Friday, December 16

One Year of Blogging - Time for Vacation

The first post on Fred Fry International was made on 19 December 2004. With a feeling of accomplishment, I have just made the 100th post to FFI. Just in time for the blog's first year anniversary.

By June 1, 2004, FFI had managed to make only 6 posts. Scott at Environmental Republican commented on a possible reason for my initial lack of posting:

Fred Fry starts a post about license plates and doesn't end it until 30-days later. He's so tired, he can't write anything in March. - Environmental Republican

All I can say in reply was that I became a dad at the end of January.

Eventually I adapted to my new position and I grew into blogging. It didn't hurt that there was no shortage of issues to blog about.

In celebration of surviving a year in the blogosphere and in celebration of Christmas, the family and I are off to Finland for vacation. Yes, Finland.

I may or may not manage to post while there. So:

Merry Christmas!
Happy New Year!

I'll be back by 5 January. Until then:

Some info on Finland:
Finland – The Good, The Bad, and The Stupid - 10 June 2005

Noteworthy Posts:
Signs that Allah (God) is not on Your Side: - 28 July 2005

Some effects of a devalued Dollar. - 05 September 2005

Signs of a Real Conspiracy - 10 April 2005

Before you move to Canada - 19 December 2004

FFI's First Post:
Seeing things in Black and white instead of in shades of gray. - 19 December 2004

Thursday, December 15

Trump's Apprentice Winner Screws Runner-up Out of Job!

The wife and I enjoy watching the Apprentice. I find it amusing watching these 'professionals' act in any number of idiotic ways. You sometimes wonder how they ever ended up as one of the finalists, but then you read their bios and are confused even further as they are all successful in their own fields. They just might not do well when tasks are handed to them or perhaps the video was edited to make them look bad.

In the first three apprentices, one of the two finalists would clearly outshine the other. However, in Apprentice '4' both Randal and Rebecca were clearly qualified for the job. Either one of them could have ended up the final winner. So we had suspected that Trump would hire both of them.

In the end Trump hired Randal. Not surprising at all. Then he asked Randal if he should also hire Rebecca. Randal, said no, explaining that he should be the 'sole' apprentice. In that second Randal managed to evaporate all the respect we had for him. that's a shame.

Randal must have been concerned that Trump would offer both of them jobs. Earlier he had mentioned that he should be the 'sole' apprentice instead of just saying apprentice in his answer. This is a probelm with a person of his education. He is too smart for his own good. I have experience with people like this. I have a frined with two BBA's and two MBA's. Yes, great, but what good is it? Wasn't one of each degree enough? People like this are very smart, but often have problems functioning in the real world. Randal did not appear to have this problem, until his last minute move to screw over Rebecca.

I have no doubt that Rebecca will be offered a number of good jobs, probably ending up with one that is better and has a higher salary than what she might have been offered by Trump. However, thanks to Randal there can only be one Apprentice.....

Cangratulations to both. I too am a winner in business. I have worked myself to a VP position and I'm in charge of a division that operates globally and generates millions in revenue. I have nothing to prove to others. I just wonder what Randal was out to prove by denying his runner- up the job that he didn't want?
At least one story explains his action as race related and a victory for blacks. Now I am even more shocked!
It was insulting that Donald Trump asked the newly hired Apprentice Randal Pinkett, 34, if he would like to share his victory with the runner-up Rebecca Jarvis, 23. Situations like this prove the rules change in the business world, when well qualified black people are matched against less qualified white competition. Many black people grow up with the constant warning they must work twice as hard, be twice as clever and twice as smart in order to succeed against even marginal white competition in the business world. Many blacks would like to believe things have changed, but Donald Trump and his camp showed national television they still linger on.
As I watched the show wind down to its last moments, I could almost feel the insult slap Randell Pinkett in the face when Trump asked the newly crowned winner to make a special exception and share his glory with the looser. Randell gracefully declined, as I believe he was justified in doing. He made a statement that black people will no longer suffer from special exceptions, because we are more qualified than a white competitor. The best man or woman should win, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.
I find this hard to belive that this is the explanation for Randal's actions. How big of him to deny a well-qualified person a job that he didn't want. Then again perhaps the writer of the story understands the situation better than I as I am not black. However, I find this strange that it would be a black person to introduce race into this issue. If anything, Randal gave the racists ammunition against hiring blacks. Sad.

For Randal:

Sunday, December 11

CodePink Abandons Trip to Cuba

The extremists of CodePink were planning the challenge the US Government's ban on travel to Cuba by organizing a trip there for a large group of their followers. They knew that there was a possibility that there would be trouble, but had promised those who were going with them that they would handle the lawyer issue, right up to getting you through customs and immigration. Of course, once you were back in the US, you were on your own, figuring that there would be safety in numbers and that publicity would protect the lawbreakers.

How silly of CodePink to even think that the "Most Evil horrible President, Ever" would let them get away with something so foolish. Lucky for them, the Treasury Dept. didn't waste any time in contacting them and warning them not to go. The warning was in the form of a threat:

We have some bad news to relay about the Cuba trip. We knew that this trip was a challenge to the Bush administration's restrictions on travel to the island.

However, we had anticipated that, as in the past, the government would either let us come and go without incident, or would send us a letter after we returned. Instead, we, CODEPINK, Global Exchange, and some of the participants have already received ominous letters from the Treasury Department, calling on us to "cease and desist" our plans for the trip, demanding the names of all the people who had signed up, and threatening us with a million dollar fine and ten years in jail.

When some individual participants received these letters, they canceled their plans - leaving us without the "safety in numbers." And while our organizations are willing to fight the government on this (Global Exchange has been fighting the travel restrictions for 15 years!), we feel that right we are too overloaded with other efforts, such as stopping the war in Iraq, to take on a prolonged legal battle right now. - CodePink

Nothing like belonging to an organization that might result in you ending up in jail. If I was in the Government I would have let them go on their trip. The fine money collected afterwards could have been used to help pay for the war.

I do have a suggestion for CodePink for an alternate New Year's celebration location. How about partying with your brothers and sisters in North Korea? The US Government will not stop you. Check the State Dept. link below for information how to do it, if you dare.

I ran into this group once. It was outside the White House. One of them had the "War is not the answer" sign. I asked her, "What is the answer?" The blank state I got in return was priceless.

Moonbats Over Havana - Little Green Footballs
The Real Cuba - Warning, graphic photos
- Are there no toilet seats in Cuba?

Consular Information Sheet, North Korea - US State Department

Post Showcased at:

Check out the:


The Carnival of the Clueless is a great place to catch up on all the clueless activity in the US as well as around the world. The US certainly has no monopoly on cluelessness.

Saturday, December 10

Time to Register as a Republican

I have not been a member of either major party for at least 5 years and most likely more than 7 and possibly as long as ten years. I have long considered myself an independent. The last time that I can remember choosing a party affiliation was when I first registered to vote when I was eighteen. I registered as a Republican. I never participated in any politics, other than voting. I would like to think that I would vote for the best candidate, Democrat or Republican. I have voted for candidates of both parties. One year, I was really pissed as nobody I voted for won, including the Democrats that I had voted for. Since I had the belief that members of both parties left much to be desired, I had decided that it was better to not be affiliated with either.

