Politechnical http://www.politechnical.com Politics and Technology Tue, 03 Oct 2006 11:28:24 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.0.2 en Raging RINO no more? http://www.politechnical.com/2006/10/02/raging-rino-no-more/ http://www.politechnical.com/2006/10/02/raging-rino-no-more/#comments Tue, 03 Oct 2006 02:19:00 +0000 Allan Gone Wobbly http://www.politechnical.com/2006/10/02/raging-rino-no-more/ I’m sorry to say that The Commissar has lost his marbles.

I have understood and respected his opinions in the past- even when I did not agree as in his throwing in the towel on Iraq a while back- but to say that the Democrats are a viable electoral option is to embrace nihilism.

His words:

I have decided to vote Democratic this fall.

I am a conservative and a Republican party member. I believe in small government, free markets, strong defense, etc., but Bush’s snafu in Iraq is just too much. It overwhelms those issues which for 30 years have made me vote GOP. In addition to screwing up so far, there is zero evidence that he’s changed, or that he “gets it,” or anything.

There is another aspect that makes this easier for me. Bush has not followed a conservative agenda (not that the Democrats would); he has increased the spending, size, and reach of government, mostly in the name of fighting terror. Historically, there has been a conservative philosophy. Today, most people & media use “conservative” as shorthand for “loyal Bush supporter.” But, as many have observed, Bush is no conservative. No need to remind me of Bush’s support for Intelligent Design, and other anti-science actions of the administration.

As a voter (twice for Bush) and as a blogger who supported this nonsense, I have a hard time at this point, saying, “Yes, this war has been horribly executed and there is no prospect for improvement, let me pull the lever for more of the same.”

Even if you accept Stephen’s assertion that the war has been horribly executed, the war in Iraq has achieved one key goal:

This war on terror arrived on our shores on September the 11th, 2001. Since that day, the terrorists have continued to kill — in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali, Baghdad, London, and elsewhere. The enemy remains determined to do more harm. The terrorists kill indiscriminately, but with a clear purpose — they’re trying to shake our will. They want to force free nations to retreat so they can topple governments across the Middle East, establish Taliban-like regimes in their place, and turn the Middle East into a launching pad for attacks against free people.

The terrorists will fail. Because we are fighting a murderous ideology with a clear strategy, we’re staying on the offensive in Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war on terror, fighting terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home. When terrorists spend their days and nights struggling to avoid death or capture, they’re less capable of arming and training and plotting new attacks on America.

We’re also spreading the hope of freedom across the broader Middle East, because free societies are peaceful societies. By offering a hopeful alternative to the terrorists’ ideology of hatred and fear, we are laying the foundations of peace for our children and grandchildren.

This is George W. Bush, August 2005. The man has doggedly stayed on message, hoping that somehow his words would seep through all the fear, uncertainty, and doubt spread by those who would have the war end in failure; the mission incomplete.

War sucks. I’m against it, in general. But when the enemy insists, as he has repeatedly since 1979- we must stand firm until the battle is won. Bush’s three paragraphs above ARE the plan for Iraq, the Middle East, and the War on Terror.

Even if the effort in Iraq fails- and there’s no indisputable indication that it will- each day our soldiers spend training Iraqis, rebuilding the country, and killing terrorists, is another day the country does not fall into the Islamofascist shadow. The odds are increasing, even if in tiny measure, that the U.S. will be successful in Iraq and the War on Terror.

My God! That this nation is fighting two wars simultaneously with an all-volunteer military, while growing its economy- that is the real miracle.

We can debate tactics all day- and surely the administration has made many tactical errors, and even some minor strategic errors. But the grand strategy in place is sound, and as long as Bush is president, he will carry it out.

If seeing women throw off their burkhas of oppression left you teary-eyed and hopeful for the future, and now you want to vote for the party of ‘brutal Afghan winter’ and ‘quagmire’, you’re a hypocrite.

If you were jubilant when Baghdad fell, and now you want to vote for those who call liberating 50 million people a disaster, you’re a hypocrite.

