Hidden Nook

"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Iran and Russia sign Nuclear deal

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(Hat Tip: Russia)

(Photo: AP/Fox News)

Russia and Iran signed a deal Sunday that would deliver nuclear fuel to the Middle East country for the startup of its first reactor — a project the United States had for years pushed Moscow to drop, claiming Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb.

This should ease tensions in the Middle East (notice the sarcasm). Russia continually turns a blind eye to the realities of the region. If war breaks out (between Iran and Israel) and nukes are dropped, history is not going to forgive Russia for this apparent blunder...

"Today, a very important development occurred, and that was the protocol on returning nuclear fuel, which we signed together. In the next few weeks many Russian technicians will arrive in Bushehr" to finish the plant, Rumyantsev said after the signing.

Russia, which helped build the plant, has agreed to provide the fuel needed to run it — but only if Iran returns the spent fuel to prevent any possibility Tehran would extract plutonium from it to make atomic bombs. Tehran has agreed to return the spent fuel, but the sides disagreed on who should pay for its return.

My guess is Iran will return the spent fuel--at least a portion of it while continuing research on the "infinite possibilities of nuclear power." I give them several years until a bomb is designed. The only thing that I see halting this progressive nuclear policy would be a preemtive strike or anan earthquake. Selah.

By Darnell Clayton • 8:51 PM • Email Post • •


Japanese Success!

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(Hat Tip: Reuters)

Photo by Kyodo/Reuters

Japan successfully fired a state-owned satellite into orbit on Saturday in a key step toward restoring faith in its space program, 15 months after its previous launch attempt ended in failure.

The Japanese-built H-2A rocket powered into the evening sky leaving a huge plume of vapor above the launch site on the tiny island of Tanegashima, 620 miles southwest of Tokyo at 6:25 p.m. (4:25 a.m. EST).

I wish I could have been there. But the picture is enough for me for now. Although I do regret not entering into this space lotto, but now I am getting off topic...

Television showed scientists applauding and shaking hands in the control room.

"At the moment of takeoff, my heart swelled," said Education and Science Minister Nariaki Nakayama, whose ministry oversees JAXA. "When I heard the satellite had separated successfully, I was relieved, but at the same time I thought it was a matter of course."

It is good to see Japan's honor restored in their space program. Hopefully they will be able to put a man into space, something China already has done but Japan has yet to do. Here is photo for you to enjoy. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 8:32 PM • Email Post • •


George Bush, worst actor?

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(Hat Tip: Reuters)

Photo by David W Cerny/Reuters

Beating such established Hollywood hunks as Colin Farrell and Vin Diesel, President Bush won the Golden Raspberry Award on Saturday for worst actor of the year for his appearance in Michael Moore's documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."

I think Michael Moore's movie should had received the "best film for electing Bush" award. But Bush wasn't the only one bashed at this event...

Two other "Fahrenheit" stars were "honored." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was named worst supporting actor and pop star Britney Spears won for worst supporting actress for a clip in which she declares blind faith in Bush's policies while popping chewing gum.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was named the worst Razzie loser of the last 25 years for having been nominated eight times and failing to win even once.

(Sigh) Unfortunately it seems the only things liberals can do now-a-days is complain. I wish more of them actually displayed intelligence (I've met very few in the blogosphere who could) instead of finding ways to demonize the other side. Selah.

By Darnell Clayton • 8:18 PM • Email Post • •


BTK killer caught

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(Hat Tip: Reuters)

Photo by Reuters (Handout)

Thirty-one years after his first suspected murders, Wichita police arrested a man who called himself BTK for "bind, torture, kill" and was believed responsible for 10 gruesome deaths, officials said on Saturday.

I am glad they finally caught Dennis Rader, aka "BTK." This man is responsible for many murders and probably should join his fellow scum on death row. Unfortunately it looks like the most he can get is life in prison...

There was no sign of BTK for years, until another young woman was killed in 1986. At the press conference on Saturday, authorities linked BTK to the killings of two older women from Park City who had been abducted from their homes and strangled, one in 1985 and one in 1991, the Eagle reported.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston said the BTK killer would not face the death penalty since Kansas did not adopt the death penalty until 1994, after the last known BTK crime was committed.

Ironic, isn't it? This man took ten lives yet gets to live in a prison cell (at taxpayers expense) for the rest of his life? Sometimes I wonder if justice is truly blind or ignorant.

By Darnell Clayton • 8:05 PM • Email Post • •


Mystery of Pluto

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(Hat Tip: NBC Action News)

"We know very little. I honestly think you could write all the facts down on a single sheet of paper," said planetary scientist Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Stern and his colleagues hope to end the ignorance with the New Horizons mission. The $650 million NASA probe, scheduled for launch next January, will conduct the first up-close investigation of Pluto and its icy, outer-solar system neighbors.

It will take about nine years for the probe to reach Pluto, which should shed some light on the planet (or mini-planet as some would prefer you call it).

"No spacecraft has ever been there in 40 years of planetary exploration," he said. "We've never been out into this third zone of the solar system, and we expect to be surprised."

The New Horizons spacecraft is under construction at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. Launch will be aboard an Atlas V rocket built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

Well, if I am still here blogging I will post about it. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 7:59 PM • Email Post • •


Saddam's Half Brother Captured

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(Hat Tip: Times Online)


“The capture appeared to be a goodwill gesture by the Syrians to show that they are co-operating,” one official said.

He added that al-Hassan was handed over to the Iraqi authorities along with 29 other members of Saddam’s collapsed Baath Party, whose Syrian branch has been in power in Damascus since 1963.

Al-Hassan was one of the 12 in the deck of cards who was still wanted at large. His capture (according to Times) may deal a severe death blow as it will hurt the funding of the terrorist network in Iraq. Although it may look like the Syrians are cooperating with us, it seems to me they fear the "stick" from the U.S. more than they desire to fight terrorism.

As the former head of internal security, al-Hassan stands accused of the torture and killing of his half-brother’s political opponents as he cracked down brutally on internal dissent. He later became a presidential adviser, the last post he held in the former regime. In December, Iyad Allawi, the interim Prime Minister, claimed he was one of two top former Baathists who were funding the insurgency from exile in Syria and lambasted its Government for giving them safe haven.

Whatever the case it is good that Syria is handing over terrorists to Iraq where they will be tried. Now the only thing we have to wait for is for them to pull out of Lebanon. Selah.

By Darnell Clayton • 7:17 PM • Email Post • •



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Will be testing template (looks weird in IE...recommend that you get firefox.

Oy! Blogging and school don't mix. Hmm...several months until exams...need to study. Oh well...I think I will move the sidebar to the left (IE displays it weird. Selah!

Update: Decided to keep it on the right for now...it looks more professional that way. Oh well...Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 6:59 PM • Email Post • •


Friday, February 25, 2005

Vietnam citizens suing U.S. Firms

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On Monday, a New York court will begin hearing a lawsuit brought by more than 100 Vietnamese seeking compensation and a clean-up of contaminated areas from more than 30 firms, among them Dow Chemical Co and Monsanto Co, the largest makers of Agent Orange. It is the first time Vietnamese have sought legal redress since the Vietnam War ended in April 1975.

"I wish the suit will end with a victory so that the life of the victims like me could be materially better," said Hoan, a 10th-grade student who came to the Peace Village from the central province of Binh Thuan.

She was also born with no left palm. Hoan's younger brother died at birth as he had no peritoneum, Hoan said. Dr Nguyen Thi Phuong Tan, head of the Peace Village, said many of her patients suffered from severe physical defects, while others face chromosome disorder.

"All is fair in love and war" as the saying goes...or is it? Those chemicals were pretty harmful and have caused much damage (as their affects have lasted decades after the war). But to sue the companies that made it seems ridiculous to me.

To hold them accountable for the government's actions to me sounds absurd, but since the U.S. is refusing to discuss compensation, the victims only option is to pursue the businesses that manufactured the chemical. It is unclear whether or not the Vietnamese will win this case but they seem to be following suit of another group of people who were affected by the chemicals.
...[T]here are precedents in a 1984 agreement by Dow and Monsanto to pay $180 million to U.S. veterans.

Since I did not fight in this war my opinion carries little weight in this arena. Perhaps I should ask Viet Pundit about his take on this. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 9:54 PM • Email Post • •


Nine Billion People by 2050

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The human race is expected to swell from the current 6.5 billion to 9.1 billion people by 2050, with populations exploding in hungry developing countries and stagnating in rich nations, the United Nations predicted on Thursday.

