September 30, 2004
My first thoughts after the first two questions:
Kerry sounds more rehearsed--I don't know if that's good or bad. His initial answer was a bunch of general statements. "I have a plan," etc. That's a problem for him... Oh, question three--he just brought up Vietnam. Didn't take long.
Bush stumbled initially, but picked it up near the end of the first question and has been pretty solid since then. His answers are more specific, and at the same time, seem more heartfelt.
First round: Bush
UPDATE: Kerry hammered the "why hasn't he gone after bin Laden?" issue. Bush: "Anyone who thinks that bin Laden is the one issue in the war on terror doesn't understand the war on terror." Ouch. That one drew blood.
Seems like it's getting a little ugly...and repetitive. I'm not sure there's any clear leader here, although I don't think Kerry's getting any points in the national security department, as he seems to be doing nothing but criticizing those currently involved without ANY indication of what he would do to make it better.
UPDATE 2: Bush is getting to sound a little repetitive. That's hurting him. As Ken said in the comments, he's wearing out the "wrong war, wrong time" defense, and now he's wearing out the "my opponent flip-flops, and you can't lead if you don't take a stance" bit.
UPDATE 3: Tim Russert just said that Kerry "found the voice of the Democratic party." I didn't sense that at all. In fact, I think that was Kerry's biggest failing here. He had a perfect opportunity to enumerate the policies he would put into place, but instead he stuck by the Nixon-like "I've got a secret plan; elect me and you'll find out what it is." I know absolutely NOTHING more about his ideas than I did before this started. I don't think that Bush was all that enlightening (except maybe for the North Korea situation) either, though.
Everbody Knows This Is Nowhere is the new home of Doug Pace, all the way at the bottom of the world, where I'm convinced he's going to become a Pace-cicle.
Sexless In The City is where you can go to find the ultra-sultry Anna Broadway, a woman who's sexy because of her convictions, rather than in spite of them.
Stop by and say hello!
September 29, 2004
I didn't see the report, but apparently just weeks after what must have been the most humiliating experience of his career, Rather is at it again:
Three weeks after he denounced the internet as being "filled with rumors," the embattled CBS anchor ran a story on his Tuesday "Evening News" program hoping to stir up fear of an impending military draft.unbelievable.
In a story that was a textbook example of slipshod reporting, CBS reporter Richard Schlesinger used debunked internet hoax emails and an unlabeled interest group member to scare elderly "Evening" viewers into believing that the U.S. government is poised to resume the draft.
Not only is Kerry spouting this crap (you almost expect it from him), but now it's getting coverage on the evening news? Good God. What's next? Rather reports on exiled leaders from third world countries who could regain their positions if only they could access the millions of dollars in their hidden accounts, and desperately need the public's help to do so? Or maybe reports on the alligators in the sewer that the Bush administration has allowed to grow to unbelievable size? Oh, no...wait...maybe he'll report on how John Kerry is helping the poor by donating money every time you forward one of his emails.
These emails are as ridiculous as the memos were, if not more so. By the way, besides the examinations listed in the post, snopes has also covered it. Perhaps the most outlandish thing regarding this whole issue is that (as ratherbiased reports) the two pieces of legislation looking to re-establish the draft were introduced by Democrats! Although nobody ever comes out and overtly says so, the idea is that if re-elected, Bush would re-introduce the draft. Look at how cleverly they put this quote after Bush's statement that a draft was unnecessary:
SCHLESINGER (voiceover): But Beverly's not buying it. She's a Republican, but she's also a single issue voter.Note also, the "but" implying that the Republican party and the "single issue" are at odds. Then, the follow-up:
(on-camera) Would you vote for a Democrat?The implication? That only a Democrat can possibly save her sons from being inducted.
The memo story was disturbing, in that we expect the mainstream news to have at least a modicum of respectability. This story is just insulting.
So, dear readers, I'd rather you hear it from me than read it in the tabloids. The pretend marriage is over. It's probably for the best, though. I couldn't take much more. There was the drinking, the phone calls in the middle of the night, the crying for no reason, all the money wasted buying sexy underwear, the obsession over actor James Woods's penis. And then there was the stuff that she did.
Hmmm...I guess now I just wait for the next beautiful, sexy, rich and famous woman to come by, which should be any minute, right?
