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Syria replaces intelligence chief
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
Page 3: Non-WoT
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
Russian scientists who invented hangover cure make pill that keeps you drunk
The makers of RU-21, the "miracle" hangover cure reputedly developed for Soviet spies, have developed a product to keep you drunk.
Thash a welcome develomp... devellerp... thing!
Spirit Sciences, which is based in California but has research facilities in Russia employing scientists who once worked on secret programmes for the Kremlin, have christened the new product RU-21 Red. If you take a tablet you need less alcohol to stay drunk, they claim.
"More taste! Less filling! Drunker'n a lord!"
Emil Chiabery, a co-founder of the company, told The Telegraph from his offices in Los Angeles: "I never drink and there's no personal story. But RU-21 Red prolongs drunkenness and enhances intoxication."
snip. Details of the chemical make-up of the two compounds, of interest only to biochemists and their ilk
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/18/2005 1:49:47 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [308 views] Top|| File under:

#1  RU-21? And RU-469?
Posted by: BH || 02/18/2005 15:14 Comments || Top||

#2  BH-You are a sick and twisted individual.

I like that in a person.
Posted by: Jules 187 || 02/18/2005 15:18 Comments || Top||

#3  Yeah, I get that a lot. But I figure, you do it this way and never mind the RU-486. ;)
Posted by: BH || 02/18/2005 16:22 Comments || Top||

#4  I'm suing for patent infringement. I invented this years ago, but it didn't have a fancy name. I called it "Have Another One".
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2005 16:26 Comments || Top||

#5  See you in court tu3031, mine was called Hair of the Dog.

Posted by: JerseyMike || 02/18/2005 17:03 Comments || Top||

#6  i have never had a problem getting drunk or staying that way for as long as i wanted too
Posted by: Thraing Hupoluper1864 || 02/18/2005 17:38 Comments || Top||

#7  Sorry, guys. You can take it to court if you want, but I got prior art and the pictures to prove it.
Posted by: BH || 02/18/2005 18:13 Comments || Top||

#8  fine, but Beer Goggles™ are MINE!
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2005 18:22 Comments || Top||

#9  Soooo

they got a pill that makes less alcohol cause drunkeness

translation: they have a pill that thins your blood

Tylonal ?
big invention that..
Posted by: Dcreeper || 02/18/2005 21:51 Comments || Top||

Gorilla Foundation rocked by breast display lawsuit
EFL. My, my how... untree hugger.
Former employees say they were told to expose chests
Two former employees of the Gorilla Foundation, home to Koko the "talking" ape, have filed a lawsuit contending that they were ordered to bond with the 33-year-old female simian by displaying their breasts.
Well at least now we know what he was probably talking about.
Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller, both of San Francisco, are taking on the Woodside nonprofit and its president, Francine "Penny" Patterson. Their lawsuit, filed Tuesday in San Mateo County Superior Court, alleges sexual discrimination, wrongful termination in retaliation for reporting health and safety violations, and failure to pay overtime or provide rest breaks. It seeks more than $1 million total in damages for the two women. The suit follows complaints filed by Alperin and Keller in January with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, in which they gave identical reasons for why they were fired: "I refused to expose my breast to perform acts of bestiality with one of the gorillas."
Well, now. DO TELL...
The lawsuit goes into more detail.
All right!
One example: "On at least two incidents in mid-to-late June 2004, Patterson intensely pressured Keller to expose herself to Koko while they were working outside where other employees could potentially view Keller's naked body. ... On one such occasion, Patterson said, 'Koko, you see my nipples all the time. You are probably bored with my nipples. You need to see new nipples. I will turn my back so Kendra can show you her nipples.' "
Todd Roberts, a partner in the Redwood City office of Ropers Majeski Kohn Bentley, which is representing the Gorilla Foundation, said the law firm was still reviewing the suit. "But I can tell you that based on our review of the factual allegations and characterizations in the complaint, we deny those allegations," Roberts said.
...as opposed to taking credit for them.
A call to Patterson and the Gorilla Foundation was not returned.
Probably too busy flashing the gorillas.
The foundation, which has existed since 1976 to promote the preservation and protection of gorillas, is best known for Koko, who was born at the San Francisco Zoo on July 4, 1971, and began working with Patterson the following year. Koko -- older sister of Kubi, who presided over the zoo's Gorilla World exhibit until he died last year -- now has a vocabulary of more than 1,000 words in American Sign Language, according to foundation claims that are much debated among scientists.
What's American Sign for "big tatas"? I'll bet Koko knew.
The subject of books, videos and documentary films, the hairy linguist participated in what was called the first interspecies chat on the Internet in 1998, attracting more than 8,000 AOL users.
AOL users? Probably thought they were talking to their tech support.
San Francisco attorney Stephen Sommers, who is representing Alperin and Keller, has a transcript of that chat. "There's a history with this nipple thing," he said, leafing through the transcript and pointing out the word "nipple" -- which he'd highlighted in pink -- each time it appeared. The history, as such, might date back to Koko's mother, who reportedly did not have enough breast milk to feed her.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Always blame the mother...
The suit, in any case, says that Patterson would interpret hand movements by Koko as a demand to see exposed human nipples. She warned Alperin and Keller that their employment with the foundation would suffer, the suit says, if they "did not indulge Koko's nipple fetish."
Koko a perv. Didn't see that on those National Geographic specials.
During at least three visits, the suit says, "Patterson communicated to Alperin that exposing one's breasts to Koko is a normal component to developing a personal bond with the gorilla."
Hmmmm. San Francisco? Your female boss wants a peek at your boobs? Wonder what...ummmmmmm...persuasion, Ms. Patterson is?
The two women were fired Aug. 6. Three-month employee Alperin, 47, has returned to social work and is seeking $719,830 in damages. Four-month employee Keller, 48, a longtime sign language interpreter, is asking for $366,192. Gorilla expert Kristen Lukas, curator of conservation and science at the Cleveland Metro Park Zoo, said she'd never encountered a gorilla with a nipple fixation. "This is absolutely a first," she said. "I've never heard of anything like it."
Please refer to my previous question.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2005 1:16:42 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [435 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Oh, look...Koko's a female!
That makes this even better...
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2005 15:53 Comments || Top||

#2  God in heaven! Muckeeeeeee!
Posted by: Shipman || 02/18/2005 16:28 Comments || Top||

#3  This puts the "Evolution of Man and Woman" graphic in a whole new light.
Posted by: Phil Fraering || 02/18/2005 17:03 Comments || Top||

#4  Any bets on how long it takes for the porn industry to cash in on this story?

I'm betting the script's written by the end of the week.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 02/18/2005 18:52 Comments || Top||

#5  What's ASL for "My hands are up here?"
Posted by: jackal || 02/18/2005 19:27 Comments || Top||

#6  Wonder if they were able to translate Koko's other sign - the one that meant "get me a beer".
Posted by: DMFD || 02/18/2005 23:09 Comments || Top||

Science Fiction Authors Hoax Vanity Publisher (dumbass lit-snobs played for fools)
Science Fiction Authors Hoax Vanity Publisher

"Atlanta Nights," by Travis Tea, was offered a publishing contract by PublishAmerica of Frederick, Maryland.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) January 28, 2005 -- Over a holiday weekend last year, some thirty-odd science fiction writers banged out a chapter or two apiece of "Atlanta Nights," a novel about hot times in Atlanta high society. Their objective: to write a deeply awful novel to submit to PublishAmerica, a self-described "traditional publisher" located in Frederick, Maryland.

