Archive for October 26th, 2004

The Nuclear Option

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The situation in Fallujah is a deadly puzzle.  If
anywhere in the world could be called Terrorism Central, this is the
place The entire city and its suburbs has been in the hands of the rebels
since the marines pulled out in April, and since that time Fallujah has
been the headquarters of the insurgency. It has been a gathering place
for jihadists and Iraqi homegrown terrorists, as well as home base for
the thousands of foreign killers and fanatics who have flocked to Iraq
to answer the call of the Mullahs and the Architect of Evil, Osama bin
Laden.

In addition, Fallujah is the presumed location of Abu
Mussib Al Zarqawi
, the gristly author of kidnappings and beheadings
of Americans and our
allies. This is the hard core of international terrorism. This is the
enemy.

They have control of a fully functioning city, with hospitals,
schools, restaurants, metal shops and tons of arms and munitions.  The
resistance was more community based during the fierce battles of the
spring.  Since the marines pulled back and left the city in the
hands of the insurgents, most of the civilian population has fled while
the city itself has been slowly flattened by US artillery and air strikes.

Replacing the civilians has been a steady stream of rebel
fighters, Iraqis filtering in from all corners of the occupied country,
foreigners slipping over the borders of Iran and Syria and veterans of
a thousand battles fresh from blowing up American boys and girls or massacring
Iraqi recruits and looking to kick back in town for whatever R and R
is allowed in a fundamentalist Islamic death cult.

Fallujah is an open sore on the glistening hide of the
American occupation, an open defiance of our aim, our progress, our way
of life.
It is an organizing point for the resistance, and everyone agrees something
must be done about it.  But what.

A full frontal assault on the mazes of ruins and
tunnels which Fallujah has become would wipe out more than half of the
hard core resistance fighters in Iraq, and a majority of the foreign
fanatics who have flocked to the cause. It would also result in the highest
American casualties in he war to date.  Nevertheless, support is
strong for a clean sweep.  "We have all the rats in one maze, and
it would be a major error to let them slip away," according to a source
who declined to be identified.

Quietly, voices within the administration are advocating
an even more radical solution to the problem of Fallujah  "Since
the civilian population have largely fled the city and so many of our
enemies are in one place, this may be the perfect opportunity for a tactical
nuclear weapon," the same unnamed source said.

Personally, we feel the negative repercussions and the
possible retaliations will dissuade the administration from such madness,
but to some it is an attractive option.  With the national mood
one of anxious anticipation of a terrorist nuclear attack on the US,
fed by the Vice President and others, there is a growing feeling that
we
should
nuke
THEM before they nuke US.

Although we don’t think they could get away with it, we
wouldn’t put it past them to try a variation on the plan.  What
if there WAS a terrorist nuclear weapon, and it was in Fallujah, and
it went off "accidentally"? A nice, clean, glowing exorcism, and NOT
OUR
FAULT.This is probably not a practical possibility, but if we were
one of the last remaining residents of Fallujah, and one morning we noticed
all off the American and allied troops pulling WAAAY back, we would be
very worried…..

article from the Boston Globe

Filters Gone Wild

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For
a while there it was looking as though email was becoming obsolete and
impossible to use. Our emailboxes (all half dozen
of them) were filling up constantly with ridiculous come-ons, fantastic
products and transparent scams, and picking out the real messages from
the Spam was like finding the truth on a major candidate’s web site –
it may be there somewhere, but you’ve gotta wade through a whole lotta
shit to find it. We were resigned to going back to snail mail.

Then some unnamed genius named Bayes came up with Bayesian
filtering, and suddenly the three real messages were floating to the
top of the three hundred junkers. It seemed like a miracle! The penis
enlargers
and urgent letters from the ex-Nigerian Finance Ministers were exiled
to a cold and dark corner of our virtual world, to stew and plot
in obscurity. E-mail was back!

Now, alas, the process has come full circle. It came to
our attention, after numerous missed meetings, forgotten birthdays and
unclaimed cash rewards, that a number of extremely NON-JUNK
mails were ending up in the old trash bin! Our filters were out of control!

It took us quite a while to catch on.  At first, when
entire classes of students swore up and down that they had emailed their
essays to me over the weekend, we sneered and called them slackers.  But
when we almost lost an offer of paying work (an editing job from a Dowbrigade
reader in China – the first remuneration produced by our short, sweet life as
a blogger) we
realized something was seriously amiss.

