Clouds in My Coffee-Colored Atmosphere
Strong image enhancement brings out the mutability of Saturn’s atmosphere.
The image manipulation gives a grainy texture to Saturn’s clouds. Whorls, streamers and eddies swirl in the banded atmosphere of Saturn, a gas giant. The loss of smoothness in the image is balanced by an increase in detail.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 728 (green channel), 752 (red channel), and 890 (blue channel) nanometers. The semi-transparent red features across the image are clouds detected by the 752 nanometer filter.
The view was acquired on Aug. 19, 2005 at a distance of approximately 492,000 kilometers (306,000 miles) from Saturn.
This is just sick.
Dutch shock over gay AIDS rape gang
A gay gang that allegedly raped victims lured on the Internet, drugged them and infected them with the AIDS virus has shocked the Netherlands and raised questions over its liberal sex culture.
Health Minister Ab Klink on Thursday called the case "horrible", as the press splashed the news across its front pages.
The matter came to light Wednesday, when police said they had arrested three seropositive homosexual men two weeks ago after four victims, men aged 25 to 50, accused them of rape and premeditated bodily harm.
"Their stated motive was that it excited them — and also that, the more HIV-infected people there were, the better their chances of unprotected sex," he said.
"They considered unprotected relations to be ‘pure’."
A fourth man who allegedly supplied the three suspects with several litres of the date-rape drug GHB and ecstasy tablets was also arrested.
The gang risks up to 16 years in prison.
According to police and prosecutors, eight more victims have come forward since the case was publicised.
Officials said the three seropositive men invited gays contacted on the Internet to private homosexual orgies.
When the victims turned up, they were allegedly given ecstasy and GBH (which is undetectable when mixed in drinks), leaving them helpless and, in some cases, with no memory of what happened.
The three suspects — one of whom is a male nurse — were said to have raped the men, and even injected some of them with a mix of their contaminated blood.
The case has deeply unsettled the Netherlands, and caused it to cast a hard look at its easygoing views on sex, with some figures suggesting that frequent homosexual orgies posed a public health risk.
"That homos organise orgies is nothing new, but this is something else. This is unimaginable," said Frank van Dalen, the president of a gay rights group called COC.
He stressed that the illegal use of GHB (gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid) — known on the street by such nicknames as "Easy Lay, "Gay Home Boy" and "Liquid Ecstasy" — also posed a danger in heterosexual circles.
Said Henk Krol, the editor of a homosexual magazine titled Gaykrant: "These people were drugged, it’s therefore rape, pure and simple. It’s shameful, disgusting and terrifying. Those who did this are crazy."
"This doesn’t mean that the rise is entirely explained by the orgies… but it’s probable that part of the rise has been caused by them," Marco Ter Harmsel, of Grongingen’s municipal health service, told the Dutch newspaper DRC.
It is looking more and more like he is really going to run. He is going to run an unconventional kind of campaign. He is going to use the new media more than anyone else and has been using it very well as of late. USATODAY interviewed him and have posted a pretty good article about him.
Thompson wants to be 2008′s outsider
By Susan Page, USA TODAYSTAMFORD, Conn. — Politician-turned-actor Fred Thompson has been coy with audiences as he flirts with a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
In an interview with USA TODAY, however, the former Tennessee senator not only makes it clear that he plans to run, he describes how he aims to do it. He’s planning a campaign that will use blogs, video posts and other Internet innovations to reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties.
I can’t remember exactly the point that I said, ‘I’m going to do this,’ " Thompson says, his 6-foot, 6-inch frame sprawled comfortably across a couch in a hotel suite. "But when I did, the thing that occurred to me: ‘I’m going to tell people that I am thinking about it and see what kind of reaction I get to it.’ "
His late start carries some problems but also "certain advantages," he says. "Nobody has maxed out to me" in contributions, he notes, and using the Internet already "has allowed me to be in the hunt, so to speak, without spending a dime."
Thompson could reshape a GOP contest in which each of the three leaders has significant vulnerabilities and none of the seven second-tier contenders has broken through. Without formally joining the race — he’s preparing to do that as early as the first week of July — Thompson already is placing third and better among Republican candidates in some national polls.
Dissatisfaction among one-third of Republicans with the 2008 field has opened the door for the candidate, whose folksy tone, actor’s ease before an audience and conservative credentials drew comparisons to Ronald Reagan at the annual Connecticut GOP dinner here. Thompson addressed the dinner last week to a sold-out audience.
