Saturday, September 10, 2005

Culture shock for some US troops in Iraq

365 and a Wakeup gives us this little morsel :-)

For the most part Iraqi cuisine is relatively simple fare, heavy on regional staples like pita bread, rice, and lamb. So when our commander, CPT Mac, decided to ask his Iraqi counterpart for a authentic Iraqi meal he was totally unprepared for what appeared in front of him.

A minute later the cook wheeled out an enormous steaming pot – his sweaty face beaming with the singular pride of a father bringing a Thanksgiving turkey to the table. He wheeled the pot over to CPT Mac and carefully placed the main course in the middle of the bowl. The cooks obvious pride in his culinary masterpiece did little to assuage CPT Mac’s shock when he realized his meal was staring back at him. To his credit CPT Mac didn’t let the Iraqi’s see his sudden wave of nausea, but in that instant all the Americans suddenly regretted asking their hosts for an authentic Iraqi dinner.

The delicacy that looked back at CPT Mac was the apex of Iraqi cusine – fresh, boiled sheeps head. And when I say whole – I mean whole. Apparently the entire preparation involved little more then cutting the head off and dumping it in a vat of boiling water. The cook made his way around the table, gently placing a steaming head on every dish with practiced care. By this point the Iraqis could no longer contain themselves, and the entire scene started to look like a clip from an Indiana Jones movie.

Having grown up in a German farming community where people routinely ate pigs feet and cooked whole pigs heads I cracked up at this. If you have the stomach for it go read the whole thing.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Woman trampled in airplane bomb hoax

This is a really sad story. It is also one of the many concerns about the new big Airbus. The more people you stick on a plane the harder it is to get them off in an emergency without anyone getting badly hurt or killed. I don't know anything about the law in Sri Lanka but I hope they find the idiot who called in the hoax and prosecute him to whatever extent the law allows.

SRI Lankan authorities today began investigating a bomb hoax aboard a Saudi Arabian Airlines jumbo jet that sparked a stampede in which a woman passenger was killed, an official said.

"We are trying to trace the call which initially came to the airport telephone operator and then connected to the control tower," airport chief Tiran Alles said. "An investigation is under way."

Nineteen passengers who were seriously injured in the scramble to exit the Boeing 747 jet liner through emergency chutes were still in hospital today, a day after the incident at Sri Lanka's only international airport, doctors said.

A total of 62 out of the 430 passengers and 22 crew members were injured and most of them had minor bruises, airport officials said.

We have a field mouse problem

My field mouse problem is largely my own fault, caused by putting up bird feeders across the road from a farmers field. My terrier is totally happy about it and it keeps him busy and fit.

If there were people when the pterosaur was around, they had bigger problems. Much, much bigger!

THE largest animal ever to fly - a giant reptile called a pterosaur - was much bigger and more fearsome than previously realised, new fossil evidence has revealed.

Using computer three-dimensional imaging, scientists have calculated that the Israeli pterosaurs had a 14m wing span. But a new discovery of fossilised footprints in Mexico indicates some individuals had a wingspan of more than 18m.

For those of you that don't do metric, 18m = 59 feet. I want no part of a bird with a 59 foot wingspan. The new proposed multi-role fighter jet will have a wingspan of 32 feet, 8 inches. Apparently it ate mostly fish. They either had big fish or this thing must have eaten a lot of them.

Go read the whole thing. HT: WND

Have they found King David's palace?

If you are into biblical history this story in the Haaretz is a must read. My read is that it is too early to tell what exactly they have found but it is certainly significant from an archeological perspective whatever it turns out to be.

The structure that has been unearthed is indeed monumental, concurs Dr. Gabi Barkai of Bar-Ilan University, a recipient of the Jerusalem Prize for Archaeology. It is built atop an 11th century BCE floor, and on top of it are destruction layers dated to the end of the First Temple period. Based on this data, it is very reasonable to assume that it is a structure from the 10th or 9th century BCE. "It is without doubt a public building. It matters little if it is a palace or a fortress. The fact is that a structure like this from this period has not been found in Jerusalem until now, so the findings are most certainly sensational," says Barkai.

