Absolute Dan
Sunday, July 17, 2005
 
Of Today
The War on Global Terror
US Mass Transit Considerations and Misconsiderations (A.P. "Transit remarks upsets New York")
Head of DHS, Sec. Michael Chertoff, said Friday that money should be a consideration when prioritizing how much to spend where. A plane carying 3000 thousand people should be secured first because it can kill 3000 people. A train carying 30 people should be in a lower spending priority. Following this reasoning, "(article quote) cities will have to pay to protect trains and buses because airplanes are a higher priority."
To this, officials expressed their astonishment and disapointment. Understandably so, but misplaced.
When Dana Kauffman, Washington Metro Board Chairwoman, is saying "Is he saying to his own people, 'Good luck?'", she is expressing a most sectorial concern, one which should not be voiced by an official. Should the Government care for "his own", first? I think not! The Government is to care for all in the most intelligent manner possible and if there is not enough money, then it should spend where most efficient. When BART of San Francisco spokesman says that officials were "very disapointed" and "completely stunned" by Chertoff's comments, he is missing this point.
I and everyone, wishes that all and everything is protected in the same way, and if NYC is a city more proned to terror attacks because it is perceived as a US symbol, then it should be protected by Federal money, but sadly, there is not enough of it.

US Supreme Court
Chief Justice Rehnquist
I wonder. Due respect to the person in question, should not the health circumstances in which such a highly put official finds himself, be of a grave concern for all and for himself, too? Isn't chemotherapy a very hard and demanding medical process? It is, we know it is. Doesn't his health have the possibility of impairing his ability to conduct a valuable and rational consideration of the cases which he weighs? The Chief Justice is 80 years old. While wishing him a good health and a long life, when combining the two factors, his health situation and his age, shouldn't he consider resignation? I think he should.

Art
"Talk to her", a movie by Almodovar
I loved it. I loved the way Almodovar is portraying the love and the affections between different individuals, all on the verge of the extreme. A man accepts the deep affection of another man for him, without protesting, while showing deep friendship and understanding for this man, even when this man is imprisoned because of what he did to a woman in his care, who is in a permanent vegetative state. Almodovar does not judge, does not point fingers, he does not show bias. In his book, men cry openly, unabashed. In his book, women, while living in a machoistic society and loving as only a woman loves, can and do fight bulls.
I loved his way of playing with dancing. In two such scenes, in the beginning and the end of the movie, the dances and the dancers are simply moving.
See it. Five stars. Very highly recommended.

Today's item
Hospice in Prison (Knight Ridder, "Prison hospice a great outlet for inmate growth, reflection")
Inmates in prisons can volunteer to be caregivers for other inmates who are terminally ill. This happens at a NJ state prison and at other five PA ones.
Says Christian, a caregiver in such a hospice "This is exactly what I needed to change my chracter ... to focus on others, not me."
Joanne Anderson, a social worker who trains the caregivers, says that she can see the changes in them within weeks.
A caregiving convicted killer says that the place "opens your mind and teaches you to appreciate life." When his patient died, he cried. "He wasn't any patient, he was family. Some say I went overboard."
A patient is stating the spiritual change in him because of the care he gets from another inmate.
The care, which is voluntary, is performed beside the usual task that the caregiver has in the prison. Christian wakes up at 6 a.m. to spend three hours with his patient.
Now, this is Godly, methinks.
 
Saturday, July 16, 2005
  Of Today
The War on Global Terror
Support for bin Laden falls in Muslim countries (14 Jul 2005, Reuters and other news sources)
It was expected. Support for, and confidence in Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, fell since May, 2003, "in much of the Muslim world, according to a multicountry poll released on Thursday". The countries involved in a "survey by the Pew Research Center, examined public opinion in six predominantly Muslim nations: Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Jordan and Lebanon" and other non-Muslim countries.
Such a shock therapy applied to an innocent world, without discrimination, just because it is an "infidel" world, would and could not go without having a measure of the contrary results for the audience to which it was intended.
I hope that this fall in support for the Islamic crusade against the West, will have a parallel impact in the numbers of new recruited terror-fighters.