However, with the recent statements made by the leadership of the Democrat Party, I am put in a difficult position. If I am faced in the next election with the choice of a good Democrat ad a less-good Republican, my inclination would be to vote for the Democrat, because he is better. But this increases the chances that the Democrats might regain control of Congress. So my vote for the better candidate might result in giving Pelosi, Boxer, Dean, Kerry, Kennedy, Murtha and their allies like the ACLU and control of which direction this country heads in the future. I am not interested in going down that road.

In the last couple of weeks the Democrats have done a great job of losing any prospect of winning my vote for any congressmen. Sure there are good Democrats out there. Everyone is talking about Joe Lieberman right now. As an example of the lack of sanity within the Democrats, there is talk of finding a replacement to defeat Mr. Lieberman in the next Democrat Primary because there is a lack of acceptance of his comments about Iraq and failing to project the Democrat Party’s lies. (Yes, it is the Democrats that are lying.)

A work of advice: Be careful what you ask for. Just because Mr. Lieberman doesn’t have a serious Republican challenger for his seat, doesn’t mean that another Democrat running for the same position won’t be as lucky. (there is a reason people don't run against him.) I am sure the Republicans would love to see Mr. Lieberman beaten in a Democrat Primary so that they can win his Senate Seat in the General Election. You can bet that the President will find a post for him if it turns out that Democrats don’t want him to represent them in the Senate.

I think the President is doing a great job. I believe that what we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq is right. The price paid in lives is small compared to the benefit. Unfortunately, there are families that will suffer losses and they have a right to question if THEIR sacrifice was worth it. There is probably a good chance that if we did not go into these countries that we would be mourning many more losses than we are now. Our responsibility to those who have fallen is to ensure that the goals that they were fighting to attain are reached. We are well on the way of completely reforming Iraq and Afghanistan. (More on this subject here.)

With my move to Virginia, I need to get a new driver’s license and at that time I will register to vote. When I do, I will register as a Republican. While I have problems with the party, I can probably do more good working from the inside than as an outsider.

I am:
"I bet you'd like Democrats okay if they wouldn't keep handing out your paycheck to urban welfare cheats, right? (And you probably don't want me to be saying anything about 'urban' being some kind of code word, I bet.)"

Are You A Republican?

Wednesday, December 7

Pearl Harbor, December 7 1941

Today, is the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Here is President Roosevelt's speach to Congress that was made the following day. Other than the "a date which will live in infamy" I had neaver read the rest of the speech:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire."

Of course, the attack on Pearl Harbor was only the start of many difficult months for the US, and her territories.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941 - Blogs for Bush

Atheist Group Sues for removal of Crosses from Arlington National Cemetery

Posted in the new MSM tradition of ‘fake but accurate’ news reporting. Atheists currently are not suing to remove crosses from Arlington National Cemetery but they might as well. The crosses are on Federal Property and I bet that they can argue that the presence of the crosses violates the separation of Church and State. Anyone who has been to Arlington National Cemetary knows that most every grave there contains a religious marking.

Arlington National Cemetary, December 1999 (Photo - Fred Fry)

This is exactly what atheists are doing in Utah State. They are suing for the removal of crosses marking the locations of where policeman died while in the line of duty. Of course if a policeman’s family does not want a cross, they can opt for something different. However, this is not good enough for this Atheist Group, which happens to be located in Texas, yet still manages to be offended. (I wonder if they have even seen one of these crosses in person?)

This is just one of a number of recent attacks by atheists on our society. Atheist Michael Newdow is currently suing for removal of ‘In God We Trust’ from the money and has sued twice to ban reciting the pledge in school as it contains the phrase ‘one nation under God.’

mr. Newdow had to sue twice as the first time it was determined that he did not have the right to sue on his daughter’s behalf, as he didn’t have legal custody of his daughter. It didn’t help his cause any once the public learned from his mother that she actually liked saying the pledge. Pretty hard to argue that your daughter has been 'harmed' by the pledge.

This setback was not embarrassing enough to make him go away. He managed to find other families that he could use for this lawsuit. They do not want to be identified, which is a shame, since it’s always nice to see who exactly is creating this ruckus and see how crazy they happen to be. (If he was real serious about banning the pledge from school, he should argue that the pledge discriminates against foreign nationals that might be in the classroom. As they might be required to stand there in silence, unable to participate in that 'group' activity. But that would be too easy, and would not directly aid the Atheist adgenda.)

Neither story has gotten much play in the press, yet. However, don’t think for a second that the atheists are going to be content with just this lawsuit. You can bet that they are aiming for bigger treasure. From their press release:

“Dave Silverman, Communications Director for the group, said that the Utah suit will likely be “the first of many” that seek to remove similar crosses from state and federal highway lands.” - press release 7 December

So at some point I suspect that the title of this article will become real and accurate, and that is a sad thought.

Question for Atheists:

While you do not believe in God, do you think that having a God would be a good thing? Do you wish that there was a God?

Feel free to let us know by answering in the comments section.

Crosses honoring troopers protested -
Utah State Troopers Feeling "Cross" Toward Atheists Charges -
Maybe atheists would have an easier time winning acceptance if they didn't act like such jerks all the time. - James Taranto, Opinion Journal

ACLU Seeks Ban on Christmas "Propaganda" from the Public Airwaves - The Right Place

Atheist Fanatic Michael Newdow at it Again - National Ledger
American Atheists - No Christmas Presents for them!

Sunday, December 4

The Stores are Totally de-Christmas'd

You don’t appreciate a New York Christmas until you have to celebrate Christmas someplace else. I learned this while living in Charleston, SC. It wasn’t just Christmas that seemed less than whole, it was all the holidays. Even the Fourth of July was not as loud as it is in NY, which is interesting since fireworks are legal in SC and not in NY. Holidays seem to be celebrated with more intensity in New York than in other places. Palm trees with Christmas lights just aren’t the same thing.

There is much in the news about the ‘war on Christmas.’ I was originally going to write about how sterile I found shopping in Target this last Saturday. Officially, Target states that they have nothing against Christmas, just that it does not fit into this year’s “Gather Round” slogan of theirs. Too bad as one of the nice things about Christmas shopping is getting into the whole Christmas mood. Christmas decorations, Christmas music and people saying Merry Christmas! I find it hard to explain the atmosphere inside Target other than they did a good job of killing the Christmas spirit. They also failed to even instill the slightest of any holiday spirit. IF this is what Target wants, that’s fine. I still shopped there. I just didn’t Christmas shop there. I just couldn’t get into the mood. I didn’t even check the DVD section as I normally do. I just wanted out of there. However, after today’s venture to the mall, it appears that the war is over, and has been lost.

Feeling cheated by the Target experience, I went to Tyson’s Corner Mall in Northern Virginia. That was a huge mistake. There was a Santa Clause. That is the extent of Christmas at the mall. I did not spot the word “Christmas” once. (I didn’t see if Santa’s spot mentioned Christmas) Not once. There weren’t even that many Happy Holiday signs. Places like the Levi Store didn’t even attempt to decorate the store. A couple of places did mention free holiday shipping, which suspiciously ended on the 22nd. I guess you don’t get free shipping for the New Year holiday.

