Labels: cat blogging
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.
Labels: cat blogging
The discovery of the "world's biggest diamond" last August sent ripples of excitement around the world. It was said to be twice the size of the Cullinan, or Great Star of Africa, discovered near Pretoria in 1905.
Neither the South Africa Diamond Board, nor the Diamond and Jewellery Federation, the trade body, confirmed its authenticity. But the warnings were drowned out by the breathless claims of one Brett Jolly, a spokesman for the mining firm Two Point Five Construction, who had announced the stone was being transported to a bank vault in Johannesburg "until we calm down and decide what we are going to do".
Now however, the "diamond" has been revealed as a fake. Yesterday, the president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, Ernest Blom, announced he was withdrawing from the verification process to test the stone, saying: "I suspect something is afoot.
Eight years after he seized power in a military coup and six years after making a deal with the US that enabled him to hold on to that power, General Pervez Musharraf is today poised to secure another five years as Pakistan's leader.
Labels: great name
Why Fuck is the Best Word in the English Language...
by Who the Fuck Knows
Perhaps one of the most interesting and colorful words in the English language today is the word "fuck".
It is a magical word which, just by its sound can describe pain, pleasure, love, and hate. In language, "fuck" falls into many grammatical categories.
It can be used as a verb both transitive (John fucked Mary) and intransitive (Mary was fucked by John).
It can be an action verb (John really gives a fuck),
a passive verb (Mary really doesn't give a fuck),
and adverb (Mary is fucking interested in John),
or as a noun (Mary is a terrific fuck).
It can also be used as an interjection (Fuck! I'm late for my date with Mary).
It can even be used as a conjunction (Mary is easy, fuck she's also stupid).
As you can see there are very few words with the overall versatility of the word fuck.
Aside from its sexual connotations, this word can be used to describe many situations:
1. Greetings........."How the fuck are ya?"
2. Fraud..............."I got fucked by the car dealer."
3. Resignation......."Oh, fuck it!"
4. Trouble............."I guess I'm fucked now."
5. Aggression........."Fuck you!"
6. Disgust................"Fuck me."
7. Confusion............." What the fuck....?"
8. Displeasure............"Fucking shit man..."
9. Lost........................"Where the fuck are we?"
11.Retaliation............."Up your fucking ass!"
12. Apathy................."Who really gives a fuck?"
13. Suspicion............."Who the fuck are you?"
14. Directions.............."Fuck off."
It can be maternal........"Motherfucker!"
It can be used to tell time......."It's four fucking twenty!"
It can be used as an anatomical description............."He's a fucking asshole."
Lastly, it has been used by many notable people throughout history:
"What the fuck was that?" -Mayor of Hiroshima
"That's not a real fucking gun." -John Lennon
"Where the fuck is all this water coming from?" -Captain of the Titanic
"Who the fuck is gonna find out?" -Richard Nixon
"Heads are gonna fucking roll." -Anne Boleyn
"Any fucking idiot could answer that." -Albert Einstein
"It does so fucking look like her!" -Picasso
"You want what on the fucking ceiling?" -Michaelangelo
"Fuck a duck." -Walt Disney
"Houston, we have a big fucking problem." - The crew of Apollo 13
- written by McCutcheon
Six years after a war was launched to overthrow the Taliban, British solders are still being killed in bloody skirmishing in a conflict in which no final victory is possible. Tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by the US, Britain and allies, an operation codenamed Enduring Freedom. But six years on, Britain is once again, as in Iraq, the most junior of partners, spending the lives of its soldiers with little real influence over the war.
The world moved into 'ecological overdraft' on Saturday, the point at which human consumption exceeds the ability of the earth to sustain it in any year and goes into the red, the New Economics Foundation think-tank said.
Ecological Debt Day this year is three days earlier than in 2006 which itself was three days earlier than in 2005. NEF said the date had moved steadily backwards every year since humanity began living beyond its environmental means in the 1980s.
"As the world creeps closer to irreversible global warming and goes deeper into ecological debt, why on earth, say, would the UK export 20 tonnes of mineral water to Australia and then re-import 21 tonnes," said NEF director Andrew Simms. [emphasis mine]
Labels: climate change
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says he doesn't wear an American flag lapel pin because it has become a substitute for "true patriotism" since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Asked about it Wednesday in an interview with KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Illinois senator said he stopped wearing the pin shortly after the attacks and instead hoped to show his patriotism by explaining his ideas to citizens.
