Thursday, February 28, 2008
Democrats, "Beware the Ides of March"
Bush: US Is Not Headed Into Recession
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.
Beware the ides of March.
What man is that?
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
---Wm Shakespare (Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene 2)
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Viewing Presidential Contenders without Rose Colored Glasses
- Media outlets uncritically reported McCain's false assertion that Obama "once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan"
- Summary: The Wall Street Journal and washingtonpost.com's The Trail both quoted Sen. John McCain's false assertion that Sen. Barack Obama "once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan." McClatchy Newspapers -- apparently quoting from the prepared text of McCain's January 19 speech -- reported that McCain said Obama "once suggested invading our ally, Pakistan." In fact, in an August 2007 speech, Obama stated: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The Seasons: Heralds of Spring
They are setting the scene for it--
plum tree and moon.
Blossoms on the pear--
and a woman in the moonlight
reads a letter there.
Source: The World of Zen by Nancy Wilson Ross
Thursday, February 14, 2008
The Race for White House
- Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) is reportedly steering the secretive Senate Intelligence Committee to give retroactive immunity to telecoms that helped the government secretly spy on Americans.
- He has also recently benefited from some interesting political contributions.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Tuesday approved new rules for government eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails, giving the White House much of the latitude it wanted and granting legal immunity to telecommunications companies that helped in the snooping after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Protection for the telecom companies is the most prominent feature of the legislation, something President Bush had insisted on as essential to getting private sector cooperation in spying on foreign terrorists and other targets. The bill would give retroactive protection to companies that acted without court permission.
Few comments from friends:
DM, Massachusetts: " Today's senate voting to grant immunity to phone companies about tapping got me curious. Dem big mouths always come on TV saying they opposed everything about Bush and yet they can seem to never overturn any of his bills. So I looked up the Senate voting record for today's bill just for kicks.
To me it seems the Dem party is filled with republican moles, inclduding some from CA, who put on dem party suit simply to sabotage the notion that dems will stand up to bush.
The Obama-Hillary battle is interesting because it pits baby-boomers against the generation that grew up with civil rights bill having passed the Congress. It's brought our the closet misogynists, the closet racists and the liberal hypocrites all out in the open.
Obama and Michelle are high-achieving blacks who do not constantly bitch about racism but expect to be treated equally as whites.
The white liberals are oh-so pro-affirmative action because they carry the burden of white guilt and holier-than-thou attitude as a badge of honor. Most of them have little social (and in many cases, little professional) contact with non-whites. Clintons belong to this group. They are all for black upliftment as long as they and their (mostly white) buddies do it. Note that George Bush has had more non-white senior executive and White House staff than Clinton did.
The younger gen voting for Obama is much more racially integrated and do not continually mouth affirmative action and other platitudes like the old liberals (except the members of the rapidly expanding Hispanic Separatist Nation who also seem to like Hillary more :).
It's like the caste system in India. Congress and the Commies (particularly in Bengal) were always dominated by Brahmins who wanted to uplift the lower castes but did not care to have them in their own social or political power circle. Our generation started breaking the caste barriers in school, college dorms, in friendship, and in marriage.
Some claim they want to hear about specifics instead of motivational oratory. Remind me when was the last time a president was able to deliver on specifics they promised to the people. They only managed to deliver what was promised behind closed doors away from the public eye.
Unfortunately this 2 party system manages to perpetuate this conservative and liberal mentality and gives meaning to their existence. These labels give these people something to rally around and plot around. I wish someday these would just disappear instead of these spy vs spy mentality they seem to foster in many - "I as a staunch conservative want HRC to win because she would mess it up so much that the (neocons) will then rule the (world) for another 20 years after that" - almost an exact quote from a Talk of the Nation episode.
and of course the way Latino population is growing in a few years everybody else will be hasta la vista :) We will all be worshiping Mother Mary & baby Jesus in bathtubs in our front yards."
Perhaps a bit of a stretch but that possibility cannot be completely shrugged off. I'll not be around when the Hispanic community becomes a dominant force in California and a few other states. The prospects, however, are disheartening and I cannot help feeling sad about the inevitable changes on the distant horizon. Currently, a debate is raging in the United Kingdom about recognition of Sharia Law for Muslim citizens. One gets the feeling that it will not happen as long as majority of the Brits oppose it.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Scamming in the name of War Veterans
Their sister organization is named "Help Hospitalized Veterans", HHV!
