No Profit For Hunger!

WHO TV – Des Moines: Dean Deli Debt

He showed up at the customer’s downtown office just in time for lunch. The Dean headquarters was utter chaos. But he couldn’t find anyone who’d pay him. They said try the other building next door. Same answer next door, try the other building. Scott went back and forth for 20 minutes. Nobody would pay.

He just assumed they would pay in good faith. After all, Dick Gephardt’s campaign paid its lunch bills on time. And Howard Dean has thousands of followers in Iowa. Can’t one of them give Scott his money?

I’m sure the Dean campaign thinks he got what he deserves.

Imagine, trying to make a profit on the hunger of the workers.

Work, Work, Work

Yeah, I know I haven’t been posting much. Especially those long convoluted rambling posts that I like sometimes.

Well, we had Christmas and had to go to New York. Then I got back and foolishly decided to chop a week off my vacation because we were so short handed in Dispatch. You know. “No good deed goes unpunished”

My blog crashed in December when I hit the limit on my storage. So I had to fix that. The problem was that I lost a lot of posts. Fortunately I was able to find a export that I had made and was able to restore some of the posts, I then discovered that the problem with getting my old posts from Blogger was because I wasn’t getting a clean export from Blogger. I finally got that exported and then imported to MT, unfortunately with the line problems that we had during the bad weather the first week of January, I ended up importing them three times.

So I had three copies of my Blogger posts, some copies of my MT posts, except Nov and Dec, and the other posts in individual .html files. What a mess. I’m sure if I was one of those really smart IT guys, I could of thought of a way to resolve this situation easily. Do this and that and Voilą, the files are where they are supposed to be, in the correct format and I can spend the rest of the evening watching Lord of the Rings.

Not how it worked out though. I ended up going from around 4500 posts down to 1300 by working my way through the edit pages and checking the delete boxes and I am slowly importing the remain posts, one at a time. Opening each .html file into Notebook and copying the relevant text into MT and fiddling the date and time to the original entry.

I have almost finished October 2003 and am now sneaking up on November. But after that I still have the first two weeks of December. When that is completed I will be able to export a complete file of all my posts from Nov 2001 to January or February 2004. Then I will not repeat this problem until the next time.

At which time I will most likely find that I have misplaced all my backups. Sigh. This stuff is so easy if you know how, I never have problems doing things I know how to do, It’s the things I don’t know how to do that give me problems.

Howzat Work?

9/11 Panel Faults U.S. For Letting Hijackers In (washingtonpost.com)

The U.S. government fumbled repeated opportunities to stop many of the men responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks from entering the country, missing fraudulent passports and other warning signs that should have attracted greater scrutiny, according to a preliminary report released yesterday.

The new findings by the independent commission investigating the terrorist strikes stand in marked contrast to the contentions of many senior U.S. officials, who for more than two years have portrayed the 19 hijackers as law-abiding travelers who did little to attract government suspicion and who, in nearly all cases, entered or resided in the country legally.

Yesterday’s report disclosed that as many as eight of the hijackers carried passports that “showed evidence of fraudulent manipulation,” while as many as five of the passports had “suspicious indicators.” The report did not identify the details missed by authorities.

The report also found that at least six hijackers, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, violated U.S. immigration laws either while in the United States or while returning. Five of the hijackers aroused enough suspicion that they were questioned individually by customs or immigration inspectors but were eventually allowed to enter the United States. None of the hijackers filled out his visa application correctly, and three clearly lied on the forms, according to the report.

Exactly how does this support the current contention that the Bush administration is somehow abusing immigrants by enforcing Immigration law? If anything it would appear to support greater scrutiny of foreign nationals entering the country.

Everyday we hear the whine on the news about “undocumented aliens” and how they should not be treated as criminals.

Bullshit!

Every other country in the world enforces its borders, and in many places you can get in big trouble for being in the country illegally, other places you just get deported and put on an exclusion list. Do you think going to live in Mexico without the proper papers is just shrugged off? I don’t think so.

The INS or whatever PC term they use to describe themselves should not worry about being easy and convenient. If they want in, they can stand in line, and if they are terrorists that want to get in on forged documents, they’ll try to avoid being checked. That effectively funnels them into other areas that can be cracked down on. Remember, If your gardener got in, so can Al-Queda. So if you have to have your gardener, nanny, farm worker or tree planter, you have to have your terrorist too.