Lucky for me, I’m off to Finland for Christmas this year. They still celebrate Christmas there. So I’ll do my Christmas shopping there. I no longer have that much to do anymore. I have done a great job de-gifting Christmas. My wife and I do not exchange gifts. Instead of giving a gift to my brother and his wife, we setup a stock account for each of them and just make a contribution to the accounts for their birthdays and Christmas. I also opened an account for my youngest brother as all he ever wants is money. My wife and her family came to an agreement that we will not exchange presents this year. Instead we’ll all contribute some food and wine and make a really great feast to enjoy instead. (Not that the feasts were shabby in previous years.) If you didn't already know, Finland is the home of Santa Claus. (It's only his Corporate Headquarters that are located in Alaska.)

So I really can’t complain about the lack of Christmas in the stores since I no longer do much Christmas shopping. I just wonder if it was the lack of Christmas Spirit that contributed to my lack of Christmas Shopping.

Fred and Santa - Finland, December, 1998

Looking for some last minute gift ideas?

How about a Redwood Tree?

I have a couple and I'm taking some with me to Finland. Her is a pic of my Coastal Redwood. I also have a Sequoia.

They even have Christmas Specials!

You can surprise people with American wine. Of course you can get some French wine, but why? There is a huge selection of great American-made wine and US-Champagne to choose from.

You can also check out Lee Valley Tools. They have a great selection. Their catalog also identifies the products that are made in the US and in Canada. Products do not seem to be marked online. But that is just an incentive to get on their catalog mailing list. If you have a garlic nut you need to find a stocking stuffer for, then I suggest that you consider getting the Garlic Mincer:

Just remember that it’s ok to buy gifts made anywhere in the world. A good effect of outsourcing is that it creates jobs overseas. That means that there are them many less people desperate to get into the US. Foreigners need jobs too. Just not all of them.

Brand Loyalty – Buy American - FFI

Friday, December 2

Lawyer Joke

You are trapped in a room with a Lion, a Tiger, and a lawyer.

You have a gun with only two bullets.

What do you do?

(Check the comments for the answer)

Wednesday, November 30

Truth about Iraq Thanks to Senator Lieberman

On 18 November, I dared any Congressman to speak up about the current situation in Iraq. Somehow I am not surprised that it was Senator Lieberman to be the one to set the record straight on what is going on:

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is

Read the whole encouraging article here.

For some reason it seemed like Congress believes the distorted news coverage. We have limited options in finding out what is going on in Iraq. Unfortunately, most people want to believe that Iraq is a mess and the press happily provides them with what they need to believe the lie. However, Congress has access to information that we do not, including the ability to visit Iraq and see for themselves what is going on. Obviously many of them are ignoring this source of information.

Senator Lieberman's statement sharply contrasts with that Of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

"I'm endorsing what Mr. Murtha is saying, which is that the status quo is not working and that we need to have a plan that makes us safer and our military stronger and makes Iraq more stable," - Nancy Pelosi

No thanks. I'll stick with what the US Military is saying and what Senator Lieberman knows to be true. Perhaps it's time that Congresswoman Pelosi take another trip to Iraq to see what is really going on. Has she been back there since March? Back in March she admitted that it would take some time before the Iraqi's could manage their own security:

One of the primary purposes of our mission was to assess the political and security situation in Iraq, especially efforts to establish an effective Iraqi police force and army. Although some progress has been made, there is a significant way to go until the Iraqis are capable of providing for their security. - Nancy Pelosi, March 2005

How is the US pulling out going to make Iraq more stable when even Congresswoman Pelosi admits that they cannot secure the country without our assistance. Today she was bitching that the 35 page summary released by the White House was not enough. Of course she is ignoring the classified documents that she has access to. From what I can tell it's Pelosi's turn to provide us with her pullout plan that documents how the US can cut and run in a way that results in a situation better than we have now.

She doesn't have one. Nor does she care, other than to the extent that the war can be used to win seats in the next election. Lets face it, success in Iraq is not going to win the Democrats any votes.

Our Troops Must Stay - Opinion Journal
Top House Democrat backs Murtha on quick withdrawal from Iraq -
A Little Perspective On Military Deaths - FFI
A Letter To Nancy Pelosi - California Conservative

Tuesday, November 29

Holiday Tree? I Don't Think So.

What other holiday uses a tree that looks like a Christmas tree?

Hanukkah is celebrated around the same time but I know that there is no Hanukkah tree. Houses with lights for Hanukkah normally have the candle lights, not Christmas lights, or are those now holiday lights? Growing up, there was one classmate who was Jewish, and through the front window of their house you could see a Christmas tree. Ramadan is a different month every year, but you'll only be able to get a holiday tree for Ramadan if it falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This whole name game is stupid. It's Christmas and everyone knows it. Even non-Christians know it, especially those that own businesses. They look forward to the holiday shopping season just like everyone else.

They even celebrate Christmas in the middle east. I spent the Christmas of 1994 in Dubai. I had a great time. There are Christians that live in all the Middle East Countries.

So where do you buy these holiday trees? Do people buy holiday trees? Do people who think these things should be called holiday trees have a holiday tee at home? Why don't they sell these trees after Christmas?

Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to push Christmas on anyone. I wish people a happy Hanukkah and Ramadan, especially if they wish me a happy one. I don't get offended. The point is that it is supposed to be a happy time. It's your problem if your an atheist. It is possible to celebrate Christmas without the religious aspect of it. Many Christians do exactly that, although not on purpose.

Anyway, Christmas is not the problem. If you really want to separate religion from the Government, then your going to have to change the number system of the year. 2005 counts backwards to what year? Perhaps we could use the years since 1776.

Finally, hats off to Christmas Tree Farmer Donnie Hill in Halifax Canada. He sent a Christmas tree to Boston (Halifax sends one every year as a gift) only to find out that they were renaming it a Holiday Tree. According to the press "he'd rather see it run through the wood chipper in his backyard." -

"The States is never happy with the way things are. They always gotta change something. "Ever since I was born, a tree was put up for Christmas, not for holidays, because if you're gonna do that you might as well put a tree up for Easter." - Donnie Hill

Well put.

What is the significance of Easter? It's funny how many of the first settlers to the US were escaping religious persecution in Europe so that they can practice their religion here in peace. The Constitution separates Church and State. It does not remove the Church from society.

No 'holiday' tree for this grower -

Minors, the Death Penalty and Abortion

The Supreme Court decided earlier this year that it is not right to execute a minor, even if they commit murder. It's pretty sad that the case that came before the Supreme Court was one of a minor who committed the murder did it as a minor because he knew he would "Get away with it." The jury that heard the case and his interpretation of the law, decided to send him to death row. Perhaps it was the details of the case:

In early September 1993, Simmons then 17, discussed with his friends, Charlie Benjamin (age 15) and John Tessmer (age 16), the possibility of committing a burglary and murdering someone. On several occasions, Simmons described the manner in which he planned to commit the crime: he would find someone to burglarize, tie the victim up, and ultimately push the victim off a bridge. Simmons assured his friends that their status as juveniles would allow them to "get away with it."

