Archive | September, 2006

Rubber Chicken Alert

Rubber Chicken Alert

Posted on 29 September 2006 by Ed Z

Prior to a screening of his film "World Trade center", Oliver Stone
pulled out a rubber
blasting Bush and the war.  I’m sure they lapped it all up.

"From Sept. 12 on, the
incident (the attacks) was politicized and it has polarized the
entire world," said Stone. "It is a shame because it is
a waste of energy to see that the entire world five years later is
still convulsed in the grip of 9/11.

"It’s a waste of energy
away from things that do matter which is poverty, death, disease,
the planet itself and fixing things in our own homes rather than
fighting wars with others. Mr. Bush has set America back 10 years,
maybe more."


The other quote that caught my eye was Stone saying,
""I think that conspiracy-mongering on 9/11 is a waste of
time".  Let’s see how much time he wastes making a movie about 9/11
conspiracy theories, as has been the rumor.

Comments (0)

Al Qaeda in Iraq Acknowledges Losses

Posted on 28 September 2006 by Ed Z

Al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Ayyub Masri, acknowledged, for most likely the first time, losses of foreign

"The blood has been
spilled in Iraq of more than 4,000 foreigners who came to
fight," according to the Internet message by a man who
identified himself as Abu Hamza Muhajir — also known as Abu Ayyub
Masri — the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. The voice could not be
identified independently. The Arabic word he used indicated he was
speaking about foreigners who joined the insurgency in Iraq, not
coalition troops.


The crucial fact is that these  are 4,000+ foreign born
terrorists.  They went to Iraq for the sole purpose of killing Americans
and now they can’t harm anyone.

Comments (4)

Required Reading: Who Is Noam Chomsky?

Posted on 26 September 2006 by Ed Z

Since Hugo’s infomercial on Chomsky, his book sales have increased and you
have to wonder if Hugo gets a commission.  For those of you who don’t know
Chomsky’s background, WSJ Opinion Journal has a good intro. 

For it is his ability to
excite not just contempt for American foreign policy but a lively
sense that it is guided by some kind of criminal conspiracy that
provides the motive for Prof. Chomsky’s unceasing diatribes and
the explanation of his influence. The world is full of people who
wish to think ill of America. And most of them would like to be
Americans. The Middle East seethes with such people, and Prof.
Chomsky appeals directly to their envious emotions, as well as to
the resentments of leaders like President Chavez who cannot abide
the sight of a freedom that they haven’t the faintest idea how to
produce or the least real desire to emulate.


Read the entire article Who
Is Noam Chomsky?
by Roger Scruton.

Comments (0)

Rubber Chicken Alert

Rubber Chicken Alert

Posted on 25 September 2006 by Ed Z

Its origins are questionable, but simply put, the rubber
is just a comedy prop that has been around probably longer than the
whoopee cushion. The gag is so old the prop now represents hackneyed gags; when
in doubt pull out the rubber chicken for a guaranteed laugh.

So I have this theory about celebrities, which I suppose by my standards
includes actors, musicians, comedians, and authors (though their actually
celebrity status may be in question), that when desperate to get attention they
rely on their own rubber chicken – bashing Bush.

Are you’re an aspiring comedian or perhaps you’ve been around for a while but
your material is getting stale? Or are you a washed up musician in need of a hit
album or tour promotion? An actor looking to plug a new movie or a neophyte
looking to get in the door? All you need is a rubber chicken.

The latest Rubber Chicken is showing up at George
Michael’s latest tour
. Drudge was running a link to the story. Roger
Waters floated his
a few weeks ago, but he cleverly disguised it as a pig.
Even Burt Bacharach
whipped out his rubber chicken a while back.

Going forward, I’ll have a Rubber Chicken Alert when it makes an appearance.

Comments (5)

UK Police to Consult Muslim Leaders Before Raids

Posted on 24 September 2006 by Ed Z

British police will now have consult Muslim leaders before conducting
raids.  Since when do civilian panels get to determine whether police have
evidence enough to conduct raids?

POLICE have agreed to consult a panel of
Muslim leaders before mounting counter-terrorist raids or arrests. Members of
the panel will offer their assessment of whether information police have on a
suspect is too flimsy and will also consider the consequences on community
relations of a raid.

Members will be security vetted and will
have to promise not to reveal any intelligence they are shown. They will not
have to sign the Official Secrets Act.


Oh, they’ll have to promise not to tell!  Now I feel
better.  Will other groups start asking for these privileges?

I think treatment like this has to be earned.  Let these
leaders start working with law enforcement to root out terrorists from their
communities and once you have a positive track record maybe then you can start
doing this.  Essentially, London police are acting as their informants.

has more info and thinks America will follow suit.

Comments (2)

You Can’t Do That to Our President…

You Can’t Do That to Our President…

Posted on 22 September 2006 by Ed Z

I wasn’t going to comment on Hugo Chavez’s U.N. speech and the chatter
that ensued.  But now I just can’t help it.  A co-worker, in one movie
reference, completely captured the moment when describing the statements by
Charlie Rangel and Nancy Pelosi.

As you might know, trying to score some easy points with the public, they
jumped all over his criticism of President Bush.

can’t do that…

Comments (0)

What is Torture?

Posted on 22 September 2006 by Ed Z

The use of torture to gather intelligence from terrorists is under great
scrutiny lately. There are those who believe torture works and those that don’t.

This Hot Air story should put that to rest.

absolutists like Sullivan adamantly deny that harsh tactics
produce reliable information. It’s their way of avoiding the moral
dilemma presented by a ticking time-bomb scenario. But they’ll
have to face it now, because in four short minutes Brian Ross
utterly explodes that particular article of quasi-religious faith
as fantasy. Not only did they break Khaled Sheikh Mohammed; not
only was the information he gave them valuable; not only did it
save lives; but Ross’s sources include people within the CIA who
are opposed to the practices.


