Friday, January 27, 2006

The Friday Feast: a Buffet for your Brain

This is a pretty cool meme. Feel free to play along:

Choose one: Popcorn, Pizza, Pretzels, Peanuts, or Pasta.

Pretzels, specifically Philadelphia soft pretzels, the best in the world.

Describe your personality in terms of a particular vehicle.

I’m a Hummer H3 (that sounds worse than it is). I am an all terrain vehicle, a bit upscale, very tough, and pretty dependable. However, I need fuel on a regular basis.

If you won a shopping spree, from which store would you want it to be?

Best Buy, definitely. Get some DVDs, some CDs, maybe a stereo or a cool flat-screen TV.

Main Course
Which television show re-runs do you enjoy watching?

West Wing reruns on Bravo are great. I’ve seen each episode a ton of times, but I learn something new each time I watch.

If you could look into the future, how far down the road would you like to see? 10 years? 100 years? A million?

I wouldn’t want to see into the future at all. I mean, sure, I might want to get some football scores and stock tips, that wouldn’t be so bad. But wouldn’t it make life really boring if you knew everything that was going to happen? I’ll pass.


Posted by Scottage at 5:02 PM / | |  

Iran: Holocaust Cover for Crimes against Palestinians

Ahmadinejad sent a note to the UN General Assembly today. It said that Iran condemns genocide against “any race or religious group as a crime against humanity.” Good start! But you know, Mahmoud, maybe you should have quite while you were ahead.

Ahmadinejad followed this up with saying that genocide had been manipulated as a political weapon by the “Zionist regime” to hide "its crimes being perpetrated today against Palestinians in the occupied territories, including massacre, demolition of houses, properties and farmlands, as well as acts of state terrorism."

You know, Ahmadinejad, it’s obvious that someone has shown you a history book in the past couple weeks and shown you the Holocaust did occur. So admit your wrong instead of trying to twist up your message a million different ways. You don’t like Israel? We’ve gotten that idea already. You can say you were wrong about the Holocaust and still maintain your ignorant racist views.


Posted by Scottage at 2:06 PM / | |  

Hamas Wins in Landslide

OK, it’s late, and it’s really way past time to crash. But all day, I’ve been thinking about the Hamas victory, what it means, and what my perspective is on the whole election. So, I figure I should share my thoughts on the subject before hitting the sack. If they piss you off, my deepest apologies, but you’ll be screaming at my pillow for the time being, but I promise I’ll respond in the morning.

First off, yesterday was really interesting the way the whole election unfolded. First, exist polls were saying that Fatah had a clear victory in the election, though not a majority. After a few hours, Fatah still had a victory, but a narrow victory. Then we had the first indications that Hamas had pulled of the narrow victory, hours before we found out that Hamas had actually won in a landslide, taking 76 of 132 seats, a clear majority which means there is no need or a coalition.

Does it seem like the world was trying to make a last ditch effort to give the election to Fatah? It seemed like the news was geared to increase confidence in Fatah, but it backfired, pushing Palestinians to the polls in record numbers as they thought their votes were needed to bring a party into power that would negotiate an equitable deal for the Palestinian people.

I do believe that Hamas is in power to negotiate for the Palestinian people, and that Hamas will represent the Palestinian will better than Fatah, who’s lack of authority and representation of the general will was reflected in the chaos in Gaza over the past couple months. But I also think that Hamas will be willing to use terror, either directly or indirectly, as a bargaining chip, and that will make it difficult for the US and Israel to negotiate with the Palestinian government.

But it is imperative that all parties do negotiate with Hamas. We are now negotiating with an organization that really has the power to both speak for the Palestinian people and to curb (or increase) terror. I’m sure that Palestine will experience some negative consequences for choosing a terrorist government, and maybe that will influence future elections. But this is the government that Palestine wants to speak for them, and we need to respect their will and speak with their chosen representatives.


Posted by Scottage at 2:18 AM / | |  

No Child Left Behind

At dinner tonight the topic of the No Child Left Behind act of 2002 was raised. I had always seen this as one of the few real positives from the Bush administration, and one policy I cold really get behind. But tonight I gained a fresh perspective on the initiative.

