moonlightcowboy's WunderBlog

N Korea prepares to fire ICBM

By: moonlightcowboy, 4:04 AM GMT on May 26, 2009

North Korea Preparing to Fire ICBM

Following its long-range rocket launch April 5 and its second nuclear test Monday, North Korea is reportedly ready to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000 kilometers.

This implies Pyongyang’s intention to heighten military tension regardless of possible sanctions against it discussed by the U.N. Security Council.

A source familiar with the issue said yesterday, “U.S. intelligence officials have spotted activity at Sanumdong, a research-and-development complex nearby Pyongyang. North Korea seems to be ready to produce a new ICBM and move them via train.”



NUCLEAR POKER ANYONE?


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With North Korea's recent nuclear detonation, one should wonder if the world is as far along as we would have so dreamily imagined only a day earlier with Atlantis returning from a successful space mission to Hubble! Why are we still playing high-stakes nuclear poker? Are we still the barbaric people of centuries ago? Despite civilized advancement there is still plenty of world hunger and poverty, so why can't money be spent to finally cure these ills instead of still racing to blow each other into smithereens? Where are the decent human morals, knowledge and wisdom that belong in a civilized world?

North Korea is a pathetic, hypnotized nation led by a dictator who steals from and indoctrinates his own into believing their only solution is to hurl scuds through the sky, demonstrating survival muscle in a world growing full of evil, western culture. I recently read Christopher Hitchen's book titled "Why Orwell Matters” and I am further convinced that George Orwell’s disdain for totalitarianism was underscored moreover by the social injustices governments intentionally inflict or use to covertly oppress. Orwell would still be cutting flips over today’s injustices, including America's increasing oppression of its own working class. It's sad that people must still live in such a world, serving an aristocracy with more demand and shrinking compassion.

Unfortunately, the US is ill-equipped to deal with the continued barbarianism. Firstly, we can’t afford it, having squandered our own wealth to corporate greed and lust for political power. And, secondly, if there were to be a conflict in Korea we'd have fewer resources than ever to intervene. So, what would we do? Ship everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan to the Asian peninsula? It won't happen. But, can we afford not to intervene? Jong is basically a threat to no one except himself, poisoning rice fields with radioactive fertilize that could have fed his own people. What he has done is show pseudo-capability, putting his technology and favor up for sale to the highest bidder among the oil barons and jihadists from the Middle East. Everything has a price and eventually a nuclear deal will be closed and danger more imminent.

I suppose we can play along, bluffing from the Oval Office and let these barbarians perpetuate more conflict; but, North Korea and these types aren’t bluffed by someone who plays poker from a teleprompter instead of his shirtsleeve. These idiots could care less about lip-service. They lie and continue to break treaty after treaty, side-step sanctions and resolutions. The only thing that's ever gotten their attention has been the brutal reality that the US could and would kick their lethargic butts into oblivion if they didn't comply with western, civilized barbarianism. We've lost our edge when an idiot like Kim Jong-il can ante his world position by detonating a nuclear weapon. We've left political correctness - the kind that believes successful diplomacy comes from a liberal think-tank using coy lip service, to resolve unrestrained nuclear proliferation.

Are we barbarians still? Yes! Poker players? No! Maybe we can turn Hubble around and point it towards North Korea to see the guests arriving for their nuclear receipts. Now, that'd be worth the money spent to fix Hubble, wouldn’t it? If there are smart aliens out there, it's no wonder they’re evasive and visit rarely! And, if they play poker they're probably betting we all lose, here, in this barbaric game. They would be right.





With nuclear proliferation becoming more widespread, especially in toxic countries with civil unrest and disparity towards other free nations, I wonder if the race towards Armageddon is not fully afoot.





Don't forget to check out Tropical Lagniappe for some great links to other blogs and websites from fellow WU members! There's some great info here and I always learn something each time I visit them!

BLOG RULES: Simple - Keep it absolutely civil, especially towards fellow bloggers. And, don't get heavy on the partisanship - it's quite obvious that corrupt, petty, inept, greedy, power-lustful politicians are plentiful on both sides of the aisle. It's ok to take jabs at them - either party, any official or candidate; but, leave the total "blame game" out of this - it's ALL of them, everyone! If you think otherwise, then you probably don't want to bring it in here!

