Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Al Gore to run for Prez, again, and again? Maybe.

In an interview with MSNBC's Don Imus, James Carville likened running for president with sex, saying "You don’t do it once and forget about it. You want to do it again." So, it looks like Carville believes Al Gore will run for Prez. Again! In 2008! Not that he will necessarily endorse him, because Carville's sympathies lie with Madame Clinton, it seems. And although Gore hasn't actually declared he intends to run, he hasn't totally denied it either; which means he probably will, in spite of Gore spokesperson Kalee Kreider's statement that “Obviously, he appreciates the sentiment from folks who are interested in this, but really, his efforts are focused on global warming.” So, does that mean that now Gore happens to be the 'ultimate authority' on global warming (what with his 2 Oscar nods for "An Inconvenient Truth"!!), he is going to eschew all his prior political and presidential aspirations to focus on what? eliminating global warming?

There are people urging him to run, however, and several on-line petitions (that I know of), including, that are collecting signatures and comments like the following:

"You, dear President Gore,are the compassionate, visionary individual with oceans of honesty, skies of mental fortitude, to be our finest president ever! You are the one!"

"Oceans of honesty." ? Hmmm. Isn't this the man who claimed to have created the Internet? Here's a comprehensive list of many of his other fabrications and the truth behind those lies. How quickly people forget! All this veneration (and his new found fame in la-la land) must certainly be fanning his tremendous ego, though, and with so many adoring fans begging him to seek the Democratic nomination, why wouldn't he run? He'll probably wait until all the other candidates snipe each other out of the running, and then come riding in as the savior of the land.

But, you have to wonder what masochistic aspect of Gore's personality would tempt him to try for the presidency, yet again, after losses in both 1988 and 2000. Third time lucky? He's a Hollywood star now, so if Reagan could do it, so can he? He deserves it because, after all, the 2000 election was "stolen" from him?

Frankly, I have no idea why anyone would aspire to become President in this day and age, but power (like fame and fortune) is a drug, and so you will always find people willing to sacrifice everything for it including, oftentimes, their souls.

P.S. 3/1/07- Jimmy Carter says he would endorse Al Gore. Does this tell you something?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

New show, new town

Well, I just arrived and in my new digs, so it might be a day or two before I can get to any posts; although I do have a few half written.

It always takes a few days to acclimate, to make the place my own which, for 7 weeks, is well worth the effort. It usually entails several bottles of heavy-duty cleanser, several sponges and a slew of paper towels. Actors have a tendency to be piggies (oops), particularly when they know the place is temporary. And the cleanup crew, between casts, never does a very good job. I always like to leave the place cleaner than how I found it, which isn't that hard to do, considering.

The apartment they gave me is a small, functional, downtown studio, a few blocks from the theatre. So we can walk there, which is great, but I noticed I might have some roomies, of the insect kind, which is not so great. I have roomed with roachies before and it is not a pleasant prospect. I already found one, on its back thankfully, in the closet. So tomorrow I'll spray a can of insecticide before I go out and buy some boric acid. Would that be considered overkill? Not sure if it will help, because I believe that roaches are the terrorists of the insect world: nasty and extremely hard to eradicate. One apartment I was provided with, several shows ago, was riddled with roaches and, in spite of the piles of boric acid, they still came out in droves. I still shudder at the memory.

Actor housing is always a crap shoot, you never know what you are going to get. The Union specifies that housing must be supplied to all out-of-town actors, but it doesn't dictate how nice the place has to be. And believe me, I have lived in some doozies. At least I have cable (which isn't always the case), and the city has wireless, so I don't have to deal with dial-up (yippee), but the electrical outlets are all 2-prong, which presents an interesting challenge for all my 3-prong machines, including the computer. Guess I have more than boric acid to purchase tomorrow.

Well, I better get off before the battery dies. Until later. Blessings to all.

UPDATE 2/27/07:

Turns out the wireless internet worked only Sunday night, so it's back to dial-up.

Friday, February 23, 2007

UPDATE: Egyptian blogger, 'Kareem Amer', sentenced to a 4 year jail term

Another strike against free speech, and one more example of Islamic justice at its finest. A while back I wrote a short post about an Egyptian blogger who had been jailed for writing a blog critical of President Hosni Mubarak and Islam. Well, the verdict is in. According to Reporters Without Borders, Egyptian courts sentenced the young blogger, Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman (also spelled Soliman and aka Kareem Amer, his blog name) to 4 years in jail! Three for "inciting hatred of Islam" and one for being critical of Mubarak.

Reporters Sans Frontieres slammed the Egyptian government calling the sentence “... a disgrace,” adding that it was "Almost three years ago to the day, President Mubarak promised to abolish prison sentences for press offences. Suleiman’s conviction and sentence is a message of intimidation to the rest of the Egyptian blogosphere, which had emerged in recent years as an effective bulwark against the regime’s authoritarian excesses.”

Promises mean nothing in repressive societies. Never have, never will. There is far too much at stake for those in power.

So, once again, censorship in its most hideous form, rears its ugly head.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

And the fight has just begun: Hillary ditched by Hollywood elite

With a little less than 2 years 'til the next presidential election, it seems the political in-fighting has already begun. It's interesting to note which Party started the verbal caterwauling, and which potential candidates have materialized as the prize fighters. Apparently, Madame Clinton is "furious" that so many of Hollywood's major players are jumping on the Barack bandwagon, leaving her in the proverbial dust. Dreamworks big wigs, David Geffen, Jeff Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, hosted a private fundraising event on Tuesday, that grossed 1.3 million smackers, including checks from the likes of George Clooney, Barb Streisand and Eddie Murphy. And to add insult to injury, Geffen (in a Maureen Dowd N.Y. Times column) criticised Miss Thang and hubby Bill, saying that while "everybody in politics lies," the Clintons "do it with such ease, it’s troubling." Geffen, a Clinton-lover in the past, told Dowd that he feels the Republicans believe Hillary would be the "easiest to defeat", and that Bill, with his checkered past, would "pull focus", adding that former Prez Clinton was a “reckless guy...who gave his enemies a lot of ammunition to hurt him and to distract the country." Then, in response to whether Obama "could stand up to Clinton Inc.", Geffen replied, "I hope so, because that machine is going to be very unpleasant and unattractive and effective”. And he's right. We all know, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." And it's already beginning.

