Urbin Report

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

HRC at the State of the Union speech...

She doesn't look happy and is dressed in gray...

In a display of common sense...

First off, this news is a couple of weeks old, but I've been a bit busy...

In an all too rare display of common sense, the Massachusetts Legislature defeated a bill that would have allowed illegal aliens to attend UMass colleges at the state residents rate. Under this bill, which should have never made to the floor, legal residents of other states would still have to pay the non-resident rates.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Interesting photos

Interesting photos
Interesting photos,
originally uploaded by Eclipse Pics.
Some photos of mine on Flicker that got noticed.

It's that time again...

Alphecca's weekly review of anti-gun bias in the media is up.

The Palestinian people have spoken...

The major difference between Hamas and the group of terrorists they replaced is that at least Hamas is honest and upfront about their goals of genocide.

That could explain it...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A good year for Freedom

According to Freedom House, nine nations or territories in 2005 were upgraded in their ranking of free, party free or not free.

Among those deemed freer were Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, where peaceful revolutions overthrew entrenched governments; Lebanon, where Syrian occupation troops were pressured to withdraw; and Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, where trailblazing elections were held. Overall, Freedom House concluded, "the past year was one of the most successful for freedom" since the survey began in 1972.

Ace comments on the article:
It's a surprisingly fair article, detailing where Bush has actually walked the walk and where he has only talked the talk. In many cases (China, Pakistan) strategic considerations militate against an aggressive, provocative US push for democracy, but in others -- such as in Uganda -- it's a mystery why the Administration doesn't take a tougher line against tyranny.

The article continues with:
In other places, the United States has done more than talk. In Kyrgyzstan, the U.S. government funded pro-democracy groups and provided generators to print an opposition newspaper before its revolution. Edil Baisalov, director of the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, can quote extensively from the Bush inaugural speech. "The Kyrgyz people are much, much better off today than they were a year ago, and I think the U.S. government should take pride in taking credit for that," he said. "And [it] should never apologize that it wants the people to be free."

Ok, that's just weird...

This is what I got in a fortune cookie recently:

The rubber bands are heading in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More Red on Red action in Iraq

According to ThreatsWatch.org:

But the Islamic Army in Iraq hasn’t just turned down al-Qaeda’s invitation, it has, along with five other insurgent groups, including the Anbar Martyr’s Brigade and the 1920 Revolution Brigades, openly declared war against al-Qaeda

As Mr. Reynolds put it, may both sides fight to the last man...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Baen on Blackfive

I've mentioned Baen Books multiple times here.
They got a string of posts over at Blackfive's blog as well.
Laughing Wolf posts on John Ringo's non-SF book Ghost, which is up for a Romance Award!

John really would like to win this one, so stop by and vote!

Laughing Wolf also posts on Michael Z. Williamson's book The Weapon.
He has one more that is a general post on Baen Publishing.

Danes supporting terrorism

By selling t-shirts that fund terrorist organizations world wide.

One poster notes:

I'm currently in an area where the enemy refuses to wear a uniform (Baghdad). I love these t-shirts, it's an Anti-Democracy uniform. It is always good to know who the enemy is, best if they wear a uniform announcing such.

Update: The comment reminds me of the "Stop Snitchin" t-shirts so popular in Boston.

Monty bin Laden

From "Death to the Great Satan!" to "Let's Make a Deal!"
A clear sign that, as Mr. Reynolds puts it, "YES, WE'RE WINNING"

The man who arranged a terrorist attack that killed 3,000 people in one day wants "a long-term truce with fair conditions."
Ya, we got your "fair conditions" right here buddy.

democrat Senator says she's keep Abramoff related money

This AP story points out that democrat Senator from Washington Patty Murry "said Friday that returning contributions from Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff would "taint" the tribes.

The state's senior senator, a Seattle Democrat, said there was nothing wrong with accepting more than $40,000 in campaign donations from out-of-state tribes represented by the disgraced lobbyist."

As Mr. Reynolds said, you can't make this stuff up.

Friday, January 20, 2006

New Voyages strikes again!

The fan produced "fourth season" of Star Trek: The Original Series has scored two more TOS originals for an upcoming episode. Writer David Gerrold & actor George Takei.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

John Bergstrom's on a roll...

He has some new, sharply on target cartoons up. Go check 'em out.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Good progress

Mr. Reynolds points out that some major progress in defending an important international human right is being made.

I don't recall reading this in the Boston Globe...

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December marked the seventh consecutive month that the US Army has met it's recruiting goal.

