News From Egypt

You hear a lot about the people in the Islamic brotherhood as far as the revolution in Egypt is concerned.  An awful lot of it, over 20,000 stories on google that mention them.  Perhaps too many, seeing how the Islamic Brotherhood have only a small presence in Egypt and are something of a fringe group their.  Not that they have no effect, but they were not the ones calling for the protests, they didn’t call for a general strike, and they were not the ones calling for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. 

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There are a number of groups that have done all of this, the most prominent of them, at least the one that has gotten the most face time is a group called the April 6 movement.  They are the ones that called for the initial protest this January 25th, and they have gotten more people out than other protests that have happened in Egypt under Mubarak.  And they are now calling for another general strike, only this one will last, they say, until President Mubarak resigns. 

The protesters have doubled down, they know they have no other way to go, and are now willing to stand until this is done, no matter how it ends.

Former international atomic energy agency head Mohamad El Baradei initially headed up the protests in the city of Giza, but after Friday headed to Cairo to lead there, and he has called for President Mubarak to step down, and is very much speaking like the man who would be President. He has spoken with force, saying he is the man to lead the nation into Democracy, and is in talks to form an interim government with what is called a shadow parliament.

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There have been many reports of looters running rampant in the streets of Cairo and other cities.  A great many stories are out that have the looters pegged as a combination of interior ministry agents, policemen, and prisoners, who were released with the express mission of causing havoc in the streets with the police and the Interior ministry members, to stir fear in the hearts of the people. 

The people have responded with neighborhood patrols armed with whatever they can get their hands on, knives, clubs, guns if they can get them.  They have improvised defenses against the looters, and communications between neighborhoods, using everything they can, including megaphones that are normally used during prayers.

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The Military seems to have worked peacefully with the protesters, at least so far.  But that doesn’t mean the Military is going to play nice with the protesters.  Word is, that the Military are moving barricades into positions, moving tanks into positions, to try to limit access to the main meeting place in Cairo, Tahrir square, where protesters have been congregating as their central meeting point since the police day protests began last week. 

The police, on the other hand, who were beaten back by the protesters over the last few days, are only now beginning to come back. 

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 Those who want news straight from the source, straight from Egypt, would do well to go to either AlJazeera english, or the website of the Egyptian Newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm

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That’s it from here, America.  I’ll write to you tomorrow

Beauty In The Dissonance

The poetry that comes from squaring off between,
And the Circling is worth it. 
Finding beauty in the dissonance…

Tool, Schism

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Viddy of the day:  LiveLeak.com The full video of RAW FOOTAGE of praying protesters being attacked on Mubarak’s orders Egypt. The sound is dodgy on this, but the viddy speaks for itself.

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A few words about the Events in Egypt.

I am all for the popular uprising in Egypt, don’t know anyone who isn’t.  But then again I haven’t spoken to too many people about this, to be honest. 

Kill’em all sounds like the right way to go when faced with the combination of crushing poverty, joblessness, and general futurelessness of the lowest caste of Egyptian society. When I hear that 40% of egypt is out of work, I say hell ya, kick’em all out.   When I hear that the police regularly torture suspects, and hold people without warrant or anything else that would be necessary to hold someone in a civil society, I think Yes, fight, fight til death if that’s what it takes. 

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It started out, for me, a bit jumbled, and I wasn’t really on top of this from the get go.  Let me run the timeline by you, at least what I heard and when I heard it. 

I read in a blog somewhere that it started with some “Police day” thing that the people were just not having.  That was Tuesday, maybe I read it wrong, wouldn’t be the first time.

Next, I heard it was all started with some mess of an attack at a Coptic church that was more or less ignored by the police, and the “Police day” thing disappeared.  That was Wednesday.

Then it has to do with following the “Jasmine Revolution” happening in Tunisia, and the Coptic church attack story gets dropped.  That story has been around the entire time, but has been partially or completely written off in a variety of places, depending on who you listen to. 

Then the Jasmine Revolution story line gets dropped in favor of simple discontent, and the Islamic Brotherhood is brought into the picture. 

I am at this point waiting for them to forget the Islamic Brotherhood, and the media’s next line of attack to explain the discontent of disaffected unemployed millions who can barely feed themselves, when the reason it is happening is discontent of disaffected unemployed millions who can barely feed themselves, and a cruel unforgiving government that just doesn’t care.

