Wednesday, April 30, 2008
For the first time the President of the United States is going to elected by Affirmative Action...Barack Obama because he is black, Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, and John McCain because he's old.
America does not need a historic first, just someone who will run the country properly.
A Jordanian court has sentenced a man to six months in jail after convicting him of the honor killing of his 16-year-old daughter.
The court ruled Wednesday that the man killed his married daughter because she had an affair out of the wedlock. The enraged father severely beat her with a baton and ultimately electrocuted her in November 2006.
Neither the father nor daughter were identified.
Like other tribal-oriented societies, many Jordanians consider sex out of the wedlock an indelible stain on the family's honor that can only be cleansed by blood.
Tue Apr 29,
KABUL (AFP) - US Marines pushed into a stronghold of extremist Taliban resistance in southernmost Afghanistan Tuesday in their first major operation since deploying to Afghanistan last month.
The Marines, supported by British soldiers based in the southern province of Helmand, launched the operation Monday to "enhance security" in the district of Garmser, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.
Garmser in southern Helmand is an area of difficult desert terrain that extends down to the Pakistan border across which Taliban reinforcements and weapons are said to arrive to enter a growing insurgency.
Soldiers with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based in the neighbouring province of Kandahar, were airlifted into forward bases in the area last week or moved in on convoys, ISAF said.
From there they launched the operation named Azada Wosa, which means Be Free in the Pashtu language of southern and eastern Afghanistan.
Military officials could not say how many soldiers were involved for security reasons.
"Our entire unit is involved in this operation although only a percentage of us are physically in the district," said Captain Kelly Frushour, spokeswoman for the 2,300-strong Marine Expeditionary Unit.
"Garmser district has seen little ISAF presence in the recent past. The Marines are there to secure the district centre in order to allow for the extension of governance," she told AFP.
The abandoned town of Garmser, once a thriving market town about 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the Pakistan border, is only partially in government control.
It has a small British base where Prince Harry was stationed for some of his 10-week tour that ended March when it was exposed in the media.
British troops stationed across Helmand helped the Marines move through the province and into place, a British military spokesman told AFP.
The area of the operation is a known to have strong Taliban influence, Lieutenant Colonel Robin Matthews added.
ISAF commanders were using the Marines as a "strategic tool," he said. "Clearly they want to have an effect on the area south of Garmser."
The Marines started deploying in March to help ISAF forces after a difficult year in 2007, the deadliest in an insurgency launched after the Taliban were able to regroup following their ouster from government in late 2001.
This year is expected to be just as tough and ISAF has been amassing extra troops and equipment for the battle.
The unrest routinely steps up over spring: the last week has seen several incidents across the country.
A Taliban suicide attack in a small town in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday killed 15 Afghans and wounded 25, ISAF said.
On Sunday the insurgents staged one of their most audacious attacks yet, opening fire on a stage where some of the country's most senior figures -- including President Hamid Karzai and several ambassadors -- gathered for a military parade.
Three Afghans, one of them a parliamentarian, were killed and three of the attackers were gunned down.
Most of the fighting in the insurgency is however in southern Afghanistan.
Military officials say Helmand is a nest of hardcore Taliban fighters supported by international Islamic "jihadists" and the centre of Afghanistan's booming opium and heroin trade.
By Walter Williams
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While it's politically popular to impose confiscatory taxes on America's 40 million tobacco smokers, there are a number of consequences one might consider, but let's start out with a quiz. If a carton of cigarettes sells for $160 in New York City, and $35 in North Carolina, what do you predict will happen? If you answered tons of cigarettes will be going up I-95 from North Carolina to New York City, go to the head of the class.
Smuggling cigarettes is illegal; so the next quiz question is: Who is most likely to engage in cigarette smuggling? It's a mixed answer, but for the most part, organized smugglers will be people with a high disregard for the law. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has found that Russian, Armenian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Middle Eastern (mainly Pakistani, Lebanese, and Syrian) organized crime groups are highly involved in the trafficking of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes. What's worse is the ATF found that some of these groups use the money to provide material financial assistance to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
Some smugglers are good people who differ little from the founders of our nation such as John Hancock, whose flamboyant signature graces our Declaration of Independence. The British had levied confiscatory taxes on molasses, and John Hancock smuggled an estimated 1.5 million gallons a year. His smuggling practices financed much of the resistance to British authority — so much so that the joke of the time was that "Sam Adams writes the letters (to newspapers) and John Hancock pays the postage." Like Hancock, some of today's cigarette smugglers are providing a service to their fellow man caught in the grip of confiscatory taxation.
In my book, the Hancock-type smuggler is a hero of sorts. Let's look at it. During the days of the Soviet Union, Swiss watches were illegal. During our Prohibition era, the sale, manufacture and the importation of intoxicating liquor was illegal. Britain's Navigation Acts imposed high tariffs and restrictions on goods sold to the American colonies that ultimately led to our 1776 War of Independence. The common theme in all of these acts is government seeking to interfere with, regulate or outlaw peaceable voluntary exchange between individuals.
