Sunday, February 27, 2011


This week the teams left Sydney and flew into the Outback. The teams had two flights to choose from and all of them made it (although it looked like the Cowboys weren't.) The teams had to make some Aboriginal art and then do a dance. Amanda and Kris had to do both challenges since they were the last teams at the beginning of the Race. Then the teams had to dress up as kangaroos and find two certain streets. Mallory was her usual stupid, annoying self while the Asian father/daughter team kept complaining. As usual the father/son team had problems.
In the end Amanda and Kris came in last and were sent home. I would really like to see the Asian father/daughter team or Mallory's team sent home soon (although I feel bad for Mallory's dad.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Survivor: RI

This week Philip continued to be his crazy self and yet he stayed in the game. The hillbilly (Ralph) found one of the idols and rather than let Russel waste all his time looking for it he basically called him out on finding the clue. That wasn't the smartest thing to do since now Russel is going to work hard to get him out of the game.
Tribal Council had the first blindside. They voted Matt out even though during the show Matt did nothing but praise Boston Rob as his Idol - most of the contestants this season are star-crazed idiots who will do whatever Russel or Boston Rob say. Since Matt was voted out he went to Redemption Island where Francisca was waiting. It seems that this season they are going to get the crazies and kick out the useful.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Worst Cooks In America

I have been watching this show the whole time and today was the season finale. I am glad that Joshie won even though I thought that Georg would win. I didn't really care for most of the dishes throughout the show since they were mostly fish or fish-related.
Anne Burrell won again so hopefully they will have another season soon.


This was the first show of the season. I didn't care to see that the Father/Son, the Goths, the Father/Daughter Asians or the Father/Daughter (Mallory)were back. I did like that the Mother/Son and the Cowboys were back. This is the first time they went to the Pacific in the beginning of the show instead of at the end.
They went to Australia where they had to take a ferry to an island, swim with sharks and then sail. Other than swimming with sharks the challenges didn't seem hard. At the end of the show the Cowboys were the only ones who were still doing the challenges. I'm not sure if this will be a good season or not yet so will continue watching it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Survivor: RI

This was the first show of the new season. I don't really like that they brought Boston Rob and Russel back. Neither of them ever won and it seems like a cheap attempt to get more viewers. I am curious to see how the Redemption Island part will work and if it will be any good.
I did think it was good that Kristina found the Idol without any clues, but she made the mistake most people with an Idol make - she kept telling people rather than keep the secret to herself.
The main character I remember from the show is Phillip. There is something seriously wrong with him. He has to say that he was a Federal Agent at every chance he can. I really hope that he worked in the basement and had no real access to important/top secret government information as it is clear he can not keep anything a secret and could have done more harm than good for our country. The way he went off at Tribal Council shows just how unstable he is. I did like that he couldn't remember Francesca's name the million times he said it and he blamed it on "a dry mouth condition that he is getting treated." This guy is pretty weird. I hope he gets kicked off soon - at least before the first jury person is chosen. I know he would add to the drama, but his craziness goes beyond reality show norms.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Russia Changes Times (Again)

From the Moscow Times:
"Medvedev Modernizes Time Zones"

