Friday, December 31, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Well, so much for all the hoopla about how Cal was hosed out of the Rose Bowl, as they were pasted by Texas Tech last night in the Holiday Bowl: (23) Texas Tech 45, (4) California 31.

BTW, for the record, Texas beat Tech 51-21 this season.

Meanwhile, the Troy Trojans, in their first bowl game ever, jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead on Northern Illinois in the Silicon Valley Classic [if it is only 5 years old, how can it be a "Classic"-Ed.] and looked to be heading for a route, but couldn’t do much of anything after that, leading to a loss of 34-21. I watched the first half, but TiVo’d the rest (I am certainly glad I didn’t stay up to 2am to watch a loss–of course, it was pretty clear tht by the end of the 1st half that Troy was toast).

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Candidates Want Second Ohio Recount

Two third-party presidential candidates asked a federal court Thursday to force a second recount of the Ohio vote, alleging county election boards altered votes and didn’t follow proper procedures in the recount that ended this week.

Lawyers for Green Party candidate David Cobb and the Libertarian Party’s Michael Badnarik made their request in federal court in Columbus.

The two candidates, who received less than 0.3 percent of the Ohio vote, paid $113,600 for a statewide recount after the vote was certified earlier this month by the secretary of state. They have said they don’t expect to change the election results, but want to make sure that every vote is proply counted.

Earth to Cobb and Badnarik: this is a pointless waste of time and money. Go home and take up a hobby.

(And you aren’t doing the already tenuous image of third party candidates any favors).

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: U.S. Expands Tsunami Disaster Response

The Bush administration broadened its response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster in South Asia and Africa with plans for Secretary of State Colin Powell to visit the region and assess what more the United States needs to do.


The president’s brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has experience with extensive hurricane damage in Florida, will travel with Powell. A congressional delegation headed by Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, a former U.S. foreign service officer, is scheduled to visit Thailand and Sri Lanka next week.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who often travels to blighted areas, said Thursday he plans to visit India to try to help victims of tsunamis that have left millions of people at risk of disease.

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Thursday, December 30, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Whilst researching, I cam across UN Security Council Resolution 1267 on Afghanistan – Taliban Sanctions, adopted October 15, 1999, which includes the following:

Strongly condemning the continuing use of Afghan territory, especially areas controlled by the Taliban, for the sheltering and training of terrorists and planning of terrorist acts, and reaffirming its conviction that the suppression of international terrorism is essential for the maintenance of international peace and security,

Deploring the fact that the Taliban continues to provide safe haven to Usama bin Laden and to allow him and others associated with him to operate a network of terrorist training camps from Taliban-controlled territory and to use Afghanistan as a base from which to sponsor international terrorist operations,

Noting the indictment of Usama bin Laden and his associates by the United States of America for, inter alia, the 7 August 1998 bombings of the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and for conspiring to kill American nationals outside the United States, and noting also the request of the United States of America to the Taliban to surrender them for trial (S/1999/1021),


2. Demands that the Taliban turn over Usama bin Laden without further delay to appropriate authorities in a country where he has been indicted, or to appropriate authorities in a country where he will be returned to such a country, or to appropriate authorities in a country where he will be arrested and effectively brought to justice;

It sure helped that the Security Council did all that “condeming”, “deploring” and “demanding”, now didn’t it?

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By Steven L. Taylor

I have discovered an alternative to trying to find hosted video of the tsunami: Bit Torrent. I had read about, but never used the file sharing tech until today. Via Iso Hunt I was able to find, with relative ease, several amature videos from more than one locale from the Indian Ocean tsunamis.

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By Steven L. Taylor

I am doing some work on a conference paper/article and came across the following graphics on Afghan opium production. Note the radical reduction in production in 2024 in the first graph, and then note the price in the next graph. Also note how price over time once production resumed.

Source: The United Nations’ Afghanistan: Opium Survey 2024.

Update: Part of today’s Traffic Jam.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Seattle Times: Gregoire declared governor-elect, but Rossi wants new vote

After three vote tallies and 58 days of waiting, Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared Washington’s governor-elect today. But her Republican rival did not concede and wants a new election.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, certified Gregoire, the three-term attorney general, as the winner of the closest governor’s race in state history. She won a statewide hand recount by a scant 129 votes out of more than 2.8 million cast.

But Republican candidate Dino Rossi, a former state legislative leader and real-estate investor, said the election was hopelessly flawed and that the Legislature should authorize a new election. He won both of the earlier counts.

