Friday, August 18, 2006

Live Radio Show Tonight on Big Dawg Radio! Plus 2 Raffles

Hi all!  I just wanted to post a quick reminder that tonight at 9pm eastern I will be hosting another edition of Big Dawg Radio.  I have been building up my request list, so there will a greater variety of songs to choose from, and hopefully the show will just get better and better.  Of course, though, it’s you, the listeners who make it better, so please tune in!

In an effort to cater to more listeners, I will be in two chat rooms tonight, one on BlogExplosion and one on BlogMad.  So if you’re a blogger, or even if you aren’t, make sure you check out the rooms, give some feedback, requests some songs, and become part of the fun.   It’s like a virtual party on a Friday night, and who doesn’t like a party?

I will be giving away BlogExplosion and BlogMad credits throughout the night, including two raffles of 500 credits each, so make sure you put a comment under this post to be registered.  You can also register by responding to my post on the most influential artists in modern music.  I’ll be reading the best responses over the air in the coming weeks.

So come hang out with the Big Dawg, on Big Dawg Radio, tonight starting at 9 pm EST.  And don’t forget to check out the updated request lists to see a whole new selection of tunes you can choose from.  It should be a great time, and I hope to see you there.  AWOOOOOF!!!


Posted by Scottage at 4:45 PM / | |  

A Hezbollah Victory? The Chess Match Continues

Regular readers of my blog know that I fashion myself a student of Middle Eastern politics. I try to look not only at the individual events which unfold in the Middle East, but at the big picture, the broader implications of these events.  

The conflict between Hezbollah and Israel couldn’t have broader implications that may affect every aspect of life in the West. If this battle constitutes a victory by the Islamic world over the West, it could be a very important move in a long-term chess match that the West has not been wining of late.  Only by understanding the end game can we work to avoid a broader conflict between the West and Middle East.

The Goals of Islamic Extremist Leaders

Islamic extremists know that, for the most part, they are behind the West technologically.  If a war would occur, the West holds the military hardware to beat the Middle East time and again, or so the world believes.  But the world also knows that the Islamic nations have the power of both numbers and conviction, a dangerous combination if the massive Islamic population can be mobilized.  

Thus, the key for Islamic leaders is to mobilize this population against the West. This is no easy task. The leaders we are speaking of are extremists, but the populations they are trying to mobilize are, for the most part, more moderate.  Many of these people would prefer peace, and hold dear the same values that are shared by most believers in the Judeo-Christian ethic.  

Many, maybe most, want to avoid strife at all costs. But most of these people feel that Islamic people have been treated as second-class citizens for decades, maybe centuries, and this is the sentiment these leaders are trying to play upon.

Keys to Islamic Extremist Success

To mobilize this massive population, three hurdles must be overcome: first, the leader must raise the indignation of the general Muslim population; second, the Islamic people need to be convinced that the leader has the ability to take on the West; and third, the leader must be able to inflict total destruction of necessary.

The Leaders

At present, a few Muslim extremist leaders are attempting to further the conflict with the conflict with the West, in my opinion, most notably Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Basher al-Assad of Syria, and Osama bin Laden of Al-Qaeda.  There are other leaders in the Middle East who are also furthering this cause, as well as Islamic leaders throughout the world.  

As each goal stated above is, to any extent, accomplished, other Islamic leaders jump on the bandwagon.  This is a dangerous trend, but a trend we have witnessed of late.  The tipping occurs when more moderate regimes, like those in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt jump on the bandwagon as well.

Indignation of the Islamic People, and the Mohammed Cartoons

The first goal, the ability to raise the indignation of the general Islamic population, was proven during the Mohammed Cartoon riots. It has been shown many times over that while the issue is real and personal for many Islamic people, the timing of the riots was, in fact, contrived. I believe these were a test run for inciting a greater controversy down the road, and proof of the ability to mobilize the greater Muslim populations.

