12 November 2005

Queen Rania Of Jordan: Hot Or Not

Disaster In North Pole?

Arctic sea ice has shrunk 30% since 1978, and could disappear altogether within a hundred years. NASA scientist Dr. Waleed Abdalati explains, "The most recent estimates suggest that the last time we had an ice-free arctic was millions of years ago." So when it comes to the skills you'll need in the future, add "a decent breast stroke."

In the short term, this could actually be good news for fish lovers, since the warmer arctic waters may wind up increasing the populations of cod near the North Pole. And, as an added bonus, at the rate the planet is going, if you like your cod boiled... Well, pretty soon, you'll be in for a real treat.

The warmer temperatures are, however, bad for polar bears, who may find their habitats threatened. And the rising waters have already proved a disaster in Santa's workshop. Sadly, he chose to build in a coastal area of the North Pole and to hire workers who were only two feet high.

This, by the way, is the most important report to come out of the National Snow and Ice Data Center since their watershed 1978 report, "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow".

This Day In History

1990 Akihito enthroned as emperor of Japan

Crown Prince Akihito, the 125th Japanese monarch along an imperial line dating back to 660 B.C., is enthroned as emperor of Japan two years after the death of his father.

Akihito, the only son of the late Emperor Hirohito, was the first Japanese monarch to reign solely as an official figurehead. His father, Hirohito, began his reign in 1926 as theoretically absolute, though his powers were sharply limited in practice. After the Japanese defeat in World War II, Hirohito was formally stripped of his powers by the United States and forced to renounce his supposed divinity. With the signing by Japan of the amended constitution of 1946, the emperor became the official figurehead of Japan.

Akihito caused controversy in 1959, when as heir to the Japanese throne he broke a 1,500-year-old tradition and married a commoner, Shoda Michiko, the daughter of a wealthy businessman. Upon becoming emperor, Akihito, an amateur marine biologist and accomplished cellist, commenced a new Japanese era, known as Heisei, or "Achieving Peace." The imperial couple have three children: Crown Prince Naruhito, born in 1960; Prince Akishino, born in 1965; and Princess Nori, born in 1969.

11 November 2005

President Bush's Veterans Day Speech '05

The President on Iraq:

This progress is not easy, but it is steady. And no fair-minded person should ignore, deny or dismiss the achievements of the Iraqi people.

And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war.

When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq, and that is their right, and I respect it. As president and commander in chief, I accept the responsibilities and the criticisms and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision. While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decisions or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.

Some Democrats and antiwar critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hand is a threat and a grave threat to our security."

That's why more then a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send to them to war continue to stand behind them. Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. And our troops deserve to know that when -- whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less then victory.

Task Force White Falcon Medics Fight Good Fight

By Pfc. James Wilt
November 10, 2005

TALL AFAR, Iraq (Army News Service, Nov. 10, 2005) – Task Force White Falcon Soldiers provide emergency medical care to Iraqi civilians and Soldiers alike.

Medics from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division are serving in their third deployment.

Our enemy is death

“There is a guy, I can’t remember his name, he said it perfect, ‘In a war zone, your whole mission in life is to kill the enemy and survive;’ our enemy is death. So when we’re fighting, we’re fighting death itself,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tyson E. Bubnar, a combat medic from Port Hueneme, Calif.

On more than one occasion, the medics working in the aid station have been called to battle.

“For the most part we’re treating innocent civilians that get hurt from an IED or Iraqi army soldiers that come in,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel R. Eraso, a combat medic from Winterpark, Fla.

Fighting death, disease and injury, 82nd medics have given aid to the local civilians alongside their own troops, achieving many victories despite the odds against them. More than 200 patients with medical problems ranging from the common cold to gunshot wounds have benefited from White Falcon’s aid station. For most of the team, the hardest part of treating many of their patients is the fact that the patients are children.

Youngest victims of war

“Seeing the kids get injured is the only thing that bothers me,” Eraso said. Shortly after the aid station was set up, a young boy was brought in with 2nd degree burns to his face and right arm. Examining the boy’s eyes, ears and mouth was a priority for the medics.