Violent Crime Stats

Hugh Hewitt throws out a good question:

New Orleans had 4,668 violent crimes committed within its borders in 2004. (HT: Palos Verdes Blog)

Given this level of violent crime, was it not completely foreseeable that absent a major National Guard and police presence deployed in the city after the storm came through that there would be destructive looitng and mayhem of a far more serious type?

FEMA does not deploy the local police, and does not activate the National Guard. (That's for the benefit of CNN's Jack Cafferty.)

My first thought was 4668/365 = 12 or 13 violent crimes per day. That sounds fairly high to me. But then I live in upper middle class suburbia where somebody stealing a candy bar is the crime of the century. I went to look at some cities, starting with nearby Denver to compare to New Orleans. The fed stats below are from the year 2000 but one assumes that the trends are similar in the last few years across most of the country.

New Orleans: population 484,674 - violent crimes 5,330 - per 100K = 1,099
Denver: population 554,636 - violent crimes 2,885 - per 100K = 520
San Jose: population 894,943 - violent crimes 4,928 - per 100K = 551
East Palo Alto: pop 29,506 - violent crimes 287 - per 100K = 957
New York City (all): pop 8,008,278 - violent crimes 75,745 - per 100K = 946
Washington D.C.: pop 563,384 - violent crimes not shown, how wierd

So New Orleans violent crime rate is similar to New York (a city 16 times bigger) and East Palo Alto, CA (which not long ago was the murder capital of the US several years running until Menlo Park police moved in and a convicted drug addict was elected Mayor of D.C.). Looks like New Orleans had a serious crime problem as far back as 2000 and it hadn't gotten better.

Would you assume that the some of the lesser citizens of Harlem wouldn't try to take advantage of a natural disaster to prey upon their neighbors? I would guess New York city cops would react a little differently though.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The real incompetence in N.O. steps forward

If the facts laid out in this Powerline article don't put the public/MSM blame where it really belongs I am hoping that the Senate investigation will consider them.

According to Hugh Hewitt, Major Garrett of Fox News is reporting that the Red Cross "had prepositioned water, food, blankets and hygiene products for delivery to the Superdome and the Convention Center in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, but were blocked from delivering those supplies by orders of the Louisiana state government, which did not want to attract people to the Superdome and/or Convention Center."

Go read the whole article, it is confirmed and it gets worse.

Arafat and Aids, round 23

This is the most detailed and referenced article I have seen the new information (referencing many old articles) on the topic (HT: Powerline). As a total aside, it appears that taking a whack at the NYT is becoming an international sport.

Strangely enough, a New York Times article indicated that a stroke was the final blow that killed Arafat, but did not even mention AIDS as a possible precursor, indicating that poisoning was also unlikely.

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory?

A good Bill Kristol article in the Weekly Standard on conservatives keeping the pressure up on Pres. Bush to appoint another solid conservative to replace Justice O'Connor.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

On the Hurricane and reality

Go read this very matter-of-fact-yet-funny article on how Bush didn't cause Hurricane Katrina by Ben Stein. Then read this astonishing post by a lefty who wouldn't help a stranded woman and her baby because of a Bush bumper sticker. Follow up with this little snippit on LGF about what Blanco did and didn't do. This is a good piece on Moltenthought posting the actual plan that was supposed to be followed in NO (HT: Wizbang, and his post has a whole a bunch more of the same).

And if you bookmark only one thing on the Hurricane, make it this one at RightWingNutHouse. It is an actual, detailed timeline that he is continuing to fill in and update.

Local Iraqis save US military personell

This is a great personal story on 365 And A Wakeup. This is not about the Iraqi military or police, it is about local villagers doing something, probably at significant personal risk, to keep our boys from running over an IED. Great stuff and a great sign. Go read it.