...see ya 'round the blogosphere! Have a good one!


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Celebrate Memorial Day!

By: moonlightcowboy, 7:02 PM GMT on May 23, 2009



While you're having your BBQ or watching TV out of the rain, take time, please, to remember those that have fought, died so that you can enjoy that BBQ or TV program!

God bless and have a great weekend! :)

This blog is closed for comments - have a safe weekend!

2 or 3 storms gathered?

By: moonlightcowboy, 8:28 AM GMT on May 23, 2009

We're hardly ever feel alone. Even as we sometimes believe ourselves so desperate, there are always others there. Those that we reach out to and are even just a phone call away - our family, friends, neighbors and even annoyances that drive our waking consciousness.

Yet, I know through time, somewhere there has been a soldier that has felt all alone, perhaps even afraid, no matter the bravity - in a hole, in the cold or in a hell neither you or I could imagine. I'm certain that soldier thought of the same family, friends, neighbors and annoyances. And, I'm sure that soldier thought of transgressions and things that one would like to be righted, staring into the prospect of death. Who wouldn't? The thought of perishing, dying - never seeing those that we know and love again. Perhaps that time even lingered or maybe there was no time at all to really consider such. Lucky, you say? Maybe; but, I've firm belief for those that have ever faced that lonesomeness, served and served well, served humbly, served loyally and with a strength of faith and prayer found so that they really were never alone. I say that with great indulgence, for I can not know exactly what was in one's heart and mind; but, I do believe there was a thought of a kind word, a word of love, an expression of encouragement and acceptance remembered from those they cared about, loved and respected. I'm certain that Christ's love gave them a greater strength, a comfort amidst unimaginable circumstances.



Lord, on this Memorial Day weekend, thank You, for all the blessings You give me, this country and the world! Thank You for all that You've given to those that serve and have sacrificed in Your name for what is good and true and right. Thank You, Lord, for the men and women, the children and the families who have given their lives in a brave and humble way for Your love for each of us, this country and the world. Today, or in a thousand years or whenever Your discernment is otherwise, my prayer, Lord, is that Your love and forgiveness is even stronger than I've ever believed. My heart says we need Your help now more than ever, Lord. We need You. We need Your continued grace and presence in our lives. Lord, I know You are with me and I know that I am richly and truly blessed. I am grateful, but I need Your help to keep that, to keep me from sin and judgment of others.

If I can I ask one prayer this weekend, Lord, it is that at least one, just one even, be it young or old, that has been in Your service and service to this country gets an extra blessing this weekend. He, she or they need it, Lord, I believe. Please, spill upon them Your beautiful, wonderful love and knowledge, the richness and wholeness of Your love and spirit to perpetuate further Your love and compassion for all who seek and strive to spread Your love and goodness.

Thank you, Lord, for my life, my family, friends and those annoyances that could be just the very person to share Your joy, now and down the long and winding road. Thank You for the smiles that greet me each day, Lord, when I am bothered by sin's compelling woes. Aren't smiles so wonderful? :) Thank You for that and thank You for the strength to see past the bad with the vessels you send me to lift my eyes upwards, Lord, through those beautiful smiles. Thank You for forgiveness of my sins because I know I am short of works for You. I pray for more understanding though I know my capacity to understand is limited - it's all very wonderful to me, Lord.

SCRIPTURE Pictures, Images and Photos

David's song in Psalms 139 is all that I can imagine, study and hope for You to guide and use me, not for my benefit, Lord; but, for others, for Your service. I know I should know and learn more. Please, guide me that way. Your love all is too amazing for me - the breezes, the smiles, the acts of kindness, the sights, the sounds, the smells and all that you give - all of it, my life and the life of all that you hold and keep close. I want to be closer with You! I know it has a genuine, fruitful purpose, Lord, even if it is for the difference it makes for only one. And, if it that difference is only for one, I know in my heart that my life would be well-served. I know I can and should do more! I am Yours, Lord. Hear my prayer, Lord, and let not my selfish will be done, but only Yours. Make me a vessel, a servant - I can think of no better labor.


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...and, Roy, THANK YOU, Sir, for never letting me feel alone - you brought God into my life and I will be forever grateful!






Don't forget to check out Tropical Lagniappe for some great links to other blogs and websites from fellow WU members! There's some great info here and I always learn something each time I visit them!

