Silflay Hraka

4/05/2003




Parental Problems

This report suggests that parents are bigger babies than their kids. For the love of God, don't make concrete plans for your kids, allow them to succeed and fail in some places, and let them go to college where they can, not where you expect them to go. Of course this could create more business for counselors.


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Great News

This is certainly the best news of the day.........well, in terms of baseball that is. Not where the whole world is considered, I realize.


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Blue Death From Above

Let he who is without bombs cast the first stone.


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Going Against the Grain

I am going out on a limb here, and in the face of news to the contrary, I believe that Roy Williams will become the next coach of North Carolina's basketball program. It is just a gut feeling, but I believe it to be true.


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4/04/2003




Ancestral Pudding

I had not realized this before last night, but as garlic is to vampires, so rice pudding is to Ngnat.

I like rice pudding, I always have. Like a fool, I assumed she would as well. She likes rice. She likes pudding. What could she possibly find to object to upon finding them combined?

Yet object she did, loudly and at length, from the moment she climbed into her plastic booster seat and saw IT there, glistening in the formal wedding china ramekin I had spooned it into, as we possess no pudding cups in our everyday china. Nor have we the plastic variety with the pop off stems for easy cleaning that my mother was so fond of in the three decades prior to the turn of the century. They were impervious to harm, made of a plastic seemingly not of this world, a plastic rendered indestructible by the yellow rays of our alien sun. Invulnerable, yet flexible. They held not only pudding, but fruit cocktail, soup, Ice cream and, on occasion Kozy Kitten cat food, the official cat food of the Fremen. "Now with extra melange!"

Pity the poor boy who objected to his container of pudding simply because it had been a container of cat food only a matter of hours earlier, for he soon had nothing to complain about, and his brethren had more.

But I am not here to speak of tableware, as interesting as that discursion undoubtedly would be. You fans of oyster forks and scalloped finger bowls must swallow your dismay, compose yourselves, and manfully soldier on in spite of this disappointment. One day, my friends, one day soon. The time will come, I've always said, to talk of all those things: Of rouxes and dips and peeling-racks, of cabbage knives with wings. And why the soup is boiling hot, and why napkins have rings.

I am here to speak of my daughter, and her innate revulsion for all things found in ramekins, or at least of all things that she has found in ramekins thus far in her life, and of the titanic clash of wills that shall ever after be known in the annals of my family's history as

That Time You Tried To Make Her Eat The Pudding

And it came to pass in the house of Bigwig that the time of the evening meal drew nigh. And Bigwig did busy himself in food preparation, for his wife was swollen with child and could not be made to bestir herself from the divan upon which she did recline to watch Entertainment Tonight and speak irritably of the events of the day. And Bigwig did set the table, filling the platters of his wife and daughter with the flesh of calf and chicken, with sauce of the apple and shredded tuber, cooked after the manner of his ancestors before him, who had dwelt the southwest of his nation. He did also provide the chilled milk of the cow for the women of his household to quench their thirst and soothe their nerves, for he feared the demon Osteo Poro Sis, and wished for it to enter not into his house. For himself he did chose a Tab, for he did crave the the taste of saccharine. And for a sweet he did place in cunning little bowls pudding of rice, as it had been among the treasures of his house and of his forebears before him for many years. And he did chant in a low voice a song of his ancestors, a song to make the pudding strong.

Seek for the rice that is pudding:
In Ramekins it dwells;
There shall be spoonfuls taken
larger than Cosby-gels.
There shall be praises spoken
When more is near at hand,
For Anorexia's bane shall awaken,
And the Pudding forth shall stand.


And when the table was set, and the evening's sustenance placed upon it, sweetly did Bigwig summon the females of his household to arise and partake of the meal, bidding them in dulcet tones to enter into the kitchen whilst he decanted the Tab and brought forth the milk of the cow, that it might protect them from that hellish devourer of bone when the time of their dotage was upon them.

And the wife and daughter of Bigwig arose, and did enter therein, saying many glad and pleasurable things about the meal that lay before them, until they did espy the cunning little bowls in which Bigwig had carefully spooned the pudding of rice. And a shadow did cross the face of his wife, for though she and he were of the same house, their lines had been sundered many ages before, and her ancestors had lost all of the treasures of that house, even unto the pudding of rice.

And when the shadow had finished its passage across her brow she did speak, inquiring after the provenance of the contents of the bowl before her in tones not dulcet or pleasurable, but suspicious and somewhat aggrieved, or so they did sound unto the ear of Bigwig. And he did speak unto her crossly, for he had not prepared a meal to hear it questioned even before any present had tasted of it, and he feared the the reaction of his daughter Ngnat to the air of superstition that now lay about the pudding of rice, as if it were a pudding of Brussels sprouts or elderly liver.

Sadly, as the prophet Ray Stevens had said in the days of Bigwig's youth, "But it was too late, she'd already been incensed." The fruit of his wife's womb had not fallen far from the tree and Ngnat did push away the cunning little bowl and its contents, declaring to all that could hear that she "Did not like that."

And Bigwig did give the partner he had chosen for the voyage through eternity the evil eye, for this was her doing, and he spoke not to her, but addressed himself to Ngnat, remonstrating with her, for how could she know that she did not like the pudding of rice if she had never tasted of it?

To this wisdom Ngnat answered not, and verily did turn her head aside whenever presented with the pudding of rice, no matter whether it came to her encased in cunning bowls or atop a metal spoon in the hand of her father. And Bigwig did grow wroth with her, and threatened the Counting of The Three if she did not eat her pudding of rice, and told her of The Dismissal from the Table that would follow if she continued in her refusal of his will.

