Saturday, January 30, 2010

About (Saving) Face - Eight reasons why KSM will be tried by military commission.

It is a remarkable turn of events for Attorney General Eric Holder, who, the White House has said for months, made the decision alone and was running the show. The White House tired, far more quickly than many expected, of the AG’s bungled plan and realized that public opinion had turned decisively against the trial. Maybe the White House grew frustrated with the AG’s mistakes on national-security matters, from releasing the CIA interrogation memoranda last spring over the vociferous protests of former CIA directors who served under Presidents Bush and Clinton, to commencing a criminal investigation of CIA interrogators who had previously been informed by career prosecutors that they would not be subject to prosecution, to deciding to Mirandize the Underwear Bomber without consulting the intelligence services and charge him as a criminal defendant with all the rights of an American citizen.

U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Economic Analysis

For the curious.

Economists React: Too Soon to Declare ‘Recovery Accomplished’ - Real Time Economics - WSJ

The good news is that the recession has ended around mid-year and the economy has begun to expand during the second half of the year. Most of the sectors has contributed to economic growth during the quarter. Final sales have increased from the second quarter. The not-so-good news is that most of the growth came from temporary factors such as inventories and government stimulus which can’t be sustained. –Sung Won Sohn, Smith School of Business and Economics

And so on.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bin Laden blasts US for climate change

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has called for the world to boycott American goods and the U.S. dollar, blaming the United States and other industrialized countries for global warming, according to a new audiotape released Friday.

In the tape, broadcast in part on Al-Jazeera television, bin Laden warned of the dangers of climate change and says that the way to stop it is to bring "the wheels of the American economy" to a halt.

More proof, if we needed it, that bin Laden is a Democrat.

Charles Krauthammer - The handling of the Christmas Day bombing suspect: the scandal grows -

After 50 minutes of questioning him, the Obama administration chose, reflexively and mindlessly, to give the chatty terrorist the right to remain silent. Which he immediately did, undoubtedly denying us crucial information about al-Qaeda in Yemen, which had trained, armed and dispatched him.

We have since learned that the decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab had been made without the knowledge of or consultation with (1) the secretary of defense, (2) the secretary of homeland security, (3) the director of the FBI, (4) the director of the National Counterterrorism Center or (5) the director of national intelligence (DNI).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

White House orders Justice Department to look for other places to hold 9/11 terror trial

The White House ordered the Justice Department to consider other places to try the 9/11 terror suspects after a wave of opposition to holding the trial in lower Manhattan.

There must be a pithy saying somewhere about those who have to "learn" what passes for common sense.

Laffer: Obama's 'Train Wreck' Ahead - HUMAN EVENTS

“Whenever a country is in the throes of spending too much and raising taxes, it’s a fiscal catastrophe in the making and this is what is happening now,” he said.

The economy in the short-term this year “will continue to improve, growing by more than 4 percent. By the end of 2010 the unemployment rate could fall to as low as 7 percent and the Obama administration will be busting with pride and conceit,” Laffer told his clients in his latest economic outlook for the year ahead.

But don’t be fooled into thinking the economy is actually coming out of one of the worst recessions of the post-war era, because this year will be a false recovery, he adds. The downturn will begin again when “2011 will enter center stage, followed quickly by an economic catastrophe. All the factors that will make 2010 (and have already made the last half of 2009) look so good will reverse direction, and 2011 will be a train wreck,” he said in his forecast.

J. D. Salinger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

While he was living with Maynard, Salinger continued to write in a disciplined fashion, a few hours every morning. According to Maynard, by 1972 he had completed two new novels.[79][80] In a rare 1974 interview with The New York Times, he explained: "There is a marvelous peace in not publishing.... I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure."[81] According to Maynard, he saw publication as "a damned interruption".[82] In her memoir, Margaret Salinger describes the detailed filing system her father had for his unpublished manuscripts: "A red mark meant, if I die before I finish my work, publish this 'as is,' blue meant publish but edit first, and so on.

From Franny and Zooey Symbolism, Imagery & Allegory:

The "Fat Lady" is a story Seymour told both Franny and Zooey when they were younger. Zooey brings it up over the phone to Franny at the very end of the novel. When Zooey was a child celebrity on "It's a Wise Child," he refused to shine his shoes since he thought the people running the show didn't deserve any respect. Seymour told him to shine his shoes for the Fat Lady, and for some reason, says Zooey, it made sense. Franny chimes in that Seymour told her the same thing – to be funny for the Fat Lady – and that it made sense to her, too.

Fortunately, Zooey interprets this cryptic story for us. Take a look:

"I'll tell you a terrible secret – Are you listening to me? There isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. That includes your Professor Tupper, buddy. […] Don't you know that goddam secret yet? And don't you know – listen to me, now – don't you know who that Fat Lady really is? . . . Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy." (Zooey.8.77)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

American disapproval of Obama is on the rise -

Obama's critics on the right have been implacable in their opposition. What's new is how mad liberals are. Conservatives loathe Obama; liberals are merely disgusted with him. Here are a few headlines from liberal blogs Tuesday morning in reaction to the announcement that the president wants a freeze in non-security-related federal spending:

"It's Official: Obama Is an Idiot" (Paul Rosenberg)

"Barack Herbert Hoover Obama?" (Brad DeLong)

"Obama Liquidates Himself" (Paul Krugman)

"Obama's Self-Inflicted Lobotomy Proceeds Apace" (Jonathan Zasloff)

The rules for giving a good speech, particlarly when written by a third party, are few and easy to master. Without seeing his grades, why would anyone have thought him particularly intelligent in the first place? Still, the illusion exists among many.

White House insiders say Obama budget axes Constellation program, plan to return astronauts to the moon -

NASA's plans to return astronauts to the moon are dead. So are the rockets being designed to take them there — that is, if President Barack Obama gets his way.

When the White House releases his budget proposal Monday, there will be no money for the Constellation program that was supposed to return humans to the moon by 2020. The troubled and expensive Ares I rocket that was to replace the space shuttle to ferry humans to space will be gone, along with money for its bigger brother, the Ares V cargo rocket that was to launch the fuel and supplies needed to take humans back to the moon.

There will be no lunar landers, no moon bases, no Constellation program at all.