BLOG RULES: Well, you know the rules here - KEEP IT SIMPLE - Yup, keep it absolutely civil, especially towards fellow bloggers. And, don't get heavy on the partisanship - it's quite obvious that corrupt, petty, inept, greedy, power-lustful politicians are plentiful on both sides of the aisle. It's ok to take jabs at them - either party, any official or candidate; but, leave the total "blame game" out of this - it's ALL of them, everyone! If you think otherwise, then you probably don't want to bring it in here!

...see ya 'round the blogosphere! Have a good one!


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The Sleepwalkers Rally

By: moonlightcowboy, 10:18 PM GMT on May 20, 2009



Although well off their all-time highs, American stocks are now marginally up for the current year. In the past two months, the markets have recovered over 30 percent from last year's lows. But something just does not add up. In the first quarter of 2009, average U.S. corporate earnings were down over 30 percent. There is once again a serious disconnect between stock prices and economic reality. Perhaps these sleepwalking investors think that the 50 percent sell-off in 2008 was overdone and great bargains are now available. To believe this is to misunderstand the economic hurricane of last October, and the gaping holes in America's hull that it exposed.

In the last quarter of 2008, investors faced a meltdown of the banking system. World governments injected trillions of dollars into their economies and changed accounting rules to ensure that a systemic banking failure was averted. Though the system has stabilized, investors seem to forget that none of the fundamental problems have been solved. We may have survived the initial heart attack, but the system remains wrought with clots.

The epicenter of the global financial system is still found on Wall Street. Despite that immense responsibility, the American economy is failing to restructure and seems to be indulging its traditional vices of over-borrowing and over-spending. Wherever the private sector attempts to correct its behavior, a bloated federal government overrides its efforts.

By diverting trillions of borrowed citizens' dollars into keeping alive vegetative corporations such as AIG, Chrysler, Citi, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and GM, the Administration is crowding out new, enterprising companies from access to vital labor and capital resources. Enshrining inefficiency in this manner bodes poorly for the U.S. corporate sector's future capacity to increase profitability. America needs fundamental restructuring in order to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Meanwhile, profitability in those countries that do the hard work of restructuring can be expected to rise disproportionately as the world economy revives.

In the meantime, U.S. banks will face an avalanche of loan defaults and derivative failures. Clearly, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval bestowed on many banks through the much-hyped "stress tests" were a politically cynical, confidence-boosting whitewash. Even so, most banks were deemed undercapitalized! This dark thought perhaps explains the Treasury's apparent unwillingness to accept early TARP repayments.

When U.S. corporate earnings fail to keep pace with the blistering ascent of stock prices, look for investors to reconsider their strategy. As they had in the second half of 2008, many investors will once again seek safety above all. But the safe havens of 2008, the U.S. dollar and U.S. government debt, are much more problematic in 2009. Alternatives will be found.

Despite severe downward recessionary forces, the apparent passing of a threatened financial meltdown and worldwide central bank manipulation, the price of gold continues to hold up. Clearly, many investors, including hedge funds, corporations, and even some governments, are taking refuge in history's oldest guardian of wealth.

Most notably, China, the world's largest gold producer, has recently double its central bank's gold reserve. China also floated a preliminary idea at the recent G-20 meetings to replace the U.S. dollar with a gold-linked international reserve currency. This idea may soon catch on among creditor nations who value real money but also want the flexibility to undervalue their paper currency for the benefit of exporters.

It appears that the world is moving quietly but steadily back to the future. The U.S. dollar became the world's reserve currency because, at the time, it was "as good as gold." Through political sleight of hand, the gold backing was withdrawn, leaving the world floating - and now sinking - along with the dollar. This new standard, if implemented, will help rebalance current accounts, re-opening the path to growth for those economies that restructure. Riding on its sense of entitlement, the U.S. is not likely to be one of those economies. Instead, the world's largest debtor nation will suddenly confront the true weight of its obligations and be forced to significantly lower its standard of living.

As a result, the return of gold as a international reserve should not leave investors optimistic about a U.S. stock recovery. Those that are sleepwalking into this rally will have a rude awakening when they realize that the dollar has brought down the ship. Their more prudent neighbors will have already departed for the bedrock of real wealth: a healthy reserve of gold.


