hopperbach


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Just your everyday FROZEN LAKE ON MARS!

Maybe I am out of touch with the world. Maybe people are too busy or have simply become too jaded to appreciate the universe around them. But for those who still have a thimbleful of wonder left in them, take a look at this amazing picture snapped from the Mars Express:



No this is not one of those artist's depictions and yes that is a lake of ice in a Martian crater. Absolutely mind-blowing!

So why did this image not make it to the front page of every major newspaper? Why is the media so apathetic to such monumental discoveries? I think I have an idea why -- and I think I have a remedy. Using some of my advanced graphic enhancement tools and algorithms (okay Photoshop) I have taken the liberty of doctoring the picture up a bit to make it more attractive to the mainstream media:



Once the MSM sees the mysterious image of Karl Rove in the Martian ice, they'll immediately want to know 1. how it got there 2. how long has Bush known about "the face" 3. will the President fire Mr. Rove for uglifying this pristine planet with his evil conservative visage.

Ummm, oh yeah, for those who are really interested in the real lake if ice, you can find the story here.

Ahhh, the sages of cinema

My wife and I watched Hidalgo last night. I've often said the wonderful thing about Hollywood is that they always have something to teach us. Thank you Hollywood! Here are the four important truths I gleaned from Hidalgo:

1. American Indians are the wisest race on the planet. Bar none. Every word that comes from an Indian's mouth is pure gold. They have never been inhumane to man or beast. The world would be a much better place had white man not conquered them and forced their descendants to run casinos.

2. Muslims are also very wise. It's just that their zeal for Allah and passion for Islamic law sometimes clouds their judgment and makes them behave unpleasantly. But they still have much to teach us.

3. Christians are shallow, ignorant, manipulative and evil. They kill Indians for the pure fun of it. They try to destroy anything or anyone that is an obstacle to getting what they want. They are too stupid to realize that a plague of locusts is actually a blessing rather than a curse because you can munch on the little critters like pretzels when you are famished.

4. Hidalgo is boring.

For those of you who haven't seen the movie -- my advice is to download the trailer from the internet and watch it instead. That clip showing the dramatic wall of sand chasing Viggo Mortensen on his horse is the ONLY highlight of the movie. Then after you've finished watching that, go log-on to your Netflix account, take Hidalgo out of your queue, and put "Collateral" in it's place. You'll thank me later.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Astronomers claim discovery of 10th planet

From USA Today:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Astronomers announced Friday that they have discovered a new planet larger than Pluto in orbit around the sun.

The discovery in the outlying regions of solar system was made with the Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory, planetary scientist Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology said in a statement.

Details were being released in a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon.

The unnamed planet would be the 10th in the solar system, although there are scientists who dispute the classification of Pluto as a planet.

Isn't this about the 5th time they've found a 10th planet in our solar system? I could swear I hear about this every couple of years. Still, it is fascinating stuff and I have never understood how an astronomer can look at a fuzzy dot and proclaim it a planet.

Another Pope who's not going to be chummy with Israel

BBC news reports the the Pope is still refusing to include Israel in the list of recent terror attacks. Why?

It said this was mainly because "the attacks against Israel sometimes were followed by immediate Israel reactions not always compatible with the rules of international law".

"It would thus be impossible to condemn the first (Palestinian attacks) and let the second (Israeli retaliation) pass in silence".

And just what is Israel supposed to do when a grown man dons a dynamite girdle and kills several innocent people? Their response is always a military one and they do not deliberately target innocent people the way the Palestinians do. That's pretty lame on the part of the Pontiff.

Report: All Four 7/21 London Suspects in Custody

Foxnews reports that all four suspects in last weeks bombing attempts in London have been arrested. One man was nabbed earlier this week and the other three were rounded up in an early afternoon raid. Get em' London! In at least one case, explosives and gas cannisters were used to draw the suspect out:

Steve Purl, a former Scotland Yard team leader, said police likely used explosive entry to get into the building, but "for whatever reason, they can't go any further." The suspect may have barricaded himself inside the premises, Purl added.

Purl said any gas canisters that may have been thrown inside the building consist of high-decibel sounds aimed at disorienting people inside. He said using gas to gain entry in such situations is "somewhat extreme."

"It looks most professional … it's a remarkable set of developments for Britain," former CIA Director James Woolsey (search) told FOX News. "It looks like the Brits are turning on the heat and 'bravo.'"

