Saturday, April 22, 2006

Congressional Speech Meme

My friend James has started a meme, and I think it’s very cool. Basically, the meme works like this: write out what you would say to congress if you were given 5 minutes on the floor to speak your mind. Well, I’ve written it, whittled it down so it reads in 4:58, and I’m ready to head to Washington. Think they would listen?

Hello esteemed members of congress, and thank you for your gracious hospitality in allowing me to speak today. I believe my presence here is a testament to the original vision of our forefathers, the belief that every citizen has a voice, and that our government is, and always will be, accountable to its citizens. I only hope I can live up to their vision as a representative of the people.

Because their vision is in jeopardy today. Our forefathers believed that government is meant to protect the tenants of democracy and the people within the democracy, from dangers within and without. But as our government has slowly eased the protection over our freedoms, the pillars which this society is built upon, the dangers have grown, both for democracy as a whole and for the citizens of the United States.

Our government says we must sacrifice civil liberties to protect the country’s citizens. But if we truly practice democracy, its letter and its spirit, then we will be tolerant of other societies and belief systems, and not practice any form of imperialism in lands abroad. And this will do more to protect the citizens of this great land than any measure of surveillance ever could.

Our government claims we must send our troops overseas to protect the United States’ interests and ensure democracy in Iraq. But our young men are dying to institute democracy in a region where the majority of the people do not want democracy. Protect our citizens and the tenants of democracy by allowing Iraq and the surrounding countries, to choose their own governments in their own time, and you will see the true power and allure of democracy as countries gravitate towards it over time.

While our troops are sent overseas, and our emergency relief workers fight terrorism, who defends our citizens from the acts of God, the Hurricane Katrina’s and mudslides and earthquakes. Every indication is that these events will increase in coming years, and our resources are committed elsewhere. So concentrate efforts on being prepared for these natural disasters, and protect your citizens at home.

Believe me, honored listeners, I do not wish to denigrate you or the magnificent work you have done. Even those with different views I respect for their dedication to public service, for giving their time, effort and energy to this glorious country. And as such I hate to speak ill of the work you have done for this land I call home.

But each of you, every member of Congress, has an opportunity that few of us can enjoy, the opportunity to really make a difference. In a time of such uncertainly, you have the ability to do so much good. Will you now be stopped only by the needs of politics? Will you squander this opportunity to move this country back towards the safety we once enjoyed?

I wish it was an easy enough time that you could enjoy a normal tenure in office, and work on matters that weren’t so delicate and so important, but these are not such times. Despite the distractions, remember what made this country special, what made it a beacon of light from its inception until today. And let that light guide us through the dangerous waters ahead.

I thank you for your time, your service, and all your good intentions, in which I have no doubt. I only hope that they will serve to protect us in these dangerous times.

So anyway, that would be my 5 minutes speech to congress, what would be yours? Type it up, and make sure you link to it here, so I can go see what you wrote and others can as well. I look forward to reading it.

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Posted by Scottage at 6:56 PM / | |  

Nomadic Vision

I think that Dzeni, of Not Quite Perfect, has channelled my nomadic energy perfectly with this picture:

Of course, sometimes, he who hesitates is only looking for te road that suits his feet. But the key is that, hesitation or not, you keep on walking, just keep on walking. To quote James Taylor's "Walking Man":

Moving in silent desperation
Keeping an eye on the Holy Land
A hypothetical destination
Say, who is this walking man?

Most everybody's got seed to sow
It ain't always easy for a weed to grow, oh no
So he don't hoe the row for no one
Oh for sure he's always missing
And something is never quite right
Ah, but who would want to listen to you
Kissing his existence good night

Walking man walk on by my door
Well, any other man stops and talks
But not the walking man
He's the walking man
Born to walk
Walk on walking man
Well now, would he have wings to fly
Would he be free
Golden wings against the sky
Walking man, walk on by.


Posted by Scottage at 11:34 AM / | |  

Friday, April 21, 2006

Apocalypse Poll

This post will remain at the top of my site until Sunday evening – scroll down for new posts!

OK, a new poll is up, and as normal I will be making a raffle out of it, this one a mere 100 credit raffle because it’s only going to run until Sunday. Basically, I’m asking what you think of my crash and the new look for the blog. Have some fun with it, and make sure to comment back here to enter into the raffle. I’ll post the winner late Sunday night. Thanks, and have a great one!


Posted by Scottage at 11:56 AM / | |  

It’s Alive!

WOOOHOOOOO! Once again, I have a blog! That’s right, I have a blog, and I’m lovin’ it baby!

First, thanks to Pablo, who helped put this together. He did it in record time, after seeing what happened this morning, and helped stave off some of the problems while they were occurring.

Pablo is not only a good designer who really has a creative flair for the sites, he also is excellent at coding, and can tighten up any existing problems with your site, or even add in special animations and features. Look him up, he’s well worth it.

