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Cuban Rock Climbers Inspired by Foreigners Irk Castro Regime November 30, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Life, Lifestyle, Politics.
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Cuban Rock Climbers Inspired by Foreigners Irk Castro Regime – WSJ.com
Some of the official anxiety over climbing seems to be based on Cuba’s revolutionary history. The revolution that brought Mr. Castro to power in 1959 was launched from a clandestine encampment in the Sierra Maestra Mountains on the eastern end of the island. Mr. Castro became intimately familiar with Cuba’s highest mountain, 6,500-foot Pico Turquino. “The Revolution was the work of climbers and cavers,” Mr. Castro once said, according to a history by Antonio Nuñez Jimenéz, a prominent revolutionary leader and naturalist.

Now the Cuban government may be worried that history will repeat itself. “The system is paranoid about Cubans’ private activities, but especially when those activities are occurring in hills away from sight and when foreigners are involved,” says Vitalio Echazabal, one of the first Cubans to take up rock climbing in the 1990s. (more…)

Russia agrees to shut down Allofmp3.com November 29, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Music, News.
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Russia agrees to shut down Allofmp3.com | CNET News.com
Russia has agreed to shut down Allofmp3.com and other music sites based in that country that the U.S. government says are offering downloads illegally. We warned about this in an earler post

The nation has struck the agreement with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as it seeks entry to the World Trade Organization. The U.S. has suggested that it would hold up Russia’s acceptance in the WTO unless leaders there took action against digital piracy

Surge in Violence Shocks Even Weary Mexico November 29, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News, Politics.
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Surge in Violence Shocks Even Weary Mexico – washingtonpost.com
“We moved very quickly from a government that was too tough to a government that has lost control,”

The PRI was known for negotiating with drug cartels, a practice that often corrupted officials but may have lessened violence.”In the old days there were rules. We’d say, ‘You can’t kill the police. If you kill the police, we’ll send in the army,’ ” said a former high-ranking PRI official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’d say, ‘You can’t steal 30 Jeep Cherokees a month; you can only steal five.’ ”

Fox has sought to limit corruption and has declared “the mother of all battles” against drugs and jailed several of the country’s most notorious drug lords. But the underworld power struggles that followed have been unspeakably violent, particularly since the arrests in 2001 and 2003 of the leaders of Mexico’s two most powerful drug gangs, the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels.

Losing the Enlightenment November 29, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News, Politics.
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OpinionJournal –A civilization that has lost confidence in itself cannot confront the Islamists.
Ever more insulated by our material things from danger, we lack all appreciation of the eternal thin veneer of civilization.

We especially ignore among us those who work each day to keep nature and the darker angels of our own nature at bay. This new obtuseness revolves around a certain mocking by elites of why we have what we have. Instead of appreciating that millions get up at 5 a.m., work at rote jobs, and live proverbial lives of quiet desperation, we tend to laugh at the schlock of Wal-Mart, not admire its amazing ability to bring the veneer of real material prosperity to the poor. (more…)

The ghastly predictability of nihilist violence in Lebanon and Iraq. November 28, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News, Politics.
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The ghastly predictability of nihilist violence in Lebanon and Iraq. – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate Magazine
The fate of those who criticize the Syrian presence in Lebanon is rather like the fate of those who oppose Vladimir Putin. The former are shot or blown up, and the latter are victims of exotic poisons.

It is true, a prudent Syrian or Iranian government would not wish for an implosion in either Lebanon or Iraq, and a sensible Pakistani regime ought to desire a peaceful Afghanistan. A next-door war of all against all can lead to interethnic and interconfessional rivalry within their own societies and in the meantime is a threat to the orderly exploitation of things—like the trade in narcotics—that benefit the regimes and their clientele. However, chaos is a tremendous way of waging asymmetrical warfare and canceling the vast military superiority of the United States.

How Al-Sadr May Control U.S. Fate in Iraq November 28, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News, Politics.
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How Al-Sadr May Control U.S. Fate in Iraq – Newsweek: World News – MSNBC.com

The story of how the U.S. let itself be defeated by a ruthless fanatical young cleric.