(The above LINK was written by By John Browne for the International Business Times
20 May 2009 @ 03:19 pm ET)



Don't forget to check out Tropical Lagniappe for some great links to other blogs and websites from fellow WU members! There's some great info here and I always learn something each time I visit them!

BLOG RULES: Simple - Keep it absolutely civil, especially towards fellow bloggers. And, don't get heavy on the partisanship - it's quite obvious that corrupt, petty, inept, greedy, power-lustful politicians are plentiful on both sides of the aisle. It's ok to take jabs at them - either party, any official or candidate; but, leave the total "blame game" out of this - it's ALL of them, everyone! If you think otherwise, then you probably don't want to bring it in here!

...see ya 'round the blogosphere! Have a good one!


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Big Fella fleecing $843m more

By: moonlightcowboy, 12:42 AM GMT on May 20, 2009

Interesting that this news isn't being reported by the American MSM; and instead, it's comes from the Malaysian Insider. So, once again the big, ugly fella raises his smelly self to fleece the US taxpayer - this time to the tune of almost another $1,000,000,0000. The money is needed to go to some of the cushy folk who had invested in AIG but lost their money and had it, in reality, stolen from them by AIG. I mean these folks really need their money back, ya know! It's a shame that those of us who got fleeced in much the same way, but through our 401Ks, won't get any help from the Washington "in crowd!" Oddly, the government knew this in 2006 when AIG was charged and found guilty of accounting fraud that dated back to the year 2000 - and there were no red flags going up about 40 poles then? Puuulleaze! This is just more ritz looking out for ritz facilitated by ritz lobbying the out-of-work lawyers on the Hill. Works every time!

Still, the ugly, smelly rascal is not done with the US taxpayer yet - more to come I can assure you! :)



AIG investors to get US$843m

WASHINGTON, May 20 — A federal court has approved the distribution of more than US$843 million (RM2,973 million) to harmed investors at insurer American International Group, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said yesterday.

The court estimates that checks will soon be mailed to more than 257,000 AIG investors that were affected by an alleged accounting fraud at the company, the SEC said.

AIG, which has been propped up by billions of dollars in taxpayer funds, was charged with accounting fraud in 2006. The SEC alleged that the insurer falsified its financial statements from at least 2000 until 2005 and reported misleading information about its financial condition.

The company, which did not admit or deny the allegations, had repaid its ill-gotten gains, as well as penalties to the government. In 2007, a federal court authorised the SEC to establish a ‘fair fund’ to distribute the money to harmed AIG investors.

“The commission continues to utilise the tools that Congress provided to ensure that funds are returned to harmed investors to the greatest extent possible,” said Dick D’Anna, director of the SEC’s office of collections and distributions, in an agency statement. — Reuters


Don't forget to check out Tropical Lagniappe for some great links to other blogs and websites from fellow WU members! There's some great info here and I always learn something each time I visit them!

BLOG RULES: Simple - Keep it absolutely civil, especially towards fellow bloggers. And, don't get heavy on the partisanship - it's quite obvious that corrupt, petty, inept, greedy, power-lustful politicians are plentiful on both sides of the aisle. It's ok to take jabs at them - either party, any official or candidate; but, leave the total "blame game" out of this - it's ALL of them, everyone! If you think otherwise, then you probably don't want to bring it in here!

...see ya 'round the blogosphere! Have a good one!


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Got an ITCZ? Scratch it!

By: moonlightcowboy, 1:28 PM GMT on May 13, 2009

For me, the tropical season begins with NOAA beginning its official monitoring of the Itcz in April. That means season is fast approaching and another year of anticipation and blob watching begins. We begin to pay attention to SST's, ENSO, MJO, B/A high position, etc. I do this annually to give at least some novice insight on the ITCZ, what it means and what we can expect. The 2009 season is upon us - hopefully, they'll all be F I S H storms! :)



So, what's the ITCZ? It's the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), and it appears as a band of clouds, usually thunderstorms, that circle the globe near the equator. The solid band of clouds may extend for many hundreds of miles and is sometimes broken into smaller line segments. The ITCZ follows the sun in that the position varies seasonally. It moves north in the northern summer and south in the northern winter. The ITCZ (pronounced "itch") is what is responsible for the wet and dry seasons in the tropics.

