Friday, July 29, 2005

CEOs on the high seas in superyachts

Want to see how "the other half" lives? This is a profile of the super-yacht of Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. It's a $200 million boat with a remote controlled unsersea rover, a 12-man submersible (that's right... a submarine) and a crew of 60 (including former Navy Seals). It's even got a recording studio because, hey, who doesn't need that! The thing is 416 feet long.

Want some more salt rubbed in the wound? He's got 2 other super yacths, though it may make you feel better to know they're not as big.

This article also profiles Larry Ellison's (think Oracle...) monstrosity of a sea-skimmer.

I'm not bitter about any of this. I just wonder what it would be like to have more money than many small countries...

CEOs on the high seas in superyachts - Jul. 29, 2005

These are shots of Allen's boat, Octopus. - Reports: 4 UK bomb suspects held - Jul 29, 2005 - Reports: 4 UK bomb suspects held - Jul 29, 2005

All four men suspected of planting failed bombs on London's transit system on July 21 are now in custody, according to sources in London and Rome.

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore
Well, apparently Helen Thomas, former White House reporter/Official Press Room troll, announced this week that
she would kill herself if Dick Cheney ran for President.

I hearby announce the formation of the Utahns for Dick Cheney '08. Donations can be sent to...

More seriously - whatever happened to moving to Canada?

Recommended Reading
"Reformation or Civil War"
Basically, Islam needs to have its Renaissance. But it will probably tear itself apart first.

Jonah Goldberg:
"Lame Excuses." Looking at the big question in our age - balancing liberty and security.

John and his compatriots at Argghhh!!! are always finding cool stuff. Check out the bow wave on this carrier. Now think about how much power that takes. Or check out this paint scheme.

Thought of the Week
"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
George Orwell

Winston Churchill Quote of the Week
"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."
Sir Winston Churchill

Thursday, July 28, 2005

UN antics, did you expect anything different?

I would like to draw your attention to a post by Seawitch. Apparently a group tried to call on the UN to condemn suicide bombers. Sounds logical, right? But they got blocked from even reading their prepared speech. Remind me again why the USA supports the UN? I think it's about time we kick all of these UN idiots out of New York. I'm sure Paris would be more than happy to take them.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hey, We Got Linked!

Well, actually Nate did.

Thanks to Charlie Foster at State of the Beehive.

Gee, I guess this means we need to post more often than once a week... (hint, hint)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Beat the PhD...REVISED

So, I tend to get a little frustrated with certain people I work with who all have PhDs. But now that I've gone off and made fun of my co-worker, the immortal words from the Sermon on the Mount keep running through my head:

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
-Matt. 7:1-5

I apologize. It's so much easier to see the negative in people when we should really be looking for the positive.

Utah Politics

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More Politics - Mitt Romney in the News

Mitt Romney is in the news again. It sure looks like he wants to run for President in 2008...

He wrote a major editorial over the weekend, and The Atlantic Monthly has just written a major article profiling him.

The Corner has more... (start from where the link takes you, and scroll up)


On the political scene - I solicit your input

It seems that a challenger is arising to face off against Senator Orrin Hatch. There are some good arguments for getting rid of Hatch as pointed out on the blog, Reach Upward. I know that some of you are rather biased, and I would like your ideas.

Personally, I think that there should be term limits for ALL senators! Tenure in the senate has become some false god to idolize. Few people are immune to the Washington Effect that turns good people into beaurocrats. I suggest that it may be time for new blood in the senate.

On a related issue, it's time to get rid of the enormous benefits enjoyed by national politicians. They serve their country...let them have the same medical benefits that our servicemen in the armed forces have. That's fair. Also, let's make sure they get social security like everyone else...then maybe they'll do something to fix it! Finally, why the heck should we continue paying a guy that no longer does any work? Let's make their wages commensurate with their attendance at meetings, and not pay them a cent once they're voted out. I'm sick and tired of padding the pocketbooks of worthless politicians!

We Have Liftoff

Sunday, July 24, 2005

"This is the place. Drive on."

Happy 24th of July!

Today Utahns celebrate the arrival of the Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley.

(Actually, we celebrate tomorrow, since the 24th fell on a Sunday this year.)

