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FRONTLINE: the insurgency: February 28, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News.
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FRONTLINE: the insurgency: interviews: michael ware | PBS

Long, but informative, transcript from the PBS show Frontline, about Iraq.

Needing to wake up, West just closes its eyes February 28, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, philosophy & politics.
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Needing to wake up, West closes its eyes
Something very remarkable is happening around the globe and, if you want the short version, a Muslim demonstrator in Toronto the other day put it very well:

”We won’t stop the protests until the world obeys Islamic law.”

Stated that baldly it sounds ridiculous. But, simply as a matter of fact, every year more and more of the world lives under Islamic law: Pakistan adopted Islamic law in 1977, Iran in 1979, Sudan in 1984. Four decades ago, Nigeria lived under English common law; now, half of it’s in the grip of sharia, and the other half’s feeling the squeeze, as the death toll from the cartoon jihad indicates.

A common sign in Pan-Islamist demonstrations reads: “2030 – We Take Over”

Short on Drivers, Truckers Offer Perks February 28, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business.
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Short on Drivers, Truckers Offer Perks – New York Times

We see the driver shortages, as well as fuel sur-charges, in higher freight rates; which in-turn get passed on to the consumer.

101 Free Games: The Best Free Games on the Web February 27, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Cool Sites, cool stuff, Lifestyle, Technology.
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101 Free Games: The Best Free Games on the Web from 1UP.com
What you’re looking at is the result of countless hours spent searching for the best and newest free games

Iraqi Politics February 27, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News.
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This blog by an Iraqi, in Bagdhad, gives you an insight into what is really going on. That is why it was voted the best blog from that part of the world. In today’s posting, he notes that in the aftermath to the recent near civil war that “…politicians have realized that those clerics, whether Sunni or Shia, are the origin of the problem and are ready to coup on even their political allies, which made the politicians more aware of the danger imposed by clerics on the project of building a state ruled by the law.”

Fear of Girls – Google Video February 27, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Streamingvideo, Video.
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Fear of Girls – Google Video

This 11 minute fantasy mockumentary follows a-day-in-the-life of 2 pathetic gamers has become a big hit on the internet. The movie short is making a come-back on the net. New talent in all of the arts are percolating up through this medium -the internet.

Music & amp; Sports February 27, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Music, Sports.
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The secret’s out. It’s been revealed that the US snowboarding team’s success at the Turin Olympics is down to a performance enhancing device.

The Baltimore Sun has the scoop.

Probably no surprise that the device in question was an Apple iPod music player.

Nineteen-year-old Hannah Teter told reporters she was listen to a track from her boyfriend’s band when when she won gold last week in the women’s halfpipe.

The boyfriend in question is Eli Lieberman, the band is Strive Roots and the she was listening to was Communicate, which you can check out here.(There’s a hint of Bob Marley in the song.)

Researchers have only begun to investigate the effects of music on sports.Ipod Ready Snow board jackets

Before he went to medical school, Dr. Mark Tramo, director of Harvard’s Institute for Music and Brain Science, was a professional rock musician. He experienced an early demonstration of the music-sports connection during his prep-school track days. His gold medal victory in the 100-yard dash, he believes, was fueled by the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar.” “It was playing over and over in my head,” he says.

Psychologist Petr Janata is preparing studies in his Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, that may confirm what Dr. Tramo’s experience suggests. Mr. Janata explains: “Your body is performing these rhythmic actions and you’ve got the rhythmic structure in the music, and those two sets of rhythmic patterns are, in some way, combining or feeding off one another.”

Dr. Tramo sees the body feeding off the rhythm as if it were feeding off a drug. “You don’t need to go out and buy ecstasy. You don’t need to go out and buy cocaine. What you’re doing through the music, and through the context of being at a point when you can either win or lose the game, is setting up the brain to release chemicals….So your brain releases, for example, dopamine, and endorphins, which are kind of like opium in certain places, and adrenaline, and steroids in very specific places, some of them throughout the blood stream.” Just as with certain drugs, Dr. Tramo notes, “your heart starts pounding. You don’t want to just sit back in your seat and yawn. You want to stand. Your pupils get bigger. Your muscles get more active.”

