Monday, September 30, 2002
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Richard Van Pham drifted and slept, slept and drifted--for nearly four months and 2,500 miles--from Long Beach to waters off Costa Rica.
He ate roasted turtle, tuna and a seagull and drank rainwater. And when he was finally rescued by the U.S. Navy, all he wanted was help fixing his broken mast and motor so he could sail on again.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
So far as I can tell, the sale of my company, which produces export controlled machine tools, to an Indian concern is still moving forward. I hope to post a detailed accounting of the transaction, with specifics, within a few days.
Friday, September 20, 2002
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
This post simply gathers some sources and marks my current dismay at the dismal state of actual security created by current law. Get a lot of publicity on your side and you can block a transaction. Get a number of members of congress together and you can block a transaction. Any other fear or risk can be papered over with mere promises by purchasers to not do anything naughty.
It seems that the DOJ is more interested in making sure foreign owners of telecom companies agree to help law enforcement tap phone lines than it is interested in controlling the spread of military technology.
Further digging suggests to me that, pre 9/11, the federales had little interest in actually controlling the sale of businesses. Out of over 1,200 reviewed transactions, only one (1) sale of a sensitive business was ever denied approval by the President. Of course, the statistics I could find on CFIUS reviews do not disclose how many deals were deterred because the parties to the transaction fearing rejection, never underwent CFIUS review. Further, I could not find information (yet) on how many applications were voluntarily withdrawn after a CFIUS committee members expressed a preliminary negative opinion.
[The Cato Institute published a good piece a few years ago predicting that CFIUS was a "Harbinger of Economic Nationalism." I now could not agree more, though nationalism may overstate the case. Simply get the congresscritters whose constituents employers might be sold to foreign interests involved in the process and you can protect interests quite a bit smaller than national interest.]
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Monday, September 16, 2002
The Council of the City of Berkeley hereby declares that the space 60 kilometers and above the City of Berkeley is a space-based weapons free zone;
Hey Berkeley, you don't want weapons in space, don't put any of them there. Keep your laws off of my galaxy!
Lucky for me, my space-based weapons sytem flies at just 58.2 kilometers above Berkeley, so I guess my gear isn't banned.
Not only is this meaningless tripe completely unenforcable feel-good do-nothingism, it contains a lie on its face. Like most of clap-trap nanny-statism, this resolution contains the language "FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: NONE," which I think is a lie. First, the stupid city council had to spend time debating and voting on this piece of shit (NOT the first time that shit has voted for shit. In Berkeley, anyway.) Since the members of the council draw a salary, I find that their is a finanical implication of their being total whack-job asswipes.
Second, by continuing my ban of all travel to the PRC due to the river of shit like this flowing out of that place has got to have some effect. And if my boycott of Berkeley doesn't add up to a hill of organically grown coffee beans, well than fuck 'em.
Sunday, September 15, 2002
After his address to the UN General Assembly, his Excellency George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, leader of the free world, took the time to reach out and shake the hand of one of the security guards who had escorted him to the podium. The President stuck his hand out to the guard. The guard (perhaps a uniformed USSS member) needed to sidestep a bit to make way for the President to pass on by. Bush took the time, just a second, really, to shake his hand. I don't know how to get a screen shot out of RM, so you'll have to skip to just before the end of the video to see this.
[Link is to video of speech courtesy C-Span.]
This is like that. Only better.
[Link courtesy The Hub.]
Saturday, September 14, 2002
Friday, September 13, 2002
The little tiny part of the big company that I work for was in the process of being divested.
Our products have many civilian applications, however, they also have military, nuclear and missile technology applications. They are among what is commonly called dual-use technology. However, the big company's executives neglected to take the export status of our product line into account when they accepted a bid to sell our company to some folks from India.
I drafted, as Wesley Dabney would put it, "A flaming bag of shit" that my boss sent to corporate counsel putting them on notice that it might not be a good idea to transfer export controlled technology to foreign nationals hailing from a country which is actively pursuing the development of bigger nukes and longer range missiles.
My boss struck an even bigger blow when he rolled the dice on his own career by putting federales, from all applicable alphabet soup agencies, on notice of this impending transaction.
Sorry for the lack of details, but mostly I just want this placeholder post to serve as a marker of what happened, should anyone in the future doubt my involvement in this mess. Also, I want to blog about the excellent response from the federales, to what could have been a technological disaster.
Want more info, check out some units of the U.S. government that work to protect us against wrongful technology transfer.
- The Exon-Florio Provision and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFISU)
- Bureau of Industy and Security's Export Enforcement [Also see their "redflags for suspicious transactions".)
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
So, justice is done, eventually. The real question remains: Why didn't any, not a single one, of the HPD officers stand up to their superiors when given illegal orders?
Charges to be dropped in Kmart raid caseActing Houston Police Chief Timothy Oettmeier [Acting because the regular chief is under indictment for perjury] recommended Mayor Lee Brown dismiss trespass charges against 273 people arrested in two controversial parking lot raids because of a lack of legal sufficiency to prove charges.
