29 September 2009

Okay, so it isn't so funny

Rico says that would be Boutro Boutros-Ghali, the recent head of the United Nations.
He always thought it a silly-sounding name, until he realized the putative founder of a local store chain, William Williams-Sonoma, sounds much the same...

28 September 2009

Huh?

Guess the big Islamic hoohah in DC on the 25th didn't turn out quite as exciting as promised, unless Rico missed the 'film at eleven' coverage…

27 September 2009

No posts, yet again

Rico says he was otherwise engaged.

26 September 2009

No posts, again

Rico says he was otherwise engaged.

25 September 2009

No posts, sorry

Rico says he was otherwise engaged.

24 September 2009


Courtesy of my friend Dave Kitterman, this admonishment:
Never piss off a woman who owns a backhoe.

25 September will be interesting


Courtesy of my friend Peter, this scary site; we'll see what tomorrow actually brings:
On 25 September there will be a prayer gathering of Muslims on the west front of the Capitol Building. They are expecting at least 50,000 to attend, from mosques all across America. They will gather to pray from 4:00 AM until 7:00 PM. The organizers say Obama's inauguration speech in January and his speech broadcast from Egypt in June that gave them the idea for this prayer gathering on Capitol Hill.
Rico says it sounds like a perfect opportunity for all those right-wing crazies to hold a counter-gathering (and bring their automatic weapons)...

And let that be a lesson to you, you fuck

Courtesy of my friend Kelley, this ad, purportedly posted on CraigsList:
To the guy who tried to mug me in downtown Savannah night before last
I was the guy wearing the black Burberry jacket that you demanded that I hand over, shortly after you pulled a knife on my girlfriend and me, threatening our lives. You also asked for my girlfriend's purse and earrings.
I can only hope that you somehow come across this rather important message.
First, I'd like to apologize for your embarrassment when I drew my pistol after you took my jacket. The evening was not that cold, and I was wearing the jacket for a reason. My girlfriend had just bought me that Kimber Model 1911 .45 ACP pistol for my birthday, and we had picked up a shoulder holster for it that very evening.
Obviously you'll agree that it is a very intimidating weapon when pointed at your head, isn't it?
I know it probably wasn't much fun walking back to wherever you'd come from barefoot, since I made you leave your shoes, cell phone, and wallet with me, which prevented you from calling or running to your buddies to come help mug us again.
After I called your mother, or Momma, as you had her listed in your cell phone, I explained the entire episode of what you'd done. Then I went to the gas station and filled up my gas tank, as well as those of four other people, using your credit card. The guy with the big motor home took 150 gallons, and was extremely grateful!
I gave your shoes to a homeless guy, along with all the cash in your wallet. That made his day!
I then threw your wallet into the big pink "pimpmobile" that was parked at the curb, but only after I broke the windshield and side window and keyed the entire driver's side of the car.
Later, I called a bunch of phone sex numbers from your cell phone. Ma Bell just now shut down the line, although I only used the phone for a little over a day now, so what's up with that?
Earlier, I managed to get in two threatening phone calls, one to the DA's office and one to the FBI, while mentioning President Obama as my possible target. The FBI guy seemed really intense and we had a nice long chat (I guess while he traced your number).
In a way, perhaps I should apologize for not killing you, but I feel this type of retribution is a far more appropriate punishment for your threatened crime. I wish you well as you try to sort through some of these immediate issues, and can only hope that you have the opportunity to reflect upon, and perhaps reconsider, the career path you've chosen.
Remember, next time you might not be so lucky. Have a nice day!
Thoughtfully yours,
Alex

Typical Japanese weirdness

Civil War for the day


General P.G.T. Beauregard, CSA

23 September 2009

The Frogman's busy


Rico says that one of his favorite blogs, The Dissident Frogman, hasn't gotten around to posting anything since 9.11, but he can be forgiven…

It won't last


Leonard and Penny ended up in bed together on the Big Bang Theory; not sure who was more surprised, her or him. (Rico says he sure was.) Sitcoms being what they are, it'll never last. Sorry, Leonard…

Civil War for the day


22 September 2009

Thirty seven thousand, near enough


Selling from beyond the grave


Rico says he thought he might order the product, but it's just a little creepy to have Billy Mays doing the ads for the Dual Saw...
But, when you check the reviews (and you always check the reviews, don't you?), you discover (as Rico did) that you can buy the same thing from Sears for twenty bucks less, and get something actually worth the money:

Lump in the throat time

Courtesy of my friend Dave Kitterman.

Civil War for the day


The Appomattox Campaign

21 September 2009

The songs in Rico's head


Rico says it's been that Jackson Browne/Eagles song, Take It Easy:
Well, I'm standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see... It's a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin' down to take a look at me.
There are undoubtedly millions of young people out there who have no idea what a flat-bed Ford looks like, so here's one:

And who knew there was a park?

The law in Texas

Rico says this one's courtesy of his friend Tex:
Only in Texas, my friends, only in Texas…
A lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a sheriff's deputy. He thinks he's smarter than the deputy because he is a lawyer from New York and is certain that he has a better education then any cop from Texas. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the Texas deputy's expense.
The deputy says, "License and registration, please."
"What for?" says the lawyer.
The deputy says, "You didn't come to a complete stop at the stop sign."
Then the lawyer says, "I slowed down, and no one was coming."
"You still didn't come to a complete stop," says the deputy. "License and registration, please."
The lawyer says, "What's the difference?"
"The difference is you have to come to complete stop, that's the law. License and registration, please," the deputy repeats.
The lawyer says, "If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I'll give you my license and registration; and you give me the ticket. If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket."
"That sounds fair. Please exit your vehicle, sir," the deputy says. When the driver does so, the deputy takes out his nightstick and starts beating the crap out of the lawyer. Then he says, "Do you want me to stop, or just slow down?"
God Bless Texas…

Fax this

Courtesy of my cousin Dickie, this view of modern technology.

Panning for poop

Rico says that having a litterbox for one's cats is rather like (well, not much like, but it's a fucking analogy, okay?) panning for gold. You have to get up early every morning and shift a lot of overburden, looking for nuggets. In this case, of course, when you find them you don't bite them. Nor do they have any value, and you keep the overburden for the next day. But, other than that, just like…

Scary stuff but cool, too


The above version courtesy of my friend Rob Buiskool.
The below version courtesy of YouTube, via Wired Science.

Civil War for the day

Big Round Top and Little Round Top at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania:

The hill, always called Round Top, behind Rico's childhood home
in Palo Alto, California:

20 September 2009

Lack of posting

Rico says he apologizes for the lack of posts today, but he was hard at work on the renovation.