But Ngnat ate not of her pudding of rice, even though her mother tasted of it and pronounced it "UnHorrible", which was high praise indeed considering the source. And Bigwig, perceiving this to be a contest of wills, held a gobbet of the pudding in front of his daughter and started the Counting of The Three, for he was genetically incapable of surrendering to another's will when they abandoned the path of logic and reason.

And Ngnat, fearing The Dismissal from the Table that would follow upon the heels of the completed Counting did open her mouth, wherein Bigwig did place the gobbet of pudding, sure within the cockles of his heart, yea, sure even unto the sub-cockle area, that Ngnat would now taste of the pudding and find it delightful, for was she sprung from the seed of his loins?

But Ngnat did not find the pudding delightful, and did refuse to chew or even to close her mouth once the pudding was placed therein. Her tongue drew away from the pudding as if it were anathema, and retreated to the nethermost corner available to it. The eyes of Ngnat grew shiny and full, and she began to cry. And lo! the tears did run down her cheeks and trickle into her mouth, mixing there with the pudding of rice in manner distressing to Bigwig, for he perceived that that his offspring was appearing dutiful while yet violating the spirit of his will. Also his wife was suppressing giggles. And Bigwig was at a loss, for his offspring had not yet divined the meaning of the word "Swallow", as he did presently learn. As he did not know what else to do, he proceeded with The Dismissal from the Table, and his progeny went and dwelt in the land of Time-Out while he ate of his own pudding of rice.

It tasted of ashes. And lo! when he finished his pudding of rice he ate also his daughter's, and it tasted also of ashes. And Bigwig arose from the table and sought his daughter in the land where she was exiled, to return her to the kitchen that she might eat of the meat of the calf and chicken and of the shredded tubers and apple sauce, but not of the pudding of rice.

And when he returned with the bright-eyed Ngnat, he did avail himself of his wife's pudding, for she had touched it not after tasting of it once.

And Lo! It was much better.


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The Kindness of Strangers

Now this story is nothing short of a miracle. The man described in this story has certainly earned his wings into heaven with this experience, and a family in West Virginia will be able to hug their daughter again in LARGE part because of him. Simply amazing.


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Bombing From the Womb

The latest suicide bombing has disgusted me more than most. Several soldiers and the driver of the car were killed, but so was a pregnant woman. When I first read the news I was upset at the fact that the woman and unborn child were killed, but soon my thoughts turned to anger. The woman was apparently a passenger in the car. As the car approached the checkpoint, she exited the vehicle and began yelling in fear. As soldiers made their way to the car it exploded killing a number of them. I don't feel bad for the bomber in the least. People who would do that to others deserve that fate so I refuse to shed a tear at that loss. Whatever her reasoning, I have started believing that the woman was also a part of that attack. It is reasonable to think that these attackers knew that soldiers were more likely to run to the aid of a woman in distress and be more wary of helping a man. Perhaps she felt she had no other choice. Perhaps her family had been threatened if she did not participate, but the thought of her allowing her unborn child to be lost in the blast is incomprehensible.

I gladly admit, I don't know the whole story, but this incident continues to make it difficult for me to see these participants as people, and easier for me to view them as animals. Not very PC, but very honest.


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Fun with Graphs

Bumper sticker fan the Dissident Frogman on who armed Saddam.


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4/03/2003




Come, Larry, Come!

While we're on the topic of North Carolina coaches, one site is breaking the news that the new coach will be Larry Brown. I don't doubt the bit about Larry being the next coach, and I think it's true, but some of the...accusations...in the article are a little dicey. Speaking about the timing of the whole debacle:

Another source just confirmed to Fanstop.com that North Carolina had every intention of trying to take away from Roy Williams’s accomplishments and his run at his first national title. Baddour had an axe to grind.
And if you think THOSE accusations are a little far-fetched, you should read this article about why Roy Williams is NOT coming to North Carolina. The accusations in this article are beyond the pale. If they are true, then UNC fans should have Athletics Director Dick Baddour's head on a spike outside the Dean Dome:
I find it ironic that the current UNC players, who were so open to UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour, are all of a sudden being tight lipped to the media. You want to know why?

Baddour made it clear to some at UNC that Doherty had been physically abusive with another player. He was trying to gain comments by intimidation and he misrepresented the facts to every player in the program and he lied to their families. He pretended to understand their concerns but instead was hell bent on a witch hunt to find any reason to get Doherty to resign.

Some of the players off the record have made comments to our staff that they respected Doherty and would go to battle with him next season. Current North Carolina recruits who are now considering backing out of oral committments because they held Doherty in such high regard. They wanted to go to North Carolina because of Matt Doherty not the North Carolina tradition. But Baddour could not accept that.

Carolina would never fire Doherty for just yelling at players and Baddour understood that so he made stuff up. Baddour wants everyone to think that the revolt by players and their threats of defections or transfers from the program; actually had some foundation. Please. You think these kids are going to sit out a year or head to the NBA when their diapers are still wet. What a crock. NO NBA scout would project any current UNC player of being drafted in the first round or second for that matter.

Instead Baddour had to hoodwink the players into believing that Doherty was more abusive and he actually cared more about the spoiled players then the man running the program. They forced a proud and loyal man to quit because Baddour and everyone else in the ‘Carolina Family’ did not have the guts to stick with Doherty. So Baddour made up stuff, intimidated the players and pretended to be their daddy and care about them; when all he did was try and save his own tail by making Doherty resign.
Holy Cow. I expect later headlines to detail how thousands of UNC fans ripped Baddour limb from limb and burned him at the stake on Franklin Street.

Word has it that the author of those articles is a Kansas fan, and is REALLY upset about the whole Roy to UNC thing. Do tell.