Bravo indeed. This is how you deal with these guys -- you do whatever it takes.

For those who are against profiling, here are pictures of the four suspects:



I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Study Links Aspartame To Cancer

From CBS News. Didn't you just know this was coming?:

(WebMD) A study of rats links low doses of aspartame -- the sweetener in NutraSweet, Equal, and thousands of consumer products -- to leukemia and lymphoma.

Good thing I'm not a rat.

But food industry officials point out that many other studies have found no link between aspartame and cancer.

So this story has just canceled itself out. But we'll read on:

A consumer watchdog group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, has called for FDA action. At a minimum, the FDA should start its own studies and warn consumers of the potential danger, says CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson, PhD.

"The U.S. government really should analyze this study very carefully. If it is accepted as top quality, it could lead to a ban on aspartame," Jacobson tells WebMD.

I bet he couldn't hide the boyish giddiness in his voice as he was saying this.

Meanwhile, I think consumers should switch to Splenda, the sweetener known as sucralose."

That is, until he finds something wrong with that one as well. This is all such a bunch of cheezewhiz. Aspartame is harmless and I refuse to listen to a bunch of ninnies from the Center for Science in the Public Interest telling me what I should and shouldn't put into my body. Read Snopes.com's article on aspartame for a good synopsis on the studies that have been published to date.

It's just annoying when people get in your business like that. How appropriate that the study he references comes from a place called Balogna. At a certain point you have to decide that certain things are an acceptable risk and ENJOY YOUR LIFE!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hasn't this woman retired yet?

Our favorite curmudgeon Helen Thomas has weighed in on a possible Dick Cheney candidacy in 2008. According to The Hill, Ms. Thomas believes Cheney to be eminently qualified because, after all, he already runs the show:

If Vice President Cheney is indeed a “serious darkhorse” candidate for president in 2008, as Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward recently suggested, he probably won’t want to enlist legendary White House reporter Helen Thomas to help with his press relations, even though she has proposed a campaign strategy he could run on.

Thomas, a syndicated columnist for Hearst Newspapers who has covered the White House since the Kennedy administration, wrote in May that Cheney “certainly could campaign on the theme that he has had experience in running the White House.”

Thomas made the suggestion in a column she wrote about President Bush’s not being notified about a terror scare caused by an off-course Cessna airplane until after it was over, according to Editor & Publisher magazine.

Declaring that the incident “again raises the question of who’s running the show,” Thomas also noted Cheney’s central role on Sept. 11 and the widely held view that he is “probably the most powerful vice president in recent times, perhaps in U.S. history.”

Ok, so we know where Helen stands on that issue. Or do we? Here is an excerpt from a May 12 Helen Thomas column titled U.S., U.K. Voters Don't Care About Credibility:

Iraq was on Bush's radar screen when he took office in 2001, perhaps even before. Books by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Richard Clarke, former head of counter terrorism at the White House's National Security Council, both attest to early signs -- even before 9/11 -- that war against Iraq was high on Bush's agenda.

In the run-up to the war, Vice President Dick Cheney and then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice used appearances on Sunday television shows and in speeches to friendly audiences to start the drumbeat that Iraq had unconventional weapons.

Meantime, Blair was doing his share to build public support for war, even though he knew that his case was thin.

As the British reelection campaign was ending, the May 1 Sunday Times of London published a secret U.K. government memorandum discussing a July 23, 2002, meeting between Blair and his top security advisers. The memo said that military action against Iraq "was seen as inevitable" and that Bush wanted to remove Saddam "through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD," weapons of mass destruction.

So which one is it Helen? Does Bush call the shots or doesn't he?

Funny, how our friends on the left always insist that Bush is not the one in charge, yet in the same breath express fear that we have a driven, war mongering religious zealot of a President who listens to no-one and who's policies are single-handedly bringing the country down the tubes and taking the world with it.

Ok I'm done with Helen Thomas now. Time for an antacid.

Rice Asked About Bolton

Newsmax has an article detailing the Democrat's latest attempt to knock John Bolton out of commission. On Wednesday, Sen. Joseph Biden asked in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice whether the nominee for UN ambassador had recently testified to a grand jury regarding the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.

In a letter to Rice, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., referenced an MSNBC report from July 21 that Bolton was among State Department undersecretaries who "gave testimony" about a classified memo that has become an important piece of evidence in the leak investigation.