The increase of 2.6 billion people is equivalent to the combined populations of China and India today, according to the U.N. Population Division's "2004 Revision" report. The growth is projected to be fastest in poor countries already struggling to feed their people.

Great. I can hear the calls for Birth Control now. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!

In rich nations, declining birth rates means little or no population growth. An exception is the United States, which benefits from a relatively high number of immigrants, who have more children in the first generation.

Industrial countries as a whole are expected to see little change in their total population of 1.2 billion. In fact, a decline is forecast by 2050 in Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union.

Well, I guess that is "good" although our population has always increased since they began taking records. Technology always seems to be ahead of population, as farm food seems to be pretty cheap now-a-days as the government actually has to install "price floors" that inflate the price of some food products. Subsidies to many farms would increase if necessary in order to feed the starving masses of the future (if that many existed. Only if a natural disaster occurred (such as a meteor impact or a wandering planet dragging Earth away from the Sun) would I be worried about the world population and how much it would take to feed them. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 9:42 PM • Email Post • •


Wal Mart's Union Wars

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Dave Minshall, spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7, talks to reporters outside the Wal-Mart store in Loveland, Colorado where workers in the auto shop voted on union representation February 25, 2005. Photo by Rick Wilking/Reuters

Tire shop workers at a Colorado supercenter operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Friday voted "No" to union representation, dealing another blow to efforts to unionize employees at the world's largest retailer.

Wal-Mart -- which recently shut down a Canadian store that voted in favor of a union -- said tire and lube express associates at its Loveland supercenter voted 17-1 to reject representation by the United Food & Commercial Workers Union.

I sympathize with the workers although I generally do not like Unions (takes away from your pay and I'd rather hire a lawyer if I had any hassles). Too much beuacracy and I know if Union's became standardized in Wal Mart, prices would rise up everywhere which would only benefit Wal Mart's competition.

Union's in my opinion tend to be counter productive in many ways. Sure they protect you and guarantee two weeks vacation and all, but they tend to raise prices for the business as workers demand more pay and it takes a "unionized" worker to do anything in the company which adds to the extra cost leading to conflict. All this eventually costs the worker who has to pay union dues (isn't that communistic) in order to remain on the pay roll. It was probably one of the reasons (besides fear of getting fired) that employee's did not favor the Unionization of themselves.
Terry Srsen, vice president of labor relations for Wal-Mart, said in a statement: "Many of our associates are former union members -- they know better than anyone that the only guarantee a union can make is that it will cost the members money -- and that is why they continue to reject the UFCW."

I do sympathize with the workers a little bit though, as any attempt towards Unionization is met with "brute force" from Wal Mart.
Meat cutters had voted to unionize at a Texas Wal-Mart store in 2000. That Texas vote, however, was shortly followed by the company's announcement that it was eliminating meat-cutter positions within the company.

I could go on forever about this topic, but I'll let you decide on the issue. As for me my lot is with Wal Mart on the issue...union's have just left too much of a bad taste in my mouth. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 9:20 PM • Email Post • •


That's not good...

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Bank of America Corp. said on Friday tapes containing information on 1.2 million federal employee credit cards, among them U.S. senators, were lost in transit, potentially exposing them to theft or hacking.

The bank said a "small number" of computer data tapes were lost during a shipment to a backup data center and that federal authorities are investigating.

Glad I don't carry their card. I do feel bad for the U.S. Senators who do though.

It gets worse.
"The investigation to date has found no evidence to suggest the tapes or their content have been accessed or misused, and the tapes are now presumed lost," Bank of America said.

According to TIME.com, which cited an unnamed U.S. official, a large percentage of the accounts are for the Pentagon, in addition to 40 federal agencies and other entities. Officals at the General Services Administration were not immediately available for comment.

Hopefully they find those tapes soon. If any hacker/terrorist gets a hold upon them, they might be in for an early Christmas (with most of America paying for it). Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 9:07 PM • Email Post • •


Suicide Bombing in Tel Aviv

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Israeli rescue workers carry away a wounded man from the scene of an explosion in Tel Aviv, early February 26, 2005. Photo by Barak Fechter/Reuters

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed at least four people and wounded some 50 outside a Tel Aviv night club, shattering a de facto truce by militants that boosted hopes for Middle East peace.

A cell of the militant Islamic Jihad group in the West Bank claimed responsibility for the attack late on Friday outside the Stage Club, a popular karaoke night spot on a Tel Aviv beach promenade frequented by weekend revelers.

Islamic Jihad has however claimed that the attack happened without their knowledge with the Palestinian Authority condemning the bombing and vowing to pursue the attackers. One thing they could do (something Israel has been requesting) is to dismantle the terrorist groups as that would put a clamp down on any terrorist activity (at least for the large part) in the region.

"The Palestinian Authority will not be silent about this sabotage and it will pursue whoever stands behind this act and will inflict the required punishment," an official statement said.

Once found whether the terrorists will be held accountable for their actions is something the world is waiting to see. In the eyes of most Israeli's the PA is at best a front for Terror itself. Until they start translating their words into actions Israel will continue to build the wall thus cutting off the PA economically and socially from their neighboring state. Hopefully Abbas won't be like Arafat and actually pursue the terrorists (and punish them with real justice) letting the Israeli's know that he is serious about peace. Selah!

A video image shows security personnel in Tel Aviv after a blast February 25, 2005. Photo by Reuters

By Darnell Clayton • 8:29 PM • Email Post • •


Of God and politics

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The majority of Americans believe in God, but not all Christian conservative believers speak with one voice, a common misconception outside the U.S., says author Jim Wallis.

Wallis is the author of God's Politics How the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. "We have a rule for polite company not to discuss religion and politics are a dinner party, maybe because there are about ultimate issues, significant issues and the deepest questions.

Great video (although the narrator has a weird voice). Click the Source* to see the video. More of the transcript below.

Partial Transcript:
President George Bush is not one to shy away from questions of faith, often invoking god in public speeches. "I think it's an issue that people want to find a way to talk about it," says Wallis.

"Lincoln did it right, He said don't talk about God's blessings, or we being in God's favor or God being on our side and that leads to triumphalism and bad foreign policy but worry and pray that we are on God's side."

The problem probably comes over what each side believes is the main issue with God. Republicans emphasize taking care of little children, morals and principles while Democrats focus on taking care of the poor (although neglecting babies aka fetus's is against Psalms though as God considers the "fruit of the womb" his reward). Their needs to be healing on both sides of the issue, but I suspect Christians on the Right are more organized and united than Christians on the left (as the left seems to be holding pretty extreme views now-a-days). Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 8:18 PM • Email Post • •


Life on Mars? (Euro's view)

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This hand out image taken from the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft shows the Martian north polar ice cap with layers of water, ice and dust for the first time in perspective view. Photo by ESA/Reuters

European Space Agency scientists think that there was and could even still be life on Mars and want a new European mission to the red planet to take samples, a conference heard on Friday.

"Mars is the most Earth-like planet in our solar system," said Agustin Chicarro, ESA Mars Express Project Scientist at the end of a one-week conference during which scientists from around the world discussed ESA's Mars mission findings so far.

Although pursuing life on other worlds is a great space hobby, it would be more beneficial to commit resources into establishing colonies upon the moon first, then after that we can pursue the study of life on other worlds (within our solar system at least). If life on Mars does exist it will still be there when we get there.

The story is sparking much interest because of the new "frozen" sea that was found in the Martian equatorial region and they believe that there may be volcanic activity underneath the ice in the North Pole (which would suggest that it would be possible for some volcano's to be heating the ice thus making it possible for life).
"Hints of life on Mars are getting stronger," said Vittorio Formisano whose team found methane and formaldehyde on Mars.

He said there was so much methane produced on Mars that there was reason to believe this had an organic origin. "Life is probably the only source that can produce so much methane."

I doubt the latter statement although I am not a scientist and a search on Google brought up nothing showing that Methane and Formaldehyde form naturally so I'll leave their argument open for now. If life was found on Mars it would probably raise the "Evolution vs. Creation" debate but I would have to wonder if their was life on Mars did it "evolve" on the planet or did it come off one of our probes? Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 7:52 PM • Email Post • •


Ahh, the Verichip!

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Photo from Verichip

Called VeriChip, the chip is an implantable radiofrequency identification (RFID) microchip with a microtransponder, an inserter, a proprietary handheld scanner, and a secure database containing the patient-approved health information. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice. It is inserted under the skin in a brief outpatient procedure, and cannot be seen with the human eye.