David Cameron should envy Dmitry Medvedev: The Russian president decided this week to move his whole country one time zone further east — something the British prime minister also wants to do, but faces stiff opposition over.Cameron has come under fire from traditionalists who despise giving up Greenwich Mean Time or GMT for "Berlin Time," and from Scottish lawmakers who argue that in the north the sun will rise at only 10 a.m. But in Russia's nine time zones, the clocks will move forward one hour to daylight-saving time on March 27 and then stay there next fall while most other countries move their clocks back to winter time. Moscow will thus move from being three hours ahead of London and two hours from Berlin to four and three hours, respectively, aligning with Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Persian Gulf states. When the move is implemented in the world's largest country by landmass it will create a massive gap in the global map of states that reset their clocks twice yearly. But it is likely to please the populace, as daylight-saving time, introduced by the Soviet Union only in 1981, has remained largely unpopular in Russia. A Levada poll found last March that 46 percent of Russians want to scrap summer time, while only 36 percent prefer resetting clocks in the spring and fall. The rest were undecided. Critics say the time change is harmful for health, a notion Medvedev played up when he announced the decision during a meeting with young scientists. "We all are used to cursing this because it really hurts the human biological rhythm. We're all annoyed when we either oversleep or wake up too early," he was quoted by Interfax as saying. Foreign travelers may be the ones to face inconveniences over what national media dubbed "eternal summer time," as time differences with Russia will differ depending on the month. For example, New York will be nine hours behind in the winter but eight hours in the summer. The boundary with Norway, a short strip of land in the Arctic, will mark a three-hour time difference in the winter and a two-hour one in the summer because the local region of Murmansk observes Moscow time. And people in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea, will have to adapt during the summer to being two hours ahead of their western neighbor Poland and one hour ahead of their eastern neighbor Lithuania, with whom it currently shares a time zone. Some in Kaliningrad fear that this will further isolate the region from its neighbors, from whom they are already separated by EU visa requirements. "I would rather be in line with Europe. Just look at the map, we are on the same meridian as Warsaw," said Vladimir Korolyov, deputy head of the liberal Yabloko party in the region. But he said he still supported the abolition of daylight-saving time. "This was always against nature," Korolyov said by telephone. Sergei Kravchenko, a Moscow-based psychologist, said Medvedev was right to keep time distances within the country at a minimum. Kravchenko, who studies the effect of time on people, argued that the key aim should be to have as little differences as possible. "If everybody wakes up and goes to bed at the same time, it helps people feel more united," he said. Medvedev started his time initiative in his 2009 state-of-the-nation address, when he proposed not just abolishing daylight-saving time, but also reducing the number of time zones. Last year, the country discarded two of its formerly 11 time zones by moving regions on the Volga and in the Far East one hour closer to Moscow time. As a result, Russia now stretches over eight contiguous time zones from St. Petersburg to the Pacific, with Kaliningrad making an extra ninth zone. When he introduced the changes last March, Medvedev said he would study the possibility of further reducing the number of time zones, but called scrapping daylight-saving time unlikely because this could isolate the country. But the president apparently reversed the decision, choosing a more popular path, experts said. "The proposals [to abolish time zones] turned out to be a dead end," said Arkady Tishkov, deputy director of the Academy of Sciences' Geography Institute. Tishkov, who was part of an expert group that advised the Kremlin on the issue, said further reforms had clashed with the interest of governors in the Far East. "Making further changes is maybe not very popular before the elections," he said. The country will have State Duma elections in December and the presidential election in March 2012. A Kremlin spokeswoman refused to comment when asked whether further time zone changes were planned. The March Levada poll found that 44 percent are in favor of keeping time zones as they are and just 33 percent prefer changing them further. Tishkov also said moving clocks forward was better than moving them backward because it results in more daylight. "In Moscow and St. Petersburg, we will have 8 percent more daylight for more than 10 percent of the total population," he said. Moving clocks backward, closer to Moscow time, triggered protests last year, most notably in Samara and in the Far East, where residents said the change threatens to boost crime rates and people's depression.
In Kamchatka, where winter days are short, a rally of 3,000 people was held last December against the time change, and reports said last month that authorities criticized a local performance of Cinderella of triggering "unhealthy emotions," because of the scene where the king sets the clock back an hour to keep Cinderella at the ball.Meanwhile, it seems that the abolition of daylight-saving time is a done deal for Medvedev — and, unlike the British prime minister, he had no significant opposition to square off with over it. The Duma last year considered a bill to abandon it, but parliamentary speaker Boris Gryzlov said Thursday that no such law was needed. "The President has spoken — now it just needs to be done," he was quoted as saying by Interfax. Medvedev's aide Arkady Dvorkovich said the change would be implemented by a governmental decree. till, even in the ruling party, not everybody agrees. "I personally liked daylight-saving time. You wake up, and suddenly a new world has started," said Sergei Markov, Duma deputy for United Russia.But Markov added that the decision also had a very positive political signal. "At last Russia has done something on its own instead of just repeating what others do," he said.