Simmons and Benjamin walked Mrs. Crook to the railroad trestle. There, Simmons bound her hands and feet together, hog-tie fashion, with the electrical cable and covered Mrs. Crook’s face completely with duct tape. Simmons then pushed her off the railroad trestle into the river below. At the time she fell, Mrs. Crook was alive and conscious. - Missouri Death Row

The whole purpose of the crime was to commit murder. I am not saying that he got away with it. I just don't see the point of not sending this person to death and instead keeping him locked up for the rest of his life with no chance of parole. That sounds a hell of a lot crueler than putting him to death. Now Justice Kennedy reason's that a juvenile's "deficiencies" have a greater chance of being reformed, so they should not be executed. But what's the point, since he'll never get out of jail anyway. In general, the Supreme Court reasoned that Minors are not full responsible for their actions, including murder.

Fair enough.

Which brings us to a case the Supreme Court has decided to hear concerning a New Hampshire Law that requires minor girls to notify at least one parent of their intent to have an abortion. Pro-abortion rights groups are against parental notification. I think the parents should not only be notified but probably should be forced to attend too. Personally I think the law should stand. Minors that need to get an abortion have problems that need to be addressed. If for some reason the problem is a male relative, then that problem needs to be addressed too. If for some reason daddy is the reason she's pregnant, then that it not a reason to not notify parents, that's a reason to notify the police.

I would be shocked to see the Supreme Court reason that it's acceptable for a minor to be fully accountable on their own to have an abortion. That wouldn't make sense.

I do not think the medical exemption will kill this law either:

"In an emergency, a woman needs to go to the hospital, not a courthouse," - Jennifer Dalven, ACLU Lawyer

I am not sure what kind of emergency the ACLU is thinking of that requires an immediate abortion. I thought that doctors first try to save the patient and the baby inside. Only once there is an examination would they realize that the baby needs to be removed to save the mother. Of course the emergency could be that the minor just realized that she's pregnant. I would think that it's the person's responsibility to get themselves to medical care, and then the medical staff's responsibility to determine the problem and suggest possible treatment, including abortion if needed. What if mom and dad brought her to the hospital. How hard is it to tell them?

The ACLU also failes to make a distinction between a woman and a girl. Does the ACLU suggest not telling the parents that their child is in the Hospital? What if this 'emergency' will result in the child being in the hospital for days. What about the bill? Is the ACLU going to require parents to pay for operations not knowing what operation was done? Why has the ACLU been silent on other laws affecting minor rights? Is the ACLU really suggesting that it's acceptable for a 16 year old girl to get an abortion without parental consent but is still five years too young to buy a beer, even with parental consent?

Ms. Dalven, please elaborate!

5-4 Supreme Court Abolishes Juvenile Executions - Washington Post
Court weighs girls' access to abortion - Christian Science Monitor

Previous post:

Do we really want to Force Liberals to have more children? The Abortion Issue. - FFI

Monday, November 28

Why the US holds detainees outside the US

At the end of World War II there were almost four hundred thousand German soldiers interned in POW camps in the US. A portion of the German’s captured by the allied forces were the responsibility of the US to hold until the conclusion of the war. To do this, troop ships were filled with prisoners as they were emptied of soldiers in Europe. After arrival in the US, they were put on trains for long trips to Middle America where their POW camps were located.

Housing prisoners of war in the US is nothing new, so why aren’t we housing prisoners of war from Afghanistan and Iraq in the US? Here are a couple of likely reasons why.

First, none of those being held meet the definition of a prisoner of war, other than some of the Iraqi Government Officials now on Trial. Most people are familiar with the existence of the Geneva Convention, but few actually understand the basic principles of it. Not only does the Convention have requirements on how prisoners are to be treated, but also have requirements on the behavior of “soldiers” in order to receive treatment in accordance with the Convention.

In addition to those caught physically fighting the US, there are also those who have been detained, accused of being support staff for terrorists. These people are as dangerous, if not more dangerous than the foot soldiers that they recruit and support. These people recruit those who conduct suicide attacks. They collect and then provide funding to terrorists as well as arrange for training, documentation and transportation. The only crime that many of these people have committed is limited to attending a training camp or even attempting to attend a training camp but failing to make it all the way to the camps in Afghanistan. Look at the “Portland Six” that were detained (and now jailed) for attempting to get to Afghanistan to fight the US.

Now the US has done the sensible thing by imprisoning these people whether caught on the battlefield, or caught as the result of finding information in a laptop in a computer in a terrorist hideout somewhere in the world. They are going after all the links in the terror chain and that is a problem because at some point the chain does cross into regular society and those links sometimes look just like yours and mine.

It seems that there are many out there who have no clue that there are people out there that would kill them if they could. Many terrorists are destined to only one act of violence, a suicide terrorist attack. Until that time, their main task is to train for their one event and to avoid capture.

For those in the supporting roles, their job is to accomplish their goals while blending in with the enemy, creating reasonable doubt just in case their true intentions are questioned or if they are ever detained or arrested. If any of these people are caught, the few pieces of incriminating evidence get lost in the static of neighbors commenting on what nice people they are, employers noting what good employees they are and nobody remembering any sign of radicalism. Then there are those who are not active in fighting but if asked will assist those who are. Finally there is the strange silence from the Muslim community in general. They are the ones best able to identify those who might be a threat, yet they don’t notify the authorities as if doing so might betray another Muslim. This thinking ignores the betrayal all the terror supporters are committing against other Muslims.

The game is not over if the terrorists happened to be caught either. This is where they call in their ‘useful idiots’ to gum up the Justice System.

A couple of terrorists have worked their way through the courts. John Walker Lindh The American Taliban, Richard Reid the ‘Shoe Bomber’, and Zacarias Moussaoui, who after two and a half years of turning his trial into a circus, finally got bored and admitted that he was indeed a terrorist and declared his allegiance to Osama Bin Laden. In Moussaoui’s case, the German Government has evidence against him but refuses to give it to the US Government unless they remove the threat of the death penalty for Moussaoui. The French apparently also gave information with the understanding (so they say) that he would not receive the death penalty as a result of their cooperation. This just proves that the terrorists were not stupid to choose Europe as a base of operations. Where would Richard Reid be now if his flight was headed to France from the US? Most likely in a French jail with a much shorter jail sentence. If they Europeans are so concerned about these people not facing the death penalty, then they should do a better job of preventing them from traveling to the US and arrest them before they can get set their feet on US soil.

Then there’s Jose Padilla, the ‘Dirty Bomber.’ Jose has been held for three years as an enemy combatant, despite being an American Citizen. Only now is he being charged with conspiracy to murder Americans. For some reason, he has not been charged with treason. He is also not being charged concerning the original reason why he was detained, which was planning to conduct a radiological ‘dirty bomb’ attack on the US.

He was not charged with that crime as the Government suspects that the evidence collected concerning that crime would not be admissible in court. However, that does not mean that he’s not guilty of that crime. It just illustrates the difficulty in fighting the war on terror both in the field and in the courts and how difficult it is to move suspects from one arena to the other.

Then we have Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a terrorist recently convicted of planning to kill President Bush and being a member of al-Qaeda. Ahmed had claimed that he was tortured into confessing, however, the jury did not believe that he was tortured, especially after viewing his confession tape.