Civil War for the day


The Chancellor's house in Chancellorsville, showing battle damage.

19 September 2009

New theory entirely

Rico says it's not the Cold War as we knew it, that's for sure. Robert Wielaard has the story at the AP:
The head of NATO called for the United States, Russia, and NATO to link their missile defense systems against potential new nuclear threats from Asia and the Middle East, saying that the old foes must forget their lingering Cold War animosity.
Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen appealed for unity a day after the US shelved a Bush-era plan for an Eastern European missile defense shield that has been a major irritant in relations with Russia.
"We should explore the potential for linking the three missile defense systems at an appropriate time," Fogh Rasmussen said. "Both NATO and Russia have a wealth of experience in missile defense. We should now work to combine this experience to our mutual benefit."
Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozin said the NATO chief's address had a "very positive tone." "Cooperation with Russia is not a matter of choice but of necessity," Rogozin said.
Fogh Rasmussen called for a reconsideration of NATO-Russia relations. He said long-range ballistic missile technology in the hands of such countries as North Korea and Iran threatens both the West and Russia. "If North Korea stays nuclear, and if Iran becomes nuclear, some of their neighbors might feel compelled to follow their example," he said.
Making NATO and Russian missile defense systems interoperable is a minor issue compared to finding enough political will to let software and other experts at radar sites and command centers exchange military data on a sustained basis. Since 2003, NATO and Russia have staged at least four simulated missile defense exercises. Both sides say they were successful.
"They showed NATO's and Russia's missile defense systems could be made interoperable," Rogozin told reporters Friday. "They showed this can enhance the level of security for everyone."
A NATO diplomat, speaking privately, said "there were even plans for a live exercise." That did not happen, said the official, because of political turmoil in the NATO-Russia relationship
In his address to the Carnegie Europe think tank in Brussels, Fogh Rasmussen said NATO and Russia remain hostages of Cold War thinking. "When the Cold War ended twenty years ago, NATO and Russia developed rather unrealistic expectations about each other," he said. "Those flawed expectations... continue to burden our relationship."
Thursday saw a break with the US decision to abandon the Bush administration's plan to deploy an American missile shield in Eastern Europe because of a changed perception of the threat posed by Iran. US intelligence decided short- and medium-range missiles from Iran now pose a greater near-term threat than the intercontinental ballistic missiles the Bush plan addressed.
A new missile-defense plan would rely on a network of sensors and interceptor missiles based at sea, on land, and in the air as a bulwark against Iranian short- and medium-range missiles.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin praised Obama's decision, and urged the US to also cancel Cold War-era restrictions on trade with Russia.
Rogozin, the Russian NATO envoy, said in Brussels that the shelving of the US missile shield in Eastern Europe means Russia will now not deploy short-range Iskander missiles near Poland. "If you have no radars and missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland, we don't need to find some response," he said.
Russia has long sought a stronger voice in European missile defense plans and has said it would like to link systems. But it insists on a joint analysis of threats first. The Kremlin has always contended the potential threat from Iran was not as serious as the Bush administration said it was. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's foreign policy adviser suggested that Obama's decision to scrap the plans could lead to closer cooperation on security issues, including missile defense.
A key irritant in NATO's relations with Moscow is the drive to bring ex-Soviet states and satellites into the alliance which now has 28 members. The membership prospects of Georgia and Ukraine especially have soured relations. While proposing an unprecedented level of military cooperation with Moscow, Rasmussen said NATO will continue to admit new members if they are judged suited for membership.
Rogozin said Russia continues to object to NATO's claim to be Europe's premier security provider, saying the alliance must formally recognize the Collective Security Treaty Organization that Moscow created in 2002. Its members include Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
Rico says the solution, of course, is to combine NATO and CSTO into the ETO. (Or ECATO, if the Central Asians insist on equal billing.) You heard it here first...

Who did what to whom?

Rico says the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post both have articles on the latest pissing contest between Google and Apple over something called Google Voice (apparently a voice dialer); this is from Michael Arrington's TechCrunch column in the Post:
Something clearly broke down behind the scenes in the ongoing Apple/Google negotiations over Google Voice on the iPhone, because Google released one of two nukes it has been holding back. In a letter to the FCC today, Google disclosed previously unpublished information about Apple's rejection of their Google Voice application.
There's no longer any question; either Google or Apple is flat out lying to the FCC:
Apple: "Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it."
Google: "Apple representatives informed Google that the Google Voice application was rejected because Apple believed the application duplicated the core dialer functionality of the iPhone."
Our position is that Apple is the one full of it, which we stated way before this new information from Google. And it isn't just he said/she said; Apple's story doesn't add up.
But Apple is standing firm, and even today told press that they haven't rejected the Google Voice application, despite what Google says.
This doesn't end here. As we've speculated, Apple will capitulate and accept the application with a few minor tweaks to save face. Because if they don't we've heard Google has yet another nuke waiting on the sidelines: a screen shot of the actual rejection notice via the iPhone developers admin with the formal rejection. At that point, Apple will no longer be able to rely on nuances and misdirection. The FCC and everyone else will know that they lied in a government investigation.
Rico says it won't be the first time someone lied to a government investigation, nor the last...

Missed it again this year

Rico says he missed International Talk Like a Pirate Day, yet again. (Rico's thanks to Wyatt Earp at Support Your Local Gunfighter for the reminder, and for the splendid image of Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean.)
Aarrggh... His apologies to piratical folk everywhere.

More bad timing


Rico says everyone picks the wrong day to say the wrong things, and PressTV has the story of Ahmadinejad's turn:
Western officials have reacted strongly to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's September 18 comments about the Holocaust.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier all attacked President Ahmadinejad for his speech. Gibbs condemned the comments, calling them "baseless, ignorant, and hateful", and claimed that they would only isolate Iran further. Miliband took it one step further, calling Ahmadinejad's remarks an “abhorrent as well as ignorant” outburst “not worthy of the leader of Iran. Iran's people have a great history and culture. I cannot believe that the vast majority of them want to rewrite this chapter of history rather than focus on the future. The coincidence of today's comments with the start of Jewish New Year only adds to the insult."
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier took the insults to their limits by targeting Ahmadinejad himself and calling him "a disgrace. Today's statements by the Iranian president are unacceptable," Steinmeier said in an 18 September statement. "With his intolerable tirades he is a disgrace to his country. This sheer anti-Semitism demands our collective condemnation. We will continue to confront it decisively in the future," he added.
Paris also took it upon itself to call Ahmadinejad's speech "appalling and unacceptable.”
This is while in his speech, Ahmadinejad did not deny the Holocaust, but raised some questions about the matter, asking Western powers for a logical answer. "If the Holocaust, as you claim, is true, why don't you allow a probe into the issue?" he asked, while calling the Zionist regime a symbol of lies and deception founded on “colonialist” attitudes.
The Iranian president also asked why Palestinians had to pay for the genocide of Jews at the hands of Europeans. Ahmadinejad was speaking on Qods, the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when, at the initiative of Iran's late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Muslims rally worldwide to show their support for Palestinians, who, like other Arab nations, have Semitic roots.

