The 2012 Olympics have been a God send for me…….we have one of my favorite sports handball, soccer, which American women are playing almost flawless ball, fencing, which the US has a rising star , a 14 year girl, Lee Kiefer, who will be a super star…that is if she does not discover men….I have seen what that can do to an up and coming star………and the skeet shooter from the US…..she had a 99/100 score which ties Olympic all time record….there is also a 16 year old table tennis phenom that we will hear much about in the future…….so far we are doing pretty good but China is ahead of us in medal count…..but our forte is yet to come…..b/ball and track and field and swimming……..
That was my take on the games in the early days in case my reader had other things to do……but now I have a question……..Who decides what sports will be included in the games?
I mean come on! I used to wonder why badminton is included but…..circumcised swimming? (Pun intend, not a mistake). Should not the sports reflect the sports that are actually sports? If you are gonna have circumcised swimming, why not fishing or golf?
Why not darts? I mean there are more people in the world that sling darts than participate in circumcised swimming……now I see we have a circumcised diving event….and yet darts is ignored…..why? At no point in my area in the 90′s there were about a 100 teams participating in the different leagues and we are lucky if we have 500,000 people living here….but yet badminton gets to go to the Olympics….why?
I guess darts are out because they are most associated with pubs and such and God forbid that the Olympics be associated with such riff raff……..after all the Olympics seem to be more about marketing than the sport, because we know thrilling we Americans think a dancing horse is….amusing maybe, but a sport?
This is not a country that many Americans give two shakes in Hell about…..but that is a mistake to take the happenings in Mali, with their current civil war, with a grain of salt. There could be far reaching consequences for not paying attention.
I know what could happen in some far off country that could effect me here in the US?
Let me explain. Recall back to the days after the USSR removed itself from Afghanistan…..the semi civil war that took place and finally brought the Taleban to power…..and recall that they are extremists in Islam….one of their first acts after seizing power was to destroy some 1000 year old Buddhist statues that had been carved inside mountains…..(if you do not remember just Google it)…..
Something similar is happening in Mali…..the people in control of the North of the country are Salafist….an extreme form of Islam coming out of Saudi Arabia…..and these “people” and I use the term loosely have fallen into the same rhythm as the Taleban……
West African Islam has been deeply influenced by Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam that favours a metaphorical interpretation of the Qur’an and focuses on the spiritual development of the individual. West African Sufism is also known for its cult of the Marabouts, ‘enlightened’ individuals who mediate between God and humankind and who are also worshipped after they die.
The groups who have now seized power in northern Mali are followers of a very different movement: fundamentalist Salafism from Saudi Arabia. Their brand of Islam has no historical roots in West Africa and it rejects Sufism and the mystical veneration of saints as a heresy.
It is the fundamentalist Islam imported from Saudi Arabia and its animosity towards Sufism that has led to the tragic destruction of irreplaceable symbols of West Africa’s cultural heritage. Salafist literalists have already destroyed at least three historical mausoleums and they say they intend to raze them all to the ground. Historic mosques and libraries with manuscripts are not safe from these barbarians either. The manuscripts would fetch a fortune on the black market. There is a risk that important testimonies of a rich African scholarly tradition will disappear forever.
I know….what is the big deal?
European historians long claimed that Africa had no written history or intellectual tradition and that the first light of civilization arrived there with the European colonization. But if there is one city in Africa that dispels this myth, it is Timbuktu.
This city on the northernmost part of the river Niger, at the edge of the Sahara, was a thriving centre of commerce from the 13th century. There, Arabs from the north traded with various African tribes in gold, salt and other commodities. Europeans first arrived to the city in the 19th century, but Arabic scribes like the famous Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta described the city with admiration some five hundred years earlier.
Timbuktu is best known for its historic mosques and mausoleums, where Sufi saints are entombed. But only recently did people realize that, aside from a centre of trade, the city was also a significant centre of intellectual life. In the late 1990s, an international research team found a number of private libraries where prominent families from Timbuktu kept tens of thousands of medieval manuscripts. Written in Arabic and in African languages, the manuscripts showed the world that 13th-century West African scholars were deeply engaged in the study of religious subjects but also logic, mathematics, astronomy, medicine and natural sciences.
I was in Mali when I was working as a researcher and visited many of the places mentioned……would be a real shame to have this much history destroyed…especially in the name of God.
