Monday, March 31, 2008

Sodom And Gomorrah And Asteroids?

Genesis Chapter 19:
24 - Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire, from the LORD out of the heavens.
25 And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD.
28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the lands of the plain, and saw, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.
29 And when God destroyed the cities of the plain, it happened that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.

A new twist on an ancient Assyrian clay tablet may give credence to the biblical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorroh - by an asteroid. From Fox News:

A clay tablet that has baffled scientists for 150 years has been identified as a witness's account of the asteroid suspected of being behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Researchers who cracked the cuneiform symbols on the Planisphere tablet believe that it recorded an asteroid thought to have been more than half a mile across.

The tablet, found by Henry Layard in the remains of the library in the royal place at Nineveh in the mid-19th century, is thought to be a 700 B.C. copy of notes made by a Sumerian astronomer watching the night sky.

He referred to the asteroid as a "white stone bowl approaching" and recorded it as it "vigorously swept along."

Some terminology: an asteroid is basically a small planet that is in orbit around the Sun. It can be anywhere from over 700 km to about a kilometer or two in diameter. A meteroid is cosmic debris, smaller than an asteriod, that becomes a meteor when it hits the Earth's atmosphere.

So it was a big honking asteroid and not a meteor that struck Austria 8700 years ago. That someone made notes regarding this event is not surprising. That the record survived is amazing.

How much of our modern culture could survive 8,700 years without massive restorative efforts? Many of our buildings do not last a hundred years. Our books, newspapers, CD's, DVD's, microfiche, photos - everything not carved in stone, written on scrolls in humidity free storage with acid free ink or cast in some kind of rust resistant metal will be gone.

If you can, examine an old cemetary (there's one not far from my house) where Revolutionary War vets are buried - some of the tombstones are getting hard to read after less than 270 years. Now consider ten, twenty or even thirty times that period of time - I wonder what will still be legible of our passing?

Using computers to recreate the night sky thousands of years ago, scientists have pinpointed his sighting to shortly before dawn on June 29 in the year 3123 B.C.

About half the symbols on the tablet have survived and half of those refer to the asteroid. The other symbols record the positions of clouds and constellations. In the past 150 years scientists have made five unsuccessful attempts to translate the tablet.

There is a truly extraordinary (and inexpensive - around $12) DVD available that explains in great detail the computer generated calculations that enable astronomers to reproduce ancient skies and even ascertain with absolute certainty dates reconstructured by stellar observations. It is extraordinary how carefully the ancients documented the movement of stars, planets and constellations.

The DVD shows how the Bethlehem Star (Gospel of Matthew Chapter 2)was an actual cosmic phenomena that was observed by many people. The actual date that the Star appeared above Bethlehem is based on Johannes Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion. The Laws are still used today with few moderations. It is amazing how accurate they can be. (Yeah, I know I didn't provide the date... buy the DVD, I promise you it's worth it).

Mark Hempsell, one of the researchers from Bristol University who cracked the tablet's code, said: "It's a wonderful piece of observation, an absolutely perfect piece of science."

He said the size and route of the asteroid meant that it was likely to have crashed into the Austrian Alps at Köfels. As it traveled close to the ground it would have left a trail of destruction from supersonic shock waves and then slammed into the Earth with a cataclysmic impact.

Debris consisting of up to two-thirds of the asteroid would have been hurled back along its route and a flash reaching temperatures of 400 Centigrade (752 Fahrenheit) would have been created, killing anyone in its path.

About one million sq kilometers (386,000 sq miles) would have been devastated and the impact would have been equivalent to more than 1,000 tons of TNT exploding.

It's a moot point whether or not these two cities were destroyed by an asteroid or something else. There is evidence that indicates that there were twin cities located at the southern end of the Dead Sea and that they were destroyed long ago. The historian Josephus wrote about the ruins of these cities which were observable in the first century AD.

Our knowledge of previous generations is based on the written records provided by contemporaries of that time. How reliable are they? For this reason it is reasssuring to have external (and neutral) verification that such events may have actually occured. But there is no doubt that something did happen at Köfels, Austria, about 8700 years ago.

Dr Hempsall said that at least 20 ancient myths record devastation of the type and on the scale of the asteroid's impact, including the Old Testament tale of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the ancient Greek myth of how Phaeton, son of Helios, fell into the River Eridanus after losing control of his father's sun chariot.

The findings of Dr. Hempsall and Alan Bond, of Reaction Engines Ltd., are published in a book, "A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels Impact Event."

The researchers say that the asteroid's impact would explain why at Köfels there is evidence of an ancient landslide 3 miles wide and a quarter of a mile thick.

The book described above is available at for $25. I just ordered a copy.

A UK publication The Register also has some information on the clay tablet and the Köfels Impact Event:

[...] Alan Bond, Managing Director of Reaction Engines Ltd and Mark Hempsell, Senior Lecturer in Astronautics at Bristol University, subjected the Planisphere to a programme which "can simulate trajectories and reconstruct the night sky thousands of years ago". They discovered that it described "events in the sky before dawn on the 29 June 3123 BC", with half of it noting "planet positions and cloud cover, the same as any other night".

