Just for fun
And ya gotta try manic mode. Its insane.
Rojak posts, mostly political.
"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." -- Thomas Mann
If so, I must be a writer.
Forced and Natural Segregation:
By: Charles Jines, January 19, 2007
The civil rights movement was a good thing. It had achievable goals with a firm understanding of the nature of things. Today however, what has replaced the civil rights movement is something I call the Liberal rights movement. Unlike it’s predecessor, this movement has goals that are first unachievable, and second destructive if attempted.
The civil rights movement set out to end unjust and unnatural forced segregation. The movement hoped for a day when people were judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. It did not, however, seek to end judgment altogether. It also did not seek to end segregation altogether.
Dr. King had a firm understanding of the metaphysical world. Dr. King was a minister of God first, well schooled in the arts of philosophy and theology, and a civil rights activist second. This truth often gets lost today. Today’s Liberal rights movement is composed of attorneys and legal organizations, schooled in the art of rhetoric.
The objectives of the civil rights movement have been achieved as much as they be can in the physical world. The “White only” signs have long been removed. Forced segregation is a thing of the past.
We have all heard it said, that today there still exists an unseen segregation that hangs like a stalled weather pattern over our society. An invisible racism that must be destroyed before we as Americans can claim to have achieved the dream of the civil rights movement. This idea is only half correct.
There is indeed an unseen segregation that exists. But this unseen segregation is a part of nature itself. This type of segregation is not only natural, but even good and healthy. It is something to be nurtured and cultivated rather than destroyed. Even more important, man has no power to alter this type of segregation. That’s right. This type of segregation lies in the metaphysical world of being, and gives meaning to the life world. Without it, existence would cease to be. An attorney is unaware of, and ill prepared to deal with this fact. A philosopher, however, is not.
Last year, Dr. King’s son came to one of our local churches and gave an address to the congregation. He talked about this unseen segregation as an enemy. He spoke as if it is somehow unnatural and unjust for bluegills and bass to group into separate areas of the pond. He spoke as if the world would never be right until we create a world where all fish in the pond no longer school in separate groups.
Of course he never mentioned any fish, but the concept is identical. “Birds of a feather flock together” is an old adage that was used to describe what I am talking about. It is a simple concept the Liberal rights movement refuses to accept. It sees all segregation as evil and therefore embarks on metaphysical suicide missions that, in the end, produce the direct opposite outcomes than what they set out to achieve.
Liberalism is really Gnosticism in new clothes. Gnosticism sees the world as fundamentally flawed and attempts to alter the nature of being, rather than cultivating the nature of being. It is a dangerous philosophical megalomania.
Consequences of This Type of Thinking
Rather than lessening racial tensions, this approach actually increases racial tensions. Bluegills and bass are quite content with hanging out separately. If you, through force, throw the bluegill in with the bass, tension increases, anxiety goes berserk, and resentment is the final result, regardless of the good intentions behind this endeavor.
We, as people, are governed by the same natural principles as our fish friends. If we attempt to unhinge the cultural and ethnic glue that holds society together, our society suffers the same fate.
One outcome of this is that White people who are not racist become branded as such, by the Gnostic enterprise of the Liberal rights movement. If a White person recognizes natural segregation, and chooses not to partake in the endeavor to alter the natural ground of being, they will be unfairly stereotyped as a racist. This causes tension and resentment.
As Americans mark the 34th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade on Monday, they will do so amid a shift in the political landscape as a result of the 2006 election cycle.
Last November, Americans reaffirmed their commitment to a woman’s right to choose by electing pro-choice candidates and defeating anti-choice ballot measures across the country, creating an opportunity to end the divisive attacks on choice and change the tone of this debate.
These victories for the pro-choice values of freedom, privacy and personal responsibility were not a red- or blue-state phenomenon. In fact, voters in Arizona, Kansas and New Mexico—states President Bush carried in 2004—all re-elected pro-choice governors.
In South Dakota, one of the nation’s conservative strongholds, voters overwhelmingly rejected an abortion ban that its supporters had described as a direct challenge to Roe.
What happens when Steve [Jobs] wants you to stay, and you want to quit? Piss on his desk, hilarious.
An Air Force staff sergeant who posed nude for Playboy magazine has been relieved of her duties while the military investigates, officials said Thursday.
In February's issue, hitting newsstands this week, Michelle Manhart is photographed in uniform yelling and holding weapons under the headline "Tough Love."
The following pages show her partially clothed, wearing her dog tags while working out, as well as completely nude.
"This staff sergeant's alleged action does not meet the high standards we expect of our airmen, nor does it comply with the Air Force's core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do," Oscar Balladares, spokesman for Lackland Air Force Base, said in a statement.