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Stay, Roy, Stay!

One of our devoted readers in Kansas....okay, our occasional reader in Kansas, Andrea, e-mails a link explaining why Roy Williams isn't coming to Carolina.

Now, there are actually people -- some wearing suits on television -- who think Roy Williams might take the North Carolina job this time. What has changed in three years? Only this: Roy Williams is about to coach in his second consecutive Final Four. Fifteen-year-old kids all over America now dream of playing in Lawrence. In Kansas, Williams is more beloved than those "One Kansas farmer feeds 129 people, PLUS YOU!" signs.

And North Carolina is in shambles. Ex-coach Matt Doherty, Roy's former assistant and player, a man Williams has known and loved for more than 20 years, resigned under intense pressure. Fans are in an uproar. The school is somewhat pathetically tossing out the same candidates that spurned them three years ago.

Also, outraged parents and irritated players seem to be running the UNC program.

You just know that impresses Roy Williams. Remember, this is a guy who got mad when Kansas fans didn't cheer loud enough.

So, who in their right mind would think that Roy Williams would leave Kansas now, just when he reached the summit, to take over that North Carolina mess?


I hope Roy Williams does stay in Kansas. I hope the only guy in America who'll take the Carolina job is Jim Harrick.


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I Straineth Not

Not much topical sticking in my filter today, or untopical, for that matter . I may have to cast around for something other than the news to prime the pump with. Can't use work, as I'm pretty sure you don't really want to hear about my struggles with configuring ldap authentication for Blackboard 6. Perhaps I'll run across something when I go out to mow the lawn in an hour or so.

I did see this in the Economist

The glee with which so many Arabs have woven a myth of David-beats-Goliath resistance around Iraq's early performance in this war points to the danger of dreadful let-down when the reality of the regime's reverses sinks in.

Speaking of the danger of a dreadful let down:

Ted Rall - Regardless of their political affiliations, patriotic Iraqis prefer to bear the yoke of Saddam's brutal and corrupt dictatorship than to suffer the humiliation of living in a conquered nation, subjugated by Allied military governors and ruled by a Hamid Karzai-style puppet whose strings stretch across the Atlantic. As much as they may loathe Saddam, they're proud of their country, culture and rich history. The thought of infidel troops marching through their cities, past their mosques, patting them down, ordering them around, disgusts them even more than Saddam's torture chambers.


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Michael Jackson's Personal Ads

Even Michael Jackson may have problems finding a date these days. Here is a gallery of potential mates for the King of Pop.


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Coaching Carousel

Got this email with some interesting ideas about a possible NC State coaching change. It is intriguing to think Sendek could be gone from NCSU, but if he leaves now he can avoid being in the same position as Doherty is in now.

Late last night it became official Ben Howland to UCLA. Where does that leave Pittsburgh and their interim AD? Looking for a new coach and trying to hold on to four high profile recruits. Expect Pitt to try and resolve the coaching change ASAP. Don't expect an assistant to take this program or some no name; Pitt tasted the promised land and will hire with that in mind. NC State Coach Herb Sendek and Memphis Coach John Calipari are the two hottest names. Don't be surprised if one or two of Pitt's high profile recruiting class find new homes. Pitt will be hard pressed to hang on to All American center, Chris Taft, and forward, Dante Milligan. Don't be shocked if Taft ends up at Kentucky or UNC.

UPDATE: Here is another email I just received.

"Names will continue to arise as Pitt begins a search, a search that could include Penn Hills native Herb Sendek of North Carolina State, Carnegie native Skip Prosser of Wake Forest, Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez, Xavier coach Thad Matta, Penn Hills native and Milwaukee Bucks coach George Karl, former college and pro coach Tim Floyd, Louisville assistant Mick Cronin and Michigan State assistant Brian Gregory."


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Coincidence

A recent interview with Hugh Grant quotes him as saying that he hates acting. Well, isn't that a coincidence, because I hate watching him act and avoid all movies that he appears in. So, Hugh, how about doing everyone a favor and stop putting us both through this misery.


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IMPORTANT ALERT

This just in, be on the look out for an ENORMOUS head in the New York area. This HUGE head may create traffic jams and cause young women with large fake breasts to throw themselves in its direction. The fear is that after a show airs on NBC this head could continue to grow out of control. Unfortunately, unemployment and a crash of the stock market may be the only cure.


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A Starr Has Died

War....what is it good for, absolutely NOTHING, say it again...........oh, he can't say it again because he has passed away.


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Hitting the Panic Button

Just checking my faculty email and this note just came through. Does not do much to calm my nerves about traveling overseas at the moment. I'm not posting this to create fear, just found it to be interesting. Here is the email:

If you are planning to travel to mainland China,Singapore,Vietnam or Hong Kong in the near future, you may want to consult the following web sites that contain information about the SARS health threat.

It is important to note that the CDC has suggested US Citizens to defer travel to
Hong Kong, People's Repubic of China,Hanoi, Vietnam, and Singapore: Click here for information.

The US Dept. of State has now issued a Travel Warning for both Vietnam (read this) and Hong Kong (read this). They have also issued a Public Announcement for China: Click here for information.

The World Health Organization (WHO) today began recommending that persons travelling to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China and Guangdong Province, China consider postponing all but essential travel. This updated travel advice comes as a result of new developments in the multi-country outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS): Click here for information.

This is the first time in the history of WHO that such travel advice has been issued for specific geographical areas because of an outbreak of an infectious disease.


Maybe it is time to go into the surgical mask business.


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Wonderful World of Disney

You must be at least 4 feet tall to ride the newest ride at Walt Disney World, named "Swinging Saddam." Be careful not to say bad things about the ride or poot while in the swing or you will have your tongue cut out and be tied up near Cinderella's castle until you bleed to death.


