Saturday, November 29, 2008

CIA Scandal Erupts

CIA Scandal Erupts | By Colin Clark Thursday, November 20th, 2008 4:15 pm | Posted in Intelligence, International, Policy - "It must be the worst nightmare of every CIA director — the agency ignores its own rules and regulations and kills innocent Americans, and then the people in charge of the operation lie to Congress and cover up what happened."

There's all kinds of conspiracy nuts loving this news. But it's not about secret spy missions or Black Ops. It's about abuse of power. When you think you are god you don't care what you do. This is why I am not happy with the "Patriot Act" and other similar laws. You can fight crime and terrorists without creating secret police or KGB like organizations.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm not like Taffy 3

From 23-26 October 1944, the greatest naval battle in the history of the world was fought in what become known as the Battle of Leyte Gulf. While Gen. Douglas MacArthur lead the landing and invasion of the Philippine island of Leyte, a small support force of escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts held off, and defeated, a Japanese task force lead by the greatest battleship ever built. The Yamato. The massively out gunned and out numbered support group designated Taffy 3 pulled off a miracle and kept the Army invasion force from being annihilated. The actions of ships like the destroyer Johnston and destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts (affectionately known as Sammy B, the destroyer escort that fought like a Battleship) are some of the greatest stories of WWII. So what does this have to do with anything?

This week, Thanksgiving week, I pretty much torpedoed myself completely. Circumstances found me alone for the holiday and most of the week. This seems to be a state in which I am not functional. I did nothing at all until today when my son came over. This includes my school work. Now I have two-and-a-half days to get everything done, including the special projects that are worth 30% of my grade. I already lost a significant portion of the weeks score by not performing the actions needed to get attendance credit. This week is likely to be the poorest grade I've had to date. It could knock me out of being on the honor roll, which would be the first time in my scholastic life I've ever been on it.

But that's all done with now. The only thing I can do is work these next few days to kick @$$ on everything else and finish the last two weeks on a high note. I believe I can do it but I'm not sure how to overcome this kind of problem should it come up in the future.

P.S. The story of Leyte Gulf is one that I feel everyone in the world should know. Look at it from a military perspective and learn how massive battles can be won or lost by the actions of a few men. And if you happen to be a USian feel free to glory in the determination of our brave sailors, soldiers and marines.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mumbai attacks kill 80, police shoot four gunmen

Mumbai attacks kill 80, police shoot four gunmen | By Rina Chandran | MUMBAI (Reuters) – "Gunmen killed at least 80 people in a series of attacks in India's commercial hub Mumbai and troops began moving into two luxury hotels on Thursday where foreign hostages were being held, local television said.

The attacks by small groups of gunmen armed with automatic weapons and grenades on the hotels and other sites in the city came amid state elections, including in Kashmir, and risk destabilizing the country ahead of national elections next year.

More insane killing. While killing is not a sane thing to do these kind of "terrorists" attacks just don't make any sense. At least not to me. I guess that's because I'm not an insane, irrational whack-job. Most of the time the people being killed in these attacks are the people who are supposedly being fought for by those doing the killing. Just look at the attacks in Iraq and other places around the world.

The problem, though, is how do you stop people joining these fanatical cults? Striking back doesn't work, just look at the Gaza strip. Ignoring them is a little better but doesn't lessen the violence all that much. What is needed is some way to get to the young people before the terrorist recruiters do. External forces don't work (e.g. Military or Governmental action) but neither does internal work (e.g. Social or Cultural action). It's takes community leaders, starting in the neighborhoods and working all the way up to National & International levels. No group or organization can really stop the madness. Only people can.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rotting teeth... Not quite

It seems I grind my teeth when I sleep. Over the last 8 or so years this grinding has led to some teeth cracking with whole chunks falling off. Specifically three molars. I had the first one worked on this month. On the 11th they dug out everything (pulp, nerves, etc) all the way down to the root. This is where the term Root Canal comes into play. I got a temporary filling until the 18th when I went back to have it built up. The first part wasn't really painful at all. The second part, well, that was a little different.

There was a lot of pulling, scraping, sanding and even some little things that looked like needles. The wildest part, though, when when the dentist started using a torch to heat up these little metal things and stick them in my tooth. The smell of things burning isn't one you'd usually associate with the dentist office. This visit had a lot more being done on the tooth. Once it was finished I had a usable tooth again.

