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Monday, May 31, 2004
Remembering The Fallen
Revolutionary War (1775-1783) Wars on the Barbary Pirates (1801-1805, 1815) War of 1812 (1812-1815) War Between the States (1861-1865) Mexican-American War(1846-1848) Spanish-American War (1898) China Relief Expedition (1900-1901) Pacification of Nicaragua (1912-1913) Interventions in Mexico (1914-1917) World War I (1914-1918) Pacification of Haiti and Dominican Republic (1915-1918) Allied Intervention in Russian Civil War (1918-1920) World War II (1939-1945) Korean War (1950-1953) Vietnam War (1964-1973) Hostage rescue mission in Iran (1980) Lebanon peacekeeping mission (1982-1984) Counterinsurgency mission in El Salvador (1980-?) Liberation of Grenada (1983) Invasion of Panama (1989) Iraq War (1990-1991, 2002-present) Somalia peacekeeping mission (1992-1994) Attack on USS Cole (2000) Afghanistan War (2001-present)
Update: The map and list now note the Iran hostage rescue attempt and the Somalia expedition (thanks to Tuning Spork for the nod).
Update: I have added the counterinsurgency mission in El Salvador. Hat tip to Peter Jennings; during continuing coverage of the Reagan memrial he referred to the late president's response to the 1985 killing of four marines in the capital San Salvador. Reagan's June 22 speech on the incident is here. I am having a difficult time finding information about the mission, including its end date.
The Fourth Henderson Prize For The Advancement Of Liberty
On this day, one of those uncommon occasions when Pentecost falls on the same day on all Christian calendars, the prize is hereby given to the Apostles (includig Matthias and Paul, excluding Judas) and to the authors of the Gospels:
Given its nature, this prize concerns only one of the vast array of interrelated philosophies under the umbrella of Christianity: the formal philosophy professing that God values all humans and values them equally - or, as worded in the Declaration of Independence, "all Men are created equal."
There's more, including a brief explanation as to why Jesus isn't listed with the awardees.
This week was the very first time I watched the show, and my suspicions were confirmed - it sucks.
Now, a lot of the contestants may have pleasant singing voices, but vocals are only half the song. The genre that this contest targets is pop music, most of which bores me silly. Idol adds insult to injury by enlisting a huge orchestra. Not that many pop songs sound tolerable with such accompaniment. Also, it's very easy for so many instruments to overwhelm the vocals, as demonstrated during Diana's performance of Melissa Manchester's "Don't Cry Out Loud." (The band played much better during Fantasia's rendition of Gershwin's "Summertime," which was by far the best performance of the evening.)
Best of luck to all those contestants starting musical careers. Simon, fire the band.
Damian Penny remarks that a handful of bloggers are on hiatus or on vacation or distracted by work or otherwise AWOL, and the Toronto Star's Antonia Zerbisias does the ol' Vulcan mind meld on the blogosphere and figures that the warbloggers have surrendered:
But now, with the news getting more dire, the quag more mired and the cost of war ever higher, the warbloggers find themselves on the wrong side of history. And so some of them are putting down their mice and putting up a white flag.
No, the war party is over. There is nothing to celebrate any more. (Not that there ever was.) President George W. Bush's folly is a bloody, costly, tragic, world-dividing disaster that has led to more acts of terrorism by more groups
At least Zerb didn't accuse us of stacking idiotarians in naked pyramids. Not that we would want to.
BTW, I'll be doing a little vacation time myself. I'm leaving for Mississippi tomorrow. In the meatntime...liquidate al-Qaeda, Baathism, and Palestinian terror! Power to pro-democracy forces all over, especially in Cuba and Iran! Reopen Alcatraz, and make room for Arafat, Mugabe, Castro, Khamenei, and Kim Jong-Il!
No, that's not a reference to the bicycle mechanics who invented powered flight.
Rand Simberg has a post on the recent test flight of SpaceShipOne, the world's first private spacecraft. SS1 took off from Mojave Airport. Its website is currently featuring an image of SS1 in flight - click the image or go here for a larger image.
The article mentions that efforts are underway to certify Mojave Airport as a spaceport:
Mojave Airport, also tagged the nation's Civilian Flight Test Center, is situated away from major metropolitan areas, while being located near Edwards and China Lake military test ranges.
"Certainly Mojave is a premier location due to its proximity to the Edwards Air Force Base restricted areas," Burt Rutan told SPACE.com.
Rutan doesn't say why, but I imagine that the benefit of Mojave Airport's proximity to the air bases is that it provides further isolation from commercial air traffic.
