mr. zilla goes to town

Thursday, March 30, 2006

next, please

Tragically, I'm afraid that no matter which way we cut it, short of full scale invasion and permanent occupation of Iran, there is no way to physically prevent the eeevil Mullahs from developing their own nuclear weapons arsenal within the next 5-7 years. It is within US, Russian and European power however to initiate a region-wide strategic de-escalation, which must begin with China and India, with the goal of engendering a virtuous cycle of non-armament, non-proliferation and safeguards on enrichment, if not actual disarmament in the short term.

I know that President Bush and Secretary Rice can do this, and will dedicate their every effort to this end for the closing three years of the Bush presidency. The stakes are too high for further scaremongering or distraction.

Ha ha ha! Just kidding!

Saudi Arabia is working secretly on a nuclear programme, with help from Pakistani experts, the German magazine Cicero reports in its latest edition, citing western security sources.

Cicero, which will appear on newsstands tomorrow, also quoted a US military analyst, John Pike, as saying that Saudi bar codes can be found on half of Pakistan's nuclear weapons "because it is Saudi Arabia which ultimately co-financed the Pakistani atomic nuclear programme".

The magazine also said satellite images prove that Saudi Arabia has set up in al-Sulaiyil, South of Riyadh, a secret underground city and dozens of underground silos for missiles.

According to some western security services, long-range Ghauri-type missiles of Pakistani-origin are housed inside the silos.

Monday, March 27, 2006

the money or the gun?

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this ad in the sidebar of a conservative blog:

With yet another successful election, time may be running out to buy the New Iraqi Dinar before it hits the open market. It's now unbelievably affordable. The same amount that was once equal to over $82,000 can now be purchased for around $45. But, what happens when the oil really starts to flow?


Yes that's right - the Iraq currency has fallen to less than 0.05% of it's previous value. Which can mean only one thing, right? There's never been a better time to buy! Not only will you be getting in at the bottom of the market, but your savvy speculation is also demonstrating your confidence in the ability of the free Iraqi people to triumph over terror and build a prosperous market democracy in the heart of the middle east!

... Or at least that's what the advertisment from the scammers at Bet On Iraq would like you suckers to believe. XE.com has more.

Friday, March 24, 2006

market testing

An Australian, a Canadian, an Italian and an Israeli are sitting in a bar.

The Australian notices that the back page of the magazine in front of him is the print version of the latest Australian tourism campaign. It’s got an expansive beach, the less-expansive beach babe Lara Tingle smiling into the camera, and “where the bloody hell are you?” fonted across the page.

So fellas, says the Australian, what do you make of this?

The Canadian, the Italian and the Israeli consider the image.

They consider it a little more.

“Well,” says the Italian, “that’s an attractive woman alright. And the beach, it looks nice. But you know, it’s not like there are no hot women and beaches in France, Greece, Spain, the whole Mediterranean. Brazil too. I say… so what?”

“It’s not really particularly distinctive,” says the Canadian.

“What about the tagline? We worked really hard on that tagline, you know.”

“I don’t get it,” says the Israeli.

“To be honest, it’s a little coarse,” says the Canadian.

$180 million well spent. I go buy the next round.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

the immovable object and the irresistible force

Bubbleboy:

President Bush said Tuesday that U.S. troops will be in Iraq after his presidency ends in 2009. "I'm optimistic we'll succeed" in Iraq," he insisted. "If not, I'd pull our troops out."

Colonel Larry Wilkinson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell:
I'm hearing from lieutenants, captains, majors, generals, many in uniform, many of whom were my students in years passed when I taught at the nation's war colleges. I'm hearing from the civilians who were foreign service officers, civil service and so forth in our embassy in Baghdad and I can tell you that the morale in the uniformed military is being impacted and I can also tell you that our ground forces are stretched to the point where you hear talk about withdrawal from Iraq. Within 24 months, we're going to have to withdraw from Iraq, whether the situation there, politically, economically and so forth, is adequate or not because we've stretched our ground forces to the point of breaking.

You know what pisses me off? That this failure of purpose, failure of coherence, failure of application called Iraq has surely poisoned the well for US (and probably UK) humanitarian intervention for at least a decade. Darfur? DR Congo? Who? Where?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

bang for your buck

How much are US taxpayers spending on domestic Homeland Security measures?

The President’s FY 2006 budget request includes a total of $41.1 billion for the Department of Homeland Security. This is an increase in total budgetary authority of 7 percent over the enacted FY 2005 funding.

Within DHS, how much is spent on transportation security?

For Fiscal Year 2006 the President's Budget requests $5.3 billion for the Transportation Security Administration.

That's a fair bit of money, $5.3 billion - practically enough to fund the US occupation in Iraq for weeks. So you think it might buy you a little bit of, say, transportation security? Ummm...

Imagine an explosion strong enough to blow a car's trunk apart, caused by a bomb inside a passenger plane. Government sources tell NBC News that federal investigators recently were able to carry materials needed to make a similar homemade bomb through security screening at 21 airports.

In all 21 airports tested, no machine, no swab, no screener anywhere stopped the bomb materials from getting through. Even when investigators deliberately triggered extra screening of bags, no one discovered the materials.

Oops.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

captain kurt

Kurt Vonnegut doesn't know how to pull his punches. Never has. Which is great for us, but for poor Kurt I think it means he's got to bite someone's ear off before he feels like he's properly got the juices flowing:

Vonnegut takes an easy chair across from Prof. Manuel Luis Martinez, a poet and teacher of writing. He grabs Martinez and semi-whispers into his ear (and the mike) “What can I say here?”

Martinez urges candor.

“Well,” says Vonnegut, “I just want to say that George W. Bush is the syphilis president.”

Ding ding!

“The only difference between Bush and Hitler,” Vonnegut adds, “is that Hitler was elected.”

And, uh, doo-de-doo-doo:

“If you want really want to hurt your parents and don’t want to be gay, go into the arts,” he says.

Then he breaks into song, doing a passable, tender rendition of “Stardust Memories.”

“To hell with the advances in computers,” he says after he finishes singing. “YOU are supposed to advance and become, not the computers. Find out what’s inside you. And don’t kill anybody."

[...] “We are here on Earth to fart around,” he explains, and then embarks on a soliloquy about the joys of going to the store to buy an envelope.

[...] The greatest peace, Vonnegut wraps up, “comes from the knowledge that I have enough. Joe Heller told me that."

Well, except envelopes, obviously. Still, you know what they say, read the whole thing.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

abort thought

Come and see the faces of some of the more thoughtful foot soldiers of the US "pro-life" movement, as they experience a few moments of cognitive dissonance.

Yes, I think "pro-life" does deserve scare quotes these days, given they consider that the existence of an hours-old fertilized blastocyst, with precisely zero autonomy or higher brain function, to account for greater moral weight than the future of the women who, by law in South Dakota, must now carry any rapist's child to term.