The other half, however, records an object "large enough for its shape to be noted even though it is still in space" and tracks its trajectory relative to the stars, which "to an error better than one degree is consistent with an impact at Köfels".

That a large body had impacted at Köfels had long been suspected, the evidence being a giant landslide 500m thick and five kilometres in diameter. The site had no impact crater to back the theory, but the researchers now believe they have a plausible explanation for that.

The Bristol Uni press release explains: "The observation suggests the asteroid is over a kilometre in diameter and the original orbit about the Sun was an Aten type, a class of asteroid that orbit close to the earth, that is resonant with the Earth’s orbit. This trajectory explains why there is no crater at Köfels.

Somehow screaming "Incoming!" at the top of your lungs does not begin to describe what this must have been like. The distance from the south end of the Dead Sea to Köfels is about 1,500 miles. How do you document something like this occuring during a time when there was only rudimentary communications? How would we document something like this with no radio, television, newspapers, cameras, telegraphs and *shudder* without the internet?

I saw something similar to this but on a much, much smaller scale on April 25, 1966. I was almost 17 years old. My brother and I were practicing with a drum and bugle corps in Smithown, NY. Actually we were using the football field at the nearby Hauppauge High School. There was an incredible light in the sky, a meteor, more like a brilliant smear. I remember it as being greenish in color.

The event made all the newspapers and we talked about it for weeks. You never forget something like that because it scared the crap out of us. Literally. For a while we had no idea what the hell it was - I thought it could be the end of the world, it was that spectacular. It lit up the sky for a second or three like a flare from hell.

"The in coming angle was very low (six degrees) and means the asteroid clipped a mountain called Gamskogel above the town of Längenfeld, 11 kilometres from Köfels, and this caused the asteroid to explode before it reached its final impact point.

"As it travelled down the valley it became a fireball, around five kilometres in diameter (the size of the landslide). When it hit Köfels it created enormous pressures that pulverised the rock and caused the landslide but because it was no longer a solid object it did not create a classic impact crater.

"Mark Hempsell, hinting at the possible fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, adds: “Another conclusion can be made from the trajectory. The back plume from the explosion (the mushroom cloud) would be bent over the Mediterranean Sea re-entering the atmosphere over the Levant, Sinai, and Northern Egypt.

“The ground heating though very short would be enough to ignite any flammable material - including human hair and clothes. It is probable more people died under the plume than in the Alps due to the impact blast.“ While the biblical fate of the legendary dens of vice (“Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah - from the Lord out of the heavens” - Genesis 19:24) sits nicely with the asteroid theory, it's never been categorically proven that they actually existed in their suspected location close to the Dead Sea.

Other sites having links to this clay tablet are here.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

MV Global Patriot

Reader Draven wrote in a comment:

"Sig, the story is missing a bit of info. Apparently, the poor oppressed vendor's wares were 'surplus military', according to several sources."

I have been looking for a source for this but so far have not been able to come up with anything credible. I checked the Navy Dispatch and got this so far:

Warning shots fired in the Suez Canal
MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The Global Patriot, a ship on short term charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, fired warning shots at a small boat approaching the ship as it was preparing to transit the Suez Canal March 24. Initially, there were no reports from the Global Patriot of casualties. Global Patriot was approached by several boats while preparing to transit the Suez Canal. The boats were hailed and warned by a native Arabic speaker on the Global Patriot to advise them to turn away. Other warning steps, including a signal flare, were used to caution the boats.

One small boat continued to approach the ship and received two sets of warning shots 20-30 meters in front of the boat's bow. All shots were accounted for as they entered the water.

The incident is under investigation. The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet Command is cooperating with Egyptian authorities, including the Suez Canal authorities, through the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

An undated file photo of the U. S.-flagged multi-purpose cargo ship MV Global Patriot. U.S. Navy photo

U.S. 5th Fleet to work with Egyptian family following shooting MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet has expressed regret for the death of an Egyptian citizen who died March 24, an apparent result from warning shots fired at a small boat approaching a ship chartered by the U.S. Navy. "We express our deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased," said Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet. "We are greatly saddened by events that apparently resulted in this accidental death. This situation is tragic, and we will do our utmost to help take care of the family of the deceased."

The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet Command is continuing to work cooperatively with Egyptian authorities, including the Suez Canal authorities through the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, to fully investigate this incident. "We will work through the investigation very thoroughly, coordinating with authorities and the embassy, to get a full and transparent account of what happened," Cosgriff stated.

An embarked U.S. security team on board the Navy's Military Sealift Command ship Global Patriot fired warning shots at a small boat approaching the ship as it was preparing to transit the Suez Canal Monday night at approximately 8 p.m. Two other boats had also approached the chartered ship but turned away following warnings from Global Patriot.

But nothing on whether or not the small craft was transporting military surplus supplies.

If anyone has a link, please send it to me.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hillary Tartare

Mark Steyn grinds up another bloody batch of Hillary tartare in this article found in the National Review Online:

No One Left to Lie To
Where did the magic go?

