a Someone should care, maybe not you....: February 2006 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

28 February 2006


In light of the recent furor over cartoons depicting Mohammed with the justification for their publication being free speech I find it interesting that in the Europe that so strongly supports free speech in this case one can go to jail because of what you say. Now that might make sense if what you were saying was that people should kill the president or some other form of rabid insurrection. But it isn't. David Irving, a British historian, was recently sentenced to three years in prison in Austria because he questioned the severity of the Holocaust and Hitler's involvement in it. Now, I know that is a pretty foolish damn thing for a so called historian to be making a big stink over but still, in a place that vaunts free speech like the EU seems to it is pretty damn hypocritical for 11 countries to have laws that will jail you if you dispute the Holocaust.
Something to think about at least......
David Irving

23 February 2006

The turning point?

This bombing of the Shiite mosque in Samarra Iraq could quite possibly be the turning point in Iraq. Which way it turns is still very much up in the air. The blast was most likely set off by the Al-Queda elements in Iraq which have openly been trying to create sectarian conflict to create more chaos in the country. This could do it. The Shiites are taking it badly as well might be expected. This could push the conflict to the extreme of total sectarian civil war which will drive the Kurds to move strongly for a separate nation again and drop the rest of the country into a cesspool of death and chaos that will make Afghanistan or Yugoslavia look peaceful.
The other alternative is that this could be the event that brings the various Iraqi factions together against the Al-Queda forces. There were some signs of this when initial reports indicated that elements of Mehdi army of Al-Sadr had moved in to protect Sunni Mosques in Basra from crowds of protestors and the calls from other Shiite leaders for the violence to stop. We shall see.

unfortunately I am not very optimistic. Violence and Chaos seem much more likely but I have been surprised a few times before.

NOTE: Bring the factions together against Al-Queda would not mean they are all suddenly for the U.S. That is a different conflict that will need to be worked out too.

19 February 2006

No politics or war...

No fighting over anything in fact. Just a cool picture (I think) and a strangely decorated car.

This is a picture I took on a rainy foggy evening just at sunset. I like the way everything came out blue. No, I didn't use any filters or anything to get it this way, it just happened. The photo is overlooking my "pond"* towards my house.

Now this next picture is of a car I saw on my way back from a fencing tournament this past weekend. ( I placed third thank you). The little white designs are stickers that had been very carefully placed on the car by someone with either too much time or too much money on their hands.

I put pond in quotes because while the hole in the ground with some water purports to be a pond, at the moment it is more of a .... Well, hole in the ground with some water in it. During the early summer it was deeper than I am tall but now due to an exceptionally dry August-November it is about 18 inches deep in the area with water. Not a great pond but still it attracts the frogs. Which is pretty weird for February anyway.

16 February 2006

Cheney, so what?

Ok, we all know by now that the vice President accidentally shot a lawyer while "hunting"* at some ranch. We also know that he didn't go to the press right away and cry Mea Culpa and explain the whole story over and over to the press.
So What? I mean really, it isn't like he was denying it or trying to cover it up. Nobody was blaming some other guy for doing it.
I watched some press weasel form, the Washington Post on News Hour last night whining that Cheney hadn't apologized to "us or the American People." Now why in Heck should he apologize to the Press for anything relating to this? Same goes for the American People. He needs to apologize to the lawyer, his wife and probably the owner of the hunting preserve whose insurance rates just went up. But he didn't do anything to us, the American People. He did do something to the Washington Press Corps I suppose. He didn't feed their egos by running to them first and crying for their mercy. Instead a local paper got the local story first. Imagine that!
I'm sorry, this whole thing is a big NON-ISSUE.

14 February 2006

Immigration idiocy

The department of immigration and naturalization here has gotten the message that to many illegal aliens are in the US and there is a need to keep terrorists out and it is their job to do something about it. As such, many low level employees are give great power over issues of people coming into the country. They are told on one hand to used their good judgment and discretion, but, on the other hand, they are also told that if someone gets in on their watch their heads will roll. What is the upshot of this? Idiocy at the border. Probably the most egregious case involves a second grader in New York that Immigration officials have been trying to deport for the last two years. His mother is a naturalized American citizen, his father is not and lives in Canada. Two years ago the boy went to visit his father and due to a paper work error the INS tried to refuse him entry into the country. When his mother finally got him back in they promptly began deportation proceedings against the boy. When the New York Times published a front page story about the case the higherups in the Department got involved, to avoid bad PR, and quickly dropped the case. This does not change the fact that the mother has spent more that $10,000 over the last tow years in a pointless and stupid war with people who wanted to deport her son.
In another case an Irish Literature Professor came to the US as a guest professor to teach a course at the University of Pennsylvania. When he arrived it was determined that there was an error in his paper work. At first the immigration officer offered to correct the error if the Professor paid a fine on the spot but then changed her mind saying he was a professor and "should have known better" He was arrested, strip searched and sent to cell where he was told that if he protested he would be deported and never allowed into the US again. Sharing his cell that night was a pregnant German women whose visa had been summarily cancelled by immigration agents who said she was planning on violating the visa by working in the US. They were both returned to Europe the next day. The Professor got things straightened out and got back to the US a week later to teach his class but needless to say, his friends in Europe certainly have an interesting view of how we operate over here now.
In a third case, a group of Tibetan Monks were visiting, sponsored (and funded) by a church (the Church of Shambahala)in Arizona. When they declined to recognize the church's leader as the reincarnation of both Jesus Christ and Buddha the church withdrew their sponsorship thus causing their visas to be revoked. The group of Monks went to Omaha to a series of Buddhist workshops were a dozen immigration officers in Riot gear descended on them to arrest them because they were now "fugitive aliens".