Tell me what's wrong in people wanting to wear a Swiss watch, having a drink, purchasing tea from a Dutch seller rather than an English seller, or cheap cigarettes from North Carolina rather than expensive ones from New York. People in government or those in pursuit of a do-good agenda think they know better and think they have a right to use government's brute force to hinder peaceable voluntary exchange.
In comes my hero the smuggler to the rescue. He's the guy who, in effect, tells us, "I know the government wants to interfere with your consumption of booze, tobacco, or tea, but I can get a deal for you." He might have to run clandestine operations, blackmail and corrupt public officials, but at least you get the item, if it has been prohibited, and for a lower price if it has been confiscatorily taxed.
The smuggler who uses the proceeds to finance destructive activity is not my hero, but that is not an argument against the smuggling itself anymore than it would be an argument against the practice of medicine if some medical practitioners used their earnings to finance terrorist activities.
The easy solution to cigarette smuggling, and its attendant activities, is to eliminate the confiscatory taxes. Unfortunately, for politicians and do-gooders, the attack on smokers is a moral crusade that sees only benefits and costs are irrelevant. Or as novelist C.S. Lewis put it, "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."
Exposition opened in St. Louis as President Theodore Roosevelt pressed a
telegraph key at the White House to signal the official start of the
world's fair commemorating the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase,
albeit a year late. (The fair drew some 20 million visitors before it
closed the following December.)
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Bill worked in a pickle factory. He had been employed there for a number of years when he came home one day to confess to his wife that he had a terrible compulsion. He had an urge to stick his penis into the pickle slicer. His wife suggested that he should see a sex therapist to talk about it, but Bill said he would be too embarrassed. He vowed to overcome the compulsion on his own. One day a few weeks later, Bill came home and his wife could see at once that something was seriously wrong.
"What's wrong, Bill?" she asked. "Do you remember that I told you how I had this tremendous urge to put my penis into the pickle slicer?" "Oh, Bill, you didn't" she exclaimed. "Yes, I did." he replied. "My God, Bill, what happened?" "I got fired." "No, Bill. I mean, what happened with the pickle slicer?" "Oh...she got fired too."
Monday, April 28, 2008
By Mark Steyn
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com Last week, Time magazine featured on its cover the iconic photograph of U.S. Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima. But with one difference: The flag has been replaced by a tree. The managing editor of Time, Rick Stengel, was very pleased with the lads in graphics for cooking up this cute image and was all over the TV sofas, talking up this ingenious visual shorthand for what he regards as the greatest challenge facing mankind: "How To Win The War On Global Warming."
Where to begin? For the past 10 years, we all have, in fact, been not warming but slightly cooling, which is why the ecowarriors have adopted the all-purpose bogeyman of "climate change." But let's take it that the editors of Time are referring not to the century we live in but the previous one, when there was a measurable rise of temperature of approximately 1 degree. That's the "war": 1 degree.
If the tree-raising is Iwo Jima, a 1-degree increase isn't exactly Pearl Harbor. But Gen. Stengel wants us to engage in pre-emptive war. The editors of Time would be the first to deplore such saber-rattling applied to, say, Iran's nuclear program, but it has become the habit of progressive opinion to appropriate the language of war for everything but actual war.
So let's cut to the tree. In my corner of New Hampshire, we have more trees than we did 100 or 200 years ago. My town is over 90 percent forested. Any more trees, and I'd have to hack my way through the undergrowth to get to my copy of Time magazine on the coffee table. Likewise Vermont, where not so long ago in St. Albans I found myself stuck behind a Hillary supporter driving a Granolamobile bearing the bumper sticker "TO SAVE A TREE REMOVE A BUSH." Very funny. And even funnier when you consider that on that stretch of Route 7 there's nothing to see, north, south, east or west, but maple, hemlock, birch, pine, you name it. It's on every measure other than tree cover that Vermont's kaput.
So where exactly do Time magazine's generals want to plant their tree? Presumably, as in Iwo Jima, on foreign soil. It's all these Third World types monkeying around with their rain forests who decline to share the sophisticated Euro-American reverence for the tree. In the Time iconography, the tree is Old Glory, and it's a flag of eco-colonialism.
And which obscure island has it been planted on? In Haiti, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis was removed from office April 12. Insofar as history will recall him at all, he may have the distinction of being the first head of government to fall victim to "global warming" — or, at any rate, the "war on global warming" that Time magazine is gung-ho for. At least five people have been killed in food riots in Port-au-Prince. Prices have risen 40 percent since last summer and, as columnist Deroy Murdock reported, some citizens are now subsisting on biscuits made from salt, vegetable oil and (mmmm) dirt. Dirt cookies: Nutritious, tasty and affordable? Well, one out of three ain't bad.
