Saturday, May 24, 2008

Apologies

An animation of a full golf swing displaying the appropriate and professional technique. Each of the 9 frames in the animation are based on this image. The animation was made in both Adobe Photoshop CS and Adobe ImageReady.Image via WikipediaI havn't been posting much lately (other than the scheduled CoD posts) mainly because I've been busy :)

Went and saw "What Happens in Vegas" last night (it was funny all the way through, plot line needed help at points, but good movie) and threw some darts at the Brick (I don't generally throw darts, but Eve does and I didn't even play any pool).

Yesterday we played golf at a new (to me) course and I shot a (scorching?) 91 (heh); for you golfers out there, I know it sucks, but my best round of the year on a new course. I did finish up with a 6 over on the back 9 to get it that low (6 bogies and 3 pars).

We played 2 softball games Thursday night and we are no longer undefeated. We couldn't hit in either game, we scored 3 in the first (3-11) and 2 in the 2nd (2-3 lost in the bottom of the 7th). So now we're a game back in the standings (the other undefeated team also lost a game) with a showdown with Smoke this coming week.

Work a double time slot tonight and we're going on a family golf outing for Memorial day, so I will try to schedule a tribute to appear then. Maybe the co-bloggers can put something (anything?) out there for you guys (both of you) to read until then.

Celeb o'the Day - Sara Varone

Sara Varone
Sara Varone


Friday, May 23, 2008

Celeb o'the Day - Leelee Sobieski

Leelee Sobieski

Leelee Sobieski




Thursday, May 22, 2008

Buy a car, get a free gun

A car dealer in Butler, MO is offering free gun or free gas with the purchase of a car. Max Motors is offering $250 for gas or gift certificate toward the purchase of a handgun. According to their website "We are aware of the gasoline and crime problem in America. (We) want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem."

According to an interview with KMBC TV

"Like I say, it's a choice -- protection or gas," said Walter Moore with Max Motors. Moore said he came up with the gas or guns promotion.

"We got high gas prices, theft, carjackings, innocent people getting hurt," Moore told KMBC's Chris Nagus.

So far, the handgun is a more popular choice. "Right now were running 80 percent toward the gun," Moore said.

According to their website the response has been overwhelmingly supportive of this campaign. Hell, I wish I lived closer to him so I could buy a car from him. I've had my eye on a sweet little Taurus compact .40 cal.

Celeb o'the Day - Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian




Congress vs. Big Oil

It really bugs me everytime I hear someone complain about gas prices and the first thing out of their mouth is "These oil companies are making record profits by gouging the little people!" Really? Is that where the blame actually lies? I don't think so. People think that companies like Exxon set the per barrel price of oil. This is not the case. Oil is traded as a commodity. The price of oil is set by people that panic and pee their pants everytime some nutball over in the Middle East rattles a sabre. It's not set by actual demand on the product. I am not even close to understanding the stock market and all of the nonsense that goes on at Wall Street. But this manner of setting oil prices doesn't make sense to me. Why should a bunch of Wall Street Weenies have that much control over something that affects every man, woman and child in America? Additionally, if Congress and the Environmentalist Whackos would get the hell out of the way, let Big Oil explore for new sources and let them drill for it in environmentally friendly ways. You might just see a decrease in gas prices. No doubt that it will take years for any new oil to impact current prices. But if we had been drilling for oil that when it was discovered 10 or so years ago, we might not be in the pinch that we are in now. Glenn Beck illustrated this in a very good way yesterday on his national radio show. In this portion of his show he parodied a Congressman grilling someone from Big Oil. I have edited it a little, however, no pertinent content was removed. You can find the full transcript here.

Mr. Big oil, we're here to talk about the high price of gasoline. How could it have possibly gotten this high?

Let me tell you what we've done here in congress.
We told you that drilling in ANWR is off limits.
We told you that drilling off the coast of Florida and California is off limits.
We told you, Mr. Big oil, that there wouldn't be any new leases for drilling in the Gulf while China and Venezuela and even Cuba pursued these leases and have just signed 100-year leases on the oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
We here in congress have promised, as all three presidential candidates have also promised, to introduce and pass in the next term a cap and trade legislation bill that will increase the price of gasoline according to the EPA by an additional $1.50. Some people say it could be as high as $5 additional per gallon.
We have said that we're shutting down oil fields in Colorado.
We won't let you develop shale oil fields in several Western states.
We passed legislation that would let us sue OPEC with the full understanding that they'll never retaliate.
We have allowed environmental attorneys to sue you big oil fiends for future possible destruction of Alaskan Eskimo village which legal experts believe is the same strategy used to bring down big tobacco.
We're especially proud of our recent action to protect the polar bear and their habitat which just happens to be where the future oil deposits happen to be located.
We told you that you're making too much money and that we're looking at seizing any money that we consider windfall profits.
We have allowed you to drill in some very small areas in Alaska while simultaneously creating very generous environmental laws which have tied up the very production we authorize through years of litigation after you spent the money on buying and setting up equipment.
We told you through our policies that we would not allow you to build a new refinery in over 30 years.
In fact, this great country, under our tutelage, has even reduced the number of operational refineries by half since 1982.
We have even told your potential competitors in the nuclear and hydroelectric industries that we would send the environmental lawyers after them if they even dared think about building a new plant or a new dam.
We've refused to fund or allow the deployment of coal-to-oil technology which has been around since the 1930s.
We've told you that you have to make different blends of gasoline, let states like California dictate what unique gasoline blends you have to make for them.
We will not reduce our federal gasoline tax.
We won't even consider reducing it for the summer months.
So Mr. Big oil, tell me why exactly are gas prices so high?

