Saturday, November 30, 2002

Colombia: not just delicious coffee

Bikini-clad babes won't drop in on Colombian war

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - Busty, bikini-clad models won't be air-dropped into Colombia's combat zones, after all.

The war-torn Andean nation's first female defence
minister, Marta Lucia Ramirez, cancelled the army's campaign to seduce Marxist rebel defectors with pictures of near-naked women.

In the thousands of pocket-sized portraits already printed, and waiting to be air-dropped over battlefields, the voluptuous vixens were presented as a perk for desertion.

"Desert! And obtain benefits," read one pamphlet, depicting a brunette stretching provocatively in a striped bikini.

Of Colombia's more than 20,000 Marxist rebels, about 70 percent are men -- stacking the odds against the male fighters, many of whom are still in their teens.

To have sexual relations with a female rebel, male guerrillas must first ask permission from higher-ranking officers. The rules of engagement are painstakingly detailed on the Web site,, of the country's largest rebel army, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

An army officer, who declined to be named, said the portraits were taken from an Internet porn site.

"I, as a woman, add myself to this protest. I also don't like these calendars," said Ramirez, herself a former teenage covergirl, who modelled fully dressed for a glossy Colombian magazine while she was in college.

Ramirez told local press the posters did not fit within the government's concept of "rehabilitating these boys, re-socialising them, and making them useful to society."
I assume this doesn't include the ENA

France May Fence in Schools to Curb Violence
PARIS (Reuters) - Some French schools have become so violent they should have high-security fences, video surveillance systems and electronic gates to deter fighting between gangs, France's education minister said Wednesday.

Xavier Darcos made the comments after two men in balaclavas burst into a secondary school in the Paris suburbs Monday and fired rubber balls from a "Flash Ball" gun into a classroom, leaving a 16-year-old pupil with a badly bruised eye.
A new study finds...

Old news. Very Heavy Pot Use Clouds Mental Function
Iraq weapons inspections

According to a NYTimes article, Inspectors Find Only Ruins at an Old Iraqi Weapons Site weapons inspections in Iraq have begun, and so far Iraq seems to have been telling the truth.

Amazingly, the inspectors report no hinderances in their inspections.
[...T]he leaders of the inspection teams acknowledged that the Iraqis had placed no impediments in the way of their work.

It is a point much emphasized by Iraqi officials, who have encouraged foreign reporters to follow the inspection teams and roam freely about the plants afterward.

A thorough inspection of the Al Dawrah facility, previously the center of botulism toxin production for Iraq's biological and chemical weapons program, revealed that it was inoperation and had not been used for any purpose, clandestine or veterinary (as the sign outside claims).

At the Al Nasr facility, previously used to produce uranium enriching equipment, "We had no difficulty with access," Mr. Baute said. "We went into every technically significant building." Moreover, although American intelligence suggested that Al Nasr was in active use for production of centrifuges, the inspections revealed otherwise.

Al Nasr was heavily bombed by American and British aircraft after inspections were terminated in 1998, but has since been partly rebuilt. It was identified by American officials in October as one of the weapons sites the Iraqis were putting back into commission, but Mr. Baute said the new building shown in American intelligence photographs appeared to be inactive, at least during today's inspections. "As far as we observed today, it seemed to be very empty."

Even more amazing, the inspectors have found all the equipment they wanted to check. All of the production equipment was either found, or the Iraqi's told the inspectors that they have moved the equipment to another site (which, when later inspected, indeed housed the moved equipment.

Although I don't support attacking Iraq, I conceded that Iraq probably had hidden weapons of mass destruction. However, these recent inspections have swayed my opinion. While I still have doubts, it seems like Iraq might have been honest when they claimed that they abandoned all weapons of mass destruction programs (they are actually encouraging foreign reporters to wander around!).

Or maybe Iraq has all its weapons production capability centralized at one facility, such as the Royal Palace, and they are only hoping to conceal its existence through a false show of honesty...we'll have to find out.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Roses are Blue, Violets are Red...

Ok, not yet. But Yahoo reports Biotech goal: sweet-smelling blue roses:
SAN FRANCISCO - Roses are red, and a variety of other colors. But they've never been blue — an omission legions of rose breeders have sought for centuries to remedy.

