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Redacted Flag
|| 7/5/2005 || 7:44 am || Comments Off on Redacted Flag || ||

An American flag with Made In China blacked out

I didn’t make down to the National Mall for the fireworks last night. I opted to stay far far away from the crowds of people down there. Instead my friends and I went to a few house parties in Adams Morgan and we watched the fireworks from the rooftop of the Adams Morgan strip. I think we were on top of the block from Tom Tom to around Bossa- it was PIMP- just as cool as the penthouse in Rosslyn last year! I love the ability to walk along connected rooftops!

As we made our way back to my house for some post fireworks festivities, we ran into my neighbor who had just returned from the National Mall. We also had run into her earlier in the day as we were heading to the Nats game! She showed me the flag (above) that she had been given while on the mall for the festivities. She also pointed out that little black line in the bottom left corner of the flag. To my astonishment, this flag, which was given out to probably over 100,000+ spectators, was blacked out because it said “Made In China.”

This is piss poor judgment on behalf of those who organized the celebration! I mean COME ON! You’d think they’d have the smarts to hand out flags made in America on the 4th of July, right? Worse is that there had to be someone who went through all of flags and redacted the flags before they were handed out.

If you add what happened at RFK Stadium earlier in the day, I will remember this 4th of July as the least patriotic American anniversary I’ve ever experienced. I had a fun time at least :)


+ MORE



accelerated Administration planning for the Iraq War
|| 6/20/2005 || 12:15 am || Comments Off on accelerated Administration planning for the Iraq War || ||

I am in the process of cleaning up my room and archiving the documents I’ve amassed in the last few months. I was looking over some of the documents from my formerly elected officials (now that I’ve transfered residences to DC) and I found a timely document from Kit Bond. Timely because on Thursday I went to the White House for a rally concerning the Downing Street Memo. Finding this document makes me wonder about what was discussed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting…

you can download the entire PDF here or as a GIF

==Update==
I found the text to the meeting on-line. Its about 279 pages, but I bet there is some gold buried in there!
read it via TXT or PDF



violation of dignity
|| 5/22/2005 || 8:28 pm || Comments Off on violation of dignity || ||

Article 3 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War states:

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

The photograph above, in my opinion, clearly violates section c.

I sincerely feel sorry for Saddam right now, I mean, what if that was your grandpa in his skivvies? Would you like this picture being used as tabloid fodder? I think not.

The photographs of Saddam were published in publications owned by Rupport Murdoch, The Sun and The New York Post, and I think Murdoch had the option of not allowing these to be printed. But why not make a few bucks at the expense of a dethroned dictator right? I sincerely hope that Saddam sues him for the amount of money that was made from the sales of the issues where the illegal photographs were printed.

Murdoch is definitely the Bad Santa….



Cessna Analysis
|| 5/13/2005 || 11:18 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Via Seattle Times

The aircraft flew over the vice president’s residence, a senior federal security official said, came within moments of reaching the White House and was close to being shot down.

Let’s use World Wind to visually see how close this plane got, and more importantly assess what a lack of security this really shows…..

Using a screen shot from World Wind and a picture of a Cessna, I came up with this rudimentary analysis of where the plane was and the possible debris area if the plane was to have been shot down by the armaments on top of the White House (click on the image to view the full size image).

Of course this is a very rough spatial analysis of the potential debris area, but the proximity to the White House the plane made it to is dumbfounding. The article in reference above stated:

Two lost aviators flying with outdated maps from a rural Pennsylvania airstrip yesterday triggered a red alert and the frantic evacuation of the White House, the Capitol and the Supreme Court before they were intercepted by Air Force jets firing warning flares.

All I can says is: OUTDATED MAPS MY ASS! You can see the Washington Monument from the air all the way out in Rockville, MD (I’ve seen it from the 10th floor of a high-rise at the Metro stop) and it is well known in the aviation community that there is a restricted fly space over DC. The pilots didn’t need maps to know that they were in restricted fly-space, they could see the Washington Monument quite easily and continued to fly toward DC.

The graphic above, nor most of the media accounts fully explains the direction the pilots were going- were they heading due south or were they heading southeast. If they were heading due south, they would have also crossed into the no-so-restricted airspace of DCA and might have gotten very close to some very large planes taking off or landing (I do not know the direction of the winds on that day). If they were heading southeast, then the analysis above would most likely be somewhat correct. (Do you work in that area?)

On top of the lame excuse for outdated maps, why didn’t they respond to any calls from the FAA? Once they entered restricted airspace, I imagine there would have been some attempts at notification. So why didn’t they respond? This is standard protocol for any pilot.

If you ask me, if this is all very very fishy. They could have dumped a canister of aerosolized anthrax over the DC area and then chucked the canister out the window to get rid of any evidence. I could easily make another map showing the theoretical diffusion of such a situation. What if that plane was holding a few pounds of radiological material onboard? If that plane was shot down, downtown Washington, DC would be a radioactive mess, a mess that could have been prevented.