All such symptoms are associated with our fight-and-flight reaction, the body’s primitive, automatic response when the brain alerts us to defend ourselves or flee from attack. Perhaps the effect of hip-hop music on sports most resembles that of military marches intended to prepare an army for battle. As Dr. Tramo observes, “an athletic contest…is kind of like a controlled war.”

Snowboarder Mike Yearin estimates that eight out of 10 of his fellow snowboarders listen to music as they ride — even as they compete. The picture is of the IPod ready snowboard jacket.

February 26, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
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Here come the Pakistani Taliban February 26, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News.
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He’s Welcome In Pakistan
The majority of Afghan Pashtuns now want the benefits of peace — economic development, roads and schools.
Pakistan’s Pashtuns, by contrast, have become more radicalized than they ever were before 9/11. And the bloody Taliban-al Qaeda resurgence now under way has relied on Pakistan’s Pashtun belt for most of its recruitment, logistics, weapons and funding.

Test Your Happiness February 26, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Cool Sites, Lifestyle.
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Maria posted this site with a series of Tests in her Comment on the “Happiness isn’t Normal” article earlier in this blog with this:

Check out Dr. Seligman, Director of Univ. of Pennsylvania Department of Positive Psychology. Many tests are on the website to measure your “happiness scale”. His outlook seems to be to work on your strengths rather than concentrate on the typical ” I am a mess because …

How Cargo Travels Through the Shipping System February 26, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business.
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How Cargo Travels Through the Shipping System

I may be obsessing about this Port security issue, but then I am intimately involved with it on a daily-basis. I hope some of these postings will give some insight into the issues involved.

At some point, almost all the world’s Goods pass through a Port. This graphic follows a hypothetical example shipment. If you think that the economic shock from the 9-11 airport shutdown was bad, let’s hope we never have to experience the effects of a similiar halt in Port traffic.

The Real Focus for Port Security February 26, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, In The News, News and politics.
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Stephen E. Flynn, a specialist in maritime security at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted that although the company is state-owned, several members of its top management are Americans — including its general counsel, a senior vice president and its outgoing chief operating officer, Edward H. Bilkey, who is a former U.S. Navy officer. And since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United States has increasingly depended on such foreign port operators to cooperate in inspecting cargo before it heads for U.S. shores.

“It’s a global network at the end of the day that we’re trying to secure here,” Flynn said. “And that doesn’t happen by the United States owning every bit of it. What we should be focusing on instead is the question, are the security standards adequate?”

Critics voiced strong doubts about whether the existing procedures are commensurate with the threat. “There are not enough Customs and Border Protection inspectors at the nation’s ports to handle the incoming traffic that we have now, and our guys at the ports are being told that they can’t do any overtime,” said Charles Showalter, president of the American Federation of Government Employees union, which represents officers who inspect ships. “That combination often results in uninspected ships being left unattended in port overnight.”

Concerns over insufficient inspectors worry many security experts far more than the issue of who owns the companies managing the terminals.

Flynn cited a litany of unsettling practices, such as the lack of any screening for the thousands of truck drivers, many of whom are immigrants, hauling containers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., to railway lines.

“What I hope for out of this whole debate is that, as Americans suddenly realize most of our marine terminals are managed by foreign-owned companies, they ask, given that that’s a reality, how do we secure it?” Flynn said. “I also hope this current situation doesn’t lead to a feeding frenzy [against foreign operators], because if we want things to be secure over here, we’re going to have to work with foreign counterparts.”


Why Doctors So Often Get It Wrong February 26, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
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Why Doctors So Often Get It Wrong – New York Times
Under the current medical system, doctors, nurses, lab technicians and hospital executives are not actually paid to come up with the right diagnosis. They are paid to perform tests and to do surgery and to dispense drugs.
There is no bonus for curing someone and no penalty for failing, except when the mistakes rise to the level of malpractice

A Ship Already Sailed February 26, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics, In The News.
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A Ship Already Sailed – New York Times

In the outcry over who should run America’s seaport terminals, one clear trend appears to have been overlooked: American companies began withdrawing decades ago from the unglamorous business of stevedoring, ceding the now-booming industry to enterprises in Asia and the Middle East.

