Friday, December 31, 2004
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Marvel Comics has announced the Sci-Fi legend Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game) will be penning their new Ulitmate Iron Man title. Art will be by Andy Kubert (1602). The book is slated for launch in March 2005. I'll be adding this one to my collection.
I read all the time on the internet and blogs about campaigns to boycott Target or Ocean's Twelve so forth and so on.
How about we start a campaign to get Katie Couric replaced with Ann Curry, the current news anchor?
I find Ann Curry much more personable and has a great chemistry with the other co-anchor, Matt Lauer. Ann usually fill in for Couric when she is out, so she has the co-anchor experience. Katie should be the news anchor, so we would only see her at the top of each half hour for five minutes or less.
And even that would be too much.
Iran will test a Bomb.
Some moderate will take over leadership of the Palestinian Arabs... and be assassinated by Hamas.
Dan Rather will leave CBS entirely, in part because the internal investigation of Memogate will be too embarrassing to allow his continued tenure at precisely the organ which committed these travesties.
NBC's "Must See" TV will be renamed "Must Saw" by critics and comics as its ratings continue to slide.
We find Osama bin Laden, dead.
Major liberals will start admitting that Maureen Dowd is an embarrassment.
The Red Sox will be accursed again — all will be right in the World Series world.
West Wing ends.
Despite whining about American free-speech restraints, Michael Moore, Susan Sarandan, Barbra Streisand & co. will remain free to espouse silly political ideas.
Howard Dean will not become DNC chairman.
Ahmad Chalabi will make a comeback.
John Edwards will not.
Michael Moore will put on a little weight.
What has happened? Sometime around the 1980s, the Right saw the demise of the Soviet Union as an opportunity to evolve beyond realpolitik to promote not just anti-Communism but grassroots democracy, coupled with free-market globalism from Eastern Europe to Latin America and Asia. In contrast, the hard Left stayed in its knee-jerk suspicion of the West and continued to give a pass to authoritarians from Cuba to Iran who professed socialism, thinking that the world was a static zero-sum game in which somebody's gain spelled another's loss — oblivious that real wealth could be created by a change of mentality and technology and not mere exploitation.
As the old politics lie in ruin from hypocrisy and incoherence, the Left needs to get a new life. Here are a few more suggestions:
- Remember that multilateral inaction — whether in the Balkans, Rwanda, or Darfur — is often calculated, selfish, and far more lethal to millions than risky interventions like removing the Taliban and Saddam.
- Quit idolizing Europe. It was a far larger arms merchant to Saddam than was the United States; it supplied most of Dr. Khan’s nuclear laboratory; it financed much of the Oil-for-Food scandal; and it helped to create and tolerate the Balkans genocide. It has never freed any country or intervened to remove fascism and leave behind democracy — silly American notions that are to be caricatured except when it is a matter of saving Europeans.
- Stop seeing an all-powerful United States behind every global problem. China is on the move and far more likely to disrupt environmental protocols, cheat on trade accords, and bully neighbors. The newly expanded Europe has a larger population and aggregate economy, stronger currency, and far less in trade and budget debts than does the United States — and is already using that economic clout for its own interests, not global freedom from dictators and autocrats.
- Don't believe much of what the U.N. says anymore. Its secretary general is guilty of either malfeasance or incompetence, its soldiers are often hired thugs who terrorize those they are supposed to protect, and its resolutions are likely to be anti-democratic and anti-Semitic. Its members include dozens of nations whose odious representatives we would not let walk inside the doors of the U.S. Congress. The old idea of a United Nations was inspiring, the current reality chilling.
- Stop seeing socialists and anti-Americans as Democrats. When a Michael Moore compares beheaders to our own Minutemen and laments that too many Democrats were in the World Trade Center, he deserves no platform alongside Wesley Clark or a seat next to Jimmy Carter or praise for his pseudo-dramas from high Democrats. Firebrands like Al Sharpton and Michael Moore are the current leftist equivalents of 1950s right-wing extremists like the John Birchers. They should suffer the same fate of ostracism, not bemused and tacit approval.