Decoding the 2,000-year-old Antikythera Mechanism November 28, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Science & Technology.
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The Mechanism is named after the Greek island of Antikythera [antih-KITH-ehra], where in 1900 a sponge diver taking shelter from a storm found an ancient shipwreck 200 feet below the Mediterranean’s surface. Archeologists removed an array of artifacts, but it wasn’t until mid-1902, that one of them noticed that embedded in what was thought to be a lump of broken calcified bronze statuary was a gear wheel.

Since its discovery in 1902, the Antikythera Mechanism — with its intricate and baffling system of about 30 geared wheels — has been an enigma. Our knowledge of its functions has increased as computer-based imaging, analysis and X-ray technologies have evolved. During the last 50 years, researchers have identified various astronomical and calendar functions, including gears that mimic the movement of the sun and moon.

But it has taken some of the most advanced technology of the 21st century to decipher during the past year the most advanced technology of the 1st century B.C. The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project,

From Wired magazine Imaging the Antikythera Computer

Women talk three times as much as men, says study November 27, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Life, Science & Technology.
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Women talk three times as much as men, says study | the Daily Mail
In fact, women talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day – 13,000 more than the average man.

Women also speak more quickly, devote more brainpower to chit-chat – and actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices, a new book suggests. (more…)

More Global Warming Proof November 27, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment.
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THE ‘EURABIA’ MYTH November 26, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News, Politics.
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Don’t let Europe’s current round of playing pacifist dress-up fool you: This is the continent that perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing, the happy-go-lucky slice of humanity that brought us such recent hits as the Holocaust and Srebrenica.

THE historical patterns are clear: When Europeans feel sufficiently threatened – even when the threat’s concocted nonsense – they don’t just react, they over-react with stunning ferocity. One of their more-humane (and frequently employed) techniques has been ethnic cleansing.

And Europeans won’t even need to re-write “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” with an Islamist theme – real Muslims zealots provide Europe’s bigots with all the propaganda they need. Al Qaeda and its wannabe fans are the worst thing that could have happened to Europe’s Muslims. Europe hasn’t broken free of its historical addictions – we’re going to see Europe’s history reprised on meth.

Ganging Up on Russia November 25, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News, Politics.
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Ganging Up on Russia
For the past several years, it has been clear to anybody that cares to pay attention that the world now has to deal with a very different Russia than the chaotic debt-riddled borderline basket case we all became accustomed to in the 1990s.

With a resurgent economy and flush with energy wealth, Moscow very much wants to return to its seat as one of the world’s great powers. At the same time, Putin’s Kremlin, seething with resentment after a decade of humiliation, appears hell-bent on using its new economic clout to punish those who dared to depart – or are trying to depart – from Russia’s orbit.

What they don’t appear to understand in Moscow is that these two goals are contradictory.

And the irony is sweet for Moscow’s former satellites. They now have the power to deny the Kremlin what it wants most – a seat at the world’s elite tables – unless it starts playing by a new set of rules. And at least for the time being, they are willing to wield that power.

The Nature of the Abaya November 25, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Life, Politics, Religion.

The Nature of the Abaya
How did men succeed in convincing women to transform the free personality that Allah endowed them with into enslaved characters wearing an abaya? The process was not simply a mental one. It was a combination of emotional factors which were cleverly exploited. Men used women’s weaknesses to make women believe that an important part of the male-female relationship was the man loving the weak and submissive elements of a woman’s nature. He then named these elements respect, honor and correct behavior. These do not exist objectively but can only be explained according to the individual man’s desire and will — in other words, a totally subjective conception.

What is strange is that women accepted the idea and were soon submitting themselves to the prison of the garment, the walking slowly, the looking only straight ahead — just to fulfill, it seems, what men imagined the abaya to be all about. (more…)

‘Tweens’ Becoming the New Teens November 25, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Life, Lifestyle.
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‘Tweens’ Becoming the New Teens – Forbes.com
Child development experts say that physical and behavioral changes that would have been typical of teenagers decades ago are now common among “tweens” – kids ages 8 to 12.