Still to Come

I have about 150 posts to put up, as well as favorites, changing the marquee, and a few odds and sods. I’ll be hitting those starting tomorrow (in between other tasks). Also, improvements are still being made to the site.

Any comments on the new look and feel would be appreciated. Plus, a few people have written in that they want to be included in the blogroll. Now is a good time for that, so if you want to be included in the blogroll, and are willing to add me to yours, post a comment.

And The Envelope Please…

I wasn’t able to recover my last post from yesterday evening, but I have found the information on who won my lottery and I’m more than pleased to announce that the inner of the 500 BE credit raffle was:

Trouble!!!! Trouble has a great site, she is a single mother with great stories and some cool views on life. Add in a great header file, and this blog definitely deserves a visit. Second place went to Omar, who won 250 credits, a site a just found but must say I like. Keep blogging Omar.

Finally, a couple of additional thanks to Irina, for writing a great post of support for me today, for Matt, who has given me supportive comments and been a general friend, and to James for his on-site technical support. Plus, a quick thank you to the gf, who was understanding when I broke our date…I don’t know if I deserve someone so good!


Posted by Scottage at 1:43 AM / | |  

Full Text of Stephen Colbert Monologue from Correspondents’ Dinner, 4/29/06

Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Before I begin, I've been asked to make an announcement. Whoever parked 14 black bullet proof S.U.V.'S out front, could you please move them. They are blocking in 14 other black bulletproof S.U.V.'S and they need to get out. Wow, wow, what an honor. The white house correspondents’ dinner. To just sit here, at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush, to be this close to the man. I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what? I'm a pretty sound sleeper that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the face. Is he really not here tonight? Damnit! The one guy who could have helped.

By the way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything at their tables, speak slowly and clearly on into your table numbers and somebody from the N.S.A. will be right over with a cocktail. Mark Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Madame first lady, Mr. President, my name is Stephen Colbert and tonight it is my privilege tonight to celebrate this president. Because we’re not so different, he and I. We both get it. Guys like us, we're not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the factonesia. We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say I did look it up, and that's not true. That's but you looked it up in a book. Next time look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works. Every night on my show, the Colbert Report, I speak straight from the gut, ok? I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the no fact zone. Fox news, I own the copyright on that term. I'm a simple man with a simple mind, with a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there. I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and I strongly believe it has 50 states. And I cannot wait to see how "the Washington Post" spins that one tomorrow. I believe in democracy. I believe democracy is our greatest export. At least until China figures out a way to stamp it out in plastic for three cents a unit. As a matter of fact, ambassadors Jo and Jun, welcome, your great country makes our happy meals possible. I said it's a celebration. I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq. I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is possible -- I saw this guy do it once in cirque du soleil. It was magical. And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe our infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it is yogurt. But I refuse to believe it's not butter. Most of all I believe in this president. Now, I know there's some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

So, Mr. President, pay no attention to the people that say the glass is half full. 32% means the glass -- it's important to set up your jokes properly, sir. Sir pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it's 2/3 empty. There's still some liquid in that glass is my point, but I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash. Folks, my point is that I don't believe this is a low point in this presidency. I believe it is just a lull, before a comeback. I mean, it's like the movie "Rocky." The president is Rocky and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world. It's the 10th round. He's bloodied, his corner man, Mic, who in this case would be the vice president, and he's yelling cut me, dick, cut me, and every time he falls everyone says stay down, rock, stay down! Does he stay down? No. Like Rocky he gets back up and in the end he -- actually loses in the first movie. Ok. It doesn't matter. The point is the heart warming story of a man who was repeatedly punched in the face.

So don't pay attention to the approval ratings that say 68% of Americans disapprove of job this man is doing. I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the job he's not doing? Think about it. I haven't. I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world. Now, there may be an energy crisis. This president has a very forward-thinking energy policy. Why do you think he's down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He's trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite powered car. And I just like the guy. He's a good Joe. Obviously loves his wife, calls her his better half. And polls show America agrees. She's a true lady and a wonderful woman. But I just have one beef, ma'am. I'm sorry, but this reading initiative. I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them. They're all fact, no heart. I mean, they're elitist telling us what is or isn't true, what did or didn't happen. What's Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914? If I want to say it was built in 1941, that's my right as an American. I'm with the president, let history decide what did or did not happen.

The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man's beliefs never will.
And as excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story, the president's side and the vice president's side. But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on N.S.A. Wiretapping or secret prisons in Eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason, they're super depressing.