This was, in fact, the moving of a pawn to threaten a greater opponent piece.  Perhaps the danger was not so much the threat of the riots themselves, but proving that the greater Western piece was vulnerable to the Islamic pawn. However you look at it, it proved to the Muslim world that the Islamic people could be incited, en masse, against the West.

Military Superiority and South Lebanon

Until now, the second goal, proving the ability to beat the East in armed conflict, has been unobtainable.  In Iraq, the fundamentalist Islamic regime had been somewhat successful against the East, and that has raised Islamic hopes, but they have not successful enough to prove any real military superiority.

That changed with the apparent victory in South Lebanon.  The argument is being made in the media that Israel did win this conflict by pushing Hezbollah back and preventing missile attacks in Haifa, but that argument is weak at best. The US points to the use of the greater weaponry of Iran and Syria while Israel did not get military support from the West, but this falls on deaf ears in the Middle East.

As Hezbollah now moves quickly to rebuild the homes and lives of the South Lebanese people, they are also working to recapture the hearts of the Islamic people, showing they are not just about warfare, but can also be about a better quality of life.  Islam has just taken a major piece from the West, maybe a rook or knight.  And with such a win, confidence grows.


If the Islamic extremist leaders are able to win over some of the more moderate nations, the balance of power in the world will shift rapidly, and this is the big fear. Many thought these countries would rush to defend the innocent Lebanese people caught in the middle of the latest conflict, but these countries stayed put.  The big question is whether they will remain on the sidelines of this growing conflict.

The number of terrorist attempts has escalated of late, as the Islamic extremists try to fortify the view of military superiority over the West.  Iran is close, most experts say, to having a nuclear weapon, which would accomplish the third goal and even further instill confidence in the Islamic regimes.  And the Middle Eastern control of the oil supply has called into question the loyalty of Russia and China to the West.

There are many questions as to what would occur should Islamic extremists claim the role of the third world super-power. Certainly, the days of treating Muslims as second-class citizens may soon be over, and thankfully, regardless of whether Islam claims this role. But to prevent the type of Cold War mentality that dominated the 20th century, the West needs to examine the chess board, and begin predicting moves rather than reacting to them.

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Posted by Scottage at 8:34 AM / | |  

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Most Influential Modern Musical Performers: You Tell Me!

I was in Toronto this weekend, and heard a radio show that, along with some comments on my site, sparked my curiosity.  The show was counting down the 40 most influential acts in classic rock.  They ended off on #21, Bob Marley, who is not a classic rock and roll act, and in my mind his influence on classic R&R is far higher than #21. Santana was #40; John Lennon was in the 30s, though I suspect the Beatles will be higher.

Similarly, on my site this past week I heard a number of people speak to the influence country musicians have had on rock & roll. Another person was speaking to me on the influence of some Jazz musicians.  And of course, R&B and R&R have been closely entwined for years, with artists on each side of the music influencing the others on a regular basis.

So the question I have is this: who do you think is the most influential modern artists? Name up to three modern artists that you think have really influenced music today. These artists can be country, R&R, R&B, funk, jazz, punk, rap, metal, pretty much whoever you think has really played a role in shaping modern music. To narrow it a bit, the artist should be from the 1950s or later.  

There are obviously many greats to choose from. I sort of suspect no list is complete without the Beatles.  To me, Eric Clapton moved the blues into the modern era and transformed it to a style that would appeal to a younger generation. And what would music be like today if we hadn’t had Led Zeppelin developing harder rock? Of course, this still leaves out the likes of Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Buddy Guy, the Ramones, the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, and hundreds of others!

So what three modern musical acts do you think have really influenced modern music, and why? I will read responses over the air on my Friday night radio show on Big Dawg, I’ll give credits and maybe even a couple disks to really good responses, and I’ll focus on one of these artists each week. So let me know who you think really influenced music today, and as time goes on we’ll also develop a poll where people can vote for their favorites.


