Sunday, October 29, 2006
“Death of a President” Signals Death Of A Strategy
We all remember the role President George W. Bush played in a “documentary” that was released before a major election here in the United States.
You know, the bumbling “so-called” leader of the free world, caught as if he were a “deer in the headlights” when he was informed of the attack on the World Trade Center buildings while reading to children as he promoted his administration’s education agenda.
Michael Moore made a lot of money and almost brought down a presidency (which was his agenda) with a largely untruthful (59 Deceits, Kopel), disputed (Unfairenheit 9/11, Hitchens), and widely seen film, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, that was made in an adapted documentary style in order to lend the film and its conclusions credibility.
The content and the timing in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election was all a stroke that almost achieved its desired effect.
Enter now, a film starring President George W. Bush that was assembled in the documentary style, entered in a prestigious film festival (Toronto) in order to garner distribution, and released just before an election … sound familiar?
This one, as opposed to mocking a sitting U.S. president, sets out to kill a sitting U.S. president – and release the movie just before an election to influence and make a boatload of money, by a Brit.
“DEATH OF A PRESIDENT” - Directed by Gabriel Range - Rated R - Wide release CREDIT: Newmarket Films
Excerpts from Sunday Paper -
‘President’ imagines frighteningly plausible future
Sunday Paper - SHORT TAKES – By Steve Warren – 10-29-06
"Death of a President" is bound to be the year's most polarizing movie, but not entirely for the right reasons. Although he's portrayed sympathetically, supporters of President George Walker Bush are so incensed by the film's premise they won't consider seeing it, but progressives who do are in for a surprise. The British telefilm reveals small details of American law enforcement and justice in a manner more insidious than incendiary.
Pres. Bush gives a speech in Chicago on Oct. 19, 2007. Throngs of protestors, mostly peaceful but infiltrated by a few hardcore militants, interrupt the presidential motorcade, leading to a quick, brutal police response. After the speech, the President is shot twice by a sniper's rifle.
A new Patriot Act is pushed through Congress, further restricting the liberties of all Americans. "CSI" fans should appreciate the insights of a forensics expert pressured to make very slight evidence fit the desired conclusion.
"Death of a President" is a subtle mystery-thriller that doesn't play by the rules. Director Gabriel Range brilliantly combines archival material with newly filmed talking heads and reenactments and occasional computer trickery for a credible documentary look. There are no big action scenes, no suspenseful climax, and Richard Harvey's minimalist score uses no obvious tricks to play on your emotions. Without endorsing assassination as a solution to America's problems or anyone's problems with America, it shows why some people might consider it, and creates a believable scenario of what might happen if they did. 3 STARS—Steve Warren
Gabriel Range, director and writer of "Death of a President” Image Credit: FNC
Interview of “Death of a President” director and writer by John Gibson, Fox News -
GIBSON: Here now is the director and writer of the film, Gabriel Range.
So Mr. Range, do you understand why that picture of George W. Bush getting shot makes Americans so angry?
GABRIEL RANGE, DIRECTOR AND WRITER OF "DEATH OF A PRESIDENT": Well, I can understand that it's a provocative image, it's a very striking image and I can understand, of course, that this is a sensitive subject. But I think that sometimes it is right for a film to be provocative. The film doesn't take the assassination of President Bush as a starting point for entertainment. It is a serious film that I hope is thought provoking.
GIBSON: Yeah, but it takes the assassination of President Bush as a perfectly logical thing. You have this riot going on at the arrival of President Bush that has never happened in America, ever. And it has happened in Britain. It looks like a British riot dropped into Chicago on which you then graft this assassination.
And here's the point: Look at this double image. This double image shows President Bush being assassinated in your film and in the real life image that every American knows, Lee Harvey Oswald is being shot by Jack Ruby. You took that iconic image of Oswald being shot by Ruby and made it Bush. Oswald, the guy who assassinated President Kennedy, some would argue deserved to be shot. President Bush, the argument seems to be in this movie, deserves to be shot.
RANGE: Absolutely not. First of all, I take issue with what you say that President Bush has never been met with a riot. As it happens, the events in that first part of the film are absolutely a reflection of what happened when President Bush visited Portland in 2003. He absolutely has been met with that kind of response in a city.
GIBSON: Nobody has gotten to the motorcade.
RANGE: They have forced the motorcade to stop on one occasion in Portland.
GIBSON: But you understand, you are a Brit, everybody making this film is a Brit. This is a European sensibility of Bush, of a Bush riot, of the whole buildup of the trouble that would cause. This is not how Americans see Bush.
