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Guerilla-Terrorist? April 23, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, philosophy & politics.
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Many people feel the use of the expression "one person's guerilla is another's terrorist," I was trying to say that no, a guerilla is someone who uses unconventional tactics to win a conventional war, and a terrorist is some one who uses random acts of violence to strike fear in a population and force a paradigm shift in beliefs. Like at the turn of the 20th century it was the anarchists we feared until the bloodbath of the first world war. That war only led to the rise of communism and the fear of nuclear war.

THE ESSENCE OF AL QAEDA April 23, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, philosophy & politics.
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The Essence of Al Qaeda
Dr. al-Faqih heads the Saudi opposition group, Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA), and is a widely acknowledged expert on al Qaeda. This 02/04 interview is still a devestating read.

Zawahiri impressed upon Bin Laden the importance of understanding the American mentality. The American mentality is a cowboy mentality– if you confront them with their identity theoretically and practically they will react in an extreme manner. In other words, America with all its resources and establishments will shrink into a cowboy when irritated successfully. They will then elevate you and this will satisfy the Muslim longing for a leader who can successfully challenge the West.

Old States, New Threats April 23, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, philosophy & politics.
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Old States, New Threats

Globalization is a cultural and economic phenomenon — not a system of international security.Borders may be eroding and stateless terrorist groups like al-Qaeda proliferating, but don't be fooled: The traditional state remains the most dangerous force on the international scene. Perhaps the greatest security threat we face today is from a paranoid and resentful state leader, armed with biological or nuclear weapons and willing to make strategic use of stateless terrorists.

We don't live in a democratic world so much as in a world in the throes of a very messy democratic transition, so national elections combined with weak, easily politicized institutions produce a lethal mix — dictators armed with pseudo-democratic legitimacy.

We are entering a well-armed world, with more players than ever who can unhinge the international system and who have fewer reasons to be afraid of us. That's why a resentful state leader, armed with disruptive technologies and ready to make use of stateless terrorists, poses such a threat. Hussein was a wannabe in this regard. According to a Joint Forces Command study, parts of which appeared in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, he was preparing thousands of paramilitary fighters from throughout the Arab world to defend his regime and to be used for terror attacks in the West. Looking ahead, Ahmadinejad would also be a prime candidate for such tactics, as would Chavez, given his oil wealth and the elusive links between South American narco-terrorists and Arab gangs working out of Venezuelan ports.

We face a world of unfriendly regimes, even as our European allies are compromised by burgeoning Muslim populations and the Russians and Chinese deal amicably with dictators, because they have no interest in a state's moral improvement. Never before have we needed a more unified military-diplomatic approach to foreign policy. For the future is a multidimensional game of containment.

Why China Fears Falun Gong April 22, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, philosophy & politics, Politics, Religion.
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Independent Online Edition > Asia
In the 19th century the Taiping Rebellion sprang from a religious cult which provoked perhaps the bloodiest civil war in human history when the forces of the Qing Empire clashed with those of a mystic named Hong Xiuquan who said he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ and claimed to be the new Messiah. At least 20 million people ­ and perhaps as many as 100 million ­ perished.

Not long after that came the Boxer Rebellion in which rebels also saw the world in more metaphysical terms, claiming that movement exercises influence the fundamental forces of the universe. They even went so far as to insist that their breathing exercises would allow them to ward off bullets. Nor wonder the normally inscrutable President Hu looked taken aback when the Falun Gong woman screamed.

Sudoku Craving April 21, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Cool Sites, Lifestyle.
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Sudoku Craving

What the crossword puzzle was to the newsprint century, Soduku is to the digital century. Here is an online version to try.

Collages Using Money April 21, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Art, Cool photos, cool stuff.
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Art MoCo: “The World is Yours”
Christopher (or C.K.) Wilde is a collagist who creates with currency. Wilde painstakingly cuts various shapes out of paper money from around the world to form collages with economic and political undertones and overlays.

Click here to see the full collection in more detail

World’s 10 Best-Selling Drugs April 21, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
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Wired News: World's 10 Best-Selling Drugs
Pfizer's cholesterol pill Lipitor remains the best-selling drug in the world for the fifth year in a row. Its annual sales were $12.9 billion, more than twice as much as its closest competitors: Plavix, the blood thinner from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis; Nexium, the heartburn pill from AstraZeneca; and Advair, the asthma inhaler from GlaxoSmithKline.

Click here for a slide show of the top 10 best-selling drugs.

