Friday, April 12, 2002

The Norwegians are taking a beating in the Blogworld thanks to the story of the young man who was told to remove his jacket with a visible Israeli flag in the Norwegian Parliament restaurant. I think those responsible deserve the abuse, but I also wanted to note something positive the Norwegians have been doing. They are a leading player in helping the Baltic States better defend themselves and ready their militaries to work with NATO:

"Although Norway is not a Baltic country in the strict geographical sense, it is in our interest to assist in the strengthening of the sovereignty and security by bringing these countries more closely into the fold of European and transatlantic co-operation," the [Norwegian] review says. "It is important that these countries should have a clearly defined status with regard to their security and defence policy links with the rest of Europe."

"The way in which the Nordic countries, together with the United States and our other allies, are co-operating in the provision of defence-related support for the Baltic countries is an extremely positive development."

The Baltic States have always been at least a notational item on the US agenda. It is heartening to have Norway take the lead in helping them set up a proper defense. Doubly so because the US doesn't have to bear the full weight of the job. That is what allies are for- sharing the load.
War Coverage
Here is a story to keep in mind when watching the coverage of the War on Terror. During the fighting in Afghanistan during in March a bunch of reporters wanted to get closer to the fighting.

Several vehicles loaded with journalists and camera equipment got past the military checkpoints and headed for the sound of bombing and gunfire. A few kilometers from the fighting, several Australian commandos stopped the convoy and ordered everyone out of their vehicles. The journalists were not happy, until the soldiers told them that their vehicles had been spotted from the air once they got into the restricted zone. At first, it was thought that the journalist's vehicles were Taliban rushing to reinforce the al Qaeda and Taliban fighters getting pounded. So the vehicles were targeted for a smart bomb attack. But at the last moment, the targeting people had second thoughts, noted that there were some Australian SAS commandos in the area, and asked the Aussies to take closer look before the convoy was attacked.

Naturally if these guys had been blasted into oblivion by a smart bomb it would have been the military's fault. We would have had a week of friendly fire stories.
Eurofighter Loses Again
South Korea eliminated the Eurofighter and Russian SU-30 in its search for a new fighter. According to Strategy Page, the final two are the F-15K and the French Rafale. I assume the F-15K is there because of incentives to the Koreans and a lower per unit price. I would expect the more advanced Rafale to outperform it but cost much more.
A400M Troubles Continue
The European version of the C-130, the A400M (original Daley Weather post) continues to be in trouble due to the German decision to only fund 40 planes instead of the 73 they committed to. According to Strategy Page:

Britain, France, and other A400M project countries are scrambling to figure out how to keep the program intact. The problem is that Germany originally put in for 73 aircraft, but the money provided by its parliament covers only 40. The German government has said it is sure it can get parliament to provide the rest of the money in future years, but there is much doubt that this will happen. The Germans want to launch the program with their purchase of 40 aircraft and add the others later, but their partners want Germany to agree that if it doesn't buy the other 33, it will be the sole country responsible for any increased costs.

If the Germans only buy the 40 planes the cost of the project becomes too high and the A400M becomes a hugely expensive blunder. Since many of the A400M buyers are already hurting for defense funds that might doom the A400M.

Arafat Strategically Challenged
So I'm eating lunch and watching Fox News because there is not much else to watch mid-afternoon. We have Colin Powell in Israel doing a Hamlet on whether he should meet with Arafat. Then a female suicide bomber kills six people and wounds over 80. The Israelis make sure Powell sees the scene by helicopter. The military wing of Arafat's political party claims responsibility. Anyone think Powell will sit down with Arafat now?

This is an amazingly boneheaded move by Arafat. What he should have done is make nice sounds to Powell so that his spin would have more resonance. "Hey Powell, I'm trying to be peaceful but look at all these Isreali tanks." Let Powell put pressure on Sharon to withdraw. Attacking now is like giving Powell and the US the finger.

Either Arafat truly has no control, in which case he is not the person to negotiate with because he can not deliver, or he is not the person to negotiate with because he is a leader of terrorists who send young people to their deaths.

On top of this Isreal took Powell to the northern border with Lebanon. While visiting the Isreali border troops Powell witnessed a Hezbollah artillery attack against Isreali territory. Again, not something that is going to make Powell and the US more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.
Los Altos Fire Was Arson
Sunday's fire that destroyed a church in Los Altos Hills was deliberately set.