- An envelope arrived in our office the other day. It had the bulky, tawdry look of junk mail: pink and lavender Easter eggs, a plastic address window and a photo of a young man in fatigue shorts using crutches to stand on his only leg. “Thousands of severely wounded troops are suffering,” it read. “Will you help them this Easter?”
- It was a plea for money from the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, one of the worst private charities — but hardly the only — that have been shamefully milking easy cash from the suffering and heartache caused by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- The coalition and its sister organization, Help Hospitalized Veterans, were among a dozen military-related charities given a grade of F in a study last December by the American Institute of Philanthropy, a nonprofit watchdog group. These and other charities have collected hundreds of millions of dollars from kind-hearted Americans and squandered an unconscionable amount of it on overhead and expenses — 70 percent or 80 percent, or more. The usual administrative outlay for a reputable charity is about 30 percent. Money that donors surely assumed was going to ease the pain and speed the healing of injured soldiers went instead to junk-mail barrages, inflated executive salaries and other forms of corporate-style bloat.
- And what did the soldiers get? Try almost $18.8 million in “charitable” phone cards sent to troops overseas in 2006 — not to let them call their families, but rather to call up a stateside business that sells sports scores.
- And think of what Mr. Chapin told the House committee when asked what would happen if his charities ever told donors where their money went. “If we disclose, which I’m more than happy to do,” he said, “we’d all be out of business. Nobody would donate. It would dry up.”
Thursday, February 07, 2008
The United Kingdom and Sharia Law
Excerpts from BBC
Dr Williams says Muslims should have a choice in legal disputes
Dr Williams interview
The Archbishop of Canterbury says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK "seems unavoidable".
Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4's World at One that the UK has to "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.
Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.
For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.
He says Muslims should not have to choose between "the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty".
An approach to law which simply said - there's one law for everybody - I think that's a bit of a danger Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
In an exclusive interview with BBC correspondent Christopher Landau, ahead of a lecture to lawyers in London later on Monday, Dr Williams argues this relies on Sharia law being better understood. At the moment, he says "sensational reporting of opinion polls" clouds the issue.
He stresses that "nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that's sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states; the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well".
But Dr Williams said an approach to law which simply said "there's one law for everybody and that's all there is to be said, and anything else that commands your loyalty or allegiance is completely irrelevant in the processes of the courts - I think that's a bit of a danger".
"There's a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law."
Dr Williams adds: "What we don't want either, is I think, a stand-off, where the law squares up to people's religious consciences."
"We don't either want a situation where, because there's no way of legally monitoring what communities do... people do what they like in private in such a way that that becomes another way of intensifying oppression inside a community."
Monday, February 04, 2008
Smirk's Last Gift
The usual mumbo jumbo accompanied the announcement of the budget.
- "Two key principles guided the development of my budget — keeping America safe and ensuring our continued prosperity," Bush said in his budget message to Congress. "As commander in chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people."
- AP: WASHINGTON -The $515.4 billion in Pentagon spending for 2009 that President Bush proposed to Congress on Monday does not include the cost of fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Bush asked for $70 billion as an "emergency allowance" for war costs for the first part of the budget year, which begins Oct. 1. The White House said it would request more — probably at least another $100 billion, if current war costs are a guide — "once the specific needs of our troops are better known."
Current Turkish government is dominated by conservative Muslims. The BBC reported:
Thousands of Turks have rallied in Ankara to protest against a government plan to allow women to wear the Islamic headscarf in Turkish universities.
The protestors fear such a move would usher in a stricter form of Islam in Turkey, which is a secular state.
Turkey's parliament is expected to approve a constitutional amendment to ease the ban next week.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
The Seasons: Winter and Punxsutawney Phil
Associated Press, Punxsutawney, PA
The tradition is that if a hibernating animal sees a shadow on Feb. 2 — the Christian holiday of Candlemas — winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will come early.
That was the forecast from Gen. Beauregard Lee, Punxsutawney Phil's counterpart in Lilburn, Ga. Beau did not see his shadow Saturday morning at the Yellow River Game Ranch.
It was the third year in a row the two groundhogs' predictions differed.
We shall survive, of course. We always do. We complain about cold, rainy days but we survive and then spring arrives and with it new leaves, flowers, and balmy weather. Here in the San Francisco Bay area we need not worry any more about water shortage in the summer months; the foothills will remain green longer; chanterelles will continue to emerge and provide pleasure at the table.
Passing through a small hamlet ,
A dog barks"
---Shiki (translated by R.H. Blyth)