The date of July 24th, 1847 is significant in our state and cultural histories, as the first group of permanent settlers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. When the pioneers arrived, not even American Indians lived in the valley, having forsaken it for the lusher and greener valley surrounding Utah Lake to the south.

For the Mormons, at long last this was trail's end. Years of struggle and sorrow had brought them here. After trying to found and grow their church for seventeen years, they had been driven from their homes in Ohio and Missouri, and again from Nauvoo, Illinois. They had endured despite the loss of their leader, the Prophet Joseph Smith, murdered in the jail at Carthage, Illinois in 1844, and the deprivations which culminated in the final expulsion of the Saints from Nauvoo in the winter of 1846. Somehow, their faith held on as they followed the new prophet Brigham Young away from the frontier of the United States and into the wilds of the American West.

Here, in the tops of the mountains, they would make their home.

Steve Greenwood,

Friday, July 22, 2005

Big 'O' is coming back...for better or worse

It would appear that Greg Ostertag is returning to the Utah Jazz. Who would have thought? Guess they're a glutton for punishment. Maybe if Greg could get along with Sloan, workout during the off-season, and put the ball in the hoop occasionally...then maybe it could be a good thing.

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore
Terrorism in London. (Breaking news on that, by the way.)

Tyranny in Zimbabwe.

Death squads in Venezuela.

But what does Amnesty International get worked up over? An outlaw combatant, a violator of the rules of war, sitting in a American cell with the thermostat too low.

Do they seriously not understand why we don't pay them more attention?

Recommended Reading
Yes, VDH will be here every week. He's that good. This week: "And Then They Came After Us."
And a gem from an older one, "Same Old, Same Old,":
"It is our task, each of us according to our station, to speak the truth to all these falsehoods, and remember that we did not inherit a wonderful civilization just to lose it to the Dark Ages."

Jack Dunphy: "A Little Less Sensitivity, Please."

Mark Steyn: "A victory for multiculti over common sense."

Australian Prime Minister John Howard yesterday: "Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away..."

Thought of the Week
"Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness."
James Wilson

Churchill Quote of the Week
"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.''
Winston Churchill, October 29, 1941 to the boys at Churchill's old private school, Harrow.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

New Attacks in London

Right now,the situation is still very confused.

At lunch hour in London today, four "minor bombings" occurred in an eerie mimicry of the 7/7 terror attacks. Three incidents occurred in various Tube stations, and a fourth occurred on a double-decker bus.

So far, only one injury has been reported, and the bombers apparently wanted to survive this attack. In one attack, the bomber threw a knapsack into a crowded train car just before the doors closed, then turned and ran up the stairs.

What is not yet clear: was this a prank, a copycat incident, or a genuine Al Qaeda operation that went bad?

Check the BBC News website for the latest.

P.S.: The 7/7 investigation may be moving to American shores. The British are seeking a man tied to an attempt to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon. (See Orbusmax for more.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

100 People Who Are Screwing Up America : (and Al Franken Is #37) Books: 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America : (and Al Franken Is #37)

I saw this on and thought, "Hrm. This could be an interesting read."

Joseph Smith...Modern Day Prophet

The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.
- Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:30

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) has opened a new website specifically about Joseph Smith. It's awesome! Check it out; it will be well worth your time!

Other sites of interest:
Basic LDS beliefs
Official LDS website

Dying Democracy in Venezuela

One party state. President for Life. Suppression of dissent.

Death squads. Socialism run amok.

Dean Esmay talks Venezuela. It's not pretty.

I doubt that former PDVSA worker Jose Villas, who was murdered by Chavez's Left Wing Death squads while protesting Chavez's regime would consider these deaths squads "folkloric". "The Territorial Guard is being created as a death squad, a terrorist and killing apparatus, covered up by the impunity it would get from its direct dependence from the head of state," said Oswaldo Alvarez Paz, one of the few remaining opposition state governors. Many anti-war protesters, between shouts of Bush=Hitler, will effusively praise Chavez's "democratically elected" government. How many of them would be willing to go to Venezuela and protest any aspect of Chavez's homicidal "democratically elected" regime? I'm guessing none.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Bush to Announce Court Nominee Tonight - Yahoo! News

Bush to Announce Court Nominee Tonight - Yahoo! News

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the Bush administration was asking television outlets to broadcast the speech live. Bush's spokesman would not identify the president's choice. But there was intense speculation that it would be Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

While watching this story on CNN during lunch, CNN said that Judge Clement was not available for comments today.

