25.4.11

Abortion stories.

http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html

I have no problems with people having abortions. Up to a point. Where that point is should be decided by the individual community/state/country. I also have no problems with individual states outlawing abortion in that state. If you don't like it, no-one's forcing you to get pregnant.

Oops. Maybe someone did. Yeah, rape, incest, mother's life is in danger and stuff like that - you really need an option to not carry that baby to term. You really need a hospital somewhere in a state that can conduct these procedures in order to save the mother's life, or give victims of rape and incest the option to not have to deal with pregnancy and the kid.

Either case, the link above goes to anecdotal stories (no names) of anti-abortion activists who decide that their case is somehow special.

Sample:

"In 1990, in the Boston area, Operation Rescue and other groups were regularly blockading the clinics, and many of us went every Saturday morning for months to help women and staff get in. As a result, we knew many of the 'antis' by face. One morning, a woman who had been a regular 'sidewalk counselor' went into the clinic with a young woman who looked like she was 16-17, and obviously her daughter. When the mother came out about an hour later, I had to go up and ask her if her daughter's situation had caused her to change her mind. 'I don't expect you to understand my daughter's situation!' she angrily replied. The following Saturday, she was back, pleading with women entering the clinic not to 'murder their babies.'" (Clinic escort, Massachusetts)

So are these stories representative or statistically significant? No. Does it speak about human nature and psychology? Yes.

Oops. Maybe it is statistically significant.


"We have anti-choice women in for abortions all the time. Many of them are just naive and ignorant until they find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy. Many of them are not malicious. They just haven't given it the proper amount of thought until it completely affects them. They can be judgmental about their friends, family, and other women. Then suddenly they become pregnant. Suddenly they see the truth. That it should only be their own choice. Unfortunately, many also think that somehow they are different than everyone else and they deserve to have an abortion, while no one else does." (Physician, Washington State)Although few studies have been made of this phenomenon, a study done in 1981 (1) found that 24% of women who had abortions considered the procedure morally wrong, and 7% of women who'd had abortions disagreed with the statement, "Any woman who wants an abortion should be permitted to obtain it legally." A 1994/95 survey (2,3) of nearly 10,000 abortion patients showed 18% of women having abortions are born-again or Evangelical Christians. Many of these women are likely anti-choice. The survey also showed that Catholic women have an abortion rate 29% higher than Protestant women. A Planned Parenthood handbook on abortion notes that nearly half of all abortions are for women who describe themselves as born-again Christian, Evangelical Christian, or Catholic. (4)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalization_(making_excuses)

Abortion is murder? Sure, I guess. In which case I have no problems with murdering unborn children before they've developed to that point - the point which should be determined in each individual community. Depends on when you believe human life begins. Or how much you care about it.

A human egg that just got fertilized has no rights whatsoever in my book. If the kid is about to pop out in a day or two - then yes, hell yes that kid has rights. In between there you can argue til you're blue in the face. I suggest you make it a local matter and leave the people be who don't share your opinion in different parts of the world or the united STATES. State's rights. Individual communities running their own business as long as civil rights are protected and taxes get paid and you're not letting criminals buy guns too easily.

Tough on crime. False alarm police responses. Special interests politics.

http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2011/04/false-alarms-are-single-greatest-waste.html
  • In 2004 the Police Department received almost 62,000 burglar alarms
  • Of these, 97.2% or about 60,100 were false
  • Responding to these alarms required the time of approximately 45 Dallas Police officers
  • This false alarm rate was consistent with findings across the nation
  • In Dallas, 86% of the citizens and businesses without alarms are subsidizing alarm responses for 14% who have alarms
  • False alarm dispatches are the single greatest waste of law enforcement resources in the U.S.
  • 2004 police response time for priority 3 calls was about 32 minutes
The small minority being subsidized by police responses to alarms are extremely vocal and well-organized by alarm companies, who have lists with contact info of concerned customers that would be the envy of any political consultant. Plus, those with alarms almost by definition are relatively wealthier - after all, they got an alarm because they have stuff to steal - and therefore also more politically influential. By contrast, the 86% of Dallasites without burglar alarms who're footing most of the bill are unorganized, unaware of the subsidy, and may not even perceive they have a dog in the fight.
Vocal minority. Silent majority. Takes money to get elected. Uneducated voter population easily swayed by media advertising.
Dallas mayoral candidate and former Dallas police chief David Kunkle told the Dallas Observer that "verified response" for private burglar alarms is "good public policy and bad politics." He won't support the idea, not because he doesn't think it's a good one, but because he fears a tuff-on-crime backlash during a contested mayoral campaign. 