Overkill, as one would expect from the Chinese

al-Reuters has a story by Ben Blanchard:
China's public security ministry has warned police to be on guard against any threats to public order linked to the spread of the H1N1 strain of flu, including the spreading of rumours and price-gouging for drugs.
China has reported 11,722 cases of H1N1 flu, from which 7,231 people have recovered. No one has died in China, though there are six cases listed as serious by the Health Ministry.
But the stability-obsessed government is taking no chances in the world's most populous nation, with its huge disparities between rich and poor and patchy health system. "The Ministry of Public Security ... demands all security organs pay great attention to the possible effects on social stability from the virus and work hard at stopping the virus and maintaining stability," it said on its website. "Strike hard against rumour mongers, the sale and production of fake, shoddy drugs and equipment, and the driving up of medicine prices. Prevent the spread of the virus from disturbing normal social order and anything which may affect the smooth progress of celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China."
Beijing is already under tightened security ahead of the 1 October anniversary of sixty years of Communist rule.
The health minister this month warned that China faced a grim situation in containing H1N1 as schools start up again and the number of cases rises. The government plans to have enough flu vaccine to cover 5 percent of its 1.3 billion population by year-end.
Rico says 'stability-obsessed'? Sure. They've seen Communist governments from Berlin to Vladivostok go down, even without the flu...

Tit for tat

Rico says one might have expected (and hoped for) this, but the Voice of America has the story:
Russia says it has scrapped plans to deploy missiles in a region near Poland after President Barack Obama canceled plans for a missile defense system in Central Europe. In a radio interview, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said Mr. Obama's move has made the deployment of Iskander short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region unnecessary.
President Obama said he is replacing the planned missile defense system with what he called 'a new approach' for defending the United States and its NATO allies from a missile threat from Iran. Russia had fiercely opposed the earlier planned system as a threat to its security. Some U.S. Republican leaders and East European politicians have criticized the change as misguided.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States is not shelving missile defenses but implementing a more comprehensive defense system. She insisted the United States is not walking away from its allies.
Republican Senator John McCain called the decision a step backwards, at a time when Eastern European countries are increasingly wary of what he called "renewed Russian adventurism".
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have both praised Mr. Obama's decision.
Some Czech and Polish officials said the development will not endanger the security of their countries. But others, such as former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose government negotiated the missile deployment accord, said the decision threatens Czech security. Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorsky called the timing of the announcement 'clumsy', noting that it came on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of his country during World War Two.
In his announcement, Mr. Obama said the change follows a new assessment of Iran's missile program. The missile defense system planned for central Europe was supposed to counter an attack from Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles.
President George W. Bush first proposed building a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic in 2006.
Rico says 'clumsy'? No, just stupid. Americans have no sense of history, but you'd think someone would have dates like that in their computer, so we could avoid this bullshit...

Babbling

Rico says there's no excuse for stuff like this, when there's Babelfish:
Sorry for my englesh but i cant speak with my translater.

Civil War for the day


An Armi Sport Model 1861 Springfield musket in .58 caliber

18 September 2009

At least it's all in one place

Rico says the Japanese guy who keeps commenting (in Japanese) in some spam-like way at least has the decency to keep all his comments on the same post (and one from several months ago, go figure).
If anyone out there reads Japanese (or has translation software) and cares, let him know what the guy (now known as 707, because of the characters for his name and, yes, Rico knows that's not what it means) is saying:
プロフ has left a new comment on your post "Civil War for the day":
携帯アドのせておきました。恥ずかしい写真とか乗せてるけど、許してください。ネット友達探してるのでよかったら連絡ください。for-a-sweetheart@docomo.ne.jp

Back again

Rico says the workmen are gone, the floor is swept, and the modem's plugged back in, so he's back in business.

Finished with engines

Rico says the workmen are here, yet again, to labor on our renovation. Thus he will be off-line for much of the day and fall behind his average posting rate. His apologies; more this weekend.

Proper pronunciation is so important

Courtesy of my friend Tex, this primer on the proper pronunciation of the state name:
There is a right way and a wrong way to pronounce Oklahoma.
The proper way is OKLA... a pause... HOMA
There's a discernible gap between the 'a' and the 'h', and I can prove it...

Civil War for the day


Oakwood Confederate Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia

17 September 2009

A little courtesy, even among enemies

Courtesy of my friend Kelley, this story out of World War Two:
Charlie Brown was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton, England. His B-17 was called Ye Old Pub and was in a terrible state; having been hit by both flak and fighters. Their magnetic compass was damaged and they were flying deeper into enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton.
After they flew over a German airfield, a pilot named Franz Steigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When he neared the bomber, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he “had never seen a plane in such a bad state”. The tail and rear section was severely damaged and the tail-gunner wounded. The upper gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose was smashed and there were gaping shrapnel holes everywhere.
Despite having ammunition, Franz flew close alongside the B-17 and looked directly at the young American pilot. Brown was exhausted, very frightened and battling to maintain control of his damaged and blood-stained aircraft. Realising the B-17 crew had no idea where they were heading, the Me-109 pilot gestured to Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz then escorted the stricken bomber back to and out over the North Sea towards England. He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away; back to Europe. After landing he informed his CO that the B-17 had been shot down over the sea and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the survivors of his crew told of the strange encounter at their de-briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it.
More than forty years later, Charlie Brown decided to discover if the Luftwaffe pilot who had saved he and his crew was living and, if possible, locate him. After years of research, Franz was located. He had never talked about the incident; not even at post-war reunions. They finally met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion; together with 25 people who exist now, all because Franz never fired his guns that day
Research shows that Charlie Brown lived in Seattle and Franz Steigler had moved to Vancouver, BC after the war. When they finally met, they discovered they had lived less than 200 miles apart for the past fifty years!

Another great one gone

Rico says he must sadly report the passing of Dorothy Jones, the second wife of his father's uncle Morton. A good woman, who will be missed.

