Where’s An EMP When You Need One

I was reading over this typically excellent QandO post, Israel and Qana and “net wars,” and pondering some ways to counter Hezbollah’s advantage. (That advantage being, of course, that they can kill civilians whenever they want without any consequences.) It’s looking more and more like brute force isn’t going to work in a modern war with Islamic terrorists, thanks to the ever-present international media scrutiny.

The media is one of the biggest weapons the terrorists have… a terrorist “offensive” basically consists of killing or kidnapping someone, hiding among civilian women and children, and then just staying alive until the enemy is forced to stop fighting back because of international pressure against excessive collateral damage. Without someone around to cheerfully broadcast images of each and every unintended civilian death, they wouldn’t be able to get away with that so easily. So step one in my strategy would be to neutralize the 24/7 media, and that means knocking out phone lines, cell phone towers, Internet, and satellite transmissions of any kind in the region. It would force journalists to send their stories back the old fashioned way: By mail. Preferably through a censor.

Now offhand I’m not precisely sure how one would accomplish all that without setting off a giant EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) bomb a la The Matrix or blowing up a bunch of satellites in orbit and inconveniencing a huge region of the planet. I’m not even sure we have the technology to do that. If I were a military strategist, a satellite-killer and an EMP bomb would be pretty high on my list of cool weapons I’d want. It might be nice to install a government-controlled “kill switch” on any satellite launched into orbit from now on, too. That way satellites wouldn’t have to be physically destroyed, so they could be activated again after the war is over.

And yes, I’m saying that freedom of the press is a dangerous weapon in the hands of irresponsible photo/journalists. It’s great if the population is wise and thoughtful, because it shows us how Hezbollah is manipulating the press and the civilians for their benefit, but it’s kind of a major obstacle when the population is complacent and naive and doesn’t want to look beyond the nice, shiny pictures.

New Email Formatting

This is a test post. I made some changes to the site yesterday which should improve the formatting of the emails that are sent out when a new article is posted. Hopefully this post will demonstrate it effectively.

ThatViralMarketerEmily

Some weeks ago, I saw a post somewhere in the Virginia blogosphere about ThatGirlEmily’s blog. I jotted down the link on the 19th and wrote: “I think it’s contrived, but it’s compelling in a can’t-look-away-from-the-train-wreck kind of way: That Girl Emily, the blog of a woman’s revenge against her cheating husband.” It never ended up on my blog, though, because it’s more “pop culture” than “culture wars” material.

I suspected a PR job right away, but I’ve kept the revenge blog in my reader and chuckled a bit with each new entry. Today they’ve got YouTube video of ThatGirlEmily, who looks suspiciously like a model, angrily throwing Steven’s stuff all over the sidewalk (someone just happened to be there to videotape it). (By the way, from previous entries, her husband, too, looks suspiciously like a model.)

Anyway, after noting the comments of the YouTube video, I Google’d “ThatGirlEmily” and found quite a few other people who don’t quite believe it: The Curious Case Of That Girl Emily. I’m not linking to the YouTube video because I don’t really want to be part of the “infectiousness” of this viral marketing campaign (a new term I learned today!) any more than I have to, though I’m not precisely sure what exactly they’re advertising. Maybe it’s a college thesis or something. Wikipedia thinks it’s for a Court TV show, Parco PI, which I’ve never heard of before and am not terribly interested in seeing now that I’ve read about it.

Somalia The New Afghanistan?

Now here’s something interesting that nobody’s talking about: Somali minister assassinated. By “interesting,” I really mean “scary,” but at least it’s not the same old “more ways that the UN and the mainstream media hate Israel and love terrorists” news from the Middle East.