This all centers around the questionnaire that Bolton was required to fill out for his confirmation hearings in which he claimed that he had not been interviewed in any investigations recently:

Part of the questionnaire Bolton filled out in March asked him whether he was "interviewed or asked to supply any information in connection with any administrative (including an inspector general), congressional or grand jury investigation within the past five years."

"He indicated in his form that he had not," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

She said it is unclear whether Bolton lied on his questionnaire because senators do not know if he testified before or after he signed the document - or at all.

Notice the "or at all" that she threw in. Boxer is doing some hedging here because she knows that the only source for their information is MSNBC. Suffice to say, the mainstream media lately has had a believability factor just a little above - say - Weekly World News. Leftist or not, she still has the sense not to put everything on that one horse.

So would it have any bearing on Bolton's ability to serve as ambassador if it turns out he did testify? Probably not. But the objective here is not to weigh his qualifications. It is to get the nomination tossed before congress goes on their month-long break.

The Dems are in a panic because they know that once the Senate is out of session, there is nothing stopping President Bush from installing Bolton to the post on a temporary basis, which would mean he stays on as ambassador until late 2006. That, of course, takes the filibuster out of the equation. Oh what a helpless feeling that would be, to not be able to utilize their faithful old weapon. Go for it W!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Shuttle scuttled

The headline at Foxnews.com is that NASA has grounded all future shuttle flights indefinitely. The problem was an eerily familiar one:
During Shuttle Discovery's liftoff, a chunk of foam flew off the external fuel tank just two minutes into the flight. NASA does not believe the debris hit the shuttle, but had it come off just a bit earlier it may have caused the same damage that doomed Columbia 2 1/2 years ago.

I hate to hear this. I am aware of some of the opinions expressed elsewhere on the net. Yes the shuttle program is outdated. Yes it is bogged down by bureaucracy. But nonetheless, I was really rooting for NASA and had high hopes that one day America would recapture some of that spirit that it had just a few decades ago. It is a healthy thing for Americans to look outward once in a while and dream.

"Roving" Dems back in action

Now that those pesky little terrorist bombing diversions are over, the Democrats can get back to the important work of the country -- getting Karl Rove's head on a platter. According to Foxnews Senator John Kerry has sent a scathing letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert expressing his concern over the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. Says Kerry,
"Can anyone argue with a straight face that Congress has time to look at steroid use in baseball but doesn't have the will to provide congressional oversight of the leak of a CIA agent's name?"

Senator, I can't even look at you with a straight face.

The letter was also signed by Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Dick Durbin, Barack Obama, bla, bla...you get the picture.

The text reads in part:

"The United States Congress has a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the executive branch, whether a law has been broken or not. It is time for Congress to fulfill that constitutional responsibility in this matter by initiating a thorough investigation."

Italics are mine. Interestingly, the Dems now seem to be conceding that a law probably wasn't broken. But that doesn't matter, because Karl Rove is a rat and everyone knows that and he just HAS to be fired for something! And it just isn't fair that President Bush has consistently maintained that he would only fire a staffer if they broke the law. Dangit, if only he had set that bar just a little lower! Why can't he be more like Clinton and change his story every five minutes?

Well, now we have their official signatures on this non-issue, which is akin to signing up for a public wedgie. They are just going to embarrass themselves and further corroborate the fact that they are a party that stands for absolutely nothing.

'He told me he was going to get 80 virgins'

The Independent has delved into the background of Yasin Hassan Omar and Muktar Said Ibrahim, the two young men who are now wanted for last week's failed bombings in London. A disturbing picture of double-lives and hypocrisy emerges.

On the one hand we have fiercely loyal followers of radical Islam:

Said Ibrahim was also reported to have grown a beard and to have begun wearing traditional dress. A neighbour of Ibrahim, Sarah Scott, age 23, who lives two doors down from the Stanmore home Ibrahim used to live with his parents, described a conversation they had last November. "We were standing outside our houses chatting. He asked me if I was religious and I said I did not believe in anything. He said I should. He told me he was going to get 80 virgins when he got to heaven if he praised Allah.

"He smiled and laughed as he said it, then he gave me this book about Islam and told me to read it.

On the other hand, we have a couple of regular western guys:

At Curtis House, the two men joined others in regular trips to the park. Vance Noor, 18, who lives in an adjoining housing block, said: "The two guys would come out every Sunday. It was always around the same time ­ 4pm to 7pm. They were part of a group of about 11 Somalis who used to come out to play [football].