^ Doesn't Russia have anything else better to do then constantly change its time zones? It seems that Russia is solely focused on keeping itself isolated from the rest of the world rather than opening itself up. I would think that having time zones that reflect a region's physical rather than polictical time would be better for everyone. ^

Egypt: Not So Peaceful

From Yahoo News:
"Mubarak’s departure: What it means, what’s next"

Pro-democracy protesters celebrated in cities across Egypt on Friday after forcing President Hosni Mubarak to step down. Mubarak, who had announced Thursday night in a televised speech that he would keep his title and give some of his authority to Vice President Omar Suleiman, suddenly handed over power to the military and left Cairo. Mubarak's resignation, which ends three decades of authoritarian rule, raises numerous questions about what led to his decision, what happens next and what the transition means. Here are some answers.

What does the change in Egypt mean for the United States?
Mubarak's resignation and the uncertainty facing Egypt are serious issues for American foreign policy. Mubarak's Egypt was a longstanding American ally that cooperated with the United States on a long list of issues, ranging from combating terrorism to assisting U.S. military operations in the Middle East to helping secure shipping lanes to facilitating Arab-Israeli negotiations. The tectonic shift going on in Egypt, and in the broader Middle East, may have dramatic effects on the future price of oil, the extent of American regional influence, Israeli security, and a host of other key questions. With Egypt in a state of transition, the United States might see some of its interests suffer and some remain secure. Whatever ultimately happens in Egypt, the process has only just begun. The fate of America's regional influence and its diplomatic, economic and military ties to the Middle East is a part of that process.

Who is in charge of Egypt now?
Around 11 a.m. EST, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president for almost 30 years, resigned. In a 30-second statement, his vice president, Omar Suleiman, announced that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would manage the state's affairs. The military now appears to be fully in control of the country. Suleiman, Mubarak's ally, is still part of the governing body but with potentially diminished influence. It is a fluid situation, and how power ultimately will shake out is unclear. The Supreme Council is made up of the heads of the different branches of the military as well as the Minister of Defense and the General Chief of Staff. Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi chaired the most recent meeting of the Council in Mubarak's absence.

What happens next? How will the transition work?

What is clear is that a process will begin in which the opposition parties will be involved, though how it will work has not been defined. Much depends on how the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will structure the tasks ahead. The military already has said it will not accept the legitimacy of the state, meaning it has no intention of maintaining power for the long term. The Army probably will now step back to establish a playbook by which the nation moves to both change laws in the Constitution that have hindered democracy—and set up a process by which new political groups get a role in determining collectively how a fair election needs to be structured.

Where is Mubarak now, and where is he likely to go?

Earlier this morning President Mubarak's presidential plane reportedly left for and landed in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Red Sea resort city in the south of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. There are some rumors at the moment that he has left the country, but that has not been confirmed. If he has not yet left, it is very possible that he will try to leave Egypt for a safe haven in one of the Gulf States, Europe, or perhaps in the United States, but any nation that accepts Mubarak will have to deal with the anger of the Egyptian public. Mubarak also might have to worry about legal challenges and extradition.

What happened between Mubarak's speech last night and his decision to resign today?

Totalitarian regimes don't fall very neatly and predictably. There were 18 days of pressure that finally produced a resignation, but there was no certainty that Mubarak would in the end give in. Mubarak's ability to stand against the headwinds facing him was impressive on one level. The military most likely had some divisions between those who believed Mubarak should go and those who remained loyal or fearful. This might have been a "soft coup" in which Mubarak was forced by the military to announce the suspension of his presidency. It is important that we did not hear Mubarak resign; we heard Suleiman announce the words that Mubarak refused to utter.

Did the White House play a role in Mubarak's decision to step down?

Yes, the White House mattered but certainly did not play the decisive role. The Egyptian public catalyzed the events that brought Mubarak down. The White House defined the core principles that it most cared about—no violence, respecting the right of people to assemble and protest, and calling for meaningful, inclusive transition—and these became the frame for many other key nations and commentators. This principle-driven pressure from the United States made a difference but was not what mattered most.

What will the relationship be between the United States and the interim government and the civilian opposition leaders now?

This is unclear. The military continues to have robust communication with the Pentagon, and the White House and State Department are in increasing communication with representatives of opposition leaders. The future course of this communication is unclear — but United States can be expected to reach out at the appropriate time to a broad array of leaders in Egypt who themselves are committed to democratic principles. The United States will not, however, attempt to select political winners or losers. This would backfire and undermine America's ability to have a healthy relationship based on mutual interests with Egypt's next government.