The Clinton campaign actually had the audacity to ask Obama to denounce Geffen's remarks, and return the portion of the money (from the fundraiser) that Geffen had donated to his campaign. Obama declined, and rightfully so, saying "It's not clear to me why I'd be apologizing for someone else's remark." And though Obama declared, "I'm just going to stay focused on my campaign and I'm going to run a positive campaign about the issues that affect the people in our country," someone in Clinton's camp fired back, “While Senator Obama was denouncing slash-and-burn politics yesterday, his campaign’s finance chair was viciously and personally attacking Senator Clinton and her husband.” To which Obama spokesman, Bill Burton, responded that he found it “ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen.......raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln Bedroom.”

So, it appears, Hollywood's love affair with the Clintons has suddenly turned sour. After years of being fawned over, both B and H are no longer the politicians du jour. Proof of Hollywood's fickle nature. I can understand how betrayed La-Hillary feels. Being ditched at the altar must be devastating for someone who has had her eyes set on the White House from way before her husband was even Prez. But to place so much importance on the support and acceptance of entertainment industry elites is terribly shallow and, frankly, rather stupid.

It's too bad political campaigning can't rise above the usual puerile, negative antics and that the candidates are unable to conduct themselves with civility and grace. But I suppose it goes with the territory.

So, the next few years are destined to be pretty darn ugly and I, for one, am going to try my darnedest to tune it all out. If that's at all possible. Thank goodness for remote controls!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The most dangerous travel destinations

Your friendly Cote D'Ivoirian tour guide.

For all you thrill-seekers out there, looking for excitement and adventure, has come up with a list of the top, most dangerous destinations for both work and play. Forbes compiled the list by asking several risk consultancy firms to assess the dangers based on various factors ranging from crime to civil unrest. Though the list is by no means comprehensive, it does rate the top 13 highest risk destinations in the world. The U.S. State Department, however, lists 31 countries that they recommend you avoid completely, including the Philippines, Colombia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Most in Forbes' top 13 are engaged in some kind of violent conflict, but several are listed merely for their flagrant criminality and wild-west lawlessness. Some countries have the ignominious honor of being a combination of both.

In response to the ever-increasing dangers worldwide, risk consultancy companies and security contractors have been popping up all over the place, and they're making quite a hefty profit. Times they-are-a-changin' it seems, and so have the targets. According to the Forbes article, terrorists (and criminals) are now targeting what are classified as "soft targets--unprotected tourists, commuters and other civilians." With increased security at "embassies, government buildings and airlines" (formerly the prime targets) they have now turned their sights to these "soft" targets. More bang for their buck, apparently. So, if you do choose to head out for any of the following, do so at your own risk or hire a rent-a-security guy and/or pray!

Democratic Republic of Congo
C'ote D'Ivoire (also host to all all those 'Nigerian' scam artists, who have sent me 4 more emails since my post on that subject)
Sri Lanka

Are the lefties finally seeing the light?

Interesting post (and links to other blogs) on Nick Cohen, well-known Brit leftist columnist who seems to have changed some of his opinions re. Iraq and the war on terrorism.

Blazing Cat Fur: Aaronovitch on Nick Cohen, and a Related Matter

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lions and Tigers and BOARS, oh my!! Muslims vs Chinese Year of the Pig

Happy New Year! Chinese, that is.

Considered to be the most important of all traditional holidays in China, the Chinese New Year (aka Lunar New Year) is celebrated worldwide in most every city with a substantial Chinese community.

Today happens to mark the beginning of the very auspicious Year of the Pig (aka Boar). Returning after a 12 year hiatus, the pig, a symbol of good luck, is believed to bring prosperity and good fortune to all; that is, all but our Muslim friends who find piggies abhorrent. So, in deference to those feelings of ill will towards the poor, oft maligned porker, the Chinese government mandated all things piggish to be banned from the upcoming festivities. As a result, the major state-run TV network, China Central Television (CCTV), ordered a ban on all ads containing any references, whatsoever, to pigs, and so the star of the show has ended up on the proverbial 'cutting room floor'. Ad agencies scrambled , last minute, to comply. Quite a costly endeavour, considering most of the commercials were already in the can. One such ad, that was scrapped (from Nestle SA), featured a smiling cartoon pig along with the message "Happy new pig year". Harmless enough, one would think, but not so.

And major bad luck for companies like Tenlow. Try coming up with something non-porkish for a company that manufactures pork snacks. Brand manager Wu Ying claims her company's ads are positive and that the pig's "....plumpness means prosperity." But tough luck, so it seems. The Chinese government claims the ban was implemented "to avoid conflicts with ethnic minorities." They wanted to make sure they did not offend Islamic sensibilities, given their porcine aversion. In other words, they don't want to ruffle the feathers of the 20 million or so Muslims living in China.