Some of them are going on “dates” and talking on their own cell phones. They listen to sexually charged pop music, play mature-rated video games and spend time gossiping on MySpace. And more girls are wearing makeup and clothing that some consider beyond their years.

Parents sometimes gravitate to one of two ill-advised extremes – they’re either horrified by such questions from their kids, or they “revel” in the teen-like behavior. As an example of the latter reaction, she notes how some parents think it’s cute when their daughters wear pants or shorts with words such as “hottie” on the back.

Russia tips the balance November 23, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Geopolitics.
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Asia Times Online :: Central Asian News – Russia tips the balance

The struggle for dominance of the world’s energy centers on control of the production of oil and gas fields, and therefore where and to whom that production will be offered. Russia, with help from China and India, is beginning to win this battle. Next, with new oil exchanges that don’t deal in US dollars, begins the assault on the greenback.
the fact that the West’s oil majors have lost control of all but 9% or 10% of reserves means that state-controlled oil companies can reroute any amount of product they wish from the New York-London exchanges to any of the new exchanges. This will provide a more than sufficient supply to guarantee the success of the new exchanges, and the US can do nothing to stop it. (more…)

The Party of Sam’s Club November 23, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Politics.
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The Party of Sam’s Club
This is the Republican party of today–an increasingly working-class party, dependent for its power on supermajorities of the white working class vote, and a party whose constituents are surprisingly comfortable with bad-but-popular liberal ideas like raising the minimum wage, expanding clumsy environmental regulations, or hiking taxes on the wealthy to fund a health care entitlement. To borrow a phrase from Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Republicans are now “the party of Sam’s Club, not just the country club.”

Therein lies a great political danger for Republicans, because on domestic policy, the party isn’t just out of touch with the country as a whole, it’s out of touch with its own base. And its majority is hardly unassailable: Despite facing a lackluster Democratic presidential candidate who embodied virtually all the qualities Americans loathe–elitism, aloofness, Europhilia, vacillating weakness–George W. Bush, war president and skilled campaigner, was very nearly defeated in his bid for reelection. GOP operatives boast that their electoral efforts were targeted down to the minutest detail, and that their marketing prowess delivered victory for the incumbent. The trouble is that even such extraordinary efforts delivered only a narrow victory

Jihadis and whores November 23, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Politics, Religion.
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Asia Times Online :: Middle East News – Jihadis and whores
Iranians already behave like a defeated people. That is why they are so unstable, and so dangerous. The new Persian Empire masquerading as an Islamic Republic is a wounded beast. The rural misery and urban squalor that drive Iranian women into the brothels of Dubai and Brussels contrasts sharply with neighboring Azerbaijan, whose economy will double in size by 2010 as new oilfields come online, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Half of Iranians do not speak Persian, and half of those speak Azeri. Azerbaijan’s oil wealth is a giant magnet; it must attract either the largest national minority in Iran, or the military attentions of Iran itself. If a Kurdish state asserts itself out of the ruins of Iraq – a long-delayed justice for that ancient and resilient people – Iran’s Kurds will be tempted to throw off the Persian yoke

Islamic Pleasure Marriages 

Crisis of Faith in the Muslim World, Part 2: The Islamist response. November 23, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Politics, Religion.
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Asia Times Online :: Asian News, Business and Economy.
Twice during the 20th century the nations of Europe fought each other for pre-eminence, with the result of their common ruin. Yet Islam’s decline was not an accident, nor is the fearsome response to that decline offered by the Islamist radicals. Born in militancy, Islam among the world’s religions offers a unique justification for conquest. The war that Islam will offer the West in its final throes will be a tragic, terrible, and prolonged war that cannot be avoided, but only fought to exhaustion. (more…)

Jon Stewart of Baghdad Asassinated? November 22, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News, Politics.
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Gallows humour salve to despair – World – theage.com.au

Unconfirmed reports out of Baghdad are reporting that Saaed Khalifa has been killed. He was featured here in an Oct. 7th blog entry.
Nearly every night for the past month, weary Iraqis have been turning on the television to watch a wacky-looking man with a giant Afro wig and star-shaped glasses deliver the grim news of the day.

