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daily archive: 01/16/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Ministry of Way-Less-than-Lethal Weapons
AKA The Pentagon Wastebasket

The U.S. military rejected a 1994 proposal to develop an "aphrodisiac" to spur homosexual activity among enemy troops but is hard at work on other less-than-lethal weapons, defence officials say.

The idea of fostering homosexuality among the enemy figured in a declassified six-year, $7.5 million (4 million pounds) request from a laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for funding of non-lethal chemical weapon research.

The proposal, disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information request, called for developing chemicals affecting human behaviour "so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely affected."

The Air Force Research Laboratory also suggested using chemicals that could be sprayed on enemy positions to attract stinging and biting bugs, rodents and larger animals.

Another idea involved creating "severe and lasting halitosis" to help sniff out fighters trying to blend with civilians.

Too bad they didn't ask me 'cause I'm full of ideas. For example, we could throw rotten tomatoes at the enemy and then run very fast. Or, we could broadcast a game of golf really, really loud. The whispering, the prolonged silences, that would freak anyone out.

Pentagon spurned "gay bomb" plan
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Frank Schaeffer's Portofino is one of those books that make you laugh out loud and call all your friends saying "you gotta read this one, it's wonderful."
Some kids told lies to be special. Calvin told lies to be normal. The son of a missionary family, he looks forward all year to summer vacation in Portofino--especially since he'll once again have the chance to see his beloved Jennifer. But even in this seductive seaside town in Italy, the Beckers can't really relax. Calvin's father could slip into a Bad Mood and start hurling potted plants at any time. His mother has an embarrassing habit of trying to convert "pagans" on the beach. And his sister keeps a ski sweater and miniature Bible in her luggage just in case the Russians invade and send them to Siberia. Dad says everything is part of God's plan. But this summer, Calvin has some plans of his own. From the author of Saving Grandma, this delightful coming-of-age novel will bring a smile of recognition to anyone who's ever been embarrassed by their parents.
Read a very funny excerpt after the jump.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Bretton Woods And The New Deal: The Wrong Answer
This excellent item at Washington Times points out the obsolence and counterproductiveness of the entire Bretton Woods system.

Knowing what we now know, would you design our tax system, Social Security system, the United Nations and the World Bank as they are designed and now operate? Unless you are brain dead, you would have answered no to all the above.
International organizations and government programs were all established to solve a perceived problem at the time of their creation. So before recommending how the organization or program can be "reformed," should we not first ask if the original problem still exists and, if so, is the organization or program the right vehicle for solving it?
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Basque Separatist Terror Group ETA Is Dead
Another one bites the dust
Al Qaeda's murder of hundreds of Spaniards in Madrid on 3/11 also seems to have smothered Basque terrorists ETA, according to the Financial Times. They're following the Algerian group GIA into moribundity with less than 70 active members remaining.

Last year's trainbombings in Madrid left Spain in a state of shock. But the country is now waking up to an unintended consequence of al-Qaeda's first strike in Europe: the apparent demise of Eta, the violent Basque separatist group.

According to police, politicians and security analysts, the events of last year have effectively ended Eta's 37-year insurgency.

The March 11 2004 train bombings, initially blamed on Eta, left 192 people dead and injured thousands. In the Basque country in northern Spain, police say the tragedy marked a turning point in their fight against Eta, which had been viewed until then as Spain's biggest security threat.

"The massacre provoked such revulsion that Eta has not dared stage a big attack since then," says Roberto Seijo, a leader of the Basque police trade union Erne. "Eta cannot match al-Qaeda's scale of terror. Even among Eta's own supporters, there is no stomach for the continued use of terror as a political instrument."
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
An Open Wound For Whom?
I was going to count all the ways in which this commentary got on my nerves, but I lost track after the first sentence. And by the time I got to how Jews are "sensitive" I just wanted to kick something. Unfortunately, the cat has caught on to my moods by now.
The question of whether the Greeks are anti-Semitic never fails to cause a furor. It is like a wound that never heals. Most Greeks claim, with passion, that they have no problem with Jews, noting the efforts many Greeks made to protect Jews during the Nazi occupation. But observers note the ease with which many Greeks (including some intellectuals and journalists) blame many of the world’s ills on Jews. The Greeks counter that they are simply criticizing the Israeli government’s policies regarding the Palestinians. The problem is that the historical context is fraught with myths, tragedies and misunderstandings. And above everything hovers the Holocaust, which destroyed Greece’s ancient Jewish community.

Many Greeks appear unaware of the sensitivity Jews and various international observers have to anything smacking of attributing collective responsibility. At the same time, many observers appear excessively sensitive to Greek comments. Exaggerations feed a silly antagonism.

Greeks and Jews have shared a complex history since Hellenistic times. A frank dialogue would allow Greeks to criticize Israel without presenting Jews as Nazis and without using language that might suggest bigotry. And Israelis (regardless of provocations) should be aware that the tragedy of the Jews has made the whole world sensitive to the use of violence by a state, and they should understand that not all censure is anti-Semitism. Both Greeks and Jews should learn to take criticism.

But first they must remember their shared history and see behind the myths. One needs only to read Giorgos Ioannou’s short story on “The Elimination of the Jews? to understand the “absolute horror.? He wrote of the Thessaloniki Jews he saw being marched off to their deaths: “They were, in their great majority, neither tycoons, nor bankers, nor lords, but simply poor wretches, like us.?
An open wound

BTW, here's the answer to this guy's question of whether Greeks are anti-Semitic.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Benny the Virus Writer
I'm glad this guy in on my side of the fence. (At least I hope he is...)
For five years, Czech student Marek Strihavka programmed computer viruses as part of the underground group 29A.

A twist of fate, however, has led the former virus writer to take a job stopping digital pests like those he used to create. About a year after leaving 29A, which takes its name from the base-16 representation of 666, the 22-year-old resident of Brno in the Czech Republic became the main developer of Zoner Software's antivirus system.

Now Strihavka finds himself under attack. The Czech police have raided his home and confiscated his computer equipment as part of an investigation into the Slammer worm. In addition, some antivirus companies are attacking Zoner for hiring a known virus writer.

In an interview with CNET News.com, the man who used to be "Benny" claims that he never took part in spreading his programs on the Internet and maintains that virus writers contribute to online security.
Read the interview. He's got the virus-writing bug
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Treasure Box
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