Friday, March 23, 2007

The Rev GE Patterson...Rest In Peace

Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson has left this earthly abode perhaps for a greater destination. A superb preacher his delivery exuded sheer poetry, entertainment and genius. He passed away this week. Watch him on this video........the cadence of his preaching is sonorous, beautiful, even haunting. While I don't necessarily believe much of the content, the style of his delivery, the sheer joy of his belief and the glory of his oration can soften the edges of even the hardest cynic. You just don't get to see brilliant orators like this anymore.

Barabara Boxer "Bitch Slaps" Sen. Inhofe

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) very adroitly put the very conservative and very cranky Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) in his place when he tried to disrupt Vice President Al Gores testimony on Global Warming to the Environment and Public Works Congressional Committee that she chairs.

This is high theater......The head line "Boxer KO's Inhofe" would be too cliche but exquisitely appropriate for this exchange. Elections have consequences she says when she shuts him true.....

A Historic Vote in Congress to End the War

The House has voted 218-212, mostly along party lines, for a binding war spending bill requiring that combat operations cease before September 2008, or earlier if the Iraqi government does not meet certain requirements. It is truly historic. The bill will probably be vetoed by Bush but finally Congress is using the budget powers granted to it by the Constitution to curb Bush and his misadventure. Four years too late but better late than never......

Bob Woolmer murdered

Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer is supposed to have been strangled to death. The motive that is being specualted on is that he was killed in retribution for Pakistans surprising first round loss and elimination from the world cup. One assumes a lot of bookies lost a lot of of money. The other idea being floated around is that he was writing a book exposing betting in cricket.

Either way this is the most terrible and heinous blow to the game in its history. Bob Woolmer was a player, a coach and a leader. A good batsman, he played for England and Kent and was part of Mike Brearley's MCC team that won the Ashes in 1975. He also toured India with Brearley in the series that was made famous or infamous for the John Lever vaseline incident.

He coached South Africa and was a pioneer in the use of computers and statistics to expose weaknesses in opposing players and teams. His premature death is a huge loss to cricket. It has exposed the vicious and seamy underbelly of cricket. Cricket on the subcontinent has become big business and it seems like a businessman somewhere felt that the loss of his wager was worth the loss of this poor mans life.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Can our mind influence events?

This Princeton study would seem to indicate yes.

"....for more than 25 years engineering professor Robert G. Jahn has been testing the ability of people to influence physical objects by their thoughts. (His lab closed last month.) In thousands of experiments, he has found that they can, but only by tiny amounts—a few hundredths of a percent, a level that achieves statistical significance only because of the very large number of trials involved....."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Using my Favorite words in the English language to knock Dubbya

  1. Zeitgeist - the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era - Finally catching on to the zeitgeist in the United States, Bush belatedly decided to change his attitude to the world and tried to not act like an idiot any more.
  2. Panacea - a remedy for all ills or difficulties - Mistakenly believing that giving the Iraqis liberty was a panacea for all the ills plaguing that country, Bush foolishly got the US mired in a nasty civil war that seems to have no immediate end.
  3. Euphemism - the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant - as the last of the British troops pull out of Basra, it is my hope that Bush will finally stop using the euphemism "coalition of the willing" or "multi-national task force" when referring to the US troops in Iraq.
  4. Hubris - exaggerated pride or self-confidence - American hubris which has always been high, has reached dizzying heights under Bush
  5. Hegemony - preponderant influence or authority over others - Bush has worked tirelessly to increase American hegemony in the middle east but has accidentally increased Iranian hegemony instead.
  6. Melange - a mixture often of incongruous elements - Due to Bush's tin ear with respect to advice from regional experts and allies, Bush has stumbled into the the 1300 year old Sunni - Shia melange of distrust and hatred
  7. Segue - proceed to what follows without pause - Bush's policy in Iraq has failed and so he is now segueing into confronting Iran through irresponsible saber rattling.
  8. Flummox - to confuse terribly - Bush's lack of flexibility with respect to changing the Iraq policy has flummoxed both friend and foe alike
  9. Exacerbate - to make more violent, bitter, or severe - Bush's surge will exacerbate the sense on the Arab street that the US is the occupier in Iraq
  10. Pejorative - tending to disparage or belittle - Bush has pejoratively labelled all those who legitimately dissent with his policies as unpatriotic