"I don't have the highest opinion of him," a young financial analyst said. "If I had to rank people as to credibility, I wouldn't put him at the top of the list."
He was dismissed, as was a young woman who said she was "completely without objectivity" about Bush administration officials who might be called to testify.
"There is nothing they could say or do that would make me think anything positive about them," the woman said moments before she was excused from the jury pool by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton.
There was just one problem: Copas is gay. His sexuality led to his discharge in December 2005, despite his being one of the military's relatively few Arabic speakers. He's now pursuing a Masters degree in counseling at East Tennessee State University.
Flight attendant: ... We don't expect a change in cabin pressure, but if it does occur, a designer oxygen mask will be released in front of you. Secure the mask on yourself first, then, if you are traveling with children, put a mask on the child with the most potential, then put a mask on the other one...
Mother passenger: [Gasps, horrified.]
Flight attendant: ... This is a non-smoking flight, but if you do decide to smoke, we will have you reseated on the wing of the plane where you can watch our feature presentation of Bye Bye Birdie or Gone with the Wind...
Southwest Airlines flight from Kansas City, Missouri, to Tampa, Florida
We have four basic choices confronting us in Iraq:
1. Fight the Sunni insurgents (there are at least 15 separate groups) and risk alienating the Saudis, the Jordanians, and the Turks.
2. Fight the Shia insurgents/militia, which means we will engage 60% of Iraq's population (and strengthen the hand of Shia-led Iran).
3. Fight both the Sunni and Shia and put ourselves in the middle of the civil war.
4. Retire from Iraq and let the Sunni and Shia sort things out among their various sectarian factions.
There really are no other logical options. It looks like Bush chose Option 3.
Focus on the Family Action Chairman James C. Dobson, Ph.D., issued the following statement today after an amendment to strip S. 1, a lobbying-reform bill, of a provision to place oppressive restrictions on grassroots groups passed on a 55-43 vote.
"The big winners in this battle are the American people. Getting rid of the onerous grass-roots lobbying restrictions in S.1 is a triumph of the representative form of government our founding fathers established 230 years ago.
"The very thing that Section 220 would have denied -- namely, the rights of citizens to know what's going on in Washington and to have an impact on the bills considered there -- is what fueled this victory. When Americans -- conservatives and liberals alike -- learned how these regulations would have stifled their free speech rights, millions stood up and said, 'We will not be silenced.'
"We're thankful for Utah Sen. Robert Bennett, who sponsored the amendment to remove Section 220 from S.1, and for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who shepherded this effort. They, and the 53 additional senators who voted to strike this oppressive provision from an otherwise laudable bill, have demonstrated both reverence for the Constitution and respect for the men and women who voted them into office.
"But the battle is far from over. Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats are reportedly planning an assault of their own. What is being illustrated here is a passion by congressional liberals to consolidate power and operate within a cloak of secrecy. It is unconscionable and unconstitutional. We will not be intimidated by attempts to criminalize those who would hold Washington accountable. The right to do so is as American as apple pie.
Amnesty International deplores the murder today of the prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. The organization believes that he was targeted because of his work as a journalist who championed freedom of expression.
"This horrifying assassination silences one of Turkey's bravest human rights defenders," said Maureen Greenwood-Basken, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) advocacy director for Europe and Central Asia. "Writers put their lives on the line when they cover human rights violations, as the cases of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and now Hrant Dink, brutally illustrate.
"But legitimate debate about ideas must be protected. The Turkish government must redouble its efforts to protect human rights defenders and open its political climate to a range of views. Recent legal reforms have brought many areas of Turkish law in line with international human rights standards, but existing limitations on free speech such as Article 301 must be repealed.
"The U.S. government, as one of Turkey's closest allies, should push for a full and transparent investigation into Dink's murder."
Gen. George Casey, the top American commander in Iraq, said Friday that some of the extra troops that President Bush ordered to Baghdad could begin leaving by late summer if conditions allow. "I think it's probably going to be the summer, late summer, before you get to the point where people in Baghdad feel safe in their neighborhoods," Casey told reporters at a news conference with visiting Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Asked how long the 21,500 extra U.S. troops are likely to be kept in Iraq, Casey replied, "I believe the projections are, late summer."
U.S. and Iraqi forces arrested one of Muqtada al-Sadr's ( top aides) Friday in Baghdad, his office said, as pressure increased on the radical Shiite cleric's militia ahead of a planned security crackdown in the capital.
Al-Sadr said in an interview with an Italian newspaper published Friday that the crackdown had already begun and that 400 of his men had been arrested. La Repubblica also quoted him as saying he fears for his life and stays constantly on the move.