Remind anyone of the agriculture industry subsidies? Politically connected so-called "farmers" but really giant industrialized farming ventures with slick advertising take a dip into the public's pockets via their tax dollars, knowing they can always throw together some political advertising about how the "American family farmer" needs your help. Cheap water for that vocal minority. Expensive water for the silent majority of home owners and private consumers.

So how can we fight this? Transparency. Education. Being informed. Learning. Spreading as much information as you can about what happens to the money you pay the government for essential services and whatever special interests happen to have the best lobbying squad.

Afghanistan. Taliban prison escape. 3rd world culture. Corruption. Education.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13184920

470+ people escaped, amongst which ~100 commanders, i.e. officer-level insurgents.

Ok, bad things happen. People escape from jails all the time. American POWs did the same during WW2. What's the big deal?

It's not that the war just got worse. It's not that there's now another few hundred enemy fighters to fight or capture again. It's not that it's a huge propaganda victory.

It's the fact that the culture in this country, and in most places like it, mean people are okay with keeping a hundred commanders with their common soldiers, that prison authorities and politicians (corrupt) are okay with keeping hundreds and hundreds of these people in what is essentially a common area.

No locks, no patrols, no compartmentalized secure bulkheads inspected every hour.

Good luck, Afghanistan. With all that corruption and mismanagement and hatred and religious fanaticism, I'm thinking these politicians and self-serving warlords deserve a non-Taleban secular uprising.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/04/201142525410649746.html

540 prisoners total.

Facility's previous history:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kandahar_detention_facility
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarposa_Prison_attack

24.4.11

British deny George Bush's claims that torture helped foil terror plots.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/09/british-deny-bush-claims-foil-terror

I have no problems with killing people. Wars happen. You do what you need to do to get them to stop and to stop fanatical religious bastards from enforcing their version of reality on innocent women and children.

That does not excuse the US invasion of Iraq and the "crusade" comments and all that. WMDs, no link to Al Qaeda etc.

Torture on the other hand, is a different thing. Now you're looking at a very inefficient means of gathering information.

I have been water tortured. I have not been waterboarded. I have not had any of the many other "enhanced interrogation techniques" used against me. I have always had a voluntary way out.

As soon as you start torturing people, the vast majority of them will say and do anything to get out of it. Pop someone's eye out with spoon is apparently pretty effective and quick. Simulate drowning. Dogs. Shaking. Walling. Sleep dep. Hanging someone up by hooks.

British officials say there is no evidence that waterboarding saved lives of UK citizens, as Bush claimed in his memoirs

To the best of my knowledge, the torture committed under the recent Bush administration has not yielded any intel that has saved lives.

The people responsible should be prosecuted.

In fairness, the issue isn't exactly black and white:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/or_20090425_8738.php


Many experienced military and FBI interrogators say they've never used coercion, contending that it doesn't work because prisoners will say anything to stop the pain. (But how would they know it doesn't work, not having tried it? And if you were a terrorist desperate to stop the pain, would you fabricate a story that your interrogators would likely consider suspect -- or tell them where to find other terrorists?)
There are also reports of disagreement within the intelligence community as to the seriousness of the Second Wave plot. Maybe it would have fizzled even without coercive interrogations.
But maybe not. As former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen has written, if the 9/11 plot had been thwarted, Bush's critics "would be telling us how it was never really close to execution and [that] men armed with nothing more than box cutters [could never] hijack four airplanes simultaneously and fly them into buildings."
The bottom line about the effectiveness of brutal interrogations, Blair has asserted, is that "these techniques have hurt our image around the world" so much that "the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us, and they are not essential to our national security."

