June 21, 2006

Long Ass Battle Of The Movie Assassins Update

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In the closest voting ever, La Femme Nikita has beaten Beatrix Kiddo to advance to the final round.

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Her opponent: Jason Bourne. Let the final round begin.

Previous updates can be found here, here, and here.

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Useless June 21 Blogging

Dang, this was a long day.

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What... The... FUCK?!

This has got to be a muhfukkin joke right?

Saudis Offered Scholarships for Aviation Courses in US

JEDDAH, 20 June 2006 — The Ministry of Higher Education and the General Authority of Civil Aviation are offering scholarships to Saudi men and women to study various majors related to civil aviation in the United States.

The forms are available online at the ministry’s website until July 12 for both bachelor’s and post-graduate studies. Nominations will be announced on July 31. Interviews will take place in August and final scholarship winners will be announced on Sept. 2.

The scholarships are available in majors such as communications, electrical and computer engineering, computer science, systems analysis, air traffic control, flight safety, and other majors related to the airline transport industry.

Applicants for the bachelor’s program must have a minimum score of 85 percent in the science section and 90 percent in other sections, such as Qur’an memorizing, administrative and commercial sciences. [emphases mine]

I say again: WHUT THE FUCK?!

Oh, I guess I shouldn't be xenophobic. Because Saudi universities are so well known for their pro-western curriculum. Student visas for everybody!

hat tip: Free Thoughts.

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Followup Question

Very interesting discussion going on in the comments section of my poll on Hillary vs. Rudy for New York's electoral votes. You didn't disappoint me.

I think Rudy wins New York, running against Hillary. But it would be a squeaker.

Now let's throw a monkey wrench into the debate.

New York is 31 electoral votes. Assume Rudy gets the nomination, and wins New York. Look at this map of the '04 results. I say Rudy also wins "barely Kerry" Pennsylvania and New Jersey too. That's a 67 point switch!

I've never heard of a Republican "northern strategy," but with sixty seven points, Rudy could lose most of the Southern states and still come out ahead. (I also believe Rudy could win Florida, which was "weak Bush" last time only because of the northeastern transplants in south Florida. Add FL and you get a 94 point switch.) Hillary still wins the other Kerry states, but who cares?

Debunk my theory.

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June 20, 2006

Tuesday Night Shoe Porn

The world's greatest blogger once had a tip jar, just so he could get a cheapo car.

I however, need a set of wheels like these:

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Anybody wanna flow annika's journal a spare thou, so she can cruise the Westside in style?

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Taliban Evil Cowards

From the Times of London:

Taleban fighters used women and children as human shields as they tried to escape into the mountains of Afghanistan, British troops claimed yesterday.

The tactics were revealed in the first account by those who fought in one of the main battles faced by the men of 3 Para and the Royal Gurkha Rifles in Helmand province, where 3,300 British troops are stationed.

The Taleban’s use of human shields happened during a six-hour battle that began when British troops arrived in a remote area to flush out a suspected Taleban hideout.

They came under attack seven times and fired 2,000 rounds as the rebels set ambushes and opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades. About 21 Taleban were killed.

“It happened twice where they pushed women and children in front of them. The first time they ran into a compound and pushed them out the front to stop the assault,” said Corporal Quintin Poll, 29, from Norfolk.

“The second time they were firing through a building with women and children inside. My guys had to go around the left and right to get them.”

This occurred during some very ferocious fighting.
The fighting was so intense that rounds set fire to nearby wheat fields. At one stage Private Bash Ali, 20, from London, was hit by a bullet from a Kalashnikov assault rifle. It lodged in the spare magazine of his SA80 rifle, around his waist, setting fire to a tracer round.

“I was going around a corner hearing fire and didn’t know where it was coming from. The next thing I knew I fell to the ground. I thought I’d been hit by an RPG. I was dazed and was pulled into cover by a comrade,” he said.

Apache helicopters and A-10 tankbusters were called in to provide air support and at one stage raked a compound housing militants with their 30-millimetre canons.