So I don't know what everyone's beef is with the Verichip. Could it be the Mark of the Beast? Maybe...but that is not for like 3.5 years at the earliest (according to the book of Revelation). The technology looks cool, although for a couple of hundred bucks you could have big brother all over you (something I wouldn't recommend). But it does look cool...maybe I should visit their HQ in Florida?

Probably not as Gas prices are a little bit too high. Here is more about the chip from the company:
The VeriChip miniaturized Radio Frequency Identifcation (RFID) Device is the core of all VeriChip applications. About the size of a grain of rice, each VeriChip contains a unique verification number, which can be used to access a subscriber-supplied database providing personal related information. And unlike conventional forms of identification, VeriChip cannot be lost, stolen, misplaced or counterfeited.

Once implanted just under the skin, via a quick, painless outpatient procedure (much like getting a shot), the VeriChip can be scanned when necessary with a proprietary VeriChip scanner. A small amount of Radio Frequency Energy passes from the scanner energizing the dormant VeriChip, which then emits a radio frequency signal transmitting the individuals unique verification (VeriChipID) number.

The VeriChip Subscriber Number then provides instant access to the Global VeriChip Subscriber (GVS) Registry - through secure, password protected web access to subscriber-supplied information. This data is maintained by state-of-the-art GVS Registry Operations Centers located in Riverside, California and Owings, Maryland.

According to Forbes this technology has been approved by Uncle Sam already.

An implantable microchip with an identifying number is designed to ensure easy access to secure patient health information by enabling healthcare providers to retrieve patient information, such as blood type, stored in computers. The chip has been cleared for medical use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It is doubtful that such a device will become "mandatory" in the near future with Bush, but what about the next President? (say Hillary or Condi) Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 7:00 PM • Email Post • •


What the heck is Skype?

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(Hat Tip: AngyChan)

Photo from Skype.com

Skype is for calling other people on their computers or phones. It’ll let you make free calls to your friends all over the world. And we don’t want any money for it. It’s free.

You could think of us as the big, free Internet telephony company. We prefer to think of ourselves as a big group hug, even a present. Yes... that’s it...we’re a present...but without the ribbon.

So I downloaded it and have experienced it's joys for about ten minutes at max. This may be useful for contacting people in Iran though...

And it doesn’t just work on Windows, like some other software you may know. Skype is also for Mac OS X, Linux and PDAs using Pocket PC, with a native look and feel for each platform. Talking, sending instant messages or even file transfers work between different platforms like a charm.

There is a catch to this though...
If there weren’t enough ways for you to contact your friends, we have a little thing called SkypeOut. It lets you make calls to old-fashioned phone numbers all around the world. Landlines, mobile phones...it works with almost all of them. SkypeOut is not free but it is pretty cheap, actually. You can read more about SkypeOut if you wish.

Maybe I'll stick with it...maybe I won't. Either way it will become another chat program that I own. Selah.

By Darnell Clayton • 6:27 PM • Email Post • •


Death Order (March 18)

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(Hat Tip:Blogs for Terri)

(AP Photo/Schindler Family Video)

A judge gave Terri Schiavo's husband permission to remove the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube in three weeks, handing him a victory in his effort to carry out what he says were his wife's wishes not to be kept alive artificially.

The ruling by Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer will allow the husband, Michael Schiavo, to order the tube removed at 1 p.m. on March 18. In the meantime, the woman's parents, who want her kept alive, are expected to ask another court to block the order from taking effect.

(ABC News) Although this may seem like a blessing in disguise it is important to realize that March 18 is only 21 days away...

Although it is good to see that Terri has been blessed with extensions (from Wednesday, to Friday, to Friday March 18) from Judge Greer, we all must remember that her life is still endanger of being starved to death (something you probably would only see in regimes like North Korea). Unless another court intervenes this may be her last "stay."

"The court is no longer comfortable granting stays simply upon the filings of new motions," Greer wrote. "There will always be 'new' issues."

It seems that Terri's case is wearing thin on Judge Greer, who is probably under the spot light under new allegations that may open up the doorway for him to be removed. Hopefully by then DCF will have provided solid evidence outlining abuse or Terri's parents would be able to invite media (and the Governor Bush as well as real doctors) to show that Terri is fully conscious of her surroundings. Selah.

By Darnell Clayton • 5:16 PM • Email Post • •


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Gunner Palace (Army Movie)

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(Hat Tip: My Brother)

Photo from Rolling Stone

GUNNER PALACE reveals the complex realities of the situation in Iraq not seen on the nightly news. Told first-hand by our troops, 'Gunner Palace' presents a thought provoking portrait of a dangerous and chaotic war that is personal, highly emotional, sometimes disturbing, surprisingly amusing ... and thoroughly fascinating.

The film comes out March fourth and looks more like a documentary about the life of soldiers in Iraq. Gunner Palace looks like an interesting movie, although they are petitioning the MPAA for the rating to change from "R" to PG-13 (I doubt that is going to happen though if their is strong language in the film). You can view the trailer here.

The film is based on the lives of soldiers who live in one of Uday Hussein palace's (Saddam's playboy son) and how they interact with the Iraqi civilians, terrorists and culture of the region. Here is some background about the creators of the film, Michael Tucker:
Filmmaker Michael Tucker, who lived with 2/3 Field Artillery, a.k.a. "The Gunners" for two months, captures the lives and humanity of these soldiers whose barracks are the bombed-out pleasure palace of Uday Hussein (nicknamed Gunner Palace), situated in the heart of the most volatile section of Baghdad.

With total access to all operations and activities, Tucker's insider footage provides a rare look at the day-to-day lives of these soldiers on the ground -- whether swimming in Uday's pool and playing golf on his putting green or executing raids on suspected terrorists, enduring roadside bombs, mortar attacks, RPGs and snipers.

Looks like I am going to add this to the list of movies I am going to see over the next couple of months (War of the Worlds) is another one I plan on viewing). Thanks Bro! Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 11:31 PM • Email Post • •


Florida DCF getting serious

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(Hat Tip: Blogs for Terri)

Photo from Life News.com

A Florida agency wants 60 days to conduct an investigation into new allegations that Terri Schiavo was abused or mistreated.

The agency filed an 11 page document with Circuit Court Judge George Greer detailing why it wants to intervene in the case and shared the confidential document with attorneys for both Michael and Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler.

It looks like the Government is finally getting involved. Maybe it was the Bone Scan that revealed trauma and abuse...but no one is pointing fingers at the husband (Michael)...at least not yet.

Matt Davis, an attorney with the Gibbs law firm, handling legal matters for the Schindlers, told the Associated Press that the document brings up many of the concerns previously brought forward by the Schindlers.

"We are confident when someone from the outside does see how Terri has been treated, they will see she has been mistreated all these years," Davis said.

Michael has not been indicated as a suspect but many questions still still remain as to exactly "what" trauma cause Terri to slip in such a state. But it gets worse...Michael's lawyer (as there are few honest ones in the industry) seems to me to have reasons for his own for pursuing the case and blames outside influences for the DCF's latest involvement.
George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael's lead attorney, says the investigation is another attempt by Florida Governor Jeb Bush to get involved in the case when Florida courts have told him he can't.

We will see how this case turns out. Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day (that is when Judge Greer delivers his decision about Terri). Selah.

By Darnell Clayton • 10:58 PM • Email Post • •


Canada losing sovereignty?

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(Hat Tip: The Black Kettle)
OTTAWA (CP) - Canada's announcement that it won't join the U.S. missile shield provoked an immediate warning that it has relinquished sovereignty over its airspace.

From now on, the U.S. government will control any decision to fire at incoming missiles over Canadian territory, declared the top U.S. envoy to Canada.

"We will deploy. We will defend North America," said Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

And you wonder what is wrong with the Canadian government?

"We simply cannot understand why Canada would in effect give up its sovereignty - its seat at the table - to decide what to do about a missile that might be coming towards Canada."

"I personally don't think it's in Canada's sovereign interest to be outside of the room when a decision is made about a missile that might be incoming towards Canada."