If those who have supported this war in the past, turn and vote for the party of nothingness- the party where Joe Lieberman is no longer welcome- you’re a hypocrite.

If you rejoiced at the Cedar Revolution, but are unwilling to support Middle Eastern democracy with American blood and treasure, you’re a hypocrite.

I do not argue that the Bush administration or the Republican Congress is superior or even above-average. I fairly despise Congress- there’s only one or two weasels worth their seats in the whole building. Bush has been appalling on many issues other than the War on Terror.

But if you think retreating back to the safe shores of America and ignoring the fight that’s going on for the freedom of hundreds of millions is a wise policy- please relent and remove your head from the sand.

Hold your nose. Wince while you do it. Whine and complain. But vote Republican in November.

Democrats stand for nothing but their own power. And this election is just too important to ’send a message’.

Update: Heh, and Amen.

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UFOs caught on video! http://www.politechnical.com/2006/10/01/ufos-caught-on-video/ http://www.politechnical.com/2006/10/01/ufos-caught-on-video/#comments Sun, 01 Oct 2006 14:59:39 +0000 Allan Misc ufos birds http://www.politechnical.com/2006/10/01/ufos-caught-on-video/

OK, maybe it’s birds, instead of UFOs.

How about this…


Still birds.

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If Ol’ Scratch is Really Dead http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/23/if-ol-scratch-is-really-dead/ http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/23/if-ol-scratch-is-really-dead/#comments Sat, 23 Sep 2006 17:56:22 +0000 Allan War on Terror assume confirmation correct saudis usaf ‘chatter’ locate resting http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/23/if-ol-scratch-is-really-dead/ Just like Zarqawi, Osama’s gotta meet his maker sometime. AJStrata says:

I hope the news is correct. The lack of ‘chatter’ would lead one to assume it is not correct. But Bin Laden has been well hidden for five years now, so it is not unreasonable to assume the same control on his whereabouts could be exercised on his demise.

Supposedly the Saudis are trying to locate OBL’s final resting place for DNA confirmation.

Absent that confirmation, I think everyone is getting ahead of themselves.

But whenever Osama’s grave is dug and he laid within, I can think of no finer tribute than a MOAB, made with WTC steel, delivered with care from the USAF.

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Insecure Religion http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/16/insecure-religion/ http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/16/insecure-religion/#comments Sat, 16 Sep 2006 14:31:11 +0000 Allan Politics War on Terror protests islam islam immaturity physicist muslim religion anger http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/16/insecure-religion/


Protests in Egypt

Protests in India

The Pope’s comments were poorly-chosen, not because they were untrue, but because they show a lack of understanding of the immaturity of many of the world’s Muslims:

Across the Islamic world Friday, Benedict’s remarks on Islam and jihad in a speech in Germany unleashed a torrent of rage that many fear could burst into violent protests like those that followed publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

By citing an obscure Medieval text that characterizes some of the teachings of Islam’s founder as “evil and inhuman,” Benedict inflamed Muslim passions and aggravated fears of a new outbreak of anti-Western protests.

The last outpouring of Islamic anger at the West came in February over the prophet cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper. The drawings sparked protests - some of them deadly - in almost every Muslim nation in the world.

This post is not about Islam, which truly is one of the world’s great religions. The problem is in the insecurity and immaturity of some of its adherents. How could hissy fits, burning effigies, and death threats possibly entice non-believers into Dar al-Islam? The explosions of anger and violence are not exactly learned and thoughtful entreaties to accept Koranic doctrine. Most people who are not already Muslim will head the other way when subjected to these outbursts.

So, then, for Islam to spread peacefully, this uproar and protest is actually counter-productive. Muslim clerics say inflammatory things about Judaism and Christianity all the time. While these statements cause a lot of angst on Little Green Footballs and similar communities, most of the time, regular people’s reaction is a shrug. Does it diminish one’s religion to let such comments go? Hardly.