"It would be a beautiful thing to see," said James
Armstrong, an award-winning flower show exhibitor and consultant with the San Francisco Rose Society.

Breakthroughs in biotechnology may finally resolve the quest for the elusive blue rose, which, alas, does not exist because roses lack the corresponding pigment genes.

Technology also promises to restore sweet smells to the rose and other flowers. Generations of commercial breeding has led to beautiful but bland- smelling roses. Their colors are stunning and vase lives long, but they've little fragrance.

Interesting. I have no idea why this story is int he AP World Politics section of Yahoo News, but this news is slightly outdated to me. Blue Kawasaki roses are fantastic, and a dab of deodorant can make them smell fragrant. I'll open up my own origami rose shop with different colors and deodorants.
$2 a pop. Taking orders now.

Monday, November 25, 2002

New Permalink

Mike Knight, from Depauw, has his site on the blog roll to the right.
What theologian are you?

From Paul's website,, I found the following test:

"We reject the false doctrine that the church could have permission to hand over the form
of its message and of its order to whatever it itself might wish or to the vicissitudes of the
prevailing ideological and political convictions of the day."
You are Karl Barth!
You like your freedom, and are pretty stubborn against authority! You don't
care much for other people's opinions either. You can come up with your own fun, and
often enough you have too much fun. You are pretty popular because you let people have their
way, even when you have things figured out better than them.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Geographical Black Hole?

Political scientists considered the possibility of a geographical black hole in the Middle East as CNN reports that "only about one in seven -- 13 percent -- of Americans between the age of 18 and 24, the prime age for military warriors, could find Iraq. The score was the same for Iran, an Iraqi neighbor."

Although the majority, 58 percent, of the young Americans surveyed knew that the Taliban and al Qaeda were based in Afghanistan, only 17 percent could find that country on a world map. A U.S.-led force attacked the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan in October 2001, and President Bush has said he is prepared to use force to rid Iraq of any chemical, nuclear or biological weapons programs.

The survey asked 56 geographic and current events questions of young people
in nine countries and scored the results with traditional grades. The surveyed Americans got a "D," with an average of 23 correct answers. Mexico ranked last with an average score of 21, just three points from a failing grade.

For anyone who doesn't know, Iraq is here:

The countries next to it are Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey (unlabeled).

Don't take this as a portent of failure in a possible war against Iraq. Young American males tend to be geographically-challenged in general. "11 percent cannot find the United States."

(Full Text)
Saving the Planet

In AP English we received the following prompt:
In The March of Folly historian Barbara Tuchman writes:
Wooden-headedness, is a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government.

Some people would claim that what Tuchman class wooden-headedness plays a remarkably large role in all organizations and, indeed, in all human affairs. Defend, challenge, or qualify the idea about the prevalence of wooden-headedness in human actions and decisions.

Although in my essay I used examples from the movie Gandhi, the prompt can also be affirmed by examining environmentalism. Not only have moves to clean up US industry been an incomplete success (GE Plastics and Alcoa locally pump out HUGE amounts of carcinogens), but even the evironmentalists are resorting to wooden-headedness to beat the polluters. The Philadelphia-based Evangelical Environmental Networktries to convince followers that driving a hybrid gas-electric car and using public transportation when possible is a moral imperative. I am absolutely not making this up ("What Would Jesus Drive?")! Meanwhile the Bush Administration unilaterally rejected the Kyoto Protocol (which, justified or not, shows that the world is not ready for an honest environmental drive).

While the government, business groups, and religious organizations struggle over controlling the mass's actions on environmentalism, consumers continue their wooden-headed wasteful ways (including myself). When was the last time you used a disposable plastic product? 20 oz Coke bottles, straws, spoons, candy wrappers, just to name a few possible plastic products. When was the last time you actually tried to conserve electricity by turning off the TV whenever you weren't in the room for even one second?

Wooden-headedness rules the environmentalism battle. It is being fought by evangelican-wooden-headedness. All this being ignored by the wooden-headed consumers.

