Silflay Hraka

9/13/2002




An Armory in Baghdad

"14 Bazooka rounds?"

"14 Bazooka rounds."

Ahmed made a small checkmark on his clipboard and walked slowly to the next row. "Case of grenades?"

Shamir bent over, trying to read the lettering on the rough wooden box, squinting through the cool dimness of the warehouse. "Case of.......I can't read this, it is darker than the ugly harem in here." He fiddled with the lid, lifting it up.

"Not to open the boxes!" Ahmed lunged forward, too slowly to prevent Shamir from opening up the container.

He peered within, "Case of...", poking at the contents. "What in Allah's name?" He lifted out a small, pineapple shaped object. "This is not a grenade!"

Ahmed's face grew fearful. "Put that back!," he demanded. "They're very delicate!"

Shamir peered down at what lay in his hand, and pinched off a bit. "It isn't even metal!"

"Ahhhh! Son of the dungheap, stop that!"

"This is....not....This is a Play-doh Grenade! It's made out of Play-doh!" Shamir grabbed another, and a third, and squeezed. "They're all made out of Play-doh!"

"Cease your destruction! Those took Omar hours to make!" Ahmed grabbed the unhurt grenade and laid it gently back down in the straw lining the case, gingerly replacing the lid.

"He speaks truly." came a gloomy, disembodied voice from the floor. "The filthy foreign molds broke after less than a day. I curse the man Hasbro and all his ilk. May they be infested by scrotum fleas for a thousand years."

Ahmed grabbed the now shapeless modeling compound and tossed it down to the recumbent Omar, who sighed heavily and began picking at the ex-grenades with a splinter of wood. "Do you never wash?" he exclaimed irritably. "It's all dirty now. What did you do with the other pin?"

"IT DOESN'T NEED A PIN!" Shamir exploded. "IT"S MADE OUT OF PLAY-DOH!"

"Quiet! HE could come round at any second!" Ahmed hissed. "Does Omar explain to you the correct way to pick your afternoon snack from that monstrosity you call a nose? Let the man work."

Shamir yanked his hand down, "I told you, my nose itches sometimes, dripping fart of a camel." He flicked on a elderly flashlight, glancing at the dozen or so boxes it illumined with a weak orange light. All had "Grenades" stenciled onto them. "Do we have any actual grenades?"

Ahmed grimaced. "Not as such, no."

Shamir stared at him in disbelief, "Why? Why don't we have any real grenades!? The Americans could jump on top of us tomorrow and I'm supposed to throw a...a....lime grenade at them?"

"Just because they are green does not mean they taste of limes." Ahmed bent down, scrabbling in the detritus covering the floor. "No one has any grenades. They've all been sold to the Kurds for food. We're lucky, really." He picked up a small metal cotter pin and ring and handed them to Omar, who grunted in satisfaction.

Shamir began pacing, "Lucky."

"Yes, really."

"Lucky how? Pray tell!"

"Well, you know Don and Abdul?"

"One-eye and Stumpy?"

"Well, they had to make claymore mines out of sawdust and Vaseline."

"Jesus Christ! Do we have ANY real weapons?" Shamir looked at the suddenly stony face in front of him. "What?"

Omar stared up at him in shock, mouth agape. Ahmed fingered the the hilt of the knife at his side. "What did you say, infidel?"

Shamir looked at him quizzically. "I said, 'Jesus Christ, have we'.......Oh for God's sake."

"This explains so much." Ahmed said coldly. "At last I know why the Americans tread on our heels like a boy with his first sheep! We have one of their minions to tell him where we are!"

"I needed a change! You know how boring it is, swearing 'by the beard of Allah!' all the time?"

"What, Allah not good enough for you, ferengi?"

"Halt thy slanderous tongue! We grew up in the same village! Where are all the weapons?"

"It's not like you, putting on airs."

"Weapons?"

"You father is probably spinning in his graves."

"Answer the question!"

"If the boxes say we have weapons then we have weapons! No one ever looks in them. You go poking about and there'll be all sorts of trouble!"

"And if HE comes round and opens the boxes? Truly, this is another fine mess you have led us into. The best part of you dried on the ass of your father's goat."

"Yes, truly you have room with which to castigate me, Mr. Talks-With-The-Dead."

"I got you out of that alive! I got us all out of that alive!"

"YOU DRESSED US UP AS PROSTITUTES! POOR OMAR HAD TO ORALLY PLEASURE CANADIANS! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH THAT PISSES OFF ALLAH?!!"

"Look, if it was good enough for the Mullah Omar, it's good enough for our Omar. "

Omar's voice floated up from the floor. "And they cheated me. Twenty-five dollars, they said! A king's ransom! How was I to know Canadian dollars were as the defecations of birds in the marketplace? How can they be so close to America and still be as poor as Yemenis?"

Shamir stopped pacing. "Enough complaining! The inspection could happen any day, any minute." He looked at the shelves. "What is in the box marked 'Pistols'?"

"Those are excellent. Omar found this truckload of deodorant soap, and...."

"I don't want to know. Bazooka's?"

"Spud Guns"

"In the name of all that is holy, what is a Spud Gun?"

"It is much like a bazooka. It shoots potatoes."

"Potatoes."

"Yes, a child's party hat cut down, wax, some tempera paint and a potato make a truly excellent copy of a bazooka shell."

"What do you plan on fighting the Americans with?"

"Everybody else."

"What about the weapons of mass destruction?"

"Omar?"