Managing the oceans

Jason Dearen has an AP article:
The Obama administration released the first glimpse of a plan to strengthen the way the nation manages the oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes. President Barack Obama's Ocean Policy Task Force— comprised of 24 officials from the U.S. Department of Interior to the U.S. Navy— recommended creating a new National Ocean Council with power to coordinate and hold accountable myriad federal agencies in conservation and marine planning efforts.
"Right now (ocean policy) is done on a piecemeal basis, one agency regulating fisheries, one shipping, one water quality, another national security and there's no real mechanized thinking on how sectors interact with each other," said Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a task force member. "Today is a historic day. For the first time, we as a nation say loudly and clearly that healthy oceans matter," she said.
The president created the task force to coordinate federal response to pollution from industrial and commercial activities, rising sea levels and ocean acidification, among other problems.
The new National Ocean Council would replace the Committee on Ocean Policy, instituted by President George W. Bush in 2004, which the task force called only moderately effective. "The report delivers on President Obama's request for recommendations that will move this country towards a more robust national policy for our oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes," said Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Beyond creating the new ocean council, the task force identified a number of priorities for improving the health of the seas and Great Lakes. Among them is to improve the ability of coastal communities and the Arctic to deal with the effects of climate change, especially rising sea levels and higher ocean acidification due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The council would help coastal communities— whether it be a struggling fishing industry in Northern California or a hurricane-damaged area on the Gulf Coast— through better coordination and strategic planning.
The report also recommends that the federal government view all ocean policy with a "ecosystem-based approach," meaning decisions would be made with an emphasis on understanding how all life would be affected in a given area. Officials said this would be a key philosophical shift in the nation's approach. The report is short on details about how and when these goals would be achieved, but environmental groups applauded the White House's efforts, calling it is an important first step in achieving badly needed reform.
"It's the first time that an administration has identified a series of laudable goals for managing the nation's marine environment," said Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group. "Runoff of fertilizer is really an issue for the Department of Agriculture, transportation runoff from highways and roads is the Department of Transportation... municipal discharges from sewer systems is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So when you're proposing trying to manage an area of the ocean, you're trying to take into account all of these variables in a very complicated process," Reichert said.

Another bad one gone

The AP has the story: Special forces raided a hide-out Thursday and killed militant mastermind Noordin Muhammed Top, striking at the heart of the terrorist network behind a deadly campaign of suicide attacks in Indonesia, including the Bali nightclub bombings. It was the latest success against terror figures worldwide, starting with a U.S. missile that took out a key Taliban commander in Pakistan last month.
Besides knocking out Southeast Asia's most-wanted man, Thursday's operation also netted a fugitive bombmaker believed to have designed explosives for twin suicide bombings at luxury hotels in Jakarta in July. A cunning and charismatic figure, Noordin had eluded capture for more than seven years. He was tracked down at a house in the city of Solo in central Java, a breeding ground for militant Islam, where an overnight siege and hours-long gunfight ended at dawn with an explosion.
The bodies of four suspects were recovered from the burned-out house, including Noordin and an alleged explosives expert, Bagus Budi Pranato, believed to have manufactured the bombs used by suicide attackers in the 17 July attacks on the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels that killed seven and wounded more than fifty. Neighbors said the property was rented five months ago by a young couple who were teaching at a nearby Islamic school. The husband was among those killed in the firefight and his wife, who was pregnant, was wounded but was in stable condition at a hospital.
The prime target was Noordin, a Malaysian citizen and feared regional leader of al-Qaeda with links to Osama bin Laden, said national police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri. Documents and laptop computers confiscated from the house prove that Noordin "is the leader of al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia," he said. Police also recovered hundreds of pounds of explosives, M-16 assault rifles, grenades and bombs. Noordin's fingerprints, obtained from Malaysian authorities and stored on an Indonesian police database, matched those of one of the bodies, Danuri said. DNA tests had not yet been conducted, and the bodies were flown to Jakarta for autopsies.
Indonesia had mounted one of the biggest manhunts in its history to try to capture Noordin, widely distributing his photo and offering a $100,000 reward for information that led to his arrest. Yet he repeatedly managed to evade authorities, most recently in August when, after an all-night raid on a safe house, the police discovered they had killed the wrong man. Noordin had an extensive support network, from Islamic schools to sympathetic radical groups, that helped him slip across Indonesia's vast island chain undetected, resettling and taking new wives as he recruited followers and plotted attacks. One of his wives was among those rounded up in the aftermath of the July hotel bombings, though she told authorities she was unaware of her husband's true identity.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hailed Thursday's operation, saying it had removed a feared figure who "disturbed the life of this country, ruined our image in the international community and paralyzed the national economy." Still, he cautioned that Noordin's death should not be used as a reason for complacency. A skilled bombmaker, Noordin has been implicated in every major recent attack in Indonesia, including 2002 and 2005 suicide bombings on the resort island of Bali that together killed 222 people, mostly foreigners.
Jemaah Islamiyah, and later Noordin's more militant splinter group, are also blamed for attacks in Jakarta, including the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton suicide bombings in July, an earlier attack on the Marriott in 2003, and a bombing at the Australian Embassy in 2004.
With Thursday's raid, police have now killed seven militant suspects since the 17 July hotel bombs and are still hunting three fugitives. Terrorism experts said Noordin's removal from the radical scene will improve the country's security outlook. "You can't say that the terrorism threat is over, but you can say that a major figure has been taken out of the picture," said Sidney Jones, a leading terrorism adviser to the International Crisis Group think tank. "The threat had probably been diminished with his death and the inspiration he gave to follow the al-Qaeda line is finished."
The Obama administration welcomed the operation as "a significant step forward for Indonesia in its battle with political extremists," said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. Asked about any U.S. involvement, he said the U.S. did not take part or provide intelligence that led to the raid.
Noordin, 41, formed his radical ideas in the early 1990s at a Malaysian boarding school headed by an Indonesian Muslim cleric, Abdullah Sungkar, who founded the regional Jemaah Islamiyah network. Noordin joined in 1998 after training in the southern Philippines. He fled to Indonesia in 2002 amid a crackdown on Muslim extremists in Malaysia following the 11 September 2001, attacks in the United States, leaving behind a wife and three young children. He rose to prominence following the Bali bombings, coordinated by his close associate Dr. Azahari bin Husin, who was killed in a raid in late 2005.
A disagreement over targeting civilians caused a split in Jemaah Islamiyah and Noordin formed a more violent faction, Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad, aimed at creating a common Muslim state in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.
Authorities in the Philippines, who are fighting an Islamist insurgency in the south, said Noordin's death was a welcome sign that terrorists cannot hide forever. "It's a major accomplishment, it's a big blow to their leadership, to their capability to train new bombers," said Major General Benjamin Dolorfino, who leads assaults against al-Qaeda-linked militants. "There are gains being made in the anti-terrrorism campaign in the region."
Noordin's death follows the killings of several key al-Qaeda and Taliban figures, including Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Meshud, who died in a CIA missile strike in August, and al-Qaeda operative Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who was killed Monday in a U.S. commando raid in Somalia.

