Thursday, December 21, 2006

Post to respond to comment

Here is a response to someone who commented on the post I did about the Iranian government hosting an anti-Semitic art contest that denies the Holocaust. The commenter said I made it seem like terrorists become suicide bombers because they had nothing better to do and that America was at fault for making us the enemy of the Middle East. I can't disagree with the fact that 6 years of GWB has pretty much screwed up our reputation and image across the globe with an FU attitude as if we're a bunch of freaking cowboys. Looks like after recent elections and events in the congress (Heard of the Mark Foley scandal? I think he said, "take a ruler out and measure it." to a congressional page but I am not exactly sure. You'll have to do your own research on that one) the Bush Administration's Cowboy Attitude is turning into Brokeback Mountain. Not that I'm complaining, I mean if it ain't Brokeback then don't fix it.

I digress from my point. For some reason people without any support of their criticisms whatsoever like to tell me I am wrong and base my posts off of erroneous info and when I do the research (cause I'm a paranoid Jewish bastard) I see I am right after all and the commenter was just a blowhard with an agenda not an opinion. Go see some of the responses to stories of my own that I submitted to Now those guys can be brutal, yet terribly uninformed or lack a backbone to respond to my comments back to them with facts.

I like a good debate, so please comment. I respect the opinions of others, just please back up what you say with facts. Don't tell me I am wrong or erroneous or misspell one word on a blog. I mean, if you don't "get it" by now, you probably never will. By the way, if Hillary Clinton runs in the next election I am pasting her picture on every post I do. It really pisses of the Republicans. Especially the ones who were all for impeaching a president who got a BJ and lied but not one who started a war on false and thin data knowingly skewing the facts and now over 2,000 of my countrymen are dead for it.

I will say it again and again: I do not get it. However, perhaps after this last election other people are so that's good.

Anyway, here is my response. The original comment can be found here.

I could only see what you are saying if I had the ability to put myself I their shoes, which as a Jew, I cannot. It is a bit like you are saying that Timothy McVeigh kinda had a point because the US government does do bad things and taxes are a very big strain on the poorer folks. Besides, didn't have that whole Revolution from England thing because of taxes?

Anyone who can promote hatred as a national agenda and hold contests like this doesn't have a political position, he has a hate mongering position.

Hitler had a point too if you were a Nazi, so did Stalin and so did the Europeans who wiped out the Native Americans. Why doesn't America hold a contest to show how well we developed this country into a superpower while rolling over an entire continent's culture? That would be fun.

You can't say that this is in any way justified. Suicide bombers "believe" in what they are doing because they "believe" in a Jihad. That is because they are poor, uneducated, and are told from the time they can understand that America is evil and that only Islam is right. They are raised on the beliefs and faith of religion as physical truth, which it is not. It is a guide to living a good life, not how to fight a war against oppression.

I do not agree with you. If I look at the situation in the Middle East and Southeast Asia I see a people blinded to the fact that although our interest lies in oil, it is because it is fundamental to the survival of our culture, economy and power, our way of life.

We consume oil. The billionaire families in Saudi Arabia should be the targets of Osama Bin Laden not the US. It's like people in the US who say that we should be helping Americans get jobs and food not other countries.

The terrorists need to look at their own countries and the power structure there. If they did then they could see that it is their fellow man who keeps them down and that they need to rise up and reclaim their lands to greatness once again.

The Middle East was a great center of knowledge, intelligence, and now it is in a shambles. Partly because of the US and Europeans. The US and the Jews are NOT all to blame.

Only when the people of those nations un-blind themselves to their own power to rule themselves and make their world better as so many other countries have done, then will there be peace. Until then, this is the way it will be. A country full of hate, where children grow up to become instruments of self-destruction and tools for wealthy, power hungry men like Osama Bin Laden. Men who "claim" to be Godly men but are truly evil. Like Hitler, like Stalin, like a whole host of men before them tricking their fellow countrymen that someone else is to blame for their condition.

I welcome a response.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nancy Pelosi Bucks Tradition - No lazy recess vacation for new Congress!

Tradition in the House of Representatives is to open in early January and then quickly adjourn after swearing in new members. The House then would stay closed until after the State of the Union address. NOT ANYMORE! What better way to show America that the Democratic Party isn't going to spend a majority of the year in recess?

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Good Day

The Democrats win control of the House and Rumsfeld resigns. This is a good day for America.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

When did the world loose control of this situation? Iran has now mocked the Jews and the Holocaust by actually promoting a contest for the best anti-Semitic cartoon that promotes the horrible idea that the Holocaust was a myth. This is an offense against the civilized nations of the world and the Jewish people. Supposedly this is in retaliation for a cartoon of Mohammad that was published by a Danish newspaper. What this contest has to do with that cartoon is unfathomable.

Here are the culprits:

Hamshahri, Iran’s best selling newspaper promoted the event.

Iran’s government allowed it to go on and sanctioned it.

Abdellah Derkaoui, a Moroccan artist won the event.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called the holocaust a myth.

Masoud Shojai-Tabatabai is head of the Iranian cartoon house that promoted the event.

Among many countries where entries came in, France and Brazil were among them.

French and Brazilian cartoonists shared second prize.

It is now clear that the United States and the western, civilized nations of the world are failing to bring peace and sanity to the Middle East. Instead we have let hate and terrorism fester. This contest is another form of terrorism in my opinion not because it is a freedom of speech but because it promotes hate. The one thing that separates this from free speech or opinion or satire is the intent to promote anti-Semitism and hate.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Anyone? Beuller? Bueller?

I read some of the articles in the American Spectator to get my blood boiling enough to post once in a while. Ben Stein and Jay D. Homnick have done the job. In an article posted 10/20/06, Mr. Homnick exposes Hillary Clinton for lying. Something that no politician on either side of the aisle has ever done. Obviously the Clintons have the lying thing down much better than Bush family.

The basis for his article is that Hillary Clinton just found out that she was not named for Sir Edmund Hillary, who climbed Mt. Everest in 1953. This obviously can’t be true since Hillary was born in 1947. The story goes that Hillary’s mother told her this when she was young and Hillary did not bother to fact check her Mom.

In the article he uses this as a basis for convicting Hillary for everything she ever lied about ever, without supporting those other lies with real examples. The only one he manages to give is when Bill Clinton lied about tax cuts for the middle-class. Of course the Monica Lewinsky fiasco. What this has to do with Hillary Clinton’s mother telling her she was named for Sir Edmund Hillary to inspire her to great things, I have no idea.

In the end Mr. Homnick draws a direct line between this event (Hillary’s political office saying that Hillary understands why her mother told her this untruth as a young woman) and Hillary’s covert run at the 2008 Presidential Democratic ticket.

The final straw is that he took a great Bob Dylan song (Lay, Lady, Lay) and repurposed it for the article’s title (lie, Lady, Lie). That is an unforgivable offense.

