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2008 November — Why Now?
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Posts from — November 2008

What A Mess!

In addition to the ongoing saga of the Somali pirates, the news from Africa includes: Nigerian city tense after riots

At least 200 people have been killed in the Nigerian town of Jos after two days of violence, officials say.

Apparently there is a disputed election that somehow is related to religion and resulted in hundreds of people grabbing whatever weapon was available and trying to kill each other.

In Southeast Asia, politics is at the heart of the problems in Thailand: Tension grows over Thai blockade

Tension is growing in the Thai capital Bangkok as thousands of anti-government protesters occupy the city’s two main airports for a seventh day.

Police said they were negotiating with the group as experts warned of soaring economic losses from the blockade.

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November 30, 2008   Comments Off on What A Mess!

Where Are The Acorns?

Jill at skippy the bush kangaroo and others have linked to The Washington Post article about a lack of acorns in the mid-Atlantic states.

Short answer – they are in my yard, and anyone who wants the brown ball bearings of doom is welcome to them, but the management is not responsible if you end up on your backside trying to walk around out there. If you could pick them up before my landlord’s yard guy decides to run around on the mower, it would be appreciated, because they get sucked up and fired out at a pretty good clip and he doesn’t notice.

November 30, 2008   11 Comments

Causes For Concern

This BBC report is disturbing on many levels: Indian allegations alarm Pakistan

Pakistan has expressed concern about rising tensions with India following allegations that gunmen who attacked Mumbai this week had Pakistani links.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari offered full co-operation with India and his government denied any involvement in the deadly attacks.

Wednesday’s gun and bomb assault on India’s commercial capital left at least 195 people dead and 295 injured.

Troops killed the last of the gunmen at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel on Saturday.

As few as 10 militants may have been involved in the assault which saw attacks in multiple locations including two hotels, a major railway station, a hospital and a Jewish centre.

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November 29, 2008   10 Comments

Random Thoughts

It is a really good thing that the Native Americans intervened with the Pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving or we would be on the third day of a fast, which is how the colonists had planned to celebrate the end of the harvest.

I hate to break it the “Christmas warriors”, but you were fined if you were caught celebrating Christmas as the Puritans considered it a “pagan” festival that wasn’t mentioned in the Bible.  They weren’t very keen about the use of “merry” or “happy” in regards to any holiday.  The Pilgrims were a “fast or famine” group.  If times were good you fasted to celebrate your good fortune, otherwise not eating was called starving.

Just a hint: if you start a comment with “I’m not a racist, but…”, trust me, you are a racist.  Sorry, but I’m not buying any preemptive excuses.  The same goes for “I don’t mean to offend anyone, but…”  You already know you are going to offend people, so don’t pretend that isn’t your intent.

Another point – no matter what you may think, Barack Obama doesn’t get officially elected President until December 15 when the Electoral College reports its vote to Congress, and he doesn’t take office until January 20.  Everything that occurs between now and noon on January 20 is the exclusive property, fault, and responsibility of George Walker Bush.  It’s part of the job, and the reason he’s paid $400K per annum.

November 29, 2008   2 Comments

Peace On Earth?

The CNN headline pretty much says it all: Wal-Mart worker dies in rush; two killed at toy store

A guy trying to pick up some extra money at Wal-Mart is stomped to death by people trying to be the first to enter the store, and two guys decide to have a gun fight in a California Toys “R” Us. That is the spirit of the season. That is what the US has become. That is what Christmas has become.

I keep hearing the tired refrain that “The children wouldn’t understand if we don’t spend the money.” Sorry, but I was once a child and I understood what I was told. Jehovah Witness children don’t expect it. Hindu children don’t expect it. The only reason children expect it is because their parents tell them to. It isn’t the kids who need an attitude adjustment, it’s adults.

November 28, 2008   18 Comments

Mumbai Continued

Some of the most current and comprehensive reporting is found on the Wikipedia Mumbai page and a constantly updated Google map.

I would note that many of the efforts to tie this attack to Pakistan have been disproved, and the Indian government has requested assistance from the Pakistan government.

There has been almost total official and media silence about the attack on the police headquarters beyond the initial reports. There have been plenty of opportunities for young radical Islamists to receive small arms training in Iraq and Afghanistan and the weapons used in this attack are openly available throughout the region, despite all of the so-called arms embargoes.

Apparently we can add the sinking of a Somali pirate mother ship by the Indian Navy to the list of grievances cited by the attackers. I think their psy-ops people might want to have a closer look at that one.