Well, almost usable. Once feeling started to come back into my jaw this procedure was a little painful. Lots of throbbing and tenderness in the tooth, jaw and jaw muscles. I wasn't able to chew much more than "Cream of Wheat" (I prefer the instant mix). But by this morning it was feeling well enough to have a cinnamon bun thingy, which was really good. I figure by Thanksgiving I'll be able to chow down on whatever there is.

As for the other two teeth, one I'm just going to have pulled. At least that's the plan at the moment. The other will get it's own rooting out in January. After that I think I have a cavity or two then maybe some teeth whitening. That'll be the only cosmetic thing I'll do for my teeth. It's more so that I can see my smile through the beard. My bottom teeth could use some serious straightening but I've become so used to my funky bite I don't want to change it.

Besides, it'll give CSI a unique bite mark to trace after I lose it and go on a three state killing spree.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy birthday to me

Forty-six years ago at approximately this time on this day I was born in an Army hospital in Bremerhaven Germany. And the rest is history.

Ticking away the moments that make up the...

Man, this going to school stuff is fun but complex. Not having any abilities in organization or time management, I've found it difficult to do school, web/email & this blog all at the same time. It's not a matter of a lack of time, I got nothing but these days. It's more about using the time I have in a productive way. I tend to spend many, many, many... (Did I mention many?) hours doing nothing but watching TV.

However, I have recently found some methods and tools for helping me get a handle on everything and make better use of my day. If/when I get things going I'll be much more active on posting things here. Though it's not like anyone actually reads this anyway.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Is the Internet haunted?

Is the Internet haunted?
"Have you ever noticed something online that you couldn't explain and was more than a little creepy? You're not alone. Whether it's sites that seem to looking back at you or Facebook profiles that update themselves, the Internet has a ghost problem. Who ya gonna call?"

A tad late for Halloween but still fun. See if you can find some ghosts.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Historic Election! Does it matter?

Thank $DEITY, it's finally over! Another day or so and hopefully all this political crap will be behind us.

There's lots of reasons to rant and rage about the US electoral process; the Electoral Collate does nothing but invalidate the voting process, the misuse of absentee ballots by those not physically absent, the ridiculous fund raising laws and rules which allow a party to get $5M a day (which could have helped fix the financial/economic problems), etc. But this particular rant is about the idiotic idea that one candidate or party is "better" than another.

As you may have noticed when you voted yesterday, there were more names on the ballot than just the Dem and GOP offerings. We had Independents, Greens, Libertarians, blah, blah... But the reality of those also-ran's is they are nothing more than pipe dreams. The system is setup for two parties when it comes to the presidency. This election we had McCain vs Obama. Republican vs Democrat. But what did that distinction really mean?

Abso-fricking-lutely nothing! The reality of it all is that there's no effective difference between the two parties. Nor between the two candidates. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

"But wait," I hear you cry, "There's a huge difference in what the parties and candidates put forth as their positions on just about everything dealing with the governing of the country." True enough. But it's all smoke and mirrors. You have to look at the situation from an objective view in order to see what's really going on. But that's virtually impossible for people to do. There's three positions on the value of the parties; The Republicans are right and everyone else is wrong, the Democrats are right and everyone else is wrong, and then there's the position that both are wrong. If you thought that one or the other candidate/party in this presidential election was the tool of the anti-Christ then you are, by definition, unable to see the reality of what is happening.

See, the differences between the two parties and their candidates are really very superficial. They pick positions based more on what they think will keep them in power than anything remotely related to helping the country and it's citizens. Think I'm full of it? Go back and investigate the last 12 or so elections. Look at what the candidates promised and what they actually did once elected. Look at the prevailing cultural and social norms of the times and see how that effected the way the parties ran their campaigns. If you look at it with no preconceived ideas, no biased emotions you'll discover something very fascinating.

So what does all this have to do with the election yesterday? Simply put, Barack Obama is a horrible choice for the presidency. But before you go apes**t on me the fact is that John McCain would have been equally as bad a choice. All of the "good" things Obama will do will be canceled out by the harm he'll cause. The only difference if McCain were elected is that the "good" he'd do would be in the areas that Obama will screw up. And the harm he'd cause would be in the areas Obama will improve. They are two sides of the same coin. That is also true of the two parties. If there were such a thing as common sense in this world neither of the parties would be let near the government. Unfortunately you can't have common sense in politics. It is like trying to build a fire with a water hose.

The only saving grace the US has is that we put a term limit on the office. We just came out of 16 years of extremely bad leadership. The last two presidents were like fraternal twins; both destroying everything they touched only in two different ways. Now we get to see whether the twins are actually triplets.