Omar struggled up from the ground, scratching at the sores on his lips. "Oh, those we have." He waved at a battered trunk on on of the bottom shelves.

"Really!" Shamir strode over and threw it open, stared down at the contents. "It's a...a....a box of hammers? This is the is dumbest thing I have ever seen! What am I supposed to do with these?"

What are you having for lunch, shaheed?" Omar reached past him and took one, tested its balance, laid it down on the barrel head that served them as a table.

Shamir peered into the depths of the small, greasy brown paper bag he pulled from a pocket. "Two eggs, and.." He motioned towards an ammunition box. "one of those bazooka rounds, I suppose."

Omar's eyes widened. "Two eggs! In this time of famine? Truly you are blessed of Allah! May I see?" He plucked the bag from Shamir's hand and removed the two white ovals.

His hand bobbed up and down, weighing. "Heavy for their size. Good eggs. Much mass." He placed them on the barrel head beside the hammer, picked it up and smashed the eggs. Bam! Bam!

Omar turned to the silent, shocked Shamir. "Twenty five Canadian dollars is bad enough. I do not see why I had to give some of it to you. I do not even know this word, pimp. Next time, you can play the toothless lamb. You are the officer. This is your weapon of mass destruction." He placed the sticky handle into Shamir's unresisting hand. "You can tell HIM you saw it tested personally. Or you can nail the lids down. I must finish my grenade." He sat heavily back down on the floor, resumed picking at the Play-Doh.

Shamir goggled at him for a moment, looked out the boxes, down at the hammer in his hand.

"What did we make the nails out of?"


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Rampant Paranoia

While we're hypothesizing about potential terrorists attacks, we might as well talk about nuclear materials being smuggled into the U.S. aboard cargo ships.

The scenario: cargo ship comes into a port in New Jersey. Inspectors hear strange noises from the cargo hold and detect some radioactivity. The ship is taken over by the Coast Guard, put out to sea and searched again. No radioactivity or strange noises. What happened?

My paranoid, caffeine-addled (aided?) mind goes to work. What if the radioactive cargo was smuggled in underneath the boat, attached to the hull somehow? What if the strange noises heard by the inspection team were made by terrorist divers removing the cargo during the brief period it was in port. What if terrorists were able to remove the radioactive payload via some other method while the ship was in port?

My guess is that the Navy SEALS were called in specifically to search the hull of the boat for a parasitic payload like this.

In other paranoid news, Silflay Hraka has determined that the Apollo moon landings were fake. Sure, we've got pieces of the Saturn rockets used to launch the Apollo missions orbiting the planet, but that doesn't prove anything.

Thanks, Asparagirl, for the topic.


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My name is Dr. Atkins, and I'm an alcoholic

I had a friend who started the low-carb Atkin's diet three days ago. Last night we were in the grocery store and she was looking for a low-carb beer that she could drink while on the diet. Today, there's this: Michelob Ultra.


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"Pop" Culture

Tackling the ever present problems of the world, a group of researchers is attempting to make the world a better place by asking people what they call carbonated drinks and determine regional significance. You too can participate in this bit of history.


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Hypothesis

It's being reported that although bomb-sniffing dogs reacted to something in the two cars stopped on Alligator Alley, that no actual bombs have been found yet. If there were bombs, then where are they now?

The Three Stooges, as Laurence has dubbed them, were overheard by a waitress in Calhoun Wednesday night, and were caught 683 miles later west of Miami, just after midnight, Friday morning. That's a 12 hour drive, according to mapquest. Let's say they had a late dinner Wednesday night, around 8 o'clock. They spent 12 hours driving, so what were they doing during the other 16? What if the bombs weren't intended for Miami, but rather for somewhere else, and Miami was were they planned to escape from? Atlanta and Tampa are both major cities also on Interstate 75, and you could argue that Atlanta is a more target-rich environment than Miami.

Also, as Kehaar reports below, the men were apparently concerned about running late. If this is a isolated attack, then why worry about the time? One would be concerned about the time in such a situation for two reasons that I can think of off the top of my head. One, you're rendezvousing with another cell in order to carry out the attack. Two, the attack is timed to occur in conjunction with other attacks across the country, like the 4 separate hijackings were on 9/11. I don't know about you, but I'm wanting the day to hurry up and end.

Update: What else is near interstate 75, and could be considered a target?
Florida's Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant
Alabama's Joseph M.Farley Nuclear Power Plant is also pretty close.

Yet another Update: These guys seem like piss-poor terrorists to me, especially compared with Atta and his crowd. They talk loudly about their plans in a public restaurant, drive through a toll booth without paying, and then politely let an single deputy pull them over? It just doesn't make much sense. But what if instead of being the people in charge of the attack, these are the guys in charge of the diversion? That their orders are to basically make a lot of noise and get the eyes of the Nation turned towards Florida, while another attack goes forward elsewhere? It would fit in with their concern about timing, as well. I figure a good deal of proof for this theory will come if someone else comes forward with a story similar to the one in Calhoun, in that they were overheard boasting about an attack in Miami on the 13th.

YAU2: They're claiming to be medical students in Dominica. That would Ross University. And they could well be students there. Atta's group were students, too.
YAU3: The Miami Herald is reporting that the impetus for the 2 state manhunt was a practical joke gone awry.

Three medical students of Middle Eastern descent who were stopped as suspected terrorists on Alligator Alley early Friday morning remained detained after they were overheard in a Georgia restaurant vowing to make America ``cry on 9/13.''