Either case, I have yet to see any sort of evidence that the Bush administration torture saved any U.S. or allied lives. Provided information and gave us insights into the structure and organization of Al Qaeda - yes, maybe. Now balance the few benefits we know *might* have helped us, against the overwhelming evidence and damage to U.S. national security interests and image of having to deal with the fall-out from torture and Guantanamo Bay. I know what side of that I judge to be the weightiest.

More:
http://articles.cnn.com/2007-12-11/politics/agent.tapes_1_waterboarding-cia-director-michael-hayden-cia-agent?_s=PM:POLITICS

The former agent, who said he participated in the Abu Zubayda interrogation but not his waterboarding, said the CIA decided to waterboard the al Qaeda operative only after he was "wholly uncooperative" for weeks and refused to answer questions.
All that changed -- and Zubayda reportedly had a divine revelation -- after 30 to 35 seconds of waterboarding, Kiriakou said he learned from the CIA agents who performed the technique.
The terror suspect, who is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reportedly gave up information that indirectly led to the the 2003 raid in Pakistan yielding the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, an alleged planner of the September 11, 2001, attacks, Kiriakou said.
The CIA was unaware of Mohammed's stature before the Abu Zubayda interrogation, the former agent said.
...Which would seem to indicate that even if the torture did not DIRECTLY lead to saving lives and stopping terrorist attacks, it certainly may have indirectly done so. It's kind of hard to prove that something lead to preventing a horrible crime that would have been a very complex operation that could have failed at any time. The question then becomes how much the information gained from torture helped in capturing other terrorists, versus the damage eventually done to the United States' international image, Al Qaeda recruitment and the overall impact on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and improving the situation of US national security interests all over the world. Presumably the latter would have been positively impacted by the capture and partial unravelling of terrorist networks, but also negatively impacted by a hardening difficulty in getting other countries and entities to do as we say, not as we do - and improve our general position in world affairs.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Investigation/story?id=1322866&page=1

http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/torturecardozo.pdf

Another case, not exactly of torture, but of truth confessed under extreme duress (hence logically very similar), is from operations against the Tamil Tigers. It involved a literal ticking bomb scenario: a security forces unit apprehended three terrorists who it suspected of planting a bomb somewhere in a city. They were brought before the officer in charge: He asked them where the bomb was. The terrorists - highly dedicated and steeled to resist interrogation - remained silent. [He] asked the question again, advising them that if they did not tell him what he wanted to know, he would kill them. They were unmoved. So [he] took his pistol from his gun belt, pointed it at the forehead of one of them, and shot him dead. The other two, he said, talked immediately; the bomb, which had been placed in a crowded railway station and set to explode during the evening rush hour, was found and defused, and countless lives were saved.16
From 16 Bruce Hoffman. A Nasty Business, ATLANTIC MONTHLY, Jan. 2002. at 52 (quoted in BOBBITT, supra note 6, at 380)[9]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Break_a_Terrorist
 Alexander is an outspoken opponent of torture.[8] He refutes the effectiveness of torture, citing its negative long term effects such as recruiting for Al Qaida. He also argues that torture is contrary to the American principles of freedom, liberty, and justice, and that should they resort to torture, American interrogators become the enemy they serve to defeat. Similar arguments have been made by other former interrogators from the military, FBI, and CIA, including Colonel Steven Kleinman.[9] In an interview with human rights lawyer Scott Horton for Harper's Magazine, Alexander said

"The American public has a right to know that they do not have to choose between torture and terror. There is a better way to conduct interrogations that works more efficiently, keeps Americans safe, and doesn’t sacrifice our integrity. Our greatest victory to date in this war, the death of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi (which saved thousands of lives and helped pave the way to the Sunni Awakening), was achieved using interrogation methods that had nothing to do with torture. The American people deserve to know that."[10]

More details:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_interrogation_techniques

23.4.11

Portal 2 computer game video.




I personally don't play these types of games (no character progression, no player-to-character connection), but the advertising is second to none.

