Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Early New Year! Again!

And start it off right; you have GOT to read this!

Tactical Tommy Goes to the Store, courtesy of the Texican Tattler.

Found through the good offices of Uncle.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Another wonderful piece from Michael Crichton

Couple of years ago he wrote a book called State of Fear about the enviroweenies working to scare us all to death, to try to force us into doing what they want. I wrote about that book and a speech he gave, and it got me some of the more passionate comments I've had; all from people who insisted global warming was real, a true danger, etc. Mind you, I didn't mind the comments, with one exception they actually argued their point without insult or name-calling.

Well, Clayton Cramer linked to a speech by Crichton on Fear, Complexity & Environmental Management in the 21st Century. It's a wonderful piece, which touches on:
Just how wrong the predictions were about the impact of Chernobyl;
How people can 'believe' themselves to death;
More predictions of "We're all gonna DIE!" that were/are wrong;
And just how much we don't know how to manage nature.

(Ref the last, in 1987 Playing God in Yellowstone came out, about that exact subject. Well worth the read)

And, just to enrage the enviroweenies and Indians-as-God fetishists, both Crichton's speech and the book take note of the ways in which the first immigrants managed land and animals, fire being one of their main tools.

Go read the speech, at least; you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

There's no other way to put this

Fucking Barbarians

I don't care about their 'culture' and 'social mores', that this is considered a normal and proper thing in so much of the muslim world marks them as such.

"Appearing disheveled but composed, he said he killed Muqadas because she had committed adultery, and his daughters because he didn't want them to do the same when they grew up."

I repeat, fucking barbarians. And if the muslim community doesn't like being thought of as such, then a: speak out against this crap, and b: STOP IT!

Remember Sacco & Vanzetti?

I do. It was a case I remember several teachers hitting on in school and college. A marvelous example of the unfairness and bigotry of our system, the teachers said. Except that they were guilty as hell, as noted in the article that Red State links to.

I haven't read the L.A. Times article, as it requires registration. However, Betsy has some excerpts from a letter written by Upton Sinclair:
"Alone in a hotel room with Fred, I begged him to tell me the full truth," Sinclair wrote. " … He then told me that the men were guilty, and he told me in every detail how he had framed a set of alibis for them." and

"But the fearless Sinclair was left a conflicted man by what Sacco and Vanzetti's lawyer — and later others in the anarchist movement — told him."

"My wife is absolutely certain that if I tell what I believe, I will be called a traitor to the movement and may not live to finish the book," Sinclair wrote Robert Minor, a confidant at the Socialist Daily Worker in New York, in 1927."
"He also worried that revealing what he had been told would cost him readers. "It is much better copy as a naïve defense of Sacco and Vanzetti because this is what all my foreign readers expect, and they are 90% of my public," he wrote to Minor."

So the 'fearless' Mr. Sinclair wrote a book painting the two as railroaded innocents even though he knew they were guilty and had said he was going to "write the truth about the case."

Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tsunami, a year later

While I was visiting my folks saw two shows, one specifically about the tsunami, the other one of the Discovery Channel "Here's what's going to kill you next!" shows. The second had good points, including a team scouting the sea floor around the fault area and finding some really amazing evidence of how strong the quake was and precisely how it generated the tsunami.

The first had a lot of video I hadn't seen before, and some of it was scary as hell. Most of the early stuff I saw either was from areas where the wave height wasn't that great, or you just couldn't tell because of angle, obstacles to view, etc. Some of this showed the proverbial 'wall of water' slamming in. One was from a beach where when the water pulled out, a lot of people went to the beach to see; you can hear the two people shooting it talking, finally one says 'tsunami', and finally someone realizes what's about to happen when they see the wave building in the distance and started yelling, too late. One guy who must not have believed what he was seeing was still standing on the beach when it hit him.

One from Banda Aceh showed a city street when the water started up. The first like a spill moving up, then deeper with timbers and cars and bicycles and people rushing along at(I'd guess) a good 20 mph. A couple of guys who'd been caught actually jumping along the mass of wreckage until they were able to jump onto some stuff trapped against a building and made it to safety.