Your meat and you

An extremely disturbing video from PETA on the origins of meat. Pushes for vegetarianism but I think you can be non veg and still treat your farm animals humanely. Anyway definitely gives one pause before you order your next round of bacon and eggs...

Friday, March 16, 2007

How the Straight Talk Express Got Derailed

Remember John McCain..the maverick candidate from 2000...the guy who had cajones and was willing to stand up to idiots like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson...The guy who was spin free, who won the New Hampshire primary and looked like he may even become the GOP candidate until Karl Rove took care of him in South Carolina 3 weeks later.....well that guy has morphed into this this interview and decide for yourselves. The North Vietnamese torturers at the Hanoi Hilton could not break this man but it seems that a Presidential campaign has....he is unrecognizeable.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Why I really, really dont like Hillary Clinton?

Phony, contrived, out of touch with reality. So she went to Selma, Alabama - sacred ground in my opinion - to mark the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's., 1965 bloody civil rights march that hastened the end of Jim Crow laws in the South. She spoke at a Church and suddenly Hillary dumped her Chicago accent and became.....lo and behold...... a Southern Baptist preacher....( a lousy one nonetheless) watch this ...

I cannot watch it without wanting to vomit. "I dont feel in no ways tired" she quotes....well Hil....I think I am already tired and if I have to watch your uncomfortable histronics for the next two years its going to want force me to Baghdad.........where the heck is Bubba and why is he not advising her?

Hillary should focus on breaking one glass ceiling at a time. It is enough that her candidacy breaks new ground for American women. I think that she should stay away from trying to market herself as a black woman also. Let us overcome but let us overcome one hurdle at a time.....two might be too much - even for a Clinton.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The other face of the Iraq War

Specialist Jeremy Duncan testifies before the House Subcommittee of Government Reform and Oversight today at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. He was appearing as a witness in the Congressional investigation of the appalling conditions under which Iraqi veterans and their families are being treated by the VA Hospitals.

The war in Iraq has injured over 30,000 of our young men and women. In WW 2 30 percent of people injured on the battlefield died, in Vietnam it was 24%, in Iraq (due to a huge improvement in medical technology) it is now 10%. The negative of this is that horribly injured people now survive their injuries and our medical infrastructure is unable to handle the long convalescence and therapy to get them back on their feet.

The Walter Reed mess once again reveals the innate hypocrisy of Americas right. The GOP supports the troops when they want them to sacrifice their bodies to fight their nasty, foolish and badly planned war. However their support seems to diminish when the badly mangled bodies get home and ask for expensive medical care.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sieg Heil - Ann Coulter

So Ann Coulter strident screech is audible again...(must be a new book in the works). Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference before an overflow crowd on Friday, Ms. Coulter said, “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.”

The good thing is that Romney, Guliani and McCain have all put distance from her after this comment.

This woman has become tiresome and really needs to reinvent herself. She should leave the shockjocking to Howard Stern. The verbal firebombs were once catchy but less interesting on the thousandth lob.

She still has a huge fan following especially from campus Republicans (mainly young guys). I guess the blond with perky boobs in knee high leather boots image helps attract them in spite of the Hitler Youth rally rhetoric.

It is indeed sad that the intellectual climate that once cradled and nursed the reasoned and articulate ideas of William F Buckley and George Will is now so bereft and bare. Perhaps the neo cons consumed all the oxygen in the GOP room. What is left now are the dying embers of failed ideas stoked by the fires of hate that periodically emanate from the mouth of this dominatrix of the far right.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The correct way to beat your wife and still make it to heaven

A Bahraini cleric weighs in on the correct way to beat your wife as per the Koran and still have Allah favor you on the Day of Judgement.