The project began after PublishAmerica posted an attack on science fiction authors at one of its websites (http://www.authorsmarket.net/). PublishAmerica claimed "As a rule of thumb, the quality bar for sci-fi and fantasy is a lot lower than for all other fiction.... [Science fiction authors] have no clue about what it is to write real-life stories, and how to find them a home." It described them as "writers who erroneously believe that SciFi, because it is set in a distant future, does not require believable storylines, or that Fantasy, because it is set in conditions that have never existed, does not need believable every-day characters."
"Why, Kimberley, it's all 'bout flyin' sausages and lil' green men, ain't it?"
"Ah thank so, Scott, tha's what mah high school lit teachers said t'any rate."

Spellbound Earthling: "Such ignorance exists?"
Wise Alien Visitor (nodding in resignation): "Such ignorance exists."

The writers wanted to see where PublishAmerica puts its own quality bar; if the publisher really is selective, as the company claims, or if it is a vanity press that will accept almost anything, as publishing professionals assert.

"Atlanta Nights" was completed, any sign of literary competence was blue-penciled, and the resulting manuscript was submitted. PublishAmerica accepted it.
From: PublishAmerica Aquisitions [e-mail protected from spam bots]
Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Subject: Atlanta Nights

As this is an important piece of email regarding your book, please read it completely from start to finish. I am happy to inform you that PublishAmerica has decided to give "Atlanta Nights" the chance it deserves....Welcome to PublishAmerica, and congratulations on what promises to be an exciting time ahead.

Meg Phillips
Acquisitions Editor
The hoax was publicly revealed on January 23, 2005. PublishAmerica withdrew their offer shortly afterward:
From: "PublishAmerica Acquisitions"
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2005
Subject: Your Submission to PublishAmerica

We must withdraw our offer to publish "Atlanta Nights". Upon further review it appears that your work is not ready to be published. There are portions of nonsensical text in the manuscript that were caught by our editing staff as they previewed the text for editing time assessment pending your acceptance of our offer.

On the positive side, maybe you want to consider contracting the book with a vanity publisher such as iUniverse or Author House. They will certainly publish your book at a fee.

Thank you.
PublishAmerica Acquisitions Department
Those who wish to see the novel, "Atlanta Nights" by Travis Tea, for themselves can find it at
http://www.lulu.com/travis-teaPublication at Lulu.com is free.

For more information about PublishAmerica and vanity presses, see:
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 02/18/2005 7:00:19 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [728 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This is reminiscent of the famous Naked Came the Stranger hoax of the 1960s, but there are still people dumb enough to fall for it it seems. It should have been subtitled Naked Came the Jackass.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 02/18/2005 7:38 Comments || Top||

#2  I'm confused. PublishAmerica said in its rejection, "They will certainly publish your book at a fee." Which would indicate that PublishAmerica was originally willing to underwrite it. It's only a "vanity publisher" if you have to underwrite it yourself.
Posted by: 2b || 02/18/2005 7:50 Comments || Top||

#3  Travis Tea, that's great! But I bet the temptation was there to go with Heywood Jablomi.
Posted by: BH || 02/18/2005 8:16 Comments || Top||

#4  Haha, very funny. :) Reminds me of when the physicist Alan Sokal got a hoax paper published by filling it full of nonsense.
Posted by: Laurence of the Rats || 02/18/2005 9:05 Comments || Top||

#5  2b
SFWA describes PublishAmerica as "a print-on-demand-based vanity publisher that poses as a 'traditional' publisher in order to ensnare thousands of gullible first-time writers."
Apparently, they don't reveal their hand until later in the process.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 02/18/2005 9:36 Comments || Top||

#6  My favorite literary hoax was Jean Shepherd's invention of a book titled "I, Libertine."
Posted by: growler || 02/18/2005 11:12 Comments || Top||

#7  It sounds as if PublishAmerica always accepts books for publication, then later you find that it's going to cost you, rather than pay you. I don't see what the great coup is in getting an outfit like that to accept a book.

This is the article that inspired the hoax. I won't comment on its general content, but it clearly says that most SF/fantasy writers are good writers, etc, but the genres also attract really crappy writers who think that writing fantastic literature means that anything goes.

This is indistputably true, and whining about it is childish. There are literary equivalents to those filmmakers who believe that a couple of weird-looking aliens and some explosions are all that's needed to make a decent science fiction movie.
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 02/18/2005 11:38 Comments || Top||

#8  "It sounds as if PublishAmerica always accepts books for publication, then later you find that it's going to cost you, rather than pay you. I don't see what the great coup is in getting an outfit like that to accept a book."

Er, Angie, PublishAmerica does not admit that it will always accept whatever is submitted. Directly and decisively exposing this deception is a worthwhile purpose. The article was complaining about allegedly low standards in the genre. The exercise demonstrated conclusively that PublishAmerica has no standards at all and is therefore in no position to judge.

Secondly, the article clearly targets the Science Fiction Writers of America, which has led the way in exposing PublishAmerica's scams.
Check out their article on the dispute.

The Authors Market article clearly conflates SFWA with these "crappy writers," which is a lie, pure and simple.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 02/18/2005 12:15 Comments || Top||

#9  It appears this is one of those sweet times when the bad guy finally gets what he's had coming for a long time!
Posted by: 2b || 02/18/2005 12:49 Comments || Top||

#10  Er, Angie, PublishAmerica does not admit that it will always accept whatever is submitted. Directly and decisively exposing this deception is a worthwhile purpose.

OK, I'll agree with that. But both this post and the others I've seen on the topic focus on how "dumbass lit-snobs played for fools". Ha ha! Showed them! There wasn't much (if anything) said about PA possibly being crooks.

I read the SFWA's article on the dispute, but stopped when I got to the "Waaa waaa waaa they said we suck!" part. I love science fiction, and PA is right here: many of them do suck. Even, yes, the ones that get published. Some, even, who belong to the SFWA.

The rest of the PA article sounds like self-serving claptrap, which is why I didn't want to comment further on it.
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 02/18/2005 14:17 Comments || Top||

#11  Remember Sturgeon's Law:
"Ninety percent of Science Fiction is crap. But the, 90% of anything is crap."

Jackals corollary:
"This rises to 100% in areas where post-modernism holds sway."
Posted by: jackal || 02/18/2005 14:20 Comments || Top||

#12  PA contended specifically that standards are lower in science fiction than in general fiction. This is certainly untenable given their acceptance of Atlanta Nights, a work of general fiction produced specifically to incorporate the lowest possible standards.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 02/18/2005 23:05 Comments || Top||

#13  From the PA front's article:
"As a rule of thumb, the quality bar for sci-fi and fantasy is a lot lower than for all other fiction...."