Ben Stein is best known by people of my generation for his wonderful role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He played a boring teacher whose famous line is, “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?” or his speech describing, “Voodoo economics.” Classic. Stein is also known as the former speechwriter for Nixon, among other things. No doubt he’s smart. He writes economics articles, he is a lawyer and he’s rather funny.

But I do not like his political ideology. Stein was at one time suspected of being the famous “Deep Throat,” Bob Woodward’s informant. He deflected this accusation by in fact, turning the accusations against Bob Woodward and stating quite often that he believed there was no “Deep Throat” and that Mr. Woodward made the informant up.

When W. Mark Felt outed himself ads the Woodward informant, Stein reacted angrily against Mr. Felt. He believes that given the opportunity, Nixon may have helped stem the rise of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. (This was taken directly from Wikipedia’s article on Ben Stein) Stein has been a staunch defender of Nixon over the years. Although he recognizes Nixon was a lying, coniving, sham of a politician, he did so with peaceful intentions, while JFK and Clinton were liars and conivers but were also immoral so they deserve everything they got. (Aparantly he doesn’t dig too deep into the record.)

An article I stumbled across in the Spectator got me riled up.

Yes, it’s old and it is almost forgotten but I do not understand the basis for his arguments. I remember back during the 2004 election campaign. The Dems really screwed that one up by reacting and bending and basically being flipilty-flopity all over the place. But the Republicans sorta just eeked that one out. They may have gotten the electorate but the popular vote just tells me that they were better at mobilizing their base. (I blame myself.)

Mr. Stein’s position is that the Democrats thought that Bush was not fit to lead because he didn’t fight in Vietnam and that Kerry was better because he did. He even goes further saying that Dems also are trying to say that Kerry is better than Bush because he killed someone in Vietanam!

Was he watching the same election or one that Hollywood made up. I think the line the Dems were trying to put out there is that Bush lied (back to lying) about getting us into the war in Iraq and he lied about his service record (or at the very least tried to avoid the issue). The point of Kerry’s record and subsiquent protest of the War was that this guy puts his money where his mouth is. He is a stand-up guy who went to war because he believed in America and when he came back, didn’t like what he saw despite doing his duty and by the way winning a few metals along the way. He protested because he had a moral concious and stood up for what he believed in.

The problem with that election campaign was that the Republicans were too good at back spinning even the good stories about Kerry and the Democrats found themselves with a poor return. (Why they didn’t ask me is beying comprehension.)

Mr. Stein ends his article with an obtuse pronouncement that the Democrats—the anti-war, anti-military party—thinks that only a cold-blooded warrior can lead the country, implying that the Democrats don’t know what they’re talking about. I thinkt he Democrats knew what they wanted to say—and it made a lot of sense—it’s that they didn’t have the organization and dare I say balls to say it.

Someone as smart as Ben Stein should know better than to engage in the type of mud-slinging found in this article. Let’s hope he has clearer vision in 2008.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Have you seen this email? See below the email to get my response.

Disgusting !!!!!! And not just the highlighted ones. If you are so inclined, give it the widest distribution possible.



Akaka (D-HI)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D-CT)
Domenici (-NM)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D -WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wyden (D-OR)


Feel free to send back my response:

Fellow Americans,

There has been an email circulating that claims Democrats voted against the English language being the national language of the United States. here is the whole story.

If you do some research you'll see that the email is referring to an amendment to a bill that was in Congress called the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006.

In that bill, which was passed, (some opponents said that this bill allowed easier legal status to illegal aliens) the amendment that was voted Nay by the Democrats did propose that "The Government of the United States shall preserve and enhance the role of English as the national language of the United States of America." But it also said that "no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English." The Democrats were voting against that portion of the bill judging by the results of their votes on the following Amendment (Salazar Amdt. No. 4073 As Modified).

The Amendment (Salazar Amdt. No. 4073 As Modified) that was voted Yea by the Democrats listed below (including the dreaded Clinton) was a similar amendment. This one read that the government was "To declare that English is the common and unifying language of the United States, and to preserve and enhance the role of the English language." But that "Nothing herein shall diminish or expand any existing rights under the law of the United States relative to services or materials provided by the Government of the United States in any language other than English. " The Democrats all voted for this bill which basically said, we will preserve English as the language of America but we will noit restrict or for that matter even expand our existing rights to provide material and services in other languages. Keep things status quo.

The actual Bill, (Which you can read here) is very comprehensive and has many amendments (found here) The bill was about illegal aliens and border security issues. It was passed by a 62-36 bipartisan vote.

So in fact the email sent out is not even close to the whole story.

Remember THAT when you vote.

Refernce: always gets their man! Or email fraud!


Friday, October 13, 2006

Give Peace A Chance (Or A Few Cents)

Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.

Directly from

Attack the causes of poverty and you remove the roots of conflict -- that is the message the Nobel Committee wanted to send out by awarding its Peace Prize to the creator of a micro-credit scheme which benefits millions, analysts said on Friday.

Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus, the so-called "Banker to the Poor", and the Grameen Bank he founded three decades ago were the surprise winners of the award for pioneering a system of small-scale loans that has helped 6.6 million people escape the grind of poverty.

As the head of the Nobel Committee, Ole Danbolt Mjoes, said: "Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty."

Click here to read full article on

Sounds like a brilliant idea to me. Possibly the root cause of all terrorism is not religious differences but poverty and lack of education.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

In the months after September 11th, 2001, the administration of George W. Bush put together a plan to strike back at the terrorists who attacked the United States. In hindsight it is obvious that this was a misguided and incomplete plan. The reasons for going to war were fabricated and inaccurate. After a year of deliberation, the combined forces of the Unites States Intelligence Community developed vapid threads connecting Iraq to the Al-Qaida attackers. In fact, Bush practically made the case that Iraq could very well be behind all the terrorist threats to the free world and that we had to take the War on Terror to the shores of those who presented the greatest known threat.

Statements made by high profile members of the Bush administration before the intelligence analysis was complete created pressure on the Intelligence Community to come up with evidence to support their claims.

“Saddam Hussein has said in no uncertain terms, that he would use weapons of mass destruction against the United States. He has, at this moment, stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and is pursuing nuclear weapons.” - Rumsfeld, Testimony Before the Senate Armed Services Committee, 9/19/02

“Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. And the battlefield has now shifted to America…” - President Bush, 9/19/2002

“You can’t distinguish between Al-Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror” – President Bush, 9/25/02

“We know they have weapons of mass destruction. We know they have active programs.” - Rumsfeld, DoD News Briefing, 9/26/02

“The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons… and according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given.” - President Bush, Radio Address, 9/28/06

On October 1, 2002 the National Intelligence Community presented the classified NIE report on Iraq’s WMD assessment. The NIE, or National Intelligence Estimate, is to provide policy-makers with the best, most unbiased, collaborative, assessment of the combined resources of the National Intelligence Community as a whole. Usually an assessment like this takes months to prepare but this NIE was cobbled together within weeks. A few days later the declassified White Papers were released. This report contained the evidence many congressmen used to base their decision to vote for the use of force, if necessary, in Iraq. As well, the public viewed the White Papers as the Intelligence Community’s final conclusions on the threat, which painted a grim picture of a madman with his finger on the button to destroy America and its interests at anytime.

