Tuesday, May 31, 2005

WaterGate's "Deepthroat" revealed?

Vanity Fair is claiming that they have an interview with "Deepthroat."
A former FBI official claims he was "Deep Throat," the long-anonymous source who leaked secrets about President Nixon's Watergate cover up to The Washington Post, Vanity Fair reported Tuesday.

W. Mark Felt, 91, who was second-in-command at the FBI in the early 1970s, kept the secret even from his family until 2002, when he confided to a friend that he had been Post reporter Bob Woodward's source, the magazine said.

"I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat," he told lawyer John D. O'Connor, the author of the Vanity Fair article, the magazine said in a news release...Read more.
The thing that I find interesting is that neither Woodward or Bernstein will confirm this. It could be that they want to personally talk to Felt if he is their source and confirm that it is all right to talk or Felt really isn't their source and it was more a composite of multiple sources as many have speculated for years. So while he may feel he his the source he may not be the only source that makes up "Deepthroat?

I do find it interesting that he is one of the men that Nixon thought was responsible for the leaks at the time. Nixon speculation was that Felt wanted the top job at the FBI(Felt being the number 2 man) and thought that the leaks were related to some power play. Felt in the interview reportedly refutes that.

Related Article:
'Deep Throat' Reportedly Comes Forward
Watergate scandal

Update 5-31-05: Woodward & Bernstein have finally confirmed late tonight. FBI's No. 2 Was 'Deep Throat'

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Memorial Day Flag
Photo Credit: mgerardi

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children.
Jimmy Carter
US diplomat & Democratic politician (1924 - )

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
Sir Winston Churchill
British politician (1874 - 1965)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.
Robert E. Lee
US-Confederate general (1807 - 1870)

Friday, May 27, 2005

Star Wars Fan Film

Fan Film from 1997
I heard about this on CBS' nightly news sometime in the last week and only now had a chance to view it. Star Wars Revelations is an impressive fan film, made with devoted fans from around the world who donated time and equipment. And after the creators put up $20,000 (mostly to buy a camera) they have made it available for free with the blessing of George Lucas. While it is a bit campy, what do you expect from a fan film, I did enjoy watching it. They try to fill in some gaps that they saw in the storyline bridging the gap between Episode 3 and Episode 4. Well worth the time to download and watch. And its as good as Troops from 1997. That is if you've seen it, if not the story of Troops is "While being filmed for the hit Imperial TV show TROOPS, Stormtroopers from the infamous Black Sheep Squadron on patrol run into some very familiar characters." Do yourself a favor, if you haven't already, take time and view both of these.

Troopers is approx. 10 min. long
Revelations is approx. 45 min. long

Star Wars Revelations

World ID Cards?

Photo Credit: narna
World Id cards? That is the headline off of Matt Drudges website yesterday for The Independent's story, that the US is asking for a common standard in ID card chips issued in Great Britain and throughout Europe. This just strikes me as odd.

There already is an international standard for New Passports issued around the world. Why do they need this new common chip in Ids around the world? They claim: The aim of getting the same microchip is to ensure compatibility in screening terrorist suspects, but these are internal IDs & Drivers licenses.

I see no compelling reasoning for this. It just rings false to me. The powers of government are more than adequate to meet the threat of Terrorism, if they are doing their jobs. It really bothers me that at every turn our government is becoming ever more intrusive in our lives, trying to catalog us. Nothing in the Constitution said life is safe. Our type of freedom comes with risks. All one can do is strive for a good life. There is no government anywhere that can protect everyone from all risks. And frankly I don't want to live in a place that is overly protective, because that society will become dictatorial. As america is slipping towards now.

US wants to be able to access Britons' ID cards
ID Cards in Britain

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Answer to Unlimited Energy?

CSP Waves I
Photo Credit: csp
Is it possible that a 80 year old genius holds the answer to world energy needs? In an article in Wired Magazine John Piña Craven could be that man. In short, unlimited energy, fast-growing fruit, and free air-conditioning can be had by simply tapping the icy waters of the deep.
John Piña Craven... credentials: a PhD in ocean engineering, a law degree, and a stint as chief scientist for the US Navy's Special Projects Office. There he was instrumental in developing the Polaris missile program, the submarine-based backbone of America's nuclear deterrence and one of the most complex defense systems ever. In fact, most deep-ocean activities - saturation diving, exploring with submersibles, searching for tiny objects on the ocean floor - owe their origins to top secret, cold war-era Navy projects in which Craven had a hand.

