Wednesday, August 09, 2006

---Lebanon, Reuters Photoshops, Vanuatu Quake, Rocket Movie, Van Allen Dies at 91 

It’s August already....
...and civilization continues to be a devastating disappointment. The current situation in the Middle East seriously threatens to degenerate into another “World War”, which would inevitably involve nuclear---and other weapons of mass death---in the hands of monstrous regimes who feel themselves qualified by religion (or the Communist equivalent) to abdicate all traces of basic human morality or decency:
My Way News - Annan: Israel Raid May Be Part of Pattern
The most corrupt and incompetent head in the history of the failed experiment in international government declared his suspicion that the Israeli air strike on Qana was part of “...a pattern of violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law....”. (Enriching yourself and your relatives and friends at the expense of Iraqi civilians is evidently “cool”.)
Somehow, in the rush of other news lately, the fact that estimates of the death toll at 56 civilians---dragged into a building next to batteries of artillery rocket launchers so that the Israelis would bomb them and cause international outrage---was rather quietly reduced to 28 has escaped widespread notice
The level of international outrage at the Qana attack also quieted rather abruptly as evidence of the complicity of the Iranian terrorists became available. The U.N.’s Lebanese mission still claims, however, that “Israeli forces deliberately attacked the civilian population....
My Way News - Lebanese PM Now Says 1 Killed in Strike
Hours after weeping openly before “a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Beirut” over the deaths of 40 civilians in an Israeli airstrike on Houla, Lebanese Prime Minister Saniora revised the death toll downward somewhat---to one.
My Way News - Israel OKs Expansion; 15 Troops Killed
Faced with pending U.N. action---and probably wondering when the U.S. will finally cave in to international and domestic political pressure and sell them out again, and the continued barrage of shrapnel-laced rockets into their cities---Israel has resorted to what may be considered a full invasion of southern Lebanon. It may be only a matter of time before the SyrioIranian government decides to consider the Israeli troop movements an official invasion and commits regular forces to the conflict.

My Way News[AP] - U.N.'s Mideast Diplomatic Efforts Falter
Efforts to negotiate a cease-fire in Lebanon are falling apart due to resistance of the U.S. and Israel to demands by nearly everyone else that Israel leave the country immediately and let the heavily Hezbollah-infested Lebanese army move in so that the Iranian terrorist brigade can retrain and rearm itself and resume its regular peacetime killing of Israeli civilians.

We must not forget....
...however, that the conflict is also a terrible threat to the welfare of the people of Lebanon. Who knows what this nation might have become if it wasn’t caught for decades in the middle of this conflict? We can pray, however, for wisdom for the powers that persist in bringing this constant warfare to Lebanon and Israel, and for peace and safety for all of the powerless people who are now in harm’s way.

CNN.com - Reuters says Mideast photographer doctored shots - Aug 7, 2006
Okay, so everybody with a weblog is already on this one, but it’s irresistable. Reuters fired free-lance photographer Adan Hajj for “coloring in” some dramatic extra smoke on a picture of Beirut and extra defensive flares on a picture of an Israeli F-16 with Photoshop™. Reuters published the photos, only to have the rather obviously faked shots flagged by amateur bloggers.

FOXNews.com - 6.7 Magnitute Earthquake Hits Vanuatu - Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia
No further reports on damage or injuries have appeared. Vanuatu [Vanuatu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia] is evidently a very unusual and “happy” place.
It is also home to a surviving example of one of the most bizarre pseudoreligious cult phenomena ever, the “cargo cult” [Cargo cult - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]. Adherents of the “John Frum” cult---possibly named after WWII U.S. servicemen who described themselves as “John, from America”, and who are said to sit in straw replicas of control towers in wooden headphones trying to conjure aircraft loaded with manufactured goods and riches---are members of the Vanuatu parliament.
A slightly less bizarre cult phenomenon known as “Survivor” is also said to have appeared there.

Spectacular failure....
Clip [rocketmishap.wmv] from “The Flame Trench” blog at FL Today [http://www.floridatoday.com/floridatoday/blogs/spaceteam/]. In 1997, a Delta II carrying a GPS satellite didn’t quite make it to orbit, but did reach the parking lot. The video clearly shows the faulty solid-fuel booster no longer thrusting due to a 17 ft. split in the booster casing---a much smaller casing than the ones on STS, and that didn't get reused after being dropped thousands of feet into the ocean and dragged back and forth to Utah. Oh, well, just wondering....

SPACE.com -- U.S. Space Pioneer James Van Allen Dies at 91
The famous discoverer of Earth’s radiation belts and other things died today.

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