"People listen to him and see someone who’s very comfortable with who he is and confident about what he believes in," state Republican chairman Chris Healy says. "That’s a skill that, obviously, Ronald Reagan took to great heights."
Thompson, who has left a five-season stint playing Manhattan District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC’s Law & Order, says his model will be the untraditional campaign he ran in his first political bid for the Senate in 1994.
After a lackluster start, Thompson swapped his tailored suit for a plaid shirt and jeans and began driving a red Chevy pickup across the state in a bid to fill the final two years of Al Gore’s term. Despite his background as a Washington lawyer and lobbyist, Thompson derided Congress as larded with legislators who had lost touch with their constituents and, in some cases, their principles.
He came from behind to swamp his Democratic opponent by 21 percentage points in a year Republicans capitalized on anti-pathy toward President Clinton to win control of the House and Senate.
"I feel some of the same feelings that I felt in the latter part of that ’94 campaign about what is going on in the country today … only greater," says Thompson, citing public cynicism toward the Republican president and the new Democrat-controlled Congress. "You can’t drive the truck all the way across the country, but since ’94 other opportunities have opened up in terms of ways to communicate."
A candidate could use the Internet "to cut through the clutter and go right to the people," he says.
And the red pickup, now parked and rusting outside his mother’s home in Franklin, Tenn.? "You might drive it a few places," he allows.
Waiting for Mr. Right
It’s rare: The Republican presidential nomination is as up-for-grabs as the Democratic one.
Even in Connecticut — the backyard of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and a state whose primary Arizona Sen. John McCain carried in 2000 — many Republican activists are still trying to decide whom to support.
"We’re looking for someone who can be dynamic, who can bring together the troops," Stephen Bessette, 44, the vice president of a software company and a Stonington selectman, says as he waits for Thompson to begin speaking. "There are still people with their hands in their pockets, waiting for the right candidate."
None of the current contenders seems to have the stuff to win an "uphill battle" in the general election, says John Nazzaro, 49, a lawyer from Stonington and member of the GOP state central committee. He wonders whether Thompson’s persona might have a better chance.
Despite what seems to have been a charmed life as a politician and actor, Thompson can project an outsider’s demeanor — as much the working-class kid who grew up in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., as the celebrity who now lives in the tony Washington suburb of McLean, Va. He has a Southern drawl, a loping gait, a lined face and a balding pate.
Although he’s never spotlighted the social issues that energize much of the Republican base, Thompson consistently voted against abortion and in favor of gun rights in the Senate. Giuliani’s support of abortion rights and Romney’s conversion to oppose them have raised qualms among some social conservatives toward them.
On Iraq, Thompson voted to authorize the invasion in October 2002 and now opposes setting a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops. Still, his fortunes aren’t as inextricably tied to the war as those of McCain, who has been one of the war’s leading defenders.
In any case, Thompson argues that Republicans lost control of the House and Senate in November not because of the war but because of out-of-control spending and unrestrained partisanship. What’s surprising — and encouraging for Republicans — is that Democrats didn’t gain more ground, he says.
"It’s been kind of a pox on both your houses," he says. "There’s a disconnect out there between the people and Washington. … It seems lately whoever has power, whoever has control makes the same predictable mistakes."
Does he have the drive?
His campaign themes: tighter borders, smaller government and lower taxes.
He says he doesn’t underestimate how difficult a campaign will be. Most of the top GOP strategists have signed up with other campaigns. The current contenders have been furiously fundraising with hopes of amassing impressive amounts in the second quarter. Those reports are due in July.
Some skeptics question whether Thompson has the drive for a national campaign. "He didn’t have a particularly distinguished Senate career, though that has never been a bar to anybody else being president," says David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union, who isn’t supporting any candidate. "The book on him is he’s lazy. I don’t know whether that’s true or not."
Thompson bristles at the suggestion that he’s lazy or running on a lark — dismissing those as "shots by concerned future competitors." He acknowledges a campaign involves "working your fanny off" and predicts his late start means he’ll need less money than the others.
He made his first appeal to 100 fundraisers in a conference call Tuesday. He hopes to make a splash by amassing an impressive fundraising total of his own as soon as he launches a testing-the-waters committee on Friday.
Frist’s departure was catalyst
The Tennessee Republican running for president in 2008 was supposed to be senator Bill Frist.
Stung by controversies over intervening in the case of a brain-dead Florida woman and changing positions on stem-cell research, Frist announced in November he was retiring from politics and returning to medicine.