Rossi also held open the possibility of contesting the election in the courts.

As painful as it may be for Rossi and for Washington Republicans, I am afraid that unless there is evidence of legitimate votes that have been uncounted, the only honorable and proper thing to do is to accept defeat and then work to win in 2024. It is the route John Thune took in 2024 (and that Richard Nixon took in 1960, for that matter). I thought that Al Gore’s court-based strategy was wrong in 2024, and I think that taking this to court for a protracted fight will be more damaging to Washington and Rossi than simply accepting the results.

Even without the court-allowed ballots, Gregoire won by 10 votes in the hand recount. Under the law, that is the method to determine the winner. A re-vote strikes me as problematic on a whole lot of levels. Rossi should work to fix whatever problems existing in this process and use that fight as a platform to further elective office.

Having said that, I have been most unimpressed with the statements I have read from the Gregoire camp, such as:

“This ain’t golf. No mulligans allowed here, folks,” Gregoire’s spokesman, Morton Brilliant, said Wednesday. “It’s irresponsible to spend $4 million in taxpayer money on a new election just because you don’t like losing this one.”

This is from a campaign that didn’t win until the third count. Yes, it was a legal count, but it was the third one–and of the three the one most likely to contain the highest percentage of errors (machine counts are more accurate than hand counts) and they make the rather unstatesman-like statement that there are “[n]o mulligans allowed”? I find that rather remarkable. Surely, gven the circumstances, a more understated approach would be warranted.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Wizbang has links.

Update: An alternative source of video linked from here.

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By Steven L. Taylor

“Not everyone distinguished himself. What to say of those who’ve latched on to the tragedy to promote their political agendas, from the U.N. official who raced to call the U.S. “stingy,” to the global-warming crowd, to administration critics who jumped at the chance to call the president insensitive because he was vacationing in Texas and didn’t voice his sympathy quickly enough? Such people are slyly asserting their own, higher sensitivity and getting credit for it, which is odd because what they’re actually doing is using dead people to make cheap points.” — Peggy Noonan in today’s WSJ

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By Steven L. Taylor

There is a graphic in yesterday’s Montgomery Advertiser which shows the initial pledges for tsuanmi aid as of 5 am cst on 12/28/04. (I have looked online in numerous places, but haven’t been able to find it. ) In the graphic, which shows the initial US pledge of $15 million (with a footnote indicating that the total was actually at $35 million), we see that at the time, Japan topped the US with a pledge of almost $30 million. Third on the list was Australia with $7.9 million.

Other initial pledges included: $3.9 from the European Comission, $3.3 million from Canada, $2.6 from the Netherlands, $1.8 from Denmark, $1.3 from Germany, $150,000 from South Korea and $100,000 from the UK.

Now, these are the numbers that were released at the time that so many were jumping on the US for not giving enough. If the issue was sincere criticism for lack of contributions, where was the outcry for the small sums form elsewhere?

Of course, as I noted yesterday, the bottom line was that cush criticisms were noting more that ideologically motivated statements. Further, as I also noted, initial pledges tell you nothing.

Here are some of the latest numbers from Reuters:

AUSTRIA: Pledged 1 million euros ($1.4 million) in aid to the countries hit.

BELGIUM: Military plane due to stop at Dubai to load most of its cargo — UNICEF aid such as tents, vaccines.

BRITAIN: Pledged 15 million pounds ($28.9 million) to the devastated area and has sent plastic sheets and tents worth 250,000 pounds to Sri Lanka. Contributing 370,000 pounds to EU aid and $100,000 to World Health Organisation.

CANADA: Initial contribution of $C1 million ($814,000) to appeal for $6.5 million by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

CHINA: Offering 21.6 million yuan ($2.6 million) of aid to India, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Sent planes to Sri Lanka and Thailand with drinking water and medicine, part of pledge of aid worth 10 million crowns ($446,000).

DENMARK: Increased aid pledge by maximum 85 million Danish crowns ($15.6 million) after spending almost all initial 10 million crowns pledged. Aid will cover immediate needs — medical supplies, food, water, shelter — and reconstruction.

UNICEF flight from its Copenhagen depot taking 45 tonnes of supplies to the area, including oral rehydration salts and medical supplies for 150,000 people for three months.

EGYPT: Egyptian Red Crescent Society sending a plane with 500,000 Egyptian pounds ($81,000) worth of medicine and other aid as initial step.

