Saturday, November 05, 2005

Peg is Back

WMC News Director and blogger Peggy Phillip is back from hiatus. It's good to know she enjoys the blog-fray and hasn't been worn down by it as others have.

She mentions WHBQ and WPTY each losing a reporter recently. Can anyone clue me in on who? Maybe why?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another Milestone Passed

I acheived another marker of Internet "success" tonight: someone sent Half-Bakered a targeted trojan. In the blog mailbox was an email from "James Mason" of "" He specifically referenced a particular post, praised the blog and said he read it, and had attached a link to a Flash file he thought I'd like, linked to the post.

All kinds of alarm bells went off, of course. James Mason might be a real name, but he was also a great Hollywood actor. The file wasn't part of a particular site or web page, nor his own site, but parked at a place called "YouSendIt." It was a zip file. Checking the site his email purportedly came from,, proved it to be a place-holder for sale by The actual header said the email was from ""

I scanned the file, of course, and it was flagged as a trojan. So it's history.

Is it possible some zombie machine somehow spidered the blog and figured out enough to fake all this? Not likely, if you ask me. Someone set it up and then sent it. There appears to be intent here.

It's always a sign of success when someone sets out to sabotage you. Thanks! This is the first ever email someone's deliberately sent Half-Bakered with the seeming explicit intent of taking over my home computer.

And to hell with you, too.
The Hundred Dollar Laptop

No, not a dance your wretched perverts. It's the Nicholas Negroponte third world computer, intended for schoolchildren in poor countries. The article describes the machine and comes with an exciting picture of the prototype. It also links to the One Laptop Per Child project, which will fund them.

The revolution continues apace.
Welcome Back, Joyce

The Friday, November 4th entry in WPTY news anchor Cameron Harper's blog announces that Joyce Peterson is joining their newscast.

All I can say is "'Bout damn time." She has real poise, professionalism and charm behind an anchor desk, as her run on WMC's Saturday morning newscast proved. When she left WMC (I have never learned why, by the way.) I said that WPTY needed to move right away to snag her and set up their own morning show, to make use of her considerable appeal.

Glad to see that she's back. Is WPTY still moving towards having their own morning news show? I hope this is a sign it's so.

INSTANT UPDATE: Hah! Not two minutes after I posted this I heard Joyce Peterson do a news report on WREC/AM600's top-of-the-hour newscast! (Clear Channel owns both WPTY and WREC.)
What Institutionalised PC Will Get You

From an article talking about radical Islamic imams in Australia preaching jihad in their mosques comes this passage:
Under expanded sedition provisions, people face up to seven years' jail for promoting feelings of ill will or hostility between different groups so as to threaten the peace, order and government of the commonwealth. This would include urging another person to engage in conduct that supports an organisation or country at war with Australia.
Sedition isn't much mentioned any more in America, but still it occured to me how many on the Democratic Left would likely see laws like this -- outlawing speech upsetting to groups so as to promote social harmony -- as pretty reasonable.

C'mon all you left H-B readers, leaving out the sedition part, wouldn't you see a law like this as a good thing?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Today's Funney

It's the Non-Philosopher's Guide to Philosophical Terms. I'm happy to say that Star Trek makes an appearance.
The Ghost City

Michael Totten writes:
In 1974 the Turkish military invaded and carved up the island [of Cyprus]. Greek Cypriots in the north were forced to move south side of the line. Turkish Cypriots from the south were forced to move north. Greek Cypriot citizens in Varosha fled the Turkish invasion in terror. They expected to return to their homes within days. Instead, the Turks seized the empty city and wrapped it in fencing and wire. They forbid anyone from entering it to this day.
There are some eerie pictures, too.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tenderly They Report

What are we supposed to do when the media refuses, for what can only be politically correct reasons rooted in fear, to report the facts of an important story, leaving the reader to guess at what's actually happening?

Take the riots in Paris (more here), which have been going on for a week now. Didn't know? You aren't alone; it's largely a non-story for the mainstream media, even though it's affecting one of the world's great cities and a nation's capital.

Why? Because it appears that the mainstream media is uncomfortable reporting that ethnic Muslim North Africans, living in what are basically ghettos ringing Paris, have finally exploded their simmering, long-held anger into violence. France is happy to have them do the crap jobs at very low wages, but doesn't want to integrate them into larger French society. Instead, the immigrants and their children are kept bottled up in substandard communities.

Sound like anywhere you know?

So why the reticence? Well, take a look at how the mainstream media handles reporting on Muslim / Arabic issues here at home. Or how they handle racial riot situations like regularly have been occuring in Ohio in the past few years.