Tell me, Angie, how crappy are SFWA's writers compared to PA's? SFWA requires paid professional sales for membership. We have seen what PA requires. You have correctly identified this article as self-serving crap, though, motivated by the desire to retaliate for exposure rather than by any genuine concern (or even knowledge of) literary standards.
I have a challenge for the "sci-fi is crap" crowd: Get together some of PA's dupes and staff members, have them write a bogus SF novelette to what they assert to be the low standards of the genre, and submit it to, say, Analog.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 02/18/2005 23:31 Comments || Top||

-Signs, Portents, and the Weather-
US President George W Bush has declared a major disaster in American Samoa
Posted by: God Save The World || 02/18/2005 19:49 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [333 views] Top|| File under:

Kyoto protest beaten back by inflamed petrol traders
This is the greatest thing EVER. Edited for violence
WHEN 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail.
We had this yesterday...
Posted by: Secret Master || 02/18/2005 1:04:41 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [315 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I wish I would have been there to see this. They got more than that coming. I am surprised one of these morons hasn't been shot yet trying to board a vessel coming into port.
Posted by: Sock Puppet of Doom || 02/18/2005 16:48 Comments || Top||

#2  Let's do it again. :)
Posted by: Shipman || 02/18/2005 17:20 Comments || Top||

#3  Minute by minute, these traders have tens of thousands of dollars on the line - in terms of potential gains or losses. I'm surprised some of the protestors weren't lynched.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 02/18/2005 19:29 Comments || Top||

Related to Kyoto: Smart glass reacts to the weather, will reduce energy use
Is this cool, or what!

Scientists in London have created a coating for glass, which reflects or absorbs heat, depending on the temperature outside.

Professor of inorganic and materials chemistry, Ivan Parkin, and Troy Manning, both of the chemistry department at University College London, developed the intelligent window coating as part of Mr Manning's PhD studies.

The thin film is made out of a material called vanadium dioxide, and it undergoes a change depending on the weather outside. On cold days the "thermochromic coating" allows all sunlight in, while on hot days, once the outside temperature reaches a certain level, the film begins acting as a filter, blocking infrared rays, which are responsible for generating heat. Parkin told CNN the film could be manufactured to have a predetermined heat threshold of between zero and 70C, although it would be most useful if it were set to work at 25C.

Its altering properties meant it could act as a replacement or partial replacement for air-conditioning systems, reducing electricity costs. "It acts as a semi-conductor when the temperature is below a certain level, and is transparent. When the temperature rises, it turns into a metal, and becomes reflective," Parkin said.

He has had a huge amount of interest about turning the idea into a commercial reality, particularly from architects, but also from space agency NASA and greenhouse manufacturers. "The current trend towards using glass extensively in building, poses a dilemma for architects. Do they tint the glass, which reduces the benefit of natural light or face hefty air conditioning bills?" he said. "It's the architectural holy grail of coating on a building. An intelligent facade like this would allow architects to use more glass in their designs."

Parkin said the idea had been around for a while but most efforts had not been durable enough to make them commercially viable. "While the heat reflective properties of vanadium dioxide are well recognized, the stumbling block has been the switching temperature," he said. "We've shown it's possible to reduce the switching temperature to just above room temperature and manufacture it in a commercially viable way."

Parkin said there was still a lot of development needed to turn it into a commercial reality, including altering the color of the film, which is currently yellow. He is currently in negotiations with a manufacturer.
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/18/2005 1:47:21 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [341 views] Top|| File under:

#1  If they ever solve the problems, they'd have a huge market in the Southwest.
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 02/18/2005 17:26 Comments || Top||

Caribbean-Latin America
U.S., Central American Law Enforcement Unites Against Gangs
They sever fingers with machetes in the United States and cut off heads in Honduras. U.S. officials worry they'll help al-Qaida sneak in terrorists from Mexico. Central American gangs have spread from the streets of San Salvador to the valleys of Virginia, prompting the FBI to share intelligence and resources with southern neighbors - launching an anti-gang strategy that reaches beyond U.S. borders. FBI officials in Washington are expected to announce the plan as early as next week. It would centralize investigations at FBI headquarters, beef up intelligence and establish a national task force to reduce Central American gang activity in the United States.

The new strategy will likely be a hot topic of discussion Monday, when law enforcement officials from across the United States and Central America meet in San Salvador to discuss ways to keep the gang known as the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, from extending its influence. "Right now, the gangs are communicating much better than the law enforcement officials," said Harvey Smith, a consultant who is organizing the conference. The FBI and U.S. Homeland Security officials, some of which will attend the conference, have taken a greater interest in the problem since Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez said al-Qaida might be trying to recruit Central American gang members to help terrorists infiltrate the United States. He has offered no evidence, however. Alvarez said his department began working closely with the FBI two weeks ago. Central American officials already share information regionally, including with officials in southern Mexico. "The United States is catching up," Alvarez said. "They still don't see it as the war that we do."

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security James Loy told Congress on Wednesday that, in addition to al-Qaida, "we are seeing the emergence of other threatening groups and gangs like MS-13 that will also be destabilizing influences." He also said there was growing intelligence suggesting al-Qaida was considering entering the United States through the Mexican border, although he had nothing conclusive. Some U.S. officials have said they fear al-Qaida will tap into the gangs' smuggling and drug networks.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2005 4:16:46 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [331 views] Top|| File under:

Saudi Aramco bidding on Venezuela's Citgo
Venezuela is shopping around Citgo, its Houston-based refining arm. And there has been some interest."We have various interested parties in the issue of Citgo," Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said at a Caracas news conference. "We are in conversations with several companies." Ramirez wouldn't divulge names, but Saudi Aramco is in the market to build and buy refineries that can convert crude to valuable products like gasoline and diesel.

In an interview on Wednesday, Saudi Aramco chief Abdallah Jum'ah would not say whether his company is bidding on Citgo assets along the Gulf Coast, but he confirmed he wants to increase refining capacity in the United States. "I'm not going to comment on who we are talking to, but we are talking to many people in many countries," he said. "We want to be here. The U.S. is a big lifter of our crude, and it's a market we do want to be in forever." Ramirez said at this point that Petróleos de Venezuela, otherwise known as PDVSA, is not negotiating a sale to Saudi Aramco. Russia's Lukoil has also expressed an interest in Citgo's refineries. Citgo is owned by PDVSA, but only half the crude processed in six U.S. refineries comes from Venezuela. Another $18 billion in outside oil was purchased last year.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: TMH || 02/18/2005 2:15:48 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [322 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I'd've thought China would have bought it by now -- they seem to buying up everything else related to energy production that's lying around loose.
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/18/2005 17:47 Comments || Top||

Japan to Join U.S. Policy on Taiwan
Posted by: tipper || 02/18/2005 09:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [327 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Counting down the next two to three days, while China debates furiously what kind of sh*t-fit to have.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/18/2005 11:18 Comments || Top||