If I were a physicist, I would not riot when Larry the Cable guy makes ignorant remarks. Sure, it’s annoying, but instead of burning things because my religion was accused of being violent, the physicist in me would be educating people with the truth.

The Pope’s statement about Islam could be easily discredited as he is not Muslim. However, by some of the ummah responding to the Pope’s allegations about violence in Islam with riots only proves the point. It would be far better for Islam if some Muslims would grow a thicker skin.

After all, since when does the Pope speak for Islam?

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Visoko Pyramids- More Evidence http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/13/visoko-pyramids-more-evidence/ http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/13/visoko-pyramids-more-evidence/#comments Thu, 14 Sep 2006 03:10:22 +0000 Allan Technology pyramids visoko hills ancient bosnian bosnia civilization central http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/13/visoko-pyramids-more-evidence/ Maybe so:

An Egyptologist who investigated two hills in central Bosnia believed by some to be ancient pyramids on Wednesday recommended that archaeological digs be carried out there.

After investigating the two hills for a week, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Ali, a professor of Egyptology in Cairo, said nobody should be jumping to conclusions but having in mind everything he had seen in Visoko, his recommendations would be that “it is worth digging here.”

“You have to be patient. This might take decades,” he said.

No pyramids are known in Europe, and there are no records of any ancient civilization on the continent ever attempting to build one.

However, the theory that at least two oddly shaped hills near the central Bosnian town of Visoko might be ancient pyramids covered by dirt and vegetation was proposed by an amateur researcher last year.

I wrote on the topic almost a year ago, and it still gets a steady stream of search engine hits. It’s earth-shattering to think that we could find evidence of a lost human civilization, but if the Bosnian pyramid checks out, that’s exactly what we’ll have. Maybe then the country will be renowned for something positive.

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Hekmatyar Captured? http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/11/hekmatyar-captured/ http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/11/hekmatyar-captured/#comments Tue, 12 Sep 2006 01:51:11 +0000 Allan War on Terror hekmatyar hekmatyar hezb islami taliban prime minister afghan http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/11/hekmatyar-captured/ Woo-hoo!

Hekmatyar fought against the Soviets, was prime minister of Afghanistan in the mid 1990s, and became an anti-Taliban fighter until the collapse of Afghanistan’s Taliban government in December of 2001. After the U.S. operation, Hekmatyar threw in his lot with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and brought Hezb-i-Islami into battle against the government of Hamid Karzai. Hezb-i-Islami split in two, with a section loyal to Hekmatyar (know as Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin or HIG). HIG has influence particularly with Afghan refugees in western Pakistan.

The capture of Hekmatyar is a major blow to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, as it provides an opportu nity to split his organization. HIG is considered one of the major Anti-Government Elements (or AGEs) in Afghanistan. And Hekmatyar may be privy to valuable information about the location of high level al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

Hekmatyar is closely tied to Iran, and had his base of support in Herat before the 2001 invasion. Captured in Eastern Afghanistan, the former prime minister gave up without a fight.

He’s also the only Prime Minister to ever shell his own capital, Kabul in a post-Soviet spat between himself and Burhanuddin Rabbani’s and Ahmed Shah Massoud’s forces. Later, after the rise of the Taliban, Hekmatyar joined the efforts against the Taliban led by Rabbani and Massoud (killed September 9, 2001 in a suicide bombing).

Hekmatyar’s capture in a joint American/Afghan operation will help stabilize Afghanistan. Along with the continuing success of Operation Medusa, Afghanistan is improving significantly.

Update: Shucks. Wasn’t him, it was his stunt double.

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5,000 Dead Terrorists http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/11/5000-dead-terrorists/ http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/11/5000-dead-terrorists/#comments Mon, 11 Sep 2006 19:06:40 +0000 Allan War on Terror Remembering 9/11 hayden hayden strategypage dead unforgettable distributed decimated reckoning http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/11/5000-dead-terrorists/ CIA Chief Says 5,000 dead terrorists in 5 years of the War on Terror.

More than 5,000 terrorists have been captured or killed in the five years since the 9/ll attacks, CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden said today.

