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September 27, 2005

Comments

No problems commenting here. Then again, the closest I've ever come to AOL is putting to good use all the nice DVD cases they so helpfully give out these days.

For the modelers and other curious out there: my latest tabletop terrain creation.

I had this problem, but it went away recently.

Not happening to me, but Firefox often takes a long time to come back with a preview of my comment.

For those interested, here is Brown's testimony,/a> a lot of laptop throwable assertions there, but this struck me

BROWN: Actually, I still think the debit card idea is a very good idea.

[snip]

BROWN: Because it would allow us to track expenditures and see what people are spending it on, where it goes, kind of see what happens to disaster victims.

You dump $2,000 dollars in the hands of people who have probably never had that much disposable income in their lives and then you track their spending. I'm sure it's just for research...

Away with the evil unclosed tags!

Ah, horsefeathers. Sorry about that.

Edward: I figured it out, I think. Here's what happened: I banned someone about ten days ago, using the email address that person was posting from at the time. That email address turned out to have been used by a bunch of different people, all of whom use AOL, and several of whom have been in touch with the kitty about not being able to comment.

Alas! We were not checking the kitty's email, so those messages sort of languished, unread, until tonight. But now I have unbanned the address in question, and it seems to have cleared things up. If anyone still has this problem, email me -- the address you get when you click my name is real.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and also sorry to those of you who have written us sometime in the last, oh, two months....

(I have now gone through the email.)

I can get access OK, but find I have very little to say. Can you fix that, too?

^ That's never stopped you before...

OK, here's a very strange story, via Majikthise. Remember the woman who talked the guy who shot up the courthouse in Atlanta into turning himself in, by using 'The Purpose-Driven Life'? Well, here's a detail I didn't see coming:

"Ashley Smith, the woman who says she persuaded suspected courthouse gunman Brian Nichols to release her by talking about her faith, discloses in a new book that she gave him methamphetamine during the hostage ordeal.

Smith did not share that detail with authorities at the time. But investigators said she came clean about the drugs when they interviewed her months later. They said they have no plans to charge her with drug possession.

In her book, "Unlikely Angel," released Tuesday, Smith says Nichols had her bound on her bed with masking tape and an extension cord. She says he asked for marijuana, but she did not have any, and she dug into her illegal stash of crystal meth instead. "

In that Newsday story, "give" seems to have a fairly liberal meaning.

And here's a nice parting thought, before I go to bed, from the always amazing Town Hall

"And what is that danger? It’s not merely “terrorism.” Many terrorist groups pose no threat to us. But terrorism carried out by those who adhere to a radical interpretation of Islam does. And it’s time, however painful it may be to the language police among us, to speak plainly about what we’re at war with: radical Islam. Those who refuse to assimilate and who plot our overthrow and destruction cannot be ignored without ensuring our own destruction.

Yet, for the West, that’s easier said than done. “It is increasingly likely that such a threat cannot be defeated while the West continues to adhere to its deeply held values -- as it currently understands them -- of tolerance, the right to privacy, the right even to advocate sedition and the right to equal protection under the law,” Blankley writes. “The day is upon us when the West will have to decide which it values more: granting these rights and tolerance to those who wish to destroy us, or the survival of Western civilization.” (...)

Blankley expects the West to rise to this challenge. Let’s hope -- and pray -- that he’s right."

So they want Western civilization to survive even at the cost of its highest values? And this is called "rising", not sinking, to the challenge? Does it ever cross these people's minds that while some civilizations are conquered (and we are not about to be conquered by al Qaeda), others just give up what's best about them and rot away?

And shouldn't we require a bit more evidence that we are not just facing off against a bunch of thugs who can be dealt with without compromising our values, but facing some sort of cosmic existential threat that requires giving up on little things like tolerance and equal protection under the law and privacy?

(I realize I'm largely preaching to the converted here. But the writer's confidence that she is the defender of Western civilization here is just breathtaking.)