"Cave Johnson here!"
"Now, we have run into a reproducible human error problem, a lot of expensive equipment getting broken, but don't worry - Cave took care of it!"
"Cave Johnson, we're done here!"

20.4.11

Considering buying a Mac computer? Some websites are not accessible on Macs.

https://discussions.apple.com/message/15032794#15032794

http://i.imgur.com/3D7r8.png




The sad part is Safari is far superior to IE just based on security alone. Alas, even some banking sites are still IE only.




I'm job hunting. I'm on a Mac. My browser options are Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari.


The above webpage is at the tail end of a 10-page résumé-building process for civilian jobs with the US Navy. It loads only in Internet Explorer according to multiple people that work with their websupport/vet help.



Below for your amusement is the email chain that resulted. Start at the bottom, unfortunately.


/end rant    


Not your fault, Tina. The USAjobs listing leads to the page
Libraries give you 1hr.

Pär Larsson
Coronado, CA                                                                              strength & honour






On 20 April 2011 09:23, Barham, Tina CIV OCHR, 0241 wrote:
Par,


You don't have any libraries in your area?  You can also go to the USAjobs website and apply for jobs.  Sorry about that.


Sincerely,


Tina


-----Original Message-----
From: par larsson [mailto:


Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 11:03
To: Barham, Tina CIV OCHR, 0241
Subject: Re: [Bug] Unable to complete Résumé for employment


Tina,


Thanks for the quick reply. I guess I'll have to wait a few months to apply, then.


V/R




Pär Larsson


Coronado, CA                                                                              strength & honour








On 20 April 2011 04:56, Barham, Tina CIV OCHR, 0241  wrote:




       Good Morning Par;






       Unfortunately the application only works with Internet Explorer.  The application will be going away in a few months so there won’t be any modifications made to it at this time.  Sorry for the inconvenience.






       Sincerely,






       Tina






       From: par larsson [mailto:
       Posted At: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 20:20
       Posted To: DON CHR Portal
       Conversation: [Bug] Unable to complete Résumé for employment
       Subject: [Bug] Unable to complete Résumé for employment






       Dear Sir or Ma'am,






       The following webpage of your employment website is not accessible:






       https://chart.donhr.navy.mil/myresume/resumeS7E.asp








       I have tried Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari web browsers. As I am on an Apple Macintosh computer Internet Explorer is not an option.



My other options:

  1. Emulating a Windows environment and running IE via that. 
  2. Linux something or other. 
  3. Library.
  4. Buy a new Windows computer.
  5. Friend's computer.


Brb, library.

EDIT: https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/hehijbfgiekmjfkfjpbkbammjbdenadd

18.4.11

Iran. LGBT. Progressive youth. Reformist Islam.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Circumstance-The-Movie/190358930991158


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXl-RmeR6dM




This is what will bring down tyranny in our lifetime.

Progressive, liberal reformist muslim and arab youth.

How to find real food at a supermarket.

14.4.11

Sarah Palin. Fake pregnancy? Doubt it. Leftist "birthers".

http://www.scribd.com/doc/52841266/Prof-Brad-Scharlott-Palin-the-Press-and-the-Fake-Pregnancy-Rumor

Basically the issue is that Sarah Palin is being accused by some fairly conspiracy-theory-ish people (a northern Kentucky college journalism professor et al) of faking a pregnancy to protect her daughter and to further her political career in the run-up to the 2008 election.


I'm inclined to take the Palin camp's word for this until there's some concrete evidence to the contrary, which I don't think the professor sleuth has provided, though his paper was interesting and grounds for some intrepid investigative journo to go hell bent for leather on the issue.

1. If she wants to squash the rumours - which may or may not be in her best interest - it'd be rather easy to do. But then she'd be letting herself down to Obama's level in having to provide official documents.