In a recent episode, Saaed Khalifa reported that Iraq’s Ministry of Water and Sewage had decided to change its name to simply the Ministry of Sewage — because it had given up on the water part.

2 Funny Thanksgiving Turkey Ads November 22, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Humor, Streamingvideo, Video.
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YouTube Promo

Why pay for expensive TV time when you can get get free “buzz” on the internet.

Zakaria: International Commerce Is the True Battleground November 20, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News, Politics.
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Zakaria: International Commerce Is the True Battleground – Newsweek International Editions – MSNBC.com
Today we are living through something practically unique—simultaneous growth worldwide. The United States, Europe and Japan are all doing well, but so are China, India, Brazil, Turkey and a whole slew of former Third World countries. Their rise is powering the new global order. Emerging markets now account for 30 percent of the world economy and for 50 percent of global growth last year.  One important benefit has been that advanced industrial nations have maintained extremely low interest rates for almost two decades, enabling some countries—such as the United States—to grow faster than many experts predicted. This could not have happened without two global deflation machines, China and India, which keep prices low in goods and services, respectively.

If this sounds as if everything will work out fairy-tale style, it won’t. Global growth has its own complications. Demand for raw materials and energy is high and will keep rising. Countries that possess such resources—Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia—become islands of exception to the very rules of markets and trade that are sweeping the world. Thus global capitalism produces its own well-funded anti-capitalists. (more…)

Puns – The Collection November 19, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Life.
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I know that the pun is supposed to be the lowest form of humor, but I’ve always been a sucker for them. Thanks to John Milciunas for this collection of 20.

1. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.

2. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, “I’ll serve you, but don’t start anything.”

4. A dyslexic man walks into a bra.


IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS – The Movie November 19, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Politics, Religion, Streamingvideo, Video.
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IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS ; background
Suddenly the flood gates had opened. There was no government in Iraq and I could film whatever I wanted as long as I could stay alive.

My guess was that I would have about a year before either a new authoritarian government would be put in power or Iraq would descend into civil war and become too dangerous to work in. I needed to make my film while it was still possible.

This amazing Indie film won the accolades of the Sundance and many other Film Festivals. Excerpts are available at Fareed Zakaria excellent PBS show from 11/16 “Foreign Exchange – Where America meets the world”

The Pigeons are tripping November 19, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Humor.
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By Kevin Deutsch Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Tuesday, November 14, 2006 and thanks to Maria Collier for pointing this out.

WEST PALM BEACH— If Marvin the Falcon becomes more picky about his prey, you can blame the hallucinogenic corn.

For 10 years, pest control workers have fed the pesky pigeons that roost on the courthouse roof kernels of corn mixed with a hallucinogenic agent designed to scare them away.

Some courthouse workers are worried the chemical could hurt or even kill Marvin, a pigeon-eating peregrine falcon that has become the “mascot” of the courthouse’s 11th floor. (more…)

Lessons from Holland November 19, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Politics, Religion.
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Lessons from Holland

This article challenges the pessimistic inevitably of Eurabia opined in the next 2 postings.
Europe’s challenge: The murders of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh and politician Pim Fortuyn, as well as the Danish cartoon riots, have led some to declare that Western Europe is in the throes of a new clash of civilizations pitting Muslim immigrants against non-Muslims. Senior writer Dan Gardner visited Holland and Denmark recently and found that, while there are some serious problems, the situation is not as bleak as it is often depicted. Click on the title to read.

Warriors & The Myth of Peace November 19, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Politics, Religion.
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The New Media Journal | Warriors & The Myth of Peace by Raymond S. Kraft
Unlike the hedonic Liberalism of Europe and America, some cultures want to win and conquer and dominate and subjugate others. To the Liberals of Europe and America, Imperialism is a dirty word. To others, Imperialism is a great and noble goal and inspiration.

We face an implacable marriage of religious fervor and tribal Warriorism in the tide of Jihadism that harbors only disdain and contempt for all peace other than the its own peace of its own imposition that follows conquest and subjugation, the peace of submission, the peace of Islamic domination and hegemony.

The translation of Islam is submission according to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

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