“With burns on his face, they wanted to ensure he could still see, hear and talk,” said Sgt. Jeremy B. Johns, a combat medic from Yorktown, Va. After establishing that there was no damage to the boy’s senses, medics cooled down the boy’s wounds and scrubbed off all of the burnt skin, Johns said. The skin was removed to prevent infection.

“He was hurting pretty good,” Johns said. “That’s the one thing I noticed about a lot of kids here, they have a really high tolerance for pain, which is good for us in a lot of ways but at the same time it’s pretty sad kids have to be that strong, that young. The boy has returned to the aid station for follow up treatments and is well on his way to a health recovery.” The boy was not the only burn victim the unit has seen. They also treated an 18-month old baby.

“It makes it really hard because we want to do as much as we can for the kids here,” Johns added. The children who enter the aid station get more than medical treatment from the paratroopers, they also get care. Standard issue items for the children include pencils, candy or a stuffed animal.

While helping the people here, the medics are not always successful. Some of their patients suffer from ailments the paratroopers can’t cure.

“It makes it kind of hard when you know that this kid has something that really needs to be worked on and you can’t do anything for him. All we can do is give him a beanie baby and say sorry,” Johns said.

In spite of not being able to help everyone, the medics of White Falcon’s aid station believe they’re making a difference.

Iraqi parents grateful for White Falcon medical support

“You come away with a sense of accomplishment, a sense of actually contributing to the reconstruction of this country,” Franco said. At least two of the local residents here appreciate what the medics are doing.

Following the treatment of a young boy who was bitten by a donkey and found by paratroopers from Company D, his father wrote the medical staff a letter.

“To delta company and the American doctors who treated him, we are very grateful for them and would do anything for them to repay them,” they wrote.

The knowledge and skill to provide medical care to their patients comes from training and experience. Nearly all of the medics in the aid station have been deployed at least three times. Also, “because of being part of an airborne division, they deal with real-world injuries while giving aid to paratroopers who injure themselves parachuting from aircraft,” Bubnar said. The paratroopers are also certified EMTs.

“Every one of them has an EMT Certificate and CPR certificate but if you compare them to your EMT out on the street I’d say they are three times more trained. I almost compare them to paramedics minus the advanced cardiac stuff,” Bubnar said.

(Editor’s note: Pfc. James Wilt serves with Task Force White Falcon, 82d Airborne Division PAO.)

This Day In History


At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.

On June 28, 1914, in an event that is widely regarded as sparking the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, was shot to death with his wife by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Ferdinand had been inspecting his uncle's imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite the threat of Serbian nationalists who wanted these Austro-Hungarian possessions to join newly independent Serbia. Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the problem of Slavic nationalism once and for all. However, as Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention.

On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe's great powers collapsed. On July 29, Austro-Hungarian forces began to shell the Serbian capital, Belgrade, and Russia, Serbia's ally, ordered a troop mobilization against Austria-Hungary. France, allied with Russia, began to mobilize on August 1. France and Germany declared war against each other on August 3. After crossing through neutral Luxembourg, the German army invaded Belgium on the night of August 3-4, prompting Great Britain, Belgium's ally, to declare war against Germany.

For the most part, the people of Europe greeted the outbreak of war with jubilation. Most patriotically assumed that their country would be victorious within months. Of the initial belligerents, Germany was most prepared for the outbreak of hostilities, and its military leaders had formatted a sophisticated military strategy known as the "Schlieffen Plan," which envisioned the conquest of France through a great arcing offensive through Belgium and into northern France. Russia, slow to mobilize, was to be kept occupied by Austro-Hungarian forces while Germany attacked France.

The Schlieffen Plan was nearly successful, but in early September the French rallied and halted the German advance at the bloody Battle of the Marne near Paris. By the end of 1914, well over a million soldiers of various nationalities had been killed on the battlefields of Europe, and neither for the Allies nor the Central Powers was a final victory in sight. On the western front--the battle line that stretched across northern France and Belgium--the combatants settled down in the trenches for a terrible war of attrition.

In 1915, the Allies attempted to break the stalemate with an amphibious invasion of Turkey, which had joined the Central Powers in October 1914, but after heavy bloodshed the Allies were forced to retreat in early 1916. The year 1916 saw great offensives by Germany and Britain along the western front, but neither side accomplished a decisive victory. In the east, Germany was more successful, and the disorganized Russian army suffered terrible losses, spurring the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917. By the end of 1917, the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia and immediately set about negotiating peace with Germany. In 1918, the infusion of American troops and resources into the western front finally tipped the scale in the Allies' favor. Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies on November 11, 1918.