Peace


Israel sets demands for Syria




Israel demands that Syria stops supporting Hamas and Hezbollah and to cut ties with Iran [EPA]

Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, says that Syria must stop supporting Hamas and Hezbollah for peace talks to resume.

Livni's announcement came on Thursday after Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, confirmed that the two countries have maintained contact for a year, hours after it emerged that Turkey is mediating talks.
















Livni also wants Syria to cut its ties with Iran.

Co-ordinated announcements on Wednesday by Israel and Syria that they had begun indirect talks in Turkey, the first confirmation of negotiations between the long-time enemies in eight years, drew a lukewarm response from the United States.

These talks are all well and good, but getting Syria to stop sponsoring terror or cutting it's ties to Iran may be more than Assad can do. Syria would be relegated to a very minor role in the region without those ties it has cultivated for so long and I'm not sure they are willing to do that. Not for simple peace and the promised Golan Heights.

I understand Israel's desire to achieve peace with it's neighbors (any of them) and I hope this doesn't come back to bite at them. Any peace would be welcome, but for their to be a lasting peace; the Islamic world will have to finally decide the Jews can live.

Fixing Failed States

"...men are wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need to
keep your word to them."

This is significant

It's legitimacy. Efficiency.Responsibility.

What is a state? What makes it go? What makes it a success? What makes it totally suck? How can a failed state get fixed up?

Something like 40 to 60 nations - the bottom billion pop wise plus - have either collapsed into total failure or are swaying on the brink of collapse. They still manage to create and export. And they excell at it.

Misery Projection. Slave trading. Genocide. Gendercide. Conflict. Intolerance. Dope Dealing. Terrorism. WMD Craft Proliferation. Famine. Illiteracy.

The world famous internat'l community blinged billions.

Very obvious very quickly that corrupt, illegitimate, inefficient 'leaders' and govs are way too corrupt, illegitimate and inefficiently weak to act out like a real state and take care of biz.

Xenophobic slave trading regimes that consider the regimes survival above all else - delaying and gaining control of all humanitarian aid may be taken out. All the way out

As the shiny crib on the heights Great Satan got game. If UN can't be embraced in a death embracingly gripping kiss of death to enforce ideas, resolutions and concepts hammered out in good faith then the Hot! League of Democrazies may hook up and act out.

Regime change and creation of a functional democracy that's stable, hopeful and successful requires every trick in the book. A new school tactical practical mix that knocks off socks

"harnessing our collective energies and readjusting to emerging patterns."

There are 5 principalities to observe, shape and control in "Fixing Failed States":

Proactive intervention - accept the shared responsibility and recognize the
need for both cooperation, coproduction (and sharing) of wealth

The brand new baby state's duties and responsibilities

Defined Sequencing
Strategically adaptive.

Military activity can kill regimes - and in quick time. Communication of any type can be silenced - or even better - co opted to serve intervention.

Humanitarian aid - like literacy and/or health, relief and disaster blasters to rescue the perishing and care for the dying.

8 arms of gov will have to be imported quickly - authority spheres:

states, militaries, police, academics, biz, media, non-gov orgs, and labor unions and religions.

"Ashraf Ghani is a practitioner turned theoretician. Drawing on his background
at the World Bank and as the first post-Taliban finance minister of Afghanistan,
he together with Clare Lockhart develops a comprehensive framework for
understanding the problem of state-building.

This will be the central challenge underpinning world order in our globalized age, and offers practical solutions for meeting it."


A fun fast read, Fixing Failed States is an essential addition to any library for Great Satan's foreign policy avant-garde and intelligentsia. A very cool case for regime changing failed states and why the free world really has little choice than to get with it

Resource phat, with examples that offer a viable "framework" for fixing corruption and terrorism. Like Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosovo and Nepal as well as the world's success stories--Singapore, Ireland, and even the wrecked Confederacy.

