Monday, August 29, 2005

She Forgot The Skirt, He Forgot The Heels

The Market Will Collapse

The BBC reports that "The Malaysian government has ordered police to randomly check mobile phones for pornographic images."

In case this isn't completely clear, the government does not want pornographic images on the phones.

What is the use of these phones then? I think the phone companies should get involved and get the government to remove this law from the books. This is just a market killer.

The Stupid Headline Of The Day ...

... is this one from the Washington Post. You can read the whole article, if interested, by clicking the link.

The headline is: Roberts Pushed for Reagan Policies.

This is a stupid headline because at the time Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts, pushed for these policies, he was working FOR Ronald Reagan. Since he was working for Reagan, it makes sense that he would push for Regan's policies, as opposed to those proposed by Michael Dukakis.

Morons.

Be Careful Who You Criticize

If someone asked me about government employees I would have said that the last thing that they are afraid of is private companies, especially procurement officers. These are the people who buy stuff for the U.S. Government and since everyone wants to sell to this government, they wield enormous power.

However, today I learned in the Washington Post, that there is one company that wields more power than the U.S. Government. That company is Halliburton, which used to be run by the current V.P. of the U.S., Mr. Dick “Saddam Was Responsible For 9/11” Cheney.

The name of the official was Bunnatine H, Greenhouse. Sure, she had a funny name but that’s not why she was fired. She had “been a vocal critic of the Pentagon's decision to give Halliburton Co. a multibillion-dollar, no-bid contract for work in Iraq.”

The official reason for her removal was poor performance. There could be something to this. There could also be something to the Yeti that everyone keeps seeing in Nepal.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

My Wretched Iraq

The BBC reports that Jordanian newspapers have printed a letter from the former President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. In the letter he describes himself as a sacrifice for a dear Palestine and our steadfast, beloved, and wretched Iraq."

Even in translation he can't hide his feelings about the country.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"Lost" Found on DVD Shelf

Nothing But Exploitation

CNN on its web site has the headline “Coroner: Boy died after air crash.” If you read the story you find that the 5-year-old boy, traveling on the Cypriot airliner that crashed in Greece, alive for only “for a second … after the plane slammed into a mountainous area north of Athens.”

First of all, how do they know the boy only lived for a second. Second, what the hell does telling us, in a headline, that the boy died after the crash accomplish? That not everyone died when the plane crashed but that on kid survived for a second?

This is just a bad headline. Its exploitative and ignorant and something Fox should put up. Wait a second, does CNN want to become the new Fox News?

Men Cannot Resist Pakistani Women

The BBC reports that Britain has removed its military attaché from his post in Pakistan. Why? This is not confirmed but apparently he had “‘inappropriate relationship’” with a suspected female Pakistani spy.

As anyone who has seen any Pakistani woman knows that it is impossible for any heterosexual, and many gay, man to resist the allure that is the Pakistani female. So its no surprise that Brig. Andrew Durcan was “tricked into a close friendship by the attractive woman.”

I think the word “attractive woman” is redundant. As we all know, men cannot resist Pakistani women.

Stay Calm Everyone

I wasn’t going to post anything on the whole Gaza settler thing. Its being covered enough all over the place, hell sometimes it feels that it’s the only thing being covered these days, and from most angles.

However, Fox News just reported that an Israeli settler just opened fire on the Palestinians and killed three of them, innocent bystanders and passersby. This was not a gunman, I disagree with the Fox News headline, but just a normal guy who was frustrated and “grabbed a gun from a security man at the Shiloh industrial zone and opened fire on Palestinians, who may have been workers or passersby.”

The reason for my posting this is to show that emotions run high on both ends and the possibility of violence is very strong on both ends. Hamas is saying that Israel is taking these steps because of its actions and that it won’t stop until it gets back all of the “Palestinian land.”

This is a powder-keg folks. Stay Calm.

Pampered Kids

People who have kids will not like my take on this story. Well, some of them might but I bet a majority won’t.

The NY Times has an interesting story on how parents are spending their hard earned money to make sure that their kids don’t get into trouble. What’s new about this story is that the parents are spending this money on counseling and educational programs.

Huh? These are apparently “difficult” kids. So they are being counseled. I don’t get this. If a kid does something wrong such as take drugs or join a gang the parent should WHUP THEIR ASS. Take away their computers etc. and lock them up inside their room.

The argument goes, and not in this article but in general, that if you do what I suggest then the kid will only hurt themselves through shit like trying to commit suicide. To that I say, so?

You spend your life savings on sending the kid to counseling, which is not a guaranteed solution, and all that happens is that the kids gets on drugs again and you have lost your money. The special program industry disagrees with me.

One of quotes in this article is: "If you've got a child with problems, this is your most precious asset, and I don't think any parent would ever cut corners if they thought there was a way to help their child through the problem they're experiencing."

In other words, we got more programs to “help” your kid, they just cost more money but if you don’t spend your money on your “most precious asset” what will you spend the money on. I have an answer: Me. I will spend the money on myself because I am my “most precious asset.”

Book Sales

In news that wouldn’t surprise anyone, the NY Times reports that books sales for Bob Woodward’s book, The Secret Man, have been very lackluster. For anyone not in the know, and going by the sales, that’s most of the country, the book deals with story of Deep Throat, not the porno but the secret Watergate source.

This shows you how people in the Washington area think the whole world is interested in what’s going on “inside the beltway.” No one cares about Deep Throat, the source. The porno is, of course, another matter.