Photo Credit: Graf

Creating a Deep-Sea Oasis on Dry Land

The key to Craven's cool world is converting the ocean's thermal energy. The first step: Sink a pipe at least 3,000 feet deep and start pumping up seawater. The end result: an environmentally sustainable, virtually inexhaustible supply of electricity, freshwater for drinking and irrigation, even air-conditioning. Here's how it works:

Cold seawater circulates through a closed loop of pipes that replace the coolant and compressor found in conventional air-conditioning units.

Pipes carrying cold water run beneath fields of crops, sweating freshwater to irrigate plants and chilling their roots, promoting faster crop cycles.

Cold seawater passes through Craven's "skytowers," which contain closely packed radiator-like networks of pipes. The frigid pipes sweat in the tropical heat, producing­ freshwater condensate.

Power Generation:
Pipes draw warm water from the ocean surface and cold water from the seabed. The warm water enters a vacuum chamber and is evaporated into steam that drives an electricity-producing turbine. The cold water condenses the steam back into water for drinking and irrigation. Read More...

Related Article:
The Mad Genius from the Bottom of the Sea

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

IRR is Already a Backdoor Draft

Soldiers 8
Photo Credit: mistereels
So much for the army only calling up critical MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) designators such as Military Police, intelligence and medical skills. It appears that infantry men are needed to fill out the ranks of the regular army and reserves. Soldiers on the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserve) are being called up to make units going over to Iraq and Afghanistan appear at 100%. But oh no, the army doesn't need an additional 100,000 troops that Congress wants to give to them to meet the needs worldwide, so says the Pentagon and Rumsfeld. Maybe it is because the armed forces are falling short of current recruitment goals by 40% and they realize that there is no way short of a draft to meet these goals. Something has to be done before the end of the Summer. It is too dangerous a world to use up our armed forces in this manner. If we break the armed forces it could take over decade to fix, much like what happened after Vietnam.

Related Articles:
Even Infantrymen Facing IRR Call-Ups
Army Says 11B Callups Are Minor
The Draft: Between Iraq and a Hard Place

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Shifting Sands of US Politics

When Bush went to Calvin College I'm sure that Rove didn't think that this Christian School would pose any problems. However the International Herald Tribune has an interesting article detailing the visit.
Calvin College, a small evangelical school in the strategic Republican stronghold of Grand Rapids, Michigan...
...A number of students, faculty and alumni objected so strongly to the president's visit that by last Friday nearly 800 of them had signed a letter of protest that appeared as a full-page ad in The Grand Rapids Press. The letter said, in part: "Your deeds, Mr. President - neglecting the needy to coddle the rich, desecrating the environment and misleading the country into war - do not exemplify the faith we live by."...

"The monologue of the religious right is over," Wallis said in an interview before Bush's appearance. "There is a progressive, moderate evangelical constituency that is huge." Read More...

I feel that this shows the inevitable swing of American politics back away from the far right that has dominated for the last 20 some odd years. I believe that history will show that the right and Neo-Conservatives hit their high water mark with the 2004 election and things start moving away from them. Hopefully before they do too much more damage to America.

Related Article
White House Letter: President gets lecture from the Christian left

Sunday, May 22, 2005

What is the Problem with the French?

I came across this very interesting essay entitled: What's wrong with the French? What struck me was how attitude had not changed much in the last 15-20 years about the French in Europe. I was also struck by how similar this is to the books The Europeans and The Italians written by Luigi Barzini. Barzini was a very interesting political essayist, whom I read in the late 80's, known for his insights shaded with humor. If you have a chance take a look at these works.

Anyway this essay on Warblogging.com really dealt with the coming vote in France on the EU Constitution. Currently polls show that the French may not adopt it, effectively gutting the idea of a functional EU. What is of interest here is that most of Europe doesn't like the French.
Asked to list five adjectives that summed up the French, interviewees could only think of negative stereotypes

... Britons think of them as "chauvinists, stubborn, nannied and humorless," or that Germans describe them as "pretentious, haughty and frivolous."

... Spanish see them as "cold, distant, vain and impolite," the Italians as "snobs, arrogant, flesh-loving, righteous and self-obsessed" and the Greeks as "not very with it, egocentric bons vivants."

Even the famously tolerant Dutch describe them as "agitated, talkative and shallow," while the cool and detached Swedes paint them as "disobedient, immoral, disorganized, neo-colonialist and dirty." Read more...

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Thoughts on Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith

I've been thinking about this film ever since I came out of the theater. I enjoyed Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith even given it's bad dialog at the beginning of the film. George Lucas has succeeded in giving a strong ending to this the last of the prequel films. I felt satisfied that we have finally come full circle with this story. Ending where we came in. With the Empire Ruling the Galaxy, and Darth Vader as the Emperors' enforcer.