First and foremost, the program is under funded. Bush has cited record school spending, but there was no question that when Bush promised this Bill during the last campaign that it would be an expensive undertaking. Unfortunately, with large portions of the country’s resources being drained by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Katrina and the devastating hurricane season, Bush has had to cut funding on the program every year.

But while funding is a problem, it’s not the only problem. Many indicate that the program itself is flawed, and that it does not promote true learning. Goals are set too high based on the current level of aptitude amongst students; this forces kids to learn only what is needed for the tests, and learning does not continue to increase naturally after the test is completed. Basically, kids are learning how to be better test takers, as opposed to being better at math and reading.

The bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures has also issued a scathing rebuke of the law, calling it a coercive act that sets unreachable goals. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has tried to temper those concerns, changing enforcement of the law to give states more flexibility in how they measure student progress and teacher quality

"The system is working. That's what's important for people to understand," Bush said. But the president did not mention some of the test's less flattering results. The fourth-grade reading performance was essentially flat, and in eighth grade, reading scores dropped.

You know, I’ve been accused of being too liberal, and hating Bush blindly, so I’ve been trying very hard to find a Bush policy I can get behind. However, it looks like I’ll have to keep looking, as this program does not seem to have accomplished its goals. But I do have to applaud Bush for making education a priority, and trying to improve the system. And hey, I have only found a little bit to read on the topic, if you have more information, please send it my way so I can learn more about the program.


Posted by Scottage at 1:57 AM / | |  

Top 5 on Friday

The Friday Music Meme asks for the Top 5 "Classic Rock" Bands (and your favorite song by each if you feel so disposed).

OK, this was very tough, much tougher then I would have expected. The difficult part was boiling it down. I started by listing all the bands that would make my top bands, but I ended up with 20 bands, 35 if you include bands that sort of straddled R&B and classic rock, like The Temptations and Three Dog Knight. .

So then I had to boil down. Lost were the Kinks, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Clapton and any number of bands, Van Halen, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Led Zeppelin. And many bands I really enjoyed from the classic rock era never had a chance, but where would classic rock be without REO Speedwagon, Styx and Journey.

But you asked for 5, so I’ll give you 5. For each band include two songs: my favorite popular song, and my favorite lesser-known song. So here goes:

1. The Rolling Stones
a. Popular Favorite – Sympathy For The Devil
b. Less-Popular Favorite – Monkey Man

2. The Who
a. Popular Favorite – Won’t Get Fooled Again
b. Less-Popular Favorite – The Real Me

3. The Allman Brothers
a. Popular Favorite – Melissa
b. Less-Popular Favorite – Soul Shine

4. Santana
a. Popular Favorite – Samba Pa Ti
b. Less-Popular Favorite – She’s Not There

5. Pink Floyd
a. Popular Favorite – Shine On You Crazy Diamond
b. Less-Popular Favorite – Echoes


Posted by Scottage at 1:10 AM / | |  

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tunnel to Mexico Found

While all eyes are on the Middle East today, the US found another drug trafficking tunnel stretching 1200 yards from Tijuana, Mexico to Otay Mesa, California. 2 tons of pot was discovered in the tunnel, the 15th tunnel found since 9/11, indicating the ingenuity of drug smugglers in getting across the US border. But this tunnel was different from past tunnels; other tunnels were primitive and makeshift, a result of the hurried nature the drug traffickers. This tunnel was well established.

Officials said the tunnel is about seven-tenths of a mile or more than 1,200 yards (1,148 meters) long. Initial reports said it is 5 feet high and 3.5 feet wide, with a concrete floor, walls and ceiling. The tunnel also is reportedly lit. An investigation is under way to determine who helped build the passageway.

We keep hearing how we are being kept safe from terrorism, how the security of our borders is this administration’s top priority. Well I must say this is not a very good indication that this administration is securing our borders at all. This is a well established tunnel, and it is one of who knows how many. They might as well hang a sign saying “Terrorists Welcomed.”