September 28, 2004
September 27, 2004
For those that don't want to dissect the science mumbo-jumbo, here's the gist. The asteroid Toutatis is coming back to town, and will pass closer to the Earth than anything else of comparable size will...at least this century.
I love this pic--it reminds me of the Steelers of old.
September 25, 2004
September 24, 2004
September 23, 2004
To Whom It May Concern:
Dan Rather likes little boys. A lot.
Mrs. Dan Rather's Mom
Well, the memo may or may not be faked, but what's more important here is that someone needs to make Dan Rather accountable for the questions it raises, right?
Yeah, that's what I thought.
Okay, I'm done now.
September 22, 2004
September 20, 2004
The filthy, filthy words to "Barnacle Bill the Sailor"
And Darin was cool in his own way. If Sinatra was Marlon Brando, the master, the one who indelibly changed his field, and eventually outlived his image, then Darin was James Dean--the upstart, the one who lived the business completely, but far too quickly. He was the young Elvis who never had a chance to get old and out of shape, to forget lines. In a business where image is everything, he will always remain youthful.
If you get the chance, go out and get yourself a copy of Two Of A Kind, an album of duets by Darin and Johnny Mercer. Technically...musically, it's a good album, but that's not why you'll like it. What makes this album special is that it's...well, fun, for lack of a better word. You really get the sense that these two guys are just having a blast laying down these tracks and that they'd like nothing better than to get you involved.
I guess in the end, I'm looking forward to the movie. I hope all of you will go out and see it, too. And Spacey? It better not suck.
Anyway, I feel a little guilty for soliciting those hits under false pretenses. Besides, I know a potential audience when I spy on their searches, and I'm not too ashamed to pander to them. So, for those of you who made your way here looking for scantily clad volleyball players who occasionally seem like more than friends because they touch each other's butts...Enjoy the following:
And if you're looking for naked pictures of Wheaton, forget it. If I just handed them out whenever I felt like it, I'd have nothing left in my safe to force him to be friends with me.
I wanted to do the pirate thing up right, but I'm just not in a pirate-y mood. I do have something with a smattering of pirate in it, which I thought I'd share...out of desperation to fit in during a mindless holiday.
The Setup: Back in my misspent youth, I asked a lovely young lass out on a date. Hoping to allay any reservations she might have, and thinking I was both funny and charming, I said: "I'm not an axe murderer or anything, you know." She asked me: "Can I have that in writing?" Apparently, she thought she was funny too. Anyway, the following was the result. I have changed to names to protect the innocent. And me.
ROB M. BLIND
Attorney at Law
3rd Apt. behind the liquor store
Sleezeville, USA 12345
This paper constitutes a testimonial to the character of the party of the first part, one: Serious, Dead and his promise to the party of the second part, one: Jones, Mary, that--in such event as it is ever deemed prudent as well as pleasurable for the party of the second part to accompany the party of the first part on an outing consisting of various nighttime activities to be specified, in whole or in part, previous to the outing, and contingent upon the query of the party of the first part as well as the acceptance of the party of the second part--he is not now nor ever was an axe murderer.
I. Party Classification
Due to extreme confusion, and the surgeon general's warning that excessive partying can be detrimental to your health, there will be a renaming of the aforementioned parties. The party of the second part, formerly known as Mary will now be known as Dandelion Stem, while the party of the second part, formerly known as Dead Serious, will now be known as Lemon Custard. Call me Ishmael. Have you seen the great white whale? I...oh excuse me, there's someone at the door. I'll be right back.
II. The Power of the Attorney
Hello. This is Dead Serious. I have fired my lawyer. Actually I have knocked him unconscious. I ventured to his house to check the progress of this statement. A short time after ringing the bell, the door was flung open. There before me was my lawyer, wearing cutoffs, with a broom handle protruding from his pantleg, a stuffed parrot on his shoulder, and an eyepatch. Not amused at my chuckling over his clever costume, he feinted at me with a large cutlass, screaming "Avast! To the crow's nest with ye, ye scurvy dog! We've whales to harpoon!" I immediately parried his thrust with my briefcase, knocking the cutlass from his hand. I clinched with him and we grappled. The madman possesses the strength of ten men. Now I know what power of attorney means. He eventually broke free and tried to escape, but I brought him down with a flying tackle across the coffee table. Knocking him out, I took the opportunity to tie him up. He just recently has come to, and despite his bellowing cries of "Mutiny!", I find I can keep him at bay by jabbing him sharply in the ribs with a fire poker. I have called the local asylum and shall try to finish this while I wait for them to arrive.