Time For A Bracing Shot

...of Michael Ledeen.

There are many ideologies and many charismatic leaders who can inspire blind loyalty, often accompanied by equally blind hatred, even to the point of self-immolation. The operational model for the suicide terrorists of today comes from Japan’s kamikazes — soldiers from a highly civilized country — in the Second World War. Freedom and democracy do not protect us against such people; Indeed, in the past century, free nations elevated them to power, and kept them there until we dominated them. The evil can't be explained by economic misery, or social alienation, or even by the doctrines adopted by the terrorists. The problem lies within us.

...They are not misfits or sociopaths. They are people who find it fulfilling to kill us and destroy our society. As time passes, we will meet more and more of them. And, in the fullness of time, we will remember that Machiavelli warned us half a millennium ago that "man is more inclined to do evil than to do good," and that the primary role of statesmen and other leaders is to contain the dark forces of human nature. Evil cannot be "fixed" by some social program or suitably energetic public-affairs strategy, or by "reaching out" to our misguided comrades. It must be dominated.

Otherwise it will dominate us.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Does This Mean...

...that I have to stop saying rude things about the French?
While London hosts terrorists, Paris hosts a top-secret counterterrorism centre, code-named Alliance Base, whose existence was just revealed by The Washington Post. At the centre, six major Western governments since 2002 share intelligence and run counterterrorism operations (the latter makes it unique).

More broadly, President Jacques Chirac instructed French intelligence agencies just days after 9/11 to share terrorism data with their US counterparts "as if they were your own service". This co-operation is working: former acting CIA director John McLaughlin calls this bilateral intelligence tie "one of the best in the world". The British may have a special relationship with Washington in Iraq, but the French have one in the war on terror.

Although, to be perfectly honest, I don't really care what flag is painted on the bomb that lands on Bin Laden. Just as long as it detonates.

"We Cannot Surrender"

Christopher Hitchens, writing in The Mirror:
We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are.

The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way...

...The grievances I listed above are unappeasable, one of many reasons why the jihadists will lose. They demand the impossible - the cessation of all life in favour of prostration before a totalitarian vision. Plainly, we cannot surrender. There is no one with whom to negotiate, let alone capitulate.

We shall track down those responsible. States that shelter them will know no peace. Communities that shelter them do not take forever to discover their mistake. And their sordid love of death is as nothing compared to our love of London, which we will defend as always, and which will survive this with ease.

Hear, hear.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Defend Your Castle!

Do you ever feel like throwing someone against the wall? Well, this Flash game is almost as much fun. How far can you get before the stick people get you?

Defend Your Castle

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore
And so the Second Cold War begins...
From the Financial Times:
"China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US if it is attacked by Washington during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said on Thursday."

Well, that's cheery news. Oh, to clear up any confusion - basically, this guy is saying China will strike first with nukes if the US attempts to intervene and prevent an invasion of Taiwan.

Rick Fisher, a former senior US congressional official and an authority on the Chinese military, said the specific nature of the threat “is a new addition to China's public discourse”. China's official doctrine has called for no first use of nuclear weapons since its first atomic test in 1964. But Gen Zhu is not the first Chinese official to refer to the possibility of using such weapons first in a conflict over Taiwan.

Chas Freeman, a former US assistant secretary of defence, said in 1996 that a PLA official had told him China could respond in kind to a nuclear strike by the US in the event of a conflict with Taiwan. The official is believed to have been Xiong Guangkai, now the PLA's deputy chief of general staff.
Looks like the Navy has a threat to worry about, again. And in my admittedly amateur opinion, it needs to. With the threat of the Soviet Union and its massive fleet of submarines gone for almost fifteen years, the USN has been letting much of its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability wither, with most ASW responsibilities assigned to the sub fleet. The Navy's carrier-based anti-submarine aircraft, the S-3 Viking, is old, and there are no plans for its replacement. The Navy's land-based anti-sub aircraft design, the P-3 Orion, is fifty years old, and its replacement (a variant of a 737 airliner (!)) is only now entering final design stage, and will be built in fewer numbers than the P-3s. More importantly, the manpower pool of pilots and aircrew is dwindling, and there is no real impetus to change that.