Posted by Scottage at 12:56 PM / | |  

US Military Stretched Thin

Two reports released in the last two days both indicate that the US Army has reached its breaking point because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first report, commissioned by the pentagon, said there is a real possibility of “breaking the force” if troop levels are maintained in both countries without increasing the size of our army. The second report, commissioned by Capitol Hill Democrats, indicated that failing to relieve the pressure of the present situation “will have highly corrosive and potentially long-term effects on the force.”

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he had not read either report, but rejected them both. “It’s clear that those comments do not reflect the current situation. They are either out of date or just misdirected.” As far as the status of our troops, Rumsfeld said “It [the US Army] is a force that has been deployed, functioned effectively and, as I say, battle-hardened.”

How does Rumsfeld know the reports are wrong if he has not read them? How can he state that they are out of date or misdirected when he has not gone over the content. The Pentagon-requested report is by Andrew Krepinevich, a highly respected retired officer, who now directs the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think-tank. Does Rumsfeld assume he can’t have a valid opinion that he’s completely incompetent, or just that he’s not smart enough to indicate anything Rumsfeld hasn’t figured out himself?

The Krepinevich report sites soldiers leaving the military because they are in combat too often, lack of strategic reserves, lack of recruits, and the acceptance of lower-quality candidates as leading to the weakening of our armed forces. The Army fell short of it’s target number of recruitments last year by 6,700, the biggest shortfall since 1979, and as a result decided to accept more high school dropouts and to lower the acceptable score on the military entrance exam. The upper age for potential recruits has also been raised from 35 to 42. No, I’m not enlisting.

If it rotates its troops too frequently into combat, the Army risks having many of its soldiers decide that a military career is too arduous or too risky an operation for them and their families to pursue. How often can a soldier be put in harm's way and still desire to remain in the Army? Making matters worse, unless the Army is willing to stress its rotation base further, it effectively has no strategic reserve.

Krepinevich makes these assessments based on 138,000 troops deployed in Iraq and 19,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan. Those numbers were accurate as of this morning. Krepinevich and his think-tank are widely regarded as Republican, but the Democratic report came to the exact same conclusions. Are they both wrong in exactly the same way, despite being independent reports, or is it possible that Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration are out of touch with the state of the US military? It can’t help but look that way to me.


Posted by Scottage at 2:11 AM / | |  

Thursday Challenge - Door

The Thursday Challenge is a photo meme. This week's theme is "DOOR"
(Doorway, Front Door, Back Door, Car Door, Trap Door, Entranceway, Entry, Exit, Gate, Hatch, Opening, Portal,...). I choose the gateway to the West, St. Louis' Gateway Arch. As far as I'm concerned, there's no more majestic portal that the Arch, which I visited last year. Hope you like the photo.


Posted by Scottage at 1:07 AM / | |  

Palestinian Elections

There are many different reports coming out now on the outcome of the elections in Palestine, and I suspect it will be a day or more before we have a clear winner. But perhaps that isn’t true. All reports show that Palestinians came out in huge numbers to vote in this election, and to let their voice be heard.

This is really the first time the Palestinians have had the sense that their voice would make a difference in the war-torn country, and this was their first real shot at self determination. So the real winner in this election is the Palestinian people, who came out in droves to take some control of their own lives. Congratulations Palestinians – this is a victory long overdue!


Posted by Scottage at 12:20 AM / | |  

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Olmert speeds building of the fence

Good and bad news out of Jerusalem today. Ehud Olmert is trying to hurry completion of the separation fence between Palestine and Israel, enabling the pullout of Israeli troops from the West Bank.

On one hand, I’m happy to see that Olmert has seen it fit to re-route the fence to include the city of Beit Ichsa and the area outside Ariel in the Palestinian side of the fence. Beit Ichsa is a largely Palestinian area just North of Jerusalem, and the proximity to the city had caused Sharon to claim that land as Israeli. This was a major area in the Palestinian claim that the fence is a land grab.