Federal sources involved in the investigation said they believe the three men - all U.S. citizens - were playing a stupid joke on another restaurant patron who gave them a suspicious look.


Now that was a powerful joke. I bet they don't do it again, though. Barry, Maurice, Robin, do you have something to say?


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Terrorists Target Miami?

I read this morning about the three men who were arrested in connection with a possible terrorist threat against Miami.

This quote caught my eye:

One of the men said, “We do not have enough to bring it down,” she added.
Bring down what? If this whole thing turns out to be genuine, I'm guessing that the First Union Financial Center is/was the target. It's the tallest building in Miami, and it's a financial center, as was the WTC. Obviously, al Qaeda has made the U.S. economy it's chief target and would see this as a blow against capitalism. The building is also fairly recognizable against the Miami skyline and would certainly be noticably absent if it were removed.

Other potential targets in Miami:

Bank of America Tower is another financial center with unique architecture.
Courthouse Center houses government offices, another likely target for terrorists.
The Miami-Dade County Courthouse is also a governmental target.
Freedom Tower. The name alone makes it a target. It is also fairly unique architecturally, was orginally build to house the Miami Daily News, which would make it a media target. It now houses the Miami Mayor's office.

Update: Reading the same story on CNN, I was struck by this quote:
Bomb squad investigators saw wires sticking out of a package in one of the cars, and used a water cannon to blow it apart, an official said. The package turned out to be medical equipment.
I find myself wondering if the medical equipment that was found contains radioactive materials. As reported in the Washington Post, some 1500 pieces of equipment containing radioactive materials have gone missing since 1996. Maybe the medical equipment in the bag they blew apart was destined to be part of a "dirty bomb" that was to be detonated in downtown Miami?

Second Update: Bigwig noticed that the men mentioned that they were "five hours behind". His thought: why would they be behind schedule unless they were supposed to rendevous with others in Miami?

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Weeble-Wobbly?

George W. Bush is trying hard not to appear like his father did a decade ago.

NPR told this last week:

George Bush, Sr. went to England a decade ago (1990) and met with Margaret Thatcher. While there Bush stated, “I do not want to discuss going to war with Iraq. I do not want to enter Iraq.” To which Thatcher replied, “George, now is no time to be wobbly.”


Bush, Sr. helped seal his political fate by appearing to be too wishy-washy when it came to the subject of Iraq. He did not appear to be a hard-liner and attempted to avoid the realization that we had to go on the offensive. Later, when he tried to appear stern and in control regarding that subject, the nation did not buy it.

A decade later George W. erred on the other side of the fence. Not wanting to appear soft, as his father did, Bush, Jr. has taken a firm stance on his plan to deal with Iraq. From the beginning of this chapter, George W. has said that we must attack Iraq and we can, and will, go it alone, stating that we don’t need help or permission from any other country.

A few weeks later he appeared to back off from this stance, reporting that he would talk to Congress and seek approval from the U.N. before making a decision. Now the firm talk has begun again. The younger Bush is still trying to find the right balance between being firm and gaining support from others.

Perhaps having a father who was president is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, Bush, Jr. is able to surround himself with smart, helpful leaders who have been in similar situations and can help him make thoughtful, informed decisions. On the flip side of that coin, Bush, Jr. will always be compared to his father and have to avoid making the same mistakes which sealed his father’s political fate. His father weebled-wobbled, and his career fell down.


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9/12/2002




Thought for the Day.

Given that the objective of Al-Qaeda is to start a massive war between Islam and the west, if Al-Qaeda does come into possession of a nuclear weapon, what would be the most valuable use of such a bomb?

Would it be in blowing up New York, another major western city, or Mecca?

Blowing up New York would certainly be a coup, but the at least somewhat heightened security of the U.S might present too much of a risk in smuggling the bomb or its components over here.

Blowing up a European city is probably easier, but from a strategic point of view it might be best to leave the Europeans alone. They don't appear very likely to join in the WoT in any active sense, and it could be argued that Europe is already well on its way to being conquered.

One of these concludes with a warning about the Muslim fundamentalist groups, which say, "They aim to make France an Islamic Republic by the year 2015,and Britain year 2025 through conversions, immigration and high Muslim birth rates.

What Al-Qaeda expected to happen after 9/11 was that the Muslim world, upon seeing the success of the attack, would rise up as one and join the jihad. Obviously they've been disappointed. So what happens if they switch tactics and, instead of trying to rally the Muslim world by means of a famous victory, antagonize it with a horrific atrocity, like a nuclear explosion in Mecca?

Yes, it's obvious to us that the West would never do such a thing, but we're not the intended audience. The intended audience are people in the Arab street like those who believe that 4000 Jews didn't show up for work on 9/11. Frankly, that's the majority of the Arab street. Al-Qaeda need not say anything at all. The automatic assumption for most followers of Islam would be that we did it.

Update: Tim of When Worlds Collide objects to the link about Muslim demographics because it's an offshoot from an English white supremacist site. While I was aware of the author's more regrettable tendencies, I wasn't really concerned with them, as all I wanted was a link to someone ranting about Muslim demographics. A closer look reveals that's he's citing someone else in the quote I excerpted, so I went looking for the original source, which accoding to other sources is this group.

The Aim of Hizb ut-Tahrir

Its aim is to resume the Islamic way of life and to convey the Islamic da’wah to the world. This objective means bringing the Muslims back to living an Islamic way of life in Dar al-Islam and in an Islamic society such that all of life’s affairs in society are administered according to the Shari’ah rules, and the viewpoint in it is the halal and the haram under the shade of the Islamic State, which is the Khilafah State.