I agree. But if Canada (which had a great military force until the liberals came to power) are not going to defend themselves and contribute to the defense of the continent, then they have effectively given up all rights to protect themselves. No offence to Canadians, but if your government continues in this direction, they are going to be known as the "Great Dumb North" instead of the Great White North. It has nothing to do with keeping themselves "distinct" from the U.S. This is security of a continent and if they continue at this pace, pretty soon you might have U.S. troops defending Canadian borders. Hopefully, Canadian bloggers such as The Black Kettle can pull them to their senses. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 10:38 PM • Email Post • •


German Protest Warriors?

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(Hat Tip: Solomonia) It might as well have been! Here is a little bit of what they did!
Davids Medienkritik and Medienkritik Online began the effort to put together a demonstration in Mainz, Germany little more than a week ago. The result was an incredible success that received enormous media coverage. The rally was well coordinated with local authorities and despite large groups of hostile counter demonstrators, everyone who attended felt safe and was able to express their views fully. Everything went off without a hitch. Those attending our rally were interviewed by virtually every major German television station and newspaper.

With more events like these, the liberal elite might loose their nest eggs in Europe (wouldn't that make John Kerry sad). Selah!

Here are some picture links below!

More pictures can be fount at their site or by clicking here. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 4:04 PM • Email Post • •


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Lunar Resources (Dennis Wingo)

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Photo from Space.com

We need to broaden our approach with the new vision to include the development of the Moon and its resources. In the end commerce is not NASA’s job. However, NASA and the government as a whole must take into account the development imperative and its importance to humanity’s collective future.

It is imperative that the U.S. government (through NASA) realize the potential of helping the private sector invest in the space industry. Dennis Wingo does an excellent job, citing past examples from history in his defense. A sample of his post is below.

The U.S. government’s role in 1862 when signing the National Railroad Act was not to operate railroads but to reduce the risk for investors to the point to where a continent spanning railroad, which was of great importance in binding a nation together and promoting commerce, could be built.

In 1956 with the Interstate and Defense Highway Act, it was not the purpose for the government to just build and operate roads, but to build a national highway infrastructure that would enable the rapid and efficient development of interstate commerce. It could be the legacy of America to the world to open up this new commercial frontier for the benefit of all mankind.

Quite a legacy that would be. Imagine living on the moon, viewing the earth from below and seeing a little girl building lunar castles on the surface. Although this picture is quite "out there," tourism would drive this industry as their are plenty of resources on the moon for mankind to colonize. We just need to find them.
Starting with water and oxygen on the Moon and the exploitation of high value metallic asteroid impactors on the Moon, we can shift the economics of the hydrogen economy, lowering the cost of fuel cells and delivering thousands of tons of high quality metals for use in building up lunar and space based commercial operations. While Platinum Group Metals (PGM’s), indispensable for efficient fuel cell operation, are known to exist on the Moon in diffuse quantities from the Apollo samples, it is only through prospecting with the right sensors from orbit and follow up Landers that we will expand this resource base.

Although it is good to imagine these resources on the moon, I would rather have them use these metals for the Lunar economy in order for it to become self sufficient (as I doubt that the value of these minerals would exceed costs to travel to the moon). But only time will tell I guess. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 10:27 PM • Email Post • •


GlobalFlyer Attempt Delayed

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GlobalFlyer’s pilot, adventurer Steve Fossett, said in a statement: "What a disappointment. As eager as I am to start this flight, everything must be right."

Due to the weather, the flight will not commence. The purpose of the flight was to set the "first solo, non-stop, non-refueled circumnavigation of the world." That is quite an achievement for any flight craft to accomplish.

But at least they figured out a problem before it happened. Although it will be a disappointment to see Steve Fossett not fly as scheduled, I am looking forward towards the flight later on.
Once in the sky, the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer is capable of speeds of over 285 miles per hour (250 knots). The around-the-world flight should be completed inside 80 hours. The route will begin from the Salina airfield and then follow the jet stream winds across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom.

From there, Fossett will head south-east across the Mediterranean and the Gulf before turning east towards Pakistan, India, China and Japan. The final leg of the journey will take the plane out over the Pacific towards Hawaii before crossing the west coast of the United States and returning to the Kansas launch site.

The next flight is scheduled to take place between March 1st and March 3rd. Will post updates as they arrive. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 10:16 PM • Email Post • •


Invisible Galaxies?

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Photo from Space.com

Astronomers have discovered an invisible galaxy that could be the first of many that will help unravel one of the universe's greatest mysteries.

The object appears to be made mostly of "dark matter," material of an unknown nature that can't be seen.

I'm not going to even try to explain this one.

Theorists have long said most of the universe is made of dark matter. Its presence is required to explain the extra gravitational force that is observed to hold regular galaxies together and that also binds large clusters of galaxies.

Theorists also believe knots of dark matter were integral to the formation of the first stars and galaxies. In the early universe, dark matter condensed like water droplets on a spider web, the thinking goes. Regular matter -- mostly hydrogen gas -- was gravitationally attracted to a dark matter knot, and when the density became great enough, a star would form, marking the birth of a galaxy.

I've heard about this stuff before--and to tell you the truth it perplexes me to this day. With 25% of the universe made out of this dark stuff (with 70% made up out of dark energy), it comes to no surprise that a galaxy was found made entirely out of it. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 10:04 PM • Email Post • •



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(Saturn Today)
The view is about 300 kilometers (200 miles) across and shows the myriad of faults, fractures, folds, troughs and craters that make this Saturnian satellite especially intriguing to planetary scientists. More than 20 years ago, NASA's Voyager spacecraft gave hints of a surface cut by tectonic features, and subsequent images of other icy moons have revealed many different ways that stresses have acted on icy moon crusts.

Update: Didn't like how the picture affected the frame of the blog. You can view it below by clicking "Continue Reading."

Photo from Saturn Today

Of all the planetary systems out there (save for our own of course) Saturn holds the most "glory" for any space colony. With two other moons like these (one twice as large and the other a bit smaller) and Titan's Ammonia environment holding the possibility of methane below it's surface, you have everything you need for a colony to be self sufficient. More about the photo:
Many styles of fracturing are evident in this mosaic. Extending downward from the top center of the mosaic for hundreds of kilometers is a broad belt of complex, interwoven fractures. A huge rift 5 kilometers (3 miles)-wide dissects this belt and extends into several older-looking, distinct regions or "cells" of terrain that themselves exhibit distinct fracture patterns.


By Darnell Clayton • 9:48 PM • Email Post • •


Iraqi Reconciliation?

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(From Free Iraqi) Ali doesn't seem to be happy with Muqtada Al Sadr. I am not either after this happened:
4000 men of Sadr's militia, Al Mehdi army marched through the streets of Basra in a demonstration of power. The militia men were dressed in black shirts and khaki trousers and had their ammunition on.

The American, British and Israeli flags were painted along the road where the demonstration took place for the militia to step on them. This happened despite that some of Sadr followers joined the elections and actually won some seats under the banner of the "Unified Coalition list". The Iraqi and multinational forces did not respond in any way to that demo.

Why this guy is in office is something I would like to know. Muqtada Al Sadr (for those of you who don't know) has past connections with the Ba'athist Party (same one Saddam was in) and from what I am getting from this Iraqi citizen is no friend of freedom and peace.

From Ali:
Now after the elections we can see more clearly what may have been not that clear at the times Sadr started both his revolts. He and his gang were not defying the "American occupation" as he claimed, but instead they were defying the vast majority of Iraqis who want freedom, democracy and peace.

They were trying, with obvious generous aid from the Mullahs in Iran to kill our dreams of a better future. They spreaded chaos, looted government offices, killed and tortured Iraqis the way Saddam used to, and they did all they can to limit our freedom, a freedom that God gave us and the Americans helped us get it back. And now he's stepping on the flags of our allies and liberators. Do I thank God we were not liberated by a revolution of people like these or not!

Sadly it appears that there are calls for reconciliation with the terrorists by some Iraqi's (according to Ali). This is troubling because the reason we went over there was to kill the terrorists who were oppressing their own people. If sanction is given to these terrorists, then that would send a signal that the Iraqi's are not strong enough to govern their own (and thus the presence of foreign troops there would be longer). I think Ali has a better solution:
We should fight these terrorists and fanatics that want to infiltrate the new system we want to build and ruin it from inside with their corrupt minds and with hands that are still stained with the blood of their victims. Let it take as long as it takes. It's not just a moral obligation but I see it as the only way to build a steady free democracy.

I agree. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 9:21 PM • Email Post • •


Space Colonization Revolution

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Bigelow Aerospace is busy plotting out a series of inflatable structures to be positioned in space. Image Credit: Bigelow Aerospace

An initial step towards the creation of mass transit beyond our planet is the emerging public space travel market.