In their place, according to White House insiders, agency officials, industry executives and congressional sources familiar with Obama's long-awaited plans for the space agency, NASA will look at developing a new "heavy-lift" rocket that one day will take humans and robots to explore beyond low Earth orbit. But that day will be years — possibly even a decade or more — away.

In the meantime, the White House will direct NASA to concentrate on Earth-science projects — principally, researching and monitoring climate change — and on a new technology research and development program that will one day make human exploration of asteroids and the inner solar system possible.

Another "you've made your bed moment". Hey NASA, you on board with the "change"?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Problem With Big Media: Why One Tablet is Not Enough - Cringely on technology

While those are my gross margins they aren’t the gross margins at PBS or at a company that rhymes with “The New York Times.” Those outfits have overhead I don’t. They have legacy relationships and obligations I can’t even imagine. They can’t just go from there to here in an instant even if they wanted to.

Which brings us back to the iSomething to be introduced tomorrow. No matter how great it is, it can’t support the legacy infrastructure of Big Media, which includes mid-town office buildings and business lunches (hence my picture of New York’s 21 Club, if you hadn’t already figured that out).

STRATFOR'S TOP PREDICTIONS FOR THE NEXT DECADE: China Collapse, Global Labor Shortages, New American Dominance

In a broader demographic issue, all of the countries in the developed world and most of them in the developing world are aging. We're going to be seeing a lot of countries maybe not start to have their populations decline but certainly have them age and no longer grow. The core economic platform that has driven the human condition for the last millennia is that populations will continue to get larger, markets will continue to get larger, there will be more capital available. In this next decade that starts to invert. The cost of capital is going to go up, the availability of markets are going to go up, and that's ultimately a deflationary environment. It'll get worse in future decades, but this next decade is when the rules of the game start to change.

Verizon to Cut 13,000 Jobs, Posts Loss -

"The economy won't help us as much as we thought," said Chairman and Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg, adding that he doesn't see a significant improvement until the end of the year. As a result, the company plans to shed another 13,000 jobs in 2010, roughly the same amount cut in each of the past two years. The latest represents 11.1% of its total work force of 117,000.


Big Government, Big Unions - Big Government

And wealth, while a dirty word to some, is an important concept. Because private-sector unions can redistribute wealth from one private party (the company’s owners) to another (the company’s employees), one may not like a union’s political agenda but it’s tough to get too riled up about the direct role of a union (unless employees didn’t want it there in the first place).

But wealth as it relates to public-sector unions is different. We are the ones who pick up the tab, but it’s elected politicians — many of whom are helped into office by unions in the first place — that do the negotiating on wages, benefits, number of hours, etc. So public-sector unions continually drive up the cost of government by getting people elected to run the government.

VDH's Private Papers::"Let Me Be Perfectly Not Clear"

Obama could more or less say anything in mellifluous tones, and the media would become enraptured. This ability to charm by sounding honey-tongued while saying nothing started perhaps in the Ivy-League and has never ceased. Some habitual liars persist since they are never caught or even admonished. Obama is never called to account (cf. Robert Gibbs’s angry reaction to the blasphemy when asked about the C-SPAN fantasies). The most transparent administration in history hasn’t had a news conference since mid-summer, even amid the toadies (Note to media: photo-ops and interviews are not press conferences). The media and Obama have an unspoken pact that goes something like the following: “We both are educated elites who know best for the Neanderthals. So from time to time I will have to lie to you to get our shared aspirations realized; and I accept from time to time, you will have to play act as critics to cling to some sort of legitimacy that is likewise necessary for our joint aspirations.” (And then we’ll both have a beer together afterwords.)

Mary Anastasia O'Grady: Clinton for Haiti Czar? -

According to sources familiar with the issue, word has already gone out that Mr. Clinton has been unofficially designated by the multilateral aid community as the conduit through which anyone who wants to participate in the country's reconstruction will have to go. "That means," one individual told me, "if you don't have Clinton connections, you won't be in the game."

A person entrusted with this much power should have an impeccable track record. Mr. Clinton's record doesn't come close. Indeed, the last time he offered to "help" the country, he propped up a corrupt despot who proceeded to go into business with key Democrats and left the country poorer, institutionally bereft and riddled with political violence.


Fusion's contract should have been public, but the company tried to block its release from the Federal Communications Commission when I asked for it. No wonder. It revealed that Fusion had a sweetheart deal with Teleco of 12 cents a minute when the official rate was 50 cents.

The Fusion deal is interesting because the company was run by Marvin Rosen, the former finance chair of the Democratic Party. Board members included Joseph P. Kennedy II and Mr. Clinton's former chief of staff, Mack McLarty.

But if you are a Republican, your world ends by merely shuffling your feet the wrong way.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The new orkut in a nutshell - orkut blog

As more and more people are switching to the new version of orkut, we thought it would be nice to show you what's new in your new orkut homepage.

Can that possibly be true?

I had to invent a second Orkut identity so I could have someone to talk to.

They took 6 years to re-write Orkut as a native Google application, allowing it to scale, not crash all the time, etc.

I find it hard to believe they can jump-start the US market again. Maybe they aren't even trying. Maybe they are biding their time waiting for a good price on Facebook.

If I were them I'd consider relieving News Corp of MySpace, buy Classmates from whoever owns them (IAG?) Challenge Facebook by consolidating all the also-rans.

Congress Went to Denmark, You Got the Bill - CBS News

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is a key climate change player. He went to Copenhagen last year. Last week, we asked him about the $2,200-a-day bill for room and food.

"I can't believe that," Rep. Waxman said. "I can't believe it, but I don't know."

But his name is in black and white in the expense reports. The group expense report was filed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. She wouldn't talk about it when our producer tried to ask.

O'Brien and Obama and Cash For Schilling - What's News Tonight

The fate of late night smutty jokes and an occasional political jibe is now a center of interest in Washington as the WHCD invites Jay Leno to do stand-up for POTUS and his court of pundits. What do Leno and POTUS have in common? Both had creative first years in prime time and are now going back to what they know best, pitching grapefruit sized slow pitches at the audience and accepting applause.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Five Bank Failures Bring Year's Total to 9 -

Too Small to Rescue...

Regulators seized five banks in Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, lifting the total number of failures this year to nine as financial institutions struggle with loan defaults and a weak economy.