So the original link came from a racist nut who was bitterly arguing against some religious nuts. I'm going to call it a wash.


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Philosoblog on the Limits of Libertarianism
The first limit is found when we notice that there is a duty to help the very unfortunate. The limit may be found in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan sees that he has a duty to help a severely injured person by the side of the road. Libertarians handle the case by admitting that there is a duty to give aid but that no one may be forced to fulfill this duty. The idea is that there is a duty to aid others, but the duty may not be enforced. However, this is not correct. Consider a case in which someone will plummet to his death unless he leans, without getting permission, on a nearby stranger’s shoulder in order to regain his balance. The stranger has no right to pull his shoulder away. The fact becomes clearer when we consider the following case. Suppose the Good Samaritan, having no water, were unable to help a man dying of thirst through no fault of his own. Suppose a third party passing by had plenty of water, enough to waste, yet would not offer any to the dying man. It would be permissible for the Good Samaritan to take a serving of water from the third party in order to save the dying man. If resisted, the Samaritan would have the right to apply force. Hence, taxation of the rich to support a minimal welfare net may be compelled by force.


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9/11/2002




Tolkien Quotes for 9/11

Lynn Sislo
"I wish it need not have happened in my lifetime," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

Glenn Reynolds
"It takes but one to make a war, not two, and those who do not take up swords can still die upon them."

And one from me, for those who take up arms in this age against the West.

"All were slain save those who fled to die, or to drown in the red foam of the River. Few ever came eastward to Morgul or to Mordor; and to the land of the Haradrim came only a tale from far off: a rumour of the wrath and terror of Gondor."


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9/11 Comic Strip Reviews

I'll leave the surveys of the television and the blogosphere to those that are bigger and better at it to begin with and do the 9/11 themed comic strips. It's more my niche anyway, as if that weren't already glaringly obvious. I'll add to the list as I come across more, email me if you find one I've missed. I've always thought that reading the comic strips is a highly subjective experience; I've no other way to explain the continued existence of Cathy. So if I've dumped on one of your favorites, my apologies.

BTW, the dumbasses at King Features run their strips with a two-week delay, so they don't make the list. Out of those, I know that Dennis the Menace and The Family Circus ran 9/11 themed strips. They were about as bad as you would expect. It's too bad I can't link to Rhymes With Orange, though.

Kevin & Kell - Nicely done
User Friendly - Too sappy
Over The Hedge - Get back to the jokes
Jerk City - Do what you do best, or the terrorists win
The Boondocks - You tell 'em Grandpa
Preteena - Never heard of this strip, but that was kind of humorous
Gasoline Alley - When you can't think of anything, you can always try yanking on the heartstrings
Dick Tracy - When you can't think of anything, there's always the tiny little note of condolence. To be fair, the note is more or less what I expect to see in a serial comic
Annie - Note and heartstrings done unexpectedly well.
The Big Picture - I don't know the strip, but this doesn't feel well done
Pluggers - Filler
Grand Avenue - Filler
Real Life Adventures - Above average filler
Overboard - What to do when there's nothing to say
The Born Loser - Barely more than filler. The Born Loser is one of those strips that once your eye catches it, you read it, but you always wish you hadn't. It feels like a waste of time.
Rudy Park - That would be a nice tradition
Sheldon - Touching
Warped - Filler
Luann- Cleverly done, if you follow the strip.
Nancy - Possibly the worst filler yet.
Alley Oop - Typical serial comic note to the reader
The U.S. of Play - If it wasn't 9/11, you wouldn't know it was about 9/11. I think that makes it decent filler.
Raising Duncan - Meh.
Committed - I think he thinks I should be doing something else.
Trevor - Clever Trevor
Pearls before Swine - Decent tug on the heartstrings
Planet Earth and Other Tourist Traps - I know the feeling
Mudpie - Competing with B.C. for the lucrative Christian non-funny funnies market
Superosity - That's a lot of words for four little panels
Ozzy and Millie - Another meme pastiche, anti-war lyrics meet skyline meet couple watching sunset. It's a big canvas brain dump.
Everything Jake - I bet he had to go buy a new pencil
The Surburban Jungle - Filler
LookWhatIBroughtHome - Sticking with what they know best
Life's so Rad - Blurry Filler
Boxjam's Doodle - Good on you, Boxjam.
Fat Jesus Weird, but it made me laugh.
Mallard Fillmore - Aflac
Foxtrot - Blended in almost too well. I totally missed it the first time I saw it. Thanks, Oreta!.

Editorial Cartoons
Matt Davies - Extremely well done
Stuart Carlson - Arty
Paul Conrad - Reminds me of Herblock
Bill DeOre- Needs sound effects
Bruce Hammond - Animated. Nice and simple
Walt Handelsman - Lots of black ink in 9/11 editorial cartoons
David Horsey - Spot on
Dick Locher - Draws anger really well
Dick Marlette - Feels like an awkward pastiche to me
Glenn McCoy - Nice Vulture
Jack Ohman - WTF?
Joel Pett - The person I think hasn't learned anything is not the same person Joel thinks it is.
Steve Sack - Pretty. I don't know anything about art, but that looks like an excellent use of charcoal and pen to me.
Ben Sargent - His people always look like frogs to me.
Ann Telnaes- Preach it, sister.
Tom Toles - Kind of utopian for Tom
Randy Bish - Hope he didn't spend a lot of time on that
Mike Luckovich - Hope they're coming for me, next.
Henry Payne - Nicely executed skyline
Rob Rogers - "Ignore the coverage" seems to be a wide spread meme.
Jeff Stahler - But that doesn't mean that its execution can't be just as bad as some of the others.
Ed Stein - Oh, well done. Bravo!
Sean Delonas - Nice underground comix feel. Love the evil Bert.


