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What Happened?

I’ve seen and heard the usual suspects complaining that the administration and CIA “missed” what happened in Egypt.

Actually, it is quite understandable, because the US has been so focused on “terrorists” that they have stopped looking a societies. There aren’t a lot of social anthropologists or labor specialists at the CIA, and the administration believes in the the policies that created the unrest in Egypt and much of the Arab world.

Matt Stoller explains it at Naked Capitalism. The economic policies of the Obama administration were being followed by the Egyptians, and it resulted in high unemployment, just like in the US. Rising food prices tipped the balance.

Egyptian unrest is a labor reaction to wealth concentration. The people at the bottom got tired of waiting for prosperity to “trickle down”, and went into the streets to demand change.

Of course, the “War on Terror” means that US cable systems don’t carry Al Jazeera, or people would have been aware of the problems earlier. As Lambert put it at Corrente:

I mean, after live blogging AL Jazeera on the air, tracking their live blogs and tweets in real time, and doing the same for the BBC, Reuters, CNN, and the Times, for what? 18 days? during my waking hours, all when the story is a successful and non-violent revolution in the heart of 7000-year-old civilization in the Middle East… Well, coming back to the Sunday Bobbleheads of this world seems just a little…. Well, stale. Provincial. Insular. Like watching state TV and then phoning it in.

If the CIA and State Department would like to know what is going on in the Middle East, on the “Arab street”, they might consider this:

February 14, 2011   16 Comments

Yukon Quest 2011 – Day 10

Yukon Quest trail

Sled DogHugh Neff left Central about 20 minutes before Hans arrived, so his lead is down to the rest time Hans takes, which will probably be about 4 hours, because there is overflow on the trail between Circle and Central. Water and -40° F/C is not good for living things, so you have to warm up and dry off.

Apparently Hans and his team fell through thin ice and were completely soaked. Sab got them out and started a fire to dry everyone out before they all continued to Central.

Hugh had to leave his lead dog, Walter, behind in Central, which will make climbing the “twin peaks” even harder, but Hans and Sab have a lot of warming up and drying to do.

It is snowing in Central, and if there is blowing snow on the climb up Eagle Summit, things can go wrong quickly.

Update Midnight CST: Now they are saying that both Dan and Hugh and their teams are at Mile 101. I have to get some sleep, and give them time to figure out what is going on.

Update 11:30PM CST: Dan Kaduce (10) has gone back to Central by vehicle effectively withdrawing.

Ken Anderson didn’t stop at Mile 101 but went up Rosebud immediately.

Sab is resting at Mile 101.

Still nothing official on Hugh Neff.

Update 10:30PM CST: Dan Kaduce has gone to the Steese Highway and flagged down a vehicle and gone to Central. Officials at Mile 101 have sent snowmobiles and supplies to Hugh’s location, and Central is sending vets after being contacted by Dan.

There is definitely a problem, but no one is certain exactly what the problem is.

Update 10PM CST: Sab is the new leader, having made it to Mile 101.

Update 9PM CST: Hugh Neff is hunkered down with Dan Kaduce. Sab has managed to make it over Eagle Summit and is on his way to Mile 101.

I have a feeling that Dan Kaduce has joined Brent Sass and Sab in the running for this year’s Sportsmanship Award, because I don’t think Hugh would still be hunkered down if there wasn’t a problem.

Update 8:30PM CST: It still isn’t clear where Hugh Neff is, but from the working GPSs it looks like the group at the mountain have started the ascent and are taking turns breaking trail. The race marshal at Mile 101 has sent a snowmobile out from there which tends to make me believe that no one has made it over the summit. The snowmobile can hopefully break a trail over the mountain, but if the winds are kicking up, it won’t last long. The machine has been out over an hour and hasn’t reported anything.

Update at 7:30PM CST: Eagle Summit has been attempted without success. It is apparently impassable. It is not clear where Hugh Neff is as his GPS isn’t working at the moment, but Dan Kaduce tried it and had to turn around.

As I mentioned in my YQ 300 post, in the 2009 Quest Yuka Honda spent 32 hours going from Central to Mile 101, most of that time getting over Eagle Summit. We can hope that everyone is safe and warm while they wait for the winds to calm down.

Update 4PM CST: Hans Gatt (13), four time winner of the Quest, has scratched at Central. After the disaster at American Summit, and the “swim” in Birch Creek, Hans has had enough. Originally he wasn’t going to enter the Quest, but decided to at the last minute. After what he has been through so far, attempting the Eagle Summit under current conditions [The highway between Central and Mile 101 has been closed by drifts] would be too much.

[As a result of the “dunking”, Hans has frostbitten hands and can’t take care of the dogs.]

As “Sab” Schnuelle said earlier: “One minute you’re running a race and the next, you’re in a survival situation – that’s the Yukon Quest.”

Update Noon CST: Joshua Cadzow (16) has scratched at Circle. The puppies weren’t feeling well.

Update: Didier Moggia (7) has returned to Eagle and scratched. [Apparently every female on his team went into heat, which makes for a great Valentine Day story but doesn’t help the team concentrate on pulling a sled.]

Official standings below the fold [

February 14, 2011   2 Comments


HeartWhy are you being hustled by street vendors to buy sad and drooping former roses, vegetative matter that missed the cut for bouquets, or were too late to the hospital?

Blame Esther A. Howland (1828 – 1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her guilt is writ large by the Greeting Card Association’s Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary. She imported the concept to the US from Britain to bolster her father’s stationery store in 1847.

Of course, it wasn’t long before the stationers had infiltrated school boards and imposed the now mandatory exchange in the classroom to push the low end product of Asian children and prisoners.

Seeing the success of the card merchants, the confectioners jumped on board to fill the lull between Christmas and Easter with the benefit that the bulk of purchases would be made by desperate men with less sense of taste than a golden retriever. If the box was red, heart-shaped, and said chocolate, a man would buy it.

There were at least three Saint Valentines and all were martyrs, as they should have been for the trouble they’ve caused. None are the reason for the “holiday”, only the excuse. They lived at a time when life and men were short and brutal, so the romantic aura of the holiday is pure piffle. At least one was reportedly part of a draft dodging scheme during the Roman Empire, marrying people so that men with “other priorities” could avoid being deployed to foreign wars, bachelors being preferred for catapult fodder.

It is to be hoped that the individual who first wrote: “Roses are red, violets are blue” was eaten by rabid wolverines, or had hemorrhoids.

February 14, 2011   8 Comments