RANGE: Well, you know, you are entitled to your opinion. I, of course, respect your opinion that it's a European sensibility. But I personally don't think it is.
I think the film describes some of the responses to 9/11, which of course was an attack on American soil, but you don't have to be American to feel the consequences of that event. We are aware of the War on Terror back in Britain as well. And obviously London last July was also the scene of a terrible act of terrorism. So I think it is valid for me as a Brit to make a film that touches on these issues.
GIBSON: You take an incident in American history to justify the way the suspect in this assassination is handled. Of course America made a mistake about the Japanese internment in World War II. The Supreme Court has spoken about it and there have been apologies issued. You make the treatment of that suspect correlate to the treatment of the Japanese after World War II. Of course America looks bad in that situation. And what one is left with watching your film is that here's a guy who thinks President Bush - some people think President Bush deserves to be assassinated and that it is an inevitable consequence of what he has done and now we're going to show America then screwing up the investigation into who did it.
RANGE: The film in no way suggests that the assassination of President Bush is inevitable. It certainly doesn't suggest that it would be a good idea. I don't think that anyone could leave the cinema thinking that the world would be better in the aftermath of a horrific event like this. It portrays the assassination as something which is a horrific event with truly terrible consequences.
GIBSON: Doesn't take a sensibility - I mean, I read the British press and I have been chastised by the British government for my statements about the BBC. I see how much President Bush is disliked. I see how much he is hated. You are talking about this riot on his arrival, a real sense of hate in the protest, the worst scene I have ever seen, a reporter says. This is completely transferred whole cloth from a European or British sensibility to America and made to seem as if it is American when Americans don't recognize that it is true.
RANGE: That is not the response that it has got from many quarters. But I respect your - you are free to make your own judgment. What I would say to people is this film is not what you think and no way a personal attack on President Bush. It is a big criticism of some of the things that the administration has done in the last five years, but I would urge people to go and see the film themselves and make a judgment.
GIBSON: Gabriel Range, the director and writer of "Death of a President." Mr. Range, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
RANGE: Thank you for having me on.
FOXlight With Bill McCuddy - Image Credit: Bill McCuddy
And this from Bill McCuddy about the Toronto Film Festival debut of “Death of a President” -
At the same time, the international critics gave their award to "Death of a President." This may reflect certain feelings around the world about George Bush, but I'm sticking to my guns here. It's inappropriate to make a film about killing a sitting U.S. president, no matter what your politics. There's nothing smart or cool about that.
"Death of a President" may be a big hit overseas, but I doubt it. And its sale to Newmarket Films in the U.S. - the same company that released "The Passion of the Christ" - speaks volumes. Newmarket paid $1 million for "DoaP," about a quarter of what it cost. In the U.S., though, I think it will be ignored not only for its tastelessness, but because it's a bad, boring film, a long, tedious "CSI" that goes nowhere to prove a stupid point ...
The movie opened in 91 theaters throughout the US. Most openings average over $1,000 per screen, per showing according to McCuddy. Today, on Fox News Morning, Bill McCuddy stated after an interview with the director and writer of the movie, Gabriel Range, the opening this weekend is averaging about $670 per screen or 30% below a normal average.
This “VOTE” seems conclusive and appropriate. We can only hope.
The fact that this movie was made to be released at this time by a non-citizen Brit is a little like the Dixie Chicks speaking openly at a concert in England about their displeasure about the President during a time of war. Decorum is lost on both for, what it seems to be here at MAXINE, political leftist-hatred of the right and profit-motive. At the time each of these incidents happened, these motives were at play. Over time, obviously, it is hard to keep beating this drum once the audience has gone home.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Democrat Positions Once Secret, Now Revealed
I must have missed it ... where is Total World Peace and the Elimination of All Greenhouse Gasses.
Excerpts from NACSonline (National Association of Convenience Stores) -
Memo From Washington
By John Eichberger, Vice President - Government Relations, NACS - October 27, 2006
The midterm elections are now only 11 days away and the polling in the field is fierce.
Depending upon which poll you review and on which days that poll was conducted, you may reach radically different conclusions about what might happen on November 7. I think it is safe to say that this election will be a nail-biter, especially for those watching the House of Representatives. Republican members and their staff are wondering if they will have jobs in January, while Democratic members and their staff are trying not to think too much about assuming committee chairs and establishing the agenda for the next Congress.
That said, of course the leaders in the parties have to think ahead and lay out their plans for the future. This week, the aspiring majority party issued a document, "New Direction for America: Six for '06." This represents the legislative agenda of the Democratic party as it prepares for what it hopes will be its 110th Congress.
