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Saturday, October 30, 2010

On How to Vote and Live to Enjoy it


"Voters in Brazil are getting ready to vote in their next president in a run-off contest to be held next Sunday. Who might be the next to inherit the throne is anyone's guess."


That's tomorrow, by the way! Are we gonna be the next country in Latin America to have a woman as president? Are we keeping on with the testosterone in high powers?

Or do you think this is more a question of good policies versus bad policies and the good of the nation? Are you partisan? Or do you think that it does not damn matter who is power and that usually governments are just puppets in the hands of super secret cabals, of cliques trying to run the world?

Cynically, we happen to think that it usually is more of the same. It does not matter who is at the helm. The rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer.

Perhaps we should all think about educating the masses and give them  the wherewithal with which to think for themselves. Help them understand that this is a vast Universe, we Earthlings a mere speck of.

We should forfeit the bad and hold on to the good and see the Other as diversity and not as a threat to our established ideas...


Oh, we wish.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Mother Nature's Ring of Fire

Map of the Pacific Ring of Fire and five volca...Image via Wikipedia
The Pacific Ring of Fire (or sometimes just the Ring of Fire) is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. 


In a 40,000 Km (25,000 mi) horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements..... Wikipedia




Yiikes! It's Mother Nature at it, again!  This time in Indonesia - wracked by quake, tsunami and volcanic eruption.


We've been witnessing her awesome powers in the last few years. That we know of. Surely she has been at it since for ever. They ain't pretty. She has been squirming from the bottom of her womb, causing untold catastrophes to unfold in, but not exclusively, the Ring of Fire.


Double whammys she will pack on those not paying attention to her. For all the attention is called for. No use your praying and pulling your hair out and speaking in tongues to get her to stop (Sorry!). She won't. Ever.


Now, there is one little thing you can do. You might be the lucky one to beat her at her own game. You will have to hit the books and burn the two o'clock oil and see if you can devise ways and gadgets to decipher Her mysterious riddles, er, ways. Oh, Mother, You're a Bitch!  Would you allow us to build us a ship to get us out of here before you turn on Yourself?


The wonders of this and outer worlds. They say there's this meteor....dashing towards this insignificant third rock from the Sun. Argh, enough!


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti.

Photo speaks volumes. A child on stand-by
Cholera, an acute instestinal infection caused by  the bacterium Vibrio cholerae (VIB-ree-oh KAHL-er-eye), present in contaminated water or food, is harvesting lives in central Haiti.

About 200 deaths so far. And counting.

It is now feared that the outbreak could reach the "squalid tarp camps where hundreds of thousands of quake survivors live in the capital" Huffington Post.

Haitians have a challenge ahead. Another load on their weary shoulders. It's been reported that over 10 billion dollars have been donated to the beleaguered country and to date, there is not much we can put our fingers on by way of progress. They are stuck in a mire.

What people in Haiti need is water filtration facilities, sanitation, hygiene and NUTRITION to restore their dignity. They do not need another 10 thousand charitable organizations breathing down their necks and lording it over their shoulders. What Haitians need is a serious commitment towards progress and tangible changes in their infrastructure that will bring about more health and more hope.

Our hearts and souls go out to the devastated country in the Caribbean. If only they, whoever they are, would commit more seriously... Perhaps we would not see what we see on our LCD-LED TVs...It's heartbreaking. ONE death is ONE too many.

Makes us think twice before wasting that precious drop of water...



Explore here and here.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

On the Saracen Heritage of America

The Saracen Army outside Paris c. 730-732
Barack Obama, during his Cairo speech, said: "I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story."


Prompting (oops, some!) Americans Right and Left to say: what??? There is this text by one citizen who undertook to write about the remark:


Dear Mr. Obama:

Were those Muslims that were in America when the Pilgrims first landed? Funny, I thought they were Native American Indians.

Were those Muslims that celebrated the first Thanksgiving day? Sorry again, those were Pilgrims and Native American Indians.

Can you show me one Muslim signature on the United States Constitution?

Declaration of Independence ?

Bill of Rights?

Didn't think so.

Did Muslims fight for this country's freedom from England ? No.



The text goes on... Google it.


Let us try to drive our bottom cent in that slot.


We have never read, at least not in those terms, that Islam should have had a say in the making of the American Heritage. Islam does crop up in the American Imaginary in stories like the Thousand and One Nights and other tales of the Crusades plus whatever we see in the Media these days....