It exists because of the convergence of the trade winds. In the northern hemisphere the trade winds move in a southwesterly direction, while in the southern hemisphere they move northwesterly. The point at which the trade winds converge, forces the air up into the atmosphere, forming the ITCZ.

The tendency for thunderstorms in the tropics is to be short in their duration, usually on a small scale but can produce intense rainfall. It is estimated that 40 percent of all tropical rainfall rates exceed one inch per hour. Greatest rainfall typically occurs when the midday Sun is overhead. On the equator this occurs twice a year in March and September, and consequently there are two wet and two dry seasons.

Further away from the equator, the two rainy seasons merge into one, and the climate becomes more monsoonal, with one wet season and one dry season. In the Northern Hemisphere, the wet season occurs from May to July, in the Southern Hemisphere from November to February.



SURFACE MAP (above) In the above map the location of the Itcz is shown by the red line that runs across the width of the map. If you'll notice, the Itcz is running lower than 10n in the cAtl.

I'll post some climatological averages for the ITCZ later, but obviously, it's still running far south, below the equator into Brazil at this time.

MYSTERY of the ITCZ What Keeps the ITCZ North of the Equator?

It is a long-standing mystery that the ITCZ stays north of the equator over the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans despite that the annual-mean solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere is symmetric with respect to the equator. This article reviews recent progress that has shed new light on this old puzzle.

(excerpt in part)...The ITCZ problem thus involves a circular chicken-and-egg argument. The ITCZ stays north of the equator because SST is higher; and the SST is higher north because the ITCZ stays there. The positive WES feedback is at the center of this circular argument. In a coupled ocean-atmosphere model, the WES feedback destabilizes the symmetric climate, leading to an asymmetric steady state with a single ITCZ on only one side of the equator (Xie and Philander 1994). A condition for this spontaneous development of latitudinal asymmetry is the equatorial upwelling that prevents the ITCZ from forming at the equator. This necessary condition thus explain why climatic asymmetry only develops over the eastern Pacific and Atlantic where the equatorial upwelling is observed.
(Complete article here.)

Heavier precipitation occurring over warmer waters


ITCZ SUMMARY

The Itcz is beginning its climatilogical climb further north, despite it's day to day flucuations n and s. Presently, the ITCZ appears to be active, but it's running quite low in the western side of the cAtl near the equator. As it moves further north, activity will eventually pick up and create opportunities for tropical waves to organize and produce spinning storms, but that is more likely to occur a little further into the season. A more northerly Itcz makes it easier for developing storms to coriolis. And, more Itcz moisture further north also weakens SAL and dry/stable air, making development conditions more favorable.

Look here on the Latest Surface Map for the Itcz location, waves, and other surface features. The Meteosat Infrared Color satellite picture (below) shows the Itcz location. Notice how far south it is near South America.

INTERESTING vid here (below) too on BAROCLINITY.



Don't forget to check out Tropical Lagniappe for some great links to other blogs and websites from fellow WU members! There's some great info here and I always learn something each time I visit them!

BLOG RULES: Simple - Keep it absolutely civil, especially towards fellow bloggers. And, don't get heavy on the partisanship - it's quite obvious that corrupt, petty, inept, greedy, power-lustful politicians are plentiful on both sides of the aisle. It's ok to take jabs at them - either party, any official or candidate; but, leave the total "blame game" out of this - it's ALL of them, everyone! If you think otherwise, then you probably don't want to bring it in here!

...see ya 'round the blogosphere! Have a good one!


visitor stats
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Got an ITCZ? Scratch it!

By: moonlightcowboy, 3:16 AM GMT on May 09, 2009

For me, the tropical season begins with NOAA beginning its official monitoring of the Itcz in April. That means season is fast approaching and another year of anticipation and blob watching begins. We begin to pay attention to SST's, ENSO, MJO, B/A high position, etc. I do this annually to give at least some novice insight on the ITCZ, what it means and what we can expect. The 2009 season is upon us - hopefully, they'll all be F I S H storms! :)



So, what's the ITCZ? It's the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), and it appears as a band of clouds, usually thunderstorms, that circle the globe near the equator. The solid band of clouds may extend for many hundreds of miles and is sometimes broken into smaller line segments. The ITCZ follows the sun in that the position varies seasonally. It moves north in the northern summer and south in the northern winter. The ITCZ (pronounced "itch") is what is responsible for the wet and dry seasons in the tropics.