I couldn't comment for a while on one of the computers I use, but I figured that was because I had made the mistake of using that computer to report spammers, and an enthusiastic ObWinger had banned me along with the spammers. Solution: I no longer report spammers on ObWing.

That very well could have been me, J, and no, I wasn't trying to tell you anything. I do appreciate your efforts as spamwatchdog, and am not trying to tell you anything subliminal. Subtlety ain't my strong suit, as you've undoubtedly noted.

hilzoy, if we got a spambot coming from an aol address (and I admit I'm guilty of not checking the originating address of these things anymore) the best thing to do is report it to [email protected] I don't have any confidence that works, but it's better (possibly) than doing nothing.

Tangentially related, I used to MUD years ago, and abuse was so rampant that after a while, some MUDs simply disallowed connections from AOL and the like, because there was no other way to stop it and AOL wasn't responding to abuse complaints.

Slart: That tracks with my experience adminning on MU* sites. More than one just sitebanned *aol.com after a while. It was unfortunate, because there were a few really good players who got caught up in the blanket ban.

The only real alternative was to go to a strict registration scheme, and that's just as likely to turn away some good players.

Nice to be able to comment again: unfortunately, like dr. ngo, I find myself bereft of pithy commentary at the moment: oh well, I'm sure I'll think of something.

Just a minor nitpick: hilzoy, I gather that in Rebecca Hagelin's Town Hall piece, she wasn't playing Defender of Western Civilization, but simply citing Tony Blankley's claims as to the same. Not that it makes a great deal of difference - either way, isn't the Clash of Civilizations meme getting just a bit threadbare by now?
I can understand folks in America/Western Europe having a (entirely justifiable) fear of terrorism, per se (as in attacks such as 9/11/01 Madrid 3/11, London 7/7, etc.); but why, after a few years of reflection on the issue, do so many "pundits" keep harping on the Peril Of The Saracen Hordes theme (which, except in occasional isolated incidents has never materialized)?

...and we are not about to be conquered by al Qaeda

but in their little nightmares, we are.

i love how they can think of the US as a huge unstoppable military and economic machine in one breath, and a fragile teetering china doll about to fall to pieces, in another. we need to go stomping around the world molding and bending all other countries to our liking; because if we don't, we'll be utterly destroyed by a handful of criminals.

In order to understand this, you only have to remember that these are the same people who argued that we had to disregard UN resolutions in order to enforce them.

"The day is upon us when the West will have to decide which it values more: granting these rights and tolerance to those who wish to destroy us, or the survival of Western civilization.”

Is Blankley really this dumb? The question isn't just whether we will continue to grant rights and tolerance to those who wish to destroy us. The question is whether we will retain those rights ourselves. What he's talking about here is thought crimes.

JayC: and it's great to have you, and the others, back. -- I thought that her "Let's hope -- and pray -- that he's right", plus the general tone of the article, made it clear that she was citing Blankley in agreement. If not, though, restrict my comments to Blankley.

Total thrill for giant squid fans.

CNN:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay indicted on one count of criminal conspiracy by Texas grand jury, according to Travis County clerk's office.

As partisanly as that news on DeLay makes me want to respond (and I realize there's little chance of this), it does behoove everyone to wait and see if he's found guilty to begin treating him as if he is...having said that, as the NYT and others are now reporting, he may need to step down as leader now.

Whether he's guilty or not, I will say, this indictment couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. ;-pp

fuggedaboutit:

Fox is reporting Hasert is going to recommend a substitute to DeLay!

Who wants a no-longer-needed Agnostics Anonymous membership card???

it does behoove everyone to wait and see if he's found guilty to begin treating him as if he is

nah. DeLay is a powerful high-profile politician; there's more to his indictment than the narrow legal issues.

DeLay has stepped down, at least for now - JMM says the proposed replacemnt indicates he'll be back.

"Many terrorist groups pose no threat to us. But terrorism carried out by those who adhere to a radical interpretation of Islam does."