Little Mideast Oil Wealth Is Going Toward Takeovers of U.S. Assets February 26, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics, In The News.
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Little Mideast Oil Wealth Is Going Toward Takeovers of U.S. Assets – New York Times

Oil-exporting nations in the Middle East and North Africa are expected to earn about $530 billion from sales of crude oil this year, compared with $300 billion in 2003, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Middle Eastern countries account for less than 1 percent of $1.5 trillion of foreign direct investment in United States businesses and real estate, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service. That lags far behind the largest foreign investors: Britain, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

US prepares military blitz against Iran’s nuclear sites February 26, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News and politics.
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Click here to see the potential targets

Remember, there are two ongoing attempts to convert the entire world to Islam. The Shia movement, which got traction in the 1980s when radical clerics took control of Iran, have been threatened by the Sunni movement al Qaeda, which rose to prominence in the 1990s. Over 80 percent of the world’s Moslems are Sunni, and radical Sunnis (like the ones who run al Qaeda) believe the Shia are heretics and must be killed if they do not accept  Sunni religious practices and beliefs. Thus, in the Arab world (which is very, very Sunni), Iran getting nuclear weapons is seen as a religious, as well as a military, threat.

Friend or Foe? February 24, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, News and politics.
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The Journal of Commerce – February 27, 2006

THE publication in the Shipping Industry wieghs in on Dubai. Click on the link for the Cover Story – DP Friend or Foe, which is on the left on the page that opens

Clinton leads Dubai praise February 24, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News and politics.
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ITPBusiness.net {News: Clinton leads Dubai praise

FORMER US president Bill Clinton praised Dubai’s leaders last week, telling them the way Islamic and Western values and cultures are being merged is “wonderful”.

Scientists Detect New Kind of Cosmic Explosion February 24, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Science & Technology.
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NASA – Scientists Detect New Kind of Cosmic Explosion

Security and the Sale of Port Facilities: Facts and Recommendations February 24, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, News and politics.
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Security and the Sale of Port Facilities: Facts and Recommendations

Port Apprehensions February 23, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, News and politics.
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Conservative Michelle Malkin posted an e-mail from a reader spelling out just what this deal covers:

DWI is not “buying the American ports” as I see frequently misrepresented in articles about this in the MSM. American ports cannot be bought.
They are buying the port operating division of a London-based, British-owned Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. That purchase will include current contracts that P&O ports has with the various ports listed in the stories. There are other port operation companies out there. The port in New York or any of the other ports mentioned could choose to contract with some other company if they do not want DWI being responsible for operating terminals in these ports. As we understand it the same employees who work for P&O currently will still be the employees that work there after the purchase goes through.

I don’t think there are suddenly going to be Arabs running all over the ports. Anymore so than there already are. Actually because of regulations and unions, more and more of ocean shipping, port operations and terminal operations in America are being run by non-American companies.
As Instapundit’s reader observed, the UAE provided supplies for our troops in Afghanistan. Should we refuse that cooperation? If we don’t trust them to manage the non-security aspects of a port, why should we trust their drinking water? Why do we trust them enough to use Al Dhafra Air Base and other facilities on their soil?

We now know that nothing is set to change on how security at these ports would change under the deal – it would still all be managed by the Coast Guard.

Schumer is… what’s the word I’m looking for here… strongly misleading us. There is no “outsourcing of homeland security duties.” We’ve been snookered, folks. Schumer should put up some evidence to support his charge. As of now, there is nothing to indicate that the UAE or Dubai Ports World would have any control over security procedures at any of these facilities.