- Ignore most grim international reports that show the United States as stingy, greedy, or uncaring based on some esoteric formula that makes a Sweden or Denmark out as the world's savior. Such "studies" always ignore aggregate dollars and look at per capita public giving, and yet somehow ignore things like over $100 billion to Afghanistan and Iraq or $15 billion pledged to fight AIDS in Africa. These academic white papers likewise forget private donations, because most of the American billionaires who give to global causes of various sorts do so as either individuals or through foundations. No mention is made of the hundred of millions that are handled by American Christian charities. And the idea of a stingy America never mentions about $200 billion of the Pentagon's budget, which does things like keeping the Persian Gulf open to world commerce; protecting Europe; ensuring that the Aegean is free of shooting and that the waters between China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are relatively tranquil; and stopping nasty folk like the Taliban and Saddam from blowing up more Buddha monuments, desecrating Babylon, or ruining the ecology of the Tigris-Euphrates wetlands.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Monday, December 20, 2004
At 17,000 feet beneath the surface, the temperature of ocean water is just above freezing, oxygen is sparse and currents are relatively calm. In other words, ideal conditions for preserving an airplane that might have crashed into the depths nearly 70 years ago, according to marine explorer David Jourdan, who hopes to answer one of aviation's greatest mysteries — the fate of famed pilot Amelia Earhart.
Jourdan and his Maine-based company, Nauticos, plan to launch an expedition in the spring using sonar to sweep a 1,000-square-mile swath of ocean bottom west of tiny Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean.
It is the latest in a string of missions to learn what happened to Earhart when she, her navigator and their Lockheed Electra plane disappeared on a flight around the world.
"Things tend to last a time" in the deep ocean, said Jourdan. "Our expectation is the plane will be largely, if not completely, intact."
That is, if the plane is even in the ocean.
There is a host of theories about what befell Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan in 1937 as they made one of the final legs of their widely heralded flight. Some have searched the sea, believing the plane ran out of gas. Others think she survived a crash landing but died on a deserted island. Another theory is that the Japanese captured and executed her. The conspiracy-minded claim Earhart survived and lived out her life under an assumed name as a New Jersey housewife.
This much is agreed on — Earhart and Noonan vanished July 2, 1937, as they approached an air strip on Howland Island, roughly midway between Australia and Hawaii. They had taken off from Papua New Guinea, just 7,000 miles short of their goal to make Earhart the first woman to fly around the world.
The chances are slim, but I hope he finds it.
The election campaign officially kicked off on Dec. 15, the day voter registration finished across Iraq. In the words of the current prime minister, Iyad Allawi, who announced his candidacy at the head of his Iraqi National Accord movement: "We strongly reject the injustice and separation of the past and we are working towards national unity." Allawi called the election a "precious dream."
Iraqis seem to agree. The latest poll of 5,000 people in and around Baghdad suggests that an overwhelming majority are prepared to make a clean break with the past and pursue democracy--now. Some of the specific results:
What will you base your vote on?
Political agenda - 65%
Factional origin - 14%
Party Affiliation - 4%
National Background - 12%
Other reasons - 5%
Do you support dialog with the deposed Baathists?
Yes - 15%
No - 84%
Do not know - 1%
Do you support postponing the election?
Yes - 18%
No - 80%
Do not know - 2%
Do you think the elections will take place as scheduled?
Yes - 83%
No - 13%
Do not know - 4%
This is good news as the violence against the inhabitants of Iraq is increasing, with the latest attack killing 62 and injuring 120. But the people of Iraq will prevail, not without some casualties, but in the end they want to experience the greatness of democracy and change the tyranny that they have been living under for so long.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Here is something I plan to check out in the near future. I was reading my latest issue of Photographic, and I came across an ad for MPIX.com. They print digital images for you on what looks like some spectacular paper, and the prices don't seem that bad, especially for professionally printed images.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Monday, December 13, 2004
Well, I started reading The Stand this morning, and King has his hooks in me and I can't get away. An epic story about good and evil. An deadly new strain of the flu virus is released at a military facility, which is named Captain Trips, and wipes out approximately 94% of the world's population. The story is about the remaining people that are immune to the virus and the evil that rises up to wipe out the rest of hummanity.
Love him or hate him, Stephen King is an amazing author. He is a horror writer by trade; his subjects are grim and the violence very graphic, but he just has a way with telling a story. He immerses you in his world and you are so fascinated by it you don't want to leave, urged on to read "just one more page". This book is not for everyone, but if you do want a tale woven by a master storyteller and don't mind a little violence, this is the one for you.
I have to say that posting will be almost non-existent until The Stand is finished. I have been sucked into King's world, and Captain Trips and the Dark Man are waiting for me.
Only 900 pages to go.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Newsweek has a sneak peak at the film with Peter Jackson and posted below is a cool concept art piece that features Kong fighting a T-Rex. Courtesy Gus Hunter/Weta Workshop.
I wonder which mannequin was playing Tom Cruise’s character in the movie. The dummy probably was tired of Tom trying to copy him and jumped in the river. On the other hand, maybe the mannequin was just a better actor than Cruise and Tommy pushed him in the river to get rid of him.