III. Back to the Basics
Firstly, I do not like Lemon custard, nor do I bear even the remotest resemblance to it. Therefore, I would like to be known as Dead Serious. And although I must admit that I find the name Dandelion Stem not altogether unattractive, for continuity's sake I will revert to using the name Mary.
IV. Safety Check
The basic idea behind this statement is that if Mary agrees to join me on a date, she will not have to worry about waking up in several sections in a trunk inside a bus station locker. I do not own an axe, machete, halberd, chainsaw, spear, circular saw or drill press. As far as knives go, I have never killed anything more than a stick of butter with one. I do have several cooking knives as well as a Swiss Army knife, but I almost never bring these on dates. (Technically, I'm not even a member of the Swiss Army.) I also do not bring the following on dates: high-powered rifles, incendiary devices, handguns, or explosives (except on special occasions, and then only small explosives. Honest.)
I promise to be a gentleman and to not participate in any violent activities unless defending Mary from the evil fleshy-headed mutants that are known to live underground in the sewers and come up at night to satisfy their craving for human flesh. I, personally, have no animosity towards these creatures, as it was radiation that made the poor devils enemies of society. Even so, consuming the living is illegal, disgusting, and thoroughly naughty.
In conclusion, I shall follow the above stipulations to the best of my knowledge and capability. Amen.(I suppose I shall have to have my lunatic lawyer sign this document also, or its legality might be in question.)
Robert M. Blind, Lunatic.
September 17, 2004
September 15, 2004
In a sign that the campaign may be beginning to rebound, the aide pointed to a new poll showing that a majority of Americans would rather vote for Mr. Kerry than be poked in the eye with a sharp stick.
September 13, 2004
Now, if we could just find out who typed them. Let's see...it would have to be someone who was deluded about his own accomplishments because he must have thought the forgery wouldn't have been spotted...Someone who knew a little about the military, to get some of the details right, but who didn't spend a whole lot of time there, which accounts for the mistakes. Someone who had something to gain by making Bush look bad. And, of course, someone who knew the mainstream media well enough to figure they probably wouldn't look too closely at it...Hmmm...
Well, I can't think of anybody.
September 12, 2004
Anyway, the title of my blog has suddenly taken on new meaning. And as last meals go, I have to say...the jambalaya was pretty damn good. Just in case, though, I'm chasing it with what little was left of a half-gallon of Breyer's Reese's peanut butter cup ice cream. It may not help, but dammit! I've got to try something!
September 11, 2004
HODGES SAID HE WAS MISLED BY CBS: Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Grd, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt."
Hodges also said he did not see the documents in the 70's and he cannot authenticate the documents or the contents. His personal belief is that the documents have been "computer generated" and are a "fraud".
September 10, 2004
John Kerry, by meeting the leaders of North Vietnam in 1970, was guilty of a quislingism.
Oh, sure...You might figure it out by context alone, but since John Kerry changes positions like other men change their shorts, you can't be sure. That's where the hyperdictionary comes in!
It contains an English dictionary, and ones for computer and medical terms. It also has a thesaurus and a dream dictionary. (Although I'm not certain yet if all those are available from the search box or only from their web page.) You simply type in your term, and you get a pop-up window with the info. You don't even have to leave my page!
I've noticed that it's missing a few words here and there, but I believe they're still working on it. Besides, it's free, so quit yer yappin'!
I'm also going to try to update my links section with some of my regular stops over the next couple of days, so keep watch.
Don't say I never do anything for you...
The network's statement said typewriters were available in the early 1970s which were capable of printing superscripts. CBS pointed to other Texas Air National Guard documents released by the White House that include an example of a "th" superscript.
That superscript, however, is in a different typeface than the one used for the suspect memos. Document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines of Paradise Valley, Ariz., who examined the documents for the AP, said she was "virtually certain" they were generated by computer.