I bet this was simply a test on the emergency response system in the DC area. The scare during Reagan’s funeral seems wholly legitimate compared to this event. This one seems too perfect. Have a small, harmless plane cross over into the restricted airspace of DC, gauge how fast the emergency response apparatus acts, and then see how it can be tinkered to not allow such an event to take place again. The whole “we were lost” line is such utter bullshit, and I think this “test” seems like a much better explanation.

update via WJLA:

Jill Martin says from her home in Akron, Pennsylvania, that she believes the Washington incident was a simple mistake. She says her husband was discussing the flight with her last night after he and Sheaffer made their flight plans and was talking “all about the no-fly zones and how they were going to avoid them.”

If my theory is incorrect, he must be one hell of a stupid pilot that shouldn’t hold the yoke of a plane again. His teacher too.

===/=== 3:30pm===\===
After looking at the Washington Post map of the flight path, I’ve found my analysis to be completely incorrect. The plane came from the northeast and flew over the U.S. Naval Observatory on its flight out of DC, thus my graphic above is severely inaccurate. Oh well, it was fun to make!



GPS nabs another one…
|| 5/6/2005 || 10:39 am || Comments Off on GPS nabs another one… || ||

Those nifty 24 satellites rotating around the earth got another person

GPS Device Finds Robbery Suspect
POSTED: 8:55 am EDT May 6, 2005
CINCINNATI — Police say modern technology foiled an old-fashioned bank robbery.

A teller placed an electronic Global Positioning System device in a bag of stolen money, allowing police to track down a suspect in just 42 minutes Thursday.

“Around here (GPS) is still relatively rare,” Hamilton County sheriff’s office spokesman Steve Barnett said. “But with the advancement in technology and the continued success of catching bank robbers, soon I would hope that other financial institutions would jump on board.”

Authorities said that after William Ingram, 46, left a U.S. Bank in suburban Colerain Township, the GPS device tracked him to a car dealership in Hartwell, where he was returning a Honda that he had borrowed for a test drive but actually used as a getaway car.

When Ingram was confronted, money began spilling from his pockets, officials said.

One year ago, I remember reading this news item:

Nowhere to hide for Dutch bike thieves

By Wendel Broere in Amsterdam
March 13, 2004

Police plan to bait thieves with bicycles equipped with hidden global positioning transmitters in the latest effort to stamp out Amsterdam’s rampant bicycle theft.

The Netherlands has more bicycles than its 16 million inhabitants, but in the capital alone an estimated 80,000-150,000 bicycles – more than one tenth of the total – are stolen every year.

“It would be great to get hold of the organised bicycle thieves, to track the whereabouts of stolen bikes and see if any end up in an official bicycle shops,” a police spokesman said.

“We just want to do everything we can to combat bicycle theft and are going to use new GPS technology.”

Police plan to chain up bicycles with the GPS emitters in parts of the city notorious for bicycle theft. GPS, the worldwide radio-navigation system used for shipping and military purposes, enables users to pinpoint the position, speed and time to locate themselves or an object.

Bicycle theft is so widespread in Amsterdam that rental shops will not let customers leave without giving them a crash course on bike locking – attaching both wheels to the frame, and chaining the bicycle to a fixed object, such as a bicycle stand.

Police said they were targeting professional bicycle thieves. This group makes a substantial profit from rebirthing and is known for scouring the city at night and lifting several bicycles at a time, putting them in vans or trailers.

Campaigners against bicycle theft say the majority of bicycle thieves, 40 per cent, are professionals while 30 per cent are drug addicts looking for a quick and easy way to get cash for their next fix. The remainder are usually impulsive thieves, sometimes students or youths – and very often drunk – who steal a bike to get home after their own was stolen.

Something most people don’t realize is that the new cars that come with OnStar allow you & your car to be tracked 24/7. Granted some people do not mind this safety aspect of OnStar, but if you were really interested in “getting away from it all,” and decided to cruise somewhere to not be found, those 24 nifty satellites will be on your ass no matter what. I wonder if there is some way to switch OnStar off & on when you want some geospatial privacy. I sincerely doubt it though. Otherwise those car thieves would turn it off once they commandeer the car. Regardless, I have issues with notion that my movements can be traced at all times. I already think about this every time I use my debit card and even when I use my cell phone.



The Insular American
|| 5/3/2005 || 3:08 pm || Comments Off on The Insular American || ||

I really like last week’s Op-Ed by Derrick Z. Jackson in the Boston Globe about “the Insular American.” Jackson quotes Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka discussing the importance of Geography:

”For me, geography is the summit of human existence. It dictates the culture, it contains the history of how human beings actually recreated existence depending on the environment.” In the United States, he continued, ”geography is ‘What is the capital of California?’ and once they say that, they think they know the world.

”The way we were taught geography, it is what made us so confident in the critical assessment of other nations. We know them, I mean, you don’t know them all the way, but we know them in a way that is fundamental to the relationship of humanity to the natural environment.

”Once people understand that, you understand why Eskimos live in igloos, and you don’t see that as backwards but as an intelligent use of resources. You understand why certain peoples eat horrible looking grubs and you recognize them as superior to hamburgers. Curiosity precedes critical thinking. If you’re not curious, you can’t think.”

Soyinka laughs one more time when he says geography was even more important than history. ”History can always be cooked up, written from the winner’s point of view. History is 90 percent fiction. Geography is the material reality from which everything else derives.”

Makes me proud to call myself a geographer, who is dedicated to the advancement of geographic education…





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