I don’t know how it started.  I wasn’t there to see it.  We can only watch to see how it finishes.  One wonders how much blame America has in this.  We after all have armed this nation to the teeth over the length of Mubarak’s reign, and looked the other way at all the abuses this nation has heaped upon it’s people.  We did not pull any triggers here, but we have some level of blame to accept when we give the dictator the weapons he uses on his people. 

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That’s it from here, America.  More tomorrow, when I get a chance.

If I Can’t Make It Work It In One Sentence…

…I won’t write it tonight.

We’ll OK, that’s a bunch of crap, there will be more than one sentence per thought, that would be far too short for the overly loquacious Mikey.

The Pittsburgh Steelers deserved that win, especially after being down by 2 touchdowns in the second quarter to a very tough Ravens team.

It was nice seeing my In-laws today, they really are nice people and I like having them around, but I tell you I am still bummed about not getting to my nephew Sean’s Birthday party.

I only played guitar for about 20 minutes today, but 20 minutes spent playing guitar is better than 2 hours watching TV shows or hanging out on facebook.

After getting almost 4 hours of sleep each last night, my wife and I went straight back to sleep for 2 hours after her parents left.

Dammit, The New York Rangers lost to the Montreal Canadiens tonight, 3-2, giving up all 3 goals to the Canadiens in a span of 3 minutes in the first period.

J. Eric Fuller is an anti-social asshole who is rude, crude and completely out of his mind, and I tell ya, I like this guy’s attitude.

I think it’s almost time to take down the Christmas tree and most of the lights, not all of them though, I want one set up for the diffuse lighting they provide.

What chord is it exactly that has only these three notes, B(root), an F# and a G#, in it?

I’ve been playing guitar for 26 years and for some reason I still don’t know that, dammit.

Played my first console video game since before I turned 40 today, and I’m pretty happy about that.

Damn, the Packers whipped up on the Falcons something fierce tonight.

I’m not sure if I’m gonna go read a book, watch C-span, play more guitar, or order a book with the Amazon gift card my wife got me.

If you could get past the personalities that are attached to political ideologies, would that change the way you think about those ideologies and the propaganda they send out?

Wait…did that last question even make sense, because if it didn’t that means I need to drink more coffee.

Any excuse for a 15th cup o’ Joe on any given day.

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Viddy of the day:  Tunisia: A Country in Chaos

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Brevity is the soul of wit.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act ii, scene ii

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How much coverage have the food riots in North Africa gotten?

Did you even know that food riots led directly to the revolt and military takeover in Tunisia?

Did you know that Al-Qaeda is trying to take advantage of this and get members of the revolt to join them?

If you didn’t know any of that, what have you been paying attention to?

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That’s it from here, America, have a g’night.

The Whole World Is Watching

If you are reading this or any story on this site, let me know you read it by clicking on the title of the article.  Thanks!

Whether they are actually paying attention or not is another matter entirely.  After I looked for a job and ran and did the 100 little things that make up the life of an ordinary man I watched the health care summit.  Or most of it.  I did miss chunks of it.  I went out to run a little after 11 am EDT time and got back about an hour later.  If you want to read about my running, click the “Running Commentary” tab.  I also missed short bits and pieces, but caught a great deal of it.  A short aside about the coverage of it.

When the President had a little summit a month or so ago, with the Congressional Republican caucus, The MSNBC coverage that night complained loudly that FOX news went away from the meeting to speak to other people when the President was talking.  What did MSNBC do today? When Republican Rep. Boustany from Louisiana spoke, they went to a commentator to talk about what was happening.  Annoyed, I turned on C-Span and decided to keep it there.

This is a VERY long Video.  Almost 3 hours in length.  Watch at your peril.  🙂

There was a lot of debate.  If you read the news they’ll tell you little got done.  I’ve seen at least 5 headlines on google that say just that.  I am not so sure that is the case.  The work that got done was not so much congressional, but philosophical.  It showed that on some very crucial points, these two sides really are not all that far apart.  Ideologically, they are on different planets revolving around different stars, but on some very important details, they are close.  Both sides want to save Americans money, though both sides are locked into their ideas of how to get it done.  Surprising how close some are.