We are of the opinion that Jews are more likely to have been there than Muslims have, from the beginning. 


We have got (to try) to understand that the American president was most probably referring to contributions made to America, by followers of Islam, in the present day. Baffling though it is. Surely we are no scholars so we cannot, possibly, enumerate these. And we are not keeping track. We have our own fish to fry.


We can most definitely say that the United States does depend on oil from regions where Islam is the dominant philosophical force. Here, (a lot of) the narrative changes (and you all know that). Period.


So, you driving or walking to the grocery store today?




The Address  





"I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims." And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers - Thomas Jefferson - kept in his personal library."



06/04/2009






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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On "Hang Them" African Style




We all know this photo


The front-page newspaper story featured a list of Uganda's 100 "top" homosexuals, with a bright yellow banner across it that read: "Hang Them." Alongside their photos were the men's names and addresses.

In the days since it was published, at least four gay Ugandans on the list have been attacked and many others are in hiding, according to rights activist Julian Onziema. One person named in the story had stones thrown at his house by neighbors.


Surely this morning when you woke up you gave thanks to the Gods for having been born in the West. That, under the circumstances, is priceless. Okay, we agree that it is not always a bed of roses here in our neck and there is a lot to be done when it comes to Human Rights.  Need we say more?

Our (relative) freedoms afford us a certain degree of peace of mind for when we walk down the street we will not face a raging crowd bent on stoning us to death... Or newspapers urging their readership to hang us by our expensive necks. Okay, there are some poised and ready to drop us down a shaft into the smoldering fires of hell... We all know....Aren't those the ones that bite the dust first?

Spirit Day in the U.S. - In Memoriam
Oh Gods, let those rolling stones pass us by and protect us from such malignancy. There will come a day, we pray, and words fails us, that all the Children of This Earth, will have no need to read of such unwitlessness in world papers and that in lieu of such pestilence we read of green prairies and little houses with white fences and apple pies and nectar and honey and ice-cream and breathable airs. 


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Monday, October 18, 2010

On the Star-Spangled Banner's Woes


A response posted on a social networking site.

It is very true that the the country north of the Rio Grande comes across as being under the dictates of radical, narrowly-defined philosophical beliefs which may be strange to the foreign enlightened mind. 



Is the American Cultural Industry and their News Channels to blame? Most people (and relatively few bilinguals, of course!) who have had the chance to interact with the country seem to think so. After all, they are outside looking in.


Fortunately, and most certainly, we do know people in the U.S. who are VERY forward thinking and are at the vanguard of social change. These folks, of course, have their work cut out for them. They face the grueling task of rearranging thought-forms for ever entrenched in the American psyche. 


What to do? Refashion the hypocritical discourse coming from the religious right. News reports of religious personalities falling from grace due to this or that scandal abound on Internet. Others, which can only be assumed to be radicals, have hijacked the airwaves and foul up the very air most of the country breathes. It is unconscionable. Should we ignore their rants?


Of late, we have heard news of young people ending their lives due to bullying. Execrable! Luckily, politicians are waking up and smelling the candle scents wafting out of vigils. About time. How many sacrificial lambs does it take to open archaic minds towards a better and brighter future for all in society?


Why is it that the monolithic religious establishment is afraid of social change? Why is it that the engines that propel their war machine and act as world cops have to be in the closet when, in other countries, sexual orientation of this or that color does not count? Surely equality for all will not encroach in the social order and people will continue to function, accordingly, to perpetuate the species. Do they have a right to dictate what people should be doing with their lower abdomens?


Surely those of us who admire the American culture, and are apt to absorb its cultural influence, are appalled at the lack of seriousness and negligence of the political class. Who is really running the country? Can they ever be extricated from this intellectual swamp?


We write this as world citizens and believe that when change touches the seat of the Empire, the whole world follows suit.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Still in Chile - The Miners Narrative Continues


Doctors said all the miners had responded well to treatment and many more of them would go home on Friday. Earlier President Sebastian Pinera visited them and promised to stamp out "inhuman" working conditions in Chile (BBC).

They did. Subsequently 31 of the 33 were released from hospital under the cover of the night, rather, in secret, to protect them and their families from being hounded by a raft of reporters on call, bent on extracting the last breath from the mineros.

Let us put our one cent's worth in the slot.

We are glad that their ordeal has afforded them better medical care and attention in the Atacama.