Conclusion that the NIE drew, that Congress used to vote for the War in Iraq are outlined as follows:

- We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in defiance of UN resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade.
- Iraq has largely rebuilt missile and biological weapons facilities.
- Baghdad has exceeded UN range limits of 150 km with its ballistic missiles and is working with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
- Although we assess that Saddam does not yet have nuclear weapons or sufficient material to make any, he remains intent on acquiring them.
- If Baghdad acquires sufficient fissile material from abroad it could make a nuclear weapon within several months to a year.
- Without such material from abroad, Iraq probably would not be able to make a weapon until 2007 to 2009
- We assess that Baghdad has begun renewed production of mustard, sarin, GF (cyclosarin), and VX; its capability probably is more limited now than it was at the time of the Gulf war, although VX production and agent storage life probably have been improved.
- We judge that all key aspects--R&D, production, and weaponization--of Iraq's offensive BW program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf war.
- Iraq maintains a small missile force and several development programs, including for a UAV probably intended to deliver biological warfare agent.
- We have low confidence in our ability to assess when Saddam would use WMD.
- Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States, fearing that exposure of Iraqi involvement would provide Washington a stronger cause for making war.
- Saddam, if sufficiently desperate, might decide that only an organization such as al-Qa'ida--with worldwide reach and extensive terrorist infrastructure, and already engaged in a life-or-death struggle against the United States--could perpetrate the type of terrorist attack that he would hope to conduct.

Confidence Levels for Selected Key Judgments in This Estimate:

High Confidence:

· Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding, its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.
· We are not detecting portions of these weapons programs.
· Iraq possesses proscribed chemical and biological weapons and missiles.
· Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grad fissile material

Moderate Confidence:

· Iraq does not yet have a nuclear weapon or sufficient material to make one but is likely to have a weapon by 2007 to 2009. (See INR alternative view, page 84).

Low Confidence

· When Saddam would use weapons of mass destruction.
· Whether Saddam would engage in clandestine attacks against the US Homeland.
· Whether in desperation Saddam would share chemical or biological weapons with al-Qa'ida.

The resolution to use force against Iraq passed the House on October 10, 2002, and by the Senate on October 11, 2002. Most of the Senators and Congressmen used this flawed report as a basis to vote for the use of force. President Bush signed the law on October 16, 2002.

In November the U.N. adopt Resolution 1441 that says that Iraq must submit to tougher U.N. inspections but does not allow for the United States to use force. The U.N. inspectors then had unfettered access to all the plants and sites that they want to inspect. Despite multiple pleas from the inspectors get copies of American Intelligence reports on the production of WMDs, the U.S.did not produce such documents. All the while, the administration claimed that they wanted more and better evidence that Iraq did not have an existing WMD program. Rumors abounded that Iraq buried the WMDs in the desert before the inspectors could find them. Saddam Hussein allowed the inspections to go on within Iraq.

In Press Conferences Ari Fleisher continued to reiterate the fact that the administration of the United States and the United Kingdom knew for sure that Iraq had WMDs and in order to stem an invasion attack, Saddam Hussein must produce them. He also flaunted the absurdity of believing Saddam Hussein over the opinions of highly respected Americans like George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

After weapons inspectors failed to prove or disprove Iraq harbored secret WMDs, Colin Powell stood in front of the U.N. to present his multi-part report that exposed Iraq’s danger to the world. Most of what he presented was uncorroborated and unverified. To date, the evidence against Iraq has been very thin and transparently fabricated from old reports and evidence based on what is not there rather than what is.

On the 20th of March of 2003 the United States, Great Britain and a loose coalition of nations went to war with the nation of Iraq. With an offensive attack called “Shock and awe” the United States dropped bombs and launched missiles into Baghdad that were meant to demoralize the enemy and break its will to fight. If the idea worked, there would be little if any ground fighting. American forces could march right into the capital, destruction laced among the buildings and thoroughfares of the Iraqi city, and take control with minimal U. S. casualties. Comparisons were made to Hiroshima; such was the impact the military meant to impose on Iraq.

“Shock and Awe” also is known in the National Defense University as rapid dominance. Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade, the authors of the strtegy, describe rapid dominance as attempting "to affect the will, perception, and understanding of the adversary to fit or respond to our strategic policy ends through imposing a regime of Shock and Awe," (1) and "impose this overwhelming level of Shock and Awe against an adversary on an immediate or sufficiently timely basis to paralyze its will to carry on . . . [to] seize control of the environment and paralyze or so overload an adversary's perceptions and understanding of events that the enemy would be incapable of resistance at the tactical and strategic levels." (2)

Since that time it has been anything but a quick and decisive battle. Despite the proclamation of the president when he dressed up as a fighter pilot (ironic since in the Air National Guard he was suspended from flight duty) the mission has not been accomplished.

According to the Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, Iraq’s relationship to Al-Qaida was misread and unsupported considering his previous dealings with extremists groups.

He viewed extremists as a threat to his regime and any information about Al-Qaida’s view of the relationship was contradictory as both a desire to gain support from Saddam Hussein and a distain of working with secular regimes like Iraq. Debriefing of Abu Zubaydah, a captured Al-Qaida senior coordinator of training, revealed that Abu felt that any relationship between Saddam and Al-Qaida would be viewed by bin Laden as distracting to its mission although he did say that Al-Qaida contact Abu Mu’sab al-Zarqawi had a good relationship with Iraqi Intelligence. The assessment, despite evidence to the contrary, was that Al-Qaida and Iraq had meetings. The real evidence supports the assumption that the contacts were through third parties and not very strongly supported by the leadership on either side.

Reports that there were close ties between Iraq and Al-Qaida and that Al-Qaida had set up training facilities within Iraq’s borders are at the most unreliable and contradictory. The only two pieces of evidence connecting the Iraqi government to the September 11th hijackers were deemed by the CIA itself to be tenuous and unsubstantial. They relied on two instances where alleged Iraqi nationals were to have met with directly assisted in the facilitation of the attacks of the attackers.

Saddam Hussein’s human rights records were also held up as reasons for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Although ancillary in its appeal when all else fails the supporters of the war effort could point to undeniably atrocious acts by Saddam Hussein and his regime on his own people. The list of his abuses is long and publicly available. It is well known that Saddam Hussein carried out atrocities against the Iraqi Kurdish minority, the Shia Arabs and that he used chemical weapons against the Kurds and the Iranian military in the Iran-Iraq War.