The surprising thing to me is not that the sales of book outside the DC area suck, its that the sales inside the Beltway suck as well. Man, this is one dead story.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Farrakhan To The Rescue

This was pretty funny when it first happened. Mexican President, Vincente Fox, some months ago said that Mexican immigrants who come across the border take jobs "that not even blacks want."

Black leaders weren’t too happy when they heard him say that and Jesse Jackson even went to Mexico to protest. I think he went for the beaches, free Mexican food and the hot Mami’s but then who wouldn’t go for those things.

Fox apologized and said that something was lost in the translation, he meant no disrespect, etc. Now, Louis Farrakhan just came out and said that Fox was right. He said, "Why are you so foolishly sensitive when somebody is telling you the truth?"

The thing with Louis is that no one can disagree with him. If they do then the Nation’s people will come and open a can of whup ass on their … ass.

Go Louis. Full story at Yahoo.com.

Troop Morale

The smartest thing that the Bush Team (BT) has done is to merge any questions about its international, specifically Iraq, policies as unpatriotic. The argument goes that if you question anything that the BT has done in Iraq then you are unpatriotic because you are hurting troop morale.

Since most of these guys have never served in the armed forces and wouldn’t know what to do in a war setting, they don’t realize that the army morale is pretty damn low. The actions of some anti-war protestors, who by the way repeatedly say that they are against the war and not against the troops, don’t make a difference to the level of troop morale.

The BT is very focused and has never let facts get in its way and this situation is no different. You may have heard of Cindy Sheehan (NY Times link here), her son died in the Iraq war and she is camped outside President Bush’s ranch, he is on a 5 week vacation, waiting to speak with him.

Ignoring the fact that the man is on 5 week vacation, nice job if you can get it, I focused on whether President Bush will ever meet this woman. I don’t think he will but this isn’t about that issue. Its about how “250 Bush supporters waved American flags in a counter rally across the street, holding signs that said Sheehan was unpatriotic and was hurting troop morale.”

The woman’s son died in the war and she is being unpatriotic. Troop morale is already at an all-time low and this one lady is hurting it. The best thing in this story is the following:

“While about 60 in Sheehan's group held a religious service Sunday morning, a nearby landowner, Larry Mattlage, fired his shotgun twice into the air. Sheriff's deputies and Secret Service agents rushed to his house but did not arrest him.

‘I ain't threatening nobody, and I ain't pointing a gun at nobody,’ Mattlage said. ‘This is Texas.’”

Only in Texas folks. Only in Texas.

The Camera Man

An interesting article on the man of people, as long as the people have a camera with them, Sen. Chuck Schumer in the Washington Post today.

Schumer, if you were not aware, is a Democrat and is still hated by the conservation movement. Why? He is a tree killer. He issues so many press releases that he is singularly responsible for the murder of all the trees on the west coast.

Nothing too new in this article that follower of politics weren’t aware of but it still makes for interesting reading.

Wisdom

… and then there is the wisdom of the evangelicals. Those radical Christians that we all know and love, they who make radical Muslims look like religious pussies.

“Justice Sunday II”, A New Can Of Justice, was held over the weekend in Nashville, TN. The main goal of this “rally” was to rally against the judges. Especially, against those judges who are “anti-Christian” i.e. anyone who dares to disagree with anything that James Dobson says.

Who is James Dobson? He is possibly the biggest horse’s ass in the country and you can go to http://www.family.org/ to learn about this moron. That’s his web site so everything there is positive about this horse’s ass.

There you will find answers to all the relevant questions of our time. Questions such as: “Is it a sin to drop a Christian friend because he or she doesn't act ‘Christian’?”

Anyway, this post is about what that lovable Congressman, Tom “The Hammer” Delay said at “Justice Sunday II.” He railed against “activist judges.” The Hammer, by the way, is under investigation for accepting bribes and as soon as he was indicted he discovered all these “activist judges.”

Before then, he didn’t know a judge from a used car, he was a used car salesman before he got elected.

Full story in today’s Washington Post.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

How Do You Miss That.

This is an amazing story that hs no impact on any of our lives but is interesting anyway.

Dick McDermott, a 92 year old man, found a nearly 400-foot waterfall in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Its a national park and no one knew the place had a waterfall. Don't they map these things out, trails and shit.

Anyway, they found this waterfall. Its a beautiful thing and we all love this development. Woohoo.

Full story in the LA Times.

Be Careful Who You Invite

I have always wondered, when hearing of or attending parties where everyone shows up, why no one steals things from the houses. Apparently, other people thought the same thing and then ended up doing it. Nice way to take initiative fellas.

Of course, these guys were actually theives and they pulled out knives and shit but the basic theory is the same and the pot a little larger. The full story in The Telegraph.

He's An Idiot

That's the defense. The lawyer of the Morrocan accused of compliance in the 9/11 terrorist attacks said his client was "'naive, fumbling, contradictory' and lacked the cleverness required of an accomplice."

Would anyone say that a person who works with anyone who does anything like the 9/11 attacks is NOT an idiot? This is not a defense. Its the truth. The man is an idiot and should be prosecuted twice. Once for supporting terrorists and then for being an idiot.

Full story in AlJazeera.

Just Don't Show Up

It's amazing how political parties think they can get away with these things. "An outlawed Basque separatist party said ... it plans to go ahead with a weekend rally banned by authorities."

Let's read that again. The party is banned. The rally is banned. They will hold it anyway and don't want the police to show up. If the police show up, there will be trouble and the police will be responsible for it.

Is it just me or are these guys idiots. Full story in the The Gulf Today.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Baghdad’s Mayor, Mayor No More

This is an interesting and confusing story from Baghdad, Iraq. The New York Times, and other sources, report that the Mayor of Baghdad, Alaa al-Tamimi, who was appointed by the U.S. was deposed on Monday, during the sandstorm that hit the city.