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Divers Alarums

The fire alarm just kicked off. Not a good day for that, imho. Evacuating.

Update: We're back. No one knows what caused the alarm, though there is a burnt electrical smell wafting through the hallway. The Fire Department showed up and turned off the alarm, which was taken as the all-clear signal. We probably won't know what caused it unless the control center sends out an email update.

The alarm did give me pretty concrete evidence that deep down, in the bedrock of my soul, I'm an ass. One of the first things I thought to do was to go and stand underneath the alarm, call the wife on the cell phone, say "Honey, I...I...I love you," cough a couple of times, and hang up.

Yet another Update: Here we go again. I think I'll go eat lunch and work the rest of the day from home.


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I've been working on the railroad...

Capitalism comes to the Moon
Armstrong was wrong. The giant leap wasn't then, it's now. The profit motive will put us into space a lot quicker than relying on government agencies will. Now we can start the countdown to colonies. 30 years, max. I'll probably be able to retire to the moon.

Once we find the solar system equivalent of the spice trade, it won't be just the moon, though the moon might well become the space equivalent of a seaport boomtown. Think of San Francisco at the turn of the last century. I'll open a general store, and sell Space Levis to the prospectors.

There's gold in them thar asteroids.

Hell, there's stuff in them thar asteroids that makes gold look like spare change.


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9/10/2002




What sound does an Orange Alert Make?

Ok, I just don't get it. Today, the "Homeland Security Advisory System" was turned up a notch to orange because of

possible attacks on American facilities in southeast Asia or possible suicide attacks on U.S. interests by individuals in the Middle East.

Last time I looked, American facilities in southeast Asia and U.S. interests in the Middle East didn't have diddly-shit to do with the Homeland. Yes I realize that technically American embassies are American territory, but they're not exactly the Homeland, now are they? To most Americans, the Homeland is the 50 states, plus or minus D.C. and Puerto Rico depending on how they feel that day. Johnnie has a more inclusive view of America, though

Likely targets included symbols of American power like corporate interests in the energy and transport sectors

"Corporate interests in the energy and transport sectors" are targeted! Boo fucking hoo. Corporate interests in the energy and transport sectors are where the damn terrorists get their money, it's just filtered through the Saudis first. But that's a rant for another time. After all, "Corporate interests abroad" probably keep a couple of Americans on staff, and they don't deserve to get killed anymore that a housewife in Dubuque would. Even so, ratcheting up the Homeland threat level because some Islamikaze is threatening to bomb a Nike factory in Indonesia is.....just plain stupid.

No one even hints that there has been a credible threat to the actual homeland. So why kick the color up? If embassies and military bases abroad are basing their security practices on Ashcroft's Rainbow of Danger, then we might as well write those places off as losses that haven't happened yet. The average Joe is going to think that there is a threat to the internal US when he hears about this, because after all, it's the "Homeland Security Advisory System", not the "Security Advisory System for Americans Abroad"

So one, maybe Ashcroft knocked it up based on a threat abroad, because he figured it would give him some face time on tonight's evening news. If so, his ass needs to be impeached. He's jerking Americans around, causing unnecessary fear, and exploiting the War on Terrorism for domestic political gain. Or two, there really is an internal threat, and Johnnie boy wants to get that across without mentioning the specifics of the threat, either to avoid causing panic or because he thinks we can catch the bad buys before they act, and mentioning the specifics might scare them off, which means he's either underestimating us or overestimating the abilities of the Justice Department to deal with the bad guys. In all likelihood, it's both. And if Americans die because of Ashcroft's miscalculations, I don't want his ass impeached, I want his ass imprisoned.

I don't think it's either of the above, though. I don't think Johnnie has any evidence whatsoever that there is a heightened threat, certainly none that he didn't have last week, or last month. I think he's scared of the anniversary, and playing a game of preemptive CYA, so if there is an attack tomorrow, he can appear on national television and woefully talk about how close they were to catching these guys, and how if we would just quit worrying about silly little things like civil liberties, secret trials and indefinite incarcerations, than he could get back to the task at hand, accumulating power, er, fighting the terrorists. Speaking of "accumulating power", why isn't the White House homeland security adviser announcing the color change? Is Tom Ridge anything more than a complete figurehead? I'll bet you if something does happen, his is the head that falls, and Ashcroft will continue skipping down the merry road to Hell.


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Next step, penetrate the market.

Starting testing...
Stage one testing complete.
Stage two testing complete.

Testing complete for http://silflayhraka.blogspot.com. Result:
Reported as accessible in China


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Static on the Line

Fred First has moved into his new site but discovered an etymology problem, one that his entymology cannot help him with.

When we would leave home back when the kids were small, upon returning, we would say "home again, home again, frigitty frog". We still say this, and the kids have their own kids. And I have no idea where this silly tradition came from. A nursery rhyme of favorite book, perhaps? If anyone recognizes this silly phrase, I stand to be enlightened. Meanwhile, friggity frog. I am home again, but to my new home here at blogon.com.

Fred, you got any Cockney Victorians in your family tree?