I note the release of this document primarily to give readers a snap shot of what the priorities will be next year should control of the House of Representatives switch parties. For years, we have been watching the Republicans call the shots and, should the Democrats win the majority, it will be very helpful to know where they will set their priorities.
"Six for '06" lays out the six priorities Below, I have provided a short, unbiased synopsis of their proposals (full details are available from the actual document). Obviously, their descriptions of the priorities are more politically angled and punchy than those which follow, and you may agree or disagree with their agenda. Either way, it's important to understand what the agenda of the Congress could be in the coming months:
1. Real Security at Home and Overseas: Articulates the party's vision for the future of the U.S. military and the nation’s campaigns overseas, specifically in Iraq and against the forces of al Qaeda.
2. Better American Jobs-Better Pay: Specifies that Members of Congress shall not receive another pay raise until the minimum wage is increased.
3. College Access for All: Cut rates for student loans, expand Pell Grants and make tuition permanently tax deductible.
4. Energy Independence - Lower Gas Prices: Promote initiatives for energy-efficient technology and domestic alternative fuels like biofuels and enact tough laws to stop price gouging.
5. Affordable Health Care - Life-Saving Science: Change the Medicare prescription drug program and promote stem cell research.
6. Retirement Security and Dignity: Stop any plans to privatize all or any part of Social Security, enact pension reforms and expand personal savings incentives.
The drive towards [ed. fuel] alternatives is not unique to the Democratic party. In fact, President Bush has said that a goal for the nation should be to replace 30 percent of our gasoline use with biofuels by the year 2030.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who would likely be the Speaker of the House if the Democrats assume control, referenced legislation offered by the Democratic Rural Caucus as one of the foundations for energy policy under her leadership. That bill would increase the use of renewable fuels to 20 percent of the motor fuel supply by 2015 and require the Secretary of Energy to establish a schedule for mandatory installation of E-85 dispensers at retail.
Despite what the national polls broadcast on the news every night, the only polls that truly count are those in your polling district. Remember, "All politics is local" and the only ones who can influence the outcome are the ones who vote.
Didn't anybody tell this guy who is writing this memo and Nancy Pelosi - the Underwriters Labratories (UL) have not approved and certified the nozzel delivery systems for E85, YET?
Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)- OUCH!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
700 Miles Of Fence To Go Up - Finally!
His heart really isn't in it.
He signed the bill in the "Rose Garden" and not along the border in Arizona, or California.
I guess the administration didn't want the back of the photoshot with the President signing the bill to be filled with people making their way toward Tucson, or Anaheim!
Excerpts from AP via Yahoo! News -
Bush signs U.S.-Mexico border fence bill
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer (Associated Press Writer Suzanne Gamboa contributed)
WASHINGTON - President Bush signed a bill Thursday authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to give Republican candidates a pre-election platform for asserting they're tough on illegal immigration.
"Unfortunately the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and therefore illegal immigration has been on the rise," Bush said at a signing ceremony.
"We have a responsibility to enforce our laws," he said. "We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility serious."
He called the fence bill "an important step in our nation's efforts to secure our borders."
The centerpiece of Bush's immigration policy, a guest worker program, remains stalled in Congress.
Still, Bush argues that it would be easier to get his guest worker program passed if Republicans keep their majorities in the House and Senate after the Nov. 7 elections. His proposal would allow legal employment for foreigners and give some of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States a shot at becoming American citizens.
Mexican officials have criticized the fence. Outgoing Mexican President
Vicente Fox, who has spent much of his six years in office lobbying for a new guest worker program and a chance at citizenship for the millions of Mexicans working illegally in the U.S., calls the fence "shameful" and compares it to the Berlin Wall.
Others have doubts about its effectiveness.
"A fence will slow people down by a minute or two, but if you don't have the agents to stop them it does no good. We're not talking about some impenetrable barrier," T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing Border Patrol agents, said Wednesday.
Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, both Texas Republicans, had wanted to amend the fence bill to give local governments more say about where fencing is erected. They lost that battle, but Republican leaders assured them the Homeland Security Department would have flexibility to choose other options instead of fencing, if needed.
President Bush speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006. Image Credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
Cornyn said he voted for the fence because he wanted to help demonstrate that Congress was serious about border security.
"The choice we were presented was: Are we going to vote to enhance border security, or against it?" Cornyn said. "I think that's how the vote was viewed."
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
"DEMFEST" All Day On MSNBC
So I wake this morning, as I am accustomed to do. Start the coffee, catch a little breakfast, flip on the computer, and watch a little Don Imus In The Morning on MSNBC. The day starts out pretty much normal.
