MoonDawg's Den: March 2007

MoonDawg's Den

Friday, March 30, 2007

Just 3 Things

On my way home from Kanab today, I switched my satellite radio over to right-wing talk. I do that on long trips sometimes if I'm tired because I stay awake screaming at the hosts.

Tonight, I listened to most of The Rusty Humphries Show, and I tried to keep my screaming to a minimum. While I could write a very, very long rebuttal to most of the things Humphries said (I cringe when I hear pundits say, "I've done the research, so you don't have to," which he said over and over throughout the broadcast. But, I digress.), I only want to comment on one little section that I found interesting.

Most of the show centered around the thesis that "immigration without assimilation will bring a great country to its knees." I disagree with that thesis on many levels, but I have a harder time with it because Humphries didn't define "assimilation." From his ensuing rants, it was difficult to tell what he actually meant.

Anyway, during his discussion of the topic, Humphries quoted Michael Savage (a pundit that I loath beyond belief), who said that the three things that need to be defended to keep our country great are our "borders, language, and culture." I found that conclusion to be overly nationalistic (a word that too often gets confused with "patriotic"), so I decided to write my own list.

The three things that I believe need to be defended to keep our country great are 1) Personal Freedom, 2) Economic Freedom, and 3) an educated populace.

I want to hold off discussing these three things in depth for a bit to see what others have to say. So, here is the question:

What three things do you believe must be defended in order to keep our country great? There are 2 rules: 1) You must name 3, no more, no less; and 2) You cannot use the Constitution as one of your 3 (I get to make the rules, and I think that using that grand old document is cheating. Cheaters aren't allowed :).)


Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Islamic insurgency grows bolder

It's being called the "Massacre in Yala":
Violence in Thailand's southern provinces has reached a level that shocked many when Muslim separatists attacked a van and killed nine passengers. As Ron Corben reports from Bangkok, experts say it appears the militants hope to drive non-Muslims out of the region, despite government efforts to bring peace.

And more sectarian butchery this week:
Suspected separatists shot dead three Buddhist women involved with a project for victims of Thailand's insurgency on Monday, AP reported.

In a post on this subject a couple of weeks ago it was noted that "the future may come as a bloody shock to the Thais". One might argue that the future is already here, but it seems that even worse atrocities are not just possible, but likely.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Community Server

Apologies for the lack of blogging recently, but I've been busy running my annual March Madness Pool. This year I made an addition to the site to permit interaction between the pool players, powered by a nifty platform called Community Server. The platform, which runs on an MS SQL database through my hosting service, permits me to have an online forum, blogs, and any other content I want to include. Community Server also offers options for setting up photo galleries and other types of file sharing, RSS newsfeeds and blog syndication, and it can support thousands of individual users.

The control interface is quite user friendly, although customization is not quite as easy as the promotional copy would lead you to believe - a considerable amount of effort tweaking config files is required (no simple task for a non-techie like myself), although after reviewing tips offered by other users of CS, I was able to stumble and bumble my way through.

Besides, how can you complain when the thing is free (for the Personal Edition, that is). Powerful tools such as this that allow vast interaction and collaboration among thousands of people - coupled with virtually unlimited integration of constantly updated content - is part of what people mean when they talk about the concept of Web 2.0.

And how do I wield this mighty tool of the future? I use it to make a March Madness office pool more fun for the participants. Call it Pool 2.0...

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Sunday, March 11, 2007


A site of mine,, that is hosted by is down today, as are many other sites hosted by GoDaddy. Some suspect that GoDaddy's hosting servers were ill-prepared for this morning's early change to Daylight Savings Time; Elf M. Sternberg calls it a "mini-Y2K, and says "this completely sucks". I couldn't agree more - is a site I use for a large NCAA tournanment pool that I run every year, and today is Selection Sunday! This is inexcusable, especially since they've had nearly two years to get ready - the legislation changing DST was signed in 2005.

It appears other computers are also experiencing "DST2K" problems: Sprint phones aren't showing the correct time, and neither is my own T-Mobile Blackberry (tried powering it on and off, but that didn't help). And flights at Philadelphia International Airport have reportedly been delayed by a DST time glitch.

Fortunately, my battery-powered analog wall clock is showing the correct time, after a simple spin of the dial in the back of the clock. Sometimes simpler is better...

UPDATE: The Team Murder blog points to a PC World article from yesterday, in which GoDaddy poo-pooed concerns raised by a customer that its servers weren't prepared for the new DST:

"Thank you for contacting Online Support. As Daylight Savings [sic] does not apply to our servers, since we are on Arizona Time and our time zone does not change, our servers wouldn't update," reads one of the replies he received, and which he provided to IDG News Service.

Are. You. Effing. Kidding. Me?