The concept of the spaceport in sci-fi assumed that spacecraft would be physically larger than airplanes, would launch from a pad and not a runway, and perhaps would be too noisy to launch near a metropolitan area. If spacecraft can one day operate within a certain noise level and launch from the same runways used by commercial airlines, there's no reason why airports can't handle both spacecraft and aircraft.
When that day comes, will both DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field vie for the space travel market? And will history repeat itself?
After deregulation of the U.S. airline industry in 1978, Southwest Airlines was able to enter the larger passenger markets and announced plans to start providing interstate service in 1979. This angered the City of Fort Worth and DFW International Airport, which resented expanded air service at the airport within Dallas. Therefore, a Fort Worth congressman, Jim Wright, helped pass a law in Congress that restricted air service at Love Field. Using the pretext of protecting DFW International Airport, the Wright Amendment restricted passenger air traffic out of Love Field in the following ways: Passenger service on regular mid-sized and large aircraft could only be provided from Love Field to locations within Texas and the four neighboring states (Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico). Long-haul service to other states was possible, but only on commuter aircraft with no more capacity than 56 passengers.
I can see it now: space flights out of Love can enter cislunar space, but direct flights to the Moon or beyond will be prohibited.
Chiquita said the Justice Department was contacted after the company discovered the groups were listed on the State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. The list names 37 organizations, including al-Qaida as well as three groups in Colombia.
He is looking for ideas for a get-rich-quick scheme. So far my favorite suggestion is John Darby's idea for news-relevant apparel: "My Trailer Trash West Virginia Mama Abused Prisoners at Abu Ghraib and All I Got Was this T-Shirt & 7,432 pictures."
The comic once offered a bit of evidence that women live longer than men: he claimed that "nine times out of ten" a man's obituary will include the words "survived by his wife." He read one obit of a war veteran that closed with the telltale phrase. King remarked, "He survived three wars, but he couldn't beat the old lady." If he could return to Earth for a moment to deliver one last joke, perhaps he would crack a "What did I tell ya?" after seeing those words in a Bloomberg article about his own passing.
Alan King is survived by "his wife of 57 years Jeannette, two sons, a daughter, and seven grandchildren." And by millions of fans who will miss him.
"It [the Abu Ghraib scandal] deserves the apology that you have given today, and has been given by others in high positions in our government and our military," Lieberman told Rumsfeld.
"I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized," he said, and that four Americans in Fallujah who were "murdered and burned and humiliated ... never received an apology from anybody."
Rummy debunked the claim by Kennedy and Robert Byrd that the story was covered up. As NewsMax reports, the Abu Ghraib investigation was discussed at a March 20 military press briefing; a full transcript of that briefing is here.
I caught Robert Reich's appearance on Sean Hannity's radio show today. The former Labor secretary says that the Fairness Doctrine should make a comeback. The Museum of Broadcast Communications has a brief history of the rise and fall of this piece of media legislation. See also the Heritage Foundation's excellent fisking of the faulty premises behind the law.
Can anyone imagine what the blogosphere would be like if the Fairness Doctrine were still in effect?
Update: If the Fairness Doctrine ever does make a comeback, I'll have to come up with another line of merchandise. And since T-shirts aren't media outlets, I don't have to print Reich's rebuttal on 'em.
Lately I've been getting French-language spam from Canada. Ecole de technologie superieure wants to sell some sort of high-tech educational materials. Maryse Morin has "concrete answers which will help you to regulate your problems!" (assuming I'm a directeur de production - I wish). Carole Perreault sent two - offering a three-day seminar on various aspects of manufacturing management, and some sort of material that will help me earn my certification C-TPAT. (Apparently this refers to the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism - the sort of thing that anyone involved in the import-export industry would be concerned with.)
These French spammers have no idea what I do for a living, and have underestimated my annual income by at least $50K.
Ahmad Batebi said in the open letter that soldiers bound his hands and secured them to plumbing pipes. They beat his head and abdominal area with soldiers’ shoes. They insisted that he sign a confession of the accusations made against him. The next day, he was thrown onto the floor, they stood on his neck and cut off all his hair and parts of his scalp causing it to bleed. They beat him so severely with their heavy shoes that he lost consciousness, and when he regained consciousness, they started their actions again, ordering him to write and sign a "confession". When he refused, they took him to another room, blindfolded him and secured his bound hands to the window bars.
During his interrogations, they threatened several times to execute Ahmad Batebi and to torture and rape his family members as well as imprison them for long terms. The investigators ordered him to confess to false allegations and under extreme duress, he signed a "confession" fearing that they would carry out their threats to him and his family.