Ariel is a decent sized Jewish town surrounded by a number of little Palestinian villages. The fence had originally given fairly wide berth to Ariel, protecting it while claiming large portions of territory for Israel. The new fence route will give the land to Palestine that surrounds Ariel, while leaving the town on the Israeli side of the fence, though somewhat vulnerable to neighboring villages.

I can’t help but smile at Olmert’s proactive approach to providing a fairer solution to an unfair situation. But I can’t help but suspect that this will not help relations with the Palestinians. The Palestinians want some say in their own future, a feeling of self-determination, as opposed to having their hands held by Israel. I suspect the failure to talk with Palestine about this move will provide Israel with future difficulties.


Posted by Scottage at 2:48 PM / | |  

Iran Threatens Eternal Coma for Israel

Iranian Defense Minister Najjar said on Wednesday that if Israel would, they should expect retaliation. "Israel does not have the courage to attack Iran, and if it commits such a big mistake, the defenders of Islamic Iran will put Israel in an eternal coma like Sharon.” He went on to classify the US and Israel as "Great and Little Satan, who are using psychological wars to intimidate Iran."

I tend to think these types of threats can only serve to undermine any stability that could be achieved in the region. But then again, I’m sure Iran would say the same about Israel’s threats to blow up their nuclear program, something I support whole-heartedly. I consider a nuclear Iran to be a huge threat to world peace in general. I’m sure they see the Zionist presence in the Middle East as a similar threat.

I do hate to hear this type of threat coming from Iran. It seems like they’ve done enough talking through the media, what with their Holocaust remarks and the calls for wiping Israel off the map. It seems like the time has come for any future words to be over a negotiating table, but they will make the choices that are right for Iran. I just hope that they don’t start World War III in the process, or that we don’t.


Posted by Scottage at 2:26 PM / | |  

White House had Accurate Predictions on Katrina Devastation Two Days before Storm

Just after Katrina, I was somewhat obsessed with the timeline of Hurricane Katrina. That timeline drove me crazy! August 27th, 4pm, the storm picks up speed, and Nagin is warned that the storm will be much worse than expected. Shortly after 5pm he calls for the evacuation of New Orleans, and after calls the White House to request support in evacuating the city. But Nagin is not contacted by FEMA Director Michael Brown until Sunday late afternoon when some helicopters were sent down to help evacuate some of the sick and elderly. But thousands were left behind because FEMA support came so late.

Monday morning, April 29th, about 4:30 am the storm begins. By 6:00 am the city is getting rocked, and by 10 am the levees are breaking. Whole sections of the city are flooded by that afternoon, people are trapped all over the city, and both the survivors in their homes and the evacuation centers are isolated from food, water, power, and the law. Chaos breaks out throughout the city, and by nightfall lawlessness has broken out throughout the city.

By Tuesday, April 30th, the US citizens were realizing the extent of the devestation in New Orleans and surrounding areas, and individuals across the county were mobilizing support to the region. Inside New Orleans, there was a complete disregard for authority, a massive fear amongst most people in New Orleans for their own safety, hunger and thirst throughout the city, and no medical supplies were available for even the worst cases. On the other hand, individuals were driving South with whatever supplies they could gather to help individuals, and in many cases to save lives, restoring some faith in humanity.

But it wasn’t until the evening of Wednesday, August 31st, that the US began to send some support down to the victims of Katrina. On Monday and Tuesday, Bush had been out of contact, for the most part. He was on his ranch in Texas, and was said to have shot one of the best golf games of his life on Tuesday, August 30th. Wednesday morning he flew from his ranch to Mississippi, where he had told all the troops heading down to New Orleans to wait for him to arrive, and address the troops. Thousands of men with food and water for the victims waited in Mississippi for as many as 5 hours for Bush to arrive.

After noon, Bush addressed those troops. He and Brown then dispatched helicopters with Engineering Corps to the levees, to start draining water from the city. About 3pm troops began to move towards New Orleans, and by 6pm they reached the Superdome with water and food, the first water and food seen by most of these people since Monday morning. The troops dispensed food until the later evening, and then left to get more food and water from their outpost in Mississippi. This was necessary, but there was not proper planning by the troops, who left the Superdome unguarded. The Superdomee decended into lawlessness again that night.