It's all very nice, the Chinese government's attempts to project an image of tolerance, but since when have they ever concerned themselves with the protection of religious and ethnic minorities and their inherent rights? I'm not so sure the Falun Gong would agree with that statement. And what about the Buddhists in Tibet? And are they really being sensitive to the feelings of a religious minority? Or running scared, like the rest of the world, what with an Islamist population of 2% scattered throughout their land, and no idea how they might react to what could and would be considered a personal, religious affront. However, I think the word 'conflict" is key. Muslims in communities throughout the world have shown us, in no uncertain terms, what little it takes to set them off , how easily they are offended, and by things they have no right to be offended by. The ensuing violence is something most countries are trying to avoid, so they placate them through appeasement. What's the Year of the Pig without some pigs? Occasionally you find some courageous ones who refuse to kowtow to such insanity. The imam of the Taipei Grand Mosque lodged a formal complaint with Taiwan's foreign minister after receiving from him a Chinese New Year greeting card showing four pigs. Thankfully, the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry defended the Minister's right to send the card, citing cultural not religious tradition.

Now to be fair, pigs are pigs and there are some very sound health reasons why it's best to avoid pork. And Islam is not the only religion that forbids it. Judaism also considers pork to be unclean. There are references to that in both the Bible and the Koran, but the fundamental difference between the Jews and the Muslims, is that the Jews are not offended by mere images of pigs. Owning a Piggy Bank or watching "Babe" on TV is not verboten. Being called a "pig", though not pleasant, would not throw them into paroxysms of rage. And interestingly enough, according to Omar Ahmad (director of the American Muslim Outreach and Educational Group in the Bay Area), although the eating of pork is considered taboo, nothing in the Koran actually prohibits the displaying of pigs. He also commented that "When governments make a decision about what Muslims want and don't talk to Muslims, they come up with something completely ridiculous, and here's what we've got." That's nice to know, however, many Muslims have made it perfectly clear they find images of pigs offensive, and in China many said they were very happy with the ban.

The problem with continuing on this PC path, is that the more you cater to their extremely unreasonable and unwarranted hyper-sensitivity to all things religious, their demands and expectations will only increase proportionately. And then what do we have? They need to become much more tolerant, if they expect us to tolerate them.

Photo credits: and Louisa Lim, NPR

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Belarus, bastion of religious intolerance: 10 Americans ordered to leave

Belarus sounds like a dandy place to visit. Well known for its religious intolerance and other grievous human rights violations, and headed by Alexander Lukashenko (#14 on Parade's 20 Worst Dictators), I'm not sure why anyone would want to travel to the former Soviet Republic, considering all the rules and regulations imposed on visitors, but travel they do.

10 Americans were forced to leave the country, Friday, after being threatened with deportation for violating certain religious laws. Apparently singing religious songs is deemed subversive enough an action to warrant deportation, but that's exactly what happened; although according to Oleg Slepchenko, Interior Ministry spokesman, the Americans chose to leave "voluntarily" rather than be officially tossed out. Guests of an evangelical Protestant Church in Mogilev, the Americans arrived in Belarus on February 5th and were supposedly participating in conversational English seminars, until a police raid discovered [gasp] bibles, and instead of conversation [double gasp] song, of the religious type. They had been fined and cautioned not to engage in further illegal religious activities on another occasion, but chose to "violate" the law, once again.

Even though the Russian Orthodox Church is the dominant (and favored) religion in Belarus, Lukashenko signed a law, in October 2002, requiring all religious groups and organizations (including the Russian Orthodox) to re-register with the government. Most chose to do so, because unregistered religious groups are not legally allowed to gather for religious purposes. Many of those groups continue to meet, in spite of the potential for legal action.

Bella Belarus!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Trouble in Paradise: Food shortages in the socialistic republic of Venezuela!

I have been very blessed to have travelled extensively throughout my life, and I've explored some truly incredible places. But from all the countries I have lived in and visited, one journey stands out from all the rest: an extremely enlightening, eye-opening sojourn in Havana, Cuba in the mid '80s. My Dad happened to be stationed there, for several years, with the U.S. Interests Section. Prior to that, I was totally unaware there were even officials with the State Department working in Cuba, considering the lack of formal diplomatic relations between the 2 countries but, surprisingly, the U.S. has had representatives there since May, 1977. Cuba, correspondingly, has an Interests Section under the protection of the Swiss Embassy in Washington D.C., although in the mid '80s it was housed in the Czech Embassy.

As the daughter of a U.S. Diplomat, I was allowed to visit my parents there, so when the opportunity presented itself, off I went. My trip was rather short, a mere 15 days, but even after some 20 or so odd years, certain stark observations have remained forever etched in my memory:

1. The first thing that struck me, upon arrival, was the amount of gun-toting military personnel at the airport, and everywhere else for that matter. I can't be sure this still remains the case, but it was pre-9/11 and all the security precautions that have sadly become a necessity these days, were not prevalent in those, so the presence of so many uniform-clad men was a rather ominous sight.

2. The paranoia that is part of the Cubano's daily life was clearly evident, and there was a constant, palpable sense of fear. I recall chatting with several young men in a secluded area of a bookstore, one day. I don't remember the conversation, per se, but what I do vividly recollect was the panic in their faces when someone wandered into our section of the store; without another word, they turned away and quickly exited the premises. The reason: Cuba has a system of neighborhood snitches called Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), so people are very careful not to associate with foreigners. There's a lot at stake if they are reported.

3. Driving around Havana was like stepping into a time warp, and I don't think much has changed since. The once beautiful buildings were dilapidated and dirty, and other than a few new cars that were imported from Iron Curtain countries, the majority of the vehicles were circa 1940s to '50s. The only areas and buildings of Havana they bothered to maintain, in somewhat decent condition, were those populated by tourists. In spite of Castro's promise to eradicate poverty, most Cubans lived (and continue to do so) in abject poverty.

Dilapidated building in Havana, Cuba

4. The lack of available food was a major problem then and now. There were Diplo-mercados (exclusive Supermarkets for members of the Diplomatic Corps, who had to pay in U.S. dollars, by the way) that were sufficiently stocked (though with nothing too exciting), but the local markets were often bare, a few tins from the Soviet Union, Canada or Panama gracing the mostly empty shelves. Trying to find fresh veggies (other than potatoes) was well-nigh impossible, which was not very pleasant for this vegetarian. Meat, however, was plentiful for the foreigners, but rationed for the Cuban people who were allowed to purchase it once a week. Most other food items were also rationed, if you could even find them. Free education and medical care do not a stomach feed.