About this business of Hillary coming under intense sniping, I have some sympathy. The Clintons got away with this sort of thing for so long that you can’t blame them for wondering how they missed the memo advising that henceforth the old rules no longer apply. Bill, being warier, was usually canny enough to set his fantasies just far enough back in time that live cable footage was unlikely to be available — his vivid memories of entirely mythical black church burnings in his childhood, etc. But Hillary liked to live a little more dangerously. The defining fiction arose back in the mid-Nineties when she visited New Zealand and met Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Everest, and for some reason decided to tell him he was the guy her parents had named her after.

For all of the Iron Maiden Warrior Call Me at Three BS bandied about, Hillary shows that she is compulsive in her lying. Her tormented soul has a need to connect to people she admires, to show herself worthy or their attention. She is in waaaaay over her head and she knows it. Therefore the artless prevarications.

Hmm. Edmund Hillary reached the top of Everest in 1953. Hillary Rodham was born in 1947, when Sir Edmund was an obscure New Zealand beekeeper and a somewhat unlikely inspiration for two young parents in the Chicago suburbs. If any of the bigshot U.S. newspaper correspondents on the trip noticed this inconsistency, they kept it to themselves. I mentioned it in Britain’s Sunday Telegraph at the time, but like so many other improbabilities in the Clinton record it sailed on indestructibly for years. By 2004 it was preserved for the ages in Bill Clinton’s autobiography, on page (gulp) 870: “Sir Edmund Hillary, who had explored the South Pole in the 1950s, was the first man to reach the top of Mount Everest and, most important, was the man Chelsea’s mother had been named for.”

I am not surprised that this turned up in his autobiography. Number one, this "loving" husband and wife never talk to each other. Number two, he spent the same amount of time writing his autobiography as Hillary spent writing "It Takes a Village." The ghoster thought it cute to include this lie and Bill never caught it. The next book about the Clinton's will be entitled "It Takes Three Burly Men And A Two By Four To Pound The Truth Out Of Them."

Secure all beverages before reading the last line of this paragraph.

Eventually, when it was noticed that Hillary was born six years before the ascent of Everest, Clinton aides tried assuring skeptics that her parents had seen a press interview with Sir Edmund in his beekeeping days, Mr. and Mrs. Rodham apparently being the only Illinois subscribers to The New Zealand Apiarist. Then, in the early days of her presidential campaign, Senator Clinton quietly withdrew the story, by which time the damage was done. Edmund Hillary passed away a couple of months back, and, as I recall, the New York Times headline read: “New Zealander For Whom Senator Clinton Named Dies; Also First Man To Climb Everest. Senator Clinton Was At The Summit To Greet Him, After Landing Under Heavy Sniper Fire From The Abominable Snowman.”

Serpentine Hillary! Serpentine!

[...]It may be that when the Democrats do settle on a candidate — which, on present form, seems likely to be about 48 hours before Election Day — the party will then do its usual thing and unite around the winner in order to slay the Republican dragon. But it’s not unreasonable to calculate that significant elements among both the Clintonites and the Obamaniacs will be disinclined to reward the other side for what they’ll see as an act of usurpation. I have no time for Obama and I think he’d be a disastrous president. But he’s your ticket out if you’re a Democrat who can’t face the thought of giving your party to the Clinton mob for another decade. And evidently quite a lot of Dems feel like that.

There are few things bloodier than an internecine war. This isn't quite along the lines of the menshevik/bolshevik battles of 1917-18 but the end will be the same. One side will be assimilated into the other after its leaders are butchered, exiled or sent to re-education camps. I can't wait to see the prisoners shuffled off into cattle cars and Carville fleeing the country, ending up in Mexico City.

And it all adds up to a Republican in the White House in January 2009 .

The Wall Street Journal also joins the fracas in this article by Kim Strassel:

Hillary Clinton's been all the news this week, after she "misspoke" about Whitewater, Travelgate, missing files, suspicious pardons, Johnny Chung and cattle futures. Oh wait, after she "misspoke" about Bosnia. Oh wait, same thing.

That's one way to make sense of the unrelenting, unforgiving, 24/7 news coverage of Mrs. Clinton's fictional telling of Bosnian sniper fire and the subsequent debunking of her every word. In a nasty primary battle that has already featured racial slurs and Chicago slum lords, missing tax documents, and a "monster," you might expect this slip-up to have been yet another blip in the media cycle.

But that would have been to deny the press, the pundits, Democrats, and even Barack Obama, the catharsis of finally -- finally! -- getting a chance to confront the Clintons' questionable mores. Hillary's and Bill's scandals have been the elephant in the primary room ever since she first signaled a run. Yet up to now everyone has been too scared, or too loyal, or too weary to touch the ugly past. Her Bosnia misspeak is now serving as proxy for all the truths about the Clintons' non-truths, allowing even liberals to break free from their Clinton dependence.

While Hansel and Gretel used breadcrumbs to mark their path, the Clintons have left a stinking trail of lies, deceit, body parts, corruption investigations, payoffs, incompetence and subpoenas to show where they have been. Like tin cans tied to the groom's rear bumper, these travesties have rattled and clanged behind Hillary's campaign for months and months - ignored for the most part by the media. But that is ending.