Saving these nations should be the at the top of everyone's priority list. The world doesn't have a choice in an age of wmd crunked up fiefdoms that torment their own people and their neighbors. There is little front for even tolerating them.

"Fixing Fixed States --a framework for re-imagining the international
system. Essential optimism--an optimism that the authors have earned through their own substantial real-world efforts in failed states"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Celeb o'the Day - Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey




"Full Range"

1st Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band (Knight Commander Order of the Bath and Royal Aide de Camp) announces Great Britain will be creating 2 fully future crunk globe prowling killing and intervention machines.
"These ships with their aircraft will transform the UK's defence capabilities when they enter service, delivering air power in support of the full range of future operations at sea, in the air and on land."
Royal Navy says HMS Queen Elizbeth and HMS Prince of Wales will be the ulimate in aircraft carriers
"biggest and most powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK"
This is significant - Recent events like Persian Gulf Piracy, a Sudan horror story that almost happened, humanitarian intervention consideration and policy fulfillment like the "Democratic Imperatives" requires a credible threat to back up diplomacy.

Royal Navy Fan Arthur Herman is quite credible:
"In dealing with rogue states, diplomacy can never be a substitute for, or even the alternative to, force. It can only be effective as the extension of force- force that is a credible threat because it will be decisive if unleashed, and because it plainly will be unleashed should diplomacy fail.
Iranian Press TV intell service reports each "Super Carrier' totes over 35 F35 Joint Strike Fighters.

F35 JSM is one heck of an invisible flying machine and despite her sexyful petite stats she magically totes enough goodies of the killing kind to launch a world of hurt anytime, anywhere
she wants.
Weapons to be cleared for internal carriage include: JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition), CBU-105 WCMD (Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispenser) for the Sensor-Fused Weapon, JSOW (Joint Standoff Weapon), Paveway IV guided bombs, Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), AIM-120C AMRAAM air-to-air missile and Brimstone nti-armour missile; for external carriage: JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile), AIM-9X Sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM and Storm Shadow cruise missile.
Upgunning the unofficial, informal League of Hot! Democrazies naval aviation like this gives added ballast to the First Sea Lords writ.

The Full Range of Future Ops

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Flock

Got the Flock browser again, just testing it out (last time it wouldn't publish to my blog because it isn't on a .blogspot address)
Nature's Wrath
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Kennedy

Sen. Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with a brain tumor (malignant). Not much info about it yet but stories are cropping up all over.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Senator and his family and friends.

Celeb o'the Day - Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway





Monday, May 19, 2008

Dialogue

All the recent jazz about appeasement, dialogue and reaching out to enemies in a sense of friendly give and take, subtle nuances and zero preconditions has yet to really consider potential summit mates.

Perhaps the best source for the view through an adversary's eyes is the Iranian co founding sponsor of Hiz'B'Allah and until recently Iran's ambassador to Syria.

Interviewed by Asharq Al-Awsat in Lebanon, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhtari reflected on his godfather status of HBA, the recent tensions in Lebanon yet nary a word on his fallout with ex BFF Bashar

Akhtari took the new idea of a "Hiz'B'Allah" and transformed it over the years of his service as ambassador into a reality that has considerably changed the balance of power in the region. Akhtari, twice ambassador to Syria, (1986 - 1997) and (2005 - January 2008), was the most influential diplomat in Syria.

He was no ordinary ambassador.
"I was a Friday prayer imam, and from there I came to a seat of political
responsibility and diplomatic relations. My background was a good pointer for
achievement. In addition, I arrived in Damascus on 5 Ramadan 1986, and started
work next day."


In addition to being the "operational father" of Hiz'B'Allah, he was engineer of "the special relations" between Syria and Iran, coordinator of Iran's relations with Palestinian organizations in Damascus, and founder of the Palestinian-Iranian Friendship Society, which includes representatives from all Palestinian organizations in Damascus.

In my capacity as representative of the Islamic Republic, I played a role
in supporting, widening and deepening the resistance. But as far as we and
Hiz'B'Allah are concerned, we are all of one religion and one faith. We and
Hiz'B'Allah regard the United States as an enemy of Islam and Muslims.

We regard Israel as a cancer in the body of the region and that the policy
of confrontation and resistance is fundamental As for the modes of
implementation, Hiz'B'Allah may have its ways and means and different forms of
expression. This may happen. As far as fundamentals, roots, and objectives
are concerned, there are no differences between us."


Great Satan's avuncular 'Stache' Grande points out nonprofit jawflapping is totally retarded

"At first glance, the idea of sitting down with adversaries seems hard to
quarrel with. In our daily lives, we meet with competitors, opponents and
unpleasant people all the time.