#2  Methinks the Korean troop withdrawal concentrated Japanese minds. They're finally starting to figure out that if they don't step up to the plate, Uncle Sam might just walk away from it all. I, for one, am tired of these East Asian dirtbags trying to portray this as a dispute between Uncle Sam and China. If they don't start showing that they're on our side (in terms of trying to contain China's territorial acquisitiveness), maybe Uncle Sam should stand aside when China starts making its land grabs at their expense. Until the East Asian countries show us that they're going to help us out in a conflict with China over Taiwan - as far as I'm concerned, they can go f*** themselves.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 02/18/2005 12:32 Comments || Top||

#3  well theres Japan sharing our commitment to Taiwan. Taiwan is presumably commited to Taiwan. South Korea doesnt have much force to spare - in the event of a straights war theyd keep their military at home, in case the Nkors took advantage. That doesnt leave any other east asians, unless youre talking about the Southeast Asians, somewhat farther away and with different political and strategic issues.
Posted by: Liberalhawk || 02/18/2005 13:07 Comments || Top||

#4  LH: That doesnt leave any other east asians, unless youre talking about the Southeast Asians, somewhat farther away and with different political and strategic issues.

Correctomundo. Southeast Asia is actually the weak link in the equation. Ex-China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan are the strongest (and the wealthiest) powers in East Asia. Southeast Asia is a totally different story.

Going back to Northeast Asia, Japan just said something. We need to hear much more specific language about assistance to the US. As to Korea, it's not a question of them being tied up - it's a question of allowing US forces based in Korea to be redeployed for the defense of Taiwan - something that they've indicated they're not inclined to do. As to Taiwan being committed to Taiwan, it's not exactly clear that this is the case, Taiwan's tardiness in buying the latest weapons seems to indicate that they are counting on Uncle Sam to do all the fighting in any Chinese invasion. Thanks, but no thanks.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 02/18/2005 13:24 Comments || Top||

#5  SE asians - I dont think the Indons,Malaysians or Singaporeans feel directly threatened by the PRC, and the latter two have been on their asian model kick for a while, while the former is wrestling with Salafists and seperatists at home. PI, they are the closest, have their own war with linked Salafists-seperatists, and are too weak to matter to Taiwan, and have for historical reasons a huge allergy to US bases. VN has no love for PRC, but I dont see what help they could be. I have no idea Thailands view on this.

How about Australia? Whats Howard said?
Posted by: Liberalhawk || 02/18/2005 13:30 Comments || Top||

#6  Taiwan's tardiness in buying the latest weapons seems to indicate that they are counting on Uncle Sam to do all the fighting in any Chinese invasion
ZF, Taiwan would love to buy the latest weapons from the US. The problem has always been State and the US Congress not permitting the sale of the best equipment. If the US were to offer Taiwan an Aegis destroyer or two, the response would be "Is cash OK or do you want gold?" The restrictions on weapons and weapons technology sales to Taiwan date back to the 60s.
Posted by: RWV || 02/18/2005 13:57 Comments || Top||

Greek church charity sends wigs to tsunami victims
A Greek church charity has sent boxes of "inappropriate" aid to tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, including fur coats, thongs and carnival wigs, an aid organisation said. The aid, more than 600 tonnes, was collected in Greece by the Orthodox Church's charity organisation Solidarity and shipped to Sri Lanka using a cruise ship. The operation was coordinated by the Greek Foreign Ministry. "We had a staff of eight on the ship travelling to Sri Lanka. When they arrived and started opening boxes containing the aid they were shocked and angered," said Elli Xenou, Doctors of the World director of foreign missions.

"There were boxes containing fur coats, carnival wigs and underwear thongs which were completely inappropriate," she said. Dimitris Fourlemadis, solidarity director, said there could have been some boxes containing suspect clothing but said the figure was very small. "We sent 26,919 packages. Even if there were two, 10 or 100 boxes with some other stuff inside, it is a very small number and not worth mentioning," he said. The Foreign Ministry said it was investigating the issue, which has caused outrage in Greek media.
Posted by: tipper || 02/18/2005 10:06:56 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [300 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I would expect this from Belgians. Greeks? Aris, any explanation?
Posted by: Sobiesky || 02/18/2005 11:14 Comments || Top||

#2  What about merkins? Got any merkins in there?
Posted by: BH || 02/18/2005 11:32 Comments || Top||

#3  Now, find the circus that received a bunch of boxes of quick cooking rice and beans, and make an exchange for the wigs, etc....

What is the big deal...

Oh, yes... Anal retentive European Media...

Now I, "understand the rage".

Posted by: BigEd || 02/18/2005 11:37 Comments || Top||

#4  Sobiesky> *shrug* What explanation can there exist for stupidity? I assume some people gave things not pausing to think if they'd actually be useful to the victims. Or perhaps they gave things thinking they'd be sold and the proceeds go to the tsunami victims. Or whatever. Not particularly interesting. At some point someone in the whole process acted stupidly and wasn't checked by anyone else.
Posted by: Aris Katsaris || 02/18/2005 14:01 Comments || Top||

#5  ...including fur coats, thongs and carnival wigs

Maybe they can use them as trade bait for something they need from San Francisco?
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2005 16:12 Comments || Top||

#6  I think they should ship the wigs off to the American Cancer Society, where cancer victim's
wait patiently for a wig, as they tend to be costly and those on financial disability income cannot afford a wig. Or send to the organization in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida that takes hair clippin's and makes wigs for the needy. I think the charity is called LOCKS FOR LOVE in LOS OLAS.

Andrea Jackson
Posted by: Andrea || 02/18/2005 19:33 Comments || Top||

#7  I think they should ship the wigs off to the American Cancer Society, where cancer victim's
wait patiently for a wig, as they tend to be costly and those on financial disability income cannot afford a wig. Or send to the organization in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida that takes hair clippin's and makes wigs for the needy. I think the charity is called LOCKS FOR LOVE in LOS OLAS.

Andrea Jackson
Posted by: Andrea || 02/18/2005 19:39 Comments || Top||

#8  Located right next door to the Elbow Room I believe.
Posted by: Shipman || 02/18/2005 19:48 Comments || Top||

#9  Shipman- It has been awhile since I have gone to Ft. lauderdale- can't recall the Elbow Room?
Best to look up the LOCKS FOR LOVE on the web.

Andrea Jackson
Posted by: ANdrea || 02/18/2005 20:16 Comments || Top||

Great White North
Canadian Health Care Continues To Collapse
All six doctors in Geraldton say they are quitting, closing the doors of the northern Ontario town's only medical clinic in May. The doctors announced their decision Wednesday in an advertisement taken out in a local newspaper. The advertisement said the doctors had stopped taking new patients and would no longer perform routine checkups. The ad also said the doctors arrived at their decision individually due to a variety of personal and professional reasons. Geraldton residents were also advised to contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons to find the nearest doctor who is taking on new patients.