I think the worst was someone shooting from the second or third story of a hotel; a half-dozen women were in the lee of a small building trying to hold on. The photographer zoomed in on one for a few moments; she was screaming and trying to hold on to another woman, then the photographer zoomed back out, and a few seconds later those two were swept away.

And then the aftermath. Women screaming and crying over the bodies of their children, men and women and children carrying bodies, children looking around for families they'll never see again. A guy sitting beside his bicycle. Apparently he'd been somewhere else when it hit and hurried home. You didn't really need the translation; "My family is gone. I'm the only one left. Why has God abandoned me?" The despair in that voice was enough to give you nightmares all by itself.

A quarter of a million dead. Something like 50,000 missing. People saying they'll not believe their family is dead until they see the bodies, which means never.

A few years ago an F5 tornado passed nearby, thanks to modern forecasting and chasers only a few died in a storm with winds of 319mph(I drove through an area that took the full brunt about two weeks later; pictures cannot do justice to the sight). The Gulf coast states take hurricanes every year, some of which can be terrible. Blizzards can still, forecasting or no, slam you with little warning. Rogue waves on the ocean can destroy ships. Earthquakes, almost always with no warning. Volcanos can sit rumbling and making people nervous for months and do nothing else, or can go from the first quakes to full eruption in days and kill thousands. Remember Nevado del Ruiz in Columbia? Actually not much of an eruption, but the mudflows it generated killed tens of thousands.

I can't remember who, but when I was little I heard or read someone saying about any body of water "If you don't respect it, it can kill you without a moments notice, and the water won't care". That pretty much goes for much of the planet and many of the creatures on it. Spiders and snakes and sharks and blue-ringed octopi and lions and hyenas and buffalo and fish and cattle and pigs and dogs and so on. But normally- make that 'usually'- they don't whack people in such numbers.

I still remember one picture from the days after the wave. One baby's hand sticking out of some rubble. I pretty much summed it up.

Note: Michelle Malkin has this link to Storm Track, which links to some of the videos.

Happy Early New Year!

Just in case I forget later.

Remember I said I don't like working on ladders and roofs? Went down to see my folks the past couple of days and helped Dad take down the last of that tree we'd worked on before. Wasn't a lot left, and we got all we needed to cut before the wind got really nasty yesterday. Very happily without me falling from any great height.

I am trying to decide what to do, if anything, for New Years. Most of the folks I know don't go out to party, and I don't particularly enjoy spending the evening around a bunch of noisy drunks. I also have a great dislike of driving while some of these fools are on the road; I drive a truck, not a light armored vehicle. At this point I think I'll stay home and drink a little good stuff.

That's another factor; for what three or four drinks cost anymore, I can buy a bottle of good whiskey. So I don't generally drink when I go out, other than a beer or two in some cases.

Well, it's still a couple of days away. We'll see what turns up.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

This is a lousy thing to go into on this day,

but I have to.

I've only been over at Junkyard Blog a couple of times; no idea why not more often. Today I clicked over there, and found this post about Spielberg's new movie. I'd already heard enough about it to know I'll not put money in his pocket by seeing it; he also linked to this article which has a pretty good critique of Spielberg's point of view and the movie, and some in-depth information about the murders in Munich and what led up to them than I'd not seen before. It also has some information about the aftermath, in specific:

I remember hearing some at the time of the hijacking of a German airliner by Palistinians who wanted the three terrorists who'd been captured released. They were released. This is something I never heard a hint of before now:
"In the course of the making of the documentary film and writing of the book One Day in September, it was revealed that the hijacking had been set up between Black September and the German government."

Read it all. Then remember that the German government just released the terrorist who'd murderered an American, refusing us any opportunity to extradite him. And the damn Lebanese government, who held him for a short time, turned him loose.

Some things seem to hold true over time. One is that we can't trust many governments to give a rat's ass about what terrorists do to Israeli and American citazens; if they do care, it's only enough to give themselves some cover.

The other? Never trust those people to do something about the terrorists. A bit unfair? Maybe for some people over there, but recent history has shown that too many people in too many positions of power actually seem to delight in our people being murdered.

I didn't know squat about politics at the time of the Munich murders; I did know that when I heard later the Israeli's were hunting down the guilty and killing them, I thought "Good!". Looks like we need to have some people going hunting, too.