Sunday, May 22, 2005

Baghdad Mosque Closings Spark Weapons Shortage

by Scott Ott

(2005-05-21) -- Since Friday's announcement by a Sunni Muslim cleric that Baghdad's Sunni Mosques would close for three days to protest killings blamed on Iraqi security forces, consumers said they're struggling to find alternate sources for weaponry.

"My children and I stood on line at a back-alley dealer for seven hours just to buy mortar rounds," said one unnamed local resident. "My uncle just called and he's got one rocket-propelled grenade left, and has completely exhausted his family's supply of roadside bombs."

Indeed, industry sources report that the price of all kinds of small armaments jumped 73 percent within minutes of the announcement that the mosques would close.

"When you get an improvised explosive device at the mosque, you can rely on the quality," said one unnamed regular customer. "But a lot of the stuff you buy on the street is shoddy work that might send you to Allah before you get to the crowd of infidels. I think we're going to see a lot of second-rate martyrdom work until the mosques re-open."

Note from Bill: I followed a link on my dad's computer to this and I've already lost the link and forgotten what the web site is called. if anyone recognizes this, please email me.
(and please post a comment, I need all the feedback I can get)

my mom sent this to me and I have no idea where it's from originally

Epidemic of Mental Illness in Doctors
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The emergence of Medically Unexplained Illnesses has
revealed an epidemic of behavioral problems and
personality disorders in doctors.

Patients expressing unfamiliar complaints to their
physicians often induce the "It's All In Your Head"
(AIYH) or the "That's Impossible" response in doctors
suffering from these behavioral problems and
personality disorders.

Physicians who manifest the metaphysical belief system
of "If we don't know about it, then it doesn't exist"
are suffering from a mental defect or psychological
condition known as "Doctors with Unexplained Medical
Beliefs" or D.U.M.B.

DUMB doctors are comprised of two categories that are
characterized by those who are feigning to be DUMB for
monetary gain: "Medicalingering" and those who are not
in possession of sufficient information to render
intelligent diagnoses: "Factlessitious Disorder".

Physicians who are predisposed to this condition place
an inordinate emphasis on theories of psychological
causality for virtually any unfamiliar complaints that
are presented to them. This somatiform obsession with
psychological etiology, "Psychosomatization Disorder"
or "Psychologizing" is a distinctive characteristic of
the mental illness and should be considered a warning
sign that the individual is not rational and may in
fact be DUMB. DUMB disorder may be concomitant but
should not be confused with Signs of Thoroughly
Umistakable Physician Intelligence Deficiency or
"S.T.U.P.I.D." since a STUPID physician is uniformly
incompetent while a DUMB doctor is only mentally
paralyzed into "psychologizing" by unfamiliar symptoms
and complaints.

An immediate investigation is warranted to ascertain
the prevalence of DUMB and STUPID doctors and assess
the impact that physicians suffering from these mental
defects and behavioral disorders have on the health
care system and patients.

Note from Bill: my mom sent this to me and I have no idea where it's from originally. if you have any idea where it's from please email me!

This is odd

Darth Vader's Family Values

By JOHN TIERNEY
Published: May 21, 2005

Wherever you are, Adam Smith, call your agent. Darth Vader is stealing your best stuff.

The new installment of "Star Wars" has set off the usual dreary red-blue squabble, with liberals using the film to attack Republicans, and some conservatives calling for a boycott. But - and I know this is hard to believe for a movie with characters named General Grievous and Count Dooku - there's actually a serious bipartisan lesson about the dark side of politics.
Skip to next paragraph

If you can sit through the endless light-saber duels and robotic dialogue, you finally see what turned Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. He set out to become a Jedi knight who will use the Force for good, but he's traumatized, first by the murder of his mother, then by a vision that his wife will die in childbirth.

His fears are manipulated by Chancellor Palpatine, the leader of the Senate (who's being compared to Senator Bill Frist in Moveon.org commercials). When this oily politician extols the power of the dark side of the Force, Anakin at first protests that those who use it think "only of themselves," whereas the Jedi are "selfless" and "only care about others."

He says he could never betray the Jedi because they're his family, but then the chancellor puts the family question in perspective: "Learn to know the dark side of the Force, Anakin, and you will be able to save your wife from certain death." Anakin promptly recognizes the limits of altruism, just as Adam Smith did in the 18th century.