Marsha Blackburn and President Obama sounded like they were reading from the same Que cards at one point, and only differed in wording.  Six of one, half a dozen of the other and such statements.  Her contention that Californians(The 39% increase in Health insurance costs for Californians was used as an example by many) should be able to get insurance from companies in Oregon was a mirror image of The Presidents contention that Companies from Oregon should have the opportunity to sell insurance to Californians. Exactly the same thing, and this is something that the Republicans claim Democrats don’t want, and it is clear from today that they do.

There were several instances like that, where the wording was all that was different between the two sides.  There were deep divides in a few spots, though. Particularly interesting was the exchange between two representatives, Republican Paul Ryan and Democrat Xavier Becerra.  They sparred over Paul Ryan’s contention that the CBO was working with and using vague and misleading numbers, with Rep. Becerra saying that it was wrong to point any fingers at the CBO (implying the numbers were fine, and the problem was with Ryan’s contention) While Ryan said he did not mean any such thing (backing up his statement that the numbers the CBO had to work with were vague and in some cases misleading) This went back and forth for several minutes.

There was a large amount of talk from both sides, and  both sides got their points in.  The point Republicans made time and time again is that America wants this bill scrapped and started over, then pointed at polls that say America doesn’t want this, and that it is just too damned expensive and adds too much in the way of bureaucracy.  Democrats kept reminding them that it would save hundreds of billons of dollars, and drive costs down for everyone, and that polls are out there that say that Americans want everything that is in this bill, and have said so in polls.

Harry Reid said there was much talk about Reconciliation being this rarely used thing, and a negative thing at that, a point made only a few minutes prior by Lamar Alexander, and then pointed out that it has been used 22 times, 16 times by Republicans.  That particular talking point was dropped after that. 

Some may read all that and come to the conclusion that little got done. Again, I disagree.  This long winded (and for me, the long winded one, to say that means something) discussion put out, once and for all, the entirety of the debate and talking points of both sides in one place at one time so the people can really look at them with a critical eye and compare them.  THAT is a big thing for this particular debate, something that has been sorely missing from day one.  Rhetoric on one side has rarely been seen along side the rhetoric of the other, like each side has locked itself away from the other.  It’s good to see both sides talking.  T

This is a step in the right direction.

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BTW, I had no idea that I had any significant international audience until I put the international flag counter on my page 36 hours ago.  I thought the bulk of my readers, or viewers were Americans, 90% or more, and most of those from 2 states, New York and California.  I had no idea, none whatsoever that 45 percent of my readers were outside of the United States, or that I have readers in at least 60 nations!  Iam happy that this third generation American, with family living in both Ireland and Poland, has such a diverse audience.  Thank you one and all, Americans and everyone else, for dropping by. Drop me a line and say hello!

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Today’s Nuggets, Via wikiquote:  Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.   Adam Smith

A properly functioning free market system does not spring spontaneously from society’s soil as crabgrass springs from suburban lawns. Rather, it is a complex creation of laws and mores… Capitalism is a government program.    George Will

Rush To Judgment

     Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. Even with all the weight loss he is still a big fat idiot.

   Let’s break down the  ½ a man’s words, shall we?

    He makes the point that President Obama looked unhappy, irritated was the word he used, that he had to come out and talk about the underpants bomber.  Like that could possibly be the only reason the President would be pissed off about an almost successful terrorist attack.  Limbaugh is intellectually dishonest at the best of times, and just full of crap at the worst of them.  He took three days, yes.  George W. Bush took 6 days to get to address the Press after Richard Reid tried the same thing.    

 He says we are the only people on Earth who can help the Haitians.  Not quite, Rush, not quite.  The European Union is sending help in the form of 3 million Euros being fast tracked to Haiti for relief efforts.  Belgium, Sweden and Luxembourg, on top of that assistance, have offered assistance through the EU, giving among other things, Tents and Water Purification units.  Canada is sending a recon unit in.  Iceland is sending in a 37 member search and rescue team.  Great Britain is sending in a total of 64 people, with dogs and rescue equipment. 

   But the largest contingent, outside of the United States, whose numbers I cannot seem to find, is The Cuban contingent.  Mr. Limbaugh needs to get his facts straight.  He also says the Venezuelans have sent nothing.  Wrong again, Rush.  He says they have nothing to offer, yet a plane full of supplies and relief workers from Venezuela was amongst the first on the ground in Port-Au-Prince. And there are more nations out there helping than those I listed.