One blogger offers some cogent observations regarding the mainstream media, explosive events and bloggers' role in reporting and commentary:
At this juncture, I think I have to just throw up my hands in surrender. I have no idea if the rioters are Moslems, whether that's one reason they're rioting, whether it has anything to do with the headscarf law, and what is the significance of the fact, solemnly chronicled by Gateway Pundit, that the neighborhood just opened up their first halal (Moslem-kosher) Burger King.

The sad and simple fact is that when the basic news conveyers -- the mainstream media -- conspire to withhold key facts from the readers, there is often no way of reliably getting that information. As much as we may hate it, the fact is that we are still, several years into the blogger revolution, utterly dependent upon exactly the people we hope to supplant. This is not a good sign.
He touches briefly on the idea of a seamless reporting hierarchy: citizen-journalists, news bloggers, news aggregators, mainstream media, pundit bloggers, newspaper columnists. I think this is where news reporting is moving, ultimately. But it will require lots of people with digital cameras and phones, ubiquitous wifi and broadband, etc.

It's coming.

INSTANT UPDATE: Ah, here we go. This is from August 2002, but it still seems piercingly relevant to the above.

BTW, the City Journal is an excellent magazine. It always rewards readers.
How Quickly They Forget

First there's this:
Efforts to bring financial closure to the FedExForum project were slowed on Tuesday by a Memphis City Council committee.

A proposal to spend unused windstorm-damage funds on financial settlements drew a 4-4 vote, meaning it will go to the full council Nov. 15 without recommendation.

The proposal is to spend $1.4 million in unused storm-damage funds for the project to settle several outstanding debts.
If I recall correctly, this money was taken from the City's rainy day fund. Why isn't it being returned there, given we only have $600,000 in it at this time?

The City plays this shell game all the time. Speaking of the FedUp Forum, MATA "contributed" somewhere between $1 and 2 million for an customer stop/office in the southeast corner of the Forum. The office is only blocks from the North Terminal, duplicating its function, and has never been opened! It just sits there gathering dust.

The City has also taken funds accumulated from the City Code Enforcement fees fund, over $10 million, to use for demolishing the Baptist Hospital complex downtown. No relation between the two; the money was just sitting there and the City wanted to bring the building down for the new Biotech Initiative.

The daily paper desultorily reports this, but never seems to catch the big picture. It's an endless string of discrete events, instead of a steadily accumulating array of pointillist dots painting a much larger canvas.

This is why the City has such money troubles -- the Mayor and City Council are promiscuous with money. It's all fungible for them, all esily convertible since it's "theirs." Doesn't matter if there are walls of intent and design; it's just one big pot o' gold.

Well, that and a City Council not doing due diligence in knowing what's going on; a Mayor who thinks openness is a dirty word; a Mayor who lavishly rewards his people; a culture of entitlement and corruption with tendrils in every office of government from top to bottom.
Wendi Thomas is Not Alone

Here is a transcript of a conversation between radio host Hugh Hewitt and Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Tribune columnist Bobby Ray Sanders. Sanders said, "... the people who didn't want Harriet Miers, namely those on the right, didn't think she was enough of a zealot, and would probably want somebody who would be as comfortable in a white robe as in a black robe." He clarified that slightly to mean people "...who want to talk about turning back the clock."

Hewitt pressed Sanders to name some of the judges who might fit that description, but Sanders dodged the question every time. He repeated the charge, but never identified anyone.

It's not a long read, but it goes to show what an empty-headed fool Sanders -- a paid daily print columnist -- is. He has no specifics, only slogans, cliches and stereotypes to peddle. He just makes an inflammatory charge and is content to let it hang there, unexamined and unproven. That, apparently, is enough for him. Forget all that research, fact-checking, sourcing, detailing and documentation he might have heard about somewhere along the way. That's for lesser beings.

Not for pompous, overly self-regarding fools like Sanders.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Canadian Navy

Unbelievable. Canada's entire working submarine fleet was put out of commission recently when their last working submarine was grounded.

That's right. Mighty Canada's submarine fleet was four ships strong, bought used from a mothballed British fleet. But only one was working, until it caught fire. Now Canada has no submarine fleet.

This on top of news last year that Canada couldn't send any troops on any overseas peace-keeping missions of any kind since they didn't have enough materiel to do the job. Nor the money to fix the situation.

They've also withdrawn from the DEW early warning network, because -- again -- they can't afford it. They also no longer consider Russia a threat to themselves and figure we can do the job by ourselves just fine, covering them in the process.