Deposed by whom? Well, that’s not clear. The NY Times says that “armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia.”

Mr. Tamimi was in hiding while the group that threw him out of the office said that it had the power to install anyone they wanted and that Mr. Tamimi was in no danger. Yeah right, till he shows his face and then, all of a sudden, no one will be able to find his head. Hide, Tamimi, hide.

Yes, this is a disturbing story. What is more disturbing, however, is what the hell is going on in that country, in general, and in that city, in particular. If the U.S. is in control of that city, which is THE CAPITAL of the country, how the hell does one group throw the Mayor of the city out of his office and install, INSTALL, someone else? How the hell does that happen?

As you can tell, I am little upset about this. The U.S. is totally messing things up there.

They May Not Get The Irony

The Dawn newspaper reports on a demonstration that took place in the small town of Toba Tek Singh in Pakistan. Shopkeepers in the town were unhappy with the local police’s inability to fight crime and so started a demonstration march. Well, the demonstration got out of hand and the demonstrators blocked a bridge and set fire to the tires, a common tactic. Of course, the police retaliated.

Of course.

Bikinis Out, Swimsuits In

You Go Girl

I don’t know if this is true for the entire Sudan or just for southern Sudan but it sure is an interesting story. Reported in today’s Washington Post, it says that women in the southern Sudan region are committing adultery to get divorces. When I read the story the immortal words “Huh?” and “Wha?” escaped my lips. Then I thought of all those women waiting to have an affair and immediately wanted to move to Sudan. Then I realized that it was the Sudan we were talking about and just read this story.

Okay, getting back on track, the story says that in Sudan the law says that only men are allowed to divorce their spouses. So, no matter how horrible the man is, for example the husband of the woman profiled in this story, the woman get a divorce from him.

However, “the one legal loophole for Sudanese women is to commit adultery, a crime that is instant grounds for divorce.” So that’s what a lot of women do. They commit adultery, maybe even get pregnant as a result of the adultery, and their husbands grant them divorce, in theory.

In reality, that does not always happen. As told in the report, if a husband wants to give his wife a divorce he has to give her back the dowry she brought with her. Sometimes, because the dowry is so big, comparatively, that the husband does not want to do that and the woman is stuck in jail, for committing adultery and still married.

Things are looking up though. Sudan wants international aid and one of the ways to get new funding is to give equal rights to women so women, may, in the 21st century get the right to divorce their abusive husbands.

The only consolation, that I can think of for these woman, is for the men that they are sleeping around with to be just savants in the sack.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I Love This Game

This Might Be Worth Watching

Google Everyone But Me

Who among us hasn’t googled those that we are interested in. Hell, I am googling someone right now. Its quick, its easy and its thorough. Private information? What is that? It’s all public baby.

So, I am sure that it came as a surprise to the folks at Cnet News.com when Google did not like Cnet’s googling one of their founders. Apparently, Cnet was doing a story which aimed to show that privacy doesn’t really exist anymore and that you can find anything about anyone by googling them.

Google did not like that Cnet used one of Google’s founders, Eric Schmidt, as their test subject. So the company has banned Cnet. What does this mean? It means that “it will not speak with Cnet reporters until August 2006.”

Sounds childish to me. The whole story, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

North Korea Is On Line Two

Once there was a poor South African farmer. His family had invested their life savings and also had taken on some debt to buy the farm from the government. He did not have electricity or running water. He found Uranium on his land. Now he is a millionaire.

Full story reported by the BBC.

Bangladeshi Terror Camps

I am sure that everyone, anyone, reading this knows about the tensions between India and Pakistan. One of the sources of this tension is India’s contention that Pakistan supports terrorists within its territory that enter India and cause chaos within that country. What India calls terrorists, Pakistan calls freedom fighters. This is not a new story and has been covered on multiple fronts by multiple sources.

The new news, to me anyway, is that India says that there are terrorist camps in Bangladesh. For anyone not in the know, Bangladesh is a very, very poor country. Its also located in an area that floods every year and whenever that happens, Bangladesh asks for international help in dealing with the crisis.

So it was with some surprise that I read on the All India Newspapers web site that the provincial Tripura government in the country is asking the Central government to force “Bangladesh to take urgent steps in dismantling ‘sixty seven terrorist camps’ situated in that country.” We all know that Indians are very good with math so I wasn’t surprised that they were able to pinpoint the exact number, not 68 or 66 but 67, of terrorist camps.

The last paragraph is quite funny and shows the respect that the current government holds for the former government. It’s pasted below.

To a question on how the Manmohan Singh government was handling Pakistan and Kashmir, the Rajya Sabha member said it was "certainly better than the previous NDA government which had failed on all fronts." "I hope that efforts in this regard are successful," she added.

The GM Model

There are two things in this story in today’s New York Times that caught my interest.

The first thing was the development of the $5,000 minivans that GM is manufacturing and selling in China. Called Wuling Sunshine, these minivans give 43 miles to the gallon in city driving. Not too shabby. Of course, they aren’t as comfortable as the cars GM sells in this country so Americans may not go for these cars here.

However, could GM build small cars that give 43 miles to the gallon but are a little more comfortable and sell for $15,000? Probably. Will They? Probably not.

The second item of interest in this story is that of the man who actually discovered the market for these cars and his fate. Philip F. Murtaugh who is a native of Ohio and currently lives in a small town in Kentucky. He realized that the growing affluence in China presented an opportunity for small and inexpensive cars. Since production costs in the country are very low, he was able to develop these cars and they have now become a big hit.