Posted by Scottage at 11:17 AM / | |  

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cease Fire between Israel and Hezbollah Holds…For Now

Don’t get me wrong, I am more than hopeful that the cease fire that both sides are sticking to today will become permanent.  Yet, some how I suspect that we have not seen the end of this conflict, and this feeling primarily is derived from the statements of leaders on both sides of the conflict.

On Hezbollah’s side, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, said "We are today before a strategic, historic victory, without exaggeration." He also claimed that the destruction of South Lebanon by Israel was a result of Israel’s “impotency”, and that now was not the time to demilitarize Hezbollah. Perhaps the last statement is the most important to me.

And more fundamentalist Muslims are taking this as an unreserved victory against Israel as well. Reports say that over 50 babies have been named after the Sheik in the past week, and Hamas was so inspired by the victory that they have notched two more kidnappings to their belt, this time Fox News journalists who were kidnapped from Gaza City.

Plus, Hamas has indicated that, from this point on, they are going to using the tactics that were so successful for Hezbollah in this conflict, intensifying missile attacks and making small infiltrations into Israel.  "The accent will be on better equipment and training," an official said. "We expect to see anti-tank missiles, roadside bombs and greater use of tunnels to infiltrate Israel."

On the flip side, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has indicated that the cease fire agreement has eliminated the “state within a state”, or the virtual ruling of South Lebanon by Hezbollah which allowed them to fire rockets into Israel.  Olmert has said the agreement will prevent rockets from being fired into Israel, but based on the words of Nasrallah, that seems doubtful.

The agreement calls for a large peace-keeping force, consisting of both Lebanese soldiers and UN soldiers, to be inserted between the two sides, but these soldiers will not arrive on the scene for 72 more hours.  Already a few small skirmishes have broken out in that time, as Israeli soldiers have felt threatened by oncoming Hezbollah guerillas.  Whether all-out war will break out in those 72 hours is a larger question.

I am a huge believer in peace, and I pray for it every day, so I have to be hopeful that there is a cease fire agreement in place.  But I can’t help but worry that this conflict is not over yet.  Perhaps it needs to continue for Israel to maintain its existence. But either way, I don’t think we’ve seen the end of Hezbollah’s reign of terror inside the Israeli borders.

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Posted by Scottage at 3:30 PM / | |  

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My Weekend Housekeeping

Hi all.  Hope you’re having a great weekend.  There are good things to report here at the Nomad, so let’s get right to it.

First off, I have a new roommate!  I am very proud to introduce you to the lovely Maldita, Bratinella.  Brat is a 24 year old Filipina, and her sexy attitude pervades everything she writes.  She just redid her blog, so if you haven’t seen it, you must take a look.  Plus, her posts are always good for a smile, so make sure you take a look at her site by clicking the link on the left.

On Friday night I had my second radio show with Big Dawg Radio, and it was a total blast. Much thanks to all the listeners who made it a great show, and it really was all of your doing, as I only played two songs, the first two songs, that were not requests.  And special thanks to Gidget Bones, who did great work technically in making the show a reality.

During the show, I gave away many credits for both BlogExplosion and BlogMad, two excellent web sites for increasing blog traffic, and the giveaways included two 500 credit raffles. I am pleased to announce that Loquacious Curmudgeon and SomeGirl were our grand prize winners.  Both have excellent sites, feel free to give them a look as well, it will be time well spent.

Finally, I did my first guest post today, and it is live at Voicing My Thoughts, an excellent blog by Noi Rocker, a cool blogger from Singapore.  The post is on how my blog got its name, and speaks to the need to look at issues from a variety of different points of view.  I think it is a decent post, and if you’re interested in why I blog and my goals for this blog, check it out.

Anyway, that’s the scoop for today.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend, and I’ll be back with a serious post tomorrow.  Take it easy, and keep listening to the Big Dawg!  Wooooof!


Posted by Scottage at 1:05 AM / | |