Empty market in Havana, Cuba

So it was with great interest that I read an article in the Washington Post, about the problems Venezuela is currently having with food supplies. According to the article, meat and sugar are very scarce now, and other staples are hard to come by. I've talked about how Chavez seems destined to drag Venezuela down the same miserable path that Castro did with Cuba, and I find it fascinating that they're already having food distribution problems; although the country did begin having sporadic food shortages commencing in 2003, after Chavez started regulating prices on 400 different products from milk to coffee. His rationale for fixing prices on those items, was to counter inflation and protect the poor, but what it has obviously caused is greater hardship for everyone, including 'the poor' that he claims he is trying to protect. And instead of curbing inflation, it is now at a hefty 78 percent, in an oil-rich country to boot. Food prices have also increased substantially, and the problem distributors are having, is that the actual cost of food far surpasses the prices the government has set for said items. Of course, the government is quick to deny any inherent problems with price-fixing.

Supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela

And reminiscent of Cuba's CDR (snitch system) the Venezuelan government has created a toll-free number for people to "denounce the hoarders and speculators". According to the Information Ministry,"The weight of the law will be felt, and we demand punishment."

It's only going to get worse!

Click here for more information on the real Cuba. And another Cuban blog.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Chavez's best buddies

Was checking out Caracas Chronicles today, and found a few interesting quotes that Chavez has made about certain individuals that he seems quite taken with. In light of Parade's recent list of the world's 20 worst dictators, it's quite telling that most ranked in the top 20, at least at some point in time. I'm wondering how long it will take before Chavez, himself, makes it to that list!

Hugo's best buds:

"...a friend and brother."-Chávez on Qaddafi (ranked #9)

"I am only a soldier in this battle. Fidel is our president. If we had to name a president of the world with enough powers to set it right, it would be Fidel. I believe in one decade he could set the world right."-Chávez on Fidel Castro (ranked #9 in 2004)

"We have the same political vision." Chavez on Bashar Al-Assad. (ranked #10)

"Here, I've got a new friend and together we'll form a team, a go-ahead team. I thank you, Alexander, for solidarity and we've come here to demonstrate our solidarity."-Chávez on Lukashenko (ranked # 14)

"You are and always will be a true freedom warrior."-Chávez on Mugabe (ranked #7)

"....good friends." Chavez on Putin (ranked #20)

"...he's a brother..." -Chávez on Saddam (ranked #3 in 2003)

Chavez salutes the "solidarity" between "friendly nations" specifically, Algeria, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea. "Socialism survives ... in North Korea which, although isolated and alone, has achieved a strong economy." (ranked #2)

And last but certainly not least, we have Ahmadinejad. And although he, personally, did not make the ranks, Iran's Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, did.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The World's 20 Worst Dictators

In case you missed it, here's Parade's annual list of the world's 20 worst dictators, culled in part from reports from the following organizations: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

Of the more than 70 countries designated as being ruled by dictators, the following leaders were considered the 20 worst. Some have retained their rank, some have shifted position and some were removed. It was decided not to list Fidel Castro (Cuba), who was ranked number 15 in 2006, after he stepped aside on July 31, 2006 and his brother Raul took over; or Saparmurat Niyazov (Turkmenistan) who died in December, 2006. And joining the ranks, this year are Hosni Mubarak (Egypt) and Vladimir Putin (Russia) along with a few other newcomers. For more details on the reasons why they were chosen click here. The list was researched and compiled by Contributing Editor of Parade, David Wallechinsky.

And the winners are:

1. Omar al-Bashir (Sudan) in power since 1989; (#1 in '06)
2. Kim Jong-Il (N. Korea) in power since 1994; (#2 in '06)
3. Sayyid Ali Khamenei (Iran) in power since 1989; (#9 in '06)
4. Hu Jinatao (China) in power since 2002; (#6 in '06)
5. King Abdullah (Saudi Arabia) in power since 1995; (#7 in '06)
6. Than Shwe (Burma aka Myanmar) in power since 1992; (#3 in '06)
7. Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) in power since 1980; (#4 in '06)
8. Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan) in power since 1989; (#5 in '06)
9. Muammar al-Qaddafi (Libya) in power since 1969; (#11 in '06)
10. Bashar al-Assad (Syria) in power since 2000; (#16 in '06)
Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Equatorial Guinea) in power since 1979; (#10 in '06)
12. King Mswati III (Swaziland) in power since 1986; (#12 in '06)
13. Isaias Afewerki (Eritrea) in power since 1991; (#13 in '06)
14. Aleksandr Lukashenko (Belarus) in power since 1994; (#14 in '06)
15. Pervez Musharraf (Pakistan) in power since 1999; (#17 in '06)
16. Choummaly Sayasone (Laos) in power since 2006; (ranked in '06)
17. Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia) in power since 1995; (#18 in '06)
18. Hosni Mubarak (Egypt) in power since 1981; (not ranked in '06)
19. Paul Biya (Cameroon) in power since 1982; (not ranked in '06)
20. Vladimir Putin (Russia) in power since 1999; (not ranked in '06)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Liberal hatred, hubris and paranoid ad hominem attacks - ad nauseum

Well, well. What a hoot! I had no idea there were people out there trolling for Republicans, neo-cons, non-liberals and the likes. My blog was discovered by one such person in a google search for "anti-semit" (sic), which led me to the following forum: Democratic Warrior.

My post equating anti-semitism with anti-Israel rhetoric was linked to the following thread: 'Revelations Exposing Possible NeoCon Boards. Trolling and Infiltration.