Lines said that meant she could testify in court that, beyond a reasonable doubt, her opinion was that the memos were written on a computer.
This is going to end up doing serious damage to CBS's credibility. Someone's gonna have to take the heat.
Last year, John Kerry and his wife paid just 12% of their combined income in income taxes, despite their assertion that the rich should contribute increased amounts to government coffers. In contrast, President and Mrs. Bush, who had aDo I really need to comment on this?
substantially lower income than the Kerry's, paid over 28% in taxes.
According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, registered voters by a 27-point margin now say Bush has taken a clearer stand than Kerry on the issues, by 27 points call Bush the stronger leader and by 19 points say he would make the country safer. Bush also has a 22-point advantage in trust to handle terrorism, a 16-point lead on Iraq and perhaps a slight edge even on the lukewarm economy.
This doesn't bode well for Kerry, especially if you believe Dick Morris, who points out that a lot of the time, these polls are weighted according to expectations.
Some polling firms treat party affiliation as a demographic constant and, when they find that their sample has too many Republicans, they weight down each Republican interview and assign an extra weight to each Democratic response.
But other polling firms — and I — disagree. We feel that political party is not a demographic, like gender or race or age. If the survey finds more Republicans than usual, we think it's because the country has become more Republican, so we treat the result as a indicator of national mood, not of statistical error.
See...that's why I never trust these things.
But last year, Ben Barnes, who was speaker of the Texas House in 1968, said in a sworn deposition in a civil lawsuit that he called Guard officials seeking a Guard slot for Bush after a friend of Bush's father asked him to do so.
--Walter Robinson, The Boston Globe, May 23, 2000.
There's nothing new in this story. One can only conclude that Rather and CBS decided to try to get some new mileage out of an old story in the hope of influencing the election.
Barnes might not be the best choice. Not only do the memos appear to be fraudulent, but if Barnes' daughter is to be believed, Barnes' testimony may be fraudulent. This is from Bandit's Hideout:
In a phone call to WBAP's Mark Davis radio show in Dallas, Texas, Ms. Barnes told guest host Monica Crowley that her father was an "opportunist" who had lied about Bush's Guard record during a "60 Minutes II" broadcast Tuesday night.
BARNES: I love my father very much but he's doing this for purely political reasons. He is a big Kerry fundraiser and he is writing a book also. And [the Bush story] is what he's leading the book off with . . . He denied this to me in 2000 that he did get Bush out [of Vietnam service]. Now he's saying he did.
CROWLEY: Did he tell you, Amy - and I'm glad I have you on the line with me - did your father tell you that he was prepared to do this on behalf of John Kerry - go after President Bush like this?
BARNES: He told me he was going to do it. In fact I talked to him a couple of months ago. He told me he was writing the book. He told me that he was going to be talking about this. And he knows that I - we have very diverse political opinions. He knows my opinions and we get into this debate every time I see him. But, you know, he said that he was going to be talking about it.
CROWLEY: Now you're saying, Amy, that he has had two separate stories on President Bush's Guard duty during the Vietnam era?
BARNES: Yes, yes. This came out in 2000 and I asked him then, at the time, if he [helped get Bush into the Guard]. He said, "No, absolutely not. I did not do that."
CROWLEY: So, I hate to put you in this position but I will ask you, do you think your father, Ben Barnes - who was on "60 Minutes II" with Dan Rather last night - do you believe that he lied on the air to the American people last night about President Bush?