The raid came as Defense Secretary Robert Gates began his second trip to Iraq in less than a month, arriving in the southern city of Basra to consult with British and other allied commanders.
Sheik Abdul-Hadi al-Darraji, al-Sadr's media director in Baghdad, was captured and his personal guard was killed, according to another senior al-Sadr aide.
The U.S. military accused the main suspect captured Friday of having ties with the commanders of so-called death squads, which have been blamed for many of the killings that have left dozens of bodies, often showing signs of torture, on the streets of Baghdad.
The suspect was detained "based on credible intelligence that he is the leader of illegal armed group punishment committee activity, involving the organized kidnapping, torture and murder of Iraqi civilians," according to the military statement. It also said he was reportedly involved in the assassination of numerous Iraqi security forces and government officials.
"The suspect allegedly leads various illegal armed group operations and is affiliated with illegal armed group cells targeting Iraqi civilians for sectarian attacks and violence," the statement read, adding he was believed to be affiliated with Baghdad death squad commanders, including Abu Diraa, a Shiite militia leader who has gained a reputation for his brutality.
‘We are angry. This is a kind of revenge. Sheikh Darraji deals with the media. He is not a military man’ said the group's spokesman.
The slapfight between Pres. George Bush and his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has resembled a pair of five-year-olds squabbling in a sandbox. Now it appears a grown-up, albeit a very scary one, has stepped in:Iran’s outspoken president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appears to be under pressure from the highest authorities in Iran to end his involvement in its nuclear program, a sign that his political capital is declining as his country comes under increasing international pressure.
Just one month after the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran to curb its nuclear program, two hard-line newspapers, including one owned by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on the president to stay out of all matters nuclear.
South Korea and the United States ended free trade talks in Seoul Friday without a major breakthrough to tear down trade barriers.
During the five-day discussions, negotiators from the two countries haggled over disputed sectors, such as U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing rules, and opening of South Korea's auto, drug and beef markets.
But they failed to produce progress at this round of talks, held amid strong protests by farmers and anti-globalization activists opposing free trade with the United States because they believe it would hurt South Korea's industries and economy.
VIENNA, Austria: In twin reports e-mailed to The Associated Press late Thursday, the Institute for Science and International Security noted that India appears close to more than doubling its centrifuge capacity to between 5,000-6,000 machines that produce enriched uranium. And it said satellite imagery shows that Pakistan may intend to start a new reprocessing facility "capable of separating weapons-grade plutonium out of spent reactor fuel."
No immediate Indian or Pakistani comment was available, but diplomats based in Vienna from the two countries promised to respond later in the day.
President George W. Bush's administration put a controversial domestic spying programme under supervision of a special court after months of sharp criticism over the eavesdropping.
Civil rights group had criticized the programme, in which Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on phone calls and email between the US and abroad without a court warrant.
Despite legal challenges after the programme was revealed in press reports in 2005, the government had insisted that the president could legally authorize the NSA to eavesdrop on international communications it believes involve terror suspects without seeking court approval.
But in a letter to the top Democrat and Republican of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Wednesday Bush would not renew the Terrorist Surveillance Programme as it had found an effective and quick system to gain approval through an ultra-secretive court.
A day after announcing that it had scrubbed a controversial warrantless-surveillance program, the Bush administration refused to provide details to Congress of how a new court-review process for eavesdropping on terror suspects would work, triggering a fresh round of complaints and suspicions from Democrats.
At the same time, President Bush and other administration officials indicated that little had changed in the electronic eavesdropping program, originally launched after the Sept. 11 attacks, other than the fact that a court had finally blessed it.
People who cheat on their spouses know there can be a steep price to pay if they get caught. But life in prison?
It's possible in Michigan, though unlikely.
In a footnote to a ruling involving a drugs-for-sex case, a Michigan appeals court said that if state law were enforced as written, adulterers could be put away for life.
The ruling has generated a little unwanted publicity for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who acknowledged an extramarital affair in 2005.
Adultery is a crime under Michigan law, punishable by a short prison sentence, but no one has been prosecuted for the offense since 1971. And the voters did not hold Cox's infidelity against him, electing him to a second term last year.
North Korea said today it had reached an agreement with the US during talks with Washington’s main nuclear envoy this week in Germany.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said the talks between US envoy Christopher Hill and North Korea’s main nuclear negotiator Kim Kye Gwan had been held “in a positive and sincere atmosphere and a certain agreement was reached there.”
US chief negotiator Christopher Hill Friday denied a North Korean report that the two countries had reached an agreement at the three-day one-on-one talks held in Berlin over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Friday that North Korea had reached a 'certain agreement' with the United States, sourcing a spokesman.