Two of the five institutions had assets of more than $1 billion. The Florida bank, in Miami, was sold to an investment group that includes former North Fork Bancorp Chief Financial Officer Dan Healy. The deposits and assets of the New Mexico bank went to Texas billionaire Andrew Beal.

A Resounding Defense of the First Amendment: ‘Congress Shall Make No Law’ - Big Journalism

Last March, our government argued in court that it has the Constitutional authority to ban books that mention a candidate for federal office. The government later retracted that statement, but is there any doubt that such a statement never would have been made if there had not been 100 years of progressively more intrusive restrictions on political speech preceding it? Had the Court not acted, what was to prevent the government from asserting that authority over the internet, which does not have the benefit of two centuries of tradition and jurisprudence protecting it? / Americas - Haiti aid agency accused of rivalry tactics

In an editorial published on its website on Friday, The Lancet said the situation in Haiti remained “chaotic, devastating and anything but co-ordinated”. It accused agencies of “jostling for position” and needless competition for funds.

“Polluted by the internal power politics and the unsavoury characteristics seen in many big corporations, large aid agencies can be obsessed with raising money through their own appeal efforts,” The Lancet wrote.

Obama has suspicious number of letter-writing fans named 'Ellie Light' | OPEN: Ohio Politics -

The comments are great:

I know some of you think that Obama has hired PR people that get online and hit the comments section of all the big news sites with articles about him. Sure, I thought I noticed this too starting in about August of 2008. Suddenly and mysteriously, most of the articles linked by the Drudge Report started getting pro-Obama comments that pretty much regurgitated his campaign lingo. Well, that's when I looked into them and found that they weren't paid PR professionals, but rather, simple local folk that all like to be called Ellie Light. Well, I was so inspired by this grass-roots effort that I too became involved. And I would've posted my pro-Obama comments right up there next to Ellie's if I could have had my way.

Unfortunately, I've fallen upon hard times. Rather than being able to buy a new house every week like Ellie Light, I lost my job. And despite the stimulus, I also lost my house and had to move into a low-rent district. It's not all bad though, because my healthcare coverage on Medicaid is amazing. I'm also eating better than I ever have before now that I have food stamps. That 13oz box of sugary cereal that costs $6 in the supermarket? No problem -- I buy a dozen of them now every week! I'm also looking forward to a hefty tax rebate this year, which is amazing since I didn't have any taxes withheld last year. You think I'm kidding? LOL, the jokes on you!

Don't worry about me because I'm doing great. I'm looking forward to receiving one of those nice-paying government jobs that have recently become so plentiful. And if I don't land one this time around, I'm sure to be first in line when my man Obama socializes another private industry. I'm really still deciding whether I want a government job in the automotive industry, the healthcare industry, the banking industry, or if I want to wait for one on Wall Street. My man Obama is gonna get me some of that... wait and see.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Update: Upset in Top 10 New Web Sites as Tribune Newspapers Leapfrog 'N.Y. Times'

Even AoL beat them!

Step One: Admit You Have a Problem

To almost everyone but Congress, the scope of our nation’s budget problems were obvious for quite a while. It’s not just the cost of the bailout and the stimulus. We all know how we got here. Back in the halcyon days of the surplus and booming economic growth (remember those?), the President and Congress lived too hard: bloated farm and highway bills, a new prescription drug benefit, and off-budget wars.

We’re looking at a $1.5 trillion budget deficit in 2010 on top of a nearly $1.6 trillion deficit from last year. Deficits over the next ten years total $9 trillion. That’s more than the entire debt accumulated in our nation's history through 2007.

80% of government Web sites miss DNS security deadline - Network World

Most U.S. federal agencies -- including the Department of Homeland Security -- have failed to comply with a Dec. 31, 2009, deadline to deploy new authentication mechanisms on their Web sites that would prevent hackers from hijacking Web traffic and redirecting it to bogus sites.

Same as it ever was.

Peggy Noonan: The New Political Rumbling -

He said he thought the president "inherited a lot of problems," that "he's doing a great job with North Korea, a nice job with Afghanistan." A centerpiece of Mr. Brown's campaign was opposition to the president's health-care plan, but he stressed that he opposes high spending wherever it comes from. "I've criticized President Bush for his failure to use his veto pen. There's plenty of blame to go around. The question is how solve problems. It's not bailouts. What made America great? Free markets, free enterprise, manufacturing, job creation. That's how we're gonna do it, not by enlarging government."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

UN climate chief admits mistake on Himalayan glaciers warning - Times Online

The 2007 report, which won the panel the Nobel Peace Prize, said that the probability of Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high”. It caused shock in Asia, where about two billion people depend on meltwater from Himalayan glaciers for their fresh water supplies during the dry seasons.

It emerged last week that the prediction was based not on a consensus among climate change experts but on a media interview with a single Indian glaciologist in 1999. That scientist, Syed Hasnain, has now told The Times that he never made such a specific forecast in his interview with the New Scientist magazine.

So, Blodget, What Do You Think Of This Paywall Decision By The New York Times?

3) Do you think the NYT will be successful developing a system for making those payments that will be seamless enough to get over the psychological hurdle of readers in paying for their news?

No. I think the paywall will be incredibly annoying. They always are, even for those who are happy to subscribe. The NYT's online subscriber base will be print subscribers who get online for a discount and also rabid online readers who can't imagine life without it. Everyone else will just shake their fist at the screen and curse Arthur Sulzberger whenever they run through their allotted pages--and then go read something else.

VDH's Private Papers::Why the Great and Growing Backlash?

Voters went for the hope-and-change Obama in part because he promised fiscal sobriety after the Bush $500 billion deficit. Instead, in utterly cynical fashion, Obama trumped that red ink four times over. In the process, he developed a terrible habit of promising favored constituencies a hundred billion here, a hundred billion there as if it were all paper money — rather than real borrowed currency that will have to be confiscated in the future from the beleaguered taxpayer. It only makes it worse that the more the administration borrowed, printed, and spent, the higher unemployment rose and the lower economic activity plummeted.

Most have had enough of pie-in-the-sky talk of massive new healthcare entitlements, cap-and-trade taxes and regulation, more stimulus, and more takeovers of private enterprise. The country is broke and the people want to pay off, not incur more, crushing debt. What got us into the mess was too much borrowing, skyrocketing debt, and reckless spending — not too many balanced budgets and too much lean government.