I am tempted to sit down and rewatch Ep. IV-VI to see if after viewing Ep. III, I view these films from my youth in a different way. So moving is the way that Lucas hands the fall of Anakin Skywalker in this film. As many have stated in their reviews, Lucas has handled the transformation to Darth Vader in an all too human way. I also can see how the Cannes Film festival could have seen this film as a statement on the Bush administration. Lucas has tried to capitalize on this, but I feel that any similarities are pure happenstance, owing to the forces of history and story telling any similarities with Bush and current events.

Now, the question is, will 20th Century let this franchise go? Or will they try, at some future date, to make the rumored Episodes VII-IX that Lucas claimed he outlined years ago, without him?

Friday, May 20, 2005

International Reactions to Weapons in Space

Photo Credit: Scrapman
It has not taken countries, such as Russia,long to react to the purposed change in American policy to Weaponize Space.
Vladimir Yermakov, senior counselor at the Russian embassy in Washington, said his country is urging the U.S. through diplomatic channels against any plans for space militarization. But he told a space conference Russia would have to react, possibly with force, if the U.S. successfully put a "combat weapon" in space. Read more...
It looks that even though the government has stated that no change has been asked for from the Air Force and the Defense Department. I don't think that any would find it incongruent with the attitudes of General Richard B. Myers who was commander of NORAD and the U.S. Space Command before he became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. And Rumsfeld has been an advocate of the National Missile Defense (NMD) related projects for years. So even if this story is false, which I don't believe, one could easily see them asking for such a directive.
The internal U.S. debate over whether the Pentagon needs to put weapons in space gained momentum in 2001 following the conclusions of a commission that warned of the possibility of a "space Pearl Harbor" that could destroy U.S. commercial and military satellites.

"If the U.S. is to avoid a 'space Pearl Harbor', it needs to take seriously the possibility of an attack on U.S. space systems," said the commission, which was chaired by Donald Rumsfeld before he became defense secretary. Read More...
Unfortunately Congress has not, in my opinion, done its job with adequate oversight of the agencies of the Executive Branch. They have all too often been a rubber stamp on what the administration wants.

Related Articles:
WorldNetDaily: Russia threatens force if U.S. militarizes space
Space.com: Scientists Warn Against Weaponizing Space

Thursday, May 19, 2005

New Patriot Act.

Polish Darth Vader
Photo Credit: remington
It looks as if the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts is working on a new Patriot Act. This new Bill reportedly, would give the Administration powers that it has sought for years for secret wire taps and powers of investigation that Congress has so far rebuffed.

What is disturbing and what really points to the fact that they don't really believe in this is that they are holding discussions on this bill in secret. They don't feel strongly enough in this Bill, that it could not stand public viewing of the details. That is wrong. How can knowing the details of a statute be a danger to national security?

GOP Aides Say New Patriot Act Obliges Bush

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Weaponization of Space

Photo Credit: justcola
It looks as if Rumsfeld will get his boondoggle. The Air Force is expected to ask the President to allow weapons in space. This is what the New York Times is reporting today. While the times saids that the Pentagon is only asking for a directive for "free access to space". I think we can all agree that this means weapons. Because, in theory we have that and will for some time in the future. And this term "free access to space" can not mean nothing other then suppressing other space powers. Granted they would still be vulnerable to a nuke going off in space(that being the most effective anti-satellite weapon).
The proposed change would be a substantial shift in American policy. It would almost certainly be opposed by many American allies and potential enemies, who have said it may create an arms race in space...Any deployment of space weapons would face financial, technological, political and diplomatic hurdles, although no treaty or law bans Washington from putting weapons in space, barring weapons of mass destruction...In January 2001, a commission led by Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the newly nominated defense secretary, recommended that the military should "ensure that the president will have the option to deploy weapons in space." Read more...

Related Articles: Updated
Air Force Seeks Bush's Approval for Space Arms

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Word of the Day: Flexitarianism

You learn something new everyday. For me it is Flexitarian. Now I view myself as a fairly well read person, but had never heard of this term before today. I came across it on the Rick Emerson Blog. Here is the definition I found.
Wikipedia: Flexitarianism
Flexitarianism is the practice of being flexible about the degree one practices vegetarianism or veganism. A flexitarian might make only vegetarian dishes at home, but eat dishes including meat at the home of family or friends. In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year's most useful word, and defined it as "a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat."
Related Articles:
Rick Emerson Blog entry: Boiling the tofu frog
msnbc: Are you a 'flexitarian?'