Here’s the thing though. Like any other maverick and successful executive, he does not toe the line. So GM, being the big behemoth that it is and not caring about the success that this guy brought to the company, decided to limit his autonomy. So he resigned and now lives in Kentucky.

Wither innovation, long live the status quo.

A Catfight

This should be an interesting catfight and should be more interesting than the last election. Jeanine Piro, described in the NY Daily News as a “hard-charging prosecutor”, announced yesterday that she was going to run against Hillary Clinton for her Senate seat.

Ms. Piro is apparently well loved in Republican circles and so this means that this will be a nasty and expensive fight. Ladies, start your engines.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Run Bitch Run

This is definitely good news. I just hope that they catch the bastard.

As reported in The Telegraph, Omar Bakri, the spiritual leader of the banned radical group, al-Muhajiroun, the man who said that “he would not inform police if he knew Muslims were planning a bomb attack on a train in the UK and supported Muslims who attacked British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq” has fled the United Kingdom.

This is what a former head of the group said: "He left on Saturday and I received confirmation of that yesterday. He is considering his Islamic duties in Lebanon and he is currently looking to go on to one of the Emirate countries and I think you should be hearing from him soon.”

Yeah right. The bitch ran with his tails between his legs and has now disappeared in the Middle East. It will be interesting to see how the Middle East countries react to the almost certain demand for his extradition when he surfaces.

Run, bitch, run.

A Good Sign.

Among the many problems that Saudi Arabia has is its history of brutally stifling dissent … and not just of women either. So it was with pleasure that I read, on the AlJazeera web site, that the new Saudi king, King Abdullah, pardoned “five activists, including three reformists serving jail sentences for seeking a constitutional monarchy.”

King Abdullah has always been known as a reformer and while the pace of the reform may not be as fast as some, myself included, would hope, I think this development is a definite positive sign for the prospects of liberty in the Kingdom’s future.

Very Interesting

It isn’t usual for me to not make comments on certain stories but to just let the stories take the spotlight. However, this story, reported in the New York Times, is an exception.

It’s a story on how children in Gaza are coping with what’s going in that area. Nothing needs to be added here. The story says it all.

Enjoy.

Why Not Just Give Them Away

The problem underscored in this story, published in Friday’s Globe and Mail, is not that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating “allegations that DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes unit paid bribes in at least a dozen countries and that senior executives may have been aware of the practice.” Although, that is an important story and something that businesses shouldn’t do.

The big story here is whether multinational companies responsible for changing the way societies do business and if those societies are corrupt should these companies be prosecuted in the home countries, where the corruption may be a little lower.

Let’s take the case that we are talking about in this story. The Justice Department is investigating DaimlerChrysler’s operations in Latin America and Africa only. These aren’t the most transparent of societies. Corruption is rampant in these societies and if a company is to do business in these regions then it either needs to play the game or get out of these markets.

Prior to merging with Chrysler, and especially prior to 1997, this would not have been an issue. Why? Because prior to passage of the “Economic Co-operation and Development Anti-Bribery Convention in 1997” Germany, where Daimler Benz was based, allowed tax deductions for overseas bribery.

Okay, so at that time it was legal in the country and in the company. Then the convention passed. The company merged with Chrysler and became an American company. The U.S. has never shared this understanding on bribery so the company should have known better.

The problem is how should it have handled this change? Gotten out of the market? Something to think about.

No Postal Reform, New Elections

Could this only happen in Japan? I know that they are serious about honor and tradition but this is taking things a little too far.

Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, wanted to reform the country’s postal system. It’s a big system, $3 trillion in total, so it’s obviously not a small project. However, some members of his own party voted against his proposal so Mr. Koizumi did what any honorable Japanese would do. He called an early election.

Huh? I mean, it’s just a postal system. It’s not about going to war or anything but that’s the Japanese for you. Of course in their defense the Prime Minister has been facing problems within his party for sometime so this could just have been the straw that broke the camels back.

Anyway, the full story is in today’s New York Times.

The Hip Factor

You would think that WalMart would be happy being the most powerful company on the planet. The company has achieved its success by focusing on a population that was ignored till WalMart showed up.

We all love WalMart for its low prices, its medium quality merchandise and its middle of the road fashions. If you wanted hip and trendy products then you would go to Target or your neighborhood shops.

Well, WalMart is sitting on the sidelines no more. The mega-company is now planning on upgrading its products and get on the frontlines of the hip and trendy. I think this is a direct reaction to the success of Target, which has grown like crazy with its exclusive designers and its trendy products.

It will be interesting to see the market's reaction to this latest WalMart’s development, as reported in the Washington Post.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Mother Of The Year

This is a freaky story. This woman, a mother, went to Turkey with her eldest daughter on vacation. There she met a guy, as did her daughter. So they come back and start dreaming of a new life in the sun. This is a divorced woman with two daughters. So, what is a love struck mother and daughter to do.

As reported in The Guardian, they say the hell with it, tell the landlord that no more rent will be coming, leave 15 pounds for the other daughter and move to Turkey.

Yes, folks, this is a true story. They actually did that. This definitely is the mother of the year.

Friday, August 05, 2005

I Know How You Feel Pardner.

About Time

Sometime ago, I had posted a … post … about how it was inconceivable that someone, anyone, who advocates violence against a country, is allowed to immigrate to that country. Not only allowed to immigrate but is also allowed to live there.