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Amazing Ocean Depths

Had we hooked one of these on our recent fishing trip, I assure you we would have thought we were hallucinating and blamed it all on the beer. Not to mention we would have "shat" ourselves.

Thanks to Prarie Dog for the link.


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4/02/2003




nuqDaq ta' SoH pol yuch?

wIj mInDu'! wIj mInDu'!


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DaHjaj 'oH QaQ jaj Daq Hegh

Scott at Amcgltd has a problem I've run into on occasion, that of assuming everyone knows what you know, especially when it comes to Iraqi tank columns.

A large concentration of bad guys on the move is a huge target, not a threat.

When the Republican guard moved on Karbala at the end of last week, I just assumed everyone knew those soldiers were all dead men walking. I think that anytime I hear about Iraqi troop movements.

I just assume everyone knows that SARS is less of a threat than your everyday flu, at least as far as the fatality rate goes.

But it's a pain in the ass to pedantically explicate every fact in a post (not that that I think that is what scott is doing). I'm just going to assume everyone who reads these things knows what I know.

So starting now, Hoch DIchDaq taH Daq tlhIngan.


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Twenty-Eight

This week's Carnival of the Vanities is at Go Fish.

Upcoming Carnival stops include;

April 9th Solonor's Ink Well
April 16th Billegible
April 23th The Kitchen Cabinet
April 30th Clubbeaux
May 7th Common Sense and Wonder
May 14th The Inscrutable American
May 21st Cut On The Bias
May 28th Dean's World
June 4th Drumwaster's Rants
June 11th Overtaken by Events
June 18th Real Women Online

If you'd like to host the Carnival, drop us a line. Information on how to join the Carnival can be found here.


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Greatest Sport's Moment

Sure, I'm biased, but 20 years after the fact, I still love reading things like this.


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Avon Calling!

U.S. officials welcomed the influx of Arabs wanting to fight for Saddam Hussein on Wednesday, enthusiastically endorsing the opportunity to demonstrate the latest in American tactics and weaponry to an audience that has become increasingly harder to sell to in recent years. Coalition forces are expecting to interface with the Arabs at multiple points along to road to Baghdad, closing multiple customers with each call.

"I realize that most of these guys are more interested in purchasing land for agricultural purposes," said Lance Corporal Brett McMasters, who is looking forward to demonstrating the effectiveness of his M-4 rifle to a mass audience. "But I'm hoping that they'll pass along some good word of mouth before they buy their farm."

Word of mouth is considered critical to the success of the overall American sales strategy in the region, according to Pentagon spokesman Major Dale Carnegie IX, head of the Army's WMD (Word of Mouth Division) sales, and author of the bestselling motivational book How to Win Friends and Influence People With Your Army Issued Sidearm.

"We're hoping that the sales presentees who don't end up fertilizing crops will return to their homes and spread the news about our exciting new developments in the areas of Killing People and Breaking Things," says Carnegie. "We want them to realize that when America comes selling, it's better to buy now than buy later."

Corporal McMasters agreed with his boss, adding that he expected the next few sales calls to be at the doors of other countries in the region. "The technical term for a lot of what we'll be doing in the next few weeks is known as 'pre-selling', letting Iran and Syria know that we're in the neighborhood, and we'll likely be ringing their bells next."

"They may put up some resistance at first, " McMasters went on. "But after you've made the first sale in a particular neighborhood, the rest come easier. I expect the Iraqi people will give us some outstanding referrals. This business is all about the next lead."

For further reading on the Pentagon's new sales techniques see:

Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson - Who Moved My Peace? An Amazing Way to Deal Death Down Range in Your Work and in Your Life
Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson - The One Minute Munitions Manager
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman - First, Break All the Heads: What the World's Greatest G.I.s Do Differently
Herb Cohen - You Can Negotiate Anything When You Have A Cruise Missile
Stephen R. Covey - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Sergeants
Anthony Robbins - Awaken the Sleeping Giant Within
Anthony Robbins - Unlimited Power
Donald Trump - The Art of the S.E.A.L.
Zig Ziglar - Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Imposing the Sale


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China Syndrome

Are you upset with the US right now and wish that you didn't live in this country? Well, if you decide to leave my suggestion is for you NOT to move to China just yet. I have been in touch with a guy from China via Instant Messanger. Now, I don't know this guy, I just bought something from him off of EBAY one time and he still has my Instant Message name. In a panic he was writing me to ask if I could ship him some surgical masks because of the fear of SARS. He sounded scared. Here is what part of the conversation looked like:

Chinese guy: hi I wanna buy surgical maks s from US

Woundwort: i don't have any, sorry. aren't a lot of people selling those over there with all of the SARS?

Chinese guy: can you get from drug store?

Woundwort: i guess so

Chinese guy: I need for my family asap

Woundwort: you can't find them there?

Chinese guy: every drug and hospital has been sold out for masks

Woundwort: sorry about that, are a lot of people getting sars now?

Chinese guy: China gov never tells the trues
Chinese guy: do not know
Chinese guy: I just knew it spread super faster


Woundwort: that is wild.

Chinese guy: you do not now what's real China are
Chinese guy: you never know
Chinese guy: China ;;;;;;;;;; I am not pround being a Chinese


Woundwort: man, i'm sorry

Chinese guy: if I am not online few days later........that's means
Chinese guy: I AM EXTREMELY SCARED


Is that freakin' crazy or what? This guy makes it sounds as if the Black Plague is making the rounds again, and he is scared to death. I can imagine that type of panic will only grow stronger unless an easy cure is created soon.