The fire was set from inside the approximately 5,000-square-foot church using ignitable liquids, McKee said. She, along with officials from the Santa Clara County sheriff's and fire departments, would not specify the accelerant, the manner in which it was used, or how the individual or group gained entry to the locked building.

The authorities have been careful not to point any fingers, but the fact that the church membership is mostly Arab American has a lot of people wondering.
Good News On CBDTPA
The Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA) is having problems. This is a very good thing:

A digital-copyright bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last month has inspired howls of protest from consumers and high-tech firms who say it could slow technological advances and dictate how consumers listen to music or watch videos at home.

Well connected lobbyists and everyday users alike have flooded Congress with faxes and e-mail over the past several weeks to lodge complaints against the bill, which would prevent new computers, CD players and other consumer-electronics devices from playing unauthorized movies, music and other digital media files.

And if you want to know how the online community feels on this, check this part out:

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has also held hearings on the issue, has received more than 3,500 comments criticizing the bill, a spokeswoman said.

"We haven't received one e-mail in support of the Hollings bill," said Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Mimi Devlin. "It seems like there's a groundswell of support from regular users."

As a regular user all I have to say is, "Well D'uh!" Like I'm going to be in favor of installing a bunch of crap in my already unstable enough PC to prevent me from copying things. And you know it would decide sometimes to not let me make key backups because I might be doing something illegal.

If you want to add to the chorus of disapproval visit to learn more and pick up the contact details for those what are in charge.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Church Fire
People around the Bay Area like to think this is a citadel of tolerance. Recent anti-Jewish acts in and around UC Berkeley challenge that utopian idea. So does the recent burning of a church in Los Altos Hills.

Parishioners at a Los Altos Hills church arrived for services Sunday morning to find a fire had gutted their house of worship, causing $1 million in damage and leaving little more than a smoldering shell.

Fears quickly arose among some members of the Orthodox Church of the Redeemer that the fire was not an accident, but possibly a hate crime. The 200 families that make up the congregation are mostly of Middle Eastern descent. But investigators -- local fire officials and members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms -- cautioned it was too early to make any conclusions about the cause of the blaze.

If it was arson I hope they nail the people that did it.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Chick's Back
After 56 games away Chick Hearn will broadcast tonight's Lakers game against the Utah Jazz.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Peace Plans
All the talk of moving Israel to Baja California (can't remember who had the post about it, but I remember the idea) reminds me of an essay I had to write in school in 1985. There was an essay contest with the topic being your plan for Middle East peace. This was an extra-credit type of assignment. You got bonus points if you did it but not doing it wouldn't impact your grade.

I had zero clue how to solve the problem then. Not much more clued now I'm afraid. After pondering the problem for some time, I decided I couldn't come up with a serious solution and went for smart ass instead.

I proposed we build a second holy land. I figured if Disney could build more than one Disneyland why not? The only problem I saw was that we could make the new one better and there might be a fight over who got the new, improved HolyLand™ with animatronic prophets. "Great Moments with the Prophet Mohammad" anyone?

Needless to say I didn’t win the essay contest.
More Bourgeoisophobe
I see Best of the Web talks about the David Brooks article as well.

While I think this is an interesting article it over simplifies. For example, Brooks would have been better served with a more limited focus. The article left me with the impression that all of Europe is filled with anti-American pains due in part to the fact that:

They are erudite Europeans who burn with humiliation because they know, deep down, that both America and Israel possess a vitality and heroism that their nations once had but no longer do.

I for one don't get that feeling about the recently liberated Eastern European nations. I suspect that in places like Poland and the Czech Republic there is a ton of vitality and heroism.

Still, worth reading if only for the parallels between the Europeans and the Muslim world.
One of the things I was prevented from posting this weekend was the link to this Weekly Standard article by David Brooks. Found it through Steven den Beste who promises a discussion.
Instapundit List
Mr. Reynolds has at last published his list of blogs inspired by Instapundit. As one of them, I'll point you to the version of the listing by Jeff Wolfe because he edited it to include the hyperlinks.

If that list doesn't give you enough blogs to read you've got issues.
More Blogger Problems
Lost several attempts at post yesterday due to blogger clog. Time perhaps for that pro version.....