I'd like to end with a poem from my sister's AIM profile, which I admit is only tangentially related. But it's a cool poem and the last line does have a good closing for this post.

a story of a young leaf and his struggle with death

What is this horrible situation?
Oh, it has given me such frustration
The branch that's always been my foundation
Is trying to put an end to me, his creation
A process called photosynthesization
Used to give me healthy colorization
However, due to its recent inactivation
I've begun to develop a brown pigmentation
I'm probably suffering from overdramatization
But there is another problem: the gravitation
Being at such a lofty elevation
Previously had no ramification
But now I've come to the realizaiton
That the slightest breeze or agitation
Could end my days of botanical relaxation
By severing the bonds of my levitation
So now I sit here in deep contemplation
Helpless and hopeless, where's my motivation?
Puh Lease

Taken from NBC 14:

For the first time in 13 years, Agent 007 lights up on the big screen. And the new James Bond film, "Die Another Day," is taking heat for glamorizing smoking.

The first time we ever saw 007 on the big screen, he lit a cigarette, flicked out his lighter and said the famous line, "Bond, James Bond." That scene certainly created an image. But many argue it's not the one we want our kids to see.

James Bond smokes cigars in his new movie. It's the first time actor Pierce Brosnan has used tobacco on screen since he took over the role in the mid-90s. Back then, Brosnan reportedly didn't want to set a bad example for his young fans, but reconsidered for this film because it's set in Cuba, which is known for its fine cigars.

Movie-goers may not notice the change, but the American Cancer Society does. "When our children see actors and actresses smoke whenever they go out and play with their friends, for example, or they mimic them, they tend to do the behaviors that they saw", says Susan Mulder of the American Cancer Society.

One anti-smoking lobby based in Las Angeles reports 92% of all the PG13 films currently in theaters feature smoking. They're pushing for such movies to carry an R-rating and stop showing tobacco brand names. They also want to start running anti-tobacco ads before these film start with credits that certify the movie-makers didn't receive any compensation from tobacco companies.

Britain seems to be taking the lead on this one. They're expected to outlaw the use of cigarettes in movies and T.V. shows as early as next year. (Full Text)

I don't like smoking or smokers, but prohibiting smoking in PG-13 movies? C'mon!

Does anyone know when the College Board will have our PSATs graded and back to us?

Wednesday, November 20, 2002


I hate semi's on the highway. Go a TAD BIT FASTER please. Jeez.

And while I occassionally have murderous fantasies involving a mass semi-tipping party, the ECAP reported the following:
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - A tractor-trailer carrying explosive materials overturned near Indiana University early Wednesday, killing a motorist and causing authorities to evacuate hundreds of students from nearby sorority and fraternity houses.

The truck spilled ammonia nitrate, blasting caps and diesel fuel on the Indiana 45-46 bypass near university's golf course northeast of the main campus, Indiana State Police Trooper Jackie Taylor said.

Full Text.

Pretty scary.

Monday, November 18, 2002

The case against seminar activities

Last Friday I went to the Ivy Tech Robotics Competition (got 5th place, and a red tshirt). Anyhow, since it was a Friday, we had to go back and attend seminar; we had a seminar activity.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Sig School has a seminar period every Friday, similar to homeroom periods at other schools. Unlike homeroom, however, Sig's administration tries to make seminar productive by letting us work on scholarship applications and community service and having informational speakers or videos broaden our horizons.

Last Friday (after Robotics) for seminar we watched a video on drugs, alcohol, and cigarrettes. Come on! While it would be absurd to claim that Sig has no drug abusers, we most definitely have a lower drug use rate than other schools. Moreover, everyone has had some drug and alcohol education in middle school or in high school health class. If people want to kill their brain cells, kill their liver, or burn their lungs, and 3 years of middle school education didn't stop that, an informational video sure isn't going to either. To top it off I was very tired after a long week preparing for speech, debate, and robotics simultaneously, sleeping only 3 hours the night before.

A few weeks ago we had a speaker from a children's mental hospital. No one really participated and while the speech managed to hold my waning attention (Friday afternoon...), it didn't really change my stance on mental illness. Children's mental illness is a sad thing in the world and it should be prevented if at all possible.