And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished. Over the last five years you people were so good over tax cuts, W.M.D. Intelligence, the affect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew. But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The president makes decisions, he's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know fiction. Because really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the white house has personnel changes. Then you write they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic. First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg. Now, it's not all bad guys out there tonight. There are some heroes, Christopher Buckley, Jeff Sax, Ken Burns, Bob Schaefer, I’ve interviewed all of them. By the way, Mr. President, thank you for agreeing to be on my show. I was just as shocked as everyone here is I promise you. How is Tuesday for you? I've got frank rich, but we can bump him. And I mean bump him. I know a guy. Say the word. See who we've got here tonight. General Mosely, air force chief of staff. General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff. They still support Rumsfeld. You guys aren't retired yet, right? Right, they still support Rumsfeld. Look, by the way, I've got a theory about how to handle these retired generals causing all this trouble, don't let them retire. C'mon, we've got a stop loss program, let's use it on these guys. I’ve seen Azini and that crowd on Wolf Blitzer, if you're strong enough to go on one of those pundit shows, you can stand on a bank of computers and order men into battle. C'mon. Jesse Jackson is here. The reverend, I haven’t heard from the reverend in just a little while.  I had him on the show. Very interesting and challenging interview. You can ask him anything, but he's going to say what he wants at the pace that he wants. It's like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor, by the way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.

Justice Scalia's here. May I be the first to say welcome, sir. You look fantastic. How are you? Just talking some Sicilian with my Paissan. John McCain is here. John McCain John McCain. What a maverick. Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you wasn't a salad fork. He could have used a spoon. There's no predicting him. So wonderful to see you coming back into the republican fold. I have a summer house in South Carolina, look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones university. So glad you've seen the light, sir. Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city. Yeah, give it up. Mayor Nagin, I would like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., The chocolate city with a marshmallow center. And a graham cracker crust of corruption. It's a mallow mar is what I'm describing, a seasonal cookie. Joe Wilson is here, the most famous husband since Desi Arnez. And of course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said. I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along his lovely wife, Pat Fitzgerald is not here tonight? Dodged a bullet. And we can't forget man of the hour, new press secretary, Tony Snow. Secret service name, snow job. What a hero, took the second toughest job in government, next to, of course, the ambassador to iraq. Got some big shoes to fill, tony. Scott McClellan could say nothing like nobody else. McClellan, eager to retire. Really felt like he needed to spend more time with Andrew Card's children. Mr. President, I wish you hadn't made the decision to quickly, sir. I was vying for the job. I think I would have made a fabulous press secretary. I have nothing but contempt for these people. I know how to handle these clowns. In fact, sir, I brought along an audition tape and with your indulgence, I'd like to at least give it a shot. So, ladies and gentlemen, my press conference.

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Posted by Scottage at 12:32 AM / | |  

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Officially Over Feeling Sorry for Myself

OK, I'm not permitting myself to feel sorry for myself any more, I'm only going to look forward. I have no idea what exactly caused my site to crash today, but the only question now is how to get it back. I have contacted Blogger, with no response, but that doesn't surprise me.

By digging through every nook and cranny of my computer, I have found 180 of the original 270 posts, with about 25 of them being things I probably wont put back up there, like Thursday 13s and Random 10s. Content will be easy, but I may not be able to find links, so if I had linked to you in an earlier post, it may not be there now. I apologize in advance, but finding the specific links would take forever.

Along those lines, I'm looking for anyone who gets RSS feeds of my site, and might have old RSS feeds. I don't know quite how that works, but if you get an RSS feed of my site and might have old texts, please let me know.

Anyway, I'm trying to look on the bright side, so the nice advantage of this whole thing is that this will give me a chance to go back through some earlier posts, and I'll be building a sort of comprehensive favorites page with those. Also, when I start the rebuilding phase, I'll put a couple of the better post in my marque on the right side, check it out, you'll see some of my best stuff and biggest blunders. I mean, hey, if I can't laugh at myself, who can I laugh at?

A couple people have written me that they were on my blogroll, and I've found an old list of some people on my blogroll, but you will all be added, please post in either of these posts though so I can make sure I've got you.

Also, Pablo will be working on the new template over the next few days, and we could really use any comments, suggestions, errors you see, things you like, or opinions. So please tell me if you have any. Totally appreciated.

OK, that's it for me for now. But I'll be around, so feel free to contact me.



Posted by Scottage at 5:05 PM / | |  

Tragedy Strikes

Well folks, it’s been a horrible day! In a nutshell, all my content has been deleted, including my blogroll, my photos, and so much of my work. It’s heartbreaking to see it all disappear…but tomorrow will be a better day, or so I hope! For those of you that want the story, I’ve placed it down below, but for the rest of you, here’s the aftermath:

It starts with apologies: First, I must apologize to those people who won last night’s raffle. Right now I don’t know who you are, since I have no comments or posts, so I can’t give you your credits. If you post here, I will make sure to send you credits right away, and I’ll put your name up so people see it at my earliest chance. Got to admit there’s a bunch going on now, so that may take a bit.

Also, apologies to anyone in my blogroll. It’s completely gone. So again, if you post up here, I will try to respond to you add you as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, I’m going through everything on my computer, as well as other places I’ve submitted posts, to rebuild as much of my blog as possible. If anyone has any posts copied, or maybe in their temporary internet files, I would sure be appreciative if you would let me know. Any help is truly appreciated! And special help to Pablo, who is helping me restore the site!