The White Papers report released in 2002 also outline the atrocities dating back to 1983. In that time, from 1983 to 1988, Hussein used chemical weapons such as Mustard Gas, a blister agent causing blistering and burning of skin, eyes and lungs and Tabun and other nerve agents which causes convulsions and loss of consciousness, against thousands of Kurds and Iranians. The period of time covered predates the War in Iraq by a period of 15 to 20 years. The report also outlined biological weapons testing—including Anthrax—from 1988 to 1991, a period predating the War in Iraq by 12 to 20 years.

Iraq has not stopped at human abuse and has showed little hesitation in using ecological destruction as part of its war efforts. During the Gulf War in 1991 he had his army set fires to the Kuwaiti oil wells and pumped oil into the Persian Gulf. He drained the marshlands of the Marsh Arabs to essentially destroying their habitat and culture.

Looking at the original claims and assesments of the Intelligence community in 2002, the terror threat to the United States and the free nations of the world have not significantly dropped. Countless acts of terror against countires in Eruope and against individuals in Iraq have been carried out against us in the Jihad of the Muslim extremists. Even in the shadow of the evil that these terrorists do, America’s reputation has been severly damaged on the world stage. Bush claimed in 2004, when he won the national election, that he had political capital to spend. He has now bankrupted the political coffer, taking all of America down with him.

Several sources were used to write this article:

Iraq WMD National Intelligence Estimate Report retrieved from FAS website and the website of George Washington University.

Info on FAS from Wikipedia.

1. Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade, Shock And Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance
2. Ullman and Wade, , Shock And Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

2006 Congressional Elections

CNN reports that Bush said "If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party, it sounds like -- it sounds like -- they think the best way to protect the American people is, wait until we're attacked again."

I am not sure if he actually believes that or if this is just campaigning on the part of Republicans everywhere, like Dean Heller. Bush said this while visiting Nevada where Mr. Heller, Nevada’s Secretary of State, is running for Congress.

On November 7th all the House of Representative seats are up for election and 33 of the 100 Senatorial seats are running for election. This is an important mid-term election.

George Bush had been able to hold the country in a tight grip playing on our fears of a repeat of 9/11 and the increase of taxes that the Democrats will surely impose the minute they take power.

This election should bode well for Democrats given the current climate and growing dissatisfaction of the people with the War in Iraq, the Government’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina and other scandals that hit the current administration.

With an administration that shows very little regard for the very people it vows to protect and the economy that despite what the man on the street experiences, the government is smugly satisfied with, we can only hope for the prevailing wind to shift in by this important election year. I do not propose wholesale slaughter at the ballot boxes but I do predict a change in the tide.

Judging by the president’s comment about the Democrats I wonder if he even bothers to think about what his speechwriters put in front of him anymore. We certainly know he doesn’t read the papers. The brilliant work done by his political machine over the last six years seems to be breaking down.

National Security is certainly a major concern and legitimate issue in these elections. But when you make a blanket statement like that how can anyone take you seriously. I can point out that the Democrat’s or Republican’s strategy or plan is inefficient in keeping this country safe or may lead to more attacks but to say that the Democrats as a whole have a wait and see attitude on the terror threat is absurd.

In the same vein, one can say that the Republican’s idea of protecting our country is to take out troops and have them occupied in a war that has nothing to do with this nation’s security and that wastes valuable resources and lives. Their attitude is clearly one that deflects direct criticism rather than face it head on. They did it in the 2004 Presidential Election by throwing almost every accusation back by questioning the asker’s patriotism and or commitment to the American people. Only in this way can a draft dodger look like a war hero while a veteran can be made out to be soft.

If I could be neutral, I’d actually admire the way the Republican Political Machine gobbled up issues and threw them back with barbs attached. They ripped the Democrats to shreds who were unprepared and unwilling to fight back. Let’s hope we’ve come a long way since then and have learned to stand up and fight. And not let the other side define us before we’ve even defined ourselves.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We Want You! For The War Against America.

A new report by the U.S. Intelligence Agencies shows that the threat of terrorist attack has grown since September 11th as a result of America’s actions in the Middle East (especially the war in Iraq) not decreased as intended by the designers of the war.

The truth is that the war in Iraq has solidified the feelings of resentment by extremist fundamentalist Muslims in the Middle East. President Bush says that America is a safer place since 9/11 but without qualifying data the President’s statement is a matter of opinion not fact. Other opinions and the follow up attacks on nations in Europe show that the world is not safer and probably more dangerous after sowing the seeds of resentment for these last five years.

The nightly news is filled with events from the Middle East that does not inspire confidence that the war has achieved its intended goals, as shifty as they are. The administration’s backpedaling and excuse-ridden explanations for going to war have been counter-intuitive.

At the start, it was the fact that Sadam Hussein himself was direct threat to America because he definitely had Weapons of Mass Destruction, including intentions of building and launching Nuclear Missiles against the U.S. and its allies. Then the real reason was exposed: That Sadam Hussein was harboring connections to Al Quaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks. In a final and less convincing revelation, Bush says that bringing democracy to the Middle East to stabilize the region was his intended goal and that above all else is the ultimate aim of this war effort. After layering on these causes and then using the old magician’s trick of sleight of hand, we were confused and scared but all pointed in the right direction. The effect was a nation lined up to go to war no matter what the cost.

Now that we are elbow deep in Iraq, facing insurgent attacks daily and on the brink of becoming ensnared in a civil war, our reason for being there is to help put Iraq back together and stem the growing domestic terrorist threat inside the country. A terrorist threat that never existed before and a civil war that we caused by ripping open the region.

Of course the reasons do not fit. Why a secular dictator would invite fundamentalist religious fanatics into his own country to train in war simply does not make sense. Why would he risk his own presidency and power to train these people who would probably like to see him dead just as much as the Americans. Sadam Hussein is an ungodly fellow. He does not follow the same playbook as Osama Bin Laden. As a matter of fact it seems to make more sense for Sadam Hussein to limit or prevent Al Quaeda’s influence within his borders. Any simpleton can see that Sadam Hussein does not share the selfless (if totally misguided and twisted) aims of the ultra religious Islamic terrorists. These people are about giving up their lives for the greater good and a dogmatic agenda to spread Islam and protect it by the sword. Sadam Hussien wants to keep control over his people while enjoying all the decadence benefits of wealth and power. Not exactly the basis for radical fundamentalism.

The Western nations will not stand up for Sadam Hussein. He was clearly a madman and a dangerous enemy to freedom and democracy. He was a terror to his own people running his country with a militaristic iron fist. Yet at the same time, one has to wonder the reasoning behind Bush’s war. Let’s put aside the fact that he felt he had to save face for Daddy Bush. Being aware and relatively sober during that period of time (I was in college after all) I remember the reasons for not going all the way into Baghdad. The first being we were leading a UN coalition formed to prevent the attack of one nation, unilaterally and with provocation against a smaller weaker one. In the final analysis, it seemed prudent not to take over a country we had no idea how to subdue once the initial coup was over. In short, at the time of the first Gulf War, we did not attack Sadam Hussein simply because we had no exit strategy. Colon Powel is said to have told the elder Bush that if “we break it we bought it.” The price for owning Iraq was too high. Besides, we had accomplished a goal, made a point and enforced subsequent UN sanctions against an aggressor nation.