Unlike "global warming," food rioting is a planetwide phenomenon, from Indonesia to Pakistan to Ivory Coast to the tortilla rampages in Mexico and even pasta protests in Italy.
So what happened?
Well, Western governments listened to the ecowarriors and introduced some of the "wartime measures" they've been urging. The EU decreed that 5.75 percent of petrol and diesel must come from "biofuels" by 2010, rising to 10 percent by 2020. The United States added to its 51 cent-per-gallon ethanol subsidy by mandating a fivefold increase in "biofuels" production by 2022.
The result is that big government accomplished at a stroke what the free market could never have done: They turned the food supply into a subsidiary of the energy industry. When you divert 28 percent of U.S. grain into fuel production, and when you artificially make its value as fuel higher than its value as food, why be surprised that you've suddenly got less to eat? Or, to be more precise, it's not "you" who's got less to eat but those starving peasants in distant lands you claim to care so much about.
Heigh-ho. In the greater scheme of things, a few dead natives keeled over with distended bellies is a small price to pay for saving the planet, right? Except that turning food into fuel does nothing for the planet in the first place. That tree the U.S. Marines are raising on Iwo Jima was most-likely cut down to make way for an ethanol-producing corn field: Researchers at Princeton calculate that, to date, the "carbon debt" created by the biofuels arboricide will take 167 years to reverse.
The biofuels debacle is global warm-mongering in a nutshell: The first victims of poseur environmentalism will always be developing countries. In order for you to put biofuel in your Prius and feel good about yourself for no reason, real actual people in faraway places have to starve to death. On April 15, the Independent, the impeccably progressive British newspaper, editorialized:
"The production of biofuel is devastating huge swaths of the world's environment. So why on Earth is the government forcing us to use more of it?"
You want the short answer? Because the government made the mistake of listening to fellows like you. Here's the self-same Independent in November 2005:
"At last, some refreshing signs of intelligent thinking on climate change are coming out of Whitehall. The Environment minister, Elliot Morley, reveals today in an interview with this newspaper that the Government is drawing up plans to impose a 'biofuel obligation' on oil companies ... . This has the potential to be the biggest green innovation in the British petrol market since the introduction of unleaded petrol."
Etc. It's not the environmental movement's chickenfeedhawks who'll have to reap what they demand must be sown, but we should be in no doubt about where to place the blame — on the bullying activists and their media cheerleaders and weather-vane politicians who insist that the "science" is "settled" and that those who question whether there's any crisis are (in the designation of the strikingly nonemaciated Al Gore) "denialists."
All three presidential candidates have drunk the environmental kool-ethanol and are committed to Big Government solutions. But, as the Independent's whiplash-inducing U-turn confirms, the eco-scolds are under no such obligation to consistency. Finger-in-the-wind politicians shouldn't be surprised to find that gentle breeze is from the media wind turbine, and it's just sliced your finger off.
Whether there's very slight global cooling or very slight global warming, there's no need for a "war" on either, no rationale for loosing a plague of eco-locusts on the food supply. So why be surprised that totalitarian solutions to mythical problems wind up causing real devastation? As for Time's tree, by all means put it up: It helps block out the view of starving peasants on the far horizon.
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com This is a memo to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), Hizballah (the Party of G-d), the Islamic State of Iraq, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and others:
Please consider changing your names to something a tad less religious sounding. Where you infuse your theological thought into radical politics and violence, things might get a little awkward for us. You see, if we point out that you identify yourselves with a religion, we might offend someone. That's the new policy of the U.S. government. It advises agencies to avoid using some of the same words that make up your very names.
All we're asking is that you meet us half way.
The Associated Press confirms what Robert Spencer reported Tuesday on Jihad Watch, that federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. embassies say words including "jihadists," and "mujahedeen" are off limits. In addition, references to Islam and Muslims are frowned upon, too:
The reason: Such words may actually boost support for radicals among Arab and Muslim audiences by giving them a veneer of religious credibility or by causing offense to moderates.
For example, while Americans may understand "jihad" to mean "holy war," it is in fact a broader Islamic concept of the struggle to do good, says the guidance prepared for diplomats and other officials tasked with explaining the war on terror to the public. Similarly, "mujahedeen," which means those engaged in jihad, must be seen in its broader context.
U.S. officials may be "unintentionally portraying terrorists, who lack moral and religious legitimacy, as brave fighters, legitimate soldiers or spokesmen for ordinary Muslims," says a Homeland Security report. It's entitled "Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims."
Apparently the report does not say which American Muslims offered the recommendations. But it is virtually identical to a long campaign by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Islamist groups (Check out the examples we cited in our series on CAIR, then go back and read the AP report). So the U.S. government is taking its cues from a group that emanated from a secret Muslim Brotherhood operation in America, one with a stated goal of being "a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
According to the AP, the government report says "even if it is accurate to reference the term, it may not be strategic because it glamorizes terrorism, imbues terrorists with religious authority they do not have and damages relations with Muslims around the world."
Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor who convicted Egyptian blind Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman of conspiracies to blow up New York landmarks and murder Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, finds the policy misdirected:
If you want to encourage the reformers, then encourage them to drop the concept of jihad altogether. As a matter of history, jihad is a military obligation. As long as it is accorded a central place in Islam, the militants are always going to be deemed more authentic, more true to the faith of Mohammed, than the reformers.
Let's remember folks, the issue is not whether non-Muslim Western intellectuals and Pollyannas can nuance jihad into something it's not. It's whether the world's 1.4 billion Muslims - many of whom live in pockets of illiteracy where jihadist imams are incredibly influential - can be convinced that the reformers are credible. If we want the reformers to have credibility, it would be much more intellectually honest for them to argue that jihad should be abandoned because it worsens the Muslim condition in the modern world than that jihad is something other than jihad.
The policy shift raises a host of questions. Where has this worked? Will this have a chilling effect on a government employee's understanding of terrorist threats?
This change flies in the face of findings by Army Reserve Major Stephen Coughlin, a defense contractor at the Pentagon known for his studies of Islamic law. In his thesis for the Joint Military Intelligence College, "To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad," Coughlin argues that we cannot defeat an enemy if we don't understand its motivations.
[T]he nature of today's jihadist enemies can only be understood within the context of their declared strategic doctrine to dominate the world. Just as we ignored Mein Kampf "to our great detriment" prior to World War II, so we are on the verge of suffering a similar fate today. The reason the Intelligence Community is unable to define the nature of the jihadi enemy, the Chairman implies, is because we have not "read what the enemy has said." In other words, we have failed to undertake an assessment of the threat based on the jihadi enemy's declared strategic doctrine.
A memo titled "Words that Work and Words that Don't: A Guide for Counterterrorism Communication," and approved for use this week by the State Department states:
…avoid ill-defined and offensive terminology: "We are communicating with, not confronting, our audiences. Don't insult or confuse them with pejorative terms such as 'Islamo-fascism,' which are considered offensive by many Muslims."
Which, not coincidentally, is the same line currently being pushed by another Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA General Secretary Muneer Fareed made news this week, calling on presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain to refrain from using the term "Islamic" to describe Al Qaeda and other self-professed Islamic terror groups.
As reported in the Washington Times:
"We've tried to contact his office, contact his spokesperson to have them rethink word usage that is more acceptable to the Muslim community," Mr. Fareed said. "If it's not our intent to paint everyone with the same brush, then certainly we should think seriously about just characterizing them as criminals, because that is what they are."
Reportedly, an aide to McCain has stated that Senator will continue to use the word "Islamic" in his description of terror groups that invoke Islam to justify their heinous actions. The State Department, and other agencies involved directly and indirectly with the national security of the United States, should follow McCain's lead.
- “Man who drop watch in toilet have shitty time.”
- “Man trapped in pantry have ass in jam.”
- “Virgin like balloon…one prick, all gone.”
- “Baseball wrong…man with four balls cannot walk!”
- “Work to become, not to acquire.”
- “Baby conceived in automatic car shiftless bastard.”
- “A bird in hand makes hard to blow nose.”
- “Find old man in dark, not hard!”
- “Man who smoke pot choke on handle.”
- “OK for shit to happen…will decompose.”
- “Man who put head on railroad track to listen for train likely to end up with splitting headache.”
- “Sailor who gets discharged from Navy leave buddies behind.”
- “Secretary becomes permanent fixture when screwed on desk.”
- “Don’t drink and park, accidents cause people.”
- “He who crosses the ocean twice without washing is a dirty double-crosser.”
- “Man who tell one to many light bulb jokes soon burn out!”
- “It takes many nails to build crib, but one screw to fill it.”
- “Never raise hands to angry child, it leave groin exposed.”
- “Woman who cooks carrots and peas in same pot is unsanitary.”
- “Man who eat many prunes, sit on toilet many moons.”
- “Confucius say too God damn much!”
- “Those who quote me are fools.”
- “Man who drive like hell bound to get there!”
- “Man who keep feet firmly on ground have trouble putting on pants!”
- “Man who stand on toilet is high on pot!”
- “Man who sit on tack get point!”
- “Man who runs behind car gets exhausted!”
- “Man who jump off cliff jump to conclusion!”
- “War not determine who’s right, war determines who’s left.”
- “Woman who goes to man’s apartment for snack, gets titbit.”
- “Man who lay woman on ground, get piece on earth.”
- “Man who gets kicked in testicles, left holding the bag.”
- “Man who kisses girl’s behind, gets crack in face.”
- “Passionate kiss like spider web…lead to undoing of fly.”
- “Man with holes in pants pockets, feels cocky all day.”
- “Man who fight with wife all day, get no piece at night.”
- “Kotex not best thing on earth, but next to best thing.”
- “Man who walk through airport door sideways is going to Bangkok.”
- “Man who take lady on camping trip, have one intent.”