Smith knew that some people professed love for all humanity, but he realized that a man's love for "the members of his own family" is "more precise and determinate, than it can be with the greater part of other people." Hence his famous warning not to rely on the kindness of strangers outside your family: if you want bread, it's better to count on the baker's self-interest rather than his generosity.

This has never been a popular bit of advice because selfishness is not admired in human societies any more than among Jedi knights. We know it exists, but it feels wrong. We are born with an instinct for altruism because we evolved in clans of hunter-gatherers who would not have survived if they hadn't helped one another through hard times.

The result is an enduring political paradox: we no longer live in clans small enough for altruism to be practical, but we still respond to politicians who promise to make us all part of one big selfless community. We want everyone to be bound together with a shared set of values, a yearning that Daniel Klein, an economist, dubs the People's Romance in the summer issue of The Independent Review.

The People's Romance is his explanation for why so many Americans have come to love bigger government over the past century. Their specific objectives in Washington differed - liberals stressed charity and social programs for all, while conservatives promoted patriotism and spending on national security - but they both expanded the government in their quest for a national sense of shared purpose.

The result, though, has not been one happy community because America is not a clan with shared values. It is a huge group of strangers with leaders who are hardly altruists - they have their own families and needs. Tocqueville recognized the inherent problem with the People's Romance when he described citizens' contradictory impulses to be free while also wanting a government that is "unitary, protective and all-powerful."

People try to resolve this contradiction, Tocqueville wrote, by telling themselves that democracy makes them masters of politicians, but they soon find that the Force is not with them, especially if they're in the minority. Republicans used to rail helplessly at Democrats for taxing them for destructive social programs and curtailing their economic liberties; now Democrats complain about the money squandered on the Iraq war and the threat to civil liberties from the Patriot Act.

For those Democrats, the signature line in this "Star Wars" is the one spoken after the chancellor, citing security threats, consolidates his power by declaring that the republic must become an empire. Senator Padmé listens to her colleagues cheer and says, "So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause."

She's disgusted with them, but their enthusiasm is understandable. The chancellor has tapped into their primal desire to unite in one great clan with a shared purpose. They're in the throes of the People's Romance.

Note from Bill: I don't place any political significance in star wars: It's SPACE OPERA! If I watch episode III (I don't know if I will, at least not for a while yet) it will be because I want to see the lightsaber duels and space battles. not because I want to see sort of message Darth Vader is trying to get across

Saturday, May 21, 2005

On this day

On May 21, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his "Spirit of St. Louis" near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

On this day

On May 19, 1935, T.E. Lawrence, also known as "Lawrence of Arabia," died in England from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

the suspension of free speech

I've been reading about the escapades of newsweek and I have a question, to whit:

why doesn't the government do something about it?

I know this sounds weird, but this is a serious question: why doesn't the government do something about it?

free speech is in the way. or is it? does deliberate incitement of our enemies come under the heading of free speech? unfortunately it does. the answer? get rid of free speech.

there have been times when we have lain down a few of our rights for a purpose: in the civil war, the government suspended habeus corpus in border states and occupied confederate states. in world war II, free speechwas suspended for the express purpose of stopping nazi newspaper editors from spreading their lies. (if you wish to chuckle at the irony, please do so now) and we still have habeus corpus, and free speech.

I can see the legitimate political reasons for not doing so now; the democrats would blow it up into this enormous thing about a republican plot to sieze control of the country and cause this whole scare that would be disastrous for this country.

this isn't one of those 'they should do this, the should do that' posts. (at least, I hope it isn't) this is a serious question and people should ask it. and people should talk about it.

thanks for reading me. I hope i've given you something to think about.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Hell and High Water

By FRANK MCKENNA

Published: May 12, 2005

A CRISIS looms on the United States border with Canada, and it could easily be averted with some research and a little patience.

The problem stems from a body of water in North Dakota known as Devils Lake. The lake has no natural drainage, and because North Dakota has drained surrounding wetlands, it has risen 26 feet since 1993, flooding nearby communities. In Canada, we are sympathetic to the plight of the lake's neighbors, but not to the solution their state has proposed.

In June, North Dakota plans to open an outlet that will let Devils Lake water travel into the Sheyenne River and on into the Red River, which flows north into Canada. From there the water will eventually stream into Lake Winnipeg and the Hudson Bay watershed.

Devils Lake, a remnant of a shallow glacial sea, is a closed ecological system that has been geographically separate from the surrounding Hudson Bay basin for more than a thousand years. Its salty waters have high concentrations of nitrogen, sulfates and phosphates - minerals that could cause severe digestive distress if consumed and could be lethal to aquatic life. Because of these contaminants, North Dakota does not allow Devils Lake waters to be used for irrigation.