"They didn't have sports clothes ­ they wore jeans and T-shirts but they did have football boots. They just seemed to be normal guys. They were friendly but didn't talk much beyond that. We just knew them as regular guys. They weren't that good at football though."

Interestingly enough, there were other western activities that the boys did seem to be good at:

One local shop owner said Omar had tried to steal food and was "always looking for ways to make money". Another witness said Said Ibrahim could be regularly seen outside Arnos Grove Tube station, some four minutes walk from Curtis House, smoking marijuana.

Not very becoming for a devout follower of Islam. Terrorists have a word for this. They call it "assimilation". I call it "having your cake and eating it too".

Democrats bothered by that "C" word

It would seem that many Dems are troubled by the fact that Judge John G. Roberts is (gasp) Catholic. There are already whispers that some disturbing character traits may come to light... like the fact that he has values, convictions, a fear of God and a belief in moral absolutes. Clearly not your Ted Kennedy brand of Catholic. So how could such a radical be allowed to serve on the Supreme Court? Well, we can rest assured that Senators Durbun and Schumer will get to the bottom of this and expose any hidden Christian virtues that he may be keeping from the public:

Conservatives Complain of Stealth Religious Litmus Test

Be watchful - but try not to hurt anyone's feelings

An AP article explains how big city officials are encouraging vigilance on the part of subway commuters to help thwart future attacks:

Subway and commuter train riders must take a greater role in their own security to help thwart a London-style transit attack in the United States, big-city officials said Tuesday.

Transit security officials from New York City, Los Angeles and Washington focused on low-tech solutions, such as asking the public and transit employees to be on guard for suspicious behavior.

"The most important technology that is out there, right there today, is the human element," said William Morange, head of security for New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the city's subways, buses, and commuter trains.

Sound advice. Except that it was only Monday when New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg chastised some of his own citizens for doing just that during Sunday's subway scare, according to The New York Daily News:

The mayor urged New Yorkers to call authorities if they see something suspicious, but added they should use "common sense" and avoid profiling people like the group of South Asian-looking visitors, who were Sikhs from Britain.

"It turned out that these ... people did not present any threat whatsoever," Bloomberg said. "It's a shame, and I certainly apologize on behalf of the City of New York. We love tourists and we want them to keep coming here and feel that they ... can go around and enjoy the city."

You're a shame, Mr. Bloomberg. These citizens were just doing what they were asked to do by your administration and as embarrassing as every false alarm may be, there will come a day when the threat will be real. So that means that for the time being, certain people who look and behave a certain way are going to fall under suspicion and some of these will be temporarily inconvenienced. Even the British tourists who were involved seem to understand this:

"These things happen, don't they?" said the man, who gave his name as Jas, 39. "We have no hard feelings. It certainly made our trip different, but didn't ruin it at all."

He gets it, and displays a great attitude about it. Now let's go back to the AP article which advises commuters what to look for:

New York subway and bus riders are being told to look out for passengers with clenched fists, or who are sweating profusely, or reek of excessive cologne — all possible indicators of a suicide bomber.

Yes, and another indicator would be a mid-eastern looking man exhibiting these traits. Funny how they always forget to include that. Political correctness is no longer just an annoying attempt at controlling free-speech. It can now kill. God save us from this lunacy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Laughing Wolf nails it

The spin in the Catherine Baker Knoll campaigning flap has begun, and as usual, us reactionary right-wingers are to blame. Laughingwolf does a great job of picking apart the Lt. Governor's lame explanation as well as the so-called "letter of apology".

The Crash, No Burn: The Spin Begins

Democrats Discussing 'What We Stand For'

They STILL haven't figured this out?

By Susan Jones
CNSNews.com Senior Editor
July 25, 2005

(CNSNews.com) - The Democratic Leadership Council, which describes itself as a centrist group, is holding a "national conversation" on what the party should stand for.

The meeting in Columbus, Ohio, began on Saturday and winds up Monday with a speech from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the not-yet-running-for-president candidate.

"At a time when Washington remains gripped in partisan warfare based on the Bush administration's narrow and ideologically driven agenda, it's a good time for Democrats to look beyond the Beltway and talk honestly with each other about what we should stand for," the DLC said in a press release.

"That will be the primary purpose of the DLC 2005 National Conversation," it added.

Wire reports described Sen. Clinton's speech on Monday as a high-profile event before the same group that helped propel her husband into the White House in 1992.