From the looks of it, their lives were at stake before the cave-in. Nonetheless, praise is due to all involved in the rescue.

Another picture of Atacama desert with the sun...Image via Wikipedia

Let us hope this serves a reminder to all mining conglomerates ou there that those people you have working for you in "unsafe and inhuman" conditions are Human Beings.

Now home, let us hope los mineros dig up all the energy and steel themselves for an "onslaught of demands from people wanting to share in the glory."


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Is There Life After Death?




A snippet:

Is there life after death? Theologians can debate all they want, but radiation oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Long argues that if you look at the scientific evidence, the answer is unequivocally yes.



Yes. Buddhists, Rosicrucians, Freemasons, Hindus, Theosophists and several other philosophical entities (for some of you, other pagans out there) view life after death as a pretty common thing. Except Chistianity, as far as we know.

We, wise people, have been roaming this Earth for some 250 thousand years! Surely, we have had time to elaborate a bit further in our relationship with the Higher Powers...

Since most of what we know about life after death is solely based on stories told by those who came back to life after a traumatic experience, this budding writer included, it is difficult to assess and study the phenomenon at some university.

Isn't it sobering to learn that mainstream scientists are slowly but surely welcoming the idea that, hey!, it is possible?

Since this is a highly controversial subject and depending on your philosophical beliefs, blasphemous, more research and other studies are necessary to unravel the knot of mysteries surrounding Life.

We are well aware that people are okay with their canonical religious texts and take them to the letter. Rarely do people find time to research into religious matters and depend instead on "theologians" to interpret the texts for them. And that is law. No problem, we say, for Life demands this emotional investment. How can you argue with Faith?



More here

Friday, October 15, 2010

On Superclasses, Elites and Globalized Cabals


See if I can write a short text on the Global Power Elite and the world that emerges when they meet. They are a Superclass and most of the world follows their dictates.

Is there greed in their approach to running the world? Global finances. Governments on the palms of their hands. Are they for real? Nation states versus a globalized cabal.

Conspiracy theorists have their own ideas about who these people are. We do not know and we do not very much worry about it. The media? Enslaved to their regulations and narratives. Alternative Truths. Do we all benefit by their so-called machinations? Maybe chimerical. Most people on earth live with just under 2 US$ a day. Logical, just a few.

Are they pillaging the world's resources? No. They are not. Most of them, conservatives to the core, have a hetero-normative family agenda and have offspring of their own. What kind of world are they leaving to their children?  They are acutely aware of the challenges the environment is facing. See what can be done...

There is only so much we can extricate from the Earth to metamorphose into commodities and profit. Who DOES really run the world? What is conspirancy? Questions, questions, questions...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On Philandering Miners and Their Mistresses

Babble/Famecrawler

Who is the Chilean miner's mistress?

She is Susana Valenzuela. Pictured here, on the left. Unbeknownst to the wife, the philandering husband and his mistress have been together for ten years (!) and all....

We all imagine that they live in a metropolis and that nobody knew or paid any attention to it . We're jesting. Copiacó, in the Atacama region, has a population of 156,000 souls. A most tightly-knit of communities if the iconography, rather, images we see fresh out of the Desert are anything to go by.

El minero infiel, Snr Yonni Barrios, will have a lot of explaining to do. Ach! Don't we all have some explaning to do? We will stay out of this one. It is none our business what people do with themselves. Oh well, perhaps thinking that the grim reaper was about to knock him down in the next tunnel, he came clear and....voilà!

Now, you see, "sin" is in the eye of the beholder. Go figure...

Should we be casting the first stone? We say this because we have heard people mention (those religiouslists on call) that they should be thrown back down into the depths of the Earth. Husband and, er, mistress.

Overkill.

On the Drill Through in Chile


A phenomenal rescue operation says the BBC today.

Finally an occasion for rejoicing in the arid Atacama Desert.

The drill has reached the 33 miners trapped deep  underground for nearly 70 days after a cave-in. The rescue is in progress, as we all know.

The Chilean president, Sebastian Piñera, his wife and other members of his cabinet were at the site to welcome the miners back to real life on the surface and the (glare of) media spotlight.

A survival story that held us all riveted to TV sets. TV news tells us that the miners have been fed accordingly and told to exercise by clearing debris to keep their waistines from ballooning to fit in the evacuation shaft which is just 60 centimeters (24 inches) in diameter.

