US ‘escalates covert Iran missions’

US congressional leaders have agreed to a presidential request for up to $400 million in funding for covert operations against Iran, according to a report in the New Yorker magazine.

Previous cross-border operations have included the capture of Iranian security officers and the backing of anti-Tehran armed groups, said the report by Seymour Hersh, the investigative reporter.

The operations have been taking place since last year, the article said.

Bush’s request, made through a Presidential Finding document, was approved by US congressional leaders, including Democrats, late last year, the report said.

I find none of this surprising including collusion and collaboration by Congressional Democrats.
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Optical illusion helps create fake speed bumps

Cathy Campbell did a double-take and tapped the brakes when she spotted what appeared to be a pointy-edged box lying in the road just ahead.

She got fooled.

It was a fake speed bump, a flat piece of blue, white and orange plastic that is designed to look like a 3-D pyramid from afar when applied to the pavement.

The optical illusion is one of the latest innovations being tested around the country to discourage speeding.

“It cautions you to slow down because you don’t know what you are facing,” Campbell said.

This is all meaningful for politicians engaged in constructing their own personal nanny state, drivers who are incompetent and community activists who constantly look for something to solve – whether needed or not.

Otherwise, just another waste of taxpayers’ dollar$.

eBay fined for selling fake Louis Vuitton goods

A French court has ordered online auctioneer eBay to pay nearly 40 million euros in damages to Louis Vuitton for selling fake luxury goods, in a ruling cheered as a victory for copyright protection.

The Paris commercial court ruled in favour of six LVMH brands and also barred eBay from selling four perfumes — Christian Dior, Kenzo, Givenchy and Guerlain — on its websites…

Describing eBay’s anti-counterfeit measures as “empty”, Gode said the court decision was “important for the creative industry” and that it “protected brands by considering them an important part of French heritage…”

The court issued a cease and desist order to eBay, barring it from running ads for the perfume and cosmetic brands or face a fine of 50,000 euros per day.

I can’t speak personally about the eBay experience. I must be one of the six people remaining in Santa Fe who doesn’t spend excess hours vested in the quest for scarce goods at auction.

Counterfeit goods are dross in the marketplace and only serve to reinforce profits based on fraud. eBay has a responsibility to do some serious self-policing if they wish to avoid further prosecution.

The terrorists have won – at least in Sydney

Cartoon by Peter Nicholson

Defence officials have had to allay the concerns of Sydney office workers, who watched as an air force fighter chased what appeared to be a passenger plane.

Some people thought Australia’s most populous city might be coming under attack.

Instead the Australian Defence Force was bidding farewell to one of its aircraft.

A number of office workers decided to evacuate their skyscrapers after watching in alarm as a passenger plane flew low over Sydney harbour chased by an air force fighter…

But rather than witnessing the pursuit of a hijacked plane, the office workers were watching a farewell flight. One of the defence force’s Boeing 707 aircraft was being retired from service, shadowed by a hawk fighter from which aerial photographs were being taken.

Of course, “the terrorists have won”. We’re all governed by a flock of craven crows who believe in fear to keep everyone in line.

Getting ‘shot down in plane’ doesn’t make McCain qualified

Retired U.S. Gen. Wesley Clark, a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, has questioned whether Sen. John McCain’s military experience qualified him to be commander-in-chief.

Clark – referring to McCain’s experience, or lack thereof, in setting national security policies and understanding the risk involved in such matters – said, “I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility,” said Clark, a former NATO commander…

He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn’t seen what it’s like when diplomats come in and say, I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to get this point through or not,” Clark said.

Schieffer noted that Obama did not have any of those experiences, nor had he “ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.”

“Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark said.

Someone had to say it, sooner or later.

OK, that’s the official, nice guy comment. Poisonally, I think if you stepped back and looked at the VietNam War and realized here was the United States saying, once again, “We’re the cops of the World” – McCain should have had enough of a brain to NOT enlist. McCain was already in because he played follow the leader for his family and went to Annapolis.

Sorry, dude – but, I not only did not enlist, I fought and beat the fracking military draft and ended up doing a pretty good job of counseling other young men on how to stay out of the idiot military in VietNam. A War worth losing.

Troops use live ammo instead of blanks for “How to -“

Seventeen people, including a child left in a critical condition, were injured when soldiers fired live bullets instead of blanks during an open day display in Carcassone, France.

Fifteen civilians and two soldiers were injured in the incident, of which the details remained unclear, involving a demonstration by members of a marines parachute regiment of hostage liberation exercises, the regional authority said.

Four of the 17 were seriously injured, with two described as critical following “incomprehensible” scenes at the barracks near Carcassone, in the country’s south-west.

According to local authorities, five children were among the injured.

This is more than an “Oops!”. Combat weapons used on the audience during an exercise require a major screwup.

Germany 0 – 1 Spain – victors in Euro 2008

Fernando Torres of Spain and Liverpool got the winning goal in the 33rd minute.

For my wife and me, it was a lovely tournament to watch. Every match in High Definition TV via ESPN and their junior partners at ABC. Great sports photography and really capable announcers.

The “regulars” in American soccer telecasts – with the exception of HDNet, of course – Setanta Sports and Fox Soccer Channel, GOL-TV had better look to their laurels and beg, borrow or steal the geedus to get themselves up to the HDTV standard.

We saw 16 teams play better matches overall than any tourney I can remember. They battled it out in thrilling fashion for most of the matches.

The best of the summer!

Don’t buy a digital converter box from this man!


Polls have consistently shown that many people are confused by the upcoming digital TV transition — the government-mandated switch by most broadcast TV stations to all digital signals starting Feb. 18….People aren’t sure if they need a new TV to continue receiving over-the-air signals, or if they should apply for the two $40 coupons available to any U.S. household to purchase a converter box so an old analog set can pick up the new digital broadcasts.

The friendly folks at Universal TechTronics say they are here to help.

In newspaper ads, the Ohio-based company has been offering two free analog-to-digital converter boxes, without the hassle of applying for those government coupons. All you need to do is buy a five-year warranty at $59 for each of the Miracle ClearView TV boxes, which according to the ad is, “a real steal.”

Including shipping and handling, each box ends up costing significantly more than if you used a $40 government coupon for any of several converter box models that sell for from $49 to $59. If ordered within 72 hours of the ad’s publication, the box costs $68.30 (including shipping), according to the company. After 72 hours, the total goes up to $97.30.

How many newspapers and TV stations will pass along this scam without the slightest hesitation? They’re righteous about the politics of advertisers; but, crooks are always welcome.