BARNES: Yes, I do. I absolutely do. And I think he's doing he's doing it for purely political, opportunistic reasons - trying to get John Kerry elected and trying to make Bush look like the bad person. . . . Like I said, he's going to be trying to promote his book that he's got coming out. [End of Excerpt]
However, in all the comments/posts I read, nobody commented on one thing that I found strange. It seems clear that we are supposed to infer that the memo dated 18 August 1973 was written by Killian to protect himself (SUBJECT: CYA= cover your ass). I'm just wondering how on Earth he thought this was going to "cover his ass." This reads more like somebody wanted to make it look like Killian was writing down "secret" info for his own records/safety. But think about it. There's nothing here that's going to cover his ass. The assumption is that he fears somewhere down the line he'll be held responsible for "sugar coating" Bush's OETR, and that this memo was supposed to protect him in that case. Notice there are no specifics. "Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush." Huh? obvious because? Pressured how? No ranks? The text here is so general that should Killian have been accused of "sugar coating" the report, this would likely have proved...nothing. If it was really meant to CYA, wouldn't it have read more like a report? Details, specific times? Under #2, it reads: "Harris took the call from Grp today. I'll backdate but won't rate. Harris agrees." Harris agrees? Doesn't Harris want to cover HIS ass? Why not have him sign the paper? Frankly, as a protective device, you might as well wear this memo as a bulletproof vest--It'll protect you just as much. There's a few names--easy enough to look them up. There's not enough detail there to make it worth your while to investigate the account (which, again, goes against the idea of keeping a record to cover one's ass). And why even write this in memo form, complete with subject, in the first place? Why not just simply write it down? Why not tell someone? Why not make some kind of pact with Harris, who apparently feels the same way--"you cover me, and I'll cover you"? I'm just not buying it.
Okay, that's it. At least until I think of something else.
***yes, I know if you had the right machine, you could change the type ball, but c'mon--is someone really going to take the time to do that for two letters in the middle of an unofficial memo, especially when they didn't take the time to do it in official ones?
September 09, 2004
There are still some qualifications floating out there. "They're probably forgeries." "They're most likely fakes." I'm gonna go out on a limb and say they are fakes. Start checking off the facts:
Months aren't spelled out on military memos; they use 3 letter abbreviations, yet August is spelled out.
One of the classes I teach is business writing, and as someone pointed out (and I agree), it seems unlikely for an order to be issued through a memo, especially one with no identifying features such as a letterhead.
The biggest issue for me is the document itself. Typewriters use what is called a fixed-with font, meaning each character takes up the same amount of space. Modern word processors adjust the kerning, or space between characters, to an optimum level, changing the space each character takes up. In 1972, it was extremely unlikely that the person typing this had access to any machine that could produce that latter kind of writing. A cybercast news service article claims at that time a machine of that type would cost upwards of $20,000. Here is one of the documents in question. One of the places kerning is noticeable is on the lower-case 'f' and 't'. For example, when a 't' is next to a shorter letter like an 'e' or 'o', the computer nudges them together to save space. You can see that in the memo.
In addition, this memo contains a superscript 'th' after the 111 under #2. There was no typewriter available at that time which did that.
And if all of this wasn't enough, Antimedia points out this gem from Powerline:
There are plenty of other pieces of evidence there for you to peruse; I won't bother listing them all. Clearly, these have been manufactured. The question is--by whom? And maybe more importantly, if a handful of bloggers with extra time on their hands spotted these fakes so quickly, why were CBS and the Boston Globe taken in so easily? Of course, that presupposes that they were actually taken in, doesn't it? The Globe has a history of hammering this issue nearly to death. Maybe they just didn't want to see the inconsistencies.
UPDATE 12: In the August 18, 1973 memo "discovered" by 60 Minutes, Jerry Killian purportedly writes:Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job.
But wait! Reader Amar Sarwal, citing Peter Nuss, points out that General Staudt, who thought very highly of Lt. Bush, retired in 1972.
I'm not suggesting that CBS or the Globe acted as agents for the Kerry campaign, but I will pose a hypothetical:
What would CBS and the Boston Globe be saying if the White House or the Swift Boat Veterans had produced documents critical of Kerry's record that later turned out to be forgeries?
P.S. What the Hell???? I keep losing posts. I've had to rewrite this thing three times already, including looking up all the links again. I thought this new design was supposed to solve problems. I'm encountering problems with this thing on a daily basis! Anyway, if it's less than perfect, forgive me. I got sick of reading and writing it.
UPDATE: (assuming I don't lose this as well) Just finished watching the "Nightline" bit on this. Amazing. I don't mean that in a good way. They said that "conservative websites" brought up "questions" on the documents, and that ABC had themselves consulted forensic experts. Those experts also had "questions" about the documents. But they never mentioned what those "questions" were other than that they "mostly had to do with typography." (okay, that's a paraphrase, but I bet it's close.) Then they put in a long quote from CBS saying that their (CBS's) experts had verified the documents and close friends of Killian had said the documents refected his thoughts and actions. They turned what should have been a scathing report on the inability of the media to fully verify these documents into a "he said/he said" piece. Like I said, amazing.