Civil War for the day

Truman Seymour (24 September 1824 to 30 October 1891) was an a career soldier and an accomplished painter. He served in the Union Army during the American Civil War, rising to the rank of brigadier general. He commanded the Union troops at the Battle of Olustee, the largest Civil War battle fought in Florida. Seymour was born in Burlington, Vermont. Seymour spent his retirement in Europe. He painted much in watercolor, and died while living in Florence, Italy. He was buried there in the Cimitero Evangelico degli Allori.

16 September 2009

Oops is now a baseball term

Rico says this Fox News article proves, yet again, that she's lucky she's cute:
A father made a nice grab on a foul ball at a Philadelphia Phillies game Tuesday night, only to watch his toddler daughter toss it back.
Steve Monforto attended the game against the Washington Nationals with his wife Kathleen and two little girls, Emily and Cecilia. After Monforto caught the ball in the fifth inning, he gave it to three-year-old Emily— who tossed it back in the direction of the field. When she looked at her dad for his reaction, he just hugged her. “When she first threw it over, I kind of laughed and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, there it goes,'" the Laurel Springs, New Jersey, father told MyFOXPhilly.com. "But then the look on Emily's face was like she might have done something wrong, so I just wanted to let her know that she didn’t do anything wrong."
The entire scene was caught on videotape.
Monforto called his catch "lucky" and said that later in the game, a Phillies representative brought him a new ball to take home.

Civil War for the day

15 September 2009

Another good one gone

According to The New York Times, Patrick Swayze died yesterday at the age of (just like Rico) 57. While not the world's greatest actor, he certainly gave all he had in his many roles, including the famous Dirty Dancing.

Civil War for the day

General John Clifford Pemberton, CSA, took refuge from Federal fire in a cave under this house in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1863; he eventually surrendered the city on 4 July, 1863.

More civil wars for the day

Rico says sometimes civil wars are small, within a single family. Like the King family, for instance (via CNN.com):
A judge has ordered the children of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. to meet in their capacity as the sole shareholders of the corporation that manages their iconic father's estate. Dexter King has denied taking "substantial funds" from his parents' estates. King's children were in Superior Court in Fulton County, Georgia on Monday in a dispute over their parents' estates. Two children of the civil rights icon are suing their brother, accusing him of wrongfully taking money from their parents' estates.
The Reverend Bernice King and Martin Luther King III allege that Dexter King took "substantial funds" out of Coretta Scott King's estate and "wrongfully appropriated" money from their father's estate. Dexter King has publicly denied the accusations.
It was unclear what outcome having a shareholder meeting for the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr., Inc. would have on the dispute. The three siblings have not held such a meeting since 2004, corporation attorney Luke Lantta said. The removal of Dexter King as the estate's administrator is unlikely because that would require a meeting of the board of directors.
Judge Ural Glanville on Monday also ruled in favor of dismissing some of the allegations against Dexter King, but left the question of whether he failed to act in the best interest of his father's incorporated estate to a jury. A trial on the allegation of breach of fiduciary duty could happen as early as next month.
The lawsuit reveals a very public fissure in an iconic family that has always professed unity, particularly as questions have swirled around some of their financial dealings.
Martin Luther King III and Bernice King were in the courtroom Monday, but Dexter King was not. He had been injured in an accident in California and did not make the trip to Georgia. Dexter King had filed a counter claim against his sister, asking the court to force her to hand over to the corporation some items that belonged to Martin Luther King Jr.
In a special hearing Monday, the court ruled that the items, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel Peace Prize and his love letters to Coretta Scott King, will be turned over to the court to hold until a resolution is reached.
The courtroom was packed with supporters of the King family. Among those in attendance were the Reverend Joseph Lowery and former Ambassador Andrew Young, friends of Martin Luther King Jr. who worked with him during the civil rights movement.
Rico says sometimes being an only child is a good thing...

14 September 2009

More self-analysis

Rico says he's been pondering this overweight issue (with the urging, if that's the word, of his concerned father) and decided that he's not fat (he knows fat people, and he doesn't look like them), he's not tubby or chubby or husky (silly words, and only Margaret Cho can get away with calling herself husky), or even stout (Guinness is stout).
What he is, he decided, is portly, like Ron White. (And, no, Rico isn't as funny as Ron White, even on his best day, nor does he smoke cigars, but he does like a whiskey now and again, like Ron...)