Finally, this will not prevent me from running Haveil Havelim this weekend, so stay tuned for that. It may, however, prevent me from finishing the superpower series anytime soon. I will get back to it, though, so don’t go away. And I hope you don’t leave me in general, because I am more than grateful for having such a wonderful community here at Perspectives. I hope to have fresh, interesting comment for you to read very soon, and really appreciate your patience.



Posted by Scottage at 1:44 PM / | |  

This post will remain at the top of my blog for 7 days. Please scroll down to see my latest posts (presently including the latest post in the superpowers series, on who wil be the new superpowers)

I have decided to start up a new raffle for BlogExplosion credits. BE drives guaranteed traffic to your blog, and personally I have received well over 200 comments and 6,000 site views from people who have stopped here while surfing BE!

The raffle will be for 500 BlogExplosion Credits, in 2 installments, and there will also be a second prize of 250 credits, a third of 100 credits, and a additional credits distributed for great comments. Plus, the winner's web site will be featured in seperate post sure to drive some additional traffic. Here's how it works.

First, answer the poll on the right side of my blog, on the optimal number of superpowers. Next, put a comment in the comments section of this post. The comment can be as short as "I voted" with your blog's URL, or it can be as long as a full essay on why you chose the number of superpowers you did. And that's it, you're registered for the raffle.

The raffle will be held one week from tonight, Wednesday April 19th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be contacted by email before the results are posted on my web site. So feel free to vote in the poll and post your comments here. Who knows, maybe you can win 500 BE credits!


Posted by Scottage at 2:59 AM / | |  

The Envelope Please…

I have to say, it was exciting tonight to set up the random number generator to correspond to the 84 person list of people that had responded on any of my posts about superpowers in the world today. And it was very cool when I matched the winning number with the right line on the spreadsheet and found that the winner of 500 BE credits was…

TROUBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (The fans go crazy, there’s chaos, rioting in the streets, and madness, folks, total madness) This blog, named Dubious Wonder, is dedicated single mother of a 12 year old boy, and includes a great header file and stories that you’ll love. Check it out.

Second place went to Omar, who won 250 credits. His blog, Epiac’s place, is excellent blog with consistently current material and some excellent insights.

10 credit prizes were also aworded to Cat, Walker, Beam, Irina, Soccer Dad, CyberCelt, Amy, Shelly, Laura Lohr, and Lisa Renee. All are great sites and deserve a view. I’ve been reading Soccer Dad daily for about 3 months, and he is definitely worth some views. But now that I’m seeing each of them, wow, really good content in these bloggers, so check them out.

As many of you know, my new template has had some sizing issues and challenges. Well, the issues are ongoing, and I’ve pulled out most of my hair over them, but I’ve hired Pablo to help me, and he’s excellent. Going inside of someone else’s code and looking for issues is not easy at all, and he’s doing a great job of it, addressing issue after issue. So if you have isolated issues, I thoroughly recommend working with him. Also, I could use any feedback you can give me on the site as it stands, so I can continue to improve upon it with Pablo’s help.

Thanks to everyone for participating. More posts tomorrow, and the next post in the superpower series should be Friday.


Posted by Scottage at 2:34 AM / | |  

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

New Raffle for 500 BlogExplosion Credits

This post will remain at the top of my blog for 7 days. Please scroll down to see my latest posts (presently including the latest post in the superpowers series, on who wil be the new superpowers)

I have decided to start up a new raffle for BlogExplosion credits. BE drives guaranteed traffic to your blog, and personally I have received well over 200 comments and 6,000 site views from people who have stopped here while surfing BE!

The raffle will be for 500 BlogExplosion Credits, in 2 installments, and there will also be a second prize of 250 credits, a third of 100 credits, and a additional credits distributed for great comments. Plus, the winner's web site will be featured in seperate post sure to drive some additional traffic. Here's how it works.

First, answer the poll on the right side of my blog, on the optimal number of superpowers. Next, put a comment in the comments section of this post. The comment can be as short as "I voted" with your blog's URL, or it can be as long as a full essay on why you chose the number of superpowers you did. And that's it, you're registered for the raffle.

The raffle will be held one week from tonight, Wednesday April 19th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be contacted by email before the results are posted on my web site. So feel free to vote in the poll and post your comments here. Who knows, maybe you can win 500 BE credits!



Posted by Scottage at 11:59 PM / | |  

The Nature of Superpowers and Who May Apply for the Position

I knew that the last two stages of the superpower project were going to be difficult, because there are so many points of view, and all of them are valid. Many views on potential superpowers have been put forth on the comments section of my top post on superpowers, but rarely do I have the opportunity to debate the point out to its necessary end with the writer, and creating this post without debating the validity of some potential superpowers, and hearing a variety of alternative opinions would be as empty as debating Barry Bonds’ accomplishments as a hitter without addressing the steroid issue.

