faith, but because of it. A religion that demands individual moral accountability and encourages the encounter of the individual with God is fully compatible with the rights and responsibilities of self-government.
Yet there's a great challenge today in the Middle East. In the words of a recent report by Arab scholars, the global wave of democracy has, and I quote, "barely reached the Arab states. They continue this freedom deficit, undermines human development and is one of the most painful manifestations of lagging political development."
The freedom deficit they describe has terrible consequences for the people of the Middle East and for the world.
In many Middle Eastern countries poverty is deep and it is spreading, women lack rights and are denied schooling, whole societies remain stagnant while the world moves ahead.
These are not the failures of a culture or a religion. These are the failures of political and economic doctrines.
As the colonial era passed away, the Middle East saw the establishment of many military dictatorships. Some rulers adopted the dogmas of socialism, seized total control of political parties and the media and universities. They allied themselves with the Soviet bloc and with international terrorism.
Dictators in Iraq and Syria promised the restoration of national honor, a return to ancient glories. They've left instead a legacy of torture, oppression, misery and ruin.
Other men and groups of men have gained influence in the Middle East and beyond through an ideology of theocratic terror. Behind their language of religion is the ambition for absolute political power.
Ruling cabals like the Taliban show their version of religious piety in public whippings of women, ruthless suppression of any difference or dissent, and support for terrorists who arm and train to murder the innocent.
The Taliban promised religious purity and national pride. Instead, by systematically destroying a proud and working society, they left behind suffering and starvation.
Many Middle Eastern governments now understand that military dictatorship and theocratic rule are a straight, smooth highway to nowhere, but some governments still cling to the old habits of central control.
There are governments that still fear and repress independent thought and creativity and private enterprise; human qualities that make for strong and successful societies. Even when these nations have vast natural resources, they do not respect or develop their greatest resources: the talent and energy of men and women working and living in freedom.
Instead of dwelling on past wrongs and blaming others, governments in the Middle East need to confront real problems and serve the true interests of their nations.
The good and capable people of the Middle East all deserve responsible leadership. For too long many people in that region have been victims and subjects; they deserve to be active citizens.
Governments across the Middle East and North Africa are beginning to see the need for change. Morocco has a diverse new parliament. King Mohammad has urged it to extend the rights to women.
(Page 4 of 5)
Here's how His Majesty explained his reforms to parliament: "How can society achieve progress while women, who represent half the nation, see their rights violated and suffer as a result of injustice, violence and marginalization, not withstanding the dignity and justice granted to them by our glorious religion?"
The king of Morocco is correct: The future of Muslim nations would be better for all with the full participation of women.
In Bahrain last year citizens elected their own parliament for the first time in nearly three decades. Oman has extended the vote to all adult citizens.
(excerpt missing)
Champions of democracy in the region understand that democracy is not perfect. It is not the path to utopia. But it's the only path to national success and dignity.
As we watch and encourage reforms in the region, we are mindful that modernization is not the same as Westernization. Representative governments in the Middle East will reflect their own cultures. They will not, and should not, look like us. Democratic nations may be constitutional monarchies, federal republics or parliamentary systems.
And working democracies always need time to develop, as did our own. We've taken a 200-year journey toward inclusion and justice, and this makes us patient and understanding as other nations are at different stages of this journey.
There are, however, essential principles common to every successful society in every culture.
Successful societies limit the power of the state and the power of the military so that governments respond to the will of the people and not the will of the elite.
Successful societies protect freedom, with a consistent impartial rule of law, instead of selectively applying the law to punish political opponents.
Successful societies allow room for healthy civic institutions, for political parties and labor unions and independent newspapers and broadcast media.
Successful societies guarantee religious liberty; the right to serve and honor God without fear of persecution.
Successful societies privatize their economies and secure the rights of property. They prohibit and punish official corruption and invest in the health and education of their people. They recognize the rights of women.
And instead of directing hatred and resentment against others, successful societies appeal to the hopes of their own people.
These vital principles are being applied in the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq.
With the steady leadership of President Karzai, the people of Afghanistan are building a modern and peaceful government. Next month, 500 delegates will convene a national assembly in Kabul to approve a new Afghan constitution. The proposed draft would establish a bicameral parliament, set national elections next year and recognize Afghanistan's Muslim identity while protecting the rights of all citizens.
Afghanistan faces continuing economic and security challenges. It will face those challenges as a free and stable democracy.
In Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council are also working together to build a democracy. And after three decades of tyranny, this work is not easy. The former dictator ruled by terror and treachery and left deeply ingrained habits of fear and distrust. Remnants of his regime, joined by foreign terrorists, continue to battle against order and against civilization.
Our coalition is responding to recent attacks with precision raids, guided by intelligence provided by the Iraqis themselves.
We're working closely with Iraqi citizens as they prepare a constitution, as they move toward free elections and take increasing responsibility for their own affairs.
As in the defense of Greece in 1947, and later in the Berlin Airlift, the strength and will of free peoples are now being tested before a watching world. And we will meet this test.
Securing democracy in Iraq is the work of many hands. American and coalition forces are sacrificing for the peace of Iraq and for the security of free nations. Aid workers from many countries are facing danger to help the Iraqi people.
The National Endowment for Democracy is promoting women's rights and training Iraqi journalists and teaching the skills of political participation.
Iraqis themselves, police and border guards and local officials, are joining in the work and they are sharing in the sacrifice.
(Page 5 of 5)
This is a massive and difficult undertaking. It is worth our effort. It is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes: The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world and increase dangers to the American people and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region.
Iraqi democracy will succeed, and that success will send forth the news from Damascus to Tehran that freedom can be the future of every nation.
The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.
Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.
As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export.
And with the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo.
Therefore the United States has adopted a new policy: a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before and it will yield the same results.
As in Europe, as in Asia, as in every region of the world, the advance of freedom leads to peace.
The advance of freedom is the calling of our time. It is the calling of our country. From the 14 Points to the Four Freedoms to the speech at Westminster, America has put our power at the service of principle.
We believe that liberty is the design of nature. We believe that liberty is the direction of history. We believe that human fulfillment and excellence come in the responsible exercise of liberty. And we believe that freedom, the freedom we prize, is not for us alone. It is the right and the capacity of all mankind.
Working for the spread of freedom can be hard, yet America has accomplished hard tasks before.
Our nation is strong. We're strong of heart.
And we're not alone. Freedom is finding allies in every country. Freedom finds allies in every culture.
And as we meet the terror and violence of the world, we can be certain the author of freedom is not indifferent to the fate of freedom.
With all the tests and all the challenges of our age, this is, above all, the age of liberty. Each of you at this endowment is fully engaged in the great cause of liberty, and I thank you.
May God bless your work, and may God continue to bless America.