The Role of Sacrifice April 20, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Life, philosophy & politics, Religion.
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All religions have this theme of sacrifice and repentance, but one religion has finessed it in a brilliant way that few commentators have grasped. The story starts in Genesis. Instead of making Abraham sacrifice his son Isaac, God lets him sacrifice a ram instead, which you will probably agree is much more sensible. The Jews developed this form of sacrifice into a fine art. The Temple in Jerusalem had a special system to drain away all the blood when the rich brought hundreds of animals at a time to the slaughter.

But then came a radical change. About 2000 years ago in a confusing episode over which people still furiously argue, God said: Enough of all this wasteful sacrifice. Because I so love the world, I will sacrifice my own Son for your sins so you don’t have to sacrifice your sons or your livestock.

This Christian doctrine can have a practical effect. In China, when non-Christian villagers experience sickness or misfortune they often sacrifice their livestock to appease the evil spirits. But Christian villagers don’t sacrifice, for Jesus already died for their sins.

They end up being more prosperous.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com. His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.

A guide to womenomics April 19, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
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Women and the world economy | A guide to womenomics | Economist.com
“WHY can't a woman be more like a man?” mused Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady”. Future generations might ask why a man can't be more like a woman. In rich countries, girls now do better at school than boys, more women are getting university degrees than men are and females are filling most new jobs. Arguably, women are now the most powerful engine of global growth.

In poor countries too, the under-utilisation of women stunts economic growth. A study last year by the World Economic Forum found a clear correlation between sex equality (measured by economic participation, education, health and political empowerment) and GDP per head.

In particular, there is strong evidence that educating girls boosts prosperity. It is probably the single best investment that can be made in the developing world. Not only are better educated women more productive, but they raise healthier, better educated children.

DEA Agent Who Shot Self In Foot Sues Uncle Sam April 17, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Lifestyle, Streamingvideo, Video.
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DEA Agent Who Shot Self In Foot Sues Uncle Sam – April 11, 2006
A Drug Enforcement Administration agent who stars in a popular online video that shows him shooting himself in the foot during a weapons demonstration for Florida children is suing over the tape’s release, claiming that his career has been crippled and he’s become a laughingstock due to the embarrassing clip’s distribution.

Tax Season Only Comes But Once A Year April 17, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, cool stuff, Lifestyle.
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Cartoons by Caroline Collier

The frightening truth of why Iran wants a bomb April 17, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, philosophy & politics.
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Telegraph | Opinion | The frightening truth of why Iran wants a bomb
The author is Amir Taheri is a former Executive Editor of Kayhan, Iran's largest daily newspaper, but now lives in Europe.

In Ahmadinejad's analysis, the rising Islamic "superpower" has decisive advantages over the infidel. Islam has four times as many young men of fighting age as the West, with its ageing populations. Hundreds of millions of Muslim "ghazis" (holy raiders) are keen to become martyrs while the infidel youths, loving life and fearing death, hate to fight. Islam also has four-fifths of the world's oil reserves, and so controls the lifeblood of the infidel. More importantly, the US, the only infidel power still capable of fighting, is hated by most other nations.

Click here to see Google Maps of the Iranian Nuclear Facilities

Cost of Illegal Immigration May Be Less Than Meets the Eye April 17, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, In The News, philosophy & politics.
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Cost of Illegal Immigration May Be Less Than Meets the Eye – New York Times
Even economists striving hardest to find evidence of immigration's effect on domestic workers are finding that, at most, the surge of illegal immigrants probably had only a small impact on wages of the least-educated Americans — an effect that was likely swamped by all the other things that hit the economy, from the revolution in technology to the erosion of the minimum wage's buying power.

Going Nuclear April 17, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Geopolitics, philosophy & politics, Science & Technology.
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Going Nuclear
In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change.

U.S. Plan For Flu Pandemic Revealed April 17, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, In The News, Lifestyle.
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U.S. Plan For Flu Pandemic Revealed
The document is the first attempt to spell out in some detail how the government would detect and respond to an outbreak, and continue functioning through what could be an 18-month crisis, which in a worst-case scenario could kill 1.9 million Americans.

April 16, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, In The News, Lifestyle.
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How the Bikini Liberated Spain April 15, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
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How world capital of tourism was built on a bikini – World – Times Online
The excommunication process was dropped. The bikini stayed. Some see this, at least symbolically, as a defining moment in recent Spanish history. It marked the beginning of a timid sexual revolution and helped to take the Catholicism out of national Catholicism. The tourists, more importantly, had the power to outface the Church. They brought not just money, but the seeds of change. They also brought the fresh air of democracy. There was no turning back.