YouTube - Hitler Finds Out Scott Brown Won Massachusetts Senate Seat


We are the ones we've been waiting for.
Now we know why Obama won't release his school records. Bush got C's, Obama probably failed lunch!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

6.1 Fault - What's News Tonight

News that a 6.1 aftershock struck Haiti at 630 am on Wednesday 20, 35 miles north of the city and 6 miles below the surface (shallow), is consistent with the report from Russell Seitz, Harvard Physics, that the Caribbean Plate is a most active region moving east while the North American Plate, where we stand in NY, moves west. The whole region is at risk routinely to shocks. The crime is to build a city without rebar, without the routine information as to how to build for quakes. Spoke Bret Stephens Tuesday 19, and he made the argument that the $100 million of World Bank aid flowing to Haiti recently was wasted on what? Where are the earthquake proof buildings and codes? The US Embassy remains sound because it as constructed to withstand earthquakes and assaults. It has rebar. Who is responsible at the World Bank, at the IMF, at the UN, for permitting construction in Port Au Prince that did not anticipate major quakes? These people, these teams and review panels, are guilty of extreme negligence and a kind of institutional malpractice that resembles the Inquisition, or eugenics. Plate Tectonics was a new theory in 1966. It is an established piece of urban planning in 2010. There is no excuse. Crime of the state. Rene Preval must answer. The UN's Ban Ki Moon must answer.

Republicans Win Their Seat At The Table – They Should Bring C-Span With Them - Big Government

Rethinking Bush: After the MSM’s Relentless Assault, the President Still Stands Proud - Big Journalism

The basis of the Bush attack machine was crass political opportunism mixed with revenge, and Bush’s greatest shortcoming was that he rejected defending himself and instead committed himself to doing what he thought was in the best interests of the country. I always believed in the man’s sincerity, whether I agreed with him or not. No amount of Goebbels-like rants from the media could persuade me that George W. Bush wasn’t a decent man. And my perpetual defense of him was and is less a defense of his policies — many of which, including his wartime leadership, I completely supported — but as protective mechanism against the inordinately rigged political and media systems, the Democrat Media Complex, as I have long called it.

America Betrayed President Bush - Big Government

Except for a June 17 speech in Erie, Pennsylvania in which Bush defended his policies and criticized Obama’s, the former president has been remarkably silent about his successor. He has not fired back at Obama despite the new administration inappropriately blaming Bush for all of their failures.

One year after taking office however, Obama has done a total reversal on his isolationist, non-interventionist foreign policy, and is now pushing President Bush’s neo-conservative philosophy as a justification for starting a new war in Afghanistan. What the Democratic Party once criticized as an over-simplified good vs. evil argument has become the cornerstone of Obama’s reasoning.

“Evil does exist in the world,” Obama recently admitted. “A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of man.”

In the wake of this stunning adoption of the Bush foreign policy doctrine, there is little, if any dissent. The same people who crucified Bush for liberating Iraq are hardly criticizing Obama for using force to promote democracy in Afghanistan.

Dazed Democrats rethink entire strategy - Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen -

They are in denial no more: If Democrats can lose in Massachusetts, they can lose anywhere. That is the mind-set that will shape the next nine months for Democrats. It will affect who runs for reelection, who bolts on big votes, who gives money and who speaks out against Obama. All of this will make governing harder.

Why the Great and Growing Backlash? by Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online


Elite liberals are not good class warriors. Factor in multi-millionaire Nancy Pelosi’s government mega-jet or Barack Obama’s various overseas junkets or the big Wall Street money that went into Obama’s near billion-dollar campaign coffers, and it is hard to take seriously Obama’s constant war against “them.” The voters have figured out that their president likes the elite plutocracy and the lower middle classes, but not so much the wannabe rich who aspire to cross his hated $250,000 income threshold — at which point suddenly they become unpatriotic, unwilling to pay their fair shares, and reluctant to spread the wealth around.

It is not particularly smart to constantly demonize the entrepreneurial classes, promise to raise income, payroll, health-care, and inheritance taxes on them, and expand government regulations — and then wonder why they are not creating more jobs.

Amazon Fires Missile At Book Industry, Launches 70% Kindle Royalty Option

Under this option, Amazon will pay authors and publishers a royalty of 70% of the list price of Kindle books, which is a far higher per-copy royalty than most authors receive on physical book sales (including the standard Kindle book royalties).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Coakley’s Eleventh-Hour Slanders by Daniel Foster on National Review Online

But if Coakley’s advertisements reveal a penchant for misrepresentation, they are also indicative of the campaign’s broader tendency toward gaffes and indiscretions. An early version of the attack ad in question misspelled “Massachusetts.” A later ad accusing Brown of complicity in Wall Street’s “greed” and “corruption” superimposed that charge over an image of the World Trade Center.

Taken as a whole, the tenor of the eleventh-hour attacks on Brown reveals a punch-drunk campaign and a candidate who never expected a fight. And so, in place of a good-faith effort by Coakley to make her case to the voters of Massachusetts, we instead see a mélange of slanders — largely underwritten by the party establishment in Washington — from a campaign holding fast to the hope that even the most mendacious of assaults need only seem to be true until Tuesday.

CPAN Testers at MSNBOT must die!

If you've suffered any problems accessing any of the sites, the databases, the CPAN mirror, etc from the CPAN Testers server last night, please direct your wrath at Microsoft. Last night the msnbot took out the CPAN Testers server with a dedicated denial of service attack. As a consequence measures are now being put in place to completely ban the msnbot from accessing at least the Reports site, and probably all the sites on the server.

Microsoft in their incompetent wisdom decided to unleash 20-30 bots every few seconds. I know this because I can see the IP addresses in the logs.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I must be cranky about Commies tonight… | The Real Revo

Subverting a nation shouldn’t be so damned easy. Reagan and Goldwater correctly emphasized the impermanence of freedom as we know it when they said, in so many words, that freedom is a debt we pay forward, that only one lost generation can spell the end. For understanding this we’ve been looked at by many as a bit conspiratorial. If only they had seen videos like this when they were still young.