Once the canal is opened, the pollutants will enter the water supply of downstream communities in North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba. Moreover, species of fish, plants, parasites and viruses previously confined in Devils Lake, in some cases for millenniums, will spill out into the Sheyenne and Red Rivers. There they could kill the native plants and fish of the larger ecosystem. The consequences for Lake Winnipeg, the largest freshwater fishery in North America, are particularly worrisome.

Despite concerns on both sides of the border about maintaining safe water sources, North Dakota has decided to pump out Devils Lake water without undertaking any environmental assessment or establishing ecological safeguards.

There is a solution to this impending crisis. Nearly 100 years ago, Canada and the United States established the Boundary Waters Treaty. Under that treaty the two governments set up an International Joint Commission to address differences of opinion involving boundary waters. So far, of the 53 issues the two countries have jointly referred to the commission, 51 have been resolved by mutual agreement.

For over a year, Canada has been requesting that North Dakota put off pumping water while the United States and Canada refer the issue to the commission for a time-limited, independent, scientific review. Both the Canadian and Manitoban governments have stated that they will support the commission's finding, whatever it may be. The governors of Minnesota and Missouri, as well as many other officials, have expressed support for the Canadian request in letters to the United States secretary of state.

At their March meeting in Waco, Tex., President Bush, Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada and President Vicente Fox of Mexico pledged to enhance water quality "by working bilaterally, trilaterally and through existing regional bodies." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should demonstrate the strength of that commitment by joining Canada in referring the Devils Lake project to the joint commission.

If instead the Devils Lake project goes forward without a review, it will damage not only the region's environment and economy, but also North America's most important bilateral water management arrangement. There is a better solution.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

On This Day

On may 12th, 1942, all axis forces in north africa surrendered

Monday, May 09, 2005

The wrong neighborhood

as I look at my blog, I notice that I fail to mention some things, such as I live in israel. last night, we were driving back home from jeruselam when we noticed we were in the wrong neighborhood, on the wrong side of the wall. (there was literally a concrete wall we were on the wrong side of)

what could we do? we drove until we came to a place we could turn around and did so. and we didn't notice until we were out that we still had our two israeli flags on our car.

Interesting, nu? it was quite exciting at the time.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Today is V-E day!

stone the crows and put out the whiskey! today is Victory in Europe day! it has now been sixty years since the german High command officially surrendered, sixty years since Hitler's regime finally came to an end. Today's the post-war world's sixtieth birthday!

below, I've written a little on the men who contributed greatest to the downfall of nazi germany:

Dwight David Eisenhower. I have a lot of respect for Eisenhower, and I think he was one of the best generals and best president this country's ever had.

I've heard a lot of people disparaging Eisenhower because (so far as I can see) he wasn't exciting enough. one claim I've heard is that the only reason that he was appointed to the supreme commander of allied forces was because he was very likable. I'm like, so what? when your dealing with an alliance made up of americans, british, french, and russians, you'd better have a supreme commander who's likable!

Eisenhower would go around to the combat units and br likable at the soldiers! he'd talk with men. just, talk. as he said, he'd 'talk with them about anything and everything, just so long as I could get them to talk.'

Besides which, he knew how to use other's skills: he wouldn't get cought up in any particular battle (like rommel) and so miss something very important somewhere else.

But you wanna know what really makes it for me? when the western allies liberated a concentration camp. He looked over every inch of the place for the express purpose that if anyone at home ever said that there never were any concentration camps and it was all propaganda, he could say: no, I've seen one, they really were there.

George S. Patton Jr. Patton was the only General the Nazis feared; there were a few they were wary of, like Montgomery, Zhukov, Bradley, and Clarke. but Patton was the only man the Nazis truly feared.

Like Eisenhower, Patton toured a Concentration Camp. but Patton did something more: He brought Germans in from the town nearby (literally at gun point) and forced them to see everything. so they couldn't later say: 'Concentration Camp? what Cincentration Camp? I never saw any Concentration Camp'.

Adolf Hitler. No don't laugh! Hitler contributed enormously to the downfall of Nazi Germany. my reasoning? I shall explain:

Hitler was an idiot. it's that simple. And he forced his generals to do Idiotic things. Examples? below.