It exists because of the convergence of the trade winds. In the northern hemisphere the trade winds move in a southwesterly direction, while in the southern hemisphere they move northwesterly. The point at which the trade winds converge, forces the air up into the atmosphere, forming the ITCZ.

The tendency for thunderstorms in the tropics is to be short in their duration, usually on a small scale but can produce intense rainfall. It is estimated that 40 percent of all tropical rainfall rates exceed one inch per hour. Greatest rainfall typically occurs when the midday Sun is overhead. On the equator this occurs twice a year in March and September, and consequently there are two wet and two dry seasons.

Further away from the equator, the two rainy seasons merge into one, and the climate becomes more monsoonal, with one wet season and one dry season. In the Northern Hemisphere, the wet season occurs from May to July, in the Southern Hemisphere from November to February.



SURFACE MAP (above) In the above map the location of the Itcz is shown by the red line that runs across the width of the map. If you'll notice, the Itcz is running lower than 10n in the cAtl.

I'll post some climatological averages for the ITCZ later, but obviously, it's still running far south, below the equator into Brazil at this time.

MYSTERY of the ITCZ What Keeps the ITCZ North of the Equator?

It is a long-standing mystery that the ITCZ stays north of the equator over the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans despite that the annual-mean solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere is symmetric with respect to the equator. This article reviews recent progress that has shed new light on this old puzzle.

(excerpt in part)...The ITCZ problem thus involves a circular chicken-and-egg argument. The ITCZ stays north of the equator because SST is higher; and the SST is higher north because the ITCZ stays there. The positive WES feedback is at the center of this circular argument. In a coupled ocean-atmosphere model, the WES feedback destabilizes the symmetric climate, leading to an asymmetric steady state with a single ITCZ on only one side of the equator (Xie and Philander 1994). A condition for this spontaneous development of latitudinal asymmetry is the equatorial upwelling that prevents the ITCZ from forming at the equator. This necessary condition thus explain why climatic asymmetry only develops over the eastern Pacific and Atlantic where the equatorial upwelling is observed.
(Complete article here.)

Heavier precipitation occurring over warmer waters


ITCZ SUMMARY

The Itcz is beginning its climatilogical climb further north, despite it's day to day flucuations n and s. Presently, the ITCZ appears to be active, but it's running quite low in the western side of the cAtl near the equator. As it moves further north, activity will eventually pick up and create opportunities for tropical waves to organize and produce spinning storms, but that is more likely to occur a little further into the season. A more northerly Itcz makes it easier for developing storms to coriolis. And, more Itcz moisture further north also weakens SAL and dry/stable air, making development conditions more favorable.

Look here on the Latest Surface Map for the Itcz location, waves, and other surface features. The Meteosat Infrared Color satellite picture (below) shows the Itcz location. Notice how far south it is near South America.

INTERESTING vid here (below) too on BAROCLINITY.



Don't forget to check out Tropical Lagniappe for some great links to other blogs and websites from fellow WU members! There's some great info here and I always learn something each time I visit them!

BLOG RULES: Simple - Keep it absolutely civil, especially towards fellow bloggers. And, don't get heavy on the partisanship - it's quite obvious that corrupt, petty, inept, greedy, power-lustful politicians are plentiful on both sides of the aisle. It's ok to take jabs at them - either party, any official or candidate; but, leave the total "blame game" out of this - it's ALL of them, everyone! If you think otherwise, then you probably don't want to bring it in here!

...see ya 'round the blogosphere! Have a good one!


visitor stats
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AL in ED mind meeting with "TM"

By: moonlightcowboy, 5:59 PM GMT on May 07, 2009

I'm reassured more and more by "The Messiah's" presidency - certainly Rev Al will help him solve America's education problems. WTG, O! ....keep rackin' 'em up!



Gingrich, Bloomberg and Sharpton Pay Obama a Visit

It's an eclectic trio, symbolic of the wide-ranging personalities, interests and ideas involved in reforming the country's public education system.

This afternoon New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, and the Rev. Al Sharpton will meet with President Obama to discuss his public education proposals and, to be sure, share some thoughts of their own. The trio, which likely hasn't agreed on much of anything over the years, belongs to the nonprofit Education Equality Project.