Justin Katz Has More On David Kay And The WMDs.

Dust in the Light: “We led this search to find the truth, not to find the weapons.”

My summary view based on what I’ve seen is that we are very unlikely to find large stockpiles of weapons. I don’t think they exist. But that’s my personal view based on the evidence as of when I left. The search is going to go on, and indeed, one shouldn’t be surprised in Iraq by surprises. You continue to be surprised by what you find. I personally think we’re going to find program activities, and some of them are quite substantial, as in the missile area. We’re not going to find large stockpiles.

This quote is from David Kay in the NPR interview that is being reported as saying there were not WMD in Iraq and they had never been there. This is not so. What he said was that there were no stockpiles of weapons but the programs were there to produce them after the heat was off.

Whence The CIA

Outgoing Inspector Says Iraq Likely Had No Banned Arms

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence agencies need to explain why their research indicated Iraq possessed banned weapons before the American-led invasion, says the outgoing top U.S. inspector, who now believes Saddam Hussein had no such arms.

“I don’t think they exist,” David Kay said Sunday. “The fact that we found so far the weapons do not exist — we’ve got to deal with that difference and understand why.”

Kay’s remarks on National Public Radio reignited criticism from Democrats, who ignored his cautions that the failure to find weapons of mass destruction was “not a political issue.”

“It’s an issue of the capabilities of one’s intelligence service to collect valid, truthful information,” Kay said. Asked whether President Bush owed the nation an explanation for the gap between his warnings and Kay’s findings, Kay said: “I actually think the intelligence community owes the president, rather than the president owing the American people.”

It’s time for a shakeup at the CIA. They have not been effective for a long time. It probably started with the Church investigations in the 70’s, but is now come to the point where they are utterly useless. They missed the Iranian Revolution, misread Soviet capabilities if not their intentions throughout the Cold War, did not see the Soviet collapse coming, were unable to warn against the first WTC bombing, Kobhar Towers, the African Embassy bombings, the USS Cole and Sept 11. Before Gulf War I they warned of a well trained Iraqi Army in impregnable defensive positions and have issued assessments saying Iraq had and were trying to develop WMD since that war.

It is tempting to point the finger at the Clinton Administration for their ill-conceived “only play with nice boys” directive and the attitudes that came with that. But while they were part of the problem, so was everyone else.

I think the problem lies at the feet of Congress. Their culture of politically expedient leaks and micro-management has corroded the intelligence services to the point where they have been little more than clipping services. They read the newspapers and trade journals and repackage what they read into intelligence estimates that carry the stamp of authenticity, but contain nothing but rumors dressed as facts and gossip as reliable sources. Just the fact that they sent Joseph Wilson to Niger to “drink mint tea and talk with locals” is enough to confirm their status as light-weights. A politically active partisan selected because of family connections within the Agency? Come on, where’s the professionalism?

It appears that President Bush has to deal with one more problem that has been shoved off for years. I don’t know how this is going to be done. It is going to require good judgment and cooperation from members of both parties. The Democrats, in their quest to regain power, are not about to allow any chance to hurt Bush politically slip through their fingers.

There will probably be hearings, where members can harrumph and point fingers at the other party. But that is political theater, not problem solving. It may be that that is what we will get. The media will get their sound-bites and headlines, the politicians will get their fondest dreams, 45 seconds on the network news, and then everything will go back to the way they are now.

The original OSS was a club. A group of elites brought together by William Donovan. The later CIA was run by members of this elite and some others, cowboys and professors. It did its work out of sight and did mostly credible work. But the people there now are political first, last and always. It has become just another bloated bureaucracy with all that entails. The ‘take no risks” management, the “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” mindset, the “don’t rock the boat” careerism that thinks the highest goal is to last until retirement.

That’s got to go, and I don’t know if there is anyone that is capable of doing it, right now. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Don’t Act Until You See The Mushroom Cloud.

Probe of Libya Finds Nuclear Black Market (washingtonpost.com)

Libya’s quest for atomic weapons was aided by a sophisticated nuclear black market that offered weapons designs, real-time technical advice and thousands of sensitive parts — some of them apparently manufactured in secret factories, according to diplomats and experts familiar with the probe of Libya’s weapons program.