What will the repercussions be across the Middle East?

Egypt is a major anchor in the Arab world, in the Islamic world, and a key nation of Africa. The effects of this earthquake may be substantial but also hard to predict. The governments in the region that may be most vulnerable immediately might be Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen, but the political and government dynamics in those countries are not the same as that in Egypt. The dynamic we have seen unfold in the Middle East probably is not done unfolding.

Will the protesters leave Tahrir Square?

Tahrir Square probably will remain a heavily populated site for weeks to come, not because of protesters but because of celebrations that the people there on that site changed their history peacefully and powerfully. Some also might remain in Tahrir Square so that the interests of the public remain visible to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

^ My main issue with all of this is hearing government officials and the media around the world constantly say that these protests were peaceful and comparing them to when the Berlin Wall fell. The fact is that over 100 protesters and at least 100 policemen were killed. That is not the defination of "peaceful." People need to pick up a dictionary and look up the word. Also when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 it truely was peaceful as no one was killed. I think it is way too early to be excited. Egypt has 3 paths it can choose from: becoming an Islamist Republic (like Iran), sinking into civil war or becoming a democratic Republic. I hope for the last one. ^

Saturday, February 5, 2011

UK: Multiculturalism Failed

From the BBC:
"State multiculturalism has failed, says David Cameron"

David Cameron has criticised "state multiculturalism" in his first speech as prime minister on radicalisation and the causes of terrorism. At a security conference in Munich, he argued the UK needed a stronger national identity to prevent people turning to all kinds of extremism. He also signalled a tougher stance on groups promoting Islamist extremism. The speech angered some Muslim groups, while others queried its timing amid an English Defence League rally in the UK. As Mr Cameron outlined his vision, he suggested there would be greater scrutiny of some Muslim groups which get public money but do little to tackle extremism. Ministers should refuse to share platforms or engage with such groups, which should be denied access to public funds and barred from spreading their message in universities and prisons, he argued. "Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism," the prime minister said. In his view, such caution is part of the problem. In frank language he made abundantly clear he believes multiculturalism has failed. Any organisation that does not stand up to extremism will be cut off from public funds, and he wants the country to develop a stronger sense of shared identity. It is the first time he has spoken so directly as prime minister, but there are echoes of what has gone before. Tony Blair edged away from multiculturalism in the years after the 7/7 bombings in London, and his ministers moved to stop funding any community organisation that did not challenge extremism. And what of Gordon Brown's continual quest to strengthen "Britishness"?
Behind the scenes, ministers are reviewing the "prevent" strategy, the policies designed to try to deal with extremism. But the review, which had been planned for publication this month, is likely to be delayed. It is not clear yet how Mr Cameron will translate his strong words into action. "Let's properly judge these organisations: Do they believe in universal human rights - including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government? Do they encourage integration or separatism? "These are the sorts of questions we need to ask. Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with organisations," he added. The Labour MP for Luton South, Gavin Shuker, asked if it was wise for Mr Cameron to make the speech on the same day the English Defence League staged a major protest in his constituency. There was further criticism from Labour's Sadiq Khan whose comments made in a Daily Mirror article sparked a row. The shadow justice secretary was reported as saying Mr Cameron was "writing propaganda material for the EDL". Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi hit back, saying that "to smear the prime minister as a right wing extremist is outrageous and irresponsible". She called on Labour leader Ed Miliband to disown the remarks.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Council of Britain's assistant secretary general, Dr Faisal Hanjra, described Mr Cameron's speech as "disappointing". He told Radio 4's Today programme: "We were hoping that with a new government, with a new coalition that there'd be a change in emphasis in terms of counter-terrorism and dealing with the problem at hand. "In terms of the approach to tackling terrorism though it doesn't seem to be particularly new. "Again it just seems the Muslim community is very much in the spotlight, being treated as part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution." In the speech, Mr Cameron drew a clear distinction between Islam the religion and what he described as "Islamist extremism" - a political ideology he said attracted people who feel "rootless" within their own countries. "We need to be clear: Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing," he said. The government is currently reviewing its policy to prevent violent extremism, known as Prevent, which is a key part of its wider counter-terrorism strategy. Inayat Bunglawala from Muslims4Uk says Mr Cameron is "firing at the wrong target"
A genuinely liberal country "believes in certain values and actively promotes them", Mr Cameron said. "Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights, regardless of race, sex or sexuality. "It says to its citizens: This is what defines us as a society. To belong here is to believe these things." He said under the "doctrine of state multiculturalism", different cultures have been encouraged to live separate lives. "We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values." Building a stronger sense of national and local identity holds "the key to achieving true cohesion" by allowing people to say "I am a Muslim, I am a Hindu, I am a Christian, but I am a Londoner... too", he said. Security minister Baroness Neville-Jones said when Mr Cameron expressed his opposition to extremism, he meant all forms, not just Islamist extremism. "There's a widespread feeling in the country that we're less united behind values than we need to be," she told Today. "There are things the government can do to give a lead and encourage participation in society, including all minorities." But the Islamic Society of Britain's Ajmal Masroor said the prime minister did not appreciate the nature of the problem. "I think he's confusing a couple of issues: national identity and multiculturalism along with extremism are not connected. Extremism comes about as a result of several other factors," he told BBC Radio 5 live. Former home secretary David Blunkett said while it was right the government promoted national identity, it had undermined its own policy by threatening to withdraw citizenship lessons from schools. He accused Education Secretary Michael Gove of threatening to remove the subject from the national curriculum of secondary schools in England at a time "we've never needed it more". "It's time the right hand knew what the far-right hand is doing," he said. "In fact, it's time that the government were able to articulate one policy without immediately undermining it with another."