So I enlisted the help of a friend, and a very insightful person who is just beginning to blog, James. I’ve mentioned James here before, and I totally appreciate his help. Within the next 24 hours, he is going to publish a response to this post, stating his sometimes opposing opinions with regards to who is aligned to become a superpower in the near future. We sat down to dinner, discussed specific countries, who belonged as a potential superpower and who didn’t, and who other countries would be aligned with. It was a fascinating dinner!


First, we needed to define what constitutes a superpower. The conclusion we came to is that a superpower is any country which holds both economic and military influence over half the world. That does not mean a superpower is aligned with over half the world, only that the country can sway the actions of a particular country with either their military or economic might. There were some disagreements, such as whether terrorism is part of a country’s military might; I believe terrorism is a military weapon, and thus one aspect of a country’s military might, and that’s what we’ll agree upon for purposes of this article. Otherwise, I think it’s a pretty straightforward definition, but I encourage other opinions.

The United States

The United States is the only true superpower in the world today. It exerts economic influence over every country in the world today including those (maybe especially those) that refuse to trade with the US (or vice versa), like Cuba. The US also exerts military influence over nearly every country in the world today, though there are some countries that are small enough to fly under the radar and not really sense the roll of the United States as the watchdog of the modern world. Additionally, China is only moderately affected by the United States’ military might because they are so far removed from us geographically, and because they have such an insular society.


China is just on the verge of becoming a superpower, if they have no achieved that status yet. China is tremendously strong militarily because of its vast numbers, leaving the perception that, should a war occur, they have enough resources to outlast any country. Their technology is mediocre at best, as they are presently in their own industrial age, and their weapons show it, but this has not diminished their economy, as China has an amazing trade surplus and no debt to other countries. Many countries are in debt to China, and they continue to produce the textiles and other hard goods that lend themselves to industrialization.


Iran’s power is rapidly growing. Iran’s economy is all about oil, and as such the economy is good. Oil is used not only as a commodity, it is used as a weapon, and the threat of restrictions or even destruction of major portions of the world’s oil supply continuously acts as the largest weapon in Iran’s arsenal. Still, the growing threat of a nuclear Iran is becoming a great weapon than the oil reserves, and even the new weaponry showed off at war games two weeks ago threaten a must strong Iran in the military department. Assuming that Iran can increase the number of soldiers it is allied to, either by aligning with other countries around the Middle East or by aligning to pockets of Muslims in countries around the world, then it will become a superpower sooner than later, nukes or no nukes.


India is a very odd case. Economically, they skipped the industrial revolution and moved right into the communication revolution. This has given the country an excellent trade surplus, but a horrible standard of living. Their labor is highly skilled, with good ability to work with technology, but it is doubtful that India would have a technologically adept military, as much of the weaponry hasn’t been built for the absence of industrialization. Nuclear capability is only one piece of the military puzzle, and that puzzle has not been solved yet for India, leaving the country short of superpower status.


While the Russian military technology is scary indeed, the country is falling apart economically, and perhaps socially, and as such we’re not looking at a country who could perform effectively in a war. The economy, and even the government to some extent, is being run by the Russian mafia, where justice is meted out to the highest bidder. The next obvious question then is, will the weapons be sold to the highest bidder as well? Russia remains a wildcard in the whole equation, as they clearly fall short of being a superpower but have the military technology to be a very strong ally to an emerging superpower.

European Union

The European Union has the military might and the economic sway to become a superpower; they just have to speak with one common voice. Thank that’s easy? Guess again! The EU has increasing shown that while enjoying the benefits of alliance, they can rarely agree on anything. On the most crucial issues that face our day to day lives, issues like Iraq, Iran, the Mohammed Cartoons, and Israel, we hear one opinion from whoever is running the EU at that particular moment, and anywhere from 3-6 other opinions from the EU’s members. In this state, it is more convenient to leave the responsibilities of a superpower to a third party country, and share only the rewards or their alliance. As such, certain member nations have a great chance of becoming a superpower than the EU itself.


There many be no better candidate in the world for superpower status than Germany. Time and again, Gernany has show the ability to rapidly deploy an adept military to any situation. They have used the first Iraqi war as an excuse to retool their military, and have abstained from the second Iraqi war, allowing for hording their military might. Their economy is not exactly robust, but their inclusion in the EU allows Germany to hold a great deal of economic influence. Plus, there is still a bitter taste in the mouths of many Germans regarding their treatment after WWI and WWII, leaving many to long for the day when Germany is a world power again. All that holds Germany back from reaching this status is the memory of many Europeans of how they treated power when they have received it in the past.


England has the military power, and England has the economic strength to be a superpower. The British Air Force is as a good as they come, probably only trailing behind the US and maybe Israel, and the country has a long history of being able to muster massive ground forces when need be. Economically, the country retains its roll as a trade partner with a huge percentage of the world, and even those areas that are anti-West maintain trading ties with England. England’s economy was hurt, however, by their inclusion in the EU, and by moving away from the consistently-strong British Pound. Extracting the country from the EU, as a result, will be difficult and costly. Additionally, the massive Muslim population inside of England leaves the country wary of establishing themselves as a superpower against Iran.