Well, in the wake of the 7/7 blasts, the Great Britain has changed its asylum rules. As reported in The Telegraph, British Prime Minister, Tony Blair has said that coming to Britain is not a right. I am shocked that he even has to say this. Right away, if a person who is applying to move to Britain says that it’s their right to move to Britain, they should be immediately deported.

Other than speeding up the deportation process, the other thing that they are doing, which I think is very cool, is to extend the law that “strip(s) people of their British nationality if they act against the interests of this country … to apply to naturalised citizens involved in extremism.”

This is a good move and a just move. My only concern would be with its implementation but I am sure that given what that country has just gone through, we will cut them a little slack.

Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That

John Corzine, the Democratic Senator from New Jersey, is just starting his run for the governorship of that state. Apparently, about three years ago he lent $470,000 to the “president of New Jersey's largest state workers union”, who he was sleeping with, as a mortgage debt and then last year he forgave the debt.

Here is a picture of Corzine with the union president. He is the guy on the left. She is in the middle. What, you thought it was the guy on the right? If that were the case then no one would be talking about the $470,000.

Corzine says its no bid deal. His opponent says it is. Blah, blah, blah. Politics as usual. Nothing new here folks but the folks at the Washington Post do report it.

Don't Swallow The Water

How much cocaine do these people do? A study published in the journal European Health and reported by the BBC says that Italian scientists found ‘found large quantities of a cocaine by-product in a river in northern Italy.”

This means that the river Po, which follows through the aptly named Po Valley, home to about five million people, “was found to be carrying the equivalent of nearly 4kg (8.8lb) of cocaine daily.” Daily!

The chemical that they tested got into the system through the “urine of drug users.” This is a lot of urine and a lot more drug users.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Do You Need A Hand?

Serious Postings ... Must Relax

Justice or Justice?

Reported in The Telegraph.

There was an argument. It was in Gaza. It was on a bus. One of the people involved in the argument was a 19 year old Israeli man in military uniform. The argument was about the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip. The israeli man started shooting. He shot dead three passengers, the bus driver and two women. The mob in and around the bus killed him after the shooting.

Justice or Justice?

Profit Falls … or Does It?

Toyota Motor Corp., or as I like to call The Big Japanese Monster, announced today that their “fiscal first-quarter profit dropped 7% as soaring global research and expansion costs and a strong yen offset higher sales.”

Now, if I was an investor i.e. if I had any money, I would see if their stock fell following this news and then immediately buy their stock. Of course, their stock closed at $76.13 so it’s a pretty expensive stock to begin with.

The point of this long-winded post is to say that if you are an investor and are looking to invest in a company then its better to invest in one who’s profits have fallen due to higher R&D costs than in one who’s profits have fallen due to a SEC investigation.

The full story, as reported in the LA Times.

Tragic … and Joyful(?)

You may have heard of this story, I like to call it the Anti-Schiavo case. This young lady, a researcher at NIH, got melanoma and suffered a stroke due to it. She was pregnant at that time and was kept alive on life support so that her fetus could develop. It essentially became a race between the developing fetus and the cancer that was spreading through her body. Hey, maybe I could pitch this as a movie.

Anyway, she gave birth to a healthy daughter on Tuesday and was removed from the life support system yesterday. Now, obviously this is a tragic story and there are people on both sides of it. There are those that this is a miracle baby and there are those that she was just used as a harvester for the child.

For me it comes down to the person’s wishes. I supported, essentially by arguing with anyone who disagreed with me, Michael Shiavo’s right to take his wife off life support because that is what she wanted. Now, I support Susan Torres’ wish to be kept alive so that she could give birth to her child.

That is what each side needs to know. It is about choices, it is a relatively free, less every day though, country and that even if we don’t agree with the other person’s choices we should have enough respect and freedom to let them make their choice … within certain parameters of course.

No doubt, it is these parameters that get us all in trouble. Full story in the LA Times.

You Have The Wrong Patel

Cultural differences were never more obvious than in this story, published in the NY Times today. Georgia prosecutors originally charged “49 convenience store clerks and owners in rural northwest Georgia with selling materials used to make methamphetamine.”

To gather evidence they used hidden microphones and cameras showing how these clerks and owners sold the “illicit” substances to the wrong individuals. By the way, this was a sting operation so the wrong individuals were either undercover FBI agents or former meth addicts.

Anyway, so they charge these guys and then they realized that “forty-four of the defendants are Indian immigrants - 32, mostly unrelated, are named Patel - and many spoke little more than the kind of transactional English mocked in sitcoms.” Essentially, they found all the Apu’s, that’s a Simpsons reference, in Georgia and charged them with selling precuts that could be used to make meth.

Obviously this is not funny to the people who were charged, in one case they accidentally charged the wrong Patel, and it will be interesting to follow this case and see how many of those charged are actually prosecuted and found guilty.

The Fallacy and The Death

Usually, you can look to the past or you can look to the future but it is very rare when you can look at both the past and the future. However, these are unusual times and the war in Iraq gives us an opportunity to look to the past and to the future. As you may have heard, yesterday was a very deadly day for the U.S. forces in Iraq. 14 marines from the same battalion were killed when a roadside bomb hit their lightly armored troop carrier in one of the deadliest attacks in the war’s history.

These guys are real heroes. They go to a strange land to fight for what they believe is right. They are doing their job. Our job is not to make sure that they are safe when they are there and that they get back home as soon as possible.

Therein lies the problem. On par, par being most people that I have spoken with, it looks like that the people who initially supported this war now want to bring the troops back immediately while the people who did not support this war want our troops there till the job is finished. Of course, this is a massive generalization since there are people of all different thoughts in both camps.