Years later, young Bush decided that a war by one larger aggressor over another nation was a good idea. He had a nation that had been sufficiently weakened by UN sanctions for more than ten years and whose leader was unpopular in the region anyway. Bush made the intelligence data fit his picture no matter how much he had to stretch the truth.

It was not a hard war to sell to American citizens or to Congress at the time. We were salivating for blood. We wanted revenge for the attacks against the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and Flight 93. He gave us exactly what we wanted. He gave us a place to vent all our collective vengeance, anger, frustration, anxiety and fear.

The modern war on terrorists is not one fought like our father’s war or even our Grandfather’s. This was a war that was more like the Cold War’s long, drawn out campaign. We needed intelligence and subversion. We needed policing and sanctions and a coalition of nations in a unified front. We needed to make sympathizers to the Al Quaeda cause regret their former allegiance to a murderous organization. We needed to make the world unsafe for terrorists.

Instead of patience, Bush chose “shock and awe.” Admittedly, this is exactly what we all wanted. We wanted bombs bursting in the air over some Middle Eastern nation not a quiet, hidden, secretive, operation. We wanted blood not long trails of ink on confidential papers. We wanted guns not legal action to stem the flow of money from supporters to the terrorists.

He gave it to us. And we were distracted for a while. Then the long slog began. Evil things like beheadings started to be carried out on American civilians. Not even journalists or humanitarians were safe. An Iraqi Al Quaeda was able to attach itself to the region. Now we have what Bush insisted was the reason for the war. Like circular paradox we created the reasons for going to war and now those reasons are touted as the very reasons to stay on for the entire fight. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy on the part of the Republican Party.

Iraq has become the rally cry of the fundamentalist Muslims hell-bent on destroying America. It both proves their point to serves as a recruitment crusade. We’ve pushed the fence sitters over to the other side.

Bush states that it is naïve to think that the war in Iraq has caused terrorism around the world to become worse. It would seem that the opposite is true. It is naïve to think that the Iraq War has not increased the terrorist threat. In fact, it is dangerous for Bush not to accept the truth. He endangers the United States every time he decides policy without considering that any action might increase the threat to Americans or other good people of the world. A president who does not plan for every contingency is a president who is steering this nation on a course straight into the rocks.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Surviving Siblings Reunited!

Good news of the day from

Yahoo has a great story up about a brother and sister separated during the Holocaust and recently reunited. Hilda Shlick’s grandsons used the Internet to locate her long lost, 81-year old brother, Simon Glasberg.

While searching the database of Holocaust victims at Yad Vashem (the Israeli Holocaust memorial) her two grandsons found that the list was in error, reporting that their grandmother had died over 50 years ago. By cross checking the database with her maiden name, Glasberg, the two industrious twenty-something grandsons found family living in Ottawa, Canada.

According to the report on the Yahoo website, written by Aron Heller of the Associated Press:

When Glasberg, who lives near Ottawa, Canada, saw his gray-haired little sister for the first time, he recognized her immediately, he said.

"I felt I couldn't talk. I just cried," he said. "You don't understand, 65 years..." His voice trailed off.

Shlick, 75, said she too was overwhelmed by the discovery.

"For 65 years, I lived thinking I had no family besides one sister," she said.

They last saw each other in 1941, when the Nazis invaded Romania and split the family up. At the time, Hilda was 10-years old. She escaped to Uzbekistan with her older sister. The rest of the family, parents, Simon and three other brothers found refuge in a basement in Romania.

Simon Glasberg then emigrated to Canada after the war and Hilda eventually went to Israel in 1998 after living in Estonia.

While most of the other family dies (the Glasberg parents lived well into their 90s and died in the Nineteen Eighties, the surviving siblings are Simon, Hilda and Mark.

They will be spending the Rosh Hashanah holiday together in Israel where Simon and other siblings went to reunite with Hilda.

Simon said mentioned that his parents always wanted to reunite all their children.

"My poor parents, they always said, 'We wish we would find all our kids'" he said. "It is such a tragedy, but now I am so happy."

This is the second reunion of siblings lost during the Holocaust who found each other through the Yad Vashem database. Recently sisters were reunited after being apart for 61 years.

Happy News for the Jewish New Year.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Human Rights Violation in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan was a Soviet Republic until 1991 when it broke away. Considered a dictatorship, the President and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Saparmurat Nitazov has absolute power going so far as to prevent any religious practices. This totalitarian, secular, cult-of-personality government opposes religious freedom and human rights. The freedom of the press is near the bottom of all countries in the world.

The United Nations today called for an investigation of Turkmenistan for the death of a human rights activist and journalist, Ogulsapar Muradova. She was with the Bulgaria-based Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation, and was a reporter with U.S.-funded Radio Liberty. Tried in the country on trumped up charges, the reporter along with two other activists were arrested in June. Knowing the reputation it shouldn’t surprise anyone the actions of this government.

Pope Benedict XVI's comment against Islam

Pope Benedict XVI quoted a book during a speech to a German University that described a conversation between a 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

Many in the Muslim world are now outraged by the remark. In Turkey, where the Pope hopes to make his first visit to a Muslim country this November, members of the ruling president’s party there called the quote “ignorance.”

Islamic religious groups protested quickly to the Pope’s words and demanded an apology saying he was throwing gasoline on a fire raging in the world between religious groups and also likened the comment to a movement to bring back the Crusades.

The First Crusade was Medieval campaigns in the name of Christianity backed by Pope Urban II. The Byzantine emperor Alexius I called for help defending his empire against the Turks and the Pope offered full penance to any Christians to join the war and help defend the empire and free the Holy Land. The war grew in power and force.

The war helped the Pope fuel Christian passion. Until the 11th Century, Christians were allowed to visit the Holy Land peacefully on their pilgrimages. Then the Turks took over Jerusalem and prevented Christians form visiting. The Pope called for all Christian princes to take up arms and campaign to free the Holy Lands from Turkish control.

What followed were twelve more crusades but none matched the fervor of the First Crusade.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad President of the Islamic Republic of Iran expressed the following statement in a speech:

“They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets. The West has given more significance to the myth of the genocide of the Jews, even more significant than God, religion, and the prophets, (it) deals very severely with those who deny this myth but does not do anything to those who deny God, religion, and the prophet. If you have burned the Jews, why don't you give a piece of Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to Israel? Our question is, if you have committed this huge crime, why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?”

What he says here is that the holocaust is a myth and if we believe this myth then Europe or America should give up a piece of its land for Isreal. This is a curious statement since almost everyhwere in Europe and America (I do say slmost because in theory it is correct) Jews are welcome to setlle in any place they like.

Of course the heart of the matter is that not one Muslim leader protested against this hateful comment. Of course the United States and Germany had something to say to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but silence from the Muslim world. No protests in the streets over inflaming religious hatred, no publich condemnations, the Pakistan's parliament did not adopt a resolution condemning the Iranian leader as they did to condemn the Pope.