The highlights:

1. Never in front of the children
2. No bleeding
3. No broken bones
4. Never on her face or sensitive parts

The actual verse from the Koran that gives him the religious authority to say this:

The Noble Qur'an - An-Nisaa 4:34 - Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allâh has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allâh and to their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allâh orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill­conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allâh isEver Most High, Most Great.

Of course the Bible is no better. A careful reading of the Old Testament has numerous instances where noble men of the Bible beat their wives. Job for example beat her with a bundle of reeds when she offended him. Jehovah apparently didnt think it was a big deal.

Are we heading towards another Gulf of Tonkin incident with Iran

The saber rattling around Iran is getting downright scary. Is this another WMD canard or is it the real thing? The Bush policy in the ME so far has been a boon to the mullahs in Tehran. The US policy has clearly made Iran the most dominant Islamic nation in the area and a true challenger to Israel. This was an unintended consequence but it will be felt for years to come as it has comprehensively altered the balance of power in the ME.

We now have the exact opposite of what Bush wanted. He wanted a strong and free Iraq as a buffer between Iran and Saudi Arabia and land bases to support Israel if needed. He has instead got a very strong Iran with a weak and inept Iranian client state (Iraq) and an increasingly jittery Saudi state that may find itself getting drawn into a vicious sectarian conflict. Additionally since our close association with Saudi was one of the key reasons that Osama gave for 9/11 it is also pardoxical that Bush's policy has caused the US to rely more heavily on Saudi Arabia to help it out of the mess it is currently in. Israel our other ally (client state) of course was defeated by the Iranian proxy Hizbollah last fall during its misadventure in Lebanon and is much chagrined.

Suddenly if we are to believe the US intelligence reports the Iranians are everywhere in Iraq. They have supposedly furnished armor piercing rounds, trained the Shia to shoot US choppers out of the sky and the al-Quds Brigade (the cream of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard) are supposedly actively aiding and training the Shiite militias in insurgency techniques.

Congress wants to pass a resolution to prevent Bush from declaring war against Iran. This would be unprecedented if it does so (I don't think such a law could pass the Senate anyway). One can only hope that the Administration does not read the intelligence the way they read it on WMD. I don't think they will try anything in the next few months since it is summer in the area. However I would not be surprised if they plan something for the fall. A surgical strike against Natanz perhaps. It will never work but if they do attack Iran the US will continue to strengthen the mullahs and crush any hope for reform.

Putin the New Tony Soprano

So George Bush looked into the soul of Vladmir Putin 5 years ago on his ranch and came back suitably convinced that his new buddy Vladmir was a good guy. Well what a difference five years makes. Putin is now riding a great wave, flushed with petro dollars as the price of oil has skyrocketed, he is not shy to flex his muscle and his mouth it would seem. He is crushing reform and dissent.

He is the undoubted capo di touti capo of Russia. His enemies are jailed or exiled. Personal freedom is checked. The Russian GDP is growing at fast rate and his personal poularity is high. Power is safely held by his ex KGB and Kremlinite friends and the US has been caught on the backfoot - not really looking like a superpower as they get bogged down in Iraq.

He has also cannily recognized that ME instability keeps oil prices high. Since his power comes from high oil prices it is logical that he will do everything he can to continue to keep things unstable. Hence the support of Iran's "peaceful" nuclear ambitions and the deadlock in the Security Council on what to do with them as they continue to blatantly thumb their noses at the world community.

Mr Putin told senior security officials from around the world that nations were “witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations. One state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.....This is very dangerous. Nobody feels secure anymore because nobody can hide behind international law, This is nourishing an arms race with the desire of countries to get nuclear weapons.”

Tough talk but absolutely dead on......