daily archive: 10/15/2005
For The Record
I don't know how many of you know this, but I am a blog. I am a lone blog and I'm not affiliated with any other blogs. If you're in my blogroll, you lucked out, so shut up and enjoy it. If you're not on my blogroll, what can I say, you're not. Either way, whether on my blogroll or not, you're not special. And neither am I. Let me repeat, I am a blog.
People post on my entries. They say many crazy things. They say sane things too sometimes. These posters that post on me, I don't give them money to post here. They don't give me money either. It's all wrong, I know, but this is how it is.
Other blogs have rules. So do I. Because I am a blog and rules rule. My rule is, be fucking civil to each other. Other that that, I don't really give a damn. Because I'm a blog, see?
People that post here may or may not post at other blogs. I don't really know. It's a mystery that I ponder nightly, where else do my posters post? Do they post in the toilet? Do they post in the kitchen? And what exactly are they doing when they're posting? I'll probably never know, because I'm only a blog. And maybe it's a good thing that I won't know. Do I really want to know what Frank is doing when he's posting a photo of his boyfriend? No, I don't.
One more thing: I (I can't speak for ev or zorkie, because I won't know their thoughts until they comment, because I'm a blog and people have to comment before I can tell what they think, see), anyway, I don't care if you're a Republican and you post here. I don't care if you're a Democrat and you post here, either. I really don't care what you are or who you are, unless your name is Dwayne, in which case please go post at some other blog. I hate Dwaynes.
You could also allegedly be a foreign person. I don't care about that either. Because I'm a blog and blogs just don't care about these things.
Anyway, I just wanted to inform you, in case you had any questions about how a blog feels.
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Make a bloggie wish list!
While evariste is sweating over the search engine with packen standing over his shoulder whipping him, I'm thinking of what else we should add to his to-do list. There's the get-mail function to be done, registration in the future and so on. Boring stuff. A comrade asked if we could block racy images because they have kids around them, I added that on the list, it's uh--I believe item #86.
No guarantees that we'll give you what you want, you understand. But it doesn't hurt to wish, does it?
Anyway, I wish for peace on bloggie.
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A New Birth For Iraq
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Working With James Bond
MI6 is back. They have a web site
now, and they are hiring.
A tap on the shoulder at university, a quiet word at a gentlemen's club, or a discreet approach by an ex-public school chum used to be enough to fill the ranks of MI6, the overseas intelligence service. MI6 comes in from the cold and on to the internet
But the need to boost the number of MI6 officers, and employ staff from more diverse backgrounds, has prompted the spy agency to come in from the (technological) cold and openly recruit for the first time.
The agency - which prefers to call itself SIS - the Secret Intelligence Service - today launches its first external website.
While the glossy site - www.mi6.gov.uk - has details of the agency's history, role and accountability, its principal job is to encourage more people to join up. MI6 employs the same number of staff as its sister agency, MI5, with about 2,000 officers. Both have received a large injection of cash from Gordon Brown to increase their counter- terrorism capabilities.
MI5 plans to hire 1,000 officers, but the recruitment drive for MI6 is thought to be in the hundreds. It also wants a greater mix of staff, with a higher number of ethnic minorities to help infiltrate and combat terrorist networks linked to al-Qa'ida. A Foreign Office spokesman said: "The idea that you need to wait to be tapped on the shoulder by some mysterious guy at university is outdated."
The MI6 website, which is adorned with a picture of its futuristic headquarters at Vauxhall Cross on the Thames in central London, offers would-be SIS staff the opportunity to experience "foreign travel", "excitement" and become a real-life Q and design "hi-tech gadgets" for agents. Facilities at the headquarters include squash and basketball courts, a gym, restaurant, coffee lounge and bar.
The website says new staff, who receive a starting salary of about £21,000, will "enjoy work that is stimulating, often exciting, always varied, and, in the technical field, often cutting-edge".
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US throws Red Ken's tea into the Thames
those pesky colonials are revolting against a British tax! Bloody 'ell!
LONDON — A tax revolt is pitting the government of a former colony famed for dumping tea in Boston Harbor against a British mayor intent on ending gridlock.
On July 1, the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square — in London's congestion-charge zone — stopped paying the 8 pounds (about $14) daily charge that Mayor Ken Livingstone has imposed on motorists who drive into the city center. Diplomats are exempt from taxes by international law, the embassy says.
Livingstone doesn't see it that way. The combative mayor already faces battles with businesses over the commercial impact of the congestion charge and with residents of west London over plans to extend the zone in 2007. Even so, he has opened a new front with the American diplomatic mission.
"The charge is not a tax," he says. "When British diplomats are in America and they go on a toll road, they have to pay the tolls."
