Archive for January, 2004

Based on this story about International maritime piracy, and others I have read in recent weeks the SoothSayer has a prediction:

If another large scale, 9/11 type, terrorist attack is to occur its source will be via the sealanes and the many LNG tankers that ply the trade routes of the world.

A few months ago I read a report of one particular incident that occured in the Malaaca Straits. It was unusal in the fact that it was carried out by Arabic speaking Indonesians or Malaysians. What was different about this attack was a noteable lack of interest in the cargo or personel items of value the ships crew possessed. This group spent their time onboard interogating the Captain on ships functions and at one point took the helm to judge ships reactions to steering inputs.

Try as I might I have not located the original reference on the International Maritime Boards website or its weekly reports section. Here is a excerpt from the 2003 yearly report:

The report showed some new trends. Hijackings of merchant vessels and their cargoes ceased last year. All hijackings reported were in two main categories – military-style operations by militant groups seeking to hold crew members for ransom to raise funds for their cause and attacks against soft targets such as tugs and barges.

Attacks on tankers rose to 22% of the total. Captain Mukundan commented: “That these ships carrying dangerous cargoes may fall temporarily under the control of unauthorized and unqualified individuals is a matter of concern, for both environmental and safety reasons.”

The thought of an LNG tanker carrying thousands of metric tonnes of natural gas being commandeered, and sailed into one of the many under protected ports of the world is disturbing, but I believe possible.

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Categorized by the Blog Herald as possible comedy, this story of a husbands plea for his wife to stop placeing marital disagreements online may strike a cord with many.
I would suggest if true, the husband start a blog of his own or jointly blog with the wife. The online fights may generate enough traffic to knock Instapundit off his hit count lofty perch.

Original Source: Dear Harriette Column in the Detriot Free Press

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In Defense of Free Speech

Who defends free speech? Why Al Franken of course, but he seems to be very selective in doing so.

Wise-cracking funnyman Al Franken yesterday body-slammed a demonstrator to the ground after the man tried to shout down Gov. Howard Dean.
The tussle left Franken’s trademark thick-rim glasses broken, but he said he was not injured.

Franken – who seemed in a state of shock and out of breath after the incident – was helped back to his feet by several people who watched the tussle. Police arrived soon after.

“I got down low and took his legs out,” said Franken afterwards.

Franken said he’s not backing Dean but merely wanted to protect the right of people to speak freely. “I would have done it if he was a Dean supporter at a Kerry rally,” he said.

“I’m neutral in this race but I’m for freedom of speech, which means people should be able to assemble and speak without being shouted down.”

The trouble started when several supporters of fringe presidential candidate Lyndon Larouche began shouting accusations at Dean.

Franken emerged from the crowd and charged one male protester, grabbing him with a bear hug from behind and slamming him onto the floor.

I hope the “heckler” has a good lawyer that release’s Al from his over stuffed wallet in a civil suit, in addition to the criminal charge of assault.

Source: New York Post

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I have been asked to explain why I’m better than the rest. Not the rest of the world, nor the rest of the Blogosphere. My assignment is to explain why I have surpassed the members of this esteemed list:

ChristWeb Current “King of the Blogs.”
Dan K. Oleary
Southern Musings
Where the Hell was I

First a reminder to the judges, as stated by Nick, originator of the King of Blogs, “Have fun, and remember it is only a game!”

Some people misinterpret or ignore the true meaning of the word game defined in the King of Blogs context as, “an amusement or pastime,” or “A competitive and often good humoured pastime played to particular rules.” Others may utilize this definition of game, “an animal hunted for food or sport.” I have faith that the judges will see thru the pretenders that may give the later definition too much emphasis which automaticly gives me an advantage at the outset of this game.

First what I’m not: A journalist, an academic, or a lawyer. I’m not a web designer, CSS expert, or XHTML maven. I’m not color blind as some would have you believe. I’m also not going to use this forum to personaly attack others in a mad effort to scramble to the top of the “King of Blogs” banner.

