Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome

News reports coming in of a pair of car bombs in Sweden, possibly linked to the country's military involvement in Afghanistan or editorial cartoons depicting Mohammad as a terrorist.

Two blasts rocked the center of Stockholm on Saturday in a possible attack inspired by Sweden's presence in Afghanistan, killing the bomber and wounding two other people, police and media said.
Swedish news agency TT said that 10 minutes before the first blast, when a car exploded near a busy shopping street, it received an email with threats over the Swedish presence in Afghanistan and over a years-old case of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad by a Swedish artist.

Police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said the car exploded at peak shopping hours at 5 p.m. (12 p.m. EST). About 10 to 15 minutes later another explosion took place on a street 300 meters (984 ft) away.

A man was found dead near the second explosion and two people with minor injuries were also found nearby.

Asked if the man blew himself up in some way, Lindgren said: "It is possible."

Investigations were continuing to see if the two incidents were linked, he said.

More on this as it comes in.

[UPDATE] CNN is saying that Swedish authorities believe this was a failed terrorist bombing, and that the intended destruction could have been much deadlier.

Not A Really Nice Guy

Here's a shocker:  Richard Nixon was a nasty, paranoid bigot.  No, really.

In a conversation Feb. 13, 1973, with Charles W. Colson, a senior adviser who had just told Nixon that he had always had “a little prejudice,” Nixon said he was not prejudiced but continued: “I’ve just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits.”

“The Jews have certain traits,” he said. “The Irish have certain — for example, the Irish can’t drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish.”

Nixon continued: “The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but,” and his voice trailed off.

A moment later, Nixon returned to Jews: “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”

At another point, in a long and wandering conversation with Rose Mary Woods, his personal secretary, that veered from whom to invite to a state dinner to whether Ms. Woods should get her hair done, Nixon offered sharp skepticism at the views of William P. Rogers, his secretary of state, about the future of black Africans.

“Bill Rogers has got — to his credit it’s a decent feeling — but somewhat sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York,” Nixon said. “He says well, ‘They are coming along, and that after all they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.’ So forth and so on.

“My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years,” he said. “I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose.” 

Oh, and of course this guy ended up as President.  I'd like to think we've come a long was since 1972.  In many ways we have.  In other ways however, we're backsliding dangerously.

Still, a pretty stark reminder about the people in power.  We like to think that in a perfect world, nobody as corrupt as Nixon would ever end up in power.  Sadly, thousands of years of history teaches us otherwise, and America is no different in that respect.

Epic Reach Out And Touch Someone...To Pieces Win

The US Navy reminds us of the difference between a "firearm" and a "gun".  Firearms kill people at 100 feet.  Guns kill people at 100 miles.

In the near future, US Navy ships won't use explosive cannons. They will destroy targets 100 miles away with the monster 33-megajoules railgun shown in this video. In the words of Rear Admiral Nevin P. Carr: This "really changes several games."

Right now, Navy railguns could only reach targets 13 miles away. The new railgun reaches any target 100 miles away in six minutes using 33-megajoules of energy, an unprecedented tactical advantage over conventional weaponry like cannons and cruise missiles. To give you an idea of the magnitude of the impact, a megajoule is "roughly equivalent to a 1-ton car traveling at 100 mph." Imagine the effect on a target.

According to the program manager at the Office of Naval Research, Roger Ellis, the gun will eventually reach enemy vehicles and structures 200 miles away with perfect accuracy, using a GPS-based targeting system. Ellis also says that "eliminating explosives from the ship, which brings significant safety benefits and logistical benefits." They just need a constant source of energy in the ship, like diesel engines or a nuclear reactor.

Yeah, not exactly effective against terrorists's a freakin' railgun.  It's still cool.  Just need an 80-ton mech to mount her on...

EPIC WIN from a tech standpoint however.

Angels And Demons

People forget sometimes that one of the oldest diplomatic states on Earth is Vatican City, and apparently they have WikiLeaks-based problems with embarrassing cables just like everyone else.

Among the documents were cables showing that relations between the Vatican and Ireland deteriorated sharply as the Holy See appeared to ignore a commission looking into complaints of physical and sexual abuse of children by Irish priests.

One cable from earlier this year says the Vatican was angered by the way the Murphy Commission -- which was looking into the how complaints of abuse had been handled by the Church and Irish government -- sidestepped normal diplomatic channels.

The commission had written directly to the Vatican to seek information and requested a meeting with the Vatican's representative in Ireland. The Vatican envoy did not respond, according to the cable.
The cable was one of several published Friday by the Guardian newspaper in London.

The Murphy Commission was appointed after another inquiry issued a report in May 2009 detailing horrific abuses, including 325 alleged cases of abuse by priests, and concluding that the problem was endemic.
"The Vatican believes the Irish government failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations," the charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, wrote in February 2010.

"Adding insult to injury, Vatican officials also believed some Irish opposition politicians were making political hay with the situation by calling publicly on the government to demand that the Vatican reply."

But the cable added: "Much of the Irish public views the Vatican protests as pettily procedural and failing to confront the real issue of horrific abuse and cover-up by Church officials."

I'd have to side with our ambassador to the Vatican on this one.  The situation that the Murphy Commission is dealing with is about as ugly as it gets, and nobody stalls quite like the Vatican does.  Granted, Ireland has much larger problems to deal with right now with their economy locked into austerity freefall and their government on the verge of collapse, but it's still pretty damn important to note what's going on there.

Openly pressuring the Vatican on something like this is a pretty bold move, but I certainly can't blame the Irish for doing so.

Turn On The Lights, Watch The Roaches Scatter Part 48

At least one district judge is siding with the banks in Foreclosuregate, but only because the judge believes state courts have the authority to stop fraudulent foreclosures, not federal ones.

GMAC Mortgage LLC, after defeating a bid by homeowners in Maine who sought a federal court order blocking sales and evictions, can sell foreclosed homes in the state.

U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby, at a hearing yesterday in Portland, Maine, declined to grant a temporary restraining order that a plaintiff’s lawyer said would have kept GMAC from selling foreclosed homes and evicting residents.

The judge said his decision hinged on the power of federal courts to stop proceedings in state courts, where foreclosures take place. He said individual homeowners who face losing their homes in a foreclosure sale can go to state court to stop the sales, he said.

“This decision is based on the limited authority federal courts have,” Hornby said.

The Maine case, filed in state court in October and moved to federal court by GMAC in November, involves five homeowners who are suing GMAC, claiming the company relied on defective court documents in seizing homes. The plaintiffs are seeking to represent Maine homeowners who are facing foreclosure by GMAC or who lost their homes in a GMAC foreclosure during the past six years and whose case relied on false documents, according to court documents.

GMAC had agreed to suspend foreclosure sales and evictions in the state until the judge ruled on the request for the restraining order, Andrea Bopp Stark, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said. That agreement expires yesterday.

In other words, GMAC moved the case to federal court because they knew they would win, but the decision means these individual homeowners have to go to state court now to stop each foreclosure separately.  That's going to be a logistical nightmare, and everyone knows it.

I wouldn't expect GMAC to restart foreclosures right before Christmas in Maine, but we'll see.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

Related Posts with Thumbnails