Then they took me to another room, still naked, blindfolded and shivering. I felt them kneeling and attaching something to my toes, then to my fingers. Then, without any warning, I felt being electrocuted, yes uncle, electrocuted and I started crying again, not knowing what else to do. I was electrocuted twice while there for seven days. And each time, I cried like a baby, oh uncle, like a baby.
They returned me to the room and took away the blindfold. I realized then all the people in that room were naked like me, naked, naked, and all crying and in pain. There were those with broken ribs; I could tell because when you bump into them, their scream is the loudest and it lifts them off the ground. Then, there were those whose blood has turned black and their bruises covered more areas of their body than their normal flesh. Some had salt sprinkled on their opened wounds and we were whispering to each other the pain they felt. One cried that they electrocuted him through his penis and testicles. He felt ashamed and could not stop crying. All young like me, oh uncle, all young like me.
Some had their finger nails removed. Another said that he was beaten with cables aimed at his penis as if it were a target. There was a young man, oh uncle, who stood all the time because he could not sit down or rest against the wall. We took turns, during these seven days, holding his head in our arms and body so that he could get some sleep.
In 2002, Amnesty International has observed an increasing use throughout the country of more sophisticated torture methods that do not leave visible marks. However, people who are believed to have little access to legal and medical aid continue to be exposed to torture methods such as electric shocks, hanging by the arms and falaka (beating of the soles of the feet). Detainees are routinely blindfolded during interrogation. Other methods of torture and ill-treatment regularly reported include severe beating, spraying with cold pressurized water, being stripped naked, sexual abuse, death and rape threats, other psychological torture, and restriction of sleep, food, drink and use of the toilet. Women and girls taken into custody are reportedly regularly sexually abused and threatened with rape.
I had many friends in prison. One of them, Roberto López Chávez, was just a kid. He went on a hunger strike to protest the abuses. The guards denied him water, Roberto lay on the floor of his punishment cell, agonizing, deliriously asking for water. water? The soldiers came in and asked him: "Do you want water?"? The they took out their members and urinated in his mouth, on his face? He died the following day. We were cellmates; when he died I felt something wither inside me.
I recall when they kept me in a punishment cell, naked, with several fractures on one leg which never received medical care; today, those bones remain jammed up together and displaced. One of the regular drills among the guards was to stand on the steel mesh ceiling and throw at my face buckets full of urine and excrement.
A number of foreign officers, identified by their captives as Cubans due to their appearance and repeated references to the island, tortured the already suffering American prisoners relentlessly. One, nicknamed "Fidel" by the prisoners, "took to kicking the prisoners with his paratrooper boots, introduced the fan belt to the repertoire ... [and] used the water torture, gagging their mouths and pouring water into their nostrils." According to one POW, Air Force Maj. Jack Bomar, Fidel "inflicted unbelievable pain and damage to us. ... In a torture session of unspeakable horror, [Air Force Captain Earl Cobeil] was trussed in ropes overnight and mauled for 24 hours straight for declining to bow. ... A couple of days later, [POWs] Daughtrey and Bomar overheard the sickening sounds of a terrible beating nearby. An enraged Fidel emerged from the commotion, spotted the POWs, and shouted 'We've got a [expletive deleted] who's faking! ... I'm gonna break this guy in a million pieces." Cobeil was led back to his cell, "bleeding everywhere, terribly swollen, and a dirty, yellowish black from head to toe." This kind of treatment was often inflicted on top of keeping a number of prisoners locked in leg irons, an unbearable action considering the heat sores and boils suffered by so many of the prisoners at the Zoo.
In a detailed, often harrowing first-hand description of conditions inside Kaechon camp and other detention centres run by the communist regime, Soon Ok Lee told the inquiry of apparent biological and chemical weapons experiments on prisoners.
She said she had witnessed numerous other atrocities, including the murder of newborn babies by guards and doctors.
"While I was there, three women delivered babies on the cement floor without blankets," Ms Soon told a Senate judiciary subcommittee chaired by Democrat Edward Kennedy.
"It was horrible to watch the prison doctor kicking the pregnant women with his boots. When a baby was born, the doctor shouted, 'Kill it quickly. How can a criminal expect to have a baby? Kill it.'
Torture techniques include: the "iron road", rolling an iron up and down the shins until the skin peels off; "the helicopter", being suspended from the ceiling and spun around while being beaten;"Taik Peik", spending weeks or months in tiny brick cells with little air or light; "ponsan", being forced to maintain difficult positions for prolonged periods.
Calling most of the recent atrocities in Iraq "torture" is like calling a Mafiosa "Nazi" - equivocating two different degrees and kinds of evil. Emperor Misha and Glenn Reynolds have lots of info and links on the Abu Ghraib incident.