Tuesday, October 24, 2006

NaNoWriMo AGAIN

Okay, I decided to do it. Again.

NaNoWriMo is, of course, National Novel Writing Month.

Last year was a bust. The idea is to give yourself permission to write truely terrible fiction for the purpose of finishing a novel, beginning to end, or at least to get to 50,000 words just to show you can. 2,000 words a day is quite a lot but it's only 30 days so there is an end in sight.

Since I'm great at starting and terrible at finishing I figure this is probably a good thing for me. But what happened last year was that I got to just over 20,000 words and decided that the story was pretty darned good after all and suddenly I wanted to *make* it good instead of just plough through.

And that was that.

I wasn't intending on doing it this year. But I was getting all ready to start a new project (I'm great at starting) and at the last minute decided that I might as well put off starting for a week and do the NaNoWriMo thing. So I'm making question sheets for plot and character and going to make a name list so I don't get hung up when trying to think of a name to use breaks up the flow.

A coup disrupts the Empire just as an agent finds the missing telepath he's been searching for. The two of them try to protect a young girl who has the power to access ancient technology and who poses a threat to the new ruler. Steps they take to escape with the girl make things worse until they are forced to make an impossible decision that could destroy an entire world, or else save it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Too weird for fiction... Clinton's idea of how to spy properly.

Oh my...
“One CIA pilot told me that in the mid 1990s, when Clinton was president, that the lawyers began to take over. Previously, they used to take CIA planes into hangars all the time, re-spray them, and come out with a different tail number. That way none of the tracing of CIA planes I’ve been doing since 9/11 would have been possible. The idea of flying around with one tail number for three years would have been thought completely nuts,” Grey told me. “But [Clinton-era] lawyers said they needed to stay legal. They even insisted that, to comply with FAA regulations, they needed stewardesses.”

Yes, stewardesses on CIA planes.

Instapundit linked this (and compared it to fantasy-fiction with amorous demons. I can only say that the comparison seems appropriate.

Who owns space?

Well, no one, of course. But George Bush is right on about this one. National security isn't about being fair, it's about being in a position of strength.

Bush Sets Defense As Space Priority.

I agree with this guy:
The new policy was applauded by defense analyst Baker Spring of the conservative Heritage Foundation. He said that he supported the policy's rejection of international agreements or treaties, as well as its emphasis on protecting military assets and placing missile defense components in space. He also said that he liked the policy's promotion of commercial enterprises in space and its apparent recognition that private satellites will need military protection as well.


This is interesting as well:
A number of nations have pushed for talks to ban space weapons, and the United States has long been one of a handful of nations opposed to the idea. Although it had abstained in the past when proposals to ban space weapons came up in the United Nations, last October the United States voted for the first time against a call for negotiations -- the only "no" against 160 "yes" votes.


Bravo.

There is no sane reason to even talk about a ban on space weapons. The talk would be pointless. A ban would be even more pointless and not because weapons in space are a good thing, but because everything in space is, or could be, a weapon. And like any other sort of disarmament issue there is nothing but good faith to enforce the ban and bad guys don't have any.

Should I repeat that? Or should I just say "Nork! Nork!"

Oh, and just in case someone at the UN thinks that the UN should administrate extra-terrestrial humans... that's a good reason to reject *anything* they try to do to regulate space. You want a peice of it? Get your back-side up there and stake a claim, Buddy.

In the mean time we have a natural right, and obligation, to protect our national interest.

UNM Law School musings...

In the interest of doing more local blogging, here is a column about the University New Mexico Law School. (via Instapundit, no less, who isn't local at all)

Long story short, Christina Hoff Sommers relates her impression that at the UNM Law School Liberal Bias Rules. I can't even find pithy quotations to take from the article because it's just a list of examples of weirdness so I'd have to quote them all. I can say that after reading it I can't imagine anyone deciding to attend this school.

Quite frankly, it sounds like a community college.

No doubt I've just slandered some wonderful community college somewhere, but it seems to me that when a college instructor is quoted saying something truely far-out, as often as not it's someone on a community college faculty. Like the guy who said that it would be good if 80% of the population died of bird flu.

I doubt that the average community college is as completely one sided as Sommers says the UNM Law School is, and I'm sure there are lots of wonderful teachers or that community colleges aren't a very good idea for students to consider. There really isn't any way to get past the fact that as college employment goes community colleges are at the bottom end of the job market. A person expects some weirdos.

Is the UNM Law School teaching liberal activism law only? Would Spock survive the environment there? Does the school rank where it does because of the faculty or does it have the faculty it does because of the ranking?

Does the school intend to try to *do* anything about this?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

300,000,000 Americans today!


Tim Blair has this wonderful pictoral tribute. I'm probably the only person in the country who hasn't figured out how to effortlessly e-mail pictures so I'll attempt to post my contribution to the 300 million here. My four and my sister's two boys. My brother also has two of the cutest babies but so far we don't have a picture of all the cousins together. My brother-in-law also has a boy that is too adorable for words.

Friday, October 13, 2006

U.S. killed British TV reporter

This was on my Yahoo Messenger "Inside Yahoo" when I logged in this morning.