Here is the problem that we face. To paraphrase Colin Powell, we broke it so now we own it and until we can fix it, we cannot leave it. So, how do we fix it? Well, we are fixing it but it is taking its time, slowed down by attacks on our troops and the Iraqi civilian population. That is what we should not forget. We have lost around 180,000 troops but the Iraqis are, on average, losing 800 people a month. While Saddam Hussein killed many Iraqis during his reign, this number obliterates his work.

Of course, Iraqis civilians are being killed by U.S. troops but the fact is that they are dying because we invaded that country, overthrew its ruler and then could not contain the law and order situation. This is what most people that I speak with do not understand. They say, we aren’t killing them, its the terrorists. Yes it’s the terrorists but they are there because of us. Before us, Saddam hated them as much as they hated him and he was brutal guy so they could not get into the country. Since we took over, they have inundated Iraq and are killing both the troops and innocent civilians.

There is another thing to talk about and it’s the thought that a lot of Americans believe: It’s the “We're either going to have to fight the terrorists over there, or fight them over here." This is completely wrong and false. However, this post is already too long so I will leave it for a later posting.

Me and Mini Me: Cloning Goes To The Dogs

A Head Shot

This is sad, has the possibility of ending up tragically, but is something that a lot of people think is necessary. The “International Association of Chiefs of Police … has issued new guidelines saying that officers who confront a suicide bomber should shoot the suspect in the head.”

The problem is that how do you know someone is a suicide bomber. Since you are going for a shot to the head, which is the most effective way to stop someone, you had better be sure about the intentions of the individual. No more London subway, Brazilian immigrant, thing.

So, is this is a good idea or a bad idea and how did Israel deal with this for so long?

Full story in the Washington Post.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

This Is Not About ...

... how we should not talk about certain things like GI’s torturing prisoners because it hurts morale. The fact is that if we left the government do whatever it wanted without holding it accountable for anything we would be back in the times of trials being done on blacks, or Muslims in today’s world, to test out new drugs … and it would all be justified under national security.

This is about how we need to have an open society. How the government needs to be accountable to us instead of us being accountable to the government. It is about knowing whether the government is engaging in “extraordinary rendition” or if an Iraqi Major General died of a beating from his American captor.

A long time ago I saw a not so good movie called “A Time To Kill.” It’s a manipulative movie that’s directed by Joel Shumacher. Its about a little black girl who is raped and beaten by two white guys and the trial of her father who shoots and kills the rapists in the courtroom. In the summation of the trial the defense attorney says something that stuck with me and is very relevant here.

He said something to the effect that think about everything that the little girl went through, the pain, the suffering and the humiliation. Think of her tears, think of her shame, think of how she will live the rest of her life. Now imagine she’s white.

That is the key. At the end of the day this is a racist country and it is also a patriotic country. Its racist because we don’t think that an Iraqi general or a man accused of a crime deserve protection from torture. It’s a patriotic country because we think that our soldiers, regardless of their actions, deserve our support.

This is not it should be. That one soldier who commits that one act hurts all the other good soldiers. I have friends in the military, I know soldiers in Iraq and while they many understand the stress and pressure that forces their fellow soldier to commit such heinous acts, they are also smart enough to know that such acts hurt the entire country. Such acts make their job overseas a lot harder. Such acts give even more ammunition to the “bad guys” that are killing the members of the U.S. armed forces.

These acts cannot be, should not be, under any circumstances defended. To Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and those non-serving holier than thou individuals that would take away our right to know what our military is doing, I have to say first go serve and then talk.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

This Is Her Week

Be Careful. Be Very Careful.

There is criticism and there is criticism. Muslim countries, and I swear I didn’t intend to post two items about Pakistan today, are allowed to bash non-Muslim countries as hard as they can but they cannot under any circumstances say anything bad about another Muslim country.

For example, Muslim leader will cry and wail and protest about the alleged inhumane treatment of Muslims by non-Muslim governments but they will not say anything negative when Arabs go into the Sudan and rape, pillage and murder scores of innocent men, women and children.

So what happens when a religious and political leader from Pakistan goes to the UAE, legally with a visa, and then is denied entry into the country? Treated like a common person, perhaps an infidel? Why, nothing.

“It was presumed … that the … leader might have been denied entry into the UAE’s port city due to the worldwide alert following the London blasts and because of his past relations with Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime.” A common terrorist no less.

Anyway, they need someone to blame. So, who do they pick on? Their own government of course. The “acting secretary-general … attributed the incident to what he called the failure of the Foreign Office to keep national leaders informed about the treatment they were expected to meet on foreign shores.”

Funny and about time these guys are treated like the criminals that they are. Full story in the Dawn newspaper linked here.

The Subversive Teapot

Once there was a commune in Malaysia. The commune had a giant teapot. The teapot poured water into a giant vase. People drank water from the giant vase and “supposedly” felt better. Hell, I would feel better after drinking water from a giant vase.

The commune wasn’t all bad though. The people who lived there followed the religion of “Ariffin Mohammed, 65, better known as Ayah ("Master") Pin” who believes that every religion is valid and that “anyone can find his or her own path to God.”

Not a bad thought in today’s world. Of course, Muslims believe that apostasy is illegal and Malaysia’s Muslim population is becoming more and more popular, hence this commune was destroyed.

I think it’s a stupid move, I mean the guy is a cuckoo but at least he isn’t feeding people poison like Jim Jones. The full story is in The Telegraph.

A Truly Shocking Story

I am of the belief that most western journalists don’t understand eastern societies. That means that when they report on things such as human rights, news, events, etc. they do so from a western POV.