Bloomberg April 23 2008By Takashi Hirokawa and Aaron Sheldrick
Japan will take steps to prevent a terrorist attack at the Group of Eight industrialized nations summit in Hokkaido, the government said, after al-Qaeda warned of possible attacks on the nation.
Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's deputy in the group, suggested al-Qaeda may attack Japan to punish it for sending troops to Iraq, Kyodo English News reported late yesterday, citing an audio recording posted on Islamic Web sites.
``As the summit approaches, we shall make sure we take all measures to see that everything is alright,'' Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said today at a regular news conference in Tokyo. (...)
Sunday, April 27, 2008
More than 9,000 North Carolina license plates have been recalled because they begin with "XXX" — a common symbol for sexually explicit material.
Marge Howell, communications officer for the Department of Motor Vehicles, said DMV Commissioner William C. Gore Jr. made the call Thursday morning after receiving complaints from people who found the letters offensive. more
The Ice Aquarium in the port city of Kessennuma in Miyagi prefecture looks like an
interesting place to chill out. The frosty cold aquarium houses an arrangement of 40 large
ice blocks containing 450 specimens (80 varieties) of — including squid,
crab, bonito and saury — which are frozen in perpetual mid-swim.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
For their own purposes, politicians in both parties would have us believe we are hopelessly divided on every serious issue this country faces. Baloney. Here’s an issue the overwhelming majority of Americans can get behind, regardless of their ideology: using our food supply to make fuel is an economic and moral abomination.
Economically, food prices have gone through the roof, up 83% in the last three years according to the World Bank. And because farmers are lured by the higher prices paid for corn, they are switching out of such things as soybean and cattle production–making those commodities scarcer, therefore more expensive. Even worse, bio-fuels are grossly inefficient. It takes one gallon of fossil fuel to produce 1.3 gallons of bio-fuel–which is also 10% less efficient than gasoline.
Morally speaking, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out who gets hurt the most by spiking food prices: the poor, the hungry, the disadvantaged. People with kids struggling to make ends meet. Supermarkets and restaurants who employ thousands of Americans. In other words, just about everybody.
And for what? Between the supply of domestic oil as yet untapped and alternative technologies on the horizon, our government’s determination to use corn to make fuel is a fool’s errand. Americans are being held hostage by a rouge’s gallery of politically-connected farmers, global warming boneheads and enviro-nazis all of whom have a vested interest in continuing this assault on common sense and common decency. Maybe they prefer a world in which our fuel supply is politically correct while our food supply becomes economically unsustainable, but the bet here is most Americans detest it–regardless of ideology.
Our political ruling class should be very wary. Nothing focuses a man’s mind more than hunger.
Friday, April 25, 2008
The mother wrote back the next day : ” If you find a solution, please advise. I have the same problem with his father ! “
In this April 16, 2008 photo, a monument resembling a bomb is seen in the middle of 65 graves of the victims of a chemical attack ordered by Sadaam Hussein against the village of Sewsenan, March 22, 1988, during his Anfal campaign against ethnic Kurds in the northeastern region of Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. Margaret Nelson, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.
An Iraqi Army Soldier from the 42nd Iraqi Army Brigade, 11th Iraqi Army Division takes cover and points to where his men need to go during a firefight against armed militiamen in the Sadr City district of Baghdad April 17, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Adrian Cadiz.
It boggles the mind.
A recent report illustrates the through-the-looking-glass mentality of our enemy and gives a whole new meaning to the concept of world events making strange bedfellows.
The article noted that during a recent Arab summit, someone asked about the theory circulating around the Middle East and elsewhere, that Israel was behind the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Al-Qaida mastermind and propaganda hack Ayman Al-Zawahri, accused Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television of starting the rumor.
“The purpose of this lie is clear — (to suggest) that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it,” he said.
So, just to make sure we’re clear, here, the terrorist kingpin wants there should be no mistake that his group carried out the cowardly, despicable bloodbath. He and his group are responsible for the mass murder of 3,000 innocents, and don’t you forget it.
I seem to recall, among the first to suggest, in the attacks’ immediate aftermath, that “The Jews” were behind them, was an Arab newspaper editorial that said such an operation could not have been conceived or carried out by Arabs because only “The Jews” could have pulled off so clever a plan.
A strange and disturbing conclusion to make, particularly if one is an Arab, since it contains more than a suggestion that Arabs are too stupid to develop such a plot.
Of course, to believe “The Jews” or “The Zionists” or “The Mossad” or whatever euphemism for “Jew” once selects, had attacked the U.S. on 9-11, would require believing “The Jews” were able to convince a bunch of religious Muslim fanatics to kill others and themselves at “The Jews’” behest. We’re good, but not that good.
On the other hand, this editorial’s audience consists primarily of a people known to fairly easily suspend disbelief when need be. And I guess someone felt need was at the time.