And how liberating it is! The video of Mrs. Clinton's speech about Bosnian sniper fire, twinned with real footage of calmly strolling down the Tuzla tarmac, has been running on one continuous TV loop. Reporters have dug up every last person who accompanied her on the sedate trip to pour a little more salt in the wound. "The Audacity of Hoax," yelled a blog posting in the liberal Nation magazine, which innocently asked: "What else is she fibbing about?" Bill Burton, Barack Obama's spokesman, gleefully noted that Mrs. Clinton's recent attacks on his candidate were designed to deflect attention away from her "made up" Bosnia story. Heavy emphasis on the "made up" part. No need to mention Vince Foster, Red Bone, Marc Rich or Webster Hubbell. All this will do.

[...] No more apologizing. Now comes the euphoria, the liberation, the freedom of . . . Bosnian snipers! Suddenly, liberals all over are remembering that they never really liked the Clintons, even as they defended them in the 1990s. Suddenly, they can sidle into a discussion about Mrs. Clinton's ethics, and all on a subject that (bonus!) is relevant to today's race. Suddenly, they can break free of the Clintons, much as New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson did earlier this week, with a look of ecstasy, as he ran toward the daylight and endorsed Mr. Obama.

Which is why it is no surprise that this week also saw the beginning of a tide of Democrats, many of them one-time Clinton defenders, calling on her to abandon her bid, laying out the reasons for why she cannot win this race, and telling her to let go for the good of the party. Mrs. Clinton, being a Clinton, may well ignore them. But what is clear is that questions about her character and honesty are no longer verboten. If she does stay in, answering them will become the new reality of her campaign.

This should have been done years ago during her first run for public office. Will the media will retain its focus when she runs for re-election to the Senate? If she can't be trusted in the nation's highest Office, if her moral character is so flawed that she is rejected by her own party, what assurances can the Democrats give that will persuade the NY electorate that she is good enough for the Senate? The juggling that will occur during her Senate re-election bid will be almost as entertaining as the skull bashing going on now.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Meme: Passion Quilt

I took this down because ya know what?
It wasn't funny.
I tried to be funny and it was just stoopid.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chelsea and Hillary's Excellent Adventure

And there was shooting and everything and DUDE! the snipers! and I was so scared because they always sent me where there were big mean snipers but I was so brave and I didn't wet my Depends and the soldiers were so big and mean and not like poor Vinnie who cried before I ... and it was cold too and the cold was big and mean and scary and the little girl wasn't big but she was mean and scary! and smelled real bad! but I wasn't afraid or anything! and DUDE! I sat down with the bigmeanscarypeople and we laughed and made peace and everything! and then we came home the end.

H/T to the Dread Pundit Bluto who is a big, mean, scary dude in his own right.

Lessons Learned

The USS Global Patriot has put into practice what Muslim terrorists should have taught every American sailor. Keep your distance or die. From a Human Events article:

As ships gather in the northern Gulf of Suez for the 100 mile north-bound trek up canal to the Mediterranean, it’s common for the "Hey Joe" boats to swarm around them offering cigarettes, carpets, baskets, pottery, CDs, cold drinks and all types of local treasures for sale. These waterborne huckster entrepreneurs ply their trade in the northern Gulf of Suez as they do in many other areas where people gather and wait. (Have you been stopped at a red light lately only to have pan handlers approach the car offering to wash your windshield?)

So boatloads of foul smelling Suez Canal hippies pull up alongside and drool bits of felafel on your bulkheads. Guess that is gonna stop...

The "Hey Joes" (as US sailors have been calling them for years) are well aware that in this post USS COLE attack world, they should not approach US Navy combat ships without permission. After COLE was almost sunk by suicide bombers in a “Hey Joe,” the word went out that a quick way to get shot is to get too close to
a Navy ship. There would be no more closures to the point where the Navy ship would find itself unable to stop the intruder before the boat could get within lethal range of a suicide payload or any other weapon that could be brought to bear. (The exact distance is classified as are most Rules of Engagement.)

Unfortunately the skipper of the hapless Minnow was not aware that the Global Patriot was under lease to the US Navy.

Now reports are somewhat sketchy but it appears that after dark on Monday night as the Motor Vessel Global Patriot, a commercial Roll on Roll Off (“RORO” in maritime jargon), cued up to await the departure of the daily north bound convoy transit of the canal, several small boats approached. The occupants - if they were simply locals trying to sell their wares -- probably saw the MV Global Patriot as just another commercial merchant ship... which it is... except for the fact that she is currently under lease by the Military Sea lift Command (MSC) and as such, was carrying military cargo and -- more importantly to this story -- had a US Navy security team aboard self protection.

As the small boats approached, an Arabic speaking crew member warned them via
standard bridge to bridge radio that all ships monitor and then later through a bull horn to stay away from the ship. When these measures failed, warning flares were fired. One boat reportedly continued to approach at which point warning shots were fired reportedly 20 to 30 yards from the bow of the approaching boat.
At this point the boat turned and departed the area.

Here is where reports differ.

