Archive for the ‘foreign policy’ Category

My awesome sister Catherine is studying journalism at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. Recently she has been doing radio updates and some on-camera work for their news site: http://edinburghnapiernews.com. Here she is doing a 12:30 bulletin for March 25th, 2011. Good job Cath, keep it up!

So you want to be snobby about something but aren’t sure how? I’ll tell you in these three easy steps.

1. Pick something to either swear off altogether, or get way into. This should be something the majority of the world doesn’t really spend too much time thinking about. For example: coffee, shaving, or shopping at Walmart.

2. Cultivate your knowledge and taste for what you choose. Ex. Know that the best coffee is made from Arabica beans and that cheap coffee is made with Robusta beans that have twice as much caffeine but are known for their poor taste, compared with Arabica beans. Or that shaving with a DE razor gives a much smoother and more comfortable shave that any of the modern five-bladed monstrosities.

3. Proclaim your opinions to others when they use the inferior product or activity. “Oh no thanks, I only drink locally roasted Arabica coffee.”  or ” I just can’t support a corporation that victimizes its employees and negatively affects the US trade imbalance so much.”

That’s it! Now you can be a snob too! The best part is, you can be snobby about almost anything. Yogurt, pens, books, farmer’s markets, diapers, sushi, mutual funds,  shampoo, etc…

Nephilim

a novel

By Dan Mumford

 

The screen flickered to life, showing blips and graphs. Six different sets of vital signs sprang into focus. Tom watched the soldiers they belonged to move about the small room through the feeds in their headset cams, preparing equipment and re-checking their gear. Sun shone in from a window onto a bare dirt floor. Little swirls of dust swished about the room as the team readied themselves for the upcoming operation. (more…)

President Obama has just helped bring a new resolution to bear on the use of nuclear weapons. This morning, members of the U.N. Security Council unanimously signed the new resolution that focuses on stopping the spread of atomic bombs. It also urges countries to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that has been on the books since the 70’s. But what does this mean?

The most important issues that this resolution aims to solve are not clearly spelled out. India and Pakistan have nuclear arsenals but have not signed any treaty regarding their use. Isreal remains aloof. North Korea and Iran are not mentioned either, although clearly, these two countries in particular are the biggest cause for concern around the globe. North Korea tested the global community’s nerves when it exploded two nuclear warheads, one in 2006, and one in May of this year. Iran and North Korea need to be sent a clear message. So let’s sign a resolution that asks all countries to please play nicely with each other, but let’s not stoop so low as to actually call the misbehaving ones out by name.

If I may use a phrase from another hot-button issue: “If guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns.” Now, regardless of my stance on firearms and the 2nd Amendment, I think this resolution points to just such a scenario. If all the “responsible” nuclear countries like the U.S., France, etc lay down their arms, then only those countries that don’t abide by the treaties will still have their nuclear arsenals. So why don’t they just play nice and lay theirs down as well?

Look at the situation from their perspective. Iran sees all these other bigger powerful countries with weapons of massive destructive power. Maybe they feel threatened. Maybe they feel like they should be allowed to have just as much power as everyone else. Why doesn’t the rest of the world just let them be equal?

Why? I’ll tell you why. Because they spout off about wiping another country off the face of the Earth is why. A country that the U.S. happens to be good friends with. Plus they don’t sign the treaties everyone else signs. If they want to be part of the “Nuclear Elite”, they have to agree to play by the rules set up by the countries that are already Elite. That’s how it works. So unless this new resolution is changed to include the countries it is trying to affect, it remains nothing more than another idle, ambiguous threat. One that I am sure Iran and North Korea will wave aside, just as easily as all the previous attempts to get them to play nice.

Is there a solution to this issue? What are your thoughts?

I can’t wait to see this movie!

I don’t know why I haven’t been keeping up on this. Oh I know…the “King of Pop” died. Leave it to our media to show nonstop coverage of Michael Jackson for days when our foreign policies and worldwide feeling for the US are about to change. Tonight, most US troops will be out of Iraqi cities. The citizens there are ecstatic, as I would be when a Foreign power relinquishes control over my country. I hope that we have trained them well enough that our time there won’t have been for nothing.

Some of my favorite snippets from Obama’s speech:

Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

I thought this was great, especially as the now (thank God) former Pres. Bush was sitting right behind him. (more…)

My mom got me this impressive jambiya for Christmas this year. She got it from her friend’s father who is dead but had lived in Saudi Arabia for a while.
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From my research online, it is the Wahhabite style which is from the Western regions of Arabia, Hijaz, and Asir. The Wahhabite form of Islam is particularly violent towards infidels and even many other branches of Islam like Sunni and Shi’a, as you can see by their longer blades. “Normal” jambiyas usually have five to eight inch long blades, not eighteen.

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img_1663The craftsmanship is beautiful on this piece. The blade is super sharp all the way to the hilt which is uncommon in my experience with swords and daggers. I think the coolest part about this knife is that it has history. You can tell that it’s been worn, a lot. Someone wore this everyday. I wonder if those stains on the blade are from blood? Another nice perk is that all of the Wahhabite Jambiyas I’ve seen online are quite expensive. From $450 – $1200, not that I want to sell it.

Around the world, the debate over using genetically engineered food is heating up. This is an article from Yahoo and the AP.

“Influential voices around the world are calling for a re-examination of the GM debate,” says C.S. Prakash, a professor of plant molecular genetics at Alabama’s Tuskegee University. “Biotechnology provides such tools to help address food sustainability issues.”

Genetic manipulation to insert desirable genes or accelerate changes traditionally achieved through crossbreeding can help make crops resistant to insects and disease or enable them to tolerate herbicides. Livestock similarly can be altered by inserting a gene from one animal into the DNA of another.”genetically engineered food debate heats up