Growing Support for Smaller Government | Cato @ Liberty

In fact, Rasmussen has continued to ask just that question, and found a month ago that voters preferred “smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes” by a margin of 66 to 22 percent. That’s a larger margin for the alternative wording than I had previously estimated. I know some people are skeptical of Rasmussen’s polling. (A Republican consulting firm recently found results very similar to the Rasmussen poll.) So I invite Gallup, Harris, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other pollsters to ask this more balanced question and see what results they get.

FCC Flooded with Comments Opposing Internet Regulation But Left Claims Victory Anyway - Big Government

The Federal Communications Commission asked the public to submit comments on its plan to implement so-called net neutrality regulations that would allow government bureaucrats to tinker with the Internet. The vaunted NetRoots expected to carry the day so much that they simply ignored the facts, claimed victory, and showed themselves to be fools.

It is still hard to understand why we need to regulate something that has been the most successful economic, informational and organizational tool of the past two decades. But no matter. On Thursday, the FCC’s comment period closed and the verdict is in. Limited government and free market activists crushed big government fans on the Left.

Google Goes to ext4

Google is currently in the middle of upgrading from ext2 to a more up to date file system. We ended up choosing ext4. This thread touches upon many of the issues we wrestled with, so I thought it would be interesting to share. We should be sending out more details soon.

Friday, January 15, 2010

'The Grid' Could Soon Make the Internet Obsolete - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News -

The power of the grid will become apparent this summer after what scientists at Cern have termed their “red button” day - the switching-on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the new particle accelerator built to probe the origin of the universe. The grid will be activated at the same time to capture the data it generates.


We'll have this fantastically fast network for 3 seconds and then all disappear into a black hole.

AP Exclusive: Network flaw causes scary Web error

Several security experts said they had not heard of a case like this, in which the wrong person was shown a Web page whose user name and password had been entered by someone else. It's not clear whether such episodes are rare or simply not reported. But experts said such flaws could occur on e-mail services, for instance, and that something similar could happen on a PC, not just a phone.

All examples given are from AT&T users, and the company says it's working on the problem. I'm having trouble seeing how it could happen on a secured connection to a PC. What the cell networks do with Internet data is another matter.

Apple Cofounder Confesses: He Loves the Google Phone | NBC Bay Area

Wozniak made his latest revelation with a coy laugh and without actually speaking the Google device's name. Instead, when asked what his favorite gadget is, Wozniak said, "Well, it's the latest one. It's a non-Apple product, but it's a gadget that just came out yesterday."

There was no mistaking which gadget the former "Dancing With the Stars" contestant was referring to -- when he said it, the Nexus One was just one day old.

Is Apple Making The Same Mistake All Over Again?

Interesting that most are predicting that number one and two (Apple and Google) in the market will be companies that are not primarily in the phone business at all.

You would think that the other companies, for whom phones are a specialty would have more resilience than that.

But maybe that's the problem... in a paradigm shift for the phone business those closest to it can't cope with the change fast enough.

Also of note: of the two non-phone companies, Apple and Google, their businesses are completely different (or have been). Until iTunes, Apple was almost exclusively a hardware company. What if the iPhone became a bottleneck for the iTunes business? Apple was probably wise to allow iPods and iTunes to exist in non-Apple households. Would iTunes or the iPods have been a success at all if they only worked with Apple computers? I think not.

Has Apple mapped out this strategy in advance, or have they simply re-factored their business around which things worked out?

I think it will be hard for anyone, including Apple to predict where they will end up in even five years. They could end up with such popular hardware that they allow it to be re-branded (to some extent) by the carriers, or even Google if Android totally flops. Or, and I think more likely, as smartphones go through the inevitable comoditization phase, they could lose interest in the hardware aspect completely and focus on software, or more importantly, content.

I'm fairly sure that Google's interest is not in making a splash in the cell phone industry. Instead they provide a platform that both users and developers can flee to if the alternatives become too restrictive. The mere existence of an open platform that is supported by a rich company gives the Apples, RIMMs and Nokias of this world pause in just how far they can go to "own" the market. Android may well succeed or fail based on the extent to which its competitors "behave" themselves. Both outcomes are good for Google, and users.

Phil Angelides Puts Bankers on Trial -

We'll admit we don't have much hope for any inquiry led by Mr. Angelides, who is about as partisan a chairman as one can imagine. As California treasurer and board member at Calpers, the giant pension fund for state employees, Mr. Angelides led the movement to invest to advance political goals. He pushed Calpers to invest in "environmentally screened" funds and helped pressure companies like Safeway and countries like the Philippines to embrace union labor. While at Calpers, he was dogged by questions about investment funds managing Calpers cash whose executives coincidentally were backers of his political campaigns.

Stephen Moore: ObamaCare vs. Marriage -

Take two low-wage workers who are considering marriage. In 2016, if each has an income $11,800, they would each have to pay $248 as singles for government-approved health insurance. Married, their joint income climbs to $23,600 and they would have to pay $1,109 -- a ding of more than $600 annually.

Middle-class workers could get hit even harder. According to the Congressional Budget Office, a single individual earning $35,400 -- three times the poverty rate -- would be obligated to pay $3,611 for mandatory health insurance. But two such individuals, if married, would lose their eligibility for government subsidies and their mandatory health insurance payments would rise to $13,100 -- a whopping $5,878 annual marriage penalty.

Martha Coakley's Convictions -

What does this say about her candidacy? (Ms. Coakley declined to be interviewed.) If the current attorney general of Massachusetts actually believes, as no serious citizen does, the preposterous charges that caused the Amiraults to be thrown into prison—the butcher knife rape with no blood, the public tree-tying episode, the mutilated squirrel and the rest—that is powerful testimony to the mind and capacities of this aspirant to a Senate seat. It is little short of wonderful to hear now of Ms. Coakley's concern for the rights of terror suspects at Guantanamo—her urgent call for the protection of the right to the presumption of innocence.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


This kind of weakness, on which criminal regimes like Iran’s thrive, is just the kind of impotence which liberal governments display. From Munich to today, leaders have found it difficult to wage war against those who threaten world peace or even to impose serious sanctions against them. The argument is always the same: It will hurt ordinary people.

Well, so will atomic bombs.