The Navy and crew of the MV Global Patriot report that they accounted for the bullets fired and that the rounds landed well in front of the boat. The Egyptians report that one person was killed and up to three injured.

If the men aboard the Minnow were just vendors trying to make a buck, then indeed this is unfortunate. But after hearing my daughter speak of the street vendors in Cairo (she studied Arabic at the American University at Cairo for a year) then what ensued was bound sooner or later to happen; if not with the Global Patriot, than with another US vessel.

Arab vendors can be a real PITA. They will not let go, they don't know when to stop and they can drive you crazy. My daughter has encountered this in Egypt, Jordan and Israel. She related one instance in particular that really upset some tourists at a Red Sea resort.

The University would send the students on trips throughout Egypt to experience the country and practice their language skills. One such visit was to a resort. An American couple - a husband and wife maybe in their forties - joined the students while they were walking through the resort area. The street vendors were as thick as flies and one of them proved particularly persistent. He would not let up. He followed them without respite, yelling at the tourist couple trying to get them to buy something.

Finally the wife had enough and started screaming at the vendor to get lost. An Egyptian policeman (they're all over the place) decided to bring his trusty community policing skills into play and defuse a potentially troublesome situation. He accomplishes this by smashing the vendor's skull with the butt end of an AK-47. Now the American lady is really upset because she thinks the cop just killed the vendor.

But this is Egypt.

The cop, satisfied at a job well done, strolls away for a rewarding cup of coffee and the vendor (not dead) is picked up by his buddies and hustled away. The American couple wonder why they ever came here in the first place; my daughter had been thinking that for months. True story.

So keep this in mind about Egyptian vendors - sometimes they just don't listen until you break something on them. Let's continue with the article.

So what COULD have happened? A quick look yields one HYPOTHETICAL scenario:The Hey Joes saw a commercial RORO cued up for the transit and they approached the potential customer quickly because time is money. So their outboard motors were probably roaring. Perhaps being small boats, they had not installed or held hand carried radio to hear the bridge-to-bridge warning and could not hear the bull horn over their outboards. When the flares were fired, that was probably very startling and two of the boats stopped immediately. But the third, for some reason yet unexplained, continued. When the warning shots were fired, depending on the angle, bullets could have ricocheted off the water and struck people in the boat.

The above is purely conjecture but what follows is not. These are dangerous times and there will not be another USS COLE if anyone in a Navy uniform can help it. The Navy is not "trigger happy" by any stretch of the imagination and is in fact very disciplined in its use of deadly force.

Recent harassment in the Gulf by Iranian speed boats that did not draw fire from Navy ship drew fire from critics who thought that the Navy should have fired. That said, Naval officers and sailors are also taught to make sure they don't "take the first hit."

I don't know enough to guess who has the ultimate say about Rules of Engagement. Perhaps the Commander-in-Chief himself. But it seems that the rules have changed.

This incident was bound to happen as local systems butt up against the increased awareness and security measure post USS COLE. The Navy and the local authorities need to work out systems whereby each understand what the warning signs are and make sure they know that if violated, there will not likely be a "do over." In fact, there may be just such an understanding in place in the northern Gulf of Suez because it appears the crew of the MV Global Patriot were stepping very systematically though a practiced routine.

I'll will hazard a prediction. There will be no further reckless incursions by "Hey Joes" on American shipping.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The USS Cole Syndrome

US vessel 'shoots at Suez boat'
A US container ship approaching the Suez Canal has opened fire on a small Egyptian motorboat, killing one man and wounding two others, reports say.

The Global Patriot, carrying used US military equipment, was in the Gulf of Suez when it was approached by a motorboat selling local merchandise. Its crew fired after the boat failed to stop when asked, Egyptian sources say.

It appears that these were innocent vendors. But after 17 sailors were murdered and 39 others wounded on board the USS Cole in 2000 (read the following post), you'd think that everyone would be a little careful when approaching a US vessel in arab waters. Especially if you are wearing a keffiyeh.
It was after sunset on Monday when a motorboat carrying three local Egyptian traders approached the Global Patriot in the Gulf of Suez as it prepared to sail towards the Mediterranean, according to Egyptian officials.

The Global Patriot's crew are reported to have ordered the motorboat to stop and when it did not, they opened fire, killing Mohammed Fouad and wounding two others, the officials added.

And of course the BBC does not fail to amuse us with their idiotic closing comments.

It is not clear why those on board the Global Patriot opened fire, although al-Qaeda militants have in the past used small motorboats to attack US military and other foreign vessels in waters off the coast of Yemen, our correspondent adds.

Ya think?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Damage Control Aboard The USS Obama

Aboard a US naval vessel, damage control parties swing into action after engaging in hostile actions where the ship takes a hit. Every man is assigned a specific function in order to maintain the vessel's structural integrity and save lives.