Rememberearth says in her post: (my comments are in red)

more and more (I think she's referring to *gasp*conservatives, and our perceived increasing ranks)

To criticize Israel and their policies, you're automatically labeled anti-semitic.Here's from a republican blog;
and here's an article from the LRB; here's the thing, if we disagree with policies of a country, its ridiculous that we are labeled bigots, bottom line. The whole spin is disgusting to say the least, and reflects the same bs rhetoric of being "un american" just because we disagree with the president. in closing, I'm sick of it. Sick of being labeled because I have an opinion. (And you're not labeling *me* for having an opinion? Am I not allowed to have opinions, whereas you are?)

Out of curiosity I looked at some other threads in the forum and noticed some major bashing of a guy they claim is a rightwing troll on the 'John Edwards for Prez blog'. There were some links to this supposed 'troll's' posts, so I moseyed on over to see for myself and was surprised to find nothing indicative of his rightwing leanings, other than a comment about the futility of impeaching Bush. I was truly interested in why they were so vehemently against this fellow, so decided to register so I could ask why they found his posts so offensive. He sounded like a Democrat to me, other than the impeachment issue. However, for some reason, my email was rejected. I found that a little strange, so I checked out the Terms of Use, and although they are too numerous to list here (20 in total), I found the following 2 very interesting:

19) This is a board for Democrats! If a member is a troll, they will be banned immediately, and their email address and IP number will be posted on the website! (I'm guessing my IP addy was forwarded to the Admin and that was why I was rejected) A troll is defined as someone who signs up to insult members, disrupt the board, or attempt to recruit to organizations outside of the Democratic Party. (Which is totally within their rights, but seems a little odd and paranoid to me. What
about those of us who have no intention of doing the above, who would genuinely like to engage in a civil exchange of ideas? And posting someone's IP address, what does this accomplish? I find that very mean-spirited.)

1) Do not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-oriented, racist, hateful, threatening, or that violate any laws. Please use good judgment when choosing user names, avatars, or images to post, and do not attempt to bypass the word filter. It is there for a reason. Inappropriate content will be removed without notice, including, but not limited to: any and all bigotry regarding race, gender, geographic location, sexual orientation, ethnicity/nationality, religion, and political party affiliation. (I find this one even more interesting, considering there were a slew of very disparaging, hateful comments about Republican individuals or at least, people they think are covert Republicans etc.)

The following is posted at the beginning of the Terms of Use:

This is not your typical political forum. We are proud of the fact that
despite of our growing numbers, we continue to remain extremely friendly to both new members and regular visitors, guests and lurkers.
(Not *that* friendly if you HAVE to be a Democrat, and unable to post unless you are. But, it's their sandbox so they are entitled to pick and choose their playmates, but please don't claim you are *extremely* friendly when you are being anything but inclusive.)

It appears that Miss Democrat thang spent a lot of time searching for republicans posting on anti-semitism issues, because I googled as she did: "anti-semit" and gave up after 30 plus pages of mostly foreign links. Not sure on what page she found me, but find me she did.
And I still contend that those who are virulently anti-Israel, if they really search deep within themselves, will find they are anti-semitic. Anti-semitism is alive and well and exists everywhere. A blogger on this site posted a short list of just some of the anti-semitic acts perpetrated on Jews in 2006. The list is very long.

I actually find all this cloak and dagger, paranoid thinking rather amusing. One person on Democratic Warriors posted on this same thread: "Liberal Democrats that happen to be Jewish have fallen into the trap. Or are they neo-con infiltrators...." Stated with total seriousness. What I find sad is that their excessive anger and yes, hatred, of all things conservative (even those of us who happen to be moderate) clouds their thinking (as I have oft repeated) and their ability to be civil. I may call someone an idiot but I have never heaped any other derogatory epithets on the Democrat Party, whereas the following are liberally used: Repukes, Repigs, Repugs, Dipshits. Not terribly offensive on their own, but in context, not so nice. I would like to think that we are all entitled to our opinions, but apparently not, if it's not in keeping with the liberal mindset. I welcome any opposing comments, as long as it is done with respect.

As for "Remeberearth": "The Lady doth protest too much, methinks." Wm Shakespeare's Hamlet

Sunday, February 11, 2007

When parents go wrong

Who in their right mind would knock their child unconscious, in the middle of the night, then wrap the body in a blanket and leave the toddler, still breathing, in a snow-filled playground in below freezing temps? It's hard to believe that this could actually happen; that a parent, entrusted with the love and safekeeping of their flesh and blood, could be capable of such an horrific act, and yet this was the fate of Nyia Miangel Page. Not yet 2 years old, Nyia's tiny body was found frozen to death, wearing only a diaper and sweater, approximately 10 minutes from her home in Pittsburgh, PA last Sunday. Her 23 year old father, William Lorenzo Page, was arrested Wednesday and charged with criminal homicide, along with several other charges including sexual abuse of another child prior to Nyia's death. From the small footprints in the snow, authorities determined that the baby girl must have wandered for a while, before succumbing to hypothermia. The temperature at that time was approximately 2 degrees F.

The reason for the little girl's death: refusing to go back to bed.

There is something drastically wrong with our society when parents kill their own for no reason, and yet it happens all the time. Parentsbehavingbadly blog catalogues the numerous cases of extreme child abuse that occur with all too great a frequency all around the world. I'm not talking about a good spanking that errant children sometimes need to correct behavioral problems. Nothing wrong with that. I'm talking about forcing a child with cerebral palsy to eat their own feces, which Kimberley Harte, 23 and Samuel Duncan, 26, of London, England did. They also kicked her, poured boiling water over her hands and ripped out her hair, among other things. Or throwing a child against the wall because he won't stop crying or beating a child to death because they threw up in bed after a nap. The reasons are endless and totally unjustifiable.