     As for the Debbie Wasserman Schultz comment, he is just being nonsensical.  Plain and Simple.  Nothing that she said could possibly be construed as saying that Haiti’s current plight is our fault.   The  ½ a man Limbaugh simply has no clue. 

    Help is coming in to Haiti from all direction. From everyone… but the annoying rich man Limbaugh.

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    Haven’t heard the clip, but I heard that the evil little bastard said something like “we already give to Haiti, it’s called the Income Tax” as some way to say we shouldn’t give money to help the relief effort.   Wow.  Just wow.  How much of a heartless shit-stain can you be, Mr. Limbaugh? And why?  Because they’re black? Because they’re poor? Why hate? What the hell gives? I seriously don’t get that, There is a large piece of humanity missing from that man, how can you look at corpses on the street,  Millions left homeless, and say “NNnnnnaaahhh, they don’t need help from me.”

     Where is this man’s humanity? Where is his sense of decency?  Has he ever had one?

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   That’s it from me.  Later!

Today’s nuggets, Via wikiquote:  Before you laugh at those who limp, check the way you walk.  Haitian Proverb

Talking nonsense is man’s only privilege that distinguishes him from all other organisms.  Fyodor Dostoevsky

We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn’t a crime.   Leo Jennings, Ohio A.G. office

Deep Blue Friday

  Ahhhhh, the joys of Black Friday.  Idiots in a mall to start things off. 

2 Typical Black Friday Shoppers

  You were off of work on Thursday.  You ate turkey. You watched football.  Maybe you drank beer. Whether you had Friday off or not, you were damn well going to make it in, to shop, not to the office, and get those special black friday deals. 

    You got to sleep early, maybe you even went and slept in your car, dedicated asshole shopper that you are.  Whatever the circumstances, you got there early. WAY early. You got to the mall before the sun did, before the warmth did, before anything but you and the other maniacs shoppers.

   You fought the cold. You fought the crowds.  You dealt with the smell of people who had the foresight to get to the mall early, but forgot their deodorant and the toothpaste and toothbrush.  You fought the rush and the crush.  You got your Zhu Zhu hamsters for your daughter.  You got that PSP 3000 w/Gran Turismo for your son.  You missed out on the “crocodile dentist chomper” game for your nephew Smedley, what the hell ever that is (the wife said get it, so you looked), but you got the boy some schweet toy cars.  Boys and cars, that mix never gets old.

   You spent 12 hours shopping, you got the Ipod at Wal-mart, the last one in the store, you kinda ran over the old woman to get it.  She got you back though, ran over your bad toe.  She apologized too, so you couldn’t say much, so you just mumbled a  “that’s OK” even though both of you knew it it was really about you almost flattening her.  Small price to pay.  

     $275, plus tax. 

    You got most of what you wanted.  Even that hot lil number for the wife at Victoria’s secret. Now your credit card is so hot your wallet is smoking, you’ve spent more than you have…  Again.  The bank account is significantly smaller than it was yesterday, and the car payment is due on Tuesday.  So is the rent.  Cable and the electric the week after. 

   Nice start to the Holidays, Isn’t it?  Makes you just wanna sing Christmas carols, Dun’it?

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   Easy for me to pontificate, I don’t have any friggin money.  But then again, who does? I wouldn’t have the money for retail therapy (as my wife likes to call mall excursions) of the kind i mentioned without knocking over a $^%#$% bank.

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    Happy to report that the stock market fell much less than I thought it would. Signs showed a big drop looming for Friday on the dow,  a 3+% drop early Friday morning, but the market only lost around 1.5% today, dropping 154 points.  We can hope that today’s market drop, caused in part by a weak dollar and billions in debt from Dubai, will even out and not be troublesome like the signs early friday morning indicated they would be.  It can’t be that bad. The Dax and the FTSE both ended Friday in positive territory. 

     Watching a bloomberg viddy (embedding for this viddy has been disabled, click here to watch it) talking about the Dubai debt crisis.   “Look where greed is going at the greatest pace…and they’ll see where the next problems are gonna unravel.”   Buddy, you are talking about WALL STREET INVESTORS.  These guys are f****** vultures, They live by the Gordon Gecko “Greed is good” philosophy.  Follow your advice and you’ll have people putting their money in holes in their mattresses.