To me, it appears that we are destined to have three superpowers: China, Iran, and The United States. As many people mentioned during my other posts on world superpowers, this may or may not be our favorite world status, but it appears to be the status we are going to face in the near future.

Other Notes

Not included in this post was Poppy, who felt there should be three superpowers but one should be him. Sorry Poppy, I didn’t know enough about you to write knowledgably, but I suspect you would be a great superpower.

Sheila is from Australia, and she says the poll is directed to American voters. I’m trying to direct it to Western voters, Sheila, but I should be mentioning that more explicitly. I do mention it in the first post about superpowers, but I haven’t mentioned it since. It’s a great point, and thanks for bringing it out.

Finally, I just today I received an excellent post from Omar on the advancement of China in the world order. This is one section of it:

Communism and Capitalism are being used by China wisely to control the world. Everybody was skeptical about the turnover of Hong Kong and Macao to Communist China. Both economic and financial world centers have continued using Capitalism to promote world commerce and trade. China intelligently maintained the status-quo.

Right now the President of China is visiting the United States. Its first visit was meeting Bill Gates at his private mansion in Seattle, Washington. Symbolically, Microsoft is a technological Powerhouse which can help China to upgrading its IT structure.

I don't think any other country has the growth potential of China, nor the political savvy to become a world Superpower.

Well done, Omar, a lot of food for thought in your comments. I also got this picture from his site.

OK, so one more superpower post down, one final superpower post to go. I hope you’ve been enjoying them so far. The raffle will be held tonight, the last superpower post will be posted Friday, and there are 3 or 4 posts scheduled in between with more upgrades being made to my site almost every hour.

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Posted by Scottage at 11:30 PM / | |  

Bush Worst President in History: Rolling Stone

You know I really wanted to omit the words "Rolling Stone" in the title, because come on, has there ever been a worse president? Isn't it obvious that George W. Bush is the worst president in history?

Members of his cabinet are dropping left and right, his secretary of defense is running for his political life, Bush's approval rating is in the toilette, and even members of his own party are trying to distance themselves from the 2-term president.

But it's more than his politics that are getting George Bush in trouble. He's destroying the world around him. Under his watch, Iran has remained unchecked as it has grown into a massive threat to world peace, oil prices are through the roof, are borders are hardly keeping people out, and the immigrants here are protesting in the streets.

I don't know what can be done about it at this point, but George W. Bush is the worst president in history. And we need to start thinking about damage control!

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Posted by Scottage at 6:21 PM / | |  

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I just found this amazing site called, and it's really well done. If you're into classic rock even one fraction of what I'm into classic rock, this site is a must visit.

The site has made a list of the top 500 songs in classic rock. Then it has added songfacts, biographies, and even guitar tabs for most of the songs and artists. This is good stuff, and add in a couple contests and some rock videos, and you'll be real glad you stopped by. Give it a look.

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Posted by Scottage at 3:32 PM / | |  

Monday, April 17, 2006

Two Superpowers: The Ultimate Solution?

I would think everyone who is reading this blog has some recollection of a world with two superpowers, as The Cold War only ended 16 years ago and consumed the world’s consciousness for nearly 45 years. Without question, it is the most tense of all the superpower statuses possible in the world today. But is it the most stable, the safest? Despite the gut reaction that it can’t be based on that tension, it just may be more stable than any other possible today. So let’s dive right in and see what a two superpower world holds for us today.

The Two Superpower World we just Left Behind

For 45 years, the balance of world power stood on the head of a pin, but it was, for the most part, set in stone. Every country knew clearly whether they were supporters of the United States or of the Soviet Union, or whether they were, in fact, neutral to the entire conflict. Few countries ever switched allegiance, and often an attempt to switch allegiance was met with military force, both pushing for change and pushing for the status quo. Few of the attempts to switch allegiance were successful and the world was relatively stable aside from these small pockets of extreme chaos.

The most famous, and bloodiest, of the battles for allegiance was in Vietnam, where the Soviet and Chinese-backed North Vietnamese struggled to unite the two parts of the country under communism while the US-backed South Vietnamese struggled to maintain their democracy-based half of the country. The US first sent troops in 1955, the conflict really took shape in 1957, and in 1959 the first US serviceman was killed. There is no report on when the first Russian or Chinese serviceman was killed that I know of. What is clear is that in 1973 the US pulled out its support, and in 1976 Vietnam was unified under a communist government.

Clearly, The Soviet Union was the winner of this war. But the war over a relatively weak country in the power play between two superpowers lasted nearly 20 years, during which the balance of power in the world hardly shifted at all. The key was eliminating an enemy presence in the back yard of a superpower. South Vietnam was a US ally in Russia’s neighborhood, and they had to go. The same can be said for the wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan.