Both our seminar activities thus far have been worthless. Everyone was tired after a long week of school. The messages of the speeches or videos were hackneyed and no one really took them to heart. In short, the time spent on those seminar activities could have been used on something more productive.

Please don't make it mandatory to attend the seminar activities. Sure I wouldn't mind cleaning the stairs during one seminar for school service hours, but I'm sure there are others who would hate to do that. Likewise while some people may enjoy the seminar speeches, I don't, and I've confirmed with classmates that many others don't either. Let seminar activity be voluntary. I'd sign up for speakers who I think would be interesting. It'd work.

Our indoor team plays at Off The Wall around twice a week, everyone should come watch. So far we've had three games:
Sig School vs Boonville 8-4 W
Sig School vs Maulers (Bosse) 9-5 W
and tonight's game:
Sig School vs Smurfs (Bosse) 7-2 W

tonight, the goal distribution was
Scott - 2
Adam - 2
Matt - 1
Brent - 1
Ben - 1

next game is Tuesday at 6, y'all should come on out. It's good times

Sunday, November 17, 2002


Taken wholly from Yahoo News:

El Al Guards Foil Hijack Attempt.
2 minutes ago

JERUSALEM (AP) - Security guards on Israel's national airline El Al overpowered a man who tried to hijack a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, Israeli radio reported.

The reports said that none of the 170 passengers on board were harmed and the plane landed safely in Istanbul.

An official at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport confirmed that El Al flight 581 sent out a hijacking signal as it approached Istanbul but the suspect was overcome.

"No one was injured," Oktay Cakirlar said."The terrorist is in custody at the police staion at the airport."

Turkey's private CNN-Turk and NTV televisions quoting police sources said the hijacker was an Israeli Arab and was armed with a knife. The man was overpowered by two Israeli security guards, one posing as a passenger, the televisions said.

At the Western Kentucky University and Warren East speech tournaments today, Sig got:

Phuc Nguyn- 4th

Emily Nejad- 4th

These may be disappointing results for the team (GREAT job for Phuc and Emily though!), but it's only the beginning of the year, and in addition the Speech Team president and two of the vice presidents got screwed in signing up for events. For instance my preferred events of extemp and OI were taken and Mrs. Manicke put me into impromptu without telling me until after she called in the entries. Amy only compete two rounds of impromptu and two rounds of poetry. Things will get much better!

Congrats to the kickass Reitz extemp squad, who swept 1, 2, and 3 in the WKU portion of the tournament; and they came darn close to repeating that the WE portion. If the "Mike Knight's novi theory" holds (all of the finals qualifying extempers from Reitz were Mike's novi), then if I had been able to compete and final at extemp, it woulda been a blast. Ah well, there's always next year.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002


Iraq has accepted the new UN weapons inspections regime with "no conditions, no reservations." Will the inspections work? Or will war continue unfettered?

Tuesday, November 12, 2002


On Yahoo News:

"We have to keep, in a sense, a gun pointed to the head of the Iraqi regime because that's the only way they cooperate," Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, told National Public Radio's "The Tavis Smiley Show."

I don't think it's just my dovish tendencies. Condoleezza's choice of words seem a little poorly choosen.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Sig Speech Update

Last week at the Reitz Novice Meet:

Cari Tuna- 1
Maggie Trible- 7

Hoa Nguyen- 1

Yabtsega Moges- 4
Emily Ballard- 6

Emilie Wasserman- 1
Alex Reising- 2

This week at the Munster Debate Tournament we received:

V Congress:
Chrissi Gentry- 7

JV Policy:
Alex/Sibo- 5

JV Speakers:
Alex Reising- 5
Sibo Lin- 7

V Policy:
Amy/Nirav- 1

V Speakers:
Amy Reitz- 1
Nirav Shah- 4

And Sig got 4th in Sweeps at Munster....with only 5 competitors. Most of our points were due to Amy, who had 2 of the 3 first places we got.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Putting the Steam Back Into Chirac's Stride

France's Dream World- November 3, 2002.

That's a great article on France. Basically it tries to explain why pipsqueek France has been trying to delay the US's push to pass Iraq resolutions through the UN Security Council. Not only does France hold veto power, but now Jacques Chirac has been going on a Gaullist rampage. America shouldn't take it personally, apparently France has been bullying other countries recently as well.

