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Archive for January, 2004

So basically, we *all* got conned.

January 30, 2004 Leave a comment

Sad thing is, I called this months ago, but darned if I can find anywhere that I actually wrote that down beyond a vague recollection that I mentioned it to my friend Wedge. In other words, I’ve got no proof.

What am I talking about? That Iraqi scientists were conning Saddam into bankrolling weapons programs that didn’t actually exist.

Ex-Inspector Says C.I.A. Missed Disarray in Iraqi Arms Program

“After the onset of this “dark ages,” Dr. Kay said, Iraqi scientists realized they could go directly to Mr. Hussein and present fanciful plans for weapons programs, and receive approval and large amounts of money. Whatever was left of an effective weapons capability, he said, was largely subsumed into corrupt money-raising schemes by scientists skilled in the arts of lying and surviving in a fevered police state.

“‘The whole thing shifted from directed programs to a corrupted process,’ Dr. Kay said. ‘The regime was no longer in control; it was like a death spiral. Saddam was self-directing projects that were not vetted by anyone else. The scientists were able to fake programs.’

So how does a non-existent weapons of mass-destruction program look like one? Well, you have to have props if Saddam ever comes to visit. In other words, Saddam’s scientists set up what amounted to Potemkin villages. On top of that, there was evidence that the Iraqis continued research and development “right up until the end” to improve their ability to produce ricin. “They were mostly researching better methods for weaponization,” Dr. Kay said. “They were maintaining an infrastructure, but they didn’t have large-scale production under way.”

In other words, the CIA blew it. But the reasons they blew it may turn out to be less their fault, and more the fault of a corrupt scientific establishment that knew that they could get money from Saddam if they said that their program was going to develop wonder weapons. It’s a familiar story from post-1943 World War II Germany, now played out under the Arabian skies.

Moment of Zen
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Tourist Douses Crying Baby on Flight

Categories: Personal

And then there's Vermont, all by its lonesome up there…..

January 28, 2004 1 comment

Gacked this from , who in turn had gacked it from someone else.


create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

I seem to be avoiding a rather large section of the country, tiptoeing around the edges while the inner voices scream “NOOO! Don’t go to Iowa or Montana! Nooo!” The one I really don’t understand not going to, however, is Vermont. My travels seem to have surrounded it (if the map extended northward, I’ve been to both Quebec and Ontario) without setting foot inside of it. Something to rectify, preferably one fall while the leaves are turning.

Moment of Zen
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Giant Snowball Stops Train in Its Tracks

Categories: Personal

*shaking head* A multicultural Chinese buffet?

January 25, 2004 Leave a comment

Sometimes, I run across something that just makes me shake my head. Today was a case in point. Before I start though, I’m going to give some background on my thing on Chinese buffets.

Everywhere I’ve lived since college, I’ve tried to find a good Chinese buffet. If they make vegetable mei fun as a bonus, I’m theirs. I had the Golden Palace Buffet in Pittsburgh (though note the line in the review “The Golden Palace has plenty of vegetarian dishes to choose from as well, so if meat is something you don’t eat, don’t worry.” Yeah, don’t eat the meat. It’s not always clear if it’s the meat that it’s advertised as being. Did I mention the vegetable mei fun?) In Philadelphia, I had the Win Buffet, which was OK but not something I would have run miles for. In Knoxville, I wasn’t there really long enough and I was on the Atkins diet most of the time (in other words, vegetable mei fun was off the menu.) In Germantown, MD, there’s nothing. I had to go up to Frederick to find one, the New China Buffet.

Now that that’s out of the way, back to the thing that made me shake my head. Since coming to the DC metro area, I’ve come across a few instances of the mixed buffet, where you might have pepper beef sitting right next to lasagna and Swedish meatballs. It’s quite bizzare, but generally pretty small and salad-bar like in terms of size. This Sunday, I walked in the New China Buffet at noon to discover that they’d decided to have a Chinese-Mexican-breakfast-seafood brunch. There was a taco bar, waffles and scrambled eggs, fried clam strips and potato wedges, and the usual Chinese. On the principle that there was a reason that God had put such wide continental and oceanic separation between tacos with hot sauce and sweet-and-sour chicken, I had some honey chicken, egg drop soup and mei fun.

I think the thing that got me the most: the waffles. *shaking head*

Moment of Zen
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Oldest U.S. Bank Robber Gets 12 Years in Prison

Categories: Personal

Globe trotting.

January 23, 2004 Leave a comment

Ran across this on ’s journal and decided to create my own “Where’ve I been?” map, aka the “God, who was dumb enough to let me in?” map.


create your own visited country map

Looks a lot like ’s map, though I’ve been to Ireland and she hasn’t yet. Of course, she’s also been to Thailand, Malaysia and Japan and I haven’t. I’m not quite sure when she visited Austria though, as that also seems to be on her map.

Moment of Zen
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Sell Yourself with ‘Body Bucks’ Course

Categories: Personal

The last member of Churchill's cabinet still alive (that I know of.)

January 20, 2004 Leave a comment

I’m referring to, of course, Churchill’s parrot, Charlie. She’s 104 today, and still saying “F*** Hitler” and “F*** the Nazis”. Even today, 39 years after the great man’s death, she can still be coaxed into repeating them with that unmistakable Churchillian inflection.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=13832640&method=full&siteid=50143

Moment of Zen
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Army Joins Struggle to Save Beer

Categories: Personal

La has an LJ!

January 14, 2004 Leave a comment

*shameless plug*My La has a LJ now! Go, go, read! */shameless plug*

Moment of Zen
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Russian pop duo TATU have finally admitted they are NOT lesbians.

Categories: Personal

Brrrr…..

January 11, 2004 Leave a comment

It’s quite frigid on the Eastern Seaboard today, so I spent the day doing two things: passing the Apple Help Desk Specialist Exam (score of 87%,needed 65% to pass. Whoo hoo!) to be certified as an Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist (ACHDS) and cleaning, since Miss Yess is coming to visit tomorrow. I think I nearly spring-cleaned my lungs while I was spraying the Scrubbing Bubbles in the bathtub.

Discoveries today:

1. Szechuan beef – not one of my favorite things. Blech.

2. The Thomas Crown Affair never, ever gets old.

Moment of Zen
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Honey, Feel Like Saving a Little Water?

Categories: Personal
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