Al-Qaida, though, wants credit given where credit is due, creating a weird and unlikely scenario that places Israel and Al-Qaida on the same side of something – wanting the world to know it was not the Jews but Al-Qaida that attacked America on Sept. 11. It also shows that both recognize Iran as the region’s greatest threat, though clearly for different reasons.
“Iran’s aim here is also clear — to cover up its involvement with America in invading the homes of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Al-Zawahri’s statement said.
Iran cooperated with the U. S. in the 2001 assault on Afghanistan that toppled al-Qaida’s allies, the Taliban.
In a recent audiotape, al-Zawahri denounced what he called Iran’s expansionist plans, saying Tehran aims to annex southern Iraq and Shiite areas of the eastern Arabian Peninsula as well as strengthen ties to its followers in southern Lebanon. He warned that if Iran achieves its goals, it will “explode the situation in an already exploding region.”
He’s probably right, though I personally find neither brand of Islam more appealing than the other.
The story notes that the rhetoric is a stark change for al-Zawahri, who in the past did not seek to exploit Shiite-Sunni tensions. However, if the West is smart, it will find a way to immediately do just that.
If the different Muslim factions are at each other’s throats, they will be too busy to bother the rest of us. It’s the reality that kept Islamic terrorism at a relatively low roar for most of modern Israel’s 60-year history.
The biggest danger Israel has ever faced, was the prospect of the Arabs agreeing on something. The closest they’ve come to speaking with one voice, has been on the subject of the Palestinian Arabs and hatred for the existence of a Jewish state in an area they believe is intended by Allah to be entirely Muslim.
But since the bottom line of the Islamic mindset is that the entire world is intended by Allah to be Muslim, that’s not surprising.
Since there seems to be no way to reason with Islamic fanatics or to slow their amazing and terrifying rate of growth through forced conversions and an incredibly high birth rate, the world’s best bet is to make sure their natural inclinations toward bloodlust is satisfied between one another.
Strange bedfellows, indeed.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
This is the disaster that is the Democrat party.
Placing the terrorist threat to the food supply in perspective
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | High food prices have sparked a great deal of unrest over the past few weeks. Indeed, the skyrocketing cost of food staples like grain has caused protests involving thousands of people in places such as South Africa, Egypt and Pakistan. These protests turned deadly in Haiti and even led to the ouster of Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis.
With global food supplies already tight, many people have begun once again to think (and perhaps even worry) about threats to the U.S. agricultural system and the impact such threats could have on the U.S. — and global — food supply. In light of this, it is instructive to examine some of these threats and attempt to place them in perspective.
A BREAKDOWN OF POTENTIAL THREATS
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, there have been many reports issued by various government and civilian sources warning of the possibility that terrorists could target the U.S. food supply. At the most basic level, threats to a country's food supply can come in two general forms: attacks designed to create famine and attacks designed to directly poison people.
Attacks designed to create famine would entail the use of some agent intended to kill crops or livestock. Such agents could include pathogens, insects or chemicals. The pathogens might include such livestock diseases as Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly called mad cow disease, or hoof-and-mouth disease. Crop diseases such as Ug99 fungus or molds also pose a threat to supplies.
Attacks designed to poison people could also be further divided into two general forms: those intended to introduce toxins or pathogens prior to processing and those intended to attack finished food products. Attacks against foodstuffs during agricultural production could include placing an agent on crops in the field or while in transit to a mill or processing center. Attacks against finished foodstuffs would entail covertly placing the toxin or pathogen into the finished food product after processing.
It must be noted that an attack against people could also be conducted for the purposes of creating a mass disruption — such action would not be designed to cause mass casualties, but rather to create fear, unrest and mistrust of the government and food supply, or to promote hoarding. In fact, based on historical examples of incidents involving the contamination of food products, such an attack is far more likely to occur than a serious systematic attack on the food supply.
While attacks against the food supply may appear simple in theory, they have occurred infrequently and for good reason: When one considers the sheer size of the U.S. agricultural sector, conducting a productive assault proves difficult.
As seen by the cocoa and marijuana eradication efforts by the United States and its partners in Mexico, Central America and the Andes, the logistical effort needed to make any substantial dent in agricultural production is massive. Even the vast resources the United States has dedicated to drug eradication tasks in small countries -- overt plane flights spraying untold thousands of gallons of herbicides for decades — have failed to create more than a limited effect on marijuana and cocoa crops. Obviously, any sort of meaningful chemical attack on U.S. agriculture would have to be so massive that it is simply not logistically feasible.
This is where pathogens — agents that can, at least in theory, be introduced in limited amounts, reproduce and then rapidly spread to infect a far larger area — enter the picture. In order to be effective, however, a pathogen must be one that is easily spread and very deadly and has a long incubation period (in order to ensure it is passed along before the host dies). It is also very helpful to the propagation of a disease if it is difficult to detect and/or difficult to treat. While a pathogen that possesses all of the aforementioned traits could be devastating, finding such an agent is difficult. Few diseases have all the requisite characteristics. Some are very deadly, but act too quickly to be passed, while others are more readily passed but do not have a long incubation period or are not as virulent. Other pathogens, such as the Ug99 wheat fungus, are easy to detect and kill. There is also the problem of mutation, meaning that many pathogens tend to mutat e into less virulent actors. It is also important to note that genetically engineering a super bug — one that possess all the characteristics to make it highly effective — is still much harder in real life than it is on television.