When you take it upon yourself to have children you should know that there are certain responsibilities that come with parenthood, and if you are unwilling to take the good with the bad (i.e. the crankiness and everything else that comes with childhood) then you have absolutely NO business giving birth. Too many children are having children which seems to increase the chances of child abuse. They are usually ill equipped emotionally and mentally to be parents and oftentimes resent having to take care of a child, resulting in anger and frustration, which the child is then the unfortunate recipient of. Most perpetrators are under 30, which is quite telling.

This is probably going to be an unpopular notion, but I think that anyone who wants to have children, like marriage, should have to apply for a license and take mandatory parenting classes. In fact, it should be a subject all schoolchildren should have to take, to prep them for the realities of parenthood. And if someone shows a propensity for anger, they should definitely have to take anger management classes before becoming a parent.

Not every one is able to have children. I know of so many deserving people who have tried, but to no avail. Parenthood is a gift. Choose that gift, if it is bestowed upon you, wisely.

Rest in peace, Nyia.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Another ass-inine, frivolous A.C.L.U. lawsuit

The A.C.L.U. (American Civil Liberties Union) idiots have taken it upon themselves to file a lawsuit against Dixie County, Florida because a statue of the Ten Commandments (donated by a local businessman), standing in front of a building that houses the Courthouse and several other public offices in Cross City is: "in effect, thumbing its nose at the Constitution." Note, that this lawsuit was NOT filed by an individual plaintiff (because they couldn't find any local residents willing to sue!), so the A.C.L.U. decided it was their duty to take on the task of trying to force the the County to remove the monument. They believe the words "LOVE GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS" might be offensive and intimidating to those who have religious beliefs that are not based on Judeo-Christian doctrine.

Don't these people have anything better to do with their time or money!!?? Not to mention wasting tax payers' dollars, by forcing the County to defend their right to keep the statue intact.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Willard Wigan- artist extraordinaire

Just found out about this amazing self-taught British artist/sculptor who creates miniature works of art on anything from a pin head to a grain of sand. Some of his work, apparently, is not even visible to the naked eye. He is truly inspired from above. I can't even begin to imagine how he does it.

Information about Willard Wigan and more pictures of his incredible sculptures can be found on his website. Take time to read his bio.

The Statue of Liberty in the eye of a needle. Is this not truly amazing?

In Defense of '24' - An Arab-American defends the real-life Bauers

Bravo, Mr. Dabul!!!

In Defense of '24'
An Arab-American defends the real-life Bauers.

BY EMILIO KARIM DABUL of the Wall Street JournalFebruary 7, 2007

I am an Arab-American as well as a fan of "24." The two things are not mutually exclusive, despite what the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other such groups have to say about this season ' s opening episodes possibly increasing anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice in American society. Most of the terrorists represented in "24" through the years have been Arab Muslims. Why? Well, probably because most terrorists today are, in fact, Arab Muslims. As a descendant of Syrian Muslims, I am very well aware that the majority of Muslims world-wide are peaceful, hard working, and law abiding. That still does not change the fact that the greatest terrorist threat to the U.S. today comes not from the ETA, the IRA, etc., but from one group: Islamic terrorists. And this is what makes "24" a compelling drama every week. Instead of pretending Islamic terrorists don ' t exist, the show presents frighteningly real worst-case scenarios perpetrated by Osama bin Laden ' s followers. So CAIR thinks it ' s over the top for the terrorists in "24" to blow up Los Angeles with a nuke? Please, if bin Laden and his crew had nukes, most of us would be way too dead to argue over such points. There is a dangerous trend in the U.S. today that involves skirting the truth at the risk of offending any individual or group. When Bill Cosby talks to African-Americans about self-respect and responsibility, and says publicly what many have been saying privately for years, he ' s branded a "reactionary," "misinformed," "judgmental," and so on. When "24" confronts America ' s worst fears about al Qaeda--whose goal remains to kill as many Americans as possible whenever possible--the show is said to be guilty of fueling anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice. Well, here ' s the hard, cold truth: When Islamic terrorists stop being a threat to America ' s survival, viewers will lose interest in "24," because it will have lost its relevancy. Until such time, I will continue to watch "24"--because, believe it or not, the idea that there are Jack Bauers out there in real life risking their lives to save ours does mean something to me. And as for "24" causing a possible backlash against Muslims and Arab-Americans, where ' s the evidence of that? The show is now in its sixth season and there hasn ' t been one recorded incident of any viewer ever slurring or attacking any Muslim or Arab-American because of something that happened on the show. More to the point, in the latest episode President Palmer stated, "The American Muslim community is the greatest line of defense against these terrorists." He advocates strengthening ties with Islamic leaders across the U.S. , and is opposed to measures that would in any way infringe upon the constitutional rights of Arab Americans. That said, I would certainly welcome more characters in movies, TV programs and novels who reflect the overall Arab-American experience. Truth is, most of us don ' t have bomb-making skills or a desire to become human missiles. And there are Muslim and Arab-American CTU heroes out there, as well as doctors, superdads, women scientists, etc. But just as it took Saul Bellow to give literary voice to the Jewish-American experience, we need our own storytellers to weave the pastiche of tales that make up Arab-American life. In the meantime, the next time a journalist decides to report on Arab-American concerns about shows like "24," maybe he could actually talk to someone other than CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and seek out Arab-Americans with a different point of view. We actually do exist. And maybe that same reporter could take a closer look at CAIR. Ask CAIR about the Holy Land Foundation and its support of Hamas. Ask it about the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the CAIR board member who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in that case--yet still sits on CAIR 's board. Look a little closer, and maybe you 'll find that CAIR has good reason to get nervous about shows like "24." Because terrorists and their supporters continue to hide among us in plain sight, we need Jack Bauer, now more than ever.