Mayor Michael Powers said that advice isn't helpful. "I'm not sure that's a solution for us because - if there are no doctors in the community, where do you go? You go to Nipigon, or you go to Hearst, (or) Thunder Bay. We need to try to find some solutions." It's roughly 250 kilometres from Geraldton to either of those towns. Powers said the ad came as a surprise to him and that he has been in touch with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, hospital administrators and Michael Gravelle, the local member of the provincial legislature. Powers said plans are in the works for a meeting to discuss the situation as soon as possible. Geraldton has about 3,000 residents. The Coalition for Family Physicians in Ontario has recently claimed that as many as one million people in the province did not have a family physician.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/18/2005 6:38:05 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [325 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The is something to be said of socialized medicine! I think Canada can do MUCH better!

Andrea Jackson
Posted by: Andrea || 02/18/2005 19:57 Comments || Top||

#2  Canada is not a country; it is but a collection of badly run health care providers. I rest my case.
Posted by: john || 02/18/2005 21:04 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
Geffen Unloads On Hillary: 'She Can't Win'
Sen. Hillary Clinton should not count on help from Hollywood mogul David Geffen in her possible run for the White House. Geffen, who was a generous supporter and pal of Bill Clinton when he was president, trashed Hillary's prospects last night during a Q&A at the 92nd St. Y in New York City. "She can't win, and she's an incredibly polarizing figure," the billionaire Democrat told his audience. "And ambition is just not a good enough reason." Lloyd Grove reports in fresh editions of the NY DAILY NEWS the audience broke with "hearty applause" over Geffen's comments.

Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2005 9:04:43 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [860 views] Top|| File under:

#1  From his lips to God's ears.
Aside from all of the obvious things that are just plain wrong with her, imagine a president with kankles.
Posted by: JerseyMike || 02/18/2005 9:22 Comments || Top||

#2  ...or a President with thknees.
Posted by: Poison Reverse || 02/18/2005 9:33 Comments || Top||

#3  "She can't win, and she's an incredibly polarizing figure"

"Programs! Getcher DNC Party programs! Can't tell one bitter, demoralizing loser from the others without your program!"
Posted by: BH || 02/18/2005 9:50 Comments || Top||

#4  Bastard! I will crush your skull between my massive thighs!
Posted by: Anonymous U.S. Senator from NY || 02/18/2005 9:53 Comments || Top||

#5  Expect Geffen to have a bizarre suicide in a park near DC
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2005 10:07 Comments || Top||

#6  Ironically, the polarization that Geffen is talking about may be in the Democrat party. Rodham has been voting more to the center lately. For example she voted to confirm AG for AG. She also made a speech that Geffen may construe as being less than pure on the abortion issue.
Posted by: mhw || 02/18/2005 10:57 Comments || Top||


Text can be changed, if you have better to offer, lol!
Posted by: .com || 02/18/2005 11:05 Comments || Top||

#8  How about "Fred Pruitt found those papers you were looking for."
Posted by: Shipman || 02/18/2005 11:47 Comments || Top||

#9  "I am the ghost of Vince Foster..."
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2005 11:49 Comments || Top||

#10  Looks like she just spotted Bill in the audience... with his arm around his date.
Posted by: BH || 02/18/2005 11:52 Comments || Top||

#11  When I read Geffen's statements last night (originally), I finally felt like someone really sees Hillary for what she is and will say so.

And .com, that picture is perfect.
Posted by: nada || 02/18/2005 11:59 Comments || Top||

#12  BH-Dead on. And she'll take it, just like she's taken all the others-proving she doesn't have the leadership, courage or morality it takes. She would be the poster child for self-martyring/masochistic wives. Still, I'd never underestimate how many people will let that slide. Despite all the ills that kind of behavior brings, there still seems to be a large chunk of the country who thinks infidelity is not a character flaw. With the seemingly large number that feel that way, she could overcome the "self-perpetuating-victim" label. I don't know if she could overcome the odds of being so polarizing a figure, though.
Posted by: Jules 187 || 02/18/2005 12:10 Comments || Top||

#13  mhw, that's the way I see it. Hillary watched very closely how Kerry ran his campaign and is changing her image to more of the middle. The polarization is indeed in the Democratic party. The democrats I know here in East Tennessee who voted for Bush would never vote for her as she was during Slick Willie's presidency. She has been taking caluclated steps to appear more religious, more conservative, and more supportive of the military. I just wonder how much of this his her own doing and how much is her advisors'. If she really is this politically astute she could be very formidable.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 02/18/2005 12:41 Comments || Top||

#14  let the games begin.
Posted by: 2b || 02/18/2005 12:50 Comments || Top||

#15  Jules - I don't think it's masochism, it's just that she believes (and not without reason) that she needs Bill to get what she wants, namely, power. There was no way in hell she could have gotten elected as a Senator without him & his buddies, and she's hoping to cash in on his connections if she runs for President.

It's more of a "you owe me, you bastard....for putting up with your crap!" kinda thing, all the while putting up this "I did it all myself" front that the media just eats up.
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 02/18/2005 14:45 Comments || Top||

#16  BH, slight correction: Looks like she just spotted Bill in the audience... with his arm around his her date.
Posted by: Random thoughts || 02/18/2005 14:55 Comments || Top||

#17  That's a possibility, RT, though all that makeup, and those clothes? I don't think so. Last time that looked like a possibility was the Watergate days...

Can you imagine 4 years of that strident voice? And that woman-hating husband in the White House again? I get chills just thinking about it.
Posted by: Jules 187 || 02/18/2005 15:10 Comments || Top||

#18  .com and Nada- you are 100% correct. Hillary said "It takes a village to raise a child"
Does she have what it takes to be the first U.S. President???? In case anyone is interested,
Mr. John Kerry will be at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Mass this month for an open forum. Check the John F. Kennedy library web site for date and time! COME ONE COME ALL***

Andrea Jackson
Posted by: Monica Lewinsky || 02/18/2005 19:00 Comments || Top||

#19  JFnK at the JFK Library? Apparently Monica/Andrea, you'll swallow anything, hook line and sinker
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2005 19:12 Comments || Top||

#20  # 19 Frank G.--Sorry, I DON'T SWALLOW*** I'll be on the slopes skiing (Vermont)---NOT at the John F. Kennedy library, but yes, I did receive an invite in the mail today...I am a honorary member of the John F. Kennedy library- I am fond of Caroline, as she sign's any books that I need for the various charities that I affiliate myself with.

Andrea Jackson
Posted by: Andrea || 02/18/2005 19:37 Comments || Top||

#21  that's too bad, Andrea
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2005 21:23 Comments || Top||

#22  Frank G- what is too bad? Skiing(Vermont) or the John F. Kennedy lib? SWALLOW = Gag reflex, I'll pass***

Posted by: ANdrea || 02/18/2005 21:26 Comments || Top||

#23  Skiings great, as is snowboarding
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2005 21:32 Comments || Top||

#24  Right on*** my motto is:


Andrea Jackson
Posted by: ANdrea || 02/18/2005 21:34 Comments || Top||

#25  Frank, the lady tells you of her important connections including Caroline Kennedy, and all you can think of is if she swallows. ;o)
Posted by: badanov || 02/18/2005 21:36 Comments || Top||

#26  I'm a pig
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2005 21:45 Comments || Top||

BH-Dead on. And she'll take it, just like she's taken all the others-proving she doesn't have the leadership, courage or morality it takes. She would be the poster child for self-martyring/masochistic wives. Still, I'd never underestimate how many people will let that slide. Despite all the ills that kind of behavior brings, there still seems to be a large chunk of the country who thinks infidelity is not a character flaw. With the seemingly large number that feel that way, she could overcome the "self-perpetuating-victim" label. I don't know if she could overcome the odds of being so polarizing a figure, though.