At present, a number of technologies are being developed for other applications by non-aerospace industries deemed useful in fostering space colonization. These technologies will automate many aspects of large scale space system development, as well as drive down costs – thereby advancing the onset of colonization.

At present space flights cost around $208,000 if you go with Virgin Galactic, (sub-orbital flights) but that could decrease as new technologies are invented and perfected.

"There are so many things underway now that relate to space colonization. The International Space Station is part of this too, as well as the long-term potential for terraforming Mars into another planet for humans to live on," [Eric] Rice [leader of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)] told SPACE.com.

Although the Terra forming of Mars does not interest me (I would much rather focus our energies on Jupiter or Saturn) the International Space Station does hold the key for the Space Tourism Industry as it would be the tourist attraction until future technologies can bring us to the moon (although it could also act as a "rest stop" for weary travelers between the Lunar-Earth zone). Future stations could be assembled providing launch pads for a "Martian invasion" if necessary (Mars attracts a lot of interests but has fearsome storms during the spring which can destroy whatever colony we set up on the Red Planet). Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 8:53 PM • Email Post • •


Ipod Invading Bill Gates world

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Photo: AP Photo/Uwe Lein

(Hat Tip: 99 Zero's) (Wired News) It looks like Bill Gates castle, aka Microsoft's corporate campus in Redmond, Washington is being overrun by Apple's new Ipods:
"About 80 percent of Microsoft employees who have a portable music player have an iPod," said one source, a high-level manager who asked to remain anonymous. "It's pretty staggering."

Since about 80% of Microsoft workers use portable music players, approximately 16,000 out of 25,000 employees use a Mac Ipod (that is over 50% of the campus!). Management is not proud of this and are informing their employees that Ipod is not welcome on campus.

It seems that the Microsoft Management is even communicating their frustration of "preference" that their employee's have chosen:
So popular is the iPod, executives are increasingly sending out memos frowning on its use...So concerned is management, owning an iPod at Microsoft is beginning to become impolitic, the [anonymous] manager said. Employees are hiding their iPods by swapping the telltale white headphones for a less conspicuous pair.

"Some people are a bit concerned about being traitors, not supporting the company," he said. "They're a bit stealth about it."

It's not only the employee's who seem to like them. Some managers at Microsoft are pretty public about their preference of the Ipod over anything their company can offer.
Robert Scoble, who calls himself the "Microsoft Geek Blogger" and is one of the company's most widely read and vocal mouthpieces, sometimes appears obsessed with the iPod.

He recently penned an open letter to Bill Gates about how to build an iPod-killer (first thing: start a blog). "Even I want an iPod," he confessed.

The Microsoft manager said he's heard from several executives who dutifully bought Microsoft-powered players, tried them, failed to get them working, and returned them in favor of an iPod. He went through the same experience, he said.

It looks like the Microsoft empire is running out of "innovative products," even amongst it's own employee's. Hopefully this trend will continue and Google will not find itself alone in it's war against Microsoft. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 8:33 PM • Email Post • •


Terri's site Down

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After receive unprecedented traffic the website known as Terri's Fight went down today. It seems a lot of people are paying attention to the case and the parents (despite their site being down) have given the net an update on their situation.
The Schindler family are encouraged at the outcome of today's hearing before Judge Greer and are overwhelmed at the public outpouring of care and concern being shown to them and their daughter, Terri Schiavo.

More below.

The Schindler family also welcomes the involvement of Florida's Department of Children and Families (the state's health and human services agency) in their investigation into serious and detailed allegations of abuse and to ensure that appropriate care and treatment of Terri and patients like her is being delivered.

We ask that you please continue to think and pray for them and for Judge Greer as he takes this matter under advisement. Terri's life and the lives of many disabled, elderly and vulnerable people in Florida hang in the balance.

Your daughter will be in our prayers. Please visit Blogs for Terri for more info and updates. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 7:55 PM • Email Post • •


Yahoo beats Google (Image Search)

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It appears that Yahoo has beaten Google, at least when it comes to the number of images indexed on their servers. Yahoo leads the way with 1.5 Billion images with Google trailing behind with 1,187,630,000. Yahoo has also installed a new feature called "Also Try" which adds suggestions to your search in order to help you find the images that you need. It looks like the competition is heating up between the two (with MSN no where to be found) but the playing field could even out as time goes on.

Here is what the Yahoo Search Blog had to say about their other new features:
Lastly, in the spirit of "easier" and "faster," you can now also preview image results directly in your web search results.

When you do find that perfect photo, share it with a friend. Click on the Mail to Friend link in the preview page of your favorite Jessica shot.

These sound like some major improvements over the past couple of weeks. Hopefully Google can step it up and take the lead again, but I am glad Yahoo! is around to spur the competition (which benefits net users the most). Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 7:18 PM • Email Post • •


DCF jumps in Terri Case!

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(Hat Tip: Blogs for Terri)
[T]he Florida Department of Children & Families moved to intervene in the legal battle over the life of the brain-damaged woman.

Details of the agency's involvement in the case were not immediately available; Circuit Judge George Greer denied a DCF attorney an opportunity to speak at the afternoon hearing.

It looks like the government is finally taking noticed. I also see that CNN is correctly reporting the story as well (which is a good thing seeing as most of the Media labeled Terri as "brain dead"). The intervention of DCF (Department of Children & Families) in Florida is a good thing because they may have legal precedent to remove Michael as caretaker and place that responsibility in the hands of themselves or Terri's parents.

Here is also another measure filed by Mr. Watts which may buy time for Terri and give her grace beyond the 5 p.m. starvation order:
Although the family’s attorneys and the Florida Governor have made some good legal arguments only Mr. Watts has petitioned the court concerning Theresa’s illegal detention at the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, Inc. based on the fact that she is not terminally ill and it is illegal according to state and federal laws for her to be placed into and detained in hospice. Mr. Watts has used habeas corpus as the vehicle to bring this argument. As it stands Theresa has been illegally detained at Hospice Woodside for close to 5 years.

Illegally detained? I have a feeling that this won't be the last court session for Terri. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 6:16 PM • Email Post • •


A loop hole for Terri?

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(REUTERS) The U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday that it would decide whether the Bush administration can stop Oregon doctors from helping terminally ill patients commit suicide, despite a state law allowing such assistance.

The high court agreed to hear a Bush administration appeal arguing that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft correctly construed federal law to prohibit distribution of controlled drugs to assist suicides, regardless of state law.

Although Terri's case faces a different scenario (see Terri's website for more info) this case (if decided quickly enough) could set precedent for all assisted suicide. If the Court rules in favor of Bush, then Michael's claim that his wife wants to die would not matter anymore because it would be illegal.

Oregon is only U.S. state to allow physician-assisted suicide. Since the state law took effect in 1997, more than 170 people have ended their lives.

Under the Oregon law, called the Death with Dignity Act and twice approved by the state's voters, terminally ill patients must get a certification from two doctors stating they are of sound mind and have less than six months to live.

Ashcroft's directive declared that assisting suicide was not a legitimate medical purpose under the Controlled Substances Act and that prescribing federally controlled drugs for that purpose was against the law.

I'm glad he did. This may be hope for Terri. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 12:32 AM • Email Post • •


Missile Defense, Eh?

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(REUTERS) It looks like Canada doesn't want to join the U.S. in the continental missile Defense system.
"The prime minister plans to announce this week that Canada will not be a part of the system," the official told Reuters.

The decision will undoubtedly be seen as a snub to President Bush, who during a visit to Ottawa last December publicly urged Prime Minister Paul Martin on three separate occasions to sign on.

I don't think we will miss their assistance (although it would be great if someone helped defend this continent from external threats besides "US").

Nothing else to report. :) Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 12:10 AM • Email Post • •


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Aussie Government sending troops

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A soldier with the Australian security detachment keeps watch as police investigate the scene of a grenade thrown 50 meters from an Australian army base in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, in this October 3, 2003 file photograph. Photo by Chris Helgren/Reuters

(REUTERS) "I am not running away from the fact that I had previously said I did not contemplate a major (troop) increase. I admit quite openly that we have changed our position," Howard told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio. "I acknowledge that I'll be criticized for that but in the end I've got to take decisions that I believe are right in the interests of this country and broader Western interests in the Middle East."