The scale of the black-market operation — described by one expert as an “international supermarket” for nuclear parts — exceeds anything seen before, and it was undetected by Western intelligence agencies until recent months, the officials said. The same operation also is believed to have aided Iran, they said.

So, we must not act until the danger is imminent, and as noted in the article, this black-market nuclear operation was previously undetected? Maybe these are the nuke program that Saddam didn’t have?

This only emphasized the weakness of thinking “inside the box.” Nuclear programs are only developed by a country within its own borders and with its own scientists, right? In this case, it appears that it was a cooperative venture by some members of the “Axis of Evil” and supported by the “Axis of Not Quite So Evil.”

“A moral barrier has been breached,” said one Europe-based diplomat familiar with the Libya investigation. “Always, in the past, what we saw were single states, acting in their interests, looking to make nuclear weapons. Now we have atomic bomb factories.”

When the programs are not where you are looking, it makes them very hard to find. The word from the UN was that Libya had a rudimentary nuclear program that was not nearly advanced enough to build weapons. But they are now finding that the program is quite a bit more advanced than they thought. They have discovered that someone was putting together and selling nuclear do-it-yourself kits.

Some of the crates examined by inspectors this month in Tripoli contained what officials described as ready-to-assemble “kits” for centrifuges. “Everything you needed was there,” said one source. “Someone had gathered the parts from all over and put them together. The boxes even had company nameplates and quality-control stamps.”

Other boxes contained machines and precision tools Libya would need to build its own centrifuges, including flow-forming machines and lathes for metalworking, the officials said.

Libyan scientists told inspectors that the parts came with a customer-support service: The scientists were given the names of contacts who provide technical assistance on any matter, at any time.

Company nameplates? What companies? Where?

Who is assembling and marketing these kits?

This throws old assumption out and throws more doubt on the question of “imminent threat.” If an adversary could have his nuclear capabilities developed “off site” and put together at the last minute, can we play the “imminence game?” The idea that we must wait until we are sure they have a gun, and are sure the gun is loaded, know for sure that they want to harm us and then act only when the gun is pointed at our head and his finger is on the trigger is the height of madness.

Horsefeathers!

The Feathers That Caused a Flap (washingtonpost.com)

The federal investigation into the tribal art collection of Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small started with a telephone call in November 2000 to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service saying that published pictures of the artifacts showed feathers from endangered species.

This gives lie to the notion that tax cuts have left the government unable to maintain essential services. They have enough money to sustain a three year investigation leading to a misdemeanor charge? Then I guess they don’t need any money for other things. “Started with a phone call?” Hmm…An anonymous phone call? From somebody who knew enough about endangered species feathers to recognize them from a photo?

Sounds like a smear job from someone who was passed over for his job. The caller probably spent months poring over magazines trying to find something to whine about. Then the case was to be closed in March 2001, but someone had enough political juice to get it reopened and investigated in order to get a relatively minor misdemeanor charge and some embarrassing headlines.

Talk about petty.

More than three years later, the investigation has led to a misdemeanor charge against Small. He is expected to plead guilty tomorrow.

Well, He’s More African Than Most Blacks In Omaha.

Students disciplined for posters on King Day

A small group of Westside High School students plastered the school Monday with posters advocating that a white student from South Africa receive the “Distinguished African American Student Award” next year.

The students’ actions on Martin Luther King Jr. Day upset several students and have led administrators to discipline four students.

The posters, placed on about 150 doors and lockers, included a picture of the junior student smiling and giving a thumbs up. The posters encouraged votes for him.

The posters were removed by administrators because they were “inappropriate and insensitive,” Westside spokeswoman Peggy Rupprecht said Tuesday.

Rupprecht said the award always has been given to black students.

Karen Richards said her son and his friends were not trying to hurt anyone.

“My son is not a racist,” she said. “He has black friends, friends from Bangladesh and Egypt. Color has never been an issue in our home.”

“It was a very innocent thing,” she said.

Richards said her family moved to Omaha from Johannesburg six years ago. Trevor, she said, “is as African as anyone.”

If you are going to limit choices to only one race, say so. “Distinguished Negro Student Award” That would clearly define who can compete for the award. Of course this would lead to a Distinguished White Student Award”, a Distinguished Asian Student Award”, a Distinguished Hispanic Student Award and the coveted Distinguished Mixed-Race Award.