World War I was known as the "war to end all wars" because of the great slaughter and destruction it caused. Unfortunately, the peace treaty that officially ended the conflict--the Treaty of Versailles of 1919--forced punitive terms on Germany that destabilized Europe and laid the groundwork for World War II.

10 November 2005

"Death to Al-Zarqawi"

An item of interested after a deadly attack on its city of Annan, local Jordanians have been seen taking to the streets and chanting "Death to Al-Zarqawi" "Burn in Hell Al-Zarqawi!". The attack claimed the lives of 56 people and injured almost 100. It only killed one American, in attack by Al-Queda. By now you all know that the attack was planned at 3 US-based run hotels in order to kill the infedels, or us.

What is interesting is this anger and surge in national pride by the Jordanians against the Islamic hate group that is Al-Queda. From a international stand point it has been very hard to get the support of more than just Muslim leaders of state, but support and trust of the people of Islam.

Now we have in a backlash against Al-Queda. Is average Muslims ready to fight and kill those who wish to free them from the oppression of the great Satan? Could Al-Queda have at last blew up more than their own? But their whole war?
Could today's protest in Jordan be a sign of extremism's end in the Middle East? Likely not but it does seem to signal a certain fatigue over its neverending war against the people of the region.

How many simultaneous conflicts can one geographic area sustain? If you ask Al-Qaeda, the answer is, as many as possible. But the truth is that over time the majority of people, if given the chance, will renounce terror.

Its only power is in not allowing its own people the ability to live in a truly free and democratic society. As we have seen in most of the Middle East, however, stability is stability...even if means tolerating a dictator.

This Day In History


During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passes a resolution stating that "two Battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing forces for the recently formed Continental Navy. The resolution, drafted by future U.S. president John Adams and adopted in Philadelphia, created the Continental Marines and is now observed as the birth date of the United States Marine Corps.

Serving on land and at sea, the original U.S. Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations during the Revolutionary War. The first Marine landing on a hostile shore occurred when a force of Marines under Captain Samuel Nicholas captured New Province Island in the Bahamas from the British in March 1776. Nicholas was the first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines and is celebrated as the first Marine commandant. After American independence was achieved in 1783, the Continental Navy was demobilized and its Marines disbanded.

In the next decade, however, increasing conflict at sea with Revolutionary France led the U.S. Congress to establish formally the U.S. Navy in May 1798. Two months later, on July 11, President John Adams signed the bill establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy. U.S. Marines saw action in the so-called Quasi-War with France and then fought against the Barbary pirates of North Africa during the first years of the 19th century. Since then, Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States and in most cases were the first soldiers to fight. In all, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores.

Today, there are more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve Marines, divided into three divisions stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; and Okinawa, Japan. Each division has one or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world on two weeks' notice. Marines expeditionary units are self-sufficient, with their own tanks, artillery, and air forces. The motto of the service is Semper Fidelis, meaning "Always Faithful" in Latin.

09 November 2005

Panther Cheerleaders Gone Wild

Wait a minute...Were they fired for the sex or for the violence?

"Two Carolina Panthers' cheerleaders were arrested early Sunday after a confrontation with other nightclub customers and police.

The trouble started, a police report said, after the women tied up a restroom while allegedly having sex with each other at Banana Joe's in the Channelside plaza."

Renee Thomas and Angela Keathley, mug shots shown above, show us all a prime example of exactly why girls go to the bathroom in pairs and groups. Sadly, they also show us the results of attacking people who've interrupted your naughty time.

UPDATE: The rumor now is that Vivid Video is looking to strike up a deal with these inspiring hot young ladies.

This Day In History

1875 Followers of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse identified as hostile

On this day, Indian Inspector E.C. Watkins submits a report to Washington, D.C., stating that hundreds of Sioux and Cheyenne Indians associated with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse are hostile to the United States. In so doing, Watkins set into motion a series of events that led to the Battle of the Little Big Born in Montana the following year.