Actually, I've been thinking lately... there are things Hillary could do to improve her possibility of being elected, besides just pretending to be moderate:

Stop being an enabler for Mr. Codependent. Get her self respect back.

In short, divorce Bill.
Posted by: Phil Fraering || 02/18/2005 23:04 Comments || Top||

#28  All that she's-s-s-s say-ing-g-g-g, is give Radical Islam, anti-Dubya-ism/Americanism, and Nuclear Terror a chance, espec to nuke Dubya, his Admin., and the the leadership of the GOP-Right, ala Cuba-Castro vs. the Kennedys and the JFK Assassination! THE USA IS AT WAR, A WAR FOR ITS IDENTITY AND ITS VERY EXISTENCE - WE HAVE ENEMIES BOTH WITHIN AND WITHOUT WHOM INTEND TO KILL AMERICA ONCE AND FOREVER. Its the ultimate regression as the Failed/Angry Left intends to win by bringing America down to their standards. Leftism = Rightism, Communism = Fascism, Socialism = Capitalism,... Successful America = Failed and Failing Russia-China and the other remnant of the Cold War Commie world, Intellectual PC Hillary = Truth-in-Everything straight arrow Betty Crocker, or prim and proper Queen Victoria. Dubya has to watch his six between now and the day he formally leaves office - Hillary and the power-mad Failed/Angry Left have more options than her just running as VPOTUS with Al "Everything is Beautiful Again" Gore in 2008. America and the GOP-Right have to be discredited, and ideally by their own Left-verified hand - the Clintons, the DemLibs and the Commies can NOT be blsmed or linked to anything!
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 02/18/2005 23:08 Comments || Top||

The Kyoto Protocol Launches! But Will it Matter?
Posted by: tipper || 02/18/2005 10:01 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [381 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Just a reminder for your records -


Byrd-Hagel Resolution, July 25, 1997, passed 95-0

"Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that--

(1) the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997, or thereafter, which would--

(A) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period, or

(B) would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States; and

(2) any such protocol or other agreement which would require the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification should be accompanied by a detailed explanation of any legislation or regulatory actions that may be required to implement the protocol or other agreement and should also be accompanied by an analysis of the detailed financial costs and other impacts on the economy of the United States which would be incurred by the implementation of the protocol or other agreement."
Posted by: Thraing Whaimp1866 || 02/18/2005 13:24 Comments || Top||

#2  Well it's only about 31 in D.C. today. I guess those folks were right about Kyoto after all! And over night!! (/sarc)

And now that it is cold again--thanks A LOT for that, by the way--I guess we can go back to business as usual.
Posted by: eLarson || 02/18/2005 16:46 Comments || Top||

#3  so that is why it is so bitter cold today!
Posted by: 2b || 02/18/2005 16:49 Comments || Top||

Report: Rude Ruud dodges a bullet
A London newspaper says the head of the United Nations refused legal action against an aide who engaged in "unwanted physical contact" with a colleague. The Independent obtained a confidential internal report into claims by a woman that Ruud Lubbers, the United Nations' high commissioner for refugees, sexually harassed her at a meeting with other top officials, the newspaper reported Friday. The woman said Lubbers placed his hands on her waist, pulled her back towards him and pressed his groin into her at the end of a Geneva meeting in December 2003. The internal investigation concluded: "Mr. Lubbers did engage in unwanted physical contact with a subordinate female staff member. New allegations that came to (investigators') attention ... were also examined and indicate a pattern of sexual harassment by Mr. Lubbers."
No wonder Bill Clinton want's to be UN head, he certainly qualified for the "position".
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan responded with a warning to Lubbers.
"Dammit Lubbers, can't you stick to molesting underage refugee girls? They don't file charges."
Investigators also accused Lubbers of abusing "his authority as high commissioner by his intense, pervasive and intimidating attempts to influence the outcome of this investigation." The report also said there were other apparent cases of sexual misconduct by the former prime minister of the Netherlands.
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2005 9:13:32 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [356 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The report also said there were other apparent cases of sexual misconduct by the former prime minister of the Netherlands.

He was Prime Minister from 1982 to 1994.

Makes one wonder who was the teacher and who was the student.
Posted by: Ptah || 02/18/2005 9:51 Comments || Top||

#2  The woman said Lubbers placed his hands on her waist, pulled her back towards him and pressed his groin into her at the end of a Geneva meeting in December 2003.

Next thing you know, you're doing the French Mistake.
Posted by: BH || 02/18/2005 10:06 Comments || Top||

#3  Isn't this how the UN customarily ends meetings?
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/18/2005 10:07 Comments || Top||

#4  Ruud's antics will look like child's play if rabid Muslim members keep increasing their presence and getting higher up in UN hierarchy.
Posted by: Jules 187 || 02/18/2005 17:47 Comments || Top||

#5  I find it very hard to give the benefit of the doubt to someone whose very name is a simple anagram of "Luud Rubbers."
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/18/2005 17:50 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
Malaysia club raid sparks row
New allegations have surfaced about misconduct by Malaysia's religious police during a raid on a top Kuala Lumpur nightclub last month. More than 100 plainclothes officers from the Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI) detained young Muslims at the Zouk nightclub. Female detainees complained of sexual harassment by officers and the incident has led to a heated debate about the department's future. Eyewitnesses have now told the BBC that officers assaulted and severely beat members of the club's staff. The sources also said that non-Muslim patrons, including tourists, who were outside the officers' jurisdiction, also reported being threatened with violence. "Up to 150 of them came in," one witness said. "They didn't identify themselves, they didn't show any ID cards. They just forced their way in and started pushing people around."
"Badges? Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!"
In the days after the raid it emerged that dozens of young women were held for up to 10 hours without access to a toilet, long after male detainees had been released. A number of women said religious officers ordered them to pose in their nightclub outfits while others were asked lewd questions about their genitalia. JAWI would neither confirm nor deny the allegations. The incident prompted Malaysia's cabinet to discuss the future of the religious police.
Getting rid of them would be a big step
Cabinet minister and former law minister Rais Yatim said after the meeting that he believed crime should be a matter for the police and morality for the family.
However, his colleague Abdullah Mohamed Zin, Minister for Islamic affairs, defended the officers and maintained that the raid was carried out according to procedures. The incident has sparked a sometimes venomous debate among Malaysia's Muslims, reflected in comments posted on JAWI's website. Many correspondents, including one signing himself Abdullah were supportive. "I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the recent raids by JAWI against the cesspools of vice and debauchery in Kuala Lumpur. In this era of permissiveness and promiscuity, there is a need for stern action to roll back the decay of morality in society," he said. Others, including SI Azhar, were angered by the officers' alleged behaviour. "If the reports were true, the officers [who] committed those acts were no better than hypocrites, trying to uphold good values of Islam but themselves never follow[ing] it. You have ashamed us fellow Malays and Muslims. Just tell me, how can we encourage non-Muslims to embrace Islam with this kind of attitude?!"
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2005 8:50:08 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [515 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Brownshirts of all types, and indeed, these are brownshirts, cannot be reasoned with. They are, in essense, cowards and bullies. Their motivation for being bullies is that they *like* to be bullies, nothing more complex, so any excuse will do. But also being cowards means that they hate it when someone stands up to them. In this case, had even a small contigent of club bouncers, in an organized and prepared way, started to beat seven bells out of these bullies, the rest would have fleed in terror and never returned. Had the crowd as a whole set upon them, they would have quit their hobby entirely and gone into hiding.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/18/2005 9:08 Comments || Top||

#2  I totally agree with you Anonymoose.