US Life and Economics
Florida off-shore oil and natural gas drilling
When confronting the voices against drilling in the Gulf for oil and gas with the voices which condone it, one cannot but think about the local interests importance vs the more global ones, here, the national interests.
The issue at hand is the absolute and immediate need to find alternative, local sources, for the much needed energy to replace the external ones. It is the conventional energy, in question, oil and natural gas. This, for two, very plausible reasons - strategic and economic, and global politics.
In case of emergency, the first reason, US won't have to depend on others. This can come with a cost tag on it, which can be high. It can also be unreliable at the source end: internal politics and market turmoil, transportation problems, natural disaters, etc..
The other reason is the ransom we may be asked to pay for it, or even pay for it already. Consider the Mid East, consider Venezuela. Chavez is an avowed leftist sending ample oil quantities to Cuba, which we try to boycot; Saudia can pull the strings for the cause, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, thus making potentially a silent pact with the International Terror, which can use it as a lever on the oil-producing Mid East countries in the name of the Umma.
While trying to extract ourselves from those two impasses by developing alternative local conventional energy sources, the local interest is voicing its concern about the possible negative impact of off-shore drilling on the local Floridian tourist economy.
What is more important? Local interests, or national ones? With all the concern I feel for the environment, which surely will be affected negatively more than just a bit and a few times, when balancing the plates, I cannot but think that the national interests come first.

Today's item
Songs praising Stickups (A.P.)
In Garfield, NJ, the leader of a gang, which robbed taxi drivers, recorded a song boasting about it.
Nothing new with robbing. To boast about it, is a novelty. To make it in art-form is a true novelty. But what is more than a novelty, is the fact that the man didn't give a second thought about being caught, else he wouldn't make a CD on it. Boasting publicly about it was more important to him, apparently.
Wishing to show off when commiting a crime and not minding being caught, is a personal blunder that points to a societal sickness.
 
Friday, July 15, 2005
  Of Today
The Global Terror
There are two things, which I'd like to address. One is the fact that many of the would-be terrorists studied in the West, sometimes specifically to learn the how-to of their future trade, killing: chemistry, biochemistry, nuclear physics, etc. The other thing is how should we go and fight this plague? They are not centralized, they don't have a systematic type of organization, they come in a rather spontaneous way into the ranks of the amorphic body of the Terror Army. Sometimes, they act on their own in small groups, with only a general identification with the main terror groups. Sometimes, they are given only general instructions and then sent to a job on the spot to be done as they see fit according to the circumstances. How to make a bomb can be learnt online. They get killed, but no problem there. Many come on their own initiative to replace and fill the ranks. So we need to keep at bay individuals who come sworming at our gates, ready to be killed, ready for the sacrifice. This is a difficult task, no doubt. Again I don't know how to address this problem, but I can confidently point to it and say that this is the most urgent problem we face in the war on terror: The sporadic, and willing on the personal level, fashion, in which terror fighters join the terror ranks.

US Politics
Karl Rove is in the news and not so nice looking. If he is truly guilty of revealing the name of the CIA agent, he should be fired immediately. This would enhance the positive image of the Republicans, in the face of an imminent Democratic attack if Bush overlooks what is a blunt misdeed and a possible felony. It will show the integrity which they want the nation to think they have.

Today's items
FAA and FCC. Why is it that FAA is the Federal Aviation Agency, but FCC is the Federal Communication Commission?

Freeters, a combination of "free" and "arbeiter" (worker, in German). Japan. (By Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press, as it appeared in The News-Press of SW FL, on July, 13, in the Business section.)
Those are people who "(loose rendering) defy past standards of success by working temporary jobs to finance their dreams - becoming a dnacer, poet or even a farmer. ... In spite of being a graduate of the prestigious Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Baba is working a wide array of sporadic jobs, all to support his first love, the traditional tayko drums. In so doing, he earns only a small sum of what he could earn in a good job. This is a real concern for the Japanese government, becuase it could erode the tax revenue basis in a country with growing ranks of elderly who are dependent on state run pension and health care system. So much so, that businesses and government offices alike have set up groups to tackle the so-called "freeter problem."
 
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
  London is hit, West under attack
Though belated, I wish to dedicate this post to the unfortunate event in London, the barbaric and bestial murder of pure innocent people in the name of God. Yes, unbelievably as it may seem, it was done in the name of God. Let's not waste time and energy on describing how do I feel about it, because it should go without saying that I share the pain of the victims and their families and the disgust that so many feel toward this despicable act of misinterpreted religious fervor and misguided social activism. What is more important is how this new kind of war should be approached. For it is war, let there be no mistake about it. This is not just another crime, this is war. I believe that the West is under attack. I believe that if the West collapses, the world will collapse with it in a total chaos. I believe that the West should make a conscious effort to define its enemy in an intelligent and determined manner, one in which the rules of engagemnet are reviewed within the frame of the new circumstances, which are indeed unique, at least compared to what we knew until now about the rules of advancement of social and political goals. Though I have my own general thoughts about how this should be done, it is not for me to say it. I hope, and in fact I am pretty sure that the powers that be will be able to find the answers to this new plague of our times. I would like to end my epistle of today with a minute of silence in the honor of those who gave their lives, without knowing it, to the understanding of the new world in which we live and of the resolve we must find to fight the plague. Please, join me!
 
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