Meanwhile, China has the fastest-growing sub fleet of any navy in the world.

Update: This is an interesting supposition - China's bellicose behavior is due to the fact its economy is about to tank. Take it with a grain of salt; but I'd be interested in your opinions.

Recommended Reading:

Victor Davis Hanson:
"Our Wars Over The War."

So too we are divided over two antithetical views of the evolving West — Europe at odds with America, red and blue states in intellectual and spiritual divergence, the tragic view resisting the creeping therapeutic mindset.

These interior splits largely explain why creepy killers from the Dark Ages, parasitic on the West from their weapons to communications, are still plaguing us four years after their initial surprise attack.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
Thought of the Week:
"There is mercy which is weakness, and even treason against the common good."
George Eliot

Winston Churchill Quote of the Week:
The second week of July, 1940. The Battle of France was over. The Battle of Britain had begun.

"This has been a great week for the Royal Air Force, and for the Fighter Command. They have shot down more than five to one of the German aircraft which have tried to molest our convoys in the Channel, or have ventured to cross the British coast line. These are, of course, only the preliminary encounters to the great air battles which lie ahead...

"But all depends now upon the whole life-strength of the British race in every part of the world and of all our associated peoples and of all our well-wishers in every land, doing their utmost night and day, giving all, daring all, enduring all-to the utmost-to the end. This is no war of chieftains or of princes, of dynasties or national ambition; it is a war of peoples and of causes. There are vast numbers, not only in this Island but in every land, who will render faithful service in this war, but whose names will never be known, whose deeds will never be recorded. This is a War of the Unknown Warriors; but let all strive without failing in faith or in duty, and the dark curse of Hitler will be lifted from our age."

Prime Minister Churchill, July 14, 1940, BBC Broadcast, London

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

You Shall Know Them By Their Works

From the Mudville Gazette:

BAGHDAD -- A suicide bomber in an explosives-laden SUV killed at least 27, including an American soldier, late this morning in the deadliest insurgent attack in more than two months...

Many, if not most of the dead were children loitering and playing near U.S. soldiers at an impromptu checkpoint in Baghdad al-Jadida, a lower-middle class residential district populated by Shiites, Sunnis and Christians.
So, the enemy reveals himself.

In case 1998 did not teach us, or 2001, or 1983, perhaps this might teach the professional whiners what we are up against. But I won't hold my breath.

These people do not seek a redress of poverty, a rebalance of power, or demand a right to clean underwear. They seek dominion and power over others.

They seek to deny the liberty and agency of others. They seek to force others to obey the sharia code. And should they succeed and live, well, they'll just happen to play key roles in the "earthly paradise"/police state they shall have built.

For if they are as faithful as they claim, then the number of occasions that they have told Allah to sit and wait and hold his tongue are amazing. An example: Islamic fundamentalists didn't like Saddam Hussein too much; he was impure, a secular socialist in the Nasser style. But they were willing to work with him when the occasion demanded.

They do not seek heaven on Earth. They desire power.

And they will kill anyone to get it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Homegrown Terror

New information is available on last Thursday's bombings in London. The bombers killed themselves as part of the attacks, and the bombers were British.

As reported in The Scotsman:
"BRITAIN is a different country this morning. Yesterday, the possibility that suicide bombing may have come to these shores was still mere speculation. Today, if the police are correct, it is a fact."

These would be the first suicide attacks committed by Islamic radicals in a Western nation. It can safely be assumed these will not be the last.

Breakfast Ruminations

Drinking my orange juice this morning, I notice the words "FROM CONCENTRATE." (Apparently because if they wrote "from concentrate" you wouldn't see their 1-point font and assume it was fresh.)

Being the hopeless nerd that I am, I read on. "CONCENTRATE FROM UNITED STATES, MEXICO, HONDURAS, OR BELIZE."


What, you don't know either? Gee, thanks for narrowing it down, as I was really worried I might get orange juice concentrate from Russia or something.

[Such are the workings of my mind before 8 AM. Not pretty.]