IE Exploit Used to Launch Chinese Attacks on Google - PC World Business Center

Early speculation focused on the Abobe Reader zero-day exploit as the source of the Chinese attacks on Google and other corporations earlier this week, but Adobe may be off the hook--or at least share the blame. Microsoft has determined that an unknown flaw in Internet Explorer was one of the holes used to launch the attacks which have led to Google threatening to shut down its Chinese operations.

The truth outs.

Early reports (notably WashPo) didn't mention Windows, Office, Microsoft or any Microsoft product, but instead hypothesized Adobe, or some other un-named software was at fault.

After all what platform is involved 99.99% of the time, even if the bug was in Acrobat... it usually takes a Windows base to actually activate the malware?

Obama's Secret Vault - HUMAN EVENTS

Many in the conservative world have accused Obama of extending Interpol's legal exemptions for the purpose of empowering a global police force, but I believe there's a much closer goal and strategic reason he gave this presidential edict. And it dawned on me when I read seven words said by Interpol spokeswoman Rachel Billington, who explained to The New York Times the applicable location of the president's executive order: "It's only for the New York office."

"Only for the New York office"? Mm.

Maybe they're going to store his birth certificate there.

Google China cyberattack part of vast espionage campaign, experts say -

At least 34 companies -- including Yahoo, Symantec, Adobe, Northrop Grumman and Dow Chemical -- were attacked, according to congressional and industry sources. Google, which disclosed on Tuesday that hackers had penetrated the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights advocates in the United States, Europe and China, threatened to shutter its operations in the country as a result.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The John Batchelor Show :: Greenhouse Freeze - De-Brief

Nancy Pelosi at the Detroit Auto show, surrounded by Methusaleh's squash partners, makes statements that are uninformed by the recent facts of greenhouse gases and the Obama administration. Mr. Pelosi rammed through the House a cap and trade bill last spring that is unacceptable to the U.S. Senate on an election year. The Obama administration, frustrated and hasty, used the EPA to issue a judgement that greenhouse gases can be controlled by mandates under the Clean Air Act. (Despite the fact that most of greenhouse gases are water vapor).

Google Has Played The China Situation Brilliantly

Google made the right decision to build a business in China a few years ago. And it's making the right decision now, by threatening to pull out of the country if China doesn't relax its censorship demands.

Google's decision to make a big public threat now, when it controls 15%-20% of China's search market and is known to most Chinese Internet users, will put far more pressure on the Chinese government to relax its policies than a boycott of the country five years ago would have.

Official Gmail Blog: Default https access for Gmail

In 2008, we rolled out the option to always use https — encrypting your mail as it travels between your web browser and our servers. Using https helps protect data from being snooped by third parties, such as in public wifi hotspots. We initially left the choice of using it up to you because there's a downside: https can make your mail slower since encrypted data doesn't travel across the web as quickly as unencrypted data. Over the last few months, we've been researching the security/latency tradeoff and decided that turning https on for everyone was the right thing to do.

Good work.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prodigy Chief Created Online Services -

After selling and manufacturing some of the first business computers, Theodore Papes helped create one of the earliest online services for consumers.

Mr. Papes, who died Jan. 8 at the age of 81, led the development of Prodigy Services Co., a digital enterprise that provided online news, email, shopping and other services years before the World Wide Web.

A joint venture of International Business Machines Corp. and Sears Roebuck & Co., Prodigy was meant to introduce online services to a mass audience. Founded in 1984 and rolled out regionally starting in 1988, Prodigy caught on with the help of intensive marketing. In 1991, it passed the million-subscriber mark. But not long after, it began to flag in the face of competition from rivals such as America Online.

Detroit in RUINS! (Crowder goes Ghetto)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Congressional Trip Costs Taxpayers - CBS News

Senator Inhofe (R-OK) is one of the few who provided us any detail. He attended the summit on his own for just a few hours, to give an "opposing view."

"They're going because it's the biggest party of the year," Sen. Inhofe said. "The worst thing that happened there is they ran out of caviar."

Our investigation found that the congressional delegation was so large, it needed three military jets: two 737's and a Gulfstream Five -- up to 64 passengers -- traveling in luxurious comfort.

Bellamy: Twenty-Eight Years on TV, Then Blackballed for Challenging AGW (PJM Exclusive)

I also was invited to become trustee, president, vice president, or patron of over 30 organizations, including: WWF, Wildlife Trusts, YHA, Population Concern, Marine Conservation Society, Coral Cay Conservation, Galapagos Conservation Trust, Plantlife, and BTCV. I was also bestowed with media and conservation awards from around the world, including the Dutch Order of the Golden Ark, BAFTA’s Richard Dimbleby Award, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for Underwater Research.

Then the global warming rot set in.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Power Line - Why Are Jews Liberals? Part Two

I didn't quote anything on this blog entry because... there is nothing to quote. Unless you want to count a bad link to where there is apparently a book by that same name.

Nothing like stretching a point to meet your quota of blog entries.

Just do what I do, If you have nothing to add, quote a paragraph from someone who does have something to say and just leave it at that.

Bottom line for me (and I haven't read the referenced book) is that Jews practicing Judaism is NOT a precedent set by the Old Testament as so many insist on assuming.

Try reading THOSE books, as they are actually mostly about Jews NOT practicing their avowed faith, and the consequences that followed.

Now the only question that poses itself in my mind is: what was that quote about people trying things that have failed in the past and expecting to get different results? I think those are the grounds we are treading over for the umpteenth time.

Rest assured that the scores will be settled on a case by case basis, and not necessarily here on earth.

Power Line - Race and Racism: What's the Connection?

To be sure,Reid's comments assume that certain racial characteristics matter to some voters, but that's probably a fair assumption. Would it be sexist for a political pro to say that Sarah Palin is attractive and speaks with whatever that accent is that she speaks with? I don't think so.

I agree with John, however, that there's a scam being played out here, and at several levels. At the first level, conduct that isn't really racist is sucked into that category. This increases the reach of political correctness and the ability of the likes of President Obama and Jesse Jackson to pass judgment on whites who aren't sufficiently careful. At the second level, the useful liberal is absolved of "racism," where the conservative would not be.

Friday, January 08, 2010

More Christmas Bombing Fallout: Hillary’s Visa Problem - Big Government

Secretary Clinton joined Janet Napolitano in glossing over the facts surrounding the Christmas Day attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253. Not to be outdone that all went well with her agency while the boss was on vacation, Secretary Clinton said that the State Department “fully complied with the requirements set forth in the interagency process” about sharing threat information.