"The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security.
"I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest," he said in the interview. "Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testament to my patriotism."
Labels: Barack Obama
The Blackwater story keeps growing in both the outrage it is causing and in the political importance of that outrage. It's also increasing in the amount of trouble it's causing for the State Department and the US.
We're starting to see reaction now from both sides of the argument. You'd think when an entire country was accusing your company of killing its citizens, that you'd try to show some humility or even remorse. But not our Blackwater, nope. [emphasis mine]
President Bush defended his administration's detention and interrogation policies for terrorism suspects on Friday, saying they are both successful and lawful.
"When we find somebody who may have information regarding a potential attack on America, you bet we're going to detain them, and you bet we're going to question them," he said during a hastily called appearance in the Oval Office. "The American people expect us to find out information, actionable intelligence so we can help protect them. That's our job."
Bush was referring to a report on two secret memos in 2005 that authorized extreme interrogation tactics against terror suspects. "This government does not torture people," the president said.
Prompted by last month's deadly shootings in Baghdad by armed guards working for Blackwater USA, the House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to place all private contractors working in Iraq and other combat zones under the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.
In what Australian customs officials called a "novel attempt" to import Ecstasy, an unknown drug trafficker hid a stash of the party drug inside Mr. Potato Head. The pills were intercepted at the Sydney International Mail Centre when agents selected a parcel from Ireland for examination. According to a press release, "upon opening the parcel, Customs officers were greeted with the smiling face of Mr Potato Head."
The Israel Air Force warplanes and Israel Navy warships that attacked the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, at the height of the Six-Day War, were aware that the vessel was an American spy ship, according to new testimony published Thursday in the Chicago Tribune.
The report stated that the U.S. National Security Agency - to which the intelligence gathering ship belonged - was able to intercept IAF communications according to which, at some stage, the pilots identified the ship as American but were nonetheless instructed to push ahead with the attack.
'The Kite Runner' is delayed to protect child stars Paramount Vantage is delaying the movie's release to get its three schoolboy stars out of Kabul, Afghanistan.
The studio distributing "The Kite Runner," a tale of childhood betrayal, sexual predation and ethnic tension in Afghanistan, is delaying the film's release to get its three schoolboy stars out of Kabul — perhaps permanently — in response to fears that they could be attacked for their enactment of a culturally inflammatory rape scene.
Executives at the distributor, Paramount Vantage, are contending with issues stemming from the rising lawlessness in Kabul in the year since the boys were cast.
The boys and their relatives are now accusing the filmmakers of mistreatment, and warnings have been relayed to the studio from Afghan and American officials and aid workers that the movie could aggravate simmering enmities between the politically dominant Pashtun and the long-oppressed Hazara.
In an effort to prevent not only a public-relations disaster but also possible violence, studio lawyers and marketing bosses have employed a stranger-than-fiction team of consultants. In August they sent a retired Central Intelligence Agency counterterrorism operative in the region to Kabul to assess the dangers facing the child actors. And on Sunday a Washington-based political adviser flew to the United Arab Emirates to arrange a safe haven for the boys and their relatives.
"If we're being overly cautious, that's O.K.," Karen Magid, a lawyer for Paramount, said. "We're in uncharted territory."
In interviews, more than a dozen people involved in the studio's response described grappling with vexing questions: testing the limits of corporate responsibility, wondering who was exploiting whom and pondering the price of on-screen authenticity.
Rescue teams working to save 3,200 miners trapped deep underground in a South African gold mine have managed to bring 1,350 to the surface.
Labels: blog reading
Yesterday, French oil giant Total insisted that their presence in Myanmar is crucial and that they would not pull out of the country, despite international uproar over the incidents there.
Labels: hat in hand
“No man is happy without a delusion of some kind. Delusions are as necessary to our happiness as realities.”