Hill, upon arrival in Seoul Friday, said he was not sure what the spokesman was referring to.
President George W. Bush has ordered a “surge” in troops in Iraq, ostensibly to help quell sectarian violence and stabilize Baghdad. This escalation of troop presence is likely only to result in an escalation in American and Iraqi deaths. Thus the call for more troops is morally unsupportable.
Particularly in the wake of the barbaric execution of Saddam Hussein – an act that reflects not the ideals of democracy and justice, but rather mocks them – and an act that promises only to breed more violence, as only a violent act can – one would think that the United States would immediately seek to bring about a change of policy. Sending more troops is not a change in policy, nor is it even a change in strategy; it is more of the same.
By Martin Tiller
I've taken a long hiatus from a Bush posting. It got too exhausting to keep talking about him.
But today on the way home from work as I was listening to NPR he made an analogy about the Iraq situation.
He said something along the lines of "I don't view Iraq as a broken egg, I view it as cracked."
Dear Lord, our president doesn't understand that when you have a cracked egg, it needs to not be used, it needs to be thrown away. This is why people check eggs before they buy them.
For Cryin' Out Loud!
HE CAN'T EVEN GET HIS ANALOGIES CORRECT!
for crying out.....
Two Shiite militia commanders said Thursday that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has stopped protecting radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Madhi Army under pressure from Washington, while the fighters described themselves as under seige in their Sadr City stronghold.
Their account of an organization now fighting for its very existence could represent a tactical and propaganda feint, but there was mounting evidence the militia is increasingly off balance and has ordered its gunmen to melt back into the population. To avoid capture, commanders report no longer using cell phones and fighters are removing their black uniforms and hiding their weapons during the day.
Russian guys makes (sic) knives made of sapphire.
These knives can be easily taken inside the airplane in your handbag, for example if you care about your right to use your knife anywhere you want.
These knives cannot be discovered by any sort of metal-detector, they have none (sic) metal parts at all.
Their blades are being made from artificial sapphire, the same material that is being used to make non-scratchable watches by leading Swiss brands. Handles are made of the (the) bone.
The US defence department has released new rules allowing terror suspects to be convicted and possibly executed on the basis of hearsay evidence and some coerced testimony
A last-minute addition to a federal spending bill at the end of the last U.S. Congress now makes civilians eligible for military courts-martial.
With the addition of just five words, the provision sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was signed into law by President Bush, and makes civilian government employees and journalists eligible for prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Washington Post reported Monday.
China successfully carried out its first test of an anti-satellite weapon last week, signaling its resolve to play a major role in military space activities and bringing expressions of concern from Washington and other capitals, the Bush administration said Thursday.
Only two nations — Russia and the United States — have previously destroyed spacecraft in anti-satellite tests, most recently the United States in the mid 1980s.
Arms control experts called the test, in which a Chinese missile destroyed an aging Chinese weather satellite, a troubling development that could foreshadow either an anti-satellite arms race or, alternatively, a diplomatic push by China to force the Bush administration into negotiations on a weapons ban.
“This is the first real escalation in the weaponization of space that we’ve seen in 20 years,” said Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astronomer who tracks rocket launchings and space activity. “It ends a long period of restraint.”
The text also rejects any treaties forbidding space weapons: "The United States will oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit US access to or use of space."
The US government assured this new policy was not a first step toward a weaponization of space.
"While this policy does not explicitly say we are not going to shoot satellites or we are going to put weapons in space, it does, it seems to me, open the door toward that," Theresa Hitchens, director of the Center for Defense Information, told AFP.
Past research has shown that women with "dense" breasts are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women whose breasts are less "dense." Dense breasts contain more glandular and connective tissue. Less dense breasts are mainly made up of fat tissue. Every woman has different amounts of the different types of tissue in her breasts.
Managers of China's vast Forbidden City palace are deciding whether to close a Starbucks outlet on its grounds after protests led by a state TV personality, a news report said Thursday.
The Forbidden City, built in 1420, is a 178-acre complex of villas, chapels and gardens that was home to 24 emperors before the end of imperial rule in 1911. It is China's top tourist attraction, drawing some 7 million visitors a year.
"The museum is working with Starbucks to find a solution by this June in response to the protests," the official Xinhua News Agency quoted a palace spokesman, Feng Nai'en, as saying.
A news anchor for China Central Television has led an online campaign to remove Starbucks, which opened in the palace in 2000 at the invitation of its managers, who are under pressure to raise money to maintain the vast complex.