Brain Games & Brain Training - Lumosity

Brain Games & Brain Training - Lumosity

I, Cringely - Predict Me, I’m from the Government - Cringely on technology

This column is about homeland security, which is something our government isn’t very good at and I predict won’t get any better at this year because of a systemic inability to do correctly even the most basic things to protect our society, our privacy, and our way of life.

President Obama this week proposed some changes in how homeland security is managed following that Christmas Eve attempt to explode an airliner as it was landing in Detroit. These changes are minimal but I doubt they’ll even be implemented because this is a system that inevitably reverts to little fiefdoms run by idiots.

This is a great article that doesn't pull any punches. I wish there was more like this in the mainstream media.

I'm also glad that Bobo presented the case for it not being entirely a government issue. Yes, indeed, even small organizations, particularly family owned businesses can have their own little fiefdoms. BUT...

At least with small private companies a significant inefficiency in the way they operate can and often does lead to them going out of business. Private enterprise, especially at the small scale end of things can and does benefit from Darwinian principles.

I HAVE worked for government, and private industry, and for companies small, large, and in-between. Size DOES matter in an organizations ability to focus on what's important. But funding matters too. You COULD argue that to fix government's problems all you have to do is break the work up into smaller fiefdoms. But they've already done that. Each group within the federal government gets more money to spend every year than they did the year before. Performance doesn't enter into the equation. They don't even have ways to measure performance in place. Oh, they send people to ISO 9000 or CMM training on a regular basis, and they often DO try and hold vendors to these standards, but with the possible exception of government sponsored building of aircraft, tanks or ships, where mistakes can lead to death pretty quickly, there is little respect for "process" let alone "process improvement".

By the way a lot of the criticisms of government do not apply nearly so much at the local level. In these environments you often know by their first name the people responsible for your water mains, road repair, and so on. It's in large cities, county, state and especially federal system that you not only don't know who is responsible, you are in fact blocked at every attempt to find out.

Until (or if) the American people realize that the problems we see in big government are not only hard to fix, but probably impossible to fix without a radical change in the way things are done are we likely to see any improvement.

So, why Bob, do so many mainstream journalists who SHOULD be aware of these issues, always support, openly or secretly, the candidate that promise more big government solutions to things? Granted, our choices lately have been between more and WAY more, but I've yet to hear a good excuse for full speed ahead other than the hope that such growth will make the system collapse sooner so we can start over. I'm pretty sure it's not going to work out that way. But I'm at a loss as to why those who should know better vote the way they do and encourage their readers to do likewise.

In the mean time I have my "told you sos" ready for the FCCs foray into packet sniffing, government doctors making no-charge house calls and all the other pie in the sky things we have been promised. My main hope is that I die of old age before my savings account gets confiscated (formally or otherwise). I'm not too confident about that one.

Charles Krauthammer - Obama's Guantanamo obsession -

On Wednesday, Nigerian would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was indicted by a Michigan grand jury for attempted murder and sundry other criminal charges. The previous day, the State Department announced that his visa had been revoked. The system worked.

Well, it did for Abdulmutallab. What he lost in flying privileges he gained in Miranda rights. He was singing quite freely when seized after trying to bring down Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit. But the Obama administration decided to give him a lawyer and the right to remain silent. We are now forced to purchase information from this attempted terrorist in the coin of leniency. Absurdly, Abdulmutallab is now in control.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Big Journalism

First it was Big Hollywood, then it was Big Government, now, coming to a screen near you it's...


More to come.

C-SPAN CEO: White House Has Allowed Only ‘One Hour’ of Health Care Coverage

The John Batchelor Show :: Pencil-Push White House - De-Brief

Spoke Wednesday 6 to Larry Johnson, No Quarter, re John Brennan of the NSS and the clumsiness of the Obama White House this last week since Flight 253. Larry Johnson's opinion of the Brennan is that he is a run-of-the-mill "pencil-pusher" who served two decades in the CIA without distinction, and whose tour as head of station in Saudia Arabia was dismal. Brennan was in place in 2001 as George Tennant's chief-of-staff, and so he is part of the failure of the first Al Q attack. He inserted himself in the Obama administration with officious conduct during the inauguration; and he is now the commander-in-chief of homeland paranoia at the White House, the man called "John" by POTUS. John Bolton told me Tuesday 5 that John Brennan has his own problems, that his statement that the Obama team security was good for all other days, just not Christmas, was a way of saying, "It was good enough for government work."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Frozen Gore!

He's back with a vengeance in 2010,
this time blowin' more smoke then before!
"Smokin' and Frozen Al Gore!" - January, 2010 - Fairbanks, Alaska

American Thinker: Happy States

According to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control, the five happiest states in the nation are Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona. Analyzing the data in the December 17, 2009 issue of Science, Professors Andrew J. Oswald and Stephen Wu concluded that these states offer a higher level of "life satisfaction." This is scientist-talk for saying that people are happier in places with abundant sunshine, less congestion, and lower taxes and living costs. Those of us who reside in one of the aforementioned states know this to be true, but I believe that another factor plays a crucial role.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ice Politics - What's News Tonight

The US is suffering a continental wide cold snap. Climatatgate scientists have retreated to ice caves to lawyer up and survive the investigations. Winter weather threatens livestock and people across the Northern Temperate Zone. The UN has fallen silent. And more than a few skeptics have come out of their hiding places to publish chilling chronicles of the abuse of science and data these last years, such as the former head of the National Hurricane Center. Frank reminds that the chief greenhouse gas is water vapor, that CO2 is only a small component of the greenhouse effect.

Comedy Of Errors: Cameras Didn't Work At Newark -

That's right – they weren't even recording, sources said, and needed a reboot, which the agency apparently didn't ask for. That set off a chain reaction of even more missteps that caused needless chaos and inconvenience for several thousand hapless passengers.

Let's see. I wonder what commonly used small computer operating system might have been involved?

Comedy Of Errors: Cameras Didn't Work At Newark -

The mistakes made at the airport give new meaning to the term "domino effect." It was a cascading series of missteps that cry out for action.

The sign at the Transportation Security Administration screening post at Newark read: "Premises Under Constant Video Surveillance."