Once again extreme fundamentalists are endangering history! Just as the Catholic Church destroyed Maya texts and the Taleban destroyed Buddhist sites….these pigs are endangering a rich cultural history by their moronic attitudes. And keep in mind that the Taleban let AQ show up and work their magic and we could be looking at the same for Mali. And if that occurs how long will it be before drones start destroying what is left of their history in the name of killing AQ operatives?
Mona Lisa….Mona Lisa…..hum hum hum hum……..I can hear that song in my head as I write this…..
Many years and many theories on who Da Vinci painted and called it the “Mona Lisa”….who was she……a countess….perhaps a figment of someone’s imagination…..just who was this smirking lady?
There may be a break in the investigation…….
Newser) – We may be getting a little closer to discovering the secret of Mona Lisa’s smile. Experts on Tuesday unearthed an intact skeleton beneath the floor of a former convent in Florence, and say this one could indeed belong to Lisa Gherardini. The tomb hunters last year saidthey had proof Gherardini was buried in the convent in 1542, but a skeleton dug up that same year wasn’t that of the Leonardo da Vinci model.
“Until we have conducted carbon-14 testing, we cannot date with certainty the era in which this person lived,” says the lead researcher of the current skeleton. He told ABC News that they also plan to DNA test the bones using the bones of Gherardini’s two sons for comparison. But ANSA reports that there’s already one encouraging sign it could be the real deal: The team also found a 15th-century altar base. During that period, the dead were typically laid to rest near such a base, and “after 1500, only two women were buried here: Mona Lisa Gherardini, in 1542, and another noblewoman, Maria del Riccio,” says the team.
So are we any closer to knowing who this most famous lady really was or is this just another let down? Thoughts?
Once again I have had many, many thoughts but not all make it into posts for various reasons…..I have notebooks full of notes and thoughts…..some good and some just plain silly…..
1–Can anyone please explain the popularity of reality TV? (asked several times with No good answer)
2–The first 6 months of 2012 have been the warmest ever.
3–Soap operas are disappearing at a good rate and yet someone thought Dallas resurrection would be healthy…I disagree.
4–STOP using the term “boots on the ground”….they are young men/women that are put in harm’s way….stop de-humanizing them.
5–STOP using “all in”….it is a bullshit term used by pathetic losers.
6–Stop using “kick the can down the road”…..call what it is….cowards refusing to act!
7–Can anything be more boring than watching someone fish?
8–Give me a sexy pundit other than SE Cupp.
9–Stop! The recent shooting will do NOTHING to further one side of the argument or the other…all it will do is give the MSM something else to fixate on for a week or so….
10-At what point will Americans stop bullshit arguments on bullshit topics and focus on the nation and what is best for the residents?
11-By this point in any election the whole dialog has become pathetic and tiresome.
12-If there is a true conserv out there, I know most will not read this blog, could you explain to me Mitt Romney? He has NO foreign policy…..NO domestic policy…..NO answers other than Obama sucks….What makes him a viable candidate? Other than Obama must be beat in November. I mean his biggest go to line is that he saved the Olympics…but actually government intervention saved the Utah Olympics….what is the real draw for Mitt?
13-By election time the Congress will have worked less than 180 days….where is that getting anything done?
14-Does the world really need flavored Vodkas?
15-Jack Abramoff: “During the years I was lobbying, I purveyed millions of my own and clients’ dollars to congressmen, especially at such decisive moments. I never contemplated that these payments were really just bribes, but they were. Like most dissembling Washington hacks, I viewed these payments as legitimate political contributions, expressions of my admiration of and fealty to the venerable statesman I needed to influence.”
“Outside our capital city (and its ever-prosperous contiguous counties), the campaign contributions of special interests are rightly seen as nothing but bribes. The purposeful dissonance of the political class enables congressmen to accept donations and solemnly recite their real oath of office: My vote is not for sale for a mere contribution. They are wrong. Their votes are very much for sale, only they don’t wish to admit it. The reason they don’t feel they are being bought is that the interaction seems so normal. In fact, were they not public servants, it would be very normal.”
16-I have already had this conversation with my readers but something came to light….A court filing by the state of Pennsylvania, ahead of a trial starting later this week on a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups against the state’s new voter fraud law, contains an astounding admission:
The state signed a stipulation agreement with lawyers for the plaintiffs which acknowledges there “have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states.”