Organizers said more than 300 state and local elected officials from more than 40 states are attending the meeting, at which Democrats will try to "sketch out a nationally relevant policy agenda which addresses four big challenges facing our country today."

The DLC said those challenges include:

-- Creating an opportunity society to restore economic growth, upward mobility and economic security;

-- Standing up for American values and for the parents who play so important a role in protecting them;

-- Reforming our broken political system, especially in Washington.

Other speakers on Monday include Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who is taking over chairmanship of the DLC; outgoing DLC Chairman Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.); Sen. Tom Carper, the DLC's new vice chairman; and Gov. Mark Warner (D-Va.).
The DLC said it would have a full report on its 2005 meeting next Tuesday.

"It is our hope that the discussions begun in Columbus will be an important part of the Democratic Party revival of the immediate future," the group said in a press release.
Democrats do have a core set of beliefs but they do not want them to see the light of day because they know they are out of the mainstream. So that is why they are holding yet another meeting so that they can come to an agreement on what they should pretend to stand for.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Space shuttle launches tomorrow!

With the grace of God we go back into space at 9 am EST Tuesday morning. I will be watching and praying - and beaming with American pride as the Discovery lifts off that launch-pad and soars into the morning sky. This is what it's all about. The spirit of exploration and the seeking of exciting new frontiers is an uniquely American trait. Other countries can copy the technology, but they will never be able to capture our spirit.

Jane Fonda Plans Anti-War Bus Tour

Sigh. Once a liberal, always a liberal:

From the Foxnews website


Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. — Actress and activist Jane Fonda (search) says she intends to take a cross-country bus tour to call for an end to U.S. military operations in Iraq.

"I can't go into any detail except to say that it's going to be pretty exciting," she said.

Fonda said her anti-war tour in March will use a bus that runs on "vegetable oil." She will be joined by families of Iraq war veterans and her daughter.

They plan to return to the Santa Fe area, where she was promoting her book, "My Life So Far" (search) on Saturday.

Prompted by a question from the audience, Fonda said war veterans that she has met on a nationwide book tour have encouraged her to break her silence on the Iraq war.

"I've decided I'm coming out," she said.

Hundreds of people in the audience cheered loudly when Fonda announced her intentions to join the anti-Iraq war movement.

"I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnam," she said. "I carry a lot of baggage from that."

Fonda incited controversy in July 1972 when she was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun while on a tour of the country to drum up support to end the war.

I had a glimmer of hope when she became a Christian a few years back, but she has since dashed it all to pieces. It is obvious to me now that this woman has never progressed beyond the mentality of your average Berkley student (veggie oil-powered van?) Did Henry drop her on her head when she was an infant?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

AP Poll: 60 Percent Say WWIII Is Likely

Um, I hate to break the news but we are in WWIII.

From Foxnews:
WASHINGTON — Americans are far more likely than the Japanese to expect another world war in their lifetime, according to AP-Kyodo polling 60 years after World War II (search) ended. Most people in both countries believe the first use of a nuclear weapon is never justified.

Those findings come six decades after the United States dropped atomic bombs (search) on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war claimed about 400,000 U.S. troops around the world, more than three times that many Japanese troops and at least 300,000 Japanese civilians.

Out of the ashes, Japan (search) and the United States forged a close political alliance. Americans and Japanese now generally have good feelings about each other.

But people in the two countries have very different views on everything from the U.S. use of the atomic bomb in 1945, fears of North Korea (search) and the American military presence in Japan.

Some of the widest differences came on expectations of a new world war.

Six in 10 Americans said they think such a war is likely, while only one-third of the Japanese said so, according to polling done in both countries for The Associated Press and Kyodo, the Japanese news service.


"Man's going to destroy man eventually. When that will be, I don't know," said Gaye Lestaeghe of Freeport, La.

Typical liberal fatalism.

Some question whether that war has arrived, with fighting dragging on in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the U.S. campaign against terrorism.

"I feel like we're in a world war right now," said Susan Aser, a real estate agent from Rochester, N.Y.
Bingo.

What this poll proves to me is that a good many Americans still have their heads in the sand. As we go about our day-to-day lives it is easy to forget the fact that we are fighting a major war, and that the whole world is involved, whether the individual nations want to accept that or not. There are no neutral territories. We will ultimately win this war, but along the way the enemy is going to continue to make it's presence known - in ways that will sometimes rattle us to our core. We have to be prepared for that and be ever vigilant, but at the same time optimistic that we will prevail.