Scary stuff

Rico says when there's an article in The Nation entitled The Nightmare of Christianity, he's gonna read it. It's a nightmare, all right, the story of Matthew Murray and his Pentecostal upbringing. (And Mike Huckabee gets a mention, too; another scary politician from, of course, Arkansas. Along with the Oral Roberts University crowd: "Richard Roberts, the scion of its beloved founder, had allegedly looted university coffers to pay for his daughter's junkets to the Bahamas and bankroll his wife's shopping sprees. Oral Roberts's other son, Ronnie, was a cocaine-addicted closet homosexual who committed suicide in 1982." Nice bunch of Christians, there...)
As winter approached, Murray acquired a fearsome arsenal of assault rifles, including a Bushmaster XM-15 ("Beltway Sniper" John Lee Malvo's weapon of choice) and an AK-47. At a local UPS store where Murray maintained a mailbox, employees observed that he was ordering "boxes and boxes" of ammunition. Murray's bogus tales of preparing to deploy with the Marines quelled whatever suspicions burned-out UPS employees might have had. Meanwhile, Murray's parents, who were adept at ferreting secular media material from his desk drawers, had no idea his stockpile even existed.
Late in the evening on December 8 (the same day that a psychotic young man named Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon in 1980), Murray suited up in black military fatigues, gathered two automatic rifles, three semiautomatic pistols, and 1,000 rounds of ammo, then jumped in his car. Besides his weapons, Murray carried in his pants pocket Aleister Crowley's The Book of the Law, a tract the author claimed to have transcribed from messages dictated to him by ancient Egyptian gods, and which he summarized in one phrase: "Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."
In the back seat of Murray's car was another of his favorite books. It was I Had to Say Something, by Mike Jones.
Murray sped toward Arvada, where the Youth with a Mission complex stood. The time for spiritual warfare had come. Upon arriving at the complex, he stomped to the front desk and demanded to stay overnight. A receptionist calmly refused his demand. Without hesitation, Murray whipped out a .40 caliber semiautomatic Berretta pistol and opened fire on a group of staffers chatting away as they wandered out of a Christmas banquet.
Tiffany Johnson was caught in Murray's fusillade. An affable 24-year-old who said she spent one night every week ministering to adolescent skateboarders involved in "drugs, cutting, branding, and hurting others," Johnson fell and died instantly. A studious 26-year-old named Philip Crouse, who spent part of a summer vacation constructing a house for impoverished residents of the Crow Indian reservation in Montana, was also hit while rushing to stop Murray. Crouse crumpled to the floor and died beside Johnson. Murray fled the blood-soaked complex, fired up his car, and sped away to complete his mission. Days earlier he seethed, "God, I can't wait till I can kill you people. Feel no remorse, no sense of shame, I don't care if I live or die in the shoot-out."
Murray's next stop was the New Life Church.
While police fanned out through Arvada in a frantic search for the still-unidentified YWAM shooter, Murray pulled into the New Life parking lot. At 1 pm, as worshippers filed out of afternoon services, Murray sprayed a hail of bullets at the crowd with his Bushmaster rifle. He struck two teenaged sisters, Stephanie and Rachel Works, who had recently returned from missionary trips to Brazil and China, killing them instantly. He then charged into the church's main foyer, unaware that Haggard's replacement, Brady Boyd, had authorized as many as thirty parishioners to carry concealed weapons into his spiritual sanctuary, presumably to guard against hell-bent invaders like him. One of Boyd's volunteer guards, Jeanne Assam, an ex-cop who became born again after the Minneapolis police department fired her for lying, sprinted toward Murray, shouting, "Surrender!" again and again. Murray refused to comply. Assam leapt forward, directly in the line of Murray's fire, and peeled off a clip from her pistol, lightly wounding the black-clad shooter in the leg. He retreated. Moments later, he shot himself in the head and died.
All four of Murray's victims were youthful, mostly home-schooled and extremely idealistic. They could have been his roommates at YWAM or could have joined him in a Christian youth fellowship. They seemed so much like him, at least on the surface. So did he single them out? Although there is no conclusive answer, Murray's acknowledged grievances hint at his motives. Each of his victims represented to him the obedient, unquestioning religious automaton he was required to be but never could become. They had embarked on the exotic foreign missions he had been rejected for, discovering friendship and even (nonsexual) wholesome romance while he languished in his room, his 'buried kennel'. The blithe everyday existence of these shiny, happy Jesus people was Murray's 'Christian nightmare'.
Rico says ain't religion fun?

It's all George's fault

Rico says that would be George the First, who didn't push the Coalition to roll into Baghdad and take down Saddam Hussein (who, reportedly, was at the airport preparing to flee when we stood down). That would have saved Iraq from a bunch of years of his bullshit, and maybe kept Osama bin Laden from finding a safe haven in Afghanistan, and thus maybe preventing 9.11 from happening...

Civil War for the day

Black laborers on a James River, Virginia wharf.

13 September 2009

Off cowboy shooting all day

Rico says he apologizes for the lack of posts today, but he was busy being Rico at the range.

Civil War for the day

Engineers of the 8th New York State Militia in 1861.

12 September 2009

More internal musings

Rico says that, in his on-going attempts to define how it is in here, he is reminded of the famous line from the 1967 Beatles movie Help!, when the doofus assistant Algernon (splendidly played by Roy Kinnear) says of the diabolical Professor Foot (played by Victor Spinetti):
It's the brain drain. His brain is draining.

He'll have a bad time in jail

Rico says it may be wrong to discriminate against ugly, fat people, but in this case it sounds appropriate. Emma Graves Fitzsimmons has an article in The New York Times about a fat, ugly guy who took the law into his own chubby hands:
A man who had long opposed abortion and was known nationally among anti-abortion protesters was shot to death Friday morning while staging a protest outside a Michigan high school, the authorities said. Leaders of anti-abortion groups said they knew of no other instance in which a person protesting against abortion had been killed.
The protester, identified as James Pouillon, 63, was one of two people, the authorities said, who were shot dead Friday by the same man in Owosso, a city of fewer than 15,000 people about ten miles west of Flint, Michigan. The other victim, a local businessman, was not connected to the anti-abortion movement, the authorities said. A suspect was arrested and charged in both killings.
Troy Newman, the president of the national anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, said he was saddened by the death of Mr. Pouillon, whom he had known for more than fifteen years. “There is very little, if any, common ground between pro-abortion and pro-life people,” Mr. Newman said.
A spokeswoman for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Laura MacCleery, said her group, which supports a woman’s right to abortion, was stunned by the “senseless killings.” But Ms. MacCleery said Friday’s shooting did not seem to her to be tied to the abortion debate since the suspect was also charged in the killing of the second man, Mike Fuoss, 61, the owner of a local gravel company, who did not appear to be involved in the abortion issue. “This is not something any group on either side of this debate would ever contemplate condoning,” Ms. MacCleery said.
Prosecutors said that the suspect had singled out Mr. Pouillon because of the visible style of his regular protests at the school, but that they were uncertain whether the broader political message of the protests was at issue. “There was some displeasure with how open he was,” said Sara Edwards, the chief assistant prosecutor for Shiawassee County. “He tended to carry big signs with very graphic pictures of fetuses.”
According to the police, Mr. Pouillon was protesting just outside the high school at 7 a.m. as students gathered for the day, when several shots were fired at him from a passing car. A witness provided the car’s license plate number, and the police arrested the suspect, Harlan James Drake, 33, at his home in Owosso a short time later. The police said Mr. Drake told them that he had also been involved in another shooting, at Fuoss Gravel in nearby Owosso Township. Mr. Fuoss was found dead in his office about 8 a.m. Prosecutors said Mr. Fuoss was not involved in abortion protests and had no link to Mr. Pouillon. Mr. Drake, they said, was angry at him for another reason. They did not elaborate. Mr. Drake was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and with weapons charges and held without bond. Prosecutors said he had also planned to shoot a third person, whom he apparently failed to find before he was arrested.
Rico says this guy sounds (in the words of Lewis Black) confused...