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Even Solomon In All His Glory Was Not Arrayed Like One Of These

Consider the lilies of the valley, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, my sperm are mad for them.


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Not Comforting

I am beginning to think that the most inept people work in the most delicate of jobs in NM. Do they sweep the streets, pick up the homeless and give them jobs working with our nation's most sensitive information? The latest incident seems like one in a long line of screw ups.


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A Somewhat Liberal Definition of Intellectually Honest

Another Rachel Corrie ripple. Dean Esmay discusses some of the fallout and posts a rewrite of Simon & Garfunkel's Richard Cory. Here's a verse.

They say that Rachel Corrie was a girl of youthful age,
with political impressions that filled her full of rage.
Born into America, she hated her own land,
She had everything a girl could want: beauty, brains, degrees.
But I have something else I see
And I curse the life she’s wasted
and I curse stupidity,
and I wish that I could see,
oh, I wish that I could see,
a point on which we could agree:
Rachel Corrie.


I knew, somewhere deep in my hind brain, that there was something about Rachel left undone. I don't have that feeling anymore.

I just wish I'd remembered the song first.

Update: Another Richard Cory/Rachel Corrie set of verses; this one referenceing the original poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson (tip of the hat to Dex Lives)

RACHEL CORRIE
Whenever Rachel Corrie went to town,
We people on the pavement looked her way:
We saw a girl who hated everything,
And one who had an awful lot to say.

And she was always yelling at The Man,
And she was always shrill when she declaimed;
But still she fluttered pulses when she said,
"Imperialist Pigs!"
And other phrases profane and untamed.

And she was rich, yes richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that she was everything
To make us wish we were in her place.

So on we worked, and waited for the day when terrorists would lose, the world be strong.
And Rachel Corrie chose her own impulsive way,
Though Darwinish and terminally wrong.


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4/01/2003




The Ninth Circle of Hell, No Waiting

The person who Carolina should get rid of is not Matt Doherty, but Dick Baddour. Stabbing a couch in the back like this is unforgivable. Doing it to one with a winning record is unfathomable. Doherty was screwed from the start thanks to the inept recruiting of Bill Guthridge, nice guy though he was, and had just begun to turn the corner when Baddour cut him off at the knees.

In his first three years as Carolina's basketball coach, Dean Smith had only one winning season. If Dick Baddour had been athletic director then, that would have been it for Dean Smith, and God only knows what the program would look like now.

Carolina is supposed to be different. We're supposed to have some damn class. But it seems we're fresh out. I hope this "national search" fails, miserably. I hope Roy Williams gives us the finger. No coach with an ounce of sense or a stable position should come here, because we just forced a guy who won 53 games in three years to resign. I hope the players transfer and Clemson wins in Chapel Hill next year for the first time, ever. I want UNC-Wilmington to out-recruit us, and for the Carolina basketball program to not make the NCAA tournament for the next 20 years. I hope Matt Doherty goes to Duke and kicks our ass twice a year until he's 112.

Because right now, it's no less than we deserve.

Updates: The Sporting News calls Baddour "witless", and also notices the giant sucking sound where Carolina's class used to be.

The Indianapolis Star - Monday: Meet with players and their uncles. Tuesday: Meet with players and their best friends from high school who think they should go for 30 a game. Wednesday: Meet with players and Shirley, their favorite Waffle House waitress.

These meetings are stacked. When people get the opportunity to talk privately about their boss, criticism invariably ensues. If the relationship between management and labor were working, there would be no meeting.

Got a problem with the coach? How about the time he yanked you from the game and said you couldn't return unless you played defense?

Here's an adult who cares what you think. Pay Doherty back.


The Mercury News - The whispers and innuendo were beneath a program of Carolina's class, and Baddour, Moeser and Smith did nothing to stop them. Doherty yelled, cursed and threw players out of practice? So what! Grow up and deal with it. If anything more egregious happened, Baddour and Moeser should say so.

"The issue here is not basketball, or wins and losses, or players running the program," Moeser said. "It's about leadership."

Carolina's leadership, from Moeser down, is house-of-cards weak. Why, they don't even know when to force a resignation. Here Williams is chasing a national championship for Kansas this week, and now his alma mater creates a circus, replete with questions about his possible candidacy.


Transcript of the Baddour press conference.

The official statements of Doherty, Baddour, and Chancellor Moeser.

Kyle Still, Carolina student and blogger, also has some thoughts on Doherty.

The Charlotte Observer - A university is more than a collection of stately old buildings and new ideas. It's a place where young women and men argue, debate, exchange ideas and pursue truth.

The truth is that the athletic department wanted Doherty out. The big-bucks boosters wanted him out. The Dean Smith disciples called the family wanted him out. The former players who no longer had access to the tickets they thought were theirs for life wanted him out.

And now he's out. The school won. So let's celebrate with a rousing rendition of the school's fight song, shall we?

"Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices, Ringing clear and true."


An opposing view, but one that nonetheless endorses the viewpoint that it was Doherty's attempt to be his own man that doomed him.


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Heart of Stone

This is going to sound very unsympathetic, but I can't help it. The story of our soldiers killing the vanload of women and children is playing on the television news more than I am comfortable with. Is it a tragedy? Yes. Do I wish it could have been avoided? Absolutely. But the fact is, it can't be avoided. If a van, bus, car, motorcycle, scooter or tricycle does not stop when requested by our military, we do not have much of a choice but to open fire on the vehicle. If women and children are in the car then we will have to deal with them as casualties of war, but we cannot afford to take that risk.