Film takes a hit

According to this CNN story, Nikon Corp. will stop making 7 film camera models. That will leave them with only their top line model and low end manual focus model.
The stated goal was to focus on digital cameras.

This caught my eye, since I've been know to take a picture now and then...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

What I'm reading

Myths for the Modern Age, essays on Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe.
Good crunchy pulp goodness so far.

I just started Harry Turtledove's Days of Infamy. This should be good.
I just finished Michael Z. Williamson's The Weapon
Damn good and more than a bit scary at times.
One light moment was the designation the Freehold military used for their man portable tac-nuke...

I recognized the container. I'd dealt with them during training. It was a crated Q-36 Explosive, Special, Medium. They're designed to take out dams, headquarters, major transport junctions and similar targets.
I had just signed for a nuclear weapon.

Insert the Marvin the Martian joke of your choice...
There is also a nice tip of the hat to another SF series:
Occasionally, one was mis-aimed and hit suburbs or farmland. One that was likely aimed at Pittsburgh made a perfect hit on the little town of Mannington, West Virginia, leaving nothing but a perfectly round hole where the town had been.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A good analogy

Bookworm has a good post on the San Francisco city goverment making a safer working environment for violent criminals at the expense of the law abiding.
She wraps up with a good analogy.

My confession? I'm terrified of guns and don't own one. However, I'm hoping to benefit from "herd immunity." My analogy here is to disease control. As you know, not everyone needs to be vaccinated against measles. You simply need a critical mass of vaccinations to make it impossible for measles to take hold in a community. In the same way, I want guns to be legal in my community so that a critical mass of upstanding community members can own weapons, making it more difficult for crime to take hold in the community. Once you ban guns entirely, your immunity vanishes, and all you can do is sit back and let the gun violence virus begin.

On the local front...

Bruce at mASS Backwards covers the story of Massachusetts AG Tom Reilly interfered with the police investigation into the death of two teenage girls.

Feinstein gets Miller wrong

On Fox News Sunday today, California democat Senator Diane Feinstein said that the US vs. Miller case gave the government to regulate fully automatic firearms. Since Senator Feinstein is a long time foe of the Second Amendment, I find it hard to believe she managed to mangle that case so badly by accident.
The Supreme Court ruling on US vs. Miller case stated that the government could regulate a weapon (in the case under question, it was a shotgun, which actually was in use by the US Military at the time) because it was not used by the Military and thus not protected by the Second Amendment. So, what Feinstein said was completely and utterly false.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I wonder when the NY Times will carry this story...

According the the Weekly Standard:

THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

The secret training took place primarily at three camps--in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak--and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders corroborate the documentary evidence. Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria's GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000.
The discovery of the information on jihadist training camps in Iraq would seem to have two major consequences: It exposes the flawed assumptions of the experts and U.S. intelligence officials who told us for years that a secularist like Saddam Hussein would never work with Islamic radicals, any more than such jihadists would work with an infidel like the Iraqi dictator. It also reminds us that valuable information remains buried in the mountain of documents recovered in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past four years.

Michelle Malkin points out that this proves some US officials dead wrong:
“Iraq was not a breeding ground for terrorism. Our invasion has made it one.” --Sen. Ted Kennedy

"Iraq was not a terrorist haven before the invasion." -- Sen. John Kerry

"The evidence now shows clearly that Saddam did not want to work with Osama bin Laden at all.” -- Former VP Albert Gore

HT to Bruce at GayPatriot Blog.

Get ready for the mud slinging..

Matt Drudge reports that the democrats are going to smear Judge Samuel A. Alito during his confirmation hearings.

One Democrat Hill staffer involved in their strategy declared, "Put a fork in Scalito. It doesn’t matter that Alito didn’t write it, it doesn’t matter that Alito wasn’t that active in the group, Foote wrote it in CAP’s magazine and we are going to make Alito own it."

Friday, January 06, 2006

On the "do what I say, not what I do front" part 2

Paul at Wizbang points out the following

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, is keeping the $30,500 donated to him and his political action committees by tribes represented by Mr. Abramoff. "He feels that Abramoff was a Republican operative and this is a Republican scandal," said Mr. Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley. "He's done nothing improper."

Harry Reid, ignoring the fact that he, Hillary Clinton and dozens of other Democrats took money from Abramoff too. - Dumbass.

Ace also is on this:
The fact that over 90% of Democrats took Abramoff's dirty money is just further proof Abramoff is "most closely linked" with Republicans.
Among those named by the NRSC as the worst examples of "Democrat hypocrisy" for taking money from Abramoff and his associates are: Sen. Byron Dorgan, (D-N.D.) who received at least $79,300; Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who received at least $45,750; Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who received at least $68,941 and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who received at least $6,250.