That weekend, Tennessee Rep. Zach Wamp was meeting with the dean of the state’s Republicans, former senator and White House chief of state Howard Baker, as part of an effort to persuade Toyota officials to locate a Highlander SUV assembly plant in Chattanooga.
That campaign failed — Toyota announced in February the plant would go to Tupelo, Miss. — but a presidential draft was launched.
Wamp asked Baker, Thompson’s mentor, to call Thompson and urge him to jump in the presidential race. "You’ve known him a long time," Baker replied, according to Wamp. "Call him yourself."
Thompson had been easily re-elected to the Senate in 1996 and briefly considered a presidential bid before the 2000 race. In 2002, however, devastated when his 38-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Thompson Panici, died of an accidental prescription-drug overdose, he decided not to run for another Senate term.
He signed on for the Law & Order role — he has been a character actor since playing himself as a whistle-blower’s lawyer in a 1985 movie about a Tennessee political scandal — and went on the speaking circuit. He began blogging and regularly appearing on ABC Radio, sometimes filling in for idiosyncratic commentator Paul Harvey. Divorced for nearly 20 years, he married Jeri Kehn, a Washington lawyer who had been active in Republican politics, in 2002. They have a 4-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old son.
When Wamp first called, Thompson demurred. When none of the GOP candidates seemed to catch fire, he reconsidered. In February, Thompson told Wamp he was "very open-minded to this."
In March, Thompson announced on Fox News Sunday that he was "going to leave the door open" to a bid. Two weeks later, he finished in third place among Republicans in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, beating Romney out of the box and trailing only Giuliani and McCain.
In April, he disclosed that he had been diagnosed in 2004 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, though he says the slow-growing cancer hasn’t caused him any problems, and his doctors tell him he may well live a normal lifespan.
Last week, he won an unofficial straw poll of GOP activists in Georgia, besting by 2-1 the No. 2 finisher — former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who’s from Georgia and isn’t formally in the race yet, either.
A video offensive
His biggest challenge, Thompson says, will be to avoid getting cautious — that is, to forget the lessons he learned in his 1994 plaid-shirt-and-red-truck campaign.
Consider how he responded two weeks ago when liberal filmmaker Michael Moore challenged him to a debate on health care and called him a hypocrite for favoring embargoed Havana cigars. In the conservative National Review, Thompson had chided Moore’s new documentary, Sicko, which unfavorably compares the U.S. health care system with the one in Cuba.
It was 9:30 that morning when Jeri told her husband that Moore’s debate challenge had been posted the night before on the gossipy Drudge Report.
" ‘Jeri said, ‘You know, we could have some fun,’ " Thompson recalls. " ‘Why don’t you do something on the Internet?’ So I got to thinking about it and I got to thinking about what I might do. …"
"And Mark Corallo and Ed McFadden had that camera there in 40 minutes," Jeri, who is sitting in on the interview, breaks in. Corallo and McFadden, aides to John Ashcroft when he was U.S. attorney general, have been helping Thompson behind the scenes.
In the video, sitting in at the desk in his study, Thompson seems to be studying his calendar, an unlit Cuban Montecristo in his mouth.
"You know, I’ve been looking at my schedule, Michael, and I don’t think I have time for you," Thompson begins. "But I may be the least of your problems. You know, the next time you’re down in Cuba visiting your buddy Castro, you might ask him about another documentary filmmaker. His name is Nicolas Guillen. He did something Castro didn’t like, and they put him in a mental institution for several years, giving him devastating electroshock treatment.
"A mental institution, Michael," he says. "Might be something you ought to think about."
‘I’ve got to … have the guts’
By 11:30 a.m., two hours after his first chat about the furor, the 38-second video was done. By early afternoon it was posted on Breitbart.tv, a website for news videos launched last month. As of Wednesday, versions of the video on YouTube.com had been viewed more than 83,000 times.
His challenge will be to keep taking risks and trying unconventional tactics, Thompson says.
"I’ve got to fight to have the guts enough to follow my own instincts," he says. "Everybody is going to make mistakes anyway. Things are going to happen. You’re going to have good days and bad. You might as well do it your way."
After yesterday’s news that Fred will most likely put his hat i the ring around the Fourth of July, he writes a post at Townhall about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the consequences of not stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
Living in Terror
By Fred Thompson
Let me ask you a hypothetical question. What do you think America would do if Canadian soldiers were firing dozens of missiles every day into Buffalo, N.Y.? What do you think our response would be if Mexican troops for two years had launched daily rocket attacks on San Diego — and bragged about it?
