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2006 February 27 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Decorating A Cat

While ferrets and dogs don’t seem to mind, there are certain things you need if you want your cat to join in a festive occasion.

Obviously any item must be sized accordingly, which usually means making them yourself. You need to have the backdrop ready so the cat doesn’t spend excessive time in the costume. Make sure the camera is ready and batteries are fully charged. Fully charged spare batteries are a good idea.

Oh, yes, you need to know your blood type and write it on your body with a permanent marker. Type AB positive is best because they are universal recipients. If you’re Type O negative you might want to re-think the entire concept.

Have your cell phone on your body and fully charged. Remember the One held down is the default speed dial number for 911. Don’t forget your insurance card.

Put the bandages, gauze pads, and tourniquet strap near you so that you won’t need much mobility to reach them. The old fashioned sanitary napkin makes an excellent pressure bandage for arterial bleeding.

If you are on good terms with your veterinarian, you might consider getting some tranquilizer tablets. Remember to give at least one to the cat.

Oh, don’t forget to clean the litter box before you begin. Most people don’t mind feeding the cat while you are indisposed but they usually draw the line at the litter box.

February 27, 2006   Comments Off on Decorating A Cat

In Iraq Today

Riverbend reports that her local neighborhood is pulling together to defend itself, but wonders why all of the clerics calling for calm and unity don’t just have their militias stand down.

Professor Cole reports that violence continues at a reduced level, but the curfew had to be suspended so people could buy food and supplies.

Update: From the Washington Post on MSNBC: Iraq’s deadly surge claims 1,300, about three times as many deaths as had been previously reported.

February 27, 2006   Comments Off on In Iraq Today

You Were Saying…

Remember how, when people said that the port deal was a danger to national security, the Shrubbery’s bootlickers said port operators aren’t responsible for security, the Coast Guard is?

Well, according to an article from the Associated Press in the Houston ChronicleDocument: Coast Guard Warned of Port Gaps.

So the agency responsible for port security says this deal is a threat to security.

February 27, 2006   Comments Off on You Were Saying…

The United Arab Emirates

You should check out the official site and the Wikipedia site. They are real sweethearts.

Emirates and Emirs of the United Arab Emirates

  • Abu Dhabi – Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, since 2004
  • Ajman – Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, since 1981
  • Dubai – Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, since 2006
  • Fujairah – Sheikh Hamad bin Muhammad Al Sharqi, since 1974
  • Ras Al Khaimah – Sheikh Saqr bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, since 1948
  • Sharjah – Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, since 1987
  • Umm Al Quwain – Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Mualla, since 1981

These seven people are also the entire electorate of the UAE. Within their individual emirates they are total autocrats. The Emir of Abu Dhabi is always elected President, and the Emir of Dubai is always elected Vice President and Prime Minister. They are both from clans of the Bani Yas tribe.

The actual structure of the UAE hasn’t actually evolved to the level of feudalism, everything is based on family, clan, and tribal relations. While there are moves to allow people to own land in Dubai, in most of the Emirates the Emir owns everything.

The Emir of Dubai only makes about 6% of his income from oil, the rest comes from trade, including the largest, based on value, free trade zone in the world. They are interested in the flow of trade and interruptions for security or tracing stolen property would be an expense.

Under intense pressure the Emirates has stopped using child slaves for their camel races, but slavery is part of their culture. If you work in the Emirates you have to surrender your passport. The treatment of foreign workers would make Wal-Mart blush.

There is no immigration. If you are not born a member of one of the current families, you can never become a citizen. Citizens don’t normally work, because they don’t have to. Almost everything is free for citizens. Work is done by foreign labor, with the Palestinians, and other Arabs used as managers. Of the approximately 4,041,000 people in the Emirates in 2003, only a little over 20% [≅811,000] are citizens.

“Gifts” are certainly expected to operate in the Emirates, and a failure to be “polite” can result in expulsion on short notice.

If you deal with these seven men, you have no guarantees of anything. If the Emir of Dubai changes his mind, you have no recourse. If they decide not to honor an agreement, there’s nothing you can do about it. You can make a lot of money dealing with Dubai, but you have all the risk.

Corporations pay the Emirates a great deal of money to operate outside of the taxes and laws that afflict their competition. That’s what the “free trade zones” are all about.

Update: Keith at The Invisible Library tells us that the UAE has blocked that well-known threat to civilization Boing Boing.

February 27, 2006   Comments Off on The United Arab Emirates