“The guys were superb. I left the day with a huge amount of pride,” said Major Will Pike, 36, who has been in the Army for 14 years and said that this was the fiercest day of fighting he had ever seen.

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The Udvar-Hazy Center

Romeocat recently visited the National Air & Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center recently. You can see pictures of her trip here. This annex, near Dulles Airport, houses the first Space Shuttle, the Enola Gay, the Concorde, and many other awesome sights, including an SR-71, the most kick-ass airplane ever built.

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Question For You

Half of the reason I write this blog is to sample opinions from a wide variety of really smart people, that's you.

So here's a question I was thinking about today, which I haven't seen addressed anywhere.


Free polls from Pollhost.com
If Giuliani ran against Hillary in '08, who would win New York's 31 electoral votes?
Rudy Giuliani Hillary Clinton   

What do you think?

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From One Who Should Know...

I'll be really busy today, but I did want to link this WaPo op-ed by none other than Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser. It contains information that should please all political stripes, and is definitely worth reading.

I was perplexed by this cryptic passage.

While Iraq is trying to gain its independence from the United States and the coalition, in terms of taking greater responsibility for its actions, particularly in terms of security, there are still some influential foreign figures trying to spoon-feed our government and take a very proactive role in many key decisions. Though this may provide some benefits in the short term, in the long run it will only serve to make the Iraqi government a weaker one and eventually lead to a culture of dependency.
Do any of you have ideas on who Mr. al-Rubaie meant when he referred to "some influential foreign figures?"

h/t Michelle Malkin.

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Sad News

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Today we mourn the loss of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, Texas and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Oregon.

Spc. David J. Babineau, 25, of Springfield, Massachussetts was also killed during the initial battle near Yousifiya last Friday.

All were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky.

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June 19, 2006

LAist: A-Listers Party In L.A.

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Holy stratosphere, is that Moxie with Ann Coulter at Cathy Seipp's party for her daughter Maia?

And Sandra Tsing Loh was there too? (She's totally a hero of mine.)

I didn't even get a puppet show for my grad party. wtf?

Oh, you'll note too that Moxie smokes my brand.

And that Ann Coulter's tits are bigger than I had realized.

Via Tony Pierce, who's now turned his benevolent gaze upon LAist, a blog about Los Angeles.

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Denmark The Model

A good discussion of whether Denmark is the vanguard of resistance to Eurpoean dhimmitude, or not, may be found at Gates of Vienna here and especially here.

Danish leaders and public figures openly say what the rest of Europe dares not. In some of the stricter PC regimes, such as Belgium, they would likely be under legal sanction for what they say.

It may be that Denmark will not withstand the Islamic onslaught. The Danes may well cave to anti-Semitism, or be cowed into submission. They may only hold out a year or a decade longer than Sweden before they are overrun.

But they hold up a mirror to us here in America, and remind us of the future that is careening towards us, and demonstrate a way to face it with dignity.

RTWT (i.e. read the whole thing)

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Murtha Schmurtha

On Sunday, in response to a Tim Russert question, Representative Murtha actually suggested that we could have run the Zarqawi operation out of Okinawa.

What an idiot. Froggy at Blackfive does a beautiful job explaining why.

Apparently Murtha also believes that Somalia and Beirut are good models for the proper use of American military power. Or non-use, I should say. Murtha said, "in Beirut President Reagan changed direction, in Somalia President Clinton changed direction, and yet here, with the troops out there every day, suffering from these explosive devices, and being looked at as occupiers [blah blah blah]"

Let's follow that logic a bit. Murtha would have advised Washington to withdraw after Valley Forge; Madison to give up after the burning of the White House; Lincoln to throw in the towel after Bull Run, both of them; FDR to redeploy all troops to San Diego after Bataan; etc. etc. you get the picture.

How long must we wait until Murtha takes MacArthur's advice and just faaades away. Not soon enough, I say.