I can tell you, our response would look nothing like Israel’s restrained and pinpoint reactions to daily missile attacks from Gaza. We would use whatever means necessary to win the war. There would likely be numerous casualties on our enemy’s side, but we would rightfully hold those who attacked us responsible.
More than 1,300 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza since Palestinians were given control two years ago. Israelis, however, have gone to incredible lengths to stop the war against them without harming Palestinian non-combatants. But make no mistake, Israel is at war. The elected Hamas government regularly repeats its official promise to destroy Israel entirely and replace it with an Islamic state. Hamas openly took credit for killing one woman and wounding dozens more last week alone.
The Palestinian strategy is to purposely target and kill Israeli civilians. Then, when Israel goes after those launching the attacks, Palestinians claim to be the victims. If Palestinian civilians aren’t hurt in the Israeli attacks, they stage injuries and deaths. Too often, they garner sympathy and support from a gullible or anti-Semitic media in the international community.
Israelis, themselves, are often incapable of facing the damage they inflict in self-defense. Knowing this, Islamic extremists are using their own populations as human shields.
I’m beginning to wonder how much longer this vicious plot will work though. International sympathy for Palestinians has diminished as the same Islamofascist extremists have brought havoc to Madrid, Bali, Somalia, London and elsewhere. More importantly, Israelis themselves are suffering so badly, they may be on the verge of losing their sympathy for the people who have sworn to kill them.
Imagine what it would be like to live, knowing that a rocket could fall on you or your children at any minute. Half of those who live nearest to Gaza have fled their homes. Those remaining are traumatized by daily warning sirens and explosions.
The irony is that Israel has the military might to easily win the war that is being waged against them today. They haven’t used that might, in the past, out of compassion for Palestinian civilians and because it could trigger a wider regional conflict.
That balance of power is about to change, though. If Iran develops nuclear weapons, the very existence of this tiny nation of Israel will be threatened. The Iranian regime has left little doubt that it intends to see Israel "wiped off the map.” Hamas is using the same language, not coincidentally, and has announced it will begin launching missiles into Israel from the West Bank too.
If the world doesn’t act to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it must be prepared for the consequences of Israel defending itself.
Yes, that was an actual question on the DUmmies site. And the sad thing was that people actually answered and were not joking. You see, anything right of Michael Moore is wrong and should be outlawed.
"What group do you think of as worse than al quaeda?"
The WORST thing you can do to the Left is to quote them accurately. Copy & Paste is their mortal enemy since it allows the world to see them in their OWN words. You can see yet another example of their inner loon in this DUmmie THREAD titled, "What group do you think of as worse than al quaeda?" Since the DUmmies agree with the Pink Sapphire that there is NO global war on terror, they look upon "al quaeda" as either benign or misunderstood or both. So let us now watch the DUmmies prove their complete looniness in their own words in Bolshevik Red while the commentary of your humble correspondent, thinking that a lot of AP staffers would agree with the sentiments expressed on this thread, is in the [brackets]:
What group do you think of as worse than al quaeda?
[DUmmies think the Boy Scouts are worse than Al Qaeda so the following responses to this question will come as no surprise.]
[Posted a DUmmie with a Karl Marx icon by his name.]
PNAC/BushCo. Chimpy McF*ckwad is just a puppet figurehead for the current regime.
[P-NACing, Mr. Pennell? P-NACing?]
corporate human resources
[Almost as bad as static cling.]
B.F.E.E., PNAC, Neo-Cons…
[To get an idea of the juvenile DUmmie mindset, you have to realize that B.F.E.E. stands for Bush Family Evil Empire.]
…fundamentalist xians…like Dobson, Robertson, Phelps and Sheldon’s little hate groups. I’d trust your average Afghani in a dark alley before I’d come anywhere near a f*ckin fundie!
[If you ever confronted a Taliban Afghan, you would barf up your pizza all over your Che Guevara T-Shirt.]
the radical religious right is more dangerous than Al-Qaeda could ever be.
[Is that you, Rosie O?]
Up With People
[I wonder if Up With People ever beat the crap out of this DUmmie...with smiles on their faces.]
[Be more assertive. Take that question mark away.]
[The cabal that whisks you away to Wal-Mart detention centers in the middle of the night.]
That would be the neocon let’s-go-back-to-fuedalism crowd.
[How about the let's-go-back-to-spelling-correctly crowd?]
[So far PNAC is winning the DUmmie sweepstakes for the group worse than Al Qaeda.]