Now they're just arguing over how bad

Rico says that, according to a Bloomberg News article, it seems that Microsoft is still wrong, but they can't seem to agree on how wrong:
Microsoft won an appeals court ruling on Friday that overturned a $358 million patent award to Alcatel-Lucent, in a decision that may alter how damages are calculated. The appeals court, while upholding a finding that Microsoft infringed the patent, ruled that the calculation of damages “lacked sufficient evidentiary support”. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington sent that portion of the case back to the trial court to determine how much Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, should pay Alcatel.
The appeal of the April 2008 verdict, which has since swelled to a half-billion dollars with interest, covered several issues. Still, Microsoft argued hardest that damages should not be so high when the invention is one of many features within a product, and more than a dozen companies submitted legal arguments in the case. “The damages award ought to be correlated, in some respect, to the extent the infringing method is used by consumers,” Chief Judge Paul Michel wrote for the three-judge panel.
The patent covers a touch-screen form entry. Microsoft said it was simply a “date-picker” function that was not used with email, the most popular use for its Outlook program. Alcatel describes it as a pop-up tool for form-filling that “plays a central role in the entire operation” of Outlook.
Alcatel, based in Paris, argued it was entitled to eight percent of the total revenue from Outlook sales, or $685 million, calling it “a small fraction” of the more than $8 billion Microsoft had collected from 110 million copies of Outlook sold. Microsoft said the invention was worth, at most, $6.5 million because the feature was not used in email and was just one of many tools that could be used in the calendar function of Outlook.
“Outlook is an enormously complex software program comprising hundreds, if not thousands or even more, features,” the court ruled. “We find it inconceivable to conclude, based on the present record, that the use of one small feature, the date-picker, constitutes a substantial portion of the value of Outlook.” The case attracted the attention of companies, including Intel and Bank of America, that said the appeals court, which specializes in patent law, should clarify what judges should allow jurors to hear regarding evidence of potential damages.
Rico says he'd normally side with the French on this one, just because it's Microsoft, but eight percent for a date picker? Seems like a lot...

History for the day

On 12 September 1977, South African black student leader Steven Biko died while in police custody.

Rico says he shamefully admits to accepting (a long time ago, however; he got smart later) the conventional wisdom that Steven Biko was a Communist troublemaker and got what he deserved; bad, bad Rico...

Civil War for the day

Ruins of Hood's 28-car ammunition train and the Schofield Rolling Mill near Atlanta, Georgia in September of 1864.

11 September 2009

History for the day

On 11 September 2001, suicide hijackers crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center in New York, causing the 110-story twin towers to collapse. Another hijacked airliner hit the Pentagon and a fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
(The Towers of Light image courtesy of Rico's Italian friend Luca.)

Civil War for the day

An Army blacksmith and his forge at Antietam in September of 1862.

10 September 2009

Cat leisure

Another one from the Bayou Renaissance Man; if the cat had more toes, it'd be Rico's cat Flora...

Shoulda just shot him

The Bayou Renaissance Man has a piece from the AP on an idiot in Ohio named Stephfon Bennett:
Police said a suspect in a home robbery was arrested when he returned to the home about two hours later to ask the victim for a date. Police say 20-year-old Stephfon Bennett of Columbus was among three men who robbed a couple late Sunday. Sergeant Sean Laird of the Columbus police said the woman recognized Bennett as one of the robbers when he returned to asked her out. She had a relative call 911. Police said Bennett was arrested in front of the home. He was arraigned Tuesday on a charge of aggravated robbery and was being held in the Franklin County jail on $100,000 bail. A public defender had not yet been assigned to Bennett's case.
Rico says that, with a name like Stephfon (and a public defender, no less), what're the odds that he's black?

Darling Leader?

Slate magazine has a squib garnered from the Mainichi Shimbun about the latest leadership change in North Korea:
According to documents obtained by the Japanese paper Mainichi Shimbun, North Korean government officials are gearing up for Kim Jong Un to succeed his father as the leader of North Korea. Kim Jong Un, who is believed to be 26, has been described by Kim Jong-il's personal chef as a "chip off the old block," with a "take-no-prisoners" personality. Among the documents is a secret police report outlining the urgency of Kim Jong Un's takeover and a textbook enumerating the proper ways that military officials should "admire" him. In a statement written by Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong Un is described as "a military talent who has genius wisdom and policy" and "resembles our great general (Kim Jong Il) so much in appearance." In spite of his genius wisdom, The New York Times reports that Kim Jong Un does not have any military experience.
Rico says a chip off the old block ain't gonna be enough. But, hey, Germany did it; maybe there'll only be one Korea again one of these days...

Al's not his first name

Rico says you won't see a reference to Al Qaeda (or Qaida, or any other weird spelling) in his blog (unless he misses one). It's al-Qaeda, which far more closely mimics the Arabic usage.
He doesn't know who that other 'Al' might be, but it sure ain't the bad guys...

If anyone should get bin Laden, they should

Stephanie Gaskell has an article in the New York Daily News about New Yorkers out hunting:
Eight years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden remains free, and soldiers from New York's Tenth Mountain Division are still in the perilous mountains of Afghanistan, the front line in the war on terror.
Never mind that some were not yet in their teens when terrorists took down the World Trade Center or that public support for the war in Afghanistan is waning. The soldiers from the Fort Drum-based command, high in the mountains and far from home, are putting their lives on the line every day. "They feel probably more of an obligation because of the things that happened in their backyard," said Division Command Sergeant Major James Redmore. "They felt it was an honor to do this." The remote region is "the most dangerous place in the world," President Obama recently said.
The Tenth Mountain Division joined the fight from the beginning. They were the first regular Army unit sent to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attack, dispatched while the rubble still burned at Ground Zero. Since then, the division has lost 79 soldiers, including 24 this year, the deadliest for U.S. troops since the war began in 2001.
Redmore said his soldiers are dedicated to bringing justice to the 2,752 people killed on 11 September. "I'm sure they took it a little more personal than maybe some of the other divisions that went over there because of the pride that they had in their state," Redmore said.
On the eve of the eighth 9/11 anniversary, nearly 3,000 soldiers from the Tenth Mountain Division's Third Brigade Combat team continue fighting around the clock. Lee Ielpi, a retired New York City firefighter who lost his son Jonathan in the attack, wants them to succeed. "I wanted justice on the 12th of September and I want justice eight years later," Ielpi said. "We have made progress in capturing a number of the top officials. But my concern is, where is Osama bin Laden, and why is it so difficult to find him?"
In March, Obama reiterated his commitment to hunting down bin Laden, and vowed to take the fight to the terrorist hideouts in neighboring Pakistan. "They have used this mountainous terrain as a safe haven to hide, train terrorists, communicate with followers, plot attacks, and send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan," the President said. The al-Qaeda leaders hidden there "almost certainly includes... Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri."
The Tenth Mountain Division's Third Brigade Combat team is fighting near the Pakistani border in some of the most treacherous terrain in the country, hoping to find bin Laden and his henchmen. They also must protect the Afghan people and build a nation that can one day govern itself. Yet a majority of Americans question the wisdom of that plan. A recent CNN poll showed 57% of Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan, and 40% view it as unwinnable.
"We've learned that if you don't stabilize the government and build up the army, at the end of the day to deny al-Qaeda sanctuary is not enough," said terror expert Peter Bergen. "You have to do something larger." And Pakistan is part of that equation, he said. "It doesn't really matter what we do in Afghanistan as long as the Taliban and al-Qaeda continue to be headquartered there," he said.
General Stanley McChrystal, the top military commander in Afghanistan, recently submitted his review of the war to top Pentagon officials. He is widely expected to ask for more troops to bolster the 68,000 that are slated to be in Afghanistan by the end of the year. Whether that is politically possible remains to be seen amid signs that Congress is questioning another troop buildup. Until then, the Tenth Mountain Division will stay in the fight.
"It is a tough fight, there is no doubt about it," Redmore said. "I'll also tell you that it is winnable. If we can show them that we can provide a better quality of life, we will win the day."