Text of President Bush's remarks on the 20th Anniversary of The National Endowment For Democracy

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Blueprint for a Mess

Why some pubs aren't exactly happy campers...

1. Getting In Too Deep With Chalabi
2. Shutting Out State
3. Too Little Planning, Too Late
4. The Troops: Too Few, Too Constricted
5. Neglecting ORHA
6. Ignoring the Shiites

Whether the United States is eventually successful in Iraq (and saying the mission 'has to succeed,' as so many people do in Washington, is not a policy but an expression of faith), even supporters of the current approach of the Coalition Provisional Authority concede that the United States is playing catch-up in Iraq. This is largely, though obviously not entirely, because of the lack of postwar planning during the run-up to the war and the mistakes of the first 60 days after the fall of Saddam Hussein. And the more time passes, the clearer it becomes that what happened in the immediate aftermath of what the administration calls Operation Iraqi Freedom was a self-inflicted wound, a morass of our own making.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition: "The Palestinian death cult negates all the assumptions of western sentimental pacifism: If only the vengeful old generals got out of the way, there'd be no war. But such common humanity as one can find on the West Bank resides, if only in their cynicism, in the leadership: old Arafat may shower glory and honor on his youthful martyrs but he's human enough to keep his own kid in Paris, well away from the suicide-bomber belts. It's hard to picture Saeb Erekat or Hanan Ashrawi or any of the other aging terror apologists who hog the airwaves at CNN and the BBC celebrating the death of their own loved ones the way Miss Jaradat's brother did. 'We are receiving congratulations from people,' said Thaher Jaradat. 'Why should we cry? It is like her wedding day, the happiest day for her.' "

Friday, November 07, 2003 | America's deficits | America's deficits: "For all the talk of Social Security reform, the only White House action on entitlements has been to expand them. The contrast with Ronald Reagan is revealing. The Gipper cut discretionary non-defence spending by 13.5% in real terms and made an effort to overhaul entitlements. In 1983 a commission on Social Security reform raised the retirement age as well as payroll taxes.
Look closely, and Mr Bush is also much less of a tax reformer than Mr Reagan was. In 1986, the Gipper presided over the biggest tax reform in modern American history. The tax base was broadened and rates were lowered, but the overall tax burden remained unchanged. Although Team Bush wants a reformed tax code, aimed at consumption rather than income, their strategy of tax reform via tax cuts will not produce a clean reform. Many of the subsidies and loopholes of the current system will remain. The result will be a narrower tax base, full of distortions, which shifts the burden of taxation towards poorer Americans.
The other big difference with the Gipper is that Mr Reagan was not averse to putting up taxes when too much red ink appeared. Taxes were raised several times during his presidency. Congressional rules on deficit reduction were introduced during Mr Reagan's second term. So far, at least, Team Bush has shown no such flexibility. There is no admission that America faces a fiscal mess, and no shifting from the mantra that all tax increases, at all times, are bad. "

...Yes we got trouble right here in River City! Trouble begins with T and stands for Trillion! (44 of em, but who's counting
What the Economist doesn't bother to say is that Democrats were in control of at least one house of Congress and had major roles in shaping tax reforms. Where is Daniel Moynihan now that we need him?