The overreaction in the Muslim world to perceived insults and minor infractions, like the cartoon controversy earlier last year show the instability in the leadership of that part of the world. Public outcry against statements or opinions comes from one direction only.

I find this to be an appalling state in the Muslim community. Where one leader can insanely deny one of the 20th Century’s worst humanitarian crimes without rebuke from his people but a statement from another religious leader or even a political cartoon can incite this type of reaction.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years.

I can't believe it's been that long. Yet personally and politically there have been so many changes in the past five years.

Take this time to reflect on the words of others who spoke out that day and in the days that followed. If only we could have harnessed that outpouring of sympathy from the world and not turned the world against us.

"All of a sudden there were people screaming. I saw people jumping out of the building. Their arms were flailing. I stopped taking pictures and started crying."
--Michael Walters, a free-lance photo journalist in Manhattan.

"The city is going to survive, we are going to get through it, It's going to be very, very difficult time. I don't think we yet know the pain that we're going to feel when we find out who we lost, but the thing we have to focus on now is getting this city through this, and surviving and being stronger for it."
--Rudolph Giuliani

As for those that carried out these attacks there are no adequate words of condemnation. Their barbarism will stand as their shame for all eternity.
--British Prime Minister Tony Blair

It is with enormous distress that France has just learned of the monstrous attacks—there is no other word for it—that have just struck the United States of America. In these horrifying circumstances, the entire people of France, and I want to emphasize this, stand by the people of America. They express their friendship and solidarity in this tragedy. Naturally, I want to assure President Bush of my total support. France, as you know, has always condemned and unreservedly condemns terrorism, and considers that terrorism must be combated by all possible means.
--French President Jacques Chirac, September 11, 2001.

It was with horror that I learned of the abominable terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington in which so many innocent people have lost their lives. My government staunchly condemns these acts of terrorism. The German people are at the side of the United States of America in this difficult hour. I wish to express my deep-felt condolences and complete solidarity to you and the American people. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
--German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, September 11, 2001.

I was stricken by news and television pictures coming from the United States this morning. It is impossible to fully comprehend the evil that would have conjured up such a cowardly and depraved assault upon thousands of innocent people. There can be no cause or grievance that could ever justify such unspeakable violence. Indeed, such an attack is an assault not only on the targets but an offense against the freedom and rights of all civilized nations.
--Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien , September 11, 2001.

This morning we were notified about the horrible news of the series of terrorist attacks in the United States, that have left a great trail of destruction. Mexico expresses its condolences to the Government and the American people for the irreparable human losses. We also express our energetic condemnation to these attacks. I have informed President George Bush of our feelings of sorrow and our solidarity in such difficult moments.
--Mexican President Vicente Fox, , September 11, 2001.

Shocked to learn of the serious attacks against certain areas in New York City and Washington D.C. on September 11, which caused horrendous casualty, I wish to express, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, our deepest sympathy and solicitude to you and, through you, to the Government and people of the United States. I wish also to extend our condolences to the families of the victims. The Chinese Government has consistently condemned and rejected all forms of terrorist violence.
--Chinese President Jiang Zemin, September 11, 2001.

The United States today faced an unprecedented act of aggression on the part of international terrorism. First of all, I express sincere and profound condolences to all the victims and the families of the dead. The event that occurred in the US today goes beyond national borders. It is a brazen challenge to the whole humanity, at least to civilized humanity. And what happened today is added proof of the relevance of the Russian proposal to pool the efforts of the international community in the struggle against terrorism, that plague of the 21st century. Russia knows at first hand what terrorism is. So, we understand as well as anyone the feelings of the American people. Addressing the people of the United States on behalf of Russia I would like to say that we are with you, we entirely and fully share and experience your pain. We support you.
--Russian President Valdimir Putin, September 12, 2001.

We take it so close to heart because we all know what it is. Points of contention between the United States and Russia seem like minor disputes between neighbors that fade in the face of such great sorrow, which unites people.
--Valentina Nikitina, Russian economist

The whole international community will be united in condemning what they have done.
--Nato Secretary General Lord Robertson


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Katrina Distater

Couldn't the local residents and officials from New Orleans take a look around for themselves and see that the levee system was inadequate before the storm. I think the strategy there was hope and pray instead of action. Human Nature is such that unless it is right in front of our faces or an immediate threat we tend to dismiss it. I'm from the Northeast. I know nothing of the levee system in New Orleans. Nor should I be expected to care. I have no vested interest. But the residents, activists and politicians in the area should have taken care of this potential problem way before Katrina. Didn't any engineers even do a test? An emergency plan? If my house was located in a major flood zone with an aging and inadequate levee holding back the sea, I'd think of contacting my local congressman to see what they were doing about it. It is the failure of the local government for not addressing the levee problem before Katrina and it is the problem of the Federal Government for resting on its laurels after Katrina. How can anyone expect a ravaged area to organize evac and rescue without outside help while the government watches them get deeper and deeper under water. We rush to the aide of natural disaster victims half a world away (as we should). But the government was reluctant to get involved in a national matter. Once the city began sinking the FEMA exec should have been on the phone to the president to say, "Those people need help." Isn't that his job? Isn't it the job of the executive branch of government to enforce laws and protect the people of this country, rich or poor? We can send poor people over to Iraq to fight; the government has no problem with that. But we can't go in and rescue poor folks when they're drowning. I don't get the mentality of this administration.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


This is the main reason why we need to look for alternate sources of energy beyond petroleum. The money Westerners pour into the Middle East for our oil dependency (guilty as charged here as well so I cast no stones at anyone) is supporting evil dictatorships, Fundamentalist terror organizations and suppressive regimes. Our only recourse to this type of rhetoric is to seriously look at alternative fuel methods. If we can loosen our dependence on oil we will strike a blow at all these countries. They exist in this form more or less because of Western influence and our influence is because of oil dependency. I wholly disagree with the current administration’s tactics. They have done nothing but feed the flames of hate for Westerners by acting EXACTLY how they expect us to act. I say, we withdraw support for all these countries by withdrawing the only thing that keeps status quo over there: OIL. If the brutal and wealthy can’t control the people with their money-power then perhaps real humanitarian change can occur. And with that perhaps education will raise up that region. It’s a long road that I do not expect to see in my lifetime but perhaps in my children’s or their children’s lifetime we will finally see the Middle East know peace and in turn we will be free of the terror threat that roils from dissatisfaction, oppression, poverty, religious brainwashing and hate.

Friday, January 06, 2006


If you grew up in the seventies you probably remember School House Rock, a Saturday Morning filler between shows that tried to teach us school subjects with groovy music and illustrations. One of the little ditties was called “Electricity!” It went a little something like this:

Music & Lyrics: Bob Dorough
Sung by: Zachary Sanders
Animation: Kim & Gifford Productions

When you're in the dark,
And you want to see
You need uh...