-- Christian Nevell Bovee
Author and lawyer
Daniel Estulin is a Madrid-based journalist and an investigative reporter who took on the daunting and dangerous task of researching the Bildeberg Group, and who offers his findings in The True Story Of The Bilderberg Group, recently published by Trine Day. Equally intriguing as his harrowing tales of being followed and nearly killed on a couple of occasions while working on the book, is the manner in which Estulin connects the dots between the Bilderberg Group, world events, notable politicians and corporate tycoons and the two other secretive monsters of the ruling elite, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Trilateral Commission (TC). The project lasted fifteen years and was motivated by Estulin's curiosity about how it is that the mainstream media has never covered in depth the meetings of the Bilderberg Group whose combined wealth exceeds the combined wealth of all U.S. citizens.
What Estulin's book makes clear is that the group, along with the CFR and TC, has become a shadow government whose top priority is to erase the sovereignty of all nation-states and supplant them with global corporate control of their economies under the surveillance of "an electronic global police state."
Labels: conspiacy theory
So I did some snooping of my own and found more names, with their affiliation listed in parenthesis as (L) for liberal/Democrat and (C) for conservative/Republican - based solely on their donations
Traci Lords (C)
Labels: Tracy Lords
On Aug. 3, 2005, the deadliest roadside bomb ever encountered by U.S. troops in Iraq detonated beneath a 26-ton armored personnel carrier, killing 14 Marines and revealing yet another American vulnerability in the struggle against improvised explosive devices.
"Huge fire and dust rose from the place of the explosion," an Iraqi witness reported from the blast site in Haditha, in Anbar province. In Baghdad and in Washington, the bleak recognition that a new species of bomb -- the underbelly, or "deep buried," IED -- could demolish any combat vehicle in the U.S. arsenal "was a light-bulb moment for sure," as a Pentagon analyst later put it.
Of the 81,000 IED attacks in Iraq over the past 4 1/2 years, few proved more devastating to morale than that "huge fire" in Haditha. At a time when coalition casualties per IED steadily declined, even as the number of bombs steadily increased, the abrupt obliteration of an entire squad -- made up mostly of reservists from Ohio -- revealed that the billions of dollars being spent on heavier armor and other "defeat the device" initiatives had clear limits.
Haditha provided a light-bulb moment for insurgents as well. During the next year, underbelly attacks just in the Marine sector of western Iraq would increase from a few each month to an average of four per day. By early summer of this year, the underbelly IED -- considered a specialty of Sunni bombers -- was killing more American troops in Iraq than all other variants of roadside bombs combined.
A bomb with 100 pounds of explosives detonating beneath an armored vehicle was equivalent to a direct hit from a six-gun artillery battery, but with an accuracy no gunner could hope to achieve. A single 155mm artillery round, which by itself can destroy a tank, typically contained 18 pounds of explosives. "That's just a damned difficult thing to defeat," said Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the current chief of staff for the Multinational Corps in Baghdad.
China, in the face of the latest unrest in Myanmar, has reverted to its traditional stance of non-interference in another country's internal affairs, despite its extensive clout and commercial interests there. The opportunity exists, though, for Beijing to enhance its image considerably by putting pressure on the generals, and in the process distinguish itself from regional rival India, which prefers to look the other way.
On a video posted to YouTube.com this summer, a man speaking Egyptian-accented Arabic instructed viewers on how to convert a remote-controlled toy car into a bomb detonator.
After the controversial appearance of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University last week, an Iranian university yesterday invited President Bush to travel to Iran and speak on campus about a range of issues, including the Holocaust, terrorism, human rights and U.S. foreign policy, the Fars News Agency reported yesterday.
The invitation from Ferdowsi University in the northeastern city of Mashhad asked Bush to answer questions from students and professors "just the same way" that Ahmadinejad took questions "despite all the insults directed at him."
Thousands of monks, who played a leading role in pro-democracy demonstrations last week, have been disrobed and shackled by Burma's military junta and will be moved to prisons hundreds of miles from Rangoon, it was reported last night.
A United Nations envoy met with the leader of Myanmar's junta, according to a diplomat in Yangon, as authorities continued a crackdown.
As the military tightened its grip on Myanmar, the United Nations said its envoy hopes to meet today with the junta's top generals to repeat international calls for restraint.
United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari left Myanmar's new jungle capital on Tuesday, where he was to have met military junta chief Than Shwe, a Yangon-based diplomat said.