I find it incredibly funny, not ha-ha funny, but "Hey, isn't that odd?" kind of funny, that the Iraqi government will show these deaths as evidence that the coalition forces are targeting civilians and wish to kill as many innocent people as possible. At the same time, the Iraqi military will put women and children in front of their tanks and vehicles as human shields. If you think for one minute that they actually give a rat's ass about the people killed in that van then you have not been paying attention. I'm sure that Peace Mongers have already made up posters with this incident as further evidence that we should not be fighting this war, but their anger is misplaced. I'm sure those Peace Mongers don't really understand what our troops are going through, and many of them are participating in these marches simply because their friends are, or because marching for peace just sounds like the right thing to do. Many of my students blindly attend peace gatherings because "Who wouldn't want peace?" WE ALL WANT PEACE JACKASSES!!!! It's just sometimes people feel we have to wage war to get a more stable peace. Do NOT take this as a whole-hearted endorsement of this war, because it is not. It's just that we are at war, and I WILL NOT participate in actions that the soldiers could take as a lack of support. Saying, "We support our troops, but not the war" is the lamest thing I have heard in weeks, and the people saying that are missing the boat. We are at war, and I will support our troops. Perhaps I will protest by not participating in "Support for War" marches, but not by peace marches either.

Our troops had to shoot those people in the van because they could have easily been carrying an assload of explosives in the back. Believing that this government would not use such people to carry out these attacks is irresponsible. While I do wish the tragedy had not occurred, I see that our forces had very little choice. I'm sure they will live with this for the rest of their lives...........and for that Saddam should pay dearly .


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Iraqi Bioweapons Facilities

Abu Ghurayb - Visited once by Hans Blix's team, who inspected exactly one laboratory in the 500,000+ meter facility. Not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

Al-Dawrah/Al-Manal - Visited by UNMOVIC inspectors on 11/29/2002. Reported as out of operation. Not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

Al Safa/ Fudaliyah - No report of a visit by UNMOVIC inspectors to this facility could be found, even though it was considered facility of some importance by a former UNSCOM inspector, and was listed as a likely location for the study of fungal toxins by UNMOVIC. Not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

An Nasiriyah - No report of a visit by UNMOVIC inspectors to this facility could be found. Could the possible presence of banned weaponry be another reason why the resistance in that area has been so prolonged?

Aqaba Establishment - No report of a visit by UNMOVIC inspectors to this facility could be found. Not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

al-Masbar - Located in Baghdad. No report of a visit by UNMOVIC inspectors to this facility could be found. Not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

Al Hakam - Destroyed by UNSCOM in 1996. Not visited since. Some equipment used in the plant was later removed by Iraqi in violation of an agreement with UNSCOM.

Hans Blix on Al Hakam
".......UNMOVIC estimates that about 21,000 liters of biological warfare agent was stored in bulk at locations remote from Al Hakam. About half of this, about 10,000 liters was anthrax,"
...............
"It therefore seems highly probable that the destruction of the bulk agent, including anthrax, stated by Iraq to be at Al Hakam in July-August 1991 did not occur......."

Al Hakam has not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

Latifiyah / Latifiya - UNMOVIC missile inspectors inspected the Al-Qa'qa complex, which Latifiyah is a part of. No report of a visit by UNMOVIC biological inspectors to this facility could be found. Not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

Salman Pak - "engaged in laboratory scale research on Anthrax, Botulinum toxin, Clostridium, perfringens (gas gangrene), mycotoxins, aflatoxins, and Ricin. Researchers at this site carried out toxicity evaluations of these agents and examined their growth characteristics and survivability," but is more famous as a terrorist training camp. Partially inspected by an IAEA nuclear team on February 4th. An aerial inspection was carried out by UNMOVIC biological inspectors in January. There were no ground inspections of the facility by a biological team before UNMOVIC left Iraq. Not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

Samarra/Muthanna State Establishment - Visited by UNMOVIC chemical and IAEA nuclear inspection teams. UNMOVIC chemical teams destroyed a number of chemical weapons in early February. There are no reports of a trip to the Muthanna State Establishment by UNMOVIC biological inspectors. Not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

Taji Single Cell Protein Plant - An active facility. Supposedly inspected on Dec. 25th, 2002. No inspection summary is listed. The Al-Taji compound, which is it is a part of , has been visited by IAEA nuclear and UNMOVIC missile inspectors, who destroyed several AL-Samoud missiles there. Not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

Tareq - An Al-Tareq insecticide company was visited by a UNMOVIC chemical team on January 6th, but it is unclear if these sites are the same or not. Regardless, no visit by a UNMOVIC biological team was found. Not yet reached by coalition ground forces.

Notes:
1.) mini-fisk: The BBC on Iraqi biological weapons "Iraq's discontinued germ warfare programme...". Saddam said it was discontinued, so it must be true.

2.) A complete list of Iraqi Special Weapons Facilities can be found here.

3.) A Landsat Satellite Image of Central Iraq showing some of the locations above may be seen here.

4.) Summaries of all UNMOVIC inspections may be found here

5.) The UNMOVIC biological inspectors aerial survey - UNMOVIC biological inspectors conducted for the first time aerial inspections of several sites, including Fallujah 2, Fallujah 3, the Agricultural and Biological Research Center, the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center and former biological research facilities at Salman Pak.

The Fallujah sites are known to be chemical warfare sites, and the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center is, well, nuclear. Why were biological inspectors doing aerial surveys of these areas while known biowarfare sites got no attention paid to them whatsoever? The Agricultural and Biological Research Center is located in Baghdad. None have been reached by coalition ground forces.

6.) Salman Pak/Salam Pax? Inquiring minds want to know.