Gee, I didn't know Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber, Eric Rudolph and his "pro-life" friends, ETA, and the IRA were Islamic terrorist groups! Or is the theory that none of these people/groups were or are "real" threats? Admittedly, none have managed as big a death count as the WTC terrorists, but that seems to be from lack of ability, not lack of desire.

Re: Tom Delay's indictment. TRMPAC's actions were pretty transparently illegal. They weren't even making more than a token effort to obey the law. I have no idea if Delay will be convicted or not. Conspiracy is a bit of a stretch, but it's the only thing Earle can indict Delay on, and the Fort Bend DA isn't going to go after Delay.

The Texas GOP owns MOST of Texas, and TRMPAC seemed to run on the assumption they owned ALL of Texas. Not quite true enough, as it turns out.

Early, despite the BS on CNN, is a pretty straight shooter. Of the 15 or so politicians he's brought charges on, 11 or 12 of them were Democrats (powerful ones, too. He didn't go after small fry, but big players in the Texas Democratic Party back when that meant something).

Reading between the lines on the grand jury, it appears quite a number of "donors" have been willing to flip to finger TRMPAC and Delay. It appears, from what has been leaked, that TRMPAC was quite clear on how the game was played -- there's little deniability here.

I think the most interesting aspect is that the voters of Texas will probably seize on this as an excuse to oust the current GOP leadership (in the primaries. We're not talking a wave of Democrats getting elected). Not so much for Delay's ethical breaches, but out of sheer irritation with the GOP priorities over the last two years. A lot of Texas Republicans blame the leadership (all folks heavily invested with Delay and TRMPAC) for the "circus" of a mid-cycle redistricting, and the utter failure to address school finance. I think this indictment will be used against politicians like Craddick in the next primaries.

When coloring outside the lines, why not color WAY outside the lines by mentioning Ed Gein?

That'll show 'em.

Slart: woosh.

Dreier out, Blunt in. No, Blunt and Dreier sharing. Who's on first?

Anyone not see this yet?

The official "Beer Looter Dude" website.

Only in America.

(I know, Gary. It was probably funny like 6 days ago).

"Who eats chocolate chip cookies with Heineken?" (from the Beer Looter Duede website)

Who doesn't?

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

The subtitle under Scott Stevens on Lou Dobbs
"The Japanese Mafia caused Hurricane Katrina"

His evidence is at
http://weatherwars.info/

A battle in the skies is waged daily. Some battles are won and others lost. We yet know not which. For years this massive global project has been under way, but only now is it making it to the forefront of the consciousness of those with curious minds. These open minds know that every belief system fails; and only fails, under the weight of new truthful information. This is how progress is made, slowly and often only with the passing of a generation of humankind.

The Truth
It would appear to be an indelible human trait that the 'truth' about most issues usually goes through three distinct phases known colloquially as "the three stages of truth". During the first stage, the issue goes unnoticed and is ignored. The second stage is characterized by a period of vehement denial. The third stage witnesses the truth about the issue being recognized as self-evident.

The intent of my work here is to skip directly to this third stage of truth. Time does not allow for us to bicker over the obvious.

Avoid drinking beverages while reading this.