EUROPEAN UNION: Ready to release up to 30 million euros on top of 3 million euros already allocated to IFRC.

FINLAND: Pledged 2.5 million euros spread among World Food Programme, UNICEF, WHO and IFRC. Local aid groups contributed further 75,000 euros. Finnish Red Cross has sent a field hospital with 15 staff to Sri Lanka and 31 aid workers to Thailand.

FRANCE: Foreign Minister Michel Barnier in Sri Lanka, then Thailand. Has earmarked 100,000 euros for relief, sent 16 rescuers to Thailand, 10 tonnes aid to Sri Lanka.

GERMANY: Doubling emergency aid to 2 million euros. Air force medical evacuation plane to set off for Phuket, two more planes chartered to take disaster relief teams, medicines and consular officials there. Germany’s largest utility E.ON to donate 1 million euros.

GREECE: Sending C-130 transport aircraft carrying 25 rescue workers to Phuket on Thursday to help with rescue operations.

Has sent plane to Sri Lanka carrying five tonnes of food and clothing, and offered 150,000 euros in aid to each of the two countries.

ISRAEL: Sent one medical team to Sri Lanka, one to Thailand. Military search and rescue team due in Sri Lanka, held up by coordination problems.

ITALY: Will send 2 Hercules aircraft, one to Sri Lanka, one to Thailand.

JAPAN: Pledged $30 million in aid, sent three navy vessels to Thailand to help rescue survivors.

KUWAIT: Pledged aid supplies worth $2 million, sent $100,000 immediate aid.

NETHERLANDS: Contributing 2 million euros to Red Cross-Red Crescent appeal, plus participating in EU aid programme.

NORWAY: Preliminary contribution of 50 million Norwegian crowns ($8.2 million) for emergency relief, including basic necessities, medicines, food, clean water and shelter.

POLAND: Earmarked 1 million zlotys ($336,000) for Polish NGOs involved in relief.

SAUDI ARABIA: Pledged $10 million aid package — $5 million of food, tents and medicine to be distributed via Saudi Red Crescent, $5 million for international aid groups such as the Red Cross and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

SINGAPORE: Contributing some $1.2 million to global effort, military medical teams and supplies ready to fly to Indonesia.

SOUTH KOREA: Raises aid to $2 million, may send military cargo plane to move aid workers and supplies.

SPAIN: Sent aircraft to Sri Lanka with first aid, sanitary equipment and 19 volunteers, promised 1 million euros.

SWEDEN: Sent 2 communications specialists to help U.N. relief efforts in Sri Lanka. Sending tents and communications equipment to the Maldives. Swedish Red Cross to contribute $750,000 to IFRC appeal.

TAIWAN: Pledged additional $5 million to South and Southeast Asian countries, after giving $100,000 to Indonesia, $50,000 each to Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. Sends more than 100 relief workers.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Pledged $2 million in aid and its Red Crescent society will donate 30 tonnes of food, blankets and clothing to earthquake victims to be transported over this week.

UNITED STATES: Pledged initial $35 million. Pentagon ordered 12 vessels to region, though no decision taken on their role.

INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: Cargo plane flying from Kenya to Sri Lanka carrying 105 tonnes of supplies, provide aid to 150,000 people in north and east. Trying to raise more than 50 million Swiss francs ($44 million).

IMF: Intends to provide assistance, no specific pledges.

UNHCR: Initially distributing $380,000 of non-food relief items, including 23,500 plastic sheets for shelter, 24,500 plastic mats, clothing, towels and 20,000 kitchen sets.

UNICEF: Delivered 50 water tanks to southern India, 45-tonne shipment of water purification tablets and water systems due to reach Sri Lanka on Thursday. WHO and UNICEF said they were providing four emergency kits to Indonesia to cover 40,000 people for three months, providing shelter, food and clothing.

U.N. WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: Sends 168 tonnes of commodities to Sri Lanka, plus more than 4,000 tonnes of rice, wheatflour, lentils and sugar, enough to provide 500,000 people with emergency rations for two weeks.

U.N. DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME: Provided $100,000 each to Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, the Maldives and Thailand to help assess damage and coordinate emergency needs.

U.N. POPULATION FUND: Earmarked up to $1 million and extra staff to help health needs of pregnant and nursing women.

And, no doubt, more is to follow.

According to a statement I read from SecState Powell, US aid will easily cap $1 billion.

On the issue of comparaite generosity, see: Outside The Beltway : U.S. Generosity.

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