7.) With the number of teams that he had to coordinate (nuclear, chemical, missile biological and who knows what else), and the staggering number of sites to visit, it's amazing that Hans Blix found anything at all. Given the enormous complexities involved in the inspection process, even a throroughly incompetent regime could have successfully hidden most of its banned weapons for the limited time that inspections went on.

8.) Most of the banned weapons sites are close to Baghdad, so they probably won't be adequately inspected until after the war.


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3/31/2003




Short Takes

Bring Out Your Dead!

Bill Quick extends his linguistic influence: La blogsfera

Why the Palestinians consider the Iraqis brothers.

Say we're killing Iraqi civilians at the rate of 14 a day. Overall, it's a reduction in the civilian death rate.

Explaining Zyklon-B to your 8 year old daughter.

This is disturbing on so many levels
(Link via Tom Tomorrow)

Do the protestors support the troops? Not according to the troops.

"Wish You Were Here" For all the free people that still protest.
You're welcome. We protect you and you are protected by the best.
Your voice is strong and loud,
but who will fight for you? No one standing in your crowd.
We are your fathers, brothers, and sons,
wearing the boots and carrying guns.
We are the ones that leave all we own,
to make sure your future is carved in stone.
We are the ones who fight and die,
We might not be able to save the world, Well, at least we try.
We walked the paths to where we are at
and we want no choice other than that.
so when you rally your group to complain,
take a look in the back of your brain.
In order for that flag you love to fly
wars must be fought and young men must die.
We came here to fight for the ones we hold dear.
If that's not respected, we would rather stay here.
So please stop yelling, put down your signs,
and pray for those behind enemy lines.
When the conflict is over and all is well,
be thankful that we chose to go through hell.

Corporal Joshua Miles and all the boys from 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines,
Kuwait"


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Animeniac

Ngnat drew her first recognizable picture last week.




Totoro
Black Sharpie on Post-It Note pad backing.

He seems......pensive to me.

And yes, the Internet is my refrigerator. Thanks for asking.


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What Are We, Chopped Liver?

Congrats to Friend of Hraka Stefan Sharkansky for attracting the ire of the Guardian with his demartyrization of Rachel Corrie.

Link via the Daily Pundit


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The End of History, Redux

Once Iraq is finally liberated, the Iraqi people may get a reputation for being even more secular than they were before, as the mullahs tie themselves ever closer to the Iraqi regime.

"Allah guard Iraq… Allah guard the Mujahideen… Allah sow fear in the hearts of our enemies… Allah send [against] them soldiers they can not see… Allah bring victory to Islam and the Muslims… Allah guard our army, our youth, and our women from the evil of these villains… Allah guard the believing leader of Iraq, the symbol of belief and Jihad, the leader Saddam Hussein."

Once the war is over, I wouldn't be surprised if large numbers of Iraqis publicly reject an Islam that sided with their oppressor, just as they have in Iran. I wouldn't be surprised, if ten years from now or so, someone describes the period since 9/11 as the one in which the decline in the appeal of messianic Islam not only became obvious, but started to quicken.

Enjoy the warmth while you can, Wahabists. Your sun is setting.


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Well, It's About Time

Look what happens when Iraqis apparently free from the Fedayeen threat encounter U.S. troops.

Hundreds of Iraqis shouting "Welcome to Iraq" greeted U.S. Marines who entered the town of Shatra on Monday after storming it with planes, tanks and helicopter gunships.

This ought to be a simple enough formulation to figure out.

If no Fedayeen presence in a town equals hundreds of Iraqis enthusiastically cheering, then in all likelihood the lack of such a reception indicates an enemy force that needs to be detected and rooted out. It certainly explains the initially sparse crowds that greeted coalition forces in Umm Qasr.

Update: Looks like today has been declared Good News Day, or at least Some Good News Day, by the Gods of Media. As the Beatles might say It's getting better all the time.

Linkage: Andy of the World Wide Rant talked about Baathist intimindation of the population yesterday.


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The New Weapon

Started reading Judith Miller's Germs over the weekend, in between rainstorms and beer. Actually did a little fishing too, if you call casting out the same pieces of untouched mullet and shrimp out time and again fishing. It was really too early in the season, as the dozens of equally unlucky anglers at the pier just up the beach testified.

"Nobody up here caught nothing but some mullet and one o' them puffer toads," one particularly red gentleman informed me.

We had suspected that we had come to the beach before the fish did, but thought to try our luck anyway, and did manage to be out for the half of Saturday that was 76 degrees and sunny. On the way to Atlantic beach from Woundwort's river house, it was cloudy and spittin'. On the way back it was cloudy and promised spittin' later on. While we were actually on the beach it was May, with an February ocean that had seemingly missed its plane. Very cold on the toes, and I could only stare in disbelief at the tweens frolicking in the surf down the beach, who ran into the waves and shrieked like the souls of the damned with every cold slap.

Also watched the kite boarders, when we weren't passing the minutes doing the busy work of fishermen with no fish, and no promise of fish to come. Check a line, cut some bait, reel in the line, replace the bait, move the rod holder up or down the beach based on the tide, cast and repeat with other rod.

Jawbreaker could do this for many hours, and did. Woundwort and I gave up after only a couple of them, then sat in our fold-up chairs watching the gentle back and forth of the rod tips as wave action pulled the lines up and down. Only occasionally did we remove a waterlogged piece of mullet from the hook, re-bait, and cast back out. Eventually Jawbreaker took over our rods just to have something to do, and we watched him work all six lines. He performed the rituals of the Fish Gods as best he understood them for the next hour, while Woundwort and I sat like reptiles recently emerged from hibernation in the March sun. But the Pisican deities saw him not, and we returned with nothing other than sunburns for he and Woundwort. I was not burned, which I attributed to the Indian blood rumored to flow in my family. (Choctaw or Creek or Blackfoot, I can never remember) Also to the long sleeved golf coverup I put on when the temperature dropped down to a chilly 71.

