Archive for ◊ July, 2006 ◊

German Views on the Middle East
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Author:

An interesting editorial in the German newspaper/site Der Spiegel…   Matthias Kuntzel indicates the reasons “Why Israel’s Reaction is Right”.  For a European, he highlights some interesting observations and conclusions:

In 2003, 59 percent of all Europeans pointed to Israel as the country presenting the greatest risk to world peace… 

Until 2005, Islamism was able to successfully mislead the West into thinking that the “occupation” of Gaza and southern Lebanon was the cause of the terror attacks carried out against Israel. Now we know better: Islamism isn’t out to change Israeli policy in the region, Islamism is out to completely eradicate the country of Israel.

For Hezbollah members, the destruction of Israel is not only non-negotiable, it is a religious duty. Hezbollah only understands the language of violence and Israel’s military is the only force that is in a position to effectively confront Hezbollah.

The pacifist reaction that the Israeli defensive war has triggered in Germany and Europe is not well thought out and is disingenuous. It is also counter-productive. An immediate cease-fire would merely result in a worse conflict in the future.

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Myths of Moslem Superiority
Sunday, July 23rd, 2006 | Author:

There appears to be a popular myth that at one time the Arab Moslems contributed greatly to modern culture, science, and technology… well, there is an article in the Brussels Journal that claims otherwise:

When the Arab Muslims, a collection of backward, nomadic warrior tribes who did not even have a fully developed script, conquered Egypt, Syria and Iran, they took control over some of the world’s largest centres of accumulated knowledge. To say that “Muslims” or “Islamic culture” created the civilizations of the Middle East can be compared to an illiterate person storming into the planet’s largest library, killing all the librarians and then claiming to have written all the books there. The cultural superiority of the Middle East in relation to Europe did not begin with Islam’s entry into the area. In fact, it ended with it… Islam’s much-vaunted “Golden Age” was in reality just the twilight of the conquered pre-Islamic cultures, an echo of times passed.

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Insider’s Look at Professional Tennis
Saturday, July 22nd, 2006 | Author:

I’m reading a book on professional tennis written by Vince Spadea.   His book, “Break Point”, shares his experiences as a member of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). 

I’ll share my impression of the book in the up-coming weeks…

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US Congressmen Who Declined to Support Israel
Saturday, July 22nd, 2006 | Author:

On Thursday the US House of Representatives voted 410 to 8 in favor of a resolution “condemning the recent attacks against the State of Israel, holding terrorists and their state-sponsors accountable for such attacks, [and] supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.” Here’s a list of the 12 congressmen who declined to support Israel:

Voting “no” Voting “present”
Neil Abercrombie (D., Hawaii) Marcy Kaptur (D., Ohio)
John Conyers (D., Mich.) Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio)
John Dingell (D., Mich.) Barbara Lee (D., Calif.)
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D., Mich.)  Maxine Waters (D., Calif.)
Jim McDermott (D., Wash.)
Ron Paul (R., Texas)
Nick Rahall (D., W.Va.)
Fortney Hillman Stark Jr. (D., Calif.)
Category: Politics  | One Comment
Words to Build Your Vocabulary…
Friday, July 21st, 2006 | Author:

Another great set from StrangeCosmos that describes new words for a new world:

AQUADEXTROUS (ak wa deks’ trus) adj. Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub faucet on and off with your toes.

CARPERPETUATION (kar’ pur pet u a shun) n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance.

DISCONFECT (dis kon fekt’) v. To sterilize the piece of candy you dropped on the floor by blowing on it, assuming this will somehow `remove’ all the germs.

ELBONICS (el bon’ iks) n. The actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater.

FRUST (frust) n. The small line of debris that refuses to be swept onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until he finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug.

LACTOMANGULATION (lak’ to man gyu lay’ shun) n. Manhandling the “open here” spout on a milk container so badly that one has to resort to the `illegal’ side.

PEPPIER (pehp ee ay’) n. The waiter at a fancy restaurant whose sole purpose seems to be walking around asking diners if they want ground pepper.

PHONESIA (fo nee’ zhuh) n. The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer.

PUPKUS (pup’ kus) n. The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.

TELECRASTINATION (tel e kras tin ay’ shun) n. The act of always letting the phone ring at least twice before you pick it up, even when you’re only six inches away.

Category: Humor  | Leave a Comment
US Congress: Americans with No Abilities Act
Friday, July 21st, 2006 | Author:

This is a good one from Roger Sines:

WASHINGTON, DC (AP) – Congress is considering sweeping legislation, which provides new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA) is being hailed as a major legislation by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

“Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society,” said Barbara Boxer. “We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they do a better job, or have some idea of what they are doing.”

The President pointed to the success of the US Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees lack job skills, making this agency the single largest US employer of Persons of Inability.

Private sector industries with good records of nondiscrimination against the Inept include retail sales (72%), the airline industry (68%), and home improvement “warehouse” stores (65%) The DMV also has a great record of hiring Persons of Inability. (63%)

Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million “middle man” positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given, to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations which maintain a significant level of Persons of Inability in middle positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

Finally, the AWNA ACT contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Nonabled, banning discriminatory interview questions such as “Do you have any goals for the future?”, “Do you have any skills or experience?” or  “Do you have a resume?”

“As a Nonabled person, I can’t be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them,” said Mary Garcia, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, MI due to her lack of notable job skills. “This new law should really help people like me.” With the passage of this bill, Garcia and millions of other untalented citizens can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Said Senator Ted Kennedy, “It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her adequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and also find a place for all illegal aliens no matter how useless they may be.”

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Voinovich Changes His Position on Bolton
Thursday, July 20th, 2006 | Author:

You may recall that I had a posting in April about the US Senator from Ohio, George Voinovich.  I shared the fact that I would vote against Voinovich (even though he claims to be a Republican) based on his opposition to John Bolton for US Ambassador to the UN.  I even sent an email to his staffers letting them know that I would work against him in the next election as a result of his decision… Well, surprise, surprise!  Mr. Voinovich has an article in the Washington Post that exclaims “Why I will Vote for John Bolton”. 

While I don’t necessarily like many of his ‘mamby pamby’ statements such as, “My original concerns about Bolton involved his interpersonal skills,” I respect Voinovich for taking a public change in his position.  I would love to claim that he changed his position due to my emails, but I doubt that any politician would take a citizen from Dayton seriously.

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Straddling a Fence
Thursday, July 20th, 2006 | Author:

Here is a good example of the inane logic of the US Senate… In May, amid great public clamor about the unchecked flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico, the U.S. Senate voted 83-16 in favor of building nearly 400 miles of fence….Last week, the Senate voted 71-29 against spending money to actually build the fence… Go figure.

Category: Politics  | One Comment
New Gadgets
Wednesday, July 19th, 2006 | Author:

I’ve always enjoyed the “What’s New” section in Popular Science.  When I was a youngster, I used to look forward to reading my brother’s copy of the magazine that showed the newest technologies being introduced into consumer products.   Today, the gadgets range from laser-guided scissors to induction-powered cooking ware.  It’s worth taking a look to get a pulse on emerging technologies…

Category: Engineering  | Leave a Comment
Hezbollah threatens the United States
Wednesday, July 19th, 2006 | Author:

According to a recent article in WorldNetDaily, Hezbollah’ threats to attack U.S. interests around the world are being taken seriously by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials who say the group’s agents have attempted illegal entry into the country through the southern border and have staked out 20 potential sensitive targets.

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