Of course, we were horrified to discover, in our Junk mailbox,
nestled among the Vic*din and the instant PhD’s, our missing messages.
So now we are reduced to not only reviewing our half-dozen inboxes, but
also wading through the bulging Junk mailbox as well! When we find a
misfiled message, it take us three clicks and a drag-and-drop to rescue
the message and supposedly "re-train" our Mail program to avoid these
gaffes in the future.

But it’s not working! We are now spending TWICE as much
time wading through our mail as when the Junk and Not Junk were just
jumbled together into one big box! We are right back to where we started
– only worse.

So let us apologize to all of the slighted relatives,
unanswered students, unresponded-to offers and missed opportunities.  If
we don’t get this figured out soon, we all might have to start buying
stamps again.

Clip o’ the Day: British Kung Fu

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I really can’t think of anything to say about this one, except that it’s worth checking out and still has me laughing. QT6 required.

British Kung Fu

Boston Police to “Take Out” Hooligans

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All of Boston remains horrified at the tragic death of journalism
student Victoria
Snelgrove at the hands of Boston Police
last Thursday
morning. Investigations into training and use of "non-lethal" pellet
guns are ongoing, following revelations that the police commander on
the scene
was one of four officers who fired pellets into the faces
of protesters.

What has been the response of the force in the face of even greater
euphoric celebration following the seemingly inevitable victory over St.
Louis? Even great use of force, apparently….

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Reeling from the killing of a college student during post-game rioting
last week, Boston police will show zero tolerance for hooliganism if the
Red Sox win the World Series, the Boston Herald has learned.

"We’re not going to stand back this time,” said one source familiar
with the BPD’s plan to control crowds during Boston’s series with the
St. Louis Cardinals. `"Once they start acting up, we’re going to go
in and
take them out. We have a lot of people (from other departments) helping
us. We have significant resources and they are going to aid us in quelling
disturbances as they arise.”

from the Herald

An unfortunate figure of speech, or are the Boston police really going
to "take out" troublemakers on the streets of Kenmore Square? Shades of Tony
Soprano! This could be the biggest civil confrontation since the last Boston
Massacre!

Meanwhile, panicked city officials are trying to figure out how to defang
the Victory Parade and celebration. Expected to dwarf the Patriot’s Superbowl
celebration in January, when 1.5 MILLION fans mobbed the parade route and
rally site in City Hall Plaza on a weekday morning, the madness could get
seriously out of hand, and the Mayor is haunted by the nightmare scenario
of trashed businesses, clogged arteries and perhaps massive medical emergencies.

If the series goes seven, the parade, traditionally held 2 days after
the victory, would fall on Election Day, keeping uncountable thousands
away from the polls and perhaps making the polls along the route completely
inaccessible. On the positive side, it might keep everybody a bit more
sober, as alcohol sales are prohibited on election day in Massachusetts.

Latest rumors are that the Mayor is considering lengthening the parade
route to cover the entire 26.4 mile route of the Boston Marathon, so as
to spread the crowd out, and eliminate the City Hall rally altogether. Uncomfortably
close to his office, we guess. Stay tuned for updates….

 

Sliding Into Second

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Apparently,
as the race for the presidency tightens, the jockeying for position is
becoming intense.  Both campaigns are trying hard to push their
candidate into – second place.

This is to take advantage of the well-established "underdog
effect", where Americans tend to support the second-place, come-from-behind,
we-try-harder candidate. The optimal position on the eve of an American
elections seems to be just a bit behind, within the margin of error,
but a point or two below the opposition.

This maximizes turnout of partisans who feel that their
guy has a reasonable chance, but needs THEIR vote to pull it out. Latest
polling shows a hot contest for the coveted second slot….

The US election was thrown wide open today as a leading poll put John Kerry ahead
for the first time.

In a dramatic shift, George Bush has been overtaken by a single percentage point,
according to the ABC/Washington Post tracking survey.

It put Mr Kerry on 49 per cent, with President Bush down one point to 48 per
cent – an exact reversal of their standing yesterday.

from the London Evening Standard

(CNN) — The presidential race continues to be tight, with
President Bush possibly holding a slight lead over Sen. John Kerry among
likely voters, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup national opinion poll
released Monday.

Fifty-one percent of likely voters said they would back Bush, and 46
percent expressed support for Kerry.

The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points, meaning the true leader
was unclear.

from CNN

(Dowbrigade note:  The accompanying photo, ripped
from Drudge, has nothing to do with the content of this posting – we
just really liked the picture. Even if he loses and has to slink back
to his Beacon Hill Townhouse, Kerry will have plenty of neat souvenirs and a hot heiress mama
to ease the agony of defeat….)