Mr. Dabul is a free-lance writer and the author of "Deadline," a novel about modern terrorism.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Internet Scams: Alive and well and still going strong!!

I received the following email, from one "Lee David", today. How he got my email address is quite puzzling, considering it's the address I use exclusively for my business. And since I never get spam with hotmail, I was quite surprised that it actually made it through, rather than getting dumped into the bulk folder. But it's a sobering reminder that people are still out there trying to hook potential victims for their 'get-rich-quick schemes', and even after 20 years of being warned about these scams, there are obviously still fools who are duped into falling for them. People have lost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars on these various schemes and you'd be surprised just who gets burned.

Most of these 'advance fee' scams originate in Nigeria and are called "419" fraud (referring to the section of the Nigerian penal code dealing with that issue), but there are many other ways criminals bilk people out of their hard earned cash, including preying on those in search of love. Sadly, people who advertise on dating websites have also been victimized. But it truly amazes me that seemingly intelligent and educated people could believe the following to be true:

From Lee David.
Abidjan cote d' lvoire
My Dearest One,

Permit me to inform you my heart desire for a business relationship with you. I got your contact when I was searching for a foreign partner here in Abidjan republic of Cote D'Ivoire on my search for honest and reliable person. I prayed over it and decided to confide in you because your integrity and educational background. I am Mr Lee David,( 20 years old) , the only son of late Dr and mrs.David My father was a very wealthy Gold/Diamond dealer in Freetown, the economic capital of Sierra Leone. My father was poisoned to death by his close business associates on one of their outings on a business trip. My mother died when I was 15 years old and since then my father took me so special.

Before the death of my father this year on May 19th 2006, in a
privatehospital in Freetown, he secretly called me by his bed side and told methat he has the sum of USD 5.500.000 Five million five hundred thousand dollars (USD 5.500.000) He deposited in suspense account for onward transfer only,He use my name as the next of kin when he deposited the money but before i can have access on the money i most get upto 30yrs.

He warned me that because of envy he was poisoned by his close associates. He also advised me to seek for an honest foreigner in a country of my choice those associates will not hurt me as they have succeeded in poisoning him.Since then It has been difficult to know who is an honest person to assist me in this transaction , and for me to
continue silent over looking for assistance, i decided to make a try from you, i arrived here (ABIDJAN) on the January 10th of 2007 and i don't want to stay long here since i know nobody or continue to pay for hotel bill.

Dear, I honourably seek your assistance in the following ways:
1)To stand as my father foreign partner since my late father deposited it to be cleared by his foreign partner but no name was mentioned.
2)To provide an account where we can transfer this money.
3)To help me arrange for better establishment.
4)To help me come over to your country to further my education.

My intention is not to disturb your Peace,but because l am sincerely in need, And desperately need a solution before my life is wasted because there is war in this country. Among all, the most important thing is for you to be aiding me as parent who will directing all my affair es and doings in your country. Lastly,you will promise me that you will not betray or deny me if this my money gets into your hands or bank and in your country .

Dear, I am ready to offer you 15% of the total money for your help. But if may be you are not in better position to help. Please let me know. So that I can look for another helper. I am with the certificate of deposit upon your demand. Looking forward to your kind reply soonest and may Godbless you.

Sincerely Yours.
Lee David

There are a plethora of websites (scamorama, for one) with information regarding the various scams and even ones like dedicated to baiting the scammers. All these websites post warnings, for those wanting to get involved in baiting, to be very careful as the scammers are criminals and often dangerous. People have actually been murdered pursuing these "419" frauds.

It is recommended that you forward any and all scams (including headers) to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at Or if you'd like to have at it with Lee David his email address is: ( But before you do, make sure you go to one of those websites that explain how to bait, and never, ever give out any personal info, or use an email address other than public ones like hotmail, yahoo or gmail.

Another good source for information on scammers.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Free Kareem!! Egyptian Blogger on trial.

Here we go again!

Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman (Kareem Amer), a 22 year old Egyptian blogger was arrested on Nov 6th, 2006 for posting essays, on his blog, that were critical of Islam and President Hosni Mubarak.

His trial began on January 18th, 2007 with the verdict to be announced on February 22nd. He faces up to 11 years in prison for merely voicing his opinion!
There were other bloggers arrested last year, however all have been released save Kareem, who was the only one critical of Islam.

To read more about Kareem go to FreeKareem. There are several on-line petitions you can sign.
If Freedom of Speech means anything to you, please act now.

Monday, February 05, 2007


So we have 2 men with something in common: Mark Foley (ex-Congressman, FL) and Dan Sutton (Senator, N.D.). Although Foley's a Republican and Sutton a Democrat, both were involved in scandals involving male pages. Foley was forced to resign. Sutton has merely been censured. Foley wrote highly suggestive emails and text messages to pages (he was never actually accused of molesting any of them). Sutton is accused of fondling a page he shared a bed with. Had Sutton been a Republican the scandal would have been plastered all over the mainstream media. If you google both men, the difference in results is rather interesting.

Sutton denies the accusations leveled at him, and who knows what the actual truth is, but sharing a bed with an underage teen (family friend or no), which he does acknowledge having done, is totally inappropriate.

The behavior, in both cases, was morally incorrect, and yet the punishment was not, by any means, meted out in an equal fashion. Just another example of liberal hypocrisy. You can read more about this inequality here.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Manipulating the Palestinian situation

Found this photograph on the website of someone who recently left a comment, with the following caption: "And if you don't think that Israeli tank will fire, you're not as smart as these Palestinian children."

Now I don't know where he found this photo, but any fool can tell it has been photo-shopped. Note the darker blue colour surrounding the tank. It is even more evident when you enlarge the photo. Truly amazing what lengths they will go to malign the Israelis. People aren't idiots. We are becoming more savvy when it comes to photo manipulation, and there certainly has been a plethora of it in recent months.