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Sukhoi Highlight Reel

As far as I know, the Russians are famous for two aerial manuevers: "ramming" and the "cobra." Ramming is pretty self explanatory. It's what Russian pilots did in WWII when they didn't have any ammo. The cobra is a modern tactic, and if you've ever wondered what it looks like in practice, there's a textbook example by an Su-35 pilot in this Sukhoi highlight video (at 4:15).

There's also a cool shot of an Su-27's 30mm cannon firing (at 3:24).

And that Su-47 is a freaky lookin thing. It looks straight out of a Japanese monster movie.

Although the cobra manuever looks like something you'd use in a dogfight, it's real purpose is to confuse AWACS radars. The idea was for a group of four planes to fly towards the AWACS plane, with two in the front and two hidden closely behind the leaders. Then when the American radars got a lock, the two Russian planes in the lead would pull up into a cobra. In theory, this would confuse the radar long enough for the two lead planes to hit the deck, and when the radar regained its lock, the radar operators would think that the two trailing planes were the ones that they had been looking at originally. Then the two planes that had escaped the radar could attack from below.

If you ask me, it doesn't sound plausible, but that's what I read.

Update: More ultramaneuverability here, from what I think is an Su-37.

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June 18, 2006

Random Soccer Thoughts

If the mere existence of a sport can be viewed as evidence of American superiority over the rest of the world, it is soccer.

There's real football, and there's futbol. They can't even fucking spell it right.

We suck at soccer because we don't care about it. We don't care about it because it is a stupid game.

You will never ever hear me say, "It's amazing, even though the score was 0-0, I really enjoyed watching that game."

Soccer is fun to play because all you do is run around and kick a ball. Soccer is boring to watch because all they do is run around and kick a ball.

When the foreign announcers say "gooooooooooooool!!!!" we laugh. But we're not laughing with them.

Beckham is eurotrash.

When Sylvester Stallone made that movie about soccer, he had to mix in a subplot about escaping from prison or some shit like that just to make it interesting, and it still sucked. The only movie about real football that had a prison subplot is The Longest Yard. It's now considered a classic, and they didn't even escape!

Soccer is like a slow, boring version of hockey, but without the fighting, or skating, or sticks, or guys getting slammed into a wall, or any action whatsoever.

Soccer is slower and more boring than golf, only there's more scoring in golf even though golfers are all trying not to score!

Soccer is basically like watching a high school football practice. A bunch of guys running back and forth across a field for three hours. Except the guys at my high school were cuter.

I root against the U.S. because the sooner we get knocked out, the sooner I get to stop hearing idiots complain that Americans don't like soccer.

If I have to, I root for Brazil because they come closest to making the game entertaining.

Feel free to add your own.

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The Strange Case Of Leopold And Loeb

The following is a paper I did for an undergrad class almost ten years ago. I found it on my crappy old laptop, in a DOS directory if you can believe it. Funny how I still remember the basic DOS commands.

I haven't changed anything except for the first word of the essay, in reference to the year, and removal of the footnotes. I apologize for the excessive use of the passive voice, the unwieldy subordinate clauses, redundant modifiers and other hallmarks of a desperate undergrad's writing syle. Most everything I wrote back in those days was done at the last minute, with a hangover and barely proofread.

But I got a good grade, and it is on a subject of general interest and therefore blogworthy, I hope. more...

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June 17, 2006

Deep Thoughts By William Hung

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Insufferable Prick Party Condoms

What's this all about?

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Check Preston's blog for details.

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24 Movie In The Works

I'm excited that they've decided to make a feature length 24 movie! Interestingly, they've decided not to do the "real-time" thing for the film. Of course, with two hours available to the writers, they might have had just enough time for Jack to drive from Santa Monica to Van Nuys during rush hour before the closing credits start to roll.

The moviemakers don't need my advice, but in case any are reading here it is: Jack meets Jason!

Think about it.

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June 15, 2006

Hudson v. Michigan

Reading some of what passes for journalistic analysis regarding today's Supreme Court decision in Hudson v. Michigan, only reinforces my opinion that 90% of all reporters are idiots.