Now I know that a lot of folks get all worked up over illegal immigration and call for strict control of the borders. Some loons even call for the militarization of the border. I must ask, do we really want to live in a place where stuff like this becomes the norm? Because if we do this it will become more, not less common. When bureaucrats are given authority over things they will always take the stupidest interpretation of the rules to best COVER THEIR ASSES.
I personally don't want to live in a country with enforcement like this. I don't want to see the military patrolling our borders like they did in East Germany and do in North Korea (the two best examples of countries that successfully "control their borders".)
It's just damn foolish.

13 February 2006


This thing is running very slow for me today so I will update tomorrow. Immigration issues. How Homeland security and a secure border is making mountains from molehills.

09 February 2006


Enough of politics for awhile, I found a new drink. Ironbeer, which is not beer but is a soda. This is a soft drink that originated in Cuba in 1917. In 1960 after Castro took Cuba the company emigrated to Miami where it is still based. It is a sweet somewhat fruity drink, I think it has a bit of Cream soda flavor although others disagree. At any rate it is good. Give it a try if you can find it. Look in Hispanic groceries or maybe some of the "gourmet" grocery chains. Or maybe Trader Joes or World Market. There are even a few online place you can order it.*


07 February 2006

It just gets worse and worse

This cartoon nonsense is getting worse everyday. In Afghanistan a protest outside the US base at Bagram turned violent and Afghan police/soldiers fired on the crowd killing and wounding several people. Then up in the North a crowd of protestors attacked the ISAF* Provisional Reconstruction Team's base in Meymaneh in Faryab province. The ISAF troops there number about 100 and are from Norway and Finland. They are there rebuilding the area, helping reconstruct and develop the country. And they get attacked because of cartoons published last September in Denmark. The ISAF troops fired warning shots and tear gas to drive the crowd back. At least one grenade was thrown at the compound and some reports state that the troops only fired after people in the crowd shot at them. 3 afghans were killed and 30 wounded. 5 Norwegian troops were injured int he attacks too. The deputy governor of the province says the Afghans were killed when Afghan Police opened fire on the crowd after the crowd started shooting. But a senior Police officer denies that the Police killed anyone.
IN Iran crowds are attacking the Danish embassy with stones and Molotov cocktails for the second day, the Danish embassy in Syria was set on fire Saturday, and the embassy in Lebanon was sacked over the weekend.
On a better side moderate Moslems in Denmark are calling for peace and condemning the attacks. The worse it gets, the more papers are publishing the cartoons.
This whole mess is going to be great fodder for the isolationists who think we should ignore the world. And it is clear that freedom of speech and freedom of the press don't exist in many peoples minds.

* ISAF International Security Assistence Force. Currently headed up and run by NATO.

03 February 2006

Cartoons for chaos....

I suppose you have at least heard a bit about the cartoons that were published in a Danish newspaper that are the cause of chaos, rioting, and threats across the Islamic world.
The cartoons in question were published last year. The editor of the paper wanted to see what kind of reaction would be drawn. He said he wanted to find out if the large number of Islamic immigrants to Denmark were influencing limitations on freedom of speech in the country. There were immediate protests and some death threats for the editor proving his contention that there was a conflict between liberal Danish culture and the values of the immigrants. Then the issue was fairly promptly forgotten but all except for a small group of Moslem activists who carried copies of the cartoons to the Middle East to spread the word of Denmark's blasphemy. Soon there were protests being planned and carried out in various places in Palestine. Then, to add gasoline to the fire, a conservative Christian paper in Norway "in support of" the Danish Paper republished the cartoons. By January there were violent protests in Iraq and Palestine, threats of terrorist attacks, boycotts of European goods, Muslim countries are pulling their ambassadors out of Denmark.
The Danish government has stood firm in support of freedom of the press. (Bravo for them.) In Norway many have criticised the other paper for unnecessary provocation and trying to cause conflict.
As the cartoons became news several other papers in Europe reprinted them also. The pot has thus been further stirred and protests against the EU are spreading now. It seems the more protests arise the more papers carry the cartoons.

I find curious the various stands taken on the issue. Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, the leader of Iraqi Shiites, condemned the publication of the pictures but said Islamic extremists were also at fault for distorting the image of Islam around the world. Afghan president Hamid Karzai called for Moslems to be forgiving, saying that issue should be cause for a dispute between cultures. The Vatican condemned the cartoons saying western culture needed to know it's limits.

So what is the big fuss over? Well, part of it is that the current Moslem tradition is that there should not be images of Mohammed. This has not always been the case as can be seen by this scholarly look into the issue Images of the Prophet Muhammad - a Zombie Error in which historic images of Mohammed made by Moslems are listed and discussed as well as some detailed discussion in the comments on the issue.

I myself have a difficult time getting excited about this. There have been so many "blasphemous" depictions of Christ over the years and no one but the fundamentalists get very upset. I do find it interesting that many of the voices that condemn the Danish publication are those that defend those depictions of Christ but hey, what's a little hypocrisy in scholarly circles?
I personally feel that the publication of offensive material solely to offend people and draw a response, which is what the Danish paper admittedly did, is wrong. It is in extremely poor taste and demonstrates lousy judgment. But that is what freedom of the press is about.
Have you seen the cartoons? I hadn't until I started writing this and went out and found a copy. So, to save you the hunt, here they are.