All of this was horrendous. How could our government take so long to attend to their own citizens? How could our neighbors be left to die without a bit of help from our elected officials? But today, it got much more horrible.

The investigation into Katrina has unearthed documents showing that FEMA director Brown had presented a slide show indicating definitively that, at the trajectory of the storm, and with the speed it had reached on Saturday, the levees would break and the city would be flooded. The prediction extended out, illustrating the exact devestation seen in the storm, including the lack of food, water, and law. Brown even had suggestions for evacuations and preventing some of the devestation; so far we have no idea why nothing was done about these forecasts.

Emergency-preparedness experts have said in the past that additional advance warning could also have been used by federal officials to press local officials to evacuate those New Orleans residents without easy access to transportation. It's been estimated that about 100,000 New Orleans residents were left behind when Katrina struck.

Seed agreed, saying the advance warning "could have been used by the federal government to stage additional resources in the city and massively improved the FEMA response."

Furthermore, he said the ongoing Science Foundation study has found that the schoolbuses frequently seen in their flooded parking spaces could have been used to evacuate stranded residents. After the storm struck, their gas tanks were found to be full and they were used to help evacuate stranded residents.

We don’t know who received this report; it certainly wasn’t George W. Bush, because he was on his ranch in Texas. But maybe he should have been in his office, listening to reports and ordering relief down to New Orleans in advance of the storm. But certainly, someone in the White House knew the situation, knew how bad it was going to be, and did nothing. They didn’t move ready-made meals or water into the area in advance, didn’t move people down south, didn’t provide information to New Orleans in advance and didn’t respond to Nagin’s plea for help. Sorry, President Bush, but you blew it, and we’re paying with thousands of American lives… again!


Posted by Scottage at 12:21 AM / | |  

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Olmert Calls for Two State Solution

Many cheers to Ehud Olmert for publicly stating that the only solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a two-state solution. And even more cheers to him for indicating that future returns of land would be made through negotiations. These are both major steps towards a better situation in the region.

In the past, Israeli politicians knew that recommending a two-states solution was tantamount to political suicide. Pushing this agenda in peace negotiations has been even more dangerous than that, and is the primary reason why Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by fellow Israelis. But I’m a firm believer that the Palestinians need, deserve, and must have a state of their own. Only a two-state solution works in this situation.

In theory, I think the return of Gaza was a great thing. But in the absence of negotiations with the Palestinians over the borders and the fence, the move has only been seen as a land grab. Perhaps the return of Gaza was the largest step towards peace that the Israelis have made since the return of Sinai to Egypt. But it will never be seen as anything but selfish because we gave the Palestinians no option for self determination.

So I think this is a great step…assuming Olmert follows through on his words. Let’s hope he does.


Posted by Scottage at 11:07 PM / | |  

4 Teens Make Killer Movie

4 Philadelphia teens got out of school early Friday, were bored, and decided to make a movie. This would be a special movie, though. This would be a movie of them killing a man.

The four teens started the tape with 2 minutes of talking about the weather, the early day from school, and their idea to kill a random person. “Just pick somebody out, anybody out,” one student said on the tape. And they did, fnding a 30 year old Drexel engineering student, beating him up, breaking his jaw, and throwing him in front of a moving car. Each teen took turns holding the camera while the other three attacked the random man.

The man survived, suffering a broken jaw. And today the teens were arrested and the tape found. All four have been expelled from school and are being charged with attempted murder. Teenagers! It’s amazing how young it begins, kids perpetrating random violence for kicks. I guess we should expect it; the kids are only emulating the violence they’re seeing throughout the world. But it’s hard to believe just how bad it’s gotten.

I have no idea what the solution is here. I would like to think that we should be able to educate the kids, teach them the real value of a peaceful society. But do they get it? Can they really understand the possibilities that a peaceful society would provide? I guess I can only hope.