What I am: Ringmaster for a circus of two daughters, and husband to the most beautiful but also the most apolitical wife in the world. Its her extreme lack of interest in politics that led me down the Blog path.
Is winning the King of Blogs “trophy” important? NO. This space is not for “winning.” Its for pleasure, for the venting of lifes frustrations, and a chance to be heard, something everyone needs on some level.

If I have deviated from the tournaments question this week, so be it. I’m having fun, I’m being heard in all my, supposed, monochromatic blog splender.

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The SoothSayer is Never Humbled

Never humbled and strutting around with a newly inflated ego after the spot on New Hampshire predictions.

New Hampshire Final:

Kerry 39%
Dean 26%
Clark 12%
Edwards 12%
Lieberman 9%

Top two finishers: Correct.
Winning margin: Exactly on the 13 point spread.

SoothSayer admits to underestimating the strength of Gen. Clark, but stands by the basic premise that Edwards, Clark, and Lieberman are finished as anything more than vote sponges, sucking percentage points from Kerry and Dean the until they drop out of the race.

And Clark, rather than improving his performance continues to make questionable statements and decisions. On primary eve his claim of never receiving ant lobbyists money was quickly followed by news reports of 9 firms that have given money to his campaign. An indication of how disorganized and ill prepared Clark’s campaign is was highlighted as Sen. Kerry mounted the stage to give his victory speech. Kerry was still glad handing his followers and basking in the limelight when both CNN and Foxnews went to split screen to show Clark also entering the stage at his Campaign HQ’s. Before Kerry finished there was Clark giving his I won, but finished tied for third speech. Here’s a guy that skipped Iowa to spend all his time, and an enormous sum of money for a distant third place tie. Then he ensures his post primary speech will not be heard live. Stupid!

I also stand by my statements that Dean is finished. But even I must admit his post NH, “and we will,” speech was impressive. Maybe two distant second place finishes after expecting wins have given him a new outlook and plan for whatever remains of his tattered campaign. He complained as front runner he was singled out for extra critical attention. Now with only himself, Kerry and possibly Sen. Edwards left as viable candidates, it will get harder to hide the mis-statements, and past voting records that contradict current positions.

So now its on to South Carolina, Missouri, and 5 other states for the next round on Feb. 3. And another Soothsayer victory!

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As this is written its just a little over the one hour mark until the first votes are cast in the “first in the nation” New Hampshire primary. The first ballots cast will be at one minute after midnight EST in tiny Dixville Notch NH, a small outpost of 19 registered voters. Its also time to remove the Soothsayers hat from the closet and make fearless predictions on its outcome.

Kerry will without doubt win, the only question is by how much. The margin of victory will determine how many of the remaining field will continue on to next weeks primary in South Carolina. Kerry this week has focused on attacking Pres. Bush and how he would be a better choice as President.

Dr. Dean has recovered from the near disaster in Iowa to place second. His numbers bottomed out in the high teens and now stand within reach of Kerry. Some are calling it a “dead cat bounce” that remains to be seen. He has continued to make some strange statements and NH voters may decide to some extract ballot revenge. If that revenge pushes Dean to a third place finish he will be done despite all his “internet money”

Sen. Edwards will continue his Iowa surge to third place, with a good shot at second given the shaky ground Dean is standing on. As in Iowa Edwards has created a stir with crowds increasing in size as the vote approaches.

Gen. Clark has found himself in a dogfight to hold on to fourth place. The former Clinton advisor’s that are part of his campaign have failed to muzzle Clarks ability to make destructive remarks or clarify where he stands on many issues. Fourth place, with very a real opportunity to fall further down the list. In any event the good General is finished.

Sen. Lieberman has fought the good fight, but even with additional help from the still undecided voters he is also finished. The fact he skipped going to Iowa to concentrate on NH hurt some but the reality is time has past him by. And unfair as it may be I believe many have painted him with the Gore brush and labeled him as contributing to the Gore/Lieberman ticket losing to Bush in 2000.