It seems that there is a standard practice of the Muslim community to express outrage at the news of any Muslim being arrested on terror charges. Noting useful facts that it is ‘against Islam’ to kill civilians while ignoring the facts of why these people were detained in the first place.

Take a look at the website If you spend a couple minutes reading the stories of the prisoners, you will quickly realize that all these guys apparently ended up in Gitmo as the result of some sort of injustice. Some have no story, just a mailing address so that you can send them a postcard or whatever. I imagine that their stories don’t help their cause. At least David Hicks doesn’t hide much in his story. Then there are those that we are sure are terrorists who aren’t even mentioned, like Abdullah Mehsud (Noor Alam), who after his release from Gitmo went off and kidnapped two Chinese Engineers. Then there is Abdul Ghaffar who was released from Gitmo and later killed back in Afghanistan. His summary in Cage prisoners only mentions that he was “He was released and later killed”. So at least some of those released from Gitmo were terrorists. Unfortunately, this was only proven after their release through their future actions.

One of the most amazing episodes of the London subway bombing involved the capture of one of the bombers, Ramzi Mohammed. There the man was, standing in his underwear yelling out that he has rights. You can bet that there is no shortage of people that will ensure that the UK does not infringe on his rights. This is kind of silly since he had planned on blowing his rights all over the inside of a subway car.

Ramzi is a perfect example of how the terrorists will demand that ‘we’ play by our rules as they use our rules against us. Ramzi Mohammed managed to get into a position using his right to privacy where he could have killed many people. Unfortunately for him, his backpack didn’t explode. He just happened to be lucky enough that a quick-acting policeman didn’t have the opportunity to gun him down on the spot. Sure, he is not in the news at the moment, but give the moonbats some time. They will warm up to him. After all, if the leader of the crips can be reformed, why shouldn’t this guy be given another chance.

Unfortunately for other Muslims, the UK is now deporting people that they no longer want in their country, including those with the weakest of links to any terror entities. But enter the rights groups who claim that many of these people cannot be returned to their home countries because they are wanted there and those countries might not respect their human rights, forcing them to flee to the UK in the first place. These groups also sue to ensure that these deportees without a destination are not detained either, in an attempt to leave the person’s status as before, which does nothing to reduce the UK risk of another terror attack.

In the aftermath of the first London subway bombing, the Muslim community went into autopilot denying that the Muslims identified could not have been involved. A website even explains how these guys were ‘duped’ into carrying the explosives. (How the Government Staged the London Bombings in Ten Easy Steps) Too bad for them at least one of the terrorists left a video claiming responsibility for the attack. The reaction from the Muslim community was one of utter shock. That comes from living in utter denial. At least there is the fact that terrorist attacks did occur. Now just imagine if we had arrested Mohamed Atta on September first? At what point does a person become an imminent threat?

Atta’s lawyer would surely claim something like this:

There’s no evidence that terrorism was contemplated or being planned by any particular person at any particular time or in any particular place.”

Then there would be the Muslim Community that would express outrage as well as the usual crowd of sympathizers including members of the press that would claim that he and those arrested with him were singled out because they were Muslims.

Then there would also be cries of persecution and claims that there was no proof that Mr. Atta had done anything wrong and that all of his activities have more plausible, non-threatening alternative explanations. After all, most of these people are nobodies. There is nothing special about them and they live lives almost exactly like hundreds of thousands of people like them (with minor differences.) Their greatest asset to those that wish us harm is that a ‘nobody’ can kill much more effectively than a known criminal. After all the only real evidence might just be what is locked inside their brains.

So what happens once we catch these terrorists?

Take a look at what is going on in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, Gitmo. There is a never-ending stream of visitors from Congress, the International Red Cross and lawyers representing those who are held there. Then you also have those demanding to get access, such as the investigators from the UN and EU. It is not good enough to just be allowed to visit the prison; they are also demanding to be able to talk to the prisoners, in private.

As one UN investigator stated, the US MUST be hiding something at GITMO because they will not permit them to talk to the Prisoners in private. But he forgets to mention that the US already permits the International Red Cross to talk to prisoners in private. This is despite the fact that they have leaked information to the press in violation of their rules that permit these visits in the first place. (Strange that the UN has no interest in visiting the rest of Cuba to talk to Cuba’s prisoners, in private.)

The International Red Cross, IRC, acts as observers when it comes to Prisoners of War. There are no POWS in Gitmo. But the US is granting them access anyway to show that they are treating them in line with the Geneva Conventions. Of course the IRC does not like what is going and they are pushing to have these criminals granted full rights under the Geneva Convention even though al-Qaeda violates the rules of war by targeting civilians. Did they point out to the prisoners that they broke the rules of the Geneva Convention and that the US has no requirement to treat them as they are currently? I suspect not. Lets not forget that they have also targeted the UN, as was done in Iraq.

Now these are the 500 worst people that the US has found other than the really big fish that the US has confined in unknown locations around the world. These big fish are the ones who have declared jihad against the US. They are the ones who issue orders for their followers. They collect and distribute funds and hand out missions and targets. There is very good reason to keep their locations unknown and even in some cases prevent or delay news of their capture. Does the US get any slack in detaining these criminals? Not lately as the European Union has been creating such a stink about the possibility of secret CIA prisons somewhere in the EU. No wonder the US is acting like it has no friends in the war on terror. Look at how our friends are acting. Perhaps if the US got some cooperation, then its actions could be a little less extreme. It is teaching the US a lesson though, that perhaps Guantanamo is not such a bad place after all, compared to hiding them somewhere else. At least there you can control the Lawyers, plane spotters, International Officials, and the whole mess that goes with it. Right now, I am waiting for the first pictures to be published of these secret prisons as well as a location so that I can check it out in Google.
ACLU to Sue the CIA - Stop the ACLU

Saturday, November 26

Likely Unintended Effect of Fighting for Rights for Terrorists

The International Red Cross, the UN, the EU, Amnesty International, the ACLU, and the American anti-war-left all contribute to making the detention of enemy combatants a no-win situation for the US Government.

These groups are demanding due process and rights for those that do not deserve them, other than documenting that they are enemy combatants or terrorists. They also act as mouthpieces to pass on propaganda and false claims of torture by the US. (as opposed to isolated cases of torture)

This 'harassment' by the rights groups might actually create a situation where the US will simply prefer to neutralize terror suspects, given an option.

Since these organizations are making life difficult for the US to capture and hold terror suspects, it becomes much easier to just kill them off. For example:

A building is identified as a terrorist safe house. While it would make sense to capture those inside for questioning, despite a known danger that those inside, known to be armed will fight back, the Government might opt to instead have an air strike destroy the building. This will avoid the issue of dealing with the hassle of detaining 20-plus ‘insurgents’ for the opportunity to interrogate them. They will still leave behind a good deal of material in the rubble for intelligence to review.

Once the attack is over, no amount of bickering from the normal crowd will change anything. There cannot be any allegations of torture. No demands from lawyers to set them free. No concern that the persons neutralized will be able to escape or continue their war against the US if released, as has been proved by a number of released Gitmo detainees. there will also be no need to hunt around for secret CIA Prisons as there will not be a need for them.