Or as Democrat Tom Barnett says:

After lecturing the Europeans over the cartoon flap, it’s awfully weird to watch the paranoia, racism, and pure political nonsense at work on the proposed purchase of a British port-managing firm by a Dubai corporation.
The message we send on this is clear: if you’re Arab, you’re immediately untrustworthy. Dubai seeks to become the Singapore of the Middle East, and watching that rather progressive model of capitalism + Islam reach out for this strand of connectivity in a venue it knows all too well (shipping) makes perfect sense.
Is it the pretense of these “hawks” that America somehow “secures” itself in a globalized world, not being able to trust any others in this process?
This thing is so overblown on so many levels as to be truly, madly, deeply stupid as a political football. Shame on any presidential types for grabbing this one and running with it. Our goal in the GWOT is to connect the Middle East faster than the jihadists can disconnect it, so again, what do we say here to the people of Dubai,who have–believe it or not–done plenty to aid our efforts in the region at great personal risk to their national security?
The biggest joke? This labeling of the contract as somehow putting the company in question in charge of our port security, when it’s only about managing commercial activities. The Coast Guard runs security for our ports–always has and always will. This is misrepresentation of the worst sort.
People act responsibly when you give them responsibility. Dubai has earned that trust. Either we’re true to our word or let’s just go Tom Friedman’s ‘cut-them-off-at-the-gas” proposal and tell the entire Islamic world that we accept Osama bin Laden’s offer of civilizational apartheid.
I’m with Bush on this one. He’s showing some serious maturity on a subject about which too many in Congress are acting childishly.

What’s really behind the Ports Deal February 22, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics, In The News, News and politics.
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It’s no surprise – It’s money.

While we are concerned about the Dubai investment in our Ports, the actual players have larger ambitions, as they try to diversify their energy-centric economy. This e-mail sent to Michelle Malkin is insightful:

I work as a corporate lawyer at a large law firm that has a speciality in Islamic finance. The real reason Dubai Ports World is undergoing the transaction is because of an Islamic finance vehicle called the sukuk. The sukuk is essentially a commerical paper type of Islamic financle vehicle–it is essentially a “fake” bond to work around the Muslim prohibition on interest.
Now comes the interesting part.
As you might know, Dubai has recently christened (my word) its stock exchange. It hasn’t been very successful thus far–so they’ve been looking to acquire really high profile items to trade on it. (Note: they also tried to buy the Refco assets after Refco collapsed). If the Dubai Ports World sukuk goes through, it becomes the largest publicly traded sukuk in the world.
As a result, Dubai instantly becomes the place to go for Islamic finance in the world–and folks specializing in Islamic finance stand to make a great deal of money.

The Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) listed the world’s largest Sukuk, worth US $3.5 billion, from Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) on Jan. 26th, 2006.

What was intended as a US $2.8 billion issue has instead rocketed to US $3.5 billion, after an overwhelming response from investors. Lead-managed by Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) and Barclays Capital, the distinctive sukuk is also the first convertible instrument in the Islamic finance market.

The issue is just one of a series of initiatives designed to boost the PCFC’s corporate activities, ongoing business development needs and expansion plans; having secured key ports in India and Australia — markets in which fast traffic growth is anticipated… Its unique convertible structure allows partial redemption of up to 30% in the form of equity shares of the PCFC entities as and when they go for a Public Equity Offering within the next three years. If no Public Equity Offering takes place prior to the final redemption date, investors will be compensated with a higher yield.

February 22, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle.
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After $12,000, There’s Even Room to Park the Car – New York Times February 21, 2006

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After $12,000, There’s Even Room to Park the Car – New York Times

People pay for garage feng shui

Storm Over Ports: Who’s Behind the Dubai Company in U.S. Harbors? February 21, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News and politics.
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TIME.com Print Page: Nation — Storm Over Ports: Who’s Behind the Dubai Company in U.S. Harbors?

Over 80 percent of the terminals in the Port of Los Angeles, for example — the biggest in the U.S. — are run by foreign-owned companies. U.S. ports are owned by State authorities, and the workers who actually offload the ships that dock there are the same unionized Americans who belong to the International Longshoremen’s Association regardless of which company hires them. Dubai Ports will not “own” the U.S. facilities, but will inherit the P&O’s contracts to run them, with no changes in the dockside personnel or the U.S. government security operations that currently apply to them.

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