Imus ends and up pops an all day broadcast anchored by David Gregory. This just isn't any MSNBC broadcast ... but a special broadcast production day entitled "Decision 2006 Battleground America".
David begins the day by reviewing what one will be watching, that an interview with Senator Jack Murtha will be coming up shortly but first let's go to Richard Engle in Baghdad, Iraq.
After ten minutes of how ugly things are in Iraq and parsing the words of the commander after a news conference … David Gregory interviews Jack Murtha for a full fifteen minutes, without any counterpoint, unless one wants to count David Gregory as a counterpoint.
All of the time this is going on, the scroll at the bottom of the screen reads -
NOW ON MSNBC: DECISION 2006 BATTLEGROUND AMERICA ON MSNBC *** IN THE SENATE, DEMOCRATS NEED ONLY TO WIN 6 SEATS TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE CHAMBER *** WATCH CHRIS MATTHEWS ON HARDBALL ON MSNBC’S “POLITICS DAY” DECISION 2006 AT 3 PM; CHRIS WILL INTERVIEW NED LAMONT FOR THE HOUR *** POLLS SHOW DEMOCRATS POISED TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE CONGRESS – ONLY 15 SEATS NEEDED TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE CHAMBER ***
Strewn all throughout the broadcast, graphics of the United States highlighting each state that is in play pops-up just like on election day coverage tracking the polls as if the election was happening right now … and then the talking heads that include Howard Dean, Tim Russert, some pollster, photos of the contested candidates with their respective poll percentage numbers (ahead/behind).
MSNBC’S Decision 2006 Battleground America is really one big “DEMFEST” – check it out, it’s fun, it’s lopsided, and it’s politics here and now in 2006. If you leave the room, don’t forget to turn off the TV.
Oh, by the way, it took over an hour and a half since the beginning of the program, the first person in politics, who is not a democrat or a journalist (democrat), is Elizabeth Dole. She is being interviewed by the second hour anchor, Campbell Brown.
Sample question to Dole: “Why are people like Dewine (R) in trouble of losing his seat?”
Graphics pop-up on the screen showing the layout of the Senate Chamber floor with the caption “Democrats Need Only To Win 6 Seats To Take Control”
It’s a “DEMFEST”! What an orgy!
Okay, now Campbell Brown announces that “After the break, we will go to New Jersey where Republicans have a chance to take back a seat” … this offering after only one hour and forty-five minutes of broadcast time – incredible!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
The Corrosive Nature Of E85 And Standards Clash
We are told over and over that we are in a war ... and that one of the reasons Islamo-Faschist hate our way of life is due to the amount of influence we exert to get our hands on the oil Islamic countries control in order to fuel our way of life.
One strategy put forth to aid in reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil is to blend the fuel with greater amounts of renewable sources of fuel known as Ethanol (fuel made from cellulose laden vegetation).
The blend, known as E85 - 85% Ethanol and 15% Gasoline - is more corrosive on things that it comes in contact with than straight Gasoline. This potential corrosiveness has held up the approval and certification of pumping mechanisms that deliver fuel to our cars from the Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL).
This from "About UL" on the UL website -
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product-safety testing and certification organization. We have tested products for public safety for more than a century.
Since our founding in 1894, we have held the undisputed reputation as a leader in product-safety testing and certification within the United States. Building on our household name in the United States, UL is becoming one of the most recognized, reputable conformity assessment providers in the world. Today, our services extend to helping companies achieve global acceptance, whether for an electrical device, a programmable system, or an organization's quality process.
Basically, without the UL certification for safety, insurance companies and fire response entities will not allow E85 fuel stations to be built. Worse, without certification, E85 stations may be shut down.
Excerpts from the Lincoln Journal Star -
Underwriters Laboratories monkey-wrenches E85 stations
By Lincoln Journal Star staff and wire reports - The Detroit Free Press and Journal Star reporter Art Hovey contributed to this report - Saturday Oct 21, 2006
The legal operating status of some filling stations selling E85, the blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, is under question since Underwriters Laboratories, the product safety testing group, said it has no timetable for approving E85 systems.
That’s created confusion around the country and could slow the spread of E85 stations, to the dismay of state and local governments, farmers, ethanol promoters and environmental groups.
The lack of the UL seal for filling station pumps carrying E85 means at least some of the roughly 1,000 stations that carry ethanol fuel may be violating fire codes, and new stations that want to install E85 systems in some states would need waivers from local or state fire marshals.
Ethanol advocates said they hope to clear the air soon. In Nebraska at least 10 new E85 stations are on the drawing board, according to Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.