The few High Profile detainees we can lockup in Federal Prison as illegal combatants. For the lesser terrorists that surrender, we can hopefully return them to their own countries to face justice. Many are wanted by their own Governments and face a much harsher fate than the US can dish out.

As a bonus, word will spread that the US can get them anywhere and that nowhere is safe.

Ever see the night vision video where a building is being watched? You know the one, where a couple of people walk out and look around and are then cut down by a hail of bullets before a cannon shot takes out the building. We need more of that.

Confusion lingers over Australian anti-terror laws - FT
CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons – Washington Post
Update: 5 December 2005
When a well placed bullet is better - Macsmind (Great Blog!)

Fred’s Car, Season’s First Snow, and Thanksgiving in PA

On Tuesday we drove up to my Aunt’s cottage in the forest in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It is a family tradition to have Thanksgiving there. By going there on Tuesday we avoided the rush and managed to spend some quality time with my aunt and Grandmother before the house filled to a total of 13.

On Thanksgiving morning we were greeted with the season’s first snow. The car looked great in it.

(Fred's 1994 BMW 325i with 170,000+ miles)

Happy Thanksgiving (belated) to all those who celebrate it!

For those who do not celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope that this last year has brought something that you can be thankful for!

Move Accomplished - From DC to VA

On Saturday 19 November we moved from Washington, DC to Virginia. We would have loved to stay in the building where we were living but it is impossible to get a two-bedroom apartment there unless a current tenant dies. Yes, there are places like that. Not that this place was great, but it was nice enough, and incredibly cheap. For our one-bedroom apartment, with balcony, we were paying $1,047/month. That included electric, heating and air conditioning and all only 2 miles north of the White House. Plus, there was this view of Rock Creek Park. Actually we were essentially in the park. Did I mention the balcony?

View from the Old Apartment

Woodpecker visiting the balcony feeder

No place is perfect and that was true for this one too. The building was full of immigrants. Some of the immigrants were not too concerned about trash and left it wherever, the stairwell, on the floor of the trash-chute room, instead of throwing it into the chute, and then there were the roaches. We could keep them out of the apartment but if the neighbor was not as careful then were would get the overflow. At least the building staff was good at cleaning up after the tenants and were also good at attacking apartments that we mentioned might have a roach problem. Not that I have a problem with immigrants, but I would have preferred more of a mixture of tenants, otherwise how will the newcomers learn how to behave in our society. At a more basic level, I would have preferred more people like me.

Then there was street parking. During the four years while living there, a tree fell on the car, the car was scratched, the license plates were stolen, and the car was broken into and my toolbox stolen as well as two pairs of sunglasses. The last incident prompted me to leave the glove box open and empty whenever it was parked, just so any other thieves could save themselves the trouble of wondering what was in there. I had also welded the replacement license places to the car to prevent them from disappearing again.

And finally, with it being DC, there was all that came with the city being the Nation’s Capital. Motorcades, diplomats, snipers, terror threats and the occasional anarchist protestor attempting to shutdown a road by running into the street to block traffic. (Hint: if this happens to you, speed up and show no emotion. If you happen to hit someone claim that you feared that they were going to pull you from the car and beat you. My experience is that they WILL get out of your way.)

We have decided to leave all that fun behind. After two weeks of packing, we got a rental truck for 9A.M. Saturday morning. My brother came over to help, as did a friend couple of ours. It took only two hours to load the truck and then three to unload it. Not bad considering that our new apartment is on the third floor of a building with no elevator.

The most interesting part of the move was driving the truck around. I rented it in VA and I had limited options getting it into DC as many of the main roads prohibit trucks. In the end, my route took me within blocks of the White House, but just far enough away to not be a threat. I was tailed on the way out of the city for a couple of blocks but must not have fit the profile. Go downtown enough and you will see no end of moving trucks pulled over because they didn’t realize all the truck restrictions.

So now I am kicking back enjoying my new apartment. Other benefits will include, lower state taxes, lower car insurance, safer neighborhood, shorter work commute (3 miles compared to 10 miles before,) and I can now legally own a firearm. Don’t think that I am a gun nut by mentioning the right to own firearms. The DC prohibition actually created a problem for me as I already owned three rifles. During this time I needed to keep them at my parent’s house since I could not keep them in my DC apartment.

We are quickly unpacking a ton of boxes as well as getting used to the increased space and new neighborhood. There is so much to do before we go on vacation in a couple of weeks to Finland.

Question of moving day: “Fred, why do you have a shovel?”

The view from the new apartment

No sign of birds, yet.

Monday, November 21


Drudge Report has caught CNN like a deer caught in headlights.

How exactly do you explain something like this:

I was off from work today and happened to watch this speech on CNN. I was shocked to see this on Drudge this evening. Apparently the x was displayed in intervals of less than a second so that it would not be visible to viewers. If it can't be seen, than what's the harm right? Well for one it shows a complete lack or respect. You can be that this was not the action of one person sight unseen. You can be that they're were others in the control room who were aware of what was going on. The amazing thing is that those who let this happen didn't think that at least one person in a country of almost 300 million would catch what they were doing.

Just in case you think that this was an accident, lets take a look at CNN's Politics page:

I do not see any explanation. Perhaps they might have one in the morning. As it is I watch Fox on weekend mornings and now I wonder why I have not switched to watching them every morning.

Nobody fired yet? Come on, if this does not rate a firing, what does at CNN? Even if this was an accident, do you really want this guy around? What might his next 'accident' be. He will now be an example to the employees, either as an example of what they can get away wth, or what will happen to them if they expose the station to bad press like this.


UPDATE: 26 November 2005

CNN has since explained that the X was a technical 'glitch.'

Does this mean that sometime soon they will excuse their biased reporting from Iraq as a glitch too?

CNN has been broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week since its inception in 1980. The network is broadcast for 86,400 seconds a day and during the past year, CNN was on the air for 31.536 million seconds. Out of that total, "X’s" appeared for only 2/7 of one second. And both of these times the "X’s" just happened to be superimposed over the face of Dick Cheney. Mysteriously, these glitches never happened when Hillary Clinton or Cindy Sheehan graced the world’s television screens. - CFP

"X" marks the spot - Canada Free Press (CFP)

Friday, November 18

Congress Wants more info but doesn't bother to read what they got already!

How embarrassing. Congress comes out demanding more information on what's going on in Iraq and many Congressmen are claiming that they were misled concerning pre-war intelligence. It is now being reported that only a handful of congressmen and only 6 Senators bothered to ready past an executive summary of a National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq. Of course more of them did read the executive summary. Anyone familiar with these types of reports knows that only the most basic points make it into the summary.

So why would they not bother to read the full report? Could it be that they thought that Saddam was guilty? Could it be that they did not have the time to spare? It does not really matter the reason. They didn't think it was important enough.

So why are they asking for more reports to not bother reading?

Was Senator Murtha one of the six who bothered to read the report?

Lawmakers are partly to blame for their ignorance. Congress was entitled to view the 92-page NIE about Iraq before the October 2002 vote. But, as The Washington Post reported last year, no more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page executive summary. - Seattle Times

Warning to Republicans
Your success in 2006 is tied directly to the President. So don't bother abandoning the White House like it's a sinking ship. That's not going to win my vote in 06. The public is being bombarded with distorted news from Iraq but they should know better the true situation in-country. They should speak up to correct the distortion. Instead they are being idiots in chasing approval polls, which are distorted to begin with.