Globalization enthralls and binds together a new aristocracy--the golden crust on the human loaf--but the remaining billions, who lack the culture and confidence to benefit from "one world," have begun to erect barricades against the internationalization of their affairs. And, from Peshawar to Paris, those manning the barricades increasingly turn violent over perceived threats to their accustomed patterns of life. If globalization represents a liberal worldview, renewed localism is a manifestation of reactionary fears, resurgent faiths, and the iron grip of tradition. Except in the commercial sphere, bet on the localists to prevail.
When the topic of resistance to globalization arises, an educated American is apt to think of a French farmer-activist trashing a McDonald's, anarchist mummers shattering windows during World Bank powwows, or just the organic farmer with a stall at the local market. But the swelling resistance to globalization is far more powerful and considerably more complex than a few squads of drop-outs aiming rocks at the police in Seattle or Berlin. We are witnessing the return of the tribes--a global phenomenon, but the antithesis of globalization as described in pop bestsellers. The twin tribal identities, ethnic and religious brotherhood, are once again armed and dangerous.
A generation ago, it was unacceptable to use the word tribes. Yet, the tribes themselves won through, insisting on their own identity--whether Xhosa or Zulu, Tikriti or Barzani, or, writ large, French or German. In political terms, globalization peaked between the earnest efforts of the United Nations in the early 1960s and the electoral defeat of the European constitution in 2005 (the French and Dutch votes weren't a rebuff, but an assassination). In Europe, which was to have led the way in transcending nationalism, the European Union will stumble on indefinitely, even making progress in limited spheres, but its philosophical basis is gone. East European laborers and West European farmers alike will continue to exploit the E.U.'s easing of borders and transfers of wealth, but no one believes any longer in a European super-identity destined to supplant one's self-identification as a Dane or Basque.
Far from softening, national and other local identities are hardening again, reverting to ever-narrower blood-and-language relationships that Europe's dreamers assumed would fade away. Who now sees himself as fundamentally Belgian, rather than as a Fleming or Walloon? Catalans deny that they are Spaniards, and the Welsh imagine a national grandeur for themselves. In the last decade, the ineradicable local identities within the former Yugoslavia split apart in a bloodbath, while a mortified Europe looked away for as long as it could. The Yugoslav disaster was written off as an echo from the past--anyway, Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and Kosovars were "not our kind"--but the Balkan wars instead signaled a much broader popular discontent with pseudo-identities concocted by political elites. The collapse of Yugoslavia hinted at the future of Europe: not necessarily the bloodshed, but the tenacity of historical identity.
Even as they grabbed from one another in Brussels, European elites insisted that continental unification was desirable and inevitable. Until the people said no.
Now, in 2006, we see one European state after another enacting protectionist measures to prevent foreign ownership of vital industries (such as yogurt-making). France paused, as hundreds of thousands of its best and brightest protested the creation of new jobs for the less-privileged in a spectacular defense of the ancien régime. And a new German chancellor has called for saving the European project by destroying it--or at least by hewing down the massive bureaucracy in Brussels that alienated the continent. The future of Europe lies not in a cosmopolitan version of the empire of Charlemagne, but in a postmodern version of the feudal fragmentation that succeeded the Frankish empire. Brussels may be the new medieval Rome, its bureaucratic papacy able to pronounce in limited spheres, but there is ever less fear of excommunication.
Elsewhere, the devolution of identity from the state to the clan or cult is more radical, more anxious, and more volatile. In Iraq, religious, ethnic, and tribal identities dictate the composition of the struggling national government--as they do in Lebanon, Canada, Nigeria, and dozens of other countries (we shall not soon see a Baptist prime minister of Israel--or a Muslim Bundeskanzler, despite those who warn of Eurabia). Even in the United States, with our integrative genius, racial, religious, and ethnic identity politics continue to prosper; we are fortunate that we have no single dominant tribe (minorities might disagree).
As part of the Rumsfeldian shift in defense policy since 9/11, the Pentagon has let it be known that it will reorganize the U.S. military outlook, and has announced the formation of an African Command, which will see an expansion of bases in Africa, which will be seen as vehicles for regime change, using the anti-terrorist pretext to intervene in conflicts throughout the continent. From any rational policy standpoint, in the estimation of African observers, this invasion of Somalia will backfire. As one stated: "Establishing an African Command will only be effective if the primary policy thrust is support for internally driven governance-building processes."
With the Cheney crowd implementing the British-spawned genocidal permanent warfare policy, no development-oriented nation-building approach is possible. This British policy of permanent conflict, will have worse consequences for Third World nations than colonialism did, or the suffering brought about by dictators installed during the "Cold War." The policy of permanent conflict will wipe out populations, and destroy nations, as demanded by the utopian, free-market advocates of globalization.