UPDATE #2: I've seen a couple of places on the web where people have insinuated that the Times New Roman font has been around since the 1930s, and that typewriters were able to do the things found in the memo, which would seem to contradict my points above. I would first note that common sense dictates that if a typewriter could make, say, a superscript 'th,' then one would use it throughout. Many of the memos use a "regular" sized th. Beyond that, one of the leading experts on these subjects seems to back the bloggers up. Also, the guy who runs the typewriter museum says there is no typewriter that he knows of that have all of the characteristics found in the memos, and that most of the ones that had one or two of the characteristics were expensive printing machines, not office equipment. I'm posting most of his page here, as he had to take down some of his site because of too many hits.
For those who want my opinion...the documents appear to be done in Word, and then copied repeatedly to make them "fuzzy". They use features that were not available on office typewriters the 1970s, specifically the combination of proportional spacing with superscript font. The IBM Executive has proportional spacing, but used fixed type bars. The Selectric has changeable type elements, but fixed spacing (some models could be selected at 10 or 12 pitch, but that's all). The Selectric Composer was not an office typewriter, but apparently did use proportional spacing. These were very expensive machines, used by printing offices, not administrative offices.
Here are scans of the Courier 12 font, and the Prestige Elite 72 font. Both were commonly used, and are sort of close to the font in the documents, but not quite. Notice that they are not proportionally spaced, so the typing looks very different from that on the memos. There is a superscript available for numbers, as used with footnotes, on the Symbol type balls. These balls were generally used for academics, such as preparing scientific and mathematical papers. I can find no "th" superscript in any of the IBM literature I have.
These are scans from a mid-1970s IBM Selectric Typewriter Type Styles brochure, IBM publication G542-0053-7, which does not appear to be explicitly copywrited.
update: I dragged my Executive up from the basement, it's not working too well...but I did type some of the 19 may 72 memo. It doesn't fit on the page using a real vintage proportional spacing typewriter...and it looks different.
At least my low opinion of TV news remains intact.
September 08, 2004
Please. George. Stop. Just stop. For the love of God, they're done already. We love them. If you keep messing with them, you're only going to fuck them up and leave us with Luke Skywalker and his two ewoks taking the land speeder to find crazy old Jar Jar Kenobi. Then we will have to hunt you down.
And now I'm just too fuckin' disgusted to try to piece it back together, so Georgie baby...you're on your own.
September 06, 2004
UPDATE: For those who didn't find them, here are links to the other(but less funny) parts.
And not finding these stockpiles doesn't always reassure me. The following information is from Richard Preston's The Demon in the Freezer (edited and summarized for the sake of brevity):
A secret British-American weapons-inspection team toured four of the main Biopreparat scientific facilities in January 1991....They ran into the same problems that the United Nations inspectors would later run into in Iraq. The Soviet biologists did not want to discuss their work and did not want anyone seeing their laboratories in operation. The inspectors were met with denials, evasions, time-wasting bureaucracy, stupefying, alcohol-laden meals that stretched on for hours, snarled transportation arrangements, and endless speeches about friendship and international cooperation. [emphasis mine]
The end result of the visit was that while visiting Vector, a site for the study of viruses, they were told by one of the scientists that work with the smallpox virus was going on there. This, of course, was highly illegal as the only two places in the world that were supposed to even have smallpox were the CDC and the Moscow Institute. The team pressed the issue and was ordered to leave. Later, they were told the scientist was "mistaken." By the way...there were no "stockpiles" found, yet Christopher Davis, the head of the team said "The fact is, they had been testing smallpox in their explosion test chamber the week before we arrived."
Later on, a Soviet defector described "a huge program broken into secret compartments. Very few people inside the program knew it's scope. Because it was compartmentalized and secret, it had the potential to fall apart into smaller pieces, and the world might never know where all the pieces had gone." [emphasis mine]
Jump to three years later.
The Soviets, still busy at work in the Vector site, build "a three-hundred gallon tank that looks something like a water heater." Later, in 1999 visiting inspectors would be told it was for "sewage-treatment." In reality, it was a bioreactor, a breeding ground for viruses grown in a big soup of monkey cells, which could then be extracted along with the liquid in the tank.