On October 12, 2000, damage control was vital to the survival of the missile frigate, USS Cole, after it received a devastating hit while anchored in the Yemeni harbor at Aden. Terrorists had loaded a small craft with explosives and pulled along side the Cole. The explosion killed 17 American sailors and injured 39 others.
In the above photo, notice the gaping hole amidships on the port side at the waterline. After being damaged by the terrorists, the Cole is towed out to sea by fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba where the the Norwegian navy heavy salvage ship MV Blue Marlin (pictured below) awaits to receive her.
The MV Blue Marlin carried the Cole back to the States where she arrived in Pascagoula, Mississippi on December 24, 2000, at the Northrop Grumman Ship Systems repair facility. It required 14 months of work to repair the damage from the explosion. Upon completion of repairs, the Cole left the facility on April 19, 2002, and returned to her home port at Norfolk, Virginia. She is currently deployed in the Middle East off the coast of Lebanon.

Damage control is also a vital component for politicians. Just watching the media brouhaha over the not so Reverend Wright's incontinent remarks is a revelation on how political damage control is achieved. Allow me to draw some possible inferences.

In the photograph above, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is shown preparing his explosive racist, anti-American remarks at a terrorist training facility known as the Trinity Unity Church of Christ.

In the above photo, the Rev. Wright is shown exploding alongside the USS Obama. Please notice the gaping hole amidships between the USS Obama's ears.

The damage control team aboard the USS Obama went into action immediately after the explosion. Sensing that this was a deep, penetrating hit, the team immediately lightened the vessel for high speed zig-zagging by throwing common sense overboard. This allowed the damaged craft to put distance between itself and further reality-based fusillades by stating that the USS Obama rejects the racist, hate-filled remarks of Rev. Wright.

These claims were made despite the fact that the USS Obama has used the Rev. Wright and his terrorist training facility as a homeport for over twenty years. The Rev. Wright has even served aboard the Obama as a Navigator, providing mentoring and spiritual advice. The USS Obama and crew (Mrs. Obama and children) have also sheltered in this port and donated tens of thousands of dollars towards its maintenance.

Repairs on the USS Obama have yet to be completed as it is still in transit, towed by the mass media salvage craft, the USS Hypocrites.

The Obama's sister ship, the USS Clinton, has remained adrift at sea after shooting itself in the rudder during live fire manuvers. Attempts to restore steering control aboard the USS Clinton by replacing the helmsman have as yet proved meaningless since the Captain of this vessel has long since thrown off her mooring lines, burned her charts and eaten most of her crew.

Because of its previous involvement with the salvage of the Obama, the USS Hypocrites is not able to respond to the stricken USS Clinton as it flounders in the Primary Sea.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jihadi Ray

Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water, this happens:
MARATHON, Fla. (AP)- A 75-pound stingray killed a Michigan woman Thursday when it flew out of the water and struck her in the face as she rode in a boat in the Florida Keys, officials said.

Judy Kay Zagorski, of Pigeon, Mich., was sitting in a boat going 25 mph when the spotted eagle ray, with a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet, leaped out of the water, said Jorge Pino, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The 57-year-old woman's father was driving the boat on the Atlantic Ocean side of Vaca Key, Pino said.

"He had absolutely no warning. It just happened instantaneously," Pino said. The impact likely killed the woman, but it was not immediately clear if she had any puncture wounds from the ray's barb, Pino said. An autopsy will determine an official cause of death, Pino said.

Spotted eagle rays can weigh up to 500 pounds and have a wingspan of up to 10 feet. They are known to occasionally jump out of the water but are not aggressive and use the venomous barb at the end of their tail as a defense mechanism.

The rays are protected in Florida waters and are typically seen swimming on the water's surface.

"Rays jump to escape a predator, give birth and shake off parasites," said Lynn Gear, supervisor of fishes and reptiles at Theater of the Sea in Islamorada. "They do not attack people."

They jump out of the water to do what? Don't believe it for a second. First Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin and now Judy Zagorski. Something's afoot. These things are out for blood.

Must be Global Warming that's pissing off the stringrays. They're just trying to cool off in a nice breeze.

We'd better notify the Navy. Anything that large launching itself out of the water high enough and fast enough to take out a passenger should probably have a MIRV strapped to it's ass.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I am back from Saratoga. The hotel was nice but the weather stunk. There was so much to do and so much still that needs to be done in order to get this project underway. I'll be running like a maniac for the next two or three months.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Outta Town For A Spell

I'll be in Saratoga for three days attending a training conference. My Garbageway Gateway laptop went south on me so I'll be back on line after Wednesday. The training is for setting up a parolee reentry program (no I'm not on parole - through prolly should be) under a NYS initiative.

Already I am starting to get calls from interested parties in CNY. I got a call from a dad who's son is currently in prison for narcotics offenses - mostly possession. He said his 18 yo kid got hooked up with the wrong people and is paying the price. He is trying to see what help there is for his son's addiction before the kid gets released.

So many young people in prison do not have the support of their families. I told the guy that since he is already pulling for the son, that his chances of success are a lot greater than most others. I wished him and his son good luck and to call back when we are on line.

We are all responsible for what we do and must pay the price when we foul up. But as far as I know, this kid never pulled a violent felony and has paid the price with a State prison term. As a society, we are all better served if this kid keeps his nose clean and becomes a productive citizen.