I'm Christian, I have personal problems with bars and clubs like this, and would personally discourage anyone patronizing them, but I draw the line THERE. If the government doesn't have the guts to shut the bar down, then leave them alone and let the people who want those services to enjoy them.

Let every male who visits this and other similar establishments agree to bring a lead pipe and ski mask along with his honeybun, and promise to USE the thing on the head of any damn "religious" policeman who doesn't show a badge or a warrant to the owner/manager upon demand.

I recommend, after flattening them out on the floor, to set their feet up on a chair and having the portliest patron there jump off of another chair onto their kneecaps.

Hell, I'd actually hang out at such a place out of hope of participating. Just don't razz me about my diet sprite and sitting in a corner: I'll be the designated driver.
Posted by: Ptah || 02/18/2005 9:21 Comments || Top||

#3  Abdullah Mohamed Zin, Minister for Islamic affairs, defended the officers and maintained that the raid was carried out according to procedures.

Wonder what kind of "normal procedures" he's talking about. Why doesn't a western journalist's interest ever get raised about THIS kind of event?

A number of women said religious officers ordered them to pose in their nightclub outfits while others were asked lewd questions about their genitalia.
Posted by: Jules 187 || 02/18/2005 9:32 Comments || Top||

#4  Ptah: as an aside, there *is* a need for this sort of clubbing mischief in the developed world. That is, there is a dearth of places for the young to meet and, basically, get in trouble. Trouble as in reproduction. Which is causing a problem with demographics. As developed societies embrace responsibility too much, the birth rate drops like a rock. Marriage, up until the last century, was a bawdy affair, a fertility ritual rather than a solemn spiritual affair, designed to tittilate and stimulate the young couple into making babies, rather than to worry about keeping up appearances and taking responsibility for raising a proper family living at a proper level of economic prosperity and materialism. As to religion, in the developed world, it, too, has embraced responsibility too much. In past, as long as the couple and their children remained faithful, sin and reproduction within marriage had no connection. In fact, it was the duty of every couple that could to make as many children as they could. But now, most religious leaders pound the drum for couples to have fewer children, and to "raise them better." This is back-firing in a terrible way. There is no condemnation of bastardy in religion: in many times and places no woman would be married until she was pregnant--no reason to marry her otherwise. But "waiting until marriage" is a recipe for reproductive disaster. The couple become focused on getting their lives not only started, but comfortable. By the time they get around to having children, they have lost years of reproductive life. Last but not least, religion has long its willingness to support reproduction. Parents need to be encouraged at least, and even mildly coerced, to take on the additional burden. The Mormons are one of the few that still lean on couples to reproduce, and the difference can be seen in their demographics compared to Catholic and Protestant demographics. As far as mixing alcohol and sex goes, there is a saying that "Without alcohol, the human species would have died out long ago." Optimally, children should be raised by a married couple; but practically, any way you can get children is a good way. Every other thing that religion holds dear depends on it.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/18/2005 9:53 Comments || Top||

#5  So where does the funding come from for the Federal Territories Islamic Department? And why aren't they harrassing customers of the very large child-prostitute rings that are there? We need another tsunami.
Posted by: shellback || 02/18/2005 10:46 Comments || Top||

#6  As to religion, in the developed world, it, too, has embraced responsibility too much.

I disagree vigorously: I would say that the MAIN reason that Islamist can recruit grunts is the reluctance of Arab and Mulsim Society to ACCEPT and EMBRACE responsiblity. The main problem in the inner city is single motherhood and the drone males living off of multiple welfare moms while eschewing responsiblity for their offspring.

And don't conflate what used to be Christian Europe with the post-modern, post Christian Eurabia of today. Birth rates are just fine in the United States (accused of being the second most religious nation in the world, right after Ireland), as well as south of the Equator. Birth rates are dropping like a rock in post-communist/still-atheist Russia.

The best aphrodisiac known to man that encourages great demographics is a composition of equal parts of Hope and Optimism, both of which Americans have in spades. It even afflicts illegal Latinos here in the US on the dole. Nobody will have kids if they don't believe they can make those kids better off than they are. Anything else is madness. I and my wife chose to have TWO, because we were SURE we could do that with TWO, while it was doubtful we could do it with THREE, and pretty sure we couldn't do it with FOUR. And to have only ONE would have been selfish, since we had capacity to spare to handle another. It would have been easy to throw up our hands and settle for one after we lost our daughter at 7 months pregnancy (and I wanted a girl), but we trooped on and had #2 son and don't regret it.

Oh, and to be honest: If I could have been GUARANTEED to have a girl on the fourth try, I WOULD have done it. And there always was a chance for twins on tries 2 and 3, but we had faith that if God gave us twins, then HE had faith in US that we could handle it.

Optimally, children should be raised by a married couple; but practically, any way you can get children is a good way.

Children are indeed a good in themselves (which is why I oppose abortion). However, as the child victim of a divorce in the early 60's, and raising two boys today, Married couple is the best. Nevertheless, I have unalloyed admiration for people like Sherri, who are single mothers and continue to troop on. I have LITERALLY been there and been done to.
Posted by: Ptah || 02/18/2005 10:51 Comments || Top||

#7  Rape has been used as a means of punishment by Muslim religious police since Islam began. That's perverse, to say the least. Regards.
Posted by: anti-moby || 02/18/2005 16:01 Comments || Top||