Another great one gone

Walter Cronkite, the voice of the news for most of Rico's life, was memorialized this week. Befittingly, the President delivered a eulogy.
Rico says we'll miss him, and his quiet delivery of the world's events.

More work for lawyers, more POS in the market

Psystar has confirmed that it will support Snow Leopard on all new Mac clones. The controversial manufacturer explained that it had developed "new virtualization technologies" to allow its computers to interface with OS X like "never before".
However, Psystar warned current customers against installing Snow Leopard until their technicians could "ensure" a safe upgrade. "We ask you not attempt to install the new OS X as it may cause harm to your computer, resulting in a possible re-installation of Leopard OS 10.5 and a loss of data," Psystar wrote in an official blog post. "As with all previous software updates to the OS, Psystar meticulously tests and retests all software updates to confirm their compatibility with older Psystar machines. We will be releasing information on upgrading your Psystar computer to OS X Snow Leopard soon. The ability to do so may depend on when your system was purchased, and upgrade costs may vary."
Unsurprisingly, Psystar's decision to support the new version of OS X antagonized an already-furious Club Cupertino.
According to Groklaw, Apple has demanded that a California judge order a thirty-day "re-opening of discovery" so that it can obtain Psystar's (modified) Snow Leopard-related source code. Apple also emphasized that Snow Leopard 10.6 could not run without 10.5 as a "pre-requisite".
Psystar, meanwhile, has accused Apple of attempting to "draw a veil of secrecy" over ongoing litigation between the two parties. "That is why so many documents of interest to the computer industry have had to be filed under seal and made available only in heavily redacted form, despite the widespread interest in the case among members of the public and the media that a simple Google search reveals," Psystar's lawyer wrote in a court document obtained by Groklaw. "Engaging with the press in this way is Psystar's right, both under the protective order and as a constitutional matter. Neither Psystar nor I plan to violate the protective order; neither Psystar nor I have violated the protective order; and Apple's suggestion to the contrary is unprofessional in the extreme."

Rico says it doesn't matter how cheap the damn thing is, it's ugly and anyone who buys one deserves what he or she gets...

More amazing than you can imagine

Emma Woollacott has an article on TGDaily.com:
NASA has released its first images from the newly-serviced Hubble Space Telescope, and jolly impressive they are too. The new pictures include colourful multi-wavelength pictures of distant galaxies, a densely packed star cluster, and a butterfly-shaped nebula. Hubble's new instruments are more sensitive to light, and cover the spectrum from ultraviolet right through to near infra-red. "The telescope was given an extreme makeover and is now significantly more powerful than ever, and equipped to last well into the next decade," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.
A densely packed star cluster inside Omega Centauri was one of the first images taken by the Hubble's new Wide Field Camera.

Lebanese out, Dutch in

Michael Starr has an article in the New York Post:
Ellen DeGeneres is replacing Paula Abdul on American Idol. "I just finally got the okay, just moments ago, to announce this to you today," DeGeneres told her audience during yesterday's taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which airs on WNBC."We've been dealing with this for the last couple of weeks and I've been dying to tell everyone."
DeGeneres, 51, will continue hosting her daytime talk show. She'll join Idol judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi on prime-time TV's top show.
"I'm going to have a day job and a night job," DeGeneres said. "The times we're living in, we're all doing that. This is so exciting for me."
Abdul stunned the industry when she announced last month that she was leaving Idol, ostensibly over contractual differences. It was believed the door had been left slightly ajar for her return, but that won't happen now.
The ninth season of Idol kicks off in January on Fox. "I could not be more excited to have Ellen join the American Idol family," the show's creator/executive producer, Simon Fuller, said in a statement.

Morons

David Coursey at PCWorld asks the cogent question: "How did Palm manage to schedule its Pixi handset announcement for the same day as Steve Jobs' triumphant return?"
It's not like Palm didn't know Apple's date, but they went ahead anyway and got trounced, once again. That makes Palm two-for-two in having its introductions overshadowed by Apple's. You'd think someone would have their office packed by now. But, since this must have been approved at the very top of Palm, well, you know.
Sure, Palm got coverage, which is good. But, why would Palm not hold off and just let Apple have its day? Palm would have gotten much greater coverage by holding off a week or beating Apple to the punch by a week or so. This happened in June with the Palm Pre announcement, too. That time, Palm got there first, barely, but still managed to have its initial sales directly compared to sales of the newly-introduced iPhone 3GS. No matter how well the Pre did, it looked bad in comparison. Totally predictable.
A wise marketing friend suggests Palm needed to leave a one-month window either side of Apple's traditional WWDC announcement date to avoid the Apple reality distortion field. There is another traditional announcement date on Apple's calendar, and that's early September for iPods and iTunes, gearing up for Christmas sales. This time Palm didn't throw a big announcement for the Pixi, just a blog post and, I presume, some press releases and interviews. The phone doesn't even have a ship date yet, but for some reason Palm just had to announce it on the same day as Apple's party. Another friend lamented online that he was sad Apple's so-so new products could wipe away something as neat as the Pixi. While I don’t agree that Apple is as bad or the Pixi as good as he thinks, I certainly hope Palm comes to its senses.
Rico says the place has gone to hell since his friend (and ex-Clarisite) Donna Dubinsky left...

See your dogs and raise you

Courtesy of my friend Kelley, some cats (and hyenas, which are canus-like, but not dogs, according to Wikipedia: "Although hyenas bear some physical resemblance to canids, they make up a separate biological family that is most closely related to Herpestidae, the family of mongooses and meerkats") at play with their favorite park ranger in Africa:
Rico says that his cats will not play in the water with him like that, however...
 

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