November 28, 2008   8 Comments

Kryten’s Italian Salad

ITALIAN SALAD (6 Servings)


1 cup cooked beets
1 cup cooked carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup cucumbers, pared, seeded and diced
Mayonnaise thinned with cream or sour cream
1 head of lettuce


Prepare the vegetables and chill.
Combine the salad with dressing.
Prepare beds of lettuce and top with the salad.

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November 28, 2008   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

The Price Of Flies

Friday Cat Blogging

That was certainly noisy!

[Editor: One of the major disadvantages of Income’s size is his ability to jump. Here he is on top of the cabinets in the kitchen looking down at the sink which instantly contained a collection of rarely used spices that had been on top of the cabinet. Some of them had been in glass containers. The fly he was chasing escaped.

Friday Ark

November 28, 2008   7 Comments

Fighting Continues In Mumbai

The BBC is essentially live blogging from the scene in Mumbai.

Juan Cole provides some background to the incident.

My take is that this is a reaction to Pakistani President Zardari’s recent moves to improve relations with India and to gain control of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence which has been backing mujahideen groups all over the region since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Peace is the last thing that the Indian Mujahideen and other terrorist groups want in the region. If Pakistan and India normalize relations, resources will be freed up to track down these groups and their Hindu counterparts in the area.

As to the “targeting” of Westerners in this operation, that’s probably a calculated move to increase media coverage. Every country and their associated media pay more attention if their nationals are involved. It also makes corporations from Western countries nervous about doing business in India.  Publicity and fear are the foundation of terrorism.

November 27, 2008   4 Comments

Happy Turkey Day

funny pictures of cats with captions

Too true.

November 27, 2008   10 Comments

The Ineffable¹ Plan

Chris and Natasha at Open Left discuss How We Learned To Stop Criticizing and STFU.

As Obama explained to a reporter today [a bit testily if I’m any judge] that while he is appointing veterans of the Clinton administration, and even going back to Jimmy Carter for Paul Volcker, it is the policy that these people implement that will provide the change. Essentially saying that he, personally, is all that is necessary for change. [This sounds an awful lot like saying “I’m the decider”.]

1. Ineffable \In*ef”fa*ble\, adj A: defying expression or description; “indefinable yearnings”; “indescribable beauty”; “ineffable ecstasy”; “inexpressible anguish”; “unspeakable happiness”; “unutterable contempt”; “a thing of untellable splendor”. [syn: indefinable, indescribable, unspeakable, untellable, unutterable]

B: too sacred to be uttered; “the ineffable name of the Deity”. [syn: unnameable, unspeakable, unutterable].

Also see: Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman for further information.

November 26, 2008   2 Comments

Terror Attack In India

A coordinated attack against the headquarters of the anti-terrorist officials, the busiest train station in the world, a women’s and children’s hospital, and two of the main hotels used by foreigners has taken place in Mumbai [Bombay], the financial center of India.

It is assumed that the attack was carried out by Islamic extremists that have been active in India for years and involved perhaps dozens of people using automatic weapons and grenades. It is unlikely that any of the attackers expect to survive this action, so the hostage situations at the hotels and hospital will probably not end well.

The CBC, Austrailian Broadcasting, BBC, and CNN all have local reporting, as well as wire reports.

Over 80 are known dead, and over a hundred are known to be wounded.

November 26, 2008   2 Comments

Happy Whatever

All Holiday

That should cover just about everything for the next few months.

Because my paternal grandfather was in the business of raising turkeys I could have passed along all kinds of tips that would have resulted in your having a perfect turkey tomorrow, from selecting the bird to the actual cooking, but that would have encouraged you to buy a turkey and they would continue to exist on the planet. Domesticated turkeys are evil and stupid, think Tom DeLay in white feathers.

Wild turkeys are OK, they don’t destroy their environment and aren’t any more destructive than any other animal, but domesticated turkeys are one of animal husbandry’s worst ideas. Any politician who “pardons” a turkey is perpetuating the evil that is embodied in the turkey industry.

November 26, 2008   5 Comments

In Weather News

Jeff Masters left behind his wrap-up of the 2008 hurricane season as he heads to Puerto Rico for a vacation, totally unconcerned about Invest 96 which has been hanging off the coast of Panama for several days.

It would be nice to have a really boring season next year, one with no new records.

In other weather news, The Los Angeles Times reports on the heavy rains about to hit the areas that were devastated by the fires. While the rains will ensure that the fires are definitely out, the lack of vegetation to hold and slow the water will result in mud slides and flooding in the areas trying to recover from the fire devastation.

Many of the same people who just evacuated because of the fire threat, now must leave because of the flood threat.

November 25, 2008   6 Comments