Flowered desert, at the Atacama desert in ChileImage via Wikipedia
Ironies of ironies (oh, saints!), los mineros are healthier because of  the days spent trapped in the hole (so one network tells us...). They have been fed nice and everything and medical personnel monitoring their every breath were on hand on the surface to cater to their every need.

We have also learnt that the Chilean government has spared no efforts and funds to extricate the hapless workers from the dantean pit to deflect criticism over their spotty safety record at the mines.

We are all ecstatic that they have been brought back to the surface and to their families... And to uncountable TV docs we will be watching about their ordeal.  Which channels are they going to be on?






Explore:

On August 22, 2010, CBS reports: Both the company that owns the mine, San Esteban, and the National Mining and Geology Service have been criticized for allegedly failing to comply with regulations. In 2007, an explosion at the San Jose mine killed three workers. 

Chile is the world's top copper producer and a leading gold producer.



Reality Observer said this on August 29.






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Monday, October 11, 2010

Are We Bloggers "inadequate, pimpled and single?"

The Guardian


The BBC's website has nearly 100 blogs and invites its readers to "have your say" on an enormous range of topics, from Westminster to the weather. But one of the corporations's most familiar faces, Andrew Marr, has dismissed bloggers as "inadequate, pimpled and single", and citizen journalism as the "spewing and rantings of very drunk people late at night." 



Are we really? Surely he is trying provoke us into some sort of reaction. One such that will shoot his name to the very heights of notoriety and thereby, perhaps, we speculate, to some book deal, documentary or what not.
Granted that some us do drink and rant when barely able to strike the keys on our boards to concatenate a text. We may agree, yes sir! that some us are pimpled and single. This very writer has been on the shelf for ....Still, better than going into a relationship like the last one he had.
Perhaps we should inform the author of the rantings above that we form, ourselves, a canonical blogosphere and we are really very much attuned to what each and every one of us writes on blogland.
We are informed further that "a lot of bloggers are slightly seedy, bald, caulifalower-nosed young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting. They are very angry people."
Are we that, too? Here is a Freudian interpretation: he was talking about himself!!!
Citizen Journalism (Wikipedia) is when, we the sheeple, oops! people play a decisive role in news gathering and information. But not for him. CJ is "a waste of time."
All fine and dandy for us. The man is entitled to his opinions just as much as we are. Luckily, he did not call us all (males!), a bunch of wankers....
Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. Plus, almost forgot, some of us do facials routinely...


Sunday, October 10, 2010

On No Titles When No Titles Are Necessary

Time

A Brazilian prosecutor has filed corruption charges against one of the country's best-known evangelical churches, seeking jail time for one of its leaders accused of overseeing the misuse of more than $1 million given to the church for literacy programs.


Has he? Great...Now let me rummage through my word-chest and see if i can find some really vituperative locutions....


Not much to say. The story says all there is plus what most of us know, of course, about these "churches" (God forbid!). By the way, He/She/It must be on vacation......Can you tell?


Surely, oh, surely, one is to think, (hosannah!) They must be watching with their Book on hand jotting down each and every piece of misdeed and hypocrisy emanating from these fallen angels. Hosannah!


My not so pure heart goes to all those caught in this web of jive and puke spewing from the mouths of these....Would they had the strength to chuck this all into the air, once in the air, the whatever that has been chucked is to gain sudden weight, tons, and then fall, with a thud, on the heads of these...


Lord, give me strength. 




P.S.: Why don't you have a look a Tom's blog at http://tdbingham.blogspot.com/2010/10/just-when-i-thought-you-couldnt-be-any.html and follow him?

On Anti-gay Torture in the Big Apple.

NEW YORK -- Allegations that gang members attacked two teens and a man last week because they were gay don't square with the reputation of their Bronx neighborhood, where gay men and women live openly and neighbors are tolerant of homosexuality, residents and city leaders said.


The Washington Post


Chill? The allegations are deplorable, distressing, execrable, lamentable, miserable, pitiful, reprehensible, sad, sorry, vicious, woeful, condemnable, criminal. 


Wretched creatures who, out of nothing better to do, will resort to asinine acts to draw attention to themselves.


With mountains of books to be read. Loads of homework to be done. Loads of community volunteering to do. They still find time for mischief and ersatz machismo.


A friend on Facebook puts it brilliantly:  "I will never understand how one minority brutalizes another. Hispanics in the country are under siege as much as every other minority. The remedy is for us to unite, not to divide."


You are right, Mickey.