So there I was on the beach, bundled up against the unseasonable cold, when I came across this passage, rather early on:

One insight drawn from the preliminary tests and analysis was surprising and counterintuitive. Early on, the military concluded that killing enemy soldiers was unnecessary. In fact, viral crippling came to be seen as preferable to death, since an ailing soldier tied up more enemy transports, doctors, nurses, hospitals drugs and bureaucrats.

Of course, some soldiers and civilians would die in a biological attack. There's no such thing as a virus that can make everybody very sick, but not kill anyone. The very young and the very old are especially vulnerable, just as with any normal disease. That was considered acceptable by American researchers for biological warfare in the late fifties and early sixties, especially as the number of such deaths would be far below the number killed by a more conventional attack. What we considered an ideal biological weapon was one that killed very few, yet caused long-term debilitation.

Mixtures of multiple germs and toxins were tested in order to reach this goal. One of the most successful was a blend consisting of the viruses that cause Q fever and Venezuelan equine encephalitis, and a toxin produced by a Staphylococcus bacterium. The toxin could put a soldier out of commission in as little as three hours, and the viruses could keep him there for up to a month. Germs were manufactured to be small and light, to be able to travel through the airs for distances of up to fifty miles. Microbes were also field tested, with army personnel releasing them in American cities in order to study how they spread:

The scientists sprayed mild germs on San Francisco and shattered lightbulbs filled with bacteria in the New York City subway, all to assess the ability of pathogens to spread through urban centers. The germs were meant to be harmless. But years later critics charged that some had produced hidden epidemics, especially among the old and infirm. After the army sprayed the San Francisco area with Serratia marcescens, eleven patients at the Stanford University hospital came down with that type of infection. One patient died there. The doctors were so mystified by the outbreak that they wrote it up in a medical journal. The government later denied any responsibility for the death or the other infections, producing evidence in court that its germs were not to blame. The scientific dispute was never resolved.

Now assuming that outbreak was indeed due to the governmental microbe release, an epidemiologist attempting to backtrack the path the disease took would soon find that it was an exercise in futility. At best he or she might be able to pinpoint a general area that the initial cases occurred in. A specific, pinpointed origin of the disease would never be found. This happens occasionally in natural outbreaks of disease, but often something like an Ebola outbreak can often be traced back to one person (patient zero) and the monkey he ate. Unnatural outbreaks of disease, i.e. biological attacks, are not going to leave that type of evidence, as presumably the originator of the disease is not going to stand around in one place for days or weeks waiting to say. "Ok, you got me." when the public health officials finally show up.

So, had America attacked Cuba with a biological weapon during the Cuban Missile Crisis, something which was discussed, the outbreak might have had some of these qualities.

1.) Long lasting and debilitating, with a low fatality rate.
2.) Epidemiologically complex, with multiple patient zeros rather than one, all with very little in common other than perhaps a general location.
3.) One or more viruses involved, perhaps with a toxin added to the initial slurry. With a mixture like this the initial cases would be seen as more severe than subsequent ones, as a toxin would presumably dissipate over time, while viruses could persist in a spore-like fashion. Toxins, again unlike viruses, cannot be passed along from from person to person.
4.) An airborne transmission route, among others.

Had the disease been an accident, or a test release gone awry one might add governmental secrecy and denials to the mix, as with the Sverdlosk anthrax release in the Soviet Union, or as in the San Francisco case above.

When asked about the possibility that the current SARS outbreak was due to a biological weapon, the best a CDC spokesman could come up with was that the possibility was "improbable", adding "But we don't see anything that looks like a terrorism attack right now."

No, it doesn't look like terrorism. I also don't expect that the CDC would ever come out and attribute any disease outbreak to a biological attack. They're not in the business of spreading panic.

But SARS does fulfill the qualifications above, especially when the reluctance of the Chinese government to release information about the initial outbreak in Guangdong province is taken into account. For instance, a patient zero is claimed to exist, but no one knows his name, nor has he been interviewed by a western public health official.

Odds are that the SARS outbreak is not due to a biological weapon release, either accidentally or on purpose. Despite what the scientist are saying, at this point it's impossible to tell if SARS is solely caused by a paramyxirvirus, a coronavirus, or a mixture of the two. It's still a very mysterious illness, with information in some of the links above undermining or contradicting data found in others. There is also still some confusion of who exactly are the index cases, apparently.

Sadly, that doesn't matter anymore. Even if the SARS outbreak is eventually found to have been a completely natural case of species jumping, SARS is going to be investigated for its potential as a weapon. Its combination of the ability to travel via multiple transmission routes, low fatality rate and lengthy infection period guarantee that. Frankly, every new disease is going to be looked at by someone with an eye out for its potential as a weapon. That's just the world we live in now.

What is not guaranteed is that there will ever be a vaccine for SARS. If the infection dies out soon, then the media will turn its attention elsewhere and the pressure to produce a vaccine will fade. Drug companies prefer not to produce vaccines anyway. They're expensive to produce, as well as being lawsuit magnets due to side effects that are often not uncovered until large number of people are vaccinated. An early vaccine would also reduce the value of SARS as a weapon, since it could likely be adapted at a later date for any SARS mutations built in to the microbe(s) by a weaponization process.

In any case, SARS should illustrate the necessity for at least one international public health organization, or very close cooperation between national public health organizations. As SARS shows, germs can cross borders all too easily. The problem then becomes a matter of trust, and it's still a large one. After all, wow many of you are willing to put your trust in the national Chinese public health system?


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