What is should add is: "If We're Lucky."

Google Public Policy Blog: Our proposal to build and operate a white spaces database

Why are we offering to do this? We continue to be big believers in the potential for this spectrum to revolutionize wireless broadband, and we think it's important for us to step forward and offer our assistance to make that vision a reality. Since launching the White Spaces Database Group last February, we've been working with other stakeholders to exchange ideas and perspectives on how to best operate a working database, and we believe we're in a strong position to build and successfully manage one. - C-SPAN Challenges Congress to Open Health Care Talks to TV Coverage

The head of C-SPAN has implored Congress to open up the last leg of health care reform negotiations to the public, as top Democrats lay plans to hash out the final product among themselves.


Heather Mac Donald: A Crime Theory Demolished -

The recession of 2008-09 has undercut one of the most destructive social theories that came out of the 1960s: the idea that the root cause of crime lies in income inequality and social injustice. As the economy started shedding jobs in 2008, criminologists and pundits predicted that crime would shoot up, since poverty, as the "root causes" theory holds, begets criminals. Instead, the opposite happened. Over seven million lost jobs later, crime has plummeted to its lowest level since the early 1960s. The consequences of this drop for how we think about social order are significant.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The John Batchelor Show :: Goat Offering - De-Brief

Surly, prepped, obtuse, defensive, appartchik John Brennan, White House Homeland liason, offers his entry for the George R. Tennant Memorial 9-11 Excuse Making Sweepstake. Displaying banker-like virile certainty, Brennan asserts that the Homeland defense worked "every other day," in 2009, just not on a major holiday over Detroit. Brennan does not mention Major Nidal Hassan. Brennan does not mention New-Mexico-born imam Anwar al-Awlaki. Brennan does not mention the six Yemenis who were returned to their native habitat from GITMO a week before Flight 253. Qualification for big cheese in national security is that you know how to make excuses and growl.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Bronte Capital: A dark privatised social security story: Astarra, the missing money and how examining a fund manager owned by Joe Biden’s family led to substantial regulatory action in Australia

The link to Paradigm Global was what raised my eyebrows. Paradigm is an asset manager (for funds of hedge funds) owned by Hunter Biden and James Biden. These are the Vice President’s son and brother respectively. I have written about Paradigm extensively before as it has an unfortunate habit of being associated with scams. Absolute Alpha was not difficult to do due diligence on. It took me only 40 minutes to work out that they were needing very close scrutiny. It does not speak well to the due-diligence of a fund of hedge funds (which is what Paradigm claims to be) that they keep being associated with cases like this.

The Biden connection was what prompted me to look at Absolute Alpha and hence what led me to write my “Markopolos letter” to ASIC and hence what rapidly led to the closure of Astarra and Trio. It is worth asking how deep that connection is.

This could get quite interesting.

POTUS Discovers "War on a Far-Reaching Network of Violence and Hatred" (WFNVH) - What's News Tonight

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Joke’s on Us by Mark Steyn on National Review Online

On Christmas Day, a gentleman from Nigeria succeeded (effortlessly) in boarding a flight to Detroit with a bomb in his underwear. Pretty funny, huh?

But the Pantybomber wasn’t the big joke. The real laugh was the United States government. The global hyperpower spent the next week making itself a laughingstock to the entire planet. First, the bureaucrats at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) swung into action with a whole new range of restrictions.

Against radical Yemen-trained Muslims wearing weaponized briefs? Of course not. That would be too obvious. So instead they imposed a slew of constraints against you. At Heathrow last week, they were permitting only one item of carry-on on U.S. flights. In Toronto, no large purses.

Media blunders of 2009 - Michael Calderone -

Hide The Decline - Climategate

Friday, January 01, 2010

FOX -Time Warner Spat Shows Why The Death Of TV Can't Come Soon Enough

The current TV distribution business is a dinosaur. Sometime in the next decade or so, it will die the same painful death that has befallen so many newspapers. Instead of paying through the nose for 500 channels they never watch, TV consumers will be able to watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it, and they'll pay a lot less for this privilege. For most of them, this day can't come soon enough.

Charles Krauthammer - A terrorist war Obama has denied -

This is all quite mad even in Obama's terms. He sends 30,000 troops to fight terror overseas, yet if any terrorists come to attack us here, they are magically transformed from enemy into defendant.

The logic is perverse. If we find Abdulmutallab in an al-Qaeda training camp in Yemen, where he is merely preparing for a terror attack, we snuff him out with a Predator -- no judge, no jury, no qualms. But if we catch him in the United States in the very act of mass murder, he instantly acquires protection not just from execution by drone but even from interrogation.

Whose Fault Is It? by Mona Charen on National Review Online

President Obama is not wholly responsible for the pathetic incompetence of the security agencies. But their “catastrophic” (his word) failure to perform the minimum functions assigned to them should give him pause. More than most Americans, even more than most Democrats, the president is in thrall to the illusion of a skilled, paternalistic government, able to handle the fortunes of car companies, the proper running of banks and insurance companies, the more equitable and cost-effective delivery of health care, and the exact calibration of the world’s climate. Could the new New Deal just get airplane safety right first?

Happy New Year!

We’ve Forgotten How the Soviets Brutalized Afghanistan | The New Ledger

No one will ever know how many Afghans the Soviet bombs, bayonets, and butterfly mines killed, but most estimates vary between one to two million. As a percentage of Afghanistan’s pre-war population, the higher estimate compares to the mortality the Soviet Union itself suffered during World War II. Soviet “tactics” successfully depopulated large parts of the country. U.N. Special Rapporteur Felix Ermacora concluded that this was a matter of deliberate Soviet policy and called it “migratory genocide.” The Soviets used chemical weapons, destroyed villages and irrigation systems, carpet-combed whole sections of the cities of Herat and Kandahar, and seeded the country with millions of land mines, some of them disguised as toys. Soviet mines are still killing and maiming people to this day, and large areas of arable land are still out of production because of them. Much of the challenge we face in Afghanistan today lies in undoing the reversible portions of the horror wrought by the Soviets — a horror that Mikhail Gorbachev initially escalated and eventually abandoned. New restrictions on our own rules of engagement in Afghanistan reflect Afghans’ enduring resentment the Soviet terror-bombing campaign.