Teenager killed his sister for living a Western life April 15, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Life, News, philosophy & politics, Religion.
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Teenager killed his sister for living a Western life – World – Times Online
AYHAN SURUCU was so angry when his sister started to wear make-up and date German men that he put a gun to her head at a bus stop and killed her. Kids at a nearby school, attended mainly by the children of immigrant Muslim families, cheered and applauded when news of the murder reached them

Blog Cliches April 14, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Cool Sites, cool stuff, Lifestyle.
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Blog § Unqualified Offerings
If you’ve followed blog threads, you appreciate this thread that skewers every blog cliché ever written, such  as Nazi analogies (Godwin's Law).

South Park Censored April 14, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Lifestyle.
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This is what viewers saw last night, when World-wide Muslim riots over cartoons in a Danish newspaper scared Comedy Central to censor last nights South Park TV show, even though they did show Mohammed prominently, as a flame-wielding superhero in the "Super Best Friends" episode in 2003 (see picture below). and in this show Jesus defecated on George W. Bush and the American flag. It's the second run-in over religion in a few months for the satirists. Comedy Central pulled a March rerun of a "South Park" episode that mocked Scientologists. Isaac Hayes, a Scientologist who voiced the Chef character on the show, resigned in protest over the episode. Only last week, "South Park" won broadcasting's prestigious Peabody. Awards director Horace Newcomb said at the time that by its offensiveness, the show "reminds us of the need for being tolerant." View the video of the climactic ending.

And a link back to an earlier entry on this blog by the Danish Editor about why he published the now infamous cartoons.

And if you want to see the offending cartoons that were commisioned in response to the creeping undermining of Free Speech by Political Correctness & fear of intolerance.

$200,000 Hair Dryer April 14, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle.
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Bentley Builds the World’s Fastest 4-Seat Hair Dryer -NY Times

With Big Boost From Sugar Cane, Brazil Is Satisfying Its Fuel Needs April 13, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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Brazil Is Satisfying Its Fuel Needs – New York Times
At the dawn of the automobile age, Henry Ford predicted that "ethyl alcohol is the fuel of the future." With petroleum about $65 a barrel, President Bush has now embraced that view, too. But Brazil is already there.

This country expects to become energy self-sufficient this year, meeting its growing demand for fuel by increasing production from petroleum and ethanol. Already the use of ethanol, derived in Brazil from sugar cane, is so widespread that some gas stations have two sets of pumps, marked A for alcohol and G for gas.

Ethanol can be made through the fermentation of many natural substances, but sugar cane offers advantages over others, like corn. For each unit of energy expended to turn cane into ethanol, 8.3 times as much energy is created, compared with a maximum of 1.3 times for corn, according to scientists at the Center for Sugarcane Technology here and other Brazilian research institutes.

Globalizing Good Government April 13, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, philosophy & politics.
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Globalizing Good Government – New York Times
Globalization's critics argue that a more open world economy sets off a race to the bottom by encouraging countries to jettison protections for consumers, workers and the environment. In reality, the opposite is true. If our data demonstrate anything, it is that globalization prompts a race to the top by pushing countries to abandon policies that burden their economies in favor of those that fuel growth and economic opportunity

Make Mexico Rich April 13, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics, In The News, philosophy & politics.
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Jonah Goldberg on Mexico on National Review Online
You want to solve the illegal-immigration problem? Well, here's the answer: Make Mexico rich.

For all the talk about coming up with "comprehensive" immigration reform, the root causes of the supply are left out of the debate about immigrant supply and demand. If we're going to be "comprehensive," why not tie a fixed but significant level of legal Mexican immigration to greater free-market and anti-corruption reforms at home. Mexico's government feels increasingly free to lecture us about our domestic and economic priorities; it seems only fitting for us to take a more active interest in theirs as well.

America’s Real Assimilation Problem April 13, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, philosophy & politics.
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What we really ought to be worried about is a group of 75 million people who desperately need to be assimilated into America's culture of individualism, taught the essential facts about America's history, and encouraged to appreciate the virtues of our political system.I am talking about 75 million people who are, you might say, on an automatic track to citizenship, and all of whom will become newly eligible to vote in the next two decades.

I am speaking of the 75 million Americans under the age of 18.

Robert Tracinski is the editor of The Intellectual Activist and TIA Daily.

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