But the war never spilled over onto the soil of either superpower, neither superpower nor their closest allies broke down into the type of chaos that accompanies a major conflict, and both superpowers maintained a strong propaganda machine to keep it that way. Chaos only ensued when the propaganda machine began to breakdown, and people demonstrated against the war. And there is a difference between the chaos of war and the chaos of demonstrations against a war. Still, in many ways this chaos led to the US pullout from the region, showing once again that the two superpower system was maintaining stability throughout the world, although pockets of chaos emerged.

The battle that I see as more indicative of the nature of the cold war was the Cuban missile crisis, which is one of dozens of situations where one of these conflicts over a backyard enemy almost erupted. Tensions mounted, and negotiations heightened as The Soviet Union and the US faced off over a little island just off the coast of Florida. But in the 59th minute of 23rd hour a solution was reached a solution which neither side loved but both sides could live with. And the stability was maintained.

The stability was maintained because each side had the ability to destroy the other, completely, with nuclear weapons. At the same time both superpowers knew that, should such an action occur, the other side would have enough time to destroy them as well. And thus both sides were scared to break that stability, and threaten complete world destruction. That simple thought, the concept of mutually assured destruction, kept the world stable for 45 years, in a century that had already seen two world wars. Not bad!

Does That Carry Over Globally?

Actually, the scenario that played out would logically play out in any two superpower scenario. Mutually assured destruction is a fact of life now, and more countries are entering the nuclear club, including North Korea and Iran. And it’s now easier to bring the battle to your enemy, so the fear of total destruction should continue to prevent total chaos, and even to ward off many of the smaller battles that could occur.

Still, it would be the backyard countries that would be most at jeopardy, and for obvious reasons: you don’t want your enemy close enough to spy, to infiltrate, to sabotage, and to easily attack. You want to create as large a safe haven as is possible for yourself.

As such, if Iran does become a superpower, Israel, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia would be targets. Interestingly, if Hamas actually reached an agreement of any nature with Israel, they could become a target. What’s more, in many ways Hamas’ standoff with Israel is a huge measure of security for the Jewish state. Were Hamas to become a negotiating partner with Israel, it would become much more acceptable to bomb the country, as they would not be killing true allies to an Islamic state

If Russia were the superpower again, I’m sure we would be looking at similar controversial countries as we saw in the Cold War. And if China emerged to become a superpower, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and perhaps even Japan would become countries of potential dispute between the superpowers. But the vast majority of the world would probably experience similar tensions and stability as was experienced during the Cold War.

There’s Always a But...

There’s definitely an exception in this theory, and it’s a huge one. If Iran becomes the superpower, and it happens while Ahmadinejad is still president, and if he truly believes that the world’s salvation could be bought about by the destruction of the world, then the two superpower solution becomes very unstable. In this case, Iran would be looking for any excuse to bring about nuclear war, and would never be deterred by the concept of mutually assured destruction.

This would be the scariest scenario by far. A superpower in a two superpower system that wanted to bring about the destruction of the world could essential do whatever he wanted to, continually push the envelope to provoke their enemy into a major war, because the major war is exactly what they want. And with large populations in so many countries, who knows how far Ahmadinejad would push the envelope. Yes, James, it’s true; whenever I talk about Ahmadinejad I froth at the mouth a bit. But it’s with good reason, as he is a huge wildcard in this very important issue.


I think that a two superpower system holds the best possibility of providing maximum stability over a longer period of time. This will be a tense environment to live in, and there will be a few countries that are pockets of war bound chaos. But for the most part the world will be a more stable place to live in. However, should a superpower arise that would benefit from mutually assured destruction, any hoped for stability would be lost.

Other Points

Beaman indicated that he would like two superpowers, but that the two superpowers should be the US and the EU. It’s an interesting point. I tend to think of superpowers as being opposing countries, and I would tend to think that the EU and US will always be allies instead of enemies. What’s more, in the absence of a representative superpower, I suspect that the Islamic communities will always turn to alternative measures to achieve a voice in the world order, namely terrorism. Terrorism is chaos incarnate, and exactly what we need to avoid.

JB wants one superpower, the United States. But, he also wants to create a second superpower, a governing body to regulate the one superpower comprised of all other countries.

One superpower, and that's the USA----but. and it's a big BUT. I would include one caveat about that US superpower status being somewhat regulated to certain ends. remember those Liliputians tying down Gulliver? that's more or less the idea. one US superpower---and the rest of the other countries, if they're smart enough to be united, forming into something weighty enough to sometimes "compel" the tendency of the big brat to listen when listening has global consequences, and not just walk out on things like the Kyoto Protocol.

Now I’m not sure how you would great such a governing board, how different countries would get different levels of power in it, and how you would get countries to even participate, but it seems like a good idea, and perhaps I’ll write on this further at some point (or maybe someone else will pick it up). Great point JB!

Finally, along the same line, MVas calls for no superpowers, and a “United Federation of Countries”. Again, I’m not sure how you go about filling it and making it work, but it’s a great idea, and deserves more attention. Thanks for the out-of-the-box thinking, mvas!