Adding to the catastrophe in the Horn of Africa, there are reports that Rift Valley Fever, a rare, contagious hemorrhagic disease, which originated in the Rift Valley, and is endemic there, has spread from northern Kenya into Somalia, where seven have died of it in the Jan. 5-10 period. It also kills animals. Devastation of livestock would severely cut exports, thus depriving nomads of their livelihood. Because of the Ethiopian/American military activity, efforts to confirm the extent of the spread of the disease have not been possible, and therefore no moves can be taken to control the disease.
Twice as many Americans turned to the Internet as their primary source of news during the recent November mid-term elections compared with the 2002 elections, according to a survey released on Wednesday.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 15 percent of American adults used the Web as the source for most of their political news during the campaign, up from 7 percent in 2002.
Writer Leslie O'Toole says Will Smith wanted to work in a romantic comedy with Cameron Diaz but he feared that fans would be uncomfortable with the interracial pairing, reports newsweek.com.
Leslie O'Toole said: 'Smith, one of the world's most bankable stars, appears mostly opposite black or Latino women. He once confided to me that he'd love to make a romantic comedy with Cameron Diaz but feared that his audience wouldn't accept it. It's a shame, but it is what it is.'
Russia has delivered new anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran and would consider further requests by Tehran for defensive weapons, Moscow confirmed today.
Washington and Israel, who accuse Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear arms and undermining security in the region, have criticised the sale of TOR-M1 missiles. Tehran, they say, could use them against its neighbours.
"We have supplied the modern short-range anti-aircraft systems TOR-M1 in accordance with our contracts," Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov told reporters when asked about the sale.
"We're developing our military and technical cooperation with Iran in accordance with international law and will continue to develop it," he said. "And if Iran wants to buy defensive, I underline defensive, equipment for its armed forces then why not?"
US President George W. Bush charged on Tuesday that Saddam Hussein's execution resembled a sectarian "revenge killing" and has made it harder to end deadly violence in war-torn Iraq.
Bush told PBS television that the ousted dictator's hanging had "reinforced doubts" about Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and made it clear that his fledgling government "has still got some maturation to do".
A top Senate Democrat introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require US President George W. Bush to get congressional approval before sending additional US troops to Iraq.
In a statement, the office of Senator Chris Dodd said the original US military mission in Iraq, which Congress authorised in 2002, "has been radically transformed by events in the region," and that Bush therefore must seek an entirely new authorisation from the US legislature before expanding it.
Fighter jet parts and other sensitive U.S. military gear seized from front companies for Iran and brokers for China have been traced in criminal cases to a surprising source: the Pentagon.
In one case, federal investigators said, contraband purchased in Defense Department surplus auctions was delivered to Iran, a country President Bush has branded part of an "axis of evil."
In that instance, a Pakistani arms broker convicted of exporting U.S. missile parts to Iran resumed business after his release from prison. He purchased Chinook helicopter engine parts for Iran from a U.S. company that had bought them in a Pentagon surplus sale. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents say those parts did make it to Iran.
Sensitive military surplus items are supposed to be demilitarized or "de-milled" - rendered useless for military purposes - or, if auctioned, sold only to buyers who promise to obey U.S. arms embargoes, export controls and other laws.
Yet the surplus sales can operate like a supermarket for arms dealers.
China has announced a third trip by its president to Africa in clear pursuit of plans to broaden the country's reach and deepen ties with nations across the continent this year.
Liu Jianchao, a foreign ministry spokesman, said Hu Jintao, planned to visit African countries "in the near future".
This would be Hu's seventh trip to the African continent after visits to three countries in 2004 and another three in April last year. "We are discussing and negotiating the arrangements with the relevant countries.
Once we reach agreement, we will release the information," Liu said.
China will significantly cool exports this year as it makes slashing its record trade surplus one of its most urgent tasks, Commerce Minister Bo Xilai has said.
"Cutting the huge trade surplus is the priority task for 2007," the China Daily quoted Bo as saying.
"The yawning surplus with the United States and the European Union has strained China's foreign trade environment, triggering more frequent trade friction."
Viewers could have been forgiven for thinking it was all part of a drive to boost audience figures.
The attractive blonde on screen started talking about her colleagues' sex lives – even hinting one was having an affair – before pushing out her breasts and giving viewers a flash of her midriff.
It was only when the presenter's face went an ashen grey and she started reading the news it became clear she had not known she was on air.
An explosion outside a Baghdad university as students were heading home for the day killed at least 65 people on Tuesday in the deadliest of several attacks on predominantly Shiite areas. The attacks — and the announcement of four U.S. military deaths — came on a day the United Nations said more than 34,000 Iraqi civilians died last year in sectarian violence.
Attacks in Baghdad — including the university explosion, blasts at a marketplace for used motorcycles and a drive-by shooting — killed more than 100 people in a spasm of violence ahead of a promised drive by the Iraqi government and U.S. forces to secure the capital.
