March 23rd, 2005


Reporters catch Iraqi government lying about casualties.

It's interesting to note that while Reuters is telling the world that an Iraqi/US raid on a insurgency training base killed 85 fighters -- a number that the U.S. military cannot confirm -- an AFP correspondent on the scene reports that he visited the location of the fight and saw 30-40 insurgents in control of the area where the raid happened. The insurgents said that they lost 11 of their fighters in the raid. Meanwhile, local hospitals report no casualties have arrived... which you'd kind of expect if 83 people were killed as originally claimed.

Hm. Reuters might as well just make up the news while they're at it.

Three things that China, Russia, and the United States have in common.

1> They're all militaristic occupying powers.
2> Both China, Russia, and the United States have been accused of war crimes.
3> All three countries have taken opposing sides against Britain, France, Greece, Brazil, etc. -- the other members of the UN Security Council -- to basically undermine the International Criminal Court by stripping it from its authority in trying human rights abuses in Darfur.

Apparently, it's not enough that the International Criminal Court not be used to convict Americans... or Russians... or Chinese. Now, they're apparently not supposed to convict anyone. Apprently, if the ICC actually succeed bringing war criminals to justice, it would set a bad precident.

If the Bush administration doesn't back down, they will essentially be granting a pardon to the perpetrators of one of the world's largest genocides... as well as doing their best to support genocides in Chechnya and Tibet. Go them.

Pho and free plants...


Next time you're at a Vietnamese restaurant looking down at a lovely bowl of pho soup with a big plate of sprouts and thai basil on the side, you may want to consider gardening. Specifically, that Thai basil... wonderful stuff, very tasty in a wide variety of dishes... and they've just given you a large, fresh sample to plant in your garden. Carefully pluck/snip off all the large and medium leaves from the stems, leaving only the smallest sprouts, break off the basil "branches" from the stem, so that you have a half dozen or so branches, each about 3-5" long. Wrap a paper napkin around the base of these branches, and dip the end of your napkin in your water glass to keep the cuttings moist, and maybe wrap another dry napkin around the damp one, and be sure to take it home with you. You'll get a few odd stares, but it's for a good purpose.

Once you're home, fill a pot / cups / etc. with wet potting soil or other rich, loose, moist soil. With sharp garden snippers or scissors, snip the cuttings at a 45-degree / diagonal angle, and place them into the soil. Within a few weeks, with a bit of care and luck, you should have several Thai basil plants, each of them developping roots... some may die, but generally they're quite hardy, and should produce you a ton of Thai basil. If you really want to increase your chances, dip the stems in rooting compound before putting them in the soil.

Congratulations, enjoy the complementary plants with your meal, and welcome to the exciting world of propagation by cuttings!