Fair use could be changing

I was listening to Todd Cochrane's podcast of Geek News Central, and he brought up the Federal Court's over turning of a new FCC regulation that would of changed how we have used are VCR's and DVR's to record TV shows.
Listen to the clip from that Podcast:

As he stated, now they want a new law that would in effect over turn that decision of the Federal Court. This is something that should be watched for. I object to the type of change shown in this clip. The MPAA has to get its act together and see the writing on the wall. Changing the law to suit them will not protect them. People have gotten used to viewing TV when they want, how they want it for the last 25 some odd years, ever since the Sony Betamax case in the late 70's, trying to change the rules now will only anger their customers. And do nothing to help them adapt to the new reality of the market place.

EFF: Electronic Fronter Foundation
Geek News Central
Piracy is Good? How Battlestar Galactica Killed Broadcast TV

Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek Fiasco

Photo Credit: interimage
As people get stirred up over the Newsweek article of last week about the alleged flushing of the Korean at the Gitmo Detention Center, I think it is important to remember that while many in the Islamic world are outraged over this story and the level of violence that it has sparked, I feel it cannot be placed solely at Newsweek's feet. What has occurred is a global erosion of US prestige in the world. These riots are a result of a long series of wrong steps in both the media and the government. This one story, in and of itself isn't the cause. Those in that part of the world believe that we would do such an act. The facts to them are of no relevance. They see it as a part of a greater pattern of our actions. We have failed to counter the propaganda of the Jihadist in that part of the world. And our actions in Iraq have only fed into their point of view.

Now we have the US government asking for a retraction. Rightfully so, but the damage has been done and those who would believe this type of story will not believe a retraction. I get back to the the point that this is endemic of a greater problem. US credibility. People around the world used to believe the statements of the US government on the world stage. Now they look for the "Wag the Dog" effect in almost every word uttered. This is very damaging to the US.

Newsweek should have been more careful about it's stories. In this new world of global communications words have true power on the world. We have known this for some time, but have not seen this type of reaction to a news article printed in this country having such an immediate reaction in a place on the other side of the world viewed as cut off from the main stream of world opinion.

Related Articles:
White House Wants Retraction From Newsweek
Newsweek says Koran desecration report is wrong

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Nerd test

I guess I need to work on my Computer Geek status.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Time keeps moving on.

Check Out

This new podcast, done by a Radio man in Portland, OR who's station changed format on him and others. Tim Riley's City Desk is an off shoot of what he did for that station as a newsman. It's an amusing collection of local and national stories put together in a short audio piece, worth a listen too.


Fallout Shelter
Photo Credit: agentdero
Things seem to be turning from bad to worse. First we had this administration destroy American credibility in the world over Iraq. That is now haunting use with North Korea and Iran both of whom are moving forward with their respective programs. With North Korea going so far as to set up reviewing stands near, what looks to be a nuclear test site (See: Experts Outline Process of Possible North Korea Nuclear Test).

On a similar note Iran has stated today that it will restart its uranium enrichment-related work within days. So now when are government needs its credibility the most we don't have it. We face North Korea showing the world that it has moved from just being suspected of having Nuclear weapons to giving a demonstration. And Iran moving forwards towards some for itself. Ignoring the international community. Some believe that Iran's moves are with the possible intent of using them as a counter to American power, by using there possible weapons as a way to blind US technology in a conflict that they see coming.

So this administrations aggressive stances have push us all into a very dangerous place in two critical parts of the world.

Related Articles
AP: Iran Confirms Uranium-To-Gas Conversion
Reuters: Iran says to resume enrichment-related work in days
VAO: Experts Outline Process of Possible North Korea Nuclear Test

Monday, May 02, 2005

PBS Hurting Under Republicans

It looks as if the Republicans are closer to fulfilling their dream of killing Public Broadcasting, or at least the TV portion. The New York Times today has an article called, Republican Chairman Exerts Pressure on PBS, Alleging Biases. In it they show what looks as if the White House and Karl Rove, have placed into the hierarchy PBS, a Republican operative.

What seems to have really set them off was the show "Now With Bill Moyers." Republicans have always had it in for Moyers as a Leftist and this show seems to have set them off more than usual. With Kenneth Y. Tomlinson placed as head of PBS. He seems to have forced Moyer to leave. Tomlinson really angered many across the country when,
"Last November, members of the Association of Public Television Stations met in Baltimore along with officials from the corporation and PBS. Mr. Tomlinson told them they should make sure their programming better reflected the Republican mandate."

Mr. Tomlinson said that his comment was in jest and that he couldn't imagine how remarks at "a fun occasion" were taken the wrong way. Others, though, were not amused.
All of this seems to show that PBS as we know it is dying at the hands of the Republicans whom have never like or seen the need for it. If things remain as it is now then in a few years a valuable resource to the public will have been lost.

NYT: Republican Chairman Exerts Pressure on PBS, Alleging Biases