After France's elections earlier this year, the Socialists were annihiliated; consequently Socialist Lionel Jospin lost his postition as Prime Minister and the center-right Gaullist party and Chirac no longer have to deal with a cohabitation of a split dual executive. Now that pushing issues in the foreign arena is assured of domestic backing, Chirac has been much more active. He managed to even make the isolated German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder approve the EU Common Agricultural Policy, which heavily subsidizes farmers in the EU (read: French farmers. Yes, those same French farmers who are attacking McDonalds).

Unfortunately for Chirac, even domestic unity does not give him enough strength to stand up to US hegemony. EXCEPT in the mini-world of the UN Security Council. In France's perfect little world, it's say matters as much as the US's. The longer France prolongs negociations and inspections in Iraq, the longer it gets to feel powerful, standing up against the United States in the political arena. As soon as the bombs start dropping, France will go back to its old self--powerless to deal with the US, contenting itself with bullying its European neighbors.

Sorry France, but I think Bush is going to wake you up soon.
Those Crazy French

My Government teacher has been pushing outside studying of France. Some interesting news on France (all links from Yahoo Full Coverage):

French McDonald's Burned Down After Protests.

Prostitutes take to streets in protest over soliciting ban.

France Denies Having Stocks of Smallpox Virus.

U.S., France Agree on Iraq Draft.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The United States and France reached agreement Thursday on a new Security Council resolution on Iraq, removing a key hurdle toward passage of the U.S.-drafted plan for tough new weapons inspections.

According to French diplomats, the United States agreed to change wording in a key provision that would declare Iraq in "material breach" of its U.N. obligations. The change addresses French and Russian concerns that the original wording could be used as a hidden trigger for an attack on Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

The French aren't crazy, they just don't like us.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Final Election Update

Hostettler has effectively won.

In other news, Jon Bond lost :-\.

In Georgia, the GOP won a formerly Democratic Senate seat. Republicans are virtually guaranteed a House and Senate majority. The GOP has the potential to pass almost anything and appoint any judges it wants for the next two years...
Election Update 2

Looks like Hartke will be "devoured," to use the Ellen Feiss term (MacSwitch commercial). But, as just broadcast on Fox 7, Hartke, despite facing a growing Hostettler lead, said, "I believe we can still do this," at his rally at the Executive Inn. His hope is that Vanderburg County votes are still being counted, and his support is strong here. However, most late votes tend to be Republican votes--hence Hostettler's growing lead.

I'm going to say that Hostettler's going to win f'sho.
Did I Make a Difference?

Spreading the gospel of Jeff Devine at the polls today ("Have a Devine Day!"), I was blown off entirely by several voters. "No thanks. I've already decided on who I will vote for." "No." "I don't need that." Although these voters initially frustrated me, fellow poll worker Walter Jermakowicz (alumnus of Reitz and Signature School, currently attending USI) brought to light the fact that when he votes, he tries to avoid people like us, the poll workers.

Really, do poll workers serve a purpose? Will just saying "Please vote Jeff Devine for School Board. He's #131!" and handing out slips with his name and ballot number help his cause? How many votes are achieved by this? The voters aren't presented an argument why to vote for that candidate. Especially when the typical voter is accosted by a bajillion poll workers yelling out a chorus of names. Vote for GilhamDevineArneyHostettlerHartkemooWillet! Even Mr. Willet, who personally worked the polls with me at St. Marx Church, was very friendly and personal to all the voters, but didn't say anything deeper than "I would appreciate it if you voted for me." If I could vote, I probably wouldn't be swayed by the poll workers.

If some people actually are swayed by the poll workers, then obviously those people did not educate themselves prior to the election. They have no business voting for a name or face that they don't really know beyond an election pamphlet attained at the last minute.

What do I propose to solve this problem? Well, banning political advertisement on Election Day is too extreme. However, I personally plan on discouraging people from working for political candidates that they don't know. When I turn 18, I will go to the polls and when someone tries to hand me a pamphlet and grill a name into my short-term, subconscious memory, in hopes that I will vote for their candidate, I will ask why I should vote for that candidate. Maybe I'll learn something and vote for someone who I previously knew nothing about. Or maybe I'll just be being rude to some high school poll worker.

update: Fox 7 Poll

What did you vote based on today?
TV/radio 14%
Party Lines 33%
News/Media 53%

Note the lack of "poll workers."