Why is this? Because, like European nations, Canada has downsized its military budget for years, relying on America's military prowess to take care of them. Yep, rather than do their own constitutional duty, they abdicate by default their own national security to another nation to handle for them.

And why is that? Because, again like Europe, the Canadians have a massive and expensive national public health system to support. I don't have the link any more, but a study showed that most European nations' military budgets, as a percentage of their total GDP and their own government spending is only a fraction of what we spend in America. They have let us take the brunt of military spending on their behalf so they can sink large sums into free health care. If America was to seriously reconsider its military presence in Europe, with an eye to making the European Union take care of its own borders and security, it would quickly bankrupt and ruin those nations. They simply can't afford it.

Take a look at NATO, where America is the muscle. Britain certainly has a large and dependable military, but after them nations like France and Germany are pitiful in comparison. Why do you think we got involved in Kosovo? (Remember that quagmire? We're still there, though you don't hear the "anti-war" Left ever talk about it. Where is Clinton's exit strategy? Someone ask him.) Two major reasons: First and foremost, only we had the technology and might to do the job. Second, but also important, is that we are frequently Europe's handmaid, doing their dirty work for them. President Clinton was especially bad at Euro-worship and kowtowing. It's why President Bush so enrages them -- he's not going to do Europe's bidding, nor pick up their tabs.

On the other hand, I suppose we should be glad that we are moving into a world where nations feel comfortable in foregoing robust militaries for defense. On the gripping hand, however, comes the clear historical lesson that such nations always come to grief, being crushed or defeated or moved into irrelevance by nations who see an opportunity.

China is paying attention. Thanks to their "one child" policy, that nation now has something like 20 million "excess" men, men who will never find a wife nor get married because there aren't enough women available. That's twenty million angry and repressed and idle young men needing something to do. They are perfect fodder for any foolish military adventure that may come.

Like Taiwan, which China means to return to Communist control soon. Thanks to President Clinton (again with that man!), they were able to buy enormous amounts of high-end military technology (via Loral - Hughes Aerospace) during the past decade that analysts are seeing being deployed right now. They have also spent the last decade piling up enormous forces along the Strait of China in preparation for a "lightning invasion" of Taiwan. They are gambling that they can send enough ships across the straits, with enough men, to force Taiwanese capitulation before America can even get a carrier group into the area in response.

Then it's just a matter of waiting out the outrage. China holds an enormous amount of American debt; they are a primary trading partner and a keystone of our economy. They are now our biggest competitor for oil and gas on the world market. They can, if they want, bring our economy crashing down, and the world with it.

If they choose. That's the rub of any response to their still-stated threats to annex Taiwan. Can we react fast enough to stop or slow an invasion? Can we diplomatically out-maneuver them after? People mistakenly see the world as "unipolar" with the mighty American military and our economy as the only "hyperpower" standing. But the truth is more subtle.

We are a regional world now and China is emerging very dramatically as the power in their region, with Japan, Korea and now India making their own plays for dominance. With our bases and forces spread all over the world (Did you know about America's military involvement in Columbia? Look it up.) and our involvement in the Middle East for the foreseeable future (Syria or Iran may be next.) the Chinese are beginning to calculate how successful a gamble they have in retaking Taiwan. They mean to, one day, and America now, thanks to lax defense from Europe and the other nations of the Anglosphere (Britain and Australia excepted), can't respond meaninfully.

Thanks Canada.

Monday, October 31, 2005

You Tell Me

Last week I had a post expressing my outrage at WMC/5 News for having Susan Adler Thorp as a commentator, especially criticising the ethical behavior of others. Scroll down for "Augh! The Crone!"

I've lambasted Thorp many times in the past three years, with little notice, but this post drew a lot of Susie-supporters who were downright nasty in her defense, if not also a bit loose with facts.

I've wondered why this particular post drew such fire and think it's because I sent an email to WMC/5, via their "Think About It" page. I assumed the email went to someone upstairs, but now I have to wonder if it didn't drop right into Thorp's lap. (I never did hear back from WMC, by the way.) I know the email was forwarded to others since some of Hlaf-Bakered's referral hits in that time came from Gmail, which usually doesn't happen.

I wonder who got that email. Did she read it and then send it around? Or was it someone else? And why did she let others carry her water?
Optical Illusion of the Day

Here's a cool optical illusion for you: Mr Angry and Ms Calm. Guaranteed to creep you out.