However, there was no word on whether Gambari's scheduled audience with the bespectacled 74-year-old Senior General had actually taken place.
Now we are creating a new fog of mythologies -- about a "dictator" [in Iran] who isn't one, about "appeasement" that is completely inapplicable, about nuclear weapons that don't exist, about a country that is "evil" -- that make it seem like we must do something.
But what will the consequences of military action be? If we've learned but one single thing from the current war in Iraq it's that after we panic ourselves with descriptions of the worst that will happen if we don't act, we had better consider the worst that will happen if we do. And be ready for it.
That's a fact.
A Chinese coastal city has rejected 47 tons of frozen sardines infected with disease-inducing bacteria which were originally manufactured in the United States.
The batch of sardines, imported from a Japanese trading company, was stopped on Saturday by the Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau of Rongcheng City, Shandong Province, according to the bureau.
Sample detection shows that the sardines were infected with "listeria monocytogens," or a bacteria that can lead to various diseases, such as breath difficulty, vomiting, rash, meningitis, fever, coma and blood poisoning, or even death for human beings and animals, the bureau said.
The sardines, valued at about 40,000 U.S. dollars, were found to be originally manufactured in the United States, it said.
American laboratories handling the world's deadliest germs and toxins have experienced more than 100 accidents and missing shipments since 2003, and the number is increasing steadily as more labs across the country are approved to do the work.
No one died, and regulators said the public was never at risk during these incidents. But the documented cases reflect poorly on procedures and oversight at high-security labs, some of which work with organisms and poisons so dangerous that illnesses they cause have no cure. In some cases, labs have failed to report accidents as required by law.
A federal judge on Monday tossed out part of a 2001 order by President George W. Bush that lets former presidents keep some of their presidential papers secret indefinitely. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the U.S. Archivist's reliance on the executive order to delay release of the papers of former presidents is "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law." [emphasis mine]
U.S. security contractor Blackwater was involved in at least 195 shooting incidents in Iraq since 2005, said a congressional report on Monday that also panned the State Department's oversight of the company.
State Department contractor Blackwater, under investigation for the shooting deaths of 11 Iraqis on September 16, will answer questions about that incident and others at what is expected to be a testy congressional hearing on Tuesday.
Senior State Department officials will also be grilled by the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform examining whether the growing use of military contractors undermines U.S. efforts in Iraq.
A report prepared by the staff of committee chair Rep. Henry Waxman, released details from Blackwater's own reports of multiple incidents involving Iraqi casualties and said in most instances Blackwater fired first.
The memorandum also slammed the State Department's oversight of Blackwater and said it was often more interested in getting the company to pay off victims' families and "put the matter behind us" than in investigating what happened.
It listed 195 shooting incidents from the start of 2005 until September 12 of this year, an average of 1.4 per week. Of those, there were 16 Iraqi casualties and 162 cases with property damage, the California Democrat said. He did not specify if there were fatalities.
"In 32 of those incidents, Blackwater were returning fire after an attack while on 163 occasions (84 percent of the shooting incidents), Blackwater personnel were the first to fire," Waxman, a vocal critic of the Iraq war, said.
Right Wing News conducts a yearly survey of right-leaning blogs and asks them to rank their "Favorite People on the Right." Today the site announced the winner of this year's survey; by an overwhelming margin, right-wing bloggers chose Rush Limbaugh. Second place went to Ann Coulter. That says just about everything you need to know about the state of modern conservatism.
Thwarted in efforts to bring troops home from Iraq, Senate Democrats on Monday helped pass a defense policy bill authorizing another $150 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 92-3 vote comes as the House planned to approve separate legislation Tuesday that requires President Bush to give Congress a plan for eventual troop withdrawals.
The developments underscored the difficulty facing Democrats in the Iraq debate: They lack the votes to pass legislation ordering troops home and are divided on whether to cut money for combat, despite a mandate by supporters to end the war.
The U.S. Senate on Monday approved $23.6 billion in additional funding for mine-resistant armored vehicles as part of a mammoth defense spending bill for the 2008 fiscal year that began Monday.