Posted by Scottage at 12:19 PM / | |  

US Won’t Communicate with Palestinian Government that Includes Hamas

The US has claimed that negotiating with any Palestinian coalition that includes Hamas would be contrary to their policy of not negotiating with terrorists, and they refuse to do it.

I understand that the US is trying to show support for Israel, and to try to push for a government in Palestine that will be a good partner for peace. But if Hamas wins this election it’s predominantly because Palestinians feel that Hamas can get them a settlement that truly benefits the Palestinian people. A Hamas win means most Palestinians feel the PA is too weak to negotiate effectively, and that Hamas’ position of strength will lead to an equitable agreement.

The Palestinian people, for the most part, want peace. This is why Hamas had to change many of its positions to be competitive in this election, the biggest change being the removal of a call for the destruction of Israel from the Hamas platform. They have claimed time and again that they have changed to a political group, and that they are the only group who really has a chance to negotiate effectively for the Palestinian people.

Sure, I have trouble believing them, after all the terror over the years. But if the Palestinian people choose to elect Hamas, it is not for the US to say whether they are worth negotiating with or not. Every time the US tries to influence the politics of a Middle Eastern nation, it backfires and serves to further destabilize the region. Instead, the US will have to talk to whoever is elected as the governing body of the Palestinian people, and if it’s Hamas they will have to at least give them a chance to be a partner for peace.


Posted by Scottage at 2:34 AM / | |  

Monday, January 23, 2006

Something Funny

This is hysterical! I was at Meryl Yourish’s site, and she had a link to this great video. Don’t watch it at work or anywhere bad language is inappropriate, but watch it, it will put a smile on your face!


Posted by Scottage at 2:29 PM / | |  

Latest Words from Ahmadinejad

This weekend European leaders met with Israeli leaders in Herzilea to discuss the Iranian problem. While the European leaders recognized that Iran could be a threat to international stability, they did not view the issue as seriously as Israel does, and indicated that diplomacy is the proper course of action, as opposed to military action.

At the same time, Ahmadinejad was speaking out again. This is the synopsis from the Islamic Republic News Agency:

President Ahmadinejad said Friday Palestine is the center of the final stages of the battle between Islam and arrogance, saying the Palestinian Intifada is progressing. The plots hatched by enemies against Palestine should not be overlooked even for a moment, Ahmadinejad noted in a meeting with leaders of the Palestinian resistance movements in Damascus, Syria.

Ahmadinejad arrived in Damascus on Thursday upon the official invitation of his Syrian counterpart -- President Bashar al-Assad. He spoke of the importance of the Palestinian cause and stressed the cause will not come be materialized if occupiers continue to occupy even a tiny part of Palestine's territories.

He stressed that unity, coordination and sympathy among resistance groups for the Palestinian cause is the only guarantee for Palestine's liberation. The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the Palestinian cause of statehood and liberation of Islamic territories from occupiers, he added.

If this is not cause for concern, what is? Ahmadinejad will not be happy until there are no Jews left in Israel, even at the expense of Palestinian lives. And now he has an ally in Iran. While the European leaders can underestimate Iran, Israel knows better; history has shown us that we need to protect ourselves, and we will do just that.


Posted by Scottage at 1:38 PM / | |  

Al-Jazeera a Terrorist Tool?

There have been accusations of late that Al-Jazeera promotes terror. They are generally speaking the news agency that many terrorists send their tapes to, the recipient of many tapes of kidnap victims, and the first publisher of most of the press releases from terrorist agencies.

Is this a surprise to you? Not to me. Take a look at my post from earlier this week on the Bin Laden tape, and you will see clearly that, when reported by the US press, the intended message can often be diluted or outright changed. So of course, if these organizations want a release that is accurate and representative of their views, they use their own media outlets.

I have always found Al-Jazeera to provide balanced, accurate coverage. Sometimes they purport views that I do not share, but that is to be expected. There is certainly no reason to be attacking Al-Jazeera at this point; perhaps we should be thankful there is a still a media outlet where we can get accurate reporting on these statements.