UPDATE II: YawpCo! reports that "as of 3:18pm EST it appears that GoDaddy services are restored". But my MarchMadPool site is still down...

UPDATE III: See the comments at this Slashdot post for a tech geek discussion of the GoDaddy debacle.

UPDATE IV: As of 3:48pm EST my site is back up and running - praise be! Let's just hope it stays up for the duration of March Madness...

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Out of Africa

Yesterday, while responding to my co-blogger Jeff about the dishonesty of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, the subject of President Bush's infamous "16 words" from the 2003 State of the Union speech came up (Bush had said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa"). Among other things, I noted this from the UK's Butler Report on Britain's pre-war intelligence, about how Iraq had sought uranium from the Congo:

There was further and separate intelligence that in 1999 the Iraqi regime had also made inquiries about the purchase of uranium ore in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this case, there was some evidence that by 2002 an agreement for a sale had been reached.

Serendipitously, today the Instapundit shares a relevant BBC news story - "DR Congo uranium ring smashed" (empahsis mine):

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo say they have dismantled an international network set up to illegally use uranium mined there.
DR Congo's daily newspaper Le Phare on Wednesday reported that more than 100 bars of uranium, as well as an unknown quantity of uranium contained in helmet-shaped cases, had disappeared from the centre as part of a vast trafficking of the material going back years.

In his post on the story, Glenn Reynolds notes some are speculating that the black market uranium went to Iran or North Korea. I don't think it's stretching the imagination too much to add Saddam Hussein's Iraq to that mix...

UPDATE: Chad at the KURU Lounge notes some further relevant information from the BBC on uranium smuggling from the Congo (so far the American news media is MIA on this story). Emphasis his:
Officially, no uranium at all should now be leaving the country. But the United Nations has reported that in the past six years more than 50 cases of smuggled uranium have been seized in Congo.

The last six years would cover 2002, the year that the Butler Report said Iraq had reached "an agreement for a sale" with the DRC. I'm sure that Keith Olbermann will make this news the lead item on Countdown tomorrow. NOT!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Thailand in the cross-hairs

Yesterday PJM's Australia editor, Richard Fernandez, analyzed the Islamic insurgency in Thailand, a subject that I wrote a post about just last week:
Their present tactical objectives seem to be to radicalize the local Muslim population, to promote feelings of Islamic solidarity and Islamic consciousness, to create a mental and emotional divide between the Muslims and the non-Muslims, mainly the Buddhists, and to prepare the ground for a sustained jihad.

A commenter on Fernandez's article provides additonal background, and offers this grim assessment of the situation: "Thai Buddhists cling to the misconception that Islam is a religion of peace, and they point to the tiny, superficially tranquil Muslim community in Bangkok as proof. The future may come as a bloody shock to the Thais. Thailand is in the cross-hairs, and if it takes two hundred years, it will be purged of its major religion (which the Koran teaches is 'worse than carnage') and become host to a flood of immigrants from the south."

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Lindsey Graham on Meet the Press

I posted this on my blog, and I was going to copy and paste it here, but it's really long. Go read it.

"What Lindsey Graham didn't say on Meet the Press" at The Multifaceted Me



Monday, March 05, 2007

Let the Madness begin

March Madness will be here next week, replete with buzzer-beaters, improbable turnarounds, and astonishing upsets. This is the time of year when college basketball equals and even exceeds the drama found in college football.

To get in the mood, here is the classic Hill-to-Laettner miracle that lifted Duke over Kentucky as time expired in the '92 East Regional Finals. Grab the remote and a cold beverage, secure a prime spot in front of the tube, and get ready - the Madness is about to begin.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Civil War?

It seems we could be at a turning point here, given that the country's weak and unstable central government is under intense public pressure because of mounting terrorist attacks by Muslim insurgents. Large areas of the country are becoming a breeding ground for terrorists as the attacks grow bolder, with police officers as well as army troops regularly targeted by roadside bombs.

Thousands of civilians have been killed or wounded by the Islamic militants since the insurgency began (and some of their victims have been beheaded), with the terrorists demonstrating increasingly sophisticated organization in conducting coordinated simultaneous attacks. Car bombings, such as the one pictured here from Sept. '06, indiscriminantly maim locals and foreigners alike. In addition, international Jihadists linked to al-Qaeda are helping the insurgents carry out these terror attacks.

A majority of the local Muslim population does not support this terrorism, but fear of reprisals by the insurgents prevents them from assisting authorities. Meanwhile sectarian clashes grow increasingly violent, leading to concerns that the nation will become embroiled in an all-out civil war.

Oh, by the way, the country in question is not Iraq - it's Thailand.

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Secretary Rice might still be bleeding from this one.