Chorus: Electricity, Electricity!

Flip that switch
And what do you get?
You get uh...

Chorus: Electricity, Electricity!

Every room
Can now be lit
With just uh...

Chorus: Electricity, Electricity!

Where do you think
It all comes from?
This powerful...

Chorus: Electricity, Electricity!

Without electricity the world would not work. I don’t just mean your iPod and laptop will not work, I mean literally, the universe, as we know it would not work. Not just electricity but electromagnetism, the force that just about every experience you have everyday of your life depends on. That electromagnetism is an important a force in the universe is an understatement. If you hit a homerun, it’s because of electromagnetism. If your cells reproduce it is because of electromagnetism, if you have a scotch on the rocks, it’s because of electromagnetism. Really.

Everything in the universe is made of small atomic constituents: electrons, neutrons and protons. Electrons are negatively charged, Protons are positively charged and Neutrons have no charge. Thus everything in the universe, built from atoms is dependant on the electric charge of electrons and protons.

If an atom is charged it is called ionized. That means it has less electrons than protons. In that case it looks to share electrons with other atoms. These combine and become stable again but they form different molecules that make up the stuff of the universe. When they combine and become stable they once again resist being combined with other molecules. Most molecules are a combination of atoms that have a net neutral charge. They are locked together because of their shape in a solid and just bouncing off each other in a liquid. In a gas they are sparsely connected and moving quickly.

So when you hit a ball with a bat, the ball bounces off the bat and over the fence for a homerun. Molecules are happy to be molecules and when they are already sharing electrons and the energy level is not extremely high they tend to stay pretty static if they are inert. Wood and leather are inert. When you have two unstable materials like Chlorine and Sodium and they combine, you release a lot of energy but in the end you have very inert matter, salt. When Chlorine and Sodium come in contact one of the Sodium electrons is lost to a Chlorine atom. In that process energy (photons) is released.

So to have a negative charge is to have a surplus of electrons. To have a positive charge, there are more protons than electrons. In reality the way it works is that the atom has a lack of electrons. The number of protons in an atom determines what element it is. For example: Hydrogen has one proton and one electron. If it has no electrons it is a Hydrogen Ion.

The Greeks discovered that by rubbing fur on amber they could cause sparks. Or they could attract light material, like hair. That spark is the same phenomenon that causes a shock when you walk across the carpet and touch your little sister. What? You never did that? That’s called Static Electricity. What you are actually doing is building up the number of electrons in your body (or possibly vice-versa.) You become negatively charged by accumulating electrons from the rug. You are negatively charged! Your little sister while sitting there not moving is not building up any extra electrons so she is not charged. By touching her you share your imbalance of charge and you zap the hell out of her.

As a fundamental force, Electromagnetism is pretty, uhh… fundamental. Something so fundamental and basic is sometimes very hard to grasp. Because electromagnetism is involved with just about every process known to mankind, it’s complicated and it’s effects, pervasive. Electromagnetism encompasses the electric field and magnetic field, which are like two heads of the same coin or a double-edged sword.

The Electromagnetic field is the force that is produced by an exchange of photons between charged particles from a positively charged particle to a negatively charged particle. If a positively charged particle and a negatively charge particle come in the vicinity of each other they pass photons back and forth between each other like two ball player playing catch. As they get closer the throw the photon ball quicker and the force becomes stronger and stronger until they come in contact. The photon is the force carrier particle in electromagnetism. Like with all the fundamental forces, a particle carries the force. We have discovered the carrier particle in every force except gravity where that force’s particle, a graviton, is still theoretical.

Now, it’s a hard thing to imagine, two particles, exchanging a smaller particle creating the force that is essential to all processes in the universe, but that’s the way it is. As a part of Quantum Mechanical theory, all forces come in packets or quanta. (Hence Quantum.) But as one of the strange and almost unfathomable aspects of this theory is that those same particles also behave like waves. In experiments with light and electrons those particles, very much smaller than we can imagine, both produce wave-like and point-like effects on experiments.

Light as a Wave

Light can be measured as a wave when we conduct an experiment involving tiny slits and a light sensitive plate behind those slits. When both slits are opened and a light source is shined through, an interference pattern of overlapping radiating circles burns on the plate. A sure sign that a wave is present. Think of the way a wave looks with its highs and lows. When two waves intersect, where the waves are at the top or crest the result is a doubling of their strength. When two waves intersect at the bottom of their strength or trough, the two become lower by double. This effect is seen in both Quantum Physics and ocean waves. When two waves converge, one at the crest and one at its trough they cancel each other out. The effect of this is the interference pattern.

In the same double-slit experiment if we close on of the slits and then shine the light through it, then turn off the light source and then alternate opening from one side and then another we would expect that the light pattern would simply grow behind each slit and not interfere with each other. We can guess this because, when the light is shining through one slit the wave from the other slit is cut off—because the other slit is closed—so there is no interference of the waves. This would produce two distinct glows behind the slits. Wrong!

Thomas Young, a physician and physicist from the 1800s invented this experiment to prove his theory that light propagates as a wave. It supported his theory and other theories he had about the wave like nature of light including how it separates into wavelengths of color which he observed as light passed through a thin film, like soap bubbles, creating a colorful band—think rainbow. Everyone knows that a rainbow splits the light in sunlight into the basic colors remembered by the infamous Roy G. Biv. That’s how my elementary school teacher taught us the colors of visible light: Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet. Or the acronym, Roy G. Biv, maker of rainbows!

In that spectrum are the ingredients and secret to every color you see. A color is simply the reflection back to your eyes a certain color spectrum of the visible light spectrum. Red ink reflects the red wavelength, Green, the green wavelength. The answer to the age-old question of why the sky is blue is that the atmosphere scatters the blue light spectrum waves of sunlight. It’s also because if the sky were green you’d never know where to stop mowing your lawn!

What do Doctors, Jackson Pollack, sunburns and the song “My Heart Will Go On” have to do with each other? I know that you’re saying to yourself that you can make some connection with Doctors, Jackson Pollack and sunburns but… Celine Dion? What does Celine Dion have to do with Electromagnetism? Everything! See, the radio waves that come to your car radio from the Easy Listening station are very long, weak energy waves of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Looking at this chart from the NASA website, you see where things fall on the spectrum and the length of the wavelength. Visible light, all the colors found in the Abstract Expressionist paintings of Jackson Pollack are located on a narrow part of the scale. Ultraviolet light, shorter wavelength radiation on the EM scale, causes sunburns. Our eyes are sensitive to the visible light spectrum and coincidentally this is the range that the sun emits most of its radiation in. The sun also emits a lot of ultraviolet radiation but most of that is absorbed by the earth ozone layer. If not for that layer, the earth would be a scorched desert. Not a pleasant place but because of the delicate balance of nature we are protected from most of the suns harmful rays and mostly the less harmful visible light falls on us. Beachgoers worship the UV wavelength of electromagnetism but I doubt they’d want to live on a planet without an ozone layer. This is why we place so much importance on not eating up that layer with ozone destroying chemicals.