I honestly don't know what these people use for brains. Seriously. The story is basically the same as ever, U.S. troops fired at people they knew were reporters and so knew were not a threat. Thus, they committed a war crime and are guilty of murder.

Witnesses testified during the weeklong inquest that Lloyd — who was driving with fellow ITN reporters from Kuwait toward Basra, Iraq — was shot in the back by Iraqi troops who overtook his car, then died after U.S. fire hit a civilian minivan being used as an ambulance and struck him in the head.


Firstly, please let us realize that Lloyd, who surely did not deserve to die, was shot by *both* sides. By Saddam's forces and then by Americans. What does this tell us?

Yes, children, he was smack dab in the center of a battle ground. Between the two forces who were trying to kill each other.

Now comes the hubris.

Walker said. "There is no doubt that the minibus presented no threat to the American forces. There is no doubt it was an unlawful act of fire."


No doubt? Really? And Walker "no doubt" would like our troops to assume that any vehicle that isn't clearly marked as enemy military is safe. Because if they are wrong and get killed, who the heck cares, huh?

ITN cameraman Daniel Demoustier, the sole survivor, told the inquest that ITN's pair of four-wheel drive vehicles were overtaken by a truck carrying Iraqi forces and that gunfire erupted.


This is at the beginning, when the "clearly marked" (as the article makes pains to point out) ITN vehicles were attacked by Saddam's forces.

(Survivors, except for Lloyd, were picked up by Red Crescent ambulances and taken to a hospital.)

The coroner said Friday that a civilian drove up in a minivan, pulled a U-turn and picked up four wounded Iraqi soldiers, then saw Lloyd with a press card around his neck and helped him into the van.


So Saddam's forces *weren't* trying to kill reporters? They were just shooting at them and were the ones who had shot Lloyd to begin with. Could it be possible that maybe the "clearly marked" ITN vehicles weren't that easy to identify in the heat of battle?

In any case, for some reason, U.S. forces felt that the unmarked minivan was a threat and shot at it, hitting Lloyd in the head and killing him.

When Saddam's forces attacked the ITN vehicles the article quotes ITN cameraman Daniel Demoustier as saying he was ...

Driving blindly in smoke,


And later...

Demoustier said after the ruling that the inquest had not made clear whether the bullet that killed Lloyd was fired by a U.S. tank or helicopter. He said the forces in a tank would have been able to see that they were firing at a civilian vehicle, but a helicopter would not.


If someone has limited visibility while driving a vehicle I think it's safe to say that someone driving a tank in the same situation would also have limited visibility. I do appreciate that the one person who was actually *there* realized that at least helicopters wouldn't have a clear view and ability to determine that a vehicle was civilian.

Or even "clearly" marked as ITN.

But in the end... there is no reason whatsoever for our forces to assume that a civilian vehicle is not a threat. That's just a sad fact. Our soldiers wear uniforms and identify themselves. I'd say that Western armies generally do. Other armies *don't*. And we know this. Our forces fired on the ambulance carrying Jessica Lynch, when the doctors tried to return her. They were right to do so because they *had* to assume that the vehicle was a threat.

These "inquests" and other similar B.S. pretend that a battlefeild is a clean, controlled place and they do so for political advantage. Here's another thing that is 100% proper and right...

U.S. authorities didn't allow servicemen to testify at the inquest.


But the coroner has an agenda so...

Several submitted statements that the coroner ruled inadmissible.


The day our government allows any soldier to appear in one of these foreign kangaroo courts is the day America, as a concept, ends.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I've got news for you Babs

"Streisand noted that "the artist's role is to disturb,""

Oh really?

Of all the emotions that an artist can envoke, "disturb" is the easiest. It's the cop out. It's the artistic angst of youth that mistakes "disturbing" for art just because it gets a reaction from your elders and lends a guilty thrill to your peers.

What is the artists role? To make us think, certainly. To illuminate the world.

When did art become more pure the more people it could repel?

Interestingly the article describes Babs' Bush skit as only a little bit funny and too long and the audience's response as subdued.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I really hate to say this but...

...maybe these people should move.

And I'm serious that I hate to say it. If I could move home again and make a living there I would do it. I understand the pull of geology and culture. Having to be elsewhere in order to pay the bills sucks. In any case, it is a trade-off that a whole lot of people make.

A better solution would be economic development but I can't even think of what to suggest. Other than fishing or drilling for oil what is there? The same things that make groceries and gas expensive make shipping anything *out* expensive as well. But maybe someone can think of a good idea or two.

Anyhow, bravo to those who have refused Citgo money. I hope someone else steps in to make up the difference. Donating insulation and building supplies doesn't sound like a bad idea either, if the homes are as flimsy as the article says. It does sound like a really horrible place to live, though. Someone please tell me the summer is glorious or the aurora or *something*.

Happy Late-Comer's Day

Geez. Is "comer" a word?

It is, I looked it up. It still looks wrong though. I did have to fix the spelling so it even looks wronger. LOL.

So, for those of you who aren't Norse, Late-Comer's Day is otherwise known as Columbus Day.