"Home again, Home again, frigitty frog" is obviously a corruption of the old nursery rhyme, To Market, To Market;

To Market, To Market To Buy A Fat Pig
Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

What's interesting, at least to me, ok, probably only to me, is how it moved from "Jiggity Jig" to "Frigitty Frog". My theory is that the rules of cockney rhyming slang would suffice for the change to the initial "Fr", especially if applied by a child or someone not totally familiar with all the rules. Of course, this would leave one with a naughty word, one similar to the one that magically appears if you sing "Yankee Doodle" and sing each word with an initial "F"

Fankee Foodle fent fo fown...
Go ahead, I'll wait.

Okay. Now we have a dirty word that someone's mother recognized, and changed to "frog" so as not to disrupt the equines, which gives us the resultant "home again, home again, frigitty frog." Think of it as a game of Broken Telephone played over generations.

Of course, it could just be that Fred's hard of hearing, so he made up a Mondegreen. There's no post in that explanation, though.


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America’s Sandbox

Is America still the fighters for freedom that we have been, or are we quickly becoming the bully of the sandbox, willing to steal other countries’ lunch money simply because we can? Fighting against terrorism is a worthy cause, and our attack of the Taliban appears to warranted based on the tragedy of last September, but where should America draw the line?

Our president appears to be consumed, no, obsessed with attacking Iraq, and is determined to win support for such an attack no matter the time or resources involved. I agree that Saddam Hussein is trouble, capable of using weapons of mass destruction on American soil, but so are a lot of other people. My question is where will we stop?

We have attacked the Taliban and caused a regime change in Afghanistan and have Iraq in our sights. Then will we attack Lebanon, Cuba, Iran and Saudi Arabia? We have an incredible amount of military power, but arrogance has caused the fall of other nations in history and could do the same for our own precious country. I do not have a problem with fighting evil, but we should have just cause to enter into war. Our troops are in Afghanistan because of an attack on our people and our way of life. But the terrorists drew first blood. If we begin entering other countries and making regime changes because the leaders of those countries MIGHT do something drastic, are we any better than those countries we want to annihilate? As Americans we hold ourselves above all other nations, assuming that our way of life is best and that others should follow us in all that we do. The president's attempt at gaining support for an evergrowing war is evidence that our arrogance may be bigger than our appeal to other nations. While I too love this country, I understand that other people adhere to different beliefs from those that I hold dear.

Save your nasty comments about how unpatriotic or un-American I am, because if that is your belief you are missing my point. Sure, I wish the twin towers were still standing and that so many children would still have their parents alive, but that cannot be changed now. America is threatening to destroy other countries under the umbrella of “democracy and freedom” and I question the validity of this. America is strong and can blow any country away with our military strength, but if we go into a broader war we may find ourselves fighting alone against a worthy foe, an alliance of Arab nations.

Perhaps my opinion will change if I learn of specific threats from Iraq in the coming weeks and months, but so far the president has not made a strong enough case for the invasion of Iraq. Until he does America is walking a fine line between the roles of being a protector and being a bully.


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The Destroyer...

Regardless of what the rational part of me has decided to do about the Sept. 11 anniversary, my less rational processes have increasingly begun to shriek and gibber in paranoia as the anniversary approaches. We went to the Panthers football game Sunday, and apart from cheering the rat as it ran into the endzone, I was preoccupied with planning what I would do if there was a gas attack. Since our seats appeared to be downwind of every other part of the stadium, most of my planning would have been for naught. There were some minor security measures; the guards weren't letting in previously opened water bottles, and they were checking bags. What they didn't check were seat cushions. I was carrying a 2 x 2, 2 inch thick zippered seat cushion, and it was let through without a glance, as were all the other ones I could see. You could pack a lot of Semtex into a seat cushion.

I consoled myself with the notion that only a idiotic terrorist would bother to bomb a Carolina Panthers game. Even if they did, it would be less of a blow to America than the WTC attack. Any attack on any athletic stadium would be, and a stepped down attack doesn't really fit the Al-Qaeda profile. AL-Qaeda needs to carry out an attack that is as inconceivable to us today as flying a 747 into a skyscraper was last year. To paraphrase Wee Willie Keeler, AL-Qaeda needs to hit us where security ain't. Yes, an attack on a football stadium would be horrifying, and I'm not saying it won't happen. But it wouldn't be unexpected.

Osama bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center because he wanted to not only strike at a symbol of America, he wanted to hit us economically, as well as horrify and enrage us. Not many targets can satisfy those same criteria now, certainly not a football game. Many of the ones that do are much more closely guarded now than they were then. If Al-Qaeda wants to hit us like they did a year ago, to hit us even harder than they did last year, they won't hit a skyscraper, or bomb a mall. They'll bomb daycare centers. Multiple ones, across the U.S. at more or less the same time.. Perhaps around noon EST, since by that time the West Coast centers would be seeing the last of the morning arrivals.

AL-Qaeda's objective is to start a massive war between the House of Islam and the United States, and that can only come about if they enrage the American populace to such a degree that we start demanding wholesale destruction of the Middle East. The fact of such simultaneous attacks would be an almost surefire way to enrage us beyond anything we or the world has ever experienced. It could be argued that such attacks are unlikely because they would cost Al-Qaeda potential supporters, but Al-Qaeda isn't looking for support so much as it is attempting to bring forth Armageddon. And there are always some who will celebrate the death of innocents.