And then there is this from the Pennsylvania also…….
Pennsylvania Republicans aren’t shy about this fact. State GOP House Leader Mike Turzai recently admittedthe extent to which this law serves no purpose other than to elect Republicans:
“We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years,” said Turzai in a speech to committee members Saturday. He mentioned the law among a laundry list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature.
“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation — abortion facility regulations — in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”
17-here is some crazy stuff…..A Utah man tied to the state’s Republican party has been arrested on charges that he raped four women.
Gregory Nathan Peterson, 37, was booked Wednesday on 23 felony counts, including rape and kidnapping. Two of the alleged victims claim the incidents took place at Peterson’s cabin, where he has hosted a number of fundraisers featuring Utah’s most prominent politicians. Peterson’s bail has been set at $750,000.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
Charging documents allege sexual assaults against four women in Salt Lake County beginning March 26, 2011. In the first case, the documents allege, Peterson met a woman at a church function and she agreed to go to a movie with him.But instead of going to a theater, the papers allege, Peterson told the woman he had a gun and took her to his cabin in Heber. The documents allege he sexually assaulted the woman while she said no and hit her when she did not do as he wished. Peterson drove the woman back to her vehicle the next morning.
Okay there are a few thoughts….any suggestions or comments? Whatya think?
With the extreme silly season in full swing with endless negative ads, pathetic candidates and boring misinformed pundits and truly disgusting programming from the TV..it is time to step back and take a break from this moronic exercise in futility…..
Since I was about 15 years old I have liked politics and political theory, but in the last decade I have watched that go down the crapper…..I try to help people think about what is going on in the world of politics….sometimes I have been called many things for many reasons, none of which are accurate….I guess what my grandfather told me about writing and talking politics….”when you try to teach pigs to sing….you waste your time and piss off the pig”…….and damn! The man was prophetic!
I have analyzed many political seasons……and this one is the worst one I have witnessed. This election has been condensed down to the lowest denominator……it is about who can sling the most mud and insults at the other….it is bad enough that the candidates are doing it but now these bottom feeders have the American people doing it to each other.
I want to believe that the people want what is best for the country and its citizens….but you would not know it by all the rhetoric on either side. With people’s lives hanging in the balance the election is about who wins or loses….not about what one would do if elected. Oh both sides of this theater has lots of ‘ideas’ but none of them are realistic….just mindless rhetoric to confuse and misinform
It is about a month until the conventions and I am sick at the amount of crap that is said and done in the name of the American people. This election has seldom been about the lives of the people but rather a contest of personalities. It is about sound bites not policies……..it is about 30 second interviews and not substantial policies….
It is negativity at its worse. And people that try to make sense of this steam pile of bovine fecal matter are demonized, both sides, some of it is warranted and most of it is not. This system was founded on the idea of equality and today it is about which side has the most money for their attacks…..
So enough is enough!
I have decided to take a break from the mindless exercise that is the 2012 election until after the conventions maybe then this will return to the point where it is about what is best for the country. I will continue to post every day but they will not be so much about the candidates but other cool stuff. Since I worked in the Middle East in my younger years I will do some posting on stuff in the area……I regret that I feel I have to cleanse myself from the pathetic crap that this election is conjuring up……..
Hopefully, sanity returns!
A debt plan to the Right……a debt plan to the Left…..and then there is Simpson-Bowles…..I have signed on to the plan that was come up with by the Simpson-Bowles Commission….we need answers and we definitely need solutions…..I liked the plan a lot….beat the holy Hell out of the alternatives that have come from the mouths of our elected officials. Recently reading some papers and such from the Economic Policy Institute, I found a critique of Simpson-Bowles written by Ethan Pollock and I thought I would give you his concerns on the plan….after all I want to be fair……..
1) It would weaken the economy by cutting way too fast
The proposal admits that Congress should not cut too soon “in order to avoid shocking the fragile economy,” but addresses this by “waiting until 2012 to begin enacting programmatic spending cuts, and waiting until fiscal year 2013 before making large nominal cuts.” Given the current weak state of the economy, it’s clear that this timetable was way off. But it’s not like this was unexpected: In Aug. 2010 (three months before the Bowles-Simpson proposal was released) the Congressional Budget Office projected that the unemployment rate would be still be 8.4 percent in fiscal year 2012. Of course, it was possible that the economy would outperform this projection, but it was also possible it would underperform. Given this uncertainty, the proposal should have included an economic trigger and not just a simple-minded timeline—for example, the cuts would only take effect if the economy was experiencing healthy growth and well on its way to full recovery. At the time, EPI had recommended this trigger be set at 6 percent unemployment for six months, which in retrospect looks quite prescient.