Posted by Scottage at 1:41 AM / | |  

Random 10

10 songs that sum up your weekend...or were on your weekend playlist...and one picture that relates back. (oh, and if you feel like it, tell us why you picked the songs you did)

It’s been a weekend of ups and downs. I’m waiting on this big news, I should hear any day whether I won a competition I was in where the prize is a full paid scholarship to the Simon School, a really great business school.

On the flip side, I had a great second date. It was a really nice Saturday night with a very cool woman. You know, she kept apologizing, but she had nothing to apologize for; the evening was a total highlight for me.

But in the anticipation for a really nice Saturday night, I went on a cleaning frenzy, and let my computer random play the whole time. I’m into classic rock & roll, and have a good set of songs on the computer. Here are some highlights from the cleaning:

OK, maybe I didn't get my apartment this clean

1. Change The World – Eric Clapton & Babyface
2. The Real Me – The Who
3. Tick Tock (Live) – Robert Cray, BB King, Buddy Guy, Dr. John (really good
live version, if you can find it I highly suggest it)
4. Shower the People (Live) – James Taylor
5. Low Rider – War
6. Sundown – Gordon Lightfoot
7. Caligula – Macy Gray
8. Jump, Jive, An’ Wail (Live) – Brian Seltzer Orchestra
9. 10th Avenue Freeze-Out – Bruce Springsteen
10. Papa Was a Rolling Stone – The Temptations


Posted by Scottage at 1:36 AM / | |  

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Assad Claims Israel is Behind Arafat’s Death

Just after meeting with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week, and while being investigated or the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Syrian President Bashar Assad has accused Israel of assassinating Yasser Arafat.

Of the many assassinations that Israel carried out in a methodical and organized way, the most dangerous thing that Israel did was the assassination of President Yasser Arafat. This was under the world's gaze and its silence, and not one state dared to issue a statement or stance towards this, as though nothing happened.

Sorry, but that is just ridiculous. There are no indications whatsoever that Israel had any complicity in Arafat’s death. True, Arafat’s enclosure in his West Bank compound for nearly two years before his death could not have helped his health. But the French hospital which cared for Arafat refuted claims of poison, and Arafat’s health had been in question for years.

This is another sensationalist claim, reminiscent of many of the ridiculous claims made by Ahmadinejad in recent months. I suspect we are going to have to get used to a strong new alliance between the governments of Syrian and Iran. Perhaps we have driven Syria to this alliance, as Assad faces serious issues from the investigation of Hariri’s death.

But this is alliance of two governments of hate, which is a very scary thing. Both have large and powerful militaries, and a history of brutal military actions. I know it sounds like the same old story, but we cannot let a nuclear weapon get into the hands of this alliance.


Posted by Scottage at 6:18 PM / | |  

Picture Shows Bush with Abramoff and Family

Time magazine has acquired a number of photographs of George W. Bush and Jack Abramoff, some including Abramoff’s sons, and some including Raul Garza Sr., chief lobbyist for the Kickapoo Tribe of Texas who has been accused of embezzling more than $300,000 from his tribe. The Bush camp has steadfastly denied that the president has ever met Abramoff.

When do the lies end? First they tell us that Abramoff was in bed with the Democrats as much as with the Republicans, and that clearly turns out to be a lie. Democratic involvement in the scandal is at most very limited and no where close to the number of people or dollars dedicated to Republican politicians.

Then we heard that this was strictly a congressional issue, and soon after began hearing about multiple meetings with White House Aides, including multiple meetings with Karl Rove. The White House keeps records of all meetings, and thus Scott McClellan has confirmed the meetings. But the White House will not disclose the number of meetings Abramoff had at the White House.

And now this. The President has definitely met Abramoff, and it appears that they have a more cordial relationship than a casual meeting. And how much more will come out before Bush will just come clean and clarify his relationship to the whole scandal? Let’s hope he comes clean soon, so we can get back to focusing on the huge issues the country faces today.


Posted by Scottage at 6:16 PM / | |