State fire marshal inspections have sufficed so far for the 29 existing E85 stations in Nebraska, Sneller said, regardless of the absence of a UL listing.
“We expect certainly this will have some impact on newly installed equipment,” Sneller said Friday. “We are not certain if it will have any effect on already installed equipment.
UL seals show up on thousands of products from toasters to turbines, and a UL listing is a requirement for filling stations under most fire codes. But on Oct. 5, UL announced it was suspending its listings for any fuel system that handled E85.
John Drengenberg, UL’s manager of consumer affairs, said the group had certified some parts of a fueling system as acceptable for alternative fuels but had not taken a close look at E85 until May, when a supplier applied for a UL listing for an entire dispenser — the pump and nozzle.
Drengenberg said as UL began to examine the system, it realized it needed more information about how ethanol reacted over long periods of time with parts made from certain metals.
“We looked at it very carefully and we found this issue of the corrosiveness of ethanol,” Drengenberg said. “We’re going to hold back until we get all the questions that came into our minds answered.”
Sneller said he was not aware of city codes in Nebraska that may demand a UL listing.
“It may be more of an issue with insurance policies,” Sneller said.
The issue has certainly caused confusion, Sneller acknowledged.
On Thursday, there was supposed to be a new E85 initiative announced by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Governors Ethanol Coalition and private sector partners, Sneller said, but now that’s in doubt.
“The National Ethanol VehicleCoalition has worked very closely with UL for more than a year on this very matter,” Sneller said. “That process was considered to be nearly complete and approval to be imminent, so there’s a great deal of confusion about what prompted this adjustment and a number of efforts under way to get more preicise answers from the UL about why this occurred at this time.”
Here, in California, this becomes a none issue, issue - of the four stations statewide that carry E85 ... only one is open to to the general public (the other three are on US Government/Military facilities).
At MAXINE, we STILL believe we are at war! Appearently, this war has to be fought not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but here at home as well.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Digital "Flu" Hits The MP3 World
Just last month, I was at Fry's and choose to purchase one of these USB "stick" MP3 players. The form factor and size impressed me as well as the price.
I got home, opened the package, excited to get started with the experience of digital music, I placed the software CD-ROM disc in the drive - Good To Go!
BAM! - up pops a Trojan Horse Virus alert from my security software.
Man, what a bummer.
I took everything back for a full credit and purchased a known brand in the hopes of getting into the digital music game.
Box of Kleenex - Image Credit: binghamton.edu
It turns out that this just isn't a problem with lesser known or off brand products that are entering the marketplace.
This from CNET News -
Windows virus worms onto some Apple iPods
A small number of the video media players have been shipped with the RavMonE virus, the company warns.
By Ina Fried - Staff Writer, CNET News.com (CNET News.com's Joris Evers contributed to this report.) - Published: October 17, 2006, 2:05 PM PDT - Last modified: October 17, 2006, 2:28 PM PDT
Apple Computer warned on Tuesday that some of its latest iPods have shipped with a Windows virus.
The company said that a small number of video iPods made after Sept. 12 included the RavMonE virus. It said it has seen fewer than 25 reports of the problem, which it said does not affect other models of the media player, nor does it affect Macs.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company apologized on its Web site for the problem, but also used the opportunity to jab at Microsoft, its operating system rival.
"As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it," Apple said on its site.
The iPod Photo - Comes in two versions, a 40GB model which sells for $499 and a 60GB version that sells for $599. Both weigh 6.4 ounces, are 2.4 x 4.1 x 0.75 inches in size (slightly thicker and heavier than the regular 40GB iPod), and have a battery life of 15 hours (which is 25% better than the 4G iPod). Also comes with an AV cable for hooking up to a TV for slideshows. Image Credit: engadget.com
Apple Vice President Greg Joswiak told CNET News.com that the virus was discovered last week and said the company has been working around the clock since then to discover the root cause of the problem. Joswiak said it was traced to a particular Windows machine in the manufacturing lines of a contract manufacturer that builds the iPods for Apple. The company declined to name the maker.
"It's more important to say we now have processes in place to make sure this won't happen again," Joswiak said. "Very few units actually went through that particular station, fortunately."
The company said that computers using a current antivirus software and with default settings should detect and remove RavMonE, as it is an identified virus. It is urging iPod users without such protection to install antivirus software.
Apple said that the video iPods now being made are virus-free. It introduced the latest generation of iPods last month.
Antivirus company McAfee listed the iPod threat as a low risk, but gave it the rating of "low/profiled," which the company said applies to viruses that "appear to be low risk, but warrant additional monitoring because they have attracted media interest."