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Posted by Scottage at 4:03 PM / | |  

My Type of Advertisement

From This Circus I Call My Life, and dedicated to my gf, the greatest advertising woman in the world! (could I be biased? naaaah)

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Posted by Scottage at 3:15 PM / | |  

Inspiration of the Week – Katrina Suvivor (Thriver?) Lena Revolta

I left for the holiday weekend with many thoughts of the future on my mind, and included in those thoughts were the direction for my blog. My blog traffic is increasing, and what’s more, the number of really high-quality comments has also increased as well. My thoughts and views are consistently challenged, which I believe means other people’s preconceptions are being challenged as well. I have a new face for the blog that is about to be released, a collaborative project with Matt Urdan on the horizon, and a new presidential campaign to promote, as I hope that somehow the voice of the bloggers can become loud enough united to gain a bit of notice.

And here is the key to me: the blog, I hope, will push people to make a difference. To me, it doesn’t matter if you agree with me or disagree, but making a difference is a great thing, in my view, and the key to improving our world. If we all make a bit of difference, we can rock the world! The day before leaving I found the site Choosing Hope, which concludes with one of my favorite quotes, by Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Words to live by, if you ask me.

Well, I can’t help but notice that as I examine the dangers that face the world today, I don’t spend enough time focusing on the positives that the world has to offer. I have written pieces about Moni (I have an update for a future post) and Zeyad, and I decided this is a great thing. So from now on, I’m going to endeavor to write about a weekly inspiration. Some of these inspirations I will find, on my blog or others, and some I’m hoping you can help me find. I will give 100 BE credits to anyone who submits an Inspiration of the Week that I use. In the meantime, right on to my first inspiration: Lena Revolta.

I met Lena in Philly, where my cousin, who’s a complete mensch, was helping her of a jam. And while she is modest to the point of being self-effacing, the truth is she’s an amazing woman. She is a 37 year old school teacher from New Orleans, teaching challenged kids in one of the worse areas of the city, grades 6-8. She is the daughter of divorced parents; her father lives a few blocks away from her and was the victim of a stroke in early 2005, leaving him wheelchair bound, while Lena’s mother shares time between New Orleans and Massachusetts.

On August 24th 2005, Lena got first word that Katrina could be a big storm. She monitored the storm, and decided on the 26th that it was time to leave. Her father’s nurse had decided to vacate the city, and despite the fact that Lena had never cared for her father since the stroke, she packed him and some clothes in the car and headed to Memphis. When she got to Memphis, her mother called her and suggested that Memphis wasn’t far enough West to avoid the storm. So the two head on to Little Rock, AR, where she rented a room for a couple weeks. Her motel, and seemingly the whole city, was packed with people from New Orleans, people from her childhood who she hadn’t seen in years. Still, she had no resources or government relief, so she knew this was temporary.

During this time, Lena had a friend check out her home and her father’s home. Lena’s home was in very good shape, although it now sports the “blue roof”, a tarp covering what used to be the roof that has evidently become pretty commonplace in New Orleans. Her father’s house was destroyed, a total loss. Lena wanted to return to her home, but Mayor Nagin had indicated people weren’t going to be allowed into the city for as much as 6 months. Lena was paid for a couple weeks of work where she was out of the city, but it was clear that this would not continue indefinitely. Lena tried in vain to get information from the school as to when she needed to return to work, so she ordered a FEMA van for her father to live in and left for Massachusetts until she heard further news.

Lena only just reached her mother’s when she received news that the school expected back on October 3rd to teach. Lena hustled back to New Orleans, but could only get back by the 5th, so she was docked 2 days of vacation. Upon arrival, she found no FEMA van for her father, so she took him in; she’s fortunate to have good friends who were willing to build a ramp so that Lena’s apartment could be wheelchair accessible. Many schools did not open, so the kids left in the city went to any school they could get to, resulting in classes with children Lena has never met before. Certainly, these were far from optimal conditions.

But Lena maintains a positive perspective. She feels fortunate to have only lost her roof in the storm, and that her closest family and friends are safe. She filled her van up with the majority of her clothes, and donated them to the other teachers who had lost so much, doesn’t have much herself. She received the insurance on her father’s home, and combined with some of her own money she purchased a house for her father closer to her home, where she can help take care of him. And last week, 7 months after her request, she received her FEMA van.

I asked her what she thought of Mayor Nagin, and she gave a great response: “I voted for Nagin, hew was better than most until Katrina. And even when he was going crazy, he was at wits end, I still would have voted for him. Until that ‘Chocolate City’ comment. I was so embarrassed, embarrassed at the looting, at everything, it just lasted so long, people should have been there faster, and it just got worse, he let it get worse…”

When I asked about taking care of her father for so long, she indicated the car was very difficult for her father, that it hurt him to be sitting up in the car for so long, but there was no assistance offered, or asked for, so she took it upon herself to get her father out of the area. And when I suggested that she acts like she did nothing special, she said “I just did what I had to do. What else could I do?” That, folks, is my inspiration of the week!

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Posted by Scottage at 2:55 AM / | |