This plans [sic] will virtually phase out the HMMWV from use in combat patrols and high risk missions. Responding to the urgent requirement, the Army plans to have all 17,700 MRAPs in theater by April 2009. [emphasis mine]
The total procurement of MRAPs for all services could surpass 20,000 units, with an estimated procurement cost above $10 billion. However, the MRAP life cycle cost is expected to rise significantly above that level, due to the need for frequent damage repair resulting from high operational tempo and frequent battle damage. Some estimates value the program's life cycle cost at about $20 billion.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that she is co-sponsoring legislation introduced by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) that prohibits the use of funds for military operations against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization (S. 759).
Trisodium phosphate has been used by painters for years and years as a heavy duty degreaser and all purpose cleaner. TSP is formulated for removing Grease, soot,and lead paint dust cleanup. A washing of surfaces prior to painting helps insure a good clean "bite" for the finish coats of paint.
1/2 cup per gallon of hot water makes short work of removing grease from driveways and garage floors.
Paint Remover: Most latex paints including milk paint, on furniture can be removed by scrubbing with a strong solution of TSP. After stripping any piece of wood its always a good idea to wash well with TSP to remove the wax that is in most paint removers.
Made from 100% whole grain oats, Cheerios cereal has no artificial colours or flavours. Those wholesome little Os are low in fat and saturated fat, and have no cholesterol. Cheerios is also an excellent source of iron, and a source of fibre and folic acid. On top of all that, Cheerios has only one gram of sugar.
Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tocopherols, Trisodium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Colour. Contains Wheat Ingredients. [emphasis mine]
Thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle, a former intelligence officer for Burma's ruling junta has revealed.
The most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: "Many more people have been killed in recent days than you've heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand."
Mr Win, who spoke out as a Swedish diplomat predicted that the revolt has failed, said he fled when he was ordered to take part in a massacre of holy men. He has now reached the border with Thailand.
The United States reaffirmed last year its leadership in world arms trade, cornering nearly 42 percent of the market as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan prompted a weapons shopping spree among neighboring nations, according to a congressional report set to be released Monday.
A U.S.-based private security firm received a contract worth up to 92 million dollars from the Department of Defence amid hard questions about its involvement in two separate violent incidents in Iraq. “Blackwater has been a contractor in the past with the department and could certainly be in the future,” said the U.S.’s top-ranking military officer, General Peter Pace, at an afternoon press conference here.
The future arrived just two hours later when the Pentagon released a new list of contracts — Presidential Airways, the aviation unit of parent company Blackwater, was awarded the contract to fly Department of Defence passengers and cargo between locations around central Asia.
The announcement comes as a cloud of suspicion is gathering around the “professional military” firm for its actions as a State Department security contractor in Iraq in which at least eight Iraqis and possibly as many as 28 were killed, including a woman and child.
Taiwan's ruling party passed a resolution Sunday asserting the island's separate identity and calling for a referendum on its sovereignty, but failed to put any real force behind it, apparently out of fear of provoking rival China.
The resolution -- passed after a heated debate at a boisterous party congress -- was the latest in a series of steps taken in the waning months of President Chen Shui-bian's final term aimed at strengthening Taiwan's de facto independence, without pushing Beijing so far that it could respond militarily.
Nearly 60 years after splitting amid civil war, China still considers the democratic island part of its territory, and has threatened to attack if it moves toward formal independence.
The United States does not recognize Taiwan as a country, but Washington is obligated by law to supply it with defensive weapons. Fearful of being drawn into a war with China, it has consistently chastised Chen's independence-leaning moves, including his current effort to win Taiwan a long coveted seat at the United Nations.
In an annual National Day speech Sunday in Beijing, China's Premier Wen Jiabao urged Taiwan to resist moving toward formal independence.
''We will continue to work with all the Taiwan compatriots to oppose and repulse separatist activities for 'Taiwan independence' and advance the great cause of China's peaceful reunification,'' Wen said.
Right now, Suu Kyi is in Insein Prison, notorious for its harsh conditions, after she "met" with 1000 monks who had marched to the gate of her house as part of a series of peaceful demonstrations by Buddhist monks against the government, now beginning to be called the "Saffron Revolution." This is the second major set of protests this year--there was another in April--and the first time that the country's monks have led the dissent.
Labels: Aung San Suu Kyi