Sharpton, a former U.S. senate candidate, founded the organization with New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, who has said that "school reform is...the civil rights issue of our time." The group's main focus? Closing the achievement gap among America's public school students, an issue bound up in race, class, money and politics.

White House aides said Sharpton asked for the meeting with Obama, who in announcing his public education reform plans two months ago listed closing the achievement gap as a priority.






BLOG RULES: Simple - Keep it absolutely civil, especially towards fellow bloggers. And, don't get heavy on the partisanship - it's quite obvious that corrupt, petty, inept, greedy, power-lustful politicians are plentiful on both sides of the aisle. It's ok to take jabs at them - either party, any official or candidate; but, leave the total "blame game" out of this - it's ALL of them, everyone! If you think otherwise, then you probably don't want to bring it in here! Additionally, if you don't like what you read in here and can't respect the rules, then start your own blog and run it and post in it the way you choose. :)

...see ya 'round the blogosphere! Have a good one!


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Pakistan unfolding in 60 days?

By: moonlightcowboy, 4:58 PM GMT on May 05, 2009

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with GR, my right-wing extremist colleague and pal, (btw, who tipped me a few weeks back on the developing Pakistan situation). Our discussion ranged from the largely trivial diplomatic efforts and the scenarios of the Taliban capturing a weapon. Today, please, I'd appreciate it if the blog will get past the rhetoric and blame (plenty to go around even before the Bush dynasty and to both parties) of the past and get to the here and now, and unfolding events into the future. Particularly, I'd like to see thoughts on Obama dimplomacy, a Taliban-held nuke and what they'd do with it; and further, what role will India play. Remember, it was only a few months ago when Pakistani insurgents bombed and killed in Mumbai. Play nice, post referenced links - catch y'all later! Thanks! :)




Pakistan expects 500,000 to flee Taliban fighting

MINGORA, Pakistan – Black-turbaned militants roamed city streets and seized buildings in a northwestern Pakistan valley Tuesday as thousands of people fled fighting between the Taliban and troops that the government said could lead to an exodus of half a million people. The Taliban declared the end of their peace deal with the government.

Buses carrying the residents of Mingora, the region's main town, were crammed inside and out: Refugees clambered onto the roofs after seats and floors filled up. Children and adults alike carried their belongings on their heads and backs — all of them fleeing fighting they fear is about to consume the region.

Pakistan's leader prepared for talks in Washington with President Barack Obama on how to sharpen his country's fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban, which are blamed for attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The deteriorating Swat Valley truce with the Taliban, which American officials opposed from the start, is expected to play a prominent role in the discussions.

Khushal Khan, the top administrator in Swat, said Taliban militants were roaming the area and laying mines.

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- The Iranian Shahab 3 missile (domestically produced within Iran) can threaten either Tel Aviv or Riyadh.

- The newer Shahab 3ER, with its 2,000 km range, can reach Ankara in Turkey, Alexandria in Egypt, or Sanaa
in Yemen.

- Iran is attempting to create a Shahab-5 and a Shahab-6, with a 3,000-5,000 km range. If completed, Iran could
target the US eastern seaboard.


How Real is the Iranian Threat? (sub source)

There is no question but that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did Israel a favor by kicking off the Durban II Conference with his racist rant against Israel. Surely he knew the speech would prompt the reaction that it did even before the representatives of forty countries got up and walked out on him. Didn't he? Maybe he did, but probably he didn't. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said what he said because he believes every word of it, and so does the regime that supports him.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is clearly one of the most misunderstood leaders in the world today. For if he were understood correctly, the entire world would rise up as one and demand both Iranian disarmament and an immediate regime change. When Ahmadinejad stood before the assembled global dignitaries to launch his tirade against Israel, he didn't do it to get a rise out of the West. Ahmadinejad recently gave an interview to Der Spiegel in which he expressed his opinion that the majority of Germans hate Israel as much as he does and would be secretly relieved to see it wiped out. In his heart, Ahmadinejad believes the same sentiment exists across Europe and he has ample reason to believe it is so.