^ I think David Cameron did a very intelligent thing: he spoke the truth - regardless what would happen to him politically. First Angela Merkel announced that multiculturalism had failed in Germany and now Cameron, announces the same for the UK. I am only waiting to see when the US will announce the same thing, but I don't think that will happen anytime before either 2012 or 2016. For decades countries have willingly let themselves become blinded to everything in the name of politcal correctness. Their national characteristics have been brushed aside in favor of other cultures.
Multicultarism has also failed in the United States. Everyone always talks about our country being the "Great Melting Pot," but what they forget to mention is that the first immigrants came to the country and worked hard to assimilate. They learned English, they strove to become full Americans. Nowadays, immigrants tend to come to the US, not learn English, live in self-imposed ethnic ghettos and actively try not to assimilate into American Society.
I am for the US becoming a nation where English is the sole official language (as many States have already declared it to be,) where immigrants are helped to learn the langauge and where people actively work to assimilate in our society in a constructive way. If immigrants come here just to live with their own kind then why didn't they stay in their home countries in the first place?
Hopefully, people around the world (including government officials) are starting to wake up from the failed dream and to be proud of their national characteristcs and work hard to assimilate immigrants more into the traditional soceity rather than attach the old customs on. ^

Rite Aid

When I moved here two years ago we started using the local Rite Aid (as it was the only pharmacy in town.) Throughout those two years my family and I have had to deal with stupid pharmacists and their assistants. They treated as badly, they forgot to fill prescriptions, they never called us when they were out of a medicine and had to order it - once we had to wait 6 days to get a medicine and each time I went to check on it I was given one reason after another as to why they didn't have it. Above all was the excuses and lies they would tell.
I complained numerous times both to the pharmacy people as well as to the store manager and the main Rite Aid people, but it did no good. It is clear that Rite Aid could care less about good Customer Service.
A few days ago I went in to pick-up some medicine that was supposed to be ready and no one there had a clue about it - even though I had a piece of paper from the store saying when it would be ready. Then the pharmacy people started argueing with me and justifying why they allowed the mistake to happen. One girl there even told me that if I didn't like their service I was free to go elsewhere. This was the last straw. Not only did it show how poor Rite Aid's computer system was in reminding when medicines needed to be refilled, but it showed the true character of the employees.
I left the store and went to Wal-Greens and had all our prescriptions transfered there. My family even sent an e-mail to Rite Aid telling them why they were loosing hundreds of dolllars a month from us. Now I have to drive 40 minutes to Wal-Greens, but if they are better than Rite Aid it will be worth the extra 20 minute trip. These companies deserve to loose money and their stupid, uncaring employees deserve to get pink-slips. A business is only as good as the Customer Service it provides.