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bye, bye, baseball

So, have you heard yet that baseball and softball were ousted from the summer olympics? That's right...they're too darn American! All this occured during a SECRET vote in Singapore. Give me a break. The olympics are morphing into a political parade rather than a sports competition. Some of the reasons cited for getting rid of baseball include doping and the fact that the USA doesn't send major leaguers. Basically, the world realizes that if we can win gold with our crappy players, then we would certainly woop a** with our major, they got rid of the sport to avoid USA embarassing the world yet again. However, I think these reasons are trivial compared with the anti-American sentiment so pronounced throughout the world.

VDH on Iraq

So, think Saddam was a nice guy? That we had no problems with him until Bush picked a fight with him?

Wrong. Victor Davis Hanson explains.

Hurricane Dennis

Some good news: Hurricane Dennis came ashore, but wreaked less havoc than expected.

Only about four deaths have been attributed to the storm, and the damage appears to be less than expected.

Small consolation to those who did lose something, but for Category 4 storm, Florida got lucky.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore:
Terrorists have struck again, this time killing at least fifty in London, and injuring many more.

Time will tell who was responsible, and it would appear the police have a decent amount of evidence to work on. The British appear to be handling this well; they're no strangers to terror, thanks to the IRA. They also still have the ability to respond; the question is will they use it?

The SAS is the most experienced commando force in the world. Just give them a target.

How can one defend against such an attack? I cannot see how, without security becoming so expensive and so intrusive that few will bother with mass transit.

No, the answer is to make conducting terror operations an expensive proposition. Find and kill those who organize, aid, and shelter terrorists, and destroy their assets. This will require an efficient intelligence establishment and an effective military with sophisticated special forces. It will also require a resolve and a ruthlessness that so far we have been lacking.

This is a war to the bitter end. The terrorists fight not to protest poverty, or whine about Iraq or globalization. They seek our end. They seek your and my deaths. We are all enemies in their eyes. If you doubt me, read their words for yourself.

The best defense is a good offense. And a will to be on the offensive.

Recommended Reading:
VDH: "Same Old, Same Old"
"The British may react very differently than the Spanish did after Madrid — by doing nothing rather than by retreating from Iraq. In the corrupt West these days, that is something."

Andrew McCarthy: "Is This A War, Or Isn't It?"

From The Corner:
Iain Murray- "One interesting thing that's come to my attention as the emails fly back and forth across the Atlantic is that there was no suggestion as far as I can see that the England-Australia cricket match that went on today should be canceled. The contrast with the death of Princess Diana is striking: football matches were canceled up and down the country. Today, there has been no maudlin sentimentality displayed at all. Blair's upper lip has been firm where when Diana died it was famously aquiver. It will be interesting to see if mounds of flowers and teddy bears spring up at the crime scenes or whether rather more respect is paid. If the flowers fail to mount up, then it could be the sign that the "Diana era" is over and Britain is returning to normal. For the record, England beat Australia emphatically, by nine wickets."

That would be the old Blitz spirit. Is it stirring?

There's a lot more at National Review.

Mark Steyn: "This is the beginning of a long existential struggle, for Britain and the West. It's hard not to be moved by the sight of Londoners calmly going about their business as usual in the face of terrorism. But, if the governing class goes about business as usual, that's not a stiff upper lip but a death wish."

Random aside: Driving down I-15 yesterday, I noticed that Colonial Flag had changed their display. Now, all seven roadside flagpoles flew Union Jacks, at half-staff.

Thought of the Week:
"Terror is not a new weapon. Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example. But inevitably they fail, either because men are not afraid to die for a life worth living, or because the terrorists themselves came to realize that free men cannot be frightened by threats, and that aggression would meet its own response. And it is in the light of that history that every nation today should know, be he friend or foe, that the United States has both the will and the weapons to join free men in standing up to their responsibilities."
John F. Kennedy, 1961

Churchill Quote of the Week:
"We ask no favours of the enemy. We seek from them no compunction. On the contrary, if tonight our people were asked to cast their vote whether a convention should be entered into to stop the bombing of cities, the overwhelming majority would cry, "No, we will mete out to them the measure, and more than the measure, that they have meted out to us." The people with one voice would say: "You have committed every crime under the sun. Where you have been the least resisted there you have been the most brutal. It was you who began the indiscriminate bombing. We will have no truce or parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst - and we will do our best." Perhaps it may be our turn soon; perhaps it may be our turn now.