Hayden’s remarks were made in a videotape statement distributed to CIA employees around the world.

Hayden called the 9/ll attacks “an unforgettable blow” from a “plot we had not been able to prevent.”

Since then, he said, “Al-Qa’ida’s core operational leadership has been decimated, and their
successors are in hiding or on the run.”

Hopefully this is untrue. If Hayden is right, the US is way behind in the body count. 2,996 Americans killed in 9/11. Approximately 3,000 military dead in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Strategypage has a different reckoning.

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2996- Derek James Statkevicus http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/11/2996-derek-james-statkevicus/ http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/11/2996-derek-james-statkevicus/#comments Mon, 11 Sep 2006 04:00:39 +0000 Allan Remembering 9/11 derek james statkevicus 2996 9 11 victim http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/11/2996-derek-james-statkevicus/

Derek James Statkevicus

Derek James Statkevicus, age 30. 89th floor, Tower 2.

Newsday recounts:

The last anyone heard from Statkevicus, who worked in research for the brokerage firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., was when he talked on the phone to his wife Tuesday morning. The conversation started when he called their Norwalk, Conn., home to tell his wife he expected to be leaving the building soon, and ended abruptly with his urgent final words: “I got to go.”

“There’s a lot of ups and downs,” Kimberly’s father, Frank Young, said Friday. “There’s thoughts of hope and that you want him to be found. But then the reality of it all–of someone surviving from so high up– it’s tough to believe.”

The Times has this notice:
Derek J. Statkevicus was never a dog person. For one thing, he did not like dog hair everywhere, said his wife, Kimberley Young Statkevicus. When she finally persuaded him that she needed a pet, he decided on a basset hound because he thought it would look goofy and just sit around (she wanted something more high-energy, like a retriever).

Then came Squirt: half basset, half yellow Lab, very cute (and house-trained to boot). “He totally fell in love with that dog,” Mrs. Statkevicus said, “even to having her on the bed!”

Though he commuted an hour and a half each way from Norwalk, Conn., to his job as an equity analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Mrs. Statkevicus said, “Derek would take her on walks, play ball with her, give her baths and stuff.”

And a good thing, too, because Tyler, their son, was born in August 2000, a year after Squirt arrived, and another baby is due in January. (Mr. Statkevicus, 30, loved being a father.)

These days, Squirt gets her exercise in the backyard, sometimes with Tyler, who loves to climb on her. In addition to adoring Squirt, Tyler takes after his father in other ways, Mrs. Statkevicus said: “He’s very active, very smart.”

Derek’s friend Perry Woods remembers:
Derek definitely was a GIANT of a man.
Standing 6′7″ he was an ominous presence from the first time I saw him at the Varsity volleyball tryout that I was running at NYU.
At that point the only info I had on him was that he was from Toronto (being a Canadian, I thought maybe he was confused and meant to go to the Varsity hockey tryouts) and that he had played one year of Varsity at the University of Western Ontario in London (ONTARIO THAT IS, NOT ENGLAND)

He played with a tenacity on the court and was a practical jokester off the court. Best wishes to his family. All that I can say to his family is that he was a good guy to know and he will not be forgotten.

Those who knew him during his time at Ithaca College recall:
Derek Statkevicus ’93 was a serious Yankees fan and liked to travel; he and his wife and son had just returned from a vacation in North Carolina.

He worked in financial research for Keefe, Broyette & Woods on the 89th floor of 2 World Trade Center. Minutes after the first tower was hit, he called his wife, Kim, to ask her to turn on the news to find out what was happening. He said he was going down a few floors with colleagues to watch the news on TV and await evacuation instructions. Kim never heard from him again.

The couple’s friend Laura Olivieri ’94 says, “Derek was one of my favorite people — always upbeat and funny and positive.” An accounting major who graduated magna cum laude and received many departmental and pre professional honors at IC, Derek was “pleasantly mischievous,” says Paul Frankel ’94, who roomed with him during the 1992–93 school year. “He loved to debate — we always had a bet going on some subject. He could elevate any group dynamic. All his friends thought of Derek and Kim as social ambassadors.”