In the Oklahoma City bombing, the nineteen dead children from the Murrah building daycare horrified the nation. One of the first things the media talked about on the morning of last Sept 11 were the kids in the World Trade Center Daycare. Despite the fact that our children are probably less at risk now that they have ever been from the threat of violence, we still obsess over it. 3000 killed is horrible enough. What if all 3000 had been children? All the repercussions from such an attack are, at least for me, completely unimaginable.

What security there is at a daycare is geared towards not letting strangers take kids from there. Getting in is easy, and for a suicidal attacker, once they're in, everything is a target, and there is no defense save the resistance of the mostly female, mostly young caregivers. As far as planning the attack, one or at most two terrorists is all that is needed per daycare, so it would be easy to attack multiple targets, spread out across a city.

In the past month, Durham, N.C. daycares have had multiple instances where a car was broken into while a parent was dropping off a child. It's been assumed that it was the work of junkies doing a smash and grab for drug money, but what if it was done to see the police response time? What if it was a dry run?

One repercussion that I can imagine is an economic one. The aftermath of such an attack would be chaos. It's one thing to decide that if you don't go to work one Sept 12th then the terrorists have won, but how many people can apply that same logic to their children? How many families will decide that, come hell or high water, one parent stays home with the kids from now on. Bang, there goes the productivity miracle. There goes the one thing that has kept the U.S. economy out of the abyss. Beside it, the impact of the WTC collapse would be negligible. As well, once a daycare center is hit, nowhere is safe, and everything must be guarded. Little League games, libraries, churches, every public gathering place is going to have security, or be deserted. If productivity doesn't totally collapse after the economy loses a huge chunk of the work force, then the arteriosclerosis of constant security checks will finish the job the workforce losses started.

You can also kiss your civil liberties goodbye.

Such an attack fulfills the same purposes for the terrorists that the attacks a year ago did, and there is literally almost nothing standing in the way of such an attack. What do we do? There are probably more daycare centers in the U.S. than there are cops, so you can't station one at each center. I can just imagine what the response would be to a suggestion that we arm the workers.

A daycare's only defense is the fact that there are so many other ones around, so the odds are extremely low that any specific one will be attacked. Rationally, that should be enough for me. But every morning after I drop off my daughter, part of me still gibbers and shrieks.


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9/09/2002




Damn Skippy

What's Your Style? Find out @ She's Crafty

Link via Mindscapes, Heartstrings & Soul-searching

Zod: Heathcliiiiiiiiifffffffffffffff!
Quiet you


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Put to the Question

Did she come to her father with innocent joy,
running in with arms open wide?
Did she shriek out in terror upon seeing Da standing,
alone, with a sword in his hand?
Was she distracted, by caress or kind word,
And die trusting in a father who loved?

Did her brothers come between her and her death,
standing themselves on the brink?
Did they stand and defend or pursue and declare,
revealing the place where she hid?
Did they run her to ground like foxes and hounds,
and start ripping as the Master approached?

Did he come to her angry, in the heat of his rage
Or later, after cold calculation?
Did he drink in sin to lessen his wits,
and the memory of what was to come;
coonvinced by his god of a blot on his honor
that only her blood could erase?

And the one who stood mute, who could, with a word
Have proven her status inviolate.
Does he think of her now, as he lies in the cell
waiting on his brother, her father, to free him?
Does he think of her body, cold and unmoving
or does his lust now turn to another?

Did her mother keep a lock of hair to caress
To weep on and smell, for remembrance?
Does she wail in the night, cursing her god,
damning him, for the fate of her daughter?
Does she tell the mirror that nothing was lost
“After all, she was only a girl?"

Update: Other reactions
Spleenville
Daily Pundit
Webmink, via Natalie


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Speculative fiction?

These things we know:
1. Saddam is attempting to build a nuclear bomb.
2. Saddam cannot do this successfully without foreign technology and assistance.
3. In the past, Saddam has obtained foreign technology and assistance from, among others, France

It has since become evident that French nuclear technology, components and equipment were used in the secret nuclear weapons programs of a number of nations, including Israel, Pakistan, India, Iraq, South Africa and Algeria between 1960 and 1990

and Germany

From the information gathered in connection with these procurement efforts in the countries names it became apparent that technical data and construction documents classified as confidential pertaining to German centrifuges types had already made their way to Iraq. To what extent and in what ways this occurred was not known with any certainty.

4. Who is taking the lead in opposing a US attack on Iraq? France and Germany.

So far most of the reasons ascribed to the European resistance towards U.S. involvement in Iraqi have nodded a head towards one of three theories; simple greed, European resentment of US hegemony, or the European inclination towards seeking action through unwieldy international organizations like the U.N. , the World Court, and the E.U. itself.

What if instead the leadership of those countries, and perhaps the leadership of the E.U. as a whole, are more concerned with a U.S. invasion because of the likelihood that the invasion will expose a far more intimate degree of German and French involvement in Iraqi missile and nuclear development than heretofore suspected?

I can envision two scenarios that result due to the discovery of such evidence. The first is that we run across evidence that elements within the large Muslim populations of Western Europe, and of France and Germany in particular, have been smuggling technology and information, perhaps on such systems as French Ariane missiles and German gas centrifuges to Saddam for a number of years. There may even have been a transfer of radioactive materials. Such evidence would be hugely embarrassing on the European domestic political front, and depending on when it was found, could affect the upcoming German elections. There is already a rising tide of opposition to the Muslim immigrants in Europe; evidence that they are actively aiding Saddam would make opposing that tide extremely difficult. Since the politicians on the right have to most to gain from that opposition, and elected rightist politicians give the overall E.U. leadership fits, it would be in that leadership's interest to prevent US involvement in Iraq.