Check the AP reportage for example:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police armed with a warrant can barge into homes and seize evidence even if they don't knock, a huge government victory that was decided by President Bush's new justices.

The 5-4 ruling signals the court's conservative shift following the departure of moderate Sandra Day O'Connor.

Dissenting justices predicted that police will now feel free to ignore previous court rulings that officers with search warrants must knock and announce themselves or run afoul of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said Detroit police acknowledge violating that rule when they called out their presence at a man's door, failed to knock, then went inside* three seconds to five seconds later. The court has endorsed longer waits, of 15 seconds to 20 seconds.**

The errors in that article are too numerous to list. For one thing, the cops in the Hudson case didn't "barge in," they announced themselves first then waited before trying the door, which was unlocked. But more importantly, the Supreme Court never said that police "can barge into homes and seize evidence even if they don't knock."

On the contrary, the Court upheld the knock rule. The Fourth Amendment still requires police executing a search warrant to knock first, announce their presence and provide the occupants a reasonable opportunity to open the door voluntarily. Today's ruling did not change that rule.

What the Court did do is apply the brakes to an out of control "exclusionary rule." Hudson v. Michigan is a quite sensible decision, and not even particularly conservative, in my opinion. I wonder if the AP reporter even read it.

Proponents of an expansive exclusionary rule want it to apply to any evidence obtained in the prosecution of a suspect, whenever the police fail to follow a procedural rule. In other words, some people believe that a judge should throw out all evidence against a defendant whenever the police fuck up, no matter what kind of fuck up it was. As Scalia noted, that would mean a "get-out-of-jail-free card" in many cases. This is what is known in the popular culture as "getting off on a technicality."

So, wouldn't it have been more accurate for the AP to describe today's decision as the Court limiting the ability of criminals to "go free" on "technicalities?"

The Hudson case does not overturn the exclusionary rule. It simply says that if police screw up on their constitutional requirement to knock before serving a search warrant, and the search later turns up a bunch of evidence that proves the dude was guilty as sin, the judge does not have to throw out all the evidence and let the guy go. I think that's totally reasonable. The exclusionary rule still applies when the cops commit more serious constitutional violations, like searching a house without a warrant.

Critics of the Hudson decision will say that without the exclusionary rule police might simply ignore the knock and enter requirement. Maybe so, maybe not. The Court pointed to other means available to punish cops for failing to knock, civil lawsuits and disciplinary measures for instance. Also, the Court pointed out that the knock requirement isn't even a hard and fast rule. Police can legally enter without knocking if they have reason to believe that evidence might be destroyed were they to knock first.

But the main point is that the cure would be much worse than the disease. If we were to let criminals go free just because the police failed to knock even though they had a valid search warrant, there would undoubtedly be crooks walking around who should be behind bars. The Hudson decision prevents this potential miscarriage of justice and restores balance to a small part of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Or to put it in Johnny Cochran-ese:

Just 'cuz the cop didn't knock,
don't mean we let the perp walk.
I'm glad the new Court is refusing to expand the exclusionary rule beyond its already unreasonable scope. I just wish that the media would explain the reasoning behind today's decision instead of trying to scare people unnecessarily.

I give the New York Times opinion writer more slack for his wrongheaded piece, because at least that's an editorial. I would be disappointed if I didn't find wrongheadedness in a NYT editorial.

To be fair, some reporters seem to understand the Hudson case better. Two examples of more balanced articles can be found at CNN's site and at The Christian Science Monitor. Although I do have a semantic nit to pick about the Monitor's assertion that the decision is a setback to "privacy rights." While the right to privacy is related to Fourth Amendment freedoms, the two are not identical. As everyone should know by now, the right to privacy is not enumerated in the Constitution, whereas protection from unreasonable searches and seizures is.
_______________

* Again, the AP reporter "forgot" to mention that the criminal's door was unlocked.

** Here the AP reporter "forgot" to mention that the standard for deciding how long to wait is based on how long it would take a suspect to flush the evidence. Therefore, a reasonable wait time might be only a couple of seconds, depending on the particular evidence in the case.

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