I mentioned this in passing before, but it looks to me like Somalia is quickly turning into the next Afghanistan. I’ve been watching developments there with some interest, since I first heard that Islamic militants were taking over Mogadishu. I’m still mad about Clinton pulling us out of there, so I remain hopeful that one day we’ll storm back for some payback. Maybe that’s not a great attitude. Anyway, the Al-Qaeda-friendly Islamic Courts Union militia now basically owns Balad, Jowhar, and the capital Mogadishu, and the U.S.-backed “legitimate” government, run by Ali Mohamed Gedi, is running for their lives. The ICU is brutally enforcing Islamic law in areas they control, just like the Taliban did in Afghanistan. So if you’re a terrorist in need of a vacation spot, or you’re a small-government, pure-free-market enthusiast, Somalia’s the place to go. If you want to watch soccer without being killed, then um, don’t go there.

I feel bad for those people over there. It’s hard to fathom the state of chaos they must live in. You might think you have a stressful job, but can you imagine a worse job than that of Ali Mohamed Gedi, Prime Minister of the Transitional Government of Somalia? I mean, the country was in total anarchy for 10 years before you even got there, and now you get the job of “fixing it.” You’ve got a hundred different warring clans to unite, arms dealers falling all over themselves to sell guns to your people, and a big group of hard-line Islamic militants howling at your door. And your experience for this job? You were… a veterinarian. (I’m not making that up .) Yikes.

Yesterday

Yesterday I found basically nothing interesting in the news or blogosphere. I wrote a few paragraphs about Dude, Where’s Your Independence? but when I got home I decided not to embarass myself by posting it because it suffered from what I like to call “pointless rambling crapiness.” So today I’ll just give you the link and say I found Jarding’s attack on George Allen kind of childish. Hopefully I’ll find something more interesting today. 🙂

Not A Slam Dunk For Me Yet

Naomi Oreskes recently wrote a piece in the LA Times telling us about the most recent scientific consensus on global warming: Global Warming — Signed, Sealed and Delivered.

Whenever I read something about global warming, I find a suspicious number of “weasel words” in the text regarding human involvement. Ms. Oreskes, for example, quoting the National Academy of Sciences, calls it “likely.” Is that a 99% chance? 75%? 51%? She says there is “no significant disagreement” among scientists. Does that mean nobody? Or just a statistically insignificant amount, which might be 1%, 5%, or even 10%. She then goes on to write, essentially, that we must accept that humans are causing global warming because a better theory has not yet emerged in a respected scientific journal. That seems a little elitist. But most interestingly, her article ends with a paragraph of disclaimers about the “uncertainties” inherent in any live science. She’s basically saying, “we could be wrong, but we’re probably right.”

This reminds me of Robert Bazell’s report on global warming on NBC Nightly News For Dummies a while back. There was a big splash at the start of the broadcast, saying that this was it, the debate is over, we’re doomed if we don’t do something, junk your SUVs now before it’s too late, blah blah blah. Then the report went on to say that, yes, the National Academy of Sciences confirms that the earth is hotter than it’s ever been in the last 400 years, but we aren’t so sure about anything before that. Huh? How is that a slam dunk case for anything?

Robert Bazell’s source of information, the National Academy of Sciences, in their Congressional testimony, state their “belief” that warming is “a result of human activities.” But once again, we find weasel words, vagueness, and a lack of evidence. They admit that the surface temperature reconstructions examined in the report are not the primary evidence to look for a human cause. They admit that factors of volcanic activity and output of the Sun are “not very well known” prior to the Industrial Revolution. In other words, they “think” it’s humans but they don’t “know” squat.

I remain unconvinced that there’s a “slam dunk” case that industrialization is causing global warming. I’m still looking for someone to refute that it’s anything more than a simple increase in global population (more people = more lungs expelling carbon dioxide). Wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out we had to start killing people off to control global warming and save mankind?

Hopefully, CNN Is Just Confused

I was home sick yesterday, and I saw a somewhat distressing report on CNN. The British anchorwoman reported that Condoleeza Rice had offered a cease-fire proposal to Lebanon that included an international peacekeeping force and a prisoner swap. Nooooooo! No prisoner swap! Prisoner swap bad! If there’s a prisoner swap, Hezbollah (or whatever’s left of them) will keep right on kidnapping Israelis and Americans and whoever else they feel like kidnapping, knowing that it will achieve their goals (perhaps after a long period of civilian deaths).