Derek met Kimberly Young in New York City in June 1996. They were married in January 1998 and settled in Norwalk, Connecticut.

“The two of them,” says Olivieri, “made an amazing instant transition to parenthood. Derek adored Tyler [born in August 2000] and was very into his family.” He was eagerly anticipating the son Kim is expecting in January. The couple had together picked out the name Chase, but Kim now plans to name the baby Derek Chase.

Derek also leaves his younger brother, Joel, and his parents, Nancy and Michael.

Derek’s wife Kim overcame her grief and suffering:



Kim, Tyler, and Chase

(Circa 2002) Some days are more difficult than others.

“I’ll hear from someone at Derek’s company that they found (an employee’s) remains, and I’ll feel the angst again and wonder if I’ll find a policeman on my doorstep when I least expect it,” says Statkevicus.

Derek’s memorial service was held last September, and his remains have not been identified. She has agreed to be notified if that happens, even though it could take up to two years.

“Here I am starting to do better, and I wonder what kind of place I’ll be in if I hear that,” she says. “But I want to know because I would always wonder.


Statkevicus is especially appreciative of the IWF grant, which she has used to hire a baby sitter to supplement the child care help she’s received from family and friends. And she’s grateful to everyone who’s sent a card or note.

“I appreciate the kindness of everyone I know and don’t know,” she says. “Every card and note means a lot.”

Some have sent gifts, and many strangers have offered to help her and the other widows. She declined an offer to “adopt” her family.

“A lot of people do things to make themselves feel better, and that’s great,” she says.

“I’d like for life to be normal again, not have people whisper about me,” Statkevicus says. “It’s not in a bad way and it’s nice to be acknowledged, but I don’t want my sons to live the rest of their lives known for this.”

In September, the IWF will gather all the widows who had babies for a luncheon in New York.

Statkevicus says she is dreading the hype of the one-year anniversary.

“I’d like to go away somewhere,” she says. “I see September as this milestone I have to get over, even though I know it might not be better after.

“I have a new life now — not better — but a new one.”

Kim has applied her experience at September Smiles, an organization dedicated to helping all widows (including those from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and Hurricane Katrina) get through the first year of their bereavement.

Kim’s strength and philanthropic instincts say a lot about Derek. Never forget.


2996- Honoring 911 victims

This was more difficult to compile than I imagined. The searching was easy, but while reading everything I could lay my hands on about the Statkevicus family’s trials, it was easy to picture my own family going through such a horrific experience. In light of some of Kim’s quotes in the articles I found, I did not make an attempt to contact family members. Certainly it is better for Tyler and Chase to be more than just orphans of 9/11, and I do not want to make their lives any harder.

It seems to me the whole point of the 2,996 memorial is to remind Americans that our loss on September 11th, 2001 was far greater than a single number can convey. From the Statkevicus family’s experience, I think we can also say that the strength shown by so many on that day in September endures.

A 2996 memorial at Sister Toldjah’s tells the story of another WTC victim, caught above the impact zone.

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9/11 Videos http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/09/911-videos/ http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/09/911-videos/#comments Sat, 09 Sep 2006 13:03:23 +0000 Allan Remembering 9/11 9 11 videos September 11th WTC attacks http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/09/911-videos/ These CBS videos capture the confusion and misapprehension of the morning.


About 3 minutes into this video, it’s clear what’s happening:

Bryant Gumbel is strangely detached from the second crash. It sounds like at first that he can’t see the live video showing the second tower erupt into flames, but later he asks for a wider shot. Incredible.



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RINO Sightings http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/04/rino-sightings-22/ http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/04/rino-sightings-22/#comments Mon, 04 Sep 2006 15:00:37 +0000 Allan Misc RINO sightings Raging RINOS http://www.politechnical.com/2006/09/04/rino-sightings-22/ The RINOs have been sighted, well, just about everywhere. Jim at Right Thoughts has a transcript. Great work, occifer.

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