Having said that, there are certain things that cross cultural boundaries. Violence against women is one such issue. We all know that while there may not be more violence against women in eastern societies, there are a whole lot fewer avenues for justice available to women in eastern societies.

The reasons for this are numerous and would take a whole book to explain, so we won’t go into them here. Let’s focus on one exceptional case, which is fully covered in this NY Times piece.

In summary, a female doctor was raped by a Pakistani army captain and when the local population found out about this, there were large scale riots. The President of Pakistan is from the army so he tried to hush up the matter by first putting the VICTIM in a psychiatric hospital, then under house arrest and then having the local government spread rumors that she was a prostitute. Her husband’s father, the idiot grandfather, tried to have her killed because she had been raped and was no longer “pure.”

Finally, when they ran out of options, they forced the couple to leave her child behind and fly out of the country. They were also told that if they brought this matter up in the international press, her family would be killed. She applied for asylum to Canada but was turned down and so now she lives in a small apartment in London.

This woman was a doctor, her life is now in shambles, she lives in a small apartment with her husband, with no knowledge if she will ever be able to go back to her country or see her child. The one good person in this story is her husband, who has stood by her and supported her at every turn.

Meanwhile, the guy who raped her has probably been promoted. Mushrraf, the President of Pakistan, YOU ARE A FUCKING ASSHOLE!

Egypt and Israel

I have talked about how Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s President for life, does not care for criticism and how he does not allow his people to have any freedoms i.e. he is not so good a guy.

However, if there is one thing he is good for, it’s for forging peaceful ties with his neighbors, even Israel. Aljazeera is reporting that “Egypt and Israel will officially sign a new protocol that will authorize the deployment of 750 Egyptian security guards along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.”

Egypt had wanted Israel to remover its troops from this security corridor and Israel had said that the only way for them to do this would be for Egypt to take responsibility for the area’s security. Egypt has done that so Israel is removing her troops.

The important point here is not that the troops are being removed, although that is an important development. The important development is that Israel trusts Egypt enough to work with it to place its troops on the border.

That is a good and interesting development indeed.

This Is Truly Weird

As we all know suicide bombings have become increasingly popular throughout the world. In fact these things are happenings in more diverse locations than ever before. Who would have thought that London would be the victim of suicide bombings … by Londoners themselves. Very shocking.

The one constant thing that the law enforcement officials rely on is the knowledge that local citizens will keep their eyes open and if, when, they see something extraordinary or off kilter, call the authorities. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Israel. Israel is a country that is constantly under threat from suicide bombers.

While the Palestinians live under the threat of an attack by the Israeli army, which is clearly defined by its uniforms and tanks, the Israelis live with the threat that the person standing next to them may be a suicide bomber and may kill them and everyone around them.

Therefore, the Israeli population and its law enforcement officials, depend on a large extent on its civilian population to point out any threats. That’s why this story, reported by the BBC, is so troubling. According to it, “an Israeli Jew has been charged with helping a Palestinian suicide bomber enter Israel, where he blew himself up last month, killing five people.”

Apparently, he is not the first Israeli Jew to be charged with such a crime. “Last year, an Israeli taxi driver was sentenced to six months' community service for driving a suicide bomber to Geha, near Tel Aviv, where he killed four people, in 2003.”

This is shocking because it throws all defenses off track. Of course, the main question should be: Why would someone do that?

Surrounded By Sharks

I am sure this wasn't funny when it was actually happening but it sure is now.

This woman was at an aquarium in Australia. She was admiring a tank full of sharks when it suddenly exploded. She got a cut on her leg from the glass, found herself in chest high water and surrounded by sharks floating around her legs. All very shocking and I am sure she screamed her head off.

While that is all good, what I cannot understand is how that incident would give someone post-traumatic stress disorder. Not just any disorder but a disorder that people who fight in wars go through. Strong enough so that she had to quit her high stress job as a sales assistant.

Of course, she is now suing and wants damages. At the start of this story I felt a little sorry for the woman, now I wish the sharks had eaten her.

Full story from the BBC linked here.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Michael Jackson Has Lost His Mind.

Michael Jackson is a complete nut job. He molests children, gets lucky and gets off (snicker, snicker) and then loses his mind.

You can argue that he lost his mind about a decade ago but I propose to you madam (I think only hot looking women read this blog) that it is just now that Michael Jackson has lost his mind.

I say that because, get ready for this, "Pop superstar Michael Jackson has brought a luxury property in ... Bahrain." Bahrain. In the Middle East. Where they cut your hand for stealing an apple. Where they stone you for adultery. With those that are legal. You can only imagine what they will do to you when you are doing that with someone who is illegal ... like CHILDREN!

A part of me wishes that he would do that so they would cut his almost non-existant dick off! Anyway, Jackson has definately lost his mind.

Full story in the Khaleej Times here.

The Movie May Suck But ...

Criticize Me, I Dare You.

Speaking of brutal regimes, there are few that match the immense brutality of the Uzbekistan government. Led by the moron Islam Karimov, the government has an awful everything. An awful human rights record, an awful economy, an awful first lady, you name it, it’s awful.

The one thing that the this moron did right is to take the U.S.’ side in the “war against terrorism.” The U.S. has a military base in the country that is used to fight “the bad guys” in Afghanistan and the surrounding areas.

This whole thing came to head when Uzbek soldiers fired on demonstrators, many of them unarmed. The official Uzbek government toll is that 200 demonstrators. Now you know when the Uzbek official number is 200 the actual number must be much higher. According to human rights groups, over 700 people were killed.

The U.S. and England didn’t say anything in the beginning, they had bases in the country, but then started to call for an independent investigation, which pissed the moron Islam off and now he has given the U.S. government 180 days to take their forces out of the country.