The real debate is radically different. On one side are those who believe
that negotiations should be used to resolve international disputes 99% of the
time.

On the other side are those who apparently want to use negotiations 100%
of the time. It is the 100%-ers who suffer from an obsession that is naïve and
dangerous.

Negotiation is not a policy. It is a technique. Saying that one favors
negotiation with, say, Iran, has no more intellectual content than saying one
favors using a spoon. For what? Under what circumstances? With what objectives?

Like all human activity, negotiation has costs and benefits. If only benefits
were involved, then it would be hard to quarrel with the "what can we lose?"
mantra one hears so often. In fact, the costs and potential downsides are real,
and not to be ignored.

When the U.S. negotiates with "terrorists and radicals," it gives them
legitimacy, a precious and tangible political asset. Thus, even Mr. Obama
criticized former President Jimmy Carter for his recent meetings with Hamas
leaders. Meeting with leaders of state sponsors of terrorism such as Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il is also a mistake.

State sponsors use others as surrogates, but they are just as much terrorists
as those who actually carry out the dastardly acts. Legitimacy and international
acceptability are qualities terrorists crave, and should therefore not be
conferred casually, if at all.

In today's world of weapons of mass destruction, time is again a precious
asset, one almost invariably on the side of the would-be proliferators. Time
allows them to perfect the complex science and technology necessary to sustain
nuclear weapons and missile programs, and provides far greater opportunity for
concealing their activities from our ability to detect and, if necessary,
destroy them.

Iran has conclusively proven how to use negotiations to this end. After five
years of negotiations with the Europeans, with the Bush administration's
approbation throughout, the only result is that Iran is five years closer to
having nuclear weapons. North Korea has also used the Six-Party Talks to gain
time, testing its first nuclear weapon in 2006, all the while cloning its
Yongbyon reactor in the Syrian desert.

Finally, negotiations entail opportunity costs, consuming scarce presidential
time and attention. Those resources cannot be applied everywhere, and engaging
in true discussions, as opposed to political charades, does divert time and
attention from other priorities.

No better example can be found than the Bush administration's pursuit of the
Annapolis Process between Arabs and Israelis, which has gone and will go
nowhere. While Annapolis has been burning up U.S. time and effort, Lebanon has
been burning, as Hezbollah strengthens its position there. This is an
opportunity cost for the U.S., and a tragedy for the people of Lebanon."

From the Email



h/t PWallace; good day for email it seems :)

From the Email

A man and his wife were awakened at 3:00 am by a loud pounding on the door.

The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in
the pouring rain, is asking for a push.

'Not a chance,' says the husband, 'it is 3:00 in the morning!'
He slams the door and returns to bed.

'Who was that?' asked his wife.

'Just some drunk guy asking for a push,' he answers.

'Did you help him?' she asks.

'No, I did not, it is 3:00 in the morning and it is pouring rain out there!'

'Well, you have a short memory,' says his wife. 'Can't you remember about
three months ago when we broke down, and those two guys helped us?

I think you should go help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!'

The man does as he is told, gets dressed , and goes out into the pounding rain.

He calls out into the dark, 'Hello, are you still there?'

'Yes,' comes back the answer.

'Do you still need a push?' calls out the husband.

'Yes, please!' comes the reply from the dark.

'Where are you?' asks the husband.

'Over here on the swing,' replied the drunk.
h/t TBonds | Schedule should be more conducive to blogging now :) Work today/tomorrow, then off (except for o/t) until next Friday. I'm staying at my house these 2 days, so no internet unless at work.

Gambling and the Economic Slowdown

Saw a story recently that showed that gambling in the US had dropped this year (proof of an economic slowdown) and was wondering how much of that drop-off was due to online casinos?

I couldn't really find any 'concrete' numbers on what the guesses would be so I'll just stay with the assumption that the slowdown was due to people not going to the casinos as much in an effort to save money. It's the reason I have not been, so it's good enough heh

My whole family it seems likes to gamble and we started doing it at an early age (from the "I bet I can beat you" to the gambling on sports games and later traveling to gamble). My parents used to go to Tunica multiple times a year for the weekend (if you gamble a lot, they will comp your room/meals so basically you just pay for your losses if you lose) and I tried to go once a year at least, but since the divorce, no trips for me :)

My sister-in-law is the only one that likes to gamble in an online casino (what's the difference between online casinos and no download casinos?) where she plays mostly poker (or online slots) but even she likes to take the 5 hour trip on occasion. And it seems they still get there even if the rest of us don't.

Not real sure where I was going with this post; seems I'm a bit rusty from the layoff (heh) and just wanted to get something out there before the CoD post comes in.