As described by owner.
1985 Blue Volkswagen Golf
Only 15 km
Only first gear and reverse used
Never driven hard
Original fuel and oil
Only 1 driver Owner
Wishing to sell due to employment lay-off
Swedish file-sharing website The Pirate Bay is planning to buy its own nation in an attempt to circumvent international copyright laws.
The group has set up a campaign to raise money to buy Sealand, a former British naval platform in the North Sea that has been designated a 'micronation', and claims to be outside the jurisdiction of the UK or any other country.
Seattle P.I. Caption: A Seahawks fan, refusing to let go of the season, lies in front of the team's charter bus at Boeing Field after the team's return from Chicago. Police removed the fan. (January 14, 2007)
Also LYING in front of the bus, which has already driven over them -- OH HELL! WITH THEIR PANTS ON FIRE, LYING, LYING EVERY DAY!: George H.W. Bush and Condi and John McCain and Joe LIEberman and the rest of the self-deluded, glory-obsessed, ego-motivated, personally craven bastards running the game even though the SEASON IS OVER!
Cambodian offshore oilfields may yet yield millions of barrels more oil than previously estimated, a senior government official said Monday. Speaking at a seminar in Phnom Penh on the country's oil and gas assets, Cambodian National Petroleum Authority director-general Te Duong Tara said exploration by US oil giant Chevron in its Block A allocation alone indicated that its initial estimate of around 400 million barrels had been too conservative.
Block A is one of six demarkated areas. Japanese, Chinese, South Korean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Singaporean and Thai interests are also involved in Cambodian offshore oil exploration, Tara Said.
"According to estimates before drilling five wells we said that Block A has perhaps 400 million barrels and three to five GPS of gas. This was the previous estimate, but a subsequent tendency increases that from 400 to 700 million barrels," he said.
Have I been hinting enough? Have I been saying that GM is going to do something that, while not healing the hurt they’ve dealt out over the last few decades, will at least get their foot in the door of the gasoline rehab clinic?
Well here it is, and it’s beautiful.
The Chevrolet Volt is a hybrid hatchback that can get anywhere from a sixty to a million miles per gallon.
OK, so you all trusted me until I said that, and now you’re checking to see if it’s April already. But I’m for real.
The Volt contains two engines, like any hybrid car, a gasoline engine and an electric engine. However, the gasoline engine never actually propels the car.
The CONSTITUTION PARTY responds to President Bush's challenge for skeptics of his plan to send more to troops to Iraq to "come up with their own ideas" by offering this suggestion:
Tell Congress to pass H.R. 413 which would repeal the bogus Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243) and require the orderly withdrawal of the United States Armed Forces from Iraq.
Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is in "very grave" condition after three failed operations and complications from an intestinal infection, a Spanish newspaper said Tuesday.
Cuba's ailing leader Fidel Castro, not seen in public since surgery nearly six months ago, is on the mend, his son and namesake Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart told local media during a visit to Chile, the El Mercurio newspaper reported on Sunday.
My sources are telling me that Fidel Castro is dead.
President Hugo Chavez said Friday that Fidel Castro is not dying of cancer, saying he had spoken with the ailing Cuban leader by phone and he is eating cautiously and well enough to joke.
U.S. intelligence officials believe that Cuban President Fidel Castro has terminal cancer and will not return to power, despite statements by that country's government that he will return to his post once he recovers from the abdominal surgery he had in July, according to a report in Time magazine.
Cuban officials told a group of visiting U.S. lawmakers that Fidel Castro does not have cancer or a terminal illness, the head of the delegation said Sunday.
I've been preparing some updates to my biography of Muhammad Dahlan, former head of the PA [Palestinian Authority] Preventive Security Services (PSS) in the Gaza Strip and currently the Fatah MP for Khan Younis, and I am coming away with a strong impression that he is currently engaged in whatever the Palestinian equivalent is of forming an exploratory committee to examine the prospects for a Presidential run.
It has once again become fashionable for the dwindling supporters of President Bush's futile war in Iraq to stress the danger of "Islamo-fascism" and the supposed drive by followers of Osama bin Laden to establish a monolithic, Taliban-like regime -- a "Caliphate" -- stretching from Gibraltar to Indonesia. The President himself has employed this term on occasion over the years, using it to describe efforts by Muslim extremists to create "a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom." While there may indeed be hundreds, even thousands, of disturbed and suicidal individuals who share this delusional vision, the world actually faces a far more substantial and universal threat, which might be dubbed: Energo-fascism, or the militarization of the global struggle over ever-diminishing supplies of energy.