"We live in a terrible epoch of the human story, but we believe there is a broad and sure justice running through its theme. It is time that the enemy should be made to suffer in their own homelands something of the torment they have let loose upon their neighbours and upon the world. We believe it to be in our power to keep this process going, on a steadily rising tide, month after month, year after year, until they are either extirpated by us or, better still, torn to pieces by their own people."

WInston Churchill, July 14, 1941

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bombings In London - Updated

In case you have not already heard, there have been a series of bombings in London. As of now, there have been four seperate bombings, three on London Underground subway trains and one on a double-decker bus. Casualties are heavy; at least 40 killed and 300 injured reported so far, and I expect that to rise.

A previously unheard-of group, The Secret Organization of Al-Qaeda in Europe, is claiming responsibility. Update 3:45 PM MDT: Authorities are not yet officially naming any group or country as responsible.

I recommend following the
BBC or Washington Post on this; they seem to be on top of it so far.

Update 11:15 AM MDT:
Casualty figures are staying roughly the same, with between 30 and 45 killed and 300 injured. These numbers are still changing.

The pattern of attack is emerging as well: the attacks were not quite simultaneous - there was a 30-minute break between the last subway bombing and the bus bombing.

Attack Timeline (Times GMT) From the BBC:
0851 Seven people die in a blast on a train 100 yards from Liverpool Street station
0856 21 people die in a blast on a train between Russell Square and King's Cross stations
0917 Five people die in blast on a train at Edgware Road station
0947 An unknown number die in a blast on a number 30 bus at Tavistock Place

Ongoing discussion and news at The Corner and The Counterterrorism Blog.

Update 3:45 PM MDT:
Casualty figures are at approximately 40 dead and 700 injured.

ABC News is reporting that British police have recovered two unexploded bombs and pieces of the arming mechanisms of the bombs from all four bombing sites.

My Analysis - a few random thoughts:
No warning - no intelligence "chatter" beforehand. That's significant - I'm just not sure how yet.

The half-hour gap between the last subway attack and the bus bombing - again, that's significant. Was that delay intentional, or merely accidental (like the lateness of the fourth September 11th plane)?

Why London? Either US counter-terror efforts have proven successful in making the US hard to operate in, the terrorists were home-town whackos, or the terrorists are trying to split the US-UK alliance. My guess, a combination of all three or the last two. It would be nice to know which.

Some sort of response/reprisal is necessary. Find those responsible, and destroy them without mercy. They target civilians. They operate outside the rules of war - and therefore are ineligible for any rights under those rules. But will Britain have the stomach, and will we back them? (Yes, and yes - I hope.)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Trade Not Aid

Want to help Africa? Reform it, don't enable it.

Alex Massie,
writing in NRO:

This demand for accountability is oddly controversial. But it seems axiomatic that anyone with Africa's interests at heart would want, indeed demand, that aid be spent on those it is designed to help rather than sequestered in Swiss bank accounts or squandered to satisfy the whims of a kleptocratic elite.

An appraisal of the history of aid to Africa is enough to make you weep. In the last 45 years the developed world has handed out more than $450 billion in aid. Yet according to Marian Tupy at the Cato Institute, African GDP declined by 0.59 percent per annum from 1975 to 2000. South Asia, which received just 21 percent of the aid Africa did, has increased GDP by 2.94 percent a year during that same period. Even allowing for different circumstances, that comparison is striking and ought to suggest that more aid is not necessarily the answer to African woes.
Read the whole thing.

Update: Jonah Goldberg has a nice piece on the Live 8 concert as well.
Very smart people have been trying really, really hard to make poverty history for a long time. Heck, they've been working very hard to make Africa just ever-so-slightly less hellish for a very long time. Debt relief is probably part of a potential solution, but without ending Africa's tendency to produce horrible, greedy dictatorships, debt relief is more akin to paying off a drug addict's credit cards.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Deep Impact - it's a hit!

NASA finally got a chance to examine a comet up close and personal. At 11:52 PM (local time) on July 3, a 852 lb. projectile traveling at 23,000 miles per hour smashed into the comet Tempel-1. A brilliant flash of vaporized particles started Fourth of July festivities a little early. I don't know about you, but I think it's pretty darn cool that we have the capability to smash things into comets!