Joswiak said the virus does not affect Macs or the iPod itself. As for Windows machines, Joswiak said the virus "does not cause data damage but can lower the security of the computer" and said it should be removed. Apple points to various antivirus firms' Web sites, including McAfee, Microsoft and Symantec, as places consumers can get antivirus software if they don't already have it.
Apple said that there was no intentional placement of the virus on the iPods. "You can rest assured of that," he said.
I purchased a SanDisk Sensa 140 c from COSTCO and it is a gem ... Oh!, and no viruses.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
The World Speaks To North Korea Unanimously
Today, the world, through the UN Security Council, voted unanimously (15-0) to hit North Korea with further sanctions following the nuclear test that North Korea conducted earlier this week.
Among other sanctions, luxury items are banned to be sold to any North Korean entity trying to purchase them in the world markets.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il downs a drink during a toast with a South Korean media representitive Kum Chang-Tae in Pyongyang, North Korea Saturday August 12, 2000. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il loves his fancy food. But will he have to start eating more kimichi and less caviar if a U.N. resolution passes banning the sale of luxury goods to North Korea? Image Credit: AP Photo/Yonhap
Kim Jong Il as depicted in the movie - "Team America World Police" Image Credit: Paramount Pictures
John Bolton, the US Secretary to the UN, was able to successfully show a united front by the world body against nuclear proliferation.
This from AP via Yahoo! News -
U.N. adopts resolution against N. Korea
Associated Press - 4 minutes ago
UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to impose punishing sanctions on North Korea for its claimed nuclear test, declaring that its action posed "a clear threat to international peace and security."
The vote came after the United States, Britain and France overcame last-minute differences with Russia and China.
A former South Korean intelligence agent wearing North Korean military uniform stands next to a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as he says he wants to go to North Korea to destroy the North's nuclear weapon during an anti-North Korean rally in front of Defense Ministry in Seoul, Friday, Oct. 13, 2006. As key Security Council members neared agreement on a resolution on North Korea, a new U.S. draft resolution was proposed that would authorize non-military sanctions against the country for its claimed nuclear test. Image Credit: AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man
The resolution demands North Korea eliminate all its nuclear weapons but expressly rules out military action against the country - a demand by the Russians and Chinese. The Americans also eliminated a complete ban on the sale of conventional weapons; instead, the resolution limits the embargo to major hardware such as tanks, warships, combat aircraft and missiles.
UPDATE - additional information from Associated Press -
Security Council OKs N. Korea sanctions
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer
North Korea immediately rejected the resolution, and its U.N. ambassador walked out of the council chamber after accusing its members of a "gangster-like" action which neglects the nuclear threat posed by the United States.
The U.S.-sponsored resolution demands that the reclusive communist nation abandon its nuclear weapons program, and orders all countries to prevent North Korea from importing or exporting any material for weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missiles. It orders nations to freeze assets of people or businesses connected to these programs, and ban the individuals from traveling.
The resolution also calls on all countries to inspect cargo leaving and arriving in North Korea to prevent any illegal trafficking in unconventional weapons or ballistic missiles. The final draft was softened from language authorizing searches, but was still unacceptable to China — the North's closest ally and largest trading partner - which said it would not carry out any searches.
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said North Korea's proclaimed test "poses one of the gravest threats to international peace and security that this council has ever had to confront."
"Today, we are sending a strong and clear message to North Korea and other would be proliferators that there will be serious repercussions in continuing to pursue weapons of mass destruction," he said, in what appeared to be a clear warning to Iran whose nuclear ambitions come before the Security Council again next week.
North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Pak Gil Yon countered by blaming the United States for forcing the country to conduct a test because of its "nuclear threat, sanctions and pressure."
"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is ready for talks, dialogue and confrontation," Pak said. "If the United States increases pressure upon the Democratic People's Republic of Korea persistently, the DPRK will continue to take physical countermeasures considering it as a declaration of war."
South Korean ambassador to the U.N. Choi Young-Jin, right, speaks during a security council meeting Saturday, Oct. 14, 2006 at the United Nations. The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to impose punishing sanctions on North Korea for its claimed nuclear test, declaring that its action posed 'a clear threat to international peace and security.' Image Credit: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
North Korea has made similar threats in the past, and has also said it might conduct a second nuclear test in response to U.N. sanctions.
The vote came after the United States, Britain and France overcame last-minute differences with Russia and China during what the Russian ambassador called "tense negotiations."
The resolution demands North Korea eliminate all its nuclear weapons but expressly rules out military action against the country, a demand by the Russians and Chinese. Bolton warned Pyongyang, however, that if it continues pursuing nuclear weapons, the U.S. would seek further measures.