So that's what the training is for; establishing a coordinated foundation of existing services to help keep high risk parolees from re-offending. This is definitely not what I wanted to get involved in and I resisted attempts to get ensnared in this project. I guess God had other plans.

There are about 62,000 state prisoners in 70 correctional facilities throughout New York. In 2003 it cost taxpayers almost $100 ($96.73) per day to maintain someone in a NYS prison. That is over $36,000 a year. I think it's a lot cheaper to help this non-violent kid stay out of jail.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This Ain't Over

It ain't over because the fat hooker hasn't sung yet. The New York Post has a story on possible future developments with Emperor Room VIP and it's platoon of high priced hookers.

March 12, 2008 -- It's the biggest guessing game in town - the identities of at least nine other presumably high-powered, big-bucks johns serviced by Gov. Spitzer's favorite hooker ring.

An explosive possible "black book" - a who's who of well-heeled Emperors Club VIP clients - may be in the possession of federal probers, sources said yesterday.

The feds' sensational criminal complaint listing 10 "clients" allegedly includes a top New York judge and even a former law-enforcement official and longtime pal of the disgraced governor, two sources said.

It may be more than nine. When the story broke I wondered how the clients were numbered. Is it based on their first use of the "escort" service? Income? Importance? Shoe size? Number of girls used at one time? And just who is number one?

If the woman who did the "bookings" kept a database of clients, there's gotta be hundreds or even thousands of names. This is Tanya Hollander, the Booty Booker To The Governor.

For this organization to keep fifty girls on tap I imagine there must be a lot of business.

Who's next to be publicly outed has everyone from Wall Street to the highest echelons of the legal world abuzz.

"The government seized physical evidence . . . computers and records," said Manhattan lawyer Daniel Parker, who is representing the alleged female money genius behind the ring's finances. "What those records are is anybody's guess.

"But anybody who's alleged to have been involved in a high-priced call-girl prostitution ring . . . is probably not only wealthy but may be powerful. Those people probably read The Post. Are they quaking in their boots? Oh, definitely. There also might be a lot of unhappy marital conversations going on tonight."

I'd love to be a fly on the wall in the investigator's squad room at the Manhattan office of US Attorney Garcia. The data may have been encrypted, but that's no biggie. The feds can recover it. Eventually the cops will be yanking names and hooting.

The club's johns shelled out at least $1,000 to $5,500 an hour for services from their cream-of-the-crop call girls, who were allegedly handled by two female pimps, Temeka Rachelle Lewis and Tanya Hollander.

I couldn't afford a handshake from these broads. How good looking can they be? Let's take a look.

Here's Kristen, Elliot's fav.

I mean she ain't bad, she's a good looking woman - but over $4,000 for a few hours?

Come on. I would want the house cleaned, the car waxed, the dog walked, the lawn mowed and the yard raked for that kind of money.

And clowns. There ought to be clowns. Don't bother. They're in Albany.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Does She Look Happy?

Does she look happy?
No she doesn't, not one bit.
And when Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
She looks like she is thinking about buying a new pair of sissors.
Elliot better be sleeping with his legs crossed and his eyes open.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What's In An Oath?

From this in 2007-

ALBANY, NY, Monday, Jan. 1 — With his wife, his children and his parents looking on, Eliot Laurence Spitzer was officially sworn in at midnight as the 54th governor of New York State during a private ceremony at the governor’s mansion.

To this in just 434 days:

NEW YORK (AP) - A law enforcement official has told The Associated Press that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's involvement in a prostitution ring was caught on a federal wiretap.The official says Spitzer is identified in court papers as "Client 9," and the wiretap was part of an investigation that opened in the last few months.

Sometime during the one year, two months and a week and a half of his administration, Gov. Spitzer forgot this oath:

“I, Eliot Spitzer, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution
of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the governor of the State of New York according to the best of my abilities, so help me God.”
And this oath got trashed along the way too:
I, Eliot Spitzer, take you Silda Wall, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

It must have been twenty-five years ago or more that I read about a speech given by an IBM Vice President at an corporate executive leadership conference. In this speech he warned his fellow executives that a man who breaks his marriage vow cannot be trusted. For if a man cannot be trusted to remain faithful to his own wife, how can you expect him to remain faithful to his employers, his peers or his subordinates? The same goes for public office and the trust we should be able to place in our public servants.

Elliot Spitzer has failed the public and disgraced himself. He must resign immediately.

I really can't gloat over the fall of Elliot Spitzer. I feel for the Spitzer family - his lovely wife and daughters. Good Lord, look at the photos and see how this has aged her. I can only imagine how this affects his teen-aged daughters. I simply shudder at the thought of my own four daughters going through this. And that is one of the reasons why I manage my life the way I do.

That Spitzer would drag his wife in front of the cameras and publicly humiliate her in this fashion speaks volumes of her good grace and character and says all we need to know about his lack thereof.

He is a piece of manipulative crap and the State will be better off as soon as he packs his bags and shuffles off into ignominy.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

On Manuvers

In an effort to reduce DWI-related traffic fatalities, the Russian government has issued armored vehicles to protect its soldiers while they are requisitioning adult beverages. This is an enormously successful program - no Russian soldiers have died in alcohol-related accidents within the past 20 minutes.