Colditz (2005)

This mini-series was not what I thought it was. I thought it was about the escapes from the Colditz POW camp during World War 2 (like the 1960s movie "The Great Escape" was.) Instead it is mostly about romance with the hint of of the camp.
I read books on Colditz and how it was the POW camp for Allied prisoners who had tried to escaped from other camps. It was billed as the only place where escapes couldn't happen. Inspite of its motto soldiers did escape and some even made it back to help fight against the Germans.
While it is not a bad movie it just wasn't what I was expecting.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

NYC Smoking Ban

I heard that NYC passed a law baning smoking in public parks and beaches. I think this is complete discrimination against smokers. I am not a smoker and believe that each group (smokers and non-smokers) deserve to have their rights protected. Non-smokers deserve not to have to deal with second-hand smoke while smokers deserve the right to smoke.
Unless NYC bans the sell of cigarettes then they should not be allowed to ban smoking. I don't see why there can't be special smoking sections that keep smoke away from non-smokers and still allow smokers the dignity they deserve. I am not talking about forcing smokers outside in the cold, rain and snow as most places now require. I have personally seen many places that have special enclosed smoking places that treat smokers as people.
It seems that people are only being one-sided (in favor of non-smokers) and overlooking the fact that smokers have rights too.

Hessen Burqa Ban

From Deutsche Welle:
"Muslim city employee resigns over burqa ban"

A Frankfurt city employee who wanted to wear a full-face veil to work has resigned after the state of Hesse passed a law forbidding civil servants from wearing the burqa. The city of Frankfurt had told the mother of four - who did not previously wear a burqa to work - that she must choose between the veil and her job. The woman, who is of Moroccan origin, had previously worn a headscarf but wanted to resume her job after maternity leave with her face completely veiled. Frankfurt city objected, however, arguing that taxpayers would not accept an official if they could not see their eyes. In the midst of the standoff on Wednesday, Hesse state, of which Frankfurt is capital, announced a ban on burqas in the public service. "Civil servants may not be veiled, especially those who have contact with citizens," Hesse's Interior Minister Boris Rhein had said Wednesday. Rhein added that, while a headscarf is acceptable, wearing a burqa could be perceived as "hostile to Western values." German media and politicians had openly accused the woman of having financial motives for protesting her rights. Reports suggest that the woman's first lawyer demanded a severance payment of 40,000 euros ($55,300) from the city, which her new lawyer reduced to 18,000 euros. Other states in Germany, notably Lower Saxony, have now also announced that they are considering a similar move to ban the burqa for civil servants. Fellow Christian Democrat Thomas Kirchner, who is responsible for integration policy at Frankfurt City Council, said he was pleased with the decision by the Hesse state parliament. Frankfurt's integration chief said he thought city workers should show their faces
"I don't believe it's appropriate for employees of the city of Frankfurt and the public sector to meet citizens without showing their face," Kirchner told Deutsche Welle. "The city of Frankfurt has a duty to build up trust with its citizens and I can't see how that's possible when they can't recognize the face of the person opposite them," he added. City staff department head Markus Frank justified the decision, saying "our employees show their faces. That is a basic requirement for building trust." Muslim associations in Germany have shown initial positive reactions to the city's and the state's decision, saying that wearing the burqa was not a requirement for female Muslims. "Fundamentally I believe you should be able to dress how you like," said Ekrem Senol, editor of the Internet portal Migazin, which covers immigration issues in Germany."But you've got to take into account other people's feelings. And I think that a full-face veil goes too far."

^ I think the German State did a great thing in banning the burqa. It seems this woman only wanted the public spotlight and nothing else. I am glad that there is a global trend in banning the burqa. I only wish it would happened in the US. It is one thing to travel to the Middle East or a Muslim country and see women wearing a burqa there and another to have to deal with it in the Western World. I remember being in Kuwait and having to talk to a woman in a burqa. It made me very un-easy and I was glad when it was over, I understand that I was in her country (although as a man I still had more rights as a foreigner than she did as a citizen.) I do not believe that people in Europe, Canada, Australia, the US, etc should have to feel the same un-easiness in their own country. ^,,14810752,00.html