The Security Council condemned the nuclear test that North Korea said it conducted on Oct. 9. It demanded that North Korea immediately return to six-nation talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to dismantle its weapons program without precondition.
It also imposed sanctions for the North's "flagrant disregard" of the council's appeal not to detonate a nuclear device and demanded that North Korea "not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile."
"This action by the United Nations, which was swift and tough, says that we are united in our determination to see to it that the Korean peninsula is nuclear-weapons free," President Bush said.
South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, who was chosen on Friday to become the next U.N. secretary-general, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the council's resolution "sends a very strong, clear and unified message to North Korea."
John Bolton, for his part, appropriately compared the North Korean U.N. ambassador to Nikita Krushchev and his action of defiance in the UN chamber - the taking off his shoe and pounding it on the desk to draw attention (October 1960) - after he (the North Korean) walked out of the UN council chamber after reading his prepared statement and accusing its members of a "gangster-like" action.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Robot Photojournalism: Space Rover Photographs Land Rover
The fruits of our public monies should be more available and broadcast with greater saturation. These images can be found at the NASA website but the "Fourth Estate" is doing our society a dis-service by not broadcasting these images on a regular basis.
From an altitude of 170 miles, the orbiter could see the Opportunity rover from above. In the inset, the small line extending to the lower right from the rover is the shadow of the mast on which the rover's cameras are mounted. Image Credit: NASA
This from NASA -
Victoria is an impact crater about 800 meters (half a mile) in diameter at Meridiani Planum near the equator of Mars. Opportunity has been operating on Mars since January, 2004. Five days before this image was taken, Opportunity arrived at the rim of Victoria, after a drive of more than 9 kilometers (over 5 miles). It then drove to the position where it is seen in this image.
Shown in the image are "Duck Bay," the eroded segment of the crater rim where Opportunity first arrived at the crater; "Cabo Frio," a sharp promontory to the south of Duck Bay; and "Cape Verde," another promontory to the north. When viewed at the highest resolution, this image shows the rover itself, wheel tracks in the soil behind it, and the rover's shadow, including the shadow of the camera mast. After this image was taken, Opportunity moved to the very tip of Cape Verde to perform more imaging of the interior of the crater.
This view is a portion of an image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft on Oct. 3, 2006. The complete image is centered at minus7.8 degrees latitude, 279.5 degrees East longitude. The range to the target site was 297 kilometers (185.6 miles). At this distance the image scale is 29.7 centimeters (12 inches) per pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects about 89 centimeters (35 inches) across are resolved. North is up. The image was taken at a local Mars time of 3:30 PM and the scene is illuminated from the west with a solar incidence angle of 59.7 degrees, thus the sun was about 30.3 degrees above the horizon. At a solar longitude of 113.6 degrees, the season on Mars is northern summer.
Images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment and additional information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are available online at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/MRO/main/index.html or http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/.
Layers of 'Cabo Frio' in 'Victoria Crater' - This view of "Victoria crater" is looking southeast from "Duck Bay" towards the dramatic promontory called "Cabo Frio." The small crater in the right foreground, informally known as "Sputnik", is about 20 meters (about 65 feet) away from the rover, the tip of the spectacular, layered, Cabo Frio promontory itself is about 200 meters (about 650 feet) away from the rover, and the exposed rock layers are about 15 meters (about 50 feet) tall. This is an approximately true color rendering of images taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity during the rover's 952nd sol, or Martian day, (Sept. 28, 2006) using the camera's 750-nanometer, 530-nanometer and 430-nanometer filters. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
This from ABC News –
Earthlings Invade Mars
U.S. Probes Send New Images of Martian Surface
By NED POTTER
Oct. 6, 2006 — "NASA is in the process of taking over Mars," said Steven Squyres, the principal investigator for the two rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which have been exploring the Martian surface for more than two years.
"Today is day 960 of Opportunity's 90-day mission," he said today at a Washington news conference. The rovers have gone far beyond their expected lifetimes, and NASA has had to come up with money to keep funding its support team on Earth.
Now the rovers have been joined by a new ship, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is circling the planet at an altitude of 170 miles and sending back its first images. They are so detailed that in one, the Opportunity rover appears as a small, dark triangle, perched on the edge of a crater.
A dark line extends from the triangle. Scientists said it is the shadow of the mast on Opportunity's top deck that carries most of its cameras.