Well Howard, you are taking the long hard road called leadership. Them may hate you today...and probably tomorrow but their respect will come around after they realize that the Aussie's have contributed to the greater cause of Iraqi freedom (and perhaps kill a couple of terrorists as well).

The deployment was necessary after the Dutch decided to leave the southern region of Iraq. Japan and Britain both called on Howard to send more troops, and his willingness to help out is not being met with friendly results in the Outback.
A telephone survey of 17,000 people by Channel Ten television found 71 percent opposed the deployment compared with 29 percent in favor.

Ironically though the press in Australia is defending the move. Makes me almost want to move over there with the kangaroos and the friendly MSM. What could be better? Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 11:45 PM • Email Post • •


Judge Greer issues Stay!

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(Hat Tip: Blogs for Terri)

FOX NEWS- Judge Greer has issued a stay for Terri extending her life another day! The stay orders that the feeding tube that keeps Terri alive can not be removed no earlier than 5 p.m. EST as Terri's parents (the Schindler's) were going to be appearing before Judge Greer on Wednesday.

There is a lot of misinformation out there (by the MSM unfortunately) so you are going to have judge the situation yourselves. Here is what the MSM (Main Stream Media) has to say about Terri's condition:

While she breathes on her own, she relies on the feeding tube to survive. Doctors have ruled she is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery. The Schindlers disagree, saying she could recover with proper treatment and therapy.

Really? Does this recent video of Terri seem like she is in a vegetable state? Saying Terri can not respond to her surroundings is like saying John Kerry is President or John Pope Paul II is Buddhist. More videos below.

Here are some more videos courtesy of Blogs for Terri!

Look at the picture below. If you think that starving this woman would be pure and simple justice let me know and I'll gladly declare you among the ranks of Hitler and Bin Laden. If not then you can help save a womans life by visiting Terri's website on how you can get involved. Selah!

AP Photo/Schindler Family Video, File (Fox News)

By Darnell Clayton • 4:35 PM • Email Post • •


Monday, February 21, 2005

Less than 19 hours before hell starts

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(From Blogs for Terri:)
Today, the 2nd DCA denied the Schindlers' motion to withhold their mandate, which is expected to be issued tomorrow morning, Tuesday - February 22, 2005.

Upon learning of this, attorney George Felos contacted the Schindlers' attorney to inform him that he intended to instruct the staff at Hospice to remove Terri Schiavo's food and fluids at 1.00pm ET on Tuesday, February 22.

I choose the title because I know what it feels like to go without food for 80 hours. Although the reasons I did this were voluntary, Terri's scenario is not only against her will but until her death.

Nothing is more outrageous than this current judicial system and the MSM for ignoring the story altogether. It seems to me that many of the "bigger" bloggers are busy right now with problems of their own such as Instapundit (whose wife is in the hospital right now) and Power Line (who is responding to massive hate mail from liberal blogger readers) and that is understandable. But I sure could use their help right now. More from Blogs for Terri below. Sad Selah.

The Schindlers' attorney, David Gibbs, filed an emergency motion today for clarification and temporary stay, asking that the court direct no further action be taken until the rescheduled hearing on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 at 2.45pm ET. Mr. Gibbs also asked Mr. Felos if he and his client would refrain from instructing caregivers to remove food and fluids from Terri. Mr. Felos refused, stating that he was under instructions from his client.

Their may be some hope, however slim though.
Judge George Greer has declined to rule on the Schindlers' motion for clarification and stay until 1.00pm tomorrow, the same time Mr. Felos has declared Terri's tube will be removed.

It would be no surprise if Judge Greer ruled against the Schindlers. Mr. Felos has already declared that his client will remove the feeding tube and that Judge Greer does not have juristriction to interfere (do I sense a bit of cockiness here?). Could this be the Blogosphere's first loss in the battle of information? Only time will tell. We don't have much time left. A woman who appears to be conscious and not in a "vegetable state" who only needs a feeding tube because of the inability to feed herself will be starved to death.

You can email Jeb Bush or reach his office at (850) 488-7146 or (850) 488-4441. Selah.

By Darnell Clayton • 6:23 PM • Email Post • •


Terri's parents lose appeal

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Photo from Sun Sentinel

(Article from Sun Sentinel)
The parents of severely brain-damaged Terri Schiavo lost another crucial court appeal today - the day before a court order that could lead to the removal of her life-sustaining feeding tube.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland denied Bob and Mary Schindler's motion to delay issuing an order it plans to release at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. That order could allow Terri's husband, Michael, to seek removal of the feeding tube.

Despite this ruling their is still some hope. Apparently Judge Greer (my least liked judge thus far in life) may grant the family another appeal towards a higher court which would allow them to keep the feeding tube in Terri until further notice. Photo essay below (Photos from Sun Sentinel).

In this copy of a family photograph of Terri Schiavo, she is shown before she had a heart attack and fell into a persistent vegetative state.

Bob (left) and Mary Schindler, parents of Terri Schiavo listen to attorneys involved in the right-to-die case speak at Stetson University Law School in Gulfport.

Michael Schiavo, right, with his attorney George Felos.
(AP File Photo/2001)

Randall Terry (left), founder of Operation Rescue, and Bob Schindler (right), father of Terri Schiavo, address reporters at a news conference outside Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park. They outlined plans to fight a court-ordered removal of Schiavo's feeding tube.

By Darnell Clayton • 2:09 PM • Email Post • •


NASA's having a sale!

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It looks like NASA is having a space sale, selling everything from shuttle tires to landing gear (probably not interesting stuff if you are not a "trekky"). More below.

The sale (which resembles more of an Ebay auction than a regular sale) will be taking place at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The "bidding" opens March 15th at 2 p.m. EST and you can click here to obtain an invitation to bid or you can call them at 321-867-2287 (ask for the sale number 804200-2005-0008).

If you want to contact someone alive instead of gambling chances with a machine contact Pauletta K. McGinnis at (321) 867-7027 or email her for more information. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 1:31 PM • Email Post • •


Iran imprisoning bloggers

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Photo from BBC

(BBC, Hat tip to Iraq the Model) It looks like Iran is becoming a more dangerous place to keep online journals. The nation's regime infuriates me to no end with the imprisonment of it's own people who dissent from it's views.
"Freedom of expression is really at stake at the moment," says Julien Pain, who runs the Internet Freedom Desk at the Paris based group Reporters without Borders.

"The Iranian authorities have been clamping down on regular media for a long time, but it's only in the last six months that they're harshly attacking cyber-dissidents and webloggers. It's really a serious situation."

And you wonder why the Iranians hate their own government? I would to if Washington decided to do something similar. More below.

Here is an example of some of the things the Iranian regime is doing to their own people. Two bloggers, Arash Sigarchi and Mojtaba Saminejad are currently both in prison with bails set at $200,000 and $125,000 respectively. Although the government will not say whether blogging has gotten them into trouble, both are bloggers who have critized the Iranian regime in the past. Arash Sigarchi gave a radio interview to foreigners which is the reason for his imprisonment. Mojtaba Saminejad is being held for "unknown charges" and his treatment by the Iranian regime is at best "unfair."
"Saminejad was kept in solitary confinement for 88 days, and he was subjected to severe beatings and torture. He was briefly released on 27 January for a short time, but because bail had been set at $125,000, and he wasn't able to pay that, he was rearrested, and his conditions are unknown."

These Mullahs are definitely not making me happy. If they keep doing this, it won't be long until American forces enter that country and the people tear down everything the Mullah's love. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 1:10 PM • Email Post • •


Government seizing property

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(USA Today) It's called eminent domain and governments have the right to take owners property for public use (parks, schools, etc.) but when it comes to private use (replacing homes with hotels, banks, etc.) are the owners out of luck? Case scenario, Connecticut.
On Tuesday, the court will hear an appeal from Kelo and about a dozen other holdout owners of property near Fort Trumbull State Park. They are trying to prevent the city of New London from seizing their land to clear the way for a private development project that would include a hotel, a conference center and offices.

The city has argued that redeveloping 90 acres along the river and near a new Pfizer research plant would give a much-needed economic boost to the city of about 26,000 people, where the unemployment rate of 7.6% is about twice the state's rate.

The case is going before the U.S. Supreme Court now after the owners lost in the state supreme court. If (as some expect) the town wins this will create precedent that will allow the government to seize your property for whatever business endeavor they desire. And that is something that I am not in favor of.