    Which I am sure a few are, but you don’t need to PUSH them to do it like that.   

   In the meantime, the people actually in Dubai are having a very rough go of it. I can sympathize with the workers being stuck in the middle here.

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     That’s it from here.  Later!

Today’s nuggets, Via Wikiquote: Wise men profit more from fools than fools from wise men; for the wise men shun the mistakes of fools, but fools do not imitate the successes of the wise.   Cato

To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser.   Robert Louis Stevenson

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it— and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again— and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.   Mark Twain

Late Night Idle Talk

     I am hanging out, relaxing after a night of eating too much turkey and mashed potatoes and cake and pie and all sorts of goodies that are truly not at all healthy, and loving it.  Right now, a scant few hours after the carnage, I’m sitting in a fairly well darkened room, lit only with the light of computer screens and Christmas lights, the sounds of a computer game being played by my wife occasionally going “DING” in the background, with “Good king wenceslas” being sung by the Hereford Cathedral choir playing from my old computer speakers.  I can faintly smell the downstairs neighbors smoking, and can just make out the aroma of the leftover turkey that I brought back from my mothers house, after the annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage 2 miles north to mom and dad’s place for some festive noms.

     The thing I take from this day is a feeling of peace and happiness that I often get from these family get-togethers.  We are a close knit bunch, and have been since I can remember.  Times change, people change, but family is always family, being with them is being in a safe haven in a turbulent world, in a place to forget that the world is a weight on everyone’s shoulders, even if only for a few hours. 

   Joy to the World.  Life is good.

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     Life is good, and yet, there be turbulence on the horizon.  Apparently Dubai, a tiny oil rich nation on the Arabian peninsula, which has more recently come to depend on real estate, construction and it’s financial sector as well as oil, is flat broke. I mean stone flat broke.  The nations main investment company is seeking to delay payment on $59,000,000,000 in debt.  The fear is that Dubai may have to default, and it has a great many people rattled. 

     The yen, the dollar, and markets around the world have reacted negatively to this.  For a while today (it’s past 3pm  in Tokyo as of this writing at 1:16am in New York) the dollar fell to a 14 year low before recovering somewhat.  The Hang seng is down 3½%,  the Nikkei is down 3¼%, as are the DAX and the FTSE futures. 

    A light trading day is usually what you expect to see on a half day like there is going to be today.  Even if there is a light day though, the market is probably going to tank.  The DJIA futures market, which i started looking at about an hour and a half ago, has lost about 70 points in that time. Not bad, but the market when I started looking at it, was already down over 180 points.  It is right now down about 2.5%.  Both S&P and  Nasdaq futures are down over 3%.  

     Market correction or global recovery losing traction? It took the fall of 2 financial giants, and the near sinking of AIG fed by bad mortgages and speculation to cause a disaster last year.  What will the near collapse of a wealthy nation due to billions in debt, (when there are nations{ahem} with trillions in debt) which in turn is causing people to run from riskier assets and causing jitters over worldwide credit do? 

    Just call my name, cause I’ll hear you scream….

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     MASTER.  MASTER.

    The music and the mood have changed quite a bit.  Gone is the mellow christmasy music, the METAL is flowing and it feels good.  Lots of metallica and Ozzy/Sabbath.  But that is only fitting i guess, reading the financial news when it’s bad gets the juices flowing a bit.  But I’m done with that for now, and I’m thinking I’ll just finish listening to “After Forever” and then toss on some more relaxed fair.  Tis almost 2 am. Calmness, Herr Rhino, no need to mosh right now.

     Ahhhhhh, a bit of Heitor Villa-Lobos.  Kinda thing that makes me grab the guitar and look at it and ask “what am I doing wrong, why can’t I play like that?”

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That’s it from here.  Later!

Today’s Nuggets, via Wikiquote: You know how I define the economic and social classes in this country? The upper class keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there… just to scare the shit out of the middle class. Keep ’em showing up at those jobs.  George Carlin

Thanksgiving is not an anachronism whose time is past. It is much more than a holiday to celebrate a meal shared between the Pilgrims and Native Americans. It is a time to reflect and be thankful for what we have–not for what we cherish, desire or envy.   Ted Nugent

I know of nothing more despicable and pathetic than a man who devotes all the hours of the waking day to the making of money for money’s sake.  John D. Rockefeller