Election Updates

According to Fox News:

Congressional District 08 Race (58% Precincts Reporting)

John N. Hostettler
Number of Votes: 55570 (51%)

Bryan Hartke
Number of Votes: 49148 (46%)

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Upcoming Elections

I signed up to work the polls Tuesday. However, since I had not informed myself about either of the 8th District Congressional candidates--incumbent John Hostettler (R) and challenger Brian Hartke (D)--I signed up to work for an apolitical School Board candidate. However, after a little research, I've come across a few things.

First, the Evansville Courier and Press printed a story accusing Hostettler of telling breast cancer survivors that abortions cause breast cancer. However, what really happened was that one of Hostettler's constituents asked for a meeting with Hostettler to discuss studies that had shown a correlation between abortion and breast cancer. Hostettler agreed to a meeting. But that constituent didn't show, and a breast cancer survivors group attended the meeting instead. A direct quote from Hostettler's website:

Two important things to note: First, neither Ms. Slatter nor the Congressman asserted or believed that only women who have abortions contract breast cancer, nor did anyone in the Congressman's office imply that if a woman has an abortion she is sure to contract breast cancer.

Further aggravating the situation, the Evansville Courier and Press interviewed the breast cancer survivors to run this story THREE AND A HALF MONTHS after the actual meeting. Smells like a political move to me. Oh, and the breast cancer survivors were coached by a Hartke official prior to being interviewed by the Courier and Press.

Hostettler cut off relations with the Courier and Press after that story. I don't blame him for being aggravated at the media, since according to the Hoosier Review:

Eight years ago, there was an incident in which Hostettler was speaking before a class of school children, and was asked if the Second Amendment allowed private ownership of nuclear weapons. The bell rang before Hostettler had a chance to answer, so the McCloskey campaign seized on it, suggesting that Hostettler's non-answer shows he supports private ownership of nuclear weapons.

And then the Bloomington Herald-Times ran a story about how Hostettler couldn't bring himself to say that the 2nd Amendment doesn't allow private ownership of nuclear weapons.

Well, just because Hostettler has been the victim of a biased media, does he get my vote (if I were old enough)? No. But I do have to admire his courage in voting against the authorization of military force in Iraq, unlike most of the rest of the Republican Party. Point for Hostettler.

Since Hartke is challenger, he doesn't have a voting record to scrutinize. But I have to discredit his credibility for linking to the obviously inaccurate Evansville CAP stories on his website: Hartke in the House! -- no, I am not kidding, that is the actual title of the site.

Furthermore, one of his press releases slams Hostettler for "not supporting educational values". Hartke supports more funding for the Department of Education. Hostettler advocates abolishing it (simply re-delegating its powers to the state and local governments, keep in mind). It's really sick when a Democrat tries to say they support education but the Republican doesn't support it. EVERYONE SUPPORTS EDUCATION. Stop trying to skew your stories Hartke, because you are overdoing it and your stories are overly biased, even in an effort to knock off an incumbent Representative.

Although I am not perfectly informed about all issues, if I were eighteen, my vote would go to Hostettler. He stood up for his belief on Iraq, and his opponent has been unscrupulous in his attacks on Hostettler.

I'd like to end this post with the logo from Hartke's campaign site (I am not making this up!):

Saturday, November 02, 2002


The following story was contributed by Pat:

Five members of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity (WaWa) were arrested for common assault in the early hours of Thursday, Oct. 17, after hitting two non-Hopkins affiliates with balloons believed to have been filled with water. A student from Ivy Hall was arrested in a related incident.

According to the Hopkins Security report, the victim and her friend were standing in front of the WaWa fraternity house when they were struck by two liquid-filled balloons thrown from the house. The victim reported the incident to the guard on duty at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, who contacted Hopkins Security. The victim also notified the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD), which responded with six to seven patrol cars and a police helicopter.

Full Text