Moscow - An apparently drunk Russian tank driver rammed his 25-tonne fighting machine into a remote village cottage while on a vodka run, footage aired Friday on state television showed.

The soldier was filmed driving the tank, armed with an anti-aircraft gun, through a tiny street in Oktyabrskaya, in the Ural mountains' Sverdlovsk region.

He clambered unsteadily into his vehicle with two freshly purchased bottles, then rammed a fence and a house while attempting to leave.

"He was drunk," a villager said on Channel One television.

An assistant at the local shop said the soldier had purchased two bottles of vodka.

Army spokesperson Konstantin Lazutkin promised the military would pay for repairs.

Watch the video here.

The following two photos are of common Russian anti-aircraft amored vehicles. The first is a ZSU-23. The second is the 2S6M.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tools Of The Trade

When I was trained in the academy years ago, cops were taught to use a variety of non-lethal instruments whenever someone did not want to submit to an arrest. All these instruments produce compliance by inflicting pain.

First of all, in most states it is against the law to resist arrest even if the arrest is unlawful. If you are innocent, you must still submit. Once you start to resist arrest there is a sliding response scale that the cop will use to produce compliance. It ranges from the "Golden Tongue" tactic - where you convince the defendant that he should submit without a struggle - through various stages of more physical convincing that involves poking, prodding, pushing, pelting, pummeling, pounding, pistol whipping and ultimately pumping lead into the uncooperative miscreant.

There are jacks, saps, batons, ASP's, claws, day sticks, night sticks, aircraft quality aluminum flashlights, slappers and sap gloves. There wasn't much training for some of these items, particularly the claws, saps, slappers and jacks. But they were all used in some fashion against foreheads, cheeks, jowls, throats, wrists, ribs, testicles, kneecaps, shins and ankles.

And they worked pretty well too. Of course there were those who needed more convincing than others and most cops were more than willing to provide additional course work in Police Etiquette. Choke holds were the most dangerous and cops were specifically warned against "cranking" on someone's windpipe with a police baton. Crushing a larnyx was definately not recommended.

We were also issued mace (a concentrated form of CS or teargas) and then pepper spray. These also worked, but they worked on the cop too. As a rookie I quickly learned that when you are up close and personal with a drunken mope, you don't want to use mace. It bounces off the mope's face and right back into yours. Mace comes out of the canister with enough force to travel almost twenty feet. Plus, he's drunk and you're not.

This is a Bad Thing To Do 'cause most likely you'll just piss him off even more with the added benefit that now you are unable to see what he's fixing to do.

But technology offers new methods of subduing mopes without killing them. At least hopefully without killing them. The Taser was such a device. When they first came out, many law enforcement agencies resisted using these highly mobile pistol-shaped defibrillation paddles. Now over 12,500 agencies all over the world issue these to their staff.

But there is a risk to their use:

A man who died Monday after being shot by a Clay officer with a Taser stun gun appears to be Central New York's first Taser-related fatality.

Just minutes after a Clay police officer shot Christopher H. Jackson, 37, in his bedroom in the Norstar Apartments in Clay, he was conscious and breathing, police said. But he was not responsive to their questions, Clay police said. He suffered cardiac arrest as paramedics worked on him.

Clay police are one of 16 Central New York police agencies with Tasers. Taser International says it has supplied Tasers to 12,500 police agencies worldwide.

The Taser has been hailed as one of the greatest tools available to police officers today. But deaths have occurred in incidents after a Taser device was used on people. Amnesty International says there have been more than 290 Taser-related deaths in the United States since June 2001.

Taser International, through spokesman Steve Tuttle, cautioned against jumping to conclusions on the cause of Monday's death until all the facts are known.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Never Forget

The USS New York was christened yesterday.

AVONDALE, La. (AP) — Thousands of people, including friends and families of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, gathered Saturday for an at-times poignant and uplifting service to christen a Navy ship built with twisted steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center.

I'm looking at the smile on the face of ship sponsor Dotty England as she smashes a bottle of champagne on the bow of the newest warship in our fleet. Dotty England is the wife of Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England.

We can all appreciate the added capabiltiy this craft gives to the American war fighting effort.

But I'll smile when the 800 Marines this ship is capable of carrying participates in an invasion of some Islamic terrorist shithole.

God bless American and the men and women who will serve on the USS New York.

For a look at other Navy vessels named for the Empire State, look here at Warships of New York

Saturday, March 01, 2008



1) 65' custom-built motor yacht complete with 4 staterooms, a state-of-the-art galley, GPS System and radar for navigation, twin supercharged diesel engines, etc.
Cost $4,500,000.00


2) Champagne, chocolate covered strawberries with cream and music dockside for the excited 'soon to be owners' and a small group of friends.
Cost $500.00

3) Two corporate representatives, crane, and rigging complete with faulty turnbuckle.
Cost $2,500/hour

(Note the guy in the stern)

4) Watching your dreamboat nose dive into the harbor, accompanied by two corporate representatives just prior to 'inking' the final paperwork...



I would have paid to see this.

A big H/T to Charlie the Cop.