The second, darker scenario, is that U.S. forces uncover evidence that such a technology and materials transfer has been ongoing for a number of years, and that the transfer was not done despite the best efforts of the French and German administrations, but with their full aid and approval, perhaps using E.U. companies as a front for illegal technology transfers.

Such a scenario presupposes only that the European resentment of U.S. hegemony is not the surface thing that it appears, but is instead far deeper and more malevolent. The politics of the European welfare state effectively prevent the massive increase in defense spending that would be necessary for the E.U. to oppose America militarily. The only state with even a ghost of a chance at doing so alone, Germany, could not do so without setting off all sorts of historical alarms. So the question is, how could the E.U., or radical elements within the E.U., oppose the U.S. and weaken it enough so that Europe could regain its historical role as Western civilization's center of gravity?

If you cannot defeat an enemy's forces as a whole, you must find a way to make him divide his forces, and then defeat them in part, or at the very least, make sure that they cannot be used elsewhere. Right now the U.S. has a massive military force, but one that is already splintered due to commitments all over the globe. If the E.U. could keep us out of Iraq while a couple of other brushfires erupt, (Colombia, Venezuela, Kashmir or Indonesia spring to mind), then we may never invade.

So what happens? Iraq's possession of the nuclear card quickly makes it the dominant power in the Arab world, and Saddam uses that influence to announce that in future, the Arab league will stand with the E.U. on most matters of state. If the U.S. doesn't like it, tough. The U.S. becomes tied down in the Middle East on one hand by the E.U.'s insistence on "international approval" of any military action, and on the other by Iraq's possession of the oil weapon as well as the nuclear one. Voila, once again we have a two-superpower world.

Nothing happens for 50 years, until the E.U.'s demographics make it a de-facto Islamic state, at which point the US. realizes that it is confronted by a richer, much more powerful and significantly better armed Taliban.

Man, being paranoid sure is interesting.


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9/08/2002




Target Sighted, Coming into Range

Radical Clerics to Celebrate on 9/11 Link via War Now

Extremist Muslim clerics will meet in London on Sept. 11 to celebrate the anniversary of the attacks on the United States and to launch an organization for Islamic militants, an organizer of the conference said Saturday.

Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed of Al-Muhajiroun, a radical group that supports making Britain an Islamic state, said the conference will argue that the terror attacks were justified because Muslims must defend themselves against armed aggression.


I fear that the reaction of British public will be mostly ho-hum. I'd like to see these guys try this in the States, though.

A Towering day in history

THE 11TH SEPTEMBER CONFERENCE: THE LESSONS, BENEFIT AND HARM

Wednesday September the 11th 2002
From 1pm to 10pm at

FINSBURY PARK MOSQUE - North London

:: Timetable for 11th September Conference ::

6:00 - 6:05pm - Recitation of the Qur'an

6:05 - 6:15pm - Introduction by the Chairman Br. Anjem Choudary (UK) UK Leader of Al-Muhajiroun & Chairman of The Society of Muslim Lawyers

6:15 - 6:45pm - The role of The Raafidhah in the shade of September the 11th By Sheikh Abu Muntasir Al-Baloushi (Iran) Rabittat Ahl ul-Sunnah Fee Iran

6:45 - 7:15pm - Settling the outstanding account By Sheikh Yasser Sirri (Egypt) Amir of The Islamic Observatory Centre (IOC)

7:15 - 7:45pm - The Alliance of the US and Al-Saud in their attack against Muslims By Dr Muhammad Al-Mass'ari (Saudi Arabia) Secretary General of the Commission for The Defence of Legitimate Rights (CDLR)

7:45 - 8:15pm - BREAK FOR MAGHRIB PRAYER AND FOOD

8:15 - 8:45pm - History Repeats itself By Sheikh Abdullah El Faisal (Jamaica)

8:45 - 9:15pm - The positive outcomes of the 11th September 2001 By Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad (Syria) Judge of The Shari'ah Court of The UK & Principal of The London School of Shari'ah

9:15 - 9:45pm - The US Conspiracy against Islam and Muslims By Sheikh Abu Hamza (Egypt) Amir of The Supporters of Shari'ah & Imam of Finsbury Park Mosque

9:45 - 10:30pm - Questions & Answers

10:30 - 11:00pm - Press Conference

Other invited speakers include:

Br. Abu Ibraheem (Pakistan) Head of Harakat ul-Khilafah,
Br. Abu Izz ud-Deen (UK) Chairman of The Society of Converts to Islam
Br. Abu Yahya (UK) Leader of The Muslim Youth Movement

Organised by Al-Muhajiroun The Voice, The Eyes & The Ears of The Muslims

In Conjunction with The Supporters of Shari'ah (SOS), Finsbury Park Mosque, Harakat ul- Khilafah, The Islamic Observatory Centre (IOC), Rabittat Ahl ul-Sunnah Fee Iran, The Society of Converts to Islam, The Commission for The Defence of Legitimate Rights (CDLR), The Muslim Youth Movement, The Society of Muslim Lawyers, The Shari'ah Court of The UK and The London School of Shari'ah


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Dogs in Elk!

I went looking for this the other day, and couldn't find it. It's one of the funniest things I've ever read.

Thanks to The Fat Guy for turning it up.


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