And why not? When Marty McSorley, playing with the Boston Bruins at the time, swung his hockey stick like a baseball bat resulting in a concussion to Donald Brashear, then with the Vancouver Canucks, he was convicted of assault although he didn’t get any jail time. He did 18 months of probation and was kicked out of the NHL for good.
This isn’t any different, except that it exploded over from the basketball floor into the seats and it involved fans, where there is an even greater risk of injury. No, the fans were not justified in their actions, but they are not seasoned athletes that strength train and are jostled around for an entire season. One good shot by a player and one of these fans could have been seriously injured if not dead. I think the league’s stance was just and now it is time for the world off the court to have their hand at dolling out punishment.
Today is Wictory Wednesday. If you have a blog and want to participate, go to Wictory Wednesday and get yourself on the blogroll.
Blogs that participate in Wictory Wednesday:
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
President Roosevelt's response (courtesy of the University of Oklahoma Law Center) to this act of war by a country we were at peace with:
Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire."National Geographic has a great site recounting the events of the day the will live in infamy.
As I browsed for news related to this date in history I was surprised that I found very little. I am afraid this day of remberance is slipping away from the minds of the American People as more and more of the Greatest Generation pass away.
Let's make sure it doesn't.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Joe Thorton (Boston Bruins) and Rick Nash (Columbus Blue Jackets) seem to be humbled by the lockout experience, both playing for HC Davos of the Swiss Elite League. Bus trips through the Alps lasting up to six and half hours, packing their own bags, and stowing their sweaty gear on the bus themselves can be a real eye opener for players that get flown from city to city and have multiple staff members packing their bags and stowing gear. Rick Nash sums it up best:
"I think we get spoiled in the NHL," said Rick Nash, the first player picked in the 2002 draft.
The NHL and the Players’ Association have decided to go back to the table, but I am not hopeful that the season or league can be saved, especially with Gary Bettman in charge. Both sides are scheduled to meet next week. But with arenas booking 45 days out at this point, no games could be played before the middle of January.
If the league and season are saved, I think we might see a better game. Players are keeping their skills sharp by playing for minor league teams or in Europe. Hopefully, it will be a wake up call and many will return to the place where they first fell in love with the game, where they were carrying their own bags and riding the bus.
It takes a lot to get a man of God annoyed, and Louis Sako, the Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk, is a very frustrated man these days. "It is not all death and destruction," says the archbishop. "Much is positive in Iraq today. . . . Universities are operating, schools are open, people go out onto the streets normally. . . . Where there's a kidnapping or a homicide the news gets out immediately, and this causes fear among the people. . . . Those who commit such violence are resisting against Iraqis who want to build their country."
Check out all the news here. Check out Chrenkoff's blog here.
Friday, December 03, 2004
The Groningen Protocol is the proposal of doctors in the Netherlands for the establishment of an "independent committee" charged with selecting babies and other severely handicapped or disabled people for euthanasia. The original article provides some of the key details:
Under the Groningen protocol, if doctors at the hospital think a child is suffering unbearably from a terminal condition, they have the authority to end the child's life. The protocol is likely to be used primarily for newborns, but it covers any child up to age 12.This is very disturbing news. A "committee" that decides whether an infant lives or dies, with the parents having little or no say. The decision would be in the sole hands of the "Professionals". This is very scary and just plain wrong.
The hospital, beyond confirming the protocol in general terms, refused to discuss its details.
"It is for very sad cases," said a hospital spokesman, who declined to be identified. "After years of discussions, we made our own protocol to cover the small number of infants born with such severe disabilities that doctors can see they have extreme pain and no
hope for life. Our estimate is that it will not be used but 10 to 15 times a year."
A parent's role is limited under the protocol. While experts and critics familiar with the policy said a parent's wishes to let a child live or die naturally most likely would be considered, they note that the decision must be professional, so rests with doctors.
As a young boy I read Spider-Man (the Todd MacFarlane era, before Spawn was released and he went out on his own), but never read a series about the mulit-limbed evil scientist Otto Octavius, so I went looking for some background info. After Googling Doc Ock, I found this great site called SpiderFan.org. Character Bios, a comic index, and so much more can be found here. With a single click I can find all the issues that were written by my favorite Spidey author Paul Jenkins and artist Huberto Ramos. There is an example of a Ramos cover featuring the Green Goblin below. SpiderFan.org is definitely worth checking out for info about our beloved Wall-Crawler. I've added a link on the right for easy access.