After some Google News searching this morning, I’m somewhat relieved to see I can’t corroborate what I saw on CNN yesterday. All I can find are reports that Lebanon’s prime minister proposed a prisoner exchange, but Rice is rejecting their proposal: Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Rejects Rice Proposal. So let’s hope CNN was merely misreporting the facts.

The Silence Of The Left On Israel

I’ve seen some mutterings, most recently at CJR Daily, about why the liberal blogosphere is ignoring the Israel/Hezbollah/Hamas conflict going on right now. To me, it’s pretty simple, and I’m a little surprised it isn’t common knowledge. It has nothing to do with the “complexity” of the Middle East. Liberal bloggers either have to take the side of Israel or the side of Hezbollah. If they take the side of Hezbollah, they’re siding with terrorists, and that hurts their Democratic “tough but smart” anti-terrorism pseudo-plan (not to mention opening themselves up to a flood of conservative accusations of anti-Semitism). If they take the side of Israel, they’re essentially agreeing with the Bush administration, and that goes completely against their radical anti-Bush doctrine. So it’s a no-win situation for the left. They have no choice but to remain silent and hope nobody notices what it means: That liberal bloggers are far more interested in getting Democrats in power than in meaningful discussions of world events. They’re all playing amateur campaign manager, in other words.

More From Chincoteague

I heard an update on the story of that 16-year-old from Chincoteague this morning on the radio: The state is forcing him to undergo chemotherapy again. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a few more details: Teen loses bid to pick treatment. They still don’t say what the odds of successful treatment are, but Jimmy Barrett on the radio implied they were not too good. So I guess the state wants to make sure this kid suffers as much as possible before he dies. Yuck. Reportedly, the parents will be appealing decision.

My Virginia Representatives In Action

A Virginia “Weekend Without Echoes” post by Thomas Krehbiel

This is a special one-part investigative journalism series about my Virginia legislative representatives. Of course, I didn’t have to leave my chair or talk to anyone, and the information is readily available for anyone else to find, so it might not precisely qualify as “journalism.”

I stumbled on the Virginia General Assembly page the other day, and I discovered that my Virginia Delegate is John O’Bannon, and my Virginia Senator is Walter Stosch. Both are, not surprisingly, Republicans. I should have known they were my representatives before now, but sometimes I slack off on my civic duties. Anyway, I had some spare time, and, being the curious sort, I decided to look up what my representatives have done for me in the 2006 Special Session, which started at the end of March.

At the time of this writing, Delegate O’Bannon has taken the lead in introducing legislation to “commend and congratulate Dr. JoAnne Kirk Henry on her 20 years of exemplary service” to VCU (HJ 5027).

Senator Stosch, being the eager beaver that he is, introduced three bills. He introduced legislation to “commend and congratulate Lisa A. Parrish as the 2006 national president of the United States Junior Chamber” (SJ 5025), to “commend the Goochland High School baseball team on its 2006 Virginia High School League Group A state baseball championship” (SJ 5041), and to “commend Lela Richmond on her 38 years of loyal service to Second Baptist Church, its congregation, and the community” (SJ 5043).

I sure am lucky to have such wise representatives in my state government. Those people might have gone completely un-commended without Stosch’s and O’Bannon’s solid Republican leadership!

I have to wonder why Lela Richmond and the Goochland High School baseball team didn’t receive congratulations along with their commendations? Perhaps they under-achieved. I see that the Goochland baseball team did lose one game. Better luck next time, guys.

(It ruins the humor, but to be fair, I should point out that O’Bannon and Stosch actually did some meaningful work in other legislative sessions.)

The more I find out about the inner workings of the government, the less appealing it sounds. I guess it’s better than anything else out there, but still I think American Democracy has plenty of room for upgrade patches. I mean, do we really need our government representatives to sit around “congratulating” people?