Ahmadinejad has telegraphed his intentions for Israel as clearly as did Adolf Hitler for Eastern Europe and its Jewish population in his book, "Mein Kampf." The question is often asked, why didn't the Jews of Eastern Europe do more to escape the Holocaust? There were no doubt lots of good reasons, but the most powerful was disbelief. The Jews of Europe were a powerful asset to the Nazi war machine as slave labor. They kept the domestic infrastructure running, manufacturing goods, laboring on farms, repairing roads and bridges. It was totally illogical that the Nazis would destroy such a valuable asset. They simply didn't believe the Nazis would murder them all. Some refused to believe it right to the end. It was just too monstrous to comprehend.

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The same principle applies to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated threats to wipe Israel from the map with nuclear weapons -- it's too monstrous to believe.

There was a point in the 1973 Yom Kippur War when it looked like Israel was going to lose. Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir ordered thirteen nuclear bombs assembled and loaded on bombers with thirteen different assigned targets. The tide turned on the ground and the bombers were in the end, unnecessary. But the story is true and there is no doubt Ahmadinejad is aware of it. He therefore knows that even a successful nuclear strike on Israel will not prevent a massive Israeli nuclear retaliation.

The world can't bring itself to believe that Ahmadinejad would risk it -- the doctrine of mutually assured destruction comes into play. The MAD doctrine kept the world safe from nuclear destruction during the hottest moments of the Cold War. The difference is, during the Cold War, both sides wanted to live more than they wanted the other side to die.

Israel understands()Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It doesn't find the concept that he would start a nuclear war too monstrous to be believed, but rather, it understands how monstrous it really is and therefore too monstrous to ignore.

"Seventy-three years after the Berlin Olympiad, yesterday the world saw the return of Adolf Hitler,” Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Tuesday after Ahmadinejad's speech. “This time he is bearded and he talks Persian. But the words are the same words, the goals the same goals and the resolve to use effective means to achieve them is the same threatening resolve.”

What Israel understands -- and the world does not -- is that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is little more than a suicide bomber waiting for the right time and place to detonate himself for allah. If he gets his hands on a nuclear bomb and a missile capable of delivering it, it will be his religious duty to use it against Israel. The Israelis understand how powerful a motivator religious duty becomes. The rest of the world only thinks it does. How does one negotiate with a suicide bomber? What do you offer him?

The latest estimates say that with 7000 centrifuges in operation, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could have a nuclear weapon within sixty days. (This was dated in late April, '09.)

And the clock is already ticking.


Obama's policy towards Iran


In a few months, the Obama administration will be faced with a real dilemma; either leading the world to confront the Iranian regime on the verge of acquiring the deadly weapon or, surrendering to those lobbies who with no hesitation will advance their own agenda to the detriment of US strategic interests.

Could Obama resist these powerful lobbies? This is the question.


3 hours ago - Israel to press Obama on Iran

PRESIDENT Shimon Peres vows that Israel will not yield to Iran's nuclear threat as he prepares to meet US President Barack Obama, who has stirred unease with his policies on Iran. Mr Peres, the first top Israeli to meet Mr Obama since the new Administration took office, also spoke of hope for peace with the Palestinians and Arabs on the eve of White House talks overnight Melbourne time.

"Unfortunately, the Middle East finds itself in the shadow of a nuclear threat. We shall not give up. We shall not surrender," Mr Peres told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The committee is a powerful lobby group that is pushing for a tougher US stance on Iran.

Iran has continued its efforts to enrich uranium despite three sets of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has talked of tougher sanctions against Iran if it rebuffs the latest US approach.





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...UNPLUGGED

By: moonlightcowboy, 9:44 PM GMT on May 03, 2009

I hope all enjoyed the weekend...keep a lil bit of it tucked away for tomorrow! Have a GR8 Monday and week! ;)



BLOG RULES: Simple - Keep it absolutely civil, especially towards fellow bloggers. And, don't get heavy on the partisanship - it's quite obvious that corrupt, petty, inept, greedy, power-lustful politicians are plentiful on both sides of the aisle. It's ok to take jabs at them - either party, any official or candidate; but, leave the total "blame game" out of this - it's ALL of them, everyone! If you think otherwise, then you probably don't want to bring it in here! Additionally, if you don't like what you read in here and can't respect the rules, then start your own blog and run it and post in it the way you choose. :)

...see ya 'round the blogosphere! Have a good one!


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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

moonlightcowboy's WunderBlog

About moonlightcowboy

"There is no heavier burden than a great potential." - Charles Schultz, in the Peanut's character of Linus.