In his Jan. 15 update, Robertson points to a political reason that could make the assault more likely – personnel changes in the Bush administration may have sidelined opponents of attacking Iran.
As part of its latest plan to stabilize Iraq, the United States intends to more than double the number of regional reconstruction teams and to add nearly 400 specialists for existing and new teams, in fields from politics and the rule of law to agribusiness and veterinary care, according to an official outline of the plan.
The document calls for the measures to be taken swiftly, in three phases, with waves of new teams and personnel expected to be put in place in March, June and September. The teams are to carry out rebuilding and governance projects from small offices all over Iraq.
The document, provided to The New York Times by a critic of the plan, lays out what an American official familiar with its contents calls simply “the playbook,” giving detailed estimates of the costs to be incurred by various teams as a result of the changes. About $250,000, for example, is set aside for new office furnishings for a team in the southern city of Basra, which is supposed to receive 25 additional specialists.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders together in three or four weeks to talk about a future Palestinian state, a senior U.S. official said on Monday. [emphasis mine]
Two of Saddam Hussein's aides were hanged before dawn on Monday, the Iraqi government said.
But despite its efforts to avoid the uproar that marred the execution of the former president two weeks ago, news that the noose ripped the head from Saddam's cancer-stricken half-brother as he plunged from the gallows appalled international critics of the process and fuelled fury among Saddam's fellow Sunni Arabs.
The first additional American troops who will take part in a major new security plan in Baghdad have arrived in the Iraqi capital, the U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey, said on Monday.
"The initial elements of the first group are here," he told a news conference. He declined to give more details or say when operations would start but he said a report that 4,000 of the planned 17,500 extra troops had arrived was "real high".
Asked about reports of frustration among U.S. officials with Iraqi counterparts over the planning of an operation to be led by the Iraqi government with U.S. help, Casey said: "Transitions generate friction. And we are in a period of transition."
But he said U.S. and Iraqi officials were working hard to ensure a workable command structure that would allow Iraqi control while maintaining the security and effectiveness of U.S. troops.
"We are working out understandings at every level to ensure there are no misunderstandings," Casey said.
"This is a plan that is Iraqi-conceived but we have been involved every step of the way," he said. "American forces will remain under American command ... Our forces will not be put at risk because of the command relationship."
He was confident the Iraqi government would "purge" elements from its security forces which were loyal to militias and other groups outside the government. [emphasis mine]
Stepped up U.S. military activity in the Persian Gulf is to counter "very negative" behavior by Iran and undercut its belief that American forces are overcommitted in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday.
Gates said the time is not right for diplomatic talks with Iran, but left open that possibility for the future.
After meeting with senior officials at NATO headquarters, Gates was asked at a press conference what was behind the Bush administration's decision to deploy a Patriot missile battalion and a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf region — moves announced in connection with a further buildup of ground troops in Iraq.
He noted that the United States has taken a leading role in Gulf security for many decades.
"We are simply reaffirming that statement of the importance of the Gulf region to the United States and our determination to be an ongoing strong presence in that area for a long time into the future," he said.
A woman who was found dead hours after taking part in a water drinking contest at a local radio station may have died of water intoxication, a coroner said.
The body of mother-of-three Jennifer Strange, 28, was discovered at her home in Rancho Cordova, California, on Friday after she competed in the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest organised by KDND 107.9.
The radio station had promised a Nintendo Wii video game system for the competitor who could drink the most water without going to the toilet.
Ms Strange went home after complaning to work colleagues that her head was hurting. "She was crying and that was the last that anyone had heard from her," said Laura Rios, a colleague at the Radiological Associates of Sacramento.
It’s exceedingly rare for me to cheer on a Republican senator on one of the Sunday morning talk shows, but Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-Neb.) response to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) this morning on Meet the Press was truly entertaining.
Tim Russert had just finished asking Lieberman about the inherent difficulties in fighting a war without public support. Lieberman responded that there are two exit strategies: “One is called victory; the other is called defeat.” Lieberman proceeded to dig deep into his most cynical talking points.
"If you're in Congress and you know this war is going in the wrong direction, it is no longer enough to study your options and keep your own counsel. Silence is betrayal. Speak out, and stop this escalation now. You have the power to prohibit the president from spending any money to escalate the war - use it."
-- John Edwards
The Iraqi foreign minister called Sunday for the release of five Iranians detained by U.S. forces in what he said was a legitimate diplomatic mission in northern Iraq, but he stressed that foreign intervention to help insurgents would not be tolerated.
The two-pronged statement by Hoshyar Zebari highlighted the delicate balance facing the Iraqi government as it tries to secure Baghdad with the help of American forces while maintaining ties with its neighbors, including U.S. rivals Iran and Syria.