Now, I could be wrong about this photo, but I sincerely doubt it.

Big Brother is watching: from across the sea

As most of you are probably aware (and no doubt utilizing one or more), there are hit counters that can be added to your blog, website etc. that keep tabs on the number of visitors to your site. Some are more feature-rich than others, but most will track how many people have spent time on your blog and usually from whence they came. That's one of the the more enjoyable aspects of blogging: knowing that others are out there sharing their own personal stories, opinions, rants etc. from every corner of this world and that in spite of our differences, we are all connected in some small way, albeit via the wonderful, worldwide web.

The information from these statistic and hit counters isn't always accurate (for various reasons) but you can usually tell from which country a reader is from, so it was with great interest that I noticed some very strange occurrences that began with my post "Chinese shoot Tibetans crossing border" (10/24/06). I would occasionally get hits from China (as many as I would from other foreign countries), but those hits increased, somewhat, after that post. I found it odd, but dismissed the whole strangeness until I published my next post "Chinese court sentences dissident" (10/25/06) when the hits from China increased considerably. Since then, I have observed that the hits from China increase and decrease substantially, dependent upon the content of the post. I hadn't written anything critical about China or communism until recently and now, every time I post something, I am bombarded with hits from China. I would estimate 60% or more of all my hits are from there. I had 17, in a half hour period, a few days ago. I can guarantee that the percentage will increase after I publish this post today.

I'm not quite sure what is going on, but I'm going to assume that I've been placed on some kind of Chinese government watch list, or am being tracked by some kind of Internet bot that searches for any anti-Chinese government rhetoric. I'm sure if I was in China I'd be subject to the same fate as the dissident in my above mentioned post. This is why I am so grateful to be living in a democratic society where we can post what we want about our government, both positive and negative, without fear of repercussions or, in some cases, fear for our lives.

I have no quibbles with the Chinese people (one of my best friends is Chinese/American) and I love their food, but any government that is afraid of mere words, attempts to censor and punishes those who are critical of the system deserves to be criticised. I have said this many times before, but if that form of government is so wonderful why are they so afraid of a little censure, surely there shouldn't be any, if it's so great!

So, to all the readers from China who are tracking my site: Greetings from the free world. I wish for your country: freedom and democracy!

The Truth can get you fired

A British supply (substitute) teacher was immediately fired from a secondary school after Muslim students complained about him.

His offense: stating, in a religious education class (re. the pros and cons of religion), that most suicide bombers were Muslim. Not that all Muslims were suicide bombers, mind you. (Read full story here)

Now how pathetic is that?! In the 21st Century, the sad fact is that most if not ALL suicide bombers are Muslim.

In this case the Truth does not set you free, it just gets you sacked!!

"Hope Rides Alone", by Sgt. Eddie Jeffers

Noticed this on a commentary entitled "HOPE RIDES ALONE", by Sgt. Eddie Jeffers, brave soldier currently deployed in Iraq.

Beautifully written and very insightful. It's well worth a read!

God Bless you all, Sgt. Jeffers!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hate spawns dangerous Love-fest: Ahmadinejad, Chavez and the Latin American Left

We're currently witnessing a nauseating 'love fest' between a fundamentalist Islamic leader and a bevy of Latin American leftists, and you have to wonder why? What is the common ground that unites Ahmadinejad (Iran) with the likes of Chavez (Venezuela), Morales (Bolivia), Correa (Ecuador) and Ortega (Nicaragua) and why is this alliance potentially so dangerous? They're certainly strange bedfellows, but let's take a look at what they do have in common. First and foremost: an intense hatred for the U.S. and everything it represents. For the Islamist(s), it's our western values and support for Israel's right to exist. For the Leftists, it's the principles of democracy and capitalism that this country stands for. Their common goal: the destruction of the U.S. and our way of life. They have voiced that desire on numerous occasions, and apparently believe that by uniting together they can accomplish that objective with greater ease. Central to this unholy alliance is Chavez and Ahmadinejad who have actively courted the others (and continue to do so with other developing countries) by pledging 2 billion dollars in aid for those who wish to disassociate themselves from U.S. influence (see my post on this). They have been duped into thinking they will gain immeasurably by joining forces (money talks!), but what price will the they pay, in the long run, when this marriage of convenience is no longer so convenient?

Another common denominator, between Ahmadinejad and the various Leftist leaders, is their desire for power and worldwide domination, and as much as they love to denounce what they term "U.S. imperialism", it is they who are the true imperialists (a post on this subject pending). Islamists would love nothing more than to establish a worldwide Caliphate, and the Leftists' goal is to spread their form of totalitarianism (or call it what you will) throughout the rest of the world. And if you don't think that Chavez will eventually lead Venezuela down the path towards Communism (just as Castro did with Cuba) you need to dig your head out of the proverbial sand. He's already started the process by nationalizing telecomm and utility companies, and by contemplating changing the constitution to allow for "indefinite re-election". And we all know what that will lead to, down the line. According to the current Venezuelan Constitution, Chavez is ineligible to run for re-election. By doing this he ensures his perpetual reign as king of Venezuela, just like all other dictators in the world have done, in the past. It remains to be seen what path the other Latin American Leftists lead their countries down, but I'd be very surprised if they don't follow in Chavez' footsteps. His influence (both monetary and through his bluster and rhetoric) was instrumental in turning many of the above mentioned countries leftist.

What I find ironic and pathetic, with both Chavez and Ahmadinejad, is that while their own people suffer greatly, they are willing to donate huge amounts of money to other countries. Not out of charity and goodwill, but out of hatred for the U.S., in an attempt to woo those countries to their "anti-U.S" side. Hatred plus hunger for power and domination is a lethal combination. If they combine their resources, you have a potentially explosive situation, both literally and figuratively.