Gee, I didn't know Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber, Eric Rudolph and his "pro-life" friends, ETA, and the IRA were Islamic terrorist groups! Or is the theory that none of these people/groups were or are "real" threats? Admittedly, none have managed as big a death count as the WTC terrorists, but that seems to be from lack of ability, not lack of desire.
McVeigh clearly desired to kill and injure as many as possible. Equally clearly, the IRA has never had such a policy, and neither did the Unabomber. If the IRA intended as you claim, they wouldn't have sent warnings for most bombings. And if the Unabomber intended as you claim, he wouldn't have sent tidy little bombs to a handful of individuals. These are really either quite wacky or quite ignorant claims, but either way, they're entirely in error. (ETA is more debatable, though their policies have been rather changeable from year to year; they're responsible for about 848 deaths, reportedly, and since breaking the truce in 1999, reportedly have caused the death of 46 victims and injured over 300; some bombs clearly were intended to kill promiscuously; other attacks were targeted on individuals; if Eric Rudolph really intended to kill massive numbers of people, he certainly was highly incompetent.) And, incidentally, I'm not very worried about being attacked by ETA, myself. So, no, I'm not particularly worried they're a "real threat" to me, or to Americans in general, though they are to Spanish and perhaps French folk. On the other hand, I'm not quaking with fear each day that an Islamic terrorist is lurking in town, either, although it's a slightly greater "real threat" to me, insofar as there are at the least some thousands of Islamic terrorists who wouldn't mind offing me if they had the opportunity, and would be particularly pleased once they knew I was a Jew.

I think the IRA practiced "responsible terrorism" and sent warnings before they bombed. However, they certainly wanted to be a threat to the British government or at the very least to British rule of North Ireland. I have no idea what the Unabomber wanted (or wants since AFAIK he's not dead), but I'd describe someone who sent bombs to only slightly non-random people as a threat. Eric Rudolph is probably just massively incompetent: I find it hard to believe that someone placing a bomb at the Olympics didn't want to kill people.

Talking about terrorist groups that could scare me got me strangely nostalgic.

I was in London for the summer during the IRA 1982 bombings. Being a college student and music major, the fact that a regimental band got hit really freaked out my mother, but I don't remember being too scared, but I was fascinated by the Proms concerts, and, being young, you think you are invulnerable.

The second time, I was living in France during the bombings of Printemps and Galeries Lafayette (85 Dec). I googled to see if my memory was correct that it was Armenian separatists, and got this page">http://eightiesclub.tripod.com/id301.htm>page has the NYTimes saying it was claimed by the PLO.

I interviewed for a job in Stuttgart at a place called, IIRC, the American School, shortly after the disco bombing that was tied to Libya. I remember talking to the guy about that, and him noting that because the entire front of the building was glass bricks, no one hung around in the front, which was a library. A bit scary, that.

In 1987, I was back in the state and we had a Spanish exchange student whose father owned a car dealership in Basque Country, so there was a bit of worry that year, but obviously, no fear.

Since then, North Korea and Taepodong left me a little unquiet.

Of course, whenever there's an earthquake anywhere in Japan, my mom calls to ask me if I'm alright, so I'm not sure if the metric of how scared we are really counts. And when I think about it, the only time I have been really and truly scared was when my daughter was sick with something on vacation in the States and no one knew what it was. If I felt that kind of stomach churning fear on a regular basis, I think I'd throw myself under a bus.

apropos of nothing, just got me thinking.

Dang, I'm really having problems with the tags this evening.

The second time, I was living in France during the bombings of Printemps and Galeries Lafayette (85 Dec). I googled to see if my memory was correct that it was Armenian separatists, and got this page that said yes, but this http://eightiesclub.tripod.com/id301.htm>page has the NYTimes saying it was claimed by the PLO.

I interviewed for a job in Stuttgart at a place called, IIRC, the American School, shortly after the disco bombing that was tied to Libya. I remember talking to the guy about that, and him noting that because the entire front of the building was glass bricks, no one hung around in the front, which was a library. A bit scary, that.

More open thready stuff, this NYTimes article is well worth a look.

How to Prepare for One Really Quick Getaway

[snip]
New technology is making this tedious task less odious, and surprisingly, it is not that expensive.

All told, you can secure your records in a weekend afternoon. Even better, doing all this has a wonderful side effect: it can put you in better financial shape to survive a disaster because you will end up a lot smarter about how you spend and save money. For instance, one of the first things to do is compile a list of where everything is - account numbers and the locations of important documents. The list will help you or anyone in your family locate things you need for the insurance adjuster or relief worker. (Download a template for this information that you can place right on your computer.)

more hints as well.

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