Warning to Democrats
Don't take the above to mean that I'm going to vote for you guys. Give me a reason to. I've gone to vote before and left votes blank. Tell me that you were lied to just tells me that you guys are idiots to have been fooled and now that we all know that you were fooled because you didn't/could not read doesn't really encourage me to throw votes in your direction. Remember that there is no shortage of video of Democrats stating how dangerous Saddam was, including many statements made before 2000, which would mean that the Clinton White House must have also been lying...

I dare any Congressman to come out and explain to the public that they understand that their opinion of the war has changed but we made a commitment to do this when they were in favor of it and we just can't cut and run because they're no longer happy. It's not that easy to 'abort' our being in Iraq. Worse, it will prove the terrorists right, that it only takes a couple lives to get us to quite a war. So far, we've been really lucky in Iraq. Remember Beirut, Somalia? To this day more people died during 9/11 than soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. They knocked down a couple buildings and we replaced the management in two countries. Think about that.

Bush defense of decisions on Iraq correct, to a point - Seattle Times
A Little Perspective On Military Deaths - FFI

Thursday, November 17

Sony CD Anti-Copy Software Contains Stolen Code!

How ironic. I bet that there are already people in Sony's head office thinking of hari kari considering the huge backlash they are receiving for selling CD's with malware in it. I first wrote about this here.

To add insult to injury, it turns out that the software on the CD's to prevent you from freely copying the CD actually contains stolen code. That's fitting that they would be caught using stolen software code to prevent others from 'stealing' their music. Of course to 'steal' the music, you first have to buy it. (Sony probably did not know about the stolen code.)

The technology that Sony BMG used to prevent piracy of audio CDs is itself based on stolen code, according to Sebastian Porst and Matti Nikki, two individuals from Germany and Finland respectively who looked into the application. -

I stated earlier that I have not bought Sony products for a long time and recently added Sony CDs to the boycot list. Now I will not purchase any protected CD. Often I am buying the CD for just 1 song and i'll just go find it on the net.

How many people are now working on a CD drive that cloaks itself as a normal CD player to the disk. I think thats not difficult to do. The CD drive would not be able to do anything but play CDs, but at least you could listen to the CD without downloading anything as well as create your own MP3s and not worry about any code that they might put on the CD.

There will always be a way around DRM. Just like the DVD region coding system. $40 got me a program that negates the region code system. Even if the DVD folks figure a way to negate the software, i'll just buy a second DVD drive and tell one that its in Europe and the other that its in the US.

Sony rootkit accused of GPL violation -

Wednesday, November 16

Controlling the Internet - Solution at WSIS Saves Internet from UN

As I pointed out in my original post, Controlling the Internet - The US, ICANN, and the UN, the international community already controls almost 40% of the Internet. But that was not good enough. Some parts of the world (China, Iran, Tunisia, and others) are not satisfied with controlling the Internet within their own country, they want to get control on what the rest of us can post and see. Their plan for doing this was to take the Organization that manages the addresses of the Internet, ICANN, and put the Register of addresses under an organization under UN control.

Take the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. He spoke during the opening of the World Summit on Information Society, WSIS in Tunis:

Addressing delegates at the second phase of the WSIS, Mugabe said the summit is supposed to empower all countries in their development endeavours and engender confidence in internet users outside Europe and North America.

He said this can be done by allowing for a more transparent and multilateral approach to internet governance.

"We challenge the still undemocratic issue of internet governance, where one or two countries insist on being world policemen on the management and administration of the internet," said Mugabe. - Mail and Guardian

Yes President Mugabe, this is why youe Citizens don't have access to the Internet. How about getting an Internet address ending in .zw which is the Internet country code for Zimbabwe? Sorry, your probably out of luck:

Although no registry Web site is shown in the IANA whois listing, at least registrations are presently being taken by the Zimbabwe Internet Service Providers Association (ZISPA) whose charter claims that one of the purposes of the organization's founding was to oversee the .zw domain. It is unclear who is overseeing registration under other second-level domains or how to register them. - Wikipedia

ZISPA has a note on their website that this was an organization created by ISPs in-country to manage the country's domain. There is another note that the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) had put out a tender for management of the .zw domain. I cannot tell how old the information is but their website appears to be dated, mentioning that there will be updates coming, in 2001 and to check back in September to see their new site. I have to say that their website is much better than that of POTRAZ is a dissappointing 1 page.

It would be one thing if President Mugabe was speaking with a country code domain to be proud of. After all the .zw domain is controlled by zimbabwe, not the US. So I suggest that the President of Zimbabwe first worry about problems at home. Actually, perhaps the best thing for Zimbabwe is to send the president to head some UN post somewhere.

Oh yes, at the summit, they agreed to basically keep management of the Internet as before.

ICANN, for now - OSM

Google Search for .zw websites - Yes there are working .zw sites

Tuesday, November 15

JP Morgan Chase Bank - Underhanded Business Tactics

Years ago I used to work for Chase. It was a nice enough bank and a great job. But it was only a summer job and I then moved away. I thought that would be the last of my interaction with Chase. How wrong I was.

About three years ago I "opted-out" of getting credit card offers by freezing my credit reports. That stopped all of the credit card offers, EXCEPT from Chase. You see, even when you opt-out, a bank can ignore that and that is what Chase did. I did not have any dealings with the bank. I did not even have a bank acocunt with them when I worked there. That alone put me off dealing with Chase.

I did have a credit card with Bank One. That bank was taken over by Chase. On the same week that I get a welcome letter from Chase telling me how things were going to be greater now that Chase owned Bank One I also got a notice that the interest rate on my credit card was being raised from 10% to 18%. I only used the card to get a one-year interest free loan and the year was recently up. I was paying off chunks of what was owed but apparently they figured that I could not pay it off and that they could stick it to me. I called and they claimed that I was too near my credit limit on another card which was why they raised the rate. Within a week I had paid off my Bank One/Chase credit card and closed the account.

Silly me for thinking that I was done dealing with Chase. I then get one of those annoying contract checks in the mail:

Sending me the check was not good enough. Just in case I was not interested in cashing the check, they made it possible for anyone to collect the $20 by also making the check out to BEARER!

So are they going to enroll 'Bearer' automatically into the optional payment protector plan? I suspect not. I think the check was a underhanded attempt to get me (or bearer) to cash the check and by default reopen my credit card account.

My advise is to stay far away from this bank.

Sunday, November 13

DC Housing Bubble: Popped

In August I wrote that the DC Housing bubble was popping. Over the weekend the press ran a couple of stories that there is indeed a problem in the housing market in areas including DC. Here are a couple of pics of places for sale around where we live. Notice that these three have "REDUCED" posted.

This house has been on the market for over six months. There have been a couple of "Open Sundays."

This is a new addition to the market. Almost as if it went on the market at a reduced price.

These are right on Rock Creek Park. Earlier in the year they were going for just under $600,000. The one with the "Price Reduced" is now going for $475,000 and it's the highly coveted corner unit, with greenhouse.