The fifth Amendment allows government to seize property from private owners for public use (as long as their is just compensation for it), but owners such as Kelo are pointing out that the town (New London) is not using it for public use at all, but merely for business in order to boost up tax revenue throughout the year (they have been going through a recession for a while so I see their "rationalization" for doing so). However if governments can alter this then any private property they deem necessary for "economic growth" would be forfeited to the "good of the community" (hints of communism here?). Unfortunately history is not on my side in this case, as other states have taken away property from their owners.
The state court cited two U.S. Supreme Court rulings, from 1954 and 1984. In the 1954 ruling, U.S. justices upheld the power of eminent domain for urban renewal in parts of Washington, D.C. Thirty years later, the high court allowed Hawaii's Legislature to condemn large tracts concentrated among a few owners — a vestige of the feudal system of the state's original Polynesian settlers — for distribution to many residents.

My sympathies go towards the owners...especially Kelo who has just bought the 1893 Victorian cottage eight years ago as a permanent home. Selah.

By Darnell Clayton • 1:31 AM • Email Post • •


Sunday, February 20, 2005

Space Tourism becoming reality

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Photo from Space Future.com

It looks like Sir Richard Branson (a British entrepreneur) has announced plans to launch commercial space flights over the next several years and is already in the process of establishing a new company to facilitate the flights.
The new service will be called Virgin Galactic and expects to fly 3,000 new astronauts in its first five years. Fares will start at $208,000 for a suborbital flight, including three days’ training. Branson said the business would "allow every country in the world to have their own astronauts rather than the privileged few."

This will be good as it will give smaller nations (as well as corporations) the opportunity to explore space for themselves. Maybe it will allow Maryam to even travel into space! More below.

"Virgin Galactic will be run as a business, but a business with the sole purpose of making space travel more and more affordable," Branson said.

"Those privileged space pioneers who can afford to take our first flights will not only have the most awesome experience of their lives, but by stepping up to the plate first they will bring the dream of space travel for many millions closer to reality."

Although this is quite expensive flights should become cheaper as technology progresses. Who know, maybe you'll be like that little child building moon castles with your handy moon shovel? Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 7:22 PM • Email Post • •


Space Tourism developing standards

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Photo: The Trifid NebulaReuters-J Rho, Caltech

It seems that the Space Tourism industry is developing standards on their own when it comes to safety. These standards include signing a form accepting risks as well as getting a physical exam. Operators of reuseable space ships will also inform their passengers of the safety of their ship and have to provide safety training before launch.
"We're not going to lose sight of safety," Mineta said in a speech at his department's Commercial Space Transportation Conference. "These guidelines for space tourism respect that this is uncharted territory," allowing operators "to determine the best way to meet the standards."

This is a good sign because by allowing the private sector to establish guidelines on their own they avoid government regulation which could stifle the industry (imagine getting congressional permits to fly). More below.

Their also is a standard for pilots as well.
Pilots of reusable launch vehicles would need to hold an FAA pilot certificate, meet medical standards and be trained to operate their vehicle so it will not harm the public, with emphasis on responding to abort scenarios, emergency operations and procedures that direct the vehicle away from the public in the event of a problem during flight, he said.

Abort Scenarios? Hopefully the private ships include "life pods" that the passengers can escape in if they encounter any problems throughout the flight (okay so these models probably won't, but I am hoping that future models will consider this suggestion). Either way I look forward to more news about this. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 4:51 PM • Email Post • •


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Remove Judge Greer? (Terri Case)

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Interesting post by The Empire Journal:
According to public records, George W. Greer, the judge at the center of Terri Schindler-Schiavo saga, not only failed to timely file the proper candidate and loyalty oaths in the proper form, he allegedly violated Florida statutes and failed to qualify for office and therefore, his name could not legally appear on the Florida ballot in 1998 and 2004 when he claims he was elected.

Even if one were to cast the oath argument aside, a review of the public records and confirmation by assistant general counsel in the Florida Secretary of State’s office has confirmed that Greer did not qualify for office because he did not file the statement of candidate for judicial office that is required in order to qualify to gain access to the ballot.

Do I see a shaft of light opening up at the end of the tunnel? More below.

More from the Empire Journal:
According to D.H. Penton, assistant general counsel with the Secretary of State’s office, and the Division of Elections, George Greer allegedly failed to file the requisite statement both in 1998 and 2004.

Florida law provides that if any person required to take the mandated oath fails to execute same, the governing authority under which such person is employed shall cause that person to be immediately discharged and his name removed from payroll.

"The oath is a prerequisite to qualify for public office", the AG’s opinion states. "Any candidate who fails or requires to file the requisite oath will have failed to qualify as a candidate for public office and the name of such person shall not be printed on the ballot as a qualified candidate...The provisions are mandatory and binding on all officers".

Think about it. If Judge Greer's oath is invalid, then wouldn't his ruling on the Terri case be as well? Where is a law blogger when I need one!

By Darnell Clayton • 11:57 PM • Email Post • •


What is Putin smoking?

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

Photo by Viktor Korotayev/Reuters

(Reuters) It must be pretty powerful in order to say this:

"The latest steps by Iran convince Russia that Iran indeed does not intend to produce nuclear weapons and we will continue to develop relations in all sectors, including peaceful atomic energy," Putin told Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani.

It looks like this man has not learned anything from the School massacre many months ago. I think it's time that the Russians elect a real leader who understands the threats that face the world. More below.

President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he was convinced Iran was not trying to build a nuclear weapon and that Russia would press ahead with nuclear cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

"We hope Iran will strictly stick to all agreements with Russia or the international community," Putin said at the start of talks with Rohani at the Kremlin.

The only logical reasons that he is doing this (or at least the only ones that make sense to me) are that money is involved and he is trying to bring back the "glory of mother Russia" as the world once knew her. Either way I think this is pretty stupid and seems a repeat of Iraq where Russia helped out Saddam. If war does break out between Iran and the U.S. (which may happen because Syria, Iran's soul mate is being very uncooperative right now) Russia would probably complain before the world community and "deja vu" would happen all over again. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 1:14 AM • Email Post • •


Military action not first option

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But it may be a second. (Reuters)

Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters

"Diplomacy is always the president's, or at least always my first choice and we've got a common goal, and that is that Iran should not have a nuclear weapon.," he said in the interview taped in Washington earlier and broadcast before his arrival in Brussels Sunday for summits with NATO and the European Union.

I agree.

Nothing more to say. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 1:10 AM • Email Post • •


That's a first...for NASA

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Photo by Joe Skipper/Reuters

NASA deputy administrator Fred Gregory is expected to be named the agency's acting chief, a congressional spokesman said on Feb. 17, 2005. Gregory, shown at an Aug. 5, 2003 news conference, has been deputy administrator since 2002, after having served on three shuttle missions. He was selected as an astronaut in January 1978.

He will be the first African American ever appointed. More below.

From Reuters:
Former astronaut Fred Gregory is expected to be named NASA's acting chief, becoming the first African-American to head the U.S. space agency, a congressional spokesman said on Thursday.

House Science Committee spokesman Joe Pouliot said Gregory will become acting administrator to replace NASA chief Sean O'Keefe, whose last day on the job is Friday.

This is an unexpected surprise to me. Ironic that it has happened under an "evil conservatives" presidency. Probably won't get much notice in the blogosphere...at least by the liberals. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 12:40 AM • Email Post • •


Friday, February 18, 2005

UN has a blog site?

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

(Hat Tip: Alpha Patriot) It seems that everyone has a blog now-a-days! The UN has launched a blog site. It is unusual because it contains links on it's blog roll ranging from the far left Daily Kos to the far right Hugh Hewitt (author of the book Blog). I think I will add it to my blog roll. More below.

Here is their latest post:
Senator Chuck Hagel made the following remarks at the event: "There will always be uncertainties and incomplete information in any climate science or climate policy. But that should not inhibit our commitment to developing climate policies based on sound science. The question we face is not whether we should take action on climate change, but what kind of action we should take. Climate change is a shared responsibility for all nations, including the United States. Global climate policy affects the world's economic, energy, and environmental policies."

This should make a fun read. LOL...Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 6:31 PM • Email Post • •


Twelve new worlds discovered

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Photo from Universe Today

It looks like 12 new worlds have been discovered which brings the total count of worlds orbiting stars to 145. Six were discovered by two European planet hunting teams, five by and American team and one by Alex Wolszczan and Caltech's Maciej Konacki of Penn State. More below.