Oettmeier also recommended the dismissal of curfew charges filed in the August raids, at a westside James Coney Island and Kmart, in the interest of justice.
Oettmeier said the department is continuing to investigate the raid by talking with those involved and said the police department has taken statements from 89 officers and 203 citizens. He said 18 investigators worked 13 to 14 hour days to help him reach his recommendation.
"This is a massive investigation, the largest of its kind in the history of the department," Oettmeier said, explaining his recommendation to Brown was necessary to retain the public's trust and confidence.
The City Attorney's Office said prosecutors will move to dismiss the charges and will contact those who have already pleaded guilty and move to dismiss those charges at the time of a new trial.
Monday, September 09, 2002
The International Institute for Strategic Studies reports that
"War, sanctions and inspections have reversed and retarded, but not eliminated, Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and long-range missile capacity, nor removed Baghdad's enduring interest in developing these capabilities," said the institute's director John Chipman.
Left unhindered, it "seems likely that the current Iraqi regime will eventually achieve its objectives," the report said.
The report, compiled by a range of experts, focused particular concern on Iraq's efforts to develop nuclear weapons. It expressed concern that a nuclear weapon, if developed, could fall into the hands of terrorists.
Although Baghdad appears several years away, at least, from making its own nuclear or fissile material for a bomb, it could get the material from a foreign source and construct a weapon quickly, the report said.
"If, somehow, Iraq were able to acquire sufficient nuclear material from foreign sources, it could probably produce nuclear weapons on short order, probably in a matter of months," the report said.
Saturday, September 07, 2002
Friday, September 06, 2002
Dodd's legislation requires that when issuing credit cards to persons under the age of 21, a credit card issuer must take one of the three following steps:This legislation isn't about protecting students from predatory credit grantors. This legislation is about securing the financial interests of the credit card companies. By making it look like it helps kids, this legislation will back up the spending habits of young adults with the financial backing of their established parents.
- obtain the signature of a parent, guardian, or other qualified individual who will take financial responsibility for any credit card debt;
- determine that the youth has a job or other independent means of repaying such a debt;
- or establish that the youth has completed a certified credit counseling course.
Also, look for the fees of these "credit counseling courses" to be winding up with some special interest group that likely contributed to Dodd.
The most amusing part of this all is that a smaller percentage of people under 21 get in trouble with their credit cards than do people over 21. I guess they are just marginal enough to be exploited and controlled, whereas the rest of us don't complain when politicians look to shackle young adults with more restrictions on their freedom.
Sort of a Chomsky-lite.
It was a bit disturbing to listen to someone so profoundly detached from reality spew forth, uninterrupted, for several minutes at a time.
He dragged out all the typical peacenik/communist garbage about the war on terror. He spent alot of time discussing how we hurt Afghanistan while blindly lashing out, unfocussed against any real enemies. Strangely, he forgot to mention how much better off the people of Afghanistan are today.
Thursday, September 05, 2002
In a statement issued by his office Wednesday, Blumenthal dismissed Dean's criticism. "Regrettably, the truth about the 1998 settlement has been distorted and misrepresented by critics who ignore the tens of thousands of lives saved, billions of dollars produced for taxpayers and, hopefully, many children stopped from beginning to smoke," he said.Let me see if I follow Dick's argument correctly:
I may have wrongfully steered sixty five million dollars to my buddies, but since I kept the details of the payoff sealed and secret, you can't describe my misdeeds correctly. And, oh yeah, I did it for the children.Sounds like a smoke-screen to me.
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
Andrew Cuomo realizes that he is, in fact,
standing on his own dick.
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
In fairness, Loup doesn't look poor, and it's so rich in warmth, community spirit and old-fashioned friendliness that it's just about impossible for a stranger to pay for a meal here. The tiny school, the only one in the county, has student lockers with no locks; and outside, students' cars are not only unlocked, but the keys are left in the ignition.Let me get this straight: The NY Times is describing as poor a place where high school students have their own cars? Hell, I didn't have a car in high school, so I guess I was destitute.
[Link from The Master]
The following paragraph is completely untrue, and was constructed in a blatant attempt to manipulate hits to this pitiful blog. Let's see if it works. Here goes with the untruth, don't believe it, lying eyes falsehoods that will warp the best search engine in the world.
So, I heard that Jamie Lee Curtis, Catherin Zeta Jones and Rachel Roberts are all going to be the new judges on the next round of American Idol. In other news, the Princeton Review is reporting that Brian Hiedek, recent winner of the California Lottery, will not be appearing on Opie and Anthony. Aaliyah has traveled to the real Madrid, where she plans on meeting with Janice Dickinson to discuss their new project.
[In keeping with my stated policy of not reading
any Reuter's content beyond a headline, the following link
has not been tested.
The headline is presented as found on Yahoo! news.]