A single run of the reactor would have produced approximately one hundred trillion lethal doses of variola major--enough smallpox to give each person on the planet around two thousand infective doses of smallpox. [emphasis mine]
To put that in perspective, the World Health Organization has less than one dose of smallpox vaccine for every 12,000 people on Earth. Not that it matters anyway. The smallpox virus in Vector was likely "heated up," meaning that it was purposefully bred to be resistant to vaccines. The WHO's vaccine would likely be useless.
Do we need to find "stockpiles" of these substances? According to Preston, one MIRV missile is capable of delivering forty-five pounds of smallpox. That's it--forty-five pounds. Seem like a lot? It's not. Preston relates the story of a smallpox infected patient that (before anyone knows what illness he has) disobeys hospital rules and opens a window to smoke. The draft created from that open window acts like a chimney, and funnels the air from the patient's room through the hospital. The breath from that one patient creates nineteen new cases of smallpox over three floors. In a hospital.
Of course, smallpox is one of the most virulent substances to have ever existed. But many of the other biological weapons can be just as devastating. That forty-five pounds of smallpox would have likely wiped out a city before it could react, and without a feasible vaccine, would have ripped through the country and then, depending on how secure the borders were, spread like wildfire into neighboring countries. That's why some of the tightest security in the world protects mere vials of the stuff. A little goes a long way.
So next time you get involved in a conversation about WMDs in Iraq or elsewhere, remind yourself of two things: 1) One doesn't need much to create a great deal of damage, and 2) Even if you have to destroy it to hide it, as long as you keep a little bit you can always make more.
NOTE: All of this is in regards to biological weapons. Chemical weapons are a bit different in that the production is somewhat different, a larger amount would likely be required, and they are generally contained within the delivery area. To the best of my knowledge, no one has suggested that Iraq had smallpox among their arsenal. My examination is merely presented as a "worst-case" scenario. Although I will point out that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, I'm not sure that the idea of buying Soviet smallpox on the black market is any less ridiculous than the idea of buying old nukes. Pleasant dreams.
September 04, 2004
On the sidebar, I have added a link to Petitedov's site. She hasn't been afraid to jump in here with the comments, and you gotta love that. For example, she commented that The Onion is better than The Weekly World News. Of course, in this case, she was absolutely wrong (kidding!), but no matter. Seriously, though...Hop on over and check her out. She's got moxie!
With a remake of The Longest Yard, Sandler will fill the Burt Reynolds role in a comic retelling of the “guards against prisoners” prison football tale.
Jeez...why don't you just go ahead and re-paint the Mona Lisa while you're at it? Maybe throw a few bricks together, make another Great Pyramid. Oh, hey...you know, the Bible's been looking a bit dated; maybe you could work on that?!
If I were to present an award to the slimiest element in Farenheit, it would have to go to Moore’s depiction of Saddam Hussein and his regime before the invasion of Iraq. Oh it was a wonderful place. We see children flying kites, a woman getting married and Saddam holding a child. I can’t even express the outrage that causes me...
Why are people still praising this film?
That just can't be good for sales.
L.A. Development Unearths Indian Cemetery
Sep 4, 5:07 AM (ET)By CHRIS T. NGUYEN
LOS ANGELES (AP) - It was inevitable that crews building a massive housing development near west Los Angeles wetlands would unearth American Indian remains.
If the 2004 election for President were held today, 52% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 41% would vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry, and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to a new TIME poll conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.That's a pretty nice bounce from the RNC.
And don't miss this handy top 10 list: How to tell if your prostitute is an extraterrestrial, which contains the following gem:
10. Squeamish about spanking -- Terrestrial prostitutes are willing to perform virtually every sexual act if the money is right. But ETs don't like having their butts touched.
I should point out that this list is obviously a joke because they left out the most obvious sign that your prostitute is an extraterrestrial:
11. She doesn't charge extra for the anal probe.
September 02, 2004
Others may stoop to mentioning BRITNEY SPEARS or SEX to increase the number of hits they get, but rest assured, you won't find any of that SMUT on this blog...I run a TIGHT ship.