Dunkirk: the German Panzers had penetrated to the English channel, some of them were literallyin sight of the beach. and hitler ordered them to stop. HE WOULDN'T LET THEM MOVE. HE WOULDN'T EVEN LET THEM SHOOT AT THE BRITS. His reasong? he said that if the Germans destroyed the British army, the British would fight to the bitter end. (huh?) there is absolutely nothing I feel sorry to the Nazis for, but having to SIT there and watch, while 315,000 enemy troops just sail away? that's just pathetic.

El Alemein: what, you think Rommel wanted to fight a losing battle? he KNEW he'd lose. he KNEW that the only thing that he'd accomplish was the needless slaughter of his troops. but Hitler ordered him to fight. the result was one of the Germans most important defeats.

Stalingrad: this is where Hitler's Insanity became most evident: Stalingrad was of NO importance. and even after the sixth army was surrounded, he ordered general Paulus not to make a move. even when the Germans were attempting to relieve the sixth army, Paulus would not move. (which says about as much about Paulus' sanity as it does about Hitler's).

I hope I've given you food for thought (bon appetite) I'd love dearly to write about more men who contributed to Germany's downfall: such as churchill, de Gaul, Montgomery, Ord Wingate, (there's so many who really deserve to be remembered) but Time is pressing and I have to get going. so, Happy sixtieth!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

It's very late

It's very late and I haven't been able to get on the computer until very late this night. but i have to say it: tomorrow is V-E day.

Friday, May 06, 2005

join the anti-gun crowd!

I was sitting at my computer, trying to think what to write, when it suddenly came to my fingertips! of course they started writing before they told my brain. but that's beside the point. eventually thye wrote a fake advert for a membership for 'the anti-gun crowd.' and here it is:

have you ever wanted to eliminate freedom? to take away people's god-given rights and give them nothing in return? well here's your chance! join the anti-gun crowd now and recieve 5% off your membership fees!

our activities include: editing news stories to make gun owners appear in the worst light, publishing lies about guns in television, newspapers and our works of fiction we pass off as documentaries, mailing fliers full of trash all over the country... the fun never ends in the anti-gun crowd!

unsurpassed opportunities! have you ever wanted to quote hitler? or call him a good guy? in the anti-gun crowd you can not only do that but be applauded for it!

have you ever had the chance to act like a total ass? insult people you've never met and know nothing about? call us at: 1-889-2222-789 or email at: anti-guncrowd@be_an_ass.com

(note from bill: this number and email address lead to nowhere I know of, they're intended as a joke)

(further note from bill: if you are new to any discussion of gun freedom vs. gun control, you need to know: although this is meant as a joke ad, many of the things I've wrote here people really do: people have really quoted hitler; really called him a good guy; really edited news stories to put gun owners in the worst light (see my ealier post; 'good samariran gun use)

I've probably insulted anyone with liberal leanings who happens to be reading this, and I won't apoligize. I hope anyone else reading this found it amusing.

it's now two days to V-E (Victory in Europe) day; the final surrender of the german high command and the end of World War II in Europe. (just in case you didn't know and had't read my earlier posts on the subject) it will be the sixtieth anniversary of the birth of the Post-War World. I hope you have a happy sixtieth!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

General Pershing was right

Origin's of world war II: the end of world war I.
at the end of WW I the Germans were facing an unwinnable situation: no progress on the western front against staunch British and French resistance, American counterattacks, a British blockade, their economy in ruins, the only reason they weren't beaten already was that their enemies just hadn't had time to conquer them yet.

then came the armistice: (NOT a surrender; an anarmistice).

you see, the British and French thought that if they let the Germans retire with some dignity, they would be less likely to harbor feelings of resentment, and so less likely to do it again. (which is stupid when you take into account the seizure of German overseas possessions, the French gobbling of german territory, the reperations payments and so forth) there were many people (mostly americans and particularly General Pershing) who thought the Germans needed to admit that they had been defeated; as it turned out, they were right:

the thought that they had not been defeated, but had instead been betrayed by communists and (naturally) Jews (as put forward by hitler) was incredibly alluring to the German people. combine that with the ego massage of being called the 'Master Race.' and it becomes easy to see how hitler rose to power so quickly.

I was thinking of this because of the upcoming may 8th: most people know it as mother's day. but it is also (unfortunately less) well known as V-E (Victory in Europe) day: the final surrender of the German High Command and the end of World War II in europe.

three days to V-E day!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

almost anniversary

today is may 4th, in four days it will be mother's day. but you know something odd? it will also be V_E day: the sixtieth anniversary of the end of world war II in europe.

have a Happy sixtieth!