This part of Victoria crater has been nicknamed Cape Verde. Scientists would like to sample it closely, but after more than two years in the Martian cold, the rover is showing signs of wear. "We are not going to do a leisurely tour of this crater," said Steve Squyres, the principal investigator, "because our days are numbered." Image Credit: NASA
Sandy Desert in the Martian Cold
Opportunity has been exploring a vast, sandy plain on Mars, and its operators back on Earth say they're amazed it's still operating. It's gotten stuck in the sand twice; one time they had to spin the wheels for six weeks to get it free.
There is no way to tow it free. Mars is currently about 240 million miles from Earth.
The crater at which Opportunity has now arrived is called Victoria. It is about a mile wide, and Squyres said it offers a great chance to see beneath the upper layers of soil.
"What an amazing time for space exploration," said Jim Bell, Squyres' long-time partner on the rover project. Bell and Squyres, both scientists at Cornell University, first proposed the Mars rovers in 1987.
Opportunity will now probe the cliffs that surround Victoria crater. But after 960 days on Mars, it is showing signs of wear. One of its wheels won't turn, and its batteries are harder to charge.
"We are not going to do a leisurely tour of this crater, because our days are numbered," Squyres said.
Please take a look at the newest pictures HERE.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reached the rim of "Victoria Crater" on Sept. 27, 2006, during the 951st Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work in the Meridian Planum region of Mars. Opportunity drove 9.28 kilometers (5.77 miles) in the explorations that took it from "Eagle Crater," where it landed in January 2004, eastward to "Endurance Crater," which it investigated for about half of 2004, then southward to Victoria.
This map of Opportunity's trek so far is overlaid onto images taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor. Victoria is about 800 meters (one-half mile) in diameter, or about five times wider than Endurance and 40 times wider than Eagle. The scale bar at lower right shows the length of 800 meters (0.50 mile). North is up.
The following gives the Earth date for the sol number on the image at right: Sol 58 was Mar. 24, 2004 Sol 315 was Dec. 12, 2004. Sol 446 was Apr. 26, 2005 Sol 654 was Nov. 25, 2005 Sol 833 was May 28, 2006 Sol 898 was Aug. 3, 2006 Sol 952 was Sept. 28, 2006 + High resolution version Image Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/Ohio State University
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Fence First Forces Persevere - Finally!
Whadda-U-Mean Washington don't listen to da' little guy.
Back in March, you had illegals a marchin' and makin' noise (you know, flyin' mexian flags n' hangin' the American flag upside-down and all).
Today, near election time, ya' have Dubya a signin' a 700 mile fence bill without any provisions for dealin' with the 12 million illegals that are here - First Things First, that's what MAXINE would always say!
Mexican nationals peer through the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border at Border Field State Park in San Ysidro, Calif., on Aug. 24. Image Credit: Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images file
Excerpts from AP via Yahoo! News -
Bush signs homeland security bill
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer Wed Oct 4, 2:47 PM ET
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - President Bush on Wednesday signed a homeland security bill that includes an overhaul of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $1.2 billion for fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration.
Standing before a mountainous backdrop in Arizona, a state that has been the center of much debate over secure borders, Bush signed into law a $35 billion homeland security spending bill that could bring hundreds of miles of fencing to the busiest illegal entry point on the U.S.-Mexican border.
Bush said enforcement alone will not stop illegal immigration, and urged Congress to pass his guest worker program to legally bring in new foreign workers and give some of the country's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants a shot at U.S. citizenship.
"The funds that Congress has appropriated are critical for our efforts to secure this border and enforce our laws, yet we must also recognize that enforcement alone is not going to work,"
Among other things, Bush said the homeland security funding bill deploys nuclear detection equipment to points of entry, raises safety security standards at chemical plants, provides better tools to enforce immigration laws and provides vehicle barriers, lighting and infrared cameras to help catch illegals trying to cross the border.
Members of the 116th Construction Equipment Support Company of the Utah National Guard extend a wall, 06 June 2006 along the US border with Mexico, a few miles from the border crossing point at San Luis, Arizona. The US Senate approved late 29 September 2006 a bill that calls for building a fence along the US-Mexican border to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. Image Credit: ROBYN BECK / AFP/Getty Images
"It's what the people in this country want," Bush said. "They want to know that we are modernizing the border so we can better secure the border."
Outgoing Mexican President Vicente Fox, who has spent his six-year term lobbying for a new guest worker program and an amnesty for the millions of Mexicans working illegally in the United States, has called the barrier "shameful." He compares it to the Berlin Wall.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the homeland security spending bill does not improve screening of cargo carried on passenger planes, does not provide money to buy and install advanced explosive-detection equipment and does not include strong enough security requirements to protect against a terrorist attack on chemical plants.
"There are nightclubs in New York City that are harder to get into than some of our chemical plants," Markey said.