This may be a good thing. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are ready to welcome the U.S. forces and all the money that they would bring so the U.S. will have a presence in the area. Uzbekistan will lose the protection of the U.S. and England and then Islam can go and fuck himself and no one will raise one finger in protest.

Full story in The Telegraph is linked here.

We Want Horny Women

Viagra took six months. This thing has taken a year and there are no signs of it being done.

What am I talking about? Horny women, gentlemen and some ladies, horny women. What it is, is a “a medication shown to recharge the stalled sex drive of some women.” I am ignoring the word “some” because some is better than none and even if some is 2%, that’s 3 million women.

While Viagra took six months to get approved, this Intrinsa patch is no closer to getting approved. The article says that women’s sexuality is a lot more complicated than men’s and driven by “ mood, self-esteem and relationship issues.”

As if we didn’t know that. Hell, anyone who has paid for a date and ended up with blue balls, most men out there, can bear witness to that. That’s why this pill is so important. Hell, it is absolutely necessary.

As always, I digress. Full story from the Los Angeles Times here.

An Internet Porn Tax

I had always thought that the Democrats would always be the party that would support freedom and liberty. To have been disappointed by them today, it’s more than I can take. Yes, I cannot take it.

What did they do? Well they did two things. One is not so bad and the other just beyond horrible.

The first is to propose legislation that “would require adult for-profit Web sites to use software to verify the age of their visitors.” How they would do that I don’t know. Credit card numbers perhaps? If so, and if the card isn’t charged, then how would you check to see if little Tina isn’t using her mommy’s card? Anyway, this is the not so bad part.

The second part “would slap a 25 percent tax on Internet sexual material transactions to pay for a new Internet Safety and Child Protection Trust Fund.” Now, as we all know, there is nothing wrong with porn. Who amongst us hasn’t partaken a generous helping of Jenna every now and then?

However, I am against paying for those enormously enjoyable sights and sounds. Yeah, I am a cheap bastard but then so is everyone, which is why Wal Mart is so profitable. I can’t blame the lawmakers from going after the industry though. The thing generates a boat load of money and no one admits to partaking in it, hence no one comes out to defend it. It’s like a sitting duck.

It is a sitting duck. Although a nice, tasty, voluptuous, big breasted sitting duck wearing nothing but a smile. Mmmm.

When reading this story, linked below, make a quick note of who is sponsoring this bill and then ask yourself why they would be doing that. Could it be to tap into the conservative vote? I could write about that but it’s a serious subject and not at all pornographic, so I won’t.

Alright, enough of that. Full story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune here.

Congress. We don't need no Congress.

I don’t know how closely you guys have been following the Bolton nomination, hell I don’t know now many of you are interested in the Bolton nomination, but there was some development on this front that shows two things:
1. It shows that President Bush is very loyal to his people.
2. It shows that President Bush does not care about what Congress thinks.

What do I mean? Well, Bushie just bypassed Congress and will, today, appoint Bolton as the U.N. ambassador.

The main problem with this nomination, according to the anti-Bushies was that Bolton had a bad “demeanor and attitude toward lower-level government officials.” No one could prove anything though and the anti-Bushies asked for more information from the Bushies e.g. papers, documents etc. but never got them.

So being the loyal Bushie that Bush is, he appointed Bolton during the Congressional recess, which by the way he is fully allowed to do. So here goes Bolton and there go the anti-Bushies and the U.N. goes nowhere.

Full story at Yahoo linked here.

Have Some More Bread.

How the mighty have fallen. Actually, this may not be a good way to start this post considering that the founder of the Atkins diet died in a fall. What the hell, I have never been known for good taste.

Alright, on with the post. Did you know that the company that started the whole Atkins craze, the company appropriately named “Atkins Nutritionals” has applied for bankruptcy protection?

The reason for this change in fortunes? People wanted to eat bread and other companies started to supply more tasty products.

Here is the full story from the BBC.

Only 54 Years!

Ego is a wonderful thing. Just like fatty foods. They make you feel good for a short time but destroy everything in the long run.

If you have every eaten South Asian food, and who amongst us doesn’t like good curry, you know that South Asian food is usually full of fat and other good things. Just like that food, there is nothing like South Asian egos.

The South Asian men kill their women if they think that the women are interested in anything that the men don’t approve of. Actually, they RAPE the women and then KILL them. Well, to be perfectly honest, strangers rape the women and the family members overcome by the shame of their women being raped KILL THE WOMEN!

No one worries about the rapist, they usually get off, in more ways than one. But I digress. This started off as a paean to the ego of the South Asians. Let’s get back to that.

Pakistan, if you don’t know anything about the country, is located in South Asia and was named by a man named Chaudhry Rehmat Ali. No one in Pakistan knows this man, they love their history over there, and the man didn’t even die in Pakistan. He died in England in 1951.

The government, not the people because they have no idea who this man is, wants him to be buried in Pakistan. That’s understandable, you don’t want his plaque to say: The man who named Pakistan lies buried in another country.

So they have been trying to get his body shipped to Pakistan for a burial for 54 YEARS! Why did it take so long? According to a Pakistani Senator, Senator Azeem, “the matter got delayed because a lot of time was consumed in completing procedural formalities.”

Procedural formalities. Could this be code word for: His family did not want him buried in Pakistan but we didn’t give up and not that all his heirs are dead or have been bought off we are going to dig up his body and bring it back to Pakistan on the country’s Independence Day.

No, no propaganda involved here.

Story in the Dawn newspaper linked here.