It's good to know that a Kennedy stays bought:
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) has decided to buck the current fashion of donating the money given to him linked to Jack Abramoff clients to charity, while the rest of Kennedy's colleagues distance themselves from Abramoff-directed contributions as fast as possible. Kennedy insists that he has nothing to hide -- since he's been taking Indian gambling money for ten years and acting on their behalf for, coincidentally, the same amount of time...

On the "do what I say, not what I do front"

Howard Stern, who makes a very nice living by getting women to take their clothes off, has stopped his daughter from appearing nude on stage.

Wizbang has pictures.

Meanwhile, what's going on around the globe...

In "enlightened" France:

A gang of more than 20 youths -- thought to be North African immigrants -- terrorized hundreds of train passengers in a rampage of violence, robbery and sexual assault on New Year's Day, French officials said yesterday.

The leader of Iran said that he hoped for the death of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. This was the latest anti-Israeli comment by a leader who has already provoked international criticism for suggesting that Israel be "wiped off the map."

The Palestinian response is quick and not unexpected.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New to the blog roll...

A Universe of Stories, the blog of Baen Books.
I've mentioned them before. They have, IMNSHO, the best model for selling ebooks, and the authors seem to agree.

Their blog is fairly new, but I'd like to point out the contents of this post.
A solider in Iraq sends the following to Baen

"I’ve been deployed in Iraq for over a year, and I can honestly say its been the Baen e-books that made it for me.

This format is fantastic for deployed troops.

A sincere thank you.”

The folks at Baen reply:
No, Jason, we thank YOU.

Thank you for your service to our country, too.

Happy New Year.

I'm currently reading one of those Baen e-books.

It a subtle difference...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Over the top anti-civil rights bias

Alphecca points out an example in the Wausau Daily Herald (WI):

Happy new year! Have a gun!

That's the Wisconsin Legislature's gift to citizens of this state. Members hope this will be the year they can ram through a bill that would allow residents to carry hidden pistols, stun guns and other weapons.

Gov. Jim Doyle has said he will veto the bill, as he did the last attempt to pass this reckless and dangerous law. This time, though, the Republican majority says it has lured enough Democrats with last-minute amendments that they can override a veto.

Heaven help us.

Alphecca correctly points out:

Well actually, allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons is a far more reliable means of self-defense than relying on someone in Heaven to come to your aid...

Go read the whole thing.

Tin foil...it's not just for hats anymore...

Here are the instructions to build a wallet out of duct tape and aluminum foil.
The stated reason is to block RFID signals. As the author points out, RFID tags are being to show up in things like his student ID.

On the alien front...

First, the KGB "Blue Folder" on UFO studies have been declassified.

Second, a Brit so goofy the British Green party booted him, tells us that:

...the Illuminati plot to take over the world is actually being carried out by a race of extraterrestrial reptiles in human form. They are described, literally, as being child-sacrificing, blood-drinking Satan-worshippers capable of changing their shape, whose ranks include George Bush, Bill and Hilary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mum, Bob Hope and Kris Kristofferson, among others.

HT to Ace on the blood drinking lizardoids.
Hmmm...wasn't that a bad TV SciFi show back in the 80's?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Investigating leaks against national security...

While Fitzmas was a bust for the loopy left, there is a leak under investigation that ia a much bigger threat to national security.

A step toward finally pulling out of that quagmire!

The war in Europe has been over since 1944. In late 2005, the US Air Force (which didn't even exist in 1944!) has closed down a major air base in Germany.

A couple of geek notes

I found this in the print copy of Wired. The GP2X, a $180 handheld gaming and media device that runs Linux, ships with an SDK and runs on AA batteries. It supports SD cards and USB 2.0. It plays MPEG-4 and DivX and displays multiple image formats.

In other news, Dawn Chmielewski is joining the LA Times as a multimedia reporter. She's a good tech reporter and hopefully will raise the overall level of journalist quality there.

Someone else's Quote of the Day

By way of Leslie Bates comes:

I knew I'd been living in Berkeley too long when I saw a sign that said 'Free firewood" and my first thought was "Who was Firewood and what did he do?'

-- John Berger

Speaking of cool pulp stuff...

Philp Jose Farmer's book Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke is coming back into print.

Cool stuff...

I'm an avid reader of SciFi & pulps. So, the Expansion of Phillip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe is something I find cool.