What concerns me is the term "torture", which is being thrown about
a bit carelessly lately and unless Americans actually perform some due
diligence and find out what the interrogation techniques are, they’ll probably
be left with a Hollywood
of "torture".  Here are some real techniques:

The techniques sought by the
CIA are: induced hypothermia; forcing suspects to stand for
prolonged periods; sleep deprivation; a technique called "the
attention grab" where a suspect’s shirt is forcefully seized;
the "attention slap" or open hand slapping that hurts
but does not lead to physical damage; the "belly slap";
and sound and light manipulation.


Attention grab? Belly slap? Where is the wet
? I’m sorry, this is not torture. Though I never want to experience
any of these things, I still don’t see it as torture. Even Brian Ross’
description of water boarding, as horrific as it sounds, leaves no permanent
physical damage. Some may argue that the recipient is left with permanent mental
trauma, possibly unable to function under certain circumstances.  I find
these things to be too subjective.  Should we stop a highly effective
procedure because a small percentage may have lingering negative psychological

Torture, by my definition, is dismemberment, being put on the rack, or in the iron maiden
and mental torture is watching someone you care about get racked or cut up.  The methods currently used are effective and, I
would wager most Americans agree, perfectly acceptable.

Comments (5)

USA Today & A Lesson in Economics

Posted on 20 September 2006 by Ed Z

USA Today carried a story on September 19, it was actually suggesting the
recent decline in gas price may spur inflation.  

The recent sharp decline in
gasoline prices may help consumers. But it also may stoke
inflationary fires, perhaps forcing the Federal Reserve to raise
interest rates again later this year, some economists, such as
those at Merrill Lynch and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, say.


There’s a reason that Economics has been called "The Dismal
Science". "Dismal" has a meaning beyond gloomy. It is:
"characterized by ineptitude, dullness or lack of merit". If inflation
is a rise in the overall (average) price level, including fuel costs, then other
prices would have to rise by more than the fuel cost decline in order for the
overall (average) price level to rise. If other prices don’t rise as much, or
not at all, then falling fuel prices are disinflationary. One had to pay
attention in 7th grade arithmetic to figure that out.


Comments (2)

No Jacket Required

No Jacket Required

Posted on 20 September 2006 by Ed Z

Watching Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speak at the U.N. about how
his country’s nuclear aspirations are "transparent, peaceful and under the
watchful eye" of the United Nations, something didn’t sit right with me.

As he implied that American forces were purposely releasing terrorists
captured by Iraqi government in order to facilitate violence and an extended
stay, I was just distracted by something.

I scratched my head when he said American foreign policy had something to do
with hurricane Katrina, though the words weren’t the itch. With
furrowed brow I listened as he suggested the U.S. government willfully ignored
intelligence leading to 9/11.

There is something wrong with this man. He’s not wearing a tie.

When the camera pans around the room, everyone I see is wearing either a tie
or traditional clothing of their country. It looks like he was wearing a suit,
but I wonder if that’s the house jacket.

George Ajjan may how found the real reason:

This issue goes back to the
immediate aftermath of the 1979 Revolution. Before the revolution,
all public figures in Iran and all officials wore ties, both
domestically and when on visits abroad. Shortly after the
revolution however, the tie itself began being associated with
"Western imperialism", especially after Ayatollah
Khomeini branded a large group of intellectuals (who were less
religiously zealous than he would have liked) as "tie-wearing
cronies of the West" and essentially branded anyone wearing a
tie as being Western influenced.


He’s just too cool for school!

Stay tuned for the next issue of "Informal Leader Quarterly" where
we explore the wardrobe of Bolivian Leader, Evo Morales.

Comments (0)

Conspiracy Becomes Mainstream

Posted on 18 September 2006 by Ed Z

A few years ago, someone sent me a link to a 9/11 conspiracy website. I can’t
remember which one, but it concerned itself mostly with the Pentagon. In line
with most of today’s conspiracy theorists, it claimed a missile hit the
Pentagon, not a hijacked commercial jet.  I dismissed it.

Now, all this time later, these theories are picking up major steam. 
What concerns me though, is not the theorists themselves (they’re going to be
around forever), but the increasing belief in these theories. It is now becoming
mainstream to believe 9/11 was an "inside job" cooked up mainly as an
excuse to go to war in the Middle East.

A recent Scripps survey reveals the following:

More than a third of the
American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the
9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them…

Thirty-six percent of
respondents overall said it is "very likely" or
"somewhat likely" that federal officials either
participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon or took no action to stop them "because they wanted
the United States to go to war in the Middle East."


The enthusiasm that Americans have in embracing these theories finally struck
me when I ran into an old friend shortly after the foiled airline terror plot
this summer. She mentioned having to take a flight in the near future and though
she had some worries, she felt the plot was fiction.

Here she was, feeling quite comfortable admitting to buying into some sort of
conspiracy theory in spite of the dangers. It was then I realized conspiracy had
gone mainstream.

So I’ve been trying to figure out why. Why are people so willing to believe
these theories? And I’ve concluded it is the unwillingness to admit to an enemy
whose devotion to killing us goes far beyond what my generation has ever
known.  It is a belief out of convenience.

It’s easier to believe your government did this because you can vote them out
of power, they can be held accountable, you can scream, spit venom, and call for
impeachments without fear of retribution. It is easier to sleep at night when
there really aren’t fanatics waiting to blow your morning flight out of the sky.

Fighting radical Islam is a daunting task that in even the best estimations
will take decades and cost many lives. This is hard to grasp, hard to live with;
it takes will. A will few Americans have anymore.  And fortunately for
them, if it is real, they can still blame the government for not doing enough to
protect them.


Comments (11)