The PNAC may be more dangerous in their influence over powers that can actually do more damage than al queda ever thought of.
[Yup! Definitely PNAC.]
[This DUmmie would be begging for protection by Blackwater Security if ever confronted by Al Qaeda.]
Toss up between the Dominionists and the Russian mob.
[Yeah, those Dominionist suicide bombers are everywhere.]
the repuke party which has become the largest organized crime syndicate and terrorist operation in the history of earth
[The frightening thing here is that this DUmmie is serious.]
The Bush regime.
[Extreme electro-shock therapy won't cure your BDS but we'll certainly try with high voltages.]
1962 : Architect of the Holocaust hanged in Israel
Near Tel Aviv, Israel, Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi SS officer who organized Adolf Hitler’s "final solution of the Jewish question," was executed for his crimes against humanity.
Eichmann was born in Solingen, Germany, in 1906. In November 1932, he joined the Nazi’s elite SS (Schutzstaffel) organization, whose members came to have broad responsibilities in Nazi Germany, including policing, intelligence, and the enforcement of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies. Eichmann steadily rose in the SS hierarchy, and with the German annexation of Austria in 1938 he was sent to Vienna with the mission of ridding the city of Jews. He set up an efficient Jewish deportment center and in 1939 was sent to Prague on a similar mission. That year, Eichmann was appointed to the Jewish section of the SS central security office in Berlin.
In January 1942, Eichmann met with top Nazi officials at the Wansee Conference near Berlin for the purpose of planning a "final solution of the Jewish question," as Nazi leader Hermann Goering put it. The Nazis decided to exterminate Europe’s Jewish population. Eichmann was appointed to coordinate the identification, assembly, and transportation of millions of Jews from occupied Europe to the Nazi death camps, where Jews were gassed or worked to death. He carried this duty out with horrifying efficiency, and between three to four million Jews perished in the extermination camps before the end of World War II. Close to two million were executed elsewhere.
Following the war, Eichmann was captured by U.S. troops, but he escaped a prison camp in 1946 before having to face the Nuremberg International War Crimes Tribunal. Eichmann traveled under an assumed identity between Europe and the Middle East, and in 1950 he arrived in Argentina, which maintained lax immigration policies and was a safe haven for many Nazi war criminals. In 1957, a German prosecutor secretly informed Israel that Eichmann was living in Argentina. Agents from Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad, were deployed to Argentina, and in early 1960 they finally located Eichmann; he was living in the San Fernando section of Buenos Aires under the name of Ricardo Klement.
In May 1960, Argentina was celebrating the 150th anniversary of its revolution against Spain, and many tourists were traveling to Argentina from abroad to attend the festivities. The Mossad used the opportunity to smuggle more agents into the country. Israel, knowing that Argentina might never extradite Eichmann for trial, had decided to abduct him and take him to Israel illegally. On May 11, Mossad operatives descended on Garibaldi Street in San Fernando and snatched Eichmann away as he was walking from the bus to his home. His family called local hospitals but not the police, and Argentina knew nothing of the operation. On May 20, a drugged Eichmann was flown out of Argentina disguised as an Israeli airline worker who had suffered head trauma in an accident. Three days later, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced that Eichmann was in Israeli custody.
Argentina demanded Eichmann’s return, but Israel argued that his status as an international war criminal gave them the right to proceed with a trial. On April 11, 1961, Eichmann’s trial began in Jerusalem. It was the first televised trial in history. Eichmann faced 15 charges, including crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and war crimes. He claimed he was just following orders, but the judges disagreed, finding him guilty on all counts on December 15 and sentencing him to die. On May 31, 1962, he was hanged near Tel Aviv. His body was cremated and his ashes thrown into the sea.
Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie is a Iraqi American U.S. Army linguist soldier,
from Ann-Arbor, Michigan who was kidnapped on October 23, 2006 in
Baghdad and has not been seen since.al-Taayie
joined the Army in 2004 to help not only his country, the United
States, but also his birthplace of Iraq and was deployed in 2005. On
October 23, 2006 he was visiting his wife in the Karrada Shiite
neighborhood in central Baghdad when he and his cousin were kidnapped
by a group calling themselves Ahel al-Beit Brigades.
was released shortly after. On November 2, 2006 al-Taayie’s uncle
received a ransom demand of $250,000 for his return. Along with the
ransom came a grainy video that showed a man beaten up who was
identified as al-Taayie. No more has been heard from al-Taayie or his
For more information on Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie you can go here
brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may
enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to
call them Hero. We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died,
We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.