Even if such an effective pathogen is found, someone intending to use it in an attack must isolate the virulent strain, manufacture it in sufficient quantities to be effective, ship it to the place of the planned attack and then distribute it in a manner whereby it is effectively dispersed. The infrastructure required to undertake such an endeavor is both large and expensive. Even in past cases where groups possessed the vast monetary resources to fund biological weapons efforts and amassed the scientific expertise to attempt such a program — Aum Shinrikyo comes to mind — virulent pathogens have proven very difficult to produce and effectively disperse in large quantities.
Another factor making these sorts of attacks difficult to orchestrate is the very nature of farming. For thousands of years, farmers have been battling plant and animal diseases. Most of the pathogens that are mentioned in connection with attacks against agriculture include elements already existing in nature such as hoof-and-mouth disease, H5N1 bird flu or a fungus like Ug99. As a result, farmers and governmental organizations such as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service have systems in place to monitor crops and animals for signs of pathogens. When these pathogens appear, action is taken and diseased crops are treated or eradicated. Animals are treated or culled. Even in past cases where massive eradication and culling efforts occurred — BSE in the United Kingdom, citrus canker in Florida or the many bird flu outbreaks over the past few years -- the measures have not crippled or affected the country's agricultural sector or the larger economy.
Creating famine and poisoning the food supply are also difficult, given the sheer quantity of agricultural products grown. Applying some sort of toxin before the raw food is processed is difficult, given the volume produced. In fact, much grain is diverted to uses other than human consumption, as when corn is used to produce ethanol or feed livestock. Therefore, if a truckload of corn is poisoned, it might never funnel into the human food chain. Furthermore, even if a truck of contaminated grain were destined for the food chain, by the time it made its way through the process it would likely be too diluted to have any effect. During the production process, contaminated corn would first have to combine with other grain, sit in a silo, be moved and stored again, ground and finally made into a finished food product such as a loaf of cornbread — an unlikely source of poisoning for the end user. Processing, washing, cooking, pasteurizing and refining may all also serve to further dilute, cleanse or damage the pathogen in the targeted product. At this point, food is also inspected for naturally occurring pathogens and toxins. Such inspections could help spot an intentional contamination.
Besides, even contaminating one truckload of grain would require a large amount of toxin. Producing that much toxin would require a substantial infrastructure -- one that would require a great deal of time and money to build. Not to mention the difficulty inherent in transporting and delivering the toxin.
Past Attacks Prove Few and Far Between
Actual attacks against food are very rare. And due to the considerations enumerated above, nearly every food attack we are aware of was an attempt to directly poison people and not cause famine. Furthermore, almost all of these attacks involved processed foods or raw foods packaged for human consumption.
While people are frequently sickened by pathogens in food such as E. coli or salmonella bacteria, most incidents are not intentional. One of the few known successful attempts at using a biological agent to contaminate food in the United States occurred in 1984 in the small Oregon town of The Dalles. Followers of cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, attempting to manipulate a local election, infected salad bars in 10 restaurants with Salmonella typhimurium, causing about 751 people to become ill.
A second contamination attempt occurred in October 1996, when 12 laboratory workers at a large medical center in Texas experienced severe gastrointestinal illness after eating muffins and doughnuts left in their break room. Laboratory tests revealed that the pastries had been intentionally infected with S. dysenteriae, a pathogen that rarely occurs in the United States. An investigation later determined that the pathogen came from a stock culture kept at the lab.
While many people recall the 1989 Chilean grape scare — when two grapes imported to the United States were injected with cyanide — few recall that the perpetrator in the case made several calls to the U.S. Embassy warning of the contamination and was therefore not seriously attempting to harm people, but rather attempting an action designed to draw attention to social injustice in Chile. The warning calls allowed agricultural inspectors to find the damaged and discolored grapes before they were eaten.
In a lesser-known case that took place in 1978, a dozen children in the Netherlands and West Germany were hospitalized after eating oranges imported from Israel. The Arab Revolutionary Council, a nom de guerre used by the Abu Nidal Organization, deliberately contaminated the fruit with mercury in an attempt to damage the Israeli economy.
POTENTIAL PLAYERS AND THE PUBLIC IMPACT
Such attacks could potentially be conducted by a wide array of actors, ranging from a single mentally disturbed individual on one end of the spectrum to sovereign nations on the other end. Cults and domestic or transnational terrorist groups fall somewhere in the middle. The motivation behind these diverse actors could range from monetary extortion or attempts to commit mass murder to acts of war designed to cripple the U.S. economy or the nation's ability to project power.