2. On the odd chance that I'm wrong and this was a pregnancy hoax, it's the biggest public duping of the American public since Curveball and the WMDs and - hat's off - almost impossible to pull off. Plus honestly I don't find people who lie to protect their family from unwanted public scrutiny quite as odious as people who lie to protect their family who happen to commit crimes. Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and all that lying - kind of to be expected. "Ingroup-Outgroup Bias" and family ties and blood is thicker than water etc., etc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-stranahan/why-dailykos-embraced-the_b_122790.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-stranahan/anchorage-tv-station-pali_b_123029.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curveball_(informant)

http://www.businessinsider.com/sarah-palin-baby-hoax-2011-4

Full disclosure: I'm a reasonable conservative, voted for McCain, support the CINC (no big new wars, no torture, show the US and the world that a black man can be the most powerful man on the planet) and would like to see anyone but Palin get the GOP nod in 2012. Condi Rice preferably, assuming she admits and repudiates her torture-approving past. And the whole WMD groupthink stuff.

Here's Palin while visibly pregnant during the time in question:


Conspiracy theorists would of course say that's easy to do with a pillow or a strap or a stuffed girdle and some makeup or whatever. Possible? Sure. Likely? No. That's a long ways to go to pull off a stunt like that. A little too far for her to pull it off without a hitch, imho. Someone would have talked by now, very likely. A little easier to pull off than having hundreds and hundreds of people involved in a US-Israeli attack on the World Trade Centers, but still, more or less impossible. Some journalist is on record as having felt her belly covered with a thin shirt. Sounds like pretty conclusive evidence to me.

EDIT:
More reason not to believe the conspiracy theory.
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/04/22/trig_palin_wesley_loy/index.html

1.4.11

Libyan intervention rationale.



Not for the faint of heart.

Video shows Gaddafi forces ordering a Libyan who is shot in his leg to say "Long live Fatih (Gaddafi)". When the wounded Libyan didn't say it, they simply killed him. Please be aware that this video contains graphic & violence footage.

People who argue and demonstrate against Western intervention (or any forces') might do well to consider what will happen if intervention doesn't happen. Plus the whole oil aspect. And women's rights. And people's freedom to determine their own form of government and political system. And a corrupt dictatorship re-asserts its power with brutal force.


2011 Koran Burning. UN personnel beheaded in protest in Mazar-e-Sharif.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12940014
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Qur%27an-burning_controversy

11+ people killed.
One Koran put on "trial" for six hours. "Jury" deliberated for 8 minutes. The book was then set on fire, immediately (?) after the jury had delivered its verdict. The book had been soaking in kerosene for an hour.

That means the verdict was pre-determined?

Either case, let's not deliberately insult each other's religions. No need to go around burning Korans or Bibles or Torahs or whatever. Also no need to kill completely unrelated UN personnel. What the hell did they have to do with anything? They're just there to try to help people. Unless you're just using the Koran burning as an excuse to further the interests of the Taleban, Al-Qaeda or various religious extremists, in which case it makes sense. Drive out the foreigners and put Afghanistan back in the Dark Ages, keep your women enslaved and the bearded old mullahs in charge.

If you're gonna burn a Koran, I suggest you go to Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or Afghanistan and do it. Have some guts. Cowards.

All that said. What are the results of this?

1. Afghanistan will hurt for development personnel. Long term damage to the country, its people and women and economy.
2. UN gets a bloody nose, has to step up security and curtail operations.
3. Dead innocent civilians, further cementing all reasonable people's opinion that the people who inhabit that part of the world (Afghanistan/Pakistan) are just plain insane and will continue to breed religious terrorists after the US pulls out.
4. The next Koran-burning incident won't be quite as big of a deal.
5. The islamic world takes its first small step on the path to getting used to insults and freedom of speech.

It sucks, but all religions simply have to face that fact that their believers can't control the actions and speech or writings or drawings or burnings of people who don't believe in that religion. I can tell you that you desecrating my holy book is a great crime, but I can't force you to believe that.

Eventually there'll be an Islamic Reformation. Women, freedom of speech, freedom to leave your religion, all that. Then idiots who burn books will not even be news, and will just be regarded as the idiots they are. In passing, with no cultural or political significance. Same thing with people who draw cartoons of Mohammed or Jesus or whomever.

Eventually. Til then there'll be lots of innocent dead civilians. And very upset religious people.