On When They See the Light of Day Again



The Atacama Desert - Chile
The first people down the shaft will be a rescue expert from a state-owned mining conglomerate and a medical expert, who will prepare the men for their journey to the surface.
Some of the fittest will go first, in case the capsule encounters problems during its ascent. There is already speculation as to which miner might be the first to emerge into the daylight. Among the fittest is Edison Peña, an Elvis Presley fan and athlete who has been keeping fit below ground.


Great! We now know how it is going to go down (or up!), The Guardian tells us. First this, then that, and then the other...Perfect.
It is expected that the moguls from Hollywood will make their appearance. Of course! Are you from Jupiter, dear writer? Haven't your learnt yet? I have, too. Still...
It is to be hoped that whatever comes out of it is good enough to drill the lesson home. All those mining conglomerates out there should learn from it. Those are humans down there. Show them some respect.


Friday, October 8, 2010

On Sacrilegious Works of Art and Tolerance

The Advocate




A Colorado woman angered by a painting depicting Jesus receiving oral sex from another man was arrested Wednesday when she took a crowbar to the piece of art and shredded the lithograph.




It really is a bit unbecoming when we want to ram down people's throats what for some is sacrilegious. It is safe to say that it is questionable for some us even. 


It is one thing to bring and raise awareness to various of our issues this Hemispherewide, and it is entirely another to shock people into accepting our irreverence. We might think the work of art in question to be an allegory to the rampant hypocrisy we see and hear everyday in our media.

Most people in the Western Hemisphere do believe Jesus is their "Lord" and it will be centuries until they accept "vanguardism" in art. It behooves us to think twice before we set out attacking people ideologically if we want to have them on our side to help us advance our agenda. 


It is imperative that we demonstrate we are tolerant to show them we think with our hearts and minds instead of (and not because of!) our lower abdomens.





P.S.:  (Added later) On a lighter note, one might think it must've been quite a scene to watch the Colorado woman hell-bent on destroying the offending work of art. Only after reading Stan's comment (see below), did we realize that, for some of you in the U.S.A., there's freedom of expression enshrined in your consitution and you can "say" virtually anything you want without fear or favor. Some can't. Makes it even more interesting.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

On How to Contribute Comments on Important Online Newspapers

South façade of the White House, the executive...
Photo: HiraV -  White House South Façade/ Wikipedia

BOB WOODWARD’S latest fly-on-the-wall White House potboiler, “Obama’s Wars”, is among other things an essay in the loneliness of command. Having inherited a failing war, a fresh young president is bombarded on all sides by conflicting advice and has in the end to set the strategy himself, pleasing nobody.


The Economist





‎I wish I had the lexical (and technical) wherewithal to contribute on foruns like this renowned newspaper.


Cynically, I am led to think that world governments have one sole aim: the agenda of financial interests. It is also very much delicious when one encounters well-written pieces with words like "potboiler", "prolixity" and others which are phonetically pleasing to one's ear. A delectable treat, indeed, besides making for very good weekend reading. Unluckily, financial constraints have precluded me from subscribing to your paper version. I have to make do with whatever you make available on platforms like this one (the Internet). Keep up the good work.


Ah, as for the government in question, I am afraid  I have little to say inasmuch as I understand squat about world politics and financial (or martial) messes inherited (or not!) from previous administrations, and their subsequent effect or impact (the mot du jour in mediatic circles) on mainstreet, plus this, that and the other...



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Friday, October 1, 2010

On Experiments on Vulnerable Populations

The spirochetal bacterium Treponema pallidum
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized for a U.S..-Funded study that led to the deliberate infection of hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis from 1946-1948. (NPR)




...Vulnerable people were ruthlessly exploited in the name of America's scientific progress. (BBC)



Good Heavens!  (This is when we invoke Deities). Is there anything else waiting to be uncovered by some academician that we would be better off not knowing?


This sort of experiment to look into the feasibility of this or that drug to cure this or that disease is not new. How can we account for the endless list of chemicals used as medicines and remedies for our aches and pains? 


Ethically speaking, it is reprehensible when experiments are carried out as exemplified in the story. Besides, what is stomach-churning here is whether the prisoners and the mental patients were cured after the experiment and the fact that they were kept completely in the dark about the whole affair. That was done on purpose.


Isn't this reason enough for us to believe in conspiracy theories when they crop up? How do we separate fact from fiction. Better, fact and fiction are blurred. We can no longer tell. 


Links below:


NPR


BBC