I’ll skip the rest as sideshows, other than to say Kucinich was done before he started and Rev. Sharpten will continue on, and will do fairly well in South Carolina given the racial makeup of that state. That will serve his ultimate goal of placing his face before the public but thats it

And the final talley is:

Kerry 37%
Dean 24%
Edwards 20%
Lieberman 10%
Clark 9%

Surprise, maybe I’m giving the voters more credit than I should, but I think they will see Clark for what he is and the fall he has been in will continue. In any event the top three will all meet for the South Carolina free for all. The rest can go home and lick their wounds.

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Dean’s current stand on privacy appears to leave little wiggle room: His campaign platform pledges unwavering support for “the constitutional principles of equality, liberty and privacy.”

Fifteen months before Dean said he would seek the presidency, however, the former Vermont governor spoke at a conference in Pittsburgh co-sponsored by smart-card firm Wave Systems where he called for state drivers’ licenses to be transformed into a kind of standardized national ID card for Americans. Embedding smart cards into uniform IDs was necessary to thwart “cyberterrorism” and identity theft, Dean claimed. “We must move to smarter license cards that carry secure digital information that can be universally read at vital checkpoints,” Dean said in March 2002, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “Issuing such a card would have little effect on the privacy of Americans.”

As they say, be careful of what you ask for.

Source: ZDNet

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The term “bugging out” has a long history in US Military terminology. Most often its heard when a unit is being called to relocate to a more advantagous position or, worst case, to retreat a position and live to fight another day.

In retired Gen Clark’s case, as outlined by the The Washington Dispach, I would say its time to BUG OUT. Your all done as a relieable, honest, viable candidate.

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His mouth I mean, it just won’t stop regurgitating nonsensical garbage. “Howierd” Dean’s Presidential Candidacy is all but buried, but he insists on digging himself a deeper hole. Maybe deeper than the one his apparently beloved Saddam was living in.

Here is the “shovel” used in his latest excavations:

“You can say that it’s great that Saddam is gone and I’m sure that a lot of Iraqis feel it is great that Saddam is gone,” Dean said yesterday in answer to a question in Manchester. “But a lot of them gave their lives. And their living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before.”

Underscore mine.

Nice guy this Dean fella. And people say GWB has trouble speaking in public. At least GW and most, if not all (not sure about loose cannon Gen. Clark) of Dean’s fellow Democratic contenders in the primary race disagree with this incredulous statement.

So much for the touchy feely image he portrayed during Thursday’s Diane Sawyer interview on ABC News. He has even created a stir over the interview done with his wife that aired Sunday night. Deans campaign staff distributed tens of thousands of copies of the ABC News interview yesterday. And ABC is not happy about it, “Our message is loud and clear that it’s not within their rights to do this,” said ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider, who added the network’s rights and clearances division will take up the matter.

Opps, somebody got a little over zealous, although I don’t see the great harm, the transcript is available online, all 29 pages of it. Maybe the lawyers ABC have on retainer are underworked at the moment. I read about 8 pages until what few “living Cells” I still possess became numb under the tedium.

The polls open in New Hampshire’s “first in the nation” primary in a little less than 24 hours, and the results should indicate if Dean’s verbal “excavations” hurt his chances or he stops the downward spiral he has been in of late. Surely the “SoothSayer” will make an appearance to give his predictions on the primary. I noticed his “SoothSayer Hat” was missing from its shaping block so he must be getting warmed up to grace us with his presence.

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Just as the mainstream media has focused more attention on Sen. Kerry as the current “frontrunner” in this Democratic primary season, I’ll continue to post items of interest.

Chris Wallece who hosts the show Fox News Sunday had as his guest Sen. Kerry. The transcript
makes for interesting reading.
Of particular note are his answers relating to his voting against the Defense of Marriage Act, his vote against banning partial-birth abortions, and votes to cut the budget for military intelligence.

The tales being told and the webs being woven are nothing short of astonding.

More on The Kerry Story

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