The congestion charge, inaugurated in 2003 at 5 pounds and increased to 8 pounds in July, applies to a 13.6-square-mile area of central London. It is enforced by cameras that check license-plate numbers to see whether cars have registered and paid to enter the zone. Those who fail to pay are subject to penalties starting at 50 pounds. Taxis, emergency vehicles and disabled drivers are among those who are exempt.
Tony Travers, urban expert at the London School of Economics, says the 60% increase in the charge in July buttresses the embassy's argument.
"By putting it up to raise money, it looks much more like a good old-fashioned tax," he says. But he says the U.S. revolt is still surprising. "You might think this was something they could grit their teeth and pay. I can't believe it's preying on the Federal Reserve or Alan Greenspan's mind."
At a recent session with foreign media, the mayor suggested that the U.S. Embassy's stance was linked to the arrival of Ambassador Robert Holmes Tuttle, who presented his credentials at the Court of St. James on July 14. Tuttle is certainly no foe of cars; he is co-managing partner of Irvine, Calif.-based Tuttle-Click Automotive Group, one of the largest car dealerships in the USA.
"The new American ambassador, having appeared in London, has decided his staff shouldn't pay any charge," says Livingstone, an advocate of public transit who takes the subway to his City Hall office.
Embassy spokeswoman Susan Domowitz says the dispute predates Tuttle's arrival. "After multiple attempts to work out a solution with UK authorities, we decided to cease paying the tax in spring of 2005," she said in an e-mail. Non-payment began July 1. She didn't specify how many embassy vehicles are affected.
"It's the view of the United States government that all direct taxes on diplomats and diplomatic operations, including this one, are prohibited by the Vienna Convention," she said.
The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, adopted in 1963, exempts diplomats from paying national, regional and local taxes.
The British Foreign Office says diplomatic immunity does not apply to parking charges or the congestion charges.
Some British business groups opposed to the charge agree with the embassy analysis that it's really a tax.
Rex Garratt, spokesman for the Forum of Private Business, calls the pending extension of the charging zone to Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea "a cynical move by Ken Livingstone to impose a stealth tax on visitors and shoppers."
The forum plans to stage a mock funeral for London businesses down Kings Road, Chelsea's main shopping street, this month.
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Iran can reach Europe with nuke-capable cruise missiles
IMRA - Friday, October 14, 2005 Iran has reverse-engineered, deployed nuke-capable cruise missiles from Ukraine
Teheran received 12 long-range Kh-55 cruise missiles from Ukraine in 2001 and has since enhanced the missiles and deployed them in the military, a leading Iranian opposition source said.
Alireza Jafarzadeh, former chief of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and president of the Washington-based Strategic Policy Consulting Inc., said Iran has acquired a nuclear-capable missile with a range of 3,000 kilometers. At an Aug. 26 briefing in Washington, Jafarzadeh said the missile could threaten cities in most of Europe.
The U.S. intelligence community has found Jafarzadeh to have highly
credible information on Iran's missile and nuclear weapons programs. "Four years after receiving the cruise missiles from Ukraine, the Iranian regime has now mastered the technology through a reverse engineering process," Jafarzadeh said. "In a meeting of the regime's Supreme National Security Council, Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani declared that by acquiring this 3,000-kilometer-range missile with nuclear warhead capability, the Iranian regime is able to threaten European countries."
In January 2005, Ukraine acknowledged that it sold Kh-55 cruise missiles to Iran. At the time, Kiev said the missiles were inoperable. In his briefing, Jafarzadeh said the Kh-55s were delivered to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which reconstructed the missiles and transferred them to secret centers.
How much more appeasing and craven will France and Germany get now that Iran can reach out and touch them? An optimist might suggest that they could decide to covertly support a US military action out of self-interest. An optimist would be a fool who thinks too highly of modern Europe's instinct for self-preservation, and too little of modern Europe's eagerness to bend over to every thug and bully that comes along.
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Zawahiri-Zarqawi letter discrepancy raises hoax questions
US cannot explain suspicious Zawahri letter passage
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence officials who released a letter purporting to be from an al Qaeda leader to
Iraq insurgency leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi this week said on Friday they could not account for a passage that has raised doubts about the document's authenticity.
I read the original Arabic
and it's not a mistranslation, so I have no idea what the explanation could be. Strange. One possibility is that the letter traveled orally before being written down-for security purposes-and one chain in the link of oral transmission inserted that. Arabs have a long tradition of memorization and oral transmission, and they also have a tradition of embellishment, so I wouldn't be surprised.
However, I found it strange to read the phrase "hearts and minds" in Arabic. It's an entirely English idiom that I'd never seen in Arabic before. So, I'd also not be surprised if the entire letter was a hoax.
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Please pray for jlf in texas and his wife.
they could use it right now. Pray for strength for him, and mercy and grace for her.
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