2) It had an unbalanced ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases
The advertised ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases was 3-to-1. This isn’t totally accurate: Excluding interest savings (which are a function of both spending and revenue decisions) and including the additional revenue assumed in the baseline (i.e., the assumed conditions against which the proposal is measured) from the expiration of the high-income Bush tax cuts, the ratio was closer to 55-to-45.
But that’s still too heavily weighted towards spending cuts. Over the last two decades, budget deals have skimped on tax increases in favor of heavy spending cuts, and the most recent deal—the Budget Control Act—was 100 percent spending cuts. Furthermore, the Bush tax cuts themselves account for nearly half of the total debt accrued during this period. Finally, spending cuts exacerbate the massive and growing income inequality in this country by generally falling on middle- and low-income households (Paul Ryan’s budget, for example) while federal tax increases can be designed to ensure that high-income individuals pay their fair share.
3) A completely counterproductive and politically-driven revenue cap
As a policy matter, the revenue cap that Bowles-Simpson proposes—21 percent of GDP—makes no economic sense. Remember, deficit reduction packages are supposed to reduce the deficit. Yet this provision would “prevent” future Congresses from reducing the deficit through tax increases above 21 percent, which would effectively rule out the federal revenue levels that nearly every single other developed country already achieves—and that rising costs of health care provision all but guarantee the United States will need in coming decades. The best thing to say about this provision is that there isn’t an enforcement mechanism, which also suggests that even its authors didn’t think it was good policy.
4) Inexorable cuts to public investments
The proposal doesn’t explicitly cut items like education, infrastructure, and research and development, but it does prescribe funding levels for the broader non-security discretionary (NSD) portion of the budget that houses nearly all non-defense public investments. As my report last year shows, it is pretty much impossible to make drastic cuts to NSD without cutting public investments.
So why do public investments matter? Because the whole economic point of deficit reduction is to improve the living standards of future generations by ensuring that we do not pass onto them high levels of debt. But financial debt isn’t the only kind of debt that we can pass on to them. For example, failing to maintain our infrastructure and bequeathing crumbling roads and bridges is also a form of debt. So is providing poor prospects for obtaining a decent education. Reducing the debt load on future generations by cutting an investment in those same future generations doesn’t make them any better off, and thus negates the entire point of deficit reduction in the first place. Given the high returns of public investment, it is likely the net effect on these generations will be strongly negative.
5) It would undermine retirement security by cutting Social Security
The Bowles-Simpson proposal wouldn’t only cut Social Security benefits, it would do so in a way that harms the middle class. According to the Social Security Actuary, medium-income retirees would see their benefits drop by 4 percent for those who retire in 2030 to nearly 20 percent for those who retire in 2080. This is largely a function of two separate cuts, both of which fall on the low- and middle-class: raising the retirement age and using an alternate method to calculate cost of living adjustments, the so-called “chained CPI.”
Proposed cuts to Social Security need to be put in the context of broader retirement security. Social Security represents one of three sources of retirement security, the other two being defined benefit pensions and household savings (IRAs, 401(k)s, real estate, etc.). But private savings do a poor job of providing actual security—just ask a near-retiree how their nest egg fared after the financial collapse—and it’s unclear how much savings the average household can accrue in the first place when median wages continue to stagnate. Further, defined benefit pensions are becoming less and less common as more and more companies choose to drop them in favor of defined contribution plans (401(k)s or similar plans) which, again, provide little actual security against economic volatility. Social Security is the last reliable source of true retirement security for the middle class, and that means it’s more important than ever to protect it against cuts like these.
So yes there are draw backs or flaws, if you will, in the plan…..but to be honest….it is far superior to anything that I have heard or read coming from Washington….solutions need to be found and instead of working on that….our elected “people” and I use the term loosely…..play games and point fingers one to another and all the while the economy goes down the drain….and each one of them will blame the other……sorry but like the tango it takes two parties to dance.