News from Universe Today:
Just a decade ago, scientists knew of only the nine planets - those in our local solar system. In 1995, improved detection techniques produced the first solid evidence of a planet circling another star. A proliferation of discoveries followed, and now dozens of ongoing search efforts around the globe add steadily to the roster of worlds. Most of these planets differ markedly from the planets in our own solar system. They are more similar to Jupiter or Saturn than to Earth, and are considered unlikely to support life as we know it.

Too bad we don't have warp...it would be great to get their real pictures. If only we could point Hubble towards their location (too bad NASA is shutting the project down). Oh well...Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 6:14 PM • Email Post • •


Close up of Saturn Moon...

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From Universe Today:
Just two days after visiting Titan, Cassini swept past another Saturnian moon: Enceladus. The spacecraft got within just 1,180 kilometers (730 miles) of the bright moon. Enceladus is unusual because of the high reflectivity of its surface, which resembles freshly fallen snow. But in this close-up view, the best ever taken, it has a much more wrinkled look. Enceladus is only 505 kilometers (314 miles) across

An image of the icy moon's surface below...

Photo from Universe Today

By Darnell Clayton • 6:09 PM • Email Post • •


Interesting post...

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

Interesting Post by Iraq the Model:
I have no estimations about how many people will provide information that way but I feel that the rate has increased after the elections. Moreover, the Iraqi media is also playing a good role in exposing criminals and there are some local channels that broadcast the confessions of arrested terrorists.
I think that the local TV station in Mosul has done a good job recently and the people are now even more disgusted from the doings of the terrorists and the terrorists reaction by attacking the station's HQ more than once in the past days indicates that they're really pissed off from this station's shows.

More below.

Here is more from Iraq the Model (a must read for anyone interested in Mid-East affairs).
The confessions have shown that some criminals have strong connections with the Syrian authorities from where they get instructions and support.
The interesting part of the show was the interrogation with Khalidah Jasim the sister of Khalid Zakiyah who's one of the most wanted criminals in Mosul who got arrested a while ago in Tikrit.
She stated that she was in her 2nd year in college studying psychiatry and that she was a member of a Palestinian military organization that was lead by George Habash.

She confessed that she has taken her brother's place in leading the terror group and she's specialized in preparing TNT used in roadside bombs.
She also didn't deny one of the group members statements that she offered to sleep with him twice in order to persuade him to plant landmines and perform attacks against Iraqi and American troops.
More details about this in the Friends of Democracy Arabic website.

As the Iraqi citizens get bolder, the terrorists keep getting weaker. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 6:04 PM • Email Post • •


Democrats questioning NASA

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"I think we need challenging goals for our space program. I want NASA to succeed. At the same time, I think NASA is headed for a potential train wreck as it puts all its eggs in the exploration basket at a time when deficit concerns are going to keep squeezing domestic discretionary spending." (Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN))

What else would NASA focus on? NASA's purpose is to explore "the final frontier." I think some of the Democrats are angry that NASA's proposed budget got an increase while other programs received a decrease in spending or got cut. It sounds like they are whining to me, although I could be wrong. More below.

It seems to me that some Democrats are attacking the exploration initiative not because of the change in priorities but rather due to the fact that the President is supporting such changes.
"I am troubled that the President's exploration initiative seems to be couched in terms of having to walk away from important research areas in science and aeronautics if we want to do exploration. One of those important research projects is of course the Hubble Telescope, but it's not the only one. We should be able to pursue the vision and continue to invest in science." (Rep. Mark Udall, D-CO)

Unfortunately we can not invest in exploration and the other scientific agenda's that in my opinion have dragged NASA away from exploring it's true vision: Space Exploration. If NASA is to revisit the moon, land men and women on Mars as well as being the stages of solar colonization they need to delegate those other "scientific responsibilities" to other private organizations or simply discard them to the side. NASA's job is not to view the stars but to go to them (viewing can be done by the private sector). Fortunately, the President realizes this and has correctly aligned NASA back on track. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 5:06 PM • Email Post • •


Giant Crater on Titan?

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

A giant impact crater the size of Iowa was spotted on Saturn's moon Titan by NASA's Cassini radar instrument during Tuesday's Titan flyby.

The crater is about 273 miles wide and looks pretty ugly. Scientists were fortunate enough to get not only a radar readout of the crater but an image as well. Picture of the crater below.

Photo from Spaceref.com

By Darnell Clayton • 4:54 PM • Email Post • •


NASA statement false

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(Mars Today) Some of you may have heard about NASA claiming that there was life (or hints of it) on Mars. There are new reports that statement might have been false:

NASA does not have any observational data from any current Mars missions that supports this claim. The work by the scientists mentioned in the reports cannot be used to directly infer anything about life on Mars, but may help formulate the strategy for how to search for martian life. Their research concerns extreme environments on Earth as analogs of possible environments on Mars. No research paper has been submitted by them to any scientific journal asserting martian life.

Good thing I didn't post about it earlier. Pretty picture below.

Photo from Mars Today

By Darnell Clayton • 4:45 PM • Email Post • •


Thursday, February 17, 2005

War drums are beating...

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

Photo from BBC

(Fox News) Things are not looking good for Syria. The drums of war are beating and the diplomatic situation is looking worse.
Bush added that the diplomatic rift "indicates that the relationship [with Syria] is not moving forward, that Syria's out of step with the progress being made in a greater Middle East, that democracy's on the move and this is a country that isn't moving with the democratic movement."

Bush means serious business here. He is meeting with European allies (who save for Britain have yet to prove themselves) in order to increase the pressure on Syria and the Iranian Regime. More below.

The ironic thing about this is that Bush is not alone in this opinion (as he was with Iraq). Although other nations are at least pursuing putting pressure diplomatically, Bush is find common ground across party lines.
U.S. lawmakers from both parties are pressuring the president to tighten sanctions on Syria in the wake of Hariri's killing. Eleven senators, including Democrats Hillary Clinton of New York and Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona, sent Bush a letter today urging him "to take strong action against Syria."

With both parties now on board (especially after a polarizing election in the states) Syria should be reading the "signs of the times" and hastily remove it's troops from Lebanon. Bush also wants Syria to remove Iraqi Baathists from it's region as well as stop sponsoring terror and encourage free election in Lebanon. If you are thinking that the U.S. is "too thin" too respond think again.
"I think we can lay a marker down, and we can do it very quickly, very simply, relatively," Moore said. "The Bush administration has shown it can walk and chew gum at the same time ... we can send a real strong signal with one bomb from a B-2 to a Syrian-regime target." (Gen. Burton Moore, U.S. Central Command director during Operation Desert Storm)

Our troops may be busy (at the moment) but are jets probably are not! Well...that is all for today...more later on...Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 3:58 PM • Email Post • •


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

For those who care...

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

...about those whose life hangs in the balance. (Reuters)
With their legal options almost gone, the parents of a brain-damaged Florida woman began a campaign of public protests and political pressure on Wednesday to keep their daughter alive.

Theresa Schiavo's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, have been engaged in a long-running legal battle with her husband, Michael Schiavo, since a 1990 heart attack left her in what some doctors say is a persistent vegetative state.

Her husband wants Terri dead. Her parents are fighting a losing battle to keep her alive. More info and photo's below.

Photo of Terri/MSNBC-Reuters

More from Reuters:
Michael Schiavo says his wife would not want to live in her condition and wants legal permission to remove the feeding tube that is keeping her alive. The Schindlers say their daughter, 41, responds to them and might improve with treatment.

The legal ruling which blocked the removal of Terri's feeding tube is due to expire next week Tuesday on February 22. Terri's parents the Schindlers are asking all available assistance in keeping their daughter alive, and have even asked Randall Terry, who is the founder of the pro-life group Operation Rescue to help lead the efforts on their behalf to save their daughter.
"We will not rest until we save Terri from starvation. This is not someone who is brain-dead," Randall Terry said at a news conference with Robert Schindler. "This guy (Michael Schiavo) is a monster. The gloves are coming off," Terry said.

He seems pretty serious about this as well. Randall Terry has been arrested in the past for blocking abortion clinics and plans to organize protests at the hospice where she is being cared for, at the state capital in Tallahassee as well as at the White House. He also plans on picketing Michael Schiavo's home as well as his workplace (I'm sure his boss is going to love that). If anybody is unable to make it to either Florida or Washington, D.C. they can contact Hyscience or Pro-Life Blogs on how your blog (aka web journal) can help make the difference. Keep praying as well...God may work a miracle in this.

By Darnell Clayton • 9:55 PM • Email Post • •


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