Seven years before the Watkins report, a portion of the Teton Sioux, who lived with Chief Red Cloud, made peace with the U.S. in exchange for a large reservation in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. However, some Sioux refused the offer of confinement on a reservation, and instead united around Chief Sitting Bull and his leading warrior, Crazy Horse. The wisdom of their resistance seemed confirmed in 1874 when the discovery of gold in the Black Hills set off an invasion of Anglo miners into the Sioux reservation. When the U.S. did nothing to stop this illegal violation of lands promised to the Sioux by treaty, more Indians left the reservation in disgust and joined Sitting Bull to hunt buffalo on the plains of Wyoming and Montana.

In November 1875, Watkins reported that the free-roaming Indians were hostile. The government responded by ordering that the Indians "be informed that they must remove to a reservation before the 31st of January, 1876," and promised that if they refused, "they would be turned over to the War Department for punishment." However, by the time couriers carried the message to the Sioux it was already winter, and traveling 200 miles to the reservation across frozen ground with no grass for their ponies or food for themselves was an impossible request.

When, as expected, the Sioux missed the deadline, the matter was turned over to the War Department. In March 1876, the former Civil War hero General Phillip Sheridan ordered a large force of soldiers to trap the Sioux and force them back to the reservations. Among the officers leading the force was George Armstrong Custer, who later that year lead his famous "last stand" against Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

08 November 2005

DVD OF THE WEEK - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

The Michael Jackson paleness. The unnaturally white teeth. The smile stretched with insincerity. Johnny Depp's delightfully wild take on Willy Wonka, the candy man of Roald Dahl's book, demands to be seen. Director Tim Burton surrounds Depp with awesome visuals of spun sugar and creeping menace. Their crazy vision of Wonka is a treat for twisted children of all ages.

Wonka hasn't socialized with mankind in 15 years since he closed his London chocolate factory. Now he has opened the place to five children, each allowed to bring one relative. "Good morning, starshine, the earth says hello," he tells the invitees, who are freaked by Wonka's retro hair and overbright voice. And how about that army of Oompa-Loompas, all played by Deep Roy, in musical numbers that appear to have been choreographed by Busby Berkeley on crack. The kids are selfish brats, except for Charlie Bucket, played with open-faced honesty by Freddie Highmore, Depp's Peter Pan surrogate in Finding Neverland.

Gene Wilder put a blunt comic edge on Wonka in the underrated 1971 musical version. But Depp goes deeper to find the bruises on Wonka's secret heart.

French Fries Anyone?

This Day In History

1923 Beer Hall Putsch begins

Adolf Hitler, president of the far-right Nazi Party, launches the Beer Hall Putsch, his first attempt at seizing control of the German government.

After World War I, the victorious allies demanded billions of dollars in war reparations from Germany. Efforts by Germany's democratic government to comply hurt the country's economy and led to severe inflation. The German mark, which at the beginning of 1921 was valued at five marks per dollar, fell to a disastrous four billion marks per dollar in 1923. Meanwhile, the ranks of the nationalist Nazi Party swelled with resentful Germans who sympathized with the party's bitter hatred of the democratic government, leftist politics, and German Jews. In early November 1923, the government resumed war-reparation payments, and the Nazis decided to strike.

Hitler planned a coup against the state government of Bavaria, which he hoped would spread to the dissatisfied German army, which in turn would bring down the central, democratic government in Berlin. On the evening of November 8, Nazi forces under Hermann Goering surrounded the Munich beer hall where Bavarian government officials were meeting with local business leaders. A moment later, Hitler burst in with a group of Nazi storm troopers, discharged his pistol into the air, and declared that "the national revolution has begun." Threatened at gunpoint, the Bavarian leaders reluctantly agreed to support Hitler's new regime.

In the early morning of November 9, however, the Bavarian leaders repudiated their coerced support of Hitler and ordered a rapid suppression of the Nazis. At dawn, government troops surrounded the main Nazi force occupying the War Ministry building. A desperate Hitler responded by leading a march toward the center of Munich in a last-ditch effort to rally support. Near the War Ministry building, 3,000 Nazi marchers came face to face with 100 armed policemen. Shots were exchanged, and 16 Nazis and three policemen were killed. Hermann Goering was shot in the groin, and Hitler suffered a dislocated elbow but managed to escape.