Of these actors, however, there are very few who possess the ability to conduct attacks that could have a substantial impact on the U.S. food supply. In fact, most of the actors are only capable of contaminating finished food products. While they all have this rudimentary capability, there is also the question of intent.
Documents and manuals found in Afghanistan after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion revealed an al Qaeda interest in conducting chemical and biological attacks, although this interest was not a well-developed program. From a cost-benefit standpoint, it would be much cheaper and easier to use explosives to create disruption than it would be to execute a complicated plot against the food supply. Besides, such a target would not produce the type of spectacular imagery the group enjoys.
While we do not foresee any huge attempt by the Russians or Chinese, and food supply is not a part of al Qaeda's preferred target set, it is possible that a lone wolf or a smaller extremist organization could attempt to conduct such an attack. While any such offensive will likely have limited success, it could have far wider societal repercussions. At the present time, the public has become somewhat accustomed to food scares and recalls over things such as contaminated spinach, ground beef and green onions. Even warnings over lead and other harmful chemicals in food imported from China have caused concern.
However, if even a relatively unsuccessful attack on the food supply were conducted by a terrorist group, it could create significant hysteria — especially if the media sensationalized the event. In such a case, even an ineffective terror plot could result in a tremendous amount of panic and economic loss.
Perhaps the best recent example of this type of disruptive attack is the 2001 anthrax letter attacks. Although the attacks only claimed the lives of five victims, they caused a huge, disproportionate effect on the collective American and world psyche. The public fears that arose from the anthrax attacks were augmented by extensive media discussions about the use of the agent as a weapon. The public sense of unease was further heightened by the fact that the perpetrator was never identified or apprehended. As a result, countless instances surfaced in which irrational panic caused office buildings, apartment buildings, government offices and factories to be evacuated. Previously ignored piles of drywall dust and the powdered sugar residue left by someone who ate a donut at his desk led to suspicions about terrorists, who suddenly seemed to be lurking around every corner. It did not matter, in the midst of the fear, that the place where the "anthrax" was found cou ld have absolutely no symbolic or strategic value to the Islamist militants that most Americans pictured in their minds. The sense of threat and personal vulnerability was pervasive.
In the years since 2001, thousands of hoax anthrax letters have been sent to companies, government offices, schools and politicians in the United States and abroad. Many of these hoaxes have caused psychosomatic responses, resulting in victims being hospitalized, and further economic losses in terms of lost production time, emergency hazmat response costs and laboratory tests.
In the end, the most probable attack against the food supply is unlikely to create a significant death toll, but the panic such an attack may evoke can cause repercussions that are far greater than the death toll itself.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
One Sunday, in counting the money in the weekly offering, the Pastor of a small church found a pink envelope containing $1,000. It happened again the next week!
The following Sunday, he watched as the offering was collected and saw an elderly woman put the distinctive pink envelope on the plate. This went on for weeks until the pastor, overcome by curiosity, approached her.
'Ma'am, I couldn't help but notice that you put $1,000 a week in the collection plate,' he stated.
'Why yes,' she replied, 'every week my grandson sends me money, and I give some of it to the church.'
The pastor replied, 'That's wonderful. But $1000 is a lot, are you sure you can afford this? How much does he send you?'
The elderly woman answered, '$10,000 a week.'
The pastor was amazed. 'Your grandson is very successful; what does he do for a living?'
'He is a veterinarian,' she answered.
'That's an honorable profession, but I had no idea they made that much money,' the pastor said. 'Where does he practice?'
The woman answered proudly, 'In Nevada.
He has two cat houses in
H/T Jeri H
A married couple in their early 60s was out celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in a quiet, romantic little restaurant. Suddenly, a tiny yet beautiful fairy appeared on their table and said, "For being such an exemplary married couple and for being faithful to each other for all this time, I will grant you each a wish. "Oh, I want to travel around the world with my darling husband" said the wife. The fairy waved her magic wand and poof! - two tickets for the Queen Mary II luxury liner appeared in her hands. Then it was the husband's turn. He thought for a moment and said: "Well, this is all very romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again. I'm sorry my love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me." Both the wife and the fairy were deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish. So the fairy waved her magic wand and - poof! - the husband became 92 years old. the moral of the story: Men who are ungrateful bastards should remember that fairies are female.
H/T Jeri H
Exactly one week after his State of the State address where he vowed to singlehandedly fight catastrophic global warming, Governor Schwarzenegger is asking the Federal Government for money to help recover from a catastrophic cold snap that destroyed a billion dollars worth of California citrus.... In his next State of the State, Arnold will address the decreased seismic activity around San Andreas Fault.Via: Ryskind Sketchbook
Locke and Load
Chief Warrant officer 2 Joshua Locke, a CH-47 Chinook pilot with 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, conducts preflight checks on his aircraft before an air assault mission in northern Iraq Apr. 6-7, 2008, as part of Operation Santa Monica. Photo by Cpl. William Howard, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.