Yeltin Monument

From Yahoo News:
"Monument unveiled for Russia's Boris Yeltsin"

President Dmitry Medvedev unveiled a huge monument to his predecessor Boris Yeltsin on Tuesday, praising him for leading Russia through its difficult first years after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The 10-meter (33-foot) marble obelisk was unveiled in Yeltsin's hometown of Yekaterinburg on the 80th anniversary of his birth. The city is 900 miles (1,500 kilometers) east of Moscow. Yeltsin died in April 2007 at age 76 and is buried in Moscow's Novodevichy Cemetery. His admirers paid their respects Tuesday by laying flowers at his grave, a monument with billowing stripes of white, blue and red representing the flag he raised over the Kremlin in a newly independent Russia. Yeltsin's legacy remains controversial in Russia, with some admiring him for promoting civil freedoms and democracy and others despising him for the corruption and economic suffering that marked his presidency. Masha Lipman, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said Yeltsin should be given credit less for what he created than for what he destroyed. "Communism, the inhumane political order that existed in Russia for 70 years, was destroyed in 1991, and it was Yeltsin and his reforms that made it irreversible," Lipman said. Medvedev said today's Russia should be thankful that Yeltsin "did not turn away from the path of change during the most difficult period in the history of the country."
The Russian president was joined at the ceremony by Naina Yeltsin, Yeltsin's widow; their daughters Yelena Okulova and Tatyana Yumasheva, and Boris Yeltsin, his grandson.

^ I think Yeltsin did many good things in the beginning. He worked hard to separate the RSFSR from the USSR and even banned the Communist Party. He stood down tanks during the August Coup and showed the Soviet/Russian people that their voice would be heard. Then when he became President of Russia I think he lost sight of his original goals. He helped create the political and financial chaos of the 1990s that split the country a part. In the end he was more concerned with his drinking than with running a country. ^

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Massive Winter Storm

They say this is one of the largest - if not the largest - storm the US has ever seen. It covers over 2,000 miles and states from Colorado to New England and has over 100 million people affected. We are in the middle of it here and are supposed to get over a foot of snow today (on top of the 9 inches we got yesterday.) We have gotten at least one storm over 1 foot of snow each time every week since December 26th. We are also in the coldest winter in 86 years. I am a little sick and tired of all the snow and cold and wish it would just go away.

Egypt Revolts

From BBC News:
"Clashes erupt amid Cairo protests"

The Arab order is crumbling. But whether it will collapse or somehow re-invent itself is far from certain. Arab rulers, from North Africa to the Gulf, in rich countries and poor, find themselves in essentially the same boat. Virtually without exception, they preside over corrupt autocracies with little or no legitimacy in the eyes of their people. All of them now watch Egypt's "days of rage" with mounting trepidation. In the fate of the ailing Egyptian ruler, 82-year-old Hosni Mubarak, they see their own. Western commentators are right to say the protests are about "them" rather than "us". The anger of the protesters is largely directed inwards - at a bankrupt Arab order - rather than outwards at Israel, the United States or the West.Largely, but not entirely. The West is complicit in Arab autocracy. For decades, American and European leaders chose stability over democracy. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Jordan has announced political reforms following rallies in the capital, Amman President George W Bush tried, briefly, to pursue a "freedom agenda" in the Middle East but it failed, and ageing autocrats could once again breathe freely. Now, Western leaders including Barack Obama find themselves essentially onlookers as events move with dizzying speed towards an outcome none can foresee. Others are spectators, too, even if they pretend otherwise. Iran is acting as if the Arab masses are belatedly following the example of the Khomeini revolution. In fact, if the young demonstrators have a role model - and some actively disavow one - it is democratic Turkey rather than theocratic Iran. Also a bystander is al-Qaeda, whose pretensions to being the voice of Arab and Muslim discontent have been punctured. Analysts would do well to exercise a little humility. My own guess, for what it is worth, is that this is not the beginning of an Arab spring, but of something more messy and drawn-out. The old order still has plenty of fight in it. The battle for the Arab future is under way. Since the stakes are high, the struggle will be fierce.

^ I would rather have the status quo in the Arab World than more Islamist Republics like Iran. The last thing we need is radical political parties in power that impose Islamist law and call for the destruction of the US and Israel. ^