Three days later, Hitler was arrested. Convicted of treason, he was given the minimum sentence of five years in prison. He was imprisoned in the Landsberg fortress and spent his time writing his autobiography, Mein Kampf, and working on his oratorical skills. Political pressure from the Nazis forced the Bavarian government to commute Hitler's sentence, and he was released after serving only nine months. In the late 1920s, Hitler reorganized the Nazi Party as a fanatical mass movement that was able to gain a majority in the Reichstag in 1932. By 1934, Hitler was the sole master of a nation intent on war and genocide.

07 November 2005

This Day In History

1972 Nixon re-elected president

Richard Nixon defeats Senator George McGovern (D-South Dakota) and is re-elected President of the United States.

With only 55 percent of the electorate voting, the lowest turnout since 1948, Nixon carried all states but Massachusetts, taking 97 percent of the electoral votes. During the campaign, Nixon pledged to secure "peace with honor" in Vietnam. Aided by the potential for a peace agreement in the ongoing Paris negotiations and the upswing in the American economy, Nixon easily defeated McGovern, an outspoken peacenik whose party was divided over several issues, not the least of which was McGovern's extreme views on the war. McGovern had said during the campaign, "If I were President, it would take me twenty-four hours and the stroke of a pen to terminate all military operations in Southeast Asia." He said he would withdraw all American troops within 90 days of taking office, whether or not U.S. prisoners of war were released. To many Americans, including many Democrats, McGovern's position was tantamount to total capitulation in Southeast Asia. Given this radical alternative, Nixon seemed a better choice to most voters.

In other races, the Democrats widened their majority in Congress, picking up two Senate seats. Almost unnoticed during the presidential campaign was the arrest of five men connected with Nixon's re-election committee who had broken into the Democratic Party's national headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C. The Watergate scandal ultimately proved to be Nixon's undoing, and he resigned the presidency as a result of it in August 1974.

06 November 2005

Saturday Night

The wife and I had company at the movies this weekend with my big sis and brother-in-law. I had a good time and after 30 years this was the first time I actually went out with my sister and hung out. We have never been that close and it's sad. But, it was a good good-bye treat before my family and I head off for Hawaii in a week. Below is my review of this gret flick Jarhead.

Jarhead is unlike any war movie you've ever seen. The entire film is devoted to a bunch of guys who just want to get into combat and who drive around in the desert for months, just waiting to shoot their load. As a result, it's a fascinating, deeply personal, often sarcastically funny view of life on the front lines where the battle is actually put on the back burner. (If this were a baseball picture, it would be about the bullpen.) British director Sam Mendes challenges our very view of what combat is and shows a side of it rarely seen on the movie screen. It’s based on the memoirs of Anthony Swofford, a marine caught up in Desert Storm—but instead of the fight, Jarhead chooses to focus on the fighter. Forgoing politics, the movie tells the story from the point-of-view of the poor grunt whose only taste of war comes from watching movies like Apocalypse Now in the barracks. It may be the most political apolitical film ever made. Leading an awesome cast, Jake Gyllenhaal as Swofford, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jamie Foxx are simply superb—and so is Jarhead. It’s a can’t miss movie!

This Day In History

1982 A woman ices her husband with anti-freeze

Shirley Allen is arrested for poisoning her husband, Lloyd Allen, with ethyl glycol, commonly known as anti-freeze. After witnessing her mother spike Lloyd's drinks with the deadly substance, Shirley's own daughter turned her in to the authorities.
Lloyd Allen was Shirley's sixth husband and the second to die from mysterious causes; the other four had divorced her. John Gregg, who died a year after he married Shirley in 1977, had changed the beneficiary on his life insurance policy shortly before his death. Shirley was outraged to find that she was left with nothing.
Lloyd, who had complained of a strange taste in his beverages, believed Shirley when she said that it was an iron supplement for his health. However, Joe Sinclair, a previous husband, was a bit more suspicious. When his coffee tasted odd on several occasions, he went to the police. Although he suffered internal injuries, no charges were ever filed. Instead, he filed for a divorce.
When Allen's death was investigated, toxicology reports confirmed that his body tissue contained a lethal amount of ethyl glycol. After a short four-day trial, Shirley Allen was sentenced to life in prison in 1983.
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