#8  Ptah: I was careful to distinguish between the underdeveloped and developed world. In past, it has been noted that when any given people reach an economic plateau, all of a sudden, their rate of reproduction becomes "maintenance", from 1.9 to 2.5 children per family, rather than "increase" of an average of 3 or more. However, some societies, like western Europe or Japan, that should be at maintenance level are instead in "decline", sometimes radically. Economics cannot be blamed for this, instead social factors come into play. These social factors, like religion, may either inhibit or increase reproduction. In the US, it has been noted that the "anti-community", suburbia, based on the Frank Lloyd Wright ranch house, often results in families living in isolation from their neighbors. This is the low-density version of apartment dwellers who have no idea who lives on their same floor. But in either case, lack of socialization results in fewer healthy relationships over time. Japan now has several million "shut-ins", young people who never leave their family home, often living for years in their room. They have no place to go to meet, socialize, and mate. Or any place that can lead to a relationship where they will reproduce. Their society, and western Europes, and to a great extent the US, are creating more and more social inhibitions to having children. Much of the problem is based in the government asserting that it has a responsibility to micro-manage the raising of children. In this case, a religion may act as a shield to protect a family from government intrusion, or to insist that what government and the culture hold up as the model of a good family is not a good example. The bottom line to all of this, is that those factors that inhibit reproduction are only useful in places with widespread poverty, like Malaysia, whose population will stabilize once it has reached an economic threshold. But in nations with declining populations, inhibitions must be eliminated, and reproduction actively encouraged.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/18/2005 16:56 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Tech
County coroner seeks large shrink-wrap machine
In the case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack, some emergency officials in Western Washington plan to be prepared — with a large, shrink wrap machine. The Thurston County Coroner's Office recently won approval to purchase a machine able to shrink-wrap human remains. The process would make it easier to transport a large number of bodies...
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/18/2005 8:41:24 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [334 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Eh.

They'd have been better off having the entire state chip in a get a DPMU or two.

(The guy third from the left is my brother-in-law.)
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 02/18/2005 22:03 Comments || Top||

Africa: Subsaharan
Pneumonic Plague Kills Scores in Congo Outbreak
KINSHASA, Congo -- A rare form of plague has killed at least 61 people at a diamond mine in the remote wilds of northeast Congo, and authorities fear hundreds more who fled into the forests to escape the contagion are infected and dying, the World Health Organization said Friday. Eric Bertherat, a doctor for the U.N. health agency, said the outbreak has been building since December around a mine near Zobia, 170 miles north of Kisangani, the capital of the vast Oriental province. Nearly all the 7,000 miners have abandoned the infected area and sought refuge in the world's second-largest tropical rain forest, all but cut off from the outside world. Security fears -- mainly from bandits and militia left over from Congo's five-year war -- also have slowed international response, Bertherat said.

Plague is spread mainly by fleas and causes an infection in the lungs that slowly suffocates its victims. If caught in time, it can be treated with antibiotics. Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague and is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected flea. It usually is spread by rodents. It does not spread person to person. Pneumonic plague -- the kind in the current outbreak -- is rarer but also more easily transmitted from person to person through coughing or close contact.

Bertherat, speaking to reporters by telephone from Geneva, said plague commonly is found in this region of northern Congo, but an outbreak this large was unusual. Unlike the deadly Ebola virus, which also is found in the dark forests of Congo, Bertherat said this outbreak of plague was unlikely to spread too quickly, given the remote and isolated terrain. "It's still a large concern," Bertherat said, "because these are cases moving elsewhere."
If it get's into a crowded city, look out..
Bertherat and a 10-member team of WHO doctors will arrive in Kisangani on Monday to prepare for a journey into the forests. He said doctors from the aid organization Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, already were there, treating miners they could locate. The forests have long been both a refuge and a death trap for Congolese running from war, disaster and disease. More than 1 million people still live rough in the forests after fleeing Congo's devastating 1998-2002 war. Aid groups say nearly 1,000 people still die every day from war-induced starvation and disease. According to the WHO, the incubation time for plague is two to six days. Victims develop a fever and cough. Breathing becomes difficult as lungs fill with fluid. Unless antibiotics are given within the first 24 hours, death can come as quickly as within 48 hours.
Posted by: Steve || 02/18/2005 4:08:09 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [308 views] Top|| File under:

#1  While Pneumonic plague is 90% fatal if untreated. With antibiotics fatality rate is zero. I.e its no risk to the developed world. Africa is a different matter.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/18/2005 16:48 Comments || Top||

#2  You have 1 day to figure out how sick you are and get an appointment. with your doc. Sounds like a risk to me . . . Once the big public health emergency machine got cranked up there'd be antibiotics enough, but that takes time, and we'd lose people in the interim.
Posted by: James || 02/18/2005 18:28 Comments || Top||

#3  You have 1 day to figure out how sick you are and get an appointment. with your doc

god forbid it hits Canada with their super healthcare system. Wonder what the Mullahs in Nigeria will say? "Nahhhh it's just like Polio. Only infidels get it"
Posted by: Frank G || 02/18/2005 18:40 Comments || Top||

#4  Prophylactic antibiotics would stop an outbreak dead. Worst case is a bunch of people on a plane get infected. Index case dies, can't find some contacts and they spread. Some might die, but it would be stopped within days. This is not like SARS or bird flu where the disease is untreatable.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/18/2005 22:08 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Economy
Choicepoint to alert additional 110,000 of identity theft risk
EFL. Follow up on a previous report. You may want to request a copy of your credit report to see if you've been hit. The Credit Bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

The number of people being notified that they may have been caught in a massive identity-theft scam quadrupled Wednesday — to 145,000. ChoicePoint Inc., one of the nation's largest collectors of consumer data, said it would warn 110,000 people outside California that con artists posing as merchants had looked at information including addresses, phone listings, Social Security numbers and credit reports. The company took the step after criticism that it was sending warning letters only to 35,000 possible victims in California, where state law requires such disclosure.

Although breaches of credit bureaus and other such collectors occur from time to time, the scale of the yearlong ChoicePoint operation was among the largest ever uncovered. ChoicePoint is used mostly by landlords and merchants for background on potential tenants and customers, but it counts law enforcement and other government agencies among its clients. Its databases contain a host of information, including links to the three credit bureaus.

The scammers used 50 fake ChoicePoint merchant accounts to look at the personal information of thousands of people nationwide. That information can be used to open credit card accounts or buy goods under assumed names. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Det. Duane Decker said he had identified 750 people who had been defrauded by the ring, which operated for more than a year before it was detected in October. One person was arrested, and investigators are searching for other suspects.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/18/2005 1:36:11 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [395 views] Top|| File under:

#1  So far, so good.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 02/18/2005 14:37 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Tech
Life on Mars: Not So Fast
Two days ago BigEd put up a post about evidence of life on Mars. That post pointed to this article, which was based on information given to the author by people who'd attended a scientific meeting. It didn't come from the scientists themselves. Well, today NASA issued a press release putting the brakes on the whole thing:
News reports on February 16, 2005, that NASA scientists from Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., have found strong evidence that life may exist on Mars are incorrect.

NASA does not have any observational data from any current Mars missions that supports this claim. The work by the scientists mentioned in the reports cannot be used to directly infer anything about life on Mars, but may help formulate the strategy for how to search for martian life. Their research concerns extreme environments on Earth as analogs of possible environments on Mars. No research paper has been submitted by them to any scientific journal asserting martian life.
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 02/18/2005 12:09:59 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336 views] Top|| File under:


Our secret is still safe. I told the supreme council that a little "lobbying" could quell the firestorm...

They even let me write the press release!

-"Uncle Martin"
Posted by: BigEd || 02/18/2005 12:22 Comments || Top||

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