A Russian astrologer did not think it was so cool. She is suing NASA for $300 million because of "moral suffering" and damage to her horscope.

We're All Gonna Die!

Entering a dark age of innovation

This is interesting.

"But according to a new analysis, this view couldn't be more wrong: far from being in technological nirvana, we are fast approaching a new dark age. That, at least, is the conclusion of Jonathan Huebner, a physicist working at the Pentagon's Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California. He says the rate of technological innovation reached a peak a century ago and has been declining ever since."
Found this reading The Corner this morning. There has been some ongoing discussion about the changing demographics of Europe, Canada, and America. (More on Europe's population decline and its effects here and here.) Part of that includes discussion on the effects of gay marriage legalization, but mostly the discussion is about the impacts of rapidly declining birthrates in Europe and Canada. (American birthrates are declining much more slowly, and have been fairly stable at right about replacement rate for the last several years.) Interesting stuff, although the conclusions you draw may vary.

*Quick aside, for the nit-pickers out there: Yes, I know we are all going to die someday. No one gets out of life alive. But the article seems to imply a slow, cold, miserable death in the dark as science comes to a screeching halt; not dying as a happily old man in my bed, a demise I prefer over the former.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus

Fourth Of July Edition

Monday marks the 229th anniversary of the launching of the great American experiment - can a nation, whose sovereign power rests not in the hands of some royal line but in the hands of its citizens, survive? While that question can never be definitively answered until the experiment fails (otherwise, the experiment continues), so far, so good.

One of the reasons for this continued survival is due to the exertions of many who believe there are things more important than themselves, and are willing to risk their lives for those things. To wit: in Afghanistan, the search is on for a missing Special Forces team. The recon team has been missing since Tuesday, when a helicopter dispatched to bring reinforcements crashed, killing all 16 aboard. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers while you're on your way to the fireworks show this weekend. The war is global, and it is still going on.

Oh - and to our neighbors to the north: Happy Canada Day, or Dominion Day as it used to be called. One of these days I will make it to Vancouver on some July 1st for a front-row seat at that spectacular fireworks show.

Recommended Reading:

Victor Davis Hanson (as in every week): "American Zen." A repost, too, this week: "The Politics of American Wars."

The new general rule: Global morality is established by the degree the United States can be blamed. Millions of lives lost, vast corruption, thousands of refugees — all that can’t quite equate with a U.S. soldier showing insensitivity or an American detention center with mere doctors, ethnic food, and religious accommodations.

All this is not mere theater anymore, but serious stuff, since we are at war with thousands of troops in harm’s way counting on our support. America should wake up to this near-religious hatred — unless it is so far gone itself that it really believes the arguments of silly university-press books about our own pathologies and pernicious “empire.”

So how does the United States navigate nimbly between its weariness with the thankless role of a superpower and the dangers of a nostalgic isolationism? We need to find a sort of Zen-like philosophical balance that brings both some maturity to our pampered critics and psychic relief to ourselves, without endangering our own security or abandoning our true allies — while in the middle of a war and a polarized electorate here at home.

Mark Steyn: "No Fly Zone" and "Trudeaupia."

Jonah Goldberg: "Better Off Dead."

And (cue shameless self-promotion) the Pacific Slope, of course.

Thought of the Week:
"American's solemn duty is to constantly renew its covenant with humanity to complete the grand work of human freedom that began two hundred years ago. This work, in its grandness and nobility, is not unlike the building of a magnificent cathedral. In the beginning, progress is slow and painstaking. The laying of the foundations and the raising of the walls is measured in decades rather than years. But as the arches and spires begin to emerge in the air, others join in, adding their faith and dedication and love, to speed the work to its completion. My friends, the world is that cathedral. And our children, if not we ourselves, will see the completed work -- the worldwide triumph of human freedom, the triumph of human freedom under God."
Ronald Reagan, 1991

The Winston Churchill Quote of the Week:

"There are many cases where the United Nations have failed. Hungary is in my mind. Justice cannot be a hit-or-miss system.We cannot be content with an arrangement where our system of international laws applies only to those who are willing to keep them."
Winston Churchill, speech to the American Bar Association, 1957

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July, everybody. See you next week.