Via Lileks, who you should be reading:
It’sinteresting: women writing about what men want always comes down to the Problems of Women, and men writing about what women want comes down to the same thing. Women writing about men always seems like cats writing about dogs; they just can’t believe that sitting around and waiting for supper or intruders is what it’s all about. It has to be something more. A writer of the Dowd Brigade will ask: why does he want to go have pizza after sex instead of cuddling? A man, or a married woman, will say: because he’s hungry. No, it has to be more than that. Is he using the trip to the fridge as a hedge against intimacy? No, he’s using it as a means to get pizza. Because he’s hungry. You want him to stay, put a frozen Totinos between the mattress and the box spring before you start.
It's Different Over There

Notice the difference in this corrupt police story and how Memphis / Shelby County stories are handled?
Three Cocke County sheriff's deputies and two Newport police officers have been arrested in connection with the probe....

Dist. Atty. Gen. Al Schmutzer said last week that although the officers have not been proved guilty, their testimony in other cases could be troublesome.

"These officers are innocent until proven guilty under the law, but obviously these charges will hurt their credibility in court," Schmutzer wrote. "If the officer's testimony is not critical to conviction or can be independently corroborated, we will prosecute it. Otherwise, it will have to be dismissed."
Whenever I hear about Memphis / Shelby County law enforcement officers being arrested, indicted, investigated, etc. it seems to me that we don't hear about the tainted cases and testimony their troubles will cause. The focus always seems to be on isolating the troubles to just those officers, as though there isn't systemic or endemic trouble, but just a few bad apples. It's almost like we're being led to believe one image of local law enforcement while not having other possibilities presented.

Seems lately that Memphis and Shelby County have a lot of "isolated" bad apples, too. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

My Vote is Optimus Prime

Mick at Fishkite is hosting the first ever Cartoon Presidential Election! Other nominees include Bugs Bunny, Harvey Birdman and Cartman. Head on over and make your nomination.
Another Blow to the Gas Whiners

Oil companies report record profits this month and, as you'd expect, the usual suspects come out complaining of "gouging" and demanding new windfall profit taxes. Little noticed is that gasoline tax revenues have far, far exceeded any profits. (There's even a chart for the slow learners in the back.)

During the post-Katrina gas price spike, some Tennesseans (including yours truly) called for Governor Bredesen to suspend Tennessee's twenty-one cent tax for a mere four weeks. We were told it just wasn't possible, even though Tennessee already has suffiecient excess tax revenues from last year to cover it.

Don't blame the oil companies. They exist to make a profit and you have other choices in the vehicles you drive, where you live and how you get around. Look at the parasites in government, who siphon off tens of billions and yet still demand more.
Laugh at MoDo

The Drudge Report is running a caption contest for a New York Times promo pic of Maureen Dowd.

My entry? "Lady, it's sun-up. You gonna buy another drink or not? No, the Times don't have a tab. I told you that already."

Ever since they put the Dowdy One behind the Times Select subscription wall, her media profile has nose-dived. People just don't seem to want what she's selling.

So to speak....

MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE: I went back to that pic and blew it up. Look at the expression on her face. She's pissed! That suggests what she might be thinking: "That son-of-a-bitch is going home with her? She's dumb as a rock and those tits aren't what she was born with! Why didn't he ask me? I mean, it's not like I'd ever go home with him -- look at his taste in women! But still, I should have had the chance to squash that little bug flat first. Damn son of a bitch."
Sexual Revolution Milestone

English scientists have discovered the human gene that controls fertilisation.
Lead researcher Dr Tim Karr, from the University of Bath, said: "All sexually reproducing animals do the same kind of DNA 'dance' when the DNA from the mother's egg cell and the father's sperm cell meet for the first time."

When the sperm enters the egg, its DNA has to undergo a complete transformation so that it can properly join with the female DNA to form a genetically complete new life.

Sperm makes this change by swapping the type of 'packing material', known as histone proteins, it contains.

The result is called the male pronucleus, which can then combine with the female pronucleus.
The article focuses on how infertile couples can become fertile, which is very important, but I suspect the more common usage will be in stopping fertilisation from taking place.

When gene therapies become common-place, I'd imagine that one of the most popular will be for young women to take a gene therapy to make them infertile. To, in effect, render them sterile so that no amount of sexual activity will result in pregnancy. When they decide to have children (or more likely in the West, one child) they reverse the therapy until they have their child.

And this passes most religious muster, too. It isn't the abortion of a conception, but the prevention of conception itself. It's also likely to be popular since it doesn't involve covering male body parts, or taking pills or watching timing, making sex truly spontaneous. Pregnancy control becomes a "one treatment" issue.

Of course, sexually transmitted diseases will explode, but we can deal with that when we get there....