Ever had an X-Ray? Well they are machines that transmit high-energy, small-wavelength radiation waves through your body. The softer tissue in your body doesn’t stop the waves but the bones do a little so the image left on a X-Ray sensitive plate is where the X-Rays were stopped by the bones producing a negative image where the X-rays that come through burn onto the plate outlining the bones. Because the X-Rays are so high energy they are dangerous and it’s not recommended that you hang out inside X-Ray machines unless prescribed by a doctor.

Gamma Rays are very high frequency waves that are dangerous to humans, basically all life in general. I am still trying to figure out how Bruce Banner became the Incredible Hulk by exposing himself to Gamma Rays. I expect that he would have fried his body with that type of experiment not morphed into a huge mean and green, but lovable monster with bad grammar.

Gamma Rays are produced in very high-energy situations like say when a Black Hole is consuming a Neutron Star. Not something you’re going to see on your commute home from work, hopefully. But it is something we can observe by looking at the radiation of material sped up to the speed of light as it approaches consumption in a Back Hole. This heats the material of the star causing it to radiate in the Gamma Ray spectrum, which is, if you remember your EM scale, very high energy. The Neutron star comes close enough to a Back Hole for it to begin circling it. The irresistible gravity of the Back Hole sucks the Neutron Star closer. The Neutron Star gets hot. It starts to fall to pieces under the attraction of the Black Hole. It gets really hot and rotates faster and faster until it flies apart and joins the Black Hole. At the end, the Black Hole becomes enlarged and then ejects a short Gamma Ray Burst signaling the end of the orgasmic dance between Neutron Star and Black Hole. Here is a little movie of that happening in case you like to watch. Usually, after this event there is an X-Ray glow as the Black Hole, like a hungry predator, devours the remnants of the material. If you think that’s cool check out this movie of two Neutron Stars colliding.

NASA is a cool place, ain’t it?

The strength of a wave depends on the height of the wave. This is called its intensity, like bright light, the kind Gremlins really hate. The brighter the light, the higher its wavelength. The height and depth of a wave is called amplitude. Think of a wavy line where the waves are all the same size and length. Then draw a line at the midsection of the wave lengthwise. If you measure the distance between the line (also called the traverse and the top (or crest) of the curve, that is its amplitude. To be more exact, that is its positive amplitude. If you measure the distance between the traverse and the lowest point on the curve of the wave or the trough that is called its negative amplitude. This is how electromagnetic waves are measured, by the wave length or the distance from crests and crest (which determines the type of radiation) and the distance between the traverse and the crests and troughs which is the intensity or frequency which is how many waves pass a certain point in a certain amount of time, usually cycles per second. One wave passing per second is one cycle per second. A cycle per second is also called a Hertz. 100 Hertz is 100 cycles per second. In a vacuum, Electromagnetic waves travel at the speed of light, which is denoted by c.

On the other hand, or on the other side of the coin or on the other field of the electromagnetic spectrum, as the cool folks say, photons—the carrier of electromagnetic force—act like particles.

In his book Opticks, published in 1704, Isaac Newton proposed his theory that light was made of corpuscles. He came to this idea by observing reflection and refraction of light. He deduced that light corpuscles had repulsive and attractive forces which fit perfectly with his laws of motion. The idea was inventive but full of holes, like the concept of diffraction. This is when a wave spreads out in multiple directions when it meets and object. The most obvious example of this is the interference pattern. The corpuscular idea prevailed until the early 19th century when it was replaced by the wave theory. In Quantum Physics the particle and wave theories are combined in the wave-particle duality. It must be noted that the particles of modern Quantum Physics bear little resemblance to Newton’s corpuscles.

Max Planck when thinking about the radiation coming from a body related to temperature led to him theorizing that the vibrating energy of atoms has to be quantized to make the data work. The constant that related energy to frequency of vibration became a small number known as Planck’s Constant.

Though the constant was extremely small it nevertheless was quantized number representing the smallest measurement possible. Nothing could then be smaller than that constant without destroying the mathematics established. This constant has been used in everything from the quantum theory to the smallest size that we can measure the universe at the time of the big bang. It’s like a fundamental measurement of the universe like the speed of light. It represents a universal limit on the physical makeup of the universe. This is shown in a very simple but elegant formula: E=hf. Where E is Energy, h=Planck’s Constant (h = 6.626069 x 10^-34 Joule seconds) and f is the frequency.

Albert Einstein took that information and theorized that light comes in quantized packets called photons that are as small as Planck’s Constant and made of pure energy. Thus, Quantum Physics was born. Planck’s Constant is the smallest fundamental limit in scale for space-time that occurs near 10^-33 centimeters and 10^-43 seconds. Translated this means that Planck observed that reality, the universe, spacetime continuum, whatever you want to call it has a smallest measurement in both distance and time. Nothing is smaller than these measurements and nothing in time can happen in less time. The universe is built from these packets or quanta. (And as I mentioned previously, this is where the term Quantum Physics comes from.) The basic structure of the universe is a mosaic of Planck sized chucks of distance and time.

Einstein used the details of the photoelectric effect to prove that light comes in particles, packets or quanta. The intensity or amplitude of the wave should be the only factor that knocks electrons off a metal. In the photoelectric effect, frequency of the light wave causes more particles to be knocked off but at the same speed as low frequency waves because the intensity of the energy hasn’t changed. Confused. Me too.

Think of how the world is constructed, of small vibrating atoms with electrons surrounding a nucleus of neutrons and protons. The metal is like a huge structure made of these little energy “balls”. The light is shot at the structure of energy balls and if the intensity (or strength) of the light is great enough it will knock the balls of electrons off the structure when they hit. Since we know photons (the balls that make up light) “thrown” at the metal structure come at a certain intensity they will knock off the balls only when that intensity is at a certain level. Then we see one electron being knocked off at a time. When we throw more balls of photons at the balls of the metal structure we knock them off more often but when they come loose they come off at the same speed because the frequency is higher but the strength is the same.

If we lower both the frequency and intensity then fewer balls come off at lower speeds. If we increase the intensity then balls come off at a higher speed. If we increase the frequency then the balls come off more often. This is the Photoelectric Effect. Einstein won his Nobel Prize in 1921 for his work on the Photoelectric Effect not for his Theories of Relativity.

Thus we have two competing descriptions of energy: particle and waveform. This is known as the wave-particle duality. This is actually one of the more mundane paradoxes of quantum physics, believe it or not. To see the photoelectric effect and play with a cool little program that shows how this works go to this page...

Next... The M in EM...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Vote For Me...

My story "Incident on South Seaward Avenue," my futuristic cop tale has been published on a new website. This story will remain up as long as I receive the highest number of votes. To help me out please visit the website, read the story if you like, and vote for me.

Wired Tales


Lon S. Cohen