Walking around today there were lots of for sale signs. I had talked with one member of our IT staff. He mentioned that he has a couple of programmer friends that are now stuck with second properties that they are desperate to get rid of but so far have had no luck.

Lynn Edmonds and his wife, Sebnem, could barely wait to sign on the dotted line back in May when they committed themselves to pay $796,000 for a three-floor townhouse under construction in Alexandria's Cameron Station.

But since May, the sales prices for the development have fallen -- and units like the one the Edmonds bought are now being sold for $699,900. The Edmonds are facing the prospect of a $100,000 loss in value before they even walk through the front door. - Washington Post

This whole article is good and includes other sad stories. You can put us in the same catagory as this family:

But many would-be buyers have withdrawn from the real estate market, saying prices are just too high to consider making a purchase. Dan McGrath, an organizer for the Service Employees International Union, and his wife, Teresa, who works at the Environmental Protection Agency, have been married for four months, have a combined income of about $100,000 a year and would ordinarily be good candidates to become first-time homeowners. But the McGraths, who live in the District's Shaw neighborhood, have been shocked and repulsed by the prices for homes in the area, including the $400,000 price on one 800-square-foot studio they visited.

"We can't figure out who -- for the life of us -- would buy a place with two doors for $400,000," said McGrath, 28. "We want to think about a future but homeownership here is just not possible."


Housing Market Cooling, Data Say - Washington Post

DC Housing Bubble Popping - FFI

Long Island Housing Bubble Popping - FFI

Thursday, November 10

Intelligent Design is a Sham

I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I believe in the theory of evolution. I also believe that if there is a God (Belief in God does not guarantee that there is one) then he most surely helped things along their evolutionary path, even to the point of being an Intelligent Designer. However, I have no doubt that Intelligent Design is nothing more than a shame being pushed by those with an ulterior motive centering around a religious agenda.

Those Christians who are pushing intelligent design on the rest of us are actually traitors to their own beliefs. Because Intelligent Design is not Creationism and could even be considered belief against Creationism. At it’s most simple level, in Creationism, God created everything. In Intelligent Design, God gave things a ‘helping hand.’ This diminishes Gods role in the world. Look at the definitions:

Intelligent Design (ID) is the controversial assertion that certain features of the universe and of living things exhibit the characteristics of a product resulting from an
intelligent cause or agent, as opposed to an unguided process such as natural selection. - Wikipedia

Creationism or creation theology is the belief that humans, life, the Earth, and the universe were created by a Supreme Being or deity's supernatural intervention. The intervention may be seen either as an act of creation from nothing or the emergence of order from pre-existing chaos. - Wikipedia

The point where my belief differs from the Intelligent Designer believers it that I believe that any assistance that God (lets face it, that is who they will tell us the intelligent designer is) gave in regards to creating life on Earth falls within the Theory of Evolution.

Looking at the two definitions above, a religious person who subscribes to the belief of Intelligent Design, is actually giving up a good portion of Creationism. A person like myself can believe in the principle of Creation and see the possibility of it falling in line with the Theory of Evolution.

The funny thing about Intelligent Design is that there is so much out there about the World that can be used to question the theory. Like why did the Designer include the negative effects of cancer, viruses, germs, disease and natural poisons in the Grand Design? Why did the Designer include earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, typhoons, plagues, droughts, and floods into the Grand Design? Why would the designer include zebras yet forget to include unicorns and jackolopes? Why would the designer punish the holy lands with a shortage of food and water and bless those areas of the world where the smallest percentage of people believe in him? Why would the Designer allow three religions that believe in him, but constantly fight with each other? Why would the designer punish Africa to a perpetual third-world status and punish Europe with centuries of war yet shine on the United States as if it’s been blessed? If there was an Intelligent Designer, why did he leave the world half-done? Looking at the results from a distance, you’d think that the designer was on drugs with all the loose ends that he left behind.

Humans are a pretty resilient people and can adapt to the most severe situation. That’s why you can find people living in most every corner of the planet, good and bad, hot and cold. One of those places is Dover, Pennsylvania where they just held a school board election. The funny thing about elections is that sometimes they can show how intelligent people can be. In Dover, PA, the residents decided to vote out the entire school board that was in favor of teaching intelligent design in science class and replacing them with those who thought science class was best left to teaching Evolution, leaving Intelligent Design for religion class.

The school board officials who were voted out were all Republicans, being replaced by all Democrats and that’s fine with me. You see, the Republics were tampering with education, and that’s just plain wrong. Someone should tell that to Pat Robertson, who just told the residents of Dover, not to bother calling God the next time disaster strikes, because they just “rejected him from your city.” No Reverend, they just rejected religion from the science class. Just like I can believe in God, but not in Pat Robertson. The Good Reverend through his outburst gives us all a view of the Religious agenda of Intelligent Design.

Just imagine if the Intelligent Designers win, then we can all argue on who the Designer(s) was(were.) My vote is for Mother Nature.

Evolution - Wikipedia
Televangelist warns of evolution doomsday - MSNBC

Saturday, November 5

Fred Fry on Radio Free Finland

This Sunday I'll be on Radio Free Finland chatting with Phil, the host, an American living in Finland. In his spare time he maintains 'Finland for Thought' a blog covering "Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & United States."

Fred Fry International is not as well defined a Blog. It was started for no reason other than to post my thoughts and theories on whatever crossed my mind. The topics covered on FFI range from Conspiracy, Appreciation, Elections, Allah, the Almighty Dollar, Sean Penn, the Soviet Union, Taiwan as well as an occassional post about Finland.

I am not a Finn. I was born in Jersey City, NJ and grew up on Long Island. I met my first Finns in Dubai on New Years Eve 94-95. (Crew from a Finnair flight.) Later, I ended up going to the the Helsinki School of Economics MBA program, which was my main connection to Finland. I lived there from December 1997 to April 2000. I am now married to a Finn and we make it back when we can. The last trip was in May, and the next one for Christmas.

So what is the best thing about Finland?

The pig donut:

Fred concerning politics:

Not that I believe in these online tests, but they can sometimes be most amusing. I am not a member of the Republican Party, nor any party for that matter. Be interesting to see if Phil's eval would put him in the Libertarial portion of the grid. So one more eval, on which leading man would I be:

John Wayne
You scored 61% Tough, 14% Roguish, 14% Friendly, and 9% Charming!

You, my friend, are a man's man, the original true grit, one tough talking, swaggering son of a bitch. You're not a bad guy, on the contrary, you're the ultimate good guy, but you're one tough character, rough and tumble, ready for anything. You call the shots and go your own way, and if some screwy dame is willing to accept your terms, that's just fine by you. Otherwise, you'll just hit the open trail and stay true to yourself. You stand up for what you believe and can handle any situation, usually by rushing into the thick of the action. You're not polished and you're not overly warm, but you're a straight shooter and a real stand up guy. Co-stars include Lauren Bacall and Maureen O'Hara, tough broads who can take care of themselves.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the
Classic Dames Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 98% on Tough
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You scored higher than 39% on Roguish